Note to readers: Liturgical entries on this blog are based on the traditional calendar of the Books of Common Prayer and the traditional one-year Eucharistic lectionary. If you follow a newer calendar or three-year lectionary, there are variations in names for some Sundays and in the readings.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Saint Agatha of Sicily- February 5

The feast day of St. Agatha has ancient roots and was retained as a black-letter day or minor commemoration on the calendar of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Agatha was a young Christian woman from Sicily persecuted for her faith and for her commitment to celibacy during persecutions under the Roman emperor Decius in 251 A.D. Although some of the later stories of her life may be exaggerated, it seems that she was tortured, imprisoned, and eventually died in prison as a faithful witness to her Christian convictions. Thanks be to God for all His witnesses.

Monday, February 01, 2016

St. Ignatius of Antioch- February 1

February 1 is the traditional date in the Western Church for commemorating St. Ignatius, bishop of Antioch (On some recent calendars, Antiochian practice of observing October 17 has been followed).  Besides being third bishop of Antioch, Ignatius was a writer, an apostolic father, martyred in Rome around 107 A.D. Although perhaps a little too zealous about martyrdom, the example of Ignatius and his writings provide a strong witness to faith in the redemptive work of Christ and to the importance of the Eucharist.

He also speaks of bishops as the leaders in the catholic churches. Of course, when speaking of bishops, Ignatius is not referring to the administrative system which developed long after his time. Ignatius views bishops as chief pastors who exercise apostolic authority over assistants (the presbyters or priests and deacons). The pastoral authority of the bishop in doctrine and sacrament is a bulwark against tendencies toward schism. Ignatius does not give blanket approval to the pretensions of all who have claimed the episcopal title, but he does assert that the episcopate is an apostolic gift needed by the Church.

So today we remember Ignatius as a faithful Christian and as an important early witness on the Eucharist, the catholic faith, and the episcopate. Let us join in giving thanks for this faithful bishop, pastor, teacher, and martyr.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Pre-Lent or the "Gesimas"

This year the Pre-Lenten season comes very quickly after Epiphany, and thus it really does fulfill its purpose of reminding us that Lent is approaching. This is the time to start thinking about our Lenten disciplines for this year. On what areas of our moral, devotional, and spiritual lives do we need to focus? What are some practical activities that can help us on our Christian journeys? How can we experience our faith more deeply?  How can we use the time between now and Good Friday-Easter to appreciate those days in a renewed way? Now is the time to begin contemplating such questions. Let us not wait till Ash Wednesday and give some automatic response based on previous years.

For more on Pre-Lent or the "Gesimas," see posts from previous years. For a little historical background, see this post-   http://bcpanglican.blogspot.com/2010/01/sunday-called-septuagesima.html

Friday, January 22, 2016

Prayers for Life

On this anniversary of the blanket legalisation of abortion in the U.S., let us continue to pray that the culture of life may triumph over the culture of death. We remember all victims of senseless and selfish violence, the victims of murder, the victims of terrorism, the victims of religious persecution, the victims of euthanasia... And most of all we remember the innocent victims of abortion.

Here is a prayer included on the Anglican Priests for Life site:

O Heavenly Father, we pray this day for the children of the world. We pray that Thou wilt protect, guide, and provide for those children who are unwanted, unloved, abandoned or abused. We pray for those children who have been left unguarded by being orphaned. We pray for those most in peril, the unborn. Spare them, O Father, from the dangers of disease and drugs, an uncaring mother or father, but most of all from an untimely death at the hands of another. Replenish Thy Church, O God, with a fruitful offspring so that the Church may resound with the joy of their small voices that will one day turn to prayer unto thee, O Lord. Amen

[Source: Fr. Sack OSF, Louisville, Ky.]

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Anglican Primates and the "official" Anglican Communion

Much has been reported and commented about the Anglican Primates Meeting last week in Canterbury. Even the secular press (especially in the UK) has noted the event and the primates' call to suspend the Episcopal Church in the United States from Communion activities. Posts on VirtueOnline, Anglican Mainstream, and StandFirminFaith give lots of information. A post on the Continuum gives an interesting and useful analysis from a staunch continuing Anglican perspective.

I have not had time for enough reflection and writing to craft a reasoned and detailed theological response. However, here are a few personal reactions. First, I am glad that the majority Primates have done something to point out the heresy and immorality dominant in certain parts of the Anglican Communion. Secondly, I do not think that their response was sufficient or that it will have much impact in the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, or even in the Church of England. Thirdly, I am happier than ever to be in a continuing Anglican jurisdiction that supports the Affirmation of St. Louis. Had continuing Anglicanism been more unified in its witness, and had the Anglican Communion heeded the stands of the Affirmation, Anglicanism as a whole would be much healthier. As it is, I give thanks for the continuing Anglican jurisdictions that remain faithful and for individual Anglicans everywhere who stand for apostolic faith, morality, and order. May God grant us all grace and strength to remain faithful.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Epiphany Journey

Epiphany is one of the oldest Christian observances along with Good Friday, Easter and Pentecost. The word “epiphany” means “appearance” or “manifestation.” The day and the season are associated with several manifestations of Jesus Christ. In particular, in the Western Church tradition, we think of the manifestation of the Christ Child to the Gentile Wise Men in St. Matthew 2.

There are several ways to approach this account, but this year, I have been thinking about the story of the Magi as a journey of hope, faith, and love of God. It shows a faithful response to the Savior of the world, and there are three broad aspects to the journey of the Wise Men: 1) seeking a Savior, 2) learning the message of Scripture, and 3) meeting, worshipping, and serving Christ.

These aspects of their journey can also be applied to our journeys or pilgrimages of faith. First, like the Magi, most Christians are Gentiles who seek the Jewish Savior. God reaches out to us and gives us signs in creation that can help lead us. Our world is still filled with struggles between light and darkness, good and evil. And like the Magi, we still long to see goodness. Such a longing, such a hope, can start us on the way to see Jesus.

Secondly, although our natural human hopes can point us in the right general direction, we need more specific guidance. Like the Wise Men, we must also learn about God’s plans from the Bible. The Savior is not a philosophical abstraction. He fulfills the message of the Hebrew prophets. He is the personal Incarnation of God’s eternal Word. He is the One who comes as the babe of Bethlehem, grows in wisdom and stature, and later is crucified and rises from the dead at Jerusalem.

Thirdly, like the Wise Men, we must come into Jesus’s presence in humble adoration and faith. We rejoice to find Him and worship Him. We offer Him our best, knowing that He offers us more than we can ever give Him.  We refuse to cooperate with evil forces that oppose Him. We seek to do His will in this world, and we follow our way in life, continuing to praise Him.


Sometimes, our journeys for Christ may seem long or difficult. Just as the Magi faced hardships, trials, and threats from evil along the way, so do we. But like them, we have faith that every encounter with Christ- in Scripture, in daily experience, in the Sacraments- makes the journey worthwhile.

Monday, January 04, 2016

Continuing Anglican Cooperation

The following letter is found on several sites. After almost 40 years of bickering in the wilderness, let us hope and pray that this spirit of fraternal cooperation will grow stronger and bear fruit in a number of jurisdictions.





                         INTERJURISDICTIONAL LETTER OF SUPPORT 

We the undersigned bishops of the Continuing Anglican churches, as indicated below, pledge to work cooperatively, in a spirit of brotherly love and affection, to create a sacramental union and commonality of purpose that is pleasing to God and in accord with godly service to our respective jurisdictions. Additionally, we will endeavor to hold in concert our national and provincial synods in 2017. Our goal for this meeting will be to formalize a relationship of communio in sacris. 

During the intervening period, we will work in full accord toward that end. We will seek ways to cooperate with each other, supporting each others' jurisdictions and communicating on a variety of ecclesiastical matters. We will maintain regular monthly communication by teleconference. 

The Most Reverend Walter Grundorf, The Anglican Province of America 
The Most Reverend Mark Haverland, The Anglican Catholic Church 
The Right Reverend Paul C. Hewett, The Diocese of the Holy Cross 
The Most Reverend Brian R. Marsh, The Anglican Church in America