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 March 13th, 2011

Father Callan on Romans 1:18-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 13, 2011

A Summary of Romans 1:18-23

Having asserted that justification comes only through faith, the Apostle here proceeds to indicate that both Gentiles and Jews have grievously sinned, and are therefore in need of redemption (1:18-3:2020); this redemption can now be obtained through faith in Christ (3:21-4:25).

In the present section St. Paul points out the sinfulness of the pagans. They could have known God, and did know Him, to some extent; but they failed to render Him the homage which was His due, with the result that the notion of Him which they had through human reason became obscured, and they turned in their wickedness to dumb idols.

18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice:

For (γάρ = gar) indicates the reason why a revelation of the “justice of God” was necessary. Some, however, think that γάρ does not here denote a strict consequence, but rather a mild opposition (Lagr.). The threefold use of γάρ in verses16, 17 and 18 establishes a close connection between the content of those verses. According to Shedd, γάρ “introduces the reason why God has revealed the δικαιοσυνη (= righteousness) spoken of: namely, because he had previously revealed his ὀργή (orgē = wrath). This shows that mercy is meaningless except in relation to justice, and that the attempt, in theology, to retain the doctrine of the divine love, without the doctrine of the divine wrath, is illogical.” (Text in blue my additions to the quote from Shedd).  For some reason that escapes me, the Protestant NIV Bible simply eliminates the word, beginning the verse with The wrath of God.  James Moffatt and C.H. Dodd insist on taking γάρ as an adversative (But the wrath of God); a usage it rarely has. On cannot introduce a dichotomy between God’s Justice and his wrath, they are “two sides of the same coin” (Frank J.Matera).  But if our injustice commend the justice of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust, who executeth wrath?  (I speak according to man.) God forbid! Otherwise how shall God judge this world?  For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie, unto his glory, why am I also yet judged as a sinner?  And not rather (as we are slandered and as some affirm that we say) let us do evil that there may come good? Whose damnation is just (Rom 3:5-8).

The wrath of God is revealed, etc., is understood by older critics to refer to the anger which God will display at the Last Judgment. Cornely and other modern authorities understand it of anger already manifested. Doubtless it is to be understood of anger already displayed, the full and final issue of which, however, will be felt only at the Last Judgment. The Greek word αποκαλυπτεται (is revealed) is a present indicative middle. In other words, it denotes action already in progress (present indicative). the wrath of God is already  being manifested.

Wrath is attributed to God anthropomorphically, and means here nothing more than a manifestation of His justice (2 Sam 19:2; Neh 1:6). Without doubt God will at the Last Judgment manifest His justice towards all sinners in ways
unseen and unrealized here below. St. Paul often speaks of God’s wrath in the eschatological sense (Rom 2:5; 5:9; 1 Thess 1:10, etc.), but it is evident from the present tense of the verb here, αποκαλυπτεται (is revealed), and from the context, that the Apostle is now speaking of wrath which God has already exercised on the Gentiles. Father Callan’s reference to the context is a reference to verses 24, 26 and 28 and the phrase “God gave them up”.

Is revealed from heaven, i.e., God’s judgments on the sins of the Gentiles are sent out, so to say, from the place of His dwelling, from the seat of His presence.

Ungodliness means impiety, as opposed to the virtue of religion, which renders to God His due.

Injustice expresses more openly what is also implied in “ungodliness”; for to fail in piety is likewise to fail in justice to God. Both words refer to the injustice, immorality and other sins of the Gentiles.

The pagans are said to detain (κατεχοντων) the truth of God, etc., inasmuch as their state of injustice and sin excluded possession of the truth, and kept it, as it were, locked up from them. Truth and injustice are opposing forces; and as there is question here  of religious or moral truth, the former (i.e., truth) is said to be excluded, kept away, enslaved (κατεχοντων) by the latter.

Of God is not in the Greek; hence Dei after veritatem of the Vulgate should be omitted.

19. Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them.

In this verse St. Paul says that a natural knowledge of God, of His existence and of some of His attributes, to which unimpeded human reason can always attain, was possible to the pagans; and thence it follows that, had they rendered to God, as they could and should have known Him, the homage that was His due, they would have received further help from Him to enable them to lead moral lives and thus attain salvation. The words to το γνωστον (is known) of this verse mean the objective notion or knowledge of God, which man is able to acquire from the visible universe, notitia Dei objective sumpta; γνωστον is always used in this sense in the New Testament.

Is manifest, etc., i.e., is clear to them, made manifest externally among them. The Gentiles had before them that clear knowledge of God which is possible to man through the natural light of reason operating on the visible world around him (St. Thomas).

20. For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.

The Apostle wisely addresses to the Gentiles first an argument from the natural order. The nature and attributes of God are called invisible things because they are not naturally perceptible as they are in themselves; but, by reason of things created and naturally visible, human reason has been able from the beginning of the world to rise to a knowledge of the existence of those things which it otherwise could not know, and which are at all times invisible to the senses (Conc. Vot., Sess. III. cap. 2). Ever since there was a created mind capable of reflecting on the visible universe, therefore, it has been possible for man to rise to a knowledge of the existence of a Creator.

Naturally the first attribute of the Creator, which would be suggested to man’s mind, would be that of power; and upon further reflection it would be clear that such power could reside only in divinity. Hence the Gentiles were inexcusable in not knowing the existence of some of the attributes of the one true God, and in not rendering to Him the homage which was His by right.

21. Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Because (διότι = dioti) shows the connection with the preceding verse and introduces a development of the theme therein stated. St. Paul now goes on to explain why the pagans were inexcusable. Not because they had a perfect and explicit knowledge of God, and then refused to pay Him due honor and worship; but because they could have had sufficient notion of His existence
and nature not to be guilty of the ignorance with which they are here reproached. Hence St. Thomas says that the first fault of the Gentiles was one of ignorance. Had they made proper use of the first knowledge which they had of God, they would have progressed to further understanding of Him, and would have recognized Him as God; they would have worshipped His supreme majesty, and rendered to Him honor and thanks as the Master and source of all good and blessings. But, having wilfully paralyzed the first help and obscured the first light that was given them, they were plunged into deeper darkness and error, with the result that, instead of thanking God as the cause of benefits, they potius suo ingenio et virtuti suae bona sua adscribebant (St. Thomas).

Heart here represents all of man’s higher faculties, both volitional and intellectual.

22. For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

This verse does not explain what precedes, but rather indicates the supreme degree of error into which the pagans had fallen. The words are general and embrace not only philosophers, but all the Gentiles, represented by the most cultivated people.

For (Vulgate, enim) is not represented in the Greek.

23. And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts, and of creeping things.

So far in their perversity and ignorance did the pagans go that they paid to mere creatures, such as men, birds, beasts, and reptiles,—nay, even to the images and representations of these things, the honor and worship which is due to the eternal God alone. The folly of the Gentiles was in their conception
of the Deity, whom they came to regard as represented by created and material objects; and their false notions begot a false worship.

The likeness of the image, i.e., the image which represented such things as man, birds, beasts and the like. Among the Greeks and Romans idols had the figure of a man, but among the Egyptians they took the form of animals.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Notes on Romans, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

This Weeks Posts: Sunday, March 13-Saturday, March 20

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 13, 2011

Some posts are scheduled in advance and will not become available until the time indicated. Posts (or links) lacking time indicators are available regardless of when scheduled (the daily readings, for example). The list of available posts under any given day may be updated with new posts in the late afternoon or evening; these will be marked UPDATE.


Last Weeks Posts: March 6-13. C’mon, ya know ya missed something.

Resources for Today’s Mass (First Sunday of Lent). A weekly feature of this blog. The resources for next Sunday will be posted on Wednesday (hopefully).

Father Callan on Romans 1:8-17.

Meditation for the First Sunday of Lent by St Thomas Aquinas.


NOTE: I screwed up the time stamps on these posts and was just too darned lazy to fix them. They should all be available by Monday, 12:20 AM EST.


Maldonado on Today’s Gospel (Matt 25:31-46)

UPDATE: Aquinas’ Catena on Today’s Gospel (Matt 25:31-46) .

Lenten Meditation for Monday of the First Week of Lent.

Father Callan on 2 Tim 8b-10 for Mass on the Second Sunday of Lent.

Maldonado on Matt 17:1-9 for Mass on the Second Sunday of Lent.

UPDATE: Father Callan on Romans 1:18-23.



Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm 34 (33). Remember the numbering of the Psalms differ in older bibles, hence the 34 (33) reference. The text is in both English and Latin, side by side.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 6:7-15). 12:05 AM EST.

St Augustine on Today’s Gospel (Matt 6:7-15). From his work THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT. Read chapters 3-11.

St Cyprian on the Lord’s Prayer.

St Thomas Aquinas’ Catechetical Instructions on the Lord’s Prayer. A more conveniently arranged presentation (divided into sections) of the instructions can be found here (scroll down to bottom of page for the links).

Various Catechisms on the Petitions of the Lord’s Prayer. Aquinas, Trent, Baltimore, Pius X, Catechism of the Catholic Church. Conveniently arranged.

St John Chrysostom on Today’s Gospel (Matt 6:7-15). St John Chrysostom begins looking at today’s text at article # 5.

Meditation for the First Tuesday of Lent. 12:05 AM EST.



Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Luke 11:29-32). 12:05 AM EST.

My Personal Notes on Today’s First Reading. Pending (maybe). I ain’t promisin’ nothin’.

A Simple Bible Reading Guide for the Book of Jonah. From Presentation Ministries.

Some Notes on Jonah 3:1-10. Actually, the notes are on verses 1-5, 10.

Meditation for Wednesday of the First Week of Lent. 12:10 AM EST.

Cornelius a Lapide on Matt 17:1-9 for the Second Sunday of Lent.

Juan de Maldonado on Matt 17:1-9 for the Second Sunday of Lent.

UPDATE: Mass Resources for the Second Sunday of Lent .



Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 7:7-12). 12:05 AM EST.

Catholic Encyclopedia on St Patrick.

Catholic Culture on St Patrick.

Butler’s Lives of Saints on St Patrick.

The Confession of St Patrick.

St Patrick’s Letter to Coroticus.

UPDATE: Father Callan on 1 Thess 4:1-7 for the Second Sunday of Lent (Extraordinary From).

Happy Birthday Dad! Eternal rest give unto him, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon him. A hymn, O God, becometh Thee in Sion; and a vow shall be paid to Thee in Jerusalem: O Lord, hear my prayer; all flesh shall come to Thee. Eternal rest give unto him, O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon him.



Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 5:20-26). 12:05 AM EST.

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Matt 5:20-26). 12:10 AM EST.

The Catechetical Lectures of St Cyril of Jerusalem.Text.

Parts 1-4 of The Catechetical Lectures of St Cyril of Jerusalem. Audio.

Part 5 of The Catechetical Lectures of St Cyril of Jerusalem. Audio. Part 5 is also sometimes referred to as the Mystagogical Lectures.

Pope Benedict XVI on St Cyril of Jerusalem.



Bernardin de Piconio on Today’s Epistle (Rom 4:13, 16-18, 22):

My Notes on Today’s Gospel (Matt 1:16, 18-21, 24a):

Cornelius a Lapide on Today’s Gospel (Matt 1:16, 18-21, 24a).

Catholic Culture on St Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Pope John Paul II: On the Person and Mission of St Joseph in the Life of Christ and of the Church (Redemptoris Custos). An Apostolic Exhortation.



Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Meditations, Notes on 2 Tim, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on Romans, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture, SERMONS, St John Chrysostom, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Father Callan on Romans 1:8-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 13, 2011

8. First I give thanks to my God, through Jesus Christ, for you all, because your faith is spoken of in the whole world.

After his rather lengthy greeting to the Roman Christians, in which the foundations of the Gospel and his own Apostolic authority are indicated, St. Paul first thanks God the Father, the source of all good and blessings, for their splendid faith which is known everywhere. His gratitude is expressed through Jesus Christ, because our Lord is the medium, the channel, the Mediator and great Highpriest through whom all the blessings of the Father are conveyed to us.

For you all shows that the faith of the Roman community as a whole was beyond reproach. Cornely thinks the faith of the Romans was superior to that of all other Churches, and the model of them all; but this can hardly be gathered from St. Paul’s words, which perhaps have reference more to the importance of the Roman Christians as residents of the Capital of the Empire, than to the superior excellence of their faith over that of any or all others.

9. For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make a commemoration of you;
10. Always in my prayers making request, if by any means now at length I may have a prosperous journey, by the will of God, to come unto you.

9, 10. God is my witness. As Paul was generally unknown to the Romans he refers to God as witness of the truth of his words (2 Cor 1:23; Philip 1:8; 1 Thess 2:5, 10).

Whom I serve, i.e., whom I worship, venerate (λατρευω). The service here meant was the preaching of the Gospel.

In my spirit, i.e., not only in exterior corporal service, but especially interiorly according to the spirit (St. Thomas).

In the gospel of his Son, i.e., in preaching the Gospel, of which the object was the Son of God.

That without ceasing, etc., i.e., in his frequent prayers Paul always remembered them and prayed that he might see them. By thus showing his great affection for the Romans and his desire to visit them, St. Paul hopes to gain their good will and confidence as an aid to his future work among them and in the West. When writing these words he little thought that when finally he should arrive in Rome, it would be as a prisoner (Acts 28).

11. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual grace, to strengthen you:

St. Paul desired to visit the Roman Christians for the sake of the mutual help that would result from his visit, and for the purpose of strengthening them in their faith. This shows he was not going to preach a new Gospel to them.

Some spiritual grace, i.e., some interior grace, such as is spoken of later in Rom 5:15, 16; 6:23. The term χαρισμα here does not mean gratiæ gratis datæ, such as tongues, prophesies and the like, of which there is question in 1 Cor 12 and 14 (Lagrange). The Apostle wishes to communicate some spiritual help to the Romans, and thus assist in confirming them in the faith in which they had already been well instructed by St. Peter.

12. That is to say, that I may be comforted together in you, by that which is common to us both, your faith and mine.

Here St. Paul modestly tells the Romans that his purpose in wishing to visit them is not only to give them some spiritual help and consolation, but also to receive from them some edification and consolation for himself as a result of their mutual faith; the benefit will be reciprocal.

13. And I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that I have often purposed to come unto you, (and have been hindered hitherto), that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

Hindered, by his many labors. It is not necessary to seek a supernatural cause for this hindrance, as in Acts 16:6, or an intervention by Satan, as in 1 Thess 2:18; 2 Cor 12:7. The Apostle’s visit to Rome had been delayed by his many labors in the East (Rom 15:22).

Some fruit means some further increase in their faith. The words, as among other Gentiles, show that the composition of the Roman Church at this time was mainly Gentile.

In the Vulgate habeam should rather be haberem.

14. To the Greeks and to the barbarians, to the wise and to the unwise, I am a debtor;
15. So (as much as is in me) I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are at Rome.

14, 15. The Greeks, i.e., those who spoke the Greek language, and who were consequently regarded as people of education and culture. The Romans are here embraced in the term “Greeks,” because at this time Greek was spoken throughout the Empire. All others were considered as barbarians.

The wise and the unwise seems to refer to individuals rather than to nations, because even among the civilized and cultured peoples there were foolish and unlettered persons. To all mankind, therefore, St. Paul, on account of the grace of his Apostolate, felt morally obliged, so far as he could, to preach the Gospel.

THE THEME OF THE EPISTLE: A Summary of Romans 1:16-17~In these two verses St. Paul proposes the theme which he intends to develop in this Epistle, namely, that justification comes from faith in Christ, and not from the works of the Law. Being the Apostle of the Gentiles, and a debtor to all by reason of his vocation, he is not ashamed of the Gospel, but ready to announce it also to the Romans; for it is God’s power for producing salvation everywhere. See Introduction,IX. 2.

16. For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and to the Greek.

I am not ashamed, etc. Paul assures his readers that, in spite of the learning, riches, power, culture and elegance of Rome, he is not ashamed to preach there the doctrines of the Gospel, which to the pagans were ignorance and foolishness. He will not appeal by the graces of style, but by force of the truths which the Gospel contains. These truths have a divine, compelling force, because they draw their efficacy from God.

The power of God, i.e., the instrument through which God exercises His power to save men, by remitting their sins and giving them grace and eternal life.

To every one that believeth. These words show the universality of the Gospel’s saving force, on condition, of course, that it be accepted and believed, and that its teachings be put into practice. Faith is the foundation and root of all justification, and without it no one can please God and have part in His rewards.

To the Jew first, etc., i.e., the Gospel was first, in order of time, preached to the Jews, who prided themselves on their knowledge of the Scriptures, and then to the Greeks, who boasted of their learning and culture. According to the common interpretation the placing of the Jews first here indicates not only that they heard the Gospel first in order of time, but also that they received it first, in consequence of their privileges and the promises God made to them (cf. Rom 3:1-2; 9:4-5; 11:16-20; Acts 13:46).

The Jews called all Gentiles “Greeks,” and the Greeks considered the Jews, and all who did not speak the Greek tongue, as “barbarians.”

17. For the justice of God is revealed therein, from faith unto faith, as it is written: The just man liveth by faith.

The justice of God, i.e., the justice or justification given by God to man, which has its root and foundation in faith, and renders man holy and pleasing in God’s sight. This justification must be preceded, in the first instance, not by the habit, but by an act of faith.

Is revealed therein, i.e., justification is made manifest through the Gospel, inasmuch as it is a gift of God which before was hidden, but is now made known to the world. Before the Gospel it was not altogether clear just how justification was to be obtained, whether, namely, by faith in the Redeemer to come, or through the observance of the Law of Moses. But now the Gospel has made it entirely plain that justification comes through faith, and is extended to all who believe, be they Jews or Gentiles.

From faith unto faith. These words are variously understood. According to Calmet, Lagrange, etc., they refer to progress in faith. The justice of God is revealed in the Gospel, and takes its beginning in man from faith, as from its root, and increases and develops in faith. Cornely understands the words to refer to the extension of the faith among the believers, in omnes credentes; i.e., the justice of God, manifested through the Gospel, is not restricted to the Jews, but is extended to all those who believe in Christ, of whatever nationality they may be.

It is written, etc., to show that faith, even in the Old Testament, was the source of justification, St. Paul now cites one of the ancient Prophets. The words quoted are from Hab 2:4. Literally they express the manner in which the Jews, under the Chaldeans, should conduct themselves: they should
live by faith in the promise of a deliverer (Cyrus) given them by Almighty God; and thus through patient expectation, accompanied by good works, they would at length be freed. Likewise, says the Apostle, applying the spiritual meaning of the Prophet’s words, he who is just by virtue of the faith revealed in the Gospel will, by good works and patient confidence in God’s promises, live and continually increase in faith and spirituality, unto life everlasting. In the application of these words of the Prophet, St. Paul makes the Babylonian captivity a figure of the state of sin, “and the law of the Israelites a symbol of that of good Christians” (Calmet).

The just man liveth by faith. With the Prophet there was question in these words of life granted in recompense of one’s faith; but with St. Paul there is question of the source of man’s justice: faith is the source, i.e., the foundation, of the spiritual life of the just man. Justice comes from faith, and not from the works of the Law, the Apostle means to say (St. Chrys., Cajetan,
Lagr., etc.).

The citation of Habacuc (Habakkuk) is from the Septuagint, although not literal. The Hebrew reads, “in his faithfulness,” instead of “by faith,” but the meaning is the same.

St. Paul in these verses (16, 17) has stated his thesis, that justification comes not from wisdom or learning, nor from the observance of the Law, but from faith.


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March 13: Meditation for the First Sunday of Lent by St Thomas Aquinas

Posted by Dim Bulb on March 13, 2011

Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted
by the devil. Matt 4:1

Christ willed to be tempted:

1. That he might assist us against our own temptations. St. Gregory says, “That our Redeemer, who had come on earth to be killed, should will to be tempted was not unworthy of him. It was indeed but just that he should overcome our temptations by his own, in the same way that he had come to overcome our death by his death.”

2. To warn us that no man, however holy he be, should think himself safe and free from temptation. Whence again His choosing to be tempted after His baptism, about which St. Hilary says, “The devil s wiles are especially directed to trap us at times when we have recently been made holy, because the devil desires no victory so much as a victory over the world of grace.” Whence too, the scripture warns us, Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation (Sirach 2:1).

3. To give us an example how we should over come the temptations of the devil, St. Augustine says, “Christ gave himself to the devil to be tempted, that in the matter of our overcoming those same temptations He might be of service not only by his help but by his example too.”

4. To fill and saturate our minds with confidence in His mercy. For we have not a high-priest who cannot have compassion on our infirmities, but one tempted in all things, like as we are, without sin (Heb 4:15).

Posted in Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Meditations, Quotes, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

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