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".
Christ's human nature was so utterly bereft of Self and apart from
all creatures as no man's ever was . . . Neither of that in him which
belonged to God, nor of that which was a living human nature and a
habitation of God, did he, as man, claim any thing for his own. His
human nature did not even take unto itself the Godhead, whose dwelling
it was, nor anything that this same Godhead willed, or did or left
undone in him, nor yet any thing of all that his human nature did or
suffered; but in Christ's human nature there was no claiming of
anything, nor seeking nor desire, saving that what was due might be
rendered to the Godhead; and he did not call this very desire his own.
Grant to us, O Lord, to know that which is worth knowing, to love
that which is worth loving, to praise that which pleases thee most, to
esteem that which is most precious unto thee, and to dislike whatsoever
is evil in thy eyes. Grant us with true judgement to distinguish
things that differ, and above all to search out and to do what is well
pleasing unto thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Welcome, all wonders in one sight!
Eternity shut in a span,
Summer in winter, day in night,
Heaven in earth and God in man.
Great little one, whose all-embracing birth
Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heaven to earth.
Love is a life, coupling together the loving and the loved. For
meekness maketh us sweet to God; purity joins us to God; love makes us
one with God. Love is fairhead [beauty] of all virtues. Love is [the]
thing through which God loves us, and we God, and each one of us
other. Love is [the] desire of the heart, ever thinking to that it
loves; and when it has that is loves, then it joys, and nothing may
make it sorry. Love is yearning between two, with lastingness of
thought. Love is a stirring of the soul, for to love God for himself
and all the other things for God; the which love, when it is ordained
in God, does away all inordinate love in anything that is not good.
But all deadly sin is inordinate love in a thing that is naught; then
love puts out all deadly sin. Love is a virtue, that is rightest
affection of man's soul. Truth may be without love, but it may naught
help without it. Love is perfection of letters, virtue of prophecy,
fruit of truth, help of sacraments, stabling of wit and cunning
(knowledge), riches of poor men, life of dying men. See how good love
He did lay aside His own nature in that He did make Himself poor of
the fame of His holiness, goodness and innocence . . . He might have
revealed himself in all the fame of holiness, so that He would have
been universally held to be the greatest of all saints and one in whom
there was no sin; but He did choose to take upon Himself the sins of us
all and the fame of holiness did He give unto His servant John.
Angela of Foligno: The Book of Divine Consolation.
Our Lord asks but two things of us: love for Him and for our
neighbor: these are what we must strive to obtain. If we practice both
these virtues perfectly we shall be doing His will and so shall be
united to Him.
The Light which lighteneth every man that cometh into the world,
came here in the flesh; because while He was here in His Divinity
alone, the foolish, blind, and unrighteous could not discern Him; those
of whom it is said above, The darkness comprehended it not.