Friday, September 21, 2007

The Feast Day of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist

I snapped this photo while Father was gathering his prayer book, Bible, and vestments. Today, September 21, is the Feast Day of Saint Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. Here's the Collect we prayed from p. 259 of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:

O ALMIGHTY God, who by thy blessed Son didst call Matthew from the receipt of custom to be an Apostle and Evangelist; Grant us grace to forsake all covetous desires, and inordinate love of riches, and to follow the same Thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Father gave B a little lesson about what a tax collector in Jesus' time did, how many were unscrupulous and very much disliked as they enriched themselves to the detriment of the common people. Matthew immediately walked away from his collection table to follow Jesus without looking back.

The readings for today were 2 Corinthians 4:1-6 for the Epistle and, for the Gospel reading, St. Matthew 9:9-13 which tells of Jesus' call to St. Matthew. For Morning Prayer on this specific feast day we read Psalm 119:1-16 for the Psalter reading, 1 Kings 19:15-21 for the Old Testament reading, and St. Matthew 19:16-30.

But my favorite part of feast days is getting to pray the Te Deum Laudamus, my favorite prayer, during Morning Prayer (pp. 10-11 in 1928 BCP) and to pray the Gloria in Excelsis after Holy Communion. The Te Deum is very long, and I think I've posted it here in the past; if you're really interested and don't have a Common Prayer Book sitting about, you can Google it; it's truly sublime worship, one that dates back to the early church. I'll include the text of the Gloria which comes just before the final Blessing:

Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace, good will toward men. We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.

O Lord, the only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ; O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, that takest away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. Thou that takest away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father, have mercy upon us.

For thou only art holy; thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

So the extra Scripture readings, the meditation upon the Saint's service to Christ (and all of the Saints celebrated in the Anglican tradition are found in Scripture), and the extra prayers and blessings all make Feast Days truly special. Feast Days are an integral part of the Anglican Church, and one that I appreciate the most.

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