Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bishop’s Note: December 15, 2016 – In Praise of Saints’ Days

Bishop Eric Menees

“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.”
(Hebrews 13:7 ESV)

As I write this week’s Bishop’s Note (December 12th), I am flying to Dallas to participate in the Requiem Mass for the Rt. Rev. Royal Grote who died suddenly on Thanksgiving Day. I am also cognizant of the fact that today is the Feast Day for Our Lady of Guadalupe, and tomorrow is the Feast Day for St. Lucy.

If you are of Hispanic or Italian origin, there is no need to explain what these two feast days celebrate. But if you are generically North American, like me, or of another nationality, you might wonder what all the commotion is about. Today, in our largest congregation, nearly a thousand people will gather to remember God’s love for the poor and oppressed in the appearance of St. Mary, the Mother of our Lord, to a poor indigenous boy by the name of Juan Diego, in Mexico. It is nearly impossible to calculate how important this event was for the people of Mexico and all of the Americas. This was a concrete reminder of God’s love and tender care for those who are not wealthy, well educated, or well connected.

Saint Lucy was a young woman from Syracuse, Italy, who at a very early age committed her life to Christ following a call of love, prayer, and service to the poor. Lucy resisted her wealthy parents’ urgings to marry a wealthy young man, and eventually prevailed in convincing her parents to allow her to dedicate her life to God and to give her dowry to the poor. St. Lucy was martyred under the Diocletian persecutions.

I suppose for many people the question is: why celebrate Saints Days? We’re Anglicans, not Roman Catholics. The answer is, because scripture asks us to follow the examples of those who have gone before. In the time of Jesus they read the prophets and studied their lives. So too, we should read about the lives of the saints and - more importantly - seek to follow their example of following Christ. This is in no way a replacement for Christ or His Word; it is in addition to the bible that we read the lives of the saints.

Since the establishment of the church calendar, the seasons, Holy Days, and Saints’ Days have been a regular part of our worship life. These are placed in the calendar to so that we may worship the Lord and, in doing so, be formed as Saints of God ourselves.

May the Lord bless you all this week!

Thirty-nine Articles of Religion

VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation.

Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.
Of the Names and Number of the Canonical Books.
Genesis, The First Book of Samuel, The Book of Esther,
Exodus, The Second Book of Samuel, The Book of Job,
Leviticus, The First Book of Kings, The Psalms,
Numbers, The Second Book of Kings, The Proverbs,
Deuteronomy, The First Book of Chronicles, Ecclesiastes or Preacher,
Joshua, The Second Book of Chronicles, Cantica, or Songs of Solomon,
Judges, The First Book of Esdras, Four Prophets the greater,
Ruth, The Second Book of Esdras, Twelve Prophets the less.
And the other Books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine; such are these following:
The Third Book of Esdras, The rest of the Book of Esther,
The Fourth Book of Esdras, The Book of Wisdom,
The Book of Tobias, Jesus the Son of Sirach,
The Book of Judith, Baruch the Prophet,
The Song of the Three Children, The Prayer of Manasses,
The Story of Susanna, The First Book of Maccabees,
Of Bel and the Dragon, The Second Book of Maccabees.

All the Books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive, and account them Canonical.

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