Archive for February, 2018


For some reason, my Ordo Kalendar omitted this most important day dedicated in the Anglican Breviary to the Martyrs and Missionaries of Africa. The day seems to be commemorated in various ways on various calendars of the Eastern and Western Church.

Among the martyrs and missionaries of nearly 2,000 years, today we mark in particular the life, work, and awe-inspiring witness of Bernard Mizeki, who was born in Portuguese East Africa in about 1861. His legend is set out in the supplemental saints section of the Anglican Breviary. His legend recounts that he attended classes at an Anglican school. Under the influence of his teachers from the Society of Saint John the Evangelist (SSJE, an Anglican religious order for men, popularly called the Cowley Fathers), he became a Christian and was baptized on 9 March 1886. Besides the fundamentals of European schooling, he mastered English, French, high Dutch, and at least eight local African languages. In time he would be an invaluable assistant when the Anglican church began translating its sacred texts into African languages.

After graduating from the school, he accompanied Bishop Knight-Bruce to Mashonaland, a tribal area in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), to work there as a lay catechist. In 1891 the bishop assigned him to Nhowe, the village of paramount-chief Mangwende, and there he built a mission-complex. He prayed the Anglican hours each day, and eventually opened a school, and won the hearts of many of the Mashona through his love for their children.

He moved his mission complex up onto a nearby plateau, next to a grove of trees sacred to the ancestral spirits of the Mashona. Over the next five years (1891-1896), the mission at Nhowe produced an abundance of converts.
During an uprising in 1896, Bernard was warned to flee. He refused, and he would not desert his converts or his post. On 18 June 1896, he was fatally speared outside his hut.

His wife and a helper went to get food and blankets for him. They later reported that, from a distance, they saw a blinding light on the hillside where he had been lying, and heard a rushing sound, as though of many wings. When they returned to the spot his body had disappeared. As recounted by our music master here at St. Alban’s. Mr. Bernard Riley who is a South African who has visited the place of Mizeki’s death, it has become a focus of great devotion for Anglicans and other Christians. On Easter morning, thousands gather at the place to sing, pray and rejoice over the Resurrection.


Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of Thy love in the heart of thy holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, thy humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


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What’s in a symbol?  The little one means something is copyrighted.  Just like the contents of this blog.

I don’t like to post a warning.  I also don’t mind people sharing.  However, wholesale republishing under someone else’s name is not just dishonest, it is a crime.  It is easily found out (as I did today), and the results of discovery might be painful.

The Lenten meditations and prayers I post are from my book manuscript.  It, too, is copyrighted.

I will keep on sharing the daily reflections.  However, please don’t let it come to my attention that you are copying.  As teacher in a happier and more disciplined time was wont to say, “Keep your eyes on your own paper.  Don’t make me use the ruler.”

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Tuesday in the First Week of Lent-Martyrs of Africa

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but he whose confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” God naturally desires and expects that if we are sorry for our sins we shall tell Him that this is so, and also confess to Him the sins and misdoings which have thus made us sorry. He knows what our faults are better than we know ourselves; but nevertheless it is only reasonable that He should require us to acknowledge them before Him if we would obtain forgiveness from Him.

A father asks no less of his child who has disobeyed him: “Only tell me what you have done,” he is likely to say, “and I will forgive you; “and a master expects no less of a servant who has failed in his service. Any one of us, indeed, who has been wronged expects him who did the wrong to acknowledge it if he desires to be reconciled. And shall we treat God with less respect than we demand from one another? He does not wish to worry us if He asks us thus to make confession to Him; it is for our profit no less than for the satisfaction of His honor. “Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou halt transgressed against the Lord.”

To do this is a great advantage to ourselves also. For our sins are thus made to pass before our own eyes also, and we also are brought face to face with our faults so that we must thenceforward be aware of them, and know what they are. Again, by confession we also unburden ourselves of our sins before God, and lay them down at the foot of the cross of our Savior, that His blood may wash them all away.

It may be humbling to do this, but that, again, is just what we need. When we have been thoroughly humbled we are spiritually safer. When we have honestly confessed any sin with a true, penitent heart we shall be the less likely to repeat it, and the better able to resist all temptations to yield to it again.


Grant me grace, O God, I beseech Thee, with all humility and earnestness to confess my sins unto Thee, that Thou mayest forgive me all my sins, and cleanse me from all unrighteousness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls

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Monday of the First Week in Lent-Lenten Feria

After self-examination naturally comes repentance, which is not merely sorrow for sin, nor merely confession of sin, nor merely the amendment of our lives; but all these three taken together.

Self-examination has shown me that I need forgiveness. That I may obtain it I must be sorry for my sins, but why should I thus be sorry? If we have sinned, we have sinned against God the Father, who made us, and gave us all that we have.  We have sinned against God the Son.  We have sinned against Christ ho so loved mankind that He humbled Himself to be made man, that as man He might share in our labours, sorrows, and temptations.  This is the One who, having perfectly obeyed in all things so that He did not deserve to die, laid down His life in weakness, agony, and shame for us. Despite our sins and betrayals, H rose triumphant over death, and ascended into Heaven, there to prepare a place for us also, and to plead on our behalf until His coming again.

As well, we have sinned against God the Holy Ghost, who regenerated us in baptism, and is grieved when we sin, and so constrain Him to withdraw from us. So, then, if God is grieved by my sins surely I should feel sorry for it. If He offered Himself a sacrifice in tears and blood that my sin might be blotted out, shall I not also weep

Moreover, sin, whether great or small, is always a source of unhappiness. If I do anything that spoils my happiness I naturally regret it. And if I have any regard for my happiness and peace should I not, then, be sorry for the wrong things I have thought, or said, or done, inasmuch as they will most surely sooner or later have this effect? I have dared to disregard God’s Law, and to disobey His Word; and now, instead of punishing me, He desires to forgive me. But this Ho cannot do unless I am sorry. “The sacrifices of God are a troubled spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”  Psalm 11.17.


Almighty God, I beseech Thee by Thy Holy Spirit to fill me with godly sorrow that I may offer unto Thee the acceptable sacrifice of a broken spirit; and so obtain forgiveness from Thee, through Him Who by His perfect sacrifice of Himself taketh away the sin of the world, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


From Lent for Busy People © 2017 Fr. Charles H. Nalls


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First Sunday in Lent-A Prayer for My Parish


Gracious and loving God, we ask you to send
your Holy Spirit upon our parish to fill us
with love. Make us instruments of your love to
everyone that we encounter at home, at work,
in our neighborhoods, and in our parish community.


Work through us so that we can bring your
truth to those who are searching for you.
Help us to grow in gratitude so that we can
recognize and thank you for all the good
things you have given us.


Instill in us a deep sense of generosity so
that we are willing to share our gifts,
our talents, our time, and our treasure.


Deepen our desire to follow your will and to
do all things for your honor and glory.


We ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord
and Savior. Amen.

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I am

Saturday After Ash Wednesday-Lenten Feria

Why should I take self-examination in hand now? Because that which may be done at any time is often not done at all, and it is well, therefore, to have a time for everything. If our self-examination be sincere and thorough it ought to lead to our having a share in the sorrow of our blessed Lord in the wilderness, who sorrowed on account of our sins, and because of the ruin and unhappiness which sin inevitably produces.

1. If He asks us to put away our sins it is for our own good that He does so, that, purifying ourselves even as He is pure, we may have a share in His peace now and a place in His everlasting kingdom hereafter.

2. There is no real difficulty in self-examination if we are honest with ourselves. All we have to do is to open our eyes and endeavor to see things as they are, not to deceive ourselves, nor to blind ourselves to the truth, but to endeavour to make out clearly whether we are in all things striving to live according to God’s will or not. “Know thyself,” was one of the maxims of ancient wisdom. To have self-knowledge is to be forearmed.

3. If anything is worth doing at all it is worth doing well; but no one can do his work well who does not examine it from time to time as he goes on, that he may be sure that he is making no mistake in doing it. In our service of God, to which we were pledged in our baptism, we may, in like manner, make many mistakes if we do not seek guidance and advice from others, and if we do not now and then look at our lives that we may see what the course of them may be, and examine our consciences that we may take note of what they have to say with regard to our daily lives. “Examine yourselves,” wrote St. Paul to the Corinthians, “examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” II Corinthians xiii. 5.


Teach me, O God, I beseech Thee, and show me all my faults; and then make me to be truly sorry for them, and help me to put them from me, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Friday After Ash Wednesday-Lenten Feria

I have thought of self-examination as a duty to be performed in Lent. Now let’s consider what self-examination is. As its name implies, it is a taking of ourselves to task at set seasons. We take stock of ourselves so that we may see whether we are going backward or forward in our love and obedience towards God.

A merchant at certain intervals takes stock of his goods that he may see how his temporal affairs stand; whether his business is prospering and whether he is able to pay his way. He knows that, if he did not do this, his loss might be very great. If he did not sometimes put his receipts and stock side by side with his expenses, and see on which side the balance lies, he might find some day that his expenses had outrun his receipts.

Then, his own great loss and confusion he was not able to pay his debts. It is something like this when we endeavor to see from time to time how we are going on, and how we stand towards God, lest when it is too late we find that we have been neglecting or disobeying Him, perhaps without thinking about it, or deliberately intending it.


Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings, with thy most gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally, by thy mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This, then, must be my endeavor. I need not worry myself, but quietly, and with all simplicity, ask myself what is my aim m life; and whether my aim, like that of the Lord Jesus Christ, is to do the will of God. But if I am not careful, I may think that I am doing God’s will when I am not; or I may be failing to obey His word, and yet perhaps not troubling myself much on account of it. Or I may be giving way to some fault which God calls me to renounce and overcome; or I may be leading myself astray by allowing myself to think that I have nothing to repent of when I have; or that sins and follies indulged in earlier life are forgiven because I have forgotten them; when I have no real reason to suppose that they are pardoned, since I have never confessed them to God, nor asked Him to forgive me through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Help me, then, O God, for. His sake, to look well ‘into my heart and life, that, Confessing and forsaking my sins, I may obtain forgiveness through Him. Amen.

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Thursday After Ash Wednesday and Holy Martyrs of Japan

I have resolved that, by the help of God, I will pray and strive for the fulfilment of His will concerning me. I want to make a new start; to begin afresh, as though I had newly come to the service of God.

If so, I shall have to begin with quiet, thoughtful, self-examination; and then I must humbly acknowledge my faults. And if I am to do this aright, I need the new and contrite heart for which we are taught to pray during Lent. The very word “contrition” carries with it the idea of sorrow, but it is reasonable and manly if we have done wrong to be sorry for it, and to acknowledge it. This, then, is my first point; I need to have the evil of my past life blotted out, that free and unburdened I may make a new beginning in my endeavour to serve God, to make glad the heart of my father and mother, to gratify the good wishes of my friends, and to do credit to myself. For it would be of little avail to lay the confession of my past sins before Him who bore our sins in His own body on the cross, if I did not hope and intend to go forward in His service for the time to come.

I must be good if I would do good. “A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit.” If I am to live a new life, I need. a new heart.” A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you.” This new creation within us, like all the works of God, is gradual. I must take my part therein. As I must work with God in order to the maintenance of my bodily life, and the development of my physical strength, using food, sleep, and exercise, the means which He has provided; so also I must work with Him in the maintenance and development of my spiritual life. He who calls me to this work will Himself work with me, that it may at length be brought to a successful issue.


Yea, O Almighty God, send upon me, I pray Thee, the Holy Spirit from on high, and create in me a new and contrite heart, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Lent For Busy People


Lenten Reading

Sometimes the “old things” of this world find application to the modern world. In fact, perhaps these items from days gone by never really went out of style. They have languished for years on dusty shelves \until rediscovered by a new generation.

This is precisely the case with a small book entitled Lent for Busy People and for The Young. In its pages are meditations, prayers, an history of the Lenten season and some rules for, and observations on fasting.

I will be serializing this revised work during Lent 2018 and reproducing the text with minimal, if any, change. Some of the language may seem a bit Victorian because, well, the book was originally published during the reign of Victoria in the year of our Lord 1884. Some of the references may be a bit dated. Yet, this little volume continues to inform and inspire more than 130 years since its publication in London.

We’ll began with the some observations on, and rules for following, a fasting discipline. I particularly commend this latter portion of  the introduction with the caveat that fasting is not meant to impair one’s health. If you are having health issues, or even if you in peak condition, consulting a physician before beginning a fast is a: “best practice.”

“If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be; if any man serve Me, him will My Father honour.”

Our solemn Lent has come again, A time for fast and prayer,
For all who, tempted like their Lord, His victory would share.
Fast crowding on our youthful hearts
Come mournful thoughts of Thee, Thoughts of Thy loneliness and pain,
Thy want, Thy misery.
And bitter thoughts of all the sin
That brought our Lord so low, When in the awful wilderness
Ho battled with our foe.
Those sinful tempers that arise,
Those words and deeds of ill,
Oh, how they pressed upon Him then,
Oh, how they grieve Him still
Jesus, our Saviour, can it be
That we should see Thee there,
See Thee in all that bitter grief,
Without a thought or care?
No, let us rather daily strive
Against besetting sin,
And look to Thee, our conquering Lord,
New victories to win.
The strength that made Thee triumph then,
The patience and the power,
The all-prevailing grace and love,
That brought nee through that hour;
These Thou dost promise unto us,
Whom Thou hast loved so well;
We triumph in Thy victory won,
Thy conquest over hell. Amen.

Surely in what, place my Lord the King shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will Thy servant be.”

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Ash Wednesday

ash wednesday

A reminder that Ash Wednesday Mass with Imposition of Ashes is at 12:00 noon and 6:30 p.m.


“Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children…”-Joel 2:15

WHY should I keep Lent? Lent is a time of self, denial and self-examination, and while I am young, and strong, and active I may surely put this aside until I have need to be more serious. But still is it not the case that the truest man or woman and the noblest boy or girl are they who, as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, lov¬ingly obey His precepts, imitate His example, and follow in His footsteps?

I cannot help feeling that it is infinitely better to be pure than to be impure, to be true than to be false, to be humble than to be proud, to be brave than to be a coward. I also know that it is impossible to be pure, and true, and humble, and brave without a struggle. It is through toil and trouble that we enter into almost everything that is worth entering into in this life; and it is only through much tribula¬tion that we can enter into the kingdom of God, which is the kingdom of truth and purity and love.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself spent forty days in the wilderness, and when He was tempted, overcame every temptation. The two great saints who appeared with Him in His glory on the Mount of the Transfiguration, also spent a like period of retirement, Moses twice and Elijah once. Moses was preparing himself for his great work of giving God’s law to His people; and Elijah for God’s revelation of Himself to him by means of the “still, small, voice.”

And I, too, may have much to learn this Lent both concerning God and concerning myself; and perchance some faults to overcome, whether I be well aware of them or only dimly conscious of them, or indeed not yet aware of them at all. Or I may have some virtues to gain, of which, perhaps, I am now sadly in need.


Therefore, O God, teach me by Thy Holy Spirit to know Thee, and to know myself; and help me, I pray Thee, to keep this Lent devoutly and profitably, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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