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

Archive for November, 2008

My Notes on Mark 13:33-37 for the First Sunday of Advent

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 30, 2008

13:33  Stay on watch!  Be awake and pray, for you do not know when the time will come. (Note: I’m using my own translation) The verse contains three imperatives; the first two emphasizing the need for vigilant watching, while the third stress the need for prayer.  The two themes are closely related as the events in the Garden of the agony show (Mark 14:33-42).  Stay on watch represents the Greek word blepo, which appears 6 times in Mark’s Gospel, four of them in this end time discourse (13:5, 9, 23, 33.  See also 4:24; 8:15).  Be awake translates the Greek word agrypneo,-a state of sleeplessness, wakefulness, watchfulness.  You do not know when the time will come builds upon the previous verse (32).  We may not know the exact time of the Lord’s coming, but we know what season it is.  It is the season of the Lord’s second advent. and has been since his Resurrection.  During the time of his first advent he had cursed a fig tree for having no fruit (Mark 11:12-14), even though it was not the season for figs!  This was in reality a symbol of the state and fate of his people and their temple.  Jesus’ first recorded public words were (according to the literal rendering of Mark 1:15): “Fulfilled is the time!  At hand is the kingdom!  Repent and believe the Good News.”  No doubt these words were repeated often; the people therefore were without excuse.  While one could (if I may put it this was) logically excuse a fig tree for not having fruit out of season, the first advent of the Messiah was very much in season, and so the people who rejected Our Lord were without excuse.  We too will be without excuse if His Second Advent catches us unaware.

13:34-35  It is like a man going on a far journey.  Before leaving he gives his servants authority to do various tasks, and commands the gatekeeper to be watchful.  You must watch, therefore, for you know not when the master of the house will return, whether at midnight, or at the cockcrow, or in the morning-lest at his coming he3 finds you asleep. Something of a little parable.  Jesus is about to leave his house and servants.  Those servants who have been given authority (Greek: exousia) are first and foremost the Apostles, and those who would succeed them in the ministry.  The gatekeeper is no doubt Peter, whose house the Lord made his own (the theme of the house is very important in Mark.  See 1:29-34; 2:1; 3:20-34; ect.).  These verses prepare for the account of Peter’s lack of watchfulness, which is closely associated with the time known as “cockcrow” (see Mark  14:29-42, 66-72).  For you know not when the master of the house will return repeats points already dealt with in verses 32 & 33.  The emphasis should not be lost sight of, and it serves a dual purpose: (1)we should not try to predict the Master’s coming for we cannot know when it will be; (2) for the same reason we should always be ready for His return.  The righteous man can sleep confident and unafraid, for he is in a right relationship with God (Psalm 4:9) but who knows what tomorrow, or even the next moment might bring?  Contrary to the belief of some Christians, a man can leave the way of righteousness, and act like a pig returning to the mud, or dog returning to its vomit (2 Peter 2:21-22).

13:37  What I say to you I say to all, Watch! Though the focus of this little parable has been the leaders of the Church, its warning and exhortation to watching is meant for all, you and I included.

 

Posted in Bible, Devotional Resources, Notes on Mark, Notes on the Lectionary | 1 Comment »

!st Sunday of Advent: Responsorial Psalm Commentary

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 30, 2008

    My notes on the first reading from Isaiah can be found HERE.

    This current post is a commentary on the entire Psalm, given by Pope John Paul II during his last series of Wednesday Audiences. Those audiences were dedicated to the Morning and Evening prayers of the Divine Office. The Holy Father died before he was able to finish, Pope Benedict completed the series. Links to these commentaries/meditations, arranged according to their usage in the divine office, can be found HERE. A link to Pope Benedict’s post-Psalm audiences-on the Apostles, Church Father’s, and St Paul-can be found by clicking on “Pope Benedict’s Catechesis” in the link field underneath the header of this blog.

    1. The Psalm we just heard is a song of lament, a plea from the entire people of Israel.

    The first part makes use of a famous biblical symbol, the shepherd. The Lord is invoked as “the shepherd of Israel”, who “leads Joseph like a flock” (Ps 79,2). From high above the Ark of the Covenant, enthroned among the cherubim, the Lord guides his flock, that is, his people, and protects them in danger.

    He did this during the crossing of the desert. Now, however, he seems absent, as though asleep or indifferent. He feeds the flock he must lead and nourish (cf. Ps 22) only with the bread of tears (cf. Ps 79[80],6). Enemies scoff at this humiliated, despised people; yet God does not seem to be moved nor “to be stirred up” (v. 3), nor does he reveal his might, arrayed to defend the victims of violence and oppression. The repetition of the antiphonal invocation (cf. vv. 4.8), seeks virtually to rouse God from his detached attitude, so that he will return to be the shepherd and defender of his people.

    2. In the second part of the prayer, full of tension and charged with trust, we find another symbol dear to the Bible: the vine. It is an image easy to understand because it belongs to the vision of the Promised Land and is a sign of fruitfulness and joy.

    As the Prophet Isaiah teaches in one of his most exalted poetic passages (cf. Is 5,1-7), the vine is the incarnation of Israel. It illustrates two fundamental aspects: on the one hand, since it has been planted by God (cf. Is 5,2; Ps 79[80],9-10), it represents the gift, grace and love of God; on the other, it demands the labour of the farmer that enables it to produce grapes that yield wine, and thus symbolize the human response: personal effort and the fruit of good deeds.

    3. Through the imagery of the vine, the psalm recalls the major milestones of Hebrew history: their roots, the experience of the Exodus from Egypt, their entry into the promised land. The vine attained its full level of extension, extending over the whole of Palestine and beyond, during Solomon’s reign. Indeed, it reached out from the northern mountains of Lebanon with their cedars as far as the Mediterranean Sea, almost to the great River Euphrates (cf. vv. 11-12).

    But this splendid flourishing was shattered. The Psalm reminds us that a tempest struck God’s vineyard: in other words, Israel suffered a harsh trial, a brutal invasion that devastated the Promised Land. As though he were an invader, God himself broke down the walls surrounding the vineyard, letting the plunderers break in who are represented by the wild boar, held by an ancient tradition to be a fierce and impure animal. Associated with the ferocity of the boar are all wild beasts, the symbol of an enemy horde that ravages everything (cf. vv. 13-14).

    4. The Psalmist then directs a pressing appeal to God to come back and defend the victims, to break his silence: “Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; have regard for this vine” (v. 15). God will again be the defender of the vital stump of this vine, subjected to such a violent storm, and will scatter all those who have tried to tear it up or set fire to it (cf. vv. 16-17).

    At this point, the Psalm opens to messianic hope. Indeed, in verse 18 the Psalmist prays: “Let your hand be upon the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself!”. Perhaps his first thought is of the Davidic king who, with the Lord’s help, will lead the uprising for freedom. But confidence in the future Messiah is implicit, that “Son of Man” who would be sung by the Prophet Daniel (cf. 7,13-14), a title Jesus would choose as his favorite to define his work and messianic being. Indeed, the Fathers of the Church were unanimous in pointing out that the vine that the psalm describes is a prophetic prefiguration of Christ “the true vine” (Jn 15,1), and of his Church.

    5. Of course, if the face of the Lord is to shine once again, Israel must be converted through fidelity and prayer to God Our Saviour. This is what the Psalmist says, when he declares: “Then we will never withdraw from you” (Ps 79[80],19).

    So Psalm 79[80] is a song that is strongly marked by suffering but also by indestructible trust. God is always ready to “return” to his people, but his people must also “return” to him in fidelity. If we turn away from sin, the Lord will be “converted” from his intention to punish: this is the Psalmist’s conviction that finds an echo in our hearts and opens them to hope.

    Posted in Bible, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes | Leave a Comment »

    Notes on the Readings for the First Sunday of Advent

    Posted by Dim Bulb on November 29, 2008

      This post deals with the first reading. I hope to post notes on the second reading and Gospel tomorrow.

      A look at the opening antiphon, the responsorial Psalm, and the readings for the First Sunday of Advent leave no doubt as to the key themes:

      • Antiphon: None of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded.
      • First reading: O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, and wouldst come down.
      • Responsorial Psalm: Rouse your power and come to save us.
      • Second reading: So that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
      • Gospel reading: Watch ye therefore (for you know not when the lord of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cock crowing, or in the morning): Lest coming on a sudden, he find you sleeping.

      Enatrance Antiphon:
      The Entrance Antiphon is from Psalm 25:1-3. This Psalm is a lament for forgiveness, but also an appeal for Divine guidance, and the theme of patient, faith-filled waiting permeates it; therefore it is fitting that its opening verses be invoked at the beginning of the Advent season.

      First reading:
      The first reading is taken from a prayer in the Book of Isaiah chapter 63:7-64:11. The prayer begins in what scholars call the qina meter, which is typical of laments. After rehearsing some of God’s past favors on behalf of his people (63:7-14), the prophet asks that God would once again intervene (63:15-16), it is at this point that the reading for today’s Mass begins.

      63:16b O Lord, art our father, our redeemer, from everlasting is thy name. The phrase “you are our father” occurs twice in the liturgical text and three times in the broader text from which it is taken. The title father and redeemer are closely associated in the OT. God is usually referred to as a father not because he created the people (but see 64:7), but because he redeemed them as His people (Exodus 4:22-23; Hosea 11:1). These texts are closely associated with the theology of covenant. Interestingly enough, the book of Isaiah opened with a rib (reeb), a covenant lawsuit by God against his people: “Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken. I have brought up children, and exalted them: but they have despised me” (Isa 1:2; see also Deut32:5-6)

      63:17 Why hast thou made us to err, O Lord, from thy ways: why hast thou hardened our heart, that we should not fear thee? return for the sake of thy servants, the tribes of thy inheritance.

      The passage is often explained by noting that the Jews of the OT period lacked the theological sophistication to make an adequate distinction between the permissive will of God, whereby he allowed things to happen (as in the above passage), and his active will, whereby he makes things happen. More recently, some scholars suggest that the above questions should be understood as a question about the absence of God’s favor (grace) which is necessary for living according to God’s ways. In this case, the words of verse 15 (not part of our lectionary reading) is instructive: “where is thy zeal, and thy strength, the multitude of thy pity, and of thy mercies? they have held back themselves from me.” Because God’s pity and mercy have held back the prayer asks “why” in the present verse.

      63:18 They have possessed thy holy people as nothing: our enemies have trodden down thy sanctuary. Not part of the lectionary reading) Enemies have possessed the people of God, a reference to exile; and they have trodden down the sanctuary, a reference to the destruction of the temple. (see Lamentations 2:7; Isa 33:22; 51:19-22).

      63:19a We are become as in the beginning, when thou didst not rule over us, and when we were not called by thy name. (not part of the lectionary reading). The people have become as they were before God’s saving interventions which created them as His people (see 63:7-14)

      63:19b (This text is 64:1 in some translations). O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, and wouldst come down: the mountains would melt away at thy presence. A plea for divine intervention reminiscent of the theophany at Mount Sinai (Ex 19; Deut 4:32-36; 5:23-27; Hab 3:3-15).

      64:1-2a They would melt as at the burning of fire, the waters would burn with fire, that thy name might be made known to thy enemies: that the nations might tremble at thy presence. When Thou didst tremendous things which we looked not for (64:1 is not prt of our lectionary reading). Certain events of the Exodus caused fear in the enemies of God’s people (see Psalm 68:8-15; Josh 2:8-11.

      64:3 From the beginning of the world they have not heard, nor perceived with the ears: the eye hath not seen, O God, besides thee, what things thou hast prepared for them that wait for thee. This passage is quoted-or, rather, paraphrased- by St Paul in 1 Cor 2:9. Celebrates the wondrous nature of God’s saving intervention (see Sirach 17:5-8).

      64:4 May we be found doing right when you come to meet us. May we remember you in all our ways! Behold, you are angry with us because we have sinned. (My translation. Consult the DR, NAB and RSV). Depending on ones relation with God, His presence can be saving or damning (see Malachi 3:19-22), hence the need to be found doing right. The ways of the the Lord are the instructions by which the just man lives (see Psalm 1).

      64:5 We are all become as one unclean, and all our justices as an unclean rag, and we have all fallen as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. Their separation from God has made them unclean, unable to enter into or enjoy God’s presence, or worship him properly. Seemingly just works cannot repair ones broken relationship with God; only God can accomplish that. A fallen (or withered) leaf lacks life and is separated from the tree. It is a fitting description of sinners separated from God and the supernatural life he can give (see Isa 1:28-30). Wind is often a symbol of God’s judgment (psalm 1:4; 35:5; Isa 29:5-6).

      64:6 There is none that calleth upon thy name: that riseth up, and taketh hold of thee: thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast crushed us in the hand of our iniquity. Divine punishment of sinners is grace, intended to be medicinal and leading to repentance (see Deut 30:1-7; He 12:4-13). Here the prophet confesses that the people are not responding to this situation with intercessory prayer (calleth upon thy name see Psalm 14:3-4), or with persistent prayer (see Luke 11:5-9).

      64:7 And now, O Lord, thou art our father, and we are clay: and thou art our maker, and we all are the works of thy hands. It is interesting to note that after his parable on persistent prayer referred to above, our Lord goes on to speak of God as our Father: “For every one that asketh receiveth: and he that seeketh findeth: and to him that knocketh it shall be opened: and which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? Or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him?” In spite of the sins, the prayer of the prophet still hopes in God as Father, this time appealing to him to remember the creaturely status of his people. Perhaps the words we are clay: and thou art our maker, and we all are the works of thy hands is a subtle indication that the people are ready to respond to God, thus bringing an end to their alienation (see Jer 18:1-9).

      Posted in Bible, Devotional Resources, NOTES ON ISAIAH, Notes on the Lectionary | Leave a Comment »

      St Thomas’ Political Doctrine and Democracy

      Posted by Dim Bulb on November 29, 2008

      Introduction

      Though the political panacea of the day, democracy is still insufficiently understood by the many whom it affects most.  The qualities of it are better known than are the qualifications for it; the ends than the means.  It is airily esteemed the great emancipation, the crown of the glorified people, the tom of autocracy, the gateway to the millennium, ect.   But its demands are proportionate to its favors; and there can be no true concept of democracy which ignores the preliminaries which induce it and its success.

      The meaning of the word, from the time of Thucydides who first used it, until now, is popular rule.  As one reviewer says, “Democracy is the state of an autonomous people“.  Still, if a people are not intellectually and ethically equipped for self government, a democratic regime would not be democratic at all.  It would be demagogic, or “the government of the people by the oss of the group.”  It would be, save a miracle, or through the discipline of experience and time, a species of chaos. Tyranny and its equally odious opposite-lack of all rigor-are none the less political calamaties when they obtain in the many.  The definition of demcracy would be improved by the linking of the adjective “qualified” to “autonomous.”

      Democracy is an ideal form of government; but, like all ideals, it has not always proved the best for practical purposes.  For nations have not invariably measured up to its requirements, and hence have not always been prepared for its privileges.  Since it is a system which, in a manner, makes rulers of the many, it demands that the many have the mental and moral virtues requisite to regency.  Until a people have evolved to the due political degree, democracy could only be a Pandora’s box in their possession.  If it is the best of the forms of government, its place in political progress is last; and the belief that it is the best for the futre implies at least a concession that it may not always have been the best in the past.

      Athens was ready for a democratic era only in the Golden Age of Pericles (445-431 B.C.); and even then her particular brand of popular rule which Lloyd calls “the most pure and the most important democratic government the world had ever,-nay has ever seen,” was far from ideal.  Theoretically, the people ruled; practically, Pericles did.  His spirit and influence leavened the whole polity, as in a form of monarchy.  The Demos discussed and decided; but it was only a segment of the population.  In a city-state where one regarded it a real hard-ship to have to live with less than half a dozen helots at beck and call, and the numer of free citizens, Attic-born and bred, who alone enjoyed the right of suffrage, was a startling minority, democracy, in our modern sweeping sense, was far from regent.  But the truth is that to support even this narrow democracy, which was really but a broad aristocracy, Athens needed a citizenry with brains.  That she happened to have it, is the great reason why the era was golden.  Galton declares that the average ability of the Athenian race was at the very lowest estimate two grades higher than our own; and this, if so, means that the Hellenes intellectually surpassed us quite as much as we ourselves out-step the third world today.  He recalls as evidences of the nimble intelligence and keen aesthetic sens of the Attic, the elaborate works of literature and art which were presented as a matter of course by their creators for his criticism and appreciation.  If Athenian morals measured up to Athenian minds, perchance the fate of the most famous of ancient democracies would have been less swift and tragic.  This classic example is of much modern politicl importance.

      The need for democracy is not solely rule by and for the people, but much else which this entails.  The faculty of reason must be strong and active in the people; without it there can be no genuine autonomy.  Secondly, a sense of responsibility must animate the populace; else law and order would be tossed to death on the crest of passion’s wave.  Thirdly, there must be a constant increase in personal intellectuality and powers of determination, for knowledge is never exhausted, nor is moral judgment ever too perfect.  The field for advancement in these regards is vast.  And, besides, the difference between a democracy and a pure, or ideal, democracy admits of a myriad degrees.  The individual must be awakened as never before, his mind wide open to the day, his heart strong, his arm ready; otherwise the theory of self-government were fanciful.  Democracy means the rise of the individual to a kind of kingship.  It is not primarily a political scheme of votes, privileges, exemptions, or reforms; but rather a spiritual force arousing the individual to self-consciousness, appreciation, ambition, expression, and service in civil society and state affairs.  It does not equalize men in the concrete.  What could do that but a dream, and who but a dreamer?  But it does make them equal in a legal sense, and does, as Tocqueville would have it, equalize opportunity.  Maumus writes that democracy necessitates an application to the social order of four principles:

      1-The equality of all citizens before the laws.

      2-The possibility of all citizens attaining civil honor and service without any title other than personal merit.

      3-The proportional division of public charges, or relative equality in the matter of taxation.

      4-The right of all to be heard, directly or through representatives, when there is a question of legislation or of the form of government.

      The nature of these principles indicates the need of morality and intelligence for their realization in civil society.  Just laws require just legislators.  The offices of the State should be open only to the competent; and if they are to be open to all, all must be competent.  Only the voice of truth has a right to be heard in the State; and if all voices enjoy such a right, all should be ethical.

      Hence democracy seems primarily moral, then social, and at last political.  It must first arouse the individual to a keen knowledge and sense of right and wrong, and a robust appreciation and pursuit of right.  It thus renders him an important item of the group-life in which he moves; an asset to the sum and quality of its thought; an increase to its power.  The greater the number of rightly thinking minds and rightly feeling hearts in society, the greater is the practicability of a popular form of government.

      And so a definition, accrediting all this, might be: Democracy is the state of a people who, individually qualified by intellectual and moral progress, and eager for further advancement, rule themselves either by themselves, or through their representatives.  A corollary would be that such a people with such a regime enjoy “the maximum of self-expression with the minimum of restraint,” or, as Pasteur expressed it, “the true democracy is that which permits every individual to put forth his maximum strength.”

      Thus understood, democracy is far from conflict with Catholic conceptions.  The Church has never forgotten the practical side of life in her appreciation of the spiritual and ideal.  Through her fundamental teaching, “upon which in the last analysis”, a writer observes, “all advance of democracy must be based,” dignifies each man as the image of his Maker and claims for all men the same purpose of existence, she has ever recognized that there is a wide twilight zone of human individual differences between this common origin and end.  She has consistently hoped and allowed for racial progress.  She has never committed herself to a policy of thrusting governments into the control of multitudes unprepared to receive them, appreciating that the people must be guided until such time as they are capable of guiding themselves; but she has never discountenanced that a people, individually or collectively, should evolve ther powers to the fullest.  For to deny or combat, would have been to discount her very doctrine that men must tend to their end which is excellence itself-God.  And so we find her wielding her influence in medieval and modern times to promote the advance of individual and society, warning against temerity indeed, but in season welcoming any theory of government which honestly precludes peril and promises success.  She has never frowned on democracy as such, and could not.  Rather she has exhaled its spirit in her teaching from the start; so much so that it is no longer considered absurd to suggest that back in the Middle Ages, in the calm of the cloisters, long before Protestant monarchs snapped their fingers at Rome, and, as some writers say, it became expedient for Catholic scholars to wither royalty in order to water the Pope, the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people was born.

      One ought not to forget that kings did not rise to supreme power in Europe until the Medieval Era had almost passed.  In the period of the Popes, feudalism was tempered by the guild system.  The people were in the process of formation for self-government; only their own handicaps, incidental to their late emergence from barbarism, delayed the inevitable day of their return to their civil birth-right.

      But theories of government, contrariwise to Catholic, came to dim the prospect; notwithstanding that the Reformation is wrested by some of its fervent admirers to explain the birth of modern democracy.  The Wittenburg friar’s (i.e., Luther’s) wanton injunction to princes as to the treatment of the underlings-“drive, beat, choke, hang, urn, behead, break upon the wheel”-appears to express a pathological hostility, if anything, to the democratic ideal.  Calvin, around whom swirled popular blood in Geneva; high-handed Henry and the equally autocratic Elizabeth: these betray little regard for the people and less interest in releasing political power to them.  Royal might, in the sixteenth century, seized on the ecclesiastical; and under this unbridled assumption the masses seemed more menaced than ever.  Stemmed was the promising tide of civil liberty, and weakened was the hitherto increasing consciousness of responsibility which animated Christian rulers.  To minimize Rome, Protestantism magnified monarchs; and the disastrous slogan “The king can do no wrong” rang out the death-knell of the democratic promise and possibility of medieval political principles.  The goodly solidarity which a common Faith, doctrine, and spiritual leadership had afforded Europe, saw shattered.  A synthetic force yielded to one of disintegration.  Individualism was doubtless thus enhanced and the purpose of future democracy served; but the crowning glory of Medievalism, “individuality through communal unity,” which could not bu induce a most desirable type of democracy, had vanished.  The civil power, become minotaur, had devoured all.

      Suarez, as also his twin gladiator, Bellarmine, essayed to slay the injurious pretension with the sword of Catholic tradition.  Standing in the morning of the Modern Age, this celebrated later Scholastic, in the spirit and tone of the ecclesiastical era, indeed in the very voice of the Angel of the Schools (i.e., St Thomas Aquinas), vindicates the rights of the people and thus preambles the long and mighty drama of popular emancipation.  He maintains that, fundamentally there is no reason why one man should have political jurisdiction; also that the subject of political power is not the individual, nor any number of individuals, but the community.  In order that such power might pass by just title into the hands of one man, it is necessary that the people consent.

      Alfred Rahilly has attested the heavy debt which democracy owes to its correct and courageous exposition by the doctrinal aggressor of King James and able representative of medieval political theory.  He sees it struggling to life in the unrest and aspirations of the English Whigs and Puritans and bursting into rich blossom in our own American Declaration of Independence, whose principals of natural equality and popular consent, intentionally or not, are unmistakably Suarezian.  And the doctrine has re-flowed in the famed and familiar utterances of Woodrow Wilson, in a manner to fill the race with enthusiasm.

      If it is true that, tracking back the rise of modern democracy, we at length find ourselves clasping the hand of a Spanish Jesuit, it is also a fact that the latter represents the writings of one Thomas of Aquino, and in this wise links the modern period with medieval political doctrine.  Much as is the indebtedness of the son of St Ignatius (i.e., Suarez) to the son of St Dominic (i.e., Aquinas), however, some mild protest must be made against Dr. William Dunning’s possibly semi-facetious assertion that “where Aquinas is unclear or incomplete, it is Suarez’s aim to clarify and supplement; where Aquinas takes an untenable position, Suarez reverently and with the subtlest distinction and discriminations proves that the master must have meant something different from what he said.”  The Jesuit was a worthy medium of the message of the former.  Aquinas hardly took positions which Suarez found  “untenable,” and among his pronounced merits in his Treatise on Laws are clarity and completeness.

      St Thomas of Aquino came into the world of thought when Europe was in a critical stage of transition (A.D. 1227-74).  Townsfolk were then seeing their rights more clearly and were wringing recognition from feudalism in the form of charters.  many of the cities glistened as tiny gems of democracy.  Quickened by their industrial  associations, which is some particular cities numbered as many as fifty, the masses were feeling their muscles.  In St Thomas’ own Italy, medieval municipalities enjoyed particular advancement.  The Lombard League, the victory of Legnano, and the Peace of Constans, are brilliant spots in the history of the principle of liberty and self-determination.  Unfortunately, however, the independencies used their powers against one another in a series of midget, but sanguinary wars.  It was in this clamor of petty arms that St Thomas appeared and was educated.  The necessity of toning down prevalent politics to the possibility of true liberty, by submitting it to the directive influences of charity and justice, must have been paramount in the thought of the scholar.  The situation in our Saint’s day was similar to that which now confronts the world.  The solutions which he presents in his political theories perhaps have some of the same pertinence to the present as the the medieval past.

      He saw democracies rise and ride to ruin.  he studied the reasons; ignorance and dearth of moral restraint.  He beheld tyranny grasp when and where the popular grip weakened-Hellas repeating itself!  He traveled in Germany and France, with little political detail, we may well imagine, escaping his eye.  Over and above the vivid observations of his own intense life-time, he could and did advert to the political knowledge of his predecessors.  Just as Azpilcueta, Molina, Lessius, Bannez, and Suarez would later draw on his mind, so did he supplement his own intellectual treasury with the riches of preceding centuries.  He indeed fills his lamp with the oil of the past; but it glows, by his own genius, with principles which serve for the whole future.  he joins the Medieval with the Ancient.  he takes the thought of paganism and burnishes it with Christianity.  Filtering through the mind of Aquinas, Aristotelian notions are separated from their coarser elements

      Especially valuable is his teaching, in that it not only holds aloft ideals for the guidance and perfection of the State, but also prescribes practical remedies for its sores; thus winning a place above the purely abstract systems which Figgis would call “the besetting sins of politics from Dante to Karl Marx.”

      In our study of the political mission and message of the Angelic Doctor, we shall, of course, have much recourse to his De Regimine Principum. There is well-founded suspicion that this work is spurious from the middle of the second book to the end; but the probability is that the treatise was finished by a hand and mind skilled and sympathetic in the discipline of Aquinas.  Likely the Doctor himself left material which Tolomaeus of Lucca, his disciple, arranged and amplified.

      The aurora of political enlightenment, which is the Commentary on the Politics of Aristotle, surely need not be renounced as unrepresentative of Thomistic thought.  It is not all the personal effort of the Saint, for Tolomaeus himself says so, and Peter of Auvergne is mentioned as concluding the enterprise.  But it is all in the master’s vein.  And the fact that it mirrors the mind of the Philosopher (i.e., Aristotle), is no proof that it does not reflect, at least moderately, the though and sentiment of Saint Thomas himself.  Although the latter very probably failed to be as fervid as an Averroes, who reverenced Aristotle’s doctrine as supreme truth and his intellect as the human pinnacle, he must have succumbed to the spell which filled the thirteenth century.  In politics, the greatest of the Greeks was preeminence itself.  It was he who endowed the study with the character of an independent science, by distinguishing it from ethics.  His investigations covered practically all of the Hellenic and barbarian systems of government.  Aquinas would have been less great had he been blind to a greater.  The strong indication is that, save in notes decidedly dissonant with Christianity, our Saint is very much in harmony with the “Philosopher.”  We may beleive with Baumann that the Angelic Doctor would have hesitated to comment the Politics, if he could not quite commend it.  He was seriously making it, through his commentary, mental pabulum for his age.  The proof of his approval and appropriation of its lessons is his frequent references to them throughout his Summa.  As for his De Regimine, it is largely a reflex of the more sterling principles of the Politics.  But we should be warned by the cautious opinion of such as Antoniades and Jourdain not to identify the Saint with the Stagirite (i.e., Aristotle), and always to remember the narrow but deep Christian chasm between their mentalities.  Anent the legitimacy of accrediting Aquinas with thoughts which are expressly the Philosopher’s, it is well to recall that the doctrine which the world freely attributes to Plato is, on the road-Browed’s own testimony, Socrates’; and St Thomas is to Aristotle what Plato was to Socrates.  As for the unauthentic four books, we shall use them in the “restrained measure” which Crahay deems permissible, since they were possibly composed from the Doctor’s notes and are the work of one whom Tolomaeus calls his most faithful disciple.

      The tract de Legibus in the Summa will be of much importance to our purpose.

      Here and there in the other works of the Angelic Doctor, teachings of political value flash.  These too shall be duly noted and utilized.

      The trend of democratic thought will be traced.  Much that the modern mind might, at first blush, find repugnant to popular favor, may be indicated in the pages of the Master.  A closer scrutiny, however, will reveal that it is really the distortions and misconceptions of democracy, and not the principle itself, which are disrelished and criticized.  In this Aquinas but accords with the best thought of all time.  Plato could see no wisdom in having uninstructed masses rule.  Aristotle placed democracy in his list of the corrupt forms of government, but by it he understands the abuse of popular rule, and not popular rule itself.  The latter idea he calls Polity and quotes it with approval.  Cicero, while admitting the merits of democracy, was wide-eyed to its dangers.  Dante thought it shameless; Mill, impracticable; and Rousseau believed that, in its purity, it was fit for gods and not for men.  Aquinas manages to avoid all heat and to present a cool opinion.  And who, considering certain countries of the world today, more aroused by democracy than ready for it, convulsed in problems of their own creation, grappling desolation to their souls and deluding themselves that it is self-determination, would judge the prudence of the Angel of the Schools as prejudice?

      Still the amount and merit of the democracy to be found in his doctrine are remarkable.  Then again, they are not; for the very rule under which he lived gave his mind a certain democratic turn.  “It is a fact beyond all doubt and beyond all question,” observes M. F. Morris, “that the first distinct and positive illustration of constitutional government is to be found in the monastic orders.  The very word ‘Constitution’ in the technical sense in which we now use it, was first employed by them, and Constitutionalism in government may in fact be said to have originated with them.  The Constitutions of St Anthony, and St Augustine, and St Francis of Assisi, and St Dominic, and subsequently the Constitutions of St Ignatius of Loyola, and St Francis De Sales, and others were the first schemes on record of strictly constitutional government.”  Sifted, this sentence still shows much truth.  And the government of the Dominican order, of which Aquinas is the greatest luminary, was a model of the representative democracy which, we shall see, met his favor for the State and has been adopted by the progressive modern age.  The Order was governed by a master-general; the province y a provincial prior; the convent, by a conventual prior.  The last was elected by the friars of the convent; the provincial prior, by a provincial chapter composed of the conventual priors and two friars from each convent elected by a full meeting of all the friars of the convent; the master-general, by a general chapter composed of the provincial chapter.  When in subsequent pages we find St Thomas claiming for all citizens in the State some share in the government, and giving for his reason that such a polity is better loved, and hence better served, we suspect that his devotion to the Order of his choice is not altogether silent.  In fact, we shall find throughout his doctrine that his church-relations in nowise prevent, but rather promote, the popular tendencies; we shall understand with Mandonnet why the post-Reformation absolutistism could show “little sympathy for the democratic constitutions of the Preachers” (i.e., the Dominicans).

      Posted in Quotes, St Thomas Aquinas | Leave a Comment »

      Notes on Mark 1:1

      Posted by Dim Bulb on November 27, 2008

        I’ve posted previously on this verse, see here.

        1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

        Scholars note that this first verse is in fact a title. Whereas authors today separate the title of their work from the text in some visual and spatial fashion (i.e., a title page), ancient Greek authors separated their titles from the text with certain literary markers. Titles, for example, never contained a verb, either explicitly or implied; nor did they ever open with a definite article. This and other factors identify verse 1 as a title.

        The word beginning in Greek is arche, which has a number of meanings, including “source,” “rule,” or “foundation.” St Mark isn’t giving us the entire Gospel in his writing, rather, he is giving us what he considers foundational. Essentially, what is foundational is the proper understanding of what it means that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God. The importance of understanding what it means that Jesus is the Messiah (Christ) can be seen in the fact that Peter’s confession of that Messiahship is found at the center of the Gospel (8:22-31), and opens its second major half, which focuses on the theme of His suffering and its implications for discipleship. Son of God or its equivalent is the predominant title in this Gospel. Jesus’ sonship is declared at the beginning (1:11), the middle (9:7) and the end (15:39). The nature of that sonship is brought out in various ways, as I hope to point out in these notes.

        Concerning the name Jesus, see the Catechism HERE. For Christ see HERE. For Son of God see HERE.

        Other people see the first verse as part of the prologue, consequently, they interpret the verse as meaning that the beginning of the Gospel is rooted in Old Testament prophecy (see verses 2-3, 1 Peter 1:10-12), and by extension, the ministry of the Baptist. “The traditional starting-point of the Kerygma (proclamation) is the preaching of John the Baptist (see Acts 1:22; 10:37)-New Catholic Commentary On Holy Scripture.

        ” What the reference of the New Testament is to the Old, and its coherence with it. The gospel of Jesus Christ begins, and so we shall find it goes on, just as it is written in the prophets (Mar_1:2); for it saith no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said should come (Act_26:22), which was most proper and powerful for the conviction of the Jews, who believed the Old Testament prophets to be sent of God and ought to have evidenced that they did so by welcoming the accomplishment of their prophecies in its season; but it is of use to us all, for the confirmation of our faith both in the Old Testament and in the New, for the exact harmony that there is between both shows that they both have the same divine original.”Matthew Henry Commentary (Protestant).

        “The simplest and most natural construction he is (this is) the beginning of (or here begins) the gospel, &c. It is then a title or a description of the whole book, such as we often find in the first sentence of ancient writing, (Compare the liturgical formula, “Here beginneth such a chapter; here endeth such a lessn’) Some interpreters connect it with the next verse, the beginning of the gospel, (was) as it is written in the prophets; others with verse 4, ‘the beginning of the gospel was John baptizing.’ But these constructions seem too artificial, and the facts which they are meant to indicate, though not expressed here, are suggested by the context, namely, that the ministry of Christ was introduced by John’s, and that both had been predicted in the ancient Scriptures. According to the syntax first proposed, the verse describes the whole book, or the book describes itself, as the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.”- (The Gospel According To Mark, Joseph Addison Alexander. Protestant).

        Posted in Bible, Notes on Mark, Quotes | Leave a Comment »

        Advent Homily From St Caesarius

        Posted by Dim Bulb on November 27, 2008

        St Caesarius, Archbishop and Confessor, was born around A.D. 470.  He was raised to the archiepiscopal see of Arles in 501 and died on August 27, 542.

        Now that the most sacred and solemn day is approaching, when our Savior was pleased of His mercy to be born among men, consider diligently, beloved brethren, in what manner it befits us to be prepared on the Advent of so great a Power; that so, joyous and glad of heart, we may be accounted worthy to receive our Lord with honor and praise; and in His sight to rejoice with thankfulness, amidst the blessed company of the Saints, rather than by Him to be cast off in punishment of our vileness, and to deserve, with the sinners, everlasting confusion.  Wherefore, I entreat and admonish, that with the help of God we labor all we can, that so on that day we may be ale with a conscience void of offense, a clean heart, and a chaste body, to draw near the Altar of the Lord, and deserve to receive His Body and Blood, not to condemnation, but to our soul’s health.  For in the body of Christ Standeth our life; eve en as Himself also has said, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man,Let him, and drink His Blood, ye have no life in you. Let him, then, change his life who desires to receive Life.  For except he change his life, he will receive Life to condemnation; and be rather corrupted by It than healed, rather killed than made alive.  For so said the Apostle, Whosoever shall eat the Body of the Lord, and drink His Blood unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation yo himself.

        And although it befits us at all times to be adorned and resplendent with good works, most chiefly on the day of our Lord’s Nativity ought our works (as Himself also says in the Gospel) to shine before men. Consider, I entreat you, brethren, when any man in power or of noble birth desires to celebrate his own birthday, or that of a son, how diligently for many days before he looks to what is filthy in his dwelling, and orders to be cleansed whatever he sees filthy in his house; ids what is trifling and unbecoming be cast away, and what is useful and necessary set forth; the house, too, if it be dingy, is whitewashed; the floors are swept with brooms, and strewed and adorned with various flowers; and whatever serves to gladness of mind and comfort of body is provided with all care.  And why all this, beloved brethren, but to celebrate with joy the birthday of some perishable mortal?  If, then, you make such preparations on your own birthday, or that of a child, O how many, and of what kind, should be your preparations for the Birthday of Your Lord?  If you prepare this for a mortal, what ought you prepare for the Eternal?  Whatever, then, you would be unwilling to find, so far as you can help it, in your dwelling-house, strive that God find not in your soul.

        Were some earthly king, or master of a family, to invite you to his birthday feast, with what garments would you study to go adorned-how new and clean; nay, how gorgeous-that so neither their oldness, nor their homeliness, nor anything filthy about them might offend the eyes of your host!

        with like eagerness strive to the utmost of your power, with the help of Christ, to come with a clear conscience to the solemn feast of the Eternal King; to the Birthday, that is, of your Lord and Savior; your soul complete in all the attire of holiness, adorned with the jewels of simplicity and the flowers of sobriety, clean in chastity, glorious in charity, in the white robe of alms.  For  Christ the Lord, perceiving that you are thus prepared for the celebration of His birthday, will condescend Himself, in His own Person, to come to you, and not only to visit your souls, but to rest there and dwell there forever.  As it is written, I will dwell in them, and walk with them; and again, Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and take supper with him, and he with Me. O how happy is that soul which seeks, with God’s help, so to order its life, that it may deserve to receive Christ as a guest and in-dweller!  And, on the contrary, how miserable that conscience, and to e mourned over with a flood of tears, which by evil works has so mangled itself, that so far from Christ resting in it, the devil begins to rule there!  Such a soul as this, unless the salve of penance soon come to its aid, is forsaken of the light, and possessed of darkness; it is emptied of sweetness, and filled with bitterness, a prey to death, and by Life rejected.  Let not him who is such a one mistrust the Lord’s favor, and be cast down be despair that “works death;” but rather let him quick betake himself to penance, and while the wounds of his sins are still fresh and warm, make application for healing remedies.  For our Physician is Almighty God, and so is He wont to cure our wounds, that, after His remedies, not even a trace of a scar remains.  Therefore ought ye, for many days efore His Nativity, to abstain even from  all defilement.

        As often, then, as you lay yourselves out to celebrate either the Lord’s Nativity, or any other solemnity of the Church, before all things flee drunkenness, withstand anger, as if it were some sort of raging beast; drive out of your hearts all hatred, as ye would some deadly poison; and let there be among you such love as reaches not to your friends only, but to your enemies as well; that so you may say, in the Lord’s Prayer, with a safe conscience, Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. For I know not how a man came come clear to the Lord’s Altar, who is conscious of owning a grudge to any single person; more especially when St John the Evangelist exclaims, in fearful words, Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer.  And I leave it to you to judge, whether a murderer, before he has done penance, should venture upon receiving the Eucharist.  Holy John, too, cries aloud, saying, He that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. And again, If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar; for he who loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? Whoever, then, cherishes hatred or anger in his heart, and by thunders like these is neither frightened nor awakened, is to be accounted not asleep, but dead.

        These things, then, beloved brethren, consider day by day; and let those who are good strive, with the grace of God, to go on in good works; since it is not he who has begun, but he who has gone on, even to the end, that will be saved.  But let those who are conscious of being slow in alms-giving, and quick to anger, and prone to excess, hasten, with the help of the Lord, to deliver themselves from evil; that so they may have grace to fulfill what is good; that when the Day of Judgment shall come, they may not e found among the unholy, but deserve to attain, with the just and merciful, to everlasting rewards, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth forever.  Amen.

        Posted in Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Quotes, SERMONS | Leave a Comment »

        Trinkets

        Posted by Dim Bulb on November 27, 2008

        Commemorative coffee mug celebrating my parish’s centennial-$1

        Dollar-Store quality Syracuse hat-$7

        Wood bead Rosary handmade by our youth group to raise money-$10

        Inspiron 8200 Dell Computer-time consuming, probably seriously overpriced (like saline and breakfast cereal) and expensive to repair.

        Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

        Getting Ready For Thanksgiving Day

        Posted by Dim Bulb on November 26, 2008

        I just finished peeling fifteen pounds of potatoes; my contribution to tomorrows meal.  As usual we will be celebrating it at Dawn and Marty’s (Christmas is held here).  We’re also bringing acorn squash, which will probably be baked here in the morning and heated in the microwave tomorrow afternoon.  I thought about baking pecan and maple custard pies as part of my contribution (I’ve done that a couple of times at Christmas), but Dawn said she had planned on making several: sweet potato, apple, pumpkin.  I don’t know what my sisters bringing.

        One thing I miss about Thanksgiving is my grandmother’s pies and coleslaw.  Her homemade pie crusts were super.

        My mother is doing well.  Readers of this blog may recall she has had a number of health issues over the years.  Likewise my cousin-whose condition I posted on a few months ago-is doing well.  My Uncle down in Texas still hasn’t given up his battle with cancer, and I’m hoping he doesn’t succumb during the holidays, that would be hell on his kids and my mom.

        This is the second Thanksgiving without my Dad, perhaps Marty will take me to the cemetery sometime tomorrow.  He likes going and having a beer there with my dad, and he’ll actually pour one out on the plot.  I’m not real happy about that but he did enjoy cracking open a beer with my dad and talking about gardening, politics, or family.

        Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

        Did I Mention

        Posted by Dim Bulb on November 25, 2008

        Did I mention the fact that I have a Job?
        Did I mention that it pays a pittance?
        Did I mention the fact that it is removing snow at my church before morning and vigil Masses?

        Did I mention that the Church also has a 24 hour eucharistic adoration chapel that has sidewalks that I need to keep clean between the hours of 3 and 10 PM on weekdays, and from 6 AM to 10 PM on weekends and holidays?

        Did I mention that I live in Upstate New York, east of the Great Lakes?
        Did I mention that it snows a whole freakin’ lot where I live?
        Did I mention it’s snowing now?
        Did I mention it’s a wet, heavy snow, which makes the snowblower clog up?
        Did I mention that this means I’ll have to shovel the snow?
        Did I mention that this scrawny body of mine isn’t really designed for manual labor?
        Did I mention that about 3:30 a pretty girl named Julie passed by and thanked me for clearing the walks?
        Did I mention that she came back a few minutes later and gave me a cup of coffee from the convenience store?

        Did I mention that the coffee was old and burnt and tasted awful?
        Did I mention that I I didn’t care?
        Did I mention that I have a date with Julie this Friday night?
        Did I mention the weatherman is predicting snow on Friday night?
        Did I mention I was born to lose?

        Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

        Aquinas’ Preface to the Gospel of Mark

        Posted by Dim Bulb on November 24, 2008

        Isaiah 49:5-6
        My God shall be my strength.  And he said, it is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

        The Prophet Isaiah fortells in a clear prophecy the calling of the Gentiles, and the cause of their salvation, saying My God shall be my strength.  And he said, it is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant. Jerome:  In which words it is shown that Christ is called a servant, because He is formed from the womb.  For, before these words it is said: Thus saith the Lord, that formed me from the womb to be his servant. It had indeed been the will of the Father, that the wicked tillers of the vineyard should receive the Son whom He had sent; wherefore Christ says of them to His disciples, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 10:5-6). Because then Israel was not brought back to God, for that reason the Son of God speaks to the unbelieving Jews, saying, My God shall be my strength, who also has consoled me on the casting away of my people.  And he hath said to me, it is a small thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, which have fallen by their own wickedness, and to restore the preserved, or remnant of Israel. For instead of them , I have given thee for a light to all the Gentiles, that thou shouldest illuminate the whole world, and shouldest cause my salvation, by which men are saved, to reach to the ends of the earth.

        Gloss. From the words then, which have been quoted, we can infer two things; first, the divine virtue which was in Christ, by which He was able to lighten the Gentiles; for it is said, My God shall be my strength.  God therefore was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, as the Apostle says to the Corinthians (2 Cor 5:19); whence also the Gospel, by which believers are saved, is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone who believeth, as the same Apostle says to the Romans (Rom 1:16).  The second thing is the enlightening of the Gentiles, and the salvation of the world, fulfilled by Christ, according to the will of the Father; for it is said, I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles. Wherefore the Lord after His resurrection, that He might fulfill the will of the Father, sent His disciples to preach, saying, Go ye, and teach all nations; some he sent to the Jews, some received the ministry of preaching to the Gentiles.  But because it was right that the Gospel should not only be preached for those who then lived, but also be written for those who were to come, the same distinction is observed in the writers of the Gospel.  For Matthew wrote the Gospel to the Jews in Hebrew, and Mark was the first to write a Gospel amongst the Gentiles.  Eusebeus. For when the glorious light of the word of God had arisen over the city of Rome, the doctrine of truth and light, which Peter was then preaching to them, so shone upon the minds of all, by their patience in listening, that they heard him daily without ever being weary.  Whence also they were not content with hearing only, but they earnestly beg of Mark his disciple, to commit to writing those things which he preached by word of mouth, that they might have a memorial of them, and might continue both at home and abroad in meditations of this sort upon the word.  And they did not leave off their importunities, till they obtained what they had requested.  This then was the cause of the writing of the Gospel of Mark.  But Peter, when by the Holy Ghost he discovered the pious theft which had been put upon him, was filled with joy, for he saw by this, their faith and devotion; and he gave his sanction to what was done, and handed down the writing to the Churches, to be read forever.  Pseudo-Jerome: He begins at once with the announcement of the more perfect age of Christ, nor does he spend his labor on the birth of Christ as a little child, for he speaks of his perfection as son of God.  Chrysostom: But he makes a compendious and brief beginning, in which he has imitated his master Peter, who was a lover of brevity.  Augustine: Matthew, who had undertaken to relate what concerned the kingly person of Christ, had Mark assigned to him for a companion and an abbreviator, who was to attend upon his steps (see note 1).  For it belongs to kings not to be without a train of attendants.  Since again the priest used to enter alone into the Holy of Holies, Luke, whose design had regard to the priesthood of Christ, had on companion to follow his steps, and in a manner to abbreviate his narration.

        Bede: It is also to be observed, that the holy Evangelists have each fixed upon a different commencement for their narration, and each a different ending.  For Matthew, setting out from the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel, has carried on the thread of his narrative up to the time of our Lord’s resurrection.  Mark, beginning with the first preaching of the Gospel, goes on to the ascension of the Lord, and the preaching of His disciples to all nations throughout the world. But Luke, commencing with the birth of the Forerunner, has ended with the Lord’s ascension.  John, taking his beginning from the eternity of the Word of God, reaches in his Gospel up to the time of the Lord’s resurrection.  Ambrose: Because then Mark began with expressing the divine power, he is rightly represented under the figure of the lion.  Remiguarius: Mark is signified by the lion; for as a lion sends forth his dreadful voice in the wilderness, so Mark begins with the voice in the wilderness, saying, the voice of one crying in the wilderness (Mark 1:2).  Augustine: Although the figure might also be otherwise interpreted.  For Mark did not wish to relate either his kingly race, as Matthew did, who for this is figured by a lion, or his priestly kindred, or consecration, as Luke, figured by a calf; yet he is shewn to have had for his subject the things which the man Christ did, and therefore appears to be signified by the figure of a man, in the four animals.  Theophylact: Or, the eagle points out the Gospel According to Mark, for it begins with the prophecy of John; for prophecy views with acureness things which are afar, as an eagle does.

        Notes:
        1.  Augustine’s view that Mark was the “abbreviator” of Matthew is widely rejected by modern scholars.

        2.  The prophet Ezekiel had a vision in which he saw four living creatures with human form but four faces: 1. human, 2. lion, 3. ox, 4. eagle.  These four figures (or faces) came to symbolize the four evangelists: Matt=human; Mark=lion; Luke=ox; John=eagle.   For biblical and patristic quotes on this along with artwork see HERE.

        Posted in Bible, Notes on Mark, Quotes, St Thomas Aquinas | Leave a Comment »

         
        %d bloggers like this: