Celebrating Imbolc, also known as St. Brigid’s Day | IrishCentral.com

Imbolc, known as the Feast of Brigid, celebrates the arrival of longer, warmer days and the early signs of spring. The above image is of a stained glass window showing Saint Brigid (photo by Wolfgang Sauber).

Source: Celebrating Imbolc, also known as St. Brigid’s Day | IrishCentral.com

Some Irish customs and traditions surrounding the Feast of St. Brigid – also celebrated by some as the ancient Celtic feast of Imbolc.

“St. Brigid is the patron saint of babies, blacksmiths, boatmen, cattle farmers, children whose parents are not married, children whose mothers are mistreated by the children’s fathers, Clan Douglas, dairymaids, dairy workers, fugitives, Ireland, Leinster, mariners, midwives, milkmaids, nuns, poets, the poor, poultry farmers, poultry raisers, printing presses, sailors, scholars, travelers, and watermen. Here’s a busy saint!”

No joke…!

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Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c. 525 | For All the Saints

 

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Brigid is commemorated in the Calendars of the Church of England, the Church of Ireland, the Church in Wales, and the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Souce: Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c. 525 | For All the Saints

Good morning, all! A grey and chilly – though not frigid, at 39° – start to the month of February. Wishing my Christian friends a happy, holy, and blessed Feast of St. Brigid! One of the most popular and widespread and Celtic saints, one of two patron saints of Ireland (with St. Patrick), and the original patroness of what is now St. Bede’s, her roots may well extend back in time to well before the coming of Christianity. May we all have a blessed day!

Commemoration of Charles I of England, King and Martyr (1649)

Sanctus Carolus Defensor Fidei

Charles I of England and Scotland, King and Martyr: 30 January 1649

(from today’s entry in the late James Kiefer’s excellent series of hagiographies)

At the end, when Charles was Cromwell’s prisoner, he was required to assent to a law abolishing bishops in the Church of England. He had previously given his consent to such an abolition in Scotland, where the Puritans were in the majority, but here he dug in his heels and declared that Bishops were part of the Church as God had established it, and that he could not in conscience assent to Cromwell’s demand. His refusal sealed his doom, and it is for this that he is accounted a martyr, since he could have saved his life by giving in on this question. He was brought to trial before Parliament, found guilty of treason, and beheaded 30 January 1649. On the scaffold, he said (I quote from memory and may not have the exact words):

“No man in England is a better friend to liberty than myself, But I must tell you plainly that the liberty of subjects consists not in having a hand in the government, but in having that government, and those laws, whereby their lives and their goods may be most their own.”

That is to say, one may reasonably ask of a government that it establish justice in the land; so that judges do not take bribes, so that innocent men are not convicted of crimes, while the guilty are convicted and punished, so that honest men need fear neither robbers nor the sheriff. One may further ask that taxes be not excessive, and that punishments be not disproportionate to the crime. Charles would have said,

“Do not ask whether the laws were made by men whom you elected. Ask whether they are reasonable and good laws, upholding justice and the public weal.”

He would have invited comparison of his record in this respect with that of the Long Parliament (which sat for twenty years without an election, and whose members came to think of themselves as rulers for life, accountable to no one) and Cromwell (who eventually dissolved Parliament and ruled as a military dictator, under whose rule the ordinary Englishman had far less liberty than under Charles).

In his struggle with his opponents, Charles considered himself to be contending for two things:

(1) the good of the realm and the liberty and well-being of the people, which he believed would be better served by the monarch ruling according to ancient precedent, maintaining the traditional rights of the people as enshrined in the common law, than by a Parliament that ended up denying that it was either bound by the law or accountable to the people; and

(2) the Church of England, preaching the doctrine of the undivided Church of the first ten centuries, administering sacraments regarded not as mere psychological aids to devotion but as vehicles of the presence and activity of God in his Church, governed by bishops who had been consecrated by bishops who had been consecrated by bishops… back certainly to the second century, and, as many have believed, back to the Twelve Apostles and to the command of Christ himself.

In his Declaration at Newport, in the last year of his life, he said:

“I conceive that Episcopal government is most consonant to the Word of God, and of an apostolical institution, as it appears by the Scripture, to have been practised by the Apostles themselves, and by them committed and derived to particular persons as their substitutes or successors therein and hath ever since to these last times been exercised by Bishops in all the Churches of Christ, and therefore I cannot in conscience consent to abolish the said government.”

In a day when religious toleration was not widespread, King Charles I was noteworthy for his reluctance to engage in religious persecution of any kind, whether against Romanists or Anabaptists.

http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bio/92.html

King Charles I – Anglican Martyr | Anglican History Blog

charleyboy

30 January: Commemoration of Charles I of England, King and Martyr

Source: King Charles I Anglican Martyr | Anglican History Blog

“A devotional cult was established in Charles’ name and he is considered an Anglican martyr, especially by Anglo-Catholics. It is said that if Charles had been willing to abandon the Church and give up the episcopacy he might have saved his throne and his life. Charles would not give to either demand, and as Gladstone said, ‘it was for the Church that Charles shed his blood on the scaffold.’

“Charles was removed as a saint from the calendar in 1859 but his feast day continues to be observed in the Church of England. The Society of King Charles the Martyr continues devotional activities in his memory…

“Charles is commemorated in churches across England and his last word of ‘REMEMBER’ can be found on statues. A hymn written to St. Charles contains this verse:

“For England’s Church, for England’s realm (Once thine in earthly sway), Lest storms our Ark should overwhelm, Saint Charles of England pray!”

Commemoration of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Martyr, 1645 | For All the Saints

 

Source: William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1645 | For All the Saints

Today marks the martyrdom – and thus, by ancient Christian tradition, the “heavenly birthday” – of William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury (1633 – 1645). While frequently criticized, and not without justification, for his willingness to aggressively pursue and harshly punish “Dissenters,” it is worth noting that his motive was to protect the Anglican expression of Christianity from a school of thought – Puritanism – that was both militantly opposed to that Anglican expression, and furthermore rapidly gaining the ascendancy.

That they would be just as willing to use vicious means against their own opponents (including not only the Laudian party, but Anglicans in general) when they attained power was demonstrated all too clearly during the Interregnum (Long Parliament and Protectorate) following the execution of King Charles I, called by some King Charles the Martyr. Does that justify the Courts of High Commission and Star Chamber? I leave that to my readers to decide. I will only quote from the above-linked essay:

“Honored as a martyr and condemned as an intolerant bigot, he was compassionate in his defense of the rights of the common people against the landowners. He was honest, devout, loyal to the king and to the rights and privileges of the Church of England. He tried to reform and protect the Church in accordance with his convictions – though these attempts at reform were marred by his treatment of those who strenuously disagreed with him theologically and liturgically.”

The essay goes on to quote A.W. Ballard (1945):

“As far as doctrine was concerned Laud carried on the teaching of Cranmer and Hooker. He held that the basis of belief was the Bible, but that the Bible was to be interpreted by the tradition of the early Church, and that all doubtful points were to be subjected, not to heated arguments in the pulpits, but to sober discussion by learned men. His mind, in short, like those of the earlier English reformers, combined the Protestant reliance on the Scriptures with reverence for ancient tradition and with the critical spirit of the Ranascence [Renaissance].”

I shall close with a prayer written by Laud, and found in every Book of Common Prayer published since his time. It is my prayer, as well, and should be that of us all: I invite you – especially you who are of the Anglican observance, but it is equally open to all Christians, for obvious reasons – to use it, regularly!

For the Church.

O GRACIOUS Father, we humbly beseech thee for thy holy Catholic Church; that thou wouldst be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.


(“Catholic,” in this sense, does not mean Roman Catholic, but in the words of another great Anglican luminary, Lancelot Andewes, “the whole Catholic Church: Eastern, Western, and our own.”)

Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, 1200 | For All the Saints

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Source: Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln, 1200 | For All the Saints

“Hugh was reputedly the most learned monk in England, and he revived the schools of Lincoln to such an extent that the writer Gerald of Wales considered them second only to those of Paris. He rebuilt his cathedral, damaged by an earthquake, sometimes aiding the workmen with his own hands. He held synods and visitations, traveled ceaselessly to consecrate churches, confirm children, and bury the dead. His justice was proverbial, and he was appointed to act as a judge-delegate by three popes in succession, for some of the most important cases of his time. The king also appointed him to act in his court. Hugh was austere but gentle, intransigent but tender. He was always a friend of the oppressed and the outcasts, especially lepers (whom he tended himself), and he risked his life in riots to save Jews from death.”

Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, 1626 | For All the Saints

A devoted scholar, hard-working and accurate, and a master of fifteen languages, Lancelot Andrewes was renowned for his learning and for his preaching, and was a seminal influence on the development of a distinctive reformed Catholic theology in the Church of England.

Source: Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop of Winchester, 1626 | For All the Saints

A man whose memory I hold in the highest esteem!
 
“Andrewes was one of the principal influences in the formation of a distinctly Reformed Catholic Anglican theology, which in reaction to the rigidity of the Puritanism of his time, he insisted should be moderate in tone and catholic in content and perspective. Convinced that true theology must be built on sound learning, he cultivated the friendship of such divines as Richard Hooker and George Herbert, as well as of scholars from abroad…
 
“Andrewes held a high doctrine of the Eucharist, emphasizing that in the sacrament we receive the true Body and Blood of Christ, and he consistently used sacrificial language of the rite. He desired the Church of England to express its liturgy in ordered ceremonial and in his own chapel used the mixed chalice (wine and water), incense, and altar-lights (candles).”
 
He is also the man responsible for perhaps the clearest and most concise description of the doctrinal standards held by classical Anglicanism:
 
“One canon [of Scripture] reduced to writing by God himself, two testaments, three creeds, four general councils, five centuries, and the series of Fathers in that period – the centuries that is, before Constantine, and two after, determine the boundary of our faith.”