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 June, 2011

Sunday, July 3 2011: Resources for Sunday Mass

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2011

This post contains resources (mostly commentaries and  homilies) for the readings used in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. Please keep in mind that the readings for the two forms differ.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 8:9, 11-13 for Sunday Mass, July 3.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 8:9, 11-13 for Sunday Mass, July 3.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 11:25-30 for Sunday Mass,  July 3.

Cornelius a Lapide on Matt 11:25-30.

UPDATE: Navarre Bible Commentary:

Word Sunday:

Haydock Bible Commentary.


Thoughts From the Early Church. Excerpt from a commentary on the Gospel attributed to St John Chrysostom.

Scripture in Depth. Succinct summaries of all the readings.

Catholic Matters. Readings with brief notes.

Bible Study. Notes on the readings from St Charles Borrmeo Parish bible study.

Dr Scott Hahn Podcast. Brief, does good job of highlighting themes.

St Martha’s Podcast. Treats of all the readings in some detail.

UPDATE: Father Robert Barron’s Podcast Homily. Brief homily from a noted theologian and speaker.


Today’s Roman Missal. Readings, prayers, etc.

Notes on 1 Peter 5:6-11. Previously posted for another occasion. This post is actually on verses 5-14.

St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 15:1-10.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 15:1-10.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Luke 15:1-10.

Father Leopold Fonck’s Commentary on the Parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15:4-7). Previously posted.

Father Fonck’s Commentary on the Parable of the Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10). Previously Posted.

Homily on 1 Peter 5:7.

Homily on Luke 15:7.

Homily Notes on 1 Peter 5:6. On Humility. Can be used for sermons preparation, meditation points, or points to further study.

Homily Notes on Luke 15:4. On the Human Soul. Can be used for sermon preparation, meditation points, or points to further study.

St Alphonsus Ligouri’s Homily on the Gospel.

Homiletic Sketch on 1 Peter 5:6-11. St Peter exhorts us to diverse virtues.

Homiletic Sketch on Luke 15:1-10. On the Parable of the Lost Sheep and the Lost groat (i.e., coin).

Dogmatic Sketch on the Gospel. On the mercy of God.

Liturgical Sketch on the Gospel. The Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Symbolical Sketch on the Gospel. The Church, the Good Shepherd’s Home for Sinners.

Moral Sketch on the Gospel. On delaying repentance.

Another Moral Sketch on the Gospel. Our conducts towards sinners.

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St Cyril of Alexandria on Luke 15:1-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2011

15:1-10. Now all the publicans and sinners used to draw near unto Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and Scribes murmured, saying, This man receives sinners, and eats with them. And He spoke this parable unto them, saying, What man of you having a hundred sheep, and having lost one of them, does not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it. And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he has come home, he calls together his friends and his neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me: for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise there shall be joy in heaven over one sinner that repents, more than over ninety and nine just persons who need no repentance. Or what woman having ten drachms, if she lose one of them, does not light a lamp, and sweep the house, and search diligently till she find it. And when she has found it, she calls her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me: for I have found the drachm which I had lost. Likewise I say unto you, that there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner that repents.

YOU have no doubt attended here also to what has been read; you have wondered with me at the Saviour’s words: have you also understood it thoroughly and spiritually, and fixed the searching eye of the mind upon its profounder interpretation? Has the sense of what has been said been caught by you? Or possibly has the word, after having rung in your hearing, flown away, and nothing settled there that would be to your profit. But as I imagine, in that you are believers, and love instruction, the Saviour illumines your understanding. For He it is “Who reveals the deep things of darkness, and puts the light of understanding in the hearts of those that love Him.”

The two parables then that follow close upon one another depict to us an image of the divine gentleness, being both of |496 similar meaning, and, so to say, at concord with one another. But the senseless Jew is openly reproved, for refusing in every way to understand the great and profound mystery of the Incarnation. From him it was completely hidden, that God the Father sent the Son from heaven, not “to judge the world,” as He Himself declares, but that the world might be saved through Him. In what manner then was it fitting for the world to be saved, which had been caught in the meshes of sin, and proved guilty of the charge of wickedness, and that was subject to a cruel tyrant, even Satan? Was it by demanding of it punishment, for having fallen into transgression and sin? Or was it not rather by helping it, in that God is long-suffering, and ready, so to speak, to cover over in forgetfulness those things wherein man had transgressed, and to renew unto holiness of life those who know not how to live uprightly?

Tell me therefore, O Pharisee, why you murmur, because Christ disdained not to be with publicans and sinners, but purposely provided for them this means of salvation? To save men He yielded Himself to emptiness, and became in fashion like unto us, and clothed Himself in human poverty. And do you then blame the dispensation of the Only-begotten in the flesh? Do you find fault with His humbling Himself from above in heaven, Who transcends all? Nay, leave you not the very Incarnation without censure? And yet the holy prophets wondered at the beautiful skill of the mystery. For the prophet David in the Psalms declares, “Sing you with understanding: God has set a King over all the nations.” And the prophet Habakkuk says, “That he heard His hearing, and was afraid: and that he considered also His doings, and was astonished.” How therefore are you not ashamed of blaming those things which you ought to have admired? Would you have the Lord of all stern and inexorable, or good rather and kind to men? The family upon earth had gone astray: it had wandered from the hand of the chief shepherd: and therefore He Who feeds the flocks above in heaven, became like unto us, that He might make us also dwell in His folds:—-that He might unite us to those who had never gone astray, and drive from us the beast of prey, and ward off like some impious band of robbers those impure demons, who had led astray all beneath the sky. |497

He sought therefore that which was lost: and, to show that the Jewish fault-finding on this account was vain, He says unto them, “What man of you having a hundred sheep, and having lost one of them, does not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go to seek that which is lost. And if it chance to be found, he rejoices in it, He says, more than in those that went not astray.” Understand from this, my beloved, the wide extent of the Saviour’s kingdom, and the multitude past numbering of His subjects, and the skilful plan of the dispensation towards us. For the sheep, He says, are a hundred, so making the number of His subjects mount up to a multitude complete and altogether perfect. For constantly, so to speak, a hundred is a perfect number, being composed of ten times ten. And we have learnt also from the divinely-inspired Scripture, that a “thousand thousands minister to God, and ten thousand times ten thousand stand around His lofty throne.” The sheep therefore are a hundred: and of them one has gone astray, even the family upon earth; which also the chief Shepherd of all sought, having left in the wilderness those ninety and nine. Was it therefore because He had no regard for the many, that mercy was shown to the one only? No! not because He had no regard for them; that were impossible: but because they are in security, guarded by His Almighty hand. It was right therefore that mercy should rather be shown to that which was lost, that evidently nothing might be wanting to that other multitude, but the one being restored thereto, the hundred might regain its beauty.

The search therefore after that which was lost was no act of contempt towards those who had not erred, but one of grace and mercy and love to mankind fit for the supreme and transcendent nature to bestow on His fallen creatures.

For come, and let us examine the matter by the help also of another example, in order that we may at all times defend the incomparable gentleness of Christ, the Saviour of us all. For let it be supposed that in one house there are many inmates, of |498 whom it so chances that one falls ill. For whom then are those skilled in healing summoned? Is it not for him only who has fallen ill? But it is not through any disregard of the many, that those who have been called in to heal attend only to him who is sick, and give him the benefit of their skill, as the time and his need require. In like manner therefore it was worthy, right worthy of God, Who rules over all, to stretch out His saving hand to that which had gone astray. The wild beast had seized it: it had led the family upon earth astray from the pasture, and had hurried it into all misery. The chief Shepherd saved it: for He sought that which had wandered, and has established for us a fold, unassailable and impregnable against wild boasts and robbers, even the Church; in admiration of which we may say, in the words of the prophet, “Behold, we have a strong and secure city: He will place (for us) a wall and rampart.”

And the sense of the parable which immediately follows is exactly similar, in which, He says, that ‘a woman who had ten drachms lost one of them, and having lit a lamp and found it, rejoiced greatly therein, and made it a reason for special joy.’ By the former parable therefore, in which the wandering sheep signified the family upon earth, we learnt, that we are the property of God over all, in that He it is Who brought into existence those things which previously had no existence. For “He made us, and not we ourselves,” as it is written. And “He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand.” And by this second parable, in which that which was lost is compared to a drachma, and that again as one out of ten, that is of a perfect number, and of a sum complete in the reckoning;—-for the number ten also is perfect, being the close of the series from the unit upwards;—-it is clearly shown, that we are in the royal likeness and image, even that of God over all. For the drachma is, I suppose, the denarius, on which is stamped the royal likeness, |499 That we then who had fallen, and, so to speak, been lost, have been found by Christ, and transformed by holiness and righteousness into His image, how can any one doubt, when the blessed Paul has thus written, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, as of the Lord the Spirit.” And he sends to the Galatians also in these words, “My children, of whom I am again in labour, until Christ is formed in you.”

A search then was made for that which had fallen, for which purpose the woman lighted a lamp. For we were found, as I said, by the wisdom of God the Father, Which is the Son, when the divine and intellectual light shone upon us, and the sun arose, and “the day star ascended, and the day dawned,” according to the Scripture. For God also has somewhere said by one of the holy prophets of Christ the Saviour of us all, “My righteousness quickly approaches, and My mercy to be revealed, and My salvation shall burn as a lamp.” And He says of Himself, at one time, “I am the light of the world:” and again at another, “I am come a light into this world: he that follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall possess the light of life.” By the light therefore that which was lost is saved, and there was joy thereby to the powers above. For they rejoice even in one sinner that repents, as He has taught us Who knows all things. If they then keep festival over one who is saved, in unison altogether with the divine purpose, and laud with never-ceasing praises the Saviour’s gentleness, with how great joy must they be filled, when all beneath the heaven is saved, and called by faith in Christ to the acknowledgment of the truth, having put off the pollutions of sin, and loosed its neck from the bonds of death, and escaped from blame, even the blame of its wandering and fall! For all these things we gain in Christ: by Whom, and with Whom, to God the Father be praise and dominion with, the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen. (source)

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Luke 15:1-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2011

Luk 15:1 Now the publicans and sinners drew near unto him to hear him.

Now the Publicans, &c.  Among the multitudes who followed our Lord (14:25), were to be found Publicans, (see Matt 9:10).  And sinners, that is, other public and well known sinners, who were drawn to Him by His heavenly doctrine, by His promise of pardon on the condition of doing penance, by the experience they had of the merciful meekness displayed by Him towards the most abandoned sinners, while, towards the Pharisees and others reputed just, they knew Him to display the most marked sternness.

The Greek has, all the Publicans &c., that is, many of them used to approach Him without reserve, when an opportunity offered.

Drew near to him, is interpreted by Maldonatus, “were wont to draw neat to Him”, thus denoting custom, and not referring to any one particular occasion.

Luk 15:2  And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying: This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.

The pharisees, &c. These men were probably among those who were rebuked by our Lord at Simon’s feast (14:15).  Wherever our Lord appeared in public, in the discharge of His sacred mission, the Pharisees were to be found tracking His steps, for the purpose of narrowly watching all he did and said, with the view of having wherewith to accuse Him.

Murmured.  When they should have praised Him for His clemency, they spoke o the people in terms of censure and reproach (see Matt 9:10; Lk 5:30).  These hypocrites erroneously supposed that, as in the case of legal defilement caused by contact with any unclean object, their souls were defiled by contact with sinners.

This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.  Very likely, our Lord was invited by these men to partake of food, after His discourses.  He was pleased to accept such invitations.  Hence, the words mean, He takes food with them, on all occasions.

Luk 15:3  And he spoke to them this parable, saying:

In order to refute them, although undeserving of any answer, our Lord, with His accustomed mildness, addresses to them the following parables, or similitudes, of the lost sheep, of the lost piece of money, and of the prodigal son, with a view of showing how agreeable and pleasing to God is the conversion of sinners; with what great care they should be sought after; with what great clemency they should be received back.  He thus justifies His own conduct, and conveys, that if the Pharisees had the least share in the Spirit of God, far from murmuring, they should rejoice at seeing the mercy displayed by our Lord towards sinners, His solicitude and loving condescension in their regard.  These examples, or parables, are founded on the daily and ordinary occurrences of life.

Luk 15:4  What man of you that hath an hundred sheep, and if he shall lose one of them, doth he not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after that which was lost, until he find it?

The straying sheep is frequently employed in SS. Scripture, to represent the
sinner straying from the ways of God (Isaias 53:6; 1 Peter 2:25). By “the ninety-nine sheep,” St. Ambrose understands, the heavenly hosts whom our Lord left in heaven, and came to redeem “the one that was lost;” which, according to St. Ambrose— in hunc locum—represents human nature, or lost man. This “sheep” though but one, represents many; since we all together, while constituting one body, are many members. “For, the Son of Man was come to seek and save what was lost” (Matthew 18:11), that is to say, all men. “For, as all die in Adam; so all shall revive again in Christ” (1 Cor 15) “Let us rejoice, that this sheep which was lost in Adam, is found again, and carried back by Jesus Christ. The arms in which He carries it, are the arms of His cross. . . . This rich Pastor, of whose flock we form only the one hundredth part, has an infinity of other blessed spirits, whom He leaves behind Him in the heavenly mountains, who share in His joy, and rejoice with Him upon the redemption of the human race” (St Ambrose). It, however, more probably refers to an individual sinner, who, by sin against
faith or morals, separates himself from the society of the good, as appears from the conclusion, “one sinner doing penance” (vs. 10). Hence, the lost sheep and groat clearly refer to some one sinful man returning to God by penance, rather than to the entire human race. Our Lord, in this example, means to give an idea of the magnitude of the loss of one, since, to recover it, He postpones the care of others for a time.

Luk 15:5  And when he hath found it, lay it upon his shoulders, rejoicing?

“Rejoicing,” with a singular feeling of joy. Not that the lost one is loved or valued more than the ninety-nine, who were free from danger. Our Lord meant only to convey, that the Pastor experiences a sensible feeling of joy, on account of finding this lost one, which he did not experience on account of the others. Men often feel greater joy on account of some unexpected turn of fortune, even of lesser value, than they do on account of their former acquisitions, though far more valuable than what they unexpectedly acquire. Men experience a more sensible feeling of joy on the recovery of an article of inferior value, after it had been lost, than they do for articles of greater value, safely secured. This joy partly arises from the opposite feeling of sorrow which they before sensibly experienced, and which is now removed.

Luk 15:6  And coming home, call together his friends and neighbours, saying to them: Rejoice with me, because I have found my sheep that was lost?

From this we see the great, exuberant joy, which he could not confine to himself, but felt forced to communicate to his neighbours, and to all his friends. This, as appears from the following verse, denotes the joy caused by the conversion of a sinner, to the citizens of heaven, viz., our Lord as man, the angels, and souls of the just, who are admitted to the presence and beatific vision of God.

Luk 15:7  I say to you that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance.

This is the application of the above similitude, from which our Lord wishes
us to infer, that far from murmuring at His tenderness and mercy towards sinners—shese lost sheep, whom He wishes to bring back to the fold of His Heavenly Father—the Pharisees should rather rejoice with the angels of God on seeing it. The “one sinner that doth penance” may refer to the entire human race plunged in sin, before the Incarnation of our Lord. For them, penance is the only means of appeasing God, and sharing in the fruits of His redemption, who bore our sins, and carried us in His arms on the cross. Or, it may denote some individual sinner, converted by the grace of God, and returning by penance, to join the just in the Church, who were preserved from falling into grievous sins, and straying away from God.

“Tere shall be joy in heaven,” both with Christ, as man, the Supreme Pastor,and the angels and just souls, who are “his neighbours and friends”
there. The words, “shall be,” refer to the future abode of our Lord as man, and of the just souls, in heaven, which they did not yet enter; or, “shall be,” may signify it, or, is wont to be. By the “ninety-nine just who need not penance,” are commonly understood, not such men as are altogether sinless, since we all cry out daily, “forgive us our trespasses,” &c, but, men who are free from mortal sin, and need not a change of heart or life, such as penance implies, and especially need not such penance as those require who are great sinners.

As to the comparison between the feeling of joy in heaven, which is said to be greater in case of one converted sinner, than in that of ninety-nine just men, it is not to be understood, as if the salvation of one were a greater good than that of ninetynine, or that God loves or esteems one man more than ninety-nine, but that He feels greater actual present and sensible joy from the recovery of the lost oue, than for the ninety-nine—first, on account of the unexpected suddenness of the pleasure succeeding the pain which the loss had caused him (see Matthew 18:12, 13); 2ndly, because the converted sinner usually displays far greater fervour, owing to his gratitude for the recovery and bestowal of God’s friendship, than is displayed by thos e who do not sensibly feel the sweets of God’s returning friendship. The great joy which the conversion of a sinner brings to God and His angels justifies our Lord against the calumnies of His enemies.

This passage furnishes a crushing reply to those who object to the doctrine of the Invocation of Saints, on the ground that they know not what occurs on this earth. In the first place, the assertion that the saints know nothing of what passes on earth, is utterly gratuitous, hazarded without any proof from Scripture or Tradition. Wherever in Scripture there is allusion to absence of knowledge on the part of the dead, there can be no reference whatever to the saints, who live with God in glory. For, in proving the Resurrection against the Sadducees, our Lord, by calling Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, &c, shows that these still live. For, “He is not God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:32). The saints, therefore, live with God in glory.
Again, when it is said in Scripture, that the saints know not their children on earth, it means, that they disown them on account of their sins, just as God knows not the workers of iniquity.

Secondly, we have in this passage the clearest evidence that the saints and
angels in heaven do know what occurs on earth. For, they rejoice at the conversion of individual sinners scattered all over the earth. What is said of the angels, applies equally to the just, who “shall be as the angels of God.” If they did not know of the conversion of the sinners, how could they feel joy there at. In the Book of Tobias (2:12), the Angel Raphael tells Tobias that when engaged in acts of mercy he prayed with tears, he (Raphael) offered up his prayers to the Lord. How offer them up unless he knew of them?

But if it be asked how can the angels and saints know what passes in different
parts of the earth? our only answer is, we cannot say. Whether it be through the medium of visual rays or undulating sounds ; or whether, as is more probable, they see all things in God, who makes this knowledge a portion of their beatitude, is perfectly unknown to us. How God communicates this knowledge to them we know not, nor does it concern us to know. It is sufficient for us to know and believe the revealed fact, or doctrine. The mode in which that fact is accomplished is quite another question, beyond our knowledge and comprehension.

And. let us ask those, who reject the doctrine of the Invocation of Saints—the truth of which is revealed in Scripture, and proposed by the Church—simply because they cannot understand the mode of its existence, do they understand the mode of the existence of everything else they believe, or affect to believe, before admitting it? The first truth of either natural or revealed religion is, that there is one God, existing from eternity, filling heaven and earth with His immensity, in whom “we live and move and have our being.” Do they understand God’s eternal existence and glorious
immensity? The first truth, which is the foundation of the Christian faith, is, the mystery of the Trinity—one God, in three distinct Divine persons—the Nature, in which these persons are one, and the Personality, by which they are distinguished, being one and the same thing. Do they understand how this is? Do they understand the mystery of the Incarnation; viz., how the Second Person of the adorable Trinity united human nature so perfectly to Him, that you can say of God, that He is man, and of man, that He is God, “et verbum caro factum est.” Do they understand this? Do they understand the mysterious and awful doctrine of Original Sin. how “all sinned in one” how all were punished with death for the sin of that one, and all rendered liable to be excluded, on account of it, from the beatific vision of God? Do they
understand how our Lord is really, truly, and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist, in that mode of existence, which, although we can hardly express in words, we still believe through faith, as the Council of Trent expresses it? (§ xiii., c. 1.) Do they understand the mysteries of nature, how the soul animates the body? &c, &c.

In truth, without unnece&sarily multiplying further instances, if we were to reject everything, the mode of whose existence or accomplishment we cannot comprehend, there is scarcely a religious truth or natural phenomenon which we should not reject.

Luk 15:8  Or what woman having ten groats, if she lose one groat, doth not light a candle and sweep the house and seek diligently until she find it?
Luk 15:9  And when she hath found it, call together her friends and neighbours, saying: Rejoice with me, because I have found the groat which I had lost.
Luk 15:10  So I say to you, there shall be joy before the angels of God upon one sinner doing penance.

This second example is also intended to show the joy there is in heaven for the conversion of a sinner. Its scope is the same as that of the parable of the lost sheep, some Commentators observe, that the parable chiefly regards, not so much the “groat,” which was hardly deserving of all the care and anxiety referred to,—since it was but a comparatively trifling coin, upon which was impressed the image of the reigning prince,—as the thing represented by “the groat,” viz., the immortal soul of man, impressed with the image and likeness of God. It was meant, like the former similitude, to refute the Pharisees, who, like the angels of heaven, should rather rejoice than murmur, at seeing sinners returning to God by the road of penance.

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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 11:25-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2011

Mat 11:25  At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones.

At that time Jesus answered and said, &c. What Christ now says, agrees well with what has gone before, for Christ here gives the reason why the Capernaites, the Scribes, the priests, and the Pharisees, despised Him, and His preaching, because, in truth, they were proud, and seemed, in their own eyes, wise and prudent. Wherefore they would not bend their proud necks to the humility of Christ and the Gospel, but the Apostles and the disciples and the multitude did bow their necks. This sentence also expresses that Christ soothed the grief which He felt because of their proud incredulity by a consideration of, and complacency in, the just judgment and the Divine decree, whereby God hid these things from the proud as unworthy of them, and revealed them to little ones, i.e., to the lowly. Whence Luke adds. He rejoiced in the Holy Ghost (Luke 10:20 Vulg.) i.e., He rejoiced through the Holy Ghost, which had suggested to Him this consideration, and the joy which arose out of it. Therefore he praised and thanked God. We too can do as Christ did, that when we lose our labour with the proud and the unworthy, we may quell our grief by considering the Divine Will and Providence, which despises the proud, and chooses the humble, and lifts them to His grace and glory.

I confess (Vulg). That is, I praise and give thanks. This is the meaning of the Heb. ידא, yada, in Hiphil, viz., הורה, hoda, from which comes תורה, a sacrifice, viz., of confession, i.e., of praise, and giving thanks. Thus, too, we constantly find in the Psalms such expressions as, “I will confess to Thee with my whole heart,” i.e., I will praise Thee; and, “Confess to the Lord, for He is good,” i.e., praise the Lord.

To Thee, 0 Father, who lovest Me with a peculiar love, and who disposest all things to Thy and My glory. He adds this lest any one should attribute it to want of power in Christ that He did not subdue to Him the proud Capernaites and Pharisees. It is as though He had said, “Thou, 0 my Father, forasmuch as Thou art Lord of Heaven and earth, hast the hearts of all men in Thy hands, and couldst bend them by a single nod, and subdue them before Me, but this, by Thine holy ordinance, Thou wouldst not do.”

Moreover, under the name of Heaven and earth, all creatures—all men and angels are signified. By which it is intimated—1. That God has care for and rules, and calls to the grace of the Gospel and salvation by Christ, not the Jews only, but the Gentiles also. 2. That God is drawing His faithful ones from earth to Heaven, inasmuch as He is Lord of Heaven equally with earth, and therefore opens heaven to His friends. 3. That in like manner as God has separated the lowly Apostles from the proud Pharisees on earth, so in like manner has He separated the humble angels from proud Lucifer and his adherents in heaven.

Listen to Tertullian (lib. 1, contra, Marc. c. 13): “There is the fulness of the Deity itself setting forth perfect God, Father and Lord, Father by clemency, Lord by discipline, Father by sweet power, Lord by severity: a Father to be affectionately loved, a Lord to be necessarily feared: to be loved because He prefers mercy before sacrifice; to be feared because He will not tolerate sin: to be loved because He prefers the repentance to the death of a sinner; to be feared because He will not accept sinners who do not repent. Therefore, the Law prescribes both: thou shalt love God, and thou shalt fear God. He proposes the one to him who follows Him, the other to him who goes astray from Him.”

And hast revealed them to little ones, Gr. νηπίοις, or infants. So the Arabic, meaning to ignorant, unskilled, and uneloquent men (such as the Apostles, who seemed to the Scribes and worldly persons to be rude, and as foolish as children), in order that Thou mayest exhibit in them the power of Thy grace and Thy light, by which Thou hast made the tongues of these infants eloquent, so that their sound is gone out into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. There is an allusion to Ps. viii. 3: “Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise, that Thou mightest destroy the enemy and the avenger.” For the election and disposition of God are clean contrary to the world. For the world courts and chooses the rich, the wise, the proud. God chooses the poor, the ignorant, the weak; and He makes them rich, wise, and powerful in spirit above all the worldly.

From this passage, S. Augustine (de prædest. Sanct. c. 6, et de Bono Perseveran. c. 8), and S. Gregory (25 Moral. c. 13) teach, that when some believe the preached Gospel and others believe not, it is the effect of the grace and justice of God. For they who believe are so congruously illuminated in their minds by the grace of God, that they do believe; but they who believe not, on account of their pride and other sins, are not so congruously illuminated by God, that they do, in fact, believe; although if they would consent to, and co-operate with, the illumination which God affords them, they could believe, and in truth would believe.

Mat 11:26  Yea, Father: for so hath it seemed good in thy sight.

Yea, Father, &c. The Gr. is ναὶ ό Πατήρ; for the Greeks often use the nominative for the vocative. The meaning is, Truly, 0 Father, what Thou hast done, most rightly hast Thou done, in that it hath pleased Thee to humble the proud, and exalt the lowly. Christ teaches that the original cause of the predestination and election of the faithful, as well as the reprobation of unbelievers and the wicked is nothing else save God’s good pleasure. Wherefore, we ought to rest in that, and not seek for other reasons, since that one thing is sufficient for the faithful, and worth a thousand reasons. Hence the Blessed in Heaven, when they see their children and parents condemned for their demerits, do not lament, but approve and laud the just judgment of God.

Mat 11:27  All things are delivered to me by my Father. And no one knoweth the Son but the Father: neither doth any one know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal him.

All things are delivered to Me, &c. Christ said that the Almighty God was His Father, and that He—as Lord of Heaven and earth—rejected the proud Pharisees, but revealed Himself and His grace to His lowly Apostles: but now, lest any one should suppose that Christ was inferior to the Father, He teaches the converse, namely, that the Father giveth all He hath to the Son—yea, that through the Son alone He worketh, teacheth, and bestoweth His gifts.

Moreover, this expression, all things are delivered to Me by the Father, ought to be thus understood, that nevertheless, Christ ought to be considered to possess all things by nature. “For like as He is, according to His nature, life, He is said to be quickened by the Father; and although He is the Lord of Glory, He is said to have received glory,” says the Council of Ephesus. The meaning therefore is, all things which the Father hath, viz., the divine nature, dominion and power, say SS. Hilary and Augustine, and consequently, what Christ here more particularly refers to, all things, i.e., the dominion, power, and government of all things, but chiefly of men, have been granted unto Me by the Eternal Father, as to His Son by eternal generation, and in time the same things have been given to Me, as man, by the Hypostatic Union, that I may choose, illuminate, predestinate, save, whom I will, such as the Apostles; and reject and condemn, whom I accept not, such as the proud Capernaites. For in My hand is the predestination, or reprobation, the salvation or damnation of all men; for as much as I have been appointed by God the Father the Saviour and Redeemer of the World, and in My hand the Father hath placed all things, that I should repair and renew them. That as by Me as God He created all things, so also by Me in the flesh which I have assumed, He may re-create and restore all things. To this end I came, and for this I was made man. These mysteries therefore have been hidden from the wise, I mean My Mission, My Incarnation, the end of My advent, My work, but they have been already, in part, revealed to little ones, and shall hereafter be perfectly revealed.

And no one knoweth the Son, &c., Luke 10:22, has, no one knoweth who the Son is, but the Father: and who the Father is, but the Son, &c. He means, I have been sent by the Father to be the Teacher and Saviour of the World, that I should teach men the truth and the way to God the Father, who is uncreated health and felicity. For this felicity, since it is supernatural, cannot be naturally known by man or angel. Wherefore, as no one knoweth the Son except the Father, and he to whom the Father shall reveal Him, so likewise no one knoweth the Father except the Son, and he to whom the Son shall reveal Him. For as the Father communicates His nature, so likewise He communicates the knowledge of Himself and all things which He hath to the Son, and by Him to the rest of mankind. He, therefore, who desires to draw near to the truth, grace and salvation, which are in God the Father, must draw near through Me, and believe in Me. For I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. My doctrine is the doctrine of God the Father. By Me, therefore, ye shall have access to the Father.

Now although it is said, except the Son, the Holy Ghost is not excluded; much less, when it is said, except the Father, is the Son excluded. For the rule of Theologians is, that exclusive particles, added to one of the Divine Persons in essential attributes do not exclude the other two Persons, but creatures only, or whatsoever is of a different essence. Thus S. Aug. (lib. 6. de Trin. c. 9.) S. Cyril, and the rest of the Fathers and Schoolmen. Observe that Christ, in the first place, revealed the knowledge of the two first Persons, viz., the Father and the Son, and afterwards, just before His death, faith in the third Person, viz., the Holy Ghost, as is plain from John 16:7.

S. Chrysostom wisely observes (Hom. 39.) that it is not said, to whom He has been commanded by the Father to reveal, but to whom He will reveal, in order that the Son may be shown to be equal to the Father in dominion and power. For, although Christ reveals as man, or by means of His human nature, yet this nature subsists in the Divine person, and therefore this man Christ is God, and equal to God the Father.

Moreover, SS. Chrysostom and Irenæus (Lib. 4. c. 14.) answer Marcion, who rejected the Old Testament and its God, and said, if God the Father was not known before the revelation of Christ Incarnate, therefore He was not known in the Old Law, therefore its author andGod was not the true God. Thus they expound the words, no one knoweth the Father except the Son of the Divine knowledge by which the Son qua God, comprehends the Father, and the Father the Son. You may, however, better understand it concerning the knowledge communicated to the human nature of Christ: for this revealed His mysteries to the prophets and fathers, even the mysteries of the Divinity and the Trinity. Thus He revealed the same things after His Incarnation to the Apostles and faithful, qua man. For no one is a believer and a Christian except by Christ, and through Christ Incarnate. For, says St. Jerome, it is one thing to know what thou knowest by equality of nature, as the Son knoweth the Father; another, by the condescension of Him who reveals, as we know God by the revelation of Christ.

Mat 11:28  Come to me all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you.

Come unto Me all, &c. Syriac, who are weary and bear burdens. Arabic, who are worn with labour and heavily burdened. After He has shown the Majesty and Deity, lest any one should be affrighted at it, Christ adds the Humanity, and most kindly invites all to Him.

Come, not with the feet of the body, but with the affections of faith, hope, love, religion, devotion, and piety.

All you that labour, none are excluded. For there is no one who does not labour under some disease, and need Christ’s medicine. Therefore Christ offers Himself to all, that they may receive from Him health and safety. Thus did He kindly correct and heal Magdalen, Matthew, Paul, and Peter. Thus even now, in the Eucharist, He inviteth all and saith, Come unto me, ye infirm, hungry, afflicted ones I will refresh you.

That labour. Gr. οί κυπιω̃ντες, i.e., who suffer trouble and are burdened, &c., who are fatigued and depressed, and are sinking under the burden, both of sins (as SS. Chrysostom, Jerome, and Augustin say), as well as of the law of Moses (as Theophylact), and also of the troubles and temptations of this life.

And I will refresh you. Gr. α̉ναπαύσω, i.e., I will give rest to the weary, as the Syriac translates. I will place you in all quietness, says St. Chrysostom, by most soothing words, by Sacraments, as most efficacious medicines, by grace, and most sweet inward consolations; lastly by most felicitous glory in Heaven.

Mat 11:29  Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: And you shall find rest to your souls.

Take, Syr., bear, My yoke. He means, ye have borne a heavy and well nigh intolerable yoke, and the burden of the old law of sin and concupiscence. Come unto Me, I will take it away, and will change it into the sweet yoke of the evangelical law of grace and charity. I will refresh you by My yoke, which indeed is a yoke because it is a law binding the soul, but at the same time it is medicine, yea a bed, in which ye may sweetly rest, especially, by means of the humility which it teaches and commands. For it is the one and only medicine of all diseases, both of soul and body, and the alleviation and rest of all burthens. For nothing is harsh to the meek, nothing difficult to the lowly, says S. Leo. For as wool receives cannon balls and breaks their force by its softness, so meekness and humility break and soften all hard and rugged things. This yoke, therefore, is the gospel of Christ, and the law of grace. Whence S. Bernard (Serm. 15. in Ps. 91) says, “He invites those who labour to refreshment. He calls those who are laden to rest; and yet He does not take away either burden or labour, but He exchanges them for another burden, another labour, but a light burden, a sweet yoke, wherein rest or refreshment, even though it appear not, nevertheless is found.”

And learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart, i.e., in the affection of the heart, viz., will, says S. Bernard (Serm. 49 in Cant). For many are lowly in word, few in heart. And you shall find, &c. Listen to S. Augustine. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me, not to frame a world, not to create all things, visible and invisible, not to do miracles in the world and to raise the dead; but that I am meek and lowly in heart. Dost thou wish to be great, begin from the least. Thou art thinking of constructing a mighty fabric of loftiness, think first of the foundation of humility. And as great as each one wishes to build up his edifice, the greater the building, so much the more deeply let him dig his foundation.” Wisely says Climacus (Gradu 25). “Humility is a grace of the soul without a name, being named by those alone who have made trial of it, an inexhaustible treasure, having obtained a name from God, a singular gift of God. Learn, He says, not of an angel, not of a man, not out of a book, but from Me, that is, from My dwelling in you, and working in you, because I am meek and lowly in heart, and in thought, and in sense, and in sense, and ye shall find rest from internal conflicts in your souls.

2. And better, Auctor Imperf. and Maldonat. Learn of Me, i.e., do not fear to come to Me, and to take the yoke of My gospel on your neck, for if ye come and receive it, ye shall indeed learn that I am no tyrant, nor a severe and rigid King, but a lowly, meek, element and benign Lord.

Moreover, Christ was of so great humility and meekness in bearing with the Scribes, His disciples, and the multitude, in bearing injuries, derision, the scourge, the cross and death, that even if He had wrought no miracle He would, by such meekness, have proved sufficiently, and more than sufficiently, that He was the Man from Heaven and the true Prophet sent from God. I verify admire more Christ’s meekness, than His miracles and His raising the dead.

Moraliter: Learn from hence how great, and how dear to Christ is humility. It is as if He said, learn of Me not to create a world, not subtilely to dispute concerning God and the Holy Trinity, not to perform Herculean labours, but that I am meek and lowly in heart.

2d. Humility is the secret of peace. There is no rest for the mind, save in humility. Do you wish for rest? Embrace humility, a lowly place, a lowly office, humble food, clothing, &c. It is impossible for the proud to have peace of soul, because they always desire great things, and often are unable to attain them.

3d. Humility takes from man every labour and all burdens. Humility is the alleviator of every labour, and the renewer of strength: as a certain Doctor has well said, humility is a medicine against all diseases; and health of soul and body. Moreover, Hippocrates hath said, Creatures without gall are long lived, i.e., animals which have no gall, such as stags, live long. The meek, therefore, and the humble, are healthy and long lived; for meekness brings into due order both the mental character and the humours of the body, which bile disorders, hence diseases.

4th. Humility is the virtue of Christ. Learn of Me, He says. This is mine own especial virtue, dear to Me above all others, which, by descending from Heaven to this lower world, and by stooping to the shameful death of the cross, I manifested in such a manner that none should be more illustrious and more wonderful in My life and in My death. Thus on the contrary, pride is the sin of Lucifer. Humility, therefore, makes us most like Christ. What more worthy? What more desirable?

Well says S. Augustine (Epist. 112). “They who have learnt of the Lord Jesus to be meek and lowly in heart make greater progress by praying and meditating, than by reading and hearing.”

Finally, Christ here joins meekness with humility, because they are, as it were, twin sisters, or as mother and daughter. Whence S. Bernard (Sermon 2, on those words in the Apocalypse, cap. 12, A great sign Rev 12:1) says, Like as naughtiness is the mother of presumption, so true meekness proceeds only from true humility.

Hear Climacus (Gradu. 24). The light of dawn goes before the sun, meekness precedes humility. Therefore, let us hear first Christ the Light, who disposes those things, as it were, by steps. Learn, He says, of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart. After that, He thus defines meekness: Meekness is the immutable state of the mind which preserves an equable frame in good fortune and in disgrace. Meekness is sincerely and ex animo to pray for those who trouble you without being troubled yourself. Meekness is a jutting rock against the fury of the sea, which breaks all its waves, whilst itself remains unmoved and unbroken. Meekness is the prop of patience, the gate of charity, yea its very parent, the proof of prudence. For He will teach, saith the Lord, the meek His ways. It is the procurer of pardon, the confidence of sinners in prayer, the habitation of the Holy Spirit. “For upon whom shall I look, save upon the meek and quiet person?” (Psalm 66, Vulg.)

Mat 11:30  For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.

For My yoke is sweet (Vulg.). The yoke and burden of Christ is the gospel, say SS. Hilary, Bede, and others. The law of the gospel, therefore, is a yoke, because it binds us to discipline, lest any one should depart from justice. The Gr. for sweet is not γλυκὺς, i.e., sweet like sugar, but χρηστὸς, i.e., benefical, humane, kind (Arab.), good in comparison with the old law. 1st Because it has fewer and easier precepts; 2d. Because it gives greater grace, which much lightens the burden of the command; 3d. Because it rules us as sons, not by fear, as servants, like the ancient law; 4th because it does not threaten, nor bring in death, like the old law, but takes it away; 5th Because it promises to those who keep it the most felicitous life, and as it were, leads them by the hand to the sweetness of celestial joys, according to the words, “They shall be satisfied with the fulness of Thy house: Thou shalt give them drink of thy pleasures as out of a river.” Ps 36:9.

He says, therefore, take My yoke upon you, because in the yoke of Divine servitude, perfect consolation and refreshment are included. Whence S. Ambrose (Lib. de Helia et jejun. Cap. 22): Receive, therefore, the yoke of Christ, do not fear because it is a yoke. Make haste, because it is light. It doth not bruise the neck, but dignifies it. Why do ye doubt? Why delay? It does not bind your neck with chains, but couples it with grace. It does not constrain of necessity, but directs the will to good works.

My, because indeed I, Christ, lay it upon you, yea, indeed, I beat it with you, and put My neck under the burden, yea I bear and carry all the burden, and you yourself with it. For that is called a yoke, which two beasts joined together bear. Christ then places one portion only of the yoke, i.e., the Evangelical Law, upon our neck; He himself bears the other and heavier part, and therefore He draws this yoke with us, and infuses strength and courage into us to draw it, both by His grace and by His example. So lately there was a certain priest in Japan of the Society of Jesus, who generously endured a dreadful death for Christ’s sake, who was often wont to say. “Christ therefore makes the yoke putrescent before the face of the oil.” Isa 10:27. (Vulg.)

We may apply what we read in the life of S. Mechtildes, who when she was tormented with fearful headaches and could find no rest, heard these words from Christ as He showed her the wound in His side, enter now, and be at rest. This straightway she did, and entered in with gladness. And it seemed to her that He had as many silken pillows as she had felt pangs of headache. And the Lord said, “Silk worms carry silk, and of Me it has been written, I am a worm and no man. Hitherto thou hast served Me devotedly in labours; from henceforth thou shall study to serve Me in pleasing exercises of virtues by My example; and the things which shall be insupportable to thee, I will carry with thee.”

This yoke, therefore, of Christ is not so much a yoke as a silken pillow, because it does not press us with trouble, but releases us from the weight of earthly things, and raises us to Heaven.

Wherefore S. Bernard appositely compares this burden to the plumage of birds. Thus he writes to the monks (Epist. 341), “In the way of life the more swiftly, the more easily we run; and the larger the Saviour’s light burden grows, the more portable it becomes. Does not the quantity of plumage a bird has lighten, rather than weigh it down? Take away its feathers, and what remains of it is borne down to the ground by its own weight.”

Thus, likewise, is Christ’s discipline, thus His sweet yoke, thus His light burden; if we lay it down, we are ourselves depressed, because He carries us rather than is carried by us. S. Ambrose adds (in Ps. cxix. Serm. 3), “To carry the yoke of Christ is sweet, if you consider it an ornament to your neck, not a burden. Lift up, therefore, thine eyes to the Lord thy God, seek God, and thou shalt find Him. Erect thy neck; thou earnest a necklace, not a chain. Many creatures delight in a necklace, and seem to themselves to be adorned rather than made naked; like as the cheeks of the turtle-dove will bear the marks of her modesty, the necklace of her neck will raise the presumption of her liberty. There is nothing more glorious than that yoke of Christ.” Lastly, S. Bernard (Serm. 15 in Ps. Qui habitat) by yoke and burden understands the load of God’s gifts and favours, because the burden of the law which is imposed is the gift of grace, the perfect observance of which brings all other gifts into the mind. “God burdens us when He unburdens us. He lades us with benefits when He unlades us of our sins. This is the voice of him who is burdened, “What shall I render unto the Lord for all the benefits that He hath done unto me?” The voice of him who is burdened, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Moreover, to the proud and carnal, the yoke of Christ and the law of humility, abstinence, continence, mortification, seems very heavy and intolerable, because they are devoid of the Spirit, and only love and think of the flesh and fleshly things. Truly says S. Chrysostom (Hom. 14, in 1 ad Cor.), “Virtue is rugged if it be compared with our weakness; for that it is easy and light, hear Christ testifying, My yoke is sweet, and My burden is light. But if thou dost not understand, let not wonder seize thee, for thou art not of a brave mind: for as, when strength of mind is present heavy things become light, so when it is absent, light things become heavy. What, I ask, was sweeter than manna? What readier to their hand? Nevertheless the Jews murmured when they were feeding on delicacies. What more dreadful than the hunger and the other labours which Paul endured? Nevertheless he rejoiced and was glad, saying, Now I rejoice in mine infirmities. What, then, was the cause of these things? Diversity of mind, which, if thou wouldst make it such as it ought to be, thou wouldst discern the easiness of virtue.”

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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 1 John 4:7-16 (Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 28, 2011

1Jn 4:7  Dearly beloved, let us love one another: for charity is of God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God.

Dearly beloved, let us love one another. These words are rightly connected with what preceded. He means that the spirit of error is the spirit of cupidity, but the Spirit of truth is the Spirit of love and charity. Erroneous and heretical doctrine teaches men to love honours, wealth, gluttony; but the Apostles teach us to love God and our neighbour. He subjoins the reason:

For charity (love) is of God. The Spirit of truth is the Spirit of charity, that we may love one another; because as truth is from God, so also is charity. Yea, God, who is the chief and eternal Truth, is also the highest and uncreated Love. Wherefore it follows as a necessary consequence, that anyone that loveth (not by natural, but by supernatural charity) is born of God. Being born again of faith and charity, which are from God, he is made a child of God. For charity is a supernatural faculty, giving to the soul the ability to love God and our neighbour. That he may know God, not merely theoretically, but practically, because he supremely loves God whom he knows to be the Highest Good. Again, love causes a man more fully to know, and to have taste and experience of God, as it were by spiritual taste. And this taste and experience grow continually, even as love increases. Especially is this so, because God manifests Himself to him who loves, and more clearly reveals Himself to him by interior illuminations, inspirations, and consolations, according to that promise of Christ, “He that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father: and I will love him, and will manifest Myself unto him.” (John 14:21).

Observe: Charity (Love) is of God,—

  • 1st. Because the essential, uncreated charity flows naturally from the Divine Essence Itself, like heat from fire. Indeed, the Divine Essence Itself is Love.
  • 2d. Because the Holy Spirit is Itself substantial or essential (notionalis) Love. For He, as essential Love, proceeds from the Father and the Son by that act of love by which they love one another with an infinite love.
  • 3d. Charity was created by God, because it is the highest and noblest gift of God, according to the words (Rom. v. 5), “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts;” not as if the charity wherewith we love God were itself God, or the Holy Spirit. For this is an exploded error. But because God, who is uncreated Love, inspires and kindles in us that created charity with which we love Him. As the light illuminating produces the light illuminated, as S. Augustine says (Confess. 12. 15). And this is precisely S. John’s meaning in this place, in which he tacitly intimates that this gift is not to be ascribed to our own strength, but is to be asked of God by constant prayer.
  • 4th. Charity is of God, because God first loved us (1Jo_4:19), and by loving us inflames us to love Him in return.
  • 5th. Charity is of God, because it is sanctioned by the law of God, and frequently and especially commanded by it. For the whole Decalogue is nothing else but the law of love to God and our neighbour.

From hence it follows that God is in Himself formal charity, and in us causal charity, and that as respecting every kind of cause: material, because He Himself is the object of our love; formal, because He is the pattern of the same; efficient, because He produces it in us; He is the final cause, because He is our end, and the end of our love.

Lastly, natural love is from nature, carnal love from the flesh, worldly love from the world; but supernatural love, or charity, is from God alone.

1Jn 4:8  He that loveth not knoweth not God: for God is charity.

He that loveth not knoweth not God. S. John having said just above, Every one that loveth is born of God, now proves the same thing from the contrary. He means, he who loveth not God and his neighbour, although he may know God speculatively, does not know Him practically, that is, experimentally. Just as no one knows experimentally the savour and sweetness of honey unless he taste it. For as taste is known by tasting, so is love known and tasted by actually loving. Wherefore, although S. John might in a similar manner have said, He who is not wise doth not know God, because God is Wisdom; or he who is not patient, knows not God, because God is Patience; or he who is not humble, knows not Christ, because Christ is Humility, and so on— nevertheless, preferred to say, He that loveth not, knoweth not God, because God is Love. This was (1.) Because he is treating of charity, not of wisdom, patience, &c. (2.) Because being full of the love of God and Christ, he breathes and delights in nothing else. For, as S. Bernard says, “Between the bridegroom and the bride, i.e., between lovers, no union need be sought but to love and be loved, for that Spouse is not only loving, but Love Itself.” This is what Jeremiah says (Jer_31:3), “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.”

For God is charity (love): both formal and uncreate, and so essential, and also causal and created. For in God and the Divine Essence, on account of Its perfection and simplicity, there are no accidents, but those things which in us are accidents, are in God inseparable from His Essence. Wisdom, goodness, love, and power are themselves the Divine Essence. So the Council of Rheims defined against Gilbert. Moreover, God is charity, or love, both in the abstract and the concrete. For He is supreme affection, and loves supremely, and therefore ought to be supremely loved by us in return. God, then, is Love, because He hath supremely loved us. And He hath given us this most clear proof of His love in that He sent His only Begotten Son to save us. Hence S. Augustine and Bede teach that he who loves not his neighbour sins against God, because God is Love.

Again, S. Chrysostom teaches that nothing can be compared with charity, because God Himself, who is incomparable, is Charity. Gagneius declares that we are certain that God loves us with an infinite love because He is very Love Itself. Hence the Fathers infer that Charity commands and embraces all the other virtues, for God commands and includes them.

1Jn 4:9  By this hath the charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we may live by him.

By this hath the charity of God appeared: He now declares why he said, God is Love. It is because God hath declared His infinite love towards us by sending Christ in the flesh for our salvation, that by this means He might invite us to love Him back. There is an allusion to the words in 8. John’s Gospel (John 3:19), “So God loved the world that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

“Behold,” says S. Augustine, “how we have an exhortation to love God. How could we love Him unless He had first loved us? If we were slow to love, let us not be slow to love again.” Pathetically and learnedly does S. Paulinus write about S. Mary Magdalene (Epist. 4 ad Sever.): “Therefore, let us love Him whom it is our duty to love. Let us kiss Him whom to kiss is purity. Let us be joined to Him whose marriage-bond is virginity. Let us be subject to Him, at whose feet to lie is to stand above the world. Let us fall down because of Him for whom to fall is resurrection. Let us die for Him in whom is life. In whom we live though we are dead.”

1Jn 4:10  In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins.

In this, i.e., in the love of God wherewith He loved us.  S. John, the beloved of Christ, lays special stress upon this, that God, moved by no love or duty on our part, but offended by our many provocations and wickednesses, first loved us. And when we were sinners and enemies, fleeing from Him, and fighting against Him, He followed us, and turned us by His love, that He might bring us back and save us. “For to this end He loved us,” says S. Augustine, “that we might love Him.”  And sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins, i.e., to be a propitiator, and a propitiatory victim for our sins.  S. Augustine reads libatorem, a pourer of libations, and explains it to mean Sacrificer. As S. Augustine says again, “He loved the wicked, that He might make them holy. He loved the unjust, that He might make them just. He loved the sick, that He might make them whole.”

See in this how high the ways of God are above the ways of men. For with men, if any one despise them, vex or spoil them, straightway they hate him, and think how they may do him some greater injury. But God—despised, contemned, robbed of His honour, injured in a thousand ways—enlarges the bowels of His love towards us. With love He fights against man’s hate. By hatred He is stirred up to love. Hatred is the whip of His love. He overcomes hatred by His infinite love, swallows it up, drowns and extinguishes it, as a mighty conflagration extinguishes a little drop of water. The love of God therefore towards His enemies is so wonderful, that by it He makes them His friends, His sons and heirs, and turns the greatest sinners into the greatest saints. Out of the thief upon the cross He made a preacher of Himself. Out of Saul He made S. Paul. Out of the sinful Magdalene He made a mirror of penitence and holiness. This is what Paul celebrates and admires

(1Tim 1:15-16), A faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief. But for this cause have I obtained mercy: that in me first Christ Jesus might shew forth all patience, for the information of them that shall believe in him unto life everlasting.

1Jn 4:11  My dearest, if God hath so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

My dearest, if God hath so loved us, &c. If here is not a particle expressive of doubtfulness. It is not conditional, but causal, and is equivalent to because. It means, Because God so loves us. Christ uses a similar construction, when He says, “If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

S. John says if, rather than because, for the sake of greater weight and pathos, as it were lost in amazement at the infinite love of God. Wherefore it is advisedly and intentionally that he says after the antecedent, if God so loved us, not we therefore ought so to love God, which is impossible, but, we ought also to love one another. As much as to say, Since we cannot render equal love in return for Divine love, let us at least love one another according to our slender capacity. For what we do to our neighbour God accounts as done to Him.

The word us includes also our neighbours. If God, who is not a partaker, vouchsafes to love all who participate in our nature, how much more does it become us to embrace with our love all who are of the same nature, and in respect of it are equals? Truly does S. Augustine say on this passage (Tract. 7): “Love, and do what thou wilt. For if thou art silent, thou keepest silence through love. If thou criest out, thou criest out in love. If thou correctest, thou correctest lovingly. If thou sparest, thou sparest in love. Let this be the root of love within. From that root nothing but love can spring.”

1Jn 4:12  No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abideth in us: and his charity is perfected in us.

No man hath seen God at any time. Why does S. John here introduce these words? It is because these words partly give the reason why from the antecedent, if God hath so loved us the inference is drawn we also ought to love one another, not God (as might seem to be the conclusion that should be drawn), because we cannot see God, and benefit Him by loving Him. Hence, in the place of God, we testify our love towards Him whom we cannot see and do good to, by doing good to our neighbour whom we can see and benefit. Partly the words invite us to love our neighbour, and cohere with what follows. As though he said, Zealously love your neighbour. For this love God reckons as given to Himself. For although we cannot see Him, yet, if we love our neighbour, He, the Invisible, will be most truly present with us, and thus abiding in our soul, will place His seat and throne there. Yea, His love will be fully imprinted and perfected in our soul. The reason is because indivisible and Divine charity conjoins and confederates us with the invisible God. Moreover, God, who is invisible in Himself, seems visible in our neighbour. For he is God’s image.

Observe, no one hath seen God at any time, viz., in His Essence, or face to face, in this life. Whence the Doctors teach, with probability, that neither Moses, nor Paul, nor any other mere man (for Christ saw God, but He was the God-man), hath seen the Divine Essence in this life, according to the words in Exodus 33: “No man shall see Me and live.” Yet S. Augustine holds a contrary opinion, and from him S. Thomas.

Again, no man hath seen God, for neither is he able to see Him by the powers of his nature, as the Anomæans and Eunomæans supposed. Whom S. Chrysostom and S. Basil (lib. contr. Eunom.) refute. For the Blessed in heaven see God, but by the power of grace. For their mind is there elevated, and receives as it were another eye of a Divine order, even the light of glory, by which it sees God. By this sentence, then, S. John signifies that the majesty of God is so sublime, and so transcends, not only all other created things, but also the intelligence both of men and angels, that although He Himself is the most glorious Light, yet on account of His purity, subtilty, and sublimity, He cannot be perceived by any mind, or any created eye.  S. John says the same thing in his Gospel (Jn 1:18). But there he applies it to the knowledge of God, as here to the love of God. It is as though he said, “God is invisible, and therefore cannot (in Himself) receive any office of love from man, because He far transcends all human wealth, as well as human sight and action. Yet He makes so much account of love, and of those who love their neighbour, that He stoops to them from the topmost height of heaven, and as it were comes down, dwells and abides in their hearts. This is that which S. Paul speaks of (1 Tim 6:16), “Who only hath immortality, and dwelleth in the inaccessible light, whom no man hath seen or can see.”

Lastly, S. Cyril of Jerusalem (Cateches. 9) thinks that God cannot be seen with the bodily eyes, because He Himself is incorporeal; and that therefore He stretches out the heaven itself as a veil before our eyes, lest the brightness of the Godhead should blind us, or kill us. But this is not true unless it be thus explained, that God, although dwelling Himself incorporeally in the empyrean, which is corporeal, and manifesting Himself and His glory to the bodies of the Blessed, there produces so great sensible light, which in some way sets forth His majesty, that it would blind the eyes of the Blessed, yea destroy them, unless they were fortified and preserved by the Divine power

Hence S. Epiphanius (in vii. Synod. Actor. 6) teaches that God as He is in Himself cannot be expressed by any image. Moreover also, Moses, forbidding the Jews to make an image of God, gives the reason. “Ye heard the voice of His words, but ye saw no shape, &c. Ye saw no similitude, lest being deceived ye should make a graven image.” (Deut 4:12.)

His charity is perfected in us: perfected, because it is perfect and complete in all its parts. Now the parts and offices of charity are two-fold—1st. Love of God;  2d. Love of our neighbour. Wherefore, if there were only that part of charity that we loved God, it would be imperfect; but it is perfected and completed if the second be added, and charity extends to our neighbour. Again, the charity with which we love God is perfected by charity towards our neighbour, because we love our neighbour for no other reason than for God’s sake. The love therefore of our neighbour for God’s sake perfects the love of God, because that which is the reason why other things are loved is Itself much more loved. When therefore we love our neighbour for God’s sake, much more do we love God Himself.

2d. The words may be understood of charity—not ours, but God’s. For this is the meaning of the word His: thus—Although God be invisible, yet He abides in us by love. Moreover, He shows that He loves us with a perfect love, since abiding in us, He forms, preserves, and augments in us the charity with which we love, not only Himself, but our neighbour for His sake. This meaning is alluded to in the next verse.

Moreover, charity is chiefly perfected by the love of our enemies, extending itself beyond our friends to our rivals, enemies, and persecutors. “The fire of charity,” says S. Augustine, “first seizes upon our neighbours, and so extends itself further, from our brethren to strangers, from thence to our adversaries.” Further on he teaches us to love our enemies, just as a physician loves the sick and insane. “When any one rages against thee, let him rage, but do thou entreat. When he hates, do thou pity. It is his fevered soul which hates thee. As soon as he is well, he will give thee thanks. How do physicians love the sick? Do they wish them always to be sick? They love the sick in order to make them whole. How much do they suffer from the insane! What reproaches! How often they are struck! The physician attacks the fever, he forgives the man.”

1Jn 4:13  In this we know that we abide in him, and he in us: because he hath given us of his spirit.

In this we know that we abide in Him . . . He hath given us His Spirit, &c. By His Spirit, i.e., the participation of the Spirit, the communication of grace and charity, which are the gifts of the Spirit.

In the preceding verse S. John said that God abides in us, and consequently we in God by charity. For so loving He abides in the lover and the beloved. For so God loves us and we God. He here inculcates the same thing, repeats it, and as it were enforces it by a reason. The reason is this, He who hath the Spirit of God abides in God, and God in him: but he who hath charity hath the Spirit of God. Therefore he who hath charity abides in God and God in him. The major premiss is self-evident, because where the Spirit of God is, there is God Himself. But where God is, there He unites to Himself the subject in which He is, and by, as it were, the infinity of His Essence incorporates and absorbs it, so that the subject should be more in God than God in it. He therefore who hath experience in himself of the Spirit of God, i.e. of charity, this man feels God’s presence and liberality. He feels God to be in him and himself in God, in such wise that God is bestowing His gifts upon him, and printing His perfect image in him, according to the words, “he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit.” (1 Cor 12)

1Jn 4:14  And we have seen and do testify that the Father hath sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.

And we have seen and do testify, &c. These words have reference to the 9th verse, where he saith that God hath shown His love to us by sending His Son. This he now proves and confirms by his own testimony, and that of the other Apostles. For they were the eye and ear witnesses, who saw, heard, and conversed with Christ Incarnate, as he said in the beginning of the Epistle.

This is an allusion to S. John’s Gospel (John 3:17). “For God sent not His Son into the world to judge the world, but that through Him the world might be saved.” Whence S. Bernard saith (de amor Dei, c. 8), “Christ Himself is our Love, by whom we attain to Thee, by whom we embrace Thee: for how otherwise, 0 incomprehensible Majesty, couldest Thou appear comprehensible to the soul that loveth Thee? For although no understanding of any soul or spirit can comprehend Thee, yet the love of the loving soul comprehends Thee wholly as thou art.”

1Jn 4:15  Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God.

Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, &c. He here maintains the Divinity of Christ because Ebion, Cerinthus, and many others at that time impugned it. This is as it were a conclusion drawn from the preceding verse. As though he said, Christ is the Saviour of the world. Whosoever therefore believeth in Him, and stedfastly confesses His faith, God abideth in him, and he in God. He abides, I say, by a true, living faith and confession, which includes charity, and which works by love. As S. Augustine says, “Whosoever shall confess, not in word, but in deed, not in tongue, but in life. For many confess in words, but deny by their deeds.”

1Jn 4:16  And we have known and have believed the charity which God hath to us. God is charity: and he that abideth in charity abideth in God, and God in him.

And we have know and have believed the charity which God hath to us. In these words (“know,” “believed”) S. John confirms and inculcates what he has said in the two preceding verses. His meaning is, “We have seen and do testify of Christ incarnate, who is the Love of God, because we know Him by experience and conversation to be really such. And we have believed in Him by faith. Therefore we have believed the love which God hath to us, i.e., towards us, because we have believed that God in his infinite love towards us hath given to us Christ the Saviour. The Vulg. has in us, but the Syriac translates towards us. (So also the Eng. Version.)

Observe: S. John moves in a circle. From God he leaps to Christ, from Christ to charity, from charity to love of our neighbour, from charity and love he returns to God, thence to Christ, and so on. For all these things have reference to this one point, that we should love one another. And this is his argument, God in His infinite charity hath loved us, i.e. all men, by giving Christ His Son for our salvation. Therefore it is just that we should imitate His charity, and answer to His love by loving our neighbours and doing good to them in His love, because we cannot do good to God Himself.

Observe: the Vulgate renders more significantly, we have trusted in the charity (credidimus chatitate) than it is in the Greek (we have believed the charity [credidimus charitatem]), signifying that we are joined to the love of God, not only by faith, but likewise by hope and charity. We have not only known, and by faith believed the mystery of the Incarnation, in which God’s peculiar love to us shines forth, but we have wholly trusted and committed ourselves to the Divine charity. We have fixed our whole faith, hope, and love upon it. We rest securely upon it in all things, certain that it can never fail us, and saying with the Psalmist, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth which I desire in comparison of thee. God is the God of my heart, and my portion for eternity.”

God is love: the Syriac reads, for God is love, giving the reason why he had said, and we have believed the love, and why God hath love towards us. The reason is because God Himself by His Essence is love. Therefore He cannot deceive him who believes, hopes in, and loves Him.

Now the reason why God is essentially love is because He Himself in His Essence is pure, perfect, and highest goodness, whose nature it is to be plainly and fully communicative and diffusive of Himself. This, says S. Dionysius, is an attribute of love. For God is a sea of honey, an ocean of goodness and charity. God is as it were a fire always burning, kindling all things and transforming them into Itself. For “our God is a consuming fire.” (Heb 12:29.) Listen to S. Bernard (Serm. 83 in Cant.): “I read,” he says, “that God is love, not that He is honour, or dignity. It is not that God does not wish to be honoured, for He saith, ‘If I be a Father, where is My honour?’ Honour is the due of a father. But if he manifest Himself as a bridegroom, I think He will change His voice and say, ‘If I be a Husband, where is My love?’ For before this He had spoken, and said, ‘If I be a Master, where is My fear?’ God therefore requires to be feared as a master, to be honoured as a father, to be loved as a husband. What is it which shines pre-eminently amongst these? Surely it is love. Without love fear hath torment, and honour hath no grace. Fear is slavish until it be manumitted by love. And the honour which springs not from love is mere flattery. And indeed to God alone belong honour and glory: yet will He accept of neither unless they be flavoured with the honey of love.”

Therefore God is love, because love is as it were a spiritual flame, kindling all, and like light shining everywhere, and illuminating all things. Hence S. Dionysius (de Div. Nom. c. 24, part 1) says that “Divine love is a motive force drawing things upward to God, who alone is Himself of Himself beautiful and good.” On these words of S. Dionysius our Lessius comments thus (de Div. Attrib. lib. 9, c. 2 and 3): “For by this very thing that God beholds His own infinite beauty and excellence, there arises in Him an infinite fire of love, by which he loves them as they are worthy to be loved, i.e. with an absolutely infinite love. For that which is beautiful and good, as soon as it is perceived, kindles love. Wherefore what is infinitely beautiful and good, when it is infinitely known, will excite infinite love; infinite, I say, both as to its warmth, and as to its appreciation, or, as the Schoolmen say, infinite intensively and appreciatively. 2d. That which is beautiful and good extends Itself and descends to the creatures, that It may communicate the same to them, either fully, or else some of Its rays and adumbrations, according to each one’s capacity and merits. For of what we supremely love, we desire to make known to all the excellency and beauty, and that its sweetness should be perceived by all, so that all may praise it. Love does the same in God. A third effect of this love is that it raises creatures upward, and turns them to the beautiful and good. This especially obtains with angels and men: for other things cannot take in the Divine goodness and beauty. But in man other things are drawn in some way to God, both because all the other steps of nature are in him, and also because all other things are for him. 4th. The Divine love is ecstatic, because it draws the lover out of itself to the thing loved. For it causes God in a sense to forget His loftiness, and inclines Him to our humility, and makes Him to be wholly occupied in the business of our salvation. The token of which is the Incarnation, preaching, miracles, His passion, death, sacraments, the sending of the Holy Ghost, the perpetual and wonderful government of His Church, the care and direction of individuals. In like manner it sets man outside himself, making him think not of himself and his own advantage, but only of God, and the good things of God. Wherefore a great lover of God denies himself, renounces his own desires, is careless about benefits for himself; forgets himself, and is wholly taken up with the things of God. In thought and affection he is wholly outside of himself, and is translated to his beloved. Such was S. Ignatius the Martyr, who said, ‘My Love is crucified.’ Such was the Apostle S. Paul, who said, ‘To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.’ There is an illustrious figure of this in the sun. For in things corporeal the sun is the highest beauty and greatest. Wherefore S. Gregory Nazianzen in a certain place saith, ‘As is the sun in things sensible, so is God in things intellectual.’ From the sun heat descends to lower things. It descends also by light. And things are illuminated before they receive heat. Receiving heat they become light, and are carried up to the sky. The sun is an emblem of God, and light of wisdom, warmth of love, and earthly things of souls and spirits. Love descends from God by wisdom. For first the mind is enlightened by the knowledge of the Divine beauty and goodness: then through that knowledge it conceives love. Love conceived makes the soul spiritual, heavenly, and presently draws it upward, and unites it to God, and makes it like to Him, the only and eternal One, as it were a parhelion, which is an express image of the sun.”

And he that dwelleth in love, &c. And, i.e., therefore. For this is as it were the conclusion from the premisses. God is love, therefore he that remaineth in love, remaineth in God, because God and Love are one and the same thing. And God in him, as in a sort of temple of love.

Thus love has united God to man, not only in affection and care, but also effectually and substantially, by, in truth, an hypostatic union. But it unites man to God, so that, wholly departing out of himself, he passes into God, and as it were loses himself, no longer thinking of anything, understanding or feeling anything but God. Not seeking, or desiring any other thing, having joy in no other thing but the good things of God. He who is thus joined to God is made one spirit with Him, because he puts off himself, and puts on God. Wherefore, as if he was altogether transformed into the Divine nature, he is in thought and affection wholly in God. Thus all the Saints in heaven will be one with God (this the Lord prays for them, John 17:17-21.), because they all acknowledge their own nothingness, as they are in themselves, and value themselves at nothing, except so far as they belong to God, and are for Him. And in this way they altogether cease from themselves. For why should they abide in nothing? Thus by the intellect and the will they will be most powerfully borne to Him, and will be wholly in Him. And they will, as it were, flow into Him, and be transformed, feeling and tasting nothing else but God, valuing nothing but His good, altogether as if they themselves were changed into God. Listen to S. Augustine—He who dwelleth in love, &c.: “They dwell one in the other, both that which contains and that which is contained.” Again he saith, “Let God be thy house. be thou the house of God. Abide in God, and let God abide in thee. God abides in thee that He may contain thee. Thou abidest in God that thou mayest not fall. For thus speaks the Apostle of charity, ‘Charity never falls.’ How can he fall whom God holds?”

For this cause, namely for a symbol of love, Christ instituted, and left to us by His testament, His very Self in the Eucharist, that indeed He might remain in us, and we in Him, not by a figure, as the heretics say, but really, substantially, personally, according to the words, “He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood abideth in Me and I in him.” (S. John 6:54.) The Eucharist therefore is the fuel and incentive of love, which S. John in his whole epistle commends. For by it, as S. Chrysostom says (Hom. 54 in Joan.), “Not only in love, but in reality let us be changed into that Flesh.” By the Food which he has bestowed upon us this is brought about. For when He would show His love towards us, by means of His Body He commingled Himself with us, and brought Himself to be one with us, that body might be united with body. For this is the great desire of lovers.” Pope Leo teaches the same thing. “The participation of the Body and Blood of Christ does this very thing, that we should pass into that which we receive.” Lastly, S. Cyril of Jerusalem says, “Thus we shall be Christophus, i.e., Christ-bearers, when we have received His Body and Blood into our members: and thus, as Blessed Peter saith, we shall ‘become partakers of the Divine nature.'” Wherefore S. Irenæus (lib. 5 c. 6), explaining a Thess 5:26, “that your whole spirit, soul, and body may be preserved,” declares that the perfect man is renewed by the Body and Soul (of Christ) and the Holy Ghost dwelling in him.

Beautifully does S. Bernard say (Serm. 71 in Song), “Who is he who is perfectly joined to God but he who remains in God, as beloved by God? He has drawn God to himself by loving Him again. Therefore since man and God are wholly united between themselves, they are united by a close and mutual, as it were, bosom affection. And that in this way God is in man, and man is in God, I say without any doubt. But man indeed has been eternally in God, as being eternally loved, but God has been in man since He has been loved (by man).” Herein is that saying of Cato true, “Those who love are in a manner dead in their own bodies, but live in another’s.” Therefore God by love willed to bring us back to our first beginning, to unite us, that is, to His own goodness and beauty, to transform us into Himself. This could not be done by nature, therefore He found a method whereby He might perfectly accomplish this by love, that by its warmth we might flow into and be absorbed in Him. As S. Bernard says (de Delig. Deo), “In that what is felt is wholly Divine, to be thus affected is to be deified. As a little drop of water infused in a great quantity of wine seems wholly to lose itself whilst also it takes the colour and flavour of wine. And as iron made red-hot in the fire becomes exactly like (fire), and ceases from its own original appearance. And as the atmosphere suffused with the solar light is transformed into the brightness, so that it seems to be not so much illuminated, as light itself. Thus it will be necessary that all human affection in the Saints should in an ineffable manner cease from itself, and be wholly transfused into the will of God.” This indeed will be perfectly accomplished in the glory of heaven, but it is begun on earth by charity and grace. The same S. Bernard (Serm. 83 in Cant.) says, “Love is its own merit, its own reward. Beyond itself it requires neither cause nor enjoyment. Its enjoyment is experience. I love because I love. I love that I may love. A mighty thing is love. Yet if it recur to its origin, if it be brought back to its beginning, if it flow back to its fountain-head, it can always take of itself that wherewith it may flow. Love is the only one of all the motions, senses, and affections of the soul in which the creature can, although not upon an equality, yet in some likeness, respond to its Creator.”

Moreover, God abiding by love in the faithful soul produces in it these effects. First, it purifies it from earthly desires, so that it only seeks for and accomplishes heavenly things. Thus king Josaphat, when he was converted by Barlaam, burned with so great a fire of love that he left his kingdom, in his pleasures and honours; and as he went away into solitude he exclaimed, “Like as the hart desireth the water brooks, so longeth my soul after Thee, 0 God. My soul cleaveth unto Thee, 0 Christ. Let Thy right hand uphold me.” (Damas. Hist. cap. 37.)

2d. The soul draws all its powers, senses, affections, love, faculties, thoughts, intentions Godward, so that it thinks only of God, sighs for Him, according to those words of S. Basil, “Have continually imprinted in thee the remembrance of God, as it were an indelible mark.” For what does he seek for without who has God within?

3d. Love causes the soul to desire to do great and heroic things for God her beloved, and to endure many things, and to be made like unto Christ crucified. Thus while the Spouse saith in the Canticles, “My Beloved is mine, and I am His,” she also saith, “A bundle of myrrh is my Beloved unto me, He shall dwell between my breasts.” Which words S. Bernard explains thus (Serm. 43), “Myrrh is a harsh and bitter thing, and signifies the harshness of tribulations. Looking with joyfulness at such things impending over her for the sake of her Beloved, the Bride speaks thus, being confident that she can bravely endure them all. ‘The disciples,’ it says, ‘went with joy from the presence of the Council because they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus’ name.’ Lastly, the Bride speaks not of a bunch, but a little bunch (fasciculus), of myrrh, because she reckons all labours and sorrows light in comparison with love. Truly ‘a little bunch,’ because ‘the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’

4th. It causes the soul to increase in love day by day. Listen to S. Bonaventura speaking of the charity of S. Francis (Lib. 1, Vit. ejus): “As it were a living coal of fire he seemed altogether absorbed in the Divine love. For as soon as he heard speak of the love of the Lord he was affected, roused up, inflamed, as though the inner chord of his heart were struck by the bow of the voice. In the midst of beauty he beheld Him the most beautiful, and by means of His footsteps impressed on visible things He followed His Beloved everywhere, making of all things a ladder for himself by which he might mount up to apprehend Him who is altogether desirable.” And again, “He was inflamed with love towards the Sacrament of the Lord’s Body with a thrill in every pulse, being lost in utter amazement at that most loving condescension of the Divine love.”

In chap. 13 he treats of the sacred stigmata. “The furnace of the love of the Blessed Jesus had grown in him to lamps of fire and flames. Since therefore he was drawn to God by the ardour of seraphic desires, and was transformed into Him by the fellowship of His sufferings who, out of his exceeding love, willed to be crucified, he beheld a seraph having six burning and glorious wings. There appeared between the wings the likeness of one crucified. He understood from, this that he should be wholly transformed, not by the martyrdom of the flesh, but by the inflaming of his mind into the likeness of Christ crucified. When the vision disappeared it left in his heart a marvellous ardour: in his flesh also it left a no less wonderful impress of the signs (of Christ crucified).”

5th. It causes the soul which is kindled with the love of God to be in earnest to kindle the whole world with the same love. Thus the Blessed Jacoponus, when he heard of some sin by which God was offended, burning with charity, was wont to be greatly troubled, and would straightway weep. When he was asked “why?” he would answer, “Because Love is not loved.” Love is burning and hath wings. There is no tarrying in love. As S. Bernard says, “Love is nothing else than a burning will for good. He therefore who hath no zeal hath no love.”

6th. It causes that the soul which loves God should, by its love and confidence in Him, as it were rule over Him, and obtain from Him everything it asks. Thus it becomes as it were almighty, as Jacob struggling with the angel, God’s vicar, prevailed over him, and so was called Israel, i.e. “ruling God.” Hence the paradox, “To a believer belongs the whole world of riches.” Wherefore S. Francis says, “Fly from the creatures, if you wish to possess the creatures.”

7th. God makes the loving soul like unto Himself in character and virtues, and so makes it to be conscious of His secrets. He reveals to it the secrets of hearts, and things distant, and yet to come, as He did to His Apostles and Prophets.

8th. This love tranquillises the soul, makes it calm and imperturbed, yea glad and joyful in adversity as well as prosperity. Thus it always exults in God, and gives Him thanks. It praises and blesses Him, singing with the Psalmist, “I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall ever be in my mouth” (xxxiv. 1). And it saith, “As oft as I breathe, I breathe unto Thee, 0 my God.”

Lastly, this love so increases in very eminent saints that it brings on a sort of languor, and at last death itself, according to the words of the Spouse (Song ii. 15), “Prop me up with flowers, support me with apples, for I am sick through love. His left arm shall be under my head, and His right arm shall embrace me.” Thus the Blessed Virgin, languishing and panting for her Son, breathed out her soul into His hands, not from any disease, but from love and desire of enjoying Christ her Son. So teach Suarez, Canisius, and others.

Ver. 17.—In this is the love of God perfected, that we should have confidence, &c. Conf. Greek παζζησίαν, i.e., liberty, boldness in speaking. 1st. In this, i.e., with this end and fruit. Perfect charity produces this result, viz., confidence in the day of judgment—both the particular and the general judgment. Hence the righteous desire the coming of the Lord, and desire like Paul to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. As S. Augustine says, “They live with patience, and die with delight.” John descends from charity to its fruits. Of these he enumerates thus: (1.) Confidence to live and die trustfully. (2.) That the loving soul becomes without fear. (3.) That she obtains of God whatever she asks.

2d. And more powerfully. In this, i.e., God hath loved us and doth love us to such a purpose, and we in our turn are so allured by this precious love that we fully and perfectly love Him back again. And He so abides, I say, in us, that when we shall be examined by Him in the day of judgment concerning charity, we shall answer with confidence that we have loved, not the world, but Him, with our whole heart, and therefore He will award us the bliss of heaven.

3d. Others explain the words in this as follows:—By this sign we know that we have perfect love, if casting fear away we can anticipate the judgment day with great hope and confidence. From hence S. Augustine draws this conclusion, “Therefore, brethren, take heed, strive inwardly with yourselves that ye desire the day of judgment. In no other way is charity proved to be perfect except when that day begins to be longed for.”

Because as He is, so are we in this world. Who is He? First, God, whom shortly before he had spoken of. It means—Therefore shall we have confidence in the day of judgment because we are in charity, and live in this world perfected in it, so that we love even our enemies. So too God in His perfect love makes His sun to shine upon the evil and the good, and sendeth rain upon the just and the unjust.

2d. And more profoundly: He, namely Christ, whom, as my love, I always carry in my mind and my mouth. For this reason, S. John when he says He is, means Christ. Moreover Christ is, i.e. in this world, as the Syriac version renders. And even now He is by the providence, charity, and friendship by which He dwells in the minds of His saints endowed with charity. The meaning then is this: As He, Christ, lived in this world holy and immaculate, and being full of the love of God, was, and is, dead to the world, and so abides in us; so let us, in imitation of Him, strive to live holily and without spot in this world. Yea, as being dead to the world, and always bearing about in our body with Paul the death of Christ, we are full of love even to our enemies, and abide in Christ. Therefore we have confidence that in the day of judgment we shall not be confounded, but shall be glorified. For we have that day ever before our eyes, and we daily dispose ourselves for it by works of charity and every kind of holiness.  Yea, we pant for it, knowing that here we are pilgrims, and guests for a day; according to the words, “Everyone that has this hope, purifies himself in Him even as He is holy.”

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 11:25-30

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2011

Ver 25. At that time Jesus answered and said, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.26. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.”

Gloss, non occ.: Because the Lord knew that many would doubt respecting the foregoing matter, namely, that the Jews would not receive Christ whom the Gentile world has so willingly received, He here makes answer to their thoughts; “And Jesus answered and said, I confess unto thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth.”

Gloss. ord.: That is, Who makest of heaven, or leavest in earthlinees, whom Thou wilt. Or literally,

Aug., Serm., 67, 1: If Christ, from whom all sin is far, said, “I confess,” confession is not proper for the sinner only, but sometimes also for him that gives thanks. We may confess either by praising God, or by accusing ourselves. When He said, “I confess unto thee,” it is, I praise Thee, not I accuse Myself.

Jerome: Let those hear who falsely argue, that the Saviour was not born but created, how He calls His Father “Lord of heaven and earth.” For if He be a creature, and the creature can call its Maker Father, it was surely foolish here to address Him as Lord of heaven and earth, and not of Him (Christ) likewise. He gives thanks that His coming has opened to the Apostles sacraments, which the Scribes and Pharisees knew not, who seemed to themselves wise, and understanding in their own eyes; “That thou hast hid these things from the wise and understanding, and hast revealed them unto babes.”

Aug.: That the wise and understanding are to be taken as the proud, Himself opens to us when He says, “and hast revealed them unto babes;” for who are “babes” but the humble?

Greg.: He says not ‘to the foolish,’ but to babes, shewing that He condemns pride, not understanding.

Chrys.: Or when He says, “The wise,” He does not speak of true wisdom, but of that which the Scribes and Pharisees seemed to have by their speech. Wherefore He said not, ‘And hast revealed them to the foolish,’ but, “to babes,” that is, uneducated, or simple; teaching us in all things to keep ourselves from pride, and to seek humility.

Hilary: The hidden things of heavenly words and their power are hid from the wise, and revealed to the babes; babes, that is, in malice, not in understanding; hid from the wise because of their presumption of their own wisdom, not because of their wisdom.

Chrys.: That it is revealed to the one is matter of joy, that it is hid from the other not of joy, but of sorrow; He does not therefore joy on this account, but He joys that these have known what the wise have not known.

Hilary: The justice of this the Lord confirms by the sentence of the Father’s will, that they who disdain to be made babes in God, should become fools in their own wisdom; and therefore He adds, “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good before thee.”

Greg., Mor. xxv, 14: In which words we have a lesson of humility, that we should not rashly presume to discuss the counsels of heaven concerning the calling of some, and the rejection of others; shewing that that cannot be unrighteous which is willed by Him that is righteous.

Jerome: In these words moreover He speaks to the Father with the desire of one petitioning, that His mercy begun in the Apostles might be completed in them.

Chrys.: These things which the Lord spoke to His disciples, made them more zealous. As afterwards they thought great things of themselves, because they cast out demons, therefore He here reproves them; for what they had, was by revelation, not by their own efforts.

The Scribes who esteemed themselves wise and understanding were excluded because of their pride, and therefore He says, Since on this account the mysteries of God were hid from them, fear ye, and abide as babes, for this it is that has made you partakers in the revelation.

But as when Paul says, “God gave them over to a reprobate mind,” [Rom 1:28] he does not mean that God did this, but they who gave Him cause, so here, “Thou hast hid thee things from the wise and understanding.” And wherefore were they hid from them? Hear Paul speaking, “Seeking to set up their own righteousness, they were not subject to the righteousness of God.” [Rom 10:3]

Ver 27. “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”

Chrys.: Because He had said, “I confess unto thee, Father, because thou hast hid these things from the wise,” that you should not suppose that He thus thanks the Father as though He Himself was excluded from this power, He adds, “All things are committed to me by my Father.” Hearing the words are committed, do not admit suspicion of any thing human, for He uses this word that you may not think there be two gods unbegotten. For at the time that He was begotten He was Lord of all.Jerome: For if we conceive of this thing according to our weakness, when he who receives begins to have, he who gives begins to be without.Or when He says, “All things are committed to him,” He may mean, not the heaven and earth and the elements, and the rest of the things which He created and made, but those who through the Son have access to the Father.Hilary: Or that we may not think that there is any thing less in Him than in God, therefore He says this.Aug., cont. Maximin. ii. 12: For if He has aught less in His power than the Father has, then all that the Father has, are not His; for by begetting Him the Father gave power to the Son, as by begetting Him He gave all things which He has in His substance to Him whom He begot of His substance.Hilary: And also in the mutual knowledge between the Father and the Son, He teaches us that there is nothing in the Son beyond what was in the Father; for it follows, “And none knoweth the Son but the Father, nor does any man know the Father but the Son.”Chrys.: By this that He only knows the Father, He shews covertly that He is of one substance with the Father. As though He had said, What wonder if I be Lord of all, when I have somewhat yet greater, namely to know the Father and to be of the same substance with Him?Hilary: For this mutual knowledge proclaims that they are of one substance, since He that should know the Son, should know the Father also in the Son, since all things were delivered to Him by the Father.Chrys.: When He says, “Neither does any know the Father but the Son,” He does not mean that all men are altogether ignorant of Him; but that none knows Him with that knowledge wherewith He knows Him; which may also be said of the Son. For it is not said of some unknown God [margin note: i.e. who was not the Creator] as Marcion declares.Aug., De Trin., i, 8: And because their substance is inseparable, it is enough sometimes to name the Father, sometimes the Son; nor is it possible to separate from either His Spirit, who is especially called the Spirit of truth.Jerome: Let the heretic Eunomius [ed. note: Eunomius, the chief of the Anomaean branch of the Arians, taught that there was no mystery about the Divine nature. He is opposed by St. Basil, and by St. Chrysostom in his Homilees on ‘the incomprehensible nature of God.’] therefore blush hereat who claims to himself such a knowledge of the Father and the Son, as they have one of another. But if he argues from what follows, and props up his madness by that, “And he to whom the Son will reveal him,” it is one thing to know what you know by equality with God, another to know it by His vouchsafing to reveal it.Aug., De Trin., vii, 3: The Father is revealed by the Son, that is, by His Word. For if the temporal and transitory word which we utter both shews itself, and what we wish to convey, how much more the Word of God by which all things were made, which so shews the Father as He is Father, because itself is the same and in the same manner as the Father.Aug., Quast Ev., i, 1: When He said, “None knoweth the Son but the Father,” He did not add, And he to whom the Father will reveal the Son. But when He said, “None knoweth the Father bet the Son,” He added, “And he to whom the Son will reveal him.”But this must not be so understood as though the Son could be known by none but by the Father only; while the Father may be known not only by the Son, but also by those to whom the Son shall reveal Him. But it is rather expressed thus, that we may understand that both the Father and the Son Himself are revealed by the Son, inasmuch as He is the light of our mind; and what is afterwards added, “And he to whom the Son will reveal,” is to be understood as spoken of the Son as well as the Father, and to refer to the whole of what had been said. For the Father declares Himself by His Word, but the Word declares not only that which is intended to be declared by it, but in declaring this declares itself.Chrys.: If then He reveals the Father, He reveals Himself also. But the one he omits as a thing manifest, but mentions the other because there might be a doubt concerning it.Herein also He instructs us that He is so one with the Father, that it is not possible for any to come to the Father, but through the Son. For this had above all things given offence, that He seemed to be against God, and therefore He strove by all means to overthrow this notion.

Ver 28. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Chrys.: By what He had said, He brought His disciples to have a desire towards Him, shewing them His unspeakable excellence; and now He invites them to Him, saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden.”

Aug., Serm., 69, 1: Whence do we all thus labour, but that we are mortal men, bearing vessels of clay which cause us much difficulty. But if the vessels of flesh are straitened, the regions of love will be enlarged. To what end then does He say, “Come unto me,” all ye that labour, but that ye should not labour?

Hilary: He calls to Him those that were labouring under the hardships of the Law, and those who are burdened with the sins of this world.

Jerome: That the burden of sin is heavy the Prophet Zachariah bears witness, saying, that wickedness sitteth upon a talent of lead. [margin note: Zec_5:7] And the Psalmist fills it up, “Thy iniquities are grown heavy upon me.” [Psa_38:4]

Greg.: For a cruel yoke and hard weight of servitude it is to be subject to the things of time, to be ambitious of the things of earth, to cling to falling things, to seek to stand in things that stand not, to desire things that pass away, but to be unwilling to pass away with them. For while all things fly away against our wish, those things which had first harassed the mind in desire of gaining them, now oppress it with fear of losing them.

Chrys.: He said not, Come ye, this man and that man, but All whosoever are in trouble, in sorrow, or in sin, not that I may exact punishment of you, but that I may remit your sins. Come ye, not that I have need of your glory, but that I seek your salvation. “And I will refresh you;” not, I will save you, only; but that is much greater, “I will refresh you,” that is, I will set you in all quietness.

Raban.: I will not only take from you your burden, but will satisfy you with inward refreshment.

Remig.: “Come,” He says, not with the feet, but with the life, not in the body, but in faith. For that is a spiritual approach by which any man approaches God; and therefore it follows, “Take my yoke upon you.”

Raban.: The yoke of Christ is Christ’s Gospel, which joins and yokes together Jews and Gentiles in the unity of the faith. This we are commanded to take upon us, that is, to have in honour; lest perchance setting it beneath us, that is wrongly despising it, we should trample upon it with the miry feet of unholiness; wherefore He adds, “Learn of me.”

Aug., Serm., 69, 1: Not to create a world, or to do miracles in that world; but that “I am meek and lowly in heart.” Wouldest thou be great? Begin with the least. Wouldest thou build up a mighty fabric of greatness? First think of the foundation of humility; for the mightier building any seeks to raise, the deeper let him dig for his foundation. Whither is the summit of our building to rise? To the sight of God.

Raban.: We must learn then from our Saviour to be meek in temper, and lowly in mind; let us hurt none, let us despise none, and the virtues which we have shewn in deed let us retain in our heart.

Chrys.: And therefore in beginning the Divine Law He begins with humility, and sets before us a great reward, saying, “And ye shall find rest for your souls.” This is the highest reward, you shall not only be made useful to others, but shall make yourself to have peace; and He gives you the promise of it before it comes, but when it is come, you shall rejoice in perpetual rest. And that they might not be afraid because He had spoken of a burden, tberefore He adds, “For my yoke is pleasant, and my burden light.”

Hilary: He holds forth the inducements of a pleasant yoke, and a light burden, that to them that believe He may afford the knowledge of that good which He alone knoweth in the Father.

Greg., Mor., iv, 33: What burden is it to put upon the neck of our mind that He bids us shun all desire that disturbs, and turn from the toilsome paths of this world!

Hilary: And what is more pleasant than that yoke, what lighter than that burden? To be made better, to abstain from wickedness, to choose the good, and refuse the evil, to love all men, to hate none, to gain eternal things, not to be taken with things present, to be unwilling to do that to another which yourself would be pained to suffer.

Raban.: But how is Christ’s yoke pleasant, seeing it was said above, “Narrow is the way which leadeth unto life?” [Mat_7:14] That which is entered upon by a narrow entrance is in process of time made broad by the unspeakable sweetness of love.

Aug., Serm., 70, 1: So then they who with unfearing neck have submitted to the yoke of the Lord endure such hardships and dangers, that they seem to be called not from labour to rest, but from rest to labour.

But the Holy Spirit was there who, as the outward man decayed, renewed the inward man day by day, and giving a foretaste of spiritual rest in the rich pleasures of God in the hope of blessedness to come, smoothed all that seemed rough, lightened all that was heavy. Men suffer amputations and burnings, that at the price of sharper pain they may be delivered from torments less but more lasting, as boils or swellinga.

What storms and dangers will not merchants undergo that they may acquire perishing riches? Even those who love not riches endure the same hardships; but those that love them endure the same, but to them they are not hardships. For love makes right easy, and almost nought all things however dreadful and monstrous.

How much more easily then does love do that for true happiness, which avarice does for misery as far as it can?

Jerome: And how is the Gospel lighter than the Law, seeing in the Law murder and adultery, but under the Gospel anger and concupiscence also, are punished? Because by the Law many things are commanded which the Apostle fully teaches as cannot be fulfilled; by the Law works are required, by the Gospel the will is sought for, which even if it goes not into act, yet does not lose its reward.

The Gospel commands what we can do, as that we lust not; this is in our own power; the Law punishes not the will but the act, as adultery. Suppose a virgin to have been violated in time of persecution; as here was not the will she is held as a virgin under the Gospel; under the Law she is cast out as defiled.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 8:6-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2011

I’ve included Fr. Callan’s brief summary of Romans 8:1-11 and 8:12-13, followed by the commentary on the reading. The liturgical reading is on 8:9, 11-13, but this relatively brief post includes notes on verses 6-13.


A Summary of Romans 8:1-11~This chapter contains a sublime exposition of the precious treasures and glorious prospects of the Christian life. In the present section the Apostle concludes, after all that has been said so far regarding the fruits of justification, that those who have been regenerated in Jesus Christ by Baptism are no longer under penalties; for the new life effected in us by the Spirit has delivered us from former tyranny. The shortcomings of the Law, which was undermined by the perversity of the flesh, God has supplied for by sending His Son to triumph over the flesh, and to enable us to live hereafter according to the spirit, thus fulfilling the Law in our lives. This last they cannot do who follow the flesh, because the flesh and the spirit are mutually opposing agencies. But the spirit of Christians has been reinforced by God’s Spirit dwelling in them. Being in Christ they possess His Spirit, and so are enabled not only to live a spiritual life now, but to look forward to the glorious life of the resurrection.

6. For the wisdom of the flesh is death; but the wisdom of the spirit is life and peace.

The wisdom (το φρονημα), i.e., the aspiration, the tendency of the flesh is toward the death of the body and of the soul; but the aspiration or tendency of the spirit, i.e., of grace, is toward life and peace here and hereafter. The difference here indicated is the contrast between a life of sin and a life of grace in union with Christ.

7. Because the wisdom of the flesh is an enemy to God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither can it be.
8. And they who are in the flesh, cannot please God.

In these verses St. Paul gives two reasons why the wisdom, i.e., the tendency of the flesh is towards death: (a) because it is an enemy of God, the source of all life, since it is not subject to the divine will as expressed in God’s law, but seeks rather the things that God has forbidden; (b) because they whose flesh is under the domination of sin, whose flesh cooperates with sin, cannot please God, and are consequently surely condemned to death.

Neither can it be, i.e., so long as the wisdom of the flesh holds sway, it cannot be subject; let the wisdom of the flesh cease, and man can be subject” (St. Aug.).

Verse 7 in the Vulgate has translated (φρόνημα) by sapientia (i.e., wisdom), but studium or affectus is again the correct word. The phrase inimica est Deo should be inimicitia est in Deum.

9. But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

The Apostle now applies his doctrine to the Roman Christians. But you Romans in your life do not follow the promptings of the flesh, the enemy of God, but the promptings of the spirit, i.e., of grace, if so (ειπερ), i.e., if, as I have reason to believe, the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, abides in you. St. Paul takes care to note that if the Romans are following, as he believes, the promptings of grace, it is not due to their own efforts, but to the Holy Ghost who dwells in them. But since it is possible for the Christian to lose, through mortal sin, the Holy Spirit whom he received in Baptism, who is the Spirit of Christ as well as of God the Father, St. Paul goes on to observe that if anyone has lost this Holy Spirit, he no longer pertains to Christ, and has ceased to be a living member of Christ’s fold.

The Spirit of God is here the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit that proceeds equally from the Father and from the Son (John 15:22). The text proves nothing against the distinction of the Third Divine Person; neither does it prove directly that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Son. The Spirit is here termed the Spirit of Christ because He dwells in the soul through union with Christ.

10. And if Christ be in you, the body indeed is dead, because of sin; but the spirit liveth, because of justification.

Here the Apostle says to the Romans that if Christ by His Holy Spirit dwells in them, their bodies indeed are dead, i.e., subject to death, on account of original sin in which they were born; but their spirit, i.e., their souls, live the life of grace for the purpose of producing good works, the fruits of “justification.”

Because of justification (δια δικαιοσυνην) can mean: (a) that the justification given to the soul by God is the source of the spiritual life (St. Thomas, Cornely); or (b) that the spiritual life is the source of good works, that the spiritual life is propter justitiam exercendam (Lietzmann, Lagr.).

11. And if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you; he that raised up Jesus Christ from the dead, shall quicken also your mortal bodies, because of his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

In this verse we are told that they in whom the Spirit of God dwells do not only enjoy now the life of grace for their souls, but that they shall also have their mortal bodies raised gloriously from the dead on the last day. The Resurrection of Jesus and of all the dead is attributed to the Father because the Resurrection is a work of power, and to the Father especially such works are attributed. As God, of course, our Lord raised Himself from the dead (John 10:18) ; but as man He was raised by the Father. The Resurrection of Christ was the type of our resurrection (1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14; Philip 3:21; 1 Thess 4:14). The reason here assigned for the resurrection of the bodies of the just is because during life they were the temples of the Holy Ghost. The Apostle is not now speaking about the resurrection of the wicked.

Because of his spirit, etc. There are different readings of this final clause. Soden prefers the genitive reading:  “through the Spirit dwelling in you,” which would mean that the Holy Ghost will be the immediate cause of our resurrection. The accusative reading, which is that of the oldest MSS., has: δια το ενοικουν αυτου πνευμα, i.e., “on account of the Spirit dwelling in you,” propter dignitatem Spiritus, etc. This latter is the reading adopted in the Vulgate.


A Summary of Romans 8:12-13~These two verses are a corollary from all that has been said since chapter vi, and they give the final answer to the objections of Rom 6:1, 15. From what has been said it follows that for all the benefits that have been enumerated we are not debtors to the flesh, which enslaved us to sin and which of itself would again reduce us to slavery. The Apostle leaves it to be understood that we are debtors to the Spirit, to live according to Its dictates rather than according to the dictates of the flesh.

12. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh
13. For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live.

The works of the flesh lead to the death of the soul here and hereafter. But if we live in the spirit which we have received in Baptism, which is a principle of spiritual life in us, opposing to the works of the flesh the works of grace, we shall live now the life of grace, and hereafter the life of glory. There are, therefore, for the Christian the alternatives of eternal life, if he lives according to the spirit; or of eternal death, if he follows the dictates of the flesh. The spirit here means the principle of the spiritual life, namely, grace (Cornely), and not the Holy Ghost (Zahn, Kuhl). With this verse St. Paul has done with the flesh, and turns to consider more exclusively the spirit.

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Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 8:9, 11-13

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2011

This post includes comments on verse 10.

9. But you are not in the flesh, but in the spirit: if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. And if anyone has not the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.

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

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

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

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

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

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

12. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, that we should live according to the flesh.
13. For if you shall have lived according to the flesh, you will die: but if by the spirit you shall have mortified the deeds of the flesh, you will live

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

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

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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary Matt 9:1-8

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2011

Mat 9:1  And entering into a boat, he passed over the water and came into his own city.

Passed over: that is, sailed across the sea of Galilee, to its western side. And came into his own city. Sedulius thinks Bethlehem is meant because he was born there. S. Jerome, with more probability, understands Nazareth, where He was brought up. The best opinion is that of S. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Maldonatus, and many others, who say, Capernaum is to be understood, in which Christ often dwelt. And (Matt 4:13) S. Matthew says that, leaving Nazareth, Christ dwelt there. And S. Mark teaches that the healing of the paralytic, which is now to be related, look place at Capernaum. (Mark 2:3.) As Christ ennobled Bethlehem by His birth, Nazareth by his education, Egypt by His flight, Jerusalem by His Passion, so he adorned Capernaum, by His dwelling, preaching, and working miracles there.

Mat 9:2  And behold they brought to him one sick of the palsy lying in a bed. And Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the man sick of the palsy: Be of good heart, son, thy sins are forgiven thee.

And, behold, they brought to him, &c. S. Mark says, the paralytic man was carried by four bearers. Learn from this to care not only for thine own salvation, but for that of thy neighbours, and that earnestly, as well because charity demands it, as because God often chastises the good as well as the bad, because the good neglect to chastise and amend the faults of the bad.

And Jesus, seeing their faith, &c. The faith of those who brought the paralytic to Christ. For when they were not able to bring him into the house to Christ, they carried him up upon the roof (see Mark 2:4). The roofs of the houses in Palestine are not steep, as they are in Germany, but flat, more so than they are in Italy. They uncovered the roof: that is, they broke through it, by taking away the tiles. S. Mark says, they laid bare the roof: and thus they let down the sick man by means of ropes before Christ. All these things showed their great faith and devotion to Christ.

Their faith refers to those who brought him, say SS. Ambrose and Jerome. S. Chrysostom adds, that the faith of the paralytic himself is included, for through this faith he wished himself to be carried, and let down through the roof before Christ. Neither would he have heard the words, “Thy sins are forgiven thee,” unless he had had faith. Moreover this faith was the faith of miracles. Learn from him that the measure of prayer is faith and hope. For what thou hopest from Christ that shalt thou obtain of Him. For the more thou enlargest the lap of thy soul by hope, the more capacious thou makest it, and the more worthy that God should fill it, according to these words in the Psalm, “Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” And, “I opened my mouth and drew in my breath.” (Ps 119:131.)

Wherefore Christ said to this man, be of good heart, son. “Trust that thou shalt be by Me miraculously healed, first in thy soul from sin, then in thy body from palsy. For because of sin, God has afflicted thee with this disease. Observe, this paralytic already had faith and hope in Christ as I have just shown, but Christ bids him confirm and increase his faith. Moreover, by these outward words, Be of good heart, but more by the inward afflatus of His grace, Christ stirred up the paralytic to an act of great faith, hope, and sorrow for the sins which he had committed, and firm determination to enter upon a new and holy life, and love God above all things, that by this means he might be in a fit state to receive remission of his sins. For such are the dispositions which Scripture in other places requires, Christ, however, here and elsewhere, names and requires faith alone, and attributes salvation, more especially of the body, to faith, because faith is the prime origin and root of hope, fear, sorrow, and love of God. And faith in Christ was the thing, at that time, to be especially insisted on.

The heretics, therefore, can find nothing in this passage to prove that faith only properly justifies; especially since what is here treated of is miraculous faith, which they themselves distinguish from justifying faith. I may add that Christ here speaks of the faith of the bearers as much, or more than he does of the faith of the paralytic, and their faith could not justify the sick man.

Son. For he truly is a son of God, whose sins are forgiven, says Haymo. Observe here the kindness of Christ, addressing the sick man with these most sweet words. Hence S. Jerome exclamns, “0 wondrous humility. He calls this despised and feeble one, all the joints of whose limbs were loosed, Son, a man whom the priests would not deign to touch.”

Thy sins are forgiven thee: Gr. α̉φέωνται, have been forgiven. This Is a Hebraism for are forgiven.

S. Chrysostom observes that Christ first forgave the paralytic his sins, and then healed him, that from the calumnious remarks of the Pharisees, which he foresaw would follow upon what he had said and done, He might take occasion to prove His Divinity. This He did by a triple miracle, as an irrefragable proof, first by declaring openly their secret thoughts and murmurs against Him, secondly by healing the paralytic, thirdly by performing the miracle with this end in view, that, by it, He might demonstrate He had the power of forgiving sins.

Taken, however, literally, the more patent reason was, that He might show that palsies, and other diseases often arise, not so much from natural causes, as from sin. For He forgives the sins first, and then He heals the paralytic; showing that when the cause was taken away, the effect followed

This is why it is ordered by the canon law that physicians should seek the health of a sick man’s soul before that of his body. (See chap. Cum infirm. de pæniten. et remiss.) This rule is strictly observed at Rome, where physicians after the third day of illness, especially when there is peril of death, may not go near a sick person, except he forthwith cleanse his soul from sin by sacramental confession. For, as S. Basil says (Reg. 55), “Oftentimes are diseases the scourges of sins, which are sent for no other purpose than that we should amend our lives.”

Again, expositors collect from this passage that those who were corporeally healed by Christ were usually spiritually healed also by Him, and justified, as was the case with the paralytic. And this is consonant with Christ’s liberality, that He should not bestow a half-healing, but whole and perfect salvation. For the works of God are perfect. And we must remember that Christ came into the world chiefly to bestow spiritual health. This is what he says of another paralytic, “I have made a whole man sound upon the sabbath.” (John7:23, Vulg.)

Mat 9:3  And behold some of the scribes said within themselves: He blasphemeth.

And, behold, some of the scribes, &c. Within themselves. Syr., in their soul; because He takes away God’s special prerogative of pardoning sin, and claims it for Himself, which would be a grave dishonour done to God, and therefore blasphemy. Thus they thought, supposing Christ was not God, but a mere man. This was their perpetual and obstinate error, which led them perpetually to persecute Him, even unto the death of the Cross. Wherefore S. Mark adds, that they said, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” For sin is an offence against God, a violation of the Divine Majesty, so that no one can pardon it, except God Himself.

Mat 9:4  And Jesus seeing their thoughts, said: Why do you think evil in your hearts?

And Jesus seeing their thoughts, &c. S. Mark adds that Jesus knew in His Spirit. This was not because another revealed to Him the thoughts and blasphemies of the Scribes, as the prophets knew such things, but by Himself and His own Spirit, pervading and penetrating all things. From this the Fathers rightly prove the Divinity of Christ against the Arians. For He searches the hearts, a thing which God alone can do. Thus S. Jerome, who adds, “Even when keeping silence, He speaks. As though He said, ‘By the same power and majesty by which I behold your thoughts, I am able also to forgive men their sins.’” So too S. Chrysostom and others. Whence Chrysologus says, “Receive the tokens of Christ’s Divinity: behold Him come to the secret hiding-places of thy thoughts.

You may say, the Scribes might have raised the following objection:—”Thou, 0 Jesus, indeed knowest and revealest our secret thoughts, but not by Thine own Spirit, for that Thou in no way rnakest plain to us, but by the Spirit of God. Therefore Thou art a prophet and not God, that thou shouldst remit sins.” I reply, if the Scribes acknowledged Jesus to be a prophet, then surely they ought to have believed that He was speaking the truth when He said that He had, of Himself, power to forgive sins, and therefore that He was God. Again, in the Old Testament, the power of remitting sins was given to none of the prophets, but it was promised to Messiah alone by the prophets. Therefore, they ought to have acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah, and consequently God, as is plain from many passages of Scripture.

Lastly, Christ by His command alone, and proper authority, both healed the paralytic, and forgave him his sins, and so in this, as in all His other miracles, He had this end in view, that He might convince them He was the Messiah—that is, the Son of God, who had come in the flesh, the Saviour of the world, the Redeemer of sinners, who had been foretold by Moses and the prophets.

Mat 9:5  Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins are forgiven thee: or to say, Arise, and walk?

Whether is easier, &c. You may ask, whether of these two is absolutely the more difficult? I answer—

1. It is, per se, more difficult to forgive sins than to heal a paralytic person, yea, than to create heaven and earth. And there is à priori reason for this: first, because sin, as an enemy of God, is far further away from God than a paralytic, yea, than any created thing, forasmuch as these are in themselves good: yea, further than nothingness, out of which all things were made, itself, for nothingness is only negatively and privatively opposed to entity and God; but sin is diametrically opposed and repugnant to God. For there are no contraries which are so mutually opposed as supreme goodness and supreme badness—that is to say, God and sin.

2. Because remission of sins is something of a higher order than the natural order. It has to do with the supernatural order of grace. Grace is the highest communion with the Divine Nature: for by grace “we are made partakers of the divine nature,” as S. Peter says (2Pet 1:4).

I observe, however, secondly: on the contrary, Christ here seems to speak of remission of sins as being easier than the healing of the paralytic. This was so, because the latter was more difficult in respect of the Jews, and it was a more perilous thing besides. For he who saith, I forgive thee thy sins, cannot be convicted of falsehood, whether he remits them or not. For neither sin, nor its remission, are things that can be seen. But he who saith to a paralytic, Arise and walk, exposes both himself and his good name to great peril, if the sick man does not arise. Such a one will be convicted by all of imposture and falsehood. Just as we are accustomed to say, It is easier to write a history of Tartary than a history of Italy: because here a man might be convicted of falsehood by multitudes; but there by no one.

Lastly, the healing of paralysis is a physical operation, and, physically speaking, more difficult than the remission of sins, which is, per se, a moral act, of like nature with sin itself.

Jansen adds, With respect to God, both are equally easy and divine, for both are miraculous, and both require exercise of omnipotent power.

Moreover, although of itself the healing of the paralytic was a less work than the remission of sins, yet Christ conclusively proves by it that He had the power of forgiving sin.

Mat 9:6  But that you may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then said he to the man sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thy house.

But that you may know, &c. Observe the expression, Son of Man, for Christ forgave sins, not only as He was God, but in that He was man, authoritatively and meritoriously. Because His Humanity was hypostatically united to His Divinity, and subsisted in the Divine Person of the Son of God, therefore He was able to make full satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.

Wherefore this primary power and authority of forgiving sins was given unto Him, next unto God, which power He is able to grant unto others likewise, such as priests, who are instituted by Him, as His ministers, that they too should forgive sins. Whence S. Thomas says (3 part. quæst. 63, art. 3), “The power of the excellence of Christ standeth in four things. 1. Because His merit, and the virtue of His Passion, operate in the sacraments. 2. Because by His Name the sacraments are sanctified. 3. Because He Himself, who gives virtue to the sacraments, had power to institute them. 4. Because the effect of the sacraments—in other words, the remission of sins, and grace—Christ is able to confer without the sacraments. This power is peculiar to Christ alone, quâ (as) man; and therefore it has been communicated neither to priest nor pontiff, nor to S. Peter.

Arise, take up thy bed, &c. Rise: be sound and healed of thy palsy; and to show to the Scribes and all the people that thou art healed, take up thy bed, that now thou mayest bear that which has lately borne thee, as Sedulius says in this place, “He himself, with grateful thanks, repaid his hire.” Instead of bed (lectum), Mark has grabatum. Grabatus, says Sipontius, is a narrow sort of couch on which we recline at noon, as if from carabatus, something on which we lay our head, from καρὰ, the head, and, βατὸν, passing. Whence the line of Martial—”Went the three-legged grabatus, went the three-legged table.”

Mat 9:7  And he arose, and went into his house.

And he arose, &c. He arose at once, for what Christ said was straightway done. And the man walked off with the bed upon his shoulders.

S. Simon Stylites followed the example of this miracle of Christ, as may be seen in his Life, taken by Surius out of Theodoret. “A certain Saracen prince brought to him a paralytic domestic, and asked him to heal him. The holy man commanded him to be brought into the midst, and bade him abjure the impiety of his ancestors. After the man had done this, he asked him if he believed in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. He replied that he did believe. ‘If thou believest,’ said he, ‘rise up.’ As soon as he had arisen, he bade him take up and carry the before-named prince, who was an excessively fat man, upon his shoulders, as far as his tent. And he immediately raised him up, and carried him whither he was bidden. All the spectators were amazed at this miracle, and glorified God.” In a similar manner S. Bernard, at the request of the King of France, healed a man sick of the palsy, with the sign of the Cross, and bade him take up his bed.

Tropologically: by the sick man’s taking up, and carrying his bed is meant, that by the just judgment of God it cometh to pass that the sinner who aforetime willingly consented to temptation, after he has repented, feels temptation against his will. For repentance truly takes away sin, but not sinful habits and depraved inclinations, which the sinner of his own will contracted and put on. Thus S. Mary of Egypt, after her conversion, felt for seventeen years the sharp goads of lust, because for so many years she had shamefully lived in lust.

Mat 9:8  And the multitude seeing it, feared, and glorified God that gave such power to men.

and the multitudes saw it they feared, &c. S. Mark adds, that the multitude said, We never saw the like. S. Luke, We have seen wonderful things today. For this man’s whole body was paralysed. S. Mark says that, he was borne of four, which shows that the palsy had affected every limb. He was a different paralytic from the one of whom S. John makes mention (John 5:2), who was healed in the Sheep-market at Jerusalem. That man had no one carrying him: neither did he believe, as this one did, to whom it was said, Son, be of good heart.

Tropologically; paralysis is any disease of the soul whatsoever, but especially of fleshly lust, and the carelessness and indifference to spiritual things which it generates. For it so entirely prostrates the soul, that it is without power to lift itself up to virtue, to heaven, to God. Wherefore the man that labours under this disease must be carried by bearers, that is, by pastors, preachers, confessors, up upon the housetop, that is, to the desire of salvation and heavenly things; and then must be let down through the roof to the feet of Christ; and they must ask of Him by earnest prayer to heal him by His grace, and restore to him the power of motion, and the sense of spiritual things. Then when he is healed, let him give thanks to Christ his Saviour, and let him not be slothful, but let him go away to the house of his mind and conscience, and sweep it clean of vices, and adorn it with all virtuous actions. Thus ought the soul to trust in the Lord, because He alone is able to supply all her wants. She ought to arise from the sleep of sin, and the bed of depraved habits, by calling to mind into what a state she has fallen, which she doth by confession; for as he who arises, so also does he who confesses, come forth: she ought to take up her bed, which pertains to satisfaction, for when that is enjoined in confession, it is a sort of burden to be borne, for the flesh which, as a bed, gave pleasure, and as it were carried the dead soul, ought, after remission and satisfaction. to be a burden to a man, as it was to him who cried out, “0 wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” So Salmeron, Jansen, Toletus, and others, expound this passage.

Anagogically, understand it of the celestial glory, concerning which the Psalmist speaks, “I was glad when they said unto me, We will go into the house of the Lord.” (Ps 122:1.) For, in the resurrection, the Lord will say, “Arise, that is, from death; and take up thy bed, that is, resume thy body, endowed with glorious gifts; and go into thine house, that is, into the eternal and heavenly mansion.”

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on the Gospel of Matthew, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

This Weeks Posts: Sunday, June 26–Saturday, July 2

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2011

This week’s series of posts is not yet complete. Posts for Thursday-Saturday will be added during the week. In addition, I hope to add more posts for Tuesday and Wednesday. Resources for next Sunday’s Mass, July 3, will be posted on Thursday rather than Wednesday.


Today’s Mass Resources for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi).

Today’s Divine Office.

Last Weeks Posts: Sunday, June 19-Saturday, June 25.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:18-22).

Juan de Maldonado’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:18-22).

UPDATE: Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 8:9, 11-13 for Sunday Mass, July 3.

UPDATE: Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 8:9, 11-13 for Sunday Mass, July 3.

UPDATE: Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matt 11:25-30 for Sunday Mass,  July 3.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:23-27).

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 8:23-27).

UPDATE: Proofs of the Apostolic Preaching by St IrenæusOnline book by Fr. Joseph P. Smith, S.J.

UPDATE: St Irenæus’ Adversus Hæreses (Against Heresies). Text.

UPDATE: Audio Version of Adversus Hæreses (Against Heresies). With links to audio of books 2-5.

UPDATE: Catholic Encyclopedia on St Irenæus.

UPDATE: The Life of St Irenæus, Doctor of the Church. From EWTN.

UPDATE: The Life of St Irenæus for Children.

UPDATE: Is this the most ridiculous, arrogant Huff-and-Puff Post piece ever penned?. From the Ignatius Insight Blog.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Today’s First Reading (Acts 12:1-11).

Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Responsorial Psalm (34)Latin and English side by side.

Father Callan’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (2 Tim 4:6-8, 17-18). Previously posted, this also contains commentary on verse 16.

Juan de Maldonado on Today’s Gospel (Matt 16:13-19).

Pope Benedict XVI’s Catechesis on Saints Peter and Paul:

Pope Benedict’s Catechesis During the Year of St Paul:


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

My Notes on Today’s Psalm (115). Previously posted.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:1-8). Previously posted.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (Matt 9:1-8).

Homily on Today’s Gospel.

The Twofold Healing of the Man With Palsy. A homily on the Gospel.

Similarity of Us Christians and the Man With the Palsy. A homily on the Gospel.

Unchaste Thoughts and Desires. A Homily on the Gospel.

Blasphemy. A homily on the Gospel.

UPDATE: Resources for Sunday Mass, July 3 (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Rite.


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Reading.

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Today’s Second Reading (1 John 4:7-16).


Today’s Mass Readings.

Today’s Divine Office.

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel. Previously posted for another occasion.

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on Today’s Gospel. Previously published for another occasion.

St Augustine’s Sermon on Today’s Gospel. Previously posted for another occasion.

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