George Herbert

From the notes on his feast day in Lesser Feasts and Fasts:

Lines from his poem on prayer have moved many readers:

Prayer, the Church’s banquet, Angel’s age,
God’s breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, the heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth.

Herbert was unselfish in his devotion and service to others. Izaak Walton writes that many of the parishioners “let their plow rest when Mr. Herbert’s saints-bell rung to prayers, that they might also offer their devotion to God with him.

George Herbert was a parson in the Church of England in a very different age, one that was much less mobile than ours. When he rang his “saints-bell” to announce the saying of the Offices, his parishioners would all have been within earshot of the church.

How much more fragmented our congregations are today, but how much we still need to “let our plows rest” and “offer our devotion” with each other.

I hope these reflections ring a saints-bell in your daily routine, however far away you may be, and that you will find a way to pause and pray before returning to your work.


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