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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Collect for the Society of Jesus Compassionate

Almighty and ever-living God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to bring compassion to those who are far off, and to those who are near: Raise up the Society of Jesus Compassionate to share your compassion with those we meet on the journey; prosperous us with your blessing, and inspire us to open our hearts and minds by the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, that through our words and actions, your Holy Spirit may empower us to share your healing grace as Christ's presence in the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever. AMEN.

We collaborated on designing this collect for use in the Daily Office.  I wanted to bring in the feel of the Collect for Mission found in The Book of Common Prayer, hence the "far off and near" bit.  I also shamelessly borrowed, "prosperous us with your blessing," from the collect of the Community of the Resurrection (CR).  As most know, collect writing follows a rather particular set of rules in order to design and structure the prayer.  I, for one, feel it will serve as a daily reminder of our vows and our common task. 

Additionally, we are hashing out the particulars for the Society's seal which one can see a draft above.  The idea was to deconstruct the shield of The Episcopal Church by implementing St. Andrew's cross with four crosslets to signify the four founders.  The Sacred Heart image is going to be tweaked a bit.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

New Foundations: the Society of Jesus Compassionate

It was a long and storied road that brought together four men in Washington, DC for the Feast of St. Columba.  Following much discernment and prayer, these four professed vows during a simple eucharist in order to establish the Society of Jesus Compassionate (SJC).  Our rule is simple.  Our vows were simple.  We vowed to one another and to the Episcopal Church--to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of her.  Nothing fussy, nothing overly romantic, simply four brothers promising to one another to be in community with Christ as the center.  We are one priest and three lay brothers.    

It was a long process for me to consider this new enterprise; I fully stand in support of those seeking to live the common life in Christ under vows.  Moreover, I appreciate the genuine love and intentionality of my new SJC brothers.  Our new habits will be unveiled when we gather for our winter retreat in Augusta, Georgia.  Already, we have received many prayers and supporters from within the Church. 

I ask your prayers for us as we journey together towards Emmaus.  We live in Atlanta, Baltimore, Richmond, and Washington, DC.  We are aware of the challenges posed by a dispersed community, but feel a deeper bond by our common experience in Christ.  What joy!  What an amazing journey.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ode to the Hill: An Appreciation

Ode to the Hill: An Appreciation

There buried within the brown-red bricks lies stories of old,
Boys sojourning to the light with youthful bravado bold,
Ne’er to be forgotten with haste most go,
Nestling within their pencil’d minds whilst they sow.

Inside these storied halls rooted upon hallowed grounds,
Lies a simple truth that mystic time resounds,
That as boys grow to become men,
The plight whose soul revolves over and again.

Always shall the kiln'd clay stand to test,
What most young fear when pressed:
That knowledge boasts an eternal bliss,
Rightly favored by fortune’s sweetly kiss.

Friday, March 9, 2012

"This Too Shall Pass," but will it?

According to the scholarly source, Wikipedia, that oft quoted phrase, "this too shall pass," apparently comes from Persian Sufisim.  There is a poem by which a fabled king is humbled by these simple words.  Another Sufi version has this proverb inscribed on a ring which gives the wearer the ability to make the happy man sad and vice versa.  Interesting, I admit.  What power does this ancient phrase hold today?

I recently found myself giving this phrase to a co-worker during one of those brief coffee-pot conversations.  It appears fairly innocuous on the surface, like cocktail wisdom when one needs a quick word of re-assurance.  But again, I ask the question:  does this actually mean anything today?

"And this too shall pass."

When I consider the roller coaster that I have been riding non-stop for several years, it strikes me as almost callous and the power to yield an unintended effect of negativity.  I seriously doubt that most who employ this phrase have that intention; moreover, it is such an easy expression to use that its efficacy appears muddled at best.

"Yes, this too shall pass."

I am guilty of longing to achieve my goals at the expense of neglecting the journey to get there.  Sadly, I have missed out on so much in life with that narrow approach.  Wishing an experience to simply pass on, I believe, misses the point regardless if the event(s) are positive or negatively impacting the sojourner.  As I continue to live what I feel is a "tent-maker" sort of life, I am learning to accept that the here-and-now gives me time to inwardly digest the thing at hand.  Unfortunately, there has been more bad than good.  One can only be beaten down so much until lethargy creeps in.  I fight that fight daily.  Wishing things to pass is too easy, truly wishful thinking.  The more I accept and own, the less difficult the things at hand become.

"All good things must come to an end.  And the only certainty is death and taxes."

Perhaps.  Perhaps the life we are called to live is one being filled with the moments of the journey, rather than the rush to our destination.  I will always cringe when I hear fellow Christians say, "we live to go to heaven," and other such nonsense.  As if our lives spent here is some sort of waiting room for a better life ahead.  Bullocks!  If this were true, Christ's eventual triumphant return would be sooner rather than later.  Certainty can be fleeting, and perhaps that is what we really mean to say.