Above: The Scholar and His Books (1671), by Gerbrand van den Eeckhout
SAINT JOHN OF KANTY, A.K.A. SAINT JOHN CANTIUS OR SAINT JOHN KANTIUS (June 24, 1390-December 24, 1473)
Roman Catholic Theologian
I grew up in a series of United Methodist parsonages in the South Georgia Annual Conference. The United Methodist Church, like other denominations, is diverse, and its character varies widely according to settings, such as rural or urban, cosmopolitan or provincial, Southern or Midwestern. By luck of the draw I got the short straw–rural southern Georgia, where, more often than not, intellectual tendencies made me suspect at worst and without many people to speak to intelligently at best. I sought a church climate where I could find support and encouragement for my union of intellect and spirituality. This quest took me into The Episcopal Church, where I am content.
So imagine, O reader, how much I appreciate St. John of Kanty. Consider his life with me.
The saint entered this world at Kanty, Poland, in 1390. He earned a Ph.D. in 1418, after which he prepared for the priesthood while teaching philosophy at the Jagiellonian University at Krakow. Ordained a priest, the saint became rector of the school of the Canons Regular of the Most Holy Sepulchre, Miechow, which was a prestigious appointment. He returned to the Jagiellonian University in 1429 to teach philosophy. There he remained for the rest of his life, except for a stint as parish priest at Olkusz, due to dismissal from the University due to internal academic politics and offended egos. The saint became head of the Philosophy Department in time then left that post to lead the Theology Department. He also lived very simply, cared for the needs of students, and helped the poor people of Krakow.
Pope Clement XIII canonized the saint in 1676.
One’s intellect is a gift from God; St. John of Kanty understood this well. May we, like the saint, seek God with all that we are.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
NOVEMBER 27, 2011 COMMON ERA
THE FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR B
THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR
THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN
your Holy Spirit gives
to one the word of knowledge,
to another the insight of wisdom,
and to another the steadfastness of faith.
We praise you for the gifts of grace imparted to your servant Saint John of Kanty,
and we pray that by his teaching we may be led
to a fuller knowledge of the truth we have seen
in your Son Jesus, our Savior and Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever. Amen.
Proverbs 3:1-7 or Wisdom 7:7-14
1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 or 1 Corinthians 3:5-11
John 17:18-23 or Matthew 13:47-52
—Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 61