This is a reprint of 2 devotionals, "The New Christian Year" (1941) and "The Passion of Christ: Being the Gospel Narrative of the Passion with Short Passages Taken from the Saints and Doctors of the Church" (1939), both chosen by Charles Williams, an English poet, novelist, theologian, literary critic, and teacher. Charles Walter Stansby Williams was most often associated with the Inklings (a group of christian writers including J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis), Williams was also cited as a major influence on W.H. Auden's conversion to christianity and he was a peer and friend of T.S. Eliot, Dorothy Sayers and Evelyn Underhill. These devotionals collect writings from throughout the history of christian thought. His choices were novel at the time, referencing Kierkegaard just as his translations were appearing in english print (Williams helped edit the first translations in England) and drawing upon the little known sermons of the poet John Donne.
For each day of the Church year (starting in Advent), quotes will be posted as they appeared in the 1941 edition of "The New Christian Year". They are categorized by the source on the left, so that readers can read more from each author. I will also add links to websites about each source.
During lent the "The New Christian Year" will be supplemented by quotes from "The Passion of the Christ". This text has passages from the Gospel accounts of the passion supplemented by quotes from the "Saints and Doctors of the Church".
Not only do we know God by Jesus Christ alone, but we know ourselves only by Jesus Christ. We know life and death only through Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus Christ, we do no know what is our life, nor our death, nor God, nor ourselves.
"Who hates his neighbour has not the rights of a child." And not only has he no rights of a child, he has no "father." God is not my father in particular, or any man's father (horrible presumption and madness!), no, he is only father in the sense of father of all, and consequently only my father in so far as he is the father of all. When I hate someone or deny that God is his father—it is not he who loses, but me: for I then have no father.
Christ humbled himself: not—was humbled. Oh, the infinite sublimity of whom it may be said with categorical necessity: neither in heaven, nor upon earth, nor in the abyss is there any one who could humble him—he humbled himself. There we see Christ's infinite qualitative difference from every other man: that he must unconditionally give his consent and approbation to every humiliation he suffers, his willingness to submit to the humiliation. That is the infinite superiority to suffering, but at the same time the more intense suffering.
What is God? No less the punishment of the perverse than the glory of the humble. We may say He is reason and sweet reasonableness directing itself with fixed unchanging aim, and everywhere operative. Any perversity in collision with that must of necessity be confounded. Of course, all swelling pride and unseemliness which dashes itself against that must be broken to shivers.
But what does this mean, what have I to do, or what sort of effort is it that can be said to seek or pursue the Kingdom of God? Shall I try to get a job suitable to my talents and powers in order thereby to exert an influence? No, thou shalt first seek God's kingdom. Shall I then give all my fortune to the poor? No, thou shalt first seek God's kingdom. Then shall I then go out to proclaim this teaching to the world? No, thou shalt first seek God's kingdom. But then in a certain sense it is nothing I shall do. Yes, certainly, in a certain sense it is nothing; thou shalt in the deepest sense make thyself nothing, become nothing before God, learn to keep silent; in this silence is the beginning, which is, first to seek God's kingdom.
This Ascension Day is properly the most solemn feast of our Lord Jesus: for this day first in his manhood he began to sit on the Father's right hand in bliss and took full rest of all his pilgrimage before. Also this is properly the feast of all the blessed spirits in heaven: for this day they had a new joy of their lord whom they saw never before there in his manhood. And also for that day began first to be restored the falling down of their fellows, and that in so great multitude and number of blessed souls of patriarchs and prophets and all those holy souls that this day first entered into that blessed City of heavenly Jerusalem, their kind heritage above.
The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ (translated by Nicholas Love).