In today's Office of Readings we encounter a commentary on the Diatessaron by Saint Ephraem, deacon (306-373 A.D.). Saint Ephraem was a poet and a theologian. He lived all his life in Mesopotamia, first founding a school and then, when the Persians invaded his native town of Nisibis, moving to Edessa. He preached there, and laid the foundations of its great school of theology. He is famous not only for the beauty of expression of his homilies but also for his hymns, which have spread far beyond his native Syriac church and are in use in East and West alike. For a reflection, "God's word is an inexhaustible spring of life," please click on the image. Peace be with you!
Divine Office | The pre-eminence of love
In today's Office of Readings we encounter a reading from a sermon by Blessed Isaac of Stella, abbot (c.1105 - c.1178). All that is known for certain about Isaac is that he abandoned his studies at the cathedral schools in about 1140 and became a Cistercian monk, at the time of St Bernard’s reforms. He became abbot of the small monastery at Stella, outside Poitiers, in 1147, from where he was exiled to a remote monastery on the Ile de Ré on the Atlantic coast of Gascony, perhaps in 1167, perhaps because of his support for Archbishop Thomas Becket. Scholars incline to the view that he returned to Stella some time later and died there in about 1178. The date of his birth has been given as anywhere between 1105 and 1120. For a reflection, "The pre-eminence of love," please click on the image. Peace be with you!
Divine Office | She who loved more could do more
In today's Office of Readings we encounter a reading from the books of Dialogues by Saint Gregory the Great, pope (540-604 A.D.). He was elected Pope on 3 September 590, the first monk to be elected to this office. He wrote extensively on pastoral care, spirituality, and morals, and designated himself “servant of the servants of God.” For a reflection, "She who loved more could do more," please click on the image. Peace be with you!
Divine Office | Let Christ take shape within you
In today's Office of Readings we encounter a reading from an exposition on Galatians by St. Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430 A.D.).
Augustine was born in Thagaste in Africa of a Berber family. He was brought up a Christian but left the Church early and spent a great deal of time seriously seeking the truth, first in the Manichaean heresy, which he abandoned on seeing how nonsensical it was, and then in Neoplatonism, until at length, through the prayers of his mother and the teaching of St Ambrose of Milan, he was converted back to Christianity and baptized in 387, shortly before his mother’s death.
Augustine had a brilliant legal and academic career, but after his conversion he returned home to Africa and led an ascetic life. He was elected Bishop of Hippo and spent 34 years looking after his flock, teaching them, strengthening them in the faith and protecting them strenuously against the errors of the time. He wrote an enormous amount and left a permanent mark on both philosophy and theology. His Confessions, as dazzling in style as they are deep in content, are a landmark of world literature. The Second Readings in the Office of Readings contain extracts from many of his sermons and commentaries and also from the Confessions.
Let us pray for the Holy Spirit to inspire us, like St. Augustine, to love God with our minds as well as our hearts; and if we come across a fact or a teaching that seems to us to contradict our faith, let us not reject it but investigate it: for the truth that it contains can never contradict the truth that is God.
For a reflection, "Let Christ take shape within you," please click on the image.
Peace be with you!
Divine Office | We are heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ
In today's Office of Readings we encounter a reading from a letter by St Ambrose (d. 397 A.D.). St. Ambrose was assiduous in carrying out his office, acting with charity to all: a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful. He was unimpressed by status and when the Emperor Theodosius ordered the massacre of 7,000 people in Thessalonica, Ambrose forced him to do public penance. He defended the rights of the Church and attacked the Arian heresy* with learning, firmness and gentleness. He also wrote a number of hymns which are still in use today. Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of Saint Augustine of Hippo to Catholicism, impressing Augustine (hitherto unimpressed by the Catholics he had met) by his intelligence and scholarship. *The Arian theology held that the Son of God is not co-eternal with God the Father, and was distinct. The Arian concept of Christ is based on the belief that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten within time by God the Father, therefore Jesus was not co-eternal with God the Father. As such, all mainstream branches of Christianity now consider Arianism to be heterodox and heretical. For a reflection, "We are heirs of God, co-heirs with Christ," please click on the image. Peace be with you!