08 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

These things do thou say continually: by these be instructed. For every single word of this has in it an indiscoverable ocean of meaning. For we have been just running over them only: but if you were minded to give these passages accurate investigation, you will see the riches to be great. But at present it is possible even by what I have given, to get cleared of the passions that lie on you. For since he forbids our envying, or being grieved, or despondent out of season, or thinking that riches are anything, or tribulation, or poverty, or fancying life itself to be anything, he frees you from all passions. So for this let us give thanks to God, and let us have our treasure always in hand, that by patience and comfort of the Scriptures we may have hope Romans 15:4, and enjoy the good things to come.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 28 on Romans

Luther and Lewis

Think how you would like it if God should do unto you as you do to your neighbour, and should expose all your sin to the world? Or how would you like it if some other man would make known all your malice? You would doubtless want every man to be silent, to excuse you and cover up your evil and pray for you.—Martin Luther, Exposition of the Lord's Prayer for Simple Lay-folk

When I respond to that appeal I seem to myself to be a thousand miles away from Christ. If I am sure of anything I am sure that His teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities. I doubt whether there is a anything in me that pleases Him less. And who could conceivably begin to love God on such a prudential ground—because the security (so to speak) is better?—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, pp. 175, 6.

Catechesis: Baptism, Part IV

Both of these things must take place in us all our lives. So a truly Christian life is nothing other than a daily Baptism, once begun and ever to be continued. For this must be done without ceasing, that we always keep purging away whatever belongs to the old Adam. Then what belongs to the new man may come forth.—LC IV:65

07 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

For just as food maintains our life, and by this rules the body, so if we have good works, we shall have the Spirit; and if we have the Spirit, we shall also have good works. As also, on the other hand, if we have no works, the Spirit flies away. But if we be deserted by the Spirit, we shall also halt in our works. For when this has gone, the unclean one comes.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 28 on Romans

Luther and Lewis

Learn here to seek your neighbour as a lost sheep, to cover his shame with your honour, to let your sanctity be a cover for his sins... Why? Because you would that it should so be done to you. That is what Christ does too. He, too, could bring shame on us, and tread us under His feet, but He does not do so. And you must do the same.—Martin Luther, Sermons, 1522

For when God rules a human heart, though He may sometimes have to remove certain of its native authorities altogether, He often continues others in their offices and, by subjecting their authority to His, gives it for the first time a firm basis.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 175

Catechesis: Baptism III

Imagine there was a doctor somewhere who understood the art of saving people from death or, even though they died, could restore them quickly to life so that they would afterward live forever. Oh, how the world would pour in money like snow and rain. No one could find access to him because of the throng of the rich! But here in Baptism there is freely brought to everyone's door such a treasure and medicine that it utterly destroys death and preserves all people alive. We must think this way about Baptism and make it profitable for ourselves.—LC IV:43, 44

06 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

For it was not that the Law might continue, but that He might put an end to it, and free you from the curse thereof, and set you entirely at liberty from the dominion of that Law. For it was because you had transgressed the Law, that He fulfilled it, not that you might fulfil it, but that He might confirm to you the promises made unto the fathers, which the Law had caused to be suspended, by showing you to have offended, and to be unworthy of the inheritance. And so thou also art saved by grace, since you were cast off.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 28 on Romans

Luther and Lewis

[on the Pharisee and Publican]: For it he had said: 'O God, we are all sinners. This poor sinner is also, and so am I, like all other men,' he would then have fulfilled God's first commandment, namely, he had given honour and praise to God. And if he had afterwards said: 'O God, I see that this man is a sinner, and is in the jaws of the devil, help him, dear Lord,' and had thus taken him upon his back and carried him before God and prayed to God for him, he would have also have fulfilled the other commandment, namely, that of Christian love, as St. Paul says and teaches: 'Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.'—Martin Luther, Sermons from 1522

It is dangerous to press upon a man the duty of getting beyond earthly love when his real difficulty lies in getting so far. And it is no doubt easy enough to love the fellow creature less and to imagine that this is happening because we are learning to love God more, when the real reason may be quite different.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 174.

Catechesis: Holy Baptism

Faith must have something that it believes, that is, of which it takes hold and upon which it stands and rests. So faith clings to the water and believes that in Baptism, there is pure salvation and life. This is not through the water (as we have stated well enough), but through the fact that it is embodied in God's Word and institution, and that God's name abides in it.—LC IV:29

Therefore, it makes sense that whoever rejects Baptism rejects God's Word, faith, and Christ, who directs us to Baptism and binds us to Baptism.—LC IV:31

04 July 2020

Prayer for Our Nation

The petition we offer this weekend in the Prayer of the Church:

Ruler of the nations, You hold in Your hand all the might of man. This weekend we give You thanks for our nation's independence and for the high ideals on which it was founded, ideals we have not always faithfully and fully upheld. We beg You to remove from us all rancor and discord, injustice and prejudice, party spirit and ill-treatment of those with whom we differ. Grant that we might truly become one nation from many peoples, working together for the common good in every place. To that end, pour Your blessing upon all our elected officials, magistrates and judges. Grant to all our public servants wisdom and courage, integrity and compassion. Keep under Your divine protection all who serve in our armed forces and all our first responders. Lord, in Your mercy, R.

Wow. Hard to wrap my mind around

That my brother turns 75 today. Happy birthday, Butch (Seldon Stuart)!

03 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

He does not say merely with one mouth, but bids us do it with one will also. See how he has united the whole body into one, and how he concludes his address again with a doxology, whereby he gives the utmost inducement to unanimity and concord.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 27 on Romans

Luther and Lewis

There is a kingdom of grace which is mightier in us and over us than all wrath, sin, and evil.—Martin Luther, Exposition of Psalm cxvii.

[on Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed] It says in effect, 'You should have known me better.'—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 172.

Catechesis: Baptism

But in the first place we take up Baptism, by which we are received into the Christian Church. IV.2

So also I can boast that Baptism is no human plaything, but it is instituted by God Himself. Furthermore, Baptism is most solemnly and strictly commanded so that we must be baptized or we cannot be saved. IV.6

To be baptized in God's name is to be baptized not by men, but by God Himself. Therefore, although it is performed by human hands, it is still truly God's own work. IV.10

Therefore, Baptism is not only natural water, but a divine, heavenly, holy, and blessed water, and whatever other terms we can find to praise it. This is all because of the Word, which is a heavenly, holy Word, which no one can praise enough. IV.17

When your living room

Turns into a temporary recording studio...

02 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

That is, that we might not fall away, (for there are sundry conflicts within and without), that being nerved and comforted by the Scriptures, we might exhibit patience, that by living in patience we might abide in hope. For these things are productive of each other, patience of hope, and hope of patience. And both of them are brought about by the Scriptures.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 27 on Romans

Luther and Lewis

Forgiveness brings to nought all sin and wrath, so that your sin cannot cast you into hell nor can your sanctity lift you to heaven. Therefore, before the I world I will be devout and do as much as I can, but before God I will gladly be a sinner, and not be called by any other name.—Martin Luther, Sermon, 1529

Eros, honored without reservation and obeyed unconditionally, becomes a demon. And this is just he claims to be honored and obeyed. Divinely indifferent to our selfishness, he is also demonically rebellious to every claim of God or Man that would oppose him.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 171*

*As any Christian well knows who seeks to speak God's Word and call to obedience a man or woman who is "in love" with someone not their spouse to their duty and obligation to fight Eros, rather than yield to him.

The Feast of the Visitation of Our Lord

A joyous Feast of the Visitation of Our Lord, one and all!

My soul doth magnify the Lord,
My spirit shall in God rejoice;
My low estate He did regard,
Exalting me by gracious choice.

Henceforth all men shall call me blest,
For great things He hath done to me.
The mighty God is now my Guest;
The Holy One hath set me free. (TLH 275:1,2)

Catechesis: Amen

But all depends upon this, that we learn also to say "Amen." This means that we do not doubt that our prayer is surely heard and that what we pray for shall be done.—LC III:119

"How can I dare to be so bold as to boast that God hears my prayer? I am but a poor sinner" and other such things. The reason for this is, they do not respect God's promise but rely on their own work and worthiness, by which they despise God and accuse Him of lying. Therefore, they receive nothing.—LC III:121, 122

01 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

And so if you should force him, and he should eat, there would be nothing gained. For it is not the eating that makes unclean, but the intention with which a man eats. If then thou dost not set that aright, you have done all to no purpose, and hast made things worse: for thinking a thing unclean is not so bad as tasting it when one thinks it unclean.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 26 on Romans

Luther and Lewis

Faith not only leads to the soul being made like the divine Word, full of grace, free, and blessed, but it unites the soul with Christ as a bride with her bridegroom. From this marriage it follows (as St. Paul says, Eph v.30) that Christ and the soul become one body; and in this they have all things in common, be they good or ill, so that what belongs to Christ now belongs to the believing soul, and what belongs to the soul now belongs to Christ. Since Christ possesses every good and blessedness, these now belong to the soul. Since the soul is burdened with sin and wretchedness, these now become Christ's.—Martin Luther, Freedom of the Christian

The husband is the head of the wife just in so far as he is to her what Christ is to the Church. He is to love her as God loved the Church—read on—and gave his life for her. This headship, then, is most fully embodied in the husband we should all wish to be, but in him whose marriage is most like a crucifixion... C. S. Lewis, The Business of Heaven, pp. 169, 170.

Catechesis: 7th Petition

In the Greek text this petition reads, "Deliver or preserve us from the Evil one." (LC III:113)

But there is included in this petition whatever evil may happen to us under the devil's kingdom: poverty, shame, death, and, in short, all the agonizing misery and heartache of which there is such an unnumbered multitude on the earth. (LC III:115)

You see again how God wishes for us to pray to Him also for all the things that affect the bodily interests, so that we seek and expect help nowhere else except in Him. (LC III:117)