Tag Archives: peace

The Beatitudes – Arvo Pärt

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Amen.

–Words: Matthew 5:3-12 (King James Version)
–Music: Arvo Pärt (b. 1935)

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Filed under New Testament, Other Music

Virga Jesse floruit

Virga Jesse floruit (The rod of Jesse has blossomed)
Virgo Deum et hominem genuit (A Virgin has brought forth God and man)
Pacem Deus reddidit (God has restored peace)
In se reconcilians ima sumis (Reconciling in himself the lowest with the highest)
Alleluia.

–Anton Bruckner (1824-1896)

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Breathe God’s air

Keep your eyes clean and your ears quiet and your mind serene. Breathe God’s air.

Work, if you can, under God’s sky.

But if you have to live in a city and live among machines and ride in the subways and eat in a place where the radio makes you deaf with spurious news and where the food destroys your life and the sentiments of those around you poison your heart with boredom, do not be impatient, but accept it as the love of God and as a seed of solitude planted in your soul.

If you are appalled by those things, you will keep your appetite for the healing silence of recollection. But meanwhile—keep your sense of compassion for the people who have forgotten the very concept of solitude.

You, at least, know that it exists, and that it is the source of peace and joy.

You can still hope for such joy. They do not even hope for it anymore.

–Excerpt from New Seeds of Contemplation, by Thomas Merton.

*(changed “His” to “God’s” and “men” to “people” to make language more gender-inclusive)

fourth-sunday-of-advent-3konee-clipart

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Filed under Thomas Merton

Prepare the way, O Zion

Prepare the way, O Zion,
your Christ is drawing near!
Let every hill and valley
a level way appear.
Greet One who comes in glory,
foretold in sacred story.

Refrain:
Oh, blest is Christ that came
in God’s most holy name.

He brings God’s rule, O Zion;
he comes from heaven above.
His rule is peace and freedom,
and justice, truth, and love.
Lift high your praise resounding,
for grace and joy abounding.

Refrain

Fling wide your gates, O Zion;
your Savior’s rule embrace.
His tidings of salvation
proclaim in every place.
All lands will bow before him,
their voices will adore him.

Refrain

–Words: Frans Mikael Franzen (1772-1847); tr. composite; adapt. Charles P. Price (b. 1920)
–Tune: BEREDEN VÄG FÖR HERRAN (melody from Then Svenska Psalmboken, 1697)

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Psalm 72:1-7;18-19

Give the King your justice, O God, *
   and your righteousness to the King’s Son;

That he may rule your people righteously *
   and the poor with justice;

That the mountains may bring prosperity to the people, *
   and the little hills bring righteousness.

He shall defend the needy among the people; *
   he shall rescue the poor and crush the oppressor.

He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure, *
   from one generation to another.

He shall come down like rain upon the mown field, *
   like showers that water the earth.

In his time shall the righteous flourish; *
   there shall be abundance of peace till the moon shall be no more.

Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, *
   who alone does wondrous deeds!

And blessed be his glorious Name for ever! *
   and may all the earth be filled with his glory.
   Amen. Amen.

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Filed under Hebrew Bible, Psalms

When justice shall be throned in might

“Thy kingdom come!” on bended knee
the passing ages pray;
and faithful souls have yearned to see
on earth that kingdom’s day.

But the slow watches of the night
not less to God belong;
and for the everlasting right
the silent stars are strong.

And lo, already on the hills
the flags of dawn appear;
gird up your loins, ye prophet souls,
proclaim the day is near:

The day to whose clear shining light
all wrong shall stand revealed,
when justice shall be throned in might,
and every heart be healed;

When knowledge, hand in hand with peace,
shall walk the earth abroad;
the day of perfect righteousness,
the promised day of God.

–Words: Words: Frederick Lucian Hosmer, 1891
–Tune: ST. FLAVIAN, 1562

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Rejoice!

I’ve had a pretty bad last few days. A friend of mine hurt my feelings pretty bad the day before Thanksgiving. And then I spent Thanksgiving alone, which was a first for me and, although I actually enjoyed it, it was sad not being with my family or close friends. And then over the weekend, a person I’ve been romantically interested in for a year or so, and very good friends with for almost two years, gave me some news. I knew he had been interested in another guy for quite some time. But on Sunday, he dropped a bomb on me and let me know that they had decided to get married. It really hurt. I’ve been super upset since then.

And so for the last few days, I’ve been lost in my thoughts. I couldn’t sleep. I haven’t wanted to talk to anyone. I’ve been very introspective and contemplative. I’m wondering why God is bringing me this pain right now as I approach the 1-year anniversary of my mother’s death, and as I am still so unsettled and confused after the recent presidential election. What is God trying to show me in all of this? Is God even there? Is there any hope to be found in all of this? Why does my future all of a sudden look so empty, so lonely, so sad?

In the midst of all of this, I’ve been distracted with the fact that it is the beginning of the Advent season, one of the most beautiful, meaningful, and sacred times of the year to me. Over the weekend, I set up my Christmas tree and made a homemade Advent wreath. And this past Sunday night, the first night of Advent, I attended a truly sublime Advent Lessons and Carols service at my church. The service ended with a profoundly beautiful singing of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. Three different choirs alternated singing verses along with the church filled with around 500 people. It was uplifting and spine tingling. And since then, I’ve been singing the song in my head over and over.

Tonight, on the car ride home from work, as I was stuck in gobs of traffic, I put “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” on the stereo. I found myself meditating on the refrain:

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

And it just hit me. Why am I consuming myself with sadness, and bitterness, and hopelessness? God is with me (Emmanuel!) in the midst of all of this. In spite of all of these bad feelings, I should rejoice in knowing that God’s peace is within reach. God’s grace and love and care surround me and are within me, no matter what befalls me. I shouldn’t be sad, rather I should rejoice in knowing these things.

And peace began to wash over me. It’s amazing how God can speak to us in the most mundane of ways. I think it speaks to the wonder of who and what God is…God is with us, in the midst of our daily lives. In the stranger, in the gentle breeze that blows, in the storm clouds that thunder and rain, in the raging fire, and in the swells of the sea. God’s presence supersedes all that we experience, and all we must do is listen with our eyes and we will hear it through all of our senses.

God’s peace does, indeed, surpass all understanding. And for this, I am truly thankful.

rejoice-590

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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