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This phrase is sometimes used to refer to religious worship that's characterised by the use of bells, incense, and vestments in the liturgies of the Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox, and eastern rite churches.

Revelations 5:7-8

The Lamb came forward to take the scroll from the right hand of the One sitting on the throne, and when he took it, the four living creatures prostrated themselves before him and with them the twenty-four elders; each one of them was holding a harp and had a golden bowl full of incense which are the prayers of the saints.

He who sings prays twice.


~  St Augustine  ~

Responsorial Psalm on 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - Sun, Oct 22, 2017


Psalms 96:1-13

Sing a new song to the Lord! Sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name! Proclaim his salvation day after day, declare his glory among the nations, his marvels to every people! Great is the Lord, worthy of all praise, more awesome than any of the gods. All the gods of the nations are idols! It was the Lord who made the heavens; in his presence are splendour and majesty, in his sanctuary power and beauty. Give to the Lord, families of nations, give to the Lord glory and power, give to the Lord the glory due to his name! Bring an offering and enter his courts, adore the Lord in the splendour of his holiness. Tremble before him, all the earth. Say among the nations, 'the Lord is king.' The world is set firm, it cannot be moved. He will judge the nations with justice. Let the heavens rejoice and earth be glad! Let the sea thunder, and all it holds! Let the countryside exult, and all that is in it, and all the trees of the forest cry out for joy, at the Lord's approach, for he is coming, coming to judge the earth; he will judge the world with saving justice, and the nations with constancy.


Artwork by Philip Lee

Reading on All Saints - Year A - Wed, Nov 01, 2017


Revelations 7:2-4; 9-14

Then I saw another angel rising where the sun rises, carrying the seal of the living God; he called in a powerful voice to the four angels whose duty was to devastate land and sea, 'Wait before you do any damage on land or at sea or to the trees, until we have put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.' And I heard how many had been sealed: a hundred and forty-four thousand, out of all the tribes of Israel.


After that I saw that there was a huge number, impossible for anyone to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands. They shouted in a loud voice, 'Salvation to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!' And all the angels who were standing in a circle round the throne, surrounding the elders and the four living creatures, prostrated themselves before the throne, and touched the ground with their foreheads, worshipping God with these words: Amen. Praise and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour and power and strength to our God for ever and ever. Amen.


One of the elders then spoke and asked me, 'Who are these people, dressed in white robes, and where have they come from?' I answered him, 'You can tell me, sir.' Then he said, 'These are the people who have been through the great trial; they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb.


Reading on Palm Sunday: At the Mass - Year B - Sun, Mar 25, 2018


Mark 14:27-31; 66-72

And Jesus said to them, 'You will all fall away, for the scripture says: I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered; however, after my resurrection I shall go before you into Galilee.' Peter said, 'Even if all fall away, I will not.' And Jesus said to him, 'In truth I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times.' But he repeated still more earnestly, 'If I have to die with you, I will never disown you.' And they all said the same...


While Peter was down below in the courtyard, one of the high priest's servant-girls came up. She saw Peter warming himself there, looked closely at him and said, 'You too were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.' But he denied it. 'I do not know, I do not understand what you are talking about,' he said. And he went out into the forecourt, and a cock crowed. The servant-girl saw him and again started telling the bystanders, 'This man is one of them.' But again he denied it. A little later the bystanders themselves said to Peter, 'You are certainly one of them! Why, you are a Galilean.' But he started cursing and swearing, 'I do not know the man you speak of.' And at once the cock crowed for the second time, and Peter recalled what Jesus had said to him, 'Before the cock crows twice, you will have disowned me three times.' And he burst into tears.


Artwork by Elaine Tsui

Reading on 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year C - Sun, Feb 03, 2019


1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Love is always patient and kind; love is never jealous; love is not boastful or conceited, it is never rude and never seeks its own advantage, it does not take offence or store up grievances. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but finds its joy in the truth. It is always ready to make allowances, to trust, to hope and to endure whatever comes. Love never comes to an end. But if there are prophecies, they will be done away with; if tongues, they will fall silent; and if knowledge, it will be done away with. For we know only imperfectly, and we prophesy imperfectly; but once perfection comes, all imperfect things will be done away with.


When I was a child, I used to talk like a child, and see things as a child does, and think like a child; but now that I have become an adult, I have finished with all childish ways. Now we see only reflections in a mirror, mere riddles, but then we shall be seeing face to face. Now I can know only imperfectly; but then I shall know just as fully as I am myself known. As it is, these remain: faith, hope and love, the three of them; and the greatest of them is love.

Artwork by Elaine Tsui

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.


~  St Augustine  ~

/luh-bo-ruh et aw-rah/ 




  1. work and pray

The title of this card deliberately reverses the monastic motto, Ora et Labora, a phrase which has been adopted in the crests and mottos of mission schools.


Matthew 6:24-34

'No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or be attached to the first and despise the second. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money. 'That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and what you are to wear. Surely life is more than food, and the body more than clothing! Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they are? Can any of you, however much you worry, add one single cubit to your span of life?


And why worry about clothing? Think of the flowers growing in the fields; they never have to work or spin; yet I assure you that not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of these. Now if that is how God clothes the wild flowers growing in the field which are there today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, will he not much more look after you, you who have so little faith? So do not worry; do not say, "What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What are we to wear?" It is the gentiles who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God's saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.'


/kwoh va-dis/ 




  1. where are you going?


Reading on 5th Sunday of Easter - Year C - Sun, May 19, 2019


John 13:31-36
When he had gone, Jesus said: Now has the Son of man been glorified, and in him God has been glorified. If God has been glorified in him, God will in turn glorify him in himself, and will glorify him very soon. Little children, I shall be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and, as I told the Jews, where I am going, you cannot come. I give you a new commandment: love one another; you must love one another just as I have loved you. It is by your love for one another, that everyone will recognise you as my disciples. Simon Peter said, 'Lord, where are you going?' Jesus replied, 'Now you cannot follow me where I am going, but later you shall follow me.'

An extract from Quo Vadis, Henryk Sienkiewicz

Then the sun appeared over the line of hills ; but at once a wonderful vision struck the Apostle's eyes. It seemed to him that the golden circle, instead of rising in the sky, moved down from the heights and was advancing on the road. Peter stopped, and asked, ''Seest thou that brightness approaching us?" "I see nothing," replied Nazarius. But Peter shaded his eyes with his hand, and said after a while, "Some figure is coming in the gleam of the sun." But not the slightest sound of steps reached their ears. It was perfectly still all around. Nazarius saw only that the trees were quivering in the distance, as if some one were shaking them, and the light was spreading more broadly over the plain. He looked with wonder at the Apostle. "Rabbi! what ails thee?" cried he, with alarm. The pilgrim's staff fell from Peter's hands to the earth; his eyes were looking forward, motionless; his mouth was open; on his face were depicted astonishment, delight, rapture. Then he threw himself on his knees, his arms stretched forward; and this cry left his lips, "O Christ! O Christ!" He fell with his face to the earth, as if kissing some one's feet. The silence continued long; then were heard the words of the aged man, broken by sobs, "Quo vadis, Domine?" Nazarius did not hear the answer; but to Peter's ears came a sad and sweet voice, which said...

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