Happy Independence Day (U.S.)!

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Happy Independence Day to all my fellow Americans! May God grant us the wisdom to cherish and preserve what our Founders gave us.

The Collect for Independence Day.

O ETERNAL God, through whose mighty power our fathers won their liberties of old; Grant, we beseech thee, that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain these liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Our Country

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

— from The Book of Common Prayer 1928.

Today is the “Fourth of July,” America’s Independence Day, when we celebrate the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain, which was enacted (actually on the 2nd of July) by the Continental Congress in 1776. While as a Royalist and Anglophile, I have some regrets about this, as an American I am grateful for it, and deeply respect our Founders and those who have fought for our freedom in the years, decades, and centuries since.

And in light of some of the things that have been going on in Britain in recent years – mass immigration of alien peoples with alien creeds, a BREXIT that so far has gone nowhere, and an increasing stripping of the “rights of Englishmen” for which we Colonials were originally contending from the people of Britain itself – I find myself increasingly glad that we are not part of that. We have our own problems to deal with, without a doubt (and mass alien immigration is one of them, as is the existence of many who would strip us of our rights if the Constitution allowed, and/or who seek to find ways to circumvent the Constitution), but at least we are free from the specific problems that England, and the rest of Britain, are facing.

So it is a joy to celebrate our independence on this day, and today was a very good celebration of Independence Day for me, personally. I spent it in Gettysburg, in good company – with dear friends of mine – doing a good thing: living history. We were interpreting the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry “Rough Riders,” of the Spanish-American War: the war which not only helped to bring the U.S. back together after the horribly divisive War Between the States (the “Civil War,” so-called), but also established us as a world power. It was a real pleasure to be educating people about this little-known and almost forgotten, yet extremely consequential, conflict, and we had the opportunity to talk to quite a few very interesting people in the process!

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It was intensely hot and muggy: rather reminiscent, in fact, of the conditions in Cuba, 120 years ago, when the Rough Riders, led by then-Lt. Col. Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, participated in the assault on San Juan Heights outside Santiago, and then the attack on Santiago itself, to liberate the island from the Spanish. One can argue whether we should have been doing that, as one can argue many events in history; but there is no question that that war transformed the United States, effectively overnight, from an agricultural backwater to a world power. Interpreting one of the most famous episodes in that conflict was good way to spend the Fourth of July, heat, humidity, and bugs notwithstanding! Although I confess that it feels good to be clean, and in air conditioning, now. And bed will feel good, as well!

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The Glories of the West, Old Midsummer, and a blessed Feast of St. John the Baptist!

In honor of this (“Old”) Midsummer’s Day – the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist – Sumer is icumen in (“Summer is a-coming in”)!

(… and of course, more of the culture that we Europeans don’t have…! *wry smile*)

Trinity Sunday: A Few Traditions and Links | The Homely Hours

The Collect for Trinity Sunday

“Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity; We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us steadfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.”

Source: Trinity Sunday: A Few Traditions and Links | The Homely Hours

Today is the Feast of the Holy Trinity: Trinity Sunday. While arguably the only feast day in the Church’s calendar to celebrate a doctrine, rather than a person or an episode in the life of Christ, in fact Trinity Sunday celebrates three Persons: the Holy Trinity itself, one God in trinity of Persons, but unity of Substance. This doctrine is at root a Holy Mystery, as is the Incarnation itself; yet it is, with the Incarnation, one of the two core doctrines of Christianity.

In an effort to explain its reality and significance, The Homely Hours points us to

“a beautiful post on Celtic Christianity and Trinitarian Theology, specifically how it manifests itself in the Carmina Gadelica, a collection of Gaelic hymns and prayers:

For the Gaelic writers, the Trinity is not an esoteric dogma to be recited and systematized but rather a living and lived reality, for God as Creator is near to us in creation, and all that he has made is a reflection of his power and his goodness. The triune life of the Three is not confined to the gates of heaven but spills overflowing onto earth, where those who call for aid find peace and rest in the divine communion. The Trinity is near to us in every aspect of our lives, and in the love of the Three we are complete and healed from our brokenness:

In nearness to the Trinity farewell to all my pains,
Christ stands before me, and peace is in his mind.

(Carmina Gadelica, 346, p. 312)

“You can also read more on Trinity Sunday at Full Homely Divinity:

As early as the ninth century, the first Sunday after Pentecost was being observed in some places as a day particularly devoted to celebrating our trinitarian faith in one God in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. However, the observance was far from universal and one pope even dismissed it as an unnecessary observance since every act of worship is offered in the Name of the Trinity. In 1162, Thomas Becket was ordained to the Priesthood on Ember Saturday in Whitsun week. On the next day, he was consecrated as Archbishop of Canterbury. As Archbishop and Metropolitan, he obtained for all of England the privilege of celebrating the Sunday after Whitsunday as Trinity Sunday. After his martyrdom in 1170, and subsequent canonization, his shrine in Canterbury became one of the most important pilgrimage shrines in all of Europe and the popularity of Trinity Sunday also spread. In the 14th century Pope John XXII added Trinity Sunday to the calendar of the whole Western Church. For many centuries, the Sundays after Paschaltide were counted as “Sundays after Trinity,” and the season was known as “Trinitytide.”

And for those of us of a more traditional bent, of course, it still is.

See also:

While usually associated (understandably) with St. Patrick’s Day, the “Lorica (Breastplate) of St. Patrick” – also known as “The Deer’s Cry,” or simply “I Bind Unto Myself This Day” – is also highly appropriate for Trinity Sunday, being a majestic and inspiring invocation of the Holy Trinity!

“I bind unto myself today
the strong name of the Trinity
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One and One in Three…”

Wishing everyone a holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity Sunday, and season of Trinitytide which follows, and will last until Advent brings us ’round again to the Cycles of Christ’s Nativity, and later His Passion. May God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit – One God in
Trinity of Persons and Unity of Essence – bless all who read this!

Happy May Day, Calan Mai, and/or Beltane!

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May Day as it was once celebrated! My mother recalled such Maypole dances from her college days (Western Maryland College, graduated 1949). This one is from Dover, Delaware: “The black and white photo below shows the Maypole dance in front of Old State House in 1950 (source: Delaware Public Archives).”

Hal an toe! Jolly rumbalo!
We were up, long before the day-o,
To welcome in the Summer-time,
To welcome in the May-o!
For Summer is a-comin’ on,
An’ Winter’s gone away!

— traditional song for May Day, British Isles

Happy Easter! A holy and blessed Feast of the Resurrection to all my Christian readers!

Easter – Empty Tomb

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, for he has risen, as he said.”

Luke 24:5b, Matthew 28:6

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast. Not with the old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness: but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. – 1 Cor. v. 7.

Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more : death hath no more dominion over him.For in  that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin: but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Rom. vi. 9.

Christ is risen from the dead : and become the first-fruits of them that slept. For  since by man came death : by man came also the resurrection of the dead.For as in Adam all die: even so in Christ shall all be made alive. – 1 Cor. xv. 20.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

What is Maundy Thursday 2018? The meaning behind Holy Thursday, the Last Supper and how the Queen marks occasion | Mirror Online

Her Majesty The Queen, and The Duke of Edinburgh, at the Royal Maundy Service at Blackburn Cathedral.

Her Majesty takes part in the ancient Royal Maundy Thursday service, where she will distribute coins

Source: What is Maundy Thursday 2018? The meaning behind Holy Thursday, the Last Supper and how the Queen marks occasion | Mirror Online

A brief synopsis, from this article:

Also called Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Sheer Thursday and Thursday of Mysteries, Maundy Thursday marks the beginning of the three day celebration of Easter, an important time in the Christian calendar.

The day comes before Good Friday, and this year it has fallen on March 29.

It commemorates the last supper of Jesus Christ, when Christians believe he shared bread and wine with his disciples.

According to the Bible, Jesus also washed the feet of his followers and commanded them to love each other.

The word Maundy comes from the Latin word ‘mandatum’, meaning command.

How is Maundy Thursday marked in the UK?

The Queen will mark Maundy Thursday by distributing alms as part of a tradition dating back to the 13th century.

She will be accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh for the service at Leicester Cathedral where the Maundy Money will be distributed to 91 men and 91 women – representing each of her 91 years.

The 182 recipients of the Maundy money are senior citizens who will be given the gifts in recognition of the service they have given to the church and their local area.

Wishing all of my Christian readers – English or not! – a holy and blessed Maundy Thursday, and remainder of this Sacred Triduum.

The Feast of The Presentation – also called Candlemas | The Uprising – Ancient:Modern:Anglican Church

Candlemas - Purification - Presentation

The Feast of The Presentation – also called Candlemas

From an excellent Anglican blog found on Facebook, called “The Uprising – Ancient:Modern:Anglican Church”:

There is one more sacred day that should not be lost in the avalanche of “winter holidays.” February 2 – the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord – is a time when we celebrate the blessing of the candles for the year – Candlemas – and the Presentation of the Lord in the temple.

After celebrating the Nativity of our Lord, with its splendor in both the Church and the popular culture, it would be easy for one’s mind to drift and overlook the significance of the fortieth day after the Lord’s birth. But we should look beyond our hustling to banish the decorations to the attic, the obsession over the days remaining in this strenuous winter, and endless chatter about Super Bowl Sunday. Because the events set in motion with the Annunciation and Nativity continue with the significant presentation of our Lord in the Temple.

Joseph and Mary’s presentation of the baby was no pro forma event. The words of the prophet Malachi are fulfilled in the poor parents presenting their firstborn son along with their humble sacrifice of two turtledoves. (“Now I am sending my messenger— he will prepare the way before me; And the lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple; The messenger of the covenant whom you desire—see, he is coming! says the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:1) The mother of God – the Theotokos, in no need of ritual purification – and her husband did not set themselves above the Law.

In their conformation to the Law is God’s entrance into his Temple. Simeon and Anna, pious and elderly, having spent their lives in prayer and waiting in the Temple for the Messiah, have their “moment.” There is the glorious Nunc Dimittis of Simeon. Is not the conformation of the Law and the Prophets also fulfilled when the Lord enters the temple of our hearts?

With Candlemas we celebrate the coming of the Light of the World. But a shadow also passes; a shadow foretelling the suffering that will precede the victory of the Light over darkness. Simeon not only proclaimed that he had seen his salvation, but also told the Mother of our Lord that her share would include a sorrow pierced heart. In Redemptoris Mater, Pope John Paul II wrote that Mary heard in Simeon’s words something akin to a second Annunciation,

“for they tell her of the actual historical situation in which the Son is to accomplish his mission, namely, in the misunderstanding and sorrow. While this announcement on the one hand confirms her faith in the accomplishment of the divine promises of salvation, on the other hand it also reveals to her that she will have to live her obedience of faith in suffering, at the side of the suffering Savior, and that her motherhood will be mysterious and sorrowful.”

In like fashion, do we not also share in the sorrowful sufferings of the Holy Mother as we too live our lives in obedience to Christ?