The Collect:Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise o the life immortal. Through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen
The Introit. Ps. 25.(Ad te levavi) Unto thee lift I up my soul; my God in thee have I trusted, let me not be confounded: neither let mine enemies triumph over me, for all they that look for thee shall not be ashamed. Ps. ibid. Show me thy ways, O Lord: and teach me thy paths.
The Epistle: Romans 13:8-14
Gradual & Alleluia. Ps. 25. All they that look for thee shall not be ashamed, O Lord. Show me thy ways, O Lord: and teach me thy paths. Alleluia, alleluia.Ps 85. Show us thy mercy, O Lord: and grant us thy salvation. Alleluia.
The Gospel: St. Matthew 21:1-9
Offertory. Ps 25. Unto thee lift I up my soul; my God in thee have I trusted, let me not be confounded: neither let mine enemies triumph over me, for all they that look for thee shall not be ashamed.
Communion. Ps 85. The Lord shall show loving-kindness: and our land shall give her increase.
At the Divine Office –
Benedictus and Magnificat Antiphons for 1st Sunday of Advent
At 1st Evening Prayer (Magnificat Antiphon): Behold, the Name of the Lord cometh from afar: and his glory filleth all the earth.
At Morning Prayer (Benedictus Antiphon): The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, Mary; fear not, thou shalt bear in thy womb the Son of God, alleluia.
At 2nd Evening Prayer (Magnificat Antiphon): Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favour with the Lord: behold, thou shalt conceive, and bring forth a Son, alleluia.
In Chapter IV of his Rule for Monks, St. Benedict enumerates various instruments of good works for the guidance of those who have chosen to follow this Rule. He concludes the chapter by stating that the “workshop” within which these various instruments or tools of the spiritual life are to be employed is the cloister of the monastery. Among these tools are included both personal and liturgical prayer along with lectio divina, which is the loving and humble study of Holy Scripture as received by the Church and used in the liturgy.
From St. Benedict’s time down to our own time, Christians innumerable have gone to the Rule — and to those many places where men and women have come together to live under the Rule – for guidance and help in their own growth in holiness as they seek to grow ever closer to Christ our Lord. In addition, the liturgical, ascetical, and theological traditions in the Western Church were both formed and transmitted from generation to generation by monks, nuns, and even layfolk whose lives were formed by the spiritual values and practical advice of the Rule. For many centuries, all, even the lowest, were born, lived, and died in a culture that was Christian.
Unfortunately, the Western Christianity which existed for more than twelve centuries no longer exists. Western culture has been thoroughly secularized and separated from the values, goals, and ideals which were its basis. This has impacted us in many different ways, but what is relevant here is this: without a living Christian culture as background, the Christian liturgical and spiritual traditions have to some degree become unintelligible to us today. Theological ideas and principles which, for example, a St. Augustine, a St. John Chrysostom, or a St Leo could reasonably assume to be a common heritage of those for whom they lived and wrote are no longer present. This has resulted all too often in the evisceration or outright rejection of the Christian liturgical and ascetical traditions and practices as “irrelevant” or “outmoded.”
Notes from the Subdeacon were started to fill a clear need: parishioners needed to understand the scriptural and liturgical background of the liturgical texts used in the Mass (generally referred to as the Minor Propers). In a very small way this was like the activity to which St. Bede (635-732 A.D.), a priest and monk, dedicated his entire life. Indeed, many of St. Bede’s writings are still extremely useful. In fact, many of his writings were deemed by the Church to be so faithful to Christian Tradition that they are frequently used in the Western Monastic Office. (St. Bede’s books On The Tabernacle and On The Temple formed the basis for the Subdeacon’s MA thesis.)
After Notes from the Subdeacon had been offered for most of the liturgical year, it became clear that there was need for some more thorough treatment of many topics that would naturally occur. It seemed that this need would be best fulfilled by Tools of the Spiritual Life, which would be a monthly offering of about 45 minutes to an hour in length. This would still draw its inspiration from the liturgical text used that month, but the expanded time would allow more detailed treatment of the chosen topic. Additionally, it would provide an opportunity for questions and comments from listeners.
Of course, the problem with such a plan was that it would require getting a number of participants together at one point in space and time. Most if not all potential participants have many demands on their time from family and employment. However, experience gained with podcasting shows that podcasting would work well for the purposes of this ministry. Talks can be downloaded and heard by anyone anywhere. Furthermore, the podcasting website provides a forum for listeners to post comments as well as ask questions. Additional materials such as maps or diagrams can also be posted at the website, downloaded prior to listening, and be available for use during the podcast.
St Benedict and St Bede have provided continuing inspiration for this ministry and have made it possible in our time by the work and prayer they did in their time. Thus, this ministry claims both Saints as heavenly patrons. May their prayers and spiritual assistance reach all who have any contact with this ministry.
This is the first full episode of Tools of the Spiritual Life podcasts. It contains some introductory material, an explanation of why the titles The Spiritual Workshop and Tools of the Spiritual Life were chosen, and then some general principles that will assist the listener with coming episodes.
Podcasts for spiritual growth in the Western Orthodox tradition. Includes both Notes from the Subdeacon and Tools of the Spiritual Life