Collect: O Lord God, who seest that we put not our trust in any thing that we do; Mercifully grant that by thy power we may be defended against all adversity; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Monday, February 25: Saint Matthias
All we know about Saint Matthias comes from first chapter of Acts, verses 23-26. In this chapter, after Christ’s ascension, the early church is gathered (around 120 people) and Peter declares the need to replace Judas Iscariot. The church decides upon two men — Justus and Matthias — who both fit the requirements of being “one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection” (Acts 1:21-22). And then, after casting lots between the two, the lot fell on Matthias. Saint Jerome and the Venerable Bede agree that they cast lots because of the Old Testament precedent of selecting the high priest by lot, which guaranteed that the final choice was up to God and not to man.
Wednesday, February 27: Blessed George Herbert
Born into an aristocratic family in 1593, George Herbert’s life story is mingled with great names: John Donne, Lancelot Andrewes, Nicholas Ferrar, Francis Bacon, King James I. However, despite rising success in his early years (eventually becoming a member of Parliament seemingly destined for a life at court), Herbert chose to be ordained. He was made deacon in 1626, married in 1629, became a priest in 1630 and was given the parish of Bemerton, where he spent the rest of his short life. He was known for his life of humility, charity and devotion to God and His parishioners. It was during these three years that he wrote his best poetic work, including the long poems “The Temple” and “A Priest to the Temple” (Here is a list of some of Herbert’s most beloved poems). With most of his work published after his death by his dear friend Nicholas Ferrar, Herbert is known as one of the foremost British devotional poets. He died of consumption in 1633, at the age of forty.
Friday, March 1: St. David
St. David, or Dewi, was a 6th century Welsh monk and bishop, beloved for his virtue and his compassion for the poor. He founded the monastery at Menevia (St. David’s) and many other monasteries, basing his Rule on the ascetic life of the Egyptian desert fathers and emphasizing manual labor, abstinence from alcohol, and silence. He died around 589 and since the twelfth century, has been regarded the patron saint of Wales. Here is what Rhigyfarch the Wise said of him in his Life of Saint David:
“During his life, throughout our land, the brethren built monasteries: everywhere are heard evidences of church; everywhere voices are raised to heaven in prayer; everywhere the virtues are constantly brought back to the bosom of the Church; everywhere charitable offerings are with open hands distributed to the needy. To all the holy Bishop Dewi was the supreme overseer, the supreme protector, the supreme preacher, from whom all received their standard and pattern of living virtuously.”
Saturday, March 2: St. Chad
Born in Northumbria around 629, St. Chad was the youngest of four sons who all became priests and monks. He was one of twelve Anglo-Saxon young men chosen whom Saint Aiden personally prepared for the priesthood. During the 7th century confusion and controversy regarding the primacy of Celtic or Roman ecclesiastical authority (that led to the council of Whitby which established the primacy of Rome), Chad became Bishop of York for a time. When Theodore of Tarsus was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury, he told Chad that his consecration was irregular. Chad replied, “If you believe that my consecration as bishop was irregular, I willingly resign the office; for I have never thought myself worthy of it. Although unworthy, I accepted it solely under obedience” and Chad returned happily to monastic life. However, impressed by Chad’s humility, Theodore soon called Chad back and consecrated him Bishop of Mercia. He was much loved for his wisdom and kindness and died on this day in 672 of the plague.
- Don’t forget to enter our Giveaway for Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent! All you have to do is comment on the post by the end of Tuesday. We love this book and are very thankful that Paraclete Press is willing to share a copy with a reader.
- Lent begins in a week and a half! Last week, for Septuagesima, I posted the various Lenten resources that we have.