After St. Andrew had hung from his cross for three days, the proconsul who had condemned him to death approached. He ordered that St. Andrew be lowered down and rescued. St. Andrew then recited the following prayer:
“Lord, do not let me come down alive! It is time for you to entrust my body to the earth. You entrusted it to me, and I have borne it so long and watched over it and worked so hard, and now I wish to be discharged of this obedience and relieved of this most burdensome garment. I think of how I have labored to carry its weight, to control its unruliness, to support its weakness, to compel its slow responses. You know, O Lord, how often it has struggled to draw me away from the purity of contemplation and awaken me from the repose of that most sweet stillness, how many and how grave pains it has inflicted on me. O most kind Father, I have resisted the assaults of this body for so long, and with your help I have mastered it. Just and loving Rewarder, I beg of you not to leave it any longer in my care! I give back what you entrusted to me. Commend it to the earth so that I will not have to take care of it, and it will not curb and hamper me, thirsting as I am to come freely to you, the inexhaustible source of life and joy.”
From the Book by S. John Damascene On the Orthodox Faith Bk. 4 Ch. 15
Joachim married that most virtuous and praiseworthy woman, Anne. Just as in former times another Anne had, by prayer and promise, born Samuel, although she had been suffering from the affliction of barrenness, similarly, this Anne, by prayer and promise, received from God the Mother of God, so that in the matter of childbearing she was far from being inferior to the other virtuous wives. Therefore Grace, (for that is the meaning of the name, Anne) bore the Queen (for thus is the name, Mary, interpreted), and indeed she was made Queen of all things created since she was the Mother of their Creator.
It was in Joachim’s house near the pool of Bethsaida that Mary opened her infant eyes to the light of this world, and she was presented in the temple as a child. So, planted in the house of God, and nourished by the Holy Spirit, she was made like the olive branches, laden with domestic virtues. So manifestly had her soul been kept from all worldliness and desires of the flesh, so completely had she remained a virgin both in body and in soul, that she was found worthy and prepared to receive God in her breast.
The feast of the presentation of Mary is founded on a pious tradition, originated by two apocryphal gospels which relate that the Blessed Virgin was presented in the temple of Jerusalem when three years old, and that she lived there with other girls and the holy women who had them in their care. Already in the sixth century the event is commemorated in the East and the Emperor Michael Comnenus alludes to it in a constitution of 1166
When Karl Rahner came to the United States in the 1960s, he gave a talk to some Jesuit seminarians. One of them asked him, “Fr. Rahner, what must one do to become a theologian?” He answered immediately, “The first thing you have to do is master the four volumes of B.A.C.* Then you can begin to become a theologian.”
He added that those four volumes are the best summary of scholastic theology available. Needless to say, the young Jesuit seminarians at the time were rather shocked to hear the famous theologian praise a summary of scholastic and Thomistic theology.
Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J.
*B.A.C. = Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, literally “Library of Christian Authors,” the original publisher
The Sacrae Theologiae Summa (The Complete Sacred Theology) is being translated into English for the first time by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J. Split into 8 volumes, to date six of them have been completed. The planned 8 volumes are:
IA Introduction to Theology. On the True Religion.
IB On the Church of Christ. On Holy Scripture.
IIA On the One and Triune God
IIB On God the Creator and Sanctifier. On Sins.
IIIA On the Incarnate Word. Mariology.
IIIB On Grace. On the Infused Virtues.
IVA On Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance and Anointing.
IVB On Holy Orders and Matrimony. On the Last Things.
The currently available volumes are available by mail order only (not by online order) from www.keepthefaith.org.