TUESDAY THE TWENTY-EIGHTH OF MARCH, 2017
Almighty God, who sees that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.
Be joyful in God, all the earth.
Praise is due to you, O God, in Zion;
to you that answer prayer shall vows be paid.
To you shall all flesh come to confess their sins;
when our misdeeds prevail against us,
you will purge them away.
Happy are they whom you choose
and draw to your courts to dwell there.
We shall be satisfied with the blessings of your house,
even of your holy temple.
With wonders you will answer us in your righteousness,
O God of our salvation,
O hope of all the ends of the earth
and of the farthest seas.
In your strength you set fast the mountains
and are girded about with might.
You still the raging of the seas,
the roaring of their waves
and the clamour of the peoples.
Those who dwell at the ends of the earth
tremble at your marvels;
the gates of the morning and evening sing your praise.
You visit the earth and water it;
you make it very plenteous.
The river of God is full of water;
you prepare grain for your people,
for so you provide for the earth.
You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges;
you soften the ground with showers and bless its increase.
You crown the year with your goodness,
and your paths overflow with plenty.
May the pastures of the wilderness flow with goodness
and the hills be girded with joy.
May the meadows be clothed with flocks of sheep
and the valleys stand so thick with corn
that they shall laugh and sing.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
Be joyful in God, all the earth.
May the richness of your creation, Lord,
and the mystery of your providence
lead us to that heavenly city
where all peoples will bring their wealth,
forsake their sins and find their true joy,
Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Stephen Harding: seeking a more austere path
Monasticism was critical for the development of Europe. Groups of men or women, dedicated to God, and seeking a life of prayer, moved into sparsely settled land. They cleared the rocks and farmed the fields, regularly offering up their daily prayer to God. They were highly successful at what they did, and soon were providing employment for others who helped the monks farm. Eventually towns formed around the monasteries and so Europe was settled, little by little, a very reliable fusion of church and secular society.
Over time the monasteries became wealthy and the initial fervour for a strict life of prayer and labour waned. This inevitably led some to reject the wealth of the monastic system, and, in the name of reform, to seek again a more austere form of monasticism.
Stephen Harding was an English monk and scholar who traveled throughout Europe and eventually ended up in Burgundy, at the Abbey of Molesme. The abbot, Robert, was trying to reform the abbey, but it was wealthy and resistant to reform. Robert, Stephen Harding and about two dozen monks received permission to start a new, more austere form of monasticism in a marshy swamp near Dijon, France, called Citeaux.
Stephen Harding became the abbot of the new monastery for twenty-five years. It was his organisational skill that helped to give birth to the Cistercian order of monks. He recruited a monk named Bernard to form a new community of Cistercians at Clairvaux and before long the Cistercian order was springing up throughout Europe.
Under Stephen Harding’s leadership the Cistercians became known for their unique lifestyle and liturgy. He laboured in the scriptorium of the monastery and the “Harding Bible” was among the most famous of medieval manuscripts. By the time of Stephen Harding’s death on this date in 1134, the Cistercians had already brought his legacy back to England with the Rievaulx Abbey (1131) and Fountains Abbey (1132). In Scotland, Melrose Abbey was founded in 1136.
Scripture. In the third chapter of "Genesis," at the nineteenth verse, we read:
"By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return."
... for peace in the world.
... for those who have died 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 "Stewards and also Sons of God" a sermon by John Henry Newman:
And so as regards the "Parable of the Steward," on which I am now remarking, fields and market-gardens and woods yield a produce, and are the means of wealth; such are hay, wheat and other kinds of corn, and various fruits and vegetables in this country; such are olive yards, vineyards, sugar canes, and other produce of the land abroad. As then money creates money, as the land bears bread, wine and oil, so our souls should yield the due return to God for the many gifts which he has bestowed upon us.
I am speaking of those gifts which belong to our nature, our birth or our circumstances; gifts of this world. He has given us the means of worshipping him and doing him service. He has given us reason, and a certain measure of abilities, more or less. He has given us health, more or less. He has placed us in a certain station of life, high or low. He has given us a certain power of influencing others. He has given us a certain circle of persons, larger or smaller, who depend on us, whom our words and our actions affect for good or for evil, and ought to affect for good. He has given us our share of opportunities of doing good to others. All these are God's gifts to us, and they are given us, not to be wasted, but to be used, to be turned to account. The steward in the parable wasted them; and was made responsible for his waste. And so in our own case, we may waste them, as most men waste them; nay worse, we may not only squander them away, we do not know how; but we may actually misapply them, we may use them actually to the injury of him who has given them to us; but whether we do nothing with them for God, or actually go on to use them to his dishonour and against the interests of truth and religion, (and the latter is more likely than the former, for not to do good with them is in fact to do evil) anyhow we shall have one day to answer for our use of them.
Almighty God by prayer, discipline, hard work, and single-minded devotion, you called Saint Stephen Harding to renew the monastic calling. Give us the same single-minded devotion to serve you in our own callings, and lead us evermore on the straight path to you; through your son, Jesus Christ our lord, who 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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