|Saint Agnes and the "Lamb of God"|
"What I longed for, I now see; what I hoped for, I now possess; in heaven I am espoused to Him whom on earth I loved with all my heart" (antiphon for Saint Agnes, January 21).
|Saint Agnes and the "Lamb of God"|
|Detail from Ethiopian icon|
|Baptism of Jesus, detail from Ethiopian icon.|
|Late afternoon Winter sunlight in Marlow Heights.|
We went "to a party that the ladies had arranged for us. They had quite a spread in the Connaught Hall & afterwards they gave a concert which was sure worth hearing. One of the ladies invited me to her home anytime I wish to go & I sure am going as, well, she has a swell looking daughter."It was a difficult year for Roy Armstrong, but these are words full of hope.
|This book was published in December of 1986. It's hard to believe that it has be thirty years.|
|Are you finished laughing? Okay, the photo is overexposed; thus my "heavily tanned" look. Otherwise, this kid is me!|
"When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins'" (Matthew 1:18-21).Ah yes, that "touchy" little situation.
Joseph her husband, when he realized that Mary must of been... well... unfaithful to their betrothal (which really surprised him since Mary had been so completely, astonishingly, immaculately good up until then) since he was a righteous man, yet [YET?] unwilling to expose her to shame, (in other words he was "righteous" but he wasn't like "crazy righteous" -- the Law said an adulterous wife should be stoned to death [see Deuteronomy 22], but he decided to ignore the Law and let it slide because he was a nice guy,) decided to divorce her quietly. (Mary had this story about an angel and a miracle and the Holy Spirit, but as Joseph himself said in Zeffirelli's movie Jesus of Nazareth [and he must have said it, because we saw it], "That's too much for any man to believe!" But still, he was a nice guy so he was willing to break it off quietly.)Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David [why did he call him that?], do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. [PERIOD! That means the angel finishes his sentence here. Then he takes a deep breath and continues with the next sentence...] For (in other words, after have taken his deep breath, the angel proceeds to explain to Joseph what really happened, setting the record straight that Mary was telling the truth after all) it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." At which point Joseph goes <FACEPALM> "If I had known, O angel, that Mary was really bearing the Messiah, the Son of God, in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, I would never have 'divorced her quietly'! Oh no, I would have taken her into my home and taken upon myself the earthly responsibilities of fatherhood for... you know... God Incarnate...."Okay, JJ... enough snarkiness. What's the point? Well, the point here is that if I step back and examine what seems to be the common sense interpretation of this text, it starts to raise all sorts of problems. There's not a whole lot of bold type in that long paragraph. I have to make a lot of assumptions, which is not unreasonable since these assumptions are generally made even by theologians (generally, but not universally, and -- as we shall see -- there is good reason for a different reading).
"One of the first things that happens to those who drift away from God is that they are people without a smile. Perhaps they are capable of great laughter … a joke, a laugh … but the smile is missing. The smile gives hope: it is the smile of the hope of finding God. Life is often a desert: it is difficult to journey through it, but if we entrust ourselves to God it can become beautiful and wide as a highway. It is enough never to lose hope; it is enough to continue to believe, always, in spite of everything."