Does Jesus live in you?

I found myself asking that question repeatedly during this past week.  How does Jesus presence show itself in my life?

That’s what it means to be a Christian, isn’t it?  That Jesus, somehow, takes life in our lives?

I use, in my personal prayer life, The Saint Helena Breviary.  A breviary is simply a book of offices, in this case Matins, Diurnum, Vespers and Compline (- in English that’s just Morning Prayer, Noon Day Prayer, Evening Prayer and End of Day Prayer).  The Order of St. Helena is named after the Emperor Constantine’s mother, Helena, who is supposed to have found a remnant of the cross Jesus died on during excavations she oversaw in Jerusalem.

She built a shrine with two principal buildings where the Church of the Holy Sepulcher now stands.  It consisted of a large basilica used for the Liturgy of the Word, and a circular church known as “The Resurrection” with its altar placed on the supposed site of Jesus’ tomb.  In the courtyard connecting these two buildings, to one side, you can see the Hill of Calvary.  The shrine was dedicated on September 14, 335.  Since then, September 14, yesterday, has been know as Holy Cross Day.

As you might imagine, Holy Cross Day is a big deal (more…)

I looked up the information for celebrating the office today with the St. Helena Breviary.  It was listed as a feria (a day without special observance).  But I wanted to remember those who have died over the years for our country — to celebrate Memorial Day.  It looked like I had two options for that.  I could celebrate this as a National Day (which it is).  Or I could celebrate it as an office for the Departed.  I choose the second option (recognizing that this might not fully fall within the intent) and ended up glad that I did.  The first reading for Matins was the “dry bones” reading, where the prophet (perhaps even literally) stands among the scattered, desiccated bones of an old battlefield.  Can these bones live?  It seemed somehow appropriate for veterans.  And although the focus of the office was new life in Christ, that didn’t seem inappropriate to me — even for those who died who were not Christian.  I do want to honor their beliefs.  But at the same time, I’m sure of God’s love for them, and God’s desire to bring them home.  So thank you, veterans, whatever your religious beliefs.  I trust that God has seen you home, and I wish you fulness of life.

I have a strong sense of Advent from a year ago.  It was a time of real renewal for me.  Part of that was from being able to participate in the Benedictine Weekend Retreat at the Bishop’s Ranch in Healdsburg (which I would love to be able to do regularly).  Part of that was beginning to get immersed in the monastic version of the St. Helena Breviary.  I haven’t been able to maintain that level of immersion, but I think that’s still really feeding my spiritual life.  Much of it was sheer grace – simply a gift.

On the other hand, I have very little sense of Christmas from a year ago. (more…)

So, catching up on several personal bits:

First, it looks like my daughter Audrey’s Crohn’s Disease may be stabilizing.  She will have to live with it for all of her life.  And she’s started some heavy-duty treatment (that could have serious side effects).  But it’s not been 2 1/2 weeks since she’s had to go to the ER.  And it seems like she’s starting to have a life again.  I am very thankful.

Second, my recovery from gastric bypass surgery is proceeding.  Now that my passage out of my new stomach has been enlarged by scoping, and I’m being treated for ulceration found during the scoping, I seem to have finally stopped with the random throwing up that was happening.  I’m eating solid foods, including proteins.  And I feel like I’m back on track.

Third, I’m progressing with my use of Matins and Vespers from the Order of St. Helena Breviary.  It’s well on its way to developing as a routine.  My main problem seems to be missing the first Vespers for first class feasts (I forget to check out upcoming feasts until the morning of the feast).  I’m also waiting with anticipation for my copy of “Holy Men, Holy Women” (the new expansion of our calendar which replaces “Lesser Feasts and Fasts”) to arrive and find out who some of these new people are.

I preached a homily at the celebration remembering the life of Bruce Buel, the  brother of one of our active parishioners, this afternoon.  This is it: 

I never met Bruce. Cathy talked about him, and how much his presence meant in her life. And how she misses him, now that he’s gone. And the fact that he was afraid to die. And how much that troubled her. But I never met Bruce. I did not have that privilege. (more…)

So, for those of you who are interested in the Daily Office, here’s how things are going for me. (more…)

Well, for a bit over a week, I’ve been using all for offices in the St. Helena Breviary.  And it’s been good.  I’ve even been supplementing beyond this a bit.  I’ve appreciated the sense of continuity.  But, as of yesterday, I’m looking at yet another change.  I finally ordered the monastic (as opposed to personal) edition of the breviary.  And it came yesterday.  So, as of yesterday, I’ve been trying to use the monastic edition. (more…)