June 29th, 2013
Feast of St. Peter and St. Paul
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Please take 5-10 minutes and read some inspired words from St. Peter and St. Paul.
May God bless you,
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. A good understanding to all that do it: his praise continueth for ever and ever." Psalms 110:10
First Epistle Of Saint Peter, Chapters 1 & 2
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers dispersed through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect, According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, unto the sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you and peace be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy hath regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, Unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that can not fade, reserved in heaven for you, Who, by the power of God, are kept by faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein you shall greatly rejoice, if now you must be for a little time made sorrowful in divers temptations: That the trial of your faith (much more precious than gold which is tried by the fire) may be found unto praise and glory and honour at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, you love: in whom also now, though you see him not, you believe: and believing shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and glorified; Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and diligently searched, who prophesied of the grace to come in you. Searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ in them did signify: when it foretold those sufferings that are in Christ, and the glories that should follow: To whom it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to you they ministered those things which are now declared to you by them that have preached the gospel to you, the Holy Ghost being sent down from heaven, on whom the angels desire to look. Wherefore having the loins of your mind girt up, being sober, trust perfectly in the grace which is offered you in the revelation of Jesus Christ, As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance: But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy: Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy. And if you invoke as Father him who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every one' s work: converse in fear during the time of your sojourning here. Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers: But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled, Foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but manifested in the last times for you, Who through him are faithful in God, who raised him up from the dead, and hath given him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God. Purifying your souls in the obedience of charity, with a brotherly love, from a sincere heart love one another earnestly: Being born again not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God who liveth and remaineth for ever. For all flesh is as grass; and all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass is withered, and the flower thereof is fallen away. But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel hath been preached unto you.
Wherefore laying away all malice, and all guile, and dissimulations, and envies, and all detractions, As newborn babes, desire the rational milk without guile, that thereby you may grow unto salvation: If so be you have tasted that the Lord is sweet. Unto whom coming, as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen and made honourable by God: Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore it is said in the scripture: Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious. And he that shall believe in him, shall not be confounded. To you therefore that believe, he is honour: but to them that believe not, the stone which the builders rejected, the same is made the head of the corner: And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of scandal, to them who stumble at the word, neither do believe, whereunto also they are set. But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Who in time past were not a people: but are now the people of God. Who had not obtained mercy; but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, to refrain yourselves from carnal desires which war against the soul, Having your conversation good among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by the good works, which they shall behold in you, glorify God in the day of visitation. Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God' s sake: whether it be to the king as excelling; Or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of the good: For so is the will of God, that by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if for conscience towards God, a man endure sorrows, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if committing sin, and being buffeted for it, you endure? But if doing well you suffer patiently; this is thankworthy before God. For unto this are you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow his steps. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Who, when he was reviled, did not revile: when he suffered, he threatened not: but delivered himself to him that judged him unjustly. Who his own self bore our sins in his body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed. For you were as sheep going astray; but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop of your souls."
First Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Corinthians, Chapters 1-3
"Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes a brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, in every place of theirs and ours. Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus, That in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; As the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, So that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who also will confirm you unto the end without crime, in the day of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful: by whom you are called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment. For it hath been signified unto me, my brethren, of you, by them that are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith: I indeed am of Paul; and I am of Apollo; and I am of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul then crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I give God thanks, that I baptized none of you but Crispus and Caius; Lest any should say that you were baptized in my name. And I baptized also the household of Stephanus; besides, I know not whether I baptized any other. For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not in wisdom of speech, lest the cross of Christ should be made void. For the word of the cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness; but to them that are saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world, by wisdom, knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of our preaching, to save them that believe. For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness: But unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
The foolishness: That is to say, what appears foolish to the world in the ways of God, is indeed most wise; and what appears weak is indeed above all the strength and comprehension of man.
For see your vocation, brethren, that there are not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble: But the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise; and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong. And the base things of the world, and the things that are contemptible, hath God chosen, and things that are not, that he might bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his sight. But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption: That, as it is written: He that glorieth, may glory in the Lord. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not in loftiness of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of Christ. For I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but in shewing of the Spirit and power; That your faith might not stand on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. Howbeit we speak wisdom among the perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, neither of the princes of this world that come to nought; But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, a wisdom which is hidden, which God ordained before the world, unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew; for if they had known it, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him. But to us God hath revealed them, by this Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man that is in him? So the things also that are of God no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God; that we may know the things that are given us from God. Which things also we speak, not in the learned words of human wisdom; but in the doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot understand, because it is spiritually examined. But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that we may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
The sensual man: The sensual man is either he who is taken up with sensual pleasures, with carnal and worldly affections; or he who measureth divine mysteries by natural reason, sense, and human wisdom only. Now such a man has little or no notion of the things of God. Whereas the spiritual man is he who, in the mysteries of religion, takes not human sense for his guide: but submits his judgment to the decisions of the church, which he is commanded to hear and obey. For Christ hath promised to remain to the end of the world with his church, and to direct her in all things by the Spirit of truth.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal. As unto little ones in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not meat; for you were not able as yet. But neither indeed are you now able; for you are yet carnal. For, whereas there is among you envying and contention, are you not carnal, and walk according to man? For while one saith, I indeed am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollo; are you not men? What then is Apollo, and what is Paul? The ministers of him whom you have believed; and to every one as the Lord hath given. I have planted, Apollo watered, but God gave the increase. Therefore, neither he that planteth is any thing, nor he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth, and he that watereth, are one. And every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labour. For we are God' s coadjutors: you are God' s husbandry; you are God' s building. According to the grace of God that is given to me, as a wise architect, I have laid the foundation; and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus. Now if any man build upon this foundation, gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble: Every man' s work shall be manifest; for the day of the Lord shall declare it, because it shall be revealed in fire; and the fire shall try every man' s work, of what sort it is. If any man' s work abide, which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man' s work burn, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire.
Upon this foundation: The foundation is Christ and his doctrine: or the true faith in him, working through charity. The building upon this foundation gold, silver, and precious stones, signifies the more perfect preaching and practice of the gospel; the wood, hay, and stubble, such preaching as that of the Corinthian teachers (who affected the pomp of words and human eloquence) and such practice as is mixed with much imperfection, and many lesser sins. Now the day of the Lord, and his fiery trial, (in the particular judgment immediately after death,) shall make manifest of what sort every man's work has been: of which, during this life, it is hard to make a judgment. For then the fire of God's judgment shall try every man's work. And they, whose works, like wood, hay, and stubble, cannot abide the fire, shall suffer loss; these works being found to be of no value; yet they themselves, having built upon the right foundation, (by living and dying in the true faith and in the state of grace, though with some imperfection,) shall be saved yet so as by fire; being liable to this punishment, by reason of the wood, hay, and stubble, which was mixed with their building.
Know you not, that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? But if any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the temple of God is holy, which you are. Let no man deceive himself: if any man among you seem to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written: I will catch the wise in their own craftiness. And again: The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Let no man therefore glory in men. For all things are yours, whether it be Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; for all are yours; And you are Christ' s; and Christ is God's."
(All of the above text is from the Douay Rheims Bible with Challoner notes.
Bishop Richard Challoner (29 September 1691 – 12 January 1781) was an English Roman Catholic bishop, a leading figure of English Catholicism during the greater part of the 18th century. He is perhaps most famous for his revision of the Douay Rheims translation of the Bible.)