1 October. Remigius, Bishop of Rheims, (437-533). Remigius, also known as Remi, one of the patron saints of France, was the son of the Count of Laon. At the age of twenty-two he became Bishop of Rheims. Noted for his learning and holiness of life, Remigius is chiefly remembered because he converted and baptized King Clovis of the Franks on Christmas Day, 496. This event changed the religious history of Europe. Clovis, by becoming Catholic instead of Arian, as were most of the Germanic people of the time, was able to unite the Gallo-Roman population and their Christian leaders behind his expanding hegemony over the Germanic rulers of the West and to liberate Gaul from Roman domination. His conversion also made possible the cooperation the Franks gave later to Pope Gregory the Great in his evangelistic efforts for the English. Certainly, Clovis’ motives in accepting Catholic Christianity were mixed, but there is no doubt of the sincerity of his decision, nor of the important role of Remigius in bringing it to pass. When Clovis was baptized, together with 3,000 of his followers, Remi gave him the well-known charge, “Worship what you have burned, and burn what you have worshiped.” The feast of Remigius is observed at Rheims on January 13, possibly the date of his death. The later date of October 1 is derived from the translation of his relics to a new abbey church by Pope Leo IX in 1049.
The Letter from Bishop Remigius to Clovis, King of the Franks, (ca. 481): “To the celebrated and righty magnificent Lord, King Clovis, from Bishop Remigius. A strong report has come to us that you have taken over the administration of the Second Belgic Province. There is nothing new in that you now begin to be what your parents always were. First of all, you should act so that God’s judgment may not abandon you and that your merits should maintain you at the height where you have arrived by your humility. For, as the proverb says, man’s acts are judged. You ought to associate with yourself counselors who are able to do honor to your reputation. Your deeds should be chaste and honest. You should defer to your bishops and always have recourse to their advice. If you are on good terms with them, your province will be better able to stand firm. Encourage your people, relieve the afflicted, protect widows, nourish orphans, so shine forth that all may love and fear you. May justice proceed from your mouth. Ask nothing of the poor or strangers, do not allow yourself to receive gifts from them. Let your tribunal be open to all men, so that no man may leave it with the sorrow of not having been heard. You possess the riches your father left you. Use them to ransom captives and free them from servitude. If someone is admitted to your presence, let him not feel that he is a stranger. Amuse yourself with young men, deliberate with the old. If you wish to reign, show yourself worthy do so.”
Sequence for the Feast of St. Remigius, by Adam of St. Victor (1112-1146),
translated by Digby S. Wrangham:
“Now let all our brethren’s reverend gathering
To that reverend bishop, St Remigius, sing !
Heart and voice, our congregation I
Sing with joy and jubilation
Such a great Confessor’s praise:
Let not lip with life be jarring,
So the song, no discords marring,
Shall be heard which we upraise !
After vengeance had for sin.
When because of guilty men
Gaul was ruined utterly,
Did Cilinia produce
This blest Saint Remigius,
That he might its savior be.
This good bishop’s life is seen,
From the very cradle e’en,
Full of wonders to have been,
And all virtues’ grace; when old
This her son his mother bore,
As by God ordained before;
While the blind man sees once more,
Who such marvels had foretold
Lame men power to walk he giveth;
In the blind their sight reviveth;
And the devils put to flight:
By his means God renovated
All that had been devastated
By the Vandals’ barbarous might.
He, for sanctity a wonder,
Got a fire completely under,
Raging in the town of Rheims:
Nay, this man, renowned o’er all,
Drave beyond the city wall
Satan’s legions with the flames.
Wheresoe’er he stepped, the traces
Of his passage marked those places:
This that church doth testify.
Where yet in the vein of flint
This good bishop’s blest footprint,
Is presented to the eye.
When in baptism’s consecration
Clovis sought for sin’s lustration,
(Worthy miracle of love !)
By the Holy Spirit given,
Was a vessel brought from heaven
To the bishop by a dove.
Once a maid in Toulouse dwelling,
Crazed, although in form excelling,
By his pious prayer outpoured
Is from death resuscitated,
And, from Satan liberated.
To her parents’ care restored.
Hail, thou gem of Holy Orders !
Balm for Gaul’s remotest borders !
And the Church’s light in gloom !
‘Ere thy birth announced from heaven,
Yea, and consecrated even
In the blest Cilinia’s womb !
Thou, as bishops’ brightest crown.
Pride, and grace, and mirror known,
France’s flower, and gem of worth.
Lift thy loving eyes, we pray,
And the multitude survey
Of the Church that is on earth !
Where ‘mid this world’s ocean-surges
Foul foes’ might upon us urges,
Calm the sea, the wind repressing,
Lest we be ‘mid pangs distressing
Sunk by Satan’s subtlety.
Confessor, heaven’s King obeying !
Hear thy flock thus humbly praying.
And, made pure from sin, unite us
To that realm of dazzling brightness,
Where both peace and glory be I Amen.”
Collect: O God, by the teaching of your faithful servant and bishop Remigius you turned the nation of the Franks from idolatry to the worship of you, 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 lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
3 October. George Kennedy Allen Bell, Bishop of Chichester, and Ecumenist, (1883-1958). George Bell was a major voice in the Church of England during the Second World War and a major figure on the ecumenical stage during the post-war era. Born in Hampshire, Bell trained for ordination at Christ Church, Oxford, and Wells Theological College. Ordained to the priesthood in 1908, he served for several years in inner city Leeds among the poor and disenfranchised, an experience that would shape the remainder of his ministry. He became the chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Randall Davidson, in 1914, becoming Dean of Canterbury in 1924 and Bishop of Chichester in 1929. During the rise of the Third Reich in Germany, Bell took an active role in securing safe haven in England for Jews and non-Aryans who wanted to escape the terror of the Nazis. He developed a close association with Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church in Germany. He was a signer of the Barmen Declaration, the manifesto of the Confessing Church that stood in opposition to Hitler’s regime. It has been widely presumed that his outspoken condemnation of the indiscriminate bombing of German cities during the war cost him the See of Canterbury after the death of Archbishop William Temple in 1944. In the post-war era, Bell was a staunch critic of the cold war and the nuclear arms race. Bell’s continuing legacy is surely his stature as an ecumenist. Since his appointment to the See of Chichester, Bell had taken a keen interest in the reunion of the churches and he devoted considerable time to ecumenical projects. After the war, Bell was a tireless advocate for the cause of unity and is to be numbered among the founders of the World Council of Churches in which he held leading offices. Through his ecumenical commitments, Bell developed a friendship with Giovanni Montini, the Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, who was to become Pope Paul VI. Bell wrote a biography of Archbishop Davidson (1935), and a number of works on Christian unity and ecumenism from an Anglican perspective.
Excerpt from a speech in Parliament (19 December 1944): “In order, therefore, to rebuild the underlying European unity, and to secure for every European citizen certain fundamental rights, of which the noble Viscount has so powerfully and impressively reminded us, we have to go beyond politics. Not only has Europe never attained political organization as a real society of peoples, but something deeper than a political impulse is required to secure lasting unity now. I suggest that we are more likely to achieve the goal of European unity if we build on the culture which all European peoples have in common. The peoples of Europe all possess a common form of culture, based on four common spiritual traditions. There is the humanist tradition, which lies behind the literary and intellectual culture of the educated classes and is largely responsible for the liberal and humanitarian element in our civilization. There is the scientific tradition, perhaps the clearest example of the part played by intellectual collaboration in European culture. There is the tradition of law and government, which, while naturally more affected by national political divisions, possesses important common elements which distinguish European from Asiatic society. Lastly, there is the Christian religion, which provided the original bond of unity between European peoples and has influenced every part of Europe and every part of European society.”
Collect: God of peace, you sustained your bishop George Bell with the courage to proclaim your truth and justice in the face of disapproval in his own nation: As he taught that we, along with our enemies, are all children of God, may we stand with Christ in his hour of grieving, that at length we may enter your country where there is no sorrow nor sighing, but fullness of joy in you; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
3 October. John Raleigh Mott, Evangelist and Ecumenical Pioneer, (1865-1955). John Mott was born in Livingston Manor, New York, and moved with family to Iowa in September of that same year. After graduating from Cornell University in 1888, Mott became student secretary of the International Committee of the YMCA and chairman of the executive committee of the Student Volunteer Movement. In 1895 he became General Secretary of the World Student Christian Federation, and in1901 he was appointed the Assistant General Secretary of the YMCA. During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson appointed him to the National War Work Council, for which he received the Distinguished Service Medal. His ecumenical work was rooted in the missionary slogan “The Evangelization of the World in this Generation.” Convinced of the need for better cooperation among Christian communions in the global mission field, he served as chairman of the committee that organized the International Missionary Conference in Edinburgh in 1910, over which he also presided. Considered to be the broadest gathering of Christians up to that point, it is from this Conference that the modern ecumenical movement began. Speaking before that Conference, Mott summed up his view of Christian missions: “It is a startling and solemnizing fact that even as late as the twentieth century, the Great Command of Jesus Christ to carry the Gospel to all mankind is still so largely unfulfilled … The church is confronted today, as in no preceding generation, with a literally worldwide opportunity to make Christ known.” Mott continued his involvement in the developing ecumenical movement, participating in the Faith and Order Conference at Lausanne in 1927, and was Vice-President of the Second World Conference on Faith and Order in Edinburgh (1937). He also served as Chairman of the Life and Work Conference in Oxford, also held in 1937. In 1946, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in establishing and strengthening international organizations which worked for peace. The World Council of Churches, the founding of which was largely driven by Mott’s efforts, elected him its life-long Honorary President in 1948. Mott died in 1955.
Excerpt from John Raleigh Mott’s “The Evangelization of the World in This Generation”: The [Student Volunteer] Movement has only begun to realize its possibilities. Its plans must be made far more extensive and its work must be prosecuted with much greater energy in all these countries, if it is to do what the Church has a right to expect of it toward accomplishing the world-wide proclamation of the Gospel. It should see to it that no Christian student goes out into the world without having been brought face to face with the question of his responsibility to carry out the final commission of his Lord. All students who are to become leaders in the Church at home and abroad should be enlisted and guided in the scientific study of missions. Men and women of high qualifications should be enrolled by the thousands as volunteers for foreign missions, and all practical measures should be employed to insure their receiving the most thorough preparation. Only by carrying out such a comprehensive and aggressive policy will the missionary societies be supplied with a sufficient number of thoroughly qualified candidates to evangelize the world in this generation.”
Collect: O God, the shepherd of all, we give you thanks for the lifelong commitment of your servant John Raleigh Mott to the Christian nurture of students in many parts of the world; and we pray that, after his example, we may strive for the weaving together of all peoples in friendship, fellowship and cooperation, and while life lasts be evangelists for Jesus Christ, in whom alone is our peace; and who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
4 October. Francis of Assisi, Friar, (1182-1226). Francis was the son of a prosperous merchant of Assisi. His early youth was spent in harmless revelry and fruitless attempts to win military glory. Various encounters with beggars and lepers pricked the young man’s conscience, and he decided to embrace a life devoted to Lady Poverty. Despite his father’s intense opposition, Francis totally renounced all material values, and devoted himself to serve the poor. In 1208, in the church of the Portiuncula, Francis had a vision, in which he heard the voice of Christ say: “Do not possess gold, nor silver, nor money in your purses, nor script for your journey, nor two coats, nor shoes, nor a staff; for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever town or city you may enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and there you shall abide until you go from there.” Francis now understood that his vocation was to rebuild the Church, and the means was to be none other than the Gospel itself, and its charter of poverty. In 1210 Pope Innocent III confirmed the simple Rule for the Order of Friars Minor, a name Francis chose to emphasize his desire to be numbered among the “least” of God’s servants. The rule emphasized humility, poverty, and mendicancy, as well as charity and the strictest obedience to the customs and teaching of the Roman Church. Francis’ preaching, according to unanimous testimony, touched the most hardened hearts. The wonderful fascination that emanated from his whole person acted even on irrational creatures. The conversion of the wolf of Gubbio and the sermon to the birds are the best known of many episodes in which all creation was subject to his mysterious appeal. His holiness seems to have somehow restored the atmosphere of the earthly paradise, in which man lived in friendship with nature. The order grew rapidly all over Europe. But by 1221 Francis had lost control of it, since his ideal of strict and absolute poverty, both for the individual friars and for the order as a whole, was found to be too difficult to maintain. His last years were spent in much suffering of body and spirit, but his unconquerable joy never failed. Not long before his death, during a retreat on Mount La Verna, Francis received, on September 14, Holy Cross Day, the marks of the Lord’s wounds, the stigmata, in his own hands and feet and side. This miracle, which was without precedence in the Church, was a sign that Francis, by his humility and his suffering, had united himself to the Redeemer who looks to men to collaborate in his work of redemption by penance, by prayers, by holiness, and by love. Pope Gregory IX, a former patron of the Franciscans, canonized Francis in 1228, and began the erection of the great basilica in Assisi where Francis is buried. Of all the saints, Francis is the most popular and admired, but probably the least imitated. Few have attained to his total identification with the poverty and suffering of Christ. Francis left few writings; but, of these, his spirit of joyous faith comes through most truly in the “Canticle of the Sun,” which he composed at Clare’s convent of St. Damian’s as he was dying.
Canticle of the Sun:
All creatures of our God and King
Lift up your voice and with us sing
Bright burning sun with golden beam
Pale silver moon that gently gleams
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Great rushing wind and breezes soft,
You clouds that ride the heavens aloft,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Fair rising morn, with praise rejoice,
Stars nightly shining, find a voice,
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Swift flowing water, pure and clear,
Make music for your Lord to hear,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Fire, so intense and fiercely bright,
You give to us both warmth and light,
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Dear mother earth, you day by day
Unfold your blessings on our way,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
All flowers and fruits that in you grow,
Let them his glory also show:
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
All you with mercy in your heart,
Forgiving others, take your part,
O sing now! Alleluia!
All you that pain and sorrow bear,
Praise God and cast on him your care:
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
And even you most gentle Death,
Waiting to hush our final breath,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
You lead back home the child of God,
for Christ our Lord that way has trod:
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise God the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One:
O praise Him! O praise Him!
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!
Collect: Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world; that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
6 October. William Tyndale (1495-1536) and Miles Coverdale (1488-1568), Translators of the Bible. William Tyndale was born near the Welsh border. He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oxford and also studied at Cambridge. Ordained about 1521, he spent his early ministry as a domestic chaplain and tutor in Gloucestershire and London. Tyndale was a man with a single passion — to translate the Holy Scriptures into English. Lacking official sanction, he went to Germany in 1524. Strongly opposed to his work, King Henry VIII, Cardinal Wolsey, and others, sought to destroy his work and put him to death. He was betrayed by a friend and was strangled and burned at the stake in Brussels. By the time of Tyndale’s death, he had completed his translation of the New Testament and major parts of the Old Testament, particularly the Pentateuch. It is estimated that about eighty percent of Tyndale’s work found its way into later translations, notably the Authorized Version of 1611 (King James).
Miles Coverdale was born in Yorkshire. He studied at Cambridge and was ordained in 1514 and soon thereafter joined the Augustinian Friars. Passionate about scriptural translation, he left the monastery in 1526 and eventually went to the Continent where the work of translation enjoyed strong support. He completed the first translation into English of the whole Bible in 1535, which was issued as “The Great Bible” in 1539. Archbishop Cranmer adopted Coverdale’s translation of the Psalter for the Book of Common Prayer. Between times of unrest and relative calm, Coverdale shuttled between England and the Continent. He served as a Lutheran pastor while in exile from 1543-1547. He became Bishop of Exeter in 1551 but was deprived of that office at the accession of Queen Mary due to his Protestant convictions. He again escaped to the Continent where he lived until the accession to the throne of Elizabeth I in 1559. He is remembered as an outstanding preacher, an uncommonly gifted linguist and translator, and a leader of the Puritan wing of the Church of England.
Excerpt from the Preface by William Tyndale to his 1526 translation of the New Testament: “Give diligence, reader (I exhort thee) that thou come with a pure mind, and, as the Scripture saith, with a single eye, unto the words of health and of eternal life, by the which (if we repent and believe them) we are born anew, created afresh, and enjoy the fruits of the blood of Christ. Which blood crieth not for vengeance, as the blood of Abel, but hath purchased life, love, favor, grace, blessing, and whatsoever is promised in the Scriptures, to them that believe and obey God, and standeth between us and wrath, vengeance, curse, and whatsoever the Scripture threateneth against the unbelievers and disobedient, which resist, and consent not in their hearts to the law of God, that it is right, holy, just, and ought so to be. Mark the plain and manifest places of the Scriptures, and in doubtful places see thou add no interpretation contrary to them; but (as Paul saith) let all be conformable and agreeing to the faith. Note the difference of the Law and of the Gospel. The one asketh and requireth, the other pardoneth and forgiveth. The one threateneth, the other promiseth all good things to them that set their trust in Christ only. The gospel signifieth glad tidings, and is nothing but the promises of good things. All is not gospel that is written in the gospel book: for if the law were away, thou couldest not know what the gospel meant, even as thou couldest not see pardon, favor, and grace except the law rebuked thee, and declared unto thee thy sin, misdeed, and trespass. Repent and believe the gospel, as saith Christ in the first of Mark. Apply alway the Law to thy deeds, whether thou find lust [= eagerness to obey] in the bottom of thine heart to the law-ward, and so shalt thou no doubt repent, and feel in thyself a certain sorrow, pain, and grief to thine heart, because thou canst not with full lust do the deeds of the law. Apply the gospel — that is to say the promises — unto the deserving of Christ, and to the mercy of God and his truth, and so shalt thou not despair, but shall feel God as a kind and a merciful father. And his spirit shall dwell in thee, and shall be strong in thee, and the promises shall be given thee at the last (though not by and by, lest thou shouldest forget thyself, and be negligent) and all threatenings shall be forgiven thee for Christ’s blood’s sake — to whom commit thyself altogether — without respect either of thy good deeds or of thy bad.”
Collect: Almighty God, you planted in the heart of your servants William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale a consuming passion to bring the Scriptures to people in their native tongue, and endowed them with the gift of powerful and graceful expression and with strength to persevere against all obstacles: Reveal to us your saving Word, as we read and study the Scriptures, and hear them calling us to repentance and life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
7 October. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Lutheran Pastor in North America, (1721-1787). Henry Melchior Muhlenberg is regarded as the patriarch of Lutheranism in North America. Muhlenberg, born near Hannover, Germany, received his education in Göttingen and Halle before immigrating to the American colonies in 1742. Lutherans came to the colonies from a variety of regional and ethnic backgrounds and tended to build churches wherever they settled, sometimes with Lutherans of different origins settling in closer proximity to each other. There was little organization among these disparate groups until the arrival of Muhlenberg. Upon his arrival, Muhlenberg visited Lutherans in coastal Carolina and Georgia before making his way to Philadelphia. With enormous energy and unflagging patience, Muhlenberg began to call together the Lutherans, first the Germans, then the Swedes, until the formation of the first Lutheran synod in America in 1748, the Ministerium of Pennsylvania. At the inaugural synod, Muhlenberg offered a common liturgy for use among Lutherans. The liturgy was adopted and became the essential element in unifying the Lutherans in America for several generations. Muhlenberg’s axiom, “one book, one church,” has been a benchmark for liturgical revision among North American Lutherans to the present day. Muhlenberg also recognized the pastoral challenges of organizing a new church in the new world. In the old countries, the church was closely allied with the state. Taxes to support of the churches were collected by the state and Christian education was part of the curriculum in every school. In the new world, the churches were to be voluntary, self-supporting associations and education in matters of Christian faith was to be the concern of church and home. Muhlenberg’s family played prominent roles in the birth of the new nation. One of his sons served as a brigadier general in the Revolution while another was a member of the Continental Congress and later the first speaker of the House of Representatives. His great-grandson, William Augustus Muhlenberg, was a priest who shaped the Episcopal Church in the mid-nineteenth century (see April 8). Henry Muhlenberg died on this day in 1787.
Collect: Loving God, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for the ministry of Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, who left his native land to care for the German and Scandinavian pioneers in North America; and we pray that, following the teaching and example of his life, we may grow into the full stature of Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
8 October. Richard Theodore Ely (1854-1943), Economist, and William Dwight Porter Bliss (1856-1926), Priest. Richard Theodore Ely was born in Ripley, New York. The son of Presbyterians, he became an Episcopalian while working on his undergraduate degree at Columbia. After receiving his doctorate in economics at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, he taught at Johns Hopkins University and then at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. In 1894, Ely was accused of teaching socialist principles and effort was made to remove him from this professorship. Ely, who rejected the extremes of both capitalism and socialism, stated in his defense, “I condemn alike that individualism that would allow the state no room for industrial activity, and that socialism which would absorb in the state the functions of the individual.” What was needed instead, he argued, was a proper and healthy balance between public and private enterprise. Ely favored competition with regulation that would raise the moral and ethical level of economic practice. Ely claimed that the Gospel was social rather than individualistic in nature, and he consistently called the Episcopal Church to work toward the reform of capitalism for the sake of the rights and dignity of the American worker. Ely’s principles were highly influential on his friend Walter Rauschenbusch, one of the major figures in the Social Gospel Movement.
Like R.T. Ely, William Dwight Porter Bliss believed that the church was called to work for economic justice, the principles of which were grounded in the Gospel. Originally ordained a Congregationalist minister, in 1886 he became an Episcopal deacon and was ordained to the priesthood the next year. He served parishes in Massachusetts, California, and New York before organizing the first Christian Socialist Society in the United States in 1899. Bliss consistently claimed that economic justice, for which all Christians were responsible, was “rooted and grounded in Christ, the liberator, the head of humanity.” Among his written works are The Encyclopedia of Social Reform (1898) and The Hand-Book of Socialism (1895).
Excerpt from Bliss’ tract, “What is Christian Socialism?”: “It is religious first. It does not believe that society can be “made anew by arrangements”; it believes that it is to be regenerated by finding the law and ground of its order and harmony, the only secret of its existence in God;”—these words of Maurice state the view of all Christian Socialists. Men say, “business is a fight,” “if any man is not well off, he should go in for self and make money.” Christian Socialists call this Mammonism, the opposite of Brotherhood, the opposite of Love, the opposite of Christianity. And the cause of this they say is that men have forgotten God; or if they remember God in creeds, that they have ignored him in their deeds. “The beginning and the end of what is the matter with us in these days,” said Carlyle, “is that we have forgotten God.” If we had remembered Him we should never have forgotten that men are brothers. The thing society needs to do, say Christian Socialists, is to return to God. We need religious Socialism. “There can be no Brotherhood without a common father.” The law of love must become the law of trade. The Golden Rule must be made the rule for Gold. “Competition,” said Maurice, “is put forth as the law of the universe. This is a lie. The time is come to declare it is a lie by word and deed.” It is not a matter of rhetoric, but of deepest conviction, that Christian Socialists take the name of Christian. “Oh, my Italy,” cried Savanarola, “nothing can save thee but Christ,” and Christian Socialists of ever land and every age repeat the same.”
Collect: Blessed God, whose Son Jesus came as servant to all: We thank you for William Bliss and Richard Ely, whose dedication to the commonweal through economic justice led them to be bold reformers of the world and the Church; and we pray that we, with them, may find our true happiness through self-sacrifice in service of your reign, where all the hungry are fed and the downtrodden are raised up through Jesus Christ our Liberator; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
9 October. Wilfred Thomason Grenfell, Medical Missionary, (1865-1940). Sir Wilfred Thomason Grenfell was born in Cheshire, England, the second of four sons of the Reverend Algernon Sidney Grenfell, headmaster of Mostyn House School, Parkgate, and his wife Jane Georgina Hutchinson. While studying medicine at the London Hospital Medical School, he came under the influence of American revivalist Dwight L. Moody. An athlete skilled in boxing, cricket, rugby, and rowing, he was an early exponent of the “muscular Christianity” made famous by Charles Kingsley. In 1887, following his medical qualification, he joined the Royal National Mission to Deep-Sea Fisherman as a medical missionary, serving in Iceland and the Bay of Biscay. During a visit to Labrador in 1892, Grenfell was appalled by the near-starvation, poverty, and ill health of the British workers there. Devoting himself to their nurture and improvement, he built the first hospital of the Labrador Medical Mission in 1893, eventually opening boarding schools, hospital-ships, clothing distribution centers, and the Seaman’s Institute at St. John’s, Newfoundland, often with money he raised himself with speaking tours and books. Several of his books about Labrador and his religious books appealed to those with whom he worked due to his modest and simple style. In 1912, he organized the International Grenfell Association, with branches in Newfoundland, the United States, and Canada, and this organization supported his work and ministry for the remainder of his career. Grenfell retired from his work in 1935 due to ill health. He died in Vermont in October of 1940.
Excerpt from Wilfred Grenfell: “In 1883, while I was working at the London Hospital, I chanced to turn in to one of D. L. Moody’s great tent meetings in the slums of East London. I was amazed to see on the platform with him several men whose athletic prowess was world-famous. That was a credential to me that it was worth stopping to listen to what was going to be said. I still believe athletic success is an invaluable asset to a preacher. Christ, I am sure, wants football, baseball, and track-team men in an age when theological expositions, however deep and learned, when orthodoxy, conventionality, or even correct vestments and ritual, have so little attraction for the young men who will be leaders tomorrow.”
Collect: Compassionate God, whose Son Jesus Christ taught that by ministering to the least of our brothers and sisters, we minister to him: Make us ever ready to respond to the needs of others, that, inspired by the ministry of Wilfred Grenfell to the sick and to seafarers in Labrador and northern Newfoundland, our actions may witness to the love of our Savior Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
10 October. Vida Dutton Scudder, Educator and Witness for Peace, (1861-1954). Vida Dutton Scudder was the child of Congregationalist missionaries in India. In the 1870s, Vida and her mother were confirmed in the Episcopal Church by Bishop Phillips Brooks. After studying English literature at Smith College and Oxford University, Scudder began teaching at Wellesley College. Her love of scholarship was matched by her social conscience and deep spirituality. As a young woman, Scudder founded the College Settlements Association, joined the Society of Christian Socialists, and began her lifelong association with the Society of the Companions of the Holy Cross in 1889, a community living in the world and devoted to intercessory prayer. In 1893, Scudder took a leave of absence from Wellesley to work with Helena Stuart Dudley to found Denison House in Boston. Stresses from teaching and her activism led to a breakdown in 1901. After two years’ recuperation in Italy, she returned renewed and became even more active in church and socialist groups; she started a group for Italian immigrants at Denison House and took an active part in organizing the Women’s Trade Union League. In 1911, Scudder founded the Episcopal Church Socialist League, and formally joined the Socialist party. Her support of the Lawrence, Massachusetts, textile workers’ strike in 1912 drew a great deal of criticism and threatened her teaching position. Though she initially supported World War I, she joined the Fellowship of Reconciliation in 1923, and by the 1930s was a firm pacifist. Throughout her life, Scudder’s primary relationships and support network were women. After retirement, she authored 16 books on religious and political subjects, combining her intense activism with an equally vibrant spirituality. “If prayer is the deep secret creative force that Jesus tells us it is, we should be very busy with it,” she wrote characteristically, adding that there was one sure way “of directly helping on the Kingdom of God. That way is prayer. Social intercession may be the mightiest force in the world.”
Excerpt from Social Teachings on the Christian Year [On Trinity Sunday]: “Can anyone suggest a better means of satisfying the very real, pragmatic needs of brain and heart than that afforded by the ancient doctrine? These are not recondite reflections fit for a theological seminary; they are the obvious thoughts of a simple Christian, as he sings his Holy, Holy, Holy, recites his Apostles’ Creed, or receives the benediction of the grace of Christ, the love of God, the fellowship of the Spirit. The doctrine of the Trinity is like all doctrines, tentative and symbolic; but it is the most practical doctrine ever formulated. It does not attempt to solve any mystery, it states nothing about the how, the method, of the union of manyness in oneness. It simply corresponds to experience. It summarizes and fuses the aspirations of the ages; each new discovery of our nature of the nature of physical life corroborates it. And the race has not grown up to it yet.”
Collect: Most gracious God, who sent your beloved Son to preach peace to those who are far off and to those who are near: Raise up in your Church witnesses who, after the example of your servant Vida Dutton Scudder, stand firm in proclaiming the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
11 October. Philip, Deacon and Evangelist. Philip, who has been traditionally referred to as a Deacon and an Evangelist, was one of seven honest men appointed by the apostles to distribute bread and alms to the widows and the poor in Jerusalem. After the martyrdom of Stephen, Philip went to Samaria to preach the gospel. In his travels south to Gaza he encountered an Ethiopian eunuch, a servant of the Ethiopian queen, reading the Isaiah text on the Suffering Servant. They traveled together, and in the course of their journey the Ethiopian was converted and baptized by Philip. Subsequently, Philip traveled as a missionary from Ashdod northwards and settled in Caesarea. It was in Caesarea that he hosted St. Paul. Philip’s activities at the end of his life are the subject of speculation, but some sources place him as a bishop at Lydia in Asia Minor. His feast day in the Eastern Church is October 11, and in the West usually June 6. Other provinces of the Anglican Communion also keep his feast on October 11.
Collect: Holy God, no one is excluded from your love, and your truth transforms the minds of all who seek you: As your servant Philip was led to embrace the fullness of your salvation and to bring the stranger to Baptism, so give us all the grace to be heralds of the Gospel, proclaiming your love in Jesus Christ our Savior, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
14 October. Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky, Bishop of Shanghai, (1831-1906). The story of Joseph Schereschewsky is unique in the annals of the Church. He was born of Jewish parents, in the Lithuanian town of Tauroggen. His early education was directed toward the rabbinate, but during graduate studies in Germany, he became interested in Christianity through missionaries of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews, and through his own reading of a Hebrew translation of the New Testament. In 1854 Schereschewsky immigrated to America and entered the Western Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh to train for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church. After two years, he decided to become an Episcopalian, and to finish his theological studies at the General Theological Seminary in New York City, from which he graduated in 1859. After ordination, and in response to Bishop Boone’s call for helpers in China, Schereschewsky left for Shanghai. Always facile in languages, he learned to write Chinese during the voyage. From 1862 to 1875, he lived in Peking, and translated the Bible and parts of the Prayer Book into Mandarin. After Bishop Williams was transferred to Japan, Schereschewsky was elected Bishop of Shanghai in 1877, and was consecrated in Grace Church, New York City. He established St. John’s University, in Shanghai, and began his translation of the Bible and other works into Wenli. Stricken with paralysis, he resigned his see in 1883. Schereschewsky was determined to continue his translation and after many difficulties in finding support, he was able to return to Shanghai in 1895. Two years later, he moved to Tokyo. There he died on October 15, 1906. With heroic perseverance, Schereschewsky completed his translation of the Bible, typing some 2,000 pages with the middle finger of his partially crippled hand. Four years before his death, he said, “I have sat in this chair for over twenty years. It seemed very hard at first. But God knew best. He kept me for the work for which I am best fitted.” He is buried in the Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo, next to his wife, who supported him constantly during his labors and illness.
Excerpt from a sermon preached at the episcopal consecration of Rev. Schereschewsky: “Dear Brother, we are to consecrate you today to go back to China and to build on these foundations, the gradually rising structure of a permanent native Church, and a permanent native ministry. To root the Mission deeper in the soil. To give it greater breadth and range. To make it compass wider ends and aims. May God give you, my dear Brother, all needed grace, faith, and power, to know and do His Holy Will in the responsible position to which you are called. We well know your reluctance to accept the office to which the suffrages of the House of Bishops twice elected you. We are aware also of the shrinking from conscious unworthiness which you now feel, in view of what lies before you. We sympathize with you in the inquiry, “Who is sufficient for these things?” while we realize also with you the grand assurance of St. Paul, “I can do all things through Christ strengthening me.” See to it, dear Brother, that your Faith falters not, that your zeal wavers not, that your hope be not weak and dim. You are going out to new toils and to untried trials. You are to bear responsibilities from which an angel might shrink. You are to live and labor and die, it may be, in a land wholly given to idolatry. Yet be not dismayed. He that is with you, is more than they that are against you; and could your spiritual eyes be opened you might perhaps see, as the servant of Elisha saw, “the mountains fall of horses and chariots of fire” to protect and aid the Lord’s anointed.
It is said of the great Scottish Chief, Douglass, that when he went to war with the infidels he wore suspended around his neck a casket enclosing the heart of Robert Bruce, the most heroic of the Scottish kings. When his troops wavered, and would fain retreat, he would rise in his stirrups, take the silver casket from his neck, and with stalwart arms, fling it into the midst of the enemy, exclaiming as he did so, “Pass on brave heart into the battle, the Douglass will follow, where the Bruce leads.”
Dear Brother, the Heart of Christ has already passed on before you into this Mission battle-field. His Word has already been sounded out as with trumpet voice, “Follow Me.” His promise has gone forth, that “these from the land of Sinim” shall cleave unto the Lord their God and so, dear Brother, go forth to thy work, saying with loving faith and earnest zeal, pass on dear Lord into the midst of thine enemies, thy Servant will gladly follow where the Christ leads.”
Collect: O God, in your providence you called Joseph Schereschewsky from his home in Eastern Europe to the ministry of this Church, and sent him as a missionary to China, upholding him in his infirmity, that he might translate the Holy Scriptures into languages of that land. Lead us, we pray, to commit our lives and talents to you, in the confidence that when you give your servants any work to do, you also supply the strength to do it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
15 October. Teresa of Avila, Nun, (1515-1582). One of the most charismatic of the counter-reformation saints, Teresa Sanchez Cepeda Davila y Ahumada was born the daughter of a saintly and literate father, Don Alonso, and a pious mother. At fifteen, after her mother’s death and the marriage of her oldest sister, Teresa was sent to be educated with Augustinian nuns, but after an illness she returned to live with her father and other relatives. An uncle acquainted her with the Letters of Saint Jerome, which led her to pursue religious life. At the age of 20, Teresa joined the Carmelite Convent of the Incarnation at Avila. During the sixteenth century the early austerity and religious enthusiasm that had characterized religious orders when they were founded, had been lost, and “worldliness” of all kinds, and even moral corruption was widespread. (The Protestant Reformation began in 1519 in Germany, at first as a reaction to the pervasive corruption and lack of governance by Church authorities.) Teresa’s convent at Avila was no exception. Although she had been devout at first, she lost this fervor and embraced the lax life of her convent. After the death of her father, and several serious illnesses, however, she was led to reform herself through intense prayer, and began to have religious experiences which she, and the priests she consulted, thought were delusions. Two Jesuit confessors, however, believed Teresa’s experiences were genuine graces, and advised her to lay a firm spiritual foundation through private prayer and the profound practice of virtue. During this time, she had even more intense and extraordinary experiences of “heavenly communications” — including “mystical marriage”, or the “espousal” of her soul to the person of Christ — and even bodily manifestations of her spiritual elevation. Her confessors ordered her to write her experiences of the spiritual necessity for prayer, the practice of contemplative prayer, and its fruits. She wrote the Way of Perfection and Foundations for her nuns, and The Interior Castle, as a guide for all. It was principally for these writings that she was declared a Doctor [Teacher] of the Church four centuries later. Her writings are intensely personal spiritual autobiographies, based on her own experiences and insights, and are remarkably clearly written. They remain spiritual classics — along with Saint Augustine’s Confessions. Inspired by a niece, who was also a Carmelite at Avila, she decided to undertake the establishment of a reformed convent that would be restored to the austerity and devotion of earlier times. This effort met strong opposition from several quarters. In 1562, Teresa received approval for a new foundation, the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Primitive Rule of Saint Joseph, at Avila, which she began with her niece and three other nuns. Several years later, while she was establishing a new convent in Toledo, she met John Yepes (later John of the Cross), and soon after made new foundations for men that were eventually placed under his care. Difficulties and opposition to the newly established reformed Discalced Carmelite foundations persisted. (“Discalced”, literally “shoeless”, refers to the austerity of the new foundations. The nuns and friars wore sandals instead of shoes). Finally, in 1580, the separation of the Discalced Carmelites from the other Carmelites was recognized by the Holy See — when Teresa was sixty-five years old, and in poor health. Teresa made seventeen foundations of the Discalced Carmelites, her last at Burgos in July, 1582. Instead of returning to Avila from Burgos, she set out for Alba de Tormes. It was a difficult trip and she was ill. Three days after reaching Alba, she died — on October 4, 1582, and was buried there. The next day the Gregorian reform of the calendar was effected, which resulted in dropping ten days. Thus her feast is fixed on October 15.
St. Theresa’s most popularly known writing is a brief poem known as her “Bookmark”, because it was found in her prayer book after her death in 1582.
Let nothing disturb you, Nada te turbe,
Let nothing frighten you, nada te espante;
All things are passing away: todo se pasa,
God never changes. Dios no se muda.
Patience obtains all things. La pacientia todo lo alcanza.
Whoever has God lacks nothing; Quien a Dios tiene nada la falta:
God alone suffices. solo Dios basta.
Excerpt from On the Book of Life, by St. Theresa: “If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through his most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight. Many, many times I have perceived this through experience. The Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate if we wish his Sovereign Majesty to reveal to us great and hidden mysteries. A person should desire no other path, even if he is at the summit of contemplation; on this road he walks safely. All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the best example. What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul: it seems that no other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, because the name of Jesus was fixed and embedded in his heart. Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully considered the lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found that they took no other path: Francis, Anthony of Padua, Bernard, Catherine of Siena. A person must walk along this path in freedom, placing himself in God’s hands. If God should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept this gladly. Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led him to bestow on us so many graces and favors, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort.”
Collect: O God, by your Holy Spirit you moved Teresa of Avila to manifest to your Church the way of perfection: Grant us, we pray, to be nourished by her excellent teaching, and enkindle within us a keen and unquenchable longing for true holiness; through Jesus Christ, the joy of loving hearts, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
16 October. Hugh Latimer (1490-1555) and Nicholas Ridley (1500-1555), Bishops and Martyrs. Hugh Latimer was the outstanding English preacher of the Reformation. His sermons against ecclesiastical abuses led to several trials for heresy, but no proof could be established against his orthodoxy. Latimer was little interested in the refinements of doctrine; his zeal was concentrated on the moral life of Christian clergy and people. Born of yeoman stock in Leicestershire, Latimer graduated from Clare College, Cambridge, and became a Fellow in 1510. Though a conservative, he was attracted to the new currents of reform stemming from the Continental Reformation of the 1520’s. King Henry VIII made him a royal chaplain in 1530, and five years later appointed him to the See of Worcester, a position he relinquished in 1539 in opposition to the king’s reactionary policies against the progress of the Reformation. In the reign of Edward VI, Latimer became prominent again as a preacher, but he refused to resume his see. With the accession of Queen Mary in 1553 he was imprisoned, and on October 16, 1555, he was burned at the stake in Oxford alongside Bishop Nicholas Ridley.
Nicholas Ridley was born in Northumberland, and was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge. While there he belonged to a circle of young men deeply attracted to the currents of reform inspired by the Continental Reformation. A supporter of Archbishop Cranmer’s reforming agenda, Ridley became the Archbishop’s Chaplain in 1537, and vicar of Herne, Kent, in 1538. He was chosen Master of Pembroke in 1540, and chaplain to Henry VIII and Canon of Canterbury in 1541. Two years later he was acquitted of a charge of heresy. Early in the reign of Edward VI, Ridley was made Bishop of Rochester and participated with Cranmer in the preparation of the first Book of Common Prayer. He was translated to the See of London in 1550, where he was a strong advocate for and administrator of the principles of the Reformation. His unwillingness to recant of his Protestant theology and his opposition to the accession of Queen Mary led to his condemnation and his execution at the side of Bishop Latimer.
Excerpt from a homily of Hugh Latimer given on Christmas of 1552: “Wheresoever God doth exhibit and shew himself, there is heaven. God is everywhere, as he saith, Coelum et terram impleo. But wheresoever most apparently he exhibiteth himself to his saints and angels, the same properly is called heaven: and thither went these angels, after they had done their message, to wait upon the Lord; ready to go and do all that which he would command them. Wherein you may learn the great love and kindness of God, the heavenly Father, which hath made and created them for our sakes, to this end, that they should defend and keep us from our strong and mighty enemy, the prince of this world, the devil, whose power passeth all man’s power; insomuch that, except God did preserve us from him by the ministration of his obedient angels, we should all perish both soul and body. But thanks be unto God, which never ceaseth to provide for us, to preserve both our souls and bodies! But mark here, that we are not bound to call upon the angels, when we hear that they serve us; but rather to give God thanks in them, that he hath vouchsafed to set such watchmen about us. Therefore learn only to hope and trust in the Lord, and give laud and thanks unto him, like as the angels themselves do, singing with great pleasant voice, as Luke saith.”
Collect: Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, that, like your servants Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, we may live in your fear, die in your favor, and rest in your peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
17 October. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, and Martyr, (35-107). Ignatius of Antioch, martyred in 107, had a profound sense of two ends — his own, and the consummation of history in Jesus Christ. In ecstasy, he saw his impending martyrdom as the fitting conclusion to a long episcopate. He was accounted the second Bishop of Antioch in Syria. Seven authentic letters which Ignatius wrote to Churches while he journeyed across Asia Minor in the custody of ten soldiers (“my leopards,” he called them), give valuable insights into the life of the early Church. Of certain Gnostic teachings that exalted the divinity of Jesus at the expense of his humanity, Ignatius wrote: “Be deaf … to any talk that ignores Jesus Christ, of David’s lineage, of Mary; who was really born, ate, and drank; was really persecuted under Pontius Pilate; was really crucified and died in the sight of heaven and earth and the underworld. He was really raised from the dead.” In another, he condemned a form of biblical literalism espoused by some as the method of scriptural interpretation and the only rule of Church practice. He wrote: “When I heard some people saying, ‘If I don’t find it in the ancient documents, I don’t believe it in the Gospel,’ I answered them, ‘But it is written there.’ They retorted, ‘That has got to be proved.’ But to my mind it is Jesus Christ who is the ancient documents.” Ignatius maintained that the Church’s unity would always spring from that liturgy by which all are initiated into Christ through Baptism. He exhorted: “Try to gather more frequently to celebrate God’s Eucharist and to praise him. … At these meetings you should heed the bishop and presbytery attentively and break one loaf, which is the medicine of immortality …” Ignatius regarded the Church as God’s holy order in the world. He was, therefore, concerned for the proper ordering of the Church’s teaching and worship. He wrote: “Flee from schism as the source of mischief. You should all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ did the Father. Follow, too, the presbytery as you would the apostles; and respect the deacons as you would God’s law … Where the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.”
From Ignatius’ Epistle to the Romans : “I write to all the churches and charge them all to know that I die willingly for God, if only you do not hinder. I beseech you, do not unreasonably befriend me. Suffer me to become the food of wild beasts, through whom I may attain to God. I am God’s grain, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ. Rather entice the wild beasts to become my tomb and to leave no trace of my body, that when I have fallen asleep I may not be a burden to anyone. Then I shall truly be a disciple of Christ, when the world shall not see even my body. Entreat the Lord for me, that by these instruments I may be found a sacrifice to God. I do not order you, as did Peter and Paul. They were Apostles and I am even until now a slave. But if I suffer, I am Jesus Christ’s freedman, and in Him I shall arise free.”
Collect: Almighty God, we praise your Name for your bishop and martyr Ignatius of Antioch, who offered himself as grain to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts that he might present to you the pure bread of sacrifice. Accept, we pray, the willing tribute of our lives and give us a share in the pure and spotless offering of your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
18 October. Saint Luke the Evangelist. Luke was a Gentile, a physician, and one of Paul’s fellow missionaries in the early spread of Christianity through the Roman world. He has been identified as the writer of both the Gospel which bears his name, and its sequel, the Acts of the Apostles. He had apparently not known Jesus, but was clearly much inspired by hearing about him from those who had known him. Luke wrote in Greek, so that Gentiles might learn about the Lord, whose life and deeds so impressed him. In the first chapter of his Gospel, he makes clear that he is offering authentic knowledge about Jesus’ birth, ministry, death, and resurrection. The Gospel is not a full biography — none of the Gospels is — but a history of salvation. Only Luke provides the very familiar stories of the annunciation to Mary, of her visit to Elizabeth, of the child in the manger, the angelic host appearing to shepherds, and the meeting with the aged Simeon. Luke includes in his work six miracles and eighteen parables not recorded in the other Gospels. In Acts he tells about the coming of the Holy Spirit, the struggles of the apostles and their triumphs over persecution, of their preaching of the Good News, and the conversion and baptism of other disciples, who would extend the Church in future years. Luke was with Paul apparently until the latter’s martyrdom in Rome. What happened to Luke after Paul’s death is unknown. Early tradition has it that he wrote his Gospel in Greece, and that he died at the age of eighty-four in Boeotia. Gregory of Nazianzus says that Luke was martyred, but this testimony is doubted by most scholars. In the fourth century, the Emperor Constantius ordered the supposed relics of Luke to be removed from Boeotia to Constantinople, where they could be venerated by pilgrims.
Excerpt from a homily by Saint Gregory the Great [Hom 17: 1-3]: “Beloved brothers, our Lord and Savior sometimes gives us instruction by words and sometimes by actions. His very deeds are our commands; and whenever he acts silently he is teaching us what we should do. For example, he sends his disciples out to preach two by two, because the precept of charity is twofold-love of God and of one’s neighbor. The Lord sends his disciples out to preach in two’s in order to teach us silently that whoever fails in charity toward his neighbor should by no means take upon himself the office of preaching. Rightly is it said that he sent them ahead of him into every city and place where he himself was to go. For the Lord follows after the preachers, because preaching goes ahead to prepare the way, and then when the words of exhortation have gone ahead and established truth in our minds, the Lord comes to live within us. To those who preach Isaiah says: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God.’ And the psalmist tells them: ‘Make a way for him who rises above the sunset.’ The Lord rises above the sunset because from that very place where he slept in death, he rose again and manifested a greater glory. He rises above the sunset because in his resurrection he trampled underfoot the death which he endured. Therefore, we make a way for him who rises above the sunset when we preach his glory to you, so that when he himself follows after us, he may illumine you with his love. Let us listen now to his words as he sends his preachers forth: ‘The harvest is great but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest.’ That the harvest is good but the laborers are few cannot be said without a heavy heart, for although there are many to hear the good news there are only a few to preach it. Indeed, see how full the world is of priests, but yet in God’s harvest a true laborer is rarely to be found; although we have accepted the priestly office we do not fulfill its demands. Think over, my beloved brothers, think over his words: ‘Pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest.’ Pray for us so that we may be able to labor worthily on your behalf, that our tongue may not grow weary of exhortation, that after we have taken up the office of preaching our silence may not bring us condemnation from the just judge.”
Collect: Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
19 October. Henry Martyn, Priest, and Missionary to India and Persia, (1781-1812). Translator of the Scriptures and Prayer Book into Hindi and Persian, Henry Martyn, an English missionary in India, died in Armenia when he was thirty-one years old. Though his life was brief, it was a remarkable one. Like most English clergymen of the time, he was educated at one of the two ancient universities, Cambridge in his case. He had intended to become a lawyer, but Charles Simeon (November 12), the notable Evangelical rector of Holy Trinity, Cambridge, inspired him to go to India as a missionary. After serving as Simeon’s curate for a short time, Martyn traveled to Calcutta in 1806 as chaplain of the East India Company. During his five years in India, Martyn preached the Gospel, organized private schools, and founded churches. In addition to his work as a missionary, Martyn translated the New Testament and the Book of Common Prayer into Hindi, a valuable missionary aid to the young Anglican Church in India. He also began the study of Persian, and translated the New Testament into Persian. Martyn longed to go to Persia; in 1811, his persistence brought him to Shirmas, to become the first English clergyman in that city. He engaged in theological discussions with learned Muslims and had time to correct his Persian translations. Obviously gifted with a remarkable facility for languages, Martyn hoped eventually to visit Arabia, and to translate the New Testament into Arabic. While on his way to Constantinople in 1812, however, he died in the city of Tokat. The Armenians of the city recognized his greatness and buried him with the honors usually accorded to one of their own bishops. Very soon afterwards, his life of energetic devotion and remarkable accomplishment became widely known. He is remembered as one of the founders of the modern Christian Church in India and Iran.
Excerpt from Henry Martyn’s Journal for 15 August 1806: “Attended Lord Lake’s levee with a prodigious crowd of military officers, &c. It was as trifling as the Governor General’s. After the levee, went to Serampore. The length of time they took to carry me in the boat, through the mismanagement of the mangee, made my wicked spirit shew itself by impatience. How far the Spirit of God flies from an angry mind! I did not like being alone, either, though I had the word of God with me. Oh what a preparation is this for being a missionary! How ease and prosperity spoil the temper, and go to ruin the soul! In prayer in the afternoon, I breathed for a while after humility, and holiness; but at night, in conversation with Mr. B. and Mr. Ward, I again discovered a passionate spirit. Lord, save me from presumptuous sins, that they may not after all get the dominion over me. What matters it to me that I seem to engage in plans for the conversion of the heathen, if I do not teach myself! When I considered myself a solitary unconnected being, hastening through the world, I think I was more patient, less self-willed. Have the thoughts of marriage already injured me? The Lord save his perverse creature from every snare.”
Collect: O God of the nations, you gave your faithful servant Henry Martyn a brilliant mind, a loving heart, and a gift for languages, that he might translate the Scriptures and other holy writings for the peoples of India and Persia: Inspire in us a love like his, eager to commit both life and talents to you who gave them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
19 October. William Carey, Missionary to India, (1761-1834). William Carey was an English Baptist missionary and was a major figure in developing the Protestant missionary movement of the nineteenth century. Born a son of the Church of England, Carey took an early interest in his studies and excelled at languages, a gift that would serve him in his ministry. After his village schooling, Carey apprenticed as a cobbler where he came into contact with a fellow worker who was a Nonconformist. Carey was challenged by this relationship and he eventually left the Church of England and became a Congregationalist. Carey developed into a master cobbler, married, and with his wife, Dorothy, had six children, only three of whom survived childhood. During his years as a master cobbler, Carey’s interest in languages became a passionate avocation; he learned Italian, French, Dutch, and Hebrew, while increasing his mastery of Latin, a language he had taught himself as a youngster. Carey’s spiritual quest continued. He was re-baptized in 1783 and was a Baptist for the remainder of his life. He became a schoolmaster and served as a Baptist pastor while struggling with his responsibility to foreign missions. He was among the founders in 1792 of what would become the Baptist Missionary Society. Finally, in 1793, Carey and company set out for India. After transitional periods in Calcutta and Midnapore, Carey and his fellow missionaries settled in Serampore in 1800 where Carey would spend the rest of his life. He was appointed a professor at Fort Williams College, which had been founded to educate the children of civil servants. While teaching, Carey translated the Bible into Bengali and Sanskrit and the New Testament into other Indian languages and dialects, in addition to providing translations of other Christian literature. Carey also completed a Bengali-English dictionary and other linguistic tools to support missionary work. In 1818, Carey’s mission established Serampore College for the dual purpose of training indigenous ministers and providing a classical education to anyone regardless of caste or national origin. William Carey died on June 9, 1834, and was buried in Serampore.
Excerpt from the address of 17 December 1818: “To all those who encourage the Translation of the Sacred Scriptures into the Languages of Eastern Asia:” “The translation of the Sacred Scriptures into those languages in which a translation of them does not exist, is perhaps one of the most important objects which can engage the attention of the Christian public. Schemes of temporal relief, however praiseworthy, can only extend their beneficial influence through the term of human life; but to impart the Word of .Life to those who have it not, is an exercise of benevolence as far transcending in importance all inferior plans of charity, as the interests of eternity do those of time. Unless heathen nations can obtain the oracles of God, they must perish without any knowledge of the way of salvation. On the translation, therefore, of the Sacred Scriptures into their languages is suspended, in great measure!, the eternal destiny of unborn millions of our fellow-creatures. Though duty of promoting this object belongs to all Christians ; it is a duty paramount to all others; a duty, the nature and force of which no exertion of benevolence in any other channel can invalidate, and from which Christians can never be exonerated till versions of the Scriptures are perfected in every language on earth. It is not a matter of surprise, therefore, that the Christian world, when awakened to a sense of its obligations, both to God and to the heathen, should have engaged in this undertaking with unexampled ardor; and that a view of its vast importance should have melted down the petty distinctions of party into one general feeling of compassion for the heathen, arid of anxiety for their being made wise unto salvation.”
Collect: Merciful God, you called William Carey to missionary work in India and gave him a zeal for your Word that led him to translate Scripture into many local languages and dialects: Give us a heart for the spreading of your Gospel and a thirst for justice among all the peoples of the world; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who sheds your light and peace throughout humanity, and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
23 October. Saint James of Jerusalem, Brother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and Martyr, c. 62. In the Gospel according to Matthew and in the Epistle to the Galatians, the James whom we commemorate today is called the Lord’s brother. Other writers, following Mark’s tradition, believe him to have been a cousin of Jesus. Certain apocryphal writings speak of him as a son of Joseph’s first wife. Whatever his relationship to Jesus — brother, half-brother, or cousin — James was converted after the resurrection. Eventually, he became Bishop of Jerusalem. In the first letter to the Corinthians (15:7), Paul says that James was favored with a special appearance of the Lord before the ascension. Later, James dealt cordially with Paul at Jerusalem, when the latter came there to meet Peter and the other apostles. During the Council of Jerusalem, when there was disagreement about whether Gentile converts should be circumcised, James summed up the momentous decision with these words: “My judgment is that we should impose no irksome restrictions on those Gentiles who are turning to God” (Acts 15:19). Eusebius, quoting from an earlier church history by Hegesippus, declares that James was surnamed “the Just.” He was holy, abstemious, did not cut his hair nor oil his body, and was continually on his knees in prayer, interceding for his people. “As many as came to believe did so through James,” says Hegesippus. James’ success in converting many to Christ greatly perturbed some factions in Jerusalem. According to Hegesippus, they begged him to “restrain the people, for they have gone astray to Jesus, thinking him to be the Messiah … we bear you witness that you are just … Persuade the people that they do not go astray … we put our trust in you.” They then set James on the pinnacle of the temple, bidding him to preach to the multitude and turn them from Jesus. James, however, testified for the Lord. Thereupon, they hurled him from the roof to the pavement, and cudgeled him to death.
Collect: Grant, O God, that, following the example of your servant James the Just, brother of our Lord, your Church may give itself continually to prayer and to the reconciliation of all who are at variance and enmity; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
26 October. Alfred the Great, King of the West Saxons, (849-899). Alfred, alone of all English rulers, has been called “the Great,” because of his courage and Christian virtues. Born at Wantage, Berkshire, the youngest of five sons of King Aethelwulf, Alfred spent his life in a time of “battle, murder, and sudden death” during the Viking invasions and settlement in Britain. He was deeply impressed when, on a visit to Rome at the age of four, he was blessed by Pope Leo IV, and two years later when he witnessed the marriage of Aethelwulf to a young princess of the Frankish court. Following his father’s death and the short reigns of his brothers, Alfred became King in 871. In heroic battles and by stratagems against the Danes, Alfred halted the tide of their invasion, and secured control of the southern, and part of the midland regions, of England for the English. After a decisive victory in 878 at Edington over the Danish leader Guthrum, he persuaded his foe to accept baptism. Alfred died on October 26, 899, and was buried in the old Minster at Winchester. In his later years, Alfred sought to repair the damage that the Viking invasions had inflicted on culture and learning, especially among the parish clergy. With the help of scholars from Wales and the Continent, he supervised translations into English of important classics of theology and history, including works of Pope Gregory the Great, Augustine of Hippo, and the Venerable Bede. In one of them he commented: “He seemed to me a very foolish man, and very wretched, who will not increase his understanding while he is in the world, and ever wish and long to reach that endless life where all shall be made clear.”
King Alfred’s Poem:
“Well, — O ye children of men in mid earth!
Every freeman should seek till he find
That, which I spake of, good endless in worth;
These, which I sing of, the joys of the mind.
Let him who is narrowed and prison’d away
By love of this middle earth empty and vain.
Seek out for himself full freedom today.
That soul feeding joys he may quickly attain.
For, such of all toil is the only one goal.
For sea-weary keels hythe-haven from woes.
The great quiet dwelling that harbors the soul
Still calm in the storm, and from strife a repose.
That is the peace-place, and comfort alone
Of all that are harm’d by the troubles of life,
A place very pleasant and winsome to own
After this turmoil of sorrow and strife.
But right well I wot that no treasure of gold
Nor borders of gemstone, nor silvery store.
Nor all of earth’s wealth the mind’s sight can unfold
Or better its sharpness true joys to explore:
But rather, make blind in the breast of each man
The eyes of his mind than make ever more bright.
For, sorry and fleeting as fast as they can
Are all who in this flitting earth can delight.
Yet wondrous the beauty and brightness is seen
Of that which hath brighten’d and beautified all
So long as on this middle earth they have been.
And afterward happily holds them in thrall.
For the Ruler he wills not that soul should be nought.
Himself will enlighten it Lord of life given!
If any man then with the eyes of his thought
May see the clear brightness of light from high heaven.
Then will he say that the blaze of the sun
Is darkness itself to the glory so bright
Which Great God Almighty shines out on each one
Of souls of the happy for ever in light.”
Collect: O Sovereign Lord, you brought your servant Alfred to a troubled throne that he might establish peace in a ravaged land and revive learning and the arts among the people: Awake in us also a keen desire to increase our understanding while we are in this world, and an eager longing to reach that endless life where all will be made clear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
28 October. Saint Simon and Saint Jude, Apostles. The only thing the Gospels tell us about Simon is that he was one of the disciples, and that he was called “the Zealot” (Zelotes). John mentions Jude in his description of the Last Supper. The Epistle of Jude may be the work of the disciple Jude, who is the man mentioned by John as the brother of James the Greater. Tradition has consistently associated Simon and Jude as apostles to Persia. Some accounts state that they were martyrs, a tradition generally accepted by the Western Church. The Monology of Basil, however, says that Simon died a peaceful death at Edessa. Jude, who was surnamed Thaddeus, has been confused with another Thaddeus, who was also said to have died a quiet death, either in Beirut or Edessa. Whatever the facts, accounts conflict and reliable data are lacking. There are other scholarly questions about both men. One involves Simon’s appellation “Zelotes.” Whether in fact he had been a member before his conversion of one of the several factions called “Zealots,” or whether this title refers to his zeal for the Jewish law, is not known, but he has consistently been identified by it. For some centuries, and even to this day, Jude has been regarded in popular devotion as the “patron of desperate or lost causes,” but the basis of this tradition is obscure. The Epistle of Jude concludes with this striking doxology: “Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God our Savior, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all time and now and for ever” (Jude 24–25).
From a Commentary on the Gospel of John by St Cyril of Alexandria [Book 12:1]: “‘As the father sent me, so I am sending you.’ Our Lord Jesus Christ has appointed certain men to be guides and teachers of the world and stewards of his divine mysteries. Now he bids them to shine out like lamps and to cast out their light not only over the land of the Jews but over every country under the sun and over people scattered in all directions and settled in distant lands. That man has spoken truly who said: ‘No one takes honor upon himself, except the one who is called by God,’ for it was our Lord Jesus Christ who called his own disciples before all others to a most glorious apostolate. These holy men became the pillar and mainstay of the truth, and Jesus said that he was sending them just as the Father had sent him. By these words he is making clear the dignity of the apostolate and the incomparable glory of the power given to them, but he is also, it would seem, giving them a hint about the methods they are to adopt in their apostolic mission. For if Christ thought it necessary to send out his intimate disciples in this fashion, just as the Father had sent him, then surely it was necessary that they whose mission was to be patterned on that of Jesus should see exactly why the Father had sent the Son. And so Christ interpreted the character of his mission to us in a variety of ways. Once he said: ‘I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.’ And then at another time he said: ‘I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me. For God sent his Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.’ Accordingly, in affirming that they are sent by him just as he was sent by the Father, Christ sums up in a few words the approach they themselves should take to their ministry. From what he said they would gather that it was their vocation to call sinners to repentance, to heal those who were sick whether in body or spirit, to seek in all their dealings never to do their own will but the will of him who sent them, and as far as possible to save the world by their teaching. Surely it is in all these respects that we find his holy disciples striving to excel. To ascertain this is no great labor, a single reading of the Acts of the Apostles or of Saint Paul’s writings is enough.”
Sequence of the Apostles from the Sarum Missal:
“Alleluia, may now the entire Church sing,
To raise up hymns to the Apostles with high praise.
Peter, their prince, climbs up to the high summit of heaven through the cross.
The teacher of the world [Paul] triumphs under Nero, in the city of Romulus.
The cross bestows on Andrew the worthy prize,
Both James shine with laurel,
the Ægeans sent one into heaven, the Jews the other.
Two bright gifts of graces
are given to Matthew and John:
Hyrtacus killeth one, the other is called by Jesus to his banquet.
Philip preached in Scythia, teaching through Christ’s grace.
Thomas, stabbed by a lance, completes his race in India.
When Simon and Jude were showing the holy admonitions to the Persians,
The blood they shed decorated both with a purple garment.
Bartholomew gives the Indians the doctrines of life.
The fate of the Apostles brought Matthias to the summit.
Thus the earth shall applaud, the heavenly court shall applaud,
and on this day the holy household present here
shall applaud, to honor the holy merits of the Apostles.
They are the candlesticks shining before God,
they the princes, high in the court of the supreme King,
they the salt of the earth,
they the light of the world,
they the bright stars of heaven.
Already the palm, already the crown,
already the long-promised banquet is placed before them.
O how many of their feasts, how famous, how welcome, are celebrated.
To those shall be our feasts,
Our vows, our hymns,
May the songs of praises be welcome.”
Collect: O God, we thank you for the glorious company of the apostles, and especially on this day for Simon and Jude; and we pray that, as they were faithful and zealous in their mission, so we may with ardent devotion make known the love and mercy of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
29 October. James Hannington (1847-1885) and his Companions, Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, Martyrs, 1885. James Hannington was born at Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, September 3, 1847, and was educated at Temple School, Brighton. For six years, he assisted his father in the warehouse business. The family became members of the Church of England in 1867, and the following year Hannington entered St. Mary Hall, Oxford, where he obtained his B.A. and M.A. degrees. Following his ordination at Exeter, Hannington served as a curate in his native town until, in 1882, he offered himself to the Church Missionary Society for its mission in Victoria, Nyanza, Africa. Serious illness soon required his return to England, but he went out again to Africa in 1884 as Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa. Hannington’s mission field was the shores of Lake Victoria. On a difficult venture towards Uganda, he and his party were apprehended by emissaries of King Mwanga, who feared this foreign penetration into his territory. After a week of cruel privations and suffering, he and the remaining members of his company were martyred on October 29, 1885. Hannington’s last words were: “Go, tell Mwanga I have purchased the road to Uganda with my blood.” Other martyrs of Uganda shared his fate before the Gospel was firmly planted in this heartland of Africa, where today the Church has a vigorous life under an indigenous ministry.
Collect: Precious in your sight, O Lord, is the death of your saints, whose faithful witness, by your providence, has its great reward: We give you thanks for your martyrs James Hannington and his companions, who purchased with their blood a road into Uganda for the proclamation of the Gospel; and we pray that with them we also may obtain the crown of righteousness which is laid up for all who love the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
30 October. John Wyclif, Priest and Prophetic Witness, (1320-1384). John Wyclif is remembered as a forerunner of the Protestant Reformation. Born in Yorkshire, England, Wyclif was educated at Oxford. Although he served as a parish priest, he spent most of his vocation teaching theology and philosophy at Oxford and was celebrated for his academic achievements. In 1374, Wyclif defended the position of the Crown during a dispute with the papacy over finances. Because of this newfound notoriety, Wyclif gathered around him a group of powerful patrons who were able to provide a reasonable level of safe haven and security for him. This meant that Wyclif could begin to test some of his theological views that were at odds with and critical of the positions of the mediaeval church. Without the support of such powerful allies, Wyclif, a priest and university professor, could never have withstood the discipline that would have come his way. A number of Wyclif’s radical ideas reappeared in the centuries that followed as the movement toward reformation gained momentum. Wyclif believed that believers could have a direct, unmediated relationship with God, not requiring the intervention of the church or its priesthood. He held that a national church could be fully and completely the church and not have to be the subject of an international, i.e. papal, authority. For Wyclif, there is no other church than the community of the predestined; moreover, he thinks he knows who will be damned. Moreover, only the predestined can validly administer the sacraments. An unworthy priest or bishop no longer belongs to the true church. Wyclif declares that it is not the job of logic to try to resolve the contradictions in Scripture. It is self-explanatory, and it is Scripture itself which judges philosophy and logic. Thus the harmonious link which the Middle Ages tried to maintain between reason and faith was severed. Believing that the Scriptures should be available to all who could read them, and not mediated through the instruction of the church, Wyclif translated the Vulgate — the Latin edition of the Bible — into English. The tables turned dramatically when Wyclif questioned the eucharistic doctrine of transubstantiation. He believed that the underlying philosophy was problematic and that the popular piety flowing from it led inevitable to superstitious behaviors. He was condemned for his eucharistic views in 1381. Although Wyclif had nothing to do with inciting the Peasants’ Revolt of the same year, he was an easy target for blame. He retired, left Oxford, and died three years later in Leicestershire. Later reformers, John Hus (July 6) and Martin Luther (February 18) acknowledged their debt to Wyclif.
Collect: O God, your justice continually challenges your Church to live according to its calling: Grant us who now remember the work of John Wyclif contrition for the wounds which our sins inflict on your Church, and such love for Christ that we may seek to heal the divisions which afflict his Body; through the same Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
31 October. Paul Shinji Sasaki, Bishop of Mid-Japan and of Tokyo (1885-1946), and Philip Lindel Tsen, Bishop of Honan, China, (1885-1954). Paul Sasaki was a bishop of Nippon Sei Ko Kei (a member church of the Anglican Communion), who was persecuted and imprisoned for his support of the independence of his church during the Second World War. Nippon Sei Ko Kei had been established by missionaries from the Episcopal Church in 1859, with support following from the Church of England and the Anglican Church of Canada. Its founding was a turning point in the development of the Anglican Communion, as it was the first church not to be composed primarily of British expatriates. Because of its desire to be a national church devoted to Japan, it found the polity of the Episcopal Church to be an appropriate model. Its first bishops were elected in 1923. Navigating its Christian mission in the Japanese context became more difficult as the Second World War approached and it became clear that Japan would be at war with the West. The Japanese government ordered all Christians into a “united church” regardless of differences in doctrine or polity. Roughly one third of the dioceses of Nippon Sei Ko Kei joined the new church, but Bishop Paul Sasaki, Bishop of Tokyo and later Primate, refused and inspired most of the church to stay together and faithful to their Anglican heritage. Sasaki was tortured and imprisoned for his actions, but after the war his witness was an inspiring rallying point for the rebuilding of the church. Many of the dioceses that had departed during the war returned.
Lindel Tsen was the principal leader of Chinese Anglicanism in the middle of the 20th century. Lindel Tsen was raised by Episcopal Church missionaries and after his ordination worked closely with Canadian missionaries in China. During the Sino-Japanese War he worked to sustain the people of his area and at the end of the war became the leader of the Chinese Anglican Church. Upon his return from the 1948 Lambeth Conference he was put under house arrest by the Communist authorities.
Collect: Almighty God, we thank you for the faith and witness of Paul Sasaki, bishop in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, tortured and imprisoned by his government, and Philip Tsen, leader of the Chinese Anglican Church, arrested for his faith. We pray that all Church leaders oppressed by hostile governments may be delivered by your mercy, and that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may be faithful to the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.