Christmastide

December 29, 2013 at 3:12 am (Pilgrimage)

SAM_1819

Christmas Day after church

As the Christmas season draws to an end, my wife and I enjoy the homes of our neighborhood decked with wonderful displays of lights and ornaments. During Advent we gave our annual donation to Salvation Army and other charitable societies. And, we are beginning to look to plans for 2014. Fortunately, the Christmas season continues, liturgically, beyond the New Years’, not really ending until Epiphany or Jan. 6th. Incidentally, this is the usual time public schools provide for holiday break, so something of the old Christmas season lingers.
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An Almonry

August 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm (Pilgrimage)

0803131351

Wifey serving the Hungry

Our Almonry launched in the early part of January. We have two reasons for doing such. First, it is good for my family to share food with other hungry people. We want to raise our children with a sense of charity. Although we sometimes have find it difficult to meet our own ends,  we usually don’t lack food. A lot of food is inexpensive– like rice, noodles, hamburger, chicken, beans, and punch– so it’s never really a problem. Secondly, we’re tired of letting perfectly good left-overs go bad in our refrigerator, so, when we over-cook, we figure its smart to give some away rather than toss it out. Thus, the Almonry began with a want to share our bounty, applying a couple excellent recipes given to us from our sister-in-law, Rosemary Bartlett.
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Casey’s Ordination

March 24, 2013 at 2:16 am (Pilgrimage)

Casey's Ordination

Conferring the Diaconate upon Casey

Last Sunday (3/17) a good friend of mine was ordained to the order of deacon at First OPC in San Francisco, CA. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) is a very conservative denomination, based on the 1647  Westminster Confession. I was very happy for Casey’s calling, yet I had some unsettled feelings for my own ambitions to the permanent diaconate as well as my history with First OPC.
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King Charles Martyr

February 25, 2011 at 5:40 pm (Pilgrimage)

IML officers, right to left: Mr. McAlister, Coulumbe, Fr. Kelly, Deacon Bartus, Cpt. Bird, Mr. Yakimov, and Dr. Llizo

In January, Amanda and I hopped in the Chevy Geo and took-off for Southern California to catch the first gala event of International Monarchist League’s LA chapter.  We were invited by my friend, Dr. R. Tom Llizo (a subdeacon in WRO-St. Michael’s), who recently became the League’s VP. It so happened that a couple friends from St. Luke’s REC, Mark and Andrew, were likewise planning to attend, so we made the event a pleasant rendezvous. Mark and Andrew both blog on Anglican issues,  and they also gave devotions as lectors at our wedding. It was fantastic to get back together with them since we saw them last August, and we all had a great time. Andrew’s blog can be read at: http://unpopops.blogspot.com/

the League's reception

The  League was kicking-off its LA chapter. We got to meet a number of North American monarchists, some of whom have historical interests (myself), while others are more cultural and political. Mr. Charles A. Coulombe, the western IML delegate and grand council member, was there and spoke regarding the potential of a League in Los Angeles, reminding those attending that LA was the beginning of the King’s Road (El Camino Real), and the downtown plaza was dedicated to the Crown of Spain upon its foundation. In a way, monarchism surrounds us historically, and if we pay attention it’s hard to forget this fact. Capt. Stuart Bird-Wilson spoke as Queen’s delegate from the Royal Society of St. George , and several members belonging to the Russian  Imperial Union Order were present. St. Mary’s of the Angels in North Hollywood hosted the event with a beautiful evening prayer (Vesper) service dedicated King Charles I’s memory.

St. Mary's stained glass, King Charles and Laud.

Charles I was the last head of the English church before the rise of Cromwell, before the supremacy of parliament, its imposition of Solemn League & Covenant in England, and prior to the Puritan”s interim presbyterianism which eventually gave way to congregationalism. The Protectorate finally collapsed due to lack of public support for the Army, but Cromwell was the first to fatally wound the concept of a national church headed by the Crown.  Presbyterians ironically restored the monarchy hoping a puritanized version of the BCP would be adopted, but, once they lost parliament to royalists in 1661, Anglicans re-established the earlier religious Settlement enjoyed by Elizabeth I and Henry VIII. But I digress.

St. Mary's Nave and Chancel

Getting back to Charles I’s death: When Presbyterians ejected Bishops and Royalists from church and state, 1643-45, they captured King Charles after the Siege of Oxford in 1646. By 1648 Charles I was tried by a junta court, and in Jan 30, 1649 the Army violated Solemn League by seizing him and cutting off his head. Charles died saying these last words, ” I go from a corruptible to an incorruptible crown; where no disturbance can be, no disturbance in the world… Remember!”  Charles and William Laud proved great martyrs for the Anglican church, and they have since been rightly memoralized in Anglican liturgy, calendars, busts, and images. They definitely should not be forgotten, but the last century have feel victim to liberal ecumenicalism. When we do, we forget a great nursing father of the English Church.

Subdeacon Thomas and Amanda. In front of St. Mary's

St. Mary’s is an ACA parish and will likely join Pope Benedict XVI’s Ordinariate. Mary of the Angels is a very historical Anglican parish going back to the turn of the century while Hollywood was nearly a shanty town, dotted w/ barns and tents. The parish is in the middle of a relatively affluent, condo-packed neighborhood with lots of young people. Before Vespers, Amanda and I had lunch at an upscale bistro. I had some soup and she ordered fish. We then met Andrew and Mark across the way in a nearby coffee shop, quickly catching up on some things before the service started. We then made it for Vespers, and greeting us was the IML wecloming men. Our first impression was we were under-dressed!

Little Church Around the Corner

St. Mary’s was very a very striking parish church. My impression was they knew who they were. Though not classical Anglican, and basically Roman Catholic, they reinforced their history, churchmanship, and identity throughout the walls of the building– be it in the sanctuary, pews, narthex, social hall, offices, even the bathroom! They offered tracts, books and brochures in almost every chamber. Too often Anglican churches don’t do this. They shun ‘definition’ and opt instead for a fuzzy broadness were focus is agreeing with everyone, sometimes even unitarians. St. Mary’s is surely a charitable church, but they have stuck to a transparent standard, and this is evident wherever you go while in their parish. For Vespers we sat in the middle row of pews, and sung the Divine office. Deacon Andrew Bartus delivered the sermon on due obedience to authority. Fr. Andrew would later be ordained into the priesthood and has since become the League’s chaplain. The service was beautiful, and afterwards we gathered downstairs for a champaign.

Charles I and royal progeny

It turned out we had contingents from a number of christian faiths. This was probably the first time I’ve enjoyed ‘diversity’. Many of the folks were originally from Anglican churches, but it was a wide christian spectrum. We had WRO, Anglican Use, REC Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Russian Orthodox all in one room prayering together. Amanda, Andrew, Mark, and myself made up the classical Anglican contingent. Foremost in common was our convictions about monarchism. This really got us thinking about a substantial ecumenicalism based on surviving royal households and erastian polities than boiling everything down to minimal ‘essentials’. Afterwards, we all went across the street and had a delicious Italian dinner. Amanda and I didn’t get back on the road until 11 pm. We drove all night back home, crashed for three hours, got up, and still made it to Sunday worship– a memorial service for King Charles I at our parish, St. Luke’s in the Hills (also REC).

Bradshaw's trial against his King

Immortal words of King Charles to the Parliament of 1649 which tried him: “I would know by what power I am called hither … I would know by what authority, I mean lawful; there are many unlawful authorities in the world; thieves and robbers by the high-ways … Remember, I am your King, your lawful King, and what sins you bring upon your heads, and the judgement of God upon this land. Think well upon it, I say, think well upon it, before you go further from one sin to a greater … I have a trust committed to me by God, by old and lawful descent, I will not betray it, to answer a new unlawful authority; therefore resolve me that, and you shall hear more of me”

Anglican Monarchist Contingent: Andrew, Amanda, Charles, and Mark

It was an awesome weekend. We look forward to St. George’s Day, May 1st, again at St. Mary’s, hosted by the League. .This will then be followed on the same weekend by the KJV’s 400th birthday– May 2-3rd–as Anglicans our only approved bible outside the Bishop’s“Remember!”

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Wedding Vows

September 4, 2010 at 11:34 am (Pilgrimage)

Sacramental Binding

Although more wedding pictures are on the way, I wanted to share the first round. All-in-all it was a wonderful ceremony, August 14th. Amanda took care of the guests. I mostly took care of liturgy. The magnificence of the rite combined with the solemnity of the public vow was truly awe-striking.  Friends and family attended, about 65 total. I had some relatives who really made an extra effort to be there, and their attendance was incredibly special. Also, my pastor from 1st OPC, Scott, and his wife, Joyce Cox, both humbly blessed the event with their most charitable support and presence. I have to thank Mark Talley and Andrew Matthews who came up from Southern California to assist as lectors/clerks, bringing surplice and cassocks. They dressed well. Mark writes at River Thames and Andrew is the author at Unpopular Opinions. It was also a rather ‘ecumenical’ ceremony. Father Tom Sramek (TEC) celebrated w/ Fr. Mike Penfield (REC/APA) assisting. I also need to thank Amanda’s family and maid-of-honor, Cheryl Hoffman, who worked herself to death preparing the social hall and sorting the many details. To the right (below) is a picture of Amanda and her father, coming up at procession, escorting her to the front of the nave where the rite proper took place.

Mr. Kruse presenting his daughter, Amanda, the beautiful bride

The rite combined both sacraments of matrimony and communion, blending the marriage rite into the antecommunion. Amanda looked gorgeous coming up the isle with her father who gave her away. It was a dream come true for her, and I too, being the manifestation of a very long and emotional time of planning. To see it all come to fruition without a hitch was spectacular. The liturgy can be read below. However, I was not the sole compiler. There were a number of expectations and requirements that the final liturgy had to conform– namely special hymnal requests by family, the modern practice of dual rings, as well as the rite itself being held in front of the nave rather than amidst the people in the nave’s center according the the BCP). However, these changes were successfully incorporated and balanced in constructive ways, making all parties happy.

Fr. Penfield and Fr. Sramek (left to right)

The hymns help transition the Epistle reading, 1 Cor 13, from the OT, Gen.2 and Gospel, Matt 19. The sermon then covered Eph 5, but it was a synthesis of Jewel and Cranmer’s two homilies on holy matrimony. Cranmer outlining the God ordained duties of husband and wife: Jewel warning spouses about the wiles of the devil and need for prayer/grace. A lot of people were rather shocked by the headship exhortations scattered throughout the 1662 rite, and one individual, surprisingly, took offense to Eve coming from Adam’s rib. But the most common complaint was the length– I think 1-1/2 hrs if not more. Thankfully, people understood it was a once in a life event. The audience was mixed, but we did have quite a few Episcopal Anglicans and a number of Reformed families. The communion was 1928 American BCP, picking up at the offertory, and utilizing the third exhortation, whereby Amanda and I processed  before the altar, giving earlier vows as sacrifice to the Lord Almighty, joining that band to the eucharist prayer, and then receiving the body and blood of Christ Jesus after the priests.  Many of our friends and family partook after being properly warned (three times) of unworthy reception. Overall it was a great evangelical witness, and I believe a couple friends and family who’ve been in constant prayer were moved by it.

the kiss of peace x 3

There were three parts of the liturgy which might have been better. First, Amanda and I processed toward the altar at the wrong time, i.e. the offertory rather than before the four matrimonial blessings. Second, no one sang psalm 127 even though the words were printed plainly in the schedule. I don’t know why. Third, the TEC priest administered the sacrament with the 79 words plus added some light-hearted humor, especially after I kissed Amanda three times. I would have liked to have made more a contrast between the faithful and unchurched, but we allowed those who wished to blend in cross their arms for a blessing. The TEC vestments weren’t right, but the TEC priest did pray eastward during the antecommunion as well as kept the chalice/paten off the table until the offeratory w/ elements coming from a credence table nearby. I think he had a hard time dealing with the warnings to partake, generalizing the exhortation w/ “all christians are welcome”. I also realized how hard these things are to coordinate  when the chancel furnituring assumes a table. I did like TEC’s emphasis on visual accessibility to priest and table, and St. Edward’s has an interesting rood cross (hanging above the altar not the chancel arch). But this is minutiae which the assembly didn’t catch. Given it was also the same day as the vigil of St. Mary, a proper for the BVM might have been appropriate, and I wish it was included as a witness to certain virtues like motherhood, obedience, and chastity. Nonetheless, the ceremony was unquestionably Christ-centered.

Recessional. Mr and Mrs. Bartlett!

No pictures were allowed during the communion. But we posed after the marriage, and of course during the procession. I wept, but only because the joining of two people as one is just so amazing. In retrospect I wish I remained more composed, but the event was very emotional. After the recession, we greeted the people in the narthax. It really strucked us how loving people were to come, and we thanked people we had known our entire lives. The wedding reception then followed in a nearby social hall at St. Edward’s. My brother gave a moving toast, and we all cried. Then the maid-of-honor added some warm words, reminding everyone what a lovely person and wonderful bride Amanda was. We cut cake, and gently fed eachother. No mess. Amanda and I were the last to go. We gave extra food and wine to many people. Mark, Andrew, Matthew and Michael (Amanda’s cousins), and my buddy Casey help pack our wedding gifts into my tiny geo metro 96! I wish I had a picture of that. It really felt wonderful to drive Amanda back to our home, both of us dressed in tux and gown, starting our modest life together.

the Bartlett's

There is so much I missed. My bunnies of course stayed behind, but I sorted wanted one bunny to be a ring bearer. lol. Sadly, my father couldn’t make it. He was in nursing facility, recovering from a neck injury. My brother, John (best man), was fantastic, hiring a friend to watch while the family made the wedding. Amanda and I are both serious about having kids. We have been praying for John to be a Godparent, and amazingly enough he’s considering visiting an REC church in Vacaville. Amanda’s cousin, Michael, also lives in Vacaville and is a deacon at a Dutch Reformed church, CRC. So, the Lord provides! Anyway, the good news is my father is making great strides in recovery. He’s had the benefit of three churches praying for him (I call this three angels) and many living saints. We expect to have him back for the holidays w/ his neck fracture healed and walking.

cutting the cake

Amanda and I are living in Santa Clara, in an area called the ‘rose gardens’, not far from the mission and the university down the road, about a quarter mile. Our apartment gets real hot during the summer, but we are happy– full of food (even so much we regularly give extra to neighbors), and the garden is still growing back home in Fremont. We are building planter boxes for herbs in our parking lot, and saving money to relocate to Northern CA if not Oregon  in a couple years (perhaps sooner depending on jobs). But we aren’t leaving without taking a truck load or two of relatives and friends with us! Until then, we are attending public worship at REC (Los Altos Hills) while occasionally visiting Amanda grandma’s TEC (St. Edward’s) and an ACAA (St. Paul’s) church from time-to-time. If you are ever in the area, please contact us. We do evening prayer w/ catechism W, F, and Sun at the rose gardens w/ a complimentary meal. We are making halloween treats for St. Luke’s Sept. 13th, inviting apartment neighbors, as well as getting candy for the surrounding children.  Our troths were:

¶ Then shall they give their troth to each other in this manner. The Priest, receiving the Woman at her father’s hands, shall cause the Man with his right hand to take the Woman by her right hand, binding them by stole, and say after him as followeth.

I, CHARLES JAMES BARTLETT, take thee, Amanda Sue Kruse, to my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness an in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.

¶ Then shall they loose their hands; and the Woman with her right hand taking the Man by his right hand, shall likewise say after the Priest,

I, AMANDA SUE KRUSE, take thee, Charles James Bartlett, to be my wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to cherish and obey, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.

(Reception pictures will be added later to this same post. The cake was banana-strawberry at the top, chocolate marble in the middle, and bottom tier was chocolate moues-raspberry. We munched on that for one week afterwards, Amanda gaining no weight and I ten pounds!  YUM!)

God Bless   &  Prayers Deliver!

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Our Marriage Liturgy

June 30, 2010 at 6:02 pm (Pilgrimage)

Note: Since our marriage, there are some very minor changes I’d recommend to the liturgy. If the communion can be restricted to the clergy, betrothed couple, and wedding party, then removing the exhortation and perhaps the offertory song (i.e., Ps. 67) would shorten the service. This ceremony, as is, took 1.15 hrs. With above changes, it would prove slightly less than an hour.

Charles and Amanda

BIDDING THE BANNS ¶ to be announced by the minister three Christian Sabbaths before the date of marriage

I PUBLISH the Banns of Marriage between Mr. Charles Bartlett of Glenmoor, Fremont CA and Ms. Amanda Kruse of Almaden, San Jose CA. If any of you know just cause, or just impediment, why these two persons should not be joined together in holy Matrimony, ye are to declare it: This is the first [second, or third] time of asking.

¶ And if the persons that are to be married dwell in divers Parishes, the Banns must be asked in both Parishes; and the Curate of the one Parish shall not Solemnize Matrimony between them, without a Certificate of the Banns bid three consecutive  Sundays before the marriage date [Aug. 14th]. Read the rest of this entry »

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Trinitytide

June 16, 2010 at 4:52 pm (Pilgrimage)

Greetings in the name of Bunny Revolution!

the coming betrothal

Perhaps trinitytide is too long a season to give a single post. But, given I haven’t kept up this blog perhaps it’s for the best. I had to replace a digital camera but also just plain busy. I have some big events coming up.  I will be getting married August 14th (we were engaged on the Saturday before the first Sunday in Advent). The marriage service is scheduled for the morning before the vigil of St. Mary, and the TEC priest is letting me pick the liturgy for Amanda and myself. I am using the 1928 ‘blended’ into the same antecommunion. The sermon will be a slightly edited homily given for marriage in the 1662 w/ some Jeremy Taylor mixed in and a portion of the bidding prayer from 1928. The vows are unequal, also from 1662. We have dual rings, kept the blessing of the rings, and I took the third exhortation (a bit shortened) from 1928 between the whole church prayer and confession. I really love this exhortation, and we will have several Reformed friends there (two pastors)  along with unchurch family members we’d like to see evangelized. Amanda is excited about the reception and ceremony too. Her grandma and she picked the hymns, ‘O perfect Love’, and ‘St. Magaret’. We’ve also added Ps. 128 from the Geneva psalter.

The nupital mass will include propers I plan to write for St. Mary. The blessed Virgin is a great role model for chastity of spirit as well as pregnancy and child-birth. I’d like the families and single-folk to be both exposed to her godly example in the prayers. Given the date of the service and importance children to us, a saturday votive mass to recall Mary seems appropriate. Amanda and I have already talked about children. If we have a girl, Paulette Jean Bartlett (after her aunt, RIP). If a boy, James Conrad Bartlett (after my father).  Amanda is very much looking forward to pregnancy and kids, and we are already putting money aside for diapers.

Back to the details of this nupital mass: We’re trying to stick to rubrics as described by Dearmer, but this might be too much for the TEC priest (he’s an ’emerger’) to crash-study. We expect an APA priest and deacon to help. In know…too much detail, but for liturgical folk who visit, you might find it interesting. Keep us all in your prayers! We have many financial problems. I also need prayers to pass the CSET test for teaching high school mathematics.

this year's summer garden

Meanwhile the garden this year had a late start. My first growth of beets got ransacked by pill bugs. These hungry little critters just multiplied in my compost box, and I unfortunately planted seed on the same day I mixed the compost into the garden soil. This was a mistake, and I lost everything. I also had a lot of old seed mixed into new. My advice with compost– if you have an open box, you will have lots of bugs. Give a week or two for the bugs in the compost to scatter about before planting. Water your tilled garden soil down during that period. The bugs love loose soil, living under dirt clods. If you periodically water, the smaller clods turn to mud. Feel free to sew then, but don’t use old store seed. My store seed was good only for 6 months after opening the package. The other solution to avoid infestations of bugs is buy a closed compost barrel. This will prove hotter than an open box, you can flip the barrel, and you’ll get better compost.

In the end, I was scared of the bugs, so I went back to using planter trays rather than sew for my first ‘crop’, then transferring the seedlings by hand. I much prefer broadcasting seed. The tilled soil (by mattock not tiller) also produced some surprises. The compost had a lot of fruit seed mixed inside plus vegies from last season, giving rise to some volunteers. I now have a half-dozen peach seedlings with some kale and corn coming up. Not much, but a surprise!

notice the difference in drip lines-- one wet, the other dry

Another footnote might be to spend a little more money on your drip irrigation hoses. I went with the ‘sponge’, continuous drip kind, but the six-inch (spaced holes) hose is far better. The sponge gets clogged with dust and mud, and pretty soon they just stop working. They are about three dollars cheaper than the hard plastic, but not worth it. In the long run you end up replacing them with new lines.

This summer I have 37 tomato plants growing. The ring around the garden. Many of them are cherry and ace, however, but several are steak. Tomatoes in this part of CA do very well. They grew last year well into December before it got cold enough to turn the vines to ‘slime’. When cold hits this is what happens– 40 below. And, we had tomatoes daily. This year we have ten more plants, so it should be bountiful. I also discovered the wonders of Kale. I plan to post a special kale devotional soon. It’s such a great plant. It could save the world. Of course, we got beets, chard, and collards– all easy growing and sun hardy plants. I will be adding some broccoli seedlings this week too.

trouble-making bunny in garden

I’ve gotten a number of emails asking about the bunnies. The bunnies are doing great! Mommy bunny has a slight growth that I am worried about. They are all fat. They look like circular balls with tiny legs that hop. And I never realized how social bunnies are. They love to groom one another, and are soo cute. I can’t believe I was going to breed these animals for meat. Don’t tell the Fremont bunny club! St. Francis day is coming soon, and we’ll take our pets for blessings. Lastly, the county fair is coming, so Amanda and I will be buying two hens. I am putting in the foundation for a racoon-proof chicken coop this weekend. I wish I talked about this during Rogation week. oh well… I will document the coop here. Any suggested chicken names?

Ave Maria

I’ve also been thinking about the merits of Kingdomtide as a liturgical season. NT Wright feels Kingdomtide and Christ the King are unnecessary, robbing the theme from Advent. But the length of Trinitytide probably has much to do with having no major festival aside from All Saints. Part of this is due to eliminating the  festival of the Assumption. This would have been the primary summer festival? I understand and agree with the reasons for such censorship, but modern TEC’s have replaced the Assumption with a more generic day of remembrance for St. Mary. I think this is proper, and given she’s one of the greatest biblical saints, it stands to reason.  But the Kingdom is not only marked by the bride, but also by the body of Christ or his many saints (hence, All Saints). Therefore, a kingdomtide beginning with the Vigil of St. Mary and ending on the last octave of All Saints seems reasonable. That leaves one week before the beginning of pre-Avent season– the original 40 day fast before Christmas– either omitting or fixing Christ the King there. I am trying to find a season to match the OT tempo of ‘Tabernacles’ (i.e, the body or tent of Christ). Perhaps my next post will be on this hypothetical ‘kingdomtide’?  And, I guess the proposal for new/reformed holy days (memorials of Anglican saints like King Charles or Kingdomtide, for example) usually have their start locally. What is interesting is how such irregular feasts can also define locality… ? PAX  🙂

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All Hallows Eve

November 25, 2009 at 10:07 pm (Pilgrimage)

Happy Hallows

Halloween is derived from ‘All-Hallows-Even’, meaning the All Holy Eve, found in the Prayer Book. The Latin term for “Holy”, aka, ‘Sanctus’, comes the word ‘saint’, i.e., “All Saints Eve”.  Halloween is a vigil for the dearly departed. The 1928 prayer book offers a prayer during the burial of the dead, “O God, whose mercies cannot be numbered; Accept our prayers on behalf of the soul of thy servant departed, and grant him an entrance into the land of light and joy, in the fellowship of thy saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord” (p. 334).

Scary Purgatory

purgatory

In the West, ‘All Saints’, aka. Hallows-Mass, or Hallowmas, began in the eighth century as a festival to commemorate ‘Saints, Martyrs, Confessors, and the Just made perfect’. All Saints grew in popularity and status, and by 835 AD the Frankish King, Louis the Pious, made its occasion obligatory for Christians.. By the 15th century, Pope Sixtus IV, affirmed its solemnity with an octave, ranking Hallows Day up with Easter, Whitsun, and Christmas. But in the eleventh century, Odilo of Cluny, added a second day– All Souls. Instead, All Souls recollected ordinary Christians caught in purgatory. Purgatory’s reputation as a residence of devils, torturing men until their satisfaction for sins were paid, made Hallows Eve a scary if not somber occasion. The story of St. Odilo details a harrowing visit from purgatory, not unlike our many ghostly and goulish tales more common to Halloween:

According to Jesse Voyles in his Life of St Odilo, a pilgrim returning from the Holy Land was cast by a storm on a desolate island. A hermit living there told him that amid the rocks was a chasm communicating with purgatory, from which perpetually rose the groans of tortured souls. The hermit also claimed he had heard the demons complaining of the efficacy of the prayers of the faithful, and especially the monks of Cluny, in rescuing their victims. Upon returning home, the pilgrim hastened to inform the abbot of Cluny, who then set 2 November as a day of intercession on the part of his community for all the souls in purgatory.

Anglicana’s All-Saints:

Martyrs

Martyrs

In the English Reformation, the dreary idea of purgatory as a place of torture or limbo was ‘exorcised’, and Souls Day was folded into Hallowmas. Thus, for English people, Nov. 1st became a commemoration for the entire Church, both great saints and ordinary souls. In Germany, All Saints particularly pointed to Martin Luther’s posting of 95 Theses, marking the beginning of the Reformation.  In England, Luther’s writings arrived at an early date, appearing in 1519. Not only did the Elizabethan period preserve All Saints, but it also published Fox’s Book of Martyrs. What a better time to dust off a picture of Cranmer? Anyway, the Anglican emphasis turned away from purgatory toward the communion of saints, our union with them and the heavenlies, the examples of their lives, and life everlasting as demonstrated by Christ’s Resurrection.  The Collect for Nov. 1st says:

“O Almighty God, who has knit together thine elect in one communion on fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee: through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Souling and Alms:

In places like Brittany, Hallowmas remains the occasion for visiting cemeteries, decorating the graves of loved ones while pouring holy water or even milk libations upon tombstones.

2 cp flour, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup milk, 8 tbsp butter, 1/2 cp sugar, 2 egg yolks, 1/2 cup currants

The custom of Souling, from which ‘Trick-or-Treating’ or ‘guising’ derives, also comes from Britain, where children or the poor went  door-to-door begging for ‘soul cakes’ (scones filled with cinnamon spices, topped with fruits in the sign of a cross) or apples in exchange for giving a prayer to the dead, singing or caroling this:

Soul, Soul, a soul cake!
I pray thee, good missus, a soul cake!
One for Peter, two for Paul,
three for Him what made us all!
Soul Cake, soul cake, please good missus, a soul cake.
An apple, a pear, a plum, or a cherry, anything good thing to make us all merry.
One for Peter, one for Paul, & three for Him who made us all

a gord size sugar pumpkin

Souling practices like candle lanterns carved from turnips– lit to guide lost spirits from purgatory while warding off devils– later turned into jack-o’-lanterns, especially when Irish came to America. Here, pumpkins were abundant (and much larger!), making carving easy. My sugar pumpkins are much more like Ireland’s turnips. Meanwhile, in New England, Victorians continued ‘souling’, Hallowe’en being considered a time to study old traditions and drink plenty of Scotch, taking note from Robert Burn’s poem, Hallowe’en:

Upon that night, when fairies light
On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance;
Or for Colean the route is ta’en,
Beneath the moon’s pale beams;
There, up the cove, to stray and rove,
Among the rocks and streams
To sport that night.                                                                                               –other stanzas read here

Some Upbeat Thoughts:

Halloween can be a very God-centered holiday. It becomes ‘ugly’ if we dwell on the fearsome half of it (death, separation, enmity). It gives opportunity to weigh our struggles with temptation and the devil.  During this time, men should look back to the resurrection Christ, knowing all those who’ve held to the promises of Christ remain with Him and are not cast down. But our Hallowmas should not end with ghouls and goblins or other unsavory demons. Do not forget the psalms and revelations which speak of the church militant and heavenly host. Halloween is also a time of spiritual strengthening, to give to the poor, be charitable, and cook lots soul cakes. Even today, many poor children come to our neighborhood for snacks and luncheon candy. In the midst of the fun, why not revive a little ‘souling’—singing the carols of saints and the dearly departed from the 1940 Hymnal? Tie written prayers for the whole church (abbreviated ones) to candy and cakes. Nor neglect evening prayer and the litany. The Anglican Missal gives the reading of Christ’s casting of demons (Lk. 6:1`7), along with the Introit, “The Saints shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people”. This is what we should look forward to.

Upon Hallowmas, after we may partake in morning communion, we might organize our lessons and thoughts upon the divines, martyrs, and saints of the Church; visit relatives; and decorate the graves of family, etc. It is a time to think about family, retell genealogy, reflect upon the baptized, and those died in Christ, both in heaven and earth. Hallowmas is a celebration of Christ’s Tabernacle, “that he is in us, and we in him”. Perhaps Mass should be done a little higher, paying special attention to the following petition:

“And we also bless thy holy Name for all thy servants departed in this life in thy faith and fear; beseeching thee to grant them continual growth in thy love and service, and to give us grace so to follow their good examples, that with them we may be partakers of thy heavenly kingdom”

Ending Hallow's Eve

This Hallowmas we had a bit of a hangover from Scotch-whiskey while our parish service skipped the incense. Until this year, I did not know how ‘high’ All Saints was as a festival (octave and vigil), even with respect to the Anglican kalendar. The Anglican reformation perhaps made Hallowe’en less fearful and more comfortable, emphasizing our communion with saints on earth and in heaven, through solemn prayer and seal of the Promise. There was a time when family and kith were all buried together in the same parish graveyards. We should return to those remaining ‘mini-shrines’, reversing as much as possible the fragmentation of locality and family, visiting who we can and keeping all in prayer. Even holiday cards? The tombstones of old churches remain a testimony to the Promise given by God to ‘thy seed, and their seed’, generation after generation; from the fathers and princes of Israe to their households and children. This is indeed a time of ‘ingathering’– a memorial to the christian community’, last harvest, a final great feast before the end of Trinity, and “collects” par excellence as we approach Advent, Christmas, and then the last winter fast which culminates in Lent!  It is truly one of our greatest feasts. Amanda, my family, and I look forward to it next year.

Read more about the Hallow’s Octave starting with her Vigil at Homely Divinity.

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St. Francis Day

November 19, 2009 at 6:35 pm (Pilgrimage)

Fr. Craig, Charles, Fr. John, Amanda

Note: Since mid-February, 2010, I left CCP/ACC for an Anglican Church better centered on Settlement and Reformation principles. I miss CCP’s beautiful worship and people. Visit my Anglican blog here for more of my sundry convictions. Anyway, I wish the CCP the best. Here follows the story of St. Francis and my bunnies!

This belongs to Oct. 4rth, St. Francis Day. Amanda, my girlfriend, and I brought my bunnies for blessings. About a year ago I was hesitant regarding blessings upon animals. But, blessings are prayers conducted by the priests for the well-being of our pets.  Our litany contains prayers for both livestock and harvests. I imagine blessings upon animals is old, harkening back to our agricultural days where the survival andprosperity of livestock was important. St. Francis has this curious association about him, making his liturgical day akin to our Prayer Book rogation days. The connection between God, seasons, growth, harvests, and cycles of fast/feast is something I hope to explore. Perhaps re-establishing St. Francis as regularly observed liturgical day would behoove or at least preserve an agrarian memory? Anyway, the prayer I gave for my  bunnies were they be protected from the devouring racoons and escape the many hawks in the sky. Life can be very scary for a bunny.

St. Francis and the Rabbit:

“One day a brother brought a rabbit who had been caught in a trap to St. Francis. Francis advised the rabbit to be more alert in the future, then released the rabbit from the trap and set it on the ground to go its way. But the rabbit hopped back up onto Francis’ lap, desiring to be close to the saint.
Francis took the rabbit a few steps into the woods and set it down. But it followed Francis back to his seat and hopped on his lap again!

Finally Francis asked one of his fellow friars to take the rabbit far into the woods and let it go. That worked. This type of thing happened repeatedly to Francis—which he saw as an opportunity to praise the glory of God. If the simplest creatures could be so endowed with God’s wonder, how much the more so we humans!”

bunnies going for prayers

St. Francis was principally an evangelist. We can look at Francis as an early progenitor for evangelical revival in the Church, e.g., Methodism. Francis founded 13th century mendicant orders. As a lay movement within the church they practiced the literal example of Christ’s life, vowing poverty and constant preaching. Francis himself was called after hearing Matt 10:7-9 read during Mass in the little church of Portiuncula, outside Assisi, “Preach as you go, saying The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand…Take no gold, nor silver, nor copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor a staff; for the laborer is worthy of his food’. Thus, began Francis’ public ministry.

The Logos:
Francis became such a reputed preacher, many followed him, forming chapters of Friar Minors across Europe. Francis moved the monastic life from the rural cloister to the urban poor, preaching to all men and creatures great and small. The power of Francis’s preaching was so strong, even the animals stopped to listen. Francis, speaking to the poor in heart, had a great love for the visible signs God gave man, not only the Word preached but God’s logos in nature. Perhaps upon his many wanderings, he composed the biblical hymn, known as the “Canticle of the Sun”. Surely on these long journeys between towns and cities, Francis thanked God for the rising Sun in after a cold night, a clean water brook, or the fruit off the vine alongside the road. At St. Joseph’s we sang the ‘Canticle of the Sun’ during the clerical recessional, It is found in the 1940 Hymnal, composed by Howard Chandler Robbins, 1939. hymn 307.

Most high, omnipotent, good Lord!
To thee be ceaseless praise outpoured,
And blessing without measure.
From thee alone all creatures came.
No man is worthy to thee name.
My Lord be praised by brother Sun,
Who through the skies his course doth run,
And shines in brilliant splendor:
With brightness he doth fill the day,
And signifies thy boundless sway.
My Lord be praised by sister moon
And all the stars, that with her soon
Will point the glittering heavens.
Let wind and air and cloud and calm
And weathers all, repeat the psalm.
By sister water be thou blessed,
Most humble, useful, precious, chaste:
Be praised by brother fire;
Jocund is he, robust and bright,
And strong to lighten all the night.
by mother earth my Lord be praised;
governed by thee she hath upraised
What for man’s life is needful.
Sustained by thee through ev’ry hour
She bringeth forth fruit, herb, and flower.
My Lord be praised by those who prove
In free forgivingness their love
Nor shrink from tribulation.
Happy, who peaceable endure;
Wit thee, Lord, their reward is sure.
For death our sister, praised be,
From whom no man alive can flee.
Woe to the unprepared!
But blest be they who do thy will
And follow thy commandments still.
Most High, omnipotent, good Lord,
To thee be ceaseless praise outpoured,
And blessing without measure.
Let creatures all give thanks to thee.
And serve in great humility. Amen

The thoughts of St. Francis may be found in the books his followers and he presumably wrote– his two Rules; the Regula Primitiva, Regula Bullata; and a later work called ‘Little Flowers’. Franciscan devotions captured the imagination of Victorian England. From the rules we receive a great, Western ascetic tradition which later the shaped holiness and spiritual societies of the 18th century, aka. the Great Awakening washing England and America. St. Francis’s chapters first arrived in England in Dover 1224 AD, and have left their legacy ever since, even the literalism of evangelical fundamentalism hearkens back to early Franciscans.

Holiness as Sacrament:
St. Francis was also reputed to carry the marks of the cross or stigmita upon him. He is the first stigmatic in history. Albeit perhaps pure legend, stigma made him like the cross, a living sacrament, communicating a medieval idea that greatly sanctified men themselves become vessels of grace for others, stirring faith.

Francis recieving stigmata

In 1224, two years before his death, he embarked on a journey to Mt. Alverna for a forty day fast. One morning near the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, a six winged angel appeared to Francis while he prayed. As the angel approached, Francis could see that the angel was crucified. He was humbled by the sight, and his heart was filled with elation joined by pain and suffering. When the angel departed, Francis was left with wounds in his hands, feet, and side as if caused by the same lance that pierced Christ’s side. The image of nails immediately appeared in his hands and feet, and the wound in his side often seeped blood. The flowing blood possessed a flowery odor, and mark remained without infection, never healing. St. Francis’ first biographer, Thomas of Celano, reports the event as follows in his 1230 First Life of St. Francis

“When the blessed servant of God saw these things he was filled with wonder, but he did not know what the vision meant. He rejoiced greatly in the benign and gracious expression with which he saw himself regarded by the seraph, whose beauty was indescribable; yet he was alarmed by the fact that the seraph was affixed to the cross and was suffering terribly. Thus Francis rose, one might say, sad and happy, joy and grief alternating in him. He wondered anxiously what this vision could mean, and his soul was uneasy as it searched for understanding. And as his understanding sought in vain for an explanation and his heart was filled with perplexity at the great novelty of this vision, the marks of nails began to appear in his hands and feet, just as he had seen them slightly earlier in the crucified man above him. His hands and feet seemed to be pierced by nails, with the heads of the nails appearing in the palms of his hands and on the upper sides of his feet, the points appearing on the other side. The marks were round on the palm of each hand but elongated on the other side, and small pieces of flesh jutting out from the rest took on the appearance of the nail-ends, bent and driven back. In the same way the marks of nails were impressed on his feet and projected beyond the rest of the flesh. Moreover, his right side had a large wound as if it had been pierced with a spear, and it often bled so that his tunic and trousers were soaked with his sacred blood.”

Francis was a monk but was eventually ordained to better meet pastoral needs of the urban poor he served, blessed into deaconate perpetual. Francis is certainly a hero and model of mine. In the last two years of his life, Francis returned to the fastness of eremetic life on Mount Alverna. I hope to take my family to the Sierras soon! God Bless.

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