O GOD, who hast prepared for those who love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.-Collect appointed for the Sixth Sunday after Trinity
The Lord has prepared good things for those that love Him, as has been made evident in this past year. May 4th, 2009, in the midst of a personal spiritual breaking point, I first began praying the Morning and Evening Offices. I attended my first Anglican Mass the Wednesday before Whitsunday, 2009. In July of the same year–in the season of Trinity–I attended the Anglican Way Institute (Anglicon) in Plano, Texas. While in Texas I met Nicole, whom less than a year later, became my wife.
This Trinity season marks a year of Incredible change in my life. It marks the completion of a year-long commitment to living a monastic lifestyle. Becoming a monk might not be practical for many of you, and neither was it for me. I didn’t take formal Holy Orders, but I was intentional about where I lived, and the role the local parish would have in this lifestyle. This commitment fostered not just change, but a rich fullness that I hadn’t experienced in quite a while. Coming home to the Church “Ancient” and meeting my wife were the bricks of last year. Everything else was mortar, leaving not even enough room between brick and mortar to slide a sheet of paper through. Our parish priest asked if this past year has felt like a year (observing that time often flies by when we are busy). I can answer without pause “yes”, the previous 365 days I have lived slowly in the present.
Some of the aforementioned mortar is composed of my quest to reclaim my education. This has been a tedious endeavor, breeding patience despite my impatience. God has blessed Nicole and I with a complete set of the Great Books of the Western World. We have begun to read the set, starting with the first volume The Great Conversation by Robert Hutchins. This, companioned with Mortimer Adler’s How to Read a Book, is proving to be a great start to the Great Books. More on self-education as time goes by.
I want to finish up this post by saying the greatest investment I have made this past year has been the implementation of a structure or rule of life that is found in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. Allowing the liturgies of Western Christianity to permeate my being and placing myself under the spiritual authority of the Church (by way of a parish priest) have been monumental in growing towards my deification. We as humans–and maybe more so as American humans–have no desire to be ruled. Ironically, we are slaves, no mater the master (sin or God).
So much of my world has become new. My brain is still masticating all this newness. In the midst of such grand adventure, I have found sanctuary in the “old” or “ancient.”
Maybe this sanctuary has found me.
Grant unto me, my Lord, that with peace in mind I may face all that this new day is to bring. Grant unto me grace to surrender myself completely to Thy holy will. Instruct and prepare me in all things for every hour of this day. Whatsoever tidings I may receive during the day, do Thou teach me to accept them calmly, in the firm conviction that all eventualities fulfill Thy holy will. Govern Thou my thoughts and feelings in all I do and say. When things unforeseen occur, let me not forget that all cometh down from Thee. Teach me to behave sincerely and reasonable toward every member of my family and all other human beings, that I may not cause confusion and sorrow to anyone. Bestow upon me, my Lord, strength to endure the fatigue of the day and to bear my share in all its passing events. Guide Thou my will and teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to suffer, to forgive, and to love. Amen. -portion from Orthodox morning prayer
“…we can trust this God who is love, because He is changeless in His loving, and His entire will is engaged in love. God cannot be a tyrant because true love is not tyrannical. To deny this one true God is to deny love and to embrace hate as a way of life. Sin is mankind’s choice of hate over love, an imitation of that other fallen creature, the Devil.”
“The only cure for hate is to replace hate with love. This replacement is the work of God in the world since the fall of man into hate and sin. The perfect love and obedience of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, is the undoing of the Fall.”
– An Outline Of An Anglican Life, Dr. Louis R. Tarsitano
I have accrued a reading list within the past two months. Yes this list is in order. Yes I am intimidated by City Of God.
-I Believe, Alister McGrath
-An Outline Of An Anglican Life, Louis R. Tarsitano
-A Rationale Upon the Book Of Common Prayer, Anthony Sparrow (online)
-Evangelical Is Not Enough, Thomas Howard
-Genuine Godliness and True Piety, Peter Toon.
-English Spirituality, Martin Thorton.
-Recalling the Hope of Glory, Dr. Allen Ross.
-A House For My Name, Peter Leithart.
-Confessions, Saint Augustine
-City Of God, Saint Augustine
Also, if you would like a concise taste of Lent:
Drowned In Living Waters , Nicole de Martimprey.
Hear, Lord, my prayer; let not my soul faint under Thy discipline, nor let me faint in confessing unto Thee all Thy mercies, whereby Thou hast drawn me out of all my most evil ways, that Thou mightest become a delight to me above all the allurements which I once pursued; that I may most entirely love Thee, and clasp Thy hand with all my affections, and Thou mayest yet rescue me from every temptation, even unto the end.
–Confessions, Saint Augustine
It has been said that God’s “glory” is the organized space around His throne, a picture of which we have in the scriptures. The Church’s liturgy is modeled after the ebb and flow of worship there, a place that is not merely a holy vapor, but rather has definition.
I have just returned from a two-week trip to Dallas, Texas. More on that soon. For now, I welcome you to this nearly new forum. If nothing else, it will be a deposit for my thoughts as I venture forward with — as a dear friend of mine has put it — an excitement for “the Church and the Sacraments in a new way,” and an excitement “about our God in a revived way.”