Monday, October 20, 2008

21 October 08




Morning Prayer: Psalm 25; II Kings 21:1-3, 10-18; Titus 2

Evening Prayer: Psalm 29, 36:5-end; Deuteronomy 4:15-24; St. Matthew 24:29-41


In the Gospel reading today, found in Evening Prayer, we are again confronted with images of the return of our Lord. Take some time today to read this read through slowly, and then to comtemplate what St. Matthew says while looking at the image of the second coming above.

I would also like to quote from Volume I of, Commentary on the Psalms, specifically from St. Venerable Bede as he wrotes on both the Psalms given for Evening Prayer:

Psalm 29: "The completion of the Tabernacle signifies the perfection of the Church ; which, since it wageth wars against carnal vices, hath rightly received the name of a military tent.

The Prophet, foreseeing that the ends of the world would be brought to the faith, first addresses all the nations, commanding them to bring sacrifices to God. Next, in a sevenfold series, by various allusions, he enumerates the graces of the Holy Ghost : The voice of the Lord is upon the waters. But that he may show that the power of the Father and of the Holy Ghost is one, he telleth, thirdly, how the Holy Trinity effectuates Baptism, and how the Lord giveth virtue and benediction to him who is regenerate from it: The Lord maketh the water-flood to be inhabited, etc."

Psalm 36: "Take, then, The servant of the Lord, is no other sense than of Him, Who, being in the form of God, took upon Him the form of a Servant, and became obedient even unto death. The whole Psalm is said in the person of the Prophet. In its beginning he vehemently accuseth the despisers of the Law, and saith that they have no portion with God, commemorating also their wicked designs. Next, still praising God, he describeth the gifts that are bestowed as the reward of His servants, and saith that they are filled with the plenteousness of the House of the Lord ; and this Psalm is briefly concluded with the destruction of the wicked.

Fr. Greg


St. Hilarion, Abbot (291-371)
Hilarion was born of heathen parentage at Tabatha in Palestine, five miles south of Gaza, about the year 291. Saint Epiphanius, Bishop of Salarius, knew him well, and wrote his life, from which the following account is largely taken.
As a lad he was sent to study at Alexandria, where he bore a fair name for life and wit. There he embraced the religion of Jesus christ, and made wonderful headway in faith and love. When the name of Anthony became famous in Egypt, Hilarion made a journey into the desert on purpose to see him, and dwelt with him two months, to the end that he might learn his complete rule of life. After the death of his father and mother, he gave all that he had to the poor. And so, before he had completed the fifteenth year of his age, he went into the desert, and built a little house, scarcely big enough to hold him, and wherein he was used to sleep on the ground. He was a comely and delicate youth, and therefore set about to mortify and harden himself. His food was a few figs and some porridge of vegetables, and this he ate not before set of sun, but his pratyer was unceasing. Till his time neither Syria nor Palestine knew of the monastic life, so that Hilarion was the founder of it therein, as Anthony had been in Egypt. He had built many monasteries, and become famous for miracles, when, in the eightieth year of his age, he fell sick. As he was gasping for list last breath, he said " Go out, my soul; what art thou afraid of? And so he gave up the ghost.
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that the prayeres of thy holy Abbot, blessed Hilarion may commend us unto thee : that we, who have no power of ourselves to help ourselves, may by his advocacy find favour in thy sight. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

16 October 08



Morning Prayer: Psalm 10; 2 Kings 9:17-28; 2 Timothy 3

Evening Prayer: Psalm 16, 17; Ecclesiastes 9:11-end; St. Matthew 23:13-23


Dear friends in Christ:

You and I have been called to be like Jesus, Who was sent into the world by God our Father to be the very tangible presence of God in the world. The world at the time of Jesus was a violent place full of suffering people who lived under the oppression of the powerful few. Yet, as God, Jesus came into the world in the most humble way and lived a very humble life, a very ordinary life that was not unlike that lived by the overwhelming majority of people in the world. At the same time, Jesus was the all powerful God of the universe. He came into our world, into our lives, to show us how to live and to show us the most amazing mercy, love and grace of the God who so desires to know each of us personally.

You and I are called into the very same humble ministry of building relationships, and reconciling persons and the world to our Lord Jesus Christ. You and I, as members of this family we call the Church of the Resurrection, are called into this powerful form of ministry by following the example our Lord has given to us. None of us are exempt from this calling, though our form of ministry may look different and be exercised in various ways. It is important we see the Church as the hub of our very lives, and that each of us are like spokes going out into various cultural contexts of our communities and neighbourhoods.

In the weeks and months ahead, as we begin to act on various ways of reaching out into our neighbourhoods, I ask you to remember the ministries of Church of the Resurrection in our daily prayers. Soak the life of our parish in daily prayers, and ask for the profound guidance of the Holy Spirit in the life of our parish. May each of us trust the Lord by stepping out in faith!!!

Fr. Greg


Grant, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus christ our Lord. Amen.


St. Hedwig, Widow (1174-1243)

Hedwig was a daughter of the Duke of Croatia and Dalmatia, and sister to the mother of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary. She was born in Bavaria, about the year 1174, and at the age of twelve was given in marriage to Henry, the Duke of Poland, who was himself at that time only eighteen years old. And she was a true helpmate to him all his life, especially in the governance of Poland, and in the many troubles which came to him thereby. God gave them seven children, of whom only one survived Hedwig's own death, namely, Gertrude, who had become a nun of the Cistercian Abbey of Trebnitz, and finally the abbess thereof. Hedwig and her husband, soon after their marriage, founded this great Abbey, using the whole of her dowry for the purpose. It was the first convent for women in that region, and had a school for girls, and other institutions connected with it. Afterwards they founded houses of Augustinian Canons, of Franciscan and Dominican friars, of Cistercian monks, and of other religoius ; for they were anxious to propagate the true religion, and to give to their subjects the blessings of a wider Christian culture. After the birth of their seventh child, Henry and Hedwig took a vow of perpetual continence, in token whereof Henry never afterwards shaved, and so came to be known as Henry the Hairy. And Hedwig clothed herself in a plain, grey garb, and spent most of her time in long retreats at the Abbey of Trebnitz. But when Henry was wounded in a battle, she hastened to his side, and nursed him to health ; and when later he was taken prisoner by the Duke Conrad, she secured his release and arranged marriages between two of her granchildren and the sons of Conrad, whereby the war came to an end. The death of her husband soon followed, and then the deathh of all her children except Gertrude ; but Hedwig his her grief and sought comfort in God, that she might comfort her children's families. She was known not only for munificent charity to the poor, but also for her loving and intimate care of them. Once she spent ten weeks, patiently teaching a stupid peasant woman the Lord's Prayer. She shought out the most menial tasks and did them with royal courtesy. In October of 1243, she was taken ill, and died famous for good works. In 1267 she was canonized, and is venerated as the Patroness of Silesia.
O God, who didst teach thy blessed Saint Hedwig, forsaking the pomps and vanities of this life, to follow thee steadfastly in the lowly bearing of thy Cross : mercifully grant that, by her merits and example, we may learn to trample under foot the contemptible pleasures of this world, and cleaving steadfastly to thy Cross to overcome all things that are contrary to our salvation. Who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

5 October 08



Morning Prayer: Psalms 11, 12; Malachi 2:14-end; St. Matthew 19:3-9a, 13-15

Holy Eucharist: Ephesians 5:15-21; St. Matthew 22:1-14

Evening Prayer: Psalm 145; Jeremiah 31:31-37; St. John 13:31-35


The theme for this Sunday is cheerful obedience and service to God. The Epistle today exhorts us to spiritual joyfulness: “be filled with the Spirit...singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” This Christian joy is one of the great sources of spiritual strength and progress. The Christian life is not one of downcast eyes but of cheerfulness. The connection between this Epistle and the Collect is clear, the petition of the Collect echoing the teachings of the Epistle. We pray to be kept from all hurtful things which hinder us from cheerful service and, as the Epistle warns, from the carelessness, laziness and self-indulgence with which we are all so often tempted. The Collect concludes that, thus guarded and guided, we may cheerfully accomplish the things which God would have us do, in the joyful spirit described in the Epistle.
The Collect also takes its meaning from the Gospel reading which is the parable of the Marriage Feast of the King’s Son. This parable sets forth the privileges to which we are invited, and the danger of being too much absorbed in the cares and anxieties of the world. The invited guests refused the invitation and went their separate ways. We thus pray in the Collect that we will not be like the guests in the parable who refused to accept the invitation, but that we will accept the invitation of Jesus Christ to come to him and receive his salvation: “that we, being ready in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things that thou wouldest have done.”
The second part of the Gospel reading, in which the man “not having a wedding-garment” is thrown out of the feast, teaches that without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Each time we come to Holy Communion we are taught by our Prayer Book that we must prepare ourselves to come to the Communion with our hearts clothed with holiness, love and spiritual joyfulness: “ that ye may come holy and clean to such a heavenly Feast in the marriage-garment required by God in holy Scripture, and be received as worthy partakers of that holy Table” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 90). God invites us to his holy Table to receive the Body and Blood of his Son so that “our sinful bodies may be made clean by his Body and our souls washed through his most precious Blood.” We dare not refuse that invitation, but let us come with cheerful and loving hearts. Many are invited to the feast. May today’s Collect be our fervent prayer, that we may be “ready both in body and soul” to serve him and “cheerfully accomplish those things that wouldest have done.”

***COMMON PRAYER: A Commentary on the Prayer Book Lectionary Volume 5: Thirteenth Sunday After Trinity to Twenty Sixth Sunday after Trinity St. Peter Publications Inc. Charlottetown, PEI, Canada Reprinted with permission of the publisher.***


O almighty and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all th ings that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully ccomplish those things which thou commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


St. Placidus and his companions, Martyrs (6th century)

Placid (6th century), Benedictine monk. As a young boy he was entrusted to Benedict at Subiaco to be educated and to become a monk. He once fell into the lake there and was rescued by Maurus, according to Gregory's Dialogues. A forgery of Peter the Deacon of Monte Cassino made him a martyr in Sicily with thirty companions, who in fact suffered before he was born—they were alleged to have been killed at Messina by Saracen pirates from Spain at a time long before the Moors had even reached Spain. However, this fantasy was ‘confirmed’ by the discovery of a deed of gift, purporting to be from Tertullus (Placid's father) to St. Benedict, giving him lands in Sicily; in 1588 relics were found at Messina which were believed to be those of the martyred Placid and companions. This led to the feast of Placid on 5 October being celebrated very widely and in particular by Benedictine monasteries, who regarded him as the patron of novices and customarily assigned this day to them as that on which they performed the liturgical functions usually reserved to the professed. In 1915, however, the Benedictine liturgical commission proposed to suppress this feast and to celebrate the boy Placid with Maurus. This, however, was refused until the next revision which took place about forty years later when the combined feast of Maurus and Placid was authorized for 5 October. Among the medieval calendars that of Abingdon kept Placid as ‘abbot and martyr’.
O God, who vouchsafest unto us to keep the heavenly birthday of blessed Placidus and his companions, thy holy Martyrs : grant, we beseech thee ; that we may rejoice in the perpetual felicity of their fellowship in heaven. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Friday, October 3, 2008

4 October 08



Morning Prayer: Psalm 120, 122, 123; II Kings 2:1-15; I Timothy 3:1-13

Evening Prayer: Psalm Psalm 144; Job 42:1-9; St. Matthew 19:1-15


In today's reading from the Gospel, found in Evening Prayer, we have Jesus teaching us about what He expects from marriage, as well as his love and respect for the little children. Today, as young people potentially prepare for marriage, there is a miserable failure to truly consider the importance of faithfulness, selflessness, and committment to the other. Even for Christians today, the majority of marriages end in divorce. We as Christians do not even take seriously what our Lord has to say about marriage, and how seriously our Lord Jesus considers the bond of marriage between husband and wife. We need to, again, read the Scriptures and apply the teachings of the Lord to our everyday lives without sugar coating or glossing over those parts we do not necessarily like. Our lives with truly be transfigured!

Again, this week, we hear of our Lord's love and concern for littlel children. During this time wherein we are daily praying Evening Prayer, how important it is we take the example of our Lord in His love and concern for little children. May we treat all our children, both those born and unborn, with the same love our Lord shows.

Fr. Greg


O God, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


St. Francis of Assisi, Confessor (1181-1226)

Francis was born in 1182, the son of a wealthy cloth merchant. His early years were frivolous, but an experience of sickness and another of military service were instrumental in leading him to reflect on the purpose of life. One day, in the church of San Damiano, he seemed to hear Christ saying to him, "Francis, repair my falling house." He took the words literally, and sold a bale of silk from his father's warehouse to pay for repairs to the church of San Damiano. His father was outraged, and there was a public confrontation at which his father disinherited and disowned him, and he in turn renounced his father's wealth--one account says that he not only handed his father his purse, but also took off his expensive clothes, laid them at his father's feet, and walked away naked. He declared himself "wedded to Lady Poverty", renounced all material possessions, and devoted himself to serving the poor. In his day the most dreaded of all diseases was something known as leprosy. (It is probably not the same as either the modern or the Biblical disease of that name.) Lepers were kept at a distance and regarded with fear and disgust. Francis cared for them, fed them, bathed their sores, and kissed them. Since he could not pay for repairs to the Church of San Damiano, he undertook to repair it by his own labors. He moved in with the priest, and begged stones lying useless in fields, shaping them for use in repairing the church. He got his meals, not by asking for money so that he might live at the expense of others, but by scrounging crusts and discarded vegetable from trash-bins, and by working as a day laborer, insisting on being paid in bread, milk, eggs, or vegetables rather than in money. Soon a few companions joined him. Dante in his Paradiso has Aquinas say of him:

Let me tell you of a youth whose aristocratic father disowned him because of his love for a beautiful lady. She had been married before, to Christ, and was so faithful a spouse to Him that, while Mary only stood at the foot of the Cross, she leaped up to be with Him on the Cross. These two of whom I speak are Francis and the Lady Poverty. As they walked along together, the sight of their mutual love drew men's hearts after them. Bernard saw them and ran after them, kicking off his shoes to run faster to so great a peace. Giles and Sylvester saw them, kicked off their shoes and ran to join them....

After three years, in 1210, the Pope authorized the forming of the Order of Friars Minor, commonly called the Franciscans. ("Friar" means "brother," as in "fraternity", and "minor" means "lesser" or "younger." I take the meaning to be that a Franciscan, meeting another Christian, is to think, "I am your brother in Christ, and your younger brother at that, bound to defer to you and to give you precedence over myself."

Francis and his companions took literally the words of Christ when he sent his disciples out to preach (Matthew 10:7-10):

Preach as you go, saying, "The kingdom of Heaven is at hand." ... You have received the Gospel without payment, give it to others as freely. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, no spare garment, nor sandals, nor staff.

They would have no money, and no property, individually or collectively. Their task was to preach, "using words if necessary," but declaring by word and action the love of God in Christ. Francis was partial to a touch of the dramatic (see his parting from his father, for example), and it was probably he who set up the first Christmas manger scene, to bring home the Good News of God made man for our salvation, home to men's hearts and imaginations as well as to their intellects.

In 1219, Francis went to the Holy Land to preach to the moslems. He was given a pass through the enemy lines, and spoke to the Sultan, Melek-al-Kamil. Francis proclaimed the Gospel to the Sultan, who replied that he had his own beliefs, and that moslems were as firmly convinced of the truth of Islam as Francis was of the truth of Christianity. Francis proposed that a fire be built, and that he and a moslem volunteer would walk side by side into the fire to show whose faith was stronger. The Sultan said he was not sure that a moslem volunteer could be found. Francis then offered to walk into the fire alone. The Sultan who was deeply impressed but remained unconverted. Francis proposed an armistice between the two warring sides, and drew up terms for one; the Sultan agreed, but, to Francis's deep disappointment, the Christian leaders would not. Francis returned to Italy, but a permanent result was that the Franciscans were given custody of the Christian shrines then in moslem hands.

Back in Italy and neighboring countries, the Order was suffering from its own success. Then, as now, many persons were deeply attracted by Francis and his air of joy, abandonment, and freedom. What is overlooked is that these were made possible only by his willingness to accept total poverty, not picturesque poverty but real dirt, rags, cold, and hunger, and lepers with real pus oozing from their sores and a real danger of infection. Many idealistic young men were joining the Order in a burst of enthusiasm and then finding themselves not so sure that such extremes of poverty were really necessary. When there were only a few friars, they were all known to Francis personally, and the force of his personality kept the original ideals of the Order alive in them. Now that the Order was larger, this was no longer enough. In 1220 Francis resigned as minister-general of the Order, and in 1221 he agreed to a new and modified rule, which he did not approve, but could not resist. He died on 4 October 1226. The Franciscan split into the Conventual Franciscans, who held a limited amount of property in common, and the Spiritual Franciscans, who disavowed all property. They taught that Christ and the twelve apostles had held no property, singly or jointly. This view offended those who held property, and was declared to be heretical (proof text, John 18:10; Jesus said to Peter, "Put up thy sword...."). In 1318, several Spiritual Franciscans were burned at the stake in Marseilles.

A story is told of the days when the friars first began to have permanent houses. A beggar came by when Brother Juniper was at the gate and asked for a little money. Brother Juniper said, "There is no money in the house. But wait a minute. Last week someone gave us an altar cloth with little silver bells attached. We don't need those. I will cut them off for you. They will be as good as money." And he did. When the sacristan learned what had happened, he complained to the prior, who said, "We are fortunate that he did not give away the cloth itself. But send him to me, and I will scold him." Brother Juniper came, and the prior scolded him until he was hoarse. Brother Juniper noticed that the prior was hoarse, and went to the kitchen and cooked him some mint sauce. He brought it to the prior, who had gone to bed. He said, "Father Prior, get up and eat this mint sauce. It will be good for your throat." The prior said, "I don't want any mint sauce. Go away and let me sleep." Brother Juniper said, "It's good sauce, and will be good for your throat." The prior said, "Go away, I don't want it." Brother Juniper said, "Well, if you won't eat it, how about holding the candle while I eat it?" This was too much for the prior. He got up and they both ate.

From the first known letter from Francis to all Christians:

"O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul, and your neighbor as yourself. Thereofore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: True worshipers adore the Father in spirit and truth. For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers, saying: "Our Father, who are in heaven," since we must always pray and never grow slack.

Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neightbors as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. Men lose all the material things they leave behind in this world, but they carry with them the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will recieve from the Lord the reward and recompense they deserve. We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be sinple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive toe very human being for God's sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father's children who do his work. They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Many readers are enthusiastic about Saint Francis of Assisi, a biography of Francis by G.K.Chesterton. A reader of these essays has also recommended Saint Francis of Assisi, a Biography by Omer Englebert.
O God, who by the merits of blessed Francis dost increase thy Church with a new offspring : grant, we beseech thee ; that after his pattern we may learn to despise all things earthly, and ever to rejoice in the partking of thy heavenly bounty. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.