Archive for the ‘August 31’ Category

Feast of St. Nicodemus (August 31)   2 comments

Above:  Nicodemus Coming to Christ, by Henry Ossawa Turner

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT NICODEMUS

Disciple of Jesus

Alternative feast day = August 3

One can read of St. Nicodemus in John 3, 7, and 19.

His arc began in John 3:1-21, in which he, a member of the Sanhedrin, met with Jesus privately at night.  Given the philosophical nature of the Johannine Gospel, night was not just literal, but also metaphorical, indicative of separation from God–as in the light shining in the darkness, and the darkness not comprehending/overcoming it.  In that encounter St. Nicodemus committed the error many people have continued to commit–to interpret the term (in Greek, for both “again” and “from above”) simplistically and superficially–as in “born again.”

[Aside:  In Evangelical circles “born again” has become a major point, for it appeals to the understanding of salvation as an event.  There are many Christians (I am one of them.) who cannot claim honestly that they gave their lives to Christ at a particular moment–such as 2:53 p.m. on a particular day.  God, according to my memory, has always been present in my life.  Besides, in the age of the Church, salvation is a process mediated by sacraments.  (How Catholic of me!)  When one focuses on “born from above,” one ponders the source of salvation, not the timing of it.  But, if anyone is looking for dates, whatever they are worth, I have, from 2008, declared my faith publicly via one baptism (in 1979), one confirmation (in 1991), and two reaffirmations (in 2003 and 2008)–each of the last three in the presence of a bishop in Apostolic Succession.]

St. Nicodemus, having heard Jesus out, utilized the due process argument in Christ’s defense in John 7:50-51.  Other members of the Sanhedrin south to have Jesus arrested without a hearing.  St. Nicodemus, consistent with Torah (Exodus 23:1 and Deuteronomy 1:16, actually) and Rabbi Eleazar ben Redath’s midrash of Exodus 21:3 (“Unless a mortal hears the pleas that a man can put forward, he is not able to give judgment.”) stated that the council should give Christ a hearing first.  This was a politically unpopular argument.

The arc of St. Nicodemus concluded in John 19:38-42.  He and St. Joseph of Arimathea, no longer hiding their faith, wrapped the corpse of Jesus with linen, mixed with 100 Roman pounds (about 75 English pounds) of myrrh and aloes.  The custom was Jewish, by the book.  The amount of myrrh and aloes was extravagant–ridiculous and over-the-top, even.  This was, according to most interpretations, a sign of extravagant faith, dedication, and love.

Luke Timothy Johnson, however, has suggested an alternative motivation:  “Stay dead.  Stay really dead.”

I prefer the conventional interpretation in this matter.

Arthur John Gossip, writing in Volume VIII (1952) of The Interpreter’s Bible, was eloquent regarding St. Nicodemus:

As I see him, Nicodemus was a great soul, possessed of enviable qualities, and bursting through difficulties to which most of us would have tamely surrendered.  Bred in the schools, in a stuffy atmosphere in which very largely the conventional was regarded as the God-given, and where anything new had to fight its way to acceptance through instinctive, watchful, unfair suspicion, he had somehow managed to preserve an open-mindedness that flung its windows wide to God’s sunshine and free air.  So that while his colleagues were already muttering their irritated resentment at this impudent intruder into their province, at this ignorant upstart from the north, with his strange ways and very questionable teaching and ugly disregard for authority, Nicodemus for his part felt that there was something here that could not be dismissed as lightly and as easily as they were doing–something in this new teaching august and true, and that might well be God’s own voice.  This thing must be humbly considered.

And there was nothing but gallantry in the loyalty of that last scene.  Peter had denied his Lord in shameful panic; the rest had scattered or crouched more or less in hiding:  for the crucifixion was a frightful death, and Calvary quite frightfully near; all seemed lost; the cause was out.  But Nicodemus openly stood as Christ’s friend still; and dared fearsome possibilities, only too likely to grow facts, in order to pay the last loving rites to the body of an executed man which was regarded as a sheer pollution.  He had admired and reverenced Christ.  Let the world think what it might, he admired and reverenced him still (19:39).  Truly a great man.

–Page 504

With the burial scene in John 19 the Biblical narrative of St. Nicodemus ends.  I wonder what the rest of his life–especially the next few days–held.  I suppose I know what I really need to know:  At the end, amid great peril and fear, St. Nicodemus was open and extravagant in his faith.

Arthur John Gossip was correct; St. Nicodemus was a great man.

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Loving God, who identified with us and became incarnate in Jesus of Nazareth,

we thank you for your servant Saint Nicodemus,

who progressed from openness to the possibility of the truth of your message in Christ

and became a courageous disciple of him.

May we, inspired by the example of St. Nicodemus,

grow in our Christian faith and give ourselves wholly to you.

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 2

Psalm 1

1 Corinthians 1:18-31

John 19:38-42

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 7, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOSIAH CONDER, ENGLISH JOURNALIST AND CONGREGATIONALIST HYMN WRITER; AND HIS SON, EUSTACE CONDER, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF FRANCIS FLORENTINE HAGEN, U.S. MORAVIAN MINISTER AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HEDDA OF WESSEX, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINTS RALPH MILNER, ROGER DICKINSON, AND LAWRENCE HUMPHREY, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 1591

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for August   Leave a comment

Poppies

Image Source = Santosh Namby Chandran

1 (JOSEPH OF ARIMATHEA, DISCIPLE OF JESUS)

2 (Georg Weissel, German Lutheran Pastor and Hymn Writer)

  • Anna Bernadine Dorothy Hoppe, U.S. Lutheran Hymn Writer and Translator
  • Christian Gottfried Gebhard, German Moravian Composer and Music Educator
  • Peter Julian Eymard, Founder of the Priests of the Blessed Sacrament, the Servants of the Blessed Sacrament, and the Priests’ Eucharistic League; and Organizer of the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament

3 (JOANNA, MARY, AND SALOME, WITNESSES TO THE RESURRECTION)

4 (Frederick William Foster, English Moravian Bishop, Liturgist, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator)

  • Frédéric Janssoone, French Roman Catholic Priest and Friar
  • John Brownlie, Scottish Presbyterian Minister, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns
  • Lambert Beauduin, Belgian Roman Catholic Priest and Pioneer of Liturgical Renewal

5 (Alfred Tennyson, English Poet)

  • Adam of St. Victor, Roman Catholic Monk and Hymn Writer
  • Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald, and Lucas Cranach the Elder, Renaissance Artists
  • George Frederick Root, Poet and Composer

6 (TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST)

7 (Colbert S. Cartwright, U.S. Disciples of Christ Minister, Liturgist, and Witness for Civil Rights)

  • Guglielmo Massaia, Italian Cardinal, Missionary, and Capuchin Friar
  • John Scrimger, Canadian Presbyterian Minister, Ecumenist, and Liturgist
  • Victricius of Rouen, Roman Conscientious Objector and Roman Catholic Bishop

8 (Mary MacKillop, Founder of the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart)

  • Altman, Roman Catholic Bishop of Passau
  • Dominic, Founder of the Order of Preachers
  • Raymond Brown, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Biblical Scholar

9 (Edith Stein, Roman Catholic Nun and Philosopher)

  • Herman of Alaska, Russian Orthodox Monk and Missionary to the Aleut
  • John Dryden, English Puritan then Anglican then Roman Catholic Poet, Playwright, and Translator
  • Mary Sumner, Foundress of the Mothers’ Union

10 (William Walsham How, Anglican Bishop of Wakefield and Hymn Writer; and his sister, Frances Jane Douglas(s), Hymn Writer)

  • John Athelstan Laurie Riley, Anglican Ecumenist, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Cyriaca, Roman Catholic Martyr at Rome, 249; and Sixtus II, His Companions, and Laurence of Rome, Roman Catholic Martyrs at Rome, 258
  • Edward Grzymala and Franciszek Drzewiecki, Polish Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1942

11 (Gregory Thaumaturgus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Neocaesarea; and Alexander of Comana “the Charcoal Burner,” Roman Catholic Martyr and Bishop of Comana, Pontus)

  • Equitius of Valeria, Benedictine Abbot and Founder of Monasteries
  • Matthias Loy, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Educator, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator; and Conrad Hermann Louis Schuette, German-American Lutheran Minister, Educator, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Maurice Tornay, Swiss Roman Catholic Priest, Missionary to Tibet, and Martyr, 1949

12 (Thaddeus Stevens, U.S. Abolitionist, Congressman, and Witness for Civil Rights)

  • Charles Inglis, Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia
  • Józef Stepniak and Józef Straszewski, Polish Roman Catholic Priest and Martyrs, 1942
  • Karl Leisner, German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1945

13 (John Henry Hopkins, Jr., Episcopal Priest and Hymnodist; and his nephew, John Henry Hopkins, III, Episcopal Priest and Musician)

  • Elizabeth Payson Prentiss, U.S. Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • Jeremy Taylor, Anglican Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore
  • John Bajus, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator

14 (William Croft, Anglican Organist and Composer)

  • Matthias Claudius, German Lutheran Writer
  • Maximilian Kolbe, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1941; and Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Episcopal Seminarian and Martyr, 1965
  • Sarah Flower Adams, English Unitarian Hymn Writer; and her sister, Eliza Flower, English Unitarian Composer

15 (MARY OF NAZARETH, MOTHER OF GOD)

16 (John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson, Prime Ministers of Canada; and Tommy Douglas, Federal Leader of the New Democratic Party)

  • Alipius, Roman Catholic Bishop of Tagaste and Friend of St. Augustine of Hippo
  • John Courtney Murray, U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Theologian
  • John Jones of Talysarn, Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Minister and Hymn Tune Composer

17 (Samuel Johnson, Congregationalist Minister, Anglican Priest, President of King’s College, “Father of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut,” and “Father of American Library Classification;” Timothy Cutler, Congregationalist Minister, Anglican Priest, and Rector of Yale College; Daniel Browne, Educator, Congregationalist Minister, and Anglican Priest; and James Wetmore, Congregationalist Minister and Anglican Priest)

  • Baptisms of Manteo and Virginia Dare, 1587
  • George Croly, Anglican Priest, Poet, Historian, Novelist, Dramatist, Theologian, and Hymn Writer
  • William James Early Bennett, Anglican Priest

18 (Artemisia Bowden, African-American Educator and Civil Rights Activist)

  • Erdmann Neumeister, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Francis John McConnell, U.S. Methodist Bishop and Social Reformer
  • Jonathan Friedrich Bahnmaier, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

19 (Sixtus III, Bishop of Rome)

  • Blaise Pascal, French Roman Catholic Scientist, Mathematician, and Theologian
  • Magnus and Agricola of Avignon, Roman Catholic Bishops of Avignon
  • William Hammond, English Moravian Hymn Writer

20 (ZACCHAEUS, PENITENT TAX COLLECTOR AND ROMAN COLLABORATOR)

21 (Bruno Zembol, Polish Roman Catholic Friar and Martyr, 1942)

  • Camerius, Cisellus, and Luxorius of Sardinia, Martyrs, 303
  • Martyrs of Edessa, Circa 304
  • Maximilian of Antioch, Circa 353; and Bonosus and Maximianus the Soldier, Martyrs, 362

22 (Jack Layton, Canadian Activist and Federal Leader of the New Democratic Party)

  • Hryhorii Khomyshyn, Symeon Lukach, and Ivan Slezyuk, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Bishops and Martyrs, 1947, 1964, and 1973
  • John Kemble and John Wall, English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1679
  • Thomas Percy, Richard Kirkman, and William Lacey, English Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1572 and 1582

23 (Martin de Porres and Juan Macias, Humanitarians and Dominican Lay Brothers; Rose of Lima, Humanitarian and Dominican Sister; and Turibius of Mogrovejo, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Lima)

  • Theodore O. Wedel, Episcopal Priest and Biblical Scholar; and his wife, Cynthia Clark Wedel, U.S. Psychologist and Episcopal Ecumenist

24 (BARTHOLOMEW THE APOSTLE, MARTYR)

25 (Michael Faraday, Scientist)

  • Andrea Bordino, Italian Roman Catholic Lay Brother
  • Maria Troncatti, Italian Roman Catholic Nun
  • William John Copeland, Anglican Priest and Hymn Translator

26 (Frederick William Herzberger, U.S. Lutheran Minister, Humanitarian, and Hymn Translator)

  • Levkadia Harasymiv, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Nun, and Martyr, 1952
  • Luigi Beltrame Quattrocchi and Maria Corsini Beltrame Quattrocchi, Italian Roman Catholic Humanitarians
  • Teresa of Jesus, Jornet y Ibars, Catalan Roman Catholic Nun and Cofoundress of the Little Sisters of the Abandoned Elderly

27 (Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle, Episcopal Priests and Educators of the Deaf)

  • Amadeus of Clermont, French Roman Catholic Monk; and his son, Amadeus of Lausanne, French-Swiss Roman Catholic Abbot and Bishop
  • Dominic Barberi, Roman Catholic Apostle to England
  • Henriette Luise von Hayn, German Moravian Hymn Writer

28 (Ambrose of Milan, Roman Catholic Bishop; Monica of Hippo, Mother of St. Augustine of Hippo; and Augustine of Hippo, Roman Catholic Bishop of Hippo Regius)

  • Denis Wortman, U.S. Dutch Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Laura S. Coperhaver, U.S. Lutheran Hymn Writer and Missionary Leader
  • Moses the Black, Roman Catholic Monk, Abbot, and Martyr

29 (BEHEADING OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST)

30 (Jeanne Jugan, Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor)

  • John Leary, U.S. Roman Catholic Social Activist and Advocate for the Poor and Marginalized
  • Karl Otto Eberhardt, German Moravian Organist, Music Educator, and Composer

31 (NICODEMUS, DISCIPLE OF JESUS)

 

Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.