Friday, January 28, 2005

The fear of the LORD

is the beginning of wisdom:

a good understanding
have all they that do his commandments:

his praise endureth for ever.
Psalm 111:10

Saint Thomas Aquinas, the Angelic Doctor

Why did the Son of God have to suffer for us?

"There was a great need, and it can be considered in a twofold way: in the first place, as a remedy for sin, and secondly, as an example of how to act.

"It is a remedy, for, in the face of all the evils which we incur on account of our sins, we have found relief through the passion of Christ.

"Yet, it is no less an example, for the passion of Christ completely suffices to fashion our lives.

"Whoever wishes to live perfectly should do nothing but disdain what Christ disdained on the cross and desire what he desired, for the cross exemplifies every virtue.

"If you seek the example of love: Greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life for his friends. Such a man was Christ on the cross. And if he gave his life for us, then it should not be difficult to bear whatever hardships arise for his sake.

"If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth. Therefore Christ’s patience on the cross was great.

"In patience let us run for the prize set before us, looking upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who, for the joy set before him, bore his cross and despised the shame.

"If you seek an example of humility, look upon the crucified one, for God wished to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to die.

"If you seek an example of obedience, follow him who became obedient to the Father even unto death. For just as by the disobedience of one man, namely, Adam, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one man, many were made righteous.

"If you seek an example of despising earthly things, follow him who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Upon the cross he was stripped, mocked, spat upon, struck, crowned with thorns, and given only vinegar and gall to drink.

"Do not be attached, therefore, to clothing and riches, because they divided my garments among themselves. Nor to honours, for he experienced harsh words and scourgings. Nor to greatness of rank, for weaving a crown of thorns they placed it on my head. Nor to anything delightful, for in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."

from a Conference by St. Thomas Aquinas
(Office of the Readings)

Acclaim, O tongue, the mystery

Of the glorious Body
And of the precious Blood
That in ransom for the world,
Fruit of a generous womb,
The King of nations shed.

To us given, for us born
From a Virgin pure,
And, brought into the world
To spread the seed of the Word,
He ended His stay
In a wondrous way.

On the night of the Last Supper,
Reclining with his brothers,
Observing the Law fully,
The food prescribed by Law,
This food to the Twelve
He gave with His own hands.

The Word Made Flesh made true bread
Become flesh at His word,
Made wine the Blood of Christ.
And if our senses fail
To strengthen a sincere heart
Faith alone will suffice.

So great a sacrament, therefore,
Let us venerate on our knees
And the old ritual
To the new Rite yield.
May faith supply
What our senses lack.

To the Father and to the Begotten
Praise and jubilation,
Salvation, honor and power
And blessing be;
And to the One who proceeds from Both
Equally be praise.

Pange, lingua, gloriosi
Corporis mysterium
Sanguinisque pretiosi,
Quem in mundi pretium,
Fructus ventris generosi,
Rex effudit gentium.

Nobis datus, nobis natus,
Ex intacta Virgine,
Et in mundo conversatus,
Sparso verbi semine
Sui moras incolatus
Miro clausit ordine.

In supremae nocte coenae
Recumbens cum fratribus,
Observata lege plene
Cibis in legalibus,
Cibum turbae duodenae
Se dat suis manibus

Verbum caro panem verum
Verbo carnem efficit;
Fit sanguis Christi merum.
Et si sensus deficit,
Ad firmandum cor sincerum
Sola fides sufficit.

Tantum ergo sacramentum
Venereumur cernui.
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui.
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio.
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.


S. Thomas Aquinas

Monday, January 24, 2005

Sanctify them through thy truth

'Freedom of Worship' by Norman Rockwell

thy word is truth.

As thou hast sent me into the world,
even so have I also sent them into the world.

And for their sakes I sanctify myself,
that they also might be sanctified through the truth....

That they all may be one;
as thou, Father, art in me,

and I in thee,

that they also may be one in us:

that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

And the glory which thou gavest me
I have given them;

that they may be one, even as we are one:
I in them, and thou in me,

that they may be made perfect in one;

and that the world may know
that thou hast sent me,
and hast loved them,
as thou hast loved me.

John 17:17-19,21-23

"When God created the world...

"...He commanded each tree
to bear fruit after its kind;
and even so He bids Christians
-- the living trees of His Church --
to bring forth fruits of devotion,
each one according to his kind and vocation.
A different exercise of devotion is required of each
-- the noble, the artisan,
the servant, the prince,
the maiden and the wife;
and furthermore such practice must be modified
according to the strength,
the calling,
and the duties of each individual."

in whatever situations we happen to be,
we can and we must aspire to the life of perfection."

from Introduction to the Devout Life, chapter III
by St. Francis de Sales

Monday, January 10, 2005

We shall pray without ceasing

to the Creator of all things,
and beg him to preserve the number of his elect
throughout the whole world,
through his beloved son Jesus Christ,
and not let a single one of them fall away.

Through him you called us from darkness into light
and gave us the knowledge of the glory of your name.
He taught us to hope in you,
from whom all creation has its being.
He opened our eyes so that we would recognise you,
most high among the highest,
holy and surrounded by holiness.

You put an end to the pride of the arrogant,
you frustrate the plans of the gentiles,
you raise up the lowly
and bring down those who are exalted.

You give riches and give poverty,
you dispense both death and life.
You succour every spirit,
you are the God of all flesh.

You behold what is hidden in the depths,
you see all that men do.
You give help to those in peril
and rescue to those without hope.

You create all that has breath and watch over it;
you multiply the peoples of the earth,
and from among them
you choose those who love you
through Jesus Christ your beloved Son,
through whom you give us wisdom, holiness, and honour.

We beg you, Lord, to be our help and our support.
Free us from our troubles; take pity on the lowly;
raise up those who have fallen;
give help to the poor, health to the sick,
and bring home those who have wandered away.

Feed the hungry, ransom captives,
give strength to the weak
and courage to the faint-hearted.

Let all peoples come to know that you alone are God,
that Jesus Christ is your son,
and that we are your people and the sheep of your flock.

For by your acts
you made visible the everlasting structure of the Universe
and set the Earth on its foundations.

For all generations you have been faithful
and just in your judgements,
and wonderful in your power and majesty.

Wisely you have created,
and wisely you have kept things in being.

All that we see shows your goodness;
to all who trust in you,
you are faithful, kind, and merciful.

Forgive us our wickednesses and injustices,
our sins and our transgressions.

Do not weigh down your servants
with the burden of their sins,
but purify us
and direct the paths we take
so that we go forward in purity and innocence of heart,
so that all that we do
is good and acceptable to you and to those who lead us.

Come, Lord, let your face shine upon us
so that we may peacefully enjoy all good things.

May your powerful hand be a roof over our heads
and may your strength preserve us from all wrongdoing.

Free us, Lord, from those who hate us without cause.

Give peace and harmony to us
and to all the inhabitants of the Earth,
as you gave them to our fathers
who called on you with trust and faith.

You alone can give us these gifts
and confer these favours on us.

We put our trust in you
through Jesus Christ, our high priest,
the guardian of our souls.
Through him be glory and majesty to you
now and through all generations
until the end of time.

from the Letter of Pope St Clement I to the Corinthians
Office of the Readings)

All wisdom cometh from the Lord

and is with him for ever.

Who can number the sand of the sea,
and the drops of rain, and the days of eternity?
Who can find out the height of heaven,
and the breadth of the earth,
and the deep, and wisdom?

Wisdom hath been created before all things,
and the understanding of prudence from everlasting.

The word of God most high is the fountain of wisdom;
and her ways are everlasting commandments.

To whom hath the root of wisdom been revealed?
or who hath known her wise counsels?
[Unto whom
hath the knowledge of wisdom been made manifest?
and who hath understood her great experience?]

There is one wise and greatly to be feared,
the Lord sitting upon his throne.
He created her, and saw her, and numbered her,
and poured her out upon all his works.
She is with all flesh according to his gift,
and he hath given her to them that love him.

The fear of the Lord is honour, and glory,
and gladness, and a crown of rejoicing.

The fear of the Lord maketh a merry heart,
and giveth joy, and gladness, and a long life.

Whoso feareth the Lord,
it shall go well with him at the last,
and he shall find favour in the day of his death.

To fear the Lord is the beginning of wisdom:
and it was created with the faithful in the womb.

She hath built an everlasting foundation with men,
and she shall continue with their seed.

To fear the Lord is fulness of wisdom,
and filleth men with her fruits.
She filleth all their house with things desirable,
and the garners with her increase.

The fear of the Lord is a crown of wisdom,
making peace and perfect health to flourish;
both which are the gifts of God:
and it enlargeth their rejoicing that love him.

Sirach 1:1-18
(Office of the Readings)