Sundays and Festivals With the Fathers of the Church: or Homilies of the Holy Fathers on the Gospels of All the Sundays and Chief Festivals of the Ecclesiastical Year
- ISBN-13: 9781518610431
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Release Date: Oct 14, 2015
- Pages: 390 pages
- Dimensions: 0.88 x 9.0 x 6.0 inches
THE Christian's rule of life is contained in the Gospels. They are the Book on which he should meditate, and the teaching of which he should endeavour to put into practice all the days of his life. Yet, it is to be feared that, in reading this Book, he might not have the necessary light from above, and perhaps might attach to the sacred words a meaning that was not intended by the Divine Teacher, nor by His disciples. To prevent such possibility, many learned men, well versed in Holy Writ, have carefully explained the meaning of the Gospels, and have thus imparted to Christians a greater taste and love for the reading of the Word of God. Hence we have their commentaries, meditations, lives of Jesus Christ, and divers essays on the Holy Scriptures, the titles of which alone would form a large volume. Many of these works are thoroughly well written, and the reader can be but greatly edified and instructed by them. However, it is strange, that from the beginning it never occurred to anyone to go up to the very source. Among spiritual books the oldest are the best and the surest. It seems, therefore, that the works of the holy Fathers should have obtained the preference, for they are nearly as old as the Church, and in them the tradition is preserved in all its strength and purity. Indeed, when we follow these wise teachers in their writings from century to century, we are astonished that Christian Faith, enlightening us now, should be always one and the same, and that the doctrine of faith, taught by the Church, and the doctrine of morals, preached in the world, have never undergone any change in the succession of centuries. We see that the true Church, our glory and the foundation of our hope, has always remained calm in the midst of storms, victorious in the fiercest struggles, unhurt amidst the most powerful attacks, and always preserved from the arrows of her enemies. We see that the Bride of Jesus has always been holy and infallible in her precepts and commands, always wise and enlightened in her teaching, always prudent and reasonable in her discipline, and always pure in her religious practices. We recognise that the Church, built upon the Rock, has been, and will be to the end of the world, holy and immaculate, because she is protected by the infinitely powerful and eternal God, and guided by the Holy Ghost. It is, therefore, a subject of astonishment that, what the holy Fathers have written and preached about the Gospels, has not more often been translated and published in modern times. Was it not quite natural to think of this pious duty, especially as they are often quoted in sermons and instructions, and consulted, when difficult passages of Holy Scripture have to be explained? Are not they our teachers, under whose guidance we cannot fall into error? There are no better sources from which to draw with greater safety. What eloquence and diversity in their works! Who would not admire the grace and strength of a St. John Chrysostom, the fecundity and sublimity of a St. Augustine, the clear penetration and depth of a St. Ambrose, the vast learning of a St. Jerome, or the penetrating knowledge of a St. Gregory? What dignity and authority in St. Leo, and what beauty in the writings of the Venerable Bede! The works of the Fathers of the Church form a rich library. Yet this field, so fertile in an abundance of delicious fruits, remains sterile for the greater number of the Catholic people, who perhaps know not what to choose, or are ignorant of the language of these holy writers. It seems to me that a collection of Homilies from different Fathers, arranged according to the Sundays and principal festivals of the ecclesiastical year, would be a great spiritual help to all Christians. This is the reason why I undertook this collection, and I have carefully endeavoured that it should be useful to all.
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