02 July 2011

The Feast of the Visitation

Today is the Feast of the Visitation (which LSB ranks as a "principal feast of Christ") for those of you in the Synod who use the One-Year series (back on May 31 for the Three Year folk).  From the Treasury:

John the Baptizer and Jesus, the two great figures of salvation history, now come together in the visit to Elizabeth by the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:39-45), both of whom conceived their children under miraculous circumstances.  Thus John is brought into the presence of Jesus while they are still in their mothers' wombs.  This presence of the Lord causes a response by the child John as he leaps in Elizabeth's womb.  John's response to the presence of Jesus, the Messiah, foreshadows John's own role as forerunner.  Already now, a new creation is beginning, and a baby sill in the womb hails the new creation's inception.  Foreshadowed in John's leap are the miracles of Jesus, who will cause all creation to leap at His presence:  "The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them."  The incarnate presence of the Messiah also evokes a response from Elizabeth, who proclaimed Mary's blessedness.  Mary's Magnificat provides the theological significance of this meeting as Mary sums up her place in salvation history.  Mary's song is a hymn to God for His gracious gifts to the least in this world, whom He has lifted up out of lowliness solely because of His grace and mercy.

Almighty God, You chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of Your Son and made known through her Your gracious regard of the lowly and despised.  Grant that we may receive Your Word in humility and faith, and so be made one with Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Here is Lutheran composer Heinrich Schütz's famous Magnificat - he is one of my favorite composers of all time and this is probably my favorite piece that he has done.  Yes, it's in Latin - that's how Lutheran Vespers was sung in many places for centuries after the Reformation:


Terry Maher said...

OK now that it's over:

Those of you in the Synod who use the One-Year series? Ain't nobody nowhere celebrated it on 31 May until You-Know-What II, and in fact, even though the German Catholic church and its Lutheran wannabes follow the bogus ordo they both retain the traditional 2 July date.

It was unknown in the Eastern Church until the 19th century, where it is celebrated 30 March. Which makes sense -- the Frannies started the whole thing and in 1389 Pope Urban VI stuck it in the Roman Calendar for 3 July, the day AFTER the octave of the Nativity of St John the Baptist who was still in the womb at the time, but Urban's goal for the feast was not theological at all but part of his scheme to end the Western Schism, since being Neapolitan he ticked of the Romans for not being Roman and ticked off the French for not being French, hello Avignon but no big deal to the East.

Terry Maher said...

2 July, sorry. I either fat fingered or some Bugnini operative switched the 2 and 3 on my keyboard, which being an older laptop, the numbers are in a row just under the F keys, not a 10-key although there is one as a function overlay but I never use the damn thing.

Dcn Latif Haki Gaba SSP said...


1. Your "you know what" line is funny, because it makes me think we could start referring to a certain council the way a certain villain is referenced in J.K.Rowling's works, "He who shall not be named."

2. I like your Bugnini hypothesis. One could potentially explain a lot of modern churchly mischief by just saying, "Bugnini operatives."

3. As an Albanian, I must say that the other main significance of 1389 is that it was the year of the Battle of Kosovo. So there you go.

Chris said...

Yes, it's in Latin - that's how Lutheran Vespers was sung in many places for centuries after the Reformation.

And that's how it SHOULD be done today! English, as a liturgical language, is so barbaric compared to Latin and Greek.

William Weedon said...

Actually, I disagree with you on that, Christopher. I think English CAN be a beautiful liturgical language:

When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

What I wish, truly wish, is that every last piece written by Schütz were put into English so that it could be of greater use to the vast number of English speaking churches around the world. Because his career spanned the ups and downs of the 30 year war, he wrote simple music (when times were bad and he had limited resources) and complex music (when times were good and he had lots of resources) and everything in between.

Chris said...

Fr. Weedon,

English COULD be a beautiful liturgical language, but, again, compared to Latin and Greek, it can't hold a candle.

You're right about Schutz. His music styles ranges from the relatively simple to the complex. It IS a shame that his music is not used more. If I had stayed Lutheran, I think I would have wanted his Burial Service Music sung (though it is a good 20 minutes long and one of the more complex pieces).

William Weedon said...

Well, now, nothing in the Exequien that an Orthodox couldn't sing!

Terry Maher said...

Man, I'm holding out for Siegfrieds Tod at my funeral.

Fond as I am of Latin and Greek, God's choice for a language appears to be Hebrew or dialects thereof.

Which is only because there was no German in Jesus' day.

Chris said...

I could use the Exequien but I plan on going out with Byzantine chant exclusively.