Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Nicholas of Myra

was born in Asia Minor during the third century in the Greek colony of Patara in Lycia in the Roman province of Asia- today Antalya, Turkey — at a time when the region was Hellenistic in its culture and outlook. Nicholas became bishop of the city of Myra. He was very religious from an early age and devoted his life entirely to Christianity. According to legend, Nicholas was said to have rigorously observed the canonical fasts of Wednesdays and Fridays, even when an infant, by abstaining on those days from his mother's breasts. Nicholas is said to have been born to relatively affluent Christian parents in Patara, Lycia, where he also received his early schooling.

As the patron saint also of sailors, Nicholas is claimed to have been a sailor or fisherman himself. More likely, however, is that one of his family businesses involved managing a fishing fleet. When his parents died, Nicholas received his inheritance but is said to have given it away to the poor. So was St Nicholas a working, albeit wealthy, man who complemented his day job with caring for his congregation, or was he a full-time bishop? The impressive list of deeds of Nicholas seems to point to the latter. This does not mean, however, that his appointment to priest or bishop meant a complete rupture with his former life. More likely this was a gradual process.

Nicholas's early activities as a priest are said to have occurred during the persecution of Christians under the reign of co-ruling Roman Emperors Diocletian (reigned 284–305) and Maximian (reigned 286–305) In the Eastern Empire Galerius (reigned 305–311) continued the persecution until 311 when he issued a general edict of toleration from his deathbed. Nicholas survived this period, although his activities at the time are uncertain.

Following Galerius' death his surviving co-ruler Licinius (reigned 307–324) mostly tolerated Christians. As a result their community was allowed to further develop, and the various bishops who acted as their leaders managed to concentrate religious, social, and political influence as well as wealth in their hands. In many cases they acted as the heads of their respective cities. It is apparently in this period that Nicholas rose to become bishop of Myra. Judging from tradition, he was probably well loved and respected in his area, mostly as a result of his charitable activities. As with other bishops of the time, Nicholas's popularity would serve to ensure his position and influence during and after this period.

The destruction of several pagan temples is also attributed to him, among them the temple of Artemis. Because the celebration of Diana's birth is on December 6, some authors have speculated that this date was deliberately chosen for Nicholas's feast day to overshadow or replace the pagan celebrations.

Not only was Nicholas intolerant of pagans, he was also intolerant of Arianism. Nicholas is listed as a participant in the First Council of Nicaea. There according to legend he became so angry upon hearing the views of Arius that he rushed over to the heretic and gave him a tremendous box on his ears, sending him to the ground.

Nicholas is also known for coming to the defence of the falsely accused, often preventing them from being executed, and for his intercession on behalf of sailors and other travelers. The popular veneration of Nicholas as a saint seems to have started relatively early. Justinian I, Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire (reigned 527–565) is reported to have built a temple (i.e. a church building) in Nicholas's honor in Constantinople.


Propers for Nicholas - 6 December - Bishop of Myra

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy servant Nicholas: Grant to us, thy humble servants, the same faith and power of love; that, as we rejoice in his triumph, we may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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 a hungered, 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 hungered, 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 least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Nicholas
http://anglicancontinuum.blogspot.com/2007/12/st-nicholos-december-6th.html
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/nicholas.cfm
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/12/06.html

Monday, December 5, 2016

Clement of Alexandria

A native of Athens, was converted to Christianity by Pantaenus, founder of the Catechetical School at Alexandria (then the intellectual capital of the Mediterranean world), and succeeded his teacher as head of the School about 180.

For over 20 years he labored effectively as an apologist for the faith and catechist of the faithful. He regarded the science and philosophy of the Greeks as being, like the Torah of the Hebrews, a preparation for the Gospel, and the curriculum of his School undertook to give his students both a knowledge the Gospel of Christ and a sound liberal education. His speculative theology, his scholarly defense of the faith and his willingness to meet non-Christian scholars on their own grounds, helped to establish the good reputation of Christianity in the world of learning and prepare the way for his pupils.

Clement is not on the present Roman calendar (having been removed by Bellarmine at the time of Galileo, when the Roman See was undergoing a period of wariness about intellectual venturesomeness), but is on the Eastern calendar and many modern revisions of the Anglican calendar. His influence has been considerable.

Propers for Clement of Alexandria - 5 December - Priest, Teacher, and Apologist


The Collect.

O GOD, who hast enlightened thy Church by the teaching of thy servant Clement: Enrich us evermore, we beseech thee, with thy heavenly grace, and raise up faithful witnesses who by their life and doctrine will set forth the truth of thy salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Peter 1:2-8.

GRACE and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, according as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The Gospel - St. John 6:57-63.

AS the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum. Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.

Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clement_of_alexandria
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/clement.cfm
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/12/05.html

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Simon Sutherland

On this blog I have included the biographies of many great and notable Christians. Today I would like to include that of one of my heroes and ancestors, the Rev. Simon Sutherland. The Sutherland family had come to America from Scotland with others of the Society of Friends (Quakers) and settled in Dutchess County, NY. The American Revolution was a time of great upheaval, not only for America, but also for the Sutherland family. Simon's grand-father was a devoted Quaker and pacifist and had been jailed by both sides during the war for his failure to support them. Simon's father on the other-hand left the Quaker faith as he supported and fought for the Patriot cause, turning to the Baptist denomination.

Below is a biography of the Rev. Sutherland from the book Centennial history of the Steuben Baptist Association, with information in brackets and italics were added from my records (local histories, military and Church records and family tradition) to fill the narrative.

One of the notable characters of the early history of Milo was Simon Sutherland, a faithful and earnest preacher of the Baptist faith. He was born in Stanford Dutchess County in 1779 and married in 1799 Tacey Lapham. They moved into Yates Co. [still part of Ontario Co.] in 1803. He was licensed to preach by the Benton church (1st Milo) Oct 6 1806.

Elder Sutherland preached without compensation for some time, indeed it was on his part a firm resolve in the early part of his ministry to accept no compensation for his ministerial labor. On one occasion when they [the Sutherland family] had lost their cow, some friends started a subscription to buy them another. Upon getting possession of the paper he (Simon Sutherland) threw it under the "forestick" determined to allow nothing of the kind. He supported himself and family by the labor of his hands and preached with zeal and effect to the pioneers of the surrounding country, sometimes going ten miles or more from home on foot to attend his appointments. He formed the first and second Baptist churches in Milo.

In the War of 1812 his brother Roger was a captain [Ontario Co., NY Militia] and the Elder went and served under him [as a Chaplain and Sergeant]. Simon Sutherland's unit was part of the force that took and held Ft. Niagara from the British and Canadian forces until forced to withdraw due to poor supply, morale and mutiny. After the withdraw Elder Sutherland served on the board of court martial that heard cases related to events at Ft. Niagara.

Elder Sutherland had seven daughters and one son, who was accidentally killed by a horse while a small lad and lost three daughters during an epidemic of the measles, yet his faith never wavered in spite of the tragedies.

Elder Simon Sutherland was instrumental in forming churches in Starkey (Now Dundee) Barrington (now Wayne Village) and Pulteney. In the latter town he resided twelve years a minister, in all up-wards of fifty years a preacher. He moved from Pulteney to Starkey where he lived several years and finally died near his old home in Milo Dec 1864 aged 85. He was made of stuff that belongs to the heroes and was ever true to his faith and calling while he was kind, gentle and self sacrificing in domestic and social life.

Elder Sutherland in his old age would often tell with tremulous voice, in his quaint way, of his journeyings from Second Milo to Eddy town and Harpending's Corners through the wilderness guided by marked trees, taking his chances with wild beasts, to dispense the everlasting word of God, holding services at all three places in one day - morning, afternoon and evening.

In the Churchyard Cemetery at Second Milo there is a large monument at his grave, with a Veterans Administration placard attached to it.

Sutherland Simon, Rev.
1864 Dec 5
B1779 Jun 4 in Dutchess Co., NY; died in Milo, ae 85/6
[War of 1812]

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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Astonishing discovery at Christ's tomb supports Turin Shroud

Astonishing discovery at Christ's tomb supports Turin Shroud

An astonishing discovery has been made during repair work to the Edicule -- the ancient chamber housing Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Scientists have reported extraordinary phemonena that may support the authenticity of the Holy Shroud of Turin.



The Second Sunday in Advent



The Collect.

BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.


The Epistle - Romans xv. 4.

WHATSOEVER things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.


The Gospel - St. Luke xxi. 25.

AND there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

John of Damascus

(Arabic: يحيى ابن منصور Yaḥyā ibn Manṣūr; Greek: Ιωάννης Δαμασκήνος/Ioannês Damaskinos; Latin: Iohannes Damascenus or Johannes Damascenus also known as John Damascene, Χρυσορρόας/Chrysorrhoas, "streaming with gold"—i.e., "the golden speaker") (c. 676 – December 5, 749) was a Syrian monk and priest. He was born and raised in Damascus, and died (in all probability) at his monastery Mar Saba, southeast of Jerusalem.

He was a polymath whose fields of interest and contribution included Law, Theology, Philosophy and Music. He was the Chief Administrator to the ruler of Damascus, wrote works expounding the Christian faith, and composed hymns which are still in everyday use in Eastern Christian monasteries throughout the world.





Propers for John of Damascus - 4 December - Hymn-writer, Defender of Icons


Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and bast compassed us about with so great a cloud of witnesses; Grant that we, encouraged by the good examples of thy Saints, and especially of thy servant John Damascene, may persevere in running the race that is set before us, until at length, through thy mercy, we with them attain to thine eternal joy; through him who is the author and finisher of our faith, thy Son 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 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://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_of_Damascus
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/common.cfm
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/12/04.html

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Francis Xavier

Francis Xavier, or Francisco do Yasu y Javier, was a Basque. (The Basques are a people from the region of Biscay in northern Spain, whose language is unrelated to any other known language.) He was born in 1506 and studied at the University of Paris, where he met Ignatius Loyola and joined together with him and five others in dedicating their lives to the will and service of God, and forming the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1534.

In 1541 Francis sailed with two companions from Portugal to the Portuguese colony of Goa on the west coast of India (arriving in May 1542), where he set about learning the language and writing a catechism for the instruction of converts.

He visited the prisons and the hospitals, conducted worship services among the lepers, and walked the streets ringing a bell to call the children for religious instruction. His chief method of instructing the people was to write verses in their language setting forth the truths of the Christian faith, and set them to music. Both words and tunes tended to be "catchy," and his doggerel instructions were extremely popular and were sung everywhere. He preached tirelessly, both to the native peoples and to the Europeans living there.

Francis found to his dismay that the Portuguese settlers and soldiers of the colony were brutal in their treatment of the natives, and that, even aside from this, their manner of life did not commend their nominal faith to the native observer. He wrote boldly to the King of Portugal to complain: "It is possible that when our Lord God calls your Highness to his Judgement that your Highness may hear angry words from him: "Why did you not punish those who were your subjects and owned your authority, and were enemies to me in India?'"

After five months in Goa, Francis went to the east coast of India, near Sri Lanka (Ceylon), where he preached to a people called the Paravas, with considerable success until the ruler of Jaffna in northern Ceylon became alarmed and suppressed his mission by force.

Throughout most of 1545 to 1547, Francis preached in Malacca (another Portuguese possession) and other places on or near the Malay Peninsula. Here he encountered a Japanese expatriate (Anjiro, later baptized as Paul), and became interested in the possibility of a Japanese mission. After a brief return to Goa, he set out for Japan with another Jesuit priest and three Japanese converts. Here he learned the language, wrote a catechism, and preached. The authorities welcomed him in some towns and prevented him from teaching in others. Altogether Francis, the first to preach the Gospel in Japan, made perhaps 2000 converts there.

He then determined to carry the Gospel to China, at that time closed to outsiders. He bribed a ship's captain to smuggle him into the country, but had barely arrived there when he was stricken with fever and died on 3 December 1552. His body was brought back to Goa and buried there.

By all acounts, he was a man who preached the Gospel with tireless energy, and with great power and effectiveness. Estimates of the number of converts that he personally baptized vary, but some of them are in the six-digit range. One biographer says that he preached to more persons than anyone else since New Testament times.

Francis wrote as follows in a letter to Ignatius:
Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: there is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again I have thought of going around the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and crying out to the scholars: "What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven, thanks to you!"

This thought would certainly stir most of them to listen actively to what God is saying to them. They would forget their own desires and give themselves over entirely to God's will and his choice. They would cry out with all their heart: "Lord, here am I! Send me. Send me anywhere you like -- even to India!"


Propers for Francis Xavier - 3 December - Priest, Missionary, and Confessor

The Collect.

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant Francis Xavier, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the peoples of Asia. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land heralds and evangelists 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 Epistle - Romans 10:9-21.

IF thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.


The Gospel - St Mark 16:15-18.

AT that time: Jesus said unto his disciples:, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/12/03.html
http://www.episcopalnet.org/1928bcp/propers/Missal/Dec3.html
http://debugmybrain.blogspot.com/2008/12/feast-of-st-francis-xavier.html

Friday, December 2, 2016

Channing Moore Williams

(17 July 1829 – 2 December 1910) was an Episcopalian missionary to China and Japan and later bishop. His saint's day on the Anglican calendar is 2 December.

Moore was born in Richmond, Virginia, and ordained a deacon in 1855. He was ordained a priest in China in 1857 and later posted to Nagasaki, Japan in 1857. In 1866, he was consecrated Bishop of China and Japan. He went to Tokyo in 1874 and founded St. Paul's University, today known as Rikkyo University in Tokyo.

In 1878 he united various national Anglican missionary efforts into the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, (i.e. the "Holy Catholic Church"), the branch of the Anglican church in Japan. He stayed on in Kyoto, Japan after a successor was appointed in 1893, returning to America only in 1908, two years before his death in Richmond in 1910.


Propers for Channing Moore Williams - 2 December - Missionary and Bishop

The Collect.

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank thee for thy servant Channing Moore Williams, whom thou didst call to preach the Gospel to the peoples of China and Japan. Raise up, we beseech thee, in this and every land heralds and evangelists 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 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 Judaea, 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 scrip, 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/12/02.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channing_Moore_Williams


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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Charles de Foucauld


Born in Strasbourg on September 15, 1858, he grew up in a family which was a part of the French aristocracy. Orphaned at the age of six, he and his sister Marie were brought up by their grandfather, Colonel de Morlet. During a difficult adolescence, he completely lost his faith, becoming an agnostic. In 1876 he entered the Saint-Cyr Military Academy. He later was a French army officer in Algeria and Tunisia, but left the army in 1882 and went as an explorer to Morocco (1883–1884).

On his subsequent return to France and towards the end of October 1886, at the age of 28, he went through a conversion experience.

In 1890 he joined the Cistercian Trappist order first in France and then at Akbès in Syria, but left in 1897 to follow an undefined religious vocation in Nazareth. He began to lead a solitary life of prayer, near a convent of Poor Clares and it was suggested to him that he be ordained. In 1901 at the age of 43 he was ordained in Viviers, France and returned to the Sahara in Algeria and lived a virtually eremetical life. He first settled in Beni Abbes, near the Moroccan border, building a small hermitage for ‘adoration and hospitality’, which he soon referred to as the ‘Fraternity’.

Later he moved to be with the Tuareg people, in Tamanghasset in southern Algeria. This region is the central part of the Sahara with the Ahaggar Mountains (the Hoggar) immediately to the west. Charles used the highest point in the region, the Assekrem, as a place of retreat. Living close to the Tuareg, and sharing their life and hardships, he made a ten-year study of their language and cultural traditions. He learned the language and worked on a dictionary and grammar. His dictionary manuscript was published posthumously in 4 volumes and has become known among Berberologues for its rich and apt descriptions. He formulated the idea of founding a new religious order, which only became a reality after his death, under the name of the Little Brothers of Jesus. (See also: Louis Massignon)

On December 1, 1916, he was shot to death outside his Tamanrasset compound, by passing marauders connected with the Senussi Bedouin; this act is to be seen against the general background of the uprising against French colonial power, World War I and famine in the Hoggar. He was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on November 13, 2005 and is listed as a martyr in the liturgy of the Catholic Church.


Propers for Charles de Foucauld - 1 December - Priest, Monastic and Martyr

Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Charles de Foucauld 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 - 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 Judaea 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 your's 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 sep-arate 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/Charles_de_Foucauld
http://jameswoodward.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/charles-de-foucauld/

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

St. Andrew the Apostle

(Greek: Ανδρέας, Andreas), called in the Orthodox tradition Protocletos, or the First-called, is a Christian Apostle and the elder brother of Saint Peter. The name "Andrew" (from Greek : ανδρεία, manhood, or valour), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the second or third century B.C. No Hebrew or Aramaic name is recorded for him.

The Bible records that St Andrew was a son of Jonah, or John, (Matthew 16:17; John 1:42). He was born in Bethsaida on the Sea of Galilee (John 1:44). Both he and his brother Peter were fishermen by trade, hence the tradition that Jesus called them to be his disciples by saying that He will make them "fishers of men" (Greek: ἁλιείς ἀνθρώπων, halieis anthropon). At the beginning of Jesus' public life they occupied the same house at Capernaum (Mark 1:21, 29).

From the Gospel of John we learn that Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist, whose testimony first led him and John the Evangelist to follow Jesus (John 1:35-40). Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messiah, and hastened to introduce Him to his brother(John 1:41). Thenceforth the two brothers were disciples of Christ. On a subsequent occasion, prior to the final call to the apostolate, they were called to a closer companionship, and then they left all things to follow Jesus (Luke 5:11; Matthew 4:19-20; Mark 1:17-18).

In the gospels he is referred to as being present on some important occasions as one of the disciples more closely attached to Jesus (Mark 13:3; John 6:8, 12:22); but in Acts there is only a bare mention of him (1:13).

Eusebius quotes Origen as saying Andrew preached in Asia Minor and in Scythia, along the Black Sea as far as the Volga and Kiev. Hence he became a patron saint of Romania and Russia. According to tradition, he founded the See of Byzantium in AD 38, installing Stachys as bishop (the only bishopric in that neighbourhood before that time had been established at Heraclea). This See would later develop into the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Andrew is recognized as its Patron Saint.

He is said to have been martyred by crucifixion at Patras (Patrae) in Achaea, on a cross of the form called Crux decussata (X-shaped cross) and commonly known as "St. Andrew's cross", at his own request, as he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified on the same type of cross on which Christ was crucified. Saint Andrew is the patron of Patras. According to tradition his relics were moved from Patras to Constantinople, and thence to St. Andrews (see below). Local legends say that the relics were sold to the Romans. The head of the saint, considered as one of the treasures of St. Peter's Basilica, was given by the Byzantine despot Thomas Palaeologus to Pope Pius II in 1461. In recent years, the relics were kept in the Vatican City, but were sent back to Patras by decision of the Pope Paul VI in 1964. The relics, which consist of the small finger, part of the top of the cranium of Saint Andrew and small parts of the cross, have since that time been kept in the Church of St. Andrew at Patras in a special tomb, and are reverenced in a special ceremony every November 30.

St. Andrew Basilica at Patras, where the saint's relics are kept, said to be erected over the place of his martyrdom. The apocryphal Acts of Andrew, mentioned by Eusebius, Epiphanius and others, is among a disparate group of Acts of the Apostles that were traditionally attributed to Leucius Charinus. "These Acts may be the latest of the five leading apostolic romances. The Acts, as well as a Gospel of St. Andrew, appear among rejected books in the Decretum Gelasianum connected with the name of Pope Gelasius I. The Acts of Andrew was edited and published by Constantin von Tischendorf in the Acta Apostolorum apocrypha (Leipzig, 1821) Another version of the Andrew legend is found in the Passio Andreae, published by Max Bonnet (Supplementum II Codicis apocryphi, Paris, 1895).

Propers for Saint Andrew the Apostle - 30 November


The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay; Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfill thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Romans x. 9.

IF thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things ! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.


The Gospel - St. Matthew iv. 18.

JESUS, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father. and followed him.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Andrew
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/s_andr.cfm
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/11/30.html

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Saturninus of Toulouse

Born to the third century Roman nobility. Missionary to Gaul, the Pyrenees, and the Iberian peninsula. Worked with Saint Papoul. He converted many, including the farmer now known as Saint Honestus who joined him as a missionary. Imprisoned in Carcassone by the prefect Rufinus, Saturninus and his group were freed by an angel. He became the first bishop of Toulouse in modern France), where he teamed with Saint Martial to perform miraculous healings. Converted and baptized Saint Firminus of Amiens.

When Saturninus began his work in Toulouse, the local pagan priests stopped receiving oracular messages from their gods. One day in 257, when the priests were hopelessly frustrated, Saturninus passed by in the street. The priests blamed the bishop, and ordered the crowd of heathens to seize him and force him to offer sacrifice to their gods. The idols fell to pieces in front of the bishop, and the crowd murdered him.

Propers for Saturninus of Toulouse - 29 November - Missionary, Bishop and Martyr


The Collect.


O Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Saturninus 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 Lesson - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.


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


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturninus_of_Toulouse
http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-saturninus-of-toulouse/


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Monday, November 28, 2016

Kamehameha and Emma of Hawaii

King Kamehameha IV and his wife Emma were Christian rulers who encouraged the building of Christian schools and hospitals, and who contributed greatly to the spread of Christianity among the Hawaiian people.

The King was worried by the growth of American political influence, directly connected with the work of American missionaries, many of whom openly favored annexation of the islands by the United States. He accordingly invited the Church of England to send missionaries and to establish a presence in Hawaii. (While touring England as a prince, he had attended worship services, and had been favorably impressed.) But, although the King's support of the Church of England was perhaps politically motivated, his support of Christianity was not. He and his wife were earnest in their devotion to both the material and the spiritual welfare of their people. The King personally translated the Book of Common Prayer and much of the Hymnal into Hawaiian.

Their only son died in 1863, and the King died, apparently of grief, on 30 November 1864. The Queen devoted the remainder of her life to charitable endeavors (Queen's Hospital, the largest civilian hospital in Hawaii, is largely her doing). She died in 1885.


Propers for King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma of Hawaii - 28 November

The Collect.

O Sovereign God, who raised up (King) Kamehameha (IV) and (Queen) Emma to be rulers in Hawaii, and didst inspire and enable them to be diligent in good works for the welfare of their people and the good of thy Church: Receive our thanks for their witness to the Gospel; and grant that we, with them, may attain to the crown of glory that fadeth not away; through Jesus Christ our Savior and Redeemer, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Acts 17:22-31.


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


Reference and Resource:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamehameha_IV
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_Emma_of_Hawaii
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/11/28.html

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

The First Sunday in Advent

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.

(This Collect is to be repeated every day, after the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Day.)


The Epistle - Romans xiii. 8.

OWE no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.


The Gospel - St. Matthew xxi. 1.

WHEN they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, and brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name 'of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Cungar of Congresbury

was traditionally born in Llanwngar in Pembrokshire in the late 5th century. It seems that he should not be identified with St. Cyngar of Llangefni as their feast days are different. The latter was the son of King Gerren Llyngesog of Dumnonia, but Cungar may perhaps be the grandson of King Ceredig Ceredigion named in the Bonedd y Saint as father of Saints Gwynlleu and Cyndeyrn. His father was Prince Garthog.

It appears that Cungar left Wales at a young age and crossed the Bristol Channel, settling at Congresbury in Somerset. He apparently turned the surrounding marsh into fertile farmland, thus attracting many followers to his side. Tradition holds that Congresbury became the centre of a West Country See, a precussor of Wells, and that Cungar was its first Bishop. But he was desirous of a solitary life once more and felt himself recalled to Wales. There, he founded a monastery in Morgannwg. The 16th century publisher of his "Life" wrongly identified this as Llandochau (Llandough-juxta-Cardiff) and perpetuated the myth that St. Dochau was an alternative name for Cungar. This is incorrect.

Cungar may have spent some time in Cornwall and Brittany where churches dedicated to him may still be found. Though there may have been a third Breton Saint of a similar name.

He died, on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, on 27th November, supposedly in AD 520, and was buried in his foundation at Congresbury.


Propers for Cungar of Congresbury - 27 November - Monastic and Bishop

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 Cungar., 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


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Peter of Alexandria

was Patriarch of Alexandria (300–311).

It is believed that Peter was given by his parents to His Holiness Theonas to be brought up as a priest, similarly to the story of Samuel in the Old Testament. He rose through the ranks of holy orders, first becoming a reader, then a deacon, then a priest. On his death bed, Theonas advised the church leaders to choose Peter as his successor, which they did.

Peter's time as bishop included the most terrible persecution Christianity was subjected to, that of Roman Emperor Diocletian, which began in 303, and continued intermittently over the next ten years.

Accounts of Peter's position during the persecution vary, but one states that he was imprisoned for a time with bishop Meletius of Lycopolis and they fell into an argument over the treatment of Christians who had either offered pagan sacrifice or surrendered scriptures to the authorities to save their lives during the persecution. Peter urged leniency while Meletius held firmly that the lapsed had abandoned their faith and needed to be rebaptised. Their argument became heated, and was ended when Peter hung a curtain between him and Meletius. One of Meletius' followers was a priest named Arius (modern scholarship differs on whether this was the same Arius as became involved with the Arian controversy a few years later). According to Severus of Ashmumeen, Arius tried in vain to receive absolution from the Patriarch before Peter was executed, and before dying Peter issued a prophecy against Arius.

Propers for Peter of Alexandria - 26 November - Bishop and Martyr

The Collect.

O Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant Peter 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 Lesson - 2 Esdras 2:42-48


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


Reference and Resources:

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11771a.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Peter_of_Alexandria


Friday, November 25, 2016

Catherine of Alexandria

was born in Alexandria and raised a pagan, but converted to Christianity in her late teens. It is said that she visited her contemporary, the Roman Emperor Maxentius, and attempted to convince him of the moral error in persecuting Christians. She succeeded in converting his wife, the Empress, and many pagan philosophers whom the Emperor sent to dispute with her, all of whom were subsequently martyred. Upon the failure of the Emperor to win Catherine over, he ordered her to be put in prison; and when the people who visited her converted, she was condemned to death on the breaking wheel, an instrument of torture. According to legend, the wheel itself broke when she touched it, so she was beheaded.

According to Christian tradition, angels carried her body to Mount Sinai, where, in the 6th century, the Eastern Emperor Justinian established Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, the church being built between 548 and 565 in Saint Catherine, Egypt, on the Sinai peninsula. Saint Catherine's Monastery survives, a famous repository of early Christian art, architecture and illuminated manuscripts that is still open to visiting scholars.


Propers for Catherine of Alexandria - 25 November - Virgin and Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Catherine 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 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 25:1-13.

AT that time: Jesus spake this parable unto his disciples: the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.monasteryicons.com/monasteryicons/Item_St-Catherine-of-Alexandria_502_ps_dpr.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_of_Alexandria
http://www.episcopalnet.org/1928bcp/propers/Missal/Nov25.html

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Day

The Collect.

O MOST merciful Father, who hast blessed the labours of the husbandman in the returns of the fruits of the earth; We give thee humble and hearty thanks for this thy bounty; beseeching thee to continue thy loving-kindness to us, that our land may still yield her increase, to thy glory and our comfort; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - St. James i. 16.

DO not err, my beloved brethren. 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 firstfruits 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. But 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 Gospel - St. Matthew vi. 25.

JESUS said, Be not anxious 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 food, 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 being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are ye anxious 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 be not anxious, 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. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

The Martyrs of Vietnam



Between the arrival of the first Portuguese missionary in 1533, through the Dominicans and then the Jesuit missions of the 17th century, the politically inspired persecutions of the 19th century, and the Communist-led terrors of the twentieth, there have been many thousands of Catholics and other Christians murdered for their faith in Vietnam. Some were priests, some nuns or brothers, some lay people; some were foreign missionaries, but most were native Vietnamese killed by their own government and countrymen.

Record keeping being what it was, and because the government did not care to keep track of the people it murdered, we have no information on the vast bulk of the victims. In 1988, Pope John Paul II recognized over a hundred of them, including some whose Causes we do have, and in commemoration of those we do not. They are collectively known as the Martyrs of Vietnam (or Tonkin or Annam or the other older names of that country).


Propers for The Martyrs of Vietnam - 24 November


The Collect.


Almighty and Everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy holy martyrs of Vietnam : Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in their triumph may profit by their example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Lesson - Jeremiah 15:15-21


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



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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Columban



Columbanus (Irish: Columbán, 543 – 21 November 615), also known as St. Columban, was an Irish missionary notable for founding a number of monasteries from around 590 in the Frankish and Lombard kingdoms, most notably Luxeuil Abbey in present-day France and Bobbio Abbey in present-day Italy. He is remembered as a key figure in the Hiberno-Scottish mission, or Irish missionary activity in early medieval Europe.

Columbanus taught a Celtic monastic rule and Celtic penitential practices for those repenting of sins, which emphasised private confession to a priest, followed by penances levied by the priest in reparation for the sins. Columbanus is one of the earliest identifiable Hiberno-Latin writers.


Propers for St. Columban - 23 November - Monastic, Confessor, Writer, and Missionary


The Collect.

O GOD, by whose grace the blessed (abbot) Columban 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 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. 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.


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Clement of Rome

the Bishop of Rome from 88 to 99 AD. Also called Clement of Rome and Clemens Romanus, he was the fourth pope, after Anacletus, according to Catholic tradition.

Few details are known about Clement's life. According to Tertullian Clement was ordained by Saint Peter and he is known to have been a leading member of the church in Rome in the latter part of the 1st century. Early church lists place him as the second or third bishop of Rome after Saint Peter, but the meaning of this evidence is unclear, given the lack of evidence for monarchical episcopacy in Rome at so early a date.

According to apocryphal acta dating to the fourth century at earliest, Clement was banished from Rome to the Chersonesus during the reign of the Emperor Trajan and was set to work in a stone quarry. Finding on his arrival that the prisoners were suffering from lack of water, he knelt down in prayer. Looking up, he saw a lamb on a hill, went to where the lamb had stood and struck the ground with his pickaxe, releasing a gushing stream of clear water. This miracle resulted in the conversion of large numbers of the local pagans and his fellow prisoners to Christianity. As punishment, Saint Clement was martyred by being tied to an anchor and thrown from a boat into the Black Sea.

Clement I is also considered one of the Apostolic Fathers, and his name is in the Roman Canon of the Mass. Clement is commemorated on November 23 as a bishop and martyr in the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran Church.


Propers for Clement of Rome - 23 November - Bishop and Martyr


The Collect.

O GOD, who hast enlightened thy Church by the teaching of thy servant Clement: Enrich us evermore, we beseech thee, with thy heavenly grace, and raise up faithful witnesses who by their life and doctrine will set forth the truth of thy salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Philippians 3:17-4:3


The Gospel - St. Matthew 24:42-47


Reference and Resources:

http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/cal11_07.cfm?PropersYear=def
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Clement_I
http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_author/43/St._Clement_of_Rome.html
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/11/23.html

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Cecelia of Rome

A young Roman noble woman of the 2nd century, an only child and convert to Christianity.

Cecelia vowed her virginity to God, but her parents married her to Valerian of Trastevere. She was able to convince her husband to be Baptized and he in turn convinced his brother Tiburtius to come to Christ. Though it seems she remained a virgin after their wedding.

The two brothers developed a ministry of giving proper burial to martyred Christians. In their turn they were arrested and martyred for their faith. Cecilia buried them at her villa on the Apprian Way, and was arrested for the action. She was ordered to sacrifice to false gods; when she refused, she was martyred in her turn.




Propers for Cecelia of Rome - 22 November - Virgin and Martyr

The Collect.

O GOD, which makest us glad with the yearly festival of thy blessed Martyr Cecilia: grant, we beseech thee; that as we do commemorate her in our outward office, so we may follow the example of her godly conversation. Through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Ecclesiasticus 51:9-12.

Then lifted I up my supplications from the earth, and prayed for deliverance from death. I called upon the Lord, the Father of my Lord, that he would not leave me in the days of my trouble, and in the time of the proud, when there was no help. I will praise thy name continually, and will sing praises with thanksgiving; and so my prayer was heard: For thou savedst me from destruction, and deliveredst me from the evil time: therefore will I give thanks, and praise thee, and bless they name, O Lord.


The Gospel - St Matthew 25:1-13.

AT that time: Jesus spake this parable unto his disciples: the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Cecilia
http://www.episcopalnet.org/1928bcp/propers/Missal/Nov22.html
http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-cecilia/

C.S. Lewis

Clive Staples Lewis ("Jack" Lewis to his friends) was a tutor and lecturer at Oxford University, and later Professor of Medieval and Renaissance English Literature at Cambridge University. In the judgment of many, he is the most popular and most effective explainer and defender of the Christian faith writing in English in the 20th century. He tried to make a point of avoiding disputes on matters where Christians disagree, and defending those beliefs which they hold in common. His work was valued by many Christians of widely differing backgrounds: Anglican, Baptist, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, etc.

Lewis was a close friend of J. R. R. Tolkien, the author of The Lord of the Rings. Both authors were leading figures in the English faculty at Oxford University and in the informal Oxford literary group known as the "Inklings". According to his memoir Surprised by Joy, Lewis had been baptized in the Church of Ireland at birth, but fell away from his faith during his adolescence. Owing to the influence of Tolkien and other friends, at about the age of 30, Lewis re-converted to Christianity, becoming "a very ordinary layman of the Church of England" (Lewis 1952, p. 6). His conversion had a profound effect on his work, and his wartime radio broadcasts on the subject of Christianity brought him wide acclaim. Later in life he married the American writer Joy Gresham, who died of bone cancer four years later at the age of 45.

In early June 1961, Lewis began experiencing medical problems and was diagnosed with inflammation of the kidneys which resulted in blood poisoning. His illness caused him to miss the autumn term at Cambridge, though his health gradually began improving in 1962 and he returned that April. Lewis's health continued to improve, and according to his friend George Sayer, Lewis was fully himself by the spring of 1963. However, on July 15, 1963 he fell ill and was admitted to hospital. The next day at 5:00 pm, Lewis suffered a heart attack and lapsed into a coma, unexpectedly awaking the following day at 2:00 pm. After he was discharged from hospital, Lewis returned to the Kilns though he was too ill to return to work. As a result, he resigned from his post at Cambridge in August. Lewis's condition continued to decline and in mid-November, he was diagnosed with end stage renal failure. On November 22, 1963, Lewis collapsed in his bedroom at 5:30 pm and died a few minutes later, exactly one week before what would have been his 65th birthday. He is buried in the churchyard of Holy Trinity Church, Headington, Oxford.


Prayer:

Almighty God, whose servant C.S. Lewis received of Thy grace singular gifts of insight in understanding the truth in Christ Jesus, and of eloquence and clarity in presenting that truth to his readers: Raise up in our day faithful interpreters of Thy Word, that we, being set free from all error and unbelief, may come to the knowledge that maketh us wise unto salvation: through Jesus Christ Thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/11/22.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.S._Lewis

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Presentation of Mary




This feast day, while not based on Scriptural fact, but rather pious tradition, deals with the presentation of the Virgin Mary when she was three years old at the Temple in Jerusalem.


Tradition also has it that she spent a good deal of time there as a child with other children. Whether this is true or not is not significant. What is important is that Mary was no doubt raised in a Godly home which nurtured her sanctity.

May we make the sacrifice of raising our children in God's House, the Church, by having them attend Sunday School and in encouraging their religious life at home as well.


Propers for the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - 21 November

The Collect.

O GOD, who on this day didst vouchsafe the Blessed Virgin Mary, the dwelling-place of thy Holy Ghost, should be presented in the Temple: grant, we beseech thee; that we may be found worthy to be presented unto thee in the temple of thy glory. Through thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


The Lesson - Ecclesiasticus 24:9-12


The Holy Gospel - St. Luke 11:27-28


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentation_of_Mary
http://www.episcopalnet.org/Saints/Nov21Presentation.html


Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Sunday Before Advent

The Collect.

STIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Jeremiah xxiii. 5.

BEHOLD, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that they shall no more say, The LORD liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; but, The LORD liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land.


The Gospel - St. John vi. 5.

WHEN Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.