Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wisdom from… [19 Feb]

IRENAEUS OF LYONS (140–200): The teachings of God

To preserve men and women from sin and from being unworthy of himself God commanded them to love him and taught them to be just in their dealings with other people. By the Ten Commandments he prepared them to live in friendship with himself and in harmony with one another. This was simply for their own good and it was all God asked of them. It conferred great glory on them and gave them the friendship with God they had lacked, but it did not benefit God, for he had no need of their love. The need was all on their side: they needed the glory of God and could obtain it only by serving him. This is why Moses said to the people: Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him. In this your life consists.

And so God has abolished the laws which were given as a sign of their servitude but has amplified the natural laws which are of universal application and befit people who are free. This he has done in his generosity by freely making us his children, so that we might know him as our Father, love him with our whole heart, and unswervingly follow his Word.
(Adversus Haer. 4, 16, 2-5: SC 100, 564-572.)

A bishop of Lyons, Irenaeus wrote a monumental work Against the Heresies. At the heart of his theology is a vision of the unity and the the recapitulation of all things in Christ.

ST AUGUSTINE: Maintaining Sound Doctrine

Sound doctrine must be maintained. We must never judge in arrogant haughtiness persons who do not embrace our mode of life. We must never say that it is no use for them to live chastely in the married state, to direct their houses and families in a Christian way, or to heap up for themselves heavenly treasures by their acts of mercy.
-- Letter 157, 39

Prayer. Lord, you get angry but remain calm.
-- Confessions 1, 4

ST FRANCIS DE SALES: Interior conversion

An interior conversion, a change for the better in one's life, is an indication of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Saint John the Baptist was sanctified in the womb of his mother; likewise, those who receive the Holy Spirit are transformed. So when you want to know if you have received the Spirit, keep a clear watch on your works; they will answer the question accurately.
(Sermons 47; O. X, p. 72)


THERE are two rooted spiritual realities out of which grow all kinds of democratic conception or sentiment of human equality. There are two things in which all men are manifestly and unmistakably equal. They are not equally clever or equally muscular or equally fat, as the sages of the modern reaction (with piercing insight) perceive. But this is a spiritual certainty, that all men are tragic. And this, again, is an equally sublime spiritual certainty, that all men are comic. No special and private sorrow can be so dreadful as the fact of having to die. And no freak or deformity can be so funny as the mere fact of having two legs. Every man is important if he loses his life; and every man is funny if he loses his hat, and has to run after it. And the universal test everywhere of whether a thing is popular, of the people, is whether it employs vigorously these extremes of the tragic and the comic.
('Charles Dickens.')

No comments: