Above: January, by Leandro Bassano
Image in the Public Domain
The first phase of the renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days has ended; I have completed the first twelfth of the process here at SUNDRY THOUGHTS. The number of posts at this weblog has hovered around 1500, give or take a few posts, as I have added, deleted, and replaced some posts and revised others.
Thinking about saints and contemplating sainthood are rewarding spiritual practices. They are foreign to the spiritual traditions of my childhood; the Southern Baptist Convention and The United Methodist Church do not encourage keeping a calendar of saints. Nevertheless, observing an official calendar of saints (in The Episcopal Church) and creating my own such calendar has come naturally to me. I, as a historian, emphasize the great men and women of the past. Also, my inclination is toward the Roman Catholic end of the spectrum in certain ways.
Nevertheless, as helpful as Anglican, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox calendars of saints have proven to be and continue to help me with my own project, I have chosen not to restrict myself to their selections of saints and their assigned feast days. This tendency has proven to be a manifestation of the Protestant side of my spirituality.
Rome has spoken,
many Roman Catholics say, meaning it as a statement of finality and authority. At least half the time I think,
I learn and import much from Holy Mother Church, but I also walk my own path much of the time. After all, Rome took more than 300 years to rescind the pronouncement that Galileo Galilei was a heretic for stating the scientific fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun. The Church also canonized Robert Bellarmine, Galileo’s inquisitor who chose ignorance of good science in lieu of tradition and bad theology, as well as condoning to burning heretics at the stake. (The Ecumenical Calendar does not include St. Robert Bellarmine.)
As I contemplate saints with feast days in January (at least on my Ecumenical Calendar), I understand them to be quite an assortment of people. Sts. Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas, for example, held one opinion regarding the nature of knowledge and certainty; Lesslie Newbigin argued for a different position. Some saints were ascetics, but others lived comfortably. Some were spouses and parents; others chose never to marry. Some were traditionalists, but others were pioneers. I would have liked to have known some saints, but I would not have enjoyed the company of certain others, such as St. Jerome. Some of these saints would have accused me of heresy, but others would have agreed with me, at least partially, or disagreed with me respectfully. So be it.
I anticipate the next phase (February) of the renovation of my Ecumenical Calendar.
KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR
NOVEMBER 25, 2016 COMMON ERA
THE FEAST OF WILLIAM HILEY BATHHURST, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER
THE FEAST OF JAMES OTIS SARGENT HUNTINGTON, FOUNDER OF THE ORDER OF THE HOLY CROSS
THE FEAST OF PETRUS NIGIDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN EDUCATOR AND COMPOSER; AND GEORG NIGIDIUS, GERMAN LUTHERAN COMPOSER AND HYMN WRITER
THE FEAST OF SQUANTO, COMPASSIONATE HUMAN BEING