TUESDAY THE EIGHTEENTH OF SEPTEMBER, 2018
* Dag Hammarskjöld *
Thanks be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits you have given me, for all the pains and insults you have borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know you more clearly, love you more dearly and follow you more nearly, day by day. Amen.
( Richard of Chichester, 1197 -1253 )
Yes, he knows the way is dreary, knows the weakness of our frame,
knows that hand and heart are weary, he in all points felt the same.
He is near to help and bless; be not weary, onward press.
Look to him, who once was willing all his glory to resign,
that, for you the law fulfilling, all his merit might be yours.
Strive to follow, day by day, where his footsteps mark the way.
Look to him, the Lord of Glory, tasting death to win your life;
gazing on that wondrous story, can you falter in the strife?
Is it not new life to know that the Lord has loved you so?
Look to him, and faith shall brighten, hope shall soar, and love shall burn,
peace once more your heart shall lighten; rise, he calls to you, return!
Be not weary on your way; Jesus is your strength and stay.
( Frances Ridley Havergal, 1836–1879 )
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Dag Hammarskjöld: on the road to holiness
Dag Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. The second secretary-general of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash on this day in 1961 as he was en route to cease-fire negotiations. At the age of forty-seven years, two hundred and fifty-five days, Hammarskjöld is the youngest to have held the post.
He is one of just three people to be awarded a posthumous Nobel Prize. American President John F. Kennedy, called Hammarskjöld “the greatest statesman of our century.”
Hammarskjöld began his term by establishing his own secretariat of four thousand administrators and setting up regulations that defined their responsibilities. He was also actively engaged in smaller projects relating to the UN working environment. For example, he planned and supervised in every detail the creation of a meditation room in the UN headquarters. This is a place dedicated to silence where people can withdraw into themselves, regardless of their faith, creed, or religion.
During his term, Hammarskjöld tried to smooth relations between Israel and the Arab states. Other highlights include a 1955 visit to China to negotiate the release of fifteen captured US pilots who had served in the Korean War, the 1956 establishment of the United Nations Emergency Force and his intervention in the 1956 Suez Crisis. He is given credit by some historians for allowing participation of the Vatican within the United Nations that year. In 1960 he made four trips to the Congo in an attempt to defuse tensions there.
He was a man of deep inner spirituality, familiar with medieval mystics, yet steeped in political activism. After his untimely death, he left behind a book of notes called “Markings.” It was described by the theologian, Henry Van Dusen, as “the noblest self-disclosure of spiritual struggle and triumph, perhaps the greatest testament of personal faith written in the heat of professional life and amidst the most exacting responsibilities for world peace and order.”
“In our age, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action.”
“God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason.”
Scripture. In “Psalm Ninety-Four,” in verses fourteen and fifteen, we read:
For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage; for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright of heart will follow it.
… for peace in the world.
… for the United Nations and its work to negotiate peace between peoples in conflict with each other.
… for António Guterres, the secretary general of the United Nations.
… that we may enjoy moments of peaceful contemplation in our everyday lives.
… for the people of Chile who celebrate their national day today.
… that all the people of the world may have ready access to clean water. DETAILS
… for those affected by the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe; for those who have died; for those caring for the ill and those working to bring the epidemic to an end. 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 “Markings” by Dag Hammarskjöld:
To have humility is to experience reality, not in relation to ourselves, but in its sacred independence. It is to see, judge, and act from the point of rest in ourselves. Then, how much disappears, and all that remains falls into place.
In the point of rest at the centre of our being, we encounter a world where all things are at rest in the same way. Then a tree becomes a mystery, a cloud a revelation, each man a cosmos of whose riches we can only catch glimpses. The life of simplicity is simple, but it opens to us a book in which we never get beyond the first syllable.
O God, by whose grace your servant Hildegard, kindled with the fire of your love, became a burning and shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our saviour and lord. 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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