Cyprian of Carthage: We Ask that the Will of God may be Done both in Heaven and in Earth Wednesday, Nov 6 2013 

Saint-Cyprian-of-CarthageContinued from here

We ask that the will of God may be done both in heaven and in earth, each of which things pertains to the fulfilment of our safety and salvation.

For since we possess the body from the earth and the spirit from heaven, we ourselves are earth and heaven; and in both—that is, both in body and spirit—we pray that God’s will may be done.

For between the flesh and spirit there is a struggle; and there is a daily strife as they disagree one with the other, so that we cannot do those very things that we would, in that the spirit seeks heavenly and divine things, while the flesh lusts after earthly and temporal things.

Therefore we ask that, by the help and assistance of God, agreement may be made between these two natures, so that while the will of God is done both in the spirit and in the flesh, the soul which is new-born by Him may be preserved.

[…] And therefore we make it our prayer in daily, yea, in continual supplications, that the will of God concerning us should be done both in heaven and in earth.

Because this is the will of God, that earthly things should give place to heavenly, and that spiritual and divine things should prevail.

[…] The Lord commands and admonishes us even to love our enemies, and to pray even for those who persecute us.

Accordingly, we should ask for those who are still earth, and have not yet begun to be heavenly, that even in respect of these God’s will should be done, which Christ accomplished in preserving and renewing humanity.

The disciples are now called by Him not earth, but the salt of the earth, and the apostle designates the first man as being from the dust of the earth, but the second from heaven.

So it is reasonable that we, who ought to be like God our Father, who makes His sun to rise upon the good and bad and sends rain upon the just and the unjust, should so pray and ask by the admonition of Christ as to make our prayer for the salvation of all men:

that “as in heaven”—that is, in us by our faith—the will of God has been done so that we might be of heaven; so also “in earth”—that is, in those who believe not—God’s will may be done, that they who as yet are by their first birth of earth, may, being born of water and of the Spirit, begin to be of heaven.

Cyprian of Carthage (d.258): On The Lord’s Prayer, 16-17.

Irenaeus of Lyons: The Fruits of the Spirit and Living in the Image and Likeness of God Friday, Jun 28 2013 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonTo save us from forfeiting life by losing the Spirit who possesses us, and to exhort us to share in the Spirit, the Apostle declares that it is impossible for flesh and blood to gain possession of the kingdom of God.

In other words: Do not deceive yourselves, for if the Word of God and the Spirit of the Father do not dwell in you, and you lead a life of vanity and carelessness, as though you were merely flesh and blood, you cannot obtain the kingdom of God.

He says this to prevent us from indulging our physical nature and spurning the grafting of the spirit, for when you were a wild olive, he says, you were grafted into the cultivated olive and came to share that olive’s rich sap.

With a grafted wild olive, if the graft fails to take it is cut off and thrown into the fire, but if the graft is successful and the wild olive takes on the qualities of the culti­vated one, it develops into a fruitful olive, like one planted in a royal garden.

In the same way we too, if faith leads us to reform and we receive the Spirit of God and produce the fruit of that Spirit, we too shall be spiritual, as if planted in the garden of God.

But if we spurn the Spirit and remain what we were before, choosing to belong to the flesh rather than the Spirit, we would rightly be told: It is impossible for flesh and blood to gain possession of the kingdom of God: in other words, no wild olive will be admitted into God’s garden.

Thus in comparing flesh and blood with the wild olive, the Apostle has given us a wonderful picture of our nature and of the whole of God’s plan for us. The olive, if neglected and left to grow for a time in some deserted spot, becomes a wild olive again and produces poor fruit, but if it is taken care of once more and grafted, it returns to its earlier fertility.

And it is the same with us. We too may become careless and allow the bad fruit of worldly desires to grow in us, and by our own fault fail to bear the fruits of righteousness. While we sleep the enemy sows weeds, which is why the Lord commanded his disciples to be watchful.

If, however, when we have become barren of righteousness and as it were entangled in brambles, we are cared for again and receive the word of God like a graft, we then return to our original nature, the nature created in the image and likeness of God.

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202):Adversus Haereses, 5.9.4-10 (SC 153:122-6); ; from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Saturday of the Third Week of Ordinary Time, Year I.

Pope Francis: The Holy Spirit is the Inexhaustible Source of God’s Life in Us Wednesday, May 8 2013 

Francisco_(20-03-2013)The Holy Spirit is the inexhaustible source of God’s life in us.

[…] Man is like a traveller who, crossing the deserts of life, has a thirst for living water…. And Jesus gives us this living water: it is the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father and who Jesus pours into our hearts.

Jesus tells us that “I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).

Jesus promised the Samaritan woman that he would donate an eternally abundant ‘“living water” to all those who recognize him as the Son sent by the Father to save us (John 4:5-26; 3:17).

Jesus came to give us this “living water” that is the Holy Spirit, so that our life may be guided by God, may be animated by God, may be nourished by God.

When we say that a Christian is a spiritual man, this is what we mean: a Christian is a person who thinks and acts according to God, according to the Holy Spirit.

[…] In the Epistle to the Romans we find this sentence: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (5:5).

The ‘“living water,” the Holy Spirit, the Gift of the Risen One who comes to dwell in us, cleanses us, enlightens us, renews us, transforms us because rendering us partakers of the very life of God who is Love.

This is why the Apostle Paul says that the Christian’s life is animated by the Spirit and by its fruits, which are “love, joy, peace, generosity, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

The Holy Spirit leads us to divine life as “children of the Only Son.

[…] St. Paul sums it up in these words: “All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. And you… have you received the Spirit who renders us adoptive children, and thanks to whom we cry out, ‘Abba! Father’.

“The Spirit itself, together with our own spirit, attests that we are children of God. And if we are His children, we are also His heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we take part in his suffering so we can participate in his glory” (Romans 8:14-17).

This is the precious gift that the Holy Spirit brings into our hearts: the very life of God, the life of true children, a relationship of familiarity, freedom and trust in the love and mercy of God.

[…] The Holy Spirit teaches us to look with the eyes of Christ, to live life as Christ lived, to understand life as Christ did.

Pope Francis (b. 1936): General Audience, Wednesday May 8th, 2013, translated by Vatican Radio.

Macarius the Egyptian: The true treasure of Christ in our hearts, in the power and efficacy of the Spirit Saturday, Nov 17 2012 

Macarius3They who have found the heavenly treasure of the Spirit, the Lord shining in their hearts, fulfil that entire extent of goodness there is in the commandments of the Lord, from that treasure that is within them – Christ – and by means of that do they amass together a large store of heavenly wealth.

For by means of the heavenly treasure do they work every virtue in the whole circle of righteousness, and every commandment of the Lord, by the help of the invisible riches of the grace within them.

Whoever therefore possesses within himself this heavenly treasure of the Spirit, he fulfils in this spirit all the righteousness of the commandments, and the complete practice of the virtues, without blame, and in purity; moreover without compulsion or difficulty.

Then let us beseech God, and seek diligently unto him, and pour out our supplications before him, that he would freely grant unto us the treasure of his Spirit, that we may be enabled to walk in all his commandments without reproof, and without blemish, and fulfil all the righteousness of the Spirit in purity and perfection.

For he that is poor, and naked, and a beggar, can purchase nothing in the world; but he that has a treasure at command, without trouble, is master of what possession he pleases.

So the soul that is naked, and destitute of God, cannot, would it ever so fain, produce any of the fruits of the Spirit of righteousness in truth and reality, before it actually partakes of the Spirit itself.

[…] We ought therefore to beg of God with earnestness of heart, that he would grant unto us his riches, the true treasure of Christ, in our hearts, in the power and efficacy of the Spirit.

And thus having found first within ourselves salvation and eternal life, we shall then profit others also, producing from that treasure of Christ within us all the goodness of spiritual discourses, and declaring heavenly mysteries.

For so it pleases the good will of the Father, that he should dwell with every one that believes: “He that loves me”, says Christ, “shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him”. And again, “We will come unto him, I and my Father, and make our abode with him”.

Thus did the infinite kindness of the Father’s will; thus was the inconceivable love of Christ pleased. And thus did the unspeakable goodness of the Spirit promise. Glory be to the tender mercies of the Holy Trinity, which surpass all expression!

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [this homily, like much of the Macarian corpus is generally attributed to the anonymous author known as Pseudo-Macarius]; Spiritual Homily 10, 1-5, trans. by the Revd D.R. Jenning; full text, with corrections and editorial, at the Monachos.net Library Project.

Ambrose of Milan: The Love of God is Shed Abroad by the Holy Spirit Wednesday, May 9 2012 

“Grace unto you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

[…] We are told that the grace of the Father and the Son is one, and the peace of the Father and the Son is one.

This grace and peace is the fruit of the Spirit, as the Apostle taught us himself, saying: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience.”

And peace is good and necessary that no one be troubled with doubtful disputations, nor be shaken by the storm of bodily passions, but that his affections may remain quietly disposed as to the worship of God, with simplicity of faith and tranquillity of mind.

As to…grace, the prophet Zechariah says that God promised to pour upon Jerusalem the spirit of grace and mercy, and the Apostle Peter says: “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the grace of the Holy Spirit.”

So grace comes also of the Holy Spirit as of the Father and the Son. For how can there be grace without the Spirit, since all divine grace is in the Spirit?

Nor do we read only of the peace and grace of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, but also…of the love and communion.

For of love it has been said: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God.”

We have heard of the love of the Father. The same love which is the Father’s is also the Son’s. For He Himself said: “He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him.”

And what is the love of the Son, but that He offered Himself for us, and redeemed us with His own blood? But the same love is in the Father, for it is written: “God so loved the world that He gave His Only-begotten Son.”

So, then, the Father gave the Son, and the Son gave Himself.

Love is preserved and due affection is not wronged, for affection is not wronged where there is no distress in the giving up.

He gave one Who was willing, He gave One Who offered Himself; the Father did not give the Son to punishment but to grace.

[…] So, too, the loving Spirit gave the Son of God.

For as the love of the Father and the Son is one, so, too, we have shown that this love of God is shed abroad by the Holy Spirit, and is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, because “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience.”

Ambrose of Milan (c. 337-397): On the Holy Spirit, 1, 12.