Collect: “O God, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things both in heaven and earth; We humbly beseech thee to put away from us all hurtful things, and to give us those things which are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Saints and Blesseds
Monday, August 12: St. Clare of Assisi:
Born in 1194 to a noble family, very little is known of St. Clare’s early life. We know that in 1212, when she was 18, St. Francis preached the Lenten sermons at her church. St. Clare was so compelled by St. Francis that on Palm Sunday, after the blessing of the palms, she ran out of the church to him and donned rough clothes instead of her her elegant gown. Francis cut her hair and gave her a veil and Clare became the first woman to follow him. He would call her “the first flower in my garden” and in many ways, she was the most faithful of his followers. Clare founded her own contemplative community, which came to be known as the “Poor Clares” after her death for their emphasis on complete voluntary poverty. She was the first woman to write a religious Rule for woman. After St. Francis’s death in 1225, Clare lived supporting his vision for the next 27 years, though mostly bedridden and in constant pain. On August 11th, right before she died, she was heard to say to herself:” Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go without fear, for he who created you has sanctified you, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed are you, O God, for having created me.”
Tuesday, August 13: St. Hippolytus
St. Hippolytus was a presbyter in Rome in the second and third century. Though prolific in his writings, most of them have been lost. Nonetheless, He was one of the most important theologians of his time, likely a disciple of Irenaeus, who was a disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of St. John himself. Traditions conflict concerning his life and death. Some say that he was a soldier converted by Saint Lawrence. He was martyred around 236 and according to a hymn by Prudentius, was torn to death by wild horses.
Wednesday, August 14: Jeremy Taylor
Born in 1613, Jeremy Taylor was taken under the wing of Archbishop William Laud as a teenager. He was ordained at the age of 19 (since he had entered Caius College at age 13). While serving as a chaplain during the English Civil War , he was captured and imprisoned for two months, after which he went to Wales, where he served as domestic chaplain to Lord and Lady Carbery. While there, he did some of his best and most famous work, including writing The Rule and Exercise of Holy Living in 1650 and Holy Dying in 1651. He was then imprisoned by the Puritans for his negative words concerning them in the catechism he wrote. In prison, he wrote a treatise that broke with the traditional understanding of original sin (defining it as a “stain” but not a sin) and (unwisely?) dedicated it to some bishops who disagreed with them. Though constantly embroiled in conflicts, his own spirituality grew deeper and more mystical as he aged, as he wrote, “this is to be felt, not talked of and they that never touched it with their finger may, secretly perhaps, laugh at it in their heart and be never the wiser. All that I shall now say of it is that a good man is united to God as a flame touches flame.” He died at age 55, struck down by a fever.
Thursday, August 15: St. Mary
In the Eastern Church, this day is celebrated as the Dormition, or “falling asleep,” of Mary. In the Roman Catholic church, it is the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which refers to the belief — which may be held as “pious opinion” by Anglicans, but is dogma for Roman Catholics — that upon her death, the Virgin Mary’s body and soul were assumed into heaven. The traditional Marian feasts are the feast of the Purification, the Annunciation, the Nativity, and the Dormition. This feast was not included in the Holy Days of the Book of Common Prayer until the 1979 BCP, because of its lack of Scriptural base. Nonetheless, the 15th of August has been celebrated in connection with St. Mary’s death since as early as 397 in Antioch.
- A reader kindly shared a new traditional Anglican resource with us: Earth and Altar (the name is taken from Chesterton’s hymn, “O God of Earth and Altar.”) Be sure to check it out!