quod pro nobis traditum est

Friday, August 29, 2008

Beheading of St. John the Baptist

"Herod swore that he would give the dancing girl whatever she asked of him, and, to avoid
being accused of breaking his oath by those who were at the banquet, he defiled the banquet
with blood when he made the reward for the dancing the death of a prophet."

- Bede (Homilies on the Gospels 2.23, cited in ACCS New Testament II, Mark, 86)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

St. Augustine of Hippo, Bishop

" . . . Secure then of His promises, let us believe the past, recognise the present, hope for the future. Let not the enemy lead us astray from the way, that He, who gathers us like chickens under His wings, may foster us: lest we stray from His wings, and the hawk of the air carry us off while yet unfledged. For the Christian ought not to hope in himself: if he hopes to be strong, let him be reared by his mother's warmth. This is the hen who gathers her young together; whence is the reproach of our Saviour against the unbelieving Jerusalem. "Behold, your house shall be left unto you desolate." Hence was it said, "Thou hast made his strongholds a terror." Since then they would not be gathered together under the wings of this hen, and have given as a warning to teach us to dread the unclean spirits that fly in the air, seeking daily what they may devour; let us gather ourselves under the wings of this hen, the divine Wisdom, since she is weakened even unto death of her chickens. Let us love our Lord God, let us love His Church: Him as a Father, Her as a Mother: Him as a Lord, Her as His Handmaid, as we are ourselves the Handmaid's sons. But this marriage is held together by a bond of great love: no man offends the one, and wins favour of the other. Let no man say, "I go indeed to the idols, I consult possessed ones and fortune-tellers: yet I abandon not God's Church; I am a Catholic." While thou holdest to thy Mother, thou hast offended thy Father. Another says, Far be it from me; I consult no sorcerer, I seek out no possessed one, I never ask advice by sacrilegious divination, I go not to worship idols, I bow not before stones; though I am in the party of Donatus. What does it profit you not to have offended your Father, if he avenges your offended Mother? what does it serve you, if you acknowledge the Lord, honour God, preach His name, acknowledge His Son, confess that He sitteth by His right hand; while you blaspheme His Church? Does not the analogy of human marriages convince you? Suppose you have some patron, whom you court every day, whose threshold you wear with your visits, whom you daily not only salute, but even worship, to whom you pay the most loyal courtesy; if you utter one calumny against his wife, could you re-enter his house? Hold then, most beloved, hold all with one mind to God the Father, and the Church our Mother. Celebrate with temperance the birthdays of the Saints, that we may imitate those who have gone before us, and that they who pray for you may rejoice over you; that "the blessing of the Lord may abide on you for evermore. Amen and Amen.""

- St. Augustine (exposition of Psalm 89:51; NPNF I, Vol. 8, pp. 440-1)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Lutherans and Fasting

It is sad and funny at the same time that one cannot
talk about fasting among Lutherans. When there was
a discussion on the liturgy list a while back the
simple act of the discussion of the topic was
considered "legalistic." Obviously, some have
different views than others on the topic.

As somewhat of a newcomer to the topic I was
surprised at the vehement response by Lutherans
to the topic. Granted, the Catholic and Orthodox
Churches might require it on occasion. Still, the
discussion of a discipline such as fasting should
not be such a big deal among Lutherans who are
known usually to respond to about any church practice
with, "that's fine, just don't make me do it."

There are two reasons why Lutherans should not be
worried by this topic: 1) Lutherans who fast are
a vast silent minority 2) Fasting undermines
neither the State nor the Church.

The sad and funny thing about this whole topic is
that Lutherans stand on Scripture and the words
of the Lord. Still, Jesus' words, "When you fast
..." somehow do not seem to apply. If Scripture,
or the Lord Himself, cannot convince us then
there is something else at play.

It cannot be justification since
we all know that fasting does not merit salvation.
The practice is more of a spiritual discipline
that is related to devotional practice and focus
on God. Maybe it is our fear of good works or
the devotional life.

Maybe it is the ever present and vague amorphous
protestant spirit that comes as a breeze
gently letting us know it is always
there to keep us fresh. This breeze, however,
can turn into a strong wind and storm when
troubled by anything outside its power.

Whatever it is, fasting has Lutherans all
tied up in knots . . .

Friday, August 15, 2008

St. Mary, Mother of Our Lord

Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin in the Catholic Church and the Dormition of the Theotokos ("Mother of God") in the Orthodox Church.

The faithful "sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things." (Ps. 98:1) He has blessed and honored Mary. She is in heavenly glory with her Son, the Lord, and all His saints.

Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! . . . Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation . . ."

et exclamavit voce magna et dixit benedicta tu inter mulieres et benedictus fructus ventris tui . . . et beata quae credidit quoniam perficientur ea quae dicta sunt ei a Domino et ait Maria magnificat anima mea Dominum et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salutari meo quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes quia fecit mihi magna qui potens est et sanctum nomen eius et misericordia eius in progenies et progenies timentibus eum

(Luke/Lucas 1)