Sunday, December 19, 2004

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Or, Why the Church is So Busy with Preparations.

When Gabriel had spoken in due measure and had heard immediately the responses of the Virgin,
He flew away and came to his bright and gleaming abode;
Then, it is probable that the young woman summoned
Joseph to her
And said, "Where were you, my wise husband?
Why did you not guard my virginity?
For a certain winged being has given me a bridegroom. He has hung his words
Like earrings of pearls on my ears.
Look, see how he has beautified me,
As he adorned me with what he said to me. Just so you
will say to me
In a short time, holy one,
'Hail, virgin wife.'"

When Joseph saw the maiden whom God had blessed as highly favored,
He was struck with fear and amazement,
and he thought to himself:
"Just what manner of woman is this?" he said, "For today
she does not seem to me as she did yesterday.
Both terrible and sweet does she appear
to me now, and it gives me pause.
I gaze upon burning heat in snow,
Paradise in a furnace,
I gaze upon a smoking hill, upon a divine flower with
young freshness,
Upon an awesome throne, on a pitiable footstool
Of the All-Merciful One. I do not understand the woman
whom I took.
How, then, shall I say to her:
'Hail, virgin wife'?"

Romanos, 6th Century

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