Archive for the ‘Francois Fenelon’ Tag

Feast of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (February 9)   Leave a comment

Above:  Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection

Image in the Public Domain

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NICHOLAS HERMAN (CIRCA 1614-FEBRUARY 12, 1691)

French Roman Catholic Monk

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The time of business does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the Blessed Sacrament.

–Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection; quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 24

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Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection comes to this, A GREAT CLOUD OF WITNESSES:  AN ECUMENICAL CALENDAR OF SAINTS’ DAYS AND HOLY DAYS, via Ellsberg, All Saints (1997).

Nicholas Herman, born in Hériménil, near Lunéville, France, circa 1614, was a peasant.  By the time our saint was 16 years old, he was a soldier in Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648).  The 16-year-old Herman reported a mystical vision.  Later in the war, he was briefly a prisoner and an alleged spy.  Herman’s exit from the war came via combat-related injuries that rendered him permanently crippled.  After his military service, our saint was a footman to Guillaume de Fuibert, the royal treasurer.  Our saint recalled being clumsy, breaking items.

Herman, no longer a footman, entered the religious life.  He was a hermit for a while.  Finally, our saint, 26 years old, joined the Order of Discaled Carmelites in Paris, as a lay brother.  On August 14, 1642, Herman made his solemn vows and became Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection.

Brother Lawrence had found his niche.  He worked in the kitchen for years.  Later, he repaired sandals.  Our saint learned how to live in continuous prayer.  He lived this way by performing his duties with a consciousness of the presence of God that hallows them.  Brother Lawrence also became a respected spiritual counselor.  François Fénelon (1651-1715), the Archbishop of Cambrai (1695f), was one of his admirers.

Brother Lawrence died on February 12, 1691.

After Brother Lawrence died, Abbé Joseph de Beaufort compiled a book, The Practice of the Presence of God.  This volume of our saint’s wisdom has influenced devout Christians from a variety of communions for centuries.

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Loving God, thank you for the gifts of spiritual insight you bestowed

upon your servant Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection.

May the Church never be bereft of these gifts.

May we perform our duties, no matter how mundane,

with a consciousness of your sanctifying presence.

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

Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-16

Psalm 119:33-40

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Matthew 11:25-30

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 12, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOSAPHAT KUNTSEVYCH, ROMAN CATHOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF POLOTSK, AND MARTYR, 1623

THE FEAST OF JOHN TAVENER, ENGLISH PRESBYTERIAN THEN ORTHODOX COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF JUANA INÉS DE LA CRUZ, MEXICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC NUN, COMPOSER, WRITER, PHILOSOPHER, FEMINIST, AND ALLEGED HERETIC

THE FEAST OF RAY PALMER, U.S. CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM ARTHUR DUNKERLEY, BRITISH NOVELIST, POET, AND HYMN WRITER

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Feast of Francois Fenelon (January 7)   2 comments

Above:  Francois Fenelon

Image in the Public Domain

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FRANCOIS FENELON (AUGUST 6, 1651-JANUARY 7, 1715)

French Theologian and Archbishop of Cambrai

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KRT

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

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

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

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

Psalm 84

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

Matthew 24:42-47

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

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Revised on November 13, 2016

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