Wednesday, January 28, 2009

St. Thomas Aquinas: 29 January 2009 (transferred)

St. Thomas Aquinus
29 January (transferred)

St. Thomas Aquinas was the greatest theologian of the High Middle ages, and is counted by some as the second greatest theologian in Western Christianity. He was born to a noble Italian family in about he year 1225. He enered the then new Dominican Order of Preachers (O.P.) and became an outstanding teacher. His family fought him entering the Dominicans, and even had him kidnapped to prevent him from joining the order. They also sent him a prostitute to compromise his celibacy, but he drove he away with a burning stick. His mother finally allowed him to escape in secret rather than openly surrender to the Dominicans. Thomas studied and taught in Paris and Cologne before returning to Naples.

Because of the rediscovery of Aristotle’s works, Thomas asserted that reason and faith are in basic harmony. “Grace is not the denial of nature, but the perfection of it.” Thomas accomplished this synthesis in his greatest workd, Summa Theologia and Summa Contra Gentiles which continue to influence Christian thought and philosophy today. He was considered a radical in his time, and some of his thoughts were regarded as heretical by his contemporaries.

Thomas understood that when God revealed his name to Moshe, “I am who I am” to mean that God is being, the ultimate reality form which everything else derives its being. The difference between God and the universe, is that God’s essence is to exist, wherefore everything else derives its being from God. God is reflected in his creation, and therefore can be partially understood through the creation. Therefore human reason can demonstrate the existence of God. Distinctive truths about God, though must come through revelation. It is important to note that much of western philosophy today is based on reflection of his thought.

Thomas was also known for his hymns, “O Saving Victim” and “Now my tongue the Mystery Telling.”

Thomas died in 1274 at the age of forty-nine.

Collect: Lord, as you raised Thomas Aquinus as a theologian in your church, grant wisdom as grace that your church may always have teachers to expound the truth and guide us in faith and knowledge of you, that our faith would not be blind, but based on understanding. This we ask through our great teacher Yeshuah, who lives and reins with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople, 28 January (transferred)

For another icon of St. John Chrysostom go to this link:
(note this icon is probably more accurate in vesture, but is copywrited so I couldn't use it)

John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople was one of the greatest preachers of the ancient and eastern churches. He was born in Antioch, Syria in about the year 354. He was baptized by Patriarch Meliatus, after finding no answers in Greek philosophy. His parents were baptized shortly afer him. While young, he responded to desert monasticism until damaging his health. After six years, he returned to Antioch, where he was ordained presbyter. In 397 he was made Patriarch of Constantinople. His Episcopate was short and difficult. He was criticised for his ascetical lifestyle, and endured the anger of the Empress Eudoxia, who believed that he had called her a “Jezebel.” He did criticise her for idolatry. He was exiled twice and died during his second exile on 14 September 407. His remains were buried in Constantinople on 27 January.

John was called Chrysostom, or golden mouth because of his preaching ability. Many people came to hear him preach. He was very sensitve to the needs of the people, and saw preaching as an important part of pastoral care. He stated that a presbyter with no talent for preaching, the souls committed to his care, “will fare no better than ships tossed in a storm.” His preaching was so intense that he told people ot leave their purses at home, because pick pockets would come and help themselves to peoples purposes as they were so engrossed in his preaching. His sermons were very practical. He told people, that before they should consider the communion, they should consider the needs of those around them.

John describes the liturgy as a glorious experience in which all heaven and earth participate. His sermons emphasise the importance of lay participation in the eucharist. He asked, “Why do you marvel, that eh people anywhere utter anything with the priest at the altar, when in fact they join with the Cherubim themselves, and the heavenly powers in offering up sacred hymns. The main liturgy used by the Eastern Orthodox Church today is known as the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom for his influence on it.

His treatise, Six Books on the Priesthood, is an excellent manual on the demands of the presbyteral office and its demands. Most of his sermons are still extant as they were copied down as he was preaching. We learn from John, that preaching is important, and that Christianity, is not something for Sunday, but something we should live out everyday, and not to worry about the authorities.

Collect: Heavenly Father, as you raised John Chrysostom to preach the Gospel and suffer for the faith. Grant that all preachers would have the eloquence to proclaim your word so as to build us up in faith and knowledge and love of you. Through the Messiah we pray, Amen.

Monday, January 26, 2009

27 January 2009: STS. Timothy and Titus

Timothy and Titus
27 January (Transferred)

Timothy was from Lystra in Asia minor, son of a Greek father and a Jewish mother, who was a believer in the Lord Yeshua. His name means honouring God. The church in Lystra and Iconium thought well of him, and because of the Jews and his Jewish mother, Paul had him circumcised. Timothy was a devoted companion of St. Paul and was entrusted by him to represent him to the Corinthians,to strengthen the faith of the converts, and the Thessalonicans to encourage them in persecution. He also was Paul’s representative to Ephesus, and is counted by Eusebius to be the first Bishop of Ephesus. He apparently died at about the age of eighty, stoned to death, at about the age of 80 in the year 97, when preaching the Gospel during a pagan procession

Titus, like Timothy was a constant companion of Paul. Titus was a Greek who accompanied Paul to Jerusalem at the time of the Ecumenical Council. Titus, like Timothy went to Corinth to represent St. Paul. Later St. Paul sent him to Crete to organize the churches there, and is counted as the first Bishop of Crete by Eusebius. The last we hear of Titus is a visit to Dalmatia. He died at the age of 95 in about the year 107.

Though both young, St. Paul commends them with great responsibility in administration and in proclaiming the Gospel. Both are commemorated the day after the Conversion of St. Paul since their ministry intertwined with theirs, and because he was their mentro.

Collect: Blessed Lord, you raised up Timothy and Titus to be Bishops in your church. So raise up in this and every generation Bishops who will follow the pure teachings of your blessed word that the church would grow in faith and knowledge and love of you. This we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen.

Conversion of St. Paul: 26 January (transferred)

Conversion of St. Paul (white)
25 January 2009

Acts 26:9-21

The account of the Conversion of St. Paul is repeated several times in the Book of Acts. Paul was a citizen of Rome, from Tarsus. He was also a Pharisee, of the tribe of Benjamin and studies under Gamaliel, the most famous Rabbi of his time.

Paul was a true Pharisee, he loved God, but saw that salvation was earned by obeying the 613 Mitzvot (commandments) found in the Tanakh or Old Testament. Paul had it reversed, that we are saved because we obey, and he did his best to obey, to the point of witnessing the martyrdom of Stephan, and by getting warrants to throw Christians in prison, and even have them killed.

On his way to Damascus, he has an experience to transform his life forever. He comes face to face with the risen Lord, who even suggests that Saul might be sympathetic to Christians (why are you kicking against the goads? Says Jesus to Paul). He who was spiritually blind comes face to face with Yeshua and is struck blind literally. We who are spiritually blind need to be careful when we say we see, for our sin will be greater. Paul realizes something is going on, and he fasts for three days. On the third day, Ananias, a follower of the way is directed by the Lord to go heal Saul. Ananias has some misgivings, but obeys the Lord. Saul recovers his sight and is immediately baptized. He has come from trying to be saved through obedience to obeying because he is saved. Would that all Christians would learn to thank the Lord through his obedience.

Paul goes form persecuting the church, to proclaiming Yeshua as Messiah, a Messiah not only for Jews, but for Goyim (gentiles) as well, the true saviour of the world. Paul was a prolific writer and evangelist. Thirteen Epistles were written by Paul. He also traveled extensively in what is now Syria, Turkey, Greece, Crete, and Malta. We know he planned on visiting Spain, and probably did. There is also some evidence he may have made it to Britain as well. Only St. Thomas made it further than Paul amongst the Apostles.

Paul talked about a thorn in his flesh, which God would not cure, telling Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” I suggest that the thorn in the flesh (it has been identified with everything from poor eyesight to homosexuality) was deliberately not identified, so that we could each say, God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness in that area.

Whether we write, or preach, or go telling others about Yeshua, we need to have Paul’s enthusiasm, and his thankfulness, and great desire to spread the Good News to all nations.

Collect: Lord, as we remember your appearance to St. Paul and his marvellous conversion on this day, so move in our hearts that we would share his passion to proclaim the Gospel. This we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach who lives and reigns with you and the Ruach haKodesh, one God in glory everlasting. Amen. (white)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

23 January 2009

St. Vincent of Saragosa, deacon, martyr: (transferred)

Vincent was born in Huesca, norther Spain, and moved to Saragosa, where he became a Christian, was trained in the faith, and ordained deacon by Bishop Valerius. During the persecutions of the church under Diocletian and Maximian, Dacian, governor of Spain took Vincent and Valerius prisoner. As Bishop Valerius had a speach impediment, Vincent spoke for both of them in defending the Church and the Christian faith. His defense was so vehement, that Dacian had him tortured, and his prison guard converted to the Christian faith. Vincent finally died under torture, but was faithful to the end. It is said that Dacian tried to do away with the body, by leaving it (unsucdesfully) for wild animals and having it sunk (also unsuccesfully) at sea.

A poem of his sufferings may be found at:

Collect for the day: Heavenly Father, as you raised Vincent to be deacon in Saragossa, and gave him eloquence to proclaim and strength to die for his faith, so fill us with your spirit that we would always be ready to proclaim the Gospel and to live and die for Yeshua. In the name of Yeshua we pray, Amen.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

1 January 2009: The Holy Name

The Holy Name or Circumcision of our Lord

Genesis 17:1-13
Luke 2:15-21

For the Jewish people, the eighth day after birth was the day upon which the child was circumcised, and was given his name. Jesus received his name which was Yeshua in Aramaic (the language he spoke) and Yehoshua in Hebrew. Both names indicate the same thing, Yah Shua or Yeho shua, God saves. Indeed Jesus’s very name proclaimed his mission, which was to save the whole world. It is important that we catch the fullness of this word, save. Miles Coverdale, in his translation of the scriptures uses the word heal consistently to translate this word. It is not a case of either or, but a case of both. The word implies salvation and the word implies healing. Perhaps a better way to translate the word is to be made whole. Jesus came into the world to establish true shalom, (peace, right relationship, blessing, and joy) between God and man, man and man, man and nature, and man and himself. To be truly whole, we must have right relationship with God, each other, nature and ourselves. This was the mission of Jesus, that we truly be made whole.

And Jesus begins this work through keeping the Law, being circumcised on the eighth day, his first blood shed for us and our salvation, because he had to complete the law in his life and death for us.

So let us with joy remember that Jesus saves us, heals us, and restores peace between man and God, man and others, man and nature and restores all things.

Emanuel, you who are with us, help us to remember that the name of Yeshua proclaims your salvation and healing, and through his finished work on the cross he completed his obedience to the law and the prophets began on this day, when he first shed blood in obedience to the law. Help us so to contemplate his holy name that we would truly accept that salvation, healing and wholeness and that our obedience to you would lead to salvation and healing of many: this we ask in the name of Yeshua haMoshiach, who took our nature upon himself to redeem it. Amen. (white)