Edward the Confessor, King of England

13 October -- Lesser Festival -- of any Saint -- White

Edward was born in 1002, the son of the English King Ethelred and his Norman wife Emma. Living in exile during the Danish supremacy, he was invited back to England in 1042 to become king, and was heartily welcomed as a descendant of the old royal line. However, his reign was a balancing act between the influences of stronger characters at his court or overseas, sustained by Edward's diplomacy and determination. Edward's reputation for sanctity was built on his personal, more than his political, qualities. He was concerned to maintain peace and justice in his realm, to avoid foreign wars, and to put his faith into practice. He was generous to the poor, hospitable to strangers, but no mere pietist. Having vowed as a young man to go on pilgrimage to Rome should his family fortunes ever be restored, he later felt it irresponsible to leave his kingdom, and was permitted instead to found or endow a monastery dedicated to St Peter. Edward chose the abbey on Thorney Island, by the river Thames, thus beginning the royal patronage of Westminster Abbey. He died on 5 January 1066 and his remains translated to the Abbey on this day in 1162.


Sovereign God,
who set your servant Edward
   upon the throne of an earthly kingdom
and inspired him with zeal for the kingdom of heaven:
grant that we may so confess the faith of Christ
   by word and deed,
that we may, with all your saints, inherit your eternal glory;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the Second Book of Samuel.

These are the last words of David: The oracle of David, son of Jesse, the oracle of the man whom God exalted, the anointed of the God of Jacob, the favourite of the Strong One of Israel: The spirit of the Lord speaks through me, his word is upon my tongue. The God of Israel has spoken, the Rock of Israel has said to me: One who rules over people justly, ruling in the fear of God, is like the light of morning, like the sun rising on a cloudless morning, gleaming from the rain on the grassy land. Is not my house like this with God? For he has made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and secure. Will he not cause to prosper all my help and my desire?

This is the word of the Lord.         2 Samuel 23. 1-5

Responsorial Psalm

RBless the Lord, you servants of the Lord,
[you that stand in the house of the Lord].
Lord, remember David
and all the hardships he endured;
how he swore an oath to the Lord
and vowed a vow to the Mighty One of Jacob: R

"I will not come under the roof of my house,
nor climb up into my bed;
I will not allow my eyes to sleep,
nor let my eyelids slumber;
until I find a place for the Lord,
a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob." R

Arise, O Lord, into your resting-place,
you and the ark of your strength.
Let your priests be clothed with righteousness;
let your faithful people sing with joy. R         From Psalm 132

A reading from the First Letter of John.

We know that we abide in God and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

This is the word of the Lord.         1 John 4. 13-16

Hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you are making it a den of robbers." The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they became angry and said to him, "Do you hear what these are saying?" Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read, 'Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise for yourself'?" He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.

This is the gospel of Christ.         Matthew 21. 12-17

Post Communion

Faithful God,
who called your servant Edward to serve you
and gave him joy in walking the path of holiness:
by this eucharist
   in which you renew within us the vision of your glory,
strengthen us all to follow the way of perfection
until we come to see you face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.