Saturday, March 19, 2016

Maronite Year XXXII

With the day before Palm Sunday (or Hosanna Sunday, as it is more often called), we shift into the narrative preparation for Easter, with the events that lead to Palm Sunday and also anticipate Easter itself: the raising of Lazarus and its aftermath.

Saturday of the Raising of Lazarus
1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:5; John 11:55-12:11

Remember, Lord, how we have walked before You,
how we have sought to do what is good in Your eyes;
You have called us to be an elect people,
a priesthood of kings, a nation of holiness,
drawn out of darkness to sing praise to our Lord.

In raising Lazarus, You began the great march,
the march of mercy, the work that saved our lost souls;
You said to our dead and lifeless hearts, "Come forth!"
What is dead, by Your power is raised to full life,
The flow of time is turned back by Your power.

In raising Lazarus from the dead, O Lord,
You showed all humanity Your divinity,
You who ride upon the mighty cherubim;
soon You will humbly enter Jerusalem's gates,
on a colt, displaying Your humanity.


...pride, although it is a special kind of sin by reason of its proper object, is nonetheless a sin common to all sins by reason of the diffusion of its governance. And so also we call pride the root and queen of all sins, as Gregory makes clear in his work Morals.

Thomas Aquinas, De Malo 8.2.

[Thomas Aquinas, On Evil, Regan, tr., Oxford University Press (Oxford: 2003) p. 328.]

Friday, March 18, 2016

Maronite Year XXXI

The Friday of the the Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness serves for the Maronite calendar as the fortieth day of Lent; it serves as a stopping-point to sum up Lent before we get to Holy Week itself.

Friday of the Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness
2 Thessalonians 3:6-18; Luke 4:1-13

Have mercy on us, O Lord;
You are rich in mercy.
In Your great compassion,
blot the record of our wrongs.
Fasting and prayer make the soul pure;
through them mercy pours from heaven's heights.

From the Jordan Jesus came,
full of the Holy Spirit;
in the wilds He was tempted.

Satan said, "Make these stones bread."
"We do not live by just bread;
we live by the word of God."

"Worship me; all will be yours."
"It is written, 'Serve the Lord,
Him alone shall you worship.'"

"Show Yourself the Son of God!
God's angels will protect You!"
"Do not tempt the Lord Your God."

Wash us clean, O Lord our God;
purify us from sin,
the sin You always see.
Washed, we will be white as snow.
Fasting and prayer radiate light;
through them the devout are made like Christ.


...every act of sexual lust is a sin either because of the disorder of the act or even because of the disorder of teh desire alone, which disorder primarily and intrinsically belongs to sexual lust. For Augustine says in the City of God: "Sexual lust is not the sin of beautiful and pleasant bodies but of souls wickedly loving bodily pleasures to the neglect of moderation, which makes us fit for things that are spiritually more beautiful and pleasant."

Thomas Aquinas, De Malo 15.1.

[Thomas Aquinas, On Evil, Regan, tr., Oxford University Press (Oxford: 2003) p. 422.]

Thursday, March 17, 2016


And the sin of gluttony does not consist of the external acts regarding the very consumption of food except as a consequence, namely, insofar as the consumption results from an inordinate desire for food, as is also the case regarding all the other sins related to emotions. And so Augustine says in his Confessions: "I do not fear the uncleanness of food eaten with bread but the uncleanness of inordinate desire." And so it is evidence that gluttony chiefly regards emotions and is contrary to moderation regarding the desires and pleasures in food and drink.

Thomas Aquinas, De Malo 14.1. 'Emotions' really should be 'passions', in both cases here.

[Thomas Aquinas, On Evil, Regan, tr., Oxford University Press (Oxford: 2003) p. 406.]

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


The accumulation of temporal goods contrary to justice is always a mortal sin. And so Hab. 2:6 says: "Woe to those who pile up things not their own." Likewise, the accumulation of temporal goods, even if not contrary to justice, is a mortal sin if one makes them one's end.

Thomas Aquinas, De Malo 13.2 ad s.c. 3.

[Thomas Aquinas, On Evil, Regan, tr., Oxford University Press (Oxford: 2003) p. 395.]

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Lent XXX

And anger indeed signifies a desire for some evil, that is, the harm one seeks to inflict on a neighbor, but anger desires that evil under the aspect of good, namely, righteous vengeance, not under the aspect of evil. For an angry person seeks to injure another in order to avenge an injury inflicted on the person....Therefore we should say regarding the question at issue that anger will be good and virtuous and called zealous if it be a desire for vengeance insofar as it is really righteous. But anger is a sin if it should belong to a vengeance apparently and falsely righteous. And Gregory in his work Morals calls such anger sinful.

Thomas Aquinas, De Malo 12.2. The Latin for 'vengeance' here is 'vindicatio'.

[Thomas Aquinas, On Evil, Regan, tr., Oxford University Press (Oxford: 2003) p. 378.]

Monday, March 14, 2016


Spiritual apathy is contrary to the precept to keep holy the Sabbath, which as a moral precept commands repose of the mind in God.

Thomas Aquinas, De Malo 11.3 ad 2. I really don't like the translation of 'spiritual apathy' for acedia here; better to stick to sloth, for all the potentially misleading assocations: that is, being grieved at one's own spiritual good because of its difficulty.

[Thomas Aquinas, On Evil, Regan, tr., Oxford University Press (Oxford: 2003) p. 368.]

Sunday, March 13, 2016

That Heaviest Weight of All to Bear

Who Shall Deliver Me?
by Christina Rossetti

God strengthen me to bear myself;
That heaviest weight of all to bear,
Inalienable weight of care.

All others are outside myself;
I lock my door and bar them out
The turmoil, tedium, gad-about.

I lock my door upon myself,
And bar them out; but who shall wall
Self from myself, most loathed of all?

If I could once lay down myself,
And start self-purged upon the race
That all must run ! Death runs apace.

If I could set aside myself,
And start with lightened heart upon
The road by all men overgone!

God harden me against myself,
This coward with pathetic voice
Who craves for ease and rest and joys

Myself, arch-traitor to myself ;
My hollowest friend, my deadliest foe,
My clog whatever road I go.

Yet One there is can curb myself,
Can roll the strangling load from me
Break off the yoke and set me free.

Maronite Year XXX

The last Sunday of Lent in the Maronite calendar is given to the story of the healing of blind Bartimaeus. Unsurprisingly, the aspect of salvation it focuses on is enlightenment.

Sunday of the Healing of the Blind Man
2 Corinthians 10:1-7; Mark 10:46-52

Praise and honor to the One who said,
"Let there be light," so there was light!
Praise to the Father, the Source of Light!
Praise to the Son, true Light from Light!
Praise to the Spirit, shining greatly,
bright from the Father and the Son.
Lord have mercy on us and save us!
O Light from Light and God from God,
You became man to heal our nature,
like us in all things except sin,
shining and scattering the darkness.

Light of the wise and Joy of the just,
who rescues us from the darkness,
You have dawned; night's power is broken,
death is destroyed, hell overcome.
By your healings you enlighten us;
You opened the eyes of the blind,
brought light to begging Bartimaeus,
that You might teach that You are light,
that Your way is free from all darkness.
Son of David, You are God's own Christ,
shining and scattering the darkness.

We do not battle mere flesh and blood;
we war against this world's spirit,
powers of darkness in high places.
We have no weapon but Your light;
it destroys the fortresses of death.
We were blind; You gave us pure light,
You made crooked paths straight before us.
Take courage, O Church, and rise up!
Your Lord by grace is calling for you.
Given sight through faith, now follow Him,
shining and scattering the darkness.