Friday, February 5, 2016

Agatha of Catania

(from 2/5)

Agatha of Sicily or Saint Agatha (d. 251) is a Christian saint. Her memorial day is on February 5 according to the Gregorian calendar and February 18 on the Julian calendar (still used by some Eastern Orthodox churches). Agatha was born at Catania and she was martyred in approximately AD 250. She is the patron saint of Catania. She is one of seven women, excluding the Blessed Virgin, commemorated by name in the Canon of the Mass.

According to variations of her legend, having rejected the amorous advances of a Roman prefect, she was persecuted by him for her Christian faith. Among the tortures she underwent was the cutting off of her breasts. She is therefore often depicted iconographically carrying her excised breasts on a platter.

The shape of her amputated breasts, especially as depicted in artistic renderings, gave rise to her attribution as the patron saint of bell-founders and as the patron saint of bakers. More recently, she is venerated as patron saint of breast cancer patients.

Her scorned admirer eventually sentenced her to death by being burnt at the stake. However, she was saved from this fate by a mysterious earthquake. She later died in prison.

Agatha is considered as patron saint of Malta since her intercession is reported to have saved Malta from Turkish invasion in 1551.

Propers for Agatha - Virgin and Martyr.

The Collect.

O GOD, who among other miracles of thy power hast bestowed the victory of martyrdom also upon women: mercifully grant, that we who honour the birthday of blessed Agatha, thy Virgin and Martyr, may through her example walk in the way that leadeth unto thee. Through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who livest and reignest with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.


The Epistle - I Corinthians 1:26-31.

Ye see your calling, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 19:3-12.

The Pharisees also came unto Jesus, tempting him, and saying unto him: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry? But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Agatha
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/agatha.cfm

The Martyrs of Japan



The Twenty-six Martyrs of Japan (日本二十六聖人, Nihon Nijūroku Seijin?) refers to a group of Christians who were executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597 at Nagasaki.

On August 15, 1549, Francis Xavier (later canonized by Gregory XV in 1622), Fr. Cosme de Torres, S.J. (a Jesuit priest), and Fr. John Fernandez arrived in Kagoshima, Japan, from Spain with hopes of bringing Catholicism to Japan. On September 29, Francis Xavier visited Shimazu Takahisa, the daimyo of Kagoshima, asking for permission to build the first Catholic mission in Japan. The daimyo agreed in hopes of creating a trade relationship with Europe.

A promising beginning to those missions—perhaps as many as 300,000 Christians by the end of the sixteenth century—met complications from competition between the missionary groups, political difficulty between Spain and Portugal, and factions within the government of Japan. Christianity was suppressed. By 1630, Christianity was driven underground. However, when Japan was re-opened to Western contacts 250 years later, it was found that a community of Japanese Christians had survived underground, without clergy, without Scriptures, with only very sketchy instructions in the doctrines of the faith, but with a firm commitment to Jesus as Lord. (I remind you that 250 years is a long time -- 250 years ago Americans were loyal subjects of King George II.)

The first Martyrs of Japan are commemorated on February 5 when, on that date in 1597, twenty-six missionaries and converts were killed by crucifixion.

Some Church calenders place the commemoration of the Martyrs of Japan on 2/5 and some on 2/6.


Propers for The Martyrs of Japan

The Collect.

O God our Father, who art the source of strength to all Thy saints, and who didst bring the holy martyrs of Japan through the suffering of the cross to the joys of life eternal: Grant that we, being encouraged by their example, may hold fast the faith that we profess, even unto death; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Galatians 2:19-20 .

For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


The Gospel - St. Mark 8:34-38.

And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.



Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/02/05.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martyrs_of_Japan
http://www.satucket.com/lectionary/Japan_martyrs.htm

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cornelius the Centurion



Cornelius (in Greek, Κορνήλιος) was a Roman Centurion who is considered by Christians to be the first Gentile to convert to the faith, as related in Acts of the Apostles.

Stationed in Caesarea, Cornelius is depicted in the New Testament as a man full of good works and deeds of alms. Cornelius receives a vision in which an angel of God tells him that his prayers have been heard. The angel then instructs Cornelius to send the men of his household to Joppa, where they will find Simon Peter, who is residing with a tanner by the name of Simon.

The conversion of Cornelius only comes after yet another vision given to Simon Peter (Acts 10:10-16) himself; in Simon Peter's vision, he sees all manner of four-footed beasts and birds of the air being lowed from Heaven in a sheet. A voice commands Simon Peter to eat. When he objects to eating those animals that are unclean to Mosaic Law, the voice tells him not to call unclean that which God has cleansed.

When Cornelius' men arrive, Simon Peter understands that the vision permits the conversion of the Gentiles. When Cornelius himself meets Simon Peter, Cornelius falls at his feet in adoration. Picking Cornelius up, Simon Peter welcomes him. After the two men share their visions, and Simon Peter tells of Jesus' ministry and the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit falls on everyone at the gathering. The Jews among the group are amazed that Cornelius and other uncircumcised should begin speaking in tongues, praising God. Thereupon Simon Peter orders that Cornelius and his followers be baptized.

Cornelius lived in Caesarea, the political capital of Judea under Herod and the Romans. Although he is not mentioned again, he and his household presumably formed the nucleus of the Christian community that we find mentioned later (Acts 8:40; 21:18) in this important city.

The controversial aspect of Gentile conversion is taken up later at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15).


Propers for Cornelius the Centurion - First of the Gentiles.

The Collect.

O GOD, who by thy spirit didst call Cornelius the Centurion to be the first Christian among the Gentiles: Grant to thy Church in every nation a ready mind and will to proclaim thy love to all who turn to thee with unfeigned hope and faith; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.


The Epistle - Acts 11:1-18.

AND the apostles and brethren that were in Judea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him, saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them. But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descended, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me: upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat. But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth. But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven. And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me. And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house: and he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved. And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.


The Gospel - St. John 4:4-14.

JESUS must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.wcg.org/lit/bible/acts/acts10.htm
http://orderofcenturions.org/history.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornelius_the_Centurion
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/s_corne.cfm
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/02/04.html

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Blasius of Sebaste

(or Blasius Βλάσιος, Armenian: Սուրբ Բարսեղ) was a physician and bishop of Sebaste (modern Sivas), Armenia. According to his Acta he was martyred by being beaten, attacked with iron carding combs, and beheaded.

In iconography, Blaise is often shown with the instruments of his martyrdom, iron combs. The similarity of these instruments of torture to wool combs led to his adoption as patron of wool combers in particular, and the wool trade in general. He may also be depicted with crossed candles. Such crossed candles (left unlighted for safety reasons) are used for the blessing of throats on the feast day of St. Blaise, which falls on February 3, the day after Candlemas on the Kalendar, Blaise is traditionally believed to intercede in cases of throat illnesses, especially for fish-bones stuck in the throat. The blessing is: "Per intercessionem Sancti Blasii liberet te Deus a malo gutteris et a quovis alio malo." (May God at the intercession of Saint Blaise preserve you from throat troubles and every other evil).

Indeed, the first reference we have to him is in manuscripts of the medical writings of Aëtius Amidenus, the court physician of Justinian I, where his aid is invoked in treating objects stuck in the throat. He cured animals and lived in a cage. Before being killed, he spoke to a wolf and told it to release a pig it was harming. The wolf did so. Saint Blaise was going to be starved but the owner of the pig secretly gave him food in order to survive. After a while, he was tortured because of what he believed in but did not give up faith, he then died in the year 316.

Propers for Blasius - Bishop and Martyr

The Collect.

O GOD, who didst make blessed Blasius, they Martyr and Bishop, strong to endure his own sufferings and to lighten the infirmities of other men: Mercifully grant that we may imitate his constancy of faith, and in danger may feel thy protection as he did; 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.

Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Blaise
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/blasius.cfm

Ansgar

Anskar (in Latin, Ansgarius) was a monk of Saxon family, born in 801 (the year after the crowning of Charlemagne). In 826, when King Harald of Denmark asked Charlemagne's successors for missionaries, Anskar led a group to Denmark, and a few years later to Sweden. Because of unsettled political conditions, his work ran into difficulties, and Anskar withdrew into Germany, where he served as first Archbishop of Hamburg. Later, however, he helped to consecrate Gotbert, the first bishop of Sweden. The Church of Sweden honors him as its apostle, and he serves as symbol of the historic friendship and present-day connection between the Anglican Churches and the Church of Sweden.

The Propers for Ansgar - Bishop and Missionary to the Swedes

The Collect.

Almighty and everlasting God, who didst send Thy servant Ansgar as an apostle to the people of Scandinavia, and didst enable him to lay a firm foundation for their conversion: Keep Thy Church from discouragement, knowing that when Thou hast begun a good work thou wilt bring it to a fruitful conclusion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Acts 1:1-9.

THE former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: and, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things. while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.


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

AFTER these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry neither purse, nor pack, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house. And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you: and heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/02/03.html
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_miss.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anskar
http://partridgehillpress.com/AnglicanUseOffice.pdf
http://www.ansgar-werk.de/25.0.html

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Candlemas

[Also known as The Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ and The Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary.]

Counting forward from December 25 as Day One, we find that Day Forty is February 2. A Jewish woman is in semi-seclusion for 40 days after giving birth to a son, and accordingly it is on February 2 that we celebrate the coming of Mary and Joseph with the infant Jesus to the Temple at Jerusalem to offer sacrifice, both on behalf of Mary and on behalf of Jesus as a first-born male. As they did so, they were greeted by the aged Simeon.

The event is described in the Gospel of Luke 2:22–40. According to the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth to complete Mary's purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn, in obedience to Law of Moses (Leviticus 12, Exodus 13:12-15, etc.).

Simeon prayed the prayer that would become known as the Nunc Dimittis, or Canticle of Simeon, which prophesied the redemption of the world by Jesus:

"Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation, which Thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to enlighten the Gentiles, and the glory of Thy people Israel" (Luke 2:29-32).

Simeon then prophesied to Mary: "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against—yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also—that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (Luke 2:34-35).

The elderly prophetess Anna was also in the Temple, and offered prayers and praise to God for Jesus, and spoke to everyone there about Jesus and his role in the redemption of Israel (Luke 2:36-38).



Propers for Candlemas

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we humbly beseech thy Majesty, that, as thy only-begotten Son was this day presented in the Temple in substance of our flesh, so we may be presented unto thee with pure and clean hearts, by the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Malachi 3:1-5.

BEHOLD, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' sope: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.


The Gospel - St. Luke 2:22-40.

AND when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: for mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; and she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.


Candlemas, or The Feast of the Purification of Mary - A Sermon preached by Fr. Patrick Malone on Luke 2:21-22.

Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/02/02.html
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/purif.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candlemas

Monday, February 1, 2016

Ignatius of Antioch

(also known as Theophorus) (ca. 35 or 50-between 98 and 117) A Convert from paganism to Christianity. Was among the Apostolic Fathers. He was the third Bishop and Patriarch of Antioch succeeding Saint Peter the Apostle and was possibly a student of John the Apostle. Served during persecutions by Domitian and Trajan. During the persecution of Trajan, he was ordered taken to Rome to be killed by wild animals.

En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology. Important topics addressed in these letters include ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops. He was the first writer to use the term the Catholic Church. Legend says he was the infant that Jesus took into his arms in Mark 9.

Ignatius' feast day is observed on 20 December in Eastern Christianity. In Western Christianity it is celebrated on 17 October and on 1 February by those following the traditional western Calendar.


Propers for St. Ignatius - Bishop of Antioch and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, by whose grace and power thy holy Bishop and martyr Ignatius triumphed over suffering and despised death: Grant, we beseech thee, that enduring hardship, and waxing valiant in fight, we may with the noble army of martyrs receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Romans 8:35-39.

WHO shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The Gospel - St. John 12:24-26.

VERILY, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/s_ignat.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignatius_of_Antioch
http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-ignatius-of-antioch/
http://www.synaxis.org/cf/volume01/
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ignatius.html

Brigid of Kildare

She is considered one of Ireland's patron saints along with Saints Patrick and Columba. Her feast day is February 14 in Eastern Christianity and February 1, the traditional first day of spring in Ireland, in the West.

Bridget (Brigid, Bride, Bridey) of Kildare was born around 450 into a Druid family, being the daughter of Dubhthach, court poet to King Loeghaire. At an early age, she decided to become a Christian, and she eventually took vows as a nun. Together with a group of other women, she established a nunnery at Kildare. She was later joined by a community of monks led by Conlaed. Kildare had formerly been a pagan shrine where a sacred fire was kept perpetually burning, and Bridget and her nuns, instead of stamping out the fire, kept it going but gave it a Christian interpretation. (This was in keeping with the general process whereby Druidism in Ireland gave way to Christianity with very little opposition, the Druids for the most part saying that their own beliefs were a partial and tentative insight into the nature of God, and that they recognized in Christianity what they had been looking for.) Bridget as an abbess participated in several Irish councils, and her influence on the policies of the Church in Ireland was considerable.

Propers for Brigid of Kildare - Abbess

The Collect.

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that, following the example of Thy servant Bridget, we may serve Thee with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the world to come; through 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 Epistle - 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.


The Gospel - Matthew 6:25-33.

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/02/01.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bridget_of_Kildare
http://www.io.com/~kellywp/LesserFF/Feb/Brigid.html

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sexagesima Sunday

The Collect.

O LORD God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Corinthians xi. 19.

YE suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.


The Gospel - St. Luke viii. 4.

WHEN much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable: A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way-side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way-side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Aidan of Ferns

There were several Irish saints named Aidan but this one seems to have been the most important. Son of Eithne and Sedna, chief of Connaught. He traveled to Kilmuine, Wales and became one of Saint David‘s most faithful disciples. He returned to Ireland in 580 with a band of disciples, including Saint Caillan and settled at Brentrocht, Leinster. Founded 30 churches and several monasteries in that district, the greatest being Ferns in Wexford, built on land given him by Brandubh, King of Leinster. First bishop of Ferns c.598; the episcopal seat of Ferns is now at Enniscorthy, where there is a beautiful cathedral dedicated to Aedan. Miracle worker. Late in life he retired to live as a prayerful monk.



Propers for Aidan of Ferns - Monastic, Missionary and Bishop.

The Collect.

Almighty and Everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant Aidan, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the people of Leinster. 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 Saviour Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


The Lesson -  Isaiah 52:7-10


The Holy Gospel - Luke 10:1-9


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Saturday, January 30, 2016

King Charles the Martyr

(19 November 1600 – 30 January 1649) was King of England, King of Scotland and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution.

Charles famously engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England. He was an advocate of the Divine Right of Kings, and many in England feared that he was attempting to gain absolute power. Many of his actions, particularly the levying of taxes without Parliament's consent, caused widespread opposition.

Religious conflicts permeated Charles's reign. He married a Catholic princess, Henrietta Maria of France, over the objections of Parliament and public opinion. He further allied himself with controversial religious figures, including the ecclesiastic Richard Montagu and William Laud, whom Charles appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. Many of Charles's subjects felt this brought the Church of England too close to Roman Catholicism. Charles's later attempts to force religious reforms upon Scotland led to the Bishops' Wars that weakened England's government and helped precipitate his downfall.

His last years were marked by the English Civil War, in which he was opposed by the forces of Parliament, which challenged his attempts to augment his own power, and by Puritans, who were hostile to his religious policies and Catholic sympathy. Charles was defeated in the first Civil War (1642 - 1645), after which Parliament expected him to accept demands for a constitutional monarchy. He instead remained defiant by attempting to forge an alliance with Scotland and escaping to the Isle of Wight. This provoked a second Civil War (1648 - 1649) and a second defeat for Charles, who was subsequently captured, tried, convicted, and executed for high treason.

Charles was never a Roman Catholic, and firmly refused all urgings to become one, saying that he believed the Church of England to be more truly Catholic than the Church of Rome. However, there were many Roman Catholics in his family. His mother, Anne of Denmark, had converted to Rome. His own wife, Henrietta Maria, a French princess whom he had married in what was originally a political alliance but ended as a love match, was a Roman Catholic. His oldest son Charles became a Roman on his deathbed, and his second son, later James II, became one while still healthy, and lost his throne on account of it. It was accordingly not surprising that the Puritans accused him of being secretly disposed toward Rome, and that they regarded all his moves toward religious toleration as part of a Roman Catholic plan to seize the government.

The monarchy was then abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth of England was declared. Charles's son, Charles II, became King after the restoration of the monarchy in 1660.


Propers for Charles I - King of England, Scotland and Ireland - Martyr

The Collect.

Blessed Lord, in whose sight the death of thy saints is precious; we magnify the Name for that abundant grace bestowed on our late Martyred Sovereign; by which he was enabled so cheerfully to follow the steps of his blessed Master and Saviour, in a constant meek bearing of all barbarous indignities, and at last resisting unto blood; and even then, according to the same pattern, praying for his murderers. Let his memory, O Lord, be ever blessed among us, that we may follow the example of his patience, and charity; And grant, that this our Land may be freed from the vengence of his blood, and Thy mercy glorified in the forgiveness of our sings; and all for Jesus Christ His sake. Amen.


The Epistle - I St Peter 2: 13-23.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:


The Gospel - St Matthew xxi., 33-42 .

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him. When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_I_of_England
http://anglicanhistory.org/charles/kcm.html
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/01/30a.html

Friday, January 29, 2016

Charles Frederick Frazier Mackenzie

(1825–62) was a Church of England bishop of Central Africa. He is commemorated in some Anglican Church Calendars.

He was born at Portmore, Peeblesshire, Scotland, the ninth son of Colin Mackenzie and Elizabeth Forbes. Anne Mackenzie, editor of all 31 years of The Net Cast in Many Waters: Sketches from the Life of Missionaries, London, 1866–1896, was his unmarried sister. He was educated at Bishop Wearmouth school and Edinburgh Academy, and entered St John's College, Cambridge in 1844. He migrated to Caius College, where he graduated B. A. as Second Wrangler in 1848, and became a Fellow of Caius. In 1855, he went to Natal with Bishop Colenso and served as Archdeacon in the area which now partly falls under All Souls Umhlali. They worked among the English settlers till 1859. In 1860, Mackenzie became head of the Universities' Mission to Central Africa and he was consecrated bishop in St George's Cathedral, Cape Town, on 1 January 1861. Following Dr David Livingstone's request to Cambridge, Bishop Mackenzie took on the position of being the first missionary bishop in Nyasaland (now Malawi).

Moving from Cape Town, Bishop Mackenzie sailed up the Zambezi and Shire rivers with a small group to start work. He arrived at Chibisa’s village in June 1861 with the goal to establish a mission station at Magomero, near Zomba. He directly opposed the slave trade causing the enmity of the Yao. Bishop Mackenzie worked among the people of the Manganja country until January 1862 when he went on a supplies trip together with a few members of his party. The boat they were travelling on sank and as their medical supplies were lost, Bishop Mackenzie’s malaria could not be treated. He died of Blackwater fever on 31 January 1862. Dr Livingstone erected a cross over his grave.


Propers for Charles Mackenzie - Missionary and Bishop


Almighty and Everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant, Charles Frederick Frazier Mackenzie whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the people of Malawi. 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 Saviour Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


The Lesson - Acts 1:1-9.


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


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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Preservation of the American Episcopate

Thousands of faithful Episcopalians gathered in St. Louis, Missouri in 1977 and agreed upon the Affirmation of St. Louis, a document which expressed our commitment to the historic and biblical faith of the Church.

In Denver, Colorado, on January 28th 1978, the Rt. Rev. Albert Chambers (retired), along with two other bishops, consecrated four ECUSA priests Bishops - Frs. Waterson, Mote, Doren and Morse.

It is hoped that through these lines that a orthodox, faithful and traditional Anglican presence could and can be maintianed in North America.

Bishop Chambers was the Episcopal Bishop of Springfield, Illinois. This consecration made it possible for Episcopalians to continue practicing the Catholic and Apostolic faith of the Church, as it has been handed down through the centuries. Pray that all Bishops and other ministers diligently preach God's holy Word, and that all people obediently follow the same, that mankind may receive the crown of everlasting glory.


Propers for the Preservation of the American Episcopate

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY GOD, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst give to thy holy Apostles many excellent gifts, and didst charge them to feed thy flock: give grace, we beseech thee, to all Bishops, the Pastors of thy Church, that they may diligently preach thy Word, and duly administer the godly Discipline thereof; and grant to the people, that they may obediently follow the same, that all may receive the crown of everlasting glory. Through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 1Timothy 3:1-7.

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.


The Gospel - St Matthew 28:18-20.

And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.episcopalnet.org/1928bcp/propers/Missal/Jan28.html
http://affirmationofstlouis.blogspot.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirmation_of_St._Louis
http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2010/01/reaffirming-st-louis.html
http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2010/01/bestowal-of-denver-succession-to.html

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

St. John Chrysostom

John was called "Chrysostom" ("Golden Mouth") because of his eloquence. He was a priest of Antioch, and an outstanding preacher. (Audiences were warned not to carry large sums of money when they went to hear him speak, since pickpockets found it very easy to rob his hearers -- they were too intent on his words to notice what was happening.) His sermons are mostly straightforward expositions of Holy Scripture (he has extensive commentaries on both Testaments, with special attention to the Epistles of Paul), and he emphasizes the literal meaning, whereas the style popular at Alexandria tended to read allegorical meanings into the text.

He loved the city and people of Antioch, and they loved him. However, he became so famous that the Empress at Constantinople decided that she must have him for her court preacher, and she had him kidnapped and brought to Constantinople and there made bishop. This was a failure all around. His sermons against corruption in high places earned him powerful enemies (including the Empress), and he was sent into exile, where he died.

Along with Athanasius of Alexandria, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus, he is counted as one of the Four Great Eastern (or Greek) Doctors of the Ancient Church. The Four Great Western (or Latin) Doctors are Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine, and Gregory the Great.

Propers for St. John Chrysostom - Bishop of Constantinople, Preacher, Theologian and Liturgist


The Collect.

O GOD, who didst give grace to thy servant John, eloquently to declare thy righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honour of thy Name: Mercifully grant unto all bishops and pastors such excellency in preaching, and fidelity in ministering thy Word, that thy people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Jeremiah 1:4-9.

THE word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, LORD God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.


The Gospel - St. Luke 21:12-15.

But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake. And it shall turn to you for a testimony. Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/01/27.html
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/s_john_c.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Chrysostom
http://www.episcopalnet.org/1928bcp/propers/Missal/Jan27.html

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Polycarp of Smyrna

(ca. 69- ca. 155) was a Christian bishop of Smyrna (now İzmir in Turkey) in the second century. He died a martyr when he was stabbed and burnt at the stake. Polycarp is recognized as a saint in most Christian churches. It is recorded that "He had been a disciple of John." The options for this John are John the son of Zebedee traditionally viewed as the author of the Fourth Gospel, or John the Presbyter. Traditional advocates follow Eusebius in insisting that the apostolic connection of Papius was with John the Evangelist, and that this John, the author of the Gospel of John, was the same as the Apostle John.

With Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp is one of three chief Apostolic Fathers, early church authors who had reportedly known the apostles personally. His sole surviving work is his Letter to the Philippians.

Propers for Polycarp - Bishop of Smyrna and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, who didst give thy servant Polycarp 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 likewise may ever be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for his sake; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Revelation 2:8-11.

UNTO the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 20:20-23.

THEN came to him the mother of Zebedee's children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, what wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.ntcanon.org/Polycarp.shtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarp
http://www.episcopalnet.org/Kalendars/JanSaints.html#anchor2520092
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/polycarp.cfm
http://www.synaxis.org/cf/volume01/ECF01THE_ENCYCLICAL_EPISTLE_OF_THE_CH.htm
http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/polycarp_fragments_01_text.htm
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/polycarp.html

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Conversion of Saint Paul

The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul is a feast celebrated during the liturgical year on January 25, recounting the Conversion of Saul of Tarsus, who after a record of brutalizing and persecuting Christians, converted to Christianity and became the apostle Paul.

While on the road to Damascus (c. A.D. 36) to annihilate the Christian community there, Saul said he was blinded by a brilliant light and heard the voice of Christ saying, "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?...And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid, but they heard not the voice...." Elsewhere Paul claims to have seen Christ, and it is on this basis that he grounds his claim to be recognized as an Apostle: "Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord?". Saul of Tarsus would journey into Damascus, where he was cured and attended by Ananias, being baptized into Christianity. He later took the name Paul and became one of the chief founding voices of Early Christianity. Paul's epistles, for instance, form the bulk of the New Testament of the Bible, after the combined total of the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles (both traditionally attributed to the Apostle Luke), whose two books amount to nearly a third of the New Testament.

The Christian theological implication of the Conversion of Paul is that it witnesses the absolution of sin that is offered by faith and grace through belief in Jesus Christ. The magnitude of Paul's transgressions, such as his attempts to completely eradicate Christianity, indicate that any sinner may be forgiven, no matter how terrible his sins, except for the Unforgivable sin.


Propers for The Conversion of Saint Paul


The Collect.

O GOD, who, through the preaching of the blessed Apostle Saint Paul, hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world; Grant, we beseech thee, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show forth our thankfulness unto thee for the same, by following the holy doctrine which he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Acts ix. 1.

AND Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: and he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, and hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.


The Gospel - St. Matthew xix. 27.

PETER answered and said unto Jesus, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Conversion_of_Saint_Paul
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/s_paul.cfm
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/01/25.html
http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2009/01/conversion-of-st-paul-january-25th.html

Octave of Prayer for Church Unity

January 18 is the Feast of the Confession of Peter ("Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God" Matthew 16:16). January 25 is the Feast of the Conversion of Paul (Acts 9). Many Christians observe the eight days from January 18 to January 25 inclusive as a time of special prayer that all Christians may be one with their Lord and with one another, joined in faith and love.

I invite all of you to join in offering such prayers, always but especially during these eight days.

O GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic church; that thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.


Sunday, January 24, 2016

Septuagesima Sunday

The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee favourably to hear the prayers of thy people; that we, who are justly punished for our offences, may be mercifully delivered by thy goodness, for the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.


The Epistle - 1 Corinthians ix. 24.

KNOW ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: but I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection; lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.


The Gospel - St. Matthew xx. 1.

THE kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the market-place, and said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2009/02/setptuagesima.html

St. Timothy

was a first-century Christian bishop who died about AD 80. Evidence from the New Testament also has him functioning as an apostolic delegate or coadjutor.

Timothy is first mentioned in the Bible at the time of Paul's second visit to Lystra (16:2), where Timothy probably resided and where it seems he was converted during Paul's first visit to that place (1 Tim 1:2; 2 Tim 3:11). Paul, having been impressed by his "own son in the faith", arranged that he should become his companion (Acts 16:3), and personally circumcised him because his mother was of the Jewish faith, so that he might be accepted by the Jews. He was ordained (1 Tim 4:14) and went with Paul in his journey through Phrygia, Galatia and Mysia; also to Troas, Philippi, Berea (Acts 17) and Corinth (Acts 18:5). His mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois, are noted as eminent for their piety and faith, which indicates that they may have also been Christians. Timothy is praised by Paul for his knowledge of the Scriptures, and is said to have been acquainted with the the Scriptures since childhood. The Bible gives little information about Timothy's father; however, does indicate that he was a Greek (Acts 16:1).

According to later tradition, Paul ordained Timothy as Bishop of Ephesus in the year 65, where he served for 15 years. In the year 80 (though some sources place the event during the year 97, with Timothy dying at age 80), Timothy tried to halt a pagan procession of idols, ceremonies and songs. In response to his preaching of the Gospel, the angry pagans beat him, dragged him through the streets and stoned him to death. In the 4th century, his relics were transferred to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople.


Propers for St. Timothy - Bishop and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and merciful God, who didst call Saint Timothy to endure hardship, as a good soldier of thy Son: Strengthen us in like manner to stand firm in adversity, that we may obtain salvation with eternal glory; through the grace of Christ Jesus our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Timothy 1:1-7.

PAUL, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of self-control.


The Gospel - St. John 10:7-10.

THEN said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Timothy
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/s_timoth.cfm
http://www.monasteryicons.com/cgi-bin/hazel.cgi?action=DETAIL&item=523&EXPANDED=1

Octave of Prayer for Church Unity

January 18 is the Feast of the Confession of Peter ("Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God" Matthew 16:16). January 25 is the Feast of the Conversion of Paul (Acts 9). Many Christians observe the eight days from January 18 to January 25 inclusive as a time of special prayer that all Christians may be one with their Lord and with one another, joined in faith and love.

I invite all of you to join in offering such prayers, always but especially during these eight days.

O GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic church; that thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

Phillips Brooks

(December 13, 1835 – January 23, 1893) is best known today as the author of "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Former generations, however, accounted him the greatest American preacher of the nineteenth century (and not for lack of other candidates). His sermons are still read.

He was born in Boston in 1835 and educated at Harvard and at Virginia Theological Seminary. After ten years of ministry at two churches in Philadelphia, he returned to Boston in 1869 and was rector of Trinity Church there until 1891. He was then elected Bishop of Massachusetts, and died two years later.


Propers for Phillips Brooks - Churchman and Bishop

The Collect.

O everlasting God, who didst call thy servant Phillips Brooks To the ministry of preaching, and didst give him wisdom, charity, and eloquence that he might speak the truth with grace and power: Grant, we pray, that all whom thou dost call to preach the Gospel may steep themselves in thy word, and conform their lives to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Ephesians 3:14-21


The Gospel - St. Matthew 24:24-27


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillips_Brooks
http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/85.html
http://www.lectionarypage.net/LesserFF/Jan/PhBrooks.html


Octave of Prayer for Church Unity

January 18 is the Feast of the Confession of Peter ("Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God" Matthew 16:16). January 25 is the Feast of the Conversion of Paul (Acts 9). Many Christians observe the eight days from January 18 to January 25 inclusive as a time of special prayer that all Christians may be one with their Lord and with one another, joined in faith and love.

I invite all of you to join in offering such prayers, always but especially during these eight days.

O GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic church; that thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.


Friday, January 22, 2016

Vincent of Saragossa

He was born at Huesca but lived in Zaragoza (Saragossa in English; also in the Aragon region of Spain) and is also known as Saint Vincent the Deacon. The title "deacon" (diakonos) means minister or servant.

Vincent served as the deacon of Saint Valerius, bishop of Saragossa. Imprisoned in Valencia for his faith, and tortured on a gridiron. Vincent, like many early martyrs in the early hagiographic literature, succeeded in converting his jailer. Though he was finally offered release if he would consign Scripture to the fire, Vincent refused.

The earliest account of Vincent's martyrdom is in a carmen (lyric poem) written by the poet Prudentius, (348 – after 405), who wrote a series of lyric poems, Peristephanon ("Crowns of Martyrdom"), on Hispanic and Roman martyrs, including Lawrence. Prudentius describes how Vincent was brought to trial along with his bishop Valerius, and that since Valerius had a speech impediment, Vincent spoke for both, but that his outspoken fearless manner so angered the governor that Vincent was tortured and martyred, though his aged bishop was only exiled.

Propers for Vincent of Saragossa, Deacon and Martyr.

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, by whose grace and power thy holy Deacon and martyr Vincent triumphed over suffering and despised death: Grant, we beseech thee, that enduring hardness, and waxing valiant in fight, we may with the noble army of martyrs receive the crown of everlasting life; 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.

Reference and Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_of_Saragossa
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/vincent.cfm

Octave of Prayer for Church Unity

January 18 is the Feast of the Confession of Peter ("Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God" Matthew 16:16). January 25 is the Feast of the Conversion of Paul (Acts 9). Many Christians observe the eight days from January 18 to January 25 inclusive as a time of special prayer that all Christians may be one with their Lord and with one another, joined in faith and love.

I invite all of you to join in offering such prayers, always but especially during these eight days.

O GOD, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour, the Prince of Peace; Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions. Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever else may hinder us from godly union and concord: that as there is but one Body and one Spirit, and one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may be all of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O gracious Father, we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic church; that thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.