Saturday, September 26, 2020

Making known the Mystery of God: Lancelot Andrews

Today we honor the life and witness of Bishop Lancelot Andrews (1555-1626). He was instrumental in the process by which the “King James” translation of the Bible took place (being responsible for translating much of the first five books himself), and was one of the greatest preachers and teachers of his age. His guide to prayer (Preces Privatae) remains one of the essential texts for understanding classical Anglican approaches to prayer, and his 96 Sermons represent, along with Hooker’s Lawes of Ecclesiastical Polity, perhaps the summit of early Anglican thought.

It was the gift of a collection of Andrewes’ prayers to me at age sixteen which began my pilgrimage to Anglicanism, and (along with his sermons) has kept me limber and faithful since. He is one of the truly great lights in my life, a father among the saints to me.


Here is what one Russian Orthodox author wrote about Andrewes:


If Andrewes was indeed a man of  his own time, which he wanted to make aware of the fact that the relationship of man to God is not an idea but an experience lived out in the Church, which itself is in the final analysis nothing other than the place where the Spirit blows and where one participates in the divine life, perhaps even because he was a man of his time and not an atemporal thinker, he joins those whom one calls the Father of the Church. Now they are called that because they knew how to communicate in their own time the sense of the experience of God, showing then to others who would come later what they had to do for their own time. Their paternity is in fact actively generative, and their sons and daughters are called, like Andrewes, to become living images of their Fathers, thus Fathers (and Mothers) in their turn: that is, people who transcend the limits of their own time.

From the conclusion to “Lancelot Andrewes the Preacher,”

 by Nicholas Lossky, Andrew Louth, translator (1991)


May we be found to be fathers and mothers of the faith in our own day!

The Collect for the Feast of Blessed Lancelot Andrewes, Bishop


Perfect in us, Almighty God, whatever is lacking of thy gifts: of faith, to increase it; of hope, to establish it; of love, to kindle it; that like thy servant Lancelot Andrewes we may live in the life of thy grace and glory; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.


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