5

Advent Sermons of Saint Augustine: the Son Became Man

In our second look this Advent at sermons of Saint Augustine, we read in matchless prose what it meant for the Son to become Man:

 

 

In the bosom of His Father, He existed before all the cycles of ages; born of an earthly Mother, He entered upon the course of the years on this day. The Maker of man became Man that He, Ruler of the stars, might be nourished at the breast; that He, the Bread, might be hungry; that He, the Fountain, might thirst; that He, the Light, might sleep; that He, the Way, might be wearied by the journey; that He, the Truth, might be accused by false witnesses; that He, the Judge of the living and the dead, might be brought to trial by a mortal judge; that He, Justice, might be condemned by the unjust; that He, Discipline, might be scourged with whips; that He, the Grape, might be crowned with thorns; that He, the Foundation, might be suspended upon a cross; that Courage might be weakened; that Security might be wounded; that Life might die. To endure these and similar indignities for us, to free us, unworthy creatures, He who ‘existed as the Son of God before all ages, without a beginning, deigned to become the Son of Man in these recent years. He did this although He who submitted to such great evils for our sake had done no evil and although we, who were the recipients of so much good at His hands, had done nothing to merit these benefits. Begotten by the Father, He was not made by the Father; He was made Man in the Mother whom He Himself had made, so that He might exist here for a while, sprung from her who could never and nowhere have existed except through His power.

2

Advent Sermons of Saint Augustine: the Emptying of Christ

This Advent on each Sunday we will look at portions of sermons that Saint Augustine wrote for delivery during Advent.  We begin with Saint Augustine’s meditation on one of the chief mysteries of the Incarnation:  the emptying of Christ:

 

 

 

 

 

When the Word assumed flesh in time, so that He might enter into our temporal life, He did not, in this flesh, give up His eternity, but gave immortality to this flesh. Thus He, ‘as a bridegroom coming out of his bride-chamber, hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way, who, ‘though he was by nature God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be clung to,’but, so that for our sake He might become what He was not, ‘He emptied himself,’ not laying aside the nature of God, but ‘taking the nature of a slave,’ and by this nature ‘being made like unto men,’ not in His own nature [as God], but ‘appearing in the form of man.’ For, all that we are in soul and body constitutes, for us, our complete nature, but, for Him, only a visible nature. If we had not this soul and body, we would still exist; if He had not this soul and body, He would still be God. Remaining God, He became Man; that is, He began to be what had not been before, so that not one but two natures may truthfully be ascribed to Him. Because He was made Man, the statement, ‘for the Father is greater than I,’ is true; because He remained God, the statement, ‘I and the Father are one,’ is true. If the Word were changed into flesh, that is, if God were changed into man, only the statement, ‘for the Father is greater than I,’ would be true because God is greater than man; but the other statement, I and the Father are one,’ would be false since God and man are not one. In such a case, He could say: ‘I and the Father were one,’ but not ‘are one,’ implying that He has ceased to be what He was; that He was so in the past, but is so no longer. On the contrary, because of the true nature of servant which He had taken upon Himself, He said truthfully: ‘The Father is greater than I’; because of the true nature of God which He retained, He said with equal veracity: The Father and I are one.’Therefore, He emptied Himself among men, becoming what He had not been previously, not in such a way as to cease to be what He was, but, hiding what He was, He showed forth only what He had become. Hence, since the Virgin conceived and brought forth a Son, because of His manifest nature of servant, [we read:] ‘A child is born to us’; but, because the Word of God, which remains forever, became flesh so that He might dwell with us, on account of His real, though hidden nature of God, we, using the words of the Angel Gabriel, call e his name Emmanuel/ Remaining God, He has become Man so that the Son of Man may rightly be called ‘God with us’ and so that [in Him] God is not one person and man another. Let the world rejoice In those who believe, for whose salvation He came, by whom the world was made, the Creator of Mary born of Mary, the Son of David yet Lord of David, the Seed of Abraham.

11

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

 

Something for an Advent weekend.   Hark the Herald Angels Sing.  Written by Charles Wesley in 1739, the hymn we enjoy today developed and changed over a century with input from many hands.  No hymn I think better exemplifies the sheer joy that the coming of Christ should awake in the hearts of all Christians.

 

Continue Reading

7

Saint Augustine and the Donatists

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.
That is why the kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king
who decided to settle accounts with his servants.
When he began the accounting,
a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount.
Since he had no way of paying it back,
his master ordered him to be sold,
along with his wife, his children, and all his property,
in payment of the debt.
At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’
Moved with compassion the master of that servant
let him go and forgave him the loan.
When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants
who owed him a much smaller amount.
He seized him and started to choke him, demanding,
‘Pay back what you owe.’
Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him,
‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
But he refused.
Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison
until he paid back the debt.
Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened,
they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master
and reported the whole affair.
His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant!
I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.
Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant,
as I had pity on you?’
Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers
until he should pay back the whole debt.
So will my heavenly Father do to you,
unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.”

Matthew 18:  21-35

Throughout the history of the Church there has always been a tension between mercy and justice.  This tension was very much at the fore during the time of Saint Augustine in the fourth and fifth centuries.  During the persecution of Diocletian in the third century, some bishops and priests, along with many ordinary Christians, apostatized in order to save their lives.  After the persecution these same individuals often asked for readmission to the Church.  The question arose as to what was to be done with these individuals.  The Catholic view was that after a period of penitence, often quite lengthy, these penitent sinners could be readmitted to the Church.  This generosity appalled not a few Catholics who had borne persecution and risked their lives for the Faith.  Bishop Donatus of Cathage, primate of North Africa, taught that those who had apostatized had to be re-baptized and then admitted back into the Catholic Church, and that the sacraments could not be administered by clergy who had fallen from the Faith.  The Church taught that the powers of the clergy were inherent in their office and that  their moral unworthiness did not affect the validity of the sacraments they administered.  A few minutes reflection convinces me of the necessity of this doctrine of the Church.  Otherwise we would have a continual concern with whether each priest or bishop is leading a holy life, something we usually have no way of knowing, and continual doubts about the validity of the sacraments we receive.

The teachings of Donatus were condemned by Pope Miltiades in 313.  The Donatists in response formed their own church, very strong in North Africa, and many cities and towns had both Catholic and Donatist churches, with the Donatists establishing their own hierarchy.

Saint Augustine battled the Donatists in his sermons and other writings.  In 411 a conference was held at Carthage attended by both Catholic and Arian bishops before an Imperial official, Marcellinus, a friend of Saint Augustine.  The Catholics, confident in their teaching and also confident of Imperial support, had instigated the idea of the conference.  The outcome of the conference was foreordained, with the Donatists being banned by the Empire, although it is also clear that the Donatist spokesmen were no match for Saint Augustine in debate.

Donatist bishop Petitilian stated during the conference:  “He who receives faith from the faithless receives not faith, but guilt, [and] everything consists of an origin and a root; and if it has not something for a head, it is nothing”

Saint Augustine responded:

“Wherefore, whether a man receive the sacrament of baptism from a faithful or a faithless minister, his whole hope is in Christ, that he fall not under the condemnation that ‘cursed is he that placeth his hope in man.’ Otherwise if each man is born again in spiritual grace of the same sort as he by whom he is baptized, and if when he who baptizes him is manifestly a good man, then he himself gives faith, he is himself the origin and root and head of him who is being born… when the baptizer is faithless without its being known, then the baptized person receives faith from Christ. …in that case all who are baptized should wish that they might have faithless baptizers.”

Sinful clerics are a scandal that have ever been with the Church beginning with Judas.  They often wreak much damage to the Faith.  However, even such unworthy vessels are channels of the grace of Christ per the power granted to Peter and the Church by Christ.  Human sinfulness can never withstand the power of God, or even obstruct it, if God intends otherwise.  The Donatists envisaged a Church presided over by Saints, a vision very different from that of Christ who saw His Church completing her mission in spite of human sin and folly, at all times using weak humans to bring the message of salvation and the grace of God.

 

 

 

3

Life in a Time of Tares

Related image

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.

So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?

He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?

But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Matthew 13: 24-30

 

 

In any farming community, farmers being human, feuds will sometimes grow up between farmers and their families.  The Romans understood this, and so they had a law forbidding anyone from sowing tares, darnel, in a wheat field.  A ryegrass, darnel is indistinguishable from wheat in the early stages of development and only when they are both mature can wheat be readily distinguishable from tares.  It takes little imagination to see Jesus as a boy, working in the carpenter shop of Saint Joseph, and hearing one of the farming clients of Joseph ranting about how an unknown enemy of his had ruined his wheat field by planting darnel in it.

Christ has shaped out of this unpleasant example of rural life, a parable which says much about the human condition.  It would save time if we all wore signs saying “good”, “evil”, “both”, “making up my mind”, but we do not.  Until revealed by deeds, the side chosen by each of us each day remains a deep secret, often to the person making the daily choice, sense the capacity of man to deceive himself is bottomless.  But God knows, and ultimately we each reap the harvest of our deeds.  So with us individually, so our societies, our political institutions, our churches and all the other manifold ways in which we humans gather together.  Enough wrong choices and the tares are in charge, lording it over the wheat.  Saint Augustine noted this long ago: Continue Reading

5

Cold Winter of Unbelief

Today, dearest brethren, we celebrate the birthday of those children who were slaughtered, as the Gospel tells us, by that exceedingly cruel king, Herod. Let the earth, therefore, rejoice and the Church exult — she, the fruitful mother of so many heavenly champions and of such glorious virtues. Never, in fact, would that impious tyrant have been able to benefit these children by the sweetest kindness as much as he has done by his hatred. For as today’s feast reveals, in the measure with which malice in all its fury was poured out upon the holy children, did heaven’s blessing stream down upon them.

“Blessed are you, Bethlehem in the land of Judah! You suffered the inhumanity of King Herod in the murder of your babes and thereby have become worthy to offer to the Lord a pure host of infants. In full right do we celebrate the heavenly birthday of these children whom the world caused to be born unto an eternally blessed life rather than that from their mothers’ womb, for they attained the grace of everlasting life before the enjoyment of the present. The precious death of any martyr deserves high praise because of his heroic confession; the death of these children is precious in the sight of God because of the beatitude they gained so quickly. For already at the beginning of their lives they pass on. The end of the present life is for them the beginning of glory. These then, whom Herod’s cruelty tore as sucklings from their mothers’ bosom, are justly hailed as “infant martyr flowers”; they were the Church’s first blossoms, matured by the frost of persecution during the cold winter of unbelief.

 St. Augustine Continue Reading

3

Saint Augustine on God as Father

 

 

THE  SON OF GOD, our Lord Jesus Christ, has taught us a prayer; and though He be the Lord Himself, as you have heard and repeated in the creed, the only Son of God, yet He would not be alone. He is the only Son, and yet would not be alone; He wishes to have brothers. For to whom does He say: “Our Father who art in Heaven?” Whom did He wish us to call our Father but His own Father? Did He begrudge us this? Parents sometimes, when they have had one, or two, or three children, fear to give birth to any more lest they reduce the rest to beggary. But because the inheritance which He promised us is such as many may possess and no one be impoverished, therefore has He called into His brotherhood the peoples of the nations; and the only Son has numberless brothers who say, “Our Father who art in Heaven.” So said they who have been before us; and so shall say those who will come after us. See how many brethren the only Son has in His grace, sharing His inheritance with those for whom He suffered death. We had a father and mother on earth, that we might be born to labors and to death: but we have found other parents, God our Father, and the Church our Mother, by whom we are born unto life eternal. Let us then consider, beloved, whose children we have began to be; and let us live so as becomes those who have such a Father. See how that our Creator has condescended to be our Father! Continue Reading

3

Quotes Suitable for Framing: Saint Augustine

 Paul rebuking Peter

 

 

Paul therefore, as a faithful steward doubtless is to be regarded as approving his fidelity in his writings; for he was a steward of truth, not of falsehood. Therefore he wrote the truth when he wrote that he had seen Peter walking not uprightly, according to the truth of the gospel, and that he had withstood him to the face because he was compelling the Gentiles to live as the Jews did. And Peter himself received, with the holy and loving humility which became him, the rebuke which Paul, in the interests of truth, and with the boldness of love, administered. Therein Peter left to those that came after him an example, that, if at any time they deviated from the right path, they should not think it beneath them to accept correction from those who were their juniors,— an example more rare, and requiring greater piety, than that which Paul’s conduct on the same occasion left us, that those who are younger should have courage even to withstand their seniors if the defence of evangelical truth required it, yet in such a way as to preserve unbroken brotherly love.

Saint Augustine to Saint Jerome (405 AD) (Letter 82)

10

Cold Winter of Unbelief

Holy Innocents

The Holy InnocentsToday, dearest brethren, we celebrate the birthday of those children who were slaughtered, as the Gospel tells us, by that exceedingly cruel king, Herod. Let the earth, therefore, rejoice and the Church exult — she, the fruitful mother of so many heavenly champions and of such glorious virtues. Never, in fact, would that impious tyrant have been able to benefit these children by the sweetest kindness as much as he has done by his hatred. For as today’s feast reveals, in the measure with which malice in all its fury was poured out upon the holy children, did heaven’s blessing stream down upon them.

“Blessed are you, Bethlehem in the land of Judah! You suffered the inhumanity of King Herod in the murder of your babes and thereby have become worthy to offer to the Lord a pure host of infants. In full right do we celebrate the heavenly birthday of these children whom the world caused to be born unto an eternally blessed life rather than that from their mothers’ womb, for they attained the grace of everlasting life before the enjoyment of the present. The precious death of any martyr deserves high praise because of his heroic confession; the death of these children is precious in the sight of God because of the beatitude they gained so quickly. For already at the beginning of their lives they pass on. The end of the present life is for them the beginning of glory. These then, whom Herod’s cruelty tore as sucklings from their mothers’ bosom, are justly hailed as “infant martyr flowers”; they were the Church’s first blossoms, matured by the frost of persecution during the cold winter of unbelief.

 St. Augustine

Saint Augustine pray for us as we do battle with those who would bring on a new cruel, cold winter of unbelief, replete with millions of new Holy Innocents. Continue Reading

1

Messianic Prophecies: Isaiah 40: 1-5

 

Concluding our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, a series which we began in Advent 2011 and continued in 2102 and 2013, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here here, here, here, here , here, here, here , here,  and here, we come to Isaiah 40: 1-5:

 

[1] Be comforted, be comforted, my people, saith your God.

[2] Speak ye to the heart of Jerusalem, and call to her: for her evil is come to an end, her iniquity is forgiven: she hath received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.

[3] The voice of one crying in the desert: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the wilderness the paths of our God.

[4] Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough ways plain.

[5] And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh together shall see, that the mouth of the Lord hath spoken.

As Saint Augustine notes, this is a clear reference to John the Baptist: Continue Reading

15

Quotes Suitable For Framing Saint Augustine

 

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.”

Saint Augustine, De Genesi ad Litteram Libri Duodecim Continue Reading

2

Saint Augustine on the Resurrection

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  ,here  , here, here , here  , here and here to read the first eight posts in the series, we come to the conclusion with the eternal glory of Easter.

In this Vale of Tears we lead lives afflicted by sin and always in the shadow of death.  Christ came to free us from the chains of sin and to prove to us that death is not an end, but merely our beginning in infinity.  My mother died thirty years ago on Easter Sunday 1984.  Because of Easter I know that I will see her again, along with my son who died last year on Pentecost.  Without either hope or love we are but poor creatures indeed.  Easter gives us hope and tells us that we are children of a loving God.  Saint Augustine reminds us of these great truths: Continue Reading

2

Saint Augustine: The Body and The Blood

BouveretLastSupper

Christ bore Himself in His hands, when He offered His body saying: “this is my body.”

Saint Augustine

 Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  ,here  , here, here , here  and here to read the first seven posts in the series, we come to Holy Thursday and the First Mass.  As Catholics, we join in the great mystery of God sacrificing Himself for us at every Mass we witness, just as if we were sitting at the Last Supper watching Christ transforming the bread into His Body and the wine into His Blood.  Saint Augustine explained to new Catholics why bread and wine are placed on Catholic altars: Continue Reading

1

Saint Augustine: Palm Sunday

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  ,here  , here, here and here to read the first six posts in the series, we come to the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.  Looked at in purely human terms Palm Sunday was the height of the career of Christ, His moment in the sun when he was acclaimed by crowds as he entered Jerusalem, causing enough commotion that Caiaphas decided that He must die to prevent his followers from alarming Rome sufficiently to start a war.  Cold political calculation began its work on Palm Sunday and led to the swift death of Christ on a cross by Good Friday.  How many, many movements throughout history have died still-born as a result of the leader swiftly being put to death!  Saint Augustine reminds of us why this did not happen to the Christian “movement”: Continue Reading

7

Saint Augustine: No Matter How Great Our Crimes

“Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Isaiah:  1:18

 

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  ,here  , here and here to read the first five posts in the series, we come to the whole purpose of Lent.   One of the greatest weapons in the arsenal of the eternal enemy of Man is despair.  How many people abstain from confession and reconciliation with God on the mistaken belief that their sins are too great and they are beyond redemption.  It would seem in our day that these people would be small in number since so many would appear to have lost any sense of sin.  Perhaps, but perhaps also a denial of the fact of sin is merely a surface attempt to avoid the gnawing guilt and emptiness that sin usually causes in most souls, whether the sin is recognized as such or not.   For all lost and wandering souls the forgiveness of God is close at hand for His mercy is as infinite as His justice is sure.  What so many of us have earned at the hands of His justice, He spares us by His mercy.  Despair is a sin, and in Lent we should turn our backs on it, as we do all sin.  Here is what Augustine wrote in regard to forgiveness of sins, no matter how great they are: Continue Reading

7

Saint Augustine: Late Have I Loved Thee

st-augustine-of-hippo7_opt

 

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  ,here  and here to read the first four posts in the series, we come to the whole purpose of Lent.  We repent our sins and turn away from them, but these are not ends in themselves.  We do them to help reawaken in our souls our love of God.  God loves each of us with a love the intensity and magnitude of which we, in this life, cannot hope to fathom.  It has been said that God loves each man as if he were the only one.  He loves us enough to die for us, the creator of life suffering an ignominious human death to bring us to Him.  Blinded by sin and the follies of this Vale of Tears we are often unable to see that the sweet loves we encounter in this life are but pale reflections of His love.  Saint Augustine, after a wasted youth, did finally understand that love, and wrote about his discovery in imperishable words: Continue Reading

11

Saint Augustine on Sin, Fear and Love

Saint_Augustine_Portrait

 

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  , here  and here to read the first three posts in the series, we come to Augustine’s discussion of why we should avoid sin.  Augustine thought that refraining from sin due to fear of Hell did not involve the rejection of sin but rather fear of burning.  The true reason for avoiding sin is love of God and therefore rejection of sin as a result of that love.  Our Act of Contrition mentions both motivations but is clear what should be the most important:

O my God,
I am heartily sorry for
having offended Thee,
and I detest all my sins,
because I dread the loss of heaven,
and the pains of hell;
but most of all because
they offend Thee, my God,
Who are all good and
deserving of all my love.

As the saying goes, fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, and no doubt the fear of Hell for many a sinner is the beginning of repentance, but that is only the beginning, and not the end, of our struggle against sin.  Christ taught us to call God Father and that He is a loving Father.  Anything that turns us from the God who loves us with such an eternal love, we reject, not out of fear but out of love: Continue Reading

15

Saint Augustine and the Pear Tree

Saint Augustine and the Pear Tree

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here  and here to read the first and the second in the series, we come to Saint Augustine’s description of what he viewed as one of his worst sins, the theft of pears from a pear tree.  More than a few people have been mystified as to why this incident caused Saint Augustine such pain.  Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr, for example, wrote  “Rum thing to see a man making a mountain out of robbing a pear tree in his teens”.  Such critics of course completely miss the point.  The incident of the pear tree is the classic example of pure sin.  Augustine and the other rowdies did not steal the pears to feed themselves, they threw the pears to hogs.  They did this evil not to satisfy some hunger or desire, but for the sake of the sin itself, and that is what makes the act so monstrous in retrospect in the eyes of Saint Augustine.  The worst sort of sin we can do is a sin that has no purpose other than to engage in sin, in disobedience to God.  Most sins men do are a bad road to reach a worldly good.  A thief who robs a bank to gain money.  A couple who fornicate with each other to show their love for one another.  A glutton who gorges himself because he loves fine food.   The pear tree sin lacks any good as a goal that led to the commission of the sin, and leaves only the desire to do an evil act.  Saint Augustine was right to weep over this, as should we all whenever we do evil solely for the sake of doing evil.  Saint Augustine on the pear tree: Continue Reading

3

Saint Augustine: Sins of the Flesh

 

 

Continuing on with our Lenten series in which Saint Augustine is our guide, go here to read the first in the series, we come to Saint Augustine’s comments on sins of the flesh.  It is interesting that Saint Augustine begins the passage noting that some argue that the sins of the flesh are not sins, precisely the same argument that is made in our time.  Saint Paul  mentioned, and refuted, this argument in his epistles, so it is as old as Christianity.  The sins of the flesh are not the most dire of sins, rather the reverse, that pride of place going to the sin of pride, a sin I have ever struggled with, and that caused Lucifer to fall from Heaven to Hell.  However, sins of the flesh are sins, being a perversion of the love that is at the heart of Christianity.  Lust is ever an inadequate substitute for love, and attempting to make it a substitute is at the core of many of our social problems today, treating people as things, means to our own gratification, rather than children of a loving God that we love with fidelity and self-sacrifice, to mirror in our lives some minute fragment of the love that God lavishes on us.  Here is Saint Augustine on sins of the flesh: Continue Reading

11

Saint Augustine: Repent Today!

 

Since Vatican II Catholics have largely deserted the confessional.  Our Communion lines are full and our confessionals are empty.  Unless there has been some radical change in human nature over the past half century, something I see no evidence for, there is something very, very wrong in all this.

Saint Augustine, who once prayed before his conversion, Lord make me chaste, but not now, knew the temptation to put off until some theoretical tomorrow repentance.  We know that God will accept our repentance, but true repentance means putting away sins we are deeply attached to, or ones we in despair think we cannot summon up the willpower to avoid in future.  Saint Augustine, in Sermon 32 responds to this manana  mentality by reminding us that while God has promised us forgiveness He has not promised us endless tomorrows to seek His forgiveness. As we enter Lent, let us recall these words of the Bishop of Hippo: Continue Reading

4

Messianic Prophecies: Psalm 2

 

 

Beginning our Advent look at Messianic prophecies for this year, which we began in Advent 2011 and continued last year, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here, here , here here, and here, we come to Psalm 2:

 

[1] Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things?

[2] The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord and against his Christ.

[3] Let us break their bonds asunder: and let us cast away their yoke from us.

[4] He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them: and the Lord shall deride them.

[5] Then shall he speak to them in his anger, and trouble them in his rage.

[6] But I am appointed king by him over Sion his holy mountain, preaching his commandment.

[7] The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.

[8] Ask of me, and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.

[9] Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron, and shalt break them in pieces like a potter’ s vessel.

[10] And now, O ye kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth.

[11] Serve ye the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto him with trembling.

[12] Embrace discipline, lest at any time the Lord be angry, and you perish from the just way.

[13]When his wrath shall be kindled in a short time, blessed are all they that trust in him.

Saint Augustine wrote regarding this Psalm: Continue Reading

6

Saint Augustine: To the Mother of God

 

O blessed Virgin Mary, who can worthily repay thee thy just dues of praise and thanksgiving, thou who by the wondrous assent of thy will didst rescue a fallen world?  What songs of praise can our weak human nature recite in thy honor, since it is by thy intervention alone that it has found the way to restoration.  Accept, then, such poor thanks as we have here to offer, though they be unequal to thy merits; and receiving our vows, obtain by thy prayers the remission of our offenses.  Carry thou our prayers within the sanctuary of the heavenly audience, and bring forth from it the antidote of our reconciliation.  May the sins we bring before Almighty God through thee, become pardonable through thee; may what we ask for with sure confidence, through thee be granted.  Take our offering, grant us our requests, obtain pardon for what we fear, for thou art the sole hope of sinners.  Through thee we hope for the remission of our sins, and in thee, O blessed Lady, is our hope of reward.  Holy Mary, succour the miserable, help the fainthearted, comfort the sorrowful, pray for thy people, plead for the clergy, intercede for all women consecrated to God; may all who keep thy holy commemoration feel now thy help and protection.  Be thou ever ready to assist us when we pray, and bring back to us the answers to our prayers.  Make it thy continual care to pray for the people of God, thou who, blessed by God, didst merit to bear the Redeemer of the world, who liveth and reigneth, world without end.  Amen.

7

Awake Mankind!

 

 

Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again: for your sake, God became man.  

You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this mercy. You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death. You would have been lost if he had not hastened ‘to your aid. You would have perished, had he not come. 

Let us then joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festive day on which he who is the great and eternal day came from the great and endless day of eternity into our own short day of time.  

He has become our justice, our sanctification, our redemption, so that, as it is written: Let him who glories glory in the Lord.

Truth, then, has arisen from the earth: Christ who said, I am the Truth, was born of the Virgin. And justice looked down from heaven: because believing in this new-born child, man is justified not by himself but by God.  

Truth has arisen from the earth: because the Word was made flesh. And justice looked down from heaven: because every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

Truth has arisen from the earth: flesh from Mary. And justice looked down from heaven: for man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. Continue Reading

4

Messianic Prophecies: Malachi 3:1-5

Continuing our Advent look at Messianic prophecies which we began last Advent, the earlier posts of the series may be read here, here, here ,here, here, here, here and here, we look today at Malachi 3: 1-5.

 

[1] Behold I send my angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face. And presently the Lord, whom you seek, and the angel of the testament, whom you desire, shall come to his temple. Behold he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts.

 [2] And who shall be able to think of the day of his coming? and who shall stand to see him? for he is like a refining fire, and like the fuller’s herb:

[3] And he shall sit refining and cleansing the silver, and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and shall refine them as gold, and as silver, and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice. [4] And the sacrifice of Juda and of Jerusalem shall please the Lord, as in the days of old, and in the ancient years.

 [5] And I will come to you in judgment, and will be a speedy witness against sorcerers, and adulterers, and false swearers, and them that oppress the hireling in his wages; the widows, and the fatherless: and oppress the stranger, and have not feared me, saith the Lord of hosts. Continue Reading

1

Saint Augustine on Pentecost

I. The Coming of the Holy Ghost with the Gift of Tongues foretells the Unity of the Church throughout all peoples.

This is a solemn day for us, because of the Coming of the Holy Ghost; the fiftieth day from the Lord’s Resurrection, seven days multiplied by seven. But multiplying seven by seven we have forty-nine. One is then added: that we may be reminded of unity.

What is the meaning of the Coming of the Holy Ghost? What did it accomplish? How did He tell us of His Presence; reveal It to us? By the fact that all spoke in the tongues of every nation. There were a hundred and twenty people gathered in one room; ten times twelve. The sacred number of the Apostles was multiplied ten times. What then, did each one upon whom the Holy Spirit descended speak in one of the tongues of each of the nations: to this man one language, to this man another, dividing as it were among themselves the tongues of all the nations? No, it was not so: but each man, singly, spoke in the tongue of every nation. One and the same man spoke the tongue of every nation: the unity of the Church amid the tongues of all the nations. See here how the unity of the Catholic Church spread throughout all nations is set before us. Continue Reading
45

Jesuitical 13: Rush and Georgetown

Part 13 of my ongoing survey of the follies of many modern day Jesuits.  Georgetown University, founded in 1789, is the oldest Jesuit college in the United States.  Last week it found itself at the center of the debate over the HHS Mandate.  How the powers that be at Georgetown reacted to all of this is instructive.

On February 16, 2012 Representative Darrell Issa (R. CA), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on the ramifications of the HHS Mandate in regard to religious freedom.  Democrats had the opportunity to present witnesses.  Initially they were going to have Barry Lynn, a Methodist minister and Leftist political activist, and head of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State, but for some reason that fell through for the Democrats.  They then proposed Sandra Fluke, identified as a third year law student at Georgetown.  Issa refused to allow her to testify on the grounds that she wasn’t testifying about the religious liberty issue but rather about a perceived need for contraception.  The Democrats, who realized that they were in trouble on the religious liberty issue, used this as an argument against the hearings, arguing that women were banned from the hearings as speakers.  This was a lie, as there were two panels which testified in opposition to the Mandate at the hearing.  The second panel included Dr. Allison Garrett and Dr.  Laura Champion who testified as to the dangers that the HHS Mandate poses to religious liberty.

On February 23, 2012, Nancy Pelosi (D.CA), minority leader, organized a Democrats only “hearing” at which Sandra Fluke gave her testimony.  Go here to read that testimony.  Among other statements she said that in three years contraceptives could cost a law student three grand.

The idea that someone at Georgetown Law School, an elite school that costs over 50k a year to attend, was crying poverty over the alleged cost of $1,000.00 a year, a sum about $800-$900 too high in relationship to the actual cost, to make illicit whoopee has its comedic possibilities, and this was  seized upon by Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday February 29:

What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We’re the pimps. (interruption) The johns? We would be the johns? No! We’re not the johns. (interruption) Yeah, that’s right. Pimp’s not the right word. Okay, so she’s not a slut. She’s “round heeled.” I take it back.

This caused an uproar and on Thursday March 1, John J. DeGioia, the first lay President of Georgetown, released this statement: Continue Reading

4

Messianic Prophecies: Psalm 21

Continuing with our series during Advent of the major Messianic prophesies of the coming of Christ, we come to Psalm 21 (Psalm 22 in Protestant Bibles):

1 Unto the end, for the morning protection, a psalm for David.

2 O God my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me? Far from my salvation are the words of my sins.

3 O my God, I shall cry by day, and thou wilt not hear: and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me.

4 But thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Israel.

5 In thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped, and thou hast delivered them.

6 They cried to thee, and they were saved: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

7 But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men, and the outcast of the people.

8 All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips, and wagged the head.

9 He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him: let him save him, seeing he delighteth in him.

 10 For thou art he that hast drawn me out of the womb: my hope from the breasts of my mother.

11 I was cast upon thee from the womb. From my mother’s womb thou art my God,

12 Depart not from me. For tribulation is very near: for there is none to help me.

13 Many calves have surrounded me: fat bulls have besieged me.

14 They have opened their mouths against me, as a lion ravening and roaring.

15 I am poured out like water; and all my bones are scattered. My heart is become like wax melting in the midst of my bowels.

16 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue hath cleaved to my jaws: and thou hast brought me down into the dust of death.

17 For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath besieged me. They have dug my hands and feet. Continue Reading

25

Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism

An Article by Melinda Selmys, author of the book Sexual Authenticity: An Intimate Reflection on Homosexuality and Catholicism.

Twelve years ago, I converted to Catholicism and began a long dialogue with my own sexuality. At the time, I was involved in a lesbian relationship that had been going on for a little over six years. I had, in the course of researching the Catholic position  with  a  view  to  refuting  it,  encountered  the  Church’s  teachings  on homosexual relationships before, so when I decided to embrace the Church as my mother, I knew that meant giving up my lesbian partner. I called her that night and explained my decision.

At the time, I thought that I was signing up for a life of celibacy. I was okay with that:  before I became a Catholic I was a hard rationalist, and it wasn’t a long stretch to port my idealistic devotion to rational self-possession into an iron-clad commitment to  Catholic sexual teaching. I would simply apply my will to the problem, subsume my passions to the rule of Reason, and everything would be fine. Right?

Continue Reading

2

Saint Augustine on the Blessed Trinity

 

 We have sufficiently spoken of the Father and of the Son, so far as was possible for us to see through this glass and in this enigma. We must now treat of the Holy Spirit, so far as by God’s gift it is permitted to see Him. And the Holy Spirit, according to the Holy Scriptures, is neither of the Father alone, nor of the Son alone, but of both; and so intimates to us a mutual love, wherewith the Father and the Son reciprocally love one another. But the language of the Word of God, in order to exercise us, has caused those things to be sought into with the greater zeal, which do not lie on the surface, but are to be scrutinized in hidden depths, and to be drawn out from thence. The Scriptures, accordingly, have not said, The Holy Spirit is Love. If they had said so, they would have done away with no small part of this inquiry. But they have said, God is love; so that it is uncertain and remains to be inquired whether God the Father is love, or God the Son, or God the Holy Ghost, or the Trinity itself which is God. For we are not going to say that God is called Love because love itself is a substance worthy of the name of God, but because it is a gift of God, as it is said to God, You are my patience. For this is not said because our patience is God’s substance, but in that He Himself gives it to us; as it is elsewhere read, Since from Him is my patience. For the usage of words itself in Scripture sufficiently refutes this interpretation; for You are my patience is of the same kind as You, Lord, art my hope, and The Lord my God is my mercy, and many like texts. And it is not said, O Lord my love, or, You are my love, or, God my love; but it is said thus, God is love, as it is said, God is a Spirit. And he who does not discern this, must ask understanding from the Lord, not an explanation from us; for we cannot say anything more clearly. Continue Reading

1

Saint Augustine on Pentecost

 

This is a solemn day for us, because of the Coming of the Holy Ghost on the fiftieth day from the Lord’s Resurrection.

What is the meaning of the Coming of the Holy Ghost?  What did it accomplish?  How did He tell us of His Presence; reveal It to us?  By the fact that all spoke in the tongues of every nation.  What then, did each one upon whom the Holy Spirit descended speak in one of the tongues of each of the nations: to this man one language, to this man another, dividing as it were among themselves the tongues of all the nations?  

No, it was not so: but each man, singly, spoke in the tongue of every nation. One and the same man spoke the tongue of every nation: the unity of the Church amid the tongues of all the nations.  See here how the unity of the Catholic Church spread throughout all nations is set before us.
Continue Reading

Viva Roma No. V!

 

Something for the weekend.  From those endlessly talented folks at History for Music Lovers, Viva Roma No. V to the tune of Mambo No. 5.

Civis Romanus sum said Saint Paul, or its Greek equivalent, and even while Christians were savagely persecuted by the Roman Empire many of them remarked about what a wonder in human affairs it was.

There is also another and a greater necessity for our offering prayer in behalf of the emperors, nay, for the complete stability of the empire, and for Roman interests in general. For we know that a mighty shock impending over the whole earth—in fact, the very end of all things threatening dreadful woes—is only retarded by the continued existence of the Roman empire. We have no desire, then, to be overtaken by these dire events; and in praying that their coming may be delayed, we are lending our aid to Rome’s duration.

Tertuallian, Christian Apologetics

 Saint Augustine, living in the twilight of the Roman Empire in the West, with savage Vandals besieging Hippo at the time of his death, in his City of God raised the eyes of men to the imperishable City of God, while also yet acknowledging that God was the cause of the rise of the Roman Empire, along with the traditional Roman virtues: Continue Reading

9

The United States Youngest Cardinal

A Profile of Daniel DiNardo

by Jeff Ziegler

On June 17, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo expressed “grave concern over the FDA’s current process for approving the drug Ulipristal (with the proposed trade name of Ella) for use as an ‘emergency contraceptive.’ Ulipristal is a close analogue to the abortion drug RU-486, with the same biological effect — that is, it can disrupt an established pregnancy weeks after conception has taken place.”

Cardinal DiNardo expressed these concerns as chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, the latest in a line of responsibilities he has assumed in recent years. As recently as 1997, he was simply “Father Dan,” a 48-year-old Pittsburgh parish priest, before he was appointed coadjutor bishop of a small Iowa diocese. At the age of 54, he was appointed coadjutor bishop of Galveston-Houston, and at 58, Pope Benedict created him a cardinal — the first cardinal from a diocese in the South, and the youngest American cardinal since Cardinal Roger Mahony received his red hat in 1991.

Following the consistory of 2007, Pope Benedict appointed Cardinal DiNardo a member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (2008) and the Pontifical Council for Culture (2009). In the fall of 2009, he assumed the leadership of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life efforts. He will take part in any conclave that occurs before his eightieth birthday in 2029 and appears destined to be one of the leading American ecclesial figures of the next two decades.

Continue Reading

4

WJBA? In 2010 Would Jesus (Along With His Apostles & Saints) Be Arrested For Hate Speech?

A few short years ago the mere suggestion that the Son of God, His Apostles and Saints would face arrest for hate speech would have seemed absolutely ludicrous. However, events have spiraled out of control across the western world. In his opinion that strikes down California’s recently voter approved marriage law, Judge Vaughn Walker wrote that those who speak in the name of religion to put across their views that same sex marriage is wrong are “harmful to gays and lesbians.”

Across Europe and Canada, faithful Christians speaking out for traditional marriage face the threat of being hauled off to court for citing the teachings of the Catholic Church and various Evangelical Churches. Where will this all end? Some see a great persecution coming against the Christian faithful. Though possible, one need remember that the Christian faith always grew when persecuted.

The Catholic Church has long taught that some individuals have an inclination toward same sex attraction; they are to be loved as all people are to be loved. The Church teaches that these feelings are not to be acted upon. The Church goes on to teach that all individuals are given a cross to carry in this world and for those who are same sex attracted; this is their cross. An organization exists for those who are same sex attracted called COURAGE. It has many chapters and members.

Recently a profile was done in The New York Times on same sex attracted Eve Tushnet, the Ivy League educated Catholic daughter of Harvard Law professors. She has chronicled her growth in Catholicism and the logic of the Church’s teachings on sexuality. For years the Catholic Church took some heat from some quarters of Christianity for not stating that anyone who is same sex attracted would be going to hell. The Church now is facing a maelstrom of vitriol from those who claim the Church hates homosexuals.

For the Church to change her teachings would be to deny not only what Christ said (Matthew 11:20-24,) but his Apostles, not to mention Saint Paul’s lengthy discourse on the subject (Romans 1:26-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.)  In addition to the Apostles and saints, there is a rich history of saints writing on the subject, particularly the Early Church Fathers like Saint Augustine, St Justin Martyr, St. Basil and St John Chrysostom as well as Church intellectuals like St Thomas Aquinas, Saint Albert the Great (the greatest scientist of his time,) along with mystics like St Catherine of Sienna to name but a few. To say that the greatest minds of their respective eras were all wrong is simply breathtaking.

Many who disagree with the Church tend to forget that homosexuality was much more common and approved of by the Roman government in the early Christian era than it is even in 2010. Many in the upper echelons of Greek and Roman culture experimented with all sorts of sexual practices. It would have been far easier for Jesus, the apostles, saints and popes to approve of this conduct than it would to disapprove of it. Christianity might have grown at a faster pace. However, there was a reason for this swimming against the tide, and the faithful accepted it.

Continue Reading

12

Men Need to be Men

The King’s Men is an organization for Men to (re)discover what it means to be a man, a real man, a Catholic man as well as a manly Catholic.

As men we lead and protect the family.

We need to be active in the life of the Church.

We need to learn more about our Catholic faith and much, much more.

In today’s society and culture the role of men have been degraded, feminized, or ridiculed.  Our roles as men have been degraded to eliminate ‘gender bias’ by militant secularist humanists.  We have been feminized to the point of denying our natural gifts of being a leader, provider, and protector.  And we have been ridiculed by being attacked as misogynists.

This has taken such a toll on our role as men, we have forgotten what it means to be a husband, father, and a leader in the Church.

Mark Houck and Damian Wargo of The King’s Men apostolate explain this and much more in a 35 minute segment of EWTN‘s Life on the Rock.

Part 1 of 4:

Continue Reading

46

U.S. Involvement in The Great Game Realpolitiks in Gaza

With the news of Israel’s blockade of Gaza still hot all around the world because of the Israeli attack on the activist boats- I think it is important to look back and assess how we have got to this point of chaos, confusion and rage.

Continue Reading

3

Saint Augustine on the Trinity

All those Catholic expounders of the divine Scriptures, both Old and New, whom I have been able to read, who have written before me concerning the Trinity, Who is God, have purposed to teach, according to the Scriptures, this doctrine, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit intimate a divine unity of one and the same substance in an indivisible equality; and therefore that they are not three Gods, but one God: although the Father has begotten the Son, and so He who is the Father is not the Son; and the Son is begotten by the Father, and so He who is the Son is not the Father; and the Holy Spirit is neither the Father nor the Son, but only the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, Himself also co-equal with the Father and the Son, and pertaining to the unity of the Trinity. Yet not that this Trinity was born of the Virgin Mary, and crucified under Pontius Pilate, and buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven, but only the Son. Nor, again, that this Trinity descended in the form of a dove upon Jesus when He was baptized; nor that, on the day of Pentecost, after the ascension of the Lord, when there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, the same Trinity sat upon each of them with cloven tongues like as of fire, but only the Holy Spirit. Nor yet that this Trinity said from heaven, You are my Son, whether when He was baptized by John, or when the three disciples were with Him in the mount, or when the voice sounded, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again; but that it was a word of the Father only, spoken to the Son; although the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as they are indivisible, so work indivisibly. This is also my faith, since it is the Catholic faith.

3

Advent and Anti-Christ, Part IV

The fourth and final part of my presentation of the four sermons on the Anti-Christ delivered by John Henry Cardinal Newman before his conversion during Advent in 1835.  Part I is here, part II is here and Part III is here.

In this last sermon Newman speaks of the persecution that will attend the reign of the anti-Christ.  In Newman’s day, living memory could recall the savage persecution that the Church endured dring the initial years of the French Revolution.  In our time, we have the blood-stained last century when millions of Christians were martyred for their faith.  It is all too easy to suspect that those terrible persecutions were trial runs for the persecution of the Anti-Christ.  The last century brought to reality these words of Newman:  “Let us then apprehend and realize the idea, thus clearly brought before us, that, sheltered as the Church has been from persecution for 1500 years, yet a persecution awaits it, before the end, fierce and more perilous than any which occurred at its first rise.” Certainly all prior persecutions pale before what Christians experienced in the Terrible Twentieth.

This is an interesting passage from Newman’s sermon:  “Again, another anxious sign at the present time is what appears in the approaching destruction of the Mahometan power. This too may outlive our day; still it tends visibly to annihilation, and as it crumbles, perchance the sands of the world’s life are running out.” I assume that Newman was thinking of the decline of the Ottoman Empire of his day, the sick man of Europe.  Freed from this adversary, perhaps Europe would unite behind one man, reform or revive the Roman Empire, and bring about the conditions for the Anti-Christ.  Small wonder that Hitler was frequently deemed the Anti-Christ during his lifetime.  Of course Hitler was not the Anti-Christ, but perhaps merely one of myriads of anti-Christs who have arisen and fallen in the centuries since the coming of Christ, or perhaps he is a precursor of the Anti-Christ.

Continue Reading

24

Why I Don't Believe in a Young Earth

Some time ago, someone asked me:

Suppose–just for the sake of argument–you were convinced that an honest reading of the Tradition of the Church required you to believe that the initial chapters of Genesis were historical. Would you be able to do it, or do you think that Darwinism is so irrefutable that you would have to abandon or radically redetermine your faith?

I think this is the question that worries a lot of Catholics without a strong scientific background as they watch the evolution/creationist/ID debate on Catholic blogs. Here are these otherwise solid Christians taking common cause with the likes of the Richard Dawkins against their brother Christians. What gives? Are these folks really Christian? Do they care more about science than about faith? Do they only accept Catholicism so long as it agrees with science?

Continue Reading

2

Rise You That Sleep

saint-augustine

“It is called the Lord’s birthday when the wisdom of God presented itself to us as an infant, and the Word of God without words uttered the flesh as its voice. And yet the hidden divinity was signified to the wise men by the evidence of the heavens, and announced to the shepherds by the voice of an angel. And so we celebrate this day every year with great solemnity, because on it was fulfilled the prophecy which said,

Truth has sprung from the earth, and Justice has looked forth from heaven (Ps 84:12).

Continue Reading