Showing posts with label Monastic Lectionary of the Divine Office. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Monastic Lectionary of the Divine Office. Show all posts

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Saint Macarius of Egypt, Homily. Ezekiel Sees God's Glory


Monastic Lectionary of the Divine Office
WEEKS 18 to 34 : YEAR 1

Saturday 31
Ez 1:3-14, 22-28
Macarian Homilies, 1.1-3, 12.000000000000

   Ezekiel 1 Bible Pictures: Ezekiel Sees God's Glory


After contemplating the divinely glorious vision he had seen, the Prophet Ezekiel wrote a description of it full of unutterable mysteries. What he saw was the mystery of the soul that was to receive its Lord and become his throne of glory. For the soul that is privileged to share in the light of the Holy Spirit and is irradiated by the beauty of the unspeakable glory of him who has prepared her to be his throne and dwelling is all light, all face, all eye: there is no part of her that is not full of the spiritual eyes of light. In other words, no part of her is darkened, but through and through she has been made light and spirit; she is full of eyes all over, and has no such thing as a back part but is face forward in every direction, because the unutterable beauty of the glory of the light of Christ is mounted and riding upon her. Christ drives, guides, carries and supports the soul, gracing and adorning her with spiritual beauty: the Prophet says, A human hand was under the cherubim because it is Christ who is carried by the soul and is her guide.

The four living creatures that bore the chariot symbolise the governing powers of the soul. For just as the eagle is the king of birds, the lion of wild beasts, the bull of tame ones, and mankind of creatures in general, so the soul also has its governing powers, which are the will, the conscience, the mind, and the ability to love. By these the chariot of the soul is controlled, and God rests on them.
If, then, you have become a throne of God, and the heavenly charioteer has mounted you, and your whole soul is a spiritual eye and has become all light; and if you have been nourished with that food of the Spirit, given living water to drink, and donned the raiment of ineffable light; if your inner self is grounded in the experience and full assurance of all these things, then indeed you already live the eternal life and your soul is henceforth at rest with the Lord.

On the other hand, if you have no awareness of any of these things, then weep, mourn, and lament, because you have not yet obtained the eternal spiritual riches; you have not yet re­ceived true life. Be distressed at your poverty and pray to the Lord night and day because you have come to a halt in the dreadful penury of sin. If only we were troubled by our poverty and did not go on without a care as though we were completely satisfied! For one who is deeply troubled and seeks and prays to the Lord unceasingly will soon be delivered and gain heavenly riches. As the Lord said in his story about the unjust judge and the widow: How much more will God vindicate those who cry to him night and day? To him be glory and power forever. Amen

The Spiritual Homilies of Macarius, 1:1-3, 12 (PG 34:449-452, 461; Word in Season VI. 

Ezekiel 1 Vision of Wheels
1:1 Now it happened in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth of the month, as I was among the captives by the river Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. 2 In the fifth of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, 3 the word of Yahweh came expressly to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of Yahweh was there on him.
4 I looked, and behold, a stormy wind came out of the north, a great cloud, with flashing lightning, and a brightness around it, and out of its midst as it were glowing metal, out of the midst of the fire. 5 Out of its midst came the likeness of four living creatures. This was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. 6 Everyone had four faces, and each one of them had four wings. 7 Their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot; and they sparkled like burnished brass. 8 They had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and the four of them had their faces and their wings thus: 9 their wings were joined one to another; they didn’t turn when they went; each one went straight forward. 10 As for the likeness of their faces, they had the face of a man; and the four of them had the face of a lion on the right side; and the four of them had the face of an ox on the left side; the four of them also had the face of an eagle. 11 Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above. Two wings of each one touched another, and two covered their bodies. 12 Each one went straight forward: where the spirit was to go, they went; they didn’t turn when they went. 13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, like the appearance of torches: the fire went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. 14 The living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning.
15 Now as I saw the living creatures, behold, one wheel on the earth beside the living creatures, for each of the four faces of it. 16 The appearance of the wheels and their work was like a beryl: and the four of them had one likeness; and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel within a wheel. 17 When they went, they went in their four directions: they didn’t turn when they went. 18 As for their rims, they were high and dreadful; and the four of them had their rims full ofeyes all around. 19 When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. 20 Wherever the spirit was to go, they went; there was the spirit to go: and the wheels were lifted up beside them; for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 21 When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up beside them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. 22 Over thehead of the living creature there was the likeness of an expanse, like the awesome crystal to look on, stretched forth over their heads above. 23 Under the expanse were their wings straight, the one toward the other: each one had two which covered on this side, and every one had two which covered on that side, their bodies. 24 When they went, I heard the noise of their wings like the noise of great waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a noise of tumult like the noise of an army: when they stood, they let down their wings. 25 There was a voice above the expanse that was over their heads: when they stood, they let down their wings.
26 Above the expanse that was over their heads was the likeness of athrone, as the appearance of a sapphire stone; and on the likeness of the throne was a likeness as the appearance of a man on it above. 27 I saw as it were glowing metal, as the appearance of fire within it all around, from the appearance of his waist and upward; and from the appearance of his waist and downward I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him. 28 As the appearance of the rainbow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness all around. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh. When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke.

Observations: 1:1-28 Ezekiel was in Babylon, among the exiles and out of the darkness comes light. He sees a vision that sounds like something out of one of the OT prophets. Oh, yeah, that's exactly what it is, described in earthly terms as the “appearances” of this and that. The four creatures are cherubim (10:1ff). The vision appears to be that of God's chariot or mobile throne, containing the fire of judgement in the midst, and glory all around. The description of the living creatures precludes this being an alien UFO. Consult any commentary for equally fantastic descriptions of what everything means. We'll focus on the more applicable points. Like Isaiah, Ezekiel gets a vision of God to strengthen him for his upcoming ministry to the Jews already in exile, and the ones that would be arriving after the temple and city would be destroyed. As we'll find out in the next chapter, Ezekiel would get the typical prophet's welcome, and would need a baseline reminder of the God whose word he would deliver.
Application: The God we serve is not an idol made by man, nor man, nor animal, nor geographical phenomena, but the transcendent Creator who is above all, and served by all.
Prayer: Glorious God, You are awesome in Your might and majesty, and worthy of my humble service always. Amen.
Saturday 31
Ez 1:3-14, 22-28
Macarian Homilies, 1.1-3, 12.
Douay-Rheims Bible
v10. And as for the likeness of their faces: there was the face of a man, and the face of a lion on the right side of all the four: and the face of an ox, on the left side of all the four: and the face of an eagle over all the four. 
The patristic interpretation, which finds in the four living creatures the symbols of the four evangelists (an interpretation by no means constant or unvarying - the lion being sometimes identified with St Matthew, and the man with St. Mark, and conversely, while the ox and the eagle are uniformly assigned to St. Luke and St. John respectively), must be considered as the play of a devout imagination, but not as unfolding the meaning of either Ezekiel or St. John. 
  Cross References
Revelation 4:7
The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.

Pulpit Commentary
Verse 10. - As for the likeness, etc. The Revised Version rightly strikes out the comma after "lion." The human face meets the prophet's gaze. On the right he sees the lion, on the left the ox, while the face of the eagle is behind. What did the symbols mean? 

Mary, The Cause of Our Joy

Mary, The Cause of Our Joy 2
   Mary in Saturday  
Night Office, file from past years.
   Monastic Lectionary of the Divine Office  



Mary bore within herself the Light of the world and is the cause of all consolation and of all joy. In this we may discover a similarity between Mary and Queen Esther: for her own Jewish people Esther’s appearance was 'the dawning of a day of light of gladness and joy and honour'. What gave the Jews so great a cause for joy was to know that at the right hand of the greatest of kings and most powerful of emperors they had as queen, Esther a Jewess. For the Safety of her people, she was ready and willing to put her own life in jeopardy. Because of her closeness to this powerful prince~ and so greatly did he love her for her unmatched charm and the almost divine radiance of her beauty that there was nothing that she could not achieve.

What a cause of joy it is for us, then, to have Mary intimately present to the Sovereign King, close to almighty God, the everlasting Ruler of all things. In the presence of the Divine Majesty, Mary is infinitely more powerful than ever Esther was in the presence of Ahasuerus, indeed, there is nothing that Mary cannot do from her place beside God. But that is not all. The love Mary bears towards each one of us is not simply a love inspired by belonging to the same nation - for she is indeed of our flesh
and blood - but is a mother's love. a deep affection, true and heartfelt like that of parents for their children.

And has not Mary also put her life in danger for our sake when she was standing by the cross of Jesus'? Like Abraham in total and overflowing generosity of spirit Mary truly sacrificed her Son to God in spirit; with genuine love she offered him up for the salvation of the world. She was 'standing by the cross of Jesus' strengthened and sustained by the power of the Holy Spirit.

How great a cause of joy and happiness it is for the whole world to have such a patroness and advocate in the presence of God the almighty! Since she is in his presence, there is nothing beyond her power. no good thing for which she doesn't strive and desire to gain for us, with her mother's care and love.

Sermon 3 on the 'Hail Mary' Orval's "Lectures Mariales" 1968
(Text prepared by Mt. St. Bernard Abbey, 1971)

Friday, 6 November 2015

Bl. John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, 8:127-8; Word in Season VI

 Night Office, Monastic Lectionary of the Divine Office, 

First Reading
Jeremiah 42:1-16; 43:4-7
Responsory     Ps 146:5-7; 118:8-9
Happy are those who are helped by Jacob' s God, whose hope is in the Lord their God. + It is he who keeps faith forever, and is just to those who are oppressed.
V. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in human help; better to take refuge in the Lord than to rely on princes. + It is he who ...

Friday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time Year I


No Prophet commenced his labours with greater encouragement than Jeremiah. A King had succeeded to the throne who was bringing back the times of the man after God’s own heart. There had not been a son of David so zealous as Josiah since David himself. The King, too, was young, at most twenty years of age, in the beginning of his reformation. What might not be effected in a course of years, however corrupt and degraded was the existing state of his people?
Whether or not, however, such hope of success encouraged Jeremiah’s first exertions, very soon, in his case, this cheerful prospect was overcast, and he was left to labour in the dark. His trials were very great, even in Josiah’s reign; but when that pious King’s countenance was withdrawn on his early death, he was exposed to persecution from every class of people. When Jerusalem had been taken by the enemy, Jeremiah was forcibly carried down to Egypt by people who at first pretended to reverence and consult him, and there he came to his end – it is believed, a violent end. 
All of us live in a world which promises well, but does not fulfil; it is in our nature to begin life thoughtlessly and joyously; to seek great things in one way or other; to have vague notions of good to come; to love the world, and to believe its promises, and seek satisfaction and happiness from it. And, as it is our nature to hope, so it is our lot, as life proceeds, to encounter disappointment. That disappointment in some shape or other is the lot of man (that is, looking at our prospects apart from the next world) is plain from the mere fact, if nothing else could be said, that we begin life with health and end it with sickness; or in other words, that it comes to an end, for an end is a failure. 

Here then it is that God himself offers us his aid by his Word, and in his Church. Left to ourselves, we seek good from the world, but cannot find it; in youth we look forward, and in age we look back. It is well we should be persuaded of these things betimes, to gain wisdom and to provide for the evil day. Seek we great things? We must seek them where they really are to be found, and in the way in which they are to be found; we must seek them as he has set them before us, who came into the world to enable us to gain them. We must be willing to give up present hope for future enjoyment, this world for the unseen. Let us prepare for suffering and disappointment, which befit us as sinners, and which are necessary for us as saints. Let us not turn away from trial when God brings it on us, or play the coward in the fight of faith. Watch, stand fast in the faith, acquit yourselves like men, be strong; such is Saint Paul’s exhortation. When affliction over­takes you, remember to accept it as a means of improving your hearts, and pray God for his grace that it may do so. Look disappointment in the face. Take ... the prophets ... for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy who endure.

Bl. John Henry Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, 8:127-8; Word in Season VI.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Fr. Aelred Graham OSB and Thomas Merton

Aelred Graham        Thomas Merton
 Night Office Readings,
Monastic Lectionary of the Divine Office, 
Thursday 05/11/2015
_ Second Reading   From Zen Catholicism by Aelred Graham

An ethical code imposed from without can lead to a merely legalistic system of morality, an adherence to the letter of the law at the expense of its spirit. These possibilities were well understood by the Hebrew prophets. The greatest of them foresaw a time when people would no longer be obeying God's law as in compliance to directives from above; that law would not even have to be told them by others; it would be known by people looking into their own hearts. A time is coming, the Lord says, when I mean to ratify a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah ... I will implant my law in their inmost thoughts, engrave it in their hearts ... There will be no need for neighbour to teach neighbour, or brother to teach brother, the knowledge of the Lord.

The message of the New Testament points to a fulfilment of this promise. There is no encouragement to an antinomian irresponsibility; what is indicated is an "exteriorization" of God's law, with particular reference to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you shall know him, because he shall abide with you and shall be in you. The world - that is to say, the separative self, the conscious ego, entangled in its craving to preserve a spurious identity in opposition to God - cannot know the spirit within. But as soon as we yield to the continual pressure of God's grace, urging us to be ourselves, we can realize his self-manifestation. And those who love me shall be loved by my Father; and I will love them and manifest myself to them ... Those who love me will keep my word; and we will come to them and make our abode with them. The Spirit's presence declares itself by the Spirit's fruits, not merely by dictating action. The Holy Spirit affects conduct at its source: modifying character by such qualities as love, peace, joy, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faith­fulness, meekness, self-control. These being present, an external law would be superfluous.
    Responsory;    Rom 8:5-6.2
Those who live on the level of their lower nature have their outlook formed by it, and that spells death; but + those who live on the level
of the spirit have a spiritual outlook, and that is life and peace.
V. In Christ Jesus the life-giving law of the Spirit has freed you from the law of sin and death. + Those who live ...

Graham, Aelred (1907-1984) Born in Liverpool, he was educated at Saint Edward's College in that city, and entered Ampleforth Abbey in 1930. He was professed the following year, and ordained priest in 1938 after his studies at Oxford where he took the degree S.T.L. at Blackfriars. On his return to Ampleforth he taught dogmatic theology. In 1938 his first book, The Love of God appeared, and he also wrote articles for learned reviews. In 1951 he was appointed prior of Portsmouth Priory in Rhode Island, U.5.A. He is the author of The Christ of Catholicism, The Final Victory, Catholicism and the World Today, Christian Thought and Action, and Zen Catholicism. During a three month visit to Japan in 1967, he interviewed notable Buddhists in an a attempt to understand their religion. This resulted in another book called: Conversation: Christian and Buddhist.


GRAHAM, AELRED, DOM, O.S.B., 1907-1984



Series NumberSeries NameTotal Records
1Correspondence between Merton and Dom Aelred Graham.30
2Correspondence from Dom Aelred and Fr. Louis file kept by Dom James Fox (added Aug. 2014)7
3Articles and Statements from Dom Aelred and Fr. Louis file kept by Dom James Fox (added Aug. 2014)11


Series#DateFrom/ToFirst LinesPubNotes
Series 1 #1.
«All Series«
1953/01/15transcript from MertonThis is just a note to thank you for the article you wrote about me in the Atlantic.[copy from published letters] «detailed view»
Series 1 #2.
«All Series«
1953/02/05HLS[x]  from Graham, Aelred / to Robert GirouxMany thanks for "The Sign of Jonas" which I am reading through with interest. It seems to confirm«detailed view»
Series 1 #3.
«All Series«
1953/02/14TLS[x] to MertonHaving just finished reading your "SIGN OF JONAS" (in my view by far the most attractive of all your[see Section 2 for original] «detailed view»
Series 1 #4.
«All Series«
1953/03/03TLS[x] to Fox, JamesA letter from a mutual friend of ours -- William J. McCormack, Jr., an alumnus of Portsmouth Priory[see Series 2 for orignal letter] «detailed view»
Series 1 #5.
«All Series«
1963/04/17HLS to MertonYour very kind and [...indecipherable...] message has just reached me. Only the other day I was«detailed view»
Series 1 #6.
«All Series«
1963/04/24transcript from MertonAs a matter of fact I went ahead and wrote a review. I liked the book so much and found so much[copy from published letters] «detailed view»
Series 1 #7.
«All Series«
1963/04/26TLS to MertonWhat a magnanimous person you are! Thank you indeed for your letter, with its stream of intuitions,«detailed view»
Series 1 #8.
«All Series«
1963/08/24TLS to MertonThank you for your kind letter of August 21. Seeing that he is so warmly commended by you I shall«detailed view»
Series 1 #9.
«All Series«
1963/09/10TAL[c] from MertonThanks for your very good letter. I do not know whether Fr John of the Cross will get there,«detailed view»
Series 1 #10.
«All Series«
1963/10/03TLS to MertonAs I have just written to Father Thurston N. Davis, S.J. of AMERICA, from time to time we bring out«detailed view»