Augustine of Hippo: When the Lord rose from the dead, he put off the mortality of the flesh Wednesday, May 18 2016 

St Augustine of AfricaI speak to you who have just been reborn in baptism, my little children in Christ.

[…] It is the words of the Apostle that I address to you: Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh and its desires, so that you may be clothed with the life of him whom you have put on in this sacrament.

You have all been clothed with Christ by your baptism in him. There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor freeman; there is neither male nor female; you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Such is the power of this sacrament: it is a sacrament of new life which begins here and now with the forgiveness of all past sins, and will be brought to completion in the resurrection of the dead.

You have been buried with Christ by baptism into death in order that, as Christ has risen from the dead, you also may walk in newness of life.

You are walking now by faith, still on pilgrimage in a mortal body away from the Lord; but he to whom your steps are directed is himself the sure and certain way for you: Jesus Christ, who for our sake became man.

For all who fear him he has stored up abundant happiness, which he will reveal to those who hope in him, bringing it to completion when we have attained the reality which even now we possess in hope.

This is the octave day of your new birth. Today is fulfilled in you the sign of faith that was prefigured in the Old Testament by the circumcision of the flesh on the eighth day after birth.

When the Lord rose from the dead, he put off the mortality of the flesh; his risen body was still the same body, but it was no longer subject to death. By his resurrection he consecrated Sunday, or the Lord’s day.

Though the third after his passion, this day is the eighth after the Sabbath, and thus also the first day of the week. And so your own hope of resurrection, though not yet realised, is sure and certain, because you have received the sacrament or sign of this reality, and have been given the pledge of the Spirit.

If, then, you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your hearts on heavenly things, not the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, appears, then you too will appear with him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).

Augustine of Hippo (354-430): Sermon 8 in the Octave of Easter, Office of Readings for Sunday in the second week of Easter @ Universalis.

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Leo the Great: Things which as yet have for the most part not come to pass must be reckoned as accomplished Wednesday, May 11 2016 

Saint_Leo_of_RomeContinued from here….

St. Paul…says “even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know Him so no more” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

For the Lord’s Resurrection was not the ending, but the changing of the flesh, and His substance was not destroyed by His increase of power.

The quality altered, but the nature did not cease to exist. The body which it had been possible to crucify was made impassible. It was made incorruptible, though it had been possible to wound it.

And properly is Christ’s flesh said not to be known in that state in which it had been known, because nothing remained passible in it, nothing weak, so that it was both the same in essence and not the same in glory.

But what wonder if S. Paul maintains this about Christ’s body, when he says of all spiritual Christians wherefore henceforth we know no one after the flesh.

Henceforth, he says, we begin to experience the resurrection in Christ, since the time when in Him, Who died for all, all our hopes were guaranteed to us.

We do not hesitate in diffidence, we are not under the suspense of uncertainty, but having received an earnest of the promise, we now with the eye of faith see the things which will be, and rejoicing in the uplifting of our nature, we already possess what we believe.

Let us not then be taken up with the appearances of temporal matters, neither let our contemplations be diverted from heavenly to earthly things.

Things which as yet have for the most part not come to pass must be reckoned as accomplished: and the mind intent on what is permanent must fix its desires there, where what is offered is eternal.

For although “by hope we were saved” (Romans 8:24), and still bear about with us a flesh that is corruptible and mortal, yet we are rightly said not to be in the flesh, if the fleshly affections do not dominate us, and are justified in ceasing to be named after that, the will of which we do not follow.

And so, when the Apostle says “make not provision for the flesh in the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14), we understand that those things are not forbidden us, which conduce to health and which human weakness demands.

But because we may not satisfy all our desires nor indulge in all that the flesh lusts after, we recognize that we are warned to exercise such self-restraint as not to permit what is excessive nor refuse what is necessary to the flesh, which is placed under the mind’s control.

Leo the Great (c.400-461): Sermon 71, 4-5.

Athanasius of Alexandria: We know that when we die we are not destroyed, but actually begin to live, and become incorruptible through the Resurrection Monday, May 2 2016 

AthanasiusThere is no small proof that death is destroyed, and that the Cross is become the victory over it, and that it has no more power but is verily dead.

Rather there is an evident warrant – that it is despised by all Christ’s disciples, and that they all take an aggressive stance against it and no longer fear it.

Instead, by the sign of the Cross and by faith in Christ, they tread it down as dead.

For of old, before the divine sojourn of the Saviour took place, death was terrible even to the saints, and all wept for the dead as though they perished.

But now that the Saviour has raised His body, death is no longer terrible; for all who believe in Christ tread him under as nought, and choose rather to die than to deny their faith in Christ.

For they verily know that when they die they are not destroyed, but actually begin to live, and become incorruptible through the Resurrection.

And they know that the devil, that once maliciously exulted in death, now that its pains were loosed, remained the only one truly dead.

And a proof of this is: that, before men believe in Christ, they see in death an object of terror, and play the coward before him.

But, when they are gone over to Christ’s faith and teaching, their contempt for death is so great that they even eagerly rush upon it, and become witnesses for the Resurrection the Saviour has accomplished against it.

For while still tender in years they make haste to die, and not only men, but women also, exercise themselves by bodily discipline against it. So weak has death become, that even women who were formerly deceived by him, now mock at him as dead and paralyzed.

When a tyrant has been defeated by a real king, and bound hand and foot, then all that pass by laugh him to scorn, buffeting and reviling him, no longer fearing his fury and barbarity, because of the king who has conquered him.

So also, death having been conquered and exposed by the Saviour on the Cross, and bound hand and foot, all they who are in Christ, as they pass by, trample on him, and witnessing to Christ scoff at death, jesting at him, and saying what has been written against him of old:

“O death, where is thy victory? O grave, where is thy sting?”

Athanasius of Alexandria (c.293-373): On the Incarnation of the Word, 27 [slightly adapted].

Leo the Great: The Lord’s Resurrection was not the ending, but the changing of the flesh Sunday, May 1 2016 

Saint_Leo_of_RomeContinued from here….

And hence that the disturbed minds of the disciples might not be racked by prolonged grief, He with such wondrous speed shortened the three days’ delay which He had announced, that by joining the last part of the first and the first part of the third day to the whole of the second, He cut off a considerable portion of the period, and yet did not lessen the number of days.

The Saviour’s Resurrection therefore did not long keep His soul in Hades, nor His flesh in the tomb; and so speedy was the quickening of His uncorrupted flesh that it bore a closer resemblance to slumber than to death, seeing that the Godhead, Which quitted not either part of the Human Nature which He had assumed, reunited by Its power that which Its power had separated.

And then there followed many proofs, whereon the authority of the Faith to be preached through the whole world might be based.

And although the rolling away of the stone, the empty tomb, the arrangement of the linen cloths, and the angels who narrated the whole deed by themselves fully built up the truth of the Lord’s Resurrection, yet did He often appear plainly to the eyes both of the women and of the Apostles not only talking with them, but also remaining and eating with them, and allowing Himself to be handled by the eager and curious hands of those whom doubt assailed.

For to this end He entered when the doors were closed upon the disciples, and gave them the Holy Spirit by breathing on them, and after giving them the light of understanding opened the secrets of the Holy Scriptures, and again Himself showed them the wound in the side, the prints of the nails, and all the marks of His most recent Passion, whereby it might be acknowledged that in Him the properties of the Divine and Human Nature remained undivided, and we might in such sort know that the Word was not what the flesh is, as to confess God’s only Son to be both Word and Flesh.

The Apostle of the Gentiles, Paul, dearly-beloved, does not disagree with this belief, when he says, even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know Him so no more.  For the Lord’s Resurrection was not the ending, but the changing of the flesh, and His substance was not destroyed by His increase of power. The quality altered, but the nature did not cease to exist: the body was made impassible, which it had been possible to crucify: it was made incorruptible, though it had been possible to wound it.

Leo the Great (c.400-461): Sermon 71, 2-4.

Ælfric of Eynsham: God can do all things; therefore we should wonder at his might, and also believe. Sunday, Apr 17 2016 

All_SS_of_BritainThe evangelist John says that Jesus wrought many other miracles in the sight of his disciples, which have not been recorded in the book of Christ.

These miracles are written to the end that ye may believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that ye may have eternal life through that belief.

Now the pope Gregory, expounding this gospel, says, that everyone wonders how Jesus came in to his apostles, and yet the doors were shut.

But again St. Gregory says, that Christ’s body came in, the doors being closed, which was born of the Virgin Mary, of a closed womb.

What wonder is it, that Jesus with an everlasting body came in, the doors being closed, who with a mortal body was born of the closed womb of the virgin?

We read in the book which is called The Acts of the Apostles that the chief men of the Jewish people brought Christ’s apostles into prison.

Then by night God’s angel came to them, and led them out of the prison, and on the morrow the prison stood fast shut up.

God can do all things: therefore we should wonder at his might, and also believe.

He showed the body to be touched which he had brought in, the doors being closed.

His body was tangible, and, nevertheless, incorruptible; he showed himself tangible and incorruptible, for his body was of the same nature that it before was, but was yet of another glory.

Jesus said to them, “Peace be among you.” For peace Christ came to men, and peace he enjoined and taught, and nothing is to him acceptable which is done without peace.

“As my Father sent me so I send you. The Father loveth the Son, but yet he sendeth him to suffering for the redemption of men.”

Christ also loved his apostles, and yet he established them not as kings, nor as governors, nor in worldly bliss; but he sent them over all the earth, to preach baptism and the faith which he himself had taught.

They preached until the wicked slew them, and they went triumphant to their Lord.

Christ blew on the apostles, and said, “Receive the Holy Ghost.” Twice came the Holy Ghost over the apostles; once now, and again another time at Christ’s ascension.

Christ blew the Holy Ghost over the apostles, while yet continuing on earth, for a token that every Christian man should love his neighbour as himself.

Again, after he had ascended to heaven, he sent the Holy Ghost in semblance of fire over the apostles, to the end that we should love God above all other things.

Ælfric of Eynsham (c. 955 – c. 1010): Homily 15 (for the First Sunday after Easter), trans. Benjamin Thorpe; icon of All Saints of Britain and Ireland.

Ælfric of Eynsham: The resurrection of Jesus is our festival-tide, for by his resurrection he led us to the immortality for which we were created Thursday, Mar 31 2016 

All_SS_of_BritainMy dearest brothers, ye have heard that the holy women, who followed the Lord in life, came with precious ointment to his sepulchre, and him whom they had loved in life they would when dead serve with human devotion.

But this deed betokens something to be done in God’s church. We who believe in the resurrection of Christ come assuredly to his sepulchre with precious ointment, if we are filled with the breath of holy virtues, and if we with the fame of good works seek our Lord.

The women who brought the ointment saw angels; for they see the heavenly angels, who with the breath of good works yearn after the upward journey.

The angel rolled the lid from the tomb; not that he would make way for Christ’s departure, but he would manifest to men that he was risen. He who came mortal to this world, born of the closed womb of the virgin, he, without doubt, might, when he arose immortal, though in a closed tomb, depart from the world.

The angel sat on the right side of the sepulchre. The right hand betokens the eternal life, and the left this present life. Rightly sat the angel on the right hand, for he manifested that Jesus had surmounted the corruptions of this present life, and was then dwelling immortal in eternity.

The messenger was clad in a shining garment, because he announced the happiness of this festival-tide, and our glories. But we ask, ours or the angels? We say verily, both ours and theirs. The resurrection of Jesus is our festival-tide, for by his resurrection he led us to the immortality for which we were created. His resurrection was bliss to the angels, because God fills up their number when he brings us to heaven.

The angel cheered the women, thus saying, “Be ye not afraid:” as if he had said thus, Let those fear who love not the advent of angels; let those be terrified who are beset with fleshly lusts, and have no joy in the host of angels.

[…] He said, “Ye seek Jesus: he is risen: he is not here.” He was not then bodily in the sepulchre, who is everywhere through his divine power. There lay the garment behind in which he had been wrapt, for he recked not of an earthly garment, after he had arisen from death. Though a dead man be wrapt in a garment, that garment does not the sooner rise again with the man, but he will be clad with the heavenly garment after his resurrection.

Ælfric of Eynsham (c. 955 – c. 1010): Homily 15 (for Easter Sunday), trans. Benjamin Thorpe; icon of All Saints of Britain and Ireland.

Athanasius of Alexandria: The destruction of death and the resurrection of life Sunday, Feb 7 2016 

AthanasiusContinued from here….

And of this one may be assured at the hands of the Saviour’s own inspired writers, if one happen upon their writings, where they say:

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then all died, and He died for all that we should no longer live unto ourselves, but unto Him Who for our sakes died and rose again” (2 Cor. 5:14), our Lord Jesus Christ.

And, again: “But we behold Him, Who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that by the grace of God He should taste of death for every man” (Heb. 2:9f).

Then He also points out the reason why it was necessary for none other than God the Word Himself to become incarnate; as follows:

“For it became Him, for Whom are all things, and through Whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through suffering.”

By these words He means that it belonged to none other to bring man back from the corruption which had begun than the Word of God, Who had also made them from the beginning.

It was in order to be a sacrifice for bodies such as His own that the Word Himself also assumed a body, as these words show:

“forasmuch then as the children are the sharers in blood and flesh, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death He might bring to naught Him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:14ff).

For by the sacrifice of His own body, He both put an end to the law which was against us, and made a new beginning of life for us, by the hope of resurrection which He has given us.

For since from man it was that death prevailed over men, for this cause conversely, by the Word of God being made man has come about the destruction of death and the resurrection of life…:

“for since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:21).

For no longer now do we die as subject to condemnation; but as men who rise from the dead we await the general resurrection of all, “which.in its own times He shall show” (1 Tim. 6:15), even God, Who has also wrought it, and bestowed it upon us.

Athanasius of Alexandria (c.293-373): On the Incarnation of the Word, 10 [slightly adapted].

Basil the Great: “But the counsel of the Lord standeth for ever; the thoughts of his heart to all generations” Saturday, Nov 7 2015 

St-Basil-the-Great‘The Lord bringeth to nought the counsels of nations; and he rejecteth the devices of people’ (Psalm 32:10).

God created those who believe in Him in consequence of His bringing to nought the foolish counsels which the people held about idolatry and all vanity, and in consequence of His rejection of the counsels of princes.

And it is possible to refer these things to the time of His passion when they thought that they were crucifying the King of Glory, but He through the economy of the Cross was renewing humanity.

For, in the Resurrection, the counsel of nations, of Pilate and his soldiers, and of whoever was active in the matter of the Cross, was brought to nought; the counsels of the princes were rejected, and also those of the high priests and scribes and kings of the people.

In fact, the Resurrection destroyed their every device. If you will read the things in each history which God did to the faithless nations, you will find that the statement has much force even according to our corporeal intelligence.

[…] ‘But the counsel of the Lord standeth for ever: the thoughts of his heart to all generations’ (Psalm 3:11).

Do you not see the teachings of the nations, this empty philosophy, how subtle and farfetched they are concerning the inventions of their teachings, both in the rational speculations and in the moral injunctions, and in certain natural sciences and the other so-called esoteric teachings?

How all things have been scattered and rendered useless, and the truths of the Gospel alone now hold place in the world?

For, many are the counsels in the hearts of men, but the counsel of the Lord has prevailed. And it is necessary, at least if the counsel from God is to remain in our souls firm and steadfast, for the human thoughts which we formerly held, first to be rejected.

Just as he who intends to write on wax, first smooths it down and thus puts on whatever forms he wishes, so also the heart which is to admit clearly the divine words must be made clean of the opposite thoughts.

‘The thoughts of his heart to all generations’. Since, then, there are two chosen peoples, and two testaments were given to them according to the saying ‘The thoughts of his heart to all generations (eis genean kai genein),’ since ‘generation’ is named twice, there can be understood also two thoughts, the one, according to which we received the previous testament, but the second, bestowing upon us the new and saving teaching of Christ.

Basil the Great (330-379): Homily 15 (on Psalm 32[33]), 6-7,  from Saint Basil: Exegetic Homilies, translated by Agnes Clare Way, Catholic University of America Press (The Fathers of the Church, vol. 46), pp. 239-241.

John Paul II: Life in the Spirit transcends even death Friday, May 22 2015 

jp2“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn 3:16).

In these words from the Gospel of John, the gift of “eternal life” represents the ultimate purpose of the Father’s loving plan.

This gift gives us access through grace to the ineffable communion of love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit:

“This is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3).

The “eternal life” that flows from the Father is communicated to us in its fullness by Jesus in his paschal mystery through the Holy Spirit.

By receiving it we share in the risen Jesus’ definitive victory over death. “Death and life”, we proclaim in the liturgy, “have contended in that combat stupendous: the Prince of life, who died, reigns immortal” (Sequence for Easter Sunday).

In this decisive event of salvation, Jesus gives human beings “eternal life” in the Holy Spirit.

In the “fullness of time” Christ thus fulfils, beyond all expectation, that promise of “eternal life” which the Father has inscribed in the creation of man in his image and likeness since the beginning of the world (cf. Gn 1:26).

As we sing in Psalm 104, man experiences that life in the cosmos and, particularly, his own life have their beginning in the “breath” communicated by the Spirit of the Lord:

“When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. When you send forth your Spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth” (vv. 29-30).

Communion with God, the gift of his Spirit, more and more becomes for the chosen people the pledge of a life that is not limited to earthly existence but mysteriously transcends and prolongs it forever.

[…] Jesus links belief in the resurrection to his own person: “I am the Resurrection and the Life” (Jn 11:25).

In him, through the mystery of his Death and Resurrection, the divine promise of the gift of “eternal life” is fulfilled.

This life implies total victory over death: “The hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear the voice [of the Son] and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life …” (Jn 5:28-29).

“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6:40).

John Paul II (1920-2005): General Audience, October 28th, 1998.

 

Cyril of Jerusalem: “I will hold Him, and will not let Him go” Tuesday, Apr 28 2015 

Cyril-of-JerusalemBefore He entered through the closed doors, the Bridegroom and Suitor of souls was sought by those noble and brave women.

[…] Mary [Magdalen] came seeking Him, according to the Gospel, and found Him not.

And presently she heard from the Angels, and afterwards saw the Christ.

Are then these things also written?  He says in the Song of Songs, On my bed I sought Him whom my soul loved.

At what season?  By night on my bed I sought Him Whom my soul loved.

Mary, it says, came while it was yet dark.  On my bed I sought Him by night, I sought Him, and I found Him not (Cant. 3:1; John 20:1).

And in the Gospels Mary says, They have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him (John 20:13).

But the Angels being then present cure their want of knowledge; for they said, Why seek ye the living among the dead?  (Luke 24:5). He not only rose, but had also the dead with Him when He rose (Matt. 27:52).

But she knew not, and in her person the Song of Songs said to the Angels, Saw ye Him Whom my soul loved? It was but a little that I passed from them (that is, from the two Angels), until I found Him Whom my soul loved.  I held Him, and would not let Him go (Cant. 3:3,4). 13.

For after the vision of the Angels, Jesus came as His own Herald; and the Gospel says, And behold Jesus met them, saying, All hail! and they came and took hold of His feet (Matt. 27:9). They took hold of Him, that it might be fulfilled, I will hold Him, and will not let Him go.

Though the woman was weak in body, her spirit was manful.  Many waters quench not love, neither do rivers drown it (Cant. 8:7); He whom they sought was dead, yet the hope of the Resurrection was not quenched.

And the Angel says to them again, Fear not ye; I say not to the soldiers, fear not, but to you (Matt. 28:5); as for them, let them be afraid, that, taught by experience, they may bear witness and say, Truly this was the Son of God (Matt. 27:54); but you ought not to be afraid, for perfect love casteth out fear (1 John 4:18).

Go, tell His disciples that He is risen (Matt. 28:7); and the rest.  And they depart with joy, yet full of fear. Is this also written?

Yes, the second Psalm, which relates the Passion of Christ, says, Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice unto Him with trembling (Ps. 2:11);—rejoice, because of the risen Lord; but with trembling, because of the earthquake, and the Angel who appeared as lightning.

Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 313-386): Catechetical Lectures 14, 12-13.

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