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

Cornelius a Lapide on John 14:23-29 for Sunday Mass (May 9)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 5, 2010

Joh 14:23  Jesus answered and said to him: If any one love me, he will keep my word. And my Father will love him and we will come to him and will make our abode with him.

Jesus answered, &c. As if He said, “Do not suppose, 0 Judas, that I will appear to thee alone and thy fellow-Apostles after My resurrection, as if the fruit of My life and passion were restricted to you only and the few others, to whom I shall visibly appear. I shall appear, though invisibly, to all those who throughout the world shall receive My faith and doctrine by means of the preaching of thyself and the rest of the Apostles, and shall love and keep it.”

And We will come to Him, I and My Father, and consequently the Holy Ghost. For where there is one Divine Person there are the other two. He means, Be it that after My resurrection I shall appear visibly to you alone, invisibly I shall come by My grace to all the faithful who believe in Me. And as I will come, so also My Father and the Holy Spirit will come to them. And we will dwell in their souls as in our house and temple.

Observe, God, who is everywhere, and therefore immovable, is said to come and abide, not by change of place, but by the fresh working which He effects in such and such a place. So He is here said to come to the faithful and the just by grace and a fresh operation, because He preserves them, and furthers them in justice, and He assists and co-operates with their own free will. For He prevents their understanding with His illumination, and their will by pious affections, by which He impels them to good works, even such as are arduous, and by His concurring grace He labours with them for this accomplishment.

Hear S. Augustine, “Love, which makes men to dwell with one mind in a house, separates the saints from the world. In that house the Father and the Son, who giveth the gift of love, make their dwelling-place. They come to us whilst we come to them. They come by assisting, enlightening, filling. We come by obeying, beholding, receiving.”

Lastly, thus piously writes S. Bernard (Serm. 3, de Advent.), “Blessed is he with whom Thou wilt make Thine abode, 0 Lord Jesu; blessed is he in whom Wisdom builds herself a house, hewing out her seven pillars; blessed is the soul which is the seat of wisdom. What is that soul? It is the soul of the just. Rightly so, for judgment and justice are the preparation of Thy seat. Who is there among you, brethren, who desires to prepare in his soul a seat for Christ? Lo! what are the silks, the tapestry, the cushions, which ought to be prepared? Justice and judgment, He says, are the preparation of Thy seat. Justice is the virtue which is His very own, and which He gives to each. Render thus to each of the three classes of thy superiors, thy equals, thy inferiors, what is due to each. Thus shalt thou worthily celebrate the coming of Christ, and prepare His seat in justice.”

Tropologically, God the Holy Trinity comes to the three faculties of the soul, which He created after His own image, that He may inhabit them, renewing in them His image depraved by concupiscences. To the Father is appropriated memory, because He from fruitful memory conceiving all things, produced the Word, and begat the Son. To the Son is appropriated the understanding, because by the understanding He was begotten, as it were the word of the mind, the idea, image and pattern of all things. To the Holy Spirit is appropriated the will, because He Himself proceeds by the action of the will, i e., the love of the Father and the Son, as it were the love and bond of union of both. The Father therefore reforms the memory when He blots out of it the appearances of vanity, and brings into it the appearances of divine things, so that it should remember only God, His worship and His love. The Son reforms the understanding, so that it should think only of the things which pertain to salvation and holiness. The Holy Spirit reforms the will, so that it should love and desire the same. Wherefore a holy soul continually reflects that it is a temple of the Holy Trinity, as it is said in 2 Cor. vi., “Ye are the temple of the living God.”

There were in the ancient Temple three vessels of service—the altar for burning incense, the candelabrum with its seven burning lamps, and the table of shewbread. There should be in like manner in a holy soul an altar of prayer, breathing out holy praises and pious desires to God. There ought to be a candelabrum brightly shining with the seven gifts of the holy Ghost. And there ought to be a table of beneficence and charity. Then will come to pass that which is written in the Apocalypse, (Rev_21:3), “Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself with them shall be their God.” See S. Bernard (Serm. 27, in Cant.) where he teaches that a holy soul is a heaven in which shine the sun of charity, the moon of continence, the stars of the other virtues.

Joh 14:24  He that loveth me not keepeth not my words. And the word which you have heard is not mine; but the Father’s who sent me.

He that loveth Me not, &c. The reason then why any one does not keep God’s commandments is because he loveth not God.

And the word which you have heard is not Mine, &c. Listen to S. Augustine, “He said that the word was not His, but the Father’s, intending Himself to be understood, who is the Word, the Image and the Son of the Father. Rightly does He attribute to the Originator what the equal does, from whom the equal has that He is an equal.”

Joh 14:25  These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you.
Joh 14:26  But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.

These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send, &c. Thus should this passage be pointed with the Roman, Greek, Arabic, and Syriac Versions. Less appropriately S. Chrysostom connects the words, remaining with you with the Paraclete, as though it were meant, “I go away, but the Holy Ghost will remain with you in My place.” But the words should be referred to Christ who went before. He means, “These things which thus far ye have heard from My mouth I have spoken unto you, and taught you, whilst I remained with you, but I know that, either through your own ignorance, or through the strangeness and sublimity of the things which I have spoken, many are not received or understood by you. I will cause therefore that the Father will send you the Holy Ghost, as a Paraclete, i.e. an Instructor and Comforter, who will bring back to your memory, and explain to you all these things which I have said unto you. By His illuminations ye will easily understand all things. He will comfort you when you are sad at My departure, and will strengthen you under the persecution of the Jews, or any other tribulations. That the Holy Ghost did this is seen by the earlier chapters of the Acts of the Apostles and elsewhere. As S. Chrysostom says, “He frequently speaks of the Comforter because of their sadness.”

Whom the Father will send in My name, i.e., says S. Cyril, through Me, because the Holy Ghost proceedeth from the Father and the Son. Wherefore the Father with the Son, or through the Son, as He breathes, so also He sends the Holy Ghost. 2d. In My name, i.e., for My sake, and because of My merits. 3d. In My name, i.e., for Me in My place, that He may finish My work which I have begun, and by the preaching of the Apostles may disseminate My faith, My doctrine, My Church throughout all nations.

He shall teach you all things, which pertain to my advent and Incarnation. All things which are necessary for the foundation, instruction, establishment of the Church. Listen to Didymus (lib. de Spir. Sanc.)—”He shall teach the perfect in the faith of Christ spiritual and intellectual sacraments. But He shall teach by infusing invisibly the knowledge of Divine things into the soul.” And Augustine—”The Son speaketh not without the Holy Ghost: neither doth the Holy Ghost teach without the Son, but the Trinity speaketh and teacheth all things. But unless separate mention were made of each Person, human weakness could not receive these things.

And shall suggest (suggest, Vulg.) Greek, ύπομνήσει, i.e., shall bring back to memory. So Cyril, Augustine, &c. Wherefore from this passage S. Augustine takes notice that the external voice of an apostle or preacher does not suffice for the understanding or reception of the thing preached, but that this is the work of the Holy Ghost, who inwardly enlightens the mind to understand those things, and inclines the will to embrace them, and strengthens the memory to retain them. An orthodox doctor teaches this. Theophylact says, “The Holy Ghost taught all that Christ had not said to them, as not being able to bear it. Also He brought to mind what the Lord had said, but which they, through its obscurity or the dulness of their understanding, had been unable to remember.”

Joh 14:27  Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you. Let not your heart be troubled: nor let it be afraid.

Peace I leave you. My peace, &c. The Arabic translates My own peace. This is Christ’s farewell. For the Hebrews, when they salute any one coming, or bid good-bye when departing, say, Peace be with you. Where under the word peace they wish every kind of good, prosperity, and happiness. It is as though Christ said, “Going away from you, I give to you, 0 ye Apostles and your successors, and as it were leave you, My benediction for an inheritance. By this I pray God to give you every good thing. And this I do not vainly or briefly, like the world, but truly, solidly, eternally. I do it not by adulatory words, as worldly people do, but really supplicating and bestowing grace and power, by which ye may securely attain to the eternal goods, and by your preaching, charity, and prayers may lead many others to the same blessed end.” So Maldonatus.

Jansen and Toletus explain a little differently. They say, This peace is that of which S. Paul speaks in the 4th ch. of the Philippians, “The peace of God which surpasseth all sense keep your heart and understanding in Christ Jesus.” Now this peace includes—1. Friendship with God. 2. Tranquillity of mind and calm in temptations and persecutions. 3. Mutual concord amongst ourselves. This makes men strong in every danger, and gives consolation in every trouble. This the Lord bequeaths us, not riches, nor temporal possessions. Far above all the wealth of this world peace stands pre-eminent.

Hear S. Augustine. “We cannot arrive at the Lord’s inheritance, who wished us to observe His testament of peace—we cannot have concord with Christ if we quarrel with our fellow-Christians. Peace is serenity of mind, simplicity of heart, the bond of love, the concord of charity.”

Symbolically, S. Augustine. “He leaves peace in this world, abiding in which peace we overcome the enemy. He will give peace in the world to come, when we shall reign without an enemy. He is our peace, both when we believe that He is, and when we shall see Him as He is. We must observe that when He saith I will give, He adds My peace, wishing us to understand that it is such peace as He hath Himself, in whom there is no fighting, because He hath no sin. But the peace which He leaves us is rather to be called ours, than His. It is such peace as is consistent with the state in which we still say, Forgive us our debts. There is peace among ourselves forasmuch as we trust and love one another. But it is not full peace, because we do not see the thoughts of one another’s hearts.”

Let not your heart be troubled, &c.  (Note: in some translation this phrase begins verse 28) Christ adds this because He saw that the Apostles were sad at His departure, and fainthearted on account of the hatred of the Jews, and the battles which were impending, says S. Chrysostom. Lest the wolf should attack the sheep when the Shepherd was absent, says S. Austin. Therefore He consoles them, and lifts them up, saying, “Be not troubled nor fearful because of My departure, as though ye were about to be sheep without a Shepherd. For I, as I have said, go away indeed to death, but I will rise again on the third day, and then I will come, i.e., I will return, to you.”

Joh 14:28  You have heard that I said to you: I go away, and I come unto you. If you loved me you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father: for the Father is greater than I.

If ye loved Me, &c. The apostles did love Christ, and therefore they were troubled at His going away. When therefore Christ says, If ye loved Me, He speaks after the manner of men. It is the way of consoling friends when they are sad at the departure of a friend. If you showed Me, 0 ye Apostles, what true and sincere love demands, ye would not grieve but rejoice at My departure, for My going away will be exceedingly profitable to Me, yea, and to you likewise. For I am going to the Father who is greater than I, i.e., I am going from consorting with men to God, from human misery and contempt to Divine felicity, exaltation, and glory. I am going to prepare a place for you, to which in due time I will bring you. So Cyril.

For the Father is greater than I. This was the great stronghold of the Arians, by which they sought to prove that the Son was not God, but the highest creature of God; but SS. Athanasius, Augustine, Basil, and the rest of the Fathers, admirably reply to them, that Christ is here speaking of Himself not as God, but as man. For as such He was less, not only than the Father, but even than the angels. And that Christ is speaking thus is plain from hence, that He gives the reason why He is going to the Father: because, He saith, My Father is greater than I. Now Christ goeth to the Father, in that, as man, He ascendeth into heaven. For as God He is alway in heaven with the Father. Wherefore S. Augustine saith, “He went, in that He was in one place: He remained, in that He was everywhere.” That is, He went through His Humanity, He abode through His Divinity. Therefore His Father was greater than He in respect to His Humanity, not His Divinity. The meaning then is, Ye must rejoice, 0 ye Apostles, at My departure, because I go to the Father, and ascend into heaven to greater honour and dignity, that I may obtain from the Father, for Myself and for you, the rewards of My Passion, even a seat at the Father’s right hand, and the empire of the universe, the adoration of all the angels, and the conversion of all nations to My faith and worship: and for you the Holy Ghost and all His gifts, armed with which ye shall conquer the whole world for Me and for yourselves, and bring it with you to celestial glory. For those things, which are far greater than what ye have as yet seen and received, I will ask and obtain when I go to the Father.

Some fathers, moreover, in order to give a complete answer to the Arians, answer more subtilly, but intricately, that the Father is greater than the Son not only as He is man, but also as He is God, because the name of Father seems among men to be more honourable than the name of Son. For a father is the beginning and cause of a son. The Father therefore is greater than the Son, not in magnitude, nor time, nor virtue, nor dignity, nor adoration, but in respect of a certain honour amongst men, i.e., in respect of origin, because the Father is the origin of the Son. So S. Athanasius (Serm. cont. Arian), S. Hilary (lib. 9, de Trin.), &c. Although with reference to Divine things, filiation, from whence is derived the idea of sonship, is something as excellent and as honourable as is the idea of paternity in the Father. Indeed, as the Son hath from the Father that He is the Son, so in turn the Father hath from the Son that He is the Father. For the Father is He who hath the Son. Wherefore in this case, that passive origin which is in the Son is in itself as worthy and as honourable as that active origin which is in the Father. For it is as great to be Begotten God as it is to beget God. Therefore it is as great to be the Son as to be the Father. Lastly, each hath altogether in personality the same Divine Essence, the same majesty and omnipotence. Wherefore one cannot be greater than the other. “Greater,” says S. Hilary, “is He who gives by the authority of a giver, but He is not less to whom it is given to be One (with the Giver).” Greater, i.e., in the estimation of men, not of God. Wherefore Maldonatus thinks that Hilary and some others have conceded too much to the Arians. And Damascene (lib. 1, de Fid.) corrects them thus, “The Father is greater, not in nature, nor in dignity, but only in origin. (See Suarez, lib. 2, de Trin. cap. 4.) And in my opinion this was the teaching of S. Hilary.

Moreover, the analogy of the Divine compared with human generation is so entirely different as to refute the Arians. For in things human the father is greater than his son. 1st. Because he is prior, and senior to the son. 2d. Because he is greater in stature and bulk, for a grown-up man generates a little infant. 3d. Because he produces a nature numerically different from himself, which he communicates to his son. Wherefore he is greater than that nature as being its author. 4th. Because of his own free will he begets a son. For it was possible to him not to have begotten. But in things Divine the manner is altogether different. For the Father is greater than the Son neither in age nor size: neither does He beget a Deity different from His Own, but communicates to the Son the same Deity which He Himself has. Neither does He beget of His own will, so to say, but of the natural fruitfulness of the Divine Nature He produces a Son the equal of Himself, nor can He produce another. Lastly, S. Cyril, in the Council of Ephesus, proves that the Father is greater than Christ in so far as Christ is man, but not in that He is God, after this manner:—”We acknowledge Him (the Son) to be in all respects as the Father, to be incapable either of turning, or of change, and to have need of nothing, a perfect Son, like unto the Father, and differing from Him only in this respect that the Father is unbegotten. For He is the perfect and express Image of the Father. And it is certain that the Image ought fully to include all those things in which the Pattern itself, which is greater, is perfectly expressed, even as the Lord Himself hath taught, saying, the Father is greater than I.”

Joh 14:29  And now I have told you before it come to pass: that when it shall come to pass, you may believe.

And now I have told you, &c. That is, and now I foretell to you My departure and death, My resurrection and return to you, not that ye should condole with Me, and look after your own safety, but that, when ye see those things fulfilled, ye may believe that I foreknew and foreordained them all, and therefore that I submitted to death, not of necessity, but of My own free-will, for your salvation and that of the world, and therefore that ye may believe that I am the Messiah, the Son of God, the Saviour.

3 Responses to “Cornelius a Lapide on John 14:23-29 for Sunday Mass (May 9)”

  1. […] Cornelius a Lapide on John 14:23-29 for Sunday Mass (May 9). […]

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  3. […] Cornelius a Lapide on the Gospel (John 16:23-30). […]

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