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 ‘Notes on Romans’ Category

Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Romans 8:14-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 25, 2018

Text in red are my additions.

14. For whoever are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15. For you have not received the spirit of bondage again in fear: but you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, in which we cry, Abba (Father)

14. Those who have the Spirit of God dwelling within then are acted on, guided, led, and directed, by that Spirit. Christ was led by the Spirit into the desert, and the devil asked him if he was the Son of God (Matt 4:1, 3). The Ethiopic version reads: Whoever do those things which belong to the Spirit of God: that is, as in the last verse, mortify the deeds of the flesh . These are truly and really sons of God, having a heavenly nature. On a certain day the sons of God came to stand before the Lord, Job 1:6. We cannot, says Saint Chrysostom, dispose of our own lives, but should give ourselves up, soul and body, to the guidance of the Spirit of God, our helmsman, and our charioteer. But this control and guidance of the Spirit of God is not coercive or forcible. It implies the motion and, in a passive sense, inclination of our will, such as does not exclude freedom of action. To be led by the Spirit of God is to consent to his leading, and give it our voluntary obedience, confident that it must lead us to increase of grace and justice, and to life eternal.

15. You have not received the spirit of bondage again. Again, because the spirit of the law of Moses was a spirit of servitude and fear. Holy men under the old law were sons of God only in an imperfect manner, and in a lesser degree, like slaves, differing in nothing from servants, Gal 4:1. What you have received is the spirit of sonship or adoption, entitling you to say with Christ, and with all confidence, Our Father. As the divine Word gave himself to Christ, the Man, so that the Man named Christ, is the Son of God: so in proportion the Holy Spirit is given us in Baptism in such way as to make us Sons of God. Cornel, a Lap. in loc.

The Apostle contrasts the spirit of bondage not with the spirit of freedom, but the spirit of adoption; not merely free, but free as sons.

He does not say, we say Abba, but we cry; boldly, loudly, confidently, publicly. Instructed by holy precepts, and formed by divine institution, we venture to say, OurFather. Abba is the Hebrew or Syriac word for father, and to it he joins the Greek word with the same meaning, to signify that Jews and Gentiles are together called to the adoption of the sons of God. Saint Augustine, lib. de Spiritu et litcra, 32 de Cons. Evan. 4.

It is also possible that Saint Paul refers to the prayer of our Lord in the garden, Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; as an encouragement to address him by the same title, with the same confidence in his affection, under similar circumstances of trouble or despondency.

Before the coming of Christ the people of God were undoubtedly entitled in a certain sense to speak of God as their father, but only in a metaphorical sense, and on the ground of creation. “Now, Lord, thou art our Father; we are the clay, and thou our Maker” (Isa 64:8. In some translations, 64:7). This is clearly applicable to all the race of men. And on the ground of providence: “Thy Providence, Father, governs the world” (Wis 14:3). But not on the ground and by right of adoption, an honour reserved for those who are sons of God in Christ, and which is expressed in the formula of the Apostle, Abba, Father.

16. For the Spirit itself gives testimony to our spirit, that we are sons of God.
17. And if sons, also heirs: heirs indeed of God, and co-heirs with Christ: if we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified with him

16. The Spirit himself gives testimony. The cry of our hearts, inasmuch as it proceeds from the Spirit of God, is a testimony of our divine adoption. The giving to us the Spirit, is itself a testimony of this; for he is the Spirit of the Son, and God gives the Spirit of his Son to those only whom he would have for sons. The Apostle may possibly also include a reference in his mind to exterior testimonies, as in miracle or prophecy, more frequent in his days than in ours. Horror of sin, love of God, readiness to obey his commands, and to follow the motions of the Holy Spirit, peace and tranquility of conscience, troubled by no grave and conscious sin, are interior testimonies of the Spirit of God, with our spirit, that we are sons of God. We should not, however, with the heretics, come to regard this interior testimony as certain with the certitude of faith. Such testimony, in so far as it proceeds from the Holy Spirit, is certain and infallible in itself, but as presented to our consciousness it is certain only conjecturally and morally, because we are not sure whether it proceeds from the Holy Spirit, or from an evil spirit, transfiguring himself into an angel of light.

17. If sons, also heirs. God does not die, and his inheritance is not a succession. He is himself the inheritance. Heirs of God. The Lord is the portion of my inheritance, Ps 15:5. To the enjoyment of this inheritance, his adopted sons are admitted, in the Beatific Vision. An inheritance not diminished by the number of the sons, or reduced by division among many claimants, says St. Anselm.

Co-heirs with Christ, if we suffer with him. We are heirs of a living God, co-heirs with a man who died. Sharing his death, on our own cross, we shall be glorified with him in his inheritance. Without participation of the cross, there is no participation of glory; but the expectation of the promised beatitude is sure and certain, where there is participation in the Passion of the Lord. St. Leo, Serm., 9 de Quad.

18. For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not to be compared with the future glory, which shall be revealed in us.
19. For the expectation of creation looks for the revelation of the sons of God.
20. For the creation was subjected to vanity not willingly, but on account of him who has made it subject in hope.
21. Because the creation itself also shall be set free from the servitude of corruption, into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God

The consideration just mentioned, of sharing the sufferings of Christ, need not alarm any who would share his glory. All the sufferings of this life are not worthy of comparison for a moment, are a feather in the balance, compared with the immensity of the inheritance of glory, which shall be revealed to us at the last day. Even the irrational, and the inanimate creation longs in expectation for the revelation of the sons of God. This creation is subject to death and decay, corruption and change, not for its own sake, but on account of man, whose needs it subserves; but this is not for ever. At the resurrection it shall be delivered from this condition of perpetual change, corruption, and renewal, and have its part, according to its measure and degree, in the freedom of the glory of the sons of God.

18. Revealed in us. The Greek text has to us. Revealed from heaven, in our sight. But the worthless glory of this world is wholly external, a lightning flash, a breath of fame. The glory of God will be inherent in us, in soul and body, coexistent and superexistent. In us, but not from us, or of us, but of God.

19. By a personification the Apostle figures the inferior creation as longing earnestly for the day of the revelation of the sons of God. The Greek word αποκαραδοκια (apokaradokia)  signifies the attitude of a listener in earnest expectation. This statement must be considered in some degree poetical and figurative, at least as regards the inanimate creation.

It is not now always apparent who are the sons of God. Many appear so, who are not so in reality; others are so, but are not known to be. That day shall be the revelation of the sons of God.

Why should the Christian fear that for which all creation ardently longs?

21. The creature itself also shall be set free. Change, generation, corruption, the movements of the heavenly bodies, will all cease. The elements will be endowed with new qualities and powers. There will be new heavens, a new earth. As the nurse of a young king participate in the regal splendour at the coronation; or as slaves are magnificently arrayed for their master’s glory.
Saint Chrysostom.

22. For we know that all creation groans and labours as in travail until now.
23. And not only these things, but we ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves, looking out for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body

22. Heaven and earth, all the elements and all the creatures, from the beginning of the world till now, groan and cry, as if in the pains of labour, earnestly longing for the reign of their Creator, and the redemption into freedom of the sons of God, for whose service they were made. And yet we, those very sons of God, love our own slavery, fear the coming of our liberator, tremble at his approach, recoil in terror from the thought of that
kingdom, for the coming of which we daily pray.

Be not lowered below the level of the inferior creation. Do not acquiesce in, and be satisfied with things present:but longing for the kingdom of God, groan for the delay of our departure from this world. Saint Chrysostom.

23. Not the lower creation only, but we also, the Apostles, the first believers, who have received first and most abundantly the gifts of the Holy Spirit, faith, hope, charity, all Christian graces and supernatural gifts, and the miraculous powers then frequent in the early church, yet weighed down by the body of this death, groan within ourselves, panting for the full completion of our adoption, when, by the immortality of the body, we shall be set free from mortality, concupiscence, and all the ills and miseries of life. Not satisfied with what we have received, but rather allured to the desire of a more perfect promise. The gifts given us in this life are first fruits, the beginnings of complete redemption, urging the Saints of God to look forward to the full harvest.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans Chapter One

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 4, 2018

Text in purple indicates Fr. MacEvilly’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. My apologies for the formatting. I’m having trouble with the blog.


After premising with the usual Apostolical salutation (Rom 1:1-7), the Apostle enters on the exordium of this Epistle, in which he displays consummate prudence, admirably calculated to render the Romans well affected towards him, and attentive to the instructions which he intends proposing to them (Rom 1:7–17). He next lays down the proposition or great subject of the Epistle, viz., that Justification is derived neither from the Law of Moses nor from the strength of nature, as the Jewish and Gentile converts at Rome respectively imagined, but from a source quite different, viz., from faith (Rom 1:17). With a view of showing how far their multiplied sins rendered the Gentiles deserving objects of the heavy anger of God, with which sinners are menaced in the Gospel (Rom 1:18), the Apostle, in the next place, draws a frightful picture of the abominable crimes into which those who were reputed the wisest among the Pagans, viz., their learned Philosophers, had fallen; he describes their abandonment of God, their idolatry, their unnatural lusts, and their other violations of the Natural Law; and leaves it to be inferred, that whereas these Philosophers were reputed the wisest and the most virtuous among the Gentiles, and the virtues which they practised made a subject of boasting among the people, the great mass of the Gentile world must, therefore, be sunk still deeper in vice and immorality; and, consequently, instead of having a claim to the Gospel on the ground of their exalted natural virtues, as the Gentile converts pretended, they were rather deserving of death and punishment.

Rom 1:1  Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, by divine vocation, an apostle, by a special and singular choice of the Holy Ghost set apart to announce the glad tidings of Redemption contained in the Gospel of God,

“Paul.” The original name of the Apostle was “Saul.” He assumed the name of “Paul,” according to St. Jerome, Baronius, and others, in compliment to his illustrious convert, Sergius Paulus, Proconsul of Cyprus (Acts 13:12). Paul, being a Roman name, is employed by him, when addressing the Gentiles; Saul, when addressing the Jews. Others, with St. Thomas, say he had both names from his infancy. They say that, in consequence of Tharsis, his native place, being a free city of the Roman Empire, he received the Roman name “Paul” with the Jewish name Saul. Hence; in the Acts of the Apostles (cts 13:9), he is called “Saul, otherwise Paul.” St. Augustine says, he assumed the name of Paul from a feeling of humility, and to express his diminutive stature. He prefixes his name in conformity with the usage of the time. In modern letter writing, it is needless to remark, the usage in this respect is the reverse of that which formerly prevailed.

“A servant of Jesus Christ.” He might be called the “servant of Jesus Christ,” on several titles, on account of his Creation, Redemption, call to the Faith, &c.; the word “servant” in this passage most likely regards his special engagement in the duty of preaching the Gospel, in quality of Apostle, as is more fully explained in the following words.

“Called.” The Greek word, κλητος, is a noun, and means “by vocation.” This the Apostle adds to show that he was not self-sent or self-commissioned, but that his authority was derived from a proper source. “He was called by God as was Aaron.”—(Hebrews 4:4)

“An Apostle.” This word, according to strict etymology, means one sent; but, in Ecclesiastical usage, and as designating the first office in the Church, as described (Ephesians 4:11), it means one sent to preach the Gospel, with power to found and establish churches. There were only twelve of this class, with whom were associated Paul and Barnabas.—(For a full exposition of this word, see Epistle to Galatians, chap. 1 verse 1—Commentary).

“Separated” expresses the singular and exalted choice made of him by the Holy Ghost, when he said, “Separate unto me Paul and Barnabas for the work whereunto I have taken them.”—(Acts 13:2).

Rom 1:2  Which he had promised before, by his prophets, in the holy scriptures,

A Gospel proposing nothing either false of novel; but long since promised by God through the oracles of the prophets contained in the inspired Scriptures.

“Which he had promised,” &c. This the Apostle adds in order to show the Christians of Rome, both converted Jews and Gentiles, that the Gospel which he preached contained nothing false or novel, nothing opposed to Moses or the prophets (whom he was calumniously charged with undervaluing), since it was no more than a fulfilment of the prophecies of the Old Testament, all of which regarded Christ—the principal subject of the Gospel—as their term. The word “promised,” also conveys in limine, that this Gospel, and the justification through Christ, was given gratuitously as a matter of free promise, on the part of God, and independently of the merits of man, whether actual or foreseen. For the meaning of the word “prophet,” see 1 Cor. 11:5. Here, it refers to the sacred writers of the Old Testament.

Rom 1:3  Concerning his Son, who was made to him of the seed of David, according to the flesh,

This Gospel had reference to the Son of God, endowed with divine and human natures, who, according to his human nature, was born to Him in time of the Virgin Mary, being herself of the seed of David.

The chief subject of this Gospel, as well as of the prophecies which ushered it in, was the Son of God, “who was made,” &c., who, even in his human nature, was of kingly descent, being born of the royal house of David. These words refer to the human nature of Christ.

Rom 1:4  Who was predestinated the Son of God in power, according to the spirit of sanctification, by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead:

Who, regarded according to this same human nature, or, as terminating human nature, was predestinated from eternity to become, in time, the Son of God (by being united personally with the Second Person of the Adorable Trinity); and this he was shown to be, by the divine power, which he had, of working miracles, by the sending of the Holy Ghost upon the faithful; and particularly, by raising himself from the dead.

The Greek of verses 3 and 4 runs thus:—περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ, τοῦ γενομένου εκ σπέρματος Δαβὶδ κατὰ σάρκα· verse 4, τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει, κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης, ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ Κυριου ἡμῶν.

According to the Vulgate rendering of the word ὁρισθέντος “qui praedestinatus est,” “who was predestinated,” the words mean, that this seed of David, according to the flesh, i.e., according to human nature, or, which amounts to the same in sense, that this Divine Person, considered not as terminating the divine nature, but as terminating human nature, was predestinated to become in time the Son of God, by a personal union with the Second Person of the Adorable Trinity. In this interpretation, generally adopted by the Latins, the word “who” refers not directly to the Divine Person of the Son of God, but to his human nature viewed in the abstract, and prescinding from its personal union with the Son of God.—(A’Lapide). It is to be borne in mind, that the God-man, Christ, had but one Person, the Person of the Eternal Word, and it could not be well said, that the person of the Son of God was from eternity predestinated to be the Son of God. It was, then, the human nature of Christ, that was from eternity predestinated to be the Son of God, by its personal union with the Word for, as man, Christ is the natural Son of God. Most likely, the Vulgate interpreter read προορισθεντος; but, this reading is not found at present in any Greek copy.

The Greek Commentators, taking the word ὁρισθεις, in its literal meaning of defined, declared, interpret the words thus:—This Jesus Christ, whom the Apostles proclaim as the Eternal Son of God, was most clearly shown to be such, by the prodigies of “power” or miracles performed at the invocation of his name, through the operation of the Holy Ghost, after his Resurrection from the dead. Ita Theodoret, who admits only one source of argument demonstrative of the eternal Sonship of Christ in the passage. Others, with St. Chrysostom, Theophylact, &c., contend that there are three sources of argument (as in the Paraphrase), miracles,—“in power;”—the gifts of the Holy Ghost plenteously showered down by him on his Apostles and the first believers,—“according to the spirit of sanctification;”—and the power displayed in his own resurrection,—“by the resurrection from the dead.” In this latter interpretation, the resurrection of Christ is placed last, although, in point of time, occurring prior to the sending down of the Holy Ghost; because, though hardly immediately intended here, it was the most splendid argument of Christ’s Divinity; and, moreover, the word “resurrection” might be regarded, as embracing the general resurrection of all men, of which that of Christ was the cause and the exemplar. The interpretation of the Greek is preferred by many eminent Commentators, Estius among the rest. It is also embraced by Beelen, who prefers that of Theodoret, who admits only one source of argument. The interpretation, according to the Vulgate, and that according to the literal meaning of the simple Greek word, ὁρισθεις, are united in the Paraphrase.

“The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead,” are interpreted by A’Lapide to mean, by a Hebrew idiom, “by the resurrection, or resuscitation, of himself from the dead.” Others include from, “who was made unto him” (verse 3), as far as, “by the resurrection from the dead” (verse 4), inclusively, within a parenthesis; and they connect the words, “of our Lord Jesus Christ,” with the words, “his Son” (verse 3), putting them in apposition, as if the Apostle meant to say, by the Son of God to whom I refer as preached by the Apostles and predestinated from eternity. I mean, “our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Greek in which the words, “from the dead” are joined to “by the resurrection,” thus “by the resurrection from the dead,” will clearly admit of this construction; which is regarded by many as the more natural meaning of the passage (vide Beelen, in hunc locum).

Rom 1:5  By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith, in all nations, for his name:

Through him, both as God and man, we have received the grace and office of Apostleship to be exercised in his name and behalf, throughout all nations, in order that they may be brought to submit their reason to faith and embrace the Gospel.

“By whom,” both as Son of God and son of David, “we,” i.e., I myself and the other Apostles, “have received grace and Apostleship.” This by the figure, Hendiadys, is put for the grace of Apostleship, “in his name,” to be exercised by us, as his legates and vicegerents, “for the obedience of faith, &c.,” so as to bring all nations to embrace the Gospel, to submit their intellects to the obscure truths of faith, which requires the “obedience,” the pious motion of the will, aided by grace. “With the heart we believe unto justice.”—(Rom. 10:10; see also 2 Cor. 10:5). Note: concerning the term hendiady, see here.

Rom 1:6  Among whom are you also the called of Jesus Christ:

Among which nations given in charge to me, you, Romans, who by divine vocation are Christians, are to be reckoned; hence, it is in quality of Apostle, I address to you this Epistle.

“Among whom.” &c. Hence it is that St. Paul, as Apostle of nations, addresses this Epistle to them. “Called,” κλητος, is a noun, signifying “by vocation” Christians. This he adds to show them that the grace of Christianity bestowed on them was the result of a purely gratuitous call on the part of God. The passage, from the words, “who was made to him,” verse 3, to the end of this verse inclusively, is to be read within a parenthesis.

Rom 1:7  To all that are at Rome, the beloved of God, called to be saints. Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Salutes) all who are at Rome, the beloved of God called to a state and profession of sanctity. May you enjoy the abundance of all spiritual gifts, and the quiet, undisturbed possession of the same from their efficient cause, God the Father, and their meritorious cause, Jesus Christ, who is, in a special manner, our Lord, in right of Redemption.

After the long parenthesis, he now enters on the salutation. The word salutes, (writes to), or some such, is understood. “To all that are at Rome, the beloved,” &c., i.e., to all the Christians of Rome. “Called to be saints.” Every Christian is, by his very profession, bound to be a saint. How few are there who correspond with this sublime end of their vocation! “Grace to you and peace,” the usual form of Apostolical salutation. “God our Father” may refer to the entire Trinity; it more probably refers to the First Person; “and from the Lord Jesus Christ,” we are his purchased slaves; hence, he is our “Lord,” in a special manner, by Redemption.

Rom 1:8  First, I give thanks to my God, through Jesus Christ, for you all: because your faith is spoken of in the whole world.

And indeed, in the first place, I give thanks, on your account, to my God, through Jesus Christ, the source of all spiritual blessings, because your faith is a subject of universal celebrity throughout all parts of the known world.

In this verse, the Apostle commences the exordium, in which he displays consummate prudence, admirably calculated to gain the good-will of the Romans, in order to render them afterwards docile and attentive to his instructions. Masters of eloquence would call this “captatio benevolentiæ” (to capture or gain goodwill) “I give thanks to my God;” thanksgiving for past favours is a homage due to God for his benefits, and is the most efficacious means of insuring their continuance; “through Jesus Christ,” through him all graces have to come to us; hence, he is the fittest and most acceptable channel to convey back thanksgiving for these graces; “because your faith is spoken of,” i.e., is celebrated and rendered famous “in the whole world,” i.e., throughout the known parts of the entire world, then included in the Roman Empire.

Rom 1:9  For God is my witness, whom I serve in my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make a commemoration of you:
Rom 1:10  Always in my prayers making request, if by any means now at length I may have a prosperous journey, by the will of God, to come unto you.

For, I call God to witness, whom I worship and serve with all the ardour and energies of my mind in the cause of the Gospel of his Son, that I make continual commemoration of you (10) in my prayers, always entreating him, that by some means I may possibly obtain the fulfilment of my anxious wishes of paying you a visit, should God will it so.

“For God is my witness.” This is a form of oath, which the Apostle finds it necessary to resort to at present, in order to remove any prejudices the Romans might conceive against his addressing them.

“Whom I serve,” λατρευω (latreuo), i.e., minister to; “with my spirit,” is understood by some to mean spiritually and interiorly, in opposition to the carnal and merely external service of the Jews; “in the gospel of his Son,” in preaching the Gospel, and not in teaching the legal ceremonies; “that without ceasing I make a commemoration of you,” he shows in next verse how this commemoration is made.

“Always in my prayers,” not that he was continually engaged in prayer, but that as often as he prayed—and that was frequently—he remembered them, and the object of his unceasing prayer was to be permitted to see them. The crowding together of particles, “that,” “by any means,” “at length,” shows the ardent desire the Apostle had of seeing them but this was always in conformity and strict submission to the will of God, “by the will of God.”

Rom 1:11  For I long to see you that I may impart unto you some spiritual grace, to strengthen you:

For I eagerly long to visit you, not from worldly or selfish motives, but in order to impart to you some spiritual gift which will serve to confirm you in the faith you have already received.

His motive for wishing to see them was not the result of curiosity or avarice, it was solely for the purpose of imparting to them, by his ministry, some spiritual gift, in addition to those they had already received, and thus to confirm their faith which had been imparted to them by St. Peter. By “spiritual grace” is more probably understood some external grace, such as tongues, prophecies, &c., given for the benefit of others, to which he refers, 1 Cor. 14, and chap. 12 of this Epistle.

The Greek for “grace” χαρισμα (charisma), admits of this interpretation.

Rom 1:12  That is to say, that I may be comforted together in you by that which is common to us both, your faith and mine.

Or, to speak more correctly, in order to derive together with you, consolation from the mutual communication of our common faith.

Lest the preceding words might savour of arrogance, and might convey a depreciation of their faith and of the gifts already received, the Apostle now, in the depth of his humility, and to render them well affected toward him, says, that the advantages of his visit would be as much his own as theirs in the consolation he would receive as well as they, from the mutual communication of their common faith; mutual edification and consolation would be the result.

Rom 1:13  And I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that I have often purposed to come unto you (and have been hindered hitherto) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

For, I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that I have often purposed visiting you (but certain obstacles intervened up to the present moment), in order to reap some fruit among you also, as I have done among other nations.

St. Paul now vindicates his right as Apostle of nations. He desired to visit them in order to reap some fruit of faith and edification among them, as he had already among the other nations—(“and I have been hindered hitherto.”) What this impediment was is mentioned (chap. 15), viz., his being occupied too much elsewhere.

Rom 1:14  To the Greeks and to the barbarians, to the wise and to the unwise, I am a debtor.

To the civilized and uncivilized nations, to the learned and unlearned, I am, in virtue of my office as Apostle, bound to preach the Gospel.

“Barbarians.” The Greeks regarded all nations not using the Greek language, barbarians. Even the Romans were not excepted from this class until they became masters of Greece. Hence, the words “Greeks” and “Barbarians,” here designate civilized and uncivilized nations; “the wise” refer to the philosophers reputed wise and learned; and “unwise,” to the ignorant and untutored; “a debtor,” i.e., in virtue of his office, as Apostle of nations, bound to preach the Gospel.

Rom 1:15  So (as much as is in me) I am ready to preach the gospel to you also that are at Rome.

And hence (as far as in me lies, and in the absence of contrary obstacles), I am willing and ready to discharge this debt towards you at Rome, by announcing to you also the glad tidings of Redemption.

“So,” i.e., therefore, because bound to preach to all without distinction, he is ready to preach the Gospel at Rome also, in the absence of contrary obstacles.

Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel. For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth: to the Jew first and to the Greek.

For, although the preaching of the Gospel of a crucified God be to the Jew a scandal, and to the Gentile folly; still, I am not ashamed to announce it even in the mighty city of Rome, for, it is the powerful instrument whereby is conferred salvation on every one who embraces it, by believing its doctrine, on the Jew first and on the Gentile.

In some Greek copies, the words “of Christ” are added to the word “gospel,” but it is omitted in the chief MSS. and versions generally. He is ready and not ashamed to preach the scandal and folly of the cross even at Rome, where learning and science were united with the greatest dissoluteness of morals; where honours and riches alone were held in estimation; and where, consequently, the mysterious and humbling truths of the Gospel, as well as its precepts of self-denial, must prove particularly foolish and distasteful. “For it is the power of God, &c.,” it is the powerful instrument by which God confers salvation, of justice here, and glory hereafter, on all who believe it (for, to those who reject it, it becomes the source of greater damnation,), and observe the precepts which faith points out. The preaching of the Gospel, through the hearing of which alone faith comes, contains under it, the grace of the Holy Ghost, so necessary for faith. “To the Jew first,” the Jews were the first in the order of time to whom Christ directed the Gospel to be preached, “and to the Greek,” i.e., the Gentile; the Greek language was the most extensively used among the Gentiles; hence, the Apostle calls the Gentiles, “Greeks.” Moreover, the Hebrews divided the world into Jews and Gentiles.

Rom 1:17  For the justice of God is revealed therein, from faith unto faith, as it is written: The just man liveth by faith.

For it stimulates men to seek true justice by revealing to us the source from which real justification is derived; and that source is,—neither the law of Moses nor the law of Nature, but—faith as the root, faith as the abiding, conservative principle of this justice. And this is no new doctrine, but a doctrine revealed to us of old by the prophet Habacuc (chap. 2) who tells us, the just man liveth by faith.

He proves that the preaching of the Gospel is the powerful instrument, &c., “for the justice of God,” i.e., his justice bestowed on us, whereby we are rendered truly just before Him, it is called “the justice of God,” because it comes from Him alone. This justice is revealed in the Gospel to come “from faith,” (and not from the law of Moses, as the Jews supposed, nor from the strength of nature, as the Gentiles vainly imagined). “From faith to faith,” means, that faith is the beginning, the root, by which justice is acquired; faith increasing and supported by good works is the principle by which justice once obtained, is upheld and preserved. “As it is written;” this doctrine of justification by faith, is no new doctrine; the prophet Habacuc (chap. 2) says, “the just man liveth,” &c. For “liveth,” the Greek is, ζησεται (zesetai), shall live. The spiritual life of the just man consists in faith. Of course he includes good works; for, the words of the prophet, “the just man shall live by faith” (chap. 2) literally refer to the just Jew, under the Babylonish capativity, expecting the deliverer Cyrus, promised him by God, and in this faith and consequent expectation, patiently enduring the evils of his state and performing the works of justice. They are quoted by the Apostle in their mystical sense (the sense principally intended by the Holy Ghost), and refer to the persevering faith of the Christian, which, like that of the faithful Jew, must be supported in its progress by good works and patience; and in that sense, will constitute his spiritual life, will serve to obtain first, and uphold second justification. In this verse, the Apostle lays down the great proposition of the Epistle, viz., that justice comes from a source quite different from that which the Jews and Gentiles imagined, that is, from faith.

Rom 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice:

The Gospel of God is the powerful instrument of salvation on another ground; for, it serves to deter us from the commission of sin by clearly revealing the heavy anger of God, which will one day (on the day of judgment) be visited on those men from heaven, who by impiety have sinned against religion, and by injustice have injured their neighbour, unjustly concealing the truth of God, and not showing it forth in their conduct.

The connexion of this verse with verse 16, as given in the Paraphrase, appears the most probable. The Gospel is also a most powerful means of salvation, by deterring men from the commission of sin—such as the Gentiles had committed against the natural law—which carried no strength for self-observance; and the Jews against the law of Moses, which also contributed no help for self-observance either; and the remainder of this chapter is devoted by the Apostle to point out how far their multiplied crimes rendered the Gentiles deserving objects of the heavy threats held out in the Gospel against sinners. In the next chapter, the same is shown in reference to the Jews, so that after having shown (chap. 3) that all, both Jews and Gentiles, were under sin, he shows the only means of rescuing them from this state, and rendering them just, to be faith. “That detain the truth of God in injustice.” The words “of God,” are not in the Greek. How many are there now-a-days, whose conduct is in opposition to their knowledge? To whom can the charge of “detaining the truth of God in injustice” so strictly apply as to pastors, and parents and all those who, having the care of others, and therefore, in some measure, bound injustice to teach them the knowledge of God, still neglect this most important duty? The Apostle directly and immediately alludes to the Gentile philosophers, whose crimes he is about enumerating.

Rom 1:19  Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them.

They unjustly concealed the knowledge of God. For, the Pagan philosophers to whom I refer, had a knowledge of whatever could be known concerning God, from the light of reason; for, God himself gave a clear, certain knowledge of himself to them, by the aid of natural reason.

“Because that which is known by God,” i.e., whatever could be known of Him from the light of reason, “is made manifest to them. For, God had manifested it to them,” by giving them the natural light of reason to arrive at this knowledge, and by placing this knowledge within the reach of reason (next verse).

Rom 1:20  For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. His eternal power also and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.

For, since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes are clearly seen: not by the eyes of the body, but by the light of the understanding, inferring them from the visible effects of creation; and among these attributes the most prominently displayed in creatures, are his eternal omnipotence and divine essence—the first beginning and last end of all things. So that no excuse, on the ground of ignorance, was left them.

“For the invisible things of him,” i.e., his invisible Attributes or Perfections, “from the creation of the world, are clearly seen.” The Greek word for “creation,” απο κτισεως, may mean “creature,” as if he said “his invisible attributes are perceived from the creature, called the world.” However, as the following words, “understood by the things that are made,” sufficiently convey this idea, and, in this construction, they would appear to be an unnecessary repetition, the construction given in the Paraphrase seems, therefore, preferable. “His eternal power and divinity.” “Divinity” refers to the leading Attributes of the Godhead, which have a peculiar claim on the worship of creatures, who are, therefore, without excuse for not adoring him, having these means of knowledge within reach—nay, having actual knowledge (as in next verse). The works of creation serve as the great book in which are read in legible characters, and the mirror in which are faithfully reflected, the Attributes of the Divinity. Hence, this visible word is, as it were, a natural gospel to the Pagans, whereby they are brought to the knowledge of God; and St. Chrysostom tells us, “The wonderful harmony of all things speaks louder on this subject than the loudest trumpet. “So that they are inexcusable,” not having the excuse of ignorance, for not adoring him, as in the following verse.

Rom 1:21  Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God or given thanks: but became vain in their thoughts. And their foolish heart was darkened.

For, having known God, they did not exhibit the worship due to his Supreme Majesty, nor did they thank him, as the author of all blessings; but they vainly and foolishly confined themselves to idle disquisitions regarding Him, referring their knowledge to no practical useful conclusion; and in punishment of this abuse their senseless intellect was darkened, and … their will perverted.

“They have not glorified him as God.” Having an actual knowledge of God and of his divine perfections, they neither properly adored nor praised those perfections, nor did they pay Him the supreme honour due to Him as God; in which praise of his perfections and exhibition of due worship. “glorifiying him as God” consists. “Nor gave thanks” by referring to him, by grateful acknowledgement, the benefits received from him, an homage which reason dictates should be paid to him as the author of all blessings, “but became vain in their thoughts.” The Greek word for “thoughts,” διαλογισμοις, means, reasonings. They became vain in their reasonings; because they confined their knowledge of God to mere idle reasonings or disquisitions regarding him, without making this knowledge subserve to his worship. Hence as they did not attain the great end for which this knowledge was given them as a means, viz.: the worship and honour of God, they became “vain” in its exercise. “And their foolish heart was darkened.” Their mind, rendered stolid in punishment of so much ingratitude, was more and more darkened, and their will perverted. Religious error has been at all times the consequence of pride of intellect and depravity of will.

Rom 1:22  For, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

While publicly boasting of, and arrogating to themselves the reputation of wisdom, they have fallen into the excess of folly.

“Professing themselves wise.” Laying claim to the character of wisdom, “they (in reality) became fools,” since they failed in attaining the end of all true wisdom, viz.: the love and worship of God. Some interpreters regard this verse as parenthetical.

Rom 1:23  And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of a corruptible man and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts and of creeping things.

Which folly they carried to such an extreme as to transfer the glory, due only to the incorruptible God, to the image representing corruptible man, and birds, and four-footed beasts, and even the veriest reptiles.

And not only did they withhold from God the glory, due to him (verse 21), but they became foolish to such a degree as to transfer the glory, which is his inalienable due, to men, beasts, birds and reptiles, including fishes: and, what is worse, “to the likeness of the image” of them, or to the image representing these different creatures. The words, “likeness of the image,” mean, “the image like or representing them;” for, an image itself is nothing else but the likeness of an object.

Rom 1:24  Wherefore, God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness: to dishonour their own bodies among themselves.

In punishment whereof, God left them to the tyrannical dominion of their corrupt passions, suffering them to commit deeds of uncleanliness, dishonouring each other’s bodies by shameful impurities.

“Gave them up to the desires of their hearts.” (In Greek, “wherefore God also gave,” &c.; also is omitted in the chief MSS). The words “gave them up” do not imply a positive act of “giving them up” on the part of God, but merely the negative act of deserting them, of withholding his graces, which are indispensable for them in order to avoid sin. “Tradidit,” says St. Augustine, “non cogendo, sed deserendo.” (Serm. 57). He may also act positively, by throwing in their way obstacles, (v.g.) riches, honours. &c., things in themselves, good or indifferent, not necessarily inducing to sin, but which will as infallibly prove, owing to their abuse, the cause of sin to them, as if God had positively given them up to sin. In the same sense, God is said “to send to men the operation of error” “to harden their hearts,” &c.—(See 2 Thess. 2:10).

Rom 1:25  Who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Because they exchanged the true God for false and imaginary deities, to whom they transferred the supreme honour due to Him alone; and they worshipped in their heart and served exteriorly the creature rather than the Creator, to whom may due honour and praise be rendered for ever and ever.

This verse contains but a repetition, in different words, of the idea conveyed in verse 23. “Into a lie,” i.e., idols, false divinities, which, as gods, have no real existence; and hence, as such, are “a lie.” “Who is blessed for ever;” these words convey that this God, whose worship they transfer to false and imaginary deities, is deserving of everlasting honour and glory. And the word “Amen” expresses, on the part of the Apostle, an earnest longing that this due worship may be rendered to him

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Father George Howe’s Homily Notes on Romans 13:10

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2017

Love therefore is the fulfilling of the law~Rom 13:10

i. S. Paul tells us charity is the fulfilment of the Law: Rom. 13:10.
ii. He then goes on to recall a good part of this Law.
iii. Take this occasion to speak on the Decalogue.

The Decalogue:

i. So called from the Greek, meaning “ten words.”

ii. Comprises the ten Commandments, given on Sinai: Ex. 20.

a. A compendium of Morals, as the Creed is of Faith.

b. Explicit statement of the laws of truth, order, and justice,

iii. Like God Himself, they are Holy . . . True . . . Just . . . Unchangeable,

iv. Necessary for salvation.

a. Our first duty to God is belief in His Revelation. Delivering the Mind from ignorance.

b. Our second duty is observance of His Laws. Delivering the Heart from concupiscence.

c. Need of knowing these laws, through instruction, etc.

v. Not a burden, but a benefit to man, even here. The parapet: If on a narrow plank, crossing a ravine, a parapet is raised on either side, so that a traveller cannot fall into the abyss, unless he deliberately leap over it, no one would consider its erection a piece of tyranny, or an unreasonable curtailment of his freedom and liberty: on the contrary, it is a benefit bestowed to secure his safety. So with man, on his way to eternity, the Commandments are a protection to him, as he passes along the

vi. Divided into

a. Positive: requiring a thing to be done: e.g. the 4th.

b. Negative: forbidding a thing to be done: e.g. the 7th. The stream and its banks: The positive precepts are like so many different streams, conveying the riches of a fountain to various parts of the earth. The negative are like banks, hindering the passions from troubling the waters, and turning them out of their course.

vii. Binding

a. On all men, unlike human laws.

b. Each and every commandment: Whosoever shall offend in one point is become guilty of all. Jas. 2:10.

One instrument out of tune destroys a whole concerted piece.

One weak link weakens the whole chain,

viii. Therefore possible to all.

a. God is wisdom, goodness, and justice.

b. He does not, can not, exact the impossible.

c. Grace is given to enable us to observe His Law.

d. The Saints have kept it, so may we.

ix. Confirmed by Christ in the New Law :

a. By His teaching and doctrine.

b. By His example in life.

c. By His sending the Holy Ghost.


i. Learn, understand and love the commandments,

ii. Humility, in submission and obedience to them,

iii. Petition for grace in temptation against them.

IV. Heaven the reward of observing them.

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Father George Howe’s Homily Notes on Romans 13:8 On the Payment of Debts

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2017

Owe no man anything. Rom. 13:8.

1. There is one debt we can never fully pay the debt of charity.

2. All other debts we must try to discharge. Owe no man anything.

3. Too often neglected is this precept of the Apostle.

We must pay our debts:

i. When goods are bought, the price of them belongs to the seller. He parts with them, on the understanding we pay
him their value.

ii. To refuse payment is an unjust keeping of what belongs to another.

a. Now, all unjust keeping is forbidden by the 7th Commandment.

b. It is always sinful, therefore, to some degree.

c. Hence, we must pay our debts.

iii. Under this heading come wages, loans, interest, rent, etc.

a. They are all real debts of justice.

b. But how often is there unnecessary delay in paying them.

iv. We must economize, so as to be able to meet our liabilities!

Evils of delay:

i. Inconvenience and loss to creditors.

a. Tradesmen have goods to buy, for resale.

b. These they must pay for.

c. But how do it, if their own dues be withheld ?

d. All know the inconvenience of want of money,

ii. Sometimes such delay may spell ruin.

a. Tradespeople being thus unable to pay their way, further goods are refused them.

b. What responsibility in us, to place them in such a position!

iii. Necessity of having to make restitution, founded on

a. The Natural Law, implanted in the heart.

b. The Divine Law of God: Ex. 22:5; Mt 22:21.

c. The Civil Law of nations.

d. Duty most strictly binding, where possible.

e. Duty oftentimes as difficult as it is essential, e.g., through human respect, fear of detection, etc.

iv. Ill-feeling between neighbours:

a. Men thus defrauded naturally resent the evil.

b. Ill-feeling may then spring up, which

1. May deepen into hatred, and

2. Lead to detraction, calumny, etc.

c. Thus is scandal produced.

v. Scorn and ridicule brought on Religion : for,

a. Too often “Good church-goers are bad debtpayers.”

b. Too often they run into debt for mere luxuries.

c. Too often they borrow, without prospect of being able to repay ;

d. Too often they take offence, when asked to settle accounts!

e. All this is opposed to simple honesty and truemReligion. Hence the contempt into which Religion is brought.


i. Ever show real honesty in all your dealings with others.

ii. Be thoughtful to pay your just debts within reason able time.

iii. If bound to restitution, make it at once. Conscience cannot rest till this be done. Better still

iv. Avoid the difficulty of restitution, by avoiding the cause of it.

v. All this will be easy, if we make Christian charity our guide.

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Homily on Romans 6:19-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 17, 2017

EPISTLE. Rom. 6: 19-23. Brethren! speak a human thing, because of the infirmity of your flesh. For as you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and iniquity unto iniquity; so now yield your members to serve justice unto sanctification. For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from justice. What fruit therefore had you then in those things, of which you are now ashamed ? For the end of them is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life ever lasting. For the wages of sin is death : but the grace of God, life everlasting, in Christ Jesus our Lord.


St. Paul begins the lesson of this day, which is an extract from his epistle to the Romans, in these words: Brethren, I speak a human thing, because of the infirmity of your flesh. What does the Apostle mean to say in these words ? That it is no exaggerated demand when he requires Christians to rid themselves now and for evermore of the servitude of sin and serve God, because the service of God does not impose upon them a heavier burden than the service of sin. St. Paul encourages the Christians at Rome, who had only lately abandoned Paganism with its excesses and vices to stand firm in the service of God and not to be deterred from it by imaginary difficulties. We will consider a little more closely the points touched upon by St. Paul, viz.

I. The service of justice and sin;
II. The fruits of sin;
III. The fruits of justice.


As you have yielded your members to serve uncleanness and iniquity unto iniquity, so now yield your members to serve justice unto sanctification.

1. The Gentiles, especially in the time of Christ and his Apostles, were given to all vices. The Apostle describes them as men filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, covetousness, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, and says of them that they were detractors hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, with out mercy. Rom. 1:24-31. The Christians at Rome had once been such pagans, more or less sunk in vice. Having become Christians they indeed renounced the pagan abominations, and resolved to serve God in justice and holiness. But as from youth they had been accustomed to the vicious life of the Gentiles, and were only recently converted, it can easily be imagined that it
gave them much trouble to eradicate their bad habits and vices and to lead a holy Christian life. Therefore the Apostle tells them in earnest but affectionate words, that now, having become Christians, they should yield no longer to the service of sin, but serve God in justice. Consider, he means to say, that as pagans you have defiled yourselves with many sins and vices, but you must now, being Christians, lead a blameless, pure and holy life, serving God at least with as much devotion and fervor as you formerly served your idols, endeavoring to repair your former
viciousness by virtue and piety.

This admonition concerns us too. We have not grown up in Paganism, but in Christianity, we have obliged ourselves in the first hours of our life, when we received holy baptism, to renounce for ever the devil and all his works and pomps, and to dedicate ourselves to the service of God; but I do not hesitate to say there are very few among us who have been faithful to their duty ; the majority will be obliged to confess, that from their childhood to this hour they have sinned often and grievously in thought, word and deed and by the omission of many good works. Probably there are many among us who have lived not only for weeks and months but for years in sin and vice. Yes, and many of us even now live in a state of sin and, if God should call us into eternity this moment, we should be condemned to hell. How necessary then is it for all who formerly were sinners, or are still sinners, to make a firm resolution from this very hour to serve God, and to bring forth fruits worthy of penance.

2. The Apostle speaks of a yielding to serve iniquity unto iniquity, and of a yielding to serve justice unto sanctification. What does yielding to serve iniquity unto iniquity mean? It means that the state of man becomes worse the oftener he sins and the longer he remains in the state of sin. The reason is because he becomes more thoughtless ; the fear of God decreases in him more and more, sin is implanted more firmly in his heart and becomes a habit which is seldom or never forsaken, and, finally, because by the accumulation of sins and the delay of repentance he becomes more guilty before God and sinks deeper into vice, so that his conversion can hardly be hoped for. Should not a sinner seriously consider this, at once do penance and serve God with fidelity?

We may say the same of virtue; it is confirmed and brought to greater perfection by diligent and constant practice. If, for instance, we diligently practice the virtues of humility, meekness, purity, obedience, charity, we shall obtain greater facility in so doing, and they will to a certain extent become habits with us, so that we can more easily overcome the obstacles and difficulties connected with them. Therefore Christ says that his yoke is sweet and his burden light. Matt. 11:30. The more zealously we do good, the more perfect we shall become, and the greater will be our reward in heaven, for he who soweth in blessings, shall also reap blessings. 2 Cor. 9: 6.


St. Paul also speaks of the fruits of sin, when he writes: For when you were the servants of sin, you were free from justice. What fruit therefore had you then in those things, of which you are now ashamed? For the end of them is death. According to these words of the Apostle, the service of sin

1. Frees from justice. What does this mean? Man who yields himself to sin disregards God and his holy law, he renounces God and his justice, and becomes the slave of sin and of the devil. Blessed are those Christians who remain united with God and walk in the way of justice. God loves them as his children and is pleased with them; they possess sanctifying grace, that treasure which is more valuable than the world with all its treasures, because it is the price of the precious blood of Christ; all their good works and even the indifferent actions which they perform with a good intention are meritorious before God and eternal beatitude awaits them in heaven. Those who renounce God and his justice and serve sin forfeit all these graces. They deprive themselves of the love and friendship of God, lose sanctifying grace, and with it all merits previously acquired by good works, according to the prophet: If the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity … all his justices which he had done shall not be remembered Ezek. 18; 24. Neither are they able to do anything meritorious for eternal life. They will perish eternally, unless they do penance and return to God.

2. Brings shame and disgrace.

(a.) Every man, even the most abandoned, feels that sin is something abominable ; therefore, he takes good care not to do evil in public: he does it in secret and keeps it out of the sight of men as much as possible. Sin is something so base that many Christians cannot even resolve sincerely to accuse themselves of it in the confessional. They know that no forgiveness of sins is possible if they conceal a mortal sin ; they know that they commit a sacrilege and render
themselves guilty of eternal damnation; they know that God according to his infinite mercy will forgive them all sins, even the greatest, if they confess them sincerely and with a contrite heart, and yet they remain silent and dumb such a base thing is sin in their eyes. And have you never heard or read that people whose secret crimes and misdemeanors were brought to light, took away their own life in order, as they thought, to escape shame before the world?

(b.) Sin is also something disgraceful in the eyes of human society. When a wicked deed becomes known, even abandoned people confess that such an act is disgraceful. Thus, the thief, the cheat, the liar and slanderer, the drunkard, the fornicator and adulterer are everywhere in disgrace. And because worldlings and sinners know that sin is disgraceful they try to cover it, as it were, with a mantle, that its heinousness may not be seen. Thus they call pride self-respect; avarice, prudent economy ; impurity, a necessity of human nature ; injustices and frauds in business, good management. In such a way they seek to avert shame and disgrace from themselves and to appear as upright men before the world.

(c.) Zealous penitents particularly recognize and feel that sin is something disgraceful. They never think of their sins but with detestation and sorrow : they are ashamed of them, and say within themselves : Ah, my God, what a wicked sinner I was ; how disgraceful was my conduct ? Thinking of their vices and criminal excesses, they would like to hide themselves, so deep is the sense of shame with which they are penetrated. This sense of shame, however, is something very useful, for it makes us humble, preserves us from relapse into sin, animates our zeal for penance, and urges us to repair to the best of our ability the evil we have done by exercises of penance. Therefore it is right and profitable to keep the detestation of our sins always alive.

3. It draws death after it, that is, eternal death. It is an article of the faith that all who die in mortal sin will be damned for ever, and that one mortal sin is enough to damn us for ever. Christ expressly assures us that the bad shall go into everlasting punishment, and in the Apocalypse we read: the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, they shall have their portion in the pool burning with fire and brimstone. Rev 21:8. The greatest punishment that the temporal authority can inflict upon man is death. This punishment infuses fear even into the greatest malefactors and deters him from crimes. But what is temporal death compared with eternal? This robs man not only of the temporal but also of the eternal life, the everlasting felicity of heaven; it prepares for him not only a transient terror and pain, but an eternal torment and despair in the abyss of hell. Oh, who could seriously think of this death and consent to any temptation to sin? Who could think of death and live in sin? Let us therefore frequently descend in thought into hell whilst we live, that we may not be compelled to descend into it when we die. St. Bernard.


Finally, the Apostle comes to speak of the fruits of justice, when he says : But now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God, you have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life ever lasting.

1. St. Paul calls holiness the first fruits of justice. This holiness consists

(a.) In freeing ourselves more and more from small faults. The lowest degree of holiness excludes all mortal sins; it is consistent with venial sins. But he that makes progress in sanctity abstains as much as possible also from venial sins, and never commits one with premeditation. Herein all the saints go before us with their example. St. Anselm and St. Thomas of Aquin repeatedly stated that they would rather burn in hell innocently, than, defiled with a venial sin, triumph in heaven.

(b.) In mortifying ourselves interiorly and exteriorly, not only in unlawful, but sometimes also in lawful things, for without such mortifications holiness can neither be preserved nor increased. Thus we read in the following of Christ: You will advance in good in proportion as you do violence to yourself that is, as you mortify yourself. St. Francis Borgia was accustomed to measure holiness by the degree of mortification. When he heard anyone praised for his piety, he used to say: If he is a mortified man, he is a saint; if he is a very mortified man, he is a great saint.

(c. ) In availing ourselves of the opportunities of doing good. Negligence in doing good is a sign that true holiness is either wanting altogether, or that it is very imperfect and in danger of being lost altogether. Truly pious, zealous Christians hunger and thirst after justice and embrace every opportunity that offers itself for exercises of virtue and good works. They love to pray; they go to mass as often as they can ; they frequently receive the sacraments, and do their fellow -men acts of kindness with a cheerful heart.

(d. ) In doing all good works as perfectly as possible. Zealous Christians who aspire to holiness do not pray in a lukewarm and distracted manner, but they endeavor to say their prayers with recollection and devotion; they listen to the word of God with attention, and resolve to regulate their life accordingly; they al ways prepare themselves well for the reception of the sacraments, sanctify all their actions by a good intention, and do everything quietly, patiently and for the love of God.

(e. ) Finally in dying to the world and living to God. Pious Christians live indeed in the world, but they do not love the world; they are solicitous for earthly things, but set not their hearts and affections on them ; they use the world as if they used it not ; they seek the things that are above and say with the Apostle (Gal. 6: 14): God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our I,ord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. Behold herein consists holiness ; this is the fruit of justice. What a precious fruit ! How ardently should we wish for it, especially since it already renders us happy here below, for much peace have they that love thy law. Ps.

2. The last fruit of justice is everlasting life. God does not make us serve him for nothing. He rewards with everlasting life all who walk in the way of justice. Thus Christ himself declares: He that doth the will of my Father, who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matt. 7: 21. And again: If any man minister to me, let him follow me, and where I am, there also shall my minister be. John 12: 26. In what does this everlasting life consist, which awaits the just? It consists–

(a.) In freedom from all sufferings. “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.” Rev. 21:4.

(b.) In an inexpressible joy and felicity. This joy, this felicity is so great that nothing on earth can be compared with it: nay, in comparison with it all earthly joys dwindle to nothing. David says of the blessed: “They shall be inebriated with the plenty of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of the torrent of thy pleasure.”  Ps. 35: 9. And the Apostle says: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Cor. 2: 9. The happiness of heaven," says St. Augustine, can be acquired, but not estimated; it can be merited, but not described.

(c. ) In everlasting joy and happiness. Thus we read in the Book of Wisdom 5: 16 : “The just shall live for ever more, and their reward is with the Lord, and the care of them with the Most High.” And Christ himself says of the elect, that they shall enter “into life everlasting.” Matt. 25 : 46. Thousands and millions of years may pass away, the happiness which the saints enjoy in heaven will never have an end ; like the saints themselves it will be eternal. Oh, what joy, what delight for the saints in heaven when they can say to themselves: We are now in everlasting security ; the happiness which we enjoy will last for ever and ever.


At the conclusion of the lesson for this day the Apostle repeats what will be the fruit of sin and of justice, in these words: The wages of sin is death, but the grace of God (that is, justice) life everlasting, in Christ Jesus our Lord. Here the Apostle briefly utters the truth that sin leads to death, i. e., to damnation, and justice is rewarded with everlasting happiness through the merits of Jesus Christ. Oh, let us frequently make this important truth the subject of our meditation, and serve the Lord with unchangeable fidelity in justice and holiness, that we may be found worthy to be admitted into everlasting life. Amen.


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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 9:1-5

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 4, 2017


The Apostle, having proved in the foregoing chapters, that faith in Christ, as contradistinguished from the works of the Mosaic Law, or the law of nature, was the only means of arriving at justice and salvation, employs this and the two succeeding chapters in showing that the Jews were rejected, because, confiding too much in the external advantages and privileges they enjoyed, they refused to embrace the faith of Christ; while the Gentiles were called to justice, because they embraced this all necessary faith. Before, however, announcing the disagreeable truth regarding the rejection of the Jews, he employs the strongest and most affecting language, and calls God in the most solemn manner, to witness the intensity of his affection for the Jews, whose rejection (and this he by no means expresses, but leaves to he understood) caused him the most intense grief and sorrow of heart (1–5). He then shows, that the rejection and reprobation of the Jews from the justice of the Gospel, was not opposed to the promises of God made to Abraham; since these promises regarded the spiritual sons of Abraham, and not all his carnal descendants. This he shows from the example of Isaac, and of Jacob, the younger son of Isaac (6–14). And although the promises, to which the Apostle refers, primarily regarded temporal benedictions, still, these temporal blessings, which God bestowed on certain sons of Abraham before the others, were types of spiritual benedictions, in the disposal of which God was as free, as he had been in regard to the temporal inheritance. The argument of the Apostle, then, is, that as God had conferred the temporal inheritance of Abraham on Isaac, before all the other sons of Abraham, and on Jacob, before Esau, so is he also free in calling to the spiritual inheritance of Abraham, that is to say, to the grace of the Gospel, the Gentiles, the children of promise, in preference to the Jews, his descendants according to the flesh.
He next solves an objection, to which the preceding doctrine might give rise (14–18). And as his reply to the objection might give rise to a further difficulty regarding the justice of God in punishing sinners, he solves this difficulty also (19–24). He proves, in the next place, that God called to his Church both Jews and Gentiles (24–29); and, finally, he accounts for the vocation of the Gentiles and the rejection of the Jews.

Rom 9:1  I speak the truth in Christ: I lie not, my conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost:

I call Christ to witness the truth of what I speak. I have also for this, the testimony of my own conscience directed and strengthened by the Holy Ghost.

Some Expositors interpret this verse in such a way as to make the Apostle swear by three witnesses: viz., Christ, his own conscience, and the Holy Ghost. I call Christ to witness, &c.; I swear by my conscience; and I call the Holy Ghost also to witness, that “I lie not.”

Rom 9:2  That I have great sadness and continual sorrow in my heart.

I make this most solemn protestation, that I feel great sadness and unceasing excruciating torture of mind (on account of the reprobation and rejection of my brethren).

“Continual sorrow in my heart.” The Greek word for “sorrow,” ὀδυνη, means, “the throes of childbirth.” He forbears from expressing the cause of his sorrow, until he first convinces the Jews of his affection for them. It is clearly inferred from the following chapter, that it regards the reprobation and rejection of the Jews from the grace of the Gospel.

Rom 9:3  For I wished myself to be an anathema from Christ, for my brethren: who are my kinsmen according to the flesh:

For (notwithstanding my ardent and unchangeable love for Christ—8:35, &c.) I would wish, were it conformable to the divine will, to be eternally separated from the glory of Christ, and thus be devoted as a victim, should it serve for the glory and vocation of my Jewish brethren, who are my kinsmen according to the flesh.

“For, I wished myself,” i.e., I myself, the very same, whom nothing could separate from the love of Jesus Christ (8:35, &c.), “wished to be anathema,” &c. There is a great variety of opinion among Commentators regarding the object and nature of the wish to which the Apostle here gives expression. Some say (as in Paraphrase) that he wished conditionally to be for ever separated from the glory of Christ, ηυχομεν, I would have wished, provided it were allowed; or provided it were the will of God, and served to secure the vocation and salvation of his brethren. I say, from the glory of Christ, because he could not, for an instant, entertain the wish in any sense, of being separated from the grace and love of Christ. Others understand him to mean, that he wished for this separation by an abstract wish, abstracting from the ordination and decrees of God. Although the wish on the part of St. Paul, so far as his sincerity and self-devotedness were concerned, may be regarded as absolute; still, if we look to the object of separation, it could not be absolute. Indeed, it must be said, that the act of wishing on the part of St. Paul could not be absolute; for, he knew well, that no such thing could take place; and he also knew, that his eternal separation from Christ would never promote the salvation of the Jews.

“To be an anathema.” The word “anathema,” ἀνάθεμα, having the penultimate syllable short (with an ε), as it is written here, means a total separation and destruction of a thing as execrable and abominable, and also the thing itself destroyed and utterly abolished. “Anathema” is the word employed by the Septuagint translators for the Hebrew word, cherem, which always refers to something utterly destroyed, as execrable. In this sense, the word “anathematize” is applied in the Old Testament to the Chanaanite nations destroyed by the Jews (Numbers, 21.; Judges, 1:4; 1 Machabees, 5). When the penultimate syllable is long, αναθήμα, (with an ή), the word signifies votive offerings, such as shields, vases, &c., offered to the gods. In this sense, the word is employed only once in the New Testament (Luke, 21:5). If we cannot comprehend this heroical charity of the Apostle, it is, says St. Chrysostom, because we never experience any such feelings of the love of God or of our neighbour.

Rom 9:4  Who are Israelites: to whom belongeth the adoption as of children and the glory and the testament and the giving of the law and the service of God and the promises:

Who enjoy so many singular and distinguishing prerogatives; who are descended from the Patriarch on whom God himself, as a title of honour, bestowed the name of Israel; to whom belongs the privilege of being adopted, in preference to all other nations, as the sons of God; in whose behalf God exhibited many glorious manifestations of his special providence; with whom he established his covenant; to whom He himself gave his law through Moses; to whom He prescribed the true mode of divine worship; to whom were made the promises, of which the principal were those that regarded the Messiah.

To show his affection for his kindred, and remove from their minds every suspicion of his entertaining the aversion for them, with which he was charged, he dilates on the several prerogatives, wherein the Jews excelled all the other nations of the earth. “Who are Israelites?” Israel was a title of honour given by God himself to Jacob. “The adoption of children.” God had adopted them as his children preferably to all the other nations from whom he segregated them (Exodus, 6). He calls them, “My first-born son, Israel,” “And the glory,” the glorious manifestation of God’s special Providence by miracles (v.g.), the passage of the Red Sea, the pillar of fire, the ark, &c.; and by the prophecies which regarded them. “And the testament,” in the common Greek, διαθῆκαι, “testaments,” might have been used in the plural to designate the repetition of the Old Testament or covenant made repeatedly to the Jews; or, in allusion to the two tables on which the words of the covenant were inscribed. The Codex Vaticanus supports the Vulgate, and has διαθήκη. “The service of God” (ἡ λατρεία), refers to the true religion and pure worship of God established amongst them. “And the promises” made at different times, particularly those regarding the Messiah, to be born of them.

Rom 9:5  Whose are the fathers and of whom is Christ, according to the flesh, who is over all things, God blessed for ever. Amen. 

Whose progenitors were the renowned Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, &c., and (which is the chief prerogative of all) from whom is Christ descended according to the flesh, who is over all things, God, worthy of divine benediction and praise for ever and ever. Amen.

“Whose are the fathers,” i.e., whose ancestors are the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? “And of whom is Christ according to the flesh?” This is their greatest prerogative, viz., to have Christ take human nature, the second nature which he assumed in time, of their race.

“Who is over all things God blessed for ever.” These words contain an undoubted proof of the divinity of Christ. The groundless subterfuges to which the impugners of the divinity of our Blessed Lord have recourse, in order to evade the unanswerable argument furnished in this verse, only serve to show the weakness of their cause. They place a colon after the word “flesh,” so that the following words are a mere doxology, “May God who is over all be blessed,” &c. Such a construction is unsupported by the authority of any manuscripts, ancient or modern. It is, moreover, opposed to the common interpretation of the Fathers, and the doxology would render the passage quite unmeaning. “Besides, when εὐλογητὸς, ‘blessed,’ is used by way of predicate, with an optative mood, expressed or understood, it always precedes the noun, according to Hebrew usage. In the text, θεος, precedes.”—(Kenrick).

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Father Callan’s Commentary on Romans 14

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 3, 2017

A Summary of Romans 14:1-23

 In the Roman Church there was a Jewish, as well as a larger Gentile element. The Jewish Christians there, as elsewhere, naturally retained, to a greater or less extent, their love for the Law and the Mosaic observances. It was likely, therefore, that some of these converts in Rome should carry their inherited practices and prejudices so far as to observe some of the Mosaic feasts, and so distinguish between different foods as entirely to abstain from certain meats and drinks. This some of the Gentile Christians would doubtless imitate; and thus there was danger of uncharitable divisions in the Church,—those who were given to these scrupulous and obsolete customs, and those of stronger and more enlightened consciences, who might look down upon and despise their weaker brethren, morally forcing them perhaps to act against their own conscience.

St. Paul, therefore, thought it well to treat this subject in writing to the Romans, and to urge all to abstain from unfavorable judgment of one another, leaving all judgment to God (Rom 14:1-13a). He then counsels the strong to bear with the weak, and not to do anything that could scandalize the latter (Rom 14:13b-23).

Rom 14:1. Now him that is weak in faith, take unto you: not in disputes about thoughts

The Apostle first adddresses the strong, and touches upon the principal object of possible disagreement. The strong should bear with the weak. All have not the same conscience, though all mean to do their best.

Weak in faith, i.e., he that, while firmly admitting the great principles of faith, does not fully realize their import in all matters. Such a one has imperfect knowledge, and does not understand that justification through faith in Christ has freed him from all the ceremonial observances of the Mosaic Law; hence he abstains from meat and wine, scrupulously fearing they may be unclean, having first been offered to idols. Fr. Lagrange thinks “faith” here does not mean simply conscience, otherwise there would be question of the whole moral law, and not of certain Jewish observances only. The term doubtless means the living principle of conduct.

Take unto you, i.e., admit into your company and friendship.

Not in disputes, etc., i.e., not disputing and judging about one another’s ideas of right and wrong, thus interfering with one another’s consciences, even though one is erroneous in some things.

Rom 14:2. For one believeth that he may eat all things: but he that is weak, let him eat herbs.

The principle laid down in the preceding verse is now illustrated. St. Paul is giving an example of two extreme parties.

One, i.e., the strong Christian believeth, i.e., is persuaded, convinced that he can eat any kind of food without injury to his faith or conscience; whereas he that is “weak in faith” refuses to eat meat out of fear of contamination, and satisfies himself with herbs only.

The English let him eat, etc., is a wrong rendering of the Greek indicative εσθιει (estheil), found in all the best MSS. The correct translation of the last clause of this verse is: “But he that is weak eateth (only) herbs.”

In the Vulgate se before manducare should be omitted, and manducet should be manducat.

Rom 14:3. Let not him that eateth, despise him that eateth not: and he that eateth not, let him not judge him that eateth. For God hath taken him to him

The practical application of the above principle is that the Christian with strong faith and a right conscience should not despise his brother of weaker faith and erroneous conscience; and also that the latter should not condemn the former as lax and guilty of violating the law of God, because such a judgment would be against God Himself, who hath taken him, i.e., the strong Christian, and made him His faithful servant and a member of His Church.

Rom 14:4. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own lord he standeth or falleth. And he shall stand : for God is able to make him stand.

St. Paul cautions the “weak” not to condemn the “strong,” because both are the servants of the same Christ (Rom 14:7-9), and no one has a right to judge another man’s servant: only the master is the lawful judge of his servants. All Christians, therefore, being the servants of Christ, will be judged by Christ according to their individual service, and the judgment upon them of any one else besides Christ is wrong and out of place (see below, on verse 12).

To his own lord, etc., i.e., a servant is approved or condemned by the sole judgment of his master.

And he shall stand, i.e., this strong Christian shall not fall from his faith and piety because God will provide for him.

Deus of the Vulgate should be dominus.

Rom 14:5. For one judgeth between day and day: and another judgeth every day: let every man abound in his own sense.

A second example is given to show that the actions of one Christian do not pertain to another.

One, i.e., a Jewish Christian distinguishes between different days, judging some to be more sacred than others; another, i.e., a strong Christian makes no more distinction between days than between meats, knowing that the old Mosaic observances regarding the Sabbath, the New Moon and other feasts, no longer oblige under the New Dispensation. St. Paul later on (verse 14) gives his personal advice about meats, but he does not return to the distinction of days.

Let every man abound, etc. This and the equivalent Vulgate reading, unusquisque in suo sensu abundet,—which can only mean: suo sensui dimittatur (St. Thomas),—do not conform to the Greek, which is: Let every man be certain in his own mind (Cornely), i.e., a conscience practically and morally certain is the only kind with which it is proper to act.

The Vulgate diem inter diem would better be diem plus quam diem.

Rom 14:6. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord. And he that eateth, eateth to the Lord: for he giveth thanks to God. And he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth thanks to God

The Apostle now urges mutual tolerance, because both the parties in question are prompted by the same spirit and intention of serving and pleasing God. The scrupulous Christian who regards one day as holier than another, and refrains from certain foods, does so because he feels he is thus pleasing and serving God. In like manner the strong Christian, who disregards these distinctions, is moved by his desire to do the will of God, as is evident from his giving thanks to God after the example of his Lord and Master (Matt. 15:36; 26:26).

Rom 14:7. For none of us liveth to himself; and no man dieth to himself.
Rom 14:8. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; or whether we die, we die unto the Lord. Therefore, whether we live, or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

A proof that each Christian is following his conviction and conscience in all he does is this, that each one is living, not for himself, but for his Lord. The Christian who lives up to his calling consecrates his whole life and actions, together with his death, to God. Having been purchased at a great price (1 Cor. 6:19-20), by the very blood of his Master, the true Christian knows that both in life and in death he is the property of his Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom 14:9. For to this end Christ died and rose again; that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Christ died and rose again to establish the relationship described in the preceding verses. By His death and Resurrection He acquired universal dominion over all men, He conquered death and opened the gates of life to all.

The Vulgate, mortuus est et resurrexit follows the Greek απεθανεν και ἀναζάω (died and rose). A better reading has: απεθανεν και εζησεν (died and lives again), mortuus est et revixit.

Rom 14:10. But thou, why judgest thou thy brother? or thou, why dost thou despise thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ

Since we are all servants of Christ, none of us has a right to set himself up as judge of his fellow-servant. Christ is the judge of us all.

But thou, scrupulous Christian, why do you judge and condemn as a transgressor of the Law your brother for whom you ought to have real charity? or thou, Christian of strong faith, why do you despise your weaker brother as a superstitious fellow? Both of you have usurped a right which belongs to God alone, before whose tribunal we must all appear to render an account of our works (Rom 2:6).

The best Greek MSS. have “judgment seat of God,” instead of judgment seat of Christ. To St. Paul it is all the same whether he says judgment seat of God or of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10), because Christ is also God.

Rom 14:11. For it is written: As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

The Apostle now cites a conflation of Isaiah 45:23 and Isaiah 49:18, according to the LXX, to prove that all men must appear before the judgment seat of God. The citation was probably from memory, because it is not literal. The direct meaning of the Prophet’s words is that Yahweh, the only Saviour, shall receive the homage of the whole world; however, the question of the judgment is also implied.

As I live is in the LXX, “I swear by myself,” i.e., by the life which I live. 

Every knee shall bow to me, i.e., all men shall render homage to Me as their Sovereign and Supreme Judge. 

And every tongue, etc., is in the LXX, “And every tongue shall swear by God.” The sense in either case is the same, because every lawful oath is a recognition of God’s omnipotence and supreme justice.

The flectetur of the Vulgate ought to be flectet.

Rom 14:12. Therefore every one of us shall render account to God for himself.

The general conclusion is drawn: each one shall have to give an account to God for his own life and actions. God, therefore, is the supreme Judge of all we do, and we should not rashly judge one another. This counsel is meant in particular for the weak Christian who is over solicitious for the doings of the strong.

Rom 14:13. Let us not therefore judge (κρινωμεν) one another any more. But judge this (κρινατε) rather, that you put not a stumbling block or a scandal in your brother’s way.

The preceding verses have been chiefly addressed to the “weak”; but now St. Paul, first counselling both weak and strong not to judge each other, turns his attention to the “strong” and bids them beware of scandalizing their weaker brethren.

Judge this, etc., i.e., take care that, etc. (κρινατε, used in a different sense from κρινωμεν just preceding). Various modern translations bring out the subtle difference better than the one used here. For example, the RSVCE reads: Then let us no more pass judgment (κρινωμεν) on one another, but rather decide (κρινατε) never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

Stumbling block . . . scandal, both mean an obstacle put in another’s way which can cause one to fall. The former is placed by chance, or carelessness; the latter, with deliberate intent to trap. The “strong” Christian should keep in mind the delicate conscience of the weak and avoid, as far as possible, eating meat or doing anything in the latter’s presence which would cause him to act against his own conscience, or with a doubtful conscience, and thus fall into sin.

Rom 14:14. I know, and am confident in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself; but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

St. Paul here, as in 1 Cor. 8:1-6, clearly declares his own position regarding things clean and unclean. He fully approves of the doctrine of the strong Christian, and holds in theory that it is lawful to eat any kind of food; but in practice it may sometimes be necessary to abstain from certain foods out of charity to one’s neighbor (verse 15).

I know, and am confident, etc., i.e., on the authority of the teaching of Christ (Mark 7:1 ff.), or as a minister and Apostle of Christ (Rom 9:1 ; 2 Cor. 2:17; 12:19), I am certain that nothing is unclean of itself, i.e., of its own nature (δι εαυτου); or, according to another reading, “through him” (δι αυτου), namely, through Christ, who abolished the distinction between foods (St. Thomas). This was against the teaching of the Pharisees, commonly followed by the Jews, that certain meats were unclean and contaminating by their very nature. Of course if one really thinks a food is unclean, then it becomes so subjectively for him: an erroneous conscience is binding.

According to the reading of the best MSS. the Vulgate per ipsum should be per seipsum, or per se.

Rom 14:15. For if, because of thy meat, thy brother be grieved, thou walkest not now according to charity. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died

For if (ει γαρ, according to the best MSS.) probably refers back to verse 13, verse 14 being a parenthesis. If the meat which you, as one strong in the faith, are able to take, grievously offends your weaker brother, who thinks your conduct seriously wrong and is thereby unnecessarily angered, you ought to avoid it; otherwise your appetite, and not charity, rules you.

Destroy not, i.e., do not, by your example, encourage your weak brother to act against his conscience and do what he thinks to be wrong; for thereby you lead into serious sin and ruin a soul for whom Christ died (1 Cor. 8:8, 13; Matt, 18:6-7).

Rom 14:16. Let not then our good be evil spoken of.

According to the ancient opinion (St. Chrysostom and others) our good here refers to the Christian faith, or the kingdom of God in the Gospel. This meaning fits in well with the following verse and could be sustained, if the best reading were ημῶν το αγαθον (“our good”), instead of υμων το αγαθον (“your good”). Following, therefore, the better reading St. Thomas, Cornely and others understand by “our good,” or “your good,” the liberty received from Christ to eat all meats of whatever kind. Hence the Apostle’s meaning is: Let us not so use our Christian freedom that it will be misunderstood, vilified and calumniated by our weaker brethren. This liberty we have from Christ is a great blessing, but we should use it with prudence, so that it may not become an occasion of sin to those who do not understand it fully.

The nostrum of the Vulgate ought to be vestrum, and the “our” of the English ought to be “your,” according to the best Greek reading.

Rom 14:17. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but justice, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost

The kingdom of God, i.e., according to one opinion, the essence of Christianity and the Gospel (Cajetan, Maier, etc.); or, that by which God reigns in our souls: God reigns in us by justice, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (St. Thomas, Cornely). To use or abstain from certain foods is a minor affair considered in itself, and when compared with those fundamental and essential virtues by which we are spiritually united to God. If, however, the use of any foods should imperil the spiritual life of our neighbor, the justice within us, which requires us to render to everyone his due, will demand that we abstain from such foods.

Peace is an effect of justice or sanctity.

Joy is the natural outcome of justice and peace, and the product of charity which the Holy Ghost diffuses in our hearts, moving us to seek the glory of God and the good of our neighbor.

 Rom 14:18. For he that in this serveth Christ, pleaseth God, and is approved of men.

In this, i.e., in justice, in peace, etc.

Pleaseth God, because he procures the glory of God.

Is approved of men, i.e., men do not have wherefore to find fault with him, as they do in the case of verse 16.

Rom 14:19. Therefore let us follow after the things that are of peace; and keep the things that are of edification one towards another.

This is a conclusion to the passage which began in verse 16. The best MSS. have, we follow after, etc., instead of let us follow after.

Keep is not in the best MSS., and so custodiamus of the Vulgate should be omitted.

Rom 14:20. Destroy not the work of God for meat. All things indeed are clean: but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

The Apostle returns to the thought of Rom 14:14; but the repetition is not useless, because here he brings out the high character of the weak Christian who is imperiled by the other’s conduct: this weak Christian is the work of God who has converted and sanctified him. Although all things are clean in themselves, it is evil for the strong Christian to disregard the tender conscience of his weak brother, and, by doing in his presence what the latter thinks is wrong, to lead him, by force of example, to violate his own conscience and eat the food which he feels to be unclean.

Rom 14:21. It is good not to eat flesh, and not to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother is offended, or scandalized, or made weak.

It is good and noble on the part of the strong Christian to abstain from all those indifferent things whereby the weak may be offended, i.e., made weak in his faith or unsettled in his conscience.

Not to drink wine. Some of the Christians perhaps thought wine was unclean because “the heathen used to pour libations to their idols from the firstfruits of their wine, and offered many sacrifices at the wine-presses themselves” (St. Aug.). Cf. 1 Cor. 8:13.

Rom 14:22. Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Blessed is he that condemneth not himself in that which he alloweth.

The Apostle counsels the strong man to follow in private his convictions and eat anything he pleases, but to be careful when there is danger of doing harm to another. Blessed, he says, is the man of strong faith who is not tormented by doubt and scrupulosity in his actions.

Faith, i.e., a firm conviction, a clear conscience regarding the lawfulness of eating all kinds of foods.

Have it to thyself, etc., i.e., let it guide thy conduct in private.

Blessed is he that is not troubled in conscience by his own conduct or actions, i.e., blessed is he whose conscience approves his actions.

Rom 14:23. But he that discerneth, if he eat, is condemned, because not of faith. For all that is not of faith is sin.

He that discerneth, i.e., he that hesitates and acts with a doubtful conscience is condemned, i.e., is culpable and actually guilty of sin. A conscience practically and morally certain is the only rule of conduct.

All that is not of faith, etc., i.e., all that is not approved by a certain conscience is sinful; “faith” here means a good conscience.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Romans 6:3-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 28, 2017

This post begins with Fr. MacEvilly’s brief analysis of all of chapter 6, followed by his notes on verses 3-11. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the verses he is commenting on.


In this chapter, the Apostle answers an objection to which his doctrine in the preceding (verse 20), might give rise (1). From the very rite of baptism, he shows that we should no longer commit sin; on the contrary, we should lead a new life of grace; for the rite of immersion practised in his time in baptism, was a type of our death to sin, and the egress from the waters of baptism was a type of our spiritual resurrection, both of which were effected, as well as signified, by the sacrament of baptism; and both had the death and resurrection of Christ for models (2–9). He next shows, from the very nature of Christ’s death, which took place but once, and of his resurrection, which was the entrance to an immortal life, that we, too, after his example, should persevere in a life of grace (9–11). He exhorts to a life of sanctity (11–20). He points out the present and future fruits of a life of sin and of a life of grace.

Rom 6:3  Know you not that all we who are baptized in Christ Jesus are baptized in his death?

For that we are dead to sin, you may clearly see, by calling to mind what you already know, viz., that when we are baptized in the name and by the authority of Jesus Christ, we are baptized into the likeness and representation of his death.

He now proves that they are dead to sin, since by being “baptized in Christ Jesus,” in the Greek, εἰς Χριστὸν Ἰησοῦν, into Christ Jesus, i.e., by professing ourselves followers of Christ in the rite of baptism. In the Codex Vaticanus, the word “Jesus” is wanting, it simply is, “baptized unto Christ.” “Are baptized in his death”; in the Greek, εἰς τὸν θάνατον, into his death, i.e., into the likeness and representation of his death. So that his death on the cross would be represented by our death to sin, of which the baptism by immersion—the form of baptism in use in the time of the Apostle—was a significant type; and this death to sin on our part is effected by baptism, since, according to the doctrine of St. Thomas, the sacraments operate what they signify.

Rom 6:4  For we are buried together with him by baptism into death: that, as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life.

For, in order vividly to represent his death, we have been buried with him in the baptismal rite of immersion. So that as Christ has been resuscitated from the grave by the glorious operation of his Father’s power, we also, emerging from the baptismal waters, would lead a new life, as he did after his resurrection, and continue perseveringly in it.

He shows how our spiritual death to sin is signified by baptism. For, our immersion in baptism is a type of our burial, and, consequently, of our death to sin, of which his death on the cross was the model. “For we are buried together with him by baptism,” his burial, and, consequently, his death, being the model of our burial and death to sin, signified by our immersion in the waters of baptism. In all the Greek copies we have, οὖν, therefore, instead of “for.” “Into death,” to represent his death, which must precede burial. “That as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father,” i.e., by the glorious operation of the Father’s power, to enter on a new and immortal life, we too, after emerging from the waters of baptism, which is a type of our spiritual resurrection, would, like Christ, risen from the grave—our resuscitated model—enter on a new and holy life. As the death of Christ is the model of our death to sin, so is his resurrection from the tomb the model of our spiritual resurrection, and both signified by the rite of baptism, then conferred by immersion.

Rom 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

For, if, like young shoots, we have been engrafted on him by baptism, so as to represent, by our death to sin, his death on the cross, we shall certainly, for a like reason, be engrafted also unto the likeness of his resurrection, which will be effected by our leading a new life of grace, after the model of his glorious and immortal life.

He shows why we should walk in the newness of life, or become assimilated to Christ in his resurrection; for, our assimilation to him in our spiritual death, was not to rest there. Baptism not only represented and effected our spiritual death to sin—for this was but one spiritual effect signified and caused by baptism—but it also signified and effected our resurrection to a new life, in which we are to live after the model of Christ resuscitated from the grave. Our death to sin was the precursor of our new life of grace. Hence, if we die with Christ, with much greater reason shall we rise with him. “Planted together with him,” συμφυτοι γεγοναμεν; there is allusion in these words to the grafting of young shoots on the stock of another tree: Christ is the stock of the true and faithful vine on which we must be engrafted, to die with him to sin, and to live with him to grace, as the young graft participates in all the vicissitudes of the stock on which it is inserted. The nutriment we derive from our insertion on him, will not be merely confined to our dying to sin; it is intended to produce in us the fruits of a new and spiritual life.

Rom 6:6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, to the end that we may serve sin no longer.

We should die to sin and live a new life of grace, if we consider that in baptism, our old man, i.e., the corruption of nature, which we inherited from Adam, is crucified with Christ, so that the whole mass, or body of sin consisting of different members, may be destroyed, and we may no longer serve as slaves under the tyranny of sin.

From the end of baptism he shows that we should be dead to sin, and walk in the newness of life (verse 4); for, while baptism represents the crucifixion of Christ, it also signifies and effects the crucifixion of our vices. “Our old man,” i.e., the sinfulness and corruption inherited from Adam, or rather man himself, as affected by this sinfulness. The Apostle distinguishes two men, the old and the new. The “old man was crucified” with Christ; for, in his person “who was made for us a malediction,” the entire fallen race of Adam was nailed to the cross. “That the body of sin,” i.e., the entire mass or collection of sins—the members of which collection are uncleanness, avarice, &c. (Colossians, 3). They are called a body, because as different members joined together constitute a body, so all the particular sins committed by the “old man” constitute a “body” also; in using the word body, the Apostle carries with him the idea of crucifixion, and alludes to the body of man after he fell in Adam, before he was renewed in Christ. This corrupt body was made by man the instrument of indulging his concupiscences. “May be destroyed,” by mortifying and restraining its members, “and may serve sin no longer.” “Sin” is represented as a tyrant exercising dominion over us.

Rom 6:7  For he that is dead is justified from sin.

For, as the dead slave is freed from servitude, so are we, who are dead to sin by baptism, freed from its tyranny; and hence, we should no longer serve it.

He continues to represent sin as a tyrant exercising sway—“is justified from sin?” “justified” is taken in a legal sense to signify acquitted, fully absolved, so as not to be again questioned on that account.

Rom 6:8  Now, if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall live also together with Christ.

But if we be really dead to sin with Christ, we have a firm hope and confidence, that one day we shall enjoy with Christ a glorious and immortal life.

“We believe,” i.e., we confidently hope, “we shall live together with Christ.” These words are understood by Estius to refer to our living a life of grace after the model of His glorious and immortal life. The interpretation in the Paraphrase, which makes it refer to our living with him one day a life of glory in heaven, is, however, to be preferred; for, the Apostle would appear to take occasion, from treating of the life of grace, to refer to the reward of future glory, as a means of stimulating men to the practice of virtue. The opinion of Estius, however, derives great probability from the meaning given to the words, alive unto God, verse 11, where the foregoing example is applied.

Rom 6:9  Knowing that Christ, rising again from the dead, dieth now no more. Death shall no more have dominion over him.

As we know that Christ, resuscitated from the tomb, dies no more, death has no further dominion over him he (enjoys a glorious and immortal life, free from all the ills of mortality).

These words show that Christ, now risen, shall live for ever; and hence, as we are to live with him, we are to enjoy an immortal life. The connexion is more easily seen in the interpretation of Estius: “We shall live also together with Christ,” (verse 8). But what life is that?—an unceasing, continuous life of grace; for such is its model—the life of Christ resuscitated from the tomb; or, perhaps, it might be more probably said, that this verse has no immediate connexion with the foregoing; but that in it is merely introduced a new reason for persevering in grace—founded on the mode of Christ’s death and resurrection. From the very nature, the oneness, of Christ’s resurrection, he shows our obligation to persevere in good, and not relapse again into the state of sin.

Rom 6:10  For in that he died to sin, he died once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

For, so far as his death is concerned, it took place but once for the expiation of sin, but as to his life, it is altogether employed for the glory of God.

“He died to sin, he died once,” i.e., he died one death to expiate and atone for sin. In the common Greek, the punctuation is so placed that the words “to sin” are joined to “once,” thus, “he died to sin once.” The punctuation in the Codex Vaticanusὅ γὰρ απεθανεν, τῆ αμαρτία, απεθανεν εφαπαξ,” leaves the matter doubtful. “But he liveth unto God,” i.e., solely for God’s glory; and hence, our life of grace should be devoted to the same; or, the words, “unto God,” may mean, he lived a life worthy of God, immortal and unchangeable.

Rom 6:11  So do you also reckon that you are dead to sin, but alive unto God, in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

So do you, therefore, after his example, regard yourselves as dead to sin by baptism, and gifted with an unchanging, unfading life of grace, to be wholly devoted to the promotion of God’s glory, through the grace and merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.

He applies the foregoing, and founds on it the exhortation to sanctity of life. Hence, we should regard ourselves after baptism as dead once and for ever to sin, and living, like Christ, solely for God, performing all the actions of our life solely for the end of advancing his glory.

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Father Rickaby’s Commentary on Romans 8:22-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 19, 2017

Text in red are my additions.

Rom 8:22  For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now.

Every creature groaneth and is in labour. It needs no commentator to point out how true these words are of every creature, πασα η κτισις, in the sense of all mankind, from the first dawn of history till now.

Rom 8:23  And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit: even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body.

It might have been thought that this heart-ache of humanity, this αποκαραδοκια, or eager looking out for absent good (v. 19); this groaning and travailing (v. 22), would have been cured by conversion to Christianity. The Apostle shows that the Gospel is not a cure, only a mitigation, and an earnest of perfect cure to come. Even to the Christian this life remains a period of groaning and waiting, but waiting for a definite and assured good,

Rom 8:24  For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he hope for?

We are saved by hope, i.e. our salvation is in hope, not yet consummated, spe, non re (hope, not reality), as St. Augustine often says.

What a man seeth, why doth he hope for? is hardly English. Render: What doth a man hope for, that he seeth? A better reading however is the reading of the Vatican manuscript: ο γαρ βλεπει τις ελπιζει; who hopeth for what he seeth?

Rom 8:25  But if we hope for that which we see not, we wait for it with patience.

Father Rickaby offers no comment on this verse.

Rom 8:26  Likewise, the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For, we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings,

As we ought, as the context shows, refers not to the manner but to the matter of our prayer. Only in general do we know what is good for us: in particular we are often mistaken in our petitions, as was St. Paul himself on a notable occasion, 2 Cor. 12:8-9.

The Spirit himself (i.e. of Himself, preventing us with His gratuitous grace) asketh for us with unspeakable groanings. What is asketh for us but maketh us ask? To ask with groanings is a sure sign of need, but it is impious
to suppose the Holy Spirit to be in need of anything. But the word asketh means that He makes us ask, and breathes upon us the impulse of asking and groaning, according to the text (Matt. 10:20): “It is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you” (St. Augustine).

Unspeakable (or unuttered) groanings. A parent, himself an uneducated man, brings his boy to school, and says to the schoolmaster: I want you to make this boy a scholar : prepare him for the University. Thus the end is laid down in genera: but of the particular course of studies to be pursued, the parent knows nothing: all these details he leaves to the schoolmaster. Such details are by him unuttered, and even unutterable and unspeakable, because of his ignorance. So, moved strongly by the Holy Ghost, we desire and groan for salvation: but the detail of means that will lead to our individual salvation is, on many points, beyond our knowledge. Our groanings then, in respect of these particular means, are unuttered and unspeakable, because of our ignorance of detail.

Rom 8:27  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what the Spirit desireth: because he asketh for the saints according to God.

He that searcheth hearts (God, Psalm 7:10; Rev 2:23), knoweth what the Spirit desireth, i.e. under stands the full meaning of the petitions which the Holy Ghost prompts us to make, though we understand our own requests only in the vague, or even positively misunderstand them. One may think of a loyal-hearted man, who hates Catholics, praying that he may find the true way to salvation, or of a child praying to be a priest.

He asketh for the saints, i.e. moves the saints to ask for themselves. Saints here (as in 1 Cor. 1:2, &c.) means all true followers of Christ.

According to God, things which lie within God’s purpose to grant us in order to our salvation. Such things the Holy Spirit moves us to pray for; and such prayers are always heard (Matt. 7:7-8 ; John 14:13-14; 1 John 5:14-15). When we pray for those things, we pray as we ought (v. 26). See St. Thomas, 2a 2ae, q. 83, art. 15, ad 2 (Aquinas Ethicus, vol. ii. p. 128).

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Father Boylan’s Commentary on Romans 8:22-27

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 19, 2017

Some may find the following commentary rather difficult because Fr. Boylan was writing for those with a working knowledge of Greek. I have translated and defined the Greek words in an attempt to aid the reader. Text in red or are my additions. I’ve employed text in green to help the reader identify Greek prefixes here these are important for Fr. Boylan’s comments.

Rom 8:22  For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now.

οιδαμεν γαρ (“for we know”) etc. : All Christians would know the doctrine, of the Fall and what it implied: they would also know how the disorder induced by the Fall was ultimately to be overcome (Acts 3:21; 2 Pet 3:12 f .). What the faithful knew from Christian teaching they can observe with their own senses. Nature sighs and groans because of the slavery of corruption. Even up to the present moment all nature joins in a chorus of groaning. All nature writhes in pain (συνωδινει = groaneth) in pain like the pangs of childbirth.  The συν in συστεναζει (“groaneth”) and συνωδινει (“travaileth in pain”) emphasises the universality of the sorrows which nature endures: all nature groans and suffers pangs together.

The groaning and suffering of all nature continue, αχρι του νυν (“even till now”) even into the Christian period: with the Parousia the complete renewal of nature will begin. Parousia, literally, “presence.” The word is used for the return of Christ, the second coming. See 1 Thess 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess 2:1, 8.

Rom 8:23  And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit: even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body.

Paul now passes on to another reason for the certainty of our future glory.

Not merely irrational creatures, but we men also, look with painfully eager longing for the full glory of the sons of God. We groan also in the depths of our spirits ( εν εαυτοις) even we (read, και αυτοι [“even we”], or και ημεις αυτοι [“even we ourselves”]) though (or, because) we possess the Holy Spirit, as the first fruits (απαρχην) of the divine Sonship. We possess the first fruits which are the Holy Spirit (appositional Genitive): that is, the grace which we possess through Baptism is a prelude to, and a pledge of, glory. The “first-fruits ” are not thought of as a first installment of a glory to be more fully received; but the Holy Spirit is a pledge and guarantee of glory. Cf. the αρραβωνα του πνευματο (“pledge of the spirit”) in 2 Cor 1:22; 2 Cor 5:5; Eph 1:14.

The και αυτοι (“even we”) are not the Apostles merely, but all the regenerate, as distinguished from the κτίσις (“creatures,” “creation”) of vv. 19-22.

εχοντες (translated above as “who have”) can be rendered “although we possess” (concessive), or “because we possess”: the causal rendering would put emphasis on απεκδεχομενοι (“waiting for”). Most recent interpreters prefer the causal rendering because of the context (e.g., verses 15-17). Also, the causal rendering fits better with the description of the Spirit as a “pledge” (or downpayment)” in 2 Cor 1:22; 5:5; Eph 1:14. Finally there is the link between the Spirit and the coming hope of the end time blessings (Gal 5:5; 1 Cor 2:9-10).

The υιοθεσιαν (“adoption of the sons”) which is looked for, is the full and secure possession of divine Sonship. The faithful will attain to this when they rise from the dead, and their bodies are glorified. This is implied in “redemption of our body.” Aquinas says: Incohata est hujusmodi adoptio per Spiritum Sanctum justificantem animam . . . consummabitur autem per ipsius corporis glorificationem. . . . Ut sicut spiritus noster redemptus est a peccato, ita corpus nostrum redimatur a corruptione et morte (From Aquinas fifth lecture on Romans 8. The passage reads fully: “This adoption was begun by the Holy Spirit Justifying the soul: you have received the spirit of adoption of sons [Rom 8:15]. And it will be brought to fulfillment when the body is glorified: We glory in the hope of the glory of the sons of God [Rom 5:2]. And this is why Paul adds the redemption of our body here. For as our spirit has been redeemed from sin, so too our bodies will be redeemed from decay and death). (Cf. Phil 3:21; 1 Cor 15:51; 2 Cor 5:2 ff.). The πολυτρωσιν του σωματος (“redemption of our bodies”), not mean “redemption from the body” as if the body were something essentially evil. Such an idea is definitely out of harmony with Pauline teaching. At present the Spirit is life, and the body is dead, but when the uiodeaicc is perfect, the body also will be released from mutability: it also will be glorified. Hence we, looking forward to this glorification of our bodies, join in the chorus of nature’s sighing.

Rom 8:24  For we are saved by hope. But hope that is seen is not hope. For what a man seeth, why doth he hope for?
Rom 8:25  But if we hope for that which we see not, we wait for it with patience.

τη γαρ ελπιδι εσωθημεν, etc.  (for we are saved by hope): The  τη ελπιδι may mean, (a) for hope (dative of advantage), (b) through hope (instrumental dative), (c) as to hope i.e. (dativus modi], in hoping fashion.

Gut. accepts (a) and explains “for this hope” i.e., the glorification of our bodies is a “hope” in the sense of an object of hope; and for this object of hope, or unto the attainment of this object of hope, we have become participant in salvation through faith and baptism. As, according to Paul, we are saved by faith, not by hope, (b) is not in the spirit of Pauline teaching. Bard, and Lagrange accept (c): we are already redeemed and justified and, in so far, saved; but we still hope for redemption, since the body still looks for redemption. The sense is then, that we are saved in a hoping fashion but not yet fully in reality.

A thing that is hoped for must still be absent and invisible. If a thing is present and fully visible, it cannot be an object of hope: a “visible object of hope” is not a genuine object of hope!

The reading of the clause ο γαρ βλεπει τις ελπιζει (For what a man seeth, why doth he hope for) is uncertain.  At this point, Father Boylan gives several variant readings in the Greek manuscripts, but these need not detain us here since The sense of all the readings is substantially the same. What need has a man still to expect what he directly beholds? Spes est expeclatio futuri (“Hope is the expectation of something future,” Aquinas), and that which is immediately present and visible, is not futurum.

But the Christian does not behold the glory which is prepared for him. It is in the future. Hope, steadfast and patient, is an essential feature of the Christian life. The confident, patient hope of final glory is itself a guarantee of attaining that glory; and nothing, therefore, should be permitted to lessen the dogged steadfastness of our Christian hope.

Rom 8:26  Likewise, the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity. For, we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings,

ωσαυτως (likewise), etc.: As we sigh together with irrational nature, so does the indwelling Holy Spirit help our weakness by helping us in our prayers, and sighing with us for the glory which is to come.

In the patient hopeful waiting, and longing of the Christ an life the Holy Spirit, Whom we have received as “firstfruits,” or “pledge” of salvation, graciously comes to the help of our weakness. Often in times of trouble we do not rightly know what God would have us ask for in prayer, or how He would have us to pray. As Aquinas says: In
generali quidem possumus scire quid convenienter oremus, sed in speciali hoc non possumus scire (we can know in a general way what it is suitable to pray for, but we cannot know this in particular). In this uncertainty as to how or what precisely we ought to pray, the Holy Spirit Himself (αυτο το πνευμα), Who dwells in us, comes to our help, and prays with us, and through us, by inspiring us with unutterable sighings. In nobis gemit (Spiritus Sanctus)
quia nos gemere facit (in us He [the Holy Spirit] groans because He makes us to groan. Augustine). Every due and suitable prayer that we utter in the abnormal seasons referred to, is produced in us by the Holy Spirit. Paul is obviously not speaking here of ordinary prayer, but of extraordinary and unusual prayer of mystic prayer, apparently, of which it can be said (as of the name written on the stone in Rev 2:17) ο ουδεις εγνω ει μη ο λαμβανων (no man knoweth but he that receiveth it). With this gift of mystic or ecstatic prayer should be compared the charism
of tongues.

The υπερ (on behalf of, for the sake of) in the word υπερεντυγχανει (asketh for us) implies that the Holy Spirit prays in our stead.  The sighings which He evokes in us are “unspeakable” because we cannot put them into clear words. But they are, nevertheless, in effect, prayers pleasing to God.

Rom 8:27  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what the Spirit desireth: because he asketh for the saints according to God. 

The “unspeakable groans” are fully understood by God because He is the “Searcher of hearts” (Ps 7:10; Jer 18:1; etc.) The Searcher of hearts knows (with approval) what the Holy Spirit has in view the φρονημα του πνευματος (the intentions of the Spirit, translated above as “what the Spirit desires”). Men’s hearts are often unintelligible to the men themselves, but not to God; He sees them through and through, for παντα δε γυμνα και τετραχηλισμενα τοις οφθαλμοις αυτου (all things are naked and open to his eyes, Heb. 4:13).

God and the Holy Spirit are one in nature, and hence God must know the purpose of the Holy Spirit when He prays in and through us. Furthermore, it is clear that the Holy Spirit can only pray “for the Saints” according to God’s designs and wishes (κατα θεον = “according to the will of God”).

The “Saints” are those who are in sanctifying grace, and who, therefore, enjoy the indwelling of the Spirit. The object of the sighing which the Holy Spirit evokes is “redemption of the body” (v. 23), heavenly glory (cf. 2 Cor. 5:2 ff.), union with Christ (Phil. 1:23).

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