Sunday, April 15, 2018

Dominica II post Pascha: "I am the Good Shepherd"


From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 10:11-16
At that time, Jesus said unto the Pharisees: "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd giveth His life for His sheep." And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory the Great.
14th on the Gospels
Dearly beloved brethren, ye have heard from the Holy Gospel what is at once your instruction, and our danger. Behold, how He Who, not by the varying gifts of nature, but of the very essence of His being, is Good, behold how He saith: I am the Good Shepherd. And then He saith what is the character of His goodness, even of that goodness of His which we must strive to copy: The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the Sheep. As He had foretold, even so did He; as He had commanded, so gave He example. The Good Shepherd gave His life for the sheep, and made His Own Body and His Own Blood to be our Sacramental Food, pasturing upon His Own Flesh the sheep whom He had bought.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Dominica in Albis: "That Body of the Lord, Which came into the assembly of the disciples through closed doors, was the Same, Which at Its birth, had become manifest to the eyes of men by passing out of the cloister of the Virgin's womb"

"When we hear this passage of the Gospel read, a question straightway knocketh at the door of our mind. How was it that the Body of the Risen Lord was a real Body, if It was able to pass through closed doors into the assembly of His disciples? But we ought to know that the works of God are no more wonderful when they can be understood by man's reason, and faith has lost her worth when her subject-matter is the subject-matter of human demonstration. Nevertheless, those very works of our Redeemer which are in themselves impossible to be understood, must be thought over in connection with other of His works, that we may be led to believe in things wonderful, by mean of things more wonderful still. That Body of the Lord, Which came into the assembly of the disciples through closed doors, was the Same, Which at Its birth, had become manifest to the eyes of men by passing out of the cloister of the Virgin's womb without breaking the seal thereof. What wonder is it if that Body Which had come out of the Virgin's womb, without opening the matrix, albeit It was then on Its way to die, now that It was risen again from the dead and instinct for ever with undying life, what wonder is it, I say, if that Body passed through closed doors? "

- Homily by Pope St Gregory 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Good Friday: "Jesus has died for me."


"Jesus has died for me. He loves me so much that he sacrificed his life for me. Yet, so that I might not lose the memory of his love, he has willed to institute the Eucharistic Sacrifice, by which Calvary is commemorated and all its merits are applied to me. For this reason the Church celebrates every day the death of Jesus, as She, in the same way that as Eve came forth from the side of Adam while sleeping, springs forth from the adorable Heart of Jesus on the Cross. What profound mysteries are hidden in today's liturgy! Jesus dies and the Church is born. He breathes his last, naked, and pours forth his blood to the last drop to clothe the Church with the stole of immortality and to fill it with the joy of an everlasting youth. In response to Jesus’ excess of love we should profess a tender devotion to the Eucharistic Sacrifice, as well as to the image of the Divine Crucifix, which we should never heed without letting it soften our hearts unto tears of gratitude for so many blessings. Every time we behold the effigy of the Cross, the Eternal Father, as was revealed by St. Gertrude, is moved to great pity for us sinners."

Source: pre1955holyweek.com 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Sabato infra Hebdomadam Passionis: "the chief priests thought to kill Lazarus"

John 12:10-36
In that time, the chief priests thought to kill Lazarus also: Because many of the Jews, by reason of him, went away, and believed in Jesus. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop (of Hippo)
50th Tract on John.
When they saw Lazarus who had been raised from the dead, and knew that the miracle which the Lord had worked was so great, spread about by so many witnesses, and so plain and manifest that it could neither be concealed nor denied, they invented an expedient; and see here what it was: “But the chief Priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death." What stupidity of thought, what blindness of cruelty is here! If the Lord Christ had raised up again a man who had died a natural death, could He not also raise up one that had died by violence? Would killing Lazarus paralyse the Lord? But if ye consider that there is a difference between a man dead of disease, and a man killed, behold, the Lord hath raised up both for He first raised up Lazarus, who had died a natural death, and then Himself, after a violent one.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Passion Sunday: "The Truth commandeth us to long for a Fatherland in heaven "

From the Holy Gospel according to John
John 8:46-59
At that time, Jesus said to the multitude of Jews: Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Gregory (the Great)
18th on the Gospels.
Dearly beloved brethren, consider the gentleness of God. He came to take away sins, and He saith Which of you convinceth Me of sin? He Who, through the might of His Godhead, was able to justify sinners, was contented to show by argument that He was not Himself a sinner. But exceeding dread is that which followeth. He that is of God heareth God's words; ye, therefore, hear them not, because ye are not of God. If, then, whosoever is of God heareth God's words, and whosoever is not of Him cannot hear His words, let each one ask himself if he, in the ear of his heart, heareth God's words, and understandeth Whose words they are? The Truth commandeth us to long for a Fatherland in heaven, to bridle the lusts of the flesh, to turn away from the glory of the world, to seek no man's goods, and to give away our own. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Our nature brings sin with it and all men, "according to the spirit", are thus "born blind".

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to John
John 9:1-38
At that time, Jesus, passing by, saw a man, who was blind from his birth. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
44th Tract on John.
Dread and wondrous are all the things which our Lord Jesus Christ did, both His works and His words; the works, because He wrought them; the words, because they are deep. If, therefore, we consider the meaning of this work of His, we see that that man which was blind from his birth was a figure of mankind. This spiritual blindness was the consequence of the sin of the first man, from whom we all inherit by birth, not death only, but depravity also. For if blindness be unbelief, and faith, light, whom, when Christ came, did He find faithful? May, the Apostle who had himself been born of the race of which the Prophets came, saith: We also were by nature children of wrath, even as others. Eph. ii. 3. And if children of wrath, then children also of vengeance, children of damnation, children of hell. And wherefore so by nature, unless it were that the sin of the first man had made all his descendants to be born in sin, in that they partook of his nature? If, then, our nature bring sin with it, all men, according to the spirit, are born blind.



Sunday, March 11, 2018

Dominica IV in Quadragesima, "Laetare"

From the holy gospel according to St 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.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Feria Quinta infra Hebdomadam III in Quadragesima

Luke 4:38
At that time Jesus arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever. And so on.

Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan
Bk. iv. on Luke iv.
Behold here how long-suffering is the Lord our Redeemer! Neither moved to anger against them, nor sickened at their guilt, nor outraged by their attacks, did He leave the Jews' country. Nay, forgetting their iniquity, and mindful only of His mercy, He strove to soften their hard and unbelieving hearts, sometimes by His teaching, and sometimes by freeing some of them, and sometimes by healing them. St. Luke doth well to tell us first of the man who was delivered from an unclean spirit, and then of the healing of a woman. The Lord indeed came to heal both sexes, but that must be healed first which was created first, and then must not she be passed by whose first sin arose rather from fickleness of heart than from depraved will.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

When not to make a fraternal correction: "But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone."

Continuation of the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 18:15-22
At that time, Jesus saith to his disciples: But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go, and rebuke him between thee and him alone.  And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
16th Sermon on the Words of the Lord, vol. x.
Why tell him his fault? Because he hath made thee smart by trespassing against thee? God forbid. If thou tell him his fault because thou lovest thyself, thou dost nothing. But if thou tell it him because thou lovest him, then dost thou do exceeding well. Hear now, in the words of the Gospel itself, for love of whom, thou oughtest to do it, of thyself, or of him. The Lord saith: If he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. Therefore it behoveth thee to do it for his sake, that thou mayest gain him; since, if thou so do, haply thou mayest gain him; whereas, if thou do it not, he may haply perish. Why then are there so many who reckon lightly of a trespass against their brother, and say I have done no great offence, for I have trespassed only against my fellow man? Deem it not light; thou hast trespassed, though it be against thy fellow man.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Dominica III in Quadragesima: "The Kingdom of God is upon you"

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.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Dominica Secunda in Quadragesima: "the kingly splendour, which is the right of the Manhood taken into God"

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew
Matt 17:1-9
At that time, Jesus taketh unto him Peter and James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart: And he was transfigured before them. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Leo the Great. 
From a homily on the Transfiguration of the Lord.
Jesus took Peter, and James, and John his brother, and brought them up into an exceeding high mountain apart, and manifested forth the brightness of His glory. Hitherto, though they understood that there was in Him the Majesty of God, they knew not the power of that Body which veiled the Godhead. And therefore He had individually and markedly promised to some of the disciples that had stood by Him Matth. xvi. 28 that they should “not taste of death till they had seen the Son of Man coming in His kingdom”, that is, in the kingly splendour, which is the right of the Manhood taken into God, and which He willed to make visible to those three men. This it was that they saw, for the unspeakable and unapproachable vision of the Godhead Himself which will be the everlasting life of the pure in heart, Matth. v. 8 can no man, who is still burdened with a dying body, see and live.

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.