The Divine Lamp

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 7:6, 12-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 4, 2016

Mt 7:6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) Because the simplicity to which He had been directing in the foregoing precepts might lead some wrongly to conclude that it was equally wrong to hide the truth as to utter what was false, He well adds, Give not that which is holy to the dogs, and cast not your pearls before swine.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; The Lord had commanded us to love our enemies, and to do good to those that sin against us. That from this Priests might not think themselves obliged to communicate also the things of God to such, He checked any such thought saying, Give not that which is holy to the dogs; as much as to say, I have bid you love your enemies, and do them good out of your temporal goods, but not out of My spiritual goods, without distinction. For they are your brethren by nature but not by faith, and God gives the good things of this life equally to the worthy and the unworthy, but not so spiritual graces.

AUGUSTINE. (Serm. in Mont. ii. 20.) Let us see now what is the holy thing, what are the dogs, what the pearls, what the swine? The holy thing is all that it were impiety to corrupt; a sin which may be committed by the will, though the thing itself be undone. The pearls are all spiritual things that are to be highly esteemed. Thus though one and the same thing may be called both the holy thing and a pearl, yet it is called holy because it is not to be corrupted; and called a pearl because it is not to be contemned.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; That which is holy denotes baptism, the grace of Christ’s body, and the like; but the mysteries of the truth are intended by the pearls. For as pearls are inclosed in shells, and such in the deeps of the sea, so the divine mysteries inclosed in words are lodged in the deep meaning of Holy Scripture.

CHRYSOSTOM. And to those that are right-minded and have understanding, when revealed they appear good; but to those without understanding, they seem to be more deserving reverence because they are not understood.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) The dogs are those that assault the truth; the swine we may not unsuitably take for those that despise the truth. Therefore because dogs leap forth to rend in pieces, and what they rend, suffer not to continue whole, He said, Give not that which is holy to the dogs; because they strive to the utmost of their power to destroy the truth. The swine though they do not assault by biting as dogs, yet do they defile by trampling upon, and therefore He said, Cast not your pearls before swine.

RABANUS. Or; The dogs are returned to their vomit; the swine not yet returned, but wallowing in the mire of vices.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; The dog and the swine are unclean animals; the dog indeed in every respect, as he neither chews the cud, nor divides the hoof; but swine in one respect only, seeing they divide the hoof, though they do not chew the cud. Hence I think that we are to understand by the dog, the Gentiles who are altogether unclean, both in their life, and in their faith; but by the swine are to be understood heretics, because they seem to call upon the name of the Lord. Give not therefore that which is holy to the dogs, for that baptism and the other sacraments are not to be given but to them that have the faith. In like manner the mysteries of the truth, that is, the pearls, are not to be given but to such as desire the truth and live with human reason. If then you cast them to the swine, that is, to such as are grovelling in impurity of life, they do not understand their preciousness, but value them like to other worldly fables, and tread them under foot with their carnal life.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) That which is despised is said to be trodden under foot: hence it is said, Lest perchance they tread them under foot.

GLOSS. (interlin.) He says, Lest perchance, because it may be that they will wisely turn from their uncleannessa.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) That which follows, Turn again and rend you, He means not the pearls themselves, for these they tread under foot, and when they turn again that they may hear something further, then they rend him by whom the pearls on which they had trode had been cast. For you will not easily find what will please him who has despised things got by great toil. Whoever then undertake to teach such, I see not how they shall not be trode upon and rent by those they teach.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Or; The swine not only trample upon the pearls by their carnal life, but after a little they turn, and by disobedience rend those who offend them. Yea often when offended they bring false accusation against them as sowers of new dogmas. The dogs also having trode upon holy things by their impure actions, by their disputings rend the preacher of truth.

CHRYSOSTOM. Well is that said, Lest they turn; for they feign meekness that they may learn; and when they have learned, they attack.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. With good reason He forbade pearls to be given to swine. For if they are not to be set before swine that are the less unclean, how much more are they to be withheld from dogs that are so much more unclean. But respecting the giving that which is holy, we cannot hold the same opinion; seeing we often give the benediction to Christians who live as the brutes; and that not because they deserve to receive it, but lest perchance being more grievously offended they should perish utterly.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) We must be careful therefore not to explain ought to him who does not receive it; for men the rather seek that which is hidden than that which is opened. He either attacks from ferocity as a dog, or overlooks from stupidity as swine. But it does not follow that if the truth be kept hid, falsehood is uttered. The Lord Himself who never spoke falsely, yet sometimes concealed the truth, as in that, I have yet many things to say unto you, the which ye are not now able to bear. (John 16:12.) But if any is unable to receive these things because of his filthiness, we must first cleanse him as far as lays in our power either by word or deed. But in that the Lord is found to have said some things which many who heard Him did not receive, but either rejected or contemned them, we are not to think that therein He gave the holy thing to the dogs, or cast His pearls before swine. He gave to those who were able to receive, and who were in the company, whom it was not fit should be neglected for the uncleanness of the rest. And though those who tempted Him might perish in those answers which He gave to them, yet those who could receive them by occasion of these inquiries heard many useful things. He therefore who knows what should be answered ought to make answer, for their sakes at least who might fall into despair should they think that the question proposed is one that cannot be answered. But this only in the case of such matters as pertain to instruction of salvation; of things superfluous or harmful nothing should be said; but it should then be explained for what reason we ought not to make answer in such points to the enquirer.

Mt 7:12. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the Law and the Prophets.

AUGUSTINE. (ubi sup.) Firmness and strength of walking by the way of wisdom in good habits is thus set before us, by which men are brought to purity and simplicity of heart; concerning which having spoken a long time, He thus concludes, All things whatsoever ye would, &c. For there is no man who would that another should act towards him with a double heart.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; He had above commanded us in order to sanctify our prayers that men should not judge those who sin against them. Then breaking the thread of his discourse He had introduced various other matters, wherefore now when He returns to the command with which He had begun, He says, All things whatsoever ye would, &c. That is; I not only command that ye judge not, but All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye unto them; and then you will be able to pray so as to obtain.

GLOSS. (ord.) Otherwise; The Holy Spirit is the distributor of all spiritual goods, that the deeds of charity may be fulfilled; whence He adds, All things therefore &c.

CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; The Lord desires to teach that men ought to seek aid from above, but at the same time to contribute what lays in their power; wherefore when He had said, Ask, seek, and knock, He proceeds to teach openly that men should be at pains for themselves, adding, Whatsoever ye would &c.

AUGUSTINE. (Serm. 61. 7.) Otherwise; The Lord had promised that He would give good things to them that ask Him. But that He may own his petitioners, let us also own ours. For they that beg are in every thing, save having of substance, equal to those of whom they beg. What face can you have of making request to your God, when you do not acknowledge your equal? This is that is said in Proverbs, Whoso stoppeth his ear to the cry of the poor, he shall cry and shall not be heard. (Prov. 21:13.) What we ought to bestow on our neighbour when he asks of us, that we ourselves may be heard of God, we may judge by what we would have others bestow upon us; therefore He says, All things whatsoever ye would.

CHRYSOSTOM. He says not, All things whatsoever, simply, but All things therefore, as though He should say, If ye will be heard, besides those things which I have now said to you, do this also. And He said not, Whatsoever you would have done for you by God, do that for your neighbour; lest you should say, But how can I? but He says, Whatsoever you would have done to you by your fellow-servant, do that also to your neighbour.

AUGUSTINE. (Serm. in Mont. ii. 22.) Some Latin copies add here, good thingsb, which I suppose was inserted to make the sense more plain. For it occurred that one might desire some crime to be committed for his advantage, and should so construe this place, that he ought first to do the like to him by whom he would have it done to him. It were absurd to think that this man had fulfilled this command. Yet the thought is perfect, even though this be not added. For the words, All things whatsoever ye would, are not to be taken in their ordinary and loose signification, but in their exact and proper sense. For there is no will but only in the good; (but vid. Retract. i. 9. n. 4.) in the wicked it is rather named desire, and not will. Not that the Scriptures always observe this propriety; but where need is, there they retain the proper word so that none other need be understood.

CYPRIAN. (Tr. vii.) Since the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ came to all men, He summed up all his commands in one precept, Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them; and adds, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. For whatsoever ever the Law and the Prophets contain up and down through the whole Scriptures, is embraced in this one compendious precept, as the innumerable branches of a tree spring from one root.

GREGORY. (Mor. x. 6.) He that thinks he ought to do to another as he expects that others will do to him, considers verily how he may return good things for bad, and better things for good.

CHRYSOSTOM. Whence what we ought to do is clear, as in our own cases we all know what is proper, and so we cannot take refuge in our ignorance.

AUGUSTINE. (Serm. in Mont. ii. 22.) This precept seems to refer to the love of our neighbour, not of God, as in another place He says, there are two commandments on which hang the Law and the Prophets. But as He says not here, The whole Law, as He speaks there, He reserves a place for the other commandment respecting the love of God.

AUGUSTINE. (De Trin. viii. 7.) Otherwise; Scripture does not mention the love of God, where it says, All things whatsoever ye would; because he who loves his neighbour must consequently love Love itself above all things; but God is Love; therefore he loves God above all things.
Mt 7:13. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Mt 7:14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

AUGUSTINE. (Serm. in Mont. ii. 22.) The Lord had warned us above to have a heart single and pure with which to seek God; but as this belongs to but few, He begins to speak of finding out wisdom. For the searching out and contemplation whereof there has been formed through all the foregoing such an eye as may discern the narrow way and strait gate; whence He adds, Enter ye in at the strait gate.

GLOSS. (ord.) Though it be hard to do to another what you would have done to yourself; yet so must we do, that we may enter the strait gate.

PSEUDO-CHRYSOSTOM. Otherwise; This third precept again is connected with the right method of fasting, and the order of discourse will be this; But thou when thou fastest anoint thy head; and after comes, Enter ye in at the strait gate. For there are three chief passions in our nature, that are most adhering to the flesh; the desire of food and drink; the love of the man towards the woman; and thirdly, sleep. These it is harder to cut off from the fleshly nature than the other passions. And therefore abstinence from no other passion so sanctifies the body as that a man should be chaste, abstinent, and continuing in watchings. On account therefore of all these righteousnesses, but above all on account of the most toilsome fasting, it is that He says, Enter ye in at the strait gate. The gate of perdition is the Devil, through whom we enter into hell; the gate of life is Christ, through whom we enter into the kingdom of Heaven. The Devil is said to be a wide gate, not extended by the mightiness of his power, but made broad by the license of his unbridled pride. Christ is said to be a strait gate not with respect to smallness of power, but to His humility; for He whom the whole world contains not, shut Himself within the limits of the Virgin’s womb. The way of perdition is sin of any kind It is said to be broad, because it is not contained within the rule of any discipline, but they that walk therein follow whatever pleases them. The way of life is all righteousness, and is called narrow for the contrary reasons. It must be considered that unless one walk in the way, he cannot arrive at the gate; so they that walk not in the way of righteousness, it is impossible that they should truly know Christ. Likewise neither does he run into the hands of the Devil, unless he walks in the way of sinners.

GLOSS. (ord.) Though love be wide, yet it leads men from the earth through difficult and steep ways. It is sufficiently difficult to cast aside all other things, and to love One only, not to aim at prosperity, not to fear adversity.

CHRYSOSTOM. But seeing He declares below, My yoke is pleasant, and my burden light, how is it that He says here that the way is strait and narrow? Even here He teaches that it is light and pleasant; for here is a way and a gate as that other, which is called the wide and broad, has also a way and a gate. Of these nothing is to remain; but all pass away. But to pass through toil and sweat, and to arrive at a good end, namely life, is sufficient solace to those who undergo these struggles. For if sailors can make light of storms and soldiers of wounds in hope of perishable rewards, much more when Heaven lies before, and rewards immortal, will none look to the impending dangers. Moreover the very circumstance that He calls it strait contributes to make it easy; by this He warned them to be always watching; this the Lord speaks to rouse our desires. He who strives in a combat, if he sees the prince admiring the efforts of the combatants, gets greater heart. Let us not therefore be sad when many sorrows befal us here, for the way is strait, but not the city; therefore neither need we look for rest here, nor expect any thing of sorrow there. When He says, Few there be that find it, He points to the sluggishness of the many, and instructs His hearers not to look to the prosperity of the many, but to the toils of the few.

JEROME. Attend to the words, for they have an especial force, many walk in the broad way—few find the narrow way. For the broad way needs no search, and is not found, but presents itself readily; it is the way of all who go astray. Whereas the narrow way neither do all find, nor when they have found, do they straightway walk therein. Many, after they have found the way of truth, caught by the pleasures of the world, desert midway.

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Aquinas’ Homily Notes on Matthew 9:9

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 19, 2015

He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom

IN this Gospel three things are to be noted. Firstly,  the compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly,  the holiness of S. Matthew. Thirdly, the blindness of  the Pharisees.

I. On the first head the compassion of our Lord is to  be noted in five particulars.

Firstly, in the sanctification of S. Matthew. He saw that  God saw him with a fourfold eye by infusing grace. ” There  is another that is slow and hath need of help, wanting ability; yet the eye of the Lord looked upon him for  good, and set him up from his low estate” (Sirach 11:12).  All of which can be well applied to the call of S. Mat-

Secondly, in calling S. Matthew to the Apostolate. ” He  saith unto him, Follow Me;” ” I have called thee” (Isa. 41:9).

Thirdly, in eating familiarly with him and with other  publicans. ” Jesus sat at meat, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him” (S. Matt. 9:10).

Fourthly, in His confutation of the sins of the Pharisees. “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that  are sick;” as if He said, Ye do need Me, since ye repute  yourselves to be whole.

Fifthly, in the recommendation of His compassion. “Go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy  and not sacrifice.” Our Lord’s compassion was so great  that as He had justified and sanctified a great sinner, so  also He ate familiarly with him, by doing which He  silenced the Pharisees, who eschewed sinners, and commended His own divine pity and compassion.

II. On the second head, the holiness of S. Matthew is  to be noted in five particulars.

Firstly, in his desertion of all things. “He left all, rose  up and followed Him” (S. Luke 5:28).

Secondly, in the readiness of his obedience. “He rose up” (S. Luke 5:28), obeying directly the Lord called him. “As soon as they hear of me they shall obey me” (Ps. 18:45).

Thirdly, in the imitation of Christ. “He followed Him,” imitating His life thereby. “Be ye therefore followers of God” (Eph. 5:1). S. Augustine says that the  whole good of man consists in imitating Christ; in his  avoiding that which Christ despises, and choosing that  which Christ approves of.

Fourthly , in shewing hospitality. “Levi made Him a  great feast in his own house” (S. Luke 5:29); “Be not  forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have  entertained angels unawares” (Heb. 13:2). If God be  pleased by His angel being entertained, how much more  is He pleased when He Himself is the guest.

Fifthly, by the exhibition of all his sins. He calls himself “Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom,” by the  name by which he was the better known, that so might also be better known his sin. The other Evangelists call him by his name of Levi.

III. On the third head, the blindness of the Pharisees is  learned from five particulars.

Firstly, they did not see their own sins.

Secondly, they judged the lesser sins of others to be  grievous, whilst they had pride in their own hearts, which is  the greatest sin of all, whilst they condemned in others the  lesser sins of envy, avarice, and the like. “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye, and then  shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy  brother’s eye ” (S. Matt. 7:4).

Thirdly, they vituperated Him, Whom they ought to  have praised. He Who ought to be praised for His mercy and compassion to the body, these condemned. ” A righteous man” (that is, Jesus Christ) “regardeth the life of his  beast” (of those souls who by predestination are bearing his yoke), “but the tender mercies of the wicked” (of the  Pharisees) “are cruel” (Prov. 12:10).

Fourthly, they envied that in which they ought to have  rejoiced; they envied the compassionate God. “I will sing  of the mercies of the Lord for ever ” (Ps. 89:2).

Fifthly, when they ought to be enlightened they became  darkened, since they detracted from the mercifulness of God. “Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?” “Have mercy upon us, O Lord God of all,  and behold us” (Sirach 36:1).

May we avoid the blindness of the Pharisees, and imitate the holiness of S. Matthew, and love and praise the  mercy and compassion of God.


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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 1:5-25

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 30, 2014

Ver 5. There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.6. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.7. And they had no child, because that Elizabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

CHRYS; St. Luke commences the history of his Gospel with Zacharias and the birth of John; relating one marvelous event before another, the less before the greater. For since a virgin was about to become a mother, it had been fore-ordained by grace that the old should previously conceive. He fixes the time, when he says, In the days of Herod, and in the following words adds his rank, king of Judea. There was another Herod, who killed John; he was tetrarch, whereas this one was king.

THEOPHYL; Now the time of Herod, i. c. of a foreign king, bears witness to our Lord’s coming, for it had been foretold, The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come. For from the time that our fathers came out of Egypt, they were governed by judges of their own nation, until the Prophet Samuel; and then by kings, until the carrying away to Babylon. But after the return from Babylon, the chief power was in the hands of priests, until the time of Hyrcanus, who was both king and high priest. He was slain by Herod, after which the government of the kingdom was delivered over by the command of Augustus Caesar to this same Herod, a foreigner, in whose thirty-first year, according to the prophecy we have mentioned, Shiloh came.

AMBROSE; Divine Scripture teaches us with respect to those whom we commemorate, that not only the characters of the men themselves, but of their parents also, ought to be praised, that they might be distinguished by an inheritance, as it were, handed down to them of unspotted purity. Now not only from his parents, but also from his ancestors, St. John derives his illustrious descent, a descent not exalted by secular power, but venerable from its sanctity. Complete then is that praise which comprehends birth, character, office, actions, and judgments.

The office was that of the Priesthood, as it is said, A certain Priest of the name of Zacharias.

THEOPHYL; For John was allotted a Priestly tribe, that he might with the more authority herald forth a change of priesthood.

AMBROSE; His birth is implied in the mention made of his ancestors. Of the course of Abia, i.e. of high rank among the noblest families.

THEOPHYL; There were Princes of the Sanctuary or High Priests, both of the sons of Eleazar and the sons of Thamar, whose courses according to their respective services when they entered into the House of God David divided into twenty-four lots, of which the family of Abia (from which Zacharias was descended) obtained the eighth lot. But it was not without meaning that the first preacher of the new covenant was born with the rights of the eighth lot; because as the old Covenant is often expressed by the seventh number on account of the Sabbath, so frequently is the new Covenant by the eighth, because of the sacrament of our Lord’s or our resurrection.

THEOPHYL; Wishing to show also that John was legally of Priestly descent, Luke adds, And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth, for it was not permitted to the Jews to take a wife from any other tribe but their own. Elisabeth by interpretation signifies “rest,” Zacharias “the remembrance of the land.”

THEOPHYL; John was born of just parents, that so he might the more boldly give precepts of justice to the people, which he had not learnt as novelties, but had received by right of inheritance from his ancestors. Hence it follows, And they were both just before God.

AMBROSE; Here their whole character is comprehended in their justice, but it is well said before God, for a man by affecting a popular good-will might seem just to me, but not be just before God, if that justice instead of springing from simpleness of heart, was a mere presence carried on by flattery. Perfect then is the praise, “that a man is just before God;” for he only is perfect who is approved by Him who cannot be deceived. St. Luke comprehends the action in the commandment, the doing justice in the justification. Hence it follows, walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord. For when we obey the command of heaven we walk in the commandments of the Lord, when we observe justice we seem to possess the justification of the Lord. But to be “blameless” we must “provide things honest”, not only before God, but also before men; there is no blame when both motive and action are alike good, but a too austere righteousness often provokes censure. A righteous act may also be done unrighteously, as when a man out of ostentation gives largely to the poor, which is not without just cause of blame. It follows, And they had no son, because Elizabeth was barren.

CHRYS; Not only Elisabeth, but the wives of the Patriarchs also, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, were barren, which was counted a disgrace among the ancients. Not that their barrenness was the effect of sin, since all were just and virtuous, but ordained rather for our benefit, that when you saw a virgin giving birth to the Lord, you might not be faithless, or perplexing your mind with respect to the womb of the barren

THEOPHYL; And that you might learn that the law of God seeks not a bodily increase of sons but a spiritual, both were far advanced, not only in the body but in the Spirit, “making ascents in their heart,” having their life as the day not as the night, and walking honestly as in the day.

Ver 8. And it came to pass, that while he executed the Priest’s office before God in the order of his course,9. According to the custom of the Priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.10. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.

THEOPHYL; The Lord appointed by the hand of Moses one High Priest, at whose death another was to succeed in due order. This was observed until the time of David, who by the command of the Lord increased the number of the Priests; and so at this time Zacharias is said to have been performing his Priest’s office in the order of his course, as it follows: But it came to pass, when Zacharias was performing the Priest’s office in the order of his course before God, according to the custom of the Priesthood, his lot was, &c.

AMBROSE; Zacharias seems here to be designated High Priest, because into the second tabernacle went the High Priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and the sins of the people.

THEOPHYL; It was not by a new lot that he was chosen when the incense was to be burnt, but by the old lot, whereby according to the order of his Priesthood he succeeded in the course of Abia.

It follows, And all the multitude of the people, &c. Incense was ordered to be carried into the Holy of Holies by the High Priest, the whole people waiting without the temple. It was to be on the tenth day of the seventh month, and this day was to be called the day of expiation or propitiation, the mystery of which day the Apostle explaining to the Hebrews, points to Jesus as the true High Priest, who in His own blood has entered the secret places of heaven that he might reconcile the Father to us, and intercede for the sins of those who still wait praying before the doors.

AMBROSE; This then is that High Priest who is still sought by lot, for as yet the true High Priest is unknown; for he who is chosen by lot is not obtained by man’s judgment. That High Priest therefore was sought for, and another typified, the true High Priest for ever, who not by the blood of victims, but by His own blood, was to reconcile God the Father to mankind. Then indeed there were changes in the Priesthood, now it is unchangeable.

Ver 11. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.12. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.13. But the angel said to him, Fear not, Zacharias: for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elisabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.14. And you shall have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

CHRYS; When Zacharias entered into the temple to offer up prayers to God for all men, interceding between God and man, he saw an angel standing within, as it is said, And there appeared to him an angel.

AMBROSE; It is well said that there appeared an angel to Zacharias, who suddenly beheld him; and this is the expression especially used by Divine Scripture with respect to angels or God, that what cannot be seen beforehand may be said to appear. For things which are the objects of our senses are not seen as He is seen, Who is seen only as He will, and Whose nature is not to be seen.

ORIGEN; And we speak thus not only of the present time, but also of the future. When we shall have passed from the world, God will not appear to all men, nor will the angels, but to him only who has a clean heart. The place will neither hinder nor serve any one.

CHRYS; But the angel evidently came not in a dream, because the tidings he brought were too hard to be understood, and needed therefore a more visible and marvelous manifestation.

DAMASCENE; Angels, however, are revealed not as they really are, but transformed (as men are able to behold them) into whatever the Lord commands.

THEOPHYL; It is said the altar of incense, because the other altar was set apart for burnt offerings.

AMBROSE; It was not without good reason that the angel appeared in the temple, for the coming of the true High Priest was now announced, and the Heavenly Sacrifice was preparing at which angels were to minister. For one cannot doubt that an angel stands by where Christ is sacrificed. But he appeared at the right hand of the altar of incense, because he brought down the token of Divine mercy. For the Lord is on my right hand, so that I should not be moved.

CHRYS; The justest of men can not without fear behold an angel; Zacharias therefore, not sustaining the sight of the angel’s presence, nor able to withstand his brightness, is troubled, as it is added, Zacharias was troubled. But as it happens, when a charioteer is frightened, and has let loose his reins, the horses run headlong, and the chariot is overturned; so is it with the soul, when it is taken by any surprise or alarm; as it is here added and fear fell upon him.

ORIGEN; A new face suddenly presenting itself to the human eye, troubles and startles the mind. The angel knowing this to be the nature of man, first dispels the alarm, as it follows, But the angel said to him, Fear not.

ATHAN; Whereby it is not difficult to discern between good and bad spirits, for if joy has succeeded to fear, we may know that relief has come from God, because the peace of the soul is a sign of the Divine Presence; but if the fear remains unshaken, it is an enemy who is seen,

ORIGEN; The angel not only soothes his fears, but gladdens him with good tidings, adding, For your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth shall bear a son.

AUG; Now here we must first consider that it is not likely that Zacharias, when offering sacrifice for the sins or for the salvation or redemption of the people, would neglect the public petitions, to pray (though himself an old man, and his wife also old) that he might receive children; and, next, above all that no one prays for what he despairs of ever obtaining. And even up to this time, so much had he despaired of ever having children, that he would not believe, even when an angel promised it to him The words, Your prayer is heard, must be understood therefore to refer to the people; and as salvation, redemption, and the putting away of the sins of the people was to be through Christ, it is told Zacharias that a son shall be born to him, because that son was ordained to be the forerunner of Christ.

CHRYS; Or it means, that this was to be the proof of his prayer having been heard, namely, that a son should be born to him, crying, Behold the Lamb of God!

THEOPHYL; As if when Zacharias asks, How shall I know this? the angel answers, Because Elisabeth shall bring forth a son, you shall believe that the sins of your people are forgiven.

AMBROSE; Or, as follows; Divine mercy is ever full and overflowing, not narrowed to a single gift, but pouring in an abundant store of blessings; as in this case, where first the fruit of his prayer is promised; and next, that his barren wife shall bear a child, whose name is announced as follows; And you shall call his name John.

THEOPHYL; It is meant as a token of particular merit, when a man has a name given him or changed by God.

CHRYS; Which must be the meaning here, for those who from their earliest years were destined to shine forth in virtue, received their names at the very first from a divine source; while those who were to rise up in later years, had a name given them afterwards.

THEOPHYL; John is therefore interpreted, “one in whom is grace, or the grace of God;” by which name it is declared, first, that grace was given to his parents, to whom in their old age a son was to be born, next, to John himself, who was to become great before the Lord; lastly, also to the children of Israel, whom he was to convert to the Lord. Hence it follows, And he shall be a joy to you, and a cause of rejoicing.

ORIGEN; For when a just man is born into the world, the authors of his birth rejoice; but when one is born who is to be as it were an exile to labor and punishment, they are struck with terror and dismay.

AMBROSE; But a saint is not only the blessing of his parents, but also the salvation of many; as it follows, And many shall rejoice at his birth, Parents are reminded here to rejoice at the birth of saints, and to give thanks. For it is no slight gift of God to vouchsafe to us children, to be the transmitters of our race, to be the heirs of succession.

Ver 15. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.16. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.17. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

AMBROSE; Next to his becoming the rejoicing of many, the greatness his virtue is prophesied; as it is said, For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord. The greatness signified is not of the body, but of the soul. Greatness in the sight of the Lord is greatness of soul, greatness of virtue.

THEOPHYL; For many are called great before men, but not before God, as the hypocrites. And so in like manner was John called great, as the parents of John were called just, before the Lord.AMBROSE; He extended not the boundaries of an empire, nor brought back in triumph the spoils of war, (but, what is far greater,) preaching in the desert he overcame by his great virtue the delights of the world, and the lusts of the flesh. Hence it follows; And he shall drink no wine nor strong drink.

THEOPHYL; Sicera is interpreted “drunkenness,” and by the word the Hebrews understand any drink that can intoxicate, (whether made from fruits, corn, or any other thing.) But it was part of the law of the Nazarites to give up wine and strong drink at the time of their consecration. Hence John, and others like him, that they might always remain Nazarites, (i.e. holy,) are careful always to abstain from these things. For he ought not to be drunk with wine (in which is licentiousness) who desires to be filled with the new wine of the Holy Spirit; rightly then is he, from whom all drunkenness with wine is utterly put away, filled with the grace of the Spirit. But it follows, And he shall be filled with the Holy Spirit.

AMBROSE; On whomsoever the Holy Spirit is poured, in him there is fullness of great virtue; as in St. John, who before he was born, when yet in his mother’s womb, bore witness to the grace of the Spirit which he had received, when leaping in the womb of his parent he hailed the glad tidings of the coming of the Lord. There is one spirit of this life, another of grace. The former has its beginning at birth, its end at death; the latter is not tied down to times and seasons, is not quenched by death, is not shut out of the womb.

GREEK EXPOSITOR; But what John’s work is to be, and what he will do through the Holy Spirit, is shown as follows; And many of the children of Israel shall he turn, &c.

ORIGEN; John indeed turned many, but it is the Lord’s work to turn all to God their Father.

THEOPHYL; Now since John (who, bearing witness to Christ, baptized the people in His faith) is said to have turned the children of Israel to the Lord their God, it is plain that Christ is the God of Israel. Let the Arians then cease to deny that Christ our Lord is God. Let the Photinians blush to ascribe Christ’s beginning to the Virgin. Let the Manichaeans no longer believe that there is one God of the people of Israel, another of the Christians.

AMBROSE; But we need no testimony that St. John turned the hearts of many, for to this point we have the express witness of both prophetic and evangelical Scriptures. For the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord, and make His paths straight; and his baptisms thronged by the people, declare the rapid progress of conversion. For the forerunner of Christ preached, not himself, but the Lord; and therefore it follows, And he shall go before Him. It was well said, that he shall go before Him, who both in birth and in death was His forerunner.

ORIGEN; In the spirit and power of Elijah. – He says not, in the mind of Elijah, but in the spirit and power For the spirit which was in Elijah came upon John, and in like manner his power.

AMBROSE; For never is the spirit without power, nor power without the spirit. And therefore it is said, in the spirit and power; because holy Elijah had great power and grace. Power, so that he turned back the false hearts of the people to faith; power of abstinence, and patience, and the spirit of prophecy. Elijah was in the wilderness, in the wilderness also was John. The one sought not the favor of king Ahab; the other despised that of Herod. The one divided Jordan; the other brought men to the Saving waters; John, the forerunner of our Lord’s first coming; Elijah of His latter.

THEOPHYL; But what was foretold of Elias by Malachi, is now spoken by the angel of John; as it follows, That he should turn the hearts of the parents to the children; pouring into the minds of the people, by his preaching, the spiritual knowledge of the ancient saints. And the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; i.e. not laying claim to righteousness from the works of the law, but seeking salvation by faith.

GREEK EX. Or else; The Jews were the parents of John and the Apostles; but, nevertheless, from pride and infidelity raged violently against the Gospel. Therefore, like dutiful children, John first, and the Apostles after him, declared to them the truth, winning them over to their own righteousness and wisdom. So also will Elias convert the remnant of Hebrews to the truth of the Apostles.

THEOPHYL; But because he had said that Zacharias’ prayer for the people was heard, he adds, To make ready a people prepared for the Lord; by which he teaches in what manner the same people must be healed and prepared; namely, by repenting at the preaching of John and believing on Christ.

THEOPHYL. Or, John made ready a people not disbelieving but prepared, that is, previously fitted to receive Christ.

ORIGEN; This sacrament of preparation is even now fulfilled in the world, for even now the spirit and power of John must come upon the soul, before it believes in Jesus Christ.

Ver 18. And Zacharias said to the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.19. And the angel answering said to him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak to you, and to show you these glad tidings.20. And, behold, you shall be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because you believe not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.21. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he tarried so long in the temple.22. And when he came out, he could not speak to them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned to them, and remained speechless.

CHRYS; Considering his own age, and moreover the barrenness of his wife, Zacharias doubted; as it is said, And Zacharias said to the angel, Whereby shall I know this? as if he said, “How shall this be?” And he adds the reason of his doubting; For I am an old man. An unseasonable time of life, an ill-suited nature; the planter infirm, the soil barren. But it is thought by some a thing unpardonable. in the priest, that he raises a course of objections; for whenever God declares any thing, it becomes us to receive it in faith, and moreover, disputes of this kind are the mark of a rebellious spirit.

Hence it follows; And the angel answering said to him, I am Gabriel, who stand before God.

THEOPHYL; As if he says, “If it were man who promised these miracles, one might with impunity demand a sign, but when an angel promises, it is then not right to doubt. It follows; And I am sent to speak to you.

CHRYS. That when you hear that I am sent from God, you should deem none of the things which are said to you to be of man, for I speak not of myself, but declare the message of Him who sends me. And this is the merit and excellence of a messenger to relate nothing of his own.

THEOPHYL; Here we must remark, that the angel testifies, that he both stands before God, and is sent to bring good tidings to Zacharias. GREG. For when angels come to us, they so outwardly fulfill their ministry, as at the same time inwardly to be never absent from His sight; since, though the angelic spirit is circumscribed, the highest Spirit, which is God, is not circumscribed. The angels therefore even when sent are before Him, because on whatever mission they go, they pass within Him.

THEOPHYL; But he gives him the sign which he asks for, that he who spoke in unbelief, might now by silence learn to believe; as it follows; and, behold, you shall be dumb.

CHRYS. That the bonds might be transferred from the powers of generation to the vocal organs. From no regard to the priesthood was he spared, but for this reason was the more smitten, because in a matter of faith he ought to have set an example to others.

THEOPHYL. Because the word in the Greek may also signify deaf, he well says, Because you believe not, you shall be deaf, and shall not be able to speak. For most reasonably he suffered these two things; as disobedient, he incurs the penalty of deafness; as an objector, of silence.

CHRYS. But the Angel says, And, behold; in other words, “At this instant.” But mark the mercy of God in what follows: Until the day in which these things shall be performed. As if he said, “When by the issues of events I shall have proved my words, and you shall perceive that you are lightly punished, I will remove the punishment from you.” And he points out the cause of the punishment, adding, Because you believe not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season; not considering His power Who sent me, and before Whom I stand. But if he who was incredulous about a mortal birth is punished how shall he escape vengeance, who speaks falsely of the heavenly and unspeakable birth?

GREEK EX. Now while these things were going on within the delay excited surprise among the multitudes who were waiting without, as it follows: And the people waited for Zacharias, an marveled that he tarried. And while various -suspicions were going about, each man repeating them as it pleased him, Zacharias coming forth told by his silence what he secretly endured.

Hence it follows, And when he came out, he could not speak.

THEOPHYL. But Zacharias beckoned to the people, who perhaps inquired the cause of his silence, which, as he was not able to speak, he signified to them by nodding. Hence it follows, And he beckoned to them, and remained speechless.

AMBROSE; But a nod is a certain action of the body, without speech endeavoring to declare the will, yet not expressing it.

Ver 23. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.24. And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,25. Thus has the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

THEOPHYL; During the time of their course, the priests of the temple were so occupied by their office, that they kept themselves not only from the society of their wives, but even from the very threshold of their houses. Hence it is said, And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days were accomplished, &c. For as there was then required a priestly succession from the root of Aaron, of necessity then a time was appointed for keeping up the inheritance. But as now not a carnal succession, but spiritual perfection, is looked for, the priests are enjoined (in order that they might ever be able to serve the altar) the perpetual observance of chastity.

It follows: But after those days, &c. that is, after the days of Zacharias’s ministration were completed. But these things were done in the month of September, the twenty-second day of the month, upon which the Jews were bound to observe the feast of the Tabernacles, just before the equinox, at which the night began to be longer than the day, because Christ must increase, but John must decrease And those days of fasting were not without their meaning; for by the mouth of John, repentance and mortification were to be preached to men. It follows: And she hid, herself.

AMBROSE; What reason then for concealment, except shame? For there are certain allowed times in wedlock, when it is becoming to attend to the begetting of children; while the years thrive, while there is hope of child-bearing. But when in good time old age has come on, and the period of life is more fitted for governing children, than begetting them, it is a shame to bear about the signs of pregnancy, however lawful. It is a shame to be laden with the burden of another age, and for the womb to swell with the fruit of not one’s own time of life. It was a shame then to her on account of her age; and hence we may understand the reason why they did not at this time come together, for surely she who blushed not at their coming together in their old age, would not blush at her child-bearing; and yet she blushes at the parental burden, while she yet is unconscious of the religious mystery. But she who hid herself because she had conceived a son, began to glory that she carried in her womb a prophet.

ORIGEN; And therefore he says, Five months, that is, until Mary should conceive, and her babe leaping with joy should prophesy.

AMBROSE; And though she might blush at the time of her child-bearing, on the other hand she rejoiced that she was free from reproach, saying, Thus has the Lord, dealt with me.

CHRYS. Truly He has loosed her barrenness, a supernatural gift He has bestowed upon her, and the unfruitful rock has produced the green blade. He has taken away her disgrace, in that He has made her to bring forth. Hence it follows: In the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

AMBROSE; For it is a shame among women not to receive that reward of marriage, which is the only cause of their being married.

CHRYS. Her joy therefore is twofold. of old. The Lord has taken away from her the mark of barrenness, and also given her an illustrious offspring. In the case of other births, the coming together of the parents only occurs; this birth was the effect of heavenly grace.

THEOPHYL; Now mystically by Zacharias may be signified the Jewish Priesthood, by Elisabeth the law itself; which, well administered by the teaching of the Priests, ought to have borne spiritual children to God, but was not able, because the Law made no one perfect. Both were just, because the law is good, and the Priesthood for that time holy; both were well stricken in years, because at Christ’s coming both the Law and Priesthood were just bending to old age. Zacharias enters the temple, because it is the priest’s office to enter into the sanctuary of heavenly mysteries. There was a multitude without the doors, because the multitude cannot penetrate mysteries. When he places frankincense on the altar, he discovers that John will be born; for while the teachers are kindled with the flame of divine reading, they find the grace of God flow to them through Jesus: and this is done by all angel, for the Law was ordained by angels.

AMBROSE; But in one man the voice of the people was put to silence, because in one man the whole people was addressing God. For the word of God has come over to us, and in us is not silent. He is dumb who understands not the Law; for why should you think the man who knows not a sound, to be more dumb than him who knows not a mystery. The Jewish people are like to one beckoning, who cannot make his actions intelligible.

THEOPHYL; And yet Elisabeth conceives John, because the more inward parts of the Law abound with sacraments of Christ. She conceals her conception five months, because Moses in five books set forth the mysteries of Christ; or because the dispensation of Christ is represented by the words or deeds of the saints, in the five ages of the world.






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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Matthew 23:27-32

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 26, 2014

Ver 27. “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.28. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

Origen: As above they are said to be “full of extortion and excess,” so here they are “full of hypocrisy and iniquity,” and are likened to dead men’s bones, and all uncleanness.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Justly are the bodies of the righteous said to be temples, because in the body of the righteous the soul has dominion, as God in His temple; or because God Himself dwells in righteous bodies. But the bodies of sinners are called sepulchres of the dead, because the sinner’s soul is dead in his body; for that cannot be deemed to be alive, which does no spiritual or living act.

Jerome: Sepulchres are whitened with lime without, and decorated with marble painted in gold and various colours, but within are full of dead men’s bones. Thus crooked teachers who teach one thing and do another, affect purity in their dress, and humility in their speech, but within are full of all uncleanness, covetousness, and lust.

Origen: For all feigned righteousness is dead, forasmuch as it is not done for God’s sake; yea, rather it is no righteousness at all, any more than a dead man is a man, or an actor who represents any character is the man whom he represents. There is therefore within them so much of bones and uncleanness as are the good things that they wickedly pretend to. And they seem righteous outwardly, not in the eyes of such as the Scripture calls “Gods,” but of such only as “die like men.” [Psa_82:6]

Greg., Mor., xxvi, 32: But before their strict Judge they cannot have the plea of ignorance, for by assuming in the eyes of men every form of sanctity, they witness against themselves that they are not ignorant how to live well.

Pseudo-Chrys.: But say, hypocrite, if it be good to be wicked, why do you not desire to seem that which you desire to be? For what it is shameful to seem, that it is more shameful to be; and what to seem is fair, that it is fairer to be. Either therefore be what you seem, or seem what you are.

Ver 29. “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,30. And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.31. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.”

Jerome: By a most subtle syllogism He proves them to be the sons of murderers, while to gain good character and reputation with the people, they build the sepulchres of the Prophets whom their fathers put to death.

Origen: Without just cause He seems to utter denunciations against those who build the sepulchres of the Prophets; for so far what they did was praiseworthy; how then do they deserve this “woe”?

Chrys., Hom. lxxiv: He does not blame them for building the sepulchres, but discovers the design with which they built them; which was not to honour the slain, but to erect to themselves a triumphal monument of the murder, as fearing that in process of time the memory of this their audacious wickedness should perish.

Pseudo-Chrys.: Or, they said within themselves, If we do good to the poor not many see it, and then but for a moment; were it not better to raise buildings which all may see, not only now, but in all time to come; O foolish man, what boots this posthumous memory, if, where you are, you are tortured, and where you are not there you are praised?

While He corrects the Jews, He instructs the Christians; for had these things been spoken to the former only, they would have been spoken, but not written; but now they were spoken on their account, and written on ours. When one, besides other good deeds, raises sacred buildings, it is an addition to his good works; but if without any other good works, it is a passion for worldly renown.

The martyrs joy not to be honoured with money which has caused the poor to weep. The Jews, moreover, have ever been adorers of saints of former times, and contemners, yea persecutors, of the living. Because they could not endure the reproaches of their own Prophets, they persecuted and killed them; but afterwards the succeeding generation perceived the error of their fathers, and thus in grief at the death of innocent Prophets, they built up monuments of them. But they themselves in like manner persecuted and put to death the Prophets of their own time, when they rebuked them for their sins. This is what is meant, And ye say, “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets.”

Jerome: Though they speak not this in words, they proclaim it by their actions, in ambitious and magnificent structures to their memory.

Pseudo-Chrys.: What they thought in their hearts, that they spoke by their deeds. Christ lays bare here the natural habit of all wicked men; each readily apprehends the other’s fault, but none his own; for in another’s case each man has an unprejudiced heart, but in his own case it is distorted. Therefore in the cause of others we can all easily be righteous judges. He only is the truly righteous and wise who is able to judge himself.

It follows, “Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that you are the children of them which killed the Prophets.”

Chrys.: What kind of accusation is this, to call one the son of a murderer, who partakes not in his father’s disposition? Clearly there is no guilt in being so; wherefore this must be said in proof of their resemblance in wickedness.

Pseudo-Chrys.: The character of the parents is a witness to the sons; if the father be good and the mother bad, or the reverse, the children may follow sometimes one, sometimes the other. But when both are the same, it very rarely happens that bad sons spring of good parents, or the reverse, though it be so sometimes. This is as a man is sometimes born out of the rule of nature, having six fingers or no eyes.

Origen: And in the prophetic writings, the historical sense is the body, the spiritual meaning is the soul; the sepulchres are the letter and books themselves of Scripture. They then who attend only to the historical meaning, honour the bodies of the Prophets, and set in the letter as in a sepulchre; and are called Pharisees, i.e. ‘cut off’ as it were cutting off the soul of the Prophets from their body.

32. “Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

Chrys.: He had said against the Scribes and Pharisees, that they were the children of those who killed the Prophets; now therefore He shews that they were like them in wickedness, and that was false that they said, “If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the Prophets.”

Wherefore He now says, “Fill ye up the measure of your fathers.” This is not a command, but a prophecy of what is to be.

Pseudo-Chrys.: He foretels, that as their fathers killed the Prophets, so they also should kill Christ, and the Apostles, and other holy men. As suppose you had a quarrel with some one, you might say to your adversary, Do to me what you are about to do; but you do not therein bid him do it, but shew him that you are aware of his manoeuvres. And in fact they went beyond the measure of their fathers; for they put to death only men, these crucified God.

But because He stooped to death of His own free choice, He does not lay on them the sin of His death, but only the death of the Apostles and other holy men. Whence also He said, “Fill up,” and not “Fill over;” for a just and merciful Judge overlooks his own wrongs, and only punishes those done to others.

Origen: They fill up the measure of their fathers’ sins by their not believing in Christ. And the cause of their unbelief was, that they looked only to the letter and the body, and would understand nothing spiritual in them.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on John 15:12-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 17, 2014

Ver 12. This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.13. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.14. You are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you.15. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his Lord does; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known to you.16. You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you. 17. These things I command you, that you love one another.

THEOPHYL. Having said, If you keep My commandments, you shall abide in My love, He shows what commandments they are to keep: This is My commandment, That you love one another.

GREG. But when all our Lord’s sacred discourses are full of His commandments, why does He give this special commandment respecting love, if it is not that every commandment teaches love, and all precepts are one? Love and love only is the fulfillment of every thing that is enjoined. As all the boughs of a tree proceed from one root, so all the virtues are produced form one love: nor has the branch, i.e. the good work, any life, except it abide in the root of love.

AUG. Where then love is, what can be wanting? Where it is not, what can profit? But this love is distinguished from men’s love to each other as men, by adding, As I have loved you. To what end did Christ love us, but that we should reign with Him? Let us therefore so love one another, as that our love be different from that of other men; who do not love one another, to the end that God may be loved, because they do not really love at all. They who love one another for the sake of having God within them, they truly love one another.

GREG. The highest, the only proof of love, is to love our adversary; as did the Truth Himself, who while He suffered on the cross, showed His love for His persecutors: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do

(Luk_23:34). Of which love the consummation is given in the next words:Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Our Lord came to die for His enemies, but He says that He is going to lay down His life for His friends, to show us that by loving, we are able to gain over our enemies, so that they who persecute us are by anticipation our friends.

AUG. Having said, This is My commandment: that you love one another, even as I have loved you (1 Jn 3); it follows, as John said in his Epistle, that as Christ laid down His life for us, so we should lay down our lives for the brethren. This the martyrs have done with ardent love And therefore in commemorating them at Christ’s table, we do not pray for them, as we do for others, but we rather pray that we may follow their steps. For they have shown the same love for their brother, that has been shown them at the Lord’s table.

GREG. But whoever in time of tranquillity will not give up his time to God, how in persecution will he give up his soul? Let the virtue of love then, that it may be victorious in tribulation, be nourished in tranquillity by deeds of mercy.

AUG From one and the same love, we love God and our neighbor, but God for His own sake, our neighbor for God’s. So that, there being two precepts of love, on which hang all the Law and the Prophets, to love God, and to love our neighbor, Scripture often unites them into one precept. For if a man love God, it follows s that he does what God commands, and if so, that he loves his neighbor, God having commanded this. Wherefore He proceeds: You are My friends, if you do whatsoever I command you.

GREG. A friend is as it were a keeper of the soul. He who keeps God’s commandments, is rightly called His friend.

AUG. Great condescension! Though to keep his Lord’s commandments is only what a good servant is obliged to do, yet, if they do so, He calls them His friends. The good servant is both the servant and the friend. But how is this? He tells us: Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knows not what his Lord does. Shall we therefore cease to be servants, as soon as ever we are good servants? And is not a good and tried servant sometimes entrusted with his master’s secrets, still remaining a servant? We must understand then that there are two kinds of servitude, as there are two kinds of fear. There is a fear which perfect love casts out; which also has in it a servitude, which will be cast out together with the fear. And there is another, a pure fear, which remains forever.

It is the former state of servitude, which our Lord refers to, when He says, Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knows not what his Lord does; not the state of that servant to whom it is said, Well done, you good servant, enter you into the joy of your Lord (Mat_25:21), but of him of whom it was said below, The servant abides not in the house for ever, but the Son abides ever. Forasmuch then as God has given us power to become the sons of God, so that in a wonderful way, we are servants, and yet not servants, we know that it is the Lord who does this. This that servant is ignorant of, who knows not what his Lord does, and when he does any good thing, is exalted in his own conceit, as if he himself did it, and not his Lord; and boasts of himself, not of his Lord. But I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of My Father, I have made known to you.

THEOPHYL. As if He said, The servant knows not the counsels of his lord; but since I esteem you friends, I have communicated my secrets to you.

AUG. But how did He make known to His disciples all things that He had heard from the Father, when He forebore saying many things, because He knew they as yet could not bear them? He made all things known to His disciples, i.e., He knew that He should make them known to them in that fullness of which the Apostle said, Then we shall know, even as we are known (1Co_13:12). For as we look for the death of the flesh, and the salvation of the soul, so should we look for that knowledge of all things, which the Only-Begotten heard from the Father.

GREG. Or all things which He heard from the Father, which He wished to be made known to His servants: the joys of spiritual love, the pleasures of our heavenly country, which He impresses daily on our minds by the inspiration of His love. For while we love the heavenly things we hear, we know them by loving, because love is itself knowledge. He had made all things known to them then, because being withdrawn from earthly desires, they burned with the fire of divine love.

CHRYS. All things, i.e., all things that they ought to hear. I have heard, shows that what He had taught was no strange doctrine, but received from the Father.

GREG. But let no one who has attained to this dignity of being called the friend of God, attribute this superhuman gift to his own merits:You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you.

AUG. Ineffable grace! For what were we before Christ had chosen us, but wicked, and lost? We did not believe in Him, so as to be chosen by Him: for had He chosen us believing, He would have chosen us choosing. This passage refutes the vain opinion of those who say that we were chosen before the foundation of the world, because God foreknew that we should be good, not that He Himself would make us good.

For had He chosen us, because He foreknew that we should be good, He would have foreknown also that we should first choose Him, for without choosing Him we cannot be good; unless indeed he can be called good, who has not chosen good. What then has He chosen in them who are not good? you can not say, I am chosen because I believed; for had you believed in Him, you had chosen Him. Nor can you say, Before I believed I did good works, and therefore was chosen. For what good work is there before faith? What is there for us to say then, but that we were wicked, and were chosen, that by the grace of the chosen we might become good?

AUG. They are chosen then before the foundation of the world, according to that predestination by which God foreknew His future acts. They are chosen out of the world by that call whereby God fulfills what He has predestined: whom He did predestine, them He also called (Rom_8:30).

AUG. Observe, He does not choose the good; but those, whom He has chosen, He makes good: And I have ordained you that you should go, and bring forth fruit. This is the fruit which He meant, when He said, Without Me you can do nothing. He Himself is the way in which He has set us to go.

GREG. I have set you, i.e., have planted you by grace, that you should go by will: to will being to go in mind, and bring forth fruit, by works. What kind of fruit they should bring forth He then shows: And that your fruit may remain; for worldly labor hardly produces fruit to last our life; and if it does, death comes at last, and deprives us of it all. But the fruit of our spiritual labors endures even after death; and begins to be seen at the very time that the results of our carnal labor begin to disappear. Let us then produce such fruits as may remain, and of which death, which destroys every thing, will be the commencement.

AUG. Love then is one fruit, now existing in desire only, not yet in fullness. Yet even with this desire whatever we ask in the name of the Only-Begotten Son, the Father gives us: That whatsoever you shall ask the Father in My name, He may give it you. We ask in the Savior’s name, whatever we ask, that will be profitable to our salvation.

AUG. Our Lord had said, I have ordained that you should walk and bring forth fruit. Love is this fruit. Wherefore, He proceeds: These things I command you, that you love one another. Hence the Apostle said, The fruit of the Spirit is love(Gal_5:22), and enumerates all other graces as springing from this source. Well then does our Lord commend love, as if it were the only thing commanded: seeing that without it nothing can profit, with it nothing be wanting, whereby a man is made good.

CHRYS. Or thus: I have said that I lay down My life for you, and that I first chose you. I have said this not by way of reproach, but to induce you to love one another.

Then as they were about to suffer persecution and reproach, He bids them not to grieve, but rejoice on that account (verse 18): If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you: as if to say, I know it is a hard trial, but you will endure it for My sake.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 14:15-24

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 2, 2013

Ver  15. And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said to him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.16. Then said he to him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:17. And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.18. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said to him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray you have me excused.19. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray you have me excused.20. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.21. So that servant came, and showed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.22. And the servant said, Lord, it is done as you have commanded, and yet there is room.23. And the lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.24. For I say to you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.

EUSEB. Our Lord had just before taught us to prepare our feasts for those who cannot repay, seeing that we shall have our reward at the resurrection of the just. Some one then, supposing the resurrection of the just to be one and the same with the kingdom of God, commends the above-mentioned recompense; for it follows, When one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said to him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.

CYRIL; That man was carnal, and a careless hearer of the things which Christ delivered, for he thought the reward of the saints was to be bodily.

AUG. Or because he sighed for something afar off, and that bread which he desired lay before him. For who is that Bread of the kingdom of God but He who says, I am the living bread which came down from heaven? Open not your mouth, but your heart.

BEDE; But because some receive this bread by faith merely, as if by smelling, but its sweetness they loathe to really touch with their mouths, our Lord by the following parable condemns the dullness of those men to be unworthy of the heavenly banquet. For it follows, But he said to him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many.

CYRIL; This man represents God the Father just as images are formed to give the resemblance of power. For as often as God wishes to declare His avenging power, He is called by the names of bear, leopard, lion, and others of the same kind; but when He wishes to express mercy, by the name of man. The Maker of all things, therefore, and Father of Glory, or the Lord, prepared the great supper which was finished in Christ.

For in these latter times, and as it were the setting of our world, the Son of God has shone upon us, and enduring death for our sakes, has given us His own body to eat. Hence also the lamb was sacrificed in the evening according to the Mosaic law. Rightly then was the banquet which was prepared in Christ called a supper.

GREG. Or he made a great supper, as having prepared for us the full enjoyment of eternal sweetness. He bade many, but few came, because sometimes they who themselves are subject to him by faith, by their lives oppose his eternal banquet. And this is generally the difference between the delights of the body and the soul, that fleshly delights when not possessed provoke a longing desire for them, but when possessed and devoured, the eater soon turns from satiety to loathing; spiritual delights, on the other hand, when not possessed are loathed, when possessed the more desired. But heavenly mercy recalls those despised delights to the eyes of our memory, and in order that we should drive away our disgust, bids us to the feast. Hence it follows, And he sent his servant, &c.

CYRIL; That servant who was sent is Christ Himself, who being by nature God and the true Son of God, emptied Himself, and took upon Him the form of a servant. But He was sent at supper time. For not in the beginning did the Word take upon Him our nature, but in the last time; and he adds, For all things are ready. For the Father prepared in Christ the good things bestowed upon the world through Him, the removal of sins, the participation of the Holy Spirit, the glory of adoption. To these Christ bade men by the teaching of the Gospel.

AUG. Or else, the Man is the Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus; He sent that they who were bidden might come, i.e. those who were called by the prophets whom He had sent; who in the former times invited to the supper of Christ, were often sent to the people of Israel, often bade them to come at supper time. They received the inviters, refused the supper. They received the prophets and killed Christ, and thus ignorantly prepared for us the supper. The supper being now ready, i.e. Christ being sacrificed, the Apostles were sent to those, to whom prophets had been sent before.

GREG. By this servant then who is sent by the master of the family to bid to supper, the order of preachers is signified. But it is often the case that a powerful person has a despised servant, and when his Lord orders any thing through him, the servant speaking is not despised, because respect for the master who sends him is still kept up in the heart. Our Lord then offers what he ought to be asked for, not ask others to receive. He wishes to give what could scarcely be hoped for; yet all begin at once to make excuse, for it follows, And they all began with one consent to make excuse. Behold a rich man invites, and the poor hasten to come. We are invited to the banquet of God, and we make excuse.

AUG. Now there were three excuses, of which it is added, The first said to him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it. The bought piece of ground denotes government. Therefore pride is the first vice reproved. For the first man wished to rule, not willing to have a master.

GREG. Or by the piece of ground is meant worldly substance. Therefore he goes out to see it who thinks only of outward things for the sake of his living.

AMBROSE; Thus it is that the worn out soldier is appointed to serve degraded offices, as he who intent upon things below buys for himself earthly possessions, can not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Our Lord says, Sell all that you have, and follow me.

It follows, And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them.

AUG. The five yoke of oxen are taken to be the five senses of the flesh; in the eyes sight, in the ears hearing, in the nostrils smelling, in the mouth taste, in all the members touch. But the yoke is more easily apparent in the three first senses; two eyes, two ears, two nostrils. Here are three yoke. And in the mouth is the sense of taste which is forma to be a kind of double, in that nothing is sensible to the taste, which is not touched both by the tongue and palate. The pleasure of the flesh which belongs to the touch is secretly doubled. It is both outward and inward. But they are called yoke of oxen, because through those senses of the flesh earthly things are pursued. For the oxen till the ground, but men at a distance from faith, given up to earthly things, refuse to believe in any thing, but what they arrive at by means of the five-fold sense of the body. “I believe nothing but what I see.” If such were our thoughts, we should be hindered from the supper by those five yoke of oxen. But that you may understand that it is not the delight of the five senses which charms and conveys pleasure, but that a certain curiosity is denoted, he says not, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and go to feed them, but go to prove them.

GREG. By the bodily senses also because they cannot comprehend things within, but take cognizance only of what is without, curiosity is rightly represented, which while it seeks to shake off a life which is strange to it, not knowing its own secret life, desires to dwell upon things without. But we must observe, that the one who for his farm, and the other who to prove his five yoke of oxen, excuse themselves from the supper of their Inviter, mix up with their excuse the words of humility. For when they say, I pray you, and then disdain to come, the word sounds of humility, but the action is pride. It follows, And this said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.

AUG. That is the delight of the flesh which hinders many, I wish it were outward and not inward. For he who said, I have married a wife, taking pleasure in the delights of the flesh, excuses himself from the supper; let such a one take heed lest he die from inward hunger.

BASIL; But he says, I cannot come, because that the human mind when it is degenerating to worldly pleasures, is feeble in attending to the things of God.

GREG. But although marriage is good, and appointed by Divine Providence for the propagation of children, some seek therein not fruitfulness of offspring, but the lust of pleasure. And so by means of a righteous thing may not unfitly an unrighteous thing be represented.

AMBROSE; Or marriage is not blamed; but purity is held up to greater honor, since the unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy in body and spirit, but she that is married cares for the things of the world.

AUG. Now John when he said, all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, began from the point where the Gospel ended. The lust of the flesh, I have married a wife; the lust of the eyes, I have bought five yoke of oxen; the pride of life, I have bought a farm. But proceeding from a part to the whole, the five senses have been spoken of under the eyes alone, which hold the chief place among the five senses. Because though properly the sight belongs to the eyes, we are in the habit of ascribing the act of seeing to all the five senses.

CYRIL; But whom can we suppose these to be who refused to come for the reason just mentioned, but the rulers of the Jews, whom throughout the sacred history we find to have been often reproved for these things?

ORIGEN; Or else, they who have bought a piece of ground and reject or refuse the supper, are they who have taken other doctrines of divinity, but have despised the word which they possessed. But he who has bought five yoke of oxen is he who neglects his intellectual nature, and follows the things of sense, therefore he cannot comprehend a spiritual nature. But he who has married a wife is he who is joined to the flesh, a lover of pleasure rather than of God.

AMBROSE; Or let us suppose that three classes of men are excluded from partaking of that supper, Gentiles, Jews, Heretics. The Jews by their fleshly service impose upon themselves the yoke of the law, for the five yoke are the yoke of the Ten Commandments, of which it is said, And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. That is, the commands of the Decalogue. Or the five yoke are the five books of the old law. But heresy indeed, like Eve with a woman’s obstinacy, tries the affection of faith. And the Apostle says that we must flee from covetousness, lest entangled in the customs of the Gentiles we be unable to come to the kingdom of Christ. Therefore both he who has bought a farm is a stranger to the kingdom, and he who has chosen the yoke of the law rather than the gift of grace, and he also who excuses himself because he has married a wife.

It follows, And the servant returned, and told these things to his Lord.

AUG. Not for the sake of knowing inferior beings does God require messengers, as though He gained aught from them, for He knows all things steadfastly and unchangeably. But he has messengers for our sakes and their own, because to be present with God, and stand before Him so as to consult Him about His subjects, and obey His heavenly commandments, is good for them in the order of their own nature.

CYRIL; But with the rulers of the Jews who refused their call, as they themselves confessed, Have any of the rulers believed on him? the Master of the household was wroth, as with them that deserved His indignation and anger; whence it follows, Then the master of the house being angry, &c.

PSEUDO-BASIL; Not that the passion of anger belongs to the Divine substance, but an operation such as in us is caused by anger, is called the anger and indignation of God.

CYRIL; Thus it was that the master of the house is said to have been enraged with the chiefs of the Jews, and in their stead were called men taken from out of the Jewish multitude, and of weak and impotent minds. For at Peter’s preaching, first indeed three thousand, then five thousand believed, and afterwards much people; whence it follows, He said to his servant, Go out straightway into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.

AMBROSE; He invites the poor, the weak, and the blind, to show that weakness of body shuts out no one from the kingdom of heaven, and that he is guilty of fewer sins who lacks the incitement to sin; or that the infirmities of sin are forgiven through the mercy of God. Therefore he sends to the streets, that from the broader ways they may come to the narrow way.

Because then the proud refuse to come, the poor are chosen, since they are called weak and poor who are weak in their own judgment of themselves, for there are poor, and yet as it were strong, who though lying in poverty are proud, the blind are they who have no brightness of understanding; the lame are they who have walked not uprightly in their works. But since the faults of these are expressed in the weakness of their members, as those were sinners who when bidden refused to come, so also are these who are invited and come; but the proud sinners are rejected, the humble are chosen. God then chooses those whom the world despises, because for the most part the very act of contempt recalls a man to himself. And men so much the sooner hear the voice of God, as they have nothing in this world to take pleasure in. When then the Lord calls certain from the streets and lanes to supper, He denotes that people who had learnt to observe in the city the constant practice of the law. But the multitude who believed of the people of Israel did not fill the places of the upper feast room.

Hence it follows, And the servant said, Lord, it is done as you have commanded, and yet there is room. For already had great numbers of the Jews entered, but yet there was room in the kingdom for the abundance of the Gentiles to be received.

Therefore it is added, And the Lord said to the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. When He commanded His guests to be collected from the wayside and the hedges, He sought for a rural people, that is, the Gentiles.

AMBROSE; Or, He sends to the highways and about the hedges, because they are fit for the kingdom of God, who, not absorbed in the desire for present goods, are hastening on to the future, set in a certain fixed path of good will. And who like a hedge which separates the cultivated ground from the uncultivated, and keeps off the incursion of the cattle, know how to distinguish good and evil, and to hold up the shield of faith against the temptations of spiritual wickedness.

AUG. The Gentiles came from the streets and lanes, the heretics come from the hedges. For they who make a hedge seek for a division; let them be drawn away from the hedges, plucked asunder from the thorns. But they are unwilling to be compelled. By our own will, say they, will we enter. Compel them to enter, He says. Let necessity be used from without, thence arises a will.

GREG. They then who, broken down by the calamities of this world, return to the love of God, are compelled to enter. But very terrible is the sentence which comes next. For I say to you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. Let no one then despise the call, lest if when bidden he make excuse, when he wishes to enter he shall not be able.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 14:12-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on November 2, 2013

Ver  12. Then said he also to him that bade him, When you make a dinner or a supper, call not your friends, nor your brethren, neither your kinsmen, nor your rich neighbors; lest they also bid you again, and recompense be made you.13. But when you makes a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:14. And you shall be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

THEOPHYL. The supper being composed of two parties, the invited and the inviter, and having already exhorted the invited to humility, He next rewards by His advice the inviter, guarding him against making a feast to gain the favor of men. Hence it is said, Then said he also to him that bade him, When you makes a dinner or a supper, call not your friends.

CHRYS. Many are the sources from which friendships are made. Leaving out all unlawful ones, we shall speak only of those which are natural and moral; the natural are, for instance, between father and son, brother and brother, and such like; which He meant, saying, Nor your brethren, nor your kinsmen; the moral, when a man has become your guest or neighbor; and with reference to these He says, nor your neighbors.

BEDE; Brothers then, and friends, and the rich, are not forbidden, as though it were a crime to entertain one another, but this, like all the other necessary intercourse among men, is strewn to fail in meriting the reward of everlasting life; as it follows, Lest perchance they also bid you again, and a recompense be made you. He says not, “and sin be committed against you.” And the like to this He speaks in another place, And if you do good to those who do good to you, what thank have you? There are however certain mutual feastings of brothers and neighbors, which not only incur a retribution in this life, but also condemnation hereafter. And these are celebrated by the general gathering together of all, or the hospitality in turn of each one of the company; and they meet together that they may perpetrate foul deeds, and through excess of wine be provoked to all kinds of lustful pleasure.

CHRYS. Let us not then bestow kindness on others under the hope of return. For this is a cold motive, and hence it is that such a friendship soon vanishes. But if you invite the poor, God, who never forgets, will be your debtor, as it follows, But when you make a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind.

CHRYS. For the humbler our brother is, so much c the more does Christ come through him and visit us. For he who entertains a great man does it often from vainglory. And elsewhere, But very often interest is his object, that through such a one he may gain promotion. I could indeed mention many who for this pay court to the most distinguished of the nobles, that through their assistance they may obtain the greater favor from the prince. Let us not then ask those who can recompense us, as it follows, And you shall be blessed, for they cannot recompense you. And let us not be troubled when we receive no return of a kindness, but when we do; for if we have received it we shall receive nothing more, but if man does not repay us, God will. As it follows, For you shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

BEDE; And though all rise again, yet it is called the resurrection of the just, because in the resurrection they doubt not that they are blessed. Whoever then bids the poor to his feast shall receive a reward hereafter. But he who invites his friends, brothers, and the rich, has received his reward. But if he does this for God’s sake after the example of the sons of Job, God, who Himself commanded all the duties of brotherly love, will reward him.

CHRYS. But you say, the poor are unclean and filthy. Wash him, and make him to sit with you at table. If he has dirty garments, give him clean ones. Christ comes to thee through him, and do you stand trifling?

GREG. NYSS. Do not then let them lie as though they were nothing worth. Reflect who they are, and you will discover their preciousness. They have put on the image of the Savior. Heirs of future blessings, bearing the keys of the kingdom, able accusers and excusers, not speaking themselves, but examined by the judge.

CHRYS. It would become you then to receive them above in the best chamber, but if you shrink, at least admit Christ below, where are the menials and servants. Let the poor man be at least your door keeper. For where there is alms, the devil durst not enter. And if you sit not down with them, at any rate send them the dishes from your table.

ORIGEN; But mystically, he who shuns vain-glory calls to a spiritual banquet the poor, that is, the ignorant, that he may enrich them; the weak, that is, those with offended consciences, that he may heal them; the lame, that is, those who have wandered from reason, that he may make their paths straight; the blind, that is, those who discern not the truth, that they may behold the true light. But it is said, They cannot recompense thee, i.e. they know not how to return an answer

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St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 43 (42 in Vulgate and Septuagint)

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 21, 2013

The following post consists of Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 43 (42) in its original Latin along with an English translation of the text in the right hand column. The text appears courtesy of Stephen Loughlin who translated the the Latin text into English and holds the copyright. The text and copyright statement can be found at The Aquinas Translation Project.

Psalm 42


a. [Psalmus David] Iudica me Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me. Quia tu es Deus fortitudo mea: quare me repulisti, et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus? a. [A psalm of David] Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause from the nation that is not holy: deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man. For thou art God my strength: why hast thou cast me off? And why do I go sorrowful whilst the enemy afflicteth me?
b. Emitte lucem tuam, et veritatem tuam, ipsa me deduxerunt, et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua. Et introibo ad altare Dei, ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam. Confitebor tibi in cythara Deus, Deus meus: quare tristis es anima mea? Et quare conturbas me? Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus. b. Send forth thy light and thy truth: they have conducted me, and brought me unto thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles. And I will go in to the altar of God: to God who giveth joy to my youth. To thee, O God my God, I will give praise upon the harp: why art thou sad, O my soul? And why dost thou disquiet me? Hope in God, for I will still give praise to him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God.
In praecedenti psalmo David narravit suum desiderium; nunc autem adhibet orationem ad implendum desiderium. Et primo ponit orationem; secundo effectum eius, ibi, Quare tristis es. Circa primum duo facit. Primo proponit orationem in generali; secundo in speciali, ibi, Ab homine iniquo. Et primo petit iudicium; secundo iudicii effectum. In the preceding psalm, David spoke of his desire. Here, he adds a prayer for the sake of fulfilling (his) desire. First, he sets forth (his) prayer, (and) secondly, its effect, at, Why art thou sad. Concerning the first, he does two things. First, he sets forth(his) prayer in general, and (then) secondly, in particular (terms), at, (Deliver me) from (unjust and) deceitful men. First, he asks for judgment, and secondly, the result/execution of (this) judgment.
Petit ergo, Iudica me Deus. Sed videtur praesumptionis esse: quia ipse dicit, Non intres in iudicium etc. Psal. 142. Therefore he prays, Judge me, O God. But this would seem to be presumptuous, since he himself says (later in the Psalter), Enter not into judgment (with thy servant – Psalm 142:2).
Respondeo. Dicendum, quod est duplex iudicium: scilicet severitatis, et misericordiae seu aequitatis. Primum est, quando attenditur solum res et non conditio; et hoc est timendum. De hoc dicit Psal. 142: Non intres in iudicium etc. quia iustitiae nostrae nihil sunt in conspectu Dei, ut dicitur Isa. 64. Et hoc iudicium est sine misericordia, ut dicitur Iacob. 2. Secundum est, quando consideratur non solum natura rei, sed conditio personae. Psal. 102: Misertus est Dominus timentibus se, quoniam ipse cognovit figmentum nostrum. Et hoc petit. I respond saying that judgment is twofold, namely a judgment of severity, and a judgment of mercy or equity. The first occurs when only the event, and not the situation, is considered; and this is to be feared. (It is) concerning this (sort of judgment) that Psalm 142:2 speaks, Enter not into judgment (with thy servant). For our righteous deed are nothing before the face of God, as is said in Isaiah 64:6. This judgment is without mercy, as is said in James 2:1-13. The second (kind of judgment) occurs when not only the nature of the event, but also the person’s situation. Psalm 102:13-14: (As a father hath compassion on his children, so) hath the Lord compassion on them that fear him: for he knoweth our frame. And this he seeks.
Vel aliter. Est duplex iudicium: scilicet discussionis, cum merita discutiuntur: et hoc non petit hic, quia discussio est timenda; Iob 9: Verebar omnia opera mea, sciens quod non parces delinquenti. Aliud est discretionis, scilicet separationis a malis: et hoc petit; et ideo subdit, Et discerne causam meam. Et hoc refertur ad praesentem statum: et sic petimus discerni a malis, etsi non loco, saltem causa. Multa enim sunt communia nobis et eis: quia locus est eventus fortunae, sed causa non, quia eisdem rebus aliter utuntur boni et aliter mali: quia in adversis boni rutilant per patientiam, mali vero fumant per impatientiam. Si vero ad futurum iudicium referamus, petimus distingui: quia causa malorum iudicabitur ad condemnationem, bonorum ad salutem. (This can be interpreted)in another way. Judgment is twofold. (First, there is the judgment) of examination, when (a person’s) merits are examined. (The psalmist) does not ask for this here since (such an) examination is to be feared; Job 9:28: I feared all my works, knowing that thou didst not spare the offender. (Secondly) there is (the judgment) of discretion, namely of the separation from evil people. This he seeks. And so he adds, And distinguish my cause. This is referred to his present condition. In this way we seek to be “distinguished,” or separated, from evil people, if not with respect to (the) place (wherein it is experienced), at least with respect to cause. For we have many things in common with evil people. Place is the result of chance, but cause is not since with respect to the same things, the good use (them) in one way, the evil in another; in the face of adversities, the good glow or shine on account of (their) patience, while the evil fume (or become dark) on account of their impatience. If, however, we refer (this) to the future judgment (of all), we seek to be “distinguished,” or separated (from evil people) since the cause of evil people will be sentenced to condemnation, (but the cause) of good people (will be judged accordingly and brought) to salvation.
In speciali autem petit iudicari quantum ad duo: videlicet quantum ad liberationem a malo, et quantum ad promotionem in bono. Petit ergo liberari a malo, vel praesenti vel futuro; unde dicit, Ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me. Homo iniquus dicitur diabolus. Matth. 13: Inimicus homo hoc fecit. Vel alius homo seductor, sive iniustus quicumque. Et dicitur iniquus ille qui iniustitiam intendit aperte: dolosus vero propter occultam fraudulentiam. Prov. 12: Dolus in corde cogitantium mala. Ab his ergo liberatur quis dupliciter. Uno modo, ut non seducatur occulta dolositate. Alio modo, ut non opprimatur adversitate, Quia tu es Deus meus. In particular, he seeks to be judged with respect to two things, namely liberation from evil, and advancement in good. Therefore, he seeks to be liberated from the evil of the present or in the future; whence he says, Deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man. The unjust man is called a devil; Matthew 13:28: An enemy has done this. Another kind of man is (called) a seducer, or the unjust whoever he may be. That man is called unjust who openly strives after injustice, but in fact is called deceitful because of (his) hidden fraudulence; Proverbs 12:20: Deceit is in the heart of them that think evil things. Therefore, someone is liberated from these (two types of people) on two accounts. First, so that he not be seduced by hidden deceit, and second, that he not be oppressed by adversity, For thou art my God.
Hic ponitur ratio liberationis; et est duplex: una ex parte Dei qui potest; unde dicit, Tu es fortitudo mea. Isa. 12: Fortitudo mea et laus mea Dominus. Et dicitur fortitudo nostra effective, quia ab ipso est. Isa. 40: Qui dat lasso virtutem, et his qui non sunt fortitudinem et robur multiplicat. Alia ratio est ex parte sua, scilicet malorum quae patitur. Here he sets forth the reason for his liberation, and it is twofold. First, because of God who is able (to do this); whence he says, Thou art my strength; Isaiah 12:2: The Lord is my strength and my praise. And our strength is spoken of here as an effect, for it is from (God) himself; Isaiah 40:29: It is he that giveth strength to the weary, and increaseth force and might to them that are not. The second reason is for his own account, namely for the evils which he suffers.
Quaedam mala patimur secundum opinionem, quia cum sumus in adversitatibus, videmur repulsi a Deo; unde dicit, Quare me repulisti? Sed non repellet Dominus plebem suam, Ps. 94. Et sic est tantum opinatum malum hoc. Aliud est verum; unde sequitur, Quare tristis incedo? Tristis scilicet vel tristitia saeculi, quae mortem operatur: et sic est sensus: Quare tristis incedo, scilicet temporaliter, Dum affligit me inimicus, homo malus, temporaliter. We suffer some evils according to (our own) opinion, for when we are in adversities, we seem to have been cast off by God; whence he says, Why hast thou cast me off? But the Lord does not cast off his own people, (as is indicated at) Psalm 94:7. And so this is opined to be an evil. Another (way we suffer evil) is (when it is real or) true; whence it follows, Why do I go sorrowful? Sorrowful, namely, the sorrow because of the world which works unto death, and this is the sense. Why do I go sorrowful, temporarily, Whilst the enemy afflicteth me, evil men, temporarily.
Vel, Tristis incedo, tristitia bona quae operatur poenitentiam in salutem. Et sic est sensus, Quare tristis incedo, tantum; quia etiam laetitia adiungenda est poenitentiae. Or (another interpretation of), Do I go sorrowful, (brings to mind) a good sorrow which works unto repentance for (our) salvation. And this is the sense (of) Why do I go sorrowful, to such a degree; for joy is also to be added to repentance.
b. Emitte. Hic ponit promotionem in bono. Et primo petit divina bona quibus promovetur; secundo petit promotionem pro illa. b. Send forth. Here he sets forth (his desire for) advancement in good. And he seeks first divine goods by which he will be advanced, and secondly advancement on account of these (very goods themselves).
Petit autem duo bona: lucem et veritatem. Ad Deum pervenitur passibus mentis, et per cognitionem. Heb. 4: Illis promittitur introitus qui credunt. Duo sunt necessaria cognitioni: scilicet lux, et cognitum. Eph. 5: Omne quod manifestatur lumen est. Et ideo duo petit: scilicet lucem et veritatem: ad quae per me non valeo venire. Et ideo dicit, Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam. He seeks two goods, light and truth. One attains to God by the steps of the mind, and through knowledge. Hebrews 4:3: For we, who have believed, shall enter into rest. Two things are necessary for knowledge, namely light and (the thing which is) known. Ephesians 5:13: All that is made manifest is light. And so, he seeks for two things, namely light and truth: to which I, by myself, am not able to go. And so he says, Send forth thy light and thy truth.
Idem est lux et veritas hic, quia accipiuntur pro Christo, Emitte lucem tuam, idest Christum. Ioan. 1: Erat lux vera etc. Et veritatem tuam, quia ipse Christus veritas est. Ioan. 14: Ego sum via, veritas et vita; quasi dicat, Deus pater emitte Christum. Light and truth are the same here, because they are taken with respect to Christ, Send forth they light, that is, Christ; John 1:9: That was the true light etc.; And your truth, because Christ himself is the truth; John 14:6: I am the way, and the truth, and the life; it is as if (the psalmist) were saying, “God, O Father, send Christ forth.”
Vel lux hic accipitur pro lege, quia Prov. 6: Mandatum Domini lucerna, et lex lux. Et veritatem, idest novum testamentum. Or, Light here could be taken for the law, because of (what is said at) Proverbs 6:23: The commandment (of the Lord) is a lamp, and the law a light. And truth, that is, the New Testament.
Consequenter ponitur promotio in bono. Et ponit primo directionem in accedendo, ibi, Ipsa me deduxerunt, scilicet lux et veritas me duxerunt ad te. (His) advancement in good is subsequently set down. And first he sets forth (his) direction in approaching (God), at They have conducted me, namely (your) light and truth have guided me to you.
Vel, Deduxerunt, idest abstraxerunt a malis, et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua. Haec oratio respondet desiderio praecedentis psalmi, Transibo in locum etc. Et quia adhuc non sufficit, peto adduci per Deum ad montem etc. Or (another way of interpreting) They have conducted (me, is that) they have separated me from evil, And brought me unto thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles. This prayer agrees with the desire of the preceding psalm (41:5) I shall go over into the place (of the wonderful tabernacle, even to the house of God). And because it (his desire) is not yet satisfied, I seek to be brought by God to his holy hill.
Ierusalem erat in pede montis in latere Aquilonis. Et sic primo perveniebant ad montem qui illuc ibant. Secundo ibant ad habitationem. Tertio ad locum sacrificii, scilicet altare. Et etiam ibi non quiescit spiritus meus, sed ascendit ad Deum; et ideo dicit, Adduxerunt me in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua, idest ad habitationem. Et iterum non quiescit ibi, sed vadit ad domum Dei, idest ad altare. Ideo dicit, Introibo ad altare Dei; et non quiescit ibi ne videatur idolatra, sed vadit Ad Deum, qui laetificat iuventutem meam. Jerusalem was at the foot of a hill on the north side. First, those who were going to that place used to arrive at the hill, then went to (their) dwelling, and finally, to the place of sacrifice, namely to the altar. And even there my spirit does not rest, but ascends to God; and thus he says, (They) brought me unto thy holy hill, and into thy tabernacles, that is to (his) dwelling. And again, he does not rest there, but goes the the house of God, that is, to the altar. Thus, he says, I will go in to the altar of God; And he does not rest there lest he appear to practice idolatry, but goes To God who gives joy to my youth.
Mystice autem In monte et In tabernaculo ecclesia praesens designatur, vel ecclesia caelestis; quasi dicat: deduxerunt me in ecclesiam tuam. Isa. 2: Erit praeparatus mons domus Domini in vertice montium etc. Et Tabernacula, idest diversitates sanctorum, quae sunt quaedam peregrinationes super terram; Heb. 11. Et haec ecclesia dicitur porta caeli. Gen. 28: Non est hic aliud nisi domus Dei et porta caeli. Et ideo etiam dicitur Altare Dei, idest ipse Deus. Apoc. 21: Ipse Deus est templum: quia omnia sacrificia spiritualia sunt offerenda in Deo, non in re terrena. Mystically (considered), Unto thy holy hill and Into thy tabernacles signfy the Church of the present time, or the heavenly Church; it is as if (the psalmist) were saying “They have conducted me into your Church.” Isaiah 2:2: The mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of the mountains (and it shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go, and say: Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord). And Tabernacles, that is, the different ways of the saints, which are the pilgrimages of some upon the earth; Hebrews 11(13-16). And this Church is called the gate of heaven. Genesis 28:17: This is no other but the house of God, and the gate of heaven. And thus it is also said To the altar of God, that is God himself. Apocalypse 21:22: God himself is the temple: for all spiritual sacrifices are to be offered in God, and not in earthly things.
Et ibi erit laetitia. Isa. 66: Videbitis, et gaudebit cor vestrum. Matth. 25: Intra in gaudium Domini tui. Et ideo dicit, Laetificat iuventutem meam: idest erit ibi renovatio et iuventus: quia, ut dicitur Eph. 4, Omnes apparebimus in mensuram aetatis plenitudinis Christi: et ideo dicit, Iuventutem. Psal. 102: Renovabitur ut aquilae iuventus tua. Et hunc psalmum dicunt presbyteri cum accedunt ad altare: quia haec duo, scilicet laetitia et renovatio, sunt necessaria illis qui ad caeleste altare accedere volunt. Levit. 10: Quomodo potuit comedere aut placere Domino in caeremoniis mente lugubri? Item non est ibi vetustas peccati. 1 Ioan. 2: Scribo vobis iuvenes. And there will be joy there. Isaiah 66:14: You shall see and your heart shall rejoice. Matthew25:21: Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. And thus he says, (Who) giveth joy to my youth, that is to say, there will be renewal and youth there; for, as it is said in Ephesians 4:7: To every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the giving of Christ; and thus he says Youth; Psalm 102:5: Thy youth shall be renewed like the eagle’s. And the priests say this psalm when they go up to the altar, because these two, namely joy and renewal, are necessary to those who desire to go up to the heavenly altar; Leviticus 10:19: How could I eat it, or please the Lord in the ceremonies, having a sorrowful heart? Moreover, there is not the oldness of sin there; 1 John 2:14: I write unto you, young men.
Vel totum quod dictum est refertur ad caelestem patriam, in qua desiderio debemus stare, et ad illam desideranter pergere: et hoc designat cum dicit, In montem sanctum tuum. Exod. 15: Introduces eos, et plantabis in monte hereditatis tuae; quia est ibi stabilitas status. Or, everything that has been said could be referred to (our) heavenly homeland, in which desire we ought to stand firm, and to which we ought to hasten with all desire: and this he signifies when he says, Unto thy holy hill. Exodus 15:17: Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thy inheritance; for there is a stability of condition there.
Item est ibi societas sanctorum; unde dicit: Et in tabernacula tua. Num. 24: Quam pulchra tabernacula tua, Iacob etc. Ps. 83: Quam dilecta tabernacula tua, Domine virtutum. Et dicuntur tabernacula, quia licet sint homines cives secundum gratiam, tamen secundum conditionem humanae naturae sunt ibi hospites. Moreover, there is there a fellowship of the holy; whence he says And into thy tabernacles. Numbers 24:5: How beautiful are thy tabernacles, O Jacob; Psalm 83:2: How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts. And they are called tabernacles because although men are citizens according to grace, nevertheless according to the condition of human nature they are guests there.
Tertio Altare designat humanitatem Christi. Isa. 33: Regem in decore suo videbunt. Et Christus dicitur Altare Dei. Hebr. ult.: Habemus altare, de quo edere non habent potestatem qui tabernaculo deserviunt; quia sicut omnia sacrificia carnalia offerebantur in altari, ita omnes orationes offeruntur per Christum. Unde omnis oratio terminatur, per Christum Dominum nostrum. Sed quia non est quies in humanitate, ideo ulterius tendit ad divinitatem: unde dicit, Ad Deum etc. Iob 22: Super omnipotentem deliciis afflues, et elevabis ad Deum faciem tuam. Third, To the altar signifies the humanity of Christ. Isaiah 33:17: His eyes shall see the king in his beauty. And Christ is signified by To the altar of God. Hebrews 13:10: We have an altar, whereof they have no power to eat who serve the tabernacle; for just as all carnal sacrifices were offered on the altars, so too are all prayers offered through Christ. Hence every prayer is ended, “Through Christ our Lord.” But since there is no rest in humanity, thus does he tend to divinity; whence he says To God. Job 22:26: Then shalt thou abound in delights in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face to God.
Effectus orationis est confessio laudis; unde dicit: Confitebor tibi in cythara Deus: et hoc dicit propter affectum: quia Is. 51: Gaudium et laetitia invenietur in ea. Et dicit, In cythara, ad differentiam psalterii; quia psalterium sonat a superiori, sed cythara ab inferiori; unde, Confitebor in cythara, quia sumus liberati a malis mundi. Et psalterio, quia consequuti sumus illa gaudia superna. The result of prayer is an acknowledgement of praise; whence he says, To thee, O God…I will give praise upon the harp: and he says this in accordance with (his) feeling: for Isaiah 51:3 states: Joy and gladness shall be found therein. And he says, Upon the harp, with regard to the difference (between it and the) psaltery (a kind of lute); for the psaltery sounds from on high, but the harp from below; whence, I will give praise upon the harp, since we have been liberated from the evils of (this) world. And upon the psaltery, because we have attained that heavenly joy.
Quare tristis etc. Totum hoc quod sequitur, expositum est supra in praecedenti psalmo. Why art thou sad. All that follows has been explained above in the preceding psalm (41).

© Stephen Loughlin

The Aquinas Translation Project

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 7:29-35

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 12, 2013

Ver 29. And all the people that heard him, and the Publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.30. But the Pharisees and Lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.31. And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?32. They are like to children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped to you, and you have not danced; we have mourned to you, and you have not wept.33. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and you say, He has a devil.34. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and you say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a wine-bibber, a friend of Publicans and sinners!35. But wisdom is justified of all her children.

CHRYS. Having declared the praises of John, he next exposes the great fault of the Pharisees and lawyers, who would not after the publicans receive the baptism of John. Hence it is said, And all the people that heard him, and the Publicans, justified God.

AMBROSE; God is justified by baptism, wherein men justify themselves confessing their sins. For he that sins and confesses his sin to God justifies God, submitting himself to Him who overcomes, and hoping for grace from Him; God therefore is justified by baptism, in which there is confession and pardon of sin. EUSEB. Because also they believed, they justified God, for He appeared just to them in all that He did. But the disobedient conduct of the Pharisees in not receiving John, accorded not with the words of the prophet, That you might be justified when you speak. Hence it follows, But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God, &c.

THEOPHYL; These words were ere spoken either in the person of the Evangelist, or, as some think, of the Savior; but when he says, against themselves he means that he who rejects the grace of God, does it against himself. Or, they are blamed as foolish and ungrateful for being unwilling to receive the counsel of God, sent to themselves The counsel then is of God, because He ordained salvation by the passion and death of Christ, which the Pharisees and lawyers despised.

AMBROSE; Let us not then despise (as the Pharisees did) the counsel of God, which is in the baptism of John, that is, the counsel which the Angel of great counsel searches out. No one despises the counsel of man Who then shall reject the counsel of God?

CYRIL; There was as a certain play among, the Jewish children of this kind. A company of boys were collected together, who mocking the sudden changes in the affairs of this life, some of them sang, some mourned, but the mourners did not rejoice with those that rejoiced, nor did those who rejoiced fall in with those that wept. They then rebuked each other in turn with the charge of want of sympathy. That such were the feelings of the Jewish people and their rulers, Christ implied in the following words, spoken in the person of Christ; Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation, and to what are they like?  They are like to children sitting in the market-place.

THEOPHYL; The Jewish generation is compared to children, because formerly they had prophets for their teachers, of whom it is said, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings have you perfected praise.

AMBROSE; But the prophets sung, repeating in spiritual strains their oracles of the common salvation; they wept, soothing with mournful dirges the hard hearts of the Jews. The songs were not sung in the market-place, nor in the streets, but in Jerusalem. For that is the Lord’s forum, in which the laws of His heavenly precepts are framed.

GREG. NYSS. But singing and lamentation are nothing else but in the breaking forth, the one indeed of joy, the other of sorrow. Now at the sound of a tune played upon a musical instrument, man by the concordant beating of his feet, and motion of his body, portrays his inward feelings. Hence he says, We have sung, and you have not danced; we have mourned to you and you have not wept.

AUG. Now these words have reference to John and Christ. For when he says, We have mourned, and you have not wept, it is in allusion to John, whose abstinence from meat and drink signified penitential sorrow; and hence he adds in explanation, For John came neither eating bread, nor drinking wine, and you say he has a devil.

CYRIL; They take upon themselves to slander a man worthy of all admiration. They say that he who mortifies the law of sin which is in his members has a devil.

AUG. But his words, We have piped to you, and you have not danced, refer to the Lord Himself, who by using meats and drinks as others did, represented the joy of His kingdom. Hence it follows, The Son of man came eating and drinking &c.

TIT. BOST. For Christ would not abstain from this food, lest He should give a handle to heretics, who say that the creatures of God are bad, and blame flesh and wine.

CYRIL; But where could they point out the Lord as gluttonness? For Christ is found every where repressing excess, and leading men to temperance. But He associated with publicans and sinners. Hence they said against Him, He is a friend of Publicans and sinners, though He could in no wise fall into sin, but on the contrary was to them the cause of salvation. For the sun is not polluted though sending its rays over all the earth, and frequently falling upon unclean bodies. Neither will the Sun of righteousness be hurt by associating with the bad. But let no one attempt to place his own condition on a level with Christ’s greatness, but let each considering his own infirmity avoid having dealing with such men, for “evil communications corrupt good manners.” It follows, And wisdom is justified of all her children.

AMBROSE; The Son of God is wisdom, by nature, not by growth, which is justified by baptism, when it is not rejected through obstinacy, but through righteousness is acknowledged the gift of God. Herein then is the justification of God, if he seems to transfer His gifts not to the unworthy and guilty, but to those who are through baptism holy and just.

CHRYS. But by the children of wisdom, He means the wise. For Scripture is accustomed to indicate the bad rather by their sin than their name, but to call the good the children of the virtue which characterizes them.

AMBROSE; He well says, of all, for justice is reserved for all, that the faithful may be taken up, the unbelievers cast out.

AUG. Or, when he says, wisdom is justified of all her children, he show that the children of wisdom understand that righteousness consists neither in abstaining from nor eating food, but in patiently enduring want. For not the use of such things, but the coveting after them, must be blamed; only let a man adapt himself to the kind of food of those with whom he lives.

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Aquinas’ Catena Aurea on Luke 6:39-42

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 2, 2013

39. And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?
40. The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
41. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
42. Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. The Lord added to what had gone before a very necessary parable, as it is said, And he spake a parable to them, for His disciples were the future teachers of the world, and it therefore became them to know the way of a virtuous life, having their minds illuminated as it were by a divine brightness, that they should not be blind leaders of the blind. And then he adds, Can the blind lead the blind? But if any should chance to attain unto an equal degree of virtue with their teachers, let them stand in the measure of their teachers, and follow their footsteps. Hence it follows, The disciple is not above his master. Hence also Paul says, Be ye also followers of me, as I am of Christ (1 Cor. 1:11.). Since Christ therefore judged not, why judgest thou? for He came not to judge the world, but to shew mercy.

THEOPHYLACT. Or else, If thou judgest another, and in the very same way sinnest thyself, art not thou like to the blind leading the blind? For how canst thou lead him to good when thou also thyself committest sin? For the disciple is not above his master. If therefore thou sinnest, who thinkest thyself a master and guide, where will he be who is taught and led by thee? For he will be the perfect disciple who is as his master.

BEDE. Or the sense of this sentence depends upon the former, in which we are enjoined to give alms, and forgive injuries. If, says He, anger has blinded thee against the violent, and avarice against the grasping, how canst thou with thy corrupt heart cure his corruption? If even thy Master Christ, who as God might revenge His injuries, chose rather by patience to render His persecutors more merciful, it is surely binding on His disciples, who are but men, to follow the same rule of perfection.

AUGUSTINE. (de Qu. Ev. l. ii. q. 9.) Or, He has added the words, Can the blind, lead the blind, in order that they might not expect to receive from the Levites that measure of which He says, They shall give into thy bosom, because they gave tithes to them. And these He calls blind, because they received not the Gospel, that the people might the rather now begin to hope for that reward through the disciples of the Lord, whom wishing to point out as His imitators, He added, The disciple is not above his master.

THEOPHYLACT. But the Lord introduces another parable taken from the same figure, as follows, But why seest thou the mote (that is, the slight fault) which is in thy brother’s eye, but the beam which is in thine own eye (that is, thy great sin) thou regardest not?

BEDE. Now this has reference to the previous parable, in which He forewarned them that the blind cannot be led by the blind, that is, the sinner corrected by the sinner. Hence it is said, Or, how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother let me cast out the mote that is in thine eye, if thou seest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. As if He said, How can he who is guilty of grievous sins, (which He calls the beam,) condemn him who has sinned only slightly, or even in some cases not at all? For this the mote signifies.

THEOPHYLACT. But these words are applicable to all, and especially to teachers, who while they punish the least sins of those who are put under them, leave their own unpunished. Wherefore the Lord calls them hypocrites, because to this end judge they the sins of others, that they themselves might seem just. Hence it follows, Thou hypocrite, first cast the beam out of thine own eye, &c.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. That is to say, first shew thyself clean from great sins, and then afterwards shalt thou give counsel to thy neighbour, who is guilty only of slight sins.

BASIL. (Hom. 9, in Hexameron.) In truth, self knowledge seems the most important of all. For not only the eye, looking at outward things, fails to exercise its sight upon itself, but our understanding also, though very quick in apprehending the sin of another, is slow to perceive its own defects.

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