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Let No Wickedness Have Dominion
Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 9:32 AM

In the prayer for the First Hour (ca. 8 AM in my life), we pray, “Order my steps in Thy Word, and shall no wickedness have dominion over me.” This petition addresses a fundamental condition of fallen man: the capacity we have to become enslaved, that is lose our God-given freedom, and subject to the passions that will degrade and kill us. Anyone who has become addicted to porn has allowed wickedness to have dominion over him. Anyone addicted to constantly judging others and comparing himself to them has allowed sin to have its way in this regard.

I say this possibility of slavery to sin is fundamental; it is spoken of early in Genesis, before the first recorded murder, when the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? … sin is couching at the door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (4:7) The path away from slavery to mastery is traveled by grace and by faith, but this does not mean that it is a matter of being a more “spiritual” person, whatever that means in today’s vague religious jargon that allows anyone to justify himself and excuse his personal lifestyle choices. No, the path lies along the line of obedience to the Lord’s commandments. The First Hour prayer, having acknowledged “Thy Word,” continues, “Deliver me from the wrongful dealings of men, and so shall I keep They commandments. Show the light of Thy countenance upon Thy servant and teach me your statutes.” And later, “O Christ, the true Light…. guide our footsteps aright in keeping Thy commandments.”

In a culture in which “no one call tell me what to do” is the touchstone, the Lordship of Jesus is often boiled down to a cheap sentiment easily acknowledged and paid off with a few minutes of praise singing every week. But His Lordship is that which rises from His being granted “all authority in heaven and on earth,” from which authority he charges those who wish to say they belong to Him that they make disciples, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The commandments include the Sermon on the Mount.

The only way Christians can possibly live in faith and obedience to such a high calling is to acknowledge and know in their hearts and feel in their bones that the Lord “hast no delight in sacrifice” (which could be my songs or regular prayers) but that “the sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken and contrite heart.” (Psalm 51:16-17) Surely, this contrition should be a daily assessment, at least for me, for a day does not go by in which I do not think a bad thought of someone else or fail to live selflessly, thinking better of others than of myself, and not thanking God always in all things, or loving with patience, kindness, and humility. I pray the regular prayers not to earn the Lord’s favor but as reminders of my state before him and my need for grace. The touchstones of fidelity are the Lord’s commandments and the example of his saints in their faith, hope and love. In this service lies perfect freedom and the chains of slavery are removed far from us.



The Parallel of Adam and Christ
Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 8:00 AM

The Mind the Heart and the Way of Salvation The Expulsion of Adam and Eve copy 1 The Parallel of Adam and Christ

Greek Icon


by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon

“As the whole human being fell in Adam, the whole human being was restored in Christ. ” – Orthodoxy Today October 2009



It’s the Wreckers’ Economy, Stupid!
Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 3:08 PM

Seriously, societies change very slowly when people’s livelihoods may be affected. The silversmiths in ancient Ephesus whipped up a mob protesting Paul’s evangelical threat to the popularity of their goddess Diana since the smiths made a killing selling silver images of the little darling.

What’s worse is reluctance to allow solutions to social ills to languish, blocked by those who profit directly or indirectly from the negative outcomes. They care more about their livelihoods or simply the status quo than the good of the neighbor or of “humanity” in general.

It would be like the American Body Shop Association opposing traffic lights at dangerous intersections.

Screen Shot 2017 12 12 at 3.08.59 PM 300x204 Its the Wreckers Economy, Stupid!But our wrecker economy is not as direct as the one I wrote about in this Salvo column, the wreckers of 19th-century England who opposed lighthouses because they thrived on salvaging goods from shipwrecks. Our wreckers’ economy is so large it’s hard to see it. We just take it for granted. There are undoubtedly people who are doing a service while benefitting from the general wreck of society. The latter might be like a young sympathetic English entrepreneur raised by wreckers who decides to produce and sell life-jackets and life-boats and warm blankets to aid sailors fleeing wrecks, all the while the wreckers continue to oppose building lighthouses that would stop the wreckage in the first place.

Our chief Wreck of the Century (20th, that is) is the family, sunk by the submerged rocks of the sexual revolution. No doubt employment opportunities among certain professions have risen dramatically since sex was turned on its head, transformed from a protected congress of the sexes within a licit marital union to something, anything, “sexual” you can do (or get away with doing) short of coercing someone else to do it with you.

The list of rising employment opportunities during the Sexual Boom and the trailing Family Breakdown is impressive:

Pornographers. Abortionists. STD researchers. Sex Education teachers and curriculum publishers. Lobbyists for sexual offenses legal reform. Sexual dysfunction products and counselors and treatment centers. No fault divorce lawyers. Child custody lawyers. Child advocates. Post-abortion counselors. Sexual harassment policy writers and counselors. Police, criminal lawyers, prison guards and architects (yes, most men in prison were not raised in intact families). Child pornography.

True, among the above are some services that must be offered in compassion once the damage has been done, so I do not fault those who wish to serve hurting people. They are needed. But what about stopping the sources of hurt farther upstream? Are there credible efforts to suppress the rate of divorce? Shore up marital commitment? Suppress teen promiscuity, sexual trafficking, hooking up?

Or is society satisfied that a eager read of Fifty Shades of Grey is the innocent new normal, while being shocked at all the sexual abuse going on? We’ve approved of lighting the fire of sex outside the safety of the family hearth and are surprised that the countryside is aflame and houses are burning to the ground.

No doubt many people hired some of the above professionals because they did not “want to ruin my life.” And the choices were hard. Nevertheless, the cumulative effect of so many choices is the ruination of a generation and more. When everyone says me first–which can be our fallen inclination when given choices other may have never dreamed of–no one is first, least of all the most vulnerable and needy among us: the children. We should be ashamed, but few seem to even know what the word even means anymore, let alone feel it. It’s time to build lighthouses.



Music for the Second Sunday of Advent
Sunday, December 10, 2017, 8:00 AM


Bach – Cantata BWV 70

Readings:
Epistle: Romans 15: 4-13 The call of the Gentiles
Gospel: Luke 21: 25-36 Watch and pray always



A Walk Through the Old Testament- Part Four
Saturday, December 9, 2017, 12:00 PM


A panoramic view of the Old Testament and it importance to ancient Christianity. Final episode.

University of Nottingham professor Margaret Barker, past President of the Society for Old Testament Studies, has developed an approach to Biblical Studies now known as Temple Theology, which uses a wide variety of sources to trace the roots of Christian theology back to the first Temple and to illustrate how the world view, traditions, customs and symbolism of the Temple were formative influences on the development of Christianity.



Know Your Enemy
Thursday, December 7, 2017, 2:03 PM

A very edifying and concise 25-minute presentation by Ryan M. Reeves (PhD Cambridge), Assistant Professor of Historical Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Indirectly shows how much of what Christians encounter today from the secular religion of Leftism is, at its core, the result of classic Gnostic delusions:

Gnosticism and the Early Church



Christ as the ”New Adam“ and ”Head“
Wednesday, December 6, 2017, 8:00 AM
Georges de La Tour The New born. Christ as the ”New Adam“ and ”Head“

The New-born Christ by Georges de la Tour

by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon

What humanity lost in Adam, it regained — transformed — in Christ. When God’s Son became man, “He commenced afresh the long line of human beings, and furnished us with salvation in a succinct, inclusive manner, so that what we had lost in Adam — namely, to be according to the image and likeness of God — that we might recover in Christ Jesus” (3.18.1).Orthodoxy Today



The Origins of Advent
Sunday, December 3, 2017, 8:00 AM
annunciation of the blessed virgin mary 01 The Origins of Advent

Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Fra Angelico

by Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon

In the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian churches of the West, the several weeks prior to Christmas are known as Advent, a name from a Latin word meaning “coming.” It happens that the beginning of Advent always falls on the Sunday closest to November 30, the ancient feast day (in both East and West) of the Apostle Andrew. Among Christians in the West, this preparatory season, which tends to be slightly less rigorous than Lent and often involves no special fasting at all, always begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Thus, from year to year it will vary in length between 3 and 4 weeks, but always with four Sundays. Read the rest at Orthodoxy Today.



Music for the First Sunday of Advent
Sunday, December 3, 2017, 8:00 AM


Bach – Cantata BWV 61


Bach – Cantata BWV 36


Telemann – “Jesu, komm in meine Seele”

Readings:
Epistle: Romans 13: 11-14 Our salvation is nearer than we believe
Gospel: Matthew 21: 1-9 Christ’s entry into Jerusalem



A Walk through the Old Testament – Part Three
Saturday, December 2, 2017, 12:00 PM

A panoramic view of the Old Testament and it importance to ancient Christianity.

University of Nottingham professor Margaret Barker, past President of the Society for Old Testament Studies, has developed an approach to Biblical Studies now known as Temple Theology, which uses a wide variety of sources to trace the roots of Christian theology back to the first Temple and to illustrate how the world view, traditions, customs and symbolism of the Temple were formative influences on the development of Christianity.


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