Preface of a Saint (3)
[Common of a Theologian and Teacher]
[Of the Incarnation]
PRAYER (traditional language)
Direct our hearts, O Gracious God, and inspire our minds, that like thy servants Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton, and Margery Kempe, we might pass through the cloud of unknowing until we behold thy glory face to face; in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord; who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end. Amen.
PRAYER (contemporary language)
Direct our hearts, O Gracious God, and inspire our minds, that like your servants Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton, and Margery Kempe, we might pass through the cloud of unknowing until we behold your glory face to face; in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
This commemoration appears in Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2018 with revised lessons and collects.
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Last updated: 12 Sept. 2020
ROLLE, WALTER HILTON, AND MARGERY KEMPE
MYSTICS, 1349, 1396, c. 1440
Rolle (1290–1349) was an English religious writer, Bible
translator, and hermit. He is known as Richard Rolle of Hampole or de
Hampole, since after years of wandering he settled in his final years
at Hampole, near the Cistercian nunnery.
He wrote in both Latin and English (his first work, Melum, was
of alliterative Latin); many works are attributed to him, but it has been
questioned how many are genuinely from his hand.
In one of his best-known works, The
Fire of Love, Rolle provides an account of his mystical experiences,
which he describes as being of three kinds: a physical warmth in his body,
a sense of wonderful sweetness, and a heavenly music that accompanied
him as he chanted the Psalms. The book was widely read in the Middle Ages,
and described the four purgative stages that one had to go through to
become closer to God: described as open door, heat, song, and sweetness.
Because of the wide proliferation of his works, there was a movement to
have him canonized. As many of his works were concerned with personal
devotion, some, with considerable alterations, were used by the Lollards.
— more from Wikipedia
Walter Hilton (1340 – 24 March 1396) was an English
Little is known of his life. He was the head of a house of Augustinian
Canons at Thurgarton Priory, near Newark, in Nottinghamshire. He was closely
in touch with the Carthusians, though not a member of that order.
His spiritual writings were widely influential during the fifteenth century
in England. The most famous of these is the Scala Perfectionis,
of Perfection, in two books, first printed by Wynkyn de Worde
in 1494. This work may be described as a guide-book for the journey to
the spiritual Jerusalem, which is "contemplation in perfect love
of God". The soul is reformed to the image and likeness of God, first
in faith only, and then in faith and in feeling. Speeded by humility and
love, it passes through the mystical dark night, which "is nought
else but a forbearing and a withdrawing of the thought and of the soul
from earthly things by great desire and yearning for to love and see and
feel Jesus and spiritual things". By the gift of love all the vices
are destroyed, and the soul at length becomes a perfect lover of Jesus,
"fully united to Him with softness of love". His presence is
the life of the soul, even as the soul is the life of the body. Purified
to know His secret voice, its spiritual eyes are opened to see His workings
in all things and to behold His blessed nature. Hilton's mystical system
is, in the main, a simplification of that of Richard of St. Victor, and,
like Richard, he humbly disclaims any personal experience of the Divine
familiarity which he describes, declaring that he has not the grace of
contemplation himself "in feeling and in working, as I have it in
— more from Wikipedia
Margery Kempe (c. 1373 – after 1438) is known
for writing The
Book of Margery Kempe, a work considered by some to be the first
autobiography in the English language. This book chronicles, to some extent,
her extensive pilgrimages to various holy sites in Europe and Asia.
Part of Margery Kempe's significance lies in the autobiographical nature
of her book: it is the best insight available that points to a female,
middle class experience in the Middle Ages. Kempe is admittedly unusual
among the more traditional holy exemplars of her time, such as Julian
of Norwich. Margery, in fact, described her visit to Julian in her
anchorhold in Norwich, and describes how they together discussed Margery's
visions as to their orthodoxy, deciding that because they lead to charity
they were of the Holy Spirit.
Though Kempe is often depicted as an "oddity" or even a "madwoman,"
recent scholarship on vernacular theologies and popular practices of piety
suggest she was not, perhaps, as odd as she appears. Rather than being
the ramblings of a madwoman, her Book is revealed as a carefully constructed
spiritual and social commentary. ... Her autobiography begins with "the
onset of her spiritual quest, her recovery from the ghostly aftermath
of her first child-bearing". There is no firm evidence that Margery
Kempe could herself read or write, but Leyser notes how religious culture
was informed by texts, as was that of her more well-known contemporary
Julian of Norwich, noting how there is
some evidence that the "Incendium Amoris" by Richard Rolle influenced
Margery Kempe; Walter Hilton has been cited as another possible influence
on Kempe. Among other books that Margery had read to her were, repeatedly,
the "Revelationes" of Birgitta of Sweden and, in fact, her pilgrimages
carefully copy those of that married saint who had had eight children.
— more from Wikipedia