Archive for the ‘Second Vatican Council’ Tag

Feast of Elias Benjamin Sanford (June 13)   Leave a comment

Above:  Flag of Connecticut

Image in the Public Domain

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ELIAS BENJAMIN SANFORD (JUNE 6, 1843-JULY 3, 1932)

U.S. Methodist then Congregationalist Minister and Ecumenist

Elias Benjamin Sanford comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Sanford was simultaneously of his time and ahead of it.  He transformed his time.

Once upon a time, in the United States of America, anti-Roman Catholicism was a dominant characteristic of Protestantism.  (It remains a dominant characteristic of fundamentalism and much of evangelicalism.  The mainline has repented of its anti-Roman Catholicism.  For example, the United Church of Christ, with Puritan/Congregationalist heritage, has become a haven for married former Roman Catholic priests seeking a way to continue in ordained ministry.)  This bias was the mirror image of a negative Roman Catholic attitude toward other branches of Christianity prior to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), when the rest of we Christians, whether Protestant, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, or Oriental Orthodox, formally became “separated brethren.”  This was a declaration that echoed Pope Leo XIII (d. 1903).  Not all American Protestants were anti-Roman Catholic, just as not all American Roman Catholics thought that non-Roman Catholic Christians were bound for damnation.  Nevertheless, these hardline attitudes were baked into religious cultures.  In 1928, when the Democratic Party nominated Governor Alfred Smith for the presidency, Smith’s Roman Catholicism became a political issue.  During the primary season of 1960, when Senator John F. Kennedy campaigned for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, his Roman Catholicism became a political issue.  George L. Ford, Executive Director of the National Association of Evangelicals, wrote a pamphlet, A Roman Catholic President:  How Free from Church Control?  (I own a copy of this pamphlet.)

Above:  The Cover of the Pamphlet

Scan by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Sanford’s life and ministry played out in the culture of anti-Roman Catholic Protestantism.

That summary is objectively accurate.  Know, O reader, that I refuse to condone religious bigotry.  I come from a Protestant background, mainly United Methodism in the rural South.  I, an Episcopalian, consider myself an Anglican, not a Protestant.  To be precise, I describe myself as an Anglican-Lutheran-Catholic, for “Anglican” and “Episcopalian” cover a great range of theological ground.  I affirm Transubstantiation, all seven sacraments, and the 73 book-canon of scripture.  How can I be a Protestant?  I am too Protestant to be a Roman Catholic and too Roman Catholic to be a Protestant.  And, as anyone who follows, this, my Ecumenical Calendar, should know, names of many Roman Catholics, whether Venerables, Beati, fully canonized, or not formally recognized, are present here.  To paraphrase what Martin Luther may or may not have said at the Diet of Worms (1521), I will do no other.

Above:  The Former First United Methodist Church, Thomaston, Connecticut

Structure erected in 1866

Congregation seemingly closed in 2018

Image Source = Google Earth

Sanford was originally a Methodist.  He, born in Westbrook, Connecticut, on June 6, 1843, graduated from Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut (B.A., 1865).  Our saint served as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church (extant 1784-1939) in Thomaston, Connecticut, from 1865 to 1867.  Then he became a Congregationalist.  Our saint spent the first half of 1868 traveling in Europe.

Above:  The United Church of Christ in Cornwall, Cornwall, Connecticut

Structure erected in 1842

Image Source = Google Earth

Sanford, back in the United States, served as a Congregationalist minister in rural Connecticut.  He also studied at Yale.  Our saint’s first parish in his new denomination was First Congregational Church, Cornwall, Connecticut (1868-1872).  For the next decade, he supplied in Northfield and Thomaston, Connecticut.  Sanford’s final pastorate was the First Congregational Church in Westbrook, Connecticut (1882-1894).

Above:  First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Westbrook, Connecticut

Image in the Public Domain

Sanford made the transition to ecumenical Protestant work.  He, the Editor of Church Union magazine since 1873, served as the Secretary of the Open and Institutional Church League (founded in 1894, from 1895 to 1900), committed to opening church buildings for social service.  In that same vein, our saint served as the General Secretary of the National Federation of Churches and Christian Workers from 1900 to 1908.  Sanford generally opposed the organic union of denominations on the grounds that mergers brought branches of Protestantism closer to “submission to Rome.”  In context, Sanford’s Protestant ecumenism was a way of resisting Roman Catholicism.  He helped to found the Federal Council of Churches (1908-1950), a forerunner of the National Council of Churches (1950-).  Our saint served as corresponding secretary (1908-1913) then as a honorary secretary (1913-1932) of the Federal Council of Churches.

Sanford, 89 years old, died in Middlefield, Connecticut, on July 3, 1932.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 1, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PHILIP AND JAMES, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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Lord Jesus Christ, Good Shepherd, thank you for tending to us, members of your flock.

May we, rejoicing in your work of breaking down barriers,

recognize each other as sheep of your flock, and therefore, work together, for your glory.

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

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 95

1 Corinthians 1:10-17

John 17:20-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 25, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARK THE EVANGELIST, MARTYR, 68

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Feast of Maurice Blondel (June 5)   Leave a comment

Above:  Aix-en-Provence, France

Image Source = Google Earth

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MAURICE ÉDOUARD BLONDEL (NOVEMBER 2, 1861-JUNE 4, 1949)

French Roman Catholic Philosopher and Forerunner of the Second Vatican Council

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I propose to study action, because it seems to me that the Gospel attributes to action alone the power to manifest love and attain God!  Action is the abundance of the heart.

–Maurice Blondel, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 245

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A GIFT FROM HOLY MOTHER CHURCH

Maurice Blondel, born in Dijon, France, on November 2, 1861, became an influential philosopher who presaged the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).  He attended the Sorbonne, from which he graduated in 1893.  Our saint’s dissertation, which he published, was L’Action.  This proved to be an influential, epoch-making work that inspired the ire of many conservative Roman Catholics yet never the official disapproval of any Bishop of Rome, not even the reactionary and anti-intellectual Pius X, archenemy of Modernism.

Aside:  I disapprove of Pius X and regard his canonization is a grave error.  I am much closer to his immediate predecessor, Leo XIII, theologically.  By the way, what is wrong with Modernism?  I prefer it to Postmodernism.  If I were a Postmodernist, I would wonder why I should get out of bed each morning, due to incessant uncertainty about even the simplest matters, such as what I can know, if anything.  

Blondel argued for a “philosophy of action,” a blend of Neoplatonism and pragmatism in the context of Roman Catholicism.  He argued against extrinsicism, the traditional Roman Catholic tendency to present revelation as divine self-disclosure and an invitation to participate in divine life, not a presentation of heavenly truths, apart from the context of human existence.  Our saint preferred immanence to transcendence.   Blondel favored a “method of immanence,” or revelation corresponding to human questions and yearnings.  He insisted that the Gospel is intrinsic, not extrinsic, because it it resonates with deepest experience, for all human actions refer to the infinite reality, the ground of existence.  (I detect shades of Paul Tillich and God as the Ground of Being.)  Blondel wrote that the human choice is whether to open ourselves to the dimension of infinite being or to live closed in on ourselves.  Christ’s earthly life and his resurrection, our saint argued, was the dimension of infinite reality.  Therefore, Blondel wrote, faith is a dimension of all human experience, not a mere aspect (one of many) of life.  The institutional Church, Blondel wrote, has no monopoly on grace and salvation, which are freely and universally available.

Blondel, a professor in Aix-en-Provence, starting in 1897, was a devout Roman Catholic who attended Mass daily, except when health-related issues prevented him from doing so.  Although he was not a Modernist, many traditional Roman Catholics thought he was.  Suspicions of his alleged heterodoxy created difficulties in our saint securing a position for a few years in the 1890s.  Pope Pius XII, who wrote a congratulatory note to our saint in 1945, did not think of Blondel as a Modernist.  Our saint wrote and published many articles about Church Fathers and modern philosophy.  Rose, his wife, died in 1919.  He, nearly blind by 1927, entered into a forced retirement.  Blondel remained active, though; he dictated major works for two decades.

Blondel, aged 87 years, died in Aix-en-Provence on June 4, 1949.

His influence has remained evident.  It was obvious in documents that emerged from Vatican II.  I have also detected Blondel’s influence in my denomination, The Episcopal Church, in which worship, therefore, the Prayer Book, defines the church.   The Book of Common Prayer (1928) presented God in the manner of the old theology; God was transcendent.  Liturgical revision, starting in 1967, resulted in The Book of Common Prayer (1979), which reflects the new theology, according to which God is imminent.

Blondel’s influence within and beyond Roman Catholicism does not surprise me.  After all, many theologians and ecclesiastical leaders read beyond the boundaries of their denominations.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 23, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF TOYOHIKO KAGAWA, RENEWER OF SOCIETY AND PROPHETIC WITNESS IN JAPAN

THE FEAST OF JAKOB BÖHME, GERMAN LUTHERAN MYSTIC

THE FEAST OF MARTIN RINCKART, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT TERESA MARIA OF THE CROSS, FOUNDRESS OF THE CARMELITE SISTERS OF SAINT TERESA OF FLORENCE

THE FEAST OF WALTER RUSSELL BOWIE, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, SEMINARY PROFESSOR, AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, you gave to your servant Maurice Blondel

special gifts of grace to understand and teach the truth as it is in Christ Jesus:

Grant that by this teaching we may know you,

the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent,

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

Proverbs 3:1-7

Psalm 119:89-96

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

Matthew 13:47-52

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 721

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Feast of Robert McAfee Brown (May 28)   3 comments

Above:  Stanford University

Photographer = Carol M. Highsmith

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-highsm-21158

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ROBERT MCAFEE BROWN (MAY 28, 1928-SEPTEMBER 4, 2001)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Theologian, Activist, and Ecumenist

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In conscience, I must break the law.

–Robert McAfee Brown, October 31, 1967

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Robert McAfee Brown comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via my library.

Above:  Two Books by Robert McAfee Brown

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

Brown stood in the finest tradition of the Hebrew prophets and centuries of Christian tradition.  He, born in Carthage, Illinois, on May 28, 1928, was a son of Ruth McAfee (Brown) and Presbyterian minister George William McAfee.  Our saint was also a grandson of Cleland Boyd McAfee, a professor at McCormick Theological Seminary.  Brown, a 1944 graduate of Amherst College, married Sydney Elise Thomson on June 21, 1944.  The couple had three sons and a daughter.  Our saint, a student at Union Theological Seminary from 1943 to 1945, studied under Paul Tillich (1886-1965) and Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971).  After graduating, Brown served as a chaplain in the United States Navy in 1945 and 1946.

Brown spent most of his life as an academic.  He was an assistant chaplain and an instructor in religion at Amherst College in 1946-1948.  Then he studied at Mansfield College, Oxford, in 1949 and 1950.  Our saint, an instructor at Union Theological Seminary in 1950 and 1951, earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1951.  He led the Department of Religion, Malacaster College, St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1951-1953.  Our saint served on the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in 1953-1962.  Then, in 1962-1976, our saint was a Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University.  Brown returned to Union Theological Seminary in 1976 as Professor of Ecumenics and World Christianity.  Our saint was Professor of Theology and Ethics at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California, in 1979-1984.  Then he retired.

Brown was an ecumenist.  In the early 1950s, when unapologetic anti-Roman Catholicism was prominent in U.S. Protestantism, our saint campaigned for Minnesota Congressman Eugene McCarthy, whose Roman Catholicism was a political difficulty.  Brown and Gustave Weigel (1906-1964) collaborated on An American Dialogue:  A Protestant Looks at Catholicism and a Catholic Looks at Protestantism (1960).  Time magazine called Brown

Catholics’ favorite Protestant

in 1962.  Our saint was even an observer (on behalf of global Calvinism) at the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) in 1963 and 1965.  Brown also attended the Fourth Assembly of the World Council of Churches as a delegate in 1968.  Seven years later, he delivered the keynote address (“Who is This Jesus Who Frees and Unites?”) at the Fifth Assembly of the World Council of Churches.

Social justice was essential to Brown’s faith.  He, a pacifist, had no moral difficulty serving as a military chaplain after World War II.  Our saint’s pacifism led him to oppose the Vietnam War, of course.  His conscience led him to protest the military draft, to speak and write against the war, to commit civil disobedience, and to go to jail for doing so in 1971.  That conscience also let Brown to join a delegation that met with Pope Paul VI (1897-1978) in  January 1973 about ending the Vietnam War.

Brown was also a longtime civil rights activist at home and abroad.  He, a Freedom Rider in 1961, went to jail in Tallahassee, Florida.  Our saint addressed the immorality of Apartheid when he spoke at the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of South Africa in September 1972.  Brown also advocated for women’s liberation and the civil rights of homosexuals.  Furthermore, he was active in the Sanctuary Movement, for he cared deeply about justice in Central America.  This led our saint to collaborate with Liberation Theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez (b. 1928).

Brown also helped to raise consciousness about the Holocaust.  He, a friend of Elie Wiesel (1928-2016) since the middle 1970s, served on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council from 1979 to 1985.  Our saint resigned after President Ronald Reagan visited Bitburg Cemetery, containing graves of Waffen SS troups.

Brown became a novelist late in life.  He published Dark the Night, Wild the Sea in 1998.

Brown, aged 81 years, died in Greenfield, Massachusetts, on September 4, 2001.

One of Brown’s volumes invaluable for Bible study is Unexpected News:  Reading the Bible with Third World Eyes (1984).  Passages covered came from Luke, Exodus, 2 Samuel, Jeremiah, Matthew, and Daniel.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

WEDNESDAY IN EASTER WEEK

THE FEAST OF SAINT OLGA OF KIEV, REGENT OF KIEVAN RUSSIA; SAINT ADALBERT OF MAGDEBURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP; SAINT ADALBERT OF PRAGUE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF MARTYR, 997; AND SAINTS BENEDICT AND GAUDENTIUS OF POMERANIA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, 997

THE FEAST OF SAINTS DAMIEN AND MARIANNE OF MOLOKAI, WORKERS AMONG LEPERS

THE FEAST OF SAINT FLAVIA DOMITILLA, ROMAN CATHOLIC NOBLEWOMAN; AND SAINTS MARO, EUTYCHES, AND VICTORINUS OF ROME, PRIESTS AND MARTYS, CIRCA 99

THE FEAST OF SAINT HUNNA OF ALSACE, THE “HOLY WASHERWOMAN”

THE FEAST OF LUCY CRAFT LANEY, AFRICAN-AMERICAN PRESBYTERIAN EDUCATOR AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST

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

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

Help us, like your servant Robert McAfee Brown,

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, 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), 60

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Feast of Godfrey Diekmann (April 12)   Leave a comment

Above:  Saint John’s Abbey Church, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota

Image Source = Library of Congress

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GODFREY LEO DIEKMANN, O.S.B. (APRIL 7, 1908-FEBRUARY 22, 2002)

U.S. Roman Catholic Monk, Priest, Ecumenist, Theologian, and Liturgical Scholar

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Heaven is eternal, supreme life–not just eternal rest.

–Father Godfrey Diekmann, O.S.B.

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Father Godfrey Diekmann comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

Diekmann, a life-long Roman Catholic, helped to pull his Church forward while remaining ahead of it.

Leo Diekmann grew up a Roman Catholic.  He, born in Roscoe (near Collegeville), Minnesota, on April 7, 1908, was one of eight children of Rosalie Loxtercamp (Diekmann) and John Conrad Diekmann, a teacher.  Our saint’s juvenile faith, which extended into his novitiate, emphasized being afraid of God.  Diekmann studied at Saint John’s Preparatory School and University, Collegeville, Minnestota.  He joined the Order of Saint Benedict as a novice at age 17, at Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville.  Diekmann’s novice master taught him a healthy Christian faith rooted in the peace of God and in the Church as the mystical body of Christ.

In 1829, the Order of Saint Benedict sent Diekmann to Rome, to study for the priesthood and to work on his doctorate.  Our saint, renamed Godfrey (“the peace of God”), made his final wows at the monastery of Monte Cassino on July 11, 1929.  Our saint, ordained a priest on June 28, 1931, earned his doctorate then returned to Collegeville in 1933.

There he lived for the rest of his life.  From 1933 to 1938, Diekmann served as the assistant editor (under Virgil Michel) of Orate Fratres (later Worship).  Then, in 1938, our saint became the editor.  Diekmann also began to teach, a profession he pursued until he retired in 1995.  At first, he taught religion and German literature at the Preparatory School.  The following year, our saint began to teach at the theological seminary.  The professor of theology was a talented classroom instructor whose exuberance made his classes

explosive intellectual adventures.

Diekmann’s influence extended far beyond Collegeville, Minnesota.  He, a pioneer of liturgical reform, along with his mentor, Virgil Michel (1890-1938), advocated for vernacular language in liturgy.  Our saint also favored inclusive language in liturgy.  Diekmann helped to draft the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy for the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).  He also founded the International Committee on English in the Liturgy, served on the Consilium for Implementing the Liturgical Reforms of Vatican II, and was a consultant to the American Bishops Committee on the Liturgy.

Diekmann was also an ecumenist.  He, active in the National Lutheran-Catholic Dialogue, helped to found the Ecumenical Institute of Spirituality.  Our saint also founded the Ecumenical Institute for Advanced Theological Studies, Tantur, Israel.

Diekmann’s spirituality included social justice.  For example, he marched with the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr., at Selma, Alabama, in 1965.  The monk-priest carried a banner that read,

SELMA IS IN MINNESOTA, TOO.

Diekmann was too progressive for some elements in his Church sometimes.  The Catholic University of America temporarily barred him from teaching summer courses in 1962.  Year later, however, the same institution gave him an honorary doctorate.  He responded to this reversal by saying,

I believe in the Holy Spirit.

Diekmann’s support for married clergy in the Latin Rite has remained mostly ahead of its time.  He also favored the ordination of women.

Saint John’s School of Theology and Seminary opened the Godfrey Diekmann, O.S.B., Center for Patristics and Liturgical Studies in 1997.

Diekmann, ill for years, died at Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville, on February 22, 2002.  He was 93 years old.

“Fear of God” is an unfortunate Biblical translation.  The correct rendering is “awe of God,” in the full sense of “awe.”  Such awe properly inspires humility before God and a sense of wonder at the divine.  This description fits the faith to which Diekmann came and in which he spent most of his life.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HANS SCHOLL, AND CHRISTOPH PROBST, ANTI-NAZI MARTYRS AT MUNICH, GERMANY, 1943

THE FEAST OF BERNHARDT SEVERIN INGEMANN, DANISH LUTHERAN AUTHOR AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF EDWARD HOPPER, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARGARET OF CORONA, PENITENT AND FOUNDRESS OF THE POOR ONES

THE FEAST OF SAINT PRAETEXTATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF ROUEN

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

thank you for those (especially Godfrey Diekmann)

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 Pedro Arrupe (February 28)   2 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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PEDRO ARRUPE GONDRA (NOVEMBER 14, 1907-FEBRUARY 5, 1991)

Advocate for the Poor and Marginalized

Superior General of the Society of Jesus

Pedro Arrupe comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Father Joe Nangle, OFM, writing in Jim Wallis and Joyce Hollyday, eds., Cloud of Witnesses (2005).

Pedro Arrupe Gondra, born in Bilbao, Spain, on November 14, 1907, was a Basque, like St. Ignatius (of) Loyola (1491-1556), the founder of the Society of Jesus.  Arrupe, who joined the Jesuits in 1927, studied medicine in Madrid.  He continued his studies overseas, starting in 1932, when the Spanish Republican government expelled members of the Society of Jesus.  Our saint arrived in Japan, as a missionary, in 1938.  He, ordained to the priesthood in St. Marys, Kansas, in 1936, held a doctorate in medical ethics.

Arrupe understood the relationship between the Gospel and societal responsibility; he absorbed the message of various Hebrew prophets regarding exploitation of the poor and the marginalized.  Our saint, arrested as an alleged spy in December 1941, spent 33 days in prison.  Then he returned to his duties as master of novices for the Jesuit mission to Japan.  He, living on the outskirts of Hiroshima, joined his colleagues in serving as first responders after the U.S. nuclear bombing of the city on August 6, 1945.  Of the 150 people to which Arrupe and company tended, 149 survived.  Arrupe, regardless of where he was, recognized Jesus in “the least of these.”  This attitude helped him in his work, regardless of his title and duties.  Our saint became the Superior of the Jesuit Japanese Province in 1958.  From 1965 to 1983, he served as the Superior General of the order.

Vatican II was reshaping the Roman Catholic Church.  That Council coincided within a movement within Roman Catholicism in Latin America to defend the poor and the exploited, not military dictatorships that preyed on civilians.  The teaching of the divine preference for the poor informed this shift.  Arrupe challenged Christians, including his brother Jesuits, to defend “the least of these,” as Jesus would have had them do.  In a revolutionary age in the Church, our saint supported Liberation Theology, but only to a point.  Arrupe insisted on the primacy of the Gospel over political revolution.  He also shielded the Society of Jesus from attacks from more conservative quarters of the Roman Catholic Church.  As Jesuit priests and bishops, including Father Rutilio Grande (1928-1977) and Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980), joined the ranks of martyrs at the hands of brutal dictatorships, Arrupe continued to support he cause for which they died.

Arrupe, being an intellectually and spiritually honest Christian, also defended the rights of refugees.  He, affected by the plight of Vietnamese boat people, founded the Jesuit Refugee Service in 1980.  Our saint insisted,

Saint Ignatius called us to go anywhere where we are most needed for the greater glory of God.  The spiritual as well as the material need of more than 16 million refugees throughout the world today could scarcely be greater.  God is calling us through these helpless people.

Arrupe, who said that

the love of God which does not issue in justice is a farce,

resigned as Superior General in 1983.  He had suffered a stroke in late 1981, and a Papal appointee had served as interim Superior General.  Our saint, forced to use a wheelchair, died in Rome on February 15, 1991.  He was 83 years old.

The cause for Arrupe’s beatification and canonization opened officially on February 5, 2019.

Attempting to read the minds of dead people can easily become an act of great folly.  In this case, however, I know what Arrupe would say about the global refugee crisis in 2019.  I do not have to guess what he would think about Donald Trump’s policy of separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border.  Neither do I have to guess what our saint would say about Trump’s recommendation to shoot asylum seekers in the legs.  I do not have to guess what Arrupe would say about government policies that enrich the wealthy and keep the impoverished poor.

Pedro Arrupe was a prophet.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 5, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF DAVID NITSCHMANN, SR., “FATHER NITSCHMANN,” MORAVIAN MISSIONARY; MELCHIOR NITSCHMANN, MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND MARTYR, 1729; JOHANN NITSCHMANN, JR., MORAVIAN MISSIONARY AND BISHOP; ANNA NITSCHMANN, MORAVIAN ELDRESS; AND DAVID NITSCHMANN, MISSIONARY AND FIRST BISHOP OF THE RENEWED MORAVIAN CHURCH

THE FEAST OF CYRIACUS SCHNEEGASS, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, MUSICIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF BLESSED FRANCIS XAVIER SEELOS, GERMAN-AMERICAN ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST

THE FEAST OF HARRY EMERSON FOSDICK, U.S. NORTHERN BAPTIST MINISTER AND OPPONENT OF FUNDAMENTALISM

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Almighty God, whose prophets taught us righteousness in the care of your poor:

By the guidance of your Holy Spirit, grant that we may

do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in your sight;

through Jesus Christ, our Judge and Redeemer, who lives and reigns

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

Isaiah 55:11-56:1

Psalm 2:1-2, 10-12

Acts 14:14-17, 21-23

Mark 4:21-29

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 736

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Feast of Massey H. Shepherd, Jr. (February 19)   1 comment

Above:  The Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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MASSEY HAMILTON SHEPHERD, JR. (MARCH 14, 1913-FEBRUARY 19, 1990)

Episcopal Priest, Ecumenist, and Liturgist

Dean of American Liturgists

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O God, whose son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people:  Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

–Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., Contemporary Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter; in The Book of Common Prayer (1979), 225

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Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., with his courtly Southern manners, big smile, and love of cats, was an engaging person.  He has come to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via his liturgical work, mainly.

Shepherd helped to revolutionize liturgy in The Episcopal Church, to much praise and condemnation.  He, born in Wilmington, North Carolina, on March 14, 1913, grew up primarily in Columbia, South Carolina.  Our saint eared his B.A. and M.A. at the University of South Carolina.  His Ph.D. (1937) from The University of Chicago followed.  Then our saint matriculated at Berkeley Divinity School, New Haven, Connecticut.  There he became a protégé of William Palmer Ladd (1870-1941), Dean of the seminary and a proponent of liturgical renewal, especially with regard to increasing congregational participation in worship.  As early as 1956, Shepherd advocated having the celebrant face the congregation, not turn his back on it, during the Eucharistic prayers.

Shepherd was an ecclesiastical historian and a liturgist.  The two fields went hand-in-hand, for our saint found influences in ancient liturgies.  (Liturgical renewal was, to a great extent, a process of reviving older, abandoned traditions that predated Reformation-era practices.)  Our saint taught at the Episcopal Theological School, Cambridge, Massachusetts (1940-1954); and the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California (1954-1981).  He also sat on the denomination’s Standing Liturgical Commission from 1947 to 1976 and served as its Vice-Chairman from 1964 to 1976.

Shepherd had a few goals, which became reality.  In 1946 he helped to found the Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission, one purpose of which was to make the Eucharist the central Sunday service in The Episcopal Church.  He also made Baptism a public (never private) rite in The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  Furthermore, our saint wrote The Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper (1967), which began the introduction of modern English into worship in The Episcopal Church.  He, as a member of the Standing Liturgical Commission, had a hand in subsequent trial-use volumes:

  1. Services for Trial Use (1971),
  2. Authorized Services 1973 (1973), and
  3. The Proposed Book of Common Prayer and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church (1976).

Shepherd, author of more than 30 books (mostly about liturgies), the General Article about the Post-Apostolic Church in Volume I (1952) of The Interpreter’s Bible, and the commentaries on the Gospel and three Epistles of John in The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary on the Bible (1971), had a magnum opus:  The Book of Common Prayer (1979).  He translated the alternative (second) form of absolution (page 448) from Form One of the Reconciliation of a Penitent.  Shepherd wrote:

  1. the Litany of Penitence (pages 267-269) from the Ash Wednesday service,
  2. the postcommunion prayer (page 432) from the marriage ceremony,
  3. an alternative postcommunion prayer (page 457) from Ministration to the Sick,
  4. the postcommunion prayer (pages 482 and 498) from the Burial of the Dead,
  5. the Litany of Thanksgiving (pages 836-837),
  6. the collect for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany (pages 163 and 215),
  7. the collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter (pages 173 and 225),
  8. the collect for Proper 6 (pages 178 and 230),
  9. the collect for the Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter (pages 187 and 238),
  10. the collect for the Feast of Saint Joseph (pages 188 and 239),
  11. the collect for the Feast of Saint Mark (pages 188 and 240),
  12. the collect for the Feast of Saint Barnabas (pages 189 and 241),
  13. the collect for the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (pages 190 and 241),
  14. the collect for Holy Cross Day (pages 192 and 244),
  15. the collect for the Feast of Saint Matthew (pages 192-193 and 244),
  16. the collect for the Feast of Saint James of Jerusalem (pages 193 and 245), and
  17. the collect for the Feast of Saints Simon and Jude (pages 194 and 245).

If all that were not enough, Shepherd was also an ecumenist.  He was an observer from the Anglican Communion to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II).  Our saint, as a member of the worship committee of the Churches of Christ Uniting (COCU, founded as the Consultation on Church Union), wrote much of COCU’s liturgy.  (COCU has become Churches Uniting in Christ.)

Shepherd’s liturgical contribution was great.  It was also controversial. (Bile regarding him is easy to find on the Internet, not that I encourage anyone to read it.)  In the early 1970s, publishing the Lord’s Prayer without archaic pronouns upset many people, for example.  Many members of the Society for the Preservation of the Book of Common Prayer (the Prayer Book Society) have probably never forgiven Shepherd for his work in the revision of The Book of Common Prayer (1928).

C’est la vie.

Shepherd, aged 76 years, died in Sacramento, California, on February 19, 1990.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 24, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ANNA ELLISON BUTLER ALEXANDER, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EPISCOPAL DEACONESS IN GEORGIA, AND EDUCATOR

THE FEAST OF HENRY HART MILMAN, ANGLICAN DEAN, TRANSLATOR, HISTORIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JUVENAL OF ALASKA, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MARTYR IN ALASKA, AND FIRST ORTHODOX MARTYR IN THE AMERICAS, 1796

THE FEAST OF SAINT PETER THE ALEUT, RUSSIAN ORTHODOX MARTYR IN SAN FRANCISCO, 1815

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

thank you for those (especially Massey H. Shepherd, Jr.)

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 Pierre Batiffol (January 27)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of France

Image in the Public Domain

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PIERRE BATIFFOL (JANUARY 27, 1861-JANUARY 13, 1929)

French Roman Catholic Priest, Historian, and Scholar

Father Pierre Batiffol was a Christian scholar.  He, born in Toulousse, France, on January 27, 1861, studied at Saint-Surplice seminary, Paris.  Our saint, ordained to the priesthood in 1884, continued his studies at the Institut Catholique, Paris, then at the École des Hautes Études, before studying archaeology in Rome (1887-1889).  Batiffol applied strict historical scrutiny to any scriptural codex he studied and to the history of dogma.  Batiffol and friend Marie-Joseph Lagrange (1855-1938), both modernists, founded the journal Revue Biblique in 1892.  Their preferred method of scriptural exegesis was historical-critical.  Batiffol, lecturer at the École Sainte-Barbe, Paris, from 1889 to 1898, became the leader of the Institut Catholique, Toulouse, in 1898.  Pope Pius X’s anti-modernist encyclical of 1907 triggerred Batiffol’s removal from Toulousse.  The Church placed our saint’s book on the Holy Eucharist on the Index of Forbidden Books.  Batiffol returned to the École Sainte-Barbe as a lecturer, the post he held for the last 22 years of his life.  Our saint, aged 69 years, died in Paris on January 13, 1929.

Batiffol would have loved Vatican II.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 1, 2019 COMMON ERA

PROPER 17:  THE TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF SAINT DIONYSIUS EXIGUUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND REFORMER OF THE CALENDAR

THE FEAST OF DAVID PENDLETON OAKERHATER, CHEYENNE WARRIOR, CHIEF, AND HOLY MAN, AND EPISCOPAL DEACON AND MISSIONARY IN OKLAHOMA

THE FEAST OF SAINT FIACRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC HERMIT

THE FEAST OF FRANÇOIS MAURIAC, FRENCH ROMAN CATHOLIC NOVELIST, CHRISTIAN HUMANIST, AND SOCIAL CRITIC

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O God, you have endowed us with memory, reason, and skill.

We thank you for the faithful legacy of [Pierre Batiffol and all others]

who have dedicated their lives to you and to the intellectual pursuits.

May we, like them, respect your gift of intelligence fully and to your glory.

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

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Psalm 103

Philippians 4:8-9

Mark 12:28-34

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 6, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT CHRODEGANG OF METZ, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF EDMUND KING, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF LINCOLN

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Feast of Marc Boegner (December 18)   Leave a comment

Above:  Marc Boegner

Image in the Public Domain

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MARC BOEGNER (FEBRUARY 21, 1881-DECEMBER 18, 1970)

French Reformed Minister and Ecumenist

Marc Boegner had to make a difficult decision in the early 1940s.  He had to decide how best to save Jewish lives and resist Nazism.  His method led to his inclusion in the Yad Vasham, the Righteous Among the Nations, on November 26, 1987.

Boegner, born in Épinal, France, on February 21, 1881, came from a minority population–French Protestants.  He studied in Orléans and Paris, focusing on law before making the turn toward theology.  Our saint, ordained in 1905, became a minister in the Reformed Church of France.  He served in rural Aouste-sur-Sye, Drôme, until 1911.  Then he taught theology at the denominational House of Missions for seven years.  In 1918 he returned to parish ministry, at Poissy-Annonciation.  He remained in that post until 1952.  Boegner, the President of the Protestant Federation of France (1929-1961), doubled as the President of the Reformed Church of France (1938-1950).

The Nazi occupation of France created a quandary for many French men and women.  What was the best way to resist?  Many joined the Maquis and used violence.  Many French Christians–Protestant, Orthodox, and Roman Catholic–sheltered Jews; some of these Christians died for doing so.  Boegner, outwardly (to an extent) a collaborator, helped Jews and spoke out on their behalf.  He, a member of the National Council of the French State (Vichy State) and a recipient of the Order of the Francisque, sheltered Jews.  He also encouraged other Protestants to do the same.  Boegner also interceded in vain with “Black Peter” Pierre Laval (1883-1945) to spare the lives of young Jews.  Our saint’s outspoken opposition to anti-Semitic policies and to forced French labor in Germany placed his life and liberty at great risk.  In 1945, when Marshal Philippe Pétain went on trial for treason, Boegner defended him.

Boegner, a conciliator, was active in international ecumenism, starting in the 1930s.  He helped to create the World Council of Churches (1948) and served as its Co-President (1948-1954).  Our saint also served as an observer to the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

Boegner died on December 18, 1970.  He was 89 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 4, 2019 COMMON ERA

INDEPENDENCE DAY (U.S.A.)

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ADALBERO AND ULRIC OF AUGSBURG, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN AND PEACEMAKER

THE FEAST OF SAINT PIER GIORGIO FRASSATI, ITALIAN ROMAN CATHOLIC SERVANT OF THE POOR AND OPPONENT OF FASCISM

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant Marc Boegner,

through whom you have called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

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

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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Feast of John LaFarge, Jr. (November 24)   3 comments

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain

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JOHN LAFARGE, JR. (DECEMBER 13, 1880-NOVEMBER 25, 1963)

U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Renewer of Society

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The Negro brings to the Church something that is in danger of disappearing from its life in this country, and thereby putting American Catholicism out of touch with the rest of the great universal suffering world–a keen sense of social justice.

–Father John LaFarge, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 512

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Father John LaFarge, Jr., comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via Ellsberg’s All Saints and G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006).

LaFarge, from a background of privilege, dedicated most of his adult life to resisting bigotry.  His mother was Margaret Mason Perry (1839-1925).  She, a convert to Roman Catholicism, had Isaiah Hecker (1819-1888) for a spiritual mentor.  Our saint’s father was John LaFarge, Sr. (1835-1910), a prominent painter and stained glass window maker.  Our saint, the youngest of eight children, entered the world at Newport, Rhode Island, on February 13, 1880.  John, Jr., a member of the Harvard University Class of 1901, studied for the priesthood in Europe.  There he joined the Society of Jesus (much to his mother’s dismay) and became a priest (ordained at Innsbruck, Austria) on July 26, 1905.

LaFarge understood the relationship between the gospel of Jesus Christ and social justice.  Early assignments included teaching at Jesuit colleges and assisting in parishes.  One assignment was as chaplain at the prison and hospital on Blackwell Island, New York, New York.  Later, our saint served in a mostly African-American parish in Leonardville, Maryland.  In 1924 he founded an industrial school for African Americans at Ridge, Maryland.  From 1926 to 1963 LaFarge worked at America magazine, a Jesuit publication.  In 1963, he, Dorothy Day, and others founded the Catholic Layman’s Union, which became the first Catholic Interracial Council of New York.  He traveled across the United States, speaking about social justice and encouraging the formation of similar organizations.  In 1938, Pope Pius XI asked LaFarge to draft an encyclical on racism.  Our saint completed the draft document, but Pius XI died in 1939, and Pope Pius XII shelved it, just in time for the Holocaust and World War II.

LaFarge, a pioneer for racial justice and opposition to anti-Semitism in U.S. Roman Catholicism prior to the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II), understood that one one divine purpose for the human race was unity.  He, therefore, condemned anti-Semitism and racial segregation laws.  That concern for unity also led LaFarge to become a pioneer in the ecumenical movement.  Related to his concern for unity was support for constitutional government; our saint criticized his Church for hostility to constitutional governments and support for dictatorships and therefore for a dubious record on human rights.  He, an advocate for freedom of religion as a human right, lived long enough to learn of the introduction of the draft Declaration on Religious Freedom at Vatican II.

LaFarge, aged 83 years, died in his sleep in New York, New York, early in the morning of November 25, 1963.

Theological orthodoxy and social justice need not be at odds with each other.  Despite the long and shameful record of self-proclaimed orthodox Christians propping up sins such as Jim Crow laws, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, nativism, and the subordination of women, actual orthodoxy, with the Golden Rule as a constituent part, facilitates social justice and confronts institutions and proponents of oppression and hatred.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 18, 2019 COMMON ERA

MAUNDY THURSDAY

THE FEAST OF ROGER WILLIAMS, FOUNDER OF RHODE ISLAND; AND ANNE HUTCHINSON, REBELLIOUS PURITAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT CORNELIA CONNELLY, FOUNDRESS OF THE SOCIETY OF THE HOLY CHILD JESUS

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARIA ANNA BLONDIN, FOUNDRESS OF THE CONGREGATION OF THE SISTERS OF SAINT ANNE

THE FEAST OF SAINT ROMAN ARCHUTOWSKI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1943

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Almighty God, we praise you for your servant John LaFarge, Jr.,

through whom you called the church to its tasks and renewed its life.

Raise up in our own day teachers and prophets inspired by your Spirit,

whose voices will give strength to your church and proclaim the reality of your reign,

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

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

Jeremiah 1:4-10

Psalm 46

1 Corinthians 3:11-23

Mark 10:35-45

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 60

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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,

and rest to the weary,

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

you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.  Amen.

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

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

Help us, like your servant John LaFarge, Jr., 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), 60

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Feast of Leon Bloy, Jacques Maritain, and Raissa Maritain (November 4)   4 comments

Above:  The Flag of the French Republic

Image in the Public Domain

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LÉON BLOY (JULY 11, 1846-NOVEMBER 3, 1917)

French Roman Catholic Novelist and Social Critic

godfather of

JACQUES MARITAIN (NOVEMBER 18, 1882-APRIL 28, 1973)

French Roman Catholic Philosopher

husband of

RAÏSSA OUMANSOV MARITAIN (1883-NOVEMBER 4, 1960)

Russian-French Roman Catholic Contemplative

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The worst evil is not to commit crimes, but to have failed to do the good one might have done.

–Léon Bloy, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), 477

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If Christians were to renounce…the desire for sanctity, this would be an ultimate betrayal against God and against the world.

–Jacques Maritain, quoted in Ellsberg, All Saints (1997), 503

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It is an error to isolate oneself from men….If God does not call one to solitude, one must live with God in the multitude, must make him known there and make him loved.

–Raïssa Maritain, quoted in Ellsberg, All Saints (1997), 480

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Alors il leva les yeux sur ses disciples et dit:

Heureux vous les pauvres, car le royaume de Dieu à vous!…

Mais malheur à vous, les riches, car vous avez votre consolation.

Luc 6: 20 et 24, La Sainte Bible, Nouvelle Version Segond Révisée (1976)

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As Léon Bloy understood, Jesus said,

Blessed are the poor

and

Woe to you who are rich.

The novelist, who internalized that value system, railed against the dominant social value that says

Woe to you who are poor

and

Blessed are the rich.

Bloy, born in Notre-Dame-de-Sanihac, France, on July 11, 1846, grew up an agnostic hostile to Roman Catholicism.  His father was Jean-Baptiste Bloy; our saint’s mother was Anne-Marie Carreau.  In 1869 Bloy converted to Roman Catholicism, however.  He was a frequently controversial figure with a temper, which he brought to bear on social ills, including greed, injustice, materialism, and anti-Semitism.  Our saint also led a difficult, impoverished life.  His writings did not sell well, and poverty contributed to the deaths of two of his children.  The self-critical novelist died at the age of 71 years on November 3, 1917, in Bourg-la-Reine, France.

Bloy did, despite his self-recriminations for having done too little for God, help to bring the Maritains to faith.

Jacques Maritan, born in Paris, France, on November 11, 1882, became a prominent philosopher.  He, raised in a Protestant family, had lost his faith by the time he matriculated at the Sorbonne in 1899.  Yet the search for the truth still mattered to Maritain.  At the Sorbonne he met and fell in love with another troubled seeker, Raïssa Oumansov.

The Oumansov family, formerly of Rostov and Mariupol, the Russian Empire, was Jewish.  The family, with daughters Raïssa and Vera, had moved to Paris in 1893, to escape official anti-Semitism and to provide better educational opportunities for the daughters.  Raïssa, as an adolescent, lost her faith.  She sought the truth in vain at the Sorbonne (1900f).  She did, however, meet Jacques Maritain when he asked her to sign a petition protesting the Czarist government’s treatment of socialist students.

The Maritains, married in 1904, eventually became despondent over having not found the truth that they made a suicide pact.  They agreed that they would take their lives if, within a year, they did discover the meaning of life.  Bloy befriended them, though, and led them, as well as Vera Oumansov, into the Roman Catholic Church.  He stood as their godfather in 1906.  Jacques, Raïssa, and Vera eventually chose to become Oblates of St. Benedict, and to make vows of perpetual chastity.

Jacques immersed himself in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas and spent much of his life applying Thomism to the modern world.  He, a professor at the Institut Catholique, Paris, from 1914 to 1939, offended many conservative Roman Catholics by favoring constitutional government and opposing the Spanish fascist leader Francisco Franco.  Jacques, with Raïssa acquainted with Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin, also favored what he called “Integral Humanism,” or the infusion of Christian values into the world via what he called “Lay Spirituality.”  Jacques, an opponent of the Vichy government, taught in the United States and Canada from 1940 to 1945.  After World War II he served as the French Ambassador to the Vatican.  During that period (1945-1948), he befriended Angelo Roncalli, the Nuncio to France.  Roncalli went on to become St. John XXIII, Bishop of Rome, in 1958.  Jacques taught at Princeton University from 1948 to 1960.

Raïssa became a poet and a contemplative.  She understood that God was calling her to share in divine suffering, and kept a spiritual journal.  She died on November 4, 1960.  Jacques had her spiritual journal published posthumously.

Jacques, as a widower, joined the Little Brothers of Jesus, the order Blessed Charles de Foucauld founded in the Algerian desert in 1933.  Jacques became a notice at Toulousse in 1961; he made his vows nine years later.  Pope St. Paul VI recognized our saint in person at the Vatican in 1965.  The Supreme Pontiff presented our saint with a copy of the Vatican II document on the Church and the Modern World.  Jacques, aged 90 years, died in Toulousse on April 28, 1973.

Part of the meaning of life is to help each other live faithfully, to glorify God, to enjoy God, and to show the light of Christ in our lives.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 23, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN THE ALMSGIVER, ROMAN CATHOLIC PATRIARCH OF ALEXANDRIA

THE FEAST OF CASPAR NEUMANN, GERMAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PHILLIPS BROOKS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF MASSACHUSETTS, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF THOMAS A. DOOLEY, U.S. ROMAN CATHOLIC PHYSICIAN AND HUMANITARIAN

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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), 60

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