The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

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The Catechism of the Council of Trent on Almsgiving

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 31, 2019

QUESTION XVI

What is to he thought concerning Alms, an Obligation implied by this Commandment

In this commandment is also implied pity towards the poor and the necessitous, and an effort on our part for the relief of their difficulties and distresses from our means, and by our offices. On this subject—which is to be treated very frequently and copiously—pastors, to enable themselves, to fulfil this duty, will borrow matter from the works of those very holy men, St. Cyprian,z John Chrysostom,a Gregory Nazianzen,b and other eminent writers on alms-deeds. For the faithful are to be inflamed with a desire and with alacrity to succour those who depend on the compassion of others for subsistence. They are also to be taught the great necessity of alms-deeds, that with our means and by our co-operation we may be liberal to the poor, and this by the very true argument that, on the day of the last judgment, God will abhor those who shall have omitted or neglected the offices of charity, and hurl against them the sentence of condemnation to everlasting flames; but will invite, in the language of praise, and introduce into their heavenly country, those who have acted kindly towards the poor. Their respective sentences have already been pronounced by the lips of Christ our Lord:c Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you; and: Depart from, me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.

QUESTION XVII

By what Means the People are to be incited to Alms-Deeds

Pastors will also employ those texts of Scripture most calculated to persuade to this duty: Give and it shall be given unto you:d they will cite the promise of God, than which even imagination can picture no remuneration more abundant, none more magnificent: There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, &c., but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, and in the world to come eternal life;e and he will add these words of our Lord: Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail they may receive you into everlasting habitations.f But they will explain the different heads of this necessary duty, to wit, that whoever are unable to give, may at least lend to the necessitous wherewithal to sustain life, according to the injunction of Christ our Lord: Lend, hoping for nothing again.g The happiness attendant on such an exercise of mercy, holy David attests: A good man showeth favour and lendeth.h

QUESTION XVIII

We must labour to bestow Alms and to avoid Idleness

But it is an act of Christian piety, should it not be in our power otherwise to deserve well of those who stand in need of the pity of others for sustenance, to seek by the labour of our hands to procure means of relieving the wants of the indigent, and also thus to avoid idleness. To this the apostle exhorts all by his own example: For yourselves, saith he, writing to the Thessalonians, know how ye ought to follow us;i and again, to the same: And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;j and to the Ephesians: Let him that stole steal no more, but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.k

QUESTION XIX

We must live sparingly in order to aid the Wants of Others

We should also practise frugality, and draw sparingly on the means of others, that we may not be a burden or a trouble to them. This exercise of temperance shines conspicuous in all the apostles, but pre-eminently so in St. Paul, who, writing to the Thessalonians, says: Ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail, for labouring night and day because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the Gospel of God;l and in another place: But wrought with labour and travail, night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you.m

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An Important Note on the Book of Judges

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 17, 2019

It is important to keep in mind that the book of judges is about the degeneration of leadership in Israel during the age of the judges. It’s purpose is both to justify the rise of kingship in Israel (Jud 17:6; 18:1; 21:25), which is the subject matter of 1 & 2 Samuel, and also provide foundations for the criticism of the failures (moral, religious, political) of various kings (1 & 2 Sam; 1 & 2 Kings). As Catholic biblical scholars, Dr. John Bergsma, and Dr. Brant Pitre note: “It cannot be emphasized enough that the narratives of Judges are intended by the author to be descriptive, not prescriptive. In other words, he describes how things actually were during the time of the judges, not how they ought to have been. A picture of how things ‘ought to be’ is provided in the following book, Ruth. In Judges, however, the reader is meant to be repulsed by the narratives, shocked by how bad things get when ‘everyone does what is right in his own eyes’ (Judges 21:25), an ancient description of moral relativism (disbelief in any absolute moral standards) and its close cousin subjectivism (the personal subject is his own final arbiter of truth). Inasmuch as moral relativism and subjectivism are once again rampant in world culture, we see contemporary manifestations of some of the same horrific behavior found in the book of Judges.” (A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament, Pg. 134).

SUGGESTED READINGS: These are only my recommendations, not an endorsement of every position taken or interpretation given.

A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament. Catholic. By Dr. John Bergsma and Dr. Brant Pitre.

Judges and Ruth: Brazos Theological Commentary. Ecumenical. By Dr. Laura A. Smit (Judges), and Dr. Stephen E. Fowl (Ruth). Part of an ecumenical series with contributions from Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox authors. Smit is Protestant, Fowl is Catholic. Chapter 1, “The Big Picture” is helpful.

Navarre Bible Commentary: Joshua to Kings. Catholic. By the Faculty of Navarre University.

Exploring the Old Testament: A Guide to the Historical Books. Protestant. By Philip E. Satterthwaite and Dr. J. Gordon McConville. See especially the subjects treated under the heading “Key Themes.”

Handbook of the Historical Books. Protestant. By Victor P. Hamilton.

Judges: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry. Berit Olam Series. Ecumenical series. By Tammi J, Schneider. I believe the author is Jewish. The General Editor is Catholic.

Joshua, Judges: With an Excursus on Charismatic Leadership in Israel (Old Testaemnt Message Series, Vol 5). Catholic. By Leslie J. Hoppe.

 

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The Last or General Judgment

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 5, 2019

We have seen that though “God wills all men to be saved,” and though Christ died for all, yet as a fact some will be saved and some will be lost. The decision of their eternal fate is given when their course is run: in the case of the individual, at his death; in the case of the human race as a whole, at the end of time. This latter, which is called the Last, or General, Judgment, is the one which concerns us here.

I. Mankind in the sight of God is not simply a number of individuals, but a great whole: one great family, having the same origin, involved in the same ruin, rescued by the same Redeemer. Although the Creator wills and promotes the good of every single creature, yet each is subservient to the good of the whole. Moreover, every man’s action is not isolated, but influences and is influenced by that of his fellow-men, whether past, present, or future. God “reacheth from end to end mightily, and ordereth all things sweetly;” nevertheless, to us who cannot contemplate the whole, “His ways are unsearchable” (Rom. 11:33). A day, however, will come, “the day of the Lord” (Joel 2:31), when all will be made clear, and His ways will be justified in the sight of all mankind (St. Thomas. 3, q. 59, a. 5).

1. In the Old Testament the Prophets speak of a great judgment which is to take place in the last days (Isa. 66:15 sqq.; Joel 2:29 sqq.; Joel3:2 sqq.; Mal. 4:1; Zeph. 1:14 sqq.). From them the Jews gathered their notion of a glorious and mighty Messias; and hence they rejected our Lord, Who came to them in poverty and in weakness. But He, referring to these very prophecies, foretold His Second Coming in great power and majesty to judge the living and dead (Matt. 13:41; 19:28; 24:27 sqq.; Matt 25:31 sqq.; Mark 13:24 sqq.; Luke 21:25 sqq.). The Apostles repeatedly preach this coming of Christ as an exhortation to a holy life, and as a consolation in the midst of sorrows and trials: e.g. St. Peter at the conversion of Cornelius (Acts 10:42); St. Paul at Athens (ibid. 17:31), and in his Epistles (Rom. 2:5 sqq.; Rom 14:10; 1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:1; 2 Thess. 1:5 sqq.); and St. James 5:7 sqq.

2. In all the early creeds belief in the General Judgment is professed, usually in connection with our Lord’s second coming. “Sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead” (Apostles’ Creed). “And He shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead” (Nicene Creed). “He sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. At Whose coming all men shall rise again (resurgere habent) with their bodies, and shall give an account of their works” (Athanasian Creed).

II. Having thus established the fact of a future General Judgment, we turn now to the various circumstances and details connected with it.

1. The time of Christ’s second coming has not been made known to us: “Of that day or hour no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). Hence our Lord continually warns us to be on the watch, so as not to be taken unawares: He will come like a thief in the night (Matt. 24:42); “in a day that [man] hopeth not, and at an hour he knoweth not” (ibid. 50). “Take heed to yourselves lest … that day come upon you suddenly; for as a snare shall it come” (Luke 21:34, 35); “Watch ye therefore (for you know not when the Lord of the house cometh; at even, or at midnight, or at the cock-crowing, or in the morning): lest coming on a sudden He find you sleeping; and what I say to you I say to all: Watch” (Mark 13:35–37). The Apostles seem to have expected their Master’s return almost immediately: “The end of all is at hand; be prudent, therefore, and watch in prayers” (1 Pet. 4:7); “The coming of the Lord is at hand (ἡ παρουσία τοῦ Κυρίου ἤγγικεν); … behold, the Judge standeth at the door” (James 5:8, 9); “Little children, it is the last hour (ἐσχάτη ὥρα)” (1 John 2:18). On the other hand, St. Paul begs the Thessalonians not to be alarmed by those who speak “as if the day of the Lord were at hand (ὡς ὁτι ἐνέστηκεν ἡ ἡμέρα τοῦ Κυρίου)” (2 Thess. 2:2; cf. 2 Pet. 3:8 sqq.). Nor is the uncertainty removed by the various signs which are to announce the approach of the Last Day. “Wars, and rumours of wars,” “pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes in places” (Matt. 24:6, 7) are unhappily common enough; “the signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars” (Luke 21:24), are the accompaniments rather than the forerunners of the coming; the universal spreading of the Gospel (Matt. 24:14) and the conversion of the Jews (Rom. 11:26) are not sufficiently definite; while the coming of Antichrist and the return of Henoch and Elias are themselves full of mystery. Hence, even some of the Fathers (e.g. St. Gregory the Great, Hom. i., in Evang.) and other Saints (e.g. St. Vincent Ferrer) have mistaken the date of the Last Day.

2. The place in which the Judgment will be held is here on earth; for all the various texts and creeds speak of a coming or return to where our Lord was before. We must not, however, take this to mean simply the solid earth on which we stand: “They shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 24:39); “We who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with Christ into the air” (1 Thess. 4:16). The valley of Josaphat has been mentioned by some as the exact spot, by reason of the prophecy, “I will gather together all the nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Josaphat” (Joel 3:2); but these words can have only a remote reference to the Last Judgment. The neighbourhood of Jerusalem, however, where our Lord suffered, and whence He ascended into heaven, would seem to be a fitting place for His return and His final triumph.

3. The Judge will be our Lord Jesus Christ in His human nature, as the Son of Man. “Neither doth the Father judge any man; but hath given all judgment to the Son … and He hath given Him power to do judgment because He is the Son of Man” (John 5:22, 27; Matt. 24:30; 25:31; Luke 21:27). His second coming will be the completion of the work of the Incarnation. Then it is that the prophecies which speak of His power and glory and triumph will be fulfilled. At His first coming “He humbled Himself, taking the form of a servant;” His Divinity was hidden; He came to be judged, to suffer, and to die; but at His return He will come with great power and majesty; His Divinity will shine forth in His humanity; He will come to judge the living and dead, to triumph over His enemies, and bestow eternal reward on the faithful. “This Jesus, who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen Him going into heaven (οὕτως ἐλεύσεται ὃν τρόπον ἐθεάσασθε αὐτὸν πορευόμενον εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν)” (Acts 1:11).

This office of Judge, which properly belongs to our Lord, He will to some extent communicate to the Apostles and other Saints (Matt. 19:28; 1 Cor. 6:2 sqq.).

4. All mankind, both good and bad; those who shall be alive at the Last Day, as well as those who shall have died, will be judged: “We shall all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ” (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Thess. 3:14 sqq.); “The hour cometh wherein all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that have done good things shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil unto the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28, 29). When it is said, “Judge not, that ye may not be judged” (Matt. 7:7), judgment here and in similar passages (John 3:18) is clearly meant in the sense of condemnation (cf. John 16:11). St. Paul says that “we shall judge angels” (1 Cor. 6:3); and of the fallen angels it is said that “God delivered them drawn down by infernal ropes to the lower hell to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Pet. 2:4); or, as St. Jude says (6), “unto the judgment of the great day.” We may believe that the Angels, good and bad, will be judged either on account of their relations with mankind, or because they are subject to Him to Whom “all power is given in heaven and on earth,” Whom all the angels of God are to adore (Heb. 1:6), in Whose Name “every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth” (Phil. 2:10).

5. Christ will judge men according as they have believed in Him, and have kept His commandments. “Whosoever believeth in Him may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (John 3:16); “He who heareth My word, and believeth Him that sent Me, hath life everlasting” (ibid. v. 24); “The Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then will He render to every one according to his works” (Matt. 16:27; cf. 25:31–46; 2 Cor. 5:10) Every deed, “every idle word that men shall speak” (Matt. 12:36), will be revealed before the eyes of all: “The Lord will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts” (1 Cor. 4:5). This manifestation is described by St. John in the words of the Apocalypse: “I saw the dead, great and small, standing in the presence of the throne, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged, every one according to their works” (20:12). And not only the works of men, but the works of God also, will be manifested on that day: the acts of His infinite mercy; the hidden workings of His justice; the unsearchable ways of His providence, so that He may be justified in the sight of all. “What I do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter” (John 13:7).

6. When “all the nations shall be gathered together before Him, the Son of Man shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats; and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, and the goats on His left” (Matt. 25:32, 33; cf. 13:24–43, 48). Then will follow the final sentence of reward or condemnation:

“Come,”…..“Depart from Me,”

“Ye blessed of My Father,”….“Ye cursed,”

“Possess you the kingdom”…“Into everlasting fire”

“Prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”…“Prepared for the devil and his angels.”

“And these shall go into everlasting punishment, but the just into life everlasting” (Matt. 25:34, 41, 46).

See St. Thomas, 3, q. 59, and Suppl., qq. 89, 90, and the commentators thereon; Freiburg Kirchenlexikon, art. GÖTTLICHES GERICHT.

Excerpted from A Manual of Catholic Theology. [WILHELM, J. – SCANNELL, T. B., A Manual of Catholic Theology: Based on Scheeben’s “Dogmatik”, II, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. Ltd., London 1908Third Edition, Revised.]

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EWTN Audio: A Study of the Gospel of John

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 19, 2019

Prologue of John & calling Disciples (John 1: 1-59).

Ignaural Signs of Jesus’ Ministry (John 2-3).

The First Passover and Jesus’ Encounter with Nicodemus (Chap. 3 cont.).

Woman at the Well and Healing on the Sabbath (John 4-5).

The Fulfillment of Jewish Liturgy: Jesus (John 5 cont.).

The Bread of Life (John 6).

The Feast of Tabernacles (John 7-8).

Continuing with the Feast of Tabernacles.

The Good Shepherd and the Raising of Lazurus (John 10 – 11).

The Washing of the Feet (John 12-13).

Jesus’ Farewell Discourse and His Passion (John 14-19).

Resurrection (John 20-21).

Continuing with the Resurrection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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EWTN Audio: A Study of the Epistle to the Ephesians

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 19, 2019

Ephesians 1:1-10.

Ephesians 1:11-23.

Ephesians 1:23-2:10.

Ephesians 2:11-20.

Ephesians 3:1-13.

Ephesians 3:14-21.

Ephesians 4:1-16.

Ephesians 4:17-24.

Ephesians 4:25-5:2.

Ephesians 5:3-14.

Ephesians 5:15-6:4.

Ephesians 6:5-13.

Ephesians 6:13-24.

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EWTN: The Way to Follow Jesus (On the Gospel of St Mark)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 18, 2019

Introduction.

The Good News of the Gospel.

The Good News of the Kingdom.

Demise of the Demons.

Fear and Faith.

The Problem of Parables.

Miracles of the Bread.

The Blind Shall See.

How Long Will They Not Believe.

I’ve Come to Serve, Not to be Served.

Jesus’ Royal Entry Into Jerusalem.

The Widow’s Offering in the Temple (the widow’s mite).

Discipleship During the Passion and Crucifixion.

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EWTN: In The Footsteps Of St Paul (On 1 Corinthians)

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 18, 2019

Episode 1.

Episode 2.

Episode 3.

Episode 4.

Episode 5.

Episode 6.

Episode 7.

Episode 8.

Episode 9.

Episode 10.

Episode 11.

Episode 12.

Episode 13.

 

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EWTN: Adventures in Exodus

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 18, 2019

1). A People and Its Hero.

2). The Hesitant Servant.

3). Let My People Worship.

4). signs and Wonders.

5). Passover and Liberation.

6). Providence and Problems in the Wilderness.

7). The Ten Commandments.

8). The Tabernacle.

9). Rebellion at Sinai and Covenant Renewal.

10). Led by God’s Spirit.

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Scripture Podcasts and You Tube Videos

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 17, 2019

Most of the EWTN links are not are now working. They changed how they archive their audio, so, instead of being able to link to an EWTN page with all the episodes of a series available (that is what the links were originally for), I have to create my own page onsite, or find an alternate source (e.g., You Tube).

The Institute of Catholic Culture (ICC) offers many podcasts on scripture but I’ve only linked to a few. You can access all their audio and video stuff by registering on their site (it’s free). The links below can also be found in the right sidebar of this blog under the heading Podcast: Bible Studies. I hope to add some more content to that sidebar in the near future.

1 Corinthians

Acts of Apostles (ICC)

Acts of Apostles (NL)

Bible Musings

Book of Revelation (ICC)

Book of Revelation (TM)

Deep In Scripture.

Ephesians (ICC).

Available: Ephesian (EWTN).

Available: EWTN: Exodus.

Available: EWTN: In the Footsteps of St Paul. On 1 Corinthians.

Available: EWTN: The Gospel of John.

Available: EWTN: Gospel of Mark (The Way to Follow Jesus).

EWTN: Matthew

Available: EWTN: Old Testament Prophets. 52 thirty minute episodes.

EWTN: Proverbs

EWTN: Seeds of Abraham

Fr. Mike’s Study

Galatians

Gospel of Holy Ghost

Gospel of Matt (ICC)

Gospel of Matt (NL)

Introduction to the Old Testament

St Irenaeus Ministries

Understanding Scripture

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Pope St Leo the Great’s Second Homily For Lent

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 3, 2019

I. Progress and improvement always possible

Although, dearly-beloved, as the Easter festival approaches, the very recurrence of the season points out to us the Lenten fast, yet our words also must add their exhortations which, the LORD helping us, may be not useless to the active nor irksome to the devout. For since the idea of these days demands the increase of all our religious performances, there is no one, I am sure, that does not feel glad at being incited to good works. For though our nature which, so long as we are mortal, will be changeable, is advancing to the highest pursuits of virtue, yet always has the possibility of falling back, so has it always the possibility of advancing. And this is the true justness of the perfect that they should never assume themselves to be perfect, lest flagging in the purpose of their yet unfinished journey, they should fall into the danger of failure, through giving up the desire for progress.

And, therefore, because none of us, dearly-beloved, is so perfect and holy as not to be able to be more perfect and more holy, let us all together, without difference of rank, without distinction of desert, with pious eagerness pursue our race from what we have attained to what we yet aspire to, and make some needful additions to our regular devotions. For he that is not more attentive than usual to religion in these days, is shown at other times to be not attentive enough.

II. Satan seeks to supply his numerous losses by fresh gains

Hence the reading of the Apostle’s proclamation has sounded opportunely in our ears, saying, “Behold now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation4.” For what is more accepted than this time, what more suitable to salvation than these days, in which war is proclaimed against vices and progress is made in all virtues? Thou hadst indeed always to keep watch, O Christian soul, against the enemy of thy salvation, lest any spot should be exposed to the tempter’s snares: but now greater wariness and keener prudence must be employed by thee when that same foe of thine rages with fiercer hatred. For now in all the world the power of his ancient sway is taken from him, and the countless vessels of captivity are rescued from his grasp. The people of all nations and of all tongues are breaking away from their cruel plunderer, and now no race of men is found that does not struggle against the tyrant’s laws, while through all the borders of the earth many thousands of thousands are being prepared to be reborn in Christ5: and as the birth of a new creature draws near, spiritual wickedness is being driven out by those who were possessed by it. The blasphemous fury of the despoiled foe frets, therefore, and seeks new gains because it has lost its ancient right. Unwearied and ever-wakeful, he snatches at any sheep he finds straying carelessIy from the sacred folds, intent on leading them over the steeps of pleasure and down the slopes of luxury into the abodes of death. And so he inflames their wrath, feeds their hatreds, whets their desires, mocks at their continence, arouses their gluttony.

III. The twofold nature of Christ shown at the Temptation

For whom would he not dare to try, who did not keep from his treacherous attempts even on our LORD Jesus Christ? For, as the story of the Gospel has disclosed1, when our Saviour, Who was true GOD, that He might show Himself true Man also, and banish all wicked and erroneous opinions, after the fast of 40 days and nights, had experienced the hunger of human weakness, the devil, rejoicing at having found in Him a sign of passible and mortal nature, in order to test the power which he feared, said, “If Thou art the Son of GOD, command that these stones become bread2.” Doubtless the Almighty could do this, and it was easy that at the Creator’s command a creature of any kind should change into the form that it was commanded: just as when He willed it, in the marriage feast, He changed the water into wine: but here it better agreed with His purposes of salvation that His haughty foe’s cunning should be vanquished by the LORD, not in the power of His Godhead, but by the mystery of His humiliation. At length, when the devil had been put to flight and the tempter baffled in all his arts, angels came to the LORD and ministered to Him, that He being true Man and true GOD, His Manhood might be unsullied by those crafty questions, and His Godhead displayed by those holy ministrations. And so let the sons and disciples of the devil be confounded, who, being filled with the poison of vipers, deceive the simple, denying in Christ the presence of both true natures, whilst they rob either His Godhead of Manhood, or His Manhood of Godhead, although both falsehoods are destroyed by a twofold and simultaneous proof: for by His bodily hunger His perfect Manhood was shown, and by the attendant angels His perfect Godhead.

IV. The fast should not end with abstinence from food, but lead to good deeds

Therefore, dearly-beloved, seeing that, as we are taught by our Redeemer’s precept, “man lives not in bread alone, but in every word of GOD3,” and it is right that Christian people, whatever the amount of their abstinence, should rather desire to satisfy themselves with the “Word of GOD” than with bodily food, let us with ready devotion and eager faith enter upon the celebration of the solemn fast, not with barren abstinence flora food, which is often imposed on us by weakliness of body, or the disease of avarice, but in bountiful benevolence: that in truth we may be of those of whom the very Truth speaks, “blessed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled4.” Let works of piety, therefore, be our delight, and let us be filled with those kinds of food which feed us for eternity. Let us rejoice in the replenishment of the poor, whom our bounty has satisfied. Let us delight in the clothing of those whose nakedness we have covered with needful raiment. Let our humaneness be felt by the sick in their illnesses, by the weakly in their infirmities, by the exiles in their hardships, by the orphans in their destitution, and by solitary widows in their sadness: in the helping of whom there is no one that cannot carry out some amount of benevolence. For no one’s income is small, whose heart is big: and the measure of one’s mercy and goodness does not depend on the size of one’s means. Wealth of goodwill is never rightly lacking, even in a slender purse. Doubtless the expenditure of the rich is greater, and that of the poor smaller, but there is no difference in the fruit of their works, where the purpose of the workers is the same.

V. And still further it should lead to personal amendment and domestic harmony

But, beloved, in this opportunity for the virtues’ exercise there are also other notable crowns, to be won by no dispersing abroad of granaries, by no disbursement of money, if wantonness is repelled, if drunkenness is abandoned, and the lusts of the flesh tamed by the laws of chastity: if hatreds pass into affection, if enmities be turned into peace, if meekness extinguishes wrath, if gentleness forgives wrongs, if in fine the conduct of master and of slaves is so well ordered that the rule of the one is milder, and the discipline of the other is more complete. It is by such observances then, dearly-beloved, that GOD’S mercy will be gained, the charge of sin wiped out, and the adorable Easter festival devoutly kept. And this the pious Emperors of the Roman world have long guarded with holy observance; for in honour of the LORD’S Passion and Resurrection they bend their lofty power, and relaxing the severity of their decrees set free many of their prisoners: so that on the days when the world is saved by the Divine mercy, their clemency, which is modelled on the Heavenly goodness, may be zealously followed by us. Let Christian peoples then imitate their princes, and be incited to forbearance in their homes by these royal examples. For it is not right that private laws should be severer than public. Let faults be forgiven, let bonds be loosed offences wiped out, designs of vengeance fall through, that the holy festival through the Divine and human grace may find all happy, all innocent: through our LORD Jesus Christ Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth GOD for endless ages of ages. Amen.

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