Archive for the ‘December 2’ Category

Feast of Maura Clarke and Her Companions (December 2)   4 comments

Above:  Flag of El Salvador

Image in the Public Domain

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MARY ELIZABETH CLARKE (JANUARY 3, 1931-DECEMBER 2, 1980)

ITA FORD (APRIL 23, 1940-DECEMBER 2, 1980)

DOROTHY LU KAZEL (JUNE 30, 1939-DECEMBER 2, 1980)

JEAN DONOVAN (APRIL 10, 1953-DECEMBER 2, 1980)

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U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS IN EL SALVADOR, DECEMBER 2, 1980

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What do you do when even to help the poor, to take care of the orphans, is considered an act of subversion by the government?

–Jean Donovan, December 1, 1980

One becomes a martyr.

These four women served God faithfully, especially among poor people, and followed Jesus to death.  Each one took up her cross and followed Christ.

The Cold War made for morally untenable compromises.  During U.S. presidential administrations of both major parties, the federal government supported brutal military dictatorships that targeted those who worked among the desperately poor.  The rationale for supporting such repressive regimes was that at least they were not communists.  One of these governments ran El Salvador.  Military death squads executed many, who in the name of Christ, worked with the poor, as well as many of those poor civilians, all in the name of fighting communism.

Dorothy Lu Kazel (1939-1980) had been Sister Laurentine of the Ursulline Sisters of Cleveland, Ohio, since 1960.  The native of Cleveland had taught at the Sacred Heart Academy in East Cleveland (starting in 1965) and taught catechism to deaf students at the St. Martin de Porres Center, Glennville, Ohio.  After serving as a missionary to the Papago tribe in Arizona in 1969, Kazel returned to Cleveland and earned her M.A. in counseling (1974).  That year she worked briefly at the Beaumont School for Girls, Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  In 1974 she joined a mission of the Diocese of Cleveland to El Salvador.  In that country Kazel, workin with the poor in dangerous circumstances, became “Madre Dorthea.”

Jean Donovan was a Maryknoll Lay Missioner in El Salvador.  She, born in Westport, Connecticut, on April 10, 1953, had been a business consultant in Cleveland, Ohio.  Donovan, having earned her M.A. in Business Administration from Case Western Reserve University, had gone to work for the firm of Arthur Andersen.  She had also begun to  volunteer with poor people in Cleveland.  The call to serve God in the poor took precedence.  Donovan quit her job, joined the Maryknolls, and trained to become a missionary.  She arrived in El Salvador in July 1979.

Donovan and Kazel worked together in El Salvador.  They were some of those who kept vigil with the casket of St. Oscar Romero (1917-1980) in March 1980.  They witnesses the military attack on the large crowd at his funeral on March 30, 1980.  Hundreds suffered injuries and forty-four died.  Donovan and Kazel knew the risks they took daily, and that each day could be their last.

Donovan was no fool, especially about U.S. military helicopters.  Her father build them for a living.  One day in November 1980, Donovan, 27 years old, riding her motorbike, noticed a U.S. military helicopter following her.  She recognized its name and model.  When Donovan asked the U.S. Ambassador about the helicopter, he denied the presence of any such equipment in the country.

Maura Clarke and Ita Ford were Maryknoll Sisters.

Clarke, born in Queens, New York, New York, on January 13, 1931, was a daughter of Irish immigrants.  She joined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1950 and made her vows in 1953.  After graduating from the Maryknoll Teachers College in 1954, she taught at St. Antony’s Parish School, in the Bronx.  Then Clarke spent 1959-1977 working with poor people in Nicaragua.  She spent 1977-1980 in the United States as part of a Maryknoll Sisters World Awareness Team.  She worked mostly on the East Coast.  Our saint returned to Nicaragua in 1980.  There she remained consistently until August.

Ita Ford, born in Brooklyn, New York, New York, on April 23, 1940, joined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1961, having graduated from Marymount College.  Failing health forced Ford out of the order in 1964, but she returned seven years later.  She worked as an editor at Sadlier publishers from 1964 to 1971.  She rejoined the Maryknoll Sisters in 1971.  The order sent Ford to Chile in 1973, shortly after the CIA-sponsored coup d’état that over threw the Allende government and installed Augusto Pinochet, who terrorized the civilian population for 18 years.  She left Chile for El Salvador in 1980, shortly after the assassination of Archbishop Romero.  In El Salvador Ford worked with Sister Carol Piette (September 29, 1939-August 23, 1980).  Piette and Ford were escorting a recently released prisoner to his home when they became caught up in a flood.  Piette gave her life to save those of Ford and the former prisoner.

Ford joined with Clarke in Nicaragua later that month.  Ford returned to Chalatango, El Salvador, with Clarke replacing Piette.  Later the women returned to Nicaragua briefly.  They returned to El Salvador on December 2, 1980.  Kazel and Donovan met them at the airport.

Soldiers abducted the women, beat all of them, raped Kazel and Donovan, and shot each woman in the back of her head.

The U.S. Government’s response was inconsistent.  The Carter Administration, set to expire in just over a month, suspended military aid to El Salvador.  Its policy toward brutal governments in El Salvador had been inconsistent, despite Carter’s pronouncements about the importance of human rights in foreign policy.  The Carter Administration had long been aware of the El Salvadoran death squads.  Archbishop Romero’s martyrdom in March 1980 had prompted international outrage.  The Reagan Administration, which did not link human rights to foreign policy in Latin America, restored military assistance and never pressured the government of El Salvador to respect the human rights of its citizens or those of the United States.  At least the government of El Salvador, with its death squads, was fighting communists, right?  The Carter Administration’s hypocrisy and the Reagan Administration’s indifference regarding human rights in Central America were both objectionable, but the former was preferable to the latter.

Clarke reflected,

One cries out, “Lord, how long?  And then too what creeps into my mind is the little fear or big, that when it touches me very personally, will I be faithful?”

–Quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 526

All four women were faithful to the end.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 22, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALBAN, FIRST BRITISH MARTYR

THE FEAST OF DESIDERIUS ERASMUS, DUTCH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, BIBLICAL AND CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, AND CONTROVERSIALIST; SAINT JOHN FISHER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, BISHOP OF ROCHESTER, CARDINAL, AND MARTYR; AND SAINT THOMAS MORE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC CLASSICAL SCHOLAR, JURIST, THEOLOGIAN, CONTROVERSIALIST, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF GERHARD GIESCHEN, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAULINUS OF YORK, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF NOLA

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Almighty God, who gave to your servants Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Jean Donovan

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of the world, and courage to die for this faith:

Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us,

and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

2 Esdras 2:42-48

Psalm 126 or 122

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 713

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Feast of Blessed Rafal Chylinski (December 2)   2 comments

Above:  Blessed Rafal Chylinski

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED RAFAL CHYLINSKI (JANUARY 8, 1694-DECEMBER 2, 1741)

Polish Franciscan Roman Catholic Priest

Sometimes reading about the life a devout priest benefits one spiritually.

Melchior Chylinski, born in Buk, Poznan, Poland, on January 8, 1694, spent his life glorifying God.  Our saint was so pious as a child that his family called him “the little monk.”  He graduated from the Jesuit college at Poznan then joined the Polish cavalry.  Chylinski became an officer within three years yet left the military in 1775.  He joined the Conventual Friars Minor at Krakow.  The renamed saint, known as Rafal, became a priest in 1717.

The priesthood was Chylinski’s best destiny.  He served in parishes in nine cities.  Our saint spent almost two years ministering to victims of disease and flooding in Warsaw.  At Lagiewniki, where Chylinski spent the final thirteen years of his life, he helped the poor practically, distributing food, clothing, and supplies.  Our saint also accompanied hymns on the harp, mandolin, and flute.  Chylinski also faithfully tended to other priestly duties, such as hearing confessions and delivering sermons.  He died, aged 47 years, on December 2, 1741.

The Church honored Chylinski.  Pope Pius XII declared our saint a Venerable in 1949.  Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1991.

Much of the work of a pastor seems mundane.  Yet, as anyone who pays attention to life understands, that which means little to one person means much to another.  Furthermore, mundane does not mean insignificant.

Chylinski lived his vocation as a faithful priest; that was enough.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 21, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA, JESUIT

THE FEAST OF BERNARD ADAM GRUBE, GERMAN-AMERICAN MINISTER, MISSIONARY, COMPOSER, AND MUSICIAN

THE FEAST OF CARL BERNHARD GARVE, GERMAN MORAVIAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JOHN JONES AND JOHN RIGBY, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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Heavenly Father, Shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Blessed Rafal Chylinski,

who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock;

and we pray that, following his example and the teaching of his holy life,

we may by your grace grow into the stature of the fullness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

Psalm 23

1 Peter 5:1-4

John 21:15-17

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 718

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Feast of Sts. Hormisdas and Silverius (December 2)   8 comments

Above:  The Roman Empire in 565

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT HORMISDAS (DIED AUGUST 6, 523)

Bishop of Rome

His feast transferred from August 6

father of

SAINT SILVERIUS (DIED DECEMBER 2, 537)

Bishop of Rome, and Martyr, 537

Alternative feast day = June 20

Sts. Hormisdas and Silverius, father and son, had to contend with imperial and international politics.  The Roman Empire, with its capital at Constantinople, wanted to retake Italy.  The Ostrogothic kings of Italy disagreed.

St. Hormisdas was a reconciler.  He, a married layman prior to ordination, worked closely with Pope St. Symmachus (in office 498-514).  St. Symmachus had a rival, the antipope Lawrence (498-499, 501-506; died 507 or 508).  The schism led to years of violence in the streets of Rome.  St. Symmachus had permitted Lawrence to retire.  St. Hormisdas, elected to succeed St. Symmachus on July 20, 514, completed the healing by welcoming the remaining, hardcore supporters of Lawrence back into the fold.

St. Hormisdas also ended the Acacian Schism (484-519).  In 584, Acacius, the Patriarch of Constantinople, had compromised regarding Chalcedonian Christology.  He had omitted the doctrine that Jesus had two natures–human and divine.  This was a way of assuaging Monophysites, who thought that Jesus had only a divine nature.  Pope St. Felix III (II) (in office 483-492) had excommunicated Acacius.  For decades the church was split, East and West.  The accession of Emperor Justin I (reigned 518-527), a Chalcedonian Christian, created the opportunity for reunion.  That reunion also had a political purpose; Justin I and his nephew, Justinian I “the Great” (reigned 527-565), wanted Italy back.  Ecclesiastical reunification helped imperial reconquest.

St. Hormisdas, who commissioned St. Dionysius Exiguus (circa 500-circa 550) to translate the canons of the Greek Church into Latin, died on August 6, 523.

The next Bishops of Rome were:

  1. St. John I (August 13, 523-May 10, 526),
  2. St. Felix IV (III) (July 12, 526-September 22, 530),
  3. Boniface II (September 22, 530-October 17, 532),
  4. John II (January 2, 533-May 8, 535), and
  5. St. Agapitus I (May 13, 535-April 22, 536).

There was also an antipope, Dioscorus, briefly (September 22-October 14, 530).

St. Agapitus I died in Constantinople on April 22, 536.  He had displeased Empress Theodora, a Monophysite, by deposing Anthimus, the (Monophysite) Patriarch of Constantinople.  Theodora wanted Antimus restored to his office.  She offered a quid pro quo to the nuncio, deacon Vigilius; she would make him the Pope if he, as the Bishop of Rome, would restore Anthimus to office.  Vigilius agreed then returned to Rome.

Vigilius arrived too late.  Theodahad (reigned 534-536), the last Ostrogothic king of Italy, had already forced the election of subdeacon St. Silverius, son of St. Hormisdas, on June 8, 536.  The new Pope never had a chance, for he was a pawn of one leader and the target of another.

Imperial forces occupied Rome on December 10, 536.  St. Silverius and the Roman Senate, seeking to prevent bloodshed, urged the citizens to surrender to the Roman Army.  Meanwhile, the Ostrogothic Army beseiged the city.  St. Silverius, framed via forged documents, was, according to Imperial authorities, cooperating with the Ostrogoths.  Theodora orchestrated the removal of St. Silverius from office on March 11, 537.  Vigilius became the next Pope on March 29.

St. Silverius, a prisoner, became a monk and an exile at Patara, Lycia, Anatolia.  The local bishop interceded on his behalf with Justinian I, who ordered a fair trial and the return of St. Silverius to Rome.  The result of an acquittal would be restoration to the See of Rome; the result of a conviction would be reassignment to a different see.  None of that came to pass, however.  Vigilius sent agents to St. Silverius; they forced his abdication on November 11, 537.  Our saint, having never returned to Rome, died of starvation and other hardships on December 2, 537.

Vigilius engaged in political conflicts with Justinian I and Theodora during his tenure, which ended with death by natural causes (gall stones) on June 7, 555.  He had been unpopular in life.  He remained so in death.

Sts. Hormisdas and Silverius manifested reconciling spirits and concern for people.  St. Silverius did his best, but others had plans for him.  He was faithful to the end, starving in exile.

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God of shalom, we thank you for the reconciling spirit of St. Hormisdas

and the commitment unto death of St. Silverius, Bishops of Rome.

May we also lead conciliatory lives and be willing, if necessary,

to remain faithful unto persecution, ill treatment, and martyrdom,.

May the light of your love shine through us no matter what,

so that we may live and die as agents of divine grace.

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

Tobit 3:1-6

Psalm 2

2 Corinthians 5:11-21

Luke 6:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 20, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH AUGUSTUS SEISS, U.S. LUTHERAN MINISTER, LITURGIST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF CHARLES COFFIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF HANS ADOLF BRORSON, DANISH LUTHERAN BISHOP, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JOHANN FRIEDRICH HERTZOG, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

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Holiday Busyness   2 comments

Above:  A Domestic Scene, December 8, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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On my bed when I think of you,

I muse on you in the watches of the night,

for you have always been my help;

in the shadow of your wings I rejoice;

my heart clings to you,

your right hand supports me.

–Psalm 63:6-8, The New Jerusalem Bible (1985)

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In my U.S. culture, the time from Thanksgiving (late November) to New Year’s Day is quite busy.  Holidays populate the calendar.  Some of these holidays are, for lack of a better word, ecumenical.  Others are religiously and/or culturally specific, though.  Christmas, originally the Christ Mass, has become an occasion, for many, to worship the Almighty Dollar at the high altar of commercialism.  This is how many Evangelicals of the Victorian Era wanted matters to be.

On the relatively innocuous side, this is the time of the year to populate one’s calendar with holiday social events, such as parties, school plays, and seasonal concerts.  Parents often like to attend their children’s events, appropriately.  Holiday concerts by choral and/or instrumental ensembles can also be quite pleasant.

Yet, amid all this busyness (sometimes distinct from business), are we neglecting the innate human need for peace and quiet?  I like classical Advent and Christmas music, especially at this time of the year (all the way through January 5, the twelfth day of Christmas), but I have to turn it off eventually.  Silence also appeals to me.  Furthermore, being busy accomplishing a worthy goal is rewarding, but so is simply being.

The real question is one of balance.  Given the absence of an actual distinction between the spiritual and the physical, everything is spiritual.  If we are too busy for God, silence, and proper inactivity, we are too busy.  If we are too busy to listen to God, we are too busy.  If we are too busy or too idle, we are not our best selves.

May we, by grace, strike and maintain the proper balance.  May we, especially at peak periods of activity, such as the end of the year, not overextend ourselves, especially in time commitments.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 14, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE THIRTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT VENANTIUS HONORIUS CLEMENTIUS FORTUNATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF POITIERS

THE FEAST OF DOROTHY ANN THRUPP, ENGLISH HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF ROBERT MCDONALD, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND MISSIONARY

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Published originally at BLOGA THEOLOGICA

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Feast of Channing Moore Williams (December 2)   Leave a comment

channing-moore-williams

Above:  Bishop Channing Moore Williams

Image in the Public Domain

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CHANNING MOORE WILLIAMS (JULY 18, 1829-DECEMBER 2, 1910)

Episcopal Missionary Bishop in China and Japan

Channing Moore Williams helped to build up the church in China and Japan.  This work filled 53 of his 81 years.

Williams, one of six children, entered the world at Richmond, Virginia, on July 18, 1829.  His family was active in The Episcopal Church.  His father was John Green Williams.  Our saint’s mother was Mary Anne Crignan Williams, widowed in 1832.  Young Channing, at the age of 18 years, moved to Henderson, Kentucky, to work in a cousin’s general store.  There he also studied informally.  Williams, confirmed in 1849, attended the College of William and Mary (M.A., 1852) then the Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia, from which he graduated in 1855.

Williams acted on his interest in foreign missions.  He, ordained to the diaconate on July 1, 1855, sailed to Shanghai in November of that year.  Ordination to the priesthood followed on January 1, 1857.  Our saint and John Liggins (1829-1912), former classmates at seminary, left China to become the first two Episcopal missionaries in Japan, arriving at Nagasaki on July 1, 1859.  Ill health forced Liggins to return to the United States the following year, but Williams remained until 1866.  On October 3 of that year he became the second Bishop of Shanghai, with responsibility for the Episcopal missionary work in China and Japan.  For eight years our saint divided his time between the two countries.  Finally, on October 23, 1874, he became responsible for work in Japan alone.  His new title was Missionary Bishop of Yedo.  (The Missionary District of Yedo was Japan.)  Williams, who was fluent in Japanese, founded churches and schools and converted many Japanese people to Christianity.  In 1887 he oversaw the merger of the Japanese missions of The Episcopal Church and The Church of England to form Nippon Sei Ko Kai, or the Holy Catholic Church of Japan, also known as the Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan.  He served as its first bishop.  In 1889 Williams, citing health concerns, asked for the appointment of his successor, who arrived four years later.  Our saint relocated to Kyoto, where he evangelized until 1908.

Williams returned to the United States in 1908.  He died at Richmond on December 2, 1910.  He was 81 years old.

Nippon Sei Ko Kai, founded with fewer than 1000 members, had grown to encompass about 57,000 souls in 315 congregations, organized into 11 dioceses, in 2005.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THOMAS JOHNSON, JOHN DAVY, AND THEIR COMPANIONS

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CHALMERS SMITH, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Channing Moore Williams,

whom you called to preach to the people of China and Japan.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 49:22-23

Psalm 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 97

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Feast of Gerald Thomas Noel, Baptist Wriothesley Noel, and Caroline Maria Noel (December 2)   2 comments

09011v

Above:  Winchester Cathedral, Between 1890 and 1900

Published by Detroit Publishing Company, 1905

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-09011

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GERALD THOMAS NOEL (DECEMBER 2, 1782-FEBRUARY 24, 1851)

Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

brother of

BAPTIST WRIOTHESLEY NOEL (JULY 16, 1798-JANUARY 19, 1873)

Anglican Priest, English Baptist Evangelist, and Hymn Writer

uncle of

CAROLINE MARIA NOEL (JULY 10, 1817-DECEMBER 7, 1877)

Anglican Hymn Writer

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One name–that of Caroline Maria Noel–led me to two more–those of her father and her uncle.  It is good to write about saints in the context of family, for families should foster righteousness.

Charles Noel Noel (1781-1866) was the first Earl of Gainsborough.  The title “Earl of Gainsborough” passed down through his lineage.

This post is about three of his relatives, however.

Gerald Thomas Noel (1782-1851), educated at Edinburgh and Cambridge, took Anglican Holy Orders.  He served as the Curate of Radwell then the Vicar of Rainham and Romsey then Canon of Winchester Cathedral.  He wrote hymns and books.  His books were:

  • A Selection of Psalms from the New Version of the Church of England and Others; Corrected and Revised for Public Worship (1810);
  • Arvendel, or Sketches in Italy and Switzerland (1813);
  • Fifty Sermons for the Use of Families (1830); and
  • Sermons Preached in Romsey (1853).

One of his hymns follows:

If human kindness meets return,

And owns the grateful tie;

If tender thoughts within us burn,

To feel a friend is nigh;–

O shall not warmer accents tell

The gratitude we owe

To Him who died, our fears to quell,

Our more than orphan’s woe!

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While yet his anguished soul surveyed

Those pangs he would not flee,

What love his latest words displayed,–

“Meet and remember me!”

Remember thee!  thy death, thy shame

Our sinful hearts to share!

O memory, leave no other name

But his recorded there!

And here is another:

When musing sorrow weeps the past,

And mourns the present pain,

‘Tis sweet to think of peace at last,

And feel that death is gain.

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‘Tis not that murmuring thoughts arise,

And dread a Father’s will;

‘Tis not that meek submission flies,

And would not suffer still:

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It is that heaven-born faith surveys

The path that leads to light,

And longs her eagle plumes to raise,

And lose herself in sight:

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It is that hope with ardor glows,

To see Him face to face,

Whose dying love no language knows

Sufficient to trace.

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O let me wing my hallowed flight

From earth born woe and care,

And soar above these clouds of night,

My Saviour’s bliss to share!

His grave is at the Abbey Church of Romsey.

Gerald had another brother, Baptist Wriothesley Noel (1798-1873), born at Leighmont, Scotland.  The 1821 Cambridge graduate took Anglican Holy Orders.  In 1827 he began to serve at St. John’s Chapel, Bedford Row, London, where he established a reputation for evangelical preaching.  In 1846, while at St. John’s Chapel, he helped to found the Evangelical Alliance (http://www.eauk.org/).  Two years later he converted to the Baptists, serving as a minister of John Street Chapel, London, from 1849 to 1868 and serving two terms as the leader of the Baptist Union.  Baptist Noel was also an active philanthropist in London and an ardent abolitionist who supported the federal side in the U.S. Civil War (1861-1865).

Baptist Noel’s writings included the following:

  • Essay on the Union of Church and State (1848);
  • Essay on Christian Baptism (1849); and
  • Freedom and Slavery in the United States of America (1863).

One of his hymns follows:

There’s not a bird with lonely nest,

In pathless wood or mountain crest,

Nor meaner thing, which does not share,

O God, in Thy pastoral care.

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Each banner crag, each desert rude,

Holds Thee within its solitude;

And Thou dost bless the wand’rer there,

Who makes his solitary prayer.

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In busy mart and crowded street,

No less than in the still retreat,

Thou, Lord, art near, our souls to bless

With all a parent’s tenderness.

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And we, where’er our lot is cast,

While life, and thought, and feeling last,

Through all the years in every place,

Will bless Thee for Thy boundless grace.

He died at Stanmere, Middlesex, England.

Finally we arrive at the saint of whom I intended to write all along.

Caroline Maria Noel (1817-1877), daughter of Gerald and niece of Baptist and Charles, was born in Kent.  She wrote her first hymn at the tender age of seventeen years.  Between ages of twenty and forty, however, she wrote no hymns.  Caroline resumed writing hymns after that, however.  The last twenty-five years of her life were filled with increasingly severe illnesses.  In this context she wrote primarily to assure others that there was divine comfort for those who suffer.  Her hymns, intended mostly for private meditations, appeared in two volumes:

  • The Name of Jesus, and Other Verses for the Sick and Lonely (1861); and
  • The Name of Jesus, and Other Poems (1878).

Perhaps her most famous hymn is “At the Name of Jesus,” a processional hymn for the Feast of the Ascension from 1870:

At the name of Jesus,

Ev’ry knee shall bow,

Ev’ry tongue confess him

King of glory now.

‘Tis the Father’s pleasure

We should call him Lord,

Who from the beginning

Was the mighty Word.

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At his voice creation

Sprang at once to sight,

All the angel faces,

All the hosts of light,

Thrones and dominations,

Stars upon their way,

All the heavenly orders

In their vast array.

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Humbled for a season,

To receive a name

From the lips of sinners

Unto whom he came,

Faithfully he bore it,

Spotless to the last,

Brought it back victorious

When from death he passed;

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Bore it up triumphant

With its human light,

Through the ranks of creatures

To the central height,

To the throne of Godhead,

To the Father’s breast,

Filled it with the glory

Of that perfect rest.

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In your hearts enthrone him;

There let him subdue

All that is not holy,

All that is not true:

Crown him as your captain

In temptation’s hour;

Let his will enfold you

In its light and pow’r.

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Christians, this Lord Jesus

Shall return again

In his Father’s glory

With his angel train;

For all wreaths of empire

Meet upon his brow,

And our hearts confess him

King of glory now.

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Glory then to Jesus,

Who, the Prince of light,

To a world in darkness

Brought the gift of sight;

Praise to God the Father;

In the Spirit’s love

Praise we all together

Him who reigns above.

Caroline’s grave is next to that of her father at Romsey.

I invite you, O reader, to join me in honoring the legacies of these saints.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 25, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE INAUGURATION OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST, 1957

THE FEAST OF JAMES WELDON JOHNSON, POET AND NOVELIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM OF VERCELLI, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT; AND SAINT JOHN OF MATERA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Gerald Thomas Noel, Baptist Wriothesley Noel, Caroline Maria Noel,

and others, who have composed hymn texts.

May we, as you guide us,

find worthy hymn texts to be icons,

through which we see you.

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

Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:1-3a, 5-15

Psalm 147

Revelation 5:11-14

Luke 2:8-20

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 20, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS AMATOR OF AUXERRE AND GERMANUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS; SAINT MAMERTINUS OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT; AND SAINT MARCIAN OF AUXERRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF JOHANNES BUGENHAGEN, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARCELLINUS OF EMBRUN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF OLAVUS AND LAURENTIUS PETRI, RENEWERS OF THE CHURCH

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First Sunday of Advent, Year C   Leave a comment

Above:  An Ocean Storm

Image Source = Mila Zinkova

Blameless in the Sight of Our Lord and Father

DECEMBER 2, 2018

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Jeremiah 33:14-16 (New Revised Standard Version):

The days are surely coming,

says the LORD,

when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah.  In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.  In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety.  And this is the name by which it will be called:  ”The LORD is our righteousness.”

Psalm 25:1-9 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

1  To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;

my God, I put my trust in you;

let me not be humiliated,

nor let my enemies triumph over me.

2  Let none who look to you be put to shame;

let the treacherous be disappointed in their schemes.

3  Show me your ways, O LORD,

and teach me your paths.

4  Lead me in your truth and teach me,

for you are the God of my salvation;

in you have I trusted all the day long.

5  Remember, O LORD, your compassion and love,

for they are from everlasting.

6  Remember not the sins of my youth and my transgressions;

remember me according to your love

and for the sake of your goodness, O LORD.

7  Gracious and upright is the LORD;

therefore he teaches sinners in his way.

8  He guides the humble in doing right

and teaches his way to the lowly.

9  All the paths of the LORD are love and faithfulness

to those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

1 Thessalonians 3:9-13 (New Jerusalem Bible):

How can we thank God enough for you, for all the joy we feel before our God on your account?  We are earnestly praying night and day to be able to see you face to face again and make up any shortcomings in your faith.

May God our Father himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, make it easy for us to come to you.  May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you.  And may he so conform your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.

Luke 21:25-31 (Revised English Bible):

[Jesus continued:]

Portents will appear in sun and moon and stars.  On earth nations will stand helpless, not knowing which way to turn from the roar and surge of the sea.  People will faint with terror at the thought of what is coming upon the world; for the celestial powers will be shaken.  Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  When all this begins to happen, stand upright and hold your heads high, because your liberation is near.

Jesus told them a parable:

Look at the fig tree, or at any other tree.  As soon as it bud, you can see for yourselves that summer is near.  In the same way, when you see all this happening, you may know that the kingdom of God is near.

Truly I tell you:  the present generation will live to see it all.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

The Collect:

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Advent Prayers of Dedication:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/advent-prayers-of-dedication/

Advent Prayers of Praise and Adoration:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/09/10/advent-prayers-of-praise-and-adoration/

An Advent Prayer:  Expectant God:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/an-advent-prayer-expectant-god/

An Advent Prayer:  Divine Light:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/an-advent-prayer-divine-light/

An Advent Prayer:  The Word of God is Near:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/an-advent-prayer-the-word-of-god-is-near/

An Advent Prayer of Confession:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/an-advent-prayer-of-confession/

Advent Prayers of Thanksgiving:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/advent-prayers-of-thanksgiving/

An Advent Blessing:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/an-advent-blessing/

An Advent Prayer:  Expectant Hearts:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/an-advent-prayer-expectant-hearts/

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Advent is about what God has done, is doing, and will do.  God–in the form of Jesus–became human and dwelt among us.  God is present with us in the form of the Holy Spirit.  And we have the promise of a return of Christ.  Much of the New Testament reflects the unfulfilled expectation that he would return nearly 1,900 years ago.  Many times since then predicted dates for the Second Coming have passed without Jesus making a repeat appearance.  God’s timing is not ours.  So be it.

We who call ourselves Christians bear the responsibility to be salt and light in the world, to leave our part of it better than we found it.  We are at our best when we do that rather than slaughter each other over doctrinal disputes.  So may we be the best salt and the brightest light we can be, so that, regardless of what God’s timing turns out to be, we

may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father.  (1 Thessalonians 3:13, The New Jerusalem Bible).

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 3, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN OWEN SMITH, UNITED METHODIST BISHOP IN GEORGIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS XAVIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY IN ASIA

Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS