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2012/09/28

Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity MMXII


Grant unto us, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy people to avoid the contagion of the devil, and to only follow the Lord with a pure heart, through 

Latin:
 Da, quasumus Domine, populo tuo diabolica vitare contagia et te solum Dominum puro corde sectari, per
[Gelasian Sacramentary]

Introit:  Righteous art thou O Lord ...
Ps: Blessed are the undefiled in the way ...
Epistle:   Ephesians 4:1-6 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord...
Gradual: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord...
Gospel: Luke 14:1-11  And it came to pass, as he went into the house...

Original English: "LORDE we beseche thee, graunt thy people grace to avoyde the infeccions of the Devil, and with pure harte and mynde to folowe thee the onelye God; Through Jesus Christ our Lorde.

If this generation ever needed a prayer today, given all that assails us, this is the one.  Some have called this Post Modern Christianity.  It has resulted in a epidemic of "Bad Religion" as the author of a book by the same title proposes in Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics.    We are assailed by a culture that is very often alien and adverse to orthodox faithful.  We are assailed by profiteers who use the popular media to spew a popular but false Gospel for gain.  

The later 1662 version of the prayer book added "the world and the flesh" in the prayer. This is the same as in the Lutheran traditional service book.  It may be that the revisers used the Litany verse of 1544 as a basis for the additions: "From all the deceits of the world, the flesh and devil, Good Lord, deliver us."

The source of Evil is the Devil.  He works against  people. The only source of Good is God. The Devil is crafty. He often masks his evil to appear as good and pleasing.  Jesus was visited with this craftiness, but he resisted and quoted a key scripture in his defense: "Him only shalt thou serve"  Yet the inclusion of the "world and flesh" is quite appropriate by the 1662 revisers, for the Devil's dominion is the "world".  Jesus said, "the prince of this world is judged".  We also recognize that the fruits of the Devil's labors are manifested in the flesh. We know that the the "spirit is willing but the flesh is weak"  We do succumb to his temptations. We are only human! God help us!

The second petition is that we might follow God with a pure heart. This is a sure and tested way to fend off the wiles of the Devil. If we are focused on following in the footsteps of our Lord, and serving God, we may avoid the temptations that plague the world.  What did our Lord pray for his disciples? "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

Paul wrote to the Romans: "Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Homily--Chrysostom on the Epistle
Finis

(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)  http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/s/t/r/strodach_pz.htm
 
The Ancient Collect: Its history and form
-- 
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]

* ORDO CENTURIONUM * IN HOC SIGNO VINCES * TIME DEUM ET OPERARE IUSTITIAM

2012/09/21

Sixteenth Sunday after Trinity MMXII


May thy grace, O Lord, always go before us and follow us, and make us continually intent upon good works; through ...

Latin:
 Tua nos Domine quaesumus gratia semper et peveniat et sequatur, ac bonis operibus iugiter prestest esse intentos,  per
[Gelasian Sacramentary]

Introit: Righteous art thou O Lord ...
Ps: Bow down thy ear O Lord ...
Epistle: Ephesians 3:13  Wherefore I pray that you faint not at my tribulation for you  ...
Gradual:  The heathen shall fear the name of the Lord...
Gospel: Luke 7:11-17 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain  ...


The original English translation from 1549 "LORD we praye thee that thy grace maye alwayes prevente and folowe us, and make us continuallye to be geven to all good workes thorough Jesus Christe our Lorde"

This is a very personal prayer for every Christian recognizing and invoking God to go before us and to follow us, with the intent that through his leading and following we may be given to good works pleasing to him.  I think of the wonderful hymn from the early Irish Church attributed to Patrick:

First the collect's attribute of God preventing and following us:

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

and an early stanza of this hymn which reflects the petition of this prayer; leading us to all good works:

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me.
God's host to save me

I had opportunity this week to finish Cahill's book, How the Irish Saved Civilization, which had a chapter on the work of Patrick (387-493 AD). I endorse this little book to all.  Patrick was not a religious lad when captured by the Irish and put to work as a shepherd slave, rather he came to embrace the faith; God by his almighty grace came before Patrick and called him, and then followed him throughout his ministry giving him the power to do all the good works he accomplished. They were works which transformed the Irish people for all time, and had an immense impact on Europe.   I am cognizant of the Gradual appointed for this day in the traditional Lutheran Church that is so appropriate:   The heathen shall fear the name of the Lord... ; and so they did!

I am also reminded that this prayer embraces the true catholic faith, and it defined by Paul in his letters and by Augustine who rightly emphasized the grace of God going before all his elect and keeping all his elect in God good graces and leading them to all good works.  The Council of Orange (529 AD) codified this true understanding in its articles:

CANON 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be conferred as a result of human prayer, but that it is not grace itself which makes us pray to God, he contradicts the prophet Isaiah, or the Apostle who says the same thing, "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me" (Rom 10:20, quoting Isa. 65:1).

CANON 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, "The will is prepared by the Lord" (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13)

CANON 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).

Read all the canons here

Augustine touching on the Gospel : Rise, thou that sleepest
Finis

(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)  http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/s/t/r/strodach_pz.htm
 
The Ancient Collect: Its history and form
-- 
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]

* ORDO CENTURIONUM * IN HOC SIGNO VINCES * TIME DEUM ET OPERARE IUSTITIAM

2012/09/14

Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity MMXII


Let thy continual pity, O Lord, cleanse and defend thy Church: since without thee it is not able to stand fast firmly, may it ever be governed by thy goodness, through ...

Latin:
Ecclesiam tuam, Domine, miseratio continuata mundet et muniat:et quia sine te non potest salva consistere, tuo semper munere gubernetur, per
[Gelasian Sacramentary]

Introit: Bow down thy ear O Lord..
Ps:  Rejoice the soul of thy servant...
Epistle: Galatians 5:25-6:10  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit ...
Gradual: It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord...
Gospel: Matthew 6:24-34  No man can serve two masters...


The original English translation from 1549 "LORD, we beseche thee, let thy continual pitie clense and defende thy congregacion; and, because it cannot continue in safetie without thy succoure, preserve it evermore by thy helpe and goodnes; through Jesus Christ our Lorde."

This prayer is similar to last Sunday's wherein the people prayed for God's mercy to keep the Church. This following Sunday it is for his pity to cleanse and defend it. Why "pity" and "mercy".  Pity is what God has for the church, and mercy is his action in response to that pity.  It is not for a specific shortcoming or error in the church, but in recognition of the Church's frailty, a standing request for his continual (continuata) pity and action to cleanse it from errors that arise, and to protect it from the Devil, the wiles of adversaries, and the world.

Why this prayer? Simply because the Church recognized that it was not able to continue in safety on its own. It had experienced time and again internal and external struggles, persecutions, and failings over the early centuries. Although it had finally reached a state of legitimacy from the civil government, it was threatened from without by the barbarians and invaders from the north who had adopted the Arian heresy.  The Church of this era plead for God's succor to keep it in safety, and perhaps most importantly to Govern it in Goodness.

We need this prayer today! The threat to the Church comes from without and within. 

From without: Patriots Day 2012, September 11th, Americans paused and remembered the many who fell to the radical Attack on America 11 years ago on. It was an attack based on Muslim striking Christian, and as old as the assaults of the 7th-16th century Jihads.  Meanwhile, on this Patriots Day, Islamic radical groups attacked US Embassies in Egypt and Libya: raising Muslim flags, killing Americans, burning the American flag, ransacking the grounds, and shouting curses against America, the Christian nation, in the name of their prophet. Throughout the Middle East Christian communities continue to suffer persecutions at the hands of these people. The assaults on America and Churches of Christ continue as I write this.

From within: Many have failed to stand firm faith. They have chosen to follow the world rather than the Lord. They have adopted secular causes as their mission, while completely abandoning the Great Commission.  They refuse to declare our Lord's salvation as the way, truth and life.  They have been rebuked by the faithful churches, but continue as the blind leading the blind.  I fear for them and pray that they may repent and return to the true faith, lest God spew them out and withdraw his light from among them (Revelation 3:16). Let those who have ears hear, and let them that follow God walk in the Spirit as Paul preached in today's epistle. For a church cannot both follow the world and the Lord. He said in the Gospel "No man can serve two masters".

Chrysostom on the Gospel
Finis

(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)  http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/s/t/r/strodach_pz.htm
 
The Ancient Collect: Its history and form

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]

* ORDO CENTURIONUM * IN HOC SIGNO VINCES * TIME DEUM ET OPERARE IUSTITIAM

2012/09/08

Fourteenth Sunday After Trinity MMXII

Keep, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy: and because, without thee the frailty of man is wont to fall, save it ever by thine aid from all things hurtful, and lead it to all things wise and prudent. Through ...

Latin:
 Custodi, Domine, quaesumus, Ecclesiam tuam propitiatione erpetua: et quia sine te labirtur humana mortalitas, tuis semper auxiliis et abstrahatur a noxiis: ut ad saputaria dirigatur, per
[Gelasian Sacramentary]

Introit: Behold, O God, our shield..
Ps:  How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts:...
Epistle: Galatians 5:16-24  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit...
Gradual: It is better to trust in the Lord...
Gospel: Luke 17:11-19  And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem,...


First English translation from the 1549 BCP 15th Trinity: "
KEPE we beseche thee, O Lorde, thy Churche with thy perpetuall mercye: and because the frailtie of man without thee, cannot but fall: Kepe us ever by thy helpe, and leade us to al thynges profitable to our salvacion; through Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen "

The collect this Sunday, and for the next, is a petition for the Church.  The translation above is one that I have fashioned based on the original, various translations, and comments. I think it more nearly translates the literal meaning of the original Gelasian collect.  The prayer is for the church as an entity and not for the members; hence "keep us....lead us" is really not the original sense, but rather "save it...lead it".   The collect is not for a building, or for a specific organization, but rather for the called-out ones (ek kaleo), who are Christ's own.  

The collect prays for the Church throughout as it recognizes the frailty of man to keep it pure. Strodach proffers it could be paraphrased to say "'God, save the Church from the unchristian things we men are fain to do to it.' And that is the truth."  The early Church was well aware of the wiles or errors of men to  pervert the faith handed down by the Apostles.  It was at the time of this collect still fighting against the Arian heresy.  Indeed the mural of Jesus at Revena showed Christ standing upon the adler and the lion, signals of the struggle and triumph of the Church over Arianism. http://www.orderofcenturions.org/christ_militant.html

Arianism is one heresy that has revived and is alive in many false gatherings today that profess to be Christian. Each generation is faced with new challenges as men invent new understandings of God and his Church or dredge up old ones that have been repressed in days gone by. One I came across of interest yesterday is the Church of Later Day Saints (Mormons)  It thrives, and the article below claims it denies all other Christian churches which hold to the creeds

In the epistle today, Paul admonishes the folk to walk by the Spirit...and then goes on to list the works of the flesh so that one may recognize more easily those things that are of the Spirit, which he speaks of as fruits.  Look closely at any gathering that professes Christ and see whether its frail members live mainly by the Spirit or by the flesh... but look also at the doctrines they profess and compare diligently what they proffer with what was handed down from the Apostles as the True Faith for the True Church -- that which was held for nearly two thousand years. Recognize secondary things that may be acceptable variations from the primary  things; it is the First Things which are requisite of any of the Catholic Churches of Christ (Ecclesi√¶ Christi Catholic√¶)

An  homily of Chrysostom on the epistle


Finis

(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)  http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/s/t/r/strodach_pz.htm
 
The Ancient Collect: Its history and form

--
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]

* ORDO CENTURIONUM * IN HOC SIGNO VINCES * TIME DEUM ET OPERARE IUSTITIAM