Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Readings from…

FULGENTIUS OF RUSPE (468–533): The sacrifice of bread and wine

In the time of the Old Testament, patriarchs, prophets, and priests sacrificed animals in honor of the Son as well as the Father and the Holy Spirit. Now in the time of the New Testament the holy Catholic Church throughout the world never ceases to offer the sacrifice of bread and wine, in faith and love, to him and to the Father and the Holy Spirit, with whom he shared one Godhead.

In those ancient victims the body and blood of Christ were prefigured: the body which the sinless one would offer as propitiation for our sins, and the blood which he would pour out for our forgiveness. The Church's sacrifice, on the other hand, is an act of thanksgiving and a memorial of the body Christ has offered for us and the blood he has shed for us. With this in mind, blessed Paul says in the Acts of the Apostles: Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as bishops to rule the Church of God, which he won for himself by his blood. Those sacrifices of old pointed in sign to what was to be given to us. In this sacrifice we see plainly what has already been given to us.
-- Ad Petrum 62: CCL 91A, 750-751.

AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO (354–430): God Calls Us to Conversion

God calls us to correct ourselves and invites us to do penance. He calls us through the wonderful gifts of his creation, and he calls us by granting time for life. He calls us through the reader and through the preacher. He calls us with the innermost force of our thoughts. He calls us with the scourge of punishment, and he calls us with the mercy of his consolation.
-- Commentary on Psalm 102, 16

As I read in the missal this morning for Ash Wednesday: "Direct our hearts to better things, O Lord; heal our sin and ignorance. Lord, do not face us suddenly with death, but give us time to repent."

Prayer. Lord, see your work in me, not my own. For if you see my own work, you condemn me; but if you see yours, you crown me.
-- Commentary on Psalm 137, 18

FRANCIS DE SALES (1567–1622):

Do not pay any attention to the kind of work you do, but rather to the honor that it brings to God, even though it may seem quite trivial. Desire only to do the Divine Will, following Divine Providence, which is the disposition of Divine Wisdom. In a word, if your works are pleasing to God and recognized as such, that is all that matters. Work hard every day at increasing your purity of heart, which consists in appraising things and weighing them in the balance of God's will.
-- Letters 280; O. XIII, p. 53

G. K. CHESTERTON (1874–1936):

A MAN can be a Christian to the end of the world, for the simple reason that a man could have been an Atheist from the beginning of it. The materialism of things is on the face of things: it does not require any science to find it out. A man who has lived and loved falls down dead and the worms eat him. That is Materialism, if you like. That is Atheism, if you like. If mankind has believed in spite of that, it can believe in spite of anything. But why our human lot is made any more hopeless because we know the names of the worms who eat him, or the names of all the parts of him that they eat, is to a thoughtful mind somewhat difficult to discover.
–– 'All Things Considered.'

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