Sunday, September 24, 2006

The tie that binds

Here's two more items for my priestly ordination anniversary. One of the ceremonies that is customary after the ordination is that the priest is vested according to his order, his hands anointed, and the instuments of his office are given to him. After his hands are anointed, they are brought together and a cloth may be used to tie them together. A similiar cloth is customarily used in some places to bind the hands of the bride and groom together at a wedding (remember the movie Bravehart?). The cloth is often decorated with embroidery, and below is a picture of the Agnus Dei which my wife Melisa lovingly embroidered onto the binding cloth used at my ordination.
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The other item is that ordinations are often performed on feast days. And usually if that is a saint's day, that particular saint is considered the patron of your ministry. There is no commemoration for 23 September on the kalendar of the Episcopal Church, but of course every day is the feast of a saint who is commemorated somewhere. This is the story (which seemed a bit amusing) of a saint who is commemorated in Italy on 23 September.

According to St Gregory the Great, St Constantius, a layman, was sacristan of the famous Cathedral of St Stephen at Ancona, Italy. In monastic garb, he attended to his duties with a great spirit of perfection which belied his slight stature. He was known as a wonderwork­er, and one of his deeds consisted in keeping the lamps of the church lighted even with water or oil in them. Word of his holiness and extra­ordinary powers spread far and wide, prompting many to ask spiritual favors of him.

The character of the saint is best illustrated by a story told about him. One day a rude fellow happened into the church and at the sight of the saint on a ladder attending to the lamps refused to believe in his sanctity. Instead, he began to insult and ridicule the man of God, calling him a liar and a man full of pride; St Constantius, hearing this tirade, ran to the man and embraced and kissed him in gratitude for having seen him as he was and telling him so. As St Gregory remarked, he thus gave conclusive proof that he was as great in humility as in miracles.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We celebrate your aniversary with you!