Commentary on the reading of the day provided by: 
Dorotheus of Gaza (c.500-?), monk in Palestine
Instructions, I, 8 (SC 92, p. 159)

“Come to me”

Let anyone who would find their soul’s true rest learn humility!

Let them understand that all joy, all glory, all rest are to be found in it just as the opposite is to be found in pride.

For how, indeed, is it that we have come to all these tribulations?

Why have we fallen into all this misery?

Isn’t it because of our pride, our foolishness?

Isn’t it because we followed our own evil counsel and were attached to the bitterness of our own wills?

And why so?

Wasn’t man created in perfect equanimity, in complete happiness, rest and glory?

Wasn’t he in Paradise?

He was commanded: Don’t do this, yet he did it.

Do you not note his pride, his arrogance, his insubordination?

“Man is a foolish creature,” said God, when he saw this insolence; “he has no idea how to be happy.

Unless he experiences evil days he will be lost forthwith.

Unless he learns what affliction is, he will never know the meaning of rest.”

And so God gave him what he deserved by driving him out of Paradise…

And yet, as I often say to you, God’s goodness has not failed his creature but keeps turning towards it, calling it back: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

That is to say: See, how weary you are, how unhappy!

You have learned by experience the evil of your disobedience.

Come along then, be converted; come along, recognise your powerlessness and shame so that you can return to the rest and glory that is yours.

Come on, you who were dead from pride: live by humility.

“Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for your souls.”



Commentary on The Reading of the day provided by: 
Saint Caesarius of Arles (470-543), monk and Bishop
Sermon Morin 35 ; PLS IV, 303f.

Forgiving one’s brother from the heart

You know what we are going to say in prayer to God before coming to communion: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

Interiorly prepare yourself to forgive because you are about to meet up with these words in prayer.

How are you going to say them?

Are you perhaps not going to say them?

In the end that is very much the question: will you say these words, yes or no?

You hate your brother and will you utter the words: “Forgive us as we forgive”?

Are you going to say that you avoid these words?

But in that case, are you praying?

Pay close attention, my brethren.

In a moment you are going to pray; forgive from the heart!

Look at Christ suspended on the cross: listen to him praying: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know not what they are doing” (Lk 23:34).

Doubtless you will say: he was able to do it but I can’t.

I am a man but he is God.

You can’t imitate Christ?

Why then did the apostle Peter write: “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps” (1Pt 2:21)?

Why does the apostle Paul write: “Be imitators of God as beloved children” (Eph 5:1)?

Why did the Lord himself say: “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble of heart” (Mt 11:29)?

We turn aside, we look for excuses when we claim to be impossible what we don’t want to do…

My brethren, don’t blame Christ for having given us commandments that are too difficult, impossible to fulfil.

Rather, let us say to him humbly together with the psalmist: “You are righteous, O Lord, and your judgements are right” (Ps 118:137).



Grand Tetons


Commentary on The Reading of the day provided by: 
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997),

founder of the Missionary Sisters of Charity

No Greater Love

“Lying at his door was a poor man”

Christ said, “I was hungry and you gave me food” (Mt 25,35).

He was hungry not only for bread but for I the understanding love of being loved, of being known, of being someone to someone.

He was naked not only of clothing but of human dignity and of respect, through the injustice that is done to the poor, who are looked down upon simply because they are poor.

He was dispossessed not only of a house… but because of the dispossession of those who are locked up, of those who are unwanted and unloved, of those who walk through the world with no one to care for them.

You may go out into the street and have nothing to say, but maybe there is a man standing there on the corner and you go to him.

Maybe he resents you, but you are there, and that presence is there.

You must radiate that presence that is within you, in the way you address that man with love and respect.


Because you believe that is Jesus.

Jesus cannot receive you – for this, you must know how to go to Him.

He comes disguised in the form of that person there.

Jesus, in the least of His brethren (Mt 25,40), is not only hungry for a piece of bread, but hungry for love, to be known, to be taken into account.




Commentary on the reading of the day provided by: 
Saint Augustine (354-430),

Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church
Discourse on the Psalms, Ps. 58, 1, 7

“People who are healthy do not need a doctor; sick people do” (Mk 2,17)

There are some strong men…who place their confidence in their own justice.

They claim to be just by their own means, and since they considered themselves healthy people, they refused the remedy and killed the doctor himself.

This is why, in fact, the Lord came to call not these strong men, but the weak…

Oh! You the strong, who do not need the doctor!

Your strength does not come from health but from insanity…

The Master of humility, who shared our weakness and who made us take part in his divinity, came down from heaven to show us the way and to be himself our way.

Most of all, he wanted to leave us the example of his humility…to teach us to confess our sins, to humble ourselves and become strong, and to make ours the words of the apostle: “Therefore I am content with weakness…for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong” (2Cor 12,10)…

As for those who pride themselves on being strong, who, in other words, claim being just by their own virtue, “stumbled over the stumbling stone” (Rom 9,32)…

It is these strong men who attacked Christ, as they boasted themselves on their justice…

They had placed themselves above the crowd of weak people who hurried to the doctor.


Simply because they thought they were strong…

They killed the doctor of all men.

But he, by dying, prepared through his blood a remedy for all the sick.




Commentary on The Reading of the day provided by:
Saint Gregory Nazianzen (330-390),

Bishop and Doctor of the Church
Sermon 38, on the Nativity of Christ

“Lord God, we praise you for creating man, and still more for restoring him in Christ” (Opening Prayer)

Christ is born, glorify him.

Christ from heaven, go out to meet him.

Christ on earth; exalt him: “Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice !” (Ps 96:1.11), for him who is of heaven and now of earth.

Christ has made his dwelling among the human race; rejoice with trembling and with joy: with trembling because of sin, with joy because of our hope…

Today the darkness is over and light is made anew; as in Egypt once plunged into darkness, today a pillar of fire enlightens Israel.

O people that sat in the darkness of ignorance, come and see the great light of full knowledge for “the old things are passed away, behold all things are become new”. (2 Co 5:17)

The letter gives way, the Spirit comes to the front. (Rm 7:6)

The shadows flee away, the Truth comes in upon them. (Col 2:17)

The one who gives us our being today also gives us well-being, or rather restores us by his incarnation, for by wickedness we had fallen from wellbeing…

Such is this great feast: it is this which we are celebrating today, the Coming of God to humankind, that we might go forth, or rather that we might go back to God— so that putting off the old man, we might put on the New (Col 3:9); and that as we died in Adam, so we might live in Christ (1 Co 15:22)…

Therefore let us keep this Feast, not after the manner of a heathen festival, but after a godly sort; not after the way of the world, but in a fashion above the world; not as our own but as belonging to him who is ours, our Master’s; not as of weakness, but of healing; not as of the old creation, but of our re-creation.



Commentary on The Reading of the day provided by : 
Saint Bernard (1091-1153),

Cistercian monk and doctor of the Church
5th sermon for Christmas Eve

“The glory of the Lord shone around them”

Before the true light rose, before the birth of Christ, night shrouded the whole world.

Night reigned in each one of us, too, before our conversion and inner rebirth.

Was it not deepest night, the most thick darkness over the earth when our ancestors used to worship false gods?…

And was there not another kind of dark night within ourselves when we were living without God in this world, following our passions and earthly desires, doing those things that now make us blush as being so many deeds of darkness?…

But now you have come out of your sleep, you have been sanctified, have become children of light, children of the day, and no longer of darkness or of the night (1Thes 5,5)…

“Tomorrow you will see the majesty of God in your midst.”

Today, the Son has become for us the righteousness come from God; tomorrow he will be revealed as our life that we may appear with him in glory.

Today a child has been born for us to keep us from vaunting ourselves in vainglory and so that, by our repentance, we may become like little children (Mt 18,3).

Tomorrow he will show himself in all his greatness to stir us up to praise, so that we, too, may be glorified and praised when God bestows on each one of us his glory…

“We shall be like him because we shall see him as he is” (1Jn 3,2).

For today we do not actually see him as he is but as in a mirror (1Cor 13,12).

Now he receives what belongs to us, but tomorrow we will see him within ourselves when he gives us what belongs to him, when he reveals himself as he is and take us up to raise us up to him.



Commentary on The Reading of the day provided by 
Saint Anselm (1033-1109),

monk, bishop, doctor of the Church
Proslogion, 1

“My heart has said of you, “Seek his face”. O Lord, I do seek your face” (Ps 26,8)

Lord, how long will it be? (Ps 6,4).

How long, Lord, will you forget us?

How long will you hide your face from us? (Ps 12,2).

When will you look upon us and hear us?

When will you enlighten our eyes and show us your face?

When will you come back to us?

Look upon us, Lord, hear us and enlighten us, show us your very self.

Return us the good of your presence amongst us, whose life is so weary without you.

Take pity on our efforts and our striving toward you, for we may do nothing without you.

Since you invite us, therefore help us.

I beg you, O Lord, do not leave me sighing of desperation; but rather let me breathe hope…May I at least be allowed to catch a glimpse of the light, even from faraway, even from the depths of hell.

Teach me to seek you, and when I seek you show yourself to me, for I cannot seek you unless you guide me, nor may I find you unless you show yourself to me.

I will seek you in desiring you and desire you in seeking you, find you in loving you and love you in finding you.



Commentary on the reading of the day provided by
Origen (c.185-253),

priest and theologian

1st sermon on Psalm 38[39] (SC 411, p. 355)

“Summer is now near”

“Let me know, O Lord, my end and what is the number of my days, that I may learn what it is I lack” (Ps 38[39],5).

If you let me know my end, the psalmist says, and if you let me know the number of my days then by that alone I shall know what it is I am lacking.

Or, possibly, he may be indicating the following by these words: every occupation has an end; for example, the end of a building business is to build a house; the end of a naval yard is to build a ship capable of surmounting the waves of the sea and resisting the winds’ assaults; and the end of every occupation is something similar for which the occupation itself seems to have been conceived.

In the same way there may also be a certain end to our life and to the world as a whole for which all that happens in our life takes place or for which the world itself was created or subsists.

Concerning this end the apostle Paul is also thinking when he says: “Then comes the end when he hands over the Kingdom to God his Father” (1Cor 15,24).

Now to this end we must most certainly hasten since it is itself the reward of the work, it is what we were created for by God.

Just as our bodily organism, which in the beginning is small and reduced at its birth, nevertheless grows and reaches towards its full height as it increases in age; and as our soul, too, … is first of all given a stammering speech that then becomes more clear so as to come finally to a means of expressing itself perfectly and correctly, so too, certainly, all our life begins now as if stammering among people on earth, but it is brought to completion and attains its full capacity in the heavens with God.

For this reason, therefore, the prophet wants to know the end for which he was made so that by looking towards the end, examining his days and considering his perfection he may see what it is he still lacks regarding the end to which he is moving… It is just as if those who went out from Egypt had said: “Let me know, O Lord, my end”, a good and holy land, “and the number of my days” to where I am travelling, “so that I may know what I still lack”, how much there remains for me to do before I reach that holy land promised to me.



Commentary on the reading of the day provided by 
Saint Gregory of Nyssa (c.335-395),

monk and Bishop
Catechetical Instruction, 29-30

« Despised by all »

If God’s gift to the world in sending it his Son is so good, so worthy of God, why did he then defer his gift for so long?

Why, when evil in the world was still in its early stages, did God not cut short its hidden development?

I have time to respond briefly to this objection that it is God’s prevenient Wisdom, the One who is good by nature, who has held back this gift.

Just as with physical illnesses… doctors wait until the disease, which is hidden within the body to begin with, manifests itself without so that he can apply the remedy it needs once it has become visible, so, once the disease of sin had attacked the human race, the world’s Physician waited until no kind of wickedness should remain concealed.

That is why God did not apply his remedy to the world immediately after Cain’s jealousy and murder of his brother Abel…

It was when vice had reached its peak and there was no single act of evil that men had not attempted that God set about curing the sore, no longer in its beginnings but in its full development. In this way the divine remedy could extend to every human weakness…

But then, why was the grace of the Gospel not at once extended over all?

True, the divine call is addressed equally to all alike, without distinction of condition, age or race… But he who has the freely disposition of all things within his hands, pushed to the extreme his respect for humankind.

He has permitted each one of us to have our own domain over which we alone are masters: this is the will, the faculty that does not know bondage, which remains free, founded on the autonomy of reason.

Therefore faith is at the free disposition of those who receive the message of the Gospel.



Commentary on the reading of the day provided by:  
Youssef Bousnaya (c.869-979),

Syrian monk

Life and teaching of Rabban Youssef Bousnaya by John Bar-Kaldoun

“There was also a poor widow”

Mercy is not worthy of praise merely on account of the abundance of its benefactions but when it proceeds from an upright and merciful mind.

There are people who give away and hand out a great deal but who are not considered merciful by God; and there are people who have nothing, who possess nothing, but who feel pity towards all in their hearts.

It is these who are considered perfectly merciful before God and, indeed, that is what they are.

So don’t say: “I have nothing to give to the poor”; don’t distress yourself by thinking that, because of this, you cannot be merciful.

If you have something, give what you have; if you have nothing, give with a truly merciful intention, though it be but a morsel of dry bread, and it will be considered before God as an act of perfect mercy.

Our Lord did not praise those who cast a great deal into the chest of offerings; he praised the widow for having put into it two small coins which, with an upright mind, she had taken from her poverty to throw into the treasury of God.

It is the man who has pity in his heart for his fellow human beings who is considered merciful before God.

An upright intention with no externl effects is worth more than many stunning works made without that upright intention.