Collect: Lord, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil; and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Saints and Feast Days:
Monday, October 1: St. Remigius
Born around 438 to a noble family in Gaul, Saint Remigius was the first and greatest of the French bishops. While very young, he sought the Lord and desired to live like a hermit. For example, he found a secret apartment in his father’s castle where he would retreat whenever possible (by the 9th century, though the castle had crumbled, the apartment was still intact and venerated by pilgrim Christians). He became known and admired for his piety. When he was only twenty-two, despite his protests, he was consecrated bishop! Meanwhile, Clovis was the king of the Franks– a remarkable military leader, unifying his people when only fifteen years old. He was a pagan, married to a Christian woman name Clothilda who tried to convince her husband to believe in Christ. However, he became more antagonistic to Christ after his first baptized baby son died and the second almost died. He converted to Christ after his prayers were answered as he was being defeated in battle and his pagan gods did not answer. St. Remigius came in secret because Clovis was afraid of the response of his people. But, when Clovis rose to convince them to become Christians they cried out “We renounce the powerless mortal gods of this world, and are ready to follow the immortal God whom Bishop Remigius preaches.” When Remigius baptized Clovis he is reported to said, “King Clovis, from now on worship what you once burned and burn what you once worshipped!” Remigius spent the last years of his life defending against Arianism. He died in the year 533.
Tuesday, October 2: St. Jerome
Born in 342 near the the town of Aquileia in the northeastern corner of Italy, St. Jerome is known for translating the Latin Vulgate — the Latin version of the Bible that became the official Latin text for the Roman Catholic Church until 1979. As a young man, he intended to be a lawyer and embarked upon a serious classical education (learning Latin and Greek and reading the classics) in Rome. After he decided to commit his life to God and joined a semi-monastic community, he became ill and had a dream where Christ asked “Who are you?” To Jerome’s reply, “I am a Christian.” Christ replied, “You lie! You are a Ciceronian, not a Christian.” From that point, Jerome dedicated himself to the ascetic life, learning Hebrew in order to translate the Scriptures. The end of this — the Vulgate Bible — is all Jerome’s direct work, with the exception of 5 books. He died on September 30th in the year 420.
Thursday, October 4: St. Francis of Assisi
Born around 1181, St. Francis was born Giovanni Bernardone, but was known as “Francis” from early on when he was given the nickname “Francesco.” The son of a wealthy merchant, Francis helped his father until he was around 20 years old when he joined the local militia and was captured and imprisoned for a year, followed by a year of sickness after his release. When he recovered and set out to rejoin the militia, he heard God tell him to return to Assisi and do a great deed. Later, he was praying in a ruined church in Assisi and heard a voice repeating three times, “Francis, go and repair my house. You see it is falling down.” Francis took the message literally, to physically repair churches, but didn’t know how his actions and piety would help to figuratively rebuild God’s church. 700 years after Francis’s death, Pope Pius XI declared “He appeared like Christ reborn to his contemporaries, no less than to later ages. . .” As he devoted himself to Christ through total poverty, people started to follow after him — They called themselves the “frates minores” or “The Little Brothers.” The order grew and witnessed to Christ through repentance and embracing the poverty of Christ. Two years before he died, he received the stigmata, or the marks of the wounds of Christ on his body. He died on the evening of October 3 in 1226. You can read the longer version of his story written for children in Godly Play here
Saturday, October 6: William Tyndale
William Tyndale was born in Gloucestershire, England around 1494. He studied at Oxford and Cambridge, becoming adept in the Biblical languages and determined to translate the Scriptures into English. He met bitter opposition to his “subversive” translation in England and so settled in Hamburg, spending the rest of his life editing his translation and writing theological works. In order to translate the Scriptures, he invented words such as “atonement,” “scapegoat,” and “Passover.” And his translation was accurate enough to become the working text for the Authorized Version. He was arrested in 1535 for heresy; in 1536, he was strangled and burnt at the stake on this day. His last words: “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.”
- Love Calls Us To the Things of this World by Richard Wilbur is one of my favorite poems. Bley created a lovely printable using the title — get it for free through the link above.
- All Hallows Eve and All Saints are a month away. Here is our post on background of those days (including N.T. Wright’s thoughts on the communion of the Saints.)
Books to Buy or Borrow: