Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday in Easter 6: We must begin with prayer

Opening Sentence
You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witness in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

Commemoration: Florence Nightingale
Life-giving God, who alone have power over life and death, over health and sickness: Give power, wisdom, and gentleness to those who follow the lead of your servant Florence Nightingale, that they, bearing with them your presence, may not only heal but bless, and shine as lanterns of hope in the darkest hours of pain and fear; through Jesus Christ, the healer of body and soul, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 85, 86

Lessons: 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Ephesians 2:1-10, Matthew 7:22-27

The Trinity is nigh unto all things, and yet not all things are nigh unto It. Only with holy prayers and pure minds and with souls prepared for union with the Godhead do we come nigh to It; for It is not in space, so as to be absent from any spot, or to move from one position to another, and to speak of It as omnipresent does not express this all-transcendent and all-embracing infinitude. But let us press on in prayer, always thirsting for the divine benignant rays.

As if a luminous chain hung suspended from the heights of heaven and reached down to this world below, and we by seizing it, first with one hand, then with the other, seemed to be pulling it down, but in very truth instead of pulling it down, we found ourselves carried upward to the higher splendors of the shining rays.

Or as if we were on a ship, clinging to the ropes which bound the ship to some rocks, and we were pulling on the ropes, but we would not be drawing the rocks toward the ship, but in very truth we would be pulling the vessel close to the rocks.

Or as if we were standing on a ship pushing away the rock on shore, but we would not be affecting the immovable rock, for in very truth we would be separating ourselves from it; and the more we push it, the more we would be warding it off.

So it is, before every endeavor and especially those endeavors which concern divinity, we must begin with prayer: not to pull down to ourselves what is nigh both everywhere and nowhere, but to commend and unite ourselves to God by these invocations and remembrances.

Dionysius the Areopagite
De divinis Nominbus, III

My Hope is Built