Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wisdom from… [27 Feb 08]

ASTERIUS OF AMASEA: The wealth of Christ's love for us

If, having been made in the image of God, you wish to be like him, follow his example. Christians, whose very name is a profession of love for everyone, should imitate the love of Christ.

Consider and wonder at the wealth of Christ's love for us. When he was about to show himself to us in our own nature, he sent John the Baptist to preach repentance by word and example. Before John he sent all the prophets. They too were to teach people to amend their lives. Then he came himself and with his own voice cried out: Come to me, all you who labor and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. And how did he receive those who listened to his call and followed him? He readily forgave them their sins, instantly relieving them of all their cause for grief. The Word made them holy, the Spirit set his seal on them. Their old self was buried in the waters of baptism and a new self born; their youth was renewed by grace. And the result? Enemies of God became his friends, strangers to him became his children, idolaters became worshipers of the true God.
(Hom. 13: PG 40, 355-358.362.)

[Some say, "You are only as young as you say you are." The Gospel, however, informs us that we are only as young as God says we are. And in Christ, He calls us all, by baptism, into the childlike immortality of theosis, ever-thankful, ever-curious, ever-growing, ever-young. The seriousness we see in the visage of Christ is but the seriousness we see in the visage a child about some earnest task creation sets before him. For the average boy, it is to draw his father's car as well as he can to show Papa when he comes back, or to arrange his toy soldiers in as accurate a ranking as he can manage. For Christ, the Son of Abba-God, the task was to redeem all His brethren gone astray in their own little sandboxes, sandboxes destined to become quicksand unless they are transplanted onto the Rock of Christ's childlike vigilance and infinitude.]

Asterius was metropolitan of Amasea, and a preacher of considerable power. He lived in the fourth century. "The only fact in his life that is known is related by himself, viz. his education by a Scythian or Goth who had been sent in his youth to a schoolmaster of Antioch and thus acquired an excellent education and great fame among both Greeks and Romans. The extant writings of Asterius are twenty-one homilies, scriptural and panegyrical in content."

ST AUGUSTINE: Everything Works Together for Charity

All these endeavors for fasting are concerned not about the rejection of various foods as unclean, but about the subjugation of inordinate desire and the maintenance of neighborly love.

Charity especially is guarded: food is subservient to charity, speech to charity, customs to charity, and facial expressions to charity. Everything works together for charity alone.
-- Customs of the Catholic Church 33, 70

Prayer. How great was your love for us, kind Father! You did not spare your only-begotten Son but surrendered him for the sake of us sinners!
-- Confessions 10, 43


Birds have nests in trees and stags have thickets where they can find shelter when the need arises. Deer know where to take cover, either to hide or to enjoy some cool shade during the summer. So also our hearts should each day choose some place, either on Mount Calvary or within Our Lord's wounds, or in some other place near Him, as a retreat where they can retire at various times to refresh and restore themselves during their exterior occupations. There, as in a stronghold, they can defend themselves against temptation. Blessed will be the soul that can truly say to Our Lord, "You are my place of strength and my stronghold to give me safety, my roof against the rain, my shade against the heat." [cf. Ps 46:1]
(INT. Part 2, Ch. 12; O. III, p. 92)


A MAN must be partly a one-idead man because he is a one-weaponed man––and he is flung naked into the fight. In short, he must (as the books on Success say) give 'his best'; and what a small part of a man 'his best ' is! His second and third best are often much better. If he is the first violin he must fiddle for life; he must not remember that he is a fine fourth bagpipe, a fair fifteenth billiard-cue, a foil, a fountain-pen, a hand at whist, a gun, and an image of God.
('What's Wrong with the World.')

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