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Daily Sermons taken from Ars Orandi

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I always find the sermons posted on edifying.  So when I'm able I'll take each sermon and post it here. 

A Homily by St Austin, Bishop of Hippo
On Faith and Works (xv. 4)

If, without keeping the commandments, it be possible to attain unto life by faith only, and faith, if it hath not works, is dead, James ii. 17, how can it be true that the Lord will say to such as He shall have set on His left hand Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels? He rebuketh them, not because they have not believed in Him, but because they have not wrought good works. Yea, lest any man should promise himself life eternal by faith only, (and faith, if it hath not works, is dead,) the Lord saith that He will gather together all nations, nations who have lived mingled together in the same countries, that we may seem to hear them which have believed indeed in Him, but have not wrought good works, (as though that their dead faith could, being alone, lead them into life eternal,) that we may seem to hear such crying unto Him, Lord, when saw we thee suffering such and such things, and did not minister unto thee?

If they shall go into everlasting fire A who have not done works of mercy, shall not they go who have taken their neighbour's goods? Or shall not they go who have outraged the temple of God in their own selves, and so been merciless to themselves? As if works of mercy could avail anything without love, contrary to the words of the Apostle Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing (1 Cor. xiii. 3). And what manner of love to his neighbour hath he who loveth him as himself and loveth not himself? remembering that he that loveth iniquity hateth his own soul (Ps. x. 6).

Neither dare we say here that by which some delude themselves, namely, that the fire indeed is everlasting, but that they will not burn therein everlastingly. Such men say that they whose faith is dead, will pass through that everlasting fire, and that they are they to whom it is promised that they themselves shall be saved, yet so as by fire (1 Cor. iii. 15). So that, though the fire itself be everlasting, the burning of the damned therein, that is, the work of the fire upon them, will not be everlasting. As though the Lord were answering this beforehand, the last words of His Sermon are And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal. As the fire, so shall the burning be; and the Truth biddeth us know that they shall burn therein, who have lacked, not faith, but good works.

A Homily by St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan

After the condemnation of the Jewish people, the mystery of the Church is plainly declared in the figures of the repentant Ninevites, and of the Queen of the South. Like that Queen, the Church cometh from the uttermost parts of the earth, to hear the wisdom of the true Solomon, the Prince of Peace. A Queen she is, and a Queen of one indivisible realm, wrought into one body out of all nations, however divers and distant.

And thus cometh that great mystery of Christ and the Church, a mystery more excellent now in the fulness of truth, than in the ancient type. For there they had in Solomon only a type of that which Christ is now in His own Person. And the Church is of two classes, whereof the one knoweth not how to sin, and the other sinneth no more. To wash away sin is the work of repentance, to eschew it that of wisdom.

Lastly, the sign of the Prophet Jonas, as it was a figure of the Lord's sufferings, was also a witness to the gravity of those sins which the Jews committed. At the same time, we see in these words of the Lord a declaration at once of His power, and of His love; for, by turning our eyes on the Ninevites, He showeth us a way of escape, while He setteth before us the horror of what will otherwise be our punishment. Even the Jews need not cease to hope for pardon, if only they would repent.

A Commentary by St. Thomas Aquinas
On the Apostles' Creed

Accordingly it is clear how profitable was Christ’s Passion as a remedy, but it is not less profitable as an example. For as St. Augustine says, Christ’s Passion affords us a model in all the circumstances of life, since whoever wishes to lead a perfect life needs only to despise what Christ despised on the Cross and to desire what He desired. There is no virtue an example of which we do not find on the Cross.

a. Charity. If you seek and example of charity, “greater love hath no man than that he lays down his life for his friends”(John 15:13), and this Christ did on the Cross. If He laid down His life for us, we should not deem it a hardship to suffer any evils whatever for His sake: “What shall I render unto the Lord for all the things which He hath rendered to me?” (Ps. 115:12).

b. Patience. If you seek an example of patience, you will find a most perfect example on the Cross. For a man’s patience is proved to be great on two counts: either when he suffers great evils patiently or when he suffers that which he is able to avoid yet does not avoid.

Now Christ suffered greatly on the Cross: “O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow” (Lam. 1:12). And He suffered patiently inasmuch as “when He suffered He threatened not” (1 Pet. 2:23). “He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before His shearer” (Isa. 53:7).

Moreover He could have escaped but did not escape: “Thinkest thou that I cannot ask my Father and He will give me presently more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matt. 26:53). Great therefore was Christ’s patience on the Cross: “Let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us; looking on Jesus the author and finisher of faith Who, having joy set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame” (Heb. 12:1,2).

c. Humility. If you seek an example of humility, look on the Crucified. Although He was God, He chose to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to suffer death: “Thy cause hath been judged as that of the wicked” (Job 36:17). Truly as that of the wicked because: “Let us condemn Him to a most shameful death” (Wisd. 2:20). the Master chose to die for His servant; the Life of the Angels suffered death for man: “Made obedient unto death” (Phil. 2:8).

d. Obedience. If you seek an example of obedience, follow Him Who was made obedient to the Father even unto death: “As by the disobedience of one man, many were made sinners, so also by the obedience of one, many shall be made just” (Rom. 5:19).

e. Contempt for earthly things. If you seek an example of contempt for earthly things, follow Him, the King of kings and Lord of lords, in Whom are the treasures of wisdom; and see Him on the Cross, despoiled, derided, spat upon, scourged, crowned with thorns, served with gall and hyssop, dead. Therefore, take no account of your apparel or possessions, since “they parted my garments amongst them” (Ps. 21:19); nor of honors, since I suffered Myself to be jeered at and scourged; nor of rank, since they plaited a crown of thorns and placed it on my head; nor of pleasures, since “in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink” (Ps. 68:22). Thus Augustine in commenting on Hebrews 12. 2 (“Who, having joy set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame”) says, “Christ the man despised all earthly things in order to teach us to despise them.”

(The Three Greatest Prayers; Commentaries on the Lord’s Prayer, the Hail Mary, and the Apostles’ Creed. Trans. Laurence Shapcote, O.P. Manchester, NH. 1990. 441-44.)

A Homily by Pope St. Leo the Great

Jesus took Peter, and James, and John his brother, and brought them up into an exceeding high mountain apart, and manifested forth the brightness of his glory. Hitherto, though they understood that there was in him the Majesty of God, they knew not the power of that Body which veiled the Godhead. And therefore he had individually and markedly promised to some of the disciples that had stood by him that they should not taste of death till they had seen the Son of man coming in his kingdom, that is, in the kingly splendour, which is the right of the Manhood taken into God, and which he willed to make visible to those three men. This it was that they saw, for the unspeakable and unapproachable vision of the Godhead himself which will be the everlasting life of the pure in heart, can no man, who is still burdened with a dying body, see and live.

When the Father saith : This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased : hear ye him―did they not plainly hear him say―This is my Son, whose it is to be of me and with me without all time? For neither is he that begetteth, before him that is begotten, neither he that is begotten, after him that begetteth him. This is my Son, between whom and me, to be God is not a point of difference ; to be Almighty, a point of separation ; not to be Eternal, a point of distinction. This is my Son―not by adoption, but my very own ; not created from, or of another substance, or out of nothing, but begotten of me ; not of another nature, and made like unto me, but of mine own Being, born of me, equal unto me.

This is my Son, by whom all things were made, and without whom was not anything made that was made, who maketh likewise all things whatsoever I make : and what things soever I do he doeth likewise, inseparably and indifferently. This is my Son, who thought it not robbery, nor hath taken it by violence, to be equal with me, but, abiding still in the form of my glory, that he may fulfill our common decree for the restoration of mankind, hath bowed the unchangeable Godhead even to the form of a servant. Him therefore in whom I am in all things well pleased, by whose preaching I am manifested, and by whose lowliness I am glorified, him instantly hear ye. For he is the Truth and the Life, my Power and my Wisdom.

St. Austin is St. Augustine, right?


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