Thursday, January 31, 2013

Seven Sundays for St. Joseph: Fr. Andersen

Seven Sundays in Honor of St. Joseph by Fr. Eric Andersen, Gervais, OR

The Seven Joys and Sorrows of St. Joseph is a devotion that belongs to every Wednesday, because every Wednesday belongs to St. Joseph, just as every Saturday belongs to the Blessed Virgin Mary.  

In like manner, the entire month of March belongs to St. Joseph, just as the month of May belongs to Mary. The Solemnity of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is celebrated on March 19th. The Seven Joys and Sorrows is traditionally broken up into seven individual parts and prayed on the seven consecutive Sundays before March 19th. This Sunday, February 3rd, is therefore the first of the seven Sundays.  

For those who would like to join me in preparing for the Solemnity of St. Joseph, we will pray this devotion after the Masses this weekend and each weekend until March 19th. Or you can use this as a guide to pray this devotion at home with your family at dinnertime.

Let us offer our prayers to St. Joseph that he may intercede for our new Archbishop-elect, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample who will be installed as the 11th Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Portland on April 2nd. As St. Joseph was chosen to be the father of our Lord in Nazareth, may he be a model and guide for the man who has been chosen to be our spiritual father here in Western Oregon.

The First Sunday: The Annunciation to St. Joseph

• His sorrow: over the prospect of divorcing Our Lady.
• His joy: the revelation by the angel of the mystery of the Incarnation.

Introductory Prayer:

O chaste spouse of Mary,
great was the trouble and anguish of your heart
when you were considering quietly sending away your inviolate spouse;
yet your joy was unspeakable,
when the surpassing mystery of the Incarnation
was made known to you by the angel.

By this sorrow and this joy, we beseech you to comfort our souls,
both now and in the sorrows of our final hour,
with the joy of a good life and a holy death
after the pattern of your own life and death in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

Gospel Reading: Matthew 1:18-25

Our FATHER, Hail Mary, Glory be. . .

or -

The Litany of St. Joseph

Concluding Prayer:

V. Pray for us, blessed Joseph
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

Almighty God,
in your infinite wisdom and love
you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary,
the mother of your Son. As we enjoy his protection on earth,
may we have the help of his prayers in heaven.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Archbishop-Elect Sample and Social Media

Archbishop-elect Sample has a twitter account as well as a Face Book page

Here's a "sample" (heh heh heh) of his "Oregon" tweets:

More on Archbishop-elect Alex Sample

A correspondent brought to my attention a Vortex episode – embedded below – from December 2011. I remember it very well: in it, Michael Voris applauds Archbishop-elect Alexander Sample for comments the bishop made about Vatican II and the deplorable catechesis that occurred in its wake. The interview Voris quotes from can be found here.

I remember thinking at the time that this Bishop Sample seemed to be the kind of leader our Church needs – he seems to have a clear view of what’s happened to the Church over the last 50 years, and he doesn’t seem to pull punches. 

For example, Voris quotes Bishop Sample, who said in an interview that he is a member of “the first lost generation to poor catechesis, which raised up another generation that is equally uncatechized.” He adds, “My generation raised up the next generation. Since we weren’t taught the faith, we raised children who weren’t either.”

In the referenced interview, Bishop Sample also acknowledged that “the liturgy suffered from experimentation as well”. He knows! 

Here’s the Vortex:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Archbishop of Portland

Bishop Alexander Sample has been appointed as the new Archbishop of Portland! We have written about him on this blog here and here.

This is great news for anyone who is interested in a return to reverent and correct liturgical music, and reverent liturgy in general. Bishop Sample is a supporter of the extraordinary form of the Mass, and celebrates it himself.

Here’s one report on Bishop Sample’s appointment:

(Vatican Radio) On Tuesday Pope Benedict XVI appointed 52-year-old bishop Alexander K. Sample, Metropolitan Archbishop of Portland Oregon, U.S.A.

He takes over the pastoral leadership of the Archdiocese of nearly 400,000 Catholics from Archbishop John G. Vlazny who has retired.

Bishop Sample was ordained a priest of the diocese on June 1, 1990, at St. Peter Cathedral in Marquette. He served in several parish assignments before moving to Rome, Italy, from 1994-96 to earn a degree in Canon Law. Upon returning to the diocese he held a number of duties in the chancery office. He served as a member of the Marriage Tribunal, as chancellor, as a member of the College of Consultors, as director of the Department of Ministry Personnel Services, as director of the Bishop Baraga Association, diocesan chaplain to the Knights of Columbus, and was involved in many major efforts of the diocese. On January 25, 2006, by the mandate of Pope Benedict XVI, he was ordained bishop of Marquette.

Jeffrey Tucker at the Chant Café wrote:

…Just to be clear, Bishop Sample is highly sophisticated on the topic of liturgical music. He regularly reads the Chant Cafe. He knows and understands this topic as well as anyone alive.

Do I need to spell out the significance of this?

Remember this day, people. Remember this day.

Yes, remember. And thank God!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Bring Back the Communion Rail?

A blogging deacon, Greg Kandra, who previously defending the practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand and standing, has “changed his mind”; you can read his complete blog post here. Deacon Kandra says that

… after several years of standing on the other side of the ciborium—first as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, now as a deacon—and watching what goes on, I've had about enough.

After describing some of the more atrocious things he’s seen happen at Communion, he notes:

…I’m reminded week after week that people have no uniform way to receive in the hand. There's the reverent "hands-as-throne" approach; there's the "Gimme five," one-hand-extended style; there are the notorious "body snatchers" who reach up and seize the host to pop into their mouths like an after-dinner mint; and there are the vacillating undecideds who approach with hands slightly cupped and lips parted. Where do you want it and how??

Communion rail at St. Mary's in Pendleton, OR
Catechesis, he maintains, has been tried in his parish and the results are less than positive.

Our modern liturgy has become too depleted of reverence and awe, of wonder and mystery. The signs and symbols that underscored the mystery—the windows of stained glass, the chants of Latin, the swirls of incense at the altar—vanished and were replaced by . . . what? Fifty shades of beige? Increasingly churches now resemble warehouses, and the Body of Christ is just one more commodity we stockpile and give out.

Can kneeling to receive on the tongue help alleviate some of this? Well, it can't hurt. And for this reason: to step up to a communion rail, and kneel, and receive on the tongue, is an act of utter and unabashed humility. In that posture to receive the Body of Christ, you become less so that you can then become more. It requires a submission of will and clear knowledge of what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what is about to happen to you.

The faithful receiving Holy Communion at Mass
(extraordinary form)
 There are other good points in the article supporting the author’s idea that a renewed sense of reverence would be the result of bringing back the communion rail. He concludes by pointing out that

[Pope Benedict XVI]…will only give communion at papal Masses to those who kneel and receive on the tongue. He was gently making a liturgical point. Are we paying attention?

After what I've seen, I agree with him. We need to get off our feet, and on our knees.

Bring back the communion rail. It's time. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mass vs Protestant Service

I think yesterday's (Jan. 10) Vortex contains the most concise statement of how the Catholic Mass has been “protestantized” that I have ever seen. I was struck by this simple observation – because I had never thought about it this way before:

… [T]he Catholic Mass is oriented to God. This is the reason there can exist in the Catholic Church such a thing as a private Mass, where the priest is offering Mass with NO ONE else present. People in the pews are not required at Mass for there to be a valid Mass.

…Protestants NEED a congregation because, bottom line, Protestant services are not about worship; they are about the community and fellowship and the congregation. Protestant services WITHOUT a congregation would be like Catholic Mass without a Priest – which is to say, impossible.

Seriously, that difference never occurred to me before! But think about it, if you’ve ever been to a Protestant service: imagine it without a congregation. For most Protestant denominations, there is no liturgy – no formal prayers written down, no formal structure to the service. Usually, Protestants see this as a good thing; we don’t want the “traditions of men” prescribing our “worship”, ya know. But what happens then is that the “traditions of individuals” prescribes the worship. The Protestant preacher directs the show according to his own idea of how things should go. If the people like it, they come back next week. If they get tired of it, they find a new church with a new preacher and a new “approach”…not to mention new music.

Without a congregation, a Protestant service is nothing. Literally. Picture it. What would happen if no one showed up at the Sunday morning service of the local Pentecostal church? Well, the pastor would probably be pretty disappointed. And he might say a few prayers for the souls of his missing congregation. But they would be private devotional prayers, not a liturgy. There is no liturgy in the Pentecostal church.

And without a congregation, there would be no 90-minute sermon (yes, I’ve sat through quite a few of those!). Hard to imagine a pastor talking to himself for that long! Even if he had prepared (which many don’t, because they want to let the Holy Spirit do the talking), he would likely not deliver his sermon to rows of empty pews.

What would happen if no one showed up for Sunday Mass at the local Catholic Church? The priest would say Mass. He would offer worship to God. He would make the sacrifice of the Holy Mass. He wouldn’t give a homily, but that is not the “meat” of the Mass.  It is not one of the critical elements of the liturgical worship of God.

Here’s the Vortex – well worth the 10 minutes:

Here’s the script, with my emphases:

If you ask the average Mass going Catholic today, what is the point of the Mass, what answer do you suppose you would hear?

Even the very question being asked is telling. Often times when you see Fr. Nice-and-Happy walking around in the congregation, especially when a lot of children are present, he asks the question, “Why do we come to Mass?” – Not “what is the POINT of Mass?”

When asked the first question – why do we come - the answers are fairly predictable from the little tykes: “to hear the word of God” is a pretty standard response for the most part.

But the sad thing is, you’d get the same response from the typical Mass-going Catholic
ADULT as well – which means that, in a huge number of cases, there has been none – zero, none, nada – intellectual advancement in their apprehension of the faith since elementary school.

Yep. Ask most adults what the point of Mass is and it’s a safe bet you WON’T hear the answer, “To give worship to God”.

This, at the end of the day, is the primary point of the Mass and why it is so intrinsically, fundamentally, essentially different from Protestant services. Those actions are oriented to the people to the congregation – the Catholic Mass is oriented toward God.

This is the reason there can exist in the Catholic Church such a thing as a private Mass, where the priest is offering Mass with NO ONE else present. People in the pews are not required at Mass for there to be a valid Mass.

This startling piece of news comes as a shock to the average Catholic in America – who has lived in and breathed in the Protestant air for so long – that he now thinks of his religion even in Protestant terms.

Protestants NEED a congregation because, bottom line, Protestant services are not about worship; they are about the community and fellowship and the congregation. Protestant services WITHOUT a congregation would be like Catholic Mass without a
Priest – which is to say, impossible.

In Protestant services, songs are sung, the Bible is read from – usually over the course of many weeks, the same few readings – and a preacher preaches at them. In fact, quite often, individual Protestants decide where to attend services based SOLELY on the preaching and the style.

But Catholic Mass has almost no need of these elements. We do have readings of course, but there don’t have to hymns or songs, nor does there have to be any preaching, meaning homilies or sermons.

Why? Because the constitutive aspect – the WHAT of what is occurring – is a sacrificial presentation to the Father of the Son. That action is so complete and so full in itself that nothing else NEEDS to occur. The heart of Catholic Mass is the sacrifice.

The heart of the Protestant service is the preaching.

The Mass is geared to God, the Protestant service to the people. And that is owing to the near infinite gap in theology between Catholicism and Protestantism. The faith – the beliefs of each are encapsulated in their rites and forms of ritual. So when one starts to take on – to resemble or mimic – the rites or forms of the other, a subtle shift (subtle at first anyway) can begin to occur in the beliefs behind those forms.

And this is what has happened over the past 40 or 50 years in Catholic parishes all over the West – Protestant STYLE has crept in, and with it, Catholic BELIEFS have been abandoned and even pushed out.

Why did Catholics used to receive Holy Communion kneeling and on their tongue, but now everyone strolls up and gets “it” in the hand? BTW, you are still encouraged to receive in this manner (kneeling, and on the tongue; witness how the Pope distributes Holy Communion).

Why? Because Protestantism has crept in and with it, the rejection of belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Why do we sing songs (many of them Protestant) and hold hands and smile and wave and kiss each other and have greeters at the door? Because that’s what the Protestants do – who don’t believe in the sacrificial nature of worship, but in the emphasis being placed on the people.

Why do we have altar girls now in a huge number of Catholic parishes? Because like so many Protestant communities who don’t accept the sacrificial nature of worship, but eschew it for a more egalitarian sameness, the stress is on the community and people’s feelings.

The list of abuses at the Mass in most parishes across the western world is owing to this one primary fact: the emphasis has been taken OFF God and placed ON the people at

This is why Fr. Nice tells such joke-filled homilies – so the people will be entertained.

(Gladiator clip – ARE YOU ENTERTAINED?)

This is why the altar (that is rarely called an altar anymore, but instead referred to as a table) is oriented in such a way so that the priest can face the people. If there is one thing that absolutely grinds faithful Catholics when it comes to this topic, it’s the expression: “Before Vatican II the priest used to face his back to the people.” Nooooo! He FACED God – just as the people did. He was leading us in the sacrifice of Son to the Father – so HE and ALL of us faced God.

But now, because errant Protestant thinking has slinked in from practically every quarter and created the atmosphere that “it’s all about us, the people”, Catholics – a couple generations’ worth – would be horrified out of their minds in this Sunday, if the priest just turned and faced God. They wouldn’t know what to do.

But in what could be a very shocking and stunning address, he could simply tell the congregation that Vatican II NEVER said the priest is supposed to be facing the people. NOWHERE DOES IT SAY THAT!!!! It isn’t suggested, hinted at, ordered, commanded, opined…nothing.

It’s Protestant theology undermining the fullness of the reality of the Mass, and everyday Catholics have been hoodwinked for decades now by liberal modernist progressive Catholics who wanted to re-form, (not reform, but RE – FORM) the Church into something THEY wanted it to be.

They HATE the teachings of the Church , especially the ones regarding sexual morality, so they stuck around and decided to do as much damage as possible from within and by their reckoning. THE primary place to strike was the Mass.

So they went to school and got fancy degrees in liturgy and sacred music and anything related to the Mass, and then one by one changed everything they came into contact with…slowly at first, but wholesale eventually – so much so that the average Catholic today has no idea what the sanctuary is, the difference between a table and altar, has not the vaguest notion that a sacrifice is going on… But boy oh boy, they sure can belt out
“Amazing Grace” like dyed in the wool Presbyterians.

The Pope of course is trying to change all this. This is why he distributes Holy Communion to people kneeling and on their tongue, for example. But Catholics must understand that the forces that brought this liturgical chaos about haven’t gone into retirement. They oppose him every step of the way, in very subtle ways.

The INDIVIDUALS who caused the chaos are gone sure, but the structure for continuing it which they put in place, is still in place. They built it and populated it with their disciples and the next generation of modernist-minded folks who would carry on their work.

And they knew that if they kept it going long enough, that most Catholics would, over decades, have no idea of how things used to be, what the theology REALLY teaches, and what the Mass is REALLY all about. Congratulations! They succeeded.

Most Catholics don’t go to Mass anymore and the majority of those that do, feel perfectly at home in a stripped-down, more Protestant-service-looking hall, singing Protestant hymns, listening to Protestant-minded preaching from Protestant-minded “presiders”, and are nearly totally unaware of their Catholic heritage and identity precisely because they don’t have it anymore – so why would they be aware?

This needs to change. Turn that table back into an altar and start facing God again.
Has it ever occurred to any of the more modernist or Protestant-minded clergy and laity who use that grating expression – “faces his back to the people” – that currently, the priest is facing his back to GOD?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Altar Server

This is an Anglican Use Mass, but the principles the young man discusses regarding the role of the altar server are true and good whether Anglican or Roman Rite, and whether we're talking about the extraordinary form or ordinary form of the Mass.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fr. Andersen's Epiphany Homily

A Homily by Fr. Eric M. Andersen, Sacred Heart-St. Louis in Gervais, OR

January 6th, 2013 The Epiphany of the Lord

The Roman Martyrology for the eighth day in the Ides of January:

The Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, in which three manifestations of our great God and Lord Jesus Christ are recalled: In Bethlehem, the infant Jesus adored by the Magi; in the Jordan baptized by John, anointed by the Holy Spirit and called Son by God the Father; in Cana of Galilee at the wedding changing water into new wine He manifested His glory.

At Marianopolis, in the province of Quebec, Canada, Saint André (Alfred) Bessette, religious of the Congregation of Holy Cross who built a sanctuary as a token of honor to St. Joseph and cared for the same.

And elsewhere, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

Thanks be to God.

The word ‘Epiphany’ refers to a manifestation. The Epiphany of the Lord is the manifestation of the Lord. So, for instance, we celebrate the Incarnation of the Lord on March 25th, which is the feast of the Annunciation. At the Annunciation, Mary conceived in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit. At the moment of conception, the Eternal Son of the Father, Jesus Christ was made incarnate in her womb. Nine months later, on December 25th, at midnight, we celebrate the birth of the Word made flesh. Eight days after the birth, on January 1st, the Church commemorates the Circumcision of the Lord and His naming. At His circumcision, He receives the name of Jesus. Two days later, on January 3rd, the Church celebrates the feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus in honor of that event. The Church instructs all priests to bow our heads every time we say the name of Jesus during the Holy Mass and, by extension, at any time when we say the Most Holy Name of Jesus. We bow our heads at the Holy Name. You the faithful should always do the same.

Today, January 6th, we celebrate the Epiphany, or Manifestation of the Lord. The Roman Martyrology tells us that there are three manifestations recalled today: first, in Bethlehem, the infant Jesus adored by the Magi; second, in the Jordan baptized by John, anointed by the Holy Spirit and called Son by God the Father; and third, in Cana of Galilee at the wedding changing water into new wine He manifested His glory. All three of these manifestations are recalled and celebrated today. However, it seems that the Magi have captured our attention on this day. We honor them in a special way by moving the statues of the Three Wise Men to the Nativity set. The Church also honors them today by granting a special blessing of homes under their intercession.
I will bless chalk during this Mass that I will send home with you so that you can bless your homes with the Epiphany House Blessing. The Blessing itself can be done by the family together. The text of the Blessing is in the Bulletin, and I have extra copies of the blessing in English and in Spanish in the back for those who would like them. You will need a piece of chalk and some holy water to sprinkle around your house. So be sure to take some Holy Water home too. The Blessing can be done any time during the next week in what we call the season of Epiphany.

But there are two other manifestations that are recalled today: The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, and the manifestation of Jesus in changing water into wine at the wedding in Cana. The importance of Epiphany is so great that the Church will spend three weeks meditating upon this feast. Today we celebrate the Magi. Next Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan, and the Sunday after that, we will proclaim the gospel of the Jesus changing water into wine at the Wedding in Cana.

Let us look now at the Magi. There is a prophecy in the Old Testament Book of Numbers given by a pagan prophet: Balaam, son of Beor, servant to the king of Moab. The King of Moab asks Balaam to curse Israel. “Balaam intends to do so, but God himself intervenes causing the prophet to proclaim a blessing upon Israel instead of a curse” (Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives, p. 91). This “non-Jew and …worshipper of other gods” (91) announced the following: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh: a star shall come forth out of Jacob and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel” (Num 24:17). Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has written about this in his new book: Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Narratives. He writes, “It is true that Balaam’s star is not a celestial body: the coming king is himself the star that shines upon the world and determines its fate” (92).
Because Balaam is a historical figure who is mentioned in extra-biblical sources, Pope Benedict says that “we may freely assume that this non-Jewish ‘pagan’ oracle would have circulated outside Judaism in some shape or form and would have set people thinking” (92). This leads us to the Magi. The Magi were foreigners. They were thought to be “strongly influenced by philosophy” (92). It is implied that the Magi have waited for a sign, and in fact they already know why they must follow the star. They seem to have heard this prophecy and follow the star in search of the newborn king. Thus the Magi are wise men and “in Saint Matthew’s Magi story, religious and philosophical wisdom is obviously an incentive to set off in the right direction, it is the wisdom that ultimately leads people to Christ” (93).

But a situation in which a prophecy would influence these men to leave everything to follow a star, tells us “they were a people of inner unrest, people of hope, people on the lookout for the true star of salvation. The men of whom Matthew speaks were not just astronomers. They were ‘wise’” (95). These men were on “a search for truth, a search for the true God and hence ‘philosophy’ in the original sense of the word” (95) which means a love of wisdom. That is why we call the Magi the three wise men. But why do we call them kings? We can 
look at Psalm Seventy-one. Verses ten and eleven say this: “The Kings of Tharsis and the islands shall offer presents: the kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring brings: and all kings of the earth shall adore him: all nations shall serve him” (Ps 71:10-11). We combine that with Isaiah chapter 60, which says this: “…the strength of the Gentiles shall come to thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Madian and Epha: all they from Saba shall come, bringing gold and frankincense: and showing forth praise to the Lord” (Isaiah 60:5b-6).

What do we notice then about these wise men, the Magi, philosophers in search of truth and a love of wisdom? What do we notice about these three kings bringing gold, frankincense, and myrrh? The prostrate themselves in worship before the child. St. John Chrysostom comments: “This Body, even lying in a manger, Magi reverenced. Yea, men profane and barbarous, leaving their country and their home, . . . set out on a long journey, and when they came, with fear and great trembling worshiped Him. Let us, then, at least imitate those Barbarians, we who are citizens of heaven” (quoted in Schneider, Dominus Est–It is the Lord!, 31). St. John Chrysostom has a good point. We who are Christians know Jesus to be God. We should not hesitate to fall down on our knees before Him. The Magi knew this without the grace of baptism or the sacraments. Let us adore Him in the Holy Eucharist by bending the knee before the Lord. Let us adore Him by bowing our heads at the very mention of His Name. Let us adore Him by receiving Holy Communion with the greatest reverence. If the Magi, who were barbarians prostrated themselves before Jesus without the grace of the Holy Spirit, then how much more should we adore Him––we who have received the light of the Holy Spirit and the gift of Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding by His grace. Let us imitate the three Wise Men. Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord. 


Here are some excerpts from the readings for the Office of Matins for the Epiphany:

From the Sermons of Pope St Leo (the Great)

Dearly beloved brethren, rejoice in the Lord; again I say, rejoice. But a few days are past 
since the solemnity of Christ's Birth, and now the glorious light of His Manifestation is breaking upon us. On that day the Virgin brought Him forth, and on this the world knew Him. The Word made Flesh was pleased to reveal Himself by degrees to those for whom He had come…

Dearly beloved brethren, we recognize in the wise men who came to worship Christ, the first-fruits of that dispensation to the Gentiles wherein we also are called and enlightened. Let us then keep this Feast with grateful hearts, in thanksgiving for our blessed hope, whereof it doth commemorate the dawn…Let all observance, then, be paid to this most sacred day, whereon the Author of our salvation was made manifest, and as the wise men fell down and worshipped Him in the manger, so let us fall down and worship Him enthroned Almighty in heaven. As they also opened their treasures and presented unto Him mystic and symbolic gifts, so let us strive to open our hearts to Him, and offer Him from thence some worthy offering.

From a Homily by Pope St Gregory the GreatDearly beloved brethren, hear ye from the Gospel lesson how, when the King of heaven was born, the king of earth was troubled? The heights of heaven are opened and the depths of earth are stirred. Let us now consider the question, why, when the Redeemer was born, an angel brought the news to the shepherds of Judea, but a star led the wise men of the East to worship Him. It seemeth as if the Jews as reasonable creatures received a revelation from a reasonable being, that is, an angel, but the Gentiles without, being as brutes, are roused not by a voice, but by a sign, that is, a star. Hence Paul hath it: a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. 1 Cor. xiv. 22. So the prophesying, that is, of the angel was given to them that believed, and the sign to them that believed not.

Thus also we remark that afterwards the Redeemer was preached among the Gentiles not by Himself, but by His Apostles, even as, when a little Child, He is shown to them, not by the voice of angels, but merely by the vision of a star. When He Himself had begun to speak He was made known to us by speakers, but when He lay silent in the manger, by that silent testimony in heaven. But whether we consider the signs which accompanied His birth or His death, this thing is wonderful, namely, the hardness of heart of the Jews, who would not believe in Him either for prophesying or for miracles.

All things which He had made, bore witness that their Maker was come. Let me reckon them after the manner of men. The heavens knew that He was God, and sent a star to shine over where He lay. The sea knew it, and bore Him up when He walked upon it. The earth knew it, and quaked when He died. The sun knew it, and was darkened. The rocks and walls knew it, and rent at the hour of His death. Hell knew it, and gave up the dead that were in it. And yet up to this very hour the hearts of the unbelieving Jews will not acknowledge that He to Whom all nature testified is their God, and, being more hardened than the rocks, refuse to be rent by repentance.