Monday, May 31, 2010

THE VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

The VisitationAfter the angel Gabriel had announced to Mary that she was to become the mother of Our Lord, Mary went from Galilee to Judea to visit her kinswoman Elizabeth, soon to be the mother of John the Baptist. This visit is recorded in Luke 1:39-56. Elizabeth greeted Mary with the words, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." Mary burst forth with the song of praise which we call the Magnificat, beginning, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord." We are told that even John the Baptist, still unborn, leaped for joy in his mother's womb. Thus we are shown, side by side, the two women, one seemingly too old to have a child, but destined to bear the last prophet of the Old Covenant, of the age that was passing away; and the other woman, seemingly not ready to have a child, but destined to bear the One Who was Himself the beginning of the New Covenant, the age that would not pass away.

It is this meeting that we celebrate today.

FIRST READING: Zephaniah 3:14-18a
(Rejoice, for the LORD prepares to restore and bless His people.)

PSALM 113
(Praise the LORD, who lifts up the needy, and makes the barren a joyful mother.)

or CANTICLE 9 (FIRST SONG OF ISAIAH): Isaiah 12:2-6 ("Sing the praises of the LORD, for He has done great things.")

EPISTLE: Colossians 3:12-17
(Abound in love, and forgiveness, and peace, and joy, and singing.)

THE HOLY GOSPEL: Luke 1:39-49 (or 1:39-56)
(Mary goes to visit Elizabeth. The two women greet each other with hymns of joy, and the infant John stirs in the womb as if to participate.)

PRAYER (contemporary language)
Father in heaven, by whose grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Interested in a special devotion for today? Why not try praying the rosary? I know... "Protestants don't do that!" Well, the first successful Protestant, Martin Luther, would disagree with you:

"Our prayer should include the Mother of God . . . What the Hail Mary says is that all glory should be given to God, using these words: "Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ. Amen!" You see that these words are not concerned with prayer but purely with giving praise and honor . . . We can use the Hail Mary as a meditation in which we recite what grace God has given her. Second, we should add a wish that everyone may know and respect her " (Personal Prayer Book, 1522).

A slew of others (like Calvin, Zwingli, and Wesley) had other important things to say about the Blessed Virgin Mary - so don't be scared to at least explore what Christians have believed about her (so long as we do not require more than Scripture demands, nor say something Scripture proscribes). See if it's at least as biblical as your normal prayers!

Where did the "Hail Mary" come from?

The "Hail Mary" written above has the scriptural references after each line. Some Evangelicals feel that it is blasphemous to say that Mary is "Holy." But Peter said "You shall be holy because I am holy’" (1 Peter 1:14-16). I don't think Evangelicals would think that is blasphemous. Mary's obedience to God and closeness to Jesus made her holy. Our nearness to Jesus makes us Holy.

There is a inscription found in the grotto of the The Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, which reads "Ch-e Maria," which is an abbreviation of the Greek phrase "Chaire Maria" or "Hail Mary." This was left between 200-300AD by a Greek Christian who visited the site of the Annunciation, as presented in Luke 1:28. (You can see it here.)

What is of special significance here is that "Chaire Maria" ("Hail Mary") is not the specific greeting in Luke's account. Rather, Luke records Gabriel as saying "Chaire Kecharitomenae" or "Hail, Full of Grace" (or "Hail, Perfectly Graced"). But, this is not what the inscription reads. Rather, it addresses Mary by name, showing that this early Christian had a personal devotion to her; and it is also the very earliest record of the Catholic prayer, the "Hail Mary."

One should also note that the "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen." was not normally added until after the Council of Trent - thus it is not part of the unbroken tradition of the Latin Rite. Neither is the Salve Regina prayed at the end - so if your conscience is troubled by these Marian devotions just leave them off. The rosary can still be a very effective tool of prayer.

The Anglican Service Book also provides an alternative form to end the Angelus:

V. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
R. Son of Mary, Son of the living God, have mercy upon us, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

(For a good Roman apologetic of the rosary, go here. However, I cannot endorse everything they say.))

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Augustine of Canterbury

statue of St. Augustine of CanterburyThe Christian Church was established in the British Isles well before 300. Some scholars believe that it was introduced by missionaries from the Eastern or Greek-speaking half of the Mediterranean world. Celtic Christianity had its own distinctive culture, and Greek scholarship flourished in Ireland for several centuries after it had died elsewhere in Western Europe.
However, in the fifth century Britain was invaded by non-Christian Germanic tribes: the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. They conquered the native Celtic Christians (despite resistance by, among others, a leader whose story has come down to us, doubtless with some exaggeration, as that of King Arthur), or drove them north and west into Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. From these regions Celtic Christian missionaries returned to England to preach the Gospel to the heathen invaders. Meanwhile, the Bishop of Rome, Gregory the Great, decided to send missionaries from Rome, a group of monks led by their prior, Augustine (not to be confused with the more famous Augustine of Hippo). They arrived in Kent (the southeast corner of England) in 597, and the king, whose wife was a Christian, allowed them to settle and preach. Their preaching was outstandingly successful, the people were hungry for the Good News of salvation, and they made thousands of converts in a short time. In 601 the king himself was converted and baptised. Augustine was consecrated bishop and established his headquarters at Canterbury. From his day to the present, there has been an unbroken succession of archbishops of Canterbury.
In 603, he held a conference with the leaders of the already existing Christian congregations in Britain, but failed to reach an accomodation with them, largely due to his own tactlessness, and his insistence (contrary, it may be noted, to Gregory's explicit advice) on imposing Roman customs on a church long accustomed to its own traditions of worship. It is said that the English bishops, before going to meet Augustine, consulted a hermit with a reputation for wisdom and holiness, asking him, "Shall we accept this man as our leader, or not?" The hermit replied, "If, at your meeting, he rises to greet you, then accept him, but if he remains seated, then he is arrogant and unfit to lead, and you ought to reject him." Augustine, alas, remained seated. It took another sixty years before the breach was healed.
by James Kiefer.

Augustine baptizing Ethelbert
British stamps commemorating St. Augustine: Above, Augustine baptizing Ethelbert. Below, Augutine and his cathedral
Augustine & cathedral

This, by the way, marks the beginning of the Latin Rite's ascent in the British Church. Before that time, she worshiped in a much-more Eastern fashion. (I don't say "Orthodox" because that division didn't exist for another 400 years!) There has been good work done among the Orthodox in researching the British Church's eastern connections.

Readings:

PRAYER (traditional language)
O Lord our God, who by thy Son Jesus Christ didst call thine apostles and send them forth to preach the Gospel to the nations: We bless thy holy name for thy servant Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, whose labors in propagating thy Church among the English people we commemorate today; and we pray that all whom thou dost call and send may do thy will, and bide thy time, and see thy glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
PRAYER (contemporary language)

O Lord our God, who by your Son Jesus Christ called your apostles and sent them forth to preach the Gospel to the nations: We bless your holy name for your servant Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, whose labors in propagating your Church among the English people we commemorate today; and we pray that all whom you call and send may do your will, and bide your time, and see your glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Venerable Bede

Bede was a monk at the English monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow, in Northumbria. From the age of seven, he spent all his life at that monastery except for a few brief visits to nearby sites. He says of himself: "I have devoted my energies to a study of the Scriptures, observing monastic discipline, and singing the daily services in church; study, teaching, and writing have always been my delight."

He was the first person to write scholarly works in the English language, although unfortunately only fragments of his English writings have survived. He translated the Gospel of John into Old English, completing the work on the very day of his death. He also wrote extensively in Latin. He wrote commentaries on the Pentateuch and other portions of Holy Scripture. His best-known work is his History of the English Church and People, a classic which has frequently been translated and is available in Penguin Paperbacks. It gives a history of Britain up to 729, speaking of the Celtic peoples who were converted to Christianity during the first three centuries of the Christian era, and the invasion of the Anglo-Saxon pagans in the fifth and sixth centuries, and their subsequent conversion by Celtic missionaries from the north and west, and Roman missionaries from the south and east. His work is our chief source for the history of the British Isles during this period. Fortunately, Bede was careful to sort fact from hearsay, and to tell us the sources of his information.

He also wrote hymns and other verse, the first martyrology with historical notes, letters and homilies, works on grammar, on chronology and astronomy -- he was aware that the earth is a sphere, and he is the first historian to date events ANNO DOMINI, and the earliest known writer to state that the solar year is not exactly 365 and a quarter days long, so that the Julian calendar (one leap year every four years) requires some adjusting if the months are not to get out of step with the seasons.

His hymns include one for the Ascension. Suggested tune is Agincourt, also called Deo Gratias (or Gracias), which follows:


Clyde McLennan - Creator of the earth and skies .mp3


Found at bee mp3 search engine

A hymn of glory let us sing;
New songs throughout the world shall ring:
Christ, by a road before untrod,
Now rises to the throne of God.

The holy apostolic band
Upon the Mount of Olives stand;
And with his followers they see
Their Lord's ascending majesty.

To them the angels drawing nigh,
"Why stand and gaze upon the sky?
This is the Savior," thus they say;
"This is his glorious triumph day.

"Again shall ye behold him so
As ye today have seen him go,
In glorious pomp ascending high,
Up to the portals of the sky."

O risen Christ, ascended Lord,
All praise to thee let earth accord,
Who art, while endless ages run,
With Father and with Spirit one.

Readings:

PRAYER (traditional wording)
Heavenly Father, who didst call thy servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to thy service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of thy truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make thee known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

PRAYER (contemporary wording)

Heavenly Father, who called your servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to your service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of your truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make you known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

h/t Satucket

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Ascensiontide Novena Day 9

Here is an Ascentiontide novena, based on the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit. It may be used at the conclusion of the Daily Office or as a separate act of devotion.

A Novena for the Gifts of the Spirit

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee with both to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:
praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Come, great Paraclete, Father of the poor, Comforter of the blest, fulfill the promise of our Savior who would not leave us as orphans. Enter our minds and hearts as you descended on the day of Pentecost upon the Mother of Jesus and upon his Apostles. Grant that every member of the Church may have a part in those gifts which were bestowed that day. O Holy Spirit, giver of every good and perfect gift, may the Father's will be done in us and through us, and may you, O mighty Spirit, equal to the Father and the Son in Being and majesty, be praised and glorifed for ever and ever. Amen.

Here may be added any of the following prayers: Our Father, Angelus, Trisagion, Kyrie eleison, Gloria Patri, concluding with the prayer appropriate to the day of the novena.


Ninth Day
Come, O Holy Comforter, come in all your fullness and power. Enrich us in our poverty, inflame us in our feebleness, melt our hearts with your love. Make us wholly yours, until your gifts are ours and we are lost in you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, in Trinity of Persons, now and forever. Amen.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Ascensiontide Novena Day 8

Here is an Ascentiontide novena, based on the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit. It may be used at the conclusion of the Daily Office or as a separate act of devotion.

A Novena for the Gifts of the Spirit

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee with both to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:
praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Come, great Paraclete, Father of the poor, Comforter of the blest, fulfill the promise of our Savior who would not leave us as orphans. Enter our minds and hearts as you descended on the day of Pentecost upon the Mother of Jesus and upon his Apostles. Grant that every member of the Church may have a part in those gifts which were bestowed that day. O Holy Spirit, giver of every good and perfect gift, may the Father's will be done in us and through us, and may you, O mighty Spirit, equal to the Father and the Son in Being and majesty, be praised and glorifed for ever and ever. Amen.

Here may be added any of the following prayers: Our Father, Angelus, Trisagion, Kyrie eleison, Gloria Patri, concluding with the prayer appropriate to the day of the novena.


Eighth Day - Holy Awe [Fear]
Come, O Spirit of Holy Awe, penetrate my inmost heart, that I may set you, my Lord and God, before my face forever. In joy and wonder may I be made worthy to appear before the pure eyes of your divine Majesty and behold your glory face to face in the heaven of heavens, where you live and reign in the unity of the Ever-blessed Trinity, now and forever. Amen.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ascensiontide Novena Day 7

Here is an Ascentiontide novena, based on the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit. It may be used at the conclusion of the Daily Office or as a separate act of devotion.

A Novena for the Gifts of the Spirit

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee with both to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:
praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Come, great Paraclete, Father of the poor, Comforter of the blest, fulfill the promise of our Savior who would not leave us as orphans. Enter our minds and hearts as you descended on the day of Pentecost upon the Mother of Jesus and upon his Apostles. Grant that every member of the Church may have a part in those gifts which were bestowed that day. O Holy Spirit, giver of every good and perfect gift, may the Father's will be done in us and through us, and may you, O mighty Spirit, equal to the Father and the Son in Being and majesty, be praised and glorifed for ever and ever. Amen.

Here may be added any of the following prayers: Our Father, Angelus, Trisagion, Kyrie eleison, Gloria Patri, concluding with the prayer appropriate to the day of the novena.

Seventh Day - Piety
Come, O Spirit of Piety, possess my heart; incline it to a true faith in you, to a holy love of you, my God, that with my whole being I may seek you, and find you to be my best, my truest joy;through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, in Trinity of Persons, now and forever.
Amen.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ascensiontide Novena Day 6

The nine days from Ascension Day to the Eve of Pentecost are the original novena--nine days of prayer. The prayer for the newly baptized, p. 308, in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer is the traditional prayer for the seven gifts of the Spirit, based on the prophecy of Isaiah 11:2-3. This prayer could be the basis for daily reflection on the gifts of the Spirit in the days between the Ascension and Pentecost and the following adaptation of it could be used daily as a simplified novena.

Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sin, and have raised us to the new life of grace in your Son Jesus Christ. Sustain us, O Lord, in the gifts of your Spirit: an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.

Or, here is a fuller novena, based on the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit. It may be used at the conclusion of the Daily Office or as a separate act of devotion.

A Novena for the Gifts of the Spirit

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee with both to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:
praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Come, great Paraclete, Father of the poor, Comforter of the blest, fulfill the promise of our Savior who would not leave us as orphans. Enter our minds and hearts as you descended on the day of Pentecost upon the Mother of Jesus and upon his Apostles. Grant that every member of the Church may have a part in those gifts which were bestowed that day. O Holy Spirit, giver of every good and perfect gift, may the Father's will be done in us and through us, and may you, O mighty Spirit, equal to the Father and the Son in Being and majesty, be praised and glorifed for ever and ever. Amen.

Here may be added any of the following prayers: Our Father, Angelus, Trisagion, Kyrie eleison, Gloria Patri, concluding with the prayer appropriate to the day of the novena.

Sixth Day - Knowledge

Come, O Spirit of Knowledge, and make me understand the emptiness and chaos of life without you. Give me grace to recognize the goodness of the whole creation and to honor the Creator by using the world only for your glory and for the benefit and the salvation of all whom you have made; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, in Trinity of Persons, now and forever. Amen.

St. Dunstan of Canterbury

St. Dunstan was born near Glastonbury in the southwest of England about the year 909, ten years after the death of King Alfred. During the Viking invasions of the ninth century, monasteries had been favorite targets of the invaders, and by Dunstan's time English monasticism had been wiped out. In its restoration in the tenth century, Dunstan played the leading role. He was born of an upper-class family, and sent to court, where he did not fit in. At the urging of his uncle, the Bishop of Westminster, he became a monk and a priest, and returned to Glastonbury, where he built a hut near the ruins of the old monastery, and devoted himself to study, music, metal working (particularly the art of casting church bells, an art which he is said to have advanced considerably), and painting. A manuscript illuminated by him is in the British Museum. He returned to court and was again asked to leave; but then King Edmund had a narrow escape from death while hunting, and in gratitude recalled Dunstan and in 943 commissioned him to re-establish monastic life at Glastonbury. (Glastonbury is one of the oldest Christian sites in England, and is associated in legend with King Arthur and his Court, with Joseph of Arimathea, and with other worthies. It has been said that the Holy Grail, the chalice of the Last Supper, is hidden somewhere near Glastonbury.) Under Dunstan's direction, Glastonbury became an important center both of monasticism and of learning. The next king, Edred, adopted Dunstan's ideas for various reforms of the clergy (including the control of many cathedrals by monastic chapters) and for relations with the Danish settlers. These policies made Dunstan popular in the North of England, but unpopular in the South.

Edred was succeeded by his sixteen-year-old nephew Edwy, whom Dunstan openly rebuked for unchastity. The furious Edwy drove Dunstan into exile, but the North rose in rebellion on his behalf. When the dust settled, Edwy was dead, his brother Edgar was king, and Dunstan was Archbishop of Canterbury. The coronation service which Dunstan compiled for Edgar is the earliest English coronation service of which the full text survives, and is the basis for all such services since, down to the present. With the active support of King Edgar, Dunstan re-established monastic communities at Malmesbury, Westminster, Bath, Exeter, and many other places. Around 970 he presided at a conference of bishops, abbots, and abbesses, which drew up a national code of monastic observance, the Regularis Concordia. It followed Benedictine lines, but under it the monasteries were actively involved in the life of the surrounding community. For centuries thereafter the Archbishop of Canterbury was always a monk.

Dunstan took an active role in politics under Edgar and his successor Edward, but under the next king, Ethelred, he retired from politics and concentrated on running the Canterbury cathedral school for boys, where he was apparently successful in raising the academic standards while reducing the incidence of corporal punishment. On Ascension Day in 988, he told the congregation that he was near to death, and died two days later.


Propers for Dunstan - Archbishop of Canterbury

The Collect.

O GOD, who dost ever hallow and protect thy Church: Raise up therein through thy Spirit good and faithful stewards of the mysteries of Christ, as thou didst in thy servant Dunstan; that by their ministry and example thy people may abide in thy favour and walk in the way of truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.


The Epistle - Wisdom 7:7-14.

I CALLED upon God, and the spirit of wisdom came to me. I preferred her before sceptres and thrones, and esteemed riches nothing in comparison of her. Neither compared I unto her any precious stone, because all gold in respect of her is as a little sand, and silver shall be counted as clay before her. I loved her above health and beauty, and chose to have her instead of light: for the light that cometh from her never goeth out. All good things together came to me with her, and innumerable riches in her hands. And I rejoiced in them all, because wisdom goeth before them: and I knew not that she was the mother of them. I learned diligently, and do communicate her liberally: I do not hide her riches. For she is a treasure unto men that never faileth: which they that use become the friends of God, being commended for the gifts that come from learning.

The Gospel - St. John 17:18-23.

AS thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me though their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.


Reference and Resources:

http://www.commonprayer.org/calend/propers/dunstan.cfm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunstan_of_Canterbury
http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/JEK/05/19.html


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ascensiontide Novena Day 5

The nine days from Ascension Day to the Eve of Pentecost are the original novena--nine days of prayer. The prayer for the newly baptized, p. 308, in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer is the traditional prayer for the seven gifts of the Spirit, based on the prophecy of Isaiah 11:2-3. This prayer could be the basis for daily reflection on the gifts of the Spirit in the days between the Ascension and Pentecost and the following adaptation of it could be used daily as a simplified novena.

Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sin, and have raised us to the new life of grace in your Son Jesus Christ. Sustain us, O Lord, in the gifts of your Spirit: an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.

Or, here is a fuller novena, based on the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit. It may be used at the conclusion of the Daily Office or as a separate act of devotion.

A Novena for the Gifts of the Spirit

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee with both to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:
praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Come, great Paraclete, Father of the poor, Comforter of the blest, fulfill the promise of our Savior who would not leave us as orphans. Enter our minds and hearts as you descended on the day of Pentecost upon the Mother of Jesus and upon his Apostles. Grant that every member of the Church may have a part in those gifts which were bestowed that day. O Holy Spirit, giver of every good and perfect gift, may the Father's will be done in us and through us, and may you, O mighty Spirit, equal to the Father and the Son in Being and majesty, be praised and glorifed for ever and ever. Amen.

Here may be added any of the following prayers: Our Father, Angelus, Trisagion, Kyrie eleison, Gloria Patri, concluding with the prayer appropriate to the day of the novena.

Fifth Day - Fortitude


Come, O Spirit of Fortitude, and give courage to my soul. Make my heart strong in all trials and in all distress, generously pouring strength into it that I may be able to resist the allurements of the world, the flesh, and the devil; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, in Trinity of Persons, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ascensiontide Novena Day 4

The nine days from Ascension Day to the Eve of Pentecost are the original novena--nine days of prayer. The prayer for the newly baptized, p. 308, in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer is the traditional prayer for the seven gifts of the Spirit, based on the prophecy of Isaiah 11:2-3. This prayer could be the basis for daily reflection on the gifts of the Spirit in the days between the Ascension and Pentecost and the following adaptation of it could be used daily as a simplified novena.

Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sin, and have raised us to the new life of grace in your Son Jesus Christ. Sustain us, O Lord, in the gifts of your Spirit: an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.

Or, here is a fuller novena, based on the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit. It may be used at the conclusion of the Daily Office or as a separate act of devotion.

A Novena for the Gifts of the Spirit

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee with both to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:
praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Come, great Paraclete, Father of the poor, Comforter of the blest, fulfill the promise of our Savior who would not leave us as orphans. Enter our minds and hearts as you descended on the day of Pentecost upon the Mother of Jesus and upon his Apostles. Grant that every member of the Church may have a part in those gifts which were bestowed that day. O Holy Spirit, giver of every good and perfect gift, may the Father's will be done in us and through us, and may you, O mighty Spirit, equal to the Father and the Son in Being and majesty, be praised and glorifed for ever and ever. Amen.

Here may be added any of the following prayers: Our Father, Angelus, Trisagion, Kyrie eleison, Gloria Patri, concluding with the prayer appropriate to the day of the novena.

Fourth Day - Counsel
Come, O Spirit of Counsel, help and guide me in all my ways, that I may always do your holy will. Incline my heart to that which is good, turn it away from all that is evil, and direct me by the path of him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life to the goal of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, in Trinity of Persons, now and forever. Amen.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ascensiontide Novena Day 3

The nine days from Ascension Day to the Eve of Pentecost are the original novena--nine days of prayer. The prayer for the newly baptized, p. 308, in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer is the traditional prayer for the seven gifts of the Spirit, based on the prophecy of Isaiah 11:2-3. This prayer could be the basis for daily reflection on the gifts of the Spirit in the days between the Ascension and Pentecost and the following adaptation of it could be used daily as a simplified novena.

Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sin, and have raised us to the new life of grace in your Son Jesus Christ. Sustain us, O Lord, in the gifts of your Spirit: an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.

Or, here is a fuller novena, based on the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit. It may be used at the conclusion of the Daily Office or as a separate act of devotion.

A Novena for the Gifts of the Spirit

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee with both to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:
praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Come, great Paraclete, Father of the poor, Comforter of the blest, fulfill the promise of our Savior who would not leave us as orphans. Enter our minds and hearts as you descended on the day of Pentecost upon the Mother of Jesus and upon his Apostles. Grant that every member of the Church may have a part in those gifts which were bestowed that day. O Holy Spirit, giver of every good and perfect gift, may the Father's will be done in us and through us, and may you, O mighty Spirit, equal to the Father and the Son in Being and majesty, be praised and glorifed for ever and ever. Amen.

Here may be added any of the following prayers: Our Father, Angelus, Trisagion, Kyrie eleison, Gloria Patri, concluding with the prayer appropriate to the day of the novena.

Third Day - Understanding
Come, O Spirit of Understanding, and enlighten my mind, that I may know and believe all of the mysteries of salvation and discern your hand at work in the world. Teach me to see with your eyes that I may apply my heart unto wisdom in this life and be made worthy to attain to the vision glorious in the life to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, in Trinity of Persons, now and forever.
Amen

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ascentide Novena Day 2

The nine days from Ascension Day to the Eve of Pentecost are the original novena--nine days of prayer. The prayer for the newly baptized, p. 308, in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer is the traditional prayer for the seven gifts of the Spirit, based on the prophecy of Isaiah 11:2-3. This prayer could be the basis for daily reflection on the gifts of the Spirit in the days between the Ascension and Pentecost and the following adaptation of it could be used daily as a simplified novena.

Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sin, and have raised us to the new life of grace in your Son Jesus Christ. Sustain us, O Lord, in the gifts of your Spirit: an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.

Or, here is a fuller novena, based on the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit. It may be used at the conclusion of the Daily Office or as a separate act of devotion.

A Novena for the Gifts of the Spirit

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee with both to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:
praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Come, great Paraclete, Father of the poor, Comforter of the blest, fulfill the promise of our Savior who would not leave us as orphans. Enter our minds and hearts as you descended on the day of Pentecost upon the Mother of Jesus and upon his Apostles. Grant that every member of the Church may have a part in those gifts which were bestowed that day. O Holy Spirit, giver of every good and perfect gift, may the Father's will be done in us and through us, and may you, O mighty Spirit, equal to the Father and the Son in Being and majesty, be praised and glorifed for ever and ever. Amen.

Here may be added any of the following prayers: Our Father, Angelus, Trisagion, Kyrie eleison, Gloria Patri, concluding with the prayer appropriate to the day of the novena.

Second Day - Wisdom
Come, O Spirit of Wisdom, and reveal to me the mysteries of divine things, their greatness, and power, and beauty. Teach me to love them above and beyond all the transient joys and satisfactions of the mortal world. Show me the way by which I may be able to attain to them and participate in them forever; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, in Trinity of Persons, now and forever. Amen.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Novenas of Ascensiontide

The nine days from Ascension Day to the Eve of Pentecost are the original novena--nine days of prayer. Before he ascended, Jesus ordered the disciples not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there to be baptized by the Holy Spirit. After his Ascension, they returned to the upper room in Jerusalem where they devoted themselves to prayer. These last days of the Great Fifty Days of Easter can be a time for us to prepare for the celebration of Pentecost. As we anticipate the coming of the Holy Spirit, this can be a time to pray for renewal in the Spirit and a time to reflect on the gifts which the Spirit bestows on the Church. The prayer for the newly baptized, p. 308, in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer is the traditional prayer for the seven gifts of the Spirit, based on the prophecy of Isaiah 11:2-3. This prayer could be the basis for daily reflection on the gifts of the Spirit in the days between the Ascension and Pentecost and the following adaptation of it could be used daily as a simplified novena.

Heavenly Father, we thank you that by water and the Holy Spirit you have bestowed upon us the forgiveness of sin, and have raised us to the new life of grace in your Son Jesus Christ. Sustain us, O Lord, in the gifts of your Spirit: an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works. Amen.

Or, here is a fuller novena, based on the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit. It may be used at the conclusion of the Daily Office or as a separate act of devotion.

A Novena for the Gifts of the Spirit

Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far our foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee with both to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:
praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Come, great Paraclete, Father of the poor, Comforter of the blest, fulfill the promise of our Savior who would not leave us as orphans. Enter our minds and hearts as you descended on the day of Pentecost upon the Mother of Jesus and upon his Apostles. Grant that every member of the Church may have a part in those gifts which were bestowed that day. O Holy Spirit, giver of every good and perfect gift, may the Father's will be done in us and through us, and may you, O mighty Spirit, equal to the Father and the Son in Being and majesty, be praised and glorifed for ever and ever. Amen.

Here may be added any of the following prayers: Our Father, Angelus, Trisagion, Kyrie eleison, Gloria Patri, concluding with the prayer appropriate to the day of the novena.

First Day
Come, O Holy Spirit, the Lord and Lifegiver: Take up your dwelling within my soul and make of it your sacred temple. Make me live by grace as an adopted child of God. Pervade all the energies of my soul, and create in me a fountain of living water springing up into life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, in Trinity of Persons, now and forever. Amen.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hail the Day That Sees Him Rise!



Today is the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. This is a special holy day for me because it signals that Christ has taken his wounded humanity to heaven so that our brokenness would ever be before the Father's mercy. If you'd like to hear more about that, contact me (clarimer at gmail dot com). If you just want to sing about it, here's a good one! And if you haven't heard King's College (Cambridge) do Evensong for this day, you're in for a treat.


Hail the Day - Llanfair (8 verses).mp3


Found at bee mp3 search engine

And here are the original lyrics:

Hail the day that sees Him rise, Alleluia!
To His throne above the skies, Alleluia!
Christ, awhile to mortals given, Alleluia!
Reascends His native heaven, Alleluia!

There the glorious triumph waits, Alleluia!
Lift your heads, eternal gates, Alleluia!
Christ hath conquered death and sin, Alleluia!
Take the King of glory in, Alleluia!

Circled round with angel powers, Alleluia!
Their triumphant Lord, and ours, Alleluia!
Conqueror over death and sin, Alleluia!
“Take the King of glory in! Alleluia!”

Him though highest Heav’n receives, Alleluia!
Still He loves the earth He leaves, Alleluia!
Though returning to His throne, Alleluia!
Still He calls mankind His own, Alleluia!

See! He lifts His hands above, Alleluia!
See! He shows the prints of love, Alleluia!
Hark! His gracious lips bestow, Alleluia!
Blessings on His church below, Alleluia!

Still for us His death He pleads, Alleluia!
Prevalent He intercedes, Alleluia!
Near Himself prepares our place, Alleluia!
Harbinger of human race, Alleluia!

Master, (will we ever say), Alleluia!
Taken from our head to day, Alleluia!
See Thy faithful servants, see, Alleluia!
Ever gazing up to Thee, Alleluia!

Grant, though parted from our sight, Alleluia!
Far above yon azure height, Alleluia!
Grant our hearts may thither rise, Alleluia!
Seeking Thee beyond the skies, Alleluia!

Ever upward let us move, Alleluia!
Wafted on the wings of love, Alleluia!
Looking when our Lord shall come, Alleluia!
Longing, gasping after home, Alleluia!

There we shall with Thee remain, Alleluia!
Partners of Thy endless reign, Alleluia!
There Thy face unclouded see, Alleluia!
Find our heaven of heavens in Thee, Alleluia!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Rogationtide


The minor Rogation Days are the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before we commemorate our Lord’s Ascension to the Father in Heaven on Ascension Day. “Rogation” comes from the Latin “rogare”, meaning “to beseech.” Although the term “beseech” could be taken as a call for penitence, this is not the intention of the Easter season. Rather it is one of asking for God’s blessing on the works of our hands—industry and agriculture—the means of our livelihoods. A singularly Anglican holiday, it’s no longer observed in the Church of Rome, but, since the reign of Elizabeth I, it has been a decided observance of the English church.

While we no longer “beat the bounds of the parish,” there are ways to adapt this tradition to meet today's need for thankfulness. Rogation Days are an ideal time to remember—and rededicate our jobs, investments, and other economic activities to our Lord, in Whom we live and move and have our being, while invoking His Presence in all we do, committing our ways to Him, so that He, as promised in Scripture, guides our paths.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

For the National Day of Prayer

For Our Country.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1928 Book of Common Prayer

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Today we commemorate two of the Twelve Apostles, a festival moved from last week to accommodate Easter.


The New Testament mentions at least two persons named James, probably at least three, and perhaps as many as eight. This is as good a place as any to sort them out.

(1) JAMES THE GREATER: James the son of Zebedee, called James the Greater or James Major or James the Elder, was one of the Twelve Apostles, and also, along with his brother John and with Peter, belonged to what seems to have been an inner circle of Three. He was killed by order of King Herod, as reported in Acts 12:2. (See M 4:21; 10:2; 17:1; P 1:19,29; 3:17; 5:37; 9:2; 10:35,41; 13:3; 14:33; L 5:10; 6:14; 8:51; 9:28,54; A 11:13; 12:2)

St. James Minor, from a 1708 Book of Common Prayer(2) JAMES THE LESS: James the son of Alphaeus (Alpheus) appears on lists of the Twelve Apostles (usually in the ninth place), but is never mentioned otherwise. He is called James the Less, or James Minor, or James the Younger. (See M 10:3; P 3:18; L 6:15; A 1:13)

(3) JAMES THE JUST: James called "the brother of the Lord" appears in Acts 12:17 and thereafter (A 15:13; 21:18; 1C 15:17; Ga 1:19; 2:9,12) as the leader of the Jerusalem congregation. He is counted by later Church historians as the first bishop of Jerusalem, with Simeon (described as also a kinsman, something like a great-nephew of Joseph) as the second. According to the Jewish historian Josephus, James was put to death by order of the high priest during an interval between Roman governors, over the protests of the Pharisees, who thought him an upright man. He is known as James the Just or James of Jerusalem or James Protepiscopus (first bishop).

(4) JAMES THE WRITER: One of the New Testament Epistles is written by a James. (See Jas 1:1)

(5) JAMES THE SON OF CLEOPAS:
John (19:25) lists the women standing by the cross of Jesus as "his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene." If this list mentions only three women, then Mary the wife of Clopas is presumably a sister-in-law to the Virgin Mary.
The Synoptists give lists of women apparently at a distance.
Matthew (27:55f) lists as "looking on from afar" some Galilean women "among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee."
Mark (15:40f) lists "Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James the Younger and of Joses, and Salome... and also many other women."
Luke (24:10) lists "Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them."
By "mother of James..." do the Synoptists denote the mother of Jesus? It seems odd that they would omit to mention her if she were there, but odder yet that they would identify her as the mother of James and Joseph (Joses), but not as the mother of Jesus. Besides, we note that Matthew and Mark are speaking of women who stood at a distance, while the Virgin was close enough to hear her Son speak. I therefore assume that Mary the mother of James etc is not the same as the Virgin Mary, and is either not mentioned by John at all or is identical with his "Mary the wife of Clopas," who is probably the sister-in-law of the Virgin Mary. Conclusion: James the son of Clopas was perhaps the nephew of either Mary or Joseph, and so would have been known as the first cousin of Jesus.

(6) JAMES THE NAZARENE: The residents of Nazareth speak of brothers of Jesus, including one named James (M 4:55 = P 6:3).

(7) JAMES THE KINSMAN OF JUDE THE APOSTLE: When Luke lists the Apostles (L 6:16; A 1:13), he has, in places 9 thru 11, "James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas of James." [This is not Judas Iscariot.] Now, "Judas of James" would ordinarily mean "Judas son of James," and so the RSV translates it. However, the KJV renders is as "Judas the brother of James," and some suppose him to be the brother of James the son of Alphaeus, so that we have no fewer than three pairs of brothers among the disciples: Peter and Andrew, sons of Jonas; James and John, sons of Zebedee; James and Jude, sons of Alphaeus. This seems unlikely, since (a) if Luke had intended us to understand that the two were brothers, he would have written them together instead of separating them by Simon the Zealot (but note P 3:16-18); and (b) if he had meant us to understand "brother of" rather than the more usual "son of", he would have said "brother."

(8) JAMES THE BROTHER OF JUDE THE WRITER: The author of the Epistle of Jude calls himself the brother of James. Presumably this James would be someone well-known to his readers, otherwise why bother to mention him?

Is any of these the same person as one or more of the others?

It is natural to suppose that James the Just (3) and James the Nazarene (6), being both called brothers of Jesus, must be the same person. However, the Hebrew word for "brother" is used more elastically than its English equivalent, often referring (for example) to cousins or even more distant relatives (see Leviticus 10:1-4, where Moses speaks to Mishael and Elphazan about their brothers, meaning the sons of their cousin). If early Christians for whom Aramaic was the primary language, and Greek secondary, retained this usage when they spoke Greek, then there is room for doubt on the point. Perhaps one of them was a cousin of Jesus rather than a brother. Perhaps both were cousins, in which case they could be the same person but need not have been.

The sons of Cleopas would have been nephews of either Joseph or Mary, and therefore may have been the "brothers" mentioned elsewhere. Thus James the son of Cleopas (5) may be identical with James the Just (3) or James the Nazarene (6) or both.

It is tempting to identify James the son of Alphaeus (2) with James the son of Cleopas (5) by supposing that "Cleopas" and "Alphaeus" are two different attempts to reproduce the same Semitic name (probably beginning with an Ayin) in Greek, but linguists mostly think this very doubtful. James son of Cleopas is called James the Less (Minor, Younger) in Mark 15:40, and James Son of Alphaeus is also called James the Less in popular usage, partly because the two are assumed to be the same, and partly because of the need to distinguish the two Apostles both named James.

The Epistle of James is addressed to Jewish readers, and James the Just (3) seems to have been particularly concerned with the Jewish Christian community. It is accordingly plausible, and customary, to identify James the Just (3) with James the Writer (4).

Many writers identify James the Less (2) with James the Just (3). A difficulty with that identification is that we are told that the brothers of Jesus did not believe in him (J 7:5), which would mean that they could not have been numbered among the Twelve. (It is commonly supposed that James (3) came to believe only after the Resurrection (1C 15:7).) On the other hand, John does not name the unbelieving brothers, and they may not have included James.

It is tempting to suppose that a pair of brothers named James and Jude are the same as another pair of brothers named James and Jude, if there is no obvious objection to identifying them. (This is not necessarily a valid inference, since the selection of names can be influenced by fashion. I have no difficulty, for example, in thinking of six families I know with brothers named David and Michael.) Accordingly, it has been customary to identify the two Apostles "James the son of Alphaeus" and "Judas (the brother) of James" with the two brothers mentioned in the Nazareth account, and also with the Jude who wrote the Epistle and his brother James, taken to be the same James who wrote the Epistle of James. On our list, this identifies James the Less (2), James the Nazarene (6), James the Kinsman of Jude the Apostle (7), and James the Brother of Jude the Writer (8), and probably James the Son of Cleopas (5). However, it should be noted that the most natural understanding of "Judas of James" is "Judas son of James," and that there is therefore no reason to suppose that James the son of Alphaeus has a brother named Jude.

Currently, most Western Christians commemorate:
(1) James the Greater on 25 July,
(2) James the Less on 1 May, and
(3) James the Just on 25 October.

They identify the others with (3) or ignore them. It will be generally conceded concerning (5), (6), (7), and (8) that if they are not the same as one of the others then there is no reason to remember them, so that the most one could reasonably do is add a fourth date for James the Writer. However, it is standard (and, I think, reasonable) to identify (4) with (3), and that leaves three commemorations, which is the current standard in the West, and also (I think) in the East. (Formerly the West identified (2) and (3).)

Thus, of James the Less, the son of Alphaeus (2), whom we commemorate today, we know very little from the New Testament, except that his name appears on lists of the Twelve.

Why is the name "James" so popular among Jews in New Testament times? Because it is the name of the ancestor of the people of Israel. The English name "James" is a variant of the name "Jacob." We tend to think of them as two separate, unrelated names. But the distinction between them is post-Biblical and not found in Hebrew or Greek. In Hebrew, the name is Ya'akov. In Greek, it is Iakwbos (W=Omega), with accent on the second syllable from the end. In Latin, it developed two forms, Jacobus and Jacomus, both accented on the first syllable. From the former, we have the English Jacob and the Spanish Diego and Iago. From the latter, we have the English James, the Scottish Hamish, the Spanish Jaime, and so on. But in many languages, there is only one name, given to the Old Testament Jacob and the New Testament James alike. Even in English, our present distinction has not always been observed. In Shakespeare's play MEASURE FOR MEASURE (III,ii,204), a child's age is given as "a year and a quarter old, come Philip and Jacob," meaning, "a year and a quarter old on the first of next May, the feast of Philip and James."


St. Philip, from a 1708 Book of Common PrayerPhilip the Apostle is frequently confused with Philip the Deacon, whom we read of in the Book of Acts (A 6:7; 8:5-40; 21:8f), and who is commemorated on 6 June. For arguments that they are in fact the same, see that BIO.

Philip the Apostle appears in the Synoptic Gospels and in Acts only as a name on the list of the Twelve, but he appears in several incidents in the Gospel according to John. He was called early in the ministry of Our Lord (J 1:44), and promptly brought his friend Nathanael to Jesus as well. When some Greeks (or Greek-speaking Jews) wished to speak with Jesus, they began by approaching Philip (J 12:20ff).
At the Last Supper (J 14:8f), he said to Jesus, "Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied." To this Jesus answered, "He who has seen me has seen the Father."
Before feeding the Five Thousand (J 6:5), Jesus turned to Philip and asked him, "Where can we buy bread to feed these people?" Philip answered, "It would take more than a year's wages to buy each of them a mouthful."

Some scholars have thought it significant that Jesus asked Philip rather than one of the others. Luke (9:10) tells us that the Feeding of the Five Thousand took place near Bethsaida, and John (1:44) tells us that Philip is from Bethsaida. If they were in Philip's home neighborhood, he would be a natural one to ask for directions. (Peter and Andrew were also from Bethsaida, but seem to have moved to Capernaum.) It seems that John named Philip here for one of three reasons:
(1) He was making up the details, and he said to himself: "I will name Philip here, and hope that my readers have read Luke and will remember that this is all happening near Bethsaida, and I will point out at the beginning of my work that Philip is from Bethsaida, and I will hope that the readers are clever enough to put this together and see that Philip is a logical person to ask. But I won't mention Bethsaida in this episode, since that would make it too obvious what I am doing."
(2) He chose one of the disciples at random, and by good luck made an appropriate choice.
(3) He was an eyewitness, or for some other reason well informed, and mentioned Philip by name because that was whom Jesus asked.

This is one reason (not the only one) for regarding the Gospel of John as the testimony of an eyewitness. For an elaboration, . . . look for essays with those names on this Web Page,

But I digress. That is the limit of what we hear of Philip and James in the New Testament, nor do other sources help much. One story says that Philip preached in Phrygia and died in Hierapolis, and that his remains were brought to Rome and buried in the Basilica of the Twelve Apostles (an ancient inscription shows that this church was formerly dedicated to Philip and James).

Readings:

Psalm 119:33-40;
Isaiah 30:18-21;
2 Corinthians 4:1-6
;
John 14:6-14

Preface of Apostles


PRAYER (traditional language)
Almighty God, who didst give to thine apostles Philip and James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

PRAYER (contemporary language):
Almighty God, who gave to your apostles Philip and James grace and strength to bear witness to the truth: Grant that we, being mindful of their victory of faith, may glorify in life and death the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

(h/t to James Kiefer's invariably useful biographies.)