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 29th, 2010

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.

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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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