Friday, January 01, 2016

Maronite Year XIII

The Feast of the Circumcision always occurs on January 1. In some calendars, the day is also called the 'Celebration of Peace' due to the fact that it's New Year's Day and thus the prayers of the day ask for peace for the coming year. Besides peace, particular emphasis is placed on Christ as fulfilling the law and on circumcision as a sign of baptism, thus making the day look forward to Epiphany.

The Feast of the Circumcision of the Lord Jesus
Ephesians 2:11-22; Luke 2:21

By His circumcision Christ fulfilled the Law.
His Name is salvation to Jew and Gentile;
His name was given by the angel.
In His fulfillment of Law we fulfill Law;
by His consecration we are made holy.

To Abraham God said, "Keep my covenant!
Every male among you shall be circumcised,
to be marked out a people of God."
By this passion He signified the Passion,
and by this seal He signified the promise.

Moses confirmed the law of circumcision,
that Christ might be the fulfiller of the Law.
Hear, O Israel, the Lord is one;
Love Him with all your heart, your soul, and your might;
circumcise your hearts that you may be holy.

Joshua, who shared the holy name of Christ,
at Gilgal renewed the holy covenant,
raising up the sons of Israel.
The reproach of old Egypt was rolled away,
the circle of the promise was completed.

Circumcision is not a mere physical sign;
it a seal of the Law and covenant,
a full consecration of the heart.
In Christ circumcision found its fulfillment,
the circle of the promise was completed.

Christ who is our peace has given us baptism,
in which we are adopted co-heirs of Christ,
dying to the Law but raised to life,
the life of Jesus who was raised from the dead.
By His consecration we are made holy.

Citizens of Israel we have become,
not by our circumcision but through our Lord,
citizens of Spirit, not of blood,
as through our baptism we have received peace
and by this seal He signified the promise.

Let all who have been baptized live their baptism,
the commandment of love to love our neighbor;
we are baptized into Christ's Passion.
Love your neighbor that you may abide in light;
circumcise your hearts that you may be holy.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fortnightly Books Index 2015

We are somewhere around 100 books at this point.

December 13: Walter M. Miller, Jr., A Canticle for Leibowitz
Introduction, Review

November 29: Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events
Introduction, Review

November 15: Robert Louis Stevenson, The Master of Ballantrae
Introduction, Review

October 25: Charlotte Brontë, Villette
Introduction, Review

October 11: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland
Introduction, Review

September 27: Alexander Solzenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Introduction, Review

September 13: Diana Wynne Jones, Dark Lord of Derkholm; and Year of the Griffin
Introduction, Review

August 30: Evelyn Waugh, Edmund Campion: A Life; and Brideshead Revisited
Introduction, Review

August 9: Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe
Introduction, Review

July 19: The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 2
Introduction, Review

July 12: Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park
Introduction, Review

June 21: The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Volume 1
Introduction, Review

June 7: Gaston Leroux, The Phantom of the Opera
Introduction, Review, Locus Focus

May 24: Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before
Introduction, Review

May 10: Marshall Terry, Tom Northway
Introduction, Review

April 26: Jack London, The Sea-Wolf
Introduction, Review

April 12: Jules Verne, Around the World in Eighty Days
Introduction, Review

March 29: Louis L'Amour, Sackett; and The Sackett Brand
Introduction, Review

March 15: The Mabinogion
Introduction, Review

March 1: Anton Chekhov, Two Plays
Introduction, Review

February 15: Lloyd C. Douglas, Magnificent Obsession
Introduction, Review

February 1: Alain-Fournier, Le Grand Meaulnes
Introduction, Review

January 18: Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac
Introduction, Review, Cyrano's Ballade

December 28: William Shakespeare, Histories
Introduction, Review, Supplement

Fortnightly Books Index for 2014

Fortnightly Books Index for 2012-2013

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Last Vigil of the Year

Watch with Me
by Christina Rossetti


Watch with me, men, women, and children dear,
You whom I love, for whom I hope and fear,
Watch with me this last vigil of the year.
Some hug their business, some their pleasure-scheme;
Some seize the vacant hour to sleep or dream;
Heart locked in heart some kneel and watch apart.

Watch with me bless├Ęd spirits, who delight
All through the holy night to walk in white,
Or take your ease after the long-drawn fight.
I know not if they watch with me: I know
They count this eve of resurrection slow,
And cry, 'How long?' with urgent utterance strong.

Watch with me Jesus, in my loneliness:
Though others say me nay, yet say Thou yes;
Though others pass me by, stop Thou to bless.
Yea, Thou dost stop with me this vigil night;
To-night of pain, to-morrow of delight:
I, Love, am Thine; Thou, Lord my God, art mine.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Music on My Mind



Chisu, "Tuu mua vastaan".

Trying to work through the lyrics of this song is a bit baffling; it's filled with colloquial and dialectal terms that are not easily recognized if you don't already know them and phrases no real person would ever say so they can't be guessed at beforehand. I had never seen mua before; it's a version of the first-person pronoun, as if Finnish needed yet more pronoun forms. The more formal form, I take it, would be minua. Tuu I don't recognize, but it seems to be related to tulla, and in particular to the imperative form tule, 'come'. Vastaan is one of those words that has infinite shades of meaning depending on how exactly it is used; its basic meaning is something like 'over against', but it can mean lots of other things derived from this. The lyrics translation sites translate tuu mua vastaan as 'come meet me', which I would never have guessed, but makes some sense.

There are a number of other words you wouldn't normally expect to hear, like Venukselta. The -lta ending means 'off of', so the phrase astun alas Venukselta means 'I will step down off of Venus'. So now you can use the phrase if you ever happen to be in Finland and have an occasion to make people think you are crazy. Although, to be sure, for all I know people in Finland might say things like this all the time.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Maronite Year XII

Depending on the day on which Christmas falls, there may be either one or two Sundays before Epiphany. The current liturgical norms for these are quite clear:

If there is one Sunday between the Glorious Birth of Our Lord and the Epiphany, the Finding of the Lord in the Temple is celebrated. If there are two Sundays between these feasts, the Glorious Birth of Our Lord is celebrated on the first Sunday and the Finding of the Lord in the Temple on the second Sunday.

Thus the Sunday after Christmas in the Maronite calendar is a reiteration of Christmas. (I believe that this is relatively new, and that the previous custom was that it was the Finding of the Lord in the Temple, rather than Christmas, that was twinned in two-Sunday years; at least, I have an old PDF of an English translation of the Qurbono in which this is pretty clearly how it was structured, although I cannot say that it was a universal rather than a local thing. There is also an exception to the above norm, which we will see this next year: the Feast of the Circumcision is always on January 1, so when the first of two Sundays after Christmas falls on January 1, it is the Feast of the Circumcision that is celebrated.)

Sunday after the Glorious Birth
2 Corinthians 11:1-11; Matthew 23:29-24:2

The Word of God Himself was made flesh,
from the Virgin Mary He was born;
He took the Church for His spotless Bride.
If any preaches another Christ,
he does not bring the good news of Christ,
he does not bring the Spirit of Christ,
he beguiles like a cunning serpent.

Israel's saints prepared for His birth,
Abraham, David, and the prophets;
He is the Lamb upon God's high throne.
If any preaches another Christ,
he does not bring the good news of Christ,
he does not bring the Spirit of Christ,
he beguiles like a cunning serpent.

He is greater than angels on high;
He is King of kings and Lord of lords;
He is the good and loving Shepherd.
If any preaches another Christ,
he does not bring the good news of Christ,
he does not bring the Spirit of Christ,
he beguiles like a cunning serpent.

From the Father He has come to us;
of the Father He is the icon;
save through Him the Spirit does not come.
If any preaches another Christ,
he does not bring the good news of Christ,
he does not bring the Spirit of Christ,
he beguiles like a cunning serpent.

Christ our Lord upon the cross was hung
to raise us to salvation and joy;
in His holy martyrs He is seen.
If any preaches another Christ,
he does not bring the good news of Christ,
he does not bring the Spirit of Christ,
he beguiles like a cunning serpent.