Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wisdom from… [26 Feb 08]


Our Lord Jesus Christ nourishes us for eternal life both by his commands, which teach us how to live holy lives, and by the eucharist. He in himself therefore is truly the divine, life-giving manna. Anyone who eats it will be exempt from corruption and will escape death, unlike those who ate the material manna. That type had no power to save, but was merely an imitation of the reality.

God sent down manna like rain from above, and ordered everyone to gather as much as necessary, those who shared a tent gathering together if they wished. Gather it, each of you, he said, with those who share your tent. Let none of it be left over till the morning. That is to say, we must fill ourselves with the divine teaching of the gospel.

Christ indeed gives us his grace in equal measure, whether we are great or small, and bestows life-giving food on all alike. He wishes the stronger among us to gather for the others, working on behalf of their sisters and brothers, lending them their labor so that all may share in the heavenly gifts.
(Glaphororum in Exodum 2, 3: PG 69, 456-457.)

Patriarch of Alexandria, Cyril was a brilliant theologian who combatted the Arian and Nestorian heresies. Cyril presided at the Council of Ephesus in 431 where Mary's title as Mother of God was solemnly recognized.

ST AUGUSTINE: True Fasting

Your fast would be rejected if you were immoderately severe toward your servant. Will it be approved if you fail to recognize your brother or sister? I am not asking what food you abstain from, but what you love. Do you love justice? Well, then, let your justice be seen.
-- The Value of Fasting 5, 6-7

Prayer. O Lord, you will increase your gifts more and more in me, so that set free from all concupiscence, my soul may follow me to you.
-- Confessions 10, 30

ST FRANCIS DE SALES: The Spirit of the Divine Spouse

He who goes to Holy Communion according to the spirit of the Divine Spouse annihilates himself and says to the Lord, "Annihilate me, O Lord, and convert me into Yourself!" There is nothing in this world over which we have more control than food which we consume for our conservation. Well, Jesus Christ attained this excess of love: He made Himself our food! But what do we have to do to make full use of what He has done? Let Him possess us, let Him masticate us, let Him eat us and dispose us to do exactly what He wants.
(Letters 1529; O. XVIII, p. 400)


IT is neither blood nor rain that has made England, but hope––the thing all those dead men have desired. France was not France because she was made to be by the skulls of the Celts or by the sun of Gaul. France was France because she chose.
('George Bernard Shaw.')

[I suspect Chesterton had in mind a rebuttal of the claim that climate and diet give a people its ethnic "genius", a claim I have read in Nietzsche's works, as when he said the preponderance of rice and grains in India induced pantheism, indifferentism, and fatalism in them, whereas a greater diet of meat made the Europeans more winsomely barbaric, cunning, and tribal. I side with Chesterton in the matter.]

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