Lent Madness: For the Golden Halo: Francis of Assisi vs. Brigid of Kildare

April 1, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: For the Golden Halo: Francis of Assisi vs. Brigid of Kildare

2014 Golden Halo Winner Charles Wesley prepares to welcome this year’s saintly champion.

2014 Golden Halo Winner Charles Wesley prepares to welcome this year’s saintly champion.

And then there were two… Brigid of Kildare beat out Egeria on Lent Madness site,  whereas on the St. Luke’s site, we chose Egeria!

But here we are. The last two standing looking to capture the Golden Halo. For the Golden Halo: Francis of Assisi vs. Brigid of Kildare.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported TOMORROW!

 

Stigmatization of St. Francis by Carducho

Stigmatization of St. Francis by Carducho

Francis of Assisi

Lord God, living and true.
You are love, charity.
You are wisdom; You are humility; You are patience;
You are beauty; You are meekness; You are security;
You are inner peace; You are joy; You are our hope and joy;
You are justice; You are moderation; You are all our riches;
You are our enough…
You are all our sweetness,
You are our eternal life:
Great and wonderful Lord,
God almighty, Merciful Saviour.
Amen.
From ‘Praises of God’ in a letter to Brother Leo

a4c92b4075b9e85131fdde01f35abef0-190x300Brigid of Kildare

I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us.
I would like an abundance of peace.
I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy.
I would like cheerfulness to preside over all.
I would like Jesus to be present.
I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us.
I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts.

Lent Madness: Brigid of Kildare vs. Egeria

March 31, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Brigid of Kildare vs. Egeria

Lent Madness 2015Francis trounced Molly Brant on Lent Madness site, running away with 71% of the vote. On the St. Luke’s site, Francis was the overwhelming winner, winning a whopping 91% of the vote.

This match up is Brigid of Kildare vs. Egeria. Winner of this will face off Francis of Assisi for a shot at the Golden Halo!

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.

Bridget_Kildare2-240x300Brigid of Kildare

I fear I must trouble you with a story.

I was ordained to the diaconate on February 1. I learned that it was St. Brigid’s day when I was filling out the form for my ordination certificate, but I didn’t think much of this — merely that she sounded Irish or something, which might please my grandmother.

During the service, several things went awry. Not so badly as to spoil the day (it was glorious) but just as to be disorienting. So when it came time for the bishop to lay hands on our heads, I guess he was a mite flustered. He put his hands on my head (I came first, alphabetically), and said the prayer of ordination, ending with “By the power vested in me, I now ordain you a bishop….
no, wait….
a priest…..
no, wait….
Look, I’m just going to start all over again.”

Everyone got a good chuckle, and he took a breath and finally ordained me to the correct order of ministry. Thank the good Lord.

Afterwards, at the reception, my presenting priest commented to me that this was a really appropriate occurrence for Brigid’s day. I looked at her blankly, and she smiled, and told me to do some research.

Sure enough, I discovered that Brigid has much to commend her, even besides her penchant for microbrewing before it was popular. Her leadership, her wisdom, her generosity, her tenacity in what she knew was right (she marched across Ireland and back!) are rare and valuable indeed...Read more here.

egeria-2 (1)Egeria

Holy Week, as observed through liturgy, changes a person. From the shouting, singing frenzy of Palm Sunday, to the poignant movements of Maundy Thursday, and the descent into the darkness, to the bleak desolation of Good Friday, to the expectant waiting and watching of the Vigil, which finally explodes into sunlight and the joy of Easter. One week captures all human emotion and wraps it in prayer.

Jerusalem, too, changes a person. There is a saying you hear when you visit on pilgrimage: “Go to Jerusalem for a week, you write a novel. Stay for two — you cannot write even a sentence.” It’s a comment on the difficulties of conveying the depth of the experience, the complexities of people, the intensity of faith in this place. The heat of Jerusalem dries up your words.

Egeria, however, held onto her words. She not only held onto her words, she gifted us with words that would echo down the centuries and affect each and every one of us.

When she went on pilgrimage, she wasn’t content with a surface view of the things she saw. She asked questions, she took notes, she recorded everything, she sent her observations back home so everyone there could share her joy...Read more here.

Lent Madness: Francis of Assisi vs. Molly Brant

March 30, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Francis of Assisi vs. Molly Brant

Lent Madness 2015Egeria eeked out a win 51% over Frederick Douglass’s 49% on Lent Madness site. On the St. Luke’s site, Egeria was the overwhelming winner, winning 87% of the vote.

Here we are at the Faithful Four. This match up is Francis of Assisi vs. Molly Brant.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.

St.-Francis-with-the-animals-300x213Francis of Assisi

Our church garden is well-used holy space by all of God’s creation. One afternoon in October, members of our church gather with our companion animals and ask God’s blessing on these precious beings of God who share their lives with us.

Over the years, more and more neighbors of many faiths join us, and what began as a small gathering has grown into a lively and sacred time filled with the chorus of barks and meows. Our St. Francis statue, nestled in a corner of the church garden, stands in witness to this holy gathering, reminding us of the man who saw God fully visible in every aspect of holy Creation.

Francis, for his many gifts to the Christian faith, is likely most well-known as the namesake of the Blessing of Animals. I suspect Francis, who spent his life responding to the great generosity of God in all he encountered, would probably offer he was just stating the obvious: that God is present in all that surrounds and sustains us and of course we should offer thanks and prayers.

Francis’ most well-known prayer which he actually wrote, Canticle of Brother Sun, is a song to God who has so deeply entered creation that everything is connected in mystical union. Francis saw everything in creation related to one another and deserving of honor and love. The words remind us that no part of creation is too small or too great, too insignificant or too vast, to stand separate from each other. Brother Sun and Sister Moon are honored. Sister Water, Brother Fire, and Sister Mother Earth are all part of the unity of God. Even Sister Death, “from whom no living man can escape” is praised as part of God’s creative experience...Read more here.

mbrant-bio-portraitbMolly Brant

The first time I read Molly Brant’s history, I was immediately struck by her ability to navigate between two vastly different cultures and political systems. As one historian said, she was a “bridge between two worlds.” In the midst of our currently fractured political system, Brant’s life illustrates that there is another way — perhaps not a perfect way — but a means nonetheless of how people of differing cultural and political systems can strive to co-exist in times of uncertainty. Molly’s faithfulness to her Christian faith and her Mohawk family shaped her commitment to harmonious relations even amidst a war that sought to attain the allegiances of Native American tribes no matter the cost to tribal culture and way of life.

Naturally, many debates have circled around Molly’s Loyalist leanings. However, one must remember that history is often on the side of the winner. Were we to step into Molly’s shoes, our view and esteem of her might be a bit different.

Indeed, Molly’s life causes us to examine our own interpretations, leanings, and motivations and how they impact others.

Ultimately, Molly’s goal was to preserve the cultural vitality and independence...Read more here.

Lent Madness: Frederick Douglass vs. Egeria

March 27, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Frederick Douglass vs. Egeria

Lent Madness 2015Molly Brant defeated Bernard Mizeki 59% to 41% Lent Madness site. On the St. Luke’s site, Molly Brant swept the floor with Bernard Mizeki, winning 83% of the vote.

The next match up is Frederick Douglass vs. Egeria.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.

Cedar-Hill-300x199Frederick Douglass

Every tourist to Washington, D.C., visits the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and Capitol Building. Such sights are classic but they’re so…pedestrian. If you want a bird’s eye view of the city and an opportunity to imagine a day in the life of one of North America’s greatest embodiments of faithfulness, wisdom, and activism, head south to Cedar Hill, Frederick Douglass’ historic and beautifully restored property in Washington’s Anacostia neighborhood. There you’ll have a chance to walk his expertly manicured lawn, which Douglass tended and on which he lifted weights each morning.

Yes, my friends, Douglass was a fitness buff and a naturalist who tended to his body and garden with great affection and detail.
Indeed, he was a well-rounded man long before “well-rounded” became a buzzword on college applications...Read more here.

Egeria-stamp-300x195Egeria

Egeria, kindly recollect, was a Spanish nun who travelled to Palestine, Turkey, and Greece from 381-384 CE, and wrote letters home describing her adventures. As befits one of the first Pioneers of PenPals, Spain issued a stamp for her in 1984.

Somewhat confusingly, there is also a tropical aquarium plant named for her. Because
every trip around the bowl is a pilgrimage for a goldfish who can only remember 30 seconds worth of stuff!

Once she returned home, however, I feel confident in asserting that Egeria had a garment similar to this to notify people of her travels. Egeria is invoked as an authority by the custodian Franciscans who live in and care fore the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, and they invite you...Read more here.

Lent Madness: Thecla vs. Francis of Assisi

March 24, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Thecla vs. Francis of Assisi

Lent Madness 2015 From the Lent Madness site: “Yesterday, Egeria defeated Thomas Ken 54% to 46% to nab the final spot.” On the St. Luke’s site, Egeria was also the clear  winner, running away with 75% of the votes.

The next match up is Thecla vs. Francis of Assisi. This is going to be a toughie today.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.

thecla-totebag-300x300Thecla

You may anticipate, Lent Madness reader, that Thecla – proclaimed as an “Equal-to-the-Apostles” and honored as a saint since the time of the early church – would be devoid of saintly kitsch. All hope would seem to be lost, especially when paired against Saint Francis, the saint whose face inspired a thousand birdbaths. With Thecla being most highly venerated in Eastern Christianity – a tradition not particularly known for turning its saints into garden gnomes – some kitsch would, it seem, be missing for Thecla in this round of Lent Madness.

But that, dear friends, is why Zazzle and Etsy exist. Truly, it seems, there is no member of the communion of saints beyond plastering on a tote bag. Thecla, revered for her own self-denial, may have travelled light, following in the footsteps of Saint Paul, but that won’t prevent her from helping you carry home your latest purchases from the supermarket in this sophisticated canvas tote bag...Read more here.

StFrancisGrottoBirdBath100GKC090Francis of Assisi
Faithful Lent Madness readers, Francis, whose life and ministry preached the Gospel both with and without words, gives us such a rich tapestry of love, faith, and adventures that the kitsch is most certainly strong with this one. Sure, he didn’t hang with someone named Paul in the New Testament, but his feast day ups most average Sunday attendance figures if clergy count the two and four-legged souls in church at the Blessing of the Animals.

After all, not every saint has the gravitas or the holy presence to be the final perfect touch for a garden. This particular birdbath captures Francis in the holy position of orans, blessing the water and birdseed for the very birds who set quite the high standard for a flock listening to a sermon. Squirrels, a lamb, a wolf, and bunnies listen in rapt attention. Bunnies. Bunnies loved this man!...Read more here.

Lent Madness: Egeria vs. Thomas Ken

March 23, 2015 Comments Off on Lent Madness: Egeria vs. Thomas Ken

Lent Madness 2015 Bernard Mizeki won 52% over Jackson Kemper’s 48%  Lent Madness site.  On the St. Luke’s site, Brigid also won by 60% to Dionysius’s 40%. Bernard Mizeki also won on the St. Luke’s site 67% to 33%!

The next match up is Egeria vs. Thomas Ken.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.

egeria-2Egeria

Egeria was a Spanish nun who traveled throughout the Holy Land and the Near East from 381-384 CE, recording what she saw and experienced. Her letters home provide the earliest record of Christian liturgy during Holy Week that we have.

It is, however, not only liturgy enthusiasts who are Egeria fans. Medieval scholars also appreciate her, because her writing is the oldest example of non-church Latin in existence, and provides us with exciting glimpses of how the language developed. Are you a fan of the word “the?” So was Egeria! She was one of the first writers to use it...Read more here.

thomas-ken-image-244x300Thomas Ken

Thomas Ken was a celebrated preacher, writer, and teacher. His works have endured through the years, though perhaps his most noted piece of writing is the doxology sung at so many parishes as gifts are being brought forward, “Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.” This line, in so many ways, summarizes Ken’s focus in life and ministry.

He was focused on the source of true gifts and unswayed by blandishments, bribes, or intimidation. His abiding faith in the Triune God as the grounding of his life gave him a prophetic courage to speak truth no matter the cost to his career. Lord McCauley (an ecclesiastical opponent) said of Ken, “His character approaches, as near as human infirmity permits, to the ideal of perfection of Christian virtue.”...Read more here.

Lent Madness: Balthazar vs. Cecilia

March 6, 2015 § 2 Comments

Lent Madness 2015Egeria won 59% to 41% on the blog! A close call, for sure. But, on the Lent Madness site, Egeria also “prevailed 51% to 49%, by less than 140 votes with 6,800 cast.” Every vote counts!

Today’s match up is Balthazar vs. Cecilia.

Remember: vote at Lent Madness here AND ALSO below the saint bios here so we see how the readers of the St. Luke in the Fields blog compare! Results of this match up will be reported the next day.

 

SApolN-Balthazar-Nov03-D1757sAR-300x225Balthazar

The story of the Three Wise Men is a beloved part of Christmas crèches and pageants, albeit exercising a bit of editorial license. In Matthew’s Gospel, the text only says that sages and magi traveled from the East to find the infant King — not how many there were or what their names were.

Nonetheless, over time, tradition has narrowed the number of the Eastern travelers….Read more here.

StCeciliaViolin-236x300Cecilia

Cecilia is the patron saint of singers, musicians, and poets. She was martyred in Rome in the third century. Finding historically factual information regarding her life is a real heartbreaker and can shake the confidence of even the most devoted researcher.

Nevertheless, it is believed that Cecilia was born into nobility and privilege. She was a woman of strong faith and was credited with converting four hundred people. She was married to a pagan named Valerian. With Cecilia’s faith as a living example, Valerian and his brother Tiburtius, along with Maximus, a Roman soldier, were converted. After their baptism, the two brothers devoted themselves to burying the martyrs who were being slain daily. In about 230 CE, the brothers were arrested for practicing their faith. They were executed—and while she was burying her husband and brother-in-law, Cecilia was arrested.Read more here.

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