Sunday, August 1, 2010
In 1977 an international congress of over 1,600 Anglican bishops, clergy, and lay people met in St. Louis, Missouri. They came together to determine the actions necessary to establish an orthodox jurisdiction in which traditional Anglicanism would be maintained, by returning to the fullness of the Faith of the undivided Catholic Church. Acting according to the principles determined by the seven great Ecumenical Councils of the ancient Church and adopting initially the name "Anglican Church of North America," they placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the retired bishop of Springfield, Illinois, the Right Reverend Albert Chambers.
The Affirmation of St. Louis
The Continuation of Anglicanism
Friday, August 24, 2007
Feast Day August 24
Bartholomew the Apostle was a Galilean, and went to the nearer regions of India which had fallen to him by lot for preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There he preached to those peoples the coming of the Lord Christ according to the Gospel of St. Matthew. But, since he had converted many in that region to Jesus Christ, he had to endure many trials and persecutions; and he went into Greater Armenia.
Here he brought Polymius the king and his wife and twelve cities to the Christian faith. This aroused against him the hatred of the priests of that people. They inflamed Astyages, the brother of King Polymius, against the Apostle so that he commanded that Bartholomew be flayed alive in a most cruel way and beheaded; and in this martyrdom the Apostle gave up his soul to God.
His body was buried at Albanopolis, the city of Greater Armenia where he suffered. It was later taken to he island of Lipari and afterwards was transferred to Benevento. Finally it was taken to Rome by Emperor Otto III and placed in a church on the island in the Tiber dedicated to God under the title of St. Bartholomew’s.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Each August 15th we celebrate the feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven. The Dogma of the Assumption (the declaration that after her death Mary was taken up to heaven body and soul) was solemnly declared by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950. Although it is not an “official” dogma for the Anglican Church, it is held as a universal truth by most faithful Anglican
The belief in the Assumption dates back to the early centuries of the Church. Christians always believed that Mary’s death was a falling asleep in the Lord or dormition. Dormition is from the Latin word for sleep, from which we get the word dormitory. At her dormition, or final sleeping, Mary was immediately taken up to God. Actually the Dormition of Mary or, to use our terminology, the Assumption of Mary was one of the most popular themes in religious art of the medieval times.
To the ancient and medieval Christians, the Assumption of Mary showed the fulfillment of God’s promise to his faithful Christian. Mary’s life was difficult. She suffered the scorn of the neighborhood busybodies because she was pregnant before marriage. She had to quietly endure this waiting for the day that God's plan would someday become evident. In the small tight knit community of
Mary’s life was difficult. But she had total faith in God's will for her and for his people. Therefore the Feast of the Assumption celebrates her faith being justified.
The 11th chapter of the Book of Revelations presents a woman who is clothed in the sun with the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars. The scene is not easy. The woman wails in childbirth. At the moment of the birth an awful beast appears ready to devour the child. The child was snatched up to God and his throne and the woman was protected in a special place prepared for her.
Biblical scholarship views this woman as symbolizing the Church, given the glory of God yet suffering as she tries to make him present to the world. The work of the Church is in fact the very Son of God. The Son is united to the Father. The woman, the Church, is protected by God.
Tradition views this passage in a different way. The woman is Mary, with her whole life seen in one glimpse. She is the one chosen to be the mother of the Son of God. Therefore, she is clothed in the sun, with the moon under her feet and wearing a crown of twelve stars. But she also suffers. She wails in pain. Her Son is attacked by the devil, but ultimately He is united to the Father. Mary is also protected in a special place set aside for her.
The solemnity of the Assumption considers Mary receiving the reward for her labor of love. She is taken to that special place that we call heaven.
She trusted in God and God justified her trust. Her life ended in her sleeping in the hand of the Lord, her dormition. She would live forever, body and soul, in heaven. She would be the one who all generations will call blessed. She will be the one who receive the total benefit of the sacrifice of Jesus. At her death, her final sleeping, Mary’s body would be raised up and united with God.
All of us have difficult situations and periods in our lives. All of us are tempted to give up our lives, to go a different way. How many of us know people who have just left, left their spouse and children, left the priesthood, left their lives. We are all tempted to walk away. But we can’t give in. We are called to sacrifice. We are called to be followers of Christ, who died on a cross.
And we trust God to pull us through. He's sees the sacrifices we make to be his followers. And we benefit. We benefit here on earth because we are happy living lives that our Christocentric, centered on Christ and his sacrificial love, rather than lives that are egocentric, selfish.
Mary had free will. She was not a plastic statue; she was a real person who could have said “no” to the angel or “no” to God’s plan at any time during her life. She could have complained. She could have doubted. She could have walked away. But she didn’t. She accepted all. She rejoiced in the new way to love she found with this special child. She sacrificed everything for him who was love.
We remember Mary and her life in the Anglican rosary. It is a wonderful background for prayer and mediation. It is an opportunity to slow ourselves down. And I recommend the rosary to you and in particular for the family who are blessed with children in the home.
When we pray to Mary, we should remember that Mary was a real person very much like us. She had difficult choices. She chose love, but this love entailed sacrifice and suffering. It also brought eternal happiness.
Mary’s Assumption is a reminder to us that God has a plan for each of us, a purpose for each of our lives. If we allow him to complete his plan in us, we also will be taken to that special place prepared for us, the place of inexpressible joy that we call heaven.
Monday, August 6, 2007
“I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” —Philippians 3:12
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name—of Jesus Christ—whose name in regard to character and authority is so firmly bound to the person himself, that we as disciples of Christ are exhorted to baptize, exorcise, heal the sick, and raise the dead by and through the sacred and salvific power of its very invocation. Indeed, today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name—of Jesus Christ—whose name in regard to character and authority in Hebrew and Aramaic is strikingly similar to the phrase “he will save,” and whose name reminds us that God is with us—even to the end of the age. Yes, today we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom every knee shall bow, and under whom all creation (as we speak) is being re-ordered and in and by whom all meaning is being re-inscribed in the actualization of God’s Holy Covenant.
The faith that we demonstrate and enjoy in proclaiming Jesus Christ Lord is the sustaining and propulsive power that continually drives us to insist on proclaiming to the world the message of Christ’s forgiveness of sin, comfort in times of weakness, loneliness, and desolation, and revolutionary subversion of violent force into works of love in any situation—come what may, fear or no fear, anxiety notwithstanding.
Yet the question our Savior asked his disciples in antiquity is the same one that he asks each one of us today: Who do you say that I am?
So perhaps it may be similar for us—although my name `'George” meaning farmer might only apply if we are considering parables about vineyards.
The point is, that in confessing who Jesus is to us—individually and corporately, Jesus confesses us as faithful witnesses and disciples, and in this we are given an identity—we find out who we are in relation to God. As we appreciate here at St. Ignatius Church and according to Acts 11:26, “in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians,” so in confessing Christ as Lord, we in turn take on his name and are called Christians—not as a surname, but as a change of name similar to that experienced by Abraham the father of our faith: we too make a testimony of loyalty to God: to follow Jesus, Lord and Savior of all, and to bring his teaching to the world as the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
Now this name “Christian” that we have been given and in which we rejoice is not to be taken lightly or for granted as though it were merely a given as opposed to a gift. As our philosopher friends Kierkegaard and Bonhoffer knew, taking on the name of Christ lightly and not in earnest—even with plenty of theological, liturgical, biblical, and pious window dressing—is at best to make a mockery of God, a mess of our lives, and to try and buy discipleship at a fixed cut rate.
For to do so in this wise is to take the name of the Lord in vain, and to squander the opportunity to walk in the way of our teacher and savior Christ, and to grow into the stature that he lovingly wills for us.
Judge for yourself: this is not an easy road—for to choose to follow Christ and take on his Holy Name is to choose to follow the one who had no place to lay his head... and in terms of the world, to choose this is to choose certain downfall. Yet as Christians, we already know that we are not merely bound by the world—how boring and easy that would be; would that that were the case! Our greater responsibility has to do with eternity, and to realize that eternity begins on this side of the grave.
We have already been born again by water and the Holy Spirit by virtue of our baptism. We affirm this birth whenever we partake of the Holy Sacraments in the community of the Body of Christ known as the Church.
The decisions we make now have eternal repercussions... And the commitment we have now as brothers and sisters in and of Christ exacts not merely the whole of our terrestrial lives from us, but an eternal responsibility to living up to our birthright. The choice is all yours.
by The Rev’d Fr. George M. Rogers III, given at St. Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church, NY, NY, Assistant Rector, Christ the Redeemer, Pelham, NY
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Today we celebrate the occasion on which Christ, as He was beginning to teach His disciples that He must die and rise again, revealed Himself in shining splendor to Peter, James, and John. Moses and Elijah were present, and are taken to signify that the Law and the Prophets testify that Jesus is the promised Messiah. God the Father also proclaimed him as such, saying, "This is my Beloved Son. Listen to him." For a moment the veil is drawn aside, and men still on earth are permitted a glimpse of the heavenly reality, the glory of the Eternal Triune God.
Our Lord had spoken to His disciples many times not only concerning His Passion, Cross, and Death, but also concerning the coming persecutions and afflictions that they themselves would endure. Since all these evils were near at hand, but the enjoyment of good things which they hoped to receive in their stead was yet to come, our Savior desired to give them full assurance, evidently and openly, concerning that glory which is prepared for those who endure to the end. Therefore, fulfilling that which He had promised shortly before, that "there be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in His Kingdom" (Matt. 16:28), He took His three foremost disciples and ascended Mount Tabor, where He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as the light. Suddenly, together with this dread and marvelous effulgence of light, there appeared those pinnacles of the Prophets, Moses and Elias, who spoke with the Lord Jesus concerning His saving Passion which was about to take place. Standing before Him as reverent servants, they showed that He is the Lord of both the living and the dead, for Moses came forth from Hades, having died many centuries before, and Elias, as it were from heaven, whither he had been taken up while yet alive. After a little while a radiant cloud overshadowed them and out of the cloud they heard that same voice which had been heard at the Jordan at the Baptism of Christ, testifying to the Divinity of Jesus and saying: "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well-pleased; hear ye Him" (Matt. 17: 5).
Such are the marvels, truly worthy of God, celebrated in this present feast, which is an image and prefiguring of the future state of the righteous, whose splendor the Lord spoke of, saying: "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun" (Matt. 13:43).
In the East, the Festival of the Transfiguration has been celebrated since the late fourth century, and is one of the twelve great festivals of the East Orthodox calendar. In the West it was observed after the ninth century by some monastic orders, and in 1457 Pope Callistus III ordered its general observance.
The following is an excerpt from a Sermon by Pope St. Leo the Great (Sermo de Transfigurat., ante medium)
THE Lord took chosen witnesses, and in their presence revealed his glory. That is to say, the form of body which he had in common with other men, he so transfigured with light, that his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment became exceeding white, even as snow. Now the chief purpose of this Transfiguration was to remove from the hearts of the disciples their fear of the Cross. So, before their eyes, was unveiled the splendour of his hidden majesty, that the lowliness of his freely-chosen suffering might not confound their faith. But nonetheless there was also thys set forth, by the providence of God, a sure and certain hope for holy Church, whereby the whole Body of Christ should know with what great a change it is yet to be honoured. For the members of that Body whose Head hath already been transfigured in light may promise themselves a share in his glory.
ALSO, that the Apostles might be strengthened, and brought forward into all knowledge, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias (that is, the Law and the Prophets), talking with them. This glorification of Christ took place before five witnesses, as though to fulfil that which is written : At the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. What can be more certain, or better attested, than this matter which is proclaimed by the trumpets of both the Old and the New Testament, and concerning which the witness of ancient testimony uniteth with the teaching of the Gospel? The pages of either Covenant strengthen one another, and the brightness of open glory maketh manifest and distinct him whom the former prophecies had promised under the veil of mysteries.
THE unveiling of such mysteries roused the mind of the Apostle Peter to an outburst of longing for the things eternal, which despised and disdained things worldly and earthly. Overflowing with gladness at the vision, he yearned to dwell with Jesus there, where the revelation of his glory had rejoiced him. And so he said : "Master, it is good for us to be here ; if thou wilt, let us make here tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias." To this proposal the Lord answered nothing, thus signifying that what Peter wished was not wrong, but out of place, since the world could not be saved but by the death of Christ. And the Lord's example was to call the faith of believers to this, that although we should have no doubts concerning the promise of eternal blessedness, yet we are to understand that, amid the trials of this life, we are to seek for power to endure rather than for glory.
From the Anglican Breviary
At the time of the Reformation, it was still felt in some countries to be a "recent innovation," and so was not immediately taken over into most Reformation calendars, but is now found on most calendars that have been revised in the twentieth century.
According to tradition, the Lord's Transfiguration came to pass forty days before His Crucifixion; this is why the Transfiguration is celebrated forty days before the Exaltation of the Cross.
A recent tendency though, in the West is to commemorate the Transfiguration on the Sunday just before Lent, in accordance with the pattern found in the Synoptics, where Jesus is represented as beginning to speak of his forthcoming death just about the time of the Transfiguration, so that it forms a fitting transition between the Epiphany season, in which Christ makes himself known, and the Lenten season, in which he prepares the disciples for what lies ahead. Whether observing the Transfiguration then will affect the observation of it on 6 August remains to be seen. It might be that we are called to observe the Transfiguration on both days.
Compiled text from various internet and written sources. A.A.B.