In today's Office of Readings we encounter a reading from the discourse "On the Palm Branches" by St. Andrew of Crete (ca. 650-740 A.D.). Andrew was a noted preacher of sermons and discourses, and it is extracts from these that form some of our Second Readings. As might be expected from such a poet they are clear and inspiring (credit: Universalis, http://www.universalis.com). For a reflection, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; blessed is the King of Israel," on this Palm Sunday 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 a treatise on the first epistle of John 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 | Open your lips, and let God’s word be heard
In today's Office of Readings we encounter a reading from the Explanations of the Psalms by Saint Ambrose: Psalm 36 (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, "Open your lips, and let God's word be heard," please click on the image. Peace be with you!
Divine Office | The Wisdom of God has mixed wine for us and set up a feast
In today's Office of Readings we encounter a reading from a commentary on Proverbs by Procopius of Gaza (c. 465 - 528). Procopius of Gaza (c. 465 - 528) was a Christian sophist and rhetorician, one of the most important representatives of the famous school of his native place. Here he spent nearly the whole of his life teaching and writing; he took no part in the theological movements of his time. Procopius’s theological works are a series of commentaries on books of the Bible: Kings and Chronicles, Isaiah, the Proverbs, the Song of Songs and Ecclesiastes. The form is that of a catena – that is to say, a chain in which the links are the phrases in the work being discussed, while from each link there hangs a second chain of comments or elucidations by the Fathers or other authorities and ultimately by Procopius himself. For a reflection, "The Wisdom of God has mixed wine for us and set up a feast," please click on the image. Peace be with you!
Divine Office | Build up your church and gather all into unity
In today's Office of Readings we encounter a reading from an Old Slavonic Life of Constantine. St Cyril was born in Thessalonica and was educated in Constantinople. With his brother St Methodius, Cyril went to Moravia to preach the faith. They translated liturgical texts into the Slavonic language and invented the Glagolithic and possibly also the Cyrillic alphabet. They were called back to Rome, where Cyril died on 14 February 869. They are known as the Apostles to the Slavs. For a reflection, "Build up your church and gather all into unity," please click on the image. Peace be with you!