The Lord then goes on to say: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. This hunger is not for any bodily food, this thirst is not for any earthly drink: it is a longing to be blessed with righteousness, and, by penetrating the secret of all mysteries, to be filled with the Lord himself.
Happy is the soul that longs for the food of righteousness and thirsts for this kind of drink; it would not seek such things if it had not already savored their delight. When the soul hears the voice of the Spirit saying to it through the prophet: Taste and see that the Lord is good, it has already received a portion of God’s goodness, and is on fire with love, the love that gives joy of the utmost purity. It counts as nothing all that belongs to time; it is entirely consumed with desire to eat and drink the food of righteousness. The soul lays hold of the true meaning of the first and great commandment: You shall love the Lord God with your whole heart, and your whole mind and your whole strength, for to love God is nothing else than to love righteousness.
Finally, just as concern for one’s neighbor is added to love of God, so the virtue of mercy is added to the desire for righteousness, as it is said: Blessed are the merciful, for God will be merciful to them.
Remember, Christian, the surpassing worth of the wisdom that is yours. Bear in mind the kind of school in which you are to learn your skills, the rewards to which you are called. Mercy itself wishes you to be merciful, righteousness itself wishes you to be righteous, so that the Creator may shine forth in his creature, and the image of God be reflected in the mirror of the human heart as it imitates his qualities. The faith of those who live their faith is a serene faith. What you long for will be given you; what you love will be yours for ever.
Since it is by giving alms that everything is pure for you, you will also receive that blessing which is promised next by the Lord: Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God. Dear friends, great is the happiness of those for whom such a reward is prepared. Who are the clean of heart if not those who strive for those virtues we have mentioned above? What mind can conceive, what words can express the great happiness of seeing God? Yet human nature will achieve this when it has been transformed so that it sees the Godhead no longer in a mirror or obscurely but face to face–the Godhead that no man has been able to see. In the inexpressible joy of this eternal vision, human nature will possess what eye has not seen or ear heard, what man’s heart has never conceived.
There is a delicacy of old
With which men speak to one another.
Though, approaching from the farthest ends,
Never meeting in the middle,
Yet, do they honor one another,
In their humanity.
They offer the gift of presence,
Gifting to the other
An open ear
That wills to hear.
To do the Good
For the sake of Good,
To forge the best of thought
For presentation at the gate
Is the beginning of our holy end.
Though all men be wrong
In varying degrees,
There is something right
In putting down one’s arms
To meet as warring friends,
In hope and trust
That they serve a higher call,
When men do speak of peace.
Who is honored by this respect,
If not the Maker of all Men,
Who alone can change
Hearts of stone to flesh,
Becoming like unto His own.
©2011 Joann Nelander
From the Office of the Day – St Hilary, Early Church Father & Doctor of the Church:
“Fear” is not to be taken in the sense that common usage gives it. Fear in this ordinary sense is the trepidation our weak humanity feels when it is afraid of suffering something it does not want to happen. We are afraid, or made afraid, because of a guilty conscience, the rights of someone more powerful, an attack from one who is stronger, sickness, encountering a wild beast, suffering evil in any form. This kind of fear is not taught: it happens because we are weak. We do not have to learn what we should fear: objects of fear bring their own terror with them.
From the Office of the Day – But of the fear of the Lord this is what is written: Come, my children, listen to me, I shall teach you the fear of the Lord. The fear of the Lord has then to be learned because it can be taught. It does not lie in terror, but in something that can be taught. It does not arise from the fearfulness of our nature; it has to be acquired by obedience to the commandments, by holiness of life and by knowledge of the truth.
For us the fear of God consists wholly in love, and perfect love of God brings our fear of him to its perfection. Our love for God is entrusted with its own responsibility: to observe his counsels, to obey his laws, to trust his promises.
As celebrations for Mardi Gras are well underway, my thought is obvious. For God’s sake and ours, there’s got to be a better way. The Divine Office for today includes this from the Office of Readings:
“I thought to myself, ‘Very well, I will try pleasure and see what enjoyment has to offer.’ And there it was: vanity again! This laughter, I reflected, is a madness, this pleasure no use at all. I resolved to have my body cheered with wine, my heart still devoted to wisdom; I resolved to embrace folly to see what made mankind happy, and what men do under heaven in the few days they have to live.”
My reflections then turned to wisdom, stupidity, folly. For instance, what can the successor of a king do? What has been done already. More is to be had from wisdom than from folly, as from light than from darkness; this, of course, I see:” Ecclesiastes 2:1-3
“The wise man sees ahead,the fool walks in the dark.” Ecclesiastes 2:14
The Church Fathers showed the Church the way though centuries of attack and heresy. They speak loudly today as the world speaks heretically louder than ever. Now the attacks on the Church and Truth are both more blatant and more subtle. So ready, set, go! Take on the liars for Lent!
For the “wise man” looking forward to this time of new submission, here’s the ticket!
Compiled by Church Year. Net
|2009 Date||Day in Lenten Fast||Lite Reading|
|2/25||1||Epistle to Diognetus: 1-6|
|2/26||2||Epistle to Diognetus: 7-12|
|2/27||3||St. Ignatius of Antioch: Letter To the Ephesians: 1-7|
|2/28||4||St. Ignatius of Antioch: Letter to the Ephesians: 8-14|
|3/2||5||St. Ignatius of Antioch: Letter To the Ephesians: 15-21|
|3/3||6||St. Ignatius of Antioch: Letter To the Magnesians: 1-5|
|3/4||7||St. Ignatius of Antioch: Letter To the Magnesians: 6-10|
|3/5||8||St. Ignatius of Antioch: Letter To the Magnesians: 11-15|
|3/6||9||St. Justin Martyr: First Apology: 1-7|
|3/7||10||St. Justin Martyr: First Apology: 8-14|
|3/9||11||St. Justin Martyr: First Apology: 15-21|
|3/10||12||St. Justin Martyr: First Apology: 22-29|
|3/11||13||St. Justin Martyr: First Apology: 30-37|
|3/12||14||St. Justin Martyr: First Apology: 38-45|
|3/13||15||St. Justin Martyr: First Apology: 46-53|
|3/14||16||St. Justin Martyr: First Apology: 54-60|
|3/16||17||St. Justin Martyr: First Apology: 61-68|
|3/17||18||St. Cyprian: On the Unity of the Church (Treatise I): 1-9|
|3/18||19||St. Cyprian: On the Unity of the Church (Treatise I): 10-18|
|3/19||20||St. Cyprian: On the Unity of the Church (Treatise I): 19-21|
|3/20||21||St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: 1-9|
|3/21||22||St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: 10-16|
|3/23||23||St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: 17-25|
|3/24||24||St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: 26-33|
|3/25||25||St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: 34-41|
|3/26||26||St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: 42-49|
|3/27||27||St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: 50-58|
|3/28||28||St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: 59-66|
|3/30||29||St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: 67-73|
|3/31||30||St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: 74-81|
|4/1||31||St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: 82-89|
|4/2||32||St. Athanasius: Life of Anthony: 90-94|
|4/3||33||St. Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Lectures: Lecture XX|
|4/4||34||St. Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Lectures: Lecture XXII|
|4/6||35||St. Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Lectures: Lecture XXIII (1-11)|
|4/7||36||St. Cyril of Jerusalem: Catechetical Lectures: Lecture XXIII (12-23)|
|4/8||37||St. Ambrose of Milan: Concerning the Mysteries: 1-4|
|4/9||38||St. Ambrose of Milan: Concerning the Mysteries: 5-9|
|4/10||39||St. Leo the Great: Sermon XLIX (On Lent XI): complete|
|4/11||40||St. Leo the Great: Sermon LXXII (On the Lord’s Resurrection): complete|
Click on compilation of Lenten readings.
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