FRIDAY THE TWENTY-SEVENTH OF APRIL, 2018
* Christina Rossetti *
O God the Holy Spirit, who are light to your elect, evermore enlighten us. You who are fire of love, evermore enkindle us. You who are lord and giver of life, evermore live in us. You who bestows sevenfold grace, evermore replenish us. As the wind is your symbol, so forward our goings. As the dove, so launch us heavenwards. As water, so purify our spirits. As a cloud, so abate our temptations. As dew, so revive our languor. As fire, so purge our dross. Amen
( Christina Rossetti )
None other Lamb, none other name,
none other hope in Heaven or earth or sea,
none other hiding place from guilt and shame,
none beside thee!
My faith burns low, my hope burns low;
only my heart’s desire cries out in me
by the deep thunder of its want and woe,
cries out to thee.
Lord, thou art life, though I be dead;
love’s fire thou art, however cold I be:
nor Heaven have I, nor place to lay my head,
nor home, but thee.
( Christina Rossetti )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Christina Rossetti: poetry and passion for those in need
Today Saint Laika’s remembers Christina Rossetti, an Englishwoman perhaps best known for her Christmas carol “In the Bleak Midwinter.”
Christina was born in London in 1830. At age fourteen she suffered a nervous breakdown and struggled with depression brought on by her father’s ill-health and the family’s subsequent financial insecurity. She took solace in religion and devotion to God became a central pillar of her life.
Her first poems were published at age eighteen and she continued to write poetry throughout her life.
She lived during a time of great societal change. Urban living brought to light many social ills. From 1859 to 1870 she was a volunteer worker at the Saint Mary Magdalene House of Charity, a refuge for former prostitutes.
She also posed for her brother Dante’s religious portraits, including "Ecce Ancilla Domini" in which she portrayed Mary, the mother of Jesus. She serves as an example of faithful Christian living, as someone who put their talents to use for God and the Church.
In 1881 she wrote a book entitled “Called to Be Saints” from which the following quotation is taken:
Angels share one nature with devils, sanctified souls with souls nigh unto cursing, Saint Matthias with Judas Iscariot, the very staff of our life with the noxious darnel. And thus the perfections of our very God's very humanity urge us to fear and hope: though we are of one blood with him we may not be of one mind, may never become like him, may never see him as he is; on the other hand (blessed be God), though we languish ready to perish, yet is he our brother who loveth us, who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him.
This quote so perfectly captures the powerful witness of Christina Rossetti. Out of her inner pain and depression, she forged a strong faith coupled with service to women who were trying to reclaim their integrity. Her poems, especially her religious poems bear witness to her sanctity.
Scripture. In the sixth chapter of "Matthew," at the twentieth and twenty-first verses, we read:
Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
... for peace in the world.
... for Christians who suffer from depression; that they may know that God is close to them even when they feel like they are alone and surrounded by darkness.
... for poets who use their gift to help people explore the nature of God.
... for prostitutes and former prostitutes; for a world in which our bodies are respected as temples of God and nobody has any need to sell their bodies in order to survive.
... for the people of Mayotte, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Togo who celebrate their national day today.
... that today's meeting between Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in may, in time, lead to permanent peace, prosperity, democracy and the strict upholding of human rights in Korea.
... for the teenage hikers who were killed when a flash flood swept them away in Nahal Tzafit, southern Israel. DETAILS
... 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 in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever. Amen.
From "Time Flies: A Reading Diary" by Christina Rossetti:
A certain masterly translator has remarked that whatever may or may not constitute a good translation, it cannot consist in turning a good poem into a bad one.
This suggestive remark opens to investigation a worldwide ﬁeld. Thus, for instance, he (or she) cannot be an efﬁcient Christian who exhibits the religion of love as unlovely.
Christians need a searching self-sifting on this point. They translate God‘s law into the universal tongue of all mankind: all men of all sorts can read them, and in some sort cannot but read them.
Scrupulous Christians need special self-sifting. They too often resemble translations of the letter in deﬁance of the spirit: their good poem has become unpoetical.
They run the risk of ﬁguring as truthful offensively, conscientious unkindly, firm feebly, in the right ridiculously. Common sense has forsaken them: and what gift or grace can quite supply the lack of common sense?
Reverently I quote to my neighbour (and to myself) the grave reproof of Saint James, "My brethren, these things ought not so to be."
Stars, like Christians, utter their silent voice to all lands and their speechless words to the ends of the world. Christians are called to be like stars, luminous, steadfast, majestic, attractive.
O God, whom heaven cannot hold, you inspired Christina Rossetti to express the mystery of the Incarnation through her poems: help us to follow her example in giving our hearts to Christ, who is love; and who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. 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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