Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rogation Tuesday

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, Lord of heaven and earth; We beseech thee to pour forth thy blessing upon this land, and to give us a fruitful season; that we, constantly receiving thy bounty, may evermore give thanks unto thee in thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Ezekiel xxxiv. 25.

I WILL make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.


The Gospel - St. Luke xi. 5.

JESUS said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

HOMILY FOR ROGATION WEEK.


Michael The Black Robed

lived in the ninth century, and came from the city of Edessa (Mesopotamia) of Christian parents. He was a zealous disciple of St Theodore of Edessa (July 9). He distributed to the poor the inheritance left him by his parents, then went to Jerusalem to venerate the Holy Places.

Jerusalem at the time was under the control of the Mohammedans. St Michael remained in Palestine and settled in the monastery of St Sava. Once, he was sent from the monastery to Jerusalem to sell goods for the monks. At the marketplace, the eunuch of the Mohammedan empress Seida, seeing that the monastery goods were both fine and well-made, took him along to the empress.

The young monk caught the fancy of the empress, who tried to lead him into sin, but her intent proved to be in vain. Then by order of the enraged Seida they beat the monk with rods, and then accused him of being an enemy of Islam.

Having interrogated the monk, the emperor began to urge him to accept the Moslem faith, but St Michael answered, "I implore you, either send me back to the monastery to my instructor, or be baptized in our Christian Faith, or cut off my head, and then I shall go to Christ my God." The emperor gave the saint a cup with deadly poison, which St Michael drank and remained unharmed. After this the emperor gave orders to cut off his head.

The death of the martyr occurred in Jerusalem, but the monks of the monastery of St Sava took the body of the saint to their Lavra and buried it there with reverence. At the beginning of the twelfth century the relics of the holy martyr were seen there by Daniel, the igumen of the Kiev Caves monastery, while on pilgrimage to the Holy Places.


Michael The Black Robed - 23 May - Monk and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Michael with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mart.cfm
http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?FSID=101501


Monday, May 22, 2017

Rogation Monday



The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, Lord of heaven and earth; We beseech thee to pour forth thy blessing upon this land, and to give us a fruitful season; that we, constantly receiving thy bounty, may evermore give thanks unto thee in thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Ezekiel xxxiv. 25.

I WILL make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.


The Gospel - St. Luke xi. 5.

JESUS said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

HOMILY FOR ROGATION WEEK.


Constantine The Great



Arguably one of the most significant figures in the history of Europe and of the Church, there are literally libraries of information on this legendary man.

On this day we remember the heavenly birth of Constantine and his contributions to the Church, it's liberations from persecution and elevation to prominence and as the first secular ruler in "Christendom".


Constantine the Great - 22 May - Emperor and Confessor.

The Collect.

Almighty God, who gave unto the world the enlightened rule of thy confessor Constantine, we humbly beseech thee, that by his example we may further thy earthly kingdom in truth and freedom and defend it from the powers of darkness until the coming of our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus, who with thee and the Holy Ghost reigneth as one God, now and forever. Amen.


The Epistle - Philippians 4:4-9.

REJOICE in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice, Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 25:31-40.

WHEN the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the lease of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.


Reference and Resources:







Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Fifth Sunday after Easter (Rogation Sunday)

The Collect.

O LORD, from whom all good things do come; Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


The Epistle - James 1: 22-27.

BE ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.


The Holy Gospel - St. John 16: 23-33.

VERILY, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John Eliot

was born in Hertfordshire, England, in 1604 and graduated from Cambridge in 1622. He taught school for a while, came under Puritan influence, and determined to become a minister. In 1631 he went to New England and was ordained to preach at Roxbury. He developed an interest in Indian language and customs, and began to preach to the Indians in 1646, at first in English but within a year in their own tongue, Algonkian. He published a catechism for them in 1654 and by 1658 translated the Bible into Algonkian, the first Bible to be printed in North America. A revised edition was published in 1685. Eliot also wrote The Christian Commonwealth (1659), Up-Bookum Psalmes (1663), The Communion of Churches (1665), The Indian Primer (1669), and The Harmony of The Gospels (1678), and was a major contributor to the Bay Psalm Book.

Eliot planned towns for Indian converts, away from the white towns, in areas where they could preserve their own language and culture and live by their own laws. He prepared Indians to be missionaries to their own people. Daniel Takawambpait was the first Indian minister in New England, being ordained at Natick, Massachusetts, in 1681. Eliot's Indian towns grew to fourteen in number, with thousands of inhabitants, but they were scattered in King Philip's War in 1675 (King Philip was an Indian leader who undertook to drive the English out of New England), and although four communities were restored, they did not continue long.

Eliot died after a long illness on 21 May 1690.


John Eliot - 21 May - Missionary to the American Indians

The Collect.

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant John Eliot, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the native peoples of North America. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land, evangelists and heralds of thy kingdom, that thy Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Acts 1:1-9.


The Gospel - St. Luke 10:1-9.


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/05/21.html
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_miss.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Eliot_%28missionary%29

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Alcuin of York

or Ealhwine, nicknamed Albinus or Flaccus (c. 735 – May 19, 804) was a scholar, ecclesiastic, poet and teacher from York, England. He was born around 735 and became the student of Egbert at York. At the invitation of Charlemagne, he became a leading scholar and teacher at the Carolingian court, where he remained a figure at court in the 780s and 790s. He wrote many theological and dogmatic treatises, as well as a few grammatical works and a number of poems. He was made abbot of Saint Martin's at Tours in 796, where he remained until his death. He is considered among the most important architects of the Carolingian Renaissance. Among his pupils were many of the dominant intellectuals of the Carolingian era.


Alcuin - 20 May - Deacon and Abbot of Tours

The Collect.

O ETERNAL Lord God, who holdest all souls in life: We beseech thee to shed forth upon thy whole Church in paradise and on earth the bright beams of thy light and thy peace; and grant that we, following the good examples of thy servant Alcuin, and of all those who loved and served thee here, may at the last enter with them into thine unending joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Ecclesiasticus 39:1-9.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 13:47-52.


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/05/20.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcuin
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/alcuin.cfm


Æthelberht of East Anglia

Died near Hereford, England, c. 793-794. King Ethelbert had a considerable cultus as a wonder worker and martyr during the middle ages. However, some, such as William of Malmesbury, have misgivings about the continuance of his veneration. He cited the authority of Saint Dunstan (f.d. May 19) and the witness of miracles as reasons to allow the cultus to continue. Ethelbert was murdered at Sutton Walls in Herefordshire, apparently for dynastic reasons at the instigation of the wife of Offa of Mercia.

His pious "vita," written by Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales), tells us that Ethelbert was a man of prayer from his childhood. While still very young, he succeeded his father Ethelred as king of East Anglia and ruled benevolently for 44 years. It is said that his usual maxim is that the higher the station of man, the humbler he ought to be. This was the rule for his own conduct.

Desiring to secure stability for his kingdom by an heir, he sought the hand of the virtuous Alfreda (Aelfthryth), daughter of the powerful King Offa. With this in mind, he visited Offa at Sutton-Walls, four miles from Hereford. He was courteously entertained, but after some days, treacherously murdered by Grimbert, an officer of King Offa, through the contrivance of Queen Quendreda who wanted to add his kingdom to their own.

His body was secretly buried by the river Lugg at Maurdine of Marden, but miracles revealed its hiding place. Soon it was moved to a church at Fernley (Heath of Fern), now called Hereford. The town grew around the church bearing Ethelbert's name after King Wilfrid of Mercia enlarged and enriched it. Hereford became the second most important pilgrimage site (next to Canterbury) in medieval England. The body was burned by the Danes in 1050, but Ethelbert's head was buried at Westminster. Ethelbert's feast is kept in the dioceses of Cardiff and Northampton. He is titular patron of the cathedral at Hereford, and the churches at Marden (Herefordshire), Little Dean (Gloucestershire), and eleven others in East Anglia.

Quendreda died miserably within three months after her crime. Her daughter Alfreda became a hermit at Croyland. Offa made atonement for the sin of his queen by a pilgrimage to Rome, where he founded a school for the English. Egfrid, the only son of Offa, died after a reign of some months, and the Mercian crown was translated into the family descended of Penda.


Æthelberht II of East Anglia - 20 May - King

The Collect.

O Almighty God, who hast knit together Thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Thy Son Jesus Christ, our Lord: grant us grace so to follow Thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to the unspeakable joys which Thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love Thee; through the same, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost: ever one God, world without end. Amen.


The First Lesson - Revelation 7: 2-17


The Holy Gospel - St. Matthew 5: 1-12


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Friday, May 19, 2017

Dunstan of Canterbury

was born near Glastonbury in the southwest of England about the year 909, ten years after the death of King Alfred. During the Viking invasions of the ninth century, monasteries had been favorite targets of the invaders, and by Dunstan's time English monasticism had been wiped out. In its restoration in the tenth century, Dunstan played the leading role. He was born of an upper-class family, and sent to court, where he did not fit in. At the urging of his uncle, the Bishop of Westminster, he became a monk and a priest, and returned to Glastonbury, where he built a hut near the ruins of the old monastery, and devoted himself to study, music, metal working (particularly the art of casting church bells, an art which he is said to have advanced considerably), and painting. A manuscript illuminated by him is in the British Museum. He returned to court and was again asked to leave; but then King Edmund had a narrow escape from death while hunting, and in gratitude recalled Dunstan and in 943 commissioned him to re-establish monastic life at Glastonbury. (Glastonbury is one of the oldest Christian sites in England, and is associated in legend with King Arthur and his Court, with Joseph of Arimathea, and with other worthies. It has been said that the Holy Grail, the chalice of the Last Supper, is hidden somewhere near Glastonbury.) Under Dunstan's direction, Glastonbury became an important center both of monasticism and of learning. The next king, Edred, adopted Dunstan's ideas for various reforms of the clergy (including the control of many cathedrals by monastic chapters) and for relations with the Danish settlers. These policies made Dunstan popular in the North of England, but unpopular in the South.

Edred was succeeded by his sixteen-year-old nephew Edwy, whom Dunstan openly rebuked for unchastity. The furious Edwy drove Dunstan into exile, but the North rose in rebellion on his behalf. When the dust settled, Edwy was dead, his brother Edgar was king, and Dunstan was Archbishop of Canterbury. The coronation service which Dunstan compiled for Edgar is the earliest English coronation service of which the full text survives, and is the basis for all such services since, down to the present. With the active support of King Edgar, Dunstan re-established monastic communities at Malmesbury, Westminster, Bath, Exeter, and many other places. Around 970 he presided at a conference of bishops, abbots, and abbesses, which drew up a national code of monastic observance, the Regularis Concordia. It followed Benedictine lines, but under it the monasteries were actively involved in the life of the surrounding community. For centuries thereafter the Archbishop of Canterbury was always a monk.

Dunstan took an active role in politics under Edgar and his successor Edward, but under the next king, Ethelred, he retired from politics and concentrated on running the Canterbury cathedral school for boys, where he was apparently successful in raising the academic standards while reducing the incidence of corporal punishment. On Ascension Day in 988, he told the congregation that he was near to death, and died two days later.


Dunstan - 19 May - Archbishop of Canterbury

The Collect.

O GOD, who dost ever hallow and protect thy Church: Raise up therein through thy Spirit good and faithful stewards of the mysteries of Christ, as thou didst in thy servant Dunstan; that by their ministry and example thy people may abide in thy favour and walk in the way of truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.


The Epistle - Wisdom 7:7-14.

I CALLED upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her before sceptres and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her. Neither compared I unto her any precious stone, because all gold in respect of her is as a little sand, and silver shall be counted as clay before her. I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for the light that cometh from her never goeth out. All good things together came to me with her, and innumerable riches in her hands. And I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom goeth before them: and I knew not that she was the mother of them. I learned diligently, and do communicate her liberally: I do not hide her riches. For she is a treasure unto men that never faileth: which they that use become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts that come from learning.

The Gospel - St. John 17:18-23.

AS thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me though their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/dunstan.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunstan_of_Canterbury
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/05/19.html


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Eric of Sweden

Erik IX Jedvardsson was ruler of much of Sweden from 1150 to 1160. He was the head of a Christian kingdom with nearby pagan kingdoms, all sharing an old tradition of fighting. Around 1155, he headed an expedition into Finland, then loosely under Swedish rule, to consolidate Swedish authority there and to establish a protected Christian mission, headed by Henry of Uppsala, now considered the founder of the Church in Finland (see 19 Jan). Erik is also known for undertaking to provide Sweden with fair laws and fair courts, and for measures designed to assist the poor and the infirm. As he was in church on 18 May 1160, the day after Ascension Day, he was told that a pagan Danish army was approaching to kill him. He replied, "Let us at least finish the sacrifice. The rest of the feast I shall keep elsewhere." As he was leaving the church, the pagans rushed upon him and killed him.

Erik was honored both as an upholder of the Christian faith and as a national hero, the ancestor of a long line of Swedish kings. Within thirty years after his death his name appeared on the Swedish Calendar, and he is accounted the principal patron of Sweden, as (for example) Patrick is of Ireland. The silver casket with his remains still rests in the cathedral at Uppsala.


Propers for Erik of Sweden - 18 May - King and Martyr

The Collect.

O God, who didst call thy servant Erik of Sweden to an earthly throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst give him zeal for thy Church and love for thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel said unto me, Go thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God, thou hast seen.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

BEHOLD, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall he brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mart.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Erik
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/05/17.html

Florence Nightingale

The commemoration of Florence Nightingale is controversial. On the one hand, she doubted or question many of the central articles of the Creed. On the other hand, she believed in God and devoted her life to His service as she understood it.


She was born in Florence on 12 May 1820 of upper-class English parents travelling through Italy, and named for her native city. ("Florence" was not an accepted first name at the time. Her sister was born in Naples and named "Parthenope," the Greek name for that city.) Florence was reared a Unitarian, but later joined the Church of England.

In her diary, an entry shortly before her seventeenth birthday reads: "On February 7th, 1837, God spoke to me and called me to his service." She did not know what the service would be, and therefore decided that she must remain single, so as to have no encumbrances and be ready for anything. With this in mind, she rejected a proposal of marriage from a young man whom she dearly loved. She suffered from "trances" or "dreaming" spells, in which she would lose consciousness for several minutes or longer, and be unaware when she recovered that time had passed. (Could this be a form of petit mal epilepsy? No biographer of hers that I have read uses the word.) She found the knowledge that she was subject to such spells terrifying, and feared that they meant that she was unworthy of her calling, particularly since she did not hear the voice of God again for many years. In the spring of 1844 she came to believe that her calling was to nurse the sick. In 1850 her family sent her on a tour of Egypt for her health. Some extracts from her diary follow:


March 7. God called me in the morning and asked me would I do good for Him, for Him alone without the reputation.
March 9. During half an hour I had by myself in my cabin, settled the question with God.
April 1. Not able to go out but wished God to have it all His own way. I like Him to do exactly as He likes without even telling me the reason.
May 12. Today I am thirty—the age Christ began his mission. Now no more childish things. No more love. No more marriage. Now Lord let me think only of Thy Will, what Thou willest me to do. Oh Lord Thy Will, Thy Will.
June 10. The Lord spoke to me; he said, Give five minutes every hour to the thought of Me. Coudst thou but love Me as Lizzie loves her husband, how happy wouldst thou be." But Lizzie does not give five minutes every hour to the thought of her husband, she thinks of him every minute, spontaneously.


Florence decided that she must train to be a nurse. Her family was horrified. In her day, nursing was done mostly by disabled army veterans or by women with no other means of support. It was common for nurses of either sex to be drunk on the job most of the time, and they had no training at all. It was common practice never to wash or change the sheets on a bed, not even when a patient died and his bed was given to a new patient. Florence was told to go to Kaiserswerth, Germany, to learn and train with the Lutheran order of Deaconesses who were running a hospital there. Back in England again, she used the influence of Sidney Herbert, a family friend and Member of Parliament, to be appointed supervisor of a sanatorium in London. Under her able guidance, it turned from a chamber of horrors into a model hospital. The innovations introduced by Miss Nightingale were, for their day, little short of revolutionary. She demanded, and got, a system of dumbwaiters that enabled food to be sent directly to every floor, so that nurses did not exhaust themselves carrying trays up numerous flights of stairs. She also invented and had installed a system of call bells by which a patient could ring from his bed and the bell would sound in the corridor, with a valve attached to the bell which opened when the bell rang, and remained open so that the nurse could see who had rung. "Without a system of this kind," she wrote, "a nurse is converted to a pair of legs."

While working in the poorer districts of London, Miss Nightingale encountered a Roman Catholic priest, Henry Edward Manning (later Cardinal Manning), who was working among the poor of London. She was impressed by the assistance he gave to many who had nowhere else to turn, and they became friends for life. She was greatly attracted by Roman Catholicism, but rejected much of its theology, and so reluctantly decided against joining it.

Then war broke out in the Crimea (in Russia, on the north edge of the Black Sea), and Sir Sidney Herbert, now Secretary of War, obtained permission for Florence to lead a group of 38 nurses there. Of these, 10 were Roman Catholic nuns, 14 were Anglican nuns, and the remaining 14 were "of no particular religion, unless one counts the worship of Bacchus." They found conditions appalling. Blankets were rotting in warehouses while the men did without, because no one had issued the proper forms for their distribution. The lavatories in the hospitals had no running water, and the latrines were tubs to be emptied by hand. But no one emptied them, since official regulations did not specify which department was responsible for doing so. The result was that the hospital had a foul stench that could be smelled for some distance outside its walls. Far more men were dying in hospitals of infection than of wounds. The chief concern of many of the Army doctors was that the nurses might usurp some of their authority. Florence gradually managed to win the doctors and other authorities over, and to reform hospital procedures, with spectacular results. Once the medical situation had ceased to be an acute problem, she turned her attention to other aspects of the soldiers' welfare. For example, most of them squandered all their pay on drink. She noted that there was no trustworthy way for them to send money home to their families, and she set up facilities for them to do so. First, she undertook to send money home herself for any soldier in the hospital that wanted it sent, and the soldiers brought in about 1000 pounds a month. She asked the authorities to set up an official service to do this, and they refused. By appealing to Queen Victoria herself, she overcame opposition to the idea, and the men sent home 71,000 pounds sterling in less than six months. She established with her own money a reading-room with tables for writing letters, and the men used it enthusiastically. She imported four schoolmasters to give lectures, and the halls were filled to overflowing. All this was done despite opposition from officers who said, "The men are hopeless brutes. You cannot expect anything from them."

At night, she would often patrol the wards, carrying a dim lamp, to make sure that all was well and no one was in need of help. She became famous as "the Lady with the Lamp."

In April 1856 the war was over, and by mid-July the hospital was emptied and her work in Crimea over. She returned to England a national hero, with a great welcome prepared for her; but she slipped into the country unnoticed and went to a convent that had supplied some of her nurses. There, she spent the day in prayer before coming out to face the public and beginning to lobby Parliament for suitable legislation. She wrote pamphlet after pamphlet, pointing out by pie charts, for example, that the major cause of deaths in the Army was not wounds caused by enemy action but disease caused by lack of proper sanitation. She is perhaps the first person to use pie charts and similar graphic devices to convey statistical information. She obtained the formation of an Army Medical Staff Corps and a Sanitary Commission to oversee military health conditions.

Throughout these efforts, she relied on the help of Sidney Herbert, insisting that he must work hard and long to get the legislation she needed through Parliament. When he protested that she was asking too much, she would not listen. His health broke, and he died in August 1861. Florence prayed God to raise him from the dead, explaining that she needed him for the job. When God failed to comply, her faith was badly shaken. She wrote a book called, Suggestions for Thought: An Address to the Artisans of England, in which she explained that God was less of a Person and more of a Cosmic Force than is generally supposed by Christians. (But note that she was working on this book before Sir Sidney died, and one cannot call it simply a response to his death.) Advance copies were given to a few friends, such as John Stuart Mill, who praised it highly. However, it was never published in her time, since Florence kept revising it—arguably, because her beliefs on the nature of God were simply not internally consistent. Eventually, it seems, God spoke to her again and said, "You are here to carry out my program. I am not here to carry out yours." She wrote in her diary, "I must remember that God is not my private secretary."

Before his death, Sir Sidney had gotten her involved in Indian affairs. She served on the Indian Sanitary Commission. In May 1859, she decided that there were insufficient data available in England on conditions in the Indian Army, and she wrote to 200 military stations there, asking for copies of all regulations and all documents relating to the health and sanitary administration of the army. The reports that came back filled two vans. She read them all and summarized them for the Report of the Commission. Her conclusion was that the death toll from disease in the Indian Army was appallingly high (69 out of 1000 annually), and that this was largely due, not to the climate, but to lack of sanitation, and that preventive measures included sanitation not just for army posts but for neighboring villages and, in the long run, for all of India.

She was a friend of General Charles George Gordon, who captured the British imagination when he and his troops were beseiged at Khartoum in the Sudan, and finally captured and killed. After his death, Florence wrote to a friend that suffering, disappointment, and lack of success are the tribute which it is the soul's greatest privilege to present to God. In Gordon's death, she wrote, we see "the triumph of failure, the triumph of the Cross. With him, all is well."

She met the scholar Benjamin Jowett, who was translating Plato into English. They became fast friends, and she contributed to the translation. She also began an anthology of mystical writings, called "Notes from Devotional Authors of the Middle Ages, Collected, Chosen, and Freely Translated by Florence Nightingale." It was her contention that mystical prayer is not just for monks and nuns, but should form a part of the every-day life of ordinary persons.

Under the strain of ceaseless overwork, her own health broke, and she was an invalid for the latter half of her life. On Christmas Day when she was sixty-five, she wrote: "Today, O Lord, let me dedicate this crumbling old woman to thee. Behold the handmaid of the Lord. I was thy handmaid as a girl. Since then, I have backslid." She wrote a manual called "Notes for Nurses," and a set of instructions for the matron in charge of training nurses, emphasizing the importance for a nurse of a schedule of daily prayer. A few years before her death, she was the first woman to receive the Order of Merit from the British government. She died at ninety, and, by her directions, her tombstone read simply, "F.N. 1820-1910".

Florence Nightingale died on 13 August 1910, and is commemorated on this day on the Lutheran Calendar. The Episcopal calendar commemorates Jeremy Taylor on 13 August, and accordingly has shifted the commemoration of Nightingale to 18 May. I am not sure of the significance of this date, but it is the date (or nearly) of the opening of the Nightingale Training School for Nurses in 1860.

written by James Kiefer



Florence Nightingale - 18 May - Nurse

The Collect.


Life-giving God, who alone hast power over life and death, over health and sickness: Give power, wisdom, and gentleness to those who follow the example of thy servant Florence Nightingale, that they, bearing with them thy Presence, may not only heal but bless, and shine as lanterns of hope in the darkest hours of pain and fear; through Jesus Christ, the healer of body and soul, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Lesson - Isaiah 58:6-11


The Holy Gospel - St. Matthew 25:31-46




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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Andronicus of Pannonia



 (Greek: Ανδρόνικος) was a 1st century Christian mentioned by the Apostle Paul:
Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.— Romans 16:7 KJV

According to that verse, Andronicus was a kinsman of Paul and a fellow prisoner at some time, particularly well-known among the apostles, and had become a follower of Jesus Christ before Paul's Damascus road conversion. It is generally assumed that Junia was his wife, but they could have been brother and sister, or father and daughter, or no close relation to each other, but to Paul as kinsmen.

Andronicus was one of the 70 disciples of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel of St. Luke 10:1–24.

Andronicus was made Bishop of Pannonia, but his preaching also took him to other lands, far from the boundaries of his diocese. Through the efforts of Andronicus the Church of Christ was strengthened, pagans were converted to the knowledge of God, many pagan temples closed, and in their place Christian churches were built.

Tradition states that Andronicus was martyred for the faith.


Andronicus of Pannonia - 17 May - Disciple, Bishop, and Martyr

The Collect.


O Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Andronicus boldness to confess the Name of our Saviour Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of the same our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Lesson - 2 Esdras 2:42-48


The Holy Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22


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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Brendan the Navigator

Son of Findloga; brother of Saint Briga. Monk. Educated by Saint Ita of Killeedy and Saint Erc of Kerry. Friend of Saint Columba and Saint Brendan of Birr, Saint Brigid, and Saint Enda of Arran. Ordained in 512. Built monastic cells at Ardfert, Shankeel, Aleth, Plouaret, Inchquin Island, and Annaghdown. Founded Clonfert monastery and monastic school c.559. Legend says that this community had at least three thousand monks, and that their Rule was dictated to Brendan by an angel.

Brendan and his brothers figure in Brendan’s Voyage, a tale of monks travelling the high seas of the Atlantic, evangelizing to the islands, possibly reaching the Americas in the 6th century. At one point they stop on a small island, celebrate Easter Mass, light a fire – and then learn the island is an enormous whale!



Brendan the Navigator - 16 May - Abbot

The Collect.

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us, we pray thee, from an inordinate love of this world, that, inspired by the devotion of thy servant Brendan, we may serve thee with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Lesson - Song of Solomon 8:6-7


The Holy Gospel - St. Luke 12:33‑37


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Monday, May 15, 2017

The Martyrs of Sudan


The Christian bishops, chiefs, commanders, clergy and people of Sudan declared, on May 16, 1983, that they would not abandon God as God had revealed himself to them under threat of Shariah Law imposed by the fundamentalist Islamic government in Khartoum.

Until a peace treaty was signed on January 9, 2005, the Episcopal Church of the Province of the Sudan suffered from persecution and devastation through twenty-two years of civil war. Two and a half million people were killed, half of whom were members of this church. Many clergy and lay leaders were singled out because of their religious leadership in their communities. No buildings, including churches and schools, are left standing in an area the size of Alaska. Four million people are internally displaced, and a million are scattered around Africa and beyond in the Sudanese Diaspora. Twenty-two of the twenty-four dioceses exist in exile in Uganda or Kenya, and the majority of the clergy are unpaid.

Only 5% of the population of Southern Sudan was Christian in 1983. Today over 85% of that region of six million is now mostly Anglican or Roman Catholic. A faith rooted deeply in the mercy of God has renewed their spirits throughout the years of strife and sorrow.


The Martyrs of Sudan - 15 May

The Collect.

O Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy holy martyrs of Sudan triumphed over suffering and were faithful even unto death: Grant us, who now remember them with thanksgiving, to be so faithful in our witness to thee in this world, that we may receive with them the crown of life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Lesson - Wisdom 3:1-9


The Holy Gospel - St. Matthew 24:9-14


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Police Memorial Day



Police Memorial Day - 15 May


The Collect

Almighty God, to whom we give our praise and the service of our lives, comfort us Lord as we mourn the loss of loved ones who have laid down their lives in the cause of justice, dispel the darkness of grief with the light of thy love, strengthen us with thy grace that we may continue to strive for the cause of right, and that, following the good example of those who hath served thee and are now at rest, we may at last enter into the fullness of thy eternal glory; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 1 Peter 2:13-25


The Holy Gospel - St. Matthew 5:1-12


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Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Fourth Sunday after Easter

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - St. James i. 17.

EVERY good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.


The Gospel - St. John xvi. 5.

JESUS said unto his disciples, Now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Pachomius

He was born in 292 in Thebes (Luxor, Egypt) to pagan parents. According to his hagiography, he was swept up against his will in a Roman army recruitment drive at the age of 20, a common occurrence during the turmoils and civil wars of the period, and held in captivity. It was here that local Christians would daily bring food and comforts to the inmates, which made a lasting impression on him, and he vowed to investigate Christianity further when he got out. As fate would have it, he was able to get out of the army without ever having to fight, was converted and baptized (314). He then came into contact with a number of well known ascetics and decided to pursue that path. He sought out the hermit Palaemon and came to be his follower (317).

After studying seven years with the Elder Palamon, Pachomius set out to lead the life of a hermit near St. Anthony of Egypt, whose practices he imitated until, according to legend, he heard a voice in Tabennisi that told him to build a dwelling for the hermits to come to. An earlier ascetic named Macarius had earlier created a number of proto-monasteries called "larves", or cells, where holy men would live in a community setting who were physically or mentally unable to achieve the rigors of Anthony's solitary life. Pachomius set about organizing these cells into a formal organization.

Up to this point in time, Christian asceticism had been solitary or eremitic. Male or female monastics lived in individual huts or caves and met only for occasional worship services. Pachomius seems to have created the community or cenobitic organization, in which male or female monastics lived together and had their possessions in common under the leadership of an abbot or abbess. Pachomius himself was hailed as "Abba" (father) which is where we get the word Abbot from. This first cenobitic monastery was in Tabennisi, Egypt.

He established his first monastery between 318 and 323. The first to join him was his elder brother John, and soon more than 100 monks lived at his monastery. He came to found nine monasteries in his lifetime, and after 336, Pachomius spent most of his time at his Pabau monastery. From his initial monastery, demand quickly grew and, by the time of his death in 346, one count estimates there were 3000 monasteries dotting Egypt from north to south. Within a generation after his death, this number grew to 7000 and then moved out of Egypt into Palestine and the Judea Desert, Syria, North Africa and eventually Western Europe.

He is also credited with being the first Christian to use and recommend use of a prayer rope. He was visited once by Basil of Caesarea who took many of his ideas and implemented them in Caesarea, where Basil also made some adaptations that became the ascetic rule, or Ascetica, the rule still used today by the Eastern Orthodox Church, and comparable to that of the Rule of St. Benedict in the West.

Though Pachomius sometimes acted as lector for nearby shepherds, neither he nor any of his monks became priests. St Athanasius visited and wished to ordain him in 333, but Pachomius fled from him. Athanasius' visit was probably a result of Pachomius' zealous defense of orthodoxy against Arianism.

He remained abbot to the cenobites for some forty years. When he caught an epidemic disease (probably plague), he called the monks, strengthened their faith, and appointed his successor.


Pachomius - 14 May - Abbot, Confessor, Monastic, and Preacher

The Collect.

O God, by whose Grace thy servant Pachomius, enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Philippians 3:7-15.

HOWBEIT what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffer the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself yet to have apprehended: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye are otherwise minded, even this shall God reveal unto you.


The Gospel - St. Luke 6:17-23.

JESUS came down and stood in the plain, with the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coasts of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; and they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye still be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven.

Reference and Resources:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11381a.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachomius


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Glyceria of Trajanopolis


Saint Glyceria suffered as a martyr for her faith in Christ in the second century, during a persecution against Christians under the emperor Antoninus (138-161). She came from an illustrious family, and her father Macarius was a high-ranking Roman official. Later, the family moved to the Thracian city of Trajanopolis.

Glyceria lost both her father and mother at an early age. Falling in with Christians, she converted to the true Faith, and she visited the church every day. Sabinus, the prefect of Trajanopolis, received the imperial edict ordering Christians to offer sacrifice to the idols, and so he designated a certain day for the inhabitants of the city to worship the idol Zeus (Jupiter).

There are various renditions of the legend but in all it ends with the statue of Jupiter (Zeus) being destroyed and Glyceria arrested for offending the Pagans and their idols.

Glyceria was thrown into a dungeon and tortured, her tormentors attempting to have her renounce the Christian faith. Glyceria endured her torture and was steadfast. She was eventually executed by being set upon by lions.


Glyceria of Trajanopolis - 13 May - Virginmartyr


The Collect

O Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Glyceria boldness to confess the Name of our Saviour Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of the same our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - 1 Peter 3:14-18,22


The Holy Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22

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Friday, May 12, 2017

Æthelhard of Canterbury

the Abbot of Louth in Lincolnshire, was elected to the See of Canterbury in AD 790, through the influence of King Offa of Mercia who wished to find archiepiscopal support for his kingdom's interests. However, he was not consecrated until three years later.

After the death of Offa in AD 796, the Kingdom of Kent attempted to shake off Mercian supremacy and Aethelhard fled from Canterbury. Such action drew upon him a rebuke from Alcuin for deserting his flock.

Having been restored to his See, Aethelhard obtained a decision from Pope Leo III, in AD 803, annulling the right of Lichfield to be regarded as a Metropolitan See and confirming the Primacy of Canterbury. Suggestions of relocating the Kentish Archiepiscopate to London were rejected. In the same year, the Synod of decreed that all newly elected bishops must make a written profession of their orthodoxy and give a promise of obedience to Canterbury. Aethelhard's death took place on 12th May AD 805. He should not be confused with Aethelhard who was Bishop of Winchester in the early 760s.


Æthelhard - 12 May - Archbishop of Canterbury

The Collect.

O GOD, who hast brought us near to an innumerable company of Angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect: Grant us during our pilgrimage to abide in their fellowship, and in our Country to become partakers of their joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Hebrews 12:1-2.

SEEING we also are compassed about with so great a of cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.


The Gospel - St. Luke 6:17-23.

JESUS came down and stood in the plain, with the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coasts of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases; and they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%86thelhard
http://www.celticsaints.org/2012/0512b.html
http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-ethelhard-of-canterbury/
http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/adversaries/bios/aethelhard.html

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Fremund of Dunstable

Martyred c.866. Saint Fremund is sometimes depicted as a king, but it is more likely that he was a noble man's son, although he may have been related to St.Edmund, King of East Anglia. He was born in Warwickshire near Offchurch but at quite an early age he left home to lead a solitary life as a hermit on an island called Ylefagel, which may be Steep Holm or Flat Holm in the Bristol Channel. At that time the English were constantly under threat from invasions by the Danes, and it seems that Fremund felt obliged to leave his hermitage to take up arms in defence of the Christian religion and the freedom of his people.

He died in battle at Harbury not far from his home, and it was believed that an apostate kinsman by the name of Oswi was responsible for his death, having allied himself to the heathen Danes in order to further his ambitions. Fremund's body was taken to Offchurch for burial, and the fact that the church was founded by King Offa may have been the reason that Fremund has been described as his son.

The Life by William of Ramsey and a later one by the monk John Lydgate of Burry say that his tomb was visited by many pilgrims in search of healing and that in 931 his relics were translated to Cropredy in Oxfordshire. Certainly there was a shrine containing his relics there in the Middle Ages, and there is a meadow by the River Cherwell called Freeman's Holm. Richard, Prior of the new foundation at Dunstable, was visitor of the Lincoln Diocese in 1206 and found many pilgrims coming to the little church.

Dunstable was a Priory of Austin Canons founded by Henry I late in the twelfth century at the spot where Watling Street crosses the prehistoric Icknield Way. Presumably relics were needed for this church, and in 1210 at least some of St.Fremund's remains were taken to Dunstable and an altar was dedicated to him.

The shrine was destroyed at the dissolution, but the magnificent nave and Norman doorway remain in what is now the parish church of St. Peter.


Fremund of Dunstable - 11 May - Hermit and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Fremund of Dunstable with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.

I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel said unto me, Go thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God, thou hast seen.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22.

BEHOLD, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall he brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Comgall of Bangor

Born in Ulster, Ireland, c. 517; died at Bangor, Ireland, in 603; some list his feast as May 11. It is said that Comgall was a warrior as a young man, but that he studied under Saint Fintan at Cluain Eidnech Monastery, was ordained a priest before he was 40, and with several companions became a hermit in Lough Erne. The rule he imposed was so severe that seven of them died. He left the island and founded a monastery at Bangor (Bennchor) on the south shore of Lake Belfast, where he taught Saint Columban and a band of monks who evangelized Central Europe. Two other of his monks actively evangelized Scotland, Saint Moluag of Lismore in Argyll and Saint Maelrubha of Applecross in Ross. In time, it became the most famous monastery in Ireland, and Comgall is reported to have ruled over some 8,000 monks there and in houses founded from Bangor. Bangor was one of the principal religious centres of Ireland until it was destroyed by the Danes in 823.



Comgall of Bangor - 10 May - Abbott

The Collect.

O GOD, by whose grace the blessed (abbot) Comgall enkindled with the fire of thy love, became a burning and a shining light in thy Church: Grant that we may be inflamed with the same spirit of discipline and love, and ever walk before thee as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Philippians 3:7-15.

HOWBEIT what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ. Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffer the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death; if by any means I may attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have already obtained, or am already made perfect: but I press on, if so be that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself yet to have apprehended: but one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye are otherwise minded, even this shall God reveal unto you.


The Gospel - St. Luke 12:22-37.

JESUS said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you. Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you by being anxious can add a cubit to his span of life? If ye then be not able to do that which is least, why are ye anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of anxious mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall he added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Gregory of Nazianzus


also known as Saint Gregory the Theologian or Gregory Nazianzen, was a 4th century Christian bishop of Constantinople. Gregory is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age. As a classically trained speaker and philosopher he infused Hellenism into the early church, establishing the paradigm of Byzantine ecclesiastics. He is remembered as the "Trinitarian Theologian," since many of his homilies refer to the nature of the Holy Trinity and the one essence of the Godhead.

Gregory was born in Arianzus, near Nazianzus, in southwest Cappadocia. His parents, Gregory and Nonna, were wealthy land-owners. In 325 Nonna converted her husband to Christianity; he was subsequently consecrated bishop of Nazianzus in 328 or 329. The young Gregory and his brother, Caesarius, first studied at home with his uncle Amphylokhios. Later he studied advanced rhetoric and philosophy in Nazianzus, Caesarea Cappadocia, Alexandria and Athens.

While at Athens, he developed a close friendship with fellow student Saint Basil of Caesarea, he and Basil compiled an anthology, called the PHILOKALIA, of the works of the great (but somewhat erratic) Alexandrian theologian, philosopher, and scholar of the previous century, Origen.

Gregory also made the acquaintance of Julian, the later emperor who would become known as Julian the Apostate. In Athens Gregory studied under the famous rhetoricians Himerius and Proaeresius. Upon finishing his education, he also taught rhetoric in Athens for a short time.

In 361, Gregory returned to Nazianzus and was ordained a presbyter by his father, who wanted him to assist with caring for local Christians. The younger Gregory, who had been considering a monastic existence, resented his father's decision to force a decision between priestly services and a solitary existence, calling it an "act of tyranny". Leaving home after a few days, he met his friend Basil at Annesoi, where the two lived as ascetics. However, Basil urged him to return home to assist his father, which he did for the next year. Arriving at Nazianzus, Gregory found the local Christian community split by theological differences and his father accused of heresy by local monks. Gregory helped to heal the division through a combination of personal diplomacy and oratory.

By this time Emperor Julian had publicly come out in opposition to Christianity. In response to the emperor's denial of the Christian faith, Gregory composed his Invectives Against Julian between 362 and 363. Disparaging the emperor's morals and intellect, the Invectives assert that Christianity will overcome imperfect rulers such as Julian through love and patience. This process as described by Gregory is the public manifestation of the process of deification (theosis), which leads to a spiritual elevation and mystical union with God. Julian resolved in late 362 to vigorously prosecute Gregory and his other Christian critics; however, the emperor perished the following year during a campaign against the Persians. With the death of the emperor, Gregory and the Eastern churches were no longer under the threat of persecution, as the new emperor Jovian was an avowed Christian and supporter of the Church.

Gregory spent the next few years combating the Arian heresy, which threatened to divide the region of Cappadocia. In this tense environment Gregory interceded on behalf of his friend Basil with Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea (Maritima). The two friends then entered a period of close fraternal cooperation as they participated in a great rhetorical contest of the Caesarean church precipitated by the arrival of accomplished Arian theologians and rhetors. In the subsequent public debates, presided over by agents of the emperor Valens, Gregory and Basil emerged triumphant. This success confirmed for both Gregory and Basil that their futures lay in administration of the church. Basil, who had long displayed inclinations to the episcopacy, was elected bishop of the see of Caesarea in Cappadocia in 370.

Faced with a rival Arian bishop at Tyana, Basil undertook to consolidate his position by maneuvering Gregory into the position of Bishop of Sasima, Gregory was consecrated Bishop of Sasima in 372 by Basil. This was a see newly created by Basil in order to strengthen his position in his dispute with Anthimus, bishop of Tyana. The ambitions of Gregory's father to have his son rise in the church hierarchy and the insistence of his friend Basil convinced Gregory to accept this position despite his reservations. Gregory would later refer to his episcopal ordination as forced upon him by his strong-willed father and Basil. Describing his new bishopric, Gregory lamented how it was nothing more than an "utterly dreadful, pokey little hole; a paltry horse-stop on the main road...devoid of water, vegetation, or the company of gentlemen...this was my Church of Sasima!" He made little effort to administer his new diocese, complaining to Basil he
felt "like a bone flung to dogs." He refused to reside at Sasima. Basil accused him of shirking his duty. He accused Basil of making him a pawn in ecclesiastical politics. Their friendship suffered a severe breach, which took some time to heal. Gregory suffered a breakdown and retired to recuperate.

Following the deaths of his mother and father in 374, Gregory continued to administer the diocese of Nazianzus but refused to be named bishop. Donating most of his inheritance to the needy, he lived an austere existence.

Valens died in 378. The succession of Theodosius I, a steadfast supporter of Nicene orthodoxy, was good news to those who wished to purge Constantinople of Arian and Apollinarian domination. The exiled Nicene party gradually returned to the city. From his deathbed, Basil reminded them of Gregory's capabilities and likely recommended his friend to champion the trinitarian cause in Constantinople.

Gregory went to Constantinople to preach, for 30 years the Orthodox had no Church there, so Gregory converted his own house there into a church and held services in it. There he preached the Five Theological Orations for which he is best known, a series of five sermons on the Trinity and in defense of the deity of Christ. People flocked to hear him preach, and the city was largely won over to the Athanasian (Trinitarian, catholic, orthodox) position by his powers of persuasion. The following year, he was consecrated bishop of Constantinople. He presided at the Council of Constantinple in 381, which confirmed the Athanasian position of the earlier Council of Nicea in 325. Having accomplished what he believed to be his mission at Constantinople, and heartily sick of ecclesiastical politics, Gregory resigned and retired to his home town of Nazianzus, where he died in 389.


Gregory Of Nazianzus - 9 May - Bishop, Theologian and Doctor of the Church

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY, everlasting God, whose servant Gregory steadfastly confessed thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ to be Very God and Very Man: Grant that we may hold fast to this faith, and evermore magnify his holy Name; through the sane thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.


The Epistle - Wisdom 7:7-14

I CALLED upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her before sceptres and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her. Neither compared I unto her any precious stone, because all gold in respect of her is as a little sand, and silver shall be counted as clay before her. I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for the light that cometh from her never goeth out. All good things together came to me with her, and innumerable riches in her hands. And I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom goeth before them: and I knew not that she was the mother of them. I learned diligently, and do communicate her liberally: I do not hide her riches. For she is a treasure unto men that never faileth: which they that use become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts that come from learning.

The Gospel - St. John 8:25-32

THEN said they unto him, Who art thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning. I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. As he spake these words, many believed on him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/05/09.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_of_Nazianzus
http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_author/36/St._Gregory_of_Nazianzen.html
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/gregor_n.cfm


Monday, May 8, 2017

Julian of Norwich


was born about 1342, and when she was thirty years old, she became gravely ill and was expected to die. Then, on the seventh day, the medical crisis passed, and she had a series of fifteen visions, or "showings," in which she was led to contemplate the Passion of Christ. These brought her great peace and joy. She became an anchoress, living in a small hut near to the church in Norwich, where she devoted the rest of her life to prayer and contemplation of the meaning of her visions. The results of her meditations she wrote in a book called Revelations of Divine Love, available in modern English in a Penguin Paperback edition. During her lifetime, she became known as a counselor, whose advice combined spiritual insight with common sense, and many persons came to speak with her. Since her death, many more have found help in her writings.

The precise date of her death is uncertain.

Her book is a tender meditation on God's eternal and all-embracing love, as expressed to us in the Passion of Christ.

She describes seeing God holding a tiny thing in his hand, like a small brown nut, which seemed so fragile and insignificant that she wondered why it did not crumble before her eyes. She understood that the thing was the entire created universe, which is as nothing compared to its Creator, and she was told, "God made it, God loves it, God keeps it."

She was concerned that sometimes when we are faced with a difficult moral decision, it seems that no matter which way we decide, we will have acted from motives that are less then completely pure, so that neither decision is defensible. She finally wrote: "It is enough to be sure of the deed. Our courteous Lord will deign to redeem the motive."

A matter that greatly troubled her was the fate of those who through no fault of their own had never heard the Gospel. She never received a direct answer to her questions about them, except to be told that whatever God does is done in Love, and therefore "that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."

Speaking of her visions of heaven and hell, she said, "To me was shown no harder hell than sin."

Of our response to the sins of others, she said (ch. 76): "The soul that would preserve its peace, when another's sin is brought to mind, must fly from it as from the pains of hell, looking to God for help against it. To consider the sins of other people will produce a thick film over the eyes of our soul, and prevent us for the time being from seeing the 'fair beauty of the Lord'-- unless, that is, we look at them contrite along with the sinner, being sorry with and for him, and yearning over him for God. Without this it can only harm, disturb, and hinder the soul who considers them. I gathered all this from the revelation about compassion...This blessed friend is Jesus; it is his will and plan that we hang on to him, and hold tight always, in whatever circumstances; for whether we are filthy or clean is all the same to his love."

"Glad and merry and sweet is the blessed and lovely demeanour of our Lord towards our souls, for he saw us always living in love-longing, and he wants our souls to be gladly disposed toward him . . . by his grace he lifts up and will draw our outer disposition to our inward, and will make us all at unity with him, and each of us with others in the true, lasting joy which is Jesus."

The following was translated by Liz Broadwell.

And from the time that [the vision] was shown, I desired often to know what our Lord's meaning was. And fifteen years and more afterward I was answered in my spiritual understanding, thus: 'Would you know your Lord's meaning in this thing? Know it well, love was his meaning. Who showed it to you? Love. What did he show you? Love. Why did he show it? For love. Keep yourself therein and you shall know and understand more in the same. But you shall never know nor understand any other thing, forever.'
Thus I was taught that love was our Lord's meaning. And I saw quite clearly in this and in all, that before God made us, he loved us, which love was never slaked nor ever shall be. And in this love he has done all his work, and in this love he has made all things profitable to us. And in this love our life is everlasting. In our creation we had a beginning. But the love wherein he made us was in him with no beginning. And all this shall be seen in God without end ...

A modern statue of her has been added to the facade of the Anglican Norwich Cathedral.


Julian of Norwich - 8 May - Author and Contemplative


The Collect:

Lord God, who in thy compassion didst grant to the Lady Julian many revelations of thy nurturing and sustaining love: Move our hearts, like hers, to seek thee above all things, for in giving us thyself thou givest us all; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Hebrews 10:19-24:

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:


The Gospel - John 4:23-26:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/05/08.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_of_Norwich