Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Christina Rossetti *


Lord God, whose strength is sufficient for all who lay hold on it, grant us in your mercy to comfort our hearts and be strong. Humility, temperance, purity, largeheartedness, sympathy, zeal - grant us these evidences of faith, servants of hope, fruits of love; for the sake of Jesus Christ, our strength, our righteousness, and our hope of glory. Amen.

( Christina Rossetti )


Once in a dream I saw the flowers
that bud and bloom in Paradise;
more fair they are than waking eyes
have seen in all this world of ours.
And faint the perfume-bearing rose,
and faint the lily on its stem,
and faint the perfect violet
compared with them.

I heard the songs of Paradise:
each bird sat singing in his place;
a tender song so full of grace
it soared like incense to the skies.
Each bird sat singing to his mate
soft-cooing notes among the trees:
the nightingale herself were cold
to such as these.

I saw the fourfold river flow,
and deep it was, with golden sand;
it flowed between a mossy land
with murmured music grave and low.
It hath refreshment for all thirst,
for fainting spirits strength and rest;
Earth holds not such a draught as this
from east to west.

The Tree of Life stood budding there,
abundant with its twelvefold fruits;
eternal sap sustains its roots,
its shadowing branches fill the air.
Its leaves are healing for the world,
its fruit the hungry world can feed,
sweeter than honey to the taste,
and balm indeed.

I saw the gate called Beautiful;
and looked, but scarce could look within;
I saw the golden streets begin,
and outskirts of the glassy pool.
Oh harps, oh crowns of plenteous stars,
O green palm branches many-leaved —
eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard,
nor heart conceived!

I hope to see these things again,
but not as once in dreams by night;
to see them with my very sight,
and touch and handle and attain:
to have all Heaven beneath my feet
for narrow way that once they trod;
to have my part with all the saints,
and with my God.

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.”

She 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. Christina 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 1859-1870 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. 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 loves 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.


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."


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for poets.

... for those who suffer from depression.

... for the people of Mayotte, the Netherlands, Sierra Leone and South Africa who are celebrating their national day today.

... 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.


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 "Time Flies" by Christina Rossetti:

"Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life." (Prov. xiii. 12.)

We feel or fancy ourselves quite at home in the first clause of this proverb, whether or not we have deeply and keenly experienced the heart sickness of which it speaks.

But how about the second clause?

Left to myself, I at any rate might never have caught its most blessed meaning. But one from whose words I ought to have imbibed much wisdom, and from whose example many virtues, once pointed out the cross of Christ crucified as that tree of life which satisfied the world's heartsick hope.

And if it suffices to slake a world's desire, whose desire sufficeth it not to slake?

Even as the Lord hath said, "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."


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.


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