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The First Sunday after Christmas

Homily of St. Augustine on Psalm VIII
First Sunday after Christmas Home

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us thy only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and as at this time to be born of a pure virgin; Grant that we being regenerate, and made thy children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by thy Holy Spirit; through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Galatians iv. 1, Psalm II, VIII | LXXXIX   &  St. Matthew i. 18



"What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? 
or the son of man, that Thou visitest him?"

This Sunday, the first after Christmas, we look at Augustine of Hippo in his examination and interpretation of Psalm 8.  Augustine approaches his study from the point of view that the  Churches represent the wine-presses and threshing floors, but there are mixed both the wheat and the chaff that will be separated by the Lord Jesus into those of his true Church and those not.

I would direct our attention in this Christmastide to the verse quoted above and part of Augustine's exegesis. "What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that Thou visitest him?"

 Therefore was the son of man first visited in the person of the very Lord Man, born of the Virgin Mary. Of whom, by reason of the very weakness of the flesh, which the Wisdom of God vouchsafed to bear, and the humiliation of the Passion, it is justly said, "Thou hast lowered Him a little lower than the Angels" (ver. 5). But that glorifying is added, in which He rose and ascended up into heaven; "With glory," he says, "and with honour hast Thou crowned Him; and hast set Him over the works of Thine hands" (ver. 6). Since even Angels are the works of God's hands, even over Angels we understand the Only-begotten Son to have been set; whom we hear and believe, by the humiliation of the carnal generation and passion, to have been lowered a little lower than the Angels. 

On Christmas I came across an article through a Facebook group by a person who claimed that evidence and history proved the Gospel accounts of the birth of our Lord to be false, and proceeded then to offer reasons why they should not be accepted as fact, but only myth (in the meaning of not factual, fantasies, made up to serve an agenda of the church some years later.) In my opinion this person was not a Christian. A Christian by all definition of the Church will hold the historic Apostolic Baptismal Creed to be literally true. So the popular article which took potshots at the gospels of St. Luke and St. Matthew is a lie, and the work of the Father of Lies. The German biblical critics, those who rejected any miracle, the birth, the resurrection, and the power of the Holy Spirit, were the latter-day authors of this heresy which has so poisoned many a seminary classroom.  Shall we believe their denials and explanations created some 1800 years after the fact, or,  rather believe the word of St. Luke, companion of Paul, who credited his Gospel and account of Acts to the Apostles and claimed his source as eye witnesses who still lived, likely including  Mary, the mother of our Lord?  

The author was not a cleric, but one will hear this heresy from the pulpit, and then watch as these people turn and rehearse the very creed affirming these truths. Who shall you believe; he who in one minute refutes, and in the next pretends to "affirm", or the evangelists?

So in the matter of Christ's birth this season, let our anthem be like that of the Angles: 

Glory to God in the highest and, on earth, peace to men of Good will.

[The interpretation of the Angelic hymn, "men of Good will", is correct, and reflects the fact that God's peace is not for all the world, but for those men of Good will.  It varies from some popular translations that we see, but nonetheless is correct; here is the Latin, Glória in excélsis Deo et in terra pax homínibus bonæ voluntátis. meaning, "Glory to God in the highest and, on earth, peace to men of good will." see more here  Herod, for instance, did not share in this divine peace at the time of the birth; think you that those who attack the Apostolic faith today do?]


Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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