Thursday, May 31, 2012

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Today is the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and commemorates her visit to Elizabeth.  It was on the occasion of this visit that we get two of the great catholic prayers.  Elizabeth's "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb," and Mary's magnificent response, "My soul magnifies the Lord".  The latter is also known as the Magnificat and is one of the canticle options for Morning Prayer, and the preferred option for Evening Prayer.

The Icon to the left is one of my favorites. Notice that in the "x-ray" of the womb that the fetal Jesus and fetal John are represented as miniature human beings.  This is partly to keep us from over sentimentalizing the event.  Notice also, that John has his arms crossed, and is kneeling to receive the blessing of Jesus.  He is acknowledging the Lordship of Christ and recognizing that we are only blessed through Jesus.  May we acknowledge that same Lordship in our lives, as well as following the example of Mary's obedience to that Lordship.

The Collect
Father in heaven, by your grace the virgin mother of your incarnate Son was blessed in bearing him, but still more blessed in keeping your word: Grant us who honor the exaltation of her lowliness to follow the example of her devotion to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Jeanne d'Arc

Jeanne d’Arc 1431

I find the inclusion of Jeanne d’Arc in Holy Women, Holy Men, to be a bit intriguing as she is both a soldier and mystic.  In a church that seems, in its unofficial doctrine, to veer toward pacifism, the inclusion of a violent person, a battle leader, a patriot, a nationalist, in its most recent collection of commemorations is striking.  Her inclusion as a mystic may be more understandable as mysticism is highly subjective and experiential, thus affirming the bent toward using experience as a significant tool of theological reflection.  Remember, experience cannot be questioned in the post-modern mind.
However, it was exactly Jeanne’s experience that was questioned, which led to her execution, and ultimately her posthumous acquittal by Pope Callistus II.

There is always a tension between the individual experience of the believer and theological reflection.  Maybe the best answer is to return to the concept that we shall be known by the fruit we bear.
In any case, despite the politics of her trial, I am a big fan of Jeanne d’Arc.  From the little we have recorded of her visions, she was no heretic, and her mystical visions fell in line with creedal Christianity.  She was a patriot, seeking peace between the Houses of Orleans and Burgundy.  She fought against the territorial expansionist appetites of the English (allied with Burgundy), and inspired a people.  One wonders what would have happened if she had had the full support of the French court at the hour of need, rather than falling victim to the politics of the English, Burgundian, Orleanais, and their vassals in the Church.

Among the propers for this day is Psalm 144.  (In the army, this was known as the artilleryman’s psalm.) 
Blessed by the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war
And my fingers for battle;
He is my steadfast love and my fortress,
My stronghold and deliver,
My shield and he in whom I take refuge,
Who subdues peoples under me.
O LORD, what is man that you regard him,
Or the son of man that you think of him?
Man is like a breath;
His days are like a passing shadow.
Bow down your heavens, O Lord, and come down!
Touch the mountains so that they smoke!
Flash forth the lightning and scatter them;
Send out your arrows and rout them. (vs 1-6)
It is a fitting psalm for Jeanne and her commemoration.

One of the most powerful performances in film history was given by Maria Falconetti as the title character in Dreyer’s 1927 La Passion de Jeanne of Arc.  In the 1990s, Richard Einhorn, composed a new soundtrack for the silent film, using medieval mystical texts and letters for the lyrics of the libretto.  It has been powerfully paired with Dreyer’s film.  Below is the first section of eight available on YouTube.  I still moved by this pairing and Falconetti can say more with her eyes than I can with words.

The Collect
Holy God, whose power is made perfect in weakness: we honor you for the calling of Jeanne d’Arc, who, though young, rose up in valor to bear your standard for her country, and endured with grace and fortitude both victory and defeat; and we pray that we, like Jeanne, may bear witness to the truth that is in us to friends and enemies alike, and, encouraged, by the companionship of your saints, give ourselves bravely to the struggle for justice in our time; through Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Blessed Jeanne d’Arc, Maid of Orleans, pray for us.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Saints and Commemorations

I will sometimes post on a particular commemoration, and if you follow them, you will know that I still use the Lesser Feasts and Fasts, rather than the more recent, Holy Women, Holy Men.  It has been difficult for me to adapt to the new book, not because the name is changed, but the content is a bit off, to my mind at least.  One of the difficulties is that the number of commemorations keeps increasing, and we are heading to having a commemoration for every day, and two on some.  Part of the Reformation was calendrical simplification.

The other reasons, have been difficult for me to digest and express.  Then along comes Dr. Derek Olsen from The Living Church, who gives expression to my thoughts.

First on the pattern of the Collects in HWHM.

The pattern inherent here can be described — perhaps a bit reductionistically — as follows: “O God, we thank you for A. and B. who were great Xs. Help us to be great Xs too.” The action and the relationship described in the prayer are strictly between “us” and God; we thank God, and ask God to motivate us in particular ways. The saint or saints serve only as historical illustrations. They are neither engaged nor beseesched: within the scope of the collect, they have lost both their agency and personhood. They are historical, not eschatological.
Also troubling is the relationship between the “X” for which the prayer asks and the Christian life. In these collects, the saints are exemplars, but what we ask to imitate is their professionalism, their success at “X-ness.” The problem is that we are not trying to form professionals; we are trying to form Christians. Whether the saints were good at their jobs — however holy those jobs might have been — is not the point. Rather, the point should be that these specific people displayed the incarnate presence of Christ in their lives and were thus participants within the sacramental conversion of all creation into the life of God.

And on the other issue.

Alternatively, several individuals are recognized as being the first at achieving or accomplishing something. Firstness is a historical category, not an eschatological or spiritual one. What if some unknown archive were rediscovered and their “firstness” were overturned? If they became the second at their achievement would they still be remembered on the strength of their witness to the risen Christ ahead of the deserving alternatives? These questions and more lead me to ask if Holy Women, Holy Men has met the mandate asked of it in 2003: Is it truly complete, or would it benefit from further thought and revision?
Holy Women, Holy Men had the opportunity to serve as an extended parish directory for the Episcopal Church to give names, addresses, and snapshots of those who even now participate within our larger community. What we received instead is a history book filled with facts and past dates. Our eschatological partners have been reduced to historical examples. The theology of our prayer book requests more, expects more. Good work has been done here — but better work awaits.

The above are from his article "So Great a Cloud of Memories" in the May 6, 2012 edition of The Living Church.

Dr. Olsen also blogs at haligweorc.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Intemperate Thought

How can the Church speak convincingly on public policy and poverty, when it cannot/does not solve the problem of poverty in its own midst?

Just filing the thought away.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Getting the Right Fit

Haltlet #2 had a birthday last week and all he wanted was a new basketball backboard.  So, of course, he received one.  However, his father, channeling his inner Scot, decided that all we needed was the backboard. The current pole system was just fine, so why not buy a backboard and rim with a "universal bracket" to replace the broken one?  I saved a $100 and felt good about not adding to the local landfill and getting the boy what he really wanted, a "win-win".  (He also was fully outfitted for the baseball season).

The good feelings did not last long, yesterday, when I put the thing together.  Besides the directions reading like they had gone from Mandarin to English through  a bad version of Google Translate, they were just wrong.  I put the bracket together, per directions, and found that the support brace, could not be attached as it would cause the bracket to be too short to fit the attachment points on the backboard.  So, the solution was to improvise, and I did it well, if I say so myself. As an added bonus, there were no injuries, but my patience was taxed.

Then, the magical time arrived to attach the board to the pole.  I had 30 minutes before he came home, and I thought what a great surprise to have it up for him when he exited the bus.  I dutifully attached the top with the U bolt, and lo and behold, if I attached the bottom, the backboard would have followed the angle of the pole and looked goofy, let alone be non-functional.  You see, the pole is on one of those portable bases and angles out from it, and the original bracket is what was broken. I know, I should have seen it coming, but I'm a priest, not a physicist, and Haltet #1 was not there to help me do the math.

What to do, what to do?  Having grown up on the farm, I engineered a good farmer's fix.  I measured the gap necessary to make the basket parallel to the ground then attached the U bolt to a section of 1x3 and added 2x4s to the bracket to make up the gap and attached these to the 1x3.  It took me a bit longer, but actually worked. Admittedly, it looks a little redneckish, but hey, the max height on the current post is 8' and I expect to replace it again in the next two years, since he will grow and inevitably the wind will blow the thing over again.

Of course, it would have been easier if I had just thought through the problem when I bought the thing, and had not decided I did not need an integral system, but that after-market backboards could just be hung on anything like an afterthought.  It also would have saved me a lot of frustration.

I wonder how often it is that I/we treat our faith the same way, like an after-market addition.  We try to take it and hang it on our previously built infrastructure, then when it doesn't fit we find all sorts of ways to "jury-rig" the system for "the time being" until we have time to add it properly, or replace it when it does not quite match our "self-made/pre-made" identity.  Christianity, then, becomes one more consumer product to make us happy and decorate our pre-fab existence.

However, like the Haltlet's backboard, the problem is not with the faith, but with trying to hang it on a structure that is faulty.  Christianity is an integrated system, it is supposed to change us, to make us new, to rebuild and restore us, to make us who we are truly meant to be.  It is not an aftermarket addition, but a radically different life that should influence all we are, all we do, and every aspect of our lives.

Friday, May 11, 2012


I do not usually go political, but two news items came to my attention this morning.

  1. A student at the University of Minnesota-Duluth went on a hunger strike for gender neutral bathrooms.  According to reports the student called the standard arrangement "oppressive".  Luckily, the hunger strike only took one day, and the University gave in to the demands.
  2. I also received a review of the book Escape from Camp 14.  The book chronicles the life of one Mr. Shin, a North Korean, who was raised in, and subsequently risked his life escaping from, one of  the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's gulag-like political prisoner camps.  It is rumored that over 200,000 people are kept in these camps, and just being related to a prisoner is enough to garner a one way ticket.  It seems like the rulers of the DPRK are jealous gods who visit the sins of the fathers on the third or fourth generations. The book reports the harrowing details of a Mr. Shin's life. A life of beatings, forced marriages (with visitation 5 nights a year), hunger, death., and escape for the chance, just once, to have a full stomach.
OK, which organization is actually more oppressive? Remember that hunger strikes only work when the "oppressors" actually care enough that you are hungry, and despite their hate take the steps to keep you from dying.

Me? I'd rather use a gendered restroom than live in the DPRK.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Gregory Nazianzen "The Theologian"

Gregory of Nazianzus, also known as Gregory The Theologian, was ordained against his will in 361.  Gregory was born in what is now Turkey, and known at the time as Cappadocia.  With Basil "the Great" and Gregory of Nyssa, he shares the title of "Cappadocian Father. He was a supporter of the Orthodox position, and specifically Basil, in the latter's struggle with the Arian Emperor Valens.  Ultimately, Gregory was invited to lead a theological mission to Constantinople, and it was there that his the theological quality of his mind and sermons were noticed.  By popular consent, he was acclaimed the Bishop of Constantinople in 380 at the Church of Hagia Sophia.  After the Council of Constaninople in 381, he retired to Nazianzus and died in 389.

Little well known is that Gregory was a religious poet.  What follows are two brief poems from Browlie's translation, available at CCEL.
 An Evening Hymn

Now at this evening hour,
O Thou, my Christ, to Thee,
Thou Word of God, Eternal Light,
All grateful praises be.
From Thee the Spirit comes,
Third beam of peerless light,
And in Thyself one glorious orb
The triple rays unite.
Thy word and wisdom Thou
To lighten man hast given,
That he the splendour might reflect
That shines superb in heaven;
And having light within,
Might see Thine image bright,
And daily rise, till he himself

A Morning Hymn

The morning breaks, I place my hand in Thine,
My God, ’tis Thine to lead, to follow mine;
No word deceitful shall I speak the while,
Nor shall I stain my hand with action vile.
Thine be the day with worthy labour filled,
Strong would I stand to do the duty willed;
Nor swayed by restless passion let me be,
That I may give the offering pure to Thee;
Else were I ’shamed when hoary age I see,
Shamed were this board that bears Thy gifts to me:
Mine is the impulse; O my Christ, I pray,
Be Thou Thyself to me the Blessed Way!

The Collect for St. Gregory Nazianzus:
Almighty God, you have revealed to your Church your eternal Being of glorious majesty and perfect love as one God in Trinity of Persons: Give us grace, that like your bishop Gregory of Nazianzus, we may continue steadfast in the confession of this faith, and constant in our worship of you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; for you live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.


Friday, May 4, 2012

St. Monica (Monnica)

Today is a special day in our family, as it is the feast day of St. Monica (or Monnica). Monica is the name my beloved chose for her confirmation in The Episcopal Church eleven years ago.  So, in good fashion we are going to celebrate her feast day tonight by having tamales, margaritas, and taking in the Illinois Symphony Orchestra concert.  I know, Monica was from North Africa, but my beloved is heading to Mexico in a month for a month, so we are on a bit of a kick right now.

St. Monica was born around 331 in North Africa, and later married a certain Patricius who was a pagan from Tagaste (probably modern Algeria).  As she grew in her faith, she eventually brought her husband to Christianity as well.  She was particularly known for her life of prayer in her later years.   One of her sons, Augustine, was ambitious to be a rhetorician, and spent the early part of his life searching the various religions for truth and beauty.  He dabbled in Manichaeism and was known for living a dissolute and disordered life.

Monica’s prayer was for the conversion of her son, and in 387, Ambrose of Milan baptized Augustine.  Augustine, of course, went on to be one of the greatest preachers and theologians of the Post-Nicene era, and his feast is celebrated on August 28.

Stephen Adly Guirgis in his play The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, portrays Monica as a streetwise, foul mouthed, “Saint” who says, "people in heaven don't want to hang with me 'cause they say I’m a nag. It’s true.  You know what I say to that? I say—‘cause I am a nag. And if I wasn’t a nag, I wouldn’t have made it to be no saint, and the Church wouldn’t have no father of the Church named St. Augustine...And when he started messing up, like all the time and constantly, I nagged God---to save him.  I nagged and nagged and nagged, till God got so tired of my ---- that he did save my son.”   This does seem to sum up Monica’s prayer life, a continual appeal to God that her son would come to faith, and a prayer that was answered in time.  I know, the language is rough, and St. Monica, from what we can tell was not a foul mouthed, street wise, Jersey Girl (think a really bad Rizzo), but the play is a good one.  I will not give away the ending.

Here is a reflection on St. Monica in the words of her son from The Christian Classics Ethereal Library edition of St. Augustine’s Confessions, Book IX.13:
But now, with a heart cured of that wound, wherein it might seem blameworthy for an earthly feeling, I pour out unto Thee, our God, in behalf of that Thy handmaid, a far different kind of tears, flowing from a spirit shaken by the thoughts of the dangers of every soul that dieth in Adam. And although she having been quickened in Christ, even before her release from the flesh, had lived to the praise of Thy name for her faith and conversation; yet dare I not say that from what time Thou regeneratedst her by baptism, no word issued from her mouth against Thy Commandment. Thy Son, the Truth, hath said, Whosoever shall say unto his brother, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. And woe be even unto the commendable life of men, if, laying aside mercy, Thou shouldest examine it. But because Thou art not extreme in enquiring after sins, we confidently hope to find some place with Thee. But whosoever reckons up his real merits to Thee, what reckons he up to Thee but Thine own gifts? O that men would know themselves to be men; and that he that glorieth would glory in the Lord.
I therefore, O my Praise and my Life, God of my heart, laying aside for a while her good deeds, for which I give thanks to Thee with joy, do now beseech Thee for the sins of my mother. Hearken unto me, I entreat Thee, by the Medicine of our wounds, Who hung upon the tree, and now sitting at Thy right hand maketh intercession to Thee for us. I know that she dealt mercifully, and from her heart forgave her debtors their debts; do Thou also forgive her debts, whatever she may have contracted in so many years, since the water of salvation. Forgive her, Lord, forgive, I beseech Thee; enter not into judgment with her. Let Thy mercy be exalted above Thy justice, since Thy words are true, and Thou hast promised mercy unto the merciful; which Thou gavest them to be, who wilt have mercy on whom Thou wilt have mercy; and wilt have compassion on whom Thou hast had compassion.
And, I believe, Thou hast already done what I ask; but accept, O Lord, the free-will offerings of my mouth. For she, the day of her dissolution now at hand, took no thought to have her body sumptuously wound up, or embalmed with spices; nor desired she a choice monument, or to be buried in her own land. These things she enjoined us not; but desired only to have her name commemorated at Thy Altar, which she had served without intermission of one day: whence she knew the holy Sacrifice to be dispensed, by which the hand-writing that was against us is blotted out; through which the enemy was triumphed over, who summing up our offences, and seeking what to lay to our charge, found nothing in Him, in Whom we conquer. Who shall restore to Him the innocent blood? Who repay Him the price wherewith He bought us, and so take us from Him? Unto the Sacrament of which our ransom, Thy handmaid bound her soul by the bond of faith. Let none sever her from Thy protection: let neither the lion nor the dragon interpose himself by force or fraud. For she will not answer that she owes nothing, lest she be convicted and seized by the crafty accuser: but she will answer that her sins are forgiven her by Him, to Whom none can repay that price which He, Who owed nothing, paid for us.
May she rest then in peace with the husband before and after whom she had never any; whom she obeyed, with patience bringing forth fruit unto Thee, that she might win him also unto Thee. And inspire, O Lord my God, inspire Thy servants my brethren, Thy sons my masters, whom with voice, and heart, and pen I serve, that so many as shall read these Confessions, may at Thy Altar remember Monnica Thy handmaid, with Patricius, her sometimes husband, by whose bodies Thou broughtest me into this life, how I know not. May they with devout affection remember my parents in this transitory light, my brethren under Thee our Father in our Catholic Mother, and my fellow-citizens in that eternal Jerusalem which Thy pilgrim people sigheth after from their Exodus, even unto their return thither. That so my mother's last request of me, may through my confessions, more than through my prayers, be, through the prayers of many, more abundantly fulfilled to her.
I would encourage you to read Book IX, chapters 8-13 for a deeper understanding of St. Monica.

Excavations in Ostia have uncovered her original tomb, although here remains were translated to the Church of St. Augustine, Rome, in 1430.

For a different short biography read here.

The Collect for St. Monica (Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2006)
O Lord, through spiritual discipline you strengthened your servant Monnica to persevere in offering her love and prayers and tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine their son: Deepen our devotion, we pray, and use us in accordance with your will to bring others, even our own kindred, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Athanasius Against the World

I have not been very good at blogging on the Saints’ Days in the past couple of months.  I apologize, as they are very important to the life of the Church.  So, with that in mind I bring you Athanasius.  

According to Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2006, Athanasius was called “the pillar of the Church” by Gregory of Nazianzus and “the God-given physician of her wounds” by Basil the Great.  It was as the secretary to the Bishop of Alexandria that Athanasius attended the Council of Nicaea where he was indispensible in winning approval for the phrase homoousios (of one Being or Substance) to be the creedal and doctrinal statement  that defined the full godhead of Jesus Christ.  His opponents (Arians) preferred the term homoiousios (similar).  Contrary to popular tradition, Athanasius’ position, and that of the Council were not innovations, but expressed what the Church has always believed from the beginning.

Athanasius would become the Bishop of Alexandria, and would spend the remainder of his life defending Orthodox Christology even against Emperors.  In fact, he was exiled five times due to his support for the Nicene statement, and so often appeared to be in the minority that it was said to be “Athanasius contra mundum.”  He had a quick mind, a ready wit, and is described a being a bit argumentative.

For more on Athanasius go here.

In the back of the Book of Common Prayer there is a creed called the Quicunque Vult or more commonly, The Creed of Saint Athanasius (Book of Common Prayer 1979, 864).

The authorship of the creed is debatable, and it is not an Ecumenical creed, but has been used in the West since the Fourth or Fifth Century.  Its style has led to its association with St. Athanasius.  Within Anglicanism, this creed has been mandatory in the Books of Common Prayer since 1549.  The 1549 Book of Common Prayer mandated its use on Christmas, Epiphany, Easter, Ascension, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday.  The 1552 revision added the feasts of St. Matthias, St. John the Baptist, St. James, St. Bartholomew, St. Matthew, St. Simon and St. Jude, and St. Andrew.  The 1662 revision concurred with the 1552 and thus the creed is still mandatory in the Church of England.  In The Episcopal Church, the current Book of Common Prayer is the first to include the creed within its pages, and its use is not mandated.

For more on the Athanasian Creed go here.  The full text of the creed as published in the BCP follows.

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith.
Which Faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish
And the Catholic Faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity,
     neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance.
For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost.
But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, is all one, the Glory
     equal, the Majesty co-eternal.
Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost.
The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate.
The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost
The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal.
And yet they are not three eternals, but one eternal.
As also there are not three incomprehensibles, nor three uncreated, but one uncreated, and
     one incomprehensible.
So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty.
And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.
So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God.
And yet they are not three Gods, but one God.
So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord.
And yet not three Lords, but one Lord.
For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by
      himself to be both God and Lord,
So are we forbidden by the Catholic Religion, to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.
The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten.
The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.
The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son, neither made, nor created, nor begotten,
      but proceeding.
So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three
      Holy Ghosts.
And in this Trinity none is afore, or after other; none is greater, or less than another;
But the whole three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal.
So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be
He therefore that will be saved is must think thus of the Trinity.
Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the
      Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
For the right Faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of
      God, is God and Man;
God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance
      of his Mother, born in the world;
Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting.
Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching his
Who, although he be God and Man, yet he is not two, but one Christ;
One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh but by taking of the Manhood into God;
One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person.
For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ;
Who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.
He ascended into heaven, he sitteth at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from
      whence he will come to judge the quick and the dead.
At whose coming all men will rise again with their bodies and shall give account for their
      own works.
And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into
      everlasting fire.
This is the Catholic Faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.

The following passage is from Athanasius’ “On the Incarnation of the Word” part 42, found at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library:

For just as, while the whole body is quickened and illumined by man, supposing one said it were absurd that man’s power should also be in the toe, he would be thought foolish; because, while granting that he pervades and works in the whole, he demurs to his being in the part also; thus he who grants and believes that the Word of God is in the whole Universe, and that the whole is illumined and moved by Him, should not think it absurd that a single human body also should receive movement and light from Him. 2. But if it is because the human race is a thing created and has been made out of nothing, that they regard that manifestation of the Saviour in man, which we speak of, as not seemly, it is high time for them to eject Him from creation also; for it too has been brought into existence by the Word out of nothing. 3. But if, even though creation be a thing made, it is not absurd that the Word should be in it, then neither is it absurd that He should be in man. For whatever idea they form of the whole, they must necessarily apply the like idea to the part. For man also, as I said before, is a part of the whole. 4. Thus it is not at all unseemly that the Word should be in man, while all things are deriving from Him their light and movement and light, as also their authors say, “In him we live and move and have our being.” 5. So, then, what is there to scoff at in what we say, if the Word has used that, wherein He is, as an instrument to manifest Himself? For were He not in it, neither could He have used it; but if we have previously allowed that He is in the whole and in its parts, what is there incredible in His manifesting Himself in that wherein He is? 6. For by His own power He is united wholly with each and all, and orders all things without stint, so that no one could have called it out of place for Him to speak, and make known Himself and His Father, by means of sun, if He so willed, or moon, or heaven, or earth, or waters, or fire; inasmuch as He holds in one all things at once, and is in fact not only in all but also in the part in question, and there invisibly manifests Himself. In like manner it cannot be absurd if, ordering as He does the whole, and giving life to all things, and having willed to make Himself known through men, He has used as His instrument a human body to manifest the truth and knowledge of the Father. For humanity, too, is an actual part of the whole. 7. And as Mind, pervading man all through, is interpreted by a part of the body, I mean the tongue, without any one saying, I suppose, that the essence of the mind is on that account lowered, so if the Word, pervading all things, has used a human instrument, this cannot appear unseemly. For, as I have said previously, if it be unseemly to have used a body as an instrument, it is unseemly also for Him to be in the Whole.
Finally, here is the Collect for St. Anthanasius from Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006.

Uphold your Church, O God of truth, as you upheld your servant Athanasius, to maintain and proclaim boldly the catholic faith against all opposition, trusting solely in the grace of your eternal Word, who took upon himself our humanity that we might share his divinity; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.