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Friday, July 25, 2008

John Betjeman

The domed interior swallows up the day.
Here, where to light a candle is to pray,
The candle flame shows up the almond eyes
Of local saints who view with no surprise
Their martyrdoms depicted upon walls
On which the filtered daylight faintly falls.
The flame shows up the cracked paint -- sea-green blue
And red and gold, with grained wood showing through --
Of much kissed ikons, dating from, perhaps,
The fourteenth century ...
Thus vigorously does the old tree grow,
By persecution pruned, watered with blood,
Its living roots deep in pre-Christian mud.
It needs no bureaucratical protection.
It is its own perpetual resurrection.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Prayers for our Enemies

Thou who didst pray for them that crucified thee, O Lord, Lover of the souls of men, and who didst command thy servants to pray for their enemies, forgive those who hate and maltreat us, and turn our lives from all harm and evil to brotherly love and good works: for this we humbly bring our prayer, that with one accord and one heart we may glorify thee who alone lovest mankind.

As thy first martyr Stephen prayed to thee for his murderers, O Lord, so we fall before thee and pray: forgive all who hate and maltreat us and let not one of them perish because of us, but all be saved by thy grace, O God the all-bountiful.

St John Chrysostom

He who is seated upon the cherubim washed the traitor's feet, and do you, O man, who are but earth and ashes, and cinders, and dust, magnify yourself and act arrogantly?