Archive for the ‘St. Francis of Assisi’ Tag

Day of Intercession and Thanksgiving for the Missionary Work of the Church (November 29)   Leave a comment

Above:  A Globe

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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The Day of Intercession and Thanksgiving for the Missionary Work of the Church comes to this, A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via The Church of England.

A cliché tells us that the church is always one generation away from extinction.  Some clichés are accurate.  This one hits home with much force when, in much of the world, “none” is the fastest-growing religious affiliation.  A complicating factor is the contrast between mainliners (such as yours truly, comfortably to the left of the theological center, overall) and the Global South, with its style of Christianity on the fundamentalist-Evangelical spectrum.  If being a Christian requires me to shut down my intellect, reject science and history, and turn into a homophobe, I do not want to be a Christian.  However, that is not true Christianity.  But how many people see that negative face of the church and turn away from the church and Christianity completely?  This concerns me.  Some of find much to admire about the Enlightenment.  Call me a radical if you wish, O reader.  Here I stand.  I can and will do no other.

Historically, organized Christianity has been its own worst enemy.  For example, many churches have identified with the kingdom, empire, or state so much as to become an arm thereof.  So, for example, when certain western kingdoms and republics became global empires, missionaries from those countries were frequently indistinguishable from imperial agents.  The predictable indigenous, nationalistic wave of resistance to the colonial masters often had an anti-Christian character.  Yet, in places where missionaries successfully indigenized the churches, Christianity did not seem alien and foreign.

I have always been a Christian.  My family has been Christian for countless generations.  Somewhere, long ago, in the mists of time, that chain of faith began with a missionary.

Missionaries perform invaluable work.  And not all of them travel to far-flung places.  I try to function as a missionary where and when I am, in person and at a keyboard.  And I am most like one of those Hobbits who remained in Hobbiton all the time.  Perhaps you, O reader, do not consider yourself a missionary or an evangelist.  Maybe you are one anyway.

Tactics matter.  The first rule is not to be obnoxious or to place the other person on the defense immediately.  I recall a story I heard from an exchange student from Nepal in the middle 1990s.

Lax (as she encouraged people to call her) was a Tibetan Buddhist.  (“Lax” was one syllable of her polysyllabic name.)  She was also a student at Valdosta State University.  Lax told me that, one day, another student told her that she would go to Hell if she did not convert to Christianity.  That was a terrible opening line.  It placed Lax (a sweet person, by the way) on the defense immediately.  Also, if I understand Tibetan Buddhism accurately, the threat of going to Hell made no sense to Lax. (According to what I have read in reference works, not having broken the cycle of reincarnation is Hell in Tibetan Buddhism.)  Christianity made about as little sense to Lax as Tibetan Buddhism did (and still does) to me.

I thank God for missionaries who have used–and use–effective, culturally-sensitive techniques.  Using such techniques creates an opening for potentially successful evangelism.  Such work is essential, whether far away, very near, or in the middle.

One obstacle organized Christianity faces is the impression that Christians are judgmental.  This impression exists because many Christians are judgmental.  I know some, O reader.  Maybe you do, too.  I know some Christians who were pleasant, kind people until they had a conversion experience.  Perhaps you do, too.  In reality, if we mere mortals are honest with ourselves, we will admit to ourselves that we need divine mercy as much (at least) as do all other people.  So, what right do we have to be judgmental jerks?  We have no such right, of course.  Another cliché is accurate and applicable here, too:  many recent converts frequently embarrass long-term adherents.

May the missionary work of the Church thrive and expand.  May the love of God define it.  And may missionaries heed the advice of St. Francis of Assisi (1181/1182-1226).  May they preach the Gospel at all times and use words when necessary.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 26, 2021 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM COWPER, ANGLICAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT ADELARD OF CORBIE, FRANKISH ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK AND ABBOT; AND HIS PROTÉGÉ, SAINT PASCHASIUS RADBERTUS, FRANKISH ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK, ABBOT, AND THEOLOGIAN

THE FEAST OF ROBERT HUNT, FIRST ANGLICAN CHAPLAIN AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA

THE FEAST OF RUTH BYLLESBY, EPISCOPAL DEACONESS IN GEORGIA

THE FEAST OF SAINT STANISLAW KUBISTA, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR, 1940; AND SAINT WLADYSLAW GORAL, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP AND MARTYR, 1945

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Almighty God, who called your Church to witness

that you were in Christ reconciling men to yourself:

help us so to proclaim the good news of your love,

that all who hear it may be reconciled to you;

through him who died for us and rose again

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

Isaiah 49:1-6

Psalm 97 or 100 or 2 or 46 or 47 or 67 or 87 or 96 or 117

Ephesians 2:13-22

Matthew 28:16-20

The Alternative Service Book 1980 (1980), 907-908

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Feast of Blessed Maria Catalina Troiani (May 6)   Leave a comment

Above:  Blessed Maria Catalina Troiani 

Image in the Public Domain

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BLESSED MARIA CATALINA TROIANI (JANUARY 19, 1813-MAY 6, 1887)

Foundress of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Also known as Blessed Maria Teresa of Saint Rose

Blessed Maria Catalina Troiani, a missionary in Egypt, educated impoverished girls.

Our saint came from an Italian Roman Catholic family.  She born in Guiliano di Roma on January 19, 1813, was one of four children of Tommaso Troiani and Teresa Panici (Troiani).  Teresa died when Blessed Maria Catalina was six years old.

Our saint, inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, became a Francican tertiary.  On December 8, 1829, she made her vows as Sister Maria Teresa of Saint Rose, after St. Rose of Viterbo (1234-1252).  Blessed Maria Catalina spent much time educating girls.  On September 14, 1859, she, four other nuns, and Father Giuseppe Moden arrived in Cairo, Egypt, on a mission that had received person Papal approval.  They established a school for poor girls in that city.

From this undertaking arose the Third Order Franciscan Sisters of Cairo, official as of July 5, 1868.  The order later became the Franciscan Sisters of Cairo then the Franciscan Missionaries of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Our saint served as its first Mother Superior, until she died.

Pope John Paul II declared our saint a Venerable in 1982 then beatified her in 1985.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MARCH 22, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF SAINT DEOGRATIAS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF CARTHAGE

THE FEAST OF EMMANUEL MOURNIER, PERSONALIST PHILOSOPHER

THE FEAST OF JAMES DE KOVEN, EPISCOPAL PRIEST

THE FEAST OF THOMAS HUGHES, BRITISH SOCIAL REFORMER AND MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM EDWARD HICKSON, ENGLISH MUSIC EDUCATOR AND SOCIAL REFORMER

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O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the example of your servant Blessed Maria Catalina Troiani,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come;

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.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 722

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Spiritual Paths   3 comments

Above:  My Desk, December 19, 2018

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Christian spiritual directors have, for some time, understood the variety of spiritual types, related, quite often, to preferences in prayer styles.  The last time I read deeply in the field, I learned that the middle two characters of one’s Myers-Briggs personality type often correlate to a preference of a certain style of prayer.

Another way of classifying spiritual types comes from Roman Catholicism:

  1. The Path of Intellect (Thomistic Prayer), in the style of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Teresa of Avila;
  2. The Path of Devotion (Augustinian Prayer), in the style of St. Augustine of Hippo;
  3. The Path of Service (Franciscan Prayer), in the style of St. Francis of Assisi; and
  4. The Path of Asceticism (Ignatian Prayer), in the style of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The test for determining one’s spiritual type takes only a few minutes.  A one-page document with fourteen rows and four columns requires one to look at a row of four words and rank them (“1” to “4,” “1” meaning least descriptive and “4” meaning most descriptive of oneself at the time).  Then one tallies each column.

My spiritual type has changed.  In the middle 1990s, when I was in my twenties, I was, first and foremost, a Thomist.  I have forgotten what the second, third, and fourth rankings were, but I was definitely on the Path of Intellect.  This morning I took the test again.  My scores were as follows:

  1. The Path of Asceticism–48;
  2. The Path of Intellect–43;
  3. The Path of Devotion–30; and
  4. The Path of Service–19.

Asceticism, according to this definition,

involves imagining oneself as part of a scene in order to draw some practical fruit from it for today.

It also entails a certain rigor in spiritual discipline.

The Thomistic preference for spiritual order applies to me.

Spiritual growth over a lifetime entails both change and constancy.  I, as a Christian, embrace that principle as I affirm another one:  one’s spiritual path must flow through Jesus.  Furthermore, to assume that one’s spiritual path in Christ is the only proper path for all people is in error.  In fact, one’s spiritual path in Christ in the present may not be one’s spiritual path in Christ five years from now.  In my case, the new preference for asceticism is consistent with my embrace of minimalism.

Pax vobiscum!

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 19, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT, YEAR C

THE FEAST OF RAOUL WALLENBERG, RIGHTEOUS GENTILE

THE FEAST OF CHICO MENDES, “GANDHI OF THE AMAZON”

THE FEAST OF ROBERT CAMPBELL, SCOTTISH EPISCOPALIAN THEN ROMAN CATHOLIC SOCIAL ADVOCATE AND HYMN WRITER

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Feast of Fritz Eichenberg (October 24)   1 comment

FRITZ EICHENBERG (OCTOBER 24, 1901-NOVEMBER 30, 1990)

German-American Quaker Wood Engraver

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It is my hope that in a small way I have been able to contribute to peace through compassion and also to the recognition, as George Fox has said…”That there is that of God in everyone,” a conception of the sanctity of human life which precludes all wars and violence.”

–Fritz Eichenberg, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (New York:  The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1997), 463

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Fritz Eichenberg comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via All Saints (1997).

Eichenberg expressed his Quaker faith in his art.  He, born in Cologne, Germany, on October 24, 1901, grew up in a secular Jewish family.  He studied graphic arts in Cologne and Leipzig before working as an artist in Berlin (1923-1933).  World War I and its aftermath influenced Eichenberg’s pacifism.  The rise of Nazism forced Eichenberg and his family to emigrate.  He arrived in the United States of America in 1933.  Subsequently he worked in the Federal Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration, taught at the New School for Social Research and at the Pratt Institute, and chaired the Department of Art of The University of Rhode Island.  His wife’s death in 1938 preceded an emotional breakdown.  Eichenberg, after resorting to Zen meditation, converted to Quakerism in 1940.

Eichenberg created wood engravings of both secular and sacred subjects.  He illustrated classic works of literature and depicted Christ and saints.  Subjects included Desiderius Erasmus, Thomas Merton, Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, and Cesar Chavez, as well as Eichenberg’s favorite saint, Francis of Assisi.  Images of Jesus included Christ of the Breadlines (1953) and Christ of the Homeless (1982).  In Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men (1954), our saint depicted an angel with a dove on one side of a the cross and gas-masked soldier holding a bomb on the other.  Our saint, who met Dorothy Day in 1949, created images for the Catholic Worker newspaper.

Eichenberg died of complications of Parkinson’s Disease at Peace Dale, Rhode Island, on November 30, 1990.  He was 89 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 16, 2018 COMMON ERA

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

THE FEAST OF GUSTAF AULEN, SWEDISH LUTHERAN THEOLOGY

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

THE FEAST OF MAUDE DOMINICA PETRE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MODERNIST THEOLOGIAN

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

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

We bless your name for inspiring Fritz Eichenberg and all those

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

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

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

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

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

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Feast of St. Francis of Assisi (October 4)   12 comments

Above:  St. Francis Beneath a Tree, Praying, by Rembrandt van Rijn

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-102921

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GIOVANNI FRANCESCO PIETRO DI BENRADONE (1181/1182-OCTOBER 3, 1226)

Founder of the Order of Friars Minor

Beatified in 1228

I have done my part.  May Christ teach you to do yours.

–St. Francis of Assisi, as he lay dying

St. Francis of Assisi is one of the most popular saints.  Statues of him populate many gardens and other public places.  St. Francis seems harmless, friendly, and inoffensive in the imaginations of many people.  Yet the testimony of his life is revolutionary.

I have decided not to write a biography of St. Francis.  I have reasoned that (1) those are easy to find, and (2) most of them are superior to any biography I might compose.  (Here is one.)  I have decided, however, to reflect on some lessons from his life for modern people and societies.

St. Francis renounced the idol of materialism.  In so doing, he found liberation to follow God, whom he found liberation to follow, and whom he recognized in the poor and in nature.

Economies depend on materialism.  They do so because (1) some people created economies this way, and (2) other people have retained these systems.  The industry of advertising tells people that they cannot live without that which they can live–and have lived.  Advertising often convinces people that material goods will solve their spiritual problems.  It also converts the Seven Deadly Sins into virtues.  Materialism is one of the most popular idols.

I think about this matter perhaps most often at the end of each year.  The commercialization of Christmas is the real “War on Christmas.”  Ironically, it is a campaign many U.S. Protestants favored in the 1800s, rather than celebrate a Roman Catholic feast day.  I seek few Christmas gifts, just as I give few.  I do most of my Christmas shopping at thrift stores, too.  I know that many jobs depend directly and indirectly on the orgy of materialism at the end of the year, and I manage to avoid most of that madness, but I also know that, if most people were to behave as I do, the consequences for many working people would be dire.  This is an example of what economists call the paradox of thrift.

Poverty, which St. Francis chose for himself, comes with a stigma in much of the world.  Many of the hardest working people are poor, contrary to much rhetoric.  In much of the world many of the poor are impoverished because the economic-political system is one rigged against them.  This is a truth as old as antiquity, as well as one against which certain Biblical prophets railed.  Whenever policy is to keep much of the population in poverty, government retards the progress and well-being of a society, to the common detriment.

We are part of nature, of which we have a divine mandate to be good stewards.  Science tells us that species have evolved in nature, and that they continue to do so.  Yet many of us seem not to have evolved spiritually in relation to nature, for evidence of disrespect for the created order is ubiquitous.  From littering to pollution to global warming to the driving of species to extinction, humanity’s record of damaging the planet and ecosystems is long and shameful.  It also harms us, for we are part of nature, too.

The legacy of St. Francis of Assisi should stand in the minds of more people as a call to moral, social, economic, and political revolution, for the glory of God and the common good.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 2, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF RALPH W. SOCKMAN, U.S. UNITED METHODIST MINISTER

THE FEAST OF CARL DOVING, NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER AND HYMN TRANSLATOR

THE FEAST OF JAMES ALLEN, ENGLISH INGHAMITE THEN GLASITE/SANDEMANIAN HYMN WRITER; AND HIS GREAT-NEPHEW, OSWALD ALLEN, ENGLISH GLASITE/SANDEMANIAN HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF PETRUS HERBERT, GERMAN MORAVIAN BISHOP AND HYMNODIST

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Most high, omnipotent, good Lord, grant your people grace to renounce gladly the vanities of this world;

that, following the way of blessed Francis, we may for love of you,

delight in your whole creation with perfectness of joy;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit;

one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Jeremiah 22:13-16

Psalm 148:7-14

Galatians 6:14-18

Matthew 11:25-30

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 623

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O God, you ever delight to reveal yourself to the childlike and lowly of heart;

grant that, following the example of the blessed Francis,

we may count the wisdom of this world as foolishness and know only Jesus Christ and him crucified,

who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Common Worship:  Daily Prayer (2005), 505

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Gracious and merciful God, you kindled in the heart of Francis such a flame of love that he became wholly yours;

increase in us a whole-hearted trust in you and a humble love of all your creatures,

that we may know the joy the gospel brings; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer.  Amen.

or

Holy Jesus, give us something of Francis’ simplicity,

something of his recklessness,

something of his obedience;

give us the courage to understand what you say and do it.  Amen.

Song of the Three Young Men 52-65

Psalm 119:145-152 or Psalm 148

Galatians 6:14-18

Matthew 11:25-30

–The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

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God of creation, we thank you for all that you have made and called good:

Grant that we may rightly serve and conserve the earth, and live at peace with all your creatures;

through Jesus Christ, the firstborn of all creation,

in whom you are reconciling the whole world to yourself.  Amen.

Job 14:7-9

Psalm 104:24-31

Romans 1:20-23

Mark 16:14-15

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 732

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Bountiful Creator, you open your hand to satisfy the needs of every living creature:

Make us always thankful for your loving providence,

and grant that we, remembering the account we must one day give,

may be faithful stewards of your abundance, for the benefit of the whole creation;

through Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom all things were made,

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

1 Kings 4:29-30, 33-34

Psalm 145:1-7, 22

Acts 17:24-31

John 1:1-5, 9-14

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 731

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Feast of St. Bonaventure (July 15)   4 comments

Above:  St. Bonaventure

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT BONAVENTURE (1217-JULY 15, 1274)

Second Founder of the Order of Friars Minor

Born Giovanni di Fidanza

St. Bonaventure was one of the most influential Medieval Roman Catholic theologians.

The traditional birth year given for St. Bonaventure has been 1221.  However, Dr. Ewert Cousins, Professor of Theology at Fordham University, as well as translator and editor of the St. Bonaventure volume (1978) for the Paulist Press’s Classics of Western Spirituality series, cited scholars who insisted on 1217 instead.

Giovanni di Fidanza, a native of Bagnoregio (near Viterbo), Italy, was a son of Giovanni di Fidanza (Sr.), a wealthy physician, and Maria di Ritello.  Circa 1234 the 17-year old saint matriculated at the University of Paris, where he studied under the great Franciscan scholar Alexander of Hales.  Our saint joined the Order of Friars Minor (the Franciscans) in 1243 and became Bonaventure.  His theological teachers until their deaths in 1245 were Alexander of Hales and John of La Rochelle.  Afterward St. Bonaventure’s theological teachers were Eudes Rigaud and William of Middleton.

St. Bonaventure embodied intellectual rigor, Roman Catholic piety, and Franciscan simplicity.  He, a Bachelor of Scripture in 1248 and a Master of Theology in 1253/1254, lectured on the Bible in 1248-1250 and led the Franciscan school in Paris from 1253/1254 to 1257.  Then our saint became the Minister General of the Order of Franciscans Minor, after Pope Alexander IV had ordered John of Parma, suspected of heterodoxy, to resign.  As the Minister General for 17 years St. Bonaventure became the “Second Founder” of the order, balancing foundational principles with the necessity of adaptation to changing circumstances.  Our saint never wanted to be a bishop, so he rejected offers until 1273, when Pope Gregory X ordered him to become the Cardinal Archbishop of Albano.  St. Bonaventure, a famously humble man, kept a papal representative bearing news of the appointment waiting; the Minister General was washing dishes.

St. Bonaventure also liked to think and write profoundly.  He wrote prolifically.  Works included biographies of St. Francis of Assisi, theological treatises. lectures, and Biblical commentaries.  Titles included The Soul’s Journey into God and The Tree of Life.  (Jesus was the Tree of Life.)  Elevation into the episcopate and the College of Cardinals greatly reduced the time St. Bonaventure had to write.

St. Bonaventure died on July 15, 1274, while attending the Second Council of Lyons, which dealt with the unification of the Eastern and Western Churches.  Prelates from across the Christian world mourned him.

The Roman Catholic Church has honored St. Bonaventure.  Pope Sixtus IV canonized him in 1482.  Pope Sixtus V declared our saint a Doctor of the Church in 1588.

The legacy of St. Bonaventure has continued to enrich the Church and the world.  One vehicle has been the Order of Friars Minor.  Furthermore, his writings have continued to be available, fortunately.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 18, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF MALTBIE DAVENPORT BABCOCK, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER, HUMANITARIAN, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN I, BISHOP OF ROME

THE FEAST OF MARY MCLEOD BETHUNE, AFRICAN-AMERICAN EDUCATOR AND SOCIAL ACTIVIST

THE FEAST OF SAINT STANISLAW KUBSKI, POLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MARTYR

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Almighty God, you gave to hour servant Saint Bonaventure

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 St. Ubaldo Baldassini (May 16)   2 comments

Above:  St. Ubaldo Baldassini

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT UBALDO BALDASSINI (CIRCA 1085-MAY 16, 1160)

Bishop of Gubbio

Also known as Saint Ubaldus Baldassini

St. Ubaldo Baldassini, born circa 1085 at Gubbio, near Ancona, Umbria, Italy, came from nobility.  Our saint, related to St. Sperandia (died in 1276; feast day = September 11), an abbess and a mystic, was a son of Rovaldo Baldassini.  Rovaldo died when St. Ubaldo was young.  Our saint’s mother was, unfortunately, an invalid afflicted with a neurological disorder, so an uncle raised him.

St. Ubaldo, educated at the cathedral school at Gubbio, turned to the Church.  He, a monk at the Monastery of St. Secondo, Gubbio, became a priest in 1115.  Later he became the dean of the cathedral.  Our saint began to serve as the Bishop of Gubbio in 1128.  St. Ubaldo, a friend of St. Francis of Assisi, had a reputation for being patient and kind.  Our saint also delivered the city from the wrath of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa (reigned 1152-1190), whom he bribed not to sack Gubbio.  St. Ubaldo died of natural causes at Gubbio on May 16, 1160.  He was about 75 years old.

Pope Celestine III canonized our saint in 1192.

St. Ubaldo is the patron saint of autistic people, possessed persons, sick children, obsessive compulsives, and Gubbio and Montovi, Italy.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 24, 2017 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY CLAY SHUTTLEWORTH, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DANIEL C. ROBERTS, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church,

including your servant Saint Ubaldo of Baldassini.

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

John 21:15-17 or Matthew 24:42-47

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

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Feast of St. Angela of Foligno (January 4)   Leave a comment

st-angela-of-foligno

Above:  St. Angela of Foligno

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT ANGELA OF FOLIGNO (CIRCA 1248-JANUARY 4, 1309)

Penitent and Humanitarian

Alternative feast day = March 30

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Let us go and look for Christ our Lord.  We will go to the hospital and perhaps among the sick and the suffering we shall find Him.

–St. Angela of Foligno, quoted in Robert Ellsberg, All Saints:  Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (1997), page 15

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St. Angela of Foligno spent much of her life helping the poor of that city.

We know little about the life of St. Angela of Foligno until the 1280s.  We do know that she was the wife of a wealthy merchant of Foligno, Italy, and that she enjoyed the benefits of his success more than she should have done, to the detriment of soul; wealth became an idol for her.  We also know that St. Angela enjoyed wearing flashy clothing, gossiping, and flirting with men.  Furthermore, we know that, in 1285, she had an epiphany.

In 1285 St. Angela committed adultery.  Then she went to confession, but she concealed that sin.  Next she compounded the error by taking communion.  She, fearing that she might have condemned herself to Hell, prayed to St. Francis of Assisi and asked him to direct her to a confessor.  St. Angela perceived St. Francis as telling her:

Sister, if you would have asked me sooner, I would have complied with your request sooner.  Nonetheless, your request is granted.

That day, at the cathedral, St. Angela confessed her sins to a kinsman, Father Arnoldo.  She found peace and vowed to reform her life.

For five years that reform proceeded in baby steps.  She began to sell some of her possessions to raise funds to help the poor of the city, but she remained susceptible to the temptations of wealth.  Then, in 1290, after her husband and sons died, St. Angela became more serious about selling her possessions.  Priests counseled her to consider this prayerfully, for she might not have a vocation to poverty, they said.  Our saint made a pilgrimage to Rome, to ponder their advice.  She returned to Foligno and resumed the process of selling her possessions.  She also became a Franciscan tertiary and had mystical experiences.

These ecstasies and visions attracted some people to her company and embarrassed and scandalized others.  Certain devout people sought to learn of God from her.  Yet once, while St. Angela was on pilgrimage to Assisi, Father Arnoldo scolded her for allegedly making a spectacle of herself at the basilica.  He even ordered her to leave and never to return.  She obeyed this command.

At Foligno St. Angela became the core of a community of women who lived as Franciscans and performed many good works.  For years, until her death in 1309, Father Arnoldo was their chaplain.

The cult of St. Angela led the Roman Catholic Church to recognize her formally.  Pope Innocent XII declared her a Blessed in 1693; Pope Clement XI confirmed this eight years later.  Pope Francis canonized her in 2013.

St. Angela is the patron invoked against sexual temptation, temptation in general, and the death of children and for people ridiculed for their piety, as well as for widows.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 14, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF JOHN AMOS COMENIUS, FATHER OF MODERN EDUCATION

THE FEAST OF THE CONSECRATION OF SAMUEL SEABURY, FIRST EPISCOPAL BISHOP

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM ROMANIS, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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O God, whose blessed son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:

Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we,

inspired by the devotion of your servant Saint Angela of Foligno,

may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the world to come;

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.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722

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Feast of St. Berard and His Companions (January 16)   Leave a comment

Above:  Order of Friars Minor

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT BERARD AND HIS COMPANIONS (DIED IN 1220)

Roman Catholic Franciscan Missionaries and Martyrs

Saint Francis of Assisi sent six friars to the Almohad Caliphate (1121-1269), which controlled southern Spain and much of the northwestern Mediterranean coast of Africa.  Their goal was to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people there.  The friars were Berard, Peter, Adjute, Accurs, Odo, and Vitalis.  The six men left Italy for Spain in 1219.  Along the way, Vitalis left the mission due to illness.

The Almohad Caliphate (1121-1269) was markedly fundamentalist and, of course, theocratic, as the term Caliphate implies.  The government persecuted Jews and Christians, most of whom chose to emigrate.  So the five friars who landed in Spain placed their lives in danger.  They preached in Seville, but made no converts.  They were arrested instead, and insisted that they see the Caliph, Yusuf II.  So the governor at Seville sent them to Marrakesh, Morocco, to see the Caliph.  At Marrakesh the five friars preached in the marketplace.  The Caliph had them arrested, beaten, and bribed, all in hopes of convincing them to cease preaching.  But they refused.  So, on January 16, 1220, the five friars became martyrs by beheading.

These, the first Franciscan martyrs, inspired missionary zeal among members of the Order of Friars Minor.  And the gospel of Jesus Christ, of course, does not cease because potentates order executions.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 14, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF VENANTIUS HONORIUS CLEMENTIUS FORTUNATUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP OF POITIERS

THE FEAST OF CARL PHILIPP EMANUEL BACH, COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MYSTIC

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Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth.  Inspire us with the memory of  Berard, Peter, Adjute, Accurs, and Odo, whose faithfulness led to the way of the cross, and give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your Son’s victory over sin and death, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 20:40-42

Psalm 5

Revelation 6:9-11

Mark 8:34-38

–Adapted from Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), page 5

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Revised on November 20, 2016

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Posted January 1, 2011 by neatnik2009 in January 16, Saints of 1200-1249

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