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 July 4th, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013~Resources for Sunday Mass (Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2013

As noted in a previous post, severe weather and flooding have caused these resources to be delayed. Additional resources such as podcasts and links to other sites (under the heading “General Resources”) may or may not be posted by Sunday.

SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2013
ORDINARY FORM OF THE ROMAN RITE
FOURTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

READINGS AND OFFICE:

  • Anglican Use Daily Office. ”Briefly, it is a provision for an “Anglican style” liturgy similar to the Book of Common Prayer as an ecclesiastically approved variant on the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church.” More info.

COMMENTARIES ON THE FIRST READING: Isaiah 66:10-14c.

  • Pending (maybe): My Notes on Isaiah 66:10-14.

COMMENTARIES ON THE RESPONSORIAL: Psalm 66:1-3, 4-5, 6-7, 16, 20.

COMMENTARIES ON THE SECOND READING: Galatians 6:14-18.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: Luke 10:1-12, 17-20.

Update: GENERAL RESOURCES:  as mentioned in previous posts bad weather and flooding interrupted my blogging activities, hence the delay in posting this part of the resources

  • Sacerdos. Gives theme of the readings, doctrinal message, suggested pastoral applications.
  • The Bible Workshop. Guide to the Gospel; review of the readings, suggestions for a lesson (i.e., homily).
  • Lector Notes. Brief historical and theological background.

SUNDAY, JULY 7, 2013
EXTRAORDINARY FORM OF THE ROMAN RITE
SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Dominica VII Post Pentecosten ~ II. classis

MISSAL AND BREVIARY:

COMMENTARIES ON THE LESSON: Rom 6:19-23.

COMMENTARIES ON THE GOSPEL: Matt 7:15-21.

HOMILIES ON THE LESSON AND GOSPEL:

HOMILY NOTES:  The following four homily notes can be used for sermon ideas, points of meditation, further study.

  • Hell. Epistle Lesson Theme.

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St Cyril of Alexandria’s Homiletic Commentary on Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2013

This post consists of several sermons: number 60 on Lk 10:1-3; number 61 on Lk 10:3, used for a feast commemorating the Apostles; number 62 on Lk 10:4-7, also for the commemoration of the Apostles; and number 64 on Lk 10:17-20.

SERMON 60
On 10:1-3

10:1-3. After these things the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them two and two before His face, unto every city and place, whither He was about to enter. And He said unto them, The harvest indeed is great, but the labourers few. Pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into the harvest.

THE Holy Ghost by the mouth of the holy prophets commanded the ministers of the saving word of the gospel, saying, “Sound the trumpet on the new moon: on the solemn day of your feast.” And to the new moon we may compare the time of our Saviour’s coming. For a new world arose for us, in which all things have become new, as the very wise Paul assures us in his writings. For he says, “The former things have passed away: behold, all things have become new.” By the new moon therefore, and solemn feast, we understand the time of the incarnation of the Only-begotten, when a trumpet sounded loudly and clearly, even that which proclaimed the saving message of the gospel. For is not that a time which invites us to keep festival, when we were justified by faith, and washed from the pollutions of sin, and death abolished, which had tyrannized over us, and Satan ejected from his mastery over us all; and in which by sanctification and justification we have been united to our common Saviour Christ, and enriched with the hope of unending life and glory. These are the loud trumpet’s sounds, and they run not only through Judaea, like that law which was of old, but throughout the whole earth.

And this is pictured for thee in the writings of Moses. For the God of all came down in the likeness of fire on Mount Sinai, and there was a cloud, and darkness, and gloom, and the voice of the trumpet with a loud ringing sound, according to the Scripture. But the notes of the trumpet were, it says, few at first, but afterwards they waxed longer, and became louder and louder continually. What then was it which the shadow of the law signified to us by these things? Was it not this: that |273 at first there were but few to publish the Gospel tidings; but afterwards they became many? And Christ began the work: and having first chosen the twelve apostles, He afterwards appointed, it says, seventy others. And that, not as though those who had been already called to the honour of the apostleship had been guilty of any neglect, or been led into anything unbecoming, but because a great multitude was about to believe in Him. For not Israel only was caught in the net, but also the crowds of the Gentiles. For that the message of salvation would take possession of the whole world, the God of all declared by one of the holy prophets, saying of it, “Judgment springeth up like couch-grass in the furrows of the |274 field.” For like as the couch-grass springs up in the furrows that are left without cultivation, and takes possession of them, and spreads everywhere, constantly advancing onwards, so in an exactly similar manner has judgment, that is to say, the grace that justifieth the world as declared in the saving tidings of the Gospel, taken possession of every city and place.

Besides these twelve therefore, there were also seventy others appointed by Christ. And again a type of this was prefigured in the words of Moses. For at God’s command he also chose seventy, and God sent the Spirit upon those who had been chosen. And yet again, we find the twelve disciples, and these seventy also, indicated to us by the shadow of the law. For it is thus written in the Exodus concerning the children of Israel; “And they came to Marah 2: and the people could not drink the waters of Marah; for they were bitter. And Moses cried unto the Lord, and the Lord shewed him a tree; and he cast it into the waters, and the waters were made sweet.” Now Marah, when translated, means bitterness; and. is taken by us as a type of the law. For the law was bitter, in that it punished with death. And of this Paul is witness, saying, “He that hath despised Moses’ law is put to death without mercy at the mouth of two or three witnesses.” It was bitter therefore, and unendurable to those of old time, and was unacceptable on this account, just as were also those bitter waters. But it also was sweetened by the precious cross, of which that tree there shewn by God to the blessed Moses was a type. For now that the shadow has changed to the spiritual contemplation, we behold with the eyes of the mind the mystery of Christ, that lay hid in the types of the law. Although therefore the law was bitter, it has now ceased to be so any longer.

“And after Marah, they came, it says, to Elim.” And Elim again when translated means an ascent or increase. And what again was there at Elim? “Twelve wells of water, it says, and seventy palm trees.” For as we ascend to more perfect knowledge, and hasten onward to spiritual increase, we |275 find twelve wells, that is, the holy Apostles: and seventy palm trees, those, namely, who were appointed by Christ. And very excellently the disciples 3 are compared to wells, and the seventy, who were subsequently chosen, to palm trees. For as from holy wells we draw from the disciples of our Saviour the knowledge of all good: while we praise the seventy also, and, so to speak, call them palms; for this tree is strong-hearted, and firm of root, and very fruitful, and constantly grows besides the waters. And such we affirm the saints to be: for their mind is pure, and steadfast, and fruitful, and habitually delights itself in the waters of knowledge.

Therefore, to return again to what we were at first saying, the Lord “appointed other seventy.” But some may perchance imagine that the former had been dismissed, and deprived of the honours of the apostleship; and that these were promoted in their stead, as being better able to teach than they were. To remove therefore such thoughts from our minds, He Who knoweth hearts, and is acquainted with things to come, even as it were apologized, saying, “The harvest indeed is great; but the labourers are few: pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into His harvest.” For just as lands covered thick with produce, and broad and long, require numerous and able labourers; so the whole earth, or rather the company of those about to believe in Christ, being great and innumerable, required not a few teachers, but as many as would suffice for the work. And for this reason Christ appointed those who were to be the allies, so to speak, and assistants of the twelve disciples. They went therefore on their mission, being sent two and two to every city and village, crying, as it were, in the words of John, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”

But observe this: that while He said, “Pray ye the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers into His harvest,” He did it Himself. And yet Who besides is Lord of the harvest, that is, of the dwellers on earth, but He Who by nature and truly is God. “For to Him belongs the whole earth and its fulness,” as Scripture says: and He is the Creator of all, and its Fashioner. But inasmuch as it belongs to the supreme God |276 alone to send forth labourers, how was it that Christ appointed them? Is He not therefore the Lord of the harvest, and God the Father, by Him and with Him, the Lord of all? All things therefore are His, and there is nothing of all things which are named that belongs to the Father, which is not also the Son’s. For He also said to the Father, “Those whom Thou gavest Me out of the world, Thine they were, and Thou gavest them unto Me.” For, as I said, all those things that belong to the Father are declared to be, and are, the property of the Son, and He is radiant with His Father’s dignities. And the glory of the Godhead belongs to Him, not as a thing conferred and given Him by another; but rather He subsists in honours which are His by nature, as He also doth Who begat Him. And the wise John also affirms that we all are His, thus saying of Him: “I indeed baptize you in water: but after me cometh He Who is mightier than I: He [Who] shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost, and in fire. Whose fan is in His hand, and He will cleanse His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner, but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

May it be our lot then as rational wheat, to be carried into God’s treasure house, oven into the mansions that are above: that there, in company with the rest of the saints, we may enjoy the blessings which God bestows in Christ: by Whom, and with Whom, to God the Father be praise and dominion with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever, Amen 4. |277

SERMON 61 TO BE READ AT THE COMMEMORATION OF THE APOSTLES
On 10:3

10:3. Go: behold, I send you as sheep among wolves.

ALL those who praise the divine and sacred Word correctly, and without error, are, we affirm, the allies of the doctrines of truth, and its host teachers; well knowing how to guide whosoever wish to advance in Christ, rightly unto every good work, and to the life incorruptible, and to participation in the blessings bestowed upon us. Of these most wise Paul also declares, that they are “the lights of the world, holding the word of life.”

Now of these illustrious and famous men the divine disciples were the commencement, and stand foremost in order: for they had as a schoolmaster Him Who is the Giver of all understanding; and Who richly bestoweth His light upon those who love Him. For He is the true light Who illumineth the heavens, even the powers who are above; and delivereth from ignorance and darkness those also upon earth. And observe how He made the appointed teachers of all beneath the sun to be ready workmen, conspicuous for their earnest zeal, and able to win the glory of apostolic victories; preferring none of this world’s affairs to the duty of proclaiming their sacred message, and so bravely disposed in their manly mind as to be superior to all fear, and no whit terrified at hardships, nor alarmed at death itself, when brought upon them for Christ’s sake. For “go,” He says: and in this word “go,” He encourages them to be courageous; makes them eagerly desirous of saintly victories; establishes them in the steadfast resistance of all temptation; and permits them not to shrink from the violence of persecutions. For just as valiant generals, when the battle begins, and the enemy discharge their shafts, encourage those under their command bravely to resist the attacking foe, and to bear themselves manfully against the enemy; using such words as these; ‘Fellow soldiers, let none of these things that |278 ye see trouble your mind; we are not weak and inexperienced in warfare, but know well the ways of battle: we have coats of mail strongly made; armour and swords; bows too and darts: by exertion we shall purchase the victory; stoutheartedness will win for us a right glorious renown:’ so does the Saviour of all, if we may so speak, send forth the disciples against the hosts of unbelievers, saying, “Go; behold, I send you as sheep among wolves.”

What sayest Thou O Lord? How can sheep converse with wolves? When was a wild beast ever at peace with the sheep? Scarcely can the shepherds protect their flocks by gathering them into folds, and shutting them up in enclosures, and frightening the beasts of prey by the barking of dogs, yea, and even themselves fighting in their defence, and running risks to protect the more weakly members of their flock. How then does He command the holy Apostles, who are guileless men, and if we may so speak, sheep, to seek the company of wolves, and go to them of their own accord? Is not the danger manifest? Are they not set as a ready prey for their attacks? How can a sheep prevail over a wolf? How can one so peaceful vanquish the savageness of beasts of prey? Yes, He says, for they all have Me as their Shepherd: small and great; people and princes; teachers and taught. I will be with you and aid you, and deliver you from all evil. I will tame the savage beasts; I will change wolves into sheep; I will make the persecutors become the helpers of the persecuted: and those who wrong My ministers I will make to be sharers in their pious designs. For I make and unmake all things, and there is nothing that can resist My will.

And that this was the actual result, we may see in instances which really occurred. For the divine Paul was a blasphemer, and persecutor, more injurious and cruel than any wolf against those who believed in Christ. Did he then persist in this conduct? Did he continue to be a wolf even unto the end? Far from it: for he was called by Christ, and experienced an unlooked for change. He who in old time was a wolf became more gentle than a lamb; and preached the faith which once he persecuted. And a change so unexpected in its manner was the wonder of all men, and Christ was glorified, Who had changed him from a beast of prey into a lamb. And this the |279 divine Jacob had in his blessings before announced concerning him: “Benjamin is a ravening wolf: in the morning he shall eat flesh: and in the evening divide victual.” For the wise Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin, and, at first, he resisted those who believed in Christ like a ravening wolf; but when a short time had elapsed, a space, so to speak, as from morning to evening, he divided victual. For he taught and preached Jesus: and to those that as yet were babes in intellect he offered milk; but set before the full grown strong meat. In the morning therefore he eats flesh, and in the evening divides victual.

And thus much then briefly respecting the blessed Paul: but let us next discuss from a similar point of view the calling of nations. Let us see whether they too also were not at one time beasts of prey, and fiercer than wolves against the ministers of the gospel message of salvation, but were transformed unto the gentleness and guilelessness which are by Christ’s help. They too persecuted the holy apostles, not so much like men struggling with wolves, as like beasts of prey, raging savagely against sheep. And though they wronged them not, but rather called them to salvation, they stoned them, they imprisoned them, they persecuted them from city to city. And yet those, who thus acted at first, afterwards became gentle and guileless, and like the sheep which once they persecuted.

And who else accomplisheth all these things but Jesus Christ our Lord? For He also it is “Who hath broken down the fence wall that was in the middle, abolishing the law of commandments contained in doctrines; Who hath made the two nations into one new man; Who hath made peace, and reconciled both in one body unto the Father.” For that there have been joined unto the faith in concord and unity of mind and will, the savage in company with the gentle; the impure and sin-stained with the saints; those, that is, of the herds of the Gentiles with those of Israel who believed; the prophet Isaiah shews, thus speaking in the Spirit: “And the wolf shall graze with the lamb; and the leopard rest with the kid; and the bear and the cow shall graze together; and the ox and the lion eat provender together, and their young ones shall be with one another.” Consider, my beloved, and understand that those who were sanctified by faith did not |280 conform to the habits of the heathen, but on the contrary those who were called of the heathen conformed to them. For such beasts as the wolf and lion, the bear and leopard, are eaters of flesh; but those animals which are of a gentle nature, kids and lambs, and steers, feed upon grass. But those beasts of prey, he says, shall graze with these gentle ones, and eat their food. It is not therefore the gentle ones who have conformed to the habits of the savage: but, on the contrary, as I said, the savage who have imitated them. For they have abandoned their cruel disposition for the gentleness that becometh saints, and been changed by Christ, so that the wolves have become lambs; for He it is Who hath made them gentle, and united, as I said, the two nations unto a mind full of the love of God. And this of old the hierophant Moses cried out, saying, “Rejoice, ye nations, with His people; ascribe majesty unto God.” Let us therefore exalt Him and honour Him with praises because of the Saviour and Lord of all: by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion, with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever, Amen. |281

SERMON 62 FIT FOR READING ON THE COMMEMORATION OF THE APOSTLES
On 10:4-7

10:4-7. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes; and ask not the peace of any one by the way. And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace to this house. And if there be there one5 worthy of peace, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you. And in that house remain, eating and drinking of their things: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Change not from house to house.

THE prudent and skilful bee visits the flowers in every field and meadow, and gathering the dew that has settled upon them, so makes sweet honey. And Solomon leads us to imitate her conduct, saying, “Draw near to the bee, and learn how industrious she is, and how excellent is her workmanship. She is beloved, therefore, and praised by every man, and her labours kings and private persons employ for their health.” Come, therefore, and let us also, wandering, as it were, around some intellectual meadow, gather the dew let fall by the Holy Ghost upon the divine message of the Gospel, that so being enriched in mind we may bring forth the spiritual honey, even the word profitable and useful to all who thirst after the communication of the divine doctrines, whether they be noble and illustrious, or obscure and private persons in a humble rank of life. For it is written, “Good words are as honeycomb; and their sweetness is healing to the soul.” |282

Now these fair and good words, what else are they than those certainly which Christ spake unto us, making those who love Him skilful by repeated teaching in virtuous pursuits? For take here also as a proof of what I have said the sense of the passage just read to us. “Carry,” it says, “neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes.” Consider, I pray you, here again the nature of the pathway of apostolic virtue set before them. For it was right that they who were to be the lights and teachers of all beneath the heaven, should learn it from no other than from Him Who is the Word that came down from above—-from heaven: the fountain of wisdom and intellectual light; from whom cometh all understanding, and the knowledge of every thing that is good. What, then, He requires of them is, that in preaching to men everywhere the Word that He spake, and in calling the inhabitants of the whole earth to salvation, they should travel about without purse, or scrip, or shoes; and journey rapidly from city to city, and from place to place. And let no man on any account say that the object of His teaching was to make the holy Apostles refuse the use of the ordinary articles of equipment. For what good would it do them, or what harm, to have shoes on their feet, or go without them? But what He does wish them to learn by this command, and to endeavour to practice is certainly this, that they must lay all thought of their sustenance upon Him, and call to remembrance the saint who said, “Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall feed thee.” For He giveth the saints what is needful for life, nor speaketh He falsely where He saith, “Be ye not anxious for yourselves as to what ye shall eat, and what drink: nor for your body, what clothing ye shall wear: for your Father knoweth that ye have need of all those things. But seek first His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

For verily it was fitting and necessary that those who were adorned with apostolic honours, should have a mind free from covetousness, and altogether averse from the receiving of gifts, and content, on the contrary, with what God provides. “For the love of money is the root of all evils” as Scripture declares. They, therefore, in every way must be free and exempt from that which is the root and nourisher of all evils, and must expend, so to say, all their zeal upon their necessary |283 duties, not being exposed to Satan’s attack, us taking with them no worldly wealth, but despising the things of the flesh, and desiring only what God wills.

For just as brave soldiers when they go out to battle carry nothing with them but such equipments only as are suitable for war, so also it was right that those who were sent out by Christ to carry aid to the world, and wage war in behalf of all who were in danger against the “world-rulers of this darkness,” yea, and against Satan himself, should be free from the distractions of this world, and from all worldly anxiety; that being tightly girt, and clad in spiritual armour, they might contend mightily with those who resisted the glory of Christ, and had made all beneath the heaven their prey. For they had caused its inhabitants to worship the creature instead of the Creator, and to offer religious service to the elements of the world. Armed, therefore, with the shield of faith, and the breastplate of righteousness, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, they must prove themselves invincible antagonists to their enemies; and not drag after them a heavy load of things worthy of blame and condemnation: such as are the love of wealth and hoards of base gains, and eagerness after them: for these things turn aside the mind of man from that behaviour which pleaseth God, and permit it not to mount upward to Him, but humble it rather to feelings set upon dust, and earthly things.

In enjoining them, therefore, to take neither scrip nor purse, nor, moreover, to trouble themselves about shoes, He clearly teaches them that his commandment requires them to abandon all carnal wealth, and that His wish is that they should be free from every impediment in entering upon the duty to which they were especially called, of preaching, namely, His mystery to men everywhere, and of winning unto salvation those who were entangled in the nets of destruction.

And to this He adds that “they 6 were not to ask of the |284 peace of any one by the way.” But what harm would this have done the holy apostles? Come, therefore, come, and let us see the reason why it was not right for them to offer greeting to those that met them. Thou doubtless wilt say that it was because it might sometimes happen that those who met them were not believers: and that therefore it would not have been right for those who were ignorant of Him Who by nature and verily is God to be blessed by them. What, therefore, do we say to this? Does it not then seem an incredible supposition that this was the reason why they were commanded not to ask of the peace of any one by the way? For they were sent forth “not so much to call the righteous as sinners to repentance.” And how, therefore, was it not fitting that they who were about to enlighten all who were in darkness, and to bring them unto the acknowledgment of the truth, should rather use gentleness and great kindliness instead of roughly withdrawing themselves from associating with them, and even refusing to ask of their health? For certainly with other good qualities, gentleness of address becometh the saints, and greetings, provided they are made in a fitting manner. And, moreover, those who met them would, of course, sometimes not be unbelievers, but men of their own persuasion, or 7 who had already been enlightened, and to whom it would even be their duty to offer an acknowledgment of love by a kindly greeting.

What, therefore, does Christ teach by this? He does not enjoin them to be rude, nor command them to lay stress upon the not making salutation: such conduct He rather teaches them to avoid. But it is not a thing unbefitting to suppose that when |285 the disciples were travelling about among the cities and villages, to instruct men everywhere in the sacred doctrines, they might wish to do this, perhaps, not with haste, but, so to speak, in a loitering manner, making deviations from the road, and permitting themselves to pay visits, because they wished to see some one or other as being an acquaintance or friend, and so would waste prodigally in unnecessary matters the fitting time for preaching. With great industry, therefore, says He, be zealous in delivering your sacred message; grant not to friendship an unprofitable delay, but let that which is well pleasing to God be preferred by you to all other things: and so practising an irresistible and unhampered diligence, hold fast to your apostolic cares.

Besides this He further commanded them “not to give holiness to dogs, nor again to cast the pearls before swine,” by bestowing upon unbelievers their society in lodging with them: they were rather to grant it to such as were worthy of having it deigned them, by being sons of peace, and yielding obedience to their message. For it would have been a most disgraceful act for them to wish to be intimate with any who were still resisting Christ’s glory, and guilty of the charge of ungodliness. “For what part hath the believer with the unbeliever?” For how could those who had not as yet even listened to their words, but made their instruction, however worthy it was of being embraced, an occasion sometimes even of ridicule, receive them as meriting their admiration? So too at Athens some once ridiculed the divine Paul. For he indeed taught them “that God dwelleth not in temples made with hands,” being incorporeal and infinite, and That Which filleth all, but is contained by none: and declared that he preached unto them “Him Whom though they knew Him not, they imagined they rightly worshipped.” But they being given up to superciliousness, and greatly priding themselves on their fluent tongue, said in their folly, “What would this seed-picker 8 say? For he seemeth to be a setter forth of |286 foreign gods.” Seed-picker was the name they gave to a worthless bird, whose habit it was to pick up the seeds scattered on the roads: and in comparing to it the divine Paul, these foolish men were ridiculing the word of salvation then offered them.

Christ therefore commanded them to lodge with the sons of peace, and to eat at their cost, affirming that this was by a just decree; “for a labourer, He says, is worthy of his hire.” And therefore, let not any of those who acknowledge the truth, disregard or be careless of the duty of honouring the saints: for they bless us, when “sowing to us things spiritual, they reap of us things carnal:” and “the Lord also commanded that those who preach the gospel shall live of the gospel:” since also according to the law of Moses, “those who offered sacrifices shared with the altar.” And let those who are careless of honouring the saints, and illiberally close the hand, be assured that they are deprived of their blessing. But may it be our lot to be partakers of the blessing prepared for them with God, by offering to them as fruit whatever we possess; and by feeling pleasure in so doing; “for Christ loveth a cheerful giver:” by Whom and with Whom to God the Father be praise and dominion with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever, Amen 9. |287

SERMON 64
On 10:17-20

10:17-20. And the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us in Thy Name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold I have given you the authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. But in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

IT is somewhere said by one of the holy prophets, “Will the Lord God do anything without revealing the teaching thereof to His servants the prophets?” For the God of all made known to the holy prophets those things which were hereafter to take place, in order that they might previously declare them, that so they might not be disbelieved, when in due time what had been foretold arrived at its fulfilment. And those who will may see that what we have now affirmed is true, even from the present lessons. “For the seventy” it says, “returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject to us in Thy Name.” For first of all the twelve disciples had been appointed, holy and elect men, and worthy of all admiration. But inasmuch as, according to Christ’s declaration, “the harvest indeed was great, but the labourers few,” He further, in addition to those first chosen, “appointed seventy others, and sent them to every village and city of Judea before His face,” to be, that is to say, His forerunners, and to preach the things that belonged to Him.

And in sending them, He ennobled them with the grace of the Holy Ghost, and crowned them with the power of working miracles, that they might not be disbelieved by men, nor be supposed to be self-called to the apostleship: just as of old there were some who prophesied, “though they spake not out of the mouth of the Lord,” as Scripture saith, but rather vomited forth lies from their own heart. For God by the voice of Jeremiah somewhere also said, at one time, “I have not sent the prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken unto |292 them, yet they prophesied:” and again at another; “The prophets prophesied lies in My name: I sent them not, neither spake I unto them; neither had I commanded them.” In order, therefore, that men might not subject to such a suspicion those who were commissioned by Christ, He gave them power over unclean spirits, and the ability to perform signs. For when the divine miracle followed close upon their word, no form, either of calumny or of Jewish false-speaking, could find a place against them. For they were convicted of accusing them without reason, or rather of choosing to fight against God. For to be able to work miracles is possible for no man, unless God give him the power and authority thereunto. The grace of the Spirit therefore witnessed of those who had been sent, that they were not persons who ran of themselves, nor self-called to the duty of speaking concerning Christ; but that, on the contrary, they had been appointed to be the ministers of His message.

The authority, however, which they bore to reprove evil spirits, and the power of crushing Satan, was not given them that they might themselves so much be regarded with admiration, as that Christ might be glorified by their means, and be believed on by those whom they taught, as by nature God, and the Son of God; and invested with so great glory and supremacy and might, as to be even able to bestow upon others the power of trampling Satan under their feet.

But they, it says, in that they were counted worthy of so great grace, “returned rejoicing, and saying, Lord, even the devils are subject to us in Thy name.” For they confess the authority of Him Who honoured them, and wonder at the supremacy and greatness of His power. But they seem to have rejoiced, not so much because they were ministers of His message, and had been counted worthy of apostolic honours, as because they had wrought miracles: but it would have been better for them to have reflected, that He gave them the power to work miracles, not that they might be regarded by men with admiration on this account, but rather that what they preached might be believed, the Holy Ghost bearing them witness by divine signs. It would have been better, therefore, had they manifestly rejoiced on account of those rather who had been won by their means, and had made this |293 a cause of exultation. Just as also the very wise Paul gloried in those who had been called by his means, saying, “My joy and my crown.” But they said nothing at all of this kind, but rejoiced only in that they had been able to crush Satan.

And what is Christ’s reply? “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” That is, ‘I am not unaware of this: for inasmuch as ye set out upon this journey, so to speak, by My will, ye have vanquished Satan. “I saw him fall like lightning from heaven.”‘ And this means that he was cast down from on high to earth: from overweening pride to humiliation: from glory to contempt: from great power to utter weakness. And the saying is true: for before the coming of the Saviour, he possessed the world: all was subject to him, and there was no man able to escape the meshes of his overwhelming might: he was worshipped by every one: everywhere he had temples and altars for sacrifice, and an innumerable multitude of worshippers. But because the Only-begotten Word of God has come down from heaven, he has fallen like lightning: for he who of old was bold and supercilious, and who vied with the glory of Deity; he who had as his worshippers all that were in error, is put under the feet of those that worshipped him. Is it not then true, that he has fallen from heaven to earth, by having suffered so great and terrible an overthrow?

Who then is He That hath destroyed his might, and humbled him to this misery? Plainly it was Christ. And this He announced to us in the words, “Behold, I have given you the authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy; and nothing shall hurt you.” ‘But, O Lord, some one may reply, behold already we rejoice in the glory and grace bestowed upon us by Thee: for we have acknowledged that even the devils are subject to us in Thy name. And how then dost Thou proclaim to those who know it, and have openly acknowledged it, “Behold I have given you the authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions?”‘ Yes, He saith, I have carefully on purpose called you to the remembrance of those things which lo! already ye know, that ye may not be carried away with the ignorance of the Jews, who, not understanding the mystery of My incarnation, approach Me as a mere man, and persecute Me, saying, “Why dost Thou, being a man, make Thyself God? And yet it was |294 rather their duty, He says, to have known, that not “as being a man,” to use their words, I affirm of Myself that I am God; but rather that being by nature God, I have put on the form of a slave, and appear on earth as a man like unto you. And what is the proof of these things? “Behold, I have given you the authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions.” But it was not the act of a mere man, nor of one such as we are, to bestow on others an authority so glorious and admirable, as for them to be able to tread upon all the power of the enemy: rather it was a deed suitable to God alone, Who is supreme over all, and crowned with surpassing honours.

it is capable also of being explained in another way. For thus He leaves them no excuse for giving way to cowardice, but rather requires of them to be very hearty and courageous. For such ought those to be who are ministers of the divine word: not subject to timidity, nor overpowered by sloth, but preaching “with great power,” as Scripture saith, and bold in pursuing after those who are drawn up in array against them, and bravely struggling against the enemy; as having Christ to help them, Who will also humble the impure powers of evil under their feet, and with them even Satan himself. What man is there more powerful than “the world-rulers of darkness,” or than that wicked serpent and prince of evil? He therefore who “brake the heads of the dragons,” how can He be too weak to save them from the attacks of any of this world’s inhabitants “Not without benefit, therefore, did Christ proclaim to His disciples: “Behold I have granted you to tread on serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy.”

But He also further benefits them by immediately adding; “But in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”: ‘Dost Thou not, O Lord, permit those who have been honoured by Thee to rejoice in their honours? And yet it is written of those who were appointed to the apostleship: “They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance, and in Thy name shall they exult all the day, and in Thy righteousness shall they be exalted. For Thou art the glory of their strength, and in Thy good pleasure shall our horn be exalted.” How then didst Thou command them not to rejoice in the honour and glory which Thou didst Thyself bestow?’ |295 What can we say to this? I answer, that Christ raises them to something greater, and commands them to account it their glory that their names were written in heaven. For it is of the saints that God is thus addressed, “And in Thy book they are all written.”

But besides, to rejoice solely in the fact that they were able to work miracles, and crush the herds of demons, was likely to produce in them possibly the desire also of vainglory:—-and the neighbour, so to speak, and kinsfellow of this passion constantly is pride. Most usefully, therefore, does the Saviour of all rebuke the first boasting, and quickly cuts away the root, so to speak, that had sprung up in them of the base love of glory, imitating good husbandmen, who, immediately that they see a thorn springing up in their pleasure 12 grounds or gardens, tear it up with the teeth of the mattock, before it strike its root deep.

Even though, therefore, we receive some gift from Christ not unworthy of admiration, we must not think too highly of it, but rather make the hope prepared for us our cause of rejoicing, and that our names are written in the companies of the saints, by Christ’s gift, the Saviour of us all, Who, from His love to man bestows, with all besides that we have, this also upon us: by Whom, and with Whom, to God the Father be praise and dominion with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever, Amen. |296  (source)

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 10:1-12, 17-20

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2013

Ver 1. After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.2. Therefore said he to them, The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.

CYRIL; God had made known by the Prophets that the preaching of the Gospel of salvation was to embrace not only Israel, but also the Gentile nations; and therefore after the twelve Apostles, there were other seventy-two also appointed by Christ, as it is said, After these things the Lord appointed other seventy-two also.

THEOPHYL; Rightly are seventy-two sent, for to so many nations of the world was the Gospel to be preached, that as at first twelve were appointed because of the twelve tribes of Israel, so, these also were ordained as teachers for the instruction of the foreign nations.

AUG. As also in twenty-four hours the whole world moves round and receives light, so the mystery of enlightening the world by the Gospel of the Trinity, is hinted at in the seventy-two disciples. For three times twenty-four makes seventy-two. Now as no one doubts that the twelve Apostles foreshadowed the order of Bishops, so also we must know that these seventy-two represented the presbytery, (that is, the second order of priests.) Nevertheless, in the earliest times of the Church, as the Apostolical writings bear witness, both were called presbyters, troth also c ailed bishops, the former of these signifying “ripeness of wisdom,” the latter, “diligence in the pastoral care.”

CYRIL; An outline of this ordinance also was set forth in the words of Moses, who at the command of God chose out seventy, upon whom God poured out His Spirit. In the book of Numbers also it was written of the children of Israel, that they came to Elim, which is by interpretation “ascent,” and there were there twelve fountains of water, and seventy palm trees. For when we fly to spiritual refreshment, we shall find twelve fountains, namely, the holy Apostles, from whom we imbibe the knowledge of salvation as from the well-springs of the Savior; and seventy palms, that is, those who were now appointed by Christ. For the palm is a tree of sound core, striking deep root and fruitful, always growing by the water side, yet at the same time putting forth its leaves upwards.  It follows, And he sent them two and two.

GREG. He sends the disciples to preach two and two, because there are two command; of charity, the love of God, and love of our neighbor; (and charity cannot exist without at least two;) thereby silently suggesting to us, that he who has not love to another, ought not to undertake the office of preaching.

ORIGEN; Likewise also the twelve were reckoned by two and two, as Matthew shows in his enumeration of them. For that two should be joined in service, seems from the word of God to be an ancient custom. For God led Israel out of Egypt by the hands of Moses and Aaron. Joshua and Caleb also, united together, appeased the people who had been provoked by the twelve spies. Hence it is said, A brother assisted by a brother is as a fortified city.

BASIL; At the same time it is implied by this, that if any are equal in spiritual gifts, they should not suffer a fondness for their own opinion to get the better of them.

GREG. It is rightly added, before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come. For the Lord follows His preachers, since the preaching comes first, and then the Lord enters into the tabernacle of our heart; seeing, that through the words of exhortation going before, truth is received into the mind. Hence Esaias says to the preachers, Prepare you the way of the Lord, make straight a highway for our God.

THEOPHYL. The Lord had appointed the disciples for the sake of the multitude, who were in want of teachers. For as our corn fields require many reapers, so the innumerable company of those who are to believe need many teachers, as it follows, The harvest truly is great.

CHRYS. But how does He give the name of harvest to a work only just now at its beginning? the plough not yet put down, nor the furrows turned, He yet speaks of harvests, for His disciples might waver and say, how can we so small a number convert the whole world how can foolish men reform the wise, naked men those that are armed, subjects their rulers? Lest they should be disturbed then by such thoughts, He calls the Gospel a harvest; as if He says, All things are ready, I send you to a gathering of fruits already prepared. You can sow and reap the same day. As then the husbandmen goes out to harvest rejoicing, much more also and with greater cheerfulness must you go out into the world. For this is the true harvest, which shows the fields all prepared for you.

GREG. But not without deep sorrow can we add, but the laborers are few. For although there are who would hear good things they are wanting who should spread them. Behold the world is full of priests, but seldom is there found a laborer in God’s harvest, because we undertake indeed the priestly office, but we perform not its works.

THEOPHYL; Now as the great harvest is this whole multitude of believers, so the few laborers are the Apostles, and their followers who are sent to this harvest.

CYRIL; As the large fields require many reapers, so also do the multitude of believers in Christ. Hence He adds, Pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest. Now mark that when He said, Pray you therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into the harvest, He afterwards Himself performed it. He then is the Lord of the harvest, and by Him, and together with Him, God the Father rules over all.

CHRYS. But he afterwards increased them greatly, not by adding to their number, but awarding to them power. He implies that it is a great gift to send laborers into the divine harvest, by His saving that the Lord of the harvest must be prayed to upon this account.

GREG. Hereby also the people must be induced to pray for their pastors, that they may be able to work what is good for them, and that their tongue grow not lifeless in exhortation. For often for their own wickedness their tongue is tied. But often for the fault of the people it comes to pass that the word of preaching is withdrawn from their rulers.

Ver  3. Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves. 4. Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

CYRIL; Luke next relates, that the seventy disciples obtained for themselves from Christ apostolical learning, lowliness, innocency, justice, and to prefer no worldly things to holy preachings, but to aspire to such fortitude of mind as to be afraid of no terrors, not even death itself. He adds therefore, Go.

CHRYS. For their comfort amid every danger was the power of Him who sent them. And therefore said He, Behold, I send you; as if he said, This will suffice for your consolation, this will be enough to make you hope, instead of fearing the coming evils which He signifies, adding, as lambs among wolves.

ISIDORE; Denoting the simplicity and innocence in His disciples. For those who were riotous, and by their enormities did despite to their nature, He calls not lambs, but goats.

AMBROSE; Now these animals are at variance among themselves, so that the one is devoured by the other, the lambs by the wolves; but the good Shepherd has no fear of wolves for His flock. And therefore the disciples are appointed not to make prey, but to impart grace. For the watchfulness of the good Shepherd causes the wolves to attempt nothing against the lambs; He sends them as lambs amid wolves that that prophecy might be fulfilled, The wolf and the I lamb shall feed together.

CHRYS. For this was a clear announcement of glorious triumph, that the disciples of Christ, when surrounded by their enemies as lambs among wolves, should still convert them.

THEOPHYL; Or He especially gives the name of wolves to the Scribes and Pharisees, who are the Jewish clergy.

AMBROSE; Or the heretics are compared to wolves. For wolves are beasts who lay in wait near the sheep folds, and prowl about the shepherds’ cottages. They dare not enter the abodes of men, they pry out sleeping dogs, absent or slothful shepherds; they seize the sheep by the throat, that they may quickly strangle them; ravenous beasts, with bodies so stiff that they cannot easily turn themselves, but are carried along by their own impetus, and so are often deceived. If they are the first to see a man, it is said, they by a certain natural impulse, tear out his voice; but if a man first sees them, they quake with fear. In like manner the heretics lurk about Christ’s sheep folds, howl near the cottages at night time.

For night is the time for the treacherous who obscure the light of Christ with the mists of false interpretation. The inns of Christ, however, they dare not enter, and therefore are not healed, as he was as in an inn who fell among thieves. They look out for the shepherds’ absence, for they can not attack the sheep when the shepherds are by. Owing also to the inflexibility of a hard and obstinate mind, they seldom if ever turn from their error, while Christ the true interpreter of Scripture mocks them, so that they went forth their violence in vain, and are not able to hurt; and if they overtake any one by the subtle trickery of their disputations, they make him dumb.

For he is dumb who confesses not the word of God with the glory which belongs to it. Beware then lest the heretic deprive you of your voice, and lest you detect him not first. For he is creeping on while his treachery is disguised. But if you have discovered his unholy desires, you can not fear the loss of a holy voice. They attack the throat, they wound the vitals while they seek the soul. If also you hear any one called a priest, and you know his robberies, outwardly he is a sheep, inwardly a wolf, who is longing to gratify his rage with the insatiable cruelty of human murder.

GREG. For many when they receive the right of rule, are vehement in persecuting their subjects, and manifesting the terrors of their power. And since they have no bowels of mercy, their desire is to seem to be masters, forgetting altogether that they are fathers, changing an occasion for humility, into an exaltation of power. We must on the other hand consider, that as lambs are sent among wolves because they preserve the feeling of innocence, so we should make no malicious attacks. For he who undertakes the office of preacher ought not to bring evils upon others, but to endure them; who although at times an upright zeal demands that he should deal harshly with his subjects, should still inwardly in his heart love with a fatherly feeling those whom outwardly he visits with censure.

And that ruler gives a good example of this, who never submits the neck of his soul to the yoke of earthly desire. Hence it is added, Carry neither purse nor scrip.

GREG. NAZ. The sum of which is, that men ought to be so virtuous that the Gospel should make no less progress through their way of life than their preaching.

GREG. For the preacher (of the Gospel) ought to have such trust in God, that although he has provided not for the expenses of this present life, he should still be most certainly convinced that these will not fail him; lest while his mind is engaged in His temporal things, he should be less careful for the spiritual things of others.

CYRIL; Thus He had already commanded them to have no care for these persons, when He said, I send you as lambs among wolves. And He also forbade all care about what is external to the body, by saying, Take neither purse nor scrip. Nor did He allow men to take with them any of those things which were not attached to the body. Hence He adds, Nor shoes. He not only forbade them to take purse and scrip, but He did not allow them to receive any distraction in their work, such as interruption by greetings on their way. Hence He adds, Salute no one by the way. Which had long ago been said by Elisha. As if He said, Proceed straight on to your work without exchanging blessings with others. For it is a loss to waste the time which is fitter for preaching, in unnecessary things.

AMBROSE; Our Lord did not then forbid these things because the exercise of benevolence was displeasing to Him, but because the motive of following after devotedness was more pleasing.

GREG. NAZ. The Lord gave them these commands also for the glory of the word, lest it should seem that enticements could more prevail over them. He wished them also not to be anxious to speak to others.

GREG. If any one would have these words taken also allegorically, the money shut up in a purse is the hidden wisdom. He then who has the word of wisdom, and neglects to employ it for his neighbor, is like one who keeps his money tied up in his purse. But by the scrip is meant the troubles of the world, by the shoes (made of the skins of dead animals) are signified the examples of dead works. He then who undertakes the office of preacher ought not to bear the burden of business, lest while this presses down his neck he should not rise to the preaching of heavenly things; nor ought he to behold the example of foolish works, lest he think to shield his own works as by dead skins, that is, lest because he observes that others have done these things, he imagine that he also is at liberty to do the same.

AMBROSE; Our Lord also would have nothing human in us. For Moses is bid to loose off the human and earthly shoe when he was sent to deliver the people. But if any one is perplexed why in Egypt we are ordered to eat the lamb with shoes on, but the Apostles are appointed to preach the Gospel without shoes: he must consider, that one in Egypt ought still to beware of the serpent’s bite, for there were many poisonous creatures in Egypt. And he who celebrates the Passover in figure may be exposed to the wound, but the minister of truth fears no poison.

GREG. Now every one who salutes on the way does so from the accident of the journey, not for the sake of wishing health. He then who not from love of a heavenly country, but from seeking reward, preaches salvation to his hearers, does as it were salute on the journey, since accidentally, not from any fixed intention, he desires the salvation of his hearers.

Ver  5. And into whatever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house.6. And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.7. And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give; for the laborer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.8. And into whatsoever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:9. And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them, The kingdom of God is come nigh to you.10. But into whatsoever city you enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,11. Even the very dust of your city, which cleaves on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be you sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh to you.12. But I say to you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.

CHRYS. Peace is the mother of all good things, without it all other things are vain. Our Lord therefore commanded His is disciples on entering a house first to pronounce peace as a sign of good things, saying, Into whatever house you enter, first say, Peace be to this house.

AMBROSE; That in truth we should convey the message of peace, and that our very first entrance be attended with the blessing of peace.

CHRYS. And hence he who presides in the Church gives it, saying, Peace to all. Now holy men ask for peace, not only that which dwells among men in mutual intercourse, but that which belongs to ourselves. For oftentimes we wage war in our hearts, and are disturbed even when no one troubles us; bad desires also frequently rise up against us.

TIT. BOS. But it is said, Peace be to this house, that is, to them that dwell in the house. As if he says, I speak to all, both the greater and the less, yet should not your salutation be addressed to them that are unworthy of it. Hence it is added, And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it. As if he says, You indeed shall utter the word, but the blessing of peace shall be applied wherever I shall deem men worthy of it. But if any one is not worthy, you are not mocked, the grace of your word has not perished, but is returned to you. And this is what is added, But if not, it shall return to you again.

GREG. For the peace which is offered by the mouth of the preacher shall either rest on the house, if there be any one in it predestined to life, who follows the heavenly word which he hears; or if no one be willing indeed to hear, the preacher himself shall not be without fruit, for the peace returns to him, while the Lord gives him the recompense of reward for the labor of his work. But if our peace is received, it is meet that we should obtain earthly supplies from those to whom we offer the rewards of a heavenly country.

Hence it follows: And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give. Mark, that He who forbade them to carry purse and scrip, allows them to be an expense to others, and to receive sustenance from preaching.

CHRYS. But lest any one should say, I am spending my own property in preparing a table for strangers, He first makes them offer the gift of peace, to which nothing is equal, that you may know that you receive greater things than you give.

TIT. BOST. Or else; Since you are not appointed Judges as to who are worthy and who are unworthy, eat and drink what things they offer to you. But leave to me the trial of those who receive you, unless you happen also to know that the son of peace is not there, for perhaps in that case you ought to depart.

THEOPHYL. See then how He taught His disciples to beg, and wished them to receive their nourishment as a reward. For it is added, For the laborer is worthy of his hire.

GREG. For now the very food which supports him is part of the wages of the laborer, as in this life the hire commences with the labor of preaching, which in the next is completed with the sight of truth. And here we must consider that two rewards are due to one work of ours, one on the Journey, which supports us in labor, the other in our country, which recompenses us at the resurrection. Therefore the reward which we receive now ought so to work in us, that we the more vigorously strive to gain the succeeding reward. Every true preacher then ought not so to preach, that he may receive a reward at the present time, but so to receive a reward that he may have strength to preach. For whoever so preaches that here he may receive the reward of praise, or riches, deprives himself of an eternal reward.

AMBROSE; Another virtue is added, that we should not go about easily, changing from house to house. For it follows, Go not from house to house; that is, that we should preserve a consistency in our love towards our hosts, nor lightly loose any bond of friendship.

THEOPHYL; Now having described the reception from different houses, he teaches them what they ought to do in the cities; namely, to have intercourse with the good in all, but to keep from the society of the wicked in every thing; as it follows, But into whatsoever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.

THEOPHYL. Although they be few and poor, ask for nothing more; He also tells them to work miracles, and their word shall draw men to their preaching. Hence he adds, And heal the sick that are therein, and say to them, The kingdom of God is come nigh to you. For if you first heal and then teach, the word will prosper, and men believe that the kingdom of God is come nigh. For they would not be cured unless by the working of some divine power. But also when they are healed in their soul, the kingdom of God comes nigh to them, for it is far off from him over whom sin has the dominion.

CHRYS. Now mark the excellence of the Apostles. They are bid to utter nothing relating to sensible things, such as Moses and the Prophets spoke of, namely, earthly goods, but certain new and marvelous things, namely, the kingdom of God.

MAX. Which it is said is come nigh, not to show the shortness of time, for the kingdom of God comes not with observation, but to mark the disposition of men towards the kingdom of God, which is indeed potentially in all believers, but actually in those who reject the life of the body, and choose only the spiritual life; who are able to say, Now I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me.

AMBROSE; He next teaches them to shake off the dust from their feet when the men of a city have refused to entertain them, saying, Into whatsoever city you enter, and they receive you not, shake off the dust.

THEOPHYL; Either as a testimony to the earthly toil which they had in vain undergone for them, or to show that so far from seeking any thing earthly from them, they suffer not even the dust from their land to cleave to them. Or by the feet is meant the very labor and walking to and fro of preaching; but the dust with which they are sprinkled is the lightness of worldly thoughts, from which even the greatest teachers cannot be free. Those then who have despised the teaching, turn the labors and dangers of the teachers into a testimony of their condemnation.

ORIGEN; By wiping off the dust of their feet against them, they in some sort say, The dust of your sins shall deservedly come upon you. And mark that the cities which receive not the Apostles and sound doctrine have streets, according to Matthew, Broad is the way which leads to destruction.

THEOPHYL. And as they who receive the Apostles are said to have the kingdom of God come nigh to them as a blessing, so those who do not receive them are said to have it nigh to them as a curse. Hence He adds, Notwithstanding, be you sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh to you, as the coming of a king is to some for punishment, but to some for honor.

Hence it is added respecting their punishment, But I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom, &c.

EUSEB. For in the city of Sodom, Angels were not without entertainment, but Lot was found worthy to receive them into his house. If then at the coming of the disciples into a city there shall not be found one to receive them, will not that city be worse than Sodom? These words persuaded them to attempt boldly the rule of poverty. For there could not be a city or village without some inhabitants acceptable to God. For Sodom could not exist without a Lot found in it, at whose departure the whole was suddenly destroyed.

THEOPHYL; The men of Sodom, although they were hospitable in the midst of all their wickedness of soul and body, yet were there no such guests found among them as the Apostles. Lot indeed was righteous both in seeing and hearing, yet he is not said to have taught or worked miracles.

Ver 17. And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject to us through your name.18. And he said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.19. Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.20. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

CYRIL; It was said above that our Lord sent forth His disciples sealed with the grace of the Holy Spirit, and that being made ministers of preaching, they received power over the unclean spirits. But now when they returned, they confess the power of Him who honored them, as it is said, And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject to us, &c. They seemed indeed to rejoice rather that they were made workers of miracles, than that they had become ministers of preaching. But they had better have rejoiced in those whom they had taken, as St. Paul says to them that were called by him, My joy and my crown.

GREG. Now our Lord, in a remarkable manner, in order to put down high thoughts in the hearts of His disciples, Himself related the account of the fall which the teacher of pride suffered; that they might learn by the example of the author of pride, what they would have to dread from the sin of pride. Hence it follows, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

BASIL; He is called Satan, because he is an enemy to God, (for this the Hebrew word signifies,) but he is called the Devil, because he assists us in doing evil, and is an accuser. His nature is incorporeal, his abode in the air.

THEOPHYL; He says not, ‘I see now,’ but referring to past time, I saw, when he fell. But by the words as lightning, He signifies either a fall headlong from the high places to the lowest, or that now cast down, he transforms himself into an angel of light.

TIT. BOST. Now He says that He saw it, as being Judge, for He knew the sufferings of the spirits Or He says, as lightning, because by nature Satan shone as lightning, but became darkness through his affections, since what God made good he changed in himself to evil.

BASIL; For the heavenly Powers are not naturally holy, but according to the analogy of divine love they receive their measure of sanctification. And as iron placed in the fire does not cease to be iron, though by the violent application of the flame both in effect and appearance, it passes into fire; so also the Powers on high, from their participation in that which is naturally holy, have a holiness implanted in them. For Satan had not fallen, if by nature he had been unsusceptible of evil.

CYRIL; Or else, I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven, that is, from the highest power to the lowest impotence. For before the coming of our Savior, he had subdued the world to him, and was worshipped by all men. But when the only-begotten Word of God came down from heaven, he fell as lightning, seeing that he is trodden under foot by those who worship Christ. As it follows, And, behold, I give those you power to tread upon serpents, &c.

TIT. BOST. Serpents indeed at one time under a figure were made to bite the Jews, and kill them because of their unbelief. But there came One who should destroy those serpents; even the Brazen Serpent, the Crucified, so that if any one should look on Him believing, he might be healed from his wounds and saved.

CHRYS. Then lest we should suppose this was spoken of beasts, He added, And over all the power of the enemy.

THEOPHYL; That is, I give you the power of casting out every kind of unclean spirit, from the bodies possessed. And as far as regards themselves, He adds, And nothing shall hurt you. Although it might also be taken literally. For Paul when attacked by a viper suffered no injury. John having drunk poison is not harmed by it. But I think there is this difference between serpents who bite with the teeth, and scorpions who sting with the tail, that the serpents signify men or spirits raging openly, scorpions signify them plotting in secret. Or serpents are those which cast the poison of evil persuasion upon virtues just beginning, scorpions which go about to corrupt at last virtues which have been brought to perfection.

THEOPHYL. Or serpents are those which visibly hurt, as the evil spirit of adultery and murder. But those are called scorpions which invisibly injure, as in the sins of the spirit.

GREG. NYSS. For pleasure is called in Scripture a serpent, which by nature is such that if its head has reached a wall so as to press upon it, it drags its whole body after it. So nature has given man the habitation which was necessary for him. But by means of this necessity, pleasure assaults the heart, and perverts it to the indulgence of immoderate ornament; in addition to this it brings in its train covetousness, which is followed by lust, that is, the last member or tail of the beast. But as it is not possible to draw back the serpent by its tail, so to remove pleasure we must not begin with the last, unless one has closed the first entrance to evil.

ATHAN. But now through the power of Christ boys make a mock at pleasure, which formerly led away the aged, and virgins steadfastly trample upon the desires of serpentine pleasure. Some also tread upon the very sting of the scorpion, that is, of the devil, namely death, and fearing not destruction become witnesses of the word. But many giving up earthly things walk with a free step in heaven, dreading not the prince of the air.

TIT. BOST. But because the joy with which He saw them rejoice savored of vain-glory, for they rejoiced that they were as it were exalted, and were a terror to men and evil spirits, our Lord therefore adds, Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you, &c.

THEOPHYL; They are forbidden to rejoice in the subjection of the spirits to God, since they were flesh; for to cast out spirits and to exercise other powers is sometimes not on account of his merit who works, but is wrought through the invocation of Christ’s name to the condemnation of those who mock it, or to the advantage of those who see and hear

CYRIL; Why, O Lord, cost not you permit men to rejoice in the honors which are conferred by You, since it is written, In your name shall they rejoice all the day? But the Lord raises them up by greater joys. Hence He adds, But rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

THEOPHYL; As if he said, It becomes you to rejoice not in the putting down of the evil spirits, but in your own exaltation. But it would be well for us to understand, that whether a man has done heavenly or earthly works, he is thereby, as if marked down by letter, for ever fixed in the memory of God.

THEOPHYL. For the names of the saints are written in the book of life not in ink, but in the memory and grace of God. And the devil indeed fell from above; but men being below have their names inscribed above in heaven.

BASIL; There are some who are written indeed not in life, but according to Jeremiah in the earth, that in this way there might be a kind of double enrollment, of the one indeed to life, but of the other to destruction. But since it is said, Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, this is spoken of those who were thought worthy to be written in the book of God. And in this way a name is said to be put down in writing or blotted out, when we turn aside from virtue to sin, or the contrary.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Galatians 6:14-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2013

To provide context this post opens with the Bishop’s brief analysis of all of Galatians 6, followed by his notes on verses 14-18. Text in purple represents the Bishop’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

ANALYSIS OF GALATIANS CHAPTER 6

In this chapter, the Apostle inculcates, in particular cases, the exercise of charity, the necessity of which he had shown in a general way, in the foregoing (verse 14). He exhorts those who are well instructed in the faith, to discharge the duty of charitable correction with regard to their weaker brethren. This, however, was to be done in a spirit of compassionate meekness and clemency, which the consideration of their own frailty would easily suggest to them (verse 1). They should sympathize with their weak brethren, and, far from growing proud at the contrast between their own works and the frailties of others, should rather be humbled at the prospect of the account they are to render before a just Judge for their own transgressions (2–5). He exhorts them to the performance of good works, particularly the good work of supporting their teachers (6). He exhorts them to persevere in sowing the seeds of virtue, from a consideration of the rich harvest of glory which they were to reap. They should exhibit benevolence towards all men, but, in a special manner, towards the faithful members of the Church (5–10). He derives a final argument against the doctrine of the false teachers respecting the legal ceremonies, from the corrupt morals of these men, and the base motives by which they were actuated, in urging the Galatians to receive circumcision (11–13). Their motive was, first, to please the Jews, and thus avoid persecution (12); and, secondly, to have matter for glorying in the circumcision of the Galatians as brought about by themselves (13). The Apostle shows how different are the objects he has in view. He glories only in the cross of Christ; and, secondly, far from seeking human applause, by this cross he is become an object of aversion to the world (14). He assigns reasons for glorying only in the cross and passion of Christ (15, 16); and, finally, furnishes the Galatians, when tempted, or constrained to be circumcised (12), with a general answer which they were to give to those who were molesting them (17). The words of this verse are spoken by the Apostle in the name of the Galatians.

Gal 6:14  But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.

14. But, as for me, far be it from me to glory in anything else save in the cross and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom, and on whose account, the world, whose esteem the false teachers seek, is dead, nay, an object of abhorrence and execration to me, as I am, on the other hand, hated and execrated by it.

The Apostle contrasts his own love of the cross, and of suffering, for Christ’s sake, with the love of pleasure and ease, in which the false teachers indulged; and his contempt for the esteem of the world, that regards him as an object of execration, with their love of popularity and human applause. The motives, and the objects which he has in view, are diametrically opposed to theirs. He protests, that so far as glorying is concerned, while the others glory in carnal things, he rejects all other glorying, “save in the cross of Jesus Christ”—in believing, in preaching its efficiency, in enduring its sufferings. “By whom the world,” whose praise and esteem the false teachers court, “is crucified to me,” is an object of abhorrence to me, as the cross naturally is to all. “And I to the world.” Far from being concerned about the persecution to which he may be subjected for Christ—far from wishing to renounce the cross and its preaching, in order, like the false teachers, to avoid persecution (verse 12)—he is already an object of horror and aversion to the world on account of the preaching of the cross. No wonder that the Apostle should show his love for the cross, on which the sacred limbs of the Man God were extended, since on it Redemption was accomplished, and all the inconceivable blessings flowing therefrom were secured at an infinite price. On the cross can be seen the magnitude of sin, and the boundless love of God. How strikingly do not the heroism of the Apostle, and his love of suffering contrast with our accommodation to the maxims of a corrupt world, and our love of ease and self-indulgence.

Gal 6:15  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision: but a new creature.

15. For, in Christianity, neither is circumcision nor uncircumcision of any avail; the only thing of avail is, the renovation of the interior man by sanctifying grace, which is the fruit of the cross and passion of Christ.

This verse contains an epitome, or abstract of the entire doctrine of the Epistle. The Apostle assigns it as a reason for making the cross and passion of Christ the subject of his glorying, because in Christanity both circumcision and uncircumcision are accounted as nothing; the only thing of avail before God is “the new creature;” or, the renovation of the interior man by sanctifying grace, which is the fruit of the cross and passion of Christ, in which the Apostle therefore justly glories.

Gal 6:16  And whosoever shall follow this rule, peace on them and mercy: and upon the Israel of God.

16. And whosoever shall advance within the orderly limits of this rule (respecting the newness of life, (verse 15), or respecting the doctrine of justification as explained throughout the entire Epistle), may the peace and mercy of God descend upon them, whether Gentiles or faithful Jews; for they are the true Israel and people of God.

“Shall follow this rule.” The Greek is. ὅσοι τῷ κανόνι τούτω στοιχήσουσιν, whosoever shall advance in an orderly way in this canon. The word, canon, denotes a builder’s plummet, or a carpenter’s rule. What “this rule” refers to, is a subject of discussion. Some refer it to a rule of faith, and extend it to the whole subject of the Epistle; or, to the doctrine of the preceding verse—“For in Christ Jesus,” &c. Others understand it of a rule of morals, and make it refer to the words, “new creature,” as if the Apostle pointed out this regeneration and spiritual renovation through sanctifying grace, as the rule of life and morals which all Christians should follow. “Peace be upon them,” &c. According to the English translation, these words are precatory, and convey a benediction from the Apostle. According to others, the words are merely assertory, and convey an additional reason for glorying in the cross of Christ, because grace and mercy are in store for those who observe this rule. “And upon the Israel of God,” is added, according to some, lest the Apostle might seem to be excluding the Jews, at least the believing portion of them (“Israel of God,”) from the forementioned blessings. Others, more probably, understand the words of spiritual Israel, whether Jews or Gentiles (as in Paraphrase). “And,” is probably explicative, and means, namely.

Gal 6:17  From henceforth let no man be troublesome to me: for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus in my body.

17. Henceforth, let no man trouble me any longer by working either upon my fears or scruples to force me to submit to circumcision (verse 12). For, I bear in my body more honourable scars, than those impressed by circumcision, the marks of the Lord Jesus in the persecutions and wounds which I suffered for the faith.

“From henceforth,” &c. The more probable connection of this verse appears to be that which makes it have reference to verse 12, and supposes it to contain a general answer to be given by the Galatians, when their fears or scruples were appealed to, in order to have them submit to circumcision. “They constrain you to be circumcised,” &c.—(verse 12). It is to be borne in mind that in verses 12, 13, the Apostle points out the motives of the false teachers in forcing the Galatians to be circumcised; viz.—Firstly, to please the Jews, and thereby escape persecution; and secondly, to have matter for glorying in their circumcision as brought about by themselves. In verse 14, the Apostle shows how different his subject for glorying—viz., the cross—was from theirs, and, how unconcerned he was about the applause of the world, to which he was an object of abhorrence. He then, in verse 17, speaking in the name of the Galatians, furnishes an answer which they are to render to those who are forcing them to be circumcised, amounting to this: “Cease from troubling me or working any longer on my fears and scruples; for, if it be necessary for me to bear any marks on my body, such as circumcision impresses, I bear them already in the marks of violence, inflicted on me for the faith and Gospel of Christ.” This answer might be fairly given by the Galatians, many of whom suffered for the Gospel as appears (3:4). This is the interpretation of Père Mauduit. Others understand the Apostle to refer to himself personally. “Let no one trouble me any longer about the observance of Jewish ceremonies; for, as I glory only in the cross of Christ, I bear in my body the most honourable scars, the marks of Christ, in the persecutions and wounds which I underwent for the Gospel.”—(2 Corinthians, 11:24).

Gal 6:18  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.

18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.

The Greek copies have the following subscription: “Written from Rome unto the Galatians.” This, however, is rejected by critics, as not authentic.

I added the following note to Cornelius a Lapide’s commentary on verse 18: Blessings also close out the letter to the Philippians, 2 Tim, and Philemon. Grace should here be understood as God’s full salvific bounty, as in the opening addresses of St Paul’s letters. Paul blessing is that this salvific bounty be with the spirit of the Galatians. Spirit here is not a reference to the Holy Spirit, rather, it is synonymous with the person, designating especially consciousness and functions of thought (see 1 Cor 2:11). St Paul’s desire is that the individual Galatians always be conscious of, and thinking about, the full breath of God’s salvific gifts for them, lest they remain deluded and foolish (Gal 3:1-3), forsaking the Gospel for a worthless imitation (Gal 1:6-9). One should have the attitude of St Paul’s spiritual interior: glorying in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ as a new creature (see verses 14-15).

 

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Galatians 6:14-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2013

This post opens with a brief summary of Gal 6:11-18 followed by notes on verses 14-18. Text in red are my additions.

CONCLUSION OF THE EPISTLE

A Summary of Galatians 6:11-18~Taking the pen of his secretary into his own hand St. Paul gives some final and solemn counsels to the Galatians, summing up the polemical and doctrinal parts of the Epistle (verses 11-15), auguring peace to those who will follow his rule (verse 16), uttering a prayer of confidence in the final triumph of his labors (verse 17), and wishing the Galatians an affectionate farewell (verse 18).

11. See what a letter I have written to you with my own hand.

See what a letter. Better, “See with what large letters.” This is the usual sense of πηλικοις (= pelikois = large). The word γραμμασιν (= grammasin = letters) in the dative plural cannot signify anything but the character or dimensions of the letters; the reference is not to the Epistle or letter he has written (Lagr.). St. Paul writes this autograph himself with large letters because of the importance of these final words, and to set out in relief again his authority.

I have written to you. Literally, “I have written to you with large letters.” See the arrangement of the words in the Greek text. εγραψα (= egrapsa) is doubtless the epistolary aorist, since it refers only to the autograph.

12. For as many as desire to please in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer the persecution of the cross of Christ.

As many as. These words refer to the false teachers.
In the flesh, i.e., among men (St. Chrys.), or in a worldly way, or according to the flesh and an earthly standard.

They constrain, i.e., they are putting pressure on you.

Only that. The motive behind the actions of the Judaizers was to avoid being persecuted as believers in a crucified Messiah whose death meant the redemption of mankind and the abrogation of the Law. The uncircumcised Christians were exposed to the hate and persecution not only of the pagans, but especially of the Jews.

13. For neither they themselves who are circumcised, keep the law; but they will have you to be circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

A proof that the false teachers are not sincere is that they themselves do not keep the Law.

They themselves, etc., i.e., the Judaizers, did not observe the whole Law, but only as much of it as seemed to their advantage. The reason these false Christians wanted others to be circumcised was on account of their preference for Judaism and for their own nation, and also in order to be esteemed by the Jewish chiefs; they wanted to insist that circumcision, the distinctive mark of Judaism, was necessary for salvation, and hence something very much to their credit.

14. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.

St. Paul aspires to something far higher than the fleshy mark of circumcision wherein to glory; this is mere human glory. He will glory in nothing, save the cross of his crucified Saviour, the one true source of justification and salvation. To the Jews the cross was a sign of ignominy and malediction, but to the Christians it was the cause of salvation and the chief object of the preaching of St. Paul and the other Apostles (Acts 2:22, 26, 38; 1 Cor 2:2; 2 Cor 4:8, etc.).

By whom. Better, “Whereby” (δι ου). The Greek Fathers make δι ου refer to cross rather than to Christ, and this seems to agree better with the context (see NAB, RSV. The LEB retains the reference to Christ, i.e., by whom, instead of by or through which). The cross is the means, the instrument of redemption, through which, by reason of his union with Christ crucified, the Apostle is dead to the world, that is, to the reign of sin (1 Cor 1:20; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2), and the world is dead to him (Gal 2:20); in other words, all ties between him and the wicked world are broken.

The per quem of the Vulgate supposes Christ as the antecedent of δι ου.

15. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

This verse contains the same thought as v. 6. In the new order of things, which has been established by means of the cross of Christ, circumcision or uncircumcision, as pertaining to this carnal world, avails nothing; the only thing that counts is a new creature (cf. 2 Cor 5:17; Rom 1:25; Heb 4:13), i.e., elevation to the supernatural state of grace by which we become adopted sons of God and heirs of heaven.

In Christ Jesus (Vulg., in Christo Jesu), though well supported, is doubtless to be omitted here, as coming from verse 6.

Euthalius in the fifth century, Syncellus in the eighth century, and Photius in the ninth century said that this verse was quoted from the apocryphal work called, The Assumption of Moses; but in the only portion of this latter work which has come down to us, and which appeared around A.D. 7 , this passage does not occur. The apocryphal work in which it is found is of a later date, and doubtless borrowed the passage from our Epistle.

16. And whosoever shall follow this rule, peace on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

This rule, i.e., of glorying only in the cross of Christ (verse 14), and of being a new creature (verse 15). Those who follow such a rule will enjoy peace in union with Christ, and will experience God’s mercy as the source of their present peace and of their ultimate salvation.

The Israel of God, i.e., the real Israel, all true Christians, whether of Jewish or Gentile origin, as opposed to the merely carnal descendants of Abraham.

17. From henceforth let no man be troublesome to me; for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus in my body.

From henceforth, i.e., for the future (του λοιπου), let no one trouble the Apostle about his doctrine, his Apostolate or the like. If anyone say that he is not a true servant of Christ, the refutation of such a calumny is found in the sufferings and marks of persecution which he bears on his body as a proof of his dependence on and of his fidelity to his Master (2 Cor 11:23-25; Acts 14:18). The allusion in  στιγματα (“stigmata”) is to the marks with which masters used to brand their slaves as an indication of proprietorship, or to the sacred signs that were set on persons or things under the protection of a god or goddess as a mark of their consecration to the deity. St. Paul is the property of his divine Master, he is consecrated to Him, and therefore is above all the troubles and molestations of a lower order. There is no question here of such stigmata as were imprinted on St. Francis of Assisi.

18. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.

The Apostle terminates his letter with an affectionate salutation. He calls the Galatians by the tender term of brethren to show that notwithstanding their mistakes and unfaithfulness, he loves them and wishes them well. The mention of spirit seems to be a last reminder of the great theme of the whole letter, namely, that true life lies not in the flesh, or fleshy practices, but in the spirit, that is, in the life of grace.

All personal greetings are absent from the close of this Epistle, perhaps because, like the Epistle to the Ephesians, it was intended to be a circular letter to several towns. The letter is addressed to the churches (plural) of Galatia. Karl Schelkle suggests that the absence of personal greetings is the result of the tensions between St Paul and the Galatians. He notes the absence of St Paul’s usual thanksgiving at the opening of this letter, its being replaced  with and exasperated statement of amazement that the Galatians are deserting the gospel (see Gal 1:6-9).

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Cornelius a Lapide’s Commentary on Galatians 6:14-18

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2013

Text in red are my additions.

Gal 6:14  But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.

But God forbid that I should glory, &c. The adversative but marks a contrast between the glory of the Judaisers in circumcision and the glorying of S. Paul in the Cross. The Cross of course stands for itself and all the redemptive benefits it bestows, and in it is shown the greatness of man’s sin and the depth of God’s love.  S. Augustine (Serm. 20 de Verbis Apost.) says: “The Apostle might well have gloried in the wisdom of Christ, or His majesty, or His power; but it was the Cross he specified. The philosopher’s shame is the Apostle’s boast. He glories in his Lord. What Lord? Christ crucified. In Him are conjoined humility and majesty, weakness and power, life and death. Would you come to Him? Despise not these; be not ashamed; you have received the sign of the Cross on your forehead as on the seat of shame.”

S. Bernard (Serm. 25 in Cant.) says: “He thinks nothing more glorious than to bear the reproach of Christ. The shame of the Cross is pleasing to him who is not unpleasing to the Crucified.”

And again he writes (Serm. 1 de S. Andrea): “The Cross is precious, capable of being loved, and is a cause of exultation. The wood of the Cross puts forth blossoms, bears pleasant fruit, drops the oil of gladness, exudes the balsam of temporal gifts. It is no woodland tree, but a tree of life, to those who lay hold of it. It bears life-giving fruits, else how should it occupy the Lord’s land, that most precious soil, to which it was affixed by nails which were, as it were, its roots?”

So (in Ep. 190 ad Innocent. Pont.) he says: “I see three principal things in this work of our salvation: the form of humility, in which Christ emptied Himself; the measure of charity, which stretched itself even to death, and that the death of the Cross ; the sacrament of redemption, whereby He bore that death He vouchsafed to take upon Him.”

By whom the world is crucified to me. As the world shrinks from the Cross or any crucified corpse, so do I shrink from the pomps and vanity of the world. Whatever, as S. Bernard says, the world thinks of the Cross, that do I think of worldly pleasures; and whatever the world thinks of pleasure, that do I think of the Cross.

A simpler explanation, however, is to take crucified in the general meaning of death, that being the consequence of crucifixion. The Apostle used the term crucified to maintain the continuity of his subject. Being crucified with Christ, he says, I am a new creature, and breathe a new life. I am dead to the worldly things clung to by the Jews (he still has these in his mind); I am not held by them or by the opinions, applause, or hatred of anybody whatsoever, as the Judaisers are. And by consequence all worldly things are, so far as I am concerned, dead—they have no power to affect me. The world is crucified to me; it cannot hold me. I am crucified to the world; I do not regard it. The world cannot hurt me, nor do I desire anything from it. S. Ignatius, writing to the Romans, said: “My love is crucified, and hence corruptible food and worldly pleasure delight me not. I long for the bread of God, that bread which cometh down from heaven, which is the Flesh of Christ. With Him I am crucified.”

Cassian (de Institut. Renunt. iv. 34, 35) relates the beautiful description of the monastic ideal given to a novice by Abbot Pinusius. He put before him Christ crucified: “Renunciation of the world is nothing but the choice of the Cross and the mortified life. You know, therefore, that this day you have done with the world its activity and its delights, and that, as the Apostle says, you are crucified to the world, and the world to you. Consider, then, the conditions of life under the Cross, under the shadow of which you are henceforth to dwell. For it is no longer you that live, but He liveth in you who was crucified for you. As He hung on the Cross, so must we be in this life, mortifying our flesh in the fear of the Lord, with all its affections and lusts; not serving our own wills, but nailing them to His Cross. So shall we fulfil the Lord’s command, ‘He that taketh not up his cross and followeth not after Me is not worthy of Me.’ ” He then describes in detail the way we should be crucified with Christ: “If it be asked, How can a man take up his cross and be crucified while still living, I reply: Our cross is the fear of the Lord; as the crucified man has no power over his own members, so are we to order our wills, not after our own desires, but according to the fear of the Lord, which constraineth us. And just as the man fastened to a cross regards not things present, studies not his own feelings, is not anxious about the morrow, is stimulated by no worldly desires, grieves not over present injuries, thinks not of the past, and, while still breathing, holds that he has done with the elements of this world, sending on his spirit whither where he will soon be, so must we be crucified by the fear of the Lord to all these things, not only to sins of the flesh, but to all earthly things, keeping our eyes intent on the land to which we hope every moment to travel.”

The Apostle here is speaking not only to religious, but to all Christians, who by baptism have renounced the world, with its conventional ideals and low code of honour. The world may say: “Go to market—adapt yourself to everybody; be a heretic with heretics, a politician with politicians; and when you dine with them, eat flesh as they do, even on a fast day.” But the Christian will reply that he is dead to a life of this sort, and is bound to live the Christ life. Though he be called Papist, hypocrite, Jesuit, he will care nothing. The world scorns a man who refuses to fight a duel when challenged. The Christian will be content to know that duelling is forbidden by the law of Christ, and will despise the stupid opinions of a stupid world, preferring to follow the wisdom of Christ, which condemns all duelling as wicked and foolish. He will recollect that Christian fortitude is seen in bearing injuries in the defence of our country or ourselves, not in the retaliation of insults and injuries.

S. Bernard (Serm. 7 in Quadrag.) says that there are three steps in the way of perfection through crucifixion to the world. “The first is to bear ourselves as pilgrims who, if they see men quarrelling, give no heed; if they see men marrying, or making merry, pass by as pilgrims who are longing to reach their country, and who, therefore, decline to trouble themselves with anything but food and raiment. The second is to bear ourselves as though we were dead, void of feeling, knowing no difference between praise or blame, between flattery or calumny, nay, deaf to everything, even as a dead man. Happy is the death which thus keeps us spotless, nay, which makes us wholly foreigners to this world. But as the Apostle says, he who lives not in himself, must have Christ living in him. All else must find him dead; the things of Christ alone must find him living. The third is that He be not merely dead but crucified. Sensual pleasure, honours, riches, fame—all that the world delights in must be a cross to us. All that the world regards as painful must be gladly chosen by us and clung to.”

S. Bernard then adds a figurative explanation of this passage: “The Apostle might not improperly be understood to mean that the world was crucified to him so far as its character was concerned, it being bound by the chains of its vines, and that he was crucified to the world by the pity he felt for its condition.”

And I to the world. Blessed Dorotheus (Biblioth. SS. Patrum, vol. iii.) asks: “How is the world crucified to any one? When he renounces it and lives a life of solitude, having left father and mother and all earthly possessions. How is a man crucified to the world? Again, by renunciation; when any one, after retiring from the world, strives against his own lusts and his own will, and subdues the motions of the flesh within. We religious seem to ourselves to have crucified the world, because we have left it and retired to our monasteries; but we are unwilling to crucify ourselves to the world. Its blandishments still have power over us; we have still a lurking love for it; we hanker after its glory, its pleasures, its gaiety, and for these vile things cherish the passions which once swayed us. What madness is this to leave what is precious and worry ourselves over what is despicable. If we have renounced the world, we ought also to have renounced all worldly desires as well.”

This explanation is, however, too narrow. The Apostle is speaking to all, and not to religious alone. Moreover, crucifixion to the world and crucifixion of the world are not two distinct things, as Dorotheus seems to think, but two sides of the same thing.

Gal 6:15  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision: but a new creature.

For in Christ Jesus neither cirumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision.Whether you be Jew or Gentile matters nothing; neither brings you nearer Christ. What is of importance is a new creature, i.e., a soul regenerated in baptism, and fortified by grace to walk in newness of life. Cf. Rev 3:14, where Christ is called “the beginning of the creation of God,” and Isa 9:6, where He is called “the Father of the world that is to be ” (Vulg.), for from Him began a new creation. Cf. too Virgil (Ecl. iv. 8), where Virgil transfers to Salonius, the newly born son of Asinius Pollio, Roman Consul, the predictions by the Cumæan Sibyl of the birth of Christ, in which the Christian era is described as a golden age.

Gal 6:16  And whosoever shall follow this rule, peace on them and mercy: and upon the Israel of God.

Whosoever shall follow this rule. The rule laid down by S. Paul as to justification, and the relation of Judaism to Christianity.

Peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. On Jews and Gentiles alike who believe on Christ, according to Ambrose; but comparing this verse with Eph 1:1 and Col 2:8, it is better to explain the Israel of God as those who are Israelites indeed, i.e., who have embraced Christianity and renounced whether Gentilism or Judaism. Not those who are descended from Jacob according to the flesh are the Israel of God, but those who have embraced his faith. These find peace within, and on them God plentifully bestows His grace.

There may be a reference to the meaning of Israel, i.e., he who sees God, says Theophylact. They who see Him by faith here will see Him under a fitting image in heaven. Or Israel may mean “he who has power with God,” according to Gen_32:28. As Jacob by his prayers obtained success against Esau, so the people of God are by His grace masters over the world and all its lusts, and over Judaism. So S. Thomas and Haymo.

Gal 6:17  From henceforth let no man be troublesome to me: for I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus in my body.

From henceforth let no man be troublesome to me. Let no Jew trouble me in future by asking whose servant I am. He bears the marks of circumcision, I the marks of Christ. Maldonatus takes the words as a defence of his apostleship.

For I bear the marks of the Lord Jesus in my body. The Greek word used here denotes marks burnt in, like those impressed on slaves. It also stands for the scars left by wounds. S. Paul gives reasons for believing that he bore these latter in 2 Cor 11:23. As soldiers are proud of their scars gained in honourable warfare, so does S. Paul point with pride to those he had gained in the service of Christ.

S. Ambrose (in Ps 119:120) writes: “That man is pierced with the nails of God’s fear who bears in his body the mortification of Jesus. He merits to hear his Lord saying: ‘Set Me as a seal upon thy hears, as a seal upon thine arm.’ Place then on thy breast and on thy heart the seal of the Crucified; place it too an thy arm, that thy works may be dead unto sin. Perchance not only fear but love also will pierce thee with its nails, for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave. May our souls be wounded by these nails of charity, that they may cry out: ‘We bear the wounds of charity.’ ”

In the same way did Blessed Theodorus Studita rejoice in the wounds he received in defence of the sacred images when they were assailed by Leo the Armenian, in A.D. 824. Baring his body to the scourge, he said: “Delightful to me is the scourging of this vile body, and delightful will it be to lay it aside altogether, that my liberated soul may flee to Him whom it thirsts for.” And when the scourging was over, he wrote joyfully to Naucratius: “Is it not more glorious to bear the marks of Christ, than to wear earthly crowns?” See Baronius, Annals for that year.

They bear the marks of Christ, says S. Jerome, who for love of Christ afflict their bodies, or who are afflicted with illness.  S. Francis of Assissi, as S. Bonaventura relates in his Life of him (c. 13), received from a seraph nails in his hands and feet, out of his intense love of Christ crucified. These nails were not of iron but of hard, dead flesh, having their heads projecting, and the sharp end turned inwards, so that it was with pain and difficulty that he could walk. Pope Alexander IV testified that he saw these nails himself with his own eyes after the death of S. Francis, and from him S. Bonaventura learnt the fact.

Let the impious blasphemy of Beza then do its worst, which speaks of this as a “stigmatic idol,” fondly and fraudulently fashioned. S. Paul, however, is not claiming here such marks for himself, nor do the oldest likenesses of him show any of the sort. Indeed Sixtus IV., in a Bull quoted by Henry Sedulius, in his “Notes to the Life of S. Francis,” forbade, under pain of excommunication, any other saint but S. Francis to be so painted. The Dominicans, who have lately depicted S. Catherine of Sienna in this way, claim a special privilege given them for the purpose by Pius V.

GOD FORBID THAT I SHOULD GLORY SAVE IN THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST.
THE CROSS IS THE LADDER OF BLESSED ETERNITY.
O LONG AND BLESSED ETERNITY!

Gal 6:18  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.

Blessings also close out the letter to the Philippians, 2 Tim, and Philemon. Grace should here be understood as God’s full salvific bounty, as in the opening addresses of St Paul’s letters. Paul blessing is that this salvific bounty be with the spirit of the Galatians. Spirit here is not a reference to the Holy Spirit, rather, it is synonymous with the person, designating especially consciousness and functions of thought (see 1 Cor 2:11). St Paul’s desire is that the individual Galatians always be conscious of, and thinking about, the full breath of God’s salvific gifts for them, lest they remain deluded and foolish (Gal 3:1-3), forsaking the Gospel for a worthless imitation (Gal 1:6-9). One should have the attitude of St Paul’s spiritual interior: glorying in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ as a new creature (see verses 14-15).

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A Patrsitic/Medieval Commentary on Psalm 66

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2013

Come and see the works of God; who is terrible in his counsels over the sons of men. Who turneth the sea into dry land, in the river they shall pass on foot: there shall we rejoice in him-Psalm 66:5-6

Come and see the works of God; who is terrible in his counsels over the sons of men. Who turneth the sea into dry land, in the river they shall pass on foot: there shall we rejoice in him-Psalm 66:5-6

At the end of this post you will find a list of some traditional liturgical usage made of Psalm 66, along with traditional antiphons and collects. Text in red are my additions.

PSALM 66

TITLE: To the Chief Musician; A Song or Psalm. LXX. and Vulgate: To the end; a Song of a Psalm of Resurrection.

ARGUMENT

ARG. THOMAS. That CHRIST is to be adored by all nations. The Voice of the Apostles. The Voice of Paul and of all Apostles for the edification of the people. Then, the Voice of the Martyrs. The Voice of the Apostles to the People. The Voice of the Church praising GOD.

VEN. BEDE. The title is distinct, implying the joy of the LORD’S Resurrection, not only to the Jews, but also to the Gentiles. Contrary to the persuasion of the Jews, who alleged that they alone of all belonged to the life of blessedness; our Mother, the Church, joyously chants her hope of the General Resurrection, interposing three pauses. In the first portion she exhorts all men to rejoice together in the LORD’S Resurrection, which should bring eternal rewards to all the faithful. O be joyful in God, all ye lands. In the second place, she invites all to come to the contemplation of GOD’S works, that one belief may unite those whom one reward awaits. O come hither, and behold the works of God. Thirdly, she again warns the Gentiles to bless the LORD, Who, though He try us with divers troubles, will yet bring us to the rest of His mercy. O praise our God, ye people. In the fourth part, she again invites all, that advised by the example of her deliverance, they may trust the LORD more fully, blessing Him because He has vouchsafed to hear her prayer. O come hither, and hearken, all ye that fear God, and I will tell you.

SYRIAC PSALTER. Uncertain. Of Sacrifice, and burnt-offering, and incense of rams. Spiritually, the calling of the Gentiles, and preaching.

EUSEBIUS OF CÆSAREA. The calling of the Gentiles, and the preaching of the Apostles.

S. ATHANASIUS. A Psalm of rejoicing and of the Resurrection.

COMMENTARY

The occasion of this Psalm, as of the preceding one, is the subject of much doubt. A few commentators ascribe it to the later years of David; the Greek Fathers generally to the return from Babylon, perhaps at the dedication of the Second Temple; others count it as a Maccabee thanksgiving; and others again, followed by some modern critics, assume it to speak of the deliverance of Jerusalem from Sennacherib. The words of the LXX. and Vulgate title, Of the Resurrection, are not in the Hebrew or Chaldee, and Leo Castro charges the Jews with erasing them. But although they are cited by various early Fathers, yet their absence from S. Hilary’s Psalter and from the Hexapla seems to mark them as a late addition. They are, however, much commented on by the ancient and mediæval expositors, who interpret the whole Psalm by them as a key.

1–2 O be joyful in GOD, all ye lands: sing praises unto the honour of his Name, make his praise to be glorious.

S. Hilary, commenting on the word ἀλαλάξατε, (H.) with which the LXX. opens this Psalm, reminds us that it is a battle-cry, and calls on all the Christian world to do its duty manfully in the fight, that it may chant the song of victory at the end. (Michael Ayguan)-And because it is CHRIST’S Resurrection which hath put the enemy to flight, let His Name be praised, and give the glory to His praise alone, and not to any works of man. But the praise must be the active praise of holy works, (Dionysius)-not merely the recitation of holy words.

3 Say unto GOD, O how wonderful art thou in thy works: through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies be found liars unto thee.

For wonderful, the early versions read terrible. And fitly, however we regard those works. Terrible in the expulsion from Eden, terrible in the Flood, (Dionysius) terrible in the overthrow of the Egyptians. More terrible still in the stupendous mystery of the Incarnation (Pope St Leo), whereby the Creator of Angels endured to become a mortal, invisible in Himself, visible in our nature; Incomprehensible, Who willed to be comprehended; before all time, yet beginning to be in time. (Parez) Terrible in the eclipse of the sun at His crucifixion, the three hours’ darkness, and the rent rocks; terrible in the broken gates and bars of hell; (Augustine) terrible in His Resurrection. Not less so in the judgment by which He broke off the branches of His own olive-tree, that the wild Gentile boughs might be graffed in, an awful warning to us not to be high-minded, but to fear, and not to boast ourselves either against Jews, broken off of old, or against heretics, fallen later. We pray you to beware, says S. Augustine, whosoever ye are in the Church, do not revile them that are not within; but pray ye rather, that they too may be within; for GOD is able to graff them in again. Thine enemies shall be found liars. (Dionysius) As when they ascribed the greatness of CHRIST’S power to diabolic agency, saying “This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub, (Ayguan) the prince of the devils” (Matt 12:24). And yet again when they bribed the soldiers to spread a false report of the stealing of His Body from the sepulchre (Matt 28:12). Still more in our own day, when the very existence of CHRIST as a personage belonging to history has been denied, on the express ground of the miraculous acts ascribed to Him.

4 For all the world shall worship thee: sing of thee, and praise thy Name.
5 O come hither, and behold the works of GOD: how wonderful he is in his doing toward the children of men.

At the end of the third verse some copies of the LXX. and the Roman Psalter add, O most Highest. (Augustine)-Vain have been the lies of the Jews; He Whom they branded as a deceiver is worshipped and praised over all the Gentile world, and not only there, but in the courts of heaven, because His Name is above every name. A little before, most lowly, now Most Highest; most lowly in the hands of lying enemies, Most Highest above the heads of praising Angels. Come hither, (Dionysius) then, to hear the word of GOD: come to His Church, and behold, by truer contemplation, by the light of Faith, by the irradiation of the HOLY GHOST, (Cassiodorus) how wonderful He is in His doing towards those Apostles whom He made the channels of His miracles; wonderful in His election to grace; wonderful in His judgment of sinners in the rejection of the Jews, (Augustine) in the call of the Gentiles.

6 He turned the sea into dry land: so that they went through the water on foot; there did we rejoice thereof.

Spoken first of the Red Sea triumph, (Augustine) it tells of a greater triumph of GOD’S power and grace. The world, notes S. Augustine, was a sea, bitter with saltness, troubled with tempest, raging with waves of persecution. Truly, the sea hath been turned into dry land, and now, the world that was filled with salt water thirsteth for water that is sweet, so that now the Gentile world cries: “My soul gaspeth unto Thee as a thirsty land” (Ps 143:6). What He did for all the world He does for every soul flooded with the salt sea of penitential tears, drying it up, (Ayguan) and making it able to bear fruit for Him. Next, the Vulgate reads, They shall go through the river on foot. And it is spoken of the courage with which the faithful shall pass through this life, (Augustine) not affected by the flood of worldliness, and yet on foot, because lowly, and not lifted up with pride, thus following more safely Him of Whom it is written in mystery: “With my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands” (Gen 32:10). He went with His Cross alone, and returned LORD of Jews and Gentiles, of the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant, of men and angels. We did rejoice at the exodus from Egypt, at the entrance into Canaan; (Dionysius) we shall rejoice, as the Vulgate reads, far more truly in passing from the way to our Country, from the waters of sin to the haven of quiet and safety. (Augustine) For even if we are joyous now, in hope we are joyous, but then in Him shall we be joyous. Even now in Him, yet through hope, but then “face to face” (1 Cor 13:12).

7 He ruleth with his power for ever; his eyes behold the people: and such as will not believe shall not be able to exalt themselves.

So He joins the two ideas Himself, (Hilary) “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the FATHER, and of the SON, and of the HOLY GHOST (Matt 28:18). And thus His beholding is the look of compassion which He turns on His suffering people. Such as will not believe. (Dionysius). The LXX. and Vulgate have, They that embitter, or that exasperate, the A. V. more exactly, the rebellious. They cannot exalt themselves, because a “haughty spirit goeth before a fall” (Prov 16:18), and “the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, the same reproacheth the LORD, and shall be cut off from among His people” (Num 15:30). But they may be exalted by Him Who beareth His people on His wings (Deut 32:12).

8 O praise our GOD, ye people: and make the voice of his praise to be heard;

Make it heard, by declaring it to others, that he who loves GOD may show his love to his neighbour also (Peter Lombard), by bringing him profitable tidings. Wherefore the priests bless GOD in the churches with a loud voice. For which reason it is said, “Behold now, praise the LORD, all ye servants of the LORD ye that by night stand in the house of the LORD” (Ps 134:1) S. Augustine reads, Hear ye the voice of His praise, listen to the glad news of His Gospel.

9 Who holdeth our soul in life: and suffereth not our feet to slip.

The Vulgate runs, Who hath set my soul unto life. And that not only by breathing into man the breath of life (Theodore of Mopsuestia) but by giving him the natural law, which, had Adam kept it, would have preserved him alive. (Parez) More than this, He set our soul unto the higher life of grace and glory, by means of faith. Nay, more than all, He has made us look to Himself, Who is emphatically the Life (St Albert Magnus). And suffereth not our feet to slip, because He hath set those feet upon a Rock, firm and unshaken, and ordered our goings thereon. Not like Cain (Origen), who “went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod” (Gen 4:16), which means wandering, but like Moses, to whom was said, “Stand thou here by Me” (Deut 5:31), and of whom those words were then true, “His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold” Song of Songs 5:15).

10 For thou, O GOD, hast proved us: thou also hast tried us, like as silver is tried.

With fire, first of persecutions and sufferings, and then with the more searching fire of heavenly love. For the odour of a saintly life needs the divine fire to make its perfume known (St Cyril of Alexandria), as incense requires glowing coals to quicken its properties. As silver, which is purified by heat, not as stubble, which is burnt up by it. (Augustine) And note, that the precise moment when silver is truly refined, is that in which the finer can see his face exactly mirrored in the molten surface. Whereby we know that our purification is complete, when CHRIST can see His Image reflected in our hearts. And as earthen vessels continue porous and friable till they are baked, (Remigius) so we, who are earth in the hand of the potter, need fire to make us fit to be the receptacles of grace. The early Fathers, holding the doctrine of a purgatorial fire through which the very Saints (St Ambrose), and even the Mother of GOD herself, must pass at the Last Day, dwell on this verse, and compare it with that saying of S. Paul, “The fire shall try every man’s work” (1 Cor 3:13).

11 Thou broughtest us into the snare: and laidest trouble upon our loins.

Being crafty, He caught us with guile, and when He had so taken us, He put His yoke on our shoulders, and His burden on our backs, that in this world we might have tribulation. And literally, (H.),. (C.) His martyrs were brought into the snare of dungeons, chains, and strangulation, and had scourges, heavy weights, and even plates of red-hot metal, laid upon their sides as they were extended upon the rack St Hilary and Cassiodorus).

12 Thou sufferedst men to ride over our heads: we went through fire and water, and thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

It is spoken of the persecuting Emperors, and of evil rulers, temporal and spiritual, (Lorinus) in all ages. Lorinus, writing at a time when the Turkish corsairs ravaged the Mediterranean coasts, and even at times the shores of Northern Europe, applies the text to the hard lot of the Christian captives in Algiers and Morocco. Through fire and water. Again we are told of the sufferings of the martyrs, some winning their crown in fire, like S. Polycarp; some in water, as S. Clement of Rome. Or you may take it, as S. Ambrose does, of the first purification of the soul in Baptism,* and the second cleansing by the fire of purgatory. Or it may be explained, with S. Augustine, (A.) of the mingled sorrows and pleasures of this life. S. Bernard expands this idea,* and observes of a Saint lately departed, “He passed over right manfully, yea, and happily; he passed over through fire and water, he whom sorrow could not break, nor ease delay. The knowledge of good and evil lies in this mean, and this is to make trial here of pleasure and of trouble. Happy is that soul, which passes through both alike, neither clinging to pleasure, nor failing in trouble.” Once more, the water of penitential tears, and the fire of divine love, are the fit preparation for entrance into the wealthy place of unity with GOD. A wealthy place. The Vulgate reads, a cool place (see note).  And it will then tell us of that shelter with Him Who is a refuge from the heat, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, of those cool waters and green pastures which wait for the Saints who have followed their Shepherd in this life. But if we take our English reading, a wealthy place, it will tell of that field of the Church wherein the treasure of grace is hidden, and of that more glorious Church where the treasure is no more hid, but open to all gazing eyes. Note: the Hebrew רויה is derived from רוה which refers to the slaking of thirst. The word implies an abundance of anything that alleviates. Modern translations read “freedom” (NAB), “a spacious place” (RSV), “a place of abundance” (LEB). The Vulgate’s a cool place relates nicely as a contrast to the image of testing by fire in verse 10, along with the fire mentioned in this current verse. Modern translations implying freedom and spaciousness contrast with the captivity and oppression mentioned in the first part of verse 12: Thou hast set men over our heads.

About the Holy City rolls a flood
Of molten crystal,* like a sea of glass;
On which bright stream a strong foundation stood,
Of living diamonds the building was;
That all things else it wholly did surpass,
Her streets, the stars, instead of stones, did pave,
And little pearls for dust it seemed to have,
On which soft streaming manna like pure snow did wave
(“Christ’s Victorie and Triumph,” Giles Fletcher, Protestant poet).

The two preceding verses of the Psalm have been applied with much ingenuity to the vocation for the claustral life. Thou hast brought us into the snare of the cloister, binding us with the threefold cord of the monastic vow (Alvarez), and laidest trouble, the regular tasks and enforced duties of the convent, upon our loins. Thou hast set men, abbots and prelates, over our heads, whom we must obey: we go through fire and water in the various trials of that obedience, and then Thou hast brought us into a cool place, where we are free from the heat and anxiety of this world, and look forward to the coolness of the life to come.

13–14 I will go into thine house with burnt-offerings: and will pay thee my vows, which I promised with my lips, and spake with my mouth, when I was in trouble.

Into Thine house, (Dionysius) either by withdrawing into myself for secret communion with Thee, remembering that my body is the temple of the HOLY GHOST, or into the place of Thy public worship, (Augustine) or at last into the heavenly City. With burnt-offerings, having consumed all that is mine, by victory over self, and leaving only what is GOD’S. So the Paris Breviary, singing of Confessors:

Corpus subegit castitas,*
Et liberam mentem fides;
Amor supernis ignibus
Totam litavit hostiam.
(Hymn. in Comm. Just.)

It is true of the Martyrs also, (St Hilary) and chiefly of Him, their King, (Parez) Who ascended into the Holy of holies with the whole burnt-offering of Himself. My vows, whether of baptism, of the religious or priestly life, or of self-dedication of any kind. And the word pay marks that such vows are debts (Genebrardus), not mere voluntary offerings which need not be made. Which I promised with my lips. The Vulgate reads, which my lips distinguished (i.e. articulated.) Where note, says Ayguan, that he distinguishes his vows, who vows discreetly, but he who vows indiscreetly, does not distinguish, because distinguishing belongs to discretion, and he distinguishes his vows of GOD’S praise, who says in his heart that he is nothing, and GOD is all, that he needs GOD, not GOD him. And spake with my mouth, implying a distinct contract made with GOD, not a mere passing resolution of the mind, but a positive action of the will, binding itself to future performance. When I was in trouble. So the Patriarch, “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If GOD will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my GOD” (Gen 28:2). And to all this He answers, to the first request, “When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee” (Isa 43:2); to the second, “Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way” (Ex 23:20); to the third He replies, “The bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51). For raiment, He declares, “Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment” (Zech 3:4), and will say to His servants, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him” Lk 15:22); and last of all, that we may come to our FATHER’S House in peace, He says, “In My FATHER’S house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you” (Jn 14:2).  Wherefore let us keep the vow, and have the LORD for our GOD.

15 I will offer unto thee fat burnt-sacrifices, with the incense of rams: I will offer bullocks and goats.

The LXX. and Vulgate read here marrowy burnt-offerings. Within may I keep Thy love, comments S. Augustine, it shall not be on the surface, in my marrow it shall be that I love Thee. For there is nothing more inward than our marrow; the bones are more inward than the flesh, the marrow is more inward than those same bones. Whosoever therefore on the surface loveth GOD, desireth rather to please men, but having some other affection within, he offereth not holocausts of marrow (Theodore of Mopsuestia). The fat burnt-offerings are also explained of the Martyrs, as strong and resolute under torture. With the incense of rams. The rams are the rulers of the Church; the whole Body of CHRIST is speaking, this is what it offereth to GOD. (Ayguan) The incense of rams is therefore the prayer offered as incense before GOD by the rulers of the Church. Bullocks, which labour in the LORD’S field, signify doctors and preachers; while the goats are repentant sinners. Sinners, because of the LORD’S own distinction between sheep and goats; repentant ones (Origen), because goats were the victims used in sin-offerings.

16 O come hither, and hearken, all ye that fear GOD: and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul.

He calls not only the living (Theodore of Mopsuestia), but the Patriarchs and Prophets of old time, who longed to see these things, to hearken to the Gospel tidings, (Lorinus) and to rejoice with us. The Gentiles who serve GOD by the law of nature, are also summoned in these words to join the Church, that the law of grace may be explained to them. The soul which has been healed is eager to point out the Great Physician to those which are still suffering from disease.

17 I called unto him with my mouth: and gave him praises with my tongue.

I, a man, was crying to a stone, I was crying to a deaf stock, (Augustine) to idols deaf and dumb I was speaking; now, the image of GOD hath turned to the Creator thereof; I that was “saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth” (Jer 2:27), now say, “Our FATHER, “Which art in heaven” (Mt 6:9).  I called unto Him with my mouth. With my mouth now, not with the mouth of another. When I was crying to stones in the “vain conversation received by tradition from the fathers” (1 Pet 1:18), with the mouth of others I was crying; when I have cried unto the LORD with that cry which Himself hath given, which Himself hath inspired, I called unto Him with my own mouth. And gave Him praises with my tongue. The LXX. and Vulgate read, And have exalted Him under my tongue. That is, notes S. Augustine, confessed Him secretly in my heart, as well as preached Him openly. Many Psalters, and the majority of mediæval expositors read, I have exulted under my tongue. And they explain it of spiritual joy within the heart. (Gerhohus) It is like the Bride, says one, “Honey and milk are under thy tongue;” so that my tongue may be busied with the praise of GOD and with holy prayers, and my spirit within rejoice in GOD my SAVIOUR. I exulted under my tongue, while that tongue was the pen of a ready writer uttering good words without (see Ps 45:2), and within my heart was inditing a good word wholly in harmony with those outer words. The Hebrew would be more closely rendered, A song of praise was under my tongue, and it will then imply the absolute certainty of GOD’S answer to prayer, and that the believer has his thanksgiving ready even while he is uttering his cry of supplication.

18 If I incline unto wickedness with mine heart: the LORD will not hear me.

Not merely, notes S. Hilary, if I have actually done an evil deed, but if I have thought on it with pleasure, and given the assent of my will. And the Vulgate puts this very forcibly, If I have beheld iniquity in my heart.

19 But GOD hath heard me: and considered the voice of my prayer.
20 Praised be GOD who hath not cast out my prayer: nor turned his mercy from me.

Because I have not inclined to wickedness with my heart, for thus speaks the Apostle, (Ludolphus) “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards GOD. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him” (1 Jn 3:21); and it therefore urges us to perseverance. Not to vain confidence, for GOD, notes Lorinus, sometimes does cast out prayer. Moses was not heard for his sister, nor Samuel for Saul, nor Antiochus for himself, and there is a sin unto death, for which it is not said that we are to pray (1 Jn 5:16). Praised be God. Let all His Angels and Saints praise Him; (Gerhohus) heaven and earth, the sea and all that is therein. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, for He hath given me perseverance in crying unto Him, and turned not His mercy far from my prayer, and I have found it true, that, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matt 7:7).

Wherefore: Glory be to the FATHER, Who hath heard my prayer; and to the SON, my Resurrection and Life, through Whose mediation my prayer hath reached the FATHER; and to the HOLY GHOST, the Mercy of FATHER and SON, which hath not been turned from me as I prayed. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end. Amen.

VARIOUS USES

Gregorian. Wednesday. Matins.

Monastic. Wednesday. Matins. [Transfiguration. I. Nocturn.]

Parisian. Sunday. Matins. III. Nocturn.

Lyons. Thursday. Terce.

Ambrosian. Monday of Second Week. Matins. II. Nocturn.

Quignon. Sunday. Lauds.

Eastern Church. Saturday. Nocturns.

ANTIPHONS

Gregorian. O bless * our GOD, ye people.

Monastic. [Transfiguration. The disciples, coming to the LORD JESUS, fearing the Voice of the FATHER, fell on their faces.]

Parisian. O come * hearken, and I will tell you what He hath done for my soul.

Ambrosian. First verse of the Psalm.

Mozarabic. Sing a Psalm to His Name, give glory to His praise, say unto GOD, O how terrible are Thy works.

COLLECTS

Instil into my mind,* O LORD, the glory of Thy praise, that while we shun the burnings of this world, we may, under Thy guidance, be carried into eternal refreshment. (If the Collect be addressed to GOD the FATHER, the proper ending is: Through JESUS CHRIST our LORD, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the HOLY GHOST, One GOD, world without end. Amen)

Grant,* O LORD, that we who, believing in Thee, go into Thine house with burnt-offerings, may serve Thee with dedication of our works and sanctification of the body, that so Thou mayest not cast out our prayers, nor turn Thy mercy from us, whilst Thou dost inspire us to seek that which Thou knowest to be good for us. (The Mozarabic ending is—at the conclusion of the prayer, without any other termination: Amen. Through Thy mercy, O our GOD, Who art blessed, and livest and governest all things, to ages of ages. Amen)

Let all the earth worship Thee,* O LORD, and sing to Thee, being made partaker of incorrupt life; that as all things are framed by Thy handiwork, they may likewise be submitted to Thy sway. (The Mozarabic ending same as above)

O GOD,* Who hast willed that Thy Saints should be tried on earth by Thy wonted loving probation, but not that they should be tempted above the gift of endurance which Thou seest to be in them by Thy bounty, deliver us from all temptation, lest it overcome our mind; that serving Thee faithfully in well-pleasing obedience, Thou wouldst suffer us to be so tried, that temptation lead us not into the confusion of error, but bind us firmly in the embrace of truth. (The Mozarabic ending same as above)

O GOD,* to Whom all the earth sings loud praise in rejoicing, and Whose glory it proclaims with the tuneful voice of a psalm, Whose awful might in Thy works it confesses, grant that our voices may yield Thee acceptable praise, and our prayers give Thee a perfect psalm, and celebrate Thee, the Maker of all powers; and inasmuch as Thine eyes behold the nations, and invisibly search the inmost parts of all things; we beseech Thee so to look on us graciously with Thine eyes, and to correct us so in mercy, that Thou mayest not pour Thy wrath upon us, angered by our misdeeds, nor restrain Thy mercy when Thou art intreated. And grant, that our very fear of Thee for our sins may be our chastisement, and our belief and confession of Thy Godhead, the reward of our pardon. Set our souls then, O LORD, unto life, that we may weep here for our doings, and win that grace which we have lost through sin. (The Mozarabic ending same as above)

We humbly beseech Thee,* O LORD, open Thine ears to our prayers, and, granting us pardon of our sins, deliver us from our present troubles, and making us, by the death of our vices, a pure burnt-offering to Thee, unite us to the company of the Saints. (If the Collect be addressed to GOD the FATHER, the proper ending is: Through JESUS CHRIST our LORD, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the HOLY GHOST, One GOD, world without end. Amen)

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Father Boylan’s Introduction to Psalm 66

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2013

A THANKSGIVING

THIS psalm consists of two clearly distinguished parts. The first (verses 1-12) is an invitation, addressed by different bodies of singers to all peoples, to sing the praises of the God of Israel. The first group of singers calls on the peoples (verses 1-4) to join in the chorus of God’s praise because of the greatness of His deeds. A second group of singers summons the nations (verses 5-7) to behold the special deeds of wonder which God has wrought for Israel; and a third group calls on the peoples (verses 8-12) to thank the God of Israel for His mercies towards His people. The second part of the psalm (verses 13-20) is the song of an individual who tells the pious of Israel of God’s favours and mercies towards himself, and of his vow to offer to the Lord a service of thanksgiving. There is no need to suppose that we have in the psalm the fusion of two originally distinct poems. The first part, dealing with God’s goodness to the nation of Israel, serves as a fitting introduction to the second which describes God’s mercy towards the individual singer. The psalm was apparently composed for liturgical use. It formed a portion of the thanksgiving service which the psalmist (and possibly his friends) had vowed to the Lord for help in some time of need. The date of the psalm cannot be determined. The Vulgate superscription Canticum psalmi resurrectionis is useless for purposes of dating. Psalm of uprising conveys no definite reference. Theodoret regarded it as implying that the psalm was composed to celebrate the safe return of the exiles from Babylon the return being a sort of resurrection (cf. Rom 11:15). But probably, the idea of a resurrection is due entirely to verse 9 of the psalm. The title in the Massoretic text does not contain anything corresponding to resurrectionis. It may be inferred from the psalm that the ritual of the Temple is still being carried on, so that the poem may be assigned to the monarchical period.

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