‘Ears to Hear’ is produced by the Dominican students of the Irish Province for our website dominicansinteractive.com. We took the name for this series from a line in the book of Revelation: ‘You that have ears to hear, listen to what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Rev 3:22). We know that the Spirit has never let the Church down, but has continued to speak through the teaching of the Church, and the wonderful witness of the saints. This series seeks to make some spiritual classics of the Christian tradition accessible to the Internet age. We have some real gems to share with you, from the Rhineland mystics, to St Augustine, from St Gregory Nazianzen to the many anonymous poets and preachers who have witnessed to the Truth.

Ears to Hear – Holy Saturday

A Reading from an Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday

Holy Saturday is an eerily silent day. There is no morning Mass, no bells ringing, no choirs singing. Instead, all  the Christian world is in silent mourning – the Beloved is dead, and they have laid him in the tomb. Something is going on within the silence though, imperceptibly. Christ descends and says to all the dead:  ‘Awake’!


Ears to Hear – Good Friday

A Reading from the Instructions of St John Chrysostom to Catechumens

One of the most important roles for a bishop in the early Church was to explain the Holy Week ceremonies to the newly-baptised. This usually happened in Easter week, after they had experienced them, so they were looking back in time, having the significance of these great ceremonies expounded in detail. Today we listen to one such explanation, from John Chrysostom, a fourth-century bishop. What power does the blood of Christ have for us? Have a listen to John Chrysostom’s answer.


Ears to Hear – Holy Thursday

From the homily of Melito of Sardis on the Pasch

The writings of Melito of Sardis come very early on in the life of the Church. He died around the year 180, and was bishop in what is now Turkey. This excerpt from one of his Easter homilies gives us an overview of the Paschal Mystery: that is, the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and their effects on us. Melito delves into the Old Testament too, to point out that the Paschal Mystery itself is prefigured in the story of Israel. It’s helpful to get this ‘big picture’ perspective on the Pasch, before we descend into the darkness of Good Friday, and the silence of Holy Saturday.

Ears to Hear – Lent 6: ‘Death, I shall be your death!’

Lent 6: ‘Death, I shall be your death!’

Lent is a preparation for the events of Easter – the passion, death andresurrection of Jesus. It’s good, then, to spend some time thinking about these events, preparing for our solemn commemoration of them at Easter. In this excerpt we hear the thoughts of Pope St Leo the Great on the Cross of Christ, and he imagines the dying Christ addressing death, saying: ‘Death, I shall be your death’. Have a listen, and ponder, in gratitude, the mystery of the saving Cross.


Ears to Hear – Lent 4

Lent 4 – Prayer, Fasting and Mercy

What do you do during Lent? Most people answer this question by saying they ‘give something up’ for Lent. This ‘giving things up’, which we call penance or fasting, is a vital part of our preparation for Easter, but there are two other equally important elements. Listen to this sermon of St Peter Chrysologus to find out what they are…


Ears to Hear – Lent 3

Lent 3 – What is the Fear of the Lord?

Lent is a good time to start putting right our relationship with God. Sometimes, we can be distant from God, and we need to learn to draw close to him, but other times we treat God like a cute little puppy, one that we can train to suit our own interests. At times like this, we need to learn what the Bible calls ‘fear of the Lord’. This doesn’t mean being frightened of God, but being aware of the greatness and majesty of God, and of our own littleness and weakness… Have a listen to St Hilary explaining the true nature of ‘the fear of the Lord’.


Ears to Hear – Lent 2

From a Homily of St Asterius of Amasea

Lent isn’t all about suffering and beating ourselves up. St Paul warns us: ‘If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing’. All our fasting, almsgiving and prayer should lead to greater love in our hearts, and this obscure homily from a 4th century bishop in Cappadocia  encourages us to love like shepherds, indeed, how to love as the Good Shepherd himself.


Ears to Hear – Lent 1

From the Letter of Pope St Clement to the Corinthians

One of the earliest Christian texts we have outside the New Testament is the letter of Pope St Clement I to the Corinthians. It was written because the Corinthians were, as usual it seems, having problems with disunity in their Church. The following excerpt brings the Corinthians back to basics: the importance of repentance and our need for God’s mercy. It’s a good place to start as we begin our Lenten journey with the ashes of repentance on our foreheads.


Ears to Hear – St Catherine: You Have Shown Us Love in Your Blood

St Catherine of Siena: You Have Shown Us Love in Your Blood

St Catherine had great devotion to the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ, poured out on the Cross for love of us. For her, the blood of Christ is a visible sign of God’s great love for us. Here we hear a prayer first addressed to Christ, then an exhortation to address herself. She advises herself: ‘the more you see, the more you will love’.


Ears to Hear – St Catherine: O Mary, Bearer of the Fire

St Catherine of Siena: O Mary, Bearer of the Fire


We hear today a long prayer addressed by St Catherine to Mary, the Mother of God. She prayed this prayer on the feast of the Annunciation the year before she died, and in it she wonders about what it was like for Mary to say Yes to what God was asking of her. ‘You were overtaken by wonder and surprise’, Catherine says. She offers many original images for our Blessed Mother: she is the bearer of fire, the seedbed of the fruit, a peaceful sea, fertile soil, a new-sprung plant, and many more things besides!