The Divine Lamp

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

Aquinas’ Homily Notes on Philippians 3:20 for the Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 1, 2012

These notes can be used for homily suggestions, points for meditation, or for further study.

“For our conversation is in heaven”~Philip 3:20

THE Apostle in these words teaches that the conversation of the just is in heaven; so that if we wish to be like them we must not have our conversation about the miseries of this present life, but “in heaven.” The Apostle here lays down three things in regard to the conversation in heaven. Firstly, the reason why we should have our conversation there. Secondly, the nature of that conversation. Thirdly, the similitude between the conversation of the saints and of the angels.

I. The Reason Why We Should Have Our Conversation in Heaven:  It is to be noted, that the saints have their conversation in heaven for three reasons.

(1) For security, for he who has his conversation in heaven is secure from the dangers of this troublesome life: “Lay me down now, and put me in a surety with Thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?” Job 17:3. S. Augustine says that he who enters into the joy of his Lord is secure, and will experience the best condition in the best place.

(2) On account of delight; for he who has his conversation in heaven will have a continuous joy and delight: “For her conversation hath no bitterness, nor her company any tediousness, but joy and gladness,” Wisdom 8:16. Seneca compares the mind of the wise to a world above the moon, which is ever calm.

(3) On account of the necessity that there is for all earthly things to pass away. The saints know that all the earthly things here quickly are about to pass away: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall meet with fervent heat Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness,” 2 Pet 3:10, 14.

II. The Nature Of That Conversation:  It is to be noted, that the saints have in heaven a three- fold conversation.

(1) In ever thinking over the good things of heaven.

(2) In desiring to be ever in heaven. Of these two it is said, such an holy one is held worthily in the memory of man; he has passed ever to the joy of angels, since in the body only he is placed in the present conversation, his true conversation being in that heavenly country.

(3) The conversation of the saints in heaven consists in their living after the manner of heaven. The Gloss, on the text being, that our conversation is in heaven while we live on earth; because we have our hope there, and because we are like to the angels both in living and knowing.

III. the Similitude Between The Conversation Of The Saints And The Conversation Of The Angels: It is to be noted, that the conversation of the saints is like that of the angels in three ways.

(1) In purity.

(2) In simplicity without guile.

(3) In charity.

These three are chiefly seen in the angels: simplicity in essence, purity in nature, charity in grace. The conversation of the saints is also in these three: “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world,” 2 Cor 1:12.


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