August 25, 2008

Gerard Groote, etc

There's things from this past week, things in history that I've wanted to post about. I saw Gerard Groote's name in one of my books and had to look him up to see why he was being talked about in mid August's timing. I guess he died August 20, in 1384.

If you read biographies of some people of note in Christian history you would read that they schooled in what was named "the Brethren of Common Life" schools. Famous pupils most known by me were Erasmus, Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin, and Thomas a Kempis.

Growing up in a life of luxury, it wasn't until Groote was 34 that he was converted to faith in Christ. He was educated in Germany, Poland and Paris. Groote obtained permission to preach, teaching the word of God and decrying abuses prevalent in the church. So severe were his attacks on the church that his authorization to preach was revoked.

Groote gathered people who were dedicated to translating the Bible into the vernacular, caring for the poor, and establishing schools for the common folk. Groote's 'brethren' eventually formed households all over Europe. Their aim was to live the life of Christ while engaged in service.

Thus Groote's efforts were the seedbeds for every significant reform that took place in Europe over the course of the next two centuries. Luther praised him as the "Father of the Reformation."

Bernard of Clairvaux is the saint for the 20th, 1153. His story must have not been one to grab me, so I don't remember much about him. I think he had been a poet, declaring that "we can learn more from the woods, from stones and trees, than from teachers and books." But he became so austere in his faith, I wasn't attracted to him.

Rose of Lima is the saint for the 21st, 1617. I never was attracted to her story either. Some people seem to fit a local need, a seasonal demand. When there's ascetic excesses and seem fatalistic, it doesn't fit my image of God's message and call to me. What I wrote next to her was, "It seems violent societies need violent images to arouse them!"

Saint Bartholomew was yesterday, the 24th. I want to pull my thoughts together on a post surrounding history, with him a piece of it. It's going to take me awhile to compose and I don't have the time now.

Travis and Sarah are coming to visit any moment now. They're coming for the day. Dawson started his second year of college today. He'll be returning for supper, and then T&S will leave for home. I called them earlier wondering if they'd left home yet, reminding them that the Democratic National Convention was starting today and traffic was already bad.

There's no special saint for today, unless you want to know about a French Crusader king - St Louis, 1270. A question is - did he go with King Richard the Lion Heart?

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