Posted in FATHERS of the Church, QUOTES on FAITH, The RESURRECTION, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 3 April – “Abraham ..rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it and was glad.” – John 56

One Minute Reflection – 3 April – Passion Sunday – Hebrews 9:11-15, John 8:46-59.

Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it and was glad.” – John 8:56

REFLECTION – “God put Abraham to the test and said to him: ‘Take your son Isaac, your only one, whom you love and offer him up as a sacrifice on a height that I will show to you’ ” (Gn 22,2). Notice how that same son, on whom great and wonderful promises rested… Abraham received the command to offer, in holocaust on a mountain to the Lord!

What do you feel about this command, Abraham?… The Apostle Paul, to whom, I think, the Spirit had revealed Abraham’s thoughts and feelings, said: “Abraham did not doubt God’s promises in unbelief, when he offered up his only son Isaac, on whom rested the promises for he reasoned that God was able to raise even from the dead” (Rm 4,20; Heb 11,17.19)… This, then, was the first time when faith in the resurrection was shown. Yes, Abraham hoped Isaac would rise again and believed in the realisation of something that had never happened before… Abraham knew, that in him, the prefiguration of a coming reality was already taking shape; he knew the Messiah, the true Victim offered on behalf of the whole world, Who was to triumph over death, through His Resurrection, would be born from his descendants.

So early the next morning Abraham rose and… on the third day… came to the place of which God had told him.” The third day is always associated with mystery and… the Lord’s Resurrection, in particular, took place on the third day… “Abraham got sight of the place from afar. Then he said to his servants: ‘Both of you stay here with the donkey, while the boy and I go over yonder. We will worship and then come back to you.’”… Now tell me, Abraham, were you speaking the truth to your servants when you stated you were going to worship and then return with the boy; or did you want to deceive them?… “I am telling the truth,” Abraham answers. “I am offering the boy in sacrifice , which is why I am bringing the wood with me. Then I am coming back to you with the boy. Truly, I believe with all my heart that ‘God is sufficiently powerful to raise the dead.’” – Origen (c 185-253) Priest, Theologian, Father (Homilies on the book of Genesis no 8).

PRAYER – Look graciously upon Your household, Almighty God, we beseech You, that by Your grace we may be governed in body and by Your protection safeguarded in mind. 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).


Friday of the First Week of Lent – 11 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – “The Lord has had pity on us”

Friday of the First Week of Lent – 11 March – Our Lenten Journey with the Great Fathers – Ezechiel 18:10-28, John 5:1-15

Bring me out of distress, O Lord; put an end to my affliction and my suffering
and take away all my sins
.” – Psalm 24:17-18

Now a certain man was there
who had been thirty-eight years
under his infirmity.
When Jesus saw him lying there
and knew that he had been
in this state a long time, He said to him,
Do you want to get well?

John 5:5-6

“The Lord has had pity on us”

HAPPY ARE WE if we do the deeds of which we have heard and sung. Our hearing of them means having them planted in us, while our doing them, shows that the seed has borne fruit. By saying this, I wish to caution you, dearly beloved, not to enter the Church fruitlessly, satisfied with mere hearing of such mighty blessings and failing to do good works. For we have been saved by His grace, says the Apostle and not by our works, lest anyone may boast; for it is by His grace that we have been saved. It is not as if a good life of some sort came first and that thereupon, God showed His love and esteem for it from on high, saying: “Let us come to the aid of these men and assist them quickly because they are living a good life.” No, our life was displeasing to Him. He will, therefore, condemn what we have done but He will save, what He Himself has done in us.

WE WERE NOT GOOD but God had pity on us and sent His Son to die, not for good men but for bad ones, not for the just but for the wicked. Yes, Christ died for the ungodly. Notice what is written next: One will hardly die for a righteous man, although perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. Perhaps someone can be found who will dare to die for a good man but for the unjust man, for the wicked one, the sinner, who would be willing to die except Christ alone, Who is so just, that He justifies even the unjust?

AND SO, MY BROTHERS, we had no good works, for all our works were evil. Yet although men’s actions were such, God in His mercy did not abandon men. He sent His Son to redeem us, not with gold or silver but at the price of His Blood poured out for us. Christ, the Spotless Lamb, became the Sacrificial Victim, led to the slaughter for the sheep that were blemished — if indeed one can say that they were blemished and not entirely corrupt. Such is the grace we have received! Let us live so as to be worthy of that great grace and not do injury to it. So mighty is the Physician Who has come to us, that He has healed all our sins! If we choose to be sick once again, we will not only harm ourselves,but show ingratitude to the Physician as well.

LET US THEN FOLLOW Christ’s paths which He has revealed to us, above all, the path of humility, which He Himself became for us. He showed us that path by His precepts, and He Himself followed it by His suffering on our behalf. In order to die for us —because as God, He could not die — the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The immortal One took on mortality, that He might die for us and by dying, put to death our death. This is what the Lord did, this the gift He granted to us. The mighty one was brought low, the lowly one was slain and after He was slain, He rose again and was exalted. For He did not intend to leave us dead in hell but to exalt, in Himself, at the Resurrection of the Dead, those whom He had already exalted and made just by the faith and praise they gave Him. Yes, He gave us the path of humility. If we keep to it we shall confess our belief in the Lord and have good reason to sing: We shall praise You, God, we shall praise You and call upon Your Name.” – St Augustine (354-430) Father and Doctor of the Church (An excerpt from a Homily 23).


One Minute Reflection – 11 March – “Do you wish to be healed?” John 5:6

One Minute Reflection – 11 March – Ember Friday of the First Week of Lent – Ezechiel 18:10-28, John 5:1-15

Jesus said to him, “Do you wish to be healed?” The sick man answered Him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool’ … Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your pallet and walk.” And at once the man was cured.” – John 5:6-8

REFLECTION – “We read in the Old Testament that in the times of Noah, since all humankind had been won over by sin, heaven’s floodgates opened and rain poured down for forty days… This was a symbol – it was less about a flood, than about a baptism. For it was indeed a baptism that bore away the misdeeds of the sinners and spared the uprightness of Noah. And so today, just as it was then, our Lord has given Lent to us so that the skies can open for the same number of days to inundate us with the floods of divine mercy. Once washed in the saving waters of baptism, this Sacrament enlightens us and, just as formerly, its waters bear away the evil of our sins and confirm the uprightness of our virtues.

Today’s situation is just the same as in Noah’s time. Baptism is flood to sinners and consecration for the faithful. In Baptism the Lord rescues justice and destroys injustice. We can see this in the example of one and the same man – before he was cleansed by the spiritual commands, the Apostle Paul, was a persecutor and blasphemer (1Tm 1,13). But once he had been bathed with the heavenly rain of Baptism, the blasphemer died, the persecutor died, Saul died. Then the Apostle, the just man, Paul, came to life… Anyone who lives Lent in a religious manner and observes the Lord’s decrees will see sin die in him and grace come to life… such as these die as sinners and live as righteous persons.” – St Maximus of Turin (?-c 420), Bishop – Sermon for Lent 50

PRAYER – Forgive my sins, O my God, forgive my sins:
the sins of youth, the sins of age, the sins of my soul and the sins of my body,
the sins which, through frailty, I have committed, my deliberate and grievous sins,
the sins I know and the sins I do not know, the sins I have laboured so long to hide from others, that now they are hidden from my own memory.
Let me be absolved from all these iniquities and delivered from the bond of all these evils, by the Life, Passion and Death of my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen


Day Twenty-eighth of our Lenten Journey – ‘… Despise the world and seek to live for God… ‘

Day Twenty-eighth of our Lenten Journey – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent, Readings: Ezekiel 47:1-9, 12, Psalms 46:2-3, 5-6,8-9, John 5:1-16

Imitating Christ with Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

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

“Do you wish to be healed?” – John 5:6

I WILL bring witness against myself to my injustice and to You, O Lord, I will confess my weakness.

Often it is a small thing that makes me downcast and sad. I propose to act bravely but when even a small temptation comes, I find myself in great straits. Sometimes, it is the merest trifle which gives rise to grievous temptations. When I think myself somewhat safe and when I am not expecting it, I frequently find myself almost overcome by a slight wind. Look, therefore, Lord, at my lowliness and frailty, which You know so well. Have mercy on me and snatch me out of the mire, that I may not be caught in it and may not remain forever utterly despondent.

That I am so prone to fall and so weak in resisting my passions, oppresses me frequently and confounds me, in Your sight. While I do not fully consent to them, still their assault is very troublesome and grievous to me and it wearies me exceedingly, thus to live in daily strife. Yet from the fact that abominable fancies rush in upon me, much more easily than they leave, my weakness becomes clear to me.

Oh that You, most mighty God of Israel, zealous Lover of faithful souls, would consider the labour and sorrow of Your servant and assist him in all his undertakings! Strengthen me with heavenly courage, lest the outer man, the miserable flesh, against which I shall be obliged to fight, so long as I draw a breathw, in this wretched life and which is not yet subjected to the spirit, prevail and dominate me.

Alas! What sort of life is this, from which troubles and miseries are never absent, where all things are full of snares and enemies? For when one trouble or temptation leaves, another comes. Indeed, even while the first conflict is still raging, many others begin unexpectedly. How is it possible to love a life that has such great bitterness, that is subject to so many calamities and miseries? Indeed, how can it even be called life, when it begets so many deaths and plagues? And yet, it is loved and many seek their delight in it.

Many persons often blame the world for being false and vain, yet do not readily give it up because the desires of the flesh have such great power. Some things draw them to love the world, others make them despise it. The lust of the flesh, the desire of the eyes and the pride of life lead to love, while the pains and miseries, which are the just consequences of those things, beget hatred and weariness of the world.

Vicious pleasure overcomes the soul that is given to the world. She thinks that there are delights beneath these thorns because she has never seen or tasted the sweetness of God or the internal delight of virtue. They, on the other hand, who entirely despise the world and seek to live for God, under the rule of holy discipline, are not ignorant of the divine sweetness, promised to those who truly renounce the world. They see clearly how gravely the world errs and in how many ways it deceives.
(Book 3 Ch 20)