As Father Sergio told me, "The Odes of Solomon are pure mysticism."
And he's correct.
The mystical imagery in the Odes is "smack you in the face" kind of imagery- some of the references are so clear to mystical processes that it strikes me hard to know we've discovered such beautiful writing.
May God bless you all.
"Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me."
Written by Saint Ignatius of Loyola
"With heads bowed let us now worship a sacrament so great;
And let the old teaching give way to the new;
Let faith reinforce our belief where the senses cannot.
To the Father and the Son let there be praise and jubilation,
Salvation, honor, virtue, and also blessing;
To the Holy Spirit let there be equal praise."
Written by Saint Thomas Aquinas
help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go;
Flood my soul with your spirit and life;
Penetrate and possess my whole being so completely
That all my life may be only a radiance of yours;
Shine through me and be so in me
That everyone with whom I come into contact
May feel your presence within me.
Let them look up and see no longer me—but only Jesus.
Prayer by John Henry Cardinal Newman
"The Gnostic Christians were inspired seekers, passionately compelled by Jesus's secret teachings and his true purpose for coming to the world. They had 'ears to hear' the true message of the Christ. Being subjectively oriented towards the life of the soul, the Gnostics did see many things differently from Orthodox Christians. They focused on the Inner Christ as the core of our nature, not on an outer Savior we must all worship to be saved. Being wise to the unvarnished truth of Jesus's original teachings, they were loath to give credence to Orthodoxy's dogma and creeds. They viewed the Church's belief not as a popularization of Christianity, but as an adulteration of it. They made a vigorous distinction between knowing something from one's own experience and living by some memorized religious faith. The certitude of fundamentalism, they felt, deprive us of our dignity and the liberty to question and seek the truth for ourselves."
The Gnostic Mysteries: The Lost Secrets of the Inner Christ
This photograph depicts four young adult Lutheran Christians praying to God on the night of All Hallows' Eve (Halloween) for Christian martyrs, saints, and all the faithful departed, especially their loved ones, in preparation for All Hallows' Day (All Saints' Day), the following day of Hallowtide. These Swedes, as well as other believers, have also lit votive candles and hung wreaths near the crucifix by which they are solemnly praying. This photograph was taken in the Solna Municipality of Stockholm, Sweden. Taken from this article on denvercatholic.org.
Sometimes, you come across something that expresses something spiritually substantial, whether a quote or an image or a piece of music or ritual or what have you.
This is once such picture. I happened upon it while looking for Halloween-oriented prayers within Roman Catholic traditions. The above picture instead shows Lutherans who've maintained the more "High Church" aspects from Catholicism; what we see is something deep, meaningful, poignant, and appropriate for Halloween.
There's something of substance here- lighting candles, saying prayers to honor the dead before a giant crucifix- this means something important. There's substance here.
And so I reposted it here, perhaps for contemplation, perhaps for my own benefit as I continuously felt that Halloween was missing something (a la A Charlie Brown Christmas Special and Charlie Brown's issues with Christmas).
Yet here I am, suddenly knowing what was missing!
And I offer it to all of you.
"O God, great and omnipotent judge of the living and the dead, we are to appear before you after this short life to render an account of our works. Give us the grace to prepare for our last hour by a devout and holy life, and protect us against a sudden and unprovided death.
Let us remember our frailty and mortality, that we may always live in the ways of your commandments. Teach us to “watch and pray” (Lk 21:36), that when your summons comes for our departure from this world, we may go forth to meet you, experience a merciful judgment, and rejoice in everlasting happiness. We ask this through Christ our Lord. "
"Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness
and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him,
we humbly pray;
And do thou,
O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan
and all evil spirits who wander
through the world for the ruin of souls.
"The place to which they direct their thoughts, that place is their root, which brings them upward in all the heights to the Father. Theirs is His head, which becomes a repose for them, and they are enclasped as they approach Him, so that they say that they have partaken of His face by means of the embraces. But they do not stand revealed in such a manner as not to have risen above themselves. Nor did they lack the glory of the Father, nor did they think of Him as small nor that He is bitter or wrathful, but that He is guileless, imperturbable, and a sweetness, knowing all before they were, and not having need to be taught. This is the way of those who have something on high through the immeasurable Greatness as they stretch after the One, alone and perfect, who is there for them. And they are not to go down to Amente, and they have neither envy nor groaning, nor is there death in them, but they rest in Him who rests, not toiling nor writhing round about the Truth. But they are themselves, the Truth. And the Father is in them, and they are in the Father, being complete, being indivisible in the truly Good, lacking nothing at all but taking rest, being fresh in the Spirit. And they will heed their root, they will be at rest, they in whom He will find His root and not do harm to His soul. This is the place of the blessed - this is their place."
From the lectionary of the Ecclesia Gnostica.
"In the five hundredth year, and in the seventh month, on the fourteenth day of the month of the lifetime of Enoch, in that parable, I saw that the heaven of heavens shook; that it shook violently; and that the powers of the Most High, and the angels, thousands of thousands, and myriads of myriads were agitated with great agitation. And when I looked, the Ancient of days was sitting on the throne of his glory, while the angels and saints were standing around him. A great trembling came upon me and terror seized me. My loins were bowed down, my reins were dissolved and I fell upon my face. The holy Michael, another holy angel, one of the great holy ones, was sent to raise me up. And when he raised me, my spirit returned, for I was incapable of enduring this vision of violence, its agitation, and the concussion of heaven."
From the lectionary of the Ecclesia Gnostica.
In recent years, Halloween has simply become...more.
While the yearly encroaching of Christmas happens, I'm glad to see Halloween has fully taken over October.
But could there be an archetypal reason for this? Is there some deep need for us to connect with the Dead, the Ancestors, the Past, the Shadow side?
Indeed, I think there is, and I think Halloween's greatness and festivity is the very reason we do these things.
I even recently, for the first time, envisioned the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Autumn Queen and as the Halloween Queen- a surprising but inspiring image, no doubt, and I'm sure I'm not the first to see her as such.
So here's to the Halloween energy, to the Halloween Queen, and much love to you all!
"O glorious prince of the heavenly army,
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in the eternal combat,
which we sustain against the powers of darkness,
malice and ignorance,
which afflict us on this aeonial battlefield of our earthly life!
Come, invincible leader of the host of heaven,
guardian of the paradise of the world
and wielder of the double-edged, flaming sword!
Aid and sustain us in our defense against the adversary;
and come to lead us finally into the presence of the Most High,
into the abode of the blissful.
Enlighten and purify us,
O Thou great and mighty Archangel Michael,
grant us to abandon the works of darkness
and to love the Gnosis of the Light;
so that whilst all things of this world pass away
we may ever hold fast those things which abide for evermore."
We continue with Ode 3 as there is no extant copy of Ode 2 available.
As we move into a new season and through another equinox, I wanted to wish everyone the brightest blessings of autumnal energy!
May peace and love and joy be yours this fall!
You who abide in the great eternal realms,
hear my voice,
have compassion on me,
and save me from all evil.
Look down upon me
and hear me
while I am in this desolate place.
Now let Your ineffable Light shine upon me"
Another Gnostic prayer from the Second Book of Allogenes. I omitted the last line as it's a fragment that only reads, "...your light..."
“O Lord God,
You who are above all the great eternal realms,
You who have neither beginning nor end,
Bestow upon us a spirit of knowledge
For the revelation of your mysteries,
To come to a knowledge of ourselves:
Where we have come from,
Where we are going,
And what we should do in order to live.”