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The Sunday called Quinquagesima


the Sunday before Lent
Augustine on Psalm XVI
Quinquagesima Home

O LORD which dost teach us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

Quinquagesima is 50 days before Easter and the Sunday before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Source of collect, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer [1549]. Reflects 1 Cor 13 on Charity. Replaced a Medieval prayer used on Shrove Tuesday, when penitents were shriven, that is absolved, of their sins

Deuteronomy xxxiii 1   Psalm 15, 16 | 111, 112;   1 Corinthians xiii. 1.   &   St. Luke xviii. 31
Homily of Augustine on Psalm XVI

All my delight is upon the saints that are in the earth, and upon such as excel in virtue.

This is the Sunday before lent. I encourage centurions who observe the western calendar to attend Ash Wednesday services. For  those who do not have such an opportunity in your community, I suggest that on Ash Wednesday you use the service we have on the Order's site, which includes the collect, lessons, and a penitential office.
The collect for this day and the epistle speak to Charity, or what we call Love (Agape) CS Lewis' book on the Four Loves is an excellent read in conjunction with this passage and collect. A summary is found here. We recall that our Rule contains the summary of the Law which uses Agape (Charitas). 
This Sunday we continue to examine Augustine's treatment of the Psalms with his homily on Psalm 16. This is one of the Prayer Psalms, and it begins with the petition for safety, and then builds on that by its presentation of precepts. I have quoted the precept form the third verse above which addresses the Saints that are in the Earth - the Church Militant. To compliment this verse, I have featured Deuteronomy 33:1-4, which is Moses' blessing on the Saints who gave their hearts to God. Let us hear now Augustine on this verse.

"To the saints who are on His earth" ( 3): to the saints who have placed their hope in the land of the living, the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, whose spiritual conversation is, by the anchor of hope, fixed in that country, which is rightly called God's earth; although as yet in this earth too they be conversant in the flesh. "He hath wonderfully fulfilled all My wishes in them." To those saints then He hath wonderfully fulfilled all My wishes in their advancement, whereby they have perceived, how both the humanity of My divinity hath profited them that I might die, and the divinity of the humanity that I might rise again. "

Do you see how Augustine bases salvation on faith? It is the hope of the saints that anchors them. What is "fixed" in that country if not immovable, forever, eternally. It is that faith and seal of the Holy Ghost that makes them citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem even while they are on this earth. How can that be? How can we be citizens of a heavenly Kingdom, and citizens of this fallen earth? - through Christ in the struggling assembly of saints, the Church Militant, Ecclesia Militans. And what is this excellent virtue that each and every saint shares? Well, we know it is not perfection, not even close; but what is true of every saint is faith. That is the work he said that he had given us to do, to believe on him as the Son of God, the Saviour.

Christ loves his saints with a love that is so deep and wide it cannot be fathomed. A love that is so strong that we cannot be separated from it as we abide in Christ [Rom 8:39]. The old Devil is defeated in Christ's love of his saints. In his love he answers the petition of this psalm by preserving us for we have trusted in him. This is the love to which our Epistle points [1Cor13]. It is that sacrificial love that is given not based on merit (which is earned), but rather by mercy which is a "gift love" [Lk1:50]. In his love he sends his Holy Ghost to abide in us and to give us those wonderful spiritual gifts and virtues, the fruits of the spirit that he has promised [Jn14:26]. He fulfils his love in the world through his saints, soldiers of Christ's Legion, and advances them in holiness [Rom6:22]. He sanctifies his saints [Jn 17:17], calls them to greatness [Mt 18:4], and preserves them in everlasting life [Mt 19:29]. We Love [agape] because he loved us first [1 Jn 4:19]



Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"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]


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