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 April, 2013

Sunday, May 5 2013: Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 30, 2013

READINGS AND OFFICE:

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8.

  • Pending: Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 67.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: John 14:23-29.

GENERAL RESOURCES: Sites which offer commentaries, reflections, summaries,etc., on one or more of the readings in a single post.

  • SacerdosGives the theme(s) of the readings, the doctrinal message, and pastoral application.
  • Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background on the readings. Can be printed out, copied, and used as bulletin insert.
  • Scripture Speaks. Since the site doesn’t post every week I’ve linked to the archive.
  • The Bible Workshop. Links to several relevant articles, contains a reading guide to the gospel text, a comparison of the readings, suggestions for a lesson (i.e., homily).
  • The Wednesday WordIt’s about the Sunday readings, but the document is posted on Wednesday, hence the name. Designed for prayer and reflection, the pdf document ends with Father Dom Henry Wansbrough’s reflections on the first and second readings. Fr. Wansbrough is General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible and contributed commentaries on Matt, Mark, and the Pastorals in A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.
  • St Charles Borromeo Parish’s Bible Study Notes. Notes on all the readings, usually with some background info as well.
  • Sacred Page Blog: Reflection on the readings by Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma.
  • Preaching the Lectionary. Reflection on the gospel from the Christian Leadership Center, an ecumenical site.
  • Glancing Thoughts: Brief reflection on the first reading from philosopher Eleanore Stump.
  • The Gospel in its Historical Cultural Context. Briefly examines the gospel reading in light of first century Mediterranean culture.
  • Thoughts From The Early Church. Excerpt on the Gospel from St Bernard of Clairvaux.
  • Scripture In Depth. Succinct summary of the readings and their relation to one another.
  • The Unofficial Lectionary. Readings from the Douay-Rheims bible followed by notes from the old Haydock commentary.

PODCASTS: Pending.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM
FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
DOMINICA V POST PASCHA~II. CLASSIS

MISSAL AND BREVIARY:

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: James 1:22-27.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: John 16:23-30.

HOMILY NOTES: Useful for sermon ideas, points of meditation or further study.

HOMILIES:

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 15:1-2, 21-29

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 30, 2013

Text in red are my additions.

1. And some coming down from Judea, taught the brethren: That except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved.

And some coming down, etc. These were Jews who had been converted to Christianity. They contended that circumcision and the observances of the Mosaic Law were essential for salvation, and that therefore converts from paganism should first be subject to these observances. In order to make their influence more effective they came down from Jerusalem, the seat of great authority, to Antioch, which was known as the center of the Church, and whose Christian community was composed of Gentile converts. It is true that the vision of St Peter and the consequent conclusion that Mosaic observances were no longer necessary for salvation (Acts 10-11) were well known, and had been accepted by the faithful at Jerusalem; but as the number of converts, especially from the sect of the Pharisees, grew, the old ideas about the eternity of the Law of Moses and the necessity of its observance again became prominent. The case of Cornelius and the decision of St Peter at the time were gradually looked upon as exceptional, and the result of a special divine intervention.

2. And when Paul and Barnabas had no small contest with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain  others of the other side, should go up to the apostles and priests in Jerusalem about this question.

The doctrine of those Jewish converts from Jerusalem caused a great controversy and agitation in the Church at Antioch, in particular, since the agitators pretended to have authority from the Apostles at Jerusalem (Gal 2: 2, 6, 9). Hence the heads of the Church at Antioch decided that Paul and Barnabas, with Titus (Gal 2:1). and some others, should go up to Jerusalem and consult Peter and the other Apostles there with a view to settling this question (Gal 2:9).

The ex aliis (“of the other side”) of the Vulgate here would imply that among the delegates sent to Jerusalem there were some opposed to the opinion of Paul; but since the phrase is not in the Greek it is thought that it is a corruption for ex illis (of those). Certain other Latin versions have ex illis instead of ex aliis.

From the Epistle to the Galatians 2:2 we know that St Paul was moved to go up to Jerusalem at this time by divine revelation, as well as by the decision of the elders of the Church of Antioch.

21. For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him in the synagogues, where he is read every sabbath.

St James here explains why he counsels the pagan converts to abstain from the foregoing things, namely, because the Mosaic Law which prohibits them has been read in the Synagogues every Saturday from the remotest times, and is, therefore, so well known to the Jews that to see pagan converts openly disregard it would be more than they could peacefully tolerate.

St James, therefore, agrees with St Peter and St Paul that the Gentiles are free from the Mosaic observances which the Jews wish to have imposed on them, but he at the same time counsels the Gentiles to refrain from certain pagan practices which were extremely obnoxious to the Jews. So much was necessary for peace and unity in the Church.

22. Then it pleased the apostles and ancients, with the whole church, to choose men of their own company, and to send to Antioch, with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas, who was surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren.

The Apostles and priests with the whole assembly now selected from among their group some prominent men of authority to accompany Paul and Barnabas and carry the decree of the Council to the Church at Antioch. Those chosen for this mission were Judas Barsabas, probably a brother of Joseph Barsabas (Acts 1:23), and Silas, in Latin, Silvanus, who was afterwards the constant companion of St. Paul on his missions to Macedonia (Acts 15:40; 16:19; 17:4; 2 Cor 1:19; 1 Thess 1:1; 2 Thess 1:1). Chief men, etc., ανδρας ηγουμενους; i.e., leaders, guides, which shows they were men of special authority, as priests or Bishops.

23. Writing by their hands: The apostles and andents, brethren, to the brethren of the Gentiles that are at Antioch, and in Syria and Cilicia, greeting.

Writing by their hands; i.e., the Apostles wrote letters by them, or employed these men to write for them in the following manner: “The Apostles,” etc. In Greek we have “and” before brethren, but the reading of the Vulgate is according to the best Greek MSS. The mention of ” Syria and Cilicia ” shows that the errors had spread beyond Antioch.

24. Forasmuch as we have heard, that some going out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls; to whom we gave no commandment:
25. It hath seemed good to us, being assembled together, to choose out men, and to send them unto you, with our well beloved Barnabas and Paul :

Subverting your souls; i.e., troubling or upsetting their minds by requiring them without authority to submit to the Mosaic observances. Being assembled together; i.e., being assembled in full accord (Greek).

26. Men that have given their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27. We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who themselves also will, by word of mouth, tell you the same things.

Judas and Silas, who would tell them by word of mouth the selfsame things which were written in the letters they were bearing.

28. For it hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay no further burden upon you than these necessary things:
29. That you abstain from things sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication ; from which things keeping yourselves, you shall do well. Fare ye well.

The prohibitions of the Council of Jerusalem are mentioned three times in the Acts: here, in Acts 15:20, and in Acts 21:25. There are two readings of the decree of this Council: (a) The Three Clause Text or Western Reading—found in Codex Bezae (D), the Old Latin, Irenaeus, Tertullian, etc.,—mentions only three prohibitions,— abstinence from meats offered to idols, from blood, and from fornication. Codex Bezae and Irenaeus add the Golden Rule: “Whatsoever ye would not have done unto yourselves, do ye not unto others.” (b) The Four Clause Text—found in the great uncial MSS., Sinaitic, Alex., Vat., etc.—adds to the three prohibitions just mentioned a fourth, namely, abstinence from things strangled. Which of these readings is correct is a much disputed question. Some think the two can be reconciled by following the reading, “sanguine suffocato,” found in certain MSS. of the Vulgate and in some Latin Fathers.

Guided by the Holy Ghost, according to the promise of Christ (Matt 18:18; John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13), the Apostles gave an infallible decision on the questions under discussion. The pagan converts were to be troubled with “no further burden” from the Law of Moses, except the observance of the Decalogue, which was of the natural law; but, for the sake of unity and peace in the Church, they should refrain from certain pagan practices very offensive to the Jews. The Apostolic decree, then, was partly a food law or disciplinary measure, inasmuch as it commanded a temporary and local abstinence from certain foods prohibited by the Mosaic Law; and partly a moral law, inasmuch as it prohibited fornication. The opinion of Resch, Harnack, and other advocates of the Three
Clause Reading—who think the decree was merely a moral enactment, and that it forbade sins against God (idolatry), against self (fornication), and against the neighbor (blood) —is not supported by convincing arguments.

The rationalists find a difficulty here. They say: (a) St. Luke’s account of the decree of the Council of Jerusalem cannot be correct, because St. Paul makes no mention of such a decree when writing to the Galatians. Answer: It was not to St. Paul’s purpose to refer to this decree in his Epistle to the Galatians. He was there writing a defense of himself, and omitted all that did not serve this end. Moreover, the Jewish converts of Galatia, to whom St. Paul wrote his Epistle, held that the Mosaic observances were necessary in order to be perfect Christians, not, however, for salvation. The decree of the Council condemned the teaching that the Mosaic observances were necessary for salvation; (b) St. Paul, writing to the Corinthians (1 Cor 10:25-27), gave them permission to eat meats that had been offered in sacrifice to idols. Answer: The prohibition or counsel to pagan converts not to eat meat offered to idols was only a disciplinary matter for the sake of peace and unity among the newly converted. Accordingly, where the Jews were far in the minority, as at Corinth, it was not necessary to insist on a merely disciplinary part of the decree of the Council of Jerusalem. It was not wrong in itself to eat meat offered to idols. See A. Camerlynck, Com. in Actus. Apost.; W. Drum, S.J., The Apostolic Decree, Eccl. Review, January, 1914.

Note: there are some scholars who think that the Letter to the Galatians predates the council. Concerning this question one can profitably consult Protestant scholar F.F. Bruce’s online article here. Fr. Raymond Brown suggests that it was written on the eve of the meeting in Jerusalem.  Also, both Galatia and Corinth were outside the territories addressed: The city of Antioch, and the territories of Syria and Cilicia. In other words, the original injunction may have been applicable only to the people in these areas, not elsewhere.

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This Week’s Posts: Sunday, April 28-Sunday, April 5 2013

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 28, 2013

SUNDAY, APRIL 28 2013
FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Dominica IV Post Pascha ~ II. classis

RESOURCES FOR SUNDAY MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Last Week’s Posts: Sunday, April 21-Sunday, April 28.

MONDAY, APRIL 29 2013
MEMORIAL OF ST CATHERINE OF SIENA
S. Petri Martyris ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria Secunda infra Hebdomadam IV post Octavam Paschae

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

TUESDAY, APRIL 30 2013
TUESDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER
S. Catharina Senensis Virgine ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria Tertia infra Hebdomadam IV post Octavam Paschae

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

WEDNESDAY, MAY 1 2013
WEDNESDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER
S. Joseph Opificis ~ I. classis
Tempora: Feria Quarta infra Hebdomadam IV post Octavam Paschae

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

GENERAL POSTS:

THURSDAY, MAY 2 2013
MEMORIAL OF ST ATHANASIUS , BISHOP AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
S. Athanasii Confessoris Ecclesiae Doctoris ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria Quinta infra Hebdomadam IV post Octavam Paschae

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

GENERAL POSTS:

FRIDAY, MAY 3 2013
FEAST OF ST PHILIP AND ST JAMES, APOSTLES
Feria Sexta infra Hebdomadam IV post Octavam Paschae ~ IV. classis
Commemoratio: Ss. Alexandri et Sociorum Martyrum

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

GENERAL POSTS:

SATURDAY, MAY 4 2013
SATURDAY OF THE FIFTH WEEK OF EASTER
S. Monicae Viduae ~ III. classis
Tempora: Sabbato infra Hebdomadam IV post Octavam Paschae

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

GENERAL POSTS:

SUNDAY, MAY 5 2013
SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Dominica V Post Pascha ~ II. classis

RESOURCES FOR SUNDAY MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

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Sunday, April 28 2013~Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 24, 2013

SUNDAY, APRIL 28 2013
FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR C
ORDINARY FORM

READINGS AND OFFICE:

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Acts 14:21-27.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 145:8-9, 10-11, 12-13.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Revelation 21:1-5a.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READING: John 13:31-33a, 34-35.

GENERAL RESOURCES: Sites which offer commentaries, reflections, summaries,etc., on one or more of the readings in a single post.

  • SacerdosGives the theme(s) of the readings, the doctrinal message, and pastoral application.
  • Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background on the readings. Can be printed out, copied, and used as bulletin insert.
  • Scripture Speaks. Since the site doesn’t post every week I’ve linked to the archive.
  • The Bible Workshop. Links to several relevant articles, contains a reading guide to the gospel text, a comparison of the readings, suggestions for a lesson (i.e., homily).
  • The Wednesday WordIt’s about the Sunday readings, but the document is posted on Wednesday, hence the name. Designed for prayer and reflection, the pdf document ends with Father Dom Henry Wansbrough’s reflections on the first and second readings. Fr. Wansbrough is General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible and contributed commentaries on Matt, Mark, and the Pastorals in A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.
  • St Charles Borromeo Parish’s Bible Study Notes. Notes on all the readings, usually with some background info as well.
  • Sacred Page Blog: The Kingdom of Love: Reflection on the readings by Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma.
  • Preaching the Lectionary. Reflection on the gospel from the Christian Leadership Center, an ecumenical site.
  • Glancing Thoughts: Brief reflection on the gospel reading from philosopher Eleanore Stump.
  • The Gospel in its Historical Cultural Context. Briefly examines the gospel reading in light of first century Mediterranean culture.
  • Thoughts From The Early Church. Excerpt on the Gospel from St Cyril of Alexandria.
  • Scripture In Depth. Succinct summary of the readings and their relation to one another.
  • The Unofficial Lectionary. Readings from the Douay-Rheims bible followed by notes from the old Haydock commentary.

CHILDREN & TEEN RESOURCES: Pending.

PODCASTS: Bible Studies and Homilies. Partially complete.

  • On The Readings As A Whole:

Franciscan Bible Study Podcast. Link is to archive page. This Sunday’s study will become available on Thursday.
St Martha’s Bible Study Podcast. Looks at all the readings in some detail.

  • On Acts of Apostles:

St Martha’s Podcast Study of Acts of Apostles. Listen to part 6.
EWTN’s Gospel of the Holy Spirit (on Acts of Apostles). Listen to episode 7.
St Catherine of Siena’s Podcast Study of Acts of Apostle. Video on chapters 13-15.
Institute of Catholic Culture’s Podcast Study of Acts of Apostles. Listen to part 8 on chapters 10-15.

  • ON THE BOOK OF REVELATION:

Institute of Catholic Culture on Revelation. A three part introductory overview of the book.
St Martha’s Podcast Study of Revelation. On chapters 20-22.
A Catholic Study of the Book of Revelation. Video on chapters 13-16.

  • ON THE GOSPEL OF JOHN:

EWTN’s Study of John’s Gospel. Listen to episode 10.
St Martha’s Podcast Study of John’s Gospel. Listen to session 9.
St Irenaeus Ministries Podcast Study of John’s Gospel. On chapters 13-14. Click on the POD icon or the direct download link.
Franciscan Sister’s Bible Study Podcast on John’s Gospel. Scroll down and click on the episode covering 13:10-14:31.
Update: Sunday Gospel Scripture Study. Video. Looks at the gospel reading in detail.

  • HOMILIES: Pending.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM
FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
Dominica IV Post Pascha ~ II. classis

MISSAL AND BREVIARY:

  • Roman Missal. Latin & English side by side. Be sure correct date is set.
  • Roman Breviary. Latin & English side by side. Be sure correct date is set.
  • Goffine’s Instruction on the Epistle and Gospel. Famous devotional work in English. Similar to the content in the Missal link but it also includes brief instructions on the readings plus a brief essay on Encouragement to Patience in Adversity, base upon John 16:20.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: James 1:17-21.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL READING: John 16:5-14.

HOMILIES AND HOMILY NOTES:

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St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on John 12:44-50

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 23, 2013

Please note that books seven and eight of St Cyril’s work on the Gospel of John has survived only in fragments.

44, 45 And Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on Me, believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me. And He that beholdeth Me beholdeth Him that sent Me.

Contrary to His wont He cries aloud, and the cry convicts the ill-timed fear of men which influenced those who believed on Him and yet veiled their belief. For He |162 wishes to be honoured of men that choose to admire Him, not stealthily, but openly. For He assumed that while faith ought to be laid up in the heart, nevertheless the most wise confession that is founded thereon ought to be made with great boldness. And forasmuch as, being by Nature God, He condescended to take a form like ours, He refuses for the time to declare in plain words into the ears of men who hate Him that they ought to believe in Him, although He often did say this; and with fullest adaptation to the needs of those who suffer the distemper of untamable envy at Him, He gradually accustoms their minds to penetrate towards the depth of the mysteries concerning Himself, [leading them] not to the Human Person, but to That Which was of the Divine Essence; inasmuch as the Godhead is apprehended completely in the Person of God the Father, for He, hath in Himself the Son and the Spirit. Exceeding wisely He carries them onwards, saying: He that believeth on Me believeth not on Me, but on Him that sent Me; for He does not exclude Himself from being believed on by us, because He is God by nature and has shone forth from God the Father. But skilfully (as has been said) He handles the mind of the weak to mould them to piety, in order that thou mightest understand Him to say something of this kind: “When ye believe on Me, Who for your sakes am on the one hand a man like yourselves, but on the other hand am God by reason of My own Nature and of the Father from Whom I am, do not suppose that it is upon a man you are setting your faith. For I am by Nature God, notwithstanding that I appear like one of yourselves, and I have within Myself Him Who begat Me. Forasmuch therefore as I am Consubstantial with Him that hath begotten Me, your faith will assuredly pass on also to the Father Himself.” As we said therefore, the Lord, gradually training them to something better, and profitably interweaving the human with what is God-befitting, said: He that believeth on Me and the words that follow. For that the faith must not be directed simply to a man, but to the Nature of |163 God, notwithstanding that the Word was clothed in flesh, because His Nature was not converted into man, He hath very clearly informed us; and that He is on an equality in every respect with God the Father, by reason of Their likeness of Nature and Their identity (as we may term it) of Essence, He made amply clear: by saying:—-

46 I am come a Light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me may not abide in the darkness.

Behold, again He grasps their faith and fixes it on Himself, and effects at once two most useful ends. For on the one hand in professing Himself to be Light He proves that He is God by Nature, for so to be called befits Him alone Who is in His Nature God; and on the other hand by adding the cause of His coming, He brings a blush to the cheek of any man who thinks but little of loving Him. Because we evidently must understand that those who had not yet believed on Him are as yet in darkness, inasmuch as to be in the light that flows from Him is theirs only who have believed on Him. And He leads them also to the remembrance of the things that are spoken in many passages concerning Him, whereby He foretold that He would come to enlighten the world; as for example; Be enlightened, be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy Light, the True Light, is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee; and: Send out Thy Light and Thy Truth. Therefore it is just as if He had said: “I am the Light that in the Scripture is looked for, to come for the salvation of the world, to enlighten them that are wandering in darkness as if in night.”

48 The word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day.

They will be self-condemned therefore, He says, who refuse to hear Him and do not accept the saving faith. For He that came to illumine, came not in order to judge, but to save. He therefore that disobeys and thereby subjects himself to the greatest miseries, let him blame |164 himself as justly punished.” For I am not the cause thereof, Who desire to save those that are going to fall into judgment, and Who came for this end. For he that makes a law punishing the disobedient, makes it not for the sake of punishing them that transgress it, but in order that they that hear may take heed of it and be safe. I therefore, having come to save, charge you to believe, and not to despise My words; inasmuch as the present is a time of salvation, not of judgment. For in the day of judgment, the word that called you to salvation will bring the penalties of disobedience upon you. And of what nature was the word that I spake?

S. John 12:49, 50. For I spake not from Myself; but the Father Which sent Me, He hath given Me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that His commandment is life eternal: the things therefore which I speak, even as the Father hath said unto Me, so I speak.

He reminds the people of the Jews of the things that had been aforetime proclaimed concerning Him by Moses, and by this means skilfully rebukes them; and, exposing the impiety that was in them, He clearly proves that they were caring nothing for having insolently outraged even the Law itself, although it was believed to have been given from God. For what God said concerning Christ by Moses is well known to all men, but still I will quote it because of the necessity of perceiving the exact idea; I will raise them up a Prophet from the midst of His brethren, like unto thee; that is to say, a lawgiver, and a mediator between God and men: and I will put My word in His mouth, and He shall speak unto them according as I may command Him; and the man who will not hearken to whatsoever the Prophet may speak in My Name, I will take vengeance on him. At one and the same time therefore our Lord Jesus the Christ censures the boastful temper of the Jewish people, displayed in their fighting even, |168 against God the Father; and, by saying that He has received a commandment from the Father and speaks not of Himself, clearly proves that He Himself is the Prophet fore-announced by the Law and heralded by the voice of God the Father from ages long before. And in a way He calls to their remembrance, although their minds were sluggish in comprehending it, that if they refused to be persuaded by the words that came from Him, they would certainly fall a prey to inevitable punishment, and would endure all that God had said. For they who transgress the Divine commandment of God the Father, and thrust away from themselves the life-giving word of God our Saviour Christ, shall surely be cast down into most utter misery, and shall remain without any part in the life that comes from Him; with good reason hearing that which was spoken by the voice of the prophet: O earth, earth, hear, O hear the word of the Lord. Behold, I bring evils upon this people, as the fruit of their turning away, because they obeyed not My Law, and ye rejected My word. For we shall find that the Jews were liable to a twofold accusation: for they failed to honour the Law itself, although it was generally held dear and accounted an object of reverence, in that they refused to believe on Him Whom the Law proclaimed; and they turned a deaf ear to the words of our Saviour Christ, although He announced openly that He was certainly the Prophet spoken of in the oracles of the Law, when He declared that it was from God the Father that He was supplied with His words.

And let no one suppose that the saying of the Lord—-that nothing is spoken by Himself, but that all comes from the Father—-can do Him injustice in any way at all, as regards the estimate either of His Essence or of His God-befitting dignity; but first let the matter be thought over again, and let an answer be given to this question of ours:—-“Can any one really suppose that the name and exercise of the prophetic office befit Him Who altogether is and is regarded as being in His Nature God?” Surely, |169 I think, every one, however simple he may be, would answer in the negative, and say that it is incredible that the God Who speaks in prophets should Himself be called a prophet: for He it was Who multiplied visions, as it is written, and was likened to similitudes by the hands of the prophets. Since however He assumed the name of servitude and the outward fashion of resemblance to ourselves and with regard to His resemblance to us was called a Prophet, it necessarily follows also that the Law has endued Him with the attributes befitting the prophet, that is to say, the privilege of hearing somewhat from the Father and of receiving a commandment, what He should say and what He should speak. And moreover I shall feel obliged to say this much also. The Jews, possessed with a strong prejudice concerning the Law, believing that it had been spoken from God, could not have been expected to accept the words of the Saviour when He changed the form of the ordinances of old into a spiritual service.

And what cause had they to allege for being unwilling to accept the transformation of the types into their veritable significance? They were not aware that He was by Nature God, nor did they even admit the supposition that the Only-Begotten, being the Word of the Father, had borne our flesh for our sakes: for else, in immediate submission to God, they would have changed their opinion in any way whatever without hesitation, and would have faithfully revered His Divine glory. But the wretched men rather thought that He was altogether one like ourselves, and that, although a mere man, He had thought so highly of Himself as even to attempt to put an end to the very laws which came from God the Father. For instance they once said to Him plainly: For a good work we stone Thee not, but for blasphemy; because Thou, being a Man, makest Thyself God. Our Lord Jesus therefore, by much wisdom and with a definite design, seeking to turn His hearers from the idea that had taken possession of their minds, changes the subject of His discourse from |170 that which was simply and solely the human personality to Him Who was the object of acknowledged and undisputed adoration, I mean of course God the Father; thinking it right to use every means of importunately pleading with the uneducated heart of the Jews, and striving by every possible method to lead on their dull minds to the desire to learn true and more befitting doctrines. So much then may suffice in the way of argument and speculation for any one who would get rid of the carping criticisms of the unholy heretics, when they suppose that the Son will make Himself in any respect whatever inferior to His own Father by saying that He speaks nothing of Himself, but that a commandment has been given Him, and that He speaks according as He has heard.

And I think that this would really suffice: yet I will also say something else by way of exposing the insolence of their loquacity. For come now, if it seems good to thee, and let us, having summarized for the present occasion in few words the doctrine of the Incarnation, shew concerning the Only-Begotten Himself that it was well and rightly said: I speak not from Myself; but the Father which sent Me, He hath given Me a commandment what I should say and what I should speak. For being Himself the Living and Personal Word of God the Father, He is necessarily the medium of interpreting what is in the Father; and in bringing to light that which is, as it were, the set will and purpose of His own Father, He says He has in effect received a commandment: and any one might see even in the case of ourselves that the fact is truly so and could not be otherwise. For the language of utterance, which consists in the putting together of words and phrases, and which makes itself heard externally by means of articulate speech, reveals that which is in the intellect, when our intellect gives a commandment as it were to it; although indeed the whole process does not take much time. For, the moment it has decided upon anything, the mind at once delivers it over to the voice; and the voice, passing outwards, interprets what is in the innermost |171 depth of the mind, altering nothing of what it has been commanded to utter. “Where then is the strange part of the matter, sirs,” any one might very well say to our opponents, “if the Son, being the Word of God the Father, does (in a manner not indeed exactly like ours, for the ways of God transcend all comparison,) interpret the will of Him Who begat Him?” For does not the prophet speak of Him as called by a title most fitting for Him: “Angel of great counsel?” But this I think is quite clear. The Only-Begotten therefore will suffer no detraction as regards His Essence or His dignity, even though He is said to have received a commandment from God the Father: for we ourselves also are often commanding others and ordering them to do something, but they will not on this account deny their community of nature with us, nor will they lose their likeness to us or be less consubstantial with us, whether before or after the utterance of the command.

But thou wilt say that while they remain consubstantial with us, their dignity suffers from their submission to us.

And I say this to thee on this point, concerning the Only-Begotten: “If it were not written concerning Him that being in the form of God He counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself,—-the form of thy objection might really have had a not invalid significance: but since the manner of His submission and humiliation is clear, why dost thou recklessly rail at Him Who endured to suffer even this for our sakes?” Making therefore our argument on every side to conform to accuracy of doctrine, we maintain that our Lord Jesus Christ has spoken the words of the phrase before us in full agreement with the scheme of His Incarnation.

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This Week’s Posts: Sunday, April 21–Sunday, April 28 2013 (Fourth to Fifth Sundays of Easter)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 20, 2013

This post will be moved to the top of my blog sometime early Sunday, April 21.

SUNDAY, APRIL 21 2013
FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Dominica III Post Pascha~II. classis

RESOURCES OF SUNDAY MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

Last Week’s Posts: Sunday, April 14-Sunday, April 21.

MONDAY, APRIL 22 2013
MONDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER
SS. Soteris et Caji Paparum et Martyrum ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria Secunda infra Hebdomadam III post Octavam Paschae

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

GENERAL POSTS:

TUESDAY, APRIL 23
TUESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER
Feria Tertia infra Hebdomadam III post Octavam Paschae ~ IV. classis
Commemoratio: S. Georgii Martyris

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

GENERAL POSTS:

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24
WEDNESDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER
S. Fidelis Sigmaringa Martyris ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria Quarta infra Hebdomadam III post Octavam Paschae

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM: The Gospel reading for this form is on John 15:1-7, all of the Commentaries listed below include verse 8.

GENERAL POSTS:

THURSDAY, APRIL 25
FEAST OF ST MARK THE EVANGELIST
S. Marci Evangelistae ~ II. classis
Tempora: Feria Quinta infra Hebdomadam III post Octavam Paschae

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

GENERAL POSTS:

Eight Things To Know About St Mark And His Gospel.

Catholic Scripture Manual on St Mark’s Gospel. Online. Published in 1905.

Introduction to St Mark in MSWORD Format. Online. Published in 2006 by Dom Henry Wansbrough of Ampleforth Abbey.

FRIDAY, APRIL 26
FRIDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER
SS. Cleti et Marcellini Paparum et Martyrum ~ III. classis
Tempora: Feria Sexta infra Hebdomadam III post Octavam Paschae

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

SATURDAY, APRIL 27
SATURDAY OF THE FOURTH WEEK OF EASTER
S. Petri Canisii Confessoris et Ecclesiae Doctoris ~ III. classis
Tempora: Sabbato infra Hebdomadam III post Octavam Paschae

ORDINARY FORM:

EXTRAORDINARY FORM:

SUNDAY, APRIL 28 2013
FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Dominica IV Post Pascha ~ II. classis

RESOURCES FOR SUNDAY MASS (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms).

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Sunday, April 21:Resources for Mass~Fourth Sunday of Easter (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 16, 2013

This post contains resources (mostly biblical and homiletic) for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms of the Roman Rite.

SUNDAY, APRIL 21 2013
THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR C
ORDINARY FORM

READINGS AND OFFICE:

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Acts 13:14, 43-52.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Psalm 100:1-2, 3, 5.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Revelation 7:9, 14b-17.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: John 10:27-30.

GENERAL RESOURCES: Sites which offer commentaries, reflections, summaries,etc., on one or more of the readings in a single post.

  • SacerdosGives the theme(s) of the readings, the doctrinal message, and pastoral application.
  • Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background on the readings. Can be printed out, copied, and used as bulletin insert.
  • Scripture Speaks. Since the site doesn’t post every week I’ve linked to the archive.
  • The Bible Workshop. Links to several relevant articles, contains a reading guide to the gospel text, a comparison of the readings, suggestions for a lesson (i.e., homily).
  • The Wednesday WordIt’s about the Sunday readings, but the document is posted on Wednesday, hence the name. Designed for prayer and reflection, the pdf document ends with Father Dom Henry Wansbrough’s reflections on the first and second readings. Fr. Wansbrough is General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible and contributed commentaries on Matt, Mark, and the Pastorals in A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture.
  • St Charles Borromeo Parish’s Bible Study Notes. Notes on all the readings, usually with some background info as well.
  •  Sacred Page Blog: Both “Lamb” and “Shepherd”. Reflection on the readings by Catholic biblical scholar Dr. John Bergsma.
  • Preaching the Lectionary. Reflection on the gospel from the Christian Leadership Center, an ecumenical site.
  • Glancing Thoughts: Brief reflection on the first reading from philosopher Eleanore Stump.
  • The Gospel in its Historical Cultural Context. Briefly highlights the significance of Jesus’ relationship to the Father in terms of first century Mediterranean culture.
  • Thoughts From The Early Church. Excerpt on the Gospel from St Cyril of Alexandria.
  • Scripture In Depth. Succinct summary of the readings and their relation to one another.
  • The Unofficial Lectionary. Readings from the Douay-Rheims bible followed by notes from the old Haydock commentary.

CHILDREN AND TEEN RESOURCES:

PODCASTS: Bible studies and homilies.

  • On the Readings as a Whole: On the three readings and the Psalm.

St Martha’s Bible Study Podcast for the 4th Sunday of Easter.
Franciscan Sister’s Bible Study Podcast for the 4th Sunday of Easter. Link is to archive page. Episode will be available sometime Thursday.
Dr. Scott Hahn’s Podcast. Very brief overview highlighting the main theme(s) of the readings.

Father Francis Martin’s Reflections: 4 parts, each approximately 15 minutes. The first is introductory and the remaining three look at the readings.

Part 1. Introduction.
Part 2First reading and psalm.
Part 3. Second reading.
Part4. Gospel.

  • Acts of Apostles Chapter 7:

Institute of Catholic Culture’s Podcast on Acts of Apostles. Listen to part 6 which deals with chapters 6-9.

EWTN’s Gospel of the Holy Spirit (on Acts of Apostles). Listen to episode 4.

St Catherine of Siena’s Podcast Study of Acts of Apostles. On chapters 6-8.

  • Revelation Chapter 7:

Institute of Catholic Culture’s Podcast Study of Revelation. Three part study provides background and overview to the book.

(1) St Martha’s Parish Podcast Study of Revelation Chapters 6 & 7. Please note that the study opens with a brief reading from Mark 13. Power-point handout for above talk.

(2) Another Study on Revelation by St Martha’s Parish On chapters 7-11.

Catholic Study of the Book of Revelation. On chapters 7-12.

  • Gospel of John 10:

EWTN’s Series on John 10-11. Scroll down and listen to episode 9.

St Martha’s Parish Bible Study Podcast on John. Click on session 8.

St Irenaeus Ministries Podcast on John. Click on POD icon or direct download link.

Franciscan Sister’s Bible Study Podcast on John. Scroll down and click on the episode deal with 10:14-12:6.

Sunday Gospel Scripture Study. Video. Excellent resource. Looks at the gospel in detail.

  • HOMILIES:

Father Robert Barron’s Podcast Homily.
Life Teen Podcast for the Fourth Sunday of Easter. I’ve also listed this below under the podcast heading.

EXTRAORDINARY FORM
THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
Dominica III Post Pascha ~ II. classis

MISSAL AND BREVIARY:

  • Roman Missal. Latin & English side by side. Be sure correct date is set.
  • Roman Breviary. Latin & English side by side. Be sure correct date is set.
  • Goffine’s Instruction on the Epistle and Gospel. Famous devotional work in English. Similar to the content in the Missal link but it also includes brief instructions on the readings plus a brief essay on Encouragement to Patience in Adversity, base upon John 16:20.

COMMENTARIES/RESOURCES  ON THE LESSON: 1 Peter 2:11-19.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: John 16:16-22.

HOMILIES AND HOMILY NOTES:

  • Pending: St Augustine’s Homily on the Gospel.

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Acts 13:13-16, 43-52

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 16, 2013

13. Now when Paul and they that were with him had sailed from Paphos, they came to Perge in Pamphylia. And John departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.
14. But they passing through Perge, came to Antioch in Pisidia: and entering into the Synagogue on the sabbath day, they sat down. 
15. And after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying: Ye men, brethren, if you have any word of exhortation to make to the people, speak.

Sailing from Paphos, Paul, with Barnabas, John Mark, and perhaps some other converts who had joined the little company, came to Perge (Perga), the capital of Pamphylia, on the river Cestrus. It was a journey of about 170 miles. We have no record of any preaching in Pamphylia, and here John Mark parted with the Apostle and went back to Jerusalem. We do not know the reason for this action on the part of Mark, but it was very displeasing to St. Paul. Proceeding from Perge by land, the missionaries came to Antioch in Pisidia, a journey of about 100 miles. Antioch was situated on the slopes of Mount Tarsus, and was the capital of Southern Galatia. It was built by Seleucus Nicanor in memory of ‘his father Antiochus, and under Augustus was elevated to the dignity of a Roman colony. St. Paul’s preaching in Antioch
bore much fruit with the Gentiles, but the Jews became enraged against him.

The Synagogue. See on Matthew 4:23. Paul entered the synagogue to take part in divine worship, and as it was customary to ask strangers who seemed qualified to give instruction to speak, Paul was requested by the rulers of the synagogue to give an exhortation to the people. See on Luke 4:16.

44. But the next sabbath day, the whole city almost came together, to hear the word of God.

Saints Paul and Barnabas are in the city of Antioch in Pisidia. See Acts 13:16-43.

45. And the Jews seeing the multitudes, were filled with envy, and contradicted those things which were said by Paul, blaspheming.

Filled with envy and jealousy over the success of Paul’s preaching, and angered at the doctrine that the Gentiles should be allowed to enter the Messianic kingdom without first being subjected to circumcision and the observances of the Mosaic Law, the Jewish leaders and teachers began to contradict St. Paul. They would not admit a Messiah who would take away their privileges and receive Gentiles on an equal footing with Jews, and hence ”blaspheming” they broke out into injurious speech against our Lord also.

46. Then Paul and Barnabas said boldly: To you it behoved us first to
speak the word of God: but because you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold we turn to the Gentiles.

It behooved the Apostles to preach first to the Jews and announce to them the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the Messiah, because to the Jews were delivered the oracles of the prophets; but now, by refusing faith in Christ, the only way to eternal life, the Jews had become unworthy of that life.

47. For so the Lord hath commanded us: I have set thee to be the light of the Gentiles; that thou mayest be for salvation unto the utmost part of the earth.

The Lord hath commanded us, etc. It was the will of God, made manifest through the prophet Isaias (49:6), that the good tidings of the Gospel should be carried to the Gentiles and to all the world.

48. And the Gentiles hearing it, were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to life everlasting, believed.

Were ordained, τεταγμενοι, praeordinati, in the Vulgate, means well disposed, as contrasted with the Jews who were ill disposed to make use of the means for obtaining eternal life. It is generally admitted that there is no question of predestination here, although St. Augustine often infers from this passage that election to glory depends solely on the free will of God, and not at all on the merits of the elect. We must, however, hold that the good dispositions of the converts for faith were from God and not from their own merits.

49. And the word of the Lord was published throughout the whole country.
50. But the Jews stirred up religious and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas: and cast them out of their coasts.

Honourable women; i.e., proselytes, who had been converted to Judaism, but whose prominent and influential husbands had remained pagans. These women, influenced by the Jews, persuaded their husbands that Paul and Barnabas should be cast out as disturbers of the peace. This was the first persecution Paul encountered on his mission, but numerous others were to follow.

51. But they, shaking off the dust of their feet against them, came to
Iconium.

Shaking off the dust, etc. This action on the part of the Apostles was intended to show that the people who rejected or ill treated them were unworthy of further attention, and were to be avoided, even as things unclean or impure. The Rabbis taught the Jews always to shake the dust from their feet when coming from pagan cities or lands to Palestine.

52. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost.

The disciples; i.e., the new converts whom Paul left behind at Antioch. In spite of persecution they were full of joy, and ready to suffer anything for the sake of Christ.

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Catholic lectionary, Christ, Devotional Resources, liturgy, Notes on Acts of Apostles, Notes on the Lectionary, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Video: Paschal Sacrifice~A Heavenly Banquet for Earthly Beggers by Dr. Scott Hahn

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 14, 2013

Posted in Audio/Video Lectures, Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, Eucharist, liturgy | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans Chapter 7

Posted by Dim Bulb on April 14, 2013

Notes in red are my additions. Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans can be found here.

A THIRD FRUIT OF JUSTIFICATION FREEDOM FROM THE SERVITUDE OF THE LAW
A Summary of Romans 7:1-6.

The third fruit of justification is liberation from the Law. Already (Rom 5:20) St. Paul had indicated that the Law had only a transitory value, and further on (Rom 6:14-15) he said plainly that we are no longer under the Law. Here he explicitly declares that the Old Law is abrogated, that it no longer obliges; and he proves his statement by citing the example of the matrimonial law. We are dead to the Law, which occasioned sin, in order that we may belong to Christ in newness and holiness of life. But when saying that the Law of Moses ceased, it is necessary to distinguish between its ceremonial observances and burdens, on the one hand, and its moral precepts, on the other. As to these latter, the Law of Moses is eternal and abides in Christianity. The great difficulty and burden of the Law consisted not only in its numerous ceremonies and observances, but especially in this that, while it indicated what was to be done and what to be avoided, it did not give any of the help necessary for the fulfilment of its precepts. It is true, however, that the Patriarchs and all the just of the Old Testament received grace to observe the Law, but this grace came not from the Law; it came only from the living faith which they had in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer to come. And so far as they had this faith, and received the grace consequent upon it, they already pertained to the New Dispensation and Law of the Gospel. But we, says the Apostle, are entirely freed from the servitude of the Old Law, because we are living under the New Law of the Gospel, which not only indicates what we are to do and what we are to avoid, but also gives us the grace necessary to fulfil all its precepts.

Rom 7:1. Know you not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) that the law hath dominion over a man, as long as it liveth?

Know you not, i.e., you certainly do know.

Brethren, i.e., Christians, both Jewish and Gentile. If the first law here meant the Mosaic Law, we could interpret brethren as referring to the Jewish Christians only, or chiefly, at least, as some authors do; but since the second “law” (which hath dominion, etc.) doubtless refers to a law far more general than that of Moses, namely, to a law recognized among the nations, to which St. Paul makes appeal, it seems better to understand the first “law,” as meaning, not the Law of Moses, but a general law known among the Romans and all nations, and consequently to understand “brethren” as referring to all the Christians in Rome. If only Jews were addressed, Paul would have said (verse 5): “When we were under the law”; but, addressing all the Roman Christians, the majority of whom were Gentiles, he has rather said: “When we were in the flesh.”

The law (ο νομος), i.e., the law of marriage recognized by all civilized peoples (Lagrange). The Apostle’s argument is this: According to the recognized law of marriage, a woman is bound to her husband as long as the husband lives, so that she cannot rightly marry another man during her husband’s lifetime, but when her husband is dead, she is free (verses 1-3). But to you, Roman Christians, the Law of Moses is dead; or rather you, although really alive, are mystically dead to it, i.e., it no longer can have any dominion over you. Therefore, you are free from the Law of Moses, that you may belong to the New Law of Christ risen from the dead (Rom 7:4). Note: most modern scholars (rightly, in my opinion) see the reference to law here as meaning specifically the Mosaic Law regarding marriage, not the marriage law of all “civilized people.”

Rom 7:2. For the woman that hath an husband, whilst her husband liveth is bound to the law. But if her husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.

A married woman is bound to her husband as long as she or her husband lives, according to the primitive matrimonial law promulgated by God (Gen 2:24), and renewed by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 5:31, 32; Matt 19:4-9). Marriage renders the wife one flesh with her husband, and hence as long as he lives, she cannot lawfully contract marriage with any other man. But when the husband is dead, the wife is freed from the law that bound her to her husband.

The Greek should be translated: viventi viro alligata est lege, and not as the Vulgate has it (Lagrange).  The Vulgate read viventi viro alligata est legi (“bound by the law to her husband while he lives”). The New Latin Vulgate has  lege in place of legi, thus reading: “while her husband lives (she) is bound by the law”.

Rom 7:3. Therefore, whilst her husband liveth, she shall be called an adulteress, if she be with another man: but if her husband be dead, she is delivered from the law of her husband; so that she is not an adulteress, if she be with another man.

St. Paul again shows that there is no dissolution of the matrimonial bond before the death of one of the contracting parties, so much so that any further marriage contracted by either party while both are living would be nothing short of adulterous. What holds good for the woman holds likewise for the man. From the law of her husband is in Greek only “from the law,” but the context clearly shows that the meaning is from the law of her husband.

Rom 7:4. Therefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law, by the body of Christ; that you may belong to another, who is risen again from the dead, that we may bring forth fruit to God.

The Christians are become mystically dead to the law. Literally, “Have been made to die,” i.e., the Law has lost all its binding force in their regard. And this emancipation has been effected through the body of Christ, i.e., through the Passion and death of Christ, in which the Christians by Baptism have become mystical participants (Rom 6:2-3, 6; Gal 2:19). Through Baptism the Christians have mystically died with Christ to sin and to the Law, so that they might be free to belong to another, i.e., to Christ risen from the dead and glorified, for the ultimate purpose of producing good works for the glory of God.

Although we cannot put the Law on the same level as sin, still it disappeared with the disappearance of the reign of sin, and the reign of sin was conquered by the death of Christ. With grace commenced the reign of righteousness.

Rom 7:5. For -when we were in the flesh, the passions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members, to bring forth fruit unto death.

In the flesh, i.e., in a state of sin and disorder, when the old man sin was yet alive (Rom 6:6).

The passions of sins, i.e., the evil disorders of our fallen nature, which were by the law, i.e., which the Law pointed out and made responsible, but did not give the power and help to restrain.

Did work (ενηργειτο) , i.e., were continually operative and did move our members to evil deeds (Rom 6:12, Rom 6:19), the consequence of which was death (Rom 6:21). Cf. Rom 3:9-21.

Rom 7:6. But now we are loosed from the law of death, wherein we were detained; so that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Now through our mystical death with Christ we are liberated from the regime of the Old Law which, by increasing our responsibility, and failing at the same time to give the grace necessary to fulfil its precepts, was the occasion of sin and death to us. And the purpose of the liberation from the Old Law is that we should serve God and justice in newness of spirit, i.e., according to a new principle of life, namely, the grace of the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:15; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6), and not in the oldness of the letter, i.e., according to the old man of sin subject to the Law of Moses.

THE LAW, ALTHOUGH GOOD IN ITSELF, WAS THE OCCASION OF NEW SINS
A Summary of Romans 7:7-12

In these verses the Apostle discusses the relations which God’s positive law bore to man and sin. He is most probably not discussing his own personal religious experience, either as a Christian or before his conversion, but is rather describing the state of man without grace and with only God’s law to help him in the struggle against sin.

But here at the outset, a difficulty is raised. Paul has just spoken (Rom 7:4) of death to the Law, as he had before (Rom 6:2) spoken of death to sin. One might therefore conclude that sin and the Law were the same thing, i.e., that the Law was something bad in itself and contrary to the will of God. This view Marcion and other heretics afterwards took, although St. Paul here swiftly corrected such a fallacious conclusion by the words “God forbid.” Furthermore, since there seems to be question here not only of the Mosaic Law, but also of all positive divine law or precept (ο νομος . . . της εντολης [the law…the commandment; see Rom 7:7-8])—such as was given to Adam. Noe, Abraham, and all the ancient Patriarch —certain critics, like Julicher, have concluded that St. Paul meant here to reject, at least in principle, all positive divine law. Fr. Prat (La Theologie de Saint Paid, I, p. 320) has even asked, by way of objection, if the argument of St. Paul might not be turned also against the law of grace. If the old positive law, it is objected, was abrogated because it only served to excite concupiscence, and thus increase the number and gravity of men’s sins, why impose any other law on Christians, and so augment their peril, even though they are given more grace to combat sin?

The solution given to these difficulties by Lagrange is that St. Paul is not treating in this place of the abrogation of the Mosaic Law, nor is he giving the reason why it was abrogated. The reason for the abrogation of the Law has already been given (Rom 7:4), which was the death of Christ, to which the faithful are associated by Baptism. The present section (Rom 7:7-12), therefore, says the great exegete, is rather “a sincere apology for the Law, which was good, and at the same time, a very clear affirmation that all law was insufficient, because it did not give any power to conquer sin; but, on the contrary, rather afforded sin the occasion to muster force for the destruction of man. The conclusion is not, therefore: The Mosaic Law ought to be abrogated, nor: All divine positive law ought to be abrogated; but: It is foolish to place confidence in any positive law.” “One might even conclude,” he adds, “if one so wishes, that all laws, as laws, have their inconveniences, and that, consequently, it is necessary to trust entirely to grace, and to count upon grace to triumph over the shortcomings of every law that is the occasion of sin” (Ep. aux Rom., h. 1.).

Again the question is asked who is meant by the “I” and the “me” running through these Rom 7:7-12? There are chiefly three different responses to this question: (a) According to St. Augustine (primo modo), St. Chrysostom, and St. Thomas Aquinas, the “I” represents man in general, humanity, before the Law of Moses was given; (b) according to St. Augustine (secundo modo), St. Jerome, Origen, and Cornely, the “I” is a young Israelite who has been instructed in the Law from his infancy; (c) according to Lagrange—modifying the opinion of St. Methodius, Cajetan, and others—the “I” here means man in the state of innocence, or Adam in the terrestrial paradise.

But what is the meaning of sin here? In the first two theories, by “sin” would be meant original sin in its proper sense, or that evil force which comes from original sin, and which we call concupiscence. In the third theory the term would designate sin in general, or sin as a concrete force or power, almost as a person, manifesting itself as original sin and otherwise (Lagrange).

We shall now proceed to explain this difficult section (Rom 7:7-12) in accordance with the third system or theory, which to us seems perhaps best calculated to meet all the difficulties involved. We have, then, three actors to reckon writh: the ancient divine positive law, man in the state of innocence, and sin personified. Cf. Lagrange, h. 1.

Rom 7:7. What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? God forbid. But I do not know sin, but by the law; for I had not known concupiscence, if the law did not say: Thou shalt not covet.

Is the law sin? i.e., was the ancient divine positive law, of which the Law of Moses was the most perfect type, bad in itself, the same as sin, being the cause of sin. St. Paul rejects with indignation such an impious deduction.

But I do not know sin, etc., i.e., man in a state of innocence did not have a practical or experimental knowledge of sin (2 Cor 5:21), although he knew it speculatively. “Sin” means sin personified, in general, as manifested in original and other sins.

But by the law, i.e., by the positive declaration of God. There is here plainly an allusion to the Mosaic Law (Exodus 20:17; Deut 5:21), but the meaning is not necessarily restricted to it. Man would not have known sin, except theoretically, aside from the Law of God. And what is here said of the divine positive law, holds also in its measure, for the natural law which God has written on every human heart.

Concupiscence here means illicit desire in general, as a general cause or source of sin (St. Thomas). The divine positive law given even in paradise forbade not only exterior sinful acts, but also internal unlawful desires (Gen 2:17).

The nesciebam (“I would not have realized”)  of the Vulgate does not so exactly express the Greek as would nescirem (“I would not know”).

Rom 7:8. But sin taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.

But sin, i.e., sin in general, the powerful enemy of man, made use of the commandment, i.e., of God’s positive precept, to excite man’s will. This was true of the serpent of old in the Garden of Eden. According to Cornely and his theory, “sin” here means concupiscence, which, remaining after the remission of original sin, found in the command not to covet (verse 7) an occasion to excite in the young Israelite all manner of evil desires.

It is a characteristic of our nature that we are often more inclined to those things which are forbidden us. Nitimur in vetitum semper, cupinusque negata . . . quod licet ingratum est, quod non licet arcius urit ( We are always eager for forbidden things, an yearn for what is denied us…What we can have for the asking we never want, to forbid a thing adds ardour to our longing. Ovid, Amor. iii. 4, 17; ii. 19, 3). Thus sin, taking advantage of God’s precept, excited all kinds of desires in our first parents, for the forbidden fruit of paradise. But without the law sin was dead, i.e., when there was no positive law, as for a time in paradise (Gen 2:16), sin was without any force; it was hidden and did not manifest itself, because before the prohibition of the law it did not have occasion to show its power by alluring to forbidden acts. Thus man was “without the law,” for peccans absque
mandato non tenetur lege peccati (“without sin, the command is not forced by the law of sin.” St. Jerome). Cornely, in the second theory explained above, says the period “without the law” means the years of infancy, before the dawn of reason, when sin was “dead,” i.e., had no meaning for the young Israelite. I’m not very sure about the accuracy of my translation of the quote from St Jerome.

There should be no comma after accepta in the Vulgate, and per mandatum should precede peccatum. A comma after mandatum is the preferable construction (Lagrange, Cornely).

Rom 7:9. And I lived some time without the law. But when the commandment came, sin revived,

I lived some time, etc., i.e., before the Law of Moses (St. Thomas); or before the use of reason (Cornely); or more probably before the precept was imposed on Adam in the Garden of Eden (Lagrange). It is true that “commandment” (της εντολης) can signify the Law of Moses, or a precept of the Law, such as the command not to covet; but since there seems to be question of living a real spiritual life before the coming of the commandment, it is difficult to see how this could be reconciled with the facts as they existed from the Deluge to Moses (against the first theory). There is less difficulty in Cornely’s theory, according to which the young Israelite lived a life of grace between the time of circumcision and the moment when the Law began to oblige. In this opinion sin revived would mean that original sin, having been effaced by circumcision, revived in concupiscence as soon as the child attained the use of reason and realized the existence and obligation of the precept, “thou shalt not covet.” In the third theory sin was dead, i.e., was without any force against any positive law, until that law existed, but when the command was given, as in paradise, it revived, i.e., it began to exercise its force, overcame its victim, and man died.

Rom 7:10. And I died. And the commandment that was ordained to life, the same was found to be unto death to me.

The commandment which was given to lead man to sanctity and to life eternal became, through deliberate actual sin on man’s part, the occasion of his fall from grace and of his spiritual death. The cause of this dreadful evil was not the commandment, but the weakness and sinfulness of man.

Rom7:11. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, seduced me, and by it killed me.

See commentary above, on verse 8. The Apostle explains how the commandment, good in itself, became an occasion of death through sin. Here the reference seems to be very clearly to what took place in Eden when Eve was seduced by the serpent (Gen 3:13; 2 Cor 11:3; 1 Tim 2:14).

The punctuation of this verse in the Vulgate is correct, and shows what that of verse 8 should be.

Rom 7:12. Wherefore the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

The Apostle now responds to the question raised in Rom 7:7. Both the law and the  commandment are holy, i.e., every precept given by God is holy. The law is holy as opposed to religious impurity; it is just, because it rewards the good and punishes the bad; it is good as conducing to sanctity (Euthymius). If the law was the occasion of many sins, that was on account of the weakness and wickedness of man.

Comely understands “law” here to mean the whole Mosaic legislation, and “commandment” to refer to the precept, “thou shalt not covet” (verse 7).

The quidem (μεν “indeed”) of the Vulgate without its corresponding autem (δε “but”, “however”), shows that the thought is incomplete, and that we must understand: “sin, however, is bad.” To clarify: the subject introduced by Quidem (Greek: μεν) usually demands some form of contrast, e.g., the law indeed is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good; sin, however is bad.

NOT THE LAW, BUT SIN IS THE CAUSE OF DEATH; THE LAW WAS IMPOTENT IN THE BATTLE BETWEEN THE FLESH AND THE SPIRIT
A Summary of Romans 7:13-25

It is a disputed question whether here or with the following verse, begins a new section, embracing the rest of this chapter. Lagrange and Kuhl (against Cornely, Julicher and others) prefer to begin the section with the present verse, because the prevailing idea which is here introduced is that of death. It has already been made clear that the law was not the cause of sin, but now the question is raised whether it was not the cause of death. This latter inference is rejected as vigorously as was the former one. Sin was the cause of death; and the Apostle in these verses (Rom 7:13-25) describes the force and power of sin, and the impotency of fallen man under the yoke of the law. He shows that while man recognized the justice and sanctity of the law, he was nevertheless, unequal to the struggle which ensued between the flesh and the reason, and was lured to sin, and so succumbed to defeat and to death. Therefore, sin being victor, wielded its dreadful influence against the law itself.

It is further disputed whether St. Paul in these verses is speaking of man not yet regenerated in Jesus Christ through Baptism, or the contrary. The majority of the Fathers and most modern authorities, Catholic and Protestant, hold the first view; while St. Augustine, St. Thomas, and many non-Catholic interpreters prefer the second opinion, namely, that the Apostle is here speaking of man already regenerated by Baptism, but aware of his inability without grace really to fulfil the law of God. The first opinion seems far the more probable, because more conformable to the context. It is admitted by all that, up to the end of Rom 7:12, the Apostle is speaking of unregenerated man, and there seems no sufficient reason for saying that with Rom 7:13 or Rom 7:14 he begins to speak of man regenerated. If the present tense is used, it is only to give added vigor to his words. The aim of the Apostle is to show the powerlessness of the law as a principle of salvation—a powerlessness which made the triumph of sin more evident, and obliged man to have
recourse to the grace of Jesus Christ (Lagrange).

We hold then, that there is question in this section (Rom 7:13-25) of fallen unregenerated man, of sin in general, and of the general positive law of God.

Rom 7:13. Was that then which is good, made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it may appear sin, by that which is good, wrought death in me; that sin, by the commandment, might become sinful above measure.

That then which is good means the positive law or precept of God.

Made death, i.e., did it become the cause of spiritual death, by leading to sin? No, says St. Paul. It has already been explained above (verse 10) that sin was the cause of death; the commandment was only the occasion. But it may rightly be asked why God gave the law or commandment, since He certainly foresaw it was to be the occasion of death. St. Paul replies,—(a) in order that sin might appear sin, i.e., might manifest its own evil nature and be recognized as such; (b) in order that sin might be recognized as something evil above measure, inasmuch as it made use of a good thing, the commandment, for an evil purpose, turning an instrument of life into an instrument of death.

The advantage, therefore, of the law, was this, that it brought out the real nature of sin. Without any law man would have known only theoretically the distinction between good and evil, but the law has made him realize in a practical way that which is good and that which is bad. If the law occasioned the multiplication of sins, it also served to expose the real nature and malice of sin, as something opposed to the will of God and the order of divine providence; and it did, moreover, make man recognize his own weakness and misery, and the powerlessness of the law to save him, thus forcing him to look to grace and to the future Redeemer for salvation (Rom 7:24). We understand sin in this verse as in the verses preceding.

In the Vulgate appareat does not so literally express the Greek as would appareret. The basic meaning of both words is “to become visible,” “appear,” “manifest,” but the second is a bit stronger, better reflecting the force of the Greek, φανη.

Rom 7:14. For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin.

We know, etc., i.e., we are all agreed that the law is spiritual, i.e., that God’s positive law, given in the beginning to our first parents, as well as later to Moses, was from above, from God Himself. But I, i.e., fallen man, deprived of grace, am carnal, i.e., dominated by my lower nature, which corrupted by sin seeks the things that are opposed to God.

Sold under sin, i.e., become the slave of sin, obeying the behests of sin.

It is to be observed that the Apostle says here the law is spiritual (πνευματικος), whereas in Rom 7:6 he spoke of the “oldness” of its “letter.” Answer: The Apostle is not bound to observe the same terminology in speaking of different aspects of the law. This lack of uniformity or consistency of style will be further explained, if we hold that in verse 6 he is speaking of the Mosaic Law, but here of the positive law of God in general.

Rom 7:15. For that which I work, I understand not. For I do not that good which I will; but the evil which I hate, that I do.

Now the Apostle speaks in terms that amount almost to an exaggeration. He says that man is an enigma, he cannot understand him, or, at least, his works and actions. Man’s nature was not altogether corrupted by original sin, and hence even without grace he can know and love moral good and distinguish it from moral evil in many instances; but when it comes to the actual doing of the one and the avoiding of the other frequently he finds himself bereft of the necessary power. Often he would do the good which he likes, but he has not the power; often likewise he would avoid the evil which he hates, but he has not the power.

It is evident that I will and I hate here refer merely to simple velleity; whereas I do not and I do are external actions which, proceeding from an absolute will that has overcome velleity, are imputable to the agent. Velleity designates the weakest level of volition; a mere wish, urge or inclination not strong enough to lead to action.

The human situation here described by St. Paul can be as well understood as referring to the period before the Law of Moses as after that period. Just as the Mosaic Law indicated for the Jews the good to be done and the evil to be avoided, but gave no help for the execution of its mandates, so likewise did the natural law unobscured show the pagans what they should do, and what they should not do, without, however, giving them the necessary help to put into practice its promptings. The Gentiles as well as the Jews felt the conflict between their lower and their higher nature. Hence Ovid wrote: Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor ( I see and approve of the better course, but I chose the worse. Metam. VII. 20, 21). Similarly speaks Epictetus of the transgressor: Quod vult non facit, et facit quod non vult (He who does not escape what he wills to avoid is miserable. Enchir. II. 26).

The bonum and malum  (good and evil) of the Vulgate are not in the Greek; they are a gloss, evidently implied in the context. The same is to be said of good and of evil in our English version.

Rom7:16. If then I do that which I will not, I consent to the law, that it is good.

If that which I feel I ought not to do, because it is evil, is forbidden by the law, my feeling is a testimony that the law is good and holy; my mind and my conscience are a witness that the law is good.

Rom 7:17. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Since the higher part of man desires to conform to God’s law and do that which is right and good, while his lower nature makes it often impossible for him to observe the law in practice, St. Paul concludes that there are in man two principles: the I that would obey the law and do good, and sin that prevails over man’s superior nature and produces evil. The Apostle speaks as if man in his unregenerated state were really possessed by an evil spirit, but he is only again personifying the sin which came into the world with Adam, which is inherited by all of Adam’s descendants and which tyrannizes over man, ever inclining him to violate the law of God (Lagrange). St. Paul is not here wishing to deny or to diminish man’s culpability; neither is he fixing the degree of responsibility which underlies those violent movements of passion that lead to sin, and are often the consequences of sin. He wishes only to make known both the state of misery in which man finds himself under the slavery of sin, and the cause which makes him do that which he knows is evil and which he hates. This cause, he says, is sin—sin personified, which entered the world with the fall of Adam and ever remains, infecting human nature.

Rom 7:18. For I know that there dwelleth not in me, that is to say, in my flesh, that which is good. For to will, is present with me; but to accomplish that which is good, I find not.

Here St. Paul says clearly that it is a fact of experience that there are in man two forces, equivalent in a certain sense to two persons : the one which is devoid of good and is the slave of sin, namely, the flesh, which does evil; the other, the interior man (verse 20), the reason (Rom 7:23), which, with an imperfect and inefficacious will, wishes to do good, but is unable to accomplish it. There dwells not in the flesh a principle of good that can combat sin, because the flesh is the slave of sin; and the intelligence, the reason, the judgment of conscience desires to do good, but is overpowered by the forces that incline to evil. The dualism is, therefore, between the flesh enslaved by sin, and the reason or intelligence which perceives the good; it is not between the soul and the body.

Here, as well as in Rom 7:19-20, I will and I will not express mere velleity or inefficacious volition; whereas I do means a complete voluntary act, although not necessarily manifested externally.

In the Vulgate perficere, which signifies a complete moral act, whether internal or external, should rather be operari (κατεργαζεσθαι: “To work fully.” Translated as “accomplish” above). Perficere means “to accomplish,” “to do thoroughly”, “perfect”, “complete”. Operari means “work,” “labor”.

Invenio (“find”, “discover”) is not represented in the Greek MSS., which read: (ευρισκω, Latin: velle-”to be willing”). Velle adjacet mihi, perficere autem bonum non (“For to will is present with me: but to accomplish that which is good– not”). The words I find should be omitted therefore.

Rom 7:19. For the good which I will, I do not; but the evil which I will not, that I do.

See commentary above, on verse 15. The Apostle is not denying free will, nor saying that man is necessitated to evil; he is merely saying that man disapproves of the evil he does and would like to do good.

Rom 7:20. Now if I do that which I will not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

The conclusion of verse 17 is here repeated. If man does evil which he hates and wishes not to do, it is no longer he, but sin within him, that does the evil. Yet man is responsible (see above, on verses 15, 17, 18).

Rom 7:21. I find then a law, that when I have a will to do good, evil is present with me.

Judging from what was said in the preceding verses, which is unregenerated man’s daily experience, St. Paul draws this psychological conclusion or explanation, that there is in man another law, the law of sin (verse 23), fighting against the reason and the judgment of conscience, and leading man into sin. The law (τον νομο) here does not mean the Law of Moses (Cornely, Lagrange), nor any law other than a constant rule of action, a natural tendency, the law of man’s condition (verses 23, 25), which, when man wishes to do good, ever inclines him to evil and to sin.

The Fathers and ancient exegetes understood “law” here, with the article in Greek, to mean the Mosaic Law; but this view cannot well be sustained and has been rejected by nearly all modern interpreters, Catholic and non-Catholic, except Zahn. Cf. Cornely, h. l.

Rom 7:22. For I am delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man:
Rom 7:23. But I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin, that is in my members.

Man in his unregenerated state, considered according to the inward man, i.e., according to his nobler part, his reason, is delighted with the law of God, because he knows that it is good and holy, but according to the law of the flesh or of sin, which has its seat in his material members, and which fights against the law of reason, he is drawn away from the law of God and led like a slave to evil. Man here is spoken of as captivated, i.e., enslaved by sin, and hence he is surely in an unregenerated state. Captivating, however, means only moving man to sin, not forcing him to consent,— motione non consensione (“to move, not consent” St. Aug., 2 Ep. contra Pelag., cap. 10

The term “law” (νόμος) occurs four times in these two verses. The more common opinion considers the law of God and the law of the mind as one; and, likewise, another law and the law of sin as one. Kuhl, however, following the opinion of St. Jerome, holds that there are here four distinct laws: the law of God and the law of sin, which are exterior to man, and the law of the mind and the law of the flesh, or that other law, which are within him. But as St. Paul is at present considering man only as he finds him, in the state of original sin with its consequences, he is really speaking of only three distinct laws; for the law of the members, or of the flesh, is in reality the law of sin in fallen man (Lagrange).

In verse 23 repugnantem legi does not so well express  αντιστρατευομενον as would militantem adversus legem. The first phrase is used in the Vulgate and means “repugnant to the law.” The second means “fighting against the law” and is the translation employed by the Douay-Rheims: But I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind and captivating me in the law of sin that is in my members.

Rom 7:24. Unhappy man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

Unregenerated man, feeling his enslavement to sin, cries out almost in despair for help from God to be delivered from the body in which dwells sin, the cause of death. He does not ask to be freed from his mortal body, but only from the body inasmuch as it is the slave of sin, and so destined to temporal and eternal death (Cornely). In other words, he asks to be delivered from sin, which resides in his members, in such a way that his body will no longer be the seat of that evil power which leads both body and soul to death temporal and eternal.

Rom 7:25. The grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, I myself, with the mind serve the law of God; but with the flesh, the law of sin.

To the foregoing question the Apostle gives a reply that comes directly from his fervid heart. That which will deliver man from the tyranny of sin is not the power of his mind or reason, not the positive law of God, whether Mosaic or other, but the grace of God communicated to man through the merits of Jesus Christ. Then resuming all that has preceded, he concludes by insisting on the unity of man, in whom, however, there exist contrary tendencies, one inclining to the law of God, the other leading to sin.

The first part of the verse is differently read in the MSS. The reading of the Vulgate and of the Itala is supported by only a few rare MSS. The reading preferred by Tischendorf, Nestle and Lagrange is χαρις τω θεω. Hence the translation of the critical reading would be gratia Deo, “thanks be to God“, instead of gratia Dei, “the grace of God“. This latter translation would require the genitive, whereas the Greek has the dative case, (cf. 1 Cor 15:57, for a similar passage).

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