Posts Tagged ‘Liturgy’

“Let us stretch our mind up towards heaven, from which we have received a Savior, Christ the Lord. Today the abyss of inaccessible light, today the boundless outpouring of divine radiance shines on the Apostles on Mount Thabor. Today Jesus Christ—a reality and a name that is dear to me, truly the sweetest and most attractive of names, exceeding all notions of sweetness—is recognized as Lord of the Old and New Testament.” (St John of Damascus, Oration on the Transfiguration of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ)

Mark 9:2-8And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Eli′jah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Master,[a] it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli′jah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son;[b] listen to him.” And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only.

In medieval times, an anchorite made his or her vows, and was often sealed up inside a small room attached to the side of a church. I have joked that I could not find a church willing to have me! Truth be told, I didn’t look for one. Rather, both my bishop and I knew that my vocation was truly as an anchorite of the whole diocese, and the cloister walls of my anchorhold consisted of the tall firs and cedars surrounding my small house situated in a quiet neighborhood a few miles out of town.

As a priest, my community of peers was that of the clergy, and my bishop asked that I make my vows during the Holy Week liturgy for the reaffirmation of ordination vows, and  the consecration of the Chrism, the oil used in baptism. Drawing on the ancient tradition of monastic vows and the enclosing of anchorites and the blessing of hermits, (see especially The Hermits and Anchorites of England), I wrote my portion of the liturgy, which was then integrated into the larger form. The final combined liturgy may be seen here: Vows of an Anchorite.


Camano DeepLight

Camano DeepLight



How dear to me is your dwelling, O Lord of hosts! *
   My soul has a desire and longing for the courts of the Lord;
   my heart and my flesh rejoice in the living God.
      Psalm 84:1


Welcome to my new blog, Holy Dwelling. My intent is to share some resources and reflections about the Soul’s quest to become one with God. In so doing, I will be examining three simple questions:

     Who am I?  (How does ancient Christian anthropology inform our understandings of the human person as body, mind, and soul?)

     Where am I going?  (What does the Orthodox tradition of theosis (or divinization) have to tell us about the ultimate destiny of the Christian?)

     How do I get there?  (How does the ancient tradition of the Prayer of the Heart or Jesus Prayer prepare our body, our mind, and our soul for union with God? And how does the liturgy of the Church, including the sacraments, and even the architecture of the building itself aid in our journey toward union with God?)

Now, because I long ago learned that the mystical journey is more of a spiral than a straight line, these entries will circle around in no particular designated order or structure…and may at times include the spiritual lessons I have learned from my cats and my cows!

I invite your responses as we share a few steps of the journey.

The Rev’d. Susan Creighton

A further word about myself….where I’ve been, how I got here, what feeds my soul:

My ecclesiastical ‘family of origin’ is that of the Episcopal Church (Anglican). She has baptized me, confirmed me, and ordained me a priest. I have served her in a variety of ministries, including within a religious order, as a parish priest, in campus ministry, and as a teacher, retreat leader, and spiritual director.

My liturgical life has been profoundly shaped by the Book of Common Prayer, the monastic tradition of psalms, canticles, prayers and, of course, the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

My contemplative prayer life began by sitting in the dark with a candle, an icon, and the cross. Over the years, my soul was nourished by the mystical traditions represented by The Cloud of Unknowing and St. John of the Cross, among others. In the last decade, I have returned to the depth of the mystical traditions, focusing particularly on the (Eastern) Orthodox tradition of the Prayer of the Heart, utilizing the Jesus Prayer, and the ascetical tradition of The Philokalia.

I attempt to keep my theology firmly rooted in the eternal truths as expressed in the creeds and liturgy of the ancient church, but most particularly in the teachings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, and in the writings of the Church Fathers, including Gregory of Nyssa, Evagrius of Pontus, Hesychios, Maximus the Confessor, Dionysius the Areopagite, and others.

All these have prepared me for the fullest and truest expression of my vocation and life in God as I now live it as an Anchorite, under solemn vows of Silence, Solitude, and Simplicity.

~ ~ ~

A note about the present ‘Anglican chaos’: I am sorely grieved by our schisms, heresies, litigations, and plain bad manners. I am even more grieved by the schisms, heresies, litigations and plain bad manners exhibited in the Body of Christ down through the centuries. However, our Lord has placed me in this particular ‘family of origin’ at a particular time of history, and He has called me to the particular vocation of priest and anchorite. What He has given, He does not take back. Neither my vocation nor my ecclesiastical family are something which I can lay down, or turn my back on. . .they are not mine to reject.

Most probably all the above doesn’t matter a whole lot to the Living God, as made known to us in His Son, Jesus the Christ. Rather, I believe He says to us all: “Do you love me?” By his mercy, may we always answer, “Lord, you know I love you.” And through eternity, he says, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15-17)

I can only pray that some of you may find food for your souls within these pages, and that you will discover your own “HOLY DWELLING.”

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