Theophany Celebrations in Cardiff

After Wednesday’s Vesperal Liturgy and Great Blessing of the Waters in Llanelli, we continued our Theophany celebrations in Cardiff today.

Due to the daily mass at Nazareth House, we were unable to start the Hours and Liturgy until 11:00, so that with the Great Blessing of the Waters, our celebration reached well into the afternoon. 

Having not enjoyed Theophany in Nazareth House since 2020, it was wonderful to celebrate the feast again, though on a smaller scale, given that the feast fell on a work day. This said, we still had community members from Wiltshire and Bath joining us, singing, serving and reading for the feast.

Gathering before our water vessels at the end of the Liturgy, the Theophany hymns and prayers called us to participate in the outpouring of God’s Grace once manifested in the consecration of the Jordan and the whole creation at the Saviour’s baptism, continually realised anew in the celebration of His Baptism and the Great Blessing of the Waters, each year.

What joyous words we heard, with the poetic joy of creation’s renewal through the wonder of  the Incarnate-God bringing grace, light and life by His selfless descent into the world as the God-Man and in His humble and self-effacing descent into the streams of the Jordan, though He was holy, divine and sinless.

From the Prophet Isaiah we heard the wonderful expectation that,

“… the desert places of Jordan shall blossom, and all shall be glad and rejoice; the glory of Lebanon hath been given to it, and the honour of Carmel; and My people shall see the glory of the Lord, and the majesty of God… For the mountains and the hills shall exult to welcome you with joy, and all the trees of the field shall clap with their branches. And instead of the bramble shall come up the cypress, and instead of the nettle shall come up the myrtle: and the Lord shall be for a name, and for an everlasting sign, and shall not fail.”

And in His Baptism, the glory of the Lord and the majesty of God was the manifestation of the Trinity, in the ceaseless outpouring and exchange of love between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit bearing witness together in the events of the Jordan river.

The special petitions of the Litany of Peace reminded us that on the feast we do not merely come as witnesses, but rather to be participators in the great mystery of Christ’s Baptism, to be partakers of the grace of the Holy Spirit and the consecration of God’s world and the waters of Theophany.

They speak of our illumination, liberation, sanctification, purification, participation, and standing before the vessels of water we ask the Lord to

“impart unto it the grace of redemption, the blessing of Jordan. Make it a fountain of immortality, a gift of sanctification, the remission of sins, the healing of infirmities, the destruction of the demons, unapproachable by hostile powers, filled with angelic might. And may it be unto all those who shall draw it, and shall partake of it unto the purification of their souls and bodies, unto the healing of their passions, unto the sanctification of their homes, and unto every expedient service.”

I sincerely hope that those who prayed with me throughout the Liturgy and the consecration of the waters felt themselves to be participators in the wonderful and joyful feast, and (with their bottles of holy water) have gone back to their towns, villages, and homes buoyed with the feeling that they have truly been part of  the Lord’s Theophany, in a celebration in which His Baptism became spiritually real as an event which transcends time and place, whose joy and grace is renewed in God’s world, even if just in our little corner of it, every year.

We now look forward to continuing in this joy and being participators in the illumination and manifestation of God’s glory and grace as we travel across the counties in which our faithful live – in both Wales and England – enthusiastically blessing dwellings, gardens and land, as we continue to sing the festal hymns – desirous and mindful of our need for sanctification, illumination, liberation and purification through our life in Christ, and through Him in our life in the Holy Trinity.

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