Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

We praise you, God, for your great saint
Elizabeth of Hungary:
the queen who gave her throne away
to learn to live in poverty.

Like your dear Son, she chose to not
take her great wealth as her just due:
with love, she emptied out her claim
and humbly meek, she followed you.

To serve her friends became her life,
she built a hospice for the poor;
she helped the sick, and left the court
to study God for evermore.

Franciscan friars taught her that
to love God is the highest call.
Not only did she serve her peers,
but now her life inspires us all.

Franciscan sisters in the West
honoured her name in Bunbury;
they helped new settlers make a life
in their hardship and poverty.*

Teach us, dear God, deep gratitude
for all the wealth you’ve given us.
Teach us to take the narrow way
that leads us to be generous.

Let us like saint Elizabeth
make serving God our highest aim.
We give ourselves for others’ need
to magnify Christ Jesus’ Name.


* The Anglican Sisters of St Elizabeth of Hungary (OSEH) served in south-west Australia in the 20th Century. They earned the nickname “The Little Grey Sparrows“.

Metre: 88 88 “Morning Hymn” TiS 557, TH 11

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary – The Miracle of the Roses by Gustave Moreau

Hidden God

Lord, we do adore you; deep in love we’re falling.
You in bread, in wine, are hiding, heat as in the flame.
Lord, you feed us wholly, for our hearts you’re calling;
But, Lord, we’re nothing, nothing can we claim.

Taste and touch are failing; seeing is deceiving,
Only in the sense of hearing do we know it’s you.
I believe our God’s Word, memory retrieving
Truth from the Scriptures, Jesus tells it true.

On the cross you’re hiding, God as human here,
You are God and human, and both death and life exist.
I believe, and trusting that my faith is clear;
I pray the prayer of the terrorist*.

Thomas touched your woundings; those I cannot warrant.
My faith depends on trusting in the here and now.
Help me then to know you with a heart transparent,
Seek hope: I love you more in every hour.

Bread ignites our memory of our Maker dying.
Bread and wine are living, and burn with His life afire.
Help me journey forward on our God relying
And find the sweetness people all desire.


*The two bandits crucified with Jesus were probably armed rebels, in today’s word, terrorists.

Paraphrase of Thomas Aquinas Adoro Te Devoto.
Metre: Tune: Nicæa TiS 132

By Glory

By Glory

By glory at Christmas,
Raised into God’s light,
Child comes to his planet,
his hard cross in sight.

By glory the angels
praise this One who comes,
tell us that he’s living;
with shepherds we run.

By glory the Gospel,
God’s justice and care,
we love one another,
to do right we dare.

By glory this Jesus,
God’s Immanuel,
with joy as his future,
all darkness dispels.

By glory friend Francis
depicted the birth,
with cradle and oxen,
he joined him to earth.

By glory at midnight
built manger and stall,
and now infant Jesus
is worshipped by all.

Ted Witham
Christmas AD 2011

Metre: anapaestic
(‘Cradle Song’ TiS 318 or ‘Thailand’ TiS 164)

Australian Christmas Tree (Nuytsia floribunda)

When Time Was Set Anew – Christmas

When God’s creation first began,
the planets sing, in orbits go,
rocks and lizards praise One they know,
Word and Wisdom carry God’s plan.
When time was set anew for you,
God refreshed,
Word is born for you.

Women and men danced with their God,
Some loved God still, some lost ways trod –
some fought in hate, stuffed sick with greed.
Some turned their backs on all in need.
When time was set anew….

Then God’s wise Word was incarnate,
Jesus the Son, human-divine.
Word and Wisdom still made the sign:
God still forgives, new life creates.
When time was set anew….

So dear Saint Francis meant to show
the baby Jesus in manger there.
Word and Wisdom were full of care,
In loving Him, more love you’ll know.
When time was set anew….

 Jesus lives, him we choose to adore,
turn from our self-centredness,
in his good time, we will be blessed,
and dance with God for ever more.
When time was set anew…..

 Ted Witham Christmas 2011

Metre 88.88.88 Sussex Carol (TiS 300)
Melita (TiS 138)
St  Petersburg (TiS 375)

THe perichoresis (dance) of the Trinity - sub-atomic particles



For Profession (as a member of the Third Order)

Before you, great High Priest, I stand
to make my true Profession.
I place my all in your strong hand;
my life as intercession.

You call me, Jesus, to your Way,
to walk with dedication.
You are my guidance and my stay
in every situation.

You teach me, Master, how to live
with joy in generous giving;
to help the needy and to give
our love and be forgiving.

We praise you that wise Francis now
may be our holy teacher.
His teachings and his actions show
a better way to meet you.

Now here we stand with honest heart
and mind to love you dearly.
Now bless the offering on our part
and live with me more nearly.

Ted Witham 2011

Metre: 87 87 Iambic

Dominus Regit Me TiS 145

St Columba TiS 523

Companions in Christ: St Francis and St Antony of Padua

The we and our in the final verse can be replaced by I and me if there is only one to be Professed.

The Christmas Ballad

Once a little baby born in old Bethlehem
Under the shade of the horses’ pepper tree,
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a pilgrim, my darling, with me.

You’ll walk to heaven, you’ll walk to heaven,
You’ll walk to heaven alongside me,
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a pilgrim, my darling, with me.

It rained all day at the time of his christening,
It brought down blessings for you and me.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a gospeller, my darling, with me.

You’ll tell the story, you’ll tell the story,
You’ll tell the story that sets the world free.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a gospeller, my darling, with me.

Along came old Satan to dry up all the blessing,
And put an end to love that’s true.
And his hands were as smooth as anything that’s empty,
He is a poisoner of the wells for you.

You’ll guard our water, you’ll guard our water,
You’ll guard the springs of community.
And Christ’s hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll keep its love and its purity.

He fought old Satan on top of Hill of Calvary,
He beat him down to his end, you see.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll laugh for ever, my darling, with me.

You’ll laugh for ever, you’ll laugh for ever,
We’ll laugh together for Jesus is free.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
We’ll laugh for ever, for Jesus is free.

© Ted Witham 1996

Tune: “Waltzing Matilda’

Ballad inspired by Norman Habel and Pro Hart's Outback Christmas

The Stigmata

When Francis our father received the stigmata,
he climbed up Averna and prayed from the heart.
With all his believing, he now is receiving
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

So first there is Moses, who on our God closes
by opening his life to the power of the law.
He follows obeying, and does what God’s saying:
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

And next there is Jesus who brightness releases.
On Carmel he’s climbing and shines in the light.
The truth that he’s revealing, with serving we’re sealing
the marks on our body of being in Christ.

So when our Saint Francis on Averna dances,
He turns to the Lord and is won by the Cross.
Obeying and seeing, and turning and freeing
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

Now we who are living find joy in thanksgiving.
We seek out a place to pause and to pray.
The love that we’re gaining is expressed with pain in
the marks on our body of being in Christ.

This hymn was inspired by Moses’ experience of the glory of God when he climbed Mount Sinai. This is described in Exodus 24:12-18 set for the Old Testament reading for the Stigmata (in the Australian Third Order Manual).

The metre of the hymn is and the words were written to fit the tune “Kremser” (Together in Song 107).  It can also be sung to the “Ash Grove” (Together in Song 531) (either repeat verse 1 at the end, or start verse 5 from line 5 of the music to fit “The Ash Grove”).

© Ted Witham tssf, Stigmata 2007

The Stigmatizing of St Francis - Caravaggio

Love, All Love

The heart of our God is love, all love;
Love fills the Universe with love.
The galaxies sway their loving song;
Each living cell beats out with love.

The heart of Jesus is love, all love;
He raised the lowly, embraced the poor;
He mends the broken and rises from dying,
Lives on to love for evermore.

The heart of Francis is love, all love;
Embraced the leper, clung to the Cross.
He sings in joy, he’s humble in loving;
God All in All, all else is loss.

The heart of living is love, all love;
Love fills our hearts, turns to the Son.
With bread and wine the love inside us,
We take this love to everyone.

Ted Witham 2010
Written for the WA Third Order Convocation 2010
Metre 9898 St Clement TIS 458
O Waly, Waly TIS 536