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 November 3rd, 2012

This Week’s Posts: Sunday, November 4-Sunday, November 11

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 3, 2012

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4
THIRTY-FIRST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Dominica XXIII Post Pentecosten I. Novembris ~ II. classis

TODAY’S MASS RESOURCES (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

YEAR OF FAITH: HOW TO READ THE CATECHISM IN A YEAR. The Year of Faith with its focus on the catechism started on Oct. 11. This site will send you a free email every day containing a little piece of the catechism and is designed to  get you through the CCC by the end of the Year of Faith.

Today Catechism Reading.

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5
MONDAY OF THE THIRTY-FIRST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Feria Secunda infra Hebdomadam XXIII post Octavam Pentecostes I. Novembris ~ IV. classis

Daily Catechism Reading.

ORDINARY FORM:

  • Pending: Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 131).

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6
TUESDAY OF THE THIRTY-FIRST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Feria Tertia infra Hebdomadam XXIII post Octavam Pentecostes I. Novembris ~ IV. classis

Daily Catechism Reading.

ORDINARY FORM:

  • St Thomas Aquinas’ Lectures on Today’s 1st Reading (In Two Parts):

Part 1: Philippians 2:5-8.

Part 2: Philippians 2:9-11. On 9-13 actually.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7
WEDNESDAY OF THE THIRTY-FIRST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Feria Quarta infra Hebdomadam XXIII post Octavam Pentecostes I. Novembris ~ IV. classis

Daily Catechism Reading.

ORDINARY FORM:

  • St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s First Reading (In Two Parts).

Part 1. Philippians 2:13-13. On 9-13 actually.

Part 2. Philippians 2:14-18. On 14-30 actually.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 8
THURSDAY OF THE THIRTY-FIRST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Feria Quinta infra Hebdomadam XXIII post Octavam Pentecostes I. Novembris ~ IV. classis
Commemoratio: Ss. Quatuor Coronatorum Martyrum

Daily Catechism Reading.

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9
FEAST OF THE DEDICATION OF ST JOHN LATERAN BASILICA IN ROME
In Dedicatione Basilicae Ss. Salvatoris ~ II. classis
Tempora: Feria Sexta infra Hebdomadam XXIII post Octavam Pentecostes I. Novembris

ORDINARY FORM:

Today’s Mass Readings.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10
MEMORIAL OF ST LEO THE GREAT, POPE AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
S. Andreae Avellini Confessoris ~ III. classis
Tempora: Sabbato infra Hebdomadam XXIII post Octavam Pentecostes I. Novembris

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11
THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Dominica V quae superfluit Post Epiphaniam III. Novembris ~ II. classis

RESOURCES FOR SUNDAY MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Next Week’s Posts: Sunday, November 11-Sunday, November 18. will move to top of blog early Sunday, Nov. 11.

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St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 14:25-34

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 3, 2012

14:25-35. And great multitudes went with Him: and He turned and said unto them; Whosoever cometh unto Me, and hates not his father and his mother, and his wife, and his children, and his brethren, and his sisters: yes, and his own self also, he cannot be My disciple. And whosoever does not bear his cross, and come after Me, cannot be My disciple. For which of you, that wishes to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, to see whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest when he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king going to make war with another king, sits not down first and consider, whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that comes against him with twenty thousand? And if he be not, while the other is yet afar off, he sends ambasssadors, and asks conditions of peace. So therefore every one of you that forsakes not all his possessions, cannot be My disciple. Halt therefore is good: but if the salt have no savour, with what shall it be seasoned? It is useful neither for the land, nor yet for the dunghill: they cast it out. He that has ears to hear, let him hear.

THOSE who command warlike armies, and have won for themselves martial glory, whenever the time for battle has arrived, instruct the troops under their orders in what way, arraying themselves manfully against the phalanxes of the enemy, they will gain a triumphant victory. And the Saviour of all, imitating the skilfulness of those here mentioned, very clearly shows unto all who would follow Him, the pathway of spiritual manfulness: that advancing with unrestrainable impetuosity unto every triumph of piety, and exerting a stern and irresistible earnestness, they may win by a just decree the right of being with Him, and following Him.

This lesson then clearly teaches us, what sort of persons He |491 would have us to be. “For whosoever comes unto Me, He says, and hates not his father and his mother, and his wife and his children, and his brethren, and his sisters, yes, and his own self also, cannot be My disciple.” ‘What then, O Lord, some perchance may say, do You despise the laws of natural affection? Do You command us to hate one another, and to disregard the love that is due to fathers from their sons, to wives from their husbands, to brethren from their brethren? Shall we make those enemies who are members of the same household; and those, whom it is our duty rather to love, must we count as foes, in order that we may be with you, and be able to follow you?’

This is not what the Saviour means. Away with so vain a a thought. For He Who commands even those who are violent enemies to be gentle, and forgiving to all who would do them wrong: for, “Love, He says, your enemies: and pray for them that spoil you:” how could He wish us to hate those who are born of the same family, and to disregard the honour due to parents, and think nothing of despising our brethren; yes! and our own children also, and even our own self? For He, Who has pronounced condemnation even upon those who disregard the law of mutual love, could not wish His friends to cherish a savage, and so to speak, a desperate state of minds. What however He does wish to teach in these commands is plain to those who can understand from what is said in another place expressly upon the same subject. “For he that loves, He says, father or mother more than Me, is not worthy of Me: and he that loves son or daughter more Me, is not worthy of Me.” By adding then “more than Me,” it is plain that He permits us to love, but not more than we do Him. For He demands for Himself our chief affection; and that very justly: for the love of God in those who are perfect in mind has something in it superior both to |492 the honour due to parents, and to the natural affection felt for children.

“We must explain however what the occasion was which directed our Lord’s words to this subject. The passage then read from the Gospel at our last meeting described the celebration of a great supper, unto which many were invited by him who gave the feast. But they were men indifferent to it: for “they made excuse, it says, with one accord, and said, one that he had bought a field, and must needs go to see it: and another, that he had bought five yoke of oxen: and a third again, that he had married a wife:” and by employing these feigned excuses, they vexed him who invited them. We are therefore given most clearly to understand, that when God calls us unto Him, to make us partakers of His bounty, we must disregard the lusts that are of the flesh, and minister to the flesh, and set no value whatsoever upon the things of this world, but exerting all our force must advance unto those things which will never have to be abandoned, and which fill us with all blessedness, as God bestows with bounteous hand upon us His gifts, and like one welcoming us to a costly banquet, admits us to the right of rejoicing with the rest of the saints in the hope of future blessings. For the things of earth, are but of little value and last only for a time, and belong to the flesh solely, which is the victim of corruption: but those things which are divine and spiritual constantly and without ceasing accompany those who have once been counted worthy of receiving them, and reach onwards to unending worlds. What value therefore will men of sense set upon earthly farms, or the love of carnal pleasure, or the respect due to kinsmen in the flesh, if it be laid down that for love’s sake unto Christ, we must disregard all these things that have been named? For many instances have there been of men desirous of a blameless life, who even after touching, so to speak, the dust of the palaestra, and making trial of the combats therein, and all but attaining to the right of receiving the crown of the heavenly calling, have been drawn backward, as it were, either from regard to relatives, or from being too weak to bear a struggle of endurance, or from being entangled in the snares of carnality, and foolishly preferring present pleasure to the |493 blessings laid up in hope. Many too the feav of death has terrified, and when the season called them unto persecutions, that being proved they might receive the crown of incorruption, they have denied the faith, have avoided, that is, the duty of suffering patiently, and having shown themselves weak and cowardly, have fallen from their steadfastness. To work in us therefore a mind incapable of being broken, and make us careless of every worldly matter for our love of Him, He commands us to hate even our relatives according to the flesh, and our own self also, if, as I have just said, the season call us thereto.

And next He uses two examples, to encourage unto an invincible fortitude those who are His friends, and to establish in an unwavering zeal those whose desire it is to attain to honours by patience and endurance. “For if, says He, any one wish to build a tower, he reckons first if he have means sufficient to finish it, lest when he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, men laugh at him.” For those whose choice it is to lead a glorious and blameless life ought to store up beforehand in their mind a zeal sufficient thereunto, and to remember him who says, “My son, if you draw near to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for every temptation: make your heart straight, and endure.'” But those who have no such zeal, how will they be able to reach the mark that is set before them?

“Or what king, He says, wishing to make war with another king, does not consider with himself, whether with his ten thousand he can prevail over one who is more mighty than himself?” And what does this mean? “Our wrestle is not against blood and flesh, but against governments; against empires; against the worldholders of this darkness; against wicked spirits in the heavenly regions.” We have too a crowd, as it were, of other enemies, the carnal mind, the law that rages in our members, passions of many kinds, the lust of pleasure, the lust of the flesh, the lust of wealth, and others: with these we must wrestle; this is our savage troop of enemies. How therefore shall we conquer? By believing that “in God we shall do valiantly, as Scripture says, and He shall bring to naught those that oppress us:” In this confidence one of the holy prophets said, “Behold the Lord helps |494 me: who shall make me ashamed?” And the divine David also sings, “The Lord is my light, and my Saviour: whom shall I fear? The Lord is the helper of my life, at whom shall I tremble?” For He is our strength, and by Him we shall gain victory: for He has given unto us to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy. As therefore He says, “Salt is good: but if the salt be tasteless, with what can it be seasoned? It is cast out,” He says. Let there be therefore, He proceeds, salt in you,” that is, the divine words which bring salvation: but which if we despise, we become without savour, and foolish, and utterly useless. Such things must the congregation of the saints cast out, by the gift unto them of mercy and love from Christ, the Saviour of us all; by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen. (source)

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St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 14:15-24

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 3, 2012

14: 15-24. And when one of them that reclined at table with Him heard these things, he said unto Him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. But He said unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many. And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come, for lo! all things are ready. And they at once began all of them to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a field, and I must needs go to see it: I pray you permit me to be excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them: I pray you permit me to be excused. And another said, I have taken a wife, and therefore I cannot come. And when the servant returned, he told his lord these things. Then the master of the house was angry, and said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and marketplaces of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the blind, and the lame. And the servant said, Lord, what you command is done, and yet there is room. And the lord said to his servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, that none of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper.

AGAIN, the purport of the lessons laid before us obliges me to say, that the fruit of good works is praiseworthy. For not unrewarded is the toil of the saints, as they strenuously labour to lead that life which is truly worthy of admiration both with God and men. For the wise Paul writes, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your labour and your love, which you have showed unto His Name.” And again in another place he uses similar words, “For the lightness, he says, of our present affliction works for us abundantly and in a higher degree an eternal greatness of glory, when we look not at the things which are seen, but at those which are not seen; for the things which are seen are those of time, but the things which are not seen are for eternity.” For the things of time are those of |485 earth; and these we say are what are here called “the things which are seen:” but those which are to come, and which at present are not seen, but consist in those hopes which, are with God, are stored up for us in mansions that cannot be shaken.

And who they are for whom these things are prepared, and unto whom they will be given, the Saviour has here shown, portraying as in a picture by the parable set before us, the nature and efficacy of the dispensation. It is necessary however for me first to say what was the occasion which led to this discourse.

Our Lord then was feasting at a certain Pharisee’s, in company with many others assembled there, the friends of him who had bidden them to the entertainment, and the sharers of his sentiments. There again the Saviour of all, to benefit those who were gathered there,—-for He loves mercy rather, and not honour and vainglory;—-perfected him that invited them, by not permitting him to make lavish expense, or aim at what was beyond his means, to gain the praise of men. For He said, “When you make a dinner or a supper, call not your friends, nor your brethren, nor further, any others who are rich and your neighbours: but rather the poor, and the maimed, and the blind. For those, He said, who so act shall be blessed at the resurrection of the just.” Upon which one of those who were reclining with them at meat, on hearing words thus excellent, said, “Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.” Probably however this man was not as yet spiritual, but rather animal, nor fitted to understand correctly what was spoken by Christ: for he was not one of those who believed, nor had he as yet been baptized. For he supposed that the rewards of the saints, for their mutual labours of love, would be in things pertaining to the body. Because then they were too dull in heart to comprehend a precise idea, Christ frames for them a parable which with sufficient appositeness sets forth the nature of the dispensation about to be instituted for their sakes: and says, “A certain man made a great supper, and bade many. And he sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come, for lo! all things are ready.”

And here let us first of all inquire, what was the reason why it is rather to a supper than a dinner that the guests were |486 invited; or rather, even before this, who is to be understood by the man who sent one to invite to the supper; and who also is the inviter, and who in fine they are who were invited, but despised the summons.

By the man therefore is to be understood God the Father. For similitudes are formed to represent the truth, and are by no means the truth themselves. He therefore, the Creator of the universe, and the Father of glory, made a great supper, that is, a festival for the whole world, in honour of Christ. In the last times then of the world, and. so to speak, at this our world’s setting, the Son arose for us: at which time also He suffered death for our sakes, and gave us His flesh to eat, as being the bread from heaven, Which gives life to the world. Towards evening also, and by the light of torches, the lamb was sacrificed, according to the law of Moses. And therefore with good reason the invitation that is by Christ is called a supper.

And next, who is he that was sent, and who it also says was a slave? Perchance Christ Himself: for though God the Word is by nature God, and the very Son of God the Father, from Whom He was manifested, yet He emptied Himself, to take the form of a slave. As being therefore God of God He is Lord of all; but one may justly apply the appellation of a slave to the limits of His humanity. Yet though He had taken, as I said, the form of a slave, He was even so Lord as being God.

And when was He sent? At supper time, it says. For it was not at the commencement of this world that the only-begotten Word of the Father descended from heaven, and was in form like unto us; but rather when the Omnipotent Himself willed it, even in these latter times, as also we have already said.

And what was the nature of the invitation? “Come: for lo! all things are ready.” For God the Father has prepared in Christ for the inhabitants of earth those gifts which are bestowed upon the world through Him, even the forgiveness of sins, the cleansing away of all defilement, the communion of the Holy Spirit, the glorious adoption as sons, and the kingdom of heaven. Unto these blessings Christ invited by the commandments of the gospel Israel before all others. For somewhere He has even said by the voice of the Psalmist; “But I have been set as a king by Him; that is, by God the Father; |487 upon Zion His holy mount, to preach the commandment of the Lord.” And again, “I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

And their determination then, was it for their own good? Did they regard with admiration the gentleness of Him Who bade them, and the office of Him Who ministered the call? Not so: for “they began, it says, all of them at once to make excuse:” that is, as with one purpose, without any delay, they made excuse. “For the first said, I have bought a field, and I must needs go to see it: I pray you, permit me to be excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them: I pray you, permit me to be excused. And another said, I have taken a wife, and therefore I cannot come.” You perceive that by senselessly giving themselves up to these earthly matters, they cannot see things spiritual; for being overcome by the love of the flesh, they are far from holiness, and are covetous and greedy after wealth. They seek those things which are below, but make no account, no not in the slightest degree, of those hopes which are stored up with God. Far better would it have been instead of earthly fields to gain the joys of paradise: and instead of transitory tillage, for this was the object of the yokes of oxen, to gather the fruits of righteousness. For it is written, “Sow for yourselves righteousness; gather as vintage the fruit of life.” Was it not their duty rather, instead of the carnal procreation of children, to have chosen spiritual fruitfulness? For the one is subject unto death and corruption: the other is an eternal and abiding; affluence for the saints.

When then the householder heard their refusal, he was angry, it says; and commanded that from the streets and marketplaces of the city there should be gathered the poor, and the maimed, and the blind, and the lame. And who then are to be understood by those who for the sake, as I said, of lands, and tillage, and the carnal procreation of children, refused to come? Certainly it must be those, who stood at the head of the Jewish synagogue; men with wealthy purses, the slaves of covetousness, with their mind set on lucre, on which they lavished all their earnestness. For so to speak throughout |488 the whole of inspired Scripture, one may see them blamed for this very thing.

Those then who were superior in station to the mass of the common people did not submit themselves to Christ, when, saying unto them, “Take My yoke upon you:” they rejected the invitation: they did not accept the faith; they remained away from the feast; and scorned the great supper by their hardened disobedience. For that the scribes and Pharisees did not believe in Christ, is manifest by what He says unto them, “You have taken away the key of knowledge: you enter not in yourselves: and those that are entering you have hindered.” In their stead therefore those were called who were in the streets and market-places, who belonged, that is, to the Jewish common people, whose mind was sickly, and infirm, and dark, and halting: for such one may consider to be blind and lame. But they became strong and whole in Christ: they learnt to walk uprightly, and received the divine light into their mind. And that a multitude of the Jews not easy to number believed, one may learn from the Acts of the Apostles.

When then those, it says, who were in the streets had been called, he whose office it was to bid them to the supper said to the householder, “Still there is room. And the lord said to his servant. Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, that no one of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper.”

Here observe, I pray, the calling of the Gentiles after that the Israelites had entered by faith.. For in old time the Gentiles were boorish in mind, and uncultivated in understanding, and so to say, outside the city, as living in lawlessness, and more like cattle than men, and with little use of reason. And on this account he who invites to the supper is sent unto the highways, outside the city, and to the hedges in the fields: |489 moreover he is commanded by him who seat him not merely to invite, and offer them exhortation only, but even to compel them. And yet in all men faith is a voluntary act, and by attaining unto it of their own free will, men are acceptable unto God, and largely endowed with His gifts. How then are men compelled? Yes, this also was said advisedly. For it was necessary, absolutely necessary for the Gentiles, as being fettered by an intolerable tyranny, and fallen under the yoke of the devil, and caught, so to speak, in the indissoluble meshes of their sins, and utterly ignorant of Him Who by nature and verily is God, that their calling should be very urgent, resembling the use of force, that they might be able to look up unto God, and taste the sacred doctrines, and leave off their former error, and spring away as it were from the hand of Satan. For Christ also said, “No man can come unto Me except My Father Who sent Me drag him.” But dragging implies that the calling is an act of power such as God only can exercise. And the blessed David is also found addressing God in similar terms respecting them, “With bridle and bit shall You restrain the jaws of those that draw not near unto You.” You see how the God of all as with a bridle turns unto Himself those who fiercely have departed from Him: for He is good and loving unto mankind, and wills that all men should be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth.

The chiefs therefore of the Israelitish populace remained aloof from the supper, as being obdurate and proud and disobedient, and scorned so surpassing an invitation, because they had turned aside to earthly things, and fixed their mind upon the vain distractions of this world. But the vulgar multitude was called in, and after them immediately and without delay the Gentiles. For when our Lord Jesus Christ arose from the dead, He cried out unto the holy apostles saying, ” All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth: go make disciples of all nations, baptizing you them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: and teaching you them to observe all those things that I have commanded you: and lo! I am with you every day even unto the end of the world.” (source)

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St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 14:12-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 3, 2012

14:12-14. Then said He also to him that bade Him, When you make a dinner or a supper, call not your friends, nor your brethren, neither your kinsmen, nor your rich neighbours; lest they also bid you again, and a recompense be made you. But when you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind. And you shall be blessed, because they cannot recompense you: for you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

REMARKABLE indeed is the beauty of the mind of man: and it shows itself in various ways, and is conspicuous in a diversity of manners. For just as those who are skilled in delineating forms in pictures cannot by one colour attain to perfect beauty in their painting, but rather use various and many kinds of hues; so also the God of all, Who is the Giver and Teacher of spiritual beauty, adorns our souls with that manifold virtue which consists in all saintlike excellence of living, in order to complete in us His likeness. For in His rational creatures the best and most excellent beauty is the likeness of God, which is wrought in us by the exact vision of God, and by virtue perfected by active exertion. Consider therefore how our Lord Jesus Christ makes our souls beautiful by every spiritual adornment. For here He had commanded the Pharisees and lawyers, or rather, the Scribes, to think lowly of themselves, and to cultivate a mind free from the love of vainglory, bidding them not to seize upon the foremost seats. For He was dining with them, that being in their company He might benefit them even against their will. And after them He next addressed him who had invited them, and assembled them to the entertainment, saying, “When you make a dinner or a supper, call not your friends, nor your brethren, neither your kinsmen nor your rich neighbours: but rather the lame, and the blind, and the maimed.”

Would He then produce in us a morose state of mind? Is it His will that we be unsociable, and unloving, so as not even to deem our friends and relatives worthy of that affection which |481 especially is fitting and due to them? Are we to pay no regard to those who are near us in affection and love? Does He forbid the rights of hospitality? But how is it not absurd and ignorant to imagine that He contradicts His own laws? What then does He wish to teach? Something perhaps like what follows; Those who possess great store of wealth make much account, so to speak, of a constant display and ostentation. For oftentimes they bring men to banquet with them, and make entertainments at vast cost, with curiously prepared viands, and such as do not escape the blame of prodigality. And this it is their custom to do, in order to gain the praises and applause of their guests. And in receiving the praises of their flatterers, as the wages, so to speak, of their extravagance, they rejoice greatly, as though they had gained something of value. For it is the habit of flatterers to praise oven those things which deserve blame.

For what good is there in such prodigal abundance beyond what necessity requires? For as Christ Himself somewhere said, “Few things are needful, or one,” for the necessary appeasing of the wants of the body. That we may escape therefore the danger of losing the reward of our outlay, by expending our wealth in such pursuits as will bear good fruit, He has commanded us to invite the poor, and the maimed, and the blind, and those who are suffering under other bodily maladies; that by our liberality in so doing, we may attain to the hope that comes from above from God.

The lesson therefore which He teaches us is love unto the poor, which is a thing precious in the sight of God. Do you feel pleasure in being praised when you have any friends of relatives feasting with you? I tell you of something far better: angels shall praise your bounty, and the rational powers above, and holy men as well: and He too shall accept it Who transcends all, and Who loves mercy and is kind. Lend unto Him fearing nothing, and you shall receive with usury whatever you gave: “for he, it says, who has pity on the poor lends unto God.” He acknowledged the loan, and promises repayment. “For when the Son of man, He says, shall come in the glory of His Father, with the holy angels, and shall sit upon the throne of His glory, He shall set the sheep upon His right hand, and the goats upon His left. |482

And He shall say to them on His right hand, Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me meat: I was thirsty and you gave Me drink: I was naked and you covered Me: sick and you visited Me: in prison, and you came unto Me. And to this He added, Verily I say unto you, that whatsoever you have done to one of these little ones, you have done unto Me.” The outlay therefore is not unfruitful: rather shall compassion upon the poor make your wealth breathe forth a sweet savour. Purchase the grace that comes from God; buy for your friend the Lord of heaven and earth: for verily we oftentimes purchase men’s friendship with large sums of gold, and if those of high rank are reconciled unto us, we feel great joy in offering them presents even beyond what we can afford, because of the honour which accrues to us from them. And yet these things are but transitory, and quickly fade away, and are like the phantasies of dreams.

But to be members of God’s household, must we not count that as a thing worth the gaining; and esteem it as of the highest importance? For certainly after the resurrection from the dead we must stand in Christ’s presence; and there a recompense shall of necessity be made to the compassionate and merciful: but a condemnation commensurate with their deeds shall be the lot of those who were harsh and without mutual love; for it is written, “that there is judgment without mercy for those who have showed no mercy.” And if so, how is it not the proof and perfection of a sound mind, that before we descend to the pit of torment we should take forethought for our life? For come, and let us discuss this among ourselves. Suppose that for some cause or other which the law condemned they had dragged us before the judges, and so a sentence such as our offences deserved had been passed upon us after our conviction; should we not with pleasure offer up our wealth to escape from all torment and punishment? And how can there be any doubt of this? For oneself is better than possessions, and life than wealth. Now we are guilty of many sins, and must give an account to the Judge of whatsoever we have done; and why then do we not deliver ourselves from judgment and the everlasting fire while time permits? And the |483 way in which to deliver ourselves is to live in virtue;—-to comfort the brethren who are grieved with poverty, and open our hand wide to all who are in need, and to sympathize with the sick.

For tell me what is harder than poverty, that implacable beast of prey, that bane which no admonition can charm away, that worst of maladies, or rather more cruel than any malady? We therefore must give a helping hand to those who are suffering under it: we must open wide to them our heart, and not pass by their lamentation. For suppose a savage beast of prey had sprung upon some wayfarer, would not any one who witnessed the occurrence seize up any thing that came to hand, a stone for instance, or stick, and drive away the beast that was mercilessly rending and tearing the man fallen beneath its blow? Who is so hardhearted and full of hatred to mankind as to pass by one thus miserably perishing? And must not you own, that poverty, as I said, is more cruel than any beast of prey? Aid therefore those who are fallen under it: incline yours ear to the poor, and listen to him, as it is written, “For he, it says, who stops his ears that he may not hear the feeble, he also shall cry, and there shall be none to listen.” Give that you may receive: hear that you may be heard: sow your little that you may reap much. And besides, the pleasure of the body is short and temporary, and ends in rottenness: but almsgiving and charity to the poor crown those who practise them with glory from God, and lead them to that incorruptible happiness which Christ bestows on those who love Him: by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen. (source)

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 14:15-24

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 3, 2012

Ver  15. And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said to him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.16. Then said he to him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:17. And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.18. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said to him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray you have me excused.19. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray you have me excused.20. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.21. So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.22. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as you have commanded, and yet there is room.23. And the lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.24. For I say to you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

EUSEB. Our Lord had just before taught us to prepare our feasts for those who cannot repay, seeing that we shall have our reward at the resurrection of the just. Some one then, supposing the resurrection of the just to be one and the same with the kingdom of God, commends the above-mentioned recompense; for it follows, When one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said to him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

CYRIL; That man was carnal, and a careless hearer of the things which Christ delivered, for he thought the reward of the saints was to be bodily.

AUG. Or because he sighed for something afar off, and that bread which he desired lay before him. For who is that Bread of the kingdom of God but He who says, I am the living bread which came down from heaven? Open not your mouth, but your heart.

BEDE; But because some receive this bread by faith merely, as if by smelling, but its sweetness they loathe to really touch with their mouths, our Lord by the following parable condemns the dullness of those men to be unworthy of the heavenly banquet. For it follows, But he said to him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many.

CYRIL; This man represents God the Father just as images are formed to give the resemblance of power. For as often as God wishes to declare His avenging power, He is called by the names of bear, leopard, lion, and others of the same kind; but when He wishes to express mercy, by the name of man. The Maker of all things, therefore, and Father of Glory, or the Lord, prepared the great supper which was finished in Christ.

For in these latter times, and as it were the setting of our world, the Son of God has shone upon us, and enduring death for our sakes, has given us His own body to eat. Hence also the lamb was sacrificed in the evening according to the Mosaic law. Rightly then was the banquet which was prepared in Christ called a supper.

GREG. Or he made a great supper, as having prepared for us the full enjoyment of eternal sweetness. He bade many, but few came, because sometimes they who themselves are subject to him by faith, by their lives oppose his eternal banquet. And this is generally the difference between the delights of the body and the soul, that fleshly delights when not possessed provoke a longing desire for them, but when possessed and devoured, the eater soon turns from satiety to loathing; spiritual delights, on the other hand, when not possessed are loathed, when possessed the more desired. But heavenly mercy recalls those despised delights to the eyes of our memory, and in order that we should drive away our disgust, bids us to the feast. Hence it follows, And he sent his servant, &c.

CYRIL; That servant who was sent is Christ Himself, who being by nature God and the true Son of God, emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant. But He was sent at supper time. For not in the beginning did the Word take upon Him our nature, but in the last time; and he adds, For all things are ready. For the Father prepared in Christ the good things bestowed upon the world through Him, the removal of sins, the participation of the Holy Spirit, the glory of adoption. To these Christ bade men by the teaching of the Gospel.

AUG. Or else, the Man is the Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus; He sent that they who were bidden might come, i.e. those who were called by the prophets whom He had sent; who in the former times invited to the supper of Christ, were often sent to the people of Israel, often bade them to come at supper time. They received the inviters, refused the supper. They received the prophets and killed Christ, and thus ignorantly prepared for us the supper. The supper being now ready, i.e. Christ being sacrificed, the Apostles were sent to those, to whom prophets had been sent before.

GREG. By this servant then who is sent by the master of the family to bid to supper, the order of preachers is signified. But it is often the case that a powerful person has a despised servant, and when his Lord orders any thing through him, the servant speaking is not despised, because respect for the master who sends him is still kept up in the heart. Our Lord then offers what he ought to be asked for, not ask others to receive. He wishes to give what could scarcely be hoped for; yet all begin at once to make excuse, for it follows, And they all began with one consent to make excuse. Behold a rich man invites, and the poor hasten to come. We are invited to the banquet of God, and we make excuse.

AUG. Now there were three excuses, of which it is added, The first said to him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it. The bought piece of ground denotes government. Therefore pride is the first vice reproved. For the first man wished to rule, not willing to have a master.

GREG. Or by the piece of ground is meant worldly substance. Therefore he goes out to see it who thinks only of outward things for the sake of his living.

AMBROSE; Thus it is that the worn out soldier is appointed to serve degraded offices, as he who intent upon things below buys for himself earthly possessions, can not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Our Lord says, Sell all that you have, and follow me.

It follows, And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them.

AUG. The five yoke of oxen are taken to be the five senses of the flesh; in the eyes sight, in the ears hearing, in the nostrils smelling, in the mouth taste, in all the members touch. But the yoke is more easily apparent in the three first senses; two eyes, two ears, two nostrils. Here are three yoke. And in the mouth is the sense of taste which is forma to be a kind of double, in that nothing is sensible to the taste, which is not touched both by the tongue and palate. The pleasure of the flesh which belongs to the touch is secretly doubled. It is both outward and inward. But they are called yoke of oxen, because through those senses of the flesh earthly things are pursued. For the oxen till the ground, but men at a distance from faith, given up to earthly things, refuse to believe in any thing, but what they arrive at by means of the five-fold sense of the body. “I believe nothing but what I see.” If such were our thoughts, we should be hindered from the supper by those five yoke of oxen. But that you may understand that it is not the delight of the five senses which charms and conveys pleasure, but that a certain curiosity is denoted, he says not, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and go to feed them, but go to prove them.

GREG. By the bodily senses also because they cannot comprehend things within, but take cognizance only of what is without, curiosity is rightly represented, which while it seeks to shake off a life which is strange to it, not knowing its own secret life, desires to dwell upon things without. But we must observe, that the one who for his farm, and the other who to prove his five yoke of oxen, excuse themselves from the supper of their Inviter, mix up with their excuse the words of humility. For when they say, I pray you, and then disdain to come, the word sounds of humility, but the action is pride. It follows, And this said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

AUG. That is the delight of the flesh which hinders many, I wish it were outward and not inward. For he who said, I have married a wife, taking pleasure in the delights of the flesh, excuses himself from the supper; let such a one take heed lest he die from inward hunger.

BASIL; But he says, I cannot come, because that the human mind when it is degenerating to worldly pleasures, is feeble in attending to the things of God.

GREG. But although marriage is good, and appointed by Divine Providence for the propagation of children, some seek therein not fruitfulness of offspring, but the lust of pleasure. And so by means of a righteous thing may not unfitly an unrighteous thing be represented.

AMBROSE; Or marriage is not blamed; but purity is held up to greater honor, since the unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy in body and spirit, but she that is married cares for the things of the world.

AUG. Now John when he said, all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, began from the point where the Gospel ended. The lust of the flesh, I have married a wife; the lust of the eyes, I have bought five yoke of oxen; the pride of life, I have bought a farm. But proceeding from a part to the whole, the five senses have been spoken of under the eyes alone, which hold the chief place among the five senses. Because though properly the sight belongs to the eyes, we are in the habit of ascribing the act of seeing to all the five senses.

CYRIL; But whom can we suppose these to be who refused to come for the reason just mentioned, but the rulers of the Jews, whom throughout the sacred history we find to have been often reproved for these things?

ORIGEN; Or else, they who have bought a piece of ground and reject or refuse the supper, are they who have taken other doctrines of divinity, but have despised the word which they possessed. But he who has bought five yoke of oxen is he who neglects his intellectual nature, and follows the things of sense, therefore he cannot comprehend a spiritual nature. But he who has married a wife is he who is joined to the flesh, a lover of pleasure rather than of God.

AMBROSE; Or let us suppose that three classes of men are excluded from partaking of that supper, Gentiles, Jews, Heretics. The Jews by their fleshly service impose upon themselves the yoke of the law, for the five yoke are the yoke of the Ten Commandments, of which it is said, And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. That is, the commands of the Decalogue. Or the five yoke are the five books of the old law. But heresy indeed, like Eve with a woman’s obstinacy, tries the affection of faith. And the Apostle says that we must flee from covetousness, lest entangled in the customs of the Gentiles we be unable to come to the kingdom of Christ. Therefore both he who has bought a farm is a stranger to the kingdom, and he who has chosen the yoke of the law rather than the gift of grace, and he also who excuses himself because he has married a wife.

It follows, And the servant returned, and told these things to his Lord.

AUG. Not for the sake of knowing inferior beings does God require messengers, as though He gained aught from them, for He knows all things steadfastly and unchangeably. But he has messengers for our sakes and their own, because to be present with God, and stand before Him so as to consult Him about His subjects, and obey His heavenly commandments, is good for them in the order of their own nature.

CYRIL; But with the rulers of the Jews who refused their call, as they themselves confessed, Have any of the rulers believed on him? the Master of the household was wroth, as with them that deserved His indignation and anger; whence it follows, Then the master of the house being angry, &c.

PSEUDO-BASIL; Not that the passion of anger belongs to the Divine substance, but an operation such as in us is caused by anger, is called the anger and indignation of God.

CYRIL; Thus it was that the master of the house is said to have been enraged with the chiefs of the Jews, and in their stead were called men taken from out of the Jewish multitude, and of weak and impotent minds. For at Peter’s preaching, first indeed three thousand, then five thousand believed, and afterwards much people; whence it follows, He said to his servant, Go out straightway into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

AMBROSE; He invites the poor, the weak, and the blind, to show that weakness of body shuts out no one from the kingdom of heaven, and that he is guilty of fewer sins who lacks the incitement to sin; or that the infirmities of sin are forgiven through the mercy of God. Therefore he sends to the streets, that from the broader ways they may come to the narrow way.

Because then the proud refuse to come, the poor are chosen, since they are called weak and poor who are weak in their own judgment of themselves, for there are poor, and yet as it were strong, who though lying in poverty are proud, the blind are they who have no brightness of understanding; the lame are they who have walked not uprightly in their works. But since the faults of these are expressed in the weakness of their members, as those were sinners who when bidden refused to come, so also are these who are invited and come; but the proud sinners are rejected, the humble are chosen. God then chooses those whom the world despises, because for the most part the very act of contempt recalls a man to himself. And men so much the sooner hear the voice of God, as they have nothing in this world to take pleasure in. When then the Lord calls certain from the streets and lanes to supper, He denotes that people who had learnt to observe in the city the constant practice of the law. But the multitude who believed of the people of Israel did not fill the places of the upper feast room.

Hence it follows, And the servant said, Lord, it is done as you have commanded, and yet there is room. For already had great numbers of the Jews entered, but yet there was room in the kingdom for the abundance of the Gentiles to be received.

Therefore it is added, And the Lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. When He commanded His guests to be collected from the wayside and the hedges, He sought for a rural people, that is, the Gentiles.

AMBROSE; Or, He sends to the highways and about the hedges, because they are fit for the kingdom of God, who, not absorbed in the desire for present goods, are hastening on to the future, set in a certain fixed path of good will. And who like a hedge which separates the cultivated ground from the uncultivated, and keeps off the incursion of the cattle, know how to distinguish good and evil, and to hold up the shield of faith against the temptations of spiritual wickedness.

AUG. The Gentiles came from the streets and lanes, the heretics come from the hedges. For they who make a hedge seek for a division; let them be drawn away from the hedges, plucked asunder from the thorns. But they are unwilling to be compelled. By our own will, say they, will we enter. Compel them to enter, He says. Let necessity be used from without, thence arises a will.

GREG. They then who, broken down by the calamities of this world, return to the love of God, are compelled to enter. But very terrible is the sentence which comes next. For I say to you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. Let no one then despise the call, lest if when bidden he make excuse, when he wishes to enter he shall not be able.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Philippians 2:5-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 3, 2012

5. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,

In verses 5-1 1 St. Paul will illustrate and enforce the doctrine he has been inculcating by the supreme example of the Saviour in His voluntary incarnation, humiliation, and exaltation. Though issuing from a practical exhortation, the passage is profound in its doctrinal teaching and unsurpassed in its theological importance. In these few verses we have summed up the whole history of Christ—His nature and eternity as God, His incarnation with its humiliating consequences, and His glorious triumph and exaltation. The fact that St. Paul, in order to enforce some of the simplest moral duties, makes an appeal to such profound mysteries shows, on the one hand, the natural and intimate connection between Christian theological teaching and practical Christian life; and, on the other hand, how thorough and profound must have been the instruction given the early Christians by the Apostles and how these great doctrines of the divinity, incarnation, etc., of Christ formed a part of that instruction, and were, at the writing of this letter, apparently so well understood as to need only to be stated in their broad outlines to be grasped in their meaning and application.

Let this mind, etc. The enim of the Vulgate at the beginning of this verse is not represented in the best Greek. The Apostle wishes to say that, if his readers will have the same attitude of mind and soul which our Lord had at the time of His incarnation, all that he has requested in the verses just preceding will be easily and readily complied with.

In Christ Jesus, i.e., in the Divine Person who was God from eternity, who was eternally predestined by the Eternal Father as the Christ to be, and who became incarnate in time to save mankind from their sins.

6. Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal
to God.

Jesus Christ is here described in His eternal, pre-existent life as God.

Who refers to the single Personality, who is one and the same both in His pre-existence and in His earthly life.

Being (υπαρχων) . The Greek participle emphasizes the preexistence of Christ.

In the form of God, i.e., having the nature, essence, inward being of God; for such is the meaning of “form” (μορφη) here. Thus, before His incarnation Christ, or the Divine Person who became the Christ, pre-existed in the Divine Nature, as the eternal Son of the eternal Father.

Thought. This is a human way of expressing the Son’s attitude regarding the surrender of His position of equality with God in order to become man; not that He actually gave up anything that belonged to Him as God, but that His Divine Person in the incarnation took upon Himself the lowly form of human nature.

Robbery. The Greek word for “robbery” (αρπαγμον) occurs only here in the Greek Bible, and may mean (a) the act of robbing or seizing by force; or (b) the matter of robbery, or thing to be seized. The latter is the meaning here, and it conveys the idea of holding to a thing with a tenacity and jealousy that would make one unwilling to surrender it. There is no question here of unlawful possession, but only of anxiously clinging to what rightfully belongs to one. The sense of the whole phrase is that the eternal Son, at the prospect of His becoming man, did not so cling to His dignity and equality with God the Father in His divine nature as to be unwilling to become incarnate, thus assuming an inferior state as man.

Fr. Rickaby says the phrase “equal to God,” or “on equality with God,” does not regard the relation of the Son to the Father, but the relation of the Word to the nature which He chose as man; and he explains ουχ αρπαγμον (translated above as “not robbery) as (He) “made no hurry.” In his view the passage means that our Lord did not at once insist on appearing as man in His glorified human nature, but delayed it till after His Resurrection (Further Notes on St. Paul, h. l.).

Having spoken of the divine nature and dignity of the Son, the Apostle will speak in the two following verses of His humiliation in His earthly life.

7. But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man,

But emptied himself, by becoming man, by taking for a time an external human form which veiled, as it were, the Divinity that He possessed as God, and deprived Him of the external prerogative of glory to which as God He always retained His right. On this phrase, “he emptied himself,” St. Thomas says: “Hoc est intelligendum secundum assumptionem eius quod non habuit; sicut enim descendit de coelo, non quod desineret esse in coelo, sed quia incepit novo modo esse in terra, sic etiam se exinanivit, non deponendo divinam naturam, sed assumendo naturam humanam.” How the Son “emptied himself” (kenosis), the Apostle describes in the three phrases that follow.

(a) by “taking the form of a servant,” literally, “of a slave,” i.e., taking the nature of man. With regard to God all creatures are servants or slaves, even the angels. The word “form” here is the same as in verse 6 above, and hence means nature, essence, etc.;

(b) by “being made in the likeness of men,” i.e., appearing like other men, since He had the same nature as other men. The Divine Word, without ceasing to be God, assumed human nature, uniting the natures of God and of man in the one Divine Person, and appeared externally just like other men;

(c) by “being in habit found as a man,” i.e., being recognized as a man in His outward form and manner of acting by all His compatriots and associates (e.g., by eating, drinking, etc., like other men). In the preceding verse the Apostle affirmed the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and here he affirms the true humanity of the same Divine Person, showing that Christ was both true God and true man. Cf. Sales, h. l.

8. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross.

Having described the way in which the Divine Word emptied Himself, the Apostle will now show the extreme humility and self-abasement to which He subjected Himself in the human nature which He assumed: He became “obedient” to the will of His heavenly Father “unto death,” and that, not an ordinary death, but one of shame and horror, namely, “the death of the cross.” The expression “unto death” expresses the degree of His obedience. St.
Paul wishes his readers to learn from this example of full and supreme self- abnegation on the part of their Master the humility, charity, and self-denial that will bring them peace and concord.

9. For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names

In verses 9-1 1 we have a description of the exaltation of our Lord, corresponding to His kenosis. We have already seen the extreme degree to which He emptied and humiliated Himself in obedience to the will of His eternal Father, and now we shall see what recompense He received.

For which cause, etc., i.e., as a reward for our Lord’s extreme and voluntary abasement He was exalted by the Eternal Father to a dignity beyond any that exists or can exist below the Divinity Itself. That our Lord merited this supreme exaltation. He Himself declared on the day of His resurrection: “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:26). His own great saying was fulfilled in His case: “He that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Matt 23:12; Luke 14:11, 18:14).

Hath exalted him, above all other creatures, placing Him in the highest position of honor and authority next to the Godhead (cf. Eph 1:21 ff.; Col 3:1; Heb 1:13; Rom 8:34, 14:19; etc.).

Name stands here for power, dignity, majesty; and therefore a name “above all names” means a dignity and a majesty greater than anything that is possible below the Divinity Itself. By “name” here the Apostle does not refer to our Lord’s proper name, Jesus, which was given Him long before His exaltation and was recognized by men, and which was common to many other men (Estius).

10. That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth,

The purpose of the exaltation of Jesus is now given.

That in the name of Jesus, etc., i.e., so great a dignity and honor was bestowed on our Lord in order that all creatures might bow before His revealed majesty and adore Him as Lord of the world and Saviour of mankind.

Every knee should bow is a phrase signifying supreme adoration (cf. Isa 14:24; Rom 14:11; Eph 3:14). The human nature of Christ, as being hypostatically united to the Word, deserves the same adoration as the Divinity of the Word Itself.

Of those that are in heaven, etc., i.e., of angels in heaven, of men on earth, and of those who are in their graves (Theodoret), and even of the demons (St. Chrysostom). Most likely all created things are in view here. See Rev 5:12 ff., James 2:19, for references to all creatures, including the demons. The phrase “under the earth” means the underworld, the realm of the dead, of discarnate spirits. The pious custom of bowing the head at the mention of the name Jesus has at least indirect sanction from this verse.

11. And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

The same thought is continued and developed.

That every tongue, etc., i.e., that all nations and peoples shall praise and honor the Son as they do the Father, recognizing the same glory in the Son as in the Father, as is said in John 5:23. But the Greek of this passage is as follows: “That every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” In this reading the direct object of the confession is the universal sovereignty and therefore the Divinity of our Lord, and such a confession or recognition of the Son is ordained to the glory of the Father as to its last end: it is to the glory of the Father to have a Son to whom all things are subjected (Theophylact), the praise of Christ the Lord is to the glory of the Father (Estius). Thus, our Lord Himself said: “Father, the hour is come, glorify thy Son, that thy Son may glorify thee” (John 17:1).

In verses 5-1 1 here we have the following dear teachings: (a) the Divinity of Jesus Christ and His consubstantiality with the Father; (b) the true humanity of Christ; (c) the union of two natures in the one Divine Person; (d) the merit of our Lord’s sacrificial obedience and death. In consequence we also have here the refutation of the following errors: (a) Arianism, which denied the consubstantiality and equality of the Son with the Father; (b) Sabellianism, which denied the plurality of persons in God; (c) Nestorianism, which held that there were two persons in Jesus Christ; (d) Eutychianism, which taught only one nature in Christ; (e) Docetism, which attributed to our Lord a fantastic and not a real body; (f) Apollinarism, which said the body of Christ was not like our bodies. Cf. St. Thomas, h. l.

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Philippians 2:5-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 3, 2012

2:5.  For let this feeling be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
2:6.  Who though he was in the form of God, not considering it rapine to be equal to God:

Let this feeling be in you. He says feeling, not intelligence.  No finite intelligence is capable of conceiving and comprehending the immensity of the humiliation of Deity which the Apostle describes in this wonderful passage, which has been selected by the Church, as is well known, for the Epistle at Mass on Palm Sunday.  But though we cannot comprehend this humiliation, we are not altogether incapable of feeling it.  St Paul says sentite, not intelligiteChrist Jesus was in the form of God, that is, as all the Fathers understand it, the nature of God.  This interpretation is especially and expressly insisted on by St Chrysostom and St Thomas.  The writer who assumes the name of St Ambrose understands the form of God to mean, not the nature of God, but the proof or indication of it which Christ offered in his miracles, and he is followed in this interpretation by Grotius and Erasmus.  But this is not the view taken by the other ecclesiastical writers, and by the tradition of the Church, the true interpreter of the Apostolic writings, all of which authorities understand the nature of God.  Being in the nature of God, Christ thought it no robbery, or undue assumption, to claim to be on an absolute equality with the Supreme Deity.  The word equal is expressed adverbially in the Greek    το εἶναι ἰσος θεός.  Such a claim advanced by any merely created being would be a rapine or robbery inconceivably presumptuous and sacrilegious.  (It was advanced by Simon Magus, a circumstance to which it is no impossible that the Apostle incidentally refers).  It was attempted by Lucifer, when he said, I will be like the highest (Isa 14:14).  But Christ was guilty of no rapine when he said I and my Father are one (Jn 10:30

2:7.  Yet emptied himself out, taking the form of a slave, made into the likeness of men, and was found in habit as man.

Yet he emptied himself out, (semetipsum exinanivit).  Not that he laid aside his divine nature and infinite perfections, but concealed it under the veil of the creature, which he assumed.  This must not be taken as implying that there was nay voluntary and intentional concealment of his divine character in the conduct or language of Christ.  There is not a word in the Gospels which favors such an idea, and on the contrary it was through his words, actions, gestures, and aspect, that his Divinity was revealed to his Apostles.  He always spoke and acted, if the expression be allowable, in character, and as God.  But only to faith and love could this be made manifest, and in the anger of Bethlehem, and in his daily life, he was to ordinary observers like other men.  He emptied himself out by assuming a created and inferior nature.  Taking the form of a slave, or servant, these two words not being distinguished either in the Greek or Latin.  Taking, that is, the nature of man, the lowest order of intelligent and rational beings, capable of knowing God.  He was made into the likeness and habit of man, in form, appearance, nature, aspect, reality of body and soul, like all other men, true man.

St Thomas observes, on the word exinanivit: empty is opposed to full.  It is of Deity to be all fullness.  Humanity and all that is created is merely dependent existence, and relatively nothing.  Divinity includes all good; humanity is a tabula rasa, in a sense empty.  Christ therefore emptied himself out; from full, became empty; from all, nothing; he hid from sight all his majesty, eternity, infinity, omnipotence, and became and was seen as an infant, a feeble and mortal man.

It is to be observed that exception might possibly be taken to the comprehensive nature of the precept given by the Apostle in verse 3, let each consider every other his superior.  There are incontestably some differences of gifts, endowments, disposition, education, and the like, which make some men superior to others, and which are real, and not assumed.  Are these not to be taken into account?  And if they are, how can the injunction of St Paul be carried out?  This objection, which the Apostle had foreseen, falls to the ground, crushed and annihilated, in presence of the supreme example of humility which he here adduces.  What is any earthly greatness, and limited superiority, in comparison with the greatness of him who was equal with God, and yet emptied himself out, fully and entirely, took the lowest place in his own rational creation, and was found in habit as man in the manger of the stable at Bethlehem?  After this, any fancied superiority was may arrogate to ourselves becomes entirely worthless and insignificant, absolutely beneath regard.  At last, St Augustine says, let man blush to be proud, for whom God made himself humble.  That pride is indeed incurable which the consideration of this humiliation will not cure.

2:8.  He humbled himself, being made obedient even to death, and the death of the cross.

Being made obedient even unto death.  Having given the great Example of humility in the preceding words, the Apostle now adds the Example of charity.  As in verse 3 he said, Consider each one a superior, so he had added in verse 4, regarding not only your own, but what is of others.  Christ was for the salvation of man obedient to the will of God; not as I will, but as Thou (Mt 26:39).  More than this, he condescended to be obedient also to man, into whose hands he surrendered himself, to be apprehended, tortured, condemned to death, and crucified; and this for the salvation of the lost race of man.  To this also is applicable the word used by the Apostle, sentite.  The mind cannot grasp this extent of charity, nor the tongue express it, but the heart can feel, in a degree, how great charity it was which led Almighty God to obey, to suffer and to die for man.  And to die the death of the cross, ordinarily reserved for criminals who were also slaves, or by their conduct had merited no better treatment.  This was the completion of humiliation, the completion of obedience, and the completion of charity.

2:9.  On which account also God exalted him, and gave him the name which is above every name;

On which account also God Exalted him.  On account of his obedience, God exalted, in the Greek superexalted, raised him to the highest place in the universe, above all creation.  The inference is that the highest advancement in the life to come will be assigned to those who have most closely imitated Christ in his humiliation, obedience, and charity.  It is to be understood that Christ is exalted as man, and in his human nature, for in his Divine nature, in which he is equal to the Father from all eternity, he cannot be exalted.  He is placed, as man, at the head of God’s creation.  And gave him the name which is above every name. That is, the name of God, in which he receives divine adoration from angels and from men, being one Person, though existing in two natures.  Mary’s Son is God forever.  God conferred this name upon him by making known his Deity to the world, by the preaching of the Apostles.  Some writers, however, not unreasonably suppose St Paul to refer to the name of Jesus, or the Savior.  This term is constantly used in the Hebrew idiom to signify a king, leader, or prince, whose direction of public affairs renders a nation safe from attack or invasion from outside.  They called upon the Lord, and he raised up for them a savior (Judges 3:9).  Thou didst give them saviors, (2 Esdras 9:27ff).  Thus the Savior, guardian, lord, and protector of all creation is the name which is above every name, because from him all other power and authority in heaven and earth is derived.

2:10.  That in the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of celestial, terrestrial, and infernal:

At the name of Jesus every knee shall bend.  The celestial, the angels of heaven, the terrestrial, man on earth, the infernal, all the souls in the limbus patrum, in purgatory, even the fallen spirits in hell, however reluctantly, all rational and intelligent creatures in the universe, bend the knee to the Man whose name is Jesus, adore Jesus, acknowledge Jesus as their God and Lord.  There is a reference to Isa 45:23-24.  I have sworn by myself, the word of justice shall come out of my mouth and not return, that to me every knee will bend, and every tongue will swear.  This is in part fulfilled even now, and will be fully accomplished at the last day.

2:11.  And every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

Every tongue must confess.  The meaning of the next words in the Greek appears to be, that Jesus Christ is Lord, in the glory of God the Father.  That he shares the same glory with God the Father, and is Lord of all creation, to all eternity.  This will be finally accomplished at the great day when Christ will come in the glory of his Father, and attended by the holy Angels (Mt 16:27).

The truth stated in this passage, that the attribute of humility is an integral and essential part of the nature of God, was entirely unknown to the pagan world, before the coming of Christ: nor indeed was it revealed even in the Scriptures of the Old Testament.  Even to the holy Angels it was not, until that time, made known in its full extent.  The pride of Lucifer was shocked by the partial revelation of it.  It is commonly thought that Satan refused to believe in the Incarnation of the Son of God, until convinced by the miracles of Christ.  It must always remain, when reflected on, a cause of wonder and astonishment.  Nevertheless some indication or confirmation of it may be gathered from the consideration of God’s providence in the care of creation, which descends to the minutest particulars, and provides continually for the wants and necessities of the least and humblest of his creatures.  The charity and humility of God are commensurate, both far transcending any mental powers we possess to fathom or comprehend.  Jesus Christ has given the proof and example equally of both; and by doing so earned and merited the inconceivable exaltation to which he is raised in glory, at the right hand of God.  And of that divine glory you, Philippians, will also be partakers, if you will become imitators of the humility and charity of Christ.

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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 14:12-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 3, 2012

Luk 14:12  And he said to him also that had invited him: When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends nor thy brethren nor thy kinsmen nor thy neighbours who are rich; lest perhaps they also invite thee again, and a recompense be made to thee.

He said to him also that had invited him, i.e. to the chief Pharisee mentioned in the first verse, whose hospitality Christ recompensed by the spiritual banquet of ghostly counsel and advice. This man, says the Gloss, seems to have invited his guests in order that he in turn might be entertained by them.

Call not thy friends. Christ counselled this as the more perfect way. He did not command it as of necessity. For it is lawful, nay, meritorious, for us to invite our friends, if it be done out of friendship and kindness. Whence Bede says, “Brethren then, and friends, and the rich are not forbidden, as though it were a crime, to entertain one another, but this, like all the other necessary intercourse among men, is shown to fail in meriting the reward of ever lasting life,” unless, as I have said, such entertainment springs from a higher motive of brotherly love or charity.

Lest perhaps they also invite thee again. Like worldly men are wont to do from gratitude or else avarice, for “to be hospitable to those who will make a return, is,” says S. Ambrose, “but a form of avarice.”

And a recompence be made thee by man, and this prove worthless and transient. If you regard this alone, you exclude the spiritual recompense from God and deprive yourself of it; if you look for both you will receive both, but both lessened, for the one lessens and as it were interferes with the other; but if you regard the divine alone, and only admit or rather bear with the human recompence because it is offered you, you will receive the divine whole and undiminished.

Luk 14:13  But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind.

But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. “The maimed,” α̉ναπήζους, the cripple, the mutilated, i.e. those wanting in body or mind.  S. Chrysostom assigns the reason. “If ye invite the poor, God will be your debtor. For the humbler the brother is, so much the more does Christ come through him and visit us. For he who entertains a great man does it often from an interested motive or from vainglory. But thou sayest, the poor man is unclean and filthy. Wash him and make him sit with thee at table. If he has dirty garments, give him clean ones. If thou will not receive him in a quiet chamber, at least admit him where thy servants are. If thou art not willing that he should sit at meat with thee, send him a dish from thy table.”

Following this counsel, S. Gregory had often twelve beggars at his table, and therefore was rewarded by receiving Christ. Himself in the guise of a poor man.  S. Louis of France also, not content with entertaining 120 beggars at his table daily, and on feast days 200, frequently waited upon them himself, and even washed their feet. In like manner acted S. Louis the Minorite, Bishop of Toulouse, following the example of his uncle S. Louis; S. Hedwig, Duchess of Poland, and her niece S. Elizabeth, the daughter of Andrew king of Hungary, who fed 900 poor every day, receiving a rich reward in divine favour and grace.

Mystically: Origen says, “He who shuns vainglory calls to a spiritual banquet the poor, that is, the ignorant, that he may enrich them; the weak, that is, those with offended consciences, that he may heal them; the lame, that is, those who have wandered from reason, that he may make their paths straight; the blind, that they may discern the truth.”

Luk 14:14  And thou shalt be blessed, because they have not wherewith to make thee recompense: for recompense shall be made thee at the resurrection of the just.

And thou shalt be blessed, for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just, when, says the Interlinear, the entertainers of the poor will enter into blessedness.

The neediness of the guests purifies the intention of the host, who expects no return from them, but acts solely out of love to God. Wherefore God, who considers that what is done to the poor is done unto Him, will grant him a bounteous reward, even the everlasting delights of the heavenly banquet, according to the promise, “and I appoint unto you . . . that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom.” S. Luke 22:29. Hence S. Chrysostom says, “Let us be troubled not when we receive no return of a kindness, but when we do; for if we have received it, we shall receive nothing more; but if man does not repay us, God, out of love for whom we have acted, will be our recompense.”

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 14:12-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 3, 2012

Ver  12. Then said he also to him that bade him, When you make a dinner or a supper, call not your friends, nor your brethren, neither your kinsmen, nor your rich neighbors; lest they also bid you again, and recompense be made you.13. But when you makes a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:14. And you shall be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

THEOPHYL. The supper being composed of two parties, the invited and the inviter, and having already exhorted the invited to humility, He next rewards by His advice the inviter, guarding him against making a feast to gain the favor of men. Hence it is said, Then said he also to him that bade him, When you makes a dinner or a supper, call not your friends.

CHRYS. Many are the sources from which friendships are made. Leaving out all unlawful ones, we shall speak only of those which are natural and moral; the natural are, for instance, between father and son, brother and brother, and such like; which He meant, saying, Nor your brethren, nor your kinsmen; the moral, when a man has become your guest or neighbor; and with reference to these He says, nor your neighbors.

BEDE; Brothers then, and friends, and the rich, are not forbidden, as though it were a crime to entertain one another, but this, like all the other necessary intercourse among men, is strewn to fail in meriting the reward of everlasting life; as it follows, Lest perchance they also bid you again, and a recompense be made you. He says not, “and sin be committed against you.” And the like to this He speaks in another place, And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thank have you? There are however certain mutual feastings of brothers and neighbors, which not only incur a retribution in this life, but also condemnation hereafter. And these are celebrated by the general gathering together of all, or the hospitality in turn of each one of the company; and they meet together that they may perpetrate foul deeds, and through excess of wine be provoked to all kinds of lustful pleasure.

CHRYS. Let us not then bestow kindness on others under the hope of return. For this is a cold motive, and hence it is that such a friendship soon vanishes. But if you invite the poor, God, who never forgets, will be your debtor, as it follows, But when you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind.

CHRYS. For the humbler our brother is, so much c the more does Christ come through him and visit us. For he who entertains a great man does it often from vainglory. And elsewhere, But very often interest is his object, that through such a one he may gain promotion. I could indeed mention many who for this pay court to the most distinguished of the nobles, that through their assistance they may obtain the greater favor from the prince. Let us not then ask those who can recompense us, as it follows, And you shall be blessed, for they cannot recompense you. And let us not be troubled when we receive no return of a kindness, but when we do; for if we have received it we shall receive nothing more, but if man does not repay us, God will. As it follows, For you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

BEDE; And though all rise again, yet it is called the resurrection of the just, because in the resurrection they doubt not that they are blessed. Whoever then bids the poor to his feast shall receive a reward hereafter. But he who invites his friends, brothers, and the rich, has received his reward. But if he does this for God’s sake after the example of the sons of Job, God, who Himself commanded all the duties of brotherly love, will reward him.

CHRYS. But you say, the poor are unclean and filthy. Wash him, and make him to sit with you at table. If he has dirty garments, give him clean ones. Christ comes to thee through him, and do you stand trifling?

GREG. NYSS. Do not then let them lie as though they were nothing worth. Reflect who they are, and you will discover their preciousness. They have put on the image of the Savior. Heirs of future blessings, bearing the keys of the kingdom, able accusers and excusers, not speaking themselves, but examined by the judge.

CHRYS. It would become you then to receive them above in the best chamber, but if you shrink, at least admit Christ below, where are the menials and servants. Let the poor man be at least your door keeper. For where there is alms, the devil durst not enter. And if you sit not down with them, at any rate send them the dishes from your table.

ORIGEN; But mystically, he who shuns vain-glory calls to a spiritual banquet the poor, that is, the ignorant, that he may enrich them; the weak, that is, those with offended consciences, that he may heal them; the lame, that is, those who have wandered from reason, that he may make their paths straight; the blind, that is, those who discern not the truth, that they may behold the true light. But it is said, They cannot recompense thee, i.e. they know not how to return an answer

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Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary/Meditation on Psalm 131

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 3, 2012

“My heart is not proud’
Evening Prayer – Tuesday of Week Three

1. We have listened to only a few words, about 30 in the original Hebrew, of Psalm 131[130]. Yet they are intense words that convey a topic dear to all religious literature: spiritual childhood. Our thoughts turn spontaneously to St Thérèse of Lisieux, to her “Little Way”, her “remaining little” in order to be held in Jesus’ arms (cf.Story of a Soul, Manuscript “C”, p. 208).

Indeed, the clear-cut image of a mother and child in the middle of the Psalm is a sign of God’s tender and maternal love, as the Prophet Hosea formerly expressed it: “When Israel was a child I loved him…. I drew [him] with human cords, with bands of love; I fostered [him] like one who raises an infant to his cheeks… I stooped to feed my child” (Hos 11: 1, 4).

2. The Psalm begins by describing an attitude quite the opposite of infancy, which, well aware of its own frailty, trusts in the help of others. In the foreground of this Psalm, instead, are pride of heart, haughty eyes and “great things” that are “too sublime for me” (cf. Ps 131[130]: 1). This is an illustration of the proud person who is described by Hebrew words that suggest “pride” and “haughtiness”, the arrogant attitude of those who look down on others, considering them inferior.

The great temptation of the proud, who want to be like God, the arbiter of good and evil (cf. Gn 3: 5), is decisively rejected by the person of prayer who chooses humble and spontaneous trust in the One Lord.

3. Thus, we move on to the unforgettable image of the mother and child. The original Hebrew text does not speak of a newborn child but of a child that has been “weaned” (Ps 131[130]: 2). Now, it is known that in the ancient Near East a special celebration marked the official weaning of a child, usually at about the age of 3 (cf. Gn 21: 8; I Sam 1: 20-23; II Mc 7: 27).

The child to which the Psalmist refers is now bound to the mother by a most personal and intimate bond, hence, not merely by physical contact and the need for food. It is a more conscious tie, although nonetheless immediate and spontaneous. This is the ideal Parable of the true “childhood” of the spirit that does not abandon itself to God blindly and automatically, but serenely and responsibly.

4. At this point, the praying person’s profession of trust is extended to the entire community: “O Israel, hope in the Lord both now and for ever” (Ps 131[130]: 3). In the entire people which receives security, life and peace from God, hope now blossoms and extends from the present to the future, “now and for ever”.

It is easy to continue the prayer by making other voices in the Psalms ring out, inspired by this same trust in God: “To you I was committed at birth, from my mother’s womb you are my God” (Ps 22[21]: 11). “Though my father and mother forsake me, yet will the Lord receive me” (Ps 27[26]: 10). “For you are my hope, O Lord; my trust, O God, from my youth. On you I depend from birth; from my mother’s womb you are my strength” (Ps 71[70]: 5-6).

5. Humble trust, as we have seen, is opposed by pride. John Cassian, a fourth-fifth century Christian writer, warned the faithful of the danger of this vice that “destroys all the virtues overall and does not only attack the tepid and the weak, but principally those who have forced their way to the top”.

He continues: “This is the reason why Blessed David preserved his heart with such great circumspection, to the point that he dared proclaim before the One whom none of the secrets of his conscience escaped: “Lord, may my heart not grow proud, nor my gaze be raised with haughtiness; let me not seek great things that are beyond my strength’…. Yet, knowing well how difficult such custody is even for those who are perfect, he does not presume to rely solely on his own abilities, but implores the Lord with prayers to help him succeed in avoiding the darts of the enemy and in not being injured by them: “Let not the foot of the proud overtake me’ (Ps 36[35]: 12)” (Le Istituzioni Cenobitiche, XII, 6, Abbey of Praglia, Bresseo di Teolo, Padua, 1989, p. 289).

Likewise, an anonymous elderly Desert Father has handed down to us this saying that echoes Psalm 131[130]: “I have never overstepped my rank to walk higher, nor have I ever been troubled in the case of humiliation, for I concentrated my every thought on this: praying the Lord to strip me of the old man” (I Padri del Deserto. Detti, Rome, 1980, p. 287).

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