Friday, 26 May 2017

Ascensiontide reflections from St Gregory the Great: Day 2

Meister des Rabula-Evangeliums 001.jpg
Rubula Gospels, c6th

Before the assorted twentieth century reforms of the calendar, the feast of the Ascension had an Octave.  In the Benedictine Office, earlier in the twentieth century at least, the days of the Octave had three readings, extracted from the Homily of St Gregory that we started reading on the feast.

Accordingly, I though I would provide the readings by way of material for reflection during the season.

Here are today's sections:

"He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved but he that believeth not shall be damned." Perchance some man will say within himself: "I have already believed, and therefore I shall be saved." Thou hast well said, if thou showest thy faith by thy works. He only hath a true faith whose life doth not give the lie to his confession. Hence it is that Paul saith, touching some who were falsely faithful: "They profess that they know God but in works they deny Him."  And John likewise saith: "He that saith, I know Him and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar."

Once, then, it so standeth, it is to our lives we must look for proof of the reality of our faith. Then only are we truly Christ's faithful people when our works are the fulfilment of our profession. The day whereon we were baptized we bound ourselves to renounce all the works of the old enemy, and all his pomps. Therefore let every one of you now turn his inward eye upon his own behaviour, and if, since his baptism, he hath kept that promise which he made before it, let him know that he is in very truth one of Christ's faithful ones and let him rejoice.

But if he hath utterly broken his promise, if he hath fallen away to work iniquity, and to lust after the pomps of the world, let us see if he now knoweth how to weep over his backsliding. By the merciful Judge that man is not punished as a perjurer who in the end telleth the truth, even though he hath first lied. Because Almighty God doth, in His tender kindness, so receive our contrition, that, in His judgment, He declareth us not guilty of that which we have done amiss.


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