Category Archives: Saints

As truly as God is our Father

As truly as God is our Father, so just as truly is he our Mother.
In our Father, God Almighty, we have our being;
In our merciful Mother we are remade and restored.
Our fragmented lives are knit together.
And by giving and yielding ourselves, through grace,
To the Holy Spirit we are made whole.
It is I, the strength and goodness of Fatherhood.
It is I, the wisdom of Motherhood.
It is I, the light and grace of holy love.
It is I, the Trinity.
I am the sovereign goodness in all things.
It is I who teach you to love.
It is I who teach you to desire.
It is I who am the reward of all true desiring.
All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well. Amen.

–Julian of Norwich (b. 1342)

Retablo of the Trinity, by Alcario Otero

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Misc. Prayers, Other Music, Saints

Florence Nightingale – Nurse, Social Reformer, 1910

Florence Nightingale was born in Florence, Italy, on May 12, 1820. She was trained as a nurse at Kaiserwerth (1851) and Paris and in 1853 became superintendent of a hospital for invalid women in London. In response to God’s call and animated by a spirit of service, in 1854 she volunteered for duty during the Crimean War and recruited 38 nurses to join her. With them she organized the first modern nursing service in the British field hospitals of Scutari and Balaclava. By imposing strict discipline and high standards of sanitation she radically reduced the drastic death toll and rampant infection then typical in field hospitals. She returned to England in 1856 and a fund of £ 50,000 was subscribed to enable her to form an institution for the training of nurses at St. Thomas’s Hospital and at King’s College Hospital. Her school at St. Thomas’s Hospital became significant in helping to elevate nursing into a profession. She devoted many years to the question of army sanitary reform, to the improvement of nursing and to public health in India. Her main work, Notes on Nursing, 1859, went through many editions.

An Anglican, she remained committed to a personal mystical religion which sustained her through many years of poor health until her death in 1910. Until the end of her life, although her illness prevented her from leaving her home, she continued in frequent spiritual conversation with many prominent church leaders of the day, including the local parish priest who regularly brought Communion to her. By the time of her death on August 13, 1910, her reputation as a healer and holy person had assumed mythical proportions, and she is honored throughout the world as the founder of the modern profession of nursing.

Life-giving God, you alone have power over life and death, over health and sickness: Give power, wisdom, and gentleness to those who follow the lead of Florence Nightingale, that they, bearing with them your presence, may not only heal but bless, and shine as lanterns of hope in the darkest hours of pain and fear; through Jesus Christ, the healer of body and soul, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

–Excerpted from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints, copyright 2010 by The Church Pension Fund.

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale

Leave a comment

Filed under Saints

St. Mary Magdelene

Mary of Magdala near Capernaum was one of several women who followed Jesus and ministered to him in Galilee. The Gospel according to Luke records that Jesus “went on through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the goods news of the kingdom of God. And the Twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out … ” (Luke 8:1-2). The Gospels tell us that Mary was healed by Jesus, followed him, and was one of those who stood near his cross at Calvary.

It is clear that Mary Magdelene’s life was radically changed by Jesus’s healing. Her ministry of service and steadfast companionship, even as a witness to the crucifixion, has, through the centuries, been an example of the faithful ministry of women to Christ. All four Gospels name Mary as one of the women who went to the tomb to mourn and care for Jesus’s body. Her weeping for the loss of her Lord strikes a common chord with the grief of all others over the death of loved ones. Jesus’s tender response to her grief—meeting her in the garden, revealing himself to her by calling her name—makes her the first witness to the risen Lord. She is given the command, “Go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17). As the first messenger of the resurrection, she tells the disciples, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18).

In the tradition of the Eastern Church, Mary is regarded as the equal of an apostle; and she is held in veneration as the patron saint of the great cluster of monasteries on Mount Athos.

Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and of mind, and called her to be a witness of his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by your grace we may be healed from all our infirmities and know you in the power of his unending life; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

–Excerpted from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints, copyright 2010 by the Church Pension Fund.

10473115_10152255086848595_4052392737093146959_n

Leave a comment

Filed under Saints

Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, and Martyr

Janani Luwum was born in 1922 at Acholi in Uganda, near the Sudanese border. After his early years as a teacher and lay reader in Gulu, he was sent to St. Augustine’s College, Canterbury. He was ordained priest in 1956 and returned to Uganda to assume responsibility for twenty-four congregations. After several years of service that included work at a local theological college, Luwum returned to England on scholarship for further study and the London College of Divinity.

In 1969 Luwum became Bishop of Northern Uganda, where he was a faithful visitor to his parishes as well as a growing influence at international gatherings of the Anglican Communion. In 1974 he was elected Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaïre.

Luwum’s new position brought him brought him into direct contact and eventual confrontation with the Ugandan military dictator, Idi Amin, as the Archbishop sought to protect his people from the brutality of Amin’s regime. In August of 1876 Makerere University was sacked by government troops. With Archbishop Luwum as their chair, the Christian leaders of the country drafted a strong memorandum of protest against officially sanctioned rape and murder.

In early February 1977 the Archbishop’s residence was searched for arms by government security forces. On February 16 President Amin summoned Luwum to his palace. He went there, accompanied by the other Anglican bishops and by the Roman Catholic cardinal archbishop and a senior leader of the Muslim community. After being accused of complicity in a plot to murder the President, most of the clerics were allowed to leave. However, Archbishop Luwum was ordered to remain behind. As his companions departed, Luwum said, “They are going to kill me. I am not afraid.” He was never seen alive again. The following day the government announced that he had been killed in an automobile accident while resisting arrest. Only after some weeks had passed was his bullet-riddled body released to his family for burial.

Early in his confrontation with the Ugandan government, Archbishop Luwum answered one of his critics by saying, “I do not know how long I shall occupy this chair. I live as though there will be no tomorrow … While the opportunity is there, I preach the Gospel with all my might, and my conscience is clear before God.”

O God, whose Son the Good Shepherd laid down his life for the sheep: We give thanks for your faithful shepherd Janani Luwum, who after his Savior’s example, gave up his life for the people of Uganda. Grant us to be so inspired by his witness that we make no peace with oppression, but live as those who are sealed with the cross of Christ, who died and rose again, and now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

–excerpted from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints, copyright 2010 by the Church Pension Fund

Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, and Martyr

Janani Luwum, Archbishop of Uganda, and Martyr

Leave a comment

Filed under Saints

Feast Day of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Almighty God, by the hand of Moses your servant you led your people out of slavery, and made them free at last: Grant that your Church, following the example of your prophet Martin Luther King, may resist oppression in the name of your love, and may secure for all your children the blessed liberty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

– Collect for the feast day of Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Leader and Martyr, from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints.

On this day, the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the Episcopal Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church commemorate his life and legacy. King was certainly a modern day prophet, whose vision of freedom for African Americans transcends race and time and speaks to all oppressed people. All of us can be inspired and moved by King’s words. Especially moving to me is his last Sunday sermon, entitled “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution,” which he preached at Washington National Cathedral on April 9, 1968. If you’ve never listened to this sermon, I highly recommend you do so. An audio recording of it is available here.

Thank you, Martin Luther King, Jr., for speaking out against oppression and injustice. Our entire society has more hope and is better because of you.

MLK icon

Leave a comment

Filed under Saints

Feast of St. Andrew, the Apostle

Today is the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle, whose faithful story of following Jesus is told in the Gospel of Matthew.

“And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.’ Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” (St. Matthew 4:19-20).

A poignant few lines from a hymn in honor of St. Andrew rings true on this holiday weekend:

“Jesus calls us from the worship
of the vain world’s golden store;
from each idol that would keep us,
saying, ‘Christian, love me more.'”

We Christians are not only called to worship God and follow Jesus, but we are called to give our lives over in service to the work Christ calls us all to do, each day of our lives. As you begin this holiday shopping season, think about the money you might spend on indulgent gifts for those you love, and think about the words of Jesus, which call you to turn your back on the idols that are bought in the store and instead, serve Christ by serving those who are truly in need.

“Jesus calls us! By thy mercies,
Savior, may we hear thy call,
give our hearts to thine obedience,
serve and love thee best of all.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Hymns, New Testament, Saints

The Feast of Saint Michael (Michaelmas) and All Angels

The scriptural word “angel” (Greek: angelos) means, literally, a messenger. Messenger from God can be visible or invisible, and may assume human or non-human forms. Christians have always felt themselves to be attended by healthful spirits—swift, powerful, and enlightening. Those beneficient spirits are often depicted in Christian art in human form, with wings to signify their wiftness and spacelessness, with swords to signify their power, and with dazzling raiment to signify their ability to enlighten. Unfortunately, this type of pictorial representation has led many to dismiss the angels as “just another mythical beast, like the unicorn, the griffin, or the sphinx.”

St. Michael the Archangel

Of the many angels spoken of in the bible, only four are called by name: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Raphael. The Archangel Michael is the powerful agent of God who wards off evil from God’s people, and delivers peace to them at the end of this life’s mortal struggle. “Michaelmas,” as his feast is called in England, has long been one of the popular celebrations of the Christian Year in many parts of the world.

Michael is the patron saint of countless churches, including Mont Saint-Michael, the monastery fortress off the coast of Normandy that figured so prominently in medieval English history, and Coventry Cathedral, England’s most famous modern church building, rising from the ashes of the most devastating war of our time.

Everlasting God, you have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

–Information in this post was excerpted from Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints, copyright 2010 by the Church Pension Fund.

Leave a comment

Filed under Saints