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".
Prayers negligently performed draw a curse, but not prayers weakly performed. The former is, when one can do better and will not; the latter is, when one would do better, but, alas! he cannot: and such failings, as they are his sins, so they are his sorrows also: pray, therefore faintly, that thou mayest pray fervently; pray weakly, that thou mayest pray strongly.
It is well enough known that Christ constantly uses the expression 'follower'; He never says anything about wanting admirers, admiring worshippers, adherents; and when he uses the expression 'disciples,' He always so explains it that we can perceive that followers are meant.
God has not bound up man's salvation with any given way. What one way has, what possibilities, with these God has furnished all good ways without exception, for one good never clashes with another, and by the same token people ought to realize that they do wrong to say, when they come across or hear about some admirable person, that because he does not use their way it is all labor lost: they dislike his method, so they decry as well his virtues and intentions.
It is written, "Tha Angel who spake in me." And yet there is a difference even here. The Angel is in us suggesting what is good, not bestowing it: stimulating us to goodness, not creating goodness. God is so in us as to give the grace and infuse it into us; or rather, so in us that He Himself is infused and partaken of, so that one need not fear to say that He is one with our substance. For you know, "He that is joined unto God is one spirit." The Angle is in the soul as a comrade, God as life.
. . . Our soul as soon as ever she enters on this new and hither too untrodden path of life bends her gaze on the highest good as the goal, and therefore believes that everything she sees which appears to contain some good in itself is that highest good. And because her knowledge is at first imperfect through inexperience and lack of instruction, small goods appear great to her, and therefore her desires are first directed to these.
You are under the power of no other enemy, are held in no other captivity and want no other deliverance but from the power of your own earthly self. This is the one murderer of the divine life within you. It is your own Cain that murders your own Abel. Now everything that your earthly nature does is under the influence of self-will, self-love, and self-seeking, whether it carries you to laudable or blamable practices; all is done in the nature and spirit of Cain and only helps you to such goodness as when Cain slew his brother. For every action and motion of self has the spirit of Antichrist and murders the divine life within you.