A Saint, an Abbot, and a Vicar…

…It sounds like the start of a bawdy joke. But honestly the only bar in this story is the one that has been raised, not one that purveys drinks.

Some housekeeping notes to start: I don’t tend to write extensively about my spirituality. I find spirituality to be a sensitive topic, and while I certainly don’t shy away from it in posts that deal with difficult topics, I don’t tend to try and impart my personal spirituality directly to others. There’s a basic reason for this, which is that I often feel like the least-qualified person to write ABOUT spirituality specifically. When I have tried to write specifically about spirituality, it often ends up feeling very flat to me.

This is why I was surprised recently to be invited to a writing group being put together by a pastor in Portland that I knew as a teenager and have interacted with (largely via Facebook) over the years since then. Pastor Marc has gathered such an interesting group of people that I couldn’t help but try to join in, as much to be a part of their conversation as for any specific insight I have to offer.

This week’s writing assignment is based on a sermon that Marc gave recently. The entire sermon is available here on youtube. The topic is actually something that I have always had an opinion on, and though I’m a couple of days late, this was a pretty easy topic to tackle. Marc’s topic, and the topic at the heart of this blog post, is the role of women in spiritual leadership.

One man’s opinion about women leading spiritually after the link…

*Poetic Translation

As my wife pointed out, it would have been more meaningful if I’d have added the translation to the latin I was studying.  My problem is that the translation loses so much, especially since a five-hundred year old version of that passage in english is perhaps the most well known prayer in Christianity, and english from five hundred years ago doesn’t really speak to the intent of the passage as well as I’d like.

The latin is taken from the Roman Catholic Common Mass.  If I were to translate it myself, it would start something like:

Father of all things, existing above and beyond in a place outside of our dimension, we hold sacred even the invocation of our feeble human attempt to describe you.  May the entirety of creation come to know unity, and a transcendence of our mortal existence through an utter and all encompassing surrender to the perfection and peace that is your intent and plan for all creations in every shard and facet of the universe.

As a child asks for food at a grand dinner table, laid out with delicious things to eat, so do we ask for that which you have already prepared for us.  The request honoring the offer to provide that you have already made to us.

We ask that you will actively and personally forgive and redeem us from the failures we have stumbled into; both failures with the holy and infinite, and failures with others here in our day-to-day experiences.  As you forgive and redeem us, so do we seek the knowledge and grace to imitate and repeat that forgiveness with others who have failed in their relationships with us.

Guide us away from those things which will cause us to fail you and others, and when we begin to go down the wrong paths and blind alleys, we ask that you would lead us back to the best roads and the safe harbors that will help us continue to improve ourselves, our families, our communities, and our world.

That about covers the first paragraph, from “Pater noster” down to “sed libera nos a malo.”

The current Missal translates that paragraph as follows:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Yes, I realize my translation is more “wordy” but there’s just so much more poetry to the actual latin (and even more so with the actual source Greek, but that’s another post for another time).

Ash Wednesday

I will go into more detail about this later; probably a lot of detail, and probably not much later:

For Lent, I’m giving up Agnosticism.

(That line KILLS in the right circles.)

What follows is a quote I’ve spent a lot of time reading over and thinking through.  For all three of my readers, I realize I’m the only one who can read it as quoted.  Sorry about that.

Pater noster, qui es in cœlis, sanctificétur nomen tuum: advéniat regnum tuum: fiat volúntas tua, sicut in cœlo et in terra panem nostrum quotidiánum da nobis hódie; et dímitte nobis débita nostra, sicut et nos dimíttimus debitóribus nostris: et ne nos indúcas in tentatiónem. Sed líbera nos a malo.

Líbera nos, quæsumus Dómine, ab ómnibus malis prætéritis, præséntibus, et futúris, et intercedénte beáta et gloriósa semper Vírgine Dei genitríce María, cum beátis Apóstolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andréa, et ómnibus sanctis, da propítius pacem in diébus nostris: ut ope misericórdiæ tuæ adjúti, et a peccáto simus semper líberi, et ab omni perturbatióne secúri.

Per eúmdem Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitáte Spíritus sancti Deus.

Per ómnia sæcula sæculórum.  Amen.

I promise: not preachy, just personal. To each his own.