1 August. Joseph of Arimathaea. All that is certainly known of Joseph of Arimathaea comes from the narratives of the burial of Jesus in the Gospels. Though John speaks of Joseph as a secret disciple of our Lord, and associates him with Nicodemus, another member of the Jewish Sanhedrin who was drawn to Jesus, we know nothing of any further activity of these men in the early Christian community. Later, however, legends developed about their leadership in the Church. One of the more attractive is the story of Joseph’s coming to the ancient Church of Glastonbury in Britain and bringing with him the Holy Grail (the cup used at the Last Supper). This tradition cannot be dated earlier than the thirteenth century. Although this and other stories obtained wide credence, they are not based on historical facts. Joseph’s claim for remembrance does not depend upon such legends, however beautiful and romantic. When our Lord’s intimate disciples were hiding for fear of the authorities, Joseph came forward boldly and courageously to do, not only what was demanded by Jewish piety, but to act generously and humanely by providing his own tomb for the decent and proper burial of our Lord’s body, thus saving it from further desecration.
Excerpt from “The History of that Holy Disciple Joseph of Arimathaea” (1770): “The person we are going to speak of, named Joseph, was a just, holy, pious, and devout man, born at Arimathea. It was a city formerly allotted for the Levites, and situated near Sophim on mount Ephraim, near the confines of the tribes of Benjamin and Dan; and is also noted for being the birth place of Samuel the prophet, who here lived and died, and was buried. Here Joseph was born, and from hence was called Joseph of Arimathea; he was the son of one Matthias, who was considerable for his extraction, but more for his justice and authority in Jerusalem, which was the metropolis of that country; his bringing up, during his tender years, was with one Jonathan, who was his brother by the same father and mother, with whom he profited in all kind of sciences, having a good memory, and quick apprehension; so that being yet a child of fifteen years of age, he was praised by all men, in regard of the good affection he had to learning, that the priests and noblest citizens vouchsafed to all his opinion of things that concerned their laws and ordinances.
He was born about eight years before the nativity of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and about the age of seventeen years, his desire being to search and have an insight, into the laws and customs of the three sects of the Jewish nation, the Pharisees, which is the chiefest, the second the Saducees, and the third the Essenes; to the end he might choose the better of the three, when he understood them all. He declined the two latter, and adhered to the former, addicting himself to such great austerities and labors, that hearing of one Malachi an holy man, who lived in a desert, clothed himself with nothing but what the trees brought forth, fed on no other kind of meat but what they freely yielded, and washed himself oftentimes by day and night in cold water; to keep himself chaste, he went and lived with him, and imitated his course of life, for the space of four years, at which time he returned to Jerusalem again, at the age of one and twenty years.
But now, though Joseph of Arimathea had entirely devoted himself to the sect of the Pharisees, yet was he not addicted to the vices which too evidently appeared among them, especially hypocrisy; for he was really just in all his dealings, pious without ostentation, and very charitable in private: insomuch that he obtained the praise of the rich, and the benediction of the poor, where-ever he went, and gloried more to be a good man than a great senator, to which dignity his incomparable merits had justly preferred him. However, when Jesus Christ began to take upon him the great work of the ministry of the Gospel, and by his holy life, pure doctrine, and supernatural miracles, had procured many Jews to embrace what he taught them, among the rest of his followers this Joseph of Arimathea became a great admirer of our Savior’s preaching, insomuch that declining the Levitical laws, as then taught in the Jewish church, he became a sincere convert, and followed Christ in all the journeys which he took throughout the land of Judea and Galilee, for the promulgation of the Gospel.
But when Jesus was betrayed by Judas, who sold the precious blood of our lord and master, for the value of thirty pence, after the condemnation was passed upon him by Pontius Pilate, the Roman president of Syria, and he was crucified on the cross, for the sins of the whole world. As soon as he was dead, this Joseph of Arimathea, who was a rich man, went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered; and when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in the rock, and he rolled a great Stone to the door of the sepulcher and departed.
Now, as for the manner of the sepulcher wherein our Savior was laid, take the description thereof, as given by Adricomius, in his relation of the Holy Land, and which is as follows: The glorious sepulcher of our Lord, says he, was a new monument, situated about one hundred and eight feet from mount Calvary, and distant one thousand paces from mount Sion. Here it was that Joseph of Arimathea, a noble senator, cut out of a rock that was in his garden, a place of interment, in which he, together with Nicodemus, the blessed Mary, and other women, buried from the cross by consent of Pilate, the body of Jesus, which they had wrapped up in fine linen, perfumed with myrrh and aloes; his head was placed towards the West, from whence it has been the custom ever since, among the Christians, to bury the dead, in many of their church-yards, with the feet towards the East; and those attending his sacred funeral, having rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, they returned to their several habitations.
In the mean time, the priests, scribes, and pharisees, endeavoring to hinder the resurrection of Christ, they set a guard of soldiers to watch the sepulcher, the mouth whereof they closely shut up, and set their seals on the door, that they might not be deceived thro’ any frauds, either of his disciples or their own keepers; but this diligence of the Jews, who would have obstructed his rising, did rather increase the miracle, and confirm the faith of our Savior’s resurrection; for, on the third day after his crucifixion, receiving life again, he came to Mary Magdalen, first in the likeness of a gardener, according to these words of the evangelist, Jesus saith unto her, woman, why weepest thou? she, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, If thou hast borne him hence, tell me: here thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
After the death of our Savior, Joseph of Arimathea led a solitary life, about six months, in commemoration of our Savior’s crucifixion for his salvation, as well as the whole race of mankind; but this time of penitence being completed, he came again among the apostles, and by St. Peter was adopted one of the seventy-two disciples. So to make good that great charge which he had took upon him, understanding from Felix, who then governed Jerusalem, that certain noble Christians, men of much honor, and more virtue, were, for preaching the Christian faith, sent to Rome by his commandment, to answer what was objected against them in Cæsar’s presence; being desirous of the service, and having special intelligence, that the torments wherewith they were martyr’d, lessened not their piety, but that they lived contentedly on figs and nuts. He, for this cause, departed presently for Rome, and was encountered with many and grievous hazards by sea; for the ship wherein he sailed was wreck’d in the midst of the Adriatic sea, and about six hundred of them were forced to swim all night long, and at day-break, by God’s providence, a Cyrenian ship came in sight, and he, and about fourscore others, who outswam the rest, were taken up, and saved.
After he had in this sort escaped, he went to Diarchia, which the Italians call at this day Puteoli, and grew acquainted with Baliturnus, a Jew born, who was a comedian, and in good reputation with Tiberius; by whose means, insinuating himself into the empress Poppeia’s knowledge, he determined to beseech her to procure the liberty of those Christians in bondage; and being gratified likewise by her with many gifts, he returned again into his own country.
Being now returned home, and having given a full account to the twelve apostles, of what special service he had done for the vindication of the Christian liberty at Rome, he was appointed and ordained to go and preach the Gospel in England; and according as the mission commanded him, he took shipping at Joppa, and sailing with a great deal of difficulty, and meeting many dangerous storms, through the Mediterranean sea, he at length landed at Barrow-bay in Somersetshire, and then proceeding onwards of his journey eleven miles that day; came to Glastenbury in the same county; where, fixing his pilgrim’s staff in the ground, it was no sooner set in the earth, but just like Aaron’s rod (which blossomed flowers when there was a contest betwixt him and other learned Jews for the priesthood) it was presently turned into a blossoming thorn, which supernatural miracle made the numerous spectators, who came to see this wonder, be very attentive to hear his preaching the Gospel, which was concerning Christ crucified for the redemption of mankind.
He arrived at Glastenbury about three years after the death of our blessed Redeemer, being then in the forty-fourth year of his age, doing there such wonderful miracles, that he presently brought to the conversion of Christ above one thousand souls. Besides, as Eusebius, Sozomenes, and Ruffinus, three most faithful ecclesiastical writers, relate, he baptized at the city of Wells, which is within four miles of Glastenbury, eighteen thousand persons one day; so devout, zealous, and holy, was the life of Joseph of Arimathea, that although he found the inhabitants of this island very barbarous and superstitious, yet, by wholesome admonitions, in learnedly as well as strenuously exhorting them to change their erroneous opinions, representing before their eyes, the heinousness of their damnable folly and blindness, he piously persuaded them not to hazard the salvation of their souls, and their posterity, by embracing downright idolatry, in worshipping the sun, moon, and stars, as well as living creatures, both on the earth, as well as in the sea.
Thus Joseph of Arimathea, by his godly life and good behavior, having obtained the good-will of one Ethelbertus, a king then reigning in the western parts of England, and many other nobles, whom he converted to the Christian faith, he founded a most famous abbey at Glastonbury; which was the first Christian church in the world, and by the large endowments settled upon it afterwards by the Christian princes, it became one of the richest monasteries in Christendom.
In the ancient town of Glastenbury the holy Joseph of Arimathea continued till the day of his death, being forty-two years, so that he was eighty-six at his death; and so venerable was his person then held, that six kings of those parts honored his corpse by carrying him on royal shoulders to the grave; which was made in the chancel of Glastonbury-abbey, and had a most stately tomb erected over him, with the following inscription: HERE LIES THE BODY OF THAT MOST NOBLE DISCIPLE, RECORDED IN SCRIPTURE BY THE NAME OF JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA, AND NOTED BY THE FOUR EVANGELISTS, ST. MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE, AND JOHN, FOR HIS BEGGING THE BODY OF OUR BLESSED SAVIOR WHEN CRUCIFIED TO REDEEM LOST MEN FROM ETERNAL DESTRUCTION, AND BURYING IT IN A TOMB OF HIS OWN MAKING. HE DIED A.D. 45, AGED 86.
The churchyard of Glastonbury, formerly called Avolonia, is also noted for the burial-place of King Arthur, whose sepulcher was searched for by King Henry II. and found under a stone, with an inscription on it, declaring whose ashes it covered. And in veneration for Joseph of Arimathea, a lady living at Glastonbury, a little after the death of this holy man, obtained of her husband as much pasture-ground for the good of the inhabitants, as she was able to walk about barefoot in a whole day. But what is more remarkable is the White-Thorn, otherwise called the Holy-Thorn, which to this very time is noted thro’ all Europe, for its budding on Christmas-day in the morning, blossoms at noon, and fades at night; and the reason is as abovesaid; for that it was the staff of Joseph of Arimathea, which he fixing in the ground, it instantly took root where this famous thorn grows, and thereby proclaimed that spot a resting place for its master. And though the time of superstitious popery is in this kingdom abolished, yet do thousands of people, of different opinions, go annually to see this curiosity, which appearing supernatural, and contrary to the course of nature, makes us cry out with Psalmist, O Lord! how marvelous are thy ways! FINIS.”
Collect: Merciful God, whose servant Joseph of Arimathaea with reverence and godly fear prepared the body of our Lord and Savior for burial, and laid it in his own tomb: Grant to us, your faithful people, grace and courage to love and serve Jesus with sincere devotion all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
2 August. Samuel Ferguson, Missionary Bishop for West Africa, (1842-1916). Samuel David Ferguson was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He grew up in Liberia, West Africa, having moved there with his family at the age of six. He attended mission schools that were sponsored by the Episcopal Church and eventually became a teacher. Ferguson was ordained to the diaconate in 1865 and to the priesthood in 1867, serving first as curate and then as rector of St. Mark’s Church, Harper, Liberia. Perhaps due to his own upbringing and his first vocation as a teacher, Ferguson emphasized the importance of education throughout his ministry. He was the founder of schools throughout Liberia and his passion for education influenced other parts of West Africa. His efforts at starting schools were supported through funds given by the Women’s Auxiliary [later to be the United Thank Offering (UTO) of the Episcopal Church Women] under the leadership of Julia Chester Emery. Ferguson was called to be the fourth bishop of Cape Palmas, later the Diocese of Liberia, in 1885. His ordination to the episcopate took place at Grace Church in New York City. He was the first American-born black to become Bishop of Liberia. Although not the first Episcopal bishop of African-American heritage, he was the first to sit in the House of Bishops. With the generous support of Robert Fulton Cutting, a wealthy New York financier who served for a time as the treasurer of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, Bishop Ferguson founded Cuttington College in 1889. In addition to basic studies, theological, agricultural, and industrial education were emphasized. Ferguson believed that establishing a strong spiritual and educational foundation was the best way for Liberia’s young people to transform society. Although closed for two decades during the Liberian civil war, the college, now Cuttington University, continues to serve the people of Liberia thus fulfilling Bishop Ferguson’s vision. Bishop Ferguson remained in Liberia for the rest of his life. He died in Monrovia on August 2, 1916.
Collect: Almighty God, we bless you for moving your servant Samuel Ferguson to minister in Liberia, expanding the missionary vision of your Church in education and ministry. Stir up in us a zeal for your mission and a yearning for your holy Word; through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
3 August. George Freeman Bragg, Jr., Priest, (1863-1940). An historian whose work gives us invaluable insight into the early history of African Americans in the Episcopal Church, George Freeman Bragg served for 35 years as the secretary of the Conference for Church Workers Among the Colored People and authored important studies such as “A History of the Afro-American Group of The Episcopal Church” and Richard Allen and Absalom Jones. The grandson of a slave, Bragg was born into an Episcopalian family in Warrenton, North Carolina. As a young man he campaigned for the Readjuster Party in Virginia, which advocated for voting rights and state supported higher education for African-Americans. He was the editor of the influential black weekly paper “The Lancet”, which he renamed the “Afro-American Churchman” upon his entrance into divinity school in 1885. Through this paper, Bragg called attention to the fact that African-Americans were treated as recipients of mission work but were not supported in raising up self-sustaining institutions that would have fostered their presence in the church. George Bragg was ordained a deacon in 1887 in Norfolk, Virginia. He challenged the diocese’s policy of requiring black men to remain in deacon’s orders for five or more years, much longer than their white counterparts, and in 1888 he was ordained a priest. He served as the rector of St. James’ First African Church in Baltimore for 49 years, from 1891 until his death in 1940. He helped establish the Maryland Home for Friendless Colored Children, and did not cease in his advocacy for black Episcopalians and their full inclusion in the larger life of the church. He vehemently challenged the exclusion of African Americans from the church’s society for mission work. He was instrumental in fostering over twenty priestly vocations in an environment in which black Episcopalians were often left to fend for themselves without the support and resources of the larger church.
Excerpt from Reverend Bragg: “Such was inevitable under a system which failed to take note of the imperative requirements of the new trend of racial life. The colored people eagerly availed themselves of whatever educational opportunities that were presented. But with respect to their organized life as a body of Christians no organization could prevail among them which did not enter into their entire life, social, civil and intellectual. They wanted to rise. They had ambition to be everything that other people were. They may have been wrong, but from their point of view none but their own leaders could guide them to the haven where they would be.”
Collect: Almighty God, we thank you for the strength and courage of George Freeman Bragg, who rose from slavery to freedom, documented African-American history, and helped to found the first advocacy group for black people. Grant that we may tell the story of your wondrous works in ways that proclaim your justice in our own time, to the glory of Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
3 August. William Edward Burghardt DuBois, Sociologist, (1868-1963). William Edward Burghardt Dubois was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. As a young man he had already developed a deep concern for the advancement of his race, and at 15, he began to advocate for black Americans in his capacity as the local correspondent for the New York Globe. In 1896, following the completion of his doctoral degree, Dubois received a fellowship to conduct research in the seventh ward slums of Philadelphia. His work with the urban black population there marked the first scientific approach to sociological study, and for that reason, Dubois is hailed as the father of Social Science. In 1903, while teaching at Atlanta University, he published his book The Souls of Black Folks, in which he outlined his philosophical disagreement with important figures such as Booker T. Washington, who argued that Black people should forego political equality and civil rights and focus instead on industrial evolution. DuBois believed instead in the higher education of a “talented tenth” whose education would naturally help other African-Americans achieve. In 1906, he sought others to aid him in his efforts toward “organized determination and aggressive action on the part of men who believe in Negro freedom and growth.” The result was the so-called “Niagara Movement” (named for the group’s first meeting site, which was shifted to Canada when they were prevented from meeting in the U.S.), the objectives of which were to advocate civil justice and oppose discrimination. In 1909, most of the group members merged with white supporters and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was formed. DuBois advanced his causes, sometimes at odds with the white leadership of the NAACP, in the magazine Crisis. A leading participant in several Pan-African meetings, DuBois renounced his American citizenship and moved to Ghana, where he died in 1963, on the eve of the March on Washington. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote of DuBois, “His singular greatness lay in his quest for truth about his own people. There were very few scholars who concerned themselves with honest study of the black man and he sought to fill the immense void.”
Excerpt from The Souls of Black Folks: “The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife, — this longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost… He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American…”
Collect: Gracious God, we thank you for the witness of William Edward Burghardt DuBois, passionate prophet of civil rights, whose scholarship advanced the dignity of the souls of black folk; and we pray that we, like him, may use our gifts to do justice in the Name of Jesus Christ our Liberator and Advocate; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
5 August. Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Matthias Grünewald (1470-1528), and Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), Artists. In the turbulent sixteenth century, as the Renaissance and the Reformation changed the cultural, social, political and religious face of northern Europe from mediaeval to modern, three artists stand as signs of those revolutions.
Lucas Cranach the Elder was born in south Germany. In his twenties he moved to Vienna where he became known in humanist circles. He later moved to Wittenberg where he became court painter to Frederick III, who was Martin Luther’s protector. His work enjoyed great popularity in his day, but history best remembers him for his several portraits of Luther and for the exquisite woodcuts he provided for the first German New Testament in 1522.
Albrecht Dürer was born Nurnberg and is generally regarded as the greatest German artist of the Renaissance. While he produced exquisite, life-like paintings, he is best known for his woodcuts and copperplate engravings. This art form enabled numbers of prints to be made of each work, which could then be sold to satisfy the rising middle class’ new demand for affordable art. His production was a sign of the shift in early modern society, especially in Protestant areas, from the church to the home as the center of life and religion.
Little is known of the early life of Matthias Grünewald, the name given to this artist by his seventeenth-century biographer. He is known to have been in Strassburg in 1479, already accomplished at portraits and woodcuts. He went to Basel in 1490, where Dürer was his pupil. Later he moved to what is now Alsace where he painted his famous Isenheim Altarpiece between 1512 and 1516. This piece was designed to go behind the chapel altar at the hospital in the monastery of the Order of St. Anthony. Grünewald was a deeply religious man who was particularly fascinated by the crucifixion as witnessed by the combination of raw physicality and mysticism that can be observed in the Isenheim Altarpiece.
Collect: We give thanks to you, O Lord, for the vision and skill of Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald, and Lucas Cranach the Elder, whose artistic depictions helped the peoples of their age understand the full suffering and glory of your incarnate Son; and we pray that their work may strengthen our faith in Jesus Christ and the mystery of the Holy Trinity; for you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
6 August. The Transfiguration of Our Lord. The Transfiguration is not to be understood only as a spiritual experience of Jesus while at prayer, which three chosen disciples, Peter, James, and John, were permitted to witness. It is one of a series of supernatural manifestations, by which God authenticated Jesus as his Son. It is at one with the appearance of the angels at the birth and at his resurrection, and with the descent of the Spirit at Jesus’ baptism. Matthew records the voice from heaven saying, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him” (Matthew 17:5). Briefly the veil is drawn aside, and a chosen few are permitted to see Jesus, not only as the earth-born son of Mary, but as the eternal Son of God. Moses and Elijah witness to Jesus as the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets. In Luke’s account of the event, they speak of the “exodus” which Jesus is to accomplish at Jerusalem. A cloud, a sign of divine presence, envelops the disciples, and a heavenly voice proclaims Jesus to be the Son of God. Immediately thereafter Jesus announces to Peter, James, and John the imminence of his death. As Paul was later to say of Jesus, “Though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and was born in human likeness. And, being found in human form, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2: 6–8). The Feast of the Transfiguration is held in the highest esteem by the Eastern Churches. The figure of the transfigured Christ is regarded as a foreshadowing of the Risen and Ascended Lord. The festival, however, was only accepted into the Roman calendar on the eve of the Reformation, and for that reason was not included in the reformed calendar of the English Church. Since its inclusion in the American revision of 1892, it has been taken into most modern Anglican calendars.
From a sermon on the Transfiguration of the Lord by Athanasius of Sinai (died after 700), bishop: “Upon Mount Tabor, Jesus revealed to his disciples a heavenly mystery. While living among them he had spoken of the kingdom and of his second coming in glory, but to banish from their hearts any possible doubt concerning the kingdom and to confirm their faith in what lay in the future by its prefiguration of the present, he gave them on Mount Tabor a wonderful vision of his glory, foreshadowing of the kingdom of heaven. It was as if he said to them: ‘As time goes by you may be in danger of losing your faith. To save you from this I tell you now that some standing here listening to me will not taste death until they have seen the Son of Man coming in the glory of the Father.’ Moreover, in order to assure us that Christ could command such power when he wished, the evangelist continues: ‘Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and led them up a high mountain where they were alone. There, before their eyes, he was transfigured. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Then the disciples saw Moses and Elijah appear, and they were talking to Jesus.’ These are the divine wonders we confess today; this is the saving revelation given us upon the mountain; this is the festival of Christ that has drawn us here. Let us listen, then, to the sacred voice of God so compellingly calling us from on high, from the summit of the mountain, so that with the Lord’s chosen disciples we may penetrate the deep meaning of these holy mysteries, so far beyond our capacity to express. Jesus goes before us to show us the way, both up the mountain and into heaven, and, — I will speak boldly –, it is for us now to follow him with all speed, yearning for the heavenly vision that will give us a share in his radiance, renew our spiritual nature, and transform us into his likeness, making us for ever sharers in his Godhead and raising us to heights as yet undreamed us. Let us run with confidence and joy to enter into the cloud like Moses and Elijah, or like James and John. Let us be caught up like Peter to behold the divine vision and to be transfigured by that glorious transfiguration. Let us retire from the world, stand aloof from the earth, rise above the body, detach ourselves from creatures, and turn to the Creator, to whom Peter in ecstasy exclaimed, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here.’ It is indeed good to be here, as you have said, Peter. It is good to be with Jesus and to remain here for ever. What greater happiness or higher honor could we have than to be with God, to be made like him, and to live in his delight? Therefore, since each of us possesses God in his heart and is being transformed into his divine image, we also should cry out with joy: ‘It is good for us to be here’ – here where all things shine with divine radiance, where there is joy and gladness and exultation; where there is nothing in our hearts but peace, serenity, and stillness, where God is seen. For here, in our hearts, Christ takes up his abode together with the Father, saying as he enters: ‘Today salvation has come to this house.’ With Christ, our hearts receive all the wealth of his eternal blessings, and there where they are stored up for us in him, we see reflected as in a mirror both the first fruits and the whole of the world to come.”
Sequence for the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, by Adam of St. Victor (1112-1146),
translated by Digby S. Wrangham:
“Blessed fount of good things given !
Such to all that enter heaven
Will the resurrection be.
As the sun shines when it is at its height,
So the God-man’s features were shining bright,
As we in the Gospel see.
There His sacred vesture’s whiteness
Told of future glory’s brightness,
And of God incarnate now.
Over all Thine honor towers
Wondrously, and wondrous powers
Doth, O God ! Thy greatness show !
And, when Christ, God’s Word from heaven,
Proof to Peter thus had given,
And the sons of Zebedee,
Of the greatness of His glory,
Lo ! they, — Luke attests the story, —
Moses and Elias see.
Matthew gives us information
Of these holding conversation
There with God, God’s Son most high:
Very fitting, very holy,
Was such speech, and pleasant truly.
Filled with full felicity.
‘Tis a day most celebrated,
Thus by God’s voice consecrated;
High distinction hath it won !
See the cloud about them gather,
Hear the utterance of the Father;
‘This is My Beloved Son !’
Hear ye all God’s voice supernal;
It hath words of life eternal;
O’er the world His word is king;
Christ, the Lord of all creation,
Saints’ bright light and earth’s salvation,
Light that lighteth everything !
Christ, the Father’s Word from heaven,
Who destroys the stern right given
‘Gainst us to our wicked foe,
That dire serpent, who, soul-killing
Poison into Eve instilling,
Wounded all men here below.
We were healed by Christ’s death for us,
While His rising did restore us
To new life, and death’s power o’er us
Thereby utterly destroy.
Christ it is, our peace supernal,
Lord of heaven and realms infernal,
Whom God thus His voice paternal
To acknowledge did employ.
Those three fathers before stated
By that voice are agitated,
And upon the earth prostrated,
When comes forth its wondrous tone.
Christ at length toward them turning,
They arise, but glances yearning,
Cast around them, thus discerning
Suddenly Christ left alone.
Christ desiring these things hidden.
They to tell them were forbidden,
Till, as life’s restorer glorious.
Over life’s dread foe victorious,
Life by death should rise again.
Worthy praise the day is truly,
Whereon signs are wrought so holy !
O may Christ, his Father’s splendor,
Through his mother’s blest prayers render
Free from death the sons of men !
Father ! Son ! to Thee in heaven,
Holy Spirit ! unto Thee,
Praise and honor due be given.
And supremest majesty ! Amen.”
Collect: O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
7 August. John Mason Neale, Priest, (1818-1866). John Mason Neale was a priest of many talents. As a hymnodist, he furnished The Hymnal 1982 with several original hymns and more than thirty translations of Latin and Greek hymns. As a priest, he gave active support to the Oxford Movement in its revival of mediaeval liturgical forms. As a humanitarian, he founded the Sisterhood of St. Margaret for the relief of suffering women and girls. Neale was born in London, studied at Cambridge, where he also served as tutor and chaplain, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1842. He was both a scholar and a creative poet, whose skills in composing original verse and translating Latin and Greek hymns into effective English speech patterns were devoted to the Church. With such familiar words as “Good Christian men, rejoice,” “Come, ye faithful, raise the strain,” and “Creator of the stars of night,” he has greatly enriched our hymnody. Gentleness combined with firmness, good humor, modesty, patience, and devotion, with “an unbounded charity,” describe Neale’s character. Despite poor health, he was a prolific writer and compiler. Among his works are Mediaeval Hymns and Sequences, Hymns of the Eastern Church, Liturgiology, and Church History, and a four-volume commentary on the Psalms. In a busy life, he also found time to establish the Camden Society, later called the Ecclesiological Society. Though he never received preferment in England, his great contributions were recognized both in the United States and in Russia, where the Metropolitan presented him with a rare copy of the Old Believers’ Liturgy. He died on the Feast of the Transfiguration at the age of 46, leaving a lasting mark on our worship. No future hymnal is conceivable without the inclusion of some of Neale’s fine devotional poetry. The Prayer Book, for example, cites two of his translations by name as being especially appropriate for Palm Sunday and Good Friday: “All glory, laud, and honor” for the procession with the palms, and “Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle” at the climactic point of the Good Friday service.
An excerpt from Neale’s article, “English Hymnology: Its History and Prospects,” in the periodical The Christian Remembrancer, 1849 “Among the most pressing of the inconveniences consequent on the adoption of the vernacular language in the office-books of the Reformation, must be reckoned the immediate disuse of all the hymns of the Western Church. That treasury, into which the saints of every age and country had poured their contributions, delighting, each in his generation, to express their hopes and fears, their joys and sorrows, in language which would be the heritage of their Holy Mother until the end of time — those noble hymns, which had solaced anchorites on their mountains, monks in their cells, priests in bearing up against the burden and heat of the day, missionaries in girding themselves for martyrdom — henceforth became as a sealed book and as a dead letter. The prayers and collects, the versicles and responses, of the earlier Church might, without any great loss of beauty, be preserved; but the hymns, whether of the sevenfold daily office, of the weekly commemoration of creation and redemption, of the yearly revolution of the Church’s seasons, or of the birthdays to glory of martyrs and confessors — those hymns by which day unto day had uttered speech, and night unto night had taught knowledge — could not, by the hands then employed in ecclesiastical matters, be rendered into another, and that a then comparatively barbarous, tongue. One attempt the Reformers made–the version of the Veni Creator Spiritus in the Ordinal; and that, so far perhaps fortunately, was the only one. Cranmer, indeed, expressed some casual hope that men fit for the office might be induced to come forward; but the very idea of a hymnology of the time of Henry VIII may make us feel thankful that the prelate’s wishes were not carried out. The Church of England had, then, to wait. She had, as it has well been said, to begin over again. There might arise saints within herself, who, one by one, should enrich her with hymns in her own language; there might arise poets, who should be capable of supplying her office-books with versions of the hymns of earlier times. In the meantime the psalms were her own; and grievous as was the loss she had sustained, she might be content to suffice herself with those, and expect in patience the rest.”
Collect: Grant, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know your presence and obey your will; that, following the example of your servant John Mason Neale, we may with integrity and courage accomplish what you give us to do, and endure what you give us to bear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
7 August. Catherine Winkworth, Poet, (1827-1878). Catherine Winkworth is celebrated as the premier translator of German hymns and chorales into English. Winkworth was born in London, but grew up in Manchester where she spent most of her life. Her lifelong fascination with German hymns and chorales began during a yearlong visit to Dresden, Germany, in 1848. Her first set of translations, Lyra Germanica, 1855, contained 103 hymns, and a second series under the same title appeared in 1858, and contained 121 hymns. Her translations were immensely successful in expressing the theological richness and spirit of the German texts. Lyra Germanica went through numerous editions and reprints and remains today a monumental contribution to the history of hymnody. Among the most well-known of Winkworth’s translations are “Jesus, priceless treasure,” “Now thank we all our God,” “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” and “Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness.” In some cases, Winkworth’s sturdy translations had been wed with tunes that did not always capture the spirit of the original German chorale. To help rectify this, Winkworth published The Chorale Book for England in 1863 that matched her translations with their original tunes. In 1869, she published a commentary that provided biographies of the German hymn writers and other material to make the German hymn and chorale more accessible to the English singers of her masterful translations. She is also remembered for her advocacy for women’s rights and for her efforts to encourage university education for women. In support of her advocacy for women, Winkworth sought inspiration in German literature and made it available in English translation. Notable are her translations of the biographies of two founders of sisterhoods for the poor and the sick: Life of Pastor Fliedner, 1861, and Life of Amelia Sieveking, 1863. Winkworth was traveling to an international conference on women’s issues when she died of a heart attack on July 1, 1878. She was 51. She was buried at Monnetier, near Geneva. Her life and work has been honored with a monument in Bristol Cathedral.
From the Preface to the first edition of Lyra Germanica: “Ever since the Reformation, the German Church has been remarkable for the number and excellence of its hymns and hymn-tunes. Before that time it was not so. There was no place for congregational singing in public worship, and therefore the spiritual songs of the latter part of the middle ages assumed for the most part an artificial and unpopular form. Yet there were not wanting germs of a national Church poetry in the verses rather than hymns which were sung in German on pilgrimages and at some of the high festivals, many of which verses were again derived from more ancient Latin hymns. Several of Luther’s hymns are amplifications of verses of this class, such as the Pentecostal hymn here given, “Come, Holy Spirit, God and Lord,” which is founded on a German version of the “Veni Sancte Spiritus.” By adopting these verses, and retaining their well-known melodies, Luther enabled his hymns to spread rapidly among the common people. He also composed metrical versions of several of the Psalms, the Te Deum, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Nunc Dimittis, the Da nobis Pacem, &c., thus enriching the people, to whom he had already given the Holy Scriptures in their own language, with a treasure of that sacred poetry which is the precious inheritance of every Christian church.”
Collect: Comfort your people, O God of peace, and prepare a way for us in the desert, that, like your poet and translator Catherine Winkworth, we may preserve the spiritual treasures of your saints of former years and sing our thanks to you with hearts and hands and voices, eternal triune God whom earth and heaven adore; for you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.
8 August. Dominic, Priest and Friar, (1170-1221). Dominic was the founder of the Order of Preachers, commonly known as Dominicans. In England they were called Blackfriars, because of the black mantle they wore over their white habits. Dominic was born in Spain. Influenced by the contemporary search for a life of apostolic poverty, Dominic is said to have sold all his possessions to help the poor during a famine in 1191. Ordained in 1196, he soon became a canon and then sub-prior of the Cathedral of Osma, where a rule of strict discipline was established among the canons. In 1203 he began a number of preaching tours in Languedoc, a region in Southern France, against the Albigensian heretics, who held Manichaean, dualistic views. He kept himself aloof, however, from the repressive crusade which was instigated against them. In 1214, his plan to found a special preaching order for the conversion of the Albigensians began to take shape, and in the following year he took his followers to Toulouse. At the Fourth Lateran Council in October, 1215, Dominic sought confirmation of his order from Pope Innocent III. This was granted by Innocent’s successor, Honorius III, in 1216 and 1217. Over the next few years, Dominic traveled extensively, establishing friaries, organizing the order, and preaching, until his death on August 6, 1221. He is said to have been a man of austere poverty and heroic sanctity, always zealous to win souls by the preaching of pure doctrine. The Dominican Constitutions, first formulated in 1216, and revised and codified by the Master-General of the Order, Raymond of Peñafort, in 1241, place a strong emphasis on learning, preaching, and teaching, and, partly through the influence of Francis of Assisi, on absolute poverty. The Dominicans explicitly gave priority to intellectual work. They established major houses in most university centers, to which they contributed such notable teachers as Thomas Aquinas. Their Constitutions express the priority this way: “In the cells, moreover, they can write, read, pray, sleep, and even stay awake at night, if they desire, on account of study.” The quotation most commonly associated with St. Dominic is: “A man who governs his passions is master of the world. We must either rule them, or be ruled by them. It is better to be the hammer than the anvil.”
An excerpt from the Bull of Canonization of Gregory IX: “At the eleventh hour, when the day was giving way to evening and the charity of many was growing cold because of the abundance of iniquity [Matt. 24:12], and the rays of the sun of justice, too, were turning toward the west; when not only had the brambles and thorns of vice invaded the vineyard (into which the father of the family at various times sent workmen hired at the agreed salary of a denarius) [Matt. 20:2] and which He had planted with His right hand [Ps. 79:16], but also little foxes, destroying it, were seeking to change it into the bitterness of a strange vine [Cant. 2:15], He wanted to organize more mobile militia against this most hostile multitude. Thus, as we see now, after the appearance of the first three chariots represented by various symbols, [God] has had the fourth chariot come forth, drawn by grisled and strong horses [Zacharias 6:3], the legions of the Friars Preachers and Friars Minor, with the generals He had selected to lead them together in battle. [God it is Who] aroused the spirit of St. Dominic and gave him, as to the horse of His glory, the strength of faith and the fervor of divine preaching, clothing his neck with neighing [Job 39:19]. Possessing from childhood the heart of a mature man and choosing to live in the mortification of the flesh, he sought the author of life. Given to God as a Nazarean [Judges 16:17] and consecrated under the rule of the blessed Augustine, he imitated Samuel in the assiduous service of the sanctuary [I Kings 3:1] and continued the very pious aspirations of Daniel in the castigation of his desires [Daniel 10:11]. As a fearless athlete, he sedulously pursued the paths of justice [Ps. 22:3] and the way of the Saints. And not leaving the tabernacle of the Lord even for a moment, he did not abandon his role as teacher and minister in the militant church. Subjecting his flesh to his spirit and his sensitivity to reason, he became one and the same spirit with God [I Cor. 6:17], and completely devoted his attention to seeking Him through the excess of his mind [Ps. 30:23]. Moreover, in the eagerness of his companions, he never departed from love for his neighbor. When he destroyed the pleasures of the flesh and illuminated the stony minds of the impious, the whole sect of the heretics trembled and the whole Church of the faithful rejoiced. Yet grace increased with age [Luke 2:52] and, drawing from his intense love of souls inexplicable joy, he dedicated himself to spreading God’s word by becoming, through Christ’s Gospel, the father of many children [I Cor. 4:15] in the conversion of a multitude once so disorderly, who now acknowledge the obligations of their Christian dignity. He has deserved to attain upon earth the glory and achievement of the great patriarchs of the past. Made a pastor and illustrious leader among the people of God, he founded the new Order of Preachers by his holy labors, adorned it by his exemplary life, and has not ceased to support it by manifest and authentic miracles. For, among the works of holiness and the signs of virtue with which he shone during his mortal life, he cured a great variety of infirmities: he gave speech to mutes, sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf [Mark 7:37], footsteps to paralytics, and restored former health to persons suffering many kinds of sicknesses. Whence it is clear as to which Spirit dwelt in the members of his very holy body. Thanks to the deep friendship he had for us when we were fulfilling a more modest office, we had proof of his sanctity in the admirable testimony of his life; and now competent witnesses have given us a full certification about the real character of the miracles about which many have spoken. Moreover, in union with the Lord’s flock given to our care, we are confident that, by God’s mercy, we can be aided by his suffrages, and that we who merited to enjoy the consolation of his very gracious friendship here on earth, may now have the benefit of his powerful patronage in heaven. With the advice and consent of our brethren [the cardinals], as well as of all the prelates who were then close at the Apostolic See, we have resolved to inscribe him in the catalogue of the Saints, establishing firmly and commanding all of you, in virtue of this letter, solemnly to celebrate and have celebrated his birth into heaven, on the nones of August, the vigil of the day when, putting aside the burden of the flesh and rich in merits, he entered into heaven, having become like the Saints in glory. May God, Whom he honored during his life, be moved by his prayers to grant us grace in this world and glory in the world to come.”
Sequence for the Feast of St. Dominic from the Order of Preachers:
Now new canticles ascending,
And new strains harmonious blending,
‘Mid the hierarchies of heaven:
With our earthly choirs according,
Join this festival in lauding,
To our holy father given.
For the welfare of the nations,
Called from Egypt’s desolations
By their God and Maker, he
Was the chosen one and glorious,
Passing o’er the wave victorious,
In the ark of poverty.
Ere his birth, the preacher brother
Is prefigured to his mother
By a hound with torch of fire;
So her son, his torch-light bearing,
Midst the nations dark appearing,
Leads them on with full desire.
He, another Moses, teacheth,
And Elias-like he preacheth,
Sin denouncing with his might
Samson-like his foxes sending,
And the foe his trumpet rending,
Gedeon-like he put to flight.
From death’s sleep a child he waketh
Whom alive his mother taketh:
When the holy sign he makes,
Cease the floods; and bread from heaven
For his fainting sons is given
Which into their hands he breaks.
Happy he, whose elevation,
Is our mother’s exa1tation,
Is her joy and weal indeed.
To his home by saints attended,
Hath his soul for aye ascended,
Having filled the earth with seed.
Like the hidden grain he bideth
Like the clouded star he hideth:
But the Maker of the spheres,
Joseph’s dry bones readorning,
Will reveal the star of morning,
Till earth’s darkness disappears.
O surpassing fragrance, telling
Of the virtues of that dwelling,
Which within the tomb doth lie!
Thither flock the sick for healing,
Blind and lame the grace revealing
That his body lives for aye.
Wherefore now with jubilation
Bless and praise him, every nation,
Cry aloud, and crave his care:
Sing Dominic the glorious,
Sing Dominic victorious,
Claim his help and promised prayer.
And thou, father, kind and loving,
Shepherd, patron, unreproving,
Kneeling heaven’s high throne before,
Lift for us thy voice prevailing,
To our King with prayers availing
Evermore and evermore.
Collect: Almighty God, whose servant Dominic grew in knowledge of your truth and formed an Order of Preachers to proclaim the good news of Christ: Give to all your people a hunger for your Word and an urgent longing to share the Gospel, that the whole world may come to know you as you are revealed in your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
9 August. Herman of Alaska, Missionary to the Aleut, (1756-1836). Herman of Alaska, known in the Russian Orthodox Church as “St. Herman: Wonderworker of All America,” was the first saint to be canonized by the Orthodox Church in America. Herman was born in Russia, near Moscow. His baptismal and family names are unknown. He is known by his monastic name. Naturally pious from an early age, Herman entered the monastery at 17. He was never ordained. For many years he secured permission to live as a hermit, attending the liturgies of the monastery only on holy days. In 1793, with a small group of colleagues, Herman set out to do missionary work in Alaska. They settled on Spruce Island, near Kodiak, and named their community “New Valaam” in honor of their home monastery. Herman lived and worked in the area for the remainder of his life. He advocated for and defended the Aleuts against sometimes oppressive authorities, particular Russian and European colonists with commercial interests. He cared lovingly and sacrificially for all who came to him, counseling and teaching them, and tirelessly nursing the sick. He especially loved children, for whom he often baked biscuits and cookies. Even though Herman had minimal education outside of the monastic life, he was regarded among the native Alaskans as a great and compelling teacher. Over time he also developed a reputation as a teacher and possessor of wisdom among the more educated Russian and European settlers in the area. He so captivated his listeners that many would listen to him through the long hours of the night and not leave his company until morning. The people he served often referred to Herman as their North Star. Herman died at Spruce Island on December 25, 1837, on the Gregorian calendar. In the spring of 1969, the Synod of Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America proclaimed Herman a saint and he was glorified in a solemn liturgy on August 9, 1970, at Holy Resurrection Orthodox Cathedral on Kodiak Island, Alaska, with simultaneous rites taking place at other Orthodox centers.
Excerpt from a letter from St. Herman to S. I. Yanovsky of 20 June 1820: “A true Christian is made so by faith and love toward Christ. Our sins do not in the least hinder our Christianity, according to the words of the Savior Himself. He deigned to say: ‘I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to salvation’ (cf. Luke 5:32); ‘There is more joy in heaven over one who repents than over ninety righteous ones’ (cf. Luke 15:7). Likewise concerning the sinful woman who touched his feet, He deigned to say to Simon the Pharisee: ‘To one who has love, a great debt is forgiven, but from one who has no love, even a small debt will be required’ (cf. Luke 7:47). From these considerations a Christian should bring himself to hope and joy, and pay not the least attention to despair that is inflicted on one. Here one needs the shield of faith. Sin, to one who loves God, is nothing other than an arrow from the enemy in battle. A true Christian is a warrior fighting his way through the regiments of the unseen enemy to his heavenly homeland, according to the words of the Apostle: ‘Our homeland is in heaven’ (cf. Phil. 3:20). About warriors he says: ‘Our warfare is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers’ (cf. Eph. 6:12). The vain desires of this world separate us from our homeland; love for them and habit clothe our soul, as it were, in a hideous garment. This is called by the Apostles the outward man. We, traveling on the journey of this life and calling upon God to help us, must divest ourselves of this hideousness and clothe ourselves in new desires, in a new love of the age to come, and thereby receive knowledge of how near or how far we are from our heavenly homeland. But it is not possible to do this quickly; rather one must follow the example of sick people who, wishing the desired health, do not leave off seeking means to cure themselves.”
Collect: Holy God, we bless your Name for Herman, joyful North Star of Christ’s Church, who came from Russia to bring the Good News of Christ’s love to your native people in Alaska, to defend them from oppressors and to proclaim the Gospel of peace; and we pray that we may follow his example in proclaiming the Gospel; through the same Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, throughout all ages. Amen.
10 August. Lawrence, Deacon, and Martyr at Rome, (225-258). Lawrence the Deacon, one of the most popular saints of the Roman Church, was martyred during the persecution initiated in 257 by the Emperor Valerian. That persecution was aimed primarily at the clergy and the laity of the upper classes. All properties used by the Church were confiscated, and assemblies for Christian worship were forbidden. On August 4, 258, Pope Sixtus II and his seven deacons were apprehended in the Roman catacombs. They were summarily executed, except for the archdeacon, Lawrence, who was martyred on the tenth. Though no authentic “Acts” of Lawrence’s ordeal have been preserved, the tradition is that the prefect demanded information from him about the Church’s treasures. Lawrence, in reply, assembled the sick and poor to whom, as archdeacon, he had distributed the Church’s relief funds, and presented them to the prefect, saying, “These are the treasures of the Church.” Lawrence is believed to have been roasted alive on a gridiron. The Emperor Constantine erected a shrine and basilica over Lawrence’s tomb, which is in a catacomb on the Via Tiburtina. The present Church of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls, a beautiful double basilica (damaged in World War II), includes a choir and sanctuary erected by Pope Pelagius II (579–590) and a nave by Pope Honorius III (1216–1227). Lawrence is the subject of a small round glass medallion, probably dating from the fourth century, now in the Metropolitan Museum in New York. It bears the simple inscription, “Live with Christ and Lawrence.” The Greek word from which we get our English word “martyr” simply means “witness;” but, in the age of the persecutions, before Constantine recognized the Church early in the fourth century, a “martyr” was generally one who had witnessed even to death. For Lawrence, as for all the martyrs, to die for Christ was to live with Christ.
From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop (sermon 304:1-4): “The Roman Church commends to us today the anniversary of the triumph of Saint Lawrence. For on this day he trod the furious pagan world underfoot and flung aside its allurements, and so gained victory over Satan’s attack on his faith. As you have often heard, Lawrence was a deacon of the Church at Rome. There he ministered the sacred blood of Christ; there for the sake of Christ’s name he poured out his own blood. Saint John the Apostle was evidently teaching us about the mystery of the Lord’s supper when he wrote: ‘Just as Christ laid down his life for us, so we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.’ My brethren, Lawrence understood this, and understanding, he acted upon it. Just as he had partaken of a gift of self at the table of the Lord, so he prepared to offer such a gift. In his life he loved Christ; in his death he followed in his footsteps. Brethren, we too must imitate Christ if we truly love him. We shall not be able to render better return on that love than by modeling our lives on his. Christ suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps. In saying this, the apostle Peter seems to have understood that Christ suffered only for those who follow in his footsteps, in the sense that Christ’s passion is of no avail to those who do not. The holy martyrs followed Christ even to shedding their life’s blood, even to representing the very likeness of his passion. They followed him, but not they alone. It is not true that the bridge was broken after the martyrs crossed; nor is it true that after they had drunk from it, the fountain of eternal life dried up. I tell you again and again, my brethren, that in the Lord’s garden are to be found not only the roses of the martyrs. In it there are also the lilies of the virgins, the ivy of wedded couples, and the violets of widows. On no account may any class of people despair, thinking that God has not called them. Christ suffered for all. What the Scriptures say of him is true: ‘He desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.’ Let us understand then, how a Christian must follow Christ even though he does not shed his blood for him, and his faith is not called upon to undergo the great test of the martyr’s sufferings. The apostle Paul says of Christ our Lord: ‘Though he was in the form of God, he did not consider equality with God a prize to be clung to.’ How unrivaled his majesty! ‘But he emptied himself, taking on the form of a slave, made in the likeness of men, and presenting himself in human form.’ How deep his humility! Christ humbled himself. Christian, that is what you must make your own. ‘Christ became obedient.’ How is it that you are proud? When this humbling experience was completed and death itself lay conquered, Christ ascended into heaven. Let us then follow him there, for we here Paul saying: ‘If you have been raised with Christ, you must lift your thoughts on high, where Christ now sits at the right hand of God.’”
Sequence for the Feast of St. Lawrence, by Adam of St. Victor (1112-1146),
translated by Digby S. Wrangham:
“Mid the blazing
Pay we Lawrence, laurel-crowned,
Our love showing.
As a martyr most renowned.
They indict him, —
He denies not;
When they smite him,
He replies but
In the tone soft organs raise:
‘Mid flames, playing
Round him, praying.
And his voice is
Lifted to his Maker’s praise.
As sweet sounds the harp-string waketh
And enchanting music maketh,
Which the minstrel’s light quill hits,
So the martyr’s frame, extended
On the lyre of torture, blended
Strains of faith and hope emits.
Decius ! see how
Brave stands he now.
As faith urges
‘Neath the scourges,
Threats, and fierce flames mounting high;
Give the man to constancy.
For the treasure which thou seekest
With these tortures thou bespeakest
For St. Lawrence, not for thee:
He in Christ that wealth is heaping,
Whom, whilst fighting, Christ is keeping
For the palm of victory.
Darkness knows the saint’s night never,
So that sin should mingle ever
With his pangs through faith too dim:
Nor the blind could he have lightened,
Had no light within him brightened
By its presence all for him.
Our true faith, confessed aright,
Shines in Lawrence, pure and bright;
‘Neath no bushel placed, its light
In the midst, in all men’s sight,
Sets he that it may be seen.
When to bear his cross thus bade.
As God’s servant, he is glad,
That he, ‘mid the fierce flames laid.
Should a spectacle be made
Both to angels and to men.
Flames he minds not, round him wrapping,
Who from flesh would be escaping,
And abide with Christ for aye:
Neither fears he those men ever.
Who the body kill, but never
Though they would, the soul can slay.
As the furnace tests by baking
Potters’ vessels, harder making
The materials used thereby;
So too this man, roast to cinders,
Hard as tiles the fire’s heat renders
Through untiring constancy.
For, as the old man decayeth
In the flame that round him playeth,
Firmer yet becomes the new;
While that champion’s power receiveth
Thus a rare support, who giveth
Unto God the service due.
Through love’s power,
And zeal Godward, counteth he:
Fire that warmeth,
Yet nought harmeth,
The live fuel
Officer ! heaped up by thee !
Scarce one learneth
Till one use it.
Till one bruise it;
And then sweetest,
When thou heatest
It by fire, is incense too:
So, limbs fastened,
By fire chastened,
‘Neath its fury,
Sick and sorry,
Martyrs o’er their virtues throw.
Lawrence, beyond measure glorious !
King sublime, o’er kings victorious !
Who, in righteousness defending,
Counted anguish cheap, contending
Bravely for the King of kings !
Who so many ills o’ercomest.
Looking to Christ’s good things promised,
Make us tread down aught distressing,
Make us joy in every blessing,
Through the grace thy merit brings ! Amen.”
Collect: Almighty God, you called your deacon Lawrence to serve you with deeds of love, and gave him the crown of martyrdom: Grant that we, following his example, may fulfill your commandments by defending and supporting the poor, and by loving you with all our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
11 August. Clare, Abbess at Assisi, (1194-1253). In the latter part of the twelfth century, the Church had fallen on evil days, and was weak and spiritually impoverished. It was then that Francis of Assisi renounced his wealth and established the mendicant order of Franciscans. At the first gathering of the order in 1212, Francis preached a sermon that was to make a radical change in the life of an eighteen-year-old young woman named Clare. The daughter of a wealthy family, and a noted beauty, Clare was inspired by Francis’ words with the desire to serve God and to give her life to the following of Christ’s teaching. She sought out Francis, and begged that she might become a member of his order, placing her jewelry and rich outer garments on the altar as an offering. Francis could not refuse her pleas. He placed her temporarily in a nearby Benedictine convent. When this action became known, friends and relatives tried to take Clare from her retreat. She was adamant. She would be the bride of Christ alone. She prevailed, and soon after was taken by Francis to a poor dwelling beside the Church of St. Damian at Assisi. Several other women joined her. She became Mother Superior of the order, which was called the “Poor Ladies of St. Damian.” The order’s practices were austere. They embraced the Franciscan rule of absolute poverty. Their days were given over to begging and to works of mercy for the poor and the neglected. Clare herself was servant, not only to the poor, but to her nuns. Clare governed the convent for forty years, caring for the sisters, ready to do whatever Francis directed. She said to him, “I am yours by having given my will to God.” Her biographer says that she “radiated a spirit of fervor so strong that it kindled those who but heard her voice.” In 1253 her last illness began. Daily she weakened, and daily she was visited by devoted people, by priests, and even by the Pope. On her last day, as she saw many weeping by her bedside, she exhorted them to love “holy poverty” and to share their possessions. She was heard to say: “Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he that created you has sanctified you, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be God, for having created me.”
Bull of 17 September 1228, in which Pope Gregory IX confirms for Clare’s order the “privilege of poverty”: “Gregory, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God. To our beloved daughters in Christ Clare and the other handmaids of Christ dwelling together at the Church of San Damiano in the Diocese of Assisi. Health and Apostolic benediction. It is evident that the desire of consecrating yourselves to God alone has led you to abandon every wish for temporal things. Wherefore, after having sold all your goods and having distributed them among the poor, you propose to have absolutely no possessions, in order to follow in all things the example of Him Who became poor and Who is the way, the truth, and the life. Neither does the want of necessary things deter you from such a proposal, for the left arm of your Celestial Spouse is beneath your head to sustain the infirmity of your body, which, according to the order of charity, you have subjected to the law of the spirit. Finally, He who feeds the birds of the air and who gives the lilies of the field their raiment and their nourishment, will not leave you in want of clothing or of food until He shall come Himself to minister to you in eternity when, namely, the right hand of His consolations shall embrace you in the plenitude of the Beatific Vision. Since, therefore, you have asked for it, we confirm by Apostolic favor your resolution of the loftiest poverty and by the authority of these present letters grant that you may not be constrained by anyone to receive possessions. To no one, therefore, be it allowed to infringe upon this page of our concession or to oppose it with rash temerity. But if anyone shall presume to attempt this, be it known to him that he shall incur the wrath of Almighty God and his Blessed Apostles, Peter and Paul. Given at Perugia on the fifteenth of the Calends of October in the second year of our Pontificate.”
Collect: O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Clare, may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
12 August. Florence Nightingale, Nurse, Social Reformer (1820- 1910). Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy. She was trained as a nurse at Kaiserwerth (1851) and Paris and in 1853 became superintendent of a hospital for invalid women in London. In response to God’s call and animated by a spirit of service, in 1854 she volunteered for duty during the Crimean War and recruited 38 nurses to join her. With them she organized the first modern nursing service in the British field hospitals of Scutari and Balaclava. By imposing strict discipline and high standards of sanitation she radically reduced the drastic death toll and rampant infection then typical in field hospitals. She returned to England in 1856 and a fund of £50,000 was subscribed to enable her to form an institution for the training of nurses at St. Thomas’s Hospital and at King’s College Hospital. Her school at St. Thomas’s Hospital became significant in helping to elevate nursing into a profession. She devoted many years to the question of army sanitary reform, to the improvement of nursing and to public health in India. Her main work, Notes on Nursing, 1859, went through many editions. An Anglican, she remained committed to a personal mystical religion which sustained her through many years of poor health until her death in 1910. Until the end of her life, although her illness prevented her from leaving her home, she continued in frequent spiritual conversation with many prominent church leaders of the day, including the local parish priest who regularly brought Communion to her. By the time of her death on August 13, 1910, her reputation as a healer and holy person had assumed mythical proportions, and she is honored throughout the world as the founder of the modern profession of nursing.
Excerpt from a letter of 1880 to Parthenope Verney: “On your birthday, I wish I could send you a flowery tribute from this glorious place, or rather a whiff from the noble sea horses, which come charging in, without ceasing, in tremendous squadrons from the wide and far Atlantic, but the whistling of the winds covers the thunder of the waves and sometimes one seems to hear the cries of the poor Atalanta. A blackbird tried to sing two days ago, but was instantly silenced. The wide-winged sea birds overhead chuckle in their flight and say, None but us can sit on the cliffs. Perhaps they are going up the channel as far as Dover, and I will entrust each one with a billet, under his wings, of love to thee, my dearest Pop, which, as he says he cannot carry a serenade, shall take a more prosaic fipun note, with best earthly birthday blessings and heavenly.
I feel that I have nothing now to do but to work the work of Him that sent me while it is called today, and so prepare for the Immediate Presence of God. Pray for me that I may do it less badly. I have made no progress yet.”
Collect: Life-giving God, you alone have power over life and death, over health and sickness: Give power, wisdom, and gentleness to those who follow the lead of Florence Nightingale, that they, bearing with them your presence, may not only heal but bless, and shine as lanterns of hope in the darkest hours of pain and fear; through Jesus Christ, the healer of body and soul, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
13 August. Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore, (1613-1667). Jeremy Taylor, one of the most influential of the “Caroline Divines,” was educated at Cambridge and, through the influence of William Laud, became a Fellow of All Souls at Oxford. He was still quite young when he became chaplain to Charles I and, later, during the Civil War, a chaplain in the Royalist army. The successes of Cromwell’s forces brought about Taylor’s imprisonment and, after Cromwell’s victory, Taylor spent several years in forced retirement as chaplain to the family of Lord Carberry in Wales. It was during this time that his most influential works were written, especially Holy Living and Holy Dying (1651). Among his other works, Liberty of Prophesying proved to be a seminal work in encouraging the development of religious toleration in the seventeenth century. The principles set forth in that book rank with those of Milton’s Areopagitica in its plea for freedom of thought. Despite Taylor’s unquestioned literary genius, he was, unfortunately, not asked to have a part in the Prayer Book revision of 1662. The first American Prayer Book, however, incorporated one of his prayers, part of which has been adapted to serve as the Collect of his commemoration; and another has been added in the present Prayer Book. Taylor’s theology has sometimes been criticized, most bitingly by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who claims that Taylor seems to “present our own holy life as the grounds of our religious hope, rather than as the fruit of that hope, whose ground is the mercies of Christ.” No such complaint, however, was ever made about his prayers, which exemplify the best of Caroline divinity, blended with great literary genius. In later life, Taylor and his family moved to the northeastern part of Ireland where, after the restoration of the monarchy, he became Bishop of Down and Connor. To this was later added the small adjacent diocese of Dromore. As Bishop, he labored tirelessly to rebuild churches, restore the use of the Prayer Book, and overcome continuing Puritan opposition. As Vice-chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin, he took a leading part in reviving the intellectual life of the Church of Ireland. He remained to the end a man of prayer and a pastor.
From Holy Living and Holy Dying, Chapter I: A General Preparation Towards a Holy and Blessed Death, Section II: Of the Vanity and Shortness of Man’s Life: “It is very material to our best and noblest purposes, if we represent this scene of change and sorrow, a little more dressed up in circumstances; for so we shall be more apt to practice those rules, the doctrine of which is consequent to this consideration. It is a mighty change, that is made by the death of every person, and it is visible to us, who are alive. Reckon not from the sprightfulness of youth, and the fair cheeks and full eyes of childhood, from the vigorousness and strong flexure of the joints of five-and-twenty, to the hollowness and dead paleness, the loathsomeness and horror of a three days’ burial, and we shall perceive the distance to be very great and very strange. But so have I seen a rose newly springing from the clefts of its hood, and, at first, it was fair as the morning, and full with the dew of heaven, as a lamb’s fleece; but when a ruder breath had forced open its virgin modesty, and dismantled its too youthful and unripe retirements, it began to put on darkness, and to decline to softness and the symptoms of a sickly age; it bowed the head, and broke its stalk, and, at night, having lost some of its leaves and all its beauty, it fell into the portion of weeds and outworn faces. The same is the portion of every man and woman; the heritage of worms and serpents, rottenness and cold dishonor, and our beauty so changed, that our acquaintances quickly knew us not; and that change mingled with so much horror or else meets so with our fears and weak discoursing, that they who, six hours ago, tended upon us, either with charitable or ambitious services, cannot, without some regret, stay in the room alone, where the body lies stripped of its life and honor. I have read of a fair young German gentleman, who, living, often refused to be pictured, but put off the importunity of his friends’ desire, by giving way, that, after a few days’ burial, they might send a painter to his vault, and, if they saw cause for it, draw the image of his death unto the life. They did so, and found his face half eaten, and his midriff and backbone full of serpents; and so he stands pictured among his armed ancestors. So does the fairest beauty change, and it will be as bad with you and me; and then, what servants shall we have to wait upon us in the grave? What friends to visit us? What officious people to cleanse away the moist and unwholesome cloud reflected upon our faces from the sides of the weeping vaults, which are the longest weepers for our funeral?”
Collect: O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered: Make us, like your servant Jeremy Taylor, deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let your Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
14 August. Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Seminarian and Martyr, (1939-1965). Jonathan Myrick Daniels was born in Keene, New Hampshire. He was shot and killed by an unemployed highway worker in Hayneville, Alabama, August 14, 1965. From high school in Keene to graduate school at Harvard, Jonathan wrestled with the meaning of life and death and vocation. Attracted to medicine, the ordained ministry, law and writing, he found himself close to a loss of faith when his search was resolved by a profound conversion on Easter Day 1962 at the Church of the Advent in Boston. Jonathan then entered the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In March 1965, the televised appeal of Martin Luther King, Jr. to come to Selma to secure for all citizens the right to vote drew Jonathan to a time and place where the nation’s racism and the Episcopal Church’s share in that inheritance were exposed. He returned to seminary and asked leave to work in Selma where he would be sponsored by the Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity. Conviction of his calling was deepened at Evening Prayer during the singing of the Magnificat: “‘He hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek. He hath filled the hungry with good things.’ I knew that I must go to Selma. The Virgin’s song was to grow more and more dear to me in the weeks ahead.” Jailed on August 14 for joining a picket line, Jonathan and his companions were unexpectedly released. Aware that they were in danger, four of them walked to a small store. As sixteen-year-old Ruby Sales reached the top step of the entrance, a man with a gun appeared, cursing her. Jonathan pulled her to one side to shield her from the unexpected threats. As a result, he was killed by a blast from the 12-gauge gun. The letters and papers Jonathan left bear eloquent witness to the profound effect Selma had upon him. He writes, “The doctrine of the creeds, the enacted faith of the sacraments, were the essential preconditions of the experience itself. The faith with which I went to Selma has not changed: it has grown … I began to know in my bones and sinews that I had been truly baptized into the Lord’s death and resurrection … with them, the black men and white men, with all life, in him whose Name is above all the names that the races and nations shout … We are indelibly and unspeakably one.”
Excerpt from Daniels’ The Burning Bush, (April 1965): “There are good men here, just as there are bad men. There are competent leaders and a bungler here and there. We have activists who risk their lives to confront a people with the challenge of freedom and a nation with its conscience. We have neutralists who cautiously seek to calm troubled waters. We have men about the work of reconciliation who are willing to reflect upon the cost and pay it. Perhaps at one time or another the two of us are all of these. Sometimes we take to the streets, sometimes we yawn through interminable meetings. Sometimes we talk with white men in their homes and offices, sometimes we sit out a murderous night with an alcoholic and his family because we love them and cannot stand apart. Sometimes we confront the posse, and sometimes we hold a child. Sometimes we stand with men who have learned to hate, and sometimes we must stand a little apart from them. Our life in Selma is filled with ambiguity, and in that we share with men everywhere. We are beginning to see as we never saw before that we are truly in the world and yet ultimately not of it. For through the bramble bush of doubt and fear and supposed success we are groping our way to the realization that above all else, we are called to be saints. That is the mission of the Church everywhere. And in this, Selma, Alabama, is like all the world: it needs the life and witness of militant saints.”
Collect: O God of justice and compassion, you put down the proud and mighty from their place, and lift up the poor and the afflicted: We give you thanks for your faithful witness Jonathan Myrick Daniels, who, in the midst of injustice and violence, risked and gave his life for another; and we pray that we, following his example, may make no peace with oppression; through Jesus Christ the just one, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
15 August. Saint Mary the Virgin, Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The honor paid to Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ, goes back to the earliest days of the Church. Two Gospels tell of the manner of Christ’s birth, and the familiar Christmas story testifies to the Church’s conviction that he was born of a virgin. In Luke’s Gospel, we catch a brief glimpse of Jesus’ upbringing at Nazareth, when the child was wholly in the care of his mother and his foster-father, Joseph. During Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, we learn that Mary was often with the other women who followed Jesus and ministered to his needs. At Calvary, she was among the little band of disciples who kept watch at the cross. After the resurrection, she was to be found with the Twelve in the upper room, watching and praying until the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost. Mary was the person closest to Jesus in his most impressionable years, and the words of the Magnificat, as well as her humble acceptance of the divine will, bear more than an accidental resemblance to the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount. This one who stood in so intimate a relationship with the incarnate Son of God on earth must, of all the human race, have the place of highest honor in the eternal life of God. A paraphrase of an ancient Greek hymn expresses this belief in very familiar words: “O higher than the cherubim, more glorious than the seraphim, lead their praises, alleluia.”
From a sermon by Saint Sophronius (560-638), bishop of Jerusalem: “’Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.’ What joy could surpass this, O Virgin Mother? What grace can excel that which God has granted to you alone? What could be imagined more dazzling or more delightful? Before the miracle we witness in you, all else pales; all else is inferior when compared with the grace you have been given. All else, even what is most desirable, must take second place and enjoy a lesser importance. ‘The Lord is with you.’ Who would dare challenge you? You are God’s mother; who would not immediately defer to you and be glad to accord you a greater primacy and honor? For this reason, when I look upon the privilege you have above all creatures, I extol you with the highest praise: ‘Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.’ On your account joy has not only graced men, but is also granted to the powers of heaven. ‘Truly you are blessed among women.’ For you have changed Eve’s curse into a blessing; and Adam, who hitherto lay under a curse, has been blessed because of you. Truly you are blessed among women. Through you the Father’s blessing has shone forth on mankind, setting them free of their ancient curse. Truly, you are blessed among women, because through you our forebears have found salvation. For you were to give birth to the Savior who was to win them salvation. Truly you are blessed among women, for without seed you have born, as your fruit, him who bestows blessings on the whole world and redeems it from that curse that made it sprout thorns. Truly, you are blessed among women, because though a woman by nature, you will become, in reality, God’s mother. If he whom you are to bear is truly God made flesh, then rightly do we call you God’s mother. For you have truly given birth to God. Enclosed within your womb is God himself. He makes his abode in you and comes forth from you like a bridegroom, winning joy for all and bestowing God’s light on all. You, O Virgin, are like a clear and shining sky, in which God has set his tent. From you he comes forth like a bridegroom leaving his chamber. Like a giant running his course, he will run the course of his life which will bring salvation for all who will ever live, and extending from the highest heavens to the end of them, it will fill all things with divine warmth and with life-giving brightness.”
Sequence for the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, by Adam of St. Victor (1112-1146),
translated by Digby S. Wrangham:
“Virgin, hail ! alone the fairest !
Mother, who our Savior barest !
And the name of Sea-Star wearest,
Star that leadeth not astray !
On the sea of this life never
Let us suffer wreck, but ever
To thy Savior, to deliver
Those who travel o’er it, pray.
Seethes the sea, the storm-blast bloweth.
Wild the billows, tumult groweth,
Speeds our bark, but, as it goeth.
By what crosses is it met !
Siren pleasures’ wanton wooing,
Dragon, pirates, dogs, pursuing,
All these threaten death and ruin
To men well-nigh desperate.
Now deep down, now up to heaven,
Is our bark by fierce waves driven;
Nods the mast, its full sail riven,
Till the seaman strives no more
Fast away, such evils tasting,
Is our human life-breath wasting:
Save us, to destruction hasting.
Holy Mother ! we implore.
Sprinkled o’er with heaven’s dew-shower,
Still intact thy chasteness’ flower,
A new flower by new power
Forth from thee on earth hath come.
Equal to the Sire in Godhead,
In thy Virgin frame secluded,
Was the Word for us embodied,
Hidden in thy sheltering womb.
Thou by Him wast pre-elected.
By Whom all things are directed,
Who thy maiden-mark protected,
When thy sacred womb He filled;
Parent of our Savior-brother !
Thou didst feel nor pain nor other
Sorrow, like to man’s first mother,
When thou broughtest forth that Child.
Mary ! for thy merits wholly
Hast thou been uplifted solely,
O’er the choirs of angels holy,
To a lofty throne above:
Joy is to this day pertaining,
When the heavens thou art gaining;
Then on us, below remaining,
Look thou with maternal love !
Holy root, that never diest !
Flower, vine, olive, that suppliest
Thine own power, and fructifiest
Without foreign graft or seed !
Sunbeams’ light and heaven’s bright glory ! —
E’en the sun’s self pales before thee ! —
To Thy Son commend our story,
And against strict justice plead.
There, before the King of heaven,
Think of this poor flock sore driven,
Which, transgressing God’s law given,
Dares to look for clemency:
For that Judge, Whom love so graces,
Judge deserving endless praises,
‘Spite our guilt our hopes high raises,
Crucified upon the tree.
Jesu, fruit of womb most holy !
‘Mid the storms of this world’s folly
Be our way, guide, leader, solely
To the realms of heaven above !
Seize the helm, our vessel steer Thou,
Off the threatening tempest clear Thou,
And our vessel onward bear Thou
To Thy pleasant port in love ! Amen.”
Collect: O God, you have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; 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.
17 August. Samuel Johnson (1696-1772), Timothy Cutler (1684-1765), and Thomas Bradbury Chandler (1726-1790), Priests. Born in Connecticut, and ordained a Congregational minister in 1719, Samuel Johnson as a young man had already developed serious doubts about the Congregationalist way of life. He had come to believe that the true connection to the faith of the primitive church was found in episcopal orders and in apostolic succession. He viewed the ordered liturgy of the Book of Common Prayer and Anglican polity as the proper alternative to the rampant dissent and local power struggles of the Congregationalist culture in which he lived and worked. It was shortly after his ordination that he and others sympathetic to his cause began to meet and discuss the Anglican alternative. Among those gathered with Johnson was Harvard graduate Timothy Cutler, who was rector of Yale College. In September of 1722, the “Yale Apostates” confronted the trustees of Yale College and announced their intention to shift their allegiance to the Church of England. In December of that year, Johnson, Cutler, and their friend Daniel Browne reached England, and in March they were ordained to the Anglican priesthood by the Bishop of Norwich. Returning to New England as a missionary for the Society of the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), Johnson became the rector of the first Episcopal congregation in the colonies, in Stratford, Connecticut, where he served until he became the first President of Columbia University (then King’s College) in New York. Cutler, after doctoral studies at Oxford and Cambridge, served as rector of Christ Church, Boston, where he tirelessly advocated for the appointment of an Anglican Bishop in the colonies. Johnson’s pupil, Thomas Bradbury Chandler, also an ardent advocate for both the Anglican way and for the presence of bishops in the colonies, continued the work. Chandler, the father-in-law of Bishop John Henry Hobart, served for 43 years as the rector of St. John’s, Elizabethtown (now Elizabeth), New Jersey, and was himself appointed the first bishop in the Americas, in Nova Scotia, but was unable to accept the appointment due to illness.
Excerpt from An Appeal to the Public, in Behalf of the Church of England in America, by Thomas Bradbury Chandler: “the Church of England is Episcopal, and consequently holds the Necessity of Bishops to govern the Church, and to confer Ecclesiastical Powers upon others. Of this there can be no Dispute, since many of her public Offices, and indeed the whole System of her Conduct with Regard to the Clergy is founded on this Principle. In the general Preface to the Ordination Offices she declares, that it is evident to all Men diligently reading the Holy Scriptures and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles Time there has been this Order in Christ’s Church, Bishops, Priests and Deacons, as several Offices. And her Practice of admitting none to officiate as Clergymen, who have not been ordained by Bishops, is a Proof, that she esteems every other Ordination to be, at least, irregular and defective. It is not necessary to enter upon a particular Defense of this Doctrine, in an Undertaking of this Nature; since our present Plea is equally valid, whether these Principles are founded rightly or wrongly.”
Collect: God of your pilgrim people, you called Samuel Johnson, Timothy Cutler, and Thomas Chandler to leave their spiritual home and embrace the Anglican way: We give you thanks for their devoted service in building up your Church and shepherding your flock in colonial times; and we pray that, like them, we may follow where your Spirit leads and be ever eager to feed the hearts and minds of those entrusted to our care, in the Name of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
18 August. William Porcher DuBose, Priest, (1836-1918). William Porcher DuBose, probably the most original and creative thinker the American Episcopal Church has ever produced, spent most of his life as a professor at the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tennessee. He was not widely traveled, and not widely known, until, at the age of 56, he published the first of several books on theology that made him respected, not only in his own country, but also in England and France. DuBose was born in 1836 in South Carolina, into a wealthy and cultured Huguenot family. At the University of Virginia, he acquired a fluent knowledge of Greek and other languages, which helped him lay the foundation for a profound understanding of the New Testament. His theological studies were begun at the Episcopal seminary in Camden, South Carolina. He was ordained in 1861, and became an officer and chaplain in the Confederate Army. Doctrine and life were always in close relationship for DuBose. In a series of books he probed the inner meaning of the Gospels, the Epistles of Paul, and the Epistle to the Hebrews. He treated life and doctrine as a dramatic dialogue, fusing the best of contemporary thought and criticism with his own strong inner faith. The result was both a personal and scriptural catholic theology. He reflected, as he acknowledged, the great religious movements of the nineteenth century: the Tractarianism of Oxford; the liberalism of F.D. Maurice; the scholarship of the Germans; and the evangelical spirit that was so pervasive at the time. The richness and complexity of DuBose’s thought are not easily captured in a few words, but the following passage, written shortly before his death in 1918, is a characteristic sample of his theology: “God has placed forever before our eyes, not the image but the Very Person of the Spiritual Man. We have not to ascend into Heaven to bring Him down, nor to descend into the abyss to bring Him up, for He is with us, and near us, and in us. We have only to confess with our mouths that He is Lord, and believe in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead — and raised us in Him — and we shall live.”
Excerpt from page 318 of Dubose’s The Ecumenical Councils: “As Christ is our eternal or divine
so are we his temporal and human image or expression. It is he who was from the first intended or predestined to be expressed or to express himself in humanity. A perfect work of art combines in itself two elements; it is not only the perfect material expression of an idea but it is also the idea perfectly expressed in the material. In a much truer and higher sense perfected manhood is not merely humanity imaging the divine Logos: it is the Logos himself imaged, embodied, incarnated in humanity. The essential truth of humanity is God himself in it, not some thought or idea of his as in the case of the human artist but his personal reason, freedom and activity, his wisdom, righteousness and life freely and personally made and become those of men. It was thus the nature of the Logos to become man as it was that of man to be the incarnation of the Logos. Neither is changed or converted from itself in becoming the other but only realizes and fulfils itself.”
Collect: Almighty God, you gave to your servant William Porcher DuBose special gifts of grace to understand the Scriptures and to teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus: Grant that by this teaching we may know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
20 August. Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, (1090-1153). Bernard, fiery defender of the Church in the twelfth century, was famed for the ardor with which he preached love for God “without measure.” He was completely absorbed, even to the neglect of his own health, in support of the purity, doctrine, and prerogatives of the Church. He fulfilled his own definition of a holy man: “seen to be good and charitable, holding back nothing for himself, but using his every gift for the common good.” Bernard was the son of a knight and landowner who lived near Dijon, France. He was born in 1090 and given a secular education, but in 1113 he entered the Benedictine Abbey of Cîteaux. His family was not pleased with his choice of a monastic life, but he nevertheless persuaded four of his brothers and about twenty-six of his friends to join him in establishing a monastery at Clairvaux in 1115. During the following ten years, Bernard denied himself sleep that he might have time to write letters and sermons. He preached so persuasively that sixty new Cistercian abbeys were founded, all affiliated with Clairvaux. By 1140, his writings had made him one of the most influential figures in Christendom. He participated actively in every controversy that threatened the Church. He was an ardent critic of Peter Abelard’s attempt to reconcile inconsistencies of doctrine by reason, because he felt that such an approach was a downgrading of the mysteries. When a former monk of Clairvaux was elected Pope, as Eugenius III, Bernard became his troubleshooter. He preached the Crusade against the Albigensians, and the Second Crusade to liberate Jerusalem, winning much support for the latter in France and Germany. When that Crusade ended in disaster, Bernard was roundly attacked for having supported it. He died soon after in 1153. He was canonized in 1174. Among Bernard’s writings are treatises on papal duty, on love, on the veneration of Mary, and a commentary on the Song of Songs. Among well known hymns, he is credited with having written “O sacred head sore wounded,” “Jesus, the very thought of thee,” and “Jesus, thou joy of loving hearts.”
From a sermon by Saint Bernard (sermon 83:4-6): “Love is sufficient of itself, it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies in its practice. I love because I love, I love that I may love. Love is a great thing so long as it continually returns to its fountainhead, flows back to its source, always drawing from there the water which constantly replenishes it. Of all the movements, sensations, and feelings of the soul, love is the only one in which the creature can respond to the Creator and make some sort of similar return however unequal though it be. For when God loves, all he desires is to be loved in return; the sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him. The bridegroom’s love, or rather the love which is the Bridegroom, asks in return nothing but faithful love. Let the beloved, then, love in return. Should not a bride love, and above all, Love’s bride? Could it be that Love not be loved? Rightly then does she give up all other feelings and give herself wholly to love alone; in giving love back, all she can do is to respond to love. And when she has poured out her whole being in love, what is that in comparison with the unceasing torrent of the original source? Clearly, lover and Love, soul and Word, bride and Bridegroom, creature and Creator do not flow with the same volume; one might as well equate a thirsty man with fountain. What then of the bride’s hope, her aching desire, her passionate love, her confident assurance? Is all this to wilt just because she cannot match stride for stride with her giant, any more than she can vie with honey for sweetness, rival the lamb for gentleness, show herself as white as the lily, burn as bright as the sun, be equal in love with him who is Love? No. It is true that the creature loves less because she is less. But if she love with her whole being, nothing is lacking where everything is given. To love so ardently then is to share the marriage bond; she cannot love so much and not be totally loved, and it is in the perfect union of two hearts that complete and perfected marriage consists. Or are we to doubt that the soul is loved by the Word first and with a greater love?”
The proper hymn for Morning Prayer on the Feast of St Bernard: Bernarde, gemma.
Saint Bernard, jewel in the crown
Of Mother Church you loved so well,
Repay our lowly praise with grace
To earn the joy no tongue can tell.
Christ wounded your pure heart with love
To which all other fire must yield,
That you might serve his Bride the Church,
As pillar, gleaming light, and shield.
The Holy Spirit blessed your lips,
That words of truth from them should flow,
As sweet as honey to the taste,
Yet burning with a seraph’s glow.
The Virgin Mother filled your heart
With ardor for her Son alone;
No preacher ever spoke of her
In words more tender than your own.
A lover of deep solitude,
The world was filled with your repute,
So that great leaders, teachers, kings,
Sought your solutions in dispute.
All glory to the Trinity,
Who will the wondrous grace bestow
Of joining you before the throne
Eternal happiness to know. Amen.
Collect: O God, by whose grace your servant Bernard of Clairvaux, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; 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.
23 August. Martin de Porres (1579-1639), Rosa de Lima (1586-1717), and Toribio de Mogrovejo (1538-1606), Witnesses to the Faith in South America. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru, the illegitimate son of a Spanish nobleman and a young black former slave. Because Martin inherited the dark skin of his mother, his father abandoned the family. Martin apprenticed to a barber-surgeon and after learning the trade, he applied to the Dominicans to be a “lay helper.” Placed in charge of the infirmary, he was known for his tender care of the sick and for his spectacular cures. His faithfulness led the community to request his religious profession. The stipulation that “no black person may be received to the holy habit or profession of our Order,” was dropped, and Martin took vows as a Dominican brother in 1603. Martin was a good friend of Rosa de Lima, who shared his passion for the sick and the poor. Rosa was exceedingly beautiful and, because of her family’s fading fortunes, she feared being married off to a wealthy man in exchange for her dowry. Not wanting this to happen, Rosa disfigured herself. In order to contribute to her family’s upkeep, Rosa took in sewing and served as a gardener. Her passion for the poor, however, eventually led her to the Third Order of St. Dominic where she became a recluse. Out of her prayer grew a strong desire to do works of mercy for the poorest of the poor, particularly for Indians, slaves, and others on the margins of society. Toribio de Mogrovejo was born in Spain in 1538 and became a brilliant student of law and theology. In 1580, the Archdiocese of Lima, Peru, needed a new leader and Toribio was chosen. He objected because he was a layman, but was overruled, ordained priest and bishop, and arrived in Peru in 1581 as archbishop. Confronted with the worst of colonialism, Toribio fought injustice in both the church and the civil order. He baptized and confirmed nearly a million souls. Among his flock were Rosa de Lima and Martin de Porres. He founded many churches, religious houses, and hospitals, and, in 1591, founded the seminary at Lima.
From the writings of Saint Rose to Dr. Castillo: “Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: ‘Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burdens of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.’ When I heard these words, a strong force came upon me and seemed to place me in the middle of a street, so that I might say in a loud voice to people of every age, sex, and status: ‘Hear, O people; hear, O nations. I am warning you about the commandment of Christ by using words that came from his own lips. We cannot obtain grace unless we suffer afflictions. We must heap trouble upon trouble to obtain a deep participation in the divine nature, the glory of the sons of God and perfect happiness of soul.’ That same force strongly urged me to proclaim the beauty of divine grace. It pressed me so that my breath came slow and forced me to sweat and pant. I felt as if my soul could no longer be kept in the prison of my body, but that it had burst its chains and was free and alone and was going very swiftly through the whole world saying: ‘If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! Without doubt they would devote all their care and concern to winning for themselves pains and afflictions. All men throughout the world would seek trouble, infirmities, and torments, instead of good fortune, in order to attain the unfathomable treasure of grace. This is the reward and the final gain of patience. No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men.’”
Collect: Merciful God, you sent your Gospel to the people of Peru through Martin de Porres, who brought its comfort even to slaves; through Rosa de Lima, who worked among the poorest of the poor; and through Toribio de Mogrovejo, who founded the first seminary in the Americas and baptized many: Help us to follow their example in bringing fearlessly the comfort of your grace to all downtrodden and outcast people, that your Church may be renewed with songs of salvation and praise; through Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
24 August. Saint Bartholomew the Apostle. Bartholomew is one of the twelve Apostles known to us only by his being listed among them in the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke. His name means “Son of Tolmai,” and he is sometimes identified with Nathanael, the friend of Philip, the “Israelite without guile” in John’s Gospel, to whom Jesus promised the vision of angels ascending and descending on the Son of Man. Nothing more is heard of him in the four Gospels. Some sources credit Bartholomew with having written a Gospel, whose existence was known to Jerome and Bede, but which is lost today. There is a tradition that Bartholomew traveled to India, and Eusebius reports that when Pantaenus of Alexandria visited India, between 150 and 200, he found there “the Gospel according to Matthew” in Hebrew, which had been left behind by “Bartholomew, one of the Apostles.” An ancient tradition maintains that Bartholomew was flayed alive at Albanopolis in Armenia.
Sequence for the Feast of St. Bartholomew, by Adam of St. Victor (1112-1146),
translated by Digby S. Wrangham:
“Come, let us all with praises now
Bartholomew’s rare merits show,
Whose sacred feast-day here below
Makes all our hearts with gladness glow.
He used an hundred times a day
Upon his bended knees to pray;
Nor through the hours of night did he,
Laid prostrate, pray less frequently.
Wherever he was present here
The very devils dumb appear;
When he, Christ’s trumpet, soundeth clear.
False gods and idols quake for fear.
He would not Ashtaroth allow
With lies an hapless race to cow:
Nor cheat, nor hurt, them can he now,
Nor pity for his victims show.
He, worthy of grave punishment,
To writhe ‘mid fires of hell is sent;
Where by what torments he is rent
From Berith’s tale is evident
Through this Apostle’s might alone
The devil’s fraud is fully shown;
And, when his cunning craft is known.
No followers more the idol own.
Pseustius exulted, when relieved
From demon’s rage, held ‘neath control:
And king Polymnius believed.
Because his daughter was made whole.
As ‘neath the Apostle’s stroke he lies,
The demon from the idol cries;
‘ From you, my wretched votaries !
I ask no further sacrifice.
‘Powerless I am,’ I now declare,
‘Who scarce can breathe in torture here;
Before the judgment-day appear,
The punishment by fire I bear !’
He disappeared, as thus he spake,
And his own idol-image brake;
But made none present fear nor quake:
The Cross was there his place to take.
With Christ’s own mark, the Cross’s sign,
An angel’s fingers mark the fane,
And thence, through wondrous power divine,
The vexed free absolution gain.
White through baptismal grace we see
India, so dark-hued formerly;
Without a spot, from wrinkle free.
Thus joined to heaven it joys to be.
Their high-priests to Astyages
Then hasten, and, upon their knees,
Demand that he at once will slay
The champion, victor in the fray.
To witness thus for Christ his Lord,
His head he bowed beneath the sword;
So he this day, as victor, shone,
Who India taught and India won.
In constant prayer God’s throne before,
For us, Bartholomew, I implore,
That we, when this life’s course is o’er,
May sing Christ’s praise for evermore ! Amen.”
Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, who gave to your apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach your Word: Grant that your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
25 August. Louis, King of France, (1214-1270). Louis IX of France was canonized by the Church in 1297. A man of unusual purity of life and manners, he was sincerely committed to his faith and to its moral demands. Courageous and fearless in battle, patient and uncomplaining in adversity, he was an impartial, just, and compassionate sovereign. The one word that summarizes his character is integrity. Louis’ crusading adventures in the Middle East and in North Africa were of little historical consequence. Such ventures were part of the piety of his time. Throughout his life he was diligent in attending divine worship, and constant in his charities, both open and secret. Unusually free of the bigotry of his age, Louis had an intelligent interest in the theological issues of his day. But his primary concern was to put Christian ethics into practice in both his personal and his public life. Louis was born at Poissy and was crowned King at Rheims on November 29, 1226. His early religious exercises of devotion and asceticism were inspired by his mother, Blanche of Castile. He died August 25, 1270, while on crusade at Tunis, and was buried with his royal peers in the basilica of St. Denis near Paris. After his canonization, his relics were transferred to the Sainte Chapelle, the lovely Gothic chapel in Paris which he built as a shrine for relics of our Lord’s passion. The building is itself a fitting monument to his genuine piety and beautiful character. Because of his determined effort to live a personal life of Franciscan poverty and self-denial in the midst of worldly power and splendor— he wore a hair shirt under his royal dress—Louis is honored as patron saint of the Third Order of St. Francis.
From a spiritual testament to his son, by Saint Louis: “My dearest Son, my first instruction is that you should love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your strength. Without this there is no salvation. Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases God, that is to say, from every mortal sin. You should permit yourself to be tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you would allow yourself to commit a mortal sin. If the Lord has permitted you to have some trial, bear it willingly and with gratitude, considering that is has happened for your good and that perhaps you well deserved it. If the Lord bestows upon you any kind of prosperity, thank him humbly and see that you become no worse for it, either through vain pride or anything else, because you ought not to oppose God or offend him in the matter of his gifts. Listen to the Divine Office with pleasure and devotion. As long as you are in church, be careful not to let your eyes wander and not to speak empty words, but pray to the Lord devoutly, either aloud or with the interior prayer of the heart. Be kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate, and the afflicted. Give them as much help and consolation as you can. Thank God for all the benefits he has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater. Be just to your subjects, swaying neither to right nor left, but holding the line of justice. Always side with the poor rather than with the rich, until you are certain of the truth. See that all your subjects live in justice and peace, but especially those who have ecclesiastical rank and who belong in religious orders. Be devout and obedient to our mother the Church of Rome and the Supreme Pontiff as your spiritual father. Work to remove all sin from your land, particularly blasphemies and heresies. In conclusion, dearest son, I give you every blessing that a loving father can give a son. May the three Persons of the Holy Trinity and all the saints protect you from every evil. And may the Lord give you the grace to do his will so that he may be served and honored through you, that in the next life we may together come to see him, love him, and praise him unceasingly. Amen”
Collect: O God, you called your servant Louis of France to an earthly throne that he might advance your heavenly kingdom, and gave him zeal for your Church and love for your people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
27 August. Thomas Gallaudet (1822-1902) with Henry Winter Syle (1846-1890). Ministry to the deaf in the Episcopal Church begins with Thomas Gallaudet. Without his genius and zeal for the spiritual well-being of deaf persons, it is improbable that a history of ministry to the deaf in the Episcopal Church could be written. He has been called “The Apostle to the Deaf.” Gallaudet was born in Hartford, the eldest son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, founder of the West Hartford School for the Deaf, whose wife, Sophia, was a deaf-mute. After graduating from Trinity College, Hartford, Thomas announced his intention of being confirmed and becoming a priest in the Episcopal Church. His father prevailed upon him to postpone a final decision, and to accept a teaching position in the New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes. There he met and married Elizabeth Budd, a deaf-mute. Gallaudet was ordained deacon in 1850 and served his diaconate at St. Stephen’s Church, where he established a Bible class for deaf persons. Ordained a priest in 1851, Gallaudet became Assistant at St. Ann’s Church, where he conceived a plan for establishing a church that would be a spiritual home for deaf people. This became a reality the following year, with the founding of St. Ann’s Church for Deaf-Mutes. The congregation was able to purchase a church building in 1859, and it became a center for missionary work to the deaf. As a result of this ministry, mission congregations were established in many cities. Gallaudet died on August 27, 1902. One fruit of Gallaudet’s ministry was Henry Winter Syle, who had lost his hearing as the result of scarlet fever. Educated at Trinity; St. John’s, Cambridge; and Yale (B.A. and M.A.), Syle was a brilliant student, who persisted in his determination to obtain an education, despite his handicap and fragile health. He was encouraged by Gallaudet to seek Holy Orders, and, having moved to Philadelphia, was supported by Bishop Stevens, against the opposition of many who believed that the impairment of one of the senses was an impediment to ordination. Syle was ordained in 1876, the first deaf person to receive Holy Orders in this Church. In 1888, he built the first Episcopal church constructed especially for deaf persons. He died on January 6, 1890.
Quote from Gallaudet: “All of the children of silence must be taught to sing their own song.”
Collect: O Loving God, whose will it is that everyone should come to you and be saved: We bless your holy Name for your servants Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle, whose labors with and for those who are deaf we commemorate today, and we pray that you will continually move your Church to respond in love to the needs of all people; through Jesus Christ, who opened the ears of the deaf, and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
28 August. Saint Augustine (354-430). Augustine, one of the greatest theologians in the history of Western Christianity, was born at Tagaste in North Africa. In his restless search for truth, he was attracted by Manichaeism and Neoplatonism, and was constantly engaged in an inner struggle with his personal morals. Finally, under the influence of his mother Monica, Augustine accepted the Christian faith in the late summer of 386. He was baptized by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, on Easter Eve in 387. After returning to North Africa in 391, Augustine found himself unexpectedly chosen by the people of Hippo to be a presbyter. Four years later he was chosen bishop of that city. His spiritual autobiography, The Confessions of St. Augustine, written shortly before 400 in the form of an extended prayer, is a classic of Western spirituality. Augustine wrote countless treatises, letters, and sermons. They have provided a rich source of new and fresh insights into Christian truth. The Manichaeans had attempted to solve the problem of evil by positing the existence of an independent agency eternally opposed to God. In refutation, Augustine affirmed that all creation is essentially good, having been created by God; and that evil is, properly speaking, the privation of good. A rigorist sect, the Donatists, had split from the Great Church after the persecution of Diocletian in the early fourth century. Against them, Augustine asserted that the Church was “holy,” not because its members could be proved holy, but because God’s grace was active through the sacraments of the Church, regardless of the sanctity of its members or its ministers. Stirred by Alaric the Visigoth’s sack of Rome in 410, Augustine wrote his greatest work, The City of God. In it he writes: “Two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by love of self, even to the contempt of God, the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The earthly city glories in itself, the heavenly city glories in the Lord … In the one, the princes, and the nations it subdues, are ruled by the love of ruling; in the other, the princes and the subjects serve one another in love.” Augustine died on August 28, 430, as the Vandals were besieging his own earthly city of Hippo.
From the Confessions of Saint Augustine: “Urged to reflect upon myself, I entered under your guidance into the inmost depth of my soul. I was able to do so because you were my helper. On entering into myself, I saw, as it were with the eye of my soul, what was beyond the eye of the soul, beyond my spirit: your immutable light. It was not the ordinary light perceptible to all flesh, nor was it merely something of greater magnitude but still essentially akin, shining more clearly and diffusing itself everywhere by its intensity. No, it was something entirely distinct, something altogether different from all these things; and it did not rest above my mind as oil on the surface of water, nor was it above me as heaven is above earth. This light was above me because it had made me; I was below it because I was created by it. He who has come to know the truth knows this light. O eternal truth, true love and beloved eternity. You are my God. To you do I sigh day and night. When I first came to know you, you drew me to yourself so that I might see that there were things for me to see, but that I myself was not yet ready to see them. Meanwhile you overcame the weakness of my vision, sending forth most strongly the beams of your light, and I trembled at once with love and dread. I learned that I was in a region unlike yours and far distant from you, and I thought I heard your voice from on high: ‘I am the food of grown men; grow then, and you will feed on me. Nor will you change me into yourself like bodily food, but you will be changed into me.’ I sought a way to gain the strength which I needed to enjoy you. But I did not find it until I embraced the mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who is above all, God blessed for ever. He was calling me and saying: ‘I am the way of truth, I am the life.’ He was offering the food which I lacked strength to take, the food he had mingled with our flesh. For the Word became flesh, that your wisdom, by which you created all things, might provide milk for us children. Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I love you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.”
Sequence for the Feast of St. Augustine, by Adam of St. Victor (1112-1146),
translated by Digby S. Wrangham:
“Our tuneful strains let us upraise
That endless feast’s delights to praise
When, since thereon no trouble weighs,
The heart observes true sabbath days;
The rapture of a conscience clear,
That perfumes all those joys sincere.
By which it hath rich foretaste here
Of saints’ unending glory there
Where the celestial company
Joys in its home exultingly;
And, giving crowns, their King they see
In all his glorious majesty.
O happy land ! how great its bliss.
That knoweth nought but happiness !
For all the dwellers on that shore
One ceaseless song of praise outpour;
Who those delights’ full sweetness feel.
Which not a trace of grief conceal;
‘Gainst whom no foeman draws the steel.
And who beneath no tempest reel:
Where one day, clear from cloudlet’s haze,
Is better than a thousand days;
Bright with true light’s transcendent rays;
Filled with that knowledge of God’s ways,
To grasp which human reason fails,
Nor human tongue to tell avails.
Till this mortality shall be
Absorbed in that life’s victory;
When God shall all in all appear,
Life, righteousness, and knowledge dear;
Victuals and vesture and whatever
The pious mind would wish to share !
This in this vale of misery
The sober mind’s chief thought should be;
This should it feel, while rest it takes,
This should be with it when it wakes;
How it will in that home, — its days
Of earthly exile past, — fond lays
For ever, crowned, the King to praise
In all His glorious beauty, raise.
These praises, sounding loud and dear,
The Church now imitateth here;
As, in due order, year by year.
The birthdays of her saints appear;
When, after they have fought their fight,
With worth-won honors they are dight;
The martyr crowned with roses bright;
The virgin clad in robes of white.
They too receive a golden chain.
Who doctrines Catholic maintain:
In which Augustine now doth reign.
One of the great King’s shining train;
Whose written volumes’ full array
Are now the one Faith’s strength and stay:
Hence Mother Church avoids the way
Where errors lead mankind astray.
To follow where his steps precede,
And preach the truths He taught indeed.
Mother ! may grace thy servants lead,
And grant the pure warm faith we need ! Amen.”
Collect: Lord God, the light of the minds that know you, the life of the souls that love you, and the strength of the hearts that serve you: Help us, following the example of your servant Augustine of Hippo, so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
28 August. Moses the Black (330-405), Desert Father and Martyr. Moses of Ethiopia, sometimes called Moses the Black, was a fifth century monk who lived in one of several isolated desert monasteries near Scete in Lower Egypt. He was described as being tall, strong, “black of body,” and in his early life, the hot-blooded leader of a marauding robber band. Little is known of his actual life, but an imaginative collection of religious legends has accumulated about him. Such tales point to the deep struggles of a Christian soul seeking salvation in difficult settings. Moses was portrayed as a person of deep excesses, a slave who was both a thief and a murderer, a perennial fornicator who, after he became a monk, still struggled for several years with sexual fantasies. To rid himself of sexual temptation he reportedly stood all night in his cell with his eyes open. This endured for seven years, after which the temptations went away. He led an ascetic life, lived in a simple cell, and ate only ten ounces of dry bread each day. Once when the monks gathered to judge a member who had sinned, Brother Moses arrived carrying a leaky basket filled with sand on his back. He explained that what he was holding behind him represented his own many sins, now hidden from his own view. “And now I have come to judge my brother for a small fault,” he remarked. The other monks then each personally forgave their erring brother and returned to their cells. Moses was not ordained until late in life; also in his later years he founded his own monastery. At about age 75 he was warned that an armed band of raiders was approaching to slay him. “They who live by the sword shall die by the sword,” (Matthew 26:52) the former robber-murderer calmly replied. He and six other brothers waited patiently, and were slain, after which a monastic account, St. Moses the Ethiopian recounts, even crowns descended from heaven over the place where they were martyred.
Excerpt from St. Moses the Black: “I believe that humility of heart precedes all virtues, and the desire of the belly is the source of all passions. Pride is the basis of all vices and love is the origin of all goodness. I live to atone for my past and am in a constant struggle against temptation. I use my past to motivate my faith and extent my disciplines. I increased my prayers, vigils and fasting in an attempt to ward away the temptation to return to my previous life. It is my firm belief that through repentance one can atone for their sins and live a productive and meaningful life.”
Collect: God of transforming power and transfiguring mercy: Listen to the prayers of all who, like Abba Moses, cry to you: “O God whom we do not know, let us know you!” Draw them and all of us from unbelief to faith and from violence into your peace, through the cross of Jesus our Savior; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
29 August. John Bunyan, Writer, (1628-1688). John Bunyan was born at Elstow in Bedfordshire England. Little is known about his early life. His parents were poor; his father was a brazier, a trade that Bunyan also followed for a time. Bunyan had little to no formal education, and he may have learned to read English from reading the Bible. He served as a soldier in the Parliamentary army during the English Civil War, after which he married. His wife introduced him to Arthur Dent’s Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven and Bishop Lewis Bayly’s Practice of Piety, devotional books that set him on the religious path. In 1653 he was baptized into the Bedford Baptist (Independent) Church, and was soon thereafter recognized as a preacher, a vocation at which he excelled. He claimed to have had visions similar to those of Teresa of Avila. After the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Bunyan was targeted and slandered by the new royalist government, along with many others who had supported the revolutionary cause during the Civil War. Under the laws of the restored Stuart regime, congregational meeting houses were closed and citizens were required to attend their Anglican parishes. It was punishable by law for anyone, except those who had been ordained according to Episcopal orders, to conduct services or preach. Bunyan was arrested while preaching in 1660 and spent most of the next twelve years imprisoned in Bedford. While imprisoned, Bunyan wrote the first part of his most famous work, The Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegorical story that was completed in 1684. The Pilgrim’s Progress tells the story of Christian, a lonely pilgrim who must cross such treacherous terrain as the Slough of Despond and the River of Death before finally reaching the Land of Beulah. Along with John Milton’s Paradise Lost, it was one of the most influential works of the seventeenth century, and retained its influence for several centuries thereafter.
An excerpt from the Pilgrim’s Progress: “Then I saw in my Dream, that when they were got out of the Wilderness, they presently saw a Town before them, and the name of that Town is Vanity; and at the Town there is a Fair kept, called Vanity Fair: it is kept all the year long; it beareth the name of Vanity Fair, because the Town where ’tis kept is lighter than Vanity; and also because all that is there sold, or that cometh thither, is Vanity. As is the saying of the wise, All that cometh is Vanity. This Fair is no new-erected business, but a thing of ancient standing; I will shew you the original of it. Almost five thousand years agone, there were Pilgrims walking to the Cœlestial City, as these two honest persons are; and Beelzebub, Apollyon, and Legion, with their Companions, perceiving by the path that the Pilgrims made, that their way to the City lay through this Town of Vanity, they contrived here to set up a Fair; a Fair wherein should be sold all sorts of Vanity, and that it should last all the year long: therefore at this Fair are all such Merchandize sold, as Houses, Lands, Trades, Places, Honors, Preferments, Titles, Countries, Kingdoms, Lusts, Pleasures, and Delights of all sorts, as Whores, Bawds, Wives, Husbands, Children, Masters, Servants, Lives, Blood, Bodies, Souls, Silver, Gold, Pearls, Precious Stones, and what not? And moreover, at this Fair there is at all times to be seen Jugglings, Cheats, Games, Plays, Fools, Apes, Knaves, and Rogues, and that of every kind. Here are to be seen too, and that for nothing, Thefts, Murders, Adulteries, false-swearers, and that of a blood-red color. And as in other Fairs of less moment, there are the several Rows and Streets under their proper names, where such and such Wares are vended; so here likewise you have the proper places, Rows, Streets, (viz. Countries and Kingdoms) where the Wares of this Fair are soonest to be found: Here is the Britain Row, the French Row, the Italian Row, the Spanish Row, the German Row, where several sorts of Vanities are to be sold. But as in other Fairs, some one commodity is as the chief of all the Fair, so the ware of Rome and her Merchandize is greatly promoted in this Fair; only our English nation, with some others, have taken a dislike thereat. Now, as I said, the way to the Cœlestial City lies just through this Town where this lusty Fair is kept; and he that will go to City, and yet not go through this Town, must needs go out of the world. The Prince of Princes himself, when here, went through this Town to his own Country, and that upon a Fair-day too; yea, and as I think, it was Beelzebub, the chief Lord of this Fair, that invited him to buy of his Vanities: yea, would have made him Lord of the Fair, would he but have done him reverence as he went through the Town. Yea, because he was such a person of honor, Beelzebub had him from Street to Street, and shewed him all the Kingdoms of the World in a little time, that he might, (if possible) allure that Blessed One to cheapen and buy some of his Vanities; but he had no mind to the Merchandize, and therefore left the Town, without laying out so much as one Farthing upon these Vanities. This Fair therefore is an ancient thing, of long standing, and a very great Fair.”
Collect: God of peace, you called John Bunyan to be valiant for truth: Grant that as strangers and pilgrims we may at the last rejoice with all the faithful in your heavenly city; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
30 August. Charles Chapman Grafton, Bishop of Fond du Lac, and Ecumenist, (1830-1912). Charles Grafton was born in Boston, and attended Harvard Law School. He was confirmed at Church of the Advent — then a leading parish implementing the principles of the Oxford Movement — where he began seriously to explore his vocation. After graduation he moved to Maryland to study with the Tractarian Bishop William Whittington who eventually ordained him deacon on December 23, 1855, and priest on May 30, 1858. Grafton served a number of parishes in Maryland but experienced a growing attraction to the religious life. In 1865, he left for England specifically to meet Edward Bouverie Pusey. In the following year, after a series of meetings held at All Saints, Margaret Street, Grafton and two others took religious vows and the Society of St. John the Evangelist had its beginning. In 1872, Grafton returned and was elected fourth Rector of the Church of the Advent, Boston. In 1888, Grafton was elected second bishop of Fond du Lac. His consent process was difficult as many thought him too ritualistic, but he soon became known not only as an Anglo-Catholic but also as an ecumenist, deeply committed to improve relations with the Orthodox and Old Catholics. He founded the Sisters of the Holy Nativity. Perhaps the most famous event during Grafton’s long episcopate was the ordination of his successor in 1900. He invited the Russian Orthodox Bishop Tikhon and the Old Catholic Bishop Anthony Kozlowski to participate. The service stirred up furor across the country with the publication of a photograph (called derisively “The Fond du Lac Circus”) that showed all eight Episcopal bishops and the two visiting bishops in cope and miter. It caused a church-wide furor over ritual and vestments that lasted for over six months, with accusations and threats of ecclesiastical trial flying from all corners, and with scurrilous attacks and virulent justifications. When the dust finally settled, the legitimacy of traditional catholic ritual and vestments had thereafter gained a permanent place in the liturgy in the Episcopal Church. Bishop Grafton died August 30, 1912.
Excerpt from The Rise of Ritualism in the Church: “Christianity came into the world not as a doctrine, or offer of salvation, or model of conduct, but as an organization, with a head, offices and rite of initiation. CHRIST, the GOD-man is Christianity. As we must be incorporated into Him and made partaker of His nature, to be made a Christian; so we must be gathered into and made partakers of the powers of His three-fold offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, to be made His minister. The visible Divinely ordained instrumentality for our incorporation into CHRIST is Baptism, that for the second is Episcopal ordination. This second instrumentality CHRIST established by forming the one Order of the Apostolate, which ecclesiastically developed or unfolded itself under the guidance of the HOLY GHOST into three orders. It did this by the progressive gathering into different degrees of fellowship with its own prerogatives, and so with CHRIST’S offices, of deacons, presbyters, and those now called Bishops. According to the earliest known established usage, it was this last and highest order which was so made partaker of CHRIST’S power of ordination, that without its action official ministerial powers cannot be proved to have been conferred.”
Collect: Loving God, you called Charles Chapman Grafton to be a bishop in your Church and endowed him with a burning zeal for souls: Grant that, following his example, we may ever live for the extension of your kingdom, that your glory may be the chief end of our lives, your will the law of our conduct, your love the motive of our actions, and Christ’s life the model and mold of our own; through the same Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, throughout all ages. Amen.
31 August. Aidan (ca. 590-651) and Cuthbert (625-687), Bishops of Lindisfarne. The Gospel first came to the northern England in 627, when King Edwin of Northumbria was converted by missionaries from Canterbury. Edwin’s death in battle in 632 was followed by a severe pagan reaction. A year later, Edwin’s exiled nephew Oswald gained the kingdom, and proceeded at once to restore the Christian mission. During his exile, Oswald had lived at Columba’s monastery of Iona, where he had been converted and baptized. Hence he sent to Iona, rather than to Canterbury, for missionaries. The head of the new mission was a gentle monk named Aidan, who centered his work on Lindisfarne, an island off the northeast coast of England. Aidan and his companions restored Christianity in Northumbria and extended the mission through the midlands as far south as London. Aidan died at Bamborough, on August 31, 651. Bede said of him: “He neither sought nor loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately to the poor whatever was given him by kings or rich men of the world. He traversed both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity. Wherever in his way he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if pagans, to embrace the mystery of the faith; or if they were believers, to strengthen them in the faith and stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works.” Cuthbert was the most popular saint of the pre-Conquest Anglo- Saxon Church. He was born about 625. In response to a vision of the death of Aidan of Lindisfarne, Cuthbert entered religious life and was formed in the austere traditions of Celtic monasticism. He was Prior of Melrose Abbey from 651-664 and was then Prior of Lindisfarne. Made Bishop of Hexham in 684, Cuthbert continued to live in Lindisfarne. He died at his hermitage on March 20, 687. Cuthbert accepted the decisions of the Synod of Whitby in 663 that brought the usages of the English Church in line with Roman practice. He was, therefore, a “healer of the breach” that threatened to divide the church into Celtic and Roman factions.
Collect: Everliving God, you called your servants Aidan and Cuthbert to proclaim the Gospel in northern England and gave them loving hearts and gentle spirits: Grant us grace to live as they did, in simplicity, humility and love for the poor; through Jesus Christ, who came among us as one who serves, and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.