Praying with Holy Men and Women
The Church’s calendar includes the commemoration of holy men and women from the New Testament period to the 20th century; they have been pilgrims on the same journey of faith and they encourage us. In particular, their distinctive holiness and spirituality helps us to explore our own prayer-lives. The introduction to A Great Cloud of Witnesses, the latest compilation of the saints and holy people honored by the Episcopal Church, quotes the catechism:
“The communion of saints is the whole family of God, the living and the dead, those whom we love and those whom we hurt, bound together in Christ by sacrament, prayer, and praise.” [BCP, 862] In Christian language throughout the ages, “saint” has carried two referents, a general one that applies to the whole Church—which is the meaning invoked here—and a more specific one that applies to individuals who have been identified as “chosen vessels of [God’s] grace and the lights of the world in their generations” from among their fellows.
As the introduction states:
“The saints encourage us; they pray for us; they strengthen us.”
It is in the spirit of being strengthened by the example of holy men and women that the clergy offer these five sermons this Lent. It may be that they encourage you to explore a little more the life of the particular person, their writings or, indeed, the way they approached prayer.
O God, the King of saints, we praise and glorify your holy
Name for all your servants who have finished their course in
your faith and fear: for the blessed Virgin Mary; for the holy
patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs; and for all your
other righteous servants, known to us and unknown; and we
pray that, encouraged by their examples, aided by their prayers,
and strengthened by their fellowship, we also may be partakers
of the inheritance of the saints in light; through the merits of
your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
March 5 Lent 1
March 12 Lent 2
Thérèse of Lisieux
March 19 Lent 3
Augustine of Hippo
Mar 26 Lent 4
April 2 Lent 5