Saints


Today we celebrate “The Annunciation of Our Lord,” which is a pretty big deal.  But as I read the blurb in Holy Women, Holy Men (and thought about the name of the feast) I was struck by a feeling that we didn’t get it quite right!  I know.  That’s pretty presumptuous of me.  But let me explain. (more…)

In one of my books on the lives of saints, which I usually read in conjunction with the daily office, Mary Slessor was commemorated.  She was a woman born into a working class Presbyterian family in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1848.  In 1875 she went as a teacher to a mission in Calabar, Nigeria, where she served until her death in 1915.  What struck me was a couple of  phrases from Richard Symonds’ “Above Rubies” (about her life):  “Partly as a result of her lack of formal education, particularly in Presbyterian theology, Mary Slessor took a broad-minded view of local a beliefs and customs when she arrived in Calabar, and as a result acquired an unusual understanding of them.”  “Mary Slessor’s religion is quite as interesting as the work which it inspired.  Although she recollected that as a girl ‘hell fire’ had driven her into the kingdom, she found it a kingdom of love and tenderness and mercy, and never sought to bring anyone into it by shock.  ‘Fear is not worship,’ she said, ‘nor does it honor God.'” (more…)

“… Do not go gentle into that good night
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

“Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so …
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
and death shall be no more …”

I thought of these words, from Dylan Thomas and John Donne respectively, when my friend and colleague, Marcia, died just before this All Saints’ Day.  I think they capture some of the tension I feel between my sense of loss and anger when someone dies and my belief in the promise of fullness of life with God in the communion of saints. (more…)

So, it’s after dark, and I’m celebrating (the eve of) St. Michael and All Angels.

And the most useful thing I’ve read today comes from an old sermon of Gregory the Great (in Atwell and Webber’s Celebrating the Saints).  He says:  “You should be aware that the word ‘angel’ denotes a function rather than a nature. (more…)

Well, I continue to learn (or at least have my point of view challenged) by reading from and about the saints. (more…)

He is not in our calendar, but there really was a St. Valentine!  Early sources, in fact, record two martyrs of this name, one claimed by Rome, one claimed by Terni, both martyred on the Flaminian Way.  It seems likely we’re talking about the same person, and really only fighting about who gets to claim him.

There is no known association between Valentine and lovers. (more…)

Read an excerpt from a commentary on Galatians by Augustine of Hippo this morning.  In it, he talked about what it meant to be no longer under the law. (more…)

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