Saturday, April 5, 2008

Wisdom from… [4 Apr]

ISIDORE DE SEVILLA (560–636): The value of reading

No one can understand holy scripture without constant reading, according to the words: Love her and she will exalt you. Embrace her and she will glorify you.

The more you devote yourself to a study of the sacred utterances, the richer will be your understanding of them, just as the more the soil is tilled, the richer the harvest.

Some people have great mental powers but cannot be bothered with reading; what reading could have taught them is devalued by their neglect. Others have a desire to know but are hampered by their slow mental processes; yet application to reading will teach them things which the clever fail to learn through laziness.

The man who is slow to grasp things but who really tries hard is rewarded; equally he who does not cultivate his God-given intellectual ability is condemned for despising his gifts and sinning by sloth.

Learning unsupported by grace may get into our ears; it never reaches the heart. It makes a great noise outside but serves no inner purpose. But when God's grace touches our innermost minds to bring understanding, his word which has been received by the ear sinks deep into the heart.
(Maxims II, 8-10: PL 83, 679-682.)

As bishop of his native city, Isidore played a major role in Spanish synods. He wrote an encyclopedia of classical learning. He is a Doctor of the Church and a patron saint of education and scholarship.

ST AUGUSTINE: The Human Cry of Jesus

Christ intended to teach us what we should spurn in this life and what we should hope for in the next. Thus at the very height of his passion, when his enemies thought they had won such a mighty victory, he gave voice to our human weakness that was being crucified together with our former selves to set our sinful bodies free. And his cry was: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"
-- Letter 140, 15

The weakness and corruption of our human nature has been forsaken at the Cross in Christ, in order that that same nature may be redeemed and glorified at the Resurrection in Christ. Faith is our way of trusting in our natural "God-forsakenness" as a saving cut; hope is our way of pursuing our future glory; and love is our way of knowing the author of such changes along the way.

Prayer. Let my heart praise you and my tongue say: "Lord, who is like you?" Then may you tell my soul: "I am your salvation."
-- Confessions 9, 1


I would advise you to consider from time to time the quantity of your interior and exterior goods, and at the same time the very great number of interior and exterior punishments that Divine Providence has prepared for us in His most holy justice and His great mercy. As if opening the arms of our consent, let us most lovingly embrace all this by saying, "Yes, Lord, Your will be done on earth, where we have no pleasure without pain, no roses without thorns, no day without a night to follow, no spring without a winter than preceded it. Here consolations are rare and trials are countless. Still, O God, Your will be done."
(T.L.G. IX, Ch. 1; O. V, pp. 111-112)


THE prophet who is stoned is not a brawler or a marplot. He is simply a rejected lover. He suffers from an unrequited attachment to things in general.
('The Defendant.')

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