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

Father Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 13:8-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 31, 2011

This post includes comments on verse 7.

7. Render, therefore, to all their due: to whom tribute, tribute: to whom taxes, taxes: to whom fear, fear: to whom honour, honour.
8. Owe nothing to any man, except to love one another: for who loveth his neighbour, has fulfilled the law.
9. For, thou shalt not commit adultery: thou shalt not kill: thou shalt not steal: thou shalt not give false testimony: thou shalt not covet: and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this word: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
10. Love of our neighbour worketh no ill. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.

To all orders and ranks of civil society, into which you are brought into any relation, render what is their due. Christ, the Creator of the world, did not intend to throw human society into uproar and confusion, but to preserve it in good order, tranquillity and peace, for the sake of higher ends than these.

Tribute is an impost on persons, or on real property; taxes, vectigal (i.e., tribute, revenue), on personal property. Fear is due caution not to offend the law. Honour, the respect due to every person in his several office or station.

Owe no man anything. Do not get into debt. But there is one debt which is never paid. If we love our neighbor we shall never wrong him, in his goods, his reputation, his person, or his honor. To love our neighbor therefore includes all the commandments of the Second Table. This is in effect the statement of our Lord in Matt 22:39-40.

As thyself. Not in an equal degree. Saint Thomas says, for in the order of charity every man ought to love himself more than his neighbour; but in a similar manner, 1. As regards the reason, for God’s sake: 2. As to form, with sincerity, not for gain or covetousness: 3. As regards the effect, by seeking his good and relieving his wants as if they were your own. Virtue, Saint Augustine says, may be briefly defined to be, ordo amoris, the regulation of affection. Love and do what you will. If you are silent, be silent for love. If you exclaim, exclaim for love. If you reprove, reprove for love. If you spare, spare for love. Let there be the root of love within, and from that root nothing but good will grow.

The same Father writes, I gladly pay the debt of mutual charity, and joyfully receive it. What I receive I continue to claim: What I pay, I continue to owe. Ep. 62, ad Coelestin.

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2 Responses to “Father Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 13:8-10”

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