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 will maketh the beginning, the middle, and the end of
everything; it is the only workman in nature, and everything is its
work. It has all power, its works cannot be hindered, it carries all
before it, it creates as it goes and all things are possible to it. It
enters whenever it wills and finds everything that it seeks, for its
seeking is its finding. The will overrules all nature, because nature
is its offspring and born of it; for all the properties of nature,
whether the be good or evil, in darkness or in light, in love or in
hatred, in wrath or in meekness, in pride or humility, in trouble or
birth of the will; as that liveth so, they live, and as that changeth,
so they change.
It is part of righteous living not to stand in fear of things
which ought not to be feared. . . . In order that no kind of death
should trouble and upright man, the cross of this Man had to be set
before him, because, of all kinds of death, none was more execrable,
more fear-inspiring than this.
Its breadth lies in the transverse beam, on which the hands of the
Crucified are extended; and signifies good works in all the breadth of
love: its length extends from the transverse beam to the ground, and is
that where to the back and feet are affixed; and signifies perseverance
through the whole length of time to the end: its height is in the
summit, which rises upward above the transverse beam; and signifies the
supernal goal, to which all works have reference, since all things that
are done well and perseveringly, in respect of their breadth and
length, are to be done also with the due regard to the exalted
character of the divine rewards: its depth is found in the part that is
fixed into the ground; for there it is both concealed and invisible,
and yet from thence spring up all those parts that are outstanding and
evident to the senses; just as all that is good in us proceeds from the
depths of the grace of God, which is beyond the reach of human
comprehension and judgment.
It is important to consider in what condition he ascends to the
cross; for I see him naked. Let him then who prepares to overcome the
world, so ascend that he seeks not the appliances of the world. . . .
He ascends such as nature formed us, God being our creator.
St. Ambrose: quoted by St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea.