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 August, 2010

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 2:10b-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 31, 2010

1Co 2:10b…For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
2:11  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God”
2:12  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
2:13  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
2:15  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
2:16  For who hath know the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?  But we have the mind of Christ.

10b. The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. That is, penetrates into and perceives everything.  For when men want to learn something of which they are ignorant, they are want to search and inquire about it.  But God, without any such searching, knows everything at a glance, and as it were by a single application of His mind (St Thomas, Theodoret, Theophylact).

The deep things of God are the most secret and inward counsels of God.  Amongst them the chiefest is this mystery of man’s glory and redemption by Christ.  All these the Holy Spirit penetrates into and clearly views, because He is of one essence and knowledge with God, and therefore He so “searches the deep things of God,” that nothing in God remains unknown to Him.  His knowledge and sight equal their object, and He knows God as He can be known; i.e., the Holy Spirit, because He is God, comprehends God and His Divinity as completely as He comprehends Himself (Molina part i. qu. 14, a. 3; Theodoret, St Thomas).  From this passage Ambrose and other Fathers prove the Godhead of the Holy Ghost against the Macedonians.  To sum up St Paul’s meaning: the Holy Spirit has revealed to us these mysteries and secrets og God, and therefore He searches and clearly views the deep things of God.

11. What man knoweth the things of a man? Those in the inner recesses of his being, which are buried in his heart and mind, as, e.g., his thoughts, resolutions, and intentions, and the foundation of the character itself.

Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit knows them as well as Himself.  For the Holy Spirit is internal to God, just as the spirit of a man is internal to him; and as the spirit of a man is a sharer of his humanity, so the Spirit of God is a partaker of Godhead, and of the Divine omniscience and power.  “The things of God” are those which are hidden in the mind of God-the thoughts, counsels and determinations of the Divine Will.

After “knoweth no man, but the Spirit” must be understood, “and He to whom the Spirit has willed to reveal them, as to me and the other Apostles,” as was said in vs 10.

“No man, but the Spirit” does not exclude the Son.  For since He is the Word, He knows the deep things of God.  For in Divine things, when an exclusive or exceptive word is applied to one Person in respect of the Divine attributes, it does not exclude the other Divine Persons, but only all other essences from the Divine, i.e., it only excludes those whose nature differs from that of God.  The meaning then is: No man knows the secret things of God, save the Spirit of God, and they who have the same nature with the Spirit, the same intellectual and cognitive powers, viz., the Father and the Son.  These alone know the deep things of God.

12. Now we have received not the spirit of the world but the Spirit which is of God.  He contrasts the spirit of the world with the Spirit which is of God, claims the latter for himself and the Apostles, and assigns the other to the wise men of this world.  The spirit of the world, therefore, is that which is infused by the world, by worldly and carnal wisdom, which aspires after worldly, earthly, and carnal goods, and makes men worldly and carnal.  On the other hand the Spirit of God is that which is infused by God and Divine Wisdom, which makes us pursue heavenly and Divine goods, and makes men spiritual and heavenly.  Therefore the Apostle adds-

That we might know the things that are freely given to us by God.  On this passage the heretics found their peculiar belief that each Christian knows for a certainty that he ought by heavenly faith to believe that he has through Christ had given to him by God the forgiveness of his sins, with grace and righteousness, and as Calvin says, that he has been chosen to eternal glory.  But this is not faith, but a foolish and false presumption, not to say blindness; because we do not certainly know that we have been duly disposed for righteousness, and whether we surely believe, and as we ought; nor is it anywhere revealed in Holy Scripture that I believe as I ought to do, or that I am righteous or one of the elect.  The best answer to them is the sense of the passage, which is this: The Holy Spirit shows and reveals to us what and how great are the gifts given to us, the Apostles, by God, and to others who love God-so great indeed that eye hath not seen them, nor have they entered into the heart of man; for the Apostle looks back to verse 9.

I say, then, that the Apostle is speaking in general terms of the gifts which were given to the Apostles and the Church, and of those gifts alone.  He says in effect: “We received this Spirit that we, i.e., the Apostles, might know with what gifts and good things in general Christ has enriched us, i.e., His Church, viz., with what grace of the Spirit, what redemption, what virtues, and especially with how great glory;” for these were the things alluded to in verse 9; and these things are, as he says in verse 11, in God, i.e., by the free-will and predestination of God.  “We know, too, through the Holy Spirit and Revelation, that these things have been given by God to the Church; for we speak of and teach these things as part of the faith.  But that I am possessed of them, or a sharer in them, is not a matter of faith, but of conjecture: it is not to be publicly preached, but secretly hoped for.”

Again, the word know may be taken in a twofold sense: (1) Objectively; (2) Subjectively.

1.  Objectively, the Apostle knew, and all the faithful knew, from the prophecies, miracles, and from other signs from God, that He has promised to His congregation (i.e., His Church, which has been called together by the Apostles, and was afterwards to be called together) and that, according to His promises, He had given His Grace, forgiveness of sins, righteousness, and other gifts of free gace, and lastly a sure hope of eternal life.  But all this was to His Church in common, not to this or that individual in it; for we cannot know in a particular case whether this one or that is faithful.  In this sense the word know is the same as believe.  For we believe that the Catholic Church is Holy, and that in her there is forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.  God, therefore, has only revealed that His Church is holy, but not that I am holy.  For although He has revealed and has promised to all in the Church, who rightly believe and repent, forgiveness of sins and righteousness, yet He has not revealed that I believe truly and repent; and therefore He has not revealed that my sins are forgiven and that I am justified.

2.  The word know may be taken subjectively: we Apostles know by experience what wisdom and grace God has given us; and in this way the word know is the same as experience.  For no one of the Apostles believed by faith from above that he had wisdom and grace; but he experienced the acts and effects of grace in himself so vehemently, frequently, clearly, and surely, that he felt morally certain that he had true wisdom and grace from God.  For the Apostles were filled with grace and wisdom,  and it behoved them to teach others the same, and wholly to long to bring the world to Christ.  Although, then, the Apostles knew by experience that they had been justified and sanctified, still the rest of the faithful did not know it, nor do they know it now.  They can only hope so, and conjecture it from signs of an upright and good life.  Yet neither the Apostles, nor they, believe it on the testimony of infused faith; for experience of every kind merely generates human faith, not Divine: that springs from and depends on the revelation of God alone.

13. Which things we also speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth.  I.e., not in words taught by Cicero, Demosthenes, or Aristotle, such as human wisdom teaches, but in the words inspired by the Holy Ghost.

Comparing spiritual things with spiritual. In other words, we teach this spiritual wisdom from the Scriptures and other spiritual writings, and do not base it on philosophical, rhetorical, or earthly reasons, ideas, or speeches, as St Chrysostom says.  Œcumenius says: “If we are asked whether Christ rose on the third day, we bring forward testimony and proofs from Jonah.  If we are asked whether the Lord was born of a Virgin, we compare His mother in her virginity to Anna and Elizabeth in their sterility, and thence prove it.” The Apostle here gives a priori the cause and reason why, at God’s command, he refrained from using eloquence and human wisdom in his preaching.  The reason is that Divine and human wisdom so widely differ.  Since, then, speech should be fitted to the subject matter, it was evidently right that that speech, by which Divine wisdom was published, should be adapted to it, and should differ from te words of human wisdom-that is to say, that is should be simple, grave, efficacious, and Divine, as proceeding from the Holy Spirit, who would reject all rhetorical ornamentation.  In this manner we are bidden to learn, forbidden to use ornament.  For as words of human wisdom carry with them the wisdom and spirit of the speaker, so do the words of the Holy Spirit bring into the soul the wisdom og God, and of His Spirit speaking by the Apostles.

14. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. Natural or animal is here applied to one who follows his senses and the unaided light of reason.  He is one who is concerned with this life only, and thinks after the way of this life, who follows the objects of his sensations and the thoughts of his heart.  Such were the Apostles before they received the Holy Spirit, and such were the Corinthians at this time, as they sought after eloquence.  Now, too, there are many of the faithful, not ad men, who do not seek after higher things.

The word animal here comes from “anima,” and has a threefold application.  (1) It is applied to one who grows, takes nourishment, and heeds food, as all animals do.  So Adam, though created in grace, is called animal [natural] (1 Cor 15:45-46).  (2) Secondly, to one who follows his nature, i.e., his lusts and desires.  So the Jews are called animal or natural, as not having the Spirit.  (3) To one who follows after knowledge that is not spiritual and sublime, but open and easy to the mind and senses.  This is the meaning here.  Bernard, or whoever is the author of the treatise on the solitary life, says, a little after the beginning of it: “The natural state is a mode of life subservient to the senses of the body, viz., when  the soul, as though going outside herself, pursues, by means of the bodily senses, the pleasure she finds in the bodies she loves, feeds on the enjoyment they give, and nourishes her own sensual disposition; or when, as though returning to herself, on finding that she is unable to bring to the place where her incorporeal nature is the bodies to which she has joined herself y the powerful bonds of love and habit, she brings with her images of them, and holds friendly conversation with them.  And when she has accustomed herself to them, she thinks that there is nothing save what she left behind her without, or herself brought within.  Thenceforward, as long as she remains here, she finds her pleasure in living according to the pleasures of the ody; but when she is prevented from enjoying them, she has not thoughts but such a are images of bodily things.”

So he is called spiritual who lives in the Spirit:

1.  As a spirit not needing food, so Christ lived after his resurrection (1 Cor 15:45).
2.  As following the inspiration, direction, and movements of the Spirit.
3.  As drinking in the heavenly teaching of the Spirit.  Such a one is called Spiritual by St Chrysostom, St Thomas, and others.  St Bernard, in the place just quoted, writes: “The state of beginners may be called natural, of those who are advancing rational, of those who are perfect spiritual.  For they are natural who by themselves are neither led by reason nor drawn by affection, and yet are influenced by authority, or touched by doctrine, or provoked by example to approve, and strive to imitate the good.  They are rational who through the judgment of reason have some knowledge and desire of  good, but have not yet any love of it.  They are perfect who are led by the Spirit, who are illuminated by the Holy Spirit more fully, and derive their name of “spiritual” from this.  And since they know the taste of the good, and are led by their love for it, they are called the wise, or those who know.” Then in comparing these three, and forming of them steps, and a ladder of virtues, he goes on to say: “The first state has to do with the body, the second with the soul, the third finds no rest but in God.  The beginning of good in conversion is perfect obedience, its advancement is the subjection of the body, its perfection is to have turned through continued good actions custom into love.  The beginning of the rational is to understand those things which are put before it in the teaching of faith, its advancement is marked by the providing of those things which are enjoined, its perfection is seen in the judgment of the reason becoming the love of the heart.  The perfection of the rational is the beginning of the spiritual; its advancement consists in seeing the glory of God with unveiled face; its perfection is to be changed into the same image from glory to glory as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

Because they are spiritually discerned, i.e., according to the rules given by the Holy Spirit and the canons of faith.  Some read, he is spiritually discerned, which would mean that he is invited, by being examined, to spiritual and heavenly wisdom.  When he is being instructed in spiritual matters, or when spiritual things are put before the natural man, and when the natural man is questioned about spiritual things, he cannot understand them.

15. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things. He is called spiritual, as we have seen, who follows faith and wisdom and the teaching of the Holy Spirit, who has the Holy Spirit as the ruler of his soul.  So Chrysostom, Anselm, and St Thomas.

Judgeth all things.  1.  Hence Calvin and the Anabaptists make the private and fanatical spirit of each spiritual man, i.e., each one of the faithful, the arbiter of controversies of faith, and the interpreter of Scripture; bur wrongly, for all Christians are not spiritual, but only the perfect, as was said at verse 14.

2.  Others cannot know whether a man has this spirit, whether he is spiritual, nay, whether he is even faithful.  Therefore this private and secret spirit cannot be the public judge of all things; but this is the province of Councils and the Pope.  For it is known that these are spiritual, that they are governed by the Holy Spirit, who appointed them teachers, and by them governs and teaches the Church.

3.  The fathers were spiritual to a high degree, and yet they sometimes erred.

4.  It is evident that the simple need the pastors and teachers whom God has placed in the Church to teach others (Eph 4:11).

I answer, then, that this passage means that the spiritual man judges things in general, spiritual things, Divine and heavenly things, natural, earthly, and easy things, while the natural man judges natural things only.  This is that there may be a distribution proportioned to classes of individuals, and not to individuals of different classes.  So we say, “I live on every kind of food,” i.e., on any kind.

In the second place, to “judge all things” is to examine, confute, and sift questions, according to the rules of the faith, and of the Divine wisdom which the spiritual man has.  Of course this is in questions in which he has been sufficiently instructed from above, as, e.g., in clear and ascertained matters of faith he judges everything according to the articles of the faith, and condemns heresies and errors contrary to that faith.  But if any new question in faith or morals should arise, and it is obscure or doubtful, wisdom itself dictates to the spiritual man, who in this question is not yet spiritual, or sufficiently taught by the Spirit, to have recourse to his superiors, as the same Spirit teaches him, to the doctors, to his his mother, the Roman Church, that she may decide and define this question for him.  For she, according to the teaching of the Apostle, is plainly spiritual, and judges all things by the direction and assistance of the Spirit.  For Christ promised this to Peter, and in him to his successors (Mt 16:18; Lk 22:32).  They, then, are highly spiritual, and they judge all things.  It is different with those beneath them, who, though they be spiritual, yet should often seek the judgment of their superiors.  Otherwise, he who is spiritual would never have to obey the decision of his father, or his teacher or his bishop.  Insofar, then, as the spiritual man follows the leading of the Spirit, either teaching him directly, or sending him to the doctors of the Church, he cannot err.  In the same way St John says that he that is born of God cannot sin (1 Jn 3:9); i.e., so far as he that is born of God abides in Him. So St Thomas, Ambrose, Anselm, Theophylact, Chrysostom.  St Paul’s meaning, then, is that the spiritual man judges well about the hidden mysteries of the faith, and about things in general, and if he doubts, he knows what to do, whom he ought to consult, so as to receive instruction.  Still, in difficult cases he ought to consult those who are wiser and more skilled in the matter.

Yet himself is judges by no man, i.e., is confuted or condemned by no one, in so far as he judges spiritually, as St Chrysostom says.  For if otherwise, he is reproved as St Peter was by St Paul (Gal 2:11).  On the other hand the natural man is spiritually examined and judged by the spiritual, even though he does not know it or understand it.  For in this passage the whole endeavour of the Apostle is to exclude human and worldly wisdom by spiritual, and to contrast the spiritual with the natural, and to put it first, since the Corinthians did the opposite and therefore put Apollos before Paul.  He implies, therefore, that the Corinthians are natural, because they sought after “enticing words of man’s wisdom,” such as they admired in the eloquence of Apollos; and he says that they cannot judge about spiritual things, and the spiritual wisdom of Paul, but then he and men like him ought to judge both spiritual and natural wisdom.  This and nothing else is what the Apostle is aiming at.

16. Who hath known the mind of the Lord? Since the spiritual man has been taught by God and follows His rules, so far as he is such, he can be judged by no one; for one who should judge him ought to be wiser or greater than the Spirit of God, so as to be able to penetrate and measure the Spirit.  But who can do this? So Chrysostom.  Nevertheless, the spiritual man often can be and ought to be judged, because he is not known to be spiritual in a given matter.  Hence in 15:29 he says, “Let the others speak two or three, and let the others judge.”  Moreover, many boast themselves to be spiritual who are merely natural, as, e.g., the Anabaptists.  But St Paul was confessedly spiritual, hence he adds, We have the mind of Christ-the wisdom of Christ which is spiritual and Divine, not natural and human.  Our wisdom is not that of Plato or Pythagoras, but of Christ, who has infused His truths into our minds.  St Chrysostom

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 4:31-37

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 31, 2010

Ver  31. And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.32. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.33. And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,34. Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with you, you Jesus of Nazareth? are you come to destroy us? I know you who you are; the Holy One of God.35. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold your peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.36. And they were all amazed, and spoke among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.37. And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.

AMBROSE; Neither indignation at their treatment, nor displeasure at their wickedness, caused our Lord to abandon Judea, but unmindful of His injuries, and remembering mercy, at one time by teaching, at another by healing, He softens the hearts of this unbelieving people, as it is said, And he went down to Capernaum.

CYRIL; For although He knew that they were disobedient and hard of heart, He nevertheless visits them, as a good Physician tries to heal those who are suffering from a mortal disease. But He taught them boldly in the synagogues, as Esaias said, I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth. On the sabbath day also He disputed with them, because they were at leisure. They wondered therefore at the mightiness of His teaching, His virtue, and His power, as it follows, And they were astonished at his doctrine, for his word was with power. That is, not soothing, but urging and exciting them to seek salvation. Now the Jews supposed Christ to be one of the saints or prophets. But in order that they might esteem Him higher, He passes beyond the prophetic limits. For he said not, “Thus said the Lord,” but being the Master of the Law, He uttered things which were above the Law, changing the letter to the truth, and the figures to the spiritual meaning.

THEOPHYL; The word of the teacher is with power, when he performs that which he teaches. But he who by his actions belies what he preaches is despised.

CYRIL; But He generally intermingles with His teaching the performance of mighty works. For those whose reason does not incline to knowledge, are roused by the manifestation of miracles. Hence it follows, And there was in the synagogue a man which had a devil.

AMBROSE; The work of divine healing commenced on the sabbath, signifying thereby that he began anew where the old creation ceased, in order that He might declare at the very beginning that the Son of God was not under the Law, but above the Law. Rightly also He began on the sabbath, that He might show Himself the Creator, who interweaves His works one within another, and follows up that which He had before begun; just as a builder determining to reconstruct a house, begins to pull down the old one, not from the foundation, but from the top, so as to apply his hand first to that part, where he had before left off.: Holy men may through the word of God deliver from evil spirits, but to bid the dead rise again, is the work of Divine power alone.

CYRIL; But the Jews spoke falsely of the glory of Christ, saying, He casts out devils by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. To remove this charge, when the devils came beneath His invincible power, and endured not the Divine Presence, they sent forth a savage cry, as it follows: And he cried with a loud voice, saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with you, &c.

THEOPHYL; As if he said, Abstain a while from troubling me, you who have no fellowship with our designs.

AMBROSE; It ought not to shock any one that the devil is mentioned in this book as the first to have spoken the name of Jesus of Nazareth. For Christ received not from him that name which an Angel brought down from heaven to the Virgin. The devil is of such effrontery, that he is the first to use a thing among men and bring it as something new to them, that he may strike people with terror at his power. Hence it follows: For I know you who you are, the Holy One of God.

ATHAN. He spoke of Him not as a Holy One of God, as if He were like to the other saints, but as being in a remarkable manner the Holy One, with the addition of the article. For He is by nature holy by partaking of whom all others are called holy. Nor again did He speak this as if He knew it, but He pretended to know it.

CYRIL; For the devils thought by praises of this sort to make Him a lover of vainglory, that He might be induced to abstain from opposing or destroying them by way of grateful return.

CHRYS. The devil wished also to disturb the order of things, and to deprive the Apostles of their dignity, and to incline the many to obey Him.

ATHAN. Although he confessed the truth he controlled his tongue, lest with the truth he should also publish his own disgrace, which should teach us not to care for such, although they speak the truth, for we who know the divine Scripture, must not be taught by the devil, as it follows: And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be silent, &c.

THEOPHYL; But by the permission of God, the man who was to be delivered from the devil is thrown into the midst, that the power of the Savior being manifested might bring over many to the way of salvation. As it follows: And when he had thrown him in the midst. But this seems to be opposed to Mark, who says, And the unclean spirit tearing him, and crying with a loud voice, went out of him, unless we understand that Mark meant by tearing him the same as Luke by these words, And when he had thrown him in the midst, so that what follows, and hurt him not, might be understood to mean, that that twisting of limbs, and sore troubling, did not weaken him, as is often the case when devils depart from a man, leaving him with limbs cut and torn off. Well then do they wonder at such complete restoration of health.  For it follows: And fear came upon all.

THEOPHYL. As if they said, What is this word by which he commands, Go out, and he went out?

THEOPHYL; Holy men were able by the word of God to cast out devils, but the Word Himself does mighty works by His own power.

AMBROSE; In a mystery, the man in the synagogue with the unclean spirit is the Jewish people, which being fast bound in the wiles of the devil, defiled its vaunted cleanliness of body by the pollution of the heart. And truly it had an unclean spirit, because it had lost the Holy Spirit. For the devil entered whence Christ had gone out.

THEOPHYL. We must know also that many now have devils, namely, such as fulfill the desires of devils, as the furious have the demon of anger; and so of the rest. But the Lord came into the synagogue when the thoughts of the man were collected, and then says to the demon that dwelt there, Hold your peace, and immediately throwing him into the middle he departs out of him. For it becomes not a man always to be angry, (that is, like the brutes,) nor always to be without anger, (for that is want of feeling,) but he must take the middle path, and have anger against what is evil; and so the man is thrown into the midst when the unclean spirit departs from him.

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Martin Luther King Holds These Truths

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 30, 2010

The following post is from the Heritage Foundation’s blog, THE FOUNDRY. It was written by Julia Shaw and appears here in compliance with the site’s copyright policy which I’ve appended to the end of the post.

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. stood at the Lincoln Memorial and admonished America to return to its First Principles. In his I Have a Dream Speech, Dr King looked forward to the day that “this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’” He dreamt of the day when all “would be guaranteed the ‘unalienable Rights’ of ‘Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’”

Dr. King did not talk about remaking America. His dream was one “deeply rooted in the American dream,” as he said, and one that hearkened back to America’s founding principles. It was not a rejection of our past, but a vision of hope based on the principles of our past.

Based on a series of arbitrary and unjust policies, African Americans were denied basic protections of the rule of law. Segregation prevented access to public accommodations, and many were reduced to poverty as a result of these injustices. Dr. King did not ask African-Americans to be satisfied with their condition, nor did he denounce America as an unjust nation. Instead, Dr. King assured his listeners that their circumstances were contrary to America’s creed. He used the central principle of the Declaration – natural human equality – as a rallying cry for civil rights.

The principle of human equality is the foundation of the Declaration’s statement of natural rights. We are all equal because we all participate in a common human nature. Since we are all equal, we are all entitled to the basic rights that are derived from human nature. From these First Principles, Dr. King understood that all Americans—regardless of skin color—should have access to the rule of law, public accommodations, and thereby have the ability to pursue economic opportunities and, ultimately, happiness.

But Dr. King did not think that the principle of equality meant that everyone should be treated the same. He sought equality of rights and equality before the law, not equality of outcomes or equality as a result. Instead, justice would be when people were judged “by the content of their character” rather than by arbitrary considerations such as skin color.  Dr. King did not mean that we should treat people of good character and bad character the same. Actual equality is achieved when arbitrary standards are replaced by meaningful criteria such as talent and virtue. A just country, then, is one in which people are rewarded for acting virtuously and producing success.

The challenge of our time is quite formidable: we face an ever expanding government, exercising a bureaucratic tyranny that suffocates our self-government.  Let’s take Dr. King’s teaching to heart: let’s look to our First Principles to guide us through our current political problems and to restore this great country.

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Pope John Paul II on Psalm 90

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 30, 2010

GENERAL AUDIENCE OF JOHN PAUL II

Wednesday, 26 March 2003

Psalm 89[90]
Teach us to number our days aright

1. The verses that have just echoed in our ears and in our hearts are a sapiential meditation which, however, has the tone of a supplication. In fact, in Psalm 89[90] the one who prays the Psalm puts at the heart of his prayer one of the topics most explored by philosophy, most sung by poetry and most felt by human experience in all ages and in all the regions of the earth:  human frailty and the passing of time.

It is enough to think of certain unforgettable pages of the Book of Job, which present our frailty. In fact, we are like those who “dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed more easily than the moth. Between morning and evening they are destroyed; they perish for ever without anyone regarding it” (cf. Job 4,19-20). Our life on earth is “but a shadow” (Job 8,9). Again, Job continues to confess:  “My days are swifter than a runner; they flee away, they see no happiness. They shoot by like skiffs of reed, like an eagle swooping on its prey” (Job 9,25-26).

2. At the beginning of his song, which is akin to an elegy (cf. Ps 89[90],2-6), the Psalmist insistently contrasts the eternity of God with the fleeting time of humanity. This is his most explicit declaration:  “For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch of the night” (v. 4).

As a consequence of original sin, by divine command, man returns to the dust from which he was taken, as already affirmed in the account of Genesis:  “You are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gn 3,19; cf. 2,7). The Creator, who shapes the human creature in all his beauty and complexity, is also the One who “turns men back into dust” (cf. Ps 89[90],3). And “dust” in biblical language is also a symbolic expression for death, the lower regions, the silence of the tomb.
Judgement, sin, death

3. The sense of human limitation is intense in this entreaty. Our existence has the frailty of the grass that springs up at dawn; suddenly it hears the whistle of the sickle that reduces it to a heap of hay. The freshness of life all too soon gives way to the aridity of death (cf. vv. 5-6; cf. Is 40,6-7; Job 14,1-2; Ps 102[103],14-16).

As often occurs in the Old Testament, the Psalmist associates this radical weakness with sin. In us there is finiteness but also culpability. For this reason, the Lord’s anger and judgement seem to overshadow our lives. “Truly we are consumed by your anger, filled with terror by your wrath. Our guilt lies open before you…. All our days pass away in your anger” (Ps 89 [90],7-9).

4. At the dawn of the new day, with this Psalm, the liturgy of Lauds rouses us from our illusions and our pride. Human life is limited:  “Our span is seventy years or eighty for those who are strong”, the Psalmist affirms. Moreover the passing of the hours, days, and months is marked by “sorrow and toil” (cf. v. 10) and the years themselves turn out to be like a “sigh” (v. 9).

This, then, is the great lesson:  the Lord teaches us to “count our days” so that by accepting them with healthy realism “we may gain wisdom of heart” (v. 12). But the person praying asks something more of God:  that his grace support and gladden our days, even while they are so fragile and marked by affliction. May he grant us to taste the flavour of hope, even if the tide of time seems to drag us away. Only the grace of the Lord can give our daily actions consistency and perpetuity: “Let the favour of the Lord our God be upon us:  give success to the work of our hands, give success to the work of our hands” (v. 17).

In prayer let us ask God that a reflection of eternity penetrate our brief lives and actions. With the presence of divine grace in us, a light will shine on the passing of our days, misery will be turned into glory, what seems not to make sense will acquire meaning.

5. Let us conclude our reflection on Psalm 89[90] by leaving the word to early Christian tradition, which comments on the Psalter having in the background the glorious figure of Christ. Thus for the Christian writer Origen, in his Treatise on the Psalms which has been handed down to us in the Latin translation of St Jerome, the Resurrection of Christ gives us the possibility, perceived by the Psalmist, to “rejoice and be glad all our days” (cf. v. 14). This is because Christ’s Paschal Mystery is the source of our life beyond death:  “After being gladdened by the Resurrection of Our Lord, through whom we believe we have been redeemed and will also rise one day, we now live in joy the days that remain of our life, exulting because of this confidence, and with hymns and spiritual chants we praise God through Jesus Christ Our Lord” (Origen Jerome, “74 Omelie sul libro dei Salmi” [74 Homilies on the Book of the Psalms], Milan 1993, p. 652).

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, John Paul II Catechesis, liturgy, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on the Gospel of Luke 4:16-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 30, 2010

Ver  14. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.15. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all.16. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.17. And there was delivered to him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor: he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,19. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.20. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.21. And he began to say to them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.

ORIGEN; The Lord having overcome the tempter, power was added to Him, i.e. as far as regards the manifestation of it. Hence it is said, And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit.

THEOPHYL; By the power of the Spirit he means showing forth of miracles.

CYRIL; Now He performed miracles not from any external power, and from having as it were the acquired grace of the Holy Spirit, as other saints, but rather as being by nature the Son of God, and partaking of all things which are the Father’s, He exercises as by His own power and operation that grace which is of the Holy Spirit. But it was right that from that time He should become known, and that the mystery of His humanity should shine forth among those who were of the seed of Israel. It therefore follows, And his fame went out.

THEOPHYL; And because wisdom belongs to teaching, but power to works, both are joined here, as it follows, And he taught in the synagogue.

Synagogue, which is a Greek word, is rendered in Latin congregatio. By this name then the Jews were accustomed to call not only the gathering together of people, but also the house where they met together to hear the word of God; as we call by the name of Church, both the place and the company of the faithful. But there is this difference between the synagogue which is called congregation, and the Church which is interpreted convocation, that flocks and cattle, and any thing else can be gathered together in one, but only rational beings can be called together. Accordingly the Apostolical doctors thought right to call a people which was distinguished by the superior dignity of a new grace rather by the name of Church, than Synagogue. But rightly also was the fact of His being magnified by those present proved, by actual evidence of word and deed, as it follows, And he was magnified by all.

ORIGEN; But you must not think that they only were happy, and that you are deprived of Christ’s teaching. For now also throughout the world He teaches through His instruments, and is now more glorified by all men, than at that time when those only in one province were gathered together.

CYRIL; He communicates the knowledge of Himself to those among whom He was brought up according to the flesh. As it follows, And he came to Nazareth.

THEOPHYL. That He might teach us to benefit and instruct first our brethren, then to extend our kindness to the rest of our friends.

THEOPHYL; They flocked together on the Sabbath day in the synagogues, that, resting from all worldly occupations, they might set themselves down with a quiet mind to meditate on the precepts of the Law. Hence it follows, And he entered as was his custom on the Sabbath day into the synagogue.

AMBROSE; The Lord in every thing so humbled Himself to obedience, that He did not despise even the office of a reader, as it follows, And he rose up to read, and there was delivered to him the book, &c. He received the book indeed, that He might show Himself to be the same who spoke in the Prophets, and that He might stop the blasphemies of the wicked, who say that there is one God of the Old Testament, another of the New; or who say that Christ had His beginning from a virgin. For how did He begin from a virgin, who spoke before that virgin was?

ORIGEN; He opens not the book by chance, and finds a chapter containing a prophecy of Himself, but by the providence of God. Hence it follows, And when he had opened the book, he found the place, &c.

ATHAN. He says this to explain to us the cause of the revelation made Or to the world, and of His taking upon Him the human nature. For as the Son, though He is the giver of. the Spirit, does not refuse to confess as man that by the Spirit He casts out devils, so, inasmuch as He was made man, He does not refuse to say, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.

CYRIL; In like manner we confess Him to have been anointed, inasmuch as He took upon Him our flesh, as it follows, Because he has anointed me. For the Divine nature is not anointed, but that which is cognate to us. So also when He says that He was sent, we must suppose Him speaking of His human nature. For it follows, He has sent me to preach the gospel to the poor.

AMBROSE; You see the Trinity coeternal and perfect. The Scripture speaks of Jesus as perfect God and perfect man. It speaks of the Father, and the Holy Spirit, who was shown to be a cooperator, when in a bodily form as a dove He descended upon Christ.

ORIGEN; By the poor He means the Gentile nations, for they were poor, possessing nothing at all, having neither God, nor Law, nor Prophets, nor justice, and the other virtues.

AMBROSE; Or, He is anointed all over with spiritual oil, and heavenly virtue, that He might enrich the poverty of man’s condition with the everlasting treasure of His resurrection.

THEOPHYL; He is sent also to preach the Gospel to the poor, saying, Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.

CYRIL; For perhaps to the poor in spirit He declares in these words, that among all the gifts which are obtained through Christ, upon them was bestowed a free gift. It follows, To heal the broken hearted. He calls those broken hearted, who are weak, of an infirm mind, and unable to resist the assaults of the passions, and to them He promises a healing remedy.

BASIL; Or, He came to heal the broken hearted, i.e. to afford a remedy to those that have their heart broken by Satan through sin, because beyond all other things sin lays prostrate the human hears.

THEOPHYL; Or, because it is written, A broken and a contrite heart God will not despise. He says therefore, that He is sent to heal the broken hearted, as it is written, Who heals the broken hearted.

It follows, And to preach deliverance to the captives.

CHRYS. The word captivity has many meanings. There is a good captivity, which St. Paul speaks of when he says, Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. There is a bad captivity also, of which it is said, Leading captive silly women laden with sins. There is a captivity present to the senses, that is by our bodily enemies. But the worst captivity is that of the mind, of which he here speaks. For sin exercises the worst of all tyrannies, commanding to do evil, and destroying them that obey it. From this prison of the soul Christ lets us free.

THEOPHYL. But these things may be understood also of the dead, who being taken captive have been loosed from the dominion of hell by the resurrection of Christ. It follows, And recovering of sight to the blind.

CYRIL; For the darkness which the Devil has spread over the human heart, Christ the Sun of Righteousness has removed making men, as the Apostle says, children not of night and darkness, but of light and the day. For they who one time wandered have discovered the path of the righteous. It follows, To set at liberty them that are bruised.

ORIGEN; For what had been so shattered and dashed about as man, who was set at liberty by Jesus and healed?

THEOPHYL; Or, to set at liberty them that are bruised; i.e. to relieve those who had been heavy laden with the intolerable burden of the Law.

ORIGEN; But all these things were mentioned first, in order that after the recovery of sight from blindness, after deliverance from captivity, after being healed of divers wounds, we might come to the acceptable year of the Lord. As it follows, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. Some say that, according to the simple meaning of the word, the Savior preached the Gospel throughout Judea in one year, and that this is what is meant by preaching the acceptable year of the Lord. Or, the acceptable year of the Lord is the whole time of the Church, during which while present in the body, it is absent from the Lord.

THEOPHYL; For not only was that year acceptable in which our Lord preached, but that also in which the Apostle preaches, saying, Behold, now is the accepted time. After the acceptable year of the Lord, he adds, And the day of retribution; that is, the final retribution, when the Lord shall give to every one according to his work.

AMBROSE; Or, by the acceptable year of the Lord, he means this day extended through endless ages, which knows of no return to a world of labor, and grants to men everlasting reward and rest. It follows, And he closed the book, and he gave it again.

THEOPHYL; He read the book to those who were present to hear Him, but having read it, He returned it to the minister; for while He was in the world He spoke openly, teaching in the synagogues and in the temple; but about to return to heaven, He committed the office of preaching the Gospel to those who from the beginning were eye-witnesses and ministers of the word. He read standing, because while explaining those Scriptures which were written of Him, He condescended to work in the flesh; but having returned the book, He sits down, because He restored Himself to the throne of heavenly rest. For standing is the part of the workman, but sitting of one who is resting or judging. So also let the preacher of the word rise up and read and work and preach, and sit down, i.e. wait for the reward of rest. But He opens the book and reads, because sending the Spirit, He taught His Church all truth; having shut the book, He returned it to the minister, because all things were not to be said to all, but He committed the word to the teacher to be dispensed according to the capacity of the hearers. It follows, And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him.

ORIGEN; And now also if we will, our eyes can look upon the Savior. For when you direct your whole heart to wisdom, truth, and the contemplation of the only-begotten Son of God, your eyes behold Jesus.

CYRIL; But then He turned the eyes of all men upon Him, wondering how He knew the writing which He had never learnt. But since it was the custom of the Jews to say that the prophecies spoken of Christ are completed either in certain of their chiefs, i.e. their kings, or in some of their holy prophets, the Lord made this announcement; as it follows, But he began to say to them that this Scripture is fulfilled.

THEOPHYL; Because, in fact, as that Scripture had foretold, the Lord was both doing great things, and preaching greater.

Ver 22. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?23. And he said to them, You will surely say to me this proverb, Physician, heal yourself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in your country.24. And he said, Verily I say to you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.25. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;26. But to none of them was Elias sent, save to Sarepta, a city of Sidon, to a woman that was a widow.27. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

CHRYS. When our Lord came to Nazareth, He refrains from miracles, lest He should provoke the people to greater malice. But He sets before them His teaching no less wonderful than His miracles. For there was a certain ineffable grace in our Savior’s words which softened the hearts of the hearers. Hence it is said, And they all bare him witness.

THEOPHYL; They bare Him witness that it was truly He, as He had said, of whom the prophet had spoken.

CHRYS. But foolish men though wondering at the power of His words little esteemed Him because of His reputed father. Hence it follows, And they said, Is not this the son of Joseph?

CYRIL; But what prevents Him from filling men with awe, though He were the Son as was supposed of Joseph? Do you not see the divine miracles, Satan already prostrate, men released from their sickness?

CHRYS. For though after a long time and when He had begun to show forth His miracles, He came to them; they did not receive Him, but again were inflamed with envy. Hence it follows, And he said to them, You will surely say to me this proverb, Physician, heal yourself.

CYRIL; It was a common proverb among the Hebrews, invented as a reproach, for men used to cry out against infirm physicians, Physician, heal yourself.

GLOSS. It was as, if they said, We have heard that you performed many cures in Capernaum; cure also thyself, i.e. Do likewise in your own city, where you were nourished and brought up.

AUG. But since St. Luke mentions that great things had been already done by Him, which he knows he had not yet related, what is more evident than that he knowingly anticipated the relation of them. For he had not proceeded so far beyond our Lord’s baptism as that he should be supposed to have forgotten that he had not y et related any of those things v, which were done in Capernaum.

AMBROSE; But the Savior purposely excuses Himself for not working miracles in His own country, that no one might suppose that love of country is a thing to be lightly esteemed by us. For it follows, But he says, Verily I say to you, that no prophet is accepted in his own country.

CYRIL; As if He says, You wish me to work many miracles among you, in whose country I have been brought up, but I am aware of a very common failing in the minds of many. To a certain extent it always happens, that even the very best things are despised when they fall to a man’s lot, not scantily, but ever at his will. So it happens also with respect to men. For a friend who is ever at hand, does not meet with the respect due to him.

THEOPHYL; Now that Christ is called a Prophet in the Scriptures, Moses bears witness, saying, God shall raise up a Prophet to you from among your brethren.

AMBROSE; But this is given for an example, that in vain can you expect the aid of Divine mercy, if you grudge to others the fruits of their virtue. The Lord despises the envious, and withdraws the miracles of His power from them that are jealous of His divine blessings in others. For our Lord’s Incarnation is an evidence of His divinity, and His invisible things are proved to us by those which are visible. See then what evils envy produces. For envy a country is deemed unworthy of the works of its citizen, which was worthy of the conception of the Son of God.

ORIGEN; As far as Luke’s narrative is concerned, our Lord is not yet said to have worked any miracle in Capernaum. For before He came to Capernaum, He is said to have lived at Nazareth. I cannot but think therefore that in these words, “whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum,” there lies a mystery concealed, and that Nazareth is a type of the Jews, Capernaum of the Gentiles. For the time will come when the people of Israel shall say, “The things which you have shown to the whole world, show also to us.” Preach your word to the people of Israel, that then at least, when the fullness of the Gentiles has entered, all Israel may be saved. Our Savior seems to me to have well answered, No prophet is accepted in his own country, but rather according to the type than the letter; though neither was Jeremiah accepted in Anathoth his country, nor the rest of the Prophets. But it seems rather to be meant that we should say, that the people of the circumcision were the countrymen of all the Prophets. And the Gentiles indeed accepted the prophecy of Jesus Christ, esteeming Moses and the Prophets who preached of Christ, far higher than they who would not from these receive Jesus.

AMBROSE; By a very apt comparison the arrogance of envious citizens is put to shame, and our Lord’s conduct shown to agree with the ancient Scriptures. For it follows, But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias: not that the days were his, but that he performed his works in them.

CHRYS. He himself, an earthly angel, a heavenly man, who had neither house, nor food, nor clothing like others, carries the keys of the heavens on his tongue. And this is what follows, When the heaven was shut. But as soon as he had closed the heavens and made the earth barren, hunger reigned and bodies wasted away, as it follows, when there was as famine through the land.

BASIL; For when he beheld the great disgrace that arose from universal plenty, he brought a famine that the people might fast, by which he checked their sin which was exceeding great. But crows were made the ministers of food to the righteous, which are wont to steal the food of others.

CHRYS. But when the stream was dried up by which the cup of the righteous man was filled, God said, Go to Sarepta, a city of Sidon; there I will command a widow woman to feed you. As it follows, But to none of them was Elias sent, save to Sarepta, a city of Sidon, to a woman that was a widow. And this was brought to pass by a particular appointment of God. For God made him go a long journey, as far as Sidon, in order that having seen the famine of the country he should ask for rain from the Lord. But there were many rich men at that time, but none of them did any thing like the widow. For in the respect shown by the woman toward the prophet, consisted her riches not of lands, but of good will.

AMBROSE; But he says in a mystery, “In the days of Elias,” because Elias brought the day to them who saw in his works the light of spiritual grace, and so the heaven was opened to them that beheld the divine mystery, but was shut when there was famine, because there was no fruitfulness in acknowledging God. But in that widow to whom Elias was sent was prefigured a type of the Church.

ORIGEN; For when a famine came upon the people of Israel, i.e. of hearing the word of God, a prophet came to a widow, of whom it is said, For the I desolate has many more children than she which has an husband; and when he had come, he multiplies her bread and her nourishment.

THEOPHYL; Sidonia signifies a vain pursuit, Sarepta fire, or scarcity of bread. By all which things the Gentiles are signified, who, given up to vain pursuits, (following gain and worldly business,) were suffering from the flames of fleshly lusts, and the want of spiritual bread, until Elias, (i.e. the word of prophecy,) now that the interpretation of the Scriptures had ceased because of the faithlessness of the Jews, came to the Church, that being received into the hearts of believers he might feed and refresh them.

BASIL; Every widowed soul, bereft of virtue and divine knowledge, as soon as she receives the divine word, knowing her own failings, learns to nourish it with the bread of virtue, and to water the teaching of virtue from the fountain of life.

ORIGEN; He cites also another similar example, adding, And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of Eliseus the Prophet, and none of them were cleansed but Naaman the Syrian, who indeed was not of Israel.

AMBROSE; Now in a mystery the people pollute the Church, that another people might succeed, gathered together from foreigners, leprous indeed at first before it is baptized in the mystical stream, but which after the sacrament of baptism, washed from the stains of body and soul, begins to be a virgin without spot or wrinkle.

THEOPHYL; For Naaman, which means beautiful, represents the Gentile people, who is ordered to be washed seven times, because that baptism saves which the seven-fold Spirit renews. His flesh after washing began to appear as a child’s, because grace like a mother begets all to one childhood, or because he is conformed to Christ, of whom it is said, to us a Child is born.

Ver 28. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,29. And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.30. But he passing through the midst of them went his way.

CYRIL; He convicted them of their evil intentions, and therefore they are enraged, and hence what follows, And all they in the synagogue when they heard these things were filled with wrath. Because He had said, This day is this prophecy fulfilled, they thought that He compared Himself to the prophets, and are therefore enraged, and expel Him out of their city, as it follows, And they rose up, and cast him out.

AMBROSE; It can not be wondered at that they lost their salvation who cast the Savior out of their city. But the Lord who taught His Apostles by the example of Himself to be all things to all men, neither repels the willing, nor chooses the unwilling; neither struggles against those who cast Him out, nor refuses to hear those who supplicate Him. But that conduct was the result of no slight enmity, which, forgetful of the feelings of fellow citizens, converts the causes of love into the bitterest hatred. For when the Lord Himself was extending His blessings among the people, they began to inflict injuries upon Him, as it follows, And they led him to the brow of the hill, that they might cast him down.

THEOPHYL; Worse are the Jewish disciples than their master the Devil. For he says, Cast yourself down; they actually attempt to cast Him down. But Jesus having suddenly changed His mind, or seized with astonishment, went away, since He still reserves for them a place of repentance. Hence it follows, He passing through the midst of them went his way.

CHRYS. Herein He shows both His human nature and His divine. To stand in the midst of those who were plotting against Him, and not be seized, betokened the loftiness of His divinity; but His departure declared the mystery of the dispensation, i.e. His incarnation.

AMBROSE; At the same time we must understand that this bodily endurance was not necessary, but voluntary. When He wills, He is taken, when He wills, He escapes. For how could He be held by a few who was not held by a whole people? But He would have the impiety to be the deed of the many, in order that by a few indeed He might be afflicted, but might die for the whole world. Moreover, He had still rather heal the Jews than destroy them, that by the fruitless issue of their rage they might be dissuaded from wishing what they could not accomplish.

THEOPHYL; The hour of His Passion had not yet come, which was to be on the preparation of the Passover, nor had He yet come to the place of His Passion, which not at Nazareth, but at Jerusalem, was prefigured by the blood of the victims; nor had He chosen this kind of death, of whom it was prophesied that He should be crucified by the world.

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A New Series on EWTN

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2010

Thomas Nash, author of an outstanding book, WORTHY IS THE LAMB: The Biblical Roots of the Mass, is hosting a new series on EWTN entitled The Biblical Story of the Mass (see info here). The series starts tonight at 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. If you don’t get EWTN on your television you can view the episodes live on the internet.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 14:25-33

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2010

Luk 14:25  And there went great multitudes with him. And turning, he said to them:
Luk 14:26  If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple
.

Ver. 26.—If any man come to Me, &c. That having left all (ver. 33) he may, with the Apostles and the seventy disciples, follow Me, the Master and Teacher of perfection.

All these things are of evangelical counsel, and not of precept although they may be said in a measure to extend to all Christians, inasmuch as they are bound to hate their parents, i.e. to give up the love of their friends and relations—even the love of life, if such love oppose itself to the law of Christ. Hence Maldonatus thinks this to be of precept; Jansenius, of counsel. But see Matt 10:37.

Suarez (lib. ii. De Concurs. Dom.) says, “to hate” signifies the same as “to love less,” in which sense it is written, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” Rom 9:13.

Luk 14:27  And whosoever doth not carry his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
Luk 14:28  For which of you, having a mind to build a tower, doth not first sit down and reckon the charges that are necessary, whether he have wherewithal to finish it:

Ver. 28.—For which of you, having a mind to build a tower, &c. By means of this parable Christ would teach us with what prudence we ought to test our bodily, and above all our spiritual strength, as well as such gifts of grace as we may possess, before we attempt to build the lofty tower of evangelical perfection, and declare war against ourselves our passions, our friends and the whole world; lest afterward, recoiling from so great an undertaking, we incur the loss of all our outlay, and also the reproach of having rashly commenced a building which we were unable to finish, and of having entered upon a war in which we were worsted.

“He counts the cost,” says the Gloss, “who perceives that money will have to be spent, i.e. that the heart must be weaned from corrupt desires, and the soul prepared for adversity.”

Symbolically. Salmeron (tom. vii. tract 24) says, “Christ puts forth two parables to teach the rulers of the Church that they must be skilled both in action and in contemplation, the one about building a tower, which is a symbol of contemplative life, for a tower commands an extensive prospect; the other, about engaging in war against a hostile king, which is significative of the active life.

“For those who are novices in the way of God, and are learning, as it were, the first elements of the perfect life, are called upon to battle with their enemies, and to fight against their vices and evil passions.

“By the tower therefore we may understand the religious state, which is coupled to the contemplative life.

“1. Because as a tower overtops all other buildings, so does a life of religion excel all other vocations and callings.

“2. As a tower gives grace to a city, so is the religious life an ornament to the Church.

“3. As a tower is a look-out, to discover the movements of the enemy, so in the contemplative life we look forth on the wiles of our adversary, and on the good and evil laid up in futurity.

“4. As a tower is a protection to them that dwell therein, so is a life of religion a defence against the world, the flesh and the devil, and a safe storehouse for the fruits of good works. So it is written, Song of Songs 4:4, ‘Thy neck is like the tower of David, . . . whereon hang a thousand bucklers,’ i.e. the bucklers of holy vows, holy examples, and holy observances.

“5. As every one ought to count the cost before he commences to build a tower, so a year is given a novice in order that he may make trial of his fitness for the religious life. For he whose heart is fixed on heaven looks down as from a lofty tower upon the world which lies beneath, and counts it worthless.”

So S. Chrysostom (hom. 15 ad. Pop.), says: “Just as to those who look back from the highest mountain tops, not only men and trees but even entire cities look small, and great armies seem to be creeping about like ants, so to those whose minds are uplifted by the constant contemplation of heavenly things, all human affairs, power, glory, riches, and the like, seem minute and worthless: unworthy of the greatness of the immortal soul.”

Hear also the lament of S. Gregory, when he was called from a religious order to be the Pope: “Seeking nothing, in this world, and fearing, nothing, I seemed to stand on a certain eminence, so that I thought that the promise of God, ‘I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth’ (Isa_58:14), had well-nigh been fulfilled in me. For he rides upon the high places of the earth, who despises and treads under feet all that this world counts great and glorious. But suddenly cast down from this eminence, and plunged into the whirl of temptation, I have became a prey to terror and affright, for although I fear nothing for myself, I fear much for those committed to my charge” (Lib. 1, epist. 5 and 6).

Luk 14:29  Lest, after he hath laid the foundation and is not able to finish it, all that see it begin to mock him,
Luk 14:30  Saying: This man began to build and was not able to finish.
Luk 14:31  Or, what king, about to go to make war against another king, doth not first sit down and think whether he be able, with ten thousand, to meet him that, with twenty thousand, cometh against him?

Ver. 31.—Or what king, about to make war against another king, &c. By this, says Titus, we are given to understand that we have a war to wage against the hostile powers of Satan and that law which, reigning in our members, is continually the cause of inward perturbation and strife.

So also S. Cyril: “The ten thousand of him who is going to fight with the king who has double the number, signify the simplicity of the Christian about to contend with the subtlety of the devil.” And Theophylact: “The king is sin, and devils are his satellites, who, compared to us, are considered to have greater strength.”

But S. Gregory (Hom.37) gives another interpretation. “The king that is about to come against us is Christ, who will come with a double army against a single one. For while we are scarcely prepared in deeds only, He will discomfit us at once, both in thought and deed. Let us send Him therefore an embassy; our tears, our works of mercy, and propitiatory victim.”

Luk 14:32  Or else, while the other is yet afar off, sending an embassy, he desireth conditions of peace.

Or else, while the other is yet afar off, &c. This verse gives completeness to the parable, but is not to be taken as the teaching of Christ, for we may not bargain with either the evil spirits or our vices; against these we must wage άσπονδον πόλεμον, an irreconcilable war.

This verse may however be interpreted in this way—

“He that desires to follow me perfectly in poverty and in the preaching of the gospel, must make an entire surrender of self, and give up parents, friends, and possessions, thus making them enemies.

“But if he see that he has not strength enough for this, let him make conditions of peace with them, and bind himself by the gospel precepts only, leaving for others the counsels of poverty, obedience, and the preaching of salvation. For this is that which Christ would teach, as is clear from the following verse; hence he makes mention of two armies, two leaders, and two banners, one His own, and the other that of Lucifer. Wherefore the Apostles and their successors have need to bear in mind that they are engaged in actual warfare against the devil and his angels.” S. Cyril.

Luk 14:33  So likewise every one of you that doth not renounce all that he possesseth cannot be my disciple.

So likewise every one of you that doth not renounce all that he possesseth, &c. This is the post-parable, and sums up the teaching of the parable itself. “He who refuseth to give up all, in order that he may live a life of evangelical perfection, cannot be My disciple as the Apostles were.” And again, It would he better for him who is unwilling to give up all, when persecution or necessity demand it and will not submit to the loss of possessions, family, and even life itself for the gospel’s sake, not to take My yoke upon him, rather than having begun to lead a Christian life, to fall away and apostatize from the faith. For such an one adds the sin of apostasy to that of unbelief, according to the Scripture: “For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.” 2 Pet 2:21.

Christ here teaches us that to become a disciple is no child’s play, but a work for men, needing great gifts of grace, and much strength of purpose and much vigour of mind.

The Christians of the first three centuries, particularly those of Rome, in time of persecution, cheerfully made sacrifice of their fortunes, their liberty and their lives, for the gospel’s sake. “Few,” says Bede, “are wishing to leave all and give up earthly cares; but it is for every one who is faithful to renounce all, i.e. so to hold the things that are of the world, that he may not be held in the world.”

Hear also S. Gregory (hom. 36): I “would advise you to leave all, but I dare not. But if you are not able to give up all, be masters of your earthly possessions; let them not gain the mastery over you.”

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Aquinas’ Catna Aurea on Luke 14:25-33 for Sunday Mass, Sept. 5

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2010

Ver 25. And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said to them,26. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.27. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

GREG. The mind is kindled, when it hears of heavenly rewards, and already desires to be there, where it hopes to enjoy them without ceasing; but great rewards cannot be reached except by great labors. Therefore it is said, And there went great multitudes to him: and he turned to them, and said, &c.

THEOPHYL. For because many of those that accompanied Him followed not with their whole heart, but lukewarmly, He shows what kind of a man his disciple ought to be.

GREG. But it may be asked, how are we bid to hate our parents and our relations in the flesh, who are commanded to love even our enemies? But if we weigh the force of the command we are able to do both, by rightly distinguishing them so as both to love those who are united to us by the bond of the flesh, and whom we acknowledge our relations, and by hating and avoiding not to know those whom we find our enemies in the way of God. For he is as it were loved by hatred, who in his carnal wisdom, pouring into our ears his evil sayings, is not heard.

AMBROSE; For if for your sake the Lord renounces His own mother, saying, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? why do you deserve to be preferred to your Lord? But the Lord will have us neither be ignorant of nature, nor be her slaves, but so to submit to nature, that we reverence the Author of nature, and depart not from God out of love to our parents.

GREG. Now to show that this hatred towards relations proceeds not from inclination or passion, but from love, our Lord adds, yes, and his own life also. It is plain therefore that a man ought to hate his neighbor, by loving as himself him who hated him. For then we rightly hate our own soul when we indulge not its carnal desires, when we subdue its appetites, and wrestle against its pleasures. That which by being despised is brought to a better condition, is as it were loved by hatred.

CYRIL; But life must not be renounced, which both in the body and the soul the blessed Paul also preserved, that yet living in the body he might preach Christ. But when it was necessary to despise life so that he might. finish his course, he counts not his life dear to him.

GREG. How the hatred of life ought to be strewn He declares as follows; Whosoever bears not his cross, &c.

CHRYS. He means not that we should place a beam of wood on our shoulders, but that we should ever have death before our eyes. As also Paul died daily and despised death.

BASIL; By bearing the cross also he announced the death of his Lord, saying, The world is crucified to me, and I to the world, which we also anticipate at our very baptism, in which our old man is crucified, that the body of sin may be destroyed.

GREG. Or because the cross is so called from torturing. In two ways we bear our Lord’s cross, either when by abstinence we afflict our bodies, or when through compassion of our neighbor we think all his necessities our own. But because some exercise abstinence of the flesh not for God’s sake but for vain-glory, and show compassion, not spiritually but carnally, it is rightly added, And comes after me. For to bear His cross and come after the Lord, is to use abstinence of the flesh, or compassion to our neighbor, from the desire of an eternal gain.

Ver  28. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?29. Lest haply, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,30. Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.31. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sits not down first, and consults whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that comes against him with twenty thousand?32. Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an ambassage, and desires conditions of peace.33. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple.

GREG. Because He had been giving high and lofty precepts, immediately follows the comparison of building a tower, when it is said, For which of you intending to build a tower does not first count &c. For every thing that we do should be preceded by anxious consideration. If then we desire to build a tower of humility, we ought first to brace ourselves against the ills of this world.

BASIL; Or the tower is a lofty watch-tower fitted for the guardianship of the city and the discovery of the enemy’s approach. In like manner was our understanding given us to preserve the good, to guard against the evil. For the building up whereof the Lord bids us sit down and count our means if we have sufficient to finish.

GREG. NYSS. For we must be ever pressing onward that we may reach the end of each difficult undertaking by successive increases of the commandments of God, and so to the completion of the divine work. For neither is one stone the whole fabric of the tower, nor does a single command lead to the perfection of the soul. But we must lay the foundation, and according to the Apostle, thereupon must be placed store of gold, silver, and precious stones. Whence it is added, Lest haply after he has laid the foundation, &c.

THEOPHYL. For we ought not to lay a foundation, i.e. begin to follow Christ, and not bring the work to an end, as those of whom St. John writes, That many of his disciples went back. Or by the foundation understand the word of teaching, as for instance concerning abstinence. There is need therefore of the above-mentioned foundation, that the building up of our works be established, a tower of strength from the face of the enemy. Otherwise, man is laughed at by those who see him, men as well as devils.

GREG. For when occupied in good works, unless we watch carefully against the evil spirits, we find those our mockers who are persuading us to evil. But another comparison is added proceeding from the less to the greater, in order that from the least things the greatest may be estimated. For it follows, Or what king, going to make war against another king, sits not down first, and consults whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that comes against him with twenty thousand

CYRIL; For we fight: against spiritual wickedness in high places; but there presses upon us a multitude also of other enemies, fleshly lust, the law of sin raging in our members, and various passions, that is, a dreadful multitude of enemies.

AUG. Or the ten thousand of him who is going to fight with the king who has twenty, signify the simplicity of the Christian about to contend with the subtlety of the devil.

THEOPHYL. The king is sin reigning in our mortal body; but our understanding also was created king. If then he wishes to fight against sin, let him consider with his whole mind. For the devils are the satellites of sin, which being twenty thousand, seem to surpass in number our ten thousand, because that being spiritual compared to us who are corporeal, they are come to have much greater strength.

AUG. But as with respect to the unfinished tower, he alarms us by the reproaches of those who say, The man began to build, I and was not able to finish, so with regard to the king with whom the battle was to be,  he reproved even peace, adding, Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends an ambassage, and desires conditions of peace; signifying that those also who forsake all they possess cannot endure from the devil the threats of even coming temptations, and make peace with him by consenting to him to commit sin.

GREG. Or else, in that awful trial we come not to the judgment a match for our king, for ten thousand are against twenty thousand, two against one. He comes with a double army against a single. For while we are scarcely prepared in deeds only, he sifts us at once both in thought and deed. While then he is yet afar off, who though still present in judgment, is not seen, let us send him an embassy, our tears, our works of mercy, the propitiatory victim. This is our message which appeases the coming king.

AUG. Now to what these comparisons refer, He on the same occasion sufficiently explained, when he said, So likewise whosoever he be of you that forsakes not all that he has, he cannot be my disciple. The cost therefore of building the tower, and the strength of the ten thousand against the king who has twenty thousand, mean nothing else than that each one should forsake all that he has. The foregoing introduction tallies then with the final conclusion. For in the saying that a man forsakes all that he has, is contained also that he hates his father and mother, his wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes and his own wife also. For all these things are a man’s own, which entangle him, and hinder him from obtaining not those particular possessions which will pass away with time, but those common blessings which will abide for ever.

BASIL; But our Lord’s intention in the above-mentioned example is not indeed to afford occasion or give liberty to any one to become His disciple or not, as indeed it is lawful not to begin a foundation, or not to treat of peace, but to show the impossibility of pleasing God, amidst those things which distract the soul, and in which it is in danger of becoming an easy prey to the snares and wiles of the devil.

BEDE; But there is a difference between renouncing all things and leaving all things. For it is the way of few perfect men to leave all things, that is, to cast behind them the cares of the world, but it is the part of all the faithful to renounce all things, that is, so to hold the things of’ the world as by them not to be held in the world.

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This Weeks Posts: Sunday August 22-Saturday August 28

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 28, 2010

This post will remain at the top of my blog until at least Saturday evening, August 28.  Some posts may be scheduled in advance and will become available for viewing only at the time indicated.

Sunday August 22:

Last Weeks Posts. In case you missed something.

Resources For Sunday Mass, August 22. This is a weekly feature on my blog and the resource page for this coming Sunday’s Mass (Aug. 29) will be posted Wednesday.

Father Leopold Fonck on Luke 14:1, 7-14 for Sunday Mass August 29. Focuses on the Parable of the Invited Guests.

Bishop MacEvily on Hebrews 12:18-19-22-24a for Sunday Mass August 29.

Monday August 23:

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 14:1, 7-14 for Sunday Mass, August 29. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 12:1-8. Available 12:10 AM EST.

Bishop MacEvily on Today’s Epistle, 2 Thessalonians1:1-5, 11-12. Available 12:30 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel, Matt 23:13-22. Available 12:35 AM EST.

Tuesday August 24:The Feast of St Bartholomew, Apostle.

Pope Benedict on St Bartholomew.

My Notes on Today’s First Reading, Revelation 21:9-14. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel, John 1:45-51. Available 12:15 AM EST.

Wednesday August 25:

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 12:9-21. Available 12:05 AM EST.

Bernardin de Piconio on Galatians 5:16-24 for Sunday Mass, Aug. 29 (Extraordinary Form). Available 12:20 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel, Matt 23:27-32. Available 12:30 AM EST.

Bishop MacEvily on Today’s First Reading (2 Thess 3:6_10, 16-18) Available 12:45 AM EST.

Cornelius a Lapide on Galatians 5:16-24 for Sunday Mass, August 29 (Extraordinary Form). Available 1:00 AM EST.

UPDATE. Resources for Sunday Mass, August 29, Both Forms of the Rite.

UPDATE. Aquinas Catena Aurea on Matt 6:24-33 for Sunday Mass, Aug 29, (Extraordinary Form).

UPDATE: Juan De Maldonado on Matt 6:24-33 for Sunday Mass, Aug 29 (Extraordinary Form).

Thursday August 26:

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel, Matt 24:42-51. Available 12:05 AM EST.

My Notes on Today’s First Reading, 1 Corinthians 1:1-9. Availalbe 12:20 AM EST.

Homer’s Odysseus Real? Greek archeologists think they’ve found the ancient hero’s palace.

Friday August 27:

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s First Reading (1 Corinthians 1:17-25). Available 12:05 AM EST.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 25:1-13). Available 12:15 AM EST.

Political Headlines.

Saturday August 28:

Resources for the Memorial of St Augustine.

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s First Reading (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).

Bernardin de Piconio on Today’s First Reading (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). Actually, this post consists of verses 18-31.

Father Charles Callan on Today’s First Reading (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). Actually, this post encompasses 1:18-2:5.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matthew 25:14-30).

St Augustine on Serving God or Mammon.

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 13.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on 1 Corinthians, Notes on 2 Thessalonians, Notes on Galatians, Notes on Hebrews, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on Romans, Notes on the Gospel of John, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 13

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 28, 2010

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To see more commentary and notes on Romans by de Piconio and others go here.

1. Let every soul be subject to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God: and the powers that are, have been ordained of God.
2. He therefore who resists power, resists the ordinance of God. And who resist, acquire damnation to themselves.
3. For princes are not the fear of good work, but of evil. And wilt thou not fear power? Do good; and thou shalt have praise from it.
4. For he is God’s minister to thee for good. But if thou do evil, fear; for not without cause he carries the sword. For he is the minister of God: a revenger in wrath to him who does evil
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Chapter 13. In this chapter the Apostle explains the duties of the Christian to civil government, and civil society; and shows that charity fulfils God’s law.

1. The higher powers. The high or ruling powers. The Greek has the positive, not the comparative degree. Every soul, every human being. It is not improbable that this subject was in question among the Roman Christians, and that Saint Paul had been asked his opinion regarding it. The Jews were commanded (Deut 17:15) to choose their ruler from among their own nation, and might have doubted whether it was lawful to obey a foreign magistrate.

There is no power but of God. Ecclesiastical power comes immediately from God. Secular power, which is what is here spoken of, comes from God immediately. Nature and reason, which are both from God directly, show its necessity, in the existing state of human society, and the necessity of general acquiescence in it. The powers that are, de facto, are thus ordained by God’s Providence. God, says Theodoret, if he is pleased with any people, will give them just and good rulers. Shepherds after my heart, Jer 3:15. Otherwise for their chastisement he will allow them to be governed by inexperienced or careless princes. I will give children for their princes, and mockers shall rule over them. Isa 3:4.

Saint Chrysostom, and with him Saint Thomas observe that all power, considered in itself, is undoubtedly of God: but not every mode of obtaining it, or every mode of exercising it.

2. Resists the ordinance of God. The statement in this verse follows necessarily from the preceding. It does not take away the right or duty inherent in the subject or citizen to endeavour to accomplish necessary or desirable changes in the disposition of civil power, when circumstances
call for them, by peaceable and lawful means, and when he is consulted; for in this case a portion of the power which comes from God is lodged in his hands.

3. Princes are not a terror to good. The argument in verse 1 was drawn from the origin of power; this from its end and object. It exists for the suppression of violence, and wrong, and the encouragement of industry and civil virtues, and this end almost every government, in whosoever hands it may be lodged, wall generally accomplish in a comprehensive sense. It is to be observed, however, that all Christian writers acknowledge the vigour and efficiency of the imperial Roman Government.

As storm and drought, and other natural ills are borne with, so should the faults of rulers be, for the sake of the good they cannot but effect, and where these faults cannot be corrected without danger of greater ill.

5. Therefore be subject of necessity, not only for wrath, but also for conscience.
6. For so also do you pay tribute: for they are God’s ministers, serving for this very end
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5. Be subject of necessity. Render to Csesar the things that are of Caesar, Matthew 22:21. Not only for fear of temporal punishment, but from obedience to God’s commands.

6. You pay tribute. The Greek has the imperative mood, pay ye tribute . Probably another question Saint Paul was asked to solve. The forms of the imperative and indicative being the same in Greek, possibly caused the use of the indicative in the text of the Vulgate. Saint Thomas observes that the tribute and taxes paid to civil rulers are their pay and stipend, to which every one is entitled who works, and it would be unjust to seek to withhold it. For they diligently labour, as the Greek text has it, for the tranquillity and welfare of the community. He does not say give, but pay tribute. It is a debt, to be discharged under penalty of dishonesty. Saint Chrysostom.

7. Render, therefore, to all their due: to whom tribute, tribute: to whom taxes, taxes: to whom fear, fear: to whom honour, honour.
8. Owe nothing to any man, except to love one another: for who loveth his neighbour, has fulfilled the law.
9. For, thou shalt not commit adultery: thou shalt not kill: thou shalt not steal: thou shalt not give false testimony: thou shalt not covet: and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10. Love of our neighbour worketh no ill. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.

To all orders and ranks of civil society, into which you are brought into any relation, render what is their due. Christ, the Creator of the world, did not intend to throw human society into uproar and confusion, but to preserve it in good order, tranquillity and peace, for the sake of higher ends than these.

Tribute is an impost on persons, or on real property; taxes, vectigal (i.e., tribute, revenue), on personal property. Fear is due caution not to offend the law. Honour, the respect due to every person in his several office or station.

Owe no man anything. Do not get into debt. But there is one debt which is never paid. If we love our neighbor we shall never wrong him, in his goods, his reputation, his person, or his honor. To love our neighbor therefore includes all the commandments of the Second Table. This is in effect the statement of our Lord in Matt 22:39-40.

As thyself. Not in an equal degree. Saint Thomas says, for in the order of charity every man ought to love himself more than his neighbour; but in a similar manner, 1. As regards the reason, for God’s sake: 2. As to form, with sincerity, not for gain or covetousness: 3. As regards the effect, by seeking his good and relieving his wants as if they were your own. Virtue, Saint
Augustine says, may be briefly defined to be, ordo amoris, the regulation of affection. Love and do what you will. If you are silent, be silent for love. If you exclaim, exclaim for love. If you reprove, reprove for love. If you spare, spare for love. Let there be the root of love within, and from that root nothing but good will grow.

The same Father writes, I gladly pay the debt of mutual charity, and joyfully receive it. What I receive I continue to claim: What I pay, I continue to owe. Ep. 62, ad Coelestin.

11. And this, knowing the time: that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed.
12. The night is far advanced, and the day has approached. Let us, therefore, throw aside the works of darkness, and put on the arms of light.
13. Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in feasting and drunkenness, not among couches and immodesty, not in strife and emulation.
14. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and take not care of the flesh in its desires
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11. Knowing the time. The hour of battle is come. The night is over. It is time to awake from sleep, and put on the armour needed in the struggle of the day. Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. These words imply a certain reproach, as if his readers had not accomplished all that was expected of them when they first believed in Christ.

The resurrection is near, Saint Chrysostom says. Near is the dreadful judgment, near the day that shall burn as an oven. Let us not sleep nor be idle, lest that day take us unawares.

The arms of light, good works, which shine out from far. These shall protect us from our spiritual foes.

Theodoret considers that the time which preceded the Incarnation of Christ, is the night here meant, nowpassed. The Incarnation was the rising of the Sun of Justice, and therefore the Apostle urges his hearers to seize the arms of light.

13. Let us walk honestly, as those who go forth publicly in the broad hght of day.

14. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Paul constantly uses this phrase, as in Gal 3:27, Eph 4:24, Col 3:10, 1 Thess 5:8. Put on the example of Christ, in all and over all, as the vesture in which a man is draped is all that is seen of him.

Take not care, make provision for the flesh for necessary subsistence, but do not lay up treasures to be spent in selfish luxury and pleasure.

As is well known, it was these two verses which finally conquered Saint Augustine, after his long struggle with himself, as is related in his confessions.

Corollary of Piety.
Charity is like no other debt, for though it is always being paid, it is never paid, and is still always due. Pay therefore perpetually what thou perpetually owest. Pay freely, for thou hast freely received: pay promptly, largely, liberally, for promptly, largely, liberally, shall the reward be rendered thee.

Charity includes all virtues, and destroys all vice. On one hand it keeps from every wrong, on the other it works effectually every good. It is the fullness and completion of God’s law.

The trumpet of the Apostle rings out through the stillness of the early dawn with startling suddenness. It is time to wake from sleep. The night is past: eternitv is upon us, and the terrible day of doom which must decide our lot for eternity.

The night of ignorance and heathendom is past from the world’s history. The Sun of Justice is risen. Let us, upon whom his light is shining, walk before him, honestly and holily as in the day. Within us is the spirit and the grace of Christ: without, his glorious example, sobriety, chastity, humility, patience, charity. In such Christ appears, and only Christ. I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Notes on Romans, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

 
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