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 July, 2009

St Irenaeus Ministries Latest Podcast

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 27, 2009

As I noted in a previous post St Irenæus Ministries has started a new podcast series on 2 Peter, Jude, and Christian Apocalyptic.  The latest installment (44 minutes) is on chapter 2 of Second Peter, which deals with false teachers.  As always, be sure to check out their archive, and also their online store for even more talks.

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Homily On The Justice Of God For The 9th Sunday After Pentecost (August 2, 2009)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 27, 2009

To read a homily based upon this coming Sunday’s Epistle as used in the extraordinary form of the Rite, click here.

They shall beat thee falt to the ground, and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone; because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.-Luke 19:44

In the destruction of Jerusalem, which our Lord foretells in the gospel of this day, three attributes of God are very clearly exhibited; first, his goodness.  Jesus wept over the city, and expressed his deep sorrow that she had not known the time of her visitation, and had obstinately rejected the graces offered her for her salvation; secondly, his omnipotence, because neither the multitude of people, whose number at the time of the siege amounted to two million, nor the fortifications of the city, which seemed to bid defiance to every enemy, nor the holiness of the temple, on account of which the Jews considered themselves invincible, could avert the calamity of her destruction; thirdly, his justice, which overtook Jerusalem and teh Jews when the measure of their sins was full and their time of grace had expired.

Of the last attribute of God, his justice, I shall speak to you today, and answer the two following questions:

1. In what does the justice of God consist?
2. What does the justice of God teach us?


The Justice of God consists in this:

1.  That he rewards the good and punishes evil. God voluntarily decreed the reward of whatever is good.  No one can claim this reward as a right, for God is under no obligation to reward good works which we cannot do without his grace, and least of all was he obliged to give us heaven as our reward; but since he has decreed that he will reward every good action, he cannot and will not annul his decree; only in this sense does his justice require that he should reward us for every good action.  Therefore the Apostle says: “Knownig that whatsoever good things any man shall do, the same shall he receive from the Lord, whether he be bond or free.”-Eph 6:8.  In like manner God has decreed the punishment of evil.  God cannot and will not act contrary to htis decree.  He therefore who sins incurs the punishment of God, and it is impossible for him to escape it unless he expiates his sin by true repentance.  Hence St Paul writes: “He that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption.”-Gal 6:8.

2.  That he rewards what is good and punishes what is evil, be it ever so insignificant.  God is not like men who frequently do not notice little things, and therefore neither reward nor punish them.  But God rewards us for the least good we do, as Christ expressly assures us: “Whosoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, amen, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”-Matt 10:42.  But if, on the contrary, we commit the least fault, we are punished for it, as Christ again assures us: “I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment.”-Matt 12:36.

3.  Tha he measures and apportions rewards and punishments.

a.  According to the degree or amount of good or evil that one has done..  If we do a great deal of good, we shall receive a large reward; if we do but a small amount of good, then our reward will be small.  “He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly; and he who soweth in blessings, shall also reap blessings.”-2 Cor 9:6.  In like manner God punishes people more or less according as they have sinned more or less.  Therefore Christ says that the Jews were more accountable than Pilate, since the latter delivered him to death out of weakness, but the former out of malice.

b.  According to the meaure of graces received. God punishes those who receive many graces, but make no use of them, more severely than those to whom he gives fewer graces.  “Unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required; and to whom they have committed much, of him they will demand the more.”-Luke 12:48.  Therefore if Catholics lead a bad life, God will judge and punish them more severely by far than pagans and heretics, because the latter have not so many graces as we have in the Church.  To the bad Catholics the words of Christ apply: “Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Behtsaida, for it in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought th emiracles that have been wrought in you, they had long ago done penance in sack-cloth and ashes.  But I say unot you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.”-Matt 11:21-22.

4.  That he acts with perfect impartiality, and rewards or punishes everyone as he deserves.  He does not ask whether one is rich or poor, learned or unlearned, of high or low degree, but simply what he has done, good or bad.  With him there is no respect of persons; he has one scale for all; he chastises the mightiest potentate who does wrong as severely as the poorest beggar.  “God will not accept any man’s person neither will he stand in awe of any man’s greatness, for he made the little and the great.”-Wis 6:8.  This strict impartiality God has revealed from the beginning.  He did not spare the great, and treated kings, such as Pharaoh, Saul and Antiochus, very severely, whilst he evinced his love of David, Mary, Joseph and the Apostles.

5.  That in rewarding and punishing he looks not to the exterior, the appearance, but to the interior, the heart. Men usually judge from appearances, for they cannot look into the heart and investigate thoughts and sentiments.  And yet everything depends on the interior, the intention.  One may do good works, one may pray, fast, give alms, as the Pharisees did, and yet be a great sinner, because one’s heart may be full of pride, avarice, hatred and envy.  On the other hand, one may appear to be worthless, and yet one may not be so in reality.  We have examples in Joseph and Susanna, on whom everyone was ready to pronounce  sentence of death owing to the circumstantial evidence, and yet they were both innocent.  God judges otherwise: he searches the heart, regards the intention of every action, invesitgates the secret motives, and is therefore able to pass an infallible and perfectly just sentence, and to render to everyone according to his works.

6.  Finally, that here upon earth he rewards the good and punishes the wicked, not always exteriorly, but interiorly.

a. Exteriorly the justice of God does not always appear in this life; it often happens that the wicked prosper, while the good eat the bread of affliction.  John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostles led a life of poverty, persecution and sufferings, while Herod, Pilate, the high-priests and the Scribes and Pharisees possessed everything that in the eyes of the world makes men happy.  It is the same today.  The pious Christian has frequently a hard lot; he is poor and must earn his bread painfully; severe sickness comes upon him, he fails in his undertakings, he dies in the prime of his life, be he ever so necessary for his poor family.  A man who cares nothing for God is perhaps in the happiest circumstances, he always enjoys good health, has plenty of money and reaches old age.  Many Christians cannot understand this; they are scandalized and say: How can God permit this?  But know that here below is not the place where his justice always manifests itself; he allows the wheat and the cockle to grow together; he even permits the bad to rule over the good, to torment and oppress them in every possible way: but, hereafter all will be changed, he will separate the wheat from the cockle, burn the cockle and gather the wheat into his barn.  Witness the Parable of Dives and Lazarus.

b.  But even in this world the wicked man is not truly happy.  Suppose he has everything that his heart can desire, that he has all that is counted indispensible for a happy life on earth, money, honor and respect, social position, ability, pleasure-je lacks one thing-interior peace, a good conscience.  He cannot kill the worm that gnaws in the midst of his luxurious life, fear and anguish torment him, and the thought of the last things embitters his happiness.  The words of the Apostle are verified in sinners: “Triulation and anguish upon every soul of man that worketh evil.”-Rom 2:9.  How different it is with the just man!  If he is oliged to encounter hard trials and sufferings, he does not despond, his good conscience consoles him, and he hopes that whatever he suffers here will be made up to him a hundred-fold hereafter.  To these are added the interior consolations which God sends to his faithful servants-consolations which so richly recompense them for all privations and sufferings that they would not exchange them for all the pleasures in the world.  Thus God manifests, even upon earth, his justice in the hearts of the sinner and of the just man, and every one must confess with the Psalmist: “Thou art just, O Lord; and they judgment is right.”-Ps 118:137.


What does the justice of God teach us?

1. It teaches us that we must not complain of God when we see that the sinner fares well and the just man ill. The lot of the sinner is anything but enviable, though he may wear a crown and enjoy the pleasures and joys of this world abundantly.  His happiness is mixed with much bitterness, and moreover, is very fleeting and perishable.  He resembles cattle that are being fattened; they are well kept because they are soon to be slaughtered.  God bears for a time with his enemies; as soon as the measure of their sins is full they become victims of his justice and exchange their transitory earthly pleasures for the everlasting torments of hell.  Who would grudge sinners their good days?  Who would envy their happiness?  Who would not rather wish with Jesus and his saints to pursue the way of the cross, since it is not only short, but also full of divine consolation conducting us to the heavenly Jerusalem where we shall receive “above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory.” 2 Cor 4:17.

2.  That we ought carefully to shun every sin. If the fear of human justice deters man from evil, how much more should the fear of Divine justice have this effect?  The punishment which the earthly judge can inflict on man is only transitory, but the punishment with which God chastises his enemies is eternal.  One may succeed in withdrawing one’s self from the punishment of an earthly judge by concealing the wicked deed, by denial, by flight, ut how is this possible with the divine judge whose eye beholds and scrutinizes all the secrets of the heart, and whose arm reaches further than heaven?  Oh, how blind is man who is bold enough to do evil in the sight of God; how deluded when he does not “fear hi that can destroy oth body and soul in hell” (Matt 10:28), rendering him miserable for a never ending eternity!  Frequently, especially in the moment of temptation, call to mind the justice of God, and vividly represent to yourselves the punishments which come upon the sinner, so that a holy fear  may fill your heart and deter you from every evil.  Should you be so unfortunate as to sin grievously, do not delay your conversion.  Consider that the sword of divine vengeance hangs threateningly over the head of the sinner and can destroy him at any moment.  Employ the time of grace, for “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”-Heb 10:31.  Do not commit even a venial sin with premeditation, because before God no sin is insignificant.  How severely were Moses, Oza, and David punished on account of small faults?  Guard as much as possible against venial sins, and endeavour to repair by penitential exercises and good works those into which you may fall owing to human weakness.

3.  That we ought to be zealous in doing good.  God is a faithful re-warder of all that is good; no practice of virtue, no corporal or spiritual works of mercy, no prayer, no mortification goes unrewarded.  All the pains we take in his service, everything we do for his honor and glory, will be rewarded hereafter.  The more good we do, the greater will be our reward.  If the hope of a temporal reward which is perishable induces men to sacrifice their repose and convenience, and to take upon themselves hardships and inconveniences, how much more should the hope of the precious rewards which await us in heaven animate our zeal for virtue?


Let the meditation on the justice of God be a powerful incentive to the fear of God, piety, and zeal in virtue.  Shun nothing so much as injustice and sin; guard yourselves against the smallest faults, and ask God daily to keep you in his love and grace.  Be zealous in doing good, and aspire to perfection and sanctification.  What glorious prospects you have if in view of the justice of God you endeavor to lead a pious, godly life!  Here after you will be numbered with those of whom we read in the Book of Wisdom (3:7-8): “The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds; they shall judge nations and rule over people, and their Lord shall reign forever.”  Amen.

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Homily on the Epistle for the 9th Sunday After Pentecost (August 2, 2009).

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 27, 2009

The Text: 1 Cor 10:6-13 (Douay-Rheims Version)


God is charity. This is a truth which must fill us weak, frail, sinful men with consolation and joy, but it is also a truth which many Christians abuse to their perdition.  God is charity, says the sinner, therefore I need not have any fear on account of my sins, for where is there a father who would reject his beloved child on account of a few faults?  God is charity; I may therefore continue to sin, for God is infinitely merciful and patient; he will receive me at all times, even on my death-bed.  Thus many sinners speak, and lull their conscience to sleep with a false security and peace, and will not awake till the flames of the divine judgments glare in their faces.

The epistle of this day is calculated to teach us a different lesson.  St Paul presents in it a series of examples which prove that God, although he is all love and freely forgives, inflicts heavy punishments on sinners and that he rejects them when the measure of their sins is full.  We will now consider this epistle a little more closely for our mutual instruction and edification.  It contains-

1. A warning against the sins of the Israelites in the desert;
2. An exhortation to circumspection and confidence.

Part 1

The Israelites had often and grievously sinned in the desert, and each time had been punished with severity for their sins.  The Apsotle points to these sins of the Israelites, and warns the Christians of Corinth against them, that they may not fall victims to the judgments of God.

1.  Let us not covet evil things, as they also coveted.  the Apostle speaks here of the desire which the Israelites had for the flesh-pots of Egypt.  They acted as spoiled children, who cry and weep when they do not get at once what they desire, and full of  displeasure they said: “Who shall give us flesh to eat?  Our soul is dry, our eyes behold nothing else but manna.”-Num 11:46.  Now God did their will and gave them flesh to eat.  Taking quails up beyond the sea he brought them and cast them into the camp for a space of one day’s journey, and they flew in the air two cubits high above the ground.  The people gathered the quail all that day and night and the next day.  Now they had flesh for a whole month, they had their fill, but this flesh cost them dearly, for the intemperate use of it was the cause that thousands of them fell sick and died.  The place where they were buried was called “The graves of lust.”

Who does not her recall to his mind the words of the Apostle St James (1:15); “When concupiscence hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; but sin, when it is completed, begetteth death.”  How many people, like the lustful Israelites, lose not only the spiritual, but also the temporal life by serving their lust, so that their graves wold also desrve the name of graves of lust!  To such belong those who by intemperance in eating and drinking, and by sexual excesses, become sickly and miserable, and in their best years sink into the grave.  It is a truth, corroborated by history and experience, that sinful desires and passions, if they are not bridled, cause man a great deal of misery even in this world, and frequently results in an early death.  “Who is the man that desireth life; who loveth to see good days?  Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.  Turn away from evil and do good.”-Ps 33:13-15.

2.  Neither become ye idolaters, as some of them; as it is written: The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. While Moses was with God upon Mount Sinai, the Israelites made to themselves a golden calf and said: These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt.  Then they built an altar, offered holocausts and peace-victims to the calf, and sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play, that is, they had dances and plays after the fashion of the heathens and practiced abominable idolatry.  On account of this enormous sin God would have destroyed them, if Moses had not interceded and obtained pardon for them.-Exodus 32.

Not less sinfully and culpably do those Christians act who although they do not fall down before idols and adore them, nevrtheless make honor, money, lust, and other sinful and earthly things their idols, and sacrifice to these idols their soul and salvation.  And how great is the number of Christians who are guilty of this detestable idolatry.  Reflect and see whether for the love of a certain person or other reason you do not offend God by grievous sins.  If this be the case, you are truly idolaters and mor eguilty before God than the blind pagans who adore wood and stone.  Take to heart the words of St Augustine: “Not only does he who adores false gods do wrong, but he also who obeys his passions and inclinations more than God.

3.  Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed fornication, and there fell in one day three and twenty thousand. The Moabites had, by the advice of the wicked prophet Balaam, invited the Israelites to the sacrifices at which a great deal of impurity was committed.  The Israelites accepted the invitation, took part in their sacrificial banquets, adored their gods and committed the most abominable impurities.  For this crime the wrath of the Lord came upon them, and in one day twenty-three thousand Israelites died suddenly, and several thousand more were stoned to death and hung upon gibbets.-Num 25.

How often do the words of the Apostle resound from the pulpit: “Let us not commit fornication”; but alas! how often in vain.  For instead of the vice of impurity (a vice that should not be named among Christians, as becometh saints) diminishing, it spreads in every direction, and is prevalent among the young and the old, the married and the unmarried, and even children are infected with it.  Ah, what times we shall live to see, if this vice is not prevented!  Was it not impurity that brought the deluge upon mankind, and destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha with fire and brimstone?  Does not the word of God assure us: “He that joineth himself to harlots will be wicked?  Rottenness and worms shall inheirt him and he shall be lifted up for a greater example, and his soul shall be taken away out of the number?”-Ecclus 19:3.  Detest and shun impurity above all things, walk honestly and decently, as becomes Christians whom God “hath not called unto uncleanness, but unto sanctification,” (1 Thess 4:7): and do not forget that only “the clean of heart shall see God.”-Matt 5:8.

4.  Neither let us tempt Christ; as some of them tempted, and perished by the serpents.  The Israelites began to be tired of the long and laborious journey in the desert.  “Speaking against God and Moses, they said, ‘Why didst thou bring us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?  There is no bread, nor have we any waters: our soul now loatheth this very light food.”  Thus they tempted God, or, as the Apostle says, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who protected the children of Israel in a particular manner and from whom he would descend as man, because they no longer put confidence in him and, as it were, tried him to see whether he could and would help them.  In punishment God sent fiery serpents among them which bit and killed many.  Then they came to Moses and said: “We have sinned, ecause we have spoken against the Lord ad thee; pray that he may take away these serpents from us.  And Moses prayed for the people.  And the Lord said to him: Make a brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign; whosoever being struck shall look on it, shall live.  Moses therefore made a brazen serpent, and set it up for a sign which, when they that were bitten looked upon, they were healed.”-Numb 21.  This brazen serpent was a type of Jesus, our crucified Redeemer.-John 3:14.

Beware of tempting God, and never without necessity expose yoursleves to any dange of body or soul, hoping that God will preserve you from harm.  Avoid especially the proximate occasions of sin, e.g., intimate intercourse with irreligous, dissipated people, and with persons of the opposite sex, doubtful societies and amusements; for to expose yourselves to such occasions and not to be williing to sin, would be to tempt God.  “He that loveth danger, shall perish in it.”-Ecclus 3:27.

and would God that we may die in this vast wilderness, and that the Lord may not bring us into this land, lest we fall by the sword, and our wives and children be led away captives.  Is it not better to return to Egypt?”  And they were already about to elect a captain and to return to Egypt; they would even have stoned Joshua and Caleb, who remonstrated with them against their doings.  They were punished severely for this murmuring.  Many of them died suddenly, especially those whom Moses had sent to view the land, and who on their return had made the whole multitude murmur against him, speaking ill of the land.  But all who numbered twenty years and upwards were excluded from the land of Canaan, and died in the desert.-Numb 14.

There are Christians who, like the Israelites, sin against God by murmuring.  When they meet with something disagreeable they become impatient, break out into complaints, and almost call God to an account, and reproach him with treating them unjustly, with being too hard on them.  Such Christians grievously sin against the duty of subjecting themselves entirely to God in every situation of life.  Forget not that you daily pray: “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven,” and always submit yoursleves to the guidance of God; have a firm conviction that “to them that love God, all things work together unto good.”-Rom 8:28.

The Apostle concludes his warnings with these words: Now all these things happened to them in figure, and they are written for our correction, upon whom the ends of the the world are come.  That is: God permitted these aberrations of his chosen people and punished them severely that we may see that we, who live under the New Law, must expect greater punishments if we become guilty of the same errors and sins.  We being Christians must show greater fidelity lest something worse may befall us as a punishment for our sins.

The Apostle now gives an admonition to circumspection and confidence in God.

Part 2

1.  He that thinketh himself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall. These words, with which St Paul exhorts us to caution, are very important:

a.  For those who are still in a state of innocence, that is, for those who have never in their life committed a mortal sin, and consequently still possess their baptismal innocence.  When you have lost an eartly benefit such as health, the favor of an exalted personage, honor and reputation, a house or a farm, it is possible for you to repair the loss by renewed energy and industry and by correcting former errors and avoiding former mistakes; but if you have lost innocence, by no possibility can you recover it again.  He who by a mortal sin has lost innocence may by true penance again recover sanctifying grace; he can save his souls from perdition, and go to heaven, but innocence remains lost for ever.  Innocence once lost is lost for ever.  Adam and Eve are in heaven, Peter and Paul are in heaven; Mary Magdalen and Mary of Egypt are in heaven; but they are not among the Innocents, but among the Penitents; how much penance soever they may have done for their sins, they could never recover innocence.  Now if you take the greatest care of your eyes ecause you know that if you lose them you could nverer recover them, should you not pay even greater attention to your innocence so that you may not lose it?  Should you not shun with the greatest care those places, amusements, and persons that are dangerous to your inocence?  Parents, ought you not to use all possible diligence in order to preserve the innocence of your children?  When innocence is lost y mortal sin, it is to be feared that the first sin will draw many other sins after it, and that the end of it all will be final impenitence and eternal perdition.  Think of Judas the traitor.  He was a thief, as the gospel says.  Was he so before he became an Apostle?  No, certainly not, but the donations of the pious which passed through his hand excited his avarice and maede him a thief.  And, behold! with the first theft his fate was decided; he stole as often as he could, and finally his avarice made him sell his Lord and Master for thirty pieces of silver; and then desparing, he hanged himself.  If Judas had not committed that first sin he would have been saved: but having committed it, he fell deeper and deeper, and his end was eternal perdition.  How wrong then are those frivolous people who say: “Once does not make a custom.”  What! once does not make a custom, though one mortal sin deprives man of his innocence for ever and is frequently the first link of an interminable chain of sins leading to eternal damnation!

. For penitents. The penitent is exposed to still greater dangers to salvation than the innocent man.  The devil pursues him with particular envy, and endeavors to bring him again into his power; hence we read in the gospel that he takes with im seven other spirits more wicked than himself, in order to make the penitent who has become lukewarm relapse, and to take possession of his heart.  The world allures him and uses stratagem, flaterry, promises, ridicule and even violoence, with a view to win him back, as e.g., in the case of St paul, whom the Jews hated most bitterly, because he had left them and embraced the Christian religion, and therefore they calumniated and persecuted him in every possible way.  His own evil concupiscence prepares for the penitent many hard struggles, for it resembles a spoiled child that cries and makes a noise because it cannot get its own way, and can only with great difficulty be pacified.

c.  For those, finally who already served God a long time and have made great progress in virtue. No man, though he may have attained the highest degree of sanctity is proof against a fall: he may sin, sin grievously and perish.  Solomon was the wisest of kings, and not only served God faithfully himself, but his solicitude was such that his people adhered to God and walked in the way of his commandments.  But, behold, this pious and enlightened king in his old age became faithless to God, and defiled himself with all the aominations of idolatry.  James, surnamed the Penitent, who lived in the sixth century of the Christian era, had led so holy a life in the desert for forty years that God glorified him with miracles.  But he came in contact with a woman, not with a bad intention, but to be a guide to her on the way of salvation.  What happened?  By little and little a sinful desire began to burn in him, and becuase he did not immediately avoid the occasion, he sinned grievously with her, and in order to conceal his crime he killed her.  Despair took hold of him after the commission of these two crimes, and he was aout to leave the desert, with a view to plunge miself into vice, to die and perish eternally.  but he who wills not the death of the sinner ut that he be converted and live, had compassion on him; he was met y a hermit who raised his fallen spirits and induced him to return to the desert.  There he did penance for ten years, up to his death, and thus saved his soul from everlasting ruin.

Whoever you may be, innocent, penitent, or even great saints, be on your guard and remember the words of the Apsotle: He that thinketh mimself to stand, let him take heed lest he fall.

2.  Let no temptation take hold on you, ut such as is human.  And God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able; but will make also with temptation issue, that you may be able to bear it. With the words: Let no temptation take hold on you, but such as is human, the Apostle means to say, that if we are tempted, we should not allow ourselves to be captivated y the temptaion so as to sin, that the temptation may remain human, for says St Anselm: “It is angelic to have no temptation at all; but human to have temptations and overcome them.”   We can overcome every temptation, be it ever so lasting and vehement, for God is faithful, he will keep his word, and as he has promised, will assist us with his grace, so that if we have good will and do what is required on our part for the overcoming of the temptation, we can persevere in good.

a.  That God gives to all men the grace necessary to overcome temptations is evident from this, that he wills all men to be saved.  Now since no one of himself could overcome all temptations, especially the more vehement ones, and consequently could not work out his salvation, it is evident that God gives the grace necessary for overcoming temptations.  St Paul had violent temptations to encounter; he therefore asked the Lord to deliver him from them.  But the Lord replied: “My grace is sufficient for thee.”-2 Cor 12:7-9.  The Apostle, full of courage and confidence, erlsewhere says: “I can do all things in him who strengtheneth me.”  He also exhorts us to this confidence, in these words: “Let us go with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace in seasonable aid.”-Heb 4:16.  Hence it is blasphemy for any one to say: I could not help it; I could not resist the temptation.  I was obliged to sin, for the necessary grace was wanting to me.

b.  But that the grace of God may prove effectual we must make good use of it, and do what is requried on our part for overcoming all temptations; we must especially watch and pray, according to the words of Jesus: “Watch ye and pray that ye enter not into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”-Matt 26:41.  We must watch; that is, we must pat attention to that which takes place in our heart, and fight against and suppress all sinful thoughts and desires at their first motion: we must watch our senses, subdue and mortify them, especially our eyes; we must pay attention to what takes place about us, to the people with whom we have intercourse, to the places in which we are or into which we come, and to the pleasures we enjoy, and must carefully shun what is to us a proximate occasion of sin.

We must pray; for though God gives us the first grace without prayer, all subsequent graces necessary for salvation depend on prayer.  Without fervent and persevering prayer we shall not be able to overcome all temptations.  “Which of the just,” says St Chrysostom, “has ever fought without prayer?  Moses prays, and overcomes; he ceases to pray and is overcome.”  Let a Christian learn that prayer is a duty, let him learn whence his victory and defeat come in the spiritual combat.  Yes, let him know that he must pray more frequently than Moses, because the enemy with whom he must wrestle is far more dangerous, and because he fights for himself, and not for others.


Follow the advice which the Apostle gives you in the epistle of this day.  Take warning from the Israelites in the desert, whom God each time visited with punishments when they sinned against him, and guard against injustice and sin.  Shun levity and haughty self-confidence, and work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for so long as you are in this mortal body you will be surrounded by various dangers to salvation; you may sin any moment and lose God’s grace.  Be always humble of heart, for humility alone gives security and if ever any man may hope with joyful confidence that God will protect him and guide him to salvation, it is the Christian who is profoundly humble.  Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation, for watchfulness and prayer are the only weapons which will enable you to gain the victory over all the enemies of your salvation, and thus to take heaven by violence.  Amen.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Quotes, SERMONS, St Thomas Aquinas | 1 Comment »

Suggested Reading List (Updated)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 25, 2009

Some of these works are out of print but you may still be able to purchase copies over the internet.  Unless otherwise noted, all works are by Catholic authors.  Works with links provided can be read online.

Bible, Old Testament:

THE MEN AND MESSAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT by Peter F. Ellis.  Published in 1963 and updated in the 1980’s it is now somewhat dated.  I’ve only read the older edition.  Very informative, nicely formatted, highly readable, non-technical, college level.

THE YAHWIST, THE BIBLE’S FIRST THEOLOGIAN by Peter F. Ellis.  Originally published in 1968, my edition is the thrid printing, 1981.  A study of the Yahwists critics, audience, sources, literary techniques, and theology.  Slightly technical, college level.

RECORD OF PROMISE by Wilfred J. Harrington.  Slightly technical college level text.

THE ART OF BIBLICAL NARRATIVE by Robert Alter.  He is a Jewish scholar whose specialty is Hebrew and Comparative Literature.  A seminal work published in 1981.

READING THE OLD TESTAMENT: AN INTRODUCTION by Lawrence Boadt.  Slightly technical, college level.  A bit too “modern” for my taste but a popular introduction.

GOD’S WORD TO ISRAEL by Joseph Jensen.  See my comments on the previous book.

THE NAVARRE BIBLE.  Text and commentary.  I’ve only read the volumes on the Pentateuch and the Minor Prophets, and several NT volumes and find them very good.  The NT volumes are more detailed, at least if you buy them individually.

THE MYSTERY OF THE TEMPLE: The Manner Of God’s Presence To His Creatures From Genesis To Apocalypse. By Yves Congar.  Published in 1958.  Still under copyright but available for reading online.  A work that deserves to be better known.

UNDERSTANDING THE OLD TESTAMENT by Bernhard W. Anderson.  Protestant.  Still under copyright but available for reading online.

THE BOOK OF THE ACTS OF GOD by Wright and Fuller.  Protestant.  Still under copyright.

New Testament:

THE DAWN OF THE MESSIAH by Edward Sri.  Published in 2005 this book give basic commentary on the infancy narratives of Matthew and Luke.  Designed for personal and group study.

THE MYSTERY OF THE KINGDOM by Edward Sri.  1999.  One of a number of fine studies available through Emmaus Road Publishing.  Basic commentary on the Gospel of Matthew designed for personal and group study.


THE BEGINNING OF THE GOSPEL by Eugene LaVerdiere.  2 paperback volumes obscenely priced.  A very good non-technical commentary on the Gospel of Mark.

LUKE by Eugene LaVerdiere.  Geared toward the educated non-scholar.

SEVEN PAULINE LETTERS by Peter F. Ellis.  Published in the late 1970’s and recently re-published by the Liturgical Press.  Contains text and capsule commentaries.  The author contends that these letters are-in whole or in part-concentrically structured and unified works.  Written for non-scholars

THE GENIUS OF JOHN by Peter F. Ellis.  Published in 1984.  Contains text and commentary on the fourth Gospel.  I found this work very interesting.  The author contends that the Gospel is concentrically structured.  Written for the non-scholars.

MATTHEW, HIS MIND AND HIS MESSAGE by Peter F. Ellis.  A small but very useful and informative introduction to Matthew’s Gospel.  The author gives a fine introduction, followed by an examination of the literary structure and unity of the work, and concluding with a presentation of the major theological themes.

THE PASSION OF JESUS by Donald Senior.  4 volumes, one for each of the Gospels.  Excellent.

THE NAVARRE BIBLE.  Try to get the individual volumes as they contain more commentary.  The compilation volumes ([1]The Four Gospels and Acts; [2] The Letters of Paul; and [3] The Catholic Letters, Hebrews and Revelation) are still very useful.

CATHOLIC COMMENTARY ON SACRED SCRIPTURE.  A new multivolume work.  An excellet resource for the average Catholic.  The Gospel of Mark and the Pasotrals are the only volumes currently available.  Second Corinthians and Ephesians are scheduled for publication before the end of the year.

THE RESURRECTION: A Biblical Study by F.X. Durrwell.  A seminal study published in 1960 and still in copyright, but available for reading online.

Posted in Bible, Books | Leave a Comment »

The Great Deceptiator?

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 25, 2009

Perhaps we should mint a new word to refer to our current President. Lincoln was known as The Great Emancipator; Reagan was known as The Great Communicator; perhaps Obama should go down in history as The Great Deceptiator.  Consider these words from Dr. William Brennan:

Obama resorts to verbal duplicity extensively in presenting such destructive measures as moderate, reasonable, and beneficent actions. The mainstreaming of abortion into a basic component of health-care reform is based on the portrayal of medicalized destruction as a legitimate “medical procedure” and “health-care service.” His issuance of executive orders increasing the funding of embryo-destructive research belies an attempt to get the public to embrace the view of human embryos as nothing more than “raw material” for bolstering biomedical research in the service of humanity. Some claim that he rescinded the Bush administrative order supportive of adult stem cell research because it contained a clause asserting the biological truth that “human embryos and fetuses, as members of the human species, are not raw material to be exploited or commodities to be bought and sold.”

Obama’s slavish conformity to pro-choice doublespeak is especially relentless. In a talk before the Planned Parenthood Action Fund on July 17, 2007, he repeatedly parroted pro-choice slogans, characterizing the “right to choose” as “one of the most fundamental freedoms,” reminding his audience, “I’ve stood up for the freedom of choice in the United States Senate,” and reassuring them, “On the issue of choice . . . I will not yield.” He further vowed that the first thing he would do as president “is to sign the Freedom of Choice Act.” On January 22, 2008, the 35th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, Obama boasted about his “100 % pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America” and again stated he would continue defending “the woman’s right to choose” by “passing the Freedom of Choice Act.” Soon after becoming president, he released a statement asserting, “I remain committed to protecting a woman’s right to choose.” By the end of April 2009, he repeated his hardcore allegiance to the woman’s “right to choose,” but announced that the “Freedom of Choice Act” is no longer “my highest legislative priority.” Apparently, the limitless access to abortion so strikingly evident in FOCA has a better chance of success when its totalitarian provisions are enacted within the less transparent context of subtle, incremental, and step-by-step stealth strategies.(Read the whole post from Ignatius Insight)
The Abortion Administration.

The Blue Dog Democrats Against Abortion.

How Sick Can This Health Care Bill Get?

Obama leaving Abortion Responsibility To Lower Pay Grades.

Obama Targets The Elderly, Punishes Private Coverage.

Posted in Abortion/Pro Life | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Resources For Sunday Mass For Both Forms Of The Rite (July 26, 2009)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 25, 2009

This post contains links to online video, audio, and text resources for this Sunday’s Mass according to both forms of the Rite.

Ordinary Form:

Sunday Gospel Scripture Study.  Video.  A consistently excellent resource.  As I write this the video is not yet available so keep checking.

John Paul II Catholic University.  Video, approx. 5 minutes.  I’ve been having problems with my computer; could someone tell me if the sound quality of this video is bad?

Daily Word: Text and Commentary on the readings taken from the Navarre Bible.

Daily Gospel.  Another great daily resource.  Contains the Gospel reading of the day, a link to a brief reflection, usually by a Church Father or Saint.  The If you are viewing the page on a day other than Sunday, July 26 you must click the blue arrow and select the date.  You can get this resource daily via email.

Word SundayContains a podcast, the Scripture readings with brief commentary, children’s readings, and suggested family activities.

Word On Fire.  Audio sermon by Father Robert Barron.

Extraordinary Form: Please note that the readings for the EF differ from those of the OF.

The Pulpit Orator.  Outstanding sermons from Father Johann Evangelist Zollner.

St Thomas Aquinas Homily Notes:

  • On the Epistle.
  • On the GospelPlease not that the Gospel reading in St Thomas’ day differed from that of the 1962 Missal.  I’ve included the link because these notes are excellent sources for reflection and meditation.

Instructions for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost.  Includes a Moral Lesson Concerning Detraction.

Homily by St Jerome.  Includes Gospel Reading.

Sermon on the Unjust Steward.

St Alphonsus Ligouri.  Sermon on the Unjust Steward.  The text is faded, increase text size or use the “zoom in” feature for easier reading.

Sermon on the Death of the Just.

Homily on the Epistle Reading. By Bishop Bonomelli

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Christ, Devotional Resources, Dogmatic Theology, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Morality, SERMONS, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Very Briefly: American Medical Assocition’s Take on the Health Care Bill

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 25, 2009

Apparently the American Medical Association has weighed in on the new economic stimulus package….

The Allergists voted to scratch it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought the Administration had a lot of nerve.

The Obstetricians felt they were all laboring under a misconception. Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

Pathologists yelled, “Over my dead body!” while the Pediatricians said, ‘Oh, Grow up!’

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.

Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing. The Internists thought it was a bitter pill to swallow.

And the Plastic Surgeons said, “This puts a whole new face on the matter.”

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

The Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, and the Cardiologists didn’t have the heart to say no.

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the &$$holes in Washington .

No, I didn’t write it, and I don’t know who did.

Posted in humor | 1 Comment »

Notes On 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5 by Father Charles Callan

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 25, 2009

The Apostle now gives a second argument against factions, attacking directly the party spirit of those who were following Apollo (1:17b-3:4).  If his own preaching among the Corinthians was simple and unadorned that affords no cause for divisions among them.  The first reason why he used simple language in preaching to them was because the Gospel is opposed to human wisdom (1:17b-2:5), and secondly because the Gospel contains a wisdom which only the perfect can grasp (2:6-3:4).

Why St Paul Made Use Of Simple Speech In Preaching The Gospel To The Corinthians, 1:17b-2:5

Human wisdom and loftiness of speech are not to be made use of in preaching the Gospel, lest the cross of Christ be deprived of its real power and efficacy.  This is clear, first from prophecy (1:19); secondly from experience, which shows that the wise of this world have not been chosen to preach the Gospel (1:20-25), nor are many of them to be found among those who have embraced its teaching (1:26-2:5).

I’ll here reproduce all of 1:17, placing 17b in italics.

1:17.  For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the Gospel: not in wisdom of speech, lest the cross of Christ should be made void.

17b.  The Wisdom of speech, etc.  There is no article in Greek.  The meaning is that it was not the will of Christ that St Paul, in preaching the Gospel, should have recourse to such human wisdom and such elegance of expression as the Greeks admired and cultivated.  This would have deprived the Gospel of the real source of its power, namely, the death of Christ on the cross, and would have made its success depend, or at least appear to depend, on human means.

Later preachers of the Gospel are not forbidden to  make use of the arguments of philosophy or of the powers of rhetoric in their sermons, first because the eficacy and preaching of the cross have been thoroughly established now; and secondly because, not having the inspiration and the marvelous powers of St Paul, they need those human aids.

1:18. For the word of the cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness; but to them that are saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God.

18. The word of the cross, i.e., the preaching of a crucified God, to them that perish, i.e., to those, whether Jew or Gentile, who by their infidelity are on the way to perdition, is foolishness; because to such worldly minds it was absurd to think of God becoming man and then dying the death of a malefactor in order to save the world.

But to them that are saved, i.e., to those who, through faith, are working out their salvation, the cross of Christ is the power of God, i.e., the source of the efficacy of the Gospel which, unlike Greek philosophy and rhetoric, is able to transform and perfect the life of all who sincerely believe it and put into practice it teachings.  The term for power here is δύναμις (dunamis), which means internal capability as opposed to ενεργεια, the exercise of power.

The cross, then, has the power to save men from sin, if they will make use of its teaching.  Saving power is also attributed by St Paul to the Gospel (Rom 1:16; 1 Thess 1:5), to God (2 Cor 4:7; 13:4), to the Holy Spirit (Eph 3:16, 20), to the Resurrection (Phil 3:10), and to Christ (Col 1:28-29).

1:19. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the prudence of the prudent I will reject
1:20 Where is the wise?  Where is the scribe?  Where is the disputer of this world?  Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

1:19.  that the preaching of the Gospel ought not to be according to human wisdom the Apostle now proves by appealing to the Prophet Isaiah (29:14) through whom God announced that He would confound the wisdom of those who confided in human rather than in divine help.  Literally the Prophet’s words, here cited almost exactly according to the Septuagint, refer to those Jews who, when God had promised to deliver them from the terrors of the Assyrian King Sennacherib (705-681 BC), relied on their own prudence and trusted in the help they hoped to recieve from Egypt, rather than in the divine promise.  It was not, says the Prophet, by such worldly wisdom that God would save His people from the coming invasion.  Now, what literally referred to these Jews had reference spiritually to the worldly-wise at the time of the preaching of the Gospel; these, like the jews of old, were not to be saved by means of human wisdom, but by the preaching of what seemed foolish to merely carnal and earthly minds.

The clause, I will reject, is put by St Paul in the place of “I will hide,” of the LXX.

1:20.  Whether the Apostle is quoting here from Isaiah 33:18, or speaking his own words, is not quite clear.  Perhaps he is not quoting, but only referring to facts commonly known.  As the Jews triumphed over the Assyrians, so the preaching of the cross has won the victory over human learning.  For among the preachers of the Gospel where, asks the Apostle, is the wise? i.e., the doctor of the Jewish Law?  Where is the disputer? etc., i.e., the philosopher and the sophist, who dispute every question that arises?

The words, of this world, better “of the world” (with manuscripts B A C D), mean the sinful, faithless world, and are more probably to be connected with each of the preceding substantives,-“wise,” “scribe” and “disputer.”

Since God has not chosen the wise and the learned of this world to propagate His Gospel among the nations, is it not evident that he has made foolish the wisdom of this world?

In the Vulgate, huius mundi should be simply mundi.

1:21. For seeing that in the wisdom of God the world, by wisdom, knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of our preaching, to save them that believe.

There was a very good reason why God did not choose the wise of this world for the propagation of His Gospel, namely, because they could not grasp so great a mystery.  The wordly-wise and the carnal-minded failed to recognize God when He revealed Himself, both in the works of nature and in the revelation of the Old Testament; hence God chose to save, through the preaching of Christ crucified, those that believe.

Wisdom of God more probably means that divine wisdom that was manifested in the book of nature for the pagans, and also in the Old Testament Scriptures for the Jews.

The world, i.e., by the use of only natural learning, embracing the philosophical systems of the pagans as well as the doctrines of the unbelieving Jews (Cornely).

Knew not God, i.e., had not that correct knowledge of the one true God which was necessary and able to lead them to salvation.

In view of this failure on the part of the pagan philosophers and the carnal Jews to arrive at anything like an adequate notion of the Deity it pleased God, i.e., God in His wisdom, justice and mercy thought it well (Tertullian), or decreed (Hilary) to open a new way to divine knowledge and salvation, namely, the preaching of a crucified Savior, which would save all who would accept it with faith.

1:22. For both the Jews require signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom.

This verse continues to explain how the preaching of the cross, or of Christ crucified, was a stumbling block to the jews and foolishness to the pagans.  The former were expecting signs, i.e., miracles of their own choosing to be performed by the Messiah; that is, they expected Him to be a glorious and powerful King who would subjugate the temporal rulers of the world and place the Jews in triumph over their enemies; while the Greeks always required something that whold appeal to their reason and human intelligence.  To the latter “it seemed opposed to human wisdom that God should die, and that a just and wise man should willingly give himself over to a most shameful death” (St Thomas).

1:23. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews indeed a stumbling block, and unto the Gentiles foolishness:
1:24. for unto them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
1:25. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1:23-24.  But we, etc.  Contrary to the expectations of both Jews and Gentiles the Gospel is the preaching of a crucified Messiah.  It was, therefore, a stumbling block, i.e., a scandal, an offence, to the Jews, giving them a pretext to reject the Christ; and to the Gentiles, foolishness, because it seemed to them the height of folly that God should die and that human salvation should be obtained through the death of a man on an infamous gibbet.

But the reason why the Gospel is an offence to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles is because both these classes of infidels do not receive it with faith (vs 21).  For unto them that are called (δύναμις κλητοις), i.e., to those that hear and obey the call, whether Jews or pagans, the Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified is the power of God, i.e., the divine force that has manifested itself, not only in the whole series of miracles performed by Christ and narrated in the preaching of the Apostles, but which, through the Apostolic preaching, was constantly operating, making all things new.  It was furthermore the wisdon of God, because it unfolded a plan of salvation which God alone could have formulated and executed (Cornely).

1:25. The reason why the results of a thing apparently weak and foolish are so extraordinary is because they are the effects of divine wisdom and divine operation; for the foolishness of God, i.e., that which to merely human minds appears to be foolish, is wiser than all the wisdom of men; and likewise, that which men call the weakness of God is stronger than all the strength of men.  This, indeed, has been verified in the preaching of the cross, which has effected what all the wisdom and power of earth could not effect, namely, the destruction of sin and the renovation of the world.

1:26. For see your vocation, brethren, that there are not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble:
1:27. for the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise; and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong.

1:26.  Not only did God cast aside the wisdom of tis world in choosing the preachers of the Gospel, but He did likewise in the choice of those whom He first called to embrace the teachings of the Gospel.  This is illustrated among the Corinthians themselves.  Hence the Apostle bids them to consider their own vocation.  Among those who had become Christian there were not many distinguished for their human learning, not many who enjoyed great wealth and influence, not many of noble birth; the vast majority of the faithful of Corinth, as of all the early Christians, were from the humbler walks of life and society.  The pagans in fact reproached the Church for being made up of low classes,-fo slaves, artisans and the like (Tacitus, AnnXV. 44; Justin, Apol. ii. 9; Origen, Contra Celsum, ii. 79); and yet all this was in conformity with the prediction of Isaiah and with what our Lord Himself said of His Kingdom (Isa 61:1; Matt 11:5; Luke 4:17; etc.).

1:27.  The reason of the foregoing actions on the part of God is now given.  Man, in his pride and self-sufficiency, had misused the gifts of God, thinking that all the blessings he enjoyed were due to himself, and despising those who were less favored than he.  Thus, earthly wisdom and power had been made by man a means of sin and disorder.  To counteract this state of things God called, as preachers of His Gospel and as members of His Church, those who were considered ignorant and weak, while He left to their own confusion those who considered themselves wise and powerful.

1:28. And the base things of the world, and the things that are contemptible, hath God chosen, and things that are not, that he might bring to nought things that are:
1:29. That no flesh should glory in his sight.
1:30. But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption.
1:31.  That, as it is written: He that glorieth , may glory in the Lord.

Although foolish things and weak things are in the neuter gender, they are understood for the masculine (cf. John 6:37; Gal 3:22; Heb 7:7).

1:28.  Here again we find the neuter plural used for the masculine to heighten the paradox between the ways of God and the ways of men.  The Apostle cites three classes of persons, called by God to the faith, who were in striking contrast to those of noble birth (vs 26) that were not called: the base, i.e., those who have not sprung from noble ancestry; the contemptible, i.e., those that are despised and regarded as nothing; things that are not, i.e., those who are considered as not existing.  All these kinds of persons God has brought to the faith of the Crucified, in order to confound and prove to be useless in the work of saving the world those who were considered great according to earthly standards.

If, with A C D F G and Old Latin, we omit και before ταμη οντα, things that are not, these words form only a clause in apposition to the preceding clauses of the verse, an are not the climax of the sentence.  Manuscripts B E, The Received Text, Vulgate and Peshitto are in favor of retaining και.

1:29.  The purpose of God’s action in choosing the rude, the weak and the “things that are not” to confound the wise and the strong and to bring to naught the “things that are,” was that no flesh should glory in his sight, i.e., that no one might be able to attribute his justification and salvation to his own wisdom, or power, or noble birth, but only to the goodness and mercy of God, and that thus all should recognize God as the sole author of human sanctification and salvation.  Supernatural things are from us only through the operation of God’s grace.

In his sight (Vulg., in conspectu eius) should be “in God’s sight,” to agree with the best Greek reading.

1:30.  Although the Corinthians have nothing of themselves whereof to glory before God, they may, nevertheless, glory in this, that of him, i.e., from God, as form the source of their supernatural life, they are in Christ Jesus, i.e., they have, through Baptism, been incorporated in the mystical body of Christ, being made members of Christ’s Church.  To be “in Christ Jesus” means in St Paul to be a member of the Church of Christ (cf. 9:1; Rom 16:7; Gal 1:22; etc.).

Who of God, etc.  Since Christians are His members, Crhist communicates to them the gifts he possesses from God, namely, His wisdom, by which the darkenss of error and ignorance are expelled fromn the mind; His justice and sanctification, by which they are made truly holy and pleasing in the sight of God; His  redemption, by which they are liberated from the serive of sin and the devil.

Justice and sanctification are closely connected by τε και to show they are really the same; for man is not first justified and then sanctified, but both at one and the same time through the infusion of sanctifying grace (Cornely).

It is evident that the Apostle here is not speaking about imputed justice in the Protestant sense, because just as Christ, through faith, has commuincated to us real wisdom, so has He imparted to us real sanctity and justification.

1:31.  Therefore, since the Christian has received all from God, if he wishes to glroy, he must do so in god, as is clear from Jeremiah 9:23-24.

He that glorieth, etc.  The citation here is only a summary of the Prophet’s word.

After that in the beginning of the verse the verb is understood (γενηται, it may come to pass).

May glory should be imperative, “let him glory” (Vulg. glorietur).

Lord (κύριος, Lord, in the LXX) really means Yahweh, God.

After havig shown (1:17 ff) that the Gospel is both preached and received by the humble and the simple, St Paul now tells the Corinthians that when announcing to them the glad tidings he observed the characteristic method of evangelical preaching.  This he did in order to conform to the divine plane, as already explained, and also in order that the Corinthians might derive the greatest profit from hearing the Gospel.

2:1.  And I, Brethren, when I came to you, came not in loftiness of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of Christ.
2:2.  For I judged not myself to know anything among you, but Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

1.  And I, etc, i.e., in conformity with the nature of the Gospel ministry, when I came to you the first time my preaching was simple in style and contents; I simply declared unto you the Gospel, avoiding all loftiness either in form or in matter.  The Apostle came to Corinth from Athens, where he had engaged in high dispute with the Stoics and Epicurians (Acts 17:18 ff.).  Perhaps his failure there induced him to employ at Corinth a method more in harmony with the requirements of the Gospel.

Testimony of Christ should be “testimony of God,” according to the Greek; and the meaning is that the Gospel, which Paul announced, was God’s witness to Christ.  Some MSS read “mystery” in place of “testimony.”

2.  For I judged not, etc.  If the negative οὐ, not, is to be connected with κρίνω, judged, the sense is: “I did not pretend to know,” etc.; if connected with ειδεναι, to know, we have: “I judged it better, or I decided, not to know,” etc.  The meaning is that, while at Athens just before coming to Corinth, St Paul had argued learnedly with philosophers, he made up his mind upon arriving in Corinth that it was better to keep to simple doctrines about Christ, especially the mystery of the Redemption.  Hence among you is in contrast with the Athenians.

2:3.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
2:4.  And my speech and my preaching was not in the persuasive words of human wisdom, but in shewing of the spirit and powers;
2:5.  that your faith might not stand on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

3.  In weakness, and in fear, etc.  The weakness referred to was perhaps bodily infirmity (Gal 4:13; 2 Cor 10:10; 12:10), or the natural spiritual infirmity which he felt aside from the help of God (Acts 18:9-10).  the fear and trembling were probably caused by poor results he had just experienced at Athens (Acts 17:33), by prospect of stripes (i.e., being whipped) and persecutions (St Chrysostom), and by the greatness of the task that confronted him in Corinth (Acts 18:9).

4.  My speech, i.e., my private instructions given to individuals, and my preaching, i.e. my public discourse to the multitude (St Thomas), were not in persuasive words, etc., i.e., not after the manner in which the philosophers and rhetoricians were accustomed to address their hearers.

But in the shewing of the Spirit, etc., i.e., his preaching was directed by the Holy Ghost, who enlightened his mind to know and moved his will to say what was most useful and instructive; and who, at the same time, by his grace disposed the hearts of his hearers to receive his words with faith (Rom 1:16; 2 Cor 4:7).  Some authors understand the word powers to refer to the miracles that were worked in confirmation of the Apostle’s preaching.

Human (Vulgate, humanae) is found only in MSS A C; it is omitted by all the best MSS., Old Latin, Peshitto, and some copies of the Vulgate.

5.  St Paul had a special reason in avoiding a display of human wisdom and lofty language at Corinth, namely, that the faith of the Christians there might not be based on anything so vain and subject to error, but might have as its foundation the power of God, working through grace and miraculous gifts, which connot err or be led into error.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Christ, fathers of the church, Notes on 1 Corinthians, Quotes, St Paul's life, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Successful Child Rearing Tip #1: If You Spare The Gladiators You Will Spoil The Child

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 24, 2009

H/T to Bear-i-Tone of THE SPIRIT’S SWORD for the video.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »


Posted by Dim Bulb on July 23, 2009

My older sister knows I like to listen to mom & dad, grandma & grandpa’s music, so she sent me links to this interesting site. It contains 20 top hits for every year from 1955 thru 1979 and an additional 20 hits from the decade of the 1940’s. That’s 520 total songs!  Simply click on the year you want and you’ll be taken to a site with a jukebox display. The songs will begin playing automatically or you can select just the ones you want to listen to. What is your favorite year? I kind of liked 1977. I also find it amazing just how many of the “best songs” of any given year were really crap (some things never change).

It’s a Juke Box!

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