Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, 1153

Bernard, fiery defender of the Church in the twelfth century, was known for the ardor with which he preached love for God “without measure”. He was absorbed, even to the neglect of his own health, in support of the purity, doctrine, and prerogatives of the Church. He fulfilled his own definition of a holy man: “seen to be good and charitable, holding back nothing for himself, but using his every gift for the common good.”

Born in 1090 near Dijon, Bernard was the son of a Burgundian knight and landowner. He was educated at Châtillon-sur-Seine by secular canons and became known as a youth for his charm, wit, learning, and eloquence. At the age of 22, with thirty-one companions including some of his brothers and other noblemen, he became a monk at the languishing, poverty-stricken, reformed monastery of Cîteaux. This influx of new monks saved the monastery from extinction, and under Bernard’s influence the Cistercian Order was transformed.

After a few years probation, Bernard was made abbot of Clairvaux, a new foundation. In conditions of acute poverty he was at first too severe on his community. On realizing this, he gave up preaching, improved the food, and generally improved the condition of the abbey with the assistance of the local bishop. With the abbey on a firm footing, Bernard devoted himself to writing letters and sermons, often denying himself sleep to do so. He preached so persuasively that in time sixty new Cisterican abbeys were founded in France and elsewhere, including five abbeys in the British Isles, all of them affiliated with Clairvaux. At the same time, Clairvaux itself grew steadily, until it numbered seven hundred monks at Bernard’s death.

By 1140, Bernard’s writings had made him one of the most influential figures in the Western Church. He participated actively in every controversy that threatened the Church. He was an ardent critic of Peter Abelard’s attempt to reconcile inconsistencies of doctrine by reason, because he thought that such an approach denigrated the mysteries of the faith.

When a former monk of Clairvaux was elected Pope as Eugenius the Third, Bernard became his spokesman and counselor. He preached the crusade against the Albigensians and the Second Crusade to liberate Jerusalem, winning much support for this crusade from France and Germany. When that Crusade ended in disaster, Bernard was roundly attacked for having supported it. He died soon after in 1153 and was canonized in 1174.

Among Bernard’s writings are treatises on papal duty, on love, on the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and perhaps his most renowned work, a commentary on the Song of Songs (the Song of Solomon). Catenas of his devotional poetry have been set as devotional hymns, including “Jesus, the very thought of thee” and “O Jesus, joy of loving hearts”.

prepared from Lesser Feasts and Fasts (1980)
and The Oxford Dictionary of Saints

The Collect

O God, by whose grace your servant Bernard of Clairvaux, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The propers for the commemoration of Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux, are published on the Lectionary Page website.

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The Revd Dr Philip H. Pfatteicher has written a particularly good essay for this day in his book, The New Book of Festivals and Commemorations: A Proposed Common Calendar of Saints, and I reproduce most of the essay here:

In the person of the Virgin Mary, the Church has seen an image of itself, the representative of the community of the faithful, a model of what each Christian ought to be: prayerful, humble, joyfully submissive to the will and word of God, devoted to her Son and loyal to him even when she did not understand him. the honor paid to her goes back to the earliest days of Christianity, and because she is the mother of the Redeemer she is accounted preeminent among the saints. The words of the song ascribed to her, Magnificat, as well as her humble acceptance of the will of God bear more than accidental similarity to the Lord’s Prayer and the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount. More is known about her that about most of the apostles.

Mary the mother of Jesus is mentioned in a number of places in the Gospels and the book of Acts, and a dozen incidents of her life are recorded: her betrothal to Joseph (Matthew 1:18); the annunciation by the angel that she was to bear the Messiah (Luke 1:26-38); her visitation to Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist (Luke 1:39-45); the birth of her Son (Matthew 1:24-25, Luke 2:1-7); the visits of the shepherds (Luke 2: 8-20) and of the Magi (Matthew 2:1-12); the presentation of the infant Jesus in the Temple in accordance with the Law (Luke 2:22-38); the flight into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15); the Passover visit to Jerusalem when Jesus was twelve (Luke 2:41-51); the wedding at Cana in Galilee (John 2:1-11); her presence at the crucifixion when her Son commended her to the care of Saint John (John 19:25-27); and meeting with the apostles in the upper room after the ascension, waiting for the promised Spirit (Acts 1:14). She is thus pictured as being present at all the important events of her Son’s life.

The other books of the New Testament are silent about Mary. Saint Paul, not recording her name, says simply that Jesus was “born of a woman” (Galatians 4:4). Little is known about the rest of her life, which traditions say she spent in Jerusalem (the tomb of the Virgin is shown in the Kidron Valley) or Ephesus. The second century Protoevangelium of James identifies her parents as Anne and Joachim.

The angel’s words in Luke 1:32 imply that Mary was descended from David (or that the early Church believed that she was descended from David). She is a model of bold but tender love: she stood at the Cross to watch her Son die as an enemy of the state; Jesus’ brothers are not reported to have been present. The earliest feasts celebrating her death were observed in Palestine from the fifth century, possibly at Antioch in the fourth century. The date of August 15, ordered by the emperor Maurice [ruled 582-603], probably originated with the dedication of a church in her honor. By the sixth century the observance of the date of August 15 was widespread in the East, and the feast day gradually became known as the Feast of the Dormition (Koimesis), the “Falling Asleep”, or passing from this life, of the Virgin. In the seventh century this feast day was observed in Rome, and from there it spread throughout the West, where by the ninth century it had come to be called the Feast of the Assumption (referring to the reception of Mary’s body and soul into heaven in anticipation of the general resurrection of the bodies of all the dead at the last day). The belief, apparently unknown to Ambrose (†397) and Epiphanius (†403), appears in certain New Testament apocrypha form the latter fourth century and was first formulated in orthodox circles in the West by Gregory of Tours (†594). In the East, the writings of Germanus, Patriarch of Constantinople (†730), and other…authors testify to the acceptance of the doctrine. In 1950 Pope Pius XII proclaimed that the teaching of the Assumption was elevated to the status of a dogma in the Roman Catholic Church…

Mary’s perpetual virginity (virgin before, during, and after the birth of Jesus) is first asserted in the apocryphal book of James, may have been taught by Irenaeus (†c. 202)and Clement of Alexandria, and was certainly held by Athanasius (†373), who used the term “ever virgin”. The teaching was accepted by East and West from the fifth century onward and was given additional impetus at the Council of Ephesus (431), which upheld the title Theotokos (bearer of God), common from the fourth century. [N.B. The perpetual virginity of Mary was also accepted and taught by the Reformers, including Martin Luther and John Calvin, and John Wesley stated in a letter to a Roman Catholic correspondent that he, too, accepted the doctrine.]

The Collect

O God, you have taken to yourself the blessed Virgin Mary, mother of your incarnate Son: Grant that we, who have been redeemed by his blood, may share with her the glory of your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Lesson
Isaiah 61:10-11

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;
my soul shall exult in my God,
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation;
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its sprouts,
and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
to sprout up before all the nations.

Psalm 34:1-9
Benedicam Dominum

I will bless the LORD at all times; *
his praise shall ever be in my mouth.

I will glory in the LORD; *
let the humble hear and rejoice.

Proclaim with me the greatness of the LORD; *
let us exalt his Name together.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me *
and delivered me out of all my terror.

Look upon him and be radiant, *
and let not your faces be ashamed.

I called in my affliction and the LORD heard me *
and saved me from all my troubles.

The angel of the LORD encompasses those who fear him, *
and he will deliver them.

Taste and see that the LORD is good; *
happy are they who trust in him!

Fear the LORD, you that are his saints, *
for those who fear him lack nothing.

The Epistle
Galatians 4:4-7

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.

The Gospel
Luke 1:46-55

And Mary said,

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

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The Lesson, Epistle, and Gospel are taken from the English Standard Version Bible. The Collect and Psalm are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (1979).

The image of the icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos is taken from the website of Dormition of the Theotokos Orthodox Church in Norfolk, Virginia.

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Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore, 1667

Jeremy Taylor, one of the most influential of the Caroline Divines, was educated at Cambridge and, through the influence of William Laud, became a Fellow of All Souls at Oxford. He was still quite young when he became chaplain to King Charles the First and, later during the Civil War, a chaplain in the Royalist army.

The success of the Parliamentary forces brought about Taylor’s imprisonment, and after the final Parliamentary victory in the Civil War, Taylor spent several years in forced retirement as chaplain to the family of Lord Carberry in Wales. It was during this time that his most influential works were written, especially Holy Living and Holy Dying (1651).

Among his other works, Liberty of Prophesying proved to be a seminal work in encouraging the development of religious toleration in the seventeenth century. In it, Taylor states:

“[W]hatsoever is expressed, or is to these purposes implied, is made articulate and explicate, in the short and admirable mysterious creed of St Paul, Rom. x.8. ‘This is the word of faith which we preach, that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.’ This is the great and entire complexion of a Christian’s faith; and since salvation is promised to the belief of this creed, either a snare is laid for us, with a purpose to deceive us, or else nothing is of prime and original necessity to be believed, but this, Jesus Christ our Redeemer; and all that which is the necessary parts, means, or main actions working this redemption for us, and the honor for him, is in the bowels and folds of the great article….”

Despite Taylor’s unquestioned literary genius, he was not asked to have a part in the Prayer Book revision of 1662. The first American Prayer Book, however, incorporated one of his prayers, part of which has been adapted to serve as the Collect for his commemoration. Another of his prayers has been added to the American Prayer Book of 1979.

Taylor’s theology has sometimes been criticized, most bitingly by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who claims that Taylor seems to “present our own holy life as the grounds of our religious hope, rather than as the fruit of that hope, whose ground is the mercies of Christ.” No such complaint, however, was ever made about his prayers, which exemplify the best of Caroline divinity, blended with great literary genius.

In later life, Taylor and his family moved to the northeastern part of Ireland, where he accepted a lectureship in the patronage of the Earl of Conway. After the restoration of the monarch, King Charles the Second nominated him to the bishopric of Down and Connor, to which the small adjacent see of Dromore was later added. As bishop, Taylor labored tirelessly to rebuild churches, restore the use of the Prayer Book, and overcome continuing Puritan opposition. As vice-chancellor of Trinity College, Dublin, he took a leading part in reviving the intellectual life of the Church of Ireland. He remained to the end of his life and man of prayer and a pastor. Taylor caught fever from a sick person whom he had visited and died on this day in 1667. He was buried in Dromore Cathedral.

taken from Lesser Feasts and Fasts (1980),
with amendments and additions

The Collect

O God, whose days are without end, and whose mercies cannot be numbered: Make us, like your servant Jeremy Taylor, deeply aware of the shortness and uncertainty of human life; and let your Holy Spirit lead us in holiness and righteousness all our days; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The propers for the commemoration of Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down, Connor, and Dromore, are published on the Lectionary Page website.

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Clare, Abbess at Assisi, 1253

In the latter part of the twelfth century, the Church had fallen on evil days and was weak and spiritually impoverished. It was then that Francis of Assisi renounced his wealth and established the mendicant order of friars who would come to be known as the Franciscans. At the first gathering of the order in 1212, Francis preacher a sermon that was to make a radical change in the life of an eighteen-year old woman named Clare.

The daughter of a wealthy family of Assisi, noted for her beauty, Clare was inspired by Francis’ words with the desire to serve God and to give her life to following Christ. She sought out Francis and begged that she might become a member of his order, placing her jewelry and rich outer garments on the altar as an offering. Francis could not refuse her pleas, and he placed her temporarily in the nearby Benedictine convent of Bastia and later at Sant-Angelo di Panzo. It was at these two houses that she was formed in the religious life.

When Clare’s retreat first became known, friends and family members tried to take her home again. But she was adamant. She would be the bride of Christ alone. She prevailed, and soon after was taken by Francis to a poor dwelling beside the Church of St Damian (San Damiano) at Assisi. Several other women joined her, including eventually her mother and two sisters. Clare became the Mother Superior of the order, which was called the Poor Ladies of St Damian.

The order’s practices were austere, believed to be harder than those of any other nuns of the time. They embraced the Franciscan rule of absolute poverty and spent their days begging and performing works of mercy for the poor and the neglected. Clare herself ministered as a servant not only to the poor, but also to her nuns.

Clare never left the convent at Assisi that she ruled for forty years, and she was distinguished as one of the great medieval contemplatives, devoted to serving her community with great joy, ready to do whatever Francis directed. She said to him, “I am yours by having given my will to God.” The author of her Life writes that she “radiated a spirit of fervor so strong that it kindled those who but heard her voice”. For the last twenty-seven years of her life she suffered various illnesses, being sometimes bedridden, but she was always devoted to her nuns and to the town of Assisi. She expressed this by sewing altar cloths and corporals for the town’s churches and by prayer and penance on the town’s behalf in times of crisis. Twice Assisi was in danger of being sacked by the armies of the emperor Frederick the Second, which included a number of Saracen mercenaries. Clare, though ill, was carried to the wall of the town with a pyx containing the Blessed Sacrament, before which, write her biographers, the armies fled. For this reason she is often depicted in art with a pyx or a monstrance.

Her last illness began in 1253. She weakened daily, and she was visited daily by devoted laity, by priests, and even by the Pope. On her last day, as she saw amny weeping by her bedside, she exhorted them to love “holy poverty” and to share their possessions. In those last hours she was heard to say, “Go forth in peace, for you have followed the good road. Go forth without fear, for he that created you has sanctified you, has always protected you, and loves you as a mother. Blessed be God, for having created me.”

Clare was canonized only two years after her death. Her order of Poor Clares, reformed by Colette Boellet in the fifteenth century, continues today as a contemplative order, relatively few in number but still distinguished by those same ideals that had inspired Francis and Clare.

prepared from Lesser Feasts and Fasts (1980) and
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints

The Collect

O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich: Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired by the devotion of your servant Clare, may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The propers for the commemoration of Clare, Abbess at Assisi, are published on the Lectionary Page website.

The image of Saint Clare of Assisi is from a late thirteenth century altarpiece in the Monastery of Santa Chiara in Assisi, Italy, and depicts scenes from her life.

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Dominic, Presbyter and Friar, 1221

Born about the year 1170, Domingo Guzman was the youngest of four children of the warden of Calaruega in the kingdom of Castile. He received his education from his uncle, the archpriest of Gumiel d’Izan, and later at Palencia. During this time he became an Augustinian canon of the cathedral church of Osma. As a priest he led an outwardly uneventful life for seven years, devoting himself to prayer and penance. In 1201 he became prior of the community of canons at Osma.

In 1204, returning from an embassy to Denmark, Dominic and his bishop began a mission to convert the Albigensian heretics at Toulouse. The Albigensians, or Cathars, were a medieval gnostic sect who taught that the material world was evil, and that Jesus had come only in spirit, not in the flesh. They were divided into two groups: the auditores, or hearers, who undertook only part of the rigorous and austere lifestyle for which the sect was known; and the perfecti, or perfect, who lived completely according to the sect’s rigorously anti-materialist teachings, including the avoidance of sexual intercourse and the eating of any foods that were the result of sexual intercourse, such as meat and eggs. The austerity and devotion of the Albigensians was in stark contrast to the laxity and voluptuousness of some of the Catholic clergy of the time, and the sect became popular in the Languedoc and in Provence. The conversion of the Albigensians and their reconciliation to the Church was to become a primary element of Dominic’s ministry. Three times he refused a bishopric, believing that God had called him to this work instead. He began by training women in religious communities who lived lives as austere and devoted as those of the Albigensian perfecti. The first such house was the nunnery at Prouille, founded in 1206, near which he founded a house for preachers who by persuasion, poverty, and learning would convert the Albigensians and would silently reprove the standards of the Cistericans sent to preach against them. In 1208 the murder of the papal legate, Peter of Castelnau, led to the declaration of a crusade against the Albigensians. Dominic and his preachers had no share in the violence and the massacres perpetrated in the name of this crusade, but used only the peaceful instruments of teaching and prayer.

These communities of preachers were the foundation of the Friars Preachers, the Ordo Praedicatorum, or Order of Preachers, known after their founder as the Dominicans. Dominic’s plan was to provide communities which were centers of sacred learning, whose members would be devoted to study, teaching, and preaching as well as to prayer. He retained the Divine Office, but it was chanted more simply and expeditiously by the Friars Preachers than by monks. The Dominican ideal was the training of men whose contemplation would bear fruit in the communication of the Word of God. They would be mobile and would be specially devoted to poverty, but in a less thoroughgoing way than the followers of Francis of Assisi, whom Dominic knew and respected. Dominic excelled as an organizer, and he was a pioneer in representative government. His Order was the first formally to abandon manual labor in order to concentrate on study and teaching. Papal approval was obtained for the Order, but only on condition that it should follow one of the existing rules. Dominic chose the brief and flexible rule of Saint Augustine, and was able to add detailed Constitutions to ensure efficient day-to-day functioning. The Order of Preachers soon spread all over western Europe and became a pioneering missionary force in Asia and (much later) in the Americas.

Dominic spent the years from 1216 to 1220 in continual travels to Italy, Spain, and Paris. In 1220 the first General Chapter of the Order was held at Bologna, where Doninic died the following year after attempting a preaching tour in Hungary. At the time of his death the Order was organized into five provinces: Spain, Provence, France, Lombardy, and Rome. In six other countries, including England (where because of their black mantles worn over white habits they were known as the Blackfriars), there were already smaller groups of Dominican friars at work.

Dominic’s preaching against the Albigensian heresy seems to have met with only limited success, but his foundation of communities dedicated to sacred learning and sound teaching fulfilled an acutely felt need in the medieval Church. The subsequent work of Albert Magnus and especially of Thomas Aquinas represented the fulfillment of Dominic’s ideals.

prepared from The Oxford Dictionary of Saints

The Collect

O God of the prophets, you opened the eyes of your servant Dominic to perceive a famine of hearing the word of the Lord, and moved him, and those he drew about him, to satisfy that hunger with sound preaching and fervent devotion: Make your church, dear Lord, in this and every age, attentive to the hungers of the world, and quick to respond in love to those who are perishing; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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The propers for the commemoration of Dominic, Priest and Friar, are published on the Lectionary page website.

The image of Saint Dominic is taken from a painting by Sandro Botticelli

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John Mason Neale, Presbyter and Hymnodist, 1866

John Mason Neale

John Mason Neale was born in London in 1818 and studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was imbued with High Church ideals. Ordained to the presbyterate in 1842, he was presented with the living of Crawley, West Sussex, but ill health prevented his being instituted, and he spent the next three winters in Madeira. From 1846 until his death he held the wardenship of Sackville College, East Grinstead, dividing his activities between his literary work and the Sisterhood of Saint Margaret, which he founded in 1855. This community, which developed into one of the leading religious communities in the Church of England, was founded with particular care for the education of girls and the care of the sick. Its rule was framed on Saint Francis de Sales’ Visitation and the rule of Saint Vincent de Paul’s Sisters of Charity, and the order met with strenuous and even violent opposition to the point of rioting from Protestant quarters in the Church.

Neale was both a scholar and a creative poet whose skills in composing original verse and in translating Latin and Greek hymns into fluid and effective English verse were devoted to the Church. Composer of many original hymns and translations, he greatly enriched English hymnody. His Hymns of the Eastern Church (1862) included a number of Easter hymns, and their inclusion in a number of English hymnals introduced an important Eastern emphasis on the Resurrection into Anglican worship. Despite his poor health he was a prolific writer and compiler as well, and his output included such works on hymnody as Medieval Hymns and Sequences and Hymns of the Eastern Church as well as Liturgiology and Church History and a four volume commentary on the Psalms. He also founded, with longtime Cambridge friend and colleague Benjamin Webb, the Cambridge-Camden Society, later known as the Ecclesiological Society, the arm of the Oxford Movement devoted to recovering (sometimes going behind historic precedent) Catholic practice in Anglican church architecture, vestments, and liturgical acts.

Gentleness combined with firmness, good humor, modesty, patience, devotion, and “an unbounded charity” describe Neale’s character. Though he never received preferment in England, his contributions were recognized in the wide inclusion of his hymns in Anglican and other hymnals and in such actions as the presentation to him by the Metropolitan of Moscow of a rare copy of the Old Believers’ liturgy. He died on the Feast of the Transfiguration in 1866, having left a lasting mark on worship in the English-speaking world.

Most hymnals since the late nineteenth century have included many of Neale’s compositions and translations. “Come, ye faithful, raise the strain”, “Creator of the stars of night”, “All glory, laud, and honor”, “Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle”, “Jerusalem the golden”, and “O come, O come, Emmanuel” are just a few of the hymns that will long remain in the corpus of English hymnody.

adapted from Lesser Feasts and Fasts and
The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church

The Collect

Grant, O God, that in all time of our testing we may know your presence and obey your will; that, following the example of your servant John Mason Neale, we may with integrity and courage accomplish what you give us to do, and endure what you give us to bear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

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The propers for the commemoration of John Mason Neale, Priest, are published on the Lectionary Page website.

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The Transfiguration of our Lord

The Collect

O God, who on the holy mount revealed to chosen witnesses your well-beloved Son, wonderfully transfigured, in raiment white and glistening: Mercifully grant that we, being delivered from the disquietude of this world, may by faith behold the King in his beauty; who with you, O Father, and you, O Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The Lesson
Exodus 34:29-35

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God. Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.

Whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Psalm 99
Dominus regnavit

The LORD is King;
let the people tremble; *
he is enthroned upon the cherubim;
let the earth shake.

The LORD is great in Zion; *
he is high above all peoples.

Let them confess his Name, which is great and awesome; *
he is the Holy One.

“O mighty King, lover of justice,
you have established equity; *
you have executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.”

Proclaim the greatness of the LORD our God
and fall down before his footstool; *
he is the Holy One.

Moses and Aaron among his priests,
and Samuel among those who call upon his Name, *
they called upon the LORD, and he answered them.

He spoke to them out of the pillar of cloud; *
they kept his testimonies and the decree that he gave them.

O LORD our God, you answered them indeed; *
you were a God who forgave them,
yet punished them for their evil deeds.

Proclaim the greatness of the LORD our God
and worship him upon his holy hill; *
for the LORD our God is the Holy One.

The Epistle
2 Peter 1:13-21

I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

The Gospel
Luke 9:28-36

Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” — not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.

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The Lesson, Epistle, and Gospel are taken from the English Standard Version Bible. The Collect and Psalm are taken from the Book of Common Prayer (1979).

The icon of the Transfiguration, part of a triptych, is taken from Aidan Hart’s gallery of icons and is reproduced here with his generous permission.

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