Archive for the ‘Saints of the 1610s’ Category

Feast of Blessed Tommaso Acerbis (May 3)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Tommaso Acerbis

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED TOMMASO ACERBIS (1563-MAY 3, 1631)

Capuchin Friar

Also known as Blessed Tommaso of Olera

Blessed Tommaso Acerbis, once an illiterate shepherd, became an influential speaker and writer whose influence has never ceased to exist.  The ranks of those inspired by his writings have included recent Popes.  Blessed Tommaso, born at Olera, Italy, in 1563, came from an impoverished family.  At the age of 17 years he, a shepherd, joined the Capuchin Friars at Verona on September 12, 1580.  Then he learned to read and write.  On July 5, 1584, Acerbis made his final profession.  He remained at the abbey at Verona until 1605, when he departed for Vicenza, where he lived until 1617.  Then our saint served as clerk at Rovereto for about a year before transferring to Padua, where he was porter in 1618-1619.  Acerbis spent the rest of his life at Innsbruck, Austria.  Throughout his life our saint helped the poor, visited the sick, and strengthened people in their faith.  Our saint also extolled the virtues of Roman Catholicism and thereby held off an encroachment of Lutheranism at Innsbruck.

Pope John Paul II declared Acerbis a Venerable in 1987.  Pope Francis made our saint a Blessed in 2013.

The aspect of the life of Acerbis that appeals to me most is his gentleness.  I detect a pastoral spirit and a concern for the most vulnerable people.  Yes, I have some strong theological differences with him, but so what?  I still respect the man.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN STAINER AND WALTER GALPIN ALCOCK, ANGLICAN CHURCH ORGANISTS AND COMPOSERS

THE FEAST OF KASPAR BIENEMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM JOSIAH IRONS, ANGLICAN PRIEST, HYMN WRITER, AND HYMN TRANSLATOR; AND HIS DAUGHTER, GENEVIEVE MARY IRONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC HYMN WRITER

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Tommaso Acerbis,

kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we may also be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 133 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

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Feast of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson (April 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of Rhode Island

Image in the Public Domain

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ROGER WILLIAMS (1603?-BETWEEN JANUARY 27 AND MARCH 15, 1683)

Founder of Rhode Island

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ANNE MARBURY HUTCHINSON (1591-AUGUST OR SEPTEMBER 1643)

Rebellious Puritan

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PROPHETIC WITNESSES

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Well-behaved women seldom make history.

–Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

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Forced worship stinks in God’s nostrils.

–Roger Williams

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The feast day of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson in The Episcopal Church is February 5.  On my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, however, the feast day is April 18.  The irony of Williams and Hutchinson, who left The Church of England, which they considered too Catholic, being saints on the Episcopal calendar, does not escape me.  I interpret the irony as an indication of the broad mindedness of The Episcopal Church.

Anne Marbury, born in Alford, Lincolnshire, England, in 1591, was a daughter of the Reverend Francis Marbury (1555-1611) and his second wife, Bridget Dryden, a cousin of playwright John Dryden (1631-1700).  Anne, baptized on July 17, 1591, grew up in a home with strong Puritan influences.  Her mother had strong nonconformist roots.  Francis, an Anglican priest, insisted publicly that was not a Puritan, but he made occasional public denunciations of The Church of England for being too Catholic.  Such statements belied his public denials of not being a Puritan and led to two trials (in 1578 and 1591) and years (as in 1591-1594) of house arrest, followed by public silence regarding certain opinions.  His life and double life ended, due to natural causes, in 1611.

Francis Marbury supervised the education of his children who survived infancy.  He and his first wife (Elizabeth Moore, who died in 1585) had three daughters from 1581 to 1585.  Marbury and his second wife had fifteen children from 1588 to 1610.  Anne was his sixth child and his third child with Bridget Dryden.  He and Bridget raised Anne as a well-educated, Biblically literate, confident, and assertive young woman.

In 1612 Anne married William Hutchinson, with whom she had grown up in London and who had attended her father’s church.  They were devoted to each other for the rest of their lives.  The couple also had fifteen children from 1613 to 1636.  (Her final pregnancy terminated via miscarriage in 1636.)  Anne, William, ten of their children, Katherine Marbury Scott (Anne’s sister), Katherine’s husband, and Anne and Frances Freiston (William’s unmarried cousins) sailed for Boston, Massachusetts Bay colony, in 1634.

Above:  The Coat of Arms of the Massachusetts Bay Colony

Image in the Public Domain

Notice the arrogant reference to the Macedonian Call in the Indian’s words.

Puritans came in two varieties–the Separatists and the Non-Separatists.  The Separatist Puritans considered The Church of England to be too Catholic and beyond the possibility of redemption.  The Non-Separatist Puritans agreed that The Church of England was too Catholic yet not that it was beyond the possibility of redemption.  Despite their de jure status as Anglicans, the Non-Separatist Puritans of New England had separated de facto, for they did not worship according to The Book of Common Prayer.

Roger Williams was a Separatist Puritan.  He, born in London (perhaps in 1603), was a son of merchant James Williams and his wife, Alice Pemberton Williams, who hailed from a family of merchants.  Young Roger worked as a legal clerk for Sir Edward Coke.  Williams also studied at the Charterhouse (1621-1624) then at Pembroke Hall, Cambridge (1624-1627).  After Cambridge our saint became the chaplain to Sir William Marsham in Otes, Essex County.  In that assignment Williams completed his transformation from an Anglican into a Puritan.

Williams sailed for the new Massachusetts Bay colony (Non-Separatist) in late 1630 and arrived the following year.  He declined the opportunity to become the minister at Salem.  Not only did he insist that a royal land grant was illegitimate because colonists should purchase land from indigenous people, but he also refused to be a pastor to Non-Separatists.  So, in 1632, Williams relocated to the Plymouth colony (Separatist).  There he remained for about a year; his opinion regarding royal land grants also proved unpopular in the Plymouth colony.

So it came to pass that Williams returned to the Massachusetts Bay colony in 1633.  He finally accepted the offer to become the minister at Salem, but civil magistrates opposed him.  Williams called upon the leaders of the colony to do officially what they had done in practice–separate from The Church of England.  He also argued that the civil magistrate should have no role in religion.  The state should never compel anyone to pray, Williams stated.

The call for the separation of church and state contradicted Puritan and Anglican norms.  Contrary to popular misconception, the founders of the Plymouth and the Massachusetts Bay colonies were not champions of religious freedom.  No, they left England proper to find religious liberty for themselves and those who agreed with them, but persecuted dissidents.  The founders of those colonies failed the basic test of religious freedom–a general policy of toleration.  Williams was more fortunate that some other dissidents; his fate was merely banishment.  (Authorities hanged some Quakers decades later.)  He and his traveling companions walked out of the Massachusetts Bay colony in January 1636.  In April they arrived that the future site of the settlement of Providence.  He purchased the land from the Narragansett tribe, befriended them, and learned their language.

Meanwhile, in Boston, Anne was being herself and getting into trouble.  The fact that she got into trouble reflected negatively on her persecutors, not on her.  At home meetings during which she, other pious women, and certain others discussed the most recent sermon, she criticized the theology of the Reverend John Wilson.  Anne, a devout Calvinist, accused Wilson of having preached the Covenant of Works, not the Covenant of Grace.  Ministers were pillars of the theocracy in Puritan New England.  They were also, according to Puritan orthodoxy, closer to God than mere laypeople–certainly a woman.  Furthermore, Hutchinson taught that the Holy Spirit dwells in everyone and that salvation comes via divine grace.  Her teaching regarding the Holy Spirit (literally, God speaks to everyone) threatened the exalted status of ministers in the Puritan hierarchy.  Hutchinson, brought up on charges in 1637 and sentenced to banishment late in the year, spent the beginning of the year and the beginning of the next one as a prisoner, due to the cold weather.  She and her companions settled on Aquidneck Island in the spring of 1638.  During this difficult time of her life she was pregnant.  After she left the Massachusetts Bay colony, she suffered a miscarriage.  Certain Puritan divines understood this as evidence of God’s judgment on her.

William Hutchinson became a civic leader in Portsmouth, on Aquidneck Island.  In 1639 he became the treasurer.  Later that year he became he the chief magistrate.  In 1640, when Aquidneck Island joined the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, he became an assistant governor.  He died the following year.

In 1642-1644 Rhode Island was in peril, for orthodox Puritan forces were threatening to conquer it.  Williams secured the future of the colony by obtaining charter from the royal government in 1644.  During the time of uncertainty, however, Anne and six of her children relocated to Long Island, then part of New Netherland, in 1642.  There, in August or September 1643, some Native Americans killed her and five of her children.  This, certain Puritan divines in Massachusetts claimed, was more evidence of divine judgment on her.

Rhode Island and Providence Plantations was one of the minority of the thirteen colonies to have no official religion.  Religious toleration was the policy there.  Williams had definite and changing religious opinions, none of which he imposed on anyone.  His house church became the First Baptist Church, Providence, in 1637.  He resigned as pastor the following year.  He went on to identify as a seeker and to reject organized religion.  The colony became a haven for a variety of people, including Quakers (founded in England in 1652), aspects of whose theology Anne Hutchinson had presaged.  Williams argued publicly against Quaker theology, but he welcomed Friends into his colony.

Williams, who supported himself financially as a farmer and a merchant, died broke; his commerce never recovered from the great regional disruption that was King Philip’s War (1675-1676).  Williams between January 27 and March 15, 1683, aged about 80 years.

Alan Heimert concluded his article on Williams in The Encyclopedia Americana (1962) with these words:

Roger Williams, who even as a shaker of nations had never been wholly of this world, was perhaps the purest of American Puritans.

–Volume 28, page 792

Williams was certainly a man committed to certain principles.  He was, for all his faults and inconsistencies, a champion of religious toleration.  He and Anne Hutchinson, with whom he might have had some fascinating arguments, challenged authority figures who deserved the challenges.  These two saints were pioneers of American religious liberty.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 10, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHANN SCHEFFLER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF GEORG NEUMARK, GERMAN LUTHERAN POET AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOHN HINES, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

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O God, our light and salvation, who makes all free to worship you:

May we ever strive to be faithful to your call,

following the example of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson,

that we may faithfully set our hands to the Gospel plow,

confident in the truth proclaimed by your Son Jesus Christ; who with you

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

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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O God, our light and salvation, we thank you for Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson,

whose visions of the liberty of the soul illumined by the light of Christ

made them brave prophets of religious tolerance in the American colonies;

and we pray that we also may follow paths of holiness and good conscience,

guided by the radiance of Jesus Christ; who with you and the

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

1 Kings 17:1-16

Psalm 133

1 Peter 1:13-16

Luke 9:51-62

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 211

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Feast of Johann Cruger (April 8)   Leave a comment

 

Above:  Johann Cruger

Image in the Public Domain

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As a writer and editor of tunes this distinguished musician occupies a special niche in the hymnic hall of fame.

–Armin Haeussler, The Story of Our Hymns:  The Handbook to the Hymnal of the Evangelical and Reformed Church (1952)

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Johann Cruger ranks among the greatest composers in the Lutheran Church.  He, born at Gross-Breesen, Brandenburg, on April 9, 1598, studied at Guben, Sorau, and Breslau before studying at the Jesuit school at Olmutz then the Poets’ School at Regensburg.  At Regensburg Cruer studied music under Paul Homberber, who had been a student of Giovanni Gabrieli.  Next our saint traveled in Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and Moravia before settling in Berlin in 1615.  Then he worked as a private tutor until 1620, when he began to study music and theology at the University of Wittenberg.

Cruger settled at Berlin again in 1622, when he became the cantor (organist and choirmaster) at St. Nicholas Church and a teacher at the Gray Cloister.  Our saint held both posts for the rest of his life–about 40 years.  Cruger composed at least 122 chorale tunes, 18 of which remained in widespread use at the times of the publication of The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) and Lutheran Worship (1982).  In 1657 Paul Gerhardt became the deacon at St. Nicholas Church.  They became friends and Cruger set 21 texts by Gerhardt to music.

Cruger edited and published five important volumes:

  1. Neues vollkommliches Gesangbuch (1640), with 161 hymns;
  2. Praxis Pietatis Melica (first edition, 1644; forty-fourth edition, 1736); the twenty-third edition (1688) included 1114 hymns; the forty-third edition had 1316 hymns;
  3. Geistliche Kirchenmelodien (1649), with 161 hymns;
  4. Geistliche Lieder und Psalmen (1653), with 92 tunes and no texts; and
  5. Psalmodia Sacra (1657), with 319 texts; intended for Huguenot immigrants.

Cruger died at Berlin on February 23, 1662.  He was 63 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 16, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADALBALD OF OSTEVANT, SAINT RICTRUDIS OF MARCHIENNES, AND THEIR RELATIONS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM KIDUNAIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT, AND SAINT MARY OF EDESSA, ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN CACCIAFRONTE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT MEGINGAUD OF WURZGURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND ABBOT

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Johann Cruger)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

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

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of John Donne (March 31)   1 comment

john-donne

Above:  John Donne

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN DONNE (JANUARY 21, 1572-MARCH 31, 1631)

Anglican Priest and Poet

John Donne–Anglican priest, popular preacher, and metaphysical poet–was a complicated character who sought after God and struggled with ambition.

Our saint, born in London, England, on January 21, 1572, was a son of John Donne and Elizabeth Heywood.  (Aside:  The English tradition of naming sons after fathers without using suffixes can prove quite confusing.)  John Donne the Elder, a wealthy merchant, died in 1576.  Elizabeth Heywood Donne was a daughter of John Heywood, a playwright.  John Heywood’s wife was a daughter of the sister of St. Thomas More.  Both of our saint’s parents were devout Roman Catholics.  Furthermore, two of his maternal uncles were Jesuits who died in exile and Henry, his younger brother, died of fever in prison at the age of 19 years in 1593.  Henry’s crime was to shelter a Roman Catholic priest.

Our saint, young “Jack” Donne, was also a Roman Catholic.  In 1584 he began his studies at Hart Hall, Oxford.  He never formally graduated because a requirement for doing so was to take the oath of supremacy.  Donne, as a Roman Catholic, could not do that.  Next he studied at Cambridge.  In 1591-1592 he was a law student at Thavies Inn, L0ndon.  From 1592 too 1596 he studied law at Lincoln’s Inn, London.  By the 1590s Donne had begun to compose poetry.  He was also undecided about whether to remain a Roman Catholic or to convert to The Church of England.

Donne nurtured political connections.  In 1596 and 1597 he participated in the Earl of Essex’s expeditions to Cadiz and to the Azore Islands.  By 1597, when our saint had become an Anglican, he was the secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, soon to become Lord Chancellor Ellesmere.  Love interfered with Donne’s career, though.  In December 1601 he married Ann More, the niece of Egerton, without her guardians’ consent.  This led to a term of incarceration, the loss of employment, and the denial of Ann’s dowry.  This reality led Donne to become more spiritual.

The couple struggled for years.  From 1602 to 1615 they had twelve children, seven of whom survived their mother.  Eventually Donne found work writing criticisms of Roman Catholicism; he worked with Thomas Morton (later the Bishop of Durham) in this regard.  In 1607 Morton, the new Dean of Gloucester, encouraged Donne to take Holy Orders.  Our saint declined, citing a sense of worthiness.  Or perhaps he still had secular ambitions.  Eventually Sir George More, his father-in-law, paid Ann’s dowry.  Next Donne became the lawyer of Lucy, Countess of Bedford, through whom he came into contact with influential people.

Donne’s fortunes improved in 1610.  That year he published Pseudo-Martyr, a work designed to persuade Roman Catholics to take the oath of allegiance.  For this work he received an honorary M.A. from Oxford as well as favorable notice from King James VI/I.  Additional works in the field of religious controversy flowed from his pen during the next few years.  Also in 1610, Donne found a new patron, Sir Robert Drury, with whom he traveled from November 1611 to August 1612.  Afterward Donne courted Viscount Rochester (later the Earl of Somerset), a favorite of King James.  Our saint won election to the House of Commons in 1614.  The following year royal pressure ended his refusal to take Holy Orders.  His ordination occurred on January 23; he was 43 years old.

Donne became, according to reputation, the greatest preacher in England.  Like other prominent clergymen of the time, he frequently received income from two livings and was resident in only one of them.  In 1621 he became the Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.  Four years later Donne preached the first sermon of the reign of King Charles I.  Our saint would have become a bishop in 1630, except for reasons of health.  He died, aged 59 years, on March 31, 1631.

Donne earned his place in the canon of literature with his metaphysical poetry, which remains in print.  Many of his sermons have also remained in print, for people to read.  His published works expressed, among other things, am awareness of his sins and of God’s mercy.

1.  Wilt thou forgive that sin, where I begun

which is my sin, though it were done before?

Wilt thou forgive those sins through which I run,

and do run still, though still I do deplore?

When thou hast done, thou hast not done, for I have more.

2.  Wilt thou forgive that sin, by which I won

others to sin, and made my sin their door?

Wilt thou forgive that sin I did shun

a year or two, but wallowed in a score?

When thou hast done, thou hast not done, for I have more.

3.  I have a sin of fear that when I’ve spun

my last thread, I shall perish on the shore;

swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son

shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore.

And having done that, thou hast done, I fear no more.

That is a theme worth pondering, is it not?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BENJAMIN SCHMOLCK, GERMAN LUTHERAN PASTOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER, ENGLISH POET AND FEMINIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT ALTO OF ALTOMUNSTER, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

THE FEAST OF SAINT PORFIRIO, MARTYR

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Almighty God, the root and fountain of all being:

Open our eyes to see, with your servant John Donne,

that whatever has any being is a mirror in which we may behold you;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns

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

Wisdom of Solomon 7:24-8:1

Psalm 27:5-11

1 Corinthians 15:20-28

John 5:19-24

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 299

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Feast of Blessed Ion Costist (March 5)   Leave a comment

northern-romania

Above:  Northern Romania, 1951

Scanned from Hammond’s Complete World Atlas (1951)

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BLESSED ION COSTIST (JUNE 29, 1556-MARCH 5, 1625)

Franciscan Lay Brother

Blessed Ion Costist entered the world at Zaxo, Moldavia (now Cornu Luncii, near Suceava, Romania), on June 29, 1556.  He also grew up in a pious family.  In 1574, at the age of 18 years, Costist went to Italy because he thought that the greatest Christians resided there.  Five years later he became Jeremiah, a Franciscan lay brother.  Starting in 1585 Costist worked as a medical assistant in Naples.  He cared for the crippled, the poor, and the lame.  Our saint also begged for alms, all of which he used to finance the care of that population.  Costist, who had the spiritual gift of encouragement and a reputation for charity, defined God as merciful love and people as the gift of divine love.  He died at Naples on March 5, 1625, aged 68 years.

Pope John XXIIII declared Costist a Venerable in 1959.  Pope John Paul II beatified him in 1983.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 5, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN NEPOMUCENE NEUMANN, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF PHILADELPHIA

THE FEAST OF ANTONIO LOTTI, ROMAN CATHOLIC MUSICIAN AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF SAINT GENOVEVA TORRES MORALES, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS AND THE HOLY ANGELS

THE FEAST OF MARGARET MACKAY, SCOTTISH HYMN WRITER

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O God, by whose grace your servant Blessed Ion Costist,

kindled with the flame of your love,

became a burning and a shining light in your Church:

Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline,

and walk before you as children of light;

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.

Acts 2:42-47a

Psalm 153 or 34:1-8 or 119:161-168

2 Corinthians 6:1-10

Matthew 6:24-33

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 723

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Feast of Nicholas Ferrar, George Herbert, and All Saintly Parish Priests (February 27)   Leave a comment

Flag of England

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

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NICHOLAS FERRAR (FEBRUARY 22, 1592-DECEMBER 4, 1637)

Anglican Deacon and Founder of Little Gidding

His feast transferred from December 1 (in The Episcopal Church) and December 4 (in The Church of England)

friend of

GEORGE HERBERT (APRIL 3, 1593-MARCH 1, 1633)

Anglican Priest and Metaphysical Poet

His feast (Anglican) = February 27

His feast (Lutheran) = March 1

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A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989) lists February 27 as the feast of “George Herbert, 1633, and all saintly Parish Priests.”

george-herbert

Above:  George Herbert

Image in the Public Domain

George Herbert, born at Montgomery, Wales, on April 3, 1593, came from a distinguished family.  His older brother was Edward, Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1583-1648), poet, ambassador, and proto-Deist philosopher.  Our saint, educated at Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge, became the Public Orator at Cambridge in 1620.  This position was usually a stepping stone to political advancement.  Herbert, a Member of Parliament in 1624 and 1625, found himself on the wrong side of royal politics, for he was an ally of John Williams (1582-1650), the Bishop of Lincoln, whom King Charles I (reigned 1625-1649) did not like.  (Eventually, after Herbert’s death, Williams regained royal flavor and became Archbishop of York in 1641.)

Herbert, ordained a priest in 1629, married Jane Danvers.  He also became the Rector of Bemerton, where he was a fish out of water.  The rectory was barely habitable, the church building was in terrible condition, and the congregation was poor.  The former Cambridge don was an excellent priest to his congregation.  On March 1, 1633, about a month short of his fortieth birthday, Herbert died of tuberculosis.  He seemed to have been a failure.

On his deathbed Herbert entrusted The Temple, his collected poems, to his friend, Nicholas Ferrar, who lived at Little Gidding, just down the road.  Ferrar had the book published; he wrote the preface.  Among the more famous texts as “Love Bade Me Welcome.”  Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) set five of Herbert’s poems to music as the Five Mystical Songs (link #1, link #2).

Nicholas Ferrar, born at London, England, on February 22, 1592, studied at Clare Hall, Cambridge, then became a fellow there.  Bad health became a fellow there.  Bad health forced him to leave Cambridge in 1613.  For five years Ferrar traveled in Europe.  In 1618 our saint returned to England and went to work for its Deputy Treasurer.  In 1624, after the dissolution of the Virginia Company, Ferrar became a Member of Parliament.  He left Parliament two years later, became an Anglican deacon, and founded the community of Little Gidding in Huntingdonshire.  The community, which grew to about 40 people, included some of Ferrar’s relatives.  Members of the community lived simply, helped poor people, meditated, fasted, recited the Book of Psalms daily, and observed a regimen of of daily prayer dictated by The Book of Common Prayer (1559).

Ferrar died at Little Gidding on December 4, 1637.  He was 45 years old.  The community did not survive Ferrar for long, for a Puritan raid in 1646 destroyed Little Gidding, allegedly the “Arminian Nunnery” that was part of a plot to spread Roman Catholic practices throughout England.

I do not like Puritans, puritans, or Puritanism.

As for “All Saintly Parish Priests,” I write as the son of a United Methodist minister.  My formative experiences have given me a grasp of the difference between the clergy and the laity that many of my fellow parishioners who lack the background of a preacher’s kid can never understand.  George Herbert, I perceive, performed a variety of mundane and important pastoral tasks and administered sacraments.  Nobody should underestimate the value of such work, which is seldom the stuff of extended accounts in reference works and biographies, on par with the deeds of political and military leaders.  I also know that the clergy live in proverbial glass houses a variety in which others–including politicians–do not.  All saintly parish priests deserve prayers.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 11, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF LUKE OF PRAGUE AND JOHN AUGUSTA, MORAVIAN BISHOPS AND HYMN WRITERS

THE FEAST OF BLESSED KAZIMIERZ TOMAS SYKULSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF LARS OLSEN SKREFSRUD, HANS PETER BOERRESEN, AND PAUL OLAF BODDING, LUTHERAN MISSIONARIES IN INDA

THE FEAST OF BLESSED SEVERIN OTT, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

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Good Shepherd, king of love, accept our thanks and praise for the love and care we have received

and for your servants Nicholas Ferrar and George Herbert.

May our care for each other grow constantly more reverent and more discerning.  Amen.

Ezekiel 3:16-21

Psalm 15 or 99

2 Corinthians 4:1-10

John 10:11-16

–Adapted from A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), pages 681-682

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This is post #1500 of SUNDRY THOUGHTS.

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Feast of Johann Heermann (February 20)   1 comment

johann-heermann

Above:  Johann Heermann

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHANN HEERMANN (OCTOBER 11, 1585-FEBRUARY 17, 1647)

German Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

Johann Heermann was arguably the second greatest Lutheran hymn writer, ranking behind only Paul Gerhardt (1607-1676).

Heermann’s life was one of difficulties and afflictions, both natural and man-made.  He, the only one of five children to survive, seemed on the verge of death when he was a child.  Our saint promised his mother that he would study theology if he survived.  The native of Raudten, Silesia (now Rudna, Poland), survived and kept his word.  Poor eyesight frustrated Heermann’s education.  He was, however, a skilled poet, beginning his composition of Latin verse in 1605 and becoming the Holy Roman imperial poet laureate three years later.  Finally, in 1611, our saint became the minister at Koeben, on the Oder River.  That year he also married Dorothea Feige, his first wife, who died in 1617.  The couple had no children.

Fire, pestilence, and the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) created much suffering for Heermann, his family, and his flock.  He married Anna Teichmann in 1618.  The couple had four children.  More than once the Heermann’s had to flee Koeben and lost all their possessions.  Our saint also nearly died more than once during these flights.

If that were no enough, health problems afflicted Heermann.  Throat problems began in 1623.  Eleven years later our saint had to stop preaching.  For about four years he was able to perform other pastoral duties, but had to retire in 1638.  Heermann retired to Lissa, Posen (now Leszno, Poland), where he died on February 17, 1647.

Heermann was an influential hymn writer.  He composed about 400 hymns, most of which nobody has translated into English.  In contrast with the older, objective style of hymn texts, our saint pioneered subjective hymns.  Themes in Heermann’s hymns included affliction, suffering, and faith and confidence during times of trial.  His legacy of hymnody has survived, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICETIUS OF TRIER, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, AND BISHOP; AND SAINT AREDIUS OF LIMOGES, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

THE FEAST OF SAINT ABRAHAM OF KRATIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, BISHOP, AND HERMIT

THE FEAST OF HENRY USTICK ONDERDONK, EPISCOPAL BISHOP, LITURGIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT NICHOLAS OF MYRA, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

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Dear God of beauty,

you have granted literary ability and spiritual sensitivity to

Johann Heermann 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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