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".
The qualities of the devil and all fallen angels are good qualities; they are the very same which they received from their infinitely perfect Creator, the very same which are and must be in all heavenly angels; but they are an hellish, abominable malignity in them now, because they have, by their own self-motion, separated them from the light and love which should have kept them glorious angels.
What is that which shines though me, and strikes upon my heart without hurting it? And I shudder and kindle: shudder, in as much I am unlike it; kindle, in as much as I am like it. It is Wisdom, Wisdom's self which thus shines into me; even breaking through my cloudiness: which yet again overshadows me fainting from it, under the fog and heavy load of mine own punishment.
Then also thou shalt so rest in us, as thou now workest in us: and so shall that rest be thine, through us; even as these works are thine though us. But thou, O Lord, dost work always, and rest always too.
And since that Christ saith that no man hath more love than for to put his life for his friend's, this blessed hanging of Christ on the cross is that high charity that God loved man in, and this charity is the Holy Ghost . . . There be many witnesses and reasons to the Trinity, but this manner of love is more plenteous and more profitable to men; and therefore Christ saith it thus, and thus each man should rule all his life after this Holy Trinity, for else he must fail. Look first that he be grounded in stable beginning, and then that he proceed in gracious mean, and then that he end in fullness of charity, and then his life is ensampled after the Trinity.
Therefore since a certain created wisdom was created before all things, the rational and intellectual mind of that caste cry of thine, our mother, which is above, and is free, and eternal in the heavens (in what heavens, if not in those that praise thee, even the heaven of heavens? because this is also the Heaven of Heavens made for the Lord):—though we find no time before it (because that which hath been created before all things, precedeth also the creature of time) yet is the eternity of the Creator himself even before it; from whom that, being created, took beginning: not beginning of its time (for time was not yet in being) but of its creation.
All is best, though we oft doubt What the unsearchable dispose Of highest wisdom brings about And ever best found in the close. Oft he seems to hide his face But unexpectedly returns And to his faithful champion hath in place Borne witness gloriously, whence Gaza mourns, And all that band them to resist His uncontrollable intent. His servants he with new acquist Of true experience from this great event With peace and consolation hath dismissed And calm of mind, all passion spent.
They used to say that one of the old men asked God that he might see the fathers, and he saw them all, with the exception of Anthony; and he said unto him that showed them to him, "Where is Anthony?" And he said unto him, "Wheresoever God is there is Anthony."