The Divine Lamp

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Archive for May, 2012

My Notes on Joel 2:18-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 30, 2012

Most Scripture links are to the NRSV Anglicized Version. On occasion, the chapter and verse numbering in the NRSV differs from that of the NAB, where this occurs, I also include a link to the NAB (with a few exceptions in the background material).

Background:

A. Authorship, Date, Place of Composition~

1.  All that we know of Joel for certain is what we are told in the superscription (Joel 1:1), which is paltry indeed: his name was Joel, and his Father was Pethuel.  The content of the book has led to the supposition that he was either a cultic prophet or a priest, due to his “familiarity with the Jewish liturgy (Joel 1:13-14; Joel 2:15-17), and devotion to the sancturary (Joel 1:8-9; Joel 2:27; Joel 4:16-17)”~Jerome Biblical Commentary 25:2.

It should be noted that their is nothing in the book to lead us to believe that Joel authored it himself, though this is possible.  It is also possible that he had a scribe write down the prophecies (see Jeremiah 36), or, that the work exists like our Gospels: an inspired disciple was moved to record the teaching of the prophet.

2.  Unlike most of the other works of the writing prophets Joel’s superscription (Joel 1:1) lacks any indication of when his ministry took place.  This fact has caused a number of “guesses” to be made concerning this issue.  Essentially, there are four major theories: (1) 9th century BC, probably during the reign of Joash.  (2) During the last 5 decades of the Kingdom of Judah (David) which fell to Babylon in 587 BC.  (3) circa 520-500 BC, during or after the return from Babylonian Exile.  (4) During the Persian period, after the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah, sometime between 530 and 350 BC.  Most scholars today choose number four as the most likely time period and narrow time the date to circa 400.

3.  The content of the book indicates that the work, or at least the prophet’s ministry, was conducted in Judah, and especially its capital of Jerusalem.

BThe Unity of  Joel~

For about a century and a half the unity of the Book of Joel has been questioned, with some postulating that chapters 1 & 2 were written by a hand different from that which produced chapters 3 & 4.  Other scholars maintain that the work is a unity, noting literary connection between the allegedly disparate parts (compare Joel 1:15 and Joel 2:1 with Joel 3:4 and Joel 4:14; also Joel 2:27 with Joel 4:17).  I find the reasons for a single author  more plausible (see the Joel commentaries in the Jerome Biblical Commentary and The New Catholic Commentary On Holy Scripture).

Most scholars divide Joel into two major sections, with the first corresponding to chapters 1 and 2, and the second with chapters 3 and 4.  (But see Volume 1 of Marvin Sweeney’s The Twelve Prophets for a different structure).  With Sweeney I think that the dividing point between the two major sections is at Joel 2:18.

C. Division of the Book~

The book opens with a superscription in the first person titular (or archival) style (Joel 1:1).

The first major part of Joel is chapter Joel 1:2-2:18:

Chapter 1 is divided thus: A plague of locusts has descended upon the nation, the likes of which had not been seen before (Joel 1:2-4).  This leads to a call for liturgical lamentation to be done by drunkards (Joel 1:5-7); by the people in general Joel 1:8-10); by farmers and husbandmen (Joel 1:11-12); and priests (Joel 1:13) who are to gather together the people for the liturgy (Joel 1:14).

This is followed by a cry of alarm (Joel 1:15), and reasons for the alarm (Joel 1:16-20).

Chapter 2 opens with a statement of the threat posed (Joel 2:1-11).  Inasmuch as chapter 1 has spoken of the threat as an existing reality we should perhaps see these verses as a threat of something to come, a worse locust plague or, more likely in my opinion, an army of men who would, like the locusts, destroy the land to such an extent that the former destructive invasions of Assyria and Babylon would look of little account.  This is the army of Israel’s God, who, because of their infidelity, now uses a foreign army as his instrument of punishment (an idea not foreign to the Bible, see Isaiah 10:5-11)

Locusts were one of the punishments God said he would bring against Israel if they fell away from the covenant and its demands (Deuteronomy 28:38), and, apparently, if this didn’t check them an army of invaders would be sent (Deut 28:49-57).  It is not then hard to see that a locust plague and an invading army could be closely associated in their effects (see Judges 6:5, Judges 7:12; Jer 46:23; Nahum 3:15-17).  Indeed, as Theodoret notes, “If one carefully considers the head of a locust, he will find it very much like that of a horse.”  In fact, the Italian word for locust (cavaletta) means “little horse;” and the German word (heupferd) means “hay horse.”  The comparison of locust to war horses is not unknown in the Bible (Job 39:19-20).

The people have sinned against the covenant and punishment has come (Joel 1), but an even greater threat looms (Joel 2:1-11), thus the call to repentance which forms the heart of our first reading for Ash Wednesday (Joel 2:12-17, with 18 capping off the passage and providing a transition to the second major part, Joel 2:19-3:21, [NAB 2:19-4:21]).

The second major part of Joel is, as just indicated, Joel 2:19-3:21, [NAB 2:19-4:21]:

Some scholars divide part two into two major sections:

A. Joel 2:18-32 [NAB 2:18-3:5].

B. Joel 3:1-21 [NAB 4:1-21].

Others (e.g., the original NAB) divide it into three major sections:

A. Joel 2:18-32 [NAB 2:18-3:5].

B. Joel 3:1-16 [NAB Joel 4:1-16].

C. Joel 3:17-21 [NAB 4:17-21].

D. Division of Joel 2:18-27~

Joel 2:18. Provides a transition between parts 1 (Joel 1:2-2:17) and 2 (Joel 2:19-3:21, [NAB 2:19-4:21]).

Joel 2:19-20. Part 1 ended with a call to gather the people for a liturgy of repentance; these verses give us God’s response to that.

Joel 2:21-23. Land (vs 21) and beasts (vs 22) are told not to fear, and the people (vs 23) are told to be glad, for the situation of punishment highlighted in part 1 has been (or is being) reversed.

Joel 2:24-27. Builds upon verse 23, what God has done for his people.

MY NOTES ON JOEL 2:18-27

Joe 2:18  Then was the LORD jealous for his land, and had pity on his people.

This verse is transitional, capping off, as it were, the preceding verses and preparing for what follows.  Jealous means burning zeal, and is related to several words used in verse 13 (gracious, rich in mercy, both implying familial love).  Pity is the Hebrew word chamal, which means softness.  God’s love and His openness to the repentant belies his seemingly hard edges.

The second major part of Joel opens with Joel 2:18 and basically describes God’s response to Israel and the nations in light of what they have suffered (chapter 1), and avoided (Joel 2:1-11), by repentance (Joel 2:12-17).  The produce of the land will once again be plentiful (Joel 2:19a, 21-26), and the reproach of nations will become a thing of the past (Joel 2:19b-20, 26b-27).  Sometime after this more blessings will come (Joel 2:28-29, [3:1-3 in NAB]).  These blessings will be poured out on all mankind, not just Israel (Joel 2:30-32, [3:4-5 in NAB], see Acts 2:39.  Also Rom 10:12-13:2 which ends with an appeal to Joel 2:32a, 3:5a in NAB).  The salvation of the nations is also a time of judgment (Joel 3, chapter 4 NAB, ) for what the nations had done to Israel.

Joe 2:19  And the Lord answered, and said to his people: Behold I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and you shall be filled with them: and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.

I will send you corn, wine, and oil, and you shall be filled with them. Reversing the situation which had befallen them as a result of their sins (see Joel 1:5-12, and 1:15-17). The lack of grain, wine and oil, were the result of a locust plague (Joel 1:4), a punishment Moses told the people would befall them if they broke the covenant (Deut 28:38-40).

I will no more make you a reproach among the nations. Punishment for covenant infidelity included the rising up of enemies, military invasion, siege (Deut 28:49-57), and exile (Deut 28:63-68). This punishment had not yet fallen upon Joel’s audience, and he was preaching repentance to ensure that it didn’t (see Joel 2:17).

Joe 2:20  but I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive it into a land barren and desolate, its forepart into the eastern sea, and its hinder part into the western sea; and its stench shall come up, and its ill savor shall come up, because it hath done great things.

The northern army is often taken as a reference to the locusts mentioned earlier in Joel, though some scholars think it a reference to an invading army. In my opinion (for whatever it’s worth) the locusts were a harbinger of a worse fate-an invading army-but the invasion had not yet taken place. The people have turned to the Lord as a result of his punishment but the invasion of an army has not been averted, an attack will come.  The fate of the locusts could be taken as an assurance that human enemies will be overcome by God on behalf of his faithful, repentant, people (for more on this see my notes on the phrase And its stench shall come up, and its ill savor shall come up, because it hath done great things).

The north was the traditional invasion route into the promised land (Jer 1:13-14; Jer 4:6; Jer 6:1; Ezek 38:6; Ezek 38:15; Ezek 39:2).

The invader will be driven into a land barren and desolate. What they have turned the promised land into will now become their home, while the promised land itself will be fruitful once again.

Concerning the invader we further read: its forepart (will be driven) into the eastern sea, and its hinder part (will be driven) into the western sea. Forepart and hinder part (front and back) designate the totality of the invaders; from first to last they will be driven into the sea. The eastern sea being the Mediterranean, the western sea being the Dead Sea. The punishments here (barren, desolate land, seas) is to be taken figuratively, indicating the removal (or destruction) of the locusts without necessarily telling us how it was done.

And its stench shall come up, and its ill savor shall come up, because it hath done great things. A better translation of great things (הגדיל) would be “proud things,” or “arrogant things. ” As I mentioned in the background section of this post, God sometimes uses invading armies to punish his people and bring them to repentance (Deut 28:49-57). Often, in their pride, these invaders go far beyond what the Lord had intended and bring down punishment upon themselves (Isa 10:5-34). Locusts, of course, are incapable of pride, but their fate is here being used as a warning against an invading army. God has decided not to punish his people with an invasion, but if his rod of anger and staff of wrath (a foreign potentate and his army, see Isa 10:5) have other ideas, they will come to naught.

Joe 2:21  Fear not, O land, be glad and rejoice; for the LORD hath done great things.
Joe 2:22  Be not afraid, ye beasts of the field; for the pastures of the wilderness do spring, for the tree beareth its fruit, the fig-tree and the vine do yield their strength.

Announces the reversal of the situation described in Joel 1:5-10. The call to weep and wail (Joel 1:5, 11) is changed into an exhortation to be glad and rejoice. Joy and gladness, having been cut off from the House (Temple) of God (Joel 1:16), is to return. The groaning of beasts, the perplexity of the cattle, and the desolation suffered by the sheep due to the land’s barrenness (Joel 1:18) is at an end; the beasts of the field are bidden, be not afraid.  The wasted ground (Joel 1:10) will become fruitful. The once starving beasts (Joel 1:20) will be fed. The Lord has done these great things, exalting himself and his people and land over the great things (arrogant things) done to them (Joel 2:20).

Joe 2:23  Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; for he giveth you the former rain in just measure, and he causeth to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, in the first month. An alternate translation of this verse is given and commented upon below.

The fire (Joel 1:19-20) and the drought (Joel 1:12) which withered up the vines, fig trees, the date trees, pomegranates and apple trees-and joy among the people as well!-is now reversed. The former and the latter rain, which accompanied the spring and autumn growing seasons, will return.

Translation Given Above: Joe 2:23  Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; for he giveth you the former rain in just measure, and he causeth to come down for you the rain, the former rain and the latter rain, in the first month.

Alternate Translation (Douay-Rheims): Joe 2:23  And you, O children of Sion, rejoice, and be joyful in the Lord your God: because he hath given you a teacher of justice, and he will make the early and the latter rain to come down to you as in the beginning.

The differences are mainly minor and stylistic and/or the result of the translator’s decisions. The term former rain in the first translation becomes teacher of justice in the alternate. This alternate rendering is found in the Targums, Symmachus’ Greek Version and the Latin Vulgate. It is the rendering given by the famed Jewish commentator of the Middle Ages, Rashi, and is found as an alternate reading in the KJV margin. It is still employed by a number of modern translations, including the NAB. The differing translations arise from the fact that the Hebrew word המורה can mean both early rain or teacher (for teacher see 2 Kings 17:28; Job 36:22; Prov 5:13; Isa 30:20; Hab 2:18). In the Hebrew text the word is related to לצדקה, derived from צדקה, justice, righteousness. I’m not sure why this is so, but rain is sometimes used as an image of teaching: Let my doctrine gather as the rain, let my speech distil as the dew, as a shower upon the herb, and as drops upon the grass (Deut 32:2). And as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return no more thither, but soak the earth, and water it, and make it to spring, and give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be, which shall go forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall do whatsoever I please, and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it (Isa 55:10-11).

The teacher of justice (righteousness) is thought by some scholars to be a reference to Joel himself. For others it is a reference to the second Elijah predicted in Malachi 3:1 and Mal 4:5-6 [NAB 3:23-24]. It was interpreted in a messianic sense by the early Christians.

Even a Jew paraphrases, “But ye, O children of Zion, above all other nations, be glad and rejoice in the Lord your God. For in Him ye shall have perfect joy, in the time of your captivity. For He will give you an instructor to righteousness; and He is the king Messias,which shall teach them the way in which they shall walk, and the doings which they shall do.” The grounds for so rendering the word are; 1 ) such is almost its uniform meaning. 2) The righteousness spoken of is most naturally understood of righteousness in man; it is a condition which is the result and object of God’s gifts, not the Righteousness of God. But “He hath given you the early rain unto righteousness,” i. e. that ye may be righteous, is an unwonted expression. 3) There is a great emphasis on the word, which is not used in the later part of the verse, where rain, (whether actual, or symbolical of spiritual blessings) is spoken of. 4) The following words, and He maketh the rain to descend for you, according to the established Hebrew idiom, relates to a separate action, later, in order of time or of thought, than the former. But if the former word moreh signified early rain, both would mean one and the same thing. We should not say, “He giveth you the former rain to righteousness, and then He maketh the rain, the former rain and the latter rain to descend; ” nor doth the Hebrew.

It seems then most probable, that the Prophet prefixes to all the other promises, that first all-containing promise of the Coming of Christ. Such is the wont of the Prophets, to go on from past judgments and deliverances, to Him Who is the centre of all this cycle of God’s dispensations, the Son manifest in the Flesh. He had been promised as a Teacher when that intermediate dispensation of Israel began, the Prophet like unto Moses (Deut 18:15). His Coming old Jacob looked to, I have longed for Thy salvation, O Lord (Gen 49:18). Him, well known and longed for by the righteous of old, Joel speaks of as the subject of rejoicing, as Zecharaiah did afterwards, Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion; behold thy King cometh unto thee (Zech 9:9). So Joel here, Exult and joy in the Lord thy God; for He giveth, or will give thee, the Teacher unto righteousness, i. e. the result and object of Whose Coming is righteousness; or, as Daniel says, to bring in everlasting righteousness (Dan 9:24); and Isaiah, By His knowledge, i. e. by the knowledge of Him, shall My righteous Servant justify many, i. e. make many righteous (Isa 53:11). How His coming should issue in righteousness, is not here said. It is presupposed. But Joel speaks of His Coming, as a gift, He shall give you; as Isaiah says, unto us a Son is given; and that, as the Teacher, as Isaiah says I have given Him a witness to the peoples, a Prince and a Commander unto the peoples; and that, for righteousness (Isa 54:4).

“It is the wont of the holy prophets,” says S. Cyril, “on occasion of good things promised to a part or a few, to introduce what is more general or universal. And these are the things of Christ. To this then the discourse again proceeds. For when was ground given to the earth to rejoice? When did the Lord do mighty things, but when the Word, being God, became Man, that, flooding all below with the goods from above, He might be found to those who believe in Him, as a river of peace, a torrent of pleasure, as the former and latter rain, and the giver of all spiritual fruitfulness?” (E.B. Pusey. The author was an Anglican who relied heavily on the Fathers of the Church in his interpretation of the Minor Prophets).

Joe 2:24  And the floors shall be filled with wheat, and the presses shall overflow with wine, and oil.

Reverses the situation of Joel 1:5, Joel 1:17. Wheat, the basis for bread, wine and oil were considered the stay and staff of life. Basic to all the needs of man’s life are water and fire and iron and salt and wheat flour and milk and honey, the blood of the grape, and oil and clothing (Sirach 29:26 RSV see also Ps 104:14-15). The wise man goes on to note: All these are for good to the godly, just as they turn into evils for sinners (Sirach 39:27 RSV). No doubt he has in mind the fact that wheat, wine, oil, etc., were promised in abundance to the Israelites if they maintained covenant fidelity(Deut 7:12-13); their absence would be the curse for covenant infidelity (Deut 28:38-48).

Joe 2:25  And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the canker-worm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm, my great army which I sent among you.

I will restore. The Hebrew word   ושׁלמתי (and its Greek equivalents) is vow terminology, usually used in reference to what man owes God: When thou hast made a vow to the Lord thy God, thou shalt not delay to pay it (ושׁלמתי): because the Lord thy God will require it. And if thou delay, it shall be imputed to thee for a sin (Deut 23:22. See also 2 Sam 15:7; Ps 50:14; Isa 19:21). Grain, wine and oil were used as sacrificial offerings to God, and these had been cut off (Joel 1:13). In chapter 2 the people had been called to repentance in these words: Now, therefore, saith the Lord. Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil.  Who knoweth but (NAB “Perhaps”) he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God? (Joel 2:12-14). The question “who knoweth?” will be answered; the “perhaps” will become reality. God is vowing that the people will be able to offer their vows (sacrifice and libation) again, having been purified of their hypocritical approach to God.

Years is probably a reference to the growing seasons in the promised land, not to actual years.

The canker-worm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm. Translation of these words differ among the various English versions, but the reference is to the various types of locust which reeked havoc on the land (see Joel 1:4). Some think the names are not intended to designate different type of locusts, but, rather, designate stages of their growth, like “infant,” “toddler,” and “adolescent,” in the human species.

Joe 2:26  And you shall eat in plenty, and shall be filled and you shall praise the name of the Lord your God; who hath done wonders with you, and my people shall not be confounded for ever.

Joel never tells us explicitly why the people need to repent, but the punishments (drought, locust, invasion) suggest he had in mind the covenant curses of Deuteronomy, and, consequently, the warning against letting their God given prosperity go to their heads, thus causing the punishment. In Deut 8:10-14 the people were warned not to forget God and his commands in their abundance and prosperity: And thou shalt eat and be full, and thou shalt bless the LORD, thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware lest thou forget the LORD, thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his ordinances, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: lest, when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; then thy heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD, thy God…(see the entire context, Deut 8:1-20). The people will once again eat their fill, having repented and returned to God, praising him for all his goodness, not the least of which is the fulfillment of the promise to the repentant in Deut 30:1-10~Now when all these things shall be come upon thee, the blessing or the curse, which I have set forth before thee, and thou shalt be touched with repentance of thy heart among all the nations, into which the Lord thy God shall have scattered thee, And shalt return to him, and obey his commandments, as I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul: The Lord thy God will bring back again thy captivity, and will have mercy on thee, and gather thee again out of all the nations, into which he scattered thee before. If thou be driven as far as the poles of heaven, the Lord thy God will fetch thee back from hence, And will take thee to himself, and bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it: and blessing thee, he will make thee more numerous than were thy fathers. The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart, and the heart of thy seed: that thou mayst love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, that thou mayst live. And he will turn all these curses upon thy enemies, and upon them that hate and persecute thee. But thou shalt return, and hear the voice of the Lord thy God, and shalt do all the commandments which I command thee this day: And the Lord thy God will make thee abound in all the works of thy hands, in the fruit of thy womb, and in the fruit of thy cattle, in the fruitfulness of thy land, and in the plenty of all things. For the Lord will return to rejoice over thee in all good things, as he rejoiced in thy fathers: Yet so if thou hear the voice of the Lord thy God, and keep his precepts and ceremonies, which are written in this law: and return to the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul (see the entire chapter).

Joe 2:27  And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: and I am the Lord your God, and there is none besides: and my people shall not be confounded forever.

See Joel 4:17 [NAB 3:17]. No more shall the nations ask: “Where is their God?”. No more will the heritage of Israel be a reproach (see Joel 2:17). The drunken stupor of the people (Joel 1:5) has come to an end, no longer will they be confounded.

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Resources for Trinity Sunday (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms) Sunday, June 3 2012

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2012

This post contains links to resources (mostly biblical and homiletic) for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. On most Sundays the readings in the two forms are completely different; this Sunday, however, the Gospel reading is the same. I hope to add some updates but can promise nothing.

ORDINARY FORM

READINGS AND OFFICE:

UPDATE: GENERAL RESOURCES:Notes, blog posts, podcasts, etc., on all the readings. Resources for individual readings further below.

  • The Sacred Page Blog. Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma give his reflection on the readings.
  • Word Sunday. Time sensitive link. Notes on the readings, children’s reading, podcast.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING:Deut 4:32-34, 39-40

  • Unofficial Lectionary. Text of readings from the Douay Rheims translation followed by commentary from the Haydock Bible Comm.
  • Pending: My Notes on Deut 4:32-34, 39-40.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Ps 33:4-5, 6, 9, 18-19, 20, 22.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Rom 8:14-17

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: Matt 28:16-20.

HOMILIES AND HOMILY NOTES: See the Gospel homilies listed under the Extraordinary Form.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM

READINGS AND OFFICE:

COMMENTARIES ON THE LESSON: Rom 11:33-36.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: Matt 28:16-20.

HOMILIES AND HOMILY NOTES:

  • God’s Knowledge. Homily notes On Rom 11:33.  Can be used for sermon ideas, points for meditation/reflection, or for further Study.
  • The Blessed Trinity. Sermon notes on Matt 28:19. Can be used for sermon ideas, points for meditation/reflection, or for further study.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 8:14-17 for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2012

This post contains Fr. Callan’s brief summary of Romans 8:14-30, followed by his notes on today’s reading. Words in red are my additions.

THE CHILDREN OF GOD ARE HEIRS OF FUTURE GLORY

A Summary of Romans 8:14-30~In this section the Apostle considers the qualities of Christians, who are the adopted sons of God. If we are sons of God, we are heirs with Christ, and therefore heirs of future glory (verses 14-18). The certainty of this future glory is proved: (a) from the desire of irrational creatures (verses 19-22); (b) from the desire of the faithful (verses 23-25); (c) from the desire of the Holy Ghost dwelling in us (verses 26, 27); (d) from the designs of God Himself (verses 28-30).

14. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Whosoever are led, etc., i.e., those who are governed by the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, and who, consequently, repress and control the desires of the flesh, are the sons of God, because sanctifying grace, communicated to them by the Holy Ghost, unites them to Christ, and makes them members of His mystical body and His brothers. To be a son of God, therefore, it is necessary not only to have received the Holy Ghost, but to be also governed by Him.

15. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear; but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father).

This and the following verse constitute a kind of parenthesis in which the Apostle shows why Christians are truly the adopted sons of God. He does not say that formerly they received the spirit of servitude, but only that the spirit they now have is unlike that which used to move them. Hence παλιν (“again”) is
to be joined to εις φοβον (“in fear”), and not to ελαβετε (“received”).

You have not received, etc., in Baptism the spirit of bondage or slavery which in Judaism you possessed, and which made you serve God without affection and from fear, as an unwilling slave would serve his master. Such a spirit could not come from God, or be pleasing to God.

The pagans served their divinities in this servile manner, being always moved by the fear of chastisement. The Jewish Law also was called the law of fear, because it did not exclude all servility. To secure its observance it had no power to confer grace (Rom 9:3; Gal 3:12, Gal 3:21), but was forced to hold out threats of chastisement or promises of temporal reward (Heb 8:66; Heb 9:15). A spirit like this, says the Apostle, the Christians have not received. On the contrary, they have received the spirit of adoption of sons, i.e., a disposition of mind and soul which enables them to serve God out of love, as a good son would serve his father.

The spirit, therefore, which the Christians have received, and which is here in question, is not the Holy Ghost (verse 16), nor a supernatural principle of their actions, but a disposition of mind given by God, and as such, supernatural, similar to the spirit of wisdom spoken of in the Old Testament (Isa 11:2-3; Isa 28:6). Cf. Lagrange, h. 1. This spirit is a characteristic mark of a Christian, whereby he is known to be of the adopted sons of God; and of a filial disposition of soul which makes him freely choose to serve God not out of fear, but out of love. To this spirit of piety which the Christian possesses the Holy Ghost also bears witness (verse 16) that the faithful are the sons of God.

Abba is an Aramaic word which the Apostle here tells us means Father (cf. Mark 14:36; Gal 4:6). Some think the term pertained to an official prayer, but more probably it was only an expression of tenderness toward God, the Father.

The in timore of the Vulgate ought to be in timorem.

16. For the Spirit himself giveth testimony to our spirit, that we are the sons of God.

This verse completes the previous one and shows still more clearly that we are the sons of God. For the Spirit himself giveth testimony, etc., i.e., the Holy Ghost joins our spirit (verse 15) in bearing witness that we are truly the adopted children of God, because it is by the impulse of this Holy Spirit, together with our own, that we,  with filial love, invoke God by the name of Father (Gal 4:6). Here, however, we must observe that short of a special divine revelation we can never be absolutely certain that we are in a state of grace and are the sons of God; and that, consequently, the testimony which seems to come from the Holy Spirit may not be a deception of our own minds or of the evil one (cf. Conc. Trid., Sess. VI. de Justif., cap. 9. can. 14, 15). Moral certitude
in such matters is all we can hope for.

Lagrange holds that our spirit of the present verse is not the same as the spirit spoken of in the second part of the preceding verse, but is rather a more complete gift of God, coming from an outpouring of love from the Holy Ghost, who dwells in our souls and is the principle of our good actions.

That we are (οτι εσμεν) refers to the Christians who are the sons of God. The term τεκνα (“sons”) here is used in the same sense as υιοι. υιοι was used in verse 14: For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons (υιοι) of God.  There are some who would dispute this, claiming that τεκνα denotes a natural relationship while υιοι denotes a legal or ethical one. But the two words are often used in the same sense.  τεκνα can mean natural relations, children, sons, etc., but it can also be used in reference to underlings in one employment, servants, pupils etc. υιοι can refer to one’s agent, a king’s ambassador, etc., but it can also denote children in the proper sense.

17. And if sons, heirs also; heirs indeed of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: yet so, if we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him.

St. Paul now alludes to the Roman law which recognized the same rights to inheritance in adopted sons as in natural ones (Gal 4:1 ff.); and he concludes that since we are the adopted children of God, we shall be heirs together with Christ of God’s life and glory (verses 13, 18). It is by reason of our union with Christ that we have a right to share in the eternal goods which are His by nature. But we shall be glorified with Christ only on condition that here below we suffer in union with Him. As He only through humiliation, sufferings and death entered into His glory; so we also must bear our sufferings and crosses in union with Him, in a disposition akin to His, if we wish to have part in His life and glory hereafter.

Yet so. The conjunction ειπερ may be translated, as in the Vulgate, by si tamen; or by si quidem, as many moderns prefer. The sense is nearly the same, except for the meaning which ινα (“that”) receives in these two interpretations. According to the first, suffering with Christ in order to be glorified with Him is a matter of free choice; but if we choose so to suffer, it is with the intention (eo fine ut) that we shall be glorified with Him. According to the second interpretation, suffering with Christ is looked upon more as a fact of our present existence, the natural outcome of which is that we shall be glorified with Christ hereafter. This latter interpretation establishes a natural connection between suffering with Christ and reigning with Him, without this expressed intention on our part, which the former interpretation does not seem to recognize.

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Bernardin de Piconio on Romans 8:14-17 for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 29, 2012

14. For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear: but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, in which we cry, Abba (Father)
.

14. Those who have the Spirit of God dwelling within then are acted on, guided, led, and directed, by that Spirit. Christ was led by the Spirit into the desert, and the devil asked him if he was the Son of God (Matt 4:1, 3). The Ethiopic version reads: Whoever do those things which belong to the Spirit of God: that is, as in the last verse, mortify the deeds of the flesh . These are truly and really sons of God, having a heavenly nature. On a certain day the sons of God came to stand before the Lord, Job 1:6. We cannot, says Saint Chrysostom, dispose of our own lives, but should give ourselves up, soul and body, to the guidance of the Spirit of God, our helmsman, and our charioteer. But this control and guidance of the Spirit of God is not coercive or forcible. It implies the motion and, in a passive sense, inclination of our will, such as does not exclude freedom of action. To be led by the Spirit of God is to consent to his leading, and give it our voluntary obedience, confident that it must lead us to increase of grace and justice, and to life eternal.

15. You have not received the spirit of bondage again. Again, because the spirit of the law of Moses was a spirit of servitude and fear. Holy men under the old law were sons of God only in an imperfect manner, and in a lesser degree, like slaves, differing in nothing from servants, Gal 4:1. What you have received is the spirit of sonship or adoption, entitling you to say with Christ, and with all confidence, Our Father. As the divine Word gave himself to Christ, the Man, so that the Man named Christ, is the Son of God: so in proportion the Holy Spirit is given us in Baptism in such way as to make us Sons of God. Cornel, a Lap. in loc.

The Apostle contrasts the spirit of bondage not with the spirit of freedom, but the spirit of adoption; not merely free, but free as sons.

He does not say, we say Abba, but we cry; boldly, loudly, confidently, publicly. Instructed by holy precepts, and formed by divine institution, we venture to say, OurFather. Abba is the Hebrew or Syriac word for father, and to it he joins the Greek word with the same meaning, to signify that Jews and Gentiles are together called to the adoption of the sons of God. Saint Augustine, lib. de Spiritu et litcra, 32 de Cons. Evan. 4.

It is also possible that Saint Paul refers to the prayer of our Lord in the garden, Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; as an encouragement to address him by the same title, with the same confidence in his affection, under similar circumstances of trouble or despondency.

Before the coming of Christ the people of God were undoubtedly entitled in a certain sense to speak of God as their father, but only in a metaphorical sense, and on the ground of creation. “Now, Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our Maker” (Isa 64:8. In some translations, 64:7). This is clearly applicable to all the race of men. And on the ground of providence: “Thy Providence, Father, governs the world” (Wis 14:3). But not on the ground and by right of adoption, an honour reserved for those who are sons of God in Christ, and which is expressed in the formula of the Apostle, Abba, Father.

16. For the Spirit itself gives testimony to our spirit, that we are sons of God.
17. And if sons, also heirs: heirs indeed of God, and co-heirs with Christ: if we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him
.

16. The Spirit himself gives testimony. The cry of our hearts, inasmuch as it proceeds from the Spirit of God, is a testimony of our divine adoption. The giving to us the Spirit, is itself a testimony of this; for he is the Spirit of the Son, and God gives the Spirit of his Son to those only whom he would have for sons. The Apostle may possibly also include a reference in his mind to exterior testimonies, as in miracle or prophecy, more frequent in his days than in ours. Horror of sin, love of God, readiness to obey his commands, and to follow the motions of the Holy Spirit, peace and tranquility of conscience, troubled by no grave and conscious sin, are interior testimonies of the Spirit of God, with our spirit, that we are sons of God. We should not, however, with the heretics, come to regard this interior testimony as certain with the certitude of faith. Such testimony, in so far as it proceeds from the Holy Spirit, is certain and infallible in itself, but as presented to our consciousness it is certain only conjecturally and morally, because we are not sure whether it proceeds from the Holy Spirit, or from an evil spirit, transfiguring himself into an angel of light.

17. If sons, also heirs. God does not die, and his inheritance is not a succession. He is himself the inheritance. Heirs of God. The Lord is the portion of my inheritance, Ps 15:5. To the enjoyment of this inheritance, his adopted sons are admitted, in the Beatific Vision. An inheritance not diminished by the number of the sons, or reduced by division among many claimants, says St. Anselm.

Co-heirs with Christ, if we suffer with him. We are heirs of a living God, co-heirs with a man who died. Sharing his death, on our own cross, we shall be glorified with him in his inheritance. Without participation of the cross, there is no participation of glory; but the expectation of the promised beatitude is sure and certain, where there is participation in the Passion of the Lord. St. Leo, Serm., 9 de Quad.

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Online Works By and About St Justin the Martyr

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 28, 2012

BY SAINT JUSTIN:

ABOUT SAINT JUSTIN:

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St John Chrysostom’s Fifth Homily on Acts of the Apostles (2:14 ff)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 27, 2012

Acts II. 14.-”Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words.”

[“Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem,”] whom the writer above described as strangers. Here he directs his discourse to those others, the mockers,1 and while he seems to reason with those, he sets these right. For indeed it was divinely ordered that “some mocked,” that he might have a starting-point for his defence, and by means of that defence, might teach. [“And all ye that dwell in Jerusalem.”] It seems they accounted it a high encomium to dwell in Jerusalem too.2 “Be this,” says he, “known unto you, and hearken unto my words.” In the first instance he made them more disposed to attend to him. “For not as ye3 suppose,” says he, “are these drunken.” Do you observe the mildness of his defence? (v. 15.) Although having the greater part of the people on his side, he reasons with those others gently; first he removes the evil surmise, and then he establishes his apology. On this account, therefore, he does not say, “as ye mock,” or, “as ye deride,” but, “as ye suppose;” wishing to make it appear that they had not said this in earnest, and for the present taxing them with ignorance rather than with malice. “For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.” And why this? Is it not possible at the third hour to be drunken? But he did not insist upon this to the letter; for there was nothing of the kind about them; the others said it only in mockery.4 Hence we learn that on unessential points one must not spend many words. And besides, the sequel is enough to bear him out on this point: so now the discourse is for all in common. “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel, And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith the Lord God. (v. 16, 17. Joel ii. 28.) Nowhere as yet the name of Christ, nor His promises but the promise is that of the Father. Observe the wisdom: observe the considerate forbearance: (sugkatabasin.) He did not pass on to speak at once of the things relating to Christ; that He had promised this after His Crucifixion; truly that would have been to upset all. And yet, you will say, here was sufficient to prove His divinity. True, it was, if believed (and the very point was that it should be believed); but if not believed, it would have caused them to be stoned. “And I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.” He offers even to them excellent hopes, if they would have them. And so far, he does not leave it to be regarded as the exclusive advantage of himself and his company; which would have made them be looked upon with an evil eye; thus cutting off all envious feeling. “And your sons shall prophesy.” And yet, he says, not yours this achievement, this distinction; the gift has passed over to your children. Himself and his company he calls their sons, and those [whom he is addressing] he calls his and their fathers. “And your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; and on My servants and on My handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy.” So far he shows that he and his have found favor, in that they had received (kataciwqentaj) [the Spirit]; not so they whom he is addressing; for that they had crucified [the Lord]. So Christ also, willing to mitigate their wrath, said, “By whom do your sons cast out devils?” (Matt 12:27.) He did not say, My disciples; for indeed it seemed a flattering mode of expression. And so Peter also did not say, `They are not drunk, but speak5 by the Spirit:’ but he takes refuge with the prophet, and under shelter of him, so speaks. As for the accusation [of drunkenness], he cleared himself of that by his own assertion; but for the grace, he fetches the prophet as witness. “I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.” [“And your sons,” etc.] To some the grace was imparted through dreams, to others it was openly poured forth. For indeed by dreams the prophets saw, and received revelations.

Then he goes on with the prophecy, which has in it also something terrible. “And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs” [“in the earth beneath”]. (v. 19.) In these words he speaks both of the judgment to come, and of the taking of Jerusalem. “Blood and fire, and vapor of smoke.” Observe how he describes the capture. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood.” (v. 20.) This results from the (siaqesewj) internal affection of the sufferers. It is said, indeed, that many such phenomena actually did occur in the sky, as Josephus attests. At the same time the Apostle strikes fear into them, by reminding them of the darkness which had lately occurred, and leading them to expect things to come. “Before that great and notable day of the Lord come.” For be not confident, he means to say, because at present you sin with impunity. For these things are the prelude of a certain great and dreadful day. Do you see how he made their souls to quake and melt within them, and turned their laughter into pleading for acquittal?6 For if these things are the prelude of that day, it follows that the extreme of danger is impending. But what next? He again lets them take breath, adding, “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” (Rom 10:13.) This is said concerning Christ, as Paul affirms, but Peter does not venture as yet to reveal this.

Well, let us look over again what has been said. It is well managed, that as against men laughing and mocking, he starts up and begins with, “Be this known unto you all and hearken unto my words.” But he begins by saying, “Ye men of Judea.” By the expression =Ioudaioi, I take him to mean those that lived in Judea.-And, if you please, let us compare those expressions in the Gospel, that you may learn what a sudden change has taken place in Peter. “A damsel,” it is written, “came out unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.” And, says he, “I know not the Man.” And being again questioned, “he began to curse and to swear.” (Matt 26:69-72.) But see here his boldness, and his great freedom of speech.-He did not praise those who had said, “We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God;” but by his severity towards those others, he made these more earnest, and at the same time his address is clear from all appearance of adulation. And it is well to remark, on all occasions, however the Apostles may condescend to the level of their hearers (sugkatabasij), their language is clear from all appearance both of adulation and of insolence: which is a difficult point to manage.

Now that these things should have occurred at “the third hour,” was not without cause. For7 the brightness of this fire is shown at the very time when people are not engaged in their works, nor at dinner; when it is bright day, when all are in the market-place. Do you observe also the freedom which fills his speech? “And hearken to my words.”And he added nothing, but, “This,” says he, “is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days.” He shows, in fact, that the consummation is nigh at hand, and the words, “In the last days,” have a kind of emphasis. [“I will pour out,” etc.] And then, that he may not seem to limit the privilege to the sons only, he subjoins, “And your old men shall dream dreams.” Mark the sequence. First sons; just as David said, “Instead of thy fathers, were begotten thy sons.” (Ps 45:17.) And again Malachi; “They shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. And on my handmaidens, and on my servants.” (Mal 4:6.) This also is a token of excellence, for we have become His servants, by being freed from sin. And great is the gift, since the grace passes over to the other sex also, not as of old, it was limited to just one or two individuals, as Deborah and Huldah.8 He did not say that it was the Holy Ghost, neither did he expound the words of the prophet; but he merely brings in the prophecy to fight its own battle. As yet also he has said nothing about Judas; and yet it was known to all what a doom and punishment he had undergone; for nothing was more forcible than to argue with them from prophecy: this was more forcible even than facts. For when Christ performed miracles, they often contradicted Him. But when Christ brought forward the prophet, saying, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on my right hand,” they were silent, and “no man,” we read, “was able to answer Him a word.” (Ps 110:1.) And on all occasions He Himself also appealed to the Scriptures; for instance, “If he called them gods to whom the word of God came.” (John 10:35.) And in many places one may find this. On this account here also Peter says, “I will pour out of my spirit upon all flesh;” that is, upon the Gentiles also. But he does not yet reveal this, nor give interpretations; indeed,9 it was better not to do so (as also this obscure saying, “I will show wonders in heaven above,” put them the more in fear because it was obscure.) And it would have been more an offence, had it been interpreted from the very first. Then besides, even as plain, he passes over it, wishing to make them regard it as such. But after all, he does interpret to them anon, when he discourses to them upon the resurrection, and after he has paved the way by his discourse. (infra v. 39.) For10 since the good things were not sufficient to allure them, [it is added, “And I will show wonders, etc.”]. Yet11 this has never been fulfilled. For none escaped then [in that former judgment], but now the faithful did escape, in Vespasian’s time. And this it is that the Lord speaks of, “Except those days had been shortened, not all flesh should be saved.”-[“Blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.”] (Matt 24:22.) The worst to come first;12 namely, the inhabitants to be taken, and then the city to be razed and burnt. Then he dwelt upon the metaphor, bringing before the eyes of the hearers the overthrow and the taking. “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood.” What means, the moon turned into blood? It denotes the excess of the slaughter. The language is fraught with helpless dismay. (supra p. 32.) “And it shall come to pass, every one who shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Every one,” he says: though he be priest (but he does not vet reveal the meaning), though bond, though free. For13 there is no male nor female in Christ Jesus, no bond, no free. (Gal 3:28.) Well may it be so, for all these are but shadow. For if in king’s palaces there is no high-born nor low-born, but each appears according to his deeds; and in art, each is shown by his works; much more in that school of wisdom (filosofia). “Every one who shall invoke.” Invoke: not any how, for it is written, “Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord:” but with (diaqesewj) inward earnest affection, with a life more than commonly good, with the confidence which is meet. Thus far, however, he makes the discourse light, by introducing that which relates to faith, and that terrible which relates to the punishment.14 For in the invocation is the salvation.

What, I pray you, is this you say? Do you talk of salvation for them after the Cross? Bear with me a little. Great is the mercy of God. And this very fact does, no less than the resurrection, prove him to be God, yea, no less than His miracles-the fact that He calls these to Him. For surpassing goodness is, above all things, peculiarly God’s own. Therefore also He says, “None is good save one, that is, God.” (Luke 18:19.) Only let us not take this goodness for an occasion of negligence. For He also punishes as God. In fact, the very punishments here spoken of, He brought them to pass, even He who said, “Every one who shall call on the name of the Lord, shall be saved.” I speak of the fate of Jerusalem;15 that intolerable punishment: of which I will tell you some few of the particulars, useful to us in our contest, both with the Marcionites and many other heretics. For, since they distinguish between Christ a good God, and that evil God [of the Old Testament], let us see who it was that effected these things. The evil God, taking vengeance for Christ? or not so? How then alien to Him? But was it the good God? Nay, but it is demonstrated that both the Father and the Son did these things. The Father in many places; for instance, when He says in the parable of the vineyard,16 [“He will miserably destroy those wicked husbandmen” (Matt 21:41); again in the parable of the marriage feast, the King is said] to send His armies (Matt 22:7): and the Son, when He says, “But those Mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before Me.” (Luke 19:27.) * * *17 And they sent, saying, We will not have Thee to reign over us. Would you like then to hear the things which actually came to pass? Moreover, Christ Himself also speaks of the future tribulations, than which never any thing more dreadful came to pass; never any thing more ruthless, my beloved, than the deeds then done!18 And He Himself declared it. For what could you wish to see more grievous than these? * * *-probed them with their daggers!19 – * * * But shall I relate to you the shocking case of the woman, that tragic tale? * * * (Joseph. B. J. vi. 3. 4.) Did not the actual events cast all misery into the shade? But shall I tell you of famines and pestilences? One might speak of horrors without number: nature was unknown; law unknown; they outdid wild beasts in ferocity. True, these miseries came by the fate of wars; but because God, because Christ so willed it to be. These facts will apply both against the Marcionites and against those who do not believe that there is a hell: for they are sufficient to silence their impudence. Are not these calamities more severe than the Babylonian?20 Are not these sufferings more grievous than the famines of that time? Yes, for [“never was the like from the beginning of the world”] “no, nor ever shall be such.” (Matt 24:21.) And this was Christ’s own declaration. In what sense then, think ye, is it said that Christ remitted them their sin?21 Perhaps it seems a commonplace question: but do ye solve it.-It is not possible to show anywhere, even in fiction, any thing like what the reality was here. And had it been a Christian that wrote this history, the matter might be regarded with suspicion: but if he was a Jew, and a Jewish zealot, and after the Gospel, how can the meaning of the facts be otherwise than palpable to all men? For you will see the man, how, everywhere, he always extols the concerns of the Jews.-There is therefore a hell, O man! and God is good.-Aye, did you shudder at hearing these horrors?But these, which take place here, are nothing in comparison with what shall be in that world. Once more I am compelled to seem harsh, disagreeable, stern. But what can I do? I am set to this: just as a severe schoolmaster is set to be hated by his scholars: so are we. For would it not be strange indeed, that, while those who have a certain post assigned them by kings do that which is appointed them, however disagreeable the task may be, we, for fear of your censure, should leave our appointed task undone? Another has a different work. Of you, many have it for their work, to show mercy, to act humanely, to be pleasant and agreeable to the persons to whom you are benefactors. But to those to whom we do good, we seem stern and severe, troublesome and disagreeable. For we do good, not by the pleasure we give, but by the pain we inflict. So it is also with the physician: though he indeed is not excessively disagreeable, for the benefit afforded by his art is had immediately; ours hereafter. So again the magistrate is odious to the disorderly and seditious; so the legislator is vexatious to them for whom he makes laws. But not so he that invites to enjoyment, not so he that prepares public festivities and entertainments, and puts all the people in garlands: no, these are men that win acceptance, feasting, as they do, whole cities with all sorts of spectacles; contributing largely, bearing all the cost. And therefore those whom they have treated, requite them for these enjoyments with words of welcome and benediction, with hanging (parapetasmata) of tapestries, and a blaze of lamps, and with wreaths, and boughs, and brilliant garments. Whereas, at the sight of the physician, the sick become sad and downcast: at sight of the magistrate, the rioters become subdued: no running riot then, no gambolling, except when he also goes over into their ranks.22 Let us see, then, which render the best service to their cities; those who provide these festivities, and banquetings, and expensive entertainments, and manifold rejoicings; or those who restrain all those doings, bearing before them stocks, scourges, executioners, dreaded soldiers, and a voice fraught with much terror: and issuing orders, and making men hang down their heads, and with the rod dispersing the idlers in the market-place. Let us see, I say; these are the disagreeable, those the beloved: let us see where the gain rests. (lhlei.) What comes then of your pleasure-givers? A kind of frigid enjoyment, lasting till the evening, and to-morrow vanished; mirth ungoverned, words unseemly and dissolute. And what of these? Awe, sobriety, subdued thoughts; reasonableness of mind, an end of idleness; a curb on the passions within; a wall of defence, next to God,23 against assailants from without. It is by means of these we have each our property but by those ruinous festivities we dissipate it. Robbers indeed have not invaded it, but vainglory together with pleasure acts the part of robber. Each sees the robber carrying off everything before his eyes, and is delighted at it! A new fashion of robbery, this, to induce people to be glad when one is plundering them! On the other part, there is nothing of the kind: but God, as the common Father, has secured us as by a wall against all [depredators], both seen and unseen.24 For, “Take heed,” saith He, “that ye do not your alms before men.” (Matt. vi. 1.) The soul learns from the one, [excess;25 from the other] to flee injustice. For injustice consists not merely in grasping at more wealth than belongs to us, but in giving to the belly more than its needful sustenance, in carrying mirth beyond its proper bounds, and causing it to run into frantic excesses. From the one, it learns sobriety; from the other, unchastity. For it is unchastity, not merely to have carnal intercourse with women, but even to look upon a woman with unchaste eyes. From the one, it learns modesty; from the other, conceited self-importance. For, “All things,” says the Apostle, “are lawful for me, but not all things expedient.” (1 Cor 6:12.) From the one, decent behavior; from the other unseemliness. For, as to the doings in the theatres, I pass these. But to let you see that it is not even a pleasure either, but a grief, show me, but a single day after the festival, both those who spent their money in giving it, and those who were feasted with spectacles: and you shall see them all looking dejected enough, but most of all him, your (ekeinon) famous man that has spent his money for it. And this is but fair: for, the day before, he delighted the common man, and the common man indeed was in high good humor and enjoyment, and rejoiced indeed in the splendid garment, but then not having the use of it, and seeing himself stripped of it, he was grieved and annoyed; and wanted to be the great man, seeing even his own enjoyment to be small compared with his.26 Therefore, the day after, they change places, and now he, the great man, gets the larger share in the dejection.

Now if in worldly matters, amusements are attended with such dissatisfaction, while disagreeable things are so beneficial, much more does this hold in things spiritual. Why is it that no one quarrels with the laws, but on the contrary all account that matter a common benefit? For indeed not strangers from some other quarter, nor enemies of those for whom the laws are made, came and made these orders, but the citizens themselves, their patrons, their benefactors: and this very thing, the making of laws, is a token of beneficence and good-will. And yet the laws are full of punishment and restraint, and there is no such thing as law without penalty and coercion. Then is it not unreasonable, that while the expositors of those laws are called deliverers, benefactors, and patrons, we are considered troublesome and vexatious if we speak of the laws of God? When we discourse about hell, then we bring forward those laws: just as in the affairs of the world, people urge the laws of murder, highway robbery, and the like, so do we the penal laws: laws, which not man enacted, but the Only-Begotten Son of God Himself. Let him that hath no mercy, He says, be punished (Matt 18:23); for such is the import of the parable. Let him that remembereth injuries, pay the last penalty. Let him that is angry without cause, be cast into the fire. Let him that reviles, receive his due in hell. If you think these laws which you hear strange, be not amazed. For if Christ was not intended to make new laws, why did He come? Those other laws are manifest to us; we know that the murderer and adulterer ought to be punished. If then we were meant only to be told the same things over again, where was the need of a heavenly Teacher? Therefore He does not say, Let the adulterer be punished, but, whoso looketh on with unchaste eyes. And where, and when, the man will receive punishment, He there tells us. And not in fine public monuments, nor yet somewhere out of sight,27 did He deposit His laws; not pillars of brass did He raise up, and engrave letters thereon, but twelve souls raised He up for us, the souls of the Apostles, and in their minds has He by the Spirit inscribed this writing. This cite we to you. If this was authorized to Jews, that none might take refuge in the plea of ignorance, much more is it to us. But should any say, “I do not hear, therefore have no guilt,” on this very score he is most liable to punishment. For, were there no teacher, it would be possible to take refuge in this plea; but if there be, it is no longer possible. Thus see how, speaking of Jews, the Lord deprives them of all excuse; “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin:” (John 15:22): and Paul again, “But I say, have they not heard? Nay, but into all the earth went forth their sound.” (Rom 10:18.) For then there is excuse, when there is none to tell the man; but when the watchman sits there, having this as the business of his life, there is excuse no longer. Nay, rather, it was the will of Christ, not that we should look only upon these written pillars, but that we should ourselves be such. But since we have made ourselves unworthy of the writing, at least let us look to those. For just as the pillars threaten others, but are not themselves obnoxious to punishment, nor yet the laws, even so the blessed Apostles. And observe; not in one place only stands this pillar, but its writing is carried round about in all the world. Whether you go among the Indians, you shall hear this: whether into Spain, or to the very ends of the earth, there is none without the hearing, except it be of his own neglect. Then be not offended, but give heed to the things spoken, that ye may be able to lay hold upon the works of virtue, and attain unto the eternal blessings in Christ Jesus our Lord, with Whom to the Father and Holy Ghost together be glory, power, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen. (source)

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This Week’s Posts: Sunday, May 27-Sunday, June 3, 2012 (And a Prayer Request)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 27, 2012

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This week’s posts will be minimal at best as I am experiencing some intense lower back pain. Prayers would be appreciated.

SUNDAY, MAY 27
PENTECOST SUNDAY

Resources for Pentecost Sunday (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Resources for the Pentecost Vigil (Ordinary Form).

MONTH OF MARY: DAY 27~The Blessings of Mary’s Womb.

Last Week’s Posts: Sunday, May 20-Sunday, May 27.

MONDAY, MAY 28
MONDAY OF THE EIGHTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Die II infra octavam Pentecostes ~ Dies Octavae I classis

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

MONTH OF MARY: DAY 28~Authentic Mariology.

TUESDAY, MAY 29
TUESDAY OF THE EIGHTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Die III infra octavam Pentecostes ~ Dies Octavae I classis

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

MONTH OF MARY: DAY 29~Henri Cardinal De Lubac.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 30
WEDNESDAY OF THE EIGHTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Feria Quarta Quattuor temporum Pentecostes ~ Dies Octavae I classis

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

MONTH OF MARY: DAY 30~St Ambrose on the Visitation.

THURSDAY, MAY 31
FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
Die Quinta infra octavam Pentecostes ~ Dies Octavae I classis

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

MONTH OF MARY: DAY 31~Blessed Isaac of Stella on Mary and the Church.

FRIDAY, JUNE 1
MEMORIAL OF ST JUSTIN THE MARTYR
Feria Sexta Quattuor temporum Pentecostes ~ Dies Octavae I classis

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

SATURDAY, JUNE 2
SATURDAY OF THE EIGHTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Sabbato Quattuor temporum Pentecostes ~ Dies Octavae I classis

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

Today’s Roman Missal. Latin & English. Be sure correct date is set.

SUNDAY, JUNE 3
SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
Dominica Sanctissimae Trinitatis ~ I. classis

Resources for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 10:34, 42-48

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 27, 2012

Texts in red are my additions.

34. And Peter opening his mouth, said : In very deed I perceive, that God is not a respecter of persons.
35. But in every nation, he that feareth him, and worketh justice, is acceptable to him.

In these verses Peter declares that difference of nationality among peoples is of no weight with God, and that all, Jews or Gentiles, are equally acceptable to Him, provided they be equally just and right-living.

42. And he commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is he who was appointed by God, to be judge of the living and of the dead.

He who was appointed by God, to be judge of the living and of the dead. The Greek word translated here as “appointed” is ωρισμενος, from the root ὁρίζω.  The word recalls our Lord’s statement in Luke 22:22~The Son of man indeed goeth, according to that which is determined (ωρισμενον): but yet, woe to that man by whom he shall be betrayed. The word is used again in Acts 2:23~This same being delivered up, by the determinate ( ωρισμενη) counsel and foreknowledge of God, you by the hands of wicked men have crucified and slain. Judas and those he joined in league with will have to face the Risen Lord as judge, as will all who reject the witness of his messengers, for that witness is a judgement-for good or ill-depending upon the response (Luke 10:8-16; Luke 11:29-32; Acts 13:38-41; Acts 13:46-48; Acts 17:30-31). In this last passage note the use of the word “appointed” in reference to Jesus as judge: Because he hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in equity, by the man whom he hath appointed (ωρισεν).

43. To him all the prophets give testimony, that by his name all receive remission of sins, who believe in him.

All the prophets; i.e., many of them, such as Jeremias, Isaias, Ezechiel, etc., or all of them, either directly or indirectly, bore testimony to Christ, and affirmed that His salvation should be for all, Jews and Gentiles, and that all could participate in the fruits of the redemption provided they believed in Jesus Christ. Peter, therefore, to prepare Cornelius and his household for the grace of Baptism, gives a brief outline (verses 37-43) of the life, death, and Resurrection of Christ, and of the conditions necessary whereby both Jews and Gentiles may have part in the redemption wrought by Jesus.

Act 10:44  While Peter was yet speaking these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word.
Act 10:45  And the faithful of the circumcision, who came with Peter, were astonished for that the grace of the Holy Ghost was poured out upon the Gentiles also.
Act 10:46  For they heard them speaking with tongues and magnifying God.

In confirmation of the truth of Peter’s words the Holy Ghost descended upon Cornelius and all whom he had invited to his house. The converted Jews who were present were astonished that the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit should be thus suddenly poured out on Gentiles. But by this visible prodigy God wished to show that it was not necessary for pagans to pass through Judaism and the observances of the Mosaic Law before being admitted to the Church of Christ. Hence the six Jewish Christians who had accompanied Peter could see plainly that it was God’s will that the old lines which had separated Jews and Gentiles should be obliterated forever.

Act 10:47  Then Peter answered: Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, who have received the Holy Ghost, as well as we?

Since God by the outpouring of His Holy Spirit upon these Gentiles had clearly shown that they were to be treated on equal footing with the Jews, what objection could there be to giving them Baptism? Perhaps Peter asked this question for the sake of the converted Jews who were present, who, however, seem to have manifested no opposition.

Act 10:48  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then they desired him to tarry with them some days.

The Baptism was doubtless administered by those who had accompanied Peter, as it was customary with the Apostles to leave this work to other ministers (1 Cor 1:17). Although these converts had already received the Holy Ghost, Baptism was still necessary for them to be made formal members of the Church. In the name, etc. See on Acts 2:37-39.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Acts of Apostles, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bishop MacEvily on 1 Peter 1:10-16

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 26, 2012

Besides commentary, the Bishop provides a paraphrase of the text he is commenting on, and I’ve included these in purple text. Text in red, if any, represent my additions. For the Bishop’s summary of 1 Peter 1 see the post on 1 Peter 1:3-9.

1Pe 1:10  Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and diligently searched, who prophesied of the grace to come in you.

After which salvation, now enjoyed by you, the prophets of old, ho had prophesied concerning the gracious benefits to be conferred in time upon you, ardently sighed and inquired, and anxiously examined its nature and multifarious details (Eph 3).

The Apostle shows the exalted nature and great value of the salvation, the faithful now enjoy, which is as a foretaste of future glory, by pointing to the eager longings of the prophets of old after it, and their anxiety to obtain a full knowledge of its nature. By referring to the prophets of old, he also shows that it was not a novel system, but such as the Jews themselves should expect.

“Of which salvation,” viz., of justification and grace, and the whole economy of redemption. The words are very like the passage (Eph 3:5-10, &c.), “have inquired and diligently searched.” The prophets of old anxiously inquired and sighed after the accomplishment of redemption. How often, from the gloomy prison of Limbo, did they send forth their sighs and entreaties, “rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum, aperiatur terra et germinet salvatorem” (Isaiah 45::8), “Oh, that thou wouldst rend the heavens and wouldst come down” (Isaiah 64:1): similar is the allusion (Luke 10:24): “Many prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them.”’

“And searched diligently.” The prophets were ignorant of many circumstances of man’s redemption, afterwards fully developed, and made known in the Church (Eph 3:5-10).

1Pe 1:11  Searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ in them did signify, when it foretold those sufferings that are in Christ and the glories that should follow.

Searching and investigating at what particular period, or at what description of times, whether prosperous or otherwise, the Spirit of Christ, or the Holy Ghost, which dwelt in them, would point out, as the term of the accomplishment of these great events, while it inspired them to foretell the sufferings which Christ was to undergo, and the glories which were to be consequent on them.

“Searching what, or what manner of time,” that is, after how many years, or, at what kind of times, whether of national prosperity or adversity, “the spirit of Christ,” the Holy Ghost, who proceeds from the Father and Son, “in them,” (the Greek has, which was in them), “did signify;” or, referred to, when, treating of the accomplishment of this event; “when it foretold,” i.e., previously inspired them with a knowledge to foretell. “The sufferings that are in Christ,” i.e., the sufferings which Christ was to undergo, “and the glories, which should follow.” He says, “glories,” owing to the many instances in which Christ, after his passion, received glory, (v.g.) in his Resurrection, Ascension, &c. As his glory was consequent on his sufferings, so must we too suffer with Christ, before we can enter with him on his glory.

1Pe 1:12  To whom it was revealed that, not to themselves but to you, they ministered those things which are now declared to you by them that have preached the gospel to you: the Holy Ghost being sent down from heaven, on whom the angels desire to look.

To whom, in remuneration for their anxious search and eager longings it was revealed, that it was not for themselves, but for you, they were made instrumental in predicting these wonderful mysteries of grace, now clearly announced to you, by those who have preached the gospel to you as already fulfilled, after the Holy Ghost was sent down from heaven to  descend upon them, and teach them all truth; upon whom the angels themselves are anxious to gaze, and with mingled feelings of awe and astonishment, to contemplate in him those mysteries of grace, by appropriation, ascribed to him.

“To whom (the prophets of old) it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to you, they ministered these things;” that it was not to confirm or strengthen their own faith, or that of their contemporaries, but to confirm your faith in after ages (for, the the things that happened in figure, were written for our admonition—1 Cor 10:6), they were employed in the ministry of predicting beforehand, “those things,” those mysteries of redemption and grace, “which are now declared to you,” announced to you as already accomplished “by them that preached the gospel to you,” by the Apostles, who preached in Pontus, Galatia, &c.  “The Holy Ghost being sent down from heaven; ” after the Holy Ghost descended upon them from heaven, on the day of Pentecost, teaching them all truth. The ordinary Greek has “in the Holy Ghost,” but the preposition, in, is not found in either the Alexandrian or Vatican MS. ” On whom the angels desire to look ;—”on whom” is referred by Venerable Bede, and others, to “Christ,” of whom mention is made in the preceding verse. Others refer it to the Holy Ghost, the word immediately preceding. In the Greek, instead of “on whom,” we have,  εις α, into which, referring to the mysteries of redemption and grace, which the angels are anxious to examine into most closely, in order to know them fully. And this will have the same signification with Eph 3:10. It will, moreover, contain a further commendation of the exalted benefits, conferred on the faithful, when we know that the angels themselves, with mingled feelings of admiration and awe, are anxious to search narrowly into them. The present Greek reading is preferred by Estius and others. The Greek word for “look,” παρακυψαι, which means, to stoop down, for the purpose of examining a thing more narrowly, also favours this reading. The meaning will not be very different, even though we adhere to the Vulgate reading, and understand it of the Holy Ghost; for, in him they would see the wonderful mysteries of grace, by appropriation, ascribed to the Third Person of the Adorable Trinity.—Lapide. From all this, we, who, as well as the faithful in the time of St. Peter, are sharers in the benefits of redemption, can clearly see the debt of gratitude we owe Almighty God, for having favoured us, in preference to millions of his creatures, upon whom, both in past and present generations, never has beamed a single ray of his revelation. It is the effect of his great mercy, “secundum magnam misericordiam  regeneravit  nos(A reference to the Father in 1 Pet 1:3~who according to his great mercy hath regenerated us).  “Misericordias Domini in eternum cantabo” (Psalm 89:1~The mercies of the Lord I will sing forever)

1Pe 1:13  Wherefore, having the loins of your mind girt up, being sober, trust perfectly in the grace which is offered you in the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Such, therefore, being the exceeding, great value of the blessings and inheritance in store for you, you should, by the prefect subjugation of your passions, remove every obstacle to you onward march  towards your heavenly country, and with vigilance and sobriety, constantly and perseveringly hope for that grace of perfect happiness, which is to be brought to you at the coming of Jesus Christ to judgment.

The Apostle, in this verse, commences the moral part of the Epistle.

“Wherefore,” since the inheritance and the blessings reserved for you in heaven, of which you have here a foretaste and sure earnest, are so great, that the prophets sighed after them, and the very angels regard them with astonishment.

“Having the loins of your mind girt up.” These words contain an allusion to the custom among the ancients of girding their flowing robes, when preparing for any active feat, and “the loins of the mind” are taken metaphorically, to denote the passions of the soul; hence, the words mean, subjugating all their passions, and removing every obstacle, arising from the
concupiscible and irascible appetites, to the onward march towards their heavenly
country.

“Being sober;” the Greek word, νηφοντες, means also, being vigilant, as in
1 Timothy 3:2; both meanings are given in the Paraphrase.

“Trust perfectly in the grace, &c.” “Perfectly” may mean, perseveringly unto the end, or, trust with a hope, animated with charity and good works.

“In the grace,” the perfect salvation of soul and body, “which is offered.” The Greek, φερομενην, means, which is to be brought you “in the revelation,” &c., on the day of general judgment.

1Pe 1:14  As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance,

As obedient children of God, you should also comply with all the precepts of his law, and not live  any longer following the dictates of your carnal desires, or in exhibiting this in your external demeanour, as you did heretofore, while you lived in ignorance of Christ.

In order to gain the inheritance, they should not only repress the passions of the soul, but as obedient sons of their Father, who has this inheritance in store for them, they should obey all his precepts, and “not be fashioned.” The Greek word, συσχηματιζομενοι, means, putting on the external form and dress of a thing; similar is the idea conveyed (Eph 4:22). Hence, it means here, not to exhibit in their external actions and conduct, the workings of their corrupt passions and carnal desires; “former,” according to which they formerly lived; “of your ignorance,” before they were gifted with the true knowledge of Christ. These latter words apply to the Jewish, as well as to the Gentile converts. Hence, they furnish no argument that this Epistle was addressed principally to the latter.

1Pe 1:15  But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy:

But, following the example of the Holy One, who called you to faith and salvation, be you holy in all the actions of your life.

He encourages them to sanctity of life after the example of God, “him that called you, who is Holy.” God is such, by his very nature and essence.

“In all manner of conversation;” they should exhibit sanctity of life in all their actions, in all places, and in all circumstances of life.

1Pe 1:16  Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.

For, it is not a new, but an old precept, that commands you to imitate, as far as the weakness of human nature will permit, the sanctity of God: “Be you holy, “&c.–(Lev 11:44, &c; Lev 19:2; Lev 20:7).

“Because it is written: you shall be holy,” &c.—(Leviticus 11:44, and Lev 19:2 and Lev 20:7; Lev 21:8). Hence, the precept of being holy after the example of God—who is holy by essence—as far as our infirmity will permit, is not a new precept, having been enjoined of old, on the Jewish people. It is promulgated in the New Law, “be you perfect as your heavenly Father,” &c.—Matthew 5:48. The ordinary Greek, instead of, “you shall be holy,” has, γενεσθε, “be ye holy;” but, the Vulgate is the reading of the chief MSS.

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Sunday Gospel Scripture Study on John 15:26-27, 16:12-15 for Pentecost Sunday

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 22, 2012

To see many more resources (commentaries and homilies, ancient and modern) go here. Resources for the Vigil Mass can be found here.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/g5kw_rp2Ag?p=1 width=”480″ height=”354″]

Posted in Audio/Video Lectures, Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on the Gospel of John, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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