Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Matter of the Heart

“I am not alone at all, I thought. I was never alone at all. And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent. For this is still the time God chooses.” - Taylor Caldwell

STABAT Mater speciosa
iuxta faenum gaudiosa,
dum iacebat parvulus.
BY, the crib wherein reposing,
with His eyes in slumber closing,
lay serene her Infant-boy,
Cuius animam gaudentem
laetabundam et ferventem
pertransivit iubilus.
Stood the beauteous Mother feeling
bliss that could not bear concealing,
so her face o'erflowed with joy.
O quam laeta et beata
fuit illa immaculata,
mater Unigeniti!
Oh, the rapture naught could smother
of that most Immaculate Mother
of the sole-begotten One;
Quae gaudebat et ridebat,
exultabat, cum videbat
nati partum inclyti.
When with laughing heart exulting,
she beheld her hopes resulting
In the great birth of her Son.
Quisquam est, qui non gauderet,
Christi matrem si videret
in tanto solatio?
Who would not with gratulation
see the happy consolation
of Christ's Mother undefiled?
Quis non posset collaetari,
Christi Matrem contemplari
ludentem cum Filio?
Who would not be glad surveying
Christ's dear Mother bending, praying,
playing with her heavenly Child
Pro peccatis suae gentis
Christum vidit cum iumentis
et algori subditum.
For a sinful world's salvation,
Christ her Son's humiliation
She beheld and brooded o'er;
Vidit suum dulcem Natum
vagientem, adoratum,
vili deversorio.
Saw Him weak, a child, a stranger,
yet before Him in the manger
kings lie prostrate and adore.
Nato, Christo in praesepe
caeli cives canunt laete
cum immenso gaudio.
O'er that lowly manger winging,
joyful hosts from heaven were singing
canticles of holy praise;
Stabat, senex cum puella
non cum verbo nec loquela
stupescentes cordibus.
While the old man and the maiden,
speaking naught, with hearts o'erladen,
pondered on God's wondrous ways.
Eia, Mater, fons amoris
me sentire vim ardoris
fac, ut tecum sentiam.
Fount of love, forever flowing,
with a burning ardor glowing,
make me, Mother, feel like thee;
Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amatum Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam.
Let my heart, with graces gifted
all on fire, to Christ be lifted,
and by Him accepted be.
Sancta Mater, istud agas,
prone introducas plagas
cordi fixas valide.
Holy Mother, deign to bless me,
with His sacred Wounds impress me,
let them in my heart abide;
Tui Nati caelo lapsi,
iam dignati faeno nasci,
poenas mecum divide.
Since He came, thy Son, the Holy,
to a birth-place, ah, so lowly,
all His pains with me divide.
Fac me vere congaudere,
Iesulino cohaerere,
donec ego vixero.
Make me with true joy delighted,
to Child-Jesus be united
while my days of life endure;
In me sistat ardor tui,
puerino fac me frui
dum sum in exilio.
While an exile here sojourning,
make my heart like thine be burning
with a love divine and pure.

* *
Fac, ut pulchrum infantem portem,
qui nascendo vicit mortem,
volens vitam tradere.
Let me bear Him in my bosom,
Lord of life, and never lose Him,
since His birth doth death subdue.
Fac me tecum satiari,
Nato me inebriari,
stantem in tripudio.
Let me show forth how immense is
the effect on all my senses
of an union so divine.

All who in the crib revere Him,
like the shepherds watching near Him,
will attend Him through the night,
* *
Fac, me Nato custodiri,
verbo Dei praemuniri
conservari gratia.
Make me by His birth be guarded,
by God's holy word be warded,
by His grace till all is done;
Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
tui nati gloria. Amen.
When my body lies obstructed,
make my soul to be conducted,
to the vision of thy Son. Amen.
*Removed by 4theluv for doctrinal reasons.

For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel. Luke 2:30-32

Christmas was both the fulfillment of God's promise to send a Savior, and the beginning of the fulfillment of His promise to save us through the death of His Son on the cross.

Merry Christmas to all.

4theluv and family.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

iTuning My Heart

And it's whispered that soon if we all call a tune, then the Piper will lead us to reason. And a new day will dawn for those who stand long, and the forests will echo with laughter. - Robert Plant, Stairway to Heaven

Like most everyone else in the known and civilized world, I have iTunes on my computer and an iPod which carries my music on the road. My iTunes contains 1,246 songs, totaling some 5.2 gigabytes of data. If I set my iTunes to simply play it would take, according to iTunes, 36.9 days to play everything on my iTunes one time.

Burt has always said that you can tell where your heart is by looking at your checkbook. I wonder if the same applies to iTunes? So I decided to look and see what my top played/rated songs are, and what it might reveal about me. Below is my top played songs in order of most played.
  1. You Ain't Goin' Nowhere (Bob Dylan)
  2. Every Grain of Sand (Bob Dylan)
  3. When We're Through (Act of Congress)
  4. Red River Shore (Bob Dylan)
  5. Love Comes for Free (Act of Congress)
  6. The Well (Act of Congress)
  7. I Disagree (Act of Congress)
  8. Wedding Dress (Derek Webb)
  9. The Pilgrim: Chapter 33 (Kris Kristopherson)
  10. Paint It Black (Rolling Stones)
  11. The Battle of Evermore (Led Zepplin)
  12. Stairway to Heaven (Led Zepplin)
  13. Motorcycle Drive By (Third Eye Blind)
  14. Brain Damage (Pink Floyd)
  15. Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd)
  16. Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
  17. Whiskey Lullaby (Brad Paisley/Alison Krauss)
  18. This Too Shall Be Made Right (Derek Webb)
  19. We Shall Be Free (Garth Brooks)
  20. Misery & Gin (Merle Haggard)
Pragmatically, I don't know what my musical tastes say about me. Perhaps it simply reflects my moods at certain times, or a particular style I favor over others, or even a sense of personal musical snobbery. Or perhaps it speaks of something that I want to express myself but lack the talent to express it in such ways.

In looking at the list, I know there is very little "Contemporary Christian Music" (as in none) which I care to listen to on any kind of basis, which some would say is attributable to my poor spiritual condition. (While I am sure my musical tastes is on that list of my spiritual deficiencies, it probably does not rank in the top 5.) I am just not content to listen to the flood of mediocrity and doctrinal error which supposedly passes these days for "Christian" music.

I tend to lean toward music that makes me think, or in some way expresses the fallen human condition. (Though I must admit "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" is just a fun song.) But most of my musical tastes lean toward the contemplative and the descriptive. Take, for instance, Dylan's "Every Grain of Sand" - written toward the end of his fundamentalist faith conversion. How much truth is there to the lyrics which express, for every believer, periods of doubt and isolation. Says Dylan, "I hear the ancient footsteps, like the motion of the sea. Sometimes I turn there's someone there, other times its only me."

Or consider the Stones "Paint It Black." "I look inside myself and see my heart is black /I see my red door and it has been painted black /Maybe then Ill fade away and not have to face the facts/ Its not easy facin up when your whole world is black." Now Jagger is singing about lost love, and how his world is torn apart, but you can hear the the tale of a lost soul in that song.

As I observed these things about myself, I had to wonder what songs will appear on my iTunes once God has completed His work in me, and Christ reigns supreme. In a very real sense, the gratitude I have in the completed work of Christ frees my heart to sing the songs of salvation. The Apostle John gives us a bit of a hint:

"And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth." Rev. 14: 2-3

The day is coming that our hearts will be iTuned to the redemption songs of Christ's completed work. What a song we have to sing to Christ. The black hearts, the bottom of the glass, and the doubts will all disappear. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

I don't really know what my iTunes says about me. Perhaps it says I am a deep thinker deeply in tune with the power of Christ and the truths of the world.

Or perhaps, it just says, I'm weird.