31 July 2020

Apple and the Simplified Life

You Apple haters can stop reading now. It will only irritate you further.

I’ve been an Apple exclusive user since the days of the Apple ][.  Through all the ups and down (and the downs were oh, so down), I’ve been loyal. What amazes me now is how this single company makes my life so simple. 

My sole “computer” is my iPad Pro (second generation). On it I write my podcast scripts, keep up my blog, and do whatever actually needs a keyboard. My usual companion, though, is my iPhone. All my apps from my iPad are on it, though, and thanks to the miracle of the iCloud, I can even select text on my phone and just paste it into my iPad document without hesitation.

We’ve long since bidden goodbye to our CDs and LPs and stereo systems. A single Homepod sits atop my piano. When we want to listen to music in our house, that’s how we do it. We have a blue tooth portable speaker to set outside by the pool and we also use that when we’re entertaining out of door. I just pull up my playlist and start it and never think more of it.

My AirPods do a great job for my workouts, or when I’m driving my car. I’m still tossing about whether to pick up an Apple Watch. I’ve got a good friend who says it simplifies things even further. 

Apple Wallet and the iPhone are a great combo. I still carry my physical wallet, but I’m not sure for how much longer. If there were just a way to get the driver’s license on the phone, I’d be basically done with physical wallet. The Apple Card is the only credit card I’ll probably ever use. And instead of my wife handing me cash for my “blow money” each month, I can just put it on my Apple Cash card. 

With COVID, our library allowed us to borrow anything virtually that they had, so my usual reading is now done on my iPhone. That’s where the photo album lives; that’s where my music lives (and where I can access virtually any music!); that’s where my videos are; and our usual entertainment (not that I use them much; I generally hate watching TV, even Apple TV). 

But when I think of the tangled clutter of previous devices (anyone remember camcorders, tape recorders, phones attached to walls, processing film, stereo equipment, even measuring tapes, books on shelves - encyclopedias, GPSs and the like!), it’s enough to delight a Cistercian’s heart. So clean, so simple, so easy and plain. And best of all? It all just works.

Like I said, if you hate Apple, so sorry. But I’m grateful to the tech giant for making life, well, simple. Truly simple and yet anything but simplistic. 

Boring Exercise Log

Month of July:

Pushups: 4,600
Pullups: 240
KB swings: 450
Sprints: 4 times (3 times running; 1 time burpees) 

I’ll take it. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

When we say: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” we remind ourselves both what we should ask, and what we should do in order that we may be worthy to receive what we ask. When we say: “Lead us not into temptation,” we admonish ourselves to seek that we may not, through being deprived of God’s help, be either ensnared to consent or compelled to yield to temptation.—St. Augustine, ep cxxx To Proba

Luther and Lewis

[Christ] is pleased when we acknowledge His gifts and thank Him for them; moreover, He gives His blessing so that it becomes better and extends farther than the great riches and excessive possessions of the unbelievers.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity 7 AE 78:265

[Screwtape] And how disastrous for us is the continual remembrance of death which war enforces. One of our best weapons, contented worldliness, is rendered useless. In wartime not even a human can believe that he is going to live forever.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 192.

Catechesis: Second Commandment

To confuse the devil, I say, we should always have this holy name in our mouth, so that the devil may not be able to injure us as he wishes. It is also useful that we form the habit of daily commending ourselves to God, with soul and body, wife, children, servants, and all we have, against every need that may arise. So also the blessing and thanksgiving at meals and other prayers, morning and evening, have begun and remained in use.—LC I:72, 73

30 July 2020

Luther and Lewis

From this we should also learn to become hostile to our unbelief and to oppose it, since it is always stirred up in distress and danger and immediately wants to despair of all comfort and help, if it does not see the help and counsel in our own power. We should get into the habit of thinking that Christ can do and does do more and greater things than we can understand or believe.—Martin Luther, Sermon for Trinity 7, AE 78:263

To say that God ‘enters’ the natural order involves just as much spacial imagery as to say that He ‘comes down’, one has simply substituted horizontal (or undefined) for vertical movement.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 194.

Patristic Quote of the Day

When we say: “Give us this day our daily bread,” the word “this day” signifies for the present time, in which we ask either for that competency of temporal blessings which I have spoken of before (“bread” being used to designate the whole of those blessings, because of its constituting so important a part of them), or the sacrament of believers, which is in this present time necessary, but necessary in order to obtain the felicity not of the present time, but of eternity.—St. Augustine, Letter cxxx, to Proba

Catechesis: Second Commandment

No one is so bold as to boast to all the world of the wickedness he has done. All wish to act by stealth and without anyone being aware of what they do. So, if anyone is caught sinning, God’s name is dragged into the affair and must make wickedness look like godliness, and the shame like honor. This is the common way of the world.—LC I:59,60.

29 July 2020

Catechesis: 2nd Commandment

For to lie or to deceive is in itself a great sin. But such a sin gets even worse when we try to justify our lie and seek to confirm it by calling on God’s name and using His name as a cloak for shame, so that from a single lie a double lie results—no, many lies.—LC I:56

Luther and Lewis

We must learn to believe that we have the same Christ who always takes sincere interest in our needs (also bodily) and that these words (“I feel sorry for My poor people”) are always written in His heart with living letters and show in His acts and works. He wants us to acknowledge this and to listen to these words of the Gospel, as if He is speaking them right now and daily, whenever we feel our need—yes, long before we begin to lament about it.—Martin Luther, Sermon for Trinity 7, AE 78:261

All language, except about objects of sense, is metaphorical through and through. To call God a ‘Force’ (that is, something like a wind or a dynamo) is as metaphorical as to call Him a Father or a King. On such matters we can make our language more polysyllabic and duller; we cannot make it more literal.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 194.

Patristic Quote of the Day

When, therefore, we say: “Hallowed be Thy name,” we admonish ourselves to desire that His name, which is always holy, may be also among men esteemed holy, that is to say, not despised; which is an advantage not to God, but to men.—St. Augustine, ep cxxx

28 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

Because this was not believing, to decline receiving Him whom he [John the Baptist] preached.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 11 on St. Matthew

Luther and Lewis

Thus, with His own example, Christ first wants to admonish us, saying that each one should help promote God’s kingdom and Word with temporal, bodily goods, if he cannot or will not let himself be a preacher.—Martin Luther, Sermon for Trinity 7, AE 78:237

But when God created Man he gave him such a constitution that, if the highest part of it rebelled against Himself, it would be bound to lose control over the lower parts: i.e. in the long run to suffer Death. This provision may be regarded equally as a punitive sentence [‘In the day ye eat of the fruit ye shall die’], as a mercy, and as a safety-device.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 193.

Catechesis: Second Commandment

What is meant by taking God’s name in vain or misusing God’s name? Answer: It means misusing God’s name when we call upon the Lord God—no matter how—in order to deceive or do wrong of any kind.—LC I:51

27 July 2020

A beautiful sunset

"For who can harm or injure a man who has this confidence, who knows that heaven and earth, and all the angels and the saints will cry to God when the smallest suffering befalls him?" -Martin Luther on Jn xvii

Patristic Quote of the Day

For it is not at all His wish to defer giving, but by such delay He is contriving for us to persevere. With this intent He does also lengthen out what is good for us better than we do, and loves us more ardently than those who gave us birth.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 10 on St. Matthew

Luther and Lewis

“Of course, in the Old Testament it had been imposed and commanded that everyone should give a tenth of all their income. How much more should we Christians do that which is most necessary—moreover, no one on earth gives or does anything for it—that Christ’s kingdom may remain build!” —Martin Luther, Sermon for 7th Sunday after Trinity AE 78:256

[Screwtape]: I am credibly informed that young humans now sometimes suppress an incipient taste for classical music or good literature because it might prevent their Being Like Folks; that people who would really wish to be—and are offered the Grace which would enable them to be—honest, chaste, or temperate refuse it. To accept might make them Different, might offend against the Way of Life, taken them out of Togetherness, impair their integration with the Group. They might (horror of horrors!) become individuals.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 191.

Catechesis: First Commandment

For these words of the promise [of God] had to abide and come true, since God cannot lie or deceive. Just let not the devil and the world deceive you with their show, which indeed remains for a time, but finally is nothing.—LC I:46

26 July 2020

Godson Samuel Bowers

Was confirmed yesterday and today received his first communion. May Christ keep him faithful all his days!

25 July 2020

Thanks to Scott Gercken

For getting a pic with Mark and Mollie Hemingway. Joy to hear them talk today!

The Festival of St. James, Apostle...

...means in the Weedon household: Happy birthday, Evangeline Grace! We love you!!!

Patristic Quote of the Day

This man then let us also emulate, and forsaking luxury and drunkenness, let us go over unto the life of restraint. For this surely is the time of confession both for the uninitiated and for the baptized; for the one, that upon their repentance they may partake of the sacred mysteries; for the others, that having washed away their stain after baptism, they may approach the table with a clean conscience.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 10 on St. Matthew

Luther and Lewis

Baptism did not spring from me, nor did faith and the Gospel, but He gave them to me. For the fingers which baptised me were not the fingers of man but of the Holy Ghost. And the preacher’s mouth and words which I heard were not the preacher’s own, but the words and preaching of the Holy Ghost, who gives inward faith, through such outward means, unto sanctification.—Martin Luther, Exposition of Jn xiv, xv

[Screwtape speaking] Nor of course must they ever be allowed to raise Aristotle’s question: whether ‘democratic behaviour’ means the behaviour that democracies like or the behaviour that will preserve a democracy. For if they did, it could hardly fail to occur to them that these need not be the same.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 190. 

Catechesis: First Commandment

These are the people He means when He says “those who hate Me,” i.e., those who persist in their defiance and pride. Whatever is preached or said to them, they will not listen. When they are rebuked that they may know themselves and make amends before the punishment begins, they become mad and foolish.—LC I:38

24 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

For it became the forerunner of Him who was to put away all the ancient ills, the labor, for example, the curse, the sorrow, the sweat; himself also to have certain tokens of such a gift, and to come at once to be above that condemnation. Thus he neither ploughed land, nor opened furrow, he ate not his bread by the sweat of his face, but his table was hastily supplied, and his clothing more easily furnished than his table, and his lodging yet less troublesome than his clothing. For he needed neither roof, nor bed, nor table, nor any other of these things, but a kind of angel’s life in this our flesh did he exhibit.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 10 on St. Matthew

Luther and Lewis

Thus he always mingles blood with baptism, in order that the red and innocent blood of Christ may be seen in it.—Martin Luther, Sermon from 1540

The New Testament contains embarrassing promises that what we pray for with faith we shall receive. Mark 11:24 is the most staggering. Whatever we ask for, believing that we’ll get it, we’ll get... How is this astonishing promise to be reconciled (a) With the observed facts? And (b) With the prayer in Gethsemane, and (as a result of that prayer) the universally accepted view that we should ask everything with a reservation (‘If it be Thy will’)?—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 189.

Catechesis: First Commandment

For from the beginning He has utterly uprooted all idolatry. Because of idolatry, He has uprooted both heathen people and Jewish people. To this day He overthrows all false worship, so that all who remain therein must finally perish.—LC I:35

23 July 2020

Luther and Lewis

And if a man has fallen into sin, he should think most intensely of his baptism, of God there has promised to forgive all his sin, if he would fight against it until death.—Martin Luther, Sermon on Baptism, 1519

Where men are forbidden to honour the king, they honour millionaires, athlethes or film stars instead: even famous prostitutes and gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 188

Patristic Quote of the Day

His mother, first, in flight; His birth-place is involved in irremediable calamities, and a murder is 
perpetrated of all murders the bitterest, and there is lamentation and great mourning, and wailings everywhere. But be not troubled; for He is wont ever to accomplish His own dispensations by their contraries, affording us from thence a very great demonstration of His power.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 9 on St. Matthew

Catechesis: First Commandment

For creatures are only the hands, channels, and means by which God gives all things. So He gives to the mother breasts and milk to offer to her child, and He gives corn and all kinds of produce from the earth for nourishment. None of these blessings could be produced by any creature of itself.—LC I:26

22 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

What then is the solution of these things? Or what fair account of them can we give? That Christ was not the cause of their slaughter, but the king's cruelty; as indeed neither was Peter to those others, but the madness of Herod.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 9 on Matthew (Slaughter of the Holy Innocents)

Catechesis First Commandment

For it wants to earn or merit heaven with abundant works. The conscience acts as though God must serve us and is our debtor, and we are His liege lords. What is this but reducing God to an idol?—LC I:22, 23.

Luther and Lewis

Thus it is true that, because of the sacrament [of Baptism], he is pure and free from all sin, but as this is not yet perfected and he is still living in sinful flesh, he is not yet free from sin or pure from all things, but has begun to be made pure and innocent.—Martin Luther, Sacrament of Holy Baptism, 1519

[For St. Mary Magdalene] The precious alabaster box which one must break over the Holy Feet is one’s heart. Easier said than done. And the contents become perfume only when broken. While they are safe inside, they are more like sewage.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 187.

21 July 2020

An article up

On Lutheran Witness online on Treasury: Click here.

Patristic Quote of the Day

Let us not therefore despise the hearing of the divine Scriptures. For this is of Satan's devising; not suffering us to see the treasure, lest we should gain the riches. —St. John Chrysostom, Homily 2 on St. Matt.

Luther and Lewis

For the names of all the virtues are names of God.—Martin Luther, Exposition of the Lord's Prayer for simple layfolk, 1519

I am a democrat because I believe in the Fall of Man. I think most people are democrats for the oppoite reason.... The real reason for democracy is just the reverse. Mankind is so fallen that no man can be trusted with unchecked power over his fellows.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 186.

Catechesis: LC 1st Commandment

For this reason God wishes to turn us from everything else that exists outside of Him and to draw us to Himself. For He is the only eternal good. It is as though He would say: "Whatever you have previously sought from the saints or for whatever things you have trusted in money or anything else, expect it all from Me. Think of Me as the one who will help you and pour out upon you richly all good things.—LC I:15

20 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

Yes, for a word from the divine Scriptures, made to sound in the ear, does more than fire soften the hardened soul, and renders it fit for all good things. —St. John Chrysostom, Homily 2 on St. Matt.

Luther and Lewis

Therefore the life of a Christian, from baptism unto the grave, is nothing but the commencement of a blessed dying, for at the Last Day God will make him a new and different man.—Martin Luther, Sermon on Baptism, 1519

God did not die for man because of some value He perceived in him. The value of each human soul considered simply in itself, out of relation to God, is zero. As St. Paul writes, to have died for valuable men would have been not divine, but merely heroic; but God died for sinners. He loved us not because we were lovable, but because He is Love.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 186.

Catechesis: First Commandment

A god means that from which we are to expect all good and in which we are to take refuge in all distress.... Now, I say that whatever you set your heart on and put your trust in is truly your god.—LC I:2,3

19 July 2020

House blessing

Today I did the house blessing for David and Meaghan, Lydia, Henry and Oliver. A wonderful new home for them, God be praised.

18 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

For that which teems with astonishment, and is beyond hope and all expectation, is that God should become man. But this having come to pass, all afterwards follows in reasonable consequence.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 2 on St. Matt.

Luther and Lewis

For it is human freedom when laws are changed without  effecting any change in men, but it is Christian freedom when men are changed without changing the Law. Consequently the same Law that was formerly hateful to free will now becomes delightful, since love is poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.—Martin Luther, Great Galatians

To be sure, if it were true that civilization will never be safe till it is put second, that immediately raises the question, second to what? What is the first thing? The only reply I offer here is that if we do not know, then the first and only truly practical thing is to set about finding out.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 184.

17 July 2020

When you go to dinner with friends to celebrate birthdays....

...and run into other old friends! Vernon Piering, principal of Trinity-St. Paul when we arrived at St. Paul's. 


For the reason we exercise such diligence in preaching the catechism often is so that that it may be taught to our youth, not a high and clever way, but briefly and with the greatest simplicity. In this way it will enter the mind easily and be fixed in the memory.—LC Shorter Preface, 27

16 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

[After citing the Golden Rule from Matthew 7] And these things even to a laborer, and to a servant, and to a widow woman, and to a very child, and to him that appears to be exceedingly slow of understanding, are all plain to comprehend and easy to learn. For the lessons of the truth are like this; and the actual result bears witness thereto. All at least have learned what things they are to do, and not learned only, but been emulous also of them; and not in the cities alone nor in the midst of the market places, but also in the summits of the mountains. —St. John Chrysostom, Homily 1 on St. Matt.

Luther and Lewis

Therefore you must believe and confess that you are holy through this blood and not through your own devotion. Thus you leave your life and possessions above with Christ and await and accept whatever may happen to you.—Martin Luther, Exposition of 1 Peter, 1523

Until quite modern times—I think, until the time of the Romantics—nobody ever suggested that literature and the arts were an end in themselves. They 'belonged to the ornamental part of life', they provided 'innocent diversion', or else they 'refined our manners' or 'incited us to virtue' or glorified the gods. The great music has been written for Masses, the great pictures painted to fill up space on the wall of a noble patron's dining-room or to kindle devotion in a church; the great tragedies were produced either by religious poets in honour of Dionysius or by commercial poets to entertain Londeners on half-holidays.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 182.

Catechesis: Preface, LC

If they show such diligence [in studying and praying the catechism], then I promise them—and they shall also see—what fruit they will receive, and what excellent people God will make of them. So in due time they themselves will admit that the longer and the more they study the catechism, the less they know of it and the more they will find to learn. Only then, as hungry and thirsty men, will they truly relish what now they cannot stand because of great abundance and contentment. To this end may God grant His grace! Amen.—LC Longer Preface, 20.

15 July 2020

Luther and Lewis

 You must be holy, and yet you must not bear yourself as though you thought you were holy of yourself or by your own merit, but because you have God's Word that heaven is yours, that you are devout, and that through Christ you have become holy. This you must confess if you wish to be a Christian. For we could show no greater disdain and blasphemy towards the Name of Christ than by denying His blood the honour that it washes us clean of sin and makes us holy.—Martin Luther, Exposition of 1 Peter, 1523

We should, I believe, distrust states of mind which turn our attention upon ourselves. Even at our sins we should look no longer than is necessary to know and to repent them; and our virtues or progress (if any) are certainly a dangerous object of contemplation.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 182.

Catechesis: Introduction, SC

In the first place, let the preacher above all carefully avoid many versions and various texts and forms of the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, the Sacraments, and such. He should choose one form to which he holds and teaches all the time, year after year. For young and simple people must be taught by uniform settled texts and forms. Otherwise they become confused easily when the teacher teaches them today one way, and in a year some other way, as if he wished to make improvements. For then all effort and labor that has been spent in teaching is lost.—SC Preface 7

Patristic Quote of the Day

For there also, leading you with the eyes of the Spirit, is one who offers to show you all, even this Publican; where the King sits, and who of His host stand by Him; where are the angels, where the archangels; and what place is set apart for the new citizens in this city, and what kind of way it is that leads there, and what manner of portion they have received, who first were citizens therein, and those next after them, and such as followed these. And how many are the orders of these tribes, how many those of the senate, how many the distinctions of dignity. —St. John Chrysostom, Homily 1 on St. Matt.

July 15 means...

Happy birthday to two of my favorite people in all the world: my son, David Stuart Weedon, and his Opa, Dave DeVries! Together this year they total 115. May their special day be blessed. David, by the way, is moving into his new home this very day. Pretty good birthday gift; his mom got one like it eight years ago. 

14 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

But in order that the word may be the more easy to learn, we pray and entreat you, as we have done also with respect to the other Scriptures, to take up beforehand that portion of the Scripture which we may be going to explain, that your reading may prepare the way for your understanding (as also was the case with the eunuch), and so may greatly facilitate our task. —St. John Chrysostom, Homily 1 on St. Matt.

Luther and Lewis

They [the saints] are called holy, not because they are without sin, or sanctified through works. On the contrary, they are sinners in themselves and condemned with all their works, but are made saints with a sanctity which is not their own, but Christ the Lord's, which is given to them through faith and becomes their own.—Martin Luther, Expos. Jn xvi-xx

The self can be regarded in two ways. On the one hand, it is God's creature, an occasion of love and rejoicing; now, indeed, hateful in condition, but to be pitied and healed. On the other hand, it is that one self of all others which is called I and me and which on that ground puts forward an irrational claim to preference. This claim is not only to be hated, but simply killed.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 181

Catechesis: Sacrament of the Altar

But it is necessary that you also claim it [the treasure of forgiveness in Christ's body and blood] and view it as the words tell you. This is the entire Christian preparation for receiving this Sacrament worthily.—LC V:36

We go [to the Eucharist] exactly because we are unworthy. This is true unless we are talking about someone who desires no grace and Absolution nor intends to change.—LC V:61

But there is no reason why we walk about so securely and carelessly, except that we neither think nor believe that we are in the flesh and in this wicked world or in the devil's kingdom.—LC V:82

Since the children are baptized and received into the Christian Church, they should also enjoy this communion of the Sacrament, in order that they may serve us and be useful to us. They must all certainly help us to believe, love, pray, and fight against the devil.—LC V:87

13 July 2020

Patristic Quote of the Day

And like as if you should take any part from the side of an animal, even in that part you would find all the things out of which the whole is composed — nerves and veins, bones, arteries, and blood, and a sample, as one might say, of the whole lump — so likewise with regard to the Scriptures; in each portion of what is there stated, one may see the connection with the whole clearly appearing.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 1 on St. Matt.

Luther and Lewis

Inasmuch as I am man and a child of Adam, I belong to hell. If I had on my side all manner of self-appointed piety, austerity, fervent devotion, and good works, and wished to rely on them, I should be damned and lost. But if you believe through Christ, who died for your sin and is risen for your salvation, you have become a brother of Christ, and a child of God, and have been baptised in that faith, you can say: Now I am no longer Adam's child, no longer a sinner, so long as I belong to this brotherhood.—Martin Luther, Sermons from 1530

Even the New Testament bids me love my neighbor 'as myself', which would be a horrible command if the self were simply to be hated. Yet Our Lord also says that a true disciples must 'hate his own life.'—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 179.

Catechesis: Sacrament of the Altar

Therefore, the Sacrament is given as a daily pasture and sustenance, that faith may refresh and strengthen itself so that it will not fall back in such a battle, but become ever stronger and stronger. The new life must be guided so that it continually increases and progresses.—LC V:24, 25

For in the words you have both truths, that it is Christ's body and blood, and that it is yours as a treasure and gift.—LC V:29

12 July 2020

Trinity 5

Pastor began with the words from the Introit: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?” And that light he connected with the Word of God spoken, written, and above all incarnate: right over his shoulder: the image of the incarnate Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.

10 July 2020

Getting ready to write

This afternoon my first show on Matthew's Gospel for The Word of the Lord Endures Forever and just finished reading Chrysostom's first homily on St. Matthew in its entirety (I've been citing it as our Patristic Quote of the day for a few). It is simply golden. Ha! Well, that's hardly unexpected, coming from him. But I commend it to any listeners of The Word of the Lord Endures Forever, and it's free on the internet. You can read it right here:

Luther and Lewis

A Christian should have a well [of love] which cannot be dried up or exhausted, even if his charity is poured out like water into sand.—Martin Luther, Sermon on Trinity 4, 1533

So often Our Lord's own words are both far fiercer and far more tolerable than those of the theologians. He says nothing about guarding against earthly loves for fear we might be hurt. He says something that cracks like a whip about trampling them all under foot the moment they hold us back from following Him.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 177.

Patristic Quote of the Day

But those which are published by the fishermen would be legitimately and properly called good tidings: not only as being sure and immoveable blessings, and beyond our deserts, but also as being given to us with all facility. For not by laboring and sweating, not by fatigue and suffering, but merely as being beloved of God, we received what we have received.—St. John Chrysostom, Homily 1 on St. Matt.

Catechesis: Sacrament of the Altar

This point must always be taught, for by it the chatter of nearly all the fanatical spirits can be repelled. For they regard the Sacraments, unlike God's Word, as something that we do.—LC V:7

It is the Word, I say, that makes and sets this Sacrament apart. So it is not mere bread and wine, but is, and is called, Christ's body and blood. For it is said, "When the Word is joined to the element or natural substance, it becomes a Sacrament." This saying of St. Augustine is so properly and so well put that he has scarcely said anything better.—LC V:10

09 July 2020

Luther and Lewis

Christ speaks as follows: 'In My heavenly kingdom, where there really is nothing but forgiveness of sins, that is, the Christian Church, I will so do to him who pardons another man's sin.' And again: 'To him who will not show mercy to his neighbour will I also show no mercy. I am like a lord and king with regard to you, but you are all like fellow-servants among one another.'—Martin Luther, Sermon, 1524

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.—C. S. Lewis, Business of Heaven, p. 176.

Catechesis: Confession

Here you see that Baptism, both in its power and meaning, includes also the third Sacrament, which has been called repentance... What is repentance but a serious attack on the old man, that his lusts be restrained, and an entering into a new life? Therefore, if you live in repentance, you walk in Baptism.—LC IV:74, 75

I say this lest we fall into the opinion in which we were stuck for a long time. We were imagining that our Baptism is something past, which we can no longer use after we fall again into sin.—LC IV:80

Therefore, if we have received forgiveness of sins once in Baptism, it will remain every day, as long as we live. Baptism will remain as long as we carry the old man about our neck.—LC IV:86

Patristic Quote of the Day

What then could ever be equal to these good tidings? God on earth, man in Heaven; and all became mingled together, angels joined the choirs of men, men had fellowship with the angels, and with the other powers above: and one might see the long war brought to an end, and reconciliation made between God and our nature, the devil brought to shame, demons in flight, death destroyed, Paradise opened, the curse blotted out, sin put out of the way, error driven off, truth returning, the word of godliness everywhere sown, and flourishing in its growth, the polity of those above planted on the earth, those powers in secure intercourse with us, and on earth angels continually haunting, and hope abundant touching things to come.—St. John Chrysostom, Hom 1 on St. Matt.

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)