Tuesday, July 26, 2005

St. Joachim and St. Anne

And, behold, an angel of the Lord stood by, saying: Anna, Anna, the Lord hath heard thy prayer, and thou shalt conceive, and shalt bring forth; and thy seed shall be spoken of in all the world. And Anna said: As the Lord my God liveth, if I beget either male or female, I will bring it as a gift to the Lord my God; and it shall minister to Him in holy things all the days of its life. And, behold, two angels came, saying to her: Behold, Joachim thy husband is coming with his flocks. For an angel of the Lord went down to him, saying: Joachim, Joachim, the Lord God hath heard thy prayer. Go down hence; for, behold, thy wife Anna shall conceive. And Joachim went down and called his shepherds, saying: Bring me hither ten she-lambs without spot or blemish, and they shall be for the Lord my God; and bring me twelve tender calves, and they shall be for the priests and the elders; and a hundred goats for all the people. And, behold, Joachim came with his flocks; and Anna stood by the gate, and saw Joachim coming, and she ran and hung upon his neck, saying: Now I know that the Lord God hath blessed me exceedingly; for, behold, the widow no longer a widow, and I the childless shall conceive. And Joachim rested the first day in his house.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

In honor of the feast day of St. James, I'm making my first attempt at putting images on the blog. Someone tell me if it doesn't look right.

Here's the aforementioned saint appearing in a dream to Charlemagne, telling him to liberate Galicia from the Saracens. Hard to say that I find "St. James told me to" to be the most convincing reason for invading a country; but I've heard worse.

A little something from St. James himself, on the hazards of teaching--of interest to us homeschoolers. Something to keep in mind next time I'm fixing to yell at my kids:

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that you will receive a greater judgment. For in many things we all offend. If anyone does not offend in word, he is a perfect man, able also to lead round by a bridle the whole body. For if we put bits into horses' mouths that they may obey us, we control their whole body also. Behold, even the ships, great as they are, and driven by boisterous winds, are steered by a small rudder wherever the touch of the steersman pleases. So the tongue also is a little member, but it boasts mightily. Behold, how small a fire--how great a forest it kindles! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity. The tongue is placed among our members, defiling the whole body, and setting on fire the course of our life, being itself set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, and of serpents and the rest, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind; but the tongue no man can tame--a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless God the Father; and with it we curse men, who have been made after the likeness of God.

The Didache

Quasten begins with the Apostles' Creed, the roots of which he traces to apostolic times, though of course (as he notes) in its present form it dates from the sixth century at the earliest.

But we shall skip right to the Didache, which dates from some time between AD 100 and 150. It's short enough to be worth reading in its entirety.

Please note that the chapter divisions and titles are not part of the document, and are of recent date. The title is "The Lord's Instruction to the Gentiles through the Twelve Apostles" (Didache being Greek for "instruction").

Later I will post some of Quasten's notes on the Didache. But for now, let's just read it.
About Patrology

Here are excerpts from Quasten's introduction to patrology (these days more often called "patristics"). Worth a read:

Patrology is that part of the history of Christian literature which deals with the theological authors of Christian antiquity. It comprises both the orthodox and the heretical writers, although it treats with preference those authors who represent the traditional ecclesiastical doctrine, the so-called Fathers and Doctors of the Church.
We are accustomed to call the authors of early Christian writings 'Fathers of the Church'. In ancient times the word 'Father' was applied to a teacher; for in biblical and early Christian usage, teachers are the fathers of their students.... Today only those are to be regarded as 'Fathers of the Church' who combine these four necessary qualifications: orthodoxy of doctrine, holiness of life, ecclesiastical approval, and antiquity.... Although the Fathers of the Church hold an important position in the history of Hellenistic and Roman literature, their authority in the Catholic Church is based on entirely different grounds. It is the ecclesiastical doctrine of Tradition as a source of faith which makes the writings and opinions of the Fathers so important. The Church regards the unanimis consensus patrum as infallible, if it concerns the interpretation of Scripture.
As far as language is concerned, Christianity was a Greek movement until almost the end of the second century.... Both the authors of the New Testament writings, as well as the Greek Fathers, do not write in classical Greek, but in the Koine, which could be best described as a compromise between literary Attic and the popular language.... Latin Christian literature had its beginnings in translations of the Bible, which must have been made during the second century.

--Johannes Quasten, Patrology
Welcome to my blog! And a special welcome to members of Holy Family Homeschoolers. I'm going to launch this foray into the twenty-first century by keeping the blog, for now, a place to post links to patristic works, relevant excerpts from Quasten's Patrology, and comments thereon. At the moment, nobody except members of HFH is aware of this spot, thus keeping it private; still, I would advise just using first names or pseudonyms, and not posting personal information, the internet being what it is.

Later on, I may invite other friends of mine to the blog; and I'm sure I'll want to post some other things once I get the hang of how this works. As someone once put it well, the point of a blog is so that no thought of mine, no matter how trivial, need ever go unpublished.

Let's go!