Showing posts with label Tobias Haller. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tobias Haller. Show all posts

Monday, January 19, 2015

WHAT TO SAY ON MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

Icon of Dr King by Tobias Haller.

Today I'm sad that racism is still such a presence in our society. What would Dr King think if he looked around today? I expect he'd be rather sad, too. Though voters elected President Obama twice, the presence of an African-American in the Oval Office seems to have forced racism from the dark crevices and corners where it always lurked into the light of day in a way that surprised many of us. I don't know what else to say, for the few words I've written came very hard.

Collect for the Feast Day of Martin Luther King
Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last; Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Monday, December 29, 2014

IT'S STILL CHRISTMAS - DAY 5 - FEAST OF HOLY INNOCENTS

The Holy Innocents icon by Tobias Haller

The King's Apology

King Herod was a man who weighed things in
the scale of his own judgment, in
his selfish-ordered world,
in which his life out-weighed all other lives.


So in his eyes expediency demanded that
this infant rival king be dealt with ere
he came of age to threaten Herod’s throne.
The other children were collateral loss,
indeed somewhat to be regretted
(as the later letter put it) due
to over-zealous overkill
by members of the royal forces.
(Politicians wipe away their crimes
as handily as crimes wipe out their foes.)


What? Never saw that letter?
Search the archives and I’m sure you’ll find
it, signed with Herod’s hand and seal.
“Condolences to all bereaved in Bethlehem
of Judah. Please accept my sorrow for
your loss, occasioned by excesses on
the army’s part. Those found responsible
will face review and discipline. Sincerely,
Herod, King.”


(Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG)
Though it's the same year after year, I am always saddened and somewhat surprised that the feast days following the joyous celebration of the Nativity of Jesus include the feast of St Stephen, the first martyr, and the feast of The Holy Innocents.
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he was infuriated, and he sent and killed all the children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had learned from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
‘A voice was heard in Ramah,
   wailing and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
   she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.’

(Matthew 2:16-18)
Collect for The Holy Innocents and all innocents.
We remember today, O God, the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem by King Herod. Receive, we pray, into the arms of your mercy all innocent victims; and by your great might frustrate the designs of evil tyrants and establish your rule of justice, love, and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

FEAST OF ALL SAINTS

Icons by Tobias Haller
O Almighty God, who have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those indescribable joys which you have prepared for those who truly love you: through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.

(Book of Common Prayer)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

REMEMBERING SEPTEMBER 11, 2001


September Midday Mass

The tall old priest entered the half-lit sacristy,
fresh from his usual Tuesday morning studies.
The fair-haired acolyte with the bad complexion
was ready, vested, standing in the dimness
quietly. The old priest noticed he was sniffing
and his eyes were red. A failed romance,
he thought; but keeping his own rule on chit-chat
in the sacristy, vested silently.
The old familiar motions and the prayers
displaced whatever thoughts he might have had;
the only dialogue to break the stillness was
the rote exchange of formal preparation.

Then, in one motion as he slipped his hand
beneath the pale green veil, the other hand
upon the burse, he lifted vested vessels,
turned and followed in the sniffing server’s
wake. Eyes lowered to the holy burden
in his hand, he failed to notice that
the chapel for this midday feria —
on other days like this with one or two
at most — was full of worshippers; until
he raised his eyes, and saw the pews were filled —
but undeterred began the liturgy:
the lessons and the gospel from last Sunday,
his sermon brief, but pointed, on the texts.
It wasn’t till the acolyte began
the people’s prayers, and choked out words of planes
that brought a city’s towers down, and crashed
into the Pentagon, and plowed a field
in Pennsylvania, that the old priest knew
this was no ordinary Tuesday in
September —
not ordinary time at all,
that day he missed the towers’ fall.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG
March 8, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2014

ARCHBISHOP ÓSCAR ROMERO - A SAINT FOR TODAY AND ANY DAY


A wonderful icon of Archbishop Óscar Romero of San Salvador, written by Tobias Haller, along with San Romero's wise words:
A Future Not Our Own

It helps now and then to step back and take a long view.
The Kingdom is not only beyond our efforts,
it is beyond our vision.

We accomplish in our lifetime only a fraction
of the magnificent enterprise that is God's work.
Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of
saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us.
No statement says all that could be said.
No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession
brings perfection, no pastoral visit brings wholeness.
No program accomplishes the Church's mission.
No set of goals and objectives include everything.

This is what we are about. We plant the seeds that one
day will grow. We water the seeds already planted
knowing that they hold future promise.
We lay foundations that will need further development.
We provide yeast that produces effects
far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of
liberation in realizing this.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.
It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning,
a step along the way, an opportunity for the Lord's grace to enter and do the rest.
We may never see the end results, but that is the
difference between the master builder and the worker.

We are workers, not master builders, ministers, not
messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.
From Journey with Jesus.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

FEAST OF THE ST STEPHEN THE MARTYR

St Stephen icon by Tobias Haller
We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand: where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.

(Book of Common Prayer)
If the humble beginnings of Jesus, the Christ, conceived by an unwed mother and born in a cold stable, a shelter for farm animals, is not real enough for us, the feast of St Stephen the Martyr jerks us violently back into reality.

Read Tobias' "Warning For Storytellers".

Acts 7:59-8:8
While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ When he had said this, he died.  And Saul approved of their killing him.

That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. Devout men buried Stephen and made loud lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church by entering house after house; dragging off both men and women, he committed them to prison.

Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah to them. The crowds with one accord listened eagerly to what was said by Philip, hearing and seeing the signs that he did, for unclean spirits, crying with loud shrieks, came out of many who were possessed; and many others who were paralysed or lame were cured. So there was great joy in that city.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

EVELYN UNDERHILL - THE PRACTICAL MYSTIC


The lovely icon of Evelyn Underhill pictured above was written by Tobias Haller.
God is always coming to you in the Sacrament of the Present Moment. Meet and receive Him there with gratitude in that sacrament. 

....

God is acting on your soul all the time, whether you have spiritual sensations or not.

Evelyn Underhill
Evelyn was a wise and practical mystic whose words resonate today, with her emphasis on balance between the heights and the earthy and her reminder to celebrate and give thanks for the miracle of the Incarnation.

Monday, December 10, 2012

FEAST OF THOMAS MERTON

The splendid and moving icon of Thomas Merton was written by Brother Tobias Haller.

Thomas Merton has been a major influence in my spiritual life for many years, since the 1950s when I read Merton's biography The Seven Storey Mountain. The book had a profound effect on me in deepening my faith. Since the first, I've read a good many of Merton's other writings.

Merton's prayer below sustained me many through many periods in my life when I felt directionless or doubtful about choices I've made.
The Living Spirit

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and will never leave me to face my perils alone.
Collect of the Day: Thomas Merton, Contemplative and Writer, 1968
Gracious God, you called your monk Thomas Merton to proclaim your justice out of silence, and moved him in his contemplative writings to perceive and value Christ at work in the faiths of others: Keep us, like him, steadfast in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

THE VIRTUE OF MINDING ONE'S OWN BUSINESS

Everyone who's anyone, and I mean everyone, has picked up Tobias Haller's reminder of the Encyclical letter of the 1878 Lambeth Conference, section 1.5 titled Those Were the Days (Lambeth 1878).
There are certain principles of church order which, your Committee consider, ought to be distinctly recognised and set forth, as of great importance for the maintenance of union among the Churches of our Communion.

1. First, that the duly certified action of every national or particular Church, and of each ecclesiastical province (or diocese not included in a province), in the exercise of its own discipline, should be respected by all the other Churches, and by their individual members.

2. Secondly, that when a diocese, or territorial sphere of administration, has been constituted by the authority of any Church or province of this Communion within its own limits, no bishop or other clergyman of any other Church should exercise his functions within that diocese without the consent of the bishop thereof.

3. Thirdly, that no bishop should authorise to officiate in his diocese a clergyman coming from another Church or province, unless such clergyman present letters testimonial, countersigned by the bishop of the diocese from which he comes; such letters to be, as nearly as possible, in the form adopted by such Church or province in the case of the transfer of a clergyman from one diocese to another.
For well over 100 years, the churches of the Anglican Communion lived according to the rules listed in the section of the encyclical quoted above, with the churches joined one to the other in the mutual bonds of affection, but with respect to polity and governance, the various churches practiced the good old-fashioned virtue of minding their own business and not intruding into the affairs of other churches without permission.

See what Tobias says about the application of the rules in the encyclical in the Anglican Communion today.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

FEAST DAY OF THOMAS MERTON (BROTHER LOUIS)


The splendid and moving icon of Thomas Merton was written by Brother Tobias Haller.

Thomas Merton has been a major influence in my spiritual life for many years, since the 1950s when I read Merton's biography The Seven Storey Mountain. The book had a profound effect on me in deepening my faith. Since the first, I've read a good many of Merton's other writings.

Merton's prayer below sustained me many through many periods in my life when I felt directionless or doubtful about choices I've made.
MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"

Friday, August 12, 2011

FEAST DAY OF FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE

Nevertheless I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterwards you will receive me with honour.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire other than you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever.
Psalm 73:23-26
PRAYER

Life-giving God, who alone have power over life and death, over health and sickness: Give power, wisdom, and gentleness to those who follow the lead of your servant Florence Nightingale, that they, bearing with them your presence, may not only heal but bless, and shine as lanterns of hope in the darkest hours of pain and fear; through Jesus Christ, the healer of body and soul, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Tobias Haller, who blogs at In a Godward Direction, wrote the lovely icon pictured above.

James Kiefer writes at the Lectionary:
The commemoration of Florence Nightingale is controversial. On the one hand, she doubted or denied many of the central articles of the Creed. On the other hand, she believed in God and devoted her life to His service as she understood it.
I'd say more than good enough. Thanks be to God for the life and service of Florence Nightingale.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

TOBIAS HALLER'S "QUICK ICONE"

Tobias Haller wrote a series of what he calls "quick icone" selected from Holy Women Holy Men.

The icon above, which is posted at Tobias' blog In a Godward Direction, is the poet James Weldon Johnson, who also wore many other hats.

Below is a brief excerpt from Johnson's poem "The Creation".
AND God stepped out on space,
And He looked around and said,
"I'm lonely --
I'll make me a world."
The poem is wonderful. Please do read it all.

Tobias wrote "quick icone" of G. K. Chesterton, Ini Kopuria, and Thurgood Marshall. The icons are written on cardboard with various materials. Tobias says, "I suppose, in prayer form, this is the difference between the Divine Liturgy and the Arrow Prayer or Ejaculation. (Quiet in the back!)"

He made me laugh. In my Roman Catholic school, we were urged to pray ejaculations, or short prayers, throughout the day, and I do so even today to my edification. (Quiet in the back!)

My Jesus, mercy.

God, help me.

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Friday, March 11, 2011

"THE WIDOW WAITS FOR JUSTICE"


The Parable of the Widow and the Unjust Judge
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” ’ And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’ (Luke 18:1-8)

An exhibit titled The Word & Example at the Episcopal Café's Episcopal Church Visual Arts website includes Tobias Haller's painting above, along with other wonderful art works which are well worth viewing.

About "The Widow Waits For Justice":
The model is African-American actor Ruth Attaway. I photographed her, as Mary Magdalen, in Owen Dodson's "The Confession Stone" for which I was lighting designer.

Lighting designer? Tobias wears another hat? Mercy me! His collection of hats must be huge.

Image used with Tobias Haller's permission.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

IN HONOR OF WORLD AIDS DAY 2010


"Christ of Compassion" icon by Tobias Haller.

No words are necessary. Read the icon.

Tobias says, "I'm pleased to report that one of my icons, "Christ of Compassion" is included in the online Advent exhibition of The Episcopal Church and the Visual Arts, Seeking + Serving."

Tobias blogs at In a Godward Direction.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

What A Scoop!

Tad Lincoln in James Prideaux's The Last of Mrs. Lincoln with Julie Harris, at the Kennedy Center Opera House and the ANTA Theater on Broadway (1972-3)
I do believe I missed my calling as a journalist. Of course, this one was thrown into my lap by the subject himself. Once I had the first bit of information, all it took was a little stalking on the internet to find the picture above.

Here I was thinking, "What on earth will be the subject of my next post? I have nothing. Is my life as a blogger finished, done?" I wasn't in the mood to post about the feast day of Joseph Butler, the sermon-writer and refuter of Deism. We had so many feast days this week, that I was worn out with dealing with saints.

Then I find this in my comments:
In the shameless past-self-promotion vein... in my former life as an actor I performed ages ago (1972) before our nearest thing to royalty: Pat Nixon and Julie Eisenhower, who sat in the presidential box at the Kennedy Center opera house in DC. The play, in its pre-Broadway run, was about another First Lady: The Last of Mrs. Lincoln, with Julie Harris in the titular role. I was Tad Lincoln, the youngest surviving son, who died towards the end of act one. In any case, after the performance, Miss Harris was whisked away by the Secret Service to meet the "royalty" and had her picture taken with them (they both towered over her). When the framed photo arrived some weeks later at the theater in NY, I happened to be present as Julie unwrapped it. She smiled and said, "This will prove to my mother that I've finally made it!"
Thanks for evoking these off-topic memories, and I hope you don't mind the sharing... and glad to hear the other Julie is perhaps having a change of heart about the direction taken by the GOP -- the party of Lincoln!
My friends, the picture is of Tobias Haller, with none other than the great actress, Julie Harris, Yes, the Tobias whom many of us know and love, exercising another of his many gifts. As I told him one day in the comments at his blog, In A Godward Direction, God had chosen to give him an unfair share of gifts. He's a parish priest, a theologian, an artist, a poet, a musician and composer of music, and, his learning notwithstanding, he preaches lovely, accessible sermons. And he's nice to old ladies. I'm sure I'm leaving out a gift or two.

Now we learn that in another life, Tobias was an actor and got to associate with celebrities. It's just too much. Life is surely not fair. However, Jesus had no patience with his followers who complained about the lack of fairness. Remember the parables of the prodigal son and the laborers in the vineyard?

Also, as I said when I complained to him about unfairness, Tobias gives his gifts freely, which is the very reason that God gives each of us gifts.

Tobias, I didn't ask you about this first, because I wanted to surprise you, or shock you, or something. If you don't like it, I will take it down