O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.
Our of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou has ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
For thou has made him a little lower htan the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:
All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field;
The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea.
When Jesus had finished giving instructions to his twelve disciples, he went from there to teach and preach in the neighboring towns. John, who as in prison, heard what Christ was doing, and sent his own disciples to put this question to him: 'Are you the one who is to come, or are we to expect someone else?' Jesus answered: 'Go and report to John what you hear and see: the blind recover their sight, the lame walk, lepers are made clean, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, the poor are brought good news--and blessed are those who do not find me an obstacle to faith.'If events would slow down and stop prompting me to post on them (or if I could just curb my habit of reading the news for a few days), I would spend more time meditating publicly on the questions of faith and belief (and faith v. belief). I'm especially intrigued with the clear evidence that the Celts, especially as the Roman Empire collapsed and took the Roman church with it (at least initially) from the fringes of the Empire, took up monastic practices into daily life (as evidenced by their prayers and the similarities in sentiment between those prayers and the sayings of the Desert Fathers, living through the same tumultous times in Egypt). The Celtic prayers and blessings show a merger of daily life and spiritual life that is far less ascetic than that of the desert hermits, but just as rich and God-centered. And both raise two interesting questions: the importance of nature (creation), which the ascetics despise, and the Celtic monks rejoice in (though neither position is that simple or simplistic). And both, by contrast with our post-Enlightenment world, raise the question of faith (which is central in the Scriptural witness) and belief (which is an Enlightenment concern).
Coincidentally, these two readings, derived from a daily lectionary I have on my shelf (in a book of Celtic prayers), address both issues. I don't have time, now, to develop them; but I do have time to introduce them, if only through the word of God itself.
Peace be with you.
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