"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Thursday, January 7, 2016


I really wish I had begun blogging these next entries when I began using the book -- which was around the first week of December. They might have made more sense that way. Now I will just pick and choose how I will order them and hope my readers can still get a flavor of this wonderful tool.

The name of the book is Venite: A Book of Daily Prayer. My friend Vicki introduced it to me; she was given a copy by our mutual friend Sally, who was actually a student of the author, Robert Benson,  though I use that term loosely as you will see why in the future. I'm not even sure anyone will be interested in what I have to say on the subject. But if my memory serves me correctly, blogging had its origin as being an online diary. So if that remains the case, my entries are just a way for me to keep my own personal record of experiences and thoughts arranged in calendar order. But if you would like, please feel free to join me on my journey.

To use Venite is to join in a very ancient practice of daily prayer. Christian seasons are observed, holy days are remembered, and the liturgical calendar is kept. It's not for everybody, but in this season of my life, it's perfect. I will expound more on all that another time, but for now my thoughts take me to yesterday morning. And the beginning of Epiphany.

In case you are not familiar with the Christian calendar, Advent begins 4 Sundays prior to Christmas, on which we begin celebrating Christmastide. This is where your 12 days of Christmas come in, for on January 6, we move to Epiphany.

Epiphany means "the showing forth" or "the revelation" of Christ in the world. This is when we celebrate the journey of those wise men from the east -- pagan astrologers, I might add, who left what they knew for something very unfamiliar. Something very foreign. Everyone knows what caught their attention: 

O star of wonder, star of night, 
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect Light.

From the known to the unknown with only a mysterious star to guide them, they were compelled to move beyond what they knew to something unexplainable that moved within them. Leaving behind things that were once priorities and personal ambitions, they set off on a physical journey that led them in a new spiritual direction until they found what they were looking for. They saw the child with Mary his mother and they knelt down and paid him homage. These thinkers found themselves out of their cerebral boxes, rejoicing, bowing, kneeling, giving ... and finally, returning home different than when they came.

So maybe you can understand a little bit of my awe on this particular Epiphany morn when I approached my sacred place, a chair pulled up in front of a window in my sunroom, still very dark both inside and out, and finding one lone star unwilling to give way to the approaching light.

Quietly and reverently, I lit my Christ candle, opened Venite, and prayed the recorded prayer:

In the work of Your creation, Almighty God,
     You commanded the Light to shine out of the darkness:
Grant that the light of the gospel of Christ may shine into the hearts of all,
     dispelling the darkness of unbelief, and revealing Your glory in the world.

Yes, Lord, let it be ... that we move beyond the norm, beyond the safe, beyond the unbelief, beyond our own safe country ... and worship the one true Light who pierces the darkness.

Just an ordinary moment...

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