Archive for the ‘Saints of 1600-1619’ Category

Feast of Orlando Gibbons (June 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Orlando Gibbons

Image in the Public Domain

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ORLANDO GIBBONS (BAPTIZED DECEMBER 25, 1583-JUNE 5, 1625)

Anglican Organist and Composer; the “English Palestrina”

Orlando Gibbons comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via sacred music and my unapologetic Western classicism.  I state without reservation that the quality of church music in the global West has, with few exceptions, declined since the 1500s and 1600s.  It peaked with Giovanni Pierluigi de Palestrina, Thomas Tallis, Gregorio Allegri, Orlando Gibbons, and company.

Gibbons, baptized in Oxford, England, on Christmas Day, 1583, was a great musician from a musical family.  His father was William Gibbons (circa 1540-1595), a vocalist in Cambridge, starting in 1567.  William Gibbons was, in English terms, a wait, a public musician.  Our saint’s siblings included:

  1. Edward (1568-circa 1650), an Anglican priest and a composer; most of his compositions have not survived the ravages of time;
  2. Ellis (1573-1603), a composer; most of his compositions have also gone the way of all flesh;
  3. Ferdinando (born 1581), a vocalist/wait in Lincoln.

Above:  The Music Lesson, by Johannes Vermeer

Image in the Public Domain

The woman is playing a virginal.

Gibbons had a fine musical education.  In 1596, at the age of 12 years, he joined the choir of King’s College, Cambridge.  He became the greatest organist and virginalist in England.  (A virginal was a rectangular harpsichord with strings stretched parallel to the keyboard.)  x  From 1605 to his death, Gibbons served as the organist at the Chapel Royal.  He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Cambridge in 1606.  Our saint became the court virginalist in 1619 then the organist of Westminster Abbey in 1623.

Gibbons composed both sacred and secular music.  His oeuvre contained motets, madrigals, and 40 sacred anthems and services.  He composed sacred music for The Church of England.  His sacred anthems included O Clap Your Hands Together and Drop, Drop, Slow Tears.

Gibbons was a favorite of the Stuart Kings of Great Britain.  He played the organ at the funeral of King James VI/I in 1625.  On the Day of Pentecost, June 5, 1625, our saint accompanied King Charles I to Dover to greet the future queen, Henrietta Maria, arriving from France.  Later that day, on the way back, Gibbons suffered a stroke in Canterbury and died.  He was 41 years old.

Gibbons had seven children.  One son, Christopher (1615-1676), composed keyboard and incidental music.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 24, 2020 COMMON ERA

GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE

THE FEAST OF SAINT EGBERT OF LINDISFARNE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK; AND SAINT ADALBERT OF EGMONT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIDELIS OF SIGMARINGEN, CAPUCHIN FRIAR AND MARTYR, 1622

THE FEAST OF JOHANN WALTER, “FIRST CANTOR OF THE LUTHERAN CHURCH”

THE FEAST OF SAINT MELLITUS, BISHOP OF LONDON, AND ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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

We bless your name for inspiring Orlando Gibbons and all those

who with music 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 Women:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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Feast of Martin Rinckart (April 23)   Leave a comment

Above:  Martin Rinckart

Image in the Public Domain

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MARTIN RINCKART (APRIL 23, 1586-DECEMBER 8, 1649)

German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

Also known as Martin Rinckart

Martin Rinckart comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via hymnody.

Rinckart became a Lutheran minister.  He, born in Eilenburg, Saxony, on April 23, 1586, was a son of Georg Rinckart, a cooper.  Our saint studied at the Latin school in Eilenburg.  Next, he studied (on scholarship) at St. Thomas’s School, Leipzig, and sang in the church choir, starting in November 1601.  Rinckart also became a theological student at the University of Leipzig in 1602.  He remained in that city until he completed this degree.  Our saint served as the schoolmaster in Eisleben and the cantor at St. Nicholas’s Church from June 1610 to May 1611.  Then he served as the deacon of St. Anne’s Church, Eisleben, from May 1611 to December 1613.  Next, Rinckart became the pastor at Erdeborn and Lyttichendorf, near Eisleben, in December 1613.  Finally, in November 1617, he became the Archdeacon of Eilenburg.

Rinckart also composed drams and hymn texts.  He wrote plays for the centennial of the Protestant Reformation in 1617.  Some of his hymns have, via translators, become part of English-language hymnody.  The most enduring of these texts has been Nun danket alle Gott (1636), which Catherine Winkworth (1829-1878) rendered as “Now Thank We All Our God” in 1858.  Some of the less popular English translations of hymn texts by Rinckart have included “Where Shall the Weary Find,” “Let All Men Praise the Lord,” and “Grant Majesty Above, of Prayer None Else.”

Nun danket alle Gott, (Now thank we all our God,)

Mit Herzen, Mund und Händen, (With heart, and hands, and voices,)

Der grosse Dinge tut (Who wondrous things hath done,)

An uns und allen Enden; (In whom His world rejoices;)

Der uns von Mutterleib (Who from our mothers’ arms)

Und Kindesbeinen an (Hath blest us on our way)

Unzählig veil zu gut (With countless gifts of love,)

Bis hieher hat getan. (And still is ours today.)

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Der ewig reiche Gott (O may this bounteous God)

Woll’ uns bei unserm Leben (Through all our life be near us,)

Wein immer frölich Herz (With ever joyful hearts)

Und edlen Frieden geben, (And blessed peace to cheer us;)

Und uns in seiner Gnad’ (To keep us in His grace,)

Erhalten fort und fort (And guide us when perplexed,)

Und uns aus aller Not (And free us from all ills)

Erlösen hier und dort. (In this world and the next.)

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Lob, Ehr’ und Preis sei Gott, (All praise and thanks to God,)

Dem Vater und dem Sohne, (The Father, now be given,)

Und dem, der beiden gleich (The Son, and Him who reigns)

Im höchsten Himmelsthrone: (With them in highest heaven,)

Ihm, dem dreiein’ gen Gott, (The One Eternal God,)

Wie es im Anfang war, (Whom earth and heaven adore;)

Und ist und bleiben wird (For thus it was, is now,)

Jetzund und immerdar! (And shall be evermore.)

Eilenburg suffered greatly during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1848).  It was a walled city, so many wartime refugees sought shelter there.  Eilenburg became overcrowded.  Swedish forces captured the walled city and demanded a high ransom.  Rinckart negotiated with the Swedish commander.  After the first negotiation proved unsuccessful, our saint returned to his church and urged people to pray.  Then he negotiated again and saved the city.  The city’s leaders did not thank him.  The overcrowded walled city became the site of a pestilence in 1637.  About 8000 people, including our saint’s first wife, died.  Rinckart conducted 4,480 funerals.  The war broke our saint physically .

Rinckart died in Eilenburg on December 8, 1649.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 8, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE SECOND SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF EDWARD KING, BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF FRED B. CRADDOCK, U.S. DISCIPLES OF CHRIST MINISTER, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR, AND RENOWNED PREACHER

THE FEAST OF GEOFFREY STUDDERT KENNEDY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN HAMPDEN GURNEY, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN OF GOD, FOUNDER OF THE BROTHERS HOSPITALLERS OF SAINT JOHN OF GOD

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Heavenly Father, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant Martin Rinckart,

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 full stature of our Lord Jesus Christ.  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 the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 38

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Feast of Jakob Bohme (April 23)   3 comments

Above:  Jakob Böhme

Image in the Public Domain

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JAKOB BÖHME (APRIL 24, 1575-NOVEMBER 17, 1624)

German Lutheran Mystic

Jakob Böhme comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via William Law (1686-1761), whom he influenced.

Böhme, born in Alteidenberg, near Görlitz, circa April 24, 1575, was a shoemaker-turned-mystic.  In 1600, he had a mystical experience.  He realized that

Yes and no, all things exist.

Böhme spent the rest of his life struggling with difficult questions.  He, always rooted in Christianity, wrote 29 books and tracts, some of which renamed incomplete when he died.  Our saint struggled with questions of sin, good and evil, yes and no, and darkness and light in the context of God and spiritual unity in God.  How, Böhme wondered, could the divided world become one in God?  Many of his early writings caused theological controversy.  Our saint disavowed some of the earliest writings as he matured theologically and spiritually.  Yet he never stopped wrestling with difficult matters of faith.  Some of his later works included On the Election of Grace (1623), Mysterium Magnum (1623), and The Way to Christ (1623).

Böhme died on November 17, 1624.  He was 49 years old.

His influence continued, however.  Aside from William Law, the diverse group of thinkers Böhme influenced included theologians and philosophers, such as:

  1. George Fox (1624-1691), founder of the Religious Society of Friends;
  2. Paul Tillich (1886-1965), a prominent theologian;
  3. Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), a philosopher;
  4. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), a philosopher; and
  5. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), a philosopher.

May each of us, like Jakob Böhme, struggle with difficult questions faithfully.

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Loving God, you have granted us intellects

and a thirst to know you as well as we can.

Thank you for these gifts.

May we, like your servant Jakob Böhme,

use them to maximum effect,

for your glory and the benefit of others.

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

1 Samuel 3:1-21

Psalm 63

Ephesians 2:11-22

John 1:1-18

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 7, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JAMES HEWITT MCGOWN, HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DRAUSINUS AND ANSERICUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF SOISSONS; SAINT VINDICIAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CAMBRAI; AND SAINT LEODEGARIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF AUTUN

THE FEAST OF EDWARD OSLER, ENGLISH DOCTOR, EDITOR, AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA ANTONIA DE PAZ Y FIGUEROA, FOUNDRESS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF THE DIVINE SAVIOR

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PERPETUA, FELICITY, AND THEIR COMPANIONS, MARTYRS AT CARTHAGE, 203

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Feast of St. Jan Sarkander (March 17)   1 comment

Above:  St. Jan Sarkander

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT JAN SARKANDER (DECEMBER 20, 1576-MARCH 17, 1620)

Silesian Roman Catholic Priest and “Martyr of the Confessional,” 1620

Protestant-Roman Catholic tensions have cooled since the lifetime of St. Jan Sarkander, but petty personal politics have remained constant.  Unfortunately, so has judicial murder.

St. Jan Sarkander, born in Skotschan, Silesia (now Skocjow, Poland), on December 20, 1576, was a son of Georg Mathias Sarkander and Helene Kornize (Sarkander).  Georg died when our saint was young.  Jan’s marriage ended with the death of his wife.  The couple had no children.  Then Sarkander turned to the Church.

Sarkander became a priest.  He studied under Jesuits in Prague, earning his master of philosophy degree in 1603.  Then he studied theology in Austria.  This led to his ordination to the priesthood in 1607, at Grozin.  Sarkander, curate at Boskowitz from 1613 to 1616, became a parish priest in Olmütz, Moravia (now Olomouc, Czech Republic).  Moravia was a strongly Protestant area.  Bitowsky von Bystritz, a wealthy landowner and a Protestant, opposed our saint.  Sarkander had a prominent supporter and parishioner, though; Baron von Labkowitz favored him.

Sarkander became a victim of Bystritz.  The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) was, in part, a war of religion (Protestant versus Roman Catholic).  Our saint, briefly forced into exile during Protestant occupation of the area, returned to tend to his flock.  In 1620, when Roman Catholic forces approached the area, Sarkander prevented combat by taking a monstrance to the would-be battlefield.  Bystritz accused the priest of treason.  Bystritz was really seeking information to use against Labkowitz.  Sarkander never violated the seal of the confessional, despite tortures.  He died (by burning alive) at Olmütz on March 17, 1620.  He was 43 years old.

The Roman Catholic Church recognized Sarkander formally.  Pope Pius IX declared our saint a Venerable in 1859 then beatified him the following year.  Pope John Paul II canonized Sarkander in 1995.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN JULIAN, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMNOLOGIST

THE FEAST OF ALEXANDER MEN, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1990

THE FEAST OF LADISLAO BATTHÁNY-STRATTMANN, AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PHYSICIAN AND PHILANTHROPIST

THE FEAST OF LOUISE CECILIA FLEMING, AFRICAN-AMERICAN BAPTIST MISSIONARY AND PHYSICIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT VINCENT PALLOTTI, FOUNDER OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, THE UNION OF CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE, AND THE SISTERS OF THE CATHOLIC APOSTOLATE

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women

who have given their lives for the message of your love.

Inspire us with the memory of those martyrs for the Gospel

[like your servant Saint Jan Sarkander] whose faithfulness led them in the way of the cross,

and give us the courage to bear full witness with our lives

to your Son’s victory over sin and death; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Worship (1978), 37

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Feast of Domenico and Gregorio Allegri (February 20)   1 comment

Above:  Floor Plan of the Church of San Luigi des Francesi (Saint Louis of France), Rome

Image in the Public Domain

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GREGORIO ALLEGRI (1582-FEBRUARY 7, 1652)

Italian Roman Catholic Priest, Composer, and Singer

brother of

DOMENICO ALLEGRI (CIRCA 1585-SEPTEMBER 5, 1629)

Italian Roman Catholic Composer and Singer

Gregorio and Domenico Allegri come to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via their work in church music and via my unapologetic musical snobbery.

Constantino Allegri, a coachman from Milan, lived with his family in Rome.  He sent his three sons–Gregorio (b. 1582), Domenico (b. circa 1585), and Bartholomeo–to study music and to sing in the choir at San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome.  Gregorio and Domenico became composers and remained singers as adults.  Gregorio also joined the ranks of priests.

Domenico worked as a maestro di cappella in churches:

  1. Santa Maria, Spello (1606-1609);
  2. Santa Maria, Trastevero, Rome (1609-1610); and
  3. Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome (1610-1629).

Much of Domenico’s music has fallen victim to the ravages of time, unfortunately.  His Modi Quos Expositis in Choris (1617) has survived, though.

Domenico died in Rome on September 5, 1629.

Gregorio was a priest at the Cathedral Church of the Assumption of Saint Mary, Fermo, when he came to the attention of Pope Urban VIII (in office 1623-1644).  Our saint, having begun to compose music while in Fermo, continued to do so after he received the Papal appointment to sing contralto in the choir at the Sistine Chapel.  Gregorio composed sinfonia, masses (including Missa Vidi Turbam Magnam), instrumental music (including the earliest string quartet), and two settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah.  His most famous work was Miserere Mei, Deus (circa 1638), for the Tenebrae service during Holy Week, in the Sistine Chapel.

Gregorio died in Rome on February 7, 1652.

Gregorio and Domenico Allegri glorified God with their lives and their music.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 26, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAUL VI, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK WILLIAM FABER, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN BRIGHT, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF JOHN BYROM, ANGLICAN THEN QUAKER POET AND HYMN WRITER

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

we bless your name for inspiring Domenico and Gregorio Allegri

and all those who with music 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), 728

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Feast of Blessed Liborius Wagner (December 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Liborius Wagner

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED LIBORIUS WAGNER (DECEMBER 5, 1593-DECEMBER 9, 1631)

German Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr, 1631

Religious persecution is always wrong.  Frequently it occurs when atheists or antitheists (to use Reza Aslan’s term) persecute religion in general.  On other occasions, religious persecution is of members of one religion by adherents of another one.  Another variety of religious persecution is intrafaith, such as Christians persecuting other Christians.  Consider the martyrdom of Blessed Liborius Wagner, O reader.

Wagner, born in Mühlhausen, Unstrut-Hainich, Thuringia, on December 5, 1593, grew up a Lutheran.  At that time of polarized religion and the Religious Wars, our saint’s conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1613 led to a break with his parents.  Four years later, Wagner became a teacher.  The date of his ordination to the priesthood was March 29, 1625.

Religious conflict during the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) forced Wagner to move from town to town.  In 1631 he was a priest in Altenmünster.  The approach of Swedish forces compelled Wagner to flee.  He hid with and ministered to his parishioners in nearby Reichmannhausen.  Swedes captured our saint on December 4, 1631, after someone betrayed him.  The Swedish Army dragged Wagner behind a horse for a few miles to Mainberg.  There they tortured the priest, who refused to renounce his faith.  The immediate cause of his death was beating with firearms and swords, on December 9, 1631.

Pope Paul VI declared Wagner a Venerable in 1973 then beatified him the following year.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 26, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ISABEL FLORENCE HAPGOOD, U.S. JOURNALIST, TRANSLATOR, AND ECUMENIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ANDRA GIACINTO LONGHIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TREVISO

THE FEAST OF PHILIP DODDRIDGE, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF VIRGIL MICHEL, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ACADEMIC, AND PIONEER OF LITURGICAL RENEWAL

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Almighty God, by whose grace and power your holy martyr Blessed Liborius Wagner

triumphed over suffering and was faithful even to death:

Grant to us, who now remember him in thanksgiving,

to be so faithful in our witness to you in this world,

that we may receive with him the crown of life;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 51:1-12

Psalm 116 or 116:1-8

Revelation 7:13-17

Luke 12:2-12

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 714

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Feast of Johannes Kepler (November 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Stamp Depicting Johannes Kepler

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHANNES KEPLER (DECEMBER 27, 1571-NOVEMBER 15, 1630)

German Lutheran Astronomer and Mathematician

My greatest desire is that I may perceive the God whom I find everywhere in the external world, in like manner also within and inside myself.

–Johannes Kepler

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Geometry is one and eternal shining in the mind of God.

–Kepler

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Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe.

–Galileo Gailiei

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Johannes Kepler comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Episcopal Church.  His Episcopal feast day (since 2009), shared with Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), is May 23.  On my Ecumenical Calendar, however, Copernicus shares a feast day with Gailieo Galilei (1564-1642).

The following two assertions are true:

  1. Our societies shape us.  We are products of our times.
  2. We shape our societies.  We help to make our times.

Kepler was both a product of his times and a shaper of the future.  He was, in many ways, ahead of his time, especially as he matured.

Kepler became a founder of modern astronomy.  He, a subject of the Holy Roman Empire, began his journey into revolutionizing science began at Weil der Stadt, where, on December 27, 1571, Catherine (Guldenmann) Kepler, from a formerly noble family, gave birth to our saint.  The Kepler family’s fortunes had been declining for some time; the father worked as a soldier.  When Johannes was four years old, he nearly went blind due to smallpox.  The condition damaged his eyesight permanently.

Kepler, who once aspired to the Lutheran ministry, became a mathematician and a scientist instead.  After graduating from Maulbronn with his Bachelor’s degree in 1588, he matriculated at Tübingen, from which he graduated with a Master’s degree in 1591.  At Tübingen Kepler studied the Copernican theory (heliocentrism), then a controversial idea, especially in ecclesiastical circles.  Kepler accepted heliocentrism and helped to shape modern astronomy.

Doing this entailed contradicting contemporary Christian orthodoxy, according to which the other planets, as well as the Moon and Sun, revolved around the Earth.  To accept the heliocentric model was allegedly to minimize sin, given the assumption that, the closer one moved toward the center (supposedly the Earth), the farther one moved away from God and the angels.  To place the Earth in orbit of the Sun was allegedly to place sinful humans amid God and the angels.

Kepler, professor of mathematics at Graz, starting in 1594, made his contribution.  Aside from mathematics, he also taught rhetoric and Virgil.  Our saint, who lived when the distinction between astronomy and astrology did not exist, prepared astrological almanacs.  Kepler, in the realm of faith and hard science, sought order in the relationships of planetary orbits to each other.  He initially had difficulty divorcing himself from all the assumptions of the old, accepted Ptolemaic model, with its spheres, et cetera.  Our saint married Barbara von Mühlbeck (d. 1611), of Graz, in April 1597.  A purge of Protestant theologians from that city in September of that year forced the Keplers to move.  Barbara’s wealth and influence enabled the couple to return after just one month, though.  They did have to leave in 1600, however.

The Keplers moved to Prague, for our saint’s new position, in 1600.  Tycho Brahe (1546-1601) helped to facilitate this transition.  Kepler became the court mathematician to Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (reigned 1576-1612).  Our saint, as an astrologer, created horoscopes for the Emperor and courtiers.  Kepler also studied and wrote about light reflection, supernovae, planetary orbits, and other topics in the realm of hard science.  Our saint, as the recipient of Tycho Brahe’s decades’ worth of astronomical observational notes, analyzed that data and in 1609, published his conclusion that planetary orbits were elliptical. Kepler contradicted the Ptolemaic model, according to which heavenly bodies moved in circular orbits.

Kepler, who remarried (to Susanna Reutlinger) in 1613, served loyally under Emperor Matthias (reigned 1612-1619), who appointed him the mathematician to the states of upper Austria in 1612.  The following year, Kepler and Matthias argued unsuccessfully for the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar, in lieu of the old Julian Calendar.  Science did not yet yield to Protestant anti-Roman Catholicism.

Kepler, who taught mathematics in Silesia from 1628 until his death at Regensberg on November 15, 1630, got much right and other theories wrong.  He practiced astrology, a pseudo-science.  Our saint also thought that comets did not return.  For that matter, Gaileo Gailiei, Kepler’s contemporary, did not accept the gravitational pull of the Moon on tides on the Earth.  Great men were not always correct.

We see farther than they did because we stand on their shoulders.

Kepler was not only a giant of science; he was also a devout Christian.  He was, in both regards, in the same league as Copernicus, Galilei, and Michael Faraday (1791-1867).

The conflict between religion and faith on one side and science on the other is unnecessary.  Truth is truth.  Bad theology is bad theology.  Good theology is good theology.  We can arrive at much truth via observation, experimentation, data analysis, documentation, et cetera–in other words, the Scientific Method and Enlightenment Modernism.  Other truth, however, resides in a different purview.  One can have access to truth via more than one channel.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 29, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF CHARLES VILLIERS STANFORD, COMPOSER, ORGANIST, AND CONDUCTOR

THE FEAST OF DORA GREENWELL, POET AND DEVOTIONAL WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN KEBLE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND POET

THE FEAST OF SAINTS JONAS AND BARACHISIUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

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As the heavens declare your glory, O God, and the firmament shows your handiwork,

we bless your Name for the gifts of knowledge and insight you bestowed upon Johannes Kepler,

and we pray that you would continue to advance our understanding of your cosmos,

for our good and for your glory;  through Jesus Christ, the firstborn of all creation,

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

Genesis 1:14-19

Psalm 8

1 Corinthians 2:6-12

Matthew 2:1-11a

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 383

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Feast of Richard Hooker (November 3)   1 comment

Above:  Richard Hooker

Image in the Public Domain

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RICHARD HOOKER (MARCH 25, 1554-NOVEMBER 2, 1600)

Anglican Priest and Theologian

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…sorrow conceived for sins committed, with hope and trust to obtain remission by Christ, with a firm and effectual promise of amendment, and to alter the things that have been done amiss.

–Richard Hooker’s definition of repentance, in Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book V (1597)

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Richard Hooker was one of the most important Anglican theologians and a great intellectual.

Hooker, born in Heavitree, near Exeter, on March 25, 1554, manifested his brilliance at an early age.  He, a fine student at Exeter, benefited from the patronage of the schoolmaster, John Jewel (1552-1571), the Bishop of Salisbury from 1559 to 1571.  In 1568 our saint matriculated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.  One of his tutors was John Rainoldes, who became a life-long friend.  Hooker, still a student, became a tutor.  He tutored George Cranmer (1563-1600) and (Sir) Edwin Sandys (1561-1629).  Cranmer’s uncle was Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556), the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1533 to 1555.  Sandys (Jr.) was a son of Edwin Sandys (Sr.) (1519-1588), the Bishop of Worcester (1559-1570), the Bishop of London (1570-1576), and the Archbishop of York (1576-1588).  Sandys (Jr.) went on to serve in the House of Commons, help to found the Virginia Company, and become a critic of King James VI of Scotland/I of Great Britain (reigned 1567-1625 in Scotland and 1603-1625 in England, Wales, and Ireland).  Hooker graduated with his B.A. in 1574 and his M.A. in 1577.  He, a fellow since 1579, taught Hebrew and logic at Corpus Christi College.

Hooker joined the clerks of the clergy.  He, ordained a deacon in 1579 and a priest in 1581, was the absentee Vicar of Drayton-Beauchamp, Buckingham.  Our saint left for London in 1584.  There he was, off-and-on, a member of the household of merchant John Churchman from 1584 to 1595.  Hooker married Joan Churchman in 1588.  His literary assistants were George Cranmer, (Sir) Edwin Sandys, and Benjamin Pullen, a Churchman family servant.

The Travers Controversy prompted Hooker to begin to write his influential treatise, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity.  In 1585 Queen Elizabeth I appointed our saint to the Temple Church, London.  His new position made him the chief pastor of the Inns of Court, a prominent legal center in the city.  Hooker preached in the morning, but Walter Travers regularly preached to overflow crowds in the afternoon, despite his silencing by Archbishop of Canterbury John Whitgift in 1584.  Travers, a Puritan, condemned priestly vestments, the sign of the cross, the practice of kneeling for communion, the episcopacy, and the status of the Sovereign as the Head of the Church.  Hooker, needing more time to write his treatise, left the Temple Church in 1591.  From 1591 to 1595, he, residing in London, was the absentee Vicar of Boscombe, Whitshire, near Salisbury.  During this time our saint visited Salisbury.  In 1595 Hooker and his family became resident in his new cure; he became the Vicar of Bishopsbourne, Kent, near Canterbury.

In an age of religious extremism and rampant intolerance, Hooker was relatively tolerant and irenic.  He, critical of both Puritanism and Roman Catholicism, considered the Roman Catholic Church to be Christian.  Our saint reserved his most pointed barbs for the margins of pages.  In his copy of A Christian Letter to Certaine English Protestants (1599), a Puritan text, Hooker wrote,

How this arse runneth kicking up his heels as if a summerfly had stung him.

Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (Books I-IV published in 1593, Book V published in 1597, Books VI and VIII published in 1648, and Book VII published in 1662) was the first important work of philosophy, theology, and political theory in the English language.

  1. Hooker defended the Elizabethan Settlement.
  2. Hooker argued against the Calvinist Regulative Principle of Worship.
  3. Hooker argued against the Papacy and for national churches, with the Sovereigns as heads of national churches.
  4. Hooker accepted the Lutheran doctrine of Sola Scriptura, the idea that nothing outside scripture is necessary for salvation.
  5. Hooker defended the episcopacy.
  6. Hooker rejected the Divine Right of Kings.  He did, however, accept that God may give some kings commissions to govern, and that monarchs are accountable both to God and the consent of the governed.
  7. Hooker gave the world the Three-Legged Stool:  scripture, tradition, and reason.

Hooker, aged 46 years, died on November 2, 1600.  He, hardly obscure in life, became more renowned posthumously.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 13, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY, YEAR C:  THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD

THE FEAST OF SAINT HILARY OF POITIERS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF POITIERS, “ATHANASIUS OF THE WEST” AND HYMN WRITER; AND HIS PROTÉGÉ, SAINT MARTIN OF TOURS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF TOURS

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN KEIMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT KENTIGERN (MUNGO), ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF GLASGOW

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGUERITE BOURGEOYS, FOUNDRESS OF THE SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME

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O God of truth and peace, you raised up your servant Richard Hooker in a day of bitter controversy

to defend with sound reasoning and great charity the catholic and reformed religion:

Grant that we may maintain that middle way, not as a compromise for the sake of peace,

but as a comprehension for the sake of truth;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with

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

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 44:10-15

Psalm 19:1-11

1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16

John 17:18-23

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 667

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Feast of Philipp Nicolai (October 25)   1 comment

Above:  Philipp Nicolai

Image in the Public Domain

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PHILIPP NICOLAI (AUGUST 10, 1556-OCTOBER 26, 1608)

German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

Born Philipp Rafflenboel

His feast transferred from October 26

Philipp Nicolai was one of the greatest German Lutheran hymn writers.  One hymn, translated as “How Bright Appears the Morning Star,” has become known as “the Queen of Chorales.”  Another, “Wake, O Wake!  With Tidings Thrilling,” has become known as “the King of Chorales.”

Philipp Rafflenboel, who changed his surname to “Nicolai,” or “son of Nicoalus,” was a son of Lutheran minister Nicolaus Dietrich Rafflenboel.  Our saint seemed destined for a devout life.  As a child, he presided at funerals for pets and preached at funerals for pets and preached to children in the neighborhood.  He studied at the Universities of Erfurt and Wittenberg before, at the age of 20 years, became a Lutheran minister.  Our saint’s first parish was in his hometown, Mengeringhausen, Waldeck, Hesse.

Nicolai was a man of strong opinions.  He, pastor at Herbecke (in the Ruhr area) from 1583 to 1586, had to leave.  During the age of the Religious Wars in Europe, when the separation of church and state was not the rule, (Roman Catholic) Spanish and Bavarian forces neared Herdecke.  In that context Lutheran pastor Johann Tacke, a former priest, dressed in priestly vestments and presided over a mass.  Nicolai criticized Tacke in strong terms.  This led to a politically difficult situation for our saint.

Political difficulties continued for Nicolai.  In 1586-1587 he was a pastor in Cologne, a stronghold of Roman Catholicism.  At Niederwildungen, Waldeck, as pastor (1587-1596), our saint also tutored the young Count Wilhelm Ernst, son of the dowager Countess Margarethe.  There were, however, prominent Calvinists in the court; Nicolai clashed with them.

From 1596 to 1601 Nicolai was pastor in Unna, Westphalia.  A plague struck the town in 1597-1598; more than 1,300 people died in less than a year.  Our saint ministered faithfully to his flock during that difficult time.  On a happier note, he published Mirror of Joy of Eternal Life, including his hymns and hymn tunes, in 1599.  Nicolai also married Catherine von der Recke, a widow with two children, in 1600.

Nicolai was pastor of St. Catherine’s Church, Hamburg, in 1601-1608.  He, renowned for his eloquent preaching, wrote and published his systematic theology, On God’s Mystical Temple.  Our saint died in Hamburg on October 26, 1608.  He was 56 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 16, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C:  THE FIFTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT

THE FEAST OF GUSTAF AULEN, SWEDISH LUTHERAN THEOLOGY

THE FEAST OF SAINT FILIP SIPHONG ONPHITHAKT, ROMAN CATHOLIC CATECHIST AND MARTYR IN THAILAND

THE FEAST OF MAUDE DOMINICA PETRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MODERNIST THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF RALPH ADAMS CRAM AND RICHARD UPJOHN, ARCHITECTS; AND JOHN LAFARGE, SR., PAINTER AND STAINED GLASS WINDOW MAKER

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Philipp Nicolai 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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Feast of Sts. Francis Borgia, Peter Faber, Alphonsus Rodriguez, and Peter Claver (September 9)   3 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT FRANCIS BORGIA (OCTOBER 28, 1510-SEPTEMBER 30, 1572)

“Second Founder of the Society of Jesus”

Also known as Francisco de Borja y Aragon

His feast transferred from September 30, October 3, and October 10

worked with

SAINT PETER FABER (APRIL 13, 1506-AUGUST 1, 1546)

Apostle of Germany, and Cofounder of the Society of Jesus

His feast transferred from August 1

taught

SAINT ALPHONSUS RODRIGUEZ (JULY 25, 1532-OCTOBER 31, 1617)

Spanish Jesuit Lay Brother

His feast transferred from October 31

counseled

SAINT PETER CLAVER (1580/1581-SEPTEMBER 8, 1654)

“Apostle to the Negroes”

His feast day = September 9

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One of my goals in renovating my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is to emphasize relationships and influences.  That goal is germane to this post.

I began by taking notes about St. Peter Claver.  During that process I noticed the link to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez.  While I took notes on him, I saw the name of St. Peter Faber.  I took notes about him and noticed the link to St. Francis Borgia, so I added Borgia to the post too.

Above:  St. Francis Borgia, S.J.

Image in the Public Domain

St. Francis Borgia, born in Gandia, Valencia, Aragon, on October 28, 1510, was a nobleman.  He, related to Aragonese royalty, was a great-grandson of the infamous Rodrigo Borgia, who, in 1492, bribed his way into the Papacy and became Alexander VI.  Our saint, raised in the court of King Charles I of Spain/Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, married Eleanor de Castro (d. 1546) in 1529.  The couple had eight children.  From 1539 to 1543 Borgia was the Viceroy of Catalonia.  Then, in 1543, he became the Duke of Gandia.

Borgia made his greatest contributors as a Jesuit.  He, a friend of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), joined the Society of Jesus in 1548.  Three years later our saint became a priest.  His responsibilities increased as time passed.  Borgia had oversight of missions in the East Indies and the West Indies before become the superior in Spain in 1560.  Five years later Borgia became the Superior General of the order.  In a few years he revitalized the order and established missions in Peru, Florida, and elsewhere in the Spanish Empire in the Americas.  Our saint, convinced that Jesuits were working too much and praying too little, introduced the hour-long meditation.

Borgia died in Ferrara (now in Italy) on September 30, 1572, about a month prior to what would have been his sixty-second birthday.  Pope Gregory XV beatified him in 1624.  Pope Clement X canonized him in 1670.

Above:  St. Peter Faber

Image in the Public Domain

Borgia worked with St. Peter Faber, born in Villaret, Savoy, on April 13, 1506.  Faber, from a farm family, worked as a shepherd when he was young.  Our saint was devout from childhood; he even catechized other children when he was one.

Faber, educated at Saint-Barbe College, Paris, became a priest in 1534, the same year he and his friend, St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), founded the Society of Jesus.  Faber, also a friend of St. Francis Xavier (1506-1552), was an active participant–a preacher and theologian–in the Counter-Reformation.  He enabled St. Peter Canisius (1521-1597), leader of the Counter-Reformation in Germany, to fulfill that function.

Faber, aged 40 years, died in Rome on August 1, 1546.  Toward the end he was too ill to attend the Council of Trent (1545-1563) and to become the Patriarch of Ethiopia.  Pope Leo XIII beatified Faber in 1872.  Pope Francis canonized our saint in 2013.

Faber prepared the 10-year-old St. Alphonsus Rodriguez for First Communion.

Above:  St. Alphonsus Rodriguez

Image in the Public Domain

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, once a businessman, became a Jesuit lay brother and an influential spiritual advisor.  He, born in Segovia, Spain, on July 25, 1532, was the third of eleven children of prosperous wool merchant Diego Rodriguez, who died when our saint was 15 years old.  That death ended the education of young Alphonsus by the Jesuits, for a time.  Our saint, back home, took over the family business.  Rodriguez married Maria Suarez when he was 26 years old.  The couple had three children, two of whom predeceased their mother.  Rodriguez buried his wife then his mother in his thirties.  Next he sold the business and moved in with his sisters, who helped to raise the young son and taught our saint prayerful meditation.

Rodriguez had a vocation to religious life.  After the death of his third (of three) child, he inquired about becoming a novice.  Our saint did not meet the educational requirement to become a novice.  Attempts to acquire that education ended in failure.  He could, however, become a lay brother and study with children.  After six months the order sent Rodriguez to the College of Montesión, Palma, Majorca/Mallorca.  There our saint was the porter for 46 years; he delivered packages, gave alms to the poor, and assisted travelers in search of lodging.  Rodriguez made his final vows in 1586/1587, when he was 54 years old.

Above:  St. Peter Claver

Image in the Public Domain

St. Peter Claver, born into a farming family in Verdu, Catalonia, Spain, in 1580/1581, grew up and became a great missionary.  His parents sent him to Barcelona, to study under Jesuits.  The Jesuit influence rubbed of on Claver, who became a novice at Tarragona.  The order sent him to Palma, Majorca/Mallorca, where he was unsure about what his future should be.  St. Adolphus Rodriguez convinced the novice to ask to become a missionary to the New World.  Claver arrived in Cartagena (now in Colombia) in 1610.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez continued to live at Palma until he died, aged 87 years, on October 31, 1617.  He was 87 years old.  Pope Urban VIII declared Rodriguez a Venerable in 1626.  Pope Leo XII beatified him in 1825.

Claver spent the rest of his life in Cartagena, where he was the “Apostle to the Negroes.”  He was initially the assistant to Father Alphonsus de Sandoval, S.J., who ministered to recently arrived African slaves, still in slave pens, prior to auction.  Sandoval was a dedicated minister to slaves; Claver was more so.  He, ordained to the priesthood in 1815, catechized and baptized more than 300,000 African slaves through 1650.  Against strong opposition from powerful people and much indifference from his superiors in Cartagena, Claver labored faithfully.  He could not end slavery, but he did what he could; he advocated for improved conditions on plantations, and succeeded.  Mostly he was present with and sympathetic to slaves.  Claver described himself as

the slave of the Negroes forever.

Claver, ill and unable to leave his room during the last four years of his life, endured the company of just one servant, who beat him frequently.  Our saint died in Cartagena on September 8, 1654.  Surprisingly, the Church gave him a grand funeral.

Pope Pius IX beatified Claver in 1851.

Pope Leo XIII canonized Claver and Rodriguez together in 1888.

Sts. Francis Borgia, Peter Faber, and Alphonsus Rodriguez enabled the productive ministry of St. Peter Claver.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

AUGUST 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EDITH STEIN, ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN AND PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF SAINT HERMAN OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MONK AND MISSIONARY TO THE ALEUT

THE FEAST OF JOHN DRYDEN, ENGLISH PURITAN THEN ANGLICAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC POET, PLAYWRIGHT, AND TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF MARY SUMNER, FOUNDRESS OF THE MOTHERS’ UNION

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Almighty God, you have surrounded us with a great cloud of witnesses:

Grant that we, encouraged by the good example of your servants

Saint Francis Borgia, Saint Peter Faber, Saint Alphonsus Rodriguez, and Saint Peter Claver,

may persevere in running the race that is set before us,

until at last we may with them attain to your eternal joy;

through Jesus Christ, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,

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

Micah 6:6-8

Psalm 15

Hebrews 12:1-2

Matthew 25:31-40

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 724

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