Thursday, June 6, 2019

Thank you

Please know of my gratitude for your many prayers and words of support.


"Blessed are you when men reproach you, and persecute you, and, speaking falsely, say all manner of evil against you, for My sake. Rejoice and exult, because your reward is great in heaven." Matthew 5

I love you, Lord, my strength.

Oremus pro invicem,

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Dominica IV post Pascha: "And now I go to Him that sent Me ..."


7:29 AM (0 minutes ago)
From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 16:5-14
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: I go My way to Him That sent Me, and none of you asketh Me: Whither goest Thou? And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo
94th Tract on John
The Lord Jesus told His disciples what things they should suffer after that He was gone away from them, and then He said: "These things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you; but now I go My way to Him That sent Me." Let us first see whether it had been that He had not told them before this what they were to suffer in time coming. That He had done so amply before the night of the last Supper, is testified by the three first Evangelists, but it was when that Supper was ended that, according to John, He said: "These things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you."

Are we then to try and loose the knot of this difficulty by asserting that, according to these three Evangelists, it was on the eve of the Passion, albeit before the Supper, that He had said these things unto them, and therefore not at the beginning, when He was with them, but when He was about to leave them, and go His way to the Father And in this way we might reconcile the truthfulness of what this Evangelist saith here "These things I said not unto you at the beginning" with the truthfulness of the! other three. But this explanation is rendered impossible by the Gospel according to Matthew, who telleth us how that the Lord spake to His Apostles concerning their sufferings to come, not only when He was on the point of eating the Passover with them, but at the very beginning, when the names of the twelve are first given, and they were sent forth to do the work of God. Matth. x. 17-42.

It would seem then that when He said: "These things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you," He meant by "these things," not the sufferings which they were to bear for His sake, but His promise of the Comforter Who should come to them, and testify while they suffered, xv. 26, 27. This Comforter then, or Advocate, (for the Greek word "Parakletos" will bear either interpretation,) would be needful to them when they saw Christ no more, and therefore it was that Christ spoke not of Him "at the beginning" (of the Gospel Dispensation) while He Himself "was with" His disciples, because His visible Presence was then their sufficient comfort.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Dominica in Palmis: "Hosanna Filio David"




From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Matt 21:1-9
At that time, when Jesus drew nigh to Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto mount Olivet, then Jesus sent two disciples, Saying to them: And so on.


From the Sermons of Pope St. Leo the Great.
Second on the Passion of the Lord.
Dearly beloved brethren, the jubilant and triumphal day which ushereth in the commemoration of the Lord's Passion is come; even that day for which we have longed so much, and for whose yearly coming the whole world may well look. Shouts of spiritual exultation are ringing, and suffer not that we should be silent. It is indeed hard to preach often on the same Festival, and that always meetly and rightly, but a Priest is not free, when we celebrate so great and mysterious an out-pouring of God's mercy, to leave his faithful people without the service of a discourse. Nay, that his subject-matter is unspeakable should in itself make him eloquent, since where enough can never be said, there must needs ever be somewhat to say. Let man's weakness, then, fall down before the glory of God, and acknowledge herself ever too feeble to unfold all the works of His mercy. We may jade our emotions, break down in our understanding, and fail in our speech it is good for us, that even what we truly feel in presence of the Divine Majesty is but little, (compared to the vastness of the subject.)
For when the Prophet saith: Seek the Lord and be strong; seek His face evermore, Ps. civ. 4, let no man thence conclude that he will ever have found all that he seeketh, lest he which hath ceased to come near should cease to be near. But among all the works of God which foil and weary the steadfast gaze of man's wonder, what is there that doth at once so ravish and so exceed the power of our mind's eye as do the sufferings of the Saviour? He it was Who, to loose man from the bands wherewith he had bound himself by the first death-dealing transgression, spared to bring against the rage of the devil the power of the Divine Majesty, and met him with the weakness of our lowly nature. For if our proud and cruel enemy had been able to know the counsel of God's mercy, it had been his task rather to have softened the minds of the Jews into gentleness, than to have inflamed them with unrighteous hatred; and so lost the service of all his slaves, by pursuing for his Debtor One That owed him nothing.
But his own hate dug a pit-fall for him he brought upon the Son of God that death which is become life to all the sons of men. He shed that innocent Blood, Which hath reconciled the world unto God, and become at once the price of our redemption and the cup of our salvation. The Lord hath received that which according to the purpose of His Own good pleasure He hath chosen. He hath let fall on Him the hands of bloody men, but while they were bent only on their own sin, they were servants ministering to the Redeemer's work. And such was His tenderness even for His murderers that His prayer to His Father from the Cross, as touching them, was, not that He might be avenged upon them, but that they might be forgiven.
Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan.
9th Book on Luke
Beautiful is the type, when the Lord, about to leave the Jews, and to take up His abode in the hearts of the Gentiles, goeth up into the Temple; a figure of His going to the true Temple wherein He is worshipped, not in the deadness of the letter, but in spirit and in truth, even that Temple of God whereof the foundations are laid, not in buildings of stone, but in faith. He leaveth behind Him such as hate Him, and getteth Him to such as will love Him. And therefore cometh He unto the Mount of Olives that He may plant upon the heights of grace those young olive-branches, whose Mother is the Jerusalem which is above. Upon this mountain standeth He, the Heavenly Husbandman, that all they which be planted in the House of the Lord may be able each one to say: "But I am like a fruitful olive-tree in the House of God." 
Ps. li. 10.
And perchance that mountain doth signify Christ Himself. For what other is there that beareth such fruit of olives as He doth, not rich with store of loaded branches, but spiritually fruitful with the fulness of the Gentiles? He also it is on Whom we go up, and unto Whom we go up; He is the Door; He is the Way; He is He Which is opened and Which openeth; He is He upon Whom knocketh whosoever entereth in, and to Whom they that have entered in, do worship. A figure also was it that the disciples went into a village, and that there they found an ass tied and a colt with her neither could they be loosed, save at the command of the Lord. It was the hand of His Apostles which loosed them. He whose work and life are like theirs will have such grace as was theirs. Be thou also such as they, if thou wouldest loose them that are bound.
Now, let us consider who they were, who, being convicted of transgression, were banished from their home in the Garden of Eden into a village, and in this thou wilt see how Life called back again them whom death had cast out. For this reason, we read in Matthew that there were tied both an ass and her colt; thus, as man was banished from Eden in a member of either sex, so is it in animals of both sexes that his re-call is figured. The she-ass is a type of our sinful Mother Eve, and the colt of the multitude of the Gentiles; and it was upon the colt that Christ took His seat. And thus it is well written of the colt, Luke xix. 30, that thereon never yet had man sat, for no man before Christ ever called the Gentiles into the Church which statement thou hast in Mark also xi. 2: Whereon never man sat.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Dominica IV in Quadragesima: “Laetare”

From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 6:1-15
In that time, Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is that of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed him, because they saw the miracles which he did on them that were diseased. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
24th Tract on John
The miracles which our Lord Jesus Christ did were the very works of God, and they enlighten the mind of man by mean of things which are seen, that he may know more of God. God is Himself of such a Substance as eye cannot see, and the miracles, by the which He ruleth the whole world continually, and satisfieth the need of everything that He hath made, are by use become so common, that scarce any will vouchsafe to see that there are wonderful and amazing works of God in every grain of seed of grass. According to His mercy He kept some works to be done in their due season, but out of the common course and order of nature, that men might see them and be astonished, not because they are greater, but because they are rarer than those which they lightly esteem, since they see them day by day.

Or it is a greater miracle to govern the whole universe, than to satisfy five thousand men with five loaves of bread; and yet no man marvelleth at it. At the feeding of the five thousand, men marvel, not because it is a greater miracle than the other, but because it is rarer. For Who is He Who now feedeth the whole world, but He Who, from a little grain that is sown, maketh the fulness of the harvest? God worketh in both cases in one and the same manner. He Who of the sowing maketh to come the harvest, is He Who of the five barley loaves in His Hands made bread to feed five thousand men; for Christ's are the Hands which are able to do both the one and the other. He Who multiplieth the grains of corn multiplied the loaves, only not by committing them to the earth whereof He is the Maker.

This miracle, then, is brought to bear upon our bodies, that our souls may thereby be quickened; shown to our eyes, to give food to our understanding; that, through His works which we see, we may marvel at that God Whom we cannot see, and, being roused up to believe, and purified by believing, we may long to see Him, yea, may know by things which are seen Him Who is Unseen. Nor yet sufficeth it for us to see only this meaning in Christ's miracles. Let us ask of the miracles themselves what they have to tell us concerning Christ for, soothly, they have a tongue of their own, if only we will understand it. For, because Christ is the Word of God, therefore the work of the Word is a Word for us.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Dominica III in Quadragesima: “and when He had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke”

From the Holy Gospel according to Luke
Luke 11:14-28
At that time, Jesus was casting out a devil, and the same was dumb: and when he had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke: and the multitudes were in admiration at it. And so on.

Homily by the Venerable Bede, Priest at Jarrow.
Bk. iv, 48 on Luke xi
We read in Matthew xii. 22 that the devil, by which this poor creature was possessed, was not only dumb, but also blind; and that, when he was healed by the Lord, he saw as well as spake. Three miracles, therefore, were performed on this one man; the blind saw, the dumb spake, and the possessed was delivered. This mighty work was then indeed wrought carnally, but it is still wrought spiritually in the conversion of believers, when the devil is cast out of them, so that their eyes see the light of faith, and the lips, that before were dumb, are opened that their mouth may show forth the praise of God. But some of them said: He casteth out devils through Beelzebub, the chief of the devils. These some were not of the multitude, but liars among the Pharisees and Scribes, as we are told by the other Evangelist.

While the multitude, who were less instructed, wondered ever at the works of the Lord, the Pharisees and Scribes, on the other hand, denied the facts when they could, and when they were not able, twisted them by an evil interpretation, and asserted that the works of God were the works of an unclean spirit. And others, tempting Him, sought of Him a sign from heaven. They would have had Christ either to call down fire from heaven like Elias, 4 Kings i. 10, or, like Samuel, 1 Kings vii. 10, to have made thunder roll, and lightning flash, and rain fall at midsummer. And yet and if he had so done, they had been still able to explain away these signs also, as being the natural result of some unusual, though, till that moment, unremarked state of the atmosphere. O thou, who stubbornly deniest that which thine eye seeth, thine hand holdeth, and thy sense perceiveth, what wilt thou say to a sign from heaven? In good sooth, thou wilt say that the magicians in Egypt also wrought divers signs from heaven. Ex. vii., viii.

But He, knowing their thoughts, said unto them: Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and an house divided against an house falleth. He answered not their words, but their thoughts; as though He would compel them to believe in the power of Him Who seeth the secrets of the heart. But if every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, then have not the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost a divided kingdom, since His is a kingdom that, without all contradiction, shall never be brought to desolation by any shock, but abideth unchanged and unchangeable for ever. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? Because ye say that I cast out devils by Beelzebub. In saying this, He sought to draw from their own mouth a confession that they had chosen for themselves to be part of that devil's kingdom, which, if it be divided against itself, cannot stand.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Saint Leo on the confession of Saint Peter: “You are the Christ”



In the universal Church it is Peter that doth still say every day, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, and every tongue which confesseth that Jesus is Lord is taught that confession by the teaching of Peter. This is the faith that overcometh the devil and looseth the bands of his prisoners. This is the faith which maketh men free of the world and bringeth them to heaven, and the gates of hell are impotent to prevail against it. With such ramparts of salvation hath God fortified this rock, that the contagion of heresy will never be able to infect it, nor idolatry and unbelief to overcome it. This teaching it is, my dearly beloved brethren, which maketh the keeping of this Feast to-day to be our reasonable service, even the teaching which maketh you to know and honour in myself, lowly though I be, that Peter who is still entrusted with the care of all other shepherds and of all the flocks to them committed, and whose authority I have, albeit unworthy to be his heir.

Pope Saint Leo the Great

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ash Wednesday: “And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad.”

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 6:16-21
In that time Jesus said to his disciples: And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Bk. ii on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, ch. xii, tom. 4
It is evident that by these precepts we are bidden to seek for inner gladness, lest, by running after that reward which is without, we should become conformed to the fashion of this world, and should so lose the promise of that blessing which is all the truer and more stable that it is inward, that blessing wherein God hath chosen us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. In this chapter we will principally consider the fact that vain-glory findeth a ground for its exercise in struggling poverty as much as in worldly distinction and display; and this development is the most dangerous, because it entices under pretence of being the serving of God.

He that is characterised by unbridled indulgence in luxury or in dress, or any other display, is by these very things easily shown to be a follower of worldly vanities, and deceiveth no one by putting on an hypocritical mask of godliness. But those professors of Christianity, who turn all eyes on themselves by an eccentric show of grovelling and dirtiness, not suffered by necessity, but by their own choice, of them we must judge by their other works whether their conduct really proceedeth from the desire of mortification by giving up unnecessary comfort, or is only the mean of some ambition - the Lord biddeth us beware of wolves in sheep's clothing, but by their fruits, saith He, ye shall know them.

The test is when, by divers trials, such persons lose those things which under the cover of seeming unworldliness they have either gained or sought to gain. Then must it needs appear whether they be wolves in sheep's clothing, or indeed sheep in their own. But that hypocrites do the contrary maketh it no duty of a Christian to shine before the eyes of men with a display of needless luxury the sheep need not to lay aside their own clothing because wolves sometimes falsely assume it.