On St. Ambrose Day

From the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s calendar of commemorations:

Ambrose of Milan, Pastor and Hymnwriter

Born in Trier in A.D. 340, Ambrose was one of the four great Latin Doctors of the Church (with Augustine, Jerome, and Gregory the Great). He was a prolific author of hymns, the most common of which is Veni, Redemptor gentium (“Savior of the Nations, Come”). His name is also associated with Ambrosian Chant, the style of chanting the ancient liturgy that took hold in the province of Milan. While serving as a civil governor, Ambrose sought to bring peace among Christians in Milan who were divided into quarreling factions. When a new bishop was to be elected in 374, Ambrose addressed the crowd, and someone cried out, “Ambrose, bishop!” The entire gathering gave their support. This acclaim of Ambrose, a 34-year-old catechumen, led to his baptism on December 7, after which he was consecrated bishop of Milan. A strong defender of the faith, Ambrose convinced the Roman emperor Gratian in 379 to forbid the Arian heresy in the West. At Ambrose’s urging, Gratian’s successor, Theodosius, also publicly opposed Arianism. Ambrose died on Good Friday, April 4, 397. As a courageous doctor and musician he upheld the truth of God’s Word.

The Collect of the Day:

O God, You gave Your servant Ambrose grace to proclaim the Gospel with eloquence and power.  As bishop of the great congregation of Milan, he fearlessly bore reproach for the honor of Your name.  Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching and fidelity in ministering Your Word that Your people shall be partakers of the divine nature; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

And for an evening meditation to cap this very musical week of commemorations, St. Ambrose’s hymn O lux beata Trinitas (“O Trinity, Most Blessed Light,”) as set to the 16th-century German tune “O heilige Dreifaltigkeit” and translated into English by John Mason Neale:

— Rick Krueger

StoryBundle

The Weird Thrillers Bundle, curated by Kevin J. Anderson: Just when you thought it was safe to go back to your e-reader! I’ve curated an innovative new StoryBundle, imaginative thrillers, each with a fantasy twist, some funny, some nail-biting, all enjoyable.

As always with storybundle.com, you get a lot of books and you name your own price—in this case (of strange cases!) you’ll receive 14 novels for as little as $15. A portion of the income goes directly to a wonderful charity, and the rest is split among indie authors.
— Read on storybundle.com/thriller

I’m always up for supporting Kevin J. Anderson, our greatest living sci-fi author.

Presidential Libraries: Treason to a Republic ~ The Imaginative Conservative

Presidential libraries symbolize so much that is wrong about our present-day republic: abuse, corruption, and decadence. For my money, a presidential library is treason, bribery, and a high crime and misdemeanor. A real republican leads because he is needed. When he is done, he does not ask for a monument. (essay by Bradley Birzer)
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2015/01/presidential-libraries-treason-republic.html

[Full confession–I have a honorific from the Reagan Presidential Library, so I’m being a bit hypocritical]

Our Presidents Have Become God-kings

If we still had a republic, we would NEVER have allowed the kind of ceremony that disgraced the very essence of the Constitution yesterday.

It’s one thing to honor a worthy man for his service, it’s another to bury him as a god-king.

Without getting into his politics, George Bush seems to have been a good father and grandfather. Certainly, his service in World War II against the Japanese imperialists was extraordinary.

But, in the end, he was just a man. And, if a republican, he should have departed as once did Cincinnatus.

President Andrew Jackson even refused a simple monument, noting that real republicans die in peace, not in stone.

Sadly, yesterday’s pageant had far more in common with Caesar than with Cicero. Disgusting and abhorrent.

The Embodied Person as Gift ~ The Imaginative Conservative

First principle. The soul is “the principle of unity of the human being, whereby it exists as a whole—corpore et anima unus—as a person” (Veritatis splendor, 48). “It is in the unity of body and soul that the person is the subject of his… acts” (VS, 48). “The human person cannot be reduced to a freedom which is self-designing, but entails a particular spiritual and bodily structure” (VS, 48).

These statements, first of all, affirm the unity of the human being as a dual, or differentiated, unity of body and soul.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2018/12/embodied-person-gift-david-schindler.html

On St. Nicholas Day

From the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s calendar of commemorations for December 6:

Of the many saints commemorated by the Christian Church, Nicholas (d. A.D. 342) is one of the best known. Very little is known historically of him, although there was a church of Saint Nicholas in Constantinople as early as the sixth century. Research has affirmed that there was a bishop by the name of Nicholas in the city of Myra in Lycia (part of Turkey today) in the fourth century. From that coastal location, legends about Nicholas have traveled throughout time and space. He is associated with charitable giving in many countries around the world and is portrayed as the rescuer of sailors, the protector of children, and the friend of people in distress or need. In commemoration of “Sinte Klaas” (Dutch for Saint Nicholas, in English “Santa Claus”), December 6 is a day for giving and receiving gifts in many parts of Europe.

Benjamin Britten’s cantata Saint Nicolas was written for the 1948 centenary of Lancing College in Sussex (an independent secondary boarding school on the south coast of England).  As Paul Spicer writes,

The cantata portrays the life of the fourth-century Bishop of Myra in a work of great poetry and sensitivity. It was conceived and composed with semi-amateur performance in mind and the technical demands of the choral and orchestral writing are appropriately straightforward. The audience also gets to join in two well-known hymns, “All people that on earth do dwell” and “God moves in a mysterious way.”

For Saint Nicholas’ day, enjoy this performance of the cantata by tenor Robert Tear, the Choir of Kings’ College Cambridge and the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, all conducted by Sir David Willcocks:

You can find Eric Crozier’s complete libretto and further program notes for Saint Nicolas here.  An excerpt of the 6th movement,  “Nicolas from Prison”:

O man! The world is set for you as for a king!
Paradise is yours in loveliness.
The stars shine down for you, for you the angels sing,
Yet you prefer your wilderness.
You hug the rack of self,
Embrace the lash of sin,
Pour your treasures out to bribe distress.
You build your temples fair without and foul within:
You cultivate your wilderness.
Yet Christ is yours. Yours!
For you He lived and died.
God in mercy gave His son to bless you all,
To bring you life,
And Him you crucified
To desecrate your wilderness.
Turn away from sin! Ah!
Bow down your hard and stubborn hearts!
Confess, yourselves to Him in penitence
And humbly vow your lives to Him, to holiness.

 

— RIck Krueger

Music, Books, Poetry, Film

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