Elected Bishop of Caithness in 1223. Devout churchman and able statesman. Died in 1245.
God of love, shepherd of your people, we thank you for your servant St Gilbert of Caithness, who was faithful in the care and nurture of your flock. Taught by the example of his holy life and aided by his prayers, may we by grace grow into the full stature of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Scottish Liturgy, Part 3, p55)
On of the most distinguished theologians of the 20th Century. Born in Breslau (now Wroclaw) in 1906, had a very distinguished academic career. In 1934 became a member of the Confessing Church (Bekennende Kirche) which rejected the Nazification of the German Lutheran Church. Ran a seminary for intending priests of the Bekennende Kirche, out of which arose one of his best, if shortest books: Life Together. Returned to Germany in 1939 from a lecture tour in the United States in order to draw together the faithful of the Bekennende Kirche, but eventually became convinced that the only hope for Germany, and for Christianity in Germany, was the death of Adolf Hitler, and became involved in a plot against the dictator's life. Was arrested and imprisoned, and eventually executed in Flossenburg Concentration Camp on 9 April 1945. Particularly revered for his books The Cost of discipleship and Letters and Papers from Prison, the latter having had an immense impact on theological thinking in the second half of the twentieth century.
Lord Jesus Christ, your servant Dietrich Bonhoeffer learned the cost of discipleship in his faithful witness to justice and peace: give us the assurance of your presence that we may persevere faithfully unto death; for you are alive and reign with the Father in the unity pf the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (The Church in Wales, quoted in Exciting Holiness, p 151)
We remember Jesus's entry into Jerusalem, when the crowds laid palm branches in his path, and dedicate ourselves to his service waving palm branches:
Assist us mercifully with your help, Lord God of our salvation, that we may enter with joy into the celebration of those mighty acts whereby you give us life and immortality; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (SL p33)
The principal devotion of the day is however the reading of the passion, and the memory of that passion of our Lord.
Mary pours costly ointment over Jesus's feet at a meal in Bethany. The leaders of the Jews decided to kill the risen Lazarus because many believed in Jesus because of his raising.
Almighty god, whose Son was crucified yet entered into glory, may we, walking in the way of the cross, find it to be for us a way of life; through Jesus Christ our lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one god, now and for ever. Amen. (SLp35)
esus says to Peter: where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow me
O god, by the passion of your blessed son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life. May our lives be so transformed by his passion that we may witness to his grace, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one god, now and for ever. Amen.
Jesus, at the Last supper, says that the one who will dip the sop with him will betray him.
Lord god, your Son our Saviour gave his body to be whipped and turned his face for men to spit upon. Give your servants grace to accept suffering for his sake, confident of the glory that will be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The service of the morning is the Chrism Mass, at which the clergy of every diocese recommit themselves to the service of Christ and his Church.
Begins on Thursday evening with recalling of the Lord's Supper, at which Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.
O God, your son Jesus Christ has left us this meal of bread and wine in which we share his body and blood. May we who celebrate this sign of his great love show in our lives the fruits of his redemption; through Jesus Christ our lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (SLp38)
On Friday, we read the passion according to St John.
Almighty God, look graciously, we pray, on this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross, who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Saturday is a day of quiet waiting for the dawn of Easter.
Ordained Deacon in 1711, and became a Fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. However, joined the group of Non-jurors, and on the accession of the Hanoverian King George 1 in 1714 lost his fellowship since he would not take the Oath of Allegiance. Later ordained priest in 1728. Best known for his book A serious Call to the devout and holy Life (1728).
'Pride is only the disorder of the fallen world, it has no place amongst other beings; it can only subsist where ignorance and sensuality, lies and falsehood, lusts and impurity, reign. Let a man, when he is most delighted with his own figure, look upon a crucifix and contemplate our blessed Lord stretched out and nailed upon a cross, and then let him consider how absurd it must be for a heart full of pride and vanity to pray to God through the sufferings of such a meek and crucified Saviour.' (A serious Call p16)
Heavenly Father, the reward and goal of all who seek you: Grant that as your servant William Law pierced the veil of sense and found you, so we, through the help of your grace, may come to know you even as you know us. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our lord. Amen. (Cloud of Witnesses p66)
Born Aberdeen 1585, was for a time Professor of Logic in the University there. Ministered especially at St Nicholas' Church, Aberdeen. One of the greatest theologians to emerge from Scotland, was a contemporary of the group known as the 'Aberdeen Doctors'. He was appointed the first Bishop of Edinburgh when King Charles 1 created the see in 1633.
'The Fathers were certainly led by the testimonies and examples of Scripture to conclude that it is evident that the prayers which just men offer for others are of great avail with God. They were moreover certainly persuaded that the righteous at their death do not cease to be, but joined to Christ, lead a blessed life, and that they pray for us now more ardently than before, inasmuch as they are endued with greater love than formerly…' (Works, Vol II, p229)
O God the King of Saints, we praise and magnify your holy Name for all your servants who have finished their course in your faith and fear, for the Blessed Virgin Mary, for the holy Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles and Martyrs, and for all other your righteous servants; and we beseech you that, encouraged by their example, strengthened by their fellowship, and aided by their prayers, we may attain to everlasting life; through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (SPB pp351-2).
At the end of the eleventh century the Earldom of Orkney was divided between two cousins, one a war lord, the other a gentle man of peace. The warlord, Haaken, defeated the man of peace, Magnus, in battle, and executed him. Magnus's shrine is in the cathedral of St Magnus in Kirkwall.
Donnan wa an Irish missionary to Scotland, roughly contemporary with St Columba. He founded a monastery on the island of Eigg. He and 52 companions were massacred by Viking pirates around 617.
An Irish monk (Born Derry 642) who, after a career as itinerant evangelist in Ireland, then later in Northern Scotland, settled in Applecorss, where he founded a monastery and many churches. He died in 722.
Born in Aosta in N Italy in 1033, Anselm in his youth travelled around N Europe visiting many monasteries. He eventually settled at the abbey of Le Bec Hellouin in Normandy, where he came under the influence of Lanfranc, another Italian monk who was later appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by the Norman King William I. Anselm was essentially a scholar, and wrote several books very influential in his day, in particular his Monologion, Prosologion, and Cur Deus Homo. He has been remembered for his ontological argument for the existence of God. He was however of intense spirituality, and was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury (after an extended vacancy since the death of Lanfranc in 1089) by King William Rufus in 1093. Here is an extract from his Prosologion:
O God, let me know you and love you so that I may find joy in you; and if I cannot do so fully in this life, let me at least make some progress every day, until at last that knowledge, love and joy come to me in all their plenitude…O Lord, through your Son you command us, no, you counsel us to ask, and you promise that you will hear us so that our joy may be complete. (The Liturgy of the Hours, Vol II, pp107*-108*, London 1974)
Eternal God, who gave great gifts to your servant Anselm as a pastor and teacher: grant that we, like him, may desire you with our whole heart and, so desiring, may seek you and, seeking, may fund you; through Jesus Christ your son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Exciting Holiness p163)
A soldier living in Palestine in the fourth century, martyred at Lydda around 304. Very popular among the Christians of the near East, and especially in Egypt. The legend of his slaying a dragon is thought to be because of a confusion of him with the Archangel Michael, who is depicted in iconography as slaying a dragon. There were churches in England dedicated to him before the Norman conquest, but his popularity dates mainly from the time of the Crusades. He replaced St Edward the Confessor as Patron of England after the Crusades, when returning soldiers brought back interest in him from their experiences in the near East.
The Second Gospel is attributed to Mark, and it is the author of that Gospel who is celebrated on this day. Papias, early in the second century, attributed this Gospel to 'Mark', companion of Peter. Unfortunately the information about 'John Mark' in the NT writings associates him more with Paul than with Peter. The Gospel was, according to Papias, set down in Rome (perhaps due to the association with Peter). Legends current in the near East recount his founding of the Christian Church in Egypt, not Rome; his relics are said to have been stolen from Alexandria and taken to Venice, where they lay for many years in the Basilica of St Mark, before being returned to Alexandria in the twentieth century. They are now to be revered in the Cathedral of St Mark in Alexandria.
For all the confusion about the identity of the author and about his life (he may have been the young man who escaped from Gethsemane by releasing his clothing into the hands of those seeking to capture him), it is nonetheless clear that the Gospel attributed to him was the first to be set down as a Gospel, and is the source of much information carried by the other two 'synoptic' Gospels (Gospels essentially relating stories about Jesus, about his teaching, about his healings, and most of all about his passion, death and resurrection). His gospel emphasises the sacrificial path to Calvary, not excusing the disciples for their lack of understanding of the importance of this path. Brother Tristan, in Exciting Holiness (p169) writes: Sharing in the glory of the resurrection means sharing in the giving of self, both in body and spirit, even to death; sharing the gospel was, for all, in essence both excessively generous and ultimately sacrificial.
Almighty God, by the hand of Mark the evangelist you gave to your Church the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We thank you for his witness, and pray that we may be grounded firmly in its truth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. (Scottish Liturgy Part III p8)
Is in the Calendar of the Church of England. Author of 'In the bleak mid-winter'. My favourite poem of hers is this one:
Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the day's journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend….
Shall I find comfort, travel sore and weak?
Of labour you shall find the sum.
Will there be beds for me and all who seek?
Yes, beds for all who come.
Born 1347. Revered for her devotional and spiritual life, based on a monastic vocation (she was a Dominican). A mystic and contemplative. Her surviving letters show her clear teaching. She died on 19 April 1380.
Almighty Father, who made your servant Catherine to be a spiritual counsellor of the high and of the lowly: Of your mercy give us grace; that we may have her heart of love for you and for our neighbour; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Cloud of Witnesses p74)
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