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 February, 2011

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Cor 13:1-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 28, 2011

This post contains a brief summary of chapter 13 followed by the commentary. The post ends with what de Piconio calls a Corollary Of Piety.

A Summary of 1 Corinthians 13~In this chapter, introduced parenthetically in the middle of his argument, the Apostle asserts the infinite superiority of charity to all other gifts of God, on the ground that charity will reign for eternity when all other gifts and graces, even faith and hope, shall have been absorbed and lost in it. Not only the excellence, but the absolute necessity of charity, is here insisted on; and there is an evident reference, throughout the chapter, to certain deficiencies of the Corinthian Christians in this respect. It is hardly necessary to observe that this splendid burst of inspired eloquence is probably the best known portion of the Apostle’s writings, and is sufficient to entitle him to a foremost place among the great writers of all countries and all ages.

1. If I should speak the tongues of men and Angels, and have not charity, I am becomelike sounding brass or a jingling cymbal.

The tongues of men and Angels is no doubt a hyperbolical exaggeration, signifying all languages that ever have been spoken, or ever could be spoken, in earth or heaven. It does not follow from the words of Saint Paul that the holy Angels may not have the power of communicating knowledge to one another without the intervention of language. The cymbal was an instrument consisting of two hollow plates of bronze, or other metal, which, when struck together, produced a ringing sound, and was employed in the festivals of Cybele. It is mentioned by Virgil and by Cicero.

2. And if I have had prophecy, and know all mysteries, and all science: and if I have had all faith, so that I remove mountains: and have not had charity, I am nothing.
3. And if I shall have distributed all my possessions in food to the poor, and if I shall have given up my body to burn: and have not had charity, it profits me nothing.

From language he proceeds to higher gifts, as described in verses 8-10 of the last chapter: 1. prophecy; 2. wisdom, or the knowledge of the hidden mysteries of God; 3. science, enabling me to explain and prove these mysteries by reason and facts of creation, to the intelligence of others; 4. faith, which accomplishes the impossible. These are indeed great and noble gifts; but I am nothing, says St. Augustine. The distribution of all his goods to the poor would be an exercise of the gift called in verse 28 of the last chapter, opitulations, or aids, on a large scale. Such an exhibition of generosity would
be very uncommon, and practically almost impossible, in a person destitute of Christian charity, and any love of God. It is theoretically possible, as proceeding from sympathy and compassion for the physical sufferings of others, and would not be absolutely without merit, as coming from a good impulse. And it would undoubtedly benefit the persons who were fed, in a material sense. But it would be of no spiritual benefit to the giver, in a spiritual sense, if unaccompanied by any desire to benefit their souls, or any love of God. Not even if, to save the lives of others, and for temporal ends, he gave his body to be burned. In the days of the Apostles a foreign philosopher, probably from the East, actually burned himself alive, at the Olympic games, out of vain glory, as is related by Lucian, who was present. God estimates by charity all we do, even martyrdom itself. This much the Apostle says to show the necessity of charity. He now proceeds to describe it.

4. Charity is patient, benignant; charity envies not, does not misbehave, is not inflated.

Charity is patient and long-suffering; gentle, kind, accommodating; envies not the happiness of others; is not noisy, vulgar, self-asserting, petulant, perverse, insolent, sly, malicious; is never self-conceited. Charity is not the parent of other virtues, but the queen; they are not derived from her, but she commands, forms, directs and perfects them.

5. Is not ambitious, seeks not her own, is not irritated, thinks not ill.

Is not ambitions. In the Greek, does not condescend to act indecorously; the Syriac: will not do what is shameful. Men who are ambitious of popular favour will sometimes stoop to flatter the vices of their inferiors, which is probably the reason why the Vulgate here uses the word ambitiosa. Charity seeks the public and general advantage, rather than her own. Is not easily provoked to anger, but takes time for consideration. Is not quick to suspect evil in others, but attributes good motives to them as far as is possible.

6. Rejoices not at iniquity, but rejoices with truth.

Rejoices not at iniquity. Is not pleased at hearing of evil done by others, but rejoices in honesty, integrity, justice.

7. Bears all, trusts all, hopes all, endures all.

Bears all, in the Greek; conceals all the evil it hears, so far as is possible. Believes all the good that can with reason and prudence be believed. Hopes all; never despairs of the conversion and salvation of any.  Endures all, calumny, persecution, death, for the love of God.

8. Charity never fails. Whether prophecies shall be abolished, or languages cease, or knowledge be destroyed.
9. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10. But when that shall have come which is perfect, that which is in part shall be abolished.
11. When I was a child I spoke as a child, I was wise as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I abolished what was of the child.
12. Now we see in a mirror, in enigma; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know, as I also am known.
13. And now there remain faith, hope, charity, these three; but charity is of these the greater.

Charity fails not; is eternal. Prophecy will come to an end, and be useless, when all things are clearly seen; languages will cease, when all with one voice will cry, Sanctus, sanctns, sanctus ; science, or learning, will be needless, when all truth is at once made manifest to all, for there will be nothing more to learn. The one occupation of eternity will be to love. What we really know, in this life, is almost nothing; what we are permitted to prophesy, is but some fragment of the truth. When the full light comes, this partial illumination will
be no longer needed, as the stars pale when the sun rises. This life, compared with eternity, is childhood, compared with full growth. I spoke, felt, thought, as a child speaks, feels, and thinks. I threw aside the ideas of childhood when I became a man. We see God now, as we see objects in a mirror, that are out of sight, obscurely, partially, incompletely. We know him by enigmas, phrases and thoughts of which we can guess, but never fully understand the meaning. Then we shall see Him, face to face. We know Him, truly so far as faith can enlighten us, and we can in a degree understand, but only partially.
We shall know Him then, as He knows us; not in the same degree, for God knows all, but is Himself incomprehensible by any finite intelligence; but in the same manner, by direct, clear, uninterrupted vision. Faith, hope, charity, are the greatest and noblest of God’s gifts to man, in this mortal life. There will be nothing to believe, when we see all; nothing to hope, when we have all. Faith will be lost in sight, hope in enjoyment; but charity will endure for ever.

Corollary of Piety. Faith and Hope are the glory and the joy of human life. Faith raises the intellect and the affections to nobler objects of contemplation than the things of time. Hope fills in the background of our lives with gold. Without faith in the unseen, man sinks into materialism, and becomes an animal, with a finer nervous system, more potent brain power, and wider knowledge, than his fellow brutes, but with no nobler aims than theirs, and no higher object of existence. Without hope, he sinks under the unendurable burden of the sorrows of his lot in life. His feet stumble upon the dark mountains on his weary way to hopeless captivity; and the annoyances and troubles he would have laughed at, if he encountered them on a joyous pilgrimage to the city of his pride and hope, are magnified into misfortunes bitterer than human nature can endure. Faith is the only repose of his ever restless intellect, hope the only solace of his inconsolable heart. And yet—and there is no more startling proof of the infinite grandeur of the things of eternity compared with the things of time—compared with Charity, which is eternal, Faith and Hope are childish things. Empires and their glory, science, civilization, invention, language, all God’s gifts to man, of nature and above nature, for the purposes of this mortal life, will one day be no more needed, and will pass away; and faith and hope pass with them. We do not believe in what we see; we do not hope for what we have. We shall no longer learn to know God; for we shall see him face to face. We shall no longer voluntarily love him ; for we shall be drowned and consumed in the burning ocean of his charity. We love him here, says Saint Augustine: in heaven it will be his turn to love us. We shall no longer serve him; he will fold his children in an embrace that shall know no end. There remains the full consummation of the final cause of our existence, that for which he made us, to enjoy him for ever. When faith and hope have ceased, with all things that are temporal. Charity will reign for ever, and reign alone; for God is Charity.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 3:21-25, 28

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 28, 2011

This post includes Fr. MacEvilly’s brief summary analysis of  Romans 3 followed by his commentary on the Sunday reading. I’ve also included his paraphrases of the verses he is commenting on. These are in purple text.

A Summary Analysis of Romans Chapter 3~Having convicted the Jews, in the preceding chapter, of grievous violations of the Law of Moses, the Apostle commences this with pointing out some external advantages which they possessed over the Gentiles (verses 1, 2). He next refutes certain objections against the veracity and justice of God, springing out of the subject (verses 2-9). He proves from the testimony of Sacred Scripture that both Jew and Gentile were under sin. And these testimonies from Sacred Scripture he shows to have special reference to the Jews (9-21). He next lays down the great theme of the Epistle, viz.: Justification by Faith, opposed to the works of the law of nature, or the Law of Moses (22). He shows the congruity of such a means of justification (23), and its gratuitous-ness (24, 25). Hence, all boasting is excluded (27, 2S). Finally, he shows the congruity, on the part of God, of adopting such a means of justification, as being so universal, and accommodated equally both to Jew and Gentile.

Rom 3:21  But now, without the law, the justice of God is made manifest, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.

But in these latter times, the true justice by which we are rendered really just in God’s sight, and to which testimony has been rendered by the law and the prophets, is made manifest as proceeding from a source quite distinct from, and independent of, the helps of the law.

The justice of God. Real and true justification bv which we are really justified before God; and hence called the justice of God, because emanating from him alone, “is made manifest without the law”, because, by the preaching of the Gospel, it was abundantly confirmed and externally testified by miracles, that this justice has been bestowed on those who never received the law, e.g., Cornelius the centurion and others. “Being witnessed bv the law and the prophets.”  “By the law,” (Genesis 49:1o); “the prophets,” (Hab 2:4; Isa 55.) Hence, it is no novel doctrine.

Rom 3:22  Even the justice of God, by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe in him: for there is no distinction.

That justice, I say, comes from the faith of Christ, and is abundantly conferred on all who believe in him, as they ought: for, there is no distinction between those who received the law and those who did not.

Even, i.e., I say, “the justice of God,” comes from a source quite distinct from that which the Gentiles and Jews imagined, viz., from the “faith of Jesus Christ,” “unto all and upon all.”  Some say, these words express more strongly the universality and sublimity of this gift: others, that they only express the same thing, and are repeated for the sake of emphasis. “Upon all,” is not found in the Vatican nor in the other chief manuscripts. “That believe in him.”  Of course, he leaves it to be understood, that their faith is accompanied with the other conditions requisite for justification. “In hims,” is not in the Greek, which simply is τους πιστευοντας (“That believe”).

Rom 3:23  For all have sinned and do need the glory of God.

For all have sinned, and have nothing wherein to glory before God: or, are destitute of justifying grace, the seed of future glory, which comes from God alone and is not merited by works. (And hence, the congruity of his adopting a means of justification, wholly independent of any merit on the part of man).

For all (Jew and Gentile, as has been already shown), have sinned, and do need the glory of God.  “Do need,” in Greek, υστερουνται, are behind, or, come too late for. By “the glory of God,” some understand, the justifying grace of God, which will redound to his glory, and which is the seed of future glory in us, and comes from God alone, not merited by works. The other exposition in the Paraphrase is also very probable, and means, they have no glory; or, nothing wherein to glory before God, and hence, the necessity of establishing a system of justification wholly unconnected with man’s merits (for he has none), and entirely dependent on God, and consequently redounding to his glory alone. And such is the system of justification through faith. Against this latter exposition it militates, and is in favour of the former, that the Greek for “glory” is δοξης.

Rom 3:24  Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

But they are justified gratuitously, without any previous merits on their part, by his grace, through the redemption which Christ Jesus purchased for us, having paid for it the price of his most precious blood.

Being justified.  After having sinned (as in preceding verse) they were justified “freely,” i.e., gratuitously; because  none of the things that precede justification, whether faith or works, merit the grace of justification itself. (Council of Trent, SS. 6, ch. 8.)  “By his grace.” This is the formal cause of justification, and must, consequently, be essentially gratuitous; otherwise it would be no grace.  “Through the redemption.” The meritorious cause of this justification is the redemption through Christ. The Greek word for “redemption,”  απολυτρωσεως, implies, the payment given in ransoming. We are said to be justified by faith, inasmuch as it is, the beginning of man’s salvation, the foundation and root of all justification. Council of Trent, ibidem.

Rom 3:25  Whom God hath proposed to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to the shewing of his justice, for the remission of former sins

Whom God proposed as a real victim of propitiation-of which we are made partakers by faith in his blood or death for us-in order to manifest his justice or the infinite hatred he has for sin, which justice would appear to be in abeyance, owing to his having apparently remitted in the past ages, sins for which no adequate ransom appeared to be given, or reparation made.

Whom God hath set forth,  i.e., publicly exhibited on the cross, and gave to us “to be a propitiation.”  The corresponding Greek word-ιλαστηριον- may signify either a “propitiation,” or a “propitiator.” It more probably is taken in the former signification here, to denote a victim of propitiation “through faith in his blood”. The words, “in his blood,” are connected by many with the word “propitiation,” thus: Whom Cod hath set forth to be a propitiation, which propitiation is effected by the shedding of his blood, and is to be applied to us through faith; others connect the words as in the Paraphrase.  “To the shewing of his justice,” i.e., in order to manifest his Attribute of eternal justice, Avbereby beholds sin in infinite hatred. This he manifests and vindicates by requiring a victim an effusion of blood, of infinite value, before he remits sin. This “justice,” for the manifestation of which God had publicly exhibited his Son as a victim of propitiation, would also appear to extend to that justice whereby we are made just, which was exercised in the remission of sins in former ages, since it was only by the infusion of grace and justice that these sins were remitted. In the first signification of “justice,” to which it would appear allusion is principally made in this verse, the words, “for the remission of former sins,” are thus connected (as in Paraphrase), which justice of God hating sin would appear to be in abeyance, owing to his having remitted sins in former ages, &c. (vide Paraphrase). The word “remission” may also signify, as appears from the Greek word-παρεσιν-moral languor and spiritual debility, which sin introduced into the world, and to cure which the great Physician came down from Heaven; or, rather, it signifies God’s having omitted to punish, and having passed over the sins of former ages. This exposition accords best with the following verse, “through the forbearance,” or patience, “of God.”

Rom 3:28  For we account a man to be justified by faith, without the works of the law.

We come, then, to the conclusion, that a man , whether he be Jew or Gentile, is justified by faith, without any reference to the works of the Mosaic Law, performed by the sole aid and helps of that law.

For, (in Greek, ουν-, therefore. The Alexandrian MS. supports the Vulgate γαρ,) “we account,” the meaning of which, as appears from the Greek word λογιζομεθα, is, we infer, by reasoning from the foregoing,  “a man” (every man, be he Jew or Gentile), “to be justified by faith,” because faith is the root and foundation of all justification. (Council of Trent, SS. G, ch. 8.) “Without the works of the law,” i.e., without the performance of the works which the law of Moses prescribes, by the sole aid and lights administered by the law itself. Although the words of the Apostle here, addressing the Jewish converts, have expressly reference only to the works of the Mosaic Law, still, his scope is to deny that any works, whether of the Mosaic or Natural Law, give us a claim to the grace of justification. Hence, addressing the converts from Paganism, he asserts the same. (Eph 2:8-9).

OBJECTION. Therefore, good works are not necessary for justification.

RESPONSE. The inference is quite false, provided the Apostle does not in this verse speak of the works which Catholics hold to be necessary for obtaining and preserving first, and for meriting second, justification. And, moreover, if it he clear from other passages of Sacred Scripture that good works enter into man’s justification. Now, such is the case. First, “the works of the law,” of which the Apostle here speaks, are quite different from the works which Catholics maintain, to he necessary for justification, viz., those done in faith, and by the aid of divine grace. For, the Apostle is speaking of works upon which would be based a system of justification opposed to the gratuitous justification by faith. He opposes these works to faith. He makes the first the basis of the justification maintained by the converted Jews and Gentiles; the second, the basis of the justification propounded by himself. If he were treating of the works done in faith, there would be no such opposition, nor could the gratuitousness of justification be excluded by such works; for, Catholics, while maintaining that these works have a share in justification, still hold that these works preceding justification, although good, although performed by the aid of divine grace, give no claim to strict merit, and leave justification itself quite gratuitous Moreover, the state of the controversy would admit of no reference to works done under the influence of faith and grace; for, the question at issue regarded the claim which these works gave towards obtaining faith and justification. Faith, then, in the minds of the converted Romans, was supposed to be given in reward for these works; hence, there must be question of works preceding faith. The Apostle, then, refers to the works performed by the sole aid of the law of Moses, and the law of nature, without grace and faith, and he comes to the conclusion, that these works have no share in justification. Secondly, we have numberless passages in Sacred Scripture, in which the necessity of good works is asserted. St. Paul himself tells us (chap. 2 of this Epistle), “that only the DOERS of the law will be justified;” and the saving faith of the Galatians must be “a faith that worketh by charity,” (Gal 5:6); and we are told (1 Cor 13) that faith strong enough to remove mountains, unless accompanied by charity, is worth nothing. St. James (chap. 2), is so clear on this subject as to render comment unnecessary. And we are informed by St. Augustine (Libro de Fide, &c., xiv.), that one of the principal objects of St. James, in writing his Epistle, was, to refute the error regarding the sufficiency of faith, exclusive of good works, for justification; an error which, even in his days was broached and grounded on the false interpretation of the words of the Apostle in this Epistle. The reason why the Apostle dwells on the necessity of faith, passing over the other dispositions for justification, is, because it is the ingredient of justification which most clearly showed its absolute gratuitousness the point he had chiefly to prove. And if he were, in this Epistle, to point out all the conditions necessary for justification good works among the rest he would be only rendering his doctrine less forcible and more obscure; for, his adversaries might artfully endeavour to confound these good works, required by him, with those put forward by themselves, which latter description of works is altogether excluded by him in this Epistle.

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Father Juan de Maldonado’s Commentary on Matt 7:21-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 28, 2011

Verse 21. Not everyone that saith to Me. All the Ancients explain these words of the life of beatification. For, although the Church is sometimes called the kingdom of heaven, the words ” Enter into the kingdom of heaven ” never signify the Church, but always the life of everlasting beatification. It is clear that Christ, in this passage, is speaking of the reward which is given, not in the Church, but in the kingdom of heaven. As if He had said, ” The way to heaven is not by words but by actions,” and, from the following verse, it is clear that the allusion is to the last judgment, when some will be admitted into heaven, and others will be shut out.

But he that doeth the will of my Father. It seems as if Christ should have said, “He that doeth My will,” for the people called Him ” Lord,” and not the Father, and they ought to do the will of Him whom they confess as their Lord. ” Why call ye Me Lord, and do not the things which I say? ” S. Chrysostom and Theoophylact reply, on the passage, that we may see that the will of the Father and of the Son are the same, as the Son, when He ought to have named His own will, named His Father’s instead.

But if the will of each be the same, why did He speak of His Father’s rather than His own ? They answer that He did so, as it would be more acceptable to His hearers, and would cause less invidiousness to Himself Another reason may be suggested. Christ everywhere ascribes to the Father the ” person ” of a lawgiver, and He comports Himself as His legate—numbering Himself among those who do the will of the Father, as in Matt 26:42; .S. John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; and He always speaks of ” the will of My Father,” not of ” My will,” as in Matt 12:50.

Verse 22. In that day. In that terrible and most notable day. For the word “that” has here this force. As if Christ spoke of a day not like others, but sure, and peculiar, and to be filled with the fear and the fame of the future judge (Matt 24:36; S. Mark 13:32; S. Luke 21:34; 1 Thess 5:4; 2 Tim 1:12, 18; 4:8: 1 Cor 3:13; 4:5).

Many miracles. Miracles are of many kinds, at least frequently. For what Christ had before said per partes and distributively, He now concludes in genere. As if He then said, ” Have we not prophesied and cast out devils, and done many other miracles in Thy name?”

This passage has given rise to the question whether miracles can be wrought, even by the wicked. This, at least, is certain. As there are two kinds of miracles, the true and the false, the false can be wrought even by the wicked. For S. Paul declares (2 Thess 2:9) that Antichrist will work false miracles ; and although it may be doubted whether the magicians of Pharaoh worked true miracles or not, yet, at least, it is certain that they did work false ones. The question is, therefore, of true miracles: Whether they can be wrought by the wicked?

Here a distinction is to be made. For true miracles can be wrought by the wicked, either while they are wicked or before they began, or after they had ceased to be such. It is not doubtful as regards the two last classes. For Saul, before he became wicked, when he was a ” child of one year” (1 Sam 13:1), prophesied, as we read in 1 Sam 10:10-12; and S. Matthew the publican, after he had ceased to be a publican, that is, a public sinner, wrought many miracles like the other Apostles. It is more doubtful as to those who arc wicked as long as they remain so.

There is yet another distinction to be observed. For a question may be raised as to the wicked who have faith, or of the same who have none. Of the former. Scripture has taught us that they can work true miracles; for Caiaphas was wicked, but he prophesied because he was high priest that year; Judas wrought miracles while he believed in Christ, for he received power with the other Apostles (S. Matt 10:1); and he gloried with the others, because the devils were subject to him (S. Luke 10:17); and yet he was a thief, and bore the purse (S. John 12:6). Saul, after the Lord had departed from him, stood in the midst of a company of prophets and prophesied like the rest (1 Sam 19:20-24). As miracles are done most chiefly by faith, we may doubt of those who have not faith; not whether they do work miracles, for Scripture declares that they do: but whether they work true miracles.

S. Chrysostom (Hom, xxv.), S. Jerome, Euthymius, and Theophylact prove by many examples that, even by men who do not believe, true miracles have been wrought. For Balaam, a false and unbelieving prophet, prophesied truly (Num 24:17). From this passage we may easily conclude that the false prophets of whom Christ spoke as hereafter to do true miracles, prophesied truly—truly cast out devils ; and Christ did not say that they were liars, but that, though they had done these things. He did not know them. The sense of the passage requires it that Christ signified their miracles to be true. For it would have been no matter of wonder if, to those who had done false miracles, He should have answered that He did not know them. But it would have been strange indeed if He had made this reply to those who had done true miracles. It would not have been a great matter if He had warned us against believing those who did false miracles. But it is wonderful that He puts us on our guard against believing false prophets, even if they do true miracles. We are not to discern between true and false prophets by their miracles alone, but also by their fruits, that is, by their lives.

It will be said: “No conclusion in proof of the truth of the doctrine can be drawn from true miracles.” It does not follow that no proof at all can be drawn, but none wholly conclusive. We know that Christ gave the Apostles power to work miracles, for the confirmation of the faith. We know that the whole world was drawn to the faith by the power of miracles. They who deny this, as S. Augustin says, against the Gentiles, work, themselves, a greater miracle by taking away miracles. For it is a more incredible miracle that the whole orb of the world—that is, that so many philosophers and wise men— should have believed the Apostles, who were so few in number and without learning, when teaching things so incredible to human reason, without any miracles, than were the miracles themselves which are declared to have been done by them. It is, therefore, a probable argument for the faith that is drawn from miracles, for they are often done by faith, very seldom indeed without it. When they are done they are done, not to prove the faith of those who do them, but to confirm the truth of the faith of those who have faith. For Balaam did not confirm his own faith by his prophecies, but rather the faith of the people of God against whom he had been brought to bear testimony; and almost all the miracles which were done by heretics (and they were, indeed, few) appear to be of this kind, and such as we read of in Scripture.

For the argument derived from miracles is necessary, if not from every point of view, yet at least from one or even two. For although it does not follow of necessity that whoever works miracles should have true faith, it does follow that that in which frequent and, as it were, ordinary miracles are wrought, must be the true Church; because, although God sometimes permits miracles to be wrought by particular individual creatures, out of His Church, as He did by Balaam’s ass, which was certainly not in the Church, yet to no society of men in general has He given the ordinary power of miracles but to His Church.

The negative argument on the other side has, in fact, more force—that that in which no miracle is wrought cannot be the true Church of God, because we know that He has given to this the power of working miracles. SS. Jerome and Augustin object, on this passage, “that ‘no one can say Jesus but by the Holy Ghost’ (1 Cor 12:3). How, then, can they who have not the Spirit of God, not only say Lord, Lord, but even work miracles in the name of Christ?” They answer: “To say Jesus does not there mean to utter the name in words, but in deeds “. That is, not only to confess Christ by faith, but to show Him in our lives, which no one, it is plain, can do without the Holy Ghost.

Verse 23. And then. In that day (of which Christ has spoken in the preceding verse), before all men, when the hidden things of darkness will be revealed: “As if He had said, I will bear with you, and dissemble with you, even to that day, and leave you like chaff mixed with the grain on the threshing floor; but then I will search you, then I will sift you” (S. Jerome, The Author, and Bede).

I will profess. The Author reads  “I will swear,” for  “I will confess,” which agrees well with the text. For by “swear” he understands Christ to say, ” Amen, amen, I say unto you I know you not” (Matt 25:12). S. Jerome and others explain the words, “I will profess,” to mean, “I will publicly profess that I know them not “. Christ appears to oppose His own true to their false confession, as if He had said: They have confessed Me falsely before men; I will confess them truly before My Father, but that I know them not. As He says on the contrary of those who have truly and sincerely confessed Him: “Everyone that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess Him before My Father who is in heaven ” (Matt 10:32).

I never knew you. Theophylact says: “Not even then when you did miracles “. All ancient authors, and Origen first (On Rom. viii.), have observed that the word “know,” in this and other like passages, does not mean knowledge, but feeling, approbation, as S. John 20:14; 2 Tim 2:19; S. Matt 25:12 S. Luke 13:25. For God knows all men, but He does not approve all men for His own. The true meaning of the passage is manifold. It may mean (1) either “I never knew you, that is, I never held you as my own, I never placed you in the number of the predestinated”; or (2) “I never held you for true prophets, such as you feigned to be”. This agrees apparently with the text, of which the subject is the discerning of false prophets.

Verse 24. Everyone, therefore. Having spoken of false prophets generally, Christ now concludes generally of all mankind.

Who heareth these My words. Some refer these words to the contents of the three chapters preceding. But it seems more safe to refer them to all the sayings of Christ, and to explain “these words” to mean words of this kind, “these words and others like them,” or “these, my present words”. For those which Christ had spoken before were His own words, and the whole genus is frequently signified by some one individual.

That built. To build is to believe in Christ (1 Cor 3:10). Of this building Christ says that the foundation may be twofold—the sand or the rock. He calls faith without works sand (verse 26), and He calls good works the rock (verse 24). Hence are derived arguments against two errors of the followers of Calvin, (1) That faith alone is not sufficient for salvation. (2) That good works, which are adjuncts of faith, not only justify and avail very greatly to, but are also a most firm foundation of, our salvation; nor is it contrary to S. Paul (1 Cor 3:11). There are many stones in the same foundation, of which Christ is the first and chief, and beside this foundation none other can be laid by any man; but upon Him all other things are built which rest upon this foundation. For both Apostles and Prophets are called a foundation (Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14). Faith and works, therefore, are two foundations, each resting upon Christ, the first and firmest of all. But faith alone is sand strewn upon a rock, which, however firm and strong the rock itself, is easily scattered, and then it brings down whatever is built upon it. Works are a rock upon a rock, which no rain, no wind, no rushing torrent can destroy.

Verse 25. The rain fell. Some distinguish the three words, “rain,” “wind,” and “flood,” as meaning three different things. It is more probable that Christ, by these three words, by which buildings are most frequently ruined, meant to describe the same day of judgment as a terrible tempest, as in Ps 50:3. Christ, therefore, teaches us that those who have good works will stand firmly in the judgment, and that all others, whatever their faith, will perish utterly. “For the wicked shall not rise in judgment ” (Ps 1:5).

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Mark 10:17-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 28, 2011

Ver 17. And when He was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to Him, and asked Him, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”18. And Jesus said unto Him, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.19. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.”20. And he answered and said unto Him, “Master, all these have I observed from My youth.”21. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, “One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”22. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.23. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto His disciples, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!”24. And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, “Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!25. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”26. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?”27. And Jesus, looking upon them, saith, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

Bede: A certain man had heard from the Lord that only they who are willing to be like little children are worthy to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and therefore he desires to have explained to him, not in parables, but openly, by the merits of what works a man may attain everlasting life.

Wherefore it is said: “And when He was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to Him, and asked Him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

Theophylact: I wonder at this young man, who when all others come to Christ to be healed of their infirmities,  begs of Him the possession of everlasting life, notwithstanding his love of money, the malignant passion which afterwards caused his sorrow.

Chrys., Hom. in Matt., 63: Because however he had come to Christ as he would to a man, and to one of the Jewish doctors, Christ answered him as Man.  Wherefore it goes on: “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but the One God.”  In saying which He does not exclude men from goodness, but from a comparison with the goodness of God.

Bede: But by this one God, Who is good, we must not only understand the Father, but also the Son, who says, “I am the good Shepherd;” [Joh_10:11] and also the Holy Ghost, because it is said, “The Father which is in heaven will give the good Spirit to them that ask him.” [Luk_11:13] For the One and Undivided Trinity itself, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is the Only and One good God. The Lord, therefore, does not deny Himself to be good, but implies that He is God; He does not deny that He is good Master, but He declares that no master is good but God.

Theophylact: Therefore the Lord intended by these words to raise the mind of the young man, so that he might know Him to be God. But He also implies another thing by these words, that when you have to converse with a man, you should not flatter him in your conversation, but look back upon God, the root and fount of goodness, and do honour to Him.

Bede: But observe that the righteousness of the law, when kept in its own time, conferred not only earthly goods, but also eternal life on those who chose it. Wherefore the Lord’s answer to one who enquires concerning everlasting life is, “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill”; for this is the childlike blamelessness which is proposed to us, if we would enter the kingdom of heaven.  On which there follows, “And he answered and said unto Him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.”

We must not suppose that this man either asked the Lord, with a wish to tempt Him, as some have fancied, or lied in his account of his life; but we must believe that he confessed with simplicity how he had lived; which is evident, from what is subjoined, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him.” If however he had been guilty of lying or of dissimulation, by no means would Jesus, [p. 202] after looking on the secrets of his heart, have been said to love him.

Origen, in Evan. tom. xv, 14: For in that He loved, or kissed him [ed. note: osculaius, interpretation in Ed. Ben. (?)], He appears to affirm the truth of his profession, in saying that he had fulfilled all those things; for on applying His mind to him, He saw that the man answered with a good conscience.

Pseudo-Chrys., Cat. in Marc. Oxon.: It is worthy of enquiry, however, how He loved a man, who, He knew, would not follow Him? But this is so much as to say, that since he was worthy of love in the first instance, because he observed the things of the law from his youth, so in the end, though he did not take upon himself perfection, he did not suffer a lessening of his former love. For although he did not pass the bounds of humanity, nor follow the perfection of Christ, still he was not guilty of any sin, since he kept the law according to the capability of a man, and in this mode of keeping it, Christ loved him [ed. note: The general meaning corresponds with the original, and is, that the young man is a type of those who keep the Gospel precepts, without going on to counsels of perfection; but the sense of the Greek has been missed by the Latin translator].

Bede: For God loves those who keep the commandments of the law, though they be inferior; nevertheless, He shews to those who would be perfect the deficiency of the law, for He came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it. [Mat_5:17]

Wherefore there follows: “And said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me;” for whosoever would be perfect ought to sell all that he has, not a part, like Ananias and Sapphira, but the whole. Theophylact: And when he has sold it, to give it to the poor, not to stage-players and luxurious persons.

Chrys.: Well too did He say, not eternal life, but “treasure”, saying, “And thou shalt have treasure in heaven”; for since the question was concerning wealth, and the renouncing of all things, He shews that He returns more things than He has bidden us leave, in proportion as heaven is greater than earth.

Theophylact: But because there are many poor who are not humble, but are drunkards or have some other vice, for this reason He says, “And come, follow me.”

Bede: For he follows the Lord, who imitates Him, and walks in His footsteps.  It goes on: “And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved.

Chrys.: And the Evangelist adds the cause of his grief, saying, “For he had great possession.” The feelings of those who have little and those who have much are not the same, for the increase of acquired wealth lights up a greater flame of covetousness.

There follows: “And Jesus looked round about, and said unto His disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God.”

Theophylact: He says not here, that riches are bad, but that those are bad who only have them to watch them carefully; for He teaches us not to have them, that is, not to keep or preserve them, but to use them in necessary things.

Chrys.: But the Lord said this to His disciples, who were poor and possessed nothing, in order to teach them not to blush at their poverty, and as it were to make an excuse to them, and given them a reason, why He had not allowed them to possess any thing.

It goes on: “And the disciples were astonished at His words”; for it is plain, since they themselves were poor, that they were anxious for the salvation of others.

Bede: But there is a great difference between having riches, and loving them; wherefore also Solomon says not, He that hath silver, but, “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver.” [Ecc_5:10] Therefore the Lord unfolds the words of His former saying to His astonished disciples, as follows: “But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard it is for them that trust in their riches to enter the kingdom of God.” Where we must observe that He says not, how impossible, but “how hard”; for what is impossible cannot in any way come to pass, what is difficult can be compassed, though with labour.

Chrys.: Or else, after saying, “difficult,” He then shews that it is impossible, and that not simply, but with a certain vehemence; and He shews this by an example, saying, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Theophylact: It may be that by camel, we should understand the animal itself, or else that thick cable, which is used for large vessels.

Bede: How then could either in the Gospel, Matthew and Joseph, or in the Old Testament, very many rich persons, enter into the kingdom of God, unless it be that they learned through the inspiration of God either to count their riches as nothing, or to quit them altogether. Or in a higher sense, it is easier for Christ to suffer for those who love Him, than for the lovers of this world to turn to Christ; for under the name of camel, He wished Himself to be understood, because He bore the burden of our weakness; and by the needle, He understands the prickings, that is, the pains of His Passion. By the eye of a needle, therefore, He means the straits of His Passion, by which He, as it were, deigned to mend the torn garments of our nature.

It goes on: “And they were astonished above measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?”  Since the number of poor people is immeasurably the greater, and these might be saved, though the rich perished, they must have understood Him to mean that all who love riches, although they cannot obtain them, are reckoned in the number of the rich.

It goes on: “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God”; which we must not take to mean, that covetous and proud persons can enter into the kingdom of Heaven with their covetousness and pride, but that it is possible with God that they should be converted from covetousness and pride to charity and lowliness.

Chrys.: And the reason why He says that this is the work of God is, that He may shew that he who is put into this path by God, has much need of grace; from which it is proved, that great is the reward of those rich men, who are willing to follow the discipline [ed. note: philosophia] of Christ.

Theophylact: Or we must understand that by, “with men it is impossible, but not with God,” He means, that when we listen to God, it becomes possible, but as long as we keep our human notions, it is impossible. There follows, “For all things are possible with God”; when He says “all things”, you must understand, that have a being, which sin has not, for it is a thing without being and substance [ed. note: This is often urged by St. Augustine against the Manichees, who held that evil was a principle and a substance, coeternal with good. It also appears in the Pelagian controversy, for Pelagius argued that the Catholic doctrine of original sin implied that it was a substance; St. Augustine answers that though not a substance, it was a privation or disorganization of parts, just as darkness is a privation of light, and sickness a disordered state of body; which illustrates what Theophylact means by saying, that sin, though so great an evil, has no being or substance. see Aug. Conf. 7, 12, de Nat. et Grac. 21].

Or else: sin does not come under the notion of strength, but of weakness, therefore sin, like weakness, is impossible with God. But can God cause that not to have been done which has been done? To which we answer, that God is Truth, but to cause that what has been done should not have been done, is falsehood. How then can truth do what is false? He must first therefore quit His own nature, so that they who speak thus really say, Can God cease to be God? which is absurd.

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Feb 28: Another Homily by Pope Bendict XVI on Today’s Gospel, Mark 10:17-27 (Oct 11, 2009)

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 27, 2011

Note: This particular sermon was preached on Sunday, October 11, 2009 during the Liturgical Cycle dedicated to St Mark’s Gospel. The Second Reading on that day was Heb 4:12-13.

“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”. The brief conversation we heard in the Gospel passage, between a man identified elsewhere as the rich young man and Jesus, begins with this question (cf.  Mk  MC 10,17-30). We do not have many details about this anonymous figure; yet from a few characteristics we succeed in perceiving his sincere desire to attain eternal life by leading an honest and virtuous earthly existence. In fact he knows the commandments and has observed them faithfully from his youth. Yet, all this which is of course important is not enough. Jesus says he lacks one thing, but it is something essential. Then, seeing him well disposed, the divine Teacher looks at him lovingly and suggests to him a leap in quality; he calls the young man to heroism in holiness, he asks him to abandon everything to follow him: “go, sell what you have, and give to the poor… and come, follow me” (v. 21).

“Come, follow me”. This is the Christian vocation which is born from the Lord’s proposal of love and can only be fulfilled in our loving response. Jesus invites his disciples to give their lives completely, without calculation or personal interest, with unreserved trust in God. Saints accept this demanding invitation and set out with humble docility in the following of the Crucified and Risen Christ. Their perfection, in the logic of faith sometimes humanly incomprehensible consists in no longer putting themselves at the centre but in choosing to go against the tide, living in line with the Gospel. This is what the five Saints did who are held up today with great joy for the veneration of the universal Church: Zygmunt Szczesny Felinski, Francisco Coll y Guitart, Jozef Damien de Veuster, Rafael Arnáiz Barón and Mary of the Cross (Jeanne Jugan). In them we contemplate the Apostle Peter’s words fulfilled: “Lo, we have left everything and followed you” (v. 28), and Jesus’ comforting reassurance: “there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the Gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time… with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life” (vv. 29-30).

Zygmunt Szczesny Felinski, Archbishop of Warsaw, the Founder of the Congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Family of Mary, was a great witness of faith and pastoral charity in very troubled times for the nation and for the Church in Poland. He zealously concerned himself with the spiritual development of the faithful, he helped the poor and orphans. At the Ecclesiastical Academy in St Petersburg he saw to the sound formation of priests and as Archbishop of Warsaw he instilled in everyone the desire for inner renewal. Before the January 1863 Uprising against Russian annexation he put the people on guard against useless bloodshed. However, when the rebellion broke out and there were repressions he courageously defended the oppressed. On the Tsar of Russia’s orders he spent 20 years in exile at Jaroslaw on the Volga, without ever being able to return to his diocese. In every situation he retained his steadfast trust in Divine Providence and prayed: “O God, protect us not from the tribulations and worries of this world… only multiply love in our hearts and obtain that in deepest humility we may keep our infinite trust in your help and your mercy”. Today his gift of himself to God and to humankind, full of trust and love, becomes a luminous example for the whole Church.

St Paul reminds us in the Second Reading that “the word of God is living and active” (HE 4,12). In it the Father who is in Heaven speaks lovingly to his children in all the epochs (cf.  Dei Verbum DV 21), making them know his infinite love and, in this way, encouraging them, consoling them and offering them his plan of salvation for humanity and for every person. Aware of this, St Francisco Coll dedicated himself eagerly to disseminating it, thus faithfully fulfilling his vocation in the Order of Preachers, in which he had made his profession. His passion was for preaching, mainly as an itinerant preacher, following the form of the “popular missions”. Thus he aimed to proclaim and to revive the word of God in the villages and towns of Catalonia, thereby guiding people to profound encounter with God. This encounter leads to conversion of heart, to receiving divine grace joyfully and to keeping up a constant conversation with Our Lord through prayer. For this reason his evangelizing activity included great dedication to the sacrament of Reconciliation, a special emphasis on the Eucharist and constant insistence on prayer. Francisco Coll moved the hearts of others because he conveyed to them what he himself lived passionately within, what set his own heart on fire: love for Christ and surrender to him. To ensure that the seed of the word of God fell on good ground, Francisco founded the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of the Anunciata to give an integral education to children and young women so that they might continue to discover the unfathomable treasure that is Christ, the faithful friend who never abandons us and never wearies of being beside us, enlivening our hope with his word of life.

Jozef De Veuster received the name of Damien in the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. When he was 23 years old, in 1863, he left Flanders, the land of his birth, to proclaim the Gospel on the other side of the world in the Hawaiian Islands. His missionary activity, which gave him such joy, reached its peak in charity. Not without fear and repugnance, he chose to go to the Island of Molokai to serve the lepers who lived there, abandoned by all. Thus he was exposed to the disease from which they suffered. He felt at home with them. The servant of the Word consequently became a suffering servant, a leper with the lepers, for the last four years of his life. In order to follow Christ, Fr Damien not only left his homeland but also risked his health: therefore as the word of Jesus proclaimed to us in today’s Gospel says he received eternal life (cf.  Mk  MC 10,30). On this 20th anniversary of the Canonization of another Belgian Saint, Bro. Mutien-Marie, the Church in Belgium has once again come together to give thanks to God for the recognition of one of its sons as an authentic servant of God. Let us remember before this noble figure that it is charity which makes unity, brings it forth and makes it desirable. Following in St Paul’s footsteps, St Damien prompts us to choose the good warfare (cf. 1TM 1,18), not the kind that brings division but the kind that gathers people together. He invites us to open our eyes to the forms of leprosy that disfigure the humanity of our brethren and still today call for the charity of our presence as servants, beyond that of our generosity.

Turning to today’s Gospel, the figure of the young man who tells Jesus of his desire to be something more than one who fulfils to the letter the duties imposed by the law contrasts with Bro. Rafael, canonized today, who died at age 26 as an oblate at the Trappist Monastery of San Isidro de Dueñas. Bro. Rafael also came from a rich family and, as he himself said, was of a “somewhat dreamy disposition”, but his dreams did not vanish before the attraction of material goods and the other aims that the worldly life sometimes proposes with great insistence. He said “yes” to the call to follow Jesus, instantly and with determination, without limits or conditions. So it was that he set out on a journey which, from the moment when he realized at the Monastery that “he did not know how to pray”, brought him in just a few years to the peak of spiritual life, which he recounts in a very frank and natural style in many of his letters. Bro. Rafael, who is also near to us, continues with his example and his actions to offer us an attractive path, especially for young people who are not content with little but aspire to the full truth, the ineffable happiness which is attained through God’s love. “A life of love…. This is the only reason for living”, the new Saint said. And he insisted: “All things come from God’s love”. May the Lord listen kindly to one of the last prayers of St Rafael Arnáiz, when he offered God his whole life, imploring him: “Take me to yourself and give yourself to the world”. May he give himself to revive the inner life of today’s Christians. May he give himself so that his Brother Trappists and monastic centres continue to be beacons that reveal the intimate yearning for God which he himself instilled in every human heart.

By her admirable work at the service of the most deprived elderly, St Mary of the Cross is also like a beacon to guide our societies which must always rediscover the place and the unique contribution of this period of life. Born in 1792 at Cancale in Brittany, Jeanne Jugan was concerned with the dignity of her brothers and sisters in humanity whom age had made more vulnerable, recognizing in them the Person of Christ himself. “Look upon the poor with compassion”, she would say, “and Jesus will look kindly upon you on your last day”. Jeanne Jugan focused upon the elderly a compassionate gaze drawn from her profound communion with God in her joyful, disinterested service, which she carried out with gentleness and humility of heart, desiring herself to be poor among the poor. Jeanne lived the mystery of love, peacefully accepting obscurity and self-emptying until her death. Her charism is ever timely while so many elderly people are suffering from numerous forms of poverty and solitude and are sometimes also abandoned by their families. In the Beatitudes Jeanne Jugan found the source of the spirit of hospitality and fraternal love, founded on unlimited trust in Providence, which illuminated her whole life. This evangelical dynamism is continued today across the world in the Congregation of Little Sisters of the Poor, which she founded and which testifies, after her example, to the mercy of God and the compassionate love of the Heart of Jesus for the lowliest. May St Jeanne Jugan be for elderly people a living source of hope and for those who generously commit themselves to serving them, a powerful incentive to pursue and develop her work!

Dear brothers and sisters, let us thank the Lord for the gift of holiness which shines out in the Church today with unique beauty. While I greet with affection each one of you Cardinals, Bishops, civil and military authorities, priests, men and women religious and members of the lay faithful of various nationalities who are taking part in this solemn Eucharistic celebration I would like to address to all the invitation to let yourselves be attracted by the luminous examples of these Saints, to let yourselves be guided by their teaching so that our entire life may become a song of praise to God’s love. May their heavenly intercession obtain for us this grace and, especially, the motherly protection of Mary, Queen and Mother of humanity. Amen.

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Pope Benedict XVI’s Homily on Today’s Gospel (Mark 10:17-27)

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 27, 2011

Four new Saints are proposed today for the veneration of the universal Church: Rafael Guízar y Valencia, Filippo Smaldone, Rose Venerini and Théodore Guérin. Their names will be remembered for ever.

In contrast to this immediately comes the thought of the “rich young man” of whom the Gospel, just proclaimed, speaks. This youth has remained anonymous; if he had responded positively to the invitation of Jesus, he would have become his disciple and probably the Evangelist would have recorded his name.

From this fact one can immediately glimpse the theme of this Sunday’s Liturgy of the Word: if man puts his trust in the riches of this world, he will not reach the full sense of life and of true joy.
If instead, trusting the Word of God, he renounces himself and his goods for the Kingdom of Heaven, apparently losing much, he in reality gains all.

The Saint is exactly that man, that woman, who, responding with joy and generosity to Christ’s call, leaves everything to follow him. Like Peter and the other Apostles, as St Teresa of Jesus today reminds us as well as countless other friends of God, the new Saints have also run this demanding yet fulfilling Gospel itinerary and have already received “a hundred fold” in this life, together with trials and persecutions, and then eternal life.

Jesus, therefore, can truly guarantee a happy existence and eternal life, but by a route different from what the rich young man imagines: that is, not through a good work, a legal tribute, but rather in the choice of the Kingdom of God as the “precious pearl” for which it is worth selling all that one possesses (cf.  Mt  MT 13,45-46).

The rich youth is not able to take this step. Notwithstanding that he has been the object of the loving gaze of Jesus (cf.  Mk  MC 10,21), his heart is not able to detach itself from the many goods that he possessed.

Thus comes the teaching for the disciples: “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the Kingdom of God!” (MC 10,23).

Earthly riches occupy and preoccupy the mind and the heart. Jesus does not say they are bad, but that they distance one from God if they are not, so to speak, “invested” for the Kingdom of Heaven, spent, that is, to come to the help of those who are poor.

Understanding this is the fruit of that wisdom of which the First Reading speaks. As we were told, she is more precious than silver or gold, and more beautiful, healthy and full of light, “because her radiance never ceases” (SG 7,10).

Obviously, this wisdom cannot be reduced merely to an intellectual dimension. It is much more; it is “the Wisdom of the heart”, as it is called in Psalm 89. It is a gift from on high (cf.  Jas  JC 3,17), from God, and is obtained by prayer (cf.  Wis  SG 7,7).

In fact, it has not remained distant from man; it has come close to his heart (cf.  Dt  DT 30,14), taking form in the law of the First Covenant between God and Israel through Moses.

The Wisdom of God is contained in the Decalogue. This is why Jesus affirms in the Gospel that to “enter into life” it is necessary to observe the commandments (cf.  Mk  MC 10,19). It is necessary, but not sufficient!

In fact, as St Paul says, salvation does not come from the law, but from Grace. And St John recalls that the law was given by Moses, while Grace and Truth come by means of Jesus Christ (cf.  Jn  JN 1,17).

To reach salvation one must therefore be open in faith to the grace of Christ, who, however, when addressed, places a demanding condition: “Come, follow me” (MC 10,21).

The Saints have had the humility and the courage to respond “yes”, and they have renounced all to be his friends.

The four new Saints who we particularly venerate today have done likewise. In them we find the experience of Peter actualized: “Lo, we have left everything and followed you” (MC 10,28). Their only treasure is in heaven: it is God.

The Gospel that we have heard helps us to understand the figure of St Rafael Guízar y Valencia, Bishop of Vera Cruz in the beloved Mexican Nation, as an example of one who has left all to “follow Jesus”.

This Saint was faithful to the divine Word, “living and active”, that penetrates the depth of the spirit (cf.  Heb  HE 4,12). Imitating the poor Christ, he renounced his goods and never accepted the gifts of the powerful, or rather, he gave them back immediately. This is why he received “a hundred fold” and could thus help the poor, even amid endless “persecutions” (cf.  Mk  MC 10,30).

His charity, lived to a heroic degree, earned him the name, “Bishop of the poor”. In his priestly and later episcopal ministry, he was an untiring preacher of popular missions, the most appropriate way at the time to evangelize people, using his own “Catechism of Christian Doctrine”.

Since the formation of priests was one of his priorities, he reopened the seminary, which he considered “the apple of his eye”, and therefore he would often say: “A Bishop can do without the mitre, the crosier and even without the cathedral, but he cannot do without the seminary, since the future of his Diocese depends on it”.

With this profound sense of priestly paternity he faced new persecutions and exiles, but he always guaranteed the formation of the students.

The example of St Rafael Guízar y Valencia is a call to his brother Bishops and priests to consider as fundamental in pastoral programmes, beyond the spirit of poverty and evangelization, the promotion of priestly and religious vocations, and their formation according to the heart of Jesus!

St Filippo Smaldone, son of South Italy, knew how to instil in his life the higher virtues characteristic of his land.

A priest with a great heart nourished continuously on prayer and Eucharistic adoration, he was above all a witness and servant of charity, which he manifested in an eminent way through service to the poor, in particular to deaf-mutes, to whom he dedicated himself entirely.

The work that he began developed thanks to the Congregation of the Salesian Sisters of the Sacred Hearts founded by him and which spread to various parts of Italy and the world.

St Filippo Smaldone saw the image of God reflected in deaf-mutes, and he used to repeat that, just as we prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament, so we should kneel before a deaf-mute.

From his example we welcome the invitation to consider the ever indivisible love for the Eucharist and love for one’s neighbour. But the true capacity to love the brethren can come only from meeting with the Lord in the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

St Rose Venerini is another example of a faithful disciple of Christ, ready to give up all in order to do the will of God. She loved to say: “I find myself so bound to the divine will that neither death nor life is important: I want to live as he wishes and I want to serve him as he likes, and nothing more” (Biografia Andreucci, p. 515).

From here, from this surrender to God, sprang the long-admired work that she courageously developed in favour of the spiritual elevation and authentic emancipation of the young women of her time.

St Rose did not content herself with providing the girls an adequate education, but she was concerned with assuring their complete formation, with sound references to the Church’s doctrinal teaching.

Her own apostolic style continues to characterize the life of the Congregation of the Religious Teachers Venerini which she founded. And how timely and important for today’s society is this service, which puts them in the field of education and especially of the formation of women.

“Go, sell everything you own, and give the money to the poor… then come, follow me”. These words have inspired countless Christians throughout the history of the Church to follow Christ in a life of radical poverty, trusting in Divine Providence.

Among these generous disciples of Christ was a young Frenchwoman, who responded unreservedly to the call of the divine Teacher. Mother Théodore Guérin entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Providence in 1823, and she devoted herself to the work of teaching in schools. Then, in 1839, she was asked by her Superiors to travel to the United States to become the head of a new community in Indiana.

After their long journey over land and sea, the group of six Sisters arrived at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods. There they found a simple log-cabin chapel in the heart of the forest. They knelt down before the Blessed Sacrament and gave thanks, asking God’s guidance upon the new foundation.

With great trust in Divine Providence, Mother Théodore overcame many challenges and persevered in the work that the Lord had called her to do. By the time of her death in 1856, the Sisters were running schools and orphanages throughout the State of Indiana.

In her own words, “How much good has been accomplished by the Sisters of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods! How much more good they will be able to do if they remain faithful to their holy vocation!”.

Mother Théodore Guérin is a beautiful spiritual figure and a model of the Christian life. She was always open for the missions the Church entrusted to her, and she found the strength and the boldness to put them [the missions] into practice in the Eucharist, in prayer and in an infinite trust in Divine Providence. Her inner strength moved her to address particular attention to the poor, and above all to children.

Dear brothers and sisters, we give thanks to the Lord for the gift of holiness that today shines forth in the Church with singular beauty.

Jesus also invites us, like these Saints, to follow him in order to have an inheritance in eternal life. May their exemplary witness illuminate and encourage especially young people, so that they may allow themselves to be won over by Christ, by his glance full of love.

May Mary, Queen of the Saints, raise up among the Christian people, men and women like St Rafael Guízar y Valencia, St Filippo Smaldone, St Rose Venerini and St Théodore Guérin, ready to abandon all for the Kingdom of God; disposed to make their own the logic of gift and service, the only one that saves the world. Amen.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Resource for Sunday Mass, Feb 27 (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 27, 2011

This post contains resources (mostly biblical) for the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. Some further resources may be added before Sunday, these will be marked UPDATE. Please keep in mind that the readings for the two forms differ from one another.



Pope John Paul II on Psalm 62.

UPDATE: St John Chrysostom on 1 Cor 4:1-5.

Bernardin de Piconio on 1 Cor 4:1-5.

Cornelius a Lapide on 1 Cor 4:1-5.

Bishop MacEvily on 1 Cor 4:1-5.

Juan de Maldonado on Matt 6:24-34.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 6:24-34.

Bishop Knecht’s Practical Commentary on Matt 6:24-34.

Update 2/25/11: Bishop MacEvily on Matt 6:24-34 .

Catholic Matters. Readings with brief explanations.

Bible Study. A study of the readings from St Charles Borromeo Parish.

Dr Scott Hahn Podcast. Audio, 3 minutes. Does good job of highlighting major theme(s) of the readings. Text also available.

St Martha’s Podcast. Usually examines all three readings in some detail, however, this week’s podcast is rather brief (approx. 10 minutes), and summary in nature.

Franciscan Sisters Bible Study Podcast. This Sunday’s podcast probably wont become available until Thursday. The studies usually last 45-60 minutes and look at all the readings.

Father Robert Barron’s Homily Podcast. As I prepare this (Tuesday evening) this Sunday’s homily has not yet been posted. Fr. Barron is a well known and respected theologian and preacher.

Word Sunday: A Lectionary Resource For Catholics.

  • MP PODCAST In this week’s audio podcast, we consider the the timeless problem of anxiety. What did Jesus say about daily worry? Focus on God, take one day at a time.
  • FIRST READING Isaiah 49 answered the question of distance from God. God hasn’t abandoned his people, for how could he forget his own?
  • PSALM Psalm 62 spoke to struggle prayer can present in life. It saw YHWH as the only answer to the uncertainty in life.
  • SECOND READING St. Paul wrote his critics in Corinth to hold their tongues. “Wait to judge,” he said, “wait until God judges.”
  • GOSPEL In Matthew 6, Jesus addressed anxiety. His answer was not “Don’t worry, be happy.” It was, “Pray, then be happy.”
  • CHILDREN’S READINGS In the story for the first reading, Lance has a shy boy whom others judged harshly. One day, that judgment changed with a new friend, and skills he would learn from that friend. It doesn’t matter what others say about us. Only God matters. In the story for the gospel, Gerald worried about a math test. In fact, he worried too much. He needed a break, some time to put his worries in perspective. We need the same quality time to put our world into perspective, God’s perspective.
  • CATECHISM LINK In this week’s Catechism Link, we investigate the Precepts of the Church.
  • FAMILY ACTIVITY Pray and have fun as a family, especially as a means to reduce stress.

Gospel Meditation. Gospel text followed by brief meditation, brief prayer, and the Psalm of the day.

Lector Notes. Gives helpful theological and historical background. Can be printed out for use as a bulletin insert.

Historical Cultural Context of the Gospel. Provides brief but very interesting background to the phrase “you cannot serve two masters” and on the anxieties of life in the 1st century.

Thoughts From the Early Church. Excerpt from a homily dating from the 4th or 5th century.

Scripture in Depth. Provides a good bit of information about the readings in surprisingly brief fashion.

Today’s Good News. Brief commentary on the Gospel.

Sunday Reflections. By Fr. Eugene Lobo, S.J.


This Sunday’s Missal. Contains the prayers and readings in both Latin and English.

Goffine’s Devout Instructions on the Epistle and Gospel. Online book. Contains the readings and prayers along with instructions based upon them.

Cornelius a Lapide on 2 Cor 11:19-33, 12:1-9.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 8:4-15.

Bishop Knecht’s Practical Commentary on Luke 8:4-15.

Doctrinal Instructions on the Angels. Online book. It was common to give instructions on the angels for this Sunday inasmuch as an angel of Satan was mentioned in the first reading (2 Cor 12:7), and Satan is mentioned in the Gospel text (Luke 8:12).

The Nature of Angels. Online book.

Angels in the World. Online book.

Moral Instruction on Fasting and Prayer. On this Sunday it was common to give instruction on fasting and prayer.

UODATE: The Poor Soil Ont Which the Word of God Generally Falls. Homily, online book.

UPDATE: The Word of God. Homily, online book.

UPDATE: On the Necessity of Hearing the Word of God in a Sermon. Homily, online book. Scroll down to bottom of page to find the start of the homily.

UPDATE: Our Wisdom. Homily, online book.


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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 7:21-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 27, 2011

Ver 21. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Jerome: As He had said above that those who have the robe of a good life are yet not to be received because of the impiety of their doctrines; so now on the other hand, He forbids us to participate the faith with those who while they are strong in sound doctrine, destroy it with evil works. For it behoves the servants of God that both their work should be approved by their teaching and their teaching by their works.

And therefore He says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, enters into the kingdom of heaven.”

Chrys., Hom., xxiv. Rom. 2, 17: Wherein He seems to touch the Jews chiefly who placed every thing in dogmas; as Paul accuses them, “If thou art called a Jew, and restest in the Law.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: Otherwise; Having taught that the false prophets and the true are to be discerned by their fruits, He now goes on to teach more plainly what are the fruits by which we are to discern the godly from the ungodly teachers.

Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 24: For even in the very name of Christ we must be on our guard against heretics, and all that understand amiss and love this world, that we may not be deceived, and therefore He says, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord.”

But it may fairly create a difficulty how this is to be reconciled with that of the Apostle, “No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” [1Co_12:3] For we cannot say that those who are not to enter into the kingdom of heaven have the Holy Spirit. But the Apostle uses the word ‘say,’ to express the will and understanding of him that says it. He only properly says a thing, who by the sound of his voice expresses his will and purpose. But the Lord uses the word in its ordinary sense, for he seems to say who neither wishes nor understands what he says.

Jerome: For Scripture uses to take words for deeds; according to which the Apostle declares, “They make confession that they know God, but in works deny him.” [Tit_1:16]

Ambrosiaster Comm. in 1 Cor 12, 3: For all truth by whomsoever uttered is from the Holy Spirit.

Aug., non occ.: Let us not therefore think that this belongs to those fruits of which He had spoken above, when one says to our Lord, “Lord, Lord;” and thence seems to us to be a good tree; the true fruit spoken of is to do the will of God; whence it follows, “But who doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

Hilary: For obeying God’s will and not calling on His name, shall find the way to the heavenly kingdom.

Pseudo-Chrys.: And what the will of God is the Lord Himself teaches, “This is,” He says, “the will of him that sent me, that every man that seeth the Son and believeth on him should have eternal life.” [Joh_6:40] The word believe has reference both to confession and conduct. He then who does not confess Christ, or does not walk according to His word, shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Chrys.: He said not “he that doth” My “will,” but “the will of my Father,” for it was fit so to adapt it in the mean while to their weakness. But the one secretly implied the other, seeing the will of the Son is no other than the will of the Father.

Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 25: Here it also pertains that we be not deceived by the name of Christ not only in such as bear the name and do not the deeds, but yet more by certain works and miracles, such as the Lord wrought because of the unbelieving, but yet warned us that we should not be deceived by such to suppose that there was invisible wisdom where was a visible miracle; wherefore He adds, saying, “Many shall say to me in that day.”

Chrys.: See how He thus secretly bring in Himself. Here in the end of His Sermon He shews Himself as the Judge. The punishment that awaits sinners He had shewn before, but now only reveals who He is that shall punish, saying, “Many shall say to me in that day.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: When, namely, He shall come in the majesty of His Father; when none shall any more dare with strife of many words either to defend a lie, or to speak against the truth, when each man’s work shall speak, and his mouth be silent, when none shall come forward for another, but each shall fear for himself. For in that judgment the witnesses shall not be flattering men, but Angles speaking the truth, and the Judge is the righteous Lord; whence He closely images the cry of men fearful, and in straits, saying, “Lord, Lord.” For to call once is not enough for him who is under the necessity of terror.

Hilary: They even assure themselves of glory for their prophesying in teaching, for their casting our daemons, for their mighty works; and hence promise themselves the kingdom of heaven, saying, “Have we not prophesied in thy name?”

Chrys.: But there are that say that they spoke this falsely, and therefore were not saved. But they would not have dared to say this to the Judge in His presence. But the very answer and question prove that it was in His presence that they spoke thus. For having been here wondered at by all for the miracles which they wrought, and there seeing themselves punished, they say in wonderment, “Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?” Others again say, that they did sinful deeds not while they thus were working miracles, but at a time later. But if this be so, that very thing which the Lord desired to prove would not be established, namely, that neither faith nor miracles avail ought where there is not a good life; as Paul also declares, “If I have faith that I may remove mountains, but have not charity, I am nothing.” [1Co_13:2]

Pseudo-Chrys.: But not that He says, “in my name,” not in My Spirit; for they prophesy in the name of Christ, but with the spirit of the Devil; such are the diviners. But they may be known by this, that the Devil sometimes speaks falsely, the Holy Spirit never. Howbeit it is permitted to the Devil sometimes to speak the truth, that he may commend his lying by this his rare truth. Yet they cast out daemons in the name of Christ, though they have the spirit of his enemy; or rather, they do not cast them out, but seem only to cast them out, the daemons acting in concert with them. Also they do mighty works, that is, miracles, not such as are useful and necessary, but useless and fruitless.

Aug.: Read also what things the Magi did in Egypt in withstanding Moses.

Jerome: Otherwise; To prophesy, to work wonders, to cast out daemons by divine power, is often not of his deserts who performs the works, but either the invocation of Christ’s name has this force; or it is suffered for the condemnation of those that invoke, or for the benefit of those that see and hear, that however they despise the men who work the wonders, they may give honour to God. So Saul and Balaam and Caiaphas prophesied; the sons of Scaeva in the Acts of the Apostles were seen to cast out daemons; and Judas with the soul of a traitor is related to have wrought many signs among the other Apostles.

Chrys.: For all are not alike fit for all things; these are of pure life, but have not so great faith; those again have the reverse. Therefore God converted these by the means of those to the shewing forth much faith; and those that had faith He called by this unspeakable gift of miracles to a better life; and to that end gave them this grace in great richness. And they say, “We have done many mighty works.” But because they were ungrateful towards those who thus honoured them, it follows rightly, “Then will I confess unto you, I never knew you.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: For great wrath ought to be preceded by great forbearance, that the sentence of God may be made more just, and the death of the sinners more merited. God does not know sinners because they are not worthy that they should be known of God; not that He altogether is ignorant concerning them, but because He knows them not for His own. For God knows all men according to nature, but He seems not to know them for that He loves them not, as they seem not to know God who do not serve Him worthily.

Chrys.: He says to them, “I never knew you,” as it were, not at the day of judgment only, but not even then when ye were working miracles. For there are many whom He has now  in abhorrence, and yet turns away His wrath before their punishment.

Jerome: Note that He says, “I never knew you,” as being against some that say that all men have always been among rational creatures.” [ed. note: Origen was accused of saying that all men were from their birth inwardly partakers of the Divine Word or Reason. vid. Jerome, Ep. ad Avit.]

Greg., Mor., xx, 7: By this sentence it is given to us to learn, that among men charity and humility, and not mighty works, are to be esteemed. Whence also now the Holy Church, if there be any miracles of heretics, despises them, because she knows that they have not the mark of holiness. And the proof of holiness is not to work miracles, but to love our neighbour as ourselves, to think truly of God, and of our neighbour better than of ourselves.

Aug., Cont. Adv. Leg. ii. 4: But never let it be said as the Manichees say, that the Lord spoke these things concerning the holy Prophets; He spoke of those who after the preaching of His Gospel seem to themselves to speak in His name not knowing what they speak.

Hilary: But thus the hypocrites boasted, as though they spoke somewhat of themselves, and as though the power of God did not work all these things, being invoked; but reading has brought them the knowledge of His doctrine, and the name of Christ casts out the daemons. Out of our own selves then is that blessed eternity to be earned, and out of ourselves must be put forth something that we may will that which is good, that we may avoid all evil, and may rather do what He would have us do, than boast of that to which He enables us. These then He disowns and banishes for their evil works, saying, “Depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Jerome: He says not, Who have worked, but “who work iniquity,” that He should not seem to take away repentance. “Ye,” that is, who up to the present hour when the judgment is come, though ye have not the opportunity, yet retain the desire of sinning.

Pseudo-Chrys.: For death separates the soul from the body, but changes not the purpose of the heart.

Ver 24. “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:25. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.26. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:27. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”

Chrys.: Because there would be some who would admire the things that were said by the Lord, but would not add that shewing forth of them which is in action, He threatens them before, saying, “Every man that hears these words of mine, and does them, shall be likened to a wise man.”

Pseudo-Chrys.: He said not, I will account him that hears and does, as wise; but, “He shall be likened to a wise man.” He then that is likened is a man; but to whom is he likened? To Christ; but Christ is the wise man who had built His house, that is, the Church, upon a rock, that is, upon the strength of the faith.

The foolish man is the Devil, who has built his house, that is, all the ungodly, upon the sand, that is, the insecurity of unbelief, or upon the carnal, who are called the sand on account of their barrenness; both because they do not cleave together, but are scattered through the diversity of their opinions, and because they are innumerable.

The rain is the doctrine that waters a man, the clouds are those from which the rain falls. Some are raised by the Holy Spirit, as the Apostles and Prophets, and some by the spirit of the Devil, as are the heretics.

The good winds are the spirits of the different virtues, or the Angels who work invisibly in the senses of men, and lead them to good. The bad winds are the unclean spirits.

The good floods are the Evangelists and teachers of the people; the evil floods are men full of an unclean spirit, and overflowing with many words; such are philosophers and the other professors of worldly wisdom, out of whose belly come rivers of dead water.

The Church then which Christ has founded,  neither the rain of false doctrine shall sap, nor the blast of the Devil overturn, nor the rush of mighty floods remove. Nor does it contradict this, that certain of the Church do fall; for not all that are called Christians, are Christ’s, but, “The Lord knows them that are his.” [2Ti_2:19]

But against that house that the Devil has built comes down the rain of true doctrine, the winds, that is, the graces of the Spirit, or the Angels; the floods, that is, the four Evangelists and the rest of the wise; and so the house falls, that is, the Gentile world, that Christ may rise; and the ruin of that house was great, its errors broken up, its falsehoods laid open, its idols throughout the whole world broken down. He then is like unto Christ who hears Christ’s words and does them; for he builds on a rock, that is, upon Christ, who is all good, so that on whatsoever kind of good any one shall build, he may seem to have built upon Christ. But as the Church built by Christ cannot be thrown down, so any such Christian who has built himself upon Christ, no adversity can overthrow, according to that, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” [Rom_8:35]

Like to the Devil is he that hears the words of Christ, and does them not. For words that are heard, and are not done, are likened to sand, they are dispersed and shed abroad. For the sand signifies all evil, or even worldly goods. For as the Devil’s house is overthrown, so such as are built upon the sand are destroyed and fall. And great is that ruin if he have suffered any thing to fail of the foundation of faith; but not if he have committed fornication, or homicide, because he has whence he may arise through penitence, as David.

Rabanus: Or the great ruin is to be understood that with which the Lord will say to them that hear and do not, “Go ye into everlasting fire.” [Mat_25:41]

Jerome: Or otherwise; On sand which is loose and cannot be bound into one mass, all the doctrine of heretics is built so as to fall.

Hilary: Otherwise; By the showers He signifies the allurements of smooth and gently invading pleasures, with which the faith is at first watered as with spreading rills, afterwards comes down the rush of torrent floods, that is, the motions of fiercer desire, and lastly, the whole force of the driving tempests rages against it, that is, the universal spirits of the Devil’s reign attack it.

Aug., Serm. in Mont. in fin.: Otherwise; Rain, when it is put to denote any evil, is understood as the darkness of superstition; rumours of men are compared to winds; the flood signifies the lust of the flesh, as it were flowing over the land, and because what is brought on by prosperity is broken off by adversity. None of these things does he fear who has his house founded upon a rock, that is, who not only hears the command of the Lord, but who also does it. And in all these he submits himself to danger, who hears and does not. For no man confirms in himself what the Lord commands, or himself hears, but by doing it.

But it should be noted, that when he said, “He that heareth these words of mine,” He shews plainly enough that this sermon is made complete by all those precepts by which the Christian life is formed, so that with good reason they that desire to live according to them, may be compared to one that builds on a rock.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

This Weeks Posts: Sunday, Feb 20-Saturday, Feb 26

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 26, 2011

Some posts are scheduled in advance and will not become available until the time indicated. Posts without time indicators (e.g., Readings) are available regardless of the day they are listed. UPDATES may occur in the afternoon/evening of any day.


Last Weeks Posts. In case you missed something.

Today’s Readings.

Resources For Sunday Mass, Feb 20. A weekly feature of this blog. The resources for next Sunday, Feb 27, will be posted on Wednesday. Individual posts relating to next Sunday’s Mass will appear throughout the week(e.g., see the next couple of links).

Bernardin de Piconio on 1 Cor 4:1-5 for Sunday Mass, Feb 27.

Cornelius a Lapide on 1 Cor 4:1-5 for Sunday Mass, Feb 27.

Bishop MacEvily on 1 Cor 4:1-5 for Sunday Mass, Feb 27.



Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Mark 9:14-29). 12:05 AM EST.

Cornelius a Lapide on 2 Cor 11:19-33, 12:1-9 for Sunday Mass, Feb 27 (Extraordinary Form). 12:10 AM EST. A very, very lengthy post.

UPDATE: St John Fisher on the Fourth Penitential Psalm (51), Part 1.

UPDATE: Pope John Paul II on Psalm 62 for Sunday Mass, Feb 27.

UPDATE: Juan de Maldonado on Matt 6:24-34 for Sunday Mass, Feb 27.




Bishop MacEvily on Today’s First Reading (1 Peter 5:1-4). 12:05 AM EST.

Juan de Maldonado on Today’s Gospel (Matt 16:13-19). Actually, this post includes verses 20-23.

Catholic Encyclopedia on the Feast of the Chair of St Peter.

Catholic News Service Article on the Chair of St Peter.

Photos Relating to the Chair of St Peter.

Office of Readings for the Feast of the Chair of St Peter. An excerpt from a homily by Pope St Leo the Great.

Pope Benedict XVI on the Feast of the Chair of St Peter. 12:05 AM EST.

Jesus and the Mystery of the Kingdom. Podcast on the relationship between the Church and the Kingdom. Focuses especially on the theme of the Church (Greek, ἐκκλησία = ekklēsia; Heb, עדה = ‛êdâh), in the OT and its relation to the Kingdom of David. Then examines Isaiah 22:15-24 in relation to Matt 16:13-19). The podcast is by Dr Brant Pitre.



Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Mark 9:38-40). 12:05 AM EST.

Catholic Encyclopedia on St Polycarp.

The Epistle of St Ignatius of Antioch to St Polycarp.

The Martyrdom of St Polycarp.

St Polycarps Epistle to the Philippians. 12:10 AM EST.

Some Notes on Today’s Psalm Verses.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 6:24-34 for Sunday Mass, Feb 27.

Bishop Knecht’s Practical Commentary on Matt 6:24-34 for Sunday Mass, Feb 27.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 8:4-15 for Sunday Mass, Feb 27 (Extraordinary Form).

Bishop Knecht’s Practical Commentary on Luke 8:4-15 for Sunday Mass, Feb 27 (Extraordinary Form).

The Catechism of the Council of Trent on Prayer and Fasting.

Resources For Sunday Mass, Feb 27 (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms). Available 12:00 AM EST.



My Notes on Today’s Psalm (1).

St Thomas Aquinas on today’s Psalm (1). Latin and English text side by side.

Father Patrick Boylan on Today’s Psalm (1).

A Lectio Divina Reading of Today’s Psalm (1).

A Medieval Jewish Commentary on Today’s Psalm (1).

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Mark 9:41-40). 12:05 AM EST.

St John Chrysostom on 1 Cor 4:1-5 for Sunday Mass, Feb 27.



Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Mark 10:1-12). 12:05 AM EST.

UPDATE: Bishop MacEvily on Matt 6:24-34 for Sunday Mass, Feb 27.

Posted in BENEDICT XVI CATECHESIS, Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Documents of Benedict XVI, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on 1 Corinthians, Notes on 1 Peter, Notes on 2 Corinthians, Notes on Mark, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Matt 6:24-34

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 25, 2011

Mat 6:24  No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

This is a further reason for not laying up for ourselves treasures on earth (see Matt 6:20). The preceding reasons or arguments were grounded on the fleeting nature and instability of such treasures (Matt 6:19); on the total absorption of our affections by them (Matt6:21); on their destroying the merits of our actions and withdrawing us from God (Matt 6:22, 23). Here, it is founded on the grievous slavery it entails. We become the slaves of this earthly treasure, on which our hearts are set. We cannot serve it and God at the same time.

No man can serve two masters. This is an adage generally received, and true in almost all cases; and from the reasoning which follows, for, he will either hate the one, &c., it is clear that our Redeemer refers to the service dictated by love and affection (and it is against the absorbing love of riches He here wishes to caution His followers). The adage, generally true in all cases of double service, where different orders aie given, is particularly true where the two master; give opposite orders. There is an incompatibility in a servant, from the very nature of his position, having his love and faithful service distracted between both. If there be question of masters who, though different or distinct, are subordinate, one to the other, they may be regarded as one. Thus, one servant can serve the several members of a household, as subordinate, all to the head. By master, is understood every thing, to which we are too much addicted, as if enslaved.

for, either he will hate the one and love the other. “One” is by a well-known
Hebrew idiom, put for “first”;   the other, for “the second”. The words may be thus illustrated: Suppose the masters to be Peter and Paul. He will either hate the first (that is, Peter), and love the second (Paul); or he will hold to the first (Peter), and serve him, and despise the other (Paul). The opposition in the disjunctive clauses is not between the persons, but between the love and the hatred iu one and the same person. Hating and loving may be understood in a lesser or greater degree of intensity.

The Greek word for sustain (ἀντέχομαι = antechomai) denotes the strongest attachment St. Augustine understands sustains or, hold to of riches or mammon and translates it, patietur, he will endure or tolerate, as if to say, if he devote himself to the service of this tyrant, mammon, to the rejection and contempt of God, he can only endure or tolerate him, but love him he cannot. The former interpretation is more in accordance with the received meaning of the Greek word, (ἀντέχομαι = antechomai).

You cannot serve God and mammon. This is the application of the general adage quoted in the foregoing.  Mammon is a Syriac word, signifying riches. In the Chaldaic Targum of Onkelos, it is used for money (Ex 21:21); and of Jonathan (Judges 18:30). St. Augustine tells us that in the Punic language, it means gain (De Ser. Dom. Lib. ii.) It is here personified; for, indeed, the avaricious man makes a god of his riches, just as some make a god of their belly (Phil 3:19). Hence, St. Paul terms riches  the serving of idols (Eph 5:5). Our Redeemer does not say,  you CANXOT be rich and serve God; because, a man may be rich, like the patriarchs of old, and many just men, without being inordinately attached to riches; without serving them as the treasures of their hearts. God and riches are antithetical. It is the service of both that is incompatible. The love of riches is generally one of the greatest obstacles to the salvation of the world. The desire of riches, or their abuse, if possessed, is one of the means most successfully employed by the devil for the ruin of man. It is easier for a camel &c. (See also St. Paul, 1 Tim 6) On this account, it is, our Redeemer commands all those who range themselves under His standard, to despise the richesof this earth, after His own example; or, to use them, only as means towards possessing and enjoying the riches of heaven.

Mat 6:25  Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment?

Since, then, we cannot serve God and mammon at the same time, and cannot have our hearts attached to the things of earth, if we wish to serve God; we must, therefore, in order to serve God, whom alone we should serve, not merely be content with avoiding the unnecessary amassing of riches, but we must divest ourselves of all anxious, corroding solicitude for the very necessaries of life; all distrustful forecasting of future provision as regards these necessaries. Such solicitude generally binds the soul to earth, and belongs to the service of mammon. In this, our Lord obviates a tacit objection, or rather pretext, for concealing avarice, which men would put forward in justification of their constant striving for the things of earth, viz., the plea of securing the necessaries of life. Our Redeemer knew well how deeply rooted such a feeling of solicitude is in the human heart; hence, He not only draws an argument from the foregoing against indulging in such solicitude; but, in the following, He proceeds to show, from several arguments, the utter folly and inutility of the anxiety He condemns in reference to these very necessaries, either as regard soul or body; for of both, soul and body, human nature is composed. Solicitous, the Greek
word, (μεριμνάω = merimnaō), signifies detracting care, corroding anxiety. In one or two passages of the New Testament, (μεριμνάω = merimnaō) denotes laudable anxiety (2 Cor 11.; Philip 2:20), but it is generally used to denote distracting, distrustful care. (When laudable solicitude is in question a different Greek word is used). In employing the former word, our Redeemer shows He does not censure a prudent, thoughtful diligence in regard to the necessaries of life, as is sanctioned by right reason, and the example of all the saints. It is only the man that sows that can expect to reap, and reap fruit of the same kind as the seed sown. The Scripture itself praises the diligence of the laborious ant (Prov 6:6). St. Paul laboured with his hands to procure an independent sustenance (Acts 20; 1 Thess 2); and, writing to the Ephesians (Eph 4) he commands the idle to labour so as to furnish necessaries to the needy. He tells the idle among theThessalonians, not to eat (2 Thess 3:10). What our Lord, then, censures and warns us against is that anxious, fretful, anticipating solicitude, which implies a distrust in God s providence, and also fixes the heart on earth and withdraws it from God.

The life, (anima] is understood by some to mean, the soul of man. It is opposed to the body, not that the soul needs food; but, food is necessary to keep the soul, which is the principle of life, in the body. Others understand it to mean, in accordance with the Hebrew usage, life Job 2:6; St. Augustine, Lib. ii. de Serm. Domini, c. 22). To the words, what you sahll eat, are added in the Greek and Syriac, nor what you shall drink." St. Jerome rejects them.

Is not the life more than the food? &c. Our Redeemer adduces several reasons to dissuade us from indulging in these distracting anxieties. The first is given here. He, who gave what is greater and more valuable, will not refuse what is less valuable, and is, moreover, necessary for the preservation of His own more precious gifts. The soul or life given by God is more valuable than the aliments necessary to sustain it; and the body more valuable than the necessary covering. We must, therefore, trust that He, who gave the former, will not fail to provide the latter.

Mat 6:26  Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they?

A second reason to dissuade us from inordinate anxiety: If God takes such
care of the birds of the air, the (worthless) ravens (Luke 12:24), as to provide them with food, without any solicitude on their part, how much greater care will He not take of men, for whose use and benefit the reat of creation was formed? (See also Ps 9; Job 38:41.)

Of the air, to show forth in a still clearer light, God s providence, as the birds of the air are not fed by men, like domestic fowl. He instances birds beyond any others; because, they are the most insignificant of animals. They remind us of raising ourselves above the things of this earth. They also seem the most indifferent beings in creation, about providing themselves, save casually, with food.

They neither sow, &c. This by no means implies, that in contravention of the primeval decree,  in sudore vultus tui, &c, (Gen 3:19), we, like the birds of the air, should follow no industrial pursuit, nor labour for our support. It conveys merely this, that, since the Creator feeds these animals, who have no other occupation or direction, save the dictates of their animal instincts, we should be persuaded, that He who is not only our Creator, but our Father also, will not fail to provide the necessary means of subsistence for us, His children, while engaged in following His holy will and precepts. So that if our duties in life should engage us in occupations other than those necessary to provide sustenance, such as sowing and reaping, we need not fear that we shall be deprived of the necessary sustenance.

The force of the argument consists, not in the comparison of man, or his occupations, with the birds; but, in the difference of relations and dispositions of God in regard to both, indicated in the words, your heavenly Father (Jansen. Gandav.)  Your Father. He is only their Creator; but, He bears also the tender relation and natural solicitude of a parent for you.  Heavenly conveys that, while dwelling in the heavens, He does not disdain to regulate earthly and temporal concerns; since His providence extends to the very ravens; and surely He will do more for Hia children than for the worthless ravens of the air.

Mat 6:27  And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit?

And which of you by taking thought? &c. This is a third reason for laying
aside all distracting solicitude, derived from its utter folly and inefficacy. The words of St. Luke 12:25, 26 would seem to point to this as an argument, a minore ad majus. According to some commentators (among them Barradius), our Redeemer institutes no comparison whatsoever. These understand the words to mean, If by anxious thought, you cannot add a single cubit to your stature, a very inconsiderable thing; if you cannot do the least thing by it, why, then, employ anxious thought about anything else in regard to which such disquieting solicitude can be of no avail, unless God s providence interposes? “Why are you solicitous for the rest.”  Luke 12:26). According to these interpreters, there is no comparison whatsoever
instituted. Others understand the words as expressing a comparison, as is implied in St. Luke, and interpret them thus, in allusion to the necessaries of life: “If you cannot, by your solicitude, add to your stature a single cubit, how much less can you procure the necessaries of life, which is but a conservation in existence, a continued series of acts of creation of the entire man, requiring, therefore, more power than if required to add a single cubit to your stature?” When, therefore, all your solicitude will prove of no avail to you to do a comparatively trifling thing, why, then, indulge in such vain feelings of solicitude, in reference to greater, viz., food and the
preservation of life, and not rather commit yourself to His providence who, without any anxiety on your part, has preserved you to the present time, conferred on you your present stature, and will, no doubt, provide for your continuance in existence. Others, understanding the Greek word for stature to mean, age, and cubit, a period of time, interpret the passage thus: “If you cannot add the shortest time to your age, how much less can you prolong life during the entire term of your existence?”

By thinking. The Greek word implies, distracting care, which shows what kind of solicitude our Eedeemer warns us against here.

Mat 6:28  And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin.

A fourth reason to dissuade us from solicitude. From food the more
necessary means of subsistence He proceeds to treat of raiment, which is less necessary, and also serves for ornament. He now employs an illustration, borrowed from the flowers of the field, as He had already done with regard to the birds of the air, to dissuade us from distracting solicitude.

The lilies of the field. which, growing wild, unlike the flowers of the garden,
tended by man, owe nothing to human care or culture.

How they grow? Their growth and expansion in leaves and foliage is their
clothing. They labour not, to obtain clothing, as do men, "nor spin. the occupation of women.

Mat 6:29  But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.

Solomon, the most magnificent of monarchs, whose apparel was so costly,
in all his glory, at the very height of all his glory and magnificence. Or, during the entire period of his glorious reign (St. Chrysostom).

Was arrayed as one of these.  “What silken works, what royal purple, what
woven picture, can be compared to flowers? What so blushing as the rose? What so white as the lily?” (St. Jerome.)

Mat 6:30  And if the grass of the field, which is to day, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith?

What He calls above, the lilies of the field He now calls grass of the field to show how God can and does invest the most worthless thing with exquisite
beauty.  Which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast, &c., a thing of short-lived, passing existence. God doth so clothe, as to exceed the glory of Solomon, with how much greater care will He not provide the necessary clothing for His own children, and invest them with beauty, who are to exist not for a day; but, destined to live for eternity with Himself, as heirs of His kingdom, and who, now, for want of due faith and confidence, distrust His paternal providence? ye, of little faith.

The words, labour not  &c., are not opposed to our labouring and earning our bread with the sweat of our brow, as has been already explained (v. 26). They are only meant to convey, that God will not be wanting to us any more than He is to the very flowers of the field, even though our occupations in life may not directly tend to our providing bodily sustenance, such as, sowing, reaping, spinning, &c., as is the case with those engaged in preaching the Gospel, &c. This passage conveys a wholesome lesson, and a well-merited reproof to those who display an excessive desire for the vanities of dress.

Mat 6:31  Be not solicitous therefore, saying: What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed?

Having adduced proofs in the foregoing of the fatherly providence of God in
our regard, and of the utter folly of anxious solicitude on our part, our Redeemer now concludes what He already proposed, and more clearly explains in what this solicitude consists, What shall we eat? &c. He shows that He has been censuring that timorous, anxious solicitude which betrays distrust in God’s providence.

Mat 6:32  For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things.

Such solicitude is heathen and not Christian; and as our love of our fellow creatures should differ from that exhibited by the Pagans (Matt 5:47), so also should our confidence in God s fatherly providence; and, as wo must surpass the Scribes and Pharisees, if we wish to enter into the kingdom of heaven ; so must we surpass the unbelieving Pagans who know not God. In this is conveyed a fifth reason for avoiding undue anxiety.

For, your Father knoweth &c. In this is conveyed a sixth reason, and from it we clearly see the nature of the solicitude condemned oy our Redeemer. It arose from a want of faith in God s power, omniscience, and fatherly providence. Your Father, shows God’s benevolence towards us, His will to assist us. His power is implied and expressed in the words, Heavenly Father, and more clearly still in the Greek (ο ουρανιος), He who dwells in the heavens.  His omniscience and knowledge of our wants is clearly expressed, knoweth, &c. Why not, then, cast all our cares on Him? for, He hath care of us (1 Peter 5:7). Where is the father with a full knowledge of the wants of his children, that will refuse, when in his power, to succour them? And if this be true of earthly fathers, how much more so must it not be of the best of Fathers who is in heaven? As God, He knows our necessities; as a Father, He wishes to relieve them; as Heavenly Lord of all things, He can do so.

Mat 6:33  Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.

After the negative precept prohibiting excessive anxiety in regard to the necessaries of life, our Redeemer now proposes a positive or affirmative precept, showing how we are to differ from the Pagans, and how we are to obtain through God’s paternal providence, the necessaries of life, without any excessive solicitude on our part.

Seek. He does not say, “be solicitous”. For, even in reference to our spiritual want, we should not indulge in distracting solicitude, nihil soliciti sitis, &c. (St. Paul, Phil 4). The Bishop is alluding to Phil 4:6~”Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God”.

Therefore.  The Greek is (δέ = de, pronounced deh = but) as if, in opposition to the conduct and thoughts of the heathens, He said, the Pagans seek after temporal matters; but, as for you who have God for Father,  seek first, &c.

First , i.e., chiefly, in preference to anything else; first, in order, not of time,
but, of appreciation.

The kingdom of God, i.e., the attainment of heavenly bliss, compared with
which everything else is mere dross. This is the first and chief object to be sought for as regards ourselves. But, in reference to God, and absolutely speaking, God’s glory is the first thing to be sought for. Hence, in these words, there is no opposition to the order of petitions in the Lord’s Prayer.
Hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; which is ranged in the second place. For, even while labouring and seeking to obtain heavenly bliss, we must first, and absolutely, seek God’s glory.

And His justice. The justice of God-in contradistinction to that of the Scribes and Pharisees-which is grace, sanctification, the observance of God’s law, which are the necessary means for obtaining God’s kingdom.

Others, by the kingdom of God, understand, His grace, by which He reigns in our hearts; and these understand the words, and His justice, to be explanatory of the word, kingdom, so as to mean, seek God’s kingdom, that is to say, His justice, grace, and sanctity.

And all these things" i.e., temporal blessings, the necessaries of life, &c., shall be added unto you.  This does not mean, that we are never allowed to seek for temporal things as subservient to our eternal interests; since, we are commanded to pray for them.  Give us this day our daily bread, &c. The words mean, that if we devote our chief care and solicitude to the concerns of salvation, and propose its attainment, as our absolute final end in all things, God will provide all other things for us, as far as they may answer these ends. The words show that temporal interests are mere
accessories of the affairs of salvation; mere secondary appendages, subservient to them. In this promise, is always implied the condition, viz., “provided the granting of time temporal blessings be not an obstacle to our salvation.”  Similar is the promise, with a like implied condition,  “inquirentes Dominum non deficient omni bono”, “non est inopia timentibus cum,” and although in the case of many just men seeking the kingdom of
God, the necessaries of life are withheld; still, in their case, the promise is verified, as He gives them blessings of a higher order, in which all these things are eminently contained. If God give not these things specifically, He gives them in gifts of far higher value. And He, who rewards every man’s work according to merit, may, for the fuller and more perfect remuneration of the just man, subject him to poverty and want in this life, as a temporal punishment of some fault; lest, the eternal reward be retarded, or diminished and moreover, He means to give him an opportunity of increasing his merit by patience and conformity to His adorable will.

Mat 6:34  Be not therefore solicitous for to morrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

Solicitous. The Greek word (μεριμνησητε) shows what the solicitude referred to is. The Bishop is referring to his comments above, on verse 25.

Therefore, shows this to be an inference from the foregoing. As the birds of
the air are fed and their future provided for by God; as God will add the necessaries of life, if we seek the kingdom of heaven; we should, therefore, banish all distracting cares in regard to the future.

Tomorrow.  St. Augustine understands this word to mean, temporal things;
as if to say, be not solicitous about temporal things. They shall be solicitous for themselves; they shall be at hand when wanted. It will be sufficient to take what necessity may require. St. Chrysostom understands it, of the superfluities of life. Be not concerned about whatever is above the necessary provision for each day s subsistence. Superfluities will mind themselves, were you to amass ever so much of them, and enjoy them not; they will be always sure to find one who will use them. The labour and misery which you suffer for the necessaries of life are sufficient; do not, therefore, labour for superfluities, lest the labour be yours, and the fruition belong to others.

The most probable meaning of tomorrow is, the future time the sense it
bears (1 Sam 28:19)–cras criss tu et filii tui,&c." (Joshua 22:24)–
" eras dicent filii vestri" &c. Put aside all anxious anticipations and distracting solicitude regarding the future. It is a proverb universally in use, Tomorrow will bring its own care and so leave to tomorrow its own care. If you anticipate tomorrow’s care, you will only add to the care of today that of tomorrow, without lightening tomorrow’s, and your solicitude for today will still continue. You only accumulate cares, and submit to bear at once what God intended to be borne separately and in succession. By adding tomorrow’s care to that of today, you will only be accumulating cares, and aggravating those of today, without diminishing or lightening those of tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be solicitous for itself. The Greek is, will be solicitous about the things of itself or, about the things that appertain to itself. Our Redeemer personifies tomorrow; and by this strong figure of speech, He means to convey that, independently of any action, or care, or provision, on our part, matter for solicitude will arise on each day, in a way peculiar to itself, whether we will it or no.

Our Redeemer does not, of course, prohibit here a prudent provision and preparation to meet future necessities. The necessary forecasting and provision for future days or years may be said to belong, not to tomorrow, but to today. He does not prevent necessary care and prudent forethought. The words, tomorrow will be solicitous for itself show, He does not mean to censure the solicitude and diligence necessarily accompanying human existence.

Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.  “The evil”,  i.e., the affliction, the care, solicitude, trouble, incident to it. Our Redeemer, by transferring to each day the trouble which men endure on it, conveys, that we do it a wrong when we charge or burden it with the trouble of the coming day. For each day its own trouble is enough. It is deserving of remark, that our Redeemer prohibits not labour, but solicitude. The former is enjoined on the entire human race,  in sudore vultus tui comedes panem tuum (Gen 3:19~In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread). The latter, in the sense already explained, is prohibited.

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