Saturday, September 5, 2015

Teresa of Calcutta

(August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997), born Agnesë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu (pronounced [aɡnɛs ɡɔnˈdʒa bɔˈjadʒju]), was an Albanian Roman Catholic nun with Indian citizenship who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta), India in 1950. For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries.

There are volumes of information on Mother Teresa and there is little I can do to expand it, but I would like to say that in light of some who would love to see her memory torn-down as a threat to their secularist/atheist agenda, the life of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta is a prime example of "love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: and thy neighbour as thyself" (St. Matthew 22:37, St. Mark 12:30 & St. Luke 10:27)


The Collect.

Heavenly Father, whose Son Jesus Christ came, not to be ministered unto, but to minister: Grant us the grace to follow in his footsteps, and to show forth thy love by loving and serving our neighbors, and coming, as did Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, to the rescue of those in need; for the sake of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and forever. Amen.


The Lesson - Song of Solomon 8:6-7.

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.


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

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


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Teresa
http://www.ttstm.com/2009/09/september-5-teresa-of-calcutta-mother.html

Friday, September 4, 2015

Moses the Patriarch

The Holy Prophet and God-Seer Moses was of the tribe of Levi, the son of Amram and Jochabed (Exodus 6:20). His life is described in the Bible (Exodus 2 through Deuteronomy 34:12).

Moses was born in Egypt around 1689 B.C. When Pharaoh ordered all male children of the Hebrew slaves to be killed (Exodus 1:22), Moses’ mother placed him in a basket of papyrus coated with pitch, and set him adrift on the Nile. Pharaoh’s daughter found him and raised him as her own son.

After killing an Egyptian slavemaster, Moses fled across the Red Sea to Midian, where he encountered the God of Israel in the form of a "burning bush" on Mt. Horeb (Exodus 3:2). God chose Moses to lead His people from the slavery of Egypt.

God sent Moses back to Egypt to request the release of the Israelites. After the Ten Plagues, Moses led the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt and across the Red Sea  as if it were dry land, and for forty years they wandered in the desert., after which they based themselves at Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments.

After 40 years of wandering in the desert, Moses died within sight of the Promised Land.

The first two Biblical Odes are attributed to Moses: “Let us sing to the Lord...” (Exodus 15:1-9), which was sung on the shores of the Red Sea after the Hebrews had crossed it. “Attend, O heaven...” (Deut. 32:1-43) was sung in the land of Moab, a few days before Moses’ death. He is also regarded as the author of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament).

The holy Prophet Moses performed many miracles during his lifetime, and also after his death. He appeared on Tabor with the Prophet Elias at the Transfiguration of the Lord (August 6).


Propers for Moses - Holy Prophet and God-seer

The Collect.

Almighty God, who did call Moses to be thy servant and prophet, to liberate the people of Israel from bondage and formed them into a nation which would bring about the salvation of mankind: grant us o Lord the degree of faith to slip the chains of our oppression and to overcome every obstacle placed before us so that we may come before thee freed in the victory of our Saviour, Jesus Christ; who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God forever and ever. Amen.


The Lesson - Exodus 13:3, 13:9

Moses said to the people, Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of bondage. For by the might of His hand Jehovah brought you out from here. And it shall be for a sign to you on your hand, and a memorial between your eyes, so that a Law of Jehovah may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand Jehovah brought you out from Egypt.


The Holy Gospel - St. Mark 12:24-27

Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.

+

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Martyrs of September

In this modern day we always hear the tired rant of the secularists and atheists of "separation of Church and State" and "when politics and religion mix, people die" and other implications of religion intervening in politics. It is only those people who are truly knowledgeable of history know the reverse is true.

The Romans, Nazis and Communists attempted to control religion in the name of the state, in the process killing millions of believers. The French Revolution is no exception.

On this day in 1792, French revolutionaries in Paris executed 191 priests who refused to swear oaths agreeing to total government control of the Church. The revolutionaries did not have the courage to do this in public. Instead they sent a “Vigilance Committee” (a vigilante band of about 150 armed men) to kill the priests in their prisons.



They were imprisoned in the Abbey of St-Germain-des-Prés, Hôtel des Carmes in the rue de Rennes, Prison de la Force, and Seminaire de Saint-Firmin in Paris, France by the Legislative Assembly for refusing to take the oath to support the civil constitution of the clergy. This act placed priests under the control of the state, and had been condemned by the Vatican.


Propers for the Martyrs of September

The Collect.

O GOD who vouchsafest unto us to keep the remembrance of thy holy Martyrs of Paris: grant, we beseech thee, that we may rejoice in the perpetual felicity of their fellowship in heaven. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost. 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://saints.sqpn.com/martyrs-of-september/
http://suburbanbanshee.wordpress.com/2009/09/02/the-martyrs-of-september/

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Martyrs of New Guinea

New Guinea (also called Irian), one of the world's largest islands, has a difficult terrain that discourages travel between districts. Consequently, it is home to many isolated tribes, with many different cultures and languages. Christian missionaries began work there in the 1860's, but proceeded slowly.

When World War II threatened Papua and New Guinea, it was obvious that missionaries of European origin were in danger. There was talk of leaving. Bishop Philip Strong wrote to his clergy:

"We must endeavour to carry on our work. God expects this of us. The church at home, which sent us out, will surely expect it of us. The universal church expects it of us. The people whom we serve expect it of us. We could never hold up our faces again if, for our own safety, we all forsook Him and fled, when the shadows of the Passion began to gather around Him in His spiritual and mystical body, the Church in Papua."

They stayed. Almost immediately there were arrests. Eight clergymen and two laymen were executed "as an example" on September 2, 1942. In the next few years, many Papuan Christians of all Churches risked their own lives to care for the wounded.


Propers for The Martyrs of New Guinea

The Collect.

Almighty God, we remember before thee this day the blessed martyrs of New Guinea, who, following the example of their Savior, laid down their lives for their friends; and we pray thee that we, who honor their memory, may imitate their loyalty and faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Revelation 7:13-17


The Gospel - St. Luke 12:4-12


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/09/02.html
http://anglicanhistory.org/aus/png/bell_ruins1946.html
http://anglicanhistory.org/aus/png/strong_shepherd1983.html

William of Roskilde

Priest. Court chaplain to King Canute of England and Denmark.

During a trip to Denmark, William saw a crying need for Christian missionaries, and he worked there the rest of his life.

Bishop of Roskilde, Zeeland. He decreed that a person who had shed blood unjustly could not receive the sacraments until he had done public penance. King Sweyn, who was one of the targets of this order, came to the cathedral with armed men. William stood at the door, armed only with his crozier. When the guards threatened to attack him, William offered no resistance. Sweyn asked forgiveness, and gave the church a gift of lands in token his penance.


Propers for William of Roskilde - Priest, Missionary, and Bishop.


The Collect.

O Eternal Shepherd, look favorably upon thy flock and guard it by thy continual protection: inspire all Pastors through the faithful example of Blessed William (of Roskilde), thy bishop, to be diligent in their ministry; through Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost: ever one God, world without end. Amen.


The Epistle - Acts 1:1-9.


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


+

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Joshua The Patriarch

Joshua, the son of Navi, was leader of the Israelites after the death of the Prophet Moses. He was born in Egypt around 1654 B.C. and succeeded Moses when he was eighty-five. He ruled the Israelites for twenty-five years.

Joshua conquered the Promised Land, and led the Hebrew nation into it. The Lord worked a great miracle through Joshua. He stopped the Jordan from flowing, allowing the Israelites to cross over on foot as if on dry land (Joshua 3). St Michael, the Leader of the Heavenly Hosts, appeared to Joshua (Joshua 5:13-15).

The walls of Jericho fell down by themselves after the Ark of the Covenant was carried around the city for seven days (Joshua 6:20). Finally, during a battle with the enemy, Joshua, by God’s will, halted the motion of the sun (Joshua 10:13) and prolonged the day until victory was won.

After the end of the war, Joshua divided the Promised Land among the Twelve Tribes of Israel. He died at 110 years of age (1544 B.C.), commanding the nation to preserve the Law of Moses. All these events are recounted in the Book of Joshua, the sixth book of the Old Testament.


Propers for Joshua The Patriarch

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints and especially of thy servant Joshua, in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Lesson -  Joshua 1: 6-9


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


+


Giles of Nîmes

An Abbot, said to have been born of illustrious Athenian (Greek) parentage about the middle of the seventh century. Early in life he devoted himself exclusively to spiritual things, but, finding his noble birth and high repute for sanctity in his native land an obstacle to his perfection, he passed over to Gaul, where he established himself first in a wilderness near the mouth of the Rhone and later by the River Gard. But here again the fame of his sanctity drew multitudes to him, so he withdrew to a dense forest near Nîmes, where in the greatest solitude he spent many years, his sole companion being a hind (deer).

This last retreat was finally discovered by the king's hunters, who had pursued the hind to its place of refuge. The king [who according to the legend was Wamba (or Flavius?), King of the Visigoths, but who must have been a Frank, since the Franks had expelled the Visigoths from the neighborhood of Nîmes almost a century and a half earlier] conceived a high esteem for solitary, and would have heaped every honour upon him; but the humility of the saint was proof against all temptations. He consented, however, to receive thenceforth some disciples, and built a monastery in his valley, which he placed under the rule of St. Benedict. Here he died in the early part of the eighth century, with the highest repute for sanctity and miracles.


Propers for Giles - Hermit, Monk and Abbot


The Collect.

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


The Epistle - Philippians 3:7-15.

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


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

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


Reference and Resources:

http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mona.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Giles
http://oldhundredth.blogspot.com/2009/09/septeber-1-saint-giles-abbot.html

Monday, August 31, 2015

Aidan of Lindisfarne

the Apostle of Northumbria (died 651), was the founder and first bishop of the monastery on the island of Lindisfarne in England. A Christian missionary, he is credited with restoring Christianity to Northumbria. Aidan is the anglified form of the original Old Irish Áedán.

The Gospel first came to the northern English in 627, When King Edwin of Northumbria was converted by a mission from Canterbury led by Bishop Paulinus, who established his see at York. Edwin's death in battle in 632 was followed by a severe pagan reaction. A year later, Edwin's exiled nephew Oswald gained the kingdom, and proceeded at once to restore the Christian mission.

During his exile, Oswald had lived at Columba's monastery of Iona, where he had been converted and baptized. Hence he sent to Iona, rather than to Canterbury, for missionaries. The first monk to preach was a man named Corman, who had no success, and returned to Iona to complain that the Northumbrians were a savage and unteachable race. A young monk named Aidan responded, "Perhaps you were too harsh with them, and they might have responded better to a gentler approach." At this, Aidan found himself appointed to lead a second expedition to Northumbria. He centered his work, not at York, but in imitation of his home monastery, on Lindisfarne, an island off the northeast coast of England, now often called Holy Isle.

With his fellow monks and the English youths whom he trained, Aidan restored Christianity in Northumbria, King Oswald often serving as his interpreter, and extended the mission through the midlands as far south as London.

Aidan died at the royal town of Bamborough, 31 August, 651. The historian Bede said of him: "He neither sought nor loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately to the poor whatever was given him by kings or rich men of the world. He traversed both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity. Wherever on his way he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if pagans, to embrace the mystery of the faith; or if they were believers, he sought to strengthen them in their faith and stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works.


Propers for Aidan - Missionary, Abbot and Bishop

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who in thy providence didst choose thy servant Aidan to be an apostle to the people of England, to bring those who were wandering in darkness and error to the true light and knowledge of thee: Grant us so to walk in that light, that we may come at last to the light of everlasting life; through the merits of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 1 Corinthians 9:16-23.

FOR though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law (though not being myself under the law), that I might gain them that are under the law; to them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.


The Gospel - St. Matthew 19:27-30.

THEN answered Peter 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 hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.


Reference and Resources:

http://baptistbard.blogspot.com/2009/08/august-31-aidan-of-lindisfarne.html
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/08/31.html
http://oldhundredth.blogspot.com/2009/08/august-31-saint-aidan-bishop-and.html
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/aidan.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aidan_of_Lindisfarne

John Bunyan

John Bunyan had very little schooling. He followed his father in the tinker's trade, and he served in the parliamentary army from1644 to 1647. Bunyan married in 1649 and lived in Elstow until 1655, when his wife died. He then moved to Bedford, and married again in 1659. John Bunyan was received into the Baptist church in Bedford by immersion in 1653.


In 1655, Bunyan became a deacon and began preaching, with marked success from the start. In 1658 he was indicted for preaching without a license. The authorities were fairly tolerant of him for a while, and he did not suffer imprisonment until November of 1660, when he was taken to the county jail in Silver Street, Bedford, and there confined (with the exception of a few weeks in 1666) for 12 years until January 1672. Bunyan afterward became pastor of the Bedford church. In March of 1675 he was again imprisoned for preaching publicly without a license, this time being held in the Bedford town jail. In just six months this time he was freed, (no doubt the authorities were growing weary of providing Bunyan with free shelter and food) and he was not bothered again by the authorities.

John Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim's Progress in two parts, of which the first appeared at London in 1678,which he had begun during his imprisonment in 1676. The second part appeared in 1684. The earliest edition in which the two parts were combined in one volume came out in 1728. A third part falsely attributed to Bunyan appeared in 1693. The Pilgrim's Progressis the most successful allegory ever written, and like the Bible has been extensively translated into other languages.

John Bunyan wrote many other books, including one which discussed his inner life and reveals his preparation for his appointed work is Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners (1666). Bunyan became a popular preacher as well as a very voluminous author, though most of his works consist of expanded sermons. In theology he was a Puritan, but not a partisan. He was no scholar, except of the English Bible, but that he knew thoroughly. He also drew much influence from Martin Luther's Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians.

Some time before his final release from prison Bunyan became involved in a controversy with two theologians of his day: Kiffin and Paul. In 1673 he published his Differences in Judgement about Water-Baptism no Bar to Communion, in which he took the ground that "the Church of Christ hath not warrant to keep out of the communion the Christian that is discovered to be a visible saint of the word, the Christian that walketh according to his own light with God." While he agreed as a Baptist that water baptism was God's ordinance, he refused to make "an idol of it," and he disagreed with those who would dis-fellowship from Christians who did not adhere to water baptism

Kiffin and Paul published a rejoinder in Serious Reflections (London, 1673), in which they set forth the argument in favor of the restriction of the Lord's Supper to baptized believers. The controversy resulted in the Particular (Calvinistic) Baptists leaving the question of communion with the unbaptized open. Bunyan's church permitted pedobaptists (those who baptize children, such as the Calvinistic Presbyterian Church) to fellowship and eventually, Bunyan’s church even became a pedobaptist church.

On a trip to London, John Bunyan caught a severe cold, and he died at the house of a friend at Snow Hill on August 31, 1688. His grave lies in the cemetery at Bunhill Fields in London.


Propers for John Bunyan - Pastor and Writer

The Collect.

Almighty God, who by thy Holy Spirit dost give to some the word of wisdom, to others the word of knowledge, and to others the word of faith: We praise thy name for the gifts of grace manifested in thy servant John Bunyan, and we pray that by his teaching we may be led to a fuller knowledge of the truth which thou has revealed in thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


The Lesson - Ezekiel 34:11-16.


For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.


The Holy Gospel - St. John 21:15-19.

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/08/30.html


+

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and merciful God, of whose only gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto thee true and laudable service; Grant, we beseech thee, that we may so faithfully serve thee in this life, that we fail not finally to attain thy heavenly promises; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Galatians iii. 16.

TO Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.


The Gospel - St. Luke x. 23.

BLESSED are the eyes which see the things that ye see: for I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.


Rumon of Tavistock

also known as Ruan, Ronan, and Ruadan, was a brother of Tudwal of Treguier.

Tradition says he was educated in Britain - probably Wales - but that he later accompanied St. Breaca on her return from Ireland to her Cornish homeland. Like Tudgual, he had presumably travelled to Ireland to learn the Holy Scriptures. He is said to have lived in a hermitage on Inis Luaidhe, near Iniscathy, and was eventually raised to the episcopacy. In Cornwall, he founded churches at Ruan Lanihorne (on the River Fal), Ruan Major & Minor (near the Lizard Peninsula), a defunct chapel in Redruth and at Romansleigh in Devon; but he quickly moved on to Cornouaille in Brittany, with St. Senan as his companion.

Rumon met up with St. Remigius in Rheims, which would place him in Brittany around the early 6th century, the probable time of his birth if he was a son of Hoel Mawr. At any rate, he settled first at St. Rénan and then moved on to the Forest of Nevez, overlooking the Bay of Douarnenez. He seems to have acquired a wife, named Ceban, and children at some point. He may be identical with Ronan Ledewig (the Breton), father of SS. Gargunan and Silan. His lady wife took a distinct dislike to Rumon's preaching amongst the local pagan inhabitants and considered him to be neglecting his domestic duties. The situation became so bad that she plotted to have Rumon arrested.

Hiding their little daughter in a chest, Ceban fled to the Royal Court at Quimper and sought an audience with the Prince of Cornouaille. She claimed that her husband was a werewolf who ravaged the local sheep every fortnight and had now killed their baby girl! Rumon was arrested, but the sceptical monarch tested him by exposing the prisoner to his hunting dogs. They would have immediately reacted to any sign of wolf, but Rumon remained unharmed and was proclaimed a holy man. His daughter was found, safe and well, whilst his wife appears to have received only the lightest of punishments. Despite this, her troubling making persisted and Rumon was forced to abandon her and journey eastward towards Rennes. He eventually settled at Hilion in Domnonia, where he lived until his death.


Propers for Rumon of Tavistock - Priest, Monastic, Missionary and Bishop


The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and hast 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 Rumon, 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.


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


Reference and Resources:

http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-rumon-of-tavistock/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumon
http://www.britannia.com/bios/ebk/rumonby.html

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Beheading of John the Baptist

The biblical account portrays the beheading of Saint John the Baptist by Herod Antipas. According to the Synoptic Gospels, Herod had imprisoned John because he reproved Herod for divorcing his wife (Phasaelis), and unlawfully taking his brother Herod Philip I's wife, Herodias. On Herod's birthday, Herodias' daughter (traditionally named Salome) danced before the king and his guests. Her dancing pleased Herod so much that in his drunkenness he promised to give her anything she desired, up to half of his kingdom. When the daughter asked her mother what she should request, she was told to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Although Herod was appalled by the request, he reluctantly agreed and had John executed in the prison.


Propers for the Martyrdom of The Forerunner

The Collect.

Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy servant John the Baptist triumphed over suffering and despised death: Grant, we beseech thee, that we, enduring hardness and waxing valiant in fight, may with the noble army of martyrs receive the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord,who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Jeremiah 1:17-19.


The Gospel - St. Mark 6:17-29.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beheading_of_John_the_Baptist
http://www.episcopalnet.org/1928bcp/propers/Missal/August29.html
http://www.issuesetc.org/podcast/Show45082808H2S2.mp3



Friday, August 28, 2015

Augustine of Hippo

Aurelius Augustinus, Augustine of Hippo, or Saint Augustine (November 13, 354 – August 28, 430) was one of the most important figures in the development of Western Christianity, there considered to be one of the church fathers. He framed the concepts of original sin and just war.

In Roman Catholicism and the Anglican Communion, he is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinian religious order. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of Reformation teaching on salvation and grace. In the Eastern Orthodox Church he is a saint, and his feast day is celebrated annually on June 15, though a minority are of the opinion that he is a heretic, primarily because of his statements concerning what became known as the filioque clause. Among the Orthodox he is called Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed. "Blessed" here does not mean that he is less than a saint, but is a title bestowed upon him as a sign of respect. The Orthodox do not remember Augustine so much for his theological speculations as for his writings on spirituality.

Augustine was one of the greatest theologians of Western Christianity. (In his day the Mediterranean world consisted of an Eastern, Greek-speaking half and a Western, Latin-speaking half, with different ways of looking at things, and different habits of thought.) He was born 13 November 354 in North Africa, about 45 miles south of the Mediterranean, in the town of Tagaste in Numidia (now Souk-Ahras in Algeria), near ancient Carthage (modern Tunis). His mother, Monnica, was a Christian, and his father for many years a pagan (although he became a Christian before his death). His mother undertook to bring him up as a Christian, and on one level he always found something attractive about Christ, but in the short run he was more interested in the attractions of sex, fame, and pride in his own cleverness. After a moderate amount of running around as a teen-ager, he took a mistress, who bore him a son when he was about eighteen. Theirs was a long-term relationship, apparently with faithfulness on both sides, and the modern reader is left wondering why he did not simply marry the girl. He never tells us this (and in fact never tells us her name), so that we can only guess. It seems likely that she was a freedwoman, and the laws forbade marriage between a free-born Roman citizen and a slave, or an ex-slave.

He was from the beginning a brilliant student, with an eager intellectual curiousity, but he never mastered Greek -- he tells us that his first Greek teacher was a brutal man who constantly beat his students, and Augustine rebelled and vowed never to learn Greek. By the time he realized that he really needed to know Greek, it was too late; and although he acquired a smattering of the language, he was never really at home in it. However, his mastery of Latin was another matter. He became an expert both in the eloquent use of the language and in the use of clever arguments to make his points. He became a teacher of rhetoric in Carthage, but was dissatisfied. It was the custom for students to pay their fees to the professor on the last day of the term, and many students attended faithfully all term, and then did not pay. In his late twenties, Augustine decided to leave Africa and seek his fortune in Rome.

Augustine prospered in Rome, and was eventually appointed chief professor of rhetoric for the city of Milan, at that time the capital city of the Empire in the West. It should be noted that this was an extremely prestigious appointment. In classical times, when laws were often made and issues voted on by huge public assemblies, when even juries typically had several hundred members, and when a man's public influence, or even on occasion his life, depended on his ability to sway large audiences, rhetoric -- the art of manipulating an audience -- was a skill that few men thought they could afford to neglect. (Socrates was one of the few, and we know what happened to him!) The art, at first intensely practical, had by Augustine's day become a display form admired for its own sake. However, the admiration was there. Every lawyer, arguing a case, was expected to give an eloquent speech, full of classical allusions and standard rhetorical flourishes. And Augustine was at the top of the field.

In Milan Augustine met the bishop Ambrose, and was startled to find in him a reasonableness of mind and belief, a keenness of thought, and an integrity of character far in excess of what he had found elsewhere. For the first time, Augustine saw Christianity as a religion fit for a philosopher.

He continued to hear Bishop Ambrose. And finally, partly because Ambrose had answers for his questions, partly because he admired Ambrose personally, and chiefly (or so he believed) because God touched his heart, he was converted to Christianity in 386 and was baptised by Ambrose at Easter of 387. About 12 years later he wrote an account of his life up to a time shortly after his conversion, a book called the Confessions, a highly readable work available in English. Ostensibly an autobiography, it is more an outpouring of penitence and thanksgiving.

After his conversion, Augustine went back to his native Africa in 387, where he was ordained a priest in 391 and consecrated bishop of Hippo in 396. It was not his intention to become a priest. He was visiting the town of Hippo, was in church hearing a sermon, and the bishop, without warning, said, "This congregation is in need of more priests, and I believe that the ordination of Augustine would be to the glory of God." Willing hands dragged Augustine forward, and the bishop together with his council of priests laid hands on Augustine and ordained him to the priesthood. (The experience may have colored Augustine's perception of such questions as, "Does a man come to God because he has chosen to do so, or because God has chosen him, and drawn him to Himself?") A few years later, when the Bishop of Hippo died, Augustine was chosen to succeed him.

He was a diligent shepherd of his flock, but he also found time to write extensively. He was an admirer of Jerome, and wrote him a letter hoping to establish a friendship, but the letter went astray. (In those days there was no public post office, and if you wanted to send a letter to a friend in Athens, you entrusted it to someone you knew who was travelling to Athens, or at least in that general direction, with instructions to deliver it or pass it on to someone else who would oblige.) Jerome did not get the letter, and the contents became public knowledge before he heard of it. Augustine, in addition to saying how much he admired Jerome, had offered some criticisms of something Jerome had written. Jerome was furious, and came close to writing Augustine off altogether. However, Augustine wrote him a second letter, apologizing and explaining what had happened, and Jerome was mollified. They had a long and intellectually substantial correspondence.

Augustine died on August 28, 430 during the siege of Hippo by the Vandals. He is said to have encouraged its citizens to resist the attacks, primarily on the grounds that the Vandals adhered to the Arian heresy. It is also said that he died just as the Vandals were tearing down the city walls of Hippo.

After conquering the city, the Vandals destroyed all of it but Augustine's cathedral and library, which they left untouched. Tradition indicates that his body was later moved to Pavia, where they are said to remain to this day.

Augustine was one of the most prolific Latin authors, and the list of his works consists of more than a hundred separate titles. They include apologetic works against the heresies of the Arians, Donatists, Manichaeans and Pelagians, texts on Christian doctrine, notably De doctrina Christiana (On Christian Doctrine), exegetical works such as commentaries on Genesis, the Psalms and Paul's Letter to the Romans, many sermons and letters, and the Retractationes (Retractions), a review of his earlier works which he wrote near the end of his life. Apart from those, Augustine is probably best known for his Confessiones (Confessions), which is a personal account of his earlier life, and for De civitate Dei (The City of God, consisting of 22 books), which he wrote to restore the confidence of his fellow Christians, which was badly shaken by the sack of Rome by the Visigoths in 410.

Augustine remains a central figure, both within Christianity and in the history of Western thought, and is considered by modern historian Thomas Cahill to be the first medieval man and the last classical man. In both his philosophical and theological reasoning, he was greatly influenced by Stoicism, Platonism and Neo-platonism, particularly by the work of Plotinus, author of the Enneads, probably through the mediation of Porphyry and Victorinus (as Pierre Hadot has argued). His generally favorable view of Neoplatonic thought contributed to the "baptism" of Greek thought and its entrance into the Christian and subsequently the European intellectual tradition. His early and influential writing on the human will, a central topic in ethics, would become a focus for later philosophers such as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. In addition, Augustine was influenced by the work of both Virgil (known for his teaching on language) and Cicero (known for his teaching on argument).

Augustine's concept of original sin was expounded in his works against the Pelagians. However, Eastern Orthodox theologians, while they believe all humans were damaged by the original sin of Adam and Eve, have key disputes with Augustine about this doctrine, and as such this is viewed as a key source of division between East and West. His writings helped formulate the theory of the just war. He also advocated the use of force against the Donatists, asking "Why ... should not the Church use force in compelling her lost sons to return, if the lost sons compelled others to their destruction?" (The Correction of the Donatists, 22–24). St. Thomas Aquinas took much from Augustine's theology while creating his own unique synthesis of Greek and Christian thought after the widespread rediscovery of the work of Aristotle. While Augustine's doctrine of divine predestination would never be wholly forgotten within the Roman Catholic Church, finding eloquent expression in the works of Bernard of Clairvaux, Reformation theologians such as Martin Luther and John Calvin would look back to him as the inspiration for their avowed capturing of the Biblical Gospel. Bishop John Fisher of Rochester, a chief opponent of Luther, articulated an Augustinian view of grace and salvation consistent with Church doctrine, thus encompassing both Augustine’s soteriology and his teaching on the authority of and obedience to the Catholic Church. Later, within the Roman Catholic Church, the writings of Cornelius Jansen, who claimed heavy influence from Augustine, would form the basis of the movement known as Jansenism; some Jansenists went into schism and formed their own church.

Augustine was canonized by popular acclaim, and later recognized as a Doctor of the Church in 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII. His feast day is August 28, the day on which he died. He is considered the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. The latter part of Augustine's Confessions consists of an extended meditation on the nature of time. Catholic theologians generally subscribe to Augustine's belief that God exists outside of time in the "eternal present"; that time only exists within the created universe because only in space is time discernible through motion and change. His meditations on the nature of time are closely linked to his consideration of the human ability of memory. Frances Yates in her 1966 study, The Art of Memory argues that a brief passage of the Confessions, X.8.12, in which Augustine writes of walking up a flight of stairs and entering the vast fields of memory clearly indicates that the ancient Romans were aware of how to use explicit spatial and architectural metaphors as a mnemonic technique for organizing large amounts of information. According to Leo Ruickbie, Augustine's arguments against magic, differentiating it from miracle, were crucial in the early Church's fight against paganism and became a central thesis in the later denunciation of witches and witchcraft.


Propers for Augustine of Hippo - Bishop, Father and Doctor of the Church and Theologian

The Collect.

O LORD God, who art the light of the minds that know thee, the life of the souls that Love thee, and the strength of the hearts that serve thee: Help us, after the example of thy servant Saint Augustine, so to know thee that we may truly love thee, so to love thee that we may fully serve thee, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle Hebrews 12:22-24, 28-29.

BUT ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: for our God is a consuming fire.


The Gospel St. John 17:1-8.

THESE words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.


References and Sources:

http://baptistbard.blogspot.com/2009/08/august-28-augustine-of-hippo-convert.html
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/08/28.html
http://comfortablewords.blogspot.com/2009/08/st-augustine-of-hippo.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustine_of_Hippo
http://weedon.blogspot.com/2009/08/commemoration-of-saint-augustine-of.html
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/august_h.cfm
http://02continuum.wordpress.com/2009/08/28/augustines-prayer-to-our-lady-of-mercy/
http://oldhundredth.blogspot.com/2009/08/august-28-saint-augustine-bishop.html



Moses the Ethiopian

Saint Moses Murin the Black lived during the fourth century in Egypt. He was an Ethiopian, and he was black of skin and therefore called “Murin” (meaning “like an Ethiopian”). In his youth he was the slave of an important man, but after he committed a murder, his master banished him, and he joined a band of robbers.

Because of his bad character and great physical strength they chose him as their leader. Moses and his band of brigands did many evil deeds, both murders and robberies. People were afraid at the mere mention of his name.

Moses the brigand spent several years leading a sinful life, but through the great mercy of God he repented, left his band of robbers and went to one of the desert monasteries. Here he wept for a long time, begging to be admitted as one of the brethren. The monks were not convinced of the sincerity of his repentance, but the former robber would not be driven away nor silenced. He continued to ask that they accept him.

St Moses was completely obedient to the igumen and the brethren, and he poured forth many tears of sorrow for his sinful life. After a certain while St Moses withdrew to a solitary cell, where he spent the time in prayer and the strictest fasting in a very austere lifestyle.

Once, four of the robbers of his former band descended upon the cell of St Moses. He had lost none of his great physical strength, so he tied them all up. Throwing them over his shoulder, he brought them to the monastery, where he asked the Elders what to do with them. The Elders ordered that they be set free. The robbers, learning that they had chanced upon their former ringleader, and that he had dealt kindly with them, followed his example: they repented and became monks. Later, when the rest of the band of robbers heard about the repentance of St Moses, then they also gave up their thievery and became fervent monks.

St Moses was not quickly freed from the passions. He went often to the igumen, Abba Isidore, seeking advice on how to be delivered from the passions of profligacy. Being experienced in the spiritual struggle, the Elder taught him never to eat too much food, to remain partly hungry while observing the strictest moderation. But the passions did not cease to trouble St Moses in his dreams.

Then Abba Isidore taught him the all-night vigil. The monk stood the whole night at prayer, so he would not fall asleep. From his prolonged struggles St Moses fell into despondency, and when there arose thoughts about leaving his solitary cell, Abba Isidore instead strengthened the resolve of his disciple.

In a vision he showed him many demons in the west, prepared for battle, and in the east a still greater quantity of holy angels, also ready for fighting. Abba Isidore explained to St Moses that the power of the angels would prevail over the power of the demons, and in the long struggle with the passions it was necessary for him to become completely cleansed of his former sins.

St Moses undertook a new effort. Making the rounds by night of the wilderness cells, he carried water from the well to each brother. He did this especially for the Elders, who lived far from the well and who were not easily able to carry their own water. Once, kneeling over the well, St Moses felt a powerful blow upon his back and he fell down at the well like one dead, laying there in that position until dawn. Thus did the devils take revenge upon the monk for his victory over them. In the morning the brethren carried him to his cell, and he lay there a whole year crippled. Having recovered, the monk with firm resolve confessed to the igumen, that he would continue to live in asceticism. But the Lord Himself put limits to this struggle of many years: Abba Isidore blessed his disciple and said to him that the passions had already gone from him. The Elder commanded him to receive the Holy Mysteries, and to go to his own cell in peace. From that time, St Moses received from the Lord power over demons.

Accounts about his exploits spread among the monks and even beyond the bounds of the wilderness. The governor of the land wanted to see the saint. When he heard of this, St Moses decided to hide from any visitors, and he departed his own cell. Along the way he met servants of the governor, who asked him how to get to the cell of the desert-dweller Moses. The monk answered them: “Go no farther to see this false and unworthy monk.” The servants returned to the monastery where the governor was waiting, and they told him the words of the Elder they had chanced to meet. The brethren, hearing a description of the Elder’s appearance, told them that they had encountered St Moses himself.

After many years of monastic exploits, St Moses was ordained deacon. The bishop clothed him in white vestments and said, “Now Abba Moses is entirely white!” The saint replied, “Only outwardly, for God knows that I am still dark within.”

Through humility, the saint believed himself unworthy of the office of deacon. Once, the bishop decided to test him and he bade the clergy to drive him out of the altar, reviling him as an unworthy Ethiopian. In all humility, the monk accepted the abuse. Having put him to the test, the bishop then ordained St Moses to be presbyter. St Moses labored for fifteen years in this rank, and gathered around himself 75 disciples.

When the saint reached age 75, he warned his monks that soon brigands would descend upon the skete and murder all that were there. The saint blessed his monks to leave, in order to avoid violent death. His disciples began to beseech the monk to leave with them, but he replied: “For many years already I have awaited the time when there the words which my Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, should be fulfilled: “All who take up the sword, shall perish by the sword” (Mt. 26: 52). After this, seven of the brethren remained with the monk, and one of them hid nearby during the attack of the robbers. The robbers killed St Moses and the six monks who remained with him. Their death occurred in about the year 400.


Propers for Moses the Ethiopian - Abbot

The Collect.

O GOD, by whose grace the blessed abbot Moses 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 Lesson - 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 Holy Gospel - St. Luke 12:22-37.

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


+

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fanourios

Phanourios the Great Martyr is commemorated on August 27.

Fanourios was a Roman soldier and was martyred during one of the persecutions of the pagan era. Various forms of the legend have him as a devout man in constant prayer for his mother, a notorious sinner.

Angelos Akotantos from Crete has written a number of the Saint's icons many times depicting him killing a dragon; this tradition is found mainly in Crete especially in icons of the 15th century when the Saint is said to have saved many Cretans from certain death from the hands of the invading Ottomans. The original icon is quite large. In the center is a portrait of the saint holding a candle in his right hand and around this are 12 smaller images showing the each stage of his martyrdom.

The portrayal of each illustration is as follows:


1. The saint is standing in front of a Roman magistrate and defending his Christian faith.

2. Soldiers beat the saint on the head and mouth with rocks to force him to deny his faith.

3. The saint remains patient which angers the soldiers. They are shown in this illustration, throwing him to the ground and beating him with sticks and clubs in a further attempt to force him to deny his faith.

4. The saint is now in prison. He is illustrated completely naked with the soldiers ripping his flesh apart with some sort of iron implement.

5. The saint is still in prison. In this station, he is shown praying to God, perhaps to give him strength to endure his tortures.

6. Next, the saint is standing in front of the Roman magistrate again defending his position. The expression on the face of the saint is calm.

7. In this image, it is obvious that the Roman magistrate has sentenced the saint to the executioners for remaining unmoved in Station 6. The saint is again shown naked with executioners torching (burning) his body.

8. At this station, the executioners are now using mechanical means to torture the saint. He appears tied to an apparatus that rotates to crush his bones. Though his body is truly suffering intensely for God, the look on his face is peaceful and patient.

9. His executioners watch as the Saint is thrown into a pit with wild beasts. The wild beasts circle around him as if they are lambs and share companionship with him.

10. The saint is removed from the pit to be crushed under the weight of a huge boulder.

11. Unsuccessful, the executioners now place hot coals into his palms to force the saint to sacrifice at their pagan alter. In this image, their is an image of a dragon, representing the devil, flying away and crying at the saints victory even over this torture.

12. The final scene shows his martyrdom. He is in a large kiln, standing on a stool with flames and smoke all around him. The Saint is shown in prayer.


Propers for Fanourios - Martyr

The Collect.

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


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.


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


Reference and Resouces:

http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mart.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Phanourios
http://www.impantokratoros.gr/saint-fanourios.en.aspx
http://saints.sqpn.com/saintp1e.htm
http://orthodoxwiki.org/Phanourios
http://www.serfes.org/lives/phanourius.htm


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bregwin of Canterbury

Bregowine or Bregwine was a Continental Saxon by birth. The fame of the schools with which the labours of Theodore and Hadrian had enriched England drew Bregwin from his native land. In England, his learning and holiness won for him high esteem and, in AD 759, he was called to occupy the chair of Augustine.

Bregwin was a correspondent of St. Lull, Archbishop of Mainz, with whom he became friends while on a visit to Rome. He apparently held a church synod during his archiepiscopate, but little else is known of him. He died on 24th August AD 764.


Propers for Bregwin of Canterbury - Archbishop

The Collect

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast called us to faith in thee, and hast 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 Bregwin, 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.


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


Reference and Resources:

http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-bregwin-of-canterbury/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bregowine
http://www.earlybritishkingdoms.com/adversaries/bios/bregwin.html

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Louis IX of France

born in 1214 and became a devout Christian and king of France. He attended Mass often, prayed frequently, was given to charity (as evidenced in the building of a hospital for the poor and blind) and was an impartial judge in the affairs of his subjects.

Louis was instrumental in garnering support for the crusades, and he himself helped fight in the battles which responded to the Muslim invasions.

He built the beautiful Saint-Chappelle at Paris, where is housed the purported relic of the Crown of Thorns of Christ, which Louis received of Baldwin, the Latin emperor at Constantinople. He died in 1270.

Louis is a wonderful example for us as one, who because he had much, was able to give much in the Name of Christ. May we pray God to raise up Christian rulers, dignataries and elected officials who are more willing to serve than to be served.


Propers for Louis IX of France - King and Confessor

The Collect.

O GOD, who didst call thy servant Louis to an earthly throne that he might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst endue him with zeal for thy Church and charity towards thy people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate his example may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Hebrews 12:1-2.

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


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

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


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_IX_of_France
http://www.episcopalnet.org/Saints/Aug25Louis.html
http://www.flameword.org/calend/propers/louis.cfm


Genesius of Rome


It seems that the art of mocking the Christian faith is nothing new to those in the acting profession, but it is ironic that one of the first actors to mock Christianity was also a martyr for the faith and became a patron saint to faithful thespians.

The biography of Genesius is very unclear with various accounts having him born in different locations within the Roman Empire. What we do know is that he resided at Rome and was the leader of a troupe of actors and comedians, though not a successful one.

Genesius was eager to change his fortunes and try to get his star to rise in the competitive Roman entertainment market. He came-up with a bold new idea for a show that would mock the Christian minority and their rites and practices which was under an intense persecution during the reign of the emperor Diocletian, in an attempt to win an Imperial patronage.

Genesius went undercover to the Christians of Rome and became a catechumen, similar to the immersion into character that actors use today. He knew that he may be captured by the authorities if the Church he attended was raided, and was prepared to deny any faith in the Christian religion and make a quick sacrifice to the pagan gods to prove his loyalty to the emperor.

When it was time to ready his group for the show, Genesius quit attending Church and wrote the script for his play casting himself in the lead role of a catechumen. His theater company rehearsed the play prior to any performance and all of the actors had memorized their lines. Genesius sent an invitation to Emperor Diocletian in the hopes that Cesar would attend.

The night of the opening performance Genesius was thrilled to learn that Diocletian was in the audience and that his plan may just succeed. The show began and the play moved along as scripted until Genesius big scene in which his character was to receive the Sacrament of Baptism with the intention of mocking the Christian rite and practice. When the actor playing the part of the priest poured the water on Genesius head he underwent a conversion as if he was undergoing the Sacrament in earnest at the hand of a real priest.

Genesius seemed to the others of his company to be taking the act to a new level and they tried to improvise when he went off script but Genesius was quiet and fixed his gaze off-stage and was missing all of his ques. To keep the show moving the other actors reverted to the script and two of them that where playing the part of soldiers arrested Genesius character and took him before Diocletian, whom Genesius had included in the script as an added touch in his attempt to win the tyrant's favour. When to be part of the show Diocletian commanded Genesius' character to renounce Christ, Genesius declined, The emperor thought at first this was an attempt to add some realism to the show and again commanded him to renounce his faith, Genesius responded "There's nothing you can do or threaten to remove Jesus Christ from my heart and my mouth. Once I mocked his holy name and now I detest and regret that time. I came so late to the Kingdom and cannot leave it now."

After realizing that something had changed and this was no longer and act, Diocletian became enraged and had Genesius arrested by the Praetorian Guards, who then took Genesius away to be tortured in an attempt to have him renounce the Christian God. After he had been tortured for some time Genesius still would not recant or renounce Christ, Diocletian ordered him beheaded and thereby making him a martyr of the faith he wished to mock.


Propers for Genesius of Rome - Martyr

Prayer of St Genesius.

THERE is no King but Him whom I have seen. I adore and worship Him, and for His sake, even though I be slain a thousand times, I will always be His. Torments are not able to take Christ from my mouth, nor from my heart. Bitterly do I regret that I detested His Holy Name in holy men, and came so late, like a haughty soldier, to adoring the true King. Amen.


The Collect.

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


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.


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


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genesius_of_Rome
http://baptistbard.blogspot.com/2009/08/august-25-genesius-actor-martyr-convert.html
http://www.stgenesius.com/
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mart.cfm


Monday, August 24, 2015

Bartholomew the Apostle

was one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus. Bartholomew (Greek: Βαρθολομαίος, transliterated "Bartholomaios") comes from the Aramaic bar-Tôlmay (תולמי‎‎‎‎‎-בר‎‎), meaning son of Tolmay (Ptolemy) or son of the furrows (perhaps a ploughman). Many have, based on this meaning, assumed it was not a given name, but a family name.

Though Bartholomew is listed among the Twelve Apostles in the three Synoptic gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and also appears as one of the witnesses of the Ascension (Acts 1:4, 12, 13), each time named in the company of Philip, he is one of the apostles of whom no word is reported nor any individual action recorded in the New Testament.

We have no certain information about Bartholomew's later life. The majority tradition, with varying details, is that Bartholomew preached in Armenia, and was finally skinned alive and beheaded in Albanus or Albanopolis on the Caspian Sea. His emblem in art is a flaying knife. The flayed Bartholomew can be seen in Michelangelo's Sistine painting of the Last Judgement. He is holding his skin. The face on the skin is generally considered to be a self-portrait of Michelangelo.


Propers for Saint Bartholomew the Apostle

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst give to thine Apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word; Grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church, to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and receive the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Acts v. 12.

BY the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.


The Gospel - St. Luke xxii. 24.

AND there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Bartholomew
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/s_barth.cfm
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/08/24.html
http://www.episcopalnet.org/1928bcp/propers/stbartholomew.html