21. February 2020 : Friday of the Sixth week in Ordinary Time
St. Peter Damian, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (1007-1072)
Letter of James 2:14-24.26.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day,
and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well," but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?
So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Indeed someone might say, "You have faith and I have works." Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works.
You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble.
Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless?
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar?
You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works.
Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called "the friend of God."
See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
Blessed the man who fears the LORD,
who greatly delights in his commands.
His posterity shall be mighty upon the earth;
the upright generation shall be blessed.
Wealth and riches shall be in his house;
his generosity shall endure forever.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice;
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Mark 8:34-38.9:1.
Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, «Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it."
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?
What could one give in exchange for his life?
Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."
He also said to them, "Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come in power."
Whoever loses their life for my sake will find itSaint Gertrude of Helfta (1256-1301), Benedictine nun
Exercises VII, SC 127 (Spiritual exercises, trans. Gertrude and Jack Lewis, pub.Kalamazoo: Cistercian publications, 1989, pp. 133-134 rev.)
O dearest death, you are my happiest lot. Ah, let my soul find a nest for itself in you, O death. O death, bearing the fruits of eternal life, ah, may your life-giving streams envelop me totally. O death, everlasting life: ah, may I always have hope under your wings. O saving death, ah, may my soul linger in your very bright goodness. O most precious death, you are my dearest ransom. Ah, may you absorb all my life in you and immerse my death in you.
O life-giving death, ah, may I melt beneath your wings. O death, drop of life, ah, may the very dulcet spark of life you bring burn in me forever. (…) O most loving death, in you are all good things stored up for me. Ah, may your lovingly-kind care be with me so that in dying I may repose dulcetly beneath your shadow.
O most merciful death, you are my happiest life. You are my best share. You are my most copious redemption. You are my very brightest inheritance. Ah, envelop me altogether in you, hide my life altogether in you, hide my death away in you. (…) O death very close to my heart, preserve me for you forever in your fatherly charity as a ransom and sempiternal possession.