~ SO THERE I AM in early May 1995, on stage at the 1945 VE Day event for the entire province, in front of 1500 veterans, family, and guests.. only to realize I’d left my carefully crafted sermon… AT HOME, 45 minutes away. [BRAIN SPAZZ!]
Breathe!.. think!.. I normally wrote out my sermons as I’d speak them, if not for my moderate stage-fright. No time for that.
I start writing it out on a spare piece of paper, hoping the service I helped compose & the other observances will take a few minutes… Phew!
One of the most awkward but most rewarding moments ever, for a young first-time parish minister, proud to represent my grand uncles, my great uncle Gren who died in WW2, and my Grandfather, who served in Burma. Together with the men & women in front of the stage, I refused to fail them all, as they did not fail us.
Current national misleader (and Remembrance Day avoider) Trudeau & his petty minions do not represent or speak for me, or for so many families of veterans, who boldly say, down the years “WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.” Do it.
God gave me enough to preach as I’d intended that day, and I’ve tried to honour the memory of my own family veterans long years since. I also let the vets have their pick of hymns for local Remembrance Day services, without fussing too hard, as some clergy did back then.
~ NEVER. NOT once. A crying baby during a sermon is aggravating, but those parents made the effort, and they are welcome, too.
Once in a while I’d pause the preachment, and quip
“Looks like someone wants to preach!”
“I think we have a new choir member in the house!”
“You dislike the sermon? Me too!”
Parents– comforted. Irritated people– reminded that we want young people. Congregation– babies belong, too.
Telling an infant to shut up in a public setting is an unspeakably rude, imperious, snarky & humiliating thing to do to the parents. But we know that such Communist characters as Mr. Sanders only love “The People” in abstract.. actual humans are an inconvenience to their high & lonely destiny, and their glorious plans.
FFS, Bern, who do you REALLY think you are? Oh, right… rich & ill-tempered future dictator of USSRmerica. Whole crowds will be swept off to the gulags, including all the babies counter-revolutionary enough to interfere with the oracles of pure truth which drop from your thin & angry lips. You show us in this little instance who you really are under the faux-folksy wise “Grampa Bern” shtick by which you fool.. very few.
Contrast this with Jesus, the incarnate Word Himself, who said “Let the little children come unto me, and forbid them not. For such are of the Kingdom of God.” ~
~ THERE ARE CLEVER modernist people who make appeal to the simpler days, before Christians got all picky & narrow-minded. You know, like in the horrible narrow-minded so-called creeds. Hippy Jesus & his Dudes just sat around the campfire singing Kumbayah, and thinking clever but vague modernist thoughts, didn’t they?
The Nicean Creed of AD325 was a blunt instrument for a theological crisis that could have ended the Church. As it was, it divided Christianity in the worst crisis of the faith, until the Modernist Crisis of the 20th century in Protestantism & Christianity.
Arianism nearly won. Jesus is “divine”, but only in an honorific way. Homoiousios versus homoousios– like the Father, or of one being/ substance with the Father.
So what? Well, either Jesus is the Word of God incarnate, God & Man, or he’s an exalted kind of superhero, but human in the end. If he’s not God, he can’t SAVE us– if he’s not truly Man, he does not share our nature, and cannot save US. Thus, Arianism is a kind of spiritual and moral heroism, with Christ the holy Hercules showing us the way to try harder. And harder. Jesus can’t save you, so MORE EFFORT!
Arianism was popular, simple, had catchy ditties, most of the popular bishops liked it– but really was a dagger aimed at the heart of Christianity, and our salvation in Christ Jesus.
“The whole world groaned, and was astonished to find itself Arian.”
A softer and stupider version of this revolution is pushed in our schools, and many parts of our overgrown government, not to mention in the leadership of many churches and sects. The revolution seems like a good idea, until (1) you actually see what it entails, and (2) you recall that it’s the same bent and failing human nature out of which perfection and utopia will come, (3) “They”, the horrible ones with power, are the same as most of us, if we had their power & opportunities. Salvation comes not via good intentions.
What then? Shall we be enamoured of the old evils, or favour new ones?
~ MY BELOVED Canada has been– longer than the Trudeaus, but sped up by them both– in a long slow fall away from our founding principles, towards every excess, bad idea, and anti-Christian notion on the books.
This sermon is a lovely thunderbolt of warning to awaken, fight, and work with God to stand on guard, keep our land glorious and free. Or fall.
Canada Day only falls on Sunday once every seven years. That’s an opportunity for an upbeat homily about our beautiful country and our many blessings. But not this year—because we need to take a look at some things that are happening in Canada and what they mean for Christians.
I know you’d rather hear a homily celebrating Canada than criticizing it; so would I. But a friend sent me a quotation this week attributed to Archbishop Fulton Sheen, who was not only America’s best preacher but a 20th century prophet. When I read it, I knew I couldn’t deliver a feel-good sermon today.
Long quotations don’t make good homilies, but I’m asking you to listen carefully to these prophetic words:
Humanity in a crisis is generally insensitive to the gravity of the times in which it lives.
Men do not want to believe their own times are wicked, partly because they have no standard outside of themselves by which to measure their times. If there is no fixed concept of justice, how shall men know it is violated?
Only those who live by faith really know what is happening in the world; the great masses without faith are unconscious of the destructive processes going on because they have lost the vision of the heights from which they have fallen.
I don’t think one Canadian in ten thinks we have a problem in this country. And I do think that most of those who recognize the destructive processes at work are people of faith.
But even men and women of faith often fail to understand the heights from which Canadian society has tumbled, because our fall from Christian morality has happened in slow motion—not from one cause but from many.
We could analyze numerous social shifts that are opposed to Gospel values—for that matter, opposed to the values shared by most major religions—but I want to point out three of the most recent.
The first, of course, is euthanasia. Disguised by the Orwellian name “Medical Assistance in Dying,” the legalization of assisted suicide threatens the vulnerable, draws health care workers in to a moral snare, and creates an entirely false idea of compassion. It should not be necessary to remind people at Sunday Mass that assisted suicide can never be the right choice, but our first reading puts it simply: “God does not delight in the death of the living.”
Life is a good in and of itself— God “created all things so that they might exist.” All life is precious; its value is not measured by the so-called “quality of life” or anything of that sort.
We were created for eternity, and it is in eternity that the quality of life will more than compensate for the struggles some people encounter at the end of their life on earth.
Before turning to the second social shift—I should really call these legal shifts—I want to give you another reason for this somber homily on what should be a joyful day. The reason is simply this: law-abiding people, people like us, tend to think that if something’s legal is must be right. Law not only reflects social values, it creates them.
Archbishop Carney once told me that chicken wasn’t subject to meat rationing during the Second World War. As a result, Catholics—who were not allowed to eat meat on Friday—started to eat chicken, since if the government said it wasn’t meat, it must be true.
The second shift is the redefinition of tolerance. Canadians pride themselves on tolerance. American comedians on the late-night shows make jokes about how nice we are. But my dictionary says that to tolerate means “to allow the existence or occurrence of something, without interference.”
The courts have redefined tolerance in numerous decisions interfering with the freedom of people of faith. The most recent may be the most serious: the Supreme Court of Canada has effectively allowed the legal profession to be closed to graduates of a law school where students must commit to live according to the moral norms that were once universally held by all Christians. In the words of the two dissenting judges, the Court has turned the protective shield of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms into a sword.
And there’s not much doubt which group of Canadians that sword will slash.
The third source of sadness on this Canada Day may surprise you, since it’s hardly as grave as the euthanasia or Trinity Western decisions. But as I told you, I’m focusing on the most recent social shifts, and this one’s also current—the court-ordered legalization of marijuana, now enshrined in law.
Just last week, the Canadian bishops issued a statement reminding Catholics of the harm that will flow from increased marijuana use. They cite the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and the Canadian Paediatric Society as pointing out how “the use of cannabis is linked to addictions, depression, anxiety, psychosis, damage to brain development, and lung problems such as asthma and emphysema.”
Although I didn’t use marijuana, I grew up hearing that it was not addictive. That was a lie or at least a huge mistake in terms of what we know now. The bishops rely on modern science and the modern understanding of addictions when they say marijuana “is an addictive substance that will have disastrous effects” for many people.
There was a time when a Canadian who didn’t break the law would be following God’s law in most matters. Sadly, tragically, that time has passed. Only the Creator’s law can guide us now to the good life, and to the righteousness that leads to life eternal.
It is truer than ever that
“Only those who live by faith really know what is happening in the world; the great masses without faith are unconscious of the destructive processes going on because they have lost the vision of the heights from which they have fallen.”
So on this Canada Day, let’s not only pray for the nation, but lift up our eyes to the lofty vision of creation and the human person that is our heritage as Canadians and Christians.
~ BINKS JUST LOVES him some Poinsettias.. in all their 100+ varieties of colour and look. I loved to have the church loaded with them where & when possible. It was only later I learned the dark history of the man behind popularizing the Mexican plant we display at Christmastime.
The remarkable Joel Roberts Poinsett was a son of Charleston, South Carolina. As a young man, he learned many languages, law, and military affairs, then travelled widely through Europe, and South America. Later, he became the first United States ‘Minister’ (diplomatic spy) to Mexico in 1822-3, appointed by President John Quincy Adams.
The diplomat loved the Mexican plant “flor de la nochebuena“, or Christmas Eve flower, or Catarina. It was later named after him, after he introduced it to the United States in 1829– at a flower show in a Masonic Lodge.
Utopians At Work
For the remarkable Poinsett was also a Master Mason, and a Past Master of Recovery Lodge #31, Greenville, and Solomon’s Lodge, Charleston. His widespread interference on behalf of American interests in Mexico and South America tended in an anti-Catholic and U.S. democratic direction, and he was an expert in exploiting divisions within the newly independent Mexico, so to benefit American politics and aspirations, and his Freemasonic notions.
He helped quickly spread several forms of freemasonry to Mexico, then used the Mexican lodges to political ends… as he did wherever he went in the New World, against the forces of “aristocracy” and the Catholic Church.
Poinsett was rightly accused of fomenting revolution in Mexico, and he was expelled in 1829. He went back to begin a life in internal American politics.
He Helped Start The Fire…
Radical Mexican Freemasons ruled Mexico, and so Poinsett’s interventions twisted Mexican politics and religion for the next 120 years. Masons presided over many bloody persecutions of Mexican Catholics from 1815 through to the 1940s, including the famous ‘War of The Cristeros‘ in the 1920s. Countless persecuted Catholic martyrs suffered or died because of Poinsett’s Masonic new world religion.
In the early 20th century, the Freemasons were on the march, and militant secularism was the next great thing: no more kings or priests, just one great fellowship of humanity. Revolutionary France, Italy, Mexico, the new USSR, and soon Hitler’s Germany would all part of the same movement. “Those whom the gods would destroy, they first drive mad” as the ancient saying has it.
A Word From Heaven
It was partly in response to the cruel realities & predations of socialist Freemasonry in Mexico and around the Western world that in 1925 Pope Pius XI instituted the Solemnity of Christ the King, and issued the Encyclical ‘QUAS PRIMAS’.
“At the end of the encyclical, he declared that he expected three ‘blessings’ to flow from the celebration of the feast: first, that ‘men will doubtless be reminded that the Church, founded by Christ as a perfect society, has a natural and inalienable right to perfect freedom and immunity from the power of the state’; second, that ‘Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ’; and third, that ‘The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal.'”
Long before the CIA existed, or ever gunboat diplomacy and banana republics were made, the remarkable Joel Poinsett was the very model of a scheming, opportunistic, imperialistic ‘Monroe Doctrine‘ Masonic utopian busybody. Likewise at home he presided over the explusion of many Native tribes from their homelands– including the infamous Cherokee “Trail of Tears”– as a Congressman and Minister of War under President Martin Van Buren.
The Infection Spreads
Sadly, the Church herself is often effected by the fads and power-seeking conspiracy-loving ways of the fallen world– it was only by a last-minute intervention that Cardinal Rampolla, possibly of the the Masonic Ordo Templi Orientalis, was not elected in 1903 instead of Pope St. Pius X. Later Masonic-insider revelations in the 1970s indicate that many leading Roman Catholic prelates, cardinals, and ecclesiastical movers and shakers were likely members of Masonic lodges, despite the Catholic restriction on such things. Such men included many of the architects of the radical Vatican II event.
Glory To The Newborn King!
All of this ugly history is not the Poinsettia’s fault. The plant is the plant.
The humble Flor de la nochebuena is one of God’s lovely creations, and despite Mr. Poinsett & Co.’s own best efforts, it has become a much-loved Christian and seasonal symbol of the birth of Christ the King, helping churches everywhere celebrate with beauty and colour the nativity of the newborn King, God incarnate, Man Divine, God with us, our true saviour, judge, friend, ruler, and salvation.
After more than 200 years of well-meaning but futile utopian scheming & blood-letting, God is still God, Man is still Man, fallen and lost and needing the imparted life of heaven through Jesus, The Lord. Each of us still has to decide who is our ultimate king: Christ, or some idol of humanity.
“Glory to the new-born king!”
HARK! the Herald Angels sing:
Glory to the new-born King!
Peace on Earth, and Mercy mild,
God and Sinners reconcil’d.
Joyful all ye Nations rise,
Join the Triumphs of the Skies;
Nature rise and worship him,
Who is born at Bethlehem.
Hark! The herald-angels sing: “Glory to the new-born king!”
Christ, by highest heaven adored
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! The herald-angels sing: “Glory to the new-born king!”
Hail the Heav’n-born Prince of Peace
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and Life around he brings,
Ris’n with Healing in his Wings.
Mild he lays his Glory by,
Born that Men no more may die;
Born to raise the Sons of Earth,
Born to give them second Birth.
Hark! The herald-angels sing: “Glory to the new-born king!”
Come, Desire of Nations, come,
Fix in us thy heav’nly Home;
Rise the Woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the Serpent’s Head.
Adam’s Likeness now efface,
Stamp thy Image in its Place;
Second Adam from above,
Work it in us by thy Love.
Hark! The herald-angels sing: “Glory to the new-born king!” +
~ THIS IS THE DAY, and the story, of two inspired young men connected by faith and death.
This day, after the celebration of the Joyful Nativity, we count the cost of God’s coming amongst us as one of us: St. Stephen’s Day (sometimes called Boxing Day in English-inspired lands). Faith costs: possibly everything.
Less than two months after the Crucifixion, outside one of Jerusalem’s gates, an angry mob stones to death a young Christian man– who fearlessly preached to the very people & religious leaders who had condemned Jesus to the Cross. Away with him! The dying even forgave his murderers as he died. Looking on was a persecutor of the young Church– one Saul of Tarsus, who would later himself convert and become St. Paul, Evangelist to the Gentile world.
St. Stephen was the first of so many to witness unto Christ Jesus, the Babe of Bethlehem become Risen King by their life unto blood, called martyrs. Holy Innocent’s Day, also following Christmas, reminds us of the slain babes of Bethlehem, by the wrathful King Herod.
Meanwhile, In Bohemia..
Long centuries later, Wenceslaus (or Vaclav) I, Duke of Bohemia (from 921-935) would likewise serve Christ as a martyr. His grandmother had passed onto him the faith before she was murdered; yet many nobles and the establishment powers of Bohemia preferred the old ways of sacrifice, exploitation, murder of each other, and cruel selfishness. Vicious political intrigue was a sport for such leaders.
Why should anyone care for peasants? Why the gentler ways of the new god, Jesus? Why waste money on busy-body missionaries, and teaching the people, and building churches? Why let the exiled Christian clergy back into Bohemia? Why did the Duke live like a humble man of peace, and not a warlike, powerful, and wealthy noble? Away with him.
Before long, young Duke Wenceslaus (in his latter 20s) was slain on the steps of a church by his own treacherous brother, Boleslaw. And yet the Church and the ordinary people remembered their young duke’s Christ-like love and witness, his service and aspiration for a better way for his own lands, and for the world– and so do we unto this day. The holy Duke is the patron saint of the Czech Republic, and his relics are honoured in St. Wenceslas’ Chapel in St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague (below).
Though a Duke, Wenceslaus became a inspirational figure for the Middle Ages of the “Rex Justus“, the godly and Christlike Christian king, using his powers for good, to teach & help & raise up all his people, to rule by law and love, a princely ruler whose power comes from vigour and deep piety.
The saintly friends of God Stephanus and Wenceslaus remind us that young people in general and young men in particular deeply need faithful, knightly, courageous, life-inspiring examples and opportunities to serve as fathers, heroes, leaders, helpers, world-changers, God-servers. If we do not allow this– or squander it– then the church and the world are ill-served, and young lives are wasted in idleness or violence or base pursuits, and not in bold witness unto the Babe of Bethlehem, and King of all nations and People, Jesus Christ.
The famous hymn about Duke Wenceslaus was a lovely bit of Victoriana (much despised by hymn-snobs) based on an older legend: a reminder of the kind of man the Duke was, the people and service he loved, and the kind of people we should be, in loving our neighbour. +
Good King Wenceslas looked out On the feast of Stephen When the snow lay round about Deep and crisp and even Brightly shone the moon that night Though the frost was cruel When a poor man came in sight Gath’ring winter fuel
“Hither, page, and stand by me If thou know’st it, telling Yonder peasant, who is he? Where and what his dwelling?” “Sire, he lives a good league hence Underneath the mountain Right against the forest fence By Saint Agnes’ fountain.”
“Bring me flesh and bring me wine Bring me pine logs hither Thou and I will see him dine When we bear him thither.” Page and monarch forth they went Forth they went together Through the rude wind’s wild lament And the bitter weather
“Sire, the night is darker now And the wind blows stronger Fails my heart, I know not how, I can go no longer.” “Mark my footsteps, my good page Tread thou in them boldly Thou shalt find the winter’s rage Freeze thy blood less coldly.”
In his master’s steps he trod Where the snow lay dinted Heat was in the very sod Which the Saint had printed Therefore, Christian men, be sure Wealth or rank possessing Ye who now will bless the poor Shall yourselves find blessing.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! — This morning whilst walking Wee Wallace The Wonder-Poodle (one cat, no dogs, no birds to startle), I prayed for my own father, and my father in-law; my grandfathers and great-grand-fathers, and forefathers before that, giving thanks for them, and praying that they were resting in peace. I’m also a Dad, of twin young men.
THE Father– self-naming in revelation– is the source of all things, and Fatherhood, the Trinity itself, all creation, all living creatures; and all human fatherhood is a shadow and pointer to that original archetype.
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, For whom all fatherhood in heaven and in earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”
These are the True, the Real things.. to align with them is like a compass pointing North, a bird homing for nest or breeding ground or Winter home; to try and unmake or remake God’s Fatherhood in our own image and likeness is madness, destruction, and a huge part of our current crisis in marriage, youth, and society.
As I did the drive-through at Tim’s this AM, I asked the window-girl (whom I tease constantly in a fatherly way) what she was up to for Father’s Day. She said ruefully: “My Dad’s in Digby.” That said it all. Whatever the cause, some fathers go rogue, yet their kids still need and crave fathering and fatherly love and guiding. Some Dads are not very noble or dadly; and modern family & divorce law torture fathers in particular, making it even harder to be faithful if a marriage goes awry. As always, the kids go wanting, and suffer most.
Our clever bossy people talk of countless gender-identities and social constructs and #BanFathersDay, and are too earthly-minded to grasp that they are dealing with heavenly and eternal mysteries, great things which cannot be bent or broken by human will or evil or madness, only half-forgotten, in ways which leave broken lives and hearts amidst our ruins. Or, that those great mysteries are dealing with them. You cannot break or bend God, or his truth, only yourself.
Pray this day as well for those called to spiritual fatherhood as clergy or monks: by God’s name and grace, they can be conduits of grace to make whole what nature and life may have scarred or left wanting. Pray for their courage, leadership, and adherence to the truth in love, for we are in the midst of near-apocalyptic battles in Church and society, and the very foundations themselves are shaken.
There is a war afoot, and men and fathers and fatherly men of all kinds must set down their effing smartphones: there’s work to be done. Learn up & pass it on, love and defend the truth, follow God, and set to fixing & saving All The Things. It’s what we’re supposed to do: show up, and Get ‘Er Done, and not sit around waiting for approval, thanks, or the enemies of the good just to become good, somehow. The kids are watching, and waiting.
Sniff. I love you, and I miss you, Dad, Grampa George, and Grandpa Bill, and all my forefathers. You all helped make me who I am as a person, a man, and a father. Thank you– and God bless and keep you.
Réquiem ætérnam dona eis Dómine; et lux perpétua lúceat eis. Requiéscant in pace. Amen. ~
WAS SHE A NICE NUN? I suppose if you think Whoopi Goldberg’s “Sister Act” is accurate history, or a great life-lesson.
The nun-professor (RIP in 2013) was probably a post-war vocation, and then when the Vatican II Asteroid hit and asploded all the things, she joined the revolution. Heaven on earth! Telling all the bad people how to think! The reputation & power of the older idea of a consecrated nun, whilst undermining all the things! Women clergy now!
We talked in her office one day at the theo-illogical school where she taught. She seemed astonished to meet someone who actually still believed all the things in the Creed– without smirking, mental reservations, or intellectual finger-crossing– as if I were a centaur or leprechaun or some other such legendary beast. A hard case.
“It’s a ‘symbolum‘, a symbol, a meaningful affirmation of our unity,” she said nicely. Indeed, The Apostles‘ Creed is sometimes entitled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, likely` from Rome.
Younger me piped up. Incorrigible young twerp.
“Well, it’s that, too, but it’s also unity based on common truths, revealed by God in the Scriptures and the life of the Church by the Holy Spirit, isn’t it?”
“You need to go and read about symbolism, and not to over-emphasize ideas”, she said not quite so nicely. After all, too much of that olden-times theology taken seriously, and you might stop fighting for the revolution. ‘Heavenly minded, no earthly use’ and all that.
I don’t recall how the rest of it went, except I was puzzled, slightly mystified by the power of Latin and the ‘Symbolum” thing. You know, how the Revolution undermines and then wrecks actual beliefs, like that hidden rust eating away quietly until the floor of your car is suddenly gone, replaced by… nothing.
Come the Roman Legion, their symbols over them of Legion and Rome and Eagles and battle-honours; and within each living breast, the symbol or vow of their military promises to serve, not to run, The Senate And People Of Rome (SPQR) and all that.
You see that coming, from 200 BC until AD 400-ish, and you’d better surrender, run, prepare for a fight to the death.
Early Christian philosopher Justin Martyr (c. AD 150) wrote to Emperor Antoninus Pius:
“….And so it was said by the prophet, The breath before our face is the Lord Christ. And the power of this form is shown by your own symbols on what are called vexilla [banners] and trophies, with which all your state possessions are made, using these as the insignia of your power and government, even though you do so unwittingly. And with this form you consecrate the images of your emperors when they die, and you name them gods by inscriptions….”
These were not advertising symbols, like McDonald’s or Nintendo; nor ’empty symbolism’ like a now viciously secular university still preserving the dusty chapel built by the faith of the founders. Or something we ‘affirm’ but not too specifically. It was life and death: for Legion, and your brother beside you, and for Rome.
So the nun might have been nice (she did smile a lot), but she was not being entirely honest about the ‘symbolic’ nature of the realities affirmed by Christian Creeds of the Church. This glowing supernatural true Symbol– like flags or banners of an army, a nation, a clan– represent outwardly the inward promises and abiding truths taught in the Bible– and of God’s promises to us.
Every morning I walk the dog, and pray. For me, I say the Apostle’s Creed each morning as marching with the Lord’s Army– of angels, archangels, martyrs, saints, as the promise and rallying cry of a better country, as a spine-stiffening and soul encouraging reminder of the Real, revealed by God in His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our conquering Captain, who has led the forces of darkness captive in a triumph by his dying & rising again. It’s a battle cry, not an advertising jingle, or empty statement.
Try it, in Church, and in your devotions– say the Creed with deadly serious joy, and commitment, since we are all in a battle against evil, Satan and all his works, and the world seeking to replace God. Souls hang in the balance, including mine and yours.
Whatever happens to the West in the next generation, I beg God’s grace that I will not surrender, betray, or fail to serve in my time. Amen: may it be so. ~
The Paschal homily of St John Chrysostomos (Archbishop of Constantinople)
This sermon is read at the Paschal Divine Liturgy on the Sunday of the Resurrection in Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Catholic Churches. It was written c. AD 398. Via.
+ + +
The Paschal Sermon
IF ANY MAN be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense.
If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward.
If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast.
If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived thereof.
If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing.
If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.
And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering.
Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.
Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free.
He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive.
He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: ‘Hell’, said he, ‘was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions.’
It was embittered, for it was abolished.
It was embittered, for it was mocked.
It was embittered, for it was slain.
It was embittered, for it was overthrown.
It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains.
It took a body, and met God face to face.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.
‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?’
Christ is risen, and you are overthrown.
Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen.
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice.
Christ is risen, and life reigns.
Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave.
‘For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep’!
To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen! +
St. John Chrysostom (“Golden Tongue”) was born at Antioch On The Orontes in about the year AD 347, into a military family. St. John spent his early years studying under the finest philosophers and rhetoricians and was ordained a deacon in the year 381 by the bishop of Antioch Saint Meletios. In AD 386 St. John was later ordained a priest by Bishop Flavian, successor to St. Meletios. Beginning in 390, he preached a famous teaching sermon-series on the New Testament, including ninety sermons on Matthew, eighty-eight on John, and thirty-two on Romans, many of which still exist.
Over time, his fame as a holy preacher and teacher grew, and in AD 397 after the death of Archbishop Nektarios of Constantinople— successor to Sainted Gregory the Theologian— Saint John Chrysostom was called from Antioch to be the new Patriarch & Archbishop of Constantinople. His serious and outspoken reforms to purify the church actually led to conflict with the Empress and others, and thus he was banished.
Exiled in AD 404, he fell into ill health. He was moved to Pitius in Abkhazia. There, St. John, after receiving the Holy Eucharist, said, “Glory to God for everything!” He then fell asleep in the Lord on 14 September AD 407, at the age of fifty. +