Monday, February 27, 2006

Humbert of Romans, chapter 4 gems

A couple of gems to give one something to think about...

But it is also a duty of the preacher to be more vigorous wherever the malice is greater. When perversity increases, says St. Gregory, preaching must not weaken, but on the contrary, it ought to become more vehement.

Interesting... instead we have pastors advocating perversity! go figure...

This quote is a good reminder of the relation between the works of mercy as it applies to a preaching order.

There are some who with love apply themselves to works of corporal mercy, but preaching, because it devotes all its zeal to the salvation of souls in danger of death, surpasses in excellence the above mentioned works, as the soul surpasses the body. For this reason Our Lord said to him who wished to bury his father: “Leave the dead to bury their own dead, but do thou go and proclaim the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:60). So that if it is necessary, according to this command, to place preaching above the duty of burying one’s father, one of the most pious of corporal works of mercy, how much more should preaching in general be placed above all the works which have as their object only the well-being of the body. Whoever by his word nourishes souls with everlasting food does more, St. Gregory observes, than he who gives material bread in order to preserve the life of the body.

Life of St. Dominic

I should have chapters 4 & 5 of Humbert of Romans on line later today. For now, here is a treat Mike Turner provided.

From "Life of St. Dominic" by Lacordaire, pp. 175-176

In the spring of the year 1219, the Friars continued to multiply; thanks to the preaching of Reginald, the renown of their virtues, and the wonderful and repeated interpositions of Providence. A student at the university [in Bologna] was called in the following manner. When asleep one night, he seemed to be alone in a vast field, when a violent storm arose. He ran to the nearest house, knocked, and asked for shelter; but a voice replied, "I am Justice, and because thou art not just, thou shalt not enter my abode." He then knocked at another door, where another voice answered, "I am the Truth, and cannot receive thee, because Truth shelters none but those who love her." He applied elsewhere, but was repulsed with the words, "I am Peace, and there is no peace for the wicked, but only for the man of good-will." Then he knocked at one door more, and a person opened it, saying, "I am Mercy; if thou desirest to escape the tempest, go to the monastery at San-Niccola, where the Friar Preachers dwell; there thou wilt find the stable of penitence, the crib of chastity, the food of doctrine, the ass of simplicity, the ox of discretion; Mary, who will enlighten thee; Joseph, who will aid thee; and Jesus, who will save thee." On this the student awoke, and regarding his dream as an admonition from Heaven, complied with its admonitions.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Treatise on Preaching (3)

Humbert of Romans, Treatise on Preaching, chapters 1, 2, 3, and part of 4 are now on line here.

A gem in Chapter 3... An explanation of the cryptic scripture about eagles gathering around a carcass (Luke 17:37, Mt. 24:28)

Thursday, February 16, 2006


In meditating on the effect of suffering on the soul, it seems that in suffering one either draws closer to God, or runs further; time of crisis is a "window of opportunity" that in the good times we don't usually find. Since God is spirit and the soul is spiritual, to "see" God means to "know God," and God desires to be known, but we most of the time are too busy to stop and look, in the recesses of our soul, for the still quiet voice of God. The soul is our "window" to God, because we are made in His image, thus spirit looks to spirit to see reflected He Who is in whose image we are made. But our soul, often stained with sin, gives a poor reflection, and we flee what we think we see. In suffering, however, the opportunity to withdraw from the flesh presents itself, for we are lost to our own power, and turn to His power to help us, and we seek His help to clean that window of our soul. Suffering is the solvent, the "windex," so to speak, which helps us to see. Thus some saints would say "If you only knew the joy in suffering, you would ask for nothing else."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Treatise on Preaching (2)

I obtained copyright permission to transcribe Treatise on Preaching by Humbert of Romans and place it online. I've finished the first chapter, and you can read it here.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

New baby...

Congratulations to Abe and Tammy Alsop for the birth of Emilia Anne!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Treatise on Preaching

Humbert of Romans was the fifth Master General of the Order of Preachers (1254-1263). He died in 1277. His book, Treatise on Preaching is a classic. I've transcribed a bit of the first chapter, which can be read here.

If I can identify the current copyright holder and obtain permission I will try and transcribe the whole of this short book.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


This essay is well worth a read! Here's a snippet:
If, then, faith be now the same faculty of mind, the same sort of habit or act, which it was in the days of the Apostles, I have made good what I set about showing. But it must be the same; it cannot mean two things; the Word cannot have changed its meaning. Either say that faith is not necessary now at all, or take it to be what the Apostles meant by it, but do not say that you have it, and then show me something quite different, which you have put in the place of it. In the Apostles' days the peculiarity of faith was submission to a living authority; that is what made it so distinctive; this is what made it an act of submission at all; this is what destroyed private judgement in matters of religion. If you will not look out for a living authority, and will bargain for private judgement, then say at once that you have not the Apostolic faith. And in fact you have it not;

The Church

A Meditation from DIVINE INTIMACY by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.


Jesus loves us so much that He wills to remain with us until the end of time. Therefore, He abides with us in the Blessed Sacrament as the Companion of our earthly pilgrimage, as the Food of our souls, but He also remains with us in the Church as our Guide, our Shepherd, and our Teacher. Jesus formed the first nucleus of the Church by His preaching, by choosing and instructing the Apostles; He gave life to her by dying on the Cross. "The Church," as the Holy Father notes, "came forth from the side of our Savior on the Cross like a new Eve, Mother of all the living" (Mystici Corporis). Jesus sanctified her by shedding His blood for her. He gave her His power; He made her His spouse and collaborator, continuing through her His work of sanctifying and directing souls. Today Jesus no longer dwells among us as He did nineteen hundred years ago; His Physical Body is gloriously enthroned in Heaven at the right hand of the Father. But He does abide with us in His Mystical Body, the Church, His Spouse and our Mother. Jesus is the living Head of the Church; it is always He who rules her invisibly by His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. He sustains and vivifies her unceasingly, gives her life, and distributes graces to each of her members "according to the measure of His giving" (cf. Eph 4:7). The Church lives by Christ alone; she is holy with His holiness; she is the Mother of souls through her union with Him. This union of Christ with the Church is so intimate and vital that the Church can be regarded as a prolongation of Christ. Indeed, Pope Pius XII teaches that "Christ sustains the Church in a divine manner; He lives in her to such a degree that she is, as it were, another Christ" (Mystici Corporis). Even as it is through the Eucharist that we unite ourselves to Jesus and are nourished with His immaculate Flesh, so it is through His Church that guided and ruled by Him, we are vivified by His grace and nourished by His doctrine. And as we cannot become more one with Christ in this life than by uniting ourselves to Him in the Eucharist, so we can have no greater assurance of living according to His Spirit, of being directed and taught by Him, than by uniting ourselves to the Church and following her directives.


more here