Welcome to the ULC Minister's Network

Arch Bishop Micheal Ralph Vendegna S.O.S.M.A.

Spiritual Reading

  • Wednesday 14 October 2020

    Wednesday of week 28 in Ordinary Time 
    or Saint Callistus, Pope, Martyr 

    Spiritual Reading

    Your Second Reading from the Office of Readings:

    Wednesday of week 28 in Ordinary Time

    From the discourses addressed to Thalassius by Saint Maximus the Confessor
    The light that enlightens every man

    The lamp that is set on the lamp-stand is the true light from the Father, the light that enlightens every man coming into the world, namely our Lord Jesus Christ. By becoming one of us and assuming our human nature he became and was called the lamp. This means that he is by nature the wisdom and word of God, the Father, which is faithfully and loyally preached in God’s Church and which is raised up as a shining and resplendent light among the nations by a life of virtue led in accordance with the commandments, giving light to all who are in the house (by that I mean in this world). So the divine Word says somewhere: Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Clearly he is calling himself a lamp, for while he was God by nature he became a man according to God’s plan of salvation.
    I think that in his wisdom the great David understood this when he called the Lord a lamp: Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. For that is the sort of Saviour my Lord and God is, delivering men from the darkness of ignorance and sin, which is also why scripture calls him a lamp.
    Like a lamp he has dispelled the gloom of ignorance and the darkness of sin, and in this way he alone has become the path to salvation for all men. By virtue and knowledge he brings to the Father all those who are resolved to follow him, who is the way of righteousness, by keeping the divine commandments. The Holy Church he calls the lamp-stand, for through its preaching the word of God shines out on it and enlightens all that live in this world, as in a house, with the brightness of truth, filling the minds of all men with the knowledge of God.
    The word will not suffer being kept under a bushel: it needs to be set on that great and beautiful lamp-stand that is the Church. For if the word is restricted by the letter of the law, like a light hidden under a bushel, it deprives all men of eternal light. It offers no spiritual vision to men striving to free themselves from the senses. For they recognise that these are misleading, capable only of error and able to grasp only what is of their own nature, that is to say subject to decay. But once the word is placed on the lamp-stand, that is the Church, where God receives true worship in spirit, then it will give light to all men.
    If the letter is not understood according to the spirit, then it can only be grasped with the senses, which means that what it has to say is restricted and the force of what is written is not allowed to sink into the mind.
    Therefore, let us not put the lamp (that is the enlightening word of knowledge) which we have lit by spiritual contemplation and action under a bushel. Let us not be guilty of restricting the incomprehensible force of wisdom by the letter. Let us put it on the lamp-stand (by that I mean the Church), where on the heights of true contemplation it may hold out the light of divine teaching to all men.


    Other choices for today:

    Saint Callistus, Pope, Martyr

    A statue in Reims Cathedral, France.

    A treatise by St Cyprian
    In times of peace the testimony of a good conscience wins the crown

    The sufferings of this present time are not to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us. Who would not strive wholeheartedly to attain to such glory, to become a friend of God and straightway rejoice with Christ, receiving heavenly rewards after earth’s torment and suffering? Soldiers of this world take pride in returning to their home country in triumph after they have defeated the enemy. How much greater is the glory in returning triumphantly to heaven after conquering the devil. The bold deceiver is laid low, the trophies of victory are restored to the place from which Adam was cast out for his sin. We offer to the Lord a most acceptable gift, our incorrupt faith, the unshaken courage of our spirit and the glorious pride of our dedication. We accompany him when he comes to take vengeance on his enemies; sitting at his side at the judgement seat, sharing in Christ’s inheritance, we are on an equal footing with the angels and enjoy the possession of a heavenly kingdom together with the patriarchs, apostles and prophets. What persecution can defeat such thoughts, what torture overwhelm them?
    The spirit of a strong and stable character strengthened by meditation endures; this unshaken spirit, which is strengthened by a certain and solid faith in the future will be enlivened against all the terrors of the devil and threats of this world. During persecution the earth is closed off from us, but heaven lies open; the Antichrist threatens, but Christ protects us; death is brought on, but eternal life follows. What an honour, what happiness to depart joyfully from this world, to go forth in glory from the anguish and pain, in one moment to close the eyes that looked on the world of men and in the next to open them at once to look on God and Christ! The speed of this joyous departure! You are suddenly withdrawn from earth to find yourself in the kingdom of heaven.
    These are the thoughts you must grasp with your heart and mind and reflect on day and night. If persecution should overtake such a soldier of God, it will not overcome one so virtuously prepared for battle. Even if our summons should come sooner, our faith which was prepared for the witness of martyrdom will not go unrewarded. For we would immediately receive our reward by God’s judgement. In time of persecution the battle wins the crown, but in peace it is the testimony of good conscience.

    Copyright © 1996-2020 Universalis Publishing Limited: see www.universalis.com. Scripture readings from the Jerusalem Bible are published and copyright © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc, and used by permission of the publishers. Text of the Psalms: Copyright © 1963, The Grail (England). Used with permission of A.P. Watt Ltd. All rights reserved.