The Divine Lamp

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Archive for June, 2010

St Thomas Aquinas on Psalm 34 (33)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2010

The following post contains St Thomas’ lecture/commentary on Psalm 34 (Ps 33 in the Vulgate).  The Latin text appears on the left and the English translation on the right.  The translation was done by Gregory Froelich and is part of The Aquinas Translation Project.  The text appears here is accord with the sites copyright statement: The copyright for these translations are held by the individuals who have translated them. They are offered for public use with the provision that, if copied, they not be altered from their present form, and that the copyright notice remain at the bottom of each translation to ensure that appropriate credit be given to both individual and the Project. Links should be established to this index page. All Biblical translations are taken from the Douay-Rheims version.

(Cum mutavit os suum coram Abimelech, et dimisit eum, et abiit)1. Psal. XXXIIIBenedicam Dominum in omni tempore, semper laus eius in ore meo. (For David, when he changed his countenance before Achimelech, who dismissed him, and he went his way)Psalm 33I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall be always in my mouth
2. In Domino laudabitur anima mea. In the Lord shall my soul be praised:
3. Audiant mansueti, et laetentur. let the meek hear and rejoice.
4. Magnificate Dominum mecum, et exaltemus nomen eius in idipsum. O magnify the Lord with me; and let us extol his name together.
5. Exquisivi Dominum, et exaudivit me: et ex omnibus tribulationibus meis eripuit me. I sought the Lord, and he heard me; and he delivered me from all my troubles.
6. Accedite ad eum, et illuminamini: et facies vestrae non confundentur. Come ye to him and be enlightened; and your faces shall not be confounded.
7. Iste pauper clamavit, et Dominus exaudivit eum: et ex omnibus tribulationibus eius salvabit eum. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him: and saved him out of all his troubles.
8. Immittet angelus Domini in circuitu timentium eum, et eripiet eos. The angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear him: and shall deliver them.
9. Gustate et videte, quoniam suavis est Dominus: beatus vir qui sperat in eo. O taste, and see that the Lord is sweet: blessed is the man that hopeth in him.
10. Timete Dominum omnes sancti eius; quoniam non est inopia timentibus eum. Fear the Lord, all ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
11. Divites eguerunt, et esurierunt: inquirentes autem Dominum non minuentur omni bono. The rich have wanted, and have suffered hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good.
12. Venite filii, audite me: timorem Domini docebo vos. Come, children, hearken to me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
13. Quis est homo qui vult vitam, diligit dies videre bonos. Prohibe linguam tuam a malo, et labia tua non loquantur dolum. Diverte a malo, et fac bonum: inquire pacem, et persequere eam. 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: seek after peace and pursue it.
14. Oculi Domini super iustos: et aures eius in preces eorum. The eyes of the Lord are upon the just: and his ears unto their prayers.
15. Vultus autem Domini super facientes mala; ut perdat de terra memoriam eorum. But the countenance of the Lord is against them that do evil things: to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
16. Clamaverunt iusti, et Dominus exaudivit eos: et ex omnibus tribulationibus eorum liberavit eos. The just cried, and the Lord heard them: and delivered them out of all their troubles.
17. Iuxta est Dominus his, qui tribulato sunt corde: et humiles spiritu salvabit. Multae tribulationes iustorum. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart: and he will save the humble of spirit. Many are the afflictions of the just;
18. Et de omnibus his liberabit eos Dominus. but out of them all will the Lord deliver them.
19. Custodit Dominus omnia ossa eorum; unum ex his non conteretur. The Lord keepeth all their bones, not one of them shall be broken.
20. Mors peccatorum pessima: et qui oderunt iustum delinquent. The death of the wicked is very evil: and they that hate the just shall be guilty.
21. Redimet Dominus animas servorum: et non delinquent omnes, qui sperant in eo. The Lord will redeem the souls of this servants: and none of them that trust in him shall offend.
Titulus psalmus David cum mutavit vultum suum coram Abimelech, et dimisit eum, et abiit.
[1] The title of this Psalm is A Psalm of David when he changed his look in front of Abimelech, who released him, and David went away.
Historia haec habetur 1 Reg. 21, ubi dicitur, quod David fugiens a facie Saulis, venit ad Achis regem Geth, et cognitus est ibi, et etiam virtus ejus, quia occiderat Philistaeum; et timens ex hoc sibi periculum imminere, quia illi erant de genere Philistinorum, et etiam propter virtutis suae invidiam, voluit hoc vitare, et finxit se fatuum, et sic rex ille contempsit eum. Totum hoc habetur 1 Reg. 21; nisi quod nomen non consonat, quia ibi rex vocatur Achis, hic vero Abimelech. Nec est inconveniens, vel quia binomius fuit, vel quia Achis nomine, sed de genere Abimelech. Unde mutavit vultum ostendendo se fatuum, et dimisit eum et abiit, quia David ejectus ab eo abiit, et recessit. The history of this psalm is found in 1 Kings 21, where it is said that David fled from the face of Saul and went to Achis the king of Geth. There his strength was recognized since the people of Geth knew he had slain the Philistine. Now these people were related to the Philistines and moreover were envious of David’s strength, so David feared for his life. Thus, wishing to extricate himself out of this situation, he feigned insanity, which led the king to hold him in contempt. The account in 1 Kings 21 calls the king Achis, but here in this psalm he is named Abimelech. But this is not a problem since that king could claim both names: his personal name was Achis, but his family name was Abimelech. Now David changed his appearance by making himself look absurd. Thus the king sent him away and he left, for after being ejected David left him and withdrew.
Mystice Christus mutavit vultum suum, quando mutavit sacramentum suum, in quo divina veritas occulta fuit. Vel Christus vetus sacramentum paschale mutavit in novum coram Abimelech, qui interpretatur patris mei regnum. Pater Christi Deus secundum divinitatem, David vero secundum humanitatem. Regnum David est populus Judaeorum, regnum Dei est ecclesia. Christus vero mutavit vultum suum coram Abimelech, idest coram Judaeis, quia erant regnum patris sui David, qui non cognoverunt eum: Isa. 53: vidimus eum, et non erat aspectus: et contempserunt eum: unde nec reputavimus eum. Et abiit ad gentes. Vel Achis
qui incredulus interpretatur, significat Judaeos.
In the mystical sense Christ changed his appearance when he changed his own sacrament, where the divine truth was hidden. In another way Christ changed the old paschal sacrament into the new in the presence of Abimelech, whose name means reign of my father. The Father of Christ is God according to His divinity, but David according to His humanity. The reign of David is the people of Judea, whereas the reign of God is the Church. Thus it may also be said that Christ changed his appearance in the presence of Abimelech, understood to be the Jews. For they were the reign of his father David, yet they did not know him. As Isaiah 53 says: We saw him and he was not worth looking upon. And they held him in contempt, nor did we give him the slightest regard. Christ also left for the gentiles. Achis could also signify the Jews, since his name means incredulous.
In praecedenti psalmo exposuit psalmista justorum dignitatem; hic autem invitat alios ad Dei laudem. Dividitur autem iste psalmus in duas partes. Primo enim ponitur exhortatio ad laudem. Secundo quaedam instructio necessaria, ibi, venite filii. In the preceding Psalm, the Psalmist showed the dignity of the just. Now he invites others to praise God. The Psalm is divided into two parts: first is the exhortation to praise; second is some indispensable direction, which begins when he says Come, children.
Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim agit de Dei laude. Secundo ponit materiam laudis, ibi, exquisivi. Concerning the first part he does two things: first he treats of the praise of God; second he sets forth the matter of praise, where he says I have sought.
Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim praemittit laudis exemplum. Secundo hortatur alios ad imitandum, ibi, audiant. Concerning the first of these he does two things: first he presents an example of praise; second he encourages others to imitate it, where he says Let them hear.
Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim ponit exemplum laudis in se. Secundo laudis Dei fructum, ibi, in Domino laudabitur. And concerning the first of these he does two things: first he presents an example of praise, considered in its essence; second he presents the fruit of praising God, where he says In the Lord he will be praised.
Dicit ergo, benedicam Dominum. Aliquando laudat Deum aliquis propter seipsum, sicut quando loquitur lingua, sibi soli loquitur. aliquando propter consolationem aliorum, sicut quando prophetat etiam aliis. Benedicere ergo Domino est, ut dictum est, confiteri laudem Dei; sed benedicere dominum est facere bonum: So now taking each division in its turn, he says first of all May I bless the lord. Sometimes a person praises God for his own benefit, as when he speaks his praise in tongues. In that case the act of praise benefits only himself. But sometimes praise is spoken in order to console others, as when one prophesies among others. Thus there is a difference between benedicere domino, which is to confess the praise of God, and benedicere dominum, which is to do a good deed.
In omni tempore, scilicet adversitatis et prosperitatis. Contra Psal. 48: confitebitur tibi cum benefeceris ei: sed non sic faciebat Job 2: si bona suscepimus de manu Domini, mala autem etc.. Tob. 4: omni tempore benedic Deum. Item oportet ut non solum in se, scilicet in corde suo quis benedicat Deum, sed etiam quod laudem ejus habeat in ore. Necessitas enim laudis vocalis est, ut non solum laudes Deum, sed etiam ad utilitatem et provocationem aliorum laudes eum. Unde dicit, laus ejus in ore meo: Isa. 51: gaudium et laetitia invenietur in ea, gratiarum actio, et vox laudis. Semper, autem dicit, idest in omni statuto tempore. Vel in praeparatione animi. Vel semper benefaciendo, ex quo Deus semper laudatur. Nota quod hic versiculus cantatur in sexta, quando Christus passus est, cujus passio est nobis causa laudis. Then he says at all times, namely in times of adversity and prosperity. Contrast this with what Psalm 48 describes: He will confess your name when you bless him. Job (2) did the opposite: If we receive goods things from the lord’s hand, should we not also receive the bad? And Tobit (4): At all times bless God. Now the one who praises God should not only bless God in his heart but also in his mouth. For vocal praise is necessary so that you may not only praise God but also be of help and encouragement to others. This is why he says, His praise is in my mouth. Thus also Isaiah 51: Joy and delight will be found in it, thanksgiving, and the voice of praise. He says always, meaning in every established time. He may also mean to be prepared in soul. He may even mean always doing good, which always redounds to the praise of God. Notice that this verse is sung at Sext, the hour of Christ’s passion, which is in us the cause of praise.
Deinde cum dicit, in Domino, ponitur fructus laudis. Dicit ergo, in Domino laudabitur anima mea. Semper enim bonum amici quis reputat suum bonum. Unde dicit, in laudem Dei etiam laus mea est. Si Deus est magnus, constat quod ejus amicus est magnus: Psal. 117: fortitudo mea et laus mea Dominus. Et dicit, anima, quia ad ipsam principaliter est gaudium spirituale. [2] Then at in the lord, the Psalmist begins to discourse on the fruits of praise. First he says in the lord my soul will be praised. For the good of the friend is always taken to be one’s own good. Thus, he says in the praise of God is also my own praise. If God is great, then it holds that his friend is great. As in Psalm 117: My courage and my praise is the lord. He says my soul because spiritual joy lies principally there.
Consequenter cum dicit, audiant, inducit alios primo ad causam laudis. Secundo ad ipsam laudem, ibi, magnificate. Principium laudis est interius gaudium; unde dicit, audiant mansueti. Et ideo laetantur in omnibus quae Dei sunt, quia immites non laetantur, sed rebellant. Et dicit, audiant. Quia haec laetitia est ex auditu aliorum bene agentium.
[3] Next when he says let them listen, he instructs others first on the cause of praise, and then when he says magnify he instructs them on the act of praise itself. The principle of praise is interior joy. Hence he says let the gentle listen. Thus they will rejoice in all things that are of God. But the violent do not rejoice; they rebel. And so he says let them listen, since this kind of joy comes from hearing about the good deeds of others.
Deinde cum dicit, magnificate, hortatur ad laudem. Et primo ad interiorem. Secundo ad exteriorem, ibi, et exaltemus. Quantum ad primum dicit, magnificate dominum mecum. Idem est magnificare et laudare deum, quia idem est bonitas Dei et magnitudo: quia in his quae non mole magna sunt, idem est majus esse quod melius, secundum Augustinum de Trin.. Et ideo dicit, magnificate: Luc. 1: magnificat anima mea dominum. Et hic respondet ei quod dicit, benedicam dominum. quoad secundum dicit, et exaltemus nomen ejus. Quod in se altum exaltari dicitur, dum diffunditur in multis: Eccl. 43: glorificantes deum exaltate eum, quantum potestis etc.. In idipsum, idest concorditer. Et hoc respondet ei quod dicit, laus ejus in ore meo.
[4] Then when he says magnify, he urges others to praise. First to an interior praise, then to an exterior, when he says and let us exalt. On the first point he says magnify the lord with me, that is, magnify and praise God, since God’s goodness and greatness are the same. For in those things whose greatness is not of size, to be greater is to be better, as Augustine argues in De Trinitate. Thus he says magnify, as does Luke 1: my soul magnifies the lord. This echoes what he said earlier: May I bless the lord. On the second point he says and let us exalt his name. Now one is said to be exalted up high when many exalt, as Ecclesiasticus says: all you glorifying God, exalt Him, as much as you can, etc. He then says in the selfsame, meaning together in harmony. And this echoes what he said earlier: His praise is in my mouth.
Consequenter cum dicit, exquisivi, ponitur materia laudis, quae est divina clementia in exaudiendo. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim ponit clementiam ejus exauditionis. Secundo meritum exauditionis, ibi, iste pauper clamavit. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim ponit beneficium sibi concessum. Secundo invitat alios ad hoc beneficium consequendum, ibi, accedit etc.. Circa primum tria facit. Primo enim ponit petitionem. Secundo exauditionem, ibi, et exaudivit. Tertio exauditionis effectum, ibi, et ex omnibus. [5] Next when he says I have sought, he sets forth the content of the praise, namely, divine mercy on the one being heard. On this first point he does two things: first he establishes the clemency in his being heard; then he establishes the merit in his being heard, when he says this pauper cried out. On the first of these he does two things: first he sets out the benefit received; then he invites others to reap the same benefit when he says he approaches, etc. Concerning the first of these, he does three things: first, he sets forth his petition; second, he sets forth the hearkening, when he says and he heard; third, he shows the effect of the hearkening, when he says and from all.
Dicit ergo, exquisivi Dominum. Optima optio quaerere ipsum Deum: unde in oratione Dominica primo petitur, sanctificetur nomen tuum Isa. 55: quaerite Dominum dum inveniri potest. Dicit ergo, exquisivi; quasi dicat, cum magna diligentia quaesivi. Et ideo subditur exauditio, et exaudivit me. Effectus autem exauditionis est, quia ex omnibus tribulationibus meis eripuit me. Eripuit namque justos ex tribulationibus quandoque ut tribulationes non patiantur: Job 5: in sex tribulationibus liberabit te, et in septima non tanget te malum. Quandoque ut non nimis molestentur: Ps. 93: secundum multitudinem dolorum meorum in corde meo, consolationes tuae laetificaverunt animam meam: 2 Cor. 1: qui consolatur nos in omni tribulatione nostra: et hanc consolationem semper habent viri sancti. Item eripuit exterius, quia nunquam mali possunt separare sanctos a Christo: Rom. 8: quis nos separabit a charitate Christi? So first of all he says I have sought the lord. To see the lord Himself is the best of choices, as the lord’s Prayer makes clear in its first petition: Hallowed be Thy Name. This is also confirmed in Isaiah 55: seek the lord while he may be found. Therefore, he says I have sought, as if to say, I have sought with great diligence. And thus follows the hearkening: and he heard me. The effect of the hearkening is that from my all tribulations he rescued me. For sometimes he rescued the just from tribulations such that they would suffer no tribulations whatsoever, as in Job 5: in six tribulations he will rescue you, and in the seventh evil will not touch you. Sometimes he rescues the just so that they are not greatly troubled, as expressed in Psalm 93: as many sorrows as there are in my heart, so many of your consolations have gladdened my soul. 2 Corinthians 1 also expresses this: the one who consoles us in every one of our tribulations. This interior consolation always belongs to the saints. Moreover, he also rescues external relations, thus evil can never separate the saints from Christ, as expressed in Romans 8: who will separate us from the charity of Christ?
Deinde cum dicit, accedite ad eum, et illuminamini, et facies vestrae etc. invitat alios ad hoc beneficium consequendum: et circa hoc duo facit. Primo enim ponit invitationem. Secundo invitationis effectum, ibi, et facies vestrae non confundentur. Dicit ergo, accedite ad eum, per fidem et charitatem: Jac. 4: appropinquate Deo, et appropinquabit vobis. Et ideo subdit, et illuminamini. Deus lumen est; et qui accedit ad lumen, illuminatur: Isa. 60: surge, per affectum et illuminare: Deut. 33: qui appropinquat pedibus ejus, accipiet de doctrina illius. Effectus autem inductionis est, quia, facies vestrae non confundentur, in repulsa: quia scilicet non patiemini eam, quia non est confusio sperantibus in eum. Dan. 3. Vel, facies vestrae, idest cogitationes vestrae non confundentur per defectum veritatis. [6] Then when he says approach him and be enlightened and your faces, etc., he invites others to attain the benefit of praise. On this point he does two things: he first invites; second he describes what will come to pass for those who accept the invitation, when he says and your faces will not be confused. Therefore he says approach him, through faith and charity, as James 4 says: come close to God and he will come close to you. Then he adds and be enlightened. God is light and one who approaches the light will be illuminated. Isaiah 60: Rise up (through love) and be enlightened. Deuteronomy 33: The man who sits at his feet will receive his teaching. Now the result of this invitation is that your faces will not be confused by being refused. In other words, you will not suffer confusion because there is none in those hoping in him (Daniel 3). Or in another interpretation, your faces, that is, your minds, will not be confused by falling aside from truth.
Deinde cum dicit, iste pauper clamavit, ponit meritum exauditionis; et circa hoc tria facit. Primo ponit ipsum meritum. Secundo promittit simile beneficium aliis, ibi, immittet. Tertio exhortatur ad experiendum, gustate. Dicit ergo, iste pauper. Iste versus nihil differt ab alio, exquisivi; nisi quod ibi dicit de se, hic vero de paupere. Et ideo hoc solum exponatur quis sit iste pauper. Et dicitur quod, iste, vel demonstrat seipsum, vel Christum.Et in hoc quod dicit, pauper, insinuat meritum exauditionis, quia pauper spiritu, vel pauper superbiae, vel habendi voluntate terrena. Et isti exaudiuntur: Judith 9: humilium et mansuetorum tibi semper placuit deprecatio: Ps. 32: respexit in orationem humilium etc.. Clamavit, magnitudine interioris affectus: Isa. 6: seraphim clamabant alter ad alterum, et dicebant, sanctus, sanctus etc.. [7] Then when he says this poor man cried out, he shows the merit of getting heard. On this point he does three things: first he describes the merit itself; second he promises a similar benefit to others, when he says the angel encamps; third he urges an experience, when he says taste. Therefore first he says this poor man. Now this verse is identical in meaning to the verse I have sought. Only the modes of speech differ: in the earlier verse he speaks in the first person, but in this later verse he speaks in the third person. So the only question is: who is this poor man? The Psalmist could be either pointing to himself or to Christ. In saying poor man, he hints at the merit of the petition: for the poor man is poor in spirit, or poor in pride, or poor in earthly desires. And such people get heard, as Judith 9 attests: the prayer of the humble and gentle are always pleasing to you. And Psalm 32: he regarded the prayer of the humble, etc. He cried out with the power of interior disposition, as in Isaiah 6: The seraphim were crying out one to the other, saying Holy, Holy, Holy, etc.
Secundo cum dicit, immittit angelus, promittit simile beneficium; quasi dicat: ita exaudiuntur alii sicut et iste pauper. Multi codices habent, immittit angelus Domini. Hieronymus habet, circumdat angelus Domini in gyro timentes eum. Dicit ergo immittet angelus Domini, splendore sui luminis protegendo, in circuitu: Ps. 124: montes in circuitu ejus, scilicet angeli: 4 Reg. 6: multo plures nobiscum sunt quam cum illis. Et infra: ecce mons etc.. Immittet ergo, idest immissionem faciet: Heb. 1: omnes sunt administratorii spiritus. [8] Second, when he says the Angel encamps, he promises a similar benefit, as if he were saying: others will be heard just like the poor man. Now many codices have the Angel of the lord encamps. Jerome has the Angel of the lord encircles about those who fear him. The Psalmist says therefore the Angel of the lord, in offering protection by the splendor of his light, encamps around them. As Psalm 124 says: round about it are his mountains, namely Angels. And in 4 Kings 6 [2 Chronicles 32:7]: many more are with us than with them. And farther on: behold the mountain, etc. Therefore the Angel encamps, that is, sets up camp. Hebrews 1: all are ministering spirits.
Et eripiet eos, scilicet ab impugnatione hostium et daemonum: Judith 7: filii Israel non in lancea nec in sagitta confidunt, sed montes defendunt illos, scilicet angelus, vel Christus: Isa. 9. secundum translationem septuaginta interpretum, vocabitur magni consilii angelus. Quia missus a Deo inquantum homo. Vel angelus intelligitur praelatus ecclesiae: Malach. 2: angelus Domini exercituum est. Praelati enim ecclesiae debent custodire gregem suum. And he will save them, namely by fighting off the enemy and Demons. Judith 7: the children of Israel do not put their trust in the lance or arrow, but the mountains defend them, namely Angels, or Christ. Isaiah 9, according to the Septuagint: he will be called the Angel of great counsel. For insofar as he is man he is sent by God. Or another reading is that Angel signifies the prelate of the Church, as in Malachi 2: The Angel of the lord of hosts. For the prelates of the Church ought to guard their flock.
Tertio cum dicit, gustate et videte, quoniam suavis, hortatur ad experiendum: et circa hoc duo facit. Primo enim exhortatur ad experientiam divini consortii. Secundo ad observantiam divini timoris, ibi, timete. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim hortatur ad experientiam. Secundo ponit experientiae effectum, et videte quoniam. [9] Third, when the Psalmist says taste and see how sweet, he urges an experience. On this point he does two things: he exhorts others first to experience friendship with God and second to keep the fear of God, when he says fear. On the first point he does two things: first he urges the experience; second he describes the effect of the experience, when he says and see how.
Dicit ergo, gustate et videte etc.. Experientia de re sumitur per sensum; sed aliter de re praesenti, et aliter de absente: quia de absente per visum, odoratum et auditum; de praesente vero per tactum et gustum; sed per tactum de extrinseca praesente, per gustum vero de intrinseca. Deus autem non longe est a nobis, nec extra nos, sed in nobis: Hier. 14: tu in nobis es Domine. Et ideo experientia divinae bonitatis dicitur gustatio: 1 Pet. 2: si tamen gustatis quam dulcis etc.. Prov. ult.: gustavit et vidit, quoniam bona est negotiatio ejus. And so he says taste and see, etc. Now the experience of anything comes through the senses but in different ways, depending on whether the object is close or at some distance. If it is removed at a distance, then the experience of it comes through sight, smell or hearing. If it is close, then touch and taste come into play, but each in its own way. For touch senses the outside of the object, whereas taste senses the inside. Now God is not far from us nor outside us, but rather He is in us, as Jeremiah 14 says: You are in us, O lord. Thus the experience of divine goodness is called tasting, as 1 Peter 2 says: but if you taste how sweet, etc. And at the end of Proverbs: She tasted and saw that her dealings were good.
Effectus autem experientiae ponitur duplex. Unus est certitudo intellectus, alius securitas affectus. Quantum ad primum dicit, et videte. In corporalibus namque prius videtur, et postea gustatur; sed in rebus spiritualibus prius gustatur, postea autem videtur; quia nullus cognoscit qui non gustat; et ideo dicit prius, gustate, et postea, videte. Quantum ad secundum dicit, quoniam suavis est Dominus: Sap. 12: o quam bonus et suavis est Domine spiritus tuus in nobis. Ps. 30: quam magna multitudo dulcedinis tuae. Next he shows that the effect of this experience is twofold: the certitude of understanding and the security of love. With respect to the first effect he says see. Now, although in the physical world something is first seen and then tasted, in the spiritual world it is just the opposite. For one who does not taste does not know. Thus he says first taste and then see. With respect to the second effect he says how sweet is the lord. Wisdom 12: O lord, how good and sweet is your spirit in us! Psalm 30: How great is the abundance of your sweetness.
Et postea, beatus vir qui sperat in eo: Isa. 30: beati omnes qui expectant eum. Then he says Blessed the man who hopes in him. Isaiah 30: Blessed are all those who long for him.
Deinde cum dicit, timete, hortatur primo ad observantiam divini timoris. Secundo causam timoris assignat, ibi, quoniam non. Tertio causam manifestat, ibi, divites eguerunt. [10] Then when he says fear, he urges first the observance of the fear of the lord; second he gives the cause of the fear, when he says since there is not; third he manifests the cause, when he says the rich hungered.
Dicit ergo, suavis et dulcis est dominus. Sed quibus? Timentibus eum. Ergo, timete Dominum omnes sancti ejus. Et dicit sancti, quia nullus potest esse sanctus nisi sit timens. Et dicit hoc, quia non solum timor necessarius est ascendentibus ad sanctitatem, sed etiam manentibus in ea: Eccl. 27: si non in timore Domini tenueris te, instanter a te subvertetur domus tua. Et etiam quia nihil ita evacuat sanctitatem, sicut superbia; et timor est retinaculum superbiae: Eccl. 7: qui timet Deum nihil negligit: Eccl. 40: non est in timore Domini minoratio. And so he says sweet and pleasant is the lord. But for whom? For those who fear him. Therefore, fear the lord all his saints. He says saints because no one can be holy unless he is fearing. He says this also because not only is fear necessary for those rising to sanctity but even for those remaining in it. Ecclesiasticus 27: If you do not hold fast in the fear of the lord, your house will be forcefully turned up against you. The reasons is that nothing eliminates holiness more than pride, but fear binds pride. Ecclesiastes 7: The one who fears God slights nothing. Ecclesiasticus 40: There is no abasement in fearing the lord.
Causam autem quare timendum est, subdit, quoniam non est inopia timentibus eum. Hoc exponitur multipliciter. Primo de inopia spiritualium bonorum: Isa. 33: divitiae salutis sapientia et scientia; timor Domini ipse thesaurus ejus. Si ergo timor Domini thesaurus est, non est inopia timentibus eum. Item de inopia corporali. Contingit namque aliquando timentem Deum parum habere; sed non contingit eum esse inopem. Inops est qui se deficientem reputat: qui timent Deum sunt contenti his quae habent: Phil. 4: ubique et in omnibus institutus sum etc.. Item Deus quaerentibus se subvenit in necessitate. The Psalmist himself adds the reason why one should fear God: for there is no want among those who fear him. Now this can be explained in several ways. First there is no lack of spiritual goods, as Isaiah 33 says: wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the lord is his treasure. Second, there is no lack of bodily needs. For although one who fears God may at times possess very little, this does not mean that he is impoverished. The destitute may think themselves failures, but those who fear God are content with what they have, as expressed in Phillipians 4: everywhere and in all things I am provided for, etc. Third, God succors those seeking Him in times of necessity.
Sed objicit Augustinus in Serm. Dom. in Mont. quia Apostolus ait 1 Cor. 4: usque in hanc horam esurimus et sitimus, et nudi sumus. Quomodo ergo non est inopia timentibus eum? Et dicit quod Deus est nutritor et medicus. Medicus autem subtrahit nutrimentum infirmo, et facit esurire et sitire, quia expedit sanitati. Ita Deus secundum quod expedit saluti nostrae, quandoque inopiam immittit, quandoque divitias confert, quandoque longitudinem dierum concedit, quandoque brevitatem adducit. Now Augustine poses an objection in On the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount: the Apostle says in 1 Corinthians 4, even at this hour we are hungry, thirsty and naked, so how is this not an example of destitution in those who fear God? Augustine replies that God is both nourisher and doctor, and a doctor takes food away from a sick man, making him to hunger and thirst, for the sake of healing him. Thus also God, for the sake of our salvation, sometimes sends poverty, sometimes wealth, and sometimes grants length of days, while sometimes a brief time.
sed consequenter cum dicit, divites eguerunt, manifestat rationem per contrarium. contrarium enim timori domini est affectus eorum qui animas suas divitiis dant. primo ergo ostendit quod qui in divitiis sunt, deficiunt. secundo, quod qui quaerunt deum, sunt absque defectu, ibi, inquirentes. [11] When the Psalmist goes on to say the rich have suffered lack, he manifests the reason through the contrary. For the contrary of the fear of the lord is the emotional disposition of those who have given their souls over to riches. Therefore, first he shows that the wealthy are also poor; then he shows that those who seek God lack nothing, when he says they that seek.
dicit ergo, divites eguerunt, scilicet spiritualiter; idest qui sunt divites in mundanis, eguerunt in spiritualibus divitiis. apoc. 3: dicis quia dives sum, et locupletatus sum, et nullius egeo: et nescis, quia tu es miser et miserabilis, et pauper et caecus et nudus. et esurierunt, scilicet spiritualia bona: quia naturalis appetitus inest homini ad virtutem; licet enim appetitus depravatus sit ad peccata, tamen naturaliter desiderat virtutes. And so he says the rich have been in need, that is, spiritually. In other words, those who are rich in worldly goods are lacking in spiritual riches. Apocalypse 3: You say, “I am rich and growing richer and have need of nothing.” But you do not know that you are poor and miserable, destitute, blind and naked. Plus, they hunger, that is, for spiritual goods. For the natural human appetite is for virtue. Even though the depraved appetite may aim at sin, nevertheless so far as it is natural, it desires virtues.
vel in futuro, eguerunt, idest egebunt, et esurierunt, idest esurient: isa. 65: servi mei comedent, et vos esurietis. item ad litteram intelligitur: quia divites frequenter ad egestatem deducuntur, quia res mundanae sunt caducae. luc. 1: esurientes implevit bonis etc.. inquirentes autem dominum: isa. 55: quaerite dominum dum inveniri potest etc.. non minuentur omni bono, idest non deficient perfecto bono: quia spiritualia habebunt ad votum, et temporalia ad necessitatem: luc. 12: primum quaerite regnum dei, et haec omnia adjicientur vobis: prov. 10: desiderium justis dabitur. et eorum desiderium est omne bonum: prov. 11: et ideo omne bonum habebunt. Another interpretation is that their need and hunger lie in store for them, as Isaiah 65 states: my servants will eat, but you will go hungry. Literally, it could also be taken to mean that the rich are often reduced to poverty because the things of this world are fleeting. Luke 1: He filled the hungry with good things, etc. On the other hand are those that seek the lord. As Isaiah 55 says: Seek the lord while he may be found, etc. They are not diminished in any good thing, nor do they lack the perfect good. For they receive spiritual goods as desired and temporal goods as needed, as Luke 12 says: Seek first the reign of God, and all these things shall be added unto you. And Proverbs 10: the desire of the just shall be granted. But their desire is for every good thing. Proverbs 11: and thus they shall have all good.
venite. posita superius exhortatione ad laudem, hic ponitur instructio necessaria: et circa hoc duo facit. primo enim instruit de timore dei. secundo de divina providentia, ibi, oculi domini etc.. circa primum duo facit. primo enim praemittit quasi prooemium suae doctrinae. secundo addit doctrinam suam, ibi, quis est homo. in exordio tria facit. primo reddit audientem benevolum. secundo attentum, ibi, audite me. tertio docilem, ibi, timorem domini docebo vos. [12] Come. After the above exhortation to praise, the Psalmist now sets about the necessary instruction. On this point he does two things: he teaches first about the fear of God and then second about divine providence, when he says the eyes of the lord, etc. On the first point he does two things: first he sets forth a preface to his teaching and then he teaches, there at who is the man. The preface has three parts: first he renders his audience benevolent, then attentive (at hear me), then docile (at I will teach you the fear of the lord).
dicit ergo quantum ad primum, venite filii. parentum enim est diligere filios: et ideo dicit, filii, ut eos reddat ex paterna dilectione benevolos. item parentum est invitare filios ad doctrinam, et eos erudire: unde dicit, venite: gen. pen. vocavit autem jacob filios suos, et dixit: congregamini ut annuntiem quae ventura sunt vobis diebus novissimis: heb. 12: patres quidem carnis nostrae eruditores habuimus, et reverebamur eos. And so let us proceed to the first part: Come children. Since it belongs to parents to love their children, he calls them children so that his paternal love might render them benevolent. It also belongs to parents to invite their children to doctrine and to teach them. Thus he says Come, as in Genesis 49: Now Jacob called his sons and said to them ‘Gather together and I will speak of what will happen to you in the last days.’ And in Hebrews 12: We have had the fathers of our flesh for teahers, and we have revered them.
quantum ad secundum dicit, audite me: prov. 1: audiens sapiens sapientior erit etc.. eccl. 33: audite me magnates et omnes populi et rectores ecclesiae etc.. Next, the second part: hear me. Proverbs 1 says: The wise man listening will be wiser, etc. Ecclesiasticus 33 says: Listen to me, you great ones and all the people, and you rulers of the Church, etc.
tertio reddit docilem: et hoc quando instruit de quo est dicturus, timorem domini docebo vos, idest quem fructum habebitis, si timueritis deum. vel quomodo timeatis deum. et incipit a timore, et bene; quia in scientia incipiendum est ab elementis: prov. 1: timor domini principium sapientiae, scilicet divinae. Third, he renders his audience docile by announcing what he will instruct them about: I will teach you the fear of the lord. In other words, I will teach what fruit you will gather, if you fear God. Or another way of understanding the verse: I will teach you how to fear God. And he begins well with fear, for in knowledge one should always begin with the elements. As Proverbs 1 says: the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom, that is, of divine wisdom.
deinde subjungit doctrinam suam cum dicit, quis est homo. et circa hoc duo facit. primo docet fructum timoris. secundo doctrinam, ibi, prohibe. [13] Next he begins his teaching when he says: who is the man. Concerning this he does two things: first he teaches the fruit of fear; and then he teaches on fear itself, when he says forbid your tongue.
dicit ergo, quis est homo, qui vult vitam: homo namque desiderat duo: scilicet longam vitam et prosperitatem: sed quia longa vita in malo est fugienda, ideo dicit, quis est homo qui vult vitam. hanc autem acquirit homo per timorem domini, qui est initium sapientiae, ut dicitur in psal. 110, sine qua sapientia non est vita: unde ipsa dicit prov. 8: qui me invenerit, inveniet vitam. aliqui autem vivunt, sed in malis et aerumnis: gen. 47: dies peregrinationis vitae meae centum triginta annorum parvi et mali. et ideo dicit, diligit dies videre bonos, idest plenos, quia nihil in diebus illis aeternitatis est nisi bonum: ps. 83: melior est dies una in atriis tuis super millia. And so he says who is the man who desires life. For man desires two things: long life and prosperity. But because a long yet bad life ought to be shunned, he says who is the man who desires life. Now man gains life through fear of the lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, as Psalm 110 says, and without this wisdom there is no life. Thus Proverbs 8 says: find me, and you will find life. Now some people live out their lives in toil and trouble, as Genesis 47 says: the days of my wandering life are one hundred thirty years, few and evil. And so the Psalmist says he desires to see the good days, that is, the days of plenty, for in the days of eternity everything is good. As Psalm 83 says: one day in your courts is better than a thousand.
sed quis sit effectus timoris, ostendit primo in sermone. secundo in opere, ibi, diverte. in sermone duo vetat: scilicet manifestum malum, et fraudulentum bonum. quantum ad primum dicit, prohibe linguam tuam a malo, scilicet detractionis, infamationis et erroris: eph. 4: omnis sermo malus ex ore vestro non procedat: jacob. 1: si quis putat se religiosum esse, non refraenans linguam suam etc.. quantum ad secundum dicit, et labia tua ne loquantur dolum; quasi dicat, nec etiam bona proferas in dolo: ps. 11: disperdat dominus linguam dolosam. et nota quod prius loquitur de lingua cohibenda, et postea de labiis: quia prius movet quis linguam cum vult loqui, et postea labia. item lingua prius format, sed labia distinguunt verba. Next he shows the effect of fear, first in speech and then in action, there at turn away. In speech there are two things to avoid: manifest evil and fraudulent good. With respect to the first, he says keep your tongue from evil, that is, the evil of detraction, calumny and false witness. Ephesians 4: Let no evil speech come from your mouth. James 1: If anyone thinks himself religious but does not restrain his tongue, etc. With respect to the second, he says and let your lips not speak deception, as if he were saying, do not even offer good things in deceit. As Psalm 11 says: May the lord scatter the deceitful tongue. Notice that he speaks first of restraining the tongue and then afterwards of the lips. For one who wishes to speak first moves the tongue, then the lips. The tongue also gives words their initial form, whereas the lips make each word distinct.
item opere demonstrat duo facienda. debet enim homo ordinare vitam suam primo quantum ad se; et quantum ad hoc dicit, diverte. secundo quantum ad proximum: et quantum ad hoc dicit, inquire etc.. circa primum duo facit, secundum diversas partes justitiae, quae sunt scilicet divertere a malo, et facere bonum. secunda est ibi, et fac bonum. dicit ergo, diverte a malo: eccl. 7: noli facere mala etc.. divertere a malo non est quid meritorium, si divertere dicat solum negationem: per hoc enim, scilicet non facere malum, vitatur quidem poena quam incurrisset si illud admississet; non tamen propter hoc vita acquiritur. et ideo sic accipiendo, non facere malum non est meritorium, dummodo talis voluntas non sit informata charitate, ut propter deum a malo divertat. et fac bonum: isa. 1: discite benefacere. Next the Psalmist shows that two things should be done with respect to action. For man ought to order his life first with respect to himself, which the Psalmist addresses when he says turn away; then second with respect to his neighbor, which he addresses when he says seek after, etc. On the first point he does two things, which correspond to the different parts of justice, namely, to turn away from evil and to do good, which he touches on at do good. He says therefore turn away from evil, as does Ecclesiasticus 7: Do no evil, etc. Now turning from evil is not of itself meritorious, if one has in mind only a negation. For avoiding evil only in order to avoid the punishment consequent upon doing the evil is not the way to acquire life. Thus it follows that avoiding evil is merits nothing if the will is not formed in charity, which turns away from evil for the sake of God. And do good, as Isaiah 1 says: learn to do good.
secundo quantum ad proximum dicit, inquire pacem etc.. sed contingit aliquando, quod habes proximum qui impugnat te, et tunc tuum est inquirere pacem; et ideo dicit, inquire pacem: rom. 12: si fieri potest, quod ex vobis est, cum omnibus hominibus pacem habentes. quandoque vero contingit, quod habes aliquem qui inquirat a te pacem, et tuum est tunc sequi eam: unde ait, et persequere eam. Now with respect to one’s neighbor he says seek after peace, etc. Sometimes it happens that your neighbor fights against you, and then it belongs to you to seek after peace. Thus he says seek after peace, as Romans 12 says: If possible, as far as it lies in you, have peace with all men. Sometimes however your neighbor is seeking peace with you, and then it behooves you to follow after it, too. Thus he says pursue it.
vel de pace loquitur quam in se debet habere; et hanc, inquit, inquiras in vita ista. sed non plene habetur, quia caro concupiscit adversus spiritum, et spiritus adversus carnem, gal. 5. dicit autem, et persequere eam, ut scilicet magis habeas, licet non sit perfecta hic, sed in futuro, ubi sedebit populus in pulchritudine pacis, isa. 32. Another way to read this is that the peace he speaks about is the interior kind. And he is asking you to seek it in this life. But it is not to be had perfectly here, for the flesh desires against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, Galatians 5. Nevertheless he says pursue it, so that you may possess it more, and although imperfectly here, perfectly in the future, where the people will sit in the beauty of peace, Isaiah 32.
vel, inquire pacem, idest christum, qui est pax nostra: eph. 2, et sequere eam: eccl. 2: quis est homo qui possit sequi regem factorem suum? Yet another way to interpret seek after peace is as to seek after Christ, who is our peace, Ephesians 2, and to follow him, as Ecclesiastes 2: who is the man that can follow the king his maker?
deinde cum dicit, oculi domini super justos, instruit de divina providentia: et circa hoc duo facit. primo enim praemittit divinam providentiam. secundo divinae providentiae effectum ostendit, ibi, clamaverunt justi. circa primum duo facit. primo proponit divinam providentiam quantum ad bonos. secundo quantum ad malos, ibi, vultus autem domini. [14] Next, when he says the eyes of the lord are upon the just, he begins to teach about divine providence. On this he does two things: first he sets before us divine providence itself; then he shows the effect of divine providence, at the just have cried out. Concerning this he does two things: he describes divine providence first in relation to the good and then in relation to the bad, at the face of the lord.
dicit ergo, oculi domini etc.. illis de quibus curam gerimus, dupliciter intendimus: scilicet visu ad eorum facta: et quantum ad hoc dicit, oculi domini. et auditu ad verba; et quantum ad hoc dicit, et aures. et licet in deo non sit visus et auditus, sed ipsa dei sapientia; tamen propter diversa cognita dicitur utrumque, visus scilicet et auditus. visus signatur per oculos quantum ad ipsa facta; auditus autem per aures quantum ad verba: ideo ait, oculi domini super justos, scilicet visu approbationis: 2 tim. 2: novit dominus qui sunt ejus: eccl. 15: oculi domini ad timentes etc.. et aures ejus, ut scilicet sit intentus ad exaudiendum, in preces eorum. qui enim vult exaudire, libenter audit precantes: unde per hoc signat quod voluntarius est ad exaudiendum. et dicit, in preces, quia adhuc loquentibus audit: isa. pen. adhuc illis loquentibus ego exaudiam. He says therefore the eyes of the lord, etc. Concerning people under our care or authority, we attend to two things: to their deeds with our eyes (which the Psalmist touches on at the eyes of the lord), and to their words with our ears (at and his ears). Now although in God there is neither sight nor hearing, but only his wisdom, nevertheless because words and deeds are different, he is said to have both sight and hearing. The eyes signify the seeing of deeds, whereas the ears signify the hearing of words. Thus the Psalmist says the eyes of the lord are upon the just, that is, by a look of approval. 2 Timothy 2 states: the lord knows his own. And Ecclesiasticus 15: the eyes of the lord are toward those who fear him, etc. And his ears, signifying his intention to hear our their prayers. For whoever wishes to hear another out so as to understand, freely listens to that one’s petitions. Thus, through this the Psalmist signifies that God wishes to hear. And he also says unto their prayers, because God hears while they are yet speaking, as Isaiah 65 says: as they are yet speaking, I will hear them.
consequenter cum dicit, vultus autem domini super facientes mala, ut etc. ostenditur providentia domini circa malos; et circa hoc duo facit. primo enim ponitur quod providentia divina se extendit ad malos. secundo quomodo diversimode quantum ad bonos, ibi, ut perdat. [15] Next when he says the face of the lord is against evil doers, etc., he shows how the providence of the lord deals with evil ones. On this point he does two things: he shows first that divine providence does indeed cover the evil, and then second how it deals with the good in a different way, at to destroy them.
dicit ergo, vultus autem domini etc.. dixerat supra, oculi domini super justos. posset malus dicere, si oculi domini non sunt super me, possum peccare licenter, quia non videt: job 22: nubes latibulum ejus, nec nostra considerat: ezech. 8: non videt dominus, dereliquit enim terram. sed non ita est, quia vultus domini super malos: prov. 15: infernus et perditio coram domino etc.. et dicit, vultus, quia designat cum quadam ira respicere in ipsos malos. sed ad quid super eos respicit? certe, ut perdat de terra memoriam eorum. And so he says the face of the lord, etc. He said above that the eyes of the lord are upon the just. Perhaps an evil person will say, “If the eyes of the lord are not upon me, I can sin freely, since he does not see.” As Job 22 says: the clouds are his hiding place, and he does not consider our matters. And Ezechiel 8: the lord does not see, for he has deserted the earth. But it is not so, for the face of the lord is against the wicked. Proverbs 15: hell and destruction are before the lord. The Psalmist says the face of the lord to signify a look of anger on the wicked. But for what purpose would God look on them? Without a doubt, to cut off their memory from the earth.
hoc dupliciter potest intelligi. vel quia potest referri ad terram praesentem: et sic dupliciter perditur memoria eorum de terra. uno modo, ut omnino non sit. alio modo, ut mala: prov. 10: nomen impiorum putrescet. multi mali quaesierunt ut eorum memoria maneret, et tamen periit. sed si aliquorum permanet memoria, tamen periisse dicitur, quia putrida est et mala: ps. 9: periit memoria eorum cum sonitu. vel potest intelligi de terra viventium. sed numquid sancti non habent memoriam impiorum? si non habent memoriam malorum quae passi sunt, quomodo ergo laetabitur justus cum viderit vindictam? ps. 57. respondeo. dicendum est, quod habebunt memoriam eorum, sed non in bonum, quia non habebunt memoriam compassionis et miserationis eorum, nec orabunt pro eis: luc. 16: chaos magnum firmatum est etc.. quasi dicat: etiam si vellent, non possunt misereri, quia sunt ibi conjuncti deo ubi non possunt velle nisi quod dei justitia decrevit: isa. 26: contrivisti eos, et perdidisti omnem memoriam eorum. Now this can be understood in two ways. First it can refer to earth as it is now, and thus there are two ways to understand cutting off their memory: either the memory of them ceases to exist altogether or only the evil memory, as in Proverbs 10: the name of the impious grows rotten. Many wicked people try to have their memory preserved to no avail. However, if the memory of some of them does last, it can still be said to perish since it is rotten and evil. Psalm 9: their memory perishes with a clamor. Second, this can also refer to the land of the living. But do not the saints remember the impious? For if they did not recall the wicked things they suffered, why is it that the just man will rejoice when he sees his vindication (Psalm 57)? I respond: It needs to be said that they do indeed remember the wicked, but not unto good, since they do not recall any compassion or mercy from them, nor do they pray for them. As Luke 16 says: there is fixed a great chasm, etc. That is, even if they wished, they could not show mercy, for they are together with God, where they cannot will anything except what the justice of God has decreed. Isaiah 26: you have inflicted them, and have purged all memory of them.
deinde cum dicit, clamaverunt, ponitur effectus divinae providentiae. et primo quantum ad bonos. secundo quantum ad malos, ibi, mors peccatorum. circa primum duo facit. primo enim ostendit, quomodo aures domini sint in preces justorum. secundo, quomodo oculi domini super eos. ibi, juxta. circa primum tria facit. quia primo praemittit orationem sanctorum. secundo ponit exauditionem, ibi, et dominus exaudivit eos. tertio exauditionis effectum, ibi, et ex omnibus. [16] Next when he says they have cried out, he describes the effect of divine providence, with respect first to the good and then to the wicked, at the death of the sinners. On the first point he does two things: he shows first how the ears of the lord bend toward the prayers of the just; then he shows how the eyes of the lord are upon them, at the lord is near. On the first of these he does three things: first he presents the prayer of the saints; second he describes how they are heard, at and the lord hearkened to them; third he describes the effect of being heard, at and from all.
dicit ergo, clamaverunt. oratio sanctorum dicitur clamor: isa. 19: clamabunt ad dominum a facie tribulantis: jacob. ult.: clamor eorum in aures domini sabaoth intravit. clamor est magna vox: et oratio sanctorum magna est vox propter duo: scilicet propter magnitudinem affectionis, et propter magnitudinem petitionis, quia petunt aeterna: matth. 6: primum quaerite regnum dei. et dominus exaudivit eos quia ipse mihi dat, ut petam: ps. 119: ad dominum cum tribularer etc.. And so he says they have cried out. The prayer of the saints is said to be a crying out, as in Isaiah 19: for they will cry out to the lord at the face of their oppressor. And at the end of James: their cry entered the ears of the lord of Hosts. Now a cry is a loud voice. The prayer of the saints is a loud voice for two reasons: because of the depth of love and the length of the prayer, for they pray for all eternity. As Matthew 6 says: seek first the kingdom of God. And the lord heard them because he has given me to seek. Psalm 119: I cried out to the lord in tribulation, etc.
sequitur effectus exauditionis, et ex omnibus tribulationibus etc. ut scilicet tribulationes non sustineant. vel si patiantur, tamen non ut obruantur tribulationibus: hebr. 11: fortes facti sunt in bello. vel, quia liberati sunt de limbo: zach. 9: tu autem in sanguine testamenti eduxisti vinctos de lacu etc.. ps. 53: iste pauper clamavit, et dominus exaudivit eum, et ex omnibus etc.. Next follows the effect of being heard: and from all tribulations, etc., such that they do not suffer these trials. Or if they do suffer, still they will not be overwhelmed. As Hebrews 11 says: they have been made strong in war. Or, it could signify that they become liberated from Limbo, as Zacharias 9 says: you however by the blood of the testament have led the prisoners out of the pit, etc. And Psalm 53: the poor man cried out, and the lord heard him, and from all, etc.
secundo cum dicit, juxta est dominus, ostendit quomodo oculi domini sint super justos: et circa hoc tria facit. primo enim ponit justorum meritum. secundo eorum periculum imminens, ibi, multae. tertio auxilium eis praestitum, ibi, et de omnibus his. [17] Now when he says the lord is near, he shows how the eyes of the lord are upon the just. On this he does three things: first he describes the merit of the just; second their imminent danger, at many are the afflictions; third the help he offer them, at and from all these.
circa primum duo facit, secundum quod est duplex meritum justorum, unde promerentur dei misericordiam. tangit enim primo meritum contritionis de peccatis: et quantum ad hoc dicit, juxta est dominus etc.. ps. 144: prope est dominus omnibus invocantibus eum. quidam sunt realiter miseri, tamen non cognoscunt; unde nec conteruntur: et ideo non consequuntur misericordiam: apoc. 3: dicis quod dives sum, et locupletatus sum, et nullius egeo; et nescis quia tu es miser et miserabilis et pauper, et caecus et nudus. necesse est enim, quod recognoscant miseriam suam corde gemendo; et ideo ait, his qui tribulato sunt corde. ecce contritio de peccatis: isa. 66: ad quem respiciam nisi ad pauperculum et contritum spiritu etc.. matth. 5: beati qui lugent etc.. quantum ad secundum dicit, et humiles spiritu salvabit. spiritu dicit, non verbis: quia eccl. 19: est qui nequiter se humiliat, et interiora etc.. humiles, ergo, spiritu, qui veram scilicet humilitatem habent in corde, salvabit: prov. 29: humilem spiritu suscipiet. On the first of these he does two things, for there is a twofold merit of the just, on the basis of which they are promised the mercy of God. He touches first on the merit of contrition of sins, and he does this at the lord is near, etc. As Psalm 144 says: the lord is near to all who call upon him. Now some people are truly in a miserable state and yet do not realize it and thus are not contrite. They do not receive mercy. As Apocalypse 3 says: You say, “I am rich and getting richer, and have need of nothing.” But you do not know you are poor, miserable and impoverished, blind and naked. For it is necessary to recognize one’s misery by heartfelt bemoaning. And so he said to those who are troubled in heart. This is the contrition of sins. As Isaiah 66 says: Whom will I regard except the one poor and little and contrite of spirit, etc. And Matthew 5: blessed are those who mourn, etc. The second thing about the merit of the just he mentions when he says and the humble of spirit he will save. He says of spirit and not of words, for as Ecclesiasticus 19 says: there is one who wickedly humbles himself, and his interior, etc. Therefore, the humble in spirit, who have true humility in their heart, will be saved. Proverbs 29: He will raise up the humble in spirit.
consequenter ponit imminens periculum, quia, multae tribulationes justorum: thren. 1: multi gemitus mei etc.. 2 tim. 3: omnes qui volunt pie vivere in christo, persecutionem patiuntur. et has tribulationes patiuntur a persequentibus: ps. 118: multi qui persequuntur me et tribulant me. item ex convictu eorum quos peccare vident, dolent: 2 pet. 2: habitans apud eos qui de die in diem animam justi iniquis operibus cruciabant. item a tentationibus mundi, carnis, et hostis: gal. 5: caro concupiscit adversus spiritum etc.. Next, he describes the imminent danger, namely, that there are many tribulations awaiting the just. Lamentations 1: many are my tears, etc. 2 Timothy 3: all who wish to live piously in Christ will suffer persecution. And they will suffer these things at the hands of persecutors. Psalm 118: many are they who persecute me and harass me. Again, the just also sorrow in seeing others sin. 2 Peter 2 states: dwelling among hem who from day to day vexed the just soul with iniquity. Again, they suffer from the temptations of the world, the flesh and the enemy. As Galatians 5 says: the flesh desires against the spirit, etc.
consequenter cum dicit, et de omnibus his liberabit. ponit auxilium eis praestitum. dupliciter autem juvantur. primo, ut totaliter liberentur: et quantum ad hoc dicit, et de omnibus his liberabit eos dominus. secundo, ut tribulationibus non succumbant: et quantum ad hoc dicit, custodit dominus etc.. [18] Next when he says and from all these he will save them, he describes the twofold help offered to them: first, they are completely freed (and from all these the lord will free them); second, they will not succumb to their tribulations (the lord guards, etc.).
dicit ergo, et de omnibus his tribulationibus liberabit eos dominus, partim hic, sed perfecte in futuro, quando (apocal. 7) non esurient neque sitient amplius etc.. ecc. 51: liberasti me secundum multitudinem misericordiae nominis tui: 2 mach. 1: de magnis periculis a deo liberati, magnifice gratias agimus ipsi. And so he says and from all these tribulations the lord will free them, partly now, but perfectly in the future, when, as Apocalypse 7 says, they will not hunger nor thirst for more, etc. Ecclesiasticus 51 says: you have freed me according to the greatness of your name’s mercy. And 2 Machabees 1: having been free by God from great peril, let us give great thanks to him.
deinde cum dicit, custodit dominus ostendit quomodo liberat eos, ne succumbant. dicit ergo, custodit dominus omnia ossa eorum. sicut visus est in oculo, ita in ossibus et nervis est fortitudo: et ideo, sicut visus signatur per oculum, ita fortitudo et virtus per ossa: quia sicut per ossa sustentatur corpus, ita per virtutes sustentatur vita humana: in futuro ergo liberabit totaliter, sed interim custodit ossa, idest virtutes, quae magis proficiunt in infirmitate. vel per ossa viri perfecti intelliguntur, quos dominus custodiet: ezech. 37: haec dicit dominus deus his ossibus: ecce ego intromittam spiritum in vos, et vivetis, et dabo super vos carnes. unum ex his non conteretur, quia in tribulationibus nulla virtus hominis deficit, quem deus custodit. non enim deficiebat caritas in sanctis per odium, quia pro persequentibus orabant; non mansuetudo per iram, quia non murmur resonabat: non patientia per injustitiam, immo in patientia sua possidebant animas suas. et ideo dicitur de agno paschali, os non confringetis ex eo, exod. 12. ps. 36: cum ceciderit, non collidetur. vel, unum ex his, scilicet praedestinatis. jo. 17: nemo ex his periit nisi filius perditionis. [19] Then when he says the lord guards, he shows how God liberates them, lest they succumb. He says therefore that the lord guards all their bones. Just as sight is in the eye, so also courage is in the bones and nerves. And so just as sight is signified through the image of the eye, so also courage and virtue through the image of bone. For bones hold up the body, just as virtue sustains human life. So while in the future he will completely free them, in the meantime he keeps their bones, that is, virtues, which shine in adversity. Another interpretation is that bones signifies perfect men, whom the lord guards. Ezechiel 37: the lord God speaks to these bones, “Behold, I have sent my spirit unto you, and you will live, and I will clothe you with flesh.” Not one among them will be broken, for the one God keeps will have no virtue fail him in times of trouble. Charity, for example, prevailed against hatred in the saints, for they prayed for their persecutors. Meekness prevailed against anger, for there was no sound of complaint. Patience prevailed against injustice, for they in their suffering gained their own souls. Thus Exodus 12 says of the paschal lamb: not a bone in it will you break. Psalm 36: when he falls, he will not be bruised. Another interpretation is that one of these signifies the predestined, as in John 17: not one among them will perish, except the son of perdition.
deinde cum dicit, mors peccatorum, ponit effectus divinae providentiae quantum ad malos: et circa hoc duo facit. primo enim ponuntur pericula malorum. secundo ostenditur quomodo ab his liberat sanctos suos, ibi, redimet. circa primum duo facit. primo enim ostendit malum justorum quod patiuntur in se. secundo, quod eis imminet ex eo quod persequuntur bonos, ibi, et qui oderunt. [20] Then when he says the death of sinners, he describes the effect of divine providence on the wicked. To this end he does two things: first he describes the perils of the wicked; second, he shows how God liberates his saints from the wicked, at the lord will redeem. On the first point he does two things: he shows first the punishment the unjust suffer [ostendit malum justorum (!) quod patiuntur in se], then what befalls those who persecute the good, at and those who hate.
dicit ergo, mors, corporalis vel spiritualis: corporalis quidem haec est pessima in malis, quia mittuntur ad pessimum locum. luc. 16: mortuus est dives, et sepultus est in inferno. item quia perdunt spem gratiae post mortem. prover. 11: mortuo homine impio, nulla erit amplius spes. mors ergo peccatorum pessima est, quia moriuntur in corpore et in anima. spiritualis. ephes. 5: exurge a mortuis. et haec mors est pessima. mors enim est privatio vitae. mors ergo quanto meliori privat, tanto est pejor. privat autem spiritualis mors animam vita gratiae, quae est optima, quia est per deum. 1 cor. 6: qui adhaeret deo unus est spiritus. ergo est pessima. hieronymus habet sic, interficiet impium malitia, idest interimet. haec est malitia quae ingerit peccatoribus mortem. rom. 6: stipendia peccati mors. And so he says the death, meaning both bodily and spiritual. The bodily death is indeed the worst among the wicked, for they are sent to the worst place. As Luke 16 says: the rich man died and was buried in Hell. Another reason is that they lose the hope of grace after death. As Proverbs 11 says: when the wicked man dies, there will be no hope. Therefore the death of sinners is worst of all, for they die in both body and soul. Now concerning spiritual death, Ephesians 5 says: rise up from the dead. This state of the dead is the worst. For since death is the deprivation of life, the greater the good that gets deprived, the worse the death. But spiritual death deprives the soul of the life of grace, which is the best since it comes from God. As 1 Corinthians 6 states: the man who adheres to God is one spirit. Therefore, such a death is the worst. Jerome holds that wickedness kills, that is, slays, the impious. This is the kind of wickedness that brings about death to sinners. As Romans 6 states: the wages of sin is death.
consequenter ostendit quid malis immineat ex eo quod persequuntur justos. luc. 10: qui vos spernit, me spernit. et ideo dicit, et qui oderunt justum, delinquent. prov. 29. viri sanguinum oderunt simplicem. si ergo qui odit deum delinquet, ergo et qui odit servos dei. Next he shows what befalls the evil when they persecute the just. As Luke 10 says: those who despise you, despise me. And thus the Psalmist says and those who hate the just are guilty. As Proverbs 29 says: bloodthirsty men hate the simplehearted. If therefore the man who hates God commits sin, so also the one who hates the servants of God.
deinde cum dicit, redimet dominus, ostendit quomodo in his periculis liberantur boni. et primo quomodo a peccatis praeteritis. secundo quomodo proteguntur a futuris, ibi, et non delinquent. dicit ergo, redimet dominus animas servorum suorum. posset dici. si mors peccatorum pessima est, cum nullus sic sit justus quod non peccet, ergo et ipsorum justorum mors est etiam pessima. et ideo ad hoc excludendum dicit, redimet dominus animas servorum suorum. redimet, inquam, pretio mortis suae: animas servorum suorum. non dicit liberorum. illi enim sunt liberati, qui excutiunt a se jugum justitiae. rom. 6: liberati a peccato, servi facti deo, habetis fructum etc.. tales ergo qui de servis dei facti sunt liberi, non redimuntur; sed illi qui subduntur jugo dei, redimuntur a culpa et a poena pretioso christi sanguine. 1 pet. 1: non corruptibilibus, argento vel auro, redempti estis de vana vestra conversatione paternae traditionis; sed pretioso sanguine quasi agni incontaminati et immaculati christi. oseae 13: de morte redimam eos. [21] Then when he says the lord will redeem, he show how the good are freed from these dangers: first how they are freed from past sins and then how they are protected from future sins, at and they will not sin. He says therefore the lord will redeem the souls of his servants. Perhaps it may be objected that, if the death of sinners is the worst, then since no one is so just as not to have sinned, it follows that even the death of the just is the worst. To exclude this the Psalmist says the lord will redeem the souls of his servants. He will redeem the souls of his servants, in fact, by the price of his own death. Notice he does not say the souls of the free. For those who have been freed have shaken off the yoke of justice. As Romans 6 says: freed from sin, made servants of God, what fruit did you have, etc. Thus he says that these freemen have been made servants of God, but they are not redeemed. Only those who have shouldered the yoke of God are redeemed from guilt and punishment by the precious blood of Christ. As 1 Peter 1 says: not by anything corruptible, like silver or gold, have you been redeemed from your empty life with the paternal tradition, but by the precious blood of Christ, an uncontaminated and immaculate lamb. Hosea 13 says: from death I will redeem them.
secundo ostendit, quomodo proteguntur a peccato futuro: quia non delinquent, idest non peccabunt ad mortem, omnes qui sperant in eo. in eo dicit, scilicet in domino; non in propria virtute, quia tales cadunt: unde ps. 29: ego dixi in abundantia mea, idest in virtute mea, non movebor in aeternum. domine in voluntate tua, praestitisti decori meo virtutem. avertisti faciem tuam a me, et factus sum conturbatus. sed qui sperant in domino, sicut ille qui dicebat, sap. 8: scivi quoniam aliter non possum esse continens nisi deus det: hic non delinquet, dum protectus a deo mortaliter non peccabit etc.. Next he show how they are protected from future sin. For they will not sin, that is they will not sin to death, all those who hope in him, that is, in the lord. This is not on account of their own virtue, for even the virtuous fall. Thus Psalm 29: I said in my abundance, that is, in my virtue, I will not be moved for all time. O lord, you favored me with virtue in addition to beauty. But you turned your face from me and I became troubled. But those who hope in the lord, like the one who said in Wisdom 8: I knew that I could not be content unless God gave it – such a one does not sin. Protected by God, he will not sin to death [et cetera].

© Gregory Froelich

The Aquinas Translation Project

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments »

Tuesday June 29: First Reading with Commentary (Acts 12:1-11)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2010

The following comes from Bishop MacEvily.  I’ve included his very brief analysis of chapter 12.  I’ve also included at the end of the post a few book suggestions for those interested in learning more about the Acts of Apostles.

Analysis of the entire chapter:

The cruel persecution raised by Herod (1-2). The incarceration of Peter who was closely guarded (3-6). His liberation by the hand of an Angel (7-11). The confusion consequent thereon, and the death of the guards who were on duty (18). The fearful judgment exercised on Herod, who was eaten up by worms (20-23).

Text and Notes on 12:1-11.

Act 12:1  And at the same time, Herod the king stretched forth his hands, to afflict some of the church.

“And at the same time.”  While Paul and Barnabas were ministering at Antioch. The narrative relative to their charitable ministrations is interrupted here by the intervening events recorded as far as v. 24 of this chapter, and is resumed at v. 25. These intervening events are: Peter is liberated; Herod dies a shocking death, these two Apostles had reached Jerusalem.

“Herod the king.”  Agrippa, the son of Aristobulus, and grandson of Herod the Great, the murderer of the Holy Innocents. Agrippa obtained from Caligula and Claudius territories co-extensive with those of his grandfather, Herod the Great.

“Stretched forth his hand”  indicates the violent exercise of power.

“To afflict some” the leading members “of the Church,” as is stated immediately after.

Act 12:2  And he killed James, the brother of John, With the sword.

“With a sword.”  By being beheaded or pierced through. This
is said by some to be among the most ignominious kinds of capital
punishment among the Jews. It seems King Agrippa had the power of
life and death. In the time of the Roman government, only the Roman
Procurator had it. The Jews had not.  “James,”  the Greater, in contradistinction to James, the son of Alpheus, called “the lesser,” or “the brother of John,” both sons of Zebedee, in whom were fulfilled the predictions

Act 12:3  And seeing that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to take up Peter also. Now it was in the days of the Azymes.

“Seeing it pleased the Jews,” &c. Agrippa’s besetting sin was an inordinate excessive love of popularity. It was from this feeling he meant to put Peter to death. Likely, too, he wished to conciliate the Jews, to whom his dynasty was odious; and thus prevent them from preferring accusations against him with the Roman Emperors, whose creature he was.

“Peter also.”  One of the most conspicuous men in the Church, who had, moreover, made himself obnoxious by his pungent discourses, and success in effecting conversions.

“Now, it was in the days of the Azymes,” that is, within the seven days succeeding the Passover, during which they were not allowed to partake of leavened bread (Exod. xii. 15-18 ; Deut. xvi. 3).

Herod may have apprehended Peter at this particular time to show his attachment to Judaism, and his determination to crush out every other form of religion.

Act 12:4  And when he had apprehended him, he cast him into prison, delivering him to four files of soldiers, to be kept, intending, after the pasch, to bring him forth to the people.

“Apprehended.”  Arrested him.  ” Cast him into prison.”  During the Paschal solemnity no trials of criminals took place, in order that the people might exclusively devote themselves to their religious duties and the ceremonies of the Festival.

“Four files,” &c. The Greek is “four quaternions of soldiers,” each quaternion was made up of four, so he had sixteen soldiers to guard him. Each quaternion, or four, were to relieve one another on guard during the watches of the night.  Two of them were to remain in the prison with Peter (v. 6) who was chained to these two, and the other guard at the door of the prison for three hours-the term of night watch-until they were relieved.  Agrippa, who was educated at Rome, adhered to the Roman system of having four night
watches, of three hours each, during the night.  No precaution for securing Peter was omitted.

“To bring him forth,” &c. Evidently with the view of having him publicly put to death in presence of the people.

Act 12:5  Peter therefore was kept in prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the church unto God for him.

“Without ceasing,” fervent, persevering prayer. Humanly speaking, there was no hope of his deliverance. God was the only resource who did not fail to respond to the prayers of His Church.

Act 12:6  And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.

“Brought him forth,” to be publicly put to death.

“Same night,” immediately preceding the day intended for his execution.

“Bound with two chains.”  His right hand chained to the left of one soldier, and his left to the right hand of the other, which is said to be usual with the Romans for securing their prisoners.

“The keepers,” &c. Besides the two soldiers to whom Peter was bound in prison, two others watched before the door.  It was death for a Roman soldier to be caught sleeping at his post.  The four on guard were relieved, after three hours, by four others in succession.

Act 12:7  And behold an angel of the Lord stood by him and a light shined in the room. And he, striking Peter on the side, raised him up, saying: Arise quickly. And the chains fell off from his hands.

“An angel of the Lord,” no particular angel mentioned, “stood by him,” suddenly and unexpectedly.

“A light shone,” &c. Such light, reflected from the glorious body assumed by the angel, generally accompanies angels when they appear on earth (Matthew xxviii. 5 ; Luke ii. 9 ; xxiv. 4), &c. Possibly, Peter only saw it; or, if it filled the prison, the guards sunk in dep sleep did not see it.

Act 12:8  And the angel said to him: Gird thyself and put on thy sandals. And he did so. And he said to him: Cast thy garment about thee and follow me,

“Gird thyself” with thy inner vest.  “Garment,” the outer garment, laid aside when he lay down to sleep.  Dress thyself as usual when preparing for a journey.

Act 12:9  And going out, he followed him. And he knew not that it was true which was done by the angel: but thought he saw a vision.

“True”- a reality-“a vision,” such as presented itself to him before (x. n, 12).

Act 12:10  And passing through the first and the second ward, they came to the iron gate that leadeth to the city which of itself opened to them. And going out, they passed on through one street. And immediately the angel departed from him.

“First and second ward.”  Passed by the soldiers that guarded each ward. They were Providentially sunk in heavy sleep.

“Iron gate.”  The outer gate, secured for greater strength with iron bars.  It opened on the town.

“The angel departed.”  Left him, as he was beyond the reach of danger.

Act 12:11  And Peter coming to himself, said: Now I know in very deed that the Lord hath sent his angel and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

“Came to himself.”  Recovering from the amazement he felt at the entire scene and became capable of reflexion.

“Expectation,” &c. The Jews were anxiously expecting to witness his execution.

Book Suggestions:

Acts Of Apostles. Dennis Hamm’s introductory level commentary.  This new series put out by Collegeville Press, St John’s Abbey, is far superior to their previous series.

Witness To The Messiah.  Stephen J. Pimentel’s outstanding introductory commentary on Acts 1-15.  Designed for private and group study.

Envoy Of The Messiah.  Pimentel’s treatment of Acts 16-27.  I can highly recommend all the books in Emmaus Road Publishing’s Kingdom Series.

Sacra Pagina Series: Acts Of Apostles.  Luke Timothy Johnson.  This work has been well received, however, some of the content may be a bit technical for the average “person in the pew.”  It is not, however, completely out of anyone’s reach.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on Acts of Apostles, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

It’s Always Tragic When Something Doesn’t Go right In A Jet Crash

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 28, 2010

Stupid Headlines:

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife And Daughter.

Something Went Wrong In Jest Crash, Expert Says.

Police Begin Campaign To Run Down Jaywalkers.

Juvenile Court To Try Shooting Defendant.

Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over.

Miners Refuse To Work After Death.

War Dims Hope For Peace.

Enfield Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide.

Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges.

Man Struck By Lighting: Faces Battery Charges.

New Study Of Obesity Looks For Large Test Group.

Kids Make Nutritious Snacks.

Local High School Dropouts Cut In Half.

Hospital Sued By Seven Foot Doctors.

Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead.

My Favorite comes from the Oneida Daily Dispatch’s Sport’s Page.  It concerned a horse race at Vernon Downs: “Sparkling Hooker Wins VD Crown.”

Posted in humor, stupid | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

The Constitution Is Still Number One

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 28, 2010

The following is taken from a post by Julia Shaw which appeared yesterday on The Heritage Foundation’s blog THE FOUNDRY.  It appears he in accordance with THE FOUNDRY’S copyright policy which I’ve appended to the end of this post.

Prior to his presidency, Senator Obama famously announced that empathy would be his criteria for selecting judges. Although Sonia Sotomayor deemphasized her empathetic understanding of the law, many on the left still advocate empathy as the criteria for judges. James Gibson is no exception.

In a recent article, “Expecting Justice and Hoping for Empathy,” Gibson discusses his recent survey that revealed 68% of polled individuals strongly agree with the statement that justices should “Be able to empathize with ordinary people – that is, to be able understand how the law hurts or helps the people.” Gibson concludes that “if President Obama cares about what the American people want on the nation’s highest bench, he should return to the criterion of empathy.”

68 is a big number, but it’s not as large as 74.

74 is the percentage of respondents who strongly agreed with the statement that judges should “Uphold the values of those who wrote the U.S. constitution long ago,” making the constitution the top concern for selecting judges.

What were these “values” embedded in the Constitution from “long ago?” According to Matthew Spalding in We Still Hold These Truths: Rediscovering Our Principles, Reclaiming Our Future, the Constitution articulates the structural protections for eternal principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence—principles such as the rule of law, equal natural rights, consent of the governed, and limited government.  If the Constitution acknowledges eternal principles, how should judges read the Constitution and apply it to modern problems? Keith Whittington explains the originalist approach in “How to Read the Constitution: Self-Government and the Jurisprudence of Originalism,” and The Heritage Guide to the Constitution provides a clause by clause analysis of the Constitution with essays from leading Constitutional scholars.

Gibson, though, ignores the Constitution’s meaning and the American people’s high regard for it. Let’s hope that President Obama does not continue to do the same.

More from Julia Shaw here.

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Cornelius a Lapide on Matthew 8:18-22 for Monday, June 28

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 28, 2010

Mat 8:18  And Jesus seeing great multitudes about him, gave orders to pass over the water.
Mat 8:19  And a certain scribe came and said to him: Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou shalt go.

19.  And a certain scribe came to him, &c. This doctor of the Law seeing Jesus preparing to depart, and cross over the lake, and being moved by His preaching and miracles, and the concourse of applauding people, desired to be associated with Him as a disciple with a master.

Mat 8:20  And Jesus saith to him: The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

And Jesus said unto him, &c. Nests; the Greek has κατασκηνώσεις, i.e., shady coverts made by the boughs and leaves of trees. S. Cyprian (lib. 1. ad Quirinum, c. 11), and S. Augustine translate the word, inns.   The meaning is—common, worthless, and even noxious animals, such as foxes and birds of prey, have places of rest and shelter; but the Son of Man, He who was born of the Virgin, and made man, hath nothing of His own, not a cushion, or a bed, or a bench on which to rest His head.

Christ here detects and uncovers the latent ulcer of covetousness in the Scribe. It is as though He said to him, “Thou desirest to follow Me because thou seest Me pleasing to the people, because of the healing and benefits which I bestow upon them. Hence thou hopest, in following Me, to increase thy possessions, and pick up many gifts, as though I made Me and Mine rich by the Gospel. But thou art mistaken, for I, as it were, the Master of perfection, am poor and a lover of poverty Myself, and such I wish My disciples to be, that being free from the care of things temporal, they may be wholly at leisure for God and preaching.” When the Scribe heard this he was silent; and, being disappointed of his hope, withdrew himself from the eyes of Christ, as Matthew tacitly intimates. Thus S. Hilary, Theophylact, Euthymius, and S. Jerome explain. “Why,” says S. Jerome, “do you wish to follow Me for the sake of riches and worldly gain, when I have not even one little guest-chamber?”

Let religious, who unite themselves to God by the profession of poverty, imitate this example of Christ, and look for support to His Providence.

This passage also refutes the heresy of those who condemn voluntary poverty, which religious profess.

The originator of this heresy was a certain Lombard, named Desiderius, in the time of Pope Alexander IV., and another called William of Holy Love, in the same age, who are entirely confuted by SS. Thomas and Bonaventura. By an entirely opposite error, other heretics, called Apostolici, have falsely concluded from this passage, as S. Augustine testifies (Hæres. 40), that this absolute poverty is necessary for all men for salvation. From the same passage the Waldenses, or Poor Men of Lyons, and Wickliffe, have falsely argued that it is unlawful for bishops and priests to possess any property, but that they ought to live only on alms, because Christ did so. But Christ did so being perfect, and gave it as a counsel, not as a command necessary to salvation. Hence this error is denounced by many decrees of Councils.

From this passage it is also plain that poverty, and its very marrow and efficacy, consist in this—that a man should possess and affect nothing as though it were his own, but should keep his affections free for God alone, to serve Him. And it is not repugnant to this spirit, but conformable to it, to possess in common things necessary for life. And so, by a decree of the Council of Trent (Sess. 25, c. 3), all religious, except the Franciscans, are allowed to own even real property in common, that they may not be forced to beg, nor be anxious about supplies, nor become burdensome to the faithful. For even Christ and the Apostles had goods in common, of which Judas was the steward and dispenser, as appears from John xii. 6.

Son of Man. That is, Man sprung from man, as Christ constantly calls Himself, in His love of humility, because He who was God deigned for our sakes to become incarnate, and be made man.

But of what man is Christ the Son? First, by man, the heathen understood Joseph, whence they contended that he was begotten of Joseph, not conceived by the Holy Ghost, as S. Justin testifies (Quæst. 66 ad Orthodoxos). But this is contrary to Scripture and the Creeds.

2. Theophylact says, Christ is the Son of Man, i.e., of the Virgin Mary, His mother; for man is common gender, and may be used of a male or a female, like the Greek α̉νθρωπος. But the addition in Greek of the masculine article shows that the word is here restricted to signify a male.

3. And more probably, others say, Son of Man, i.e., of Abraham, or David; for to them it was promised that of their posterity the Messiah, or Christ, should be born.

4. Others, Christ is the Son of Man, i.e., of men, as of the patriarchs and kings, from whom Matthew has deduced his genealogy.

5. And last, Christ is the Son of Man, i.e., of Adam, because He, like all other men, was sprung from Adam. For Adam is called absolutely man, because he was the first man, and the parent of all other men. Hence Adam, in Hebrew, means man. There is a reference to Ezek. ii. 1. Ezekiel, who is a type of Christ, is called son of man, in Hebrew, ben-adam, i.e., son of Adam. Whence S. Gregory Nazianzen (de Theolog. Orat. 4) says, Christ is called Son of Adam, according to the Hebrew, not to show that He had a man for His father, but that through the Virgin Mary He derived His generation from Adam. For He willed to be born of Adam, that by this means He might repair the Fall of Adam and his posterity. Hence S. Augustine (lib. 2 de Consens. Evang. c. 1) says, “He commendeth unto us how mercifully He hath deigned to be of us, and, as it were, commending the mystery of His wonderful Incarnation, He often sounds this title (Son of Man) in our ears.”

Son of Man signifies more than man, because man can be created by God alone, as Adam was created; but Son of Man signifies sprung from Adam, the common parent, that first might be set forth the infinite humility of Christ, that He should deign to be sprung from a sinful man, and to receive in Himself his miseries and his mortality in that earthly body which He assumed. For Adam is derived from Adama, the ground, as homo from humus, mortalis from mors, “death.” (See what I have said on Eze_2:1.) 2. There is shown the wonderful brotherhood and charity of Christ to men, whereby He willed to he born in Bethlehem, of the same common parent Adam, that He might become the Brother of all men, and akin to them in blood, that He might be closely grafted into human nature, and united to it, even to the whole company of mankind, by human generation and natural birth from man, after the manner which I explained on chap. i. 18, according to those words of Isaiah, “Unto us a Son is born, a Child is given.” Son of Man therefore denotes the perfect kindness, friendship, and condescension of Christ, and the blandishments of His love, by which He offers Himself to men as the Son of Man, as a Child to children, that with Him, as a most sweet Little One, as a most delightsome Brother, they may take delight, and have pleasure, according to the words, “My delight is with the sons of men.” (Prov. viii.) Why dost thou fear, 0 man, to draw nigh to Jesus? Lo! He is the Son of Man. Why tremblest thou, 0 sinner, at the wrath of God? Come unto Jesus, the Son of Man, made a little Child for thee. In the whole world there is no Child so sweet—no son so dear. For “the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” And “the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Son of Man, therefore, is the proper name of, or rather the name appropriated to Christ. It is the mark of His dignity, and of His love, the wonder of all ages, that the Only-Begotten Son of God should, for men, deign to become the Son of Man, and to have His converse with men, that He might teach them the way of salvation, and redeem them by His Cross, and make them happy in heaven.

Mat 8:21  And another of his disciples said to him: Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Ver. 21.—And another of his disciples, &c. This disciple was not one of the twelve Apostles, but some other person who was called by Christ to follow Him. We must supply from Luk_9:59, that Christ previously said to this same person, Follow me. He did not refuse the call of Christ, but wished, after having discharged his debt of filial piety, to be more free to follow Him. So says the Gloss. From the answer of this disciple, given by S. Matthew, we may understand his questioning and vocation by Christ.

Lord. Reverently and obediently he speaks to Christ as desiring to do Him service; whereas the Scribe, with somewhat too much freedom, addressed Christ as Teacher (magister). The one was deservedly left, the other chosen. How much of evil was there in the Scribe? how much of good was there in this man? says S. Augustine. (Serm. 9 de Verb. Domini.)

Suffer me first, &c. Theophylact, and after him Franc. Lucas, think that his father was still living, and that he said in effect— “Suffer me to remain with my father, who is now an old man, that I may support him until he die. Then, having done what filial duty requires, I will follow Thee.” Thus he asked for a long furlough from the spiritual warfare.

S. Chrysostom and others expound more plainly and accurately that his father was already dead, and that Christ most opportunely and benignantly called him. As though he said, “Thy father is now deceased, Follow Me. I will be to thee a better Father. He had need of thy good offices, but thou hast need of Mine. He was the author of thy carnal life; I will give thee spiritual and eternal life.”

Clement of Alexandria, (Stromat. lib. 2) thinks that Philip, who was afterwards an Apostle, was the man to whom Christ said, Suffer the dead to bury their dead. But the objection to this is that Philip had been already called by Christ, and was following Him, as is plain from John i. 43. Unless you assume that Philip had been a follower of Christ before this, but, having heard that his father had departed this life, asked Christ’s permission to bury him, but did not obtain it. This would explain why he is here called a disciple by S. Matthew. And another of his disciples. And this seems very probable, especially as Clement relates the matter as certain.

Mat 8:22  But Jesus said to him: Follow me, and let the dead bury their dead.

But Jesus saith, &c. A second time Jesus calls him. Twice He saith, Follow Me, namely before his excusing himself, and afterwards because He effectually willed him to be His disciple. He puts aside the impediment which he alleged, and forbids him to return to bury his father. But He assigns most convincing reasons for His refusal. He says, Suffer the dead to bury their dead. Observe, Christ does not intend to condemn the burial of the dead, which is a work of mercy praised in the Book of Tobit. But He wished to teach that when God calls He must immediately be obeyed. For God knows our hindrances, and when He calls us in them He wishes us to break them off, and He in effect promises us His grace and help to enable us to do so. Wherefore He lays it down that following the call of God is to be preferred even to the burial of our parents. That is, divine are to be preferred to human duties, religion to nature, God to man. Christ here plays upon the word dead. For first the dead signifies those who are spiritually dead, as unbelievers and those who are destitute of the grace of God. Thus SS. Chrysostom, Jerome, and Augustine. Afterwards by dead He means those who are corporeally dead. For as a body separated from the soul is dead, so a soul separated from God is dead. As the soul is the life of the body so is God the life of the soul, says S. Augustine. Let the dead, such as the Jews who reject belief in Me; let those who are steeped in sin and worldliness, bury their own dead, i.e., those who are figuratively dead like themselves, or those of their own relations who are naturally dead, and, it may be, spiritually dead likewise. But as for thee, I would. have thee follow Me, who am the true Life, and live with Me here through My perfect grace, and in the world to come in perfect glory, and preach this Gospel to others, as Luke adds.

Hear S. Ambrose: “He is not allowed to go and bury his father, that thou rnayest understand that human things must give way to Divine things.”

Tropologically. Christ signifies that they are dead, and busy themselves with dead things, who give up their minds to the wills and legacies of parents or relations. But to this His disciple He says, Thy destiny is to live for God, and as thou hast begun to be alive unto Him by grace, go on thus to live unto Him, and serve Him, the living God. And so leave to the dead and dying the things which are dead and about to die. Thus S. Jerome: “If the dead bury the dead, we ought to care not for the things which are dead, but for those which are alive, lest whilst we are anxious about the dead we too should be called dead.”

And S. Chrysostom says, “If it was forbidden to be absent from spiritual things, for the brief space of time needed for burying parents, weigh well the punishment of which they shall be counted worthy who are always absent from those things which are worthy of Christ, because they prefer the worthless and abject affairs of worldly business to things which are indeed necessary, and that even when none compels.

Luke adds (Luk_9:60), But go thou and preach the kingdom of God, namely, the way by which men may arrive at the kingdom of heaven—that is to say, by faith, and a life conformed to the Gospel which Christ has made known. As S. Augustine says (di Verb. Domini, Serm. 7), “When the Lord is preparing men for the Gospel, He will not receive any such excuses as have to do with fleshly and temporal affairs.” For, as S. Chrysostom says again, “It is far better to preach the kingdom of God, and rescue others from death, than to bury one who is dead and can be of no use, especially when there are other persons to discharge the office.” And S. Gregory speaks to the same purpose (lib. 19, Moral. c. 14) “Sometimes in our actions lesser good deeds are to be set aside, in favour of other things of greater usefulness. For who is ignorant that it is indeed a good work to bury the dead, but that it is better to preach the Gospel?”

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My Notes on Amos 2:6-10, 13-16 for Monday, June 28

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 28, 2010

Although today’s first reading is Amos 2:6-10, 13-16, in this post I look at 2:6-16 inclusively.  You can view all my notes on Amos HEREPlease note that the links to scripture texts no longer work due to the online resource being taken offline.  Other links should still work.

Having spoke judgement oracles against seven nations, including Judah, the prophet begins his eighth and longest oracle -against Israel itself.


Vs 6. Thus says the Lord: For the three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not call it back; because for silver they have sold the righteous, and for a pair of sandals the destitute.

As we have seen already, transgression means deliberate rebellion against God. In Israel’s case, however, the trangression is more deplorable than it was with the pagan nations because it, unlike those nations, was privileged with the law, the revealed will of God (see Deut 4:5-8). Judah too, in a short, two sentence statement, was condemned for its infidelity to the law, but Amos sees Israel’s sins as much worse.

In the first reason given for the condemnation, the operative words are the righteous and the destitute, not “silver” or “sandals”. The sin of Israel, its rebellion against the revealed will of God, is injustice toward men which manifests itself in greed. This brings to mind a famous Biblical text:

He (Jesus) said to him: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with your whole mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it: you mst love your neighbor as yourself. The whole of the law and of the prophets rests on these two commands. (see Mt 22:34-40. Also Lev 19:18)

As will be seen later, the righteous are sold and the needy are cheated by bribery in the law courts.

Vs 7 They lust for the very dust of the land that has settled on the head of the poor. They pervert the way of the poor; a man and his father go to the same servant, so as to profane my holy name.

Their greed, the manifestation of their unrighteousness, shows itself as greed for land. This greed is here described as so intense that it is a lusting after the very dust of the land that has settled on the poor man’s head!

they pervert the way of the poor. The Hebrew word for way is derek, like its Greek counterpart hodos, it refers literally to a path or road (highway, freeway, pathway). In the Bible, both words are used to denote moral activity (see psalm 1). The sense here could be that the action of the unrighteous leads the poor man into unrighteousness. Another possible interpretation is that the word poor is being used here in the sense of meek or humble. They pervert the way of the meek would then mean that they have left the right road, the right course of moral activity. They no longer walk the road of the humble. (Again, see the metaphor of “the way” in psalm 1).

A man and his father go into the same servant: The law in Leviticus 18:8 and 20:11-12 forbid a father and son from having sexual relations with the same woman. Such an act was considered a form of incest and a gross perversion of the moral order, thus a profaning of the holy name of God.

The word I translated as servant could also be translated as prositute. But given the econmic context of vss 6-8 I think servant is better. A man could put his daughter into servitude to pay off a debt, alleviate a desperate financial situation, or simply because he could not take proper care of her. The law provided protection for such women (see Exodus 21:7-11). It may be that the wealthy men of Isarel were cheating and taking advantage of the poor to gain their daughters as “sexual” servants. (This is the view of Marvin Sweeney in THE TWELVE PROPHETS, Vol. 1).

Vs 8 And on garments taken in pledge they stretch themselves out beside every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the place of their gods.

If a person owed a debt certain of his garments could be taken in pledge ((Ex 22:25-26), but these had to be returned to him at night for humanitarian reasons. According to Deuteronomy 24:12-13, a man who took anothers garment as a debt pledge was forbidden to sleep on it since it had to be returned to the debtor for him to sleep in. Apparently, Amos is accusing the wealthy of not breaking the law of Deuteronomy. However, not simplu content to break this law, they compound it by drinking the wine of the condmned. Condmned here means those who have had a legal judgement go against them. Fines could be paid with agricultural commodities. As we have already noted, the courts in Israel were perverted by bribes. The prophet is here condemning people for enjoying ill-gotten wine on ill-gotten garments. Worse still, they are enjoying these things beside every altar in the place of their gods. They enjoy the fruits of their perversion of justice beside the altars of the “high places” so often condemned by the prophets (see Hosea 10:8; Amos 7:9).


Vs9 Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorites before them, who were as high as the heights of the cedars, and who were as strong as the oaks; I destroyed the fruit that was above and the roots that were beneath.

The opening of verse 9 is emphatic. It highlights the marked contrast between what God has done for Israel and how they have responded.

Amorites refers to a Semetic speaking people who migrated into the Holy Land, Syria, and Mesopotamia (Iraq) early in the second millenium BC. The Bible identifies them , along with Canaanites and Hittites, as possessing the Holy Land before the advent of the twelve tribes. The Bible presents the Amorites as idolaters and as exceedingly sinful and this is given as the reason for God’s action against them (see Leviticus 18:24-30).

Their height is compared to that of the cedar tree and their strength is compared to that of an oak. In the bible, trees are often used as a symbol of might, but also of pride and arrogance (see Ezekiel 31; Isaiah 2:13; and my notes on Isaiah 2:13-16). The Amorites were too strong and powerful for the People of God to defeat without God’s help (see Numbers 13:25-14:45). For the sake of his people God destroyed the tree-like Amorites completely: their fruit above and their root beneath.

Vs 10 And it was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, and who led you in the wilderness for forty years, so that you might take possession of the land of the amorites.

The forty years in the wilderness was a result of the people’s lack of trust in God, manifested in their refusal to trust that he could conqueor the Amorites (see the Numbers link above). Yet, although God did punish the people for this sin he did not reject them, he thus manifested both his justice and his mercy. Even in the midst of their forty year punishment God took care of them (Deut 8:1-5). The purpose of all they experienced those forty years was so that they might take possession of the land.

Vs 11 From among your sons I raised up prophets; and from among your young men (I raised up) Nazarites. Is this not so, O sons of Israel? says the Lord.

Once the people had come into the Holy Land God raised up prophets for them, to ensure that they stayed on the straight and narrow in their relations with him, for a prime duty of the prophet was to oversee the right worship of God and the eradication of idolatry (Deut 18:9-22).

Nazarites The law regarding Nazarites can be found in Numbers 6:1-7. The exact significance of Nazarites is unknown. The term means “dedicated”, this may imply that they were meant to be examples to the people of holiness and commitment to God since things were made holy when they were dedicated to the service of the Lord.


Vs 12 But you caused the Nazarites to drink wine, and demanded of the prophet: “Do not prophecy.”

They probably find commitment to the Lord a burden on their own guilty consciences, and so they force the Nazarite to abandon his commitment in order to feel better about themselves. Some things never change. For the same reason, prophets calling for right morality and a commitment to God are silenced. “Why should I listen to a celibate in Rome talk about sex and marriage?” “Don’t impose your morality on me!” Like I said, some things never change.

Vs 13 Behold, I will press down upon you as sheaves press down upon a cart.

Having found God’s moral will a burden, the people will now be burdened by the the Lord’s punishment, which will weigh upon them like produce in an overloaded cart.

Vs 14 Flight will perish from the fleet, the strong will not hold onto his strengh, and the mighty one will not deliver himself.

Vs 15 The skilled bowman will not stand, and the fleet of foot shall not deliver himself, and the one who rides a horse shall not save his life.

Vs 16 The stoutest heart among the mighty shall run away naked on that day, says the Lord.

The self-reliant, the “free moral agents”, will not be so fast, strong, or mighty, to save themselves from God’s wrath (Vs 14). This wrath will apparently manifest it self in the form of an invading army (Vss 15-16); the Assyrians, who would destroy the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC.

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This Week’s Posts: Sunday, June 27-Saturday, July 3

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 27, 2010

Please note that some post are scheduled ahead of time and the links will only begin to work at the hour indicated. Many of the posts are, or will be, oriented towards the Scripture readings for Sunday Mass, July 4.

Sunday June 27:

Last Week’s Posts (Sunday June 20-Saturday June 26). In case you missed them.

Resources for Sunday Mass (June 27).

Father de Piconio on Galatians 6:14-18 for Sunday Mass (July 4).

Monday, June 28:

Today’s First Reading With Commentary. Available 5:15 AM, EST.  My personal notes on Amos 2:6-10, 13-16.

Today’s Gospel Reading With Commentary. Available 5:15 AM EST. Cornelius a Lapide on Matt 8:18-22.

The Constitution Is Still Number OneAvailable 3:45 PM EST. 74% of Americans want judges to “uphold the values of those who wrote the U.S. Constitution.

Further updates possible.

Tuesday June 29, Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul:

Note: Today is the Solemnity of Saints Peter And Paul, I will try to post notes on all three readings and the responsorial psalm, along with other material.

Today’s First Reading (Acts 12:1-11). Bishop MacEvilly notes.  Available 5:15 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Commentary on Today’s Responsorial PsalmAvailable 6:00 AM EST.  A commentary on the whole psalm.  Not light reading but worth the effort.

Pope Benedict’s Catechesis on Saint Peter and Paul:

Maldonatus on Matthew 16:13-19 (Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul).

Funny Headlines.

Further updates possible in the late afternoon and evening.

Saturday July 3:

Podcasts on the Battle of Gettysburg.

Posted in BENEDICT XVI CATECHESIS, Bible, Books, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on Acts of Apostles, NOTES ON AMOS, Notes on Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Galatians 6:11-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 27, 2010

11. See with what letters I have written to you with my hand.
12. For whoever aim at pleasing in the flesh, these desire you to be circumcised; only that they may not suffer the persecution of the cross of Christ.
13. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law; but wish you to be circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
14. But for me, God forbid I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom to me the world is crucified, and I to the world.

15. For in Christ Jesus  neither is circumcision of any value, nor uncircumcision, but new creation.
16. And whoever shall have followed this rule; peace on them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
17. For the rest let no one give me trouble; for I bear in my body the stigmata of the Lord Jesus.
18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ with your spirit, brethren. Amen

11. See how long a letter I have written to you, not as usual, by the hand of another, but throughout with my own hand. For though this Epistle is not so long as several others of St. Paul, the longer ones were written by an anuuiuensis at his dictation. There is, however, much difference of opinion as to the meaning of these words.  Saint Jerome thinks that up to this point the letter was dictated to a writer, and that Saint Paul only added the concluding verses, from this point to the end, with his own hand. The Greek πηλικοις υμιν γραμμασιν  signify with letters of how large a size, as if the Apostle had some affection of the eyes which injured his sight, and compelled him, whenever he wrote, to write very large. The words of the Vulgate, qualihiis literis, seem to imply that the Latin translator took this view, as also did St. Chrysostom, Theodoret, and Theophylact, except that these three writers differ from St. Jerome in thinking that the Epistle was written throughout by the Apostle with his own hand. St. Chrysostom says it refers to the unskilful manner in which the letters were formed, as if the writer had said, I have written all this with my own hand, though I do not write well, and do not form the Greek, characters correctly; and that he calls attention to the circumstance to prove that the document was reall}- hisown, and not a forgery passed off by another person in his name. Saint Anselm, on the other hand, has the singular idea that Saint Paul is directing their attention to the beauty of the letters he forms, as if he would have said, see how well I write Greek. Yet the word πηλικοις  is an adjective of quantity, and cannot refer to anything but the size of the letters. However this may be, it iscertain that the Apostle’s writing with his own hand was a mark of regard and affection for the Galatian Christians; and that he certainly wrote with his own hand the remainder of the Epistle from this point to the end.

12.  For whoever aim at pleasing in the flesh, these desire you to be circumcised; only that they may not suffer the persecution of the cross of Christ.
13. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law; but wish you to be circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

12.  St. Paul states at once, without apology or circumlocution, the real motive of those who were endeavouring to lead the Christians of Galatia astray. They wished not to offend the Jews, who were at that time influential and powerful, so that they might avoid the annoyance and persecution which commonly overtook the preachers of the Gospel of Christ. The Jews cared very little whether Christ was preached or not, so long as circumcision and the law of Moses were not abolished: because these were national customs, on the maintenance of which their influence and organization depended. These heretical teachers therefore preached Christ for gain, and circumcision and the law at the same time, to please the Jews. Not that they cared to observe the law; but they would have you circumcised that they may boast of you to the chiefs of the Jewish party as converts to Judaism.

14. But for me, God forbid I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom to me the world is crucified, and I to the world.

14. God forbid that I should glory. The Apostle puts his own motives, principles, and conduct in contrast with those of the men whom he has been describing. God forbid I should do anything, change anything in the doctrine of the religion of Christ, to avoid persecution, or obtain the goodwill and the praise of men. For all my glory, and all my rejoicing, is in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, believing it, preaching it, in my measure sharing it. This is all my joy and all my glory.  For the love of Christ our Lord all the universe is no more to me than the dead body of one who has been crucified, worthless and good for nothing, an object even of detestation and abhorrence, so far as there is any danger of its drawing awav to itself, for one moment, or in the smallest degree, any part of the allegiance and adoration of my heart and soul, which is consecrated to him. And for his sake I am not only willing, but proud and joyful, and make it my highest boast and glorying, to be myself regarded by the world, as on his account I am regarded, and by all who love this world, as an outcast, beneath notice, utterly unworthy of consideration and regard, an object of scorn, detestation, and abhorrence, like the body of one who has been crucified. In anything but this, God forbid that I should glory. The world is crucified to me, and I to the world.

15. For in Christ Jesus neither is circumcision of any value, nor uncircumcision, but new creation.

15. This verse contains in a few words what is in effect an epitome of the whole Epistle. In Christ Jesus, in the Christian religion, and before the presence of God, circumcision has no value, nor uncircumcision, nor will either condition affect salvation; which depends upon the renewal of the soul by grace. The word cretura, like the Greek word to which it corresponds, may be rendered either in the abstract or the concrete: the act of creation, or the thing created. The new creature is the soul exteriorly regenerated by baptism, interiorly renewed by grace, walking in newness of life, under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and for charity observing his commands.

16. And whoever shall have followed this rule; peace on them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

16. Those who observe this rule of life, the Syriac, those who walk along this path, just described, and further explained in the teaching of this Epistle, peace and mercy be upon them, whether they have been Jews or Gentiles before their conversion to Christ. Eor the true Israel of God are those who believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and the son promised to Abraham, and in him look for justification and salvation.

17. For the rest let no one give me trouble; for I bear in my body the stigmata of the Lord Jesus.

17. Henceforward let no one, whether a Judaizer or any other, give me further trouble, the Syriac, impose further toil or labour upon me, with regard to this question of circumcision, or Hebrew rites and ceremonies;
for I have fully stated the mind and teaching of Jesus Christ on this subject. If they are circumcised, so am I; but what is far greater, and an infinitely higher privilege, I bear in my body the marks which prove that I have been partaker of the sufferings of Jesus Christ, who was in a sense circumcised in his whole body. From the sole of his foot to the head there was no soundness, by the thorns that tore his head, the nails that pierced his hands and feet, the gashes of the scourge, the thrust of the lance. Marks, more or less, like these I also bear in my body, and if they glory in their circumcision, I will glory in sharing Christ’s sufferings. They can show nothing of this sort. The very purpose for which they preach circumcision is that they may escape all risk of ever doing so. Saint Paul had been thrice beaten with rods, to which perhaps he here particularly refers. At the very time he wrote these words he was living under arrest, in the city of Rome, and very probably fastened by a chain and handcuff to the soldier who guarded him.

18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ with your spirit, brethren. Amen.

18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. In all the other Epistles, except the second to Timothy and that to Philemon, Saint Paul says, be with you. Saint Chrysostom thinks he here whites expressly with your spirit, in order to remind the Galatians that it is by faith, which is a spiritual act, not by any exterior ceremonies of the Hebrew law, that they were to look for salvation in Jesus Christ; and that they had received the
Holy Spirit of God by faith, not by the law.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on Galatians, Quotes | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Resources For Sunday Mass (June 27)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2010

Resources marked with *** indicate on site material, most of it published this past week.  Everything else will take you to other sites.  This post may be updated during the day.

Ordinary For of the Rite:

***Pope John Paul II on Psalm 16.

***Father Cornelius a Lapide on Galatians 5:1, 13-18.

***Father Joseph Ricakby on Galatians 5:1, 13-18.

Update St Thomas Aquinas on Galatians 5:13-18.  I’ve listed all the lectures on chapter 5, but those dealing with today’s readings are 5-1; 5-3; 5-4; 5-5.

***Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 9:51-62.

Sunday Bible ReflectionsBrief audio by Dr. Scott Hahn which relates the readings to one another.  Text available.  Time sensitive link.

Elisha and the Nature of True FreedomAudio homily by Father Robert Barron.

Word Sunday: I can only vouch for the notes on the readings, the podcast and other stuff I’ve no knowledge of.

  • MP3PODCAST In this week’s audio podcast, we discuss spiritual maturity, the struggle of ownership. Whose in charge of the heart, me or God?
  • FIRST READING 1 Kings presented the call of Elisha, the prophet who left everything to follow Elijah and serve God.
  • PSALM Psalm 16 prayed for safety in a hostile world. Following YHWH would give comfort and inner peace.
  • SECOND READING In his letter to the Galatians, St. Paul told his audience to follow the Spirit, not the ways of pure self-interest. This was the only way to true freedom.
  • GOSPEL In Luke 9, James and John wanted to destroy a village that rejected Jesus, but the Master turned his focus on the commitment needed to be a disciple.
  • CHILDREN’S READINGS In the story for the gospel, Marissa wrote a list of qualities that a perfect friend would have. Her qualities included loyalty, priority and single-mindedness. That’s the kind of friend Jesus wants us to be.
  • FAMILY ACTIVITY How do we put Jesus first in our lives? Create a “Put Jesus First” calendar with activities that can be achieved.

Lector NotesFrom its homepage: “These notes try to serve the Church by helping lectors prepare to proclaim the Scriptures in our Sunday assemblies. For each day’s first and second readings (and occasionally for the gospel), the Notes give the historical and theological background, plus suggestions on oral interpretation.

Thoughts From the Early ChurchBrief excerpt from St Hilary of Poitier.

Scripture in DepthUsually very good.

Haydock Bible CommentaryThe readings are taken from the Douay-Rheims and followed by notes from the Haydock commentary.

Extraordinary Form of the Rite:

***Bishop MacEvily on 1 Peter 3:8-15.

***Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 5:20-24.

***Father Cornelius a Lapide on Matthew 5:20-24.

***Haydock Commentary on Matthew 5:20-24.

The Qualities of True Christian ReconciliationText of a sermon by Father Augustine Wirth, O.S.B., a famous preacher in his day.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Cornelius a Lapide on Matthew 5:20-24 for Sunday Mass (Extraordinary Form)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2010

This post has only been partially edited.  I’ve included the commentary on verses 17-26.

Mat 5:17  Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

17. Think not that I am come to destroy (Gr. καταλϋσαι, to dissolve, abolish) the law and the prophets. Christ’s special meaning in this place is that He came to fulfil the moral precepts of the Law by teaching and expounding them more perfectly, and by substituting the sanction of eternal for temporal rewards and punishments, and by adding to things of precept evangelical counsels of perfection, as will be plain from what follows. It is also meant that Christ supplied the imperfection of the Law of Moses by justifying us through faith and the sacraments of the New Law, which He instituted, which the Law of Moses could not do.

Mat 5:18  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

18.  Verily I say, &c. Verily, Gr. Amen—i.e., “in truth;” whence Aquila translates the Hebrew amen by πεπιστομενως—i.e., faithfully, truly, certainly. As S. Jerome says (Epist. ad Sophron.), “Amen is the word not of one who swears, but of one who affirms something he is about to say, or confirms something which he has said. In the former case it is prefixed, in the latter it is affixed, as it were a seal.” This may be seen from Deu_27:26, &c., and 1Co_14:16. Wherefore the LXX translate the word by γενοιτο, may it be done. In this place Amen has the meaning of affirming and gravely asserting.

Moreover, Christ Himself is called Amen, Rev_3:14: “Thus saith the Amen, the Faithful Witness.”

Until heaven pass away. Not by nature and the perishing of nature, but by the mutation of its condition—that is, until heaven be changed from this state of corruption to a new and glorious state at the Resurrection. In other words, before the end of the world, when heaven and earth shall pass away, i.e., shall be renewed, it is necessary that all things which are written of Me in the Law be fulfilled. Or, rather, until heaven pass away means until it wholly perish. The sentence is a hypothetical one, and means, sooner may heaven be destroyed, sooner the earth be riven in twain, sooner the universe come to an end, than the minutest point of the Law not be fulfilled, either in this life or in the life to come. So long, therefore, as heaven and earth shall stand, so long the whole Law shall stand. Heaven and earth shall endure for ever, much more shall the whole Law endure eternally, according to these words of Christ, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” Whence the Greek is in the past tense, έως άν παρέλθη, meaning, the whole frame of the universe shall perish sooner than the Law of God.

Hear S. Irenæus. “Now, of the name Ίησοϋς, Jesus, the letters iota and eta, i and e, make up the number 18. These, say the Valentinians, are the eighteen Æons; and this is why the Saviour said, one jot or one tittle, &c.”

A similar phrase is used in a similar sense (Psa_72:7): “In his days justice shall arise, and abundance of peace until the moon be taken away;” also Psa_89:37, meaning, “The sun and moon shall endure for ever, much more shall the throne of Christ remain eternally.”

One jot. Christ, speaking to Hebrews, said, one yod, as the Syriac has. For the Greek translator substituted the equivalent, iota. Yod in Hebrew, like iota in Greek and i in Latin, is the smallest letter in the alphabet. From the letter yod, although the least, Valentinus, as S. Irenæus testifies, constructed the greatest heresy—viz., that of his Æons, in truth portents of names, rather than names of real existences.

Or one tittle (Vulg. apex) of the law. He calls the apices of the law, not the Hebrew points and accents, which were not invented by the Rabbin until long after the time of Christ, but the tops or little extremities of the letters in which the Law was written.

Till all be fulfilled. All things, that is, which have been spoken concerning Me and My acts, My Church and Sacraments in the Law and the Prophets. Again, all things mean all which have been commanded, or promised, or threatened.

Mat 5:19  Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

19.  Shall be called the least. Shall be accounted the least; shall be looked upon as vile; shall be had in contempt by God and the holy angels, as the last of men, and altogether unworthy to be admitted into the kingdom of heaven, but to be damned and cast into hell. Wherefore S. Chrysostom and Theophylact interpret least to mean not at all, because in heaven there are none who are not great, as S. Augustine says, “all kings of heaven, sons of God.”

In the kingdom of heaven. Strictly so called, say S. Chrysostom and Theophylact. But S. Augustine and others interpret the kingdom of heaven here to mean the Church.

But whosoever shall do and teach, &c. Great, viz., a doctor, father, and prince of the disciples whom he has taught. And all the commandments of the Law are reckoned as having been done, when whatsoever has not been done is pardoned by God, says S. Augustine. For a fault is corrected and compensated for by penitence. As S. Bernard says (Tr. de dispensat. et præcept.), “A part of rule is regular correction.” When, therefore, the guilty one undergoes this, he fulfils the rule.

Moraliter. Learn from hence the right way and method of teaching, that a doctor should first do what he is about to teach. Christ, says S. Luke, began to do and to teach. He was first Himself poor, humble, meek, a mourner, and then He taught, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Let a doctor therefore examine his conscience before God before he teach, whether he be poor in spirit, meek, and soon; let him see whether he cleave to the world or to Christ, for that he may be Christ’s he ought to break his pledge of friendship with the world, and be able to say with S. Paul, “If I yet pleased men I should not be the servant of Christ.”

Mat 5:20  For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

20.  For I say unto you that except your righteousness shall exceed, &c., i.e., be more abundant, excellent, full, and perfect. Your righteousness, i.e., your observance of the Law. For it fulfils that which the Law declares to be just or righteous. It also makes us really just before God. As the Apostle says, “Not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.” (Rom_2:13.)

Mat 5:21  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:

21.  Ye have heard that it was said, i.e., commanded. Ye have heard, i.e., from the Scribes, teaching and expounding the Law of Moses. Christ here begins to show in detail that He was not dissolving the Law, but fulfilling it, and that Christian righteousness ought to excel Judaic and Pharisaic righteousness. Christ therefore here proposes and prefers Himself and His own doctrine both to the Scribes and Pharisees, who by their δευτερώσεις, or traditions, perversely interpreted the Law, as is plain from verses 20 and 43, and to the Law of Moses itself. For Christ added to the Law precepts of explicit belief concerning God the Three in One, and concerning Christ’s Incarnation, Passion, and Redemption. He moreover supplied the defects and imperfections of the Old Law, for the Law of Moses was given to the comparatively uninstructed Jews, and this Law Christ perfected by His Evangelical Law.

Thou shalt not kill. Many thought that by this law murder only was forbidden, but Christ here teaches that by it even all angry words, blows, reproaches, are forbidden, for such things are, as it were, preludes leading by a direct road to homicide.

Mat 5:22  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

22.  But I say unto you, &c. Christ here explains and fulfils the commandment, Thou shall not kill, and teaches that even inward anger is forbidden by it. I say unto you. I decree, assert, and sanction, I who am Legislator of all law, Evangelical, Mosaic, and natural.

Whosoever is angry. The Greek adds ει̉κη̃, rashly, without cause. But the Roman Codices, S. Jerome, and S. Augustine (lib. 1, Retract., c. 19) omit it. But those or similar words must be understood. For unlawful anger is what is here treated of; since anger for a just cause, as for example against sin and sinners, is both lawful and praiseworthy. Anger has been for this very purpose implanted in man’s nature, that it should make them brave against vice, and against those things which are really their enemies.

Observe, anger is the thirst for vengeance, and is itself a mortal sin if it deliberately contrive, or wish for, any serious evil of body, or goods, or reputation of one’s neighbour, or rejoice in such evils, even though he deserve them, for he who is angry rejoices in them not as fruits of justice but of revenge. But anger is a venial sin if it desire some trifling calamity to one’s neighbour, even though the anger be violent, and flame out both internally and externally. Lastly, anger is no sin at all if it be assumed from zeal for righteousness, for the extirpation of sin and sinners. Such was the anger of Mattathias when he slew the legate of Antiochus, who was forcing the Jews to sacrifice to idols. (1 Mac.2:25.) Such was the anger of Christ when He drove the buyers and sellers out of the Temple.

Hear S. Chrysostom on the words in Ps. iv., Be ye angry and sin not: “We may be angry lawfully, for Paul was angry with Elymas, and Peter with Sapphira. But I should not call this anger without qualification. I should call it philosophy, carefulness. The father is angry with his child, but it is because he cares for him. It is he who avenges himself who is rashly angry, but he who corrects the faults of others is of all men the meekest. For even God is angry, not to revenge Himself, but to correct us. Let us therefore imitate Him. Thus to act is divine, otherwise it is human anger.” Hear also S. Gregory (on Job v. 2, Anger slayeth the foolish man): “There is an anger which springs from zeal for righteousness. This is the anger which, because Eli had it not, he roused against himself the vengeance of the wrath of God. For the sword of the eternal Ruler flames against him who is lukewarm in correcting the vices of those who are placed under him.”

Shall be in danger of the judgment. Judgment here is to be taken in a somewhat different sense from that in which it occurs just above, Whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment. For there the human tribunal by which men were condemned to death for murder is meant; but here is understood the Divine judgment, which judges and condemns venial anger to temporal punishment, such as purgatory, but deadly anger to eternal punishment, i.e., to hell.

How vile a thing anger is! See S. Basil and S. Chrysostom (Hom. on Anger); Cicero (4 Tuscul.), where, among other things, he says, “Is there anything more like to madness than anger—anger which Ennius well calls the beginning of madness? The colour, voice, glare of the eye, impotence of words and deeds, what have they to do with sanity? What is more shameful than Homer’s Achilles—than Agamemnon quarrelling? Anger brought Ajax to madness and death.”

But whoso shall say to his brother, &c. Raca. 1. S. Chrysostom thinks raca here signifies thou, as if any one should say contemptuously to his neighbour, Go thou about thy business, what wouldest thou?—to address any one as thou out of disrespect.

2. Theophylact says raca means one worthy of being spat upon, for רוק rok means spittle; but this would be a worse form of reproach than to call any one a fool, which Christ here places as the worst reproach.

3. Some think raca here is the Greek ρακος, ragged.

4. And more probably, S. Augustine, Rupert, Anselm, and others think raca is an interjection of despising and opposing, and that by it are denoted all the tokens of an evil-disposed mind, whether murmuring, shouting, or spitting, or wrinkling the brow, and so on.

5. And last, S. Jerome, Angelus Caninius, and others think that raca is a Hebrew word, derived from ריק ric, i.e., “empty,” though not in brain, as S. Jerome says, for that would be a fool; but empty in purse; so that raca would mean a man of straw, a pauper. So the Vulgate translates Jdg_11:3.

Lastly, George Michaelis, the Maronite (in Proœmio Grammaticæ Syriacæ, c. de præstantia Syr. Linguæ) says raca is Syriac, and has three meanings—1. A tortoise, which animal is considered so deformed by the Syrians that they nauseate and abhor it; so too, the Italians, when they would speak of a man slow and deformed, say, pare tartaruga, like a tortoise. 2. Raca, from rac, “he has spit.” For the Syrians, when they would burn any one up with ignominy, call him raco, i.e., “spat upon;” or raca is the same as rauco, i.e., “spittle;” for a Syrian, to show that he made no account of a person, would say, “Thou art but as spittle to me.” 3. Raca with the Syrians means one despised, vile, abject, dirty; and this is the sense in which I think the word raca is here used by Christ. Thus far Georgius.

It is certain that raca is more than to be angry, less than to say, Thou fool! Again, raca is ambiguous. It may be venial, or it may be mortal; but to say, Thou fool, is certainly a mortal sin.

In danger of the council. Gr. συνεδριω, from which word the Jews called their highest tribunal the “Sanhedrim.” As though Christ had said, “He shall be obnoxious to the judgment of the highest court, the Sanhedrim.”

Observe, the Talmudic Doctors, and from them Franc. Lucas, Maldonatus, and others, say that the Hebrews had three courts: The first din mammona, which was a court for the trial of money causes; it was a court presided over by three judges. The second court was din mishpat, or the Court of Judgment, i.e., for capital offenses. By this tribunal cases of murder were examined and decided. This court consisted of twenty-three judges. The third was the Sanhedrin, which consisted of seventy-two judges, by which grave causes and crimes were tried, such as heresy, false prophets, idolatry, apostasy, &c. Christ, omitting the first, alludes here to the two latter tribunals, and calls the second the judgment, the third συνεδριον, the Sanhedrin, the council. The meaning is, that the proportion between anger and a reproachful word, and between the punishment of both, was the same as between the judgment of Mishpat and the Sanhedrin, or the highest tribunal—that as the latter excelled the former, so the penalty of an opprobrious word exceeded the penalty of anger. For in this comparison, as is usual, it is not necessary to make everything apply. There is, then, a catachresis in the words judgment and council. For by judgment is signified the lesser fault of anger, and consequently the lesser condemnation and penalty; and by council the greater fault and the severer punishment.

The meaning then is, as a murderer under the Old Law was in danger of the judgment—namely, that his cause should be tried by the criminal judges, and he himself condemned to death; so in like manner anger, which is the first step to murder, is a criminal cause, and consequently pertains not to the lowest tribunal of Mammona, but of Judgment, not human but Divine; so that if it should be intense and voluntary, that is, with a deliberate intention of inflicting death or grave evil upon his neighbour, he should for this be condemned to death, not temporal but eternal.

But if anger should break forth into a rough word, such as raca, a man would sin grievously—grievously I say, because he would manifest anger by an outward sign, which would pertain to the tribunal of the Sanhedrim, to be heavily punished, according to the degree of the fault. But if he should say, Thou fool, it would not be a case for the Judgment, but would render him liable to the damnation of hell.

From this explanation it appears, in opposition to the Stoics and Jovinian, that there are degrees of faults and punishments, that some sins are worse than others, and so deserve a severer punishment from God. Whence there is sin which is venial, and there is sin which is mortal. Consequently, in opposition to Calvin, there is clearly a distinction between hell and purgatory.

But whosoever shall say, Thou fool, &c. Under this word fool, we are to understand all kinds of revilings, calumnies, reproaches, curses, which are mortal sins, if the be uttered grievously to dishonour our neighbour, or if the desire to do him injury and revile him, spring from the heart. For the gravity or triviality of a contumelious word must be weighed by the intention of the speaker. If you say it in joke, or not really to dishonour, but to correct, it is not formal, but material contumely, says D. Thom. (2. 2. q. 72, art. 2). Hence parents may severely correct and reprove and rebuke their children, and masters their servants, if it be done with moderation, and for just correction. Thus Christ calls Peter Satan (Matt. xvi. 23), and Paul calls the Galatians “foolish” (Gal_3:1). Again, the gravity of the contumely must be measured by the dignity of the person spoken to. For to say to a grave and honourable man, “Thou fool,” is a grave contumely; but to call a man a fool who really is one, is a comparatively light reproach.

Of hell fire. The Arabic has, the fire of hell. S. Jerome observes that Christ here first uses the word Gehenna for hell. It is nowhere in the Old Testament used in that sense. Gehenna is derived from ge, a valley, and Hinnom or Ennon, a Jew so called. Gehenna is the valley of Hinnom. It was a pleasant vale near Jerusalem, in which parents were accustomed to burn their children in sacrifice to Moloch; and they beat drums that their cries and wails might not be heard. Hence the same place was called Tophet, i.e., “a drum.” Wherefore, Christ here speaks of the Gehenna of fire, to show that nothing but fire, and that eternal fire, is meant. See Isa_3:33, where Gehenna and its torments are graphically depicted. For Tophet is ordained of old, &c.

Mat 5:23  Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

23.  Therefore, if thou bring thy gift, &c. If thy brother have anything to complain of in thee, any wrong for which to expostulate with thee, as that thou hast called him raca, or fool. This is the force of therefore in this passage. It would appear that the Scribes taught that all sins, and especially violations of the Sixth Commandment, were expiated by sacrifices and offerings at the altar of God, even when no satisfaction was made for a wrong done to one’s neighbour. But Christ teaches the contrary, and sanctions the law of justice and charity, by which He bids that satisfaction must first be made to our neighbour who has been injured by us either in word or deed. Wherefore he subjoins the following:

Mat 5:24  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

24.  Leave there thy gift, &c. This is a precept both of law and of natural religion, which has been by Christ in this place most strictly sanctioned, both because by the Incarnation of Himself He has, in the very closest manner, united us all to Himself and to one another. This greater union, which we have therefore through Christ, demands greater love and unity among Christian brethren: so He has said, “A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another.” Furthermore, the sacrifice of the Eucharist is more holy than the ancient sacrifices. It is the gathering together and the communion of the Body, of which we all partake; and therefore we are all mutually united to Christ and one another. Hence it is called communion, that is, the common union of all. Since therefore the Eucharist is a sacrifice, as well as a Sacrament and profession of mutual love and peace, it is necessary that all discord should be done away, and that those who have offended should reconcile themselves to those whom they have offended before this holy Synaxis, lest they be found liars. For in truth he is a liar who takes the Sacrament of union, that is, the Eucharist, and is not in union with, but bears a grudge or rancour against, his neighbour.

This is why it used to be the custom at Mass, that before Holy Communion, Christians were wont to give one another a holy kiss, as a symbol of reconciliation and union, in place of which what is called the Pax is now bestowed.

S. John the Almoner, Patriarch of Alexandria, to fulfil literally this precept or counsel of Christ, was once standing at the altar to say Mass, when he remembered that a certain cleric had conceived a hatred for him, and although he was the offended party, yet he asked his pardon first, and being thus reconciled, he went with him joyfully to the altar and finished the sacrifice, saying with confidence to God, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” as Leontius records in his Life. He adds that the same John repelled Damianus, a deacon, from Communion, and said to him, “Go first and be reconciled to thy brother.” Damianus promised so to do, when the Patriarch gave him the Sacred Mysteries.

Mat 5:25  Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.

25.  Agree, Gr. ευ̉νοω̃ν, i.e., be of good will, Syriac, a friend: with thine adversary, Gr. τω̃ α̉τιδίκω σου, i.e., thine accuser, thy prosecutor, Syriac,Beel dinoch, “the master, or lord of thy lawsuit,” Arabic, with him who is at law with thee: the uttermost fathing, i.e., of thy debt.

You will ask, who is this adversary? 1. Tertullian (lib. de Animâ), answers, it is the devil. He is Satan, i.e., our adversary.

2. S. Athanasius, or whoever be the author of Quæst. S. Script. ad Antioch. (quæst. 26), thinks the adversary means the flesh: for it is an adversary to the soul. “For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh” (Gal_5:17). But we must not agree either with the devil, or the flesh, which is what we are here told to do by Christ.

3. The same Athanasius says with better reason, elsewhere, that it is our conscience, for this is our adversary, and stings us when we do ill, until we agree with it, by following its dictates.

4. SS. Augustine, Anselm, and Bede are of opinion that God, or the law of God is meant, for these fight against our lusts. Wherefore clearly we ought to consent unto them, lest we incur the punishments with which they threaten us. But these are mystical, or symbolical interpretations.

Wherefore I say with SS. Jerome, Hilary, and Ambrose, that by our adversary is here meant any one who has been unjustly offended, or injured by us, and is therefore in a position to be able to accuse us before God. With such a one Christ in the preceding verse bade us be reconciled.

Note that there is here a Hebraism, and a parabolical form of expression, in which it is not necessary to adapt every word, but the general scope and meaning is what must be chiefly considered. And these, in this case, are rather hinted at than expressed. The sense then is this:—As a debtor, or one who is accused by a prosecutor before a judge, acts prudently if he agree with his adversary before judgment, and so escape the condemnation of the judge, prison, or infamy, so in like manner do thou act; and if thou hast injured thy brother in any way, as for instance by calling him raca, or a fool, thou hast made thyself a debtor, as it were, to restore him to honour: come in then, and be reconciled with him speedily, before thou be delivered as guilty to God the judge, who by a righteous vengeance shall deliver thee to prison, until thou shalt pay all thy debt. That prison is hell, or purgatory, according to the greater or less heinousness of thy sin. The word until, seems to bear a reference to purgatory, as though it signified terminable punishment, which is purgatory, whereas the punishment of hell has no end.

Mat 5:26  Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

26.  Farthing. Greek, κοδράντην. This is a word which has been borrowed from the Latin, like many others which are found in the Evangelists, such as prætorium, centurio, &c.

The quadrans, here translated farthing, was the fourth part of the Roman as, and is put for any very small coin. And the spiritual application is, that every debt, even the very least of the fault of anger, must be paid and atoned for after this life, in the place of justice. Wherefore in this life, where is the place for mercy, agreement and pardon, let us be reconciled to our adversary—i.e., whomsoever we have injured, either by word or deed. I have read in a history that a certain servant who had departed this life appeared to his master, who asked him of his state and condition. The servant answered, “I am in that place where every debt is exactly and rigidly reckoned, and where not so much as a straw is overlooked.” Doctor Jacobus also relates that a certain religious man, who had departed this life, appeared in vile raiment and with a sad countenance, and said to a companion, “No one believes, no one believes, no one believes how strictly God judges, and how severely He punishes.”

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