Posted by Dim Bulb on March 31, 2009
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 31, 2009
It may be Geppetto (whoever he/she/it may be) hasn’t got all the ticks out of the tech yet. Maybe they should call Al Gore.
source for image.
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 31, 2009
11 Malicious witnesses rise up; they ask me of things that I know not.
12 They requite me evil for good; my soul is forlorn.
13 But I, when they were sick — I wore sackcloth, I afflicted myself with fasting. I prayed with head bowed on my bosom,
14 as though I grieved for my friend or my brother; I went about as one who laments his mother, bowed down and in mourning.
15 But at my stumbling they gathered in glee, they gathered together against me; cripples whom I knew not slandered me without ceasing;
16 they impiously mocked more and more, gnashing at me with their teeth.
17 How long, O LORD, wilt thou look on? Rescue me from their ravages, my life from the lions!
18 Then I will thank thee in the great congregation; in the mighty throng I will praise thee.
19 Let not those rejoice over me who are wrongfully my foes, and let not those wink the eye who hate me without cause.
20 For they do not speak peace, but against those who are quiet in the land they conceive words of deceit.
21 They open wide their mouths against me; they say, “Aha, Aha! our eyes have seen it!”
22 Thou hast seen, O LORD; be not silent! O Lord, be not far from me!
23 Bestir thyself, and awake for my right, for my cause, my God and my Lord!
24 Vindicate me, O LORD, my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me!
25 Let them not say to themselves, “Aha, we have our heart’s desire!” Let them not say, “We have swallowed him up.”
26 Let them be put to shame and confusion altogether who rejoice at my calamity! Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor who magnify themselves against me!
27 Let those who desire my vindication shout for joy and be glad, and say evermore, “Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
28 Then my tongue shall tell of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long. (Psalm 35)
"My Son! I came down from heaven for thy salvation; I took upon Me thy miseries not of necessity, but drawn by love that thou mightest learn patience and mightest bear temporal miseries without murmuring. For from the hour of My birth, until My death upon the Cross, I ceased not from bearing of sorrow; I had much lack of temporal things; I oftentimes heard many reproaches against Myself; I gently bore contradictions and hard words; I received ingratitude for benefits, blasphemies for My miracles, rebukes for My doctrine." 2. Lord, because Thou wast patient in Thy life, herein most of all fulfilling the commandment of Thy Father, it is well that I, miserable sinner, should patiently bear myself according to Thy will, and as long as Thou wilt have it so, should bear about with me for my salvation, the burden of this corruptible life. For although the present life seemeth burdensome, it is nevertheless already made very full of merit through Thy grace, and to those who are weak it becometh easier and brighter through Thy example and the footsteps of Thy saints; but it is also much more full of consolation than it was of old, under the old Testament, when the gate of heaven remained shut; and even the way to heaven seemed more obscure when so few cared to seek after the heavenly kingdom. But not even those who were then just and in the way of salvation were able, before Thy Passion and the ransom of Thy holy Death, to enter the kingdom of heaven. 3. Oh what great thanks am I bound to give Thee, who hast vouchsafed to show me and all faithful people the good and right way to Thine eternal kingdom, for Thy way is our way, and by holy patience we walk to Thee who art our Crown. If Thou hadst not gone before and taught us, who would care to follow? Oh, how far would they have gone backward if they had not beheld Thy glorious example! Behold we are still lukewarm, though we have heard of Thy many signs and discourses; what would become of us if we had not such a light to help us follow Thee? (Thomas a Kempis, The Imitation of Christ)
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 29, 2009
1:18 For the word of the cross, to those who perish, is indeed folly; but to those who are being saved, that is to us, it is the power of God.
1:19 For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and reprobate the prudence of the prudent.
1:20 Where is the wise? Where is the Scribe? Where the inquirer of this world? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
1:21 For because in the wisdom of God the world knew not God through Wisdom, it pleased God to save believers through the folly of preaching.
18. The word of the cross is folly to those who perish. What greater folly than to hope for salvation from one who was unable to save himself from a painful and ignominious death? Yet to us who by faith have entered the way of salvation (the particle is in the present tense, in the Greek) the cross is the power of God, because we know that the death of Christ is effecting our salvation.
19. See Isaiah 29:14. Wisdom shall perish from the wise, and the understanding of the prudent shall be hid. God will demonstrate the folly of human wisdom, by rejecting the aid of the wise and learned of this world in spreading the knowledge of the Gospel and bringing souls to Christ.
20. See Isaiah 33:18. Where, among the teachers of the Gospel of Christ, do you find pagan philosophers, Jewish scribes, professors of the physical sciences, who search out the secrets of the physical world? Truly God has infatuated the wisdom of the world, says Tertullian, since he can make no use of it for the furtherance of his kingdom. The philosophers have never found out truth for themselves, which is evident from the divergence of their views on every conceivable question: much less can they point it out to others. The simple preaching of the cross of Christ has established the true faith of God, and rooted it firmly in the belief of mankind, in spite of schools of philosophy and the strength of earthly power and empire.
21. The Greeks, says Theophylact, had the wisdom of God for their teacher; the wisdom displayed in creation, yet they knew not God. His wisdom intended they should know Him in His works; the sin of men prevented the realization of this intention. The mode of salvation is therefore changed; and God now, by the simple preaching of the cross, which to the wisdom of this world appears folly, saves, not speculators, disputants, cavillers, but believers.
22. Because also the Jews seek for signs, and the Greeks ask for wisdom.
23. But we preach Christ crucified; to the Jews indeed a scandal, and to the nations folly;
24. But to those themselves who are called, Jews and Greeks, Christ the virtue of God, and the wisdom of God.
25. Because the folly of God is wiser than men: and the weakness of God stronger than men.
26. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many are powerful, not many noble:
27. but the foolish of the world God has chosen to confound the wise: and the weakness of the world God has chosen to confound the strong:
28. and the ignoble things of the world, and contemptible, God has chosen, and the things that are not, to destroy the things that are:
29. that no flesh may boast in His sight.
30. And of Him are you in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption:
31. that as it is written: who glories, in the Lord let him glory.
22. This is not what the world expected. The Jews ask for miracles, the Greeks require a system of philosophy. The Cross of Christ, which we preach, is to the Jews a scandal, because they do not understand humility; folly to the Gentiles, who are sensible of no greater evils than suffering and death. But those whom the grace of God calls to faith, can perceive the power of God, greater than miracles, all the wisdom of God, far transcending the limited view of human philosophy, is centered in the Crucified. The sun itself is darkness to the blind, says Theodoret; but it gives light to those who see. This, which the Greeks call folly, has done what all their systems of philosophy could never do: it has conquered the minds of men. That which seemed to them feeble and helpless, has subdued the empires of the world. Look at those whom God has selected to be the bearers of this message of salvation to mankind. How few of them are men whom the world regards as wise and eloquent; how few are men of position and influence; how few men of noble or princely birth! he does not say absolutely none; there were, for instance, St Dionysius the Areopagite, Paulus the governor of Cyprus, Nicodemus, Saint Paul himself, and Apollo.
But these were exceptions. For the most part, the early preachers of the Gospel of Christ, and their converts, were men whom the world, in its pride and ignorance, regarded as foolish, feeble, contemptible, and ignoble, as nothing. Yet in the end they put the old systems of philosophy to shame, subdued empires and governments to the faith of Christ, brought to nothing all that the world, before their time, most admired, believed, reverenced, trusted in. He, who made all things of nothing, has restored all things by those who were as nothing. The fools have taught the wise men. The feeble have conquered kings and emperors. The humble and lowly have brought to the feet of Christ the excellence and grandeur of the world. Nothing that is in this world can glory before God; its wisdom, its nobility, its power, are nothing in His sight. We must also learn to despise these things if we would have the regard of God. Christ has given us wisdom, deeper than the systems of philosophy can teach; justice, or remission of sin, more complete than either Judaic or pagan sacrifices could confer; sanctity, which philosophers talked of, but could never realize; redemption from the miseries of life, in hope complete, in great degree in present realization also, by virtue of that hope. In this we may glory, but in nothing that is of this world. Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise glory in his strength, and let not the rich glory in his riches. But in this, let him glory, who glorieth, that he knows me, because I am the Lord, who shows mercy and judgment and justice in the earth; for these are the things that please me, saith the Lord” (Jer 9:23-24).
Corollary of Piety:
The humblest Christian is wiser than the wisest of the philosophers of ancient times; familiar with the mysteries which baffled the penetration, and eluded the grasp, of the greatest intellects of all time. All the philosophers of all ages have failed to discover the final cause of man’s existence; what our race is made for. But the Catechism of the Church reveals to every Christian child this secret, the foundation of all philosophy, so necessary to know, so marvellously concealed from the unassisted intelligence of man. God made me to know Him, love Him, serve Him, and enjoy Him forever. Not the foundation of philosophy only, but its completion. Had philosophy attained this truth, it would have been content and satisfied, and desired to know no more. He who knows this, knows all; he who knows it not, knows nothing.
The cross, once the emblem of the deepest degradation, the most profound and utter scorn, surmounts the sceptres of kings, is suspended in the courts of judicature, gleams in the decorations of the most renowned orders of chivalry, among all the most civilized nations of the world. Christ on the cross, in his most absolute destitution and dereliction, has proved to be the conqueror of the world. he has done what kings and conquerors could never do: subdued the hearts of men. Few could tell the names of the twelve Caesars; the names of the twelve fishermen of Galilee, who conquered the world, are familiar in every land, and millions of men are called after one or other of them, after eighteen hundred years. No Roman triumphs were ever so brilliant as those which have been achieved by the bearers of Christ’s message of salvation; and the world has no record of conquest which can be compared to his.
What earthly dignity, what far descended genealogy can compete with the nobility of the inheritors of the glory of the sons of God?
Empires pass away, and are not. The Church of Christ, once esteemed as nothing, stands from generation and generation, triumphs over the empires, and through the ages. God has used the ignorant to put wise to shame, made the weak victorious over strength, exalted the lowly above the noblest, chosen the things that are not to bring to nothing the things that were.
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 29, 2009
In 2007 St Irenaeus Ministries presented a series of talks on repentance, some of which are available online:
An Honest Personal Assessment. The importance of a true and honest personal assessment, with lessons from 1st Corinthians and Romans. This talk is much longer than the others, taking 1 hour and 20 minutes.
The Life of David. This talk opens with a wonderful quote from an ancient Rabbinic source: “Whoever wishes to repent should study the deeds of David.” This talk takes 38 minutes and prepares for the next talk.
Psalm 51. A study of this great Pentitential Psalm from David. 39 minutes.
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 28, 2009
For other posts on the stations go here.
1 I must boast; there is nothing to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows — 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. 6 Though if I wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for I shall be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. 7 And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. 8 Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; 9 but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12).
Of this second fall there is no mention in the Gospel, but the devotion of the faithful has commemeorated the difficulties of the journey to Calvary in this way.
As the first fall was a sign of the weakness of the soul unsupported by God, so the second may be taken by us as a proof that human sympathy is of little avail in the trials God brings upon the soul.
After the first fall our Lord meets His Mother; after the second He meets the pious women who are devoted to Him. He is desirous that we should sympathize with Him in His sufferings for our own sake, because the sympathy we give to Him is a test of our union with Him. His sufferings, His labors and His trials, are borne for our sake to show us the value of all such things in life. He, the most perfect, the most innocent, will submit to them, not because they were needed for the completeness of His sanctity, but because they are, in God’s dispensation, the necessary accompaniment of our growth in holiness. He so identifies Himself with us that He suffers because we must suffer, and because we avoid suffering which entails humiliation, our Lord would fall under the cross. He, the strong God who made the world and supports it, will allow His human nature to sink under the burden of the cross. But this fall does not hinder His sacrifice. He will not allow weakness to hinder His work. In like manner, He will not allow my weakness to hinder His work. Indeed, if I use the weakness, i.e., bear it and do not seek the sympathy of others, if I humble myself in my weakness and rely on God’s strength, my weakness will help forward God’s work.-MEDITATIONS ON THE PASSION OF OUR LORD by Fr. Joseph Oswald Smith, O.S.B.,
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 28, 2009
The following is a commentary on the most used of the inviatory Psalms, namely, Psalm 95 (94 in Vulgate, Septuagint, etc.). It is taken from a commentary on the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Father Tauton, which work is in the public domain. Some text from the Little Office, along with some commentary can be found by clicking on the words “The Little Office” in the link field below this blogs header.
Antiphon: Hail Mary! ful of Grace, the Lord is with thee.
“But for it sufficeth not to you to praise and to joy in God alone but you must stir others to the same. Therefore, after Alleluia, or Laus Tibi, you begin the Inviatory, that is as much as to say, a ‘calling,’ or a ‘stirring,’ wherebey each of you stirreth and exhorteth others to the praising of God and of our Lady. And thereby also you call them that hear you and desire the others that are absent to come and praise with you. And thereto accordeth the Psalm Venite that followeth and is sung with the Inviatory” (Myroure, pp. 82-83).
As these words were said by the Angel, it will be well to say them with the same feelings of joy, love, and reverence with which he greeted our Lady.
Psalm 95 (94): A Prayer of a Son for David
Argument: Cardinal Tomasi in the collection of arguments collected from Origen, gives the following as meanings of this psalm. That Christ, the Good Shepherd, predestinates His sheep with eternal rest. The voice of the Church to the Lord touching the Jews. The voice of Christ to the Apostles touching the Jews. The voice of the Church advising to repentance.
Venerable Bede in his exposition of the Psalms says concerning this one: “Praise denotes devotion of voice; song, cheerfulness of mind, for David, Christ our Savior, to the end that we may come together and rejoice, not in vain delights, but in the Lord. The prophet forseeing the rejection of Christ, invites the chosen people to come and praise God. Secondly, the Lord Himself speaks that the aforesaid people should not harden its heart lest that if befall them which befell their fathers who did not reach the Land of Promise” (Migne P.L. vol xciiim p. 478).
1. Oh, come let us sing unto the Lord. Let us heartily rejoice in God our savior. Let us come before His Face in confession, and in psalms let us rejoice before Him.
St Augustine (in Ennarationes in Psalmos), commenting on this verse, remarks that the prophet invites us to rejoice, not in the world, but in the Lord. In saying Oh come, he means that those who are far off are to draw near. But how can we be far off from Him Whom is present everywhere? By unlikeness to Him, by an evil life, by bad habits. A man standing still in one spot draws near to God by loving Him, and by loving that which is evil he withdraws from God. Although he does not move his feet, he can yet both draw nigh and retire; for in this journey our feet are our affections. Come, as sick men to a doctor to obtain relief, as scholars to a master to learn wisdom, as thirsty men to a fountain, as fugitives to a sanctuary, as blind men to the sun. Thus writes the Carmelite, Michael Angriani. Let us sing to the Lord. Why then do we find it said: Blessed are they that mourn and Woe to you that laugh (Matt 5:4 and Luke 6:25)? Surely because they are blessed who mourn to the world, and the woe is to them that laugh to the world; but blessed are they who exalt unto the Lord, who know not how to be glad of violence, of fraud, of their neighbor’s tears. He joys in the Lord, who in word, deed, and work, exults not for himself but for his maker. Thus states St Peter Chrysologus (Migne, P.L., vol liii. p. 328). Our Savior. St Jerome in his version of the psalms translates these words simply as “Jesus our Rock.”
Let us come before His face, that is, says St Augustine, let us make haste to meet Him, not waiting till He sends to call us before Him. Not that we can in anyway forestall His grace and bounty to us, but that we may offer our thanksgiving with sufficient promptness to avoid the charge of ingratitude.
In confession, which may either be the confession of God’s might and goodness, or of our frailty and sin, the confession of praise, or the confession of grief. In this second sense we are called upon to come away from our sins, to come in penance to God before He comes in judgment. Confession in the Psalms is often used s equivalent to thanksgiving, for if we confess our unworthiness we must be filled with gratitude to God for His mercy in granting us forgiveness and restoring us to His favor. The Face of God often stands in Holy Writ for His wrath, e.g., Turn away Thy Face from my sins (Psalm 50:9); and also for offering sacrifice (see Hosea 5:5-6; Habakkuk 2:20. Modern translations may read ‘before, ‘ or ‘presence.’). The sacrifice of thanksgiving under the Mosaic code was an oblation of cakes of fine flour and wafer bread; and thus in this place, says Fr. Lorin, S.J., we see a prophecy of the Sacrifice of the New Law, that Eucharistic oblation of praise and thanksgiving wherein Christ is Himself offered to the Father.
And in psalms let us rejoice before Him.-Psalms, says St Ambrose, denote the combination of will and action in good works because the word implies the use of an instrument as well as of a voice (Migne, P.L., vol xiv). And, says Denis, the Carthusian, we may rejoice in psalms when we are alone, as well as when joining with others in the offices of the Church, saying, Oh come all ye powers of my soul, my whole being and all that is within me, especially my reason, memory and will, let us be glad together in the Lord.
2. For the Lord is a great God and a great King above all gods: For the Lord will not repel His people, for in His hands are all the ends of the earth, and the heights of the mountains doth He behold.
Says Fr. Corder, To us the words teach the mystery of the Eternal Son, pointing out that our Lord even in His mortal body is a great God, by reason of the Hypostatic Union, and also because He is the express Image of the Father; whence we find this very title given Him by the Apostle saying: Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). Christ, says St Bruno, is moreover the King whom all the gods, all those saints and rulers of His Church whom He has made partakers of Him, obey and love: I have said ye are gods (Jn 10:34).
For the Lord will not repel His people, That Christian folk, says Cardinal Hugo, which He hath purchased with His own Blood, He will not reject it, crying, praying, seeking or knocking to Him.
In His hands are all the ends of the earth.-If we take this as descriptive of the power of God over creation there is no better commentary on them that the words of Isaiah: He hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance (Isaiah 40:12). But the fuller explanation is to take it as showing that whilst false gods are worshipped in special places, He alone is Lord everywhere. And thus we see here a reference to the Church, no longer confined to the narrow limits of one people, but made up from all the nations of the earth. The ends of the earth may denote all the powers and faculties of man, a notion which is brought out better by the Hebrew-all the deep places of the earth.
The heights of the mountains are types of the exalted citizens of heaven: thus says Fr. Lorin. St Bruno says the earth is often put for men of earthly nd groveling minds, mountains for the saints lifted high by contemplation of Divine things.
3. For the sea is His and He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Come let us worship and fall down before God: Let us weep before the Lord who made us, for He is the Lord our God: but we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Besides the obvious interpretation concerning the wonder of creation, the sea, says St Augustine, denotes the Gentile nations tossed about in the bitterness and barreness of heathendom whom the Jews, in their spiritual pride, refused to believe God’s children. Yet He made them, as it is written: Doubtless Thou art our Father though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: Thou, O Lord, art our Father, our Redeemer (Isaiah 63:16). And His hands have formed the dry land. This land, differing from the sea in stability and in capacity of fruitfulness, denotes the Church or any holy soul. It is dry, says St Bruno, because without the grace of God it can do nothing, as land will not bear unless it be watered, but gaspeth for Him as a thirsty ground (see Ps 144:6). He formed it, which means more than he made it, implying that He gave shape and beauty and fulness to that which before was without form and void (Gen 1:2) by reason of Adam’s sin. (Note: the commentator is applying a text about creation to the idea of re-creation. Adam’s sin affected creation inasmuch as it caused disunity among men with one another and with God, as Genesis 3:8-13 shows. Also, as a result of Adam’s sin, God cursed the earth so that in some ways it rebels against man, as we see in Gen 3:17-19. In some sense it can be said that the earth is without form and is void because it no longer retains the fulness of purpose for which it was intended by God; this is why St Paul can write that “all creation groans in eager anticipation of the full revelation of the sons of God” in Romans 8:19).
We are to worship, that is, to bend the head as servants to their master, to fall down as subjects acknowledging their king. To weep, for as Cassiodorus says: God calls His people first to rejoice, while they, yet, do not know the spiritual life, lest they be alarmed and repelled by its sorrows and austerities; but when they have once accepted the faith, He then summons them to repent of their sins (Migne, P.L., lxx). But, says St Peter Chrysologus, they are tears of joy; for gladness, as well as sorrow, brings weeping, and grief for our past sins is blended with the hope of blessing and glory to come. Some commentators, who take this Psalm as having special reference to our Lord’s nativity, see here a command to adore Him in the manger, undeterred ty the tokens of mortality and poverty around.
But we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.-St Augustine tells us that we are hereby taught that we, even as people, are sheep, in respect to God, needing Him as a Shepherd, and only to be satisfied with His green pastures. Yet we are not unreasoning sheep to be driven with a staff. We are guided with God’s Own hands, the very hands which made us and are so loving and ever heedful to prevent any harm that may come from negligence, ignorance, or malice of those inferior shepherds, to whom He commits, in a measure, the task of tending His flock. He feeds us, says St Bruno, with Bread from heaven, as He once fed our spiritual forefathers with mann in the wilderness; and He cares for us as a shepherd cares for his flock, so that we need not be solicitous, but cast all our care on Him. Says St Bonaventure, we must be like sheep in trustfulness, patience and innocence, and yet men in understanding, according to His Own saying: And ye My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord (Ezek 34:31).
4. Today if ye shall hear His voice harden not your hearts, as in the provocation and as in the day of temptation in the desert: Where your fathers tempted Me, proved Me and saw My works.
Today, that is, daily while it is called today, as the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews explains in one of his threefold citations of this verse: But exhort one another daily while it is called today (Heb 3:13). So long as the night has not yet come, so long as the door of mercy is not shut. today, at once, not deferring till tomorrow.
If you will hear His voice is the reply to the assertion in the previous verse: We are the sheep of His pasture; for the proof of being one of Christ;s flock is according to His own words-My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me (Jn 10:27). This flock He gave in its entirety, both sheep and lambs, to His apostle Peter to be fed for Him (Jn 21:15-17). So if we are fed by Peter we are fed by Christ, and belong to His one fold. You call yourself His sheep; prove your claim, then, by hearing His voice. And yet, as St Bernard tells us, there is no difficulty at all in hearing His voice; on the contrary, the difficulty is to stop our ears effectually against it, so clear is its sound, so constantly does it ring in our ears. The Jews, remarks the Carmelite, sinned by refusing to listen to the voice of our Lord; and we also sin in the same way when we put off or refuse to repent. Satan’s counsel, observes St Basil, is “today for me, tomorrow for God”; whereas, He that hath promised pardon to repentance hath not promised tomorrow to the sinner.
Harden not your hearts.-For in doing so, says St Albert the Great, you set yourselves in direct opposition to the will of God, which is to soften those hearts, in that He said: My doctrine shall drop as the rain, My speech shall distill as the dew (Deut 32:2), to moisten the dry ground that it may bring forth the tender buds of grace; whereas it is said of sinners that their hearts are stony: I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh (Ezek 36:26); and of Leviathan, the type of evil power, His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of nether millstone (Job 41:24).
As in the provocation and as in the day of temptation.-Some commentators refer the word provocation to the resistance of the Jews to the authority of Moses and temptation to their unbelief in the providence of God: And he called the naem of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among us nor not? (Exodus 17:7). Cardinal Hugo points out that the words which follow in the wilderness, are an aggravation of guilt, because it was exactly there, in the absence of all other help, that the thoughts of the Jews should have been most firmly set on God Who had so wonderfully brought them out of Egypt. Those who come out of the Egypt of sin or worldliness, who begin a life of repentance, are at first in the wilderness. They are deserted by those they have left behind; and, not attaining yet to what they seek, they re much exposed, in that stage of spiritual progress, to the risk of rebellion, of unbelief in God, and of resisting the pleadings of the Holy Ghost.
Where your fathers tempted Me.-There is a stress on your fathers, implying that we are the same nations which sinned in a former period of its history and are therefore likely to fall again. The Carmelite remarks, we may tempt God in several ways: His mercy, by careless prayer; His patience, by remaining in sin; His justice, by desiring revenge; His power, by not trusting Him during perils; His wisdom, by undertaking to teach others without previous study and meditation.
Proved Me.-This is more than tempting, which denotes the bare experiment, whereas proving implies its success, for the God, whose power they doubted, slew them all in the wilderness.
And saw My works.-That is, says Fr. Lorin, although they saw them, and that during forty continuous years, yet they did not believe and were never subdued, but renewed their experiment after each miracle and judgment.
5. Forty years was I nigh to this generation, and said, these do always err in heart; in truth they have not known My ways. Unto whom I swore in My wrath that they should not enter into My rest.
Forty years.-The writers do not fail to point out the mystical meaning of the number forty, repeated in the fasts of Elijah and our Lord, and in the great forty days after Easter; and they tell us that as ten is the first limit we meet in computation, so that this number and its multiples give all the subsequent names to sums, it serves as a type of fulness; while four, as denoting either the seasons of the year or the quarters of the heavens, extends that fulness to all time and place; and thus forty years stands here for the entire span of our earthly sojourn. Remigius, monk as St Germain (see Migne, P.L. 131), points out the stress on years, because the journey of Elijah teaches us that the Israelites could have passed through the desert in forty days had they only been obedient (1 Kings 19:8).
Nigh.-Some commentators take this word in the sense that one who punishes is near the criminal, or of a teacher who keeps beside an idle and refractory pupil to compel his attention. St Augustine explains it of God’s continual presence in signs and miracles; while St Bernard interprets it of an inward voice and inspiration. The cause of God’s anger was the ingratitude of the children of Israel for His unceasing watch over them.
This generation.-And whereas this applies literally to the 60,000 who came up out of Egypt, and then by accommodation, to all living men at any time while it is called today, there is also a special fitness in taking it of the Jews after the Passion of Christ; for, says Perez of Valentia, the interval which lay between that and the final destruction of Jerusalem was almost precisely forty years, up to which time the door of hope was still open for Israel, and it was still today ere that terrible night set upon the Temple worship.
Always do these err in their heart.-This is much more forcible, observes Cardinal Hugo, than if it were said, they err in act; for the error of an act has a definite end, whereas the error of the will has no end. Death puts an end to the evil doings of a sinner, not because he has lost the will to sin, but because he has no longer the power to do so.
For they have not known My ways.-The word known does not here signify acquaintance with God’s ways which may be gathered from reading or meditation, but that knowing which comes from a careful keeping to His ways themselves, that is, from living lives fruitful in good works. And the ways of God, as St Bonaventure remarks, are all reducible to one, that is Jesus Himself, the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn 14:6); moreover, they all lead to the same heavenly country. They are one way in their making, their maker, and their end; they are many ways according to the diversities of the working of grace, the variety of vocations and of disposition among those who journey home through the wilderness.
Unto whom I swore in My wrath that they should not enter into My rest.-This He did when the spies brought back evil reports of the Land of Promise and the children of Israel prepared to elect a leader to take them back to Egypt (Num 14:26). It is a terrible warning, comments St Augustine. We began the Psalm with rejoicing but we end with awful dread. It is a great thing that God should speak; but how much more that God should swear. A man who hath sworn is to be feared, lest he should, for his oath’s sake, do aught against his will. How much more then ought we not to fear God Who cannot swear rashly? Let no one say in his heart, that which he promiseth is true, that which he threateneth is false. As sure as thou art of rest,happiness, eternity, immortality, if thou keep the commandments, so certain shouldest thou be of destruction, of the burning of everlasting fire, of damnation with the devil, if thou despise His Law. He hath sworn that these shall not enter into His rest, and yet, it remaineth that some must enter therein (Heb 4:6), for it could not be designed for no occupant. And this rest, which meant the early Canaan to the Jews of old, means for us that Sabbath of the heavenly Fatherland whereof the Epistle to the Hebrews tells us: Now there remained a rest to the people of God (Heb 4:9). Even here, on earth, says the Carmelite, before reaching the blessed Land, there remaineth a rest for God’s people, whereof the weekly Sabbath is a sign and a pledge. This is the rest from sin, common to all the just, and the rest from bodily cares and stilling of temptation, which comes in measure to contemplative saints; while, crowning all, there is the rest of the blessed, whence sorrow is banished for evermore. Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief (Heb 4:11) and be included under the terrible oath of exclusion; and in prayer for grace that it may not be so, O come let us worship and fall down and weep before the Lord our Maker. Thus says the Carthusian.
Glory be to the Father, the great King above all gods; Glory be to the Son, the Strength of our salvation; Glory be to the Holy Ghost who saith, Today if ye hear His voice harden not your hearts.
Next installment in this series will be a commentary on the Matin Hymn The God, Whom earth and sea and sky, Adore and laud and magnify.
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 27, 2009
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 27, 2009
According to a post on American Papist, 95 Notre Dame seniors have sent letters regarding the invitation to President Change to appear as the commencment speaker at graduation. 97% of those letter were supportive of the invitation. Perhaps this photo of the Senior Student Body Think Tank will help explain those numbers. Be sure to notice the serpet…urrr, I mean python…urrr, I mean muse getting ready to impart some wisdom.
Posted by Dim Bulb on March 26, 2009
A few days ago I posted concerning a podcast on Second Corinthians offered by St Irenaeus Ministries. They offer a number of fine lectures on various books of the Bible. Another good source for podcast Bible studies is Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church. They are currently offering a series of studies on the earliest writings of the NT, namely 1&2 Thessalonians. The first three podcast are up HERE….HERE…and HERE. They also have available podcasts on the Gospel of Mark, The Epistle to Titus, and Hebrews HERE.