The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Commentaries for Weekdays (Years I and II) and Sundays (Years A, B and C) and Solemnities

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 22, 2018

NOTE: Solemnities and feasts are listed at the end of this post. This part is not yet complete. If you are looking for commentaries on the Sunday readings in the Extraordinary Form go here.

THE NEW LECTIONARY CYCLE WILL BEGIN ON Nov 29, 2020 AND END ON NOV. 28, 2021. THE SUNDAY CYCLE IS “YEAR B,” AND THE DAILY CYCLE IS “YEAR I” (i.e., “year 1”).

Suggested Resources for the Gospel of Mark. The gospel primarily used in Year B.

Suggested Recourses on the Sunday Epistle Readings for Ordinary Time, Year B.

ADVENT

First Week of Advent.
Second Week of Advent.
Third Week of Advent.
Fourth Week of Advent.

CHRISTMAS SEASON TO EPIPHANY
Note: Traditionally Epiphany is celebrated on January 6. In the USA it is celebrated on the Sunday that falls between Jan. 2 and 8 (inclusively).

Dec. 25. Vigil Mass for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord (Dec 24).
Dec. 25. Mass During the Night: The Nativity of the Lord (Midnight Mass).
Dec. 25. Mass at Dawn: The Nativity of the Lord.
Dec. 25. Mass During the Day: The Nativity of the Lord.

Sunday Within the Octave of Christmas (Feast of the Holy Family). If a Sunday does not fall between Dec. 26 and Dec 31 then the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on Dec. 30.

Dec. 26. The Feast of St Stephen, the Church’s First Martyr.
Dec. 27. The Feast of St John, Apostle and Evangelist.
Dec 28. Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs.
Dec. 29. Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas.
Dec. 30. Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas. See next note.
!!! Dec 30. Feast of the Holy Family (Non-Sunday). If a Sunday does not fall between Dec 26-31 then the Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on this date.
Jan 1. Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God.

NOTE: In the USA and some other countries the Epiphany is celebrated on the Sunday that falls between Jan 2 and 8 (inclusively). For commentaries on the days following a Sunday Epiphany celebration see the link below marked “!!! The Epiphany  to the Baptism of the Lord” (Just before the heading “ORDINARY TIME.”

Jan. 2. Memorial of St Basil the Great and St Gregory Nanzianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church.
Jan. 3. Christmas Weekday.
Jan . 4. Memorial St Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious.
Jan. 5. Memorial of St John Nuemann, Bishop.
Jan. 6. Christmas Weekday.
Jan. 7. Christmas Weekday. NOTE: in 2018 this date falls on the Sunday after Jan 6. IN the USA this Sunday is celebrated as the Epiphany. See the link for the Epiphany below, following Jan 8.
Jan 8.

The Epiphany of the Lord.

!!! Epiphany to the Baptism of the Lord.

ORDINARY TIME
Each week contains the beginning and ending Sundays (e.g., the 4th week contains Sundays 4 and 5). We are currently in daily cycle 1 and Sunday cycle B. The new Sunday cycle always begins on the First Sunday of Advent; and the daily cycle on the next day.

1st WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
2nd WEEK: Year 1Year 2.
3rd WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
4th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
5th WEEK: Year 1Year 2.
6th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
7th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
8th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
9th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
10th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
11th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
12th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
13th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
14th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
15th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
16th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
17th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
18th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
19th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
20th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
21st WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
22nd WEEK:  Year1Year 2.
23rd WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
24th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
25th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
26th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
27th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
28th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
29th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
30th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
31st WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
32nd WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
33rd WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.
34th WEEK:  Year 1Year 2.

LENTEN SEASON

Ash Wednesday Through Second Sunday of Lent.
Second Week of Lent.
Third Week of Lent.
Fourth Week of Lent.
Fifth Week of Lent.
!!! Holy Week.

EASTER SEASON

Easter Sunday to Divine Mercy Sunday (Second Sunday of Easter).
Second Week of Easter.
Third Week of Easter.
Fourth Week of Easter.
Fifth Week of Easter.
Sixth Week of Easter. Includes Ascension Thursday.
Seventh Week of Easter. Includes Pentecost.

SOLEMNITIES AND FEASTS
Some of these are also listed above (e.g., during the Christmas season).

December 8. Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Dec 12. Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Dec 24-25. Christmas: Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. 4 Masses below.

Dec 26. Feast of St Stephen the Proto-Martyr.

Dec 27. Feast of St John the Evangelist.

Dec 28. Feast of the Holy Innocents.

Jan 1. Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Mother of God (Octave of Christmas).

Jan 6. Solemnity of the Epiphany.

Jan 25. Feast of the Conversion of St Paul.

Feb 2. Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.

Feb 22. Feast of the Chair of St Peter.

Mar 19. Feast of St Joseph, Husband of Mary.

Mar 25. Feast of the Annunciation.

Apr. 25. Feast of St Mark the Evangelist.

May 1. Feast of St Joseph the Worker.

May 3. Feast of Saints Philip and James, Apostles.

May 14. Feast of St Matthias, Apostle.

May 31. Feast of the Visitation.

Second Friday After Pentecost: Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Year A.  Year B.  Year C.

Jun 24. Vigil and Mass of the Day. Feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist.

Jun 29. Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles.

Jul 3. Feast of St Thomas the Apostle.

Jul 22. Feast of St Mary Magdalene.

Jul 25. Feast of St James the Elder, Apostle.

Aug 6. Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, Year A.

Aug 10. Feast of St Lawrence the Deacon.

Aug 15. Vigil and Mass of the Day. Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Aug 24. Feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle.

Sept 8. Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Sept 14. Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Sept 21. Feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.

Sept 29. Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels.

Oct 18. Feast of St Luke the Evangelist.

Oct 28. Feast of Saints Simon and Jude, Apostles.

Nov 1. Solemnity of All Saints.

Nov 2. The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed.

Nov 9. Feast of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica.

Nov 30. The Feast of St Andrew, Apostle.

Last Sunday of the Year: Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. Always falls on last Sunday of the Year.

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St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 132

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 22, 2022

Explanation of the Psalm

1 Such is the language of Solomon, who is supposed to be the author of this Psalm, in which he prays to God through the merits of his father, David, “Lord, remember David,” your friend, and all his good qualities, the principal of which was “his meekness.” The word “remember” does not imply that God is subject to forgetfulness; it means that when he does not regard the just he seems to act as if he did not remember their merits. The meaning, then, of such expression is, that he wishes we should pray for many things which, without our prayers, he would not have granted. An instance of it occurs in 3 Kings, where God, through the prophet, speaks to Jeroboam, and says he is highly incensed at the sins of Solomon; still, that he would preserve the kingdom for him during his life, “on account of David, his servant, who observed his precepts and commandments;” from which it appears that this prayer of Solomon was heard. Solomon alludes to David’s mildness, without taking any notice of his other virtues; because David was most remarkable for mildness, as was evident from his refusing to take Saul’s life, though he might have done so, and he knew Saul was seeking to take his, and that without cause; as, also, because mildness is of great value in the sight of God, being the constant companion of humility and charity, and because it makes man like to God, who is “sweet, and mild, and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon him.” Thus, previous to David, Moses was God’s greatest friend, “because Moses was a man exceeding meek, above all men that dwelt upon earth;” and Christ our Lord, who was full of grace and truth, held up no other virtue more for our imitation. “Learn of me, for I am meek and humble heart.” Nor is it inconsistent with the meekness of David or Moses to have taken the lives of so many, nor with that of Christ to have turned the buyers and sellers out of the temple, and to upset their tables; for meekness is not inconsistent with justice, it is rather sister to zeal for the honor of God; and they who readily put up with a personal offence, which is the office of meekness, are the more fit to punish one offered to God or to the neighbor, because it is evident to all that they are not influenced by any private pique or selfish motive, but by a pure love of justice; as, also, because they seem to forget themselves altogether, and to be entirely absorbed in seeking and extending God’s honor and glory.

2–5 Solomon now tells the consequence of the meekness and the humility of his father David. Being meek and humble in heart, he looked upon it as a reproach, that he should have a house wherein to dwell, and a bed whereon to lie, while the Ark of the Testament had no fixed place of residence, no temple where it may be worshipped with the reverence due to it; but was constantly shifted from one place to another; and, therefore, he swore that he would not enter his house, nor lie on his bed; nay, more, that he would not close his eyes anywhere, or take any manner of rest, so long as the Ark had no resting place. We have no exact account of David’s having made such a vow, unless we can infer it from 2 Kings 8, where David tells Nathan the prophet that he had determined to build a temple to the Lord, because he was ashamed of living in “a house of cedar,” while the Ark of God was under a tent. On that very night God ordered Nathan to tell David that it was not his wish that he should build the temple, but that he should leave it to his son to build it; and he repeated the same to David, in Par. 22, and 28. If David, then, bound himself by oath to build the temple, why did not he build it? Why did not he even make the attempt? He was forbidden by God; and besides, the words of the oath contain an exaggeration not unusual in the Scriptures; and they mean no more here than the expression of David’s great anxiety to build the temple. Thus, in Psalm 1, the words, “And on his law he shall meditate day and night,” contain a similar exaggeration; and again, “I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall be ever in my mouth;” and a more striking one in Isaias, “Upon thy walls I have appointed watchmen, all the day and all the night they shall never hold their peace;” and Solomon prescribes the same anxiety to perform a promise that he here attributes to his father, when he says, “Run about, make haste, stir up thy friend, give not sleep to thy eyes, neither let thy eyelids slumber.” Similar expressions occur in the New Testament, “We ought always to pray, and not to faint;” and, further on, “Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times.” Such expressions do not imply that we must be praying at every given moment, but that we must pray often, and in matters of importance, and that we must not suffer the cares of the world, however urgent, to interfere with our ordinary prayers. The oath, then, may be thus explained, “If I shall enter into the tabernacle of my house,” so as to forget the obligation of building God’s house, which I swear never to forget—“If I shall go up into the bed where I lie,” I swear I will never go into it without thinking on the bed, the site of the temple, where the Ark of the Lord may rest in dignity. “If I shall give sleep to my eyes, or slumber to my eyelids;” I swear that I will not sleep or rest, without waking to consider on the necessity of building up a temple to the Lord, which oath and vow he most faithfully fulfilled, as can be seen in Par. 29, “And I, with all my ability, have prepared the expenses for the house of my God. Gold for vessels of gold, and silver for vessels of silver, brass for things of brass, iron for things of iron, wood for things of wood: and onyx stones, and stones like alabaster, and of diverse colors, and all manner of precious stones, and marbles of Paros in great abundance. Now, over and above the things which I have offered into the house of my God, I give of my own proper goods, gold and silver for the temple of my God, besides what things I have prepared for the holy house. Three thousand talents of gold of the gold of Ophir: and seven thousand talents of refined silver to overlay the walls of the temple.” Besides this large amount of property, he drew up a most elaborate specification of all parts of the temple, of its halls, porches, supper rooms, chapter rooms, and the like, as well as of all the ornamentation of it. Now, these were all types and figures of Christ, the true David, who, in his desire of raising a living temple, and an everlasting tabernacle to God, spent whole nights in prayer, and, truly, neither entered his house, nor went up into his bed, nor gave slumber to his eyelids nor rest to his temples, and presented to himself “a glorious Church, not having spot nor wrinkle, nor any such thing,” nor built “with corruptible gold or silver,” but with his own precious sweat and more precious blood; it was with them he built that city in heaven that was seen by St. John in the Apocalypse, and “was ornamented with all manner of precious stones.” Hence, we can all understand the amount of care, cost, and labor we need to erect a becoming temple in our hearts to God.

6 He tells the reason why David was so anxious to build a temple, and it was because the Ark of the Lord had no fixed or certain residence. “Behold, we have heard of it in Ephrata,” of the Ark being in Ephrata, in the land of Ephraim, that was when it was in Silo, in Samuel’s time; then “we found it in the fields of the woods,” when it was sent off by the Philistines, and found in the field of Joshua the Bethsamite, which must have been a woody place, as it was taken from thence to the neighboring town Cariathiarim, which means the city of woods.

7 Having expressed the wishes and desires of his father David, Solomon being now about to bring the Ark into the temple he had built, says, “We will go into his tabernacle;” in other words, hitherto, the Lord has been a stranger in various places, but now he shall have a fixed residence, and, therefore, “we will go into his tabernacle,” now erected, and built on Sion, and “we will adore in the place where his feet stood,” we will turn towards the holy Ark which is his footstool, where his feet stood, and are wont to stand, and adore there. The sanctuary in the interior of the tabernacle was so constructed that the Ark was the footstool, and the propitiatory was the seat of the Lord, and was supported by two Cherubim.

8 Solomon, now about to introduce the Ark to a temple built in a most magnificent style, most poetically addresses it, inviting it to come in and take its habitation there. “Arise, O Lord,” from the place in which you have been hitherto but as a guest, and enter your own house, to stay there, and no longer to wander about from place to place, as you have done hitherto. And he lets us see that, when he speaks thus to the Lord, he does not address him, as he essentially exists, for, as such, “the heaven of heavens do not contain him,” but as he is peculiarly in the Ark of the Testament, because it was from it he gave his answers, and he, therefore, adds, “Thou and the ark which thou hast sanctified;” that is, you and your throne, and the footstool of your feet, which footstool is “the ark which thou hast sanctified,” and through which you will be sanctified and honored by all who know it. In the Hebrew it is the “Ark of thy strength,” because it was through it God displayed his strength. When the priests brought it to the Jordan, the river at once turned back; when it was carried seven times round the city of Jericho, down came the walls; when it was taken by the Philistines, and lodged in the temple of Dagon, the idol was found in the morning stretched on the ground before the Ark; and wherever it was carried about by them, innumerable were killed, so that the Philistines were at length forced to say, “The Ark of the God of Israel shall not stay with us; for his hand is heavy upon us, and upon Dagon our god.” When the Bethsamites inspected the Ark with too much curiosity, over forty thousand of them were slain; and Oza, for merely touching it, was at once slain by God.

9 The Ark having been brought into the temple, Solomon puts up a prayer, first for the priests, then for the king, that is, for himself; for on them depend the whole safety of the people, the priests being the rulers in spiritual matters, as are the kings in temporal. He asks for the priests, that they may be just and holy, as they ought to be, in order to discharge their duty properly, and that they should be alive in praising God, that being their peculiar province because they are bound to give God the tribute of praise and thanksgiving, both on their own part, and on that of the people, for the favors we are constantly receiving from him; and so to praise and thank our benefactor is to stir up his kindness to continue and increase his blessings. He, therefore, says, I beg of you, O Lord, that “thy priests be clothed with justice,” interior and exterior, within and without; that justice may appear in their lives, words, and actions, and that nothing disgraceful should turn up in those who are to minister to you and to teach your people. The metaphor of a robe is used here to give us to understand, that as such an article not only covers the deformities, but also adds to the appearance of those who wear it, and distinguishes them too; so should priests, through their virtues, and their extreme sanctity, not only rise above the imputation of anything mean or disgraceful, but should hold themselves up as a bright model and example to the flocks they have in charge, so that it may not be said of them, that “the people are as bad as the priest.” “And let thy saints rejoice.” Let the same priests, who, strictly speaking, are your saints, at least they ought to be, as being consecrated and segregated to you, let them exult and rejoice in praising you, and thus properly discharge their duty. If such was the justice, holiness, and promptness required of the priests who sacrificed but sheep and oxen, what amount of those virtues will be required of the priests who sacrifice the Lamb? Woe to us wretched, who have been called to so sublime a ministry, and are so far short of the fervor that Solomon required in the priests who were but foreshadows of the priests of the new law!

10 He now prays for the kings that is, for himself; and in order to get what he wants more easily, he draws upon the merits of his father David, and his prayer consists in asking that he may be heard whenever he may pray. “For thy servant David’s sake.” In consideration of the faithful services of David my father, “turn not away the face of thy anointed.” Do not cause me who have been anointed king in his place, to retire in confusion from you at the rejection of my prayer, and thus cause me to turn my face away from you. To turn away the face of the supplicant means, to refuse his prayer, to dismiss him in confusion, as when Solomon’s mother said to him, “I desire one small thing of thee, do not put me to confusion. And the king said to her: My mother, ask, for I must not turn away thy face.” However true all this may be, there is still a more spiritual meaning in this verse. Every good act of ours has a reference to God and to ourselves; to God, in order that he may look upon us with the love of a father, and that we should look upon him with the affection of a child; for such reciprocal love is the source and origin of all our good, but God’s love or regard precedes, and causes our regard for him. As St. John says, “In this is charity, not as if we have loved God, but because he first loved us.” Thus, when God loves us, he causes us to love him, and when he regards us as children he makes us regard him as a father; and though we, of our own free will, turn our face away from God by the commission of sin, still, should God deign to look upon us, and to look upon us in his mercy, he will mercifully cause us to take no further pleasure in sin, and not to turn away our face from him, or should we chance to do so, that we will at once turn to him again, just as when the Lord looked on Peter, who had turned his face from him, and thereby converted him so effectually, that, “he went out at once and wept bitterly.” David put up the same prayer, when he said, “Look thou upon me, and have mercy on me;” and thus, Solomon prays here, “turn not away the face of thy anointed;” let not my face be turned away from you, which will be caused by your not turning your face away from me.

11 He now begins to refer to the promise that were made by God to David his father, in the hope of more easily obtaining what he asks for through such reference, as he seems to demand it as a debt fairly due. “The Lord hath sworn truth to David;” as much as to say, David, having sworn to the Lord, that he would build a temple to his glory, and the Lord swore, in return, that he would establish the sovereign power in David’s family for all eternity; for God will not be outdone in liberality, and rewards not only our actions, but even our words and our thoughts, with the most unheard of generosity. The oath here implies the fixed determination on the subject, intimating that God, not satisfied with a promise he was sure not to break, went further, and confirmed it by an oath. He then reconfirms the matter, by adding, “and he will not make it void;” his oath will not be left unaccomplished, as he expresses it in another Psalm, “The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent.” He next proceeds to tell us what the truth was that he promised and confirmed by an oath, and says, “Of the fruit of thy womb I will set upon thy throne;” in other words, I will make your son your successor on the throne; words that should be literally applied to Christ, and not to Solomon, unless we look upon him as the type of Christ, for in Psalm 88, that refers to the same oath, we read, “Once have I sworn by my holiness I will not lie unto David; his seed shall endure forever; and his throne as the sun before me; and as the moon perfect forever, and a faithful witness in heaven.” The phrase, then, “I will set,” does not mean I will put there, but I will establish, and put there forever, which does not apply to Solomon. Furthermore, St. Peter, speaking of David, says, Acts 2, “Whereas, therefore, he was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath, that of the fruit of his loins one should sit upon his throne; foreseeing he spoke of the resurrection of Christ; for neither was he left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption;” in which passage St. Peter explains an expression in Psalm 30, by another in Psalm 131, now before us, and this is also alluded to by the Angel in saluting the Virgin, when he said, “And the Lord shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever.”

12 The oath and the promise in reference to his only son Christ, of whose kingdom there will be no end, was given and made unconditionally; but not so to others—it was on condition, “if they will keep my covenant;” the treaty I entered into with them of having no strange gods, and of their observing “my testimonies,” my commandments, in which case “they shall sit upon thy throne,” and if not, they will be cast out. David expressed this idea much more clearly to Solomon, when he said, “If thou seek him thou shalt find him; At if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever;” and God himself, speaking of Solomon, a short time before, says, “And I will establish his kingdom forever, if he continue to keep my commandments, and my judgments, as at this day;” and in Psalm 88, where we read, “And if his children forsake my law, I will visit their iniquities with a rod;” and he does not add, but my mercy I will not take away from them, “but from him,” that is, from David, whose throne was everlasting, by reason of his being the type of Christ, even though the temporal sovereignty of Solomon, Roboam, and their successors may have an end.

13–14 These verses apply, to a certain extent, to the city of Jerusalem, inasmuch as it was a type of the Church militant, and afterwards triumphant; because God chose that city for a time as the seat of royalty and of the priesthood, and in it were to be found the throne and the temple. But, as that city was soon to be laid in ruins, and the kingdom upset, and the temple itself to be burned, we are constrained to say that these verses apply to the Church, the kingdom of Christ, and that the Sion, or Jerusalem, alluded to here is that of which he speaks in the second Psalm, when he says, “But I am appointed king by him over Sion, his holy mountain,” a continuation of which we have in verse 11 of this Psalm. “The Lord hath sworn truth to David, and he will not make it void, of the fruit of thy womb I will set upon thy throne;” that is to say, he swore to David that he would place and establish his Son, Christ, on his throne, which is Sion, and which is, consequently, called the city of David, because “the Lord hath chosen Sion,” that is, the Church, “as his dwelling forever,” and said in regard of it, “This is my rest forever and ever;” that is to say, I will never desert this Church, but I will rest forever in her, because I will remove her to a perfect certainty in heaven; and there “I will dwell” in her forever, “because I have chosen it,” by a firm and everlasting decree.

15 This and the following verses promise many blessings to Sion, the city of David, which are, to a certain extent, applicable to that city, inasmuch as she was a type of the Church, but they are much more applicable to the Church itself. He, first, promises such an abundance of the good things of this world that even the widows, who are generally destitute, and all the poor in general, will enjoy an abundance. Now, this abundance, as applied to the Church, means an abundance of spiritual food, of the food of the word of God and of the sacraments, an abundance of which is enjoyed by the children of the Church, especially by those who are poor in spirit.

16 The second blessing conferred on the holy city will consist in its priests being conspicuous for their justice and their holiness, because, as iniquity is the disease of the soul, so is justice its salvation; and, as Solomon previously prayed that “her priests be clothed with justice,” God now says, that “he will clothe those priests with salvation,” which is the same as justice when there is question of our spiritual salvation.

17 The third and the greatest blessing to be conferred on holy Sion will be, that there will the kingdom of David have its rise. The horn metaphorically means the power and the dignity of the king, and that by reason of its preeminence and durability. But, in a literal sense, the horn of David means the kingdom of the Messiah, that was to have its rise in Sion, and to be propagated from thence throughout the entire world. Zacharias announced it when he said, Lk. 1, “And he hath raised up a horn of salvation to u in the house of David, his servant.” The prophet, too, foretold it; for Isaias says, chap. 9, “He shall sit upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom, to establish it and strengthen it forever.” Jeremias has the following: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, and I will raise up to David a just branch, and a king shall reign and shall be wise, and shall execute judgment and justice.” Ezechiel not only foretells the kingdom of Christ, but even describes his triumphal chariot, drawn by four animals, a man, a lion, a calf, and an eagle, meaning the four Evangelists. In Daniel 2, we have, “But in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed;” and Zach. 9, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem, behold, thy king will come to thee, the just and Savior; he is poor and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass.” From all of which prophecies it is clear that this verse cannot possibly apply to Solomon or to his kingdom, for he was then alive and on his throne, whereas some future king is evidently intended. The expression, “will I bring forth,” means, I will make David’s horn, or power, spring up, as it were, and germinate, wherein he evidently foretells the destruction of Jerusalem, and the establishment of the everlasting kingdom of the Messias in place of the temporal power enjoyed hitherto by its kings. “I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.” St. Augustine says, the lamp alludes to St. John Baptist; for, as the Messias was to come without any show, pomp, or retinue, it was likely that the carnal Jews, who expected quite a different Messias, would hardly receive him had not John preceded him, who, by his singular sanctity and austerities, “like a light shining in a dark place,” brought the eyes of all upon him. “There will I bring forth a horn to David;” this means, I have established the eternal kingdom of the Messias; “I have prepared a lamp,” the precursor, who will be as a lamp, “for my anointed,” for the Messias; and Christ himself seems to allude to this verse when he said of St. John, “He was a burning and a shining lamp.”

18 He prophesies that Christ will have many enemies, as, in truth, he had amongst the Jews, who said, “We will not have this man to reign over us;” and when they said to Pilate, “We have no king but Caesar;” but he also prophesies the punishment in store for them. “His enemies I will clothe with confusion.” I will brand them with infamy, as we see all over the world. Soon after the death of Christ, the Romans sacked and destroyed the city, slew immense numbers of them, sold many of them as slaves, and exposed a great many of them to wild beasts in the public games; and from thence to the present day, the Jewish race are everywhere in a state of slavery, and are everywhere despised; but on the last day, then not only will Jews, but all pagans, heretics, and all false brethren, who, through his brethren, have been enemies to Christ, will be “clothed with confusion.” While they shall be “clothed with confusion,” Christ will be clothed with glory, because the seed that had been buried in the earth will then flower forth into glory, by budding forth the flowers of sanctification; and not only will Christ be clothed with glory, but so will all his members too, because such sanctification will then produce flowers of incredible beauty, when grace shall be turned into glory.

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St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 24

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 22, 2022

1. A Psalm of David himself, touching the glorifying and resurrection of the Lord, which took place early in the morning on the first day of the week, which is now called the Lord’s Day.

2. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof, the compass of the world, and all they that dwell therein” (ver. 1); when the Lord, being glorified, is announced for the believing of all nations; and the whole compass of the world becomes His Church. “He hath founded it above the seas.” He hath most firmly established it above all the waves of this world, that they should be subdued by it, and should not hurt it. “And hath prepared it above the rivers” (ver. 2). The rivers flow into the sea, and men of lust lapse into the world: these also the Church, which, when worldly lusts have been conquered by the grace of God, hath been prepared by love for the reception of immortality, subdues.

3. “Who shall ascend into the mount of the Lord?” Who shall ascend to the height of the righteousness of the Lord? “Or who shall stand in His holy place?” (ver. 3). Or who shall abide in that place, whither He shall ascend,4 founded above the seas, and prepared above the rivers?

4. “The innocent of hand, and the pure in heart” (ver. 4). Who then shall ascend thither, and abide there, but the guiltless in deed, and pure in thought? “Who hath not received his soul in vain.” Who hath not reckoned his soul among things that pass away, but feeling it to be immortal, hath longed for an eternity stedfast and unchangeable. “And hath not sworn in deceit to his neighbour.” And therefore without deceit, as things eternal are simple and undeceiving, hath so behaved himself to his neighbour.

5. “This man shall receive blessing from the Lord, and mercy from the God of his salvation”5 (ver. 5).

6. “This is the generation of them that seek the Lord” (ver. 6). For thus are they born that seek Him. “Of them that seek the face of the God of Jacob.6 Diapsalma.” Now they seek the face of God, who gave the pre-eminence to the younger born.7

7. “Take away your gates, ye princes” (ver. 7). All ye, that seek rule among men, remove, that they hinder not, the entrances which ye have made, of desire and fear. “And be ye lift up, ye everlasting gates.” And be ye lift up, ye entrances of eternal life, of renunciation of the world, and conversion to God. “And the King of glory shall come in.” And the King, in whom we may glory without pride, shall come in: who having overcome the gates of death, and having opened for Himself the heavenly places, fulfilled that which He said, “Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”8

8. “Who is this King of glory?” Mortal nature is awe-struck in wonder, and asks, “Who is this King of glory?” “The Lord strong and mighty.” He whom thou didst deem weak and overwhelmed. “The Lord mighty in battle” (ver. 8). Handle the scars, and thou wilt find them made whole, and human weakness restored to immortality. The glorifying of the Lord, which was owing to earth, where It warred with death, hath been paid.

9. “Take away your gates, ye princes.”9 Let us go hence straightway into heaven. Again, let the Prophet’s trumpet cry aloud, “Take away too, ye princes of the air, the gates, which ye have in the minds of men who ‘worship the host of heaven.’ ”10 “And be ye lift up, ye everlasting gates.” And be ye lift up, ye doors of everlasting righteousness, of love, and chastity, through which the soul loveth the One True God, and goeth not a-whoring with the many that are called gods. “And the King of glory shall come in” (ver. 9). “And the King of glory shall come in,” that He may at the right hand of the Father intercede for us.

10. “Who is this King of glory?” What! dost thou too, prince of the power of this air,11 marvel and ask, “Who is this King of glory?” “The Lord of powers, He is the King of glory” (ver. 10). Yea, His Body now quickened, He who was tempted marches above thee; He who was tempted by the angel, the deceiver, goes above all angels. Let none of you put himself before us and stop our way, that he may be worshipped as a god by us: neither principality, nor angel, nor power, separateth us from the love of Christ.12 It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in a prince;13 that he who glorieth, should glory in the Lord.14 These indeed are powers in the administration of this world, but “the Lord of powers, He is the King of glory.”

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Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 8:1-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 7, 2022

This post needs some editing.

1. And when he was come down from the mountain.] 1. Cleansing of the leper. The gospel first determines the time of the miracle, then gives the petition, thirdly describes the fulfilment, and finally states the words of our Lord. a. The time. Schanz is of opinion that the chronological connection in the first gospel between the sermon on the mount and the present chapter supposes that the cleansing of the leper happened after the sermon, though probably at the time when Jesus was near Capharnaum [cf. Mt. 8:5; Lk. 5:12–15]. Knabenbauer believes that the evangelist gives rather a pragmatic than a chronological order: for Mk. 1:40 and Lk. 5:12 show that the leper had been cleansed before the sermon on the mount; the words “see thou tell no man” [Mt. 8:4] suppose that the leper was not cleansed in presence of a large multitude [Br.]; Mt. 8:1 states merely what happened at the conclusion of the sermon on the mount without connecting it with the following miracle; nor is this connection necessarily implied in the words “and behold.”

b. The petition. Leprosy was a skin disease, dissolving and destroying the organism of the body. It first sprang up in Egypt, but spread through Syria, Persia, and other Eastern countries. Hippocrates’ triple division of leprosy into “lepra alfoides,” “lepra vulgaris” or “leuke,” and “lepra nigrescens” may still be followed. The first kind forms scales on the body that are smaller, less shocking to the eye, and more easily cured. In the third kind the scales and spots of the skin are of a dark livid color; the form which now prevails in Syria is identified by modern writers with the “elephantiasis Græcorum,” a universal cancer [Lap.], by which all the joints of the body are gradually corroded, so that one member after another drops off. The present passage of the gospel deals with a case of the second kind of leprosy or “white leprosy.” It begins with red shining elevations of the cuticle, turning into white scales and accumulating sometimes into thick crusts; the hair on the infected spots turns white, the extremities swell up, the nails fall off, sensible perception grows dull, and the sufferers finally die of consumption and dropsy. In some cases recovery is possible, especially when the disease breaks out at once in a very violent form. Even if it he granted, though it is by no means certain, that not all kinds of leprosy are contagious, we maintain that Moses speaks of contagious forms of the disease. In Lev. 13:46 lepers are forbidden to approach others; moreover, they had to proclaim themselves “unclean,” that no one might approach them. This explains why the evangelist represents the approach of the leper to our Lord as something wonderful: “and behold.” The phrase “adored him” is emphasized by Lk. 5:12, “falling on his face,” and Mk. 1:40, “kneeling down.” Caj. Jans. Calm. Fil. understand the “adoration” as expressing the highest reverence; for though the expression in general is employed of the reverence due to men, angels, or God [Mt. 18:26; Acts 10:25; Jn. 4:21; Gen. 23:7; 33:3; 38:8; etc.], the words of the leper show in our case that he acknowledged our Lord as an extraordinary man [Jans.], as either prophet or God [Salm.], as the Messias or a prophet [Arn. Schegg], as possessing the greatest power [Chrys.], as the Messias [cf. Mt. 7:22; Jn. 13:13], as God [Euth. op. imp. Br. Mald. Lap. Lam. Reischl, Schanz, etc.]. The prayer of the leper is most modest, humble, submissive, and at the same time full of a lively faith.

c. The prayer is granted. The words of Jesus correspond exactly with those of the leper: this shows the readiness of our Lord to help us to the full extent of our trust in him. At the same time Jesus stretched forth his hand and touched the leper either to show that he was not bound by the Mosaic law [Chrys. Euth. Pasch. Thom. Caj. Jans.], or to prove the virtue of his human nature [Theoph. Caj. Salm. Jans. Coleridge, v. p. 48], so that our Lord’s action in this case resembled the causality of the sacraments [Thom.]. The leprosy either fled as soon as the man was touched by Jesus [Jer.], or it had disappeared even before Christ’s hand touched the leper [Pasch. Br.].

d. Our Lord’s injunction. [1] The words “tell no man” are not simply a lesson of humility and avoidance of vainglory [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Br. Thom. Dion. Caj. Salm. Bar.], nor are they a mere admonition to ponder in secret over God’s benefits and give him thanks for the same [cf. Schegg], nor again do they impose silence merely till the priest shall have officially declared the leper to be clean [cf. op. imp. Mald. Weiss], but they prohibit the publication of our Lord’s miracles in order not to strengthen the popular Jewish idea of their Messias and his worldly kingdom [Mk. 1:45; cf. Jn. 6:15; Schanz, Knab.]. [2] The command “show thyself to the priest” is in full accord with Lev. 14:2; the Mosaic law was not abolished till the death of our Lord [cf. Mt. 27:51; Rom. 7:4; Gal. 2:19]. [3] The additional words “for a testimony unto them” signify not merely that the people may be convinced of the leper’s cleanness [cf. Arn. Schanz, Fil. Keil, Weiss], nor that the priests may be induced to declare the leper legally clean [cf. Reischl], nor that the priests may be convinced of our Lord’s observance of the law [cf. Theoph. Euth. Ed.], but that the priests may see the supernatural power of our Lord, and acknowledge his divine mission [cf. Hil. Jer. Chrys. Bed. Pasch. Thom. Dion. Caj. Mald. Lap. Grimm]. The force of this argument was based on Deut. 18:15 f.; cf. Jn. 1:15, 27, 30.

5. And when he had entered.] 2. The centurion’s servant. This miracle may be considered under the following heads: a. Preliminaries, v. 5; b. petition of the centurion, v. 6; c. answer of Jesus, v. 7; d. answer of centurion, vv. 8, 9; e. reply of Jesus, vv. 10–13.

a. Preliminaries. The place of the miracle has been described in connection with 4:13. Against Semler it must be stated that this miracle is not identical with the cure of the ruler’s son narrated in Jn. 4:46–52. The first gospel speaks of a centurion, a Gentile, whose servant is sick of the palsy, whose faith is highly commended, who is recompensed by a miracle wrought by Jesus in Capharnaum; the fourth gospel speaks of a ruler, a Jew, whose son is afflicted with fever, whose faith is rather weak, whose petition is granted with apparent reluctance. On the other hand, the miracle told by St. Matthew must be identified with that narrated in Lk. 7:1–10; the place, the time, the persons, the faith with its manifestation, are the same in both cases. The only apparent discrepancy between the fact as recorded in the first and in the third gospel lies in the circumstance that according to Matthew the centurion himself comes to our Lord, while according to Luke he sends only the ancients of the Jews and his friends to plead his case. Aug. Bed. Jans. Mald. Arm. Schegg, Bisp. adhere strictly to the narrative of Luke, supposing that Matthew wrote according to the principle “quod quis per alios fecit, ipse fecisse censetur.” Chrys. Euth. Lap. Calm. Fil. Schanz, etc. think that the centurion first sent the persons mentioned by the third evangelist, but omitted in the first gospel, and then proceeded in person to meet our Lord. Besides being very natural in itself this view seems to agree better with Lk. 7:3, “desiring him to come and heal his servant,” as compared with v. 6, “I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof,” contrasting the deficient faith of the Jewish ancients who utter the former prayer with the unlimited trust of the heathen centurion. That the centurion was a Gentile follows from his position in the Roman army [captain over a hundred], from the words of the Jewish ancients [Lk. 7:5], and of our Lord himself [Mt. 8:10], in which he is contrasted with the Jewish nation and the Israelites. He must have served under Herod Antipas, who was then tetrarch of Galilee [Lk. 3:1].

6. And saying.] b. The centurion’s petition. The centurion states the condition of his servant without expressly appealing to Jesus for relief. Such an appeal he considered superfluous after all he had heard of our Lord’s kindness to the poor and suffering; implicitly it is contained in the address “Lord.” According to the third gospel the sufferer was on the point of death; St. Matthew makes him a paralytic who is at the same time tormented with a painful nervous disorder. Pasch. Bed. op. imp. draw attention to the lesson that both masters and servants ought to learn from this passage: the latter ought to endear themselves to their employers by their fidelity, and the former ought to love and care for their domestic dependents.

7. And Jesus saith to him.] c. The answer of Jesus. Our Lord manifests here again the greatest readiness to comply with the centurion’s request. Commentators love to compare his readiness here with his reluctance in the case of the ruler’s son [cf. Jn. 4:47 f.]. Chrys. Euth. also draw attention to the manner in which our Lord knows how to elicit the sentiments of the profoundest humility from both the centurion, and from the Gentile woman of whom Mk. 7:26 f. speaks.

8. And the centurion making answer.] d. The centurion’s answer. The Gentile soldier shows in his words the greatest humility joined with the utmost respect and reverence for the power and person of our Lord. It is through humility that he seeks to avoid our Lord’s entrance into his house, and it is through his lively faith in the power of Jesus that he asks him to cure the servant by the efficacy of his word. Not content with the bare petition, the centurion proves “a minori ad mains “that our Lord can effect miraculous cures by his mere words: the whole domain of nature is under the power of Jesus, as the centurion’s soldiers and servants are under his authority. No doubt, he had heard of many miracles of our Lord, of the restoration of the ruler’s son [Jn. 4:50], of the exorcism in the synagogue [Lk. 4:33], of the cure of Peter’s mother-in-law and the subsequent miracles [Lk. 4:39–41]; but without a special assistance of God’s grace the centurion could never have attained to the grandeur of his faith. How abject and culpable is the unbelief of the scribes and Pharisees in the light of the faith of this devout Gentile.

10. And Jesus hearing this.] e. The reply of Jesus. Mald. [cf. Aug.] is of opinion that Jesus marvelled only externally, i. e. that he merely spoke in a manner in which men filled with admiration are wont to speak, in order to excite real admiration in others. But Thom. Caj. Suar. Bar. Salm. Lap. etc. maintain that Jesus marvelled internally at the great faith of the centurion. His foreknowledge of this fact impeded his admiration no more than the foreknowledge of an eclipse prevents the admiration of the astronomer. The author of op. imp. believes Jesus praises the centurion’s faith only proportionately, i. e. the little faith of the Gentile appeared greater than the ordinary faith of the Jews, just as a little knowledge in a child appears more admirable than greater knowledge in an adult. This view appears to do violence to the plain words of our Lord [cf. Salm. Jans. Bar.]. The text taken literally limits itself to the public life of Jesus [Fab. Caj. Lap. Bar.], and taken in its concrete surrounding applies to those that had come to our Lord in order to obtain miraculous favors [Tost. Bar.]. There is no need, therefore, of comparing the centurion’s faith with that of the patriarchs, of the apostles, and of our Blessed Lady. The marvellous faith of the Gentile reminds our Lord of the call of the Gentiles and the rejection of the Jews: the former he represents as coming from the east and the west, and as sitting at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The joys of the table were used as a figure of the heavenly joys in the Old Testament [Ps. 35:6; Is. 25:6], in the language of the Pharisees [Lk. 14:15], and in the words of our Lord himself [Mt. 22:1; Lk. 14:16; cf. Apoc. 19:9, 17]. Since the covenant between God and the patriarchs was not intended for this life only, but for the next also, the latter are represented as presiding at the feast of our heavenly blessedness. According to the Oriental conception both physical and moral appurtenances are respectively child and parent, or father and son. In this sense the Jews are the children of the kingdom [cf. Rom. 11:21]. The festive hall was brightly illumined among the ancients [cf. 1 Thess. 5:7], so that those cast out into the exterior darkness could not partake of the festal joys. Again, since the light is the symbol of glory and happiness, the exclusion from the light symbolizes the privation of all happiness. It is under these two aspects that the rejected children of the kingdom are said to be thrown into exterior darkness, or to suffer the “pain of loss.” Cf. Mald. Lap. Lam. Calm. Arn. Reischl, Schanz, Fil. The “pain of sense” is expressed by “weeping and gnashing of teeth”: the former shows the pain, the latter the despair. Mald. [cf. Jer.] understands the expression literally, but Tost. Caj. Jans. Lap. are content with its general metaphorical purport showing the truth of the pain of sense. Jer. Bed. Pasch. Thom. Jans. see in these words a proof for the resurrection of the body. Finally, Jesus addresses the centurion with the consoling word “go”; its full meaning may be learned by comparing it with Judg. 11:38; 1 Kings 17:37; 2 Kings 14:8. The faith of the centurion becomes the measure of our Lord’s benefits, not only as to their substance, but also as to their manner of being conferred [cf. James 1:6]. The servant was healed instantly.

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St Augustine’s Tractates on John 2:1-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on January 7, 2022

This post contains two tractates. The first on verse 1-4; the second on verses 1-11.

TRACTATE VIII

Chapter 2:1–4.

1. The miracle indeed of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby He made the water into wine, is not marvellous to those who know that it was God’s doing. For He who made wine on that day at the marriage feast, in those six water-pots, which He commanded to be filled with water, the self-same does this every year in vines. For even as that which the servants put into the water-pots was turned into wine by the doing of the Lord, so in like manner also is what the clouds pour forth changed into wine by the doing of the same Lord. But we do not wonder at the latter, because it happens every year: it has lost its marvellousness by its constant recurrence. And yet it suggests a greater consideration than that which was done in the water-pots. For who is there that considers the works of God, whereby this whole world is governed and regulated, who is not amazed and overwhelmed with miracles? If he considers the vigorous power of a single grain of any seed whatever, it is a mighty thing, it inspires him with awe. But since men, intent on a different matter, have lost the consideration of the works of God, by which they should daily praise Him as the Creator, God has, as it were, reserved to Himself the doing of certain extraordinary actions, that, by striking them with wonder, He might rouse men as from sleep to worship Him. A dead man has risen again; men marvel: so many are born daily, and none marvels. If we reflect more considerately, it is a matter of greater wonder for one to be who was not before, than for one who was to come to life again. Yet the same God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, doeth by His word all these things; and it is He who created that governs also. The former miracles He did by His Word, God with Himself; the latter miracles He did by the same Word incarnate, and for us made man. As we wonder at the things which were done by the man Jesus, so let us wonder at the things which where done by Jesus God. By Jesus God were made heaven, and earth, and the sea, all the garniture of heaven, the abounding riches of the earth, and the fruitfulness of the sea;—all these things which lie within the reach of our eyes were made by Jesus God. And we look at these things, and if His own spirit is in us they in such manner please us, that we praise Him that contrived them; not in such manner that turning ourselves to the works we turn away from the Maker, and, in a manner, turning our face to the things made and our backs to Him that made them.

2. And these things indeed we see; they lie before our eyes. But what of those we do not see, as angels, virtues, powers, dominions, and every inhabitant of this fabric which is above the heavens, and beyond the reach of our eyes? Yet angels, too, when necessary, often showed themselves to men. Has not God made all these too by His Word, that is, by His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ? What of the human soul itself, which is not seen, and yet by its works shown in the flesh excites great admiration in those that duly reflect on them,—by whom was it made, unless by God? And through whom was it made, unless through the Son of God? Not to speak as yet of the soul of man: the soul of any brute whatever, see how it regulates the huge body, puts forth the senses, the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the nostrils to smell, the taste to discern flavors,—the members, in short, to execute their respective functions! Is it the body, not the soul, namely the inhabitant of the body, that doeth these things? The soul is not apparent to the eyes, nevertheless it excites admiration by these its actions. Direct now thy consideration to the soul of man, on which God has bestowed understanding to know its Creator, to discern and distinguish between good and evil, that is, between right and wrong: see how many things it does through the body! Observe this whole world arranged in the same human commonwealth, with what administrations, with what orderly degrees of authority, with what conditions of citizenship, with what laws, manners, arts! The whole of this is brought about by the soul, and yet this power of the soul is not visible. When withdrawn from the body, the latter is a mere carcase: first, it in a manner preserves it from rottenness. For all flesh is corruptible, and falls off into putridity unless preserved by the soul as by a kind of seasoning. But the human soul has this quality in common with the soul of the brute; those qualities rather are to be admired which I have stated, such as belong to the mind and intellect, wherein also it is renewed after the image of its Creator, after whose image man was formed.1 What will this power of the soul be when this body shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality?2 If such is its power, acting through corruptible flesh, what shall be its power through a spiritual body, after the resurrection of the dead? Yet this soul, as I have said, of admirable nature and substance, is a thing invisible, intellectual; this soul also was made by God Jesus, for He is the Word of God. “All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made.”

3. When we see, therefore, such deeds wrought by Jesus God, why should we wonder at water being turned into wine by the man Jesus? For He was not made man in such manner that He lost His being God. Man was added to Him, God not lost to Him. This miracle was wrought by the same who made all those things. Let us not therefore wonder that God did it, but love Him because He did it in our midst, and for the purpose of our restoration. For He gives us certain intimations by the very circumstances of the case. I suppose that it was not without cause He came to the marriage. The miracle apart, there lies something mysterious and sacramental in the very fact. Let us knock, that He may open to us, and fill us with the invisible wine: for we were water, and He made us wine, made us wise; for He gave us the wisdom of His faith, whilst before we were foolish. And it appertains, it may be, to this wisdom, together with the honor of God, and with the praise of His majesty, and with the charity of His most powerful mercy, to understand what was done in this miracle.

4. The Lord, on being invited, came to the marriage. What wonder if He came to that house to a marriage, having come into this world to a marriage? For, indeed, if He came not to a marriage, He has not here a bride. But what says the apostle? “I have espoused you to one husband, to present you a chaste virgin to Christ.” Why does he fear lest the virginity of Christ’s bride should be corrupted by the subtilty of the devil? “I fear,” saith he, “lest as the serpent beguiled Eve by his subtilty, so also your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and chastity which is in Christ.”3 Thus has He here a bride whom He has redeemed by His blood, and to whom He has given the Holy Spirit as a pledge. He has freed her from the bondage of the devil: He died for her sins, and is risen again for her justification.4 Who will make such offerings to his bride? Men may offer to a bride every sort of earthly ornament,—gold, silver, precious stones, houses, slaves, estates, farms,—but will any give his own blood? For if one should give his own blood to his bride, he would not live to take her for his wife. But the Lord, dying without fear, gave His own blood for her, whom rising again He was to have, whom He had already united to Himself in the Virgin’s womb. For the Word was the Bridegroom, and human flesh the bride; and both one, the Son of God, the same also being Son of man. The womb of the Virgin Mary, in which He became head of the Church, was His bridal chamber: thence He came forth, as a bridegroom from his chamber, as the Scripture foretold, “And rejoiced as a giant to run his way.” From His chamber He came forth as a bridegroom; and being invited, came to the marriage.

5. It is because of an indubitable5 mystery that He appears not to acknowledge His mother, from whom as the Bridegroom He came forth, when He says to her, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” What is this? Did He come to the marriage for the purpose of teaching men to treat their mothers with contempt? Surely he to whose marriage He had come was taking a wife with the view of having children, and surely he wished to be honored by those children he would beget: had Jesus then come to the marriage in order to dishonor His mother, when marriages are celebrated and wives married with the view of having children, whom God commands to honor their parents? Beyond all doubt, brethren, there is some mystery lurking here. It is really a matter of such importance that some,—of whom the apostle, as we have mentioned before, has forewarned us to be on our guard, saying, “I fear, lest, as the serpent beguiled Eve by his subtilty, so also your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and chastity which is in Christ,”—taking away from the credibility of the gospel, and asserting that Jesus was not born of the Virgin Mary, used to endeavor to draw from this place an argument in support of their error, so far as to say, How could she be His mother, to whom He said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” Wherefore we must answer them, and show them why the Lord said this, lest in their insanity they appear to themselves to have discovered something contrary to wholesome belief, whereby the chastity of the virgin bride may be corrupted, that is, whereby the faith of the Church may be injured. For in very deed, brethren, their faith is corrupted who prefer a lie to the truth. For these men, who appear to honor Christ in such wise as to deny that He had flesh, do nothing short of proclaiming Him a liar. Now they who build up a lie in men, what do they but drive the truth out of them? They let in the devil, they drive Christ out; they let in an adulterer, shut out the bridegroom, being evidently paranymphs, or rather, the panderers of the serpent. For it is for this object they speak, that the serpent may possess, and Christ be shut out. How doth the serpent possess? When a lie possesses. When falsehood possesses, then the serpent possesses; when truth possesses, then Christ possesses. For Himself has said, “I am the truth;”1 but of that other He said, “He stood not in the truth, because the truth is not him.”2 And Christ is the truth in such wise that thou shouldst receive the whole to be true in Him. The true Word, God equal with the Father, true soul, true flesh, true man, true God, true nativity, true passion, true death, true resurrection. If thou say that any of these is false, rottenness enters, the worms of falsehood are bred of the poison of the serpent, and nothing sound will remain.

6. What, then, is this, saith one, which the Lord saith, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” Perhaps the Lord shows us in the sequel why He said this: “Mine hour,” saith He, “is not yet come.” For thus is how He saith, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” And we must seek to know why this was said. But first let us there from withstand the heretics. What says the old serpent, of old the hissing in stiller of poison? What saith he? That Jesus had not a woman for His mother. Whence provest thou that? From this, saith he, because Jesus said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” Who has related this, that we should believe that Jesus said it? Who has related it? None other than John the evangelist. But the same John the evangelist said, “And the mother of Jesus was there.” For this is how he has told us: “The next day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. And having been invited to the marriage, Jesus had come thither with His disciples.” We have here two sayings uttered by the evangelist. “The mother of Jesus was there,” said the evangelist; and it is the same evangelist that has told us what Jesus said to His mother. And see, brethren, how he has told us that Jesus answered His mother, having said first, “His mother said unto Him,” in order that you may keep the virginity of your heart secure against the tongue of the serpent. Here we are told in the same Gospel, the record of the same evangelist, “The mother of Jesus was there,” and “His mother said unto Him.” Who related this? John the evangelist. And what said Jesus in answer to His mother? “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Who relates this? The very same Evangelist John. O most faithful and truth-speaking evangelist, thou tellest me that Jesus said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” why hast thou added His mother, whom He does not acknowledge? For thou hast said that “the mother of Jesus was there,” and that “His mother said unto Him;” why didst thou not rather say, Mary was there, and Mary said unto Him. Thou tellest as these two facts, “His mother said unto Him,” and, “Jesus answered her, Woman, why have I to do with thee?” Why doest thou this, if it be not because both are true? Now, those men are willing to believe the evangelist in the one case, when he tells us that Jesus said to His mother, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” and yet they will not believe him in the other, when he says, “The mother of Jesus was there,” and “His mother said unto Him.” But who is he that resisteth the serpent and holds fast the truth, whose virginity of heart is not corrupted by the subtilty of the devil? He who believes both to be true, namely, that the mother of Jesus was there, and that Jesus made that answer to His mother. But if he does not as yet understand in what manner Jesus said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” let him meanwhile believe that He said it, and said it, moreover, to His mother. Let him first have the piety to believe, and he will then have fruit in understanding.

7. I ask you, O faithful Christians, Was the mother of Jesus there? Answer ye, She was. Whence know you? Answer, The Gospel says it. What answer made Jesus to His mother? Answer ye, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” And whence know you this? Answer, The Gospel says it. Let no man corrupt this your faith, if you desire to preserve a chaste virginity for the Bridegroom. But if it be asked of you, why He made this answer to His mother, let him declare who understands; but he who does not as yet understand, let him most firmly believe that Jesus made this answer, and made it moreover to His mother. By this piety he will learn to understand also why Jesus answered thus, if by praying he knock at the door of truth, and do not approach it with wrangling. Only this much, while he fancies himself to know, or is ashamed because he does not know, why Jesus answered thus, let him beware lest he be constrained to believe either that the evangelist lied when he said, “The mother of Jesus was there,” or that Jesus Himself suffered for our sins by a counterfeit death, and for our justification showed counterfeit scars; and that He spoke falsely in saying, “If ye continue in my word, ye are my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,1 For if He had a false mother, false flesh, false death, false wounds in His death, false scars in His, resurrection, then it will not be the truth, but rather falsehood, that shall make free those that believe on Him. Nay, on the contrary, let falsehood yield to truth, and let all be confounded who would have themselves be accounted truthspeaking, because they endeavor to prove Christ a deceiver, and will not have it said to them, We do not believe you because you lie, when they affirm that truth itself has lied. Nevertheless, if we ask them, Whence know you that Christ said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” they answer that they believe the Gospel. Then why do they not believe the Gospel when it says, “The mother of Jesus was there,” and, “His mother said unto Him”? Or if the Gospel lies here, how are we to believe it there, that Jesus said this, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” Why do not those miserable men rather faithfully believe that the Lord did so answer, not to a stranger, but to His mother; and also piously seek to know why He did so answer? There is a great difference between him who says, I would know why Christ made this answer to His mother, and him who says, I know that it was not to His mother that Christ made this answer. It is one thing to be willing to understand what is shut up, another thing to be unwilling to believe what is open. He who says, I would know why Christ thus made answer to His mother, wishes the Gospel, in which he believes, opened up to him; but he who says, I know that it was not to His mother that Christ made this answer, accuses of falsehood the very Gospel, wherein he believed that Christ did so answer.

8. Now then, if it seem good, brethren, those men being repulsed, and ever wandering in their own blindness, unless in humility they be healed, let us inquire why our Lord answered His mother in such a manner. He was in an extraordinary manner begotten of the Father without a mother, born of a mother without a father; without a mother He was God, without a father He was man; without a mother before all time, without a father in the end of times. What He said was said in answer to His mother, for “the mother of Jesus was there,” and “His mother said unto Him.” All this the Gospel says. It is there we learn that “the mother of Jesus was there,” just where we learn that He said unto her, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” Let us believe the whole; and what we do not yet understand, let us search out. And first take care, lest perhaps, as the Manichæans found occasion for their falsehood, because the Lord said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” the astrologers in like manner may find occasion for their deception, in that He said, “Mine hour is not yet come.” If it was in the sense of the astrologers He said this, we have committed a sacrilege in burning their books. But if we have acted rightly, as was done in the times of the apostles,2 it was not according to their notion that the Lord said, “Mine hour is not yet come.” For, say those vain-talkers and deceived seducers, thou seest that Christ was under fate, as He says, “Mine hour is not yet come.” To whom then must we make answer first—to the heretics or to the astrologers? For both come of the serpent, and desire to corrupt the Church’s virginity of heart, which she holds in undefiled faith. Let us first reply to those whom we proposed, to whom, indeed, we have already replied in great measure. But lest they should think that we have not what to say of the words which the Lord uttered in answer to His mother, we prepare you further against them; for I suppose what has already been said is sufficient for their refutation.

9. Why, then, said the Son to the mother, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come?” Our Lord Jesus Christ was both God and man. According as He was God, He had not a mother; according as He was man, He had. She was the mother, then, of His flesh, of His humanity, of the weakness which for our sakes He took upon Him. But the miracle which He was about to do, He was about to do according to His divine nature, not according to His weakness; according to that wherein He was God, not according to that wherein He was born weak. But the weakness of God is stronger than men.1 His mother then demanded a miracle of Him; but He, about to perform divine works, so far did not recognize a human womb; saying in effect, “That in me which works a miracle was not born of thee, thou gavest not birth to my divine nature; but because my weakness was born of thee, I will recognize thee at the time when that same weakness shall hang upon the cross.” This, indeed, is the meaning of “Mine hour is not yet come.” For then it was that He recognized, who, in truth, always did know. He knew His mother in predestination, even before He was born of her; even before, as God, He created her of whom, as man, He was to be created, He knew her as His mother: but at a certain hour in a mystery He did not recognize her; and at a certain hour which had not yet come, again in a mystery, He does recognize her. For then did He recognize her, when that to which she gave birth was a-dying. That by which Mary was made did not die, but that which was made of Mary; not the eternity of the divine nature, but the weakness of the flesh, was dying. He made that answer therefore, making a distinction in the faith of believers, between the who, and the how, He came. For while He was God and the Lord of heaven and earth, He came by a mother who was a woman. In that He was Lord of the world, Lord of heaven and earth, He was, of course, the Lord of Mary also; but in that wherein it is said, “Made of a woman, made under the law,” He was Mary’s son. The same both the Lord of Mary and the son of Mary; the same both the Creator of Mary and created from Mary. Marvel not that He was both son and Lord. For just as He is called the son of Mary, so likewise is He called the son of David; and son of David because son of Mary. Hear the apostle openly declaring, “Who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.”2 Hear Him also declared the Lord of David; let David himself declare this: “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand.”3 And this passage Jesus Himself brought forward to the Jews, and refuted them from it.4 How then was He both David’s son and David’s Lord? David’s son according to the flesh, David’s Lord according to His divinity; so also Mary’s son after the flesh, and Mary’s Lord after His majesty. Now as she was not the mother of His divine nature, whilst it was by His divinity the miracle she asked for would be wrought, therefore He answered her, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” But think not that I deny thee to be my mother: “Mine hour is not yet come;” for in that hour I will acknowledge thee, when the weakness of which thou art the mother comes to hang on the cross. Let us prove the truth of this. When the Lord suffered, the same evangelist tells us, who knew the mother of the Lord, and who has given us to know about her in this marriage feast,—the same, I say, tells us, “There was there near the cross the mother of Jesus; and Jesus saith to His mother, Woman, behold thy son! and to the disciple, Behold thy mother!”5 He commends His mother to the care of the disciple; commends His mother, as about to die before her, and to rise again before her death. The man commends her a human being to man’s care. This humanity had Mary given birth to. That hour had now come, the hour of which He had then said, “Mine hour is not yet come.”

10. In my opinion, brethren, we have answered the heretics. Let us now answer the astrologers. And how do they attempt to prove that Jesus was under fate? Because, say they, Himself said, “Mine hour is not vet come.” Therefore we believe Him; and if He had said, “I have no hour,” He would have excluded the astrologers: but behold, say they, He said, “Mine hour is not yet come.” If then He had said, “I have no hour,” the astrologers would have been shut out, and would have no ground for their slander; but now that He said, “Mine hour is not yet come,” how can we contradict His own words? ’Tis wonderful that the astrologers, by believing Christ’s words, endeavor to convince Christians that Christ lived under an hour of fate. Well, let them believe Christ when He saith, “I have power to lay down my life and to take it up again: no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself, and I take it again.”1 Is this power then under fate? Let them show us a man who has it in his power when to die, how long to live: this they can never do. Let them, therefore, believe God when He says, “I have power to lay down my life, and to take it up again;” and let them inquire why it was said, “Mine hour is not yet come;” and let them not, because of these words, be imposing fate on the Maker of heaven, the Creator and Ruler of the stars. For even if fate were from the stars, the Maker of the stars could not be subject to their destiny. Moreover, not only Christ had not what thou callest fate, but not even hast thou, or I, or he there, or any human being whatsoever.

11. Nevertheless, being deceived, they deceive others, and propound fallacies to men. They lay snares to catch men, and that, too, in the open streets. They who spread nets to catch wild beasts even do it in woods and desert places: how miserably vain are men, for catching whom the net is spread in the forum! When men sell themselves to men, they receive money; but these give money in order to sell themselves to vanities. For they go in to an astrologer to buy themselves masters, such as the astrologer is pleased to give them: be it Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, or any other named profanity. The man went in free, that having given his money he might come out a slave. Nay, rather, had he been free he would not have gone in; but he entered whither his master Error and his mistress Avarice dragged him. Whence also the truth says, “Every one that doeth sin is the slave of sin.”2

12. Why then did He say, “Mine hour is not yet come?” Rather because, having it in His power when to die, He did not yet see it fit to use that power. Just as we, brethren, say, for example, “Now is the appointed hour for us to go out to celebrate the sacraments.” If we go out before it is necessary, do we not act perversely and absurdly? And because we act only at the proper time, do we therefore in this action regard fate when we so express ourselves? What means then, “Mine hour is not yet come?” When I know that it is the fitting time for me to suffer, when my suffering will be profitable, then I will willingly suffer. That hour is not yet: that thou mayest preserve both, this, “Mine hour is not yet come;” and that, “I have power to lay down my life, and power to take it again.” He had come, then, having it in His power when to die. And surely it would not have been right were He to die before He had chosen disciples. Had he been a man who had not his hour in his own power, he might have died before he had chosen disciples; and if haply he had died when his disciples were now chosen and instructed, it would be something conferred on him, not his own doing. But, on the contrary, He who had come having in His power when to go, when to return, how far to advance, and for whom the regions of the grave were open, not only when dying but when rising again; He, I say, in order to show us His Church’s hope of immortality, showed in the head what it behoved the members to expect. For He who has risen again in the head will also rise again in all His members. The hour then had not yet come, the fit time was not yet. Disciples had to be called, the kingdom of heaven to be proclaimed, the Lord’s divinity to be shown forth in miracles, and His humanity in His very sympathy with mortal men. For He who hungered because He was man, fed so many thousands with five loaves because He was God; He who slept because He was man, commanded the winds and the waves because He was God. All these things had first to be set forth, that the evangelists might have whereof to write, that there might be what should be preached to the Church. But when He had done as much as He judged to be sufficient, then His hour came, not of necessity, but of will,—not of condition, but of power.

13. What then, brethren? Because we have replied to these and those, shall we say nothing as to what the water-pots signify? what the water turned into wine? what the master of the feast? what the bridegroom? what in mystery the mother of Jesus? what the marriage itself? We must speak of all these, but we must not burden you. I would have preached to you in Christ’s name yesterday also, when the usual sermon was due to you, my beloved, but I was hindered by certain necessities. If you please then, holy brethren, let us defer until to-morrow what pertains to the hidden meaning of this translation, and not burden both your and our own weakness. There are many of you, perhaps, who have to-day come together on account of the solemnity of the day, not to hear the sermon. Let those who come to-morrow come to hear, so that we may not defraud those who are eager to learn, nor burden those who are fastidious.

TRACTATE VIII

Chapter 2:1–4.

1. The miracle indeed of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby He made the water into wine, is not marvellous to those who know that it was God’s doing. For He who made wine on that day at the marriage feast, in those six water-pots, which He commanded to be filled with water, the self-same does this every year in vines. For even as that which the servants put into the water-pots was turned into wine by the doing of the Lord, so in like manner also is what the clouds pour forth changed into wine by the doing of the same Lord. But we do not wonder at the latter, because it happens every year: it has lost its marvellousness by its constant recurrence. And yet it suggests a greater consideration than that which was done in the water-pots. For who is there that considers the works of God, whereby this whole world is governed and regulated, who is not amazed and overwhelmed with miracles? If he considers the vigorous power of a single grain of any seed whatever, it is a mighty thing, it inspires him with awe. But since men, intent on a different matter, have lost the consideration of the works of God, by which they should daily praise Him as the Creator, God has, as it were, reserved to Himself the doing of certain extraordinary actions, that, by striking them with wonder, He might rouse men as from sleep to worship Him. A dead man has risen again; men marvel: so many are born daily, and none marvels. If we reflect more considerately, it is a matter of greater wonder for one to be who was not before, than for one who was to come to life again. Yet the same God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, doeth by His word all these things; and it is He who created that governs also. The former miracles He did by His Word, God with Himself; the latter miracles He did by the same Word incarnate, and for us made man. As we wonder at the things which were done by the man Jesus, so let us wonder at the things which where done by Jesus God. By Jesus God were made heaven, and earth, and the sea, all the garniture of heaven, the abounding riches of the earth, and the fruitfulness of the sea;—all these things which lie within the reach of our eyes were made by Jesus God. And we look at these things, and if His own spirit is in us they in such manner please us, that we praise Him that contrived them; not in such manner that turning ourselves to the works we turn away from the Maker, and, in a manner, turning our face to the things made and our backs to Him that made them.

2. And these things indeed we see; they lie before our eyes. But what of those we do not see, as angels, virtues, powers, dominions, and every inhabitant of this fabric which is above the heavens, and beyond the reach of our eyes? Yet angels, too, when necessary, often showed themselves to men. Has not God made all these too by His Word, that is, by His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ? What of the human soul itself, which is not seen, and yet by its works shown in the flesh excites great admiration in those that duly reflect on them,—by whom was it made, unless by God? And through whom was it made, unless through the Son of God? Not to speak as yet of the soul of man: the soul of any brute whatever, see how it regulates the huge body, puts forth the senses, the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the nostrils to smell, the taste to discern flavors,—the members, in short, to execute their respective functions! Is it the body, not the soul, namely the inhabitant of the body, that doeth these things? The soul is not apparent to the eyes, nevertheless it excites admiration by these its actions. Direct now thy consideration to the soul of man, on which God has bestowed understanding to know its Creator, to discern and distinguish between good and evil, that is, between right and wrong: see how many things it does through the body! Observe this whole world arranged in the same human commonwealth, with what administrations, with what orderly degrees of authority, with what conditions of citizenship, with what laws, manners, arts! The whole of this is brought about by the soul, and yet this power of the soul is not visible. When withdrawn from the body, the latter is a mere carcase: first, it in a manner preserves it from rottenness. For all flesh is corruptible, and falls off into putridity unless preserved by the soul as by a kind of seasoning. But the human soul has this quality in common with the soul of the brute; those qualities rather are to be admired which I have stated, such as belong to the mind and intellect, wherein also it is renewed after the image of its Creator, after whose image man was formed.1 What will this power of the soul be when this body shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality?2 If such is its power, acting through corruptible flesh, what shall be its power through a spiritual body, after the resurrection of the dead? Yet this soul, as I have said, of admirable nature and substance, is a thing invisible, intellectual; this soul also was made by God Jesus, for He is the Word of God. “All things were made by Him, and without Him was nothing made.”

3. When we see, therefore, such deeds wrought by Jesus God, why should we wonder at water being turned into wine by the man Jesus? For He was not made man in such manner that He lost His being God. Man was added to Him, God not lost to Him. This miracle was wrought by the same who made all those things. Let us not therefore wonder that God did it, but love Him because He did it in our midst, and for the purpose of our restoration. For He gives us certain intimations by the very circumstances of the case. I suppose that it was not without cause He came to the marriage. The miracle apart, there lies something mysterious and sacramental in the very fact. Let us knock, that He may open to us, and fill us with the invisible wine: for we were water, and He made us wine, made us wise; for He gave us the wisdom of His faith, whilst before we were foolish. And it appertains, it may be, to this wisdom, together with the honor of God, and with the praise of His majesty, and with the charity of His most powerful mercy, to understand what was done in this miracle.

4. The Lord, on being invited, came to the marriage. What wonder if He came to that house to a marriage, having come into this world to a marriage? For, indeed, if He came not to a marriage, He has not here a bride. But what says the apostle? “I have espoused you to one husband, to present you a chaste virgin to Christ.” Why does he fear lest the virginity of Christ’s bride should be corrupted by the subtilty of the devil? “I fear,” saith he, “lest as the serpent beguiled Eve by his subtilty, so also your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and chastity which is in Christ.”3 Thus has He here a bride whom He has redeemed by His blood, and to whom He has given the Holy Spirit as a pledge. He has freed her from the bondage of the devil: He died for her sins, and is risen again for her justification.4 Who will make such offerings to his bride? Men may offer to a bride every sort of earthly ornament,—gold, silver, precious stones, houses, slaves, estates, farms,—but will any give his own blood? For if one should give his own blood to his bride, he would not live to take her for his wife. But the Lord, dying without fear, gave His own blood for her, whom rising again He was to have, whom He had already united to Himself in the Virgin’s womb. For the Word was the Bridegroom, and human flesh the bride; and both one, the Son of God, the same also being Son of man. The womb of the Virgin Mary, in which He became head of the Church, was His bridal chamber: thence He came forth, as a bridegroom from his chamber, as the Scripture foretold, “And rejoiced as a giant to run his way.” From His chamber He came forth as a bridegroom; and being invited, came to the marriage.

5. It is because of an indubitable5 mystery that He appears not to acknowledge His mother, from whom as the Bridegroom He came forth, when He says to her, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” What is this? Did He come to the marriage for the purpose of teaching men to treat their mothers with contempt? Surely he to whose marriage He had come was taking a wife with the view of having children, and surely he wished to be honored by those children he would beget: had Jesus then come to the marriage in order to dishonor His mother, when marriages are celebrated and wives married with the view of having children, whom God commands to honor their parents? Beyond all doubt, brethren, there is some mystery lurking here. It is really a matter of such importance that some,—of whom the apostle, as we have mentioned before, has forewarned us to be on our guard, saying, “I fear, lest, as the serpent beguiled Eve by his subtilty, so also your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and chastity which is in Christ,”—taking away from the credibility of the gospel, and asserting that Jesus was not born of the Virgin Mary, used to endeavor to draw from this place an argument in support of their error, so far as to say, How could she be His mother, to whom He said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” Wherefore we must answer them, and show them why the Lord said this, lest in their insanity they appear to themselves to have discovered something contrary to wholesome belief, whereby the chastity of the virgin bride may be corrupted, that is, whereby the faith of the Church may be injured. For in very deed, brethren, their faith is corrupted who prefer a lie to the truth. For these men, who appear to honor Christ in such wise as to deny that He had flesh, do nothing short of proclaiming Him a liar. Now they who build up a lie in men, what do they but drive the truth out of them? They let in the devil, they drive Christ out; they let in an adulterer, shut out the bridegroom, being evidently paranymphs, or rather, the panderers of the serpent. For it is for this object they speak, that the serpent may possess, and Christ be shut out. How doth the serpent possess? When a lie possesses. When falsehood possesses, then the serpent possesses; when truth possesses, then Christ possesses. For Himself has said, “I am the truth;”1 but of that other He said, “He stood not in the truth, because the truth is not him.”2 And Christ is the truth in such wise that thou shouldst receive the whole to be true in Him. The true Word, God equal with the Father, true soul, true flesh, true man, true God, true nativity, true passion, true death, true resurrection. If thou say that any of these is false, rottenness enters, the worms of falsehood are bred of the poison of the serpent, and nothing sound will remain.

6. What, then, is this, saith one, which the Lord saith, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” Perhaps the Lord shows us in the sequel why He said this: “Mine hour,” saith He, “is not yet come.” For thus is how He saith, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” And we must seek to know why this was said. But first let us there from withstand the heretics. What says the old serpent, of old the hissing in stiller of poison? What saith he? That Jesus had not a woman for His mother. Whence provest thou that? From this, saith he, because Jesus said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” Who has related this, that we should believe that Jesus said it? Who has related it? None other than John the evangelist. But the same John the evangelist said, “And the mother of Jesus was there.” For this is how he has told us: “The next day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. And having been invited to the marriage, Jesus had come thither with His disciples.” We have here two sayings uttered by the evangelist. “The mother of Jesus was there,” said the evangelist; and it is the same evangelist that has told us what Jesus said to His mother. And see, brethren, how he has told us that Jesus answered His mother, having said first, “His mother said unto Him,” in order that you may keep the virginity of your heart secure against the tongue of the serpent. Here we are told in the same Gospel, the record of the same evangelist, “The mother of Jesus was there,” and “His mother said unto Him.” Who related this? John the evangelist. And what said Jesus in answer to His mother? “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Who relates this? The very same Evangelist John. O most faithful and truth-speaking evangelist, thou tellest me that Jesus said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” why hast thou added His mother, whom He does not acknowledge? For thou hast said that “the mother of Jesus was there,” and that “His mother said unto Him;” why didst thou not rather say, Mary was there, and Mary said unto Him. Thou tellest as these two facts, “His mother said unto Him,” and, “Jesus answered her, Woman, why have I to do with thee?” Why doest thou this, if it be not because both are true? Now, those men are willing to believe the evangelist in the one case, when he tells us that Jesus said to His mother, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” and yet they will not believe him in the other, when he says, “The mother of Jesus was there,” and “His mother said unto Him.” But who is he that resisteth the serpent and holds fast the truth, whose virginity of heart is not corrupted by the subtilty of the devil? He who believes both to be true, namely, that the mother of Jesus was there, and that Jesus made that answer to His mother. But if he does not as yet understand in what manner Jesus said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” let him meanwhile believe that He said it, and said it, moreover, to His mother. Let him first have the piety to believe, and he will then have fruit in understanding.

7. I ask you, O faithful Christians, Was the mother of Jesus there? Answer ye, She was. Whence know you? Answer, The Gospel says it. What answer made Jesus to His mother? Answer ye, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” And whence know you this? Answer, The Gospel says it. Let no man corrupt this your faith, if you desire to preserve a chaste virginity for the Bridegroom. But if it be asked of you, why He made this answer to His mother, let him declare who understands; but he who does not as yet understand, let him most firmly believe that Jesus made this answer, and made it moreover to His mother. By this piety he will learn to understand also why Jesus answered thus, if by praying he knock at the door of truth, and do not approach it with wrangling. Only this much, while he fancies himself to know, or is ashamed because he does not know, why Jesus answered thus, let him beware lest he be constrained to believe either that the evangelist lied when he said, “The mother of Jesus was there,” or that Jesus Himself suffered for our sins by a counterfeit death, and for our justification showed counterfeit scars; and that He spoke falsely in saying, “If ye continue in my word, ye are my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,1 For if He had a false mother, false flesh, false death, false wounds in His death, false scars in His, resurrection, then it will not be the truth, but rather falsehood, that shall make free those that believe on Him. Nay, on the contrary, let falsehood yield to truth, and let all be confounded who would have themselves be accounted truthspeaking, because they endeavor to prove Christ a deceiver, and will not have it said to them, We do not believe you because you lie, when they affirm that truth itself has lied. Nevertheless, if we ask them, Whence know you that Christ said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” they answer that they believe the Gospel. Then why do they not believe the Gospel when it says, “The mother of Jesus was there,” and, “His mother said unto Him”? Or if the Gospel lies here, how are we to believe it there, that Jesus said this, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” Why do not those miserable men rather faithfully believe that the Lord did so answer, not to a stranger, but to His mother; and also piously seek to know why He did so answer? There is a great difference between him who says, I would know why Christ made this answer to His mother, and him who says, I know that it was not to His mother that Christ made this answer. It is one thing to be willing to understand what is shut up, another thing to be unwilling to believe what is open. He who says, I would know why Christ thus made answer to His mother, wishes the Gospel, in which he believes, opened up to him; but he who says, I know that it was not to His mother that Christ made this answer, accuses of falsehood the very Gospel, wherein he believed that Christ did so answer.

8. Now then, if it seem good, brethren, those men being repulsed, and ever wandering in their own blindness, unless in humility they be healed, let us inquire why our Lord answered His mother in such a manner. He was in an extraordinary manner begotten of the Father without a mother, born of a mother without a father; without a mother He was God, without a father He was man; without a mother before all time, without a father in the end of times. What He said was said in answer to His mother, for “the mother of Jesus was there,” and “His mother said unto Him.” All this the Gospel says. It is there we learn that “the mother of Jesus was there,” just where we learn that He said unto her, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” Let us believe the whole; and what we do not yet understand, let us search out. And first take care, lest perhaps, as the Manichæans found occasion for their falsehood, because the Lord said, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” the astrologers in like manner may find occasion for their deception, in that He said, “Mine hour is not yet come.” If it was in the sense of the astrologers He said this, we have committed a sacrilege in burning their books. But if we have acted rightly, as was done in the times of the apostles,2 it was not according to their notion that the Lord said, “Mine hour is not yet come.” For, say those vain-talkers and deceived seducers, thou seest that Christ was under fate, as He says, “Mine hour is not yet come.” To whom then must we make answer first—to the heretics or to the astrologers? For both come of the serpent, and desire to corrupt the Church’s virginity of heart, which she holds in undefiled faith. Let us first reply to those whom we proposed, to whom, indeed, we have already replied in great measure. But lest they should think that we have not what to say of the words which the Lord uttered in answer to His mother, we prepare you further against them; for I suppose what has already been said is sufficient for their refutation.

9. Why, then, said the Son to the mother, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come?” Our Lord Jesus Christ was both God and man. According as He was God, He had not a mother; according as He was man, He had. She was the mother, then, of His flesh, of His humanity, of the weakness which for our sakes He took upon Him. But the miracle which He was about to do, He was about to do according to His divine nature, not according to His weakness; according to that wherein He was God, not according to that wherein He was born weak. But the weakness of God is stronger than men.1 His mother then demanded a miracle of Him; but He, about to perform divine works, so far did not recognize a human womb; saying in effect, “That in me which works a miracle was not born of thee, thou gavest not birth to my divine nature; but because my weakness was born of thee, I will recognize thee at the time when that same weakness shall hang upon the cross.” This, indeed, is the meaning of “Mine hour is not yet come.” For then it was that He recognized, who, in truth, always did know. He knew His mother in predestination, even before He was born of her; even before, as God, He created her of whom, as man, He was to be created, He knew her as His mother: but at a certain hour in a mystery He did not recognize her; and at a certain hour which had not yet come, again in a mystery, He does recognize her. For then did He recognize her, when that to which she gave birth was a-dying. That by which Mary was made did not die, but that which was made of Mary; not the eternity of the divine nature, but the weakness of the flesh, was dying. He made that answer therefore, making a distinction in the faith of believers, between the who, and the how, He came. For while He was God and the Lord of heaven and earth, He came by a mother who was a woman. In that He was Lord of the world, Lord of heaven and earth, He was, of course, the Lord of Mary also; but in that wherein it is said, “Made of a woman, made under the law,” He was Mary’s son. The same both the Lord of Mary and the son of Mary; the same both the Creator of Mary and created from Mary. Marvel not that He was both son and Lord. For just as He is called the son of Mary, so likewise is He called the son of David; and son of David because son of Mary. Hear the apostle openly declaring, “Who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.”2 Hear Him also declared the Lord of David; let David himself declare this: “The Lord said to my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand.”3 And this passage Jesus Himself brought forward to the Jews, and refuted them from it.4 How then was He both David’s son and David’s Lord? David’s son according to the flesh, David’s Lord according to His divinity; so also Mary’s son after the flesh, and Mary’s Lord after His majesty. Now as she was not the mother of His divine nature, whilst it was by His divinity the miracle she asked for would be wrought, therefore He answered her, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” But think not that I deny thee to be my mother: “Mine hour is not yet come;” for in that hour I will acknowledge thee, when the weakness of which thou art the mother comes to hang on the cross. Let us prove the truth of this. When the Lord suffered, the same evangelist tells us, who knew the mother of the Lord, and who has given us to know about her in this marriage feast,—the same, I say, tells us, “There was there near the cross the mother of Jesus; and Jesus saith to His mother, Woman, behold thy son! and to the disciple, Behold thy mother!”5 He commends His mother to the care of the disciple; commends His mother, as about to die before her, and to rise again before her death. The man commends her a human being to man’s care. This humanity had Mary given birth to. That hour had now come, the hour of which He had then said, “Mine hour is not yet come.”

10. In my opinion, brethren, we have answered the heretics. Let us now answer the astrologers. And how do they attempt to prove that Jesus was under fate? Because, say they, Himself said, “Mine hour is not vet come.” Therefore we believe Him; and if He had said, “I have no hour,” He would have excluded the astrologers: but behold, say they, He said, “Mine hour is not yet come.” If then He had said, “I have no hour,” the astrologers would have been shut out, and would have no ground for their slander; but now that He said, “Mine hour is not yet come,” how can we contradict His own words? ’Tis wonderful that the astrologers, by believing Christ’s words, endeavor to convince Christians that Christ lived under an hour of fate. Well, let them believe Christ when He saith, “I have power to lay down my life and to take it up again: no man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself, and I take it again.”1 Is this power then under fate? Let them show us a man who has it in his power when to die, how long to live: this they can never do. Let them, therefore, believe God when He says, “I have power to lay down my life, and to take it up again;” and let them inquire why it was said, “Mine hour is not yet come;” and let them not, because of these words, be imposing fate on the Maker of heaven, the Creator and Ruler of the stars. For even if fate were from the stars, the Maker of the stars could not be subject to their destiny. Moreover, not only Christ had not what thou callest fate, but not even hast thou, or I, or he there, or any human being whatsoever.

11. Nevertheless, being deceived, they deceive others, and propound fallacies to men. They lay snares to catch men, and that, too, in the open streets. They who spread nets to catch wild beasts even do it in woods and desert places: how miserably vain are men, for catching whom the net is spread in the forum! When men sell themselves to men, they receive money; but these give money in order to sell themselves to vanities. For they go in to an astrologer to buy themselves masters, such as the astrologer is pleased to give them: be it Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, or any other named profanity. The man went in free, that having given his money he might come out a slave. Nay, rather, had he been free he would not have gone in; but he entered whither his master Error and his mistress Avarice dragged him. Whence also the truth says, “Every one that doeth sin is the slave of sin.”2

12. Why then did He say, “Mine hour is not yet come?” Rather because, having it in His power when to die, He did not yet see it fit to use that power. Just as we, brethren, say, for example, “Now is the appointed hour for us to go out to celebrate the sacraments.” If we go out before it is necessary, do we not act perversely and absurdly? And because we act only at the proper time, do we therefore in this action regard fate when we so express ourselves? What means then, “Mine hour is not yet come?” When I know that it is the fitting time for me to suffer, when my suffering will be profitable, then I will willingly suffer. That hour is not yet: that thou mayest preserve both, this, “Mine hour is not yet come;” and that, “I have power to lay down my life, and power to take it again.” He had come, then, having it in His power when to die. And surely it would not have been right were He to die before He had chosen disciples. Had he been a man who had not his hour in his own power, he might have died before he had chosen disciples; and if haply he had died when his disciples were now chosen and instructed, it would be something conferred on him, not his own doing. But, on the contrary, He who had come having in His power when to go, when to return, how far to advance, and for whom the regions of the grave were open, not only when dying but when rising again; He, I say, in order to show us His Church’s hope of immortality, showed in the head what it behoved the members to expect. For He who has risen again in the head will also rise again in all His members. The hour then had not yet come, the fit time was not yet. Disciples had to be called, the kingdom of heaven to be proclaimed, the Lord’s divinity to be shown forth in miracles, and His humanity in His very sympathy with mortal men. For He who hungered because He was man, fed so many thousands with five loaves because He was God; He who slept because He was man, commanded the winds and the waves because He was God. All these things had first to be set forth, that the evangelists might have whereof to write, that there might be what should be preached to the Church. But when He had done as much as He judged to be sufficient, then His hour came, not of necessity, but of will,—not of condition, but of power.

13. What then, brethren? Because we have replied to these and those, shall we say nothing as to what the water-pots signify? what the water turned into wine? what the master of the feast? what the bridegroom? what in mystery the mother of Jesus? what the marriage itself? We must speak of all these, but we must not burden you. I would have preached to you in Christ’s name yesterday also, when the usual sermon was due to you, my beloved, but I was hindered by certain necessities. If you please then, holy brethren, let us defer until to-morrow what pertains to the hidden meaning of this translation, and not burden both your and our own weakness. There are many of you, perhaps, who have to-day come together on account of the solemnity of the day, not to hear the sermon. Let those who come to-morrow come to hear, so that we may not defraud those who are eager to learn, nor burden those who are fastidious.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Philippians Chapter 4

Posted by Dim Bulb on December 9, 2021

Text in purple indicates Fr. MacEvilly’s paraphrase of the scripture he is commenting on. 

In this chapter, the Apostle exhorts the Philippians to persevere in Christian virtue (Ph 4:1), to practise concord and charity (Phil 4:2-3); to rejoice always, notwithstanding their afflictions (Phil 4:4); to display a mild evenness of conduct, free from all extremes of passion (Phil 4:5); in every occurrence, to exercise acts of petition to God for future blessings, and thanksgiving for the past (Phil 4:6). He wishes them an increase of interior peace and joy (Phil 4:7). He sums up all his moral precepts, and exhorts them to the practice of everything good and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8–10). He commends their past and present liberality towards himself, and this he values not so much on account of being placed thereby beyond the reach of want, as on account of the charity manifested on their part; for, as to himself, he was enabled by God’s grace, to accommodate himself to every turn of fortune, as well in enduring want and privation, as in enjoying abundance (Phil 4:11–17). He concludes with the usual salutation, wishing them the full enjoyment of all spiritual blessings.

Phil 4:1  THEREFORE my dearly beloved brethren and most desired, my joy and my crown: so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

1. Wherefore, my brethren—whom I love affectionately, and am most anxious to behold, who are the subject of my joy and the occasion of the crown to be given me for having effected your conversion—persevere steadfastly, my dearly beloved, in the Christian faith, as I have pointed out to you, both by example and teaching,

“Therefore,” since such great glory, both as to soul and body, is promised you by Christ. “So stand fast to the Lord;” persevere in a Christian life, following me, and those who imitate me, as models. “My joy and my crown.” For every Prelate and Pastor his people must be the source of his joy and crown, or, of his sorrow and damnation.

 Phil 4:2 I beg of Evodia and I beseech Syntyche to be of one mind in the Lord.

 2. I entreat Euodia, and Syntyche, laying aside all differences, to have but one mind and will, to live in charity and concord for the sake of the Lord.  

 These were two women of quality residing at Philippi, who had rendered great service to the Apostle in the work of converting the Philippians. From this verse it appears that there must have been some misunderstanding between them at this time. In place of feelings of estrangement, he Apostle, however, beseeches; them to substitute charity and unanimity.

Phil 4:3 And I entreat thee also, my sincere companion, help those women who have laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement and the rest of my fellow labourers, whose names are in the book of life.

3. And I entreat thee also, my sincere and faithful colleague, to assist these women (either in administering to their temporal support, or in bringing about a reconciliation), who, with Clement and my other fellow-labourers, whom I cannot here enumerate, but whose names are enrolled in the book of life, have laboured with me in promoting the cause of the gospel.  

 “Book of life,” means the catalogue of those predestined for grace or glory—which catalogue is treasured up in the prescience of God. This book of life is referred to by Moses (Exodus, 32:22)—and David says, “may they be blotted out from the book of the living.”—(Ps. 68). It is most probable that he refers to the predestination of these to grace, in which case, their names are inscribed in an incomplete, conditional way; when there is question of predestination to glory, their names are inscribed absolutely and completely. “My sincere companion” (σύζυγε γνησι) probably refers to the Bishop of Philippi, who may have been Epaphroditus. Some Protestants refer it to St. Paul’s wife, but in the 7th chap. 1st Ep. to Cor., St. Paul equivalently asserts that he was unmarried. Again, the words are masculine in the Greek, and although, by an Attic turn, they might have a feminine signification, still, it is improbable that St. Paul, not well versed in the Greek tongue, wrote in the Attic dialect. All the Fathers (with the exception of Clement of Alexandria, who holds that the Apostle, though married, was still continent), concur in saying that St. Paul was unmarried. Besides, to use the reasoning of Œcumenius, can we suppose that in a letter addressed to the entire Church, St. Paul would address his wife?—why leave her at Philippi?—why not leave her at Tharsis, or Jerusalem, and not be bringing her about with him—a thing he expressly denies his having done in reference to any woman?—1st Cor. 9. Hence, the word “companion,” in Greek, yoke-fellow, is mataphorically understood of some faithful co-operator in planting the gospel.

Phil 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: again, I say, rejoice.

4. Rejoice always in the Lord, notwithstanding your persecutions and losses—again, I say, rejoice. 

Fr. MacEvilly offers no comment. 

Phil 4:5 Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh.

5. Let, however, your dignified Christian bearing and deportment, free from all extremes of passion, whether of joy or sorrow, be known to all men, so as to edify both the faithful and the unbelievers; for, the Lord is near.

“Modesty;” your even mildness of conduct, free from all extremes of passion, “The Lord is nigh.” The Apostle usually proposed the near approach of judgment, which with all men virtually commences at death, as the great leading motive of perseverance in good works, which will then receive a reward, and for patiently enduring crosses and miseries of every kind, which will then cease, and will ensure “an eternal weight of glory.” Oh! if we kept the judgment of God always before our eyes, how different would our conduct be from what it is! How patiently would we submit to God’s holy will in sufferings—how fervently would we advance in the way of perfection, could we but frequently reflect that “the Lord is nigh!”
 Phil 4:6 Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God.

6. Therefore, be not over anxious for the concerns of this world, but in every occurrence, by fervent supplications and entreaties for future blessings, as well as by acts of thanksgiving for the past, let your petitions be offered up in such a way as to please God, and cause him to lend an ear to them.

Since the Lord is shortly to come from heaven to judge us, and to crown our patience, we should betray no excessive solicitude as regards the sufferings of this life, The words of this verse are a consequence of the words of the preceding verse: “the Lord is nigh,” as he is soon to come to judge us, we should show no excessive anxiety for the things of this life.  

Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

7. And may the interior tranquility and consolation of God’s spirit, consequent on the performance of good actions, which surpasses all understanding, guard your wills, your intellects and entire hearts, against all fears and anxieties whatever, that might lead you astray from virtue and the service of Christ Jesus.

Fr. MacEvilly offers no comment on this verse.   

 Phil 4:8 For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline: think on these things.

8. To bring to a conclusion, and sum up in a word all my moral precepts, whatever things are true—either as opposed to falsehood in language or dissimulation in action—whatever things are brave, becoming, and honourable in conduct; whatever things tend to establish and preserve the relations of justice towards our neighbour; whatever things are chaste and pure from all carnal defilement; whatever things tend to beget the love and well-grounded esteem of others: whatever things are calculated to insure a good reputation; if there be anything that is regarded as virtuous and good; any mode of living that is praiseworthy; make these things the subject of your consideration, so that you may know how to practise them, with the greatest advantage, in proper time and circumstances.

He sums up all his precepts in this one, which is a most comprehensive precept of morality. “Whatsoever modest.” In Greek, σεμνα, grave, or venerable. “Whatsoever holy.” In Greek, ἁγνα, the meaning of which is, chaste. For it, probably (“αγια,”) “holy,” might have been inserted., “Of good fame.” The first of earthy goods is a good reputation, “habe curam de bono nomine.”—Eccles. 41

 Phil 4:9 The things which you have both learned and received and heard and seen in me, these do ye: and the God of peace shall be with you.

9. Whatever things you have learned from me when instructing you, or received from me by writing, or heard of me when absent, or seen done by me when present; do these things, and the God of peace will be always with you—imparting and communicating his blessings to you.

The things that I have preached, written, spoken, and exemplified in my conduct, these things do.   

 Phil 4:10 Now I rejoice in the Lord exceedingly that now at length your thought for me hath flourished again, as you did also think; but you were busied.

10. I have rejoiced exceedingly, with a truly Christian and spiritual joy, that the solicitude you formerly felt for me, though relaxed for some time, has again revived. However, as an apology for this remission, it can be said, that you have always the will and the affection, but had no opportunity of manifesting it (either from want of means, or of a trusty messenger by whom to send your aid).

Some Expositors say that he does not imply in this verse, that their attention and solicitude for him had relaxed; that the meaning of the verse is—your solicitude for me has revived; according to the feelings of your heart, it is now manifested; and it was only the want of opportunity that prevented you from manifesting it earlier. It would seem, however, that there is a silent reproach conveyed in this verse, for which he makes the best excuse that could be made, “a want of opportunity,” as is explained in Paraphrase, the meaning also of the Greek word, ἠκαιρεῖσθε δέ  

Phil 4:11 I speak not as it were for want. For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, to be content therewith.

11. The subject of this joy is not so much on account of your having relieved my want (as on account of the charity which you manifest). For, I have learned to be contented with whatever may befall me in the different circumstances in which I may chance to be placed.

He removes all suspicion or his having felt this joy in consequence of being relieved from want. He rejoiced at the succour sent him, not so much on account of its having placed him beyond the reach of want, as on account of the charity which it displayed on their part. As for himself, he learned from experience to be content with whatever might befall him.   

Phil 4:12 I know both how to be brought low, and I know how to abound (every where and in all things I am instructed): both to be full and to be hungry: both to abound and to suffer need.

12. I know how to use with moderation every turn of fortune—both to bear the want of the necessaries of life, or to turn them to account when they abound. For, I have been fully initiated and practised in the Christian exercise of endurance under all circumstances—to be satiated with abundance of food, or to suffer hunger—to abound in the other necessaries, or bear the want of them.

“I know both how to be brought low,” i.e., to be in want; for, it is opposed to “I know how to abound.” “Suffer need,” is opposed to “abound,” in the end of this verse. Hence, the word “brought low,” means to be brought low by want. (“Everywhere and in all things I am instructed.”) The Greek for “instructed,” μεμυημαι, means to be, initiated in mysteries; hence, it means here to be initiated and practised in the exercises of a Christian and Apostolic life. These words are commonly read within a parenthesis. There is no necessity, however, for such a construction. They may be connected with the following words, thus:—In all things have I been initiated and instructed, both to be full, and to be hungry, i.e., to be content when I have a sufficiency of food, and when I suffer hunger. “To abound and suffer need,” are more extensive in their signification than the preceding—they denote the want of clothing and of other necessaries, as well as that of food.   

Phil 4:13 I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me.

13. I can do all these things and everything else required of me, not through any power of my own, but through the grace with which Christ interiorly strengthens me.

Lest in the preceding he might appear to be attributing too much to himself, he corrects any such false conception, and ascribes all to the power of God. “I can do all in Christ corroborating me,” is the Greek reading.   

Phil 4:14 Nevertheless, you have done well in communicating to my tribulation.

14. Still, you have done well in relieving my distress by contributing out of your temporal substance for that purpose.

He adds this, lest they might imagine that he did not duly appreciate their goodness, by saying that their generosity did not afford him joy in consequence of relieving his wants, because he is content under all circumstances, whether of plenty or want; he, therefore, praises them for their generous charity.   

Phil 4:15 And you also know, O Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but you only.

15. And you know also, O Philippians! and you could bear witness to the fact, that when I first preached the gospel to you, and afterwards departed from Macedonia (to go into Achaia), no other Church, except your own, contributed anything that I could place to the account of given and received.

The circumstance of their’s being the only Church to relieve him, tends more to their praise, and at the same time, clears him from every charge or suspicion of avarice; for, no other Church contributed, and he would not receive aid from some particularly from the Churches of Achaia.   

“As concerning giving and receiving.” In this, he alludes to the account-books of merchants, wherein are entered separately the sums expended and the sums gained in trade. The Philippians had given temporal goods, and reaped spiritual blessings. Hence, almsdeeds, and contributions towards the support of those engaged in preaching the gospel, may be regarded in the light of a lucrative traffic, in which spiritual and heavenly blessings are purchased by temporal goods, This, of course, is not to be understood in a mercenary or simoniacal spirit.—(See 1 Cor. 9:11

Phil 4:16 For unto Thessalonica also you sent once and again for my use.

16. For you repeatedly administered to my wants, when I was at Thessalonica.

Fr. MacEvilly offers no comment on this verse.
Phil 4: 17 Not that I seek the gift: but I seek the fruit that may abound to your account.

17. This I do not say as if I were anxious for gifts; what I am anxious about is, the abundant gains resulting from them to your credit.

He still alludes to the account-books of the merchants. Temporal alms purchase eternal glory. The almsgiver keeps a book of account with God, and lends to the Lord, who will pay him back with great interest.

Phil 4:18 But I have all and abound: I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things you sent, an odour of sweetness, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God.

18. I have received all your presents, and in consequence abound in the means of subsistence. I have a sufficient supply of the necessaries of life, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent by him as a sacrifice of sweet odour, an offering acceptable and pleasing to God.

“An odour of sweetness.” Alms-deed is an incense of most sweet fragrance—it is even “a sacrifice”—an offering most pleasing to God.   

Phil 4:19 And may my God supply all your want, according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

19. And I pray that my God may supply you with all things of which you stand in need, according to the abundance of his riches, and may these temporal goods lead to your eternal glory through Christ Jesus.

The Greek readings vary, as regards the word “want.” Some read “grace;” others, “joy.” Ours is, however, the most probable. “According to his riches in glory,” &c., which some interpret “the riches of his glory.”  

Phil 4:20 Now to God and our Father be glory, world without end. Amen.
20. But to God, who is also our Father, be glory for ever and ever.—Amen.
Phil 4: 21 Salute ye every saint in Christ Jesus.

21. Salute every Christian who has been sanctified in Christ Jesus.

Fr. MacEvilly offers no comment on these verses.

Phil 4:22 The brethren who are with me salute you. All the saints salute you: especially they that are of Caesar’s household.

22. The brethren, who visit me and minister to me in prison, salute you. So do all the Christians here; but especially such of them as belong to the household of the Emperor, Nero.

From this verse, it appears, that St. Paul had converts even among the courtiers of Nero. 

Phil 4:23 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

23. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Fr. MacEvilly offers no comment on this verse.

The common Greek subscription has: “Written to the Philippians from Rome, through Epaphroditus.” The Codex Vaticanus has: “Written to the Philippians from Rome.”

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Fr. MacRory’s Summary of 1 Corinthians Chapter 1 With Commentary on 1:1-3

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 30, 2021

Text in red indicates my additions.

A SUMMARY ANALYSIS OF 1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 1

In the introduction to the Epistle (1 Cor 1:1-9) the apostle begins with a salutation (1 Cor 1:1-3), to which succeeds a thanksgiving for past divine favours conferred upon the Corinthian Church (1 Cor 1:4-7), and the expression of a well-grounded hope for the continuance of such favours in the future (1 Cor 1:8-9). Then the body of the Epistle opens with a solemn appeal against divisions and in behalf of unity (1 Cor 1:10), followed by a brief account of the nature of these divisions as reported to him (1 Cor 1:11-12), a summary reprobation of them (1 Cor 1:13), and a thanksgiving to God that St. Paul himself had given no occasion for them (1 Cor 1:14-17). As one of the chief causes of these divisions was an undue importance attached by the Corinthian Christians to  worldly learning and eloquence in their teachers, the Apostle now  shows that it was by Christ’s authority and for the greater glory of  the Cross of Christ that he had preached as he did (1 Cor 1:17-18). Such  a Gospel had been foretold (1 Cor 1:19) ; and whether account be taken of the Christian preachers (1 Cor 1:20) or the doctrine they preached (1 Cor 1:21-25) or the converts they made (1 Cor 1:26-28), God has set the wisdom of the  world at nought, in order that the triumph of the Christian faith  may not be due to human means (1 Cor 1:29), but to God alone in Christ  Jesus (1 Cor 1:30-31). 

COMMENTARY ON THE OPENING SALUTATION
1 Cor 1:1-3.

1 Cor 1:1.  The Apostle begins by declaring his Apostolic dignity. Many have held that he does so because his authority had been already questioned at Corinth. This is possible, but it must be borne in mind that in other Epistles where there could be no such motive, he begins by asserting his Apostleship (1 Tim 1;1; 2 Tim. 1:1; Tit. 1:1). An opening reference to it was natural in order to lend weight to his words. 

 “Called to be an Apostle.” This rendering of κλητὸς ἀπόστολος (kletos  apostolos), which is that of the Rheims version, is adopted also by the Revised Version. The words, which occur elsewhere in combination only in Rom. 1:1, prove that St. Paul had a Divine call to the office of Apostle. They hardly prove, what we know otherwise to be the fact (Acts 9:15-16), that he was called immediately by Christ, for in the next verse here we have the phrase ” called to be saints ” applied to the Christians of Achaia or of Corinth itself, and it cannot be meant that they were called immediately by Christ without man’s intervention. It is not clear whether we ought to read “Jesus Christ” with manuscripts such as A L P, Syr., Copt., Arm., Aeth., or “Christ Jesus” with manuscripts B D E F G 17, Am. The point is not important, but has interest in connection with the Apostle’s general usage. 

“By the will of God.” It was God’s will, not his own desire nor man’s choice, that was the cause of St. Paul’s being raised to the dignity of the Apostleship. God’s will, then, which is equivalent to God’s command (1 Tim. 1;1), had imposed upon him not only the dignity but also the duties of an Apostle. “And Sosthenes the brother.” Sosthenes must have been well and favourably known to the Christians of Corinth, secing that St. Paul associates him with himself in this salutation. The only person of the name mentioned in Scripture was the Ruler of the Synagogue in Corinth on the occasion of the Apostle’s first visit to the city (Acts 18:17). Very probably it is he that is referred to here. If so, he had already embraced the Christian faith, and was now with St. Paul at Ephesus. Deissmann (Bible Studies, pp. 37, 142) shows that long before Christians employed it in this sense, ἀδελφός (adelphos = brother)  was used of a fellow member of a religious body.

1 Cor 1:2. “To the Church of God that is at Corinth.” ἐκκλησίᾳ (ekklesia = church) which the Latins borrowed, designated in classical Greek the plenary deliberative assembly of all the free citizens of a city. With St. Paul it means sometimes a local] assembly of the faithful (1 Cor 1:18); then, in a wider sense, as here, all the faithful of a city or district; then, in a still wider sense, all the faithful—the Church, as we say now (e.g., 1 Cor 10:32; 15:9; Gal. 1:13).

“To them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus.” Many good authorities read this clause immediately after “to the Church of God,” and before “ that is at Corinth.” Whichever reading be followed, the sense is that in Baptism the members of the Church have been cleansed from their sins and sanctified separated from the world and united in Christ Jesus to the God of sanctity. The plural ἡγιασμένοις () coming after the collective singular, is probably meant to give prominence to the individual responsibility of the sanctified ; while the perfect participle does not merely mean, as the aorist would, that they were once sanctified, but implies that their sanctity still does or ought to continue. 

  Called to be saints.” As remarked already, this cannot mean that the Corinthian Christians had been called immediately by Christ. They had been called by God, but through the immediate agency of St. Paul and his fellow-workers. It is very significant that St. Paul habitually speaks of all Christians as “saints” (1 Cor 6:1-2; 14:33; 16:1, 15; Rom. 1:7; 8:27; 15:25, 26, 31, etc.), implying thereby that all are sanctified in Baptism, and called to a life of holiness. 

“With all that invoke the name,” etc. If this clause is to be connected with the opening words of the verse, as seems more probable, then the sense is that the Apostle salutes not only the church of Corinth, but with it all the Christians of the Roman Province of Achaia, of which Corinth was the capital (cf. 2 Cor. 1;1). The words: “in every place of theirs and ours” will then mean: in all the places that have Corinth for their metropolis, and us for their Apostles, and the same people will thus be saluted as in 2 Cor. 1:1. Others prefer to connect the present clause with “ called to be saints,” and then the meaning is that the Apostle salutes the Corinthian Christians, who are called to be saints with the same call given to all who invoke the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place. In this view the last words of the verse: “of theirs and ours” are most naturally connected with ” the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” as though the Apostle wrote: Did 1 say of our Lord?! Rather I ought to say “of their Lord and ours.” In neither of these views is the salutation directed to all the churches of the world ; in the first it is directed to all the churches of Achaia, in the second to the church of Corinth alone ; and certainly no view of the verse can be correct which would extend the salutation to all Christians and make the Epistle “Catholic,” for such a view is opposed to the whole tenor of the Epistle, which attends throughout to the needs and circumstances of a particular church or at most of the churches of a particular locality. 

1 Cor 1:3.  In vers1 we have the senders of the greeting, in verse 2 the recipients, and here the greeting itself. This form of salutation, with very slight changes in a few instances, is used by St. Paul in the beginning of all his Epistles. By “ grace ” some understand with Eatius (on Rom. 1:7) all the gratuitous gifts of God that lead to salvation, and by “ peace ” the calm and undisturbed possession of them—that holy and happy calm which the world can neither give nor take away. This peace is indeed itself a grace, but it is the fruit of all the others and their crown, and perhaps for this reason is mentioned separately. Others understand by “grace” God’s favour or goodwill (Luke 1:30), and by “peace” all spiritual bleesings flowing from that goodwill as their cause. 

 “From God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” It follows from this that to St. Paul Jesus Christ was God, since He is regarded equally with the Father as the source of grace and peace. For the gratuitous gifts that lead to Heaven can have only God as their source. Christ, then, is the source of grace, nor can the words be fairly interpreted in any other sense. Grammatically, indeed, they could mean “ from God the Father of us and of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and in that case there would be no argument afforded by the present text for Christ’s Divinity, but that meaning is absolutely excluded by many parallel , where ἡμῶν (“our”) does not occur and where the formula is: “from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:3; Eph. 6:23; 2 Tim. 1:2; Tit. 1:6; 2 Cor. 13:3; Philem. 25). By “God our Father” is meant here tho First Divine Person. The Blessed Trinity could indeed be called “our Father,” as in the Lord’s Prayer, but the mention of the Second Divine Person here immediately after, shows that the First Person is meant. As Christ can be called Lord without excluding the Father from Lordship, so the Father is called God without excluding Christ from Divinity.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Hebrews 5:1-6

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 19, 2021

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly’s brief analysis of Hebrews chapter 5, followed by his commentary on the reading. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.

ANALYSIS OF HEBREWS CHAPTER FIVE

 Having introduced the subject of Christ’s priesthood rather abruptly in the preceding chapter (Heb 4:14), the Apostle undertakes in this to show, from the distinguishing marks and qualities which characterised the Aaronic priesthood (for, it is to the Levitical priests, he refers in instituting this comparison), that Christ too was a priest, as possessing in a more excellent degree the qualities of the Aaronic priests. He first points out what these distinguishing qualities are (Heb 5:1–4), and next applies them to Christ. The first note or quality of a priest, viz., that he be a man, he forbears from applying to Christ, as requiring no application, it was a thing known to all. The second, viz., his offering gifts, &c., he defers for a fuller exposition, in a subsequent part of the Epistle. He treats of the two remaining notes, and applies them to Christ, commencing with the last He shows that Christ had as divine a call to the priesthood, as had Aaron or his sons (Heb 5:5-6).

He then applies to him the third mark, viz., his capability of compassionating sinners, and referring to his infirmities and sufferings during his mortal life, he shows that he had an experimental knowledge of the arduous nature of obedience, and of the difficult of avoiding sin (Heb 5:7-8). And having attained consummate glory by suffering, he became to all his true followers, the cause of eternal glory, by the merits of his passion, which, as High Priest, he offered up in sacrifice for us, having been declared by his Father, a pontiff, according to the order of Melchisedech (Heb 5:9-10).

Although he has much to say concerning this priesthood of Melchisedech, and its relation to Christ, he defers treating of it, until he first gives them further instruction in the principles of faith, which, notwithstanding the length of time they had been professing Christianity, they very much needed

Heb 5:1. For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in the things that appertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins:

 (In order to establish the assertion made 4:14, &c.—viz., that Christ is our high priest, whom we should approach with confidence, it is merely required to show that he has the qualities and marks of a high priest, such as we know to be necessary for a high priest of the Levitical order). Every high priest, then (of the Levitical order), is taken from among men, and is also constituted by his office in behalf of men, to manage their affairs with God, and to act as their mediator with him. This duty he principally discharges by offering up in sacrifice the gifts voluntarily presented, as also those prescribed by law.

The first quality of a priest is to “be taken from among men,” i.e., to possess human nature. The second is derived from his office, which is to manage the affairs of men, which regard God. And the duty of this office is principally discharged in offering up sacrifice for men. “Gifts,” voluntary oblations, presented by the people. “Sacrifices,” those enjoined by law.

 Heb 5:2. Who can have compassion on them that are ignorant and that err: because he himself also is compassed with infirmity.

He should also be possessed of a merciful, kind disposition to sympathize with and compassionate sinners of every description, bearing in mind that he himself is surrounded with the infirmities of our sinful nature. 

The third, is to have a merciful, kind disposition to sympathize with sinners The Greek for “have compassion,” μετριοπαθειν, means, to be possessed of a capability of sympathizing with a degree of moderation, which would enable him to observe a dignified mean between harsh severity on the one hand, and misplaced clemency on the other. The latter defect is frequently abused by the perverse, in the further commission of sin. “Ignorant and err,” extend to all sinners, even those who commit sins that are not the result of ignorance; for, they too are fit objects of compassion. “Because he himself is surrounded with infirmities.” The Apostle refers to the infirmities of sin, as appears from the following verse. This note applies to Christ only as far as the sanctity and perfection of his nature will permit. Hence, it will apply to him, so far as regards the common infirmities and possibility of human nature, which he felt, but not so far as sin is concerned; nor is this required, because the liability to sin is a defect in a priest; and hence, follows the perfection of Christ’s priesthood; since, he possesses all the good qualities, without any of the defects of other priests.

  Heb 5:3. And therefore he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

And it is because of this sinful infirmity with which every priest is surrounded, that the Levitical priest is bound by the Law of Moses (Leviticus 4:3) to offer up sacrifice for his own sins, as well as for those of the people. 

And it is on account of this sinful infirmity to which every priest is subject, that the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 4:3) prescribes, &c. 

Heb 5:4Neither doth any man take the honour to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was.

Again, no legitimate priest ever arrogates to himself, unauthorized, the honour of the priesthood; he alone is a true and legitimate priest who is called by God, as was Aaron

The fourth mark or character is a divine vocation, like that of Aaron and his successors. Aaron was called by God, and ordered to be consecrated (Levit. 8) with the sacerdotal succession, secured to his family. Hence, the necessity of a vocation for the ecclesiastical state, as well as of ordination in the Church. Hence, schismatics and heretics cannot, without sin, perform ecclesiastical functions, not being deputed by God or his Church. Their call is the rebellious usurpation of Core, Dathan, and Abiron, to whom, as they are likened in ministering, so shall they be also in punishment, rather than the divine call of Aaron and his successors transferred to and perpetuated in the holy, Catholic Church.

Heb 5:5. So Christ also did not glorify himself, that he might be made a high priest: but he that said unto him: Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten thee.

Hence it was, that Christ did not take to himself the glorious quality of high priest; it was bestowed on him by his heavenly Father; for, it was the same who addressed him (Psalm 2) as his natural son—“Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee;” (see commentary below verse 6).

Heb 5:6. As he saith also in another place: Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech.  

That addressed to him also, as we find in another passage (Psalm, 110), these words—“Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech;” and thus conferred on him the sacerdotal dignity

 (Comments on 5-6). He now applies these marks to Christ. He passes over the first altogether, it being evident that Christ was a man, and, therefore, needed no application. The application of the second he reserves for chapters 7, 8, 9, of this Epistle; the other two he here applies, commencing with the fourth. Christ did not arrogate to himself, unauthorized and uncommissioned, the glory of the priesthood. He was called to it by his Father. For, it was the same who said to him, “Thou art my Son,” &c., that also said, as we find it in another place, “Thou art a priest,” &c., and by the very fact of saying it, constituted him such. Christ, then, had the fourth mark of a true priest, viz., a vocation from God. And instead of saying, God the Father, said to him, “Thou art a priest,” &c., the Apostle says, “He who said to him, thou art my son,” &c., also said, “Thou art a priest,” &c., to insinuate the superiority of Christ, as priest and Son of God at the same time, over Aaron or any other.

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St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 100

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2021

Psalm 100
The prophet exhorteth all by his example, to follow mercy and justice

Ps 100:1 Mercy and judgment I will sing to thee, O Lord: I will sing,

This is a sort of preface to the Psalm, in which David gives us to understand that he is about to sing of the mercy and judgment of God, for which he has many reasons; first, that all may understand that his own good works proceed from the mercy of God, and will be crowned hereafter by the judgment of God. Secondly, to admonish princes that nothing pleases God so much as mercy and judgment; and, therefore, that it behoved them to be merciful without being unjust, to be just without being cruel. Thirdly, that all men should hope in God’s mercy, while they dread his judgment; but to hope, without presuming, and to fear, without despairing. He names mercy first, for the present life is that of mercy, the future that of judgment; so that no one need be surprised if, for the present, “he makes his sun to rise upon the good and the bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust.”

Ps 100:2 And I will understand in the unspotted way, when thou shalt come to me. I walked in the innocence of my heart, in the midst of my house.

I will consider on, reflect, and think upon the perfect and unspotted way, that consists in mercy and judgment; for “all the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth.” A similar expression occurs in Psalm 40, Blessed is he that understandeth concerning the needy and the poor;” which means, he considers the misery of the poor with a view of relieving them; thus also, “I will understand in the unspotted way” means, I will consider it attentively, with the view of walking in it. That I never will be able to do of myself, by my own strength, but by the help of your grace, “when you shall come to me,” to enlighten, teach, inflame, and move me. “I walked in the innocence of my heart, in the midst of my house.” He now commences relating his mode of life, as worthy of imitation both by his successors and by his subjects; for it is for this purpose that the king sits on an elevated seat, “that, like a candle placed on a candlestick, he may shine unto all.” He first explains his position with himself and with God; next, with others, and in the eyes of his people. “I walked in the innocence of my heart;” I led or walked the life of this world, preserving my innocence most completely; thinking of nothing, seeking nothing, delighting in nothing but what was good; most careful in keeping my heart from being polluted by sinful thoughts or desires; for I knew the heart to be the source of life and of death. Hence his son Solomon, educated by such a father, afterwards wrote, “With all watchfulness keep thy heart, because life issueth out from it.”—“In the midst of my house.” Where there was no one to censure me; for many will conduct themselves with great gravity and decorum in the streets or market place, while they revel in all manner of licentiousness in their houses or their chambers, especially in the chambers of their hearts; while David kept his innocence unstained, not only in his house, but also in his heart.

Ps 100:3 I will not set before my eyes any unjust thing: I hated the workers of iniquities.

What he said of the innocence of his heart he now says of his eyes and of his hands. “I did not set before my eyes any unjust thing;” I turned away the eyes of my mind as well as of my body from all injustice, whether in deciding between my subjects or in the distribution of honors and promotions, or in bargains and contracts; and furthermore, from all sinful objects, illicit sports, impure revels, and from all manner of objects that could possibly defile the soul. “I hated the workers of iniquity.” I not only turned away my eyes from forbidden objects, and did no manner of iniquity, but I even hated all those guilty of it; and thus, got a thorough detestation of iniquity itself.

Ps 100:4 The perverse heart did not cleave to me: and the malignant, that turned aside from me, I would not know.

After telling his position in regard of himself, he now tells us how he stood in regard of others; and such was his position that the wicked would not even dare to approach him. Great must be the virtue of anyone, when others have such an opinion of his sanctity, that the wicked shrink from even appearing in his presence. Such should all princes and prelates be, who are set up by God to give good example to others. “The perverse heart did not cleave to me.” The ill disposed avoided me, “and the malignant, that hath turned aside from me, I would not know.” When the wicked would cut and fly from me, I took no trouble about them and sought not their acquaintance.

Ps 100:5 The man that in private detracted his neighbour, him did I persecute. With him that had a proud eye, and an unsatiable heart, I would not eat.

Another royal virtue, in which mercy and judgment are most conspicuous, is now touched upon. For kings have power to punish the wicked; and many, more through hatred of their neighbor than from a love of justice, bring charges against those they wish to injure and seek to oppress them by falsehood and calumny; and King David, in his wisdom and justice, most severely punished such unjust complainants, and thus exercised his mercy on the unjustly accused and his justice on the false accusers. “The man that in private detracted his neighbor,” when anyone falsely accused his innocent neighbor, and in private would take from him his character with me, I not only gave no ear to him but I punished him severely. “Him did I persecute.”—“With him that had a proud eye and unsatiable heart I would not eat.” David had a thorough hatred not only of detractors, but of the proud and the avaricious, and justly. For no greater misfortune can befall a people than to have the king’s ministers proud or avaricious. They abuse their power in satisfying their avarice, to the great injury of those under them. The meaning, then, is, I never admitted to my table, or used the slightest familiarity with him “that had a proud eye,” one who by his looks and his bearing betrayed his pride: “and an unsatiable heart,” to whose avarice and cupidity there were no bounds. That the king’s principal ministers were accustomed to sit at the same table with him may be seen in 1 Kings 20, where David, who was then general, and even Abner, who was a subaltern officer, sat at table with Saul the king.

Ps 100:6 My eyes were upon the faithful of the earth, to sit with me: the man that walked in the perfect way, he served me.

Having shut out detractors, the proud, and the avaricious from his friendship and from his service, David now adds that he was wont to relent the faithful and the upright, two qualities absolutely necessary in good ministers, to be faithful to their master, and upright in everything that regarded their own and their neighbor’s salvation. It often happens that ministers are kept in the employment of their sovereigns, and are much regarded by them by reason of their being so faithful to them, no matter how depraved and abandoned they may be in other respects, or how much harm they may be doing to themselves and to others through their bad example: but holy David’s ministers should be not only faithful to him, but unstained and unblemished, and like himself in every respect. He, therefore, says, “My eyes were upon the faithful of the earth.” I looked about and sought for the faithful; or I looked with an eye of favor on those whom I knew to be faithful, and selected them; “to sit with me,” at my table, as so many friends and companions. “The man that walked with me in the perfect way, he served me.” And furthermore, if there was any other subject or citizen however unknown to or unacquainted with me, provided he bore a good character, and led an irreproachable life, he was adopted as my prime minister.

Ps 100:7 He that worketh pride shall not dwell in the midst of my house: he that speaketh unjust things did not prosper before my eyes.

Having expressed his horror of those who displayed their arrogance by the pride of their eyes, he now declares his disgust with those whose actions savored of pride; that is, with those who proudly oppressed their neighbor. And as he previously reprehended those who secretly detracted their neighbor, he now censures and excludes from his company all those who have recourse to lies, in order to deceive any manner of people. “He that worketh pride,” whose actions savor of pride, who proudly insults or oppresses others, “shall not dwell in the midst of my house,” shall not be reckoned among my friends or domestics. “He that speaketh unjust things,” lies, by which he deceives others in business transactions, or in anything else, “did not prosper before my eyes;” did not please me, and therefore, got no grace from me to make him prosper.

Ps 100:8 In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land: that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.

He concludes the Psalm by showing the amount of his zeal in purging the city of the Lord, therein dealing mercifully with the good, who had been hitherto crushed and oppressed by the wicked, and inflicting condign punishment from the latter for their oppressions. “In the mornings” speedily, quickly, before vice could have taken root; “I put to death all the wicked in the land,” all those who deserved death, and whose life could not be spared without danger to the innocent. And that was done by me in order “that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity,” to restore peace and tranquillity to the inhabitants of God’s holy city, by weeding out all the disturbers therein. All the Psalm, though spoken by David in his own person, is more applicable to Christ, especially this last verse; for David did all in him lay to banish all bad members from the city of the Lord, but he did not succeed, and never could succeed therein; but Christ, in the morning of the world to come, will really and truly cut off and scatter all the workers of iniquity, and thenceforward the holy city of the heavenly Jerusalem will be what its name implies, a vision of peace.

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St Robert Bellarmine’s Commentary on Psalm 52

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2021

Psalm 52
David condemns the wickedness of Doeg, and foretells his destruction

Explanation of the Psalm

Ps 52:1 Why dost thou glory in malice, thou that art mighty in iniquity?

1 Cicero, in his oration against Catiline, thus commences, “How long, Catiline, will you trifle with our patience?” and in the same style David commences with a similar interrogation, for the purpose of sharpening his rebuke. “Why dost thou glory in malice, thou that art mighty in iniquity?” Doeg, the Idumean, boasted that by his accusations he had ruined a priest of the Lord, and his entire family; for when Saul heard from Doeg that David had been hospitably received by Achimelech the priest, he burst into such a rage, that he not only ordered Doeg to put Achimelech to death, but also eighty-five other priests that were along with him; he then sacked their city, slaying men and women, babes and sucklings, nay, even the sheep, cows, and asses. See what a torrent of evil flowed from the calumny; so that he justly deserved to be styled “Mighty in iniquity.”

Ps 52:2 All the day long thy tongue hath devised injustice: as a sharp razor, thou hast wrought deceit. 

2 He draws a highly wrought picture of Doeg’s false information, first saying that it was not a sudden, but a long premeditated information. “All the day long thy tongue hath devised injustice.” You were constantly turning in your mind how to frame the false accusation, and, at length, when the opportunity offered, your tongue brought forth what it had been hatching for such a length of time; for, though thoughts are produced by the mind, David poetically attributes them to the tongue, as if the tongue was so radically bad in itself, that, though apparently silent, it was, in thought, speaking to itself. He then adds that the thing was put into execution with as much speed as a sharp razor would cut; elegantly contrasting the delay in forming the resolution with the celerity of putting it into execution; and, in fact, he lost very little time, when he got the opportunity, of carrying out what he had so long been hatching; for, in a very few words, he persuaded Saul that Achimelech the priest had entered into a conspiracy with David, which was a grievous deceit and imposition; and he, therefore, says, “As a sharp razor, thou hast wrought deceit;” that is, you deceived Saul, just as easily as a sharp razor cuts through the hair.

Ps 52:3 Thou hast loved malice more than goodness: and iniquity rather than to speak righteousness. 

3 He tells us the source of that calumnious accusation, and says that it did not proceed from ignorance or accident, but from the perversity of the man; who always preferred evil to good, and lies to truth. “Thou hast loved malice more than goodness;” you were always more pleased to injure than to serve your neighbor; “and iniquity rather than to speak righteously,” to tell lies rather than truth. Observe, that instead of opposing falsehood to “speaking righteously,” he opposes “iniquity” to it, insinuating thereby, that Doeg’s falsehood was not one simply so, or a mere lie; it was more, because it caused the death of Achimelech, and was thus an “iniquity.”

Ps 52:4 Thou hast loved all the words of ruin, O deceitful tongue. 

4 He assigns further reason for calling Doeg’s conduct a lie and an iniquity, and says it was a truly fatal, pernicious falsehood, causing, as it did, the ruin of so many innocent people. “Thou hast loved all the words of ruin;” all the language by which you could hurry innocent people headlong to their ruin and perdition; and it appears from the first book of Kings, that Doeg’s lies caused the destruction of an entire City. “O deceitful tongue”—of Doeg.

Ps 52:5 Therefore will God destroy thee for ever: he will pluck thee out, and remove thee from thy dwelling place: and thy root out of the land of the living.

5 He predicts that Doeg’s sin will not go unpunished, but that everlasting ruin is in store for him, in return for the temporal ruin of the priests, of which he was the cause. “Therefore will God destroy thee forever.” For this your sin God will utterly destroy you, not only in this world, but in the next; so that you shall be ruined for eternity, left absolutely desolate in this world, and damned forever in the world to come; such being the just retribution of the wicked, who, in seeking to injure others, injure themselves forever. He then explains in particular what he had laid down in general, saying, “He will pluck thee out.” The first stage of your punishment will be your banishment, the loss of your home, property, and country, sending you abroad an exile and a wanderer; “And thy root out of the land of the living,” will eradicate you and all your posterity from the earth; for children are like roots, shot out by the parents, which afterwardssupport and nourish him in turn.

Ps 52:6 The just shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, and say:
Ps 52:7 Behold the man that made not God his helper: But trusted in the abundance of his riches: and prevailed in his vanity.

6–7 Many will profit and be instructed by the punishment of the wicked informer. “The just shall see and fear;” just and holy people will consider his case, and be horrified; “And shall laugh at him, and say: Behold the man who made not God his helper, but trusted in the abundance of his riches;” will laugh at him for having acted most foolishly, for not putting his trust in God, who is all powerful, instead of the frail riches of this world, which are so easily lost. “And prevailed in his vanity;” will jeer him for having endeavored to advance by fraud and lies, instead of true and solid virtue. The expression “prevailed,” does not imply that he really did prevail, but that he thought he might prevail; and, though he may seem to do so for a time, the end will prove that he had to yield, instead of prevailing; “When the just shall stand in great constancy against those who hemmed them in,” Wisdom 5.

Ps 52:8 But I, as a fruitful olive tree in the house of God, have hoped in the mercy of God for ever, yea for ever and ever. 

8 He concludes the Psalm by showing that he has taken quite a different path; for I will not be plucked up, nor rooted out as a withered tree, like Doeg; but I will send down my roots deeper and deeper, like “A fruitful olive tree,” always in bloom, always bearing fruit; and, being such, I have, consequently, “hoped in the mercy of God forever;” hoped that God would assist me forever, and to eternity. Observe the contrast he draws between himself and Doeg, the Idumean, comparing him to a dry log, and himself to a fruitful olive tree; he predicts that Doeg will be rooted out of the land, while himself will be rooted in the house of God. Doeg put his trust in his own riches; David in God’s mercy.

Ps 52:9 I will praise thee for ever, because thou hast done it: and I will wait on thy name, for it is good in the sight of thy saints. 

9 He returns thanks for a thing to happen, as if it had actually been done; for the future, as regards God and the prophets, is a matter of certainty, of the past. “I will praise thee forever;” I will always praise thee, “because thou hast done it;” have come to the determination of confounding him that trusteth in his riches, and consoling and comforting him that hopeth in thee. “And I will wait on thy name;” I will always hope in thee; such is the meaning of “Wait on thee;” and the name of God is used here for God himself. “For it is good in the sight of thy saints.” I will justly hope in your name, for your name is most sweet to the saints who have tasted of his sweetness.

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Catechism References to the Eucharist

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 7, 2021

Someday I may get ambitious and provide all the links. For now all I can do is provide a link (in a new tab) to the catechism search engine. Just type into the “search the catechism” box the reference number(s) you want to read. Go Here.


Eucharist, 1322–1419

as an act of thanksgiving, 1359
as a memorial, 1357, 1362
as presence, 1373–75
as sacrifice, 1362–72
as source and summit of Church life, 1324
See also Consecration; Sacrament(s); Transubstantiation

effects of the Eucharist

cleanses and separates us from sin, 1393–95, 1436, 1846
commits us to the poor, 1397
communicates the mystery of the communion of the Holy Trinity, 950, 2845
establishes the community of believers, 805, 1396, 2637
as a foretaste of the future life, 1000, 1326, 1402–05, 1419
as growth in Christian life, 1392, 1397, 1644
as an increase of the grace received in Baptism, 1392
as the source of conversion and penance, 1436
as spiritual food, 1212, 1275, 1436, 2837
transforms man through Christ, 1074
unites with Christ, 790, 1003, 1391
unites Christians, 1398
unites with the heavenly liturgy, 1370
we participate in Christ’s sacrifice, 1322

Eucharistic celebration

commanded by Jesus, 1341–44, 1356
elements in the Mass
anaphora, 1352–54
collection, 1351
communion, 1355, 1382, 1570
epiclesis, 1105, 1353
fundamental structures, 1346
gathering of the Christian faithful, 1348
Liturgy of the Word, 1349
presentation of the gifts, 1350

Eucharistic communion

access to Eucharist prohibited, 1650
first Holy Communion, 1244
frequency of, 1388–89
minister of, 1411
necessary preparation for receiving, 1385–87
requirements for receiving, 1355, 1415
sacrilege against, 2120
under two species, 1390

Eucharistic signs

altar, 1383
bread and wine, 1333–35

Liturgy of the Word because of the impossibility of celebrating the
Eucharist, 2183
necessity of the Eucharist and receiving Communion, 1384
participation in, 2042, 2181–82
place for celebration of, 1180–81
places reserved for, 1181, 1379
Sunday, 2177, 2181
and the unity of Christians, 838, 1398–1401

history of the Eucharist

ancient celebration of the Lord’s Day, 1342–43, 2178
Mass of all ages, 1345
origins of the Eucharistic celebration, 2176
prefigurings of the Eucharist, 1094, 1335
structure of the Eucharistic celebration preserved throughout the centuries, 1346

identity of the Eucharist

act of thanksgiving and praise to the Father, 1358–61
communion of the Lord’s body and blood, 1097, 1382
memorial of Christ’s sacrifice, 611, 1337, 1357–58, 1362–72, 1382
memorial of the New Covenant, 1621
mystery of Christ’s action, 2718
presence of Christ, 1357–58
presence of the coming Kingdom, 1405, 2861

sacrament of

Christian initiation, 1212, 1533
communion, 1382, 1395
Redemption, 1846
sacraments, 1169, 1211

source of charity, 864, 1395
source and summit of Christian life, 1324–27

institution of the Eucharist

“Do this in memory of me,” 1341–44
Jesus and, 1337–40
purposes of, 610, 1341

minister of the celebration of the Eucharist. See Bishop; Priest

names of the Eucharist

the Breaking of Bread, 1329
Daily bread, 2837
the Eucharist, 1328
the Eucharistic assembly, 1329
Holy Communion, 1331
the holy and Divine Liturgy, 1330
Holy Mass, 1332
the Holy Sacrifice, 1330
the Lord’s Supper, 1329
Memorial of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection, 1330
the Most Blessed sacrament, 1330
the sacrament of sacraments, 1169, 1211
the sacrifice of the Mass, 1330
the sacrifice of praise, 2643

presence of Christ in the Eucharist

enduring Eucharistic presence of Christ, 1377
in the Eucharistic assembly, 1348
in the Eucharistic species, 1373
faith in Christ, 1381
in the Liturgy of the Word, 1088, 1349
in the priest, 1348
significance of, 1380
transubstantiation of Christ declared by the Tridentine Council, 1376
true and mysterious, 1357, 1373–77
true, real, and substantial, 1374
veiled presence of Christ in the Eucharist, 1404
worship of latria and the adoration of, 1378–79

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