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.

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). .

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

The Easter season ends with Pentecost Sunday, but I have included Trinity Sunday and the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood under the “Easter Season” heading. They are also listed below under the “Solemnities and Feasts” heading.

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
Trinity Sunday: Year C. Years A and B pending.
Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood.

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.

VARIES: Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood. Traditionally falls on a Thursday, 60 days after Easter. In some place however it is transferred to the Sunday Following Trinity Sunday.

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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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:16-24

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 10, 2022

Text in red, if any, are my additions

2 Cor 8:16. But thanks to God, who gave the same solicitude for you, in the heart of Titus.
2 Cor 8:17. Because indeed he accepted the exhortation; but since he was very earnest, of his own will he set out to you.
2 Cor 8:18. We have sent also with him the brother whose praise is in the Gospel through all the Churches.
2 Cor 8:19. And not that only, but also was ordained by the Churches as a companion of our pilgrimage, for this grace which is ministered by us, to the glory of the Lord, and our destined good will.
2 Cor 8:20. Avoiding this, lest any blame us in this plenitude which is ministered by us.
2 Cor 8:21. For we provide what is good, not only before God, but also before men
.

(2 Cor 8:16-17) I thank God that Titus was as zealous as myself to engage in your service, and did not need exhortation to do so, for he goes of his own accord. He (Titus) was one of the bearers of this letter, and though the Apostle says he set out, he must have written before Titus had actually left. This is the opinion of St. Chrysostom. (2 Cor 8:18) One of his companions is the well-known Evangelist, whose praise is in all Churches, for the Gospel he has written, and preaches; and who has been especially commissioned to accompany me with a view to this special service, the administration of the fund for the Christians of Judea. (2 Cor 8:19) Our destined good will,  or purpose and resolution to this effect, is in the Greek, for the glory of the Lord and the exhibition or declaration of your readiness and zeal. (2 Cor 8:20) And also because, being entrusted with the care of very large sums of money, I am anxious to avoid all suspicion or calumny, and do not choose to encounter alone the responsibility of conveying it. (2 Cor 8:21) For we should regard, not our conscience only, but the eyes of the world, and avoid suspicion. Our conscience is our own affair, says Saint Augustine, but our good fame affects our neighbours.

The brother referred to in 2 Cor 8:18 is by Theodoret supposed to be St. Barnabas. But it is certain that St. Barnabas was not now the companion of St. Paul. Baronius thinks it was Silas; but the majority of writers agree in the received opinion, which is that of St. Jerome, that it means the Evangelist St. Luke. St. Ignatius, writing to the Ephesians, uses the same phrase, in referring to St. Luke, which is here used by St. Paul; whose praise is in the Gospel.

2 Cor 8:22. And we have sent with them also our brother, whose zeal we have proved on many occasions; and now is much more zealous, from his great confidence in you.
2 Cor 8:23. Whether for Titus, who is my companion, and coadjutor towards you, or our brethren, they are Apostles of the Churches, a glory of Christ.
2 Cor 8:24. Exhibit to them, therefore, the attention which belongs to your charity, and our glory for you, in the face of the Churches
.

(2 Cor 8:22) Together with Titus and Luke, we have sent another, who is not named, but is characterised as habitually — diligent in any business entrusted to him, and most anxious to undertake this commission, from his confidence in you. In the Greek, these last words are simply with great confidence in you, and are by some interpreters considered to refer to what follows. I send these three in perfect confidence that you will accord them a suitable and honourable reception. (2 Cor 8:23) Titus is my colleague or companion in my apostolical journey; the other two are Apostles of the Churches, who must be distinguished from the Apostles of Christ; and are worthy of the splendid title which St. Paul further adds. (2 Cor 8:24) I am sure you will accord them such a reception as may be expected from your charity, and such as will bear out all I have said to them in your praise; and in doing so you will be paying a mark of attention and respect, not to them only, but to the Churches from whom they are sent.

COROLLARY OF PIETY

The Christians of Macedon were a model and pattern for the Christians of all time; first, because they were joyful under tribulation, which is certainly, from the nature of the case, a supernatural grace; and secondly, that in their poverty, they were liberal in giving. They gave to the full extent of their power to give. They gave beyond the full extent of their power to give, if that is possible. They gave of their own accord, not waiting to be asked. They entreated to be allowed to give. And they gave, not their goods only, but themselves, ready in all things to obey the will of God. This is true charity, and what we should endeavour to imitate. Give to God your heart, yourself, your life, and all you have, offering and consecrating all these, of your own free will, to the Church and to the poor. And when about to give alms, like the Macedonians, first offer your heart to God: them ratify and confirm that gift by free and generous almsgiving to the poor. Look upon almsgiving as a tribute and acknowledgment of God as your Lord, and Lord of all that is yours; give therefore humbly and with reverence. So will God accept you, and accept your gift. God looked first upon Abel, and then upon the offerings he brought (Gen. 4:4). He regards the heart of the giver, before He looks at the gift. And do not despise the person you relieve. He may be richer than you. The Lord of the universe mendicavit (begged), says Erasmus. He was Lord of the universe still, but poor in outward things, for your sake. And therefore he condescends to be represented by the poor, because it was among them that, when on earth, he chose to take his lot.

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 10, 2022

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

In this chapter the Apostle earnestly requests the Christians of Greece to contribute liberally to the relief of the destitute Christians of Judea, urging the noble example set by the Macedonians in this respect.

2 Cor 8:1. AND we make known to you, brethren, the grace of God, which is given in the churches of Macedonia:

The grace of God in the churches of Macedonia. Given to the churches of Macedonia; but since the whole Church shares in the graces and gifts of God, he regards this grace as a blessing and happiness bestowed upon the whole Church of Christ. He proceeds to explain what it was.

2 Cor 8:2. That in much experience of tribulation there was great abundance of their joy; and the depth of their poverty abounded unto the riches of their simplicity.
2 Cor 8:3. Because according to their strength, I bear them witness, and beyond their strength, they were ready and willing.
2 Cor 8:4. With much exhortation entreating of us, the grace and communication of the ministry made for the saints.
2 Cor 8:5. And not as we hoped, but gave themselves first to the Lord, then to us by the will of God.
2 Cor 8:6. So that we requested Titus, that as he began, so he would complete in you also this grace
.

(2 cor 8:2) First, that in great affliction and persecution they were favoured with overflowing and abundant joy. This. is not an unusual accompaniment of persecution, as is noted in the lives of many saints. Saint Chrysostom says that the joy experienced in persecution is deeper than imagination can conceive, and cannot be described in human language. The nature of the sufferings endured by the Christians of Macedon is not told us in detail, but that it was very great appears from 1 Thess. 1:6; You received the word in great tribulation, with joy of the Holy Ghost. Secondly, that in the midst of great poverty and destitution, not unlike that which had fallen upon the Christians of Judea, and was owing to similar causes (see 1. Thess. 2:14) their poverty, deep and extreme as it was, overflowed in a large, wealthy, and generous liberality, which was offered in complete sincerity and simplicity of heart. Joy and exultation in trouble, munificent liberality in deep poverty, are evident signs and proofs of the omnipotence of God, operating in the midst of human frailty. This wonderful grace of God, conferred upon one portion of the Church, is a just subject of admiration, thankfulness, and rejoicing to the Church at large. (2 Cor 8:3) They did not even wait to be asked, but volunteered of their own accord, presenting gifts not only to the full extent of their means, but even beyond them, as I can testify, being on the spot and witnessing it. (2 Cor 8:4) With great earnestness and many entreaties they implored me to permit them, and arrange for them, to have a part in this ministry of grace and communication for the relief of the saints, as the Christians of Judea were called par excellence. According to the Greek text, which is followed by Theodoret, but not by the Syriac version, or the Vulgate, they implored me to receive and take charge of the ministry of grace and communication, that is, of the sums of money they collected. (2 Cor 8:5) They did, further, what I did not expect, for they offered themselves first to the Lord, and to us by God’s will; that is, they appointed some of their number to be at my disposal, and to go with me, or for me, to Jerusalem to convey the sums collected. (2 Cor 8:6) And this splendid example has encouraged me to make it a particular charge to Titus, who is one of the bearers of this letter, to urge you to similar liberality, thus completing the task he began among you during his recent visit to Greece.

2 Cor 8:7. But as in all things you abound in faith, and words and science; and in all solicitude, and further in your charity towards us, so you may abound also in this grace.

You are already well known and conspicuous, on account of the wonderful graces which God has so largely and liberally bestowed upon you; the gift of faith, the gift of languages, the gift of divine knowledge, the gift of diligence in administration, and the gift of charity, which last you have specially and abundantly manifested in your conduct towards me. I would have you, therefore, abundant also in the grace of liberality towards the poor.

2 Cor 8:8. I do not speak as though in command; but through the solicitude of others proving the good disposition also of your charity.

I am not saying this as giving you an explicit command, though it might be within my power to do so; but by calling your attention to the diligence and fervour which have been exhibited by others, I wish to make trial of the practical reality of your charity, and the sincerity of your good dispositions. The Greek word γνήσιον (gnesion) signifies ‘genuineness, ingenuousness, generosity, sincerity. To prove it, to make it more conspicuous and illustrious.— Theophylact.

2 Cor 8:9. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that on your account He became poor, when He was rich, that by His indigence you might be rich.

For you need not be reminded that our Lord Jesus ‘Christ, though He was rich, became poor for you, was born in a stable, had no home in which to lay His head, and dying, was buried in another’s sepulchre, that by His poverty in temporal things you might be enriched ir spiritual things, in faith, piety, justice, grace, in glory in the eternal and enduring riches that are in the life to come. There is no possible or conceivable degree of liberality to others which that example will not cover or out-distance.

2 Cor 8:10. And in this I am giving you a counsel; for this is. useful to you, since you have not only begun to do it, but also desired it last year.
2 Cor 8:1111. Now, therefore, complete it also in fact; that as the mind of the will is ready; so there may also be readiness. in bringing it to completion from what you possess.
2 Cor 8:12. For if the will is prompt, according to what everyone has, it is accepted, not according to that he has not.
2 Cor 8:13. Not that there may be to others remission, and to you tribulation, but by equality.
2 Cor 8:14. That at the present time your abundance may supply their want; and that their abundance may be the supplement of your want; that there may be equality.
2 Cor 8:15. As it is written: Who much, abounded not; and who little, was not deficient
.

(2 Cor 8:10) I give you, not a command, but a counsel, and one useful to yourselves, for the eternal reward you will obtain. St. Chrysostom says that if there were no poor, our salvation would be in a great part prevented, scattered, overthrown; for we should have nowhere to invest our money. (2 Cor 8:11) You formed the intention last year, or a year ago, and have since actually begun to put it in execution; now, therefore, complete it without further delay, that the zeal of the intention may ripen into performance of the deed. (2 Cor 8:12) Where there is good will, God accepts it, regarding the quality of the will that gives, rather than the amount of the gift given, and asking, not for what we have not, but for what we have. (2 Cor 8:13) Not that others should live in luxury and you be starved. The Thessalonians gave beyond their power; I do not ask of you this; but, St. Chrysostom adds, he asked it not, as knowing their weakness. (2 Cor 8:14) Yet there should be some balance and equalisation, even of this world’s goods, among those who have the same hope of immortality. Your abundance in temporal things will supply their temporal wants; their abundance of spiritual grace will, through their progress, increase your spiritual grace and consolation. (2 Cor 8:15) Thus there will be balance and equality in another sense, as among the people of Israel when they gathered the manna (Ex 16:18).

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians Chapter 7

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 10, 2022

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

In this chapter the Apostle expresses the lively satisfaction and joy which he experienced in receiving from Titus the intelligence of the repentance of the Corinthian Christians, and of their favourable reception.of his former letter.

2 Cor 7:1. Having, therefore, these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from the defilements of flesh and spirit, perfecting sanctification in the fear of God.

This verse properly belongs to the last chapter, and forms the conclusion of the argument there maintained. Having these promises, that we are to be for ever the temple of God, and have God’s presence dwelling within us, for ever His sons and daughters, and have Him for ever for our Father, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement, either of the flesh, as luxury, gluttony and the like; and of the spirit, pride, envy, heresy. Making perfect, and cultivating to its true development, the sanctification we received in. Baptism; and doing so in the fear of God. For the fear of God is not the beginning only, but the end of true sanctification. Filial fear is not inconsistent with love, but the contrary; for in the earthly relation they always go together. Be ye cleansed, who bear the vessels of the Lord (Isaiah 52:11). The Christian priest is in a certain. sense the Father of Christ, by consecration; and the: Temple of Christ, whom he receives daily in the Mass.

2 Cor 7:2. Receive us. We have injured no one, we have corrupted no one, we have defrauded no one.
2 Cor 7:3. I am not saying it to your condemnation: for we have said before that you are in our hearts, to die with you, and live with you.
2 Cor 7:4. Much is my trust in you, much is my glorying for you, I am filled with consolation, with superabundant joy in all our tribulation
.

(2 Cor 7:2) Receive us. The Greek word is Χωρήσατε (choresate): make room for, contain, or hold us. The Vulgate, Capite nos, receive us without reserve, scruple, or suspicion, into your fullest confidence and affection. After the brief digression at the conclusion of the last chapter, the Apostle here returns to his defence of himself. The calumnies circulated against me are groundless and untrue. We have done wrong to none, corrupted none by false teaching, taken no profit or advantage from any. There are others who do, and are less worthy of your regard than we. (2 Cor 7:3) I do not use this language in complaint of you, as if you suspected or accused me. It is not you, but those who seek to mislead you, who are my accusers. For you I entertain the fullest and most sincere affection, so that I would gladly die with and for you, gladly spend the rest of my life with you. (2 Cor 7:4) It is my confidence in you that leads me to speak thus freely. I frequently speak of you to others as attached and devoted to me. The thought of you fills me, not with consolation only, but with a joy so deep that it outweighs all the troubles and annoyances I endure, and obliterates the recollection of it.

2 Cor 7:5. For, when we had come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, and we suffered every tribulation, fightings without, fears within.

Those troubles and annoyances were anything but trifling and insignificant. From my first arrival in Macedonia (from Ephesus) they left me no rest, outwardly and in the flesh. His spirit reposed, says Saint Anselm, in the hope of a reward to come, while his flesh felt the pain of present affliction. The soul of Paul was invincible, says Theophylact. Without were struggles with our persecutors, and fears within of fresh persecutions to come; or of possibly occasioning scandal to the faith; or for the faith of his new converts, as St. Anselm thinks; or from false brethren within the Church. There are false brethren; sons, but bad sons, who do not blaspheme Christ or oppose us openly, but who worship Christ with us, and persecute Him in us, as Absalom his father. Of such the Church is afraid lest they lead others astray, for they are a source of great and real danger.—Saint Anselm. It is observed that St. Luke makes no mention of these persecutions in Macedonia in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 20.

2 Cor 7:6. But He Who consoles the humble, God, consoled us in the coming of Titus.
2 Cor 7:7. And not only in his coming, but also in the consolation by which he was consoled in you, reporting to us your desire, your weeping, your emulation for me, so that I the more rejoiced.
2 Cor 7:8. So that although I made you sad in my letter, I do not repent: though I repented when I saw that the epistle, though only for an hour, made you sad
.

(2 Cor 7:6) God, the consoler of the downcast, consoled us by the arrival of Titus; (2 Cor 7:7) not by his presence only, though, as you now know, this was in itself no slight encouragement, but especially by the report he brought of you; your earnest desire of amendment, your grief for your sins, your zeal in my defence, so that I had consolation greater than the sorrow I felt in writing such a letter. (2 Cor 7:8) I almost repented having written it, knowing the sorrow it must cause you, and hearing of that which it did in effect cause you. The Greek reads: I repent no longer, because I see the Epistle really made you sorry, though only for an hour; but the sense of the Vulgate, as given above, seems clearer.

2 Cor 7:9. Now I rejoice, not that you are saddened, but that you were saddened to penance; for you were saddened according to God, so that in nothing you suffer loss from us.
2 Cor 7:10. For the sorrow which is according to God operates penance to salvation which endures; but the sorrow of the world operates death.
2 Cor 7:11. For behold this very thing, that you were saddened after God, how great solicitude it operates in you; but defence, but indignation, but fear, but desire, but emulation, but revenge, in all you have shown yourselves pure in the matter.
2 Cor 7:12. Therefore, though I wrote to you, it was not on his account who did wrong, nor on his who suffered ; but to make evident the solicitude which we have for vou in the presence of God
.

(2 Cor 7:9) Now I have no regret, but only gladness, not because you grieved, but because your grief was occasioned by the offence you gave to God, and such sorrow not only does no harm, but is of infinite advantage to the soul. (2 Cor 7:10) Sorrow that springs from love of God produces salutary and durable repentance; sorrow occasioned by love of this world, and of the creature, kills the soul. He who mourns lost riches, does not recover them; he who sorrows for a lost friend, does not restore him to life; he who grieves for the pain of disease, does not thereby cure it. And he has his mental sorrow in addition to his pain. But he who sorrows for his sins alone sorrows to any purpose, for he obtains remission of them.—-Saint Chrysostom. (2 Cor 7:11) Your sorrow first made you solicitous to remove the scandal, then anxious to defend yourselves from participation in it; then indignant with the offender; then afraid of the recurrence of such cases; then desirous of making satisfaction; then zealous for God’s honour, or for mine; them determined to punish the guilty. Thus you have cleared. yourselves from participation in guilt. (2 Cor 7:12) And this was the real reason I wrote to you on the subject; not simply for the salvation of the sinner, or for satisfaction to the person: injured (a father whose second wife had been taken away from him by his son), but in discharge of my pastoral duty: and solicitude towards you, and for the protection of the: Church from evil example. But the Syriac reads: To make known in God’s presence your diligence, or respect and affection for me. The meaning of the Greek appears: to be: That your zeal for me may become known publicly to yourselves, before God.

2 Cor 7:13. Therefore we were consoled: and in our consolation we were abundantly rejoiced at the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all.
2 Cor 7:14. And if I boasted of you to him, I am not confused but as we spoke to you all things in truth, so also our glorying, which was to Titus, became truth.
2 Cor 7:15. And his affection is more abundantly in you; remembering the obedience of you all: how with fear and trembling you received him.
2 Cor 7:16. I rejoice that in all I confide in you
.

The consolation which was imparted to me by the report: which Titus brought of you from Corinth, was greatly augmented by witnessing his own joy and satisfaction at all that he had seen and heard in Greece, and perceiving how greatly it had refreshed his soul. I had spoken much to him in your praise, and should have been put to shame if he had not found you all that my report had prepared him to expect. As you found I was right, and all things. true I said to you; so he acknowledged that I did not exaggerate in all I had said to him of you. The respect and affection with which he regarded you were increased by the recollection of the reception you gave him, as my representative, and the reverence and awe with which you listened to him. I acknowledge with joy that I can trust you in all things, and that there is nothing good and noble which I may not expect and ask from you. And I am now about to put this expectation to the test.

COROLLARY OF PIETY

Sorrow is the lot of all mankind, and various in its: causes as the multifarious objects of desire from which they hope to derive pleasure and satisfaction. For all end. in disappointment. Riches elude our grasp, friends die or are estranged, animosities, inexplicable and apparently causeless, encounter us; suffering or poverty is the lot of the greater number in their path through life. And it is wisely so ordained. It was not so in the Garden of Eden, for the sense of God’s presence, and the vision or conception of His glory, raised the thoughts and hearts. of man above this world, and there was no danger of too great attachment to created things, even amid the sunshine and flowers of Paradise, withdrawing the heart of man from God. But that vision, all but a far-off reflection of it, has passed from the sight of men, and in its absence, in the fulness of our longing for joy, and affection, and appreciation of beauty, which is the attribute of the human soul, we should be in danger of falling down and worshipping the creature, rather than the Creator, were it not for the attendant footsteps of sorrow and disappointment, which follow us day by day from the cradle to the grave. So we learn that the satisfaction of our desires cannot be here. But there arc two ways of meeting sorrow. The sorrow of the world worketh death. At first, like children, who beat the

thing that hurts them, we turn round upon the earthly instrument, whoever it may be, through whom God chastens us, and upbraid or hate it. When we learn better than this, we turn round upon God, and upbraid or hate Him, as the real author of our misery. And so, in hopeless despondency, and gloomy sullenness, refusing the kindness which would reconcile us, and repulsing the aid of the hand that would console us, we go despairing and wrathful to our graves. But it need not be so, and God does not so intend it. Sorrow is part of our lesson of life: part of our conformity and assimilation to Christ: part of our penance for our sins. Accepted generously, it fits us for immortality, becomes the cross which leads to glory, procures for us forgiveness of sin. Sorrow according to God, taken as God sends it, operates penance, does penance for us, in salutem stabilem (steadfast in safety).

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians Chapter 6

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 7, 2022

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

In this chapter the Apostle earnestly exhorts the Corinthian Christians to holiness of life, and to shun the dangerous society of unbelievers.

2 Cor 6:1. AND in aid of God we exhort you, lest in vain you receive the grace of God.

As ambassadors of God, aiding Him in His work of salvation, we exhort you not to render the gift of God’s grace, conferred upon you by our ministry, useless and ineffectual. The grace of God, says Saint Anselm, is the remission of sins, which is rendered useless to those who do not, after receiving it, persevere in good works. The same writer says elsewhere: The grace of God is the power of doing that which is good, a power depending on God— without Me you can do nothing; and it is received in vain by him who labours not with God’s help, and adds not to it his own endeavours to fulfil God’s wil by God’s assistance.

2 Cor 6:2. For He says: Ina time accepted I heard thee, and in a day of salvation I succoured thee. Behold now the acceptable time ; behold now the day of salvation.

God said to Christ on the cross (Isa 49:8): In an acceptable time I have heard Thee, and in the day of salvation I have helped Thee. That acceptable time is now, for Christ is crucified. Before Christ it was not day but night, says Saint Thomas; all shadows and darkness. Before Christ there was no salvation, for none attained to saving faith, or to the vision of God. Now is the day of salvation. Day, for the light has shone; salvation, for salvation 1s obtained in Christ.

2 Cor 6:3. To none giving any offence, that our ministry may not be spoken against.

Saint Paul implies, in this passage, that his exemple, and that of his fellow-labourers, in their brave endurance of suffering and persecution, should not be thrown away upon his readers, but nerve them to similar firmness in resisting attacks upon their faith, a quality in which it is evident he feared they were deficient. Secondly, he defends himself and his colleagues against the calumnies of their opponents. And thirdly, he tacitly rebukes the cowardice, self-indulgence, and other vices of those opponents themselves, by comparison and contrast.

We are careful not to give offence to any, lest blame should fall upon our ministry. The Syriac: lest there be a mole on our ministry. Whose life is despised, says Saint Gregory, his preaching will also be despised. A public sinner sins by preaching, says St. Thomas.

2 Cor 6:4. But that in all things we may exhibit ourselves as.God’s ministers, in much patience, in tribulations, in necessities, in perplexities,

In all things, times, and circumstances, showing ourselves to be fit ministers of God; and in the example of every virtue. In much patience, not in patiently enduring suffering once, but again and continually. He places patience first, as the foundation of every good quality, and especially the foundation of the Apostolic life. Then he particularises the circumstances in which this patience has to be exercised. In tribulations, common or ordinary distresses or annoyances. In necessities, poverty and destitution, great and pressing; in perplexities, anxieties, solicitudes, grave and critical.

2 Cor 6:5. In stripes, in prisons, in tumults, in labours, in vigils, in fasts,

In stripes or blows, with whips or stones. He says more on this subject in chapter 11. of this Epistle. In prisons or dungeons, in which he was more than once immured, as in one notable instance in Philippi, recorded in Acts 16. In tumults or seditions, the people being stirred up to insurrection against him, as occurred not long before at Ephesus, and not long after at Jerusalem. In labours, incurred in travelling and in the fulfilment of his ministry, as well as in toiling for his own maintenance and support (Acts xviii. 3). In vigils, for prayer, or teaching, or toiling. In fasting, of necessity, through poverty; and voluntarily, for mortification, to give effect to his prayers.

2 Cor 6:6. In chastity, in science, in long-suffering, in sweetness, in the Holy Spirit, in charity not feigned, 

In chastity, the special mark of the true Church of God; science, the knowledge of the faith and of the holy scriptures; long-suffering, or patience, and charity towards those who injured or offended him; sweetness, or gentleness to all; in the exercise of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; and in charity, not in word only, but in act and deed, not feigned, but real.

2 Cor 6:7. In the world of truth, in the power of God, by the arms of justice on the right hand and the left. 

In the word of truth. In the faithful and sincere enunciation of the true Gospel of God; and the attestation of it by the power of miracles, by the armour of justice, with which we are girded to the right and left, always kept faithful to God, and always just.

2 Cor 6:8. Through glory and dishonour, through infamy and good repute: as seducers and true, as those who are unknown and known.

Whether honoured or despised, well or ill spoken of, Christ’s soldiers are to march, guarded on right and left by the armour of justice, by which they protect themselves from the assaults of the devil. In prosperity fear, in adversity be confident.—St. Anselm. In glory they are not to exult, in infamy not be daunted; so will they preserve justice. St. Thomas: Called impostors and seducers, we continue to speak the truth; seeming to be ignoble and obscure, we are in reality conspicuous, famous, and well known.

2 Cor 6:9. As the dying, and behold, we live; as chastised and not slain: 

We seem always about to die; yet God saves us from death. We are punished by magistrates, imprisoned, flogged, yet we are never killed.

2 Cor 6:10. As sad, and always rejoicing; as poor, and making many rich; as having nothing, and possessing all.

We look as if we were depressed and saddened by the multiplied evils we endure, yet we always rejoice interiorly in God. Poorest of the poor, we enrich many, not with spiritual goods only, but with temporal things also, as administrators of the alms of the Church. The sums of money of which the Apostles became trustees and distributors, appear from many indications in the New Testament to have been at times very considerable indeed. (See Acts 4:34, 6:3, 1 Cor 16:3.) If they adopted a life of poverty it was not from necessity, or want of funds at their disposal. We have nothing, have stripped ourselves of all possessions, like St. Barnabas (Acts 4:36), yet we find all that is necessary for our support by the providence of God. It is the prerogative of evangelical poverty to have nothing, wish for nothing, despise all for Christ, and in Christ possess all things. First, by interior greatness of heart (says St. Thomas), by which the pauper of the gospel is superior to all earthly things, and is lord of the world; and secondly, by the providence of God, who supplies him with the hundredfold Christ promised, and makes him in effect richer than if the world were his; happier, gayer, and more tranquil than if all things were legally his own. This was the experience of Saint Francis, poorest of the poor, when he spent whole nights repeating, and as it were gloating over his treasure: Deus et omnia, Deus meus et omnia (God and all, My God and all).

2 Cor 6:11. Our mouth is open to you, O Corinthians! our heart is dilated.
2 Cor 6:12. You are not narrowed in us; but you are narrowed in your own bonds.
2 Cor 6:13. But having the same remuneration, as to sons I speak: be you dilated also.
2 Cor 6:14. Do not bear the yoke with unbelievers: for what is the participation of justice with iniquity? or what society has light with darkness?
2 Cor 6:15. And what agreement of Christ with Belial? or what part for a believer with an unbeliever?
2 Cor 6:16. And what concord of the temple of God with idols? ‘for you are the temple of the living God, as God says: That I will dwell in them, and walk among them, and will -be their God, and they shall be My people.
2 Cor 6:17. Therefore come out from the midst of them, and be ‘separate, saith the Lord, and you shall touch not the unclean.
2 Cor 6:18. And I will receive you, and will be to you a father, and you shall be to Me sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 

I speak with open mouth to you, Corinthians, because my heart is dilated and expanded in affection toward you. It is no slight or narrow place you occupy in my affection and regard. It is your heart that is narrow, your affection that is slight, towards me. I say to you, as to my children, let your heart also be enlarged, reciprocate and return my affection. Have no fellowship with unbelievers (the practical conclusion of his argument and entreaties). You have as little in common with them as justice with iniquity, light with darkness, Christ with Belial, the oriental deity of impurity. The Apostle’s injunction appears to prohibit marriage with unbelievers; though by the law of the Church this was not actually forbidden as an invalidating objection, impedimentum dirimens (an obstacle that separates), until the fourth Council of Toledo, A.D. 634.

The temple of God can make no covenant with idols. And you are the temple of God. The quotation in verse 16 is from Leviticus 26:12. Verse 17 is from Isaiah 52:11. Verse 18, Jeremiah 31:1, 9. This reference to idols possibly points to the complicity with idol worship, treated of in the former Epistle.

COROLLARY OF PIETY

Samuel the Prophet was brought up from childhood in God’s temple, and there, during the remainder of his long life, he was always to be found. David prayed that if possible he might dwell in the temple of God all his life. Anna the Prophetess departed not from the temple, serving God with fastings and prayers day and night. The Christian is born in God’s temple, which is the Holy Catholic Church; into which he is brought at his baptism, the beginning of his real and spiritual life. He is brought up in the temple, like Samuel; taught by the Church, joining in her devotions, worshipping at Mass, admitted, almost before childhood is over, to the Sacraments of Penance, Communion and Confirmation. And in that temple he dwells, as David prayed to dwell, all the days of his life, continually renewing his communion with God, obtaining pardon for his sins, assisting, weekly or daily, at the holy Sacrifice, having a part in the prayers of Holy Church, and contributing his own. Outside is storm and darkness, blindness and obscurity, wandering in hopeless error, night without starlight and without a dawn; sorrow, bitterness, desolation and despair. Happy those who, like the aged Prophetess, depart not from the temple of God, but remain therein day and night, to the end. For when this transitory world shall have passed away, and God’s presence shall be revealed, all the universe shall then become God’s temple, wherein His glorious presence shall be visibly displayed. Those who on earth have made God’s temple, the communion of the holy Catholic Church, their home and dwelling-place, will find that dwelling enlarged, glorified, magnified immeasurably in visible extent and splendour and magnificence: yet it will be their own home still. And from it they shall depart not, dwelling amid its glory and its loveliness, inter splendores sanctorum (among the brightness of the holy ones), and serving God with praise and transport night and day, for ever and ever.

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St Augustine’s Sermon on Matthew 8:8 and 1 Corinthians 8:10

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 7, 2022

ON THE WORDS OF THE GOSPEL, MATT. 8:8, “I AM NOT WORTHY THAT THOU SHOULDEST COME UNDER MY ROOF,” ETC., AND OF THE WORDS OF THE APOSTLE, 1 COR. 8:10, “FOR IF A MAN SEE THEE WHO HAST KNOWLEDGE SITTING AT MEAT IN AN IDOL’S TEMPLE,” ETC.

[I] 1. WE have heard, as the Gospel was being read, the praise of our faith as manifested in humility. For when the Lord Jesus promised that He would go to the Centurion’s house to heal His servant, He answered, “I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and he shall be healed.” By calling himself unworthy, he showed himself worthy for Christ to come not into his house, but into his heart. Nor would he have said this with so great faith and humility, had he not borne Him in his heart, of whose coming into his house he was afraid. For it were no great happiness for the Lord Jesus to enter into his house, and yet not to be in his heart. For this Master of humility both by word and example, sat down even in the house of a certain proud Pharisee, by name Simon; and though He sat down in his house, there was no place in this heart, “where the Son of Man could lay His Head.”
2. For so, as we may understand from the words of the Lord Himself, did He call back from His discipleship a certain proud man, who of his own accord was desirous to go with Him. “Lord, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.” And the Lord seeing in his heart what was invisible, said, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His Head.”7 That is, in thee, guile like the fox doth dwell, and pride as the birds of heaven. But the Son of Man simple as opposed to guile, lowly as opposed to pride, hath not where to lay His Head; and this very laying, not the raising up of the head, teaches humility. Therefore doth He call back this one who was desirous to go, and another who refused He draweth onward. For in the same place He saith to a certain man, “Follow Me.” And he said, “I will follow Thee, Lord, but let me first go and bury my father.” His excuse was indeed a dutiful one: and therefore was he the more worthy to have his excuse removed, and his calling confirmed. What he wished to do was an act of dutifulness; but the Master taught him what he ought to prefer. For He wished him to be a preacher of the living word, to make others live. But there were others by whom that first necessary office might be fulfilled. “Let the dead,” He saith, “bury their dead.” When unbelievers bury a dead body, the dead bury the dead. The body of the one hath lost its soul, the soul of the others hath lost God. For as the soul is the life of the body; so is God the life of the soul. As the body expires when it loses the soul, so doth the soul expire when it loses God. The loss of God is the death of the soul: the loss of the soul the death of the body. The death of the body is necessary; the death of the soul voluntary.
3. The Lord then sat down in the house of a certain proud Pharisee. He was in his house, as I have said, and was not in his heart. But into this centurion’s house He entered not, yet He possessed his heart. Zacchæus again received the Lord both in house and heart. Yet the centurion’s faith is praised for its humility. For he said, “I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof;”3 and the Lord said, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel;” according to the flesh, that is. For he too was an Israelite undoubtedly according to the spirit. The Lord had come to fleshly Israel, that is, to the Jews, there to seek first for the lost sheep, among this people, and of this people also He had assumed His Body. “I have not found there so great faith,” He saith. We can but measure the faith of men, as men can judge of it; but He who saw the inward parts, He whom no man can deceive, gave His testimony to this man’s heart, hearing words of lowliness, and pronouncing a sentence of healing.
[II] 4. But whence did he get such confidence? “I also,” saith he, “am a man set under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh: and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.” I am an authority to certain who are placed under me, being myself placed under a certain authority above me. If then I a man under authority have the power of commanding, what power must Thou have, whom all powers serve? Now this man was of the Gentiles, for he was a centurion. At that time the Jewish nation had soldiers of the Roman empire among them. There he was engaged in a military life, according to the extent of a centurion’s authority, both under authority himself, and having authority over others; as a subject obedient, ruling others who were under him. But the Lord (and mark this especially, Beloved, as need there is you should), though He was among the Jewish people only, even now announced beforehand that the Church should be in the whole world, for the establishment of which He would send Apostles; Himself not seen, yet believed on by the Gentiles: by the Jews seen, and put to death. For as the Lord did not in body enter into this man’s house, and still, though in body absent, yet present in majesty, healed his faith, and his house; so the same Lord also was in body among the Jewish people only: among the other nations He was neither born of a Virgin, nor suffered, nor walked, nor endured His human sufferings, nor wrought His divine miracles. None of all this took place in the rest of the nations, and yet was that fulfilled which was spoken of Him, “A people whom I have not known, hath served Me.” And how if it did not know Him? “Hath obeyed Me by the hearing of the ear.”6 The Jewish nation knew, and crucified Him; the whole world besides heard and believed.
[III] 5. This absence, so to say, of His body, and presence of His power among all nations, He signified also in the instance of that woman who had touched the edge of His garment, when He asketh, saying, “Who touched Me?” He asketh, as though He were absent; as though present, He healeth. “The multitude,” say the disciples, “press Thee, and sayest Thou, Who touched Me?” For as if He were so walking as not to be touched by anybody at all, He said, “Who touched Me?” And they answer, “The multitude press Thee.” And the Lord would seem to say, I am asking for one who touched, not for one who pressed Me. In this case also is His Body now, that is, His Church. The faith of the few “touches” it, the throng of the many “press” it. For ye have heard, as being her children, that Christ’s Body is the Church, and if ye will, ye yourselves are so. This the Apostle says in many places, “For His body’s sake, which is the Church;”8 and again, “But ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” If then we are His body, what His body then suffered in the crowd, that doth His Church suffer now. It is pressed by many, touched by few. The flesh presses it, faith touches it. Lift up therefore your eyes, I beseech you, ye who have wherewithal to see. For ye have before you something to see. Lift up the eyes of faith, touch but the extreme border of His garment, it will be sufficient for saving health.
6. See ye how that which ye have heard out of the Gospel was at that time to come is now present. Therefore, said He, on occasion of the commendation of the Centurion’s faith, as in the flesh an alien, but of the household in heart, “Therefore I say unto you, Many shall come front the east and west.” Not all, but “many;” yet they shall “come from the East and West;” the whole world is denoted by these two parts. “Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness.” “But the children of the kingdom,” the Jews, namely. And how “the children of the kingdom”? Because they received the Law; to them the Prophets were sent, with them was the temple and the Priesthood; they celebrated the figures of all the things to come. Yet of what things they celebrated the figures, they acknowledged not the presence. And, “Therefore the children of the kingdom,” He saith, “shall go into outer darkness, there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” And so we see the Jews reprobate, and Christians called from the East and West, to the heavenly banquet, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, where the bread is righteousness, and the2 cup wisdom.
[IV] 7. Consider then, brethren, for of these are ye; ye are of this people, even then foretold, and now exhibited. Yes, verily, ye are of those who have been called from the East and West, to sit down in the kingdom of heaven, not in the temple of idols. Be ye then the Body of Christ, not the pressure of His Body. Ye have the border of His garment to touch, that ye may be healed of the issue of blood, that is, of carnal pleasures. Ye have, I say, the border of the garment to touch. Look upon the Apostles as the garment, by the texture of unity clinging closely to the sides of Christ. Among these Apostles was Paul, as it were the border, the least and last; as he saith himself, “I am the least of the Apostles.”4 In a garment the last and least thing is the border. The border is in appearance contemptible, yet is it touched with saving efficacy. “Even to this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked and buffeted.”6 What state so low, so contemptible as this! Touch then, if thou art suffering from a bloody flux. There will go power out of Him whose garment it is, and it will heal thee. The border was proposed to you just now to be touched, when out of the same Apostle there was read, “For if any one see him which hath knowledge sit at meat in an idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him who is weak, be emboldened to eat things offered to idols? And through thy knowledge shall thy weak brother perish, for whom Christ died!” How think ye may men be deceived by idols, which they suppose are honoured by Christians? A man may say, “God knows my heart.” Yes, but thy brother did not know thy heart. If thou art weak, beware of a still greater weakness; if thou art strong, have a care of thy brother’s weakness. They who see what you do, are emboldened to do more, so as to desire not only to eat, but also to sacrifice there. And lo, “Through thy knowledge the weak brother perisheth.” Hear then, my brother; if thou didst disregard the weak, wouldest thou disregard a brother also? Awake. What if so thou sin against Christ Himself? For attend to what thou canst not by any means disregard. “But,” saith he, “when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience ye sin against Christ.”8 Let them who disregard these words, go now, and sit at meat in the idol’s temple; will they not be of those who press, and do not touch? And when they have been at meat in the idol’s temple, let them come and fill the Church; not to receive saving health, but to make a pressure there.
[V] 8. But thou wilt say, I am afraid lest I offend those above me. By all means be afraid of offending them, and so thou wilt not offend God. For thou who art afraid lest thou offend those above thee, see whether there be not One above him whom thou art afraid of offending. By all means then be loth to offend those above thee. This is an established rule with thee. But then is it not plain, that he must on no account be offended, who is above all others? Run over now the list of those above thee. First are thy father and mother, if they are educating thee aright; if they are bringing thee up for Christ; they are to be heard in all things, they must be obeyed in every command; let them enjoin nothing against one above themselves, and so let them be obeyed. And who, thou wilt say, is above him who begat me? He who created thee. For man begets, but God creates. How it is that man begets, he does not know; and what he shall beget, he does not know. But He who saw thee that He might make thee, before that he whom He made existed, is surely above thy father. Thy country again should be above thy very parents; so that whereinsoever thy parents enjoin aught against thy country, they are not to be listened to. And whatsoever thy country enjoin against God, it is not to be listened to. For if thou wilt be healed, if after the issue of blood, if after twelve years’ continuance in that disease, if after having spent thine all upon physicians, and not having received health, thou dost wish at length to be made whole; O woman, whom I am addressing as a figure of the Church, thy father enjoineth thee this, and thy people that. But thy Lord saith to thee, “Forget thine own people, and thy father’s house.” For what good? for what advantage? with what useful result? “Because the King hath desired thy beauty.” He hath desired what He made, since when deformed He loved thee, that He might make thee beautiful. For thee unbelieving, and deformed, He shed His Blood, and He made thee faithful and beauteous, He hath loved His own gifts in thee. For what didst thou bring to thy spouse? What didst thou receive for dowry from thy former father, and former people? Was it not the excesses2 and the rags of sins? Thy rags He cast away, thy robe impure He tore asunder. He pitied thee that He might adorn thee. He adorned thee, that He might love thee.
[VI] 9. What need of more, Brethren. Ye are Christians, and have heard, that “If ye sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.” Do not disregard it, if ye would not be wiped out of the book of life. How long shall I go about to speak in bright and pleasing terms to you, what my grief forceth me to speak in some sort, and will not suffer me to keep secret? Whosoever they are who are minded to disregard these things, and sin against Christ, let them only consider what they are doing. We wish the rest of the Heathen to be gathered in; and ye are stones in their way: they have a wish to come; they stumble, and so return. For they say in their hearts, Why should we leave the gods whom the very Christians worship as we do? God forbid, thou wilt say, that I should worship the gods of the Gentiles. I know, I understand, I believe thee. But what account art thou making of the consciences of the weak which thou art wounding? What account art thou making of their price, if thou disregard the purchase? Consider for how great a price was the purchase made. “Through thy knowledge,” saith the Apostle, “shall the weak brother perish;” that knowledge which thou professest to have, in that thou knowest that an idol is nothing, and that in thy mind thou art thinking only of God, and so sittest down in the idol’s temple. In this knowledge the weak brother perisheth. And lest thou shouldest pay no regard to the weak brother, he added, “for whom Christ died.” If thou wouldest disregard him, yet consider his Price, and weigh the whole world in the balance with the Blood of Christ. And lest thou shouldest still think that thou art sinning against a weak brother, and so esteem it after that he had heard that he was “Peter,” a a trivial fault, and of small account, he saith, “Ye sin against Christ.” For men are in the habit of saying, “I sin against man; am I sinning against God?” Deny then that Christ is God. Dost thou dare deny that Christ is God? Hast thou learned this other doctrine, when thou didst sit at meat in the idol’s temple? The school of Christ doth not admit that doctrine. I ask; Where learnedst thou that Christ is not God? The Pagans are wont to say so. Seest thou what bad associations do? Seest thou, “that evil communications corrupt good manners?”5 There thou canst not speak of the Gospel, and thou dost hear others talking of idols. There thou losest the truth that Christ is God; and what thou dost drink in there, thou vomitest out in the Church. It may be thou art bold enough to speak here; bold enough to mutter among the crowds; “Was not then Christ a man? Was He not crucified?” This hast thou learned of the Pagans. Thou hast lost thy soul’s health, thou hast not touched the border. On this point then touch again the border, and receive health. As I taught thee to touch it in this that is written, “Whoso seeth a brother sit at meat in the idol’s temple;” touch it also concerning the Divinity of Christ. The same border said of the Jews, “Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever,”7 Behold, against Whom, even the Very God, thou dost sin, when thou sittest down with false gods.
10. It is no god, you will say; because it is the tutelary genius of Carthage. As though if it were Mars or Mercury, it would be a god. But consider in what light it is esteemed by them; not what it is in itself. For I know also as well as thou, that it is but a stone. If this “genius” be any ornament, let the citizens of Carthage live well; and they themselves will be this “genius” of Carthage. But if the “genius” be a devil, ye have heard in that same Scripture, “The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God; and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.” We know well that it is no God; would that they knew it too! but because of those weak ones who do not know it, their conscience ought not to be wounded. It is this that the Apostle warns us of. For that they regard that statue as something divine, and take it for a god, the altar is witness. What does the altar there, if it be not accounted a god? Let no one tell me; it is no deity, it is no God. I have said already, “Would that they only knew this, as we all do.” But how they regard it, for what they take it, and what they do about it, that altar is witness. It is convincing against the intentions of all who worship there, grant that it may not be convincing also against those who sit at meat with them!
[VII] 11. Yes, let not Christians press the Church, if the Pagans do. She is the Body of Christ. Were we not saying, that the Body of Christ was pressed, and not touched. He endured those who pressed Him; and was looking out for those who “touched” Him. And, Brethren, I would that if the Body of Christ be pressed by Pagans, by whom it is wont to be pressed; that at least Christians would not press the Body of Christ. Brethren, it is my business to speak to you, my business it is to speak to Christians; “For what have I to do to judge them that are without?” the Apostle himself saith. Them we address in another way, as being weak. With them we must2 deal softly, that they may hear the truth; in you the corruption must be cut out. If ye ask whereby the Pagans are to be gained over, whereby they are to be illuminated, and called to salvation; forsake their solemnities, forsake their trifling shows; and then if they do not consent to our truth, let them blush at their own scantiness.
12. If he who is over thee be a good man, he is thy nourisher; if a bad man, he is thy tempter. Receive the nourishment in the one case with gladness, and in the temptation show thyself approved. Be thou gold. Regard this world as the furnace of the goldsmith; in one narrow place are there things, gold, chaff, fire. To the two former the fire is applied, the chaff is burned, and the gold purified. A man has yielded to threats, and been led away to the idol’s temple: Alas! I bewail the chaff; I see the ashes. Another has not yet yielded to threats nor terrors; has been brought before the judge, and stood firm in his confession, and has not bent down to the idol image: what does the flame with him? Does it not purify the gold? Stand fast then, Brethren, in the Lord; greater in power is He who hath called you. Be not afraid of the threats of the ungodly. Bear with your enemies; in them ye have those for whom ye may pray; let them by no means terrify you. This is saving health, draw out in this feast here from this source; here drink that wherewith ye may be satisfied, and not in those other feasts, that only whereby ye may be maddened. Stand fast in the Lord. Ye are silver, ye shall be gold. This similitude is not our own, it is out of Holy Scripture. Ye have read and heard, “As gold in the furnace hath He tried them, and received them as a burnt-offering.” See what ye shall be among the treasures of God. Be ye rich as touching God, not as if to make Him rich, but as to become rich from Him. Let Him replenish you; admit nought else into your heart.
[VIII] 13. Do we lift up ourselves unto pride, or tell you to be despisers against the powers ordained? Not so. Do ye again who are sick on this point, touch also that border of the garment? The Apostle himself saith, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers, for there is no power but of God, the powers that be are ordained of God. He then who resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” But what if it enjoin what thou oughtest not to do? In this case by all means disregard the power through fear of Power. Consider these several grades of human powers. If the magistrate5 enjoin anything, must it not be done? Yet if his order be in opposition to the Proconsul, thou dost not surely despise the power, but choosest to obey a greater power. Nor in this case ought the less to be angry, if the greater be preferred. Again, if the Proconsul himself enjoin anything, and the Emperor another thing, is there any doubt, that disregarding the former, we ought to obey the latter? So then if the Emperor enjoin one thing, and God another, what judge ye? Pay me tribute, submit thyself to my allegiance. Right, but not in an idol’s temple. In an idol’s temple He forbids it. Who forbids it? A greater Power. Pardon me then: thou threatenest a prison, He threateneth hell. Here must thou at once take to thee thy “faith as a shield, whereby thou mayest be able to quench all the fiery darts of the enemy.”
[IX] 14. But one of these powers is plotting, and contriving evil designs against thee. Well: he is but sharpening the razor wherewith to shave the hair, but not to cut the head. Ye have but just now heard this that I have said in the Psalm, “Thou hast worked deceit like a sharp razor.” Why did He compare the deceit of a wicked man in power to a razor? Because it does not reach, save to our superfluous parts. As hairs on our body seem as it were superfluous, and are shaven off without any loss of the flesh; so whatsoever an angry man in power can take from thee, count only among thy superfluities. He takes away thy poverty; can he take away thy wealth? Thy poverty is thy wealth in thy heart. Thy superfluous things only hath he power to take away, these only hath he power to injure, even though he had license given him so far as to hurt the body. Yea even this life itself to those whose thoughts are of another life, this present life, I say, may be reckoned among the things superfluous. For so the Martyrs have despised it. They did not lose life, but they gained Life.
[X] 15. Be sure, Brethren, that enemies have no power against the faithful, except so far as it profiteth them to be tempted and proved. Of this be sure, Brethren, let no one say ought against it. Cast all your care upon the Lord, throw yourselves wholly and entirely upon Him. He will not withdraw Himself that ye should fall. He who created us, hath given us security touching our very hairs. “Verily I say unto you, even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” Our hairs are numbered by God; how much more is our conduct known to Him to whom our hairs are thus known? See then, how that God doth not disregard our least things. For if He disregarded them, He would not create them. For He verily both created our hairs, and still taketh count of them. But thou wilt say, though they are preserved at present, perhaps they will perish. On this point also hear His word, “Verily I say unto you, there shall not an hair of your head perish.”2 Why art thou afraid of man, O man, whose place is in the Bosom of God? Fall not out of His Bosom; whatsoever thou shalt suffer there, will avail to thy salvation, not to thy destruction. Martyrs have endured the tearing of their limbs, and shall Christians fear the injuries of Christian times? He who would do thee an injury now, can only do it in fear. He does not say openly, come to the idol-feast; he does not say openly, come to my altars, and banquet there. And if he should say so, and thou wast to refuse, let him make a complaint of it, let him bring it as an accusation and charge against thee: “He would not come to my altars, he would not come to my temple, where I worship.” Let him say this. He does not dare; but in his guile he contrives another attack. Make ready thy hair; he is sharpening the razor; he is about to take off thy superfluous things, to shave what thou must soon leave behind thee. Let him take off what shall endure, if he can. This powerful enemy, what has he taken away? what great thing has he taken away? That which a thief or housebreaker could take: in his utmost rage, he can but take what a robber can. Even if he should have license given him to the slaying of the very body, what does he take away, but what the robber can take? I did him too much honour, when I said, “a robber.” For be the robber who and what he may, he is a man. He takes from thee what a fever, or an adder, or a poisonous mushroom can take. Here lies the whole power of the rage of men, to do what a mushroom can! Men eat a poisonous mushroom, and they die. Lo! in what frail estate is the life of man; which sooner or later thou must abandon; do not struggle then in such wise for it, as that thou shouldest be abandoned thyself.
[XI] 16. Christ is our Life; think then of Christ. He came to suffer, but also to be glorified; to be despised, but to be exalted also; to die; but also to rise again. If the labour alarm thee, see its reward. Why dost thou wish to arrive by softness at that to which nothing but hard labour can lead? Now thou art afraid, lest thou shouldest lose thy money; because thou earnest thy money with great labour. If thou didst not attain to thy money, which thou must some time or other lose, at all events when thou diest, without labour, wouldest thou desire without labour to attain to the Life eternal? Let that be of higher value in thine eyes, to which after all thy labours thou shalt in such sort attain as never more to lose it. If this money, to which thou hast attained after all thy labours on such condition as that thou must some time lose it, be of high value with thee; how much more ought we to long after those things which are everlasting!
17. Give no credit to their words, neither be afraid of them. They say that we are enemies of their idols. May God so grant, and give all into our power, as He hath already given us that which we have broken down. For this I say, Beloved, that ye may not attempt to do it, when it is not lawfully in your power to do it; for it is the way of ill-regulated men, and the mad Circumcelliones, both to be violent when they have no power, and to be ever eager in their wishes to die without a cause. Ye heard what we read to you, all of you who were present in the Mappalia.4 “When the land shall have been given into your power (he saith first, “into your power,” and so enjoined what was to be done); “then,” saith he, “ye shall destroy their altars, and break in pieces their groves, and hew down all their images.” When we shall have got the power, do this. When the power has not been given us, we do not do it; when it is given, we do not neglect it. Many Pagans have these abominations on their own estates; do we go and break them in pieces? No, for our first efforts are that the idols in their hearts should be broken down. When they too are made Christians themselves, they either invite us to so good a work, or anticipate us. At present we must pray for them, not be angry with them. If very painful feelings excite us, it is rather against Christians, it is against our brethren, who will enter into the Church in such a mind, as to have their body there, and their heart anywhere else. The whole ought to be within. If that which man seeth is within, why is that which God seeth without?
[XII] 18. Now ye may know, Dearly Beloved, that these unite their murmurings with Heretics and with Jews. Heretics, Jews, and Heathens have made a unity against Unity. Because it has happened, that in some places the Jews have received chastisement because of their wickednesses; they charge and suspect us, or pretend, that we are always seeking the like treatment for them. Again, because it has happened that the heretics in some places have suffered the penalty of the laws for the impiety and fury of their deeds of violence; they say immediately that we are seeking by every means some harm for their destruction. Again, because it has been resolved that laws should be passed against the Heathen, yea for them rather, if they were only wise. (For as when silly boys are playing with the mud, and dirtying their hands, the strict master comes, shakes the mud out of their hands, and holds out their book; so has it pleased God by the hands of princes His subjects to alarm their childish, foolish hearts, that they may throw away the dirt from their hands, and set about something useful. And what is this something useful with the hands, but, “Break thy bread to the hungry, and bring the houseless poor into thy house”?2 But nevertheless these children escape from their master’s sight, and return stealthily to their mud, and when they are discovered they hide their hands that they may not be seen.) Because then it has so pleased God, they think that we are looking out for the idols everywhere, and that we break them down in all places where we have discovered them. How so? Are there not places before our very eyes in which they are? Or are we indeed ignorant where they are? And yet we do not break them down, because God has not given them into our power. When does God give them into our power? When the masters of these things shall become Christians. The master of a certain place has just lately wished this to be done. If he had not been minded to give the place itself to the Church, and only had given orders that there should be no idols on his property; I think that it ought to have been executed with the greatest devotion, that the soul of the absent Christian brother, who wishes on his land to return thanks to God, and would not that there should be anything there to God’s dishonour, might be assisted by his fellow-Christians. Added to this, that in this case he gave the place itself to the Church. And shall there be idols in the Church’s estate? Brethren, see then what it is that displeases the Heathens. It is but a little matter with them that we do not take them away from their estates, that we do not break them down: they would have them kept up even in our own places. We preach against idols, we take them away from the hearts of men; we are persecutors of idols; we openly profess it. Are we then to be the preservers of them? I do not touch them when I have not the power; I do not touch them when the lord of the property complains of it; but when he wishes it to be done, and gives thanks for it, I should incur guilt if I did it not.

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:13-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 7, 2022

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

2 Cor 5:13. For whether we are out of our mind, to God; “whether we are sober, to you.

Saint Paul’s opponents said he was out of his mind, in consequence of the lofty view he took of the destinies of man, redeemed in Christ, and the absolute nothingness of .earthly things. The same charge was afterwards made against him by the Roman governor, Festus. (Acts 26:24.) His reply here is, If I am mad it is for God’s sake, lest you despise Him in despising His messengers and the message we deliver, and so perish in His anger.—St. Chrysostom. The madness he was accused of was nothing but the simple narration of what he had seen, heard, and -done.—Theodoret. If we are sober, use the language of humility, it is for you, that you also may learn to think and speak humbly of yourselves. In either case it is not in my own cause that I am mad or sober, but for God. and for you.

2 Cor 5:14. For the charity of Christ impels us: reckoning this, ‘that if one died for all, all therefore died.
2 Cor 5:15. And for all Christ died; that those also who live, may now live not for themselves, but for Him, Who died for them and rose again
.

What impels me is the consideration of the infinite charity of Christ, Who never sought His own, and submitted to a painful and ignominious death, regardless. of life and reputation, to save mankind. And if He died for us all (2 Cor 5:15), He died to save us from eternal death, to which: we were all therefore liable. But He died for us, that we, restored to hope of life by His death and resurrection, may no longer live for ourselves, but for Him. And in giving all my life and energies to His service I am. doing that to which every consideration of reason, gratitude, duty, and affection irresistibly impels and urges. me. This idea is further amplified in the following verse.

2 Cor 5:16. Therefore we henceforward know no one after the flesh. And if we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know Him not.

We, as dead, risen, living in Christ, and for Him: alone, no longer regard, respect, or love any human being for considerations of earth, whether Jews or Gentiles, rich. or poor, relatives or strangers, aliens or citizens, but only with reference to Christ, and for God’s sake. And if formerly we have known Christ Himself in the flesh during His mortal life (he says this in the name of other disciples of Christ, who regarded him with simply personal. affection, as Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas observe), we have learned now to regard Him with a higher and more spiritual reverence, as our God, Redeemer, and Lord. Probably some of Saint Paul’s opponents, who were Jewish (i.e., Jewish Christians), had listened to the teaching of Christ in Judea, and took advantage of this circumstance to claim. authority as teachers; and it is to such persons that Christ referred in Matt. 7:22-23. I know you not.

2 Cor 5:17. If there is therefore in Christ a new creature, the old has passed away : behold all things are become new.

And what is true of us, the Apostles, is equally true of you, and of all baptised Christians. Your baptism has: been a new creation. The old world has passed away. Its affections, ambitions, objects of desire, are all, for you, past and over. They are replaced by a new life and a new world, new motives, new objects, a new principle of existence; to you, as to us, all things are become new.

2 Cor 5:18. And all of God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ: and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation.

This new creation proceeds wholly from God, the Author of all good. The Syriac version joins the words. to the preceding, all things are made new by God; Who has reconciled us, formerly His enemies by sin, to Himself by the merits of Christ. And He employs us, the Apostles, as His messengers and fellow workers in this reconciliation: not only the office of proclaiming it, but also of effecting it by baptism and remission of sin. All power is given to Me; go ye therefore; teach, and baptise. As My Father sent Me, I also send you.

2 Cor 5:19. That in truth God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing to them their faults, and placed in us the word of reconciliation.

This is a fuller statement of what is said in the last verse: 1. That God is the Author of our reconciliation in Christ; 2. God is the source and origin of the power which Christ gave to his Apostles. The Syriac version, followed by St. Chrysostom, and the Greek Fathers, understand the Apostle to say that it is God Who, through Christ, reconciled he world to Himself. Many Latin writers, ancient and modern, understand it, God was in Christ by unity of essence. The Father in the Son, because their substance is the same: for where there is no difference, there is unity. The Latins accordingly make use of these words to prove the unity of the Father and the Son. God was in Christ, not reconciling Himself to the world, for the salvation of man proceeded from His mercy, but the world to Himself, to induce them to accept this mercy, not imputing to them their faults. This task of reconciliation of the world He entrusted to the Apostles. O, the depth of the clemency of God! For the Father sent the Son as His legate, and beheld Him put to death by those who needed reconciliation. Yet, even then, He did not abandon us, but entrusted to His Apostles the ministry of reconciliation, to bring back to God those who had rebelled against him.—Theophylact.

2 Cor 5:20. For Christ, therefore, we discharge an embassy. As if God were exhorting you through us, we entreat you in Christ’s name be reconciled to God.

For Christ therefore we are ambassadors. That which God the Father once did through Christ made man, He continues now to do through us, the vicars of Christ.— “Theophylact from St. Chrysostom. So precious in God’s sight is the race of man, that for us He gave His Son to death, and appointed us His Apostles.—Omnia Propter vos (all things are yours), 2 Cor 4:15. It is not we who exhort you: Christ entreats you: the Father implores and beseeches you.—St. Chrysostom. ‘Wonderful instance of indulgence, kindness, humility! God is the offended party, yet He sends an embassy to implore pardon, as if He had done wrong to us. We are to forgive God, and enter into His grace.— Theophylact.

2 Cor 5:21. Him, Who knew not sin, He made sin for us, that we might be made the justice of God in Him.

Him Who knew not sin. He who is without sin, is:ignorant of its nature, says St. Augustine. Christ was so: alien from sin that it was as if He could not even understand it. He was justice itself. Yet God made him sin for us; delivered Him to death as a sinner and the worst of men. Punished Him in our place, as if He had been. sin itself, guilty of all sin, Himself the universal sin. Probably, however, the words are intended to signify an offering for sin; the Lamb of God Who taketh away the sins of the world. God put upon Him the iniquity of all of. us. (Isa 53:6.) That we might be made the justice of God. Just by the grace of God, perfectly just before God,. participators in God’s justice. That sinners might be justified with God in Christ.—Ambrose. And, St. Anselm: He is sin, and we are justice; not our own, but God’s; not in us but in Him. Just as He is sin, not His own, but ours, not in Himself, but in us, by the likeness of the flesh of sin, in which He was crucified.

COROLLARY OF PIETY

Man, before baptism, is in the nothing of sin. — For, as. Saint Augustine says, sin is nothing; men do, when they sin, nothing. But by baptism man passes from the nothing of sin to a divine and supernatural existence, the existence of grace, and from nothing becomes the child of God, the consort of the divine nature. A new creation, a new creature. But, as in baptism we received a new existence, spiritual, supernatural, divine; so also in baptism there is infused into us a new principle of life and action, divine and spiritual, life and action through charity. The creature being new, its mode of operation. should be also new, and the creature being divine and spiritual, so its mode of action should be spiritual and divine. The old has passed away from our grasp and cognisance. Dead to the flesh, we should not live after the flesh; risen and living with Christ, we are to live the spiritual life of Christ. To both we are pledged; to the mortification of the flesh, by the renunciation of Satan and all his works; to the life of Christ, by the promise of Obedience to the commandments of God. In the degree in which we act spiritually, we act Christianly. Are you a Christian? And how far? Do you act carnally or ‘spiritually? For you will be a true Christian if you are altogether dead to yourself, living to Christ, walking in newness of life. You are the servant of Christ, bought with His blood. The servant is not his own but his Lord’s; he who is ransomed and purchased, belongs to this Redeemer. This illustration, drawn from the customs and ideas of ancient times, is not strictly true in the figure; for any right of purchase or property in man is superseded by the original right of the individual to freedom. But the right of the individual to freedom is itself superseded by the original claim of God as Creator and Benefactor, Who alone is able to provide for our eternal happiness. Christ is our Creator, our Redeemer, our promised inheritance of bliss. We are His by all three titles. To withdraw ourselves from His Service and live for ourselves, is to be guilty of rebellion, and robbery, and sacrilege; for we belong to Him Who made us, Who redeemed us, and has promised Himself to us as our eternal reward.

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:1-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 7, 2022

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

In this chapter the Apostle defends himself from the ‘charge of vain glory and undue assertion of his claims, by pointing to the glorious hope of immortality in heaven, which God had commissioned him to announce.

2 Cor 5:1. For we know that if our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, we have a building of God, a house ‘not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

he persecution and opposition which Saint Paul and his companions had encountered, at Ephesus, in Macedonia and elsewhere, had been turned into an argument against them, as if it were the result of their own imprudence, fanaticism, and audacity. To this the Apostle has replied, in the last chapter, that these sufferings were entirely insignificant, and he regarded them as nothing, though he felt them severely at the time, in comparison with the hope of resurrection and the future life of glory. And he goes on, for we know (by faith) that if our earthly mansion or tabernacle—a soldier’s tent intended for temporary occupation only—namely, the mortal body, be dissolved or destroyed by death in the service and cause of Christ, we shall receive at the resurrection a dwelling eternal and celestial—the spiritual body. It is of this that he here speaks, not simply of the glory of the soul. The animal or physical body of this mortal life is created by God, but by human intervention in the course of nature; but the spiritual body of the resurrection will come directly from the hands of God, and will be immortal and incorruptible, subtle, glorious, splendid, fitted to dwell for ever in the heavens.

2 Cor 5:2. For also in this we groan, desiring to be clothed with our habitation, which is from heaven.

There is a confusion of metaphor in this verse, but it: makes the meaning clearer. Clothed with our habitation. For the body is both the dwelling and the vesture of the soul. We groan in this mortal body, longing for the gifts: of that body which is glorious and immortal.

2 Cor 5:3. If, indeed, we shall be found clothed, not naked.

These gifts we shall receive at once, perhaps without dying at all, or at least dying only for a moment, if the coming of Christ occurs during our mortal life, and finds: us clothed with our mortal body, not disembodied. The writer evidently regards it as uncertain whether this would: be the case or not. There is another interpretation of the words, which is adopted by many ecclesiastical writers : If we are found clothed with grace, charity, and good works, not naked of these graces; if, when leaving the body, we are clothed with Christ, with the form and tradition of our baptism.—Ambrose. The reader must choose between these two interpretations.

2 Cor 5:4. For also we, who are in this tabernacle, are weighed: down and groan, because we would not be stripped, but clothed; that that which is mortal may be absorbed in life.

As long as we remain in this tabernacle of clay, we groan under the weight of our burden, and pant for incorruptibility, not that we desire dissolution and death, from which nature recoils, but we desire the change to immortality, and that what is mortal in us may be absorbed. in the glorious transmutation to life eternal.

2 Cor 5:5. And He Who is making us for this very thing, is God,. Who also gave us the pledge of the Spirit.

And for this change God created and is preparing us.. First, by our creation, God made man immortal; secondly, in our baptism, in which we were made sons of God in Christ, and heirs of immortality. By baptism, says Theophylact, God sanctified us, and destroying sin destroyed also corruption and death; for from sin is corruption. And, the Holy Spirit, given us in baptism, is a pledge of immortality, given us now in part, to be imparted to us wholly and fully at the resurrection to life, and dwell in and animate us for ever.

2 Cor 5:6. Boldly, therefore, always knowing that while we are in the body we are exiles from the Lord,

From the glory of the body the Apostle goes on to the glory of the soul. This faith and hope inspires us with courage to face peril, suffering, even death itself; because we know that while we are in this mortal body we are travellers in a foreign land, far from our native home, shut out from the vision of the Lord, which is the felicity and happiness for which we were created, and for which we long.

2 Cor 5:7. (For by faith we walk, and not by sight),

We walk by faith; we are pursuing our path, pilgrims of faith, whose kindly light guides our footsteps through the gloom. Thy word is a light to my feet; but we have not yet arrived at the clear vision of God in Himself, nor see him face to face, nor behold Him in His own essential beauty; we are not yet in the enjoyment of God.

2 Cor 5:8. We dare, and have good will rather to be exiles from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
2 Cor 5:9. And, therefore, we endeavour, whether absent or present, to please Him.

(2 Cor 5:8) We, therefore, boldly face death, and are willing to die, for we know and believe that even when disembodied, and if the resurrection should not immediately follow, our souls will be present with the Lord, and enjoy, at least by near anticipation, the happiness of His presence. The saints of God are always courageous and trustful in death, desiring to be set free from the body, that their souls may be with Christ. The Syriac reads thus: Since we know and are persuaded that as long as we dwell in the body we are pilgrims from our Lord (for by faith we walk and not by sight), we, therefore, confide and choose to be pilgrims from the body, and to be with our Lord. Therefore (2 Cor 5:9), pilgrims, or at home— Dead or living, we seek in all things to please Christ, as He pleased His Father. What pleases Him I always do. He who does My Father’s will, 1s My brother, sister, mother.

2 Cor 5:10. For we all must be made manifest before the tribunal of Christ, that everyone may receive what belongs to the body, whether good or evil.

We, and all mankind, without exception, must stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to receive our due, reward or penalty, good or evil, according to what we have done in the body.

2 Cor 5:11. Knowing, therefore, the fear of the Lord, we seek to persuade men, and to God we are manifest, and I hope all are also manifest in your consciences.

Having, therefore, before our eyes the terrors of this dreadful judgment, we seek in all sincerity to persuade men to come to Christ for their salvation, and we endeavour . carefully to remove every cause of scandal or aspersion upon the Christian religion. Offendiculis medemur (let us heal all offenses). This interpretation is adopted by all the Greek fathers, Saint Chrysostom, Theophylact, Theodoret, Saint Athanasius, and by Estius, Erasmus, and many modern commentators. Saint Chrysostom infers that to escape God’s judgment it is not sufficient to do no evil, but we must avoid all occasion of scandal or offence, even when we are free from guilt. Our sincerity is known to God, and we trust that you, in your conscience, are equally convinced of it.

2 Cor 5:12. We are not again commending ourselves, but giving you occasion of glorying for us, that you may know what to say to those who glory in face, and not in heart.

I have been accused of talking arrogantly and proudly in the former Epistle. It will be said I am doing the same thing now. But my object is to suggest to you what to say when next you hear this charge brought against me, as it will in all probability be brought by my opponents, men who are themselves arrogant and proud enough, but ‘whose glory is in their erudition or their wealth, or their -dignified or imposing aspect, and the like, and who have :no real ground for glorying, in their secret consciousness, in purity of heart.

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians Chapter 4

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 7, 2022

Text in red, if any are my additions.

In this chapter the Apostle protests the integrity and purity of motive of himself and his fellow-labourers, of which the sufferings they endured are a proof, and not of the contrary: and asserts that those who failed to see the truth and beauty of the Gospel, as he taught it, were blinded by Satan.

2 Cor 4:1.  THEREFORE holding the administration, according as we have obtained mercy, we fail not.
2 Cor 4:2. But we renounce the hidden practices of shame, not walking in craft, nor adulterating the word of God; but in manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every conscience of men in the presence of God.

(2 Cor 4:1) Therefore, inasmuch as we are trusted with the ministry of the Gospel of God, through His mercy, as explained above, we fail not, are not idle or backward in discharging this office, as Erasmus understands it; we do not shrink or quail before peril and affliction, says Theophylact, a sense which is more in accordance with the language both of the Vulgate and the Greek text. (2 Cor 4:2) We renounce and execrate all sin and impurity, even that which is hidden and concealed; we do not cheat or deceive; we do not falsify God’s word; but place the truth plainly in appeal to the consciences of men, as in the presence of God, who sees the hearts of all men.

The heretical teachers, intruding themselves into the office of teachers of religion, and doing so for gain, shrank from persecution; and it is impossible not to see the intention of the Apostle to reflect upon these men all the charges from which he defends himself and his friends, in this passage.

2 Cor 4:3. But even if our Gospel is hid, it is hid in those who perish;
2 Cor 4:4. In whom the God of this world blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the illumination of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God, may not shine upon them
.

If it is objected that this Gospel, thus plainly offered to the conscience of mankind, is by many of them rejected, and that this throws doubt upon its truth, I answer that those who do not see it are such as perish voluntarily, because they do not choose to see the light, for the Devil, whom our Lord calls the prince of this world (John 14:30), has blinded their minds by the darkness of infidelity and vice. It would appear from this that the blindness caused by the influence of Satan upon the souls of men is voluntary blindness, because they will not see. Where there is good will Satan has no power. The result is that the clear light of the Gospel, by which is made manifest the glory of Christ, who is the perfect image of God the Father, light of light begotten, the splendour of his glory (Heb 1:3), the brightness of the light eternal (Wis 7:26), who illuminates every man who comés into the world (John 1:9), cannot shine upon them. Bats cannot see in the sunlight, for they shun the day, and love darkness rather than light. Truth and error are not matters of opinion, and are not on equal grounds. Darkness means deprivation of light. Light is real, darkness negative. The Gospel of Christ is light in itself, and clearly placed before the minds of men; it is darkness only to the wilfully blind.

2 Cor 5:5. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord, and us your servants through Jesus.
2 Cor 4:6. Because God, Who told light to shine from darkness, Himself shone in our hearts, to the illumination of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ
.

Having replied to this objection, the Apostle goes on with the comparison between the teachers of truth and the teachers of error. These, he implies, preached themselves, not Jesus Christ; and sought to rule and dominate their converts, not to serve them. We do not seek either our own glory or our own profit, but the glory of Jesus Christ, and your spiritual profit and advantage, your salvation through Jesus, and to this we give up all our exertion and all our time. And the reason we do so is, because He Who in the beginning said Let there be light, has cast the effulgence of His light in our hearts, which before were dark. not only to illumine us, but £o the illumination of the world by the knowledge and recognition of the glory of God. And this divine Light has shone upon the world from the face of Jesus Christ, Who is the image of the Father’s glory. It is the office of the Son to reveal to creation the glory of the Father. Who sees Me, sees My Father. The Syriac has in the person of Jesus Christ, in us as His legates and representatives; but St. Chrysostom and Theophylact follow the sense of the Vulgate.

God the Father is the source of light. God the Son is light begotten of light ; and has illuminated His Apostles and their successors, that they may in turn illuminate the world. For it is the nature of light to shine.

The light of God’s truth shone out from the darkness of the law, as light in the beginning flashed from darkness at the word of God, at the appearance of Jesus Christ, the consubstantial image of the Father. Christ is a more perfect image of God than the creature, and the knowledge of God is therefore more perfect through Christ than through the creature.

2 Cor 4:7. But we have this treasure in vases of clay, that the sublimity may be of the power of God, and not of us.
2 Cor 4:8. In all things we suffer tribulation, but are not crushed ; we are helpless, but not destitute.
2 Cor 4:9. We suffer persecution, but are not abandoned: we are dejected, but we do not perish:
2 Cor 4:10. Always carrying in our body the mortification of Jesus, that also the life of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodies.
2 Cor 4:11. For always we who live are being delivered up to death for Jesus: that also the life of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
2 Cor 4:12. Therefore death operates in us, and life in you
.

(2 Cor 4:7) The treasure of this celestial light is enclosed in us fragile vases of clay, that all the excellence and glory of our ministry may be attributed to God’s power, and not our own. And to God’s power, not ours, it is evidently due. (2 Cor 4:8) Assailed from all quarters, and in every manner, we are not overwhelmed; perplexed and anxious, we are never without resource, for God comes to our aid; (2 Cor 4:9) continually persecuted, we continually escape; thrown to the ground, though made of clay, we are not broken; (2 Cor 4:10) continually in peril of death, we carry about, wherever we go, a sort of likeness of the passion of Christ, that His glorious life may similarly be shown forth in us at the resurrection. (2 Cor 4:11) While we live, we are exposed to danger of death for Jesus, and our continual deliverance from it is a sort of image of His resurrection. He has risen, and lives, or He could not so continually and miraculously deliver us from death. And our mortal flesh, in which we suffer, shall one day put on immortality like His. (2 Cor 4:12) Thus the preaching of the Gospel brings us death in the body, and spiritual life to you. The Apostle, in writing these words, clearly foresaw at least the probability of his own martyrdom.

Vases of clay, in verse 7, refers not only to the mortality of the Apostles, as children of clay, but most of them were men originally humble, rude, illiterate, destitute of this world’s goods, looked down upon and despised. All the more brilliant became the glory and excellence of the Apostolate they exercised, in their hands.

2 Cor 4:13. And having the same spirit of faith, as it is written : I believed, therefore I spoke; we also believe, wherefore we also speak:
2 Cor 4:14. Knowing that He who raised up Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus, and place us with you.
2 Cor 4:15. For all things are on your account: that the grace, abounding through many in giving thanks, may abound to the glory of God.
2 Cor 4:16. On which account we do not fail; but though our man, which is without, be corrupted; yet that which is within is renewed from day to day.
2 Cor 4:17. For that which is momentary and light of our tribulation in the present, operates in us above measure in sublimity an eternal weight of glory.
2 Cor 4:18. In us who contemplate not things that are seen, but things that are not seen : for the things that are seen, are temporal: but the things that are not seen, are eternal
.

(2 Cor 4:13) In spite of all these afflictions and persecutions (mentioned in the previous verses), we continue to speak boldly and plainly. Why? because we believe. We have the same spirit of faith which prompted the prophet of old to say, I believed, therefore I spoke. (Ps 116:10.) The false apostles were silent in time of persecution, because they did not believe. (2 Cor 4:14) And what we believe is, that as when Jesus had been put to death God raised Him from the dead, so He will also raise us up from death, and place us in His heavenly kingdom with you. I say purposely, place us with you, not you with us. (2 Cor 4:15) For the whole of our ministry exists and is ordained for your salvation: and the more widely the Gospel is spread, the more fully will the eucharist of thanksgiving be offered to ‘God, for His glory. (2 Cor 4:16) The firmness and confidence of this faith and hope of the resurrection, arms and steels us against all perils and adversities ; and though that part of our human nature, the body namely, which is outward and visible, and is sensitive to fatigue, blows, hunger, thirst, and cold, may decay and perish, and is sensibly beginning to do so, that which is within, namely the mind and soul grows stronger every day in faith and hope. Or, is daily renewed and refreshed with new graces, which cause it to grow and flourish in the knowledge and love of God, and become strengthened against the persecutions which may be coming in the future. (2 Cor 4:17) For our faith assures us that the affliction of the body, which is light and momentary, is preparing for us an immense and indescribable weight of glory, which is eternal, and which will exceed, beyond all measure or calculation, all the afflictions of this mortal life. Above measure in sublimity. In the Greek, by excellence to excellence. Exceedingly exceeding all magnitude, says Theophylact. The Syriac: The trouble and oppression of this mortal life, slight and insignificant as it is, is preparing for us glory infinite in degree, and that shall last for ages of ages. (2 Cor 4:18) And on this account we disregard, and do not even look at, things that are visible, temporal, and transitory ; but we fix our mental gaze on the things that are invisible and eternal.

COROLLARY OF PIETY

ll visible things have come, or will come, to an end. This world, its fame, its ambitions, its pleasures, its empires. There were mighty men of old, men of renown. (Gen 6:4.) Who were these men of renown, what were their names, and what is their renown worth now?  They are forgotten, as if they had never been. Babylom and Troy have passed away. Where is the empire of Alexander? Where is the empire of Casar? Whatsoever my eyes desired, I refused them not: and I withheld not my heart from enjoying every pleasure. What trace is left of the pleasures of King Solomon, except this record. of his repentance? So will all things visible pass away in their turn. One day the earth itself, and the works which are in it, shall be burned up. (2 Pet. ili. r0.) Care, and anxiety, and regret, and grief, and disappointment, and penury, and bodily pain and sickness, the ill will, hatred, and vengeance of those who hate the truth—all these things are visible and temporal. All will come to an end one day, in the silence of the grave. There is one thing which will never come to an end, and will endure, because it is in its own nature eternal, immortal, indestructible; it is the Throne of Christ, before which His. Angels stand, near which His Saints reign with Him in. glory. He shall reign for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end. (Luc. i. 33). We do not see this glory with our bodily eyes, for the things that are eternal are not seen ; not that in their own nature they are incapable of being seen, but because we are not yet worthy to see them. We shall see them with our bodily eyes one day; we see them now by faith. Benedictum fructum. ventris tui nobis post hoc exilium ostende (Blessed be the fruit of your body after this banishment). Meanwhile let us learn, with the Apostle, to look at things transitory as if we saw them not, and to see the invisible by faith and hope.

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 3:1-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 6, 2022

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

In this chapter the Apostle complains that after all that has passed he should be put upon his defence, and required to give over again the proofs of his Apostolic ministry and of the glorious and heavenly character of the message with which he was entrusted.

2 Cor 3:1. Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or do we need (as some do) letters of commendation to you, or from you? 

Having in the concluding verse of the last chapter protested his sincerity, and that he spoke in the name of Christ, he now asks whether he is to introduce himself over again to the Corinthian Christians, whom he had converted to the faith, and come to them with a letter of introduction. As some do. It appears to have been the custom of the teachers of heresy to obtain testimonials or certificates, with which they went round from city to city to spread their views by lecturing. There appears to be some irony in the Apostle’s question. But it was also probably made a charge against Saint Paul that in his former Epistle he had taken occasion to speak much of the dignity of his Apostolic mission, especially in the four earlier chapters; to which he here replies that it is all the – more unnecessary for him to do so again.

2 Cor 3:2. You are our Epistle, written in our hearts, which is by all men known and read: 

You are our Epistle. There is here a double metaphor. You are the Epistle on which I have inscribed, visibly and conspicuously, the word of God and the truth of the Christian faith; Corinth being one of the most populous and celebrated cities of the Roman Empire, and its conversion a fact of notoriety, seen and read by all men. You are inscribed upon the affections of my heart, like the names of the tribes of Israel upon the plate worn upon the shoulders of the high priest, and I carry you always in my recollection. This should be the double effort of the prelate or pastor, to write God’s law in the hearts of His people, and then to carry them always in His own.

2 Cor 3:3. Manifestly shown that you are the Epistle of Christ, ministered by us, and written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not on tables of stone, but on tables of flesh of the heart.

More than this. You are an Epistle from Christ, conveyed by my hands, manifest and evident to all the world, by your faith and the miracles which accompany it; in which God’s word is inscribed, not with ink, as in ordinary letters, but with the Spirit of God, Who lives and operates visibly in you. Not inscribed, as the law was inscribed by Moses, upon tables of stone, but upon the tables of your hearts, which are tables of flesh. Flesh is not here opposed to spirit, as in most cases, but to that which is hard and insensible, like stone; and signifies impressible, docile, obedient. The heart is here regarded as the organ of sensibility or feeling, and the source of volition or energy, and the love of Christ engraved upon the heart prompts to readiness and obedience to all His commands. The result is patent and evident to all the world, for your faith and charity manifestly show that you belong to Christ.

“As spirit differs from ink, and heart from stone, so is the New Covenant better than the Law,” says Theophylact.

2 Cor 3:. And such trust we have through Christ to God.

I speak confidently, and claim much; but I have a right to this confidence, because my trust is in God through Christ. Christ is to us a cause of glorying in God, there is no cause of glorying in ourselves (Theophylact).

2 Cor 3:5. Not that we are sufficient to think anything of ourselves, as from ourselves: but our sufficiency is of God;

For I do not for a moment suppose or imply that there exists in me any power or strength to conceive and plan, much less execute and carry out, anything that can forward the salvation of the souls of men. Our sufficiency, or ability to do this, is from God, and God alone. The Syriac has: Our strength is from God, through the merits of Christ.

To think anything. It is worth noting, says Saint Anselm, by those who consider that faith originates with ourselves, and is supplemented by the Grace of God, that to think necessarily comes before to believe. No one believes that which he has not first thought credible. But if we are not sufficient, or naturally able, to think any good, much less are we naturally able to believe it; our sufficiency both to think and to believe is therefore equally from God. By thought we believe, by thought we speak, by thought. we act, all that we do.

2 Cor 3:6. Who also has made us fit ministers of the New Testament; not in the letter, but in the Spirit: for the letter kills, but the Spirit brings to life.

God has chosen and fitted us as the ministers of the New Covenant; not in the letter, by giving us a law engraved on tables of stone, which we are to announce and explain to others; but by endowing us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which gifts we are empowered and enabled to confer upon others in their actual power and potency. For the law alone, without the grace of the Holy Spirit, not in its own nature, but accidentaliter, kills the soul, or becomes an occasion of death, first because it prescribes what is to be done, or left undone, but does not give power to fulfil the command; and sin thus becomes worse by knowledge of the law and transgression of its precepts; and secondly, because it suggests the desire of acting in contravention of those precepts. Nitimur in vetitum. But the Spirit makes alive, or vivifies, is a fountain of life within us. He diffuses charity in our hearts, and charity is the life of the soul.

The law is spiritual, says Saint Chrysostom, but did not give the Spirit. Moses brought letters, not the Spirit. The commission of our faith is to confer the Spirit.

The law is good, in so far as it enjoins what is good; grace is good, because it confers what is good.—St. Aug. ‘Contr. advers. legis, II. 1.)

This comparison of the Gospel of Christ with the law is intended, as the Apostle explains farther on, to show the great dignity and splendour of the salvation offered to man by Christ.

The contrast between the letter and the Spirit in verse 6 has led some readers hastily to infer that by the letter the Apostle means the literal sense of the writings of the Old Testament, in their ordinary grammatical meaning; and by the Spirit, a figurative interpretation, known by tradition or by prophecy, but not apparent on the surface. That this cannot be his meaning will be evident to anyone who has carefully read the books of the Old Testament, of which the plain, literal meaning, as it stands, points so clearly to Christ, that the Jews could not possibly be misled by it. What was wanting was not any clearness in the oracle, but the Grace of God to dispose them to accept Christ, and prefer the promises of a better life to the riches or glory of this mortal state. Otherwise they would not have incurred such guilt in rejecting Him. It was the clearness of the letter which occasioned their fall, for in rejecting Christ they consciously rejected also the teaching of their own lawgiver and prophets.

2 Cor 3:7. But if the ministration of death, formed in letters om stones, was in glory: so that the sons of Israel could not look upon the face of Moses, on account of the glory of his countenance, which is being abolished:
2 Cor 3:8. How much more shall not the ministration of the Spirit be in glory?
2 Cor 3:9. For if the ministration of damnation is glory: much more abounds the ministry of justice in glory.
2 Cor 3:10. For it is not even glorified, that which shone, in this respect, on account of a glory that excels it.
2 Cor 3:11. For if what is being abolished is through glory : much more that which remains is in glory
.

Even the law of Moses, the ministry of death, engraved in letters on the tables of the law, was invested with such splendour that the people of Israel could not look upon the face of Moses when he came down from the mountain (Ex 39:29-30). How much greater will be the: glory that will attend the ministry of the Spirit who gives. life, at the resurrection of the dead? That the Apostle here refers to the future glory of the resurrection appears. from the reference to this hope in verse 12, and is the opinion of Saint Chrysostom and others. And in the glory of heaven the Apostles of Christ will doubtless have a place of pre-eminence. If the ministry of damnation is glorious, much more so is that which confers remission of sin and the gifts of the Spirit of God. Compared with this (which is the meaning of ex parte, in this respect), the glory of the old law fades into insignificance, and is no: glory at all. The transitory splendour which irradiated the countenance of Moses was a figure of the transitory nature of the law he ministered. Much greater, as it is. more enduring, will be the glory of that salvation in Christ which shall stand for ever.

It is probable that the heretical teachers whom the Apostle is opposing sought to depreciate the Gospel of Christ by putting it on a level with the law of Moses, and required the perpetuation of many of the customs of the old law. Here he stigmatises them as ministers of the letter, ministers of death, ministers of damnation.

2 Cor 3:12. Having therefore such hope, we use much boldness:
2 Cor 3:13. And not as Moses put a veil upon his face, that the sons of Israel might not look upon his face, which veil is abolished.
2 Cor 3:14. But their senses are blunted; even to this day the same veil in the reading of the Old Testament remains not removed (since in Christ it is done away):
2 Cor 3:15. But even to this day, when Moses is read, the veil is placed upon their heart.
2 Cor 3:16. But when he shall have turned to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away
.

Animated by the hope of immense and eternal glory through Christ, we, His Apostles, speak boldly and fearlessly. Nothing concealing, nothing dissimulating, nothing grudging, we speak in all openness and clearness. — Saint Chrysostom. Moses put a veil on his face to show that the time was not come for full revelation of the truth; we are bold to speak without veil.— Saint Thomas. Which is abolished; that is, the veil, as Saint Thomas thinks. The veil is the obscurity of types and figures, abolished in Christ. Others consider that what is said to be abolished is the glory of the face of Moses, which soon passed away. The Greek text, which is followed by the Syriac and Arabic versions, and by Saint Chrysostom, Theophylact, and Theodoret, reads: The sons of Israel could not look to the end of that which was being done away. They could not see that the law was to be abolished; neither could they see that it was to be abolished in Christ. Neither do the Jews perceive now either of these truths, but in reading the writings of the Old Testament their eyes are blinded, and a veil seems wrapped round their hearts. But when their nation, or, as the Syriac says, any one of them, shall turn to the Lord, the veil will be removed, and they will see clearly.

Moses put a veil on his face, signifying the blindness of those who do not believe; when he returned to God he removed the veil (Ex 34:34) to signify the clear vision of God, by faith now, face to face hereafter, of those who believe in Christ.

2 Cor 3:17. And the Spirit is Lord: and where there is the Spirit of the Lord, there is freedom.

The Spirit is Lord. The Spirit of God is sovereign and free, breathing where He will, bestowing His gifts according to His own good pleasure and infinite wisdom. He does not deal with us, as with Moses, under a veil and in types and shadows, but openly and plainly. And where there is the presence and action of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord, there is freedom; freedom of intellect and understanding to see God’s truth, freedom of will to believe in and embrace it. For if freedom of will was a natural gift given to man at his Creation, it was impaired and weakened by his fall, and is restored only by the grace of the Spirit of God.

2 Cor 3:18. But we all, with face unveiled, reflecting the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same likeness, from clearness to clearness, as if by the Spirit of the Lord.

And we all, not Moses only, but all Christians who have received the Holy Spirit, and especialy we, the Apostles, who have received the first-fruits of the Spirit, with unveiled face, that is with, clear intellectual vision, seeing and reflecting in turn (the Greek participle will bear both meanings, and the Apostle probably passes mentally from one to another) as a mirror reflects the light of the sun, the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, are transformed into His image and likeness, derived from His glory to ours, in accordance with the mysterious and supernatural action of the Holy Spirit, which human wisdom is unequal to comprehend or explain, upon the soul of man; but which is seen in its effects, in the marvellous and heroic virtues of the Saints of God, who in a certain sense and certain measure are a reflection of the glory of Christ and the sanctity of God.

COROLLARY OF PIETY

he heart of the Christian is an Epistle written by the hand of Christ. It is the parchment on which is inscribed the sacred and mysterious text. The Holy Spirit of God is the finger of Christ, which traces the words with the ink of His grace, His inspiration, His illumination, His movements and aspirations of piety; and the legend inscribed is faith, and hope, and charity. God is the writer; the Christian is only the book; his part is to receive with submission and thankfulness the tracing of God’s hand; to obey the movements of His Holy Spirit. For there is a heart of stone, of iron, of adamant, which will take no impression from that gentle hand. Let ours be a heart of flesh, living, sentient, obedient. Let that gentle influence curb and restrain our rebellious will. Let us pray God to destroy within us all unworthy affections, all useless fears, all destructive errors. Then shall we be prepared to receive that which God will write upon our hearts. My heart is ready, Lord: my heart is ready. Write therein Thy truth, Thy holy fear, the sincere and perfect love of Thee. And what God writes upon our hearts, angels and men are free to read.

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on 2 Corinthians 2:12-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 3, 2022

Text in red, if any, are my additions.

2 Cor 2:12. But when I came to Troas on account of the Gospel of Christ, and a door was opened to me in the Lord,
2 Cor 2:13. I had not rest to my spirit, because I did not find Titus, my brother; but bidding them adieu, I set out for Macedonia.

Leaving Ephesus, I went to Troas to preach the Gospel of Christ, for which I found opportunity, and good prospect of doing it in security and without interruption.  Here I expected to be joined by Titus (who had been sent to Corinth from Ephesus, to report to. the Apostle the condition of affairs in Greece), and not finding him, my anxiety on your account deprived me of tranquillity and rest. I quitted Troas accordingly (doubtless leaving some in his place to take advantage of the favourable circumstances just referred to) and went into Macedonia. “Troas was a town on the sea coast of Asia, not far from the site of ancient Troy. In Macedonia the Apostle seems to have encountered much trouble and difficulty, of which, however, he gives no detailed account, nor is there any in the Acts of the Apostles 20:2, possibly because Saint Luke was absent, being employed to convey this letter to Corinth. Nevertheless, the travels of Saint Paul in Macedonia, which he traversed in every part, were most encouraging in their result, on the whole, as appears from the following verses:

2 Cor 2:14. But thanks to God, Who always makes us triumph in Christ Jesus, and makes manifest the odour of the knowledge of Himself through us in every place:

Thanks to God, Who everywhere not only gives us victory, but open triumph and display of that victory: and in every place makes manifest the sweet odour of the knowledge of His mercy in Christ. The more spices are bruised, the stronger and sweeter is their fragrance.

The passion of martyrs is the triumph of the martyrs, the triumph of God, and the triumph of Christ. The triumph of the martyrs, because it displays them openly as victorious over the world and the devil. The triumph of God, because thereby the knowledge of Him is spread, like the sweet odour of spices or of incense. The triumph ef Christ, because His Gospel is spread, His faith conquers unbelief, His truth is victorious over error.

2 Cor 2:15. Because we are a good (sweet) odour of Christ to God, in those who are saved, and in those who perish.
2 Cor 2:16. To some indeed the odour of death to death: but to others the odour of life to life. And to this, who is so fit?

We are a sweet odour of Christ to God. By our good name, by our divinely taught words, by our Christian example, by our unmerited sufferings. To some, indeed, this odour is deadly occasionally; not in itself, for in itself it is life, and gives life, not by our fault, but by theirs.

Some may love darkness rather than light (cf. Jn 3:19). The scent of ointment fattens the dove, and kills the beetle, Ecumenius. Vineyards in flower refresh men and kill serpents (Saint Thomas). The sunshine refreshes strong eyes, gives pain to weak ones. Fire purifies gold, but burns up chaff and stubble. And who is so fit for these things, as the Apostles of Christ? This is the reading of the Vulgate, quis tam idoneus? It is, however, conjectured that it was originally written quisnam: who is sufficient? which is the meaning of the Greek. All is to be attributed to the grace of Christ; we can assume nothing fto ourselves (Saint Chrysostom).

2 Cor 2:17. For we are not like very many, adulterating the word of God ; but of sincerity, but as of God, before God, in Christ we speak.

We are not as many. | Here the Apostle resumes his defence of his doctrine, which occupies him to the end of Chapter VII. There are many who dilute or adulterate the word of God and make a trade of it, for the word will bear either meaning—mixing it with doctrine of their own invention, or derived from alien sources, as wine-sellers are wont to dilute wine with water, thus selling for profit what they ought to give for nothing (Saint Chrysostom). What we teach we teach pure, unmixed with error—truth as it comes from God, uttered as in His presence; and in Christ, not in the subtleties of philosophy. Or, in the person of Christ, and in His name, not our own.

A preacher is a trader, not an apostle, who mixes falsehood with the true; who speaks of God as absent; who trusts in himself and not in Christ.

COROLLARY OF PIETY

Jesus Christ has consecrated this world to God «and made it His altar of sacrifice. All the pleasure of God the Father is in God the Word, in whom He sees the perfect likeness and reflection of His own infinite perfection and loveliness. Behold, the odour of my son is as the odour of a field of plenty, which the Lord hath blessed (Gen. xxvii. 27). And in this plenitude of perfection, and in this only, God is well pleased. And as the earth revolves, from every country, every clime, every continent and island, there arises before the throne of God the incense of the love of Christ. The Lord smelled an odour of sweetness, and said, I will no more curse the earth for man (Gen. viii. 21), when the smoke of the incense arose from beside the sacrifice of the second father of our race. Earth becomes the altar of incense beside which the Archangel stands, offering the prayers of all the Saints to God. The holy sacrifice of the Mass, the prayer of devotion, the consecration of man’s will to the sacred will of God, the incense of contrition, mortification, chastity, suffering, love to God and man, all inspired and all consecrated by the grace of Christ, continually rise before Him. But for this, what is there in this world to attract the love of God? But for this, would He have suffered the race of man to continue for so many generations? The world does not realise that it owes its continued existence to the presence of Christ in the Catholic Church, which is what, and what alone, reconciles the Almighty to our fallen and sinful race. Not only from churches, convents, hospitals, all places where Christ is adored or where men suffer for Him, or with Him, but from every Christian heart in which He dwells by His Spirit, by faith, contrition, charity, the sweet odour of Christ rises like the cloud of incense before the throne of God the Father, and draws down His blessing upon a lost and ruined world.

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