Archive for the ‘June 1-10’ Category

Feast of Sts. James of Nisibis and Ephrem of Edessa (June 10)   1 comment

Above:  Edessa and Nisibis, Fourth and Fifth Centuries C.E.

Scanned from Hammond’s World Atlas–Classics Edition (Philadelphia, PA:  The Publishers Agency, Inc., 1957), H-7

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAINT JAMES OF NISIBIS (DIED CIRCA 338)

Bishop of Nisibis and “Moses of Mesopotamia”

Also known as Saint Jacob of Nisibis

His feast transferred from July 15

+++++++++++

SAINT EPHREM OF EDESSA (306/307-373)

Deacon, Hymn Writer, Exegete, and “Harp of the Holy Spirit”

Also known as St. Ephrem the Syrian and St. Ephraem Syrus

Episcopal feast day = June 10

Roman Catholic and Church of England feast day = June 9

Scottish Episcopal feast day = June 8

Maronite feast day = June 18

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

No one has seen or shall see the things which you have seen.  The Lord himself has become the altar, priest, and brad, and the chalice of salvation.  He alone suffices for all, yet none suffices for him.  He is Altar and Lamb, victim and sacrifice, priest as well as food.

–St. Ephrem of Edessa, on the Passion of Jesus

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Much of the available information about these two saints is of uncertain veracity.  Some of it is even mutually exclusive.  With that caveat I proceed with due caution, aware of the limitations of my sources.

St. James (Jacob) of Nisibis (now Nusaybin, Turkey), was the first Bishop of Nisibis, from 309 until his death, circa 338.  He, renowned for his sanctity, learning, and ability, defended orthodoxy against the Arian heresy.  St. James/Jacob also participated in the First Council of Nicaea (325), to which he might have taken St. Ephrem of Edessa, whom he might have baptized but certainly ordained to the diaconate.

Ephrem of Edessa

Above:  St. Ephrem of Edessa

Image in the Public Domain

St. Ephrem of Edessa was a native of Nisibis.  Traditionally accounts of his life have indicated that his family was pagan and that St. James/Jacob baptized him at the age of 18 years.  More recent scholarship has suggested, however, that St. Ephrem’s family was Christian, however.  Certainly St. James/Jacob, the bishop, was a mentor.  Furthermore, the bishop ordained St. Ephrem a deacon.

In 363 Nisibis came under Persian jurisdiction; persecution of Christians and an exodus of Christians ensued.  St. Ephrem settled at Edessa.  There he founded a theological school, wrote prolifically, and lived in a cave above the city, ate simple foods, and drank only water.  St. Ephrem, who frequently preached in Edessa, composed hymns, 72 of which have survived.  Our saint, who had a devotion to Mary and wrote solely in Syriac, wrote hymns for feasts of the Church, against heresies, and about the Last Judgment, among other topics.  St. Ephrem was an influential figure in the development of Syriac and Greek hymnography and a pioneer in the use of hymns in public worship.  Furthermore, our saint wrote sermons and Biblical commentaries, some of which have survived.

St. Ephrem died of exhaustion in 373, after helping the poor and ill of Edessa during a famine (372-373).  He organized an ambulance service and distributed money and food to the poor, to his detriment.

The Roman Catholic Church declared St. Ephrem a Doctor of the Church in 1920.  It was a wise decision.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 20, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FABIAN, BISHOP OF ROME, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DEICOLA AND GALL, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS; AND SAINT OTHMAR, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AT ST. GALLEN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT AND THEOCRISTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF HARRIET AUBER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Pour out on us, O Lord, that same Spirit by which your bishop James proclaimed your divinity

and your deacon Ephrem rejoiced to proclaim in sacred song the mysteries of faith;

and so gladden our hearts that we, like them, may be devoted to you alone;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Proverbs 3:1-7

Psalm 98:5-10

Ephesians 3:8-12

John 16:12-15

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 419

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Advertisements

Feast of Sts. Getulius, Amantius, Caerealis, Primitivus, and Symphorosa of Tivoli (June 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  Temples of Vesta and of the Sybil, Tivoli, Italy

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAINTS AMANTIUS AND GETULIUS OF TIVOLI (DIED 120)

Brothers, and Martyrs at Tivoli

+++++++++++

SAINTS CAEREALIS AND PRIMITIVUS OF TIVOLI (DIED 120)

Roman Soldiers, and Martyrs at Tivoli

+++++++++++

SAINT SYMPHOROSA OF TIVOLI (DIED IN THE EARLY 100S)

Wife of St. Getulius of Tivoli, and Martyr

Her feast transferred from July 18

+++++++++++

No information, aside from names, years of death, and places of martyrdom has survived for many Christian martyrs of the Roman imperial period, unfortunately.  We do know slightly more about these five saints, however.  Their stories, combined, provide enough information for a brief post.

The narrative begins with St. Getulius.

St. Getulius was a Roman military officer during the reigns of Emperors Trajan (98-117) and Hadrian (117-138).  After St. Getulius converted to Christianity he resigned his commission.  He and his brother, St. Amantius, also a Christian, went to central Italy, to live among the Sabines.  Hadrian dispatched Caerealis and Primitivus to apprehend the brothers.  Caerealis and Primitivus found Sts. Amantius and Getulius, who converted them to Christianity.  The judge Licinius, under imperial orders, sentenced the four Christians to death.  He granted them an opportunity for a reprieve; the Christians, to avoid execution, had to renounce their faith.  They refused.  Therefore, in Tivoli, in 120, they received the crown of martyrdom via clubbing to death.

St. Getulius left a widow, St. Symphorosa, who also became a martyr during the reign of Hadrian.

God and history have issued their verdicts–against the persecution over which Hadrian presided.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 20, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FABIAN, BISHOP OF ROME, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DEICOLA AND GALL, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONKS; AND SAINT OTHMAR, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOT AT ST. GALLEN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS EUTHYMIUS THE GREAT AND THEOCRISTUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC ABBOTS

THE FEAST OF HARRIET AUBER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, who gave to your servants

Saints Getulius, Amantius, Caerealis, Primitivus, and Symphorosa of Tivoli

boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ

before the rulers of this 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 131

1 Peter 3:14-18, 22

Matthew 10:16-22

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of St. Jose de Anchieta (June 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. José de Anchieta

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAINT JOSÉ DE ANCHIETA Y DIAZ DE CHAVIGO (MARCH 19, 1534-JUNE 9, 1597)

Apostle of Brazil and Father of Brazilian National Literature

+++++++++++++++++++++

You must come with a bag-full of virtues.

–St. José de Anchieta’s advice to missionary priests

+++++++++++++++++++++

I like the Great Man (and Woman) School of History, for people who did not do anything noteworthy do not interest me.  Those who made a mark, however, deserve attention.

St. José de Anchieta was such a man.  He, born in San Cristobal de la Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, on March 19, 1534, came from a prominent and wealthy family.  He, educated in Portugal, joined the Society of Jesus at the age of 17 years, in 1551.  The order dispatched our saint to Brazil; he arrived on July 13, 1553.  In that Portuguese colony our saint made many marks.

St. José’s legacy in Brazil has survived.  He cofounded the city of São Paulo as a mission on the Feast of St. Paul the Apostle in 1554.  Eleven years later he helped to found Rio de Janeiro, in full, São Sebastiãno de Rio de Janeiro, named in honor of St. Sebastian.  The Apostle of Brazil, a man in constant pain for 44 years due to a dislocated Spain, mastered the language of the Tupi people, who lived near São Paulo, and spent 20 years writing a grammar and a dictionary of that tongue.  He became the Father of Brazilian National Literature due to his plays, which he wrote in Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, and Tupi; these were the first Brazilian plays.

Our saint had a fine memory.  For five months he was a hostage of the Tamoyo people.  He, with plenty of time on his hands yet lacking writing tools, wrote a Latin poem in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the sand and memorized all 4,172 lines of the text.  After his captivity ended Anchieta wrote the poem on paper.

Anchieta, from 1577 the Jesuit provincial, was a man of zeal, intellect, and many virtues.  He applied all of these in Brazil from 1553 to 1597, when he died, aged 63 years, in Reritgba, now renamed Anchieta.

The Roman Catholic Church has recognized our saint.  Pope Pius VI declared Anchieta a Venerable in 1786.  Pope John Paul II made him a Blessed in 1980.  Finally, in 2014, Pope Francis canonized our saint.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Saint José de Anchieta,

whom you called to preach the Gospel to the people of Brazil.

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, now and for ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 52:7-10

Psalm 96 or 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 716

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Blesseds Giovanni Maria Boccardo and Luigi Boccardo (June 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Turin, 1890

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ppmsc-06635

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BLESSED GIOVANNI MARIA BOCCARDO (NOVEMBER 20, 1848-DECEMBER 30, 1913)

Founder of the Poor Daughters of Saint Cajetan/Gaetano

His feast transferred from December 30

brother of

BLESSED LUIGI BOCCARDO (AUGUST 9, 1861-JUNE 9, 1936)

Apostle of Merciful Love

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

His charism as an educator and founder was to reveal the merciful love of Jesus, priest and king, to his brothers, especially in the education of the clergy…and in the spiritual direction of many that approached him in the confessional.

–Mother Teresa Ponsi, Superior General of the Poor Sisters of Saint Cajetan/Gaetano

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Boccardo Brothers did much to help their fellow human beings.

Gasparo Boccardo and Giuseppina Malerba Boccardo, parents of ten children, raised a pious family.  Their eldest child was Giovanni Maria Boccardo, born in Moncalieri, Turin, on November 20, 1848.  A younger brother was Luigi Boccardo, Giovanni Maria’s godson, born on August 9, 1861.  The Barnabites educated both brothers; Giovanni Maria graduated from their high school in 1864.  Next he attended seminary.  In 1871, in Turin, Giovanni Maria became a priest.  Luigi followed suit, also in Turin, thirteen years later.

The Boccardo brothers eventually came to work together.  Giovanni Maria initially taught in seminary.  Next he served as the spiritual director of seminarians in Turin.  He, having earned his doctorate in theology in 1877, became honorary canon at the Church of Sancta Maria della Scala, Chieri, Turin.  Starting in 1882 Giovanni Maria was a parish priest in Pancalieri, Turin.  There he cared for the sick and the poor, helped at other congregations, became involved in the religious education of children and in prison ministry, ministered to victims of a cholera outbreak in 1884, and founded a hospice for the poor sick later that year.  Giovanni Maria also founded the Poor Daughters of Saint Cajetan/Gaetano, to care for the poor sick, the elderly, the neglected, ill priests, and the longterm sick.  Luigi served as his brother’s assistant priest at Pancalieri, Turin.  Luigi also served as the Vice-Rector and spiritual director at Consolata College, Turin.  He taught and provided spiritual direction to seminarians, visited prisoners, and heard many confessions.

Giovanni Maria, afflicted with paralysis in 1911, had to surrender his ministries during the next two years.  He, aged 65 years, died in Moncalieri, Turin, on December 30, 1913.  He left behind 44 volumes of writings about spiritual matters.  Pope John Paul II declared Giovanni Maria a Venerable then a Blessed in 1998.

Luigi continued in good works after his brother died.  The younger brother took over as a Superior of the Poor Sisters of Saint Cajetan/Gaetano in 1913.  Six years later he became the director of a school for the blind.  In 1932 Luigi founded the Sisters of Jesus the King, a contemplative branch of the Poor Daughters of Saint Cajetan/Gaetano.

Luigi, aged 76 years, died in Turin on June 9, 1936.  Pope John Paul II declared him a Venerable in 2003.  Pope Benedict XVI raised him to the status of Blessed in 2007.

The Boccardo brothers understood that how they cared for others–especially the vulnerable–was of the highest moral imperative.  That which they did for the least, they did for Jesus.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

O God, your Son came among us to serve and not to be served, and to give his life for the life of the world.

Lead us by his love to serve all those to whom the world offers no comfort and little help.

Through us give hope to the hopeless,

love to the unloved,

peace to the troubled,

and rest to the weary,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 60

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Gerard Manley Hopkins (June 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  Gerard Manley Hopkins

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS (JULY 28, 1844-JUNE 8, 1889)

English Roman Catholic Poet and Jesuit Priest

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shoot foil;

It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed.  Why do men then not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

All is seared with trade, bleared, smeared with toil;

And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell:  the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

++++++++++

And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs–

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

–Gerard Manley Hopkins

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Gerard Manley Hopkins comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via Robert Ellsberg, author of All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York, NY:  The Crossroad Company, 1997).

Gerard Manley Hopkins, scholar and priest, was a giant of Victorian English literature, but only after his death.  He was one of those authors whose work entered the literary canon post mortem.

Hopkins grew up in a devout High Anglican family in which various art forms–visual and written–were common.  His father was Manley Hopkins, a former British consul general to the Kingdom of Hawai’i and the founder of a marine insurance company.  Manley was also a Sunday School teacher and a churchwarden at St. John’s Church, Hampstead.  The father was also a punster, fortunately.  Our saint’s mother, Kate Smith Hopkins, encouraged her children’s piety.  At her urging our young Gerard grew up reading from the New Testament daily.

Hopkins, born in Stratford, London, on July 28, 1844, was a fine student.  After studying at Cholmondley Grammar School, Highgate, he matriculated at Baillol College, Oxford University, in 1863.  According to Baillol College lecturer Benjamin Jowett, Hopkins was “the star of Baillol.”  Hopkins, influenced by the Oxford Movement, converted to Roman Catholicism in 1866; John Henry Newman received him into Holy Mother Church.

Hopkins became a Jesuit then a priest.  He entered the Jesuit novitiate in 1868.  At that point he burned the poetry he had written until then.  In 1875, in Wales, however, he resumed the composition of verse.  Unfortunately, he could never get any of it published.  Even literary friends who read Hopkins’s poetry commented that it was unreadable, due to its rhythms and odd syntax.  Hopkins, ordained a priest in 1877, served in parishes in London, Oxford, Liverpool, and Glasgow before teaching classics at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire.  From 1884 to 1889 he was Professor of Classics at University College, Dublin, Ireland.  Life in Ireland did not agree with our saint; his health failed and he worked too hard.  Hopkins died of typhoid fever in Dublin on June 8, 1889.  He was 44 years old.

Hopkins expressed himself eloquently in his poetry.  He delighted in nature, in which he recognized the presence of God.  His joys and sorrows were also evident in verse, not published until 1918.  Hopkins’s collected works have enriched the lives of many people since then, fortunately.

Hopkins, who spent much of his time in Ireland in emotional anguish and physical illness, found peace at the end.  His final words were

I am so happy!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Gerard Manley Hopkins and all those

who with words have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Roland Allen (June 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  Roland Allen

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

ROLAND ALLEN (DECEMBER 29, 1868-JUNE 9, 1947)

Anglican Priest, Missionary, and Mission Strategist

The Episcopal Church added Roland Allen to its calendar of saints at the General Convention of 2009.

Roland Allen was, during his lifetime, a marginal figure in global missions.  He, born in Bristol, England, on December 29, 1868, was the fifth of five children of an Anglican priest.  Our saint, an Anglo-Catholic, attended St. John’s College, Oxford, then the Leeds Clergy Training School.  Allen, ordained to the diaconate in 1892 and the priesthood the following year, turned to foreign missions early in his career.  The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (SPG) dispatched him to its North China Mission in 1895.  Allen was planning to lead a new school for the training of Chinese catechists in 1900 when the Boxer Rebellion started.  He wrote of that time in The Siege of the Peking Legations (1901).  Our saint, on furlough in England, married Mary B. Tarlton.  The Allens, in northern China, welcomed their first child into the world in 1902.  Our saint fell ill, however, so the family returned to England.

There Allen became a parish priest.  He resigned his post in protest in 1907, however.  Our saint could not, in good conscience, obey the rule requiring him to baptize all babies presented for that sacrament, even if the parents lacked any Christian commitment.

Allen spent the rest of his life–much of it in Kenya–researching and pondering missions strategies.  While he did this he supported himself and his family financially by lecturing and writing.  In a series of books, notably Missionary Methods:  St. Paul’s or Ours (1912), Allen argued for revolutionary propositions:

  1. Missionaries should be voluntary clergy with secular employment, in the style of St. Paul the Apostle, who made tents.
  2. Missionaries should abandon all paternalism.
  3. Missionaries should adapt their methods to local customs.
  4. Missionaries should train local people to take over the missions.

Allen, aged 78 years, died in Nairobi, Kenya, on June 9, 1947.  His work did not become influential until the 1960s, however.

Allen understood something crucial:  Western missionaries were often their own worst enemies, bringing with them to foreign lands their prejudices, ethnocentrism, and imperial politics.  This baggage interfered with the fulfillment of Christ’s Great Commission.  Our saint’s critique was sharp and accurate, meant to help the Church.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Almighty God, by your Spirit you opened the Scriptures of your servant Roland Allen,

so that he might lead many to know, live, and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ:

Give us grace to follow his example, that the variety of those to whom we reach out in love may

receive your saving Word and witness and their own languages and cultures to your glorious Name;

through Jesus Christ, your Word made flesh, who lives and reigns

with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Numbers 11:26-29

Psalm 119:145-152

2 Corinthians 9:8-15

Luke 8:4-15

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 415

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Feast of Chief Seattle (June 7)   Leave a comment

Above:  Chief Seattle

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SEATTLE (CIRCA 1786-JUNE 7, 1866)

First Nations Chief, War Leader, and Diplomat

Also known as Si’al and Si’ahl

Chief Seattle comes to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days via the calendar of saints of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  In Frederick E. Hoxie’s Encyclopedia of North American Indians (1996) Jay Miller’s profile of Seattle describes him as

Duwamish, Suquamish, and Lushootseed war leader and diplomat.

The chief is a welcome addition to my project of hagiographies.

Chief Seattle commanded respect from tribesman and White settlers alike.  His birthplace was the location now known as Blake Island, in Elliott Bay, near the site of the city of Seattle.  Our saint, born circa 1786, came from tribal nobility.  His father was Shweabe, of the Suquamish, from the west side of Puget Sound.  Seattle’s mother was Sholitza, of he Duwamish, from the other side of Puget Sound.  Our saint became a chief in the early twenties.  With his first wife, Ladaila, Seattle had a daughter, Kikioblu (Angeline).  After Ladaila died the chief married Owiyal, with whom he had two sons and three daughters.

Seattle was a respected chief, war leader, and orator.  By the late 1700s the unfortunate combination of guns and epidemics had led to a series of tribal wars in the area of the Puget Sound.  The subsequent addition of White settlers made the troubles of indigenous people greater.  Over the years Chief Seattle led a number of successful raids.  He was, not, however, a warmonger.  Our saint understood matters of self-defense.

Chief Seattle became a Christian in 1838.  That year a Roman Catholic priest baptized him and gave him the baptismal name Noah.  The reason for this choice was Seattle’s enjoyment of the parallels between the flood stories of the Suquamish people and the Book of Genesis.

Chief Seattle gave up violence in 1847, when one of his sons died in a raid on another Indian village.  Our saint then turned to diplomacy full-time.  In the Treaty of Port Elliott (1855) tribes in the Puget Sound area exchanged 54,000 acres for hunting rights, fishing rights, education, health care, payments, and reservations.  Violations of the treaty by some White settlers led to the Indian War (1855-1858).  In 1856 Chief Seattle learned of a planned attack on the settlement of Seattle, named after him against his wishes.  He helped the White settlers by sharing the information with them.  He was done waging war.

In 1855 Chief Seattle wrote a profound letter to U.S. President Franklin Pierce, one of the least of the American leaders, in terms of quality:

THE GREAT CHIEF in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. The Great Chief also sends us words of friendship and good will. This is kind of him, since we know he has little need of our friendship in return. But we will consider your offer, for we know if we do not so the white man may come with guns and take our land. What Chief Seattle says you can count on as truly as our white brothers can count on the return of the seasons. My words are like the stars – they do not set.

How can you buy or sell the sky – the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. Yet we do not own the freshness of the air or the sparkle of the water. How can you buy them from us? We will decide in our time. Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing, and every humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people.

We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his father’s graves and his children’s birthright is forgotten. The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the redman. But perhaps it is because the redman is a savage and does not understand.

There is no quiet place in the white man’s cities. No place to listen to the leaves of spring or the rustle of insect wings. But perhaps because I am a savage and do not understand – the clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lovely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind itself cleansed by a mid-day rain, or scented by a pinõn pine: The air is precious to the redman. For all things share the same breath – the beasts, the trees, and the man. The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench.

If I decide to accept, I will make one condition. The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers. I am a savage and I do not understand any other way. I have seen thousands of rotting buffaloes on the prairie left by the white man who shot them from a passing train. I am a savage and do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive. What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beast also happens to the man.

All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.

Our children have seen their fathers humbled in defeat. Our warriors have felt shame. And after defeat they turn their days in idleness and contaminate their bodies with sweet food and strong drink. It matters little where we pass the rest of our days – they are not many. A few more hours, a few more winters, and none of the children of the great tribes that once lived on this earth, or that roamed in small bands in the woods will remain to mourn the graves of the people once as powerful and hopeful as yours.

One thing we know that the white man may one day discover. Our God is the same God. You may think that you own him as you wish to own our land, but you cannot. He is the Body of man, and his compassion is equal for the redman and the white. This earth is precious to him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator. The whites, too, shall pass – perhaps sooner than other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. When the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses all tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by the talking wires, where is the thicket? Gone. Where is the eagle? Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift and the hunt? The end of living and the beginning of survival.

We might understand if we knew what it was the white man dreams, what hopes he describes to his children on long winter nights, what visions he burns into their minds, so they will wish for tomorrow. But we are savages. The white man’s dreams are hidden from us. And because they are hidden, we will go our own way. If we agree, it will be to secure your reservation you have promised.

There perhaps we may live out our brief days as we wish. When the last redman has vanished from the earth, and the memory is only the shadow of a cloud passing over the prairie, these shores and forests will still hold the spirits of my people, for they love this earth as the newborn loves its mother’s heartbeat. If we sell you our land, love it as we have loved it. Care for it as we have cared for it. Hold in your memory the way the land is as you take it. And with all your strength, with all your might, and with all your heart – preserve it for your children, and love it as God loves us all. One thing we know – our God is the same. This earth is precious to him. Even the white man cannot escape the common destiny.

Chief Seattle, who frequently visited the settlement named after him and was at love and charity with his neighbors, died at the Port Madison Reservation on June 7, 1866.  He was about 80 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Holy and righteous God, you created us in your image.

Grant us grace to contend fearlessly against evil and to make no peace with oppression.

Help us, like your servant Chief Seattle, to work for justice among people and nations,

to the glory of your name, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord,

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hosea 2:18-23

Psalm 94:1-15

Romans 12:9-21

Luke 6:20-36

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

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++