Archive for November 5th, 2007

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep…

November 5, 2007

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This delightful old English prayer said by children and their parents at bedtime has long ago been shortened to only its last verse. There is more (as I was taught):

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,

Bless the bed that I lie on.

The are four corners to my bed,

Four angels round my head,

One to watch, and one to pray,

And two to bear my soul away.

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I should die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take.

If you know more of the tradition of this prayer please share it.

Thinking of Angels

November 5, 2007

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This 8th of November is the Feast of St. Michael and All the Bodiless Powers of Heaven. The feast marks its own special occasion, but it seems entirely appropriate that the feast should be so close to the beginning of the Nativity Fast. There are very few Biblical stories where angels do not play a part, and their presence only grows greater with the incarnation of Christ. In the life of the Church they surround our every action. And thus it is good to celebrate these humble messengers of God.

I offer here a few thoughts on their many occasions of help to mankind.

  • Cherubim were posted at the entrance of the Garden of Eden protecting us from the damage we would do to ourselves by entering where we should not yet go.
  • An angel ministered to Hagar, saving her and her child from death.
  • An angel intervened and spared the life of Isaac staying the hand of Abraham at Mount Moriah.
  • An angel accompanied Abraham’s servant as he returned to Mesopotamia to find a wife for Isaac.
  • An angel spoke to Jacob in a dream directing him how to find his freedom from his father-in-law Laban.
  • An angel appeared to Moses in a flame of fire out of the midst of the burning bush.
  • In all of the travels of Israel during the Exodus, the Angel of the Lord went with them and protected them.
  • All of the Judges of Israel seem to have guided and protected by angels.
  • Angels are found in the visions of the prophets.
  • An angel speaks to Joachim and Anna and brings good news to that barren household.
  • An angel speaks to Zechariah as he ministered in the Temple.
  • An angel speaks to the Theotokos and brings the glad tidings of salvation for all mankind.
  • An angel speaks with Joseph and told him that the child she had conceived was of the Holy Spirit.
  • Angels spoke to the shepherds of the salvation that had been born in Bethlehem.
  • Again an angel told Joseph to take the Theotokos and the Christ Child into Egypt.
  • Angels ministered to Christ after His temptation in the wilderness.
  • An angel appeared to Christ strengthening Him in the Garden of Gethsemane.
  • An angel greeted the women at the tomb and announced the resurrection.
  • Angels stood by and explained the meaning of the ascension to the disciples.

I could, of course, amplify this small list – but these few mentions serve to show how constantly the angels have looked after us and been a part of God’s saving work among us. Thus it is always fitting that we should give thanks to God for their work and not forget the good they have done.

The Holy Relics of Sts. Joachim and Anna

November 5, 2007

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As the priest of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, I read with great interest the linked blog on the gift of their relics to an Orthodox parish in California. The articles are well done and the video is outstanding. For all who love the saints, you will enjoy these pages. Sts. Joachim and Anna, pray to God for us.

A Short Good Read

November 5, 2007

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I explored Richard Collins’ Blogsite today and found some good writing. I commend his article on an Icon class he attended recently. He especially does a good job of setting forth some of the technical distinctions (body, soul, mind, nous, etc.) that I found helpful. A good read is always welcome to me and I recommend it to all as well.