The mercies of the Lord I will sing for ever. Blessed be the
Lord for evermore.
(Ps. lxxxviii. I, 53)
Blessed be the Lord for evermore. Amen. Amen. Thanks be to His mercy.
Thanks be to His grace. We but express our thanks; we do not give them,
nor render them, nor make a return of them, nor repay them. We express
our thankfulness in words; the reality we hold within us. He has freely
saved us. He heeded not our iniquities; He sought us who did not seek Him.
He found us, He redeemed us, He delivered us from the domination of the
devil and from the power of demons. He bound us, to purify us by faith;
by which He frees those enemies who do not believe, and cannot therefore
be made clean. Let those who remain enemies say day after day what they
will; day by day less and less will be left? Let them resist Him,
let them laugh; let them mock, not at the destruction, but at the
change of thy anointed. Do they not see that saying such things
they come to nothing; either by not believing (Jn. iii. 18) or by dying?
For their cursing is only for a time; the blessing of the Lord is for evermore.
And to confirm the blessing, lest anyone be fearful, there is added:
Amen. Amen. This is the signature of God’s pledge to us. Secure therefore
in His promises, let us believe in things past (Wis. viii. 8), let us learn
of things present, and hope for the things to come. Let the enemy not turn
us aside from the way; so that she may cherish us who gathers us as chickens
under her wings. And neither let us stray from under her wings, lest the
hawk in the sky bear off the still unfledged chickens. For the Christian
ought not to hope in himself. If he wishes to be strong, let him be cared
for in her maternal warmth. For she is that hen gathering her chickens
under her wing the Lord spoke of when He reproached the unbelieving city
of Jerusalem: How often would I have gathered together thy children,
as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldst not?
Behold your house shall be left to you, desolate (Mt. xxiii. 37, 38).
For this was it written: Thou hast made his strength a dread (v.
41). And so since they would not be gathered under the wings of this hen,
they have given us such a warning, that we should live in fear of the winged
unclean spirits, daily seeking their prey. Let us enter in under the wings
of this hen of the Divine Wisdom; since she becauseof her young was made
weak unto death.
Let us love the Lord our God. Let us love His Church: Him as our Father,
her as our Mother; Him as our Lord, her as His Handmaid; for we are the
children of His Handmaid. And this marriage is joined together by a great
love: let no one offend one partner, and seek to gain the favour of the
other. Let no one say: ‘I do go to idols; I also consult those who have
familiar spirits, and the fortune tellers. All the same, I have not left
the Church of God. I am still a Catholic.’ While clinging to your Mother,
you have offended your Father.
Again another will say: ‘Far be it from me to do such things. I have
nothing to do with soothsayers. I do not go looking for someone possessed
by a spirit, nor seek advice through sacrilegious divinations; nor do I
go to the worship of demons. And neither do I serve idols. But I am however
a Donatist.’ What does it avail you not to offend your Father, since He
will punish your offences against your Mother?
What does it profit you to praise the Lord, to honour Him, to preach
Him, believe in His Son and confess that He sits at the right hand of God
the Father; while at the same time you blaspheme His Church? Does the example
of human marriage not move you to correct your error? If you have some
patron, to whom you pay respects each day, whose doorstep you wear out
with your attentions, whom you, I will not say salute, but before whom
you actually bow down and adore, paying him daily homage; supposing you
were to make just one accusation against his wife, would you enter his
Hold fast therefore, Dearly Beloved, let all of you with one mind hold
fast to God our Father, and to the Church our Mother. Commemorate with
sobriety the heavenly birthdays of the saints, that we may imitate those
who have gone before us, and that they may rejoice over you who now pray
for you, so that the blessing of the Lord may remain upon you for evermore.
Amen and Amen.