WEDNESDAY THE TENTH OF JANUARY 2018
* Narciso Pico *
O Lord, the scripture says "there is a time for silence and a time for speech." Saviour, teach me the silence of humility, the silence of wisdom, the silence of love, the silence of perfection, the silence that speaks without words, the silence of faith. Lord, teach me to silence my own heart that I may listen to the gentle movement of the Holy Spirit within me and sense the depths which are of God. Amen.
Rise, O Salem, rise and shine;
lo, the Gentiles hail your waking;
herald of a morn divine,
see the dayspring over us breaking,
telling God has called to mind
those who long in darkness pined.
O how blindly we did stray,
before this sun our earth had brightened;
Heaven we sought not, for no ray
had our bewildered eyes enlightened:
all our looks were earthward bent,
all our strength on earth was spent.
But the dayspring from on high
has arisen with beams unclouded,
And we see before him fly
all the heavy gloom that shrouded
this sad earth, where sin and woe
seemed to reign over all below.
Thine appearing, Lord, shall fill
all my thoughts in sorrow’s hour;
your appearing, Lord, shall still
all my dread of death’s dark power;
whether joys or tears be mine,
through them still your light shall shine.
Let me, when my course is run,
calmly leave a world of sadness
for the place that needs no sun
(for you are its light and gladness),
for the mansions fair and bright,
where your saints are crowned with light.
( Johann Rist )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Narciso Pico: servant of the poor, martyr
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Narciso Pico, a Philippine priest and martyr.
On the tenth of January, 1991, Father Narciso Pico, a priest of the Philippine Independent Church, was gunned down by two men, while coming out of a coffee shop down the block from his church in Pontevedra, about five hundred kilometres southeast of Manila. Father Pico had been documenting human rights violations on the large plantations around Pontevedra, and had been active in the area of workers’ rights and land reform.
Upon hearing of his death, his bishop remarked, “ his murder advances the real work of a priest who is unafraid to preach the truth, no matter what."
The Philippine Independent Church came into existence in the year 1902 after formally separating from the Roman Catholic Church. In 1898 the United States defeated Spain and took over the running of the Philippine colony. From 1898 until 1902 the Filipino-American war was fought which ended with the defeat of the Filipino Army. Many Filipinos felt that the Catholic Church had favoured the wealthy and rich landowners who had favoured the cause of the United States. From its origin, the Philippine Independent Church has been formed to encourage the aspirations of the people for freedom, democracy free from foreign influence, and the liberation of workers in their struggle against oppression.
In the case of Father Narciso Pico, it was suspected but never proven that his murderers were under the command of the Philippine Army. His life had been threatened many times, but he very much saw his ministry as the empowerment of the poor. His parish in Pontevedra had twenty thousand members.
A priest from the Church of Ireland happened to be visiting in the Philippines at the time Father Pico was murdered. At the invitation of Father Pico’s bishop, he attended the wake.
He later wrote: “Narciso Pico had lived in the knowledge that he might face such a death. He knew that his efforts to be the servant of all, to care for the poorest of people were attracting the attention of those who wanted no change in the country. Pico was under no illusions about what it meant to walk in the way of Jesus. If anything happened to him, hadn’t the same happened to Jesus?”
Scripture: In "Psalm Seventy-Two," verses twelve to fourteen, we read:
For he delivers the needy when they call, the poor and those who have no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence, he redeems their life; and precious is their blood in his sight.
... for peace in the world.
... for those who risk their lives for those who speak out against tyranny and stand beside the oppressed.
... for an end to corruption in the governments and civil services of the world.
... for those recovering from surgery.
... for those affected by the heavy rain and mudslides in southern California, especially for those killed or injured, the missing and those searching for them.
... for those who are victims of online bullying, especially children; for those who are driven to take their own life because of bullying and the grieving friends and family members they leave behind.
... for those who have died recently and for those who mourn their passing.
... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
... for ourselves.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done; on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
From "Mere Christianity" by C. S. Lewis:
If you do not take the distinction between good and bad very seriously, then it is easy to say that anything you find in this world is a part of God.
But, of course, if you think some things really bad, and God really good, then you cannot talk like that. You must believe that God is separate from the world and that some of the things we see in it are contrary to his will.
Confronted with a cancer or a slum the Pantheist can say, "If you could only see it from the divine point of view, you would realise that this also is God."
The Christian replies, "Don’t talk damned nonsense."
For Christianity is a fighting religion. It thinks God made the world, that space and time, heat and cold, and all the colours and tastes, and all the animals and vegetables, are things that God "made up out of his head" as a man makes up a story. But it also thinks that a great many things have gone wrong with the world that God made and that God insists, and insists very loudly, on our putting them right again.
Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth. Inspire us with the memory of Narciso Pico, whose love for the poor and needy of Pontvedra led him to the way of the cross, and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your son’s victory over sin and death; for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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