Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Thoughts and meditations

The world gets old;

Only heaven is always new.


“Fear not, little flock”

 Luke 12:32-35

At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. And so on.

Homily by the Venerable Bede, Priest at Jarrow, and Doctor of the Church.
Bk. iv. Ch. 54 on Luke xii.
The elect are called a little flock, perchance because the reprobate are far more in number than they, but, more probably, because they love to be lowly, since it is God's will that however much His Church should grow in numbers, she should grow with lowliness even unto the end of the world, and should enter lowly into that kingdom which is hers by His promise. That kingdom He promiseth to her here, when He biddeth her to seek only the kingdom of God, and, to comfort her in her travail, He doth so sweetly and so graciously say that her Father will give it to her.

Sell that ye have and give alms. Fear not, He saith, lest, while ye fight for the kingdom of God, ye should lack such things as are needful for this life, nay rather, sell even that which ye have, and give alms. This doth, whosoever for the Lord's sake leaveth all that he hath, and then worketh with his hands, that so he may have to eat, and withal to give alms. In this doth the Apostle boast himself, saying I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel, as ye yourselves know for these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak. Acts xx. 33, 34, 35.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Dominica XXI: "The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants,"

 From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Matt 18:23-35
At that time, Jesus spoke unto His disciples this parable: The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And so on.

Homily by St. Jerome, Priest at Bethlehem.
Bk. III Comment. on Matth. XVIII
It is a way much in use with the Syrians, and especially with the inhabitants of Palestine, to illustrate their discourse with parables, that what their hearers may not be able to catch so easily when spoken plainly, they may lay hold on by dint of comparisons and examples. Thus it was that the Lord, by an allegory about a Royal master and a servant who owed him ten thousand talents, and who obtained by entreaty forgiveness of the debt, taught Peter how it was his duty to forgive his fellow-servants their comparatively trifling offences. For if that Royal master so readily forgave his servant his debt of ten thousand talents, should not his servants much more forgive lesser debts unto their fellows?

Let put this more clearly, let us take a case. If one of us were to commit adultery, or murder, or sacrilege, our sin, great like a debt of ten thousand talents, would be forgiven us in answer to prayer, if we also from our heart forgive our brethren their trespasses against us. But if we refuse to forgive a slight, and keep up unceasing enmity because of an unkind word, how just doth it appear that we should be cast into prison, and entail on ourselves, by the example of our own deeds, that our great debt should not be forgiven unto us.

“So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” God's awful purpose can be turned and changed but if we will not forgive unto our brethren small things, God will not forgive us great things. And if we forgive them, it must be from our hearts. Any one can say: I have nothing against such-an-one he knoweth what he hath done, and God will judge him for it I do not care what he doeth I have forgiven him. But the Lord maketh His sentence clear, and destroyeth such a mockery of peace as this, where He saith: "So likewise shall My heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Exaltation of the Holy Cross: “I will draw all men to Myself”


From the Holy Gospel according to John

John 12:31-36
At that time, Jesus said unto the multitudes of the Jews: Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And so on.

Homily by Pope St. Leo the Great.
8th on the Lord's Passion.
Dearly beloved brethren, when we gaze upon Christ lifted up upon the Cross, the eyes of our mind see more than that which appeared before the wicked, unto whom it was said through Moses: And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life. Deut. xxviii 66. They saw in the crucified Lord nothing but the work of their own wickedness, and they feared greatly, Matth. xxvii. 54, not with that faith which giveth earnest of life by justification, but with that whereby the evil conscience is tortured. But our understanding is enlightened by the Spirit of truth, and with pure and open hearts we see the glory of the Cross shining over heaven and earth, and discern by inward glance what the Lord meant when His Passion was nigh at hand, and He said: Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things unto Me.

How wonderful is the power of the Cross! O how unutterable is the glory of the Passion, wherein standeth the Lord's judgment-seat, and the judgment of this world, and the might of the Crucified! Lord! Thou hast drawn all things unto thee! Thou didst spread out thine Hands all the day unto an unbelieving and gainsaying people, Isa. lxv. 2, but the world hath felt and owned thy Majesty! Lord! Thou hast drawn all things unto thee! All the elements gave one wild cry of horror at the iniquity of the Jews the lights of the firmament were darkened, day turned into night, earth quaked with strange tremblings, and all God's work refused to serve the guilty. Lord! Thou hast drawn all things unto thee! The veil of the Temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, the Holy of Holies denied itself as a Sanctuary for the ministration of unworthy Priests, that the shadow might be changed for the substance, prophecy for realization, and the Law for the Gospel.

Lord! Thou hast drawn all things unto thee! That which was veiled under types and shadows in the one Jewish Temple, is hailed by the love of all peoples in full and open worship. There is now a higher order of Levites, a more honourable rank of elders, a Priesthood with an holier anointing. thy Cross is a well of blessings for all, and a cause of thanksgiving for all. Thereby for them that believe in thee, weakness is turned into strength, shame into glory, and death into life. The changing ordinance of diverse carnal sacrifices is gone; the one oblation of thy Body and Blood fulfilleth them all. For Thou art the Very Paschal Lamb, Which takest away the sins of the world, and art in thyself all offerings finished. And even as Thou art the One Sacrifice Which taketh the place of all sacrifices, so may thy kingdom be one kingdom established over all peoples

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

In Nativitate Beatæ Mariae Virginis: “Eve wept, but Mary laughed”

Dearly beloved brethren, the day for which we have longed, the Feast-day of the Blessed and Worshipful and Ever-Virgin Mary, that day is come. Let our land laugh and sing with merriment, bathed in the glory of this great Virgin's rising. She is the flower of the fields on which the priceless lily of the valleys hath blossomed. This is she whose delivery changed the nature that we draw from our first parents, and cleansed away their offence. At her that dolorous sentence which was pronounced over Eve ended its course to her it was never said: "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." 
Gen. iii. 16. She brought forth a Child, even the Lord, but she brought Him forth, not in sorrow, but in joy.

Eve wept, but Mary laughed. Eve's womb was big with tears, but Mary's womb was big with gladness. Eve gave birth to a sinner, but Mary gave birth to the sinless One. The mother of our race brought punishment into the world, but the Mother of our Lord brought salvation into the world. Eve was the foundress of sin, but Mary was the foundress of righteousness. Eve welcomed death, but Mary helped in life. Eve smote, but Mary healed. For Eve's disobedience, Mary offered obedience and for Eve's unbelief, Mary offered faith.

Let Mary now make a loud noise upon the organ, and between its quick notes let the rattling of the Mother's timbrel be heard. Let the gladsome choirs sing with her, and their sweet hymns mingle with the changing music. Hearken to what a song her timbrel will make accompaniment. She saith: "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He hath regarded the lowliness of His hand-maiden, for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed for He That is Mighty hath done to me great things." The new miracle of Mary's delivery hath effaced the curse of the frail backslider, and the singing of Mary hath silenced the wailing of Eve.

- Saint Augustine 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Dominica XIV Post Pentecosten V: Traditional Latin Mass Sunday Gospel

From the Holy Gospel according to Matthew

Matt 6:24-33
At that time, Jesus said unto His disciples: No man can serve two masters. And so on.

Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Bk. ii. on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, ch. xiv.
"No man can serve two masters," and this is further explained "for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other." These words we ought carefully to weigh, for the Lord showeth straightway who be the two masters whom we have choice of: "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." Mammon is a term which the Hebrews are said to use for riches. It is also a Carthaginian word for the Punic for "gain" is "mammon.