All posts filed under: Book of Common Prayer

The Third Week of Lent

Collect: “We beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  Feasts, Saints, and Blesseds Monday, March 25: The Annunciation of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Blessed Virgin Mary On this feast day, we remember the holy moment recorded in  Luke 1:26-38, when the angel Gabriel announces to the Virgin Mary that she is “highly favored” and will be the bearer of the Christ. The feast day is exactly nine months before the Nativity on December 25th. While the first authentic records of “Lady Day” are in the mid-8th century, it may have been celebrated at least since the late 4th century. Here is an excerpt from St. Cyril of Alexandria, preached at the council of Ephesus in 431: “We hail you, O mysterious and Holy Trinity who has gathered us together in council in this church of Holy Mary, the God-bearer. We hail you, Mary, the God-bearer, sacred …

The Second Week of Lent

Collect: Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. Saints and Blesseds Sunday, March 17: St. Patrick The Ordo Calendar has transferred St. Patrick’s Day to next week, but if you’re celebrating today, here is a St. Patrick coloring page from Michelle Abernathy art. And, from the archives, here is some background on the hymn, The Breastplate of St. Patrick  Monday, March 18, St. Cyril of Jerusalem Born around 315, Cyril was born and spent the majority of his life in Jerusalem,  a hotbed of controversy at the time. As a priest, he was given the duty of instructing the Catechumens of Jerusalem. His Catechetical Lectures to them are tremendously valuable; they not only provide a vivid picture of the Church at that time, but they are …

Lenten Family Prayer (+ Doing Nothing New)

“Given the many layers of meaning in Lent, we won’t grasp all of them in a single year. But imagine if we were to observe Lent every year for the rest of our life — imagine how much we would grow and mature.” This quote is from my priest, Fr. Wayne McNamara. What a thought to keep us from being overwhelmed by options. Lord willing, we have many Lents ahead of us. What does He want us to focus on this year in 2019? The Lenten “triad” of Fasting, Prayer, and Acts of Compassion concentrates our efforts into what really matters as we prepare for Easter. And we can pray for guidance: “O God, by whom the meek are guided in judgement, and light riseth up in darkness for the godly; Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us to do, that the Spirit of Wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light, and in thy straight …

Sexagesima

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. Saint Days: 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 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 …

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 …