Friday, October 31, 2008

Reformation Day

On 31 Oct 1517, Brother Martin Luther a Augustinian Friar posted his 95 Theses on the door of Castle Church, Wittenberg, Saxony outlining erroneous and corrupt practices taking place in the medieval Church.

Through the centuries the story has been twisted to sound as if Br. Martin was making a declaration of war against the Church and Bishop of Rome, this is a totally false view of the event. Luther had been intending to reform the Church from within and not to split from the Roman Communion. Of course challenging a fragmented and corrupt Church hierarchy that existed in those days did lead to split and schism.

Since those times the Roman Communion has adopted or adapted many of Luther's reforms, yet some Romans continue(d) to vilify him, but in recent years Luther has had favorable resonance with those who have recently occupied the halls of the Vatican. Other Christians should see Luther as a catalyst for change, improving and broadening the average persons understanding and relationship with God.

Propers for Reformation Day

The Collect.

Almighty and gracious Lord, pour out Thy Holy Spirit unto Thy faithful people. Keep us steadfast in Thy grace and truth, protect and deliver us in times of temptation, defend us against all enemies, and grant to Thy Church Thy saving peace; through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with The and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Epistle - Romans 3:19-28.

The Gospel - St. John 8:31-36.

Reference and Resources:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What The????.......

The thing that suprised me about this story is that it wasn't a TEC Priest.

'Jesus was not God': Priest sparks Catholic controversy -

Jesus Christ was not God, and Mary was not a virgin, according to a controversial new book written by an Australian Catholic priest.

In the booklet, ‘God is Big. Real Big’, which has gone on sale for $20 in several churches, Bathurst priest Peter Dresser argues Jesus could not have been God.

“This whole matter regarding Jesus being God ... not only does violence to my own intelligence, but must be a sticking point,” he says.

“For millions of people trying to make some kind of sense of the Christian religion ... No human being can ever be God, and Jesus was a human being. It is as simple as that.”

Father Dresser claims Joseph was Jesus’s father, Mary was not a virgin – and actually had six children – and that the story of the resurrection should not be taken literally.

The booklet has angered conservative Catholics, such as Sydney priest Anthony Robbie.

“What a breathtaking know-all, to claim he knows the mind of Christ contrary to scripture and tradition. His words rob Christianity entirely of its meaning and purpose,” Father Robbie told News Ltd.

“The Council of Nicaea settled the question that Christ was God in 325, so he is 1700 years out of date.

“The rest is a regurgitation of every discredited 19th-century liberal Protestant German cliche in the book.”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ss Simon and Jude

Saint Jude was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is generally identified with Thaddeus, and is also variously called Jude of James, Jude Thaddaeus , Judas Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus. He is sometimes identified with Jude, brother of Jesus, but is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, another disciple and later the betrayer of Jesus.

The Armenian Apostolic Church honours Thaddeus along with Saint Bartholomew as its patron saints. In the Roman Catholic Church he is the patron saint of desperate cases and lost causes.

Saint Jude's attribute is a club. He is also often shown in icons with a flame around his head. This represents his presence at Pentecost, when he received the Holy Spirit with the other apostles. Occasionally he is represented holding an axe or halberd, as he was brought to death by one of these weapons. In some instances he may be shown with a scroll or a book (the Epistle of Jude) or holding a carpenter's rule.

The apostle called Simon Zelotes, Simon the Zealot, in Luke 6:15 and Acts 1:13; and Simon Kananaios ("Simon" signifying שמעון "hearkening; listening", Standard Hebrew Šimʿon, Tiberian Hebrew Šimʿôn), was one of the most obscure among the apostles of Jesus. Little is recorded of him aside from his name, few pseudepigraphical writings were connected to him (but see below), and Jerome does not include him in De viris illustribus.

The name of Simon occurs in all the passages of the synoptic gospels and Acts that give a list of apostles, without further details.

Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas ["the son" is interpolated] of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. (Luke 6:12-16, RSV)

To distinguish him from Simon Peter, he is called Kananaios, or Kananites (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18), and in the list of apostles in Luke 6:15, repeated in Acts 1:13, Zelotes, the "Zealot". Both titles derive from the Hebrew word qana, meaning The Zealous, though Jerome and others mistook the word to signify the apostle was from the town of Cana (in which case his epithet would have been "Kanaios") or even from the region of Canaan. As such, the translation of the word as "the Cananite" or "the Canaanite" is purely traditional and without contemporary extra-canonic parallel.

Ss. Simon and Jude were martyred about 65 AD in the Persian Empire.

Propers for Saint Simon and Saint Jude - Apostles

The Collect.

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast built thy Church upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the head corner-stone; Grant us so to be joined together in unity of spirit by their doctrine, that we may be made an holy temple acceptable unto thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Ephesians ii. 19.

NOW therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The Gospel - St. John xv. 17.

THESE things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep your's also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also.If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

Reference and Resources:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Christ The King

The Collect

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst will to restore all things in thy well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that all the kindreds of the earth, set free from the captivity of sin, may be brought under his most gracious dominion; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Epistle - Colossians 1:12-20.

WE give thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace by the blood of his cross.

The Gospel - St. John 18:33-37.

THEN Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.

The 23rd Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

O GOD, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all godliness; Be ready, we beseech thee, to hear the devout prayers of thy Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Philippians iii. 17.

BRETHREN, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change the body of our humiliation that it may be conformed unto the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself.

The Gospel - St. Matthew xxii. 15.

THEN went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

SS. Crispin and Crispinian

were once the Catholic patron saints of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers. Born to a noble Roman family in the 3rd century AD, Saints Crispin and Crispinian, twin brothers, fled persecution for their faith, winding up in Soissons, where they preached Christianity to the Gauls and made shoes by night. Their success attracted the ire of Rictus Varus, the governor of Belgic Gaul, who had them tortured and beheaded c. 286. In the 6th century, a church was built in their honour at Soissons. Crispian and Crispinian are also associated with the town of Faversham in Kent. In early 2007 the parish church of St Mary of Charity dedicated an altar to Crispin and Crispinian in the South aisle of the church.

The supposed tombs of the saints are in Rome in the church of San Lorenzo in Panisperna.

The feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian is October 25. However, these saints were removed from the liturgical calendar (but not declared to no longer be saints) during the Catholic Church's Vatican II reforms. The feast remains as a 'Black Letter Saints' Day' in the calendar of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (1662) and a 'commemoration' in Common Worship (2000).

The St. Crispin's Day Speech;

Crispin is perhaps best known for lending his name to the famous speech given by the eponymous king in Shakespeare's Henry V before the Battle of Agincourt (which occurred on 25 October 1415, though the speech was not written until 1599). In the speech, Crispinian's name is spelled Crispian, perhaps reflecting London pronunciation in Shakespeare's time.

The full text of the speech is:

King Henry V:

What's he that wishes so? My cousin Westmorland. No, my fair cousin: If we are marked to die, we are enow To do our country loss; and if to live, The fewer men, the greater share of honour. God's will, I pray thee, wish not one man more. By Jove, I am not covetous for gold, Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost; It ernes me not if men my garments wear; Such outward things dwell not in my desires: But if it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive. No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England: God's peace, I would not lose so great an honour As one man more, methinks, would share from me For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more. Rather proclaim it presently through my host, That he which hath no stomach to this fight, Let him depart. His passport shall be made And crowns for convoy put into his purse: We would not die in that man's company That fears his fellowship to die with us. This day is called the Feast of Crispian: He that outlives this day, and comes safe home, Will stand a-tiptoe when the day is named, And rouse him at the name of Crispian. He that shall see this day and live t'old age, Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours, And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian": Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars And say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day." Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot, But he'll remember with advantages What feats he did that day. Then shall our names, Familiar in his mouth as household words Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter, Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester, Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered. This story shall the good man teach his son; And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by, From this day to the ending of the world, But we in it shall be remember'd; We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile, This day shall gentle his condition: And gentlemen in England now abed Shall think themselves accursed they were not here, And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day. (IV, iii)

Propers for SS. Crispin and Crispinian

The Collect:

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr ---------- 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.

References and Resources:

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Truth About Obama and Abortion

For those who may think that BHO, Jr. is moderate on abortion, get the wool off of your eyes.

Dr. Robert George of Princeton University will tell you more:

and listen to an interview with Dr. George on the issue here:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

James of Jerusalem

(Hebrew: יעקב or Jacob) (Greek Iάκωβος), (died 62AD), also known as James of Jerusalem, James Adelphotheos, James, the Brother of the Lord, was an important figure in Early Christianity. According to Christian tradition, he was the first Bishop of Jerusalem, the author of the Epistle of James in the New Testament, and the first of the Seventy of St. Luke 10:1–20. Paul of Tarsus in Galatians 2:9 (KJV) characterized James as such: "…James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars…" He is described in the New Testament as a "brother of the Lord" and in the Liturgy of St James as "the brother of God" (Adelphotheos).

James is mentioned briefly in connection with Jesus' visit to Nazareth (M 13:55; P 6:3).

We are told that Jesus' brothers did not believe in Him (J 7:2-5), and from this, and from references in early Christian writers, it is inferred that James was not a disciple of the Lord until after the Resurrection.

Paul, listing appearances of the Risen Lord (1 Cor 15:3-8), includes an appearance to James.

Peter, about to leave Jerusalem after escaping from Herod, leaves a message for James and the Apostles (A 12:17).

When a council meets at Jerusalem to consider what rules Gentile Christians should be required to keep, James formulates the final consensus (A 15:13-21).

Paul speaks of going to Jerusalem three years after his conversion and conferring there with Peter and James (G 1:18-19), and speaks again of a later visit (perhaps the one described in A 15) on which Peter, James, and John, "the pillars," placed their stamp of approval on the mission to the Gentiles (G 2:9).

A few verses later (G 2:11-14), he says that messengers from James coming to Antioch discouraged Jewish Christians there from eating with Gentile Christians. (If this is refers to the same event as A 15:1-2, then Paul takes a step back chronologically in his narration at G 2:11, which is not improbable, since he is dictating and mentioning arguments and events that count as evidence for his side as they occur to him.)

On his last recorded visit to Jerusalem, Paul visits James (others are present, but no other names are given) and speaks of his ministry to the Gentiles (A 21:18).

According to a passage in Josephus's Jewish Antiquities, (xx.9) "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" met his death after the death of the procurator Porcius Festus, yet before Lucceius Albinus took office (Antiquities 20,9) — which has thus been dated to 62. The High Priest Ananus ben Ananus took advantage of this lack of imperial oversight to assemble a Sanhedrin who condemned James "on the charge of breaking the law," then had him executed by stoning. Josephus reports that Ananus' act was widely viewed as little more than judicial murder, and offended a number of "those who were considered the most fair-minded people in the City, and strict in their observance of the Law," who went as far as meeting Albinus as he entered the province to petition him about the matter. In response, King Agrippa replaced Ananus with Jesus, the son of Damneus.

Though the passage in general is almost universally accepted as original to Josephus, some challenge the identification of the James whom Ananus had executed with James the Just, considering the words, "who was called Christ," a later interpolation. (See Josephus on Jesus.)

Eusebius, while quoting Josephus' account, also records otherwise lost passages from Hegesippus (see links below), and Clement of Alexandria (Historia Ecclesiae, 2.23). Hegesippus' account varies somewhat from what Josephus reports, and may have been an attempt to reconcile the various accounts by combining them. According to Hegesippus, the scribes and Pharisees came to James for help in putting down Christian beliefs. The record says:

“ They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they are gone astray in their opinions about Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the temple, that from that elevated spot thou mayest be clearly seen, and thy words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also.

To the scribes' and Pharisees' dismay, James boldly testified that Christ "Himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven." The scribes and pharisees then said to themselves, "We have not done well in procuring this testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him."

Accordingly, the scribes and Pharisees

“ …threw down the just man… [and] began to stone him: for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: "I beseech Thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

And, while they were thus stoning him to death, one of the priests, the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying: "Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.

And so he suffered martyrdom; and they buried him on the spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ.”

Vespasian's siege and capture of Jerusalem delayed the selection of Simeon of Jerusalem to succeed James.

Josephus' account of James' death is more credible because the Acts of Apostles doesn't mention anything about James after the year 60. Josephus, however, does not mention in his writings how James was buried, which makes it hard for scholars to determine what happened to James after his death.

Robert Eisenman argues that the popularity of James and the illegality of his death may have triggered the First Jewish-Roman War from 66 to 73 C.E.

Propers for James of Jerusalem - Bishop and Martyr

The Collect.

O LORD Jesus Christ, who didst set thy brother James on the throne of thy church in Jerusalem: Grant, we beseech thee, that as he continually made supplication for the sins of thy people, and laboured to reconcile in one body both Jew and Gentile; so thy Church may ever be faithful in prayer and witness for the salvation of all mankind. Grant this, O Son of Man, who art on the right hand of the Father, in the unity of the Spirit, now and ever. Amen.

The Epistle - Acts 15:12-22.

THEN all the multitude kept silence and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,

After this I will return,
And will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down;
And I will build again the ruins thereof,
And I will set it up:
That the residue of men might seek after the Lord,
And all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called,
Saith the Lord, who hath made these things known from of old.

Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: but that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. From early times Moses has had in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren.

The Gospel - St. Mark 3:31-35.

THERE came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

Reference and Resources:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The 22nd Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy household the Church in continual godliness; that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in good works, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Philippians i. 3.

I THANK my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the tender mercies of Christ Jesus. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

The Gospel - St. Matthew xviii. 21.

PETER said unto Jesus, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow-servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his fellow-servant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow-servants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

St. Luke the Evangelist

Almost all that we know about Luke comes from the New Testament. He was a physician (Col 4:14), a companion of Paul on some of his missionary journeys (Acts 16:10; 20:5; 27-28). Material found in his Gospel and not elsewhere includes much of the account of Our Lord's birth and infancy and boyhood, some of the most moving parables, such as that of the Good Samaritan and that of the Prodigal Son, and three of the sayings of Christ on the Cross: "Father, forgive them," "Thou shalt be with me in Paradise," and "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit."

In Luke's account of the Gospel, we find an emphasis on the human love of Christ, on His compassion for sinners and for suffering and unhappy persons, for outcasts such as the Samaritans, tax collectors, lepers, shepherds (not a respected profession), and for the poor. The role of women in Christ's ministry is more emphasized in Luke than in the other Gospel writings.

In the book of Acts, we find the early Christian community poised from the start to carry out its commission, confident and aware of Divine guidance. We see how the early Christians at first preached only to Jews, then to Samaritans (a borderline case), then to outright Gentiles like Cornelius, and finally explicitly recognized that Gentiles and Jews are called on equal terms to the service and fellowship of Christ.

If we accepted that Luke was the author of the Gospel bearing his name and the Acts of the Apostles, certain details of his personal life can be reasonably assumed. He does exclude himself from those who were eyewitnesses to Jesus' ministry. He does however repeatedly use the word "we" in describing the Pauline missions in Acts of the Apostles, indicating that he was personally there at those times. There is evidence that Luke resided in Troas, the province which included the ruins of ancient Troy. Evidence of this is, he writes in Acts in the third person about Paul and his travels, until they get to Troas, where he switches to the first person plural. The "we" section of Acts continues until the group returns to Troas, where his writing goes back to the third person. This change happens again the second time the group gets to Troas. There are three "we sections" in Acts, all following this rule. Luke never stated, however, that he lived in Troas, and this is the only evidence that he did.

Another Christian tradition states that he was the first iconographer, and painted pictures of the Virgin Mary (The Black Madonna of Częstochowa) and of Peter and Paul. Thus late medieval guilds of St Luke in the cities of Flanders, or the Academia di San Luca ("Academy of St Luke") in Rome, imitated in many other European cities during the 16th century, gathered together and protected painters. There is no scientific evidence to support the tradition that Luke painted icons of Mary and Jesus, though it was widely believed in earlier centuries, particularly in Eastern Orthodoxy. The tradition also has support from the Saint Thomas Christians of India who claim to still have one of the Theotokos icons that St Luke painted and Thomas brought to India.

The one thing known of Luke's death comes from a 2nd century Greek manuscript; "Luke, a native of Antioch, by profession a physician. He had become a disciple of the apostles and later followed Paul until his [Paul's] martyrdom. Having served the Lord continuously, unmarried and without children, filled with the Holy Spirit he died at the age of 84 years."

Propers for Saint Luke the Evangelist:

The Collect :

ALMIGHTY God, who didst inspire thy servant Saint Luke the Physician, to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son; Manifest in thy Church the like power and love, to the healing of our bodies and our souls; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - 2 Timothy iv. 5.

The Gospel - St. Luke x. 1.

Resources and References:

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Oxford Martyrs

When Henry VIII of England died, he left three heirs: his son Edward and his two daughters, Mary and Elizabeth. Edward succeeded to the throne and was a staunch Protestant (or at least his advisors were). Under his rule, the church services, previously in Latin, were translated into English, and other changes were made. When Edward died, the throne passed to his sister Mary, who was firmly Roman Catholic in her beliefs. She determined to return England to union with the Pope. With more diplomacy, she might have succeeded. But she was headstrong and would take no advice. Her mother had been Spanish, and she determined to marry the heir to the throne of Spain, not realizing how much her people (of all religious persuasions) feared that this would make England a province of the Spanish Empire. She insisted that the best way to deal with heresy was to burn as many heretics as possible. (It is worth noting that her husband was opposed to this.) In the course of a five-year reign, she lost all the English holdings on the continent of Europe, she lost the affection of her people, and she lost any chance of a peaceful religious settlement in England. Of the nearly three hundred persons burned by her orders, the most famous are the Oxford Martyrs, commemorated today.

Hugh Latimer was famous as a preacher. He was Bishop of Worcester (pronounced WOOS-ter) in the time of King Henry, but resigned in protest against the King's refusal to allow the Protestant reforms that Latimer desired. Latimer's sermons speak little of doctrine; he preferred to urge men to upright living and devoutness in prayer. But when Mary came to the throne, he was arrested, tried for heresy, and burned together with his friend Nicholas Ridley. His last words at the stake are well known: "Be of good cheer, Master Ridley, and play the man, for we shall this day light such a candle in England as I trust by God's grace shall never be put out."

Nicholas Ridley became an adherent of the Protestant cause while a student at Cambridge. He was a friend of Archbishop Cranmer and became private chaplain first to Cranmer and then to King Henry. Under the reign of Edward, he became bishop of Rochester, and was part of the committee that drew up the first English Book of Common Prayer. When Mary came to the throne, he was arrested, tried, and burned with Latimer at Oxford on 16 October 1555.

Thomas Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury in the days of Henry, and defended the position that Henry's marriage to Katharine of Aragon (Spain) was null and void. When Edward came to the throne, Cranmer was foremost in translating the worship of the Church into English (his friends and enemies agree that he was an extraordinarily gifted translator) and securing the use of the new forms of worship. When Mary came to the throne, Cranmer was in a quandary. He had believed, with a fervor that many people today will find hard to understand, that it is the duty of every Christian to obey the monarch, and that "the powers that be are ordained of God" (Romans 13). As long as the monarch was ordering things that Cranmer thought good, it was easy for Cranmer to believe that the king was sent by God's providence to guide the people in the path of true religion, and that disobedience to the king was disobedience to God. Now Mary was Queen, and commanding him to return to the Roman obedience. Cranmer five times wrote a letter of submission to the Pope and to Roman Catholic doctrines, and four times he tore it up. In the end, he submitted. However, Mary was unwilling to believe that the submission was sincere, and he was ordered to be burned at Oxford on 21 March 1556. At the very end, he repudiated his final letter of submission, and announced that he died a Protestant. He said, "I have sinned, in that I signed with my hand what I did not believe with my heart. When the flames are lit, this hand shall be the first to burn." And when the fire was lit around his feet, he leaned forward and held his right hand in the fire until it was charred to a stump. Aside from this, he did not speak or move, except that once he raised his left hand to wipe the sweat from his forehead.

The Oxford Martyrs were tried for heresy in 1555 and subsequently burnt at the stake in Oxford, England, for their religious beliefs and teachings.

The three martyrs were the bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, and the Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. They were tried at University Church of St Mary the Virgin, the official church of Oxford University on the High Street. The martyrs were imprisoned at the former Bocado Prison near the still extant St Michael at the Northgate church (at the north gate of the city walls) in Cornmarket Street. The door of their cell is on display in the tower of the church.

The martyrs were burnt at the stake just outside the city walls to the north, where Broad Street is now located. Latimer and Ridley were burnt on 16 October, 1555. Cranmer was burnt five months later on 21 March 1556.

A small area cobbled with stones forming a cross in the centre of the road outside the front of Balliol College marks the site. The Victorian spire-like Martyrs' Memorial, at the south end of St Giles' nearby, commemorates the events.

Propers for the Oxford Martyrs

The Collect.

Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, after the examples of thy servants Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley, and Thomas Cranmer; that we may live in thy fear, die in thy favor, and rest in thy peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Epistle - 1 Corinthians 3:9-14.

The Gospel - John 15:20--16:1.

Reference and Resources:

Monday, October 13, 2008

Translation of Edward the Confessor

Edward was born in 1003. He was the last Saxon king to rule (for more than a few months) in England.

He is called "Edward the Confessor" to distinguish him from another King of England, Edward the Martyr (c962-979), who was assassinated (presumably by someone who wished to place Edward's younger half-brother on the throne), and who came to be regarded, on doubtful grounds, as a martyr for the faith.

In Christian biographies, the term "confessor" is often used to denote someone who has born witness to the faith by his life, but who did not die as a martyr. Edward was the son of King Ethelred the Unready. This does not mean that he was unprepared, but rather that he was stubborn and willful, and would not accept "rede," meaning advice or counsel.

Aethelred was followed by several Danish kings of England, during whose rule young Edward and his mother took refuge in Normandy. But the last Danish king named Edward as his successor, and he was crowned in 1042. Opinions on his success as a king vary. Some historians consider him weak and indecisive, and say that his reign paved the way for the Norman Conquest. Others say that his prudent management gave England more than twenty years of peace and prosperity, with freedom from foreign domination, at a time when powerful neighbors might well have dominated a less adroit ruler. He was diligent in public and private worship, generous to the poor, and accessible to subjects who sought redress of grievances.

While in exile, he had vowed to make a pilgrimage to Rome if his family fortunes mended. However, his council told him that it was not expedient for him to be so long out of the country. Accordingly, he spent his pilgrimage money instead on the relief of the poor and the building of Westminster Abbey, which stands today (rebuilt in the thirteenth century) as one of the great churches of England, burial place of her kings and others deemed worthy of special honor.

Edward died on 5 January 1066, leaving no offspring; and after his death, the throne was claimed by his wife's brother, Harold the Saxon, and by William, Duke of Normandy. William defeated and slew Harold at the Battle of Hastings (14 October 1066), and thereafter the kings and upper classes of England were Norman-French rather than Anglo-Saxon. Edward is remembered, not on the day of his death, but on the anniversary of the moving ("translation") of his corpse to a new tomb, a date which is also the anniversary of the eve of the Battle of Hastings, the end of Saxon England.

Propers for The Transaltion of St. Edward the Confessor

The Collect.

O GOD, who hast crowned the blessed King Edward, thy Confessor, with everlasting glory: make us, we beseech thee, so to venerate him on earth, that we may reign with him hereafter in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Philippians 4:4-9.

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

References and Resources:


Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

GRANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Ephesians vi. 10.

MY brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

The Gospel - St. John iv. 46.

THERE was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Robert Grosseteste - Bishop of Lincoln

English statesman, scholastic philosopher, theologian and bishop of Lincoln, was born of humble parents at Stradbroke in Suffolk. A.C. Crombie calls him "the real founder of the tradition of scientific thought in medieval Oxford, and in some ways, of the modern English intellectual tradition".
Had the leaders of the thirteenth century heeded this preacher, many of the disasters of the following three centuries might have been avoided. Robert was a peasant lad from Suffolk, born about 1175. He distinguished himself at Oxford in law, medicine, languages, natural sciences, and theology. He became what is now called Chancellor of Oxford University.
In 1235, he was elected Bishop of Lincoln, in area the largest diocese in England. He promptly visited all the churches in the diocese and quickly removed many of the prominent clergy because they were neglecting their pastoral duties. He vigorously opposed the practice by which the Pope appointed Italians as absentee clergy for English churches (collecting salaries from said churches without ever setting foot in the country). He insisted that his priests spend their time in the service of their people, in prayer, and in study. He went on a pilgrimage to Rome, where he spoke out boldly against ecclesiastical abuses. Back in England, he spoke against unlawful usurpations of power by the monarch, and was one of those present at the signing of the Magna Carta.
Grosseteste's scholarly writings embraced many fields of learning. He translated into Latin the Ethics of Aristotle and the theological works of John of Damascus and of the fifth-century writer known as Dionysius the Areopagite. He was skilled in poetry, music, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, optics, and physics (one of his pupils was Roger Bacon). His writings on the first chapter of Genesis include an interesting anticipation of modern cosmological ideas. (He read that the first thing created was light, and said that the universe began with pure energy exploding from a point source.) He knew Hebrew and Greek, and his Biblical studies were a notable contribution to the scholarship of the day.
Propers for Robert Grosseteste:
The Collect:
O God our heavenly Father, who didst raise up thy faithful servant Robert Grosseteste to be a bishop and pastor in thy Church and to feed thy flock: Give to all pastors abundant gifts of thy Holy Spirit, that they may minister in thy household as true servants of Christ and stewards of thy divine mysteries; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.Amen.
Bible Readings:
Psalm 112:1-9 or 23
Acts 20:28-32
Luke 16:10-15
Reference & Resources:

St. Denis of Paris

(also called Dionysius, Dennis, or Denys) is a Christian martyr and saint. In the third century, he was bishop of Paris. He was martyred in approximately 250, and is venerated especially in the Roman Catholic Church as patron of Paris, France and one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. The modern name "Denis" derives from the ancient name Dionysius, "servant of Dionysus".
Gregory of Tours states that Denis was bishop of the Parisii and was martyred by being beheaded by a sword. The earliest document giving an account of his life and martyrdom, the Passio SS. Dionysii Rustici et Eleutherii dates from c. 600, is mistakenly attributed to the poet Venantius Fortunatus, and is legendary. Nevertheless, it appears from the Passio that Denis was sent from Italy to convert Gaul in the third century, forging a link with the "apostles to the Gauls" reputed to have been sent out under the direction of Pope Fabian. This was after the persecutions under Emperor Decius had all but dissolved the small Christian community at Lutetia. Denis, with his inseparable companions Rusticus and Eleutherius, who were martyred with him, settled on the Île de la Cité in the River Seine. Roman Paris lay on the higher ground of the Left Bank, away from the river.
Denis, having irritated the tempers of heathen priests for his many conversions, was executed by beheading on the highest hill near Paris (now Montmartre), which was likely to have been a druidic holy place. The martyrdom of Denis and his companions gave it its current name, which in Old French means "mountain of martyrs". According to the Golden Legend, after his head was chopped off, Denis picked it up and walked several miles, preaching a sermon the entire way. The site where he stopped preaching and actually died was made into a small shrine that developed into the Saint Denis Basilica, which became the burial place for the kings of France. Another account has his corpse being thrown in the Seine, but recovered and buried later that night by his converts.
Propers for Denis of Paris:
The Collect:
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Denis with the virtue of constancy in faith and truth: Grant us in like manner for love of thee to despise the prosperity of this world, and to fear none of its adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48:
I ESDRAS saw upon the mount Sion a great people, whom I could not number, and they all praised the Lord with songs. And in the midst of them there was a young man of a high stature, taller than all the rest, and upon every one of their heads he set crowns, and was more exalted; which I marvelled at greatly. So I asked the angel, and said, Sir, what are these? He answered and said unto me, These be they that have put off the mortal clothing, and put on the immortal, and have confessed the name of God: now are they crowned, and receive palms. Then said I unto the angel. What young person is it that crowneth them, and giveth them palms in their hands? So he answered and said unto me, It is the Son of God, whom they have confessed in the world. Then began I greatly to commend them that stood so stiffly for the name of the Lord. Then the angel said unto me, Go thy way, and tell my people what manner of things, and how great wonders of the Lord thy God, thou hast seen.
The Gospel - St. Matthew 10:16-22:
BEHOLD, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall he brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
References & Resources:

Monday, October 6, 2008

William Tyndale

William Tyndale (sometimes spelled Tindall or Tyndall) (ca. 1494–6 October 1536) was a 16th century Protestant reformer and scholar who translated the Bible into the Early Modern English of his day. Although a number of partial and complete Old English translations had been made from the 7th century onward, Tyndale's was the first to take advantage of the new medium of print, which allowed for its wide distribution. In 1535 Tyndale was arrested, jailed in the castle of Vilvoorde outside Brussels, Belgium for more than a year, tried for heresy and treason and then strangled and burnt at the stake in the castle's courtyard.

Much of Tyndale's work eventually found its way into the King James Version (or Authorized Version) of the Bible, published in 1611, which, though nominally the work of 54 independent scholars, is based primarily on Tyndale's translations.

William Tyndale was born about 1495 at Slymbridge near the Welsh border. He received his degrees from Magdalen College, Oxford, and also studied at Cambridge. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1521, and soon began to speak of his desire, which eventually became his life's obsession, to translate the Scriptures into English. It is reported that, in the course of a dispute with a prominent clergyman who disparaged this proposal, he said, "If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plow to know more of the Scriptures than thou dost." The remainder of his life was devoted to keeping that vow, or boast. Finding that the King, Henry VIII, was firmly set against any English version of the Scriptures, he fled to Germany (visiting Martin Luther in 1525), and there traveled from city to city, in exile, poverty, persecution, and constant danger.

Tyndale understood the commonly received doctrine -- the popular theology -- of his time to imply that men earn their salvation by good behavior and by penance. He wrote eloquently in favor of the view that salvation is a gift of God, freely bestowed, and not a response to any good act on the part of the receiver. His views are expressed in numerous pamphlets, and in the introductions to and commentaries on various books of the Bible that accompanied his translations. He completed his translation of the New Testament in 1525, and it was printed at Worms and smuggled into England. Of 18,000 copies, only two survive.

In 1534, he produced a revised version, and began work on the Old Testament. In the next two years he completed and published the Pentateuch and Jonah, and translated the books from Joshua through Second Chronicles, but then he was captured (betrayed by one he had befriended), tried for heresy, and put to death. He was burned at the stake, but, as was often done, the officer strangled him before lighting the fire. His last words were, "Lord, open the King of England's eyes."

Miles Coverdale continued Tyndale's work by translating those portions of the Bible (including the Apocrypha) which Tyndale had not lived to translate himself, and publishing the complete work. In 1537, the "Matthew Bible" (essentially the Tyndale-Coverdale Bible under another man's name to spare the government embarrassment) was published in England with the Royal Permission. Six copies were set up for public reading in Old St. Paul's Church, and throughout the daylight hours the church was crowded with those who had come to hear it. One man would stand at the lectern and read until his voice gave out, and then he would stand down and another would take his place. All English translations of the Bible from that time to the present century are essentially revisions of the Tyndale-Coverdale work.

Propers for William Tyndale - Priest, Translator & Martyr

The Collect.

ACCEPT, O Lord, our thanksgiving this day for thy servant William Tyndale; and grant unto us in like manner such constancy and zeal in thy service, that we may obtain with him and thy servants everywhere a good confession and the crown of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Hebrews 12:1-2.

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

References & Resources:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Twentienth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Ephesians v. 15.

SEE then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

The Gospel - St. Matthew xxii. 1.

JESUS said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding-garment: and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding-garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Francis of Assisi

Francis was born in 1182, the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. His early years were frivolous, but an experience of sickness and another of military service were instrumental in leading him to reflect on the purpose of life. One day, in the church of San Damiano, he seemed to hear Christ saying to him, "Francis, repair my falling house." He took the words literally, and sold a bale of silk from his father's warehouse to pay for repairs to the church of San Damiano. His father was outraged, and there was a public confrontation at which his father disinherited and disowned him, and he in turn renounced his father's wealth--one account says that he not only handed his father his purse, but also took off his expensive clothes, laid them at his father's feet, and walked away naked. He declared himself "wedded to Lady Poverty", renounced all material possessions, and devoted himself to serving the poor. In his day the most dreaded of all diseases was something known as leprosy. (It is probably not the same as either the modern or the Biblical disease of that name.) Lepers were kept at a distance and regarded with fear and disgust. Francis cared for them, fed them, bathed their sores, and kissed them. Since he could not pay for repairs to the Church of San Damiano, he undertook to repair it by his own labors. He moved in with the priest, and begged stones lying useless in fields, shaping them for use in repairing the church. He got his meals, not by asking for money so that he might live at the expense of others, but by scrounging crusts and discarded vegetable from trash-bins, and by working as a day laborer, insisting on being paid in bread, milk, eggs, or vegetables rather than in money. Soon a few companions joined him.

After three years, in 1210, the Pope authorized the forming of the Order of Friars Minor, commonly called the Franciscans. ("Friar" means "brother," as in "fraternity", and "minor" means "lesser" or "younger." I take the meaning to be that a Franciscan, meeting another Christian, is to think, "I am your brother in Christ, and your younger brother at that, bound to defer to you and to give you precedence over myself."

Francis and his companions took literally the words of Christ when he sent his disciples out to preach (Matthew 10:7-10 NKJV):

"And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, 10 nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food."

They would have no money, and no property, individually or collectively. Their task was to preach, "using words if necessary," but declaring by word and action the love of God in Christ. Francis was partial to a touch of the dramatic (see his parting from his father, for example), and it was probably he who set up the first Christmas manger scene, to bring home the Good News of God made man for our salvation, home to men's hearts and imaginations as well as to their intellects.

In 1219, Francis went to the Holy Land to preach to the Muslims. He was given a pass through the enemy lines, and spoke to the Sultan, Melek-al-Kamil. Francis proclaimed the Gospel to the Sultan, who replied that he had his own beliefs, and that Muslims were as firmly convinced of the truth of Islam as Francis was of the truth of Christianity. Francis proposed that a fire be built, and that he and a Muslim volunteer would walk side by side into the fire to show whose faith was stronger. The Sultan said he was not sure that a Muslim volunteer could be found. Francis then offered to walk into the fire alone. The Sultan who was deeply impressed but remained unconverted. Francis proposed an armistice between the two warring sides, and drew up terms for one; the Sultan agreed, but, to Francois' deep disappointment, the Christian leaders would not. Francis returned to Italy, but a permanent result was that the Franciscans were given custody of the Christian shrines then in Muslim hands.

Back in Italy and neighboring countries, the Order was suffering from its own success. Then, as now, many persons were deeply attracted by Francis and his air of joy, abandonment, and freedom. What is overlooked is that these were made possible only by his willingness to accept total poverty, not picturesque poverty but real dirt, rags, cold, and hunger, and lepers with real pus oozing from their sores and a real danger of infection. Many idealistic young men were joining the Order in a burst of enthusiasm and then finding themselves not so sure that such extremes of poverty were really necessary. When there were only a few friars, they were all known to Francis personally, and the force of his personality kept the original ideals of the Order alive in them. Now that the Order was larger, this was no longer enough. In 1220 Francis resigned as minister-general of the Order, and in 1221 he agreed to a new and modified rule, which he did not approve, but could not resist. He died on 4 October 1226. The Franciscan split into the Conventual Franciscans, who held a limited amount of property in common, and the Spiritual Franciscans, who disavowed all property. They taught that Christ and the twelve apostles had held no property, singly or jointly. This view offended those who held property, and was declared to be heretical (proof text, John 18:10; Jesus said to Peter, "Put up thy sword...."). In 1318, several Spiritual Franciscans were burned at the stake in Marseilles.

A story is told of the days when the friars first began to have permanent houses. A beggar came by when Brother Juniper was at the gate and asked for a little money. Brother Juniper said, "There is no money in the house. But wait a minute. Last week someone gave us an altar cloth with little silver bells attached. We don't need those. I will cut them off for you. They will be as good as money." And he did. When the sacristan learned what had happened, he complained to the prior, who said, "We are fortunate that he did not give away the cloth itself. But send him to me, and I will scold him." Brother Juniper came, and the prior scolded him until he was hoarse. Brother Juniper noticed that the prior was hoarse, and went to the kitchen and cooked him some mint sauce. He brought it to the prior, who had gone to bed. He said, "Father Prior, get up and eat this mint sauce. It will be good for your throat." The prior said, "I don't want any mint sauce. Go away and let me sleep." Brother Juniper said, "It's good sauce, and will be good for your throat." The prior said, "Go away, I don't want it." Brother Juniper said, "Well, if you won't eat it, how about holding the candle while I eat it?" This was too much for the prior. He got up and they both ate.

From the first known letter from Francis to all Christians:
O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul, and your neighbor as yourself. Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: True worshipers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers, saying: "Our Father, who are in heaven," since we must always pray and never grow slack.

Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive toe very human being for God's sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father's children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

While he was praying on the mountain of Verna, during a forty day fast in preparation for Michaelmas, Francis is said to have had a vision on or about 14 September 1224, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, as a result of which he received the stigmata. Brother Leo, who had been with Francis at the time, left a clear and simple account of the event,[5] the first definite account of the phenomenon of stigmata. "Suddenly he saw a vision of a seraph, a six-winged angel on a cross. This angel gave him the gift of the five wounds of Christ."

Suffering from these Stigmata and from an eye disease, he had been receiving care in several cities (Siena, Cortona, Nocera) to no avail. In the end he was brought back to the Porziuncola. He was brought to the transito, the hut for infirm friars, next to the Porziuncola. Here, in the place where it all began, feeling the end approaching, he spent the last days of his life dictating his spiritual testament. He died on the evening of 3 October 1226 singing Psalm 141. His feast day is observed 4 October.

On 16 July 1228 he was pronounced a saint by the next pope Gregory IX, the former cardinal Ugolino di Conti, friend and protector of St. Francis. The next day, the pope laid the foundation stone for the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi.

St. Francis is considered the first Italian poet by literary critics. He believed commoners should be able to pray to God in their own language, and he wrote always in dialect of Umbria instead of Latin. His writings are considered to have great literary value, as well as religious.

Propers for Francis of Assisi - Friar

The Collect.

MOST high, almighty, and good Lord: Grant thy people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world, that, after the example of blessed Francis, we may for love of thee delight in all thy creatures, with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle - Galatians 6:14-18.

The Gospel - St. Matthew 11:25-30.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Saint Remigius (French Saint Rémi or Saint Rémy), Bishop of Rheims, Apostle of the Franks, (c. 437–January 13, 533) effected the conversion to Christianity of Clovis, King of the Franks, at Christmas, 496, one of the turning points in the success of orthodox catholic faith and a climactic moment in European history.

Propers for Remigius - Bishop, Missionary and Enlightener of the Franks


O God, who by the teaching of thy faithful servant and bishop Remigius [and the loving influence and example of thy handmaid Clotilda] didst turn the nation of the Franks from vain idolatry to the worship of thee, the true and living God, in the fullness of the catholic faith; Grant that we who glory in the name of Christian may show forth our faith in worthy deeds; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Epistle - 1 John 4:1-6.

Gospel - St. John 14:3-7.

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