Readings for Alfred the Great: King of the West Saxons (26 October 899)
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; or each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:43 – 45)
The Gospel saying is true. We tell the trees by the fruit they bear. King Alfred developed and maintained his compassion for his people even after surviving the deaths of his dad and his brothers with their time as king. “Alfred, alone of all English rulers, has been called “the Great,” because of his courage and Christian virtues. Born in 849 at Wantage, Berkshire, the youngest of five sons of King Aethelwulf, Alfred spent his life in a time of “battle, murder, and sudden death” during the Viking invasions and settlement in Britain.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for 26 October)
Alfred was a rough evangelizer. “In heroic battles and by stratagems against the Danes, Alfred halted the tide of their invasion and secured control of the southern, and part of the midland, regions of England for the English. After a decisive victory in 878 at Edington over the Danish leader Guthrum, he persuaded his foe to accept baptism.” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for 26 October)
Alfred prayed and depended on God for direction. “A man of deep piety, Alfred’s leadership in battle and administration was grounded by his faith. His biographer Asser wrote of his commitment to a monastic influenced life of prayer, “He learned the daily course, that is, the celebrations of the Hours, and after that certain psalms and many prayers, gathered together in one book for the sake of prayer, which he carried around with him everywhere on his person by day and night, just as we have seen, inseparable from himself, in all of the doings of this present life.”” (Great Cloud of Witnesses for 26 October) Keeping selected readings close at hand keeps one grounded in the faith. Staying grounded in the faith enables us to bear good fruit which in turn says what kind of tree we are.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through God’s people and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John+