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Devotional Readings for the Week of June 27th, 2010


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Joanna Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Sampson the Hospitable 

I Kings 19:16-21: 

      "I have left seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." God has not taken pleasure in mere numbers. God counts those who are in a state of salvation. Nothing is as magnificent in God's sight as pure doctrine, and a soul perfect in the truth. (St. Gregory the Theologian) 

      Just as God did not inflict His anger on account of the seven thousand men who had not bowed to Baal, even so now He does not yet inflict judgment, knowing that daily some are becoming disciples in the name of Christ, and quitting the path of error. These are receiving gifts, each as he is worthy, illumined through the name of Christ. (St. Justin, Martyr) 

Galatians 5:13-18: 

      Do not believe that the doing away of the Law is a license to sin. Liberty is nowhere but where the Lord is dwelling. (Abba Theonas) 

      As soon as our first parents had transgressed the commandment, divine grace forsook them, and they were confounded at their own wickedness. Then began the flesh to lust against the Spirit, in which strife we are born, deriving from the first transgression a seed of death, and bearing in our members, and in our vitiated nature, the contest of the flesh. (St. Augustine) 

Luke 9:51-62: 

      The disciples were to be the teachers of the world, going through towns and villages, to preach the doctrine of the Gospel, meeting sometimes with men who would not receive the sacred doctrine, allowing not that Jesus sojourned on earth with them. Our Lord therefore taught them that in announcing the divine doctrine they ought to be filled with patience and meekness, without bitterness, wrath or fierce enmity against those who had done any wrong to them. (St. Cyril of Alexandria) 

      He, who divides his pursuits, lessens his affections. He who divides his care, delays his advances. (St. Ambrose) 

      We have to prefer spiritual things to even our greatest necessities; for the devil watchfully presses close upon us, wishing to find any opening, and if he causes a slight negligence, he ends in producing a great weakness. (St. John Chrysostom) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Irenaeus 

Amos 2:6-16 

      Once you have realized that the Amorite within you is "as strong as an oak", you should pray fervently to the Lord to dry up "his fruit from above" – that is, your sinful actions, and "his roots from beneath" – that is, your impure thoughts. Ask the Lord in this way to "destroy the Amorite from before your face". (St. John of Karpathos) 

      How can someone clothed in worldly preoccupations race against the demons stripped of every care? "The naked shall run swiftly in that day" – the naked, not the one who is hindered in running by thoughts about money and material possessions. (St. Neilos the Ascetic) 

Matthew 8:18-22: 

      The one called Him Master; the other confesses Him as his Lord. The one from filial piety asks permission to go and bury his father; the other offers to follow, not seeking a master, but by means of his master seeking gain for himself. (St. Jerome) 

      Nothing ought to be more binding on us than the business of heaven. (St. John Chrysostom) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. Sts. Peter and Paul  

Acts 12:1-11:  

      The Apostle Peter, when Herod sought him and took him, was put into prison; for the servant of God did not flee, but stood firm without a thought of fear. The Church prayed for him, but the Apostle slept in prison, a proof that he was not in fear. An angel was sent to rouse him as he slept, by whom Peter was led forth out of prison and escaped death for a time. (St. Ambrose) 

      It was fitting that such pastors and teachers as Peter and Paul be appointed for humankind. They would be mild, mighty and yet wise. They would be mild that they might receive me gently and mercifully. They would be mighty that they might strongly protect me. They would be wise that they might lead me to the way, and along the way, leading to the city. (St. Bernard of Clairvaux) 

II Timothy 4:6-18: 

      St. Paul proclaims with confidence, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (II Tim. 4:7). And because he knows he has run unweariedly "after the odor of ointment" (S. of S. 1:3) of Christ with ready devotion of heart, and has won the battle of spiritual combat by the chastisement of the flesh, he boldly concludes and says, "there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me in that day." And that he might open up to us also a like hope of reward, if we desire to imitate him in the struggle, he added: "But not to me only, but to all also who love His coming" (II Tim. 4:8); declaring that we shall be sharers of his crown in the day of judgment, if we love the coming of Christ – not that one only which will be manifest to men even against their will; but also this one which daily comes to pass in holy souls – and if we gain the victory in the fight by chastising the body. (St. John Cassian) 

      St. Paul shrank not from the time when his death came, but gloried in it, saying, "I am now ready to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand". (St. Athanasius) 

Matthew 16:13-19: 

      When the Lord enquires concerning the opinion of the multitudes, all the disciples answer; but when all the disciples are asked, Peter as the mouth and head of the Apostles answers for all. (St. John Chrysostom) 

      This confession of Peter met a worthy reward, for he had seen the Son of God in the man. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 

Your browser may not support display of this image. Synaxis of the Twelve Apostles  

Amos 5:14-24: 

      "Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord: to what end is it for you? The day of the Lord will be darkness for you, not light." It will be a day of darkness for those who are worthy of darkness. (St. Basil the Great) 

      In judgment God brings both salvation and wrath, darkness and light. This is what Amos meant when he addressed the apostate people of his age, who were expecting that the coming Day of the Lord would protect them from their enemies. The problem was that the people of God had become the enemies of God. (David Chilton) 

Matthew 8:28-34: 

      The demons who hindered all others from passing that way, found one now standing in their way; for they were tortured in an unseen manner, suffering intolerable things from the mere presence of Christ. (St. John Chrysostom) 

      The Devil knows that of himself he has no power to do any thing, because it is not of himself that he exists as a spirit. (St. Gregory the Great) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. Sts. Cosmas and Damien the Wonderworking Unmercenaries  

Amos 7:10-17: 

      None can see or enter into the Kingdom, except he be born again of the Spirit, and be cleansed from the first birth, which is a mystery of the night, by a remolding of the day and of the Light, by which, one by one, men are created anew. This most wise and loving Spirit, if He possesses a goatherd and cultivator of sycamores, He makes him a prophet. (St. Gregory the Theologian) 

      What a skilled worker the Spirit is. There is no question of delay in learning what the Spirit teaches us. No sooner does the Spirit touch our minds in regard to anything than we are taught. The Spirit's very touch is teaching. The Spirit changes the human heart in a moment, filling it with light. Suddenly we are no longer what we were. Suddenly we are something we never used to be. (St. Gregory the Great) 

Matthew 9:1-8: 

      The Scribes regarding Him as a man, and not understanding the words of God, charged Him with blasphemy. But He seeing their thoughts then showed Himself to be God, Who alone knows the heart; and thus, as it were, said, "By the same power and prerogative by which I see your thoughts, I can forgive men their sins". (St. Jerome) 

      The paralytic is called "Son", because he is God's work. The sins of his soul which the Law could not remit are remitted him, for faith only justifies. He shows the power of the resurrection, by taking up his bed, teaching that all sickness shall then be no more found in the body. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 


 Your browser may not support display of this image. St. John the Wonderworker of San Francisco 

Amos 8:4-12: 

      The sun is said to "go down" at midday on sinners and false prophets, and those who are angry, when the prophet says, "Their sun is gone down at noon." The mind, or reason, which is fairly called the sun because it looks over all the thoughts and discernings of the heart, should not be put out by the sin of anger lest when it "goes down" the shadows of disturbance, together with their author the devil, fill all the feelings of our hearts, and, overwhelmed by the shadows of wrath, as in a murky night, we know not what we ought to do. (St. John Cassian) 

      The Jews, deprived of all the sanctification imparted by the mysteries revealed to them, turned their light into darkness and their "feasts into mourning". Let us prostrate our bodies and our souls and worship God's grace, which has been poured out on all nations, beseeching the merciful Father and the rich Redeemer from day to day to give us His aid and enable us to escape all the dangers of this life. (St. Leo the Great) 

Matthew 9:9-13: 

      The signs and wonders which had preceded this, the Apostles, no doubt, had seen before they believed. The brightness of effulgence of the hidden Godhead which beamed from his human countenance attracted them; for if the loadstone can attract iron, how much more can the Lord of all creation draw to Himself whom He will! (St. Jerome) 

      None should suppose that sinners are loved by Christ because they are sinners. This comparison of the sick shows what God means by calling sinners, as a physician does the sick to be saved from their iniquity as from a sickness; which is done by repentance. (St. Augustine) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Anatolios, Patriarch of Constantinople Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Hyacinth, Martyr 

Amos 9:11-15: 

      Amos prophesies concerning the Resurrection when he says: "In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and build up the breaches thereof. I will raise up his ruins, and will build them up again as in the days of old: that the residue of men may inquire for Me, and all the nations upon whom My name is invoked." (St. Augustine) 

      Everyone baptized into Christ should pass progressively through all the stages of Christ's own life, for in baptism he receives the power to so progress, and through the commandments he can discover and learn how to accomplish such a progression. To Christ's conception corresponds the foretaste of the gift of the Holy Spirit, to His nativity the actual experience of joyousness, to His baptism the cleansing force of the fire of the Spirit, to His transfiguration the contemplation of divine light, to His crucifixion the dying to all things, to His burial the indwelling of divine love in the heart, to His resurrection the soul's life-quickening resurrection, and to His ascension divine ecstasy and the transport of the intellect into God. (St. Gregory of Sinai) 

Matthew 9:14-17: 

      Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church the Bride. Of this spiritual union the Apostles were born. They cannot mourn so long as they see the Bridegroom in the chamber with the Bride. But when the nuptials are past and the time of passion and resurrection is come, then shall the children of the Bridegroom fast. (St. Jerome) 

      Christ shows that neither our souls nor bodies, being so weakened by inveteracy of sin, are capable of the sacraments of the new grace without His saving presence. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 

via Brother Alexandros, Aquilifer 

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]


Fourth Sunday after Trinity

Ambrose as touching Luke vi, 37 & 38

O GOD, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through good things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect Source: Sacramentary of Bishop Gregory of Rome [ca 600AD]. See Latin. English prayer book translation does not have "good" as does the Latin

Psalms 19, 20 | 24, 25 ; Romans viii. 18   &  St. Luke vi. 36

Homily of Ambrose to Clergy as touching the Gospel

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over"


We visit Ambrose's first book of Duties of the Clergy today and chapter 31 as he looks at the whole issue of gracious  behavior toward one another, and quotes the above verse from Luke:

 Therefore Solomon says well: "When thou sittest to eat at the table of a ruler consider diligently what is before thee, and put forth thine hand, knowing that it behoves thee to make such preparations. But if thou art insatiable, be not desirous of his dainties, for they have but a deceptive life." I have written these words as I wish that we all should follow them. It is a good thing to do a service, but he who knows not how to return one is very hard. The earth herself supplies an example of kindliness. She provides fruits of her own accord, which thou didst not sow; she also returns many-fold what she has received. It is not right for thee to deny knowledge of money paid in to thee, and how can it be right to let a service done go without notice? In the book of Proverbs also it is said: that the repayment of kindness has such great power with God, that through it, even in the day of destruction, a man may find grace, though his sins outweigh all else.  And why need I bring forward other examples when the Lord Himself promises in the Gospel a fuller reward to the merits of the saints, and exhorts us to do good works, saying: "Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven; give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, shaken together and running over, shall men give into your bosom."

Ambrose uses the scripture here to encourage liberality, as well as to speak of the need to reciprocate in kind to those who have been generous with us.  The ability to accept a gift offered by someone out of goodness is a sure mark of graciousness. To be mindful of opportunities wherein we who have received a kind gift may return it, surely is in keeping with our Lord's command here and the example of the Apostles.

Today's collect echoes the Gospel, as it speaks of God's mercy being multiplied upon us.  Accept the gift our Lord gives freely, and reciprocate in kind by being generous with those good things and works temporal so that at the Last Day we may not loose those things eternal ... 

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?...And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 
Matthew 25:37-40

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]



Third Sunday after Trinity

O LORD, we beseech thee mercifully to hear us; and grant that we, to whom thou hast given an hearty desire to pray, may, by thy mighty aid be defended; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect Source: Sacramentary of Gregory [ca 600AD]. See Latin and alterante translation. In a 1662 revison the last phrase was added and comforted in all dangers and adversities


psalm xvi, xvii | xviii , 1 St. Peter v. 5   &  St. Luke xv. 1.

Homily of Ambrose as touching 1st Peter

Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour


Ambrose wrote to his ministers on the duties of clergy, and we have a chapter of one of his books for this Sunday's homily as it touches the Epistle. 

He wrote:

Let not the adversary find his image in thee, let him not find fury nor rage; for in these exists the likeness of wickedness. "Our adversary the devil as a roaring lion seeketh whom he may kill, whom he may devour" Let him not find desire for gold, nor heaps of money, nor the appearance of vices, lest he take from thee the voice of liberty. For the voice of true liberty is heard, when thou canst say: "The prince of this world shall come, and shall find no part in me." Therefore, if thou art sure that he will find nothing in thee, when he comes to search through thee, thou wilt say, as the patriarch Jacob did to Laban: "Know now if there is aught of thine with me."  Rightly do we account Jacob blessed with whom Laban could find naught of his. For Rachel had hidden the gold and silver images of his gods. 

I do admire Ambrose's words here. We  remember Ambrose as the Bishop of Milan and the teacher of our beloved Augustine. His words are a treasure to the Church.  His warning here is specifically addressed to ministers, and good advice it is for them and for us all.  I think of those television evangelists who have enriched themselves on the donations of poor folk who have  their faith in a false gospel of prosperity.  All ought to  guard themselves that they are vigilant to avoid any hint of a state of pride of life, envy, conspicuous consumption, avarice, gluttony, lust, or other mortal sins that Satan might capitalize on as he prowls this world. 

Today's collect helps us to understand how we are to prepare against Satan. Our Lord gave us a good example in the Gospels through a life of virtue, faith, and knowledge of the Word.  God has given his chosen a heartfelt desire to come to him in humble prayer, and has promised to defend them from all adversity. We remember the words of our Lord, who said,  "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. "

Walk in peace this day humbly before God in confidence of the promise of our Lord


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]


Devotional Readings for the Week of June 20th, 2010


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Methodios, Bishop of Patera, Martyr and St. Kallistos, Patriarch of Constantinople  

Zechariah 12:10-13:1:  

      The prophet Zechariah says that God promised to pour upon Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and mercy. So grace comes also of the Holy Spirit as of the Father and the Son. (St. Ambrose) 

      If, as some who are without God say, our Lord became man in appearance only, that He did not in reality take a body for Himself, that He died merely in appearance and did not in very deed suffer, then for what reason am I now in bonds and long to be exposed to the wild beasts for His sake? In such a case I die in vain and am guilty of falsehood against the Cross of Christ. Then also the prophet declared in vain, "They shall look on Him Whom they have pierced and mourn over themselves as over one beloved." The men who say this are not less unbelievers than were those who crucified Him. As for me, I do not place my hopes in One Who died for me in appearance only, but in reality. That which is false is quite abhorrent to the truth. (St. Ignatius of Antioch) 

Galatians 3:26-29: 

      For him who is perfect in love and has reached the summit of controlling his passions there is no difference between his own or another's, or between Christians and unbelievers, or between slave and free, or even between male and female. Because he has risen above the tyranny of unruly passions and has fixed his attention on the single nature of man, he looks on all in the same way and shows the same disposition to all. All are one in Christ. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      If a Christian has truly withdrawn from the world and its affairs and has come to Christ, if he is fully conscious of his calling and has been raised to the heights of spiritual contemplation through the practice of the commandments, then he will look unwaveringly on God and be well aware of the change that has taken place in him. He will see the grace of the Spirit always illuminating him – the grace that is called a garment, the royal purple or, rather, that is Christ Himself, if it is indeed true that those who believe in Christ are clothed in Christ. (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 

Luke 9:18-24: 

      Great and noble leaders provoke the mighty in arms to deeds of valor, not only by promising them the honors of victory, but by declaring that suffering is in itself glorious. Such we see is the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ; for He had foretold to His disciples that He must suffer the accusations of the Jews, be slain and rise again on the third day. Lest then they should think that Christ indeed was to suffer persecution for the life of the world but that they might lead a soft life, He shows them that they must pass through similar struggles, if they desired to obtain His glory. (St. Cyril of Alexandria) 

      A denial of one's self is indeed a total forgetfulness of things past, and a forsaking of his own will and affection. (St. Basil the Great) 

      It is but little for a Christian to have once made his renunciation of the world in the early days of his conversion, unless he continues to renounce it daily. (Abba Abraham) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Julian of Tarsus Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Aloysius Gonzaga 

II Kings 17:5-18: 

      Those who forgot God were themselves forgotten, and those who studied to be like the nations were buried among them. (John Wesley) 

      We know that the providence which sustains created beings exists in them as a divine rule and law. In accordance with God's justice, when those rich in blessings are ungrateful to Him Who bestows them, they are schooled in gratitude by this richness being drastically curtailed; and through this adversity they are led to recognize the true source of the blessings they receive. When conceit about one's virtues is left undisciplined it naturally generates arrogance, and this induces a sense of hostility to God. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

Matthew 7:1-5: 

      If you want to correct your brother when he is doing wrong, you must try to keep yourself calm; otherwise you yourself may catch the sickness you are seeking to cure and you may find that the words of the Gospel now apply to you: "Why do you look at the speck of dust in your brother's eye, and not notice the rafter in your own eye?" (Mt. 7:3). (St. John Cassian) 

      He does not say, 'Do not cause a sinner to cease,' but 'do not judge;' that is, correct him indeed, but not as an enemy seeking revenge, but as a physician applying a remedy. (St. John Chrysostom) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Alban, First-Martyr of Britain Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Eusebios the Confessor, Bishop of Samosata 

II Kings 19:9-36: 

      The demons, as they have no power, are like actors on the stage changing their shape and frightening children with tumultuous apparitions and various forms. In this they ought to be despised as showing their weakness. At least the true angel of the Lord sent against the Assyrians had no need for tumults, nor displays from without, nor noises nor rattlings, but in quiet he used his power and forthwith destroyed a hundred and eighty-five thousand. Demons, who have no power, try to terrify by their displays. (St. Antony the Great) 

      Unhappy are we who are so displeasing to God that He uses the fury of the barbarians to execute His wrath against us. Still when Hezekiah repented, one hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrians were destroyed in one night by a single angel. (St. Jerome)  

Matthew 7:6-14: 

      What Christ our God called the "narrow way," He also called an "easy yoke" and "light burden" (Mt. 11:30). How could He equate these things when they seem to be contraries? For our nature, certainly, this path is harsh and steep, but those who pursue it wholeheartedly and with good hope, and who aspire after holiness, find it attractive and full of delight, for it brings them pleasure, not affliction. (St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic) 

      In one place it is said that the Father "will give good things to those who ask Him" (Mt. 7:11). Elsewhere it is said that He will "give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him" (Lk. 11:13). From this we learn that those who pray to God with steadfast faith in these promises receive not only remission of sins but also heavenly gifts of grace. The Lord promised these "good things" not to the righteous but to sinners, saying: "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?" Ask, then, unremittingly and without doubting, however poor your efforts to gain holiness, however weak your strength; and you will receive great gifts, far beyond anything that you deserve. (St. John of Karpathos)


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Agrippina, Virgin-Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Ethelreda 

II Kings 22:8-23:3: 

      We need not wonder that Huldah, the prophetess and wife of Shallum, was consulted by Josiah, King of Judah, when the captivity was approaching and the wrath of the Lord was falling upon Jerusalem. It is the rule of Scripture that when holy men are lacking, women are praised to the reproach of men. (St. Jerome) 

      Josiah cleansed the land of Israel from its uncleanness; and Jesus cleansed and caused to pass away uncleanness from the earth. Josiah hallowed and glorified the name of his God; and Jesus said: "I have glorified and will glorify His Name" (Jn. 12:28). Josiah because of the iniquity of Israel "rent his clothes;" and Jesus because of the iniquity of the people "rent the veil of the Holy Temple" (Mt. 27:51). Josiah said: "Great is the wrath that shall come upon this people;" and Jesus said: "There shall come wrath upon this people, and they shall fall by the edge of the sword" (Lk. 21:23-24). Josiah cast out uncleanness from the Holy Temple; and Jesus cast out the unclean traders from His Father's house. (Aphrahat) 

Matthew 7:15-20: 

      The intellect should not yield to the flesh or cling to the passions. It is said, "men do not gather figs from thorns," that is, they do not gather virtue from the passions, "nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush," that is, they do not gather from the flesh that spiritual knowledge which gladdens the heart. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      Do not readily assume that someone who in outward appearance and dress, and in manner of speech, seems to be humble is actually humble at heart; and do not assume – unless you have put it to the test – that someone who speaks exaltedly of high things is full of boastfulness and vanity; for "you shall know them by their fruits". (Nikitas Stithatos) 

Your browser may not support display of this image. The Nativity of St. John the Baptist Your browser may not support display of this image. Your browser may not support display of this image. Sts Zacharias and Elizabeth 

Isaiah 49:1-6: 

      It is a great thing for you to be called God's servant. Yet, even beyond this, He calls for us to be His friends. You see then that there are different stages of perfection, and that we are called by the Lord from high things to still higher in such a way that he who has become blessed and perfect in the fear of the Lord, mounting with keenness of soul from fear to hope, is summoned in the end to that still more blessed stage which is love. He who is a faithful servant will pass from to the companionship of friendship to the adoption of sons. (Abba Chaeremon) 

      You have said, Lord, to one of Your servants, "It is no light thing for you to be called by My name." This is more to me than all the kingdoms of heaven or of earth. Let me always be called by Your most sweet name. O Master, full of compassion, I give thanks to You. (St. Peter of Damaskos) 

Acts 13:22-26: 

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

      Why was David, the father of God, loved by God? Because he was good even to his enemies. "I have found a man after My own heart." So said the Lover of good, Who transcends good. (St. Dionysius) 

Luke 1:57-66: 

      If the name John restored speech to his father, I, too, ought not to despair that although dumb I may yet receive speech, if I speak of Christ. (St. Ambrose) 

      John did not merely choose the good before knowing evil (cf. Isa. 7:16), but while still unborn, before knowing the world, he surpassed it. Then once he was born he delighted and amazed everyone by reason of the miraculous events surrounding him. "The hand of the Lord was with him," working wonders again as it had in earlier time. (St. Gregory Palamas) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Febronia, Virgin-Martyr and Martyr  

II Kings 25:1-12: 

      By the burning of the temple God would show how little He cares for the outward pomp of his worship, when the life and power of religion are gone. About four hundred and thirty years the temple of Solomon had stood. And it is observed by Josephus, that the second temple was burnt by the Romans, the same month, and the same day of the month that the first temple was burnt by the Chaldeans. (John Wesley) 

      So long as the world and the soul's willing attachment to material things are alive in us, we must not give freedom to desire and incensiveness, lest they commingle with the sensible objects that are cognate to them, and make war against the soul, taking it captive with the passions, as in ancient times the Babylonians took Jerusalem. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

Matthew 8:1-4: 

      He was able to cleanse by a word, or even by mere will, but He put out His hand, "He stretched forth his hand and touched him," to show that He was not subject to the Law, and that to the pure nothing is impure. (St. John Chrysostom) 

      He was not only God, but man also, whence He wrought Divine wonders by touch and word; for as by an instrument so by His body the Divine acts were done. (St. John of Damascus) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. David of Thessalonica Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Brannock 

Lamentations 2:2-19: 

      Let those who repent learn how they ought to carry it out, with what zeal, with what affection, with what intention of mind, with what shaking of the innermost bowels, with what conversion of heart. Here you recognize the intention of the soul, the faithfulness of the mind, the disposition of the body: "The elders of the daughters of Zion sat upon the ground. They put dust on their heads. They girded themselves with haircloth. The princes hung their heads to the ground. The virgins of Jerusalem fainted with weeping. My eyes grew dim. My bowels were troubled. My glory was poured on the earth." (St. Ambrose) 

      Weep for those who by reason of their crimes and sins go away from the Church and who suffering condemnation for their faults shall no more return to it. It is in this sense that the prophet speaks to ministers of the Church, calling them its walls and towers, and saying to each in turn, "O wall, let tears run down." In this way, it is prophetically implied, you will fulfill the apostolic precept: "rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep" (Rom. 12:15). (St. Jerome) 

Matthew 8:5-17: 

      Bring to mind the punishment that befalls sinners, the reproach, the reprobation of the conscience, how they will be rejected by God and cast into the age-long fire, to the worm that does not die, to the impenetrable darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (cf. Mt. 8:12; Mk. 9:44). Meditate on all the other chastisements, and let your tears drench your cheeks, your clothes, and the place where you are sitting. I have known many men in whom such thoughts have produced such tears and who in this way have wonderfully cleansed all the powers of their soul. (St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic) 

      Through the profession of the true faith you were numbered among Christ's flock. Now you are united to Him through repentance. Beware lest you fail to fulfill this promise, and are cast, like some shattered pot, into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. No path other than that of repentance leads to salvation. (Nikitas Stithatos) 

via Ordo Aquillifer

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 Second Sunday after Trinity

Homily of Augustine on Psalm X
Trinity Home

LORD, make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy name: for thou never failest to help and govern them whom thou doest bring up in thy stedfast love. Grant this, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Collect source: Sacrementary of Gelasius, Bishop of Rome [ca 494AD]. The orginal Latin has a play upon words that is lost in translation

Psalms 12, 13 | 10, 11 ; 1 St. John iii. 13   &   St. Luke xiv. 16



Today we continue with Augustine's review of the psalms, and for the first
time here see Psalm X.  Augustine applies the words of the psalmist to his
own day, as he considered the heresies that confronted unity within the
church. He wrote,

*"Why, O Lord," saith he, "hast Thou withdrawn afar off?" (ver. 1). Then he
who thus inquired, as if all on a sudden he understood, or as if he asked,
though he knew, that he might teach, adds, "Thou despisest in due seasons,
in tribulations:" that is, Thou despisest seasonably, and causest
tribulations to inflame men's minds with longing for Thy coming. For that
fountain of life is sweeter to them that have much thirst. Therefore he
hints the reason of the delay, saying, "Whilst the ungodly vaunteth himself,
the poor man is inflamed" (ver. 2). Wondrous it is and true with what
earnestness of good hope the little ones are inflamed unto an upright living
by comparison with sinners. In which mystery it comes to pass, that even
heresies are permitted to exist; not that heretics themselves wish this, but
because Divine Providence worketh this result from their sins, which both
maketh and ordaineth the light; but ordereth only the darkness, that by
comparison therewith the light may be more pleasant, as by comparison with
heretics the discovery of truth is more sweet. For so, by this comparison,
the approved, who are known to God, are made manifest among men. *

Last Friday I chatted with a dear centurion on Facebook through our OC
connections, and he mentioned a heresy that had been on his mind and spawned
by a recent book called the *Shack* and the author's treatment of the
Trinity.  Today as I read Augustine's comment on Psalm X, my friend's words
came to mind and so I decided to see for myself.  I came across this

You may find other reviews on the Internet that have a more favorable
critique: but I do believe we have nailed yet another heresy that is
manifested in our day; and that the is the heresy of "feminism" infused into
the doctrines of our faith. The idea of depicting the God of Abraham as a
black woman named Papa, Jesus as a contemporary craftsman of some sort from
the Middle East, and the Holly Ghost as an Asian woman, is just too much!
Piled upon this is the popular heresy that God is doing a new thing to
overthrow scripture.  That the God  named Papa suffered in the Passion, and
that all three were incarnate.

It should not be taken lightly, but recognized for what it is. Pure and
simple it seeks to overturn the faith of the church from the time of Genesis
to the revolutionary generation of the 1960s. It is a heresy that attempts
to put a distinctly feminine color on the Godhead in refutation of what the
Old and New Testaments have taught, and what the church has codified in the

They say this book is a best seller. One compared to Bunyan's Pilgrim
Progress, which has become a classic. It reminds me a bit of the recent De
Vinci Code by Brown which caused such an uproar and was so popular among the
ignorant who accepted it as Gospel. It is on the top of the  New York Times
Best Seller List, for whatever that is worth, and so it has a broad
readership.  What is really serious though is what my friend's concern was.
When those who supposedly are trained theologians (supposed doctors of
theology and ministry) commend it from the pulpit, and do not condemn the
heresy it suggests (probably in the interest of political correctness, or
worse, a perverted theology), then we have the faithful being led astray.
Some very high profile folk have commended this. But beware, the devil has
a technique of saying things that are very convincing and in the shadows
planting the seed of the lie and of destruction.  The Trinitarian heresy is
just one of the problem in this novel by a layman; read the article to find
out more, and then let your friends who recommend this book know of the

I pray this shall follow the same path as have so many heresies of the past
and will find itself in the dung heap of history. Yet, it serves this day
to deceive the ignorant and to challenge the faithful.  I pray it may serve
a better purpose, as Augustine indicates, to show the fallacy to the
faithful by comparison, and will help unite the elect of varying
denominations who recognize the dangers along with their brother Christians.

In conclusion, I call attention to our collect today. It is the 1549
translation of the ancient prayer found in the Gelasian sacramentary. Note
that it asks God to make us have a perpetual love and fear of God
(concurrently). Seems that a lot of supposed Christians ignore the fear part
of this, or else I think they would not dare to make heretical
pronouncements, even in fiction, against the Holy Trinity.  

Please note also that below the collect in the note,  I have included a link
to the Latin version of this prayer as it was received.  I hope to add this
feature in the future to the Latin-based prayers.


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]



First Sunday after Trinity

Augustine on Psalm III
First Sunday after Trinity Home

O GOD, the strength of all those who put their hope in thee; Mercifully accept our prayers; and because, through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without thee, grant us the help of thy grace, that in keeping thy commandments we may please thee, both in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: Gregory's Sacramentum. The traditional numbering of Sundays was after Trinity Sunday. Carnmer translated it as put their "trust" in thee in the first Prayer Book

Genesis v, Psalms 1, 5 | 2, 3, 4 , 1 St. John iv. 7   &   St. Luke xvi. 19

Homily of Augustine on Psalm III

LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise against me.


The title of this Psalm reads:

 A psalm of David, when he fled from the face of Abessalon his son. 

However, we see in the beginning that Augustine immediately approaches it in an allegorical sense as applying to Christ and his passion. Augustine wrote in reference to verse 5,

 The words, "I slept, and took rest; and rose, for the Lord will take me up," lead us to believe that this Psalm is to be understood as in the Person of Christ; for they sound more applicable to the Passion and Resurrection of our Lord, than to that history in which David's flight is described from the face of his rebellious son. And, since it is written of Christ's disciples, "The sons of the bridegroom fast not as long as the bridegroom is with them;" it is no wonder if by his undutiful son be here meant that undutiful disciple who betrayed Him. From whose face although it may be understood historically that He fled, when on his departure He withdrew with the rest to the mountain; yet in a spiritual sense, when the Son of God, that is the Power and Wisdom of God, abandoned the mind of Judas; when the Devil wholly occupied him; as it is written, "The Devil entered into his heart," may it be well understood that Christ fled from his face; not that Christ gave place to the Devil, but that on Christ's departure the Devil took possession. Which departure, I suppose, is called a flight in this Psalm, because of its quickness; which is indicated also by the word of our Lord, saying, "That thou doest, do quickly." So even in common conversation we say of anything that does not come to mind, it has fled from me; and of a man of much learning we say, nothing flies from him. Wherefore truth fled from the mind of Judas, when it ceased to enlighten him. But Absalom, as some interpret, in the Latin tongue signifies, Patris pax, a father's peace. And it may seem strange, whether in the history of the kings, when Absalom carried on war against his father; or in the history of the New Testament, when Judas was the betrayer of our Lord; how "father's peace" can be understood. But both in the former place they who read carefully, see that David in that war was at peace with his son, who even with sore grief lamented his death, saying, "O Absalom, my son, would God I had died for thee!" And in the history of the New Testament by that so great and so wonderful forbearance of our Lord; in that He bore so long with him as if good, when He was not ignorant of his thoughts; in that He admitted him to the Supper in which He committed and delivered to His disciples the figure of His Body and Blood; finally, in that He received the kiss of peace at the very time of His betrayal; it is easily understood how Christ showed peace to His betrayer, although he was laid waste by the intestine war of so abominable a device. And therefore is Absalom called "father's peace," because his father had the peace, which he had not. 

Augustine brings the simple truth to light here, that the fact that a person may have received the sacrament of baptism or the "figure of his Body and Blood", is no indicator that the person is of Christ. We can only say that they are members of the visible church; and may be in the same state as was Judas. But let us go further, and hear the words of Peter:

" Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall" [2 Pe 1:10]  Make your practice to be like that to which Christ has called us, and you shall enjoy the assurance of his kingdom to come.  

"O Lord, how are they multiplied that trouble me!" (ver. 1). So multiplied indeed were they, that one even from the number of His disciples was not wanting, who was added to the number of His persecutors. "Many rise up against me; many say unto my soul, There is no salvation for him in his God" (ver. 2). It is clear that if they had had any idea that He would rise again, assuredly they would not have slain Him. To this end are those speeches, "Let Him come down from the cross, if He be the Son of God;" and again, "He saved others, Himself He cannot save." Therefore, neither would Judas have betrayed Him, if he had not been of the number of those who despised Christ, saying, "There is no salvation for Him in His God." 

O Lord, how are they multiplied that bother us! Amen. From some quarters we hear the pundits in the pulpits disparage our Lord. Some deny Christ and his proclamation as the one and only Savior. Some attempt to mix the faith, and turn to cold statues of Buddha, or partake in pagan ceremonies. Yet others invite folk to partake of the evil that is an "abomination" to the Lord.

Yet, the psalm in its concluding verses comforts us, for it assures us that God is our defender. He is our shield, and we need not fear the ungodly because "Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people."


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]