Archive for the ‘January 7’ Category

Feast of St. Angela of Foligno (January 7)   Leave a comment


Above:  St. Angela of Foligno

Image in the Public Domain



Penitent and Humanitarian

Her feast transferred from January 4

Alternative feast day = March 30


Let us go and look for Christ our Lord.  We will go to the hospital and perhaps among the sick and the suffering we shall find Him.

–St. Angela of Foligno, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), page 15


St. Angela of Foligno spent much of her life helping the poor of that city.

We know little about the life of St. Angela of Foligno until the 1280s.  We do know that she was the wife of a wealthy merchant of Foligno, Italy, and that she enjoyed the benefits of his success more than she should have done, to the detriment of soul; wealth became an idol for her.  We also know that St. Angela enjoyed wearing flashy clothing, gossiping, and flirting with men.  Furthermore, we know that, in 1285, she had an epiphany.

In 1285 St. Angela committed adultery.  Then she went to confession, but she concealed that sin.  Next she compounded the error by taking communion.  She, fearing that she might have condemned herself to Hell, prayed to St. Francis of Assisi and asked him to direct her to a confessor.  St. Angela perceived St. Francis as telling her:

Sister, if you would have asked me sooner, I would have complied with your request sooner.  Nonetheless, your request is granted.

That day, at the cathedral, St. Angela confessed her sins to a kinsman, Father Arnoldo.  She found peace and vowed to reform her life.

For five years that reform proceeded in baby steps.  She began to sell some of her possessions to raise funds to help the poor of the city, but she remained susceptible to the temptations of wealth.  Then, in 1290, after her husband and sons died, St. Angela became more serious about selling her possessions.  Priests counseled her to consider this prayerfully, for she might not have a vocation to poverty, they said.  Our saint made a pilgrimage to Rome, to ponder their advice.  She returned to Foligno and resumed the process of selling her possessions.  She also became a Franciscan tertiary and had mystical experiences.

These ecstasies and visions attracted some people to her company and embarrassed and scandalized others.  Certain devout people sought to learn of God from her.  Yet once, while St. Angela was on pilgrimage to Assisi, Father Arnoldo scolded her for allegedly making a spectacle of herself at the basilica.  He even ordered her to leave and never to return.  She obeyed this command.

At Foligno St. Angela became the core of a community of women who lived as Franciscans and performed many good works.  For years, until her death in 1309, Father Arnoldo was their chaplain.

The cult of St. Angela led the Roman Catholic Church to recognize her formally.  Pope Innocent XII declared her a Blessed in 1693; Pope Clement XI confirmed this eight years later.  Pope Francis canonized her in 2013.

St. Angela is the patron invoked against sexual temptation, temptation in general, and the death of children and for people ridiculed for their piety, as well as for widows.







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 Saint Angela of Foligno,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the world to come;

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.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722



Feast of St. Aldric of Le Mans (January 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  Northern France in 843

Image in the Public Domain


SAINT ALDRIC OF LE MANS (CIRCA 800-January 7, 856)

Roman Catholic Bishop of Le Mans

St. Aldric spent his youth in the court of the Frankish Emperor Charles the Great, a.k.a. Charlemagne, and Louis I the Pious/Debonair (reigned 814-840).  The saint, however, left that easy life to become a priest at the age of twenty-one years.  Yet Emperor Louis I recalled St. Aldric to the court.  There he remained until 832, nine years after his ordination, when the saint became Bishop of Le Mans, the post he held for the remaining twenty-four years of his life.  St. Aldric earned a reputation for his virtue and his civil spirit, the latter of which was evident from his efforts to build aqueducts, rebuild churches, restore monasteries and convents, and buy the freedom of captives.  Civil wars divided the Frankish kingdom after the death of Charlemagne.  The saint sided with Emperor Charles II the Bald (reigned 840-877), son of Louis I, so lost his see until Pope Gregory IV reinstated him.  St. Aldric also lost church lands due to the civil war, but regained them during his tenure.

Above all, the legacy of St. Aldric is one of active virtue which builds up the common good.  This is one way to love one’s neighbor as one loves oneself.  May we do this as God directs us.







Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people,

we thank you for your servant

Saint Aldric of Le Mans,

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

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

we may by your grace attain our full maturity in Christ,

through the same Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3:14-21

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60


Revised from November 13, 2016


First Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of Our Lord, Year B   Leave a comment

Above:  Ubari Oasis in Libya

The Waters of Life

JANUARY 7, 2018


Genesis 1:1-5 (New Revised Standard Version):

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.  Then God said,

Let there be light;

and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night.  And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Psalm 29 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Ascribe to the LORD, you gods,

ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.

Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;

worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

3 The voice of the LORD is upon the waters;

the God of glory thunders;

the LORD is mighty upon the waters.

4 The voice of the LORD is a powerful voice;

the voice of the LORD is a voice of splendor.

The voice of the LORD breaks the cedar trees;

the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon;

6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf,

and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.

The voice of the LORD splits the flames of fire;

the voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness;

the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

The voice of the LORD makes the oak trees writhe

and strips the forest bare.

9 And in the temple of the LORD

all are crying, “Glory!”

10 The LORD sits enthroned above the flood;

the LORD sits enthroned as King for evermore.

11 The LORD shall give strength to his people;

the LORD shall give his people the blessing of peace.

Acts 19:1-7 (New Revised Standard Version):

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples.  He said to them,

Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?

They replied,

No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.

Then he said,

Into what then were you baptized?

They answered,

Into John’s baptism.

Paul said,

John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.

On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.  When Paul had laid his hands on them, they spoke in tongues and prophesied–altogether there were about twelve of them.

Mark 1:4-11 (New Revised Standard Version):

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of forgiveness of sins.  And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.  Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.  He proclaimed,

The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.  I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

In those days Jesus came down from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.  And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.  And a voice came from heaven,

You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.

The Collect:

Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.


Some Related Posts:

First Sunday after the Epiphany:  The Baptism of Our Lord, Year A:


Genesis 1:

Mark 1:


Water carries much symbolic meaning in the Bible.  The beautiful opening mythology in Genesis assumes that the Earth is founded upon the waters and that waters occupy the space on the other side of the dome of the sky.  So it is that, early in Genesis 1, a wind–the Spirit–from God moves across the face of the primordial waters.  Later, in Exodus, the Hebrew nations is born when it crosses the Sea of Reeds out of Egypt and into the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula.  Indeed, water was especially precious to those Biblical people who lived in or near the desert; water was essential for life.  This comes across in Psalm 1:3, for example:

They [“they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful”] are like trees planted by streams of water,

bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither;

everything they do shall prosper.

(1979 Book of Common Prayer, page 585)

A survival techniques website I have consulted says that one, depending on circumstances, for months without any food.  Yet one’s body requires water daily; indeed, one can survive on just a few quarts of water for days or weeks in some environments.  So there are excellent reasons for the association of water with spiritual life.

Many people think of baptism as something we do.   Yes, we perform the sacramental rite baptism, but it is a sacrament.  As the catechism in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer says regarding the sacraments,

The sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.

Grace, in turn, is

God’s favor towards us, unearned and undeserved; by grace God forgives our sins, enlightens our minds, stirs our hearts, and strengthens our wills.

(This material comes from pages 857 and 858 of the Prayer Book.)

Baptism is something God does, and the ritual we perform is a rite of Christian initiation, a ceremony of formal admission to the family of God.  Baptism is properly communal, not individual, in nature.  This is why the gathered congregation takes part in the baptism of a person.

God became human in the form of Jesus of Nazareth, who sought the baptism of John the Baptist.  Hence Jesus identified with us.  It is proper, then, that we identify with him.



Saints’ Days and Holy Days for January   Leave a comment

Snow in January

Image in the Public Domain


  • World Day of Peace

2 (NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: Johann Konrad Wilhelm Loehe, Bavarian Lutheran Minister and Coordinator of Domestic and Foreign Missions)

  • Narcissus, Argeus, and Marcellinus of Tomi, Roman Martyrs
  • Odilo of Cluny, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Sabine Baring-Gould, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer

3 (TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: William Alfred Passavant, Sr., U.S. Lutheran Minister, Humanitarian, and Evangelist)

  • Edward Caswall, Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Edward Perronet, British Methodist Preacher
  • Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China and Taiwan

4 (ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: Felix Manz, First Anabaptist Martyr)

  • Elizabeth Ann Seton, Foundress of the American Sisters of Charity
  • Gregory of Langres, Terticus of Langres, Gallus of Clermont, Gregory of Tours, Avitus I of Clermont, Magnericus of Trier, and Gaugericus, Roman Catholic Bishops
  • Johann Ludwig Freydt, German Moravian Composer and Educator

5 (TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS: John Nepomucene Neumann, Roman Catholic Bishop of Philadelphia)

  • Antonio Lotti, Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Genoveva Torres Morales, Foundress of the Congregation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Holy Angels
  • Margaret Mackay, Scottish Hymn Writer


7 (François Fénelon, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cambrai)

  • Aldric of Le Mans, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Angelia of Foligno, Penitent and Humanitarian
  • Lucian of Antioch, Roman Catholic Martyr

8 (Thorfinn of Hamar, Roman Catholic Bishop)

  • Archangelo Corelli, Roman Catholic Musician and Composer
  • Harriet Bedell, Episcopal Deaconess and Missionary
  • Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei, Scientists

9 (Pepin of Landen, Itta of Metz, Their Relations, Amand, Austregisilus, and Sulpicius II of Bourges, Faithful Christians Across Generational Lines)

  • Anthony Mary Pucci, Roman Catholic Priest
  • Julia Chester Emery, Upholder of Missions
  • Philip II of Moscow, Metropolitan of Moscow and All Russia, and Martyr

10 (Theodosius the Cenobiarch, Roman Catholic Monk)

  • Charles William Everest, Episcopal Priest and Hymn Writer
  • John the Good, Roman Catholic Bishop of Milan
  • William Gay Ballantine, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Educator, Scholar, Poet, and Hymn Writer

11 (Mary Slessor, Scottish Presbyterian Missionary in West Africa)

  • George Fox, Founder of the Religious Society of Friends
  • Miep Gies, Righteous Gentile
  • Paulinus of Aquileia, Roman Catholic Patriarch

12 (Benedict Biscop, Roman Catholic Abbot of Wearmouth)

  • Aelred of Hexham, Roman Catholic Abbot of Rievaulx
  • Henry Alford, Dean of Canterbury
  • Samuel Preiswerk, Swiss Reformed Minister and Hymn Writer

13 (Hilary of Poitiers, Roman Catholic Bishop of Poitiers, “Athanasius of the West,” and Hymn Writer; mentor of Martin of Tours, Roman Catholic Bishop of Tours)

  • Christian Keimann, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Kentigern (Mungo), Roman Catholic Bishop of Glasgow
  • Marguerite Bourgeoys, Foundress of the Sisters of Notre Dame

14 (Macrina the Elder, Her Family, and Gregory of Nanzianzus the Younger)

  • Christian Keimann, German Lutheran Hymn Writer
  • Civil Rights Martyrs and Activists
  • Kristen Kvamme, Norwegian-American Hymn Writer and Translator


16 (Pachomius the Great, Founder of Christian Communal Monasticism)

  • Greville Phillimore, English Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • Richard Meux Benson, Anglican Priest and Cofounder of the Society of St. John the Evangelist; Charles Chapman Grafton, Episcopal Priest, Cofounder of the Society of St. John the Evangelist, and Bishop of Fond du Lac; and Charles Gore, Anglican Bishop of Worcester, Birmingham, and Oxford; Founder of the Community of the Resurrection; Theologian; and Advocate for Social Justice and World Peace
  • Roberto de Nobili, Roman Catholic Missionary in India

17 (Antony of Egypt, Roman Catholic Abbot and Father of Western Monasticism)

  • Berard and His Companions, Roman Catholic Martyrs in Morocco
  • Edmund Hamilton Sears, Unitarian Pastor and Hymn Writer
  • Rutherford Birchard Hayes, President of the United States of America



19 (Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Humanitarians)

  • Caesarius of Arles, Roman Catholic Bishop, and Caesaria of Arles, Roman Catholic Abbess
  • Henry Augustine Collins, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Richard Rolle, English Roman Catholic Spiritual Writer

20 (Fabian, Bishop of Rome and Martyr)

  • Deicola and Gall, Roman Catholic Monks, and Othmar, Roman Catholic Abbot at St. Gallen
  • Euthymius the Great and Theoctistus, Roman Catholic Abbots
  • Harriet Auber, Anglican Hymn Writer

21 (Mirocles of Milan and Epiphanius of Pavia, Roman Catholic Bishops)

  • Alban Roe and Thomas Reynolds, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs
  • Gaspar del Bufalo, Founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood
  • John Yi Yon-on, Roman Catholic Catechist and Martyr in Korea

22 (Syncletica of Alexandria, Desert Mother)

  • Adelard of Corbie, Roman Catholic Monk
  • John Julian, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymnologist
  • Vincent Pallotti, Founder of the Pallotines

23 (John the Almsgiver, Roman Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria)

  • Caspar Neumann, German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Phillips Brooks, Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts
  • Thomas A. Dooley, Physician and Humanitarian

24 (Ordination of Florence Li-Tim-Oi, First Female Priest in the Anglican Communion)

  • Angela Merici, Founder of the Company of St. Ursula
  • Martyrs of Podlasie, 1874
  • Suranus of Sora, Roman Catholic Abbot and Martyr



27 (Allen William Chatfield, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Translator)

  • Jerome, Paula of Rome, Eustochium, Blaesilla, Marcella, and Lea of Rome
  • John Cosin, Anglican Bishop of Cosin
  • William Jones, Anglican Priest and Musician

28 (Albert the Great and his pupil, Thomas Aquinas, Roman Catholic Theologians)

  • Charles Kingsley, Anglican Priest, Novelist, and Hymn Writer
  • Joseph Barnby, Anglican Church Musician and Composer
  • Richard Frederick Littledale, Anglican Priest and Translator of Hymns


30 (Lesslie Newbigin, Missionary and Theologian)

  • Bathildas, Queen of France
  • Frederick Oakeley, Anglican then Roman Catholic Priest
  • Genesius I of Clermont and Praejectus of Clermont, Roman Catholic Bishops, and Amarin, Roman Catholic Abbot

31 (Charles Frederick Mackenzie, Anglican Bishop of Central Africa)

  • Henry Twells, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Mary Lundie Duncan, Scottish Presbyterian Hymn Writer
  • Menno Simons, Mennonite Leader

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

Feast of St. Lucian of Antioch (January 7)   Leave a comment

The Roman Empire in 125 C.E.



Priest, Scholar, Theological Teacher, and Martyr

Born in Samosata, Syria, St. Lucian became an orphan at the age of 12 years.  It is probable that his parents, Christians, were martyrs.

The saint grew to maturity and established the theological school at Antioch, Syria (now in Turkey), a center of early Christianity.  He translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek.   Furthermore, the Lucian Recension, his translation of the Bible, was authoritative  and well-respected.  St. Jerome used it when translating the Vulgate.

St. Lucian followed in his parents’ footsteps and became a martyr.  He spent nine years in prison for being a Christian.  His reply to any question during interrogation was, “I am a Christian.”  Accounts of the details of his martyrdom disagree.  That is a minor point, however, for he gave his life for his faith.

I count myself fortunate to live in a nation-state with freedom of religion enshrined in its Constitution.  It is easy to take one’s faith casually in such a context as the one in which I live.  (I do not take my faith casually.)  But being a Christian was a great risk for St. Lucian and his fellow Christians during Roman Imperial and provincial persecutions.  And being a Christian remains risky for Christians in many nations today.  Ironically, many of those who persecute Christians do so in the name of God, as they understand God, or in the name of gods.  They think they are performing righteous deeds.  They are mistaken, of course.





Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.  Inspire us with the memory of St. Lucian of Antioch, whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross, and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 59


Feast of Francois Fenelon (January 7)   1 comment

Above:  Francois Fenelon

Image in the Public Domain



French Theologian and Archbishop of Cambrai

Francois Fenelon, born on August 6, 1651, came from a family that included bishops.  He received a classical education, including Greek, rhetoric, and philosophy.  Ordained a priest in 1675, Fenelon preached to Huguenots (French Calvinists)  in 1686-1687 and convinced the King Louis XIV to remove the outward signs of religious persecution.  This might not seem like much to occupants of religiously free nations today, but it was progress by the standards of the time.

In 1688 Fenelon advocated the education of girls and women in serious matters, including theology.  This constituted further evidence of his progressiveness, which manifested itself in other ways which caused difficulties for him in later years.

From 1689 to 1697, Fenelon tutored the dauphin (in this case, the father of Louis XV).  In 1696, toward the end of this assignment, Fenelon became Archbishop of Cambrai, a post he held until 1714.

One of Felelon’s acquaintances was one Jeanne-Marie Bouvier  de la Motte-Goyon, of simply Madame Guyon.  She advocated Quietism, which the Roman Catholic Church considered a heresy.  (It continues to do so.)  According to Quietism, the highest human perfection consists of a self-annihilation and absorption into the divine, especially in this life, making room for constant contemplation of God.  This, in turn, leads to a state at which the soul ceases to need prayers, hymns, and rituals.  This variety of mysticism threatened the hierarchical Catholic Church.  Fenelon’s defense of Madame Guyon prompted Louis XIV to remove his as tutor and to restrict him to the Archdiocese of Cambrai, despite the fact that Fenelon had backed down from his defense of Madame Guyon and her brand of Quietism.  (Guyon’s views led to her imprisonment from 1695 to 1703.)

In 1699 Fenelon took another risk.  He published The Adventures of Telemachus, the story of Telemachus, the son of Odysseus, and his tutor, Mentor,  actually Minerva, Goddess of Wisdom.  Mentor condemns war, luxury, and selfishness while praising fraternity and altruism.  Also, Mentor lashes out at mercantilism and high taxes on peasants.  The Adventures of Telemachus was an attack on the French monarchy.

As Archbishop, Fenelon tended faithfully to the people of his archdiocese, preaching on major feast days and focusing on the training of seminarians.  During the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), when Spanish troops invaded the archdiocese, Fenelon opened his palace to refugees.

Archbishop Fenelon wrote condemnations of the heresy called Jansenism, a hybrid of Roman Catholicism and Calvinism.

Fenelon died on this day in 1715, shortly after resigning his archdiocese.



A Prayer by Archbishop Fenelon, from The Communion of Saints: Prayers of the Famous, edited by Horton Davies:

Lord, take my heart, for I cannot give it to you.  And when you have it, keep it, for I would not take it from you.  And save me in spite of myself, for Christ’s sake.  Amen.


Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church, including your servant Francois Fenelon.  May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith, so that we may serve and confess your name before the world, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3;14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60


Revised on November 13, 2016