August 31: Aidan, 651, and Cuthbert, 687, Bishops of Lindisfarne

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About this commemoration

Aidan
Aidan

The Gospel first came to the northern English in 627, when King Edwin of Northumbria was converted by missionaries from Canterbury. Edwin’s death in battle in 632 was followed by a severe pagan reaction. A year later, Edwin’s exiled nephew Oswald gained the kingdom, and proceeded at once to restore the Christian mission.

During his exile, Oswald had lived at Columba’s monastery of Iona, where he had been converted and baptized. Hence he sent to Iona, rather than to Canterbury, for missionaries. The head of the new mission was a gentle monk named Aidan, who centered his work on Lindisfarne, an island off the northeast coast of England. Aidan and his companions restored Christianity in Northumbria and extended the mission through the midlands as far south as London.

Aidan died at Bamborough, on August 31, 651. Bede said of him: “He neither sought nor loved anything of this world, but delighted in distributing immediately to the poor whatever was given him by kings or rich men of the world. He traversed both town and country on foot, never on horseback, unless compelled by some urgent necessity. Wherever in his way he saw any, either rich or poor, he invited them, if pagans, to embrace the mystery of the faith; or if they were believers, to strengthen them in the faith and stir them up by words and actions to alms and good works.”

Cuthbert was the most popular saint of the pre-Conquest Anglo- Saxon Church. He was born about 625. In response to a vision of the death of Aidan of Lindisfarne, Cuthbert entered religious life and was formed in the austere traditions of Celtic monasticism. He was Prior of Melrose Abbey from 651-664 and was then Prior of Lindisfarne. Made Bishop of Hexham in 684, Cuthbert continued to live in Lindisfarne. He died at his hermitage on March 20, 687.

Cuthbert accepted the decisions of the Synod of Whitby in 663 that brought the usages of the English Church in line with Roman practice. He was, therefore, a “healer of the breach” that threatened to divide the church into Celtic and Roman factions.

Collect of the Day

Everliving God, you called your servants Aidan and Cuthbert to proclaim the Gospel in northern England and gave them loving hearts and gentle spirits: Grant us grace to live as they did, in simplicity, humility and love for the poor; through Jesus Christ, who came among us as one who serves, and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Lessons

Isaiah 55:6–12

Romans 12:6–13

John 10:25b–30

Psalm 104: 32–35

Preface of Apostles

We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?

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From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.

August 30: Charles Chapman Grafton, Bishop of Fond du Lac, and Ecumenist, 1912

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About this commemoration

Charles Grafton
Charles Grafton

Charles Grafton was born April 12, 1830 in Boston, and attended Harvard Law School. He was confirmed at Church of the Advent— then a leading parish implementing the principles of the Oxford Movement—where he began seriously to explore his vocation. After graduation he moved to Maryland to study with the Tractarian Bishop William Whittington who eventually ordained him deacon on December 23, 1855, and priest on May 30, 1858.

Grafton served a number of parishes in Maryland but experienced a growing attraction to the religious life. In 1865, he left for England specifically to meet Edward Bouverie Pusey. In the following year, after a series of meetings held at All Saints, Margaret Street, Grafton and two others took religious vows and the Society of St. John the Evangelist had its beginning. In 1872, Grafton returned and was elected fourth Rector of the Church of the Advent, Boston.

In 1888, Grafton was elected second bishop of Fond du Lac. His consent process was difficult as many thought him too ritualistic, but he soon became known not only as an Anglo-Catholic but also as an ecumenist, deeply committed to improve relations with the Orthodox and Old Catholics. He founded the Sisters of the Holy Nativity.

Perhaps the most famous event during Grafton’s long episcopate was the ordination of his successor in 1900. He invited the Russian Orthodox Bishop Tikhon and the Old Catholic Bishop Anthony Kozlowski to participate. The service stirred up furor across the country with the publication of a photograph (called derisively “The Fond du Lac Circus”) that showed all eight Episcopal bishops and the two visiting bishops in cope and miter. It caused a church-wide furor over ritual and vestments that lasted for over six months, with accusations and threats of ecclesiastical trial flying from all corners, and with scurrilous attacks and virulent justifications. When the dust finally settled, the legitimacy of traditional catholic ritual and vestments had thereafter gained a permanent place in the liturgy in the Episcopal Church.

Bishop Grafton died August 30, 1912.

Collect of the Day

Loving God, you called Charles Chapman Grafton to be a bishop in your Church and endowed him with a burning zeal for souls: Grant that, following his example, we may ever live for the extension of your kingdom, that your glory may be the chief end of our lives, your will the law of our conduct, your love the motive of our actions, and Christ’s life the model and mold of our own; through the same Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, throughout all ages. Amen.

Lessons

Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) 50:16–21

Revelation 5:7–10

John 10:11–16

Psalm 134

Preface of a Saint (1)

We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?

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From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.

August 28: Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, and Theologian, 430

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About this commemoration

Saint Augustine, by Philippe de Champaigne
Saint Augustine, by Philippe de Champaigne

Augustine, perhaps the greatest theologian in the history of Western Christianity, was born in 354 at Tagaste in North Africa. In his restless search for truth, he was attracted by Manichaeism and Neoplatonism, and was constantly engaged in an inner struggle with his personal morals. Finally, under the influence of his mother Monnica, Augustine surrendered to the Christian faith in the late summer of 386. He

was baptized by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, on Easter Eve in 387. After returning to North Africa in 391, Augustine found himself unexpectedly chosen by the people of Hippo to be a presbyter. Four years later he was chosen bishop of that city. His spiritual autobiography, The Confessions of St. Augustine, written shortly before 400 in the form of an extended prayer, is a classic of Western spirituality.

Augustine wrote countless treatises, letters, and sermons. They have provided a rich source of new and fresh insights into Christian truth.

The Manichaeans had attempted to solve the problem of evil by positing the existence of an independent agency eternally opposed to God. In refutation, Augustine affirmed that all creation is essentially good, having been created by God; and that evil is, properly speaking, the privation of good. A rigorist sect, the Donatists, had split from the Great Church after the persecution of Diocletian in the early fourth century. Against them, Augustine asserted that the Church was “holy,” not because its members could be proved holy, but because holiness was the purpose of the Church, to which all its members are called.

Stirred by Alaric the Visigoth’s sack of Rome in 410, Augustine wrote his greatest work, The City of God. In it he writes: “Two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by love of self, even to the contempt of God, the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The earthly city glories in itself, the heavenly city glories in the Lord … In the one, the princes, and the nations it subdues, are ruled by the love of ruling; in the other, the princes and the subjects serve one another in love.”

Augustine died on August 28, 430, as the Vandals were besieging his own earthly city of Hippo.

Collect of the Day

Lord God, the light of the minds that know you, the life of the souls that love you, and the strength of the hearts that serve you: Help us, following the example of your servant Augustine of Hippo, so to know you that we may truly love you, and so to love you that we may fully serve you, whom to serve is perfect freedom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Lessons

Isaiah 62:6–12

Hebrews 12:22–24,28–29

John 14:6–15

Psalm 87

Preface of Baptism

We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?

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From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.

August 29: John Bunyan, Writer, 1688

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About this commemoration

John Bunyan
John Bunyan

John Bunyan was born in 1628 at Elstow in Bedfordshire England. Little is known about his early life. His parents were poor; his father was a brazier, a trade that Bunyan also followed for a time. Bunyan had little to no formal education, and he may have learned to read English from reading the Bible. He served as a soldier in the Parliamentary army during the English Civil War, after which he married. His wife introduced him to Arthur Dent’s Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven and Bishop Lewis Bayly’s Practice of Piety, devotional books that set him on the religious path.

In 1653 he was baptized into the Bedford Baptist (Independent) Church, and was soon thereafter recognized as a preacher, a vocation at which he excelled. He claimed to have had visions similar to those of Teresa of Avila. After the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Bunyan was targeted and slandered by the new royalist government along with many others who had supported the revolutionary cause during the Civil War. Under the laws of the restored Stuart regime, congregational meeting houses were closed and citizens were required to attend their Anglican parishes. It was punishable by law for anyone, except those who had been ordained according to Episcopal orders, to conduct services or preach. Bunyan was arrested while preaching in 1660 and spent most of the next twelve years imprisoned in Bedford.

While imprisoned, Bunyan wrote the first part of his most famous work, The Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegorical story that was completed in 1684. The Pilgrim’s Progress tells the story of Christian, a lonely pilgrim who must cross such treacherous terrain as the Slough of Despond and the River of Death before finally reaching the Land of Beulah. Along with John Milton’s Paradise Lost, it was one of the most influential works of the seventeenth century, and retained its influence for several centuries thereafter.

Collect of the Day

God of peace, you called John Bunyan to be valiant for truth: Grant that as strangers and pilgrims we may at the last rejoice with all the faithful in your heavenly city; through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lessons

Job 33:14–19,26–28

Hebrews 4:12–15

Matthew 7:12–14

Psalm 49:4–15

Preface of All Saints

We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?

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From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.

August 28: Moses the Black, Desert Father and Martyr, c. 400

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About this commemoration

Moses the Black
Moses the Black

Moses of Ethiopia (d. c. 405), sometimes called Moses the Black, was a fifth century monk who lived in one of several isolated desert monasteries near Scete in Lower Egypt. He was described as being tall, strong, “black of body,” and in his early life, the hot-blooded leader of a marauding robber band.

Little is known of his actual life, but an imaginative collection of religious legends has accumulated about him. Such tales point to the deep struggles of a Christian soul seeking salvation in difficult settings. Moses was portrayed as a person of deep excesses, a slave who was both a thief and a murderer, a perennial fornicator who, after he became a monk, still struggled for several years with sexual fantasies. To rid himself of sexual temptation he reportedly stood all night in his cell with his eyes open. This endured for seven years, after which the temptations went away.

He led an ascetic life, lived in a simple cell, and ate only ten ounces of dry bread each day. Once when the monks gathered to judge a member who had sinned, Brother Moses arrived carrying a leaky basket filled with sand on his back. He explained that what he was holding behind him represented his own many sins, now hidden from his own view. “And now I have come to judge my brother for a small fault,” he remarked. The other monks then each personally forgave their erring brother and returned to their cells.

Moses was not ordained until late in life; also in his later years he founded his own monastery. At about age 75 he was warned that an armed band of raiders was approaching to slay him. “They who live by the sword shall die by the sword,” (Matthew 26:52) the former robber-murderer calmly replied. He and six other brothers waited patiently, and were slain, after which a monastic account, St. Moses the Ethiopian recounts, seven crowns descended from heaven over the place where they were martyred.

Collect of the Day

God of transforming power and transfiguring mercy: Listen to the prayers of all who, like Abba Moses, cry to you: “O God whom we do not know, let us know you!” Draw them and all of us from unbelief to faith and from violence into your peace, through the cross of Jesus our Savior; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Lessons

2 Chronicles 28:8–15

Acts 22:6–21

Luke 23:39–43

Psalm 86:1–13

Preface of God the Son

We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?

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From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.

August 27: Thomas Gallaudet, 1902, with Henry Winter Syle, 1890

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About this commemoration

Thomas Hopkins Hallaudet, by George F Wright, 1851
Thomas Hopkins Hallaudet, by George F Wright, 1851

Ministry to the deaf in the Episcopal Church begins with Thomas Gallaudet. Without his genius and zeal for the spiritual well-being of deaf persons, it is improbable that a history of ministry to the deaf in the Episcopal Church could be written. He has been called “The Apostle to the Deaf.”

Gallaudet was born June 3, 1822, in Hartford, the eldest son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, founder of the West Hartford School for the Deaf, whose wife, Sophia, was a deaf-mute.

After graduating from Trinity College, Hartford, Thomas announced his intention of being confirmed and becoming a priest in the Episcopal Church. His father prevailed upon him to postpone a final decision, and to accept a teaching position in the New York Institution for Deaf-Mutes. There he met and married Elizabeth Budd, a deaf-mute. Gallaudet was ordained deacon in 1850 and served his diaconate at St. Stephen’s Church, where he established a Bible class for deaf persons.

Ordained a priest in 1851, Gallaudet became Assistant at St. Ann’s Church, where he conceived a plan for establishing a church that would be a spiritual home for deaf people. This became a reality the following year, with the founding of St. Ann’s Church for Deaf-Mutes. The congregation was able to purchase a church building in 1859, and it became a center for missionary work to the deaf. As a result of this ministry, mission congregations were established in many cities. Gallaudet died on August 27, 1902.

One fruit of Gallaudet’s ministry was Henry Winter Syle, who had lost his hearing as the result of scarlet fever. Educated at Trinity; St. John’s, Cambridge; and Yale (B.A. and M.A.); Syle was a brilliant student, who persisted in his determination to obtain an education, despite his handicap and fragile health. He was encouraged by Gallaudet to seek Holy Orders, and, having moved to Philadelphia, was supported by Bishop Stevens, against the opposition of many who believed that the impairment of one of the senses was an impediment to ordination. Syle was ordained in 1876, the first deaf person to receive Holy Orders in this Church. In 1888, he built the first Episcopal church constructed especially for deaf persons. He died on January 6, 1890.

Collect of the Day

O Loving God, whose will it is that everyone should come to you and be saved: We bless your holy Name for your servants Thomas Gallaudet and Henry Winter Syle, whose labors with and for those who are deaf we commemorate today, and we pray that you will continually move your Church to respond in love to the needs of all people; through Jesus Christ, who opened the ears of the deaf, and who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Lessons

Isaiah 35:3–6a

2 Thessalonians 1:3–4

Mark 7:32–37

Psalm 25:7–14

Preface of Pentecost

We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?

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From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.

August 25: Louis, King of France, 1270

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Louis IX
Louis IX

Louis IX of France was canonized by the Church in 1297. A man of unusual purity of life and manners, he was sincerely committed to his faith and to its moral demands. Courageous and fearless in battle, patient and uncomplaining in adversity, he was an impartial, just, and compassionate sovereign. The one word that summarizes his character is integrity.

Louis’ crusading adventures in the Middle East and in North Africa were of little historical consequence. Such ventures were part of the piety of his time. Throughout his life he was diligent in attending divine worship, and constant in his charities, both open and secret. Unusually free of the bigotry of his age, Louis had an intelligent interest in the theological issues of his day. But his primary concern was to put Christian ethics into practice in both his personal and his public life.

Louis was born at Poissy, April 25, 1214, and was crowned King at Rheims on November 29, 1226. His early religious exercises of devotion and asceticism were inspired by his mother, Blanche of Castile. He died August 25, 1270, while on crusade at Tunis, and was buried with his royal peers in the basilica of St. Denis near Paris.

After his canonization, his relics were transferred to the Sainte Chapelle, the lovely Gothic chapel in Paris which he built as a shrine for relics of our Lord’s passion. The building is itself a fitting monument to his genuine piety and beautiful character.

Because of his determined effort to live a personal life of Franciscan poverty and self-denial in the midst of worldly power and splendor— he wore a hair shirt under his royal dress—Louis is honored as patron saint of the Third Order of St. Francis.

Collect of the Day

O God, you called your servant Louis of France to an earthly throne that he might advance your heavenly kingdom, and gave him zeal for your Church and love for your people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate him this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lessons

Wisdom 3:1–9

Colossians 2:6–10

Luke 12:22–31

Psalm 21:1–7

Preface of Baptism

We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?

To post a comment, your first and last name and email address are required. Your name will be published; your email address will not. The first time you post, a moderator will need to approve your submission; after that, your comments will appear instantly.

From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.