Tuesday, January 16, 2018

St. Leo I: The Epiphany

"THE DAY, dearly-beloved, on which Christ the Saviour of the world first appeared to the nations must be venerated by us with holy worship: and today those joys must be entertained in our hearts which existed in the breasts of the three magi, when, aroused by the sign and leading of a new star, which they believed to have been promised, they fell down in presence of the King of heaven and earth. For that day has not so passed away that the mighty work, which was then revealed, has passed away with it, and that nothing but the report of the thing has come down to us for faith to receive and memory to celebrate; seeing that, by the oft-repeated gift of God, our times daily enjoy the fruit of what the first age possessed."

~Pope St. Leo I (c. 395-461 AD): Excerpt from Sixth Sermon on the Epiphany. (Sermon 36)

"The Magi Journeying" (Les rois mages en voyage) by James Tissot
(French, 1836-1902).
Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper,
1894; Brooklyn Museum.

St. Anthony the Great to the monks

"Let it be your supreme and common purpose not to grow weary in the work you have begun, and in time of trial and affliction not to lose courage and say: Oh, how long already have we been mortifying ourselves! Rather, we should daily begin anew and constantly increase our fervor. For man's whole life is short when measured against the time to come, so short, in fact, that it is as nothing in comparison with eternity. . . . Therefore, my children, let us persevere in our acts of asceticism. And that we may not become weary and disheartened, it is good to meditate on the words of the apostle: 'I die daily.' If we live with the picture of death always before our eyes, we will not sin. The apostle's words tell us that we should so awaken in the morning as though we would not live to evening, and so fall asleep as if there were to be no awakening. For our life is by nature uncertain and is daily meted out to us by Providence. If we are convinced of this and live each day as the apostle suggests, then we will not fall into sin; no desire will enslave us, no anger move us, no treasure bind us to earth; we will await death with unfettered hearts."

~St. Anthony the Great ("Father of Monks") (AD 250-356) 

"Temptation of St. Anthony" by Lelio Orsi.
Oil on canvas, 1570s; The Getty Center

Thursday, December 14, 2017

St. Augustine: The definition of a Christian

"He is a Christian who follows the way of Christ, who imitates Christ in all things, as is written: "He who says that he abides in Christ ought himself to walk just as He walked." He is a Christian who shows mercy to all, who is not disturbed by any injury, who does not permit the poor to be oppressed in his presence, who assists the needy and helps those in want, who sympathizes with the sorrowful and feels the grief of another as his own, whose goods all share and no one feels slighted, who serves God day and night, who reflects and meditates on His precepts at all times, who makes himself poor in this world to become rich in the eyes of God, who suffers himself to be despised among men that he may please God and the angels, who is seen to hold nothing concealed in his heart, whose soul is simple and spotless, whose conscience is faithful and pure, whose whole thought is directed to God, and whose whole hope is in Christ, who desires heavenly rather than earthly possessions, who contemns earthly goods in order to acquire divine. As for those who love this world and who are content and well pleased with this life, hear what the Scripture says to them: "Do you not know that the friendship of this world is enmity with God?" Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of this world becomes an enemy of God."

~St. Augustine

Saturday, December 9, 2017

St. Ambrose: "You have received a spiritual seal"

“REMEMBER that you have received a spiritual seal: the spirit of wisdom, the spirit of prudence and strength, the spirit of knowledge and piety, the spirit of holy fear. Therefore, preserve what you have received. God the Father has sealed you, Christ the Lord has confirmed you, and has given a foretaste of the Spirit in your heart, as you have learned from the teaching of the apostle.”

~St. Ambrose of Milan (c. 340–397)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Memorial of St. Ambrose

Advent: December 7th: Memorial of St. Ambrose, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

"St. Ambrose (340-397) was born at Treves in Gaul, a territory which embraced modern France, Britain, Spain, and part of Africa. He studied in Rome and later became governor of Liguria and Aemelia with residence at Milan. While supervising the election of a new bishop of Milan in 374, he himself was suddenly acclaimed the bishop. He was only a catechumen at the time. He was ordained a priest and consecrated a bishop on Dec. 7. He wrote much on the Scriptures and Fathers, preached a homily every Sunday, resisted the interference of the secular powers with the rights of the Church, opposed the heretics, and was instrumental in bringing about the conversion of St. Augustine. He composed many hymns, promoted sacred chant, and took a great interest in the Liturgy." (from Catholicculture.org)

Read from the writings of St. Ambrose at CCEL.

Emperor Theodosius Forbidden by St. Ambrose To Enter Milan Cathedral,
by Sir Anthony van Dyck. Oil on canvas, 1619-20; National Gallery, London. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Eusebius: "The only King of all creation"

“THE true Christ, the divine and heavenly Logos, the only High Priest of the world, the only King of all creation, the only Archprophet of prophets of the Father.”

~Eusebius Pamphili, Bishop of C├Žsarea in Palestine (AD 260 - 340): Ecclesiastical History, I, 3, 8.

Monday, November 6, 2017

St. Gregory of Nyssa: "The purifying fire"

"IF a man distinguish in himself what is peculiarly human from that which is irrational, and if he be on the watch for a life of greater urbanity for himself, in this present life he will purify himself of any evil contracted, overcoming the irrational by reason. If he have inclined to the irrational pressure of the passions, using for the passions the cooperating hide of things irrational, he may afterward in a quite different manner be very much interested in what is better, when, after his departure out of the body, he gains knowledge of the difference between virtue and vice and finds that he is not able to partake of divinity until he has been purged of the filthy contagion in his soul by the purifying fire."

~St. Gregory of Nyssa: Excerpt from Sermon on the Dead. (A.D. 382)

11th century mosaic of St. Gregory of Nyssa.
Saint Sophia Cathedral in Kiev, Ukraine.

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