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Now available: another episode of the “Miserable Offenders” podcast

April 23, 2019

From our friends at The North American Anglican, here is the latest episode of their podcast, Miserable Offenders.  In this episode, Jesse and Deacon Andrew continue their discussion of P. E. More’s essay The Spirit of Anglicanism. As usual this podcast is worth the listen.  (On iTunes it can be found here.)  Hat tip: We see through a mirror darkly

 

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For Easter: from the Peri Pascha of Melito of Sardis

April 21, 2019

Here again is perhaps my favorite Easter hymn from the Fathers, the Peri Pascha of Melito of Sardis. It always takes my breath away both for its beauty and for its being unsurpassed as a homily for this joyous day, though it may be the earliest we still have:

66. When this one came from heaven to earth for the sake of the one who suffers, and had clothed himself with that very one through the womb of a virgin, and having come forth as man, he accepted the sufferings of the sufferer through his body which was capable of suffering. And he destroyed those human sufferings by his spirit which was incapable of dying. He killed death which had put man to death.67. For this one, who was led away as a lamb, and who was sacrificed as a sheep, by himself delivered us from servitude to the world as from the land of Egypt, and released us from bondage to the devil as from the hand of Pharaoh, and sealed our souls by his own spirit and the members of our bodies by his own blood.

68. This is the one who covered death with shame and who plunged the devil into mourning as Moses did Pharaoh. This is the one who smote lawlessness and deprived injustice of its offspring, as Moses deprived Egypt. This is the one who delivered us from slavery into freedom, from darkness into light, from death into life, from tyranny into an eternal kingdom, and who made us a new priesthood, and a special people forever.

69. This one is the passover of our salvation. This is the one who patiently endured many things in many people: This is the one who was murdered in Abel, and bound as a sacrifice in Isaac, and exiled in Jacob, and sold in Joseph, and exposed in Moses, and sacrificed in the lamb, and hunted down in David, and dishonored in the prophets.

70. This is the one who became human in a virgin, who was hanged on the tree, who was buried in the earth, who was resurrected from among the dead, and who raised mankind up out of the grave below to the heights of heaven.

71. This is the lamb that was slain. This is the lamb that was silent. This is the one who was born of Mary, that beautiful ewe-lamb. This is the one who was taken from the flock, and was dragged to sacrifice, and was killed in the evening, and was buried at night; the one who was not broken while on the tree, who did not see dissolution while in the earth, who rose up from the dead, and who raised up mankind from the grave below.

I wish all of you another joyous Resurrection Day–may He live in your hearts as surely as He lives today at the right hand of the Father, and may we be at peace, knowing we will live with Him in the world to come.

For Holy Week: “O Sacred Head Now Wounded” guitar and cello duet by Jack Marti and Elisabeth Montague

April 20, 2019

For Holy Week, this is a wonderful rendition of O Sacred Head Now Wounded by Jack Marti on guitar and Elisabeth Montague on cello.  I have posted it in years past and have found none better than this performance.

For Good Friday: a reading from Alexander of Alexandria

April 19, 2019

From Faith and Life: readings complied from ancient writers, here is an excerpt from Alexander of Alexandria, who was Patriarch of Alexandria in the fourth century, and mentor to Athanasius.  (I mentioned this one in previous years.)  Like him, Alexander was a strong proponent of the orthodox faith against Arius.

Behold what a return Israel made for benefits! They slew their Benefactor, rendering evil for good, affliction for joy, death for life. Him who had raised their dead, healed their lame, cleansed their lepers, opened the eyes of their blind, they nailed on the wood; they hung up on the tree Him who spread out the earth; they pierced with nails Him who laid the foundations of the world; they bound Him who absolved sinners; they gave Him vinegar and gall to taste, who offered the food and drink of life and righteousness; they marred His hands and feet, who had brought healing to theirs; they closed His eyes, who had opened theirs; they committed Him to the sepulchre, who raised up the dead, not only before His Passion, but even while hanging on the Cross. Creation, in amazement, said, “What is this new mystery? The Judge is judged, and is silent; the Invisible is beheld, and is not confounded; the Infinite is seized, and is not wrathful; the Immeasurable is circumscribed, and resists not; the Impassible suffers, and avenges not Himself; the Immortal dies, and complains not; the Celestial is buried, and calmly bears it.” For the Lord Incarnate was condemned, in order to bestow mercy on us; bound, in order to loose us; seized, in order to free us; He suffered, to heal our sufferings; He died, to restore life to us; He was buried, to raise us up again. One, in truth, was condemned, thousands were set free; One was buried, thousands rose again. This is the Mediator between God and men; this is the Resurrection and Salvation of all; this is the Guide of the erring, the Shepherd of rescued men, the Life of the dead, the Rider on the cherub-car, the Leader of Angels, and the King of kings; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

–St. Alexander of Alexandria

This Good Friday, let us remember that He suffered that we might be healed.

For Maundy Thursday: a reading from Irenaeus of Lyon

April 18, 2019

For Maundy Thursday, here is a reading from Faith and Life, from Irenaeus of Lyon:

He took the creature of bread, and gave thanks, saying, “This is My Body.” And likewise the Cup, which belongs to this our creation, He declared to be His Blood; and taught the new oblation of the New Testament, which the Church, receiving from the Apostles, offers throughout the whole world to God, to Him who bestows food on us, the first-fruits of His gifts, in the New Testament. Of which oblation Malachi, among the twelve prophets, thus gave intimation beforehand, “I have no pleasure in you, neither will I receive an offering at your hand, saith the Lord of hosts. For from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof My Name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place incense shall be offered unto My Name, and a pure offering.” We offer unto Him His own, proclaiming in due accord the fellowship and union, and confessing the resurrection of the flesh and spirit . For as the bread from the earth, receiving the Divine invocation, is no longer common bread, but the Eucharist, consisting of two things, an earthly and a heavenly, so also our bodies, receiving the Eucharist, are no longer perishable, having the hope of the Resurrection unto life everlasting.

–St. Irenaeus against Heresies, iv. 17, 18.

A very fitting reading for Maundy Thursday!

From Mark Steyn: “The Heartbreak of Notre Dame”

April 17, 2019

By now everyone knows about the heartbreaking loss, by fire, of much of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.  What a loss this is to France and indeed the world.  Mark Steyn has a post up titled The Heartbreak of Notre Dame and this video is included in it.  In the video, Mr. Steyn and Tucker Carlson are talking about this loss.

From the ACNA: the final text for their new 2019 Prayer Book

April 16, 2019

I thought I would pass along the news of the finalization of the new 2019 Book of Common Prayer for the Anglican Church in North America.  You can review the final text on their website, and some commentary about it can be found on the We see through a mirror darkly blog.  I have not had time to look over the text of this BCP yet but look forward to doing so soon.

For Palm Sunday: St. Basil on the Redeemer

April 15, 2019

Here is another reading for Palm Sunday from Faith and Life, this one from St. Basil:

Seek not to have thy brother for thy redeemer, but to have One who transcends thine own nature; neither a mere man, but the God-Man, Jesus Christ, who alone can offer to God a propitiatory Sacrifice for all of us, because “God appointed Him as a propitiation through faith in His Blood.” For what can a man find that is so valuable as that he can offer it for the redemption of his soul? But there was found one thing, equal in value to all men put together, which was given as the price of redemption of our soul,—even the holy and most precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which He shed for us all; therefore were we “bought with a price.” “If then a brother redeems not, shall a man redeem?” And if a man cannot redeem us, He who redeemed us is not a man. Do not then, because of His having sojourned with us “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” suppose our Lord to be a mere man, ignoring the power of His Godhead. For He had no need to offer to God an atonement for Himself, nor to redeem His own soul, seeing that “He did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” No man, then, is able to redeem himself, unless He comes who turns again the people’s captivity, not with ransom-money nor with gifts, as is written in Isaiah, but by His own Blood. And whereas we were no brethren of His, but had become His enemies by our offences, He, not being a mere man, but God, after freely bestowing on us liberty, calls us even His own brethren. For, says He, “I will declare Thy Name unto My brethren.” He, then, who redeemed us, if you look at His (original) nature, is not our; brother, nor man; but if you look at that condescension to us which is the result of His grace, He calls us brethren, and stoops to Manhood,—He who will not give to God an atonement for Himself, but for the whole world. For He needs no propitiation: He is a Propitiation Himself. “For such a High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, then for the errors of the people.

–St. Basil, Homily on Psalm xlviii.

He needed no salvation for Himself, but died and rose again to save us.  For us, there is no greater love than this.

For Palm Sunday: a reading from “The Epistle to Diognetus”

April 14, 2019

From Faith and Life, here is a reading for Palm Sunday that comes from the “Epistle to Diognetus.”  It is not known who wrote this, but the Epistle to Diognetus is an early example of Christian apologetics – along the lines of the writings of Justin Martyr.

When our unrighteousness was consummated, and full proof was given that punishment and death were to be looked for as its reward, and the time was come which God had preordained for the manifestation of His own loving-kindness and power, (for the love of God, which proceeds from His transcendent benignity, is peerless,) He did not hate us, nor repel us, nor did He remember evil, but showed His long-suffering, bore with us, Himself took upon Him our sins,—gave up, of Himself, His own Son as a ransom for us, the Holy for the lawless, the Innocent for the wicked, the Just for the unjust, the Incorruptible for the corruptible, the Immortal for the mortal. For what else but His Son’s Righteousness was able to cover our sins? Wherein was it possible for us, the lawless and impious, to be justified, save in the Son of God alone? O that sweet Substitution! O that unsearchable plan! O those unexpected benefits! That the transgression of many should be covered by one Righteous, and the Righteousness of One should justify many that were unrighteous.

–Anonymous Epistle to Diognetus, c. 9 (early in the second century).

It is remarkable how beautiful are the writings of so many from this time – and this one is as beautiful as those by Melito of Sardis.  Truly, God was and is so merciful, that “the transgression of many should be covered by one Righteous, and the Righteousness of One should justify many that were unrighteous.”

A quote from C.S. Lewis

April 13, 2019

This quote comes from The Weight of Glory, and is certainly something to “inwardly digest”:

Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden.