Monday, December 31, 2012

Augustine on the Word

"Now this Word that was in God, this Word that was God, through whom all things were made and without whom nothing was made, in whom was life: he has come down to us. What were we? Did we deserve him to come to us? No, we were unworthy of his having compassion on us but he was worthy of taking pity on us."

Friday, December 28, 2012

on the Holy Innocents

From St. Gregory of Nissa (355-395):
What does the killing of children signify? Why venture on so horrible a crime? If Jesus is lord of the stars, is he not sheltered from your attacks? You think you have power to give life or death yet you have nothing to fear from someone of such gentleness ... the mystery of the Passion begins today.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Athanasius on the Psalms

Comments by St. Athanasius, the great 4th century teacher. Being one the great intellectual lights of his time, I like the way he appreciates the power of the Psalms to stir the emotions.
"But even so, the Book of Psalms thus has a certain grace of its own, and a distinctive exactitude of expression. For in addition to the other things in which is enjoys an affinity and fellowship with the other books, it posses, beyond that, this marvel of its own – namely, that it contains even the emotion of each soul, and it has the changes and rectifications of these delineated and regulated in itself.

[And] in the Book of Psalms, the one who hears, in addition to learning these things, also comprehends and is taught in it the emotions of the soul, and consequently on the basis of that which affects him and by which he is constrained, he also is enabled by this book to possess the image deriving from the words.

And it seems to me that these words become like a mirror to the person singing them, so that he might perceive himself and the emotions of his soul, and thus affected, he might recite them."

Sunday, December 02, 2012

An Advent Thought

I had never run across this concept of the 3 advents, presented in a sermon from Pierre de Blois, who lived from 1130-1211. But I think I like it.
There are three advents of the Lord: the first in the flesh, the second in the soul, and the third at the judgement. This first advent has already happened since Christ has been seen on earth and has spoken with men. This second advent is therefore something mingled with uncertainty, since who other but the Holy Spirit known who is God's? As for the third advent: it is most certain that it will happen, most certain that it will happen. For this is nothing more certain than death, nothing less certain than the day of our death.

Thus the first advent was lowly and hidden; the second is mysterious and full of love; the third will be dazzling and terrible.

In his first advent Christ was judged unjustly by men; in the second, he grants us justice by his grace; in the last, he will judge all things with equity.

Lamb in the first advent; Lion in the last; our most gentle Friend in the second.