This is a good place to begin a less impressionistic and more concrete spirituality based on the readings. History serves to ground the spiritual life concretely in time and place. God is active in history, but just how is a mystery. That mystery serves as a check on concrete legalistic self-righteousness.
Words to note are forever, eternal, will, shall, and history. Each of these words, references change or lack thereof through time. Each of these words grounds hope in concrete terms. The basic cause for hope resides in the Divine Covenant.
That there are nine versions of the Divine Covenant appears
relatively frequently in these Notes.
The research for the nine is in
The question in these readings is how does
In these readings, one issue for
When one considers Poor Clare nuns contemplating God, one considers contemplation as a good work. Technically, contemplation is the highest of the good works. Contemplation is not Faith, but a result of Faith. Finding God in creation, such as the monastic garden, and using that finding to raise the heart and soul to the Creator can happen in both a meditative and contemplative mode. The difference is that one contemplating is relaxed and comfortable in the presence of God without much help, whereas one meditating must make more of an effort to find and locate God, with much help, such as the help of a garden.
Is contemplation a good work, like the baptism of John,
external to the spiritual life? Since
both contemplation and the baptism of
Talbert quotes Kasemann:
Religion always provides man with his most thoroughgoing possibility of confusing an illusion with God. Paul sees this possibility realized in the devout Jew: inasmuch as the announcement of God’s will in the law is here misunderstood as a summons to human achievement and therefore as a means to a righteousness of one’s own. But that is for him the root of sin . . . man, in despairing presumption, erects his own work into the criterion of the universal judgment and God becomes an approving spectator of our doings.
In this Reformation Protestant view of Jewish legalism, one
cannot fulfill the law and so trying is an act of idolatry. There stands Paul. More recent, less legalistic views of Middle
How valid is a parallel between pre- and post-Vatican II
Church Magisterium and Middle Judaism—with Pauline Christianity? Middle Judaism was optimistic;
verse 1b put on the splendor of glory from God forever:
verse 2 wrapped in the cloak of justice from God,
bear on your head the mitre
that displays the glory of the eternal name.
With specific references to verses 2 and 9 Talbert points out that “being clothed with some aspect of another’s selfhood empowers [sic] one who is so clothed.”
verse 4 you will be named by God forever
verse 3 For God will show all the earth your splendor:
Verse 5 is the most telling.
verse 5 Up, Jerusalem! Stand upon the heights;
look to the east and see your children
gathered from the east and the west
at the word of the Holy One,
rejoicing that they are remembered by God.
Your children are the chosen people, whether chosen by grace, by race, or by following the law. Unscrambling which is which, is part of gaining insight into these readings. Protestantism with its emphasis on Faith alone looks to grace; Catholicism with its emphasis on Faith and works looks to grace and the law, both. Because of past errors regarding race, speculating on racial choice is beyond the pale of contemporary competency.
verse 6b but God will bring them [the exiles] back to you
verse 9 for
God is leading
by the light of his glory,
with his mercy and justice for company.
Psalm 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 (3)
The Lectionary uses this Psalm in the following places:
6C 30 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 (3) The readings for today.
36C 229 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 (3)
149B 921 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 (3)
Funerals also uses this Psalm:
Page Section Verses used
290 Antiphons and Psalms 16 Antiphons and Psalms 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6 (3)
If the psalm as a whole is to be understood correctly, we must begin with the historical situation. . . .The God of Israel works in history as he bestows salvation in progressive activity. The change to the new state of all things (***) takes place in history in the constantly new retrospects, petitions, and hopeful stride of the chosen people.
verse (3) The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
This responsorial verse is an historical recollection. The
relationship not only is simply between God and the individual soul but also
between God and bodies of people, in particular the Jews. This Psalm was probably written after
verse 4 Restore our fortunes, O LORD,
like the torrents in the southern desert.
Kraus joins Psalms 74 and 80 with 126 to remember past history in a plea for a restoration of good fortune.
verse 5 Those who sow in tears
shall reap rejoicing.
verse 6 they shall come back rejoicing
Verses 5 and 6 influence Matthew 5:4 when
Philippians 1:4-6, 8-11
verse 6 I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
the day of
Talbert writes, “Citing texts like
verse 9 And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception
verse 10 to discern what is of value,
that you may be pure and blameless
for the day of
verse 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness
for the glory and praise of God.
In verse 11, righteousness refers to the chosen people, the elect, those who will get into the Age to Come.
This is a place to list the covenants and the relationship
The covenant with Abraham extends to all the Gentiles through Faith, the Mosaic Law is a temporary expedient, until Christ, as prophesied in Jeremiah 31, where “God himself enables his people’s faithfulness to the relationship.”
verse 3:4 Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths
verse 1a In the
fifteenth year of the reign of
verse 2b the
word of God came to
verse 3b proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
This verse is similar to Mark 1:4 used for this Second Sunday of Advent in Cycle B. The current Cycle is C.
The baptism of
Neither did righteousness forgive sins. Paul teaches that participation in the life
The external rite of baptism by
verse 4 As it is written in the book of the worlds of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
”Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
verse 5 Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
And the rough ways made smooth,
verse 6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”
Advent is a time full of hope for the future that the life
of grace in
In these readings, with a view toward the future,
Where does the Magisterium fit? Humbly, righteous, without either legalism or self-righteousness both on the part of the Faithful recipients of the Magisterium as well as on the part of the Magisterium itself.
For more on sources, besides the footnotes, see the Appendix file.
 Since I
do not read Hebrew and my computer does not write Hebrew, *** represents Hebrew
letters in the following text.