The “Called to be Catholic” Novena: Day 1 – Friday 6th May

Day 1 with John Macquarrie


V/. O God, make speed to save us.
R/. O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

Novena -Day 1 imageIn ordinary usage, we seem to talk of presence in three main ways. First, there is temporal presence, or presence now. This kind of presence is opposed both to the past, which is no longer, and to the future, which is not yet. The presence of a pain, for instance, means that I am feeling it now, though perhaps I was not feeling it yesterday and will not be feeling it tomorrow. Next, there is spatial or local presence. This is presence here, as opposed to distance. That which is locally or spatially present is near me or beside me. The presence of butterflies in my garden means that they are congregated in this spot. Thirdly, there is personal presence. When one person is present to another, there is more than their congruity in space. Latin has a special preposition to express the notion of personal presence: coram. To be coram vobis is to be in your presence; to be coram Deo is to be in the presence of God… Christ is present par excellence in the consecrated bread and wine. This is the centre of Eucharistic presence… But what about the reservation of the sacrament in churches, as a focus of devotion, a centre of real presence? I would venture to say that these devotions have a special place at the present time, namely, that they teach us that sometimes there is the need for passivity before God. Here one has to stand against the trend of the times and not conform to the fashion. That fashion is activism, but there are occasions when our action has to be suspended before Christ. Activists are in constant danger of becoming too intense, too politicised, too polarised, too self-righteous. I hope it does not sound frivolous to say: ‘Relax a little in the presence of Christ!’

John Macquarrie (1919 – 2007) Paths in Spirituality
Anglican theologian and philosopher

Silent Reflection

Note: The number according to Coverdale’s psalter is given first, with the Breviary numbering in (brackets).

Psalm 127 (126)

Except the Lord build the house, * their labour is but lost that build it.
Except the Lord keep the city, * the watchman waketh but in vain.
It is but lost labour that ye haste to rise up early, and so late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness; * for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Lo, children, and the fruit of the womb, * are an heritage and gift that cometh of the LORD.
Like as the arrows in the hand of the giant, * even so are the young children.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; * they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son:* and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be:* world without end. Amen.

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 them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

O Blessed Jesu Christ,
who didst bid all who carry heavy burdens to come to thee,
refresh us with thy presence and thy power.
Quiet our understandings and give ease to our hearts,
by bringing us close to things infinite and eternal.
Open to us the mind of God, that in his light we may see light.
And crown thy choice of us to be thy servants,
by making us springs of strength and joy to all whom we serve.
Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Evelyn Underhill (1875 – 1941)
English retreat conductor and writer on Christian mysticism
and spiritual practice in the Anglo-Catholic tradition.

May the souls of the faithful, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen
May the Lord bless us, may he keep us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.

Image: The Ascension, in a Book of Offices and Prayers, decorated in England 1405. British Library

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