ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Source of Collect: Very earliest of the Sacramentaries . 1 Corinthans 13:13 "now abideth faith, hope, and charity... There are two petitions, to give us increase, and secondly to make us to love reminds us of Romans 6:17... being "obdeient from the heart" [Barbee and Zahl]
my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
How does the above verse set with you? Do you long for the presence of God? Does you heart rejoice when you enter a sacred place, set aside to honor him? Is your whole person, body and soul, in earnest desire for the Lord's presence? Do you know your church to be a safe haven, a "nest", of orthodox worship where you may without doubt worship in the beauty of holiness and truth?
"My soul longeth and faileth for the courts of the Lord:" hear how it holdeth out, rejoicing in hope: "My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God." Here they have rejoiced for that cause. Whence cometh rejoicing, but of hope? Wherefore have they rejoiced? "In the living God." What has rejoiced in thee? "My heart and my flesh." Why have they rejoiced? "For," saith he, "the sparrow hath found her a house, and the turtle-dove a nest, where she may lay her young" (ver. 3). What is this? He had named two things, and he adds two figures of birds which answer to them: he had said that his heart rejoiced and his flesh, and to these two he made the sparrow and turtle-dove to correspond: the heart as the sparrow, the flesh as the dove. The sparrow hath found herself a home: my heart hath found itself a home. She tries her wings in the virtues of this life, in faith, and hope, and charity, by which she may fly unto her home: and when she shall have come thither, she shall remain; and now the complaining voice of the sparrow, which is here, shall no longer be there. For it is the very complaining sparrow of whom in another Psalm he saith, "Like a sparrow alone on the housetop." From the housetop he flies home. Now let him be on the housetop, treading on his carnal house: he shall have a heavenly house, a perpetual home: that sparrow shall make an end of his complaints. But to the dove he hath given young, that is, to the flesh: "the dove hath found a nest, where she may lay her young." The sparrow a home, the dove a nest, and a nest too where she may lay her young. A home is chosen as for ever, a nest is framed for a time: with the heart we think upon God, as if the sparrow flew to her home: with the flesh we do good works. For ye see how many good works are done by the flesh of the saints; for by this we work the things we are commanded to work, by which we are helped in this life. "Break thy bread to the hungry, and bring the poor and roofless into thy house; and if thou see one naked, clothe him:" and other such things which are commanded us we work only through the flesh....We speak, brethren, what ye know: how many seem to do good works without the Church? how many even Pagans feed the hungry, clothe the naked, receive the stranger, visit the sick, comfort the prisoner? how many do this? The dove seems, as it were, to bring forth young: but finds not herself a nest. How many works may heretics do not in the Church; they place not their young in a nest. They shall be trampled on and crushed: they shall not be kept, shall not be guarded....In that faith lay thy young: in that nest work thy works. For what the nests are, what that nest is, follows at once. Having said, And the dove hath found herself a nest, where she may lay her young; as if thou hadst asked, What nest? "Thy altars, O Lord of Hosts, my King and my God." What is, "My King and my God?" Thou who rulest me, who hast created me.
Augustine's curse on heretics is strong. He doesn't play around with niceties. That makes some very uncomfortable today; for they feel no one may judge another. Everyone is OK in their belief. Today this has become part of the "post-modern" culture and philosophy which denies any objective truth, and bows to every weird and apostate belief and practice that emerges. Men of good will understand that there will be some disagreements about the meaning of scripture and certainly about theology, but they at the same time recognize that there are some core truths that must be accepted on faith to be a Christian. This was always defined by the Symbol of the Faith, the Watchword of the faithful, the Baptismal Creed.
Is the place of your worship orthodox? Does the minister preach the apostolic Gospel? Does he believe the Christian faith? Are your children given the knowledge and inspiration that they need to provide a moral and faithful compass through life?
I pray so; and I pray that you may always find your church to be a safe haven that affirms the essential Gospel truths layed down in the creeds, for all to many of us have endured the tyranny of clerical heretics preaching a different Gospel than that which Paul and the fathers handed down to us.
We command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. [2 Thessalonians 3:6]
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]
* ORDO CENTURIONUM * IN HOC SIGNO VINCES * TIME DEUM ET OPERARE IUSTITIAM