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The Ninth Sunday after Trinity

Augustine on Psalm XLVI
9th Sunday after Trinity Home

GRANT to us Lord we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful; that we, which cannot be without thee, may by thee be able to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source Leonine [440-461] taken in the Gelasian Sacramentary [492-496]. One is reminded of Paul's Epistle to Philemon vs 1:6 "That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus." The 1662 Anglican Prayer Book revision read "that we, who cannot do anything that is good, may..." The Collect clearly points to God's grace and the work of the Holy Spirit in aiding us to do good. This theme was made a canon in the ecumenical councils and is part of the Order's vow.

Psalms 46 47 | 44 45, 1 Corinthians x. 1   &   St. Luke xvi. 1 

Homily of Augustine on Psalm XLVI

"Be still and see that I am God"


Augstine wrote of this 10th verse of Psalm 46:

13. What then followeth? "Be still." To what purpose? "And see that I am God" (ver. 10). That is, Not ye, but I am God. I created, I create anew; I formed, I form anew; I made, I make anew. If thou couldest not make thyself, how canst thou make thyself anew? This seeth not the contentious tumult of man's soul; to which contentious tumult is it said, "Be still." That is, restrain your souls from contradiction. Do not argue, and, as it were, arm against God. Else yet live thy arms, not yet burned up with fire. But if they are burned, "Be still;" because ye have not wherewith to fight. But if ye be still in yourselves, and from Me seek all, who before presumed on yourselves, then shall ye "see that I am God." "I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Just before I said, by the name of earth is signified the nation of the Jews, by the name of sea the other nations. The mountains were carried into the heart of the sea; the nations are troubled, the kingdoms are bowed; the Most High gave His Voice, and the earth was moved. "The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our taker up" (ver. 11). Miracles are done among the heathen, full filled is the faith of the heathen; burned are the arms of human presumption. Still are they, in tranquillity of heart, to acknowledge God the Author of all their gifts. And after this glorifying, doth He yet desert the people of the Jews? of which saith the Apostle, "I say unto you, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened unto Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."  That is, until the mountains be carried hither, the clouds rain here, the Lord here bows the kingdoms with His thunder, "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." And what thereafter? "And so all Israel shall be saved." Therefore, here too observing the same order, "I will be exalted" (saith He) "among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth;" that is, both in the sea, and in the earth, that now might all say what followeth: "the God of Jacob is our taker up." 

Augustine links this verse to the preceding on where he speaks of "He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth" 

Sometimes we feel like our "arms" (that is armament, our ability to fight) are indeed burned up. We begin to feel impotent against the onrush of change that breaks down the good we have known. It is at those times that Augustine says, "be still" ; because you have not wherewith to fight". In that stillness know that God is Sovereign; although it may seem that all is going to ruin; we must have faith that our Sovereign will prevail, in the long run, until all are put under his feet. We see also that he points to the prophesy of Paul, that when Jesus has brought in the fullness of the Gentiles, then Israel shall be saved, and then every knee shall bend to the King of Kings, some in abject subjection whose rebellion has been broken; some in victory.  Which side shall you be on? I want to be on the side of victory and sing with my brethren "O when the saints, go marching in...I want to be in that number...".  Compare Romans 11:1-26

There is a battle that you can fight when your arms seem burned up, and that is the righteous battle of conscientious objection and reasoned disobedience to corrupt authority. Beware that you will be hated all the more (if that is possible); you may be penalized, ostracized, sued, or convicted. Know that the battle will be joined by others--you will not be alone. Let the motto, "Fear God and Do What is Right", be your rule.  

An example is the threat of disobedience and the demonstration of righteous force in the Manhattan Declaration. It stands against any rule of Government which would attempt to require folk to act in a manner that is counter to the Gospel. It is a place to stand, and stand firm.

GRANT to us Lord we beseech thee, the spirit to think and do always such things as be rightful; that we, which cannot be without thee, may by thee be able to live according to thy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 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]



Devotional Readings for the Week of July 25th, 2010

Devotional Readings for the Week of July 25th, 2010 


Your browser may not support display of this image. The Falling Asleep of St. Anna Your browser may not support display of this image. The Fathers of the 5th Ecumenical Council 

Genesis 18:20-32:  

      Had Sodom hidden her sin, she still would have sinned, but in fear. But she had utterly lost the curb of fear, in that she did not even seek darkness for her sin. It is written, "The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is multiplied." Sin with a cry is guilt at liberty. (St. Gregory the Great) 

      Let us be imitators of the saints. Abraham was specially honored and was called the friend of God; yet he, earnestly considering the glory of God, humbly declared, "I am but dust and ashes." (St. Clement of Rome) 

Colossians 2:12-14: 

      "Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord has not imputed sin" (Ps. 32:1-2). Thus David points out that remission of sins which followed upon the Lord's coming, by which "He has destroyed the handwriting" of our debt and "fastened it to the Cross;" so that as by means of a tree we were made debtors to God, so also by means of a tree we may obtain the remission of our debt. (St. Irenaeus) 

      May God "blot out the handwriting that is against you," and grant you forgiveness from your former trespasses. May He plant you into His Church, enlisting you in His service and putting on you the armor of righteousness. May He fill you with the heavenly things of the New Covenant and give you the seal of the Holy Spirit indelible throughout all ages in Christ Jesus our Lord. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

Luke 11:1-13: 

      There are two kinds of prayer, one composed of praise with humiliation, the other of petitions, and more subdued. Whenever then you pray, do not first break forth into petition; but if you condemn your inclination, supplicate God as if of necessity forced thereto. And when you begin to pray, forget all visible and invisible creatures, but commence with the praise of Him who created all things. (St. Basil the Great) 

      Our Lord shows by means of a parable that cowardice in our prayers is hurtful, but it is of great advantage to have patience in them. (St. Cyril of Alexandria)

      Our Lord would not so encourage us to ask were He not willing to give. Let human slothfulness blush, He is more willing to give than we to receive. (St. Augustine) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Hermolaus, Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Parasceva, Martyr


Jeremiah 13:1-11: 

      Israel might indeed have gloried in God, had they acted truly and from the heart: but when they arrogated all things to themselves, and deprived God of his authority, whose subjects they were, how great was their vanity and folly, and how ridiculous always to profess his sacred name, and to say, "We are God's people;" for he was no God to them, as they esteemed him as nothing. (John Calvin) 

      Surgeons pass for being cruel, but really deserve pity. Is it not pitiful to cut away the dead flesh of another man with merciless knives without being moved by its pangs? Is it not pitiful that the man who is curing the patient is callous to his sufferings, and has to appear as his enemy? Yet such is the order of nature. While truth is always bitter, pleasantness awaits upon evil-doing. Jeremiah is sent from Jerusalem to the Euphrates and leaves his girdle to be marred in the Chaldean camp among the Assyrians hostile to his people. This simply for the purpose of establishing the truth. (St. Jerome) 

Matthew 13:31-35: 

      We gives thanks to that grain of mustard seed, for that from what appeared a small and despicable seed it has been so spread abroad everywhere by branches rising and extending themselves from the same root that all the birds of heaven may make their nests in them. Thanks be to that leaven which, in three measures of meal, has leavened in unity the mass of the whole human race; and to the little stone, which, cut out of the mountain without hands, has occupied the whole face of the earth (cf. Dan. 2:35), and which to this end everywhere distends itself, that from the human race reduced to unity the body of the whole Church might be perfected, and so  the distinction of the several members might serve for the benefit of the whole. (St. Gregory the Great) 

      The seed of the Gospel is the least of seeds, because the disciples were weaker than the whole of mankind; yet forasmuch as there was great might in them, their preaching spread throughout the whole world. (St. John Chrysostom) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Panteleimon, Healer and Great-Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Natalia, Martyr 

Jeremiah 14:17-22: 

      Jeremiah dictates for posterity a right form of prayer, so that Judah might in exile know that this one thing only remained for them — to confess their sins, as otherwise they could not obtain pardon. (John Calvin) 

      Every genuine confession humbles the soul. When it takes the form of thanksgiving, it teaches the soul that it has been delivered by the grace of God. When it takes the form of self-accusation, it teaches the soul that it is guilty of crimes through its own deliberate insolence. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

Matthew 13:36-43: 

      The Lord sends away the multitude, and enters the house that His disciples might come to Him and ask Him privately of those things which the people neither deserved to hear, nor were able. (St. Jerome) 

      Inasmuch as the Lord has said that there are certain angels of the devil for whom eternal fire is prepared; and as, again, He declares with regard to the tares, "The tares are the children of the wicked one", it must be affirmed that He has ascribed all who are in apostasy to him who is the ringleader of transgression. But He made neither angels nor men so by nature; for we do not find that the devil created anything whatsoever, since he is indeed himself a creature of God like the other angels. God made all things. (St. Irenaeus) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Prochoros, Apostle and Deacon of the Seven Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Samson of Dol 

Jeremiah 15:10-21: 

      Let all men be instructed by your works. Thus be the ministers of God and the mouth of Christ. This is what the Lord says: "If you take forth the precious from the vile, you shall be as My mouth." (St. Ignatius of Antioch) 

      The so-called gods of the Greeks, unworthy of the name, are faithful neither in their essence nor in their promises; for the same are not everywhere. The local deities come to naught in course of time, and undergo a natural dissolution. This is why the Word cries out against them, that "faith is not strong in them," but they are "waters that fail," and "there is no faith in them" (cf. Jer. 9:3; 15:18; Deut. 32:20). But the God of all, being one really and indeed and true, is faithful, Who is ever the same, and says, "See now, that I, even I am He," and I "change not" (cf. Deut 32:39; Mal. 3:6). (St. Athanasius) 

Matthew 13:44-46: 

      This treasure is indeed found without cost; for the Gospel preaching is open to all, but to use and possess the treasure with its field we may not without price, for heavenly riches are not obtained without the loss of this world. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 

      He who, as far as is permitted, has had perfect knowledge of the sweetness of the heavenly life, readily leaves all things that he has loved on earth. All that once pleased him among earthly possessions now appears to have lost its beauty, for the splendor of that precious pearl is alone seen in his mind. (St. Gregory the Great) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Callinicos, Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Theodota, Martyr  

Jeremiah 18:1-6: 

      Christ knows the way of His own works, and what He has fashioned is not to be curiously inquired into. It belongs to someone like us to honor what transcends the human mind with an unquestioning faith. You should know that the prophet Jeremiah was sent to the house of the potter to watch him work. When the pot turned out badly and the potter refashioned the clay into a new vessel, God said to him: "Can I not do with you as this potter has done, O house of Israel? Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand." We are transformed spiritually and brought to a holy and utterly good life. Through Him we are reborn, for we no longer contain a corruptible seed but that which is sown by the word of the living God Who endures forever. (St. Cyril of Alexandria) 

      If this divine plan to exalt and ennoble the creature is the crown of the providential design of the Creator, it is understandable that the simple nature of the creature stands, in relation to this plan which has been decreed, as clay to the potter's hand. (Hans Urs von Balthasar) 

Matthew 13:47-53: 

      To fear is appropriate for us here, rather than to expound; for the torments of sinners are pronounced in plain terms, that none might plead his ignorance, should eternal punishment be threatened in obscure sayings. (St. Gregory the Great) 

      In this wicked world, in these evil days, when the Church measures her future loftiness by her present humility, and is exercised by goading fears, tormenting sorrows, disquieting labors and dangerous temptations, when she soberly rejoices, rejoicing only in hope, there are many reprobate mingled with the good, and both are gathered together by the gospel as in a drag net; and in this world, as in a sea, both swim enclosed without distinction in the net, until it is brought ashore, when the wicked must be separated from the good, that in the good, as in His temple, God may be all in all. (St. Augustine) 


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

Jeremiah 26:1-9: 

      When God is especially displeased with us, it is yet an evidence of his paternal kindness when he favors us with the prophetic teaching, for that will not be without its fruit, except it be through our own fault. But at the same time we are rendered more and more inexcusable, if we reject that medicine which would certainly give us life. (John Calvin) 

      It is declared that we ought not obstinately to stick to our decisions, but to modify them with reason and with judgment, and that the better courses should always be adopted and preferred, and that we should turn without any delay to that course which is considered the more profitable. Though each man's end is known beforehand to God before that man's birth, yet somehow He so orders all things by a plan and method for all, and with regard to man's disposition, that He decides on everything not by the mere exercise of His power, nor according to the ineffable knowledge which His prescience possesses, but according to the present actions of men, and rejects or draws to Himself each one, and daily either grants or withholds His grace. (Abba Joseph) 

Matthew 13:54-58: 

      Unimaginable folly of the Nazarenes! They wonder whence Wisdom itself has wisdom, whence Power has mighty works! But the source of their error is at hand, because they regard Him as the son of a carpenter. (St. Jerome) 

      If His miracles raised their wonder, why did He not work many? Because He looked not to display of Himself, but to what would profit others; and when that did not result, He despised what pertained only to Himself that He might not increase their punishment. Why then did He even these few miracles? That they should not say, "We should have believed had any miracles been done among us". (St. John Chrysostom) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Joseph of Arimathea Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Ignatius of Loyola  

Jeremiah 26:11-24: 

      There was no other remedy but to submit themselves calmly to prophetic instruction, and at the same time to flee to the mercy of God; for by the fear of God here is meant true conversion? What else is God's fear than that reverence by which we show that we are submissive to his will, because he is a Father and a Sovereign? (John Calvin) 

      We shall possess the holy mountain of God, that is His Kingdom, if we fulfill His law and listen to what is said, "Make your ways clean before Him." (St. Pachomius) 

Matthew 14:1-12: 

      They, who in authority are fenced about with much pomp, learn of the things of God slowly, because they do not much regard them. (St. John Chrysostom) 

      Herod excuses his crime by his oath, that his wickedness might be done under a pretence of piety. (St. Jerome) 

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 Eighth Sunday after Trinity

Augustine on Psalm XXXV
Eighth Sunday after Trinity Home

O GOD, whose Providence in ordering that which is his own, is not decieved; We implore thee as suppliants that thou wouldst remove out of our way everything hurtful, and grant to us all things which will do us good; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Historical Note: Source Gelasian [ca 494]. Both the 1549 and 1662 PB versions deviated from the Latin, this translation was offered by Edward Goulburn, 1883

1 Kings i., Psalms 39, 41 | 37 , 35 ; Romans viii. 12 & St. Matthew vii. 15 
Homily of Augustine on Psalm XXXV

Plead my cause, O LORD, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me.


Augustine wrote of the first verses of Psalm 35, 

 "Judge Thou, O Lord" (saith he), "them that hurt me, and fight Thou against them that fight against me" (ver. 1). "If God be for us, who can be against us?"  And whereby doth God this for us? "Take hold" (saith he) "of arms and shield, and rise up to my help" (ver. 2). A great spectacle is it, to see God armed for thee. And what is His Shield, what are His Arms? "Lord," in another place saith the man who here also speaketh, "as with the shield of Thy good-will hast Thou compassed us."  But His Arms, wherewith He may not only us defend, but also strike His enemies, if we have well profited, shall we ourselves be. For as we from Him have this, that we be armed, so is He armed from us. But He is armed from those whom He hath made, we are armed with those things which we have received from Him who made us. These our arms the Apostle in a certain place calleth, "The shield of Faith, the helmet of Salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God."  He hath armed us with such arms as ye have heard, arms admirable, and unconquered, insuperable and shining; spiritual truly and invisible, because we have to fight also against invisible enemies. If thou seest thine enemy, let thine arms be seen. We are armed with faith in those things which we see not, and we overthrow enemies whom we see not.... 

God grant each reader the will and means to defend the Holy Church Militant against all her enemies. Those means are spiritual, and are effective against  her enemies: Satan, his dark angles, and those minions in human vesture that work to tear her down at his bidding.  Our response must be like the saints of old, to courageously witness our faith in the face of threats, ridicule, hatred, and slander; and to return good for evil. We must remain strong before of an increasing hostile environment throughout the world. Old allies have become accusers. Safe havens are disappearing.   Our predicament is becoming increasingly like that of the very early church when it was confronted with adversaries -- without and within.  The state in some instances has turned hostile to our aims and beliefs--like old Rome. A culture of hedonism, guided by new gods and goddesses, envelopes western society.  None are safe, and many of the church are led astray by the Spirit of the World  (as evidenced by immoral acts, divorce,  abortion, vice, greed, etc.) (1 Cor 2:12ff)

As Augustine says, "If thou seest thine enemy, let thine arms be seen"; and as Galasius said, "God... grant to us all things which will do us good"

God be with us.

Read it all at the link.


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 July 18th, 2010


Your browser may not support display of this image. The Fathers of the 7th Ecumenical Council Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Emilian, Martyr 

Genesis 18:1-10:  

      Abraham himself sat by the door (cf. Gen 18:1) allowing free entry to divine thoughts, while barring the way to worldly cares. (St. Neilos the Ascetic) 

      In the tent Abraham saw the mystery that is in you, O Mother of God; for he received your Son fleshless. (St. John of Damascus) 

Col. 1:24-28: 

      When people say that it is impossible to attain perfection, to be once and for all free from the dominance of passions, or to participate fully in the Holy Spirit, we should show them that they are ignorant and speak falsely and dangerously by saying as St. Paul did: "we may present every man perfect in Christ." (St. Makarios of Egypt) 

      Behold what the perfect man is – the head and the body, which is made up of all the members, which in their own time shall be perfected. New additions are daily being made to this body while the Church is being built up "for His body's sake which is the Church." (St. Augustine)   

Luke 10:38-42: 

      Remember how the Lord rebukes Martha (the soul that is over-busy with external things) when He says: "You are anxious and troubled about many things: one thing is needful" – to hear the divine word; after that, one should be content with anything that comes to hand. (St. Evagrios the Solitary) 

      We have to work but we need not concern or trouble ourselves about many things, for concern with this life prevents that concern with one's own soul and its state which is the purpose of the man who devotes himself to God and is attentive to himself. (St. Peter of Damaskos) 

      Prayer rightly combined with understanding is superior to every virtue and commandment. The Lord testifies to this. In the house of Martha and Mary He contrasts Martha, who was engaged in looking after Him, with Mary, who sat at His feet joyfully drinking the ambrosia of His divine words. When Martha complained and appealed to Him, He made clear to her what takes precedence. He spoke to her not in order to disparage acts of service, but so as to distinguish clearly what is higher from what is lower. (St. Makarios of Egypt)  


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

Micah 6:1-8: 

      "What does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?" How stupid we are! How is it that we fail to see His awesome mysteries? Precisely that which He seems to demand from us is in fact another, a greater gift. How do we not understand that he who cultivates the virtues is the greatest of men, superior to all, even if he is a pauper and of humble birth? (St. Peter of Damaskos) 

      What is required of you for all that the Lord has done for you, but to do justice, to love mercy and to be ready to walk with the Lord your God? (St. Ambrose) 

Matthew 12:38-42: 

      Jesus was sent to preach repentance. Jonah also was sent. But whereas the one fled, not knowing what would come to pass; the other came willingly to give repentance unto salvation. Jonah was asleep in the ship and snoring amidst the stormy sea. Jesus also slept while the sea by His providence began to rise, to show in what happened next the might of him who slept. The one was cast into a whale's belly. The other of His own accord went down where the invisible whale of death is. He went down that death might cast up those whom death had devoured. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) 

      What labor do you have to do compared with that of the Queen of Ethiopia, who arose and came from the ends of the earth to see the wisdom of Solomon? Behold a greater than Solomon is here in the judgment of those who reason maturely. Do not hesitate either at length of journey, or distance by sea; or fire, if this too lies before you; or any other, small or great, of the hindrances; that you may attain the gifts of God. (St. Gregory the Theologian) 


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

Micah 7:14-20: 

      One has come who casts all our sins into the depths of the sea and brings us back to our original worth. Great is the might, but more wonderful the mercy in that the One Who could help us willed to come to our assistance! (St. Bernard of Clairvaux) 

      It is to the grace of baptism that the prophecy of Micah refers: "He will turn again. He will have compassion on us. He will subdue our iniquities and will cast all of our sins into the depths of the sea." (St. Jerome) 

Matthew 12:46-50: 

      If you are a friend of Christ you should have as friends persons who are of benefit to you and contribute to your way of life. Let your friends be men of peace, spiritual brethren, holy fathers. It is of such that our Lord is speaking when He says: "My mother and brethren are those who do the will of My Father in heaven". (St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic) 

      Do not pass your time with people engaged in worldly affairs or share their table, in case they involve you in their illusions and draw you away from the science of stillness. This is what they want to do. Do not listen to their words or accept the thoughts of their hearts, for they are indeed harmful. Let the labor and longing of your heart be for the faithful of the earth, to become like them. (Evagrios the Solitary) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Victor of Marseilles, Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Symeon the Fool for Christ 

Jeremiah 1:1-10: 

      God foreknew the future when He sanctified Jeremiah as yet unborn. (St. Jerome) 

      It is the Lord of hosts Who delivers those who love Him from the danger of sin and pacifies the turbulence of their thoughts, Who puts His words into their mouth and protects them under the shadow of His hands. (Nikitas Stithatos)

Matthew 13:1-9: 

      When the word is sown it does not yield a uniform produce of fruit in this human life, but one various and rich; for it brings forth, some a hundred, and some sixty, and some thirty (cf. Mt. 13:8), as the Savior teaches – that Sower of grace, and Bestower of the Spirit. And this is no doubtful matter, nor one that admits no confirmation; but it is in our power to behold the field which is sown by Him; for in the Church the word is manifold and the produce rich. For in sowing, He did not compel the will beyond its power, nor is mercy confined to the perfect, but it is sent down also among those who occupy the middle and third ranks, so that He might rescue all men generally to salvation. To this intent He has prepared many mansions (cf. Jn. 14:2) with the Father, so that although the dwelling-place is various in proportion to the advance in moral attainment, yet all of us are within the wall, and all of us enter within the same fence, the adversary being cast out, and all his host expelled. (St. Athanasius) 

      Whoever receives the good seed let him purge his land from thorns. (Aphrahat) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Mary Magdalene, Myrrh-Bearer and Equal-to-the-Apostles  

Jeremiah 2:1-13: 

      If God is and is called, the Fountain of wisdom and life as when Jeremiah says, "They have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters;" this implies that life and wisdom are not foreign to the essence of the Fountain, but are proper to it, nor were at any time without existence. Now the Son is all this Who says He is the Life (cf. Jn. 14:6) and that He dwells with Wisdom (cf. Prov. 8:12). (St. Athanasius) 

      Where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God. Where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and every kind of grace; but the Spirit is truth. Those, therefore, who do not partake of Him, are neither nourished into life from the mother's breasts, nor do they enjoy that most limpid fountain which issues from the body of Christ; but they dig for themselves broken cisterns out of earthly trenches, and drink putrid water out of the mire, fleeing from the faith of the Church lest they be convicted; and rejecting the Spirit, that they may not be instructed. (St. Irenaeus) 

Matthew 13:10-17: 

      One and the same God who blesses some inflicts blindness on those who do not believe, but who set Him at naught; just as the sun, which is a creation of His, acts with regard to those who, by reason of any weakness of the eyes, cannot behold its light; but to those who believe in Him and follow Him, He grants a fuller and greater illumination of mind. (St. Irenaeus) 

      If the speaker does not disclose to us the meaning of what he says, we cannot know what it means. Christ reveals the truth to us only if we have previously resolved to receive this knowledge from Him spiritually through the keeping of the divine commandments; because without this anyone who claims to possess knowledge is lying. He speaks from conjecture, not learning authoritatively from God. In such a case even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him. (St. Peter of Damaskos) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Ezekiel the Prophet Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Brigid of Sweden  

Jeremiah 3:14-17: 

      We have received our call to freedom and we have been gathered from separate places to form the one people of God. "I will take them, one man from a people, and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion, and I will give you a shepherd after My own heart Who shall feed you with discipline." After this has happened for us, let us not break the bonds of love. (Abba Horsiesios) 

      Let the bad break themselves on him whom they have chosen to lead them, since they will gain nothing thereby but trouble for themselves and no benefit, for God gives the disobedient people a ruler according to their heart. (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 

Matthew 13:18-23: 

      When you come out of the Church do not begin to be distracted toward vain and useless matters, lest the devil come and find you occupied with them. It is as when a crow finds a grain of wheat on the plain before it has been covered up with earth and picks it up and flies off. So the devil removes the memory of the words of the teaching from your hearts and you find yourself empty and deprived of salutary teaching. (St. Symeon the New Theologian) 

      When a man despises the grace given him, and forthwith falls into the cares of the world, he deliver himself over to his lusts; and thus in time of persecution he is offended and becomes altogether unfruitful. (St. Athanasius) 


Your browser may not support display of this image. Sts. Boris and Gleb, MartyrsYour browser may not support display of this image. St. Christina, Virgin-Martyr 

Jeremiah 7:1-11: 

      If heaven and earth must pass away, obviously all things that are earthly must pass away also. Therefore the places which witnessed the crucifixion and the resurrection profit those only who also bear their several crosses, who day by day rise again with Christ and who thus, show themselves worthy of an abode so holy. Those who say "the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord," should give ear to the Apostle: "You are the temple of the Lord" (II Cor. 6:16), and the Holy Spirit "dwells in you" (Rom. 8:11). (St. Jerome) 

      It was not because God was angry like a man that He rejected Israel's sacrifices; but out of compassion to their blindness, and with the view of suggesting to them the true sacrifice, by offering which they shall appease God, that they may receive life from Him. So God says: "Hear the word of the Lord, all Judah. The Lord, the God of Israel, says these things: Make straight your ways and your actions, and I will establish you in this place. Put not your trust in lying words, for they will not profit you at all: as when you say, 'the temple of the Lord, it is here.'" (St. Irenaeus) 

Matthew 13:24-30: 

      Love to occupy your mind with the reading of Scripture. Do not in the good ground of your heart gather only a crop of darnel and wild oats. Do not let an enemy sow tares among the wheat when the householder is asleep (that is, when the mind which ever cleaves to God is off its guard). (St. Jerome) 

      The Wheat that was sown on the third day came up and filled the Garner of Life. (St. Ephraim the Syrian)

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Seventh Sunday after Trinity

O LORD of Hosts, who art the author and giver of all good things; Graft in our hearts the love of thy Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of thy great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Historical Note: Source: Collect composed by Bishop Gelasius of Rome (492-496)

I have compassion on the multitude

Hosea xiv, Psalms 32, 36 | 33,34 , Romans vi. 19   &  St. Mark viii. 1



We are nourished by a compassionate Lord who fills his own with Good things. 

The collect and Gospel remind me of the first known  mural of a Christian chapel, discovered a few years ago in Israel. It was a chapel donated by Centurion Gaianus. The mural of the two fish was located in the chapel near the holy table for communion, and was a recognized symbol of the Lord's Supper in early church tradition based on this Gospel account. 

Mosaic of Fish on the floor of the Chapel of the Centurion, Megiddo, Israel

Those who abide in Christ and partake of his sacrament as he commanded are indeed "nourished with all goodness", as Gelasius said in the collect. 
Those who used the Didache for their rule of worship ended their communion with this prayer, thereby recognizing the work of the Lord in the sacrament of the Great Thanksgiving.

Let us pray:

We give thanks to You, O Holy Father, for Your Holy Name which You made to live in our hearts, and for the knowledge, the faith and the immortality which You did made known to us through Jesus Your servant. To You belongs the glory for ever. You, Lord Almighty, did create all things through Your Name, and did give food and drink to men for their enjoyment, that they might give thanks to You, but us have You blessed with spiritual food, drink and eternal light through Your servant.  Above all we give thanks to You because You are mighty. Yours is the glory for ever.  Remember, Lord, to deliver Your church from all evil and to make it perfect in Your love, and gather it together from the four winds, holy in Your kingdom which You have prepared for it. For Yours are the power and the glory for ever.  Let grace come and let this world pass away. Hosannah to the God of David. If any man be holy, let him come ! If any man be not, let him repent. 
Maranatha! [come Lord Jesus] Amen.

Post Communion from the Didache 10.. before 100AD

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Devotional Readings for the Week of July 11th, 2010



Your browser may not support display of this image.  St. Euphemia, Great-Martyr Your browser may not support display of this image. The Fathers of the 4th Ecumenical Council 

Deuteronomy 30:10-14:  

      There is demanded of us an unwavering certainty when we confess our Faith. "The word is near, in your mouth and in your heart." The words of our confession must not be tardy or deliberately vague. There must be no interval between heart and lips, lest what ought to be the confession of true reverence become a subterfuge of infidelity. The word must be near us, and within us; no delay between heart and lips; a faith of conviction as well as words. Heart and lips must be in harmony, and reveal in thought and utterance a faith which does not waver. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 

      Let us keep the treasure of our Faith with labor of mind and body, with an even and ready will, that the word may be near, even in our mouths and in our hearts. (St. Ambrose) 

Colossians 1:15-20: 

      Christ is God's masterpiece in human nature, the perfection of the whole creation with the fullness of the Divinity and the fullness of humanity; the fullness of perfection and of holiness. (Emile Guerry) 

      The Second Person of the Trinity was the center of the first creation and Christ Jesus, fully man and fully God is the center of the new creation. (James Jordan) 

Luke 10:25-37: 

      The question "Who is my neighbor?" is the parting shot of despair. The lawyer is trying to justify his disobedience. The answer is: "You are the neighbor. Go along and try to be obedient by loving others." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) 

      Love of God is opposed to unrestrained desire, for it persuades the heart to control itself with regard to sensual pleasures. Love for our neighbor is opposed to anger, for it makes us scorn fame and riches. These are the two pence which our Savior gave to the innkeeper, so that he should take care of you. But do not be thoughtless and associate with robbers; otherwise you will be beaten again and left not merely unconscious, but dead. (St. Maximos the Confessor)

      By recognizing your duty you easily discover who your neighbor is. He towards whom I have a duty is my neighbor. Christ does not speak about recognizing one's neighbor but about being a neighbor oneself, about proving oneself to be a neighbor, something the Samaritan showed by his compassion. By this he did not prove that the assaulted man was his neighbor but that he was a neighbor to the one assaulted. (Soren Kierkegaard)


Your browser may not support display of this image.  Sts. Proclos and Hilary, Martyrs


Isaiah 6:1-8: 

      The cloud of smoke arising from the altar of incense is to be associated with God's glory-cloud, as it appeared in the firmament-heavens (Ex. 19:18). Incense has to do with prayer, and the glory-cloud is an environment of ceaseless angelic prayer (Isa. 6:3-4; Rev. 5:8). (James Jordan) 

      God revealed His presence to His people in the Cloud of Glory. The Cloud was His fiery chariot by which He made His presence known to His people. The cloud served as a guide to Israel, giving light in the darkness and shade from the heat (cf. Ex. 13:21-22; Ps. 105:39), but bringing judgment on the wicked (Ex. 14:19-25). On Sinai, the Cloud was accompanied by thunder, light, fire, smoke and an earthquake (Ex. 19:16-20), and was filled with innumerable angels (Dt. 33:2; Ps. 68:17). The Cloud is nothing less than a revelation of the invisible Heaven, where God is seated on His throne of glory, surrounded by His heavenly court and council (cf. Isa. 6:1-4; Ex. 24:9-15). (David Chilton) 

Matthew 10:34-11:1: 

      Christian love is not a simple increase, crowning and religious sanction of natural love, but is radically distinguished from it and even, at times, opposed to it. (Fr. Schmemann) 

      Christianity is not a religion of comfort, of ease, of calm assurance for this life and for a life beyond the grave. It is not a religion of sentimentality and weakness. It is a religion of virility, of strength, of courage; and, at the same time, a religion of meekness, of mercy and of compassion. These two categories of virtue are complementary, one of the other; and both are equally necessary in the life of combat which the Christian must lead, more especially when the field of that combat is his own nature. (Emile Guerry) 

Your browser may not support display of this image.  St. Stephen of St. Sabbaite  

Isaiah 7:1-9: 

      The demons say to themselves: "Let us rise up, and fall upon a people that lives in hope and stillness; come, let us go and speak to them with words of spiritual deceit, seducing them from the truth over to our side" (cf. Isa. 7:6 LXX; Judg. 18:27). So they sharpen the sword of temptation against us who have chosen the life of stillness, and continue their attacks up to the last moment of our life. The more fervent our devotion and love for God, the more savage are their assaults. They urge us on to acts of sin, making war upon us in ways that test our endurance, trying in this manner to deprive us of our faith in Christ, of prayer and of every hope. (St. John of Karpathos) 

      We gain not faith from understanding, but understanding from faith, as it is written: "Except you believe, you will not understand" (Isa. 7:9). (Abba Nesteros) 

Matthew 11:20-24: 

      It is our Lord Who uses the words that it will be more tolerable for Sodom in the general judgment than for those who beheld His wonders and did not believe in Him nor receive His doctrine; for as He gave by His advent a greater privilege to those who believed in Him and who do His will, so also did He point out that those who did not believe in Him should have a more severe punishment in the judgment; thus extending equal justice to all and exacting more from those to whom He gives the more. (St. Irenaeus) 

      The Savior, while reproving the cities in which he had done great works, but which had not believed, and while setting them in unfavorable comparison with foreign cities, says, "I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment than for you." A little after He says, "Truly, I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you." Here He most plainly predicts that a day of judgment is to come. (St. Augustine) 


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

Isaiah 10:5-16: 

      When of old Satan deceived the first man Adam, thinking that through him he should have all men subject to him, he exulted with great boldness and said: "My hand has found as a nest the riches of the people; and as one gathers eggs that are left, have I gathered all the earth; and there is none who shall escape me or speak against me." But when the Lord came upon the earth Satan could not deceive Him and thus suffers and is dishonored. (St. Athanasius) 

      Everyone who glories in himself shall be humbled. (Aphrahat) 

Matthew 11:25-27: 

      Christ has said that He reveals the truth to whomsoever He wishes (cf. Mt. 11:27). This means that He reveals it only if we have previously resolved to receive this knowledge from Him spiritually through the keeping of His divine commandments; because without this anyone who claims to possess knowledge is lying. (St. Peter of Damaskos) 

      The Fatherhood of God manifested to us by Christ is not the natural, anthropomorphic fatherhood, the knowledge of which, in relation to God, religion infers from below, and which God thus shares with various earthly fatherhoods. This Fatherhood is possessed only by God and manifested and granted only by the only-begotten Son of God. "No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him." Christianity did not begin with an ecumenical universal message of a Father-God common to all religions – in which the word "father," to cap it all off, is ambiguous, for God did not give birth to the world and man, but created them, and thus they are in no way an "emanation" from God. Christianity began with faith in the coming into the world, in the Incarnation, of the only-begotten Son of God and in our becoming sons – in Him and only in Him – of His Father. Christianity is the gift of double revelation: the revelation by the Father of the Son, Whom "no one knows except the Father," and the revelation of the Father by the Son, Whom "no one knows except the Son," but in Whose manifestation to us, in our being brought to Him, consists the matter of the salvation of man and the world, accomplished by Christ. (Fr. Alexander Schmemann) 

Your browser may not support display of this image.  St. Bonaventure Your browser may not support display of this image. St. Vladimir, the Great Prince  

Isaiah 26:7-19: 

      When you fail to carry out the divine precepts of faith, your faith is blind; for if the precepts of God are light, it is clear that when you fail to put the divine precepts into practice you are without divine light. You are God's servant merely in name, not in reality. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      Persistently suffer hardships in order to avoid the hardship of vain sufferings, for unless our loins are exhausted by the weakness induced through the exertions of fasting, and unless like a woman in childbirth we are afflicted with pains arising from the constriction of our heart, we will not conceive the Spirit of salvation in the earth of our heart (cf. Isa. 26:18; 21:3). (St. Gregory of Sinai 

Matthew 11:28-30: 

      The meekness of Jesus has an incomparable power of attraction, and it is the quality He specially chooses to predicate of Himself. He is not impatient or irritated with us; nor does He repulse us. He welcomes us, draws us and desires to conquer our souls by revealing to them His inexhaustible riches. (Emile Guerry) 

      In proportion to our labors and sufferings for the sake of virtue, and generally in the measure of our endeavors, God adjudges to us gifts, crowns and comforts. (The Monks Callistus and Ignatius) 

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

Isaiah 38:1-22: 

      "Those who are in Hades cannot praise You. The dead cannot bless You. The living shall bless You, as I also do." To praise and bless God belongs only to those who live in Christ. (St. Athanasius) 

      Hezekiah was glorified by God in his sickness and prayers with an extension of life, and this was signified by the return of the shadow of the degrees, according to the request of the king who was restored, whom God honored at once by the favor and the sign, assuring him of the extension of his days by the extension of the day. (St. Gregory the Theologian) 

Matthew 12:1-8: 

      He who imitates the disciples of the Lord does not refuse, out of fear of the Pharisees, to walk through the cornfields on the Sabbath and pluck ears of corn. On the contrary, when after practicing the virtues he attains the state of controlling his passions, he culls the inner principles of all created things and devoutly nourishes himself with the divine knowledge they contain. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

      The work of our salvation is not in the sacrifice of the Law, but in mercy; and the Law having ceased, we are saved by the mercy of God. (St. Hilary of Poitiers) 


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

Micah 2:1-5: 

      When the heart begins to advance in love for God, the demon of blasphemy starts to tempt it, suggesting thoughts such as no man but only the devil, their father, could invent. He does this out of envy, so that the man of God, in his despair at thinking such thoughts, no longer dares to soar up to God in his accustomed prayer. But the demons do not further their own ends by this means. On the contrary, they make us more steadfast; for through their attacks and our retaliation we grow more experienced and genuine in our love for God. May the swords of the demons enter into their own hearts and may their bows be broken. (St. Maximos the Confessor) 

           As often as holy men feel themselves to be beset by  shameful thoughts and to be spurred on to illicit delights, so often are they accustomed in the very approach of temptation to place future torments before the eyes of the mind and from such consideration to blot out whatever illicit thing the mind suggests, before shameful delight arises. Therefore, in this way immediately they punish themselves through consideration of punishment and destroy the allurement of sin. Therefore, through the function of judgment we perceive, reprove, condemn and punish seductive thoughts. But we say this not only of shameful thoughts, but even vain and useless ones, which perfect men seriously detest also. (Richard of St. Victor) 

Matthew 12:14-21: 

      Our Savior, teaches us not to break a bruised reed or quench smoking flax (cf. Mt. 12:20). None of us could endure the plots of the enemy, or allay the fiery turmoil of our nature, if God's grace did not protect our human weakness. (St. John Cassian) 

      Him whom the Pharisees, with one consent plotted against to destroy, the untaught multitude with one consent love and follow; whence they soon received the fulfillment of their desires, for it follows, "And he healed them all." (St. Jerome) 
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The Sixth Sunday after Trinity

O GOD, who hast prepared for those who love thee such good things as pass man's understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect Source: Sacrementary of Gelasius, Bishop of Rome [ca 494AD]. Inspired by 1 Corinthians ii. 9. (from Isaiah lxiv.4) Latin

Psalms 28, 29 | 30, 31 , Romans vi. 3   & St. Matthew v. 20

Homily of Augustine on Psalm XXXI

In Thee, O Lord, have I trusted, let Me not be put to confusion for ever


The verse today from the Psalm is one that I often pray, especially as I age and it seems that I have more awareness of Senior Moments... loss of recall (although my dearest centurion assures me it is no new thing for me).  I come across the verse so often because it concludes the Te Deum . In the middle ages and the Latin liturgy of England, this hymn was said on Sundays during non-penitential seasons, and many still follow that tradition. In the Reformed Anglican Tradition of the Prayer Book (traditional) there is no rubric as to when it may be used, nor was there in 500 AD when it was composed, and so this is how you will find it at the bottom of the devotion in the Chapel of the Centurions

Augustine writes of it in today homily:

"In Thee, O Lord, have I trusted, let Me not be put to confusion for ever" (ver. 1). In Thee, O Lord, have I trusted, let Me never be confounded, whilst they shall insult Me as one like other men. "In Thy righteousness rescue Me, and deliver Me." And in Thy righteousness rescue Me from the pit of death, and deliver Me out of their company. 

As I reflect on it and consider the many voices one hears in many traditions that claim to be Christian, yet depart substantially from the Gospel, I realize that this is a very important prayer today.  I would suggest that if your congregation is subjected to "strange" preaching from time to time with a minister who takes liberties with the scripture and traditional thought on such subjects as the Trinity, Virgin Birth, and Atonement, you may wish to begin you own little Call to Worship with this before you cross the threshold:

In Thee, O Lord, have I trusted, let Me not be put to confusion for ever

or even better, use the Te Deum  in your daily worship and before corporate worship, which beautifully reinforces the essential truths and worship of the church, and concludes with this verse.  As you do so, believe in the promises of our Lord that he would not let any man (nor Satan) take any of his elect out of his hand.

Note: see an excellent historical account with the rules of religious communities that have used the hymn in the Early Church


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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]