Humbert of Romans: A Heart Dedicated Unto God Saturday, Nov 3 2012 

Cast from your hearts idle thoughts, unworthy affections, bad intentions, violent actions, useless sadness, self-centered love and individual feelings.

Before the eyes of God be fearful of such thoughts, which you would blush to carry into action before human eyes.

Each of you should strive to have a heart that is like a garden abloom with trees of virtues, like a storeroom filled with the perfumes of holy affections, like a flower giving off a heavenly dew, like a box enclosing within it a marvellous treasure, like a fountain always flowing with streams of devotion, like a mirror depicting the image of God.

O happy heart which shows itself to be a throne on which God may sit, a chamber in which

God may rest, a seal on which the likeness of God is impressed, a cellar filled with God’s own vintage, a book in which God’s memories are written, gold which God moulds to any form.

Each of you should strive again and again to have a heart dedicated to God, discerning in its thoughts, wary in temptation, free of anger, separated from judgments, pining with longing for eternity, wounded with love, shining in intellect, careful in works, raised up by contemplation, concerned about the good, cut to pieces by sorrow for sin, holy in its manner of life, guarded by fear, adorned with grace.

Finally, brothers, let us strive most eagerly to turn away from sin with our whole heart by avoiding faults; let us turn to the Lord with our whole heart by doing penance.

Let us seek the Lord with our whole heart by begging pardon; let us cling to the Lord with our whole heart loving God above all things; let us serve the Lord with our whole heart with our praise; with our whole heart let us follow the path of the Lord by our pursuit.

We really owe all this to the Lord who gives our heart countless gifts.

The Lord illumines our hearts with wisdom, governs them with goodness, feeds them with delights, draws them with beauty, changes them with power, makes them one with love, allures them with promises, teaches them with harsh blows, shakes them with threats, and softens them with blessings.

Our most delightful God looks into our hearts by proving them, speaks by informing them, touches by stirring them, visits in consoling them, gives life by justifying them, and opens them by shedding light on them.

For all these gifts it behoves us to thank God tirelessly.

Humbert of Romans (c.1200-1277): From the letter On Regular Observance, from the Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours for the Order of Preachers, feast of St Martin de Porres.

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Humbert of Romans: Through Silence the Heart is Quieted and the Mind is Raised More Quickly to Contemplation. Friday, Oct 19 2012 

“Peace is preserved by silence and the mind raised up by contemplation.”

A brother should never pass over in silence what needs to be said, nor say what should not he spoken.

When a brother intends to speak, Let him first consider his words in his heart that he may express honorably, moderately, truthfully and kindly what it is he wishes to say.

For the tongue is deceitful, puffed up, inflamed with duplicity, and hateful to God and humankind.

Dearly beloved, consider carefully what you say, to whom, when or where, how or how much, and certainly why you say it.

Otherwise, if the proper circumstances are lacking, your speech may give rise to a bad conscience in your own heart or to scandal in the heart of your hearer.

[…] Do not do battle with words, nor worry about gaining victory in disputes. Always avoid words which are damaging to the speaker or to the listener.

One should keep away from speech which is not a credit to the one who speaks, or to the one who listens, or to the one about whom a person speaks.

[…] When another has begun to speak, we should be silent, lest we appear to interrupt what the person has to say.

When we sense that our audience is not prepared for what we have to say, we should refrain from speech.

At times we should keep silence to avoid loquaciousness or because we have not yet formulated in a suitable manner what we wish to say.

[…] When we wish to speak for our own edification, let us speak of those whose teaching

can lead us to virtue. When we speak for the edification of others, let us turn to those

whom we hope can be converted by our exhortation.

[…] May you avoid every word that is bitter, proud, disparaging, flattering, vicious, sworn by oaths, superfluous, or careless.

As you ought not speak ill of those who are absent, so you should not laugh at those who are present. Do not jest with those who are senseless, nor envy the learned.

Keep silent about trivialities; speak about what will bear fruit. In your conversation do not keep your heart on your tongue, but rather check your tongue with your heart.

Surely when you come to speak, you can offer a few words that are intelligible. Love quiet

reflection; flee the business of the world.

Through silence the heart is quieted, pain is avoided, peace is maintained, and the mind is raised more quickly to contemplation.

The more you withdraw from the noise of business, the closer will God be to you.

Humbert of Romans (c.1200-1277): From the letter On Regular Observance, from the Supplement to the Liturgy of the Hours for the Order of Preachers.

Humbert of Romans: Scripture, Theology and Preaching Thursday, Jan 28 2010 

 

Holy Writ which is the foundation of preaching excels other sciences in a threefold way: because of its author, its matter, and the end which it has in view.

Its author: human genius, not however without the help of God, discovered for us the other sciences; but this science [Holy Scripture] is directly revealed to us by God himself, for “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (II Pet. 1:21).

Its object: the other sciences treat only of those things which relate to reason, or nature, or to free will; this science, on the other hand, elevates itself to the things of God which infinitely surpass everything else.

Also the Divine Wisdom tells us: “Hear, for I speak of great things” (Prov. 8:6). Great things indeed, are the mysteries of the Trinity of God, His Unity, the Incarnation of the Son of God, and other subjects which nothing can surpass in dignity.

Its end: the other sciences have only in view either the government of temporal things, as the science of law, or the service of the body, as the science of medicine; or the instruction of the intellect imperfect and enveloped in ignorance, as the speculative sciences, while this science ought to gain for us eternal life.

Jesus Christ assured it when he said to the Samaritan woman: “He who drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him shall become in him a fountain of water springing up unto life everlasting” (John 4:13-14).

This signifies that the water of Divine Wisdom flows in order to lead us to eternal life, which is no other than God.

And this is why we can say that God Himself is the end of this science.

Holy Scripture is called Theology (from the two Greek words theos, God, and logos, word), for this reason, that all its words come from God, speak of God and lead to God.

Now it is precisely from these words and not from those taken from other sciences that all good preaching ought principally to come.

And since we appreciate a thing by the excellence of its composition, valuing a gold vase more than a lead one, think how much we should value preaching with contains such rare and sublime matter!

Humbert of Romans (c.1200-1277): Treatise on Preacing 1,1.