Monday, October 25

lessons from the saints - Crispin and Crispinian

To those of you of a thespian bent, I must disappoint in discussing the feast today, for unlike so many in England abed tonight, I shan't consider my manhood cheap this nor any other day. Yes, indeed, it is Saint Crispan's day, (or, more correctly, the feast of Crispan and Crispinian, whom the Bard calls Crispian).

Twofold lessons are today, as fitting being doubled saints. The first regards the men themselves, of ancient and noble lineage who denied their imperial position in Roman life for the King of Kings. Plying the trade of cordwainery by night, the pair would preach the good word and donate to the poor by day. Their acts of kindness and Christian virtue did not go without notice in Gaul, as France was called in those days, and they were arrested and brought to trial.  During the trial, they were both threatened with torture and death as well as offered status and wealth by the co-emperor.

Their reply was simple:
"Thy threats do not terrify us, for Christ is our life, and death is our gain. Thy rank and possessions are naught to us, for we have long before this sacrificed the like for the sake of Christ and rejoice in what we have done."

The pair were taken at their word by these gaulish pagans and the gentle shoe-makers were tortured horribly and then slain (though it took several times to strike them down, it seems).  The lesson to be seen is clear, dear friends, in that rank and wealth mean naught to the true children of God. and that we should consider the example of Crispan and Crispinian, noble men, both, who gave up nobility and became craftsmen in service to a carpenter's son, making their faith shown in deed and action most noble in face of consequence dire.

The second lesson comes from the Bard himself and his referencing of these hallowed people, albeit in passing. I say this for Crispin and Crispian were brothers, though in blood or in the Spirit I cannot truly say, and it is important for each and every to recall that we too are a band of brothers (and sisters), bound by blood most sacred and flesh hallowed to a co-fraternity which stretches past the veil of death and beyond the ages.

Therefore, my beloved kindred, know then that when any one of us stands apart, willing to challenge and rebuke, not for the sake of ourselves or the Church, but for the Kingdom and the perfection of Christ on earth, that you do not stand alone. At your back is a host of brothers and sisters who are here with us now and have gone on before that see the good work, have fought the good fight and still stand to kindle the fire within us to do what is best for His glory.

Thus, gentle kin, stand a tiptoe this and every day for the Lord our God.

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