All posts by Stafford Whiteaker

Chapter 2: In the Beginning

In the beginning, since all histories must have some sort of beginning, the Devil landed near this small village before it existed, before the mountains grew, and before even the stars and planets gathered in milky constellations. He hit the water in the nearby river with a mighty roar. Once out of Heaven, the Devil filled himself up with destruction and blew it around the universe. He caressed everything with his darkness and as soon as he met Adam and Eve he cursed them and all future human hearts with the knowledge of death. This went on for millions of years until one afternoon when the Devil got bored with destruction and wrecking lives and decided to visit the place where he had first landed. He returned to find a village by the river in which he had first landed. This was Banios sur l’Ange. When the Devil found the place where God had dumped him, he lived again the despair of rejection and the sadness of his loneliness. The earth shook, the wind from Provence danced with the wind from Africa, and the river flowed backwards for five days.

From dawn to dusk, all the village people could hear was the Devil singing as he studied this village by the Continue reading Chapter 2: In the Beginning

On Fasting: Meditations for Lent Week 1

Sadness of Jesus statue in cemetery - focus for meditation on fasting
Sadness of Jesus statue in cemetery
FreeImages.com/Wes Funderberg

First Meditation: On fasting

Fasting is recommended to us in both the Old and New Testaments and by the example of Christ and of his Saints. (Joel 2; Jonas 3) We learn that all who follow Christ are to fast and, moreover, that the devil will not leave us except by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 9:15; Mark 9:28) It is made clear that, while we fell from God originally by succumbing to temptations, we return to him by fasting. The gratifying of our sensual appetites most often betrays us both in our flesh and our happiness. It is well known that the unbridled In the discipline of fasting, we overcome them both. In other words, fasting for a Christian is never out of fashion.

However, fasting is often just because we want to look or feel better, but Continue reading On Fasting: Meditations for Lent Week 1

Chapter 1: The Return

Follow the Route de Palomieres until you pass the little café on the top of the ridge. Then, look carefully to your right as the forest begins. By a collection of old tree stumps, you will see a narrow dirt road. This is the way you want to go. Brambles cover the ground so be careful. After about a half-mile the path gets steep. Don’t worry you are going the right way. It’s all up hill from now on. Slowly the trees open into meadows. Floating high above an eagle watches. If you hear distant bells, it is only from Marcel Fontan’s sheep. The air turns cold, but do not give up or be frightened. You are not lost but going to Banios-sur-l’Ange. This is where the Devil landed when God threw him out of Heaven.

In the distance, nested between high cliffs and a river, is a village. A pale mist hangs above it like a discarded Christmas ribbon. The warren of stone cottages that make up Banios-sur-l’Ange or Banios-by-the-Angel are blue under its shadow. But what you see over the village is not mist or Continue reading Chapter 1: The Return

On Repentance: Ash Wednesday Meditation

Mosaic of Jesus in Istanbul church - for contemplation on Ash Wednesday
Mosaic of Jesus in Istanbul church
FreeImages.com/ephe drin

God’s call to you on Ash Wednesday

On this day, consider how God calls you. Come back to me, he says, Come back to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, mourning, and turn to the Lord your God. (Joel 2:12-13) You need to hear this call in the depths of your faith and answer it without delay. Do not leave God waiting. Instead, use this day of repentance to put yourself right with him, because nothing is so dear to God as when men and women turn to him with true sorrow for having forgotten his commandments.

We know that God holds such repentance dear to his heart, because Jesus told us plainly that he had come not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. (Luke 5:32) Since God knows even our most secret thoughts, there is no way we could ever claim not to be sinners. (Psalm 93) He has called us to be holy and Continue reading On Repentance: Ash Wednesday Meditation

The Cloud of Goodness

Painting of Banios in the high mountains, by Blanche Odin
The village of Banios-sur-l’Ange in the mountains, by Blanche Odin
The Cloud of Goodness
by Stafford Whiteaker

Table of Contents

ScheduleChapter
12 Feb 20161 – The Return
19 Feb 20162 – In the Beginning
26 Feb 20163 – Plan One of the Devil
26 Feb 20164 – The Buddha Monkey
05 Mar 20165 – Plan Two of the Devil
05 Mar 20166 – Stalin’s Library
TBD7 – The Devil gets rough
TBD8 – The Dancers

 

They invoked the Lord and he answered.
To them he spoke in the pillar of cloud.
They did his will and kept the law
which he, the Lord, had given.

Psalm 98

Preparatory Meditations for Lent

Series of arches leading to a door to the interior - focus on self-examination
Decorative red brick Archway
FreeImages.com/Michael & Christa Richert

First Meditation: Examine your interior state

Consider the dreadful choices we often make, because we do not know the true state of our own self. Even worse, just think back on how many times you did things, which on reflection you should have known were not true of yourself—how you really are and feel and what you deem truly valuable in your life. Your choices, if not true of yourself, cast away both your own past experience as well as the doctrines, values, ethics and morality of your faith, your church and the teaching of Jesus. In short, we often make choices which throw out the baby with the bath water, simply because we ignore the deeper understanding we have of our true self—a self which rest in Christ and is under the will of God.

How many in the world pass their whole lives in ignorance or denial of the truth of that wisdom which proclaims Know thyself! The result for people is often a collapse into sin just for want of looking into themselves with an honest eye and an open heart. So many imagine themselves to be alive when in reality they are dead. (Apoc. 3:1) How many imagine themselves and their souls to be rich and wealthy and in need of Continue reading Preparatory Meditations for Lent

How to Use these Meditations

Lotus flower
Lotus flower
FreeImages.com/xAi Shonato

Overview of the Meditations

These meditations, inspired by those of the Roman Catholic Bishop, Richard Challoner (1691-1781), are designed to help you to be reconciled to God through prayer and repentance. In this way you share in the Passion of Christ and draw, once again, closer to Our Lord. While these meditations are in the Roman Catholic tradition, they all arise from Holy Scripture and the wisdom of saints and celebrated holy men and women. In this way they should be suitable for any Christian or, indeed, for anyone who yearns to move closer to the universal truth and force of life, which is God. Here is found that simple, yet eternal, discovery: all life is one.

There are three meditations to help you examine your life in preparation for Ash Wednesday so that you become aware of how you may have displeased God. We need to remember here that to displease God is, in the end, to displease our true self. This makes us unhappy, so Continue reading How to Use these Meditations

Meditations for Lent

Four candles symbolise the guiding light of Meditations for Lent Table of Contents
Four candles
FreeImages.com/Nadia Szopińska
Meditations for Lent
by Stafford Whiteaker

Table of Contents

ScheduleChapter
February
Sat 06How to use these Meditations

  1. Overview of the Meditations
  2. About Lent
  3. Getting the most from these Meditations
Sun 07Preparatory Meditations for Lent

  1. The examination of our interior state
  2. Our sins of omission
  3. A further examination of the soul
Wed 10On Repentance: Ash Wednesday Meditation

We are reminded on this day, which begins the season of Lent, that we come from dust, the ash of this earth, and we return to it. No one escapes this ending. This should bring a deep sense of humility and thankfulness to God for the days of life you have been given. But it is also a reminder that none should delay reconciliation with God, because death can come at any hour. Therefore, we should not postpone following the path of Christ if we hope for eternal reunion with God, because time is really not on our side.

Sun 14On Fasting: Meditations for Lent Week 1

  1. On fasting
  2. The rules of fasting
  3. The true fast of a Christian life
Sun 21On Mercy: Meditations for Lent Week 2

  1. On exercising works of mercy
  2. The spiritual works of mercy
  3. On Jesus being condemned to the Cross
Sun 28On Prayer: Meditations for Lent Week 3

  1. On Prayer
  2. The necessity of prayer
  3. Attention in prayer
March
Sun 06On Betrayal: Meditations for Lent Week 4

  1. The treason of Judas
  2. Jesus’s treatment in the house of Caiaphas
  3. On Barabbas and the scourging of Jesus
Sun 13On Suffering: Meditations for Lent Week 5

  1. On devotion to the Passion of Christ
  2. The benefits of devotion to the Passion Of Christ
  3. The lessons Christ teaches in his Passion
Sun 20On Submission: Meditations for Lent Week 6

  1. Lessons to be learned from Christ in his Passion
  2. The love Christ has shown us in his Passion
  3. On Jesus preaching from the Cross
Fri 25On Redemption: Meditation for Good Friday

On Our Saviour’s Death

 

© “Meditations for Lent” By Stafford Whiteaker from “Meditations with Challoner for Everyday of the Year” by Stafford Whiteaker to be published by John Hunt Publishing in 2017. Permission is granted for quoting from these meditations as long as the source by title and author is credited.

Without you, there is no me!

Stafford Whiteaker
Stafford Whiteaker
For many years I lived as a hermit in the mountains of the Pyrenees in France. It was there that I started writing the story of Banios-sur-Ange. Maybe it was the storms that inspired me or the great eagles riding the wind. Maybe it was the meadows of wild flowers. Maybe it was because I got lonely and wanted company. In any case I started to write this story, The Cloud of Goodness.

The Cloud of Goodness
by Stafford Whiteaker

For years I had made my living as writer of non-fiction and here I was writing a story about a once-upon-a-time village lost in a far valley beyond the forests. A little history of vice, virtue and the devil. What I wanted, above all, was to get as close to my readers through this story as possible. That is the company and companionship I wanted. I wanted you to be part of my life. In short, I made this website so I could offer the story of the village of Banios-sur-Ange (Banios-by-the-Angel) to you, a place to meet where it all happened, a way of knowing each other, a way of saying, without you, the reader, I would not exist. Continue reading Without you, there is no me!