Sermon 1. On the Anniversary of Saints Peter and Paul.
1. Although all the blessed apostles are recipients of an equal share of grace from the Lord of holiness, nonetheless in some way Peter and Paul seem to stand out from the others and to excel by reason of a certain special virtue of faith in the Savior. Indeed, we are able to prove this by referring to the judgment of the Lord Himself. For to Peter, as to a good steward, He gave the key of the heavenly kingdom, and upon Paul, as one skilled in instruction, He enjoined the teaching office in the school of the Church. Thus those whom the one would educate to salvation the other would receive into peace, and while Paul would enlighten their hearts with the teaching of his words Peter would open to their souls the kingdom of heaven. Hence Paul also received, so to speak, a key from Christ, that of knowledge. For whatever opens up the hard places of hearts to faith, lays bare the secrets of minds, and brings what is kept closed within out into the open by an intelligible presentation ought to be called a key. A key, I say, both opens the conscience to the confession of sin and inserts grace for the eternal saving mystery. Each, then, received a key from the Lord: the one of knowledge, and the other of power. The one dispenses the riches of immortality, the other distributes the treasures of knowledge. For there are in fact treasures of knowledge, as it is written: in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden (Col. 2, 3).
Sermon 5. On the Birthday of Saint John the Baptist.
1. In praise of the holy and most blessed John the Baptist, whose birthday we celebrate today, I do not know what is the most important thing that we should preach – that he was wonderfully bom or more wonderfully slain. For he was bom as a prophecy and murdered for truth; by his birth he announced the coming of the Savior and by his death he condemned the incest of Herod. For this holy and righteous man, w ho was bom in an uncommon way as the result of a promise, merited from God that he should depan this world by an uncommon death, that he should lay aside his body, which he had received as a gift from the Lord, by confessing the Lord. 2. Therefore John did everything by the will of God, since he was born and died for the sake of God’s work.
Sermon 16. On the Anniversary of the Saints.
1. If the weakness of my body should continue for as long as I have to speak and you ought to listen, we would all in fact be excused – I from teaching the commandment and you from keeping it. But because we are smitten with sickness, so that we are unable to say what we ought, let the devotion of the mind excuse us whom the demand of preaching does not. That is to say, even if we cease from the praises of the Lord with our tongue, still let us bless His wonders with works of faith; if we do not speak His glory in words, let us pursue His grace in deeds, since deeds are prior to words. For the Lord says in the Gospel: Whoever does thus and teaches thus will he called great in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5.19). You see, then, that the deed precedes and teaching follows, because to act well is the first way of teaching. For, when words fail, a work of great goodness itself teaches a person as long as it is visible, so that even if it does not excite the ears by a sound it still pricks hearts with its power. For who, on seeing a good action, does not rejoice, admire and imitate it, does not use it as an example and learn from it as if from a silent teacher? Deeds precede words, then, and in fact without deeds words profit nothing. And this is how the Lord wished that teaching should be done, lest without good work there be just the useless and superstitious throwing about of words.