quod pro nobis traditum est

Monday, March 31, 2008

Feast of the Annunciation

(Sinai, 12th c.)

"This greeting ["Hail, full of grace"] was reserved for Mary alone."
(Origen, Homilies on the the Gospel of Luke 6.7, ACCS, 14)

"Truly full of grace was she to whom it was granted to give birth to Jesus Christ, the very one through whom grace and truth came."
(Bede, Homilies on the Gospels 1.3, ACCS, 13)

"Would you like to know how he is born of a virgin and, after his nativity, the mother is still a virgin? 'The doors were closed, and Jesus entered' . . . He who entered through the closed doors was neither a ghost nor a spirit."
(Jerome, Homily 87, ACCS, 13)

"Learn of character from the Virgin. Learn of modesty from the Virgin. Learn of prophecy from the Virgin. Learn in the mystery."
(Ambrose, Exposition of the Gospel of Luke 2:8, ACCS, 15)

"Wonder! God is come among humanity; he who cannot be contained is contained in a womb; the timeless enters time, and great mystery; his conception is without seed, his emptying past retelling! So great is this mystery!"
(John the Monk, Stichera of Annunciation, ACCS, 17)

"Where the Spirit is begetting, and a virgin giving birth, everything carried on is divine; nothing of it is merely human."
(Peter Chrysologus, Sermon 57, ACCS 18)

"Because death made its entrance through a woman, it was fitting that life return through a woman."
(Bede, Homilies on the Gospels 1.3, ACCS, 15)

"As the human race was subjected to death through the act of a virgin, so was it saved by a virgin was precisely balanced by the obedience of another. Then indeed the sin of the first formed man was amended by the chastisement of the First Begotten, the wisdom of the serpent was conquered by the simplicity of the dove, and the chains were broken by which we were in bondage to death."
(Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.19-20, ACCS, 19-20)

"Each one is a partaker of this spiritual origin in regeneration. To every one, when he is reborn, the water of baptism is like the Virgin's womb, for the same Holy Spirit fills the font, who filled the Virgin, that the sin, which that sacred conception overthrew, may be taken away by this mystical washing."
(Leo the Great, Sermon 24.3, ACCS, 18)

"The archangel Gabriel answered, 'The Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow you.' And now you ask how the bread becomes the body of Christ and the wine and water the blood of Christ. And I tell you that the Holy Ghost comes down and works these things which are beyond description and understanding."
(John of Damascus, Orthodox Faith 4.13, ACCS, 19)

"Fittingly is she espoused, but virgin, because she prefigures the church which is undefiled yet wed."
(Ambrose, Exposition of the Gospel of Luke 2.6-7, ACCS, 14)

Announcement of Annual Meeting

The Annual Meeting of Lutheran Liturgical Renewal, Inc., will be held May 6, 2008 at Oxford, Michigan.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Issues, Etc. - where to keep tuned & helpful commentary

I did send an e-mail on Easter Monday regarding the removal of Issues, Etc. from the airwaves and received the same brief formal response that many are receiving. It is obvious that this is simply a formality.

As the current situation in the LCMS continues to grow I will only pass on occasional commentary (It is too hard to keep up with the daily events and there are others who are more aware of everything involved.). If you want up-to-date information (there is new information almost daily) the blogs to check out are: here and here.

However, I do think this commentary is quite helpful in summarizing what is going on. (Thanks to Pr. Weedon for sharing this on his blog.)

Thursday, March 27, 2008


"That which is truly great grows unnoticed, and silence at the right moment is more fruitful than the constant activity that only too easily degenerates into spiritual idleness. In the present age, we are all possessed by a strange restlessness that suspects any silence of being a waste of time and any kind of repose as being negligence. We forget the real mystery of time, the real mystery present in growth and activity. That mystery involves silence and stillness. Even in the religious sphere we tend to expect and hope for everything from our own activity. We use all kinds of exercises and involvements to evade the real mystery of interior growth before God. And yet in the religious sphere receptivity is at least as important as activity. The mystery of the Annunciation to Mary is not only a mystery of silence; it is also, and even more, a mystery of grace. We must ask ourselves: What, is the real reason why Christ decided to be born of a Virgin? . . . Salvation comes not from human beings and their own powers but solely from God and his gracious action. God intervenes where there is a human vacuum; he starts at the point at which, from the human point of view, nothing can be done. He gives life to the bearer of the promise in the dead womb of Sarah, and follows the same pattern through history down to the Lord's birth from the Virgin . . . The salvation of the world is exclusively God's doing and therefore occurs in the midst of human weakness and powerlessness. From the viewpoint of the Bible the Virgin birth is in the last analysis a sign that what occurs is a pure act of grace on God's part."
(Benedictus, "The Annunciation to a Virgin," p. 100)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Recent viewing . . .

Over the past view days I was able to view a pbs program that fit well with the Easter weekend, The Face: Jesus in Art. The program was a history of art portraying Jesus from the earliest days up to today and included how the Church, East and West, viewed the role of art in communicating the faith. This art was used to show the divinity and humanity of Christ and the key events of His life and ministry recorded in Scripture. What especially caught my attention was how one piece of art on the crucifixion of Jesus was described in a way that clearly described total atonement for the sins of the world. This video/DVD could serve well as a resource for Christian education.

Yesterday, I took the kids to see the Dr. Seuss movie, Horton Hears a Who. Except for the gratuitous, almost conspiratorial, swipe at home-schooling as seen with the antagonist kangaroo who "pouch-schooled" her children, this is definitely a fun movie for the entire family.
[Note: One reads Dr. Seuss knowing that his writings involve political commentary and satire.]

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter homily

Dominica Resurrectionis

Resurrexi, et adhuc tecum sum, Alleluia.

St. Mark16:1-8

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Let hearts be purged of evil
That we may see aright
The Lord in rays eternal
Of resurrection light
And, list'ning to His accents,
May hear, so calm and plain,
His own 'All hail!' and, hearing,
May raise the victor strain. (LSB 478:2)

In the garden our first parents brought sin into the world, and with sin, came death. The presence of God brought them fear and shame for they were naked. When Jesus died they wrapped Him in white linen and put Him in the tomb. Here Jesus rested from the work He had done and descended to proclaim final victory over the devil who had introduced death to Eden.

"He is risen! He is not here," the angel tells the frightened women. There is a reversal taking place for death no longer holds Jesus. In Him the gate of everlasting life is open. We are no longer dead in our sins. You and I are a new creation, baptized into Christ, into His death and into His resurrection. The corruption of creation is being cleansed and restored through the blood of Jesus. So the ongoing work of the completed work of the cross is proclaimed until Jesus comes again. Though on earth, we now live under Him in His Kingdom. As Jesus humbled Himself to the point of death for our sake now He is raised to eternal glory and dominion. We read in the words of the psalmist:

"O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth! . . .
Yet You have made Him a little lower than the heavenly beings and
crowned Him with glory and honor. You have given Him dominion
over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under His feet."
(Ps. 8:1,5-6)

Jesus reigns over heaven and earth at the right hand of the Father and yet He is also with us in His Body and Blood. At this altar He feeds his holy Church with the very life and salvation that He gained for us on the cross. This life is shared with His Church throughout the world and is celebrated together with His resurrection from the dead - which is our hope of the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come.

The women were alarmed at this sight. The angel's words opened to them the reality of a mystery that is incomprehensible. They were told to tell this to the disciples and Peter. They were told that they would "see Him" in Galilee. "So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid." The Christian life is more than going and telling, going and teaching, going and making disciples. The Christian life comes from faith that hears the words of the Lord. This life includes obedience and it includes pondering the mysteries of God and longing to see His face. Their fear vanished when they saw the Lord. Their fear turned to joy. Perfect Love casts out all fear and this is love, not that we loved God but that He first loved us and sent His Son to be our Savior.

Abraham longed to see this Day and it was accounted to him as righteousness. His descendants are now people of all nations who know God in the face of His Son, Jesus Christ. The perfect Passover Lamb is sacrificed once and for all. The High Priest has offered Himself in our place and God is well- pleased. God's people are freed from the devil, the world and sinful nature. Death itself is no longer the end. As we continue to struggle with sin and death in this world we also share in the mysteries of life and salvation. In these mysteries we receive God's forgiveness and contemplate the glory of His face. In God's mercy we are given a foretaste of the feast to come, where there is no more death, no more sin, no more tears, no more fear.

He is risen! Alleluia! God grant that you together with His Church remain in His peace and joy that passes all human understanding and in the new life that we celebrate this Eastertide and throughout the year ahead. Amen.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

More on the descent . . .

". . . we simply believe that after the burial the entire person, God and man, descended into hell, conquered the devil, destroyed hell's power, and took from the devil all his might."

- Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Article X

descendit ad inferos

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory.

excerpt from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday (

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mr. Gorbachev & St. Francis of Assisi

News out of London


On this Wednesday of Holy Week St. Joseph is commemorated. He was of the house of Jacob and the spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Lutheran Service Book commemorates him as the "Guardian of Jesus." The LSB verse reads, "When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him." [Matt. 1:24a] The Collect reads:
"Almighty God, from the house of Your servant David You raised up Joseph to be the guardian of Your incarnate Son and the husband of His mother, Mary. Grant us grace to follow the example of this faithful workman in heeding Your counsel and obeying Your commands; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever."
(Lutheran Service Book: Propers of the Day, pp. 407-8)

Traditionally, today is known as "Spy Wednesday," the day that commemorates Judas' betrayal of Jesus on the eve of the Last Supper.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

LCMS: Today in History March 18, 2008

Issues, Etc., the national radio program hosted by Pr. Todd Wilken and produced by Mr. Jeffrey Schwarz was pulled off the air today by bureaucrats of The Lutheran Church -- Missouri Synod. Wilken and Schwarz were fired with no reason given. The website, including years of valuable files, was taken down.
[the image is courtesy of Pr. Asburry's blog which includes his thoughtful response to this tragic news. Pr. Weedon also has a number of posts concerning this news.]

Luther in the news

Earlier this month The Times of London reported that the Pope is going to, in their words, "rehabilitate" Luther. News like this can come out as good or bad news and most often both. The good news is that Pope Benedict XVI is known to be well-versed in Luther and has over the years written thoughtfully about Luther and his theology even when he did/does not always agree with him. This is brought out on this Catholic blog, "Ratzinger on Luther" The same columnist also later shares an update on this story in "Vatican sets the record straight on the Luther story" The Lutheran response to this news is typically varied. Here is one example. In spite of differences, it certainly does not hurt to hear what a well-read and prolific theologian such as Pope Benedict has to say about Luther today. Hopefully, this story will continue.

Making the Sign of the Cross

13. But when Jesus had finished His course of patient endurance, and had redeemed mankind from their sins, He ascended again into the heavens, a cloud receiving Him up: and as He went up Angels were beside Him, and Apostles were beholding. But if any man disbelieves the words which I speak, let him believe the actual power of the things now seen. All kings when they die have their power extinguished with their life: but Christ crucified is worshipped by the whole world. We proclaim The Crucified, and the devils tremble now. Many have been crucified at various times; but of what other who was crucified did the invocation ever drive the devils away?

14. Let us, therefore, not be ashamed of the Cross of Christ; but though another hide it, do thou openly seal it upon your forehead, that the devils may behold the royal sign and flee trembling far away. Make then this sign at eating and drinking, at sitting, at lying down, at rising up, at speaking, at walking: in a word, at every act. For He who was here crucified is in heaven above. If after being crucified and buried He had remained in the tomb, we should have had cause to be ashamed; but, in fact, He who was crucified on Golgotha here, has ascended into heaven from the Mount of Olives on the East. For after having gone down hence into Hades, and come up again to us, He ascended again from us into heaven, His Father addressing Him, and saying, Sit on My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.

(Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 4:13,14 -

Never an end ...

Now what?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Bride of Christ - past issues

If you have any past issues of the journal The Bride of Christ that you would like to part with please let me know. We would like to form a complete, or as close to a complete, collection as possible. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pater Noster

The Lord's Prayer sung in Latin:

(The English subtitles are a weak translation but this does not diminish the Latin nor the chant. The link to this video is now added on this blog and may be found under the heading "Liturgy")

Special thanks to Fr. Beane for making this available.