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".
How many maggots remain in hiding until they have destroyed our virtues. These pests are such evils as self-love, self-esteem, rash judgement of others in small matters, and a want of charity in not loving our neighbour quite as much as ourselves. Although, perforce, we satisfy our obligations to avoid sin, yet we fall far short of what must be done in order to obtain perfect union with the will of God.
Whoever has admitted this tyranny of pride within suffers this loss first of all, that from the eyes of his heart being closed, he loses the equitableness of judgement. For even all the good doings of others are displeasing to him and the things which he has done, even amiss, alone please him. He always looks down on the doings of others, he always admires his own doings; because whatever he has done he believes he has done with singular skill; and for that which he performs for desire of glory, he favours himself in his thought; and when he thinks he surpasses others in all things, he walks with himself along the broad spaces of his thought and silently utters his own praises.
For there is no pride, but that it may be healed through the meekness of God's Son; there is no covetize but that it may be healed through His poverty; no wrath but that it may be healed through His patience: nor malice but that it may be healed through His charity. And moreover there is no sin or wickedness, but that he shall want it and be kept from it, the which beholdeth inwardly and loveth and followeth the words and the deeds of that man in whom God's Son gave Himself to us into example of good living. Wherefore now both men and women and every age and every dignity of this world is stirred to hope of everlasting life.
Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, translated by Nicholas Love.
Scarcely is there any man that hath delight in worship, but that he is either in great peril of falling, or else fully fallen down into the pit of deadly sin, as we may see by many reasons: first, for also much as he that hath great delight is busy all times in his mind how he may keep his worship and made it more . . . Also he that loveth worship is busy to procure and get him friends that may keep him in his worship, and also further him to greater worship . . . Also commonly he hath indignation of others that be in worship and backbiteth them to make himself more worshipful and more worthy. And so he falleth into hate and envy of his brother.
The Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, translated by Nicholas Love.
Lord, often have I thought with myself, I will sin but this one sin more, and then I will repent of it, and of all the rest of my sins together. So foolish was I and ignorant. As if I should be more able to pay my debts when I owe more: or as if I should say, I will wound my friend once again, and then I will lovingly shake hands with him: but what if my friend will not shake hands with me?
You must not reckon with sin, from the nativity, but the conception; when you conceived that sin in your purpose, then you sinned that sin, and in every letter, in every discourse, in every present, in every wish, in every dream, that conduces to that sin, or rises from that sin, you sin it over and over again, before you come to the committing of it, and so your sin is an old, an inveterate sin, before it is born, and that which you call the first, is not the hundredth time, that you have sinned that sin.
Three kinds of men see God. The first see him in faith; they know no more of him than what they can make out through a partition. The second behold God in the light of grace but only as the answer to their longings, as giving them sweetness, devotion, inwardness and other such-like things which are issuing from his gift. The thrid kind see him in the divine light.