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 the ‘Meditations’ Category

Spiritual Deafness and Dumbness

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 7, 2012

These homily notes can make excellent points for meditation or further study. Filling out the points with references to the Scripture and the Catechism would also be useful.

“They bring to Him one deaf and dumb.” Mark 7:32.

1. The goodness and power of Christ so well known that men brought Him their sick to heal. To-day we have the cure of one who was deaf and dumb (Mark 7:31-37).

2. Under this type, consider those who are spiritually deaf and dumb.

Spiritual Deafness: towards

I. Superiors (parents, etc.), i.e. disobedience :

a. Arising from pride, setting up its own will against authority.

b. Its guilt will vary according to circumstances (person, command).

c. The consequent punishment will vary in like manner. Adam and Eve expelled from Eden: Gen 3:2424. Death of Absalom: 2 Sam 18:14.

d. How common nowadays this spiritual deafness: e.g. Children refuse to hear their parents’ voice. Servants murmur at the will of employers.

II. Word of God:

a. Priests bound to explain the Faith to their flocks: “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel.” 1 Cor 11:16.

b. This implies the correlative duty on their part to hear it.

c. Yet how many fail in the fulfilment thereof !

1. Preferring ease and comfort at home, or elsewhere.

2. Hearing an early Mass, without instruction.

3. Or, if present, hear not, i.e. apply it not to themselves.

d. No wonder their faith cools down and perhaps dies out. If you take the oil from the lamp, the light goes out.

e. Ignorance one cause of the great defections in history of the Church.

III. Spiritual deafness thus refuses to hear those who have a right to speak, admonish or command.

Spiritual Dumbness:

I. Parents, in regard to children’s correction.

a. A duty too often omitted : result -a spoiled child! “Dumb dogs, not able to bark!” Isa 56:10.

b. In justice: without fear or favour, for the children’s good.

c. In prudence: counsel first, without passion, in
patience. Omnia vide: multa dissimula: paitca corrige. S. Aug.

d. Omission of such duty, a source of evil to parent and child. Punishment of Eli: 1 Sam 3:13; 1 Sam 4:18.

e. Responsibility of parents and others Ezek 3:18.

II. Catholics generally, as to:

a. Neglect of daily devotions.

b. Omission of Sunday Mass.

c. Distractions at prayer.

d. Confession: allowing the dumb devil to seal their lips.

e. Silence: when they should inform superiors of some abuse.

III. Thus does spiritual dumbness neglect the duty of speech.


1. See whether you suffer from spiritual deafness or dumbness.

2. If so, go in confidence to Jesus, like the sick man of the Gospel. Since repentance will obtain a certain cure.

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Father George Howe’s Homily Notes on the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 1, 2012

These notes were originally published in 1903. They can be used for homily ideas of for points to meditate upon.


1. Our Lord had seen in His Disciples a spirit of pride and rivalry,

2. To correct this, He showed them a reflection of themselves in the Pharisee.

3. For us, as for them, the parable is instructive, and contains a two-fold lesson: of

a. Warning, to the proud and conceited soul.
b. Encouragement, to the repentant sinner. The Pharisee: first type chosen by Our Lord.

I. A sample of the puritanical devotee, so exact as to outward observances, while neglecting the spirit of the Law.

1. Conscious of exciting admiration, he takes a
foremost position.

2. And stands, rather than kneels, as seeming less

II. Standing he prays, but without any awe of God: ” I give Thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men.”

1. He asks for nothing, (pardon, grace, or perseverance).

2. He calls the rest of men extortioners and adulterers,

III. Then he sees a publican coming in to pray, and pours upon him insult and contempt: “this publican.”

IV. Anxious to exalt himself, he publishes his own good works: “I fast twice in the week.” “I give tithes of all that I possess.”

V. Thus from first to last, he has no thought of

1. His dependency on God.

2. Gratitude due for past benefits.

3. Graces necessary for the future; but,

VI. His whole anxiety is to appear well before men. Hence he stands forth, proclaiming his virtues and good deeds,

VII. But Our Lord says he was not justified before God. The Publican: second type:

1. The very name was hateful to Jewish ears, as of

A. Betrayers of their race and country.

B. Tools of Roman power, to oppress their nation.

C. Agents of unprincipled men in Rome;

a. The taxes were farmed out to the highest bidder.

b. The publicans were extortionate in collecting them, Enforcing the law with rigour, in their own favour.

d. The Jews thought themselves exempt from foreign tribute. Hence their hatred of those who collected it.

2. This Publican, repenting his evil ways, now prayed for pardon.

A. In humility, he stood at a distance from the altar.

B. Head and eyes cast down, he struck his breast in sorrow:” O God, be merciful to me a sinner.”

C. He feels now

a. His nothingness before the God of Heaven.

b. His sinfulness in the Holy Place.

c. The weight of his past misdeeds; but,

d. Trust also in the divine mercy.

3. Thus did he pray in most worthy dispositions; and,

4. Our Lord declares he was justified and forgiven.

Saint and Sinner:

I. Thus do the Pharisee and Publican appear before men; but,

II. God judges not by appearances”

1. He hears the words of the Pharisee and
condemns: A warning to such as pray with pride in the heart.

2. He hears the prayer of the Publican and approves: An encouragement to repenting sinners.


1. Humility is the first essential of fruitful prayer,

2. God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble: 1 Pet 5:5.

3. Humble prayer pierces the very clouds of Heaven: Sirach 35:21.

“He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

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Fr. George Howe’s Homily Notes: Holiness of Life

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 1, 2012

These notes were first published in 1903. You may find them useful for homily ideas or for points on which to meditate. You may also wish to read chapter 5 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium (Light of Nations). The chapter is entitled The Universal Call To Holiness In The Church.


1. The Apostle says there are diversities of graces,

2. One gift is bestowed upon all; viz. grace sufficient
for salvation,

3. To save our souls, we must sanctify them by


I. Man is holy, only in so far as he fulfils God’s will.

II. Now the lives of most men are lives of labour.

III. Hence, for most men, holiness will lie in the sanctification
of their labour,

IV. Take example from the life of the Holy Family:

1. They were poor, but not in extreme poverty.

2. Though of royal descent, they were simple, hard-working people.

A. Joseph:

a. A humble working-man: Matt 13:55.

b. Daily labour in his workshop or elsewhere.

c. Grave and kind, honest and beloved.

B. Mary:

1. Household work: cleaning and arranging all things (see Prov 31).

2. Journey to the market and the well, for daily supplies.

3. Preparation of meals; spinning or weaving. Tradition says the seamless garment was woven by herself.

4. Daily devotions to God; and practice of the Christian virtues.

C. Jesus:

1. Would likewise share the work.

2. Helping His parents, as might be needful.

3. Accompanying one or both, especially to the synagogue.

V. Thus, for years, was spent the hidden life of the Holy

1. Amid hardships, toil and privation.

2. Yet with contentment, mutual affection, and love of God.

3. Thus was everything sanctified to a degree none
could equal. But,

VI. We may try and imitate their holiness : for,

1. Have not most of us similar duties to fulfil? and,

2. Have we not all of us our lives to sanctify?

A. Women! mothers, daughters, servants, saying you have no time for this!

a. You have washing, cooking, mending to do.

b. But look at Mary, see her work, and feel
her hands. Yet was ever creature as holy as she ?

B. Men! husbands, sons, artisans, and labourers.

a. You complain of your unceasing work.

b. But see S.Joseph, and even Jesus, working as hard as you and as long. Yet was any one ever so holy as they? Oh! the nobility of labour and work, as sanctified by the Holy Family!

VII. Examine and correct all false ideas of holiness.

A. It does not consist in

1. Leaving the world for the cloister, the call
of few.

2. Great austerity, singular works, or vows.
3. Prayer alone: Matt 7:21.

4. The amount of grace received:

a. Many receive much and resist it.

b. Others receive less, but profit by it.

5. Long hours in church, etc. to the neglect of one’s duty.

b. It essentially consists in fulfilling perfectly the Will of God in one’s state.

VIII. Labouring millions! see your examples and encouragement in Mary and Joseph.

A. Begin to realize the simplicity of the work.

1. Doing your duties with pure intention.

2. Joseph was a perfect carpenter: Mary, a perfect wife and mother.

B. Sanctify your ordinary actions: Herein lies the true philosopher’s stone.

C. Thus will your daily toil be the source of

1 . Holiness, here on earth;

2. Salvation, hereafter in Heaven.

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Aquinas’ Homily Notes on Luke 18:10

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 1, 2012

These notes can be used for homily ideas, for points of meditation or further study. The Gloss mentioned several times in this post is a reference to the Glossa Ordinaria. The Latin volumes can be found here (scroll down slightly).

” Two men went up in the temple to pray.”

THREE things are to be noted in this Gospel.

Firstly, the great pride of the Pharisee, “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself.” It is to be noted, that the pride of the Pharisee was seen in three ways:

  • (1) Because candidly he was thinking himself just, “I am not as other men are;” as if he alone was just.
  • (2) Because he despised others, “I thank Thee that I am not as other men are;” despising all, he alone thought he possessed what he did not.
  • (3) Because he arrogantly boasted of his own good deeds, “I fast twice in the week.” Gloss., “He who went up to pray does not pray, but praises himself.” There are three acts of pride, as the Gloss, says, which thus begins, “There are four kinds of fear,” &c.

Secondly, the true humility of the publican, “The publican standing afar off.” It is to be noted, that the humility of the publican appears in three things:

  • (1) He was standing a long way off, as if unworthy to enter the temple of God: “Standing afar off.”
  • (2) That he judged himself unworthy even to see the temple: “Would not so much as lift up his eyes to heaven,” &c.
  • (3) Because he judged himself to be a sinner, and was asserting this: “Smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” These are three acts of humility according to the Gloss:

The First Act of Humility; “He did not dare to draw near that God should draw near unto him “

The Second Act of Humility; “He does not regard that he should be regarded”

 The Third Act of Humility; “He knows that God does not know him”

Thirdly, the great justice of God in His house, “This man went down to his house justified,” &c. It is to be noted, that the justice of Christ appears in three ways in this Gospel:

  • (1) in the justification of the humble publican: “This man went down to his house justified.”
  • (2) in the condemnation of the proud Pharisee: “Rather than the other.”

Gloss: “That is, before him in comparison with him; or more than he.”

Gloss: “The heart is exalted before a fall, which applies to the Pharisee; and it is humbled before grace, which applies to the publican.”

  • (3) in the exaltation of the humble over the proud: “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

Gloss: “The controversy is placed between the publican and Pharisee: afterwards the sentence of the Judge is recorded, that we should avoid pride; that we should hold to humility, which exalts a man to eternal glory.”  “He that hath been humbled shall be in glory(Job 22:29, Vulg.).”


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Aquinas’ Homily Notes on Romans 8:13 (The Earthly and the Heavenly Life)

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 18, 2012

The following notes can be used for homily ideas, points of meditation, or for further study. Romans 8:12-17 is the Lesson Reading for the 8th Sunday After Pentecost in the Extraordinary Form of the Rite.

“For if ye live after the flesh ye shall die ; but if ye through the Spirit
do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live”
Rom 8:13

THE Apostle does three things in these words:

Firstly, he commands us that we should mortify the pleasure of the flesh, “through the Spirit do ye mortify the deeds of the body.”

It is to be noted, that in a threefold manner we ought to mortify the flesh.

(1) By destroying its carnal desires and sin, Col 3:5-10, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry, for which things sake the wrath of God corneth on the children of disobedience; in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him.”

(2) By macerating it by fasting and afflictions to the likeness of the passion of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor 4:10, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”

(3) In afflicting it by spiritual meditations, “Much study is a weariness of the flesh” (Ecclesiastes 12:12).  “Watching
for riches consumeth the flesh” (Sirach 31:1). That is carnal pleasures; the thought of it takes away sleep, i.e., the weariness of sluggishness. In the same chapter: “The thinking
beforehand taketh away the understanding” (Sirach 31:2),  i.e., he who sees beforehand the rewards of gifts turns away sense i.e., from all evil concupiscence; and heavy infirmity i.e., of the body makes the mind free from sin.

Secondly, he places the necessity of mortifying it, “if ye live after the flesh ye shall die.”

It is to be noted that it is necessary we should mortify the flesh, since if we live after the flesh we shall die; for it follows that there is a threefold death from the pleasure of the flesh

(1) the death of sin;

(2) the death of nature, “By surfeiting many have perished” (Sirach 37:34);

(3) the death of Gehena, “He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption” (Gal 6:8;  “The death of the wicked is very evil” (Ps 34:22, Vulgate).

Thirdly, he places the profit of the mortification, “ye shall live.”

It is to be noted that a threefold life is acquired by the mortification of the flesh:

(1) prolongation of natural life,  “He that is temperate
shall prolong life”(Sirach 32:31).

(2) the life of grace, “To be spiritually minded is life and peace”(Rom 8:6).

(3) the prolongation of the life of glory, “Always bearing
about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the
life of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Cor 4:11).


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Pope Benedict XVI’s Commentary/Meditation on Psalm 123

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 3, 2012


Wednesday, 15 June 2005

 Psalm 123[122]
“Have mercy on us!’
Evening Prayer – Monday of Week Three

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Unfortunately, you have suffered under the rain. Let us hope that the weather will now improve.

1. Jesus very vigorously affirms in the Gospel that the eyes are an expressive symbol of the innermost self, a mirror of the soul (cf. Mt 6: 22-23). Well, Psalm 123[122], which has just been proclaimed, is the focal point of an exchange of glances: the faithful person lifts his eyes to the Lord, awaiting a divine reaction, ready to glimpse a gesture of love or a look of kindness. We too, as it were, raise our eyes and await a gesture of benevolence from the Lord.

The gaze of the Most High who “looks down on the sons of men to see if any are wise, if any seek God” (Ps 14[13]: 2), is often mentioned in the Psalter. The Psalmist, as we have heard, uses an image, that of the servant and slave who look to their master, waiting for him to make a decision that will set them free.

Even if this scene is connected with the ancient world and its social structures, the idea is clear and full of meaning: the image taken from the world of the ancient East is intended to exalt the attachment of the poor, the hope of the oppressed and the availability of the just to the Lord.

2. The person of prayer is waiting for the divine hands to move because they will act justly and destroy evil. This is why, in the Psalter, the one praying raises his hope-filled eyes to the Lord. “My eyes are always on the Lord; for he rescues my feet from the snare” (Ps 25[24]: 15), while “My eyes are wasted away from looking for my God” (Ps 69[68]: 4).

Psalm 123[122] is an entreaty in which the voice of one of the faithful joins that of the whole community: indeed, the Psalm passes from the first person singular, “I lifted up my eyes”, to the first person plural, “our eyes” and “show us his mercy” (cf. vv. 1-3). The Psalmist expresses the hope that the Lord will open his hands to lavish his gifts of justice and freedom upon us. The just person waits for God’s gaze to reveal itself in all its tenderness and goodness, as one reads in the ancient priestly blessing from the Book of Numbers: “The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you: the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace!” (Nm 6: 25-26).

3. The great importance of God’s loving gaze is revealed in the second part of the Psalm which features the invocation: “Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy” (Ps 123[122]: 3), that comes in continuity with the finale of the first part in which trusting expectation is reaffirmed, “till [the Lord our God] show us his mercy” (cf. v. 2).

The faithful are in need of God’s intervention because they are in a painful plight, suffering the contempt and disdain of overbearing people. The image the Psalmist uses here is that of satiety: “We are filled with contempt. Indeed, all too full is our soul with the scorn of the rich, with the proud man’s disdain” (vv. 3-4).

The traditional biblical fullness of food and years, considered a sign of divine blessing, is now countered by an intolerable satiety composed of an excessive load of humiliations. And we know today that many nations, many individuals, are truly burdened with derision, with the contempt of the rich and the disdain of the proud. Let us pray for them and let us help these humiliated brethren of ours.

Thus, the righteous have entrusted their cause to the Lord; he is not indifferent to their beseeching eyes nor does he ignore their plea – and ours – or disappoint their hope.

4. To conclude, let us make room for the voice of St Ambrose, the great Archbishop of Milan who, in the Psalmist’s spirit, gives poetical rhythm to the work of God that reaches us through Jesus the Saviour: “Christ is everything for us. If you wish to cure a wound, he is doctor; if you burn with fever, he is fountain; if you are oppressed by iniquity, he is justice; if you are in need of help, he is strength; if you fear death, he is life; if you desire heaven, he is the way; if you flee from darkness, he is light; if you seek food, he is nourishment” (La verginità, 99: SAEMO, XIV/2, Milan-Rome, 1989, p. 81). (source)

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Lectio Divina Notes on Psalm 104

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 20, 2012

The following comes from the Lectio Divina Homepage. Their font doesn’t “translate” onto my blog very well.

Vs. 1: Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord, my God, you are very great! You are clothed with honor and majesty. Here the psalmist’s nephesh does the blessing (barak) as opposed to himself, as it were. He uses two titles, the divine name proper (YHWH) and God (‘elohym). Very or me’od can also mean excessive. The two pieces of divine clothing (verb, lavash; cf. levush, Ps 102.26) are hod and hadar, which are similar in sound. The latter implies an ornament. “Array yourself with glory and beauty” [Job 40.10].

After the introductory exhortation to bless the Lord, the psalm recounts a number of instances where God shows his care for the created realm which may be outlined as follows:

1) vs. 2: God covers himself (hatah): a verb which also connotes rolling. “He (Nebuchadnezzar) will wrap himself in the land of Egypt as a shepherd wraps himself in a cloak” [Jer 43.12]. Compare this wrapping in light with God’s manifestation in darkness to Moses: “I am coming to you in a thick cloud” [Ex 19.9].

2) Stretches out heavens like a tent: yeryhah, which also means a veil; from the verbal root yarah, to shake (as a tent in the wind). “You shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet stuff” [Ex 26.1].

3) vs. 3: Laid beams of chambers on waters: qarah, an alternate meaning is to meet, perhaps alluding to the fact that beams “meet” each other to form a structure. Chambers or halyah (singular) refers to one located in the upper part of a building. “And he (Elijah) took him from her bosom and carried him up into the upper chamber” [1 Kg 17.19]. In the verse at hand, note the location of these chambers, “in (b-) the waters,” that is, the waters surrounding creation.

4) God makes the following his messengers: winds, fire and flame; perhaps alluding to three forms of divine manifestation throughout the Bible.

5) vs. 5: Set earth on foundations: makon (singular); it can also mean a place or better, a place where God dwells. “The place, O Lord, which you have made for your abode” [Ex 15.17].

6) This place is not shaken, mut, alluding to an earthquake. “Because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved” [Ps 16.8].

7) vs. 6: Cover earth with the deep: tehom, the word used to describe the earth before creation: “And darkness was upon the face of the deep” [Gen 1.2]. Note use of garment (levush) here with respect to tehom as used in Ps 102.26.

8) Waters stood above mountains, hal being the preposition in the sense of being upon. Mountains are the highest reaches of land extending to the heavens yet such waters which are associated with tehom are above them as well as below the earth.

9) vs. 7: Waters fled at God’s rebuke (geharah), a verb usually associated with one’s enemies. “But he will rebuke them (enemies) and they will flee far away” [Is 17.13].

10) Waters fled at sound of God’s thunder: qol or sound which connotes a voice and thus a personal element. The verb chaphaz for to fled suggests a leaping up (cf. Ps 48.5).

11) vs. 8: Mountains rose and valleys sank, actions proper to their natures. Note that both opposites have a single place, maqom, appointed by God.

12) vs. 9: God established a bound (gevul) so waters will not cover the earth. This noun can also refer to the land within such limits. “And the locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt” [Ex 10.14]. The Hebrew text has “return again (shuv) suggesting that such waters in the form of tehom once covered the earth.

13) vs. 10: The Hebrew text reads, “He sends springs (nachal, singular; cf. Ps 18.4) into the valleys.”

14) vs. 11: Streams provide drink for: beasts of field, wild asses, (vs. 12) birds live by them.

15) vs. 13: God waters mountains from his lofty abode (halyah, as in vs. 3).

16) earth satisfied with fruit of God’s work, savah (cf. Ps 103.5).

17) vs. 14: Grass for cattle.

18) Plants for man to cultivate or in the Hebrew, “fodder for the animals that serve man.”

19) For the purpose of bringing food (lechem, more properly, bread) from the earth.

20) vs. 15: Wine to gladden (samach) man’s heart. “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” [Ps 19.8].

21) Oil to make man’s face shine (tsahal). For an alternate meaning, cf. Is 12.6: “Shout and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion.”

22) Bread to strengthen man’s heart, sahad. “And give you support from Zion” [Ps 20.2].

23) vs. 16: Lord’s trees watered abundantly, savah, as in vs. 13.

24) Cedars of Lebanon planted by God.

25) vs. 17: Birds build nests in Lord’s trees and Lebanon cedars. The second half of this verse reads in Hebrew, “the stork,” chasydah; from the same verbal root as chesed. This bird has its nest in fir trees, berush. “The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it, nor the fir trees equal its boughs” [Ezk 31.8].

26: vs. 18: High mountains are for wild goats, yahel (singular). “Do you know when the mountain goats bring forth” [Job 39.1]?

27: Rocks are refuge for badgers, shaphan (singular). The only other reference to this animal, Prov 30.26: “Badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the rocks.”

28: vs. 19: Moon to mark seasons, mohed (singular; cf. Ps 102.13). The LXX has kairos.

29) Sun knows (yadah) time for setting, a verb with a personal connotation.

30) vs. 20: God makes darkness or night.

31) At this time beasts of forest creep forth, ramas. “All the creeping things which creep upon the earth” [Gen 1.26].

32) vs. 21: Young lions roar for prey, seeking food from God; baqash: another example of personification.

33) vs. 22: At sunrise young lions get away and lie in their dens; the verb ravash refers to quadrupeds when they gather their feet beneath them. “The wolf shall lie down with the lamb” [Is 11.6].

34) vs. 23: At sunrise man goes forth to work.

35) At sunrise man labors until evening.

Vs. 24 is an exclamation at the wonders just described where the psalmist notes their manifold nature and that they were made in God’s wisdom, chakmah. “Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding” [Prov 2.2].

36) vs. 25: The sea teems with innumerable things; ramas as in vs. 20.

37) vs. 26: On the sea ships sail.

38) In the sea lives Leviathan (cf. Ps 74.13) in which it sports; sachaq suggests play. “For the mountains yield food for him where all the wild beasts play” [Job 40.20].

39) vs. 27: All animals look to God; savar in the sense of examining something and waiting. “On the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to get the mastery over them” [Est 9.1].

40) All animals savar for food in due season, heth; LXX has eukaioros; the prefix eu– signifying something beneficial.

41) vs. 28: When God gives foot to animals, they gather it up.

42) When God opens his hand, the animals are filled, savah (cf. vss. 13 &16).

43) vs. 29: When God hides his face, animals are dismayed; the verb is bahal. “By your wrath we are overwhelmed” [Ps 90.7].

44) When God takes away animals’ breath (ruach) they die.

45) vs. 30: When God sends his Spirit (Ruach), animals are created.

46) God renews (through Spirit) face of the ground, i.e., its surface.

Vs. 31: May the glory of the Lord endure forever, may the Lord rejoice in his works. God’s kavod by its very nature is everlasting; perhaps the psalmist is referring to glory as it contacts creation as described in this psalm and can be perceived as not enduring due to creation’s limited nature. Samach as in Ps 21.6: “You make him glad with the joy of your presence.” The short but delightful expression of God taking delight is mirrored by Bar 3.34: “The stars shone in their watches and were glad; he called them and they said, ‘Here we are!’ They shone with gladness for him who made them.”

Vs. 32: Who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke! The relative pronoun “who” shows that this verse is connected with the same Lord who “rejoices in his works.” Thus the earth’s trembling and mountains’ smoking may be taken as a form of divine samach. The verb nagah (touch) can also refer to smiting anything. “And Joshua and all Israel made a pretense of being beaten before them” [Jos 8.15].

Vs. 33: I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. This verse as well as the next may be read in conjunction with Bar 3.34 just cited. Here singing (shyr) and living, that is, in the physical sense, are as one. The psalmist distinguishes this in the second part of the verse where signing (zamar; cf. numerous other references, to prune) is a reality existing in the future. It seems to be dependent upon whether the psalmist will have being or hod; this word means again, still, and implies continuation.

Vs. 34: May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the Lord. A close connection between the psalmist’s meditation (verbal root, syach) and his rejoicing (samach; cf. this term as related to God, vs. 31. Syach fundamentally means to bring forth. “Evening, morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he will hear my voice” [Ps 55.17]. For a negative sense, cf. 1 Kg 18.27: “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is musing or he has gone aside.” In the verse at hand, the psalmist wishes his syach to be pleasing, harav, a verb which connotes a pledge. “Lay down a pledge for me with yourself” [Job 17.3].

Vs. 35: Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! The verb tamam (to consume) connotes the bringing to an end in the sense of being perfected as has been noted often. With regard to sinners, the psalmist wishes them consumed from the ‘erets; with regard to the wicked, he wishes them cease to exist, that is, be fully annihilated. In anticipation of this event his nephesh both blesses (barak) and praises (halal) the Lord.

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Pope John Paul II’s Commentary/Meditation on Psalm 11

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 20, 2012

A prayer of trust to the Lord
who is not indifferent to right and wrong

1. We continue our reflection on the Psalms, which comprise the essential element of the Liturgy of Vespers. We have just made ring out in our hearts Psalm 11[10], a brief prayer of trust that, in the original Hebrew, is studded with the holy name ‘Adonaj, the Lord. This name echoes at the beginning (cf. v. 1), is found three times at the heart of the Psalm (cf. vv. 4-5), and returns at the end (cf. v. 7).

The spiritual key of the entire psalm is well-expressed in the concluding verse:  “For the Lord is just, he loves just deeds”. This is the root of all trust and the source of all hope on the day of darkness and trial. God is not indifferent to right and wrong:  he is a good God and not a dark, incomprehensible, mysterious destiny.

2. The psalm unfolds substantially in two scenes: in the first (cf. vv. 1-3), the wicked man is described in his apparent victory. He is portrayed in the guise of a warrior or hunter:  the evildoer bends his long or hunter’s bow to violently strike his victim, that is, the just one (cf. v. 2). The latter, therefore, is tempted by the thought of escape to free himself from such a merciless fate. He would rather flee “to the mountain like a bird” (v. 1), far from the vortex of evil, from the onslaught of the wicked, from the slanderous darts launched by treacherous sinners.

There is a kind of discouragement in the faithful one who feels alone and powerless before the irruption of evil. The pillars of a just social order seem shaken, and the very foundations of human society undermined (cf. v. 3).

3. Now, the turning point comes in sight, outlined in the second scene (cf. vv. 4-7). The Lord, seated on the heavenly throne, takes in the entire human horizon with his penetrating gaze. From that transcendent vantage point, sign of the divine omniscience and omnipotence, God is able to search out and examine every person, distinguishing the righteous from the wicked and forcefully condemning injustice (cf. vv. 4-5).

The image of the divine eye whose pupil is fixed and attentive to our actions is very evocative and consoling. The Lord is not a distant king, closed in his gilded world, but rather is a watchful Presence who sides with goodness and justice. He sees and provides, intervening by word and action.

The righteous person foresees that, as happened in Sodom (cf. Gn 19: 24), the Lord makes “rain upon the wicked fiery coals and brimstone” (Ps 11[10]: 6), symbols of God’s justice that purifies history, condemning evil. The wicked man, struck by this burning rain – a prefiguration of his final destiny – finally experiences that “there is a God who is judge on earth!” (Ps 58[57]: 12).

4. The Psalm, however, does not end with this tragic image of punishment and condemnation. The final verse opens onto a horizon of light and peace intended for the righteous one who contemplates his Lord, a just Judge, but especially a merciful liberator:  “the upright shall see his face” (Ps 11[10]: 7). This is an experience of joyful communion and of serene trust in God who frees from evil.

Down through history, countless righteous people have had a similar experience. Many stories tell of the trust of Christian martyrs during torment and their steadfastness that kept them firm in trial.

In the Atti de Euplo, the deacon martyr from Sicily who died around 304 A.D. under the rule of Diocletian spontaneously exclaims in this sequence of prayers:  “Thank you, O Christ:  shield me as I suffer for you…. I adore the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. I adore the Holy Trinity…. Thank you, O Christ. Come to my aid, O Christ! For you I suffer, Christ…. Great is your glory, O Lord, in the servants whom you count worthy to call to yourself!… I thank you, Lord Jesus Christ, because your strength has comforted me; you have not permitted my soul to be lost with the evildoers and you have given me the grace of your name. Now confirm what you have done in me, so that the shameless enemy is put to confusion” (cf. A. Hamman, Preghiere dei Primi Cristiani, Milan, 1955, pp. 72-73). [source]

Posted in Bible, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, John Paul II Catechesis, liturgy, Meditations, Notes on the Lectionary, NOTES ON THE PSALMS, PAPAL COMMENTARY ON THE PSALMS, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Heaven Is Our Goal: A Sermon Plan for the Ascension

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 12, 2012

This sermon plan can be used for homily or sermon ideas, points for meditation or further study.

Our Lord to-day ascended to Heaven, the reward of His labours. This reward, the goal which we also must aim at. Our Lord tells us this, and also shows the means to do it.

Christ tells us Heaven is our goal:

I. By His Words :

1. “I go to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2.
2. “I will that where I am, they also may be.” John 17:24.
3. “To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with Me in My throne.” Rev 3:21.

a. What words could be more clear than these?

b. What promises more consoling?

c. Heaven then must be the object of our aim, as shown also

II. By remarkable Facts:

a. Five hundred disciples witness the Ascension of Our Lord. As though to put it beyond the possibility of doubt.

b. A cloud received Him out of sight (Acts 1:).

1. The ordinary accompaniment of the Divinity.

2. Realizing the words of the Royal Prophet: “Who makest the clouds Thy chariot” (Ps 104:3).

c. Angels announce His entry into Heaven (Acts 1:10-11).

Such facts confirm Our Lord’s words: and He encourages us also

III. By material proofs :

a. The marks of His feet, left on the rock whence He ascended.

b. The impossibility of covering them over. According to Saints Jerome and Augustine, when S. Helen, in the 4th century built a Church over the place whence our Lord ascended to Heaven, never could they succeed in laying a stone upon the traces of His sacred feet in the rock, nor in closing the roof over them, which at that point ever remained open to the Heavens above.

c. The very feast of to-day, instituted by the Apostles themselves. Clearly showing the thought of Heaven as its object.

Christ shows us the means, of reaching Heaven:

I. By His Words (Luke 9:23.

a. Self-denial:

1. Renouncing our own wishes and desires.

2. Submission of Intellect and Will to God.

3. Mortification, a preservative against sin. As salt is, against corruption in food.

b. Carrying the Cross cheerfully:

1. Each one has his own cross in life: From friend or foe, poverty or sickness, etc.

2. If we refuse one cross, we may find a heavier.

c. Following Christ, by

1. Imitating His hidden life.

2. Practising the Christian virtues.

3. The spirit of self-sacrifice,

II. By His Example :

a. He ascended from the very place of His previous humiliations. As though showing that trial and triumph go together.

b. Nothing so encourages the army, as the example of the General.

A. Walk in the path, thus shown by Our Saviour. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (john 14:6.

B. This we promised in Baptism to do: then,

C. As He is our only Redeemer, so will He be our eternal Reward.~Fr. William Howe, Sermon Plan 187.

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Sermon Plan: Thoughts on the Ascension

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 12, 2012

These notes can be used for sermon/homily ideas, points of meditation or for further study.

“A cloud received Him out of their sight.”
Acts 1:9

Each mystery of Our Lord’s history presents thoughts and lessons. Consider some in reference to His Ascension.

He was taken to Heaven:

I. Not by the hands of Angels,

II. But by His own divine power, as God-Man. By the “agility” imparted to His glorified Humanity,

III. Opening to man the gates of Heaven, closed by Adam’s sin.

IV. Why at the early age of 34? It was popularly held that the years 34-36 were those of a man’s prime and perfection, probably on the basis of Psalm 90:10 where it is stated that the average mans life span is 70 years, 35 being half of this.

a. Christ came to offer His life to redeem us.

1. Befitting that this should be in the fulness of age; for,
2. Adam was created, and sinned, in perfect manhood.
3. Christ repaired this evil at that same age.

b. He had completed the work He came to do: viz.:

1. The preaching of His doctrine.
2. The practising of all virtues.
3. The working of many miracles.
4. The founding of His Church on earth.

c. Heaven thus now due to His sacred Humanity. As it is also promised to His followers.

d. To teach us not to desire long life, but Heaven rather.

Forty days after the Resurrection:

I. The number 40 is sacred and of frequent use in Scripture:

a. The deluge lasted 40 days : Gen 7:4.

b. Moses was 40 days on the mount: Exodus 24:18.

c. Our Lord fasted 40 days: Matt 4:2

II. Fulfilling types of old:

a. God showed Himself 40 days to Moses, in giving the Old Law. Christ spent 40 days with the Apostles, completing the New Law.

b. The Jews wandered 40 years in the desert, journeying towards Cana.

1. Christ remained 40 days before returning to Heaven.
2. This also denotes our whole life of exile on earth,

III. A recompense to His Apostles, for His 40 hours’ separation from them, in death.

IV. Gradually weaning them from His visible presence,

V. Showing His liberality in bestowing consolation :

a. For 40 hours’ withdrawal, He gives 40 days of His presence.

b. Thus does He also deal with souls : joy after pain.

Speaking of the Kingdom of God:

I. The Kingdom of Heaven and its glory.
The eternal reward for which all must strive,

II. The Kingdom of the Church on earth:

a. Where God reigns in souls by His grace.

b. Which is the way to the Church in Heaven,

III. Giving the Apostles instructions, as to

a. The constitution of the Church.

b. The preaching of the Gospel to men.

c. The Sacraments and Sacrifice.

d. The Christian virtues, leading to Heaven.

e. The spiritual trials and persecutions to come (Matt 11:12).

IV. Teaching us to think and speak of Heaven:

a. Heaven, our support in trial.

b. Heaven, the reward of our fidelity. Faith in which will make us strong in God (Heb 11).

Let us to-day fix our eyes and hearts on Our Lord ascending to Heaven (whence He came to redeem us) which we must all strive to gain. ~By Fr. William Howe, Sermon Plan 63.

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