Thursday, August 28, 2014

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.


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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



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

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


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

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

Monday, August 25, 2014

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


Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Tenth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

LET thy merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of thy humble servants; and, that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 1 Corinthians xii. 1.

CONCERNING spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.


The Gospel - St. Luke xix. 41.

AND when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. And he taught daily in the temple.

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


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Lupus of Thessalonica

The Martyr Lupus lived at the end of the third century and beginning of the fourth century, and was a faithful servant of the holy Great Martyr Demetrius of Thessalonica. Being present at the death of his master, he soaked his own clothing with his blood and took a ring from his hand.  Lupus destroyed pagan idols, for which he was subjected to persecution by the pagans.

Lupus voluntarily delivered himself into the hands of the torturers, and by order of the emperor Maximian Galerius, he was beheaded by the sword.



Propers for Lupus of Thessalonica - Servant, Soldier and Martyr.


The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Lupus 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 Lesson - 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 Holy 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://oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?SID=4&ID=1&FSID=102378
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mart.cfm

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Sigfrid of Wearmouth

Benedictine monk. Spiritual student of Saint Benedict Biscop, and brother monk to Saint Esterwine of Wearmouth and Saint Ceolfrid. Biblical scholar. Co-adjutor abbot of Jarrow Abbey. Abbot in Wearmouth, England in 686.



Propers for Sigfrid of Wearmouth - Abbot


The Collect.

O GOD, by whose grace the blessed Sigfrid 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 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://www.celticsaints.org/2012/0822a.html
http://saints.sqpn.com/saint-sigfrid-of-wearmouth/


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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Maximilian and Bonosus




Were soldiers of the Herculean cohort; they were standard-bearers, and refused to remove the chrismon (monogram of Christ) from the standard, as had been ordered by Julian the Apostate.

Count Julian, uncle of the emperor, commanded them to replace the chrismon with images of idols, and, upon their refusal, had them tortured and beheaded.


Propers for Maximilian and Bonosus of Antioch - Soldiers and Martyrs

The Collect.


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



The Lesson - Jeremiah 15:15-21.


O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke. Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation. Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail? Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them. And I will make thee unto this people a fenced brasen wall: and they shall fight against thee, but they shall not prevail against thee: for I am with thee to save thee and to deliver thee, saith the LORD. And I will deliver thee out of the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem thee out of the hand of the terrible.


The Holy Gospel - St. Mark 8:34-38.


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



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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Christian Quote of the Day

"Then thou shalt make great progress if thou keep thyself free from all temporal care. Thou shalt lamentably fall away if thou set a value upon any worldly thing. Let nothing be great, nothing high, nothing pleasing, nothing acceptable unto thee, save God Himself or the things of God. Reckon as altogether vain whatsoever consolation comes to thee from a creature. The soul that loveth God looketh not to anything that is beneath God. God alone is eternal and incomprehensible, filling all things, the solace of the soul, and the true joy of the heart."

---  Thomas A Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Samuel the Prophet

The Prophet Samuel was the fifteenth and last of the Judges of Israel, living more than 1146 years before the Birth of Christ. He was descended from the Tribe of Levi, and was the son of Elkanah from Ramathaim-Zophim of Mount Ephraim. He was born, having been besought from the Lord through the prayers of his mother Hannah (therefore he received the name Samuel, which means “besought from God”). Even before birth, he was dedicated to God. Her song, “My heart exults in the Lord,” is the Third Ode of the Old Testament (1 Sam/1 Kings 2:1-10).

When the boy reached the age of three, his mother went with him to Shiloh and in accord with her vow dedicated him to the worship of God. She gave him into the care of the High Priest Eli, who at this time was a judge over Israel. The prophet grew in the fear of God, and at twelve years of age he had a revelation that God would punish the house of the High Priest Eli, because he did not restrain the impiety of his sons. Eli’s whole family was wiped out in a single day.

The prophecy was fulfilled when the Philistines, having slain in battle 30,000 Israelites (among them were also the sons of the High Priest, Hophni and Phinees), gaining victory and capturing the Ark of the Covenant. Hearing this, the High Priest Eli fell backwards from his seat at the gate, and breaking his back, he died. The wife of Phinees, upon hearing what had happened in this very hour, gave birth to a son (Ichabod) and died with the words: “The glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God is taken away” (1 Sam/1 Kgs 4: 22).

Upon the death of Eli, Samuel became the judge of the nation of Israel. The Ark of God was returned by the Philistines on their own initiative. After returning to God, the Israelites returned to all the cities that the Philistines had taken. In his old age, the Prophet Samuel made his sons Joel and Abiah judges over Israel, but they did not follow the integrity and righteous judgment of their father, since they were motivated by greed.

Then the elders of Israel, wanting the nation of God to be “like other nations” (1 Sam/1 Kgs 8: 20), demanded of the Prophet Samuel that they have a king. The Prophet Samuel anointed Saul as king, but saw in this a downfall of the people, whom God Himself had governed until this time, announcing His will through His chosen saints. Resigning the position of judge, the Prophet Samuel asked the people if they consented to his continued governance, but no one stepped forward for him.

After denouncing the first king, Saul, for his disobedience to God, the Prophet Samuel anointed David as king. He had offered David asylum, saving him from the pursuit of King Saul. The Prophet Samuel died in extreme old age. His life is recorded in the Bible (1 Sam/1 Kgs; Sirach 46:13-20).

Propers for Samuel the Prophet

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 Samuel, 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 - 1 Samuel 3: 1-10


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


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Bernard of Clairvaux

St. Bernard was born of noble parentage in Burgundy, France, in the castle of Fontaines near Dijon around 1090. Under the care of his pious parents he was sent at an early age to a college at Chatillon, where he was conspicuous for his remarkable piety and spirit of recollection. At the same place he entered upon the studies of theology and Holy Scripture. After the death of his mother, fearing the snares and temptations of the world, he resolved to embrace the newly established and very austere institute of the Cistercian Order, of which he was destined to become the greatest ornament. He also persuaded his brothers and several of his friends to follow his example. In 1113, St. Bernard, with thirty young noblemen, presented himself to the holy Abbot, St. Stephen, at Citeaux. After a novitiate spent in great fervor, he made his profession in the following year.

His superior soon after, seeing the great progress he had made in the spiritual life, sent him with twelve monks to found a new monastery, which afterward became known as the celebrated Abbey of Clairvaux, St. Bernard was at once appointed Abbot. His saintliness and self-mortification - helped him transform the fledgling Cistercian Order, increasing its size to over 700 monks. During his lifetime he founded numerous monastic communities.

Bernard preached an immediate faith, in which the intercessor was the Virgin Mary. In the year 1128, Bernard assisted at the Council of Troyes, at which he traced the outlines of the Rule of the Knights Templar, who soon became the ideal of Christian nobility.

On the death of Pope Honorius II, which occurred on February 14, 1130, a schism broke out in the Church. King Louis VI convened a national council of the French bishops at Étampes, and Bernard was chosen to judge between the rival popes. In 1139, Bernard assisted at the Second Council of the Lateran. Bernard denounced the teachings of Peter Abelard to the Pope, who called a council at Sens in 1141 to settle the matter. Bernard soon saw one of his disciples, Bernard of Pisa, elected Pope. Having previously helped end the schism within the Church, Bernard was now called upon to combat heresy. In June 1145, Bernard traveled in Southern France and his preaching there helped strengthen support against heresy.

Following the Christian defeat at the Siege of Edessa, the Pope commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade. The last years of Bernard's life were saddened by the failure of the crusaders, the entire responsibility for which was thrown upon him. Bernard died at age 63 on 20 August 1153, after 40 years spent in the cloister. He was the first Cistercian monk placed on the calendar of saints, and was canonized by Pope Alexander III on 18 January 1174. Pope Pius VIII bestowed upon him the title of "Doctor of the Church."


Propers for Bernard - Abbot of Clairvaux, Theologian and Poet

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the heart of thy servant Bernard: Grant to us, thy humble servants, the same faith and power of love; that, as we rejoice in his triumph, we may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - Ecclesiasticus 39:1-10.


The Gospel - St. John 15:7-11.


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_of_Clairvaux
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/bernard.cfm
http://www.episcopalnet.org/1928bcp/propers/Missal/August20.html
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/08/20.html
http://www.monasteryicons.com/cgi-bin/hazel.cgi?action=detail&item=404
http://www.ccel.org/b/bernard
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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Helena of Constantinople

Flavia Iulia Helena Augusta, also known as Saint Helena, Saint Helen, Helena Augusta or Helena of Constantinople (ca. 250 – ca. 330) she was married to the Roman general Constantius Chlorus, who became emperor of Britain, Gaul, and Spain when Diocletian divided the Empire. In about 272 she bore him a son, Constantine, but in 292 he divorced her in order to cement a political alliance by another marriage.

Most historians say that she was born in Drepanum (now Helenopolis) in Asia Minor; but an old tradition asserts that she was born in Britain, in Colchester, and was the daughter of the chieftain Cole, remembered today as Old King Cole. If so, she may have been a Christian from birth, since Christianity was well established in that region.

In 306, after the death of Constantius, the Roman army at York proclaimed Constantine emperor in his father's place, and by 312 he was master of the Western Empire and issued an Edict of Toleration that made the practice of Christianity legal for the first time in over 200 years.

Helena worked enthusiastically to promote Christianity, and eventually went to the Holy Land, where she spent large sums on the relief of the poor and on building churches on sacred sites. She is particularly associated with the discovery at Jerusalem, near the probable site of Calvary, of a wooden cross that was accepted as the actual cross on which Jesus was crucified.

She also found the nails of the crucifixion. To use their miraculous power to aid her son, Helena allegedly had one placed in Constantine's helmet, and another in the bridle of his horse. Helena left Jerusalem and the eastern provinces in 327 to return to Rome, bringing with her large parts of the True Cross and other relics, which were then stored in her palace's private chapel, where they can be still seen today. Her palace was later converted into the church Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.

According to one tradition, Helena acquired the Holy Tunic on her trip to Jerusalem and sent it to Trier.

Several of Saint Helena's treasures are now in Cyprus, where she spent some time. Some of them are a part of Jesus Christ's tunic, pieces of the holy cross and the world's only pieces of the rope to which Jesus was tied with on the Cross. The latter has been held at the Staurovouni monastery, which was also founded by Saint Helena.

Helena passed unto heavenly rest in about 330, her sarcophagus is on display in the Pio-Clementine Vatican Museum, although the connection is often questioned (The elaborate reliefs contain hunting scenes). During her life, she gave many presents to the poor, released prisoners and mingled with the ordinary worshipers in modest attire.


Propers for St. Helena of Constantinople

The Collect.

Almighty God, who didst call thy servant Helena to an earthly throne that she might advance thy heavenly kingdom, and didst endue her with zeal for thy Church and charity towards thy people; Grant unto us thy people that we may be fruitful in good works, and steadfast in our faith in thee, and finally by thy mercy may attain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and ever. Amen.


The Epistle - Philippians 4:4-9.


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


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helena_of_Constantinople
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/08/19.html
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/common.cfm
http://www.monasteryicons.com/monasteryicons/Icons-of-Saints-of-the-East-amp-West_M15/Item_St-Helen_512_ps_cti-M15.html

Monday, August 18, 2014

William Porcher Dubose

(April 11, 1836-August 18, 1918) was an American Anglican priest and theologian. He spent most of his career as a professor at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. He is remembered on August 18 on the Episcopal Calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts. His middle name, Porcher, is pronounced as if it were spelled por-shay.

Dubose descended from Huguenot stock in the midlands of South Carolina and attended Mt. Zion College and then the Citadel where he graduated as ranking cadet in 1855. While at the Citadel, Dubose had a conversion experience that he describes thus:

"I lept to my feet trembling, and then that happened that I can only describe by saying that a light shone about me and a Presence filled the room. At the same time, ineffable joy and peace took possession of me which it is impossible to either express or explain"


In 1856, DuBose entered the University of Virginia. He graduated from that institution with a Master of Arts in 1859. Later that same year, he entered the South Carolina diocesan seminary in Camden, South Carolina. It was during DuBose's seminary studies that the American Civil War broke out.

During the War Between the States Dubose served as an adjutant of Holcome's Legion in the Confederate Army where he was wounded twice and later captured and interned as a POW. In 1863 Dubose was paroled by the Union Army and he returned home being ordained to the priesthood in December of 1863 and appointed as a Chaplain in Kershaw's Brigade of the Confederate Army.

After the war, DuBose served St. Stephen's Episcopal Church near his home of Winnsboro. While there, he also taught Greek at nearby Mt. Zion College.

In July 1871, DuBose's name was given to the Board of Trustees of the University of the South by Vice-Chancellor Charles Todd Quintard, to serve as Chaplain of the School and Professor of the School of Moral Science and the Evidences of the Christian Religion. DuBose served as Chaplain of the school from 1871-1883 (he was succeeded by Thomas Frank Gailor).

Among his work at the University of the South, DuBose helped to establish the Theological Department, which would later be known as the School of Theology at the University of the South. He served as professor in the Theological Department from 1877-1893. In 1894, DuBose was elected as Dean of the Theological Department, a position he held until 1908.


Propers for William Porcher Dubose - Priest and Theologian

The Collect.

Almighty God, who didst give to thy servant William Porcher DuBose special gifts of grace to understand the Scriptures and to teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: Grant, we beseech thee, that by this teaching we may know thee, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Timothy 1:11-14.


The Gospel - St. Luke 24:25-32.


Reference and Resources:

http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/08/18.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Porcher_DuBose
http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/dubose/

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Ninth Sunday after Trinity

The Collect.

GRANT to us, Lord, we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as are right; that we, who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


The Epistle - 1 Corinthians 10 : 1-13.

BRETHREN, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.


The Gospel - St. Luke 15 : 11-32.

JESUS said, A certain man had two sons: and the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: and bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: for this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry. Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: but as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

Mammes of Caesarea

(AD 259-275)

Born in prison to parents who had been jailed because they were Christian, Mammes became an orphan when his parents were executed. After his parents' death, Mammes was raised by a rich widow named Ammia, who died when Mammes was 15 years old.

Mammes was tortured for his faith by the governor of Caesarea and was then sent before the Roman Emperor Aurelian, who tortured him again. The Mammes legend states that an angel then liberated him and ordered him to hide himself on a mountain near Caesarea.

Mammes was later thrown to the lions, but managed to make the beasts docile. He preached to animals in the fields, and a lion remained with him as companion. Accompanied by the lion, he visited Duke Alexander, who condemned him to death. He was struck in the stomach with a trident. Bleeding, Mammes dragged himself to a spot near a theater before his soul was carried into heaven by angels.


Propers for Mammes of Caesarea - Martyr

The Collect.

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who didst strengthen thy blessed martyr Mammes 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/Mammes_of_Caesarea
http://www.ttstm.com/2011/08/august-17-mammes-of-caesarea-martyr.html

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Roger of Taizé

Frère Roger (Brother Roger) (Provence, Switzerland, May 12, 1915 - Taizé, August 16, 2005), baptized Roger Louis Schütz-Marsauche, also known as Brother Roger, was the founder and prior of the Taizé Community, an ecumenical monastic community.

Roger was born the ninth and youngest child of Karl Ulrich Schütz, a Protestant pastor from Bachs in the Zürcher Unterland (Zürich Lowlands) in Switzerland, and his wife, Amélie Henriette Schütz-Marsauche, a French Protestant woman from Burgundy.

From 1937 to 1940, Roger studied Reformed theology in Strasbourg and Lausanne.

In 1940, he rode a bicycle from Geneva to Taizé, a small town near Mâcon, about 390 kilometers (240 miles) southeast of Paris. Taizé was then in unoccupied France, just beyond the line of demarcation to the zone occupied by German troops. For two years Brother Roger hid Jewish refugees before being forced to leave Taizé. In 1944, he returned to Taizé to found the Community, first as a small quasi-monastic community of men living together in poverty and celibacy.

Since the late 1950s, many thousands of young adults from many countries have found their way to Taizé to take part in weekly meetings of prayer and reflection. In addition, Taizé brothers make visits and lead meetings, large and small, in Africa, North and South America, Asia, and in Europe, as part of a “pilgrimage of trust on earth”.

The spiritual leader always kept a low profile, rarely giving interviews and refusing to permit any "cult" to grow up around himself. Prior to his death, he was due to give up his community functions because of his advanced age and ill-health which had seen him suffer from fatigue and often use a wheelchair.

Brother Roger wrote many books on prayer and reflection, asking young people to be confident in God and committed to their local church community and to humanity. He also wrote books about Christian spirituality and prayer, some together with Mother Teresa with whom he shared a cordial friendship.

From a Protestant background, Brother Roger undertook a step that was without precedent since the Reformation: entering progressively into a full communion with the faith of the Roman Catholic Church without a “conversion” that would imply a break with his origins. In 1980, during a European Meeting in Rome, he said in St Peter’s Basilica in the presence of Pope John Paul II: “I have found my own identity as a Christian by reconciling within myself the faith of my origins with the mystery of the Catholic faith, without breaking fellowship with anyone.”

Brother Roger was stabbed to death during the evening prayer service in Taizé on August 16, 2005 by Luminiţa Ruxandra Solcan. He was stabbed several times and, though one of the brothers carried him from the church, he died shortly afterward. The assailant was immediately apprehended by members of the congregation and was placed in police custody.

His stabbing lead many who already considered him a saint to think of him as a martyr, even though there is no clear link between his faith and the crime.


Propers for Roger Louis Schütz-Marsauche - Prior of Taizé

The Collect.

O GOD, by whose grace the blessed Roger of Taizé 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.

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


Reference and Resources:

http://www.taize.fr/en
http://www.bridgefolk.net/texts/henke.php
http://fullhomelydivinity.org/reconciliation.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frere_Roger
http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/com_mona.cfm

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Blessed Virgin Mary

On this date we remember the heavenly birth of St. Mary, the Blessed and Ever Virgin Theotokos.

The Collect.

O GOD, who hast taken to thyself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of thine only Son: Grant that we who have been redeemed by his blood may share with her the glory of thine eternal kingdom; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.


The Epistle - Isaiah 61:7-11.

THEREFORE in their land they shall possess a double portion: everlasting joy shall be unto them. For I the Lord love justice. I hate robbery and wrong; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.


The Gospel - St Luke 1:46-55.

MY soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Maximilian Kolbe

(January 8, 1894–August 14, 1941), also known as Maksymilian or Massimiliano Maria Kolbe. Born as Rajmund Kolbe, was a Polish Conventual Franciscan friar who volunteered to die in place of a stranger in the German concentration camp at Auschwitz.

In order to discourage escapes, the camp had a rule that if a man escaped, ten men would be killed in retaliation. In July 1941 a man from Kolbe's bunker escaped. The remaining men of the bunker were led out and ten were selected, including a Sergeant Francis Gajowniczek. When he uttered a cry of dismay, Maximilian stepped forward and said, "I am a Catholic priest. Let me take his place. I am old. He has a wife and children." The officer had more use for a young worker than for an old one, and was happy to make the exchange. The ten men were placed in a large cell and left there to starve. Maximilian encouraged the others with prayers, psalms, and meditations on the Passion of Christ. After two weeks, only four were alive, and only Maximilian was fully conscious. The four were killed with injections of carbolic acid on 14 August 1941.


Propers for Maximilian Kolbe - Friar and Martyr

The Collect.

Most loving Father, whose Son Jesus Christ came to give his life as a ransom for many: Grant to us the grace, as thou didst grant to thy servant Maximilian Kolbe, to be always ready to come to the aid of those in need or distress, not counting the cost; that so we may follow in the footsteps of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


The Epistle - 2 Esdras 2:42-48.


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


Reference and Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximilian_Kolbe
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/08/14.html
http://www.monasteryicons.com/monasteryicons/Icons-of-Saints-of-the-East-amp-West_M15/Item_St-Maximilian-Kolbe_389_ps_cti-M15.html