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quod pro nobis traditum est

Friday, December 21, 2007

Saint Thomas, Apostle



Thomas is an Apostle of the Lord who reminds us of the reality of doubt and of the reality of the Lord's Resurrection. The Lord states something equally unbelievable. He speaks of the blessedness of "those who have not seen and yet have believed." So we are taught that faith believes whether or not there are signs, and that faith does not always have to gaze on that which is invisible.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Advent & Christ-Mass 2007

The following is from the introduction to the family Advent & Christ-Mass letter this year which is shared here as a brief Advent & Christ-Mass greeting to you, the reader, and yours:



The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
With wings as drifted snow, with eyes as flame:
"All hail to thee, O lowly maiden Mary,
Most highly favored lady." Gloria.

"For know a blessed mother thou shalt be,
All generations laud and honor thee;
Thy son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
Most highly favored lady." Gloria.

Lutheran Service Book, 356, Stanzas 1,2 (Advent)

The Creed echoes the reason for the honor given Mary by the generations, ". . . who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man . . ." God's salvation comes to earth with the Word made flesh. The nations are truly blessed in Christ, who is Emmanuel-God with us, Mary's son.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

St. Lucy, Virgin and Martyr

One of the victims of the great persecution under the Roman emperor Diocletian, Lucia met her death at Syracuse on the island of Sicily in the year A.D. 304 because of her Christian faith. Known for her charity, "Santa Lucia" (as she is called in Italy) gave away her dowry and remained a virgin until her execution by the sword. The name Lucia means "light," and because of that, festivals of light commemorating her became popular throughout Europe, especially in the Scandinavian countries. There her feast day corresponds with the time of year when there is the least amount of daylight. In artistic expression she is often portrayed in a white baptismal gown, wearing a wreath of candles on her head.

[From "Commemorations Biographies," Lutheran Service Book, LCMS Commission on Worship]

Vespers

Here is a brief historical sketch of Vespers: What is Vespers?

Notes

Weather
On December 8 the weatherman said that we had surpassed the average snowfall for the month of December. Currently, there is a lull and the sidewalks are clear at home and church.

Advent
Still not sure if this is a geographical phenomena or if this is nation-wide - Advent midweek services are not well-attended. Maybe it is that the themes of Advent stand in such stark contrast to what our eyes and ears are accustomed to, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year. Yes, it is a busy time of year. However, entertainment rules and governs much of our free time. Put this in contrast with what the Lord says in discussing being prepared for His second coming, "Pray always." It is not a matter of exchanging prayer for entertainment as some might have it (and maybe even with some temporary external success). Rather, last night at church Vespers was held entirely in Spanish. And the young violinists, who do not know Spanish, patiently sat through the service!

Reading
The latest issue of First Things has an instructive article on Nietzche (for those of us who do not quite know him) and a review of a translation of the final volume of Dante's Divine Comedy, among other things.

Currently reading: The Feast of Faith by Joseph Ratzinger

Friday, December 07, 2007

Saint Ambrose



Saint Ambrose (c.340-397 A.D.), Bishop and Doctor of the Church; Ordained on December 7

"We see, then, that grace has a wider scope than nature, and even so we place a limit on the grace of the prophetic blessing. If a human blessing was so powerful that it could alter nature, what shall we say of that divine consecration in which the very words of the Lord, the Savior, are at work? For the sacrament that you receive is brought about by the word of Christ. If the word of Elijah was so powerful that it could bring down fire from heaven (1 Kgs 18:38), will the word of Christ not be able to alter the appearance of the elements? You have read of the whole world's works that He spoke and they were made, He commanded and they were created. (Ps. 33:9). Since the word of Christ, then, was able to make out of nothing what had not existed, can it not change what already existed into what it had not been? For it is not a lesser matter to give new natures to things than to change nature.

"But why do we make use of arguments? let us use {Christ's} own examples and establish the truth of this mystery by the mysteries of His incarnation. Had nature prepared the way when the Lord Jesus was born of Mary? In the normal course of events, generation occurs after a woman has had relations with a man. It is obvious, then, that the Virgin conceived outside the normal course of nature. And this body that we bring into being is from the Virgin. Why do you look for the normal course of nature in the case of Christ's body when the Lord Jesus Himself was born of a virgin and apart from nature? Most certainly, therefore, the true flesh of Christ which was crucified and which was buried, is truly the sacrament of His flesh."

(Source: This quote was found on a Roman Catholic website - doctorsofthecatholicchurch.org, although the exact source of the quote is not provided.)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Liturgy links update

The link to a resource for the historic lectionary, "Lectionary Central," has been removed because it no longer seems to be accessible at lectionarycentral.com

A new resource, "Lutheran Liturgy Links - Audio," has been added. These are audio links to radio interviews of pastors and professors.

To find "LITURGY" links scroll down the blog and watch the right-hand column.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

St. John Damascene



“Show me the icons that you venerate, that I may be able to understand your faith."

“The saints must be honored as friends of Christ and children and heirs of God…observe the manner of life of all the apostles, martyrs, ascetics and just men who announced the coming of the Lord…and emulate their faith, charity, hope, zeal, life, patience under suffering, and perseverance unto death, so that we may also share their crowns of glory.”