Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s



Lord help me to face the truth about myself. Help me to hear my words as others hear them, to see my face as others see me; let me be honest enough to recognise my impatience and conceit; let me recognise my anger and selfishness; give me sufficient humility to accept my own weaknesses for what they are. Give me the grace, at least in your presence, to say, "I was wrong, forgive me." Amen.

( Polycarp )


You judges of the earth, be still, while God declares his righteous will:
How long in your unequal scale shall justice lose, and wrong prevail?

Let law the orphan’s claim secure: list to the friendless and the poor:
protect the weak, assert their right qnd save them from the oppressor’s spite.

Alas, ye neither know nor mark; reckless ye wander in the dark,
while earth the dire confusion feels and on its deep foundation reels.

Gods ye were named: all lands in you the children of the Highest knew:
but death your frailty shall betray and blend your forms with vulgar clay.

Rise, high-throned God, to vengeance rise; redeem the wronged, the proud chastise;
rule every realm by right divine: for all the realms of earth are thine.

( Benjamin Hall Kennedy 1804-1889 )

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

George Tyrrell, the priestly Tenebrae
(transferred from Sunday)

Today Saint Laika’s tells the tale of an excommunicated English Jesuit who was buried in the Anglican cemetery in Storrington. His name was George Tyrrell. He was raised in the Anglican Church of Ireland but, after moving to England, came under the influence of the Jesuits at Mayfair and became a Roman Catholic and eventually a Jesuit. He was a smart, bright theological thinker and he pursued the goal of the scientific examination of Roman Catholicism. He was concerned that the traditional presentation of the faith no longer met the needs of “modern man.”

He gained a reputation as a teacher, speaker, retreat master and personal confessor, but soon he was embroiled in what history calls the “Modernist Controversy,” and found himself pitted against the teachings of Pope Pius X, who condemned the Modernist Movement and was not afraid to punish those who advocated for it. Tyrell became convinced that the Church placed too much emphasis on the "external" manifestation of religion, with its system of norms and obligations, at the expense of what really counted: the inner workings of God in the individual soul.

Tyrrell was commanded to recant his work and his position, and when he refused, he was excommunicated. What is often missed in the study of this power struggle was the condition of Tyrrell’s inner spirit, which was Catholic to the core.

As more and more of his colleagues abandoned him, he wrote: “As at Tenebrae one after another the lights are extinguished, till one alone, and that the highest of all, is left, so it is often with the soul and her guiding stars. In our early days there are many (parents, teachers, friends, books, authorities) but, as life goes on, one by one they fail and leave us in deepening darkness, till at last none but the figure of Christ stands out luminous against the prevailing night.”

The tragedy of George Tyrrell is that he was a man born ahead of his time. Many of his positions would gain favour in the writings of the Second Vatican Council. Yet when he died, on the fifteenth of July, 1909, he had been granted conditional absolution, and anointed with the holy oil, but had never tasted of Communion. And he was buried without ceremony in an Anglican cemetery.

His priest friend Henri Bremond, who made a small sign of the cross over him, was suspended from the priesthood for doing so.

In Tyrrell’s final letter, written just a day or two before his death, we find the words: “I am glad God is to judge me and not any of his servants."

Scripture. In the eleventh chapter of "Jeremiah," at verses nineteen and twenty, we read:

But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter.

And I did not know it was against me that they devised schemes, saying, "Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will no longer be remembered!"

But you, O LORD of hosts, who judge righteously, who try the heart and the mind, let me see your retribution upon them, for to you I have committed my cause.


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for all who have suffered at the hands of church people.

... for all who explore the teachings of the church from new perspectives.

... for all who are searching for meaning in life.

... for those who are being victimised at work or used as a scapegoat for the shortcomings and errors of others.

... for all who are unhappy in their work or place of employment.

... for firefighters presently tackling wildfires.

... for female politicians and for an end to gender inequality in the world's legislatures.

... for civilian casualties of war and insurgence.

... 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.


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 ""Hard Sayings" by George Tyrrell:

Indeed, there are no greater enemies of human happiness than those who substitute pleasure and pain for good and evil. Pleasure is coy and will not be sought directly. She is found by those who seek her not, and flies, as does their shadow, from those who hotly pursue her. And pain is terrible chiefly to those who have learnt to view it as the ultimate evil. So that in pursuing the one phantom and flying from the other, they are not only diverted from the quest of true and solid happiness, but inevitably fail to secure even that which they seek.

It is not surprising that those who estimate the evil of the world in terms of pain and sorrow should descant in no measured language on the cruelty of Nature, and should refuse to believe that behind all there is a personal God who could prevent all this misery and yet will not.

"If he could not," say they, "how is He almighty? If he will not, how is he all-loving? In either case how is he infinite; how is he God?"

Nor would the objection be without weight, were temporal enjoyment the final good of man; were there no higher good with which the lower has no common measure, being, so to say, in a different plane or category.

"If in this life only we have hope," says Saint Paul, "then are we of all men the most miserable."

A pessimism no less applicable to life viewed merely in the light of reason; if the present enjoyment of sentient creation be indeed the ultimate good, then it is hard to see the finger of the all-mighty, the all-loving God in such a result as is evident to our limited view. And therefore we find many pure, unselfish souls, bewildered with this disheartening philosophy, devoting all their energies to a fruitless contest with the inexorable laws of this seemingly cruel world, if perchance they may even by a single drop lessen the vast ocean of misery and pain, seeking no other happiness than that of procuring the happiness of others, though scarce knowing what happiness means. Their instinct of benevolence, ill-instructed though it be, is from God, the author of all charity and unselfish love. In living for the good of others they are at one with the Christian, but in their estimate of what that good consists in, they are diametrically opposed to a religion which regards pain or sorrow, not merely as an inevitable and regrettable condition of good, to be minimised as far as possible, but as a positive means to good, something to be sought out and willingly embraced in due season and measure; not merely as a bitterness incidental to the medicine of life, but as itself a medicinal bitterness; a religion, which says: "Blessed are the poor, blessed are the mourners, blessed are the persecuted, blessed are the dead;" which commends to us the example, not of one who was merely a martyr to inevitable violence, but of one who could have descended from the cross, yet would not.


May the love of Jesus Christ bring us wholeness, the grace of God the Father grant us peace, the breath of Holy Spirit instil passion and the unity between them give us strength for this and every day. Amen

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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The Final Candle

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