From the Rector
With August comes several notable marks upon the liturgical, spiritual and cultural calendars that are worthy of note.
In the calendar of the Apostolic Johannite Church we begin (or rather end July) with the feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea, in the legends the Keeper of the Grail and the one who supplied the tomb for Christ. This coincides with Lammas, the wheat harvest which is also noted on our calendar.
St. Joseph connects to the legends of the Grail and the mythology of Britain with the stories of his travel to that Island (and famously in a poem by Blake, with Jesus himself), and the planting of the Glastonbury Thorn.
He is, as the banner of this letter and our website shows, the patron of our small local community. Chosen because of his legendary association with the Grail, with pilgrimage and with that of being a steward in taking responsibility for the burial of Christ, I would like to think that these are qualities that our local community and its members, embody well. Each stewarding, and supporting each other, traveling on their spiritual paths, none seeking a starring role but only an important work- that of the Grail.
August also brings us the Transfiguration of Christ, and the Assumption of Sophia (also the Assumption of Mary in traditional calendars). These days, rooted as they are in rich narratives about the spiritual journey (or quest, to take a cue from the Grail above), call to mind the season of Harvest that I mention above in our calendar- only this harvest is a spiritual one.
The Transfiguration is the revelation of Christ as he is, the Logos, to the Apostles in the canonical gospels, and both the feasts of the Assumption, be it of Mary or Sophia, that of a return to the Divine- in the former case into Heaven and in the latter, ascension to the Pleroma.
August also sees us commemorate two other notable Saints- Esclarmonde de Foix and Bernard of Clairvaux.
St. Esclarmonde de Foix was a 13th century noblewoman, Cathar Parfait, a builder of many schools and hospitals both for her fellow Cathars and local communities, and to whom we attribute this Cathar prayer, found in our liturgies and offices:
Holy Mother, Rightful Queen of faithful souls, who never erred, who never lied,
To the Mother of God, I call from my heart –follower of the rightful course, who never doubted
lest we should accept death
in the realm of the wrong god; as we do not belong to this realm and this realm is not ours – teach us Your Knowledge and to love what You love.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux was Patron and spiritual guide to the Order of the Temple, or as they are better known, the Knights Templar. The harvest of his spiritual impulse being highly felt within our own tradition and lineages- legendary though they are.
As we progress through August and this symbolism of the Harvest- take some time to contemplate some of the spiritual seeds you have planned over the year so far. Are they bearing fruit? Are they ready for Harvest? What crop will you plant in the next cycle of your journey?
This Month at St. Joseph's
Join us this month as we celebrat the Feast of the Transfiguration with the Contemplative Rite of the AJCat 7:30pm on Wednesday August 8th. Later on in the month, on August 22nd, we will be sitting down to break bread at Ricky's Diner at North Hill, to discuss the topic of Theosis.
I hope to see you there.
Ad Sacram Flammam,
+ Shaun Mar Iohannes