Charles Stuart, King of England

30 January -- Lesser Festival -- Martyr -- Red

Born in 1600, the second son of James the First, Charles became heir apparent when he was twelve years old on the death of his brother. He succeeded to the throne in 1625, where he came up against the increasing power of an antagonistic Parliament. Combined with the religious puritanism which was prevalent, this made Charles staunch in his resistance of the power of either force in the land. He frequently dismissed sittings of Parliament and tried to enforce high-church Anglican practice on all, throughout both kingdoms of England and Scotland. Opposition resulted in civil war. After Charles' imprisonment and trial, he was put to death on this day in 1649. Although some see him as a victim of his own pride, his faith and willingness to suffer and die for what he believed in are not in doubt.


King of kings and Lord of lords,
whose faithful servant Charles
prayed for those who persecuted him
and died in the living hope of your eternal kingdom:
grant us by your grace so to follow his example
that we may love and bless our enemies,
through the intercession of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

A reading from the book Ecclesiasticus.

Woe to timid hearts and to slack hands, and to the sinner who walks a double path! Woe to the fainthearted who have no trust! Therefore they will have no shelter. Woe to you who have lost your nerve! What will you do when the Lord's reckoning comes? Those who fear the Lord do not disobey his words, and those who love him keep his ways. Those who fear the Lord seek to please him, and those who love him are filled with his law. Those who fear the Lord prepare their hearts, and humble themselves before him. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, but not into the hands of mortals; for equal to his majesty is his mercy, and equal to his name are his works.

This is the word of the Lord.         Ecclesiasticus 2. 12-17

Responsorial Psalm

RO Lord, give victory to the king
[and answer us when we call].
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble,
the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
send you help from his holy place
and strengthen you out of Zion. R

May God remember all your offerings
and accept your burnt sacrifice;
grant you your heart's desire
and prosper all your plans. R

Now I know that the Lord gives victory to his anointed;
he will answer him out of his holy heaven,
with the victorious strength of his right hand. R

Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we will call upon the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall down,
but we will arise and stand upright. R         From Psalm 20

A reading from the First Letter of Paul to Timothy.

Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. In the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep the commandment without spot or blame until the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will bring about at the right time -- he who is the blessèd and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords. It is he alone who has immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see; to him be honour and eternal dominion. Amen.

This is the word of the Lord.         1 Timothy 6. 12-16

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

Jesus called his disciples to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your servant; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many."

This is the gospel of Christ.         Matthew 20. 25-28

Post Communion

God our Redeemer,
whose Church was strengthened
   by the blood of your servant Charles:
so bind us, in life and death, to Christ's sacrifice
that our lives, broken and offered with his,
may carry his death and proclaim his resurrection in the world;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.