The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Archive for August, 2012

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 33

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 31, 2012

Verse numbering for this psalm differs among various translation.


THIS is the fourth of the alphabetical psalms. As in Psalm 25,the last verse is supernumerary, and a liturgical addition; as in Psalm 24, also, the sixth or vau-verse is wanting. The poem consists of two parts. The first (Ps 33:1-10) thanks the Lord for gracious help and rescue given to a loyal and lowly worshipper; the second (Ps 33:11-20) is didactic, reminding one of the Book of Proverbs. The poem teaches generally that happiness in life is to be attained only through God-fearingness of conduct. The good may, indeed, fall into misfortune, and be overtaken by grief, but in the end, the Lord brings them help, and makes their faces radiant with gladness.

The general structure and tone of the psalm are regarded by most modern critics as indicating a late date. The title in verse 1 ascribes the origin of the poem to the period of David’s life when he fled to the court of the Philistine king, Achish of Gath. Thisfirst verse is, undoubtedly, a very ancient testimony to the Davidic origin of the psalm, and the gnomic style of the second part of the poem is no genuine indication of a postexilic date. It is true, however, that the references in the poem are strangely general if they are really due to David’s experiences in the Court of Achish. The psalm is intended to serve as an encouragement and as a consolation to the pious (Sancti), the God-fearing Israelites. The ‘rich’ and ‘evildoers’ and ‘sinners’ may be either foreigners (and, therefore, foes of the Israelite people), or godless Israelites.

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Father Rickaby’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2012

1 Cor 1:1  Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes a brother,

Sosthenes. We know of no other Sosthenes than the one mentioned in Acts 18:17, whom we must suppose to have become a Christian. His name is in the Roman Martyrology, 28 November. He seems to have been St. Paul s amanuensis in writing this letter.

1 Cor 1:2  To the church of God that is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place of theirs and ours.

Called to be saints. Literally, called, saints, κλητοις αγιοις, two distinct general names of all Christians in the New Testament: called by Christ, or by His ministers, and having answered the call to the faith; and saints, as having been sanctified in baptism. The many called of Matt 22:14 cannot be understood as inclusive of persons who reject the faith. And see v. 24 of this chapter.

Of theirs and ours. Understand their Lord and ours, and omit the word of before theirs.

1 Cor 1:3  Grace to you and peace, from God our father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 1:4  I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus:

Fr. Ricakby offers no notes on these verses.

1 Cor 1:5  That in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance and in all knowledge;

Rich in him, i.e. by him, as Matt. v. 13, Wherewith (literally, in what) shall it be salted? and also, in union with him: cf. Rom 6:11.

In every word and in all knowledge. St. Chrysostom explains: “Many have knowledge, but no power of utterance; but you are not such: you have the faculty at once of thought and of expression,” even a miraculous faculty, 1 Cor 12:8.

1 Cor 1:6  As the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,

i.e. The testimony rendered to Christ by the Apostles who have preached Him to you, has been confirmed by the graces which you have received upon believing that testimony. For these graces see 1 Cor 12and 1 Cor 14.

1 Cor 1:7  So that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.


1 Cor 1:8  Who also will confirm you unto the end without crime, in the days of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The antecedent of who is God in v. 4. Without crime, so that there be no matter of condemnation against you at the day of judgment. Cf. Col 1:22, where the same word ανεγκλητους is translated blameless.

1 Cor 1:9  God is faithful: by whom you are called unto the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

The fellowship of Christ is the adoption of sons (Galatians 4:5); that he might be the first-born amongst many brethren (Rom 8:29); and incidentally also the chastisement of sons (Heb. xii. 7 10). In this chastisement, which fell even upon His Only-begotten (1 Pet 4:13; 2 Tim 2:11-12), God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able (1 Cor 10:13). The fellowship of Christ means also union with the body of the Church (1 Cor 12:11-14; Rom 12:4-5 ; Eph 5:29-30).

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Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 15 (with notes)

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 29, 2012


THE psalmist puts before us here the ideal of a pious Israelite. He dramatises his thought in Hebrew fashion, and brings an Israelite, or a procession of Israelites, to the entrance of the Temple (or Tabernacle) to ask of those who keep watch there (the Priests), what he must be, and do, who will enter into God’s House, and there abide. The guardians of the Sanctuary answer that a true domesticus Dei (i.e., member of God’s household) must be honest, straightforward with himself and others, careful of his fellows’ good repute, trustworthy, averse to all ill-gotten gain and bribery. He that answers to this description can never fail, or be confounded.

The psalm seems to be quoted in Isaiah 33:13-16, and must, therefore, be at least older than the Isaian period. There is nothing in the psalm which excludes the Davidic authorship claimed by its title; When commentators infer from the absence of all reference to sacrifice and cult-ceremonial in the picture of the perfect Israelite, that the psalm must belong to a very late period, they forget that the psalmist is writing about the qualities which permit a man to join the household of God, and not about the actions to be performed by him when he is within the household.

Psa 15:1  A psalm for David. (the temple visitor[s] speak) Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle? or who shall rest in thy holy hill?

It has been conjectured on the basis of this psalm and of Ps 24:3-5 and Isa 33:14-16, that it was customary for the priests guarding the Temple gateways to warn those entering the Temple that only the pure and upright were entitled to enter. Here the visitor to the Temple, or the procession which approaches the Temple (or Tent), asks the question with which the Psalm begins. Possibly a form of song like this psalm was chanted whenever processions advanced towards the Temple on the feast days. The priests from within the Temple recite or chant the answer which is here given, verses 2 ff. What was true of the Temple may have been true, also, of the Tabernacle (verse 2) of David’s time.

Psa 15:2 (the priests respond) He that walketh without blemish, and worketh justice:

The answer of the priests reminds the people of what the holiness of God’s House requires of them. In verse 2 the uprightness of external action is emphasised.

Psa 15:3  He that speaketh truth in his heart, who hath not used deceit in his tongue: Nor hath done evil to his neighbour: nor taken up a reproach against his neighbours.

This is the uprightness of a man whose heart is right, and who is honest with himself and others; he will not do evil, nor listen to slander against his neighbour.

Psa 15:4  In his sight the malignant is brought to nothing: but he glorifieth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his neighbour, and deceiveth not;

He will despise the malignus—the godless, the antithesis of those “who fear God.”

Qui jurat, etc. (Qui jurat = he who swears, a juratus) The Latin would suggest an oath to do his fellow a service, from which the true Israelite would not withdraw. The Hebrew is different: “If he swears to inflict evil, he deceiveth not.”The reference seems to be to Lev 5:4: If a man swear he must accomplish his oath.

Psa 15:5  He that hath not put out his money to usury, nor taken bribes against the innocent: He that doth these things, shall not be moved for ever.

Is this an absolute prohibition of usury? Usury against Israelites, but not usury against foreigners, was prohibited in the Law. The conclusion we should expect would be: He that doth these things may hope to be the Lord’s guest. But the priestly speakers naturally conclude with a blessing.

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Sunday, September 2 2012: Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 27, 2012

This post contains biblical and homiletic resources for this Sunday’s Mass for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite. It is not yet complete and I hope to add some podcasts under the Ordinary Form, and some more homilies and homily notes under the Extraordinary Form. I hope to add a few more commentaries as well.




  • Readings in the New Jerusalem BibleUsed in most other English speaking countries. Scroll down slightly to find. For some reason the Epistle reading follows after the Gospel.
  • Anglican Use Daily Office. ”Briefly, it is a provision for an “Anglican style” liturgy similar to the Book of Common Prayer as an ecclesiastically approved variant on the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.” More info.

GENERAL RESOURCES: On the readings as a whole. Commentaries on individual readings further below.

  • Word Sunday. The readings in both and literal translation, notes on the text, podcast, children’s reading.
  • SacerdosGives the theme of the readings, the doctrinal message, and pastoral application.
  • Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background on the readings. Can be printed out, copied, and used as bulletin insert.
  • The Bible Workshop. Links to several relevant articles, contains a reading guide to the gospel text, a comparison of the readings, suggestions for a lesson (i.e., homily).
  • The Wednesday WordI’m not sure why it’s called “The Wednesday Word” since it deals with the Sunday readings. Designed for prayer and reflection, the pdf document ends with Father Dom Henry Wansbrough’s reflections on the first and second readings. Fr. Wansbrough is General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible and contributed commentaries on Matt, Mark, and the Pastorals in A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.


  • Pending: My Notes on Deut 4:1-2, 6-8.


  • Pending: St Augustine’s Notes on Psalm 15. On entire psalm.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27.


  • Update: Speaking of Scripture Blog. An excerpt from Mary Healy’s Commentary on Mark, part of the new series Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. Healy is one of the co-editors.


St Martha’s Parish Bible  Study Podcast. Usually looks at all the Sunday readings in some detail.

St Martha’s Parish Reflections on the Sunday Readings. Usually less than ten minutes in length. Usually on the Gospel.

Sunday Gospel Scripture Study. Video. Looks at the Gospel in depth.

Dr. Scott Hahn’s Podcast. Very brief. Does good job of highlighting the major theme(s) of the readings.

Franciscan Sister’s Bible Study Podcast. Scroll down and click on the link “chapters 6-7.”

Father Robert Barron’s Podcast Homily. From the noted theologian and speaker.

Dominica XIV Post Pentecosten I. Septembris ~ II. classis

Missal and Breviary:


  • Pending: Bishop MacEvily’s Commentary on Galatians 5:16-24.



  • Avarice. Gospel homily also by Fr. Wirth.


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Father Callan’s Commentary on Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 27, 2012

1. And there assembled together unto him the Pharisees and some of the scribes, coming from Jerusalem.

Pharisees and some of the scribes, coming from Jerusalem. These enemies of our Lord were becoming more and more inflamed against Him, and hence the ablest doctors of the Law came from Jerusalem to Galilee to investigate what they had been hearing about Him.

2. And when they had seen some of his disciples eat bread with common, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault.

Common (κοιναις); i.e., with hands legally unclean.

They found fault (εμεμψαντο) , — wanting in the best Greek

3. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews eat not without often washing their hands, holding the tradition of the ancients:
4. And when they come from the market, unless they be washed, they eat not; and many other things there are that have been delivered to them to observe, the washing of cups and of pots, and of brazen vessels, and of beds.

In these verses St. Mark explains for His Roman and Gentile Christians many of the manners and rites practiced by the Jews.

5. And the Pharisees and scribes asked him: Why do not thy disciples walk according to the tradition of the ancients, but they eat bread with common hands?

The tradition of the ancients does not refer to the practices of generations long past, but to the ceremonial observances, introduced shortly before our Lord’s time by Hillel and Shammai, who were known as “the ancients,” and who were the heads of the two great rival schools which flourished just around our Lord’s birth. See on Matthew 15:2.

6. But he answering, said to them: Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men.
8. For leaving the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the washings of pots and of cups; and many other things you do like to these.

Isaiah 29:13 was speaking of the Jews of his own time, but what he said was even more true of the Jews of our Lord’s time. Our Lord here quoted from the Septuagint version of Isaiah, which is slightly different from the Hebrew, thereby giving His sanction to the former.

14. And calling again the multitude unto him, he said to them: Hear ye me all, and understand.
15. There is nothing from without a man that entering into him, can defile him. But the things which come from a man, those are they that defile a man.

There is nothing from without a man that entering into him, can defile him. These words are a refutation of the teaching of the Pharisees with regard to eating with unwashed hands. “Every creature of God is good in
itself, if it be taken with thanksgiving” (1 Tim 4:4). It is  moral uncleanness that defiles a man in the sight of God.

The disciples, accustomed to the traditions of the Pharisees, according to which to eat with unwashed hands defiled the food taken, and the food then defiled the heart, were anxious to know from our Lord just what He meant by His words in verse 15; hence his explanation of what truly defiles in Mark 7:18-23.

21. For from within out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22. Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.
23. All these evil things come from within, and defile a man.

In these verses our Lord shows the disciples in detail just what things defile a man. The Pharisees were very solicitous about external things, such as eating with unwashed hands, but they give little attention to the internal evils which really corrupt the heart (see Matt 23:23-27).

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My Notes on James 1:17-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 27, 2012

Background: The body of the letter opens with these words: My brethren, count it all joy, when you shall fall into divers temptations: Knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience And patience hath a perfect work: that you may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing (James 1:2-4). In order to endure and profit from these temptations one must have wisdom which, if it is lacking, must be prayed for in faith (James 1:5-6), which here means being dependent on God rather than money (James 1:10-11), for to rely on both as equals is to be double-minded (James 1:8).  To be lowly is to be exalted (James 1:9), and the humiliations which a rich believer suffers can, in faith, be for his benefit, for riches, like flowers and grass, will someday wither (James 1:10-11).  Though the temptations that wealth may bring a man are not from the Lord (James 1:13) but, rather, from his own desires (James 1:14-15), “he shall receive the crown of life which God hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).  The temptations  are not from God, but the victory over them is.  Thus no one should be deceived (James 1:16).


James 1:17  Every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change nor shadow of alteration.

The best and perfect gifts are those which lead to God and salvation and not, like temptations, away from Him.  These come from God who is described as the Father of lights (i.e, the heavenly luminous bodies), with whom there is no change nor shadow of alteration.  There is an obvious connection between Father of lights and change, and shadow of alteration, but what is it?  The meaning seems to be that God, as creator of these bodies is above them, and cannot be compared to them.  Perhaps some (the double-minded of 1:8?) were of the opinion that God changed like the luminaries which, with the passage of time and season sometimes appear brighter and in one place, then, sometime, dimmer and in another place.  Just because God willed such “shadows of alteration” for them can not be taken as indicating He is changeable.

Another possible interpretation is that St James has in mind the creation of the luminaries in Genesis 1:14-19.  Though they may seem to change they nonetheless “mark the fixed times, the days and the seasons” (Gen 1:14, NAB).  They are described in Genesis as being seen by God as “good” (Gen 1:18).  There are those who may not see the change of the sun’s position (bringing winter, for example) as good.  Appearances may be deceiving, hiding the reality, hence the need for true wisdom (James 1:5) rather than the false wisdom which brings “factions and confusion” (see James 3:15-16).  Perhaps the double-minded man, not recognizing the limitation he has placed upon his faith, thinks God fickle when he sees the single-minded believer get what he ask, while his own prayer goes unfulfilled (James 1:8).

James 1:18  Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

It was in the word of creation that God made the lights, and however we interpret the previous verse the fact remains that God, who brought us forth by the word of truth (i.e., the Gospel), did so for His own purpose.  St James has placed the Greek word boulethei (“of his own will”) at the beginning of his statement for emphasis. It is a strong statement of God’s freedom in acting.  Just as one needs wisdom to understand His creation, so one needs wisdom to understand His re-creation of believers.

In the Greek, the word translated here as brought us forth (ἀποκυέω, apokueo), is identical to that used on verse 15: “But sin, when it is completed, begetteth (ἀποκυέω) death,” thus establishing a contrast between the double-minded and God.

The first fruits of his creatures.  “First fruits” is a liturgical term in the O.T., where it is stated that the first fruit of the womb, the fields, ect., belonged in a special way to the Lord and had to be redeemed by sacrifice (Ex 13:11-13; Ex 22:28-29).  The Greek structure of this final clause indicates that being the first fruits of His creation is the purpose or end of  His own will wrought by the word of truth.  For other uses of “first fruits” in the N.T. see 1 Cor 15:20; 1 Cor 16:15.

The plurals in the verse should also be noted: “us,” “we,” ‘first frutis,” “creatures.”  The reference is to the Church he is writing to, and, by implication, to the whole Church, rather than to individuals.  This sets the stage for his moral teaching in the letter.  As individuals we are part of a greater whole in the plan of God and as such have obligations towards others.  In light of this it is absurd to show partiality (James 2:1-13), avoid doing good (James 2:14-26);  or curse others (James 3:1-12).  It likewise calls for acting in wisdom (James 3:13-18); subduing passion and submitting to God (James 4:1-12); seeking and doing the will of God with a good conscience (James 4:13-17); and take to heart warnings on how riches are used or abused (James 5:1-6).

James 1:19  You know, my dearest brethren. And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak and slow to anger.
James 1:20  For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God.

You know, my dearest brethren.  The Greek of the Textus Receptus followed by the KJV and others reads hoste, (“wherefore”, or “and so, therefore”), but the Western and Alexandrian manuscripts read iste, (“know”).  The change from iste to hoste was probably the result of a copyist trying to provide a smoother transition from the previous verse.   Hoste  is not used elsewhere by St James and it appears that the copyist did not recognize a common feature of his writing: he often starts new thoughts with an imperative.  The Douay-Rheims Bible which I am using takes iste as an indicative (you know) rather than an imperative (know this).  That iste should be taken as an imperative (know this) is suggested by the parallelism between verses 16-18 and 19-21, which is enhanced by the imperative.  “Each begins with an imperative followed by a vocative address (“my beloved brothers [and sisters]“) that culminates in a reference to the salvific role of the word” (Father Patrick Hartin, JAMES, Sacra Pagina Commentary Series, pg. 95).

And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak and slow to anger.  These are important biblical injunctions, see Sirach 5:11-14; Mt 5:22; Col 3:8-9; Eph 4:25-31.  Failing to hear (heed) the voice of the needy seems to have been a problem among those St James is writing to (James 1:22-25; James 2:15-16).  Likewise sins of speech (the tongue, see James 1:26James 3:1-12), and anger (James 4:1-12).  It appears that a propensity to anger was the prime cause of these sins:  For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God (vs 20).

James 1:21  Wherefore, casting away all uncleanness and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Such sins as mentioned above are incompatible with our having been brought forth by the word of truth (James 1:18), the ingrafted word.  We are to cast away such things as if they were thread-bare clothing.

Casting away, could also be translated as “put away” (see Eph 4:22; Col 3:8; 1 Pet 2:1).

Receive the ingrafted word.  Contrasts nicely with “casting away” at the beginning of the verse.  The word is only able to save your souls when it is put into action, as the next verse makes clear.

Jas 1:22  But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

Technical Note:

Be ye doers of the word.  The Greek γίνομαι (ginomai) is an imperative, “become doers”.  The Greek ποιηται λογου (doers of the word) means literally producers or composers of the word.  The idea is not that they bring the word into existence, rather, they are called upon to bring it to fruition, like a composer manifesting his talent.

And not hearers only.  The Greek ἀκροατής (akroatai=hearers) is found three times in this chapter (vss 22, 23, 25), and only once elsewhere in the NT (Rom 2:13).

Deceiving you own selves. The word translated as “deceiving” is used elsewhere only in Col 2:4, where it refers to being deceived by false teachers.

St James has been admonishing his audience to persevere in trials (Jam 1:2-8), regardless of their state in life (Jam 1:9-11), and not to succumb to temptation (Jam 1:12-18), for persevering in the face of temptation will bring the promised crown of life (Jam 1:12). He then goes on to write: “Wherefore, casting away all uncleanness and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (vs 21).  This means that they must “be (better: become) doers of the word, and not hearers only.”  Merely listening to the word of God and placing one’s faith in it is not enough, since it demands a response.  Indeed, the word “become” implies the necessity of growth, faith is not a once-for-all ossified state; a mere declaration one can make without further action.  “What shall it profit, my brethren, if a man say he hath faith, but hath not works? Shall faith be able to save him?  And if a brother or sister be naked and want daily food: And one of you say to them: Go in peace, be ye warmed and filled; yet give them not those things that are necessary for the body, what shall it profit? So faith also, if it have not works, is dead in itself”(Jam 2:14-17).

Deceiving your own selves.  Suggests that they are misguided concerning the meaning and demands of the faith which comes by hearing (Rom 10:17; Gal 3:2; Col 1:3-5).

Jas 1:23  For if a man be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass.
Jas 1:24  For he beheld himself and went his way and presently forgot what manner of man he was.

23. Beholding his own countenance in a glass (i.e., a mirror).  The Greek phrase translated as της γενεσεως αυτου reads literally “his natural face.”   The word natural contrasts nicely with the statement in verse 18 which states that God “of his own will hath he begotten us by the word of truth.”  A contrast is being drawn between the natural and the spiritual man.  God begets to new life through His word (1 Pet 1:23), but the mere hearer of the word does not come to new life.

Jas 1:25  But he that hath looked into the perfect law of liberty and hath continued therein, not becoming a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work: this man shall be blessed in his deed.

One can root out the implanted word by negligence and return to all uncleanness and abundance in naughtiness (vs 21).  The thought here is similar to 2 Peter : “For, speaking proud words of vanity, they allure by the desires of fleshly riotousness those who for a little while escape, such as converse in error: (false teachers) Promising them (those who listen) liberty, whereas they  themselves are the slaves of corruption. For by whom a man is overcome, of the same also he is the slave.  For if, flying from the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they be again entangled in them and overcome: their latter state is become unto them worse than the former.  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of justice than, after they have known it, to turn back from that holy commandment which was delivered to them.  For, that of the true proverb has happened to them: The dog is returned to his vomit; and: The sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Pet 2:1822. Words in italics are mine).

Jas 1:26  And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue but deceiving his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

An obivious warning against self deception (‘think,’ “deceiving“).  The reference to “deceiving” takes us back to verse 22, and relates to the theme of forgetting in verse 24-25.  This particular section of the letter began with the imperative phrase “know this” (vs 19).

Jas 1:27  Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation and to keep one’s self unspotted from this world.

A statement that builds upon the admonishment of  Jam 1:21-22.  “Clean” recalls the admonition in vs 21 to cast away filthiness etc.  Note the reference to God as Father and the the injunction to visit the fatherless.  The word tribulation brings up themes dealt with in last weeks reading (see the link above, under Background).

Catechism References:

On James 1:17

212 Over the centuries, Israel’s faith was able to manifest and deepen realization of the riches contained in the revelation of the divine name. God is unique; there are no other gods besides him.[Isa 44:6]  He transcends the world and history. He made heaven and earth: “They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment….but you are the same, and your years have no end.”[Ps 102:26-27In God “there is no variation or shadow due to change.”[James 1:17] God is “HE WHO IS”, from everlasting to everlasting, and as such remains ever faithful to himself and to his promises.

2642 The Revelation of “what must soon take place,” the Apocalypse, is borne along by the songs of the heavenly liturgy[Cf. Rev 4:8-11; Rev 5:9-14; Rev 7:10-12] but also by the intercession of the “witnesses” (martyrs).[Rev 6:10] The prophets and the saints, all those who were slain on earth for their witness to Jesus, the vast throng of those who, having come through the great tribulation, have gone before us into the Kingdom, all sing the praise and glory of him who sits on the throne, and of the Lamb.[Cf. Rev 18:24; Rev 19:1-8] In communion with them, the Church on earth also sings these songs with faith in the midst of trial. By means of petition and intercession, faith hopes against all hope and gives thanks to the “Father of lights,” from whom “every perfect gift” comes down [James 1:17]. Thus faith is pure praise.

On James 1:27

2208 The family should live in such a way that its members learn to care and take responsibility for the young, the old, the sick, the handicapped, and the poor. There are many families who are at times incapable of providing this help. It devolves then on other persons, other families, and, in a subsidiary way, society to provide for their needs: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on James 1:17-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 27, 2012

This post includes Fr. MacEvilly’s summary of all of chapter 1, followed by the notes on verses 17-27. Also, I’ve included his paraphrase (in purple) of the text he is commenting on.

A Summary of James Chapter 1~St. James commences this chapter, with the Apostolical salutation (Jam 1:1). He, next, exhorts the converted Jews, to whom this Epistle is directly addressed, to receive with joy, the different afflictions with which they were visited (Jam 1:2-3). He encourages them to practice the virtue of patience in all its perfection (Jam 1:4), and points out the source from which the true wisdom to understand, and practically conform to these admonitions, is to be derived, and the means of obtaining it, viz., Prayer; one of the conditions of which he mentions (Jam 1:4-8). He next alludes specially to the temptations peculiar to the rich and to the poor, and points out the remedies to be adopted both by one and the other (Jam 1:9-11). He points out the reward, in store for patient and persevering suffering (Jam 1:12).

He, next, obviates a difficulty which might arise from a false conception of his doctrine, owing to the different respects under which “temptations” might be considered. He says that, viewed in the light of seductions to sin, God is not their cause, but rather man’s own corrupt passions, which, when indulged, end in death (Jam 1:13-16).

Having pointed out the cause of moral evil, he next proceeds to point out the source of all good (Jam 1:17), and refers particularly to one great blessing for which we are indebted to God’s pure bounty, viz.—our regeneration and call to the faith (Jam 1:18).

He next delivers wholesome instructions regarding the government of the tongue(Jam 1:19-21), particularly in reference to religious teaching, and assails the fundamental error, then prevalent, probably deduced from a false conception of the words of St. Paul to the Romans, respecting the sufficiency of faith alone—an error, the refutation of which was one of the principal objects of this Epistle (Jam 1:22). He shows by an example the in-utility of faith without good works (Jam 1:23-24), and points  out certain works as necessary (Jam 1:26-27).

Jam 1:17  Every best gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change nor shadow of alteration.

Far from being the author of evil, it is from Him-the source of all light, physical or moral, natural or supernatural-every good and excellent gift, whether of nature or grace, alone proceeds, descending from his heavenly throne; and, unlike the great luminary, by which light is diffused throughout this earth, and in which there is daily change of position, in his apparent course through the heavens, and alternating vicissitudinous change of shadow, in his annual passage from tropic to tropic, in God there is no change in the distribution of his gifts; now dispensing good, again, evil. He, the ever unchangeable author of all good, dispenses to all who pray to him, with a liberal and plentiful hand.

Having shown the source and true cause of evil, St. James now points out the origin of all good. This comes “from above,” from heaven, where God in a special manner dwells, from whom “every best gift,” (in Greek, πασα δοσις αγαθη, every good giving), “and perfect gift” proceeds, by which it is implied, that not alone every good gift, but the very giving thereof, comes from God. Some interpreters say, that “every best gift,” and “perfect gift,” refer to the same thing, and are repeated for the sake of greater emphasis. Others make the former refer to all natural gifts, and the latter, which is called “perfect,” or superexcellent, to the supernatural gifts of grace. In this verse, two things are asserted, viz., that everything coming from God is good and excellent, which refutes the impious assertion of Simon Magus, afterwards more fully evolved by the Manichees; and secondly, that God alone is the source of all good, which refutes the errors of Pagan philosophy, afterwards revived by the Pelagians. “The father of lights ;” he is called ” father,” because the first source and author ” of lights,” which may regard the natural lights of the sun, moon, and stars. Light is emblematic of good, as darkness is, of evil, or “lights” may be understood of the intellectual, spiritual lights, whether of nature, grace, or glory; and from God, as their great source, proceed all the good gifts, represented by the light of the heavenly bodies, and the gifts of intellectual knowledge, whether natural or supernatural, actual or habitual. To him, then, we should have recourse, in order perfectly to understand these sublime paradoxes put forward by St. James, regarding the blessings of tribulation, and the joy they should cause in us (verses 2, 3), &c., and as father of all light and knowledge, he will enlighten our understanding to perceive them.

“With whom there is no change,” &c. The Apostle represents God, as a great luminous sun or body of light, diffusing his radiance and blessings throughout all creation; but, he removes from him all the imperfections of our present sun. He need not change from place to place, as our sun, who in his apparent daily motion, makes his place different at morning, noon, and night. To this, the word “change” most probably refers, which, in reference to God, means that there is no change in him, in reference to the distribution of his gifts, now dispensing good; again, evil. “Nor shadow of vicissitude,” which, in reference to the natural sun, refers to his annual motion, when he apparently moves towards the tropics, and from them; and according to his proximity or distance are the shadows cast by him, shortened or lengthened. It is to this alternate lengthening and lessening of the different shadows, that the Greek words for “shadow of alteration,” τροπης αποσκιασμα, refer. In reference to God, it means, that God is the constant and ever liberal source of good, not dealing it out at one time with a sparing, at another, with a liberal hand.

Jas 1:18  For of his own will hath he begotten us by the word of truth, that we might be some beginning of his creature.

And in confirmation and illustration of his being the unchangeable author of every good and perfect gift, we may adduce the fact, that of his free and gratuitous will, without any claim or title of justice on our part, he has given us a new spiritual birth in baptism, whereof faith, conceived from his revealed word of truth, is an indispensable condition; so that by our vocation to the faith we are become, in a certain sense, the choicest and first fruits of creation.

As an illustration of the good gifts conferred on us by God, the Apostle adduces that most excellent of good gifts, our spiritual regeneration in baptism. “Of his own will,” I.e., without any merits of ours; and hence, this was on his part a perfectly gratuitous gift. “Hath he begotten us,” which, most probably, refers to our spiritual birth in baptism, whereby a new spiritual existence was conferred on us. “By the word of truth,” may refer to the form of baptism; or, more probably, to the word of God, conceived through faith, which in adults is an indispensable condition, for receiving a new spiritual regeneration in baptism. The same idea is, very likely, conveyed here, as in Ephesians 5:26: “By the laver of water, in the word of life.” “That we might be some beginning,” in Greek, απαρχην, first fruits, “of his creature,” may refer to the members of the Church, who are selected by God, in preference to all other men, as his choice portion out of the rest of the mass of mankind. Others understand the words, of those who were first called to the Church and the faith; they were taken from the Jews, and they were the first fruits of such, as were, through their instrumentality in all future ages, to be associated to the Christian Church.

Jas 1:19  You know, my dearest brethren. And let every man be swift to hear, but slow to speak and slow to anger.

This is a gift of the excellence of which you are yourselves fully conscious, and for which, my dearet brethren, you must feel duly grateful. And let every person amongst you be ready and prepared to listen with docility to the word of truth already referred to, and be tardy in acting the part of teacher in giving utterance to it. And let each one control all feelings, and every expression of anger, into which those who have an inordinate pruriency for speaking and disputing with others are apt to fall.

“You know, my dearest,” &c. “You know;” in some Greek copies, it is ωστε
wherefore; in the Codex Vaticanus, ιστε, “you know.”

“And let every man be swift to hear, &c.” St. James now proceeds to deliver wholesome instructions regarding the proper government of the tongue, and the repressing of all feelings of anger. It is commonly supposed by Commentators, that St. James here refers to the abuse of the gift of tongues, accorded to many in the infancy of the Church, to which reference is made (1 Cor 14). The Jewish converts had an inordinate wish, after their conversion, to display the same power of speaking, which they exercised in the synagogue, to the confusion and disorder of the Christian assemblies. St. James cautions them against this abuse. “And slow to anger,” which a spirit of disputation is apt to engender. No doubt, the admonition of St. James here applies to Christians at all times, and recommends a due regard to silence on all occasions, together with a proper regulation of the tongue, and a restraint on the impulse of anger. The admonition conveyed in this verse, together with that subjoined in Jam 1:22, forms a theme whereon St. James dilates, up to chapter Jam 4:12, with the exception of a brief digression, at Jam 2:1-13.

Jas 1:20  For the anger of man worketh not the justice of God.

And first, regarding anger. The man who acts under the influence of anger, far from performing works consistent with real justice, by which we are justified before God, will, on the contrary, perform bad works, by which true justice is lost.

Inverting the order of treating the admonitions of the preceding verse, he first refers to anger. In the words of this verse more is conveyed than is expressed; by it is meant, that not only an angry man does not perform good works whereby “the justice of God,” i.e., true justice, is acquired and preserved, but that he performs wicked, evil works.

Jas 1:21  Wherefore, casting away all uncleanness and abundance of naughtiness, with meekness receive the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Wherefore, in order to live up to the new spiritual birth you have received (verse 18), and more effectually to repress anger, laying aside all uncelanness and defilement of sin, all impure and unclean affections, which defile the soul, but particularly the redundant affections of malevolence and malice, in the spirit of meekness, receive and foster the doctrines of truth already implanted among you, which alone can save you.

He now recommends them to live up to their new spiritual existence (verse 18); and in order thereto, they should avoid evil, by laying aside their vicious affections; and do good, by receiving the word of God with meekness, &c. (verse 21). “All uncleanness.” The Greek word, ρυπαριαν, literally regards the filth adhering to the body. Hence, some understand it of the sordid vice of avarice; others, of impurity. It more probably refers to sinfulness of all kinds, whereby the soul is defiled. “And abundance of malice.” In this is specified the viciousness in general, referred to in the preceding words. It probably regards feelings of malevolence towards our neighbour. This is a source of anger. In the word “abundance,” is conveyed an idea borrowed from agriculture. The husbandman carefully prunes away all superfluous and redundant weeds, whereby the earth is exhausted, and the good seed choked up; so they, too, should carefufly cut away all the noxious affections, of which human nature, in its present fallen state, is so prolific; which, like tares, choke and prevent the growth of the good seed of God’s word and grace in their hearts. “With meekness, receive the ingrafted word.” In the place of vindictive, revengeful desires, they should substitute a spirit of meekness, and in this spirit receive, or rather foster, the doctrines of truth, which, to distinguish them from those truths known by the light of reason, are termed “ingrafted.” In these latter words the Apostle inculcates the admonition given in the first part of verse 19, “be swift to hear,” &c.

Jas 1:22  But be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

But you should guard against contenting yourselves with merely receiving and hearing those doctrines of truth, without rediicing them to practice by good works, deluding yourself by false and sophistical reasonings on this most important subject.

The Apostle here enters on one of the principal subjects of this Epistle—viz., the refutation of the erroneous doctrine of the sufficiency of faith alone, a doctrine broached, even at this early period. “Deceiving yourselves.” The Greek word for “deceiving,” παραλογιζομενοι, means, adopting sophistical reasoning. The sophism by which the heretics, in the days of St James, as well as in modern times, deceive themselves, is founded on the difference of meaning between the “works, of the law,” without which St. Paul says (Romans 3), we are justified by faith, and the “works ” performed by grace and faith, which Catholics require for justification.

Jas 1:23  For if a man be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass.
Jas 1:24  For he beheld himself and went his way and presently forgot what manner of man he was.

(23) For the man that contents himself with merely hearing the word of God, without reducing to practice the precepts which it inculcates, may be justly likened to a person who views in a looking-glass his natural countenance.
(24) And who, after a merely cursory and careless view, goes his way, presently forgets what manner of man he was—what were the faults and blemishes he beheld—and pays no attention to wiping them off, thus deriving no profit from looking into the glass, and unprofitably squandering his time.

From this example, and from its applications (Jam 1:25), the necessity of good works is clearly inferred. Such a man, carelessly and hurriedly looking into the mirror (εσοπτρω), sees his countenance, but afterwards forgets to wipe off and remove the blemishes which the looking into the mirror may have disclosed to him. To such a person, the looking into the glass proves to be quite useless, of no service whatever; so it is with the man, who merely hears the word of God, without reducing it to practice. In the application of this comparison, the mirror is the word of God, which represents to us what we are, and what we ought to be. “The countenance of a man” is the state of his conscience; the defects in his visage, are the sins whereby the purity of his soul is sullied; to see one’s self in the mirror is to hear the word of God, and remark the difference there is between what we are and what we ought to be, according to the gospel; to forget the state of one’s countenance, is to forget the truths preached; and to neglect removing the blemishes, is to neglect wiping off by tears of repentance, the uncleanness caused by sin, in the soul. How many are there to whom the example of the mirror is perfectly applicable.

Jas 1:25  But he that hath looked into the perfect law of liberty and hath continued therein, not becoming a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work: this man shall be blessed in his deed.

Whereas, on the other hand, the man who shall have diligently and carefully looked into the law of the gospel, which, unlike the Old Law, perfects and justifies us, making us free sons of God, exempting us from servitude and from the yoke, “which neither we nor our fathers could bear” and shall continue meditating and reflecting on it, and, instead of hearing its precepts, merely to forget them again, shall faithfully reduce them to practice by good works; such a man shall be happy in following a course of this kind; that is, he shall receive the happiness of justification here, and of glory hereafter.

This is an application by contraries of the example already adduced- “hath looked into.” The Greek word, παρακυψας, means to look into narrowly and closely as is done by those who stoop down to obtain a closer view. “The perfect law,” i.e., the gospel law, which, unlike the old, “that brought nothing to perfection.” (Heb 7:19), perfects us by grace and justification; “of liberty,” exempting us from servitude and the fear of punishment, so that we can set all the menaces of the law at defiance, it makes us free sons of God, and not slaves of the synagogue; “and hath continued therein,” by making it the subject of meditation, day and night; “this man will be blessed, &c.” Hence, according to St. James, it is only on condition of not forgetting the precepts of the law, and of performing the works which it enjoins, a man will obtain the happiness of justice here and of glory hereafter. Can a stronger argument be adduced in proof of the necessity of good works for justification and eternal life?

Jas 1:26  And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue but deceiving his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

Now, among the works necessary for this happiness is the government of the tongue; for, if any person looks upon himself as really religious, without bridling his tongue, thus deceiving his own heart, while persuading himself that piety is compatible with giving free reins to his tongue, such a man’s Christian faith and profession is vain, and of no use use to him.

“If any man think himself,” &c. In some Greek copies, if any man (among you) think, &c.; “among you,’” is omitted in the Codex Vaticanus. The Apostle, among the works required, reckons governing the tongue, and restraining it from detraction, rash judgments, self-praise, and other faults, to which persons, who have the character of piety, are liable. “Deceiving his own heart,” while endeavouring to reconcile two things perfectly incompatible, viz.: true religion and the unrestrained indulgence in the vices of the tongue—”this man’s religion,” i.e., his religious practices and profession, are of no avail to him. St. James, then, refers to those vices of the tongue, such as boastful, slanderous, polluting language, which are mortal and deadly sins. Is there any vice more common, than this shocking vice of the tongue, and withal, so little attended to, or scrupled?

Jas 1:27  Religion clean and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their tribulation and to keep one’s self unspotted from this world.

The religion which is pure and free from spot, not merely in the sight of men, who often imagine religion and piety to exist where it does not; but in the sight of God and our heavenly Father, dictates these acts of mercy; viz., to visit the widows and orphans, so as to relieve their wants and offer them consolation, and to preserve one’s self, as to body and soul, pure and immaculate from the vices of this wicked world.

Lest it might be imagined that the mere act of bridling the tongue, and not injuring our neighbour, would suffice; he now mentions some of the principal works in which pure religion is exercised. “Religion, clean,” in opposition to the vain and empty religion of the Jews, who regarded all its purity as consisting in certain ceremonies and legal purifications, “and undefiled,” in opposition to the impious and impure rites of the Pagans and Heretic —consists in “this,” or rather dictates the following acts; for, the following are the, actus eliciti, (as they are called) of the virtue of mercy, and only the, actus imperati, of religion, “to visit the fatherless,” &c., or, what comes to the same, to administer to their wants, and this is “pure religion,” since there can be no other than a pure motive in relieving such, there being no hope of temporal retribution in the case, “and to keep one’s self unspotted from this world,” i.e., from the vices of this wicked Avorld, principally luxury, avarice, and ambition; for, the great leading maxims of this world are, the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, &c.; the preserving of one’s self from these is “undefiled religion.” This proves the necessity of good works, since it is in the performance of them, “clean,” or pure religion consists.

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Father Maas’ Commentary on Matthew 18:1-5

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 27, 2012

Conduct of the Apostles as Leaders of the Church
Matt 18:1-20:28.

A Summary of Matt 18:1-20:28~In this part we possess the special instruction of the disciples on several points of Christian discipline : first, on their relation to the little ones, Matt 18:1-14; secondly, on their care of sinners, Matt 18:15-35; thirdly, on matrimony and virginity, Matt 19:1-15; fourthly, on voluntary poverty, Matt 19:16-30; fifthly, on the working of grace, Matt 20:1-16; sixthly, on suffering and the cross, Matt 20:17-28.

A Summary of Matt 18:1-14~This consists especially in two points: first, we must become like children, Matt 18:1-5; secondly, we must care for children, Matt 18:6-14.

Mat 18:1  At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who, thinkest thou, is the greater in the kingdom of heaven?
Mat 18:2  And Jesus, calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them.
Mat 18:3  And said: amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 18:4  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 18:5  And he that shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me.

“At that hour” connects the present passage with the preceding; not as if the incident of Peter’s tribute money had given rise to the question among the apostles concerning their greatness in the kingdom, since this discussion had occurred on the way [cf. Mark 9:32], and the tribute money was paid in Capharnaum; nor as if convinced of Peter’s preference, they had inquired into its reasons fcf. Chrys.]; nor again, as if the rebuke of Peter had made them doubt concerning the previous promises [cf. Matt 16:23; Pasch. Sylv.] ; but the discussion arose in connection with Christ’s prediction of his coming death after which they expected the establishment of the Messianic kingdom [cf. Jans. Calm. Knab.]. “The disciples came to Jesus saying” may be harmonized with Mark 9:32-33, either by assuming that on being asked by Jesus concerning their conversation on the way the disciples first were ashamed of confessing their weakness as the second gospel has it, and later on they regained their courage as the first gospel implies [cf. Jans. Bar. Am. Fil.]; or by seeing in the account of the first evangelist a summary of the event, so that the question was asked by the disciples in thought, not in word [cf. Knab. Mt. viii. 5 ff.]. “The greater in the kingdom of heaven” is not the greater in the other world [cf. Euth. Thorn. Bar.], nor the greater in the exercise of supernatural virtue [cf. Schegg], but the greater in the expected earthly kingdom of the Messias; otherwise the disciples would not have been ashamed of their conversation on the way [cf. Mark 9:32ff.], nor would Jesus have inculcated humility in his answer [cf. Jer. Maid.]. “Calling a little child,” Jesus teaches his disciples not merely in words, but also by sight. “Unless you be converted” from your earthly ambition, and become “as little children” in simplicity, purity, and humility [cf. Chrys. Orig. Euth. Hil. Jer.; John 5:44; 1 Cor 2:18; 2 Cor 3:5; Matt 5:48], you shall not even “enter the kingdom of heaven.” After this implicit rebuke Jesus answers the question of the disciples directly: “Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven”; of the different virtuous qualities of the child, it is humility that is singled out by our Lord as the measure of our greatness in the kingdom of
heaven [cf. Br.; Matt 7:22]. “And he that shall receive,” i. e. assist in “any way [Maid.], one such little child,” not one resembling a child in humility and simplicity [cf. Chrys. Jer. Rab. Pasch. Br. Dion. Jans. Bar.], nor one of the apostles [Calm.], but primarily a child in years [Fab. Bar. Arn.; Luke 9:47 ff; Mark 9:35], secondarily a child by disposition [cf. Lap. Schegg, Fil. Knab.], “in my name,” or on account of my wish and my precepts [Chrys. Knab.], there is no direct statement that the one to be received ought to be a child for the name of Christ [cf. Schanz], though this is implied, “receiveth me,” because he loves me in the person of the child.

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A Glossary of Tools for Fools

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 26, 2012

My sister sent me this via email:
 The Explanation of Tools:

1. DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching
flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and
flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project
which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

2. WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere
under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes both fingerprints and  hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, ‘Oh &%^$!’

3. SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short or  electrical cords shorter in length. Name does not necessarily imply the
intellect of the operator.

4. PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of

5. BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor
touch-up jobs into major refinishing projects.

6. HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board
principle… It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable
motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your  future becomes.

7. VISE-GRIPS: Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt
heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense
welding heat to the palm of your hand.

8. OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for igniting various
flammable objects in your shop. Also handy for igniting the grease inside
the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing.

9. TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood
projectiles for testing wall integrity.

10. HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground in order to trap the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

11. BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops
to cut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the
trash can after you cut along the inside of the line instead of along the outside.

12. TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the maximum tensile
strength of everything you forgot to disconnect the engine before lift off.

13. PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under
lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your
shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw

14. STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER :A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used
to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering
your palms. Also useful for butchering the wood you’re screwing into, thereby creating a new wood putty project.

15. PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or
bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.

16. HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to make hoses too short.

17. HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays
is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the
object you are trying to hit. Also highly effective in turning thumbnails black.

18. UTILITY KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard
cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such
as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines,
refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work
clothes or appendages, but only while in use.

19. SON-OF-A-BITCH TOOL: (A personal favorite!) Any handy tool that you  grab  and throw across the garage while yelling ‘Son of a BITCH!’ at the top of your  lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.

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St John Chrysostom’s Homiletic Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 26, 2012

The following post contains St John Chrysostom’s Second Homily on 2 Thessalonians 1:1-8 in it’s entirety. It also contains an excerpt from his third homily, encompassing 2 Thessalonians 1:9-12.

(On 2 Thess 1:1-8)

2 Th 1:1  Paul and Sylvanus and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians. In God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,
2 Th 1:2  Grace unto you: and peace from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The greater part of men do and devise all things with a view to ingratiate themselves with rulers, and with those who are greater than themselves; and they account it a great thing, and think themselves happy, if they can obtain that object. But if to obtain favor with men is so great an advantage, how great must it be to find favor with God? On this account he always thus prefaces his Epistle, and invokes this upon them, knowing that if this be granted, there will be nothing afterwards grievous, but whatever troubles there may be, all will be done away. And that you may learn this, Joseph was a slave a young man, inexperienced, unformed, and suddenly the direction of a house was committed to his hands, and he had to render an account to an Egyptian master. And you know how prone to anger and unforgiving that people is, and when authority and power is added, their rage is greater, being inflamed by power. And this too is manifest from what he did afterwards. For when the mistress made accusation, he bore with it. And yet it was not the part of those who held the garment, but of him who was stripped, to have suffered violence. For he ought to have said, If he had heard that thou didst raise thy voice, as thou sayest, he would have fled, and if he had been guilty, he would not have waited for the coming of his master. But nevertheless he took nothing of this sort into consideration, but unreasonably giving way altogether to anger, he cast him into prison. So thoughtless a person was he. And yet even from other things he might have conjectured the good disposition and the intelligence of the man. But nevertheless, because he was very unreasonable, he never considered any such thing. He therefore who had to do with such a harsh master, and who was intrusted with the administration of his whole house, being a stranger, and solitary, and inexperienced; when God shed abundant grace upon him, passed through all, as if his temptations had not even existed, both the false accusation of his mistress, and the danger of death, and the prison, and at last came to the royal throne.

This blessed man therefore saw how great is the grace of God, and on this account he invokes it upon them. And another thing also he effects, wishing to render them well-disposed to the remaining part of the Epistle; that, though he should reprove and rebuke them, they might not break away from him. For this reason he reminds them before all things of the grace of God, mollifying their hearts, that, even if there be affliction, being reminded of the grace by which they were saved from the greater evil, they may not despair at the less, but may thence derive consolation. As also elsewhere in an Epistle he has said, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son: much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Rom 5:10).

“Grace unto you and peace,” he says, “from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

2 Th 1:3  We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith groweth exceedingly and the charity of every one of you towards each other aboundeth.

“ We are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren,” he says, “as it is fitting.”  Again a sign of great humility. For he led them to reflect and consider, that if for our good actions others do not admire us first, but God, much more also ought we. And in other respects too he raises up their spirits, because they suffer such things as are not worthy of tears and lamentations, but of thanksgiving to God. But if Paul is thankful for the good of others, what will they suffer, who not only are not thankful, but even pine at it.

2:3 cont. “because your faith groweth exceedingly and the charity of every one of you towards each other aboundeth.”

And how, you say, can faith groweth?That is when we suffer something dreadful for it. It is a great thing for it to be established, and not to be carried away by reasonings. But when the winds assail us, when the rains burst upon us, when a violent storm is raised on every side, and the waves succeed each other—then that we are not shaken, is a proof of no less than this, that it grows, and grows exceedingly, and becomes loftier. For as in the case of the flood all the stony and lower parts are soon hidden, but as many things as are above, it reaches not them, so also the faith that is become lofty, is not drawn downwards. For this reason he does not say “your faith groweth;” but “groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you towards each other aboundeth.” Seest thou how this contributes for the ease of affliction, to be in close guard together, and to adhere to one another? From this also arose much consolation. The love and faith, therefore, that is weak, afflictions shake, but that which is strong they render stronger. For a soul that is in grief, when it is weak, can add nothing to itself; but that which is strong doth it then most. And observe their love. They did not love one indeed, and not love another, but it was equal on the part of all. For this he has intimated, by saying, “of every one of you toward each other.” For it was equally poised, as that of one body. Since even now we find love existing among many, but this love becoming the cause of division. For when we are knit together in parties of two or three, and the two indeed, or three or four, are closely bound to one another, but draw themselves off from the rest, because they can have recourse to these, and in all things confide in these; this is the division of love—not love. For tell me, if the eye should bestow upon the hand the foresight which it has for the whole body, and withdrawing itself from the other members, should attend to that alone, would it not injure the whole? Assuredly. So also if we confine to one or two the love which ought to be extended to the whole Church of God, we injure both ourselves and them, and the whole. For these things are not of love, but of division; schisms, and distracting rents. Since even if I separate and take a member from the whole man, the part separated indeed is united in itself, is continuous, all compacted together, yet even so it is a separation, since it is not united to the rest of the body.

For what advantage is it, that thou lovest a certain person exceedingly? It is a human love. But if it is not a human love, but thou lovest for God’s sake, then love all. For so God hath commanded to love even our enemies. And if He hath commanded to love our enemies, how much more those who have never aggrieved us? But, sayest thou, I love, but not in that way. Rather, thou dost not love at all. For when thou accusest, when thou enviest, when thou layest snares, how dost thou love? “But,” sayest thou, “I do none of these things.” But when a man is ill spoken of, and thou dost not shut the mouth of the speaker, dost not disbelieve his sayings, dost not check him, of what love is this the sign? “And the charity,” he says, “of every one of you all toward one another aboundeth.”

2 Th 1:4  So that we ourselves also glory in you in the churches of God, for your patience and faith, and in all your persecutions and tribulations: which you endure

“So that we ourselves also glory in you in the churches of God.” Indeed in the first Epistle he says, that all the Churches of Macedonia and Achaia resounded, having heard of their faith. “So that we need not,” he says, “to speak anything. For they themselves relate to us what manner of entering in we had unto you.” (1Th 1:8-9) But here he says, “so that we glory.” What then is it that is said? There he says that they need not instruction from him, but here he has not said that we teach them, but “we glory,” and are proud of you. If therefore we both give thanks to God for you, and glory among men, much more ought you to do so for your own good deeds. For if your good actions are worthy of boasting from others, how are they worthy of lamentation from you? It is impossible to say. “

So that we ourselves,” he says, “glory in you in the Churches of God, for your patience and faith.”  Here he shows that much time had elapsed. For patience is shown by much time, not in two or three days. And he does not merely say patience. It is the part of patience indeed properly not yet to enjoy the promised blessings. But here he speaks of a greater patience. And of what sort is that? That which is shown in persecutions. “For your patience,” he says, “and faith, and in all your persecutions and tribulations which you endure.” For they were living with enemies who were continually endeavoring on every side to injure them, and they were manifesting a patience firm and immovable. Let all those blush who for the sake of the patronage of men pass over to other doctrines. For whilst it was yet the beginning of the preaching, poor men who lived by their daily earnings took upon themselves enmities from rulers and the first men of the state, when there was nowhere king or governor who was a believer; and submitted to irreconcilable war, and not even so were unsettled.

2 Th 1:5  For an example of the just judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which also you suffer.

“For an example of the just judgment of God.” See how he gathers comfort for them. He had said, We give thanks to God, he had said, We glory among men: these things indeed are honorable. But that which he most seeks for, who is in suffering, is, deliverance from evils, and vengeance upon those who are evil entreating them. For when the soul is weak, it most seeks for these things, for the philosophic soul does not even seek these things. Why then does he say, “an example of the just Judgment of God”? Here he has glanced at the retribution on either side, both of those who do the ill, and of those who suffer it, as if he had said, that the justice of God may be shown when He crowns you indeed, but punishes them. At the same time also he comforts them, showing that from their own labors and toils they are crowned, and according to the proportion of righteousness. But he puts their part first. For although a person even vehemently desires revenge, yet he first longs for reward.

For this reason he says, “that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which also you suffer.”  This then does not come to pass from the circumstance that those who injure them are more powerful than they, but because it is so that they must enter into the kingdom. “For through many tribulations,” he says, “we must enter into the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)

2 Th 1:6  Seeing it is a just thing with God to repay tribulation to them that trouble you:
2 Th 1:7  And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with the angels of his power:

The phrase “seeing it i a just thing” here is put for “because,” which we also use, in speaking of things that are quite evident and not to be denied; instead of saying, “Because it is exceedingly righteous.” “If so be,” he says, “seeing it is a just thing” with God to punish these, he will certainly punish them. As if he had said, “If God cares for human affairs,” “If God takes thought.” And he does not put it of his own opinion, but among things confessedly true; as if one said, “If God hates the wicked,” that he may compel them to grant that He does hate them. For such sentences are above all indisputable, inasmuch as they also themselves know that it is just. For if this is just with men, much more with God.

“To repay,” he writes,  “tribulation to them that trouble you, and to you who are troubled, rest with us.” What then? Is the retribution equal? By no means, but see by what follows how he shows that it is more severe, and the “rest” much greater. Behold also another consolation, in that they have their partners in the afflictions, as partners also in the retribution. He joins them in their crowns with those who had performed infinitely more and greater works. Then he adds also the period, and by the description leads their minds upward, all but opening heaven already by his word, and setting it before their eyes; and he places around Him the angelic host, both from the place and from the attendants amplifying the image, so that they may be refreshed a little. “And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with the angels of his power.”

2 Th 1:8  In a flame of fire, giving vengeance to them who know not God and who obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If they that have not obeyed the Gospel suffer vengeance, what will not they suffer who besides their disobedience also afflict you? And see his intelligence; he says not here those who afflict you, but those “who obey not.” So that although not on your account, yet on His own it is necessary to punish them. This then is said in order to full assurance, that it is altogether necessary for them to be punished: but what was said before, was said that they also might be honored, because they suffer these things on your account. The one causes them to believe concerning the punishment; the other to be pleased, because for the sake of what has been done to them they suffer these things.

All this was said to them, but it applies also to us. When therefore we are in affliction, let us consider these things. Let us not rejoice at the punishment of others as being avenged, but as ourselves escaping from such punishment and vengeance. For what advantage is it to us when others are punished? Let us not, I beseech you, have such souls. Let us be invited to virtue by the prospect of the kingdom. For he indeed who is exceedingly virtuous is induced neither by fear nor by the prospect of the kingdom, but for Christ’s sake alone, as was the case with Paul. Let us, however, even thus consider the blessings of the kingdom, the miseries of hell, and thus regulate and school ourselves; let us in this way bring ourselves to the things that are to be practiced. When you see anything good and great in the present life, think of the kingdom, and you will consider it as nothing. When you see anything terrible, think of hell, and you will deride it. When you are possessed by carnal desire, think of the fire, think also of the pleasure of sin itself, that it is worth nothing, that it has not even pleasure in it. For if the fear of the laws that are enacted here has so great power as to withdraw us from wicked actions, how much more should the remembrance of things future, the vengeance that is immortal, the punishment that is everlasting? If the fear of an earthly king withdraws us from so many evils, how much more the fear of the King Eternal?

Whence then can we constantly have this fear? If we continually hearken to the Scriptures. For if the sight only of a dead body so depresses the mind, how much more must hell and the fire unquenchable, how much more the worm that never dieth. If we always think of hell, we shall not soon fall into it. For this reason God has threatened punishment; if it was not attended with great advantage to think of it, God would not have threatened it. But because the remembrance of it is able to work great good, for this reason He has put into our souls the terror of it, as a wholesome medicine. Let us not then overlook the great advantage arising from it, but let us continually advert to it, at our dinners, at our suppers. For conversation about pleasant things profits the soul nothing, but renders it more languid, while that about things painful and melancholy cuts off all that is relaxed and dissolute in it, and converts it, and braces it when unnerved. He who converses of theaters and actors does not benefit the soul, but inflames it more, and renders it more careless. He who concerns himself and is busy in other men’s matters, often even involves it in dangers by this curiosity. But he who converses about hell incurs no dangers, and renders it more sober.

But dost thou fear the offensiveness of such words? Hast thou then, if thou art silent, extinguished hell? or if thou speakest of it, hast thou kindled it? Whether thou speakest of it or not, the fire boils forth. Let it be continually spoken of, that thou mayest never fall into it. It is not possible that a soul anxious about hell should readily sin. For hear the most excellent advice, “Remember,” it says, “thy last things” (Sirach 28:6), and thou wilt not sin for ever. A soul that is fearful of giving account cannot but be slow to transgression. For fear being vigorous in the soul does not permit anything worldly to exist in it. For if discourse raised concerning hell so humbles and brings it low, does not the reflection constantly dwelling upon the soul purify it more than any fire?

Let us not remember the kingdom so much as hell. For fear has more power than the promise. And I know that many would despise ten thousand blessings, if they were rid of the punishment, inasmuch as it is even now sufficient for me to escape vengeance, and not to be punished. No one of those who have hell before their eyes will fall into hell. No one of those who despise hell will escape hell. For as among us those who fear the judgment-seats will not be apprehended by them, but those who despise them are chiefly those who fall under them, so it is also in this case. If the Ninevites had not feared destruction, they would have been overthrown, but because they feared, they were not overthrown. If in the time of Noah they had feared the deluge, they would not have been drowned. And if the Sodomites had feared they would not have been consumed by fire. It is a great evil to despise a threat. He who despises threatening will soon experience its reality in the execution of it. Nothing is so profitable as to converse concerning hell. It renders our souls purer than any silver. For hear the prophet saying, “Thy judgments are always before me.” (Psalm 17:22, Septuagint). For although it pains the hearer, it benefits him very much.

For such indeed are all things that profit. For medicines too, and food, at first annoy the sick, and then do him good. And if we cannot bear the severity of words, it is manifest that we shall not be able to bear affliction in very deed. If no one endures a discourse concerning hell, it is evident, that if persecution came on, no one would ever stand firm against fire, against sword. Let us exercise our ears not to be over soft and tender: for from this we shall come to endure even the things themselves. If we be habituated to hear of dreadful things, we shall be habituated also to endure dreadful things. But if we be so relaxed as not to endure even words, when shall we stand against things? Do you see how the blessed Paul despises all things here, and dangers one after another, as not even temptations? Wherefore? Because he had been in the practice of despising hell, for the sake of what was God’s will. He thought even the experience of hell to be nothing for the sake of the love of Christ; while we do not even endure a discourse concerning it for our own advantage. Now therefore having heard a little, go your ways; but I beseech you if there is any love in you, constantly to revert to discourses concerning these things. They can do you no harm, even if they should not benefit, but assuredly they will benefit you too. For according to our discourses, the soul is qualified. For evil communications, he says, “corrupt good manners.” Therefore also good communications improve it; therefore also fearful discourses make it sober. For the soul is a sort of wax. For if you apply cold discourses, you harden and make it callous; but if fiery ones, you melt it; and having melted it, you form it to what you will, and engrave the royal image upon it. Let us therefore stop up our ears to discourses that are vain. It is no little evil; for from it arise all evils.

If our mind had been practiced to apply to divine discourses, it would not apply to others; and not applying to others, neither would it betake itself to evil actions. For words are the road to works. First we think, then we speak, then we act. Many men, even when before sober, have often from disgraceful words gone on to disgraceful actions. For our soul is neither good nor evil by nature, but becomes both the one and the other from choice. As therefore the sail carries the ship wherever the wind may blow, or rather as the rudder moves the ship, if the wind be favorable, so also thought will sail without danger, if good words from a favorable quarter waft it. But if the contrary, often they will even overwhelm the reason. For what winds are to ships, that discourses are to souls. Wherever you will, you may move and turn it. For this reason one exhorting says, “Let thy whole discourse be in the law of the Most High.” (see Sirach 9:15) Wherefore, I exhort you, when we receive children from the nurse, let us not accustom them to old wives’ stories, but let them learn from their first youth that there is a Judgment, that there is a punishment; let it be infixed in their minds. This fear being rooted in them produces great good effects. For a soul that has learnt from its first youth to be subdued by this expectation, will not soon shake off this fear. But like a horse obedient to the bridle, having the thought of hell seated upon it, walking orderly, it will both speak and utter things profitable; and neither youth nor riches, nor an orphan state, nor any other thing, Will be able to injure it, having its reason so firm and able to hold out against everything.

By these discourses let us regulate as well ourselves as our wives too, our servants, our children, our friends, and, if possible, our enemies. For with these discourses we are able to cut off the greater part of our sins, and it is better to dwell upon things grievous than upon things agreeable, and it is manifest from hence. For, tell me, if you should go into a house where a marriage is celebrated, for a season you are delighted at the spectacle, but afterwards having gone away, you pine with grief that you have not so much. But if you enter the house of mourners, even though they are very rich, when you go away you will be rather refreshed. For there you have not conceived envy, but comfort and consolation in your poverty. You have seen by facts, that riches are no good, poverty no evil, but they are things indifferent. So also now, if you talk about luxury, you the more vex your soul, that is not able perhaps to be luxurious. But if you are speaking against luxury, and introduce discourse concerning hell, the thing will cheer you, and beget much pleasure. For when you consider that luxury will not be able to defend us at all against that fire, you will not seek after it; but if you reflect that it is wont to kindle it even more, you will not only not seek, but will turn from it and reject it.

Let us not avoid discourses concerning hell, that we may avoid hell. Let us not banish the remembrance of punishment, that we may escape punishment. If the rich man had reflected upon that fire, he would not have sinned; but because he never was mindful of it, therefore he fell into it. Tell me, O man, being about to stand before the Judgment-seat of Christ, dost thou speak of all things rather than of that? And When you have a matter before a judge, often only relating to words, neither day nor night, at no time or season dost thou talk of anything else, but always of that business, and when thou art about to give an account of thy whole life, and to submit to a trial, canst thou not bear even with others reminding thee of that Judgment? For this reason therefore all things are ruined and undone, because when we are about to stand before a human tribunal concerning matters of this life, we move everything, we solicit all men, we are constantly anxious about it, we do everything for the sake of it: but when we are about, after no long time, to come before the Judgment-seat of Christ, we do nothing either by ourselves, or by others; we do not entreat the Judge. And yet He grants to us a long season of forbearance, and does not snatch us away in the midst of our sins, but permits us to put them off, and that Goodness and Lovingkindness leaves nothing undone of all that belongs to Himself. But all is of no avail; on this account the punishment will be the heavier. But God forbid it should be so! Wherefore, I beseech you, let us even if but now become watchful. Let us keep hell before our eyes. Let us consider that inexorable Account, that, thinking of those things, we may both avoid vice, and choose virtue, and may be able to obtain the blessings promised to those who love Him, by the grace and lovingkindness, &c.

(On 2 Thess 1:9-12)

2 Th 1:9  Who shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction, from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his power:

There are many men, who form good hopes not by abstaining from their sins, but by thinking that hell is not so terrible as it is said to be, but milder than what is threatened, and temporary, not eternal; and about this they philosophize much. But I could show from many reasons, and conclude from the very expressions concerning hell, that it is not only not milder, but much more terrible than is threatened. But I do not now intend to discourse concerning these things. For the fear even from bare words is sufficient, though we do not fully unfold their meaning. But that it is not temporary, hear Paul now saying, concerning those who know not God, and who do not believe in the Gospel, that they “shall suffer eternal punishment in destruction.” How then is that temporary which is everlasting? “From the face of the Lord,” he says. What is this? He here wishes to say how easily it might be. For since they were then much puffed up, there is no need, he says, of much trouble; it is enough that God comes and is seen, and all are involved in punishment deed will be Light, but to others vengeance.

2 Th 1:10  When he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be made wonderful in all them who have believed; because our testimony was believed upon you in that day.

“And from the glory of his power,” he says, (at the end of verse 9), “when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be made wonderful in all them who have believed.”

Is God glorified? Yea, he says, in all the Saints. How? For when they that puff so greatly see those who were scourged by them, who were despised, who were derided, even those now near to Him, it is His glory, or rather it is their glory, both theirs and His; His indeed, because He did not forsake them; theirs, because they were thought worthy of so great honor. For as it is His riches, that there are faithful men, so also it is His glory that there are those who are to enjoy His blessings. It is the glory of Him that is good, to have those to whom He may impart His beneficence. “And to be made wonderful,” he says, “in all them that believed,” that is, “through them that believed.” See here again, “in” is used for “through.” For through them He is shown to be admirable, when He brings to so much splendor those who were pitiable and wretched, and who had suffered unnumbered ills, and had believed. His power is shown then; because although they seem to be deserted here, yet nevertheless they there enjoy great glory; then especially is shown all the glory and the power of God. How? “Because our testimony was believed upon you in that day.”

2 Th 1:11  Wherefore also we pray always for you: That our God would make you worthy of his vocation and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith in power:

“Wherefore also we pray always for you.” That is, when those are brought into public view, who have suffered unnumbered ills, deigned to make them apostatize from the faith, and yet have not yielded, but have believed, God is glorified. Then is shown the glory of these men also. “Call none blessed,” it says, “before his death.” (Sirach 11:28) On this account he says, in that day will be shown those who believed. “Wherefore also we pray,” he says, “always for you: That our God would make you worthy of his vocation and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith in power.”

“That God would make you,” he says, “worthy of his vocation”; for they were not called. Therefore he has added, “and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness .” Since he also who was clothed in filthy garments, was called, but did not abide in his calling, but for this reason was the more rejected. “Of his vocation,” namely that to the bride-chamber. Since the five virgins also were called. “Behold” it says, “the bridegroom cometh.” (see Matt 25:6) And they prepared themselves, but did not enter in. But he speaks of that other calling. Showing therefore what calling he is speaking of, he has added, “and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness and the work of faith in power.” This is the calling, he says, that we seek. See how gently he takes them down. For that they may not be rendered vain by the excess of commendation, as if they had done great deeds, and may not become slothful, he shows that something still is wanting to them, so long as they are in this life. Which also he said in his Epistle to the Hebrews. “For you have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Heb 12:4) “And fulfill all the good pleasure,” he says, that is, His gratification, persuasion, full assurance. That is, that the persuasion of God may be fulfilled, that nothing may be wanting to you, that you may be so, as He wills. And every “work of faith,” he says, “with power.” What is this? The patient endurance of persecutions, that we may not faint, he says.

2 Th 1:12  That the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.

(He spoke there of glory, he speaks of it also here. He said, that they are glorified, so that they might even boast. He said, what was much more, that they also glorify God. He said, that they will receive that glory. But here too he means; For the Master being glorified, the servants also are glorified. For those who glorify their Master, are much more glorified themselves, both by that very thing, and apart from it. For tribulation for the sake of Christ is glory, and that thing he everywhere calls glory. And by how much the more we suffer anything dishonorable, so much the more illustrious we become. Then again showing that this also itself is of God, he says, “according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ ”; that is, this grace He Himself has given us, that He may be glorified in us, and that He may glorify us in Him. How is He glorified in us? Because we prefer nothing before Him. How are we glorified in Him? Because we have received power from Him, so that we do not at all yield to the evils that are brought upon us. For when temptation happens, at the same time God is glorified, and we too. For they glorify Him, because He has so nerved us; they admire us, because we have rendered ourselves worthy. And all these things are done by the grace of God.

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