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

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 11:25-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 9, 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.

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2 Responses to “Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 11:25-27”

  1. […] Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 11:25-27). […]

  2. […] Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Today’s Gospel (Matt 11:25-27). […]

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