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Astoundingly Good News

Astoundingly Good News December 8, 2021

 

Ossawa Tanner's Annunciation
Henry Ossawa Tanner, “The Annunciation” (1898)
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)

 

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Back on 3 November 2021, I posted a shocked and sad entry regarding a relatively young friend and colleague, Arthur VanWagenen of Deseret Book and Excel Entertainment, who was in the hospital in very grave condition following a catastrophic medical event.  He is still in the hospital. Today, though, I’m even happier to report on his current situation than I was sad to announce his situation back then:  He is up, tentatively walking without a walker, eating solid foods, and, it seems, articulate and mentally unimpaired.  (Shortly after he began to speak again, a colleague of his told us, he used the word precipice.  The speech therapist was thrilled:  “What kind of person, just beginning to speak again after a series of adverse brain events and coming out of a coma, uses the word precipice?”).  I’m sure that more money would be very helpful, but generous donors have actually surpassed the $100,000 goal of the fundraiser “For Arthur VanWagenen and Family.”  And there is on that site, remarkably, a video of Arthur speaking.  It was far from certain, back in early November, that we would ever hear his voice again.  Now, he expresses hope that he could well be released from the hospital before Christmas.  More than a few are talking, in this case, about a Christmas miracle.  The news is very, very good, far better than I was preparing myself to receive.

 

Anyway, for what little my thanks are worth, I want to express my gratitude to all those who included Arthur and his family in their prayers and to all those who contributed to the fund for them, however modest those contributions may have been.  It’s wonderful to have such remarkably good news at Christmastime.

 

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Which puts me in the mood to share another of my favorite pieces of Christmas music, Franz Biebl’s version of Ave Maria, as performed by the male a capella group Chanticleer:

 

V. Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ.
R. Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.

V. Maria dixit: Ecce Ancilla Domini.
R. Fiat mihi secundum Verbum tuum.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostræ. Amen.

 

My translation:

 

The angel of the Lord appeared unto Mary,.
And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.

Hail, Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Mary said, “Behold the handmaiden of the Lord.
Let it be unto me according to thy word.”

Hail, Mary, full of grace.  The Lord is with thee.  Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.

 

There is horrifying evil, sorrow, selfishness, hatred, and ugliness in the world.  But there is also great goodness and beauty.  This piece offers a glimpse and a reminder of that.

 

 

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