While you sleep, others still pray

The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended,
The darkness falls at Thy behest;
To Thee our morning hymns ascended,
Thy praise shall hallow now our rest.

We thank Thee that Thy Church unsleeping,
While earth rolls onward into light,
Through all the world her watch is keeping,
And rests not now by day or night.

As o’er each continent and island
The dawn leads on another day,
The voice of prayer is never silent,
Nor dies the strain of praise away.

The sun, that bids us rest, is waking
Our brethren ‘neath the western sky,
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
Thy wondrous doings heard on high.

So be it, Lord; Thy throne shall never,
Like earth’s proud empires, pass away:
But stand, and rule, and grow for ever,
Till all Thy creatures own Thy sway.

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Fear not little flock

Why should cross and trial grieve me?
Need I fear, Christ is near
Never will he leave me.
Who can rob me of the Heaven;
That God’s son for my own;
To my faith has given?

Thou a heavy cross I’m bearing;
And my heart feels the share,
shall I be despairing?
God, my Helper, who doth send it,
well doth know all my woe,
And how best to end it.

God oft gives me days of gladness,
Shall I grieve if he gives seasons too of sadness?
God is good, and tempers ever.
All my ill, and He will wholly leave me never.

(Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676)

I sing this to my boy at bedtime

Fairest Lord Jesus
King of creation,
Son of God and Mary’s Son:
Thee will I cherish,
Thee will I honour,
Thee are my soul’s delight and crown.

Fair are the meadows
Fair are the woodlands,
In the garb of verdant spring.
Jesus is fairer,
Jesus is purer,
He makes the saddest heart to sing.

Fair is the sunshine,
Fair is the moonlight,
Bright the stars that gem the sky:
Jesus shines brighter,
Jesus shines purer,
Than all the hosts of God on high.

Fairest Lord Jesus,
King of creation,
Son of God and Mary’s Son:
Glory and honour,
Praise, adoration,
Ever be Thing, and
Thine alone.

A hymn to accompany you in your day’s work

Forth in your name, O Lord, I go,
my daily labour to pursue,
you, Lord, alone resolved to know,
in all I think, or speak, or do.

Each task your wisdom has assigned
still let me cheerfully fulfil,
in all my works your presence find,
and prove your good and perfect will.

You may I set at my right hand,
whose eyes my inmost substance view,
and labour on at your command,
and offer all my works to you.

Give me to bear your easy yoke,
and every moment watch and pray,
and still to things eternal look,
and hasten to your glorious day;

for you delightfully employ
all that your bounteous grace has given,
and run my course with even joy
and closely walk with you to heaven.

(TIS 571)

Forgiveness and fathers

How do we forgive our Fathers?
Maybe in a dream
Do we forgive our Fathers for leaving us too often or forever
when we were little?

Maybe for scaring us with unexpected rage
or making us nervous
because there never seemed to be any rage there at all.

Do we forgive our Fathers for marrying or not marrying our Mothers?
For Divorcing or not divorcing our Mothers?

And shall we forgive them for their excesses of warmth or coldness?
Shall we forgive them for pushing or leaning
for shutting doors
for speaking through walls
or never speaking
or never being silent?

Do we forgive our Fathers in our age or in theirs
or their deaths
saying it to them or not saying it?

If we forgive our Fathers what is left?

– D. Lourie

Heart matters

‘The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary [“Let it be to me according to your word”], the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Saviour into the world—because, thanks to her ‘Yes’, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time. The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God. But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33).’

Joseph Ratzinger