24 March 2009

Reminder: Feast of the Annunciation

St. Paul's will observe the Feast of the Annunciation of our Lord tomorrow (Wednesday) morning with the Divine Service at 7 a.m. From tomorrow's Writing in the Treasury (p. 1286, 1287):

Only to Mary the pure virgin did the archangel Gabriel manifest himself in brilliant light, bringing her the glad address, "Hail, you who are highly favored!" And thus she received the Word, and soon, in time, through the body's natural process, she gave birth to the dear Pearl. Come, then, you, too, dearly beloved, and let us chant the melody that has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, "Arise, O Lord, into Your rest, You, and the ark of Your sanctuary." For the holy Virgin is truly an ark, made with gold both within and without, who has received the whole treasury of the Holy of Holies. "Arise, O Lord, into Your rest." Arise, O Lord, out of the bosom of the Father, in order that You may raise up the fallen race of the first man. (St. Gregory Thaumaturgus)

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head;
"To me be as it pleaseth God," she said.
"My soul shall laud and magnify His holy name!"
Most highly favored Lady, Gloria! (LSB 356:3)

...as we have known the incarnation of Your Son, Jesus Christ, by the message of the angel to the virgin Mary, so by the message of His cross and passion bring us to the glory of His resurrection! (from the Collect)


Kiran said...

You must be familiar, Pastor, with Bernard's Homily on the Blessed Virgin, which is my favourite comment on the Annunciation.

Kiran said...

Actually, I have a question. Is it true that St. Bernard was a favourite of Luther's? If so, would you please (in the fullness of time) shed some light on what they have in common? I'd be fascinated. Thank you.

Rev. James Leistico said...

I've been toying with figuring out if I can bring the Annunciation into the sermon for Vespers tonight. Since you know that sermon so well, if you come up with any ideas, let me know.

Anonymous said...


Forgive me, but you have too much time on your hands if you can have a 7AM communion service (or was that a typo or a misread on my part?).
It must be nice to have kids grown and gone and be able to do a service at 7, chapel at 8:30, and a Midweek Vespers Service all in one day.
My wife would be severely wroth with me if I tried to do something like that.

Former Vicar

P.S. I hope you are planning on staying at St. Paul's for another 20 years, but I pity the pastor who has to follow you if he does have young children.

William Weedon said...


It is a joy indeed to celebrate the Eucharist at the dawning of the day. What better way to begin, especially on this feast of salvation's beginning?


You can fit it in right where it says:

"Of course, the truth beyond all truths is that Jesus acutally is King - the King promised to the Jews. Yes, Jesus is the long-awaited Son of David, just as the Angel Gabriel announced this day to the Blessed Virgin Mother - telling her that she would bear the One who would sit upon David's throne and reign over a Kingdom that has no end. But even more...

William Weedon said...


Yes, Luther loved much of St. Bernard's work. He said once of him:

"I love St. Bernard as the one who, among all writers, preached Christ most charmingly. I follow him wherever he preached Christ, and I pray to Christ in the faith in which he prayed to Christ." AE 22:168

William Weedon said...

Here's more of Luther praising Bernard (on Genesis 28:15):

Bernard loved the incarnation of Christ very much. So did Bonaventure. I praise these men very highly for the sake of that article on which they reflect so gladly and brilliantly, and which they practice in themselves with great joy and godliness. Bernard thinks and imagines piously enough that the devil fell because of that envy on account of which he begrudged men such great dignity, namely, that God would become man. For he thinks that when Satan was a good angel in the sight of God, he saw that one day the divinity would descend and take upon itself this wretched and mortal flesh and would not take upon itself the nature of angels. Moved by that indignity and envy, thinks Bernard, the devil raged against God, with the result that he was thrown out of heaven. These thoughts of Bernard are not unprofitable, for they flow from admiration for the boundless love and mercy of God. The devil was a very handsome angel and a decidedly outstanding creature. But when he saw that it had been predetermined that God would assume human nature and not the nature of the angels, he was inflamed with envy, anger, and indignation against God for not being willing to take him, who was a most handsome spirit, and for not being able to become a participant in the divinity and in such great majesty. It pained him that that wretched mass of human flesh had to be preferred to himself; for he thought that all this became him better than it did this sinful flesh, which is liable to death and all evils. And, what is most surprising, this opinion crept into the Alcoran, no matter who the author or what the occasion, was. It certainly seems that the devil himself suggested to the author of the Alcoran that good angels became demons because they refused to adore Adam.29 Satan could not conceal this sin of his. Therefore he imposed it on this instrument of his to stir up hatred against God. He distorted the true cause of the Fall, as though the angels were compelled to adore Adam, that is, a creature, and that when they refused, they were hurled headlong from heaven and became angels.
This is almost in agreement with what Bernard imagined, and by what he himself points out the devil betrays in what respect he sinned. He wanted to be like God. When he saw that it would come to pass that GOD would lower Himself in such a way that He would assume man, he thought that this honor most properly suited him. This is how the ancients understand the well-known passage in Is. 14:13. They refer it to this fall and sin of the devil. The passage reads as follows: “You said in your heart: ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high.’ ” For then he would truly have become like God if God had assumed him into the unity of His Person as He assumed man. The fact that the humanity has now been assumed makes this man the Son of God, because He is one Person. This man born of the Virgin Mary is God Himself, who created heaven and earth. The angel would have been adorned with the same glory if the Son of God had become inangelate,30 so to speak, and had taken up that most beautiful spirit. For then it would have been said: “That Lucifer is true God, the Creator of heaven and earth.”
This, says Bernard, is what the devil seems to have sought to achieve. But when he had been repulsed, he was inflamed with great hatred, wrath, and envy against God for honoring the human nature in this way with the divine nature and because he himself was compelled to adore the human nature in the divinity. This is the origin of that hatred and rage of the devil and the world by which he plots and sets in motion the destruction of our nature with whatever darts and devices he can, for it is the height of his monstrous hatred against the Seed of the woman, the Son of God. It is He who is involved. It is an ancient and inveterate hatred, conceived and rooted in heaven, so that it can never be eradicated. Accordingly, the ladder is the wonderful union of the divinity with our flesh. On it the angels ascend and descend, and they can never wonder at this enough. This is the historical, simple, and literal sense

Anonymous said...

Just curious....Did many come to receive the Holy Eucharist this morning?

William Weedon said...

There were six visible; countless invisible.

Dennis Pfleiger said...


Like your response. Truly gives rise to the truth that we worship with angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven.

J.G.F. said...

It was simply wonderful that the Feast fell on a Wednesday during Lent. I saw several folk scratching their heads as they heard the reading from Luke 1. By the time of the sermon, they all had their "aha" moment.

BTW, that setting of the Magnificat in LSB Evening Prayer is awesome. Our people know it by memory. It had real meaning at the Feast of the Annunciation this week.