From a sermon On Pastors by Saint Augustine, bishop Do whatever they tell you, but do not follow what they do

From a sermon On Pastors by Saint Augustine, bishop Do whatever they tell you, but do not follow what they do

Shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. But what are the shepherds to hear? Thus says the Lord God: Behold I myself am over the shepherds, and I will claim my sheep from their hands.

Hear and learn, you sheep of God. God calls for an accounting of his sheep from the wicked shepherds and inquires into the death of his sheep at their hands. For in another passage he speaks through the same prophet: Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel. You shall hear the word from my mouth and you shall point out the way to them in my name. When I say to the sinner: You shall die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked man from his wicked way, because of his wickedness he shall die, but you shall be held responsible for his death. If, however, you warn the wicked man to turn away from his wickedness, and he fails to do so, he shall die in his iniquity, but you shall have saved your soul.

Dear brothers, what does this mean? Do you see how dangerous it is to keep silent? The sinner dies and rightly so; he dies in his wickedness and in his sin, for his failure to heed you has killed him. He could have found the Lord, the living shepherd who says: I live. But he was heedless; and the one appointed for this task, the watchman, did not warn him. The wicked one then justly suffers death and the watchman rightly suffers damnation. But the Lord says, if you say to the wicked man: You shall surely die, and if he fails to heed the sword of judgment with which I have threatened him, that sword will overtake and kill him, and he will die in his sin; but you will have saved your soul. Therefore it is our task not to keep silent, and it is your task, even if we ourselves are silent, to hear the words of the shepherd from the Scriptures.

I have said that he will take the sheep from the bad shepherds and give them to shepherds who are good. Let us consider whether he does so. I see him taking the sheep from the bad shepherds, when he says: Behold, I myself am over the shepherds, and I will claim my sheep from their hands; and I will turn away from them so that they may not pasture my sheep, and the shepherds shall no longer give pasture. For when I say: “Let them pasture my sheep,” they give pasture to themselves and not to my sheep. Therefore, I will turn away from them so that they may not pasture my sheep. How does the Lord turn away from them to keep them from pasturing his sheep? Do whatever they tell you, but do not follow what they do. It is as if he said: “The words they say are mine, but their deeds are their own.” If you do not follow the example of the bad shepherds, they are not giving you pasture. But if you do what they say, it is I who am feeding you.”

God’s word is an inexhaustible spring of life

From a commentary on the Diatessaron by Saint Ephrem, deacon
God’s word is an inexhaustible spring of life

Lord, who can comprehend even one of your words? We lose more of it than we grasp, like those who drink from a living spring. For God’s word offers different facets according to the capacity of the listener, and the Lord has portrayed his message in many colors, so that whoever gazes upon it can see in it what suits him. Within it he has buried manifold treasures, so that each of us might grow rich in seeking them out.

The word of God is a tree of life that offers us blessed fruit from each of its branches. It is like that rock which was struck open in the wilderness, from which all were offered spiritual drink. As the Apostle says: They ate spiritual food and they drank spiritual drink.

And so whenever anyone discovers some part of the treasure, he should not think that he has exhausted God’s word. Instead he should feel that this is all that he was able to find of the wealth contained in it. Nor should he say that the word is weak and sterile or look down on it simply because this portion was all that he happened to find. But precisely because he could not capture it all he should give thanks for its riches.

Be glad then that you are overwhelmed, and do not be saddened because he has overcome you. A thirsty man is happy when he is drinking, and he is not depressed because he cannot exhaust the spring. So let this spring quench your thirst, and not your thirst the spring. For if you can satisfy your thirst without exhausting the spring, then when you thirst again you can drink from it once more; but if when your thirst is sated the spring is also dried up, then your victory would turn to your own harm.

Be thankful then for what you have received, and do not be saddened at all that such an abundance still remains. What you have received and attained is your present share, while what is left will be your heritage. For what you could not take at one time because of your weakness, you will be able to grasp at another if you only persevere. So do not foolishly try to drain in one draught what cannot be consumed all at once, and do not cease out of faintheartedness from what you will be able to absorb as time goes on.

 

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the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

Let us receive the light whose brilliance is eternal

From a sermon by Saint Sophronius, bishop

In honor of the divine mystery that we celebrate today, let us all hasten to meet Christ. Everyone should be eager to join the procession and to carry a light.

Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendor of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light. Our candles also show how bright our souls should be when we go to meet Christ.

The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance of the true light as we hasten to meet him.

The light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then, is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God.

The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendor, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the light whose brilliance is eternal. Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of the light, who sent the true light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in his splendor.

Through Simeon’s eyes we too have seen the salvation of God which he prepared for all the nations and revealed as the glory of the new Israel, which is ourselves. As Simeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen Christ, so we too were at once freed from our old state of sinfulness.

By faith we too embraced Christ, the salvation of God the Father, as he came to us from Bethlehem. Gentiles before, we have now become the people of God. Our eyes have seen God incarnate, and because we have seen him present among us and have mentally received him into our arms, we are called the new Israel. Never shall we forget this presence; every year we keep a feast in his honor.

Praying With The Church – Update

If you have not checked out DivineOffice.org yet, Holy Week is the perfect time to begin praying with the Church with the help of this wonderful ministry.  Divine Office is produced by Dane Falkner and some very dedicated and talented people.  It’s purpose is to promote “the tradition of praying always through these ancient treasures of the Church, not only to Catholics but to all Christians universally.”

Here are the wonder workers, Dane, Chriss, Denise and Greg:

DivineOffice.org provides daily free podcast of the Divine Office, definitely 5 star! plus iPhone App made available through iTunes (extremely affordable.)

Having a virtual community is great when you know they are real people reaching out to no less than the world.  The music, professional presentation of the daily inspirational scriptures, readings and prayers, has enriched my experience of listening to and praying the Divine Office.  As I said, Check them out!

Praying With the Church

If you have not checked out DivineOffice.org yet, Holy Week is the perfect time to begin praying with the Church with the help of this wonderful ministry.  Divine Office is produced by Dane Falkner and some very dedicated and talented people.  It’s purpose is to promote “the tradition of praying always through these ancient treasures of the Church, not only to Catholics but to all Christians universally.”

Fear of the Lord – St. Hilary

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.