Archive | November, 2020

Hilda of Whitby: Abbess and Peacemaker

18 Nov

Homily delivered on November 18, 2020 at the mid-week Public Service of Healing, with featured Saint: St. Hilda of Whitby, at Saint Andrews Episcopal Church, Princess Anne, Maryland.

Ephesians 4: 1-6; Psalm 122; Matthew 19: 27-29

When I realized I was going to preach on St. Hilda of Whitby, I am pretty sure I screeched like a school girl.  As referenced in my bio that was emailed before I came aboard, I look to St. Francis of Assisi for guidance and inspiration.  St. Hilda is next on the list.  And really, she probably should be first on my list, simply in light of what she accomplished, as a woman, especially at the time she did, because of what female clergy still currently face at times, regardless of denomination.

St. Hilda of Whitby was one of the great lights of the early Anglo-Saxon church in Britain.  According to the book History written by St. Bede the Venerable, which is the principal source of her life, she was the great niece of St. Edwin, King of Northumbria.  With the rest of her family she was baptized by St. Paulinus when she was thirteen.  Bede wrote, “She spent thirty-three years most nobly in secular occupations” before deciding to “serve God alone.”  As a nun Hilda spent time in a number of monasteries in East Anglia before returning home to found a new monastery at Whitby.  This would remain her home for the rest of her life, and under her leadership it would become an important center for the spread and consolidation of the Christian faith in England.

Ruined Abbey in Whitby, North Yorkshire, England. Norman architecture reflected in pond.

Whitby was a double monastery – that is, one comprising both men and women who lived separately but gathered together to chant the office.  In the tradition of Celtic monasticism, in which Hilda was formed, it was not unusual for a woman to preside over such a mixed community.  As its shepherd, Hilda set a standard for holiness, wisdom, and scholarship, promoting through her example of “the observance of righteousness, mercy, purity, and other virtues, but especially in peace and charity.”  She promoted the study of the Scriptures and the thorough education of the clergy.  Bede observes that in her monastery “no one there was rich or poor, for everything was held in common, and none possessed any personal property.”

Hilda also served as a spiritual director, serving not only her monastic children but the wider community.  “So great was her prudence that not only ordinary folk, but kings and princes used to come and ask her advice in their difficulties.” 

Saint Hilda Of Whitby Anglo-saxon Drawing by Mary Evans Picture Library

Five of her monks went on to become bishops.  She was also influential in encouraging the gifts of another saint, St. Caedmon, a cowherd and subsequent ‘discovered’ poet who became a monk of Whitby.

St Hilda High Resolution Stock Photography and Images - Alamy

As a reflection of the prestige of Whitby, the monastery was chosen as the site for the important church synod of 664.  The synod was called, ostensibly, to resolve disagreements about the correct day for observing Easter.  But this issue was symptomatic of deeper tensions between those favoring the Roman model of authority, rooted in the male dominated episcopal hierarchy, and those inclined to the more monastic model characteristic of the Celtic church.  Hilda favored the latter, but the synod decided otherwise.

Hilda’s last years were spent in painful illness; apparently, she had a high fever for the final 7 years of her life.  But that didn’t stop her from her work.  She never retired from her office nor did she ever fail to give thanks to God.  By her own example she instructed her flock “to serve God rightly when in health, and render thanks to him faithfully when in trouble or bodily weakness.”  Her last counsel to her community was to “maintain the gospel peace among yourselves and with others.”  She died on November 17, 680.

St Hilda of Whitby – A Woman of Strength, Grace & Wisdom – God's Design –  Perth

She epitomized the life worthy of the calling as outlined by Paul in today’s selection from Ephesians.  In light of today’s Gospel passage noting that those who have left homes, brothers or sisters, father or mother, or children for the Lord’s sake, will inherit eternal life, it is interesting that Bede wrote: “All that knew her called her Mother.”

Tradical on Twitter: "November 17th is the feast of Saint Hilda of Whitby,  Virgin: Anglo-Saxon princess of Deira, Columban nun, second Abbess of  Heruteu (Hartlepool), and foundress-Abbess of Streanaeshalch (Whitby), in  Northumbria,

In light of St. Hilda’s loving humility and her approach towards possessions and what today we’d call class distinctions, it is unfortunate we don’t have Matthew’s immediately preceding verses before verse 27 AND the inclusion of verse 30.  What we have today is the ending of the parable of the rich young man (Matthew 19: 16-30).  The rich young man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus first incredulously replied about asking “what is good” and that “if you wish to enter life, keep the commandments.”  And of course, the man’s response, ‘which ones?’ I can actually imagine Jesus rolling his eyes here but he answers about not committing murder, or adultery, or stealing, bearing false witness, honoring parents and loving neighbor as yourself. Now I imagine the rich young man being incredulous in return:  but I do all of this, what else?

Christ and the Rich Young Ruler -

And we get yet another impossible command: If you wish to be perfect, Jesus says, go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and then after that, then and only then, you come follow me.  The rich young man upon hearing this, walked away “grieving” no doubt with tale tucked between his legs because we’re told “he had many possessions.” 

Encounter #9: Rich Young Man | ENCOUNTER

Ouch!  But Jesus isn’t finished.  He then continues, talking directly to the disciples and explains that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.  It is only after that we today join Peter’s disheartened plea of ‘well, come on now, we left everything to join you, what the heck are we going to get in return?!’ And after we have Jesus’s response, we don’t have verse 30, which formally ends this discourse: But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.

The Rich Young Man - Word on Fire

We’re told this man is young.  Although youth is not an encumbrance to discipleship, wealth is apparently is seen as such in this story.  Wealth was a traditional topic for sages, which is what we see in the book of Proverbs, but here we have another example of Jesus’s counterorder wisdom which suggests that, rather than being a sign of blessing, wealth can actually be a hindrance to proper discipleship.  The command before Peter’s heartfelt plea is to sell all possessions, give the proceeds to the poor, and then and only then, follow Jesus.  Let’s think this through.

Liquidation of assets permits greater mobility and the ability to join the traveling fellowship of disciples (see Luke 8:1-3).  A rich person then is said to be able to enter God’s realm or eternal life only by God’s grace.  In all cases, salvation is a divine action, not a human one.  The theme of heavenly, or eschatological, reward is also a regular one in wisdom literature.  So, Jesus is assuring Peter that there are such rewards in the kingdom for those who have made sacrifices.  Jesus the sage foresees a day of remarkable reversal of fortunes when the last, least, despised, those ratted upon, spat upon and lost, will become the first, most, and found.  Those who are among the elite in this world will also suffer a reversal of fortune.

And this is why I wanted to provide the entire context for today’s Gospel selection, especially verse 30: But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.

Pin on Art and J.Sharp

For our modern context, I think this should be our ‘target.’  Several of you are getting to me know me, and you know I am a hug Star Wars fan.  And so, to bring in a Star Wars reference: stay on target.  Wealth per se is not a sin.  But how do we view our wealth in relation to others (see James 2: 1-13), and what do we do with our wealth. And to be clear, wealth is not just about money.  Think back to what I spoke about Sunday, and my encouragement for us not to bury our talents, our gifts, and that discipleship is to share those abundantly for the kingdom of God.

Now we cannot totally relate to St. Hilda, since she was enclosed in a monastery, living in a community, with communal possessions and a communal purse, while engaging the world. We are in the world. But can you just imagine having a high fever for 7 straight years and yet getting up, every day, praising God, serving God rightly, giving thanks to him faithfully while in bodily weakness? 

May we be deeply grateful for the gifts we have received and seek to share our bounty with those in need, for all those who live on the margins – whether the poor, the underprivileged, the migrant, the sick, our homeless veterans, those wrestling with drug addiction.  May their needs be met through just structures and the loving kindness of those around them.

Let us pray a prayer written in St. Hilda’s honor:

O God of peace, by whose grace the abbess Hilda was

endowed with gifts of justice, prudence, and strength to

rule as a wise mother over the nuns and monks of her

household, and to become a trusted and reconciling friend

to leaders of the Church: Give us the grace to recognize

and accept the varied gifts you bestow on men and

women, that our common life may be enriched and your

gracious will be done; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who

lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,

now and forever.


Saint of the Day – 17 November – Saint Hilda of Whitby (c 614–680) –  AnaStpaul

The fullness of talents

15 Nov
What Are Spiritual Gifts? Understanding the Types and Discovering Yours

Homily delivered on November 15, 2020, at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Princess Anne, Maryland.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; Psalm 123; Matthew 25: 14-30

For those who pray the Daily Office, you may recall that last Sunday, we prayed Psalm 96.  The psalmist exclaims: “Say among the nations, “The Lord is king!…He will judge the peoples with equity…Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord; for he is coming, for he is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.”

He will judge the peoples with equity…He will be fair and impartial.  I cannot help but think that the judgment implied in today’s parable is no where close to fair and impartial but is rather terrifying. “As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The parable of the lazy slave. Tale "The Parable of Talent Buried in the  Ground

Is this the type of God we worship—a God who, for example, rewards the rich and makes them richer and condemns the poor, only making them poorer? Spoiler alert: no!  Unfortunately, the parable of the talents is among the most abused texts in the New Testament.

Contrary to what might be marketed by some best-selling televangelists, the parable does not justify a gospel of economic prosperity. The Bible actually does not support any of our modern constructs or understandings of economics, such as communism or even capitalism, but that’s a separate homily.  Instead, this parable challenges believers to imitate their Master by using all that God has given them for the sake of the kingdom, for the sake of the unfamiliar other.

The parable is located in Jesus’ eschatological discourse (24:1-25:46) (or the end times) where he instructs his disciples to endure through difficult times and to live in anticipation of the Lord’s return. Like all the parables in this section, it exemplifies the certainty of the Lord’s coming and how the disciples are to live in the meantime. Since even Jesus did not know exactly when he would return (Matthew 24: 36), the messages of how to live in the interim perhaps seems repetitive…but it probably needed to be.

Jesus Faces Conflict: Matthew 19

The teaching of the talents may remind you of another parable, that of the faithful and wise slave who continues to do the work of the master until the master comes (24:45-51). Although the master is delayed, he arrives to find the wise slave doing the tasks that have been appointed to him in the master’s absence.

The foolish slave, however, has neglected his work and abused his power. He receives severe punishment. Likewise, in the parable of the talents, the master entrusts his servants with his property, and punishment awaits those who have failed to carry on the master’s work (24:49-51).

Like the parable of the ten bridesmaids we heard last week, the parable of the talents portrays the kingdom of God (25:14). The kingdom is not simply likened to a man on a journey, but to the story that follows — a story that illustrates how the disciples are to wait.

What Is the Meaning of the Parable of the Talents? | Jesus Film Project

Last week I focused on the fact that we weren’t told which of the bridesmaids faltered and didn’t prepare; we weren’t supposed to know, thereby prohibiting us to judge them. As Fr. Rob talked about at Wednesday’s midweek service, however, all of us will face that ultimate moment where we will need to account for- and judged – on how we waited, and what we offered towards the kingdom. And that we will most likely be surprised at who will be joining us at the heavenly banquet.

Keeping that in mind, today we have three slaves and we are told that one hid the talent in the ground because the master was a harsh man, reaping where he did not sow, and gathering where he did not scatter seed. Well, there’s the rub; we know that’s not Jesus. Jesus the Christ cannot be interpreted as a hard slave-master who demands unjust practices for profit from his servants.

But we should not neglect the time Jesus was less than an adorable, meek and mild fuzzy bunny with people. As we’ll recite together in a few short minutes, “We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father….[who] by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.” A man, born in human likeness, in human form (see Philippians 2: 1-11). Jesus was not shy about expressing and showing his anger and displeasure. In Matthew 23 for instance he launches into a long, emotional tirade against the scribes and the pharisees and it’s jarring, his anger hot: “You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell? (v. 33). His entire focus was the fact of how much the scribes and pharisees were hypocrites, or teaching and saying one thing while doing the opposite. And as most know, he also showed his anger when he overturned the tables of the money changers.

The Expulsion of the Money-changers from the Temple - Tiepolo,  Giandomenico. Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza

This, oddly, should be comforting. As we continue our pilgrimage, we’ll have times where we are angry. Our Lord can identify with that. But perhaps this too is a double-edged sword: what if that anger – or say the wrath of God – is directed our way, when called to make our accounting?

First, the wrath of God is another misunderstood term in modern imaginations. It comes from the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament) but it’s not like when we see a conflict between two humans, with one seeking revenge against the other for some perceived wrong with the purpose to inflict pain or to hurt.

The Apostle Paul guides us. In Romans he talks about the wrath and judgment of God that will come to those who have rejected the truth, the gospel, and followed evil (See Romans 2: 1-17). Romans 2:5 offers a good perspective on just what God’s wrath is, “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath when his righteous judgment will be revealed.” His wrath appears to be synonymous with his righteous judgment.

Sunday of the Last Judgement (Meatfare Sunday) - Triodion - Greek Orthodox  Archdiocese of America

God’s wrath is not angry retribution against those who have offended God. Rather it is his righteous judgment against those who do evil. God is righteous. And he will judge us according to His righteous standard. And if you take the time to review Romans 2, Paul begins with yet another admonition about judging each other. For Paul, that’s what God has no patience for.

And so, we remind ourselves that we, all of us, are sinners, and we need God; we need Jesus. And by realizing Jesus is the not overbearing task master in today’s parable, the implied judgment actually should not be our focus. We can now shift our thoughts; there are unusual elements present worth looking at, for one, the overabundance of gifts. The basket – or table – is overflowing.

He Prepares a Table | Erica Pyle | Beacon Essentials | Positioned to Prosper

A talent is a vast sum of money and generously distributed to the servants though in different amounts. The master entrusts his wealth to his servants. Not only is he trusting them with his wealth, he does so over a long period of time. As was so painfully evident the other week, our modern culture, which places so much value on things happening immediately, even instantaneously, has become unaccustomed to waiting. Yet here we have another gift, the gift of time, a “long time” in fact, allowing the servants to live faithfully in this superabundance.

And this is where I actually do wonder if our Biblical ancestors perhaps were better suited than we are today when pondering this parable, because their understanding and experience of time radically differs from our sensibilities with respect to time. But the servants already participate, in a yet incomplete fashion, in the life of their master. Think of the master here as inviting his servants into a fullness, a superabundance of grace that is continually offered. Saint Isaac the Syrian framed it this way: God can only give faithful love.

Did Jesus Say, 'God Loves You'? | The Stream

Since God offers faithful love, we should too, should offer each other a superabundance of grace. We know full well conflict is part and parcel of being in communion with each other; that’s as old as, well the Bible. We pray for God’s grace to be extended to us; can we then extend that grace to each other? We’ll of course make mistakes; we’re human. The hardest thing to do I think is to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we make. But we will be held to account for our stubbornness and unrepentant hearts as referenced by Paul in Romans. And lest we forget another almost impossible command from Jesus: becoming reconciled with those whom we have become estranged before approaching the altar, rather than walking away from each other (Matthew 5: 21-27).

Viewpoint: 'Be reconciled with your brother' - The Dialog

What then can be said about the third servant? The judgment still appears to be very harsh doesn’t it? However, by considering this parable as one of invitation, perhaps his plight takes on a different perspective. The master is inviting, continually inviting us into superabundance, grace, and joy (which is really nothing other than an invite into discipleship). Then the only conclusion that can be drawn is the third servant is not able to hear or accept this invitation. The third servant has not only hidden the talent, he has buried himself. The third servant is not so much condemned as he condemns himself to a place—a life—that knows not joy, but knows only darkness, wailing and grinding of teeth. This place, this life, is self-created as a result of an unrepentant heart.

Bridesmaids and Talents – Hood Memorial Christian Church

As those who witnessed Jesus’s ascension realized, endings are a beginning. For you, a beloved ministry is about to end; one is beginning. What was a familiar relationship will change. Endings are a beginning. Let’s encourage one another not to bury our gifts as we approach the unfamiliar. Let’s not bury our talents out of fear. If you feel overwhelmed, sad, or even angry, that’s ok! Burying feelings, even feelings of anger, is not the approach I’m suggesting because it’s not holistic.

Acknowledging Feelings - Sex and Relationship Healing

Like God in Jesus, we are made vulnerable and holy by what we love and lay our hearts out for. We wind our passion like a satin bow, wrapped around what we see as beloved and worthy in our lives. Then, in a thousand different ways, and at the most inconvenient time it seems, God calls us to let go of that precious satin bow, and what it protects, and pushes us to move on. All of us, myself included, are on a lifetime pilgrimage and it just may take us our entire journey on Earth to get over this scandal of our vulnerability. Can we realize we are given the very time of our lives for this very purpose, to be stretched by love, best known and felt in letting go; to have our hearts spread as wide as Christ’s arms spread upon the cross, to lengthen those heart strings.

My passionate Persian desire is for you to develop to the fullness of your capacity and talents. These talents may be latent and you may have to dig for them as you navigate this unfamiliar landscape, but together, we can overcome every difficulty to develop them. It truly is worth every ounce of effort to enlarge natural horizons which then allows the supernatural ones to have room to grow and expand. What I mean is, give Christ room, not only to grow to His full stature in you, but to have a place within you to roam as He may wish, a place for Him to breathe and stretch.

What I pray for is that you then hold on to these discovered gifts, those talents, and offer them, in abundance, for the kingdom, for the unknown unfamiliar other. I know assuming responsibility can feel like a burden. May we be grateful for our God-given gifts and not bury them, even when the reward for using them is greater responsibility. Let us pray:

Lord Jesus, we thank you for your love so strong. May that love flow through us to others.
May we be patient when change comes slowly.
May we be kind when life seems harsh. May we be gentle when others feel bruised.
May we be humble when things go well. May we be peaceful when anger rises within.
May we rejoice when the truth is discovered.
Love never fails, but we do.
May we hope when things seem hopeless.
May we persevere when the way is hard.


Perseverance – Limited Edition Canvas | Thomas Kinkade Studios

Awake, O Sleeper

8 Nov

Homily delivered on November 8, 2020 at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Princess Anne, Maryland.

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18; Psalm 123; Matthew 25: 1-18

This may not make you feel any better, but our readings today and liturgical calendar intersect quite nicely with the current affairs of the world: we’re waiting, with anticipation. We’re waiting for the return of Christ. Liturgically we are approaching another Advent, where in anticipation of the birth of the Christ child, we (hopefully) will push pause and wait, reminding ourselves about the eternal hope we have in Christ. And the entire world waited with us to see how the election would resolve. No doubt, we’ll continue to wait to see how the transition will unfold.

I do lament the heightened consternation that swirls around us right now.  Perhaps we mirror how the initial hearers of Matthew’s Gospel were feeling. The earliest readers of the Gospel had already experienced the dark, painful days after the crucifixion followed by the joyous bright days after the resurrection, and had begun waiting for Christ’s return. This parable then is a challenge to be vigilant and to live in anticipation of the Lord’s coming.

The Second Coming: Will Our Lord Return in the 2020s? — Charisma Magazine

The young women were waiting for the bridegroom. They belonged to the same community, the same group of friends. They fall asleep waiting for the bridegroom to come. We’re not told who has enough oil in their lamps, who has been more faithful. And this really is not for us to know or to judge. No surprise that today the church remains this type of a mixed community. But focusing on who is the foolish or wise would miss the point. The so-called foolish young women also knew the bridegroom, calling out to him “Lord, Lord, open to us!” (verse 11).

That they remain unrecognized by the bridegroom though raises the question of knowledge. What is it to know the bridegroom? What is it to recognize the one called “Lord?” And in turn, what is it to be recognized by the one called “Lord?” The cry “Lord, Lord,” should sound familiar; it takes us back to the earlier chapters of Matthew’s Gospel. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). And the lamps (or torches) are also a familiar image previously used in the Sermon on the Mount: “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (5:16).

Let Your Light Shine: The Power of Jesus by Lonnie Ollivierre | The Black  Art Depot

Living and waiting (or maybe even sleeping) with enough oil in our lamps, when set in the context of Matthew’s earlier chapters, suggests that it is this spirit of the beatitudes that, above all else, distinguishes those who the bridegroom recognizes. This beatitude spirit is the spirit of the cross, which disrupts and confounds all of our categories, divisions, and all of our judgmental predispositions. The life into which the beatitudes invite us is a life not centered on our works, not even on our faith per se, but on the cross, and how God is glorified through us, through our very lives. 

To live in vigilance then means that as disciples we do the tasks we have been appointed to do in preparation for the Master’s coming. Looking again at Matthew’s Gospel for guidance, those tasks include bearing witness to God’s kingdom by welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and imprisoned (25:31-46), and making disciples in all the world (28:19-20).

Rushing to judge is not supposed to be a part of the spirit of the cross. Judgment is purely reserved for God who alone knows or recognizes each individual; we’ll focus more on that next week. For now, grace is in the cross that shines forth a light, a light so unique that people do not praise our good works but rather praise God who is acting and giving life in the midst of suffering, life in the midst of death, opening the door to those who have engaged the way of the cross, who have engaged the way of death. The world simply cannot understand this way. It does not recognize the Lord though it continually cries out, “Lord, Lord!”

But Christ’s return is actually not a one-time event at some “end point” but rather a continuous event that involves us, the community of Christ, the body of Christ, in our baptismal vocation, our Baptismal covenant: we are to live in the light of the cross, which is walking humbly, in mercy, not in judgment. Our Lord’s return is not just simply about a far-off event but includes Christ’s continual presence with us, now, through our living (even sleeping) and all of our waiting.

Walking Humbly with God | Oblates of St. Benedict

However, too many for me have become caught up in trying to determine the day and the hour of Christ’s return, while others have indeed let their lamps run out.  I thought of St. Francis, Assisi while pondering the readings.  He courageously and humbly walked in a holy wisdom, of being alert.  He often struggled with the sense that the people he encountered daily had become drowsy, sleepy, unaware of the presence of God within them and around them. He desired to help them come awake, alert and to see and to encounter the living and loving presence of God in their midst.

Francis himself went through many conversion experiences throughout his life. Once awakened, Francis no longer saw Jesus the Christ simply as a historical figure, written about in scripture and preached in homilies. Through Francis’ ongoing conversion he experienced Christ alive, who spoke to him and became exceptionally vibrant for him through all of creation. Reading about Francis’ experiences would definitely be worth your time.  Francis’ desire was for everyone to also have this experience of the living Christ.

I ask can we (myself included) be awakened from our slumbering drowsy souls to the brilliance of this Divine Love and Light, the presence of Christ, who shines even in these dark times of the Covid pandemic and the pandemics of violence on our streets, increasing economic disparities, as well as intense political polarization?

With that I invite you to join me this Advent for a facilitated weekly adult gathering to study and discuss this booklet: Living Well through Advent 2020- Practicing Hope with all of Your Heart, Soul, Strength and Mind.

This invite is for everyone.  We can figure out logistics later but know I am open to perhaps meeting in person with folks, for example immediately after service on Sundays since we are able to appropriately space ourselves.  I am also willing to host a virtual gathering in addition to an in-person discussion, which I can set up via Zoom. There is no charge for the booklets and if we run out of copies, I can provide a PDF link which can be assessed free of charge.

This comes from the Living Compass Program. The booklet is a resource that provides a foundation for seeking a deeper experience of Advent, an experience that will help prepare us for the true meaning of Christmas.  Underlining the program as a whole is the concept of wellness: having a sense of balance by nurturing and tending to all areas of wellness, including spiritual, physical, emotional, relational, and vocational.  Grounded in Scripture and the tradition of the Church, the Living Compass program provides resources, education, training, and support to individuals, families, and congregations who seek to enhance vitality and to live into the abundant life that God intends.

Let us – together – desire to walk in the way of holy wisdom like St. Francis, so that our slumbering and drowsy souls may be awakened in Christ. May this awakening give us the strength and the courage to speak out and to proclaim our faith boldly.

Awake, O sleeper,

rise from death,

and Christ shall give you light,

so learn his love—

its length and breadth,

its fullness, depth, and height.

To us on earth he came to bring

from sin and fear release,

to give the Spirit’s unity,

the very bond of peace.

There is one Body and one hope,

one Spirit and one call,

one Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism,

one Father of us all.

Then walk in love as

Christ has loved,

who died that he might save;

with kind and gentle hearts forgive

as God in Christ forgave.

For us Christ lived,

for us he died

and conquered in the strife.

Awake, arise, go forth in faith,

and Christ shall give you life.


4 Ways Jesus Gives You Abundant Life