The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for July, 2010

Bernardin de Piconio on Colossians 1:1-8

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 31, 2010

1. Paul, Apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Timotheus the brother:
2. To those who are at Colossal holy and faithful brethren in Christ Jesus.
3. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you;
4. Hearing of your faith in Christ Jesus, and the love you have for all the saints,
5. On account of the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens, which you heard in the word of the truth of the Gospel,
6. Which has come to you, as it is in all the world, and fructifies and grows, as in you, from the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth.
7. As you learned of Epaphras, our most dear fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ Jesus,
8. Who also declared to us your love in the Spirit.

Chapter 1.  In this chapter the Apostle confirms by his authority and testimony the doctrine which the Colossian Christians had learned from Epaphras; refutes certain errors of the heretics by a statement of the Catholic faith on those points; and protests that he is the real and authorized minister of Jesus Christ, for whose sake it is his boast and glory to have suffered persecution. Timotheus the brother. Saint Timothy was now in Rome with Saint Paul, but he was well known to the Christians of Asia, who highly esteemed him. The Apostle probably styles himself Apostle through the will of God as a protest against the false apostles of the heretics, who were appointed by no one but themselves. To those, the Vulgate gives the pronoun for the Greek article. The Greek text runs: To the saints, and faithful brethren in Christ Jesus, who are at Colossae. –Saints, because redeemed by Christ’s death and hallowed in Baptism. Faithful, Saint Chrysostom says, because they believed in mysteries which heretofore were not revealed even to angels, and believing, led a life worthy of the God whom they confessed. Brethren, because all were alike regenerate through the blood of Christ. The Apostle gives thanks to God for the faith of the Colossians, of which he had heard; for their love to all the saints; and for the hope laid up for them in heaven. In that hope they had believed, when they heard it proclaimed by the word of the Gospel, which is the word of truth. That word is now resounding all the world over, that is in the more important and civilised
portions of the world in Europe, Asia, Africa, and by fame and report further still. The number of its converts is daily and rapidly increasing. Est, fructificat, crescit, it is everywhere found, everywhere dominant, everywhere permanent, says St. Chrysostom, and fructifies in good works, like a tree still spreading its branches while it bears its fruit. As it does among you, that is, fructifies and grows, ever since the day you heard the preaching, and knew the grace of God in truth, recognised it as God’s truth, the revelation of his grace and favour to a lost world. Epaphras, who conveyed the message of salvation to you, learned it from me, his fellow-servant. You may safely trust the doctrine he delivered to you, for he is for you a faithful minister of Jesus Christ, and disregard and set aside the cavils of his rivals and opponents, the teachers of heresy. Epaphras has further made known or
manifested to us your charity in the spirit, especially your earnest desire and anxiety for my welfare and deliverance.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, liturgy, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Divine Office for 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Evening Prayer 1)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 31, 2010

Evening Prayer 1. Theme: Suffering in joy.

Ps 119: 105-112.  Though the Psalmist is deep in affliction the will of God give joy to his heart. See Commentary.  The sentence for this Psalm (i.e., the scripture passage which prcedes the Psalm) is taken from John 15:12~”This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.”

Ps 16.  The Psalmist is apparently facing dire trouble (vs 1), even death (10), but still he is confident and rejoice in God who is his security (7-9). See Commentary. The sentence for this Psalm is taken from Acts 2:24~”Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the sorrows of hell, as it was impossible that he should be holden by it.”

Phil 2:6-11.  Jesus accepted God’s will (8) as the Psalmist accepted his word (119:106-107).  Christ showed himself to be the ideal just man, and we are called on to imitate him.  Recall how St Paul introduced the Canticle (vs 5): “For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” See Commentary.

The reading is from Colossians 1:2b-6a.  (Note 1:3-6a in the Douay-Rheims)

~Col 1:3 Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.
Col 1:4  Hearing your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have towards all the saints.
Col 1:5  For the hope that is laid up for you in heaven, which you have heard in the word of the truth of the gospel,
Col 1:6  Which is come unto you, as also it is in the whole world and bringeth forth fruit and groweth, even as it doth in you.  See Commentary by Bernardin de Piconio.  See also Commentary by Bishop MacEvily (with some additions by me).

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Divine Office, liturgy, Notes on Philippians, NOTES ON THE PSALMS | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Catholic Scripture Forum

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 31, 2010

I just started a Catholic Scripture Forum and will be focusing on Romans for the time being.  Please consider joining and taking part in discussions, sharing your own insights, reflections and constructive critiques.

I’m new to this format so please, if you have any problems, see the host site’s FAQ’s before contacting me.

The rules are simple: “By using our services you agree to be bound by and comply with any and all applicable laws, regulations, ordinances or other such requirements of any applicable Federal, State or local government. Forums MAY NOT contain any of the following, including but not limited to:
-Adult Content / Obscene Content
-Illegal Drugs
-Piracy, Hacking, Viruses
-Promotion of or distribution of copyrighted materials which includes but is not limited to, the following:
-links to download pirated movies, software, games etc from megaupload, rapidshare, and other such hosts/FTP/private servers
-Malicious software
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This Weeks Posts: Sunday July 25-Saturday July 31

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 31, 2010

Note: Some posts on this page will be pre-scheduled for posting and not available until the time indicated ALL TIMES ARE EASTERN STANDARD TIME.

Sunday July 25:

Last Weeks Posts. In case you missed anything.

Resources For Sunday Mass (July 25)This is a near weekly feature on my blog.

Sunday News and Views Off site link. the news is not good:  “White House report says yearly trillion dollar deficits here to stay and 9+% unemployment will be with us for years. National public debt to triple in a decade, even as Obama’s budget increase spending substantially. Obamacare already has its jackboot on the throat of doctors, this as the British system they modeled i…t on is crumbling, about to ration care. Meanwhile, the Democrat assault on free speech continues with new legislation to curb political opponents. Young voters abandoning Obama.more”


Monday July 26:

Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel Reading (Matt13:31-35). 5:30 AM

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 13:31-35). 5:30 AM

Bishop MacEvily on This Sunday’s Second Reading Col 3:1-5, 9-11 (August 1). 5:30 AM.

Bernardine de Piconion on Romans 5:1-11. 6:00 AM

Hahahhaha! Talk About A Freudian Slip.

Looming FEC Complaint Could Be Damaging To Obama.

Obama Has Always Left Destruction In His Wake. off site.

Another Department Of Justice Voting Disgrace: Failure To Protect Military Vote. off site.

Democrat Nut Says Public Option Will Reduce Debt. off site.

Inspector General Investigating Department of Interior for Drill Ban Fraud. off site.

Global Warming Trickery Continues. off site.

Tuesday July 27:

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 13:36-43). 5:15 AM.

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Matt 13:36-43). 5:30 AM.

Pope John Paull II on Psalm 90 for Sunday Mass (August 1). 5:30 AM.

Bernardine de Piconio on Romans 5:12-21. 6:00 AM.

Facts About the Bush Tax Cuts. off site.

Possible problems for John Kerryoff site.

Obama to skip 100th Anniversary of Boy Scouts to Appear on “The View.” off site.

Justice Department Continues its Assault on Civil Rights. off site.

The Calculus of Racism. off site.

How to Bankrupt a Country in Three Easy Steps. off site.

Fascism is Happening in America. off site.

More  Revelations About the Malignant Journolist. off site.

Wednesday July 28:

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 13:44-46). 5:10 AM.

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Matt 13:44-46) 5:30 AM.

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 6. 6:00 AM.

Notes on the Parable of the Rich Fool (Luke 12:13-21) for Sunday Mass, August 1. 9:10 AM.

In Wake of Immigration Law, Arizona Tourism Booms. off site.

Meanwhile, Obama’s Approval Rating Continues Down. off site.

GOP Picking Up Disgruntled Voters. off site.

Obama’s Sales Pitch Isn’t Working. off site.

Thursday July 29: Note: Today there is a choice between two Gospel readings, Jn 11:19-27 and Lk 10:38-42.  I’ve included commentary on both.

Aquinas Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (John 11:19-27). 1:10 AM

Aquinas Catena Aurea on Today’s Alternate Gospel (Luke 10:38-42). 1:30 AM.

Bernardin de Piconio on Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11 for Sunday Mass (August 1). 1:45 AM.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 12:13-21 for Sunday Mass (August 1). 2:00 AM.

Friday July 30:

Cornelius a Lapide on 1 Corinthians 12:2-11 for Sunday Mass (Extraordinary Form). 12:15 AM. Note: The Extraordinary Form is sometimes referred to as the Latin Mass.

Cornelius a Lapide on Luke 18:9-14 for Sunday Mass (Extraordinary Form). 12:30 AM.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 18:9-14 for Sunday Mass (Extraordinary Form). 5:30 AM.

Haydock Commentary on 1 Corinthians 12:2-11 for Sunday Mass (Extraordinary Form) 5:45 AM.

Haydock Commentary on Luke 18:9-14 for Sunday Mass (Extraordinary Form) 6:00 AM.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 13:54-58). 6:15 AM.

Resources for Sunday Mass (August 1). 4:00 PM. Not yet complete.  Will update tonight and tomorrow morning.

Hope and Change? Faith in Government Collapses Under Obama. off site.

Is This Why Obama Snubbed the Boy Scouts to Appear on “The View”? off site.

More Nonsense From The View. off site.

Sidestepping Congress on the Question of Amnesty. off site.

Planned Parenthood an Environmental Charity? off site. Apparently, going green means killing more babies.

Why the Electoral College Matters.

Obama Uses Convict in Photo Op for Unemployed. off siteThe Amateur hour continues.

Saturday July 31:

St Augustine on the Parable of the Rich Fool.

St Thomas Aquinas: Whether it is Natural for Man to Possess External Things. Is the possession of excess wealth natural?

St Augustine on the Gospel for the 10th Sunday After Pentecost.(Extraordinary Form).

Resources for Sunday Mass (August 1).

Bernardine de Piconio on Romans 7:1-25.

St Thomas Aquinas: Whether The Old Law Was Good.

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 8:1-17.

St John Chrysostom on Romans 1:1-7.

Catholic Scripture Forum.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, John Paul II Catechesis, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on Matthew, Notes on Romans, Notes on the Lectionary, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, SERMONS, St John Chrysostom, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

St John Chrysostom’s Exegetical Homily on Romans 1:1-7

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 31, 2010

The saints introductory homily can be found here.  For more notes and commentary on Romans from various authors see here.

This is not the easiest translation to read but it is well worth the effort.  Text in red represent my additions.

ROM 1:1-2.-“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God, (which He promised afore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures.)”
Moses having written five books, has nowhere put his own name to them, neither have they who after him put together the history of events after him, no nor yet has Matthew, nor John, nor Mark, nor Luke; but the blessed Paul everywhere in his Epistles sets1 his own name. Now why was this? Because they were writing to people, who were present, and it had been superfluous to show themselves when they were present. But this man sent his writings from afar and in the form of a letter, for which cause also the addition of the name was necessary. But if in the Epistle to the Hebrews he does not do the same, this too is after his own wise judgment.2 For since they felt prejudiced against him, lest on hearing the name at the outstart, they should stop up all admission to his discourse, he subtly won their attention by concealing the name. But if some Prophets and Solomon have put their names, this I leave as a subject for you to look further into hereafter, why some of them wished to put it so, and some not. For you are not to learn everything from me, but to take pains yourselves also and enquire further, lest ye become more dull-witted.

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ.” Why did God change his name, and call him Paul who was Saul? It was, that he might not even in this respect come short of the Apostles, but that that preëminence which the chief of the Disciples had, he might also acquire (Mark iii. 16); and have whereon to ground a closer union with them. And he calls himself, the servant of Christ, yet not merely this;3 for there be many sorts of servitude. One owing to the Creation, according to which it says, “for all are Thy servants” (Ps. cxix. 91); and according to which it says, “Nebuchadnezzar, My servant” (Jer. xxv. 9), for the work is the servant of Him which made it. Another kind is that from the faith, of which it saith, “But God be thanked that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from a pure heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you: being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Rom. vi. 17, Rom. vi. 18.) Another is that from civil subjection (toliteiaj), after which it saith, “Moses my servant is dead” (Jos. i. 2); and indeed all the Jews were servants, but Moses in a special way as shining most brightly in the community. Since then, in all the forms of the marvellous servitude, Paul was a servant, this he puts in the room of the greatest title of dignity, saying, “a servant of Jesus Christ.” And the Names appertaining to the dispensation4 he sets forth, going on upwards from the lowest. For with the Name Jesus, did the Angel come from Heaven when He was conceived of the Virgin, and Christ He is called from being anointed, which also itself belonged to the flesh. And with what oil, it may be asked, was He anointed? It was not with oil that He was anointed, but with the Spirit. And Scripture has instances of calling such “Christs”: inasmuch as the Spirit is the chief point in the unction, and that for which the oil is used. And where does it call those “Christs” who are not anointed with oil? “Touch not,” it says, “Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm” (Ps. cv. 15), but at that time the institution of anointing with oil did not yet even exist.

“Called an Apostle.” He styles himself “called” in all his Epistles, so showing his own candor (eugnwmosunhn), and that it was not of his own seeking that he found, but that when called he came near and obeyed. And the faithful, he styles, “called to be saints,”5 but while they had been called so far as to be believers, he had besides a different thing committed to his hands, namely, the Apostleship, a thing full of countless blessings, and at once greater than and comprehensive of, all the gifts.

And what more need one say of it, than that whatsoever Christ was doing when present, this he committed to their hands when He departed. Which also Paul cries aloud, speaking thereof and magnifying the dignity of the Apostles’ office; “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech by us;” i. e. in Christ’s stead. “Separated to the Gospel of God.” (2 Cor. v. 20.) For as in a house, each one is set apart for divers works; thus also in the Church, there be divers distributions of ministrations. And herein he seems to me to hint, that he was not appointed by lot only, but that of old and from the first he was ordained to this office; which also Jeremy saith, that God spake concerning himself, “Before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jer. i. 5.) For in that he was writing to a vainglorious city, and one every way puffed up, he therefore uses every mode of showing that his election was of God. For he Himself called him, and Himself separated him. And he does this, that he may make the Epistle deserve credit, and meet an easy reception. “To the Gospel of God.” Not Matthew then alone is an Evangelist, nor Mark, as neither was this man alone an Apostle, but they also; even if he be said prëeminently to be this, and they that. And he calleth it the Gospel, not for those good things only which have been brought to pass, but also for those which are to come. And how comes he to say, that the Gospel “of God” is preached by himself? for he says, “separated to the Gospel of God”-for the Father was manifest, even before the Gospels. Yet even if He were manifest, it was to the Jews only, and not even to all of these as were fitting. For neither did they know Him to be a Father, and many, things did they conceive unworthily of Him. Wherefore also Christ saith, “The true worshippers” shall come, and that “the Father seeketh such to worship Him.” (John iv. 23.) But it was afterwards that He Himself with the Son was unveiled to the whole world, which Christ also spake of beforehand, and said, “that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou has sent.” (John xvii. 3.) But he calls it the “Gospel” of God, to cheer the hearer at the outstart. For he came not with tidings to make the countenance sad, as did the prophets with their accusations, and charges, and reproofs, but with glad tidings, even the “Gospel of God;” countless treasures of abiding and unchangeable blessings.

The Catechism on Romans 1:1~876 Intrinsically linked to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry is its character as service. Entirely dependent on Christ who gives mission and authority, ministers are truly “slaves of Christ,”[Rom 1:1] in the image of him who freely took “the form of a slave” for us.[Phil 2:7] Because the word and grace of which they are ministers are not their own, but are given to them by Christ for the sake of others, they must freely become the slaves of all.[Cf. 1 Cor 9:19].

Ver. 2. “Which He promised afore by His Prophets in the Holy Scriptures.”

For the Lord, saith he, “shall give the word to them that proclaim glad tidings with great power” (Ps. lxviii. 12, Sept.); and again, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace.” (Is. lii. 7; Rom. x. 15.) See here both the name of the Gospel expressly and the temper of it, laid down in the Old Testament. For, we do not proclaim it by words only, he means, but also by acts done; since neither was it human, but both divine and unspeakable, and transcending all nature. Now since they have laid against it the charge of novelty also, He shows it to be older than the Greeks, and described aforetime in the Prophets. And if He gave it not from the beginning because of those that were unwilling to receive it, still, they that were willing did hear it. “Your father Abraham,” He says, “rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it, and was glad.” (John viii. 56.) How then comes He to say, Many prophets desired to see the things which ye. see, and have not seen them?” (Matt. xiii. 17.) He means not so, as ye see and hear, the Flesh itself, and the very miracles before your eyes. But let me beg you to look and see what a very long time ago these things were foretold. For when God is about to do openly some great things, He announces them of a long time before, to practise men’s hearing for the reception of them when they come.
“In the Holy Scriptures.” Because the Prophets not only spake, but also writ what they spake; nor did they write only, but also shadowed them forth by actions, as Abraham when he led up Isaac, and Moses when he lifted up the Serpent, and when he spread out his hands6 against Amalek, and when he offered the Paschal Lamb.

Ver. 3. “Concerning His Son which was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh.”

What dost, thou, O Paul, that after lifting up our souls so, and elevating them, and causing great and unutterable things to pass? show before them, and speaking of the Gospel, and that too the Gospel of God, and bringing in the chorus of the Prophets, and showing the whole of them heralding forth many years before those things which were to come: why dost thou again bring us down to David? Art thou conversing, oh tell me, of some man, and giving him Jesse’s son for a father? And wherein are these things worthy of what thou hast just spoken of? Yea, they are fully worthy. For our discourse is not, saith he, of any bare man. Such was my reason for adding, “according to the flesh;” as hinting that there is also a Generation of the Same after the Spirit. And why did he begin from that and not from this the higher? It is because that was what Matthew, and Luke, and Mark, began from. For he who would lead men by the hand to Heaven, must needs lead them upwards from below. So too was the actual dispensation ordered. First, that is, they saw Him a man upon earth, and then they understood Him to be God. In the same direction then, as He Himself had framed His teaching, did His disciple also shape out the way which leadeth thither. Therefore the generation according to the flesh is in his language placed first in order, not because it was first, but because he was for leading the hearer from this up to that.

Ver. 4. “And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ.”

What is said has been made obscure by the close-folding of the words, and so it is necessary, to divide it. What then is it, which he says? We preach, says he, Him Who was made of David. But this is plain. Whence then is it plain, that this incarnate “Person” was also the Son of God? First, it is so from the prophets; wherefore he says, “Which He had promised afore by the Prophets in the Holy Scriptures.” (v. 2.) And this way of demonstration is no weak one. And next also from the very way of His Generation: which also he sets forth by saying, “of the seed of David according to the flesh:” for He broke the rule of nature. Thirdly, from the miracles which He did, yielding a demonstration of much power, for “in power” means this. Fourthly, from the Spirit which He gave to them that believe upon Him, and through which He made them all holy, wherefore he saith, “according to the Spirit of holiness.” For it was of God only to grant such gifts. Fifthly, from the Resurrection; for He first and He alone raised Himself: and this Himself too said to be above all a miracle sufficient to stop the mouths even of them that behaved shamelessly. For, “Destroy this Temple,” He says, “and in three days I will raise it up” (John xix.); and, “When ye have lifted” Me “up from the earth, then shall ye know that I am He” (ib. viii. 28); and again, This “generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of Jonas.” (Matt. xxi. 39.) What then is the being “declared?” being shown, being manifested, being judged, being confessed, by the feeling and suffrage of all; by Prophets, by the marvelous Birth after the Flesh, by the power which was in the miracles, by the Spirit, through which He gave sanctification, by the Resurrection, whereby He put an end to the tyranny of death.

The Catechism on Romans 1:3-4~648 Christ’s Resurrection is an object of faith in that it is a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation and history. In it the three divine persons act together as one, and manifest their own proper characteristics. The Father’s power “raised up” Christ his Son and by doing so perfectly introduced his Son’s humanity, including his body, into the Trinity. Jesus is conclusively revealed as “Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead”.[Rom 1:3-4; cf. Acts 2:24] St. Paul insists on the manifestation of God’s power[Cf. Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 13:4; Phil 3:10; Eph 1:19-22; Heb 7:16] through the working of the Spirit who gave life to Jesus’ dead humanity and called it to the glorious state of Lordship.

In addition to the above, Rom 1:3 is used in the Catechism a # 437, 496.  Romans 1:4 at #445, 695.

Ver. 5. “By Whom we have received grace and Apostleship for obedience to the faith.”

See the candor of the servant. He wishes nothing to be his own, but all his Master’s. And indeed it was the Spirit that gave this. Wherefore He saith, “I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth” (John xvi. 12): and again, “Separate Me Paul and Barnabas.” (Acts xiii. 2.) And in the Epistle to the Corinthians, he says, that “to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom, to another the word of knowledge” (1 Cor. xii. 8, 11); and that It divideth all as It willeth. And in addressing the Milesians, he says, “Over which the Holy Ghost hath made you shepherds and overseers.” (Acts xx. 28.) You see, he calls the things of the Spirit, the Son’s, and the things of the Son, the Spirit’s. “Grace and Apostleship;” that is, it is not we that have achieved for ourselves, that we should become Apostles. For it was not by having toiled much and labored that we had this dignity allotted to us, but we received grace, and the successful result is a part of he heavenly gift. “For obedience to the faith.” So it was not the Apostles that achieved it, but grace that paved the way before them. For it was their part to go about and preach, but to persuade was of God, Who wrought in them. As also Luke saith, that “He opened their heart” (Acts xvi. 14); and again, To whom it was given to hear the word of God.7 “To obedience;” he says not, to questioning and parade (kataskeuhn) of argument but “to obedience.” For we were not sent, he means, to argue, but to give those things which we had trusted to our hands. For when the Master declareth aught, they that hear should not be nice and curious handlers of what is told them, but receivers only; for this is why the Apostles were sent, to speak what they had heard, not to add aught from their own stock, and that we for our part should believe-that we should believe what?-“concerning His Name.” Not that we should be curious about the essence, but that we should believe on the Name; for this it was which also wrought the miracles. For it says, “in the Name of Jesus Christ rise up and walk.” (Acts iii. 6.) And this too requireth faith, neither can one grasp aught of these things by reasoning (logismw katagabein). “Among all nations, among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ.” What? did Paul preach then to all the nations? Now that he ran through the whole space from Jerusalem to Illyricum, and from thence again went forth to the very ends of the earth, is plain from what he writes to the Romans; but even if he did not come to all, yet still what he says is not false, for he speaks not of himself alone, but of the twelve Apostles, and all who declared the word after them. And in another sense, one should not see any fault to find with the phrase, if about himself, when one considers his ready mind, and how that after death he ceaseth not to preach in all parts of the world. And consider how he extols the gift, and shows that it is great and much more lofty than the former, since the old things were with one nation, but this gift drew sea and land to itself. And attend to this too, how free the mind of Paul is from all flattery; for when conversing with the Romans, who were seated as it were upon a sort of summit of the whole world, he attaches no more to them than to the other nations, nor does he on the score of their being then in power and ruling, say, that they have in spiritual things also any advantage. But as (he means) we preach to all the nations, so do we to you, numbering them with Scythians and Thracians: for if he did not wish to show this, it were superfluous to say “Among whom are ye also.”8 And this he does to take down their high spirit (kenwn to fushma) and to prostrate the swelling vanity of their minds, and to teach them to honor others alike to themselves: and so he proceeds to speak upon this very point.

The Catechism on Romans 1:5~143 By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God.[Cf. DV 5] With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, “the obedience of faith”.[Cf. Rom 1:5; 16:26]. See also # 494; 2087.

DV 5 (Dei Verbum 5)~5. “The obedience of faith” (Rom. 13:26; see 1:5; 2 Cor 10:5-6) “is to be given to God who reveals, an obedience by which man commits his whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals,” (First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Chap. 3, “On Faith:” Denzinger 1789 [3008]) and freely assenting to the truth revealed by Him. To make this act of faith, the grace of God and the interior help of the Holy Spirit must precede and assist, moving the heart and turning it to God, opening the eyes of the mind and giving “joy and ease to everyone in assenting to the truth and believing it.” (Second Council of Orange, Canon 7: Denzinger 180 [377]; First Vatican Council, loc. cit.: Denzinger 1791 [3010]) To bring about an ever deeper understanding of revelation the same Holy Spirit constantly brings faith to completion by His gifts.

Ver. 6. “Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ.”

That is, along with whom ye also are: and he does not say, that he called the others with you, but you with the others. For if in Christ Jesus there is neither bond nor free, much less is there king and private man. For even ye were called and did not come over of yourselves.

Ver. 7. “To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

See how continually he puts the word “called,” saying, “called to be an Apostle; among whom ye also are called; to all that be in Rome, called:” and this he does not out of superfluity of words, but out of a wish to remind them of the benefit. For since among them which believed, it was likely that there would be some of the consuls (upatwn; Ben. consulares) and rulers as well as poor and common men, casting aside the inequality of ranks, he writes to them all under one appellation. But if in things which are more needful and which are spiritual, all things are set forth as common both to slaves and to free, for instance, the love from God, the calling, the Gospel, the adoption, the grace, the peace, the sanctification, all things else, how could it be other than the uttermost folly, whom God had joined together, and made to be of equal honor in the greater things, those to divide on account of things on earth? on this ground, I presume, from the very outstart, this blessed Apostle, after casting out this mischievous disease, conducts them to the mother of blessings, humble-mindedness. This made servants better, since they learnt that they should take no harm from their servitude, while they had the true freedom; this would incline masters to be gentle, as being instructed that they have no advantage in being free, unless the goods of faith have the first place given them. And that you may learn that he was not doing this to work confusion, by dashing all things, but still knew the best distinction, he wrote not simply to all that were in Rome, but with a definition added, “beloved of God.” For this is the best discrimination, and shows whence the sanctification was. Whence then was the sanctification? from Love. For after saying, “beloved,” then he proceeds, “called to be saints,” showing that it is from this that the fount of all blessings is. But saints he calls all the faithful. “Grace unto you and peace.”

Oh address, that bringeth countless blessings to us! This also Christ bade the Apostles to use as their first word when entering into houses. (Luke x. 5.) Wherefore it is from this that Paul also in all places takes his beginning, from grace and peace; for it was no small war which Christ put an end to, but indeed one varying and of every kind and of a long season (toikilon kai tantodapon); and this not from our labors, but through His grace. Since then love presented us with grace, and grace with peace, having set them down in the due order of an address, he prays over them that they may abide perpetual and unmoved, so that no other war may again be blown into flame, and beseeches Him that gave, to keep these things firmly settled, saying as follows, “Grace be unto you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” See in this passage, the “from” is common to the Son and the Father, and this is equivalent to “of whom.”9 For he did not say, Grace be unto you and peace from God the Father, “through” our Lord Jesus Christ; but, “from God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Strange! how mighty is the love of God! we which were enemies and disgraced, have all at once become saints and sons. For when he calls Him Father, he shows them to be sons; and when he says sons, he has unveiled the whole treasure of blessings.
Let us then keep showing a conversation worthy of the gift, and hold on in peace and holiness. For other dignities are but for a time, and are brought to an end along with this life present, and may be bought with money (whence one might say they are not dignities at all but names of dignities only, having their strength in the investiture of fine array and the servility of attendants), but this as having been given of God, the gift of sanctification and adoption, is not broken through even by death, but even here maketh men conspicuous, and also departs with us upon our journey to the life to come. For he that holdeth on in the adoption, and keeps an exact watch upon his holiness, is much brighter and more happy even than he that is arrayed with the diadem itself, and has the purple; and has the delight of abundant peace inthe present life and is nurtured up with goodly hopes, and hath no ground for worry and disturbance, but enjoys constant pleasure; for as for good spirits and joy, it is not greatness of power, not abundance of wealth, not pomp of authority, not strength of body, not sumptuousness of the table, not the adorning of dresses, nor any other of the things in man’s reach that ordinarily produces them, but spiritual success, and a good conscience alone. And he that hath this cleansed, even though he be clad in rags and struggling with famine, is of better spirits than they that live so softly. So too he that is conscious of wicked deeds, even though he may gather to himself all men’s goods, is the most wretched of all men. For this cause Paul, living in continual hunger and nakedness, and being scourged every day was joyful, and went more softly than they that were then emperors. But Ahab though a king, and indulging in a sumptuous luxury, when he had done that one sin, groaned and was out of spirits, and his countenance was fallen both before the sin and after the sin. If then we wish to enjoy pleasure, above all things else let us shun wickedness, and follow after virtue; since it is not in the nature of things for one to have a share thereof on any other terms, even if we were mounted upon the king’s throne itself. Wherefore also Paul saith, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace.” (Gal. v. 22.) This fruit then let us keep growing by us, that we may be in the fruition of joy here, and may obtain the kingdom to come, by the grace and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom and with Whom, be glory to the Father, and to the Holy Spirit, now and always, even unto all ages. Amen.

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Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 8:1-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 31, 2010

Note: Text in red, if any, represent my additions to the text.  Previous posts on Romans from de Piconio and others can be found here.

1. There is, then, no damnation now to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh.
2. For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has freed me from the law of sin and death.
3. For, what was impossible for the law, because it was weakened through the flesh, God sending his Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin, and condemned sin for sin in the flesh.
4. That the justification of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit.

Ch 8. Having in the last chapter described the conflict between the spirit and the flesh, the Apostle proceeds in this one to proclaim, with magnificent eloquence, the victorious power of the Spirit of God, the certainty of victory, and the unimaginable splendour of the glory reserved for the Saints.

1. There is no damnation. Having said, in the concluding verse of the last chapter, with my mind I serve the law of God, he goes on to say that in such as serve that law, and are baptized unto Christ Jesus, and do not follow the flesh, or allow themselves to be led by it, there is, notwithstanding the rebellion of the lower and earthly nature, nothing that can incur God’s condemnation. It is a misery to the child of God to be sensible of the motions of concupiscence within himself; but he has the comfort of knowing that involuntary movements of concupiscence are not sin. To serve the law of sin, in the last chapter is a different thing from walking according to the flesh, in this.

To serve the law of sin, Saint Chrysostom says, is to be subject to the desires of the animal and sensuous nature; to walk according to the flesh is to follow those desires, and allow them to rule our life.

The Greek text adds at the end of this verse, bid according to the spirit.

2. For the grace of the life-giving Spirit of God, like a law written in our hearts, has set me free, and all other Christians, from the dominion of concupiscence, from its guilt, and from death, its companion. It is an empire within us, claiming to rule and dominate all our impulses and passions.

3. The law could not condemn sin. It was the object for which it was given, but the law was found powerless to effect this object, not from any inherent weakness in itself, but from the weakness and infirmity of man, who failed in fulfilling it. But what the law could not do, God effected (Saint Chrysostom supplies the verb, which is omitted in the text) by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. He does not say in the likeness of flesh, as if the body of Christ was a phantom of the real. Christ has a true body, which in his mortal life was like the sinful bodies of other men, and of the same nature, but most holy, because united to the Word. He was in all things like us, sin excepted.

Condemned sin for sin in the flesh. Convicted sin of sin. Another personification. Sin was a tyrant, who had usurped the empire of Christ : and Christ convicted and sentenced him, as guilty of all the accumulated sins of the human race, crowned by the murder of the Son of God, and crucified him in his own body, in the flesh. As it was from the flesh that sin derived all its strength and power, so from the flesh it received its condemnation. The Saints of God also, in measure, condemn sin in the flesh, by the mortification of its evil desires.

4. That the justification of the law might he fulfilled in us. The justice of the law, which men without the grace of God could not fulfil, owing to the infirmity of the flesh. And the justice of the law is fulfilled in us, by our walking not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. It is not sufficient, Saint Chrysostom says, for the Christian to keep from evil, but he ought to bloom and blossom in good. He should exhibit a life worthy of God, as one of the sons of God, and be led by the Spirit of God, given to him as the spirit of adoption.

St Chrysostom: (So showing, that it is not only binding upon us to keep ourselves from evil deeds, but also to be adorned (koman) with good. For to give thee the crown is His; but it is thine to hold it fast when given. For the righteousness of the Law, that one should not become liable to its curse, Christ has accomplished for thee. Be not a traitor then to so great a gift, but keep guarding this goodly treasure. For in this passage he shows that the Font will not suffice to save us, unless, after coming from it, we display a life worthy of the Gift. And so he again advocates the Law in saying what he does. For when we have once become obedient to Christ, we must use all ways and plans so that its righteousness, which Christ fulfilled, may abide in us, and not come to naught.

5. For those who are according to the flesh, study the things of the flesh; but those who are according to the spirit, feel the things of the spirit.
6. For the wisdom of the flesh is death; but the wisdom of the spirit is life and peace.
7. Because the wisdom of the flesh is hostile to God:for it is not subject to the law of God, and cannot be.
8. And those who are in the flesh, cannot please God.
9. But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit: if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. And if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, he is not his

5. Carnal men think of, study, care for, and make it the object of their existence to compass the ends and objects of this passing life; and do so with a skill and persistence which has elevated their pursuit into a science. Those who are of the Spirit, study what is of heaven. As the heart is, so will be the life, animal or spiritual, of earth or heaven. This science of the flesh is the death of the soul; the science of the spirit is the life and peace of the soul. The wisdom of the flesh is the death of the soul, because it is hostile to God, or, as the Syriac says, at enmity with God, and repugnant to his law: naturally, necessarily, eternally at war with it. Irreconcilable war between the creature and the Creator means the ruin and destruction of the creature; for the creature subsists only by God’s love and mercy.

8. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. The study and pursuit of objects which have their source and origin in the fall of man, and arise out of his degradation, cannot in their own nature be a source of pleasure and interest to the Eternal; and those who give their lives to the pursuit of such objects, cannot, so long as they do so, please God.

9. You who have been baptized, and have received the Spirit of God, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Living for God, not for time. That is so, unless the Spirit then given has withdrawn from you. If from anyone the Spirit of God has withdrawn, that man is not in reality any longer a Christian. The spirit of the world is vain, carnal, earthly. The spirit of the devil is proud, arrogant, envious. The Spirit of Christ is gentle, humble, heavenly, and this is the spirit of Christ’s religion. And if anyone has not this spirit, he is not Christ’s.

10. But if Christ is in you, the body indeed is dead on account of sin, but the spirit lives on account of justification.
11. But if the Spirit of him who raised up Jesus from the dead, dwells in you: he who raised up Jesus from the dead, shall quicken also your mortal bodies, on account of the spirit that dwells in you

10. If  Christ is in you. If Christ dwells in you by his Spirit, you have indeed a body which is subject to death on account of Adam’s sin, but your spirit, through the justice of Christ, lives the life of grace, and will soon live the life of glory.

The Greek has, the Spirit is life, on account of justice. Your soul lives the life of grace through the justice of Christ.

The Christian is made up of a dead body, that is a body subject to death, and a spirit that lives, by grace now, by glory hereafter. Sin and concupiscence are the source of death within us; the Holy Spirit is within us the principle of life. He is essentially life in himself; in us he is the source of spiritual life. We cannot but fear, for death is in our veins; we cannot but rejoice, because true
life dwells in us.

But the life of the soul is not our only life for eternity. The Spirit that dwells in you is the Spirit of God the Father, who raised up Jesus from the dead, and who will, therefore, one day raise up your bodies also, from mortal made immortal, because they are the habitation of the Spirit. On account, says St. Thomas, of the dignity with which your bodies are invested as dwelling-places of the Holy Ghost. The Apostle’s doctrine has no sympathy with the false philosophy which condemns the material creation as unholy. It is God’s handiwork, and capable of the highest sanctification. Christ himself, in his material nature, is seated in glory at the right hand of God. Our resurrection is the sequel of our baptism. The Holy Spirit is given us in our justification as an earnest of what is to follow: eternal life of soul and body. Christ, in whom the fulness of the Spirit dwelt, rose full of immortality and glory, in the highest possible degree; and in proportion as our souls receive the fulness of the Spirit, our bodies will participate in the glory of Christ.

12. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, that we should live according to the flesh.
13. For if you shall have lived according to the flesh, you will die: but if by the spirit you shall have mortified the deeds of the flesh, you will live
14. For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear: but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, in which we cry, Abba (Father)

12. We are debtors, not to the flesh. The flesh is the material nature of man under its present physical conditions, which in our fallen estate will, if we suffer it to rule us, lead us to sin and death. It is the spirit that has the right to rule us, not the flesh. To the flesh we owe no allegiance; but we owe to the Spirit that we are Christians, that our soul lives the life of grace, that we shall live the life of glory. It is then to the Spirit, not the flesh, that we are debtors.

13. If you live after the flesh, you must die, the death of guilt now, the death of eternal damnation hereafter, says Saint Thomas.

14. Those who have the Spirit of God dwelling within then are acted on, guided, led, and directed, by that Spirit. Christ was led by the Spirit into the desert, and the devil asked him if he was the Son of God (Matt 4:1, 3). The Ethiopic version reads: Whoever do those things which belong to the Spirit of God: that is, as in the last verse, mortify the deeds of the flesh . These are truly and really sons of God, having a heavenly nature. On a certain day the sons of God came to stand before the Lord, Job 1:6. We cannot, says Saint Chrysostom, dispose of our own lives, but should give ourselves up, soul and body, to the guidance of the Spirit of God, our helmsman, and our charioteer. But this control and guidance of the Spirit of God is not coercive or forcible. It implies the motion and, in a passive sense, inclination of our will, such as does not exclude freedom of action. To be led by the Spirit of God is to consent to his leading, and give it our voluntary obedience, confident that it must lead us to increase of grace and justice, and to life eternal.

15. You have not received the spirit of bondage again. Again, because the spirit of the law of Moses was a spirit of servitude and fear. Holy men under the old law were sons of God only in an imperfect manner, and in a lesser degree, like slaves, differing in nothing from servants, Gal 4:1. What you have received is the spirit of sonship or adoption, entitling you to say with Christ, and with all confidence, Our Father. As the divine Word gave himself to Christ, the Man, so that the Man named Christ, is the Son of God: so in proportion the Holy Spirit is given us in Baptism in such way as to make us Sons of God. Cornel, a Lap. in loc.

The Apostle contrasts the spirit of bondage not with the spirit of freedom, but the spirit of adoption; not merely free, but free as sons.

He does not say, we say Abba, but we cry; boldly, loudly, confidently, publicly. Instructed by holy precepts, and formed by divine institution, we venture to say, OurFather. Abba is the Hebrew or Syriac word for father, and to it he joins the Greek word with the same meaning, to signify that Jews and Gentiles are together called to the adoption of the sons of God. Saint Augustine, lib. de Spiritu et litcra, 32 de Cons. Evan. 4.

It is also possible that Saint Paul refers to the prayer of our Lord in the garden, Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; as an encouragement to address him by the same title, with the same confidence in his affection, under similar circumstances of trouble or despondency.

Before the coming of Christ the people of God were undoubtedly entitled in a certain sense to speak of God as their father, but only in a metaphorical sense, and on the ground of creation. “Now, Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our Maker” (Isa 64:8. In some translations, 64:7). This is clearly applicable to all the race of men. And on the ground of providence: “Thy Providence, Father, governs the world” (Wis 14:3). But not on the ground and by right of adoption, an honour reserved for those who are sons of God in Christ, and which is expressed in the formula of the Apostle, Abba, Father.

16. For the Spirit itself gives testimony to our spirit, that we are sons of God.
17. And if sons, also heirs: heirs indeed of God, and co-heirs with Christ: if we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him

16. The Spirit himself gives testimony. The cry of our hearts, inasmuch as it proceeds from the Spirit of God, is a testimony of our divine adoption. The giving to us the Spirit, is itself a testimony of this; for he is the Spirit of the Son, and God gives the Spirit of his Son to those only whom he would have for sons. The Apostle may possibly also include a reference in his mind to exterior testimonies, as in miracle or prophecy, more frequent in his days than in ours. Horror of sin, love of God, readiness to obey his commands, and to follow the motions of the Holy Spirit, peace and tranquility of conscience, troubled by no grave and conscious sin, are interior testimonies of the Spirit of God, with our spirit, that we are sons of God. We should not, however, with the heretics, come to regard this interior testimony as certain with the certitude of faith. Such testimony, in so far as it proceeds from the Holy Spirit, is certain and infallible in itself, but as presented to our consciousness it is certain only conjecturally and morally, because we are not sure whether it proceeds from the Holy Spirit, or from an evil spirit, transfiguring himself into an angel of light.

17. If sons, also heirs. God does not die, and his inheritance is not a succession. He is himself the inheritance. Heirs of God. The Lord is the portion of my inheritance, Ps 15:5. To the enjoyment of this inheritance, his adopted sons are admitted, in the Beatific Vision. An inheritance not diminished by the number of the sons, or reduced by division among many claimants, says St. Anselm.

Co-heirs with Christ, if we suffer with him. We are heirs of a living God, co-heirs with a man who died. Sharing his death, on our own cross, we shall be glorified with him in his inheritance. Without participation of the cross, there is no participation of glory; but the expectation of the promised beatitude is sure and certain, where there is participation in the Passion of the Lord. St. Leo, Serm., 9 de Quad.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Notes on Romans, Quotes, St John Chrysostom, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

St Thomas Aquinas: Whether The Old Testament Law Was Good

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 31, 2010

This post serves as a link to a commentary on Romans 7.  Below you will find a passage from the Summa Theologiæ, I-II, 98,1, followed by a commentary from Father Walter Farrell and links to further reading.

Objection: 1. It would seem that the Old Law was not good. For it is written (Ez 20,25): “I gave them statutes that were not good, and judgments in which they shall not live.” But a law is not said to be good except on account of the goodness of the precepts that it contains. Therefore the Old Law was not good.
2. Further, it belongs to the goodness of a law that it conduce to the common welfare, as Isidore says (Etym. v, 3). But the Old Law was not salutary; rather was it deadly and hurtful. For the Apostle says (Rm 7,8, seqq.): “Without the law sin was dead. And I lived some time without the law. But when the commandment came sin revived; and I died.” Again he says (Rm 5,20): “Law entered in that sin might abound.” Therefore the Old Law was not good.
3. Further, it belongs to the goodness of the law that it should be possible to obey it, both according to nature, and according to human custom. But such the Old Law was not: since Peter said (Ac 15,10): “Why tempt you (God) to put a yoke on the necks of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?” Therefore it seems that the Old Law was not good.

On the contrary The Apostle says (Rm 7,12): “Wherefore the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”
I answer that Without any doubt, the Old Law was good. For just as a doctrine is shown to be good by the fact that it accords with right reason, so is a law proved to be good if it accords with reason. Now the Old Law was in accordance with reason. Because it repressed concupiscence which is in conflict with reason, as evidenced by the commandment, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods” (Ex 20,17). Moreover the same law forbade all kinds of sin; and these too are contrary to reason. Consequently it is evident that it was a good law. The Apostle argues in the same way (Rm 7): “I am delighted,” says he (verse 22), “with the law of God, according to the inward man”: and again (verse 16): “I consent to the law, that is good.”But it must be noted that the good has various degrees, as Dionysius states (Div. Nom. iv): for there is a perfect good, and an imperfect good. In things ordained to an end, there is perfect goodness when a thing is such that it is sufficient in itself to conduce to the end: while there is imperfect goodness when a thing is of some assistance in attaining the end, but is not sufficient for the realization thereof. Thus a medicine is perfectly good, if it gives health to a man; but it is imperfect, if it helps to cure him, without being able to bring him back to health. Again it must be observed that the end of human law is different from the end of Divine law. For the end of human law is the temporal tranquillity of the state, which end law effects by directing external actions, as regards those evils which might disturb the peaceful condition of the state. On the other hand, the end of the Divine law is to bring man to that end which is everlasting happiness; which end is hindered by any sin, not only of external, but also of internal action. Consequently that which suffices for the perfection of human law, viz. the prohibition and punishment of sin, does not suffice for the perfection of the Divine law: but it is requisite that it should make man altogether fit to partake of everlasting happiness. Now this cannot be done save by the grace of the Holy Ghost, whereby “charity” which fulfilleth the law . . . “is spread abroad in our hearts” (Rm 5,5): since “the grace of God is life everlasting” (Rm 6,23). But the Old Law could not confer this grace, for this was reserved to Christ; because, as it is written (Jn 1,17), the law was given “by Moses, grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Consequently the Old Law was good indeed, but imperfect, according to He 7,19: “The law brought nothing to perfection.”

Reply to Objections: 1. The Lord refers there to the ceremonial precepts; which are said not to be good, because they did not confer grace unto the remission of sins, although by fulfilling these precepts man confessed himself a sinner. Hence it is said pointedly, “and judgments in which they shall not live”; i.e. whereby they are unable to obtain life; and so the text goes on: “And I polluted them,” i.e. showed them to be polluted, “in their own gifts, when they offered all that opened the womb, for their offenses.”
2. The law is said to have been deadly, as being not the cause, but the occasion of death, on account of its imperfection: in so far as it did not confer grace enabling man to fulfil what is prescribed, and to avoid what it forbade. Hence this occasion was not given to men, but taken by them. Wherefore the Apostle says (Rm 5,11): “Sin, taking occasion by the commandment, seduced me, and by it killed me.” In the same sense when it is said that “the law entered in that sin might abound,” the conjunction “that” must be taken as consecutive and not final: in so far as men, taking occasion from the law, sinned all the more, both because a sin became more grievous after law had forbidden it, and because concupiscence increased, since we desire a thing the more from its being forbidden.
3. The yoke of the law could not be borne without the help of grace, which the law did not confer: for it is written (Rm 9,16): “It is not him that willeth, nor of him that runneth,” viz. that he wills and runs in the commandments of God, “but of God that showeth mercy.” Wherefore it is written (Ps 118,32): “I have run the way of Thy commandments, when Thou didst enlarge my heart,” i.e. by giving me grace and charity.

Excerpt from Father Walter Farrell’s A Companion to the Summa:

Divine positive law of the Old Testament

So much for human positive law. When we come to the divine positive law, we find it clearly divided into the New and the Old Law, the preparation and the fulfilment, the imperfect and the perfect. The Old Law was exactly a preparation of one race for the coming of Christ; imperfect, like all preparations, doing the work of divine law in drawing men to the friendship of God, but not doing the whole work because sanctification, as St. Paul insisted, was not by the law but by faith in the coming Redeemer.

Its purpose, origin and subjects

While the New Law was given directly by the son of God Himself, the Old Law came to men through the ministry of angels and men, following the universal order of divine providence by which the inferiors are led to perfection by their superiors. Unlike the New Law, the Old Law was not given to all men nor for all men; it was given to a single race, the Jews, for their special sanctification. Nor was this a case of favouritism on the part of God. Favouritism implies an injury to justice, an overlooking of merit; and this whole law was gratuitously given. Merit did not enter into the question. It was given to the Jews, for they above all other peoples needed sanctification, since it was from them that the Son of God was to be born. Consequently the Old Law, except in so far as it contained precepts of the Natural Moral Law, did not oblige any other people but the Jews themselves. It was, strictly speaking, their law, and theirs alone.

Its precepts: moral, ceremonial and judicial

The law governing a whole people has always been a complex affair. It has to be for so great a task. The Old Law was no exception to this general rule. If we glance hastily through the first five books of the Bible we will get something like the same sense of bewilderment that settles upon the layman who has wandered by mistake into the legal section of a modern library. The Old Law is not to be summed up in terms of the ten commandments; those commandments are only one part of the law, the moral part. Actually the law was divided into three classes of precepts: moral, ceremonial and judicial.

As a general description of these three we might say that the moral precepts were merely a restatement of the secondary precepts of the Natural Moral Law; the ceremonial precepts, proceeding from the Natural Moral Law’s command to worship God, made further determinations as to the time, place and manner of this worship; the judicial precepts, proceeding from the natural precept of justice, made further determinations as to how this justice was to be observed among men.

Its promises and threats

All three types of precepts were enforced by temporal threats and temporal promises — a long life, peace, many children, the blotting of the family name from the earth, and so on. This is just another mark of the imperfection of the Old Law. The perfection of man is the spurning of temporal things to cling to the spiritual; the imperfection, to desire the temporal in preference to the spiritual; the perversion, to desire the temporal above all others. The Old Law led men by the imperfect way, inducing them by temporal promises and threats to start the practice of virtue to the end that they might continue and perfect that practice for the ends of virtue itself, much as we might start a child on a good habit with a promise of toys, sure that long after the toys are forgotten the habit will endure.

In particular: moral precepts and natural law

Examining the moral precepts more closely we see many things commanded that are not immediately evident from the Natural Moral Law itself; a more accurate way of stating these precepts would be to say that they are all reducible to the ten commandments or to the secondary precepts of the Natural Moral Law. There is, for example, such a precept as that commanding reverence for the old — a precept that, while following immediately from the Natural Moral Law as a conclusion from a principle, nevertheless demands wise consideration and study before its connection with the Natural Moral Law is seen. There are others which demanded divine instruction for the knowledge of their connection with the secondary precepts of Natural Moral Law, for example, the prohibition of sculpture to a people completely surrounded by the unnatural practice of idolatry. In these latter precepts the divine character of this positive law shines out clearly; human positive law proposes only those precepts that deal with justice, the divine goes beyond that to the material of other virtues, commanding under the obligation of precept those things without which the order of reason (not the social order) cannot be maintained, advocating under the admonishment of counsel those things that pertain to the perfection of reason and virtue.

In this treatise on the ten commandments, St. Thomas handles the Decalogue as a connoisseur would handle a very rare, very precious jewel. He turns it slowly in his hands, looking at it now from this angle, now from that; he holds it up to the light, puts it against rich, dark backgrounds, savouring its full beauty and exquisite perfection.

For example: of these ten commandments, three deal with God, seven with our neighbour; the first three against pride of life that would puff us up above God, two against the concupiscence of the flesh, defending the sanctity of marriage, the rest against the concupiscence of the eyes — dealing with the things of others. Or considering them from the viewpoint of social life with its two essentials of ruler and subjects, we find the first three commandments regulating harmonious relationship with the ruler by demanding fidelity, reverence and properly restrained familiarity; the other seven, regulating relations between fellow citizens, demand rendering of what is due to parents as having the supreme claim, and the avoiding of injury to all citizens in their persons or possessions by thought, word or work. Or, again, putting the ten commandments against the more sombre background of moral gravity, we find that the very order in which they are stated is the order of gravity — most easily and immediately seen by men: first, the three commandments driving men’s minds to God their goal, the three whose contraries are the gravest of evils; then the seven commandments dealing with our neighbour, first in reference to parents to whom we have greater obligation and, following this in quick logical order, the commands forbidding offence by deed, word or thought with most emphasis on offences in actual deed where a cloak of protection is thrown around life, the family and external possessions by the prohibition of murder, adultery and theft.

Before passing on to the New Law, it might be well here to note that, with. the exception of the element of Natural Moral Law it contained, the Old Law ceased with Christ. St. Augustine, speaking of the ceremonial precepts, puts this pithily when he distinguishes three stages: the first before the passion of Christ in which these precepts were neither dead nor deadly; the second from the passion of Christ until the spreading of the gospel when they were dead but not deadly; the third,. after the spread of the gospel, when they were both dead and deadly. The judicial precepts died with Christ also, but since in themselves they were not figurative or prophetic of the future coming of Christ, their observance after Christ did not contain that same element of propagation of error.

Further Reading:

Volume 2, chapter 19 of A Companion To The Summa.

Summa Theologiæ, I-II, Q. 98-108: OLD LAW: The old law (98) and its precepts (99): moral (100), ceremonial (101) and judicial (104). The causes (102) and duration (103) of the ceremonial precepts. The reason (105) for the judicial precepts.
NEW LAW: The law of the Gospel (106) or new law and its comparison with the old (107). What (108) the new law contains.

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Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 7:1-25

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 31, 2010

Note: Text in red, if any, represent my notes or additions to the text. Previous notes Romans by de Piconio and others can be found here.

1. Know you not, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law) that the law has dominion over a man, as long as it lives?
2 For a woman under a husband’s control is bound to the law, as long as her husband lives; but if her husband
is dead, she is free from her husband’s law.
3. Therefore, while her husband is alive, she will be called an adulteress if she has been with an another man:but if her husband is dead, she is free from her husband’s law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she may have been with another man.
4. Therefore, my brethren, you also are dead to the law through the body of Christ: so that you belong to another who has risen from the dead, that we may bring forth fruit to God

Chapter 7: In this chapter the Apostle explains to his Jewish readers that they are free from the law, which is abrogated, or dead. The law effected nothing for the sanctification of man, but rather the contrary. And the effects of concupiscence remain even in Christians united to Christ, as long as they are in this mortal life.

1. Know you not, brethren. The argument is addressed to the Jews who believed in Christ, and who were acquainted with the law ; and is a fuller explanation of the statement he addressed to them in verse 14 of the last
chapter, you are not under the law, but under grace. It may be compared to the relation between husband and wife under the law of Moses. The law is the husband, the human soul the wife. The law has dominion over a man, as long as it lives. There is no pronoun in the Latin, or in the Greek, and, as regards the grammatical construction, it might mean as long as he lives: neither
would it materially affect the analogy, but it is easier and simpler to suppose that he refers to the death of the husband, or the law. The law being abrogated or dead, the soul is free. A woman who leaves her husband for
another man, is guilty of adultery. But if her husband is dead, she is free from her obligation to him, and though she may sin, she cannot from the nature of the case be guilty of adultery.

4. Therefore, brethren, yon also are dead to the law. In strict pursuance of his metaphor, the Apostle ought to have said, the law is dead to you. Out of consideration for the prejudices of the Jews, who might have been shocked at such an expression, he avoids using it, and by a slight modification of his language, which leaves his meaning perfectly clear, prefers to say, you are dead to the law. Either statement would be true; for the law was abrogated and done away with; and they were dead with Christ and buried with him. Through the body of Christ, crucified and slain for you. Theophylact. Or else, because you are incorporated in the body of Christ, through Baptism, and this is what apparently is understood in the Syriac version, you are dead to the law in the body of Christ.

You belong to another, who has risen from the dead. You have contracted another, far nobler, more spiritual union with another Lord, who has risen from the grave and entered on the life of immortality. I have betrothed to you a husband, to present you a chaste virgin to Christ, 2 Cor 11:2. To take the Church to himself, made glorious, immaculate, and faultless, holy and undefiled, Eph. v. 27. And by this union, by the grace of Christ, we are to bring forth to God the divine and holy fruits of faith, hope, charity, and every Christian grace.

5. When we were in the flesh, the passions of sin, which were through the law, wrought in our members to bring forth fruit to death.
6. But now we are free from the law of death, in which we were detained, that we may serve in newness of spirit, not in the oldness of the letter

5. Under the carnal law, which was to us a law of death, passion urging to sins, which the law by prohibiting suggested, but gave no grace to overcome, held us in bondage, and brought forth the fruit of mortal sin. From that
bondage we are free, by the death of the law to which we were bound, and no longer serve as slaves, shrinking under terror of an evil conscience, and trembling at the penalties we have incurred, but with an impulse of obedience altogether different and new, as brides of the only-begotten Son, to whom we freely give the allegiance of our hearts.

7. What then shall we say? Is the law sin? God forbid; but I knew not sin, except through the law: for I knew not concupiscence, unless the law said: Thou shalt not covet.
8. But seizing the occasion, sin by the commandment wrought in me all concupiscence: for without the law sin was dead.
9. And I lived without law once; but when the commandment came, sin lived again.
10. But I died. And the commandment, which was to life, was found to death to me.
11. For sin took occasion by the commandment, seduced me, and by it slew me

7. What then shall we say? The law is not sin. God forbid. But it is the index of sin, and indirectly the occasion of it. Man has no knowledge of sin but by God’s prohibition of it, either in a written law, or the unwritten law of human conscience. Coveting is forbidden by no law of man. Theodoret thinks the Apostle is speaking not of absolute, but comparative, ignorance of sin, of which the law gives a more detailed and perfect knowledge. The law is not the cause of sin, but the cause of its recognition. The prohibition of the law is like water to lime: it wrought in me all concupiscence. The law is good in God’s intention; it is a grace, but a grace which kills, unless there be further grace to keep it. Once I lived without the law; the law came, and with it sin came to life. But I died; for conscious sin is the death of the soul. Sin, the homicide
and murderer of the soul, seized the law as its weapon, drew me aside into some secluded spot, where no aid was at hand, like Cain and Abel, and with that weapon smote and slew me. It must be remembered that the Apostle, when thus speaking in the first person, is in all probability using a personification, and substituting himself for the Jewish people, regarded in two stages of their national history, before and after the giving of the law.
Some writers, among them Cornelius a Lapide, think he is literally speaking of himself in his earlier years, before he was instructed in the law. But it seems more probable that I lived without law once is meant as referring to the condition of the Hebrew people before the law of Moses was given them, as for example in Egypt.

But this statement strongly illustrates the hopeless condition of fallen man. In ignorance of God’s law he does not recognise concupiscence as an offence to God, thinks it part of his nature, and drinks iniquity like water. If he knows God’s law, and God’s grace does not keep him back from sin, he is more guilty still, for he sins with knowledge. The law gives knowledge. Christ is the only

12. Therefore the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.
13. Did, then, that which is good, become death to me? God forbid. But sin, that sin may appear, through that which is good wrought death to me: that sin might become above measure sinful through the commandment

12. The law indeed is holy. God’s commandments, teaching the honour due to him, and the principle and method of his worship, are just: teaching the relations of society, they are good, and tend directly, if they were observed, to the well-being of mankind. The law which commands these things is holy, just, and good. Holy, Saint Thomas says, in its ceremonial precepts and ordinances; just in the judicial, good in the moral. (Concerning which, see here).

Then, was that which is good made death to me? God forbid. Not the law, but the misuse of the law, is the cause of sin. The law gives the occasion and opportunity; the cause of death is concupiscence, the parent of sin. Hence
appears the intensity and enormity of the evil of concupiscence, veiled from human sight, or human blindness, before God’s law is given. Sin then appears in its true colours. That sin might become above measure sinful. There is a strong personification in the Greek; that sin, ἁμαρτία (hamartia = ham-ar-tee’-ah), might become beyond all measure and degree guilty and a
sinner, ἁμαρτωλός (hamartōlos = ham-ar-to-los’), because it takes advantage of that which is just and good and holy, to tempt and lead into rebellion, to murder and destroy.

14. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15. For what I work, I understand not; for I do not the good I will; but the evil which I hate, that I do.
16. But if I do what I will not: I consent to the law, that it is good.
17. But now it is not I that work thus, but the sin that dwelleth in me.
18. For I know that the good dwelleth not in me, that is in my flesh. For to will is close to me, but to accomplish the good, I find not.
19. For it is not the good which I will, that I do; but the evil I will not, I do.
20. But if I do that I will not; it is now not I that work this, but sin that dwelleth in me

14. We know that the Law is spiritual. The Syriac: “We know that the law is of the spirit: but I am of the flesh, sold under sin.” The Jews admit that the enactments of the law are such as are pleasing to the higher part of the

nature of man, through which he consciously holds communion with God, not to his lower and animal nature. The passage that follows is spoken by the Apostle, no longer in a personification, but literally and in his own proper person, as descriptive of his own condition at the time of writing. This is the opinion of Cornelius a Lapide, and of Estius, who have examined the question at great length, and is the view adopted here. The point which the Apostle brings out prominently is that in the condition of grace there is an unceasing struggle between the spirit and the flesh. Under the law there was no such struggle, for there was no effectual or serious resistance to sin. The word sin, in verses 17, 20, is to be understood as signifying concupiscence, not mortal sin (see note below). The just are delivered to concupiscence as a tyrant, not to sin. With the flesh we serve its law, but with the mind we serve the law of God.

Note: In both Testaments various words usually translated as sin can also be used to refer to the consequences or effects of sin.  For example, the Hebrew עון  (‛âvôn = aw-vone’) can have this meaning.  It can refer to iniquity, or be used to designate the guilt or punishment resulting from sin (Gen 4:13; Ps 38:5; Isa 1:4; Jer 17:1; Ezek 24:6).  “These metaphors attempt to express the damage of sin to the sinner; his guilt is not only a liability before Yahweh, but also a corruption of the person.” (see SIN in The Dictionary of the Bible by Father John MacKenzie).

Sold under sin, I am subject to insult and outrage from my captor, to which, however, I consent not. What I operate, I acknowledge not as mine. The good I approve and desire to do, I do not, at least so perfectly as I wish. The evil I would not I do, for I instinctively desire evil, against my better will. My mind and will assent to the law, as good (the Syriac, vote for it). It is therefore not I
(the Greek, no longer I) that am sensible of desires of evil, but the corrupt nature which I inherit and still inheres in me. In this corrupt nature, I know by experience, there dwells no good. The will to do good is at hand, close to
me, present with me. As the Syriac version has it, to will what is good is easy to me, but to do it I am powerless. Verses 19, 20, are almost a verbal repetition of 15, 16, 17.

21. I find, therefore, a law that when I would do good, evil is close to me.
22. For I am delighted with the law of God according to the interior man.
23. But I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind, and making me prisoner in the law of sin, which is my members.
24. Unhappy man am I! Who will set me free from the body of this death?
25. The grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself serve with my mind the law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin

21. I find, therefore, a law. When, in obedience to the command of God, I wish to do anything that is good, I am conscious of a power, a tyranny, a law, close to me, around me, within me, struggling against, and endeavouring to over-rule, my good will. And this power arises from, and is a part of the corrupt nature I inherit, and is in a sense part of myself. The law of God satisfies and pleases me, intellectually and morally. I am sensible of  and fully acknowledge, its excellence and beauty. But I am sensible also of another law within me, thwarting and opposing it, striving to prejudice me against it, and draw me in an opposite direction. It seizes me, holds me captive, compels me, against my will, to suffer its insolence, and listen to its rebellious voice. Miserable lot of sinful mortality! who will rescue me from this body, carrying death within it, exposed to evil affections, which lead to death hopeless and eternal?

25. The grace of God. The Greek text and the Syriac version read. Thanks be to God, or I give thanks to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. According to the reading of the Vulgate, the Apostle declares his belief that the grace of God will one day deliver him from the body of death. With my mind, and all the higher faculties of my nature, I resent and reject the movements of concupiscence, and give my allegiance to the holy law of God; though for the term of this mortal life I am subject, in the flesh, to the tyranny of the empire of sin.

Corollary of Piety.

Two empires struggle within us: two principles divide our life. The empire of God, and the empire of sin. The principle of life, and the principle of death. The spirit and the flesh; grace and desire. The law of the spirit is in harmony with the law of God, and loves it; and law of the flesh inclines to sin and endeavours to drag us into its prison.

Perpetual conflict, and perpetual schism, which shall never end but in the peace of eternity. The flesh lusteth against the spirit, the spirit against the flesh. Those who are not in conflict with the flesh, and resist not its tyranny, know little or nothing of this struggle: it is known to the holy and the spiritual, who yield nothing to desire, and live by the Spirit of God.

And to this struggle the trumpet of the Apostle summons the Christian, as God’s soldier.

We have to watch, fight, conquer. To watch, for the foe is in the midst of our heart. To fight, for he will give us no rest. To conquer, for life, salvation,
regal glory, and these not for time, but for eternity, are all at stake. Who conquers will be crowned. The peace of eternity will only be won by the destruction of our foe. The grace of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, will give us courage and perseverance for the combat, and victory at last.

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St Augustine: Homily on Luke 18:9-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2010

GOSPEL: Luke 18:9-14. At that time: Jesus spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one was a Pharisee, and the other a Publican. The Pharisee, standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give Thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this
Publican. I fast twice in the week: Igive tithes of all that I possess. And the Publican standing afar off would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner. I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other, because everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled , and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted

1. The proud Pharisee, boasting of his virtues, might at least have said: I am not as many men are. But what is the meaning of the rest of men? All other men, but himself. Indeed, to say  I am just, does it not mean that all others are sinners? I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers. And, lo, the presence of the Publican gives him an occasion of greater pride: As also this Publican. He was alone, according to his proud thoughts, and the Publican was of the rest of men. My own justice makes the difference between me and the wicked, such as he is. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess. Now it would be in vain to look in his prayer for anything he went to the temple to ask for; you will find nothing. He went up to pray; but his prayer was not a request for anything from God, it was a glorification of himself. It was but little not to pray to God; but what do you think of his praising himself, and even despising his neighbour who did pray? And the Publican standing afar off was yet praying near to God. Conscious of his own self he kept at a distance, while his piety drew him near to God. Though the Publican stood afar off, the Lord was at hand to hear him. For the Lord is high and looketh on the low, and the high, as was this Pharisee, He knoweth afar off (Ps 137: 6). The proud, indeed, God knows afar off, but He does not pardon them. Consider still more the humility of the Publican. It was not only that he stood afar off, but he would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven. He looked not, that he might be looked upon. He dared not to look, forself-knowledge kept him down, but hope raised him up. Consider again how he struck his breast. He punished himself; therefore God had compassion on his confession of guilt. He struck his breast, saying: God be merciful to me a sinner. Behold him that is praying. And what are you wondering at? The sinner remembers, and God forgets!

2. After seeing the difference between the Pharisee and the Publican, let us now examine how they are judged by God Himself. The first praises himself, thinking himself better than the rest of men; the other, in his humility, accuses himself of his sins. And what is the Judge’s sentence? Amen, I say to you: this man went down to his house justified rather than the other, the Pharisee. O Lord, I ask Thee for the cause of this difference; why did the Publican and not the Pharisee go down to his house justified? Thy answer will be: Because everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Have you heard the sentence? Then take care lest your pride be the cause of your condemnation.

3. Those who rely on their own power and make use of the language of infidels, let them consider that, when saying: God gave me my nature, but I made myself just, they are worse than this Pharisee. For, after all, this Pharisee, though praising himself,was grateful to God, since he added: God, I give Thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men. He is blamed, not for giving thanks to God, but because by his words, boasting of not being as the rest of men, he expressed the pride of his heart. Indeed, he seemed to say in as many words, that nothing could be added to his merits, and that he was asking for nothing. I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers. Does he not seem to say that he alone was just, that he was in need of nothing from God, since in his conceit he was already overwhelmed with merits and virtues? Therefore, boasting in this way he imagines himself not to be in need of God s help, and gives the lie to the Truth, saying: The life of man upon earth is a warfare (Job 7:1). O proud Pharisee, thou seemest to say to thyself that it would be useless to ask God to forgive thy sins, for thou thinkest thyself just! Now that this man is justly condemned for thanking God in a proud manner, what shall we think of those who wickedly attack the grace of God?

4. After the justification of the Publican and the condemnation of the Pharisee, children are presented, and our Lord is asked to receive and even to touch them. Did it not become Jesus Christ, the great Physician, to touch them so as to cure them? Do not object and say that these children were not afflicted with any corporal disease; for my answer will be, that these children were in need of a Saviour, and that they were received by the Saviour who had said: The Son of Man is come to seek and save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). But how were they lost, and in what consisted their sins, since they were innocent children? What was their sin? Listen to the Apostle saying: By one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned (Rom 5:12). Let, then, the children come; let them come and hear the Lord : Suffer children to come to Me. Let them come to the heavenly Physician, that He may touch them; let them come to the Saviour and be saved by Him. They have not sinned; yet they are like the branches of a tree the roots of which are infected with disease. May the Lord bless the little ones and the big ones, and touch them both to cure them. We beseech you, who are grown up, to take care of the little ones ; to speak for those who are still mute; to pray for those who have but tears. Consider that, at an age when work is your duty, you must be the protectors of the little ones, and defend their cause. We were lost like them, so let us be united with them in Jesus Christ. They are less guilty than we are, but the grace of Jesus is given to all. The children have but the sin of their origin that is, the original sin; why then should those, who to this first sin have added many other sins, place obstacles to the salvation of the little ones? Is it not true that the more we advance in years the more we increase in wickedness?
However, the grace of God blots out both the sin brought with us into this world and all sin added to it; for where sin abounded, grace did more abound (Rom 5:20).

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St Thomas Aquinas: Whether it is Natural for Man to Possess External Things.

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2010

Objection: 1. It would seem that it is not natural for man to possess external things. For no man should ascribe to himself that which is God’s. Now the dominion over all creatures is proper to God, according to Ps 23,1, “The earth is the Lord’s,” etc. Therefore it is not natural for man to possess external things.
2. Further, Basil in expounding the words of the rich man (Lc 12,18), “I will gather all things that are grown to me, and my goods,” says [*Hom. in Luc. xii, 18]: “Tell me: which are thine? where did you take them from and bring them into being?” Now whatever man possesses naturally, he can fittingly call his own. Therefore man does not naturally possess external things.
3. Further, according to Ambrose (De Trin. i [*De Fide, ad Gratianum, i, 1]) “dominion denotes power.” But man has no power over external things, since he can work no change in their nature. Therefore the possession of external things is not natural to man.

On the contrary It is written (Ps 8,8): “Thou hast subjected all things under his feet.”
I answer that External things can be considered in two ways. First, as regards their nature, and this is not subject to the power of man, but only to the power of God Whose mere will all things obey. Secondly, as regards their use, and in this way, man has a natural dominion over external things, because, by his reason and will, he is able to use them for his own profit, as they were made on his account: for the imperfect is always for the sake of the perfect, as stated above (Question [64], Article [1]). It is by this argument that the Philosopher proves (Polit. i, 3) that the possession of external things is natural to man. Moreover, this natural dominion of man over other creatures, which is competent to man in respect of his reason wherein God’s image resides, is shown forth in man’s creation (Gn 1,26) by the words: “Let us make man to our image and likeness: and let him have dominion over the fishes of the sea,” etc.

Reply to Objection: 1. God has sovereign dominion over all things: and He, according to His providence, directed certain things to the sustenance of man’s body. For this reason man has a natural dominion over things, as regards the power to make use of them.
2. The rich man is reproved for deeming external things to belong to him principally, as though he had not received them from another, namely from God.
3. This argument considers the dominion over external things as regards their nature. Such a dominion belongs to God alone, as stated above.

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