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Sunday before Advent


Homily of Augustine on Psalm CXLVIII
Home, Sunday before Advent

STIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source of Collect: Sacramentary of Gregory of Rome [c. 600]. The title of this collect "The Sunday next before Advent" was that which was used in the Sarum Missal, and was restored to the American Prayerbook in 1892. [Barbee and Zahl]

Jeremiah xxiii. 5   Psalm 146, 147 | 148,149,150 &  St. John vi. 1
Homil of Augustine on Psalm CXLVIII

His Name only is excellent, and his praise above heaven and earth


Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ



"… we are not being stubbornly antiquated in a liberal and undogmatic world, but are leading the procession back home. It is for the preservation and promulgation of the Nicene Faith that [we] labor; and in our defense of such orthodox dogmas as the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation, and a Resurrection neither metaphorical nor hallucinatory, we shall not budge."

[Former Dean Nutter of Nashota House Seminary ]


Dacius the Soldier - November 23rd
Porphyrius the Soldier and 200 at Alexandria - November 25th
Mercurius of Caesarea in Cappadocia - November 25th 

commentary and opinion

Psalm CXLVIII. Augustine's homily is at the link above. The psalm has two sections of six verses, and a conclusion of two verses. The first section is a call to things heavenly, and the second to things earthly.
This psalm is one that was sung daily in the Early Church. It opens with the thirsting for God as in a desert (v1) finding God in the Sanctuary (v2), prayers sung (v3) and the lifting of hands (v4), and the imprecatory bidding against enemies (vs 9-11)
In reading the psalmist list of those bidden to praise the Lord, one is reminded of the listing of God's creation in Genesis 1, which is the appointed Old Testament reading selected to accompany this psalm.
Augustine wrote in his opening paragraph of an ancient custom, still practiced in the Easter Church and in some few others:
The subject of our meditation in this present life should be the praises of God; for the everlasting exaltation of our life hereafter will be the praise of God, and none can become fit for the life hereafter, who hath not practised himself for it now. So then now we praise God, but we pray to Him too. Our praise is marked by joy, our prayer by groans.…On account of these two seasons, one, that which now is in the temptations and tribulations of this life, the other, that which is to be hereafter in everlasting rest and exultation; we have established also the celebration of two seasons, that before Easter and that after Easter. That which is before Easter signifieth tribulation, in which we now are; that which we are now keeping after Easter, signifieth the bliss in which we shall hereafter be. The celebration then which we keep before Easter is what we do now: by that which we keep after Easter we signify what as yet we have not. Therefore we employ that time in fastings and prayer, this present time we spend in praises, and relax our fast. This is the Halleluia which we sing, which, as you know, meaneth (in Latin), Praise ye the Lord. Therefore that period is before the Lord's Resurrection, this, after His Resurrection: by which time is signified the future hope which as yet we have not: for what we represent after the Lord's Resurrection, we shall have after our own. For in our Head both are figured, both are set forth. The Baptism of the Lord setteth forth to us this present life of trial, for in it we must toil, be harassed, and, at last, die; but the Resurrection and Glorification of the Lord setteth forth to us the life which we are to have hereafter, when He shall come to recompense due rewards, evil to the evil, good to the good. And now indeed all the evil men sing with us, Halleluia; but, if they persevere in their wickedness, they may utter with their lips the song of our life hereafter; but the life itself, which will then be in the reality which now is typified, they cannot obtain, because they would not practise it before it came, and lay hold on what was to come.
Augustine speaks of course of the Church tradition of liturgical worship which is characterized by fasting, psalms of penance, and prayers kneeling on Monday through Saturday during the period of the Great Lent… (40 days before Easter not counting Saturdays and Sundays] However, upon the Feast of the Resurrection, one finds in the churches joy, feasting, the "Sunday best', white robes, prayers while standing only. This observance continues on all days through Pentecost. This was directed in the First Ecumenical Council called by Constantine in the year 326, about 75 years before Augustine wrote the words above and spoke to his congregation during the period of feasting between Easter and Pentecost. It is custom in all Orthodox churches, but is no longer observed in the West. We have it suggested as a standard in our Chapel of the Centurions.
FORASMUCH as there are certain persons who kneel on the Lord's Day and in the days of Pentecost, therefore, to the intent that all things may be uniformly observed everywhere(in every parish), it seems good to the holy Synod that prayer be made to God standing
[1st Ecumenical Council at Nicea, 326 AD]


Second Sunday before Advent

Augustine on Psalm LXIII

O GOD, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil, and make us the sons of God, and heirs of eternal life; Grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves, even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

This Collect was added in 1662. It clearly points to the Gospel of the day and the Second Coming of Christ

2Sa xv. 23, Psalms 63, 65 | 78 , 1 St. John iii. 1   &   St. Matthew xxiv. 23

Homily of Augustine on Psalm LXIII

But the King shall rejoice in God; all they also that swear by him shall be commended; for the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.


Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ


My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips

(v5. Ps 63)

If we would evidence a strong faith, we must anticipate the divine favour before it has been actually manifested…we must learn to be on our guard against dispondency.

[ Calvin on the Psalms ]


Edmund, King and Martyr November 20th

C.S. Lewis, Lieutenant (GB), Apologist - November 22nd


A Centurion wrote to me and advised of a movement to encourage America's representatives to not allow the new Freedom of Choice Act. There is a petition at this site one may sign, and an analysis of the proposed statute here

commentary and opinion

Today's we shall look at the exposition of Psalm LXIII by Augustine at the link above. The psalm has a title that attributes it to David while he was in the wilderness. Possible desert experiences were in the Desert of Hareth (1Sa 22:5), the Desert of Ziph (1Sa 23:15) or perhaps during his exile when threatened by his son Absalom and the conspiracy to kill him,  which I have selected for today's Old Testament Reading (2Sa 15:23) when David crossed over the Kidron into the Wilderness of Judah.
This psalm is one that was sung daily in the Early Church. It opens with the thirsting for God as in a desert (v1) finding God in the Sanctuary (v2), prayers sung (v3) and the lifting of hands (v4), and the imprecatory bidding against enemies (vs 9-11)
Augustine writes :
men's…souls ought to thirst for God. Wisdom therefore must be thirsted after, righteousness must be thirsted after. With it we shall not be satisfied, with it we shall not be filled, save when this life shall have been ended, and we shall have come to that which God hath promised.

These are the things that Solomon thirsted for, which pleased God, and which he received in abundance, but forsook. This is the essence of the prayer of the Order's Labarum Guard. Augustine then speaks of our destiny and help from heaven.

For God hath promised equality with Angels: and now the Angels thirst not as we do, they hunger not as we do; but they have the fulness of truth, of light, of immortal wisdom. Therefore blessed they are, and out of so great blessedness, because they are in that City, the Heavenly Jerusalem, afar from whence we now are sojourning in a strange land, they observe us sojourners, and they pity us, and by the command of the Lord they help us, in order that to this common country sometime we may return, and there with them sometime with the Lord's fountain of truth and eternity we may be filled.

Note here that Augustine speaks of those heavenly powers, the Angles in heaven, who intercede for men by the command of God (compare with Jesus observation in Matthew 10). He then makes it clear that Christians are not with the Angels in the City of God now, thirst to be there, and shall be rewarded at the Resurrection (Mt 22:30-For in the resurrection they…are as the angels of God in heaven. and also Mt 16:27 ) Then follows this wonderful sermon on the nature of the physical reality of the Resurrection which is doubted and spiritualized by so many false religious teachers, but who are scandalized by the Gospel.

Now therefore let our soul thirst: whence doth our flesh also thirst, and this in many ways? "In many ways for Thee," he saith, "my flesh also." Because to our flesh also is promised Resurrection. As to our soul is promised blessedness, so also to our flesh is promised resurrection.…For if God hath made us that were not, is it a great thing for Him to make again us that were? Therefore let not this seem to you to be incredible, because ye see dead men as it were decaying, and passing into ashes and into dust. Or if any dead man be burned, or if dogs tear him in pieces, do ye think that from this he will not rise again? All things which are dismembered, and into a sort of dust do decay, are entire with God. For into those elements of the world they pass, whence at first they have come, when we were made: we do not see them; but yet God will bring them forth, He knoweth whence, because even before we were, He created us from whence He knew. Such a resurrection of the flesh therefore to us is promised, as that, although it be the same flesh that now we carry  which is to rise again, yet it hath not the corruption which now it hath. For now because of the corruption of frailty, if we eat not, we faint and are hungry; if we drink not, we faint and are thirsty; if long time we watch, we faint and sleep; if long time we sleep, we faint, therefore we watch.…Secondly, see how without any standing is our flesh: for infancy passeth away into boyhood, and thou seekest infancy, and infancy is not, for now instead of infancy is boyhood: again this same also passeth into youth, thou seekest boyhood and findest not: the young man becometh a middle-aged man, thou seekest the young man and he is not: the middle-aged man becometh an old man, thou seekest a middle-aged man and findest not: and an old man dieth, thou seekest an old man and findest not: our age therefore standeth not still: everywhere is weariness, everywhere faintness, everywhere corruption. Observing what a hope of resurrection God promiseth to us, in all those our manifold faintings we thirst for that incorruption: and so our flesh manifoldly doth thirst for God.

Let us remember Paul's words and be comforted and reassured of our destiny, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. [Rom 10:9]. Furthermore, let us spread this good news abroad to all. Those whom God has called will hear, and receive, and believe, and shall be saved and physically and perfectly raised in the Day of the Lord.
Grant, O Lord, that the lies of the wolves among us may be stopped.

"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]



The Twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity

Homily of Augustine on Psalm LXXV
Home for this Sunday

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Sacramentary of Bishop Gregory of Rome [600 AD]. Cranmer added "Church" to the "familia". Note "ONLY" by the hope of grace.

2 Kings xix. 1 , Psalm 75, 76 | 107,   Colossians iii. 12   &   St. Matthew xiii. 24


For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south.
But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.

Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ




God is the Judge; he putteth down one, and setteth up another

"Although God has in his own hand sovereign power and authority, so that he can do whatever he pleases, yet he is styled judge, to teach us that he governs the affairs of mankind with the most perfect equity"

[Calvin on verse 7, Psalm 75]


Martin of Tours - November 11th

Mennas, Legionary & Martyr November 11th

Remembrance-Veterans Day - and Lt. Col John McCrae - November 11th



Latin Mass and

the politics in the Roman Catholic churches in England and Wales.

Battle of the Bulge veteran credits God:

I recall Patton's prayer that preceded the relief of this soldier's unit

International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church 9 November 2008


commentary and opinion


Augustine speaks on Psalm LXXV in today's featured homily. The New International Version Study Bible mentions that it may be related to the threat that King Hezekiah faced from the Assyrians as related in 2 Kings xviii. 13 - xix 37. In reading that passage, I felt that the first four verses of chapter xix were especially appropriate for today's Old Testament lesson. King Hezekiah, one of the few righteous kings after David, is the central character in the story. He humbled himself with external signs: tearing his clothes in desperation and wearing sackcloth in contrition (for the whole of Israel as her king), and only then did he come before the Lord with his invocation. He bid the intercessions of Isaiah and the priests of the Temple in prayers for deliverance. Perhaps this 75th Psalm is what they composed and chanted in response to his bidding. First Hezekiah confessed; then he invoked. Note how Augustine's translation or paraphrase of Psalm LXXV picks up this theme in 2 Kings, and how it compares with received translations today. Augustine wrote:

"We will confess to Thee, O Lord, we will confess to Thee, and will invoke Thy name"

Do not invoke, before thou confess: confess, and invoke. For Him whom thou art invoking, unto thyself thou callest. For what is it to invoke, but unto thyself to call? If He is invoked by thee, that is, if He is called to thee, unto whom doth He draw near? To a proud man He draweth not near. High indeed He is, one lifted up attaineth not unto Him. In order that we may reach all exalted objects, we raise ourselves, and if we are not able to reach them, we look for some appliances or ladders, in order that being exalted we may reach exalted objects: contrariwise God is both high, and by the lowly He is reached. It is written, "Nigh is the Lord to them that have bruised the heart." The bruising of the heart is Godliness, humility. He that bruiseth himself is angry with himself. Let him make himself angry in order that he may make Him merciful; let him make himself judge, in order that he may make Him Advocate. Therefore God doth come when invoked. Unto whom doth He come? To the proud man He cometh not....Take heed therefore what ye do: for if He knoweth, He is not unobservant. It is better therefore that He be unobservant than known. For what is that same being unobservant, but not knowing? What is, not to know? Not to animadvert. For even as the act of one avenging animadversion is wont to be spoken of. Here one praying that He be unobservant: "Turn away Thy face from my sins." What then wilt thou do if He shall have turned away His face from thee? A grievous thing it is, and to be feared, lest He forsake thee. Again, if He turn not away His face, He animadverteth. God knoweth this thing, God can do this thing, namely, both turn away face from one sinning, and not turn away from one confessing....Confess therefore and invoke. For by confessing thou purgest the Temple, into which He may come, when invoked. Confess and invoke. May He turn away face from thy sins, not turn away from thee: turn away face from that which thou hast wrought, not turn away from that which He hath Himself wrought. For thee, as man, He hath Himself wrought, thy sins thou hast thyself wrought....

Ponder how is Augustine's explanation of this verse can be likened to a liturgical practice of the Church. In the tradition that I know and love, after hearing lessons from the Word of God, and an exhortation by the presbyter, there follows a general confession before the celebration of the Eucharist. As Augustine says, "confess therefore and invoke." The celebrant then declares God's promised absolution to all those who truly repent, and then turns to celebrate the Great Thanksgiving and invokes the Holy Ghost in the mystery of Holy Communion: "Bless and sanctify with thy Word and Holy Sprit, these thy gifts and creatures of bread and wine". This invocation is known as the  epiclesis, and is part of the ancient Roman rite of
Hippolytus  who prayed "we beseech you to send the Holy Spirit on the offering of the Holy Church"


"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]



Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trininty

O LORD, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Source: Sacramentary of Bishop Leo of Rome [461] and of Gregory. Said the Sunday week before the penitential season of Advent, it begs God for absolution. Today's Gospel echos this theme as the woman was released from her bands of infirmity through faith [Barbee and Zahl]

2nd Sam v. 17, Psalm 129, 130, 131 | 144, 145, Colossians i. 3   &  St. Matthew ix. 18
Homily of Augustine on Psalm CXLIV

BLESSED be the LORD my strength, who teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight





" Do not think that no one can please God who is a soldier in military arms. Holy David was among these, to whom the Lord gave such great witness "

[Augustine, Letter to Boniface]


Joannicus, Legionary, Religious Member, November 4th

Julius - Centurion of the Augustan Cohort - November 8th


On the Name of God: Use of the tetragram in liturgical worship.

New Roman Latin Mass - in English: Note the 60s verbiage like "and also with you" is gone, and the ancient "with your spirit" is back

Christians flee Mosul, Iraq in wake of killings

Complexity Theory: this might appear slightly off target, but I think not whey you consider the timeless truth captured in this verse: Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God [Rev 15:3] Not to mention - complex



Today we may read Augustine preaching on Psalm 144. This is a great militant psalm.
Like may of David's songs, this psalm is a prayer for strength in warfare. It is one that I commend to all of our combat veterans. Augustine's copy of the prayer related it to David's defeat of Goliath. However, Henry's commentary places the psalm later, and I tend to agree. Henry suggests a time of intense danger for David from outside enemies and suggests 2nd Samuel v. 17 which I have placed at the link above. It was in this period that God gave David very specific aid in guiding him to defeat the Philistines, by ambush. They had arrayed their Army against Israel, and David was instructed to come up from a hidden position and to attack at the sound of the wind rustling in the mulberry trees.
Augustine explains the psalm and at the same time makes this imprecatory bidding against the enemies of the Church of his day.
But there are some that conspire, that "gather themselves together against the Lord, and against His Christ." They have come together, they have conspired. "Flash forth Thy lightnings, and Thou shalt scatter them." Abound with Thy miracles, and their conspiracy shall be broken...."Send forth Thine arrows, and Thou shalt confound them." Let the unsound be wounded, that, being well wounded, they may be made sound; and let them say, being set now in the Church, in the Body of Christ, let them say with the Church, "I am wounded with Love." "Send forth Thine Hand from on high." What afterward? What in the end? How conquereth the Body of Christ? By heavenly aid. "For the Lord Himself shall come with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God shall He descend from heaven," Himself the Saviour of the body, the Hand of God. What is, "Out of many waters"? From many peoples. What peoples? Aliens, unbelievers, whether assailing us from without, or laying snares within.
I think of the Church today in meditating on Augustine. Beware of those who "are laying snares within" I read this week of a billionaire who is funding liberal Roman Catholic groups in hopes of overturning the historic Catholic faith, morals, and discipline. Centurion James of Wisconsin wrote to local editors this week calling their attention to this article from Britain on the situation with the Roman Church there and Islam. Centurions, take heart! Know that God watches over those who love him and follow him, and he will never let them come to spiritual harm. Stand firm! Nothing can separate you from the love of God except you by turning from him and his Gospel. 

All Saints [1 Nov]


All Saints
[November 1]

O ALMIGHTY God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
[This Collect is to be said daily throughout the Octave]

At the beginning of morning prayer and for an anthem at communion:
The Lord is glorious in his saints; * O come, let us adore him

Revelation vii. 2   &   St. Matthew v. 1
Hymn: For All the Saints

Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven


"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]