Don’t neglect your spiritual reading. Reading has made many saints.”
St. Josemaría Escrivá
Whenever we take up a Bible we touch Irenaeus’s work, for he played a decisive role in fixing the canon of the New Testament. It is easy for people nowadays to think of Scripture – and the New Testament in particular – as the basis of the Church, but harder to remember that it was the Church itself that had to agree, early on, about what was scriptural and what was not. Before Irenaeus (ca. 130-202 A.D.), there was vague general agreement on what scripture was, but a system based on this kind of common consent was too weak. As dissensions and heresies arose, reference to scripture was the obvious way of trying to settle what the truth really was, but in the absence of an agreed canon of scripture it was all too easy to attack one’s opponent’s arguments by saying that his texts were corrupt or unscriptural; and easy, too, to do a little fine-tuning of texts on one’s own behalf. Irenaeus not only established a canon which is almost identical to our present one, but also gave reasoned arguments for each inclusion and exclusion.
Irenaeus also wrote a major work, Against the Heresies, which in the course of denying what the Christian faith is not, effectively asserts what it is.
At Christ’s coming, God will be visible to man
From the treatise “Against the Heresies” by St Irenaeus
There is one God, who by the Word and Wisdom created and arranged all things.
But God’s Word is our Lord Jesus Christ, who in these last times was made a man among men, that he might join the end to the beginning: that is, join man to God.
For this reason the prophets, who received the prophetic gift from the same Word, preached his coming in the flesh, by which God and man would be blended and united according to the will of the Father. The Word of God foretold from the beginning that God would be seen by men and live on earth among them, and speak with them; that he should come to the help of what he had created and save it. He would be seen by his creation and would free us from the hands of all that hate us – that is, save it from every spirit of wickedness. He would lead us to serve him in holiness and righteousness through all our days so that man, having embraced the Spirit of God, might pass into the glory of the Father.
The prophets foretold, therefore, that God would be seen by men; as indeed the Lord himself confirmed: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
But at the same time God is great and unspeakably glorious, so that no man shall see God and live, for God can never be completely understood. But God is loving and kind and omnipotent, and so he gives the sight of God, the greatest gift of all, to those who love him. Even this was foretold by the prophets: For those things that are impossible with men, are possible with God.
For man does not see God by his own powers; but God is seen by men when it pleases him that this should be so. He decides by whom he should be seen, and when, and how for God is powerful in all things. He was seen in the past prophetically, through the Spirit, and now as it were by adoption, through the Son; and in the kingdom of heaven he will be seen as a true father. The Spirit prepares mankind for the Son of God, the Son leads it to God, and God gives it the gift of incorruptible eternal life, a life that everyone receives who sees God.
Just as those who see light are within the light and share in its splendour, so those who see God are in God and share his splendour also. But God’s splendour gives life: and so those who see God receive life.
Credit: Divine Office: Office of Readings; Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Advent; https://divineoffice.org/welcome/ Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
Just as the bread, which comes from the earth, having received the invocation of God, is no longer ordinary bread, the Eucharist, consisting of two realities, earthly and heavenly, so our bodies, having received the Eucharist, are no longer corruptible because they have the hope of the Resurrection.”
Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Bishop and Martyr, disciple of St. Polycarp who was the disciple of St. John the Apostle
Jesus Christ, in His infinite love, has become what we are, in order that He may make us entirely what He is.”
Saint Irenaeus of Lyons
“From ancient times the Church has had the custom of celebrating each day the liturgy of the hours. In this way the Church fulfills the Lord’s precept to pray without ceasing, at once offering its praise to God the Father and interceding for the salvation of the world.” — Office of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship. The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of the whole People of God. In it, Christ himself “continues his priestly work through his Church.” His members participate according to their own place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives. The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office either with the priests, among themselves, or individually. The celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours demands not only harmonizing the voice with the praying heart, but also a deeper “understanding of the liturgy and of the Bible, especially of the Psalms.” The hymns and litanies of the Liturgy of the Hours integrate the prayer of the psalms into the age of the Church, expressing the symbolism of the time of day, the liturgical season, or the feast being celebrated. Credit: https://divineoffice.org/liturgy-of-the-hours/
Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.”
Saint Francis de Sales
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Holy Spirit, Light and Life of my Soul, enliven my prayer life.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.