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".
He was careful so to permit himself to die as to observe the Sabbath in his death; he would not be compelled to observe it. He whose death was declared to be for blasphemy against the Law punctiliously kept the Law at the moment when he had completely fulfilled it. The ritual of our past loves is normally to be observed whatever fulfillment and change they undergo.
When Christ had been reprobated in our hearts, we are left with the money to buy a field 'to bury strangers in'. It is a good purpose. But, good or no, there is no help; Christ will be only that to us—a stranger buried in a field—if he is not to be himself.
Others have always told it; the Other has always told it. All initiation is from him, whether of curiosity or of faith. He mediates it through others, because his delight is to involve others. He plays, as Bacon said, hide and seek with his creatures, but we only find them by holy luck when we are looking for him.
That he is proclaimed to be blaspheming against himself is a mystery beyond that of Redemption. Yet this also is what 'must' be. His own Law, as far as it has been understood by men, finds him intolerable, and his is condemned by the principle which of old commanded the death of witches.
As Peter is drawn into the presence of Christ by John, so the church militant upon the earth is spiritually drawn into his presence in all ages by its holier members. But then its chief temptation is imposed on it, and it shrinks from the necessity which is he. It has made profession beyond its capacity, and it becomes afraid of being recognized by its dialect. Anonymous.
Or is it not? Is it indeed better that a thousand, or a million, should die, by painful and prolonged destruction, than that one should be unjustly put to death? Perhaps; but to take the responsibility for it is not easy, and is should not suprise us if we, as well as Caiaphas, decline.