A biography from Common Prayer:
Ignatius of Loyola (1491?–?1556)
Ignatius was born to a noble Spanish family. As a young man, he joined the military, but a war injury ended his military career. While recuperating, Ignatius became bored and asked for novels about knights and battles. But all that could be found in the castle where he stayed were books on the life of Christ and the saints of the church. Legend has it that Ignatius read these stories in a competitive manner, imagining how he could beat the various saints at practicing the spiritual disciplines. He soon found that his thoughts on the saints left him with more peaceful and satisfied feelings than his daydreams about the noble life he had known before his injury. After his illness, Ignatius began practicing his competitive notions of rivaling the saints, and wrote about his experiences of Christian disciplines. His scribblings became the spiritual classic The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, used by Christians for centuries in the practice of discernment. He eventually founded the Society of Jesus, an order still known widely for a commitment to foreign missions and religious education.
Thanks to the constant growth of free resources on the internet, his most famous writing is available online:
Here’s a biography from Common Prayer:
William Wilberforce, an evangelical Christian in eighteenth-century England, dedicated his life to abolishing slavery. In 1780, Wilberforce was elected to Parliament. After an experience of spiritual rebirth, Wilberforce began to see his life’s purpose: to use his political life in the ser-vice of God. He believed that there was no evil greater than the institution of slavery. “Let the consequences be what they would,” he wrote. “I from this time determined that I would never rest until I had effected its abolition.” In 1798, he began his campaign: speaking, circulating flyers and petitions, and introducing bills in Parliament. In 1806, Wilberforce managed to get a bill in Parliament passed that prohibited slavery in all British colonies. By the time Wilberforce died in 1833, Parliament had finally passed a bill that would free all slaves throughout the British Empire.
From Common Prayer this morning:
In the second century, church father Justin Martyr described the Christian community like this: “We who formerly treasured money and possessions more than anything else now hand over everything we have to a treasury for all and share it with everyone who needs it. We who formerly hated and murdered one another .?.?. now live together and share the same table. Now we pray for our enemies and try to win those who hate us.”
Lord, it takes humility to acknowledge that our ways are not your ways. Surround us with your subtle and hidden prophets, that we might have help to overcome self-deception and face the truth that sets us free. Amen.
From Brother Give Us a Word:
|HappinessPosted: 26 Jul 2012 10:00 PM PDT
We imagine that if we could just change something about ourselves or about our situation in life then we could be really happy. But happiness is about something deep within, and all the changes we dream of will never result in anything more than temporary feelings of satisfaction or pleasure. True happiness will still elude us.
-Br. David Vryhof
The Northumbria Community included a poem from William Hurd Hillyer in Morning Prayer. He was born in 1880 and wrote extensively in the early 20th century. The last stanza is worth contemplating today:
MY MASTER’S FACE
No pictured likeness of my Lord
He carved no record
of His ministry
on wood or stone,
He left no sculptured tomb
nor parchment dim
but trusted for all memory of Him
the heart alone.
Who sees the face but sees in part;
Who reads the spirit which it hides,
he needs no more.
Thy life in my life, Lord,
give Thou to me;
and then, in truth,
I may forever see
my Master’s face!
William Hurd Hillyer
This morning, Common Prayer offered an interesting quote and prayer. I am certain that Diognetus could not write this about the 21st century American church:
These words were written in the early Christian writing known as the Letter to Diognetus, whose author is unknown: “Christians live in their own countries, but only as guests and aliens. They take part in everything as citizens and endure everything as aliens.?.?.?. They are as poor as beggars, and yet they make many rich. They lack everything, and yet they have everything in abundance. They are dishonored, and yet have their glory in this very dishonor.?.?.?. They are abused, yet they bless.?.?.?. In a word: what the soul is in the body, the Christians are in the world.”
Dear God, form us into a peculiar -people who live differently because we have been transformed by you. May the courage of the early Christians teach us to laugh at fear, to starve greed, and to live with the winsome freedom of the lilies and the sparrows. Amen.