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Entries in Ancient Devotions (11)

Tuesday
Dec252012

Christ became a humble child

Ambrose:

He was a baby and a child, so that you may be a perfect human.  He was wrapped in swaddlilng clothes, so that you may be freed from the snares of death.  He was in the manger, so that you may be in the altar.  He was on earth so that you may be in the stars.  He had no other place in the inn, so that you may have many mansions in the heavens.  He, being rich, became poor for your sakes, that through his poverty you might be rich. Therefore, his poverty is our inheritance, and the Lord's weakness is our virture.  He chose to lack for himself, that he may abound for all.  The sobs of that appalling infancy cleanse me, those tears wash away my sins. Therefore, Lord Jesus, I owe more to your sufferings because I was redeemed than I do the workds for which I was created.  Exposition of the Gospel of Luke 2.41-42.

Sunday
Dec232012

Fourth Sunday in Advent

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:18-25)

His Corporeal Birth and His Divinity - Chromatius of Aquileia

John, however, addresses the issue of Jesus' divine birth in the preface to his Gospel:  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word.  This was with God in the beginning.  And all things were made through him and without him nothing was made."  The Evangelists help us to recognize both the divine and corporeal birth of the Lord, which they describe as a twofold mystery and a kind of double path.  Indeed, both the divine and the bodily birth of the Lord are indescribable, but that from the Father vastly exceeds every means of description and wonder.  The bodily birth of Christ was in time; his divine birth was before time.  The one in this age, the other before the ages.  The one from a virgin mother, the other from God the Father.  Angels and men stood as witnesses at the corporeal birth of the Lord, yet at his divine birth there was not witness except the Father and the Son, because nothing existed before the Father and the Son.  But because the Word could not be seen as God in the glory of his own divinity, he assumed visible flesh to demonstrate his invisible divinity.  He took from us what is ours in order to give generously what is his. Tractate on Matthew 2.1.

Sunday
Dec162012

Third Sunday in Advent

 The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.
You have multiplied the nation;
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
For the yoke of his burden,
    and the staff for his shoulder,
    the rod of his oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
    and every garment rolled in blood
    will be burned as fuel for the fire.
For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:2-7)

Through him he has called us out of darkness into the light, out of ignorance into the knowledge of his glory, so that we might hope, Lord, in your name, for it is the foundation of all creation.  Clement of Rome

Sunday
Dec092012

Second Sunday in Advent

1 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
    and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
    the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and might,
    the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
    or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
    and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
    and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
    and faithfulness the belt of his loins.

O God, who did look on humanity when they had fallen down into death and resolve to redeem them by the advent of your only-begotten son, grant we ask you, that they who confess his glorious incarnation may also be admitted to the fellowship of him their Redeemer; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen ~Ambrose 

 

Sunday
Dec022012

First Sunday in Advent

Walk in the light of the Lord.

Isiah 2:1-5:

The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

It shall come to pass in the latter days
    that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
    and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it,
    and many peoples shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
    and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go the law,
    and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
He shall judge between the nations,
    and shall decide disputes for many peoples;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war anymore.

O house of Jacob,
    come, let us walk
    in the light of the Lord.

For all who do evil hate the light and fail to come to the light lest their works be proven.  But you, the house of Jacob, the house of my people, come with me and let us walk together in the light of the Lord.  Let us accept the gospel of Christ and be illuminated by him who said, "I am the light of the world."  Jerome.  Commentary on Isaiah 1.2.5-6