30 June 2021

Patristic Quote of the Day

If we take a closer look at the origin of sin, I think that it is nothing else than the inordinate love by a rational creature of things set in order by God.—Fulgentius, To Montimus 1.20.2

June’s Summary Workouts

June was full on workouts after the surgery in May. So the month (with a few days off for family issues) totaled: 4,000 pushups; 400 pullups; 400 45 lb kettlebell swings. Felt good to get the kettlebell back. Also had a HIIT workout or two in there. Usual routine is to start listening to Bible (KJV), head downstairs and do 10 pullups and 10 kettlebell swings. Walk around the upstairs twice. Do 25 pushups in my study. Walk around upstairs twice, etc. Repeating till the pushups total 200 for the day, then back to the basement for another 10 pullups and 10 kettlebell swings. This is my Monday through Friday routine. And when I’m being motivated HIIT with Apple’s exercise app on Saturday mornings. All in all, it takes a smidge over 30 minutes to do the M-F and 10 minutes on Saturdays.

Gerhard and Walther

All the saints, even if they were exalted and decorated by God, busied themselves with humility.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:222.

When Christ tells us not to judge and condemn, it does not mean no one is permitted to judge and condemn false doctrine or openly proclaim God’s judgment of unbelieving and wicked people…. This applies not only to preachers but also to the laity. They, too, should confidently reject and condemn false doctrine and a godless life.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 542, 543.

Catechesis: Clerical Celibacy

For no one will ever be able to change or arrange these matters better or more wisely than God Himself, who instituted marriage to help human frailty and to prevent sexual immorality… How can the marriage of priests and clergy, especially of pastors and others who are to serve the church, be disadvantageous to the Christian Church as a whole? There may well be a shortage of priests and pastors in the future if this harsh prohibition of marriage should last much longer.—AC XXIII:14, 15, 17

29 June 2021

Scriptorium done…

…(Scriptorium sounds better than study; it’s the room the monks used to write in, copying out Scripture and commentaries and such!). We’ve been slowly but surely setting up this room. This past weekend, the final thing we planned for happened (thanks to a dear friend who generously gave of his time and skill): recessed lighting in the book nook. I love coming here to write in the mornings with a cup of java at hand. Cindi did an outstanding job with the blues on the walls, and the total effect is utterly calming. 

Gerhard and Walther

Is it not a wrong action for you to think that you, with your haughty pride, hope to be allowed entrance into heaven even though the haughtily proud Lucifer was tossed out of heaven on account of pride? Christ Jesus, the door to the heavenly sheep stall, is low. If you wish to enter into it, you must bow yourself down and humble yourself, otherwise you will strike yourself on your head and never get in there, as Augustine says in Tract. 45 on John.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:218.

They [Christians] are righteous before God only because they believe in Christ. Without faith, their sins would damn them just as readily as the sins of others condemn them. A Christian may progress only so far in sanctification during this life; he must still appear daily as a poor beggar before God.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 540. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

When he [the outsider] sees that God is being praised and that Christ is being adored and that nothing is disguised or being done in secret, as happens among pagans, he will understand clearly that this is true religion.—Ambrosiaster, Commentary on First Corinthians 14:25. 

Catechesis: Both Kinds in the Sacrament

There is a clear order and command of Christ in Matthew 26: “Drink from it, all of you.” Concerning the cup Christ here commands with clear words that they all should drink from it.—AC XXII:1,2.

28 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Humility is the true, solid foundation of every Christian virtue. Just as one is unable to construct a building without a foundation, where there is humility, everything is in vain if one thinks he can carry out the construction of godliness. For with humility a person turns away from himself, so that he does not highly regard himself or secretly make himself a god.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:213.

God had to send us His love before we could know what it is to love our neighbor. Thus, if we are still unmerciful, it is a sign that we do not stand in faith.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 537.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Nothing builds up as much as good order, peace, and love, just as nothing is more destructive than their opposites. It is not only in spiritual affairs but in everything that one may observe this.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 37 on First Corinthians.

Catechesis: The Saints

Concerning the cult of the saints our people teach that the saints are to be remembered so that we may strengthen our faith when we see how they experienced grace and how they were helped by faith. Moreover, it is taught that each person, according to his or her calling, should take the saints’ good works as an example.—AC XXI:1

Also worthy of note: the cult of the saints was included among the articles in which there was presumed doctrinal agreement. The AC starts with the Holy Trinity and ends those presumed undisputed articles with the Saints. There’s a beauty there—I had never noticed it till Pr. Heath Curtis once pointed this out. 

25 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Apart from cross, faith usually is simply only an ordinary academic thing that flows from the tongue. But, with a cross, adds to the scenario of faith a true exercise and testing by which faith is stamped and notarized like a seal into the heart. Untested people are inexperienced, plain, useless spectators—what do they know? As a marginal note on Is. 28:19, the Gospel is called the Word of the cross, not only because it proclaimed Christ crucified, but also because His power is rightly felt and understood with tribulations.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, III:189.

If we compare the condition of the poor and the rich according to the Holy Scripture, we find that the poor are preferred.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 530.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Second, even if the daughters of Philip did prophesy, they did not do so inside the church. Likewise in the Old Testament, although Deborah was reputed to be a prophetess, there is no indication that she ever corporately addressed the people in the way that Isaiah or Jeremiah did. The same is true of Huldah.—Origen, Commentary on I Cor. 14:34.

Catechesis: Limits of Free Will

However, without the grace, help, and operation of the Holy Spirit a human being cannot become pleasing to God, fear or believe in God with the whole heart, or expel innate evil lusts from the heart. Instead, this happens through the Holy Spirit, who is given through the Word of God.—AC XXVIII:2,3.

24 June 2021

The Nativity of St. John the Baptist

What joy after Elizabeth’s labor! A little boy, just as the angel had said. Her neighbors rejoice with her in the miraculous babe. On the 8th day the child is to be brought into the covenant of the God of Israel and receive the mark of circumcision – a reminder of the promise to Abraham that from his seed would come one who would bring blessing to every family of the earth. Elizabeth and Zechariah must have smiled to think of it, for they know that the Blessed One was already upon the earth in their presence – in the womb of the holy Virgin. The joy was overflowing in the room until the moment came for the naming of the child.

The rabbi was preparing to give the little one the name of his father when Elizabeth interrupted. “No, he shall be called John.” John, which means Yahweh is gracious. The people in the room look at the women in amazement and the rabbi frowns: “None of your relatives is called by that name!” he exclaims. All eyes fix on the old man, Zechariah, still silent, nary a word escaping his lips since his vision in the temple. They make signs to him to ask what he should be named (signs? He’s dumb, not deaf!). He motions for a writing tablet and writes upon it: his name is John.

And then it stopped, as suddenly as it had started. His mouth was opened, his tongue loosed, and he spoke. What did he speak? St. Luke strongly hints at it by saying that he was “blessing God.” That is, the words that we know as the Benedictus. He opens his lips in a canticle of praise to the God of Israel, who has visited and redeemed His people. What is amazing about the canticle is that most of it isn’t about John at all; there’s a bigger miracle in the room!

Zechariah shouts to one and to all that the time of the great fulfillment foretold by the prophets was at hand. The God of Israel had visited His people to rescue them. He was showing mercy, remembering the covenant and oath He swore to Abraham. Now all God’s people would be set free to serve God without fear in holiness and righteousness all the days of their life. And if God was now in the flesh, his beloved little John would be the prophet of the Most High, going before the Lord to prepare His way, the way of Him who came to bring light to those sitting in the shadow of death, guiding feet into the very way of peace. The people marveled and wondered at the astonishing words that they heard.

You may wonder too. For this is what you have been created for: to serve, to worship, to praise God, and to do so without fear because God has come in the flesh to clothe you in a holiness and righteousness that can stand in the presence of the All Holy without trembling, fear or shame. A holiness and righteousness that force death and Satan to back away from you. For your holiness and your righteousness IS the Child who was in Mary’s womb and on Calvary’s tree and is risen from the dead. He has answered for all your sin. He has died the death for you and lives to give salvation too you. Marvel and wonder indeed, people loved by God. He has visited you and shows you great mercy. Open your mouth with Zechariah, and with Mary, and bless His holy name! Amen.

Gerhard and Walther

The strength of the soul that consists of patience is far nobler and better than the strength of the body.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:184.

Let us not think that Jesus prefers the virtuous to those who recognize how far they have fallen. He lets go the virtuous who do not desire to be with Him, and He seeks those who are overwhelmed by the guilt of their sins. He makes sinners of saints and saints of sinners. He lets the self-righteous perish and saves those who are honest enough to recognize that they are lost.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 529. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

We cannot even sing and hymn the Father in Christ with proper rhythm, melody, measure and harmony, unless the Spirit who searches everything, even the depths of God, first praises and hymns him whose depths he has searched out and has understood.—Origen, On Prayer 4.

Catechesis: Church Rites

Concerning church rites, they teach that those rites should be observed that can be observed without sin and that contribute to peace and good order in the church, for example, certain holy days, festivals, and the like.—AC XV:1 (Latin; emphasis added)

23 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

What one learns from cross has solidity, and thereby a man becomes wise before God. That which is heard from God’s Word apart from the cross generally sweeps only over the tongue.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, III:183.

We are sick in our souls, fatally and eternally sick; and Christ came as a physician to restore us to health.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 525.

Patristic Quote of the Day

But, as this faith, which works by love, begins to penetrate the soul, it tends, through the vital power of goodness, to change into sight, so that the holy and perfect in heart catch glimpses of that ineffable beauty whose full vision is our highest happiness…We begin in faith, we are perfected in sight.—St. Augustine, Enchiridion 1.5.

Catechesis: Repentance

Now, properly speaking, true repentance is nothing else than to have contrition and sorrow, or terror about sin, and yet at the same time to believe in the gospel and absolution that sin is forgiven and grace is obtained through Christ. Such faith, in turn, comforts the heart and puts it at peace. Then improvement should also follow, and a person should refrain from sins. For these should be the fruits of repentance, as John says in Matt. 3: “Bear fruit worthy of repentance.”—AC XII:3-6.

22 June 2021

Well, it took till June 22

…but the sort of June day that caused my mom to cite James R. Lowell’s poem finally showed up:

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;…

Gerhard and Walther

How was it that the holy martyrs managed to endure their pains with such great patience—indeed, even with laughter and joy? They felt the mighty comfort of the Holy Spirit in their hearts.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis, III:174.

Whatever a person pursues in this world that hinders him from the pursuit of Christ is eventually taken from him so he can become embittered toward the world and awakened to the love of Christ.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 522 [Weedon notes: a remarkably similar thought to that expressed by Francis Thompson in his “Hound of Heaven”:

All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’]

Patristic Quote of the Day

Love is first among all the activities connected with virtue and all the commandments of the law. If, therefore, the soul ever attains this love, it will need none of the others, having reached the fullness of its being. It seems that love alone preserves in itself the character of the divine blessedness.—St. Macrina (Sister of St. Gregory of Nyssa), The Teaching of Macrina On the Soul and the Resurrection

Catechesis: Concerning Confession

Concerning confession it is taught that private absolution should be retained and not abolished. However, it is not necessary to enumerate all misdeeds and sins, since it is not possible to do so. Ps. 19: “But who can detect their errors?”—AC XI

Canon 21 of Lateran IV:

All the faithful of both sexes shall after they have reached the age of discretion faithfully confess all their sins at least once a year to their own (parish) priest and perform to the best of their ability the penance imposed, receiving reverently at least at Easter the sacrament of the Eucharist, unless perchance at the advice of their own priest they may for a good reason abstain for a time from its reception; otherwise they shall be cut off from the Church (excommunicated) during life and deprived of Christian burial in death.

35 Years Ago Today…

…at the Lutheran Church of St. Andrew in Silver Spring, Maryland. My wonderful wife, of course, made me this cross stitch to remember the occasion.

21 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

When God the Lord sends upon us cross and tribulation, this in no way is a sign of His wrath. Rather, it is an indication of His fatherly love and gracious benevolence, just as one can see this in Christ. He was God’s most beloved Son, and at the same time, His entire life on earth was nothing other than constant cross and tribulation.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:171.

By His blood and His death on the cross, He atoned for the sins of all people and redeemed them to bring them back into the arms of His heavenly Father. This is precisely Christ’s office: to seek all who have gone astray.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 519.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Even as God did not grant the greater gifts to everyone, so also did he give the lesser gifts to some and not to others. He did this in order to obtain the maximum harmony and love, since each would see his need of the others and therefore be brought closer to them.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 32 on 1 Corinthians.

Catechesis: Concerning the Son of God

Moreover, the same Christ “descended into hell, truly rose from the dead on the third day, ascended into heaven, is sitting at the right hand of God” in order to rule and reign over all creatures, so that through the Holy Spirit he may make holy, purify, strengthen, and comfort all who believe in him, also distribute to them life and various gifts and benefits, and shield and protect them against the devil and sin.—AC III:4,5.

18 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

When God says in the First Commandment, I am the Lord you God; you shall have no other gods next to Me, He thus also among other things requires from us patience. For as we acknowledge God the Lord as our Lord God, we most certainly shall also patiently receive and accept everything that He sends to us from His hand.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:170.

Whoever has true love directs his love not only at those who love him and do good to him, but, like Christ, also at his enemies, the children of the world who carry hatred and resentment in their hearts. Whoever has true love makes no distinctions among people and considers love to be a debt he daily pays to all of his brothers according to the flesh.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 513.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Yet not even honorable procreation can exist without lust. In this way, in chaste spouses there is both the voluntary, in the procreation of offspring, and the necessary, in lust. Honesty arises from unseemliness when chaste union accepts, but does not love, lust.—St. Augustine, Against Julian 5.9.37

Catechesis: Original Sin

This means that from birth they are full of evil lust and inclination and cannot by nature possess fear of God and true faith in God. Moreover, this same innate disease and original sin is truly sin and condemns to God’s eternal wrath all who are not in turn born anew through baptism and the Holy Spirit. Rejected, then, are the Pelagians and others who do not regard original sin as sin in order to make human nature righteous through natural powers, thus insulting the suffering and merit of Christ.—AC II:1-3

17 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

God also has a gracious good pleasure in everything that He has commanded. For how could He command something for which He had no desire? He has commanded that we are to place our hope in Him. Therefore, He will bear a gracious pleasure over this….The Lord has pleasure…in those who hope in His goodness (Psalm 147:11).—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:153.

Whenever the tree of the Church has blossomed in faith, the fruits of brother love have appeared right away. During the first three centuries of the Christian era, when so many thousands of believers sealed their faith with their blood under the persecution of heathen emperors, love was stronger than it has been at any time sense. Although Christians were scattered in many countries, they were still bound by love as to a great family.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 511.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Sharing all things in common, both good and bad, is the only way to achieve complete communion.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 31 on 1 Corinthians. 

Catechesis: Holy Baptism, Preface Baptism Booklet

Ah, dear Christians, let us not value or treat this unspeakable gift so half-heartedly. For baptism is our only comfort and the doorway to all of God’s possessions and to the communion of all saints.—Preface, 9.

16 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

O Lord Jesus Christ! On the tree of the cross, for a short time You lamented about being forsaken by God so that I may never be forsaken by God and with steadfast trust may at all times place my trust in Him. Grant grace so that I solely and totally rely upon Your precious merits. Grant that I may not place all my trust upon my own righteousness, but instead solely upon Your righteousness.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:151.

If a person wants to be saved, he must first diligently hear, read, and examine God’s Word. Whoever does not want to do this cannot be helped, despite his prayers and concerns, for he remains in his natural darkness, in sin, and under God’s displeasure.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 508.

Patristic Quote of the Day

This faith which is given by the Spirit as a grace is not just doctrinal faith but a faith which empowers activities surpassing human nature, a faith which can move mountains…For such a one places the thought of God before his mind and as enlightenment of faith permits it, beholds God. His mind also ranges through the world from end to end, and with the end of this age not yet come, beholds the judgment already, and the bestowal of promised rewards.—St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lecture on Faith 5.11

Catechesis: Preface, Baptismal Booklet

Instead, see to it that you are present there in true faith, that you listen to God’s Word, and that you pray along earnestly. For wherever the priest says, “Let us pray,” he is exhorting you to pray with him. Moreover, all the sponsors and the others present ought to speak along with him the words of his prayer in their hearts to God. For this reason, the priest should speak these prayers very clearly and slowly, so that the sponsors can hear and understand them and can also pray with the priest with one mind in their hearts, carrying before God the need of the little child with all earnestness on the child’s behalf setting themselves against the devil with all their strength, and demonstrating that they take seriously what is no joke to the devil.—Preface, Baptismal Booklet 6,7.

15 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

With great diligence, the Holy Spirit removes everything upon which a person might place his trust in order that he only and simply cling to God and solely trust in Him.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:146.

We see here that there is only one city of God in heaven and on earth. Whoever wants to dwell in heaven must already inhabit its earthly suburb. There is only one temple of God on earth and in heaven. Whoever wants to enter into the holy of holies must already have entered the courts of grace on earth. And whoever wants to take part one day in the glorious entry into the heavenly Jerusalem must have become a citizen of Christ’s kingdom on earth, in company with the saints and the household of God.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 507

Patristic Quote of the Day

Since no one has the capacity to receive all spiritual gifts, but the grace of the Spirit is given proportionately to the faith of each, when one is living in community with others, the grace bestowed on each individual becomes the common possession of the others…. One who receives any of these gifts does not possess it for his own sake but rather for the sake of others.—St. Basil the Great, The Long Rule 7.

Catechesis: On Prayer for the Baptizand

Therefore, you have to realize that it is no joke at all to take action against the devil and not only to drive him away from the little child but also to hang around the child’s neck such a mighty, lifelong enemy. Thus it is extremely necessary to stand by the poor child with all your heart and with a strong faith and to plead with great devotion that God, in accordance with these prayers, would not only free the child from the devil’s power but also strengthen the child, so that the child might resist him valiantly in life and in death. I fear that people turn out so badly after baptism because we have dealt with them in such a cold and casual way and have prayed for them at their baptism without any zeal at all.—Intro to The Baptism Booklet (appended to the Small Catechism), par. 3,4.

14 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Earthly wealth is an outstandingly unreliable thing. Anyone who relies on them is acting very foolishly. Within the hour there can come a burning fire or a flood or also an army or a thief and take everything away. Where, then, are the riches on which such a fool has relied? And even when neither fire nor water nor warlords nor thief take away the temporal things, we still will have to forsake them when we die.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:140, 141.

Those who long for His grace cannot be lost no matter how poor they are in spiritual things. Even if they are still great, miserable, and shameful sinners, who are rejected by all and comforted by none, the invitation to enter Christ’s kingdom of grace remains open to them. All who by God’s grace recognize that they are completely unworthy sinners and who long to be received into Christ’s kingdom should rejoice, for Christ calls, “Come, for everything is now ready!”—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 504.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Wisdom refers to the knowledge of divine things, and knowledge to human science.—St. Augustine, On the Trinity, 14.

Catechesis: Marriage Prayer

Lord God, who have created man and woman and have ordained them for the married estate, have blessed them also with the fruit of the womb, and have therein signified the sacrament of your dear Son Jesus Christ and the church, his bride: We beseech your never-ending goodness that you would not permit this your creation, ordinance, and blessing to be removed or destroyed, but graciously preserve it among us through Jesus Christ, our Lord.—from the Marriage Booklet attached to the Small Catechism; this prayer originally concluded the marriage service in the Lutheran liturgy, the pastor praying it over the couple just married.

11 June 2021

Joshua Flynn Herberts

Happy birthday to second oldest grandson, Flynn! You know, part of me shakes my head and asks how the child can possibly be six years old today. But then part of me is amazed that he’s ONLY six. You see, he has always acted so much older than his age. He has always striven to keep up with older brother Sawyer. There was a stage where he and older sister Annabelle were so much the same size everyone mistook them for twins. He’s climbed on beyond her now. He’s enjoying some beach time with his family this week, but here’s to my boy: Happy birthday, my Flynn! Grandpa and Nanny love you big time! P.S. He’s climbing on his Opa in the pic. He LOVES on Opa all the time!

Gerhard and Walther

It’s just as a child: he does not prescribe to his father the time or the manner for helping, but leaves it to his wisdom and to his fatherly will. All this so that we do not out of mistrust expect something contrary to His Word and His will.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:137.

No, God had an inexpressibly higher, more glorious intention in creating us. He wanted to make us blessed, not by the enjoyment and love of the creature, but the enjoyment and love of God Himself.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 497

Patristic Quote of the Day

As often as we receive, we proclaim the death of the Lord. If death, we proclaim the remission of sins. If, as often as blood is shed, it is shed for the remission of sins, I ought always to accept him, that he may always dismiss my sins. I, who always sin, should always have a remedy.—St. Ambrose, The Sacraments 4.6.29.

Catechesis: No Law on the Sacrament

For these reasons you do not have to make any law concerning this, as the pope did. Only emphasize clearly the benefit and the harm, the need and the blessing, the danger and the salvation in this sacrament. Then they will doubtless come on their own without any compulsion.—SC Preface 24

10 June 2021

A Visit with Peter and Naomi (Cindi’s and my nephew and his wife)

Peter was in David’s wedding. Some home-made ice cream to celebrate the occasion!

Gerhard and Walther

Anyone who trusts God is certain and sure that through God’s protection and guarding he shall endure every danger. To this end he adopts a fearless mindset and is unafraid.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:128,9.

No work can blot out our sin and no love can reconcile us with God. Only faith in Christ makes us just and holy before God.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 495. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

But our being reconciled to God through a Mediator, and receiving the Holy Spirit, so that we who were enemies are made sons (“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God”): this is the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.—St. Augustine, Enchiridion 33.

Catechesis: Preface to SC

Those who do not hold the sacrament in high esteem indicate that they have no sin, no flesh, no devil, no world, no death, no dangers, no hell. That is, they believe they have none of these things, although they are up to their neck in them and belong to the devil twice over.—Preface SC 23.

09 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Whoever loves God has to hate what God hates.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:115.

Love reveals one’s heart to the beloved and expects every good from Him. If we love God, we will have a joyful confidence in Him. Praying to Him will be our heart’s desire and in all trials we will call to Him, in childlike faith, “Abba, dear Father!”—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 493

Patristic Quote of the Day

And the Lamb of God not only did this, but was chastised on our behalf, and suffered a penalty He did not owe, but which we owed because of the multitude of our sins; and so He became the cause of the forgiveness of our sins, because He received death for us, and transferred to Himself the scourging, the insults, and the dishonour, which were due to us, and drew down on Himself the apportioned curse, being made a curse for us. And what is that but the price of our souls?—Eusebius of Caesarea, Demonstratio Evangelica, X.1

Catechesis: Fuller Understanding

In the third place, after you have taught the people a short catechism like this one, then take up a longer catechism and impart to them a richer and fuller understanding. Using such a catechism, explain each individual commandment, petition, or part with its various works, benefits, and blessings, harm and danger, as you find treated at length in so many booklets.—SC Intro 17

08 June 2021

Summer sunset


Catechesis: Text First, Then Understanding

In the second place, once the people have learned the text well, then teach them to understand it, too, so that they know what it means. Take up again the form offered in these charts or some other short form that you may prefer. Then adhere to it without changing a single syllable, just as stated above regarding the text.—SC Preface 14.

Patristic Quote of the Day

For our sins, says the Apostle; we had pierced ourselves with ten thousand evils, and had deserved the gravest punishment; and the Law not only did not deliver us, but it even condemned us, making sin more manifest, without the power to release us from it, or to stay the anger of God. But the Son of God made this impossibility possible for he remitted our sins, He restored us from enmity to the condition of friends, He freely bestowed on us numberless other blessings.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Galatians 1

Gerhard and Walther

The holy martyrs, the greatest lovers of God, were drowned to death, but the fire of divine love was not thereby extinguished in them. The tyrants beat, pierced, and cut their bodies, but the bond of love by which they were united with God the Lord they were unable to sever or suffocate.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:115.

God is absolutely holy and just. Therefore, He cannot pardon fallen people and make them holy in their present condition. However, it is His immutable will, purely from His grace, to admit into heaven those who humble themselves before Him, who seek His grace with contrite hearts, and who, with hearts of faith, avail themselves of the reconciliation brought about by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 490.

07 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Whoever loves God will love that which is sent to him from God. In this life, God the Lord sends various crosses upon those who love Him. Therefore, they must also receive from Him with love and patience.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:114. 

Aside from God’s Word, there is nothing we can rely upon. We cannot trust our heart, for it always wants to follow the erring path. Scripture says that whoever relies on his heart is a fool. Our own understanding is equally fallible…. We cannot depend on the testimony of people for their judgments can be both errant and deceptive, sometimes by mistake and sometimes wantonly. All people are liars, the Bible teaches, and experience confirms this.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 488. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Now when God is said to be angry, we do not attribute to Him such a disturbed feeling as exists in the mind of an angry man; but we call His just displeasure against sin by the name ‘anger,’ a word transferred by analogy from human emotions.—St. Augustine, Enchiridion 33

Catechesis: Consistency of Text

In the first place, the preacher should above all take care to avoid change or variations in the text and version of the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, the sacraments, etc., but instead adopt a single version, stick with it, and always use the same one year after year.—Preface, Small Catechism

04 June 2021

Tonight we anticipated

Celebrating 39 years! We plan next year (God willing) to spend two weeks in Mexico just as we spent two weeks in St. Thomas (VI) after our wedding. Tonight we went to Mousalli’s and enjoyed oysters on the half shell, some mushrooms stuffed with Alaskan Crab and cheese, and a one pound ribeye a piece, with two glasses of Cab:

Gerhard and Walther

But where there is servile fear in the heart, there one flees from God. Indeed, one actually then begins in his heart secretly to hate if this slavish fear is not squelched and driven out by love.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:113.

God did not foresee something good in His elect that prompted Him to choose them. On the contrary, He saw them in the blood of their sins and yet declared: “You shall live!”—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 482. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

What is required is not only to suffer for Christ, but to endure what we suffer nobly and with all gladness, since this is the nature of every athlete’s crown.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 23 on First Corinthians.

Catechesis: SC Preface

O you bishops! How are you going to answer to Christ, now that you have so shamefully neglected the people and have not exercised your office for even a single second? May you escape punishment for this! You forbid the cup [to the laity] in the Lord’s Supper and insist on observance of your human laws, while never even bothering to ask whether the people know the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, the Ten Commandments, or a single section of God’s Word. Shame on you forever!—Preface to SC 4,5

03 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

Anyone who properly loves God the Lord shall also love His Word. Anyone who does not love God’s Word, also does not love God the Lord.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:111.

Oh, what kind of hot and inexpressibly great fire must burn in God’s heart toward us Christians that He resolved before we born—even from eternity—to choose us. This is a love that is higher than the heavens, wider than the earth, deeper than the ocean, and as long as eternity.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 480.

Patristic Quote of the Day

The divine apostle, also, in calling the Lord “spiritual food and drink,” suggests that he knows that human nature is not simple, but that there is an intelligible part mixed with a sensual part and that a particular type of nurture is needed for each of the elements in us—sensible food to strengthen our bodies and spiritual food for the well-being of our souls.—St. Gregory of Nyssa, On Perfection

Catechesis: Excommunication

It is certain that the common legal authority to excommunicate those guilty of manifest crimes belongs to all pastors. In tyrannical fashion, the bishops have transferred them solely to themselves and used it for profit.—Tractatus 74.

02 June 2021

Gerhard and Walther

If a human heart is to love God, it has to be cleansed from the sewage of sin. In the same, only those have a pure heart shall see God, so also only those in whom there is a pure heart can love God. That’s why David inwardly prays in Ps 51:12 “Create in me, God, a clean heart.”—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:109

Many believe that nothing should be preached to the common Christian about the mysterious election of grace because only the learned can comprehend this doctrine. But this is a great error.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 476.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Paul called it a cup of blessing, because as we hold it in our hands we exalt him in our hymns, wondering and marveling at his unspeaking gift, blessing him for having poured out this draft so that we might not abide in error, and not only for having poured it out but also having imparted it to us all.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 24 on 1 Corinthians

Catechesis: Ordination

The most common practice of the church also testifies to this, for in times past the people chose pastors and bishops. Then the bishop of either that church or a neighboring one came and confirmed the candidate by laying on of hands. Ordination was nothing other than such confirmation [comprobatio].—Tractatus 70

01 June 2021

Catechesis: Papacy

For when the church has been deprived of valid judicial process, it is not possible remove ungodly teachings and impious forms of worship, and they destroy countless souls generation upon generation.—Tractatus 51

Gerhard and Walther

[God] gave us a rational soul, so that we could know, love, possess, and eternal receive Him as the only Highest Good.—Johann Gerhard, Schola Pietatis III:104.

We must understand that true faith cannot be mere imagination and powerless conviction that can result from understanding the truth of the Gospel. Instead, it must be something living, powerful, always active and busy. It is something that changes and renews our hearts and minds, making us into totally new people.—C. F. W. Walther, God Grant It!, p. 472. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Paul is free from all human claims because he preached the gospel without getting any praise for it and never wanted anything from anyone, except their salvation.—Ambrosiaster on 1 Cor. 9:19