Conform to the Mind of God

From the Letter to the Ephesians by Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr

The harmony of unity

It is right for you to give glory in every way to Jesus Christ who has given glory to you; you must be made holy in all things by being united in perfect obedience, in submission to the bishop and the presbyters.

I am not giving you orders as if I were a person of importance. Even if I am a prisoner for the name of Christ, I am not yet made perfect in Jesus Christ. I am now beginning to be a disciple and I am speaking to you as my fellow-disciples. It is you who should be strengthening me by your faith, your encouragement, your patience, your serenity. But since love will not allow me to be silent about you, I am taking the opportunity to urge you to be united in conformity with the mind of God. For Jesus Christ, our life, without whom we cannot live, is the mind of the Father, just as the bishops, appointed over the whole earth, are in conformity with the mind of Jesus Christ.

It is fitting, therefore, that you should be in agreement with the mind of the bishop as in fact you are. Your excellent presbyters, who are a credit to God, are as suited to the bishop as strings to a harp. So in your harmony of mind and heart the song you sing is Jesus Christ. Every one of you should form a choir, so that, in harmony of sound through harmony of hearts, and in unity taking the note from God, you may sing with one voice through Jesus Christ to the Father. If you do this, he will listen to you and see from your good works that you are members of his Son. It is then an advantage to you to live in perfect unity, so that at all times you may share in God.

–Second reading from the Office of Readings for the 2nd Sunday of Ordinary Time

This command from St. Ignatius is most sobering for pastoral leaders–bishops, priests, lay ministers. It reminds us that we are expected to have our own ship in order, ourselves conformed to the mind of God, for others will often judge God through us while others will follow our lead, for better or worse.

Joy In Their Children

You gave the Virgin Mary the joys of motherhood; grant to all parents joy in their children.

– Liturgy of the Hours, Intercessions for Vespers II for Mary, Mother of God

Great reminder in prayer tonight after a long six-hour drive with five kids, no naps, and eating out without high chairs. Joy takes many forms.

Christmas Eve

Awake, mankind! For your sake, God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again: for your sake, God has became man.
You would have suffered eternal death, has he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this mercy. You would have never returned to life, had he not shared your death. You would have been lost if he had not hastened to your aid. You would have perished, has he not come. From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop, as included in the Office of Readings for December 24th.

Jesus and Our Prayers

God could give no greater gift to mankind than to give them as their head the Word through whom he created all things, and to unite them to him as his members, so that he might be Son of God and Son of man, one God with the Father, one man with men. So, when we speak to God in prayer we do not separate the Son from God, and when the body of the Son prays it does not separate its head from itself, but it is the one savior of his body, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who himself prays for us, and prays in us, and is the object of our prayer. He prays for us as our priest, he prays in us as our head, he is the object of our prayer as our God. Let us then hear our voices in his voice, and his voice in ours.

St. Augustine, Discourse on Psalm 85.

1st Sunday of Lent

Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No one knows himself except through the trial, or receives a crown except after victory, or strives except against an enemy or temptations.

Commentary on the Psalms by St. Augustine.

Ash Wednesday

A new season of Lent begins with the promise of a new Easter. As time passes, the only constant is change, which itself is not constant.


Psalm 39

You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings,

  but an open ear.

You do not ask for holocaust and victim.

  Instead, here am I.

From Afternoon Prayer for Monday of the 2nd Week of Ordinary Time

Mary, Mother of God

From a letter by Saint Athanasius, bishop

Gabriel used careful and prudent language when he announced his birth. He did not speak of “what will be born in you” to avoid the impression that a body would be introduced into her womb from the outside; he spoke of “what will be born from you,” so that we might know by faith that the child originated with her and from her.