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All Saints Sunday

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. 

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

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

" In today's homily, Augustine wrote, 

"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." How foolish, therefore, are those who seek God with these outward eyes, since He is seen with the heart! as it is written elsewhere, "And in singleness of heart seek Him." For that is a pure heart which is a single heart: and just as this light cannot be seen, except with pure eyes; so neither is God seen, unless that is pure by which He can be seen. 

Jesus taught that God indeed marks those sacrifices his elect make day by day in following his prime directive, and they who are his own; who are pure of heart, will see the face of God. So then there are two things here, those that are unseen, such as the pure heart, the meek (not weak, but rather not puffed up with themselves), those whose spirits are distressed at the fallen state of the world and their own failings, and those who spirits thirst for the truths of the Gospel. These are the things internal and not seen by man, but known by God. On the other hand, our Lord made a specific point in emphasizing things that are quite visible. Men who love their neighbors practice mercy and are peacemakers. So we see that the blessed are those who put the Lord's Summary of the Law into practice by walking humbly before God for whom they have unfeigned love, and by working out his command to love their neighbor by acts of mercy and peace. 

Some often wonder, "Will I go to heaven, will I be a saint?"  God knows, and those who are heaven bound are his saints already. Those who can readily identify with the attributes described in the beatitudes may have confidence that they will be in that number.

Finally, in the sermon, Jesus but turned to his disciples and promised them they would face persecution for their faith in him, but that their reward would be great.  The first "saint" of the church whose day of martydom was celebrated annually was Bishop Polycarp in about 155 AD. When asked to deny Christ he said,  "Eighty-six years I have served Christ, and He never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?"  I pray that each of you are prepared to say the same if that day come, and to meekly withstand persecution from an ever more aggressive and belligerent world, overcoming evil with good.  As our collect today says, 
 Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living

From all Thy saints in warfare, for all Thy saints at rest,

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]



The Twentieth Sunday after Trinity

Augustine homily on Matt. xxii 
Home, 20th Sunday after Trinity

O ALMIGHTY and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us; that we, being ready both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things which thou commandest; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Sacrementary of Bishop Gelasius of Rome [494]. Much minor reworking from the Latin. [Barbee and Zalh]

Ephesians v. 15 &  St. Matthew xxii. 1 
Augustine on Matt. xx etc.

how camest thou in hither not having a wedding-garment 


Today's Gospel is addressed in the homily of Augustine. I enjoyed the entire homily and invite you to read it at the link. I would like to examine closely this section 

 What is that "wedding garment" then? This is the wedding garment: "Now the end of the commandment," says the Apostle, "is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned."  This is "the wedding garment." Not charity of any kind whatever; for very often they who are partakers together of an evil conscience seem to love one another. They who commit robberies together, who love the hurtful arts of sorceries, and the stage together, who join together in the shout of the chariot race, or the wild beast fight; these very often love one another; but in these there is no "charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. The wedding garment" is such charity as this. "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal."  ... This then is "the wedding garment." Question yourselves; if ye have it, ye may be without fear in the Feast of the Lord. In one and the same man there exist two things, charity and desire. Let charity be born in thee, if it be yet unborn, and if it be born, be it nourished, fostered, increased. But as to that desire, though in this life it cannot be utterly extinguished; "for if we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us;"  but in so far as desire is in us, so far we are not without sin: let charity increase, desire decrease; that the one, that is, charity, may one day be perfected, and desire be consumed. Put on "the wedding garment:" you I address, who as yet have it not. Ye are already within, already do ye approach to the Feast, and still have ye not yet the garment to do honour to the Bridegroom; "Ye are yet seeking your own things, not the things which are Jesus Christ's." [3013] For "the wedding garment" is taken in honour of the union, the union, that is, of the Bridegroom to the Bride. Ye know the Bridegroom; it is Christ. Ye know the Bride; it is the Church. Pay honour to the Bride, pay honour to the Bridegroom. If ye pay due honour to them both, ye will be their children. Therefore in this make progress. Love the Lord, and so learn to love yourselves; that when by loving the Lord ye shall have loved yourselves, ye may securely love your neighbour as yourselves. For when I find a man that does not love himself, how shall I commit his neighbour whom he should love as himself to him? And who is there, you will say, who does not love himself? Who is there? See, "He that loveth iniquity hateth his own soul." Does he love himself, who loves his body, and hates his soul to his own hurt, to the hurt of both his body and soul? And who loves his own soul? He that loveth God with all his heart and with all his mind. To such an one I would at once entrust his neighbour. "Love your neighbour as yourselves." 

Twenty-one years ago in an Ethics class as Syracuse, I wrote a paper that keyed on the idea of the Summary of the Law as a guide to ethical behavior and submitted it to my professed "secular humanist" professor. My theme was close to that of Augustine in the above paragraph that I have emphasized: "Love the Lord, and love your neighbor  (as well) as yourself.  I had all these years thought my twist on the Summary and theme was original, but in reading Augustine this week, I realize that this fits within the adage that "there is nothing new under the sun". 

 I don't personally agree with Augustinie on the nature of the wedding garment, and think it to be a "saving faith by election", but I firmly support his thesis that we are sinners and saints who are called to grow in the spiritual virtues, the chief of which is charity toward our neighbors. As we recognize within ourselves that we are living in charity, and resisting malice, with every "neighbor", we may discern God's work within us, changing us into the image of Christ, to the glory of God.  For those who recognize such in their lives comes the blessed assurance of salvation confirmed, but to those whose malevolent spirit finds no love of self or neighbor, no rest, and where sin rules, then the terror of damnation leads to separation, wretchedness, desperation, and despair.  Chapter 13 of 1st Corinthians calls us from the beginnings of our walk in faith to the fruition and proof of that faith in charity manifested.

This coming week we will induct new members into the Labarum Guard on the eve of the Feast of Saxa Ruba, 27 October. All guards are called upon to pray this prayer that recognizes the source of those ancient and spritual virtues:  

I bid your prayers for them and all of us this day, Let us pray:

Almighty God, Captain of the Host, inspire us, we beseech thee, to grow in the virtues of justice, wisdom, courage, moderation, faith, hope, and charity; to protect and defend thy Church Militant against every assault of the enemy; and to render unto thee our Christian service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
"If a man loves righteousness, her labours are virtues; for she teacheth temperance and prudence, justice and fortitude, which are such things as man can have nothing more profitable in their life." (Wisdom of Solomon 8:7) "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" (1 Corenthians 13:13) 

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]



Saint Luke the Evangelist [18 Oct] Trinity 19

Augustine on Luke x. 16
Being that portion of the Gospel that follows the regularly appiointed verses for the Feast of St. Luke [Luke x 1]

ALMIGHTY God, who didst inspire thy servant Saint Luke the Physician, to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of thy Son; Manifest in thy Church the like power and love, to the healing of our bodies and our souls; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O GOD, forasmuch as without thee we are not able to please thee; Mercifully grant that thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sirach xxxviii,, Psalm 103  , 2 Timothy iv. 5   &   St. Luke x. 8
Homily of Augustine

He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me;
 and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.


This day the Church remembers Luke the Evangelist - a Physician by tradition. The Early Church had a prologue to the Gospel that said, 

Luke, a native of Antioch, by profession a physician. He had become a disciple of the apostle Paul and later followed Paul until his [Paul's] martyrdom. Having served the Lord continuously, unmarried and without children, filled with the Holy Spirit he died at the age of 84 years

For the OT lesson today, I have selected verses from the 38th chapter of Sirach.  We have many members who are in the field of medicine and healthcare, and on this day we recognize them for their service.  I encourage you to read this most appropriate scriptture, and to praise God who is with our centurions as they practice their art and science to his glory.

Our homily today is from Augustine. It addsresses the verses that follow the regular Gospel of Luke x, 1ff on the sending forth of the 70. The lesson of the 70 was likely selected in the years gone by because another tradition of the Early Church held that Luke was one of the 70. In the portion that follows the regular reading, Jesus advises his disciples of the fate of those who reject them and their teaching.  You won't often hear that message repeated in the post-modern "churches" as they would be afraid of offending their members. I am not ashamed of the Gospel, and I do not for an instant believe that the Gospels present anything but the true Word of God. I especially am thankful and praise God for the witness of Luke and his history of the ministry of our Lord and the Acts of the Apostles.

Let us turn now hear a portion of the message of Augustine [Homily of Augustine]

What our Lord Jesus Crist at that time spake to His disciples was put in writing, and prepared for us to hear. And so we have heard His words. For what profit would it be to us if He were seen, and were not heard? And now it is no hurt, that He is not seen, and yet is heard. He saith then, "He that despiseth you, despiseth Me."  If to the Apostles only He said, "He that despiseth you, despiseth Me;" do ye despise us. But if His word reach to us, and He hath called us, and set us in their place, see that ye despise not us, lest the wrong ye shall do unto us reach to Him. For if ye fear not us, fear Him who said, "He that despiseth you, despiseth Me." But why do we, who are unwilling to be despised by you, speak to you, except that we may have joy of your good conversation? Let your good works be the solace of our perils. Live well, that ye may not die ill. 
We know the truth of Augstine's words. Those who have been called and speak in our Lord's name are despised by those who are offended in the Gospel. His true ministers suffer for his sake, and yet they will receive the good reward promised by our Lord. Knowing this, true servants of God continue to proclaim the Gospel as best they can and as they have recievd and believe it. However, those who pretend to be God's ministers, dress in their pomp, and yet pander the idolators, pagans, and reprobate, while withholding the teachings of our Lord as given below, will win the admiration and praise of these lost souls, and they also shall have their desired reward in that day.  They will despise you for your orthodox faith. What shall become of them? What saith scripture: ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.


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]



The Eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

Augustine on Psalm CXII

Trinity 18 Home

LORD, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace to withstand the devil; and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source Bishop Gelasians Sacrmentary [494] where appointed for the Sunday before Ember Days in the Autumn. Ember days were for penitence, fasting, and the Saturday for ordinations in Rome. The 1662 added temptations of the world, the flesh One is reminded of the Lord's prayer and of 2 Peter 2:9

Psalm 112, Ephesians iv. 1   &   St. Luke xiv. 1 
Homily - Psalm CXII by Augustine


A couple of years ago I watched the movie "300" : the 300 Spartans and supporting troops under Leonidas who held off an invading Persian army for a considerable period under Xerxes against amazing odds - long enough for the Greek city states to rally. []

This day the counter on the registration for the Order hit 300. The Legio Christi now has three centuries of Christ's own who vowed to "fear God and do what is right". They represent 300 building blocks on the foundation of the everlasting and true Church of Jesus Christ. The task to defend the Church seems overwhelming, but like Leonidas and his Spartans, you stand in the breach to defend the faith once given in an historic era. So, stand firm in faith, and pray our work in this battle may be of the kind that endures like gold, rather than is burned like stubble [1 Cor 3:11]

In today's homily by Augustine on Psalm 118, he opens with this: 

 I believe, brethren, that ye remarked and committed to memory the title of this Psalm. "The conversion," he saith, "of Haggai and Zechariah." These prophets were not as yet in existence, when these verses were sung.  ...But both, the one within a year after the other, began to prophesy that which seemeth to pertain to the restoration of the temple, as was foretold so long before.  ..."For the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." Whoever therefore converteth himself to the work of this building together, and to the hope of a firm and holy edifice, like a living stone from the miserable ruin of this world, understandeth the title of the Psalm, understandeth "the conversion of Haggai and Zechariah." Let him therefore chant the following verses, not so much with the voice of his tongue as of his life. For the completion of the building will be that ineffable peace of wisdom, the "beginning" of which is the "fear of the Lord:" let him therefore, whom this conversion buildeth together, begin thence. 

Do you see how he calls those he addresses in his cathedral "bretheren".  He speaks of he "restoration of the temple"  He regards them to be co-laborers in continuing to build the True Church. He has identified the root of any successful building: before anything else, it is necessary that the laborers have a right "fear of the Lord".  O how many are there who do labor in vain because they know not God. They pursue their ideas of justice and peace, and yet forsake, yes and even deny,  the living God. How quickly their work will be thrown down and burnt in the last days.  Because they regard not the works of the LORD, nor the operation of his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up. [Ps 28:5]. Centurions, be careful. Ensure that in all matters you regard the Lord rightly as your Sovereign, and commit your work always to his glory. 

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]



The Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity

Augustine on Psalm 91
Trinity 17 Home

LORD, we pray thee that thy grace may always prevent and follow us, and make us continually to be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Bishop Gregory [595]. "Prevent" meaning to come before from the verb prevenient. This calls to my mind Patrick's Breastplate Christ behind me, Christ before me... and Psalm 139 Thou hast beset me before and behind...

Deuteronomy xvi.8; Psalm 91, Ephesians iv. 1   &   St. Luke xiv. 1
Homily - Psalm XCI by Augustine


This week we look at Augustine on psalm 91. I very much enjoyed his homily and commend it all.  This past week a centurion sent me a little story about a soldier that reported in to heaven, and admitted that he had not been special here on earth. God received the soldier into heaven, hence, one of the saints,  because of his fidelity and execution of duty.

I pondered this little story and the approach of All Saints Day which falls on a Sunday this year, and I responded to our brother, and affirmed the theology of St. Paul. This is one of many quotes that seems to apply to the saints: 

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints [Eph 1:18]

By happenstance, Augustine has addressed this subject in his examination of the psalm and this verse below:

Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 
 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

 He has now come to the power Which rescues him from falling by the "downfall and the devil of the noon-day." "For Thou, Lord, art my hope: Thou hast set Thy house of defence very high." What do the words "very high" mean? For many make their house of defence in God a mere refuge from temporal persecution; but the defence of God is on high, and very secret, whither thou mayest fly from the wrath to come. Within "Thou hast set thine house of defence very high. There shall no evil happen unto Thee: neither shall any plague come nigh Thy dwelling"  The Holy City is not the Church of this country only, but of the whole world as well: not that of this age only, but from Abel himself down to those who shall to the end be born and believe in Christ, the whole assembly of the Saints, belonging to one city; which city is Christ's body, of which Christ is the Head. There, too, dwell the Angels, who are our fellow-citizens: we toil, because we are as yet pilgrims: while they within that city are awaiting our arrival. Letters have reached us too from that city, apart from which we are wandering: those letters are the Scriptures, which exhort us to live well. Why do I speak of letters only? The King himself descended, and became a path to us in our wanderings: that walking in Him, we may neither stray, nor faint nor fall among robbers, nor be caught in the snares that are set near our path. This character, then, we recognise in the whole Person of Christ, together with the Church....He Himself is our Head, He is God, co-equal with the Father, the Word of God, by whom all things were made:  but God to create, Man to renew; God to make, Man to restore. Looking upon Him, then, let us hear the Psalm. Listen, beloved. This is the teaching and doctrine of this school, which may enable you to understand, not this Psalm only, but many, if ye keep in mind this rule. Sometimes a Psalm, and all prophecy as well, in speaking of Christ, praises the Head alone, and sometimes from the Head goes to the Body, that is, the Church, and without apparently changing the Person spoken of: because the Head is not separate from the Body, and both are spoken of as one...

Like Paul in his epistles, I write week by week bidding the prayers of the order for our saints,  our brethren, especially upon the occasion of their registration anniversary. I must presume that in taking the vow of the Order, and confessing Christ as Lord, that all centurions are indeed Christ's own, and as such, saints and sinners in God's grace, his elect. Augustine goes on in his homily to speak of those who claimed Christianity, or who fell by denying God when put to the test as a result of temptations, threats of death, or torture - or like some today who were just being politically correct like the TEC Bishop of Los Angeles who apologized to Hindus for converting their kinsman to Christianity and was applauded by them recently  [link].  Read now what Augustine said in his homily touching on this:

The devil has entrapped many by a harsh word: for instance, those who profess Christianity among Pagans suffer insult from the heathen: they blush when they hear reproach, and shrinking out of their path in consequence, fall into the hunter's snares. And yet what will a harsh word do to you? Nothing. Can the snares with which the enemy entraps you by means of reproaches, do nothing to you? Nets are usually spread for birds at the end of a hedge, and stones are thrown into the hedge: those stones will not harm the birds. When did any one ever hit a bird by throwing a stone into a hedge? But the bird, frightened at the harmless noise, falls into the nets; and thus men who fear the vain reproaches of their calumniators, and who blush at unprovoked insults, fall into the snares of the hunters, and are taken captive by the devil...Just as among the heathen, the Christian who fears their reproaches falls into the snare of the hunter:

God created angles as his special servants, and one third of them rebelled from his authority and were cast to the earth to torment man;  man also rebels against God, and will share the same fate as the fallen angels. 

What of the habitation that Augustine refers. Well, it is the true Church, the Church of those marked as Christ's own, Militant (struggling) on earth, faithful, resisting with God's help temptation; and after death in rest and repose in Paradise - still with our Lord who said he would never leave us, and as the Apostle spoke: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I know even as also I am known. 

Augustine wrote elsewhere in this homily: 

But whoever regarded not the present life, but had a sure trust in a future one, avoided the arrow, by confessing himself a Christian; smitten in the flesh, he was liberated in the spirit: resting with God, he began peacefully to await the redemption of his body in the resurrection of the dead: he escaped from that temptation, from the arrow that flieth by day....

This is the catholic and orthodox faith known to and preached by saint Augustine.

Note: I have left the capitalization as it was in the translation; however, in the Latin one would not have found such to my knowledge, saints, pagans, church, etc. would have all be written in lower case without any emphasis, just as one finds it in the epistles of Paul.


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]