Saint Joseph remembered

Let us walk in God’s ways, delighting in God’s will.

 

Embroidered symbol of St. Joseph

O God, who from the family of your servant David raised up Joseph to be the guardian of your incarnate Son and the spouse of his virgin mother: Give us grace to imitate his uprightness of life and his obedience to your commands; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect of the Day, March 19, St. Joseph in The Book of Common Prayer, 219

On March 19th the church remembers Joseph, husband of Mary and, to all earthly appearances, the father of Jesus. May you experience God’s grace as you hear, listen, ponder, and then act upon God’s call and invitation to you to walk in his ways and delight in his will. ~Fr. Dan

“Joseph” from Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 2006

In the face of circumstances that distressed even a man of such tenderness and obedience to God as Joseph, he accepted the vocation of protecting Mary and being a father to Jesus. He is honored in Christian tradition for the nurturing care and protection he provided for the infant Jesus and his mother in taking them to Egypt to escape Herod’s slaughter of the innocents, and in rearing him as a faithful Jew at Nazareth. The Gospel according to Matthew pictures Joseph as a man of deep devotion, open to mystical experiences, and as a man of compassion, who accepted his God-given responsibility with gentleness and humility.

Joseph was a pious Jew, a descendant of David, and a carpenter by trade. As Joseph the Carpenter, he is considered the patron saint of the working man, one who not only worked with his hands, but taught his trade to Jesus. The little that is told of him is a testimony to the trust in God which values simple everyday duties, and gives an example of a loving husband and father.

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning

Image: Windstar Embroidery Designs

Collect: Thomas Bray, Priest and Missionary, 1730 (Feb 15)

Thomas Bray was a man who paid attention, promoted good, and wanted all to keep learning.

Thomas Bray, Priest

In 1696, Thomas Bray, an English country parson, was invited by the Bishop of London to be responsible for the oversight of Church work in the colony of Maryland. Three years later, as the Bishop’s Commissary, he sailed to America for his first, and only, visitation. Though he spent only two and a half months in Maryland, Bray was deeply concerned about the neglected state of the American churches, and the great need for the education of clergymen, lay people, and children. Read more…

Lesser Feasts and Fasts

The Collect for the Commemoration

O God of compassion, you opened the eyes of your servant Thomas Bray to see the needs of the Church in the New World, and led him to found societies to meet those needs: Make the Church in this land diligent at all times to propagate the Gospel among those who have not received it, and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

In the collect for this commemoration we pray that the God of compassion will “[m]ake the Church in this land diligent at all times to propagate the Gospel among those who have not received it, and to promote the spread of Christian knowledge.”  You and I (and many others) are the Church in this land. Pay attention, for surely God will answer our prayer with graces to exceed our request allowing us to meet the needs of others. ~Fr. Dan

[Bray’s] greatest contributions were the founding of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, both of which are still effectively in operation after two and a half centuries of work all over the world.

Lesser Feasts and Fasts

Be well. Do good. Pay attention. Keep learning.

Collect: Timothy, Titus, and Silas, Companions of Saint Paul (Jan 26)

A form of the Anchor Cross

[Timothy, Titus, and Silas are remembered and] celebrated on the day after the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul because of their close connections with him. Though they were all young and inexperienced, they were entrusted with missions and matters that helped form the very life and history of the Church. Faithfulness, love and devotion to Christ saw them through situations they could not have imagined. Read more…

Holy Women, Holy Men

Just and merciful God, in every generation you raise up prophets, teachers and witnesses to summon the world to honor and praise your holy Name: We thank you for sending Timothy, Titus and Silas, whose gifts built up your Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Grant that we too may be living stones built upon the foundation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (source: Holy Women, Holy Men)

I have placed the “Provisional Collect” from the SCLM here. The official collect for this commemoration may be accessed here. Today, I will explore what it means to be a “living stone” built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. And you? ~Fr. Dan

For further reading

Collect: Conversion of Saint Paul the Apostle (Jan 25)

Caravaggio: Conversion of St. Paul
The Conversion of St. Paul by Caravaggio. Click the image to read more.

Today, because many of you will not have access to this material, I quote in its entirety the description of this commemoration in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006. ~Fr. Dan

Begin quote

Paul, or Saul as he was known until he became a Christian, was a Roman citizen, born at Tarsus, in present-day Turkey. He was brought up as an orthodox Jew, studying in Jerusalem for a time under Gamaliel, the most famous rabbi of the day. Describing himself, he said, “I am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin” (Romans 11:1).

A few years after the death of Jesus, Saul came in contact with the new Christian movement, and became one of the most fanatical of those who were determined to stamp out this “dangerous heresy.” Saul witnessed the stoning of Stephen. He was on the way to Damascus to lead in further persecution of the Christians when his dramatic conversion took place.

From that day, Paul devoted his life totally to Christ, and especially to the conversion of Gentiles. The Acts of the Apostles describes the courage and determination with which he planted Christian congregations over a large area of the land bordering the eastern Mediterranean.

His letters, the earliest of Christian writings, reveal him as the greatest of the interpreters of Christ’s mind, and as the founder of Christian theology. He writes, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Paul describes himself as small and insignificant in appearance: “His letters are weighty and strong,” it was said of him, “but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech of no account” (2 Corinthians 10:10). He writes of having a disability which he had prayed God to remove from him, and quotes the Lord’s reply, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, Paul went on to say, “I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Paul is believed to have been martyred at Rome in the year 64 under Nero.

End quoted material

 

O God, by the preaching of your apostle Paul you have caused the light of the Gospel to shine throughout the world: Grant, we pray, that we, having his wonderful conversion in remembrance, may show ourselves thankful to you by following his holy teaching; 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.

May we follow the “holy teaching” of Saint Paul as we let our own light shine with the radiance of Christ. ~Fr. Dan 

For further reading

Image: On Art via The Christian Century

Collect: Ordination of Florence Li Tim-Oi, First Woman Priest in the Anglican Communion, 1944 (Jan 24)

Florence Li Tim-OiNamed by her father “much beloved daughter,” Li Tim-Oi was born in Hong Kong in 1907. When she was baptized as a student, she chose the name of Florence in honor of Florence Nightingale. Florence studied at Union Theological College in Guangzhou (Canton). In 1938, upon graduation, she served in a lay capacity, first in Kowloon and then in nearby Macao.

In May 1941 Florence was ordained deaconess. Some months later Hong Kong fell to Japanese invaders, and priests could not travel to Macao to celebrate the Eucharist. Despite this setback, Florence continued her ministry. Her work came to the attention of Bishop Ronald Hall of Hong Kong, who decided that “God’s work would reap better results if she had the proper title” of priest.

On January 25, 1944, the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Bishop Hall ordained her priest, the first woman so ordained in the Anglican Communion. Read more…

Holy Women, Holy Men

Collect for Florence Li Tim-Oi

Gracious God, we thank you for calling Florence Li Tim-Oi, much beloved daughter, to be the first woman to exercise the office of a priest in our Communion: By the grace of your Spirit inspire us to follow her example, serving your people with patience and happiness all our days, and witnessing in every circumstance to our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

May we indeed serve others with patience and happiness no matter our circumstances, for the glory of God. ~Fr. Dan

Like Roman Catholics and the Orthodox, Episcopalians honor our ancestors in the faith, men and women of exceptional character and action as Christ-followers, who inspire and encourage us along the Way. The Collect used on the day they are honored often asks for graces to become a better Christ-follower in our day and in our lives.

For further reading

Collect: Fabian, Bishop and Martyr of Rome, 250 (Jan 20)

In 236, an assembly was held at Rome to elect a pope as successor to Antherus. In the throng was Fabian, a layman from another part of Italy. Suddenly, according to the historian Eusebius, a dove flew over the crowd and lighted on Fabian’s head.  In spite of the fact that he was both a total stranger and not even a candidate for election, the people unanimously chose Fabian to be pope, shouting, “He is worthy! He is worthy!” Fabian was ordained to the episcopate without opposition.

During his fourteen years as pontiff, Fabian made numerous administrative reforms.  He developed the parochial structure of the Church in Rome, and established the custom of venerating martyrs at their shrines in the catacombs. He appointed seven deacons and seven sub-deacons to write the lives of the martyrs, so that their deeds should not be forgotten in times to come.

Lesser Feasts and Fasts

Probably most of us will never be called upon to lay down our life for the faith. We may be ridiculed, snubbed, ignored, or dismissed because of our faith—small torments compared to the martyrdom of men and women through the ages. Our fervent plea to receive grace to remain “steadfast in the faith” that we may endure “times of trial and persecution” will surely be answered. And God will be glorified. ~Fr. Dan

may we have steadfast faith

St. Fabian, MartyrAlmighty God, you called Fabian to be a faithful pastor and servant of your people, and to lay down his life in witness to your Son: Grant that we, strengthened by his example and aided by his prayers, may in times of trial and persecution remain steadfast in faith and endurance, for the sake of him who laid down his life for us all, Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Like Roman Catholics and the Orthodox, Episcopalians honor our ancestors in the faith, men and women of exceptional character and action as Christ-followers, who inspire and encourage us along the Way. The Collect used on the day they are honored often asks for graces to become a better Christ-follower in our day and in our lives. What did you hear today?

For further reading

Image: Holy Women, Holy Men

Collect: Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095 (Jan 19)

Wulfstan was one of the few Anglo-Saxon bishops to retain his see after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Beloved by all classes of society for his humility, charity, and courage, he was born in Warwickshire about 1008, and educated in the Benedictine abbeys of Evesham and Peterborough. He spent most of his life in the cathedral monastery of Worcester as monk, prior, and then as bishop of the see from 1062 until his death on January 18, 1095.  He accepted the episcopate with extreme reluctance, but having resigned himself to it, he administered the diocese with great effectiveness.

~Lesser Feasts and Fasts

Our plea in this commemoration is for an abundance of “faithful pastors.” As our world seems more divided than ever, we also pray for pastors who will give courage “to those who are oppressed and held in bondage.” May it be so. ~Fr. Dan

Almighty God, your only-begotten Son led captivity captive and gave gifts to your people: Multiply among us faithful pastors, who, like your holy bishop Wulfstan, will give courage to those who are oppressed and held in bondage: and bring us all, we pray, into the true freedom of your kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Like Roman Catholics and the Orthodox, Episcopalians honor our ancestors in the faith, men and women of exceptional character and action as Christ-followers, who inspire and encourage us along the Way. The Collect used on the day they are honored often asks for graces to become a better Christ-follower in our day and in our lives. What did you hear today?

For further reading

Image: Wikimedia Commons