Saturday, 30 June 2012

Octave of Peter and Paul - Day 2 - I do not know the Man

2 Corinthians 12

'I was given a thorn in my flesh,' 

There is much speculation about Paul's 'thorn' - this is my interpretation - today

I know who I am; although who I am is not who I was and is not what I will be. 

That makes me sound intelligent, I know. I am, indeed,  intelligent; an educated man - languages, law, travel, scripture, a man of letters - and now -  a man of Letters. Writing to tiny jewels of faith, communities of saints, sanctuaries of hope. Telling them of my faith, my hope - in Him.

The Him I met on a dusty road; knocked, for the first time but not the last, from my high and mighty seating. Disarmed from all my justification by the simple question 'Why?'. A 'Why' that echoed through the universe until it vibrated through the skin of my existence; becoming the very heartbeat of my soul; the murmur of my breath; the throb of my pulse. 

Is that my 'thorn'? Ah, that it was; there is a satisfaction in the admission of guilt; in the knowing that what follows is forgiveness.

But no; for my thorn I look to Peter; though I do not blame him. But Peter has what I do not and for that I feel the prick of envy, the spike of resentment.

Peter has Jesus.

Peter's roads were filled with the dust from his feet; the song of his voice; the comfort of his arm. Peter's own home was filled with the sound of his storytelling; the delight of his laughter; the mystery of his dreams. Peter's boat was filled with his landlubber's awkwardness; his hands at the net; his snores on the passage. 

Peter knows the man.

I do not know the man. 

I know the Christ; the God that Peter finds so discomforting; who is my comfort. I know the Christ that turned my heart and my head to his will. The Christ that threw the stars into space; who set the tides and the shoals to swim the depths; who lights the heavens so brightly that the darkness flees in utter terror. I know the Christ that loves me.

I know the Christ that loves me.

I want to know the man.


Octave of Peter and Paul - I do not know the Man

Day 1

Matthew 26:74
'I do not know the man'

I know who I am. Or rather I thought I did. A simple man, even by my own admission: and proud to be. I know what I need to know; the stars, the wind, the sails, the nets. I can smell a storm and be in the tavern before the first drop of rain; I can look at cloud shadows on the waves and find the shoals hidden in deep water. I know the price of fish…

But I don’t know the man.

I’m no Temple man; my brother is the one for that: knows his letters and his Scripture; prays enough for the both of us. Has to… the fish don’t keep the Sabbath; feeding the family is my job, my living. I know what I am good at.

But I don’t know the man.

And I still don’t know what happened, when Andrew brought him to the quay, when he took my hand and called me to him. I’m not one for the road, for the desert. Not one for crowds, for teaching, for preaching, for caring for the sick, for caring for anyone outside my family and my crew. I was so sure I’d be making my way home after a few days, with a tale to tell and a yearning for the open water.

Yet there I was sitting by the dying embers of a brushwood fire, watching his hands and his eyes like a moonstruck girl as he talked about his hopes, his plans and his mission. Listening as he told me that I was part of the plan; that I was a ‘rock’ and not just because I was heavy and slow. Because there would be others who would depend on me as much as I had depended on him. Recalling the times I had blundered through miracles, spoken nonsense, known nothing; thinking he must really not know me at all. And yet, more than anything I wanted to be that person he saw; to fulfil that destiny he foretold; to be all he wanted me to be. And I promised myself that despite all my clumsiness, arrogance and ignorance I would not give up, I would not go back.

I don’t know the man, may never know him; but I love him and I believe in him.


Thursday, 28 June 2012

Feast of St Irenaeus

“The glory of God is a human being fully alive; 
and to be alive consists in beholding God.” 
                                            ― Saint Irenaeus

Not of this World

The Matrix woke me up
Kingdom deceiver
Asking me the question
Red or blue?
Of this world, or not?

I chose – red
I chose – not

To cling to imaginary lives
Digitally created
In plasma
But not blood.

To be an avatar
Living out on the broadband
Virtually but not quite

To be a Warhol exhibit
Fifteen minutes in eternity
Is not for me
I have other plans

I choose not.


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

The blessing of Peter and Paul

The blessing of Peter and Paul

May your ego be upended by the hand of the Lord 
May your certainties be silenced by his Word
May ambition become desire to be Servant of all
May your life become aflame with his Love

In Jesus' name


Friday, 22 June 2012

Woman's Prayer - Redeemed

Lord, God of my life
I walk in your footprints
A follower, head bowed
Freed from my demons
I am nothing but yours
I am not worthy

You come to stillness
And say my name
I lift my eyes to yours
A look of invitation
Love’s companion
You take me in your arms
Mercy wrapped in Mercy
And I rest
Clothed in You


Thursday, 21 June 2012

Woman's Prayer -Thankful

Lord, God of my life
I sit at your feet, head bowed
I have given all I have
My treasure and my tears
Tongue-tied with sorrow
For I know I am not worthy

Your hand in my hair
Your words redeem me
I lift my eyes to yours
Thanks, echoed with thanks
Love with Divine Love
You take me in your arms
Mercy wrapped in Mercy
And I rest
Clothed in You

Blessed be


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Woman's Prayer - Accused

Lord, God of my life
I stand before you, head bowed
Naked and ashamed
Bound in my sadness
For I know that
I am not worthy.

Your gaze is upon me
Your hand touches my cheek
And lifts my eyes to yours
Eyes offering forgiveness
Mouth smiling Love
You take me in your arms
Mercy wrapped in Mercy
And I rest
Clothed in You

           Blessed be


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Night Blessing - Reflection on Psalm 131

This Night

My Lord, the world's favour cannot tempt me
This night I seek only your Sanctuary 

My heart like a dove held in your hands
My spirit an infant against its mother's breast 
My soul's breath a lullaby of solace 

This night, my Love, there is only You



Saturday, 16 June 2012

Saturday - Blessing of Archangel Barachiel

Angel - Bar Convent Chapel
To end the sequence we have Barachiel. Saturday in Heaven does not sound like a day of rest as Barachiel cares for it under two titles - Lightning of God - and - Blessing of God. His symbols are rose petals and a basket of bread- images of generosity and affection - although this is probably why he is so busy.

He has three distinct roles in tradition. Barachiel's first responsibility is as chief of all the guardian angels ; whether this simply involves matching them up with their human wards or if guardian angels ever require training or discipline is not mentioned, perhaps just the odd word now and again.

Barachiel is also the patron of Confessors, giving them a compassionate ear, a discerning heart and words of encouragement. Another of his symbols is the Book of Wisdom so able to give godly and practical advice.  He then stands before God offering the contrite hearts for blessings and grace.

Barachiel is also the patron of married couples especially those seeking children or troubled marriages.

He brings a sense of balance,hope, blessings and reconciliation to humanity. Not at all unwelcome at the end of the week.

Blessing of Archangel Barachiel

Blessing of God
Bless our lives 

Lightning of God 
Enlighten our Hearts

May we be guarded 
as precious jewels 
in the crown of the Servant King

May we guard others 
knowing they reflect 
the face of the Living Lord

May we be forgiven
as the woman was forgiven
by the acceptance of God's Family

May we forgive
as we are forgiven 
by the blessing of our merciful Father

May we find peace 
in the arms of angels
settled around a throne of welcome

May we give peace
as though we were angels
Messengers of God's Holy Spirit 

In Jesus' name


Friday, 15 June 2012

Friday - Blessing of Archangel Jegudiel

If you are one of those with good intentions but who gets easily distracted Jegudiel, meaning the 'laudation of God' would be the archangel to invite on your next retreat or pilgrimage. 

If you are seriously intending to achieve a growth in faith you may be lucky enough to encounter a Road to Damascus moment but more likely it will be a combination of desire and sheer hard, prayerful work.  Jegudiel is the patron of spiritual endeavour and working towards the Glory of God.

He has two notable symbols - a whip - to encourage, hopefully. And held in his hand, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, particularly appropriate this Friday on the feast of the Sacred Heart.

Blessing of Archangel Jegudiel

Place my sandals upon my feet 
and send me forward
even on the paths I do not choose

Place my staff into my hand 
and mark the waylines
and boundaries that need to be crossed

Place my satchel upon my back
filled with food for the spirit
words of wisdom; Word of God

Place my hat upon my head
and shield my eyes
against the rain of distraction and doubt

Place my hand upon my heart
and take my pledge 
To follow the Heart that burns with Love

in Jesus' name 


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Thursday - Blessing of Archangel Sealtiel

The thurible angel
 - All Saints, York
The blessing of Sealtiel - Prayer of God - is a blessing that particularly surrounds prayer and the celebration of the Eucharist; Sealtiel is said to stand over the incense burner in times of adoration and direct the prayerful smoke towards the Holy Trinity.

He is one of the archangels said to support the arms of the priest as he celebrates the Eucharist; lending the strength of Heaven to the devotion of humanity. 

Sealtiel is also the patron of prayer - particularly difficulties in prayers such as distractions, coldness, or feelings of apathy. 

When Julian of Norwich said  “Pray inwardly, even though you find no joy in it. For it does good, though you feel nothing, see nothing, yes, even though you think you cannot pray.” - she may well have been inspired by Sealtiel.  

Blessing of Archangel Sealtiel

Archangel of prayerful contemplation 
Shield me with your wings
from the crowded bustle of life 
Bring me to sacred stillness
To a temple deep within 

Make a well of peace around my heart 
bringing me to silence 
 a place of sanctuary where
I watch for the bridegroom's lantern
For a glimpse of heaven's face

Let the whispers of aromatic praise
free me from the gravity of earth
Let me soar with the angels 
Speaking words never uttered
Singing unwritten harmonies

In the light of a glazed sunrise 
may I walk untrodden paths
through labyrinths of peace
leaving no footprints 
on polished floors of cedar

May I know my God
and hold my unknowing 
In open hands of prayer
In Jesus' name


Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Wednesday - Blessing of Archangel Uriel

Another Place -Liverpool Sands

The meaning of Uriel - 'God is my Light'-  is sometimes confused with Lucifer's title 'Light of God'. Which may have been part of the reason Pope St Zachary removed him from the list of angels deserving of reverence. As with the other archangels,  Uriel makes no claims for himself - he reflects God's presence as the archangel of redemption, wisdom and spiritual courage.

Uriel is said to be a steward of the earth; watching over the creative life forces within our world and turning the seasons from one to the other. 

He is a watchful angel with  a fondness for God's Chosen ever since he guarded the blood-marked lintels of the Israelites from the Angel of Death and protectively brought Elizabeth and John the Baptist to live with the Holy Family in Egypt to escape the slaughter of the innocents.

Uriel joins with your guardian angel in the Sacrament of Confirmation opening the path to the gifts of the Spirit which move us into our adult faith. He nurtures all gifts and talents with creative and inspirational energies. His symbol is a flaming sword bringing a bright truth to confusion and conflict. 

Blessing of Archangel Uriel

Archangel of wonder
You bring the light of God’s presence
To shine on Creation.
Let me see the power of the Father
In mighty mountains and deep oceans
Let me see the love of Christ
In the growing fields of life
Let me see the gifts of the Spirit
In the harvests of the heart
In a world that hides from itself
Let my eyes be a witness
To the beauty in all things.
In Jesus' name 



Monday, 11 June 2012

Tuesday - Blessing of Archangel Raphael

 Raphael means  'God has healed' and whilst not named, he is considered the Angel of the Lord that descends into the pool at Bethsaida healing those who are dipped under the water. After Michael's wrestling match with Jacob, Raphael is said to be the angel that healed Jacob's dislocated hip.

Not surprisingly then, he is the partron of healing and healing knowledge. His healing covers both human and environmental ills and it is said that he gave the building plans of the Ark to Noah.

Raphael has a particular gift for overcoming demons which has led to him being a particular patron of people struggling with addiction and those with mental illness.

Prayer to Archangel Raphael

Archangel of  healing
Guard me in the shadows 
And lift me from the claws of darkness
Bring me to the pool of eternal Love
Let the waters wash over my weariness
As the sun's rays reach into the deep
Let grace fill my being 
As the wind fills the seeking sails
Let the Spirit bring me home 
As the dove finds its resting place
Let my heart find rest 
in the Father's arms
In Jesus' name



Sunday, 10 June 2012

Monday - Blessing of Archangel Gabriel

Catholic Shrine at Walsingham

Archangel Gabriel is the only archangel to be portrayed as a woman - although it is assumed that angels don't have a gender. Perhaps it is her involvement in the miracle of the Nativity that suggests a certain midwifely-ness about her. 

The link to the birth of Jesus begins many years before when Gabriel speaks to Daniel of the prophecy of the Christ who is to come. She tells Zachary of the importance of the birth of John the Baptist.

Her most important visitations were, of course, to Mary, Joseph and leading the celestial choirs to call on the shepherds. It is also said that she is the angel who shared Jesus' last moments in the Garden of Gethsemane. 

She is the Archangel of Incarnation and Consolation; she is a teacher and speaker of Truth. 

Gabriel and Michael are said to be responsible for the gathering of souls on the Last Day when they will stand for judgement and mercy - there are disagreements which is which - perhaps, by then, they will be in collaboration. 

Gabriel is said to be the Archangel who dictated the Qur'an to Mohammad over a 23 year period. She is the patron of Communications; particularly long awaited news, inspired revelation or matters requiring diplomacy - probably much needed on a Monday.

Archangel Gabriel

Powerful Archangel
Bearer of truth
Messenger of God
In the chaos that surrounds me
Help me to see the Father’s hand
In the darkest of places
Bring the hope of Christ’s guiding light
In the roaring storms of life
Let the Spirit bring moments of peace
So the message of God’s Love
Lives within my heart
This day and every day.
In Jesus' name


Sunday - Blessing of Archangel Michael

Possibly the best known of the Archangels  -  Michael is devoted to the People of God. He was given responsibility for the Chosen people from the day the gates of Eden were closed. He is said to be the one who parted the Red Sea to lead the Isrealites to safety. It was also Michael who stopped Abraham from killing Isaac and who wrestled with Jacob. He stands guard over the tombs of Moses and Eve - two particular souls that the devil would like to claim.

His name means 'who is like God' and is more to be heard as a question than a statement - considered the mightiest of the angelic princes; Michael is the humblest - knowing that he is in no way 'like God'. 

This humility and integrity has made Michael the patron of knights and many branches of the armed forces including paratroopers. What may be surprising is that he also is the guardian of the injured and dead of the battlefield and the healers of war. It is under Michael's wings that we make our way to Heaven.

 Archangel Michael

Archangel Michael
Warrior Prince
Right arm of God
Be at my side this day
A shieldman and defender
Teach me, through humility 
To be a deliverer of mercy 
Show me the right path
Keep me from all harm
Guide me in truth
in Jesus' name



Saturday, 9 June 2012

Blessing of Archangels

Choirs of Angels at All Saints, York

The Bible holds a tradition for certain numbers. 

Seven is one of those which is repeated throughout Scripture as a sacred number, a number of completeness. 

Recently I blogged Blessings for the days of Creation - one of the most well-known sevens. 

To compliment them - here is a series of Blessings calling on the seven archangels first mentioned in the Book of Enoch; there are a number of names given to the seven who 'stand before the throne of God' and a variety of tradtions surround them - quite rightly - who can know everything about angels or  archangels at that? 

The Catholic Church names only three by tradition but the Eastern Orthodox Church both names them and gives them days of the week to take care of, so I will use those and if heaven is with with me the Blessings will come- 

St Michael (Sunday), St Gabriel (Monday), St Raphael(Tuesday), St Uriel (Wednesday), St Sealtiel (Thursday), St Jegudiel, (Friday), and St Barachiel (Saturday).

-there are traditions that say that some of these are part of the fallen. I would rather give them the benefit of the doubt and bless always in the gracefull-ness of the Sacred Three. 

To begin, here is an older blessing of the four well-known Archangels

Circle of Protection
I call on the mercy of the
Sacred Three
To send circles of angels
To protect me.
And the mighty Archangels
To stand over me
To shield me with their wings.
To the North, stand Michael, Prince and Warrior
To the South, stand Gabriel, Speaker of Truth
To the West, stand Raphael, Healer and Defender
To the East, stand Uriel, Lightbearer.
May they be comrades in arms
Guardians of faith
Beacons against the darkness
Sentinels of God's Love

in Jesus' name