My soul longs and faints for the courts of the Lord

The shrine of St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne in Durham Cathedral

The shrine of St Cuthbert of Lindisfarne in Durham Cathedral. © John Hamilton, used under licence.

I WOULD rather be an abject in the house of God, than dwell in the tents of sinners.

Psalm 83(84):10.


Today, the second Sunday of Lent, is called the Sunday of St Gregory Palamas.

This year, it is also the Feast of St Cuthbert, the Wonderworker of Lindisfarne (+687).

Like the Fathers, the early British saints were willing to give up everything for God – to go up “into the valley of weeping”, to receive his blessings.


THE Church in The British Isles will only begin to grow when She begins to venerate Her own Saints again.

St Arsenios of Paros (+1877). Source.


IF, then, you yearn to be enriched with holiness – and without holiness no one will see the Lord (cf. Heb 12:14) – you should abide in your own cell, enduring hardship and praying with humility.

St Gregory Palamas (+1359), “To the Most Reverend Nun Xenia” §43, in the “Philokalia”.


Inner Farne, Northumbria

Inner Farne, Northumbria, © Paul Buckingham (Geograph). Cuthbert's hermitage stood on the right of the island, where a chapel now stands.

In the year 676, St Cuthbert chose the path so highly praised by St Gregory Palamas.

WHEN he had remained some years in the monastery, he was rejoiced to be able at length, with the blessing of the abbot and brethren accompanying him, to retire to the secrecy of solitude which he had so long coveted.

He rejoiced that from the long conversation with the world he was now thought worthy to be promoted to retirement and Divine contemplation.

He rejoiced that he now could reach to the condition of those of whom it is sung by the Psalmist: “The holy shall walk from virtue to virtue; the God of Gods shall be seen in Zion” (Ps 83[84]:7).

St Bede, “Life of St Cuthbert” Chapter XVII. Translation at Mediaeval Sourcebook.

See my Page on St Cuthbert for more on his wonderful life and his sympathetic, attractive character.


Psalm 83

HOW amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!

My soul longs, and faints for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh have exulted in the living god. Alleluia.

Yea, the sparrow has found himself a home, and the turtle-dove a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. Alleluia.

Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will praise thee evermore. Alleluia.

Blessed is the man whose help is of thee, O Lord; in his heart he has purposed to go up the valley of weeping, to the place which he has appointed, for there the law-giver will grant blessings. Alleluia.

They shall go from strength to strength: the God of gods shall be seen in Sion. Alleluia.

O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer: hearken, O God of Jacob. Alleluia.

Behold, O God our defender, and look upon the face of thine anointed. Alleluia.

For one day in thy courts is better than thousands. I would rather be an abject in the house of God, than dwell in the tents of sinners. Alleluia.

For the Lord loves mercy and truth: God will give grace and glory: the Lord will not withhold good things from them that walk in innocence. Alleluia.

O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusts in thee. Alleluia.


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