Wednesday, December 21, 2005

December 21

O Key of David, O royal power of Israel,
controlling at your will the gate of heaven;
Come, break down the prison walls of death
for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and lead your captive people into freedom.

BLESS earth with thine advent, O Savior Christ!
And the golden gates which in days gone by
Full long stood locked, high Lord of heaven,
Bid thou swing open and seek us out,
Humbly descending thyself to earth.

We have need of thy mercy. The dark death-shadow,
The accursed wolf, has scattered thy sheep
And widely dispersed them; what thou, 0 Lord,
Bought with thy blood, and that doth the wicked one
Take into bondage, and smiteth sore
Against our desire. 0 Savior Lord,
In our inmost thoughts we eagerly beg:
Hasten to help us, miserable sinners,
That the prince of torment may plunge to hell;
And thy handiwork mount up on high,
Creator of humankind, and come to righteousness.
--Medieval English Lyric

GOOD news; but if you ask me what it is, I know not;
It is a track of feet in the snow,
It is a lantern showing a path,
It is a door set open.--G.K. Chesterton

THE Word of God was made human in order that we might be made divine. The Word displayed itself through a body, that we might receive knowledge of the Invisible Father.--Athanasius, Fourth Century

THREE old men, of whom one had a bad reputation, came one day to Abba Achilles. The first asked him, "Father make me a fishing net." "I will not make you one," he replied. Then the second one said, "Of your charity make one, so that we may have a souvenir of you in the monastery." But he said, "I do not have time." Then the third one, who had a bad reputation, said, "Make me a fishing net, so that I may have something from your hands, Father." Abba Achilles answered him at once, "For you, I will make one." Then the two other old men asked him privately, "Why did you not want to do what we asked you, but you promised to do what he asked?" The old man gave them this answer, "I told you I would not make one, and you were not disappointed, since you thought I had no time. But if I had not made one for him, he would have said, 'The old man has heard about my sin, and that is why he does not want to make me anything,' and so our relationship would have broken down. But now I have cheered his soul, so that he will not be overcome with grief."--The Sayings of the Desert Fathers
THE justice of God,
which will pass judgment on human justice,
will reveal itself with the brightness of sunshine
on the day of the resurrection,
but not right now.
Now Jesus must drink the chalice of suffering
down to the last drop.
He must walk the way of the cross to the very end, enduring the limitless atrocities of injustice
against the innocent.--Leonardo Boff

MARY set out, proceeding in haste into the hill country to a town of Judah, where she entered Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby stirred in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and cried out in a loud voice: "Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. But who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby stirred in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who trusted that the Lord's words to her would be fulfilled."--Luke 1:39-45
HOW long, dear Savior, O how long
Shall this bright hour delay? Fly swifter round the
wheel of time,
And bring the welcome day.--Jeremiah Ingalls, Eighteenth Century

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