Posted in CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, FATHERS of the Church, HOLY WEEK 2019, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on SIN, QUOTES on TRUTH, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The HEART, The WORD

Spy Wednesday in Holy Week – 13 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – We do the same thing as Judas …

Spy Wednesday in Holy Week – 13 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Isaias 53:1-12, Luke 22:39-71; 23:1-53

And turn not away thy face from thy servant, for I am in trouble, hear me speedily. Save me, O God, for the waters are come in, even unto my soul.” – Psalm 68:2

And Jesus said to him:
Judas, dost thou betray
the Son of man with a kiss?

Luke 22:48

LET US CONSIDER what Judas said to the Jewish priests: “What will you give me if I hand him over to you?” He was willing to take money in exchange for handing over the Word of God!

THEY DO THE SAME THING, who accept sensual or worldly goods, in exchange for handing over and casting out from their souls, the Saviour and Word of Truth, Who came to dwell with them. Indeed, it would be fitting to apply Judas’ example to all who show contempt for the Word of God and betray Him, as it were, by committing sin for the sake of money, or for any selfish motive.
People who behave in this way, appear openly to be calling out to the powers of the enemy, who offer worldly gain in return for the sin of betraying God’s Word, saying: “What will you give me if I hand Him over to you!?
And they gave him thirty pieces of silver
.”

THE NUMBER OF COINS they gave Judas, was equivalent, to the number of years the Saviour had sojourned in this world. For at the age of thirty, He was Baptised and began to preach the gospel, like Joseph was thirty years old when he began to gather grain for his brothers. Just as at that time the grain was prepared by God for the sons of Israel but given also to the Egyptians, so also, the gospel was prepared for the saints but preached also to the unfaithful and wicked.” – Origen Adamantius (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Exegist, Writer, Apologist, Father (Commentary on Matthew 78)

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, FATHERS of the Church, HOLY WEEK, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on PATIENCE, Quotes on SALVATION, The PASSION, The WORD

Tuesday of Holy Week – 12 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – ‘… If we put Him on, if He is the Way of our salvation …’

Tuesday of Holy Week – 12 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Jeremias 11:18-20, Mark 14:32-72; 15, 1-46

“May God have mercy on us and bless us; may He cause the Light of His Countenance to shine upon us and may He have mercy on us.” – Psalm 66:2

“And some began to spit on Him
and to cover His face
and to buffet Him
and to say unto Him: Prophesy;
and the servants struck Him
with the palms of their hands.

Mark 14:65

“HE RECREIVED the spittings of insulters, who with His spittle had a little before made eyes for a blind man.
And He in Whose Name the devil and his angels is now scourged by His servants, Himself suffered scourgings!
He was crowned with thorns, Who crowns Martyrs with eternal flowers.
He was smitten on the Face with palms, Who gives the true palms to those who overcome.
He was despoiled of His earthly garment, Who clothes others in the vesture of immortality.
He was fed with gall, Who gave heavenly food.
He was given to drink of vinegar, Who appointed the cup of salvation.
That guiltless, that just One—nay, He who is Innocency itself and Justice itself—is counted among transgressors and Truth is oppressed with false witnesses.

HE, WHO SHALL JUDGE, is judged and the Word of God is led silently to the slaughter.
And when, at the Cross, of the Lord the stars are confounded, the elements are disturbed, the earth quakes, night shuts out the day, the sun… He speaks not, nor is moved, nor declares His Majesty even in His very Passion itself.
Even to the end, all things are borne perseveringly and constantly, in order that in Christ, a full and perfect patience may be consummated.

AND AFTER ALL THESE THINGS, He still receives His murderers, if they will be converted and come to Him.
And with a saving patience, He who is benignant to preserve, closes His Church to none.
Those adversaries…, if they repent of their sin, if they acknowledge the crime committed, He receives, not only to the pardon of their sin but to the reward of the Heavenly Kingdom.

WHAT CAN BE SAID, more Patient, what more Merciful? Even he is made alive by Christ’s Blood, who has shed Christ’s Blood!
Such and so great is the Patience of Christ and had it not been such and so great, the Church would never have possessed Paul as an Apostle.

BUT IF WE ALSO, beloved brethren, are in Christ.
If we put Him on, if He is the Way of our salvation, who follow Christ in the footsteps of salvation, let us walk by the example of Christ, as the Apostle John instructs us, saying, He who says, he abides in Christ, ought himself also, to walk even as He walked.

Peter also, upon whom by the Lord’s condescension the Church was founded, lays it down in his epistle and says:

CHRIST SUFFERED FOR US, leaving you an example, that ye should follow His Steps, Who did no sin, neither was deceit found in His Mouth; Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not but gave Himself up to him that judged Him unjustly.” – St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258) Bishop of Carthage and Martyr, Father of the Church (On Patience, 7-9).

Posted in AUGUSTINIANS OSA, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on the CHURCH, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The HOLY EUCHARIST, The PASSION, The WORD

Monday of Holy Week – 11 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Judas

Monday of Holy Week – 11 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Isaias 50:5-10, John 12:1-9

“Help us, O God, our saviour and for the glory of thy name, O Lord, deliver us and forgive us our sins, for Thy name’s sake” – Psalm 78:9

He (Judas Iscariot) said this,
not because he cared about the poor
but because, he was a thief
and held the money bag
and used to steal the contributions.

John 12:6

LOOK NOW AND LEARN that this Judas did not become perverted, only at the time when he yielded to the bribery of the Jews and betrayed his Lord. For not a few, inattentive to the Gospel, suppose, that Judas only perished, when he accepted money from the Jews, to betray the Lord. It was not then that he perished but he was already a thief and a reprobate, when following the Lord;,for it was with his body and not with his heart, that he followed. He made up the apostolic number of twelve but had no part in the apostolic blessedness. He had been made the twelfth in semblance and on his departure and the succession of another, the apostolic reality was completed and the entirety of the number conserved.

WHAT LESSON THEN, my brethren, did our Lord Jesus Christ wish to impress on His Church, when it pleased Him, to have one castaway among the twelve – but this – that we should bear with the wicked and refrain from dividing the body of Christ? Here you have Judas among the saints,- that Judas, mark you! who was a thief, yes – do not overlook it – not a thief of any ordinary type but a thief and a sacrilegis – a robber of money bags,but of such as were the Lord’s; of money bags but of such as were sacred! . … How much more severe ought to be, the sentence on the sacrilegious thief, who has dared to steal, not from places of any ordinary kind but, to steal from the Church!?

HE WHO THIEVES from the Church, stands side by side with the castaway Judas. Such was this man Judas and yet, he went in and out with the eleven holy disciples. With them, he came even to the table of the Lord, he was permitted to have intercourse with them but he could not contaminate them.

OF ONE BREAD did both Peter and Judas partake and yet, what communion had the believer with the infidel? Peter’s partaking was unto life but that of Judas unto death. For that good bread was just like the sweet savour. For as the sweet savour, so also does the good bread give life to the good and bring death to the wicked. “For he that eateth unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgement to himself:” – “judgment to himself,” not to thee. If, then, it is judgement to himself, not to thee, bear as one that is good, with him that is evil, that you may attain the rewards of the good,and be not hurled into the punishment of the wicked.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church (On John 12:1-9 Monday of Holy Week).

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The HOLY CROSS, The PASSION, The WORD

Palm Sunday – 10 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – The Power of the Cross

Palm Sunday – 10 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Philippians 2:5-11, The Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew 26:36-75; 27:1-60

My God, my God, look upon me, why have You forsaken me?” – Psalm 21:2

“Behold the hour is at hand
and the Son of man shall be betrayed
into the hands of sinners.

Matthew 26:45

OUR UNDERSTANDING, which is enlightened by the Spirit of Truth, should receive with purity and freedom of heart the glory of the Cross, as it shines in Heaven and on earth. It should see with inner vision. the meaning of the Lord’s Words when He spoke of the imminence of His passion – The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Afterward He said – Now my soul is troubled and what am I to say? Father, save Me from this hour. But it was for this that I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your Son. When the voice of the Father came from Heaven, saying, I have glorified him, and will glorify Him again, Jesus said in reply to those around Him – It was not for Me that this Voice spoke but for you. Now is the judgement of the world, now will the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I Am lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself.

HOW MARVELLOUS the Power of the Cross, how great beyond all telling, the glory of the Passion – here is the Judgement-Seat of the Lord, the condemnation of the world, the supremacy of Christ Crucified. LORD, You drew all things to Yourself so that the devotion of all peoples, everywhere, might celebrate, in a Sacrament made perfect and visible, what was carried out in the one temple of Judea, under obscure foreshadowings. …

DEARLY BELOVED, let us then acknowledge what Saint Paul, the teacher of the nations, acknowledged so exultantly: This is a saying worthy of trust, worthy of complete acceptance – Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners. God’s compassion for us is all the more wonderful because Christ died, not for the righteous, or the holy but for the wicked and the sinful and, although the Divine Nature could not be touched by the sting of death, He took to Himself, through His birth as one of us, something He could offer on our behalf.

THE POWER OF HIS DEATH, once confronted our death. In the words of Hosea, the prophet: Death, I shall be your death; grave, I shall swallow you up. By dying He submitted to the laws of the underworld; by rising again, He destroyed them. He did away with the everlasting character of death, so as to make death a thing of time, not of eternity. As all die in Adam, so all will be brought to life in Christ.” – St Leo the Great (400-461) Great Father and Doctor of the Church (Excerpt from his “On the Lord’s Passion” Sermon 8).

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on FREE WILL, QUOTES on the DEVIL/EVIL, QUOTES on THE WORLD, The KINGDOM of GOD, The LORD'S PRAYER, The WILL of GOD

Saturday in Passion Week – 9 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – ‘… What is the point …?’

Saturday in Passion Week – 9 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Jeremias 18:18-23, John 12:10-36

In You, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In Your justice rescue me.Psalm 30:2”

He who loves his life, loses it
and he who hates his life
in this world,
keeps it unto life everlasting.
If anyone serves Me,
let him follow Me
and where I am,
there also shall My servant be
.”

John 12:25-26

OUR OBLIGATION is to do God’s will and not our own. We must remember this, if the praye that our Lord commanded us to say daily, is to have any meaning on our lips. How unreasonable it is to pray that God’s will be done and then not promptly obey it, when He calls us from this world!
Instead, we struggle and resist like self-willed slaves and are brought into the Lord’s presence, with sorrow and lamentation, not freely consenting to our departure but constrained by necessity.

AND YET, WE EXPECT to be rewarded with heavenly honours by Him to Whom we come, against our will!
Why then do we pray for the Kingdom of Heaven to come, if this earthly bondage pleases us?

WHAT IS THE POINT of praying so often for its early arrival, if we would rather serve the devil here than reign with Christ!?” – St Cyprian of Carthage (200-258) Bishop of Carthage, Martyr, Great Father of the Church (Excerpt from On Man’s Mortality).

Posted in "Follow Me", ASPIRATIONS and EJACULATIONS, CHRIST the JUDGE, CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, QUOTES on ETERNAL LIFE, QUOTES on MERCY, The LAST THINGS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 9 April – “He who loves his life, loses it and he who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting.” – John 12:25

One Minute Reflection – 9 April – Saturday in Passion Week, the Fifth Week in Lent – Jeremias 18:18-23, John 12:10-36

He who loves his life, loses it and he who hates his life in this world, keeps it unto life everlasting. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me and where I Am ,there also shall My servant be.” – John 12:25-26

REFLECTION – “… We are being towed along by a world that passes away, forgetting the world to come. We are greedy for present things but do not take into account the coming judgement. We will not run to meet the Lord as He comes…

Let us turn back, brethren, let us turn back… By the very fact of His delay, of His still waiting, our Lord proves His desire to see us come back to Him, His desire that we should not perish. In His great goodness, He continues addressing these words to us: “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked but would rather he would change his ways and live ”(Ez 33,11). So let us turn back to Him, brethren, not fearing that time is running short. The time that belongs to time’s Author cannot be shortened. The proof of it lies in the criminal in the Gospel, who, at the moment of dying on the cross, got away with his pardon, grabbed hold of life and, breaking into paradise like a burglar, managed to make his way into the Kingdom (cf. Lk 23,43)!” – St Peter Chrysologus (c 400-450) Bishop of Ravenna, Father and “Doctor of Sermons” of the Church (Excerpt from Sermon 167).

PRAYER – O Lord, may the people dedicated to You, desire to serve You more and more, that, taught by these sacred rites, they may be enriched by more precious gifts, as they grow in favour with Your majesty. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
Amen (Collect).

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on SIN, The MOST HOLY REDEEMER, The PASSION, The REDEMPTION, The WORD

Friday of Passion Week – 8 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – “THE DARKENING OF ONE makes many bright… “

Friday of Passion Week – 8 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Jeremiah 17:13-18, John 11:47-54

O Lord, deal with us not according to our sins, nor requite us according to our crimes.”Psalm 102:10

… It is expedient for us,
that one man die for the people,
instead of the whole nation perishing
.”

John 11:50

“THE DARKENING OF ONE makes many bright… “It is better,” said Caiaphas, “for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” It is better that One be darkened “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” (Rm 8:3) for the sake of all, than for the whole of mankind to be lost by the darkness of sin; that the splendour and image of the substance of God, should be shrouded in the form of a Slave, in order that a slave might live; that the brightness of eternal Light should become dimmed in the flesh, for the purifying of the flesh; that He, Who surpasses all mankind in beauty (Ps 44:2), should be eclipsed by the darkness of the Passion, for the enlightening of mankind; that He should suffer the ignominy of the Cross, grow pale in death, be totally deprived of beauty and comeliness, that He might gain the Church as a beautiful and comely Bride, without spot or wrinkle (Ep 5:27).

BUT UNDER HIS DARK COVERING (Sg 1:5), I recognise the King… I recognise Him and I embrace Him. For, although He presents this dark exterior… within, is the brightness of Divine life, the beauty of His strength, the splendour of grace, the purity of innocence. But covering it all, is the abject hue of infirmity, His Face, as it were, hidden and despised – “one tempted in every respect, as we are, yet without sinning” (Heb 4:15).

I RECOGNISE HERE ,the image of our sin-darkened nature; I recognise the garments that clothed our first parents after their sin (Gen 3:21). My God has clothed Himself in them by assuming the condition of a Slave and becoming, as men are, He was seen in their likeness (Phil 2:7). Under the skin that Jacob wore (Gen 27:16), symbol of sin, I recognise, both the Hand that committed no sin and the Neck which never bowed to evil; no word of treachery was found in His Mouth. I know, Lord, that You are gentle by nature, meek and humble of heart, pleasing in appearance and lovable in Your ways, “anointed with the oil of gladness above Your companions” (Mt 11:29; Ps 44:8). Why then this disfigured likeness to Esau? Whose haggard image this?… Ah! It is mine! He has taken my likeness, taken on my sin… And beneath the rough skin of my sinfulness, I recognise my God and my Saviour.!” – St Bernard (1091-1153) Cistercian Monk, Great Father and Doctor of the Church (28th Homily on the Song of Songs).

Posted in "Follow Me", CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, GOOD FRIDAY, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on GRACE, QUOTES on OBEDIENCE, The WORD

Wednesday of Passion Week – 6 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – ‘The mark of Christ’s sheep …’

Wednesday of Passion Week, the Fifth Week of Lent – 6 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-19, 25, John 10:22-38

O Lord, deal with us not according to our sins, nor requite us according to our crimes.” – Psalm 102:10

“My sheep hear My Voice;
I know them and they follow Me.”

John 10:27

THE MARK OF CHRIST’S SHEEP is their willingness to hear and obey, just as the sign of those who are not His, is their disobedience. We take the word “Hear” to imply obedience to what has been said. People who hear God are known by Him. No-one is entirely unknown by God but to be known in this way, is to become His Kin. Thus, when Christ says, “I know mine,” He means, “I will receive them and give them permanent Mystical Kinship with Myself.” It might be said, that inasmuch as He has become man, He has made all human beings His Kin, since all are members of the same race; we are all united to Christ in a Mystical relationship because of His Incarnation. Yet, those who do not preserve the likeness of His holiness are alienated from Him… .

MY SHEEP FOLLOW ME, says Christ. By a certain God-given grace, believers follow in the footsteps of Christ. No longer subject to the shadows of the Law, they obey the commands of Christ and, guided by His Words rise, through grace, to His own dignity, for they are called children of God. When Christ ascends into Heaven, they also follow Him.” – St Cyril of Alexandria (376-444) Bishop, Father & Doctor of the Church (Commentary on Saint John’s Gospel, 7, 10, 26).

Posted in CHRIST the PHYSICIAN, CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on ETERNAL LIFE, The WORD

Passion Sunday – 3 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – What does “Christ” mean but to die in the body and receive the Breath of Life?

Passion Sunday – 3 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Hebrews 9:11-15, John 8:46-59.

Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord; teach me to do Your will.” – Psalm 142:9-10

Amen, amen, I say to you,
if anyone keep My word,
he will never see death
.”

John 8:51

WE SEE THAT DEATH is gain, life is loss. Paul says: For me life is Christ and death a gain. What does “Christ” mean but to die in the body and receive the Breath of Life? Let us then die with Christ, to live with Christ. We should have a daily familiarity with death, a daily desire for death. By this kind of detachment our soul must learn to free itself from the desires of the body. It must soar above earthly lusts to a place where they cannot come near, to hold it fast. It must take on the likeness of death, to avoid the punishment of death. The law of our fallen nature is at war with the law of our reason and subjects the law of reason, to the law of error. What is the remedy? Who will set me free from this body of death? The grace of God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

WE HAVE A DOCTOR to heal us; let us use the remedy He prescribes. The remedy is the grace of Christ, the dead body, our own. Let us then be exiles from our body, so as not to be exiles from Christ. Although we are still in the body, let us not give ourselves to the things of the body. We must not reject the natural rights of the body but, we must desire, before all else, the gifts of grace.

WHAT MORE need be said? It was by the death of One Man that the world was Redeemed. Christ did not need to die, if He did not wish to but He did not look on death as something to be despised, something to be avoided and He could have found no better means to save us, than by dying. Thus His Death is Life for all. We are sealed with the Sign of His Death – when we pray, we preach His Death, when we offer Sacrifice we proclaim His Death. His Death is Victory; His Death is a Sacred Sign; each year His Death is celebrated with solemnity by the whole world.” – St Ambrose (340-397) Bishop of Milan, Great Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from his work, On the death of Satyrus [Saint Ambrose’s brother])

Posted in CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2021, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on SUFFERING, QUOTES on THE LIGHT of CHRIST, The GOOD SHEPHERD, The WORD

Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – 2 April – ‘ … Anyone who is determined to reach his destination, is not deterred by the roughness of the road …’

Saturday of the Fourth Week in Lent – 2 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Isaias 49:8-15, John 8:12-20

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” – Psalm 22:1

I am the light of the world.
He who follows Me
does not walk in the darkness
but will have the light of life. .

John 8:12

… . I KNOW MY OWN—by which I mean, I love them—and My own know Me. In plain words, those who love Me are willing to follow Me, for anyone who does not love the Truth has not yet come to know it.

MY DEAR BRETHREN, you have heard the test we pastors have to undergo. Turn now to consider how these words of our Lord, imply a test for yourselves also. Ask yourselves whether you belong to His flock, whether you know Him, whether the Light of His Truth shines in your minds. I assure you, that it is not by faith that you will come to know Him but by love; not by mere conviction but by action. John the evangelist is my authority for this statement. He tells us that anyone who claims to know God without keeping His commandments is a liar. …

AGAIN HE SAYS: My sheep hear My Voice and I know them; they follow Me and I give them eternal life. Shortly before this He had declared – If anyone enters the sheepfold through Me he shall be saved; he shall go freely in and out and shall find good pasture. He will enter into a life of faith; from faith he will go out to vision, from belief to contemplation and will graze in the good pastures of everlasting life.

SO OUR LORD’S SHEEP, will finally reach their grazing ground where all who follow Him, in simplicity of heart, will feed on the green pastures of eternity. These pastures are the spiritual joys of Heaven. There, the elect look upon the face of God with unclouded vision and feast at the Banquet of Life for evermore.

BELOVED …, let us set out for these pastures where we shall keep joyful festival with so many of our fellow citizens. May the thought of their happiness urge us on! Let us stir up our hearts, rekindle our faith and long eagerly for what Heaven has in store for us. To love thus ,is to be already on our way. No matter what obstacles we encounter, we must not allow them to turn us aside from the joy of that Heavenly Feast. Anyone who is determined to reach his destination, is not deterred by the roughness of the road, that leads to it. Nor must we allow the charm of success to seduce us, or we shall be like a foolish traveller who is so distracted by the pleasant meadows through which he is passing, that he forgets where he is going.St Gregory the Great (540-604) – Pope and Great Western Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from his Homily 14).

Posted in APRIL -MONTH of the RESURRECTION and the BLESSED SACAMENT, DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2021, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on DEATH, QUOTES on THE VOICE OF GOD, The RESURRECTION, The WORD

Friday of the Fopurth Week of Lent – 1 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – ‘ … Death trembled at His Voice. …’

Friday of the Fopurth Week of Lent – 1 April – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – 3 Kings 17:17-24, John 11:1-45

“O Lord, remember not, against u,s the iniquities of the past, may Your compassion, quickly come to us, for we are brought very low.” – Psalm 78:8-9

I Am the Resurrection and the Life:
he that believes in Me,
although he be dead, shall live.

John 11:25

WHEN HE ASKED: Where have you laid him?” tears came to our Lord’s eyes. His tears were like rain, Lazarus was like seed and the tomb like the earth. He cried out in a Voice like thunder and death trembled at His Voice. Lazarus sprang up like the seed, came out and worshiped the Lord Who had raised him up.

JESUS… RESTORED LIFE to Lazarus and died in his place, for, when He drew him out of the tomb and sat down at his table, He Himself was symbolically buried by the oil Mary poured over His head (Mt 26,7). The power of the death, which had overcome Him for four days, was wiped out… that death might know, how easy it was for the Lord to overcome it, on the Third Day… His Promise is truthful – He had promised that He Himself would come to life again, on the Third Day (Mt 16,21)… Therefore the Lord restored their joy to Mary and Martha by treading down death, to demonstrate, that He Himself would not be held by death forever… From now on, every time someone says that rising on the third day is impossible, let the,m consider him who was raised on the fourth day…

“GO AND TAKE AWAY THE STONE” What is this? He who raised a dead man and restored him to life, couldn’t he have opened the tomb and overturned the stone? He who said to his disciples: “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain: ‘Move from here to there’” (Mt 17,20), could He not move aside the stone, shutting the entrance to the tomb, with one word? Certainly He could! He whose Voice, when He hung on the cross, split rocks and sepulchers, could have taken away the stone with His Word (Mt 27,51-52). But because He was Lazarus’ friend, He said: “Open it that the smell of decay may hit you and you who wrapped him in his winding sheet, unbind him, that you may surely recognise the one you buried.” – St Ephrem (306-373) Deacon in Syria, Great Father & Doctor of the Church (Commentary on the Diatessaron, 17, 7-10 ; SC 121).

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on ANGER, QUOTES on FORGIVENESS

‘Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent – 22 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – ‘The one who is healthy must go to the one who is sick.’

Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent – 22 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – 4 Kings 4:1-7, Matthew 18:15-22

Cleanse me from my unknown faults, O Lord! From wanton sin especially, restrain Your servant. Let it not rule over me. Then, shall I be blameless and innocent of serious sin.” – Psalm 18:13-14

If your brother sins against you,
go and show him his fault,
between you and him alone.
If he listens to you,
you have won your brother.

Matthew 18:15

HE DOES NOT SAY, accuse him,” or “punish him,” or “take him to court.” He says “correct him. ” For he is possessed, as it were, by some stupor and drunk in his anger and disgrace. The one who is healthy must go to the one who is sick. You must conduct your judgement of him privately. Make your cure easy to accept. For the words “correct him” mean nothing other, than help him see his indiscretion. Tell him what you have suffered from him.

WHAT THEN IF he does not listen, if he stubbornly flares up? Call to your side someone else or even two others, so that two witnesses may corroborate all that’s said. For the more shameless and boldfaced he is, so much the more must you be earnest toward his cure, not toward satisfying your anger and hurt feelings. For when a physician sees the sickness unyielding, he does not stand aside or take it hard but then is all the more earnest. That then is what Christ orders us to do. You appeared too weak since you were alone, so become stronger with the help of others. Two are sufficient to reprove the wrongdoer.

DO YOU SEE how He seeks the interest, not of the aggrieved party alone but also that, of the one who caused the grief? For the person injured may be the one who is more taken captive by passion. He becomes the one that is diseased and weak and infirm.

THIS EFFORT MAY OCCUR many times, as he attempts to lead him first alone and then with others. If he persists, then make the effort with the whole congregation. “Tell it,” He says, “to the Church.” If He had sought the interest of the aggrieved alone, He would not have told him to approach the sick individual seventy-seven times. He would not have attempted so many times, or brought so many treatments to the malady. He might have just let him be, if he persisted uncorrected from the first meeting. But instead, He shows us how to seek his cure once, twice and many times: first alone, then with two, then with many more.” – St John Chrysostom (347-407) Archbishop of Constantinople, Great Father and Doctor of the Church (The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 60).

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The Third Sunday of Lent – 20 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – ‘The will is drawn also by love. ‘

The Third Sunday of Lent – 20 March – Ou4 Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Ephesians 5:1-9, Luke 11:14-28

“My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will free my feet from the snare. Look toward me and have pity on me, for I am alone and afflicted.” – Psalm 24:15-16

He who is not with Me,
is against Me
and he who does not gather
with Me scatters.

Luke 11:23

NO-ONE COMES TO ME unless the Father draws him. Do not think that you are drawn against your will – the will is drawn also by love. We must not be afraid of men who weigh words but are far from understanding what belongs above all to Divine Truth. They may find fault with this passage of Scripture and say to us: “How can I believe of my own free will if I am drawn to believe?” I answer: “It is not enough that you are moved by the will, for you are drawn also by desire.”

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN, to be drawn by desire? Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. The heart has its own desires; it takes delight, for example, in the bread from heaven. The poet could say: “Everyone is drawn by his own desire,” not by necessity but by desire, not by compulsion but by pleasure. We can say then with greater force, that one who finds pleasure in Truth, in Happiness, in Justice, in Everlasting Life, is drawn to Christ, for Christ is all these things.

ARE OUR BOIDLY SENSES to have their desires but not the will? If the will does not have its desires, how can Scripture say: The children of men will find their hope under the shadow of your wings, they will drink their fill from the plenty of your house and you will give them drink from the running stream of your delights, for with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we shall see light.

SHOW ME ONE WHO LOVES; he knows what I mean. Show me one who is full of longing, one who is hungry, one who is a pilgrim and suffering from thirst in the desert of this world, eager for the fountain in the homeland of eternity; show me someone like that and he knows what I mean. But if I speak to someone without feeling, he does not understand what I am saying.

YOU HAVE ONLY to show a leafy branch to a sheep and it is drawn to it. If you show nuts to a boy, he is drawn to them. He runs to them because he is drawn, drawn by love, drawn without any physical compulsion, drawn by a chain attached to his heart. Everyone is drawn by his own desire. ” This is a true saying and earthly delights and pleasures, set before those who love them, succeed in drawing them. If this is so, are we to say that Christ, revealed and set before us by the Father, does not draw us? What does the soul desire more than truth? Why then does the soul have hungry jaws, a spiritual palate as it were, sensitive enough to judge the truth, if not in order to eat and drink Wisdom, Justice, Truth, Eternal Life?

BLESSED ARE THOSE who hunger and thirst for justice, that is, here on earth. They shall be satisfied, that is, in Heaven. Christ says: I give each what he loves, I give each the object of his hope; he will see what he believed in, though without seeing it. What he now hungers for, he will eat; what he now thirsts for, he will drink to the full. When? At the resurrection of the dead, for I will raise him up on the last day.”St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Great Western Father and Doctor of Grace of the Church (An excerpt from his Treatise 26).

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One Minute Reflection – 16 March – . Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?”

One Minute Reflection – 16 March – Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent – Esther 13:8-11; 15-17, Matthew 20:17-28

“You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” … the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” … Matthew 20:22,28

REFLECTION – “It is our task and, in our case, an obligation, to make of you the object of all our care, our zeal, our ministrations, by word and deed, by warnings, encouragement, admonitions and incitement, (…) so that, in this way, we might insert you into the rhythm of the divine will and face you towards the goal set before us – to give pleasure to God. …

He Who is immortal, voluntarily shed His Blood He Who created the host of Angels, was bound at the hands of soldiers and He Who is to judge the living and the dead, was dragged to justice (cf. Acts 10:42; 2 Tm 4:1). Truth was exposed to false witnesses, was slandered, struck, covered with spittle, hung on the wood of the cross – the Lord of glory (cf. 1 Cor 2:8) endured every outrage and suffering without Himself needing these trials. How could this have happened to Him Who, even as Man, was without sin and Who, to the contrary, snatched us away from the tyranny of the sin through which death came into the world and falsely took possession of our first father?

So, there is nothing surprising about it, if we submit to even one of these trials since such is our condition … Therefore, we too have to be offended and tempted, afflicted by the cutting off of our wills. According to the interpretation of our Fathers, there is in this, a shedding of blood for this is what it means to be a monk. And we must gain the Kingdom of Heaven in that way, by spending our lives in imitation of the Lord. … Apply yourselves zealously to your duties, in the thought that by means of them, far from being slaves of men, you are serving God.” … St Theodore the Studite (759- 826) Monk at Constantinople (Catecheses 1).

PRAYER – Look mercifully upon Your people, we beseech You, O Lord and grant that they whom You command to abstain from food, may also refrain from harmful vices. Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who lives and reigns with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen (Collect).

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The Second Sunday of Lent – 3 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – COME DOWN, PETER!,

The Second Sunday of Lent – 3 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Matthew 17:1-9

In You is the source of life and in Your Light Lord, we see light…” – Psalm 35(36)

And His face shone as the sun
and His garments became white as snow
.”

Matthew 17:2

THE LORD JESUS,HIMSELF shone bright as the sun, His raiment became white as the snow and Moses and Elias talked with Him (Matt 17:2-3).
Jesus Himself indeed, shone as the sun, signifying that “He is the light which lights every man that comes into the world” (Jn 1:9).

WHAT THIS SUN IS to the eyes of the flesh, that is He, to the eyes of the heart and what that is to the flesh of men, that is He to their hearts.

NOW His raiment is His Church. For if the raiment be not held together by Him Who puts it on, it will fall off. Of this raiment, Paul was, as it were, a sort of last border. For he says himself, “I am the least of the Apostles” (1 Cor 15:9) And in another place, “I am the last of the Apostles.Now in a garment the border is the last and least part.

WHEREFORE as that woman which suffered from an issue of blood, when she had touched the Lord’s hem, was made whole (Mk 5:34), so the Church, which came from out of the Gentiles, was made whole by the preaching of Paul. What wonder if the Church is signified by white raiment, when you hear the Prophet Isaias saying, “Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow”?(Isa 1:18). Moses and Elias, that is, the Law and the Prophets, what avail they, except they converse with the Lord? Except they give witness to the Lord, who would read the Law or the Prophets? Mark how briefly the Apostle expresses this; “For by the Law is the knowledge of sin but now, the righteousness of God, without the Law is manifested:” behold the sun – “being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets” (Rom 3:20-21), behold the shining of the Sun.

PETER SEES THIS and as a man savouring the things of men says, “Lord, it is good for us to be here” (Matt 17:4) He had been wearied with the multitude, he had found now the mountain’s solitude; there he had Christ, the Bread of the soul. What! should he depart thence again to travail and pains, possessed of a holy love to God and thereby of a good conversation? He wished well for himself and so he added, “If Thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for Thee and one for Moses and one for Elias.

TO THIS the Lord made no answer but, notwithstanding, Peter was answered. “For while he yet spake, a bright cloud came and overshadowed them” (Matt 17:5). He desired three tabernacles – the Heavenly Answer showed him, that we have One, which human judgement desired to divide.

CHRIST, the Word of God, the Word of God in the Law, the Word in the Prophets. Why, Peter, dost thou seek to divide them? It were more fitting for thee to join them. Thou seekest three; understand, that they are but ONE. …

COME DOWN, PETER, thou were desiring to rest on the mount, come down, “preach the word, be instant in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Tim 4:2). Endure, labour hard, bear thy measure of torture; that thou may possess what is meant by the white raiment of the Lord, through the brightness and the beauty of an upright labouring in charity. …

THIS PETER UNDERSTOOD NOT YET when he desired to live on the mount with Christ. He was reserving this for thee, Peter, after death. But now He says Himself, “Come down, to labour in the earth; in the earth to serve, to be despised and crucified in the earth. The Life came down, that He might be slain; the Bread came down, that He might hunger; the Way came down, that Life might be wearied in the Way; the Fountain came down, that He might thirst and dost thou refuse to labour? `Seek not thine own.’ Have charity, preach the truth; so shall thou come to eternity, where thou shalt find security.” – St Augustine (354-430) Bishop of Hippo, Father and Doctor of Grace (Homily on the Transfiguration) (Matthew 17:1-9).

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Ember Saturday in Lent – 12 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – ‘… IF WE ARE STEADFAST …’

Ember Saturday in Lent – 12 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – 1 Thess. 5:14-23, Matthew 17:1-9

“Behold, O God, our Protector and look upon Your servants.” – Psalm 83:10,9

This is My beloved Son,
in Whom I am well pleased;
hear Him.”

Matthew 17:5

THE LORD REVEALS HIS GLORY in the presence of chosen witnesses. His body is like that of the rest of mankind but He makes it shine with such splendour that His face becomes like the sun in glory and His garments, as white as snow.

THE GREAT REASON for this Transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cCoss from the hearts of His disciples, and to prevent the humiliation of His voluntary suffering, from disturbing the faith, of those who had witnessed the surpassing glory that lay concealed.

WiITH NO LESS FORETHOUGHT He was also providing a firm foundation for the hope of holy Church. The whole body of Christ was to understand the kind of transformation that it would receive as His gift. The members of that body were to look forward to a share in that glory which first blazed out in Christ their head.

THE LORD had Himself spoken of this, when He foretold the splendour of His coming: Then the just will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Saint Paul the Apostle bore witness to this same truth when he said: I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not to be compared with the future glory that is to be revealed in us. In another place he says: You are dead and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.

THIS MARVEL of the TRANSFIGURATION contains another lesson for the apostles, to strengthen them and lead them into the fullness of knowledge. Moses and Elijah, the law and the prophets, appeared with the Lord in conversation with Him. This was in order to fulfill exactly, through the presence of these five men, the text which says: Before two or three witnesses every word is ratified. What word could be more firmly established, more securely based, than the word which is proclaimed by the trumpets of both old and new testaments, sounding in harmony, and by the utterances of ancient prophecy and the teaching of the Gospel, in full agreement with each other?

THE WRITINGS of the two testaments support each other. The radiance of the Transfiguration reveals clearly and unmistakably the One Who had been promised by signs foretelling Him under the veils of mystery. As Saint John says: The law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. In Him the promise made through the shadows of prophecy stands revealed, along with the full meaning of the precepts of the law. He is the One who teaches the truth of prophecy through His presence and makes obedience to the commandments possible through grace.

IN THE PREACHING of the holy Gospel all should receive a strengthening of their faith. No-one should be ashamed of the Cross of Christ, through which the world has been redeemed.

NO-ONE SHOULD FEAR to suffer for the sake of justice; no-one should lose confidence in the reward that has been promised. The way to rest is through toil, the way to life is through death. Christ has taken on himself the whole weakness of our lowly human nature. If then we are steadfast in our faith in Him and in our love for Him, we win the victory that He has won, we receive what He has promised.

WHEN IT COMES to obeying the commandments or enduring adversity, the words uttered by the Father should always echo in our ears: This is my Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear Him.” – St Leo the Great (400-461) Pope, Father, Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from Sermon 51)

Posted in FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on HUMILITY, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, The WORD

Wednesday of the First Week of Lent – 9 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – REPENT!

Wednesday of the First Week of Lent – 9 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – 3 Kings 19:3-8, Matthew 12:38-50

“Relieve the troubles of my heart
and bring me out of distress, O Lord.
” – Psalm 24:17-18

The men of Ninive will rise up
in the judgement with this generation
and will condemn it;
for they repented
at the preaching of Jonah
and behold, a greater than Jonah is here
.”

Matthew 12:41

LET US FIX OUR ATTENTION on the Blood of Christ and recognise how precious it is to God His Father, since it was shed for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to all the world.

If we review the various ages of history, we will see ,that in every generation the Lord has offered the opportunity of repentance to any who were willing to turn to Him. When Noah preached God’s message of repentance, all who listened to him were saved. Jonah told the Ninevites they were going to be destroyed,but when they repented, their prayers gained God’s forgiveness for their sins and they were saved, even though they were not of God’s people.

UUNDER THE INSPIRATION of the Holy Spirit, the ministers of God’s grace have spoken of repentance; indeed, the Master of the whole universe Himself, spoke of repentance with an oath: As I live, says the Lord, I do not wish the death of the sinner but his repentance. He added this evidence of His goodness: House of Israel, repent of your wickedness. Tell the sons of my people – If their sins should reach from earth to heaven, if they are brighter than scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, you need only turn to Me with your whole heart and say, “Father” and I will listen to you as a holy people.

IN OTHER WORDS. God wanted all His beloved ones to have the opportunity to repent and He confirmed this desire, by His own Almighty Will. That is why we should obey His Sovereign and Glorious Will and prayerfully entreat His mercy and kindness. We should be suppliant before Him and turn to His compassion, rejecting empty works and quarreling and jealousy which only lead to death.

BROTHERS, WE SHOULD BE HUMBLE in mind, putting aside all arrogance, pride and foolish anger. Rather, we should act in accordance with the Scriptures, as the Holy Spirit says: The wise man must not glory in his wisdom nor the strong man in his strength nor the rich man in his riches. Rather, let him who glories, glory in the Lord by seeking Him and doing what is right and just. Recall especially what the Lord Jesus said when He taught gentleness and forbearance. Be merciful, He said, so that you may have mercy shown to you. Forgive, so that you may be forgiven. As you treat others, so you will be treated. As you give, so you will receive. As you judge, so you will be judged. As you are kind to others, so you will be treated kindly. The measure of your giving, will be the measure of your receiving.

LET THESE COMMANDMENTS AND PRECEPTS strengthen us to live in humble obedience to his sacred words. As Scripture asks: Whom shall I look upon with favour, except the humble, peaceful man who trembles at my words?

Sharing then in the heritage of so many vast and glorious achievements, let us hasten toward the goal of peace, set before us from the beginning. Let us keep our eyes firmly fixed on the Father and Creator of the whole universe and hold fast to His splendid and transcendent gifts of peace and all His blessings.” – St Clement of Rome (c 35-c 101) Apostolic Father, Pope, Martyr (An excerpt from his Letter to the Corinthians).

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Tuesday of the First Week of Lent – 7 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – ‘… For You commanded that we should do good, from dawn to dusk, in the same day, …’

Tuesday of the First Week of Lent – 7 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers

Let my prayer come
like incense before You, O Lord.
Psalm 140:2

And the blind and the lame
came to Him in the temple
and He healed them. …
and the children cried out ,,, saying,
Hosanna to the Son of David
” –

Matthew 21:14,15

“You alone are great and generous in everything.
You are the definition of abundant goodness,
Who pours forth constantly, without measure,
more than we ask or expect,
as Paul said in gratitude.

For You commanded that we should do good,
from dawn to dusk, in the same day,

nine times fifty, plus four times ten.
Always attentive,
forgiving with an unfettered heart,
something more
than the expectation of men’s prayers.

And if we place my wretchedness
and disgrace beside Your glory,
omnipotent and awesome Power,
God of all, blessed Lord Christ,
by what measure of weight
shall the balance between
the Creator and the clay be set?
You remain in these things infinite
and unexaminable,
good in all things,
having no part in the wrath of darkness,
therefore, far less are the number of stars
than Your greatness,
for You called them into existence from nothing
by merely pronouncing their names.
Or take the mass of the earth floating in air,
created from nothing,
from which You established the dry land of earth.
These are less than the number I formulated above,
by which You taught us to be like You in forgiveness.”St Gregory of Narek (c 951-c 1010) Monk, Poet, Mystical philosopher, Theologian, Father (Excerpt – Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart)

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, FATHERS of the Church, LENT 2022, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on ALMS, QUOTES on CHARITY, The WORD

Monday of the First Week of Lent – 7 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – ‘… Let us not labour to heap up and hoard riches, while others remain in need. …’

Monday of the First Week of Lent – 7 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers

O Lord, deal with us,
not according to our sins,
nor requite us,
according to our crimes..

Psalm 102:10

Amen I say to you,
as long as you did not do it
for one of these least ones,
you did not do it for Me.

Matthew 25:45

RECOGNISE TO WHOM you owe the fact, that you exist, that you breathe, that you understand, that you are wise and, above all, that you know God and hope for the Kingdom of Heaven and the vision of glory, now darkly as in a mirror but then, with greater fullness and purity. You have been made a son of God, co-heir with Christ. Where did you get all this and from whom?

LET ME TURN to what is of less importance: – the visible world around us. What benefactor has enabled you to look out upon the beauty of the sky, the sun in its course, the circle of the moon, the countless number of stars, with the harmony and order that are theirs, like the music of a harp? Who has blessed you with rain, with the art of husbandry, with different kinds of food, with the arts, with houses, with laws, with states, with a life of humanity and culture, with friendship and the easy familiarity of kinship?

WHO HAS GIVEN YOU DOMINION over animals, those that are tame and those that provide you with food? Who has made you lord and master of everything on earth? In short, Who has endowed you with all that makes man superior to all other living creatures?

IS IT NOT GOD WHO ASKS YOU NOW, in your turn, to show yourself generous above all other creatures and for the sake of all other creatures? Because we have received from Him so many wonderful gifts, will we not be ashamed to refuse Him this one thing only, our generosity? Although He is God and Lord, He is not afraid to be known as our Father. Shall we, for our part, repudiate those who are our kith and kin?

BRETHREN AND FRIENDS, let us never allow ourselves to misuse what has been given us by God’s gift. If we do, we shall hear Saint Peter say: Be ashamed of yourselves for holding onto what belongs to someone else. Resolve to imitate God’s justice and no-one will be poor. Let us not labour to heap up and hoard riches, while others remain in need. If we do, the prophet Amos will speak out against us with sharp and threatening words – Come now, you that say:- When will the new moon be over, so that we may start selling? When will the sabbath be over, so that we may start opening our treasures?

LET US PUT INTO PRACTICE the supreme and primary law of God. He sends down rain on just and sinful alike and causes the sun to rise on all, without distinction. To all earth’s creatures he has given the broad earth, the springs, the rivers and the forests. He has given the air to the birds and the waters to those who live in the water. He has given abundantly to all the basic needs of life, not as a private possession, not restricted by law, not divided by boundaries but as common to all, amply and in rich measure. His gifts are not deficient in any way because He wanted to give equality of blessing to equality of worth and to show the abundance of His generosity.” – St Gregory Nazianzen (330-390) Archbishop of Constantinople, Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from his Oration 14: On Love of the Poor)

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Good Friday Refletion – 2 April – CONTEMPLATING THE LORD’S PASSION

Good Friday Refletion – 2 April

CONTEMPLATING THE LORD’S PASSION

From a Sermon by St Pope Leo the Great (400-461)
Father and Doctor unitatis Ecclesiae

True reverence for the Lord’s passion means, fixing the eyes of our heart on Jesus crucified and recognising in Him our own humanity.

The earth – our earthly nature – should tremble at the suffering of its Redeemer. The rocks – the hearts of unbelievers – should come forth, the massive stones now ripped apart. Foreshadowings of the future Resurrection, should appear in the holy city, the Church of God, what is happening to our bodies, should now take place in our hearts.

No-one, however weak, is denied a share in the victory of the Cross. No-one is beyond the help of the prayer of Christ. His prayer brought benefit to the multitude that raged against Him. How much more, does it bring, to those who turn to Him in repentance.

Ignorance has been destroyed, obstinacy has been overcome. The Sacred Blood of Christ, has quenched the flaming sword that barred access to the tree of life. The age-old night of sin has given place, to the true light.

The Christian people are invited to share the riches of paradise. All who have been reborn have the way open before them, to return to their native land, from which they had been exiled. Unless, indeed ,they close off for themselves, the path that could be opened before the faith of a thief.

The business of this life should not preoccupy us with its anxiety and pride, so that we no longer strive, with all the love of our heart, to be like our Redeemer and to follow His example. Everything that He did, or suffered, was for our salvation – He wanted His Body to share the goodness of its Head.

First of all, in taking our human nature, while remaining God, so that the Word became man, He left no member of the human race, the unbeliever excepted, without a share in His mercy. Who does not share a common nature with Christ, if he has welcomed Christ, who took our nature and is reborn in the Spirit, through whom Christ was conceived?

Again, who cannot recognise in Christ, his own infirmities? Who would not recognise that Christ’s eating and sleeping, His sadness and His shedding tears of love, are marks of the nature of a slave?

It was this nature of a slave, that had to be healed of its ancient wounds and cleansed of the defilement of sin. For that reason, the only-begotten Son of God, became also the Son of Man. He was to have both the reality of human nature and the fullness of the Godhead.

The Body, that lay lifeless in the tomb, is ours. The Body that rose again on the third day, is ours. The Body, that ascended above all the heights of heaven, to the right hand of the Father’s glory, is ours. If then we walk in the way of His commandments and are not ashamed to acknowledge, the price He paid for our salvation in a lowly Body, we too are to rise to share His glory. The promise He made will be fulfilled, in the sight of all: –“whoever acknowledges Me before men, I too will acknowledge him before My Father who is in heaven.”

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Lenten Journey Day Forty-one – 31 March – What is this one thing?

Lenten Journey Day Forty-one – 31 March – Wednesday in Holy Week, Readings: First: Isaiah 50: 4-9a, Psalm: Psalms 69: 8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34, Gospel: Matthew 26: 14-25

Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

In You is the source of life
and in Your Light Lord, we see light

Psalm 35(36)

“My appointed time draws near. I am to celebrate the Passover in your house” – Matthew 26:18

JESUS has always many who love His heavenly kingdom but few, who bear His cross.

He has many who desire consolation but few, who care for trial. He finds many to share His table but few, to take part in His fasting.

All desire to be happy with Him; few wish to suffer anything for Him.

Many follow Him to the breaking of bread but few, to the drinking of the chalice of His passion.

Many revere His miracles; few approach the shame of the Cross.

Many love Him as long as they encounter no hardship; many praise and bless Him, as long as they receive some comfort from Him. But if Jesus hides Himself and leaves them for a while, they fall either into complaints or into deep dejection.

Those, on the contrary, who love Him for His own sake and not for any comfort of their own, bless Him in all trial and anguish of heart as well as in the bliss of consolation. Even if He should never give them consolation, yet they would continue to praise Him and wish always to give Him thanks.

What power there is in pure love for Jesus – love that is free from all self-interest and self-love!

If a man give all his wealth, it is nothing; if he do great penance, it is little; if he gain all knowledge, he is still far afield; if he have great virtue and much ardent devotion, he still lacks a great deal and especially, the one thing that is most necessary to him.

What is this one thing? That leaving all, he forsake himself, completely renounce himself, and give up all private affections. Then, when he has done all that he knows ought to be done, let him consider it as nothing, let him make little of what may be considered great; let him in all honesty call himself an unprofitable servant. For truth itself has said: “When you shall have done all these things that are commanded you, say: ‘we are unprofitable servants.'” (Luke 17:10)

Then he will be truly poor and stripped in spirit, and with the prophet may say: “I am alone and poor.”(Ps 25:16) No-one, however, is more wealthy than such a man; no0one is more powerful, no-one freer, than he who knows how to leave all things and think of himself as the least of all.
(Book 2 Ch 11)

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, HOLY WEEK 2019, LENT 2021, LENTEN THOUGHTS, MATER DOLOROSA - Mother of SORROWS, ONE Minute REFLECTION, The PASSION, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 31 March – “My appointed time draws near. ”

One Minute Reflection – 31 March – Wednesday in Holy Week, Readings: First: Isaiah 50: 4-9a, Psalm: Psalms 69: 8-10, 21-22, 31 and 33-34, Gospel: Matthew 26: 14-25

“My appointed time draws near. I am to celebrate the Passover in your house” – Matthew 26:18

REFLECTION – “And will you be persuaded that He came to His passion willingly? The others, who foreknow it not, die unwillingly but He spoke beforehand of His passion: “Behold, the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified” (Mt 26,2). But do you know why this Friend of man did not shun death? It was lest the whole world should perish in its sins. “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed and shall be crucified” (Mt 20,13); and again: “He steadfastly set His face to Jerusalem” (Lk 9,51).

And will you know certainly, that the Cross is a glory to Jesus? Hear His own words, not mine. Judas had become ungrateful to the Master of the house and was about to betray Him. Having but just now gone forth from the table and drunk His cup of blessing, in return for that draught of salvation, he sought to shed righteous blood. He, who ate of his Bread, was lifting up his heel against Him…Then said Jesus: “The hour is come for the Son of man to be glorified” (Jn 12,23). Do you see how He knew the Cross to be His proper glory?… Not that He was without glory before,for He was glorified with the glory which was before the foundation of the world (Jn 17,5). He was ever glorified as God but now, He was to be glorified in wearing the crown of His patience.

He did not give up His life by compulsion, nor was He put to death by murderous violence but of His own accord. Hear what He says: “I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it up again” (Jn 10,18); I yield it to My enemies of My own choice, for unless I chose, this could not be. He came, therefore, of his own set purpose to His passion, rejoicing in His noble deed, smiling at the crown, cheered by the salvation of humankind, not ashamed of the Cross, since it was to save the world.” – St Cyril of Jerusalem (313-350), Bishop of Jerusalem, Father and Doctor of the Church – Catechetical Lectures to the Newly Baptised 13, #6

PRAYER – Oh dear God and Father, let us stay with Your Son and never betray or desert Him. The One You sent to save us, needs our love and fidelity in return for His ineffable love. Teach us holy Father, do not abandon us to our weakness but help us to love Him in return, with all our hearts, minds and souls. As you O holy Mother loved your Son and your God, help us to be perfect imitators of your Immaculate heart. Through Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, one god forever, amen.

Posted in CONFESSION, CONFESSION/PENANCE, LENT 2021, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on HELL, QUOTES on REPENTANCE, QUOTES on SIN, St PETER!, The WORD, THOMAS a KEMPIS

Lenten Journey Day Forty – 30 March – I confess that I am deserving of all scorn and contempt.

Lenten Journey Day Forty – 30 March – Tuesday of Holy Week, Readings: First: Isaiah 49: 1-6, Psalm: Psalms 71: 1-2, 3-4a, 5ab-6ab, 15 and 17, Gospel: John 13: 21-33, 36-38

Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

In You is the source of life
and in Your Light Lord, we see light

Psalm 35(36)

“The cock will not crow before you deny me three times.” – John 13:38

Truly, my sins have deserved nothing but hell and everlasting damnation.
I confess that I am deserving of all scorn and contempt.

Neither is it fitting that I should be remembered among Your devoted servants. And although it is hard for me to hear this, yet for truth’s sake I will accuse my sins against myself, so that I may more easily deserve to beg Your mercy.
What shall I say, guilty as I am and full of all confusion?
My tongue can say nothing but this alone: “I have sinned, O Lord, I have sinned; have mercy on me and pardon me. Suffer me a little that I may pour out my grief, before I go to that dark land that is covered with the shadow of death.” (Job 10:20-21)

What do you especially demand of a guilty and wretched sinner, except that he be contrite and humble himself for his sins?
In true sorrow and humility of heart, hope of forgiveness is born, the troubled conscience is reconciled, grace is found, man is preserved from the wrath to come and God and the penitent meet with a holy kiss.

To You, O Lord, humble sorrow for sins is an acceptable sacrifice, a sacrifice far sweeter than the perfume of incense. This is also the pleasing ointment which You would have poured upon Your sacred feet, for a contrite and humble heart You will not spurn (Ps 51:19). There is the place of refuge from the wrath of the enemy, there, watever has been defiled, is washed away.
(Book 3 Ch 52:2b-4)

Posted in "Follow Me", CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, GOD ALONE!, LENT 2021, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES for CHRIST, The WORD, THOMAS a KEMPIS

Lenten Journey Day Thirty nine – 29 March – ‘Cling, therefore, to Jesus in life and death …’

Lenten Journey Day Thirty nine – 29 March – Monday of Holy Week, Readings: First: Isaiah 42: 1-7, Psalm: Psalms 27: 1, 2, 3, 13-14, Gospel: John 12: 1-11

Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

In You is the source of life
and in Your Light Lord, we see light

Psalm 35(36)

“The house was filled with the odour of the ointment.” – John 12:3

BLESSED is he who appreciates what it is to love Jesus and who despises himself for the sake of Jesus. Give up all other love for His, since He wishes to be loved alone above all things.

Affection for creatures is deceitful and inconstant but the love of Jesus, is true and enduring. He who clings to a creature will fall with its frailty but he who gives himself to Jesus, will ever be strengthened.

Love Him, then, keep Him as a friend. He will not leave you as others do, or let you suffer lasting death. Sometime, whether you will or not, you will have to part with everything. Cling, therefore, to Jesus in life and death, trust yourself to the glory of Him who alone can help you when all others fail.

Your Beloved is such that He will not accept what belongs to another- He wants your heart for Himself alone, to be enthroned therein, as King in His own right. If you but knew how to free yourself entirely from all creatures, Jesus would gladly dwell within you.

You will find, apart from Him, that nearly all the trust you place in men is a total loss. Therefore, neither confide in, nor depend upon, a wind-shaken reed, for “all flesh is grass”(Is 40:6) and all its glory, like the flower of grass, will fade away.

You will quickly be deceived if you look only to the outward appearance of men and you will often be disappointed, if you seek comfort and gain in them. If, however, you seek Jesus in all things, you will surely find Him. Likewise, if you seek yourself, you will find yourself – to your own ruin. For the man who does not seek Jesus does himself much greater harm, than the whole world and all his enemies, could ever do.
(Book 2 Ch 7)

Posted in HOLY WEEK, LENT 2021, LENTEN THOUGHTS, The WORD, THOMAS a KEMPIS

Lenten Journey Day Thirty-eight – You are my Lord and my God and my King

Lenten Journey Day Thirty-eight – Palm Sunday

Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

In You is the source of life
and in Your Light Lord, we see light

Psalm 35(36)

“See, your King shall come to you” – Zechariah 0:9

NOW again I will speak, Lord and will not be silent. I will speak to the hearing of my God, my Lord and my King, Who is in heaven.
How great, O Lord, is the multitude of Your mercies which You have stored up for those who love You.
But what are You to those who love You? What are You to those who serve You, with their whole heart?

Truly beyond the power of words is the sweetness of contemplation. You give to those who love You.
To me You have shown the sweetness of Your charity, especially in having made me, when I did not exist, in having brought me back to serve You, when I had gone far astray from You, in having commanded me to love You.

O Fountain of unceasing love, what shall I say of You?
How can I forget You, Who have been pleased to remember me, even after I had wasted away and perished?
You have shown mercy to Your servant beyond all hope and have exhibited grace and friendship, beyond his deserving!
… You are my Lord and my God and my King and I am Your poorest servant, bound to serve You with al my strength and never to grow weary of praising You.
This is my desire, this I implore You – that I may always praise You and that You will supply whatever is wanting in me.

(Book 3 Ch 10:1-2,4b)

Posted in "Follow Me", LENT 2021, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on ETERNAL LIFE, QUOTES on SANCTITY, QUOTES on the CROSS of CHRIST, The HOLY CROSS, THOMAS a KEMPIS

Lenten Journey Day Thirty Seven – 27 March – The Royal Road of the Cross

Lenten Journey Day Thirty Seven – 27 March – Saturday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Ezekiel 37: 21-28, Jeremiah 31: 10, 11-12abcd, 13, Ezekiel 18: 31, John 11: 45-56

Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

In You is the source of life
and in Your Light Lord, we see light
Psalm 35(36)

” From that day therefore they devised to put him to death.” – John 11:53

In the Cross is salvation, in the Cross is life, in the Cross is protection from enemies, in the Cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness, in the Cross is strength of mind, in the Cross is joy of spirit, in the Cross is highest virtue, in the Cross is perfect holiness.
There is no salvation of soul, nor hope of everlasting life but in the Cross.

Take up your cross, therefore, and follow Jesus and you shall enter eternal life. He Himself, opened the way before you in carrying His Cross and upon it, He died for you, that you, too, might take up your cross and long to die upon it.
If you die with Him, you shall also live with Him and if you share His suffering, you shall also share His glory.

Behold, in the Cross is everything and upon your dying on the cross everything depends. There is no other way to life and to true inward peace, than the way of the Holy Cross and daily mortification.
Go where you will, seek what you will, you will not find a higher way, nor a less exalted but safer way, than the way of the Holy Cross.
Arrange and order everything to suit your will and judgement and still you will find, that some suffering must always be borne, willingly or unwillingly and thus, you will always find the cross.

… For He wishes you to learn to bear trial without consolation, to submit yourself wholly to Him that you may become more humble through suffering.
No-one understands the passion of Christ so thoroughly, or heartily, as the man whose lot it is, to suffer the like, himself.

The cross, therefore, is always ready; it awaits you everywhere.
No matter where you may go, you cannot escape it, for wherever you go, you take yourself with you and shall always find yourself.
Turn where you will — above, below, without, or within — you will find a cross in everything and everywhere you must have patience, if you would have peace within and merit an eternal crown. Amen
(Book 2 Ch 12:2-6)

Posted in DOCTORS of the Church, LENTEN THOUGHTS, MATER DOLOROSA - Mother of SORROWS, QUOTES on SIN, The PASSION, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 27 March – ‘ … Beneath the rough skin of my sinfulness, I recognise my God …’ St Bernard

One Minute Reflection – 27 March – Saturday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: First Reading: Ezekiel 37: 21-28, Responsorial Psalm: Jeremiah 31: 10, 11-12abcd, 13, Verse Before the Gospel: Ezekiel 18: 31, Gospel: John 11: 45-56

“It is expedient for you, that one man should die for the people.” – John 11:50

REFLECTION The darkening of one, makes many bright… “It is better,” said Caiaphas, “for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” It is better that one be darkened “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” (Rm 8:3) for the sake of all, than for the whole of mankind to be lost, by the darkness of sin; that the splendour and image of the substance of God, should be shrouded in the form of a slave, in order that a slave might live; that the brightness of eternal ligh,t should become dimmed in the flesh for the purifying of the flesh; that He who surpasses all mankind in beauty (Ps 44:2) should be eclipsed by the darkness of the Passion for the enlightening of mankind; that He should suffer the ignominy of the Cross, grow pale in death, be totally deprived of beauty and comeliness, that He might gain the Church as a beautiful and comely bride, without spot or wrinkle (Ep 5:27).
But under His dark covering (Sg 1:5) I recognise the King… I recognise Him and I embrace Him. For though He presents this dark exterior… within is the brightness of divine life, the beauty of His strength, the splendour of grace, the purity of innocence. But covering it all, is the abject hue of infirmity, His Face, as it were, hidden and despised: “one tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning” (Heb 4:15).
I recognise here the image of our sin-darkened nature; I recognise the garments that clothed our first parents after their sin (Gn 3:21). My God has clothed Himself in them, by assuming the condition of a slave and becoming as men are, He was seen in their likeness (Ph 2:7). Under the skin that Jacob wore (Gn 27:16), symbol of sin, I recognise both the hand that committed no sin and the neck which never bowed to evil; no word of treachery was found in His mouth. I know, Lord, that you are gentle by nature, meek and humble of heart, pleasing in appearance and loveable in Your ways, “anointed with the oil of gladness above your companions” (Mt 11:29; Ps 44:8). Why then this disfigured likeness to Esau? Whose haggard image this?… Ah! It is mine. He has taken my likeness, taken on my sin… And beneath the rough skin of my sinfulness, I recognise my God and my Saviour! ” – St Bernard (1091-1153) “Doctor of Light”of the Church – 28th Homily on the Song of Songs

PRAYER – Lord God, at all times You are working out the salvation of man but now, more especially, You enrich Your people with grace. Look kindly on this people, Lord, keep the seal of Baptism inviolate in those who have received it and in those, who still await their rebirth in te Spirit. With Mary, our advocate of love and mercy by our side, may we attain the brightness of Your Face. Through Jesus Christ, Your Son and our Saviour, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and forver, amen.

Posted in "Follow Me", CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, GOD ALONE!, LENT 2021, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES on THE LIGHT of CHRIST, The WORD, THOMAS a KEMPIS

Lenten Journey Day Thirty Six – 26 March – . ‘Give up all other love for His’

Lenten Journey Day Thirty Six – 26 March – Friday of Passion Week or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Jeremiah 20:10-13, Psalms 18:2-3,3-4, 5-6, 7, John 10:31-42

Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

In You is the source of life
and in Your Light Lord, we see light

Psalm 35(36)

“Everything that John said about this man, was true. And many believed in Him.” – John 10:41

BLESSED is he who appreciates what it is to love Jesus and who despises himself for the sake of Jesus. Give up all other love for His, since He wishes to be loved alone above all things.

Affection for creatures is deceitful and inconstant but the love of Jesus, is true and enduring. He who clings to a creature, will fall with its frailty but he who gives himself to Jesus, will ever be strengthened.

Love Him, then, keep Him as a friend.
He will not leave you as others do, or let you suffer lasting death.
Sometime, whether you will or not, you will have to part with everything.
Cling, therefore, to Jesus in life and death, trust yourself to the glory of Him, Who alone can help you when all others fail.

Your Beloved is such, that He will not accept what belongs to another — He wants your heart for Himself alone, to be enthroned therein, as King in His own right. If you but knew how to free yourself entirely from all creatures, Jesus would gladly dwell within you.

You will find, apart from Him, that nearly all the trust you place in men is a total loss. Therefore, neither confide in nor depend upon a wind-shaken reed, for “all flesh is grass”(Is 40:6) and all its glory, like the flower of grass, will fade away.

You will quickly be deceived if you look only to the outward appearance of men and you will often be disappointed, if you seek comfort and gain in them.
If, however, you seek Jesus in all things, you will surely find Him.
Likewise, if you seek yourself, you will find yourself – to your own ruin.
For the man who does not seek Jesus does himself much greater harm than the whole world and all his enemies could ever do.
(Book 2 Ch 7)

Posted in CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, GOD ALONE!, LENT 2021, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES for CHRIST, The ANNUNCIATION, The INCARNATION, The WORD, THOMAS a KEMPIS

Lenten Journey Day thirty five – 25 March – “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” – Luke 1:27

Lenten Journey Day thirty five – 25 March – The Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14; 8: 10, Psalms 40:7-8,8-9, 10, 11, Hebrews 10:4-10, Luke 1:26-38

Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

In You is the source of life
and in Your Light Lord, we see light

Psalm 35(36)

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” – Luke 1:27

ABOVE all things and in all things, O my soul, rest always in the Lord my God, for He is the everlasting rest and joy of the angels and the saints.

O Jesus, Splendour of eternal glory, Consolation of the pilgrim soul, who labour in this sinful world, with You my lips utter no sound and to You my silence speaks. How long will my Lord delay His coming? Let Him come to His poor servant and make him happy. Let Him put forth His hand and take this miserable creature from his anguish.
Come, O come, for without You there will be no happy day or hour because You are my happiness and without You my table is empty.
I am wretched, as it were imprisoned and weighted down with fetters, until You fill me with the light of Your presence, restore me to liberty and show me a friendly countenance.
Let others seek, instead of You, whatever they will but nothing pleases me, or will please me but You, my God, my Hope, my everlasting Salvation. I will not be silent, I will not cease praying, until Your grace returns to me and You speak inwardly to me, saying:
“Behold, I am here. Lo, I have come to you because you have called Me.
Your tears and the desire of your soul, your humility and contrition of heart, have inclined Me and brought Me to you.”

Lord, I have called You and have desired You and have been ready to spurn all things for Your sake.
For You first spurred me on, to seek You.
May You be blessed, therefore, O Lord, for having shown this goodness to Your servant according to the multitude of Your mercies.

What more is there for Your servant to say to You unless, with his iniquity and vileness always in mind, he humbles himself before You?
Nothing among all the wonders of heaven and earth, is like unto You.
Your works are exceedingly good, Your judgements true and Your providence rules the whole universe.
May You be praised and glorified, therefore, O Wisdom of the Father.
Let my lips and my soul and all created things, unite to praise and bless You.

(Book 3 Ch 21:1,4-6)

Posted in "Follow Me", ARMOUR of CHRIST, CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, CHRIST, the WAY,TRUTH,LIFE, GOD ALONE!, LENT 2021, LENTEN THOUGHTS, QUOTES on SELF-DENIAL, The WORD, THOMAS a KEMPIS

Day Thirty four of our Lenten Journey – 24 March – Renouncing self

Day Thirty four of our Lenten Journey – 24 March – Wednesday of Passion or the Fifth Week of Lent, Readings: Daniel 3:14-20, 91-92, 95, Daniel 3:52, 53, 54,55, 56, John 8:3

Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

In You is the source of life
and in Your Light Lord, we see light

Psalm 35(36)

“If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples
and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
– John 8:31-32

CHRIST: MY CHILD, you can never be perfectly free unless you completely renounce self, for all who seek their own interest and who love themselves, are bound in fetters. They are unsettled by covetousness and curiosity, always searching for ease and not for the things of Christ, often desiring and pursuing, that which will not last, for anything that is not of God, will fail completely.

Hold to this short and perfect advice, therefore, give up your desires and you will find rest.
Think upon it in your heart and when you have put it into practice, you will understand all things.

DISCIPLE: But this, Lord, is not the work of one day, nor is it mere child’s play, indeed, in this brief sentence is included all the perfection of holy persons.

CHRIST: My child, you should not turn away or be downcast when you hear the way of the perfect. Rather you ought to be spurred on the more, toward their sublime heights, or at least, be moved to seek perfection.

I would this were the case with you — that you had progressed to the point where you no longer loved self but simply awaited My bidding … Then you would please Me very much and your whole life would pass in peace and joy.
But you have yet many things which you must relinquish and, unless you resign them entirely to Me, you will not obtain that which you ask.

“I counsel thee to buy of me gold, fire-tried, that thou mayest be made rich” (Apoc 3:18)– rich in heavenly wisdom, which treads underfoot, all that is low.
Cast aside earthly wisdom, which seeks to please the world, others and self.

I have said: exchange what is precious and valued among men, for that which is considered contemptible.
For true heavenly wisdom — not to think highly of self and not to seek glory on earth — does indeed seem mean and small and is well-nigh forgotten, as many men praise it with their mouths but shy far away from it, in their lives.
Yet this heavenly wisdom is a pearl of great price, which is hidden from many.
(Book 3 Ch 32)