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Volume #0: Issue #3
©March, Vernal Equinox 2012
Web Revision: Epiphany - Mar. 20th, 2015

Edited by GHFr. Pneuma Asteros, Order Chief Adept & President.

Mystical Meditations Upon The Collects
(Season of CHRISTMAS)
by Mary Violet Firth (aka. Dion Fortune)

Contents:

THE MYSTICAL MEDITATIONS UPON THE COLLECTS.

So many Christians miss much of the power and majesty of their religious faith by not participating in the symbolic journey of the traditional liturgical year. This is certainly true for most Protestant branches of mainstream Christianity - with the noted exceptions of Christmas, Easter, and possibly Pentecost. All religions and forms of spiritual expression have a traditional calendar of events important to them and this allows them to take notice and focus on specific aspects of their inner spiritual lives by tying in with outer liturgical events of their Lord/Lady, God, Saints, or other concepts. Those of us within the Society of The Astral Star, (The Order of The Star of Bethlehem), make use of the standard Christian Liturgical Year as defined within the Latin (Roman) Rite with acceptance of the Greek (Orthodox) Rite as a valid expression of yearly events. We additionally include the more esoteric aspects of traditional magickal spiritual expressions.

The Society of The Astral Star, and it's members make use of the Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church for a listing of the proper collect (prayer) within the Christian Liturgical (Church) year. We further use Dion Fortune's Mystical Meditations on the Collects (ISBN: 0-87728-734-1) as the basis for many of our meditations. We have additions to this work of course, however the primary meditations for reflection are to be found within the pages of that valuable book. Serious students and practitioners within the OAB system will want to purchase both The Book of Common Prayer and Mystical Meditations Upon The Collects by Dion Fortune, (aka Violet Mary Firth).

Christmas day is celebrated on Dec. 25th of each year. Christmas Day is the day we remember the birth (the nativity) of our Lord Jesus as he lay in a manger in Bethlehem. The season proceeds the liturgical season of Epiphany. This section lists the meditations for the collects in the liturgical season that we use for Christmas. Enjoy!


CHRISTMAS DAY: (ALTAR CLOTH TO: WHITE)
[DEC. 25th]

Dion Fortune, Mystical Meditations On The Collects, Pgs. 26-27


The Scriptures / Lessons:

Psalms: AM & PM: 97 (or 97:1-4, 11-14)
All Years: Isa. 62:6-7, 10-12 / Tit. 3:4-7 / Luk. 2:(1-14) 15-20

The Collect:

"Almighty God, who hast given us thy begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and at this time to be born of a pure Virgin; grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Sprit, ever one God, world without end. Amen."

The Meditation:

Keynote: "Begin At The Beginning"

"The symbol of the Churches, teaching the multitude, is the Crucifix, the sacrificed Christ; but the mystic knows the risen Christ, ever-living, ever-working; His power flowing forth to all who invoke His Name. So also with the mystical interpretation of the Nativity; the symbol of the Churches is the Christ-Child, laid in the manger, but the mystic knows the Christ-Idea, dimly realized in the newly awakened consciousness."

"It is with the power of the Risen Christ that we work in mystical Christianity, and each one of us must awaken the Christ-power with ourselves by trying to live the Christ-life. It is the beauty of Christianity that although it can meet the loftiest intellectual needs, it is at the same time absolutely simple, because the Master, by living among us, showed us exactly what to do, for we have only to 'live the life in order to know the doctrine.' As soon as ever we try to follow the example of the Master Jesus, we begin to understand Him."

"Let us for our Christmas meditation take the thought of the little Christ-Child, not yet entered upon His mission as messiah, not yet working with the power of the Holy Ghost, but who just lives in the home of His father, and simply loves and trusts."

"We often fail to understand the Master through the living of the Christ-life because we forget that He began His earthly journey as a little child. We try to begin where He ended. If we were content to start by being little children in our relationship with God, just living in the house of our Heavenly Father and loving and trusting, we could make a start in the great experience of spiritual realization, and growth would soon follow."


FEAST OF ST. STEPHEN (DEACON & MARYTR):
[DEC. 26th: *Sunday After Christmas Has Precedence]
(ALTAR CLOTH TO: RED)

Dion Fortune, Mystical Meditations On The Collects, Pgs. 28-30


Administrative Note:

The Proper Collect for the Sunday after Christmas takes precedence over the three Holy Feast Days which follow Christmas Day. As necessary, the observance of one, two, or all three of them is (are) postponed by one day. Traditionally, these feasts and days are listed as follows:

Dec. 26: St. Stephen's Day
Dec. 27: St. John The Evangelist's Day
Dec. 28: The Feast of The Holy Innocent's Day.

These notes are for clarification, as Dion Fortune is not entirely clear on this point in her book, Mystical Meditations Upon the Collects. The clarification is found in The Book of Common Prayer itself directly on page 161.

The Scriptures / Lessons:

Psalms: AM & PM: 31 (or 31:1-5)
All Years: Jer. 26:1-9, 12-5 / Act. 6:8-7:2a, 51c-60 / Mat. 23:34-39
The Collect:

"Grant, O Lord, that in all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of thy truth, we may steadfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of they first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succor all those that suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate. Amen"

The Meditation:
Keynote: "Fidelity To Our Ideals"

"'The first martyr in the Christian story is Saint Stephen, who was stoned to death because the ideal he upheld was felt as a rebuke by men who reckoned themselves righteous."

"When we have to make the choice between spiritual principles and expediency, we must be prepared to make sacrifices. Men have always stoned those who have held up before their eyes a standard higher than they are prepared to accept. Adherence to spiritual principles is never going to give us the flesh-pots of Egypt. We must make up our minds to that before we set out on the journey to the Promised Land. If we are not prepared to live upon manna and depend upon the Living Rock for water, we had better remain in bondage, for we shall die in the wilderness before the Promised Land is reached."

"Like Saint Stephen, the first martyr, we must look steadfastly up into heaven if we are going to tread the Path, for it is there our treasure is. We must not expect to receive material rewards for spiritual work. When we love our enemies, we do not hope to win popularity thereby; when we give all for Christ we do not expect to receive the best places in the synagogue. Our reward is to have been able, in some small measure, to lift the world's burden of sorrow and suffering inasmuch as we have transmuted hate into compassion and strife into gentleness."

"When, with the stones falling all about us we hold steadfastly to the highest, then do we see the Heavens opened and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God. Then there dawns upon us the power of mystical consciousness for which we toiled so long without visible result. Patiently, day by day, in prayer and service, we have sown the things of the spirit, and we have received the gifts of the spirit in Joy, peace, and a sense of God's blessing. But the great experiences of the mystical life do not come until we have known crisis. The prayer for Divine Union is made in the shelter of the inner chamber behind the closed door, but it is answered when the winds of heaven blow in storm about the soul."

"In that dark and stormy hour, let us try to rise into the higher consciousness; serenely placing our life in God's hands; compassionately and uncomplainingly meeting our adversaries; with no feelings of bitterness towards those who have offered themselves as the channels of the suffering that falls to our portion. This indeed is the highest achievement of the Christian soul in its distress - that it does not pray to be saved, but asks that its persecutors may be pardoned and that it may draw nearer to the Master."


FEAST OF ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST (MARTYR):
[DEC. 27th: *Sunday After Christmas Has Precedence]
(ALTAR CLOTH TO: RED)

Dion Fortune, Mystical Meditations On The Collects, Pgs. 31-33


Administrative Note:

The Proper Collect for the Sunday after Christmas takes precedence over the three Holy Feast Days which follow Christmas Day. As necessary, the observance of one, two, or all three of them is (are) postponed by one day. Traditionally, these feasts and days are listed as follows:

Dec. 26: St. Stephen's Day
Dec. 27: St. John The Evangelist's Day
Dec. 28: The Feast of The Holy Innocent's Day.

These notes are for clarification, as Dion Fortune is not entirely clear on this point in her book, Mystical Meditations Upon the Collects. The clarification is found in The Book of Common Prayer itself directly on page 161.

The Scriptures / Lessons:

Psalms: AM & PM: 92 (or 92:1-4 & 11-14)
All Years: Exo. 33:18-23 / 1Jhn. 1:-9 / Jhn. 21:19b-24
The Collect:

"Merciful Lord, we beseech thee to cast thy bright beams of light upon the Church, that it being enlightened by the doctrine of thy blessed Apostle and Evangelist Saint John may so walk in the light of thy truth, that it may at length attain to the light of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

The Meditation:
Keynote: "Deeper Understanding"

"'The smile of light, and all the words that derive therefrom, have ever been used when men seek to describe the change that takes place in human consciousness when spiritual forces begin to work upon it. The Mystic seeks Illumination, and his way is enlightened by the Inner Light."

"There has always been this Inner Light for those who sought it - the understanding that transcends the intellect - the mode of meditation that transcends the reason. The fruits of the this higher consciousness were gathered up into the Gnosis, and into the doctrine of the Illuminati - those intellectual mystics who have been most truly of the Company of Christ though seldom within the fold of the Church."

"The writings attributed to Saint John bear the clear marks of a familiarity with the Greek Mystery schools and the mystical Qabbalism of Israel. The disciple whom Jesus loved was undoubtedly aware of the existence of a Secret Doctrine within the exoteric systems of the day. It was concerning him that Our Lord said, while not denying that he should die even as other men, that nevertheless he should tarry till He came. Saint John it is who has more to tell us concerning the Holy Ghost than any of the other Evangelists."

"It is this Inner Light of mystical consciousness which must illumine the Church if it is to lead us from darkness to light, from death to life. There is a deeper significance in Christianity than is contained in the rationalizations of theology or that realization of spiritual truth which meets the needs of the wayfaring man. Saint John, coming to Christianity from the illuminism of Greece and Israel, knew that there must always be a presentation of the teachings which should be available for simple souls, taught only by their hearts; but there are abundant signs throughout the writings attributed to him which indicated his realization of a potent spiritual power behind the simple revelation which was given to simple souls."

"It is this deeper revelation which we need today if Christianity is to recover its lost influence over thinking men and women. It is there, awaiting development. Christianity is very far from being a burnt-out cinder."

"Christianity must have a Gnosis as well as a creed. The mystic who rises into the higher consciousness on the wings of love alone has had much to give to the spiritual life of men, but we must also find a place for the mystic who rises to the higher consciousness on the wings of those rarer powers of the mind that have been known in the Mysteries from time immemorial. We need our Christian Mysteries - the deeper teaching that can not be given save after dedication and purification."

"We need not only to know God as our Heavenly Father but to understand Him as the creative Logos. Unless this aspect be rediscovered and reintroduced into Christianity, it will continue to be the faith of peasants and women, and the finest minds of our race will receive from it a stone when they ask for bread."


FEAST OF THE HOLY INNOCENTS (MARTYRED BETHELEHM CHILDREN):
[DEC. 28th: *Sunday After Christmas Has Precedence]
(ALTAR CLOTH TO: RED)

Dion Fortune, Mystical Meditations On The Collects, Pgs. 34-35


Administrative Note:

The Proper Collect for the Sunday after Christmas takes precedence over the three Holy Feast Days which follow Christmas Day. As necessary, the observance of one, two, or all three of them is (are) postponed by one day. Traditionally, these feasts and days are listed as follows:

Dec. 26: St. Stephen's Day
Dec. 27: St. John The Evangelist's Day
Dec. 28: The Feast of The Holy Innocent's Day.

These notes are for clarification, as Dion Fortune is not entirely clear on this point in her book, Mystical Meditations Upon the Collects. The clarification is found in The Book of Common Prayer itself directly on page 161.

The Scriptures / Lessons:

Psalms: AM & PM: 124
All Years: Jer. 31:15-17/ Rev. 21:1-7 / Mat. 2:13-18
The Collect:

"Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen."

The Meditation:
Keynote: "Except Ye Become As Little Children"

"'God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty.¹ It has never been those with the most powerful intellects who went furthest in the spiritual life, but those who had the clearest understanding of our Lord¹s nature, who had the firmest grasp of spiritual principles, and who were prepared to act upon them at whatever cost. These have always been the Œsalt of the earth¹ even in the eyes of the worldly, and they have always been the ones whom time is justified."

"A child, before its outlook becomes sophisticated, has a clear understanding of real values. In the character of a child of beautiful nature we see the nearest approximation to the Christian ideal. When we set out on the quest of spiritual reality we should bear this in mind, and remember that it is not with the powers of the mind that we shall perceive spiritual things, but rather with the powers of the heart."

"We start our earthly journey as little children, and after passing by the flowery path of youth and the thorny path of maturity, we end it as little children. It is this child-spirit which catches glimpses of the Kingdom as we journey, and unless we can keep in our hearts the spirit of the child with which we set out, which came Œtrailing clouds of glory from heaven which is his home,¹ we shall miss the biggest things in life, the profoundest truths of knowledge, the most beautiful things of art."

"Let us strive to keep the spontaneity and simplicity of childhood throughout life¹s journey, for it is very near to the Kingdom. it is only the humble who can be helped. Those who are wise in their own conceit must go in their own strength."


1ST SUNDAY IN CHRISTMAS:
(ALTAR CLOTH TO: WHITE)

Dion Fortune, Mystical Meditations On The Collects, Pgs. 36-37


The Scriptures / Lessons:

Psalms: AM & PM: 147 (or 147:13-21)
All Years: Isa. 61:10-62:3 / Gal. 3:23-25 & 4:4-7 / Jhn. 1:1-18

The Collect:

"Almighty God, who has given us they only-begotten Son to take our nature upon Him, and as at this time to be born of a pure Virgin; grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by the Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen."

The Meditation:
Keynote: "Christ The Redeemer"

"It is in his sense of an external reality expressed as a Being that the Christian mystic differs from the rationalist, however noble and idealistic his outlook. The rationalist, holding just as lofty ideals as the Christian, believes that no one and nothing can avail to attain these ideals save his own unaided efforts, ant that the redemption of the world can only be achieved through the united efforts of mankind."

"The Christian says, The unaided efforts of mankind would take too long to do the work of purifying and perfecting the world. Meanwhile, mankind, like a creature that is penned but not tended, would die of its own filth. The cumulative effects of human error would overcome the earth, even as in old story of the sins of the sons of Adam."

"We need help, and if we are wise, we will try not to go, in our own strength but admit our need, and accept the help that is there, awaiting us. For God has not left us comfortless, but, knowing human frailty, has given us One who answers the call of the heart. When the cry for redemption goes forth into the deeps of the spirit, One comes in answer, One whom humanity can know and understand, for He was a man with men."

"From Him we learn those qualities of the human character which enable the higher consciousness to dawn in the personality. Purified and exalted by experience of the Christ-force as transmitted by Our Lord, we can await in the upper chamber the coming of the Holy Ghost in tongues of living flame that shall illuminate the understanding."

"Not until the gentle work of the Redeemer has been done in our hearts can we bear that fiery descent of mystical power that shall teach us all things."


2ND SUNDAY AFTER CHRISTMAS:
(ALTAR CLOTH TO: WHITE)

GHFr. Pneuma, OAB, Additions to Dion Fortune's Mystical Meditations On The Collects,
The Book Of Common Prayer, Pg. 162.


Administrative Note:

Dion Fortune does not list a meditation for the collect in her book, Mystical Meditations on the Collects (ISBN: 0-87728-734-1), for the 2nd Sunday after Christmas Day, hence this is an OAB addition to that work.

The Scriptures / Lessons:

Psalms: AM & PM: 84 (or 84:1-8)
All Years: Jer. 31:7-14 / Eph. 1:3-6, 15-19a / Mat. 2:13-15, 19-23 (or Luk. 2:41-42) (or Mat. 2:2-23)

The Collect:

"O God, who didst wonderfully create, and yet more wonderfully restore, the dignity of human nature; Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, Thy Son Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen."

The Meditation:
Keynote: "Mystical Restoration"

"On this day, let the Christian Mystic and Magician be reminded that the Master Jesus came to fulfill his true will, and that was not entirely his own will as mortals understand the term, but rather as God's will be done. According to Kabbalistical understanding, the four worlds of manifestation exist in the model of an imperfect tree - a fallen tree; which must exist if the physical created order was to come into existence. It is a law of nature and of manifestation. In order for the worlds to be re-made whole and perfect, it requires an equal vehicle of God's creation for restoration to be made possible. In fulfilling his true will, the Will of his Father which art in heaven, the Son of Man was crucified on a tree that the tree of life could be restored to it's former perfection."

"By following magickal disciplines, we strive to share in the work that Christ himself began. Our work is not needed in order to *raise* the tree, (as Christ fulfilled that purpose) but rather to allow the Christ consciousness to raise our own natures to a more divine understanding. We rededicate ourselves to the Great Work on this day. Christian Magi generally view the Great Work as an attempt to become more than human; not to become gods ourselves, but to exalt our spiritual natures to a point that we may greater allow ourselves to be used as instruments of creation by The God. Every Kabbalist knows that creation is not an event in the past - but is an ongoing continuous action."


CIRCUMCISION OF CHRIST:
JAN. 01st [NEW YEAR'S DAY]:
(ALTAR CLOTH TO: WHITE)

Dion Fortune, Mystical Meditations On The Collects, Pgs. 38-39.


The Scriptures / Lessons:

Psalms: AM & PM: 8
All Years: Exo. 34:1-8 / Rom. 1:1-7 (or Phi. 2:9-13) / Luk. 2:15-21

The Collect:

"Almighty God, who madest thy blessed Son to be circumcised, and obedient to the law for man; grand us the true circumcision of the Spirit; that our hearts and all our members, being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey thy blessed will; through the same thy Son Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen."

The Meditation:

Keynote: "Fulfilling the Duties of Life"

"On the First day of the New Year the Church commemorates the Circumcision. This practice, so essential to the Jewish faith, was fulfilled by Our Lord, and yet Paul says, 'In Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision.' Out of this seeming contradiction comes a very important practical lesson for us. The Master Jesus was not limited by any race prejudices, and yet He was always most careful to fulfill all the ritual requirements for Jews and to 'render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's.' The Apostle Paul, on the other hand. 'very Jew of very Jew,' became the Apostle to the Gentiles and broke through the limitations of Jewish Orthodoxy."

"If however, we look upon the Master as a reactionary and the Apostle as an anarchist, we should be far beside the mark, for each qualified his attitude. The Master said, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath,' and healed thereon in defiance of the prohibitions of the Law; and Saint Paul, after the words we have quoted from Galatians v.6, goes on to say that the thing which really avails is 'faith which worketh by love.'"

"Our Master taught His disciples that they had to be good Jews before they could be good Christians, and we have to be good men and women before we can hope to attain to a state of super-humanity."

"Let us, therefore, take for our meditation this week the fulfilling of the duties of daily life. Just as the Church uses symbols to express spiritual things on the physical plane, so let us ever bear in mind that our earth-life is a symbol of the Spiritual Man, who is our real self. Every act we do in our daily routine can be sacramental for us if we make it so, and our daily toil become an exercise for the soul's growth. Let us, therefore, fulfill the Law in our homes, in our businesses, in our town, county, (state), and country. Let the mystic be a good citizen, and so follow the example of his Master, Who was circumcised Jew before He was Light of the World."

Administrative Note:

The proper collect and title have changed in the present day Book of Common Prayer for the Anglican Faith from what Ms. Dion Fortune used in her original MMotC's to be as follows:

HOLY NAME (ALTERNATE COLLECT):
JAN. 01 [NEW YEAR'S DAY]:
(ALTAR CLOTH TO: WHITE)

Book of Common Prayer, Pg. 162.


The Alternative Collect:

"Eternal Father, who didst give to thine incarnate Son the Holy name of Jesus to be the sign of our salvation: Plant in every heart, we beseech Thee, the love of Him who is the Savior of the world, even our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Spirit, on God, in glory everlasting. Amen."

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