Collect: 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.
Tuesday, October 23: St. James, Brother of our Lord
During the ministry of Jesus, his brothers seemed to have been resistant to Him and His claims. But something must have happened to make His brother James change his mind very early on. Perhaps it was during Jesus’s life or, it was when He appeared to James after His resurrection (1 Cor. 15:7). He was the first bishop of Jerusalem. It’s said that he looked so much like Jesus in terms of his physical features that people would go to see him so that they could see what Jesus looked like. The early church historian Hegessippus described James:
He used to be found kneeling upon his knees, begging forgiveness for the people — so that the skin of his knees became hard like that of a camel’s, because of his constantly bending the knee in adoration to God, and begging forgiveness for the people. Therefore, because of his pre-eminent justice, he was called the Just, and Oblias, which signifies in Greek ‘Defense of the people’ and ‘Justice…”
He was stoned to death. In the lost writings of Josephus, both St. Jerome and Origen said that they had read that the Jewish people believed that the destruction of the temple in 70 AD came to them “because of what had been done to James.”
Thursday, October 25: Crispin and Crispianus
Legend has it that Crispin and Crispianus were brothers (perhaps twins) who were born to a noble Roman family. They journeyed to Gaul in order to preach Christianity, making shoes by night and converts by day. They were so successful that they drew the attention of Emperor Maximian who ordered their martyrdom. They were first tortured and then beheaded around 285 BC. In 1415, the Battle of Agincourt was fought on their feast day and later memorialized by Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day Speech in Henry V.
Friday, October 26: St. Alfred the Great
Born in 849, King Alfred ruled the West Saxons and brought peace to the land from Danish aggression. In pursuit of justice and mercy, one of his crowning achievements was to establish a written Common Law. Known for his piety and love for wisdom, Alfred attended mass daily and worked on translating important works into the vernacular. He gave half his income to the Lord, which was then divided into giving to the poor, monastic houses and churches and well as establishing a court school. Alfred was also very passionate about liberal arts education, seeing a connection between a people’s learning and their peace and happiness. So, he promoted general literacy for all, in addition to emphasizing Latin so that that great Latin works could be translated into Anglo-Saxon. Alfred died at age 52 in the year 901. The 12th century chronicler Florence of Worcester described Alfred:
“The famous, the warlike, the victorious, the most skilled of Saxon poets, the careful provider for the widow, the helpless, orphan and poor, most dear to his own nation, most courteous to all, most liberal: endowed by prudence, fortitude, justice, and temperance, the most discerning investigator in executing justice, most watchful and devout in the service of God.”
- All Hallows Eve and All Saints are coming soon. Here is our post on background of those days. We are working on more resources to post for this day.
- Advent is going to come sooner than we realize. Here is a post from 2 years ago that Bley wrote on Advent is for Making
Books to Buy or Borrow
- For All Saints: Bley put together a list of stories of the saints in this post.