Author: thehomelyhours

The Fifth Sunday After Epiphany

Collect: “O Lord, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Friday, February 15: Blessed Thomas Bray Born in 1656, Thomas Bray was educated at Oxford and was selected by the Bishop of London to help organize the church in the American colony of Maryland. While delayed before his journey, he spent his time creating a free parochial library system. It was originally intended for American, but was also instituted in England. He then founded the “Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge.” After his service in Maryland, he returned to England and also founded the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.” He died on this day in 1730. Archdeacon W.H. Hutton, in The Dictionary of English Church History, writes of Bray: “He was a vigorous and humorous writer and a parish priest of exemplary devotion, and to no one in the …

The Fourth Week After Epiphany

Collect: “O God, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright; Grant to us such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Saints Days  Monday, February 4: St. Cornelius In Acts 10 and 11, we are told of a Roman centurion, a God-fearing Gentile, named Cornelius who lived in Caesarea.  An angel of the Lord appears to Cornelius while he is praying and tells him to send a messenger to Joppa to bring back Peter. Meanwhile, the next day, Peter is praying and has a vision of clean and unclean animals (symbolizing Jews and Gentiles) being let down from heaven in something like a large sheet. A voice commands, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat,” but Peter replies “By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” And the Lord says, “What God has made …

Candlemas: Celebrating at Home

Candlemas is a beautiful day — the third “Festival of Light” that rounds out our winter celebrations. Our priest, Fr. Wayne McNamara, wrote a helpful explanation of the meaning of Candlemas. He believes it is important for the modern church to recover this feast: “Candlemas articulates the necessary future of this beautiful Light coming into the world. Our celebrations so far have dwelt on the joyful implications of the Son of God’s arrival, our redemption, salvation, and deliverance. Candlemas reiterates in a pointed way that the coming of the Lord includes difficult things – the persecutions of Jesus in His ministry and the call of the Christ to suffer the Cross. Candlemas rounds out our thoughts regarding the significance of the Word become flesh, and moves us forward to Lent.” This year, Michelle Abernathy made a lovely coloring page printable based upon the painting displayed in the header for Candlemas: you can download a printable pdf here. We also have a Candlemas family liturgy: You can download that here.  In the devotional Celebrating the Saints, I loved …

Saint Brigid Coloring Page

February 1 is the feast day of Saint Brigid. Michelle Abernathy has taken her beautiful painting of this saint and made it into a coloring page. “When faith’s light of freedom to Ireland first came, You, Lord, raised up Brigid to make known your name. Her proud chieftain father’s wild rage she defied, And followed your way, with the gospel for guide. In silence of fields, while she tended her fold, You spoke to her heart words more precious than gold. White figure of peace, through our country she went, In your loving service her whole life was spent. With keen fiery arrow she set hearts aflame; To live ‘neath her rule many monks and nuns came. The poor and the hungry were fed from her store, For open to all were her heart, hand and door. For Brigid we praise you, our Father and God, We praise Christ your Son in whose footsteps she trod, We praise your kind Spirit who guided her ways, We praise you, blest Trinity, all of our days. (From …

A Candlemas Gift from Hearthstone Fables

Kristin Haakenson is the artist behind Hearthstone Fables. I truly gasped when I opened Kristin’s email with these Candlemas images. What a gift! When I think of Hearthstone Fables, I think of St. Francis of Assisi. In his Canticle of the Sun, he saw all creation as family —  “Brother Sun,” Sister Moon,” Brother Wind…” The legends say that he preached sermons to birds and befriended wolves. In this way, Kristin’s art at Hearthstone Fables seems very Franciscan to me. And, with these beautiful Candlemas gifts, I think we can look to “Sister Swan” and “Brother Fox” as we carry the light in our homes. In her lovely website, Kristin says: “In the magical world of Hearthstone Fables, I’ve sought to express my passion for faith, nature, & mythic storytelling through art.  I aim to create simple, quiet narratives that convey a sense of wonderment at the sacred world, with the various flora and fauna of nature weaving enchanting stories together. I’ve always been enamored with mythic storytelling, both through written narrative and the visual arts.  Humanity so often expresses a sense of displacement…a nagging feeling …

The Third Week After Epiphany

Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities, and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth thy right hand to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Saints and Feasts: Monday, January 28: St. Fabian In 236, the bishop of Rome died and an assembly was held in the catacombs to elect his successor. A lay man named Fabian happened to be visiting from the country, and curious to see the process, decided to attend the assembly. He was standing in the midst of the crowd, when suddenly, a dove flew in, circled around, and landed on his shoulder. Immediately, the Christians saw this as a sign, began saying, “He is worthy” and Fabian became bishop. It turned out that he was good choice. Fabian was an able administrator, known for appointing the seven deacons who became part of the essential structure in the Roman church. He also started the custom of venerating the shrines of martyrs in the catacombs. In 249, when the Emperor Dacian commanded the persecution of …

The Second Week after Epiphany

Collect: “Almighty and everlasting God, who dost govern all things in heaven and earth; Mercifully hear the supplications of thy people, and grant us thy peace all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Saints Days Monday, January 21: Saint Agnes In 304, during the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian, a beautiful young Christian girl named Agnes attracted the attentions of the son of the Prefect  of Rome. When she refused to marry him because she had offered herself as a consecrated virgin, he revealed her as a Christian to his father. After being arrested and threatened with torture, she was placed in a brothel, though not compromised. Then the Prefect told her that if she didn’t give up her virginity, she would become one of the Vestal Virgins of the Goddess Diana. When she still refused to deny Christ, she was sentenced by death by burning. When the flames separated and wouldn’t burn her, she was stabbed through the throat.  Saint Ambrose marveled, “There was not even room in her little …

The First Week of Epiphany

Collect: “O Lord, we beseech thee mercifully to receive the prayers of thy people who call upon thee; and grant that they may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfill the same, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Saints Days Monday, January 14: Hilary  Born around 315 to a polytheistic pagan family, Hilary was classically educated to become a lawyer and orator. Through his study, he gradually concluded that there must only be one God. And at that point in his thinking, he encountered the Christian Scriptures which led to his conversion and baptism at the age of 30. When he was around 35, Hilary was reluctantly ordained Deacon, Priest and Bishop within three days, because he was so respected and loved by his fellow Christians. He immediately become embroiled in the Arian controversy. When the Emporor Constantius, on the side of the Arians, required all bishops to condemn Saint Athanasius, Hilary refused (and was eventually given the title “Athanasius of the …

The Week of Epiphany

Collect: O God, who by the leading of a star didst manifest thine only-begotten Son to the Gentiles; Mercifully grant that we, who know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruition of thy glorious Godhead; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Feasts and Saints Sunday, January 6: The Epiphany, or the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles The Feast of the Epiphany is the culmination after the Twelve Days of Christmas. On this day, we remember several events that “manifest” the glories of Christ’s divinity through his humanity: (1) the coming of the magi to worship Jesus, (2) Christ’s baptism in the Jordan River, and (3) the first miracle when Jesus turns water to wine at the wedding in Cana. This article, an excerpt from Elsa Chaney’s book The Twelve Days of Christmas (1955), is a beautiful explanation of why Epiphany is so important. She states: Unless we realize the significance of this great day, we see only one side of the mystery of the Incarnation. Now after contemplating the …

The First Sunday After Christmas

Collect:Almighty God, who hast given us thine only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit, through the same our Lord Jesus, Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen. Feast Days: Tuesday, January 1, The Circumcision of Christ, also called The Holy Name of Jesus The Feast of the Circumcision, or the Holy Name of Jesus dates to at least the sixth century. On this day, we remember three main events or themes: the giving of the name “Jesus” (which means, “Yahweh saves”), Jesus’s keeping of the Law in being circumcised — the mark of Jewish faithfulness instituted by God in His covenant with Abraham, and the first shedding of Jesus’s blood. The readings for the day are from Philippians 2:9-13 (“at the name of Jesus every knee should bow”) and Luke …