Sexagesima & St. Paul


The Lord said unto Noah: The end of all flesh is come before me: * make thee an ark of wood, that thereby the seed of all flesh may be saved.

Antiphon on Magnificat, Vespers of Saturday

The second week of preparations for Lent and the Holy Spirit guides our hearts to the story of the Flood. It is easy to get distracted by arguments about where the Ark of Noah is now, or even if there was an ark, or even a flood at all. Such challenges ought to be answered to be sure – but not as if they are central to the meaning of this story. The point is much more challenging than that. I do not doubt that the Bible contains history, but I do not believe history as a science is needed to make the Bible true. It is true because it is God’s Word. How its truth is discerned depends on the traditional criteria of reading in the Church. Especially the Liturgy.

The end of all flesh is what the Lord has purposed to bring about because of the evil that flesh has visited upon God’s creation. We are that flesh – better yet I am that flesh – that very of which God has said He will end it. Annihilate it completely because it grieves Him He has made this flesh … God is grieved at my offences and He has purposed that I should reap the fruits of the sins I have sown …

And God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth and it grieved him at his heart.

Matins, Lesson ii

Here is the point of the story. I am a sinner. And because of me creation suffers. I have grieved God’s heart and God has given Judgment. God’s judgment is coming down and hits sinful flesh like a tsunami wiping it all out. The waters covering the earth are simply the completion of the reversal of the story of creation. We have seen creation in the readings of last week and no sooner had we read it than we began reading the story of its un-creation. The return from a habitable, very good, earth to an earth empty and void. Unfit to sustain life. Sin is here revealed in all its ugliness, that in spite of its appealing promises it is death. St. Paul’s warning rings true: “the wages of sin is death (Rom, 6.23).”

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Station at the Basilica of St. Paul

It is no accident that the Spirit of God has brought us (by means of the liturgy) before the Teacher of the Gentiles. The Christians of ancient Rome would have gathered at one Church (the collecta) and gotten ready to move from there to St. Paul’s Basilica – chanting the Litany of the Saints on the way there. We are here to learn from this great teacher about God’s grace and about the true depth of sin. We are here gathered to hear St. Paul unmask the patterns and clever designs of our sinful hearts. We are here to learn not to trust in anything we do, but to put our faith in God and in the ways and means He has chosen. We are gathered here to have St. Paul be our teacher and father in Christ – so that through his ministry God may gain sons and daughters to occupy His Kingdom. That we having been taught and having matured in Christ through Paul’s ministry may be able to overcome all adversity and become ministers of the Good News ourselves. Therefore we pray:

O God, who seest that we put not our trust in anything that we do; mercifully grant that by the protection of the Teacher of the Gentiles we may be defended against all adversity.

Traditional Collect for Sexagesima

Or … at least we used to pray so. For Thomas Cranmer – the author/compiler of the Book of Common Prayer has foolishly trusted in his own abilities rather than God’s revealed and given means and he therefore changes this prayer radically. The changes poor Thomas came up with were not an attempt to dust off the liturgy so that the Spirit’s truth might shine the more clearly. Quite the opposite. Dr. Cranmer’s work is motivated by Protestant doctrine and seeks to abolish the Holy Spirit’s work and to replace it. After all … the foolishness of the Reformation is wiser than the wisdom of God …

Or is it? The traditional collect presumed the biblical, catholic (and thus Christian) truth of God’s grace and its means. The New Testament is largely written in the voice of St. Paul even if the message is not Paul’s but God’s. The collect in Thomas Cranmer’s rendition entirely removes the reference to St. Paul. The doctrinal assertion made by this move is not hard to understand. God cannot minister to us through others, certainly not Saints. God can only minister to us directly. Of course not even the Reformers can be consistent in this line of thought since even they have “ministers” in their congregations. No matter how low church they get. The truth of the matter is that God does minister to us by mediation of angels and saints (Pseudo-Dionysius is right! ) but God also deals with us directly and without mediation (Evagrius is right too).

Though the collect denuded of its strong emphasis on God’s ministering to us through St. Paul is unfortunate and offensive to a Catholic, it is not heretical as such. Certainly Thomas’ motivation to change the collect was decidedly heretical, However there is no heresy in the assertion of the collect itself proclaiming God’s power to protect. So even here, though the liturgy and its meaning are damaged by the doctrinally motivated assault on the older tradition, the Prayer Book avoids going over the cliff of heresy (if only by accident rather than by design). In fact asserting God’s power is a great and wonderful thing! But how God exercises His power is not bound to the doctrine of the Protestant Reformation. God can – and does – exercise His power through the ministry of angels, saints, and even ministers in congregations.

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Traditional ending of the Epistle for Mass

The traditional Epistle reading is much longer than the one provided in the Prayer Book and provides a fuller image of St. Paul and the point he is trying to make by his own example. The first step in becoming righteous – like Noah, Paul, and even more like Jesus – is to become humble. Not to trust in anything we have done. can or could do. To rely on God alone. I am sure that this is what Dr. Cranmer would also emphasize: to rely on God alone. But as a Catholic I am not willing to restrict God’s prerogative to minister to us through His Saints as well us without mediation. We are infirm and weak. We cannot sustain ourselves by any other means than God’s.

In the Epistle St. Paul is speaking and teaching. But he does not proclaim himself. He does not trust in anything that he has done or can do. His trust is in God. In his person as much as in his teaching St. Paul points to Jesus Christ. The One who sows the seed. For Jesus Christ is the sower of the seeds which when they come to fruition bear the fruits of salvation.

At that time: When much people were gathered together, and were come to Jesus out of every city, he spake by a parable. A sower went out to sow his seed. And so on and that which followeth.

Matins/Mass: Incipit of the Gospel according to St. Luke, 8. 4.

In the Gospel we are in the presence of the One St. Paul proclaims. The One prefigured by Noah: Jesus Christ. The Gospel for today is where this post must end. The Lord explains His own parable:

GOSPEL. Saint Luke 8:4-15
4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:
5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

Fr. Gregory Wassen

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In Our Image & what it means (i)


One of the key phrases we have read the past week confidently asserts man’s being after the image and likeness of God. This tells us much about humanity. It also – perhaps surprisingly to some – tells us much about God. The great Master of the Sentences (Peter Lombard) explains:

In Genesis, the Lord shows at once the plurality of persons and the unity of nature by saying: Let us make man in our image and likeness. By saying let us and our, he shows the plurality of persons, but by saying image, he shows the unity of essence.

The Sentences, Bk. 1 distinction 2, par. 2.

Once again this sort of reading conflicts with historical -critical reading. The latter is always bravely attempting to divine “authorial intent” which is a rather polished way of saying “playing a guessing game at what I think the author could have intended.” Of course, this procedure is put forward as rendering the objective truth concerning the meaning of the Scriptural text. This approach is sharply contrasted with the fanciful subjective, reading of the Church Fathers and the great Medieval authors (such as Master Peter). The Fathers and Medievals, you see, are merely reading into the text what they wish to find there. They do not (could not) pay sufficient attention to the historical context and therefore they often miserably fail to give truthful and reliable readings of the Scriptural text. It is, of course, entirely ignored that the “objective truth” entirely depends upon the subjective criteria used by the researcher that determines what he will find. This should be abundantly clear from Albert Schweitzer’s The Quest for the Historical Jesus.

It cannot be denied that historical critical research provides valuable insights to be considered in what the Scriptural text says about God and our relationship to Him. The connections (for example) thus established between the story of the Flood and other ancient Near-Eastern flood stories add significantly to the meaning and function of the text and cannot be ignored. The problem arises when researchers are using the wrong criteria to do their research. When seeking to establish authorial intent … exactly who is the presumed author? More specifically in the case of Genesis: is the author J? or E? P? or perhaps D? or even an increasingly awkward combination of them? as critical research has often proposed? And if we can establish these (hypothetical ! ) authors with some degree of likelihood  does this prove that the text written by these pre-Christian author(s), in pre-Christian times could not possibly have written concerning the Trinity?

Far from it. Even if JEPD or some recombination of these hypothetical authors are established with any degree of certainty that does not at all invalidate the way the Fathers and our Medieval Doctors read the text of Scripture. Again … who is the author of Scripture? To the historical-critical researchers the author is JEPD (or some combination of them) – and certainly there must have been someone putting some sort of pen to a piece of paper to write these stories. But the text is not just any text … It is Scripture and its primary author cannot be said to be JEPD but it must be said that the primary author of the text is God! Without specifying the mechanism Christians are bound to consider that the process of writing, composing, selecting the text which is now counted as Scripture is subject to God’s intentions. It is therefore important to remember that not science provides the key to understanding Scripture but God does. Scientific analysis has its place, but it cannot replace God’s given key to understanding Scripture.

Master Peter does not have the benefit of modern day science. That much is true. He does, however, understand that God is the primary author of Scripture and that it is His intent that we must seek to unravel in prayerfully reading the text. The central question is not what JEPD intended to write or say (though this question has its place) but what God intends with Scripture as it is given to us. This is the question the Fathers and Master Peter are answering in their writings.

(to be continued … )

 

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Creation and re-creation


The Breviary readings for this week were from Genesis. The Sunday readings began telling the story of creation. The Breviary pauses where humanity has been created. Thus emphasizing that humanity is the “goal” of all the preparation that went before. This story is presented as a meaningful unit as such. The opening words of Genesis 1 are significant. It simply identifies God as Creator and immediately moves on to explain that the earth was “without form and void.” Did God make a mistake whilst creating? Certainly not.

Those of us who pray the Anglican Breviary regularly pray a passage from Isaiah which will help us see the point made here. The Canticle for Friday morning is taken from Isaiah 45 of which the 5th verse reads:

Not for naught did he create it;* he gave it form that it might be inhabited.

The “without form and void” describes an earth unfit for human habitation. This fit-ness is given by the Spirit of God “moving over the waters.” The following acts and days of creation are what it takes to make the earth fit for human habitation. This is why the first reading ended with the creation of man. The earth – as God intends it – is a gift to humanity in and by means of which we live intimately with God. This perfection is soon disturbed by sin and the earth returns to being “unfit for human habitation” now childbirth is laborious and painful and the earth only provides sustenance at great difficulty. But the difficulty is not to last. God by means of His Word will re-create the earth (and humanity) so that once again the earth is fit for habitation and a renewed humanity inhabits it. The story of creation-fall-redemption is inbuilt into the very narrative of creation. That is in the way the creation story is told its fall and redemption are already present. The “without form and void” are a purposeful connecting creation and re-creation, Creator and Redeemer. A similar connection is made by St. Athanasius the Great in his Against the Heathen – On the Incarnation of the Word that the Creator is the Redeemer …

Fr. Gregory Wassen

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Septuagesima Sunday


Matins RR ix: R. Where is Abel thy brother? said the Lord unto Cain, which same made answer: I know not, Lord. Am I my brother’s keeper? And the Lord said: what hast thou done? * Behold, the voice of the brother Abel’s blood crieth to me from the ground. V. And now thou art cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand. Behold, the voice of the brother Abel’s blood crieth to me from the ground. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Behold, the voice of the brother Abel’s blood crieth to me from the ground.

At Mass: Station at St. Lawrence

creationandexpulsion.jpg

Today we read about the creation of the world. Certainly a joyous event! Yet today is clad in purple, deprived of the Gloria in excelsis and deprived of Alleluia. Modern exegetes point out that the first three Chapters of Genesis are much misunderstood. 1 and 2 by so-called creationists and 3 by all Christians. That is … did you think that chapter 3 is a major element to the story of the Bible? Did you believe that we are told of a universal disaster called Original Sin? So much the worse for you.

Modern exegetes know better you see … The story is but a minor player in the Old Testament and even when St. Paul references it in the New it does not indicate such a universal disaster. Oh what a mistake we’ve made! having asserted this spurious fact we can now move on in a world free of original sin and feel so much the better about our modern, liberated, self-assertive, individual, selves. When God says “it is good” He was referring to us! Nay – ME !

Even if a “historical critical reading” would show that “the Fall” is not the obvious meaning for Genesis 3 it wouldn’t matter. Scripture is not the historian’s excavation object. Scripture is a sacred, revelatory text. It is God’s Word. It cannot be understood by treating it as one would treat an ordinary text. And even when it is read as a sacred text we could still get it wrong as St. Paul warns us:

12Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: 13And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. 16Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. 17Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there isliberty. 18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

2 Corinthians, 3.

Modern exegetes – like the ancient Jews – are prevented from understanding the text because they have a veil covering their hearts. Consequently they fail to understand. In the liturgy, the Lord Jesus Christ, removes this veil for us. In the liturgy we turn to God and we receive His Word as He gives it and on His terms (provided we do not go around inventing our own “creative liturgies” based on our preferred doctrinal insights). Liturgy – like Scripture – comes to us as a given. Not as a project. As we allow ourselves to be formed and in-formed the veil is removed we and receive the “knowledge of salvation” the Baptist began to preach (see Benedictus Dominus, Deus Israel in Lauds p. A24).

True creativity does not manifest itself in “interpretative dance” or other such horrors of modern day liturgics. It does not manifest itself in the damage visited upon the Daily Office and Mass of the Protestant Reformes either. The Prayer Book is truly liturgical only insofar it is not blatantly unfaithful to traditional liturgy. Which is why the only way to use the Book of Common Prayer – as a Catholic first – is to re-interpret and reshape it through traditional (pre-Reformation) liturgy. This is why the use of a Missal ought to be a necessity for Catholic Anglicans rather than an option. For the Divine Office the Anglican Breviary, or the Monastic Office ought to be of equal necessity (or perhaps – if it is really too difficult – the English Office Book could be used). Our creativity in liturgics casts a veil over our hearts, be it interpretative dance, historical critical reading, or doctrinaly motivated overhauls of traditional liturgy.

This week the central story for us is going to be the mid-week reading of Genesis 3 the Fall. The introduction of sin, destruction and death into the world. The assault and refusal to repent of Cain – the death of his rightous brother Abel is placed before us today as we pray our way through Matins. Even as we read of the “good” creation we can only look at creation from where we are – outside of Eden. The veil of sin – and angel with a fiery sword – prevent our return to Eden. We cannot see the act of creation, we cannot see creation in its original blessing. We can only from the outside in. We are standing on the blood-soiled earth and dimly grasp how it was once different. How perhaps it will one day be different again.

St. Lawrence – at whose tomb today’s Mass is celebrated – also shed his blood. He too was murdered as was Abel. But in this death there is not mere destruction. This death is not mere tragedy. There is something new, something also announced in Genesis 3 … Lawrence is a Christian Martyr. His death is the path to resurrection, to redemption, to freedom from sin. His death is not empty … Lawrence dies in unison with Jesus Christ. In fact St. Lawrence’s death can be said to “participate” in Jesus’ own death. It is this that makes it different. The Sacrifice of the Mass – which is a real sacrifice, namely that of the Cross of Jesus Christ – celebrated at Lawrence’s tomb is what transforms everything. The Lord Jesus destroys death by death! And here we return to Cain and Abel … Abel’s death – when unveiled – prefigures the death of the Lord Jesus. The evil and senseless murder committed by Cain is transfigured. Abel’s death – as a prefiguration – comes to participate in the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. God truly destroys death by means of death. The story of creation becomes a story of our redemption – our re-creation by the Lord. This we will see nine weeks from now. For at the Easter celebration we will be confronted by Baptism. The Creator is the Redeemer. The story of creation is a figure of the Passion of Jesus Christ. In this respect it is interesting to note that an ancient Alexandrian computation of the dates for the creation of the world, the Incarnation (which began in Mary’s womb), and the Resurrection was March 25th. Creation, Incarnation, Resurrection, are in a sense the same day.  The point here isn’t historical accuracy but theological precision using history in a symbolic/poetic way).

How wonderful is it to have our hearts unveiled.

Fr. Gregory Wassen

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Septuagesima is January 24 …


…. so according to the Anglican Breviary there will 26 Sundays after Trinity, 2 Sundays after Epiphany. The Office of the III Sunday after Epiphany is said on the Thursday before Septuagesima, the Office of the IV Sunday after Epiphany is said on the Friday before Septuagesima, the Office of the V Sunday after Epiphany is said on the Saturday before Septuagesima and the VI Sunday after Epiphany will be the 25th Sunday after Trinity.

Now you know.

Fr. Gregory Wassen

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III Masses for Christmas (1)


By God’s mercy we are to say three Masses today.

~ Pope St. Gregory the Great, Anglican Breviary, Lesson vii, p. C58.

At this first Mass of Christmas we have returned to the Basilica of St. Mary Major at the Crib. This is the same station at which we began the first Sunday in Advent. We have come full circle. As Anglican Catholics we still cannot avoid our filial relationship with Rome. Not only is it nonsensical for Anglican Catholics to adopt anti-Roman sentiment it is self-defeating. M_Basilica-St-Mary-MajorOur very liturgy teaches us that our Anglican Catholicism is born from Roman Catholicism. In other words we are not two Churches but one (even if we may – mutually – not like it). We set out to find the King at a great Palace (the Basilica) and have found Him in a crib which is that same Palace. There is a mystery here! A humble throne the crib may be but the eye of faith see the  Basilica with its High Altar.The introit sets the theme for the Mass. This hymn (the introit is the ancient “Hymn of Entrance”) accompanied us as we begin the movement into Christmas. It is dark outside. As the procession enters the ancient Church we hear the Father say of the Child born this night:

Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee …

~ Anglican Missal, 1st Mass of Christmas, Introit, p. A18.

The Child born to us this day is from another day. He is born from the Father on the day that has no beginning and no end. As the great teacher Origen taught us … This Son is “eternally generated” and has neither beginning nor end. But the Son born as man also, in time, in a day that had a beginning and an end. What a great mystery the Church sets before us! Jesus Christ is eternally born from the Father and because today He is also born in time from the Blessed Virgin Mary “we joyfully receive him for our Saviour (Anglican  Missal, 1st Mass of Christmas, Collect, p. C18).” The deep darkness in which we have lived is suddenly lit up. The dark of night is no longer full of death – it has been sanctified for “God has enlightened this most holy night with the beam of His one true light (Anglican Missal, 1st Christmas Mass, Ancient Collect, p. C18).” There is nothing more to fear in this darkness. This dark turns out not to be a grave, but a womb. Not the end of life in death, rather the end of death in life.

As we joyfully chant the Alleluia we are again reminded that the Son is eternally born from the Father “this have I begotten thee.”

The Gospel poetically – almost – deepens the connection  between the Son’s divine and human birth:

And she [Mary] brought forth her firstborn Son, …

~ Anglican Missal, 1st Mass of Christmas, Gospel, p. C19.

Mary’s first born (her first and only) is the Father’s first born (and only). The harmony between the Introit and the Gospel does not miss a beat. The correspondence is full of meaning and of great beauty. The Creator of heaven and earth whom the heavens of heavens cannot contain and who is always born without beginning or end, is born into our world this day. The Timeless One has entered to live in time with us – and what is more – for us. This new life changes …. everything!

Before the Eucharistic elements have been consecrated we pray that this “holy Communion” may transform us into “likeness of him in whom our substance is united unto God (Anglican Missal, 1st Mass of Christmas, Secret, p. C19).” In this Child human and Divine natures have united. Jesus Christ is the “place” where we meet and know God. Another place like this does not – and will not – exist.

Having received holy Communion, toward the end of the Mass, we pray in thankfulness of heart that we have:

…in a mystery drawn near with gladness u to the Birth of Jesus Christ our Lord …

~ Anglican Missal, 1st Mass of Christmas, Postcommunion, p. C20.

And this birth is the Eternal One entering the temporal, the Sinless One a world lost in guilt, Life has destroyed death from the inside out. This is a mystery for sure. It brings to mind our own baptism where we received and infant seed of life withing – sanctifying grace – which is meant to grow and reach adulthood in the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the dark waters of baptism we are born again (of water and Spirit) and this sanctifying grace is none other but the life of the Father which is in the Son and given to us. For that is what it means that our human nature is now united to the One who is eternally generated by the Father and therefore Himself: God from eternity.

The Nicene “consubstantial” (homoousion) is not a vague theological speculation but a one word summary of the Gospel. For the oneness of Father and Son parallels the oneness of Mother and Son. Mary did not “know a man” so that the humanity of God is received from one, just like His Divinity is received from One. In this is our salvation that God – the Consubstantial Trinity – has undone death in the flesh because One of the Trinity became man.

Gregory Wassen +

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Christmas Liturgy as an Ascetic Journey


Christmas Wood Cut

The Liturgy of Christmas can be considered as beginning with I Vespers. The proper antiphons of Vespers begin the liturgical journey of Christmas:

The King of peace, the true Solomon, is highly exalted, and all the earth shall see him,* to hear the wisdom which God hath put in his heart.

Solomon is the son of King David, obviously. Yet this is important. All David fights against those who currently occupy the promised land. Solomon, following David, is not a fighting King but a King who reigns in peace. At least – that is how it is supposed to be. The point is that the at Baptism – when Jerusalem is taken from the Jebusites – a fight begins. This fight is ascesis or as St. Evagrius called it: praktike. Like David we go out to war and fight against passions. The word “passion” does not here mean what it means today. A passion indicates enslavement. Whatever it is that makes us do something we are enslaved to/by. It indicates to whom or what we are subject. It is that subjection or enslavement that we are called to throw off. This struggle is asceticism. The end (as in goal) of this fight is peace or better yet wholeness. This will have been achieved when we are king of what used to enslave us. When we have come out on top so russianiconofsolomonto speak. Our inner Jesrusalem (heart) is at peace once we have conquered our feelings, desires, and even our needs. At this point we are not driven by anything anymore … Rather we are doing the driving ourselves. No one is born free, according to Christian teaching, we have to struggle to become free.

Solomon is a sort of prophecy of Jesus Christ. So is David. What we have therefore is a perfect pattern of the struggle we are called to engage in and the end for which have undertaken it. Jesus Christ in dealing with his own human nature, its vulnerability, and its enemies (other people, but also the devil himself) shows how a true David fights and how a true Solomon reigns.

One could say that so long as we struggle on the path of asceticism we are pregnant with the future life. Our Baptism – our spiritual rebirth – has planted the seed of life deep within and it needs to be nurtured to grow until it comes to birth in the Resurrection. The “birth of Life” we heard about in the Breviary begins at Baptism but reaches its goal in resurrection. The Blessed Virgin Mary is all pure and free from sin because of Jesus Christ – her Son. Her sinlessness is not her personal achievement but the result of Divine Life being Mother of God planted in her and  comes to full fruition in the 14th Mystery of the Rosary her Assumption into Heaven (the coronation is – as it were – a side effect of her resurrection). The Immaculate Conception (of Our Lady) prefigures Holy Baptism where we are freed from original sin by the Lord Jesus. In the Blessed Virgin, therefore, we also have a biblical and traditional ascetical pattern.

I had intended to briefly touch upon all the propers of (at least) Vespers here … But the wondrous beauty and depth of the Liturgy is a vast and deep ocean. Perhaps this is far enough from the coast for now. The bottom is not too far from my feet yet. More later.

May your Christmastide be merry, full of joy, and may the divine life in yoy make you Solomon – the king of peace.

 

Gregory Wassen +

 

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