Alfred the Great

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

Born in the year 849, Alfred was the king of the West Saxons who effectively brought to an end the constant threat of Danish dominion in the British Isles. He came to the throne at the age of twenty-two and, after establishing peace, set about bringing stability to both church and state. He gave half of his income to founding religious houses which themselves acted as Christian centres for education, care of the sick and poor and respite for travellers. He was a daily attender at mass and himself translated many works into the vernacular. He evolved a legal code based on common sense and Christian mercy. His whole life was marked by the compassion of Christ. He died on this day in the year 899.


God, our Maker and Redeemer,
we pray you of your great mercy
and by the power of your holy cross
to guide us by your will and to shield us from our foes:
that, after the example of your servant Alfred,
we may inwardly love you above all things;
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.

Now 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

RBe exalted, O Lord, in your might;
[we will sing and praise your power].
The king rejoices in your strength, O Lord;
how greatly he exults in your victory!
You have given him his heart's desire;
you have not denied him the request of his lips. R

For you meet him with blessings of prosperity,
and set a crown of fine gold upon his head.
He asked you for life and you gave it to him;
length of days, for ever and ever. R

His honour is great, because of your victory;
splendour and majesty have you bestowed upon him.
For you will give him everlasting felicity
and will make him glad with the joy of your presence. R

For the king puts his trust in the Lord;
because of the loving-kindness of the Most High,
he will not fall. R         From Psalm 21

A reading from the First Letter of John.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world -- the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches -- comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.

This is the word of the Lord.         1 John 2. 15-17

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

Pilate summoned Jesus and asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?" Pilate replied, "I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here."

Pilate asked him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." Pilate asked him, "What is truth?"

This is the gospel of Christ.         John 18. 33-37

Post Communion

God, the source of all holiness
   and giver of all good things:
may we who have shared at this table
   as strangers and pilgrims here on earth
be welcomed with all your saints
   to the heavenly feast on the day of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.