Saints


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God of hosts,
who so kindled the flame of love
in the heart of your servant George
that he bore witness to the risen Lord
by his life and by his death:
give us the same faith and power of love
that we who rejoice in his triumphs
may come to share with him the fullness of the resurrection;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

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Ephesians 6.10-20

<!– 10 –><!– The Whole Armour of God –>

<!– 10 –>Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. <!– 11 –>Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. <!– 12 –>For our<!– +fOther ancient authorities read your+e –> struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. <!– 13 –>Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. <!– 14 –>Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. <!– 15 –>As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. <!– 16 –>With all of these,<!– +fOr In all circumstances+e –> take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. <!– 17 –>Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

<!– 18 –>Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. <!– 19 –>Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,<!– +fOther ancient authorities lack of the gospel+e –> <!– 20 –>for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.

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incarnation[1]

It’s when we face for a moment
the worst our kind can do, and shudder to know
the taint in our own selves, that awe
cracks the mind’s shell and enters the heart:
not to a flower, not to a dolphin,
to no innocent form
but to this creature vainly sure
it and no other is god-like, God
(out of compassion for our ugly
failure to evolve) entrusts,
as guest, as brother,
the Word.

Denise Levertov (1923–1997)

O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one Communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those indescribable joys which thou hast prepared for those who truly love thee: through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting.

Amen

Almighty God, who by thy Holy Spirit hast made us one with thy Saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to thy power and mercy. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit, and who liveth and reigneth for ever and ever.

Amen

Almighty and everlasting God, we yield unto thee most high Praise and hearty thanks for the wonderful grace and virtue declared in all thy saints, who have been the chosen vessels of thy grace, and the lights of the world in their several generations: for Abraham, the father of believers, and Sarah his wife; for Moses the lawgiver, and Aaron the priest; for Miriam and Joshua, Deborah and Gideon, and Samuel with Hannah his mother, and for all the holy patriarchs; for Isaiah and all the prophets; for the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God; for Peter and Paul and all the apostles; for Mary and Martha, and Mary Magdalene; for Stephen, the first martyr, and for all the martyrs; and for all other thy righteous servants, known to us and unknown; and we beseech thee that, rejoicing in their fellowship, encouraged by their examples, and aided by their prayers, we also may run with steadfastness the race that is set before us, and finish our course in faith; and that at the day of the general resurrection, we, with all those who are of the mystical body of thy Son, may be set on his right hand, and hear that his most joyful voice: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Grant this, O Father, for the sake of the same thy Son Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate.

Amen

Martin Luther was born on 10 November 1483 in Eisleben. His father was a copper miner. Luther studied at the University of Erfurt and in 1505 decided to join a monastic order, becoming an Augustinian friar. He was ordained in 1507, began teaching at the University of Wittenberg and in 1512 was made a doctor of Theology. In 1510 he visited Rome on behalf of a number of Augustinian monasteries, and was appalled by the corruption he found there.

Luther became increasingly angry about the clergy selling ‘indulgences’ – promised remission from punishments for sin, either for someone still living or for one who had died and was believed to be in purgatory. On 31 October 1517, he published his ’95 Theses’, attacking papal abuses and the sale of indulgences.

Luther had come to believe that Christians are saved through faith and not through their own efforts. This turned him against many of the major teachings of the Catholic Church. In 1519 -1520, he wrote a series of pamphlets developing his ideas – ‘On Christian Liberty’, ‘On the Freedom of a Christian Man’, ‘To the Christian Nobility’ and ‘On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church’. Thanks to the printing press, Luther’s ’95 Theses’ and his other writings spread quickly through Europe.

In January 1521, the Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther. He was then summoned to appear at the Diet of Worms, an assembly of the Holy Roman Empire. He refused to recant and Emperor Charles V declared him an outlaw and a heretic. Luther went into hiding at Wartburg Castle. In 1522, he returned to Wittenberg and in 1525 married Katharina von Bora, a former nun, with whom he had six children.

Luther then became involved in the controversy surrounding the Peasants War (1524 – 1526), the leaders of which had used Luther’s arguments to justify their revolt. He rejected their demands and upheld the right of the authorities to suppress the revolt, which lost him many supporters.

In 1534, Luther published a complete translation of the bible into German, underlining his belief that people should be able to read it in their own language. The translation contributed significantly to the spread and development of the German language.

Luther’s influence spread across northern and eastern Europe and his fame made Wittenberg an intellectual centre. In his final years he wrote polemics against the Jews, the papacy and the Anabaptists, a radical wing of the reforming movement.

Luther died on 18 February 1546 in Eisleben.

The Prayer to Saint George directly refers to the courage it took for the saint to confess his Christianity before opposing authority:

Almighty God, who gave to your servant George boldness to Confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The same sentiment is present within the following two Prayers to Saint George:

St. George, Heroic Catholic soldier and defender of your Faith, you dared to criticize a tyrannical Emperor and were subjected to horrible torture. You could have occupied a high military position but you preferred to die for your Lord. Obtain for us the great grace of heroic Christian courage that should mark soldiers of Christ. Amen

Saint George Prayer:

O GOD, who didst grant to Saint George strength and constancy in the various torments which he sustained for our holy faith; we beseech Thee to preserve, through his intercession, our faith from wavering and doubt, so that we may serve Thee with a sincere heart faithfully unto death. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

  Prayers of Intercession to Saint George:

Faithful servant of God and invincible martyr, Saint George; favored by God with the gift of faith, and inflamed with an ardent love of Christ, thou didst fight valiantly against the dragon of pride, falsehood, and deceit. Neither pain nor torture, sword nor death could part thee from the love of Christ. I fervently implore thee for the sake of this love to help me by thy intercession to overcome the temptations that surround me, and to bear bravely the trials that oppress me, so that I may patiently carry the cross which is placed upon me; and let neither distress nor difficulties separate me from the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Valiant champion of the Faith, assist me in the combat against evil, that I may win the crown promised to them that persevere unto the end

The Novena  to Saint George does not have a specific warrior context, but simply asks God for divine assistance and the imitation of the life of the saint:

Almighty and eternal God! With lively faith and reverently worshiping Thy divine Majesty, I prostrate myself before Thee and invoke with filial trust Thy supreme bounty and mercy. Illumine the darkness of my intellect with a ray of Thy heavenly light and inflame my heart with the fire of Thy divine love that I may contemplate the great virtues and merits of the Saint in whose honor I make this novena, and following his example imitate, like him, the life of Thy Divine Son.

Almighty God,
you have knit together your elect
in one communion and fellowship
      in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord:
grant us grace so to follow your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living
that we may come to those inexpressible joys
that you have prepared for those who truly love you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

Almighty and Everlasting God,
who dost enkindle the flame of Thy love in the hearts of the saints,
grant unto us the same faith and power of love;
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs
we may profit by their examples, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Gothic Missal

 

Edward was the son of Ethelred II ‘the Unready’ and Emma, the daughter of Richard I of Normandy. The family was exiled in Normandy after the Danish invasion of 1013, but returned the following year and negotiated Ethelred’s reinstatement. After Ethelred’s death in 1016 the Danes again took control of England. Edward lived in exile until 1041, when he returned to the London court of his half brother, Hardecanute. He became king in 1042.

Much of his reign was peaceful and prosperous. Skirmishes with the Scots and Welsh were only occasional and internal administration was maintained. The financial and judicial systems were efficient and trade was good. However, Edward’s introduction to court of some Norman friends prompted resentment, particularly in the houses of Mercia and Wessex, which both held considerable power.

For the first 11 years of Edward’s reign the real ruler of England was Godwine, Earl of Wessex. Edward married Godwine’s daughter Edith in 1045, but this could not prevent a breach between the two men in 1049. Two years later, with the support of Leofric of Mercia, Edward outlawed Godwine and his family. However, Edward’s continued favouritism caused problems with his nobles and in 1052 Godwine and his sons returned. The magnates were not prepared to engage them in civil war and forced the king to make terms. Godwine’s lands were returned to him and many of Edward’s Norman favourites were exiled.

When Godwine died in 1053, his son Harold took over. It was he, rather than Edward, who subjugated Wales in 1063 and negotiated with the rebellious Northumbrians in 1065. Consequently, shortly before his death, Edward named Harold as his successor even though he may already have promised the crown to a distant cousin, William, Duke of Normandy. He died on 4 January 1066 and was buried in the abbey he had constructed at Westminster

Sovereign God,
who set your servant Edward
      upon the throne of an earthly kingdom
and inspired him with zeal for the kingdom of heaven:
grant that we may so confess the faith of Christ
      by word and deed,
that we may, with all your saints, inherit your eternal glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

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