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".
If Christ's looking upon Peter made Peter weep, shall not his looking upon us here, with tears in his eyes, such tears in such eyes, springs of tears, rivers of tears, make us weep too? Peter who wept under the weight of his particular sin wept bitterly; how bitterly wept Christ under the weight of all the sins of all the world.
John Donne: Sermon on the First Friday of Lent, 1622.
In our repenting commonly we make such haste as we take away before the fruits come. But if there happen to come any, is not this even our case? Our tears, if any, dry straight; our prayers, if any, quickly tedious; our alms indeed pitiful; our fasts, fast or loose upon any the least occasion; and so our repentance, if any, poenitentia poenitenda, "a repentance needing of another, a new, a second repentance to repent us of it." To repent us of our repentance, no less than of our sin itself.
Our Lord wishes to reveal what He is; Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, hath everlasting life. As if He said; He that believeth on Me hath Me: but what is it to have Me? It is to have eternal life: for the Word which was in the beginning with God is life eternal, and the life was the light of men. Life underwent death, that life might kill death.
And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.
The benefit that we are to make of the errors of holy men is not that man did this, therefore I may do it: but this, God suffered that holy man to fall, and yet loved that good soul well: God hath not therefore cast me away, though he have suffered me to fall too.
John Donne: Sermon on the Conversion of St. Paul, 1629.
And after a while Peter came unto him thay that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. Then began he to curse and swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter.
I thank thee, Lord, of that looking that thou lookedst to thy disciple that thee had forsaken, Saint Peter. Thou lookedst to him with sight of mercy, when thou wert in thy most anguish and in thy most pain. Openly thou showedst there thy love and thy charity that thou hadst to us, that shame nor pain nor nothing that may draw thine heart from us in as much as in thee is.