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Readings for the Week of April 25th, 2010


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Mark the Evangelist 

Acts 13:43-52:  

      When the Apostles said: "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you, but seeing you put it from you… lo we turn to the Gentiles," then all the spiritual importance of Judea and its old intimacy with God were transferred by the Apostles to the nations. (St. Jerome) 

      Envy, though not the greatest sin, is the only one that gives the sinner no pleasure at all, not even fake and temporary satisfaction. It causes nothing but pain and sorrow. Thus it shows more clearly than other sins two profound truths about the nature of all sin: that it removes our joy and that it is deceptive. The Devil, who whispers his seductive advertisements into our ears, is a liar. His road leads to pure misery, not to satisfaction, much less to the joy we are always, deep down, seeking. Envy removes joy because envy is the opposite of gratitude, and gratitude is the seedbed of joy. A man without gratitude is an ex-man, a proto-demon. Every moment of our lives is an invitation to humanity, that is, to gratitude. (Peter Kreeft) 

Revelation 7:9-17: 

      Though in former times death was mighty and devoured, at the holy Laver of regeneration God has "wiped away every tear from off all faces." You shall not mourn any more, now that you have put off the old man; but you shall keep holiday, clothed in the garment of salvation, even Jesus Christ. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

      The glory and nobility of God's eternal kingdom have to be estimated from the dignity of its King. Jesus indeed is King Whose kingdom will not be destroyed and Whom "all tribes and peoples and tongues" will serve throughout eternity. O how glorious is the kingdom of this most excellent King where all the just reign with Him! Its law is truth, peace, charity, life and eternity. It is not divided by the number of those who reign; nor lessened by being shared, nor disturbed by its multitude, nor disordered by its inequality of ranks, nor circumscribed by space, nor changed by motion nor measured by time. (St. Bonaventure) 
 John 10:27-30: 

      When our Lord says, "I and My Father are One," He indicates their identity of essence. It is necessary both to maintain the One God and to confess the Three Persons. Divinity is divided but without division and is united but with distinctions. Thus both the division and union are paradoxical; for what paradox would there be if the Son were united to the Father and divided from Him only in the same manner as one human being is united to and divided from another, and nothing more? (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      The Son is said by virtue of His energy to be life in relation to living things, since He quickens them and is called their life. "My sheep hear My voice, and I give them eternal life." To those who believe in Him He promises to give the life that belongs to and inheres in Him substantially. (St. Gregory Palamas) 

      "No man is able to pluck them out of My Father's hand." If by hand we understand power, the power of the Father and the Son is one, even as Their divinity is one. If we understand the Son, the Son is the hand of the Father, not in a bodily sense, as if God the Father had limbs, but as being He by Whom all things were made. (St. Augustine) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Basileos, Bishop of Amasea, Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Stephen, Bishop of Perm  

Acts 11:1-18: 

      God gives the Holy Spirit; for this is no work of man, nor gift of man. He Who is invoked by the priest is given by God, wherein He is the gift of God and served by the priest. Peter confessed that he was not capable of compelling or constraining the Holy Spirit when he said, "if God has granted them the same grace as to us, who was I that I could resist God?" (St. Ambrose) 

      Peter explained the case to them in an orderly fashion. He did not assert his own authority but gave reasons humbly, and even produced witnesses to defend him from blame. If, then, the Pastor of the Church, the Prince of the Apostles, who singularly did signs and miracles, did not disdain in defending himself from blame to give reason in a humble manner for his actions, how much more ought we sinners, when we are blamed give reasons humbly to pacify those who blame us. (St. Gregory the Great) 
 John 10:1-10: 

      The Logos of God is called the door because He leads to spiritual knowledge those who, in their unsullied pursuit of the ascetic life, have nobly traversed the whole way of the virtues, and because He reveals, as does light, the lustrous treasures of wisdom. He Himself is the way, the door, the key and the kingdom. He is the way because He guides. He is the key because He opens and is opened to those found worthy to receive divine blessings. He is door because He gives admittance. He is the kingdom because He is inherited and because He enters by participation into all things. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      Who does not owe the price of redemption to the Redeemer from death? Who will not give thanks to the Giver of Life? He even promises to give us a reward as well, an inexpressible reward. "I am come so that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness." What is meant by "in all its fullness"? He came not only to be and to live with us, but to make us His brethren and coheirs. (St. Gregory Palamas) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Simeon, Bishop of Jerusalem, Kinsman of the Lord and Martyr 

Acts 11:19-26: 

      In Antioch, when the preaching of Christ took effect, Barnabas was sent there to help, being a "good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith;" who seeing a great harvest of believers in Christ, brought Paul from Tarsus as his fellow combatant. When crowds had been instructed by them and assembled in the Church, "it came to pass that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch;" the Holy Spirit bestowing on believers that new Name, which had been promised before by the Lord (cf. Isa. 65:15). (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

      Let us prove ourselves worthy of that name which we have received, for whoever is called by any other name than Christian is not of God; for he has not received the prophecy concerning us: "The people shall be called by a new name, which the Lord shall name them, and shall be a holy people" (Isa. 52:2, 12). This was first fulfilled in Syria; for "the disciples were called Christians at Antioch," when Paul and Peter were laying the foundations of the Church. (St. Ignatius of Antioch) 

John 10:22-30: 

      Being able to find no fault with His works, the Pharisees tried to catch our Lord in His words. Mark their perversity. When He instructs by His discourse, they say, "What sign show You?" When He demonstrates by His works, they say, "If you be the Christ, tell us plainly." Either way they are determined to oppose Him. (St. John Chrysostom) 

      When you read "I and the Father are One," keep before your eyes the Unity of Substance while still remembering the distinction of Persons. (St. Gregory the Theologian)   


Your browser may not support display of this image. The Nine Holy Martyrs of Cyzicos Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Valeria, Martyr 

Acts 12:24-13:5: 

      The Holy Spirit said: "Separate Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, they were distinguished in nothing from the other apostles, as though they were sent in one way by God the Father and in another way by the Spirit. (St. Ambrose) 

      It is the Spirit Who says, "Separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Does a slave to God the Father speak thus, or an equal? (St. Basil the Great) 

John 12:44-50: 

      Our Lord found all in darkness. In which darkness if they wish not to remain, they must believe in the light which is come into the world. He says in one place to His disciples, "you are the light of the world"; but He did not say to them, "you are come a light into the world, that whosoever believes on you should not abide in darkness". All saints are lights, but they are so by faith, because they are enlightened by Him, from Whom to withdraw is darkness. (St. Augustine) 

      A person should not want to do anything contrary to the divine will, even if it is a question of saving his life. In fact, it is impossible to save one's life unless one does perform God's will, for this divine will is eternal life, the greatest of blessings, even if the effort needed to attain it appears to some to be arduous. (St. Peter of Damaskos) 

Your browser may not support display of this image. Sts. Jason and Sosipater, Apostles of the Seventy Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Catherine of Siena 

Acts 13:13-25: 

      It is our sacred wisdom that should legitimately be called a gift of God and not a natural gift, since even simple fishermen who receive it from on high become sons of Thunder, Whose word has encompassed the very bounds of the universe. By this grace the burning zeal of persecutors is transformed, making them Pauls instead of Sauls. By this true wisdom we too can become conformed to the image of God and continue to be such after death. (St. Gregory Palamas) 

      "I have found David, the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart." Now by heart is denoted the desire, to which David was well-pleasing through the uprightness of his character. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 

John 13:16-20: 

      The divine Logos of God the Father is mystically present in each of His commandments. God the Father is by nature present entirely and without division in His entire divine Logos. Thus, he who receives a divine commandment and carries it out receives the Logos of God Who is in it; and he who receives the Logos through the commandments also receives through Him the Father Who is by nature present in Him, and the Spirit Who likewise is by nature in Him. "I tell you truly, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him Who sent Me." In this way, he who receives a commandment and carries it out receives mystically the Holy Trinity. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      To know what is good, and not to do it, tends not to happiness, but to condemnation. This is why the Lord says, "If you know these things, happy are you if you do them." (Bede the Venerable) 

Your browser may not support display of this image. St. James, Apostle and Brother of St. John the Theologian Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Maximus of Ephesus, Martyr 

Acts 13:26-33: 

      The power of sin – or in other words, the will of the flesh – is destroyed by grace in holy baptism, and by active obedience to God's commandments. Such obedience destroys the power of sin with the sword of the Spirit, that is, with the revelation of divine knowledge in the Spirit. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      I do truly fear one thing: that words of salvation heard many times may begin to lose their value to us as words. Let no one think of the word of God as a cheap thing. (St. Bernard of Clairvaux) 

John 14:1-6: 

      By "many dwelling places" the Savior meant the differing stages of spiritual ascent and states of development in the other world; for although the kingdom of heaven is one, there are many different levels within it. That is to say, there is place for both heavenly and earthy men according to their virtue, their knowledge and the degree of deification that they have attained. There are differing glories and yet all of them shine in a single divine firmament. (St. Gregory of Sinai) 

      Our Lord consoles His disciples, who, as men, would be naturally alarmed and troubled at the idea of His death, by assuring them of His divinity: "Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me"; as if they must believe in Him, if they believed in God; which would not follow, unless Christ were God. You are in fear for this form of a servant; let not your heart be troubled; the form of God shall raise it up. (St. Augustine) 

Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Jeremiah the Prophet Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Brioc 

Acts 13:44-52: 

      You will find it hard to check the resentment of an envious person, for what he envies in you he considers his own misfortune. You cannot check his envy except by hiding from him the thing that arouses his passion. If this thing benefits many but fills him with resentment, whose side will you take? You have to help the majority but without, as far as possible, disregarding him, and without being seduced by the cunning of the passion itself, for you are defending not the passion but the sufferer. You must in humility consider him superior to yourself, and always, everywhere and in every matter put his interest above yours. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      Christ is one, in Whom every nation that believes and every tongue that confesses is gathered to God. Those who were of a stony heart have become the children of Abraham, the friend of God. In his seed all those have been blessed who were ordained to eternal life in Christ. (St. Ignatius of Antioch) 

John 14:7-14: 

      So long as we only see the Logos of God as embodied multifariously in symbols in the letter of Holy Scripture, we have not yet achieved spiritual insight into the incorporeal, simple, single and unique Father as He exists in the incorporeal, simple, single and unique Son, according to the saying, "He Who has seen Me has seen the Father… and I am in the Father and the Father in Me." We need much knowledge so that, having first penetrated the veils of the sayings which cover the Logos, we may with a naked intellect see – in so far as men can – the pure Logos, as He exists in Himself, clearly showing us the Father in Himself. Hence a person who seeks God with true devotion should not be dominated by the literal text, lest he unwittingly receives not God but things appertaining to God; that is, lest he feel a dangerous affection for the words of Scripture instead of for the Logos; for the Logos eludes the intellect which supposes that it has grasped the incorporeal Logos by means of His outer garments. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      When we say that the Son has life in Himself, and we mean life absolute, we are at the same time calling the Father life; for as the Father is life, not in relation to anything else, but independently and in Himself, the Father and the Son co-inhere in one another, as the Son said: "I am in the Father and the Father is in Me." (St. Gregory Palamas)


Via Brother Christopher -- Ordo Acquilifer
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 Third Sunday after Easter

Homily of Augustine on Psalm CXXII
Third Sunday after Easter Home

ALMIGHTY God, who showest to them that are in error the light of thy truth, to the intent that they may return into the way of righteousness; Grant unto all those who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ's Religion, that they may avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as a

re agreeable to the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Source of Collect: Sacramentary of Leo, Bishop of Rome [440-461AD]. The Vigil of Easter was the traditional time for Baptism, and this collect speaks to the newly baptized "all those who are admitted into the fellowship". One had to be baptized to be present during the Eucharist. Christiana professione censentor

Isaiah lix 8 , Psalm 120, 121, 122 | 123, 124, 125; 1 St. Peter ii. 11. St. John xvi. 16.

Homily of Augustine on Psalm CXXII

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.


Today's homily by Augustine is on Psalm 122. He tell us that Psalm CXXII is one of the Songs of Ascension.  It was likely used by the folk who sang it as they came up to Jerusalem for one of the several festivals, and especially at Passover.  It is a verse that is very familiar to me, as in the 1928 prayer book that I use, it is the second standard opening sentence at the very start of Morning Prayer appointed daily. 

Augustine discusses the true Church of Christ, as one that is built up not of brick and mortar, but of the faithful folk on the foundation laid down by the Apostles with Jesus Christ as the corner. He wrote concerning the third verse,

 "Jerusalem that is being built as a city" (ver. 3). Brethren, when David was uttering these words, that city had been finished, it was not being built. It is some city he speaketh of, therefore, which is now being built, unto which living stones run in faith, of whom Peter saith, "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house;"  that is, the holy temple of God. What meaneth, ye are built up as lively stones? Thou livest, if thou believest: but if thou believest, thou art made a temple of God; for the Apostle Paul saith, "The temple of God is holy, which temple are ye."  This city is therefore now in building; stones are cut down from the hills by the hands of those who preach truth, they are squared that they may enter into an everlasting structure. There are still many stones in the hands of the Builder: let them not fall from His hands, that they may be built perfect into the structure of the temple. 

Let them not fall-- indeed.  

This week I read of a survey by the Barna Group that found of the many unchurched people in the United States (37%) had some negative experience with people in the local church so that they avoided attending.  They have fallen away from the visible Church.  They would have problems in saying the opening verse of the psalm.   I think of the many orthodox who have seen their churches seemingly embrace heretical beliefs and practices to the offense of the faithful so they would rather absent themselves than subject their families to the apostasy.   I cannot help but think also of those who have suffered trememdously at the hand of pedifile ministers in the church--conduct that is  shameful and hateful.  Let each of us always endeavor to ensure that our Church homes do not offend folk for lack of compassion, truth to the Apostolic faith and traditions, and right behavior by our members. As our collect says, may God grant that 

Christians avoid those things that are contrary to their profession, and follow all such things as agreeable to the same.


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]



Lessons and Fathers week of 18 Apr

Devotional Readings for the Week of April 18th, 2010


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. John of Decapolis 

Acts 5:27-41:  

      The apostles, after being beaten, departed from the presence of the council rejoicing, even though this is not the natural effect of a beating. Scourges normally cause, not pleasure and joy, but pain and suffering. Yet if, because of Christ, they resulted in joy, what wonder is it if other forms of bodily hardship and ill-treatment have, because of Him, the same effect? (St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic) 

      The righteous welcome joyfully what seems to us painful, and they embrace trials and temptations as an opportunity for profit, while remaining invulnerable to them. If a man is hit by an arrow but not wounded he will not die. It is the man who receives a mortal wound who perishes from it. In what way did calamity perturb the apostles? Rather they rejoiced in it, because "they were found worthy to suffer disgrace for the sake of His name." (St. Peter of Damaskos) 

Revelation 5:11-14: 

      The Bible shows angels as models for us. The Bible shows the angels praising God, ascribing holiness to Him around His throne. The new song which is begun is taken up by the angelic host and finally by humanity and all creation. These praises constitute the hymnic throne of God just as the cherubim form His throne in the Tabernacle, as He sits on their outstretched wings. (James Jordan) 

      "Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" When was He worthy to receive these? He received these after He was slain and resurrected. Or to put it simply, the body of the Lord became through the resurrection an appropriate vehicle to demonstrate in it and through it the divine attributes, to the extent, of course, that it was receptive of them, including divinity itself and its glory. These could not have been revealed before the resurrection through His body, being susceptible to corruption because of the economy, even though it was from the time of conception deified because of the hypostatic union. (St. Nicodemos of the Holy Mountain) 

John 21:1-19: 

      It may be asked, why after His resurrection He stood on the shore to receive the disciples, whereas before He walked on the sea? The sea signifies the world, which is tossed about with various causes of tumults, and the waves of this corruptible life; the shore by its solidity figures the rest eternal. The disciples then, inasmuch as they were still upon the waves of this mortal life, were laboring on the sea; but the Redeemer having by His resurrection thrown off the corruption of the flesh, stood upon the shore. (St. Gregory the Great) 

      While our Lord was being condemned to death, he feared and denied Him. But by His resurrection Christ implanted love in his heart, and drove away fear. Peter denied, because he feared to die: but when our Lord was risen from the dead, and by His death destroyed death, what should he fear? He says to Him, "Yea, Lord; you know that I love You." On this confession of his love, our Lord commends His sheep to him: He says to him, "Feed My lambs;" as if there were no way of Peter's showing his love for Him, but by being a faithful shepherd under the chief Shepherd. (St. Augustine) 

      The individuals who make up the Church must pass through death and darkness to imitate Christ and so to know Him: "Follow Me," He says. (Hans Urs von Balthasar) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Paphnutios of Egypt Your browser may not support display of this image. St. George the Confessor 

Acts 6:8-15: 

      If it is not easy to find anyone conforming to God's will who has not been put to the test, we ought to thank God for everything that happens to us. If Stephen had not been slandered as a blasphemer, he would not have seen the heavens opened and have looked on God. (St. Mark the Ascetic) 

      You will find that the earnest of perfection of those who live according to Christ is openly given here and now to God's saints. Stephen's face was like the face of an angel. (St. Gregory Palamas) 

John 6:22-29: 

      Our Lord proceeds to teach them: "Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures to everlasting life;" meaning, you seek for temporal food, whereas I only fed your bodies, that you might seek the more diligently for that food which is not temporary, but contains eternal life. (St. John Chrysostom) 

      In the descent of the Son and His return to the Father, we come to know the relation, now become manifest, between the Son and the Father. We know it as the way we have to follow to reach the Father through the Son. It is the way of renunciation of our own willing and thinking, surrendering them to loving obedience in faith, not, indeed, as our own work but the "work" of the Father in us. (Hans Urs von Balthasar) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Zacchaeus the Former Publican, Apostle 

Acts 7:51-8:1: 

      A man who has been assiduous in acquiring the fruits of love will not cease loving even if he suffers a thousand calamities. Let Stephen, the disciple of Christ, and others like him persuade you of the truth of this. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      A martyr is one who beholds "the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God." A martyr is one for whom God is not another – and the last – chance to stop pain; God is his very life, and thus, everything in his life comes to God, and ascends to the fullness of Love. (Fr. Alexander Schmemann)  

John 6:30-35: 

      If we live in the way we have promised, we will receive, as daily and life-giving bread for the nourishment of our souls and the maintenance of the good state with which we have been blessed, the Logos Himself; for it was He Who said: "I am the bread that came down from heaven and gives life to the world." In proportion to our capacity the Logos will become everything for us who are nourished through virtue and wisdom; and in accordance with His own judgment He will be embodied differently in each recipient of salvation while we are still living in this age. This is indicated in the phrase of the prayer which says, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Mt. 6:11). (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      The Eucharist is accomplished from beginning to end over the bread and wine. Bread and wine are the food that God created from the beginning as life: "you shall have them for food" (Gen. 1:29). But the meaning, essence and joy of life is not in food, but in God, in communion with Him. Man, and in him "this world," fell away from this food of immortality in paradise. Food came to reign in him, but this reign is not unto life, but unto death, disintegration and separation. And that is why Christ, when He had come into the world, called Himself "the bread of God… which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." Christ is the "bread of heaven," for this definition contains the entire content, the entire reality of our faith in Him as Savior and Lord. He is life, and therefore food. He offered this life in sacrifice "on behalf of all and for all," in order that we might become communicants of His own life, the new life of the new creation, and that we might manifest Him as His body. (Fr. Alexander Schmemann) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Januarios, Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Anselm 

Acts 8:1-8: 

      Paul, who once hauled Christ's servants in chains before the council of the Jews, lives afterwards to glory in the bonds of Christ. (St. Jerome) 

      When Christ had healed our human nature through His Incarnation, taught us and nourished us, He departed from us physically, ascended to heaven, and sent His disciples into the whole world. He did not just send them: He made them go. Anyone who knows the story of Stephen's suffering and the resulting persecution will understand my words. The Apostles did not want to leave Jerusalem, but when they had to because of persecutions, they were scattered throughout the world, and so fulfilled their mission. (St. Gregory Palamas) 

John 6:36-40: 

      We have to make strenuous efforts when we first try to return to where we fell from; for we resent abandoning our own desires, and we think we can carry out both God's wishes and our own – which is impossible. Our Lord Himself said, "I have come to do, not My own will, but the will of the Father Who sent Me." (St. Peter of Damaskos) 

      The expression, "whom the Father gives to Me," shows that it is no accident whether a man believes or not, and that belief is not the work of human cogitation, but requires a revelation from on high, and a mind devout enough to receive the revelation. Not that they are free from blame, whom the Father does not give, for they are deficient even in that which lies in their own power, the will to believe. This is a virtual rebuke to their unbelief, as it shows that whoever does not believe in Him, transgresses the Father's will. (St. John Chrysostom) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Nathaniel, Apostle 

Acts 8:26-40: 

      The eunuch was not ashamed to confess his ignorance, and implored to be taught. This is why the grace of the Spirit was given to Philip to teach him. (St. Athanasius) 

      Philip was called by the Angel of the Lord for the sake of that most godly Ethiopian, and heard distinctly the Spirit Himself, saying, "Go near, and join yourself to this chariot." He instructed the Eunuch, and baptized him, and so having sent into Ethiopia a herald of Christ, as it was written, "Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hand to God" (Ps. 68:31), he was caught away by the Angel, and preached the Gospel in the cities in succession. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

John 6:44-51: 

      Seeing the Son is all that is needed to see the Father, Whom no man can see, to hear Him, indeed, to be of Him and in Him. (Hans Urs von Balthasar) 

      Anyone who thinks himself intelligent because of his scholarly or scientific learning will never be granted insight into divine mysteries unless he first humbles himself and becomes a fool, discarding both his presumption and the knowledge that he has acquired. But if he does this and with unhesitating faith allows himself to be led by those wise in divine matters, he will enter with them into the city of the living God. Guided and illumined by the divine Spirit, he will see and learn what others cannot ever see or learn. He will then be taught by God. (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. George, Great-Martyr  

Acts 9:1-20: 

      When our intellect has shaken off its many opinions about created things, then the inner principle of truth appears clearly to it, providing it with a foundation of real knowledge and removing its former preconceptions as though removing scales from the eyes, as happened in the case of St. Paul. An understanding of Scripture that does not go beyond the literal meaning, and a view of the sensible world that relies exclusively on sense perception, are scales indeed, blinding the soul's visionary faculty and preventing access to the pure Logos of truth. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      The light that illuminated St. Paul on the road to Damaskos was not merely the enlightenment of conceptual images or of spiritual knowledge. It was the effulgence of the power of the Holy Spirit shining in His own person in the soul. Such was its brilliance that corporeal eyes were not able to bear it and were blinded; and through it all spiritual knowledge is revealed and God is truly known by the worthy and loving soul. (St. Makarios of Egypt) 

John 6:52-59: 

      The temporal life men may have without the Lord, the eternal they cannot. This is not true of material food. If we do not take that indeed, we shall not live, neither do we live, if we take it: for either disease, or old age, or some accident kills us after all. Whereas this meat and drink, i.e. the Body and Blood of Christ, is such that he that takes it not has not life, and he that takes it has life, even life eternal. (St. Augustine) 

      Our constant movement in the direction of God, our union with Him, is what grants us true and genuine life. That life is God. It is not possible, however, for us to live in God without tasting God, without God living in us, without receiving God within us. "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you." Consequently, after Baptism and Repentance, it is the mystery of the holy Eucharist which unites us with God and produces our divinization. This mystery is a concrete realization of the unity of human nature with Christ, and concurrently, of unity with all the members of the Church. (Archimandrite Stavropoulos) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Sabbas the Goth, Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Elizabeth the Wonderworker 

Acts 9:31-42: 

      A witness to the resurrection of Jesus is Tabitha, who was in His name raised from the dead; for how shall we disbelieve that Christ is risen, when even His Name raised the dead? (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

      Peter, when he healed Aeneas, said: "In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise and walk." Not in his own name, but in the Name of Christ. But "rise" is a command; on the other hand, it is an instance of confidence in one's right, not an arrogant claim to power, and the authority of the command stood in the effective influence of the Name, not in its own might. (St. Ambrose)

John 6:60-69: 

      The holy apostle Peter was filled with love towards his Master. He was not concerned about miracles, as unbelievers are, but said to the Lord: "Your words are the words of eternal life. We believe and are assured that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (St. Peter of Damaskos) 

      "It is the Spirit that gives life," the Spirit that makes the words, works, prayers and sufferings transcend the limits of what is humanly possible and, breathing where He will, scatters their seed abroad. (Hans Urs von Balthasar)

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"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 Second Sunday after Easter

Homily of Augustine on the Martyrs' Cup of Suffering
Home for the Second Sunday after Easter

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given thine only Son to be unto us both a sacrifice for sin, and also an ensample of godly life; Give us grace that we may always most thankfully receive that his inestimable benefit, and also daily endeavour ourselves to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source of Collect: Archbishop Cranmer [1549], The Collect calls forth the idea of a lamb in saying that Jesus became a sacrifice for us; and complements the image in the Gospel by following the steps of the Good Shepherd. In those days sheep were not driven; they followed [Barbee and Zahl]

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us,
 leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps

Psalm 21, 23 | 116, 117; 1 St. Peter ii. 19. St. John x. 11. 

Homily of Augustine 


The epistle for this Sunday is from 1st Peter, and was likely penned by Silas in the early 60s. The Apostle Peter wrote this letter from Rome (Babylon) to the Churches in Asia. It was a time when the persecutions of the Christians were beginning. Peter, in this verse, writes specifically to slaves who had to endure mistreatment at their master's hands, and encourages them with comforting words that their patience is to be like that of Christ.  It was prophetic, for soon Peter himself would suffer along with Paul at the hands of the Romans, likely under the rule of Nero, Peter being crucified upside-down according to tradition. 

Tacitus, a pagan historian, wrote of Nero and the Christian persecutions: 

"Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired."

Let us now turn to a portion of the Sunday's homily by Augustine,

On the cross, you see, Christ transacted a grand exchange; it was there that the purse containing our price was untied; when his side was laid open by the lance of the executioner, there poured out from it the price of the whole wide world. The faithful were bought, and the martyrs; but the faith of the martyrs has been proved, and their blood is the witness to it. The martyrs have paid back what was spent for them, and they have fulfilled what Saint John says: Just as Christ laid down his life for us, so we too should lay down our lives for the brethren. And in another place it says, You have sat down at a great table; consider carefully what is set before you, since you ought to prepare the same kind of thing yourself. It is certainly a great table, where the Lord of the table is himself the banquet. No-one feeds his guests on himself; that is what the Lord Christ did, being himself the host, himself the food and drink. Therefore the martyrs recognized what they ate and drank, so that they could give back the same kind of thing. 

In 2001 America saw nearly 3,000 fall to an attack that was directed against it in the name of Allah. Likewise Spain, England, and other countries have suffered due to the rise of Islamic-based terrorism. Most recently, hundreds of Christians were murdered in raids by Islamic sects in Africa. There is no place now that is beyond the reach of these terrorists.  

In addition, any Christian may suffer in some form as confessors by a world that is turning increasing hostile to traditional and orthodox Christian values. Today's collect prays that we might follow in Christ's steps; that includes his suffering. Take heart, be always ready, for this you were called. For our Lord said, 

  "Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.  

Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets."

Semper Paratus


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"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]



Devotional Readings for the Week of April 11th, 2010


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Thomas Sunday Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Antipas, Bishop of Pergamos 

Acts 5:12-16:  

      The shadow of Peter bears witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, having healed the sick in the Name of Christ. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

      Not even the grace of the Holy Spirit can actualize the gift of healing in the saints unless there is natural compassion, or any other gift of grace without the disposition and faculty capable of receiving it. On the other hand, a man cannot acquire a single gift with his natural faculties unless aided by the divine power that bestows them. All the saints show that God's grace does not suspend man's natural powers. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

Revelation 1:9-19: 

      No relationship is closer than that between the man in grace and the Lord Who gives grace. This relationship can only achieve its fullness if the freedom of the word is answered by a corresponding readiness on the part of man to hear, to follow and to comply. It is not just a question of what we are accustomed to call the "moral life," but rather of that burning center, the focus and vindication of all moral conduct which divorced from that center so easily hardens and degenerates into pharisaism. What is at stake is that ever living contact with the God Who speaks to us in His Word, Whose "eyes like a flame of fire" transpierce and purify us, Whose command exacts renewed obedience and instructs us in such a way that we seem till now to have known nothing at all. (Hans Urs von Balthasar) 

      The entire prophecy of John's Revelation is structured as a worship service on the Lord's Day. Throughout the book we see a repeated pattern: first, the angels lead the saints in organized worship; second, God responds to His people's worship by bringing judgment leading to salvation. (David Chilton) 

John 20:19-31: 

      You are mistaken, holy Thomas, if you hope to see the Lord when you are apart from the company of the apostles. Truth has no love for corners. Roadside lodging places do not please Him. Truth stands in the open and delights in discipline, the common life and common undertakings. (St. Bernard of Clairvaux)

      Strive to increase from day to day your faith in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist, and never cease to wonder at the miraculous mystery of it, reflecting on how God manifests Himself to you in the guise of bread and wine, and becomes essentially present in you, to make you more holy, righteous and blessed. "Blessed are they who have not seen and yet believe." Try to set alight in yourself a warm desire for this sacrament and to make progress every day both in your fervent readiness to do only God's will, and in spiritual wisdom, making it the queen and ruler over all your actions of the spirit, soul and body. Every time you take communion, while partaking of this bloodless sacrifice, offer yourself as a sacrifice to God, that is, profess your complete readiness to endure every affliction, every sorrow and every wrong you may meet in the course of your life, for the sake of the love of God, Who sacrificed Himself for us. (Lorenzo Scupoli) 

      Christ's Body held within it the Fount of divine light, which shone forth spiritually to enlighten the mind of him who hesitated, so that Thomas cried out at once, with perfect theology, "My Lord and my God." The Lord said to him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they who have not seen and yet have believed," showing that those who saw the Lord with their own eyes are not in greater glory than those who have been brought through them to faith in Him. He did not say "yet believe" but "yet have believed," because with the divine power of foreknowledge whereby He saw everything before it happened, future events were like present facts. (St. Gregory Palamas) 


 Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Basil the Confessor, Bishop of Parios 

Acts 4:23-31: 

      This prayer is the voice of the Church from which every Church had its origin. These are the voices of the metropolis of the citizens of the new covenant. These are the voices of the apostles. These are the voices of the disciples of the Lord, the truly perfect, who, after the assumption of the Lord, were perfected by the Spirit, and called upon the God Who made heaven, earth and the sea, - Who was announced by the prophets, - and Jesus Christ His Son, Whom God anointed, and who knew no other God. Wherefore God, the Maker of all things, heard them and it is said, "The place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness" to everyone who was willing to believe. (St. Irenaeus) 

      When the Apostles, being full of the Holy Spirit, suffered the threats and cruelty of Christ's enemies, they said to God with one consent, "Truly in this city against Your holy servant Jesus, Whom You have anointed, Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do what Your hand and counsel ordained to come to pass." Did then the wickedness of Christ's persecutors spring from God's plan, and was that unsurpassable crime prepared and set in motion by the hand of God? Clearly we must not think this of the highest Justice: that which was foreknown in respect of the Jews' malice is far different, indeed quite contrary to what was ordained in respect of Christ's Passion. Their desire to slay Him did not proceed from the same source as His to die: nor were their atrocious crime and the Redeemer's endurance the offspring of one Spirit. The Lord did not incite but permit those madmen's evil hands: nor in His foreknowledge of what must be accomplished did He compel its accomplishment, even though it was in order to its accomplishment that He had taken flesh. (St. Leo the Great)  

John 3:1-8: 

      We all can only pray worthily and vivifyingly through the strengthening of the life-giving Holy Spirit. God's saints are the pure breathings of the Holy Spirit. "The wind [the Spirit] blows where it wills." That is, He breathes in any soul He pleases. (St. John of Kronstadt) 

      The manner of birth from God within us is two-fold: the one bestows the grace of adoption, which is entirely present in potency in those who are born of God; the other introduces, wholly by active exertion, that grace which deliberately reorients the entire free choice of the one being born of God toward the God Who gives birth. The first bears the grace, present in potency, through faith alone; but the second, beyond faith, also engenders in the knower the sublimely divine likeness of the One known, that likeness being effected precisely through knowledge. Therefore the first manner of birth is observed in some because their will, not yet fully detached from its propensity to the flesh, has yet to be wholly endowed with the Spirit by participation in the divine mysteries that are made known through active endeavor. The inclination to sin does not disappear as long as they will it; for the Spirit does not give birth to an unwilling will, but converts the willing will toward deification. With those undergoing the second mode of birth, the Holy Spirit takes the whole of their free choice and translates it completely from earth to heaven, and, through the true knowledge acquired by exertion, transfigures the mind with the blessed light-rays of our God and Father, such that the mind is deemed another "god," insofar as in its habitude it experiences, by grace, that which God Himself does not experience but "is" in His very essence. With those undergoing this second mode of baptism, their free choice clearly becomes sinless in virtue and knowledge, as they are unable to negate what they have actively discerned through experience. So even if we have the Spirit of adoption, Who is Himself the Seed for enduing those begotten through baptism with the likeness of the Sower, but do not present Him with a will cleansed of any inclination or disposition to something else, we therefore, even after being born out of water and Spirit, willingly sin. But were we to prepare our will with knowledge to receive the operation of these agents – water and Spirit, I mean – then the mystical water would, through our practical life, cleanse our conscience, and the life-giving Spirit would bring about unchanging perfection of the good in us through knowledge acquired in experience. Precisely for this reason God leaves, to each of us who are still able to sin, the sheer desire to surrender our whole selves willingly to the Spirit. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Martin the Confessor, Pope of Rome 

Acts 4:32-37: 

        True Christianity brings felicity even upon the earth, for it looks upon Christians as one great body, whose members are honorable and dishonorable, not by birth, but by their calling and deeds, strong and weak, rich and poor, and the Spirit of God intercedes in the souls of the rich or strong on behalf of the poor and needy – through the community of spiritual and material blessings. "The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." (St. John of Kronstadt) 

      God wishes the disciples to be kept in a state of unity by maintaining like-mindedness and an identity of will, being mingled together as it were in soul and spirit and in the law of peace and love for one another. He wishes them to be bound together tightly with an unbreakable bond of love, that they may advance to such a degree of unity that their freely chosen association might even become an image of the natural unity that is conceived to exist between the Father and the Son. That is to say, He wishes them to enjoy a unity which is inseparable and indestructible, which may not be enticed away into a dissimilarity of wills by anything at all that exists in the world or any pursuit of pleasure, but rather preserves the power of love in the unity of devotion and holiness, which is what actually happened; for as we read in Acts, "the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul," that is, in the unity of the Spirit. (St. Cyril of Alexandria) 

John 3:7-15: 

      The Lord's Cross discloses the entire dispensation of His Coming in the flesh, and contains within it the whole mystery of this dispensation. Extending in all directions, it embraces everything above, below, around and between. The heretics abhor the sign of the King of Glory, putting forward an excuse, in accordance with which, if they were reasonable, they ought to reverence the Cross along with us. The Lord Himself, when He was going to ascend the Cross, openly referred to it as His lifting up and His glory (Jn. 3:14-15). He announced that when He came again and manifested Himself, this sign of the Son of man would come with power and great glory (Mt. 24:30). (St. Gregory Palamas) 

      Godhead and flesh are different in their nature, yet the body was the Word's own; the Word Who was united to it was not separated from the body; for this is the only way in which we can conceive of the words "God with us." There is no other way. That is precisely why on one occasion, having made Himself manifest to us as man from the point of view of His self-emptying, He says, "No one takes My life from Me" (Jn. 10:18), while on another occasion, conceived of as God from a heavenly point of view and one with His own flesh, He says, "No one has ascended into heaven but He Who has descended from heaven, the Son of Man" (Jn. 3:13). (St. Cyril of Alexandria) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Aristarchus, Apostle of the Seventy Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Thomais, Martyr 

Acts 5:17-26: 

      The Lord's words, "If two of you shall agree on anything you ask" (Mt. 18:19-20) were spoken of the Church and addressed to its members. If they are agreed, if, as He commanded, even only two or three are gathered together and pray with one mind, then, although they are only two or three, they can obtain from the divine majesty what they ask. This means, of course, with the single-hearted and peaceable, with those who fear God and keep His commandments. With these He is present as He was with the apostles in prison, because they were single-hearted and of one mind, He opened the prison gates and set them again in the market-place to deliver to the crowds the word which they had been faithfully preaching. (St. Cyprian) 

      This is the purpose of their deliverance, that they employ themselves stoutly in preaching the gospel, and provoke their enemies courageously, until they die valiantly. The Lord opens the prison for them, that they may be at liberty to fulfill their function. (John Calvin) 

John 3:16-21: 

      We must always remember that man is the breathing of God's mouth and the image of God – of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit – while the sins and infirmities in him are not a part of his nature, coming from without, foul stains which can be easily cleansed by grace. We must remember that "God so loved the world," though it is adulterous and sinful, "that He gave His Only-Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (St. John of Kronstadt) 

      The reasons why Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into the world are these: 1) The love of God for the human race: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son." 2) The restoration in fallen humanity of the image and likeness of God, as the holy Church celebrates it: "Man who, being made in the image of God, had become corrupt through sin, and was full of vileness, and had fallen away from the better life divine, the wise Creator restores anew (first Canon of the Matins for the Nativity of Christ, ode 1). 3) The salvation of men's souls: "For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." So we, in conformance with the purpose of our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, should spend our life in accordance with this Divine teaching, so that through it we may obtain the salvation of our souls. (St. Seraphim of Sarov) 


 Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Leonides, Bishop of Athens, Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. Sts. Basilissa and Anastasia of Rome, Martyrs 

Acts 5:27-33: 

      When Peter came to control excessive self-love and to love Christ as he ought with his whole heart and soul and strength, no threats or punishments could induce his will, however slightly, to yield its tongue as an instrument to sin, but rather, courageously responding to the truth, he said: "We must obey God rather than men." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux) 

      Laws may be unjust through being opposed to the Divine good: such are the laws of tyrants inducing to idolatry, or to anything else contrary to the Divine law: and laws of this kind must nowise be observed, because "we ought to obey God rather than men." (St. Thomas Aquinas) 

John 3:31-36: 

      The Lamb of God testified that He was the Most High Who had come down from heaven and was infinitely powerful, for He had not received the Spirit by measure from the Father. To those who believed in Him He promised eternal life and those who did not believe He threatened with God's inescapable wrath. (St. Gregory Palamas) 

      Let us keep God's commandments with all eagerness, in order that we may obtain the eternal life and kingdom. May we never hear in this life these words addressed to us: "He who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him." (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. Sts. Agape, Irene and Chionia of Dalmatia, Martyrs 

Acts 5:34-42: 

      Just as Moses' serpent swallowed up all the magicians' serpents (Ex. 7:12), so the Holy Spirit, when He comes, will devour all fleshly consolations. Then will we have rest from labor, gladness from tribulation and glory after abuse, just as those whom the Spirit filled "went out from the council's presence rejoicing that they were considered worthy to suffer abuse for the sake of Jesus' Name." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux) 

      What should he, who when strengthened by the virtue of patience conquers even those who cause evils, fear concerning the adversities of this world? (Richard of St. Victor) 

John 6:1-15: 

      I do truly fear one thing: that words of salvation heard many times may begin to lose their value to us as words. A cheap and changeable thing is a human word, of no space in time, no weight, no value, no solidity. It reverberates in the air and, like a leaf caught by the wind, it floats, and there is no one who considers it. Let not one of you, brothers, so comprehend, rather let no one so reprehend the word of God. God's words are the fruits of life. They are golden. Accordingly, let them not be slighted, slide away nor slip by. "Gather up the fragments lest they be lost." (St. Bernard of Clairvaux) 

      Five loaves are then set before the multitude, and broken. The broken portions pass through into the hands of those who break, that from which they are broken all the time not at all diminishing. And yet there they are, the bits taken from it, in the hands of the persons breaking. There is no catching by eye or touch the miraculous operation: that is, which was not, that is seen, which is not understood. It only remains for us to believe that God can do all things. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Simeon, Bishop of Persia, Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Donnan, Martyr 

Acts 6:1-7: 

      Those who serve in various offices bear the dignity of the seven deacons recorded in Acts. They are like ministering spirits sent forth to serve, and if they serve without guile and faithfully, and without greed, they will deserve a great reward both here below and on high. But those who persevere in prayer and silence and the ministry of the word, in patient practice of the best works, bear with the one who leads the dignity of the chief apostles themselves. He has them as fellow workers in the Gospel of his spiritual teaching, as they take up the burdens of the brethren and ease his labors. (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 

      The apostles, when they were oppressed by serving at table, singled out prayer and understanding as the higher form of work. They put the first things before the secondary, although they recognized that both spring from the same blessed root. (St. Makarios of Egypt) 

John 6:16-21: 

      The Lord appeared to them in this way, to show His power; for He immediately calmed the tempest: Then they wished to receive Him into the ship; and immediately the ship was at the land, whither they went. So great was the calm, He did not even enter the ship, in order to work a greater miracle, and to show his Divinity more clearly. (St. John Chrysostom) 

      We do not confine our definition of Jesus to the human domain; for He is not simply a man, nor would he be transcendent if he were only a man. Out of His very great love for humanity, he became quite truly a human, both more than human and among humans; and, although Himself beyond being, He took upon Himself the being of humans. Yet He is not less overflowing with transcendence. He is the ever-transcendent, and superabundantly so. He takes on being, and is Himself a being beyond being. Superior Himself to the human condition He does the work of a man. A proof of this is flowing water, bearing the weight of His corporeal, earthly feet, did not yield, but, rather, held Him up with supernatural power. (St. Dionysius)

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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 First Sunday after Easter

ALMIGHTY Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification; Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1 St. John v. 4.; Psalms 110, 111 | 2, 57; John xx. 19

Homily of Tertullian

 As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, 
Receive ye the Holy Ghost



Chapter xxv. Against Praxeas

Chapter XXV. The Paraclete, or Holy Ghost. He is Distinct from the Father and the Son as to Their Personal Existence. One and Inseparable from Them as to Their Divine Nature. Other Quotations Out of St. John's Gospel. 

What follows Philip's question, and the Lord's whole treatment of it, to the end of John's Gospel, continues to furnish us with statements of the same kind, distinguishing the Father and the Son, with the properties of each. Then there is the Paraclete or Comforter, also, which He promises to pray for to the Father, and to send from heaven after He had ascended to the Father. He is called "another Comforter," indeed; [8089] but in what way He is another we have already shown, [8090] "He shall receive of mine," says Christ, [8091] just as Christ Himself received of the Father's. Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are, one [8092] essence, not one Person, [8093] as it is said, "I and my Father are One," [8094] in respect of unity of substance not singularity of number. Run through the whole Gospel, and you will find that He whom you believe to be the Father (described as acting for the Father, although you, for your part, forsooth, suppose that "the Father, being the husbandman," [8095] must surely have been on earth) is once more recognised by the Son as in heaven, when, "lifting up His eyes thereto," [8096] He commended His disciples to the safe-keeping of the Father. [8097] We have, moreover, in that other Gospel a clear revelation, i.e. of the Son's distinction from the Father, "My God, why hast Thou forsaken me? " [8098] and again, (in the third Gospel, ) "Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit." [8099] But even if (we had not these passages, we meet with satisfactory evidence) after His resurrection and glorious victory over death. Now that all the restraint of His humiliation is taken away, He might, if possible, have shown Himself as the Father to so faithful a woman (as Mary Magdalene) when she approached to touch Him, out of love, not from curiosity, nor with Thomas' incredulity. But not so; Jesus saith unto her, "Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren" (and even in this He proves Himself to be the Son; for if He had been the Father, He would have called them His children, (instead of His brethren), "and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God." [8100] Now, does this mean, I ascend as the Father to the Father, and as God to God? Or as the Son to the Father, and as the Word to God? Wherefore also does this Gospel, at its very termination, intimate that these things were ever written, if it be not, to use its own words, "that ye might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God? " [8101] Whenever, therefore, you take any of the statements of this Gospel, and apply them to demonstrate the identity of the Father and the Son, supposing that they serve your views therein, you are contending against the definite purpose of the Gospel. For these things certainly are not written that you may believe that Jesus Christ is the Father, but the Son. [8102]

Let us reflect on Tertullian "On Prayer"

We are the true worshippers and the true priests: praying in spirit, we make our sacrifice of prayer in spirit, an offering which is God's own and acceptable to him. This is the offering which he has asked for, and which he has provided for himself. This is the sacrifice, offered from the heart, fed on faith, prepared by truth; unblemished in innocence, pure in chastity, garlanded with love, which we must bring to God's altar, in a procession of good works, to the accompaniment of psalms and hymns. It will obtain for us from God all that we ask. Amen


Today, we have introduced a new Church Father to the Order's homilies: Tertullian (160-220AD). We will look at a section of his apology Against Praxeas and his defense of the orthodox faith as it touches on the appointed ancient lessons for this Sunday, the Gospel and Epistle of John which speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  A Brother commented on his blog this week concerning Tertullian and of his battle against heretics. These days one of those old heresies is raising its head again.  Peter Toon wrote , "Modalism, which is common today, is the doctrine that there is one Person who is God and that this One Person reveals himself as Father, Son and Spirit, that is as three Modes of Being ."   You may read more of this ancient heresy in this article  on the History of Modalism.

I would encourage all readers to take a moment, after reading today's scripture and Tertullian's apology, to reflect on the nature of the Trinity. If there are any questions in your mind as to the orthodox and catholic faith, consider the  Nicene-Constantinople Creed of the first two councils written a century after Tertullian, and a century later still, the Quicunque vult

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen


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]



Easter Day

Augustine...City of God LIII
Easter Home

CHRIST our Passover is sacrificed for us: * therefore let us keep the feast, Not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; * but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Cor. v. 7.

CHRIST being raised from the dead dieth no more; * death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: * but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, * but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. vi. 9.

CHRIST is risen from the dead, * and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, * by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, * even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. xv. 20

ALMIGHTY God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help we may bring the same to good effect; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

Source of Collect: Sacramentary of Gelasius [ca 494 AD]. 

 Psalm 2, 57, 111 | 113, 116, 117, Colossians iii. 1. St. John xx. 1.
Homily of Augustine

City of God as touching the Epistle 

Christ's cross and burial, resurrection, ascension, and sitting down at the right hand of God, are images of the Christian life. 

All the events, then, of Christ's crucifixion, of His burial, of His resurrection the third day, of His ascension into heaven, of His sitting down at the right hand of the Father, were so ordered, that the life which the Christian leads here might be modelled upon them, not merely in a mystical sense, but in reality. For in reference to His crucifixion it is said : " They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts." And in reference to His burial: " We are buried with Him by baptism into death." In reference to His resurrection: " That, like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." And in reference to His ascension into heaven and sitting down at the right hand of the Father: " If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." 



 Alleluia, The Lord is risen; he is risen indeed, Alleluia.  I pray your Easter season will be joyful.

Today's homily is a small selection from the City of God by Augustine, and touches on the epistle appointed for Easter Day, where Paul said, "seek those things which are above."  Augustine's long book, which took years to write, is centered on this very concept of two cities. One that is earthly and one that is heavenly--The City of God.  Those who are Christ's own look toward heaven for their comfort, guidance, and example. While those who do not know him can only look to that which the prince of this world offers.  

I read this week the saying, "We are the Easter People."  Perhaps, but not by fiat of some prelate. We are the people of the promise of the Resurrection in that we do what Paul said, and Augustine emphasized: set our affection on the things above.  If our witness is simply that we belong to a church and go to church on Easter, but we fail to follow what God has plainly laid out for us, then we are no part of his--for he said, "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." [John xiv. 21].  

During this Easter season let us keep the feast, not with the old leaven of this world, but with our affection set on things above, and with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.


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]