Caesarius of Arles: We Can Receive with Security the Entire Trinity at the Banquet of the Heart Saturday, Jan 21 2012 

Three men came to Abraham, and stood over him.

Observe how it is that they come upon him, but not against him. He had subjected himself to God’s will, and for this reason God is said to stand over him.

They stood over him; not against him to repulse him, but over him for protection. He received the three men and served them loaves out of three measures.

Why is this, brethren, unless it means the mystery of the Trinity?

He also served a bullock; not a tough one, but a good, tender one.

Now what is so good and tender as he who humbled himself even unto death? He himself is that fatted calf which the father killed upon receiving his repentant son.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only–begotten Son. For this reason Abraham went to meet the three men and adored them as one.

In the fact that he saw three, as was already said, he understood the mystery of the Trinity; but since he adored them as one, he recognized that there is one God in the three persons.

Now where did this happen? Near the oak of Mamre, which in Latin is interpreted as ‘vision’ or ‘discernment’.

The vision and discernment of Abraham delighted the Lord; Abraham was clean of heart, so he could see God. Therefore, in such a place and in such a heart the Lord can have his feast.

Of this vision our Lord spoke to the Jews in the Gospel when he said: Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day, he saw it and was glad.

He saw my day, he says, because he recognised the mystery of the Trinity. He saw the Father as day, the Son as day, the Holy Spirit as day, and in these three, one day.

Thus, the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God, and these three are one God. For individually each person is complete God.

Moreover, because of the unity of substance, in those three measures of flour the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not unfittingly understood.

However, this can also be taken in another way by understanding Sarah as the Church; the three measures of flour then are faith, hope, and charity.

In these three virtues all the fruits of the Church are contained, so that if a man merits to possess the three within himself, he can with security receive the entire Trinity at the banquet of his heart.

Caesarius of Arles (469/70-542): Sermon 83.2,4-5, trans. M. M. Mueller, Fathers of the Church series, vol. 47, from the Monastic Office of Vigils for Sunday of the 3rd Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2.


Caesarius of Arles: Through the Sweetness of Love Our Lord and Saviour has Given Us a Taste of Heaven Saturday, Sep 17 2011 

Those who close their eyes to the demands of love fall asleep in the desire for worldly pleasures.

Therefore be watchful. Eating, drinking, carousing, gambling and hunting are pleas­ures, but evils of every kind follow in the wake of these vanities.

No one can deny that they are enjoyable, but love of God’s law must come first, for to love God means to keep his command­ments.

Which commandments? You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, and You must love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

My brothers, to widen our hearts we need not depend upon ourselves.

Ask God to help you love one another – to love everyone without exception, not just your friends but enemies as well; not because they are your brothers in Christ, but so that they may be.

Pray that you may always have a warm fraternal love for other people, both for those who have become your brothers, and for your enemies that they may become such.

Whenever you love brothers you love friends, for they are already with you, joined to you in Catholic unity.

If they live virtuously you love them as people who have been changed from enemies into brothers.

But suppose you love people who do not yet believe in Christ, or if they do, yet believe as the devil believes – they believe in Christ but still do not love him.

You must love just the same, you must love even people like that, you must love them as brothers.

They are not such yet, but you must love them so that they may become such through your kindness. All our love, then, must be fraternal.

I would ask you to consider and understand where it is that true pleasure for mind and heart is to be found.

Strength of body and mind, the fruits of one’s labours, the flowering of achievement, beauty, charm, food and drink, chaste embraces – when accompanied by love, all these things bring true pleasure.

If such are the pleasures granted us while yet wayfarers, what delights will not be ours when we reach our heavenly homeland?

If the dew is so refreshing, how could the river fail to fulfil all our desires? Through the sweetness of love our Lord and Saviour has given us a taste of heaven.

Let us, then, with his help, make every effort to preserve that love in all its perfection, so that when, after our pilgrimage through this world, we reach our eternal  homeland, we may deserve to enjoy its de

Caesarius of Arles (469/70-542): Sermon 137.3-6 (CCL 103:567-568), from the Monastic Office of Vigils for Friday of the 24th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 1.

Caesarius of Arles: God Wishes to Enter into Your Soul, for He Promised: “I Shall Live in Them, I Shall Walk through Their Hearts” Tuesday, Nov 9 2010 

My fellow Christians, today is the birthday of this church, an occasion for celebration and rejoicing. We, however, ought to be the true and living temple of God.

Nevertheless, Christians rightly commemorate this feast of the church, their mother, for they know that through her they were reborn in the spirit.

[…] Indeed, before our baptism we were sanctuaries of the devil; but after our baptism we merited the privilege of being temples of Christ.

And if we think more carefully about the meaning of our salvation, we shall realise that we are indeed living and true temples of God.

God does not dwell only in things made by human hands, nor in homes of wood and stone, but rather he dwells principally in the soul made according to his own image and fashioned by his own hand.

Therefore, the apostle Paul says: The temple of God is holy, and you are that temple.

When Christ came, he banished the devil from our hearts, in order to build in them a temple for himself.

Let us therefore do what we can with his help, so that our evil deeds will not deface that temple. For whoever does evil, does injury to Christ.

As I said earlier, before Christ redeemed us, we were the house of the devil, but afterward, we merited the privilege of being the house of God.

God himself in his loving mercy saw fit to make of us his own home.

My fellow Christians, do we wish to celebrate joyfully the birth of this temple? Then let us not destroy the living temples of God in ourselves by works of evil.

I shall speak clearly, so that all can understand. Whenever we come to church, we must prepare our hearts to be as beautiful as we expect this church to be.

Do you wish to find this basilica immaculately clean? Then do not soil your soul with the filth of sins.

Do you wish this basilica to be full of light? God too wishes that your soul be not in darkness, but that the light of good works shine in us, so that he who dwells in the heavens will be glorified.

Just as you enter this church building, so God wishes to enter into your soul, for he promised: I shall live in them, I shall walk through their hearts.

Caesarius of Arles (469/70-542): Sermon 229, 1-3, taken from the Office of Readings for the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. John Lateran on November 9 at Crossroads Initiative.