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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

He who perseveres to the end will be saved

From a sermon by Saint Augustine

Whenever we suffer some distress or tribulation, there we find warning and correction for ourselves. Our holy scriptures themselves do not promise us peace, security and repose, but tribulations and distress; the gospel is not silent about scandals; but he who perseveres to the end will be saved. What good has this life of ours ever been, from the time of the first man, from when he deserved death and received the curse, that curse from which Christ our Lord delivered us? So we must not complain, brothers, as some of them complained, as the apostle says, and perished from the serpents. What fresh sort of suffering, brothers, does the human race now endure that our fathers did not undergo? Or when do we endure the kind of sufferings which we know they endured? Yet you find men complaining about the times they live in, saying that the times of our parents were good. What if they could be taken back to the times of their parents, and should then complain? The past times that you think were good, are good because they are not yours here and now.

(From Universalis.com, Office of Readings today, 23rd August, 2017)

I get the feeling, what with the question before the Australian public about marriage and assisted suicide, as well as the coinciding charges against Cardinal George Pell, that we are hemmed in with but one question: Convenience or fidelity? Are we with the times or with Christ? Modernity or orthodoxy?

Lest we be mistaken again, it was complacency and inaction that got us here. When we stopped flapping our wings, we started falling. When we stopped advancing, comfortable where we were, well that's just an invitation to relinquish our past triumphs.

And so here we are.

Just my two cents worth.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The demands of Christ and joy of heart

From Saint John-Paul II,:
Discourse to young people in the Netherlands, May 14, 1985 

Dear young people, you tell me that you often think the Church is an institution that does nothing but promulgate rules and laws… And you conclude that there is a deep discrepancy between the joy that issues from the word of Christ and the feeling of oppression that the Church’s rigidity gives you... But the gospel shows us a very demanding Christ who invites to a radical conversion of heart, detachment from earthly goods, forgiveness of sins, love of enemies, patient acceptance of persecutions and even to the sacrifice of one’s own life out of love for neighbor. Where the particular area of sexuality is concerned, we know the firm position he took in defending the indissolubility of marriage and his condemnation even as regards the simple adultery committed in the heart. And could anyone not be impressed when faced with the precept to “tear out one’s eye” or to “cut off one’s hand” when those members are an occasion of “scandal”? … 

Moral licentiousness does not make people happy. Similarly, the consumer society does not bring joy of heart. The human person is only fulfilled to the extent to which that person is able to accept the demands flowing from their dignity as beings created “in the image and likeness of God” (Gen 1:27). That is why, if the Church today says things that are not agreeable, it is because it feels obligated to do so, it does so out of a duty to fidelity… 

Does this mean that it isn't true the gospel message is a message of joy? On the contrary! It is absolutely true. And how is that possible? The answer can be found in one word, one single word, one short word, but its contents are as vast as the sea. And that word is love. It is perfectly possible to reconcile uncompromising precept with joy of heart. One who loves does not fear sacrifice but even seeks in sacrifice the most convincing proof of the authenticity of their love.

Source: dailygospel.org

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Good Wine First in this Generation

In past generations, the virtue of Patience was extolled: good things come to those who wait, time heals all wounds, save the best for last, delayed gratification. Not now, perhaps. We are steeped in instant gratification, of quick results. Good wine first. Today we eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. Patience is a hard sell these days. Even when the impatient know enough to apply it to other things like baking, cooking, crafts, sports, business, or even the environment. Not in other things that count, though, like health, studies, family life, or relationships. The patient know it to be proper virtue but the impatient won't understand until much later, sometimes not until it is too late.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Jesus Christ prays for us and in us and is the object of our prayers

From a commentary on the psalms by Saint Augustine, bishop

Jesus Christ prays for us and in us and is the object of our prayers God could give no greater gift to men than to make his Word, through whom he created all things, their head and to join them to him as his members, so that the Word might be both Son of God and son of man, one God with the Father, and one man with all men. The result is that when we speak with God in prayer we do not separate the Son from him, and when the body of the Son prays it does not separate its head from itself: it is the one Saviour of his body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who prays for us and in us and is himself the object of our prayers. He prays for us as our priest, he prays in us as our head, he is the object of our prayers as our God. Let us then recognise both our voice in his, and his voice in ours. When something is said, especially in prophecy, about the Lord Jesus Christ that seems to belong to a condition of lowliness unworthy of God, we must not hesitate to ascribe this condition to one who did not hesitate to unite himself with us. Every creature is his servant, for it was through him that every creature came to be.

From universalis.com, Office of Readings

Thursday, March 09, 2017

How does God Wish to Destroy His Enemies?

Then Christ came himself, and with his own lips cried out: Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. How did he receive those who listened to his call? He readily forgave them their sins; he freed them instantly from all that troubled them. The Word made them holy; the Spirit set his seal on them. The old Adam was buried in the waters of baptism; the new man was reborn to the vigour of grace. What was the result? Those who had been God’s enemies became his friends, those estranged from him became his sons, those who did not know him came to worship and love him.

From a homily by Saint Asterius of Amasea, bishop

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Diadochus of Photiké "On Spiritual Perfection"

Whoever is in love with himself is unable to love God. The man who loves God is the one who abandons his self-love for the sake of the immeasurable blessings of divine love. Such a man never seeks his own glory but only the glory of God. If a person loves himself he seeks his own glory, but the man who loves God loves the glory of his Creator. Anyone alive to the love of God can be recognised from the way he constantly strives to glorify him by fulfilling all his commandments and by delighting in his own submission. It is fitting that God should receive glory, because of his great majesty; but it is fitting for us as human beings to submit ourselves to God and thereby become his friends. Then we too will rejoice in his glory as Saint John the Baptist did, and we shall never stop repeating: His fame must increase, but mine must diminish. I knew someone who was sad that he could not love God as he would have wanted, but who nevertheless loved God so much that his soul was always in the grip of desire for God, for God’s glory to manifest itself in him, for himself to be as nothing in comparison. Such a person cannot be touched by verbal praise or convinced of his being, since his overwhelming humility means that he simply does not think about his own dignity or status. He celebrates the liturgy as, according to the law, priests should; but his love of God blinds him to all awareness of his own dignity. He buries any glory that might come his way in the depth of his love of God, so that he never sees himself as anything more than a useless servant: he is estranged, as it were, from a sense of his own dignity by his desire for lowliness. This is the sort of thing we ought to do, to flee from any honour or glory that is offered us, for the sake of the immense riches of our love of God who has so loved us. Anyone who loves God in the depths of his heart has already been loved by God. In fact, the measure of a man’s love for God depends upon how deeply aware he is of God’s love for him. When this awareness is keen it makes whoever possesses it long to be enlightened by the divine light, and this longing is so intense that it seems to penetrate his very bones. He loses all consciousness of himself and is entirely transformed by the love of God. Such a man lives in this life and at the same time does not live in it, for although he still inhabits his body, he is constantly leaving it in spirit because of the love that draws him toward God. Once the love of God has released him from self-love, the flame of divine love never ceases to burn in his heart and he remains united to God by an irresistible longing. As St Paul says: If we are taken out of ourselves it is for the love of God; if we are brought back to our senses it is for your sake.

(From universalis.com, Office of Readings today)