Monday, February 19, 2018

Saint Augustine on the impossibility of being saved without the Commandments

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 25:31-46
In that time, Jesus said to his disciples: When the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
On Faith and Works, xv. 4.
If, without keeping the commandments, it be possible to attain unto life by faith only, and faith, if it hath not works, is dead, James ii. 17, how can it be true that the Lord will say to such as He shall have set on His left hand Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels? He rebuketh them, not because they have not believed in Him, but because they have not wrought good works. Yea, lest any man should promise himself life eternal by faith only, (and faith, if it hath not works, is dead,) the Lord saith that He will gather together all nations, nations who have lived mingled together in the same countries, that we may seem to hear them which have believed indeed in Him, but have not wrought good works, (as though that their dead faith could, being alone, lead them into life eternal,) that we may seem to hear such crying unto Him, Lord, when saw we thee suffering such and such things, and did not minister unto thee?

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Dominica I in Quadragesima: Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil

Gospel: Matt 4:1-11.
In that time, Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
16 th on the Gospels.
Some persons are accustomed to question what Spirit it was of which Jesus was led up into the wilderness, on account of the words a little farther on Then the devil taketh Him up into the holy city and again The devil taketh Him up into an exceeding high mountain. But in truth, and without any searching, we may very fitly take it that we are to believe it was the Holy Ghost Who led Him up into the wilderness; His own Spirit led Him where the evil spirit found Him to tempt Him. When however it is said that He, God and man, was taken up by the devil either into an exceeding high mountain or into the holy city, the mind shrinketh from believing, and the ears of man tingle to hear it. Yet these things we know not to be incredible, when we consider certain other things concerning Him.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Meeting Christ in the Liturgy for Dominica Quinquagesima: "we go up to Jerusalem"

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 18:31-43
In that time, Jesus took unto him the twelve, and said to them: Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplished which were written by the prophets concerning the Son of man. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
2nd on the Gospels.
Our Redeemer, foreseeing that the minds of His disciples would be troubled by His suffering, told them long before both of the pains of that suffering, and of the glory of His rising again, to the end that, when they should see Him die as He had prophesied, they might not doubt that He was likewise to rise again. But, since His disciples were yet carnal, and could not receive the words telling of this mystery, He wrought a miracle before them. A blind man received his sight before their eyes, that if they could not receive heavenly things by words, they might be persuaded of heavenly things by deeds. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sexagesima Sunday: "The seed is the Word."

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 8:4-15
At that time: When much people were gathered together, and were come to Jesus out of every city, he spake by a parable. A sower went out to sow his seed. And so on, and that which followeth.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
5th on the Gospels.
Dearly beloved brethren, the passage from the Holy Gospel which ye have just heard, needeth not so much that I should explain it, as that I should seek to enforce its lesson. The Truth Himself hath explained it, and, after that, it beseemeth not man's frailty to fritter away His exposition by any further comment. But there is, in that very explanation by the Lord, somewhat, which it behoveth us well to weigh. If it were but we who bade you believe that by the seed is signified the word; by the field, the world; by the birds, the devils; and by the thorns, riches ye would perchance doubt of the truth of our explanation. Therefore the Lord Himself hath vouchsafed to give this explanation, and that, not for this parable only, but that ye may know in what manner to interpret others, whereof He hath not given the meaning.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Candlemass: On the procession and blessed candles

"We walk while we sing to God to denote that to stand still in the paths of virtue is to go back. The lights we bear in our hands represent the divine fire of love with which our hearts ought to be inflamed, and which we are to offer to God without any mixture of strange fire, the fire of concupiscence, envy, ambition, or the love of creatures. We also hold these lights in our hands to honour Christ, and to acknowledge him as the true light."

- Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Second Sunday after Epiphany: "and there was a wedding at Cana Jesus was invited also"


From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 2:1-11
At that time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Tract. 9. in John.
Even setting aside any mystical interpretation, the fact that the Lord was pleased to be asked, and to go to a marriage, showeth plainly enough that He is the Author and Blesser of marriage. There were yet to be those of whom the Apostle hath warned us as forbidding to marry; who say that marriage is a bad thing in itself, and a work of the devil. Yet we read in the Gospel that when the Lord was asked, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? He answered that it was not lawful, except it were for fornication. In which answer ye will remember that He used these words: What God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sanctae Familae, Jesu, Marié, Joseph

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 2:42-52
And when he was twelve years old, they going up into Jerusalem, according to the custom of the feast, And having fulfilled the days, when they returned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem; and his parents knew it not. And so on.

Homily of St. Bernard Abbot
Homilia super Missus est, n. 7-8
And he was subject unto them. Who was subject? And to whom? God to man! God, I repeat, to whom the Angels are subject, whom the Principalities and Powers do obey, was subject to Mary; and not only to Mary, but to Joseph also for Mary's sake. Marvel, therefore, both at God and man, and choose that which giveth greater wonder, whether it be the most loving condescension of the Son, or the exceeding great dignity of his Mother. Both amaze us, both are marvellous. That God should obey a woman is lowliness without parallel, that woman should rule over God, an elevation beyond comparison. In praise of virgins it is sung of them alone, that they follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. Of what praise do ye judge that woman to be worthy who is thus placed before the Lamb of God.

Learn, O man, to obey! Learn, O earth, to be subject! Learn, O dust, to submit! The Evangelist speaking of thy Creator saith: And he was subject unto them. And there is no doubt that this sheweth us that God was subject to Mary and Joseph. Shame on you, ye proud entities of dust and ashes! God abaseth himself, and dost thou, O creature sprung from the earth, exalt thyself? God maketh himself subject to man, and dost thou, who art always so eager to lord it over men, set up thyself to lord it over thy Creator? For as often soever as I desire pre-eminency over men, so often do I strive to excel God. For of him it was said: And he was subject unto them. If thou disdainest, O man, to follow the example of man, at least thou canst follow thy Creator without dishonour. If thou canst not, perchance, follow him whithersoever he goeth, deign at least to follow him in this thing wherein he hath emptied himself, and made himself of no reputation, for the sake of such as thou.

If thou canst not enter upon the lofty paths of virginity, at least follow God by the most safe road of humility. If any turn aside from this straight way, though they be virgins, they do not follow the Lamb, if the truth be told, whithersoever he goeth. The humble man, though stained with sin, followeth the Lamb; the virgin, though proud, also followeth; but neither of these twain followeth whithersoever he goeth. The former cannot attain unto the purity of the Lamb, for he is without spot; the latter deigneth not to descend to his meekness, who was dumb, not before the shearer, but before the murderer. Yet the sinner who followeth in humility hath chosen a more saving way than the proud man who followeth in virginity; for the humble one maketh satisfaction, and is cleansed of his impurity, but the proud one's chastity is stained by his pride.