Sermon: Saint Mary the Virgin

Listen to the podcast of this sermon at Podomatic : 

C.S. Lewis summed up a very Anglican perspective of the Virgin Mary in the preface to Mere Christianity (it’s a bit wordy and a bit heady): “There is no controversy between Christians which needs to be so delicately touched as this [that is, the question of Blessed Virgin Mary]. The Roman Catholic beliefs on that subject are held not only with the ordinary fervour that attaches to all sincere religious belief, but (very naturally) with the peculiar and, as it were, chivalrous sensibility that a man feels when the honour of his mother or his beloved is at stake. It is very difficult so to dissent from them that you will not appear to them a cad as well as a heretic. And contrariwise, the opposed Protestant beliefs on this subject call forth feelings which go down to the very roots of all Monotheism whatever. To radical Protestants Continue reading “Sermon: Saint Mary the Virgin”

Sermon: Proper 14 RCL A – “On Dry Land”

In December 1971, Time magazine reported on the volunteer fire department in Genoa, Texas, just outside of Houston. We’d need to ask Michael Baker if its true, but as the article stated, we often think of firemen spending the times between fires polishing brass, playing checkers, and showing kids the firetrucks. Not so for the Genoa VFD. The article states, “In the past three years, eight bored Genoa firemen have set about 40 fires in abandoned buildings and grass fields. As soon as the blazes were going, the arsonists would dash back to the firehouse and rush off to put out their own fires.

The Genoa firemen were quite busy until they made the mistake of setting fire to a barn owned by the brother of a Houston fire department official. An investigation of the blaze led to the Genoa firehouse, and the overeager fire fighters were exposed. Explained one of the firemen charged with arson: ‘We’d hang around the station on the night shift without a thing to do. We just wanted to get the red light flashing and the bells clanging.’” Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 14 RCL A – “On Dry Land””

Sermon: Dominic

About the image: Meeting of St. Francis of Assisi with St. Dominic, Josep Benlliure y Gil.

A man curious about Catholicism approached a Dominican monk.

He asked the Dominican about various subjects and eventually the conversation turned to religious orders. “So you are a Dominican?”


“What can you tell me about the Dominicans?”

“Well, in short, we were founded by St. Dominic in the 13th century, in part to counter the Albigensian heresy.”

“I see. What about the Jesuits I keep hearing about?”

“They were founded by St. Ignatius of Loyala in the 16th century, in part to counter the Protestant Reformation.”

“Hmmm … so which is the greater order?”

The Dominican pondered this question for a moment and then replied: “Well, when was the last time you met an Albigensian?” Continue reading “Sermon: Dominic”

Sermon: Transfiguration RCL A – “Becoming”

Boudreaux and Thibodeaux decided to go fishing one morning at the pond in back of Boudreaux’s house. It was dark and when they reached the pond they realized they wanted to cross to the other side. But they couldn’t walk around and had no boat or pirogue to cross in. Thibodeaux turned to Boudreaux and said, “Mais Boudreaux, how in the heck we gonna get across.” Boudreaux said, “No problem, I’m gonna shine this here flashlight across the water and you gonna walk on the beam of light all the way across.” Thibodeaux then says, “Mais, Boudreaux, you must think I’m stupid or something, cause just when I get halfway across you gonna turn off the light.”

Light travels at 186,282 miles per second. Put another way, the earth has a circumference of 24,901 miles, so a beam of light could travel around the earth 7.5 times in one second. Light comes in a wide spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, but we can only see a very small portion of that spectrum, which is called visible light. Continue reading “Sermon: Transfiguration RCL A – “Becoming””

Sermon: Ignatius of Loyola

Image text: Ad maiorem Dei gloriam is the Latin motto of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), and means “For the greater glory of God.” 

Born in 1491, Ignatius began his life as a privileged young man.  In his autobiography he writes, “Up to his twenty-sixth year, he was a man given over to the vanities of the world and special delight in the exercise of arms with a great and vain desire of winning glory.”  That great desire for glory nearly cost him his life as he was severely injured in the battle of Pamplona in 1521.  It was during this time of healing that he had a great spiritual awakening and understood that his life must be dedicated to the work of Jesus.  No longer would he be a knight in the battles of the world, but would become Christ’s knight, in the battle for souls. Continue reading “Sermon: Ignatius of Loyola”

Sermon: Proper 12 RCL A – “The Kingdom of God is…”

A mosquito is flying, looking for a snack. He spots a man high on a pole, lands on the man’s arm, and bites.

The man, an electrician who was anxious to finish work, decided not to wait for the “cherry picker,” and instead used a ladder. When the mosquito bit, he quickly moved to swat it. He missed; however, the sudden movement caused him to lose balance and he dropped to the ground and the ladder fell against the wires causing a short, creating a black out across the whole district.

In the zipper factory it suddenly went dark and the machinery stopped. The owner immediately knew that for him it would be a complete disaster. He had too quickly accepted his first big order; he had already had to put all his staff on extended overtime and to save on cost had not yet put in a generator. Now he knew he would have to tell the customer that he would be unable to complete the order in time for the clothing factory. He could only hope that next week’s shipment would be alright. Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 12 RCL A – “The Kingdom of God is…””

Sermon: Thomas à Kempis

Information regarding the image: Title – Thomas à Kempis on Mount Saint Agnes – (1569). In the Our Lady’s Basilica in Zwolle there is a painting on which Thomas van Kempen is pictured, with in the background the building complex of the Agnietenberg monastery. Also on the painting Arnold Waeyer (1606-1692), the archipelago of Salland can be seen. He led an important part of the church life of the Zwolle Catholics in the shelter period. The painting contains a comprehensive Latin text.

If the text is reliable, the painting would date from 1569 and be painted on behalf of Johannes Cuperinus, the last prior of the Agnietenberg monastery. He said, adding the text and self-portrait in 1654. In the Stedelijk Museum Zwolle, a virtually identical painting hangs. (source)  I’ve tried to locate the Latin text, but have not been successful.

The library at Nashotah House is something to behold. Two stories and a basement, wall-to-wall books and periodicals, almost all of which pertain to God and the Church. In addition, in the basement along one wall is a must visit at least once per week section. This is where they have the books that they are giving away. Duplicates, out of date, a bit to worn, etc. copies. It wasn’t every week that you will find one, but occasionally you will come across a gem. And I believe it was in my Junior year that I came across this one: My Imitation of Christ, published by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood. It is The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. Continue reading “Sermon: Thomas à Kempis”

Sermon: Proper 11 – “EYE17”

The following is my lead-in to the sermon preached by Sophie Fosmire, a member of our youth who attended EYE17 as a delegate.

The Episcopal Church loves it meetings. We have all sorts of local meetings of various committees and we have our vestry meetings, the vestry being the governing body of St. Matthew’s. On the Diocesan level, we have even more meetings. Commission on Ministry, Standing Committee, Diocesan Council, etc. Then there is what we call the National Church, our Presiding Bishop is the head. The National Church also has meetings, with the grand Episcopal Church meeting being the General Convention, which is held every three years. The last one was held in Salt Lake City in 2015. Continue reading “Sermon: Proper 11 – “EYE17””

Sermon: Mary Magdalene

The Book of Judith can be found in the apocrypha, which means, according to Article 6 of the 39 Articles, “the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine.” Which is kind of interesting, given that, in the end, Judith beheads her enemies and is celebrated as a hero, but I’m getting ahead of the story.

The book begins, “It was the twelfth year of Nebuchadnezzar who reigned over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh,” which rabbinical scholars state is the equivalent of, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” In other words, it is historical fiction. That said… Continue reading “Sermon: Mary Magdalene”