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 10th, 2012

This Weeks’ Posts: Sunday, November 11-sunday, November 18 2012

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 10, 2012

Dominica V quae superfluit Post Epiphaniam III. Novembris ~ II. classis

Resources for Today’s Mass (Ordinary and extraordinary Forms).

Last Week’s Posts.




S. Didaci Confessoris ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria III infra Hebdomadam V quae superfluit post Epiphaniam III. Novembris


  • Pending (maybe): My Notes on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 37: 3-4, 18, 23, 27, 29).


S. Josaphat Episcopi et Martyris ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria IV infra Hebdomadam V quae superfluit post Epiphaniam III. Novembris



S. Alberti Magni Episcopi Confessoris et Ecclesiae Doctoris ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria V infra Hebdomadam V quae superfluit post Epiphaniam III. Novembris



  • Navarre Bible Commentary on Today’s Gospel in Two Parts:

On 5:13-16.

On 5:17-19.

S. Gertrudis Virginis ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria VI infra Hebdomadam V quae superfluit post Epiphaniam III. Novembris



Daily Roman Missal. Be sure correct date is set.

S. Gregorii Thaumaturgi Episcopi et Confessoris ~ III. classis
Tempora: Sabbato infra Hebdomadam V quae superfluit post Epiphaniam III. Novembris


  • Pending: Father Boylan’s Introduction to Today’s Responsorial (Ps 112).


Daily Roman Missal. Be sure correct date is set.

Roman Breviary. Be sure correct date is set.

Dominica VI quae superfluit Post Epiphaniam IV. Novembris ~ II. classis

RESOURCES FOR TODAY’S MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms). Ordinary form is mostly complete, though some resources will be added. Extraordinary Form will be done tomorrow (Wednesday) evening.

Next Week’s Resources: Sunday, November 18-Sunday, November 25 2012. Includes resources for Thanksgiving Day Mass. Also includes a few early resources for the 1st and 2nd Sunday’s of Advent.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 12:32-34

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 10, 2012

Ver 32. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.33. Sell that you have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts.34. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

GLOSS. Our Lord having removed the care of temporal things from the hearts of His disciples, now banishes fear from them, from which superfluous cares proceed, saying, Fear not, &c.

THEOPHYL. Bu the little flock, our Lord signifies those who are willing to become His disciples, or because in this world the Saints seem little because of their voluntary poverty, or because they are outnumbered by the multitude of Angels, who incomparably exceed all that we can boast of. The name little our Lord gives to the company of the elect, either from comparison with the greater number of the reprobate, or rather because of their devout humility.

CYRIL; But why they ought not to fear, He shows, adding, for it is your Father’s good pleasure; as if He says, How shall He who gives such precious things be wearied in showing mercy towards you? For although His Flock is little both in nature and number and renown, yet the goodness of the Father has granted even to this little flock the lot of heavenly spirits, that is, the kingdom of heaven. Therefore that you may possess the kingdom of heaven, despise this world’s wealth. Hence it is added, Sell that you have, &c.

BEDE; As if He says, Fear not lest they who warfare for the kingdom of God, should be in want of the necessaries of this life. But sell that you have for alms’ sake, which then is done worthily, when a man having once for his Lord’s sake forsaken all that he has, nevertheless afterwards labors with his hands that he may be able both to gain his living, and give alms.

CHRYS. For there is no sin which almsgiving does not avail to blot out. It is a salve adapted to every wound. But almsgiving has to do not only with money, but with all matters also wherein man succors man, as when the physician heals, and the wise man gives counsel.

GREG. NAZ. Now I fear lest you should think deeds of mercy to be not necessary to you, but voluntary. I also thought so, but was alarmed at the goats placed on the left hand, not because they robbed, but did not minister to Christ among the poor.

CHRYS. For without alms it is impossible to see the kingdom. For as a fountain if it keeps its waters within itself grows foul, so also rich men when they retain every thing in their possession.

BASIL; But some one will ask, upon what grounds ought we to sell that which we have? Is it that these things are by nature hurtful, or because of the temptation to our souls? To this we must answer, first, that every thing existing in the world if it were in itself evil, would be no creation of God, for every creation of God is good. And next, that our Lord’s command teaches us not to cast away as evil what we possess, but to distribute, saying, and give alms.

CYRIL; Now perhaps this command is irksome to the rich, yet to those who are of a sound mind, it is not unprofitable, for their treasure is the kingdom of heaven. Hence it follows, Provide for yourselves bags which wax not old, &c.

BEDE; That is, by doing alms, the reward of which abides for ever; which must not be taken as a command that no money be kept by the saints either for their own, or the use of the poor, since we read that our Lord Himself, to whom the angels ministered, had a bag in which he kept the offerings of the faithful; but that God should not be obeyed for the sake of such things, and righteousness be not forsaken from fear of poverty.

GREG. NYSS. But He bids us lay up our visible and earthly treasures where the power of corruption does not reach, and hence He adds, a treasure that fails not, &c.

THEOPHYL. As if He said, “Here the moth corrupts, but there is no corruption in heaven.” Then because there are some things which the moth does not corrupt, He goes on to speak of the thief, For gold the moth corrupts not, but the thief takes an away.

BEDE; Whether then should it be simply understood, that money kept fails, but given away to our neighbor bears everlasting fruit in heaven; or, that the treasure of good works, if it be stored up for the sake of earthly advantage, is soon corrupted and perishes; but if it be laid up solely from heavenly motives, neither outwardly by the favor of men, as by the thief which steals from without, nor inwardly by vainglory, as by the moth which devours within, can it be defiled.

GLOSS. Or, the thieves are heretics and evil spirits, who are bent upon depriving us of spiritual things. The moth which secretly frets the garments is envy, which mars good desires, and bursts the bonds of charity.

THEOPHYL. Moreover, because all things are not taken away by theft, He adds a more excellent reason, and one which admits of no objection whatever, saying, For where your treasure is, there will your hearts be also; as if He says, “Suppose that neither moth corrupts nor thief takes away, yet this very thing, namely, to have the heart fixed in a buried treasure, and to sink to the earth a divine work, that is, the soul, how great a punishment it deserves.” EUSEB. For every man naturally dwells upon that which is the object of his desire, and thither he directs all his thoughts, where he supposes his whole interest to rest. If any one then has his whole mind and affections, which he calls the heart, set on things of this present life, he lives in earthly things. But if he has given his mind to heavenly things, there will his mind be; so that he seems with his body only to live with men, but with his mind to have already reached the heavenly mansion.

BEDE; Now this must not only be felt concerning love of money, but all the passions. Luxurious feasts are treasures; also the sports of the gay and the desires of the lover.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture, St Thomas Aquinas | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Luke 12:32-34

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 10, 2012

Luk 12:32  Fear not, little flock, for it hath pleased your Father to give you a kingdom.

Ver.32.—Fear not, little flock. Fear not lest your food and raiment fail you, and lest, if you lay aside all anxiety and sell your goods and give to the poor, these things should not be added to you; if you seek firstly the kingdom of God. “Little flock,”—little, because, firstly, the faithful were so few and these poor either in position and property, or in election and feeling, or in spirit; for they despised the riches of the world that they might strive after those of heaven, and therefore, they were little in the eyes of the world, they were of no account, and were despised. But now that the faith of Christ has so spread throughout the whole world, that kings and princes are subdued to it, it is no longer a little flock but a most ample and powerful church. Secondly, the flock of faithful men is little if compared with the angels who are without number, says Euthymius, according to the words, Dan 7:10, “Thousand thousands ministered unto Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.”

Thirdly, The flock is little if compared with the immense multitude of unbelievers and wicked. Bede adds, “It is called a little flock either on account of its humility or in comparison with the greater number of the reprobate. Then all the faithful, from the example of Christ, will willingly reduce themselves to Christian humility and poverty, especially the apostles and disciples of Christ. Hence Christ says, ‘Sell that thou hast.’” It appears that “flock” (pusillus) is here put in the nominative instead of the vocative as is done in other passages. This nominative is more forcible and significant than the vocative would be. Wherefore, although we might explain it by adding something, e.g., Fear not, you who are a little flock, that the nominative might remain, yet the nominative is more tersely and strongly put for the vocative by adding nothing. Fear not then, 0 ye faithful, for although you are a little flock, God estimates you highly, and has a great and peculiar care of you, and Christ the Lord is your shepherd, who will feed you abundantly, according to the words, “I am the good Shepherd” (John 10:2), and the others (Ps 23:1-2), “The Lord is my shepherd, therefore can I lack nothing!—”He shall feed me in a green pasture, and lead me forth beside the waters of comfort.”  S. Peter Chrysologus (serm. xxii.). “A small flock to the world is a large one to God;” and (xxiii.) “Humility has gained what pride lost, and the little flock has subdued entire and various savagenesses (nations) by its meekness; for the little flock conquered and destroyed as many kinds of beasts as it subdued nations to the yoke of Christ. It did this not by bearing but by suffering, not by fighting but by dying for Christ.”

It hath pleased your Father to give you a kingdom. To you who are not slow, not idle, not presuming on the mere mercy of God, but who hear My words and truly obey them; who therefore bear your cross after Me, mortify your passions, and are continually zealous in good works. “To give,” not absolutely, but upon conditions—namely, that you persevere in My faith and love and in obedience even to death—for to Judas, who afterwards apostatised from Christ, the kingdom was not given. Christ gives the reason why the disciples, though a little flock and poor, should not fear lest needful things should be withheld from them, for He says, “Since God so loved you as to destine you for heavenly riches and the kingdom of God, He will assuredly not refuse you these worthless earthly riches, as far as they are necessary for your journey towards the kingdom of heaven, and that you may adorn it by your life and conversation.” So S. Cyril, in the Catena, “He who has given you gifts of such great price, how will He be not merciful to you but suffer you to perish of hunger?”

Luk 12:33  Sell what you possess and give alms. Make to yourselves bags which grow not old, a treasure in heaven which faileth not: where no thief approacheth, nor moth corrupteth

Vs 33.-Sell what you possess and give alms.  This is a counsel, not a precept, as Pelagius would have it, who said that all Christians ought to be poor, from the precept of Christ. This is shewn by the words of Christ (Matt 19:21), “If thou wouldst be perfect, go sell that thou hast and give to the poor.” That you may study evangelical perfection, sell what you possess and give the price to the poor, that you may follow Me who am poor in spirit in a like poverty, and with me despise earthly riches, that so you may obtain heavenly ones. Do this with the end that you may show yourselves not anxious for food and raiment, but that you depend solely on God, and look to Him for all those needs of life which He Himself has promised to all who seek His kingdom. For this reason the first Christians, following the counsel of Christ, sold all that they had and laid the price at the feet of the apostles, that they might distribute them among the poor believers (Acts 2:3, 4). So Bede: “Fear not that you will lack the needful things of life, but rather sell what you possess for alms. This is done worthily when he who lives by the labour of his hands, despises all things, and gives alms.”

Make to yourselves bags which grow not old. Grow not old, and from which, therefore, the coin of spiritual alms cannot drop out and be lost, as the money of the world often falls from the old and worn-out purses of the rich. The purses that grow not old are the bosoms of the poor, and more especially the mind and memory of God, in which He keeps as in a purse your alms and good works, that He may return you the most ample rewards for them in the day of judgment. This He Himself explains, adding, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief draweth near, neither moth destroyeth. From this Chrysologus rightly concludes, “What have they to do with the earth who possess heaven—what with human affairs who have gained divine ones—unless, perhaps, they find pleasure in lamentations, choose labours, delight in dangers, love the most cruel deaths, and find the evil things that are brought upon them more pleasing than the good ones?”

Luk 12:34  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Ver. 34.-This is a conclusion from the former, showing why our Lord said, “Sell that ye have,” namely, that you may show that your heart is not in your money but in heaven. If, therefore, you place your treasure gained by alms-giving in heaven, you will show that your heart is fixed in heaven, not on earth—in God, not in gold. For a man’s treasure is that which he loves—holds dear—values at a great price, on which he rests his hopes. See Matt 6:20.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Latin Mass Notes, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 3 John 5-8 (or 3 John 1:5-8)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 10, 2012

This third letter of St John’s is very short and, like the second letter, some translations assign a chapter number to its 14 verses (e.g., 3 John 1:1-14), others do not (e.g., 3 John 1-14).

3Jn 1:5  Dearly beloved, thou dost faithfully whatever thou dost for the brethren: and that for strangers,

Dearly beloved, thou dost faithfully, &c. Faithfully, i.e. thou actest in a Christian manner, thou doest that which becometh a believer, by showing hospitality towards and nourishing the faithful, especially pilgrims and strangers. For hospitality was of old most highly esteemed by Christians. It was a sure mark and sign of Christian faith, as the heathen Lucian testifies (in Peregrino).

Faithfully in this place not only signifies the faith, but also the fidelity of Caius. Thou art faithful to Christ. Thou fulfillest indeed that which thou hast promised to Christ in thy baptism. Listen to Tertullian recounting hospitality amongst the notes of the faithful (de Præscrip. c. 20): “Amongst the many and notable marks of the Church there is one prime note handed down by the Apostles by which all the chief and Apostolic Churches prove their oneness and their unity. This mark is the communion of peace, the attestation of brotherhood, the mutual bond (contesserationem) of hospitality. And the one principle which governs these rules of hospitality is the one tradition of the same Sacrament.” He makes use of the word contesseratio because of the tessera, or sign, which Christians were wont to exhibit to Christians to show that they were Christians, that so they might be received to brotherly hospitality. The heathen had similar tesseræ, or mutual tokens and pledges of hospitality. It was because the heathen discovered, and used these Christian tokens for purposes of deceit, as Lucian tells us Peregrinus did, that the Council of Mie substituted commendatory letters instead of tesseræ. On which see Baronius.

And that for strangers, Greek καί είς τοὺς ξένους. The καί here means especially. Thus Christ says, “Tell the disciples, and, i.e. especially, Peter.” (Mark 16:17.) The Greek phrasing implies an emphasis or distinction. See the NAB and RSV translation of 3 John 5.

Moreover, by peregrini (“strangers”) here we may understand with Bede apostolic men who went about spreading the Gospel. Also Christian exiles proscribed by the Gentiles. The reference is to traveling missionaries as the context (5-8) makes clear.

3Jn 1:6  Who have given testimony to thy charity in the sight of the church. Whom thou shalt do well to bring forward on their way in a manner worthy of God:

Who have given testimony to thy charity in the sight of the church. For of old the bishops and presbyters used to invite guests who came to give a sermon or exhortation in the church. And when they did this they would praise the charity and hospitality of Caius, of which they had experienced elsewhere. This duty of allowing hospitality to guests is spoken of by S. Clement (lib. 2 Constit. 62), and is sanctioned by the 4th Council of Carthage, cap. 4.

Whom thou shalt do well to bring forward on their way in a manner worthy of God.Or, To whom doing good thou shalt lead (deduces) worthily of God. The meaning is, To whom, if thou continuest to show kindness by receiving them to hospitality, thou wilt cause their journey to be easy, so that they will be able to reach the place whither they are going. This is a pious work and worthy of God. The word translated deduces in the Vulg. is πζοπέμψας in the Greek. It does not mean that S. John wished Caius personally to accompany his guests, but it refers to his affording them provisions for their journey, and other things, such as guides and letters of introduction.

Worthily of God. As it is worthy of God that His worshippers should treat worthily other worshippers of Him, honouring them as ministers of God, and honouring God in them, by treating them charitably and reverently as befits servants and members of Christ. As Christ saith, Matt 10:40, “He that receiveth you receiveth Me. He that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.”

Moral: let every believer examine himself, and see whether his works be full, perfect, and of such excellence as to be worthy of God; whether his charity be like to the charity of God and Christ; whether he live and act worthily of Christ. The gift which thou presentest to a king must not be of some mean sort. It should be excellent and regal. What then does it become us to offer unto God, who is King of kings and Lord of lords? This is what S. Paul admonishes the Ephesians,  “I therefore, a prisoner in the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation in which you are called” (Eph 4:1).

3Jn 1:7  Because, for his name they went out, taking nothing of the Gentiles.

Because, for his name they went out, viz., that they might preach the name of God and Christ, says Bede. Or else because for His name they have been driven into exile. The first of these is the more probable reason. And it is strengthened by what follows.

Taking nothing of the Gentiles. Because without price they preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, that they may not seem to gain any profit by the Gospel.

3Jn 1:8  We therefore ought to receive such: that we may be fellow helpers of the truth.

We therefore ought to receive such. The Greek for receive is κατα λάμβανίν. This means, not to wait until they come to us, but to invite them to our house, yea, to constrain them to come in. Œcumenius says, as the disciples constrained Christ at Emmaus (Luke 24:29). Moreover to receive and reception means in Scripture every sort of kindness and protection, care and assistance.

That we may be fellow helpers with the truth, by ministering necessary things to those who preach the truth or who suffer exile or tribulation for the truth’s sake.

Observe:  S. John by many arguments stirs up Caius to persevere in his liberality to pilgrims. 1st He praises his generosity because also his guests praised it before the whole Church. (Ver. 3.)  2d Because it was a work befitting a Christian believer. (Ver. 5.)  3d Because it was a work worthy of God. (Ver. 6.)  4th Because it was done to those who made known the name of God. (Ver. 7.)  5th Because it was done to those who were forsaken or despoiled by other Gentiles. (Ver. 7.)  6th Because by this means they became fellow-workers with the truth and the Gospel, and preached it themselves through the preachers and confessors whom they received and nourished.

Moreover, when S. John exhorts Caius to persevere in hospitality he makes use of the first person, “we ought therefore,” that his exhortation may be sweeter and more powerful. Certain it is that S. John was very hospitable to pilgrims. For he was the Bishop of Ephesus, and in that capacity was wont to dispense the goods of the Ephesian Church to the poor and strangers. Moreover, Bede says that S. John, like S. Paul, lived by the labour of his hands.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on 3 John, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Psallam Domino on Psalm 119 (118) 1, 2, 10, 11, 17, 18

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 10, 2012

The Responsorial for Friday of the 32nd week in Ordinary Time is taken from Psalm 119 (118 in the LXX and Vulgate), verses 1-2, 10-11, 17-18. The following notes are taken from Kate Edwards’ Psallam Domino Blog which has a series of posts covering all of Psalm 119 (118). Since each post contains a helpful introduction to the verse covered I have provided links to the individual posts from which the notes are taken.

1. Beati (nom pl of beatus) immaculati in via, qui (who) ambulant (they walk) in lege Domini.
Douay-Rheims: Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.

Text notes: Both phrases here use a synonym for law, in the first via, or [right] path; in the second law. The psalm starts by reminding us that man’s proper end is eternal happiness, and happiness now to the extent possible in this world. To get to heaven however, we must be free of mortal sin. The MT Hebrew word used for law here is towrah; the Greek is νόμos. Ambulare, literally to walk, is meant to imply the manner in which one orders one’s life; or, how one acts. Coverdale translates the verse as ‘Blessed are those that are undefiled in the way, and walk in the law of the Lord’. Other translators prefer ‘blameless’.

beatus, a, um to bless, make happy), happy, blessed, fortunate.
immaculatus, a, um undefiled, stainless, blameless, perfect

2 Beati qui scrutantur (scrutari, to search, examine: deponent) testimonia ejus; in toto corde exquirunt (exquirere to seek, seek after) eum.
Blessed are they that search his testimonies: that seek him with their whole heart.

Scrutantur here arguably implies not just study but also observance. Testimonia is the Vulgate translation of the Hebrew eduih, and really has a broader meaning than commandments or precepts – according to Britt it expresses the declarations of the divine will, to which man must conform. The Monastic Dirunal translates the verse as ‘Blessed are they that search his testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart’.

In order to walk ‘in the way’, then, we have to seek out God, seek out truth actively. St Bede the Venerable puts it like this: “One who neglects to keep his known commandments is not capable of being happy; one who neglects to find out the commandments is separated much further away.”

scrutor, atus sum, ari, to search, examine, scrutinize.With regard to the Law of God: with the additional idea of to keep, to obey
exquiro quaesivi itum ere – to seek, seek after; with mandata and similar words signifying the Law, it is rendered, to seek, search, ie to keep, oberve. (source)

10. In (in+abl) toto corde meo exquisivi (pf indicative active) te; ne repellas (present subj) me a mandatis tuis.
With my whole heart have I sought after you: let me not stray from your commandments.
ἐν ὅλῃ καρδίᾳ μου ἐξεζήτησά σε μὴ ἀπώσῃ με ἀπὸ τῶν ἐντολῶν σου

Note that the MD changes the perfect (‘I have sought’) to the present ‘With all my heart I seek Thee, let me not stray from Thy commandments’. The Neo-Vulgate amends the verse as follows, to reflect the Hebrew MT more closely: In toto corde meo exquisivi te; ne errare me facias a praeceptis tuis.

This verse is an entreaty for grace. As Cassiodorus says:

“The assertion that they have sought the Lord wholeheartedly denotes a further kindness of His, for they would not seek Him if they had not been sought out…In every good deed we are anticipated by the Lord’s grace. He deigns to inspire us to make us wish to entreat Him”.

exquiro –ere –sivi –situm 3, to seek, inquire diligently, seek after
repello, puli, pulsum, ere 3, to reject, repel, thrust away, cast off
mandatum, i, n. (mando), law, precept, command, commandment (of God); commandments, precepts, decrees
praeceptum, i, n. (praecipio), a law, commandment, precept, ordinance.

11. In corde meo (=in my heart) abscondi (perfect, I have hidden) eloquia tua, ut non peccem (ut +subj, purpose clause) tibi.
I hidden your words in my heart, that I may not sin against you.
ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ μου ἔκρυψα τὰ λόγιά σου ὅπως ἂν μὴ ἁμάρτω σοι

St Alphonsus Liguori paraphrases the verse as “I have endeavored to impress Thy laws on my heart, in order to avoid in any way to offend Thee.’ The MD translates the verse as ‘Within my heart I hide thy sayings, that I may not sin against Thee’. Pope Benedict XVI suggests that “The Psalmist’s faithfulness stems from listening to the word, from pondering on it in his inmost self, meditating on it and cherishing it, just as did Mary, who “kept all these things, pondering them in her heart”, the words that had been addressed to her and the marvellous events in which God revealed himself, asking her for the assent of her faith (cf. Lk 2:19, 51).”

abscondo, condi, conditum, ere 3, to hide, conceal; to lay up, to treasure, guard jealously
pecco, avi, atum, are, to sin; to sin against, with dat. (source)

17. Retribue (Imperative of retribuo, to render, repay, deal with) servo tuo, vivifica (imperative of vivifico, revive, give life to) me, et custodiam (future indic, keep, observe) sermones tuos.
Deal bountifully with your servant, revive me: and I will keep your words

Neo-Vulgate: Benefac servo tuo, et vivam et custodiam sermonem tuum.
Septuagint: ἀνταπόδος τῷ δούλῳ σου ζήσομαι καὶ φυλάξω τοὺς λόγους σου

The Monastic Diurnal translates the verse as ‘Grant to Thy servant that I may live, and I will keep they words’; Coverdale make it ‘O do well unto thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word’.

One can interpret this as having a short term message and a longer term one. First the short term: the first obstacle to observing the law according to St Robert Bellarmine is being in a state of mortal sin. If we are in this state, we must confess it so that we are revived and once more able to access the necessary grace. The longer term message is that no one can, in this life, be sure that they are saved. Rather we must pray that, despite our sins, God will, of his free gift, grant us eternal life. St Augustine actually divides up the possibilities for eternal life or death into four categories: out of justice, God rewards good for good and punishes evil for evil; and out of mercy he saves sinners. The fourth theoretical possibility, he tells us, of evil being rewarded, never occurs.

retribuo, tribui, tributum, ere 3, to repay, requite, reward, recompense, render; deal bountifully with; to make requital for, repay.
vivifico, avi, atum, are to quicken, give life to, vivify.
custodio, ivi or li, itum, ire to guard, watch, keep;to maintain, to hold steadfastly.

18 Revela (imperative, reveal, disclose) oculos meos, et considerabo (future) mirabilia (substantive, marvelous things, marvelous nature) de (de+abl= about, concerning) lege tua.
Open my eyes, and I will consider the wonderful things of your law.

ἀποκάλυψον τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς μου καὶ κατανοήσω τὰ θαυμάσιά σου ἐκ τοῦ νόμου σου

This verse deals with the second obstacle in our journey, namely the veil of blindness and ignorance arising from our emotions that block our inward sight. Brenton conveys this sense clearly, translating the Septuagint as ‘Unveil thou mine eyes…’. Most of the English translations though, are along the lines of the Monastic Diurnal’s ‘Open Thou mine eyes’. What is it that strips the veils from our eyes? According to St Robert, the purifying power of the law, the intellectual vision of its wondrous nature..

revelo, avi, atum, are to disclose, reveal, lay bare, expose..
oculus, i, the eye
considero, avi, atum, are, to look at closely, to regard, contemplate; to lie in wait for
mirabilis, e (1) wonderful, marvellous. (2) subst., mirabilia, mm, wonders, wonderful works, marvellous things. (source)


Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on 2 John 4-9 (or 2 John 1:4-9)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 10, 2012

Some versions of the bible give a chapter number to the 13 verses that make up this letter (e.g., 2 John 1:1-13), others do not (e.g., 2 John 1-13). This post includes Bishop MacEvilly’s brief summary analysis of the entire epistle, followed by his notes on verses 4-9. I’ve also included (in purple text) the Bishop’s paraphrasing of these verse.

Summary Analysis of 2 John~The Apostle conveys to Electa and her children the love and spiritual affection not only of himself, but also of all true Christians, who are incorporated with them in the profession of the same faith (ver. 1-2). He wishes them the fulness of all heavenly and spiritual blessings (3). He next congratulates her and her children on their progress in Christian virtue (4); and exhorts them to the performance of good works, especially the works relating to fraternal charity (5). He thus confutes the demoralizing error of Simon Magus, regarding the sufficiency of faith only (see note at the end of this analysis). He then exhorts them to fulfil God’s commandments; and, in a particular manner, specifies his commandment to persevere in the true faith (6).

He enters on the second part of the Epistle, which is to warn them against being seduced from the faith by the heretics who then sprang forth. He alludes to Basilides, Ebion and Cernthus, &c., who erred regarding the human and divine natures of Jesus Christ (7) He cautions them against forfeiting eternal life, by following these heretics (8). He shows the disadvantage and ruin entailed by the doctrine of the heretics, and the reward, both here and hereafter, of perseverance in the true faith (9). He next tells them to deny all entrance into their houses, to all false teachers, as also to refuse them the common civilities of life (10)—lest they might be chargeable with countenancing or approving of their wicked works (11 ).

He puts off many things of importance which he wished to impart to her, not desiring to commit them to writing; he hopes soon to see her (13). He conveys to her the salutation of her sister’s children (13).

Note: The view that the Epistles of John were written in part to contend with the early heretic Simon Magus was popularly held in the Bishop’s day. In his Introduction to First John the Bishop wrote: The chief object, which the Apostles had in view, in all the Catholic Epistles, as we are informed by St. Augustine (Libro de Fide et Operibus, ch. xiv.), was, to refute the pernicious and demoralizing error of Simon Magus, regarding the inutility of good works, and the sufficiency of faith alone for salvation. Modern commentators are much more nuanced concerning the errors dealt with in the catholic epistles. Concerning the question of who the opposition is in the johannine epistle one can consult and compare the following works: THE OPPONENTS IN 1 JOHN (New Testament Studies, 32) by John Painter. 1, 2 AND 3 JOHN (Sacra Pagina vol. 18) by John Painter. THE EPISTLES OF JOHN (Anchor Bible, vol 30) by Raymond Brown. THE JOHANNINE EPISTLES (New Testament Message, Vol. 21). THE THEOLOGY OF THE JOHANNINE EPISTLE by Judith Lieu.

2Jn 1:4  I was exceeding glad that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

It has been to me a subject of great spiritual joy to find your children advancing and progressing in the profession of the true faith, and in the practice of Christian virtue, as we have been commanded by the Father.

He now enters on the subject of the Epistle, “that I found of thy children,”
which some understand to mean, by a Hebrew idiom, I found thy children, as “adorabunt de ipso” i.e., ipsum (Psalm 72:15), “dabitur ei deauro Arabiæ,” i.e., “aurum Arabiæ, docebit vos de viis suis,” i.e., vias suas (Isaiah 2:3). Others understand the words to mean, some of your children, “walking in truth,” i.e., progressing, as the word “walking” implies, in Christian faith and virtue, “as we have received a commandment from the Father,” ie., as the Father has commanded all to walk and progress. Of course, this congratulation for their past

2Jn 1:5  And now I beseech thee, lady, not as writing a new commandment to thee, but that which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another.

And now, lady, I entreat you, and I also entreat your children, to attend to a precept by no means new (for I have no idea of proposing to you any such), but to a precept which you have heard from the very beginning of your conversion-viz., that we love one another.

“And I now beseech thee, lady,”—of course, the admonition is through her conveyed to her children and all Christians—”not as writing a new precept,” when recommending that which he beseeches them to practise, “but that which we have heard from the beginning,” viz., of their conversion (vide 1 John 2:7). What he beseeches of her and her children, and proposes to them as an old precept is, “that we love one another.”

2Jn 1:6  And this is charity: That we walk according to his commandments. For this is the commandment that, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in the same:

And the true test of our love of God, with which the love of our neighbor is inseparably connected, is the observance of his commandments. Now, one of his chief commandments is, that we should persevere in the same faith which we have heard from the beginning, through the preaching of the Apostles.

The charity of God is inseparably connected with the love of our neighbour, since the love of God must be the motive of the love of our neighbour, and without it we could not love our neighbour as we ought (1 John 5:2); and our love of God is most sincerely attested by observing his commandments (1 John 5:3). “For this is the commandment.” “For,” is not in the Greek, and the sense will be more clearly expressed without it, by substituting either, and, or, but, for it, thus: “but this is the commandment,” or one of the commandments, the observance of which will be a sincere test of our love for God, it is, “that as you have heard from the beginning,” &c., i.e., that you persevere in the faith which has been taught from the beginning of your conversion. This perseverance in the true faith he insists on, in consequence of the pernicious errors then disseminated, of which he treats in the followmg.

2Jn 1:7  For many seducers are gone out into the world who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a seducer and an antichrist.

(It is not without cause I exhort you to perseverance in the faith, and wish to put you on your guard); for, many deceitful seducers have gone forth into the world, who deny Jesus Christ, descending from the bosom of the eternal Father, assumed real flesh; the leader of this heretical swarm is a deceiver, and one of the principal precursors of Antichrist.

In this verse he commences the second part of the Epistle, wherein, after exhorting them to charity and good works in the preceding part, he encourages them to perseverance in the true faith, and cautions them against the wiles of the heretics. He, in a particular manner, alludes to Basilides and his followers, who denied that Christ assumed real flesh; they asserted that he assumed merely fantastical flesh; and hence, they subverted the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption. What he says applies also to the heretics, who erred either regarding Christ’s Divinity or Humanity. “This is a seducer and antichrist.” He employs the singular number to mark out the leader of these heretics; or, to show that each of them is a precursor
of Antichrist (vide 1 John 2:18), “are gone out.” In the ordinary Greek, εισηλθον εις τον κοσμον, are entered into the world. The Vatican supports the Vulgate, εξηλθον εις τον κοσμον, gone out into the world.

2Jn 1:8  Look to yourselves, that you lose not the things which you have wrought: but that you may receive a full reward.

Take heed, therefore, and beware, lest, seduced by these, you may lose the reward of the good works which you have heretofore wrought; rather, strive to secure the full and abundant reward which is in store for you.

“Look to yourselves,” and be cautious, “that you lose not the things which you wrought,” lest being seduced by them, you lose the merit and fruit of the good works which, aided by divine grace, you heretofore performed; “but that you may receive a full reward,” i.e., but rather endeavour, by persevering in the true failh, to secure the possession of the reward, the “full,” i.e., copious and abundant reward which is reserved for you in heaven. The word “full” does not imply that, should they not persevere, they would receive a reward, not full; it only expresses the quality of the reward they would receive in case of perseverance, and forfeit altogether, should they be seduced by the heretics from the true faith. From this verse it follows— first, that good works merit a reward with God; secondly, that charity, as also the merit of our former good wotks, may be lost. In the ordinary Greek, the reading is in the first person thus: μη απολεσωμεν….απολαβωμεν. (The Alexandrian and Vatican MSS. have these verbs in the second person; and, thus, support the Vulgate: μη απολεσητε….απολαβητε), “that we lose not….we have wrought…that we may receive,” &c. The meaning is, however, the “same, since the Apostle identifies himself with them, as is frequently done by orators when speaking of disagreeable or saddening matters; or, it may be, that he refers to the accidental reward, the aureola, which the preachers of the gospel enjoy from seeing their people saved (see 1 Peter 5:4).

2Jn 1:9  Whosoever revolteth and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son

Whosoever recedes from the Church, and passes over to the heretics, and perseveres not in professing the doctrine and obeying the precepts of Christ, has not God as his friend, neither has he him residing in him, and united to him by sanctifying grace; but, on the other hand, whosoever perseveres in the doctrine and precepts of Christ, the same is united to the Father and Son, by sanctifying grace here, and shall be eternally united to them in glory hereafter.

“Whosoever revolteth;” for which the ordinary Greek is, πας ο παραβαινων,
passes over, and means, whosoever deserts the standard of God, and passes over to the camp of the heretics, Basilides, Ebion, Cerinthus, &c. The Vatican has, πας ο προαγων, “and continueth not in the doctrine of Clirist,” including faith and morals, “hath not God” dwelling m him, by sanctifying grace. “He that continueth in the doctrine,” to which is added in the ordinary Greek, of Christ, i.e., whosoever professes his faith, and obeys his precepts, “the same haih the Father and the Son” (see 1 John 2:23). Of Christ, is wanting in the Alexandrian and Vatican MSS.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on 2 John, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on 2 John 4-9 (or 2 John 1:4-9)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 10, 2012

The second letter of John is quite short, some translation assign to its 13 verse a chapter number, others do not. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

2Jn 1:4  I was exceeding glad that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

I was exceeding glad that I found of thy children walking in truth. Of thy children. This is a Hebraism. There is a similar grammatical form in Ps 72:16, “To Him shall be given of the gold of Arabia, and they shall worship of Him” (de ipso), i.e. “shall worship Him.”

Electa seems to have had many sons or grandsons, for they too are called children. This letter is addressed unto the elect lady (εκλεκτη = electa) and her children (verse 1) and Lapide was of the opinion that this was a reference to a Christian Matron. See the footnote to 2 John 1 in the NAB.

Walking in Truth: ordering their lives according to the rule of the Gospel. Observe, he does not say standing, or sitting, to signify that they made daily progress in the Christian life, and went on from virtue to virtue, in which he proposes them as a model for imitation.

As we have received a commandment from the Father. For the Father has commanded through the Son, even as Christ saith (John 15:15), “All things whatsoever I have heard of the Father I have made known unto you.”

2Jn 1:5  And now I beseech thee, lady, not as writing a new commandment to thee, but that which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another

And now, I beseech thee, Lady, &c. This must be referred to the end of the verse, that we love one another. I beseech thee, lady, to exercise thyself, and those who belong to thee, in mutual love. For this commandment of love is not recent and new, but delivered by Christ to me and the rest of the Apostles at the very beginning of the Gospel. Observe the modesty of S. John as something which ought to be imitated by Prelates, in that he says, I beseech thee, Lady, when he might have said, I command thee, 0 my daughter.

2Jn 1:6  And this is charity: That we walk according to his commandments. For this is the commandment that, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in the same:

For this is the commandment . . . you should walk in the same, &c. Viz., that ye should make careful progress in evangelical truth and love, growing and making progress in the love of God and your neighbours, as I enjoined upon you in the very beginning of my preaching.

2Jn 1:7  For many seducers are gone out into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a seducer and an antichrist.

For many seducers are gone out into the world.  He now passes to the second branch of his epistle, from charity to evangelical truth. For these two virtues are inseparable sisters and companions. Now the word because gives the reason for what he had said in the verse preceding. “I have said that ye should walk in charity, should make progress in the commandment of Gospel truth and charity, because many seducers are gone out into the world, who endeavour to overturn this truth, and as a consequence Christian charity, and to tear it from you. Of such therefore ye ought to beware as of wolves. For they strive to draw you away from union with Christ to their own conventicles of Satan.”

This is a seducer and an antichrist. Whosoever thinks, or teaches, that Christ has not come in the flesh, has not been incarnate; this man is a deceiver.

2Jn 1:8  Look to yourselves, that you lose not the things which you have wrought: but that you may receive a full reward.

Look to yourselves, that you lose not the things which you have wrought: the Greek reads in the first person, lest we lose, &c. Lest I should have preached to you in vain, and lest both I and you should lose all our former labour. As the old saying hath it, “There is no greater unhappiness than to remember that we once were happy.”

But that you may receive a full reward. That is, if ye take heed to yourselves, and persevere, your perseverance will bring you a full reward. Full, i.e. copious and abundant. For he who falls back, even though he afterwards repent, receives only a half reward, for he loses all the time and the works of the period of his apostasy. The Greek has α̉πολάβωμεν, that we may receive, for the reward of an Apostle and teacher is full when he sees the fruit of his works in his disciples, and when he is honoured and crowned, not only in himself, but in them. As S. Paul says, “What is our hope, or joy, or crown of glory? Ye are our glory and joy.

2Jn 1:9  Whosoever revolteth and continueth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God. He that continueth in the doctrine, the same hath both the Father and the Son

Whosoever revolteth, &c. The Greek is παζαβαινιν, i.e., who transgresses. The Syriac reads, he who passes by, and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, has not God for his friend.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on 2 John, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Update: St Cyril of Alexandria’s Commentary on Luke 17:20-37

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 10, 2012

This post originally consisted of St Cyril’s homiletic commentary on Luke 17:20-30 but I have expanded it to include his treatment of verse 31-37 as well.

17:20-30. And having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God comes, He answered and said unto them, The kingdom of God comes not by watchings; neither shall they say, Lo! here, or Lo! there: for behold! the kingdom of God is within you. And He said unto the disciples, The days will come, when you shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and shall not see it. And if they shall say unto you, Lo! here, or Lo! there, go you not, neither run thither. For as the lightning that lightens from under heaven gives light to that which is under heaven, so shall the Son of man be in His day. But first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation. And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it also be in the days of the Son of man. They were eating, and drinking, and were taking wives, and being made the wives of men, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking; they were buying and selling; they were planting, were building: but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom, there rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. So shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

AGAIN is the Pharisee fighting against God, nor feels that he is kicking against the pricks: for while assuming the appearance of being anxious to learn, he makes a mock at divine mysteries so holy, that “the angels desire to look into them,” according to the word of the blessed Peter. For this reason “blindness in part has happened unto Israel,” and darkness has blinded their eyes. For that they were dark and blind, so as even often to make the mystery of Christ an occasion of ridicule, any one may learn from what has now been read to us. For they drew near asking Him, and saying, “When will the kingdom of God come?” Moderate your pride, O foolish Pharisee: desist from a mockery that exposes you to |542 heavy and inevitable guilt. “For he, it says, that does not believe the Son, is condemned already, because he has not believed in the Name of the Son of God.” For the divine Moses showed before by type and shadow that the Word is the world’s way and door of salvation, in that though He is God, He appeared in human form, and endured the death of the flesh for the sake of the whole earth. And the declarations also of the holy prophets agree with what was said by Moses. For they foretold that He would come in due time in form like unto us. And this also came to pass: for He was manifested to those upon earth, having assumed the form of a slave; but even so He retained His natural lordship, and power, and glory such as befits God, as is proved by the splendour of the works He wrought. But you did not believe in Him: you did not accept justification by His means, in that you were obdurate and proud. And after this you ask, “When the kingdom of God shall come?”

As I said therefore, he mocks at a mystery thus truly holy and worthy of admiration. For because the Saviour of all in His public discourses spoke from time to time of the kingdom of God, therefore these miserable men, in contempt of Him,—-or perhaps even having it in their mind that being entrapped by their malice, He will have to endure the death upon the cross,—-ask in mockery, “When the kingdom of God will come;” as much as to say, that before this kingdom which You talk about, the cross and death will seize You. What therefore does Christ reply? Again He displays His long-suffering and incomparable love unto man: for “being reviled, He does not revile back: suffering, He does not threaten.” He does not therefore harshly chide them, nor yet because of their wickedness does He deign to give them an answer to their question, but says that only which is for the benefit of all men, that “the kingdom of God comes not by watchings: for behold! the kingdom of God is within you.” For ask not, He says, about the times in which the season of the kingdom of heaven shall again arise and come: but rather be in earnest, that you may be found worthy of it, for “it is within you,” that is, it depends upon your own wills, and is in your own power, whether or not you receive it. For every man who has attained to justification by means of faith in Christ, and is |543 adorned by all virtue, is counted worthy of the kingdom of heaven s.

Having therefore made this plain to all men, He now transfers His words to the holy disciples, to whom as His true companions He says, “The days will come when you shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and shall not see it.” Is the Lord then in so speaking working cowardice in His disciples? Does He enervate them beforehand, and make them without heart for the endurance of those persecutions and temptations which they would have to bear? This is not His meaning, but the contrary: for He would have them prepared for all that can grieve men, and ready to endure patiently, that so being approved, they may enter the kingdom of God. He forewarns them therefore that before His advent from heaven, at the consummation of the world, tribulation and persecution will precede Him, so that they will wish to see one of the days of the Son of man; that is, one such as those when they were still going about with Christ, and conversing with Him. And yet the Jews even then were guilty of no little violence against Him. They stoned Him with stones: they persecuted Him not once only, but oftentimes: they led Him to the brow of the hill, that they might throw Him down from the precipice: they vexed Him with reproaches and calumnies, and there was no form of wickedness which the Jews did not practise against Him. How then did He say that the disciples would desire to sec one of His days? It was because, by comparison with the greater evils, the less are, so to speak, desirable.

But that He will descend from heaven in the latter times of the world, not obscurely nor secretly, but with godlike glory, and as “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto,” He declared, saying, that His coming shall he as the lightning. He was born indeed in the flesh of a woman, to |544 fulfil the dispensation for our sakes, and for this reason He emptied Himself, and made Himself poor, and no longer showed Himself in the glory of the Godhead: for the season itself, and the necessity of the dispensation, summoned Him to this humiliation. But after the resurrection from the dead, having ascended to heaven, and sat down with God the Father, He shall descend again, not with His glory withdrawn, nor in the meanness of human nature, but in the majesty of the Father, with the companies of the angels guarding Him, and standing; before Him as God and Lord of all. He shall come therefore as the lightning, and not secretly.

Nor must we believe any one saying, “Lo! Christ is here, or lo! He is there. But first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation,” He cuts away another expectation from the heart of the disciples: for they supposed, that when He had gone round about Judaea, and afterwards been in Jerusalem, that He would immediately manifest the kingdom of God. They even drew near to Him and said, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”Yes, even the mother of Zebedee’s sons, expecting that this would be the case, drew near and said, “Lord, say that my two sons shall sit, the one on Your right hand, and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom.” That they might know therefore that He was about first to undergo His saving passion, and to abolish death by the death of His flesh, and put away the sin of the world, and bring to nought the ruler of this world, and so to ascend unto the Father, and in due time to appear to “judge the world in righteousness,” He says, that “He must first suffer many things.”

And to show that He will appear unexpectedly, and with no man knowing it, and the end of the world come, He says, that the end shall be “as it was in the days of Noah and Lot. For they were eating, He says, and drinking: and were taking wives, and being made the wives of men: they were selling and buying, and building; but the coming of the waters destroyed the one, while the others were the prey and food of brimstone and fire.” What therefore is signified by this? That He requires us to be always watchful, and ready to make our defence before the tribunal of God. For as Paul says, “We are all about to be revealed before the judgment-seat of |545 Christ, that every man may receive a retribution for the things that are by the body, according to that he has done, whether good or bad.” “Then shall He set the sheep on His right hand, and the goats on His left: and He shall say unto the sheep, Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world.” But upon the goats He will utter a terrible sentence; for He will send them to the flame that shall never be appeased.

If therefore, O Pharisee, you desire to be accounted worthy of the kingdom of God, become one of the sheep. Offer unto Christ the fruit of faith in Him, and the praise of holy conduct, even that which is by the Gospel. But if you continue to be a goat, that is, one unfruitful, and destitute both of faith and good works, why do you enquire when the kingdom of God will come? For it does not concern you. Fear rather because of the torment which is decreed against the unbelieving, and the unappeasable flame appointed for those who sin against Christ: by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen.

17:31-37. In that day, he who is upon the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not go down to carry them away: and he who is in the field, let him in like manner not return back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose it, shall save it alive. I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed: the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at a mill together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answer and say unto Him, Where, Lord? And He said unto them, Where the body is, there will also the eagles be gathered.

THE sacred Scripture has some where said, “Prepare your works for your departure, and make yourself ready for the field.” Now by our departure I imagine is meant our going from this world, and removal hence. For this time must of course overtake every one: for, as the Psalmist says, “What man is there that shall live and not see death, and that can save his soul from the hand of hell?” For the nature of man was condemned in Adam, and fell away unto corruption, because he foolishly transgressed the commandment given him. But those who are careless and contemptuous, lead a shameful and pleasure-loving life, not even perhaps admitting into their mind the thought of the world to come, and the hope prepared for the saints, nor feeling moreover any alarm at the torment that is appointed for those who love sin. But those who embrace a virtuous life rejoice in labours for probity’s sake, bidding, so to speak, farewell to the desire after earthly things, and paying but slight attention to the vain turmoil of the world.

To a purpose thus excellent, and a proportionate earnestness the Saviour bids us hold fast, thus saying; “In that day he who is upon the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not go down to carry them away: and he who is in the field, let him in like manner not return back.” He was speaking of the last day, that is, of the end of this world; |547 for as it was, He said, in the days of Noah and Lot: they were eating, and drinking, and were taking wives, and being made the wives of men, until the flood came; and upon Sodom fire descended, and destroyed them all: so shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” Strengthening them therefore for the remembrance of the last day, and the final time, He commands them to disregard all earthly and temporal matters, and look only unto one end, the duty namely of every one saving his soul. “He therefore, He says, that is upon the housetop, let him not go down to the house to carry away his goods.” And in these words He apparently means the man who is at ease, living in wealth and worldly glory: for always those that stand upon the housetops are conspicuous in the eyes of them who are round about the house. If therefore, He says, there be any one in this condition, let him at that time make no account of the goods stored up in his house. For vain henceforth are such things, and unavailing to his advantage. For, as it is written, “Treasures profit not the wicked: but righteousness delivers from death.”

But even “if any one be, He says, in the field, in like manner let him not return back.” That is, if any one be found devoted to industry, and occupied in labours, earnestly desirous of spiritual fruitfulness, and gathering the wages of virtuous toil, let him hold firmly to this diligence: “let him not return back:” for, as Christ Himself again has somewhere said, “No man that puts his hand to the plough, and turns back, is fit also for the kingdom of heaven.” For it is our duty to maintain our religious exertions without wavering, and to persevere in them with undaunted wills, lest we suffer some such fate as befell the woman at Sodom, taking whom as an example, He says, “Remember Lot’s wife,” For when she had been rescued from Sodom, but would afterwards have returned, she became a pillar of salt, became, that is, foolish and stone-like.

On that day therefore, He says, and at that time, both those who are accustomed to live in luxury must entirely abstain from such pride, and readily labour, in order that they may save themselves: and in like manner those who are industrious, and honour useful exertion, must bravely hold to the mark that has been set before them. “For whosoever shall seek to save |548 his life shall lose it: and whosoever shall lose it, shall save it alive.”

But the way in which a man loses his life that he may save it, and how he who imagines that he is saving loses it, Paul clearly shows, where he says of the saints, “They that are Jesus Christ’s have crucified the flesh, with its affections and lusts.” For those who have really become true [followers] of Christ our common Saviour, crucify their flesh, and put it to death, by being constantly engaged in labours and struggles unto piety, and by mortifying its natural desire. For it is written, “Mortify your members that are upon earth; fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil lust, and covetousness.” But those who love a voluptuous course of life, imagine probably that they are gaining their soul by living in pleasure and effeminacy: whereas certainly they lose it. “For he that sows, it says, to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption.”

But on the other hand, whosoever loses his life shall of a certainty save it. This the blessed martyrs did, enduring conflicts even unto blood and life, and placing on their heads as their crown their true love unto Christ. But those who, from weakness of resolution and mind, denied the faith, and fled from the present death of the flesh, became their own murderers: for they will go down into hell to suffer the penalties of their wicked cowardice. For the Judge shall descend from heaven: and those who with all their heart have loved Him, and earnestly practised entire virtuousness of life, He will call, saying, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world.” But those who have led careless and dissolute lives, nor maintained the glory of faith in Him, on them will He pass a severe and overwhelming sentence, saying unto them, “Depart, you cursed, into everlasting fire.”

This He teaches us by saying, “In that night there shall be two men in one bed: one shall be taken, and one shall be left. Two women shall be grinding at a mill together, the one shall be taken, and the other left.” Now by the two who are in one bed, He seems to hint at those who live in rest and plenty, and are equal to one another, as far as regards their being possessed of worldly affluence: for the bed is the |549 symbol of rest. “But one of them, He says, shall be taken, and one shall be left.” How, or in what manner? It is because not all those who are possessed of wealth and ease in this world are wicked and merciless. For what if a man be rich, but be gentle and merciful, and not destitute of the praise of compassion upon the poor; if he be ready to share his wealth with others, and affable of address; thoroughly liberal and sober-minded; upright in the faith, and of an urgent zeal for piety; if too, according to the Saviour’s expression, he have made for himself friends by his use of the unrighteous mammon, this man is taken: but the other, who was not thus minded, shall be left.

“Two women, He says, shall be grinding at a mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.” And by these again He seems to mean such as live in poverty and labour: but even in these, He says, there is a certain vast difference. For some have borne the burden of poverty manfully, honouring a sober and virtuous course of life: while others have been of a different character, crafty for every wicked practice, and the contrivers of all baseness. There will be therefore even in their case a full and exact investigation of their manners, and he that is good will be taken, and he that is not so will be left.

As Christ however, our common Saviour, had used the expression “shall be taken,” the disciples usefully and necessarily ask, “Whither, Lord? And He said unto them, Where the body is, there will also the eagles be gathered.” And what does this mean? By the use of a common and very plain fact, He hints at a great and profound mystery. And what is this? That He shall descend from heaven “to judge the world in righteousness.” But, as He Himself says, “He will send His angels, and they shall choose the righteous and the holy from among the sinners, and bring them near unto Him:” but those others they will leave on earth, as doomed to torment and condemned to the punishment which is by fire.

Something to this effect the very wise Paul also declares, where he writes, “For I say unto you, that we who are left alive shall not arrive before those who have slept. Suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. For it shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise incorruptible: and we who are left alive shall be caught up together with them |550 in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

Just therefore, He says, as when a dead corpse is exposed, carnivorous birds assemble unto it; so when the Son of man shall appeal’, then certainly shall the eagles, even those who fly aloft, and rise superior to earthly and worldly things, hasten to Him.

And He calls the time of judgment night, because, as I imagine, of His advent being unknown and unexpected. For we remember also one of the holy prophets crying out to them who love sin, and saying, “Woe unto them that desire the day of the Lord! What will the day of the Lord be unto you? and it is darkness and not light; and thick darkness that has no brightness in it.” And again, Christ Himself has somewhere said to the holy apostles: ” I must work the works of Him That sent Me while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.” And one also of the holy apostles wrote, “The day of the Lord comes as a thief,” that is, without being foreknown.

In order therefore that we may be taken by Christ, let us abandon all earthly anxieties, and devote ourselves to every kind of good work. For so will He accept us, and make us His own, and crown us with honours from on high: by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever, Amen. |551


Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, fathers of the church, liturgy, Notes on Luke's Gospel, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 23 (22 in LXX and Vulgate)

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 10, 2012

Text in red are my additions.


THE Lord’s loving care for the psalmist is described here, first under the symbol of the Good Shepherd (Ps 23:1-4), and then under that of the generous host (Ps 23:5-6). As the shepherd feeds a flock, so the psalmist may be regarded as representing the community (the flock) of Israel. God is the Shepherd of Israel (cf. Exodus 34:11-19), and He is also the master of the house, who entertains Israel in the sacred banquets of the Temple. The singer seems to speak as one who has been through bitter trials (Ps 23:4)—not merely as one who is ready to face with courage the unknown perils of the future. The difficulties of the ancient desert-sojournings, or the trials of the Babylonian Exile may be here referred to. The tone of the psalm reminds one of the “Gradual Psalms.” The “Gradual Psalms are also called the “Songs of Ascent.” In those translation of the Bible that follow the psalm numbering of the Septuagint (e.g., the Douay-Rheims), these psalms are numbered 119-133. In translations following the numbering of the Massoretes (e.g., the NAB) the numbering is 120-134. See the footnote to Psalm 120:1 in the RNAB.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 37

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 10, 2012


THIS psalm is alphabetical and, like the other alphabetical psalms, somewhat loosely constructed. Its general theme, like that of Ps 1,  Ps 49, and Ps 73, is the method of divine retribution. The poet does not go deeply into the problem of Providence; for him the prosperity of the godless is only apparent; the good, in fact, always prosper; the wicked, in truth, always suffer. If the wicked do seem, at times, to prosper, it is only for a moment, and without security. Their prosperity is, therefore, a delusion. Hence the pious must not be misled by it to emulate the wickedness of the godless, or to be impatient at their apparent success. In the end the pious will have all blessings ; the wicked, with their children, will be swept away, and the God-fearing shall find themselves in undisturbed and abiding possession of the land of Israel. The psalmist’s philosophy of life is thus the naive optimism which is so bitterly rejected by Job when his three friends put it forward as a solution of the riddle of Job’s condition (Job 4 ff.). The psalm contains many echoes of Job, Proverbs, and of other Psalms. The psalmist, like the writers of the Sapiential books, takes the attitude of a father or a teacher giving counsel to a son or disciple. Hence, as in Proverbs, the frequent use of the second person singular in the address.

This poem also is regarded by modern criticism as post-exilic—by some critics even as Maccabean.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

%d bloggers like this: