Archive for the ‘July 26’ Category

Posting of Saints of July to Resume Soon   Leave a comment

Above:  The Author, June 1, 2018

Photograph by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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I understand the age-old desire of many saints to escape into a hermitage, cave, or other place and avoid the outside world.  Karl Barth and Reinhold Niebuhr might criticize me; the latter might remind me of my sad duty to create justice in an unjust world.  I have no such power, however.  My vote is usually in vain, actually.  It will make a difference again, one day–perhaps this year.

I have had enough.  I have had too much.

In my country, the United States of America, the lunatics stormed the asylum, so to speak, in 2016.  My desire to remain sane and not to become a perpetually angry and profane man has outweighed my desire to remain thoroughly informed as I have escaped into hagiographies, saints, and science fiction.  I have chosen the nurturing of piety over getting into pissing contests with skunks.  I have, however, worked political statements into many posts, many of them hagiographies or devotions.

For the last few days I have focused my blogging attention on LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS, where I have been adding posts for 2019.  I had written those drafts a few months ago, but I was waiting until after Pentecost to begin the process of creating new posts.  Today I began to take notes on saints with feast days from July 21 to 31.  So far I have taken notes on seven saints for four posts, leaving at least eleven saints in nine posts to go.  I have found that I need to set some blogging projects aside to focus on another blogging project for a time.  With the process of updating LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS nearly complete for another year, I have decided to return to hagiographies for a little while.

At least I am trying to do something positive.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 1, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JUSTIN MARTYR, CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST AND MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT PAMPHILUS OF CAESAREA, BIBLE SCHOLAR AND TRANSLATOR; AND HIS COMPANIONS, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAMUEL STENNETT, ENGLISH SEVENTH-DAY BAPTIST MINISTER AND HYMN-WRITER; AND JOHN HOWARD, ENGLISH HUMANITARIAN

THE FEAST OF SAINT SIMEON OF SYRACUSE, ROMAN CATHOLIC MONK

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Saints’ Days and Holy Days for July   Leave a comment

Water Lily

Image Source = AkkiDa

1 (Lyman Beecher, U.S. Congregationalist and Presbyterian Minister, and Abolitionist; father of Harriet Beecher Stowe, U.S. Novelist, Hymn Writer, and Abolitionist; sister of Henry Ward Beecher, U.S. Presbyterian and Congregationalist Minister, and Abolitionist)

  • Catherine Winkworth, Translator of Hymns; and John Mason Neale, Anglican Priest, Hymn Writer, and Hymn Translator
  • John Chandler, Anglican Priest, Scholar, and Translator of Hymns
  • Pauli Murray, Civil Rights Attorney and Episcopal Priest

2 (Washington Gladden, U.S. Congregationalist Minister, Hymn Writer, and Social Reformer)

  • Ferdinand Quincy Blanchard, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Henry Montagu Butler, Educator, Scholar, and Anglican Priest
  • Jacques Fermin, Roman Catholic Missionary Priest

3 (Flavian and Anatolius of Constantinople, Patriarchs; and Agatho, Leo II, and Benedict II, Bishops of Rome; Defenders of Christological Orthodoxy)

  • Charles Albert Dickinson, U.S. Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Immanuel Nitschmann, German-American Moravian Minister and Musician; his brother-in-law, Jacob Van Vleck, U.S. Moravian Bishop, Musician, Composer, and Educator; his son, William Henry Van Vleck, U.S. Moravian Bishop; his brother, Carl Anton Van Vleck, U.S. Moravian Minister, Musician, Composer, and Educator; his daughter, Lisette (Lizetta) Maria Van Vleck Meinung; and her sister, Amelia Adelaide Van Vleck, U.S. Moravian Composer and Educator
  • John Cennick, British Moravian Evangelist and Hymn Writer

4 (Independence Day (U.S.A.))

  • Adalbero and Ulric of Augsburg, Roman Catholic Bishops
  • Elizabeth of Portugal, Queen and Peacemaker
  • Pier Giorgio Frassati, Italian Roman Catholic Servant of the Poor and Opponent of Fascism

5 (Anthony Mary Zaccaria, Founder of the Barnabites and the Angelic Sisters of Saint Paul)

  • Georges Bernanos, French Roman Catholic Novelist
  • Hulda Niebuhr, Christian Educator; her brothers, H. Richard Niebuhr and Reinhold Niebuhr, United Church of Christ Theologians; and Ursula Niebuhr, Episcopal Theologian
  • Joseph Boissel, French Roman Catholic Missionary Priest and Martyr in Laos, 1969

6 (John Wycliffe and Jan Hus, Reformers of the Church)

  • George Duffield, Jr., and his son, Samuel Duffield, U.S. Presbyterian Ministers and Hymn Writers
  • Henry Thomas Smart, English Organist and Composer
  • Oluf Hanson Smeby, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Writer

7 (Josiah Conder, English Journalist and Congregationalist Hymn Writer; and his son, Eustace Conder, English Congregationalist Minister and Hymn Writer)

  • Francis Florentine Hagen, U.S. Moravian Minister and Composer
  • Hedda of Wessex, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Ralph Milner, Roger Dickinson, and Lawrence Humphrey, English Roman Catholic Martyrs, 1591

8 (Gerald Ford, President of the United States of America and Agent of National Healing; and Betty Ford, First Lady of the United States of America and Advocate for Social Justice)

  • Albert Rhett Stuart, Episcopal Bishop of Georgia and Advocate for Civil Rights
  • Georg Neumark, German Lutheran Poet and Hymn Writer
  • Giovanni Battista Bononcini and Antonio Maria Bononcini, Italian Composers

9 (Johann Rudolph Ahle and Johann Georg Ahle, German Lutheran Organists and Composers)

  • Johann Scheffler, Roman Catholic Priest, Poet, and Hymn Writer
  • Martyrs of Gorkum, Holland, 1572
  • Robert Grant, British Member of Parliament and Hymn Writer

10 (Augustus Tolton, Pioneering African-American Roman Catholic Priest in the United States of America)

  • Eumenios and Parthenios of Koudoumas, Monks and Founders of Koudoumas Monastery, Crete
  • Myles Horton, “Father of the Civil Rights Movement”
  • Rued Langgaard, Danish Composer

11 (Nathan Söderblom, Swedish Ecumenist and Archbishop of Uppsala)

  • David Gonson, English Roman Catholic Martyr, 1541
  • John Gualbert, Founder of the Vallombrosan Benedictines
  • Thomas Sprott and Thomas Hunt, English Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs, 1600

12 (JASON OF TARSUS AND SOSIPATER OF ICONIUM, COWORKERS OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE AND EVANGELISTS OF CORFU)

13 (Clifford Bax, Poet, Playwright, and Hymn Writer)

  • Eugenius of Carthage, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Johannes Renatus Verbeek, Moravian Minister and Composer
  • Peter Ricksecker, U.S. Moravian Minister, Missionary, Musician, Music Educator, and Composer; student of Johann Christian Bechler, Moravian Minister, Musician, Music Educator, and Composer; father of Julius Theodore Bechler, U.S. Moravian Minister, Musician, Educator, and Composer

14 (Justin de Jacobis, Roman Catholic Missionary Bishop in Ethiopia; and Michael Ghebre, Ethiopian Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr)

  • Camillus de Lellis, Italian Roman Catholic Priest and Founder of the Ministers of the Sick
  • Matthew Bridges, Hymn Writer
  • Samson Occom, U.S. Presbyterian Missionary to Native Americans

15 (Bonaventure, Second Founder of the Order of Friars Minor)

  • Athanasius I of Naples, Roman Catholic Bishop
  • Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr.; and his son, Duncan Montgomery Gray, Jr.; Episcopal Bishops of Mississippi and Advocates for Civil Rights
  • Swithun, Roman Catholic Bishop of Winchester

16 (Righteous Gentiles)

  • George Alfred Taylor Rygh, U.S. Lutheran Minister and Hymn Translator
  • George Tyrrell, Irish Roman Catholic Modernist Theologian and Alleged Heretic
  • Mary Magdalen Postel, Founder of the Poor Daughters of Mercy

17 (William White, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church)

  • Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne, 1794
  • Bennett J. Sims, Episcopal Bishop of Atlanta
  • Nerses Lampronats, Armenian Apostolic Archbishop of Tarsus

18 (Bartholome de Las Casas, “Apostle to the Indians”)

  • Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Anglican Dean of Westminster and Hymn Writer
  • Edward William Leinbach, U.S. Moravian Musician and Composer
  • Elizabeth Ferard, First Deaconess in The Church of England

19 (John Hines, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church)

  • John Plessington, Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr
  • Józef Puchala, Polish Roman Catholic Franciscan Friar, Priest, and Martyr
  • Poemen, Roman Catholic Abbot; and John the Dwarf and Arsenius the Great, Roman Catholic Monks

20 (Leo XIII, Bishop of Rome)

  • Ansegisus of Fontanelle, Roman Catholic Abbot
  • Flavian II of Antioch and Elias of Jerusalem, Roman Catholic Patriarchs
  • Samuel Hanson Cox, U.S. Presbyterian Minister and Abolitionist; and his son, Arthur Cleveland Coxe, Episcopal Bishop of Western New York, Hymn Writer, and Translator of Hymns

21 (Albert John Luthuli, Witness for Civil Rights in South Africa)

  • Amalie Wilhemine Sieveking, Foundress of the Woman’s Association for the Care of the Poor and Invalids
  • J. B. Phillips, Anglican Priest, Theologian, and Bible Translator
  • Wastrada; her son, Gregory of Utrecht, Roman Catholic Bishop of Utrecht; and his nephew, Alberic of Utrecht, Roman Catholic Bishop of Utrecht

22 (MARY MAGDALENE, EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES)

23 (Bridget of Sweden, Founder of the Order of the Most Holy Savior; and her daughter, Catherine of Sweden, Superior of the Order of the Most Holy Savior)

  • Adelaide Teague Case, Professor of Religious Education
  • Philip Evans and John Lloyd, Roman Catholic Priests and Martyrs
  • Theodor Liley Clemens, English Moravian Minister, Missionary, and Composer

24 (Thomas à Kempis, Roman Catholic Monk, Priest, and Spiritual Writer)

  • John Newton, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Walter Rauschenbusch, U.S. Baptist Minister and Theologian of the Social Gospel
  • Vincentia Gerosa and Bartholomea Capitanio, Cofounders of the Sisters of Charity of Lovere

25 (JAMES BAR-ZEBEDEE, APOSTLE AND MARTYR)

26 (ANNE AND JOACHIM, PARENTS OF MARY OF NAZARETH)

27 (Brooke Foss Westcott, Anglican Scholar, Bible Translator, and Bishop of Durham; and Fenton John Anthony Hort, Anglican Priest and Scholar)

  • Christian Henry Bateman, Anglican Priest and Hymn Writer
  • Johan Nordahl Brun, Norwegian Lutheran Bishop, Author, and Hymn Writer
  • William Reed Huntington, Episcopal Priest and Renewer of the Church; and his grandson, William Reed Huntington, U.S. Architect and Quaker Peace Activist

28 (Flora MacDonald, Canadian Stateswoman and Humanitarian)

  • Antonio Vivaldi, Italian Roman Catholic Priest, Composer, and Violinist
  • Nancy Byrd Turner, Poet, Editor, and Hymn Writer
  • Pioneering Female Episcopal Priests, 1974 and 1975

29 (MARY, MARTHA, AND LAZARUS OF BETHANY, FRIENDS OF JESUS)

30 (Clarence Jordan, Southern Baptist Minister and Witness for Civil Rights)

  • Peter Chrysologus, Roman Catholic Bishop of Ravenna and Defender of Orthodoxy
  • Vicenta Chávez Orozco, Foundress of the Servants of the Holy Trinity and the Poor
  • William Pinchon, Roman Catholic Bishop

31 (Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus)

  • Franz Liszt, Hungarian Composer and Pianist, and Roman Catholic Priest
  • Horatius Bonar, Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Hymn Writer
  • Marcel Denis, French Roman Catholic Priest and Martyr in Laos, 1961

 

Lowercase boldface on a date with two or more commemorations indicates a primary feast.

Proper 12, Year A   Leave a comment

Above: Paul Writing His Epistles, a Painting from the 1500s

Single Predestination

The Sunday Closest to July 27

Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

JULY 26, 2020

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FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #1

Genesis 29:15-28 (New Revised Standard Version):

Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were lovely, and Rachel was graceful and beautiful. Jacob loved Rachel; so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.

Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife that I may go in to her, for my time is completed.” So Laban gathered together all the people of the place, and made a feast. But in the evening he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob; and he went in to her. (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her maid.) When morning came, it was Leah! And Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” Laban said, “This is not done in our country– giving the younger before the firstborn. Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also in return for serving me another seven years.” Jacob did so, and completed her week; then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel as a wife.

Psalm 105:1-11, 45b (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Give thanks to the LORD and call upon his Name;

make known his deeds among the peoples.

Sing to him, sing praises to him,

and speak of all his marvelous works.

3 Glory in his holy Name;

let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.

4 Search for the LORD and his strength

continually seek his face.

5 Remember the marvels he has done,

his wonders and the judgments of his mouth,

6 O offspring of Abraham his servant,

O children of Jacob has chosen.

7 He is the LORD our God;

his judgments prevail in all the world.

He has always been mindful of his covenant,

the promise he made for a thousand generations.

The covenant he made with Abraham,

the oath that he swore to Isaac,

10 Which he established as a statute for Jacob,

an everlasting covenant for Israel,

11 Saying, “To you will I give the land of Canaan

to be your allotted inheritance.”

45b Hallelujah!

Or

Psalm 128 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Happy are they all who fear the LORD,

and who follow in his ways!

2 You shall eat the fruit of your labor;

happiness and prosperity shall be yours.

Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine within your house,

your children like olive shoots round about your table.

The man who fears the LORD

shall thus indeed be blessed.

The LORD bless you from Zion,

and may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.

May you live to see your children’s children;

may peace be upon Israel.

FIRST READING AND PSALM:  OPTION #2

1 Kings 3:5-12 (New Revised Standard Version):

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?”

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you.”

Psalm 119:129-136 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

129 Your decrees are wonderful;

therefore I obey them with all my heart.

130 When your word goes forth it gives light;

it gives understanding to the simple.

131 I open my mouth and pant;

I long for your commandments.

132 Turn to me in mercy,

as you always do to those who love your Name.

133 Steady my footsteps in your word;

let no iniquity have dominion over me.

134 Rescue me from those who oppress me,

and I will keep your commandments.

135 Let your countenance shine upon your servant

and teach me your statutes.

136 My eyes shed streams of tears,

because people do not keep your law.

SECOND READING

Romans 8:26-39 (New Revised Standard Version):

The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all day long;

we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GOSPEL READING

Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 (New Revised Standard Version):

Jesus put before the crowds another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind; when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

“Have you understood all this?” They answered, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

The Collect:

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy; that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.  For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family.  And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

–Romans 8:28-30 (New Revised Standard Version)

I consider myself a serious student of the Bible–a student, not a teacher or scholar.  There is always something more for me to learn, and what I do know about about the Bible outweighs my accumulated learning concerning it.  So I have no problem admitting freely that there are certain passages and verses I have not really read for years.  I have read the words, but I have moved along.

Romans 8:28-30 is one such passage.  Yes, I knew 8:28, but focused on that, not 8:29-30.  I began to focus on this passage in late 2008.  My methodology was quite Episcopalian; I examined the scriptures carefully, read what Christian theologians have made of these verses, and employed my reason in pondering all this information.  The preponderance of scripture, tradition, and reason has convinced me to be become and remain a Single Predestinarian:  God has predestined some people to Heaven, but nobody to Hell.  The witness of the Holy Spirit and the missions efforts of the Church are available to invite all others into the path leading to eternal life in this life and the next.

Being raised United Methodist, I imbibed deeply of free will and the rejection of any form of predestination.  The Methodist concept of salvation available to all according to all, with only the free will choice to reject it standing in the way, is a democratic theology consistent with the American ethos.  It is a powerful idea which has affected U.S. history and culture, helping to liberate women and slaves spiritually while negating social hierarchies.  Despite these positive contributions, it is a flawed idea.

Calvinism, in any form, is a textured and subtle theological system, one which does not lend itself to bumper sticker statements. This confusion is mildly amusing when it becomes the fodder for jokes, but does not aid in spiritual contemplation.

The good news is that the wisdom that Solomon sought is available to all by grace, either in the form of predestination or the witness of the Holy Spirit; that the extremely valuable Kingdom of God is within the grasp of all, either in the form of predestination or the witness of the Holy Spirit.  The mustard seed grows into a giant shrub that goes where it will.  Yeast, traditionally associated with corruption in Judaism, becomes a symbol of extravagant grace.  The pearls are extremely valuable; the pursuit of them indicates single-minded devotion.  The parable of the fish in the net is akin to that of the mustard seed, for both contain the good and the bad, the pure and the impure; God will sort out everything at the end.

The mustard plant provides shelter for many varieties of animal life.  Some of the neighbors do not get along, but there they are, together.  And Jesus says this is a metaphor for the Kingdom of God.  The net collects the good fish along with the rotten ones.  Who is a good fish?  Who is a rotten one?  Do you not get along with your neighbor species in the mustard bush?  Leaving decisions as to who is pure and who is impure, who is good and who is rotten, to God is the better part of wisdom.  We might even be confused about our proper classification.

Fortunately, grace is present, in one form or another, and there is hope for us yet.

KRT

Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on January 11, 2011

Posted May 8, 2011 by neatnik2009 in July 26, Revised Common Lectionary Year A

Tagged with

Feast of Sts. Anne and Joachim, Parents of St. Mary of Nazareth (July 26)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Anne’s Episcopal Church, Tifton, Georgia, U.S.A., the site of my confirmation on December 22, 1991

Family Stories

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The Assigned Readings for This Feast:

Genesis 17:1-8

Psalm 132:11-19 or Psalm 85:8-13

Luke 1:26-33

The Collect:

Almighty God, heavenly Father, we remember in thanksgiving this day the parents of Blessed Mary; and we pray that we all may be made one in the heavenly family of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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Accounts of the parents of St. Mary of Nazareth are legends.  They flow backward from Jesus, through his mother, and serve to fill the desire to understand what kind of grandparents our Lord had.  What kind of upbringing did the Mother of God have?

A summary of the traditional account follows:  Anne (a.k.a. Ann or Anna) and Joachim were an elderly couple living in Sepphoris, just a few miles from Nazareth.  Angels inform Anne and Joachim that they will have a daughter, who becomes Mary.  At age two they left Mary at the Temple, where she lived while betrothed to Joseph, a widower.  It was there, this account says, that the Annunciation occurred.  The rest of the story is canonical.

Roman Catholic theology includes the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which applies to Mary alone.  (The Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth are separate yet related.  I have been in the company of Protestant pastors who did not know the difference.) Dr.  Ludwig Ott, a pre-Vatican II expert in Roman Catholic theology, wrote in Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (German original, 1952; English translation, 1954), quoting Pope Pius IX from 1854:  The Most Holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of of mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin” (page 199; reprinted by Roman Catholic Books, Fort Collins, Colorado).

So, what are we supposed to make of all this?

I admit freely to strong doubts regarding the Virgin Birth of Jesus, so the Immaculate Conception of Mary is out of the question for me.  Besides, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception rests partially on an Augustinian understanding of original sin.  (I have a Niebuhrian concept of original sin.)  Yet I revere St. Mary as the Mother of God, and conclude that any mother who raised a person as well-adjusted as Jesus must have been well-adjusted herself.  And that must have come from her parents.  That suffices for me.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 13, 2010

THE THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST, YEAR C