03 November 2011

Dr. Herl just shared

some fascinating tidbits with me from the Vesperale of Matthäus Ludecus for the Lutheran cathedral at Havelberg (1589).  Check this out for the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin [a festival, by the way, that still is included in my German CPH published Bible in the list of holy days - how did we lose it?]:

“Gaude Maria virgo, cunctas haereses sola interemisti in universo mundo”

(“Rejoice, O Virgin Mary; you only have killed all the heresies in the entire world” Translation by Dr. Herl.).

Curiously, the antiphon gets a footnote.  And there we read:

“Maria sola inquit D. Vrbanus Rhegius, interemit omnes hareses seu hereticos negantes eam in partu & post partum virginem permansisse, tanquam Organon seu causa materialis, in qua seu ex qua Filius Dei humanam naturam assumsit inviolata eius virginitate, ad quod admirandum, & ineffabile opus sola hac virgo a Deo electa fuit.”

("Mary herself, says Dr. U. Rhegius [note - confessor at Smaclald!]., abolishes all heresies or heretics who deny that she remains a virgin in partu and post partem, as she is the 'organon' or material cause, in which or from whom the Son of God assumes a human nature from her inviolate virginity; For the sake of this admirable and ineffable work alone the virgin was chosen by God" translation by Pr. Curtis)

The following antiphon was also included:

“Post partum virgo inuiolata permansisti, Dei genitrix sit semper benedicta”

(“After birth you remained an inviolate virgin; may the mother of God be ever blessed!” translation by Dr. Herl).

Those early Lutherans!  Whatever were they thinking?  Gotta love the early Lutheran lex orandi!  And how it matches the Lutheran lex credendi of only a few years earlier:  FC SD VIII:24!


George said...
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William Weedon said...

Luther certainly taught that he was born through the birth canal as all children are, but that he miraculously left His mother's virginity in tact, passing through that as He would later pass through the door of the upper room where the disciples were gathered; or into the bread and wine of the Eucharist. See SD VII:100. He also speaks of this in his Personal Prayer Book (AE 43:40). This is, I believe, the major point of SD VIII:24 in that our Lord shows His divinity even in His mother's womb by the manner of His birth.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

It's not post-partum I'm dubious about - it's post presentation that I'm not sold on. =o)

William Weedon said...

Facts are facts: so Lutherans used to worship and to believe. It's good to remember that in these gray and latter days.

William Weedon said...

A tad more Luther. This from 1541:

"Now although Mary was not required to do this - the Law of Moses having no claim over her, for she had given birth without pain and her virginity remained unsullied - nevertheless, she kept quiet, and submitted herself to the common law of all women and let herself be accounted unclean. She was, without doubt, a pure, chaste virgin before the birth, in the birth, and after the birth, and she was neither sick nor weakened from the birth, and certainly could have gone out of the house after giving birth, not only because of her exemption under the Law, but also because of the uninterrupted soundness of her body. For her son did not detract from her virginity, but actually strengthened it..." House Postils III:255

Rev. Eric J Brown said...


So Jesus came under the law for those who were under the law... but Mary apparently wasn't under the law because of Christ...

I'm not doubting that folks believed this or worshipped this way... just a place I take exception. Of course, there are other things people take exception against Luther with that I wouldn't. It evens out.


(I'm sleep deprived, for my child was not born in a miraculous way, and crying he certainly makes - so I can be in an "interesting" mood - if you don't want my snark, simply let it be)

William Weedon said...

I well remember the days, Eric! Truthfully, a fretting child in the middle of the night - time to sing hymns as we rock - well, it's a wonderful thing. It's just hard to believe it when you're living it!!!

On Luther, yes, he believed that because Christ was exempt from the Law, though voluntarily placing himself under it, his birth was exempt from the pain that came due to sin - for, of course, there was no sin in his conception or birth. I know it's mind bending thinking these days, but Luther's thoughts are worth - at the very least - considering and thinking through.

Rev. Eric J Brown said...

See, I don't like that - what He did not assume He did not redeem. What other part of the incarnation doesn't come with pain and blood? If He doesn't despise the hunger, the beating, the shedding of blood (even on the 8th day) why would He disdain the His pain in childbirth? Besides, does the mother's pain and suffering in child birth stem from the sin of the child who has been conceived, or does it stem from the fact that the mother is sinful and she herself is bound to the curse given to Eve? I see his line of thinking - I just don't buy it. Ah well.

But both sides on this are speculation, as the Scriptures do not speak to this directly.

William Weedon said...

Because that pain and suffering wasn't his. It would have been his mother's.

I agree that it is a bit of speculation, but Luther arrives at it based on his reading of Genesis 3. The curse comes upon the WOMAN because of sin; but this child is holy and in Him is no sin - therefore the curse cannot fall on this woman because of him. See his comments in Personal Prayer Book referenced above.

Terry Maher said...

New dads. Judas diaper changing priest, when I was one, I read the Book of Concord between my first son's feedings (my shift was until 0200, then mom took over).

Good thing I converted then. My wife was terminally ill when our second son was born, and died about three months later, so I got to do the whole thing solo then!

Scripture does not speak to this matter directly, because it is not important and is not nor should it be theologised into a basis for faith.

So do it or don't do it, doesn't matter. But if you do do it, for Judas H Priest OSB's sake do it on 8 September (hell, call it the Nativity of the Theotokos if you want, if the BVM thing seems "too Catholic" and you aren't quite to the "too Orthodox" thing yet) because it was put there precisely to be nine months after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December.

Wanna do a few rounds on the IC? Because it's part and parcel of the Nativity of the BVM.

Fr. Gregory Hogg said...

"...in tact...", or "intact"?