Christmas and Vocation

HT to Paul McCain for quotes about how Luther relates vocation to Christmas:

Here is another excellent and helpful lesson, namely, that after the shepherds have been enlightened and have come to a true knowledge of Christ, they do not run out into the desert-which is what the crazy monks and nuns in the cloisters did! No the shepherds continue in their vocation, and in the process they also serve their fellow men. For true faith does not create people who abandon their secular vocation and begin a totally different kind of living, a way of life which the totally irrational monks considered essential to being saved, even though it was only an externally different way of existence. [Klug, Luther’s House Postils, Vol. 1:48]

“We conclude, therefore, that a Christian lives not in Himself, but in Christ and in the neighbor. Otherwise he is not a Christian. He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love. By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into his neighbor.” “On the Freedom of a Christian,” (LW 31:371)

“These are the two things in which a Christian is to exercise himself, the one that he draws Christ into himself, and that by faith he makes him his own, appropriates to himself the treasures of Christ and confidently builds upon them; the other that he condescends to his neighbor and lets him share in that which he has received, even as he shares in the treasures of Christ.” 1521 Christmas sermon.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Kyralessa

    Many monasteries serve as spiritual retreat centers for the faithful. The monks and nuns therein (like all monks and nuns) also follow St Paul’s admonishment to “pray without ceasing.”

    For a former monk, Luther sounds awfully ignorant of what he was supposed to have been doing in that role.

  • Kyralessa

    Many monasteries serve as spiritual retreat centers for the faithful. The monks and nuns therein (like all monks and nuns) also follow St Paul’s admonishment to “pray without ceasing.”

    For a former monk, Luther sounds awfully ignorant of what he was supposed to have been doing in that role.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Spiritual “retreat” centers is right — one doesn’t follow Christ by running away from people and this world! Jesus went out and talked to the people who needed to hear his message — it is obvious that we could do no better than to follow his example. Perhaps monks “pray without ceasing”, but they seem to ignore the other exhortations of our Lord.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Spiritual “retreat” centers is right — one doesn’t follow Christ by running away from people and this world! Jesus went out and talked to the people who needed to hear his message — it is obvious that we could do no better than to follow his example. Perhaps monks “pray without ceasing”, but they seem to ignore the other exhortations of our Lord.

  • Kyralessa

    You’re missing the point. To elaborate: In Orthodoxy bishops are required to be unmarried, which means that they must come from the monastic ranks. So there’s always an interconnection between the churches and the monasteries: Future monastics must come from the churches (since monks don’t have children), but the church’s bishops come from the monasteries.

    The Church is always _in_ the world; monastics are the prophetic voice that keeps the Church from becoming too much _of_ the world.

  • Kyralessa

    You’re missing the point. To elaborate: In Orthodoxy bishops are required to be unmarried, which means that they must come from the monastic ranks. So there’s always an interconnection between the churches and the monasteries: Future monastics must come from the churches (since monks don’t have children), but the church’s bishops come from the monasteries.

    The Church is always _in_ the world; monastics are the prophetic voice that keeps the Church from becoming too much _of_ the world.

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Kyralessa (@3), I disagree. The Church doesn’t need people to keep it from “becoming too much of the world” — it needs the Holy Spirit for that. And it has Him, thank God.

    Sinful people sequestering themselves are just as sinful as people in the rest of the world. So of what value is monasticism?

  • http://www.cockahoop.com/ tODD

    Kyralessa (@3), I disagree. The Church doesn’t need people to keep it from “becoming too much of the world” — it needs the Holy Spirit for that. And it has Him, thank God.

    Sinful people sequestering themselves are just as sinful as people in the rest of the world. So of what value is monasticism?

  • Kyralessa

    Now you’re just being silly, setting two things in an artificial opposition. Who said the Church doesn’t need the Holy Spirit because it has monastics?

    And as for “of what value is monasticism?”, well, I already explained that. Twice.

  • Kyralessa

    Now you’re just being silly, setting two things in an artificial opposition. Who said the Church doesn’t need the Holy Spirit because it has monastics?

    And as for “of what value is monasticism?”, well, I already explained that. Twice.


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