OREMUS: 14 August 2006

Steve Benner steve.benner at oremus.org
Sun Aug 13 17:00:00 GMT 2006

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OREMUS for Monday, August 14, 2006 
Maximilian Kolbe, Friar, Martyr, 1941, and All Martyrs of World War II

O Lord, open our lips.
And our mouth shall proclaim your praise.

Blessed are you, O God,
on whom our faith rests secure
and whose kingdom we await.
You sustain us by Word and Sacrament
and keep us alert for the coming of the Son of Man,
that we may welcome him without delay.
For these and all your mercies, we praise you:
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit:
Blessed be God for ever.

An opening canticle may be sung. 


Psalm 65

You are to be praised, O God, in Zion;*
 to you shall vows be performed in Jerusalem.
To you that hear prayer shall all flesh come,*
 because of their transgressions.
Our sins are stronger than we are,*
 but you will blot them out.
Happy are they whom you choose
   and draw to your courts to dwell there!*
 they will be satisfied by the beauty of your house,
   by the holiness of your temple.
Awesome things will you show us in your righteousness,
   O God of our salvation,*
 O Hope of all the ends of the earth
   and of the seas that are far away.
You make fast the mountains by your power;*
 they are girded about with might.
You still the roaring of the seas,*
 the roaring of their waves,
   and the clamour of the peoples.
Those who dwell at the ends of the earth
   will tremble at your marvellous signs;*
 you make the dawn and the dusk to sing for joy.
You visit the earth and water it abundantly;
   you make it very plenteous;*
 the river of God is full of water.
You prepare the grain,*
 for so you provide for the earth.
You drench the furrows and smooth out the ridges;*
 with heavy rain you soften the ground
   and bless its increase.
You crown the year with your goodness,*
 and your paths overflow with plenty.
May the fields of the wilderness be rich for grazing,*
 and the hills be clothed with joy.
May the meadows cover themselves with flocks
   and the valleys cloak themselves with grain;*
 let them shout for joy and sing.

A Song of God's Children (Romans 8:2,14,15b-19)

The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
has set us free from the law of sin and death.

All who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God;
for we have received the Spirit that enables us to cry, 'Abba, Father'.

The Spirit himself bears witness that we are children of God
and if God's children, then heirs of God;

If heirs of God, then fellow-heirs with Christ;
since we suffer with him now, that we may be glorified with him.

These sufferings that we now endure
are not worth comparing to the glory that shall be revealed.

For the creation waits with eager longing   
for the revealing of the children of God.

Psalm 150

   Praise God in his holy temple;*
 praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts;*
 praise him for his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the blast of the ram's-horn;*
 praise him with lyre and harp.
Praise him with timbrel and dance;*
 praise him with strings and pipe.
Praise him with resounding cymbals;*
 praise him with loud-clanging cymbals.
Let everything that has breath*
 praise the Lord.

FIRST READING [2 Samuel 17:15-29]:

Hushai said to the priests Zadok and Abiathar, 'Thus and
so did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of
Israel; and thus and so I have counselled. Therefore send
quickly and tell David, "Do not lodge tonight at the
fords of the wilderness, but by all means cross over;
otherwise the king and all the people who are with him
will be swallowed up." ' Jonathan and Ahimaaz were
waiting at En-rogel; a servant-girl used to go and tell
them, and they would go and tell King David; for they
could not risk being seen entering the city. But a boy
saw them, and told Absalom; so both of them went away
quickly, and came to the house of a man at Bahurim, who
had a well in his courtyard; and they went down into it.
The man's wife took a covering, stretched it over the
well's mouth, and spread out grain on it; and nothing was
known of it. When Absalom's servants came to the woman at
the house, they said, 'Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?'
The woman said to them, 'They have crossed over the brook
of water.' And when they had searched and could not find
them, they returned to Jerusalem. 
After they had gone, the men came up out of the well, and
went and told King David. They said to David, 'Go and
cross the water quickly; for thus and so has Ahithophel
counselled against you.' So David and all the people who
were with him set out and crossed the Jordan; by daybreak
not one was left who had not crossed the Jordan. 

When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he
saddled his donkey and went off home to his own city. He
set his house in order, and hanged himself; he died and
was buried in the tomb of his father. 
Then David came to Mahanaim, while Absalom crossed the
Jordan with all the men of Israel. Now Absalom had set
Amasa over the army in the place of Joab. Amasa was the
son of a man named Ithra the Ishmaelite, who had married
Abigal daughter of Nahash, sister of Zeruiah, Joab's
mother. The Israelites and Absalom encamped in the land
of Gilead. 
When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from
Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Machir son of Ammiel from
Lo-debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim
brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley,
meal, parched grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds,
sheep, and cheese from the herd, for David and the people
with him to eat; for they said, 'The troops are hungry
and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.'

Words: Thomas Ken, 1695, 1709
Tune: Morning Hymn

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Awake, my soul, and with the sun
thy daily stage of duty run;
shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise 
to pay thy morning sacrifice.

Lord, I my vows to thee renew;
disperse my sins as morning dew;
guard my first springs of thought and will,
and with thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day,
all I design or do or say;
that all my powers, with all their might,
in thy sole glory may unite.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, ye heavenly host:
praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

SECOND READING [Ephesians 5:1-14]:

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us
and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 
But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among
you, as is proper among saints. Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk;
but instead, let there be thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure
person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom
of Christ and of God. 
Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of
God comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be associated with them.
For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of
light  for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true. Try to
find out what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness,
but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do
secretly; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that
becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
'Sleeper, awake!
   Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.'

The Benedictus (Morning), 
the Magnificat (Evening), or 
Nunc dimittis (Night) may follow.

Creator and Sustainer of life, God,
who ever calls us back
to his ways of justice and peace:
we thank you for the gift of the land,
for its beauty, and its resources,
and the rich heritage we enjoy.
Merciful, mighty God:
hear our prayer.

And so we pray:
for those who make decisions about our land and its resources;
for those who work on the land and sea, 
in our cities, and in commerce and industry;
for artists, scientists, politicians, and visionaries.
Merciful, mighty God:
hear our prayer.

We thank you for giving us life, and for giving us our life together.
We pray for all who through their own or others' actions
are deprived of fullness of life;
for all who know sickness, disability, and an untimely death;
for all who devote their lives to ministering to the needs of others.
Merciful, mighty God:
hear our prayer.

Give us reverence for life in this, your created world.
May we reflect the goodness of your creation
in the society we create with and for one another.
Merciful, mighty God:
hear our prayer.

Holy Spirit, Lord and giver of life, moving force of all things,
root of all creation, purifier of all that lives;
remove from us all that stains our beauty,
wipe away all our sins and anoint all our wounds;
that, awakened by your Spirit, 
our lives may shine forth your praise;
now and for ever. Amen.

O God,
we bless you for the witness of your martyrs
who walked in the bitter path of the Cross
and gave their lives that others might live.
Grant that our devotion may issue in the deeds of love,
and our confession of your holy Name
in a readiness for justice;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit
one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Gathering our prayers and praises into one,
let us pray as our Savior has taught us.

- The Lord's Prayer

Draw us nearer to Jesus,
that, following his way of sacrificial love,
we may come to the banquet of eternal life.  Amen.

The psalms are from _Celebrating Common Prayer_ (Mowbray),
(c) The Society of Saint Francis 1992, which is used with permission.

The canticle is from _Common Worship: Daily Prayer, Preliminary Edition_,
copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council, 2002.

The biblical passage is from The New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized
Edition), copyright (c) 1989, 1995 by the Division of Christian Education
of  the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA. Used by
permission. All rights reserved.

The opening prayer of thanksgiving and the closing prayer use sentences from 
prayers in _Opening Prayers: Collects in Contemporary Language_.
Canterbury Press, Norwich, 1999.

The intercession is adapted from a prayer by David Bromell.

The first collect is by Hildegard of Bingen

The second collect is from _For All the Saints_, (c) General
Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada, 1994.

Raymond Kolbe (who took the name Maximilian when he became a friar) is
known chiefly for the manner of his death, but his life was also noteworthy. He
was born in 1894 near Lodz in a part of Poland then under Russian rule, of
parents who worked at home as weavers. In 1910 he became a Franciscan,
taking the name Maximilian. His parents then undertook the monastic life, his
mother as a Benedictine and his father as a Franciscan. His father left the order
(I assume before taking life vows) to run a religious bookstore, and then
enlisted with Pilsudski's army to fight the Russians. He was captured and
hanged as a traitor in 1914.
Maximilian studied at Rome and was ordained in 1919. He returned to Poland
and taught Church history in a seminary. He left the seminary (1) to found an
association named for the Virgin Mary and dedicated to spreading the Roman
Catholic faith and assisting those who held it to learn more about it; and (2) to
establish a printing press and publish a periodical for the members of his
association, consisting largely of Christian apologetics. He built a friary just
west of Warsaw, which eventually housed 762 Franciscans and printed eleven
periodicals (one with a circulation of over a million), including a daily
newspaper. In 1930 he went to Asia, where he founded friaries in Nagasaki and
in India. In 1936 he was recalled to supervise the original friary near Warsaw.
When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, he knew that the friary would be
seized, and sent most of the friars home. He was imprisoned briefly and then
released, and returned to the friary, where he and the other friars sheltered
3000 Poles and 1500 Jews, and continued to publish a newspaper encouraging
its readers.
In May 1941 the friary was closed down and Maximilian and four companions
were taken to Auschwitz, where they worked with the other prisoners, chiefly
at carrying logs. Maximilian carried on his priestly work surreptitiously,
hearing confessions in unlikely places and celebrating the Lord's Supper with
bread and wine smuggled in for that purpose.
In order to discourage escapes, the camp had a rule that if a man escaped, ten
men would be killed in retaliation. In July 1941 a man from Kolbe's bunker
escaped. The remaining men of the bunker were led out and ten were selected,
including a Sergeant Francis Gajowniczek. When he uttered a cry of dismay,
Maximilian stepped forward and said, "I am a Catholic priest. Let me take his
place. I am old. He has a wife and children." The officer had more use for a
young worker than for an old one, and was happy to make the exchange. The
ten men were placed in a large cell and left there to starve. Maximilian
encouraged the others with prayers, psalms, and meditations on the Passion of
Christ. After two weeks, only four were alive, and only Maximilian was fully
conscious. The four were killed with injections of carbolic acid on 14 August
1941. [James Kiefer]

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