Saturday, 31 May 2014

St Mark 10:28-52

From St Mark 10:

28 Et cœpit ei Petrus dicere: Ecce nos dimisimus omnia, et secuti sumus te. 29 Respondens Jesus, ait: Amen dico vobis: Nemo est qui reliquerit domum, aut fratres, aut sorores, aut patrem, aut matrem, aut filios, aut agros propter me et propter Evangelium, 30 qui non accipiat centies tantum, nunc in tempore hoc: domos, et fratres, et sorores, et matres, et filios, et agros, cum persecutionibus, et in sæculo futuro vitam æternam. 31 Multi autem erunt primi novissimi, et novissimi primi.

32 Erant autem in via ascendentes Jerosolymam: et præcedebat illos Jesus, et stupebant: et sequentes timebant. Et assumens iterum duodecim, cœpit illis dicere quæ essent ei eventura. 33 Quia ecce ascendimus Jerosolymam, et Filius hominis tradetur principibus sacerdotum, et scribis, et senioribus, et damnabunt eum morte, et tradent eum gentibus: 34 et illudent ei, et conspuent eum, et flagellabunt eum, et interficient eum: et tertia die resurget.35 Et accedunt ad eum Jacobus et Joannes filii Zebedæi, dicentes: Magister, volumus ut quodcumque petierimus, facias nobis. 36 At ille dixit eis: Quid vultis ut faciam vobis? 37 Et dixerunt: Da nobis ut unus ad dexteram tuam, et alius ad sinistram tuam sedeamus in gloria tua. 38 Jesus autem ait eis: Nescitis quid petatis: potestis bibere calicem, quem ego bibo, aut baptismo, quo ego baptizor, baptizari? 39 At illi dixerunt ei: Possumus. Jesus autem ait eis: Calicem quidem, quem ego bibo, bibetis; et baptismo, quo ego baptizor, baptizabimini: 40 sedere autem ad dexteram meam, vel ad sinistram, non est meum dare vobis, sed quibus paratum est.41 Et audientes decem, cœperunt indignari de Jacobo et Joanne. 42 Jesus autem vocans eos, ait illis: Scitis quia hi, qui videntur principari gentibus, dominantur eis: et principes eorum potestatem habent ipsorum. 43 Non ita est autem in vobis, sed quicumque voluerit fieri major, erit vester minister: 44 et quicumque voluerit in vobis primus esse, erit omnium servus. 

45 Nam et Filius hominis non venit ut ministraretur ei, sed ut ministraret, et daret animam suam redemptionem pro multis.46 Et veniunt Jericho: et proficiscente eo de Jericho, et discipulis ejus, et plurima multitudine, filius Timæi Bartimæus cæcus, sedebat juxta viam mendicans. 47 Qui cum audisset quia Jesus Nazarenus est, cœpit clamare, et dicere: Jesu fili David, miserere mei. 48 Et comminabantur ei multi ut taceret. At ille multo magis clamabat: Fili David, miserere mei. 49 Et stans Jesus præcepit illum vocari. Et vocant cæcum, dicentes ei: Animæquior esto: surge, vocat te. 50 Qui projecto vestimento suo exiliens, venit ad eum. 51 Et respondens Jesus dixit illi: Quid tibi vis faciam? Cæcus autem dixit ei: Rabboni, ut videam. 52 Jesus autem ait illi: Vade, fides tua te salvum fecit. Et confestim vidit, et sequebatur eum in via.

 [28] And Peter began to say unto him: Behold, we have left all things, and have followed thee. [29] Jesus answering, said: Amen I say to you, there is no man who hath left house or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or children, or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, [30] Who shall not receive an hundred times as much, now in this time; houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions: and in the world to come life everlasting. [31] But many that are first, shall be last: and the last, first. 

[32] And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem: and Jesus went before them, and they were astonished; and following were afraid. And taking again the twelve, he began to tell them the things that should befall him. [33] Saying: Behold we go up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests, and to the scribes and ancients, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles. [34] And they shall mock him, and spit on him, and scourge him, and kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. [35] And James and John the sons of Zebedee, come to him, saying: Master, we desire that whatsoever we shall ask, thou wouldst do it for us: [36] But he said to them: What would you that I should do for you? [37] And they said: Grant to us, that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. [38] And Jesus said to them: You know not what you ask. Can you drink of the chalice that I drink of: or be baptized with the baptism wherewith I am baptized? [39] But they said to him: We can. And Jesus saith to them: You shall indeed drink of the chalice that I drink of: and with the baptism wherewith I am baptized, you shall be baptized. [40] But to sit on my right hand, or on my left, is not mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared. [41] And the ten hearing it, began to be much displeased at James and John. [42] But Jesus calling them, saith to them: You know that they who seem to rule over the Gentiles, lord it over them: and their princes have power over them. [43] But it is not so among you: but whosoever will be greater, shall be your minister. [44] And whosoever will be first among you, shall be the servant of all. [45] For the Son of man also is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many. 

[46] And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho, with his disciples, and a very great multitude, Bartimeus the blind man, the son of Timeus, sat by the way side begging. [47] Who when he had heard, that it was Jesus of Nazareth, began to cry out, and to say: Jesus son of David, have mercy on me. [48] And many rebuked him, that he might hold his peace; but he cried a great deal the more: Son of David, have mercy on me. [49] And Jesus, standing still, commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying to him: Be of better comfort: arise, he calleth thee. [50] Who casting off his garment leaped up, and came to him. [51] And Jesus answering, said to him: What wilt thou that I should do to thee? And the blind man said to him: Rabboni, that I may see. [52] And Jesus saith to him: Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he saw, and followed him in the way.

Commentary (de Lapide)

Ver. 30. Who shall not receive an hundred times as much, now in this time; houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions: and in the world to come life everlasting. I have explained this hundredfold in S. Matt. xix. 29. Mark here adds, with persecutions. The Arabic has, in tribulations. “Let him who has relinquished his possessions and friends for the love of Christ, and is set in the midst of persecutions, and is encompassed by them on every side, be faithful. For there will not be wanting a hundred, that is, very many, who will succour and cherish him, as brothers, fathers, and mothers.” So Jerome, Bede, &c.

This is added because in persecutions the believer especially needs the help and assistance of others. Also, because this is a rare and marvellous thing, that in persecution, when a man is wont to be left destitute of help and friends, and when all, through fear of danger, withdraw themselves from him, those who follow Christ experience the exact contrary, and find a hundred, i.e., very many to succour them.

Again, with persecutions may be taken thus—that persecutions and tribulations undergone for Christ’s sake reward which shall be given, together with the hundredfold, to those who follow Christ. For to suffer for Christ is a great gift of God, as the Apostle teaches (Phil. ii. 19).

Ver. 32. They were in the way, from Jericho, . . . and Jesus went before them, as with alacrity, affording himself as a guide in the way to the frightened Apostles, who shrank from Jerusalem, because they knew that Jesus was there sought for by the princes to be put to death. Yea, a decree had been made to that effect by their great council, the Sanhedrin (John xi. 52). Whence it follows—
They were astonished, and following, were afraid. Gr. ε̉θαμβου̃ντο, i.e., they were astonished with great fear and dread. The imminent peril of death, says Bede, was the cause of their fear. They were amazed that Christ with so prompt and resolute a mind should bring Himself and His disciples into such open peril of death. They were afraid lest they might suffer and be put to death with Christ.
Ver. 38. Or be baptised with the baptism wherewith I am baptized. Christ calls His Passion a baptism, because He was to be evidently immersed and drowned in it, according to what David says of himself, but much more of Christ (Ps. lxix. 12), “Save me, 0 God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.”

Ver. 42. Ye know that they who seem to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them. Gr. κατακυριεύουσιν αυ̉τω̃ν, i.e, dominate over them, or against them. For who seem, the Gr. is οί δοκου̃ντες, i.e., who please themselves, and rejoice in ruling. For none rule more imperiously and harshly than those who are delighted with ruling and commanding. Whence the Arabic translates, they who think themselves princes of the people are their lords, i.e., they exercise, as it were, a tyrannical domination over them.

Ver. 46. Bartimæus, the son of Timæus. This blind man, then, was called by a proper name, Bartimæus, i.e., the son of Timæus, as Bartholomew is the same as son of Ptolemy. The same was called also by the same name as his father Timæus. Timæus was the name of that Pythagorean philosopher who wrote the life of Pythagoras.

Moreover, Bartimæus is interpreted by Pagnini in three ways (in Nom. Hebraicis). The first is from S. Jerome, to the effect that Bartimæus means the blind son, or the son of blindness. He says that it is a Syriac name, but corrupted from Barsemia, or Barsamæus. Bar is son, semaia, blindness.
The second opinion is, that it means the son of honour; as if compounded of the Syriac bar, a son, and the Gr. τιμή, honour.

The third is, that it means the son of the admirer, or admirable corn, or admirable purity. For this was what the blind man received from Christ. For being illuminated in body, he was far more illuminated in his soul. For bar means meal, or wheat, or purity, as well as son. Tamah is to admire.
And followed Him in the way. Moraliter: Says the Gloss, Let us consider the way in which He goeth, and follow Him by humility and labours. The way is that of which He saith, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” This is “the narrow way,” which leads to the heights of Jerusalem and Bethany, to the Mount of Olives, which is the mount of light and consolation; yea, which leads to Zion and the heavenly Jerusalem. The blind man therefore sees and follows, for he who rightly understands the life of Christ ought to follow and imitate it by his works. 

Friday, 30 May 2014

St Mark 10:17-27

Today's section of St Mark 10 takes us to the story of the rich young man:

17 Et cum egressus esset in viam, procurrens quidam genu flexo ante eum, rogabat eum: Magister bone, quid faciam ut vitam æternam percipiam? 18 Jesus autem dixit ei: Quid me dicis bonum? nemo bonus, nisi unus Deus. 19 Præcepta nosti: ne adulteres, ne occidas, ne fureris, ne falsum testimonium dixeris, ne fraudum feceris, honora patrem tuum et matrem. 20 At ille respondens, ait illi: Magister, hæc omnia observavi a juventute mea. 21 Jesus autem intuitus eum, dilexit eum, et dixit ei: Unum tibi deest: vade, quæcumque habes vende, et da pauperibus, et habebis thesaurum in cælo: et veni, sequere me. 22 Qui contristatus in verbo, abiit mœrens: erat enim habens multas possessiones. 23 Et circumspiciens Jesus, ait discipulis suis: Quam difficile qui pecunias habent, in regnum Dei introibunt! 24 Discipuli autem obstupescebant in verbis ejus. At Jesus rursus respondens ait illis: Filioli, quam difficile est, confidentes in pecuniis, in regnum Dei introire! 25 Facilius est camelum per foramen acus transire, quam divitem intrare in regnum Dei. 26 Qui magis admirabantur, dicentes ad semetipsos: Et quis potest salvus fieri? 27 Et intuens illos Jesus, ait: Apud homines impossibile est, sed non apud Deum: omnia enim possibilia sunt apud Deum.

[17] And when he was gone forth into the way, a certain man running up and kneeling before him, asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may receive life everlasting? [18] And Jesus said to him, Why callest thou me good? None is good but one, that is God. [19] Thou knowest the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, bear not false witness, do no fraud, honour thy father and mother. [20] But he answering, said to him: Master, all these things I have observed from my youth. [21] And Jesus looking on him, loved him, and said to him: One thing is wanting unto thee: go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. [22] Who being struck sad at that saying, went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. [23] And Jesus looking round about, saith to his disciples: How hardly shall they that have riches, enter into the kingdom of God! [24] And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus again answering, saith to them: Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches, to enter into the kingdom of God? [25] It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. [26] Who wondered the more, saying among themselves: Who then can be saved? [27] And Jesus looking on them, saith: With men it is impossible; but not with God: for all things are possible with God.

Commentary 

de Lapide:

Ver. 21. And Jesus regarding him, with a benignant and pleasant countenance, loved him, showed him marks of His love, taking his hand and smiling upon him, embracing and kissing him. One thing is wanting unto thee, namely, for the perfection of a holy and evangelical life.

Follow Me. The Greek adds, Taking up thy cross. The Syriac has, Take thy cross, and come after Me.

Ver. 24. Little children (Vulg.); the Syriac, My sons. By His bland address He softens the hardness of the matter. He is like one who loves his children most dearly; and as such He would tell them the truth in sincerity, and persuade them to renounce riches as a bar to salvation.

That trust in riches. For rich men trust in their riches rather than in God, according to the saying in Proverbs (x. 15), “The substance of a rich man is the city of his strength” (Vulg.). With difficulty, therefore, are they saved, because salvation cometh only from God. Wherefore those who wish to be saved must put their trust in God, and must ask and wait for salvation from Him, as the poor do. For inasmuch as they have no riches in which to trust, they are obliged to place all their hopes in God, according to the words (Ps. xiv. 6), “Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his hope.” Therefore if rich men wish to be saved, let them turn their hope, their heart, their love from riches, and fix them upon God.

From the Catena Aurea:

BEDE; But there is a great difference between having riches, and loving them; wherefore also Solomon says not, He that has silver, but, He that loves silver shall not be satisfied with silver. Therefore the Lord unfolds the words of His former saying to His astonished disciples, as follows: But Jesus answered again, and said to them, Children, how hard it is for them that trust in their riches to enter the kingdom of God. Where we must observe that He says not, how impossible, but how hard; for what is impossible cannot in any way come to pass, what is difficult can be compassed, though with labor. 

CHRYS. Or else, after saying difficult, He then shows that it is impossible, and that not simply, but with a certain vehemence; and he shows this by an example, saying, It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 

THEOPHYL. It may be that by camel, we should understand the animal itself, or else that thick cable, which is used for large vessels. 

BEDE; How then could either in the Gospel, Matthew and Joseph, or in the Old Testament, very many rich persons, enter into the kingdom of God, unless it be that they learned through the inspiration of God either to count their riches as nothing, or to quit them altogether. Or in a higher sense, it is easier for Christ to suffer for those who love Him, than for, the lovers of this world to turn to Christ; for under the name of camel, He wished Himself to he understood, because He bore the burden of our weakness; and by the needle, He understands the prickings, that is, the pains of His Passion. By the eye of a needle, therefore, He means the straits of His Passion, by which He, as it were, deigned to mend the torn garments of our nature. it goes on;

And they were astonished above measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? Since the number of poor people is immeasurably the greater, and these might be saved, though tine rich perished, they must have understood Him to mean that all who love riches, although they cannot obtain them, are reckoned in the number of the rich. It goes on; And Jesus looking upon them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God; which we must not take to mean, that covetous and proud persons can enter into the kingdom of Heaven with their covetousness and pride, but that it is possible with God that they should be converted from covetousness arid pride to charity and lowliness. 

CHRYS. And the reason why He says that this is the work of God is, that He may show that he who is put into this path by God, has much need of grace; from which it is proved, that great is the reward of those rich men, who are willing to follow the discipline of Christ. 

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Feast of the Ascension: Mark 16:14-20

The Gospel for the feast of the Ascension is from St Mark 16:

14 Novissime recumbentibus illis undecim apparuit: et exprobravit incredulitatem eorum et duritiam cordis: quia iis, qui viderant eum resurrexisse, non crediderunt. 15 Et dixit eis: Euntes in mundum universum prædicate Evangelium omni creaturæ. 16 Qui crediderit, et baptizatus fuerit, salvus erit: qui vero non crediderit, condemnabitur. 17 Signa autem eos qui crediderint, hæc sequentur: in nomine meo dæmonia ejicient: linguis loquentur novis: 18 serpentes tollent: et si mortiferum quid biberint, non eis nocebit: super ægros manus imponent, et bene habebunt. 19 Et Dominus quidem Jesus postquam locutus est eis, assumptus est in cælum, et sedet a dextris Dei. 20 Illi autem profecti prædicaverunt ubique, Domino cooperante, et sermonem confirmante, sequentibus signis.

 [14] At length he appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. [15] And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.[16] He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned. [17] And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils: they shall speak with new tongues. [18] They shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. [19] And the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God. [20] But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.

Matins Readings (from St Gregory the Great)

Reading 9: I may be allowed to say that the disciples' slowness to believe that the Lord had indeed risen from the dead, was not so much their weakness as our strength. In consequence of their doubts, the fact of the Resurrection was demonstrated by many infallible proofs. These proofs we read and acknowledge. What then assureth our faith, if not their doubt For my part, I put my trust in Thomas, who doubted long, much more than in Mary Magdalene, who believed at once. Through his doubting, he came actually to handle the holes of the Wounds, and thereby closed up any wound of doubt in our hearts.

Reading 10: Now confirm to our minds the trustworthiness of the fact that our Lord did indeed rise again from the dead, it is well for us to remark one of the statements of Luke Acts i. 4. "Eating together with them, He commanded them that they should not 1 John xiv. 16, 17 xvi. 7. depart from Jerusalem and a little afterward: "While they beheld, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight." Consider these words, note well these mysteries. After "eating together with them He was taken up." He ate and ascended: that the fact of His eating might show the reality of the Body in Which He went up. 

Reading 11: But Mark telleth us that before the Lord ascended into heaven He upbraided His disciples; with their unbelief and hardness of heart. From this I know not why we should gather, but that the Lord then upbraided His disciples, for whom He was about to be parted in the body, to the end that the words which He spoke unto them as He left them might be the deeper imprinted on their hearts.

Reading 12: When then, He had rebuked the hardness of their heart, who command did He give them Let us hear. "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." Was the Holy Gospel, then my brethren, to be preached to thing insensate, or to brute beasts, that the Lord said to His disciples "Preach the Gospel to every creature." Nay but by the words "every creature" we must understand man, in whom are combined qualities of all creatures. Being he hath in common with stones, life in common with trees, feeling in common with beasts, understanding in common with angels. If, then, man hath something in common with every creature, man is to a certain extent every creature. The Gospel, then, if it be preached to man only, is preached to every creature.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

St Mark 10:1-16

Chapter 10 of St Mark's Gospel takes us to the divine teaching on the indissolubility of marriage:

1 Et inde exsurgens venit in fines Judææ ultra Jordanem: et conveniunt iterum turbæ ad eum: et sicut consueverat, iterum docebat illos. 2 Et accedentes pharisæi interrogabant eum: Si licet viro uxorem dimittere: tentantes eum. 3 At ille respondens, dixit eis: Quid vobis præcepit Moyses? 4 Qui dixerunt: Moyses permisit libellum repudii scribere, et dimittere. 5 Quibus respondens Jesus, ait: Ad duritiam cordis vestri scripsit vobis præceptum istud: 6 ab initio autem creaturæ masculum et feminam fecit eos Deus. 7 Propter hoc relinquet homo patrem suum et matrem, et adhærebit ad uxorem suam: 8 et erunt duo in carne una. Itaque jam non sunt duo, sed una caro. 9 Quod ergo Deus conjunxit, homo non separet. 10 Et in domo iterum discipuli ejus de eodem interrogaverunt eum. 11 Et ait illis: Quicumque dimiserit uxorem suam, et aliam duxerit, adulterium committit super eam. 12 Et si uxor dimiserit virum suum, et alii nupserit, mœchatur.13 Et offerebant illi parvulos ut tangeret illos. Discipuli autem comminabantur offerentibus. 14 Quos cum videret Jesus, indigne tulit, et ait illis: Sinite parvulos venire ad me, et ne prohibueritis eos: talium enim est regnum Dei. 15 Amen dico vobis: Quisquis non receperit regnum Dei velut parvulus, non intrabit in illud. 16 Et complexans eos, et imponens manus super illos, benedicebat eos.

 And rising up from thence, he cometh into the coasts of Judea beyond the Jordan: and the multitudes flock to him again. And as he was accustomed, he taught them again. [2] And the Pharisees coming to him asked him: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. [3] But he answering, saith to them: What did Moses command you? [4] Who said: Moses permitted to write a bill of divorce, and to put her away. [5] To whom Jesus answering, said: Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you that precept. [6] But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. [7] For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife. [8] And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. [9] What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. [10] And in the house again his disciples asked him concerning the same thing.
[11] And he saith to them: Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her. [12] And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. [13] And they brought to him young children, that he might touch them. And the disciples rebuked them that brought them. [14] Whom when Jesus saw, he was much displeased, and saith to them: Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. [15] Amen I say to you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter into it.[16] And embracing them, and laying his hands upon them, he blessed them.

Commentary (from the Catena Aurea)

PSEUDO-CHRYS. Or else, it is said, For the hardness of your hearts, because it is possible for a soul purged from desires and from anger to bear the worst of women; but if those passions have a redoubled force over the mind, many evils will arise from hatred in marriage. Thus then, He saves Moses, who had given the law, from their accusation, and turns the whole upon their head. But since what He had said was grievous to them, He at once brings back the discourse to the old law, saying, But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. 

BEDE; He says not male and females, which the sense would have required had it referred to the divorce of former wives, but male and female, so that they might be bound by the tie of one wife. 

CHRYS. If however he had wished one wife to be put away and another to be brought in, He would have created several women. Nor did God only join one woman to one man, but He also bade a man quit his parents and cleave to his wife. Wherefore it goes on: And he said, (that is, God said by Adam,) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife. From the very mode of speech, showing the impossibility of severing marriage, because He said, He shall cleave. 

BEDE; And in like manner, because He says, he shall cleave to his wife, not wives. It goes on: And they two shall be one flesh. 

CHRYS. Being framed out of one root, they will join into one body. It goes on: So then they are no more two, but one flesh. 

BEDE; The reward then of marriage is of two to become one flesh. Virginity being joined to the Spirit, becomes of one spirit. 

CHRYS. After this, bringing forward an awful argument, He said not, do not divide, but He concluded, What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder. 

AUG. Behold the Jews are convinced out of the books of Moses, that a wife is not to be put away, while they fancied that in putting her away, they were doing the will of Moses. In like manner from this place, from the witness of Christ Himself, we know this, that God made and joined male and female, for denying which the Manichees are condemned, resisting now not the books of Moses, but the Gospel of Christ. 

BEDE; What therefore God has conjoined by making one flesh of a man and a woman, that man cannot separate, but God alone. Man separates, when we dismiss the first wife because we desire a second; but it is God who , separates, when by common consent, for the sake of serving God, we so have wives as though we had none. 

CHRYS. But if two persons, whom God has joined together, are not to be separated; much more is it wrong to separate from Christ, the Church, which God has joined to Him. 

PSEUDO-CHRYS. The Lord calls by the name of adultery cohabitation with her who is not a man's wife; she is not, however, a wife, whom a man has taken to him, after quitting his first; and for this reason he commits adultery upon her, that is, upon the second, whom he brings in. And the same thing is true in the case of the woman; wherefore it goes on, And if a woman shall put away her husband, and marry another, she commits adultery; for she cannot be joined to another as her own husband, if she leave him who is really her own husband. The law indeed forbade what was plainly adultery; but the Savior forbids this, which was neither plain, nor known to all, though it was contrary to nature. 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

St Mark 9:29-49

In St Mark 9:29-49, Jesus prophesies his coming death, but the disciples are too afraid to ask him what he meant.  Instead they turn to squabbling amongst themselves over status.  Our Lord turns the discussion to the nature of ministry:

29 Et inde profecti prætergrediebantur Galilæam: nec volebat quemquam scire. 30 Docebat autem discipulos suos, et dicebat illis: Quoniam Filius hominis tradetur in manus hominum, et occident eum, et occisus tertia die resurget. 31 At illi ignorabant verbum: et timebant interrogare eum. 32 Et venerunt Capharnaum. Qui cum domi essent, interrogabat eos: Quid in via tractabatis? 33 At illi tacebant: siquidem in via inter se disputaverunt: quis eorum major esset. 34 Et residens vocavit duodecim, et ait illis: Si quis vult primus esse, erit omnium novissimus, et omnium minister. 35 Et accipiens puerum, statuit eum in medio eorum: quem cum complexus esset, ait illis: 36 Quisquis unum ex hujusmodi pueris receperit in nomine meo, me recipit: et quicumque me susceperit, non me suscipit, sed eum qui misit me. 37 Respondit illi Joannes, dicens: Magister, vidimus quemdam in nomine tuo ejicientem dæmonia, qui non sequitur nos, et prohibuimus eum. 38 Jesus autem ait: Nolite prohibere eum: nemo est enim qui faciat virtutem in nomine meo, et possit cito male loqui de me: 39 qui enim non est adversum vos, pro vobis est. 40 Quisquis enim potum dederit vobis calicem aquæ in nomine meo, quia Christi estis: amen dico vobis, non perdet mercedem suam. 41 Et quisquis scandalizaverit unum ex his pusillis credentibus in me: bonum est ei magis si circumdaretur mola asinaria collo ejus, et in mare mitteretur. 42 Et si scandalizaverit te manus tua, abscide illam: bonum est tibi debilem introire in vitam, quam duas manus habentem ire in gehennam, in ignem inextinguibilem, 43 ubi vermis eorum non moritur, et ignis non extinguitur. 44 Et si pes tuus te scandalizat, amputa illum: bonum est tibi claudum introire in vitam æternam, quam duos pedes habentem mitti in gehennam ignis inextinguibilis, 45 ubi vermis eorum non moritur, et ignis non extinguitur. 46 Quod si oculus tuus scandalizat te, ejice eum: bonum est tibi luscum introire in regnum Dei, quam duos oculos habentem mitti in gehennam ignis, 47 ubi vermis eorum non moritur, et ignis non extinguitur. 48 Omnis enim igne salietur, et omnis victima sale salietur. 49 Bonum est sal: quod si sal insulsum fuerit, in quo illud condietis? Habete in vobis sal, et pacem habete inter vos.

 [29] And departing from thence, they passed through Galilee, and he would not that any man should know it. [30] And he taught his disciples, and said to them: The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise again the third day. [31] But they understood not the word, and they were afraid to ask him. [32] And they came to Capharnaum. And when they were in the house, he asked them: What did you treat of in the way? [33] But they held their peace, for in the way they had disputed among themselves, which of them should be the greatest. [34] And sitting down, he called the twelve, and saith to them: If any man desire to be first, he shall be the last of all, and the minister of all. [35] And taking a child, he set him in the midst of them. Whom when he had embraced, he saith to them:[36] Whosoever shall receive one such child as this in my name, receiveth me. And whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. [37] John answered him, saying: Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, who followeth not us, and we forbade him. [38] But Jesus said: Do not forbid him. For there is no man that doth a miracle in my name, and can soon speak ill of me. [39] For he that is not against you, is for you. [40] For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. [41] And whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me; it were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and he were cast into the sea. [42] And if thy hand scandalize thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life, maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into unquenchable fire: [43] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. [44] And if thy foot scandalize thee, cut it off. It is better for thee to enter lame into life everlasting, than having two feet, to be cast into the hell of unquenchable fire: [45] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. [46] And if thy eye scandalize thee, pluck it out. It is better for thee with one eye to enter into the kingdom of God, than having two eyes to be cast into the hell of fire: [47] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not extinguished. [48] For every one shall be salted with fire: and every victim shall be salted with salt. [49] Salt is good. But if the salt became unsavoury; wherewith will you season it? Have salt in you, and have peace among you.

Commentary

De Lapide:

Ver. 29. They passed through Galilee, and He would not that anyone should know it. Lest He should be detained by the Galileans from love of Himself and His benefits. For He was hastening to Jerusalem to His cross and death, about which He was speaking privately to His disciples, that He might accomplish the will of His Father, and redeem the human race.

Ver. 31. But they understood not the word. That is to say, in what manner, and for what cause, Christ was to die; and how these words concerning His near approaching death agreed with what He had often told them, that His kingdom was at hand. For otherwise the Apostles understood and believed that Christ would die (see Matt. xvii. 23), when they are said to have been sorry at this saying of Christ concerning His death. Unless you prefer to say that they were ignorant of the death of Christ, because they were in hesitation with respect to it on account of the different sayings of Christ, apparently inconsistent with one another, and that accordingly they inclined to the view which was the more pleasing to them. For it was this which they wished to be true. “For so lovers frame dreams for themselves.” So they endeavoured to persuade themselves that these words of Christ concerning His death had some other hidden meaning, and that they were not to be taken literally, but mystically.

Ver. 37. John answered Him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in Thy name, who followeth not us, and we forbade him. It is as though he said, “Have we done well or ill?” John asks this question not out of envy, as Calvin would have it, but out of love and zeal for the honour of Christ. And it was occasioned by what He had said in the preceding verse, Whosoever shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me. As though he said, If he who receives a little one in Thy name receiveth Thy Father and Thyself, what must we think concerning him who works miracles in Thy name, and yet followeth not us, that is, is not Thy attendant and disciple, as we are? “Because,” says Cyril (in Catena in Luc. xi. 49), “the Saviour had given power to His Apostles to cast out unclean spirits, they thought that it had been conceded to none others save themselves to enjoy such dignity.” So Theophylact and Victor.

Here observe that those who thus cast out devils in the name of Christ, and yet did not follow Him, were believers, but imperfect ones, forasmuch as they shrank from the rugged poverty and renunciation of their goods, such as was the lot of the Apostles. They shrank from following Christ in His evangelical labours and His persecutions. Still they have some faith in Christ, by virtue of which they cast out devils. So S. Ambrose (in Luc. xi. 49). And in so doing Christ wrought and co-operated with them, that His power and glory might be the more made manifest, which wrought such great things by means of those who were so imperfect, and, as it were, aliens.

Observe, in the next place, that the Apostles did not forbid such people through hatred, but out of zeal for Christ, as though they were detracting from the glory of Christ and His ordinance, according to chap. iii. 15, where Christ gives to His Apostles only the power of casting out devils. But this zeal of theirs was indiscreet, especially because they had rashly, without consulting Christ, forbidden them. And Christ showed them that this was so for a double reason. The first is what He brings forward in the next verse. In a similar manner, when Joshua saw Eldad and Medad prophesying, he wished to forbid them, as if they were detracting from the glory of Moses, in that they had not received the spirit of prophecy from Moses. But Moses checked him by saying, “Enviest thou for my sake? Would that all the people were prophets, and that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!” (Num. xi. 29). This is the Spirit of Christ, the spirit of love and of the Holy Ghost, which makes large the heart, and envieth none, but rejoices in all good things, by whomsoever and in what way soever they are wrought (see 1 Cor. xiii.).

Ver. 38. But Jesus said, Do not forbid him, for there is no man that doth a miracle in My name, and can soon (Gr.τάχα, i.e., easily) speak ill of Me. Do not hinder him in a good work, and one that honours Me; because even if he does not follow Me, yet he is doing the selfsame thing which you do, that is to say, he is celebrating My name, and he is making it known to men by casting out devils. Wherefore he does nothing that is against My name, but rather propagates and glorifies it.

Ver. 39. For he that is not against you is for you. This man, therefore, is not your adversary, in that he does the same that you do. He stands on your side. He helps you; he does not oppose you.

Ver. 40. For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in My name, because you belong to Christ: Amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. This is Christ’s further reason to show why the man must not be forbidden to cast out devils. It is as though Christ said, “If he who gives you a drink of water in My name, and for My sake, does well, and shall receive a reward from God, so likewise shall he who drives out devils in My name. For both the one and the other do a good work, and are profitable to their neighbours in regard and respect of Me. But the one confers so much the greater benefit than the other, by as much as the devil whom he drives out is more hurtful than the thirst which the other alleviates by a draught of water.” So Theophylact.

Ver. 41. And whosoever shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were east into the sea. This is antithetical to the 36th verse. For Christ returns after the question interposed by John to what He had said concerning those who should receive a little child in His name. For as he who receives and cherishes the little ones who believe in Me, receives Myself, and shall be rewarded by Me with eternal glory in heaven; so, on the other hand, whoso shall cause one of these little ones to offend, offendeth Me, and shall be by Me condemned to Gehenna.

Ver. 42. And if thy hand scandalize thee, cut it of. For a scandal is so pernicious that it harms not only the doer but the sufferer of it. Wherefore, if thou sufferest a scandal from thy hand, cut it off. That is, if any one, relative or friend, as useful and as dear to thee as thy hand, thy foot, thine eye, scandalize thee, that is, draw thee into sin, separate such an one from thy company, lest he drag thee with him into Gehenna.

Ver. 43. Where their worm dieth not. He quotes Isa. lxvi. 24. Christ repeats this saying three times, that He may impress these dreadful worms and these fires upon us, that through horror of them we may avoid every scandal and every sin.

Ver. 48. For every one shall be salted with fire: and every victim shall be salted with salt.
1st. Franc. Lucas and Maldonatus understand the fire of hell, that Christ gives the reason of what He had just said, where their worm, &c. The reason is, for every one, namely, such as are adjudged to Gehenna, shall be salted with fire, that is, shall be burnt and tormented with fire, but in such manner that by the same fire, as it were by salt, they shall be preserved incorrupt for everlasting torments. For salt possesses the properties both of burning and preserving. It burns and torments by burning; by its saltness it preserves from corruption. The fire of hell does the same thing, wherefore it is appropriately compared to salt.

And every victim: and, that is, like as. As though He said, As every victim of God is wont to be seasoned with salt, according to the Law (Lev. ii. 13), so whosoever shall be adjudged to Gehenna shall be a victim, as it were, of the justice and vengeance of God for ever, and so shall be salted with fire unquenchable as with salt, that is, shall be burnt and tormented, and shall at the same time remain unconsumed in the fire.” So Isaiah teaches that the wicked shall in their torments be victims of God’s vengeance (xxxiv. 6; see also Ezek. xxxix. 17, and Jer. xlvi 10). For the wicked are, as it were, victims immolated to the honour of God’s justice. This sense is very plain, apposite, and in accordance with the context.

2nd Others refer the words more remotely to what Christ said in the 42nd and following verses about avoiding scandals, and that to do so a hand or a foot must be cut off. It would be as though He said, “Cut off from thee the person who is as dear and as necessary to thee as a hand or an eye, if he scandalize thee; for every one who seeks to please God, and to offer himself to Him as a spiritual victim, must cut off from him, as by the fire of mortification, the man who causes him to offend, however dear he may be. He must, therefore, be salted by suffering tribulation, that is, he must be crucified and purified. He must be salted with the mystical salt of prudence, discretion, and evangelical wisdom, which teaches us that it is better to cut off our hand than to go into hell.” There is an allusion to, or, indeed, in a mystical sense, a citation of Lev. ii. 13, “Whatsoever thou shalt offer in sacrifice, thou shalt season with salt.” So Theophylact on this passage of S. Mark; Theodoret, Procopius, Bede, Radulphus, Ruperti, on Lev. ii., and Cyril (lib. 15, de Adorat.). Wherefore it is added, salt is good. Hear the Gloss, “To be salted with fire is for the love of Christ to deny ourselves of those who are nearest to us, and as dear as a hand or an eye.” Hear also Bede, “The heart of the elect is the altar, the victims are good works, the salt is wisdom.” Christ opposes the fire of mortification to the fire of hell, and the salt to the undying worm. As though He said, “That ye may escape the fire and the worm of hell, which concupiscence generates, be zealous for the fire of mortification and the salt of wisdom. For this shall take away the putridity of concupiscence, from which are generated the undying worms which shall be burned in the fire of hell.”

3rd By fire Bede understands charity and the Holy Spirit, and His gift of discretion, by which He guides us into all good.

Lastly, the Scholiast in S. Jerome by salt understands also the fire of Purgatory. Hear what he says, “The victim of the Lord is the human race, which in this life is seasoned with the season of wisdom, when the corruption of the blood, which is the source of putridity, that is, the mother of worms, is consumed, and after this life is tried by purgatorial fire.”
Salt is good, i.e., useful. “Ye, 0 ye Apostles, who have been chosen by Me to be the salt of the earth, are profitable to the world, that ye may season with your wisdom and evangelical doctrine all nations.” Hear the Scholiast, “It is a good thing to hear the Word of God; to season the heart with the salt of wisdom; yea, to be salt, like the Apostles, i.e., to minister wisdom unto others.” Also Theophylact, “Salt preserves flesh; so the speech of a doctor prevents the unquenchable fire from being generated in carnal men.”

But if the salt become unsavoury (the Gr. contains an elegant pun, άλς άναλον, i.e., saltless salt), wherewith (i.e., with what other salt) will ye season it? It is as if He said, “If ye, 0 ye Apostles, who are the salt of the earth, lose this virtue of saltness, and become unsavoury and insipid, that through love or fear of men, through cupidity or ambition, ye fall away from My doctrine and an evangelical life, who shall restore you to your former wisdom, vigour, and sanctity?” Christ plays upon the word salt. For salt in Lev. ii. 13 is to be understood literally, but here it is to be taken mystically for wisdom, and metonymically for the Apostles, who had in themselves this mystic salt. Hear the Scholiast in S. Jerome, “Salt is savourless which loves the chief place, and which dares not either to rebuke or confess, loving the praise of men more than the praise of God.” Christ has a reference to Judas, who being corrupted by the love of money, and becoming unsavoury, lost his Apostleship, and did not hesitate to betray the Lord.

Have salt in yourselves, i.e., the salt of wisdom and a Christian life, as humility, charity, contempt of the world, but especially peace; as Christ adds, saying, And have peace among yourselves. “Do not ambitiously contend among yourselves for the primacy, as ye have contended” (ver. 33), to which Christ refers. For such a contention will be a scandal to the whole world; and for that reason Christ subjoined what is said concerning the avoidance of scandal in verses 36 and 41. But if ye preserve peace and mutual concord, ye shall be for the edification of the whole world; and being united one with another in the bond of charity, ye will be invincible, and will draw all men to yourselves and Christ. Therefore by peace the Interlinear understands love. And the Scholiast thus expounds, Have salt in yourselves, “The love of one’s neighbour tempers the salt of correction; and the salt of justice preserves love.”

Have peace, &c. That is, let him who speaks eloquently greatly fear lest by his eloquence unity be broken. For, as Bede says, “to have salt without peace is not a gift of virtue, but a proof of condemnation; for the wiser any one is, the greater his sin if he fall.” “For there are many,” says the Gloss, “that whilst greater knowledge lifts them up, it separates them from the society of others; and the wiser they are, the more they fall from the virtue of concord.”

Lastly, the Gloss thus expounds, Have salt in you, i.e., have discretion: and have peace among yourselves. By wisdom and discretion peace is both acquired and preserved among men. For the prudent and discreet do nothing which may offend others and disturb peace. The same bear with the infirmities of others, while those who are impatient are angry, and strive with them. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

St Mark 9:13-28

Verses 16-28 of Mark 9 are the Gospel for Ember Wednesday in September:

13 Et veniens ad discipulos suos, vidit turbam magnam circa eos, et scribas conquirentes cum illis. 14 Et confestim omnis populus videns Jesum, stupefactus est, et expaverunt, et accurrentes salutabant eum. 15 Et interrogavit eos: Quid inter vos conquiritis? 16 Et respondens unus de turba, dixit: Magister, attuli filium meum ad te habentem spiritum mutum: 17 qui ubicumque eum apprehenderit, allidit illum, et spumat, et stridet dentibus, et arescit: et dixi discipulis tuis ut ejicerent illum, et non potuerunt. 18 Qui respondens eis, dixit: O generatio incredula, quamdiu apud vos ero? quamdiu vos patiar? afferte illum ad me. 19 Et attulerunt eum. Et cum vidisset eum, statim spiritus conturbavit illum: et elisus in terram, volutabatur spumans. 20 Et interrogavit patrem ejus: Quantum temporis est ex quo ei hoc accidit? At ille ait: Ab infantia: 21 et frequenter eum in ignem, et in aquas misit ut eum perderet: sed si quid potes, adjuva nos, misertus nostri. 22 Jesus autem ait illi: Si potes credere, omnia possibilia sunt credenti. 23 Et continuo exclamans pater pueri, cum lacrimis aiebat: Credo, Domine; adjuva incredulitatem meam. 24 Et cum videret Jesus concurrentem turbam, comminatus est spiritui immundo, dicens illi: Surde et mute spiritus, ego præcipio tibi, exi ab eo: et amplius ne introëas in eum. 25 Et exclamans, et multum discerpens eum, exiit ab eo, et factus est sicut mortuus, ita ut multi dicerent: Quia mortuus est. 26 Jesus autem tenens manum ejus elevavit eum, et surrexit. 27 Et cum introisset in domum, discipuli ejus secreto interrogabant eum: Quare nos non potuimus ejicere eum? 28 Et dixit illis: Hoc genus in nullo potest exire, nisi in oratione et jejunio.

And coming to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes disputing with them. [14] And presently all the people seeing Jesus, were astonished and struck with fear; and running to him, they saluted him. [15] And he asked them: What do you question about among you?[16] And one of the multitude, answering, said: Master, I have brought my son to thee, having a dumb spirit. [17] Who, wheresoever he taketh him, dasheth him, and he foameth, and gnasheth with the teeth, and pineth away; and I spoke to thy disciples to cast him out, and they could not. [18] Who answering them, said: O incredulous generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. [19] And they brought him. And when he had seen him, immediately the spirit troubled him; and being thrown down upon the ground, he rolled about foaming. [20] And he asked his father: How long time is it since this hath happened unto him? But he said: From his infancy: [21] And oftentimes hath he cast him into the fire and into waters to destroy him. But if thou canst do any thing, help us, having compassion on us. [22] And Jesus saith to him: If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. [23] And immediately the father of the boy crying out, with tears said: I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief. [24] And when Jesus saw the multitude running together, he threatened the unclean spirit, saying to him: Deaf and dumb spirit, I command thee, go out of him; and enter not any more into him. [25] And crying out, and greatly tearing him, he went out of him, and he became as dead, so that many said: He is dead.[26] But Jesus taking him by the hand, lifted him up; and he arose. [27] And when he was come into the house, his disciples secretly asked him: Why could not we cast him out? [28] And he said to them: This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting. 

Commentary 

de Lapide:

Ver. 15. And presently all the people seeing Jesus, were astonished, and struck with fear: and running to Him, they saluted Him. They were astonished because they saw Jesus so unexpectedly present after His absence, and at so opportune a time, to defend His disciples against the scribes. Again, it was because they saw in the face of Jesus, who had a little while before been transfigured, some remaining rays of His splendour; just as there were in the countenance of Moses, after his converse with God, rays, and, as it were, horns of light.

Ver. 19. Troubled him. Gr. ε̉σπάραξεν, i.e., bruised, tore, convulsed his whole body. Wherefore it is added in explanation, and being thrown down upon the ground, he wallowed about foaming, because, in fact, the demon was experiencing the power of Christ, and foresaw that he would speedily be cast out, therefore with indignation and gnashing of teeth he thus grievously afflicted and tormented the energumen.

From the Catena Aurea:

THEOPHYL. After He had shown His glory in the mount to the three disciples, He returns to the other disciples, who had not come up with Him into the mount; wherefore it is said, And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the Scribes questioning with them. For the Pharisees, catching the opportunity of the hour when Christ was not present, came up to them, to try to draw them over to themselves. 

PSEUDO-JEROME; But there is no peace for man under the sun; envy is ever slaying the little ones, and lightning strike the tops of the great mountains. Of all those who run to the Church, some as the multitudes come in faith to learn, others, as the Scribes, with envy and pride. It goes on, And straightway all the people, when they beheld Jesus, were greatly amazed, and feared. 

BEDE; In all cases, the difference between the mind of the Scribes and of the people ought to be observed; for the Scribes are never said to have shown any devotion, faith, humility, and reverence, but as soon as the Lord was come, the whole multitude was greatly amazed and feared, and ran up to Him, and saluted Him; wherefore there follows, And running to him, saluted him. 

THEOPHYL. For the multitude was glad to see Him, so that they saluted Him from afar, as He was coming to them; but some suppose that His countenance had become more beautiful from His transfiguration, and that this induced the crowd to salute Him. 

PSEUDO-JEROME; Now it was the people, and not the disciples, who on seeing Him were amazed and feared, for there is no fear in love; fear belongs to servants, amazement to fools. It goes on: And he asked them, What question you with them. Why does the Lord put this question? That confession may produce salvation, and the murmuring of our hearts may be appeased by religious words. 

BEDE; The question, indeed, which was raised may, if I am not deceived, have been this, wherefore they, who were the disciples of the Savior, were unable to heal the demoniac, who was placed in the midst, which may be gathered from the following words; And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought to you my son, which has a dumb spirit; and wherever he takes him, he tears him: and he foams, and gnashes with his teeth, and pines away. 

So far, however, is He from being angry with the person, though He reproved the sin, that He immediately added, Bring him to me; and they brought him to him. And when He saw him, straightway the spirit tore him , and he fell on the ground and, wallowed foaming. 

The answer of the Lord was suited to the petition, for the man said, If you can do anything, help us; and to this the Lord answered, If you can believe on the other hand the leper whom cried out, with faith, Lord, if you will, you can make me clean, received an answer according to his faith, I will, be you clean. 

For no man at once reaches to the highest point, but in holy living a man begins with the least things that house may reach the great; for the beginning of virtue is different, from the progress and the perfection of it. Because then faith mounts up through the secret inspiration of grace, by the steps of its own merits, he who has not yet believed perfectly was at once a believer and an unbeliever. 

Again, in a mystical sense, on high the Lord. Bede unfolds the mysteries of the kingdom to His disciples, but below He rebukes the multitude for their Sins of unfaithfulness, and expels devils from those, who are vexed by then, Those who are still carnal and foolish, He strengthens, teaches, punishes, whilst He more freely instructs the perfect concerning the things of eternity. 

For often times when we try to turn to God after sin, our old enemy attacks us with new and greater snares, which he does, either to instill into us a hatred of virtue, or to avenge the injury of his expulsion. 

Or by this demoniac are signified those, who are bound by the guilt of original sin, and coming into the world as criminals, are to be saved by grace; and by fire is meant the heat of anger, by water, the pleasures of the flesh, which melt the soul by their sweetness. But He did not rebuke the boy, who suffered violence, but the devil, who inflicted it, because he who desires to amend a sinner, ought, whilst He exterminates his vice by rebuking and cursing it, to love and cherish the man. 

Further, our Lord, while teaching the Apostles how the worst devil is to be expelled, gives all of us rules for our life; that is, He would have us know that all the more grievous attacks of evil spirits or of men are to be overcome by fastings and prayers; and again, that the anger of the Lord, when it is kindled for vengeance on our crimes, can be appeased by this remedy alone. But fasting in general is not only abstinence from food, but also from all carnal delights, yes, from all vicious passions. In like manner prayer taken generally, consists not only in the words by which we call upon the Divine mercy, but also in all those things which we do with the devotedness of faith in obedience to our Maker, as the Apostle testifies, when he says, Pray without ceasing. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Fifth Sunday after Easter: St John 16:23-30

This week's Gospel is John 16:23-30:

23 Et in illo die me non rogabitis quidquam. Amen, amen dico vobis: si quid petieritis Patrem in nomine meo, dabit vobis. 24 Usque modo non petistis quidquam in nomine meo: petite, et accipietis, ut gaudium vestrum sit plenum.25 Hæc in proverbiis locutus sum vobis. Venit hora cum jam non in proverbiis loquar vobis, sed palam de Patre annuntiabo vobis: 26 in illo die in nomine meo petetis: et non dico vobis quia ego rogabo Patrem de vobis: 27 ipse enim Pater amat vos, quia vos me amastis, et credidistis, quia ego a Deo exivi. 28 Exivi a Patre, et veni in mundum: iterum relinquo mundum, et vado ad Patrem. 29 Dicunt ei discipuli ejus: Ecce nunc palam loqueris, et proverbium nullum dicis: 30 nunc scimus quia scis omnia, et non opus est tibi ut quis te interroget: in hoc credimus quia a Deo existi.

[23] And in that day you shall not ask me any thing. Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father any thing in my name, he will give it you. [24] Hitherto you have not asked any thing in my name. Ask, and you shall receive; that your joy may be full. [25] These things I have spoken to you in proverbs. The hour cometh, when I will no more speak to you in proverbs, but will shew you plainly of the Father. [26] In that day you shall ask in my name; and I say not to you, that I will ask the Father for you: [27] For the Father himself loveth you, because you have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. [28] I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and I go to the Father. [29] His disciples say to him: Behold, now thou speakest plainly, and speakest no proverb. [30] Now we know that thou knowest all things, and thou needest not that any man should ask thee. By this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

The Matins readings (from St Augustine):

Reading 9: We have now to consider these words of the Lord "Amen, Amen, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My Name, He will give it you." It hath already been said in the earlier part of this discourse of the Lord, for the sake of some who ask the Father in Christ's Name and receive not, that whatsoever is asked, which tendeth not to salvation, is not asked in the Name of the Saviour. By the words "In My Name" we must not understand the vocalization of letters and syllables, but the meaning of what is said, the honest and true meaning.

Reading 10: Therefore, whosoever thinketh of Christ as he ought not to think of the Only Son of God, such an one doth not ask anything in Christ's Name, although he do actually utter letters and syllables to that effect, because by these sounds he meaneth not the Real Christ, but a fancied being who hath no existence except in the speaker's imagination. But on the other hand, whosoever thinketh of Christ as he ought to think, the same asketh in Christ's Name, and receiveth, provided only it be nothing against his own everlasting salvation but if it is good for him to receive, he receiveth. Some things are not given at once, but kept over till a more fitting season. 

Reading 11: Such is the true interpretation of the words "He will give it you" namely, that those things will be given which are good for them to ask. All the Saints also are heard when they ask for themselves, but not necessarily when they ask for their friends, or their enemies, or others, even as it is written, not simply "He will give it" but "He will give it you."

Reading 12: Hitherto saith the Lord, have ye asked nothing in My Name? "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." This their joy, whereof He saith that it shall be full, is to be understood not of fleshly but of spiritual joy and when that joy is so great that it can be increased no more, then shall it without doubt be full. Whatsoever therefore we ask for the fulfilling of this joy, (that is, if we thereby mean grace, if we ask for that life which is the really blessed one,) that is a thing which it is meet to ask in Christ's Name. If we ask anything else than this, we ask nothing, although we do actually ask something, because all things are nothing in comparison with this.