The reverendissimi domini yet again forced us to hear the Mass of Our Lord's Epiphany today, pft; but the office is for the feast of Our Lord's Most Holy Name, Deo gratias. Am reading again about the Jesu dulcis memoria, although I believe I ought to have gone to the trouble of borrowing Dom André Wilmart OSB's Auteurs spirituels et textes dévots du moyen âge latin from the university library, which is however very much out of my way, tsk, because I believe one of those essays is devoted to the Jesu dulcis memoria. The esteemed author at Preces Latinae points out that the Roman Missal now makes the feast of the Holy Name an optional memorial today, which I suppose means that even if the Epiphany weren't shamelessly transferred whatever Sunday Mass is otherwise appointed for today would prevent the feast of Our Lord. Tsk. In any event, the three parts of St Bernard's fifty-some stanze that were and are used in the Roman office are (at Vespers) Jesu dulcis memoria, (at Matins) Jesu rex admirabilis, and (at Lauds) Jesu decus angelicum.
Jesu dulcis memoria
Dans vera cordis gaudia:
Sed super mel, et omnia,
Ejus dulcis prsesentia.
Nil canitur suavius,
Nil auditur jucundius,
Nil cogitatur dulcius,
Quam Jesus Dei Filius.
Jesu spes poenitentibus,
Quam pius es petentibus!
Quam bonus te quaerentibus!
Sed quid invenientibus?
Nec lingua valet dicere,
Nec littera exprimere:
Expertus potest credere,
Quid sit Jesum diligere.
Sis Jesu nostrum gaudium,
Qui es futurus praemium:
Sit nostra in te gloria,
Per cuncta semper saecula.
Jesu Rex admirabilis
Et triumphator nobilis,
Quando cor nostrum visitas,
Tune lucet ei veritas,
Mundi vilescit vanitas,
Et intus fervet caritas.
Jesu dulcedo cordium,
Fons vivus, lumen mentium,
Excedens omne gaudium,
Et omne desiderium.
Jesum omnes agnoscite,
Amorem ejus poscite:
Jesum ardenter quaerite,
Te nostra Jesu vox sonet,
Nostri te mores exprimant,
Te corda nostra diligant,
Et nunc, et in perpetuum.
Jesu decus angelicum
In aure dulce canticum,
In ore mel mirificum,
In corde nectar caelicum.
Te gustant, esuriunt;
qui bibunt, adhuc sitiunt;
Nisi Jesum, quem diligunt.
Jesu mi dulcissime,
Spes suspirantis animae!
Te quaerunt piae lacrimae,
Te clamor mentis intimae.
Mane nobiscum Domine,
Et nos illustra lumine;
Pulsa mentis caligine,
Mundum reple dulcedine.
Jesu flos Matris Virginis,
Amor nostrae dulcedinis,
Tibi laus, honor nominis,
The entire hymn or a version of the entire hymn, although I can only manage to associate thirteen (bolded them) of the fifteen office stanze to the ones infra:
Jesu dulcis memoria
Dans vera cordis gaudia
Sed super mel et omnia
Ejus dulcis praesentia.
Nil canitur suavius,
Nil auditur jucundius,
Nil cogitatur dulcius,
Quam Jesus Dei filius.
Jesu spes poenitentibus,
Quam pius es petenibus!
Quam bonus te quaerentibus!
Sed quid invenientibus?
Jesu dulcedo cordium,
Fons vivus, lumen mentium,
Excedens omne gaudium,
Et omne desiderium.
Nec lingua valet dicere,
Nec littera exprimere:
Expertus potest credere,
Quid sit Jesum diligere.
Jesum quaeram in lectulo,
Clauso cordis cubiculo:
Privatim et in publico
Quaeram amore sedulo.
Cum Maria diluculo
Jesum quaeram in tumulo,
Clamoris cordis querulo,
Mente quaeram, non oculo.
Tumbam perfundam fletibus,
Locum replens gemitibus
Jesu provolvar pedibus,
Strictis haerens amplexibus.
Jesu rex admirabilis
Et triumphator nobilis :
Mane nobiscum Domine,
Et nos illustra lumine,
Pulsa mentis caligine,
Mundum replens dulcedine.
Quando cor nostrum visitas,
Tunc lucet ei veritas,
Mundi vilescit vanitas
Et intus fervet caritas.
Amor Jesu dulcissimus
Et vere suavissimus
Plus millies gratissimus
Quam dicere sufficimus.
Hoc probat ejus passio,
Hoc Sanguinis effusio,
Per quam nobis redemptio
Datur, et Dei visio.
Jesum omnes agnoscite,
Amorem ejus poscite,
Jesum ardentes quaerite,
Sic amantem diligite,
Amoris vicem reddite,
In hunc odorem currite,
Et vota votis reddite.
Jesus auctor clementiae,
Totius spes laetitiae,
Dulcoris fons et gratiae
Verae cordis deliciae.
Jesu mi bone, sentiam
Amoris tui copiam,
Da mihi per praesentiam
Tuam videre gloriam.
Quum digne loqui nequeam
De te, tamen ne sileam:
Amor facit, ut audeam
Cum de te solum gaudeam.
Tua, Jesu, dilectio,
Grata mentis refectio,
Replens sine fastidio
Dans famem desiderio.
Qui te gustant esuriunt:
Qui bibunt, adhuc sitiunt:
Nisi Jesum, quem diligunt.
Quem tuus amor ebriat,
Novit quid Jesus sapiat,
Quam felix est, quem satiat.
Non est ultra, quod cupiat.
Jesu, decus Angelicum,
In aure dulce canticum,
In ore mel mirificum,
In corde nectar coelicum.
Desidero te millies,
Mi Jesu, quando venies?
Me laetum quando facies?
Me de te quando saties?
Amor tuus continuus
Mihi languor assiduus,
Mihi fructus mellifluus
Est et vitae perpetuus.
Jesu summa benignitas,
Mira cordis jucunditas,
Tua me stringat caritas.
Bonum mihi diligere
Jesum, nil ultra quaerere,
Mihi prorsus deficere,
Ut illi queam vivere.
O Jesu mi dulcissime,
Spes suspirantis animae,
Te quaerunt piae lacrimae,
Te clamor mentis intimae.
Quocumque loco fuero,
Mecum Jesum desidero:
Quam laetus, cum invenero!
Quam felix, cum tenuero!
Tunc amplexus, tunc oscula
Quae vincunt mellis pocula,
Tunc felix Christi copula,
Sed in his parva morula.
Jam quod quaesivi, video:
Quod concupivi, teneo:
Amore Jesu langueo,
Et corde totus ardeo.
Jesus cum sic diligitur,
Hic amor non exstinguitur:
Non tepescit, nec moritur:
Plus crescit et accenditur.
Hic amor ardet jugiter,
Delectat et feliciter.
Hic amor missus caelitus
Haeret mihi medullitus,
Mentem incendit penitus,
Hoc delectatur spiritus.
O beatum incendium,
Et ardens desiderium!
O dulce refrigerium,
Amare Dei Filium!
Jesu, flos matris virginis,
Amor nostrae dulcedinis,
Tibi laus, honor numinis,
Veni, veni, Rex optime,
Pater immensae gloriae,
Affulge menti clarius
Jam exspectatus saepius.
Jesu sole serenior,
Et balsamo suavior,
Omni dulcore dulcior,
Prae cunctis amabilior.
Cujus gustus sic afficit,
Cujus odor sic reficit,
In quo mea mens deficit,
Solus amanti sufficit.
Tu mentis delectatio,
Tu mea gloriatio,
Jesu mundi salvatio.
Mi dilecte revertere,
Consors paternae dexterae:
Hostem vicisti prospere,
Jam caeli regno fruere.
Sequar te, quoquo ieris,
Mihi tolli non poteris,
Cum meum cor abstuleris,
Jesu laus nostri generis.
Caeli cives occurrite,
Portas vestras attolite,
Ave Jesu, Rex inclite.
Rex virtutum, rex gloriae,
Rex insignis victoriae,
Jesu largitor veniae,
Honor coelestis patriae.
Tu fons misericordiae,
Tu verae lumen patriae:
Pelle nubem tristitiae,
Dans nobis lucem gloriae.
Te coeli chorus praedicat,
Et tuas laudes replicat:
Jesus orbem laetificat,
Et nos Deo pacificat.
Jesus in pace imperat,
Quae omnem sensum superat,
Hanc mea mens desiderat,
Et ea frui properat.
Jesus ad patrem rediit,
Coeleste regnum subiit:
Cor meum a me transiit,
Post Jesum simul abiit.
Quem prosequamur laudibus,
Votis, hymnis et precibus;
Ut nos donet coelestibus,
Cum ipso frui sedibus. Amen.
Pardonne, ô Seigneur, si nous avons murmuré en voyant la désolation de ton temple; pardonne à notre raison ébranlée! L’homme n’est lui-même qu’un édifice tombé, qu’un débris du péché et de la mort; son amour tiède, sa foi chancelante, sa charité bornée, ses sentiments incomplets, ses pensées insuffisantes, son cœur brisé, tout chez lui n’est que ruines.
The Information service of the Pontifical Mission Societies, Agenzia Fides [source/link], has published the statistics concerning the number of pastoral care workers killed in 2015.
VATICAN - PASTORAL CARE WORKERS KILLED IN 2015
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - The wake of pastoral workers killed in this historic phase of humanity reveals an unprecedented upsurge. It seems to have no equal in the history, because it is an ongoing globalized persecution. Indeed Christians killed in this year, that our Agency regularly records, belong to 4 continents. America, already for seven consecutive years has the sad primacy with eight pastoral workers killed. Followed by Asia with seven, Africa with five and finally Europe with two priests in Spain.
These numbers are just the tip of the iceberg of global persecution of Christians that, as we read in the Letter to Diognetus, love all, and are persecuted by all. Isis, Boko Haram, discrimination in various countries where religion is an affair of State, make being a Christian difficult and heroic, subject to attacks and massacres. It is necessary that Christ is in agony until the end of the world, when there will be the Kingdom of justice and peace.
With this dossier and with the timely information of this persecution, our Agency aims to bring to light these dramas of humanity, in order to arouse the conscience of all people of good will to build a more just and supportive society.—Fr. Vito Del Prete, PIME
Vatican City (Agenzia Fides) - According to information in our possession, during 2015, 22 pastoral care workers were killed worldwide, three more compared to 2013. For the seventh consecutive year, the place most affected, with an extremely elevated number of pastoral care workers killed is AMERICA.
From 2000 to 2015, 396 pastoral workers, including 5 Bishops were killed worldwide.
The pastoral care workers who died violently in 2015 are:
13 priests; 4 religious sisters; 5 lay people:
America: 8 pastoral care workers were killed (7 priests, one religious sister)
Africa: 5 pastoral care workers were killed (3 priests, 1 religious sister)
Asia: 7 pastoral care workers were killed (1 priest, 2 religious sisters, 4 lay people)
Europe: two priests were killed.
Once again the majority of the pastoral care workers in 2015 were killed in attempted robbery, and in some cases violently attacked, a sign of the climate of moral decline, economic and cultural poverty, which generates violence and disregard for human life. They all lived in these human and social contexts, administering the sacraments, helping the poor, taking care of orphans and drug addicts, following development projects or simply opening the door of their home to anyone. And some were murdered by the same people who they helped. "Yesterday, as today, the darkness of the denial of life appears. But shining still stronger is the light of love that overcomes hatred and inaugurates a new world" (Pope Francis, Angelus of 26 December 2015).
May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
At Mass this morning, Father challenged us to be "stars" to those in our lives who are seeking the truth. People look to many "stars" in the world: rock stars, sports stars, TV and movie stars. But how many seek the only stars that really matter: those who lead us to the light and the truth.
The Three Kings dropped everything to follow the star and it was no small feat. We don't know how far they came, but scripture certainly gives the impression it was a great distance. St. Jean Vianney tells us they left everything, faced the ridicule of their own peers, and willingly accepted the challenges of the journey.
When they arrived in Jerusalem, they naturally went to the palace. Certainly, the king of Judea would know about the baby and seek Him. And Herod did seek Him -- not to find the Way, the Truth, and the Life; but to kill Him, because he thought the baby threatened to his power. And his advisers, the priests and prophets helped him. Don't you find that shocking? They, who knew all the prophecies and informed the wise men and professed to believe -- why did they not immediately go to find the King as well? They were, after all, awaiting the Messiah weren't they? And yet all the priests and prophets did was point the wise men on their way, but stayed where they were, apparently indifferent to God's promise. St. Ignatius of Loyola says they were like signposts, stuck in the mud so to speak. Why? Why did these descendants of Moses and Abraham and David not seek the Lord?
Perhaps for the same reason so many of our religious leaders today embrace the world's wisdom and shun the truths taught by Jesus Christ. Did the priests of Judah prefer the king's approval and the perks that came with working in the palace to Yahweh's promises? Did they love hobnobbing with the rich and powerful and fear that seeking the real King would jeopardize their positions of influence? Sad, isn't it, to trade a relationship with the Lord of the universe for a place at Herod's table.
What kind of a star do you want to be in 2016? One that is worshiped and followed by those who love the world? Or do you want to be a "star light, star bright" that, like Our Lady, magnifies not yourself but the Lord.
Now, the question is -- how do I become that light? I know it begins with prayer and so I resolve to continue my practice of daily Mass and the daily rosary. I'm adding a daily prayer seeking St. Joseph's assistance. As patron of the universal Church, he can help us get things back on track by following him as the star of fidelity and humility. We can hardly do better (except by following the Mother of God) than imitating the "just man" of the gospels.
Who are the stars in your life? And who do you want to lead to the Light of the World?
May 2016 be a pilgrimage of truth and love for all of us.
A new year and new resolutions. Time was when I had the time to think these through at length. Time was. Gosh, I thought nostalgia was a pre-31st December feeling.
As I go into the new year, however, as I prune back the deadwood in the hope of bearing some fruit again, I'm afraid my axe is about to fall upon this blog. It will have its last day on the Feast of the Epiphany on Wednesday 6th January, after which it will be gone. Vamoose.
First, let me say a big thank you to frequent and less frequent readers. I have known and even met some of you, and my life has been immeasurably enriched thereby. Several I am now able to count as close friends.
Second, let me say a big thank you to those who comment - sometimes at length, often very perceptively - on what I have been discussing.
I think that covers just about everyone.
Will I blog again? Possibly, and possibly even under this blog's name. Just not now.
My aim is not to stop writing but rather to get on with writing other things that are frankly more important in the long run. I know regular readers will miss my often ironic contributions to the commentariat; this is a blog written by an eccentric for eccentrics, and it shows. Yet what can I say but that the more prolix the current Sovereign Pontiff gets, the more I have been turning against verbal jabberings of any kind, at least on the public life of the Church? Some demons can only be cast out by prayer and fasting. Our communion from here on in must be in prayer rather than in bloggerrhea.
And I say this with the words of my master Bernanos sounding in my mind: our Church is the Church of saints. There never was, is not now, nor will there ever be any other solution to our current ills than the deepening holiness of the Church's members. Only the wisdom of God can cure the rabid stupidity of our age. Only the love of God can counter its putrid spiritual frigidity. I'm afflicted by both these ills and, again, there is only one cure: as Bernanos says of St Francis, it is to plunge oneself again into the sources of holiness.
Well, that's it really. A sensible ending, I hope. Or as Porky Pig says ...
Worin bestehen die wesentlichen Unterschiede zwischen der traditionellen, d.h. aristotelischen Logik und der modernen Logik? Zu dieser Frage gibt es so gut wie keine Darstellungen. Es wird zwar von Vertretern beider Seiten betont, dass die Unterschiede sehr groß sind und man kann auch eine Liste von Unterschieden nennen, durch die sich beide "Arten" der Logik unterscheiden, aber worin der Unterschied im Wesentlichen besteht bleibt dabei offen. Im Folgenden möchte ich diesen wesentlichen Unterschied zumindest andeutungsweise herausarbeiten.
Was ist traditionelle Logik?
Die traditionelle Logik geht, wie gesagt, auf Aristoteles und andere griechische Philosophen zurück und wurde durch die mittelalterlichen Philosophen erheblich weiterentwickelt, vereinfacht, formalisiert und systematisiert. Im Zentrum der traditionellen Logik steht die sogenannte Syllogistik. Das klassische Beispiel eines solchen Syllogismus ist:
Alle Menschen sind sterblich
Sokrates ist ein Mensch
Also ist Sokrates sterblich
Diese Art der Logik wird oft auch als Begriffslogik bezeichnet und schon in diesem Titel wird der Unterschied zur modernen formalen oder mathematischen Logik angedeutet. Die Begriffslogik behandelt vor allem (wenn auch nicht ausschließlich) die Beziehungen zwischen Begriffen in Argumenten (in unserem Beispiel sind das die Begriffe „Menschen“, „sterblich“ und „Sokrates“). Die Gültigkeit eines Arguments in dieser Art der Logik ist abhängig von der Anordnung der Begriffe im Argument.
Was ist ein Begriff?
Unter einem Begriff im traditionellen Sinne versteht man eine essentielle Bestimmung. Essentielle Bestimmungen sind insbesondere Wesenheiten und Eigenschaften. Begriffe werden sprachlich durch Worte ausgedrückt, wie „Mensch“ oder „sterblich“, doch Begriffe sind nicht identisch mit Worten. Der Begriff Mensch, der sprachlich mit dem deutschen Wort „Mensch“ ausgedrückt wird, kann auch in jeder anderen Sprache ausgedrückt werden. Der Begriff bezieht sich auf das, was mit dem Wort gemeint ist, nämlich auf den Menschen, auf sein Wesen.
Da die neuzeitliche Philosophie seit Descartes und bereits vorher im Spätmittelalter bei William von Occam Wesenheiten und Eigenschaften grundsätzlich in Frage stellt, muss dies auch Auswirkungen auf die Logik haben. Allerdings gelingt es der neuzeitlichen Philosophie über Jahrhunderte nicht, eine eigenständige Logik zu entwickeln, die ihren, im Verhältnis zur aristotelisch-scholastischen Philosophie, ganz anderen philosophischen Hintergrund repräsentiert. Leibniz hatte zwar bereits eine Vorstellung von einer Logik, die dem modernen Denken entspricht, doch gelang es ihm nicht, diese selbst auszuarbeiten. Er träumte von einer Logik, die er als „calculus ratiocinator“ bezeichnete, quasi eine „Logikmaschine“ (ähnlich wie die von ihm entwickelte Rechenmaschine), die alle logischen Probleme lösen kann. Der Hintergrund eines solchen logischen Kalküls, wie es heute auch genannt wird, ist der Versuch, die gesamte Realität in rein quantitative Bestimmungen auflösen, denn genau dies ist erforderlich, um eine Logik zu entwickeln, die vollständig frei ist von allen essentiellen Bestimmungen; eine Logik, die man als „reine Logik“ bezeichnen kann, da sie ohne direkten Bezug zur Realität arbeitet.
Was Leibniz noch nicht gelang, dies wurde dann im 19. Jahrhundert verwirklicht. Durch den Einfluss der Aufklärung und des wissenschaftlichen Materialismus im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert, sowie durch die zunehmenden Erfolge der quantitativen Naturwissenschaften gelang es zunächst dem Jenaer Philosophen und Mathematiker Gottlob Frege und auf dessen Grundlage Bertrand Russell und Whitehead eine völlig neuartige Form der Logik zu entwickeln. Frege versuchte zu zeigen, dass die gesamte Mathematik auf Logik zurückführbar ist. Sein Versuch scheiterte zwar, doch wurde dieses Projekt von Russell und Whitehead, z.T. in Zusammenarbeit und mit Anregungen von Ludwig Wittgenstein, weiterentwickelt und in der berühmten „Principia Mathematica“ niedergelegt. Hier finden sich bereits alle wichtigen Grundlagen der modernen Logik.
Die Grundlage dieser neuen Logik ist eine neue Methode, mit deren Hilfe es möglich wurde, alle Gedanken und Schlussfolgerungen zu quantifizieren. Schon hier wird sichtbar, dass die Zielsetzung bzw. die Absicht dieser neuen Logik eine ganz andere ist, als die der klassischen Logik. Die moderne Logik ist eine mathematische und d.h. quantifizierende Logik, die ihr Hauptanwendungsgebiet im Bereich der Mathematik hat und nicht in der Philosophie. Ganz zurecht ist die moderne Logik deshalb heute auch ein Teilgebiet der Mathematik, während sie früher zur Philosophie gehörte.
Worin bestehen die Unterschiede von traditioneller und moderner Logik?
Wenn man in moderne Einführungen in die Logik schaut (von denen es sehr viele und sehr gute gibt), dann werden die Unterschiede zwischen den beiden Arten der Logik unterschiedlich beurteilt. Im Allgemeinen aber wird gesagt, dass das Anwendungsgebiet der traditionellen Logik sehr begrenzt ist und dieser Anwendungsbereich durch die moderne Logik ganz erheblich erweitert wurde. Bestenfalls könnte die traditionelle Logik als ein kleines Teilgebiet in die moderne Logik „aufgehoben“ (im dreifachen Sinne dieses Wortes) werden. Zudem gibt es verschiedene Versuche, die traditionelle Logik mit den Mitteln der modernen Logik neu zu formulieren.
Es gibt aber auch andere Stimmen, die nicht nur graduelle Unterschiede zwischen beiden Arten der Logik sehen, sondern die einen radikalen Unterschied feststellen und diese Stimmen kommen sowohl aus dem Lager der Neuscholastiker als auch dem Lager der modernen Logiker.
So bezeichnet der Neothomist und traditionelle Logiker Jacques Maritain die moderne Logik als „Logistik“ (ein Begriff, der von Kritikern der modernen Logik später dann oft verwendet wurde) und behauptet, dass Logistik und Logik zwei getrennte Disziplinen sind, die sich gegenseitig völlig fremd sind. Für Maritain ist die moderne Logik überhaupt keine Logik. Etwas Ähnliches, nur von der anderen Seite, von Seiten der modernen Logik, behauptet Bertrand Russell. Er sagt, dass die traditionelle Logik vollständig antiquiert ist, so ähnliche wie das ptolemäische Weltbild. Die aristotelische Syllogistik sei völlig unwichtig und wer in unserer Zeit Logik studieren möchte, würde nur seine Zeit verschwenden, wenn er Aristoteles oder einen seiner späteren Schüler lesen würde.
Den Unterschied zwischen den beiden Arten der Logik kann man in drei Hinsichten zusammenfassen: Zunächst unterscheiden sich beide Systeme durch ihre Hintergrundannahmen, d.h. vor allem durch den philosophischen Hintergrund. Zweitens unterscheiden sich beide Systeme durch die Struktur der Systeme und drittens ist der Zweck der beiden Systeme völlig verschieden. In allen drei Hinsichten reflektiert die traditionelle Logik eine traditionelle Auffassung der Welt, so wie die moderne Logik eine moderne, neuzeitliche Weltauffassung reflektiert. Dies bedeutet, dass letztlich beide Logiksysteme eine unterschiedliche Metaphysik widerspiegeln. Jedes der beiden Systeme hat seinen eigenen metaphysischen Hintergrund.
In einem folgenden Blogbeitrag werde ich diesen metaphysischen Hintergrund am Beispiel der bekannten Wahrheitstafeln der modernen Logik zu demonstrieren versuchen. Die traditionelle Logik kennt solche Wahrheitstafeln nicht, während sie im System der modernen Logik eine zentrale Rolle spielen.
Text in purple indicates Fr. MacEvilly’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.
1 Jn5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
And what faith is it that overcomes the world, but Christian faith, of which the belief in the Divinity of Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, is the foundation?
“Who is he that overcometh the world,” &c.—In other words, no one can have the faith whereby the world is overcome except he who believes “that Jesus is the Son of God.” The Apostle shows, in this verse, what the faith is, to which he refers, it is the faith of which the belief in Christ’s Divinity is the foundation. Of course, he supposes this Christian, victorious faith, to be an operative faith, a faith enlivened by charity, and he refers to the article regarding the Divinity of Christ in a special manner, both here and in other parts of this Epistle, in consequence of the leading errors of the day being specially levelled against this—the foundation of the Christian religion.
1 Jn 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, Jesus Christ: not by water only but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit which testifieth that Christ is the truth.
This is he, who has come into the world, Jesus Christ, God and man, to save us according to the prediction of the Prophets, by the water of baptism and the blood of his passion, and not by water only, as came the Baptist, whose baptism had only the effect of preparing men for penance, but by water and blood. And we have also the testimony of the Holy Ghost, bearing witness to the truth of Christ’s Divinity and Humanity.
The Apostle here proves, that Christ is the long expected Messiah, the Son of God. “Jesus Christ,” God and man, the Saviour of the world, who, as the prophets predicted, was about to redeem mankind by his blood, and expiate their sins in the waters of Baptism (Ezechiel, 36:25, &c., 47; Zach. 12:13). “This is he that came” (or, as the Greek, ὅ ἐλθων implies, this is the man long expected to come), “by water and blood,” to redeem the world, and spiritually regenerate mankind “by water” of baptism “and blood” of his passion, of which the baptism in water, and purifications by the shedding of blood, among the Jews, were so many significant types and figures. “Not by water only,” in which allusion is evidently made to the Baptist, of whom it is everywhere pointedly asserted by the Evangelist—and the same is repeatedly asserted by himself—that he came to baptize in water only, and that he was sent by God for this purpose, and his baptism did not of itself remit sin, as it most probably, was a mere preparation for penance, and for the true baptism instituted by Christ. “But by water and blood.” He came “by water,” because he instituted baptism of water, whereof that which issued from his side while hanging on the cross was a sign; and “by blood,” poured forth on the cross, from which baptism, and all the other channels of divine grace, derive their efficacy. “And it is the Spirit that testifieth, that Christ is the truth”; to the testimony of the water and blood, the Apostle adds that of the Holy Ghost, who testified to the Divinity of Christ, during his sacred life, working wonders in proof thereof; and after his death and resurrection, when descending on the Apostles, in the form of fiery tongues, he filled them with his graces, he also bore testimony to the same, in the many gifts which he bestowed on the faithful. In the Greek reading the words run thus: καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα ἐστιν τὸ μαρτυροῦν, ὅτι τὸ πνεῦμαεστιν, η ἀληθεια “and it is the Spirit that testifieth, because the Spirit is truth,” according to which the meaning is: the Holy Ghost also bears testimony, that Christ is the expected Messiah and Saviour of the world, and this testimony is of the greatest weight, because the Holy Ghost is essential truth. The Vulgate reading is, however, preferable, since the question regards the truth of Christ’s Divinity and Humanity; both of which are necessary to constitute him the true Saviour of the world.
1 Jn 5:7 And there are Three who give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost. And these three are one.
For, there are three divine and uncreated witnesses, who, in heaven and from heaven, bear testimony both to angels and men, that Christ is true God and true man, and the Saviour of the world, viz.; the Father, the Word (or Son), and the Holy Ghost, and these, although three in Person, are one in Nature.
The Apostle now adduces the most incontrovertible evidence of the truth of his assertion made in the foregoing verse, viz., that Jesus Christ was the long-expected Messiah, true God and true man, who was to come and redeem mankind. The witnesses here adduced are divine witnesses. (Such is the meaning of “in heaven,” as contradistinguished from “on earth,” next verse), viz., the three Adorable Persons of the Trinity, “the Father,” who bore testimony to Christ (Matthew, 1:21; 3:17; 17:5; John, 12:28);—“the Word,” that is, the Son. He bore testimony that he was himself the Messiah promised by the Father, and proved it by repeated miracles (John. chap. 5, verses 17, 36; 8:14, 25; 10:25);—and finally, he testified that he was the Son of God in presence of the High Priest, during his sacred Passion. “And the Holy Ghost.” The Holy Ghost testified, that Christ was the only begotten Son of God, and in his assumed nature, the Saviour of the world, viz., at his baptism by John, on the day of Pentecost; and in the abundant effusion of his heavenly gifts, on many occasions.
“And these three are one.” These three witnesses, who “in heaven,” and from heaven, give a testimony certain beyond all doubt, regarding Christ’s Divinity and Humanity, His Mediatorial and Redemptory qualities, as man-God, although distinct in Person, are one and indivisible in the same divine nature and essence. The word “one” is taken in the same sense in which it is taken in chap. 10 of John, where our Redeemer says, “I and the Father are One,” that is, we possess the same power and the same divine essence. Hence, the evidence which St. John here adduces is that of the Godhead, three in Person and one in nature.
1 Jn 5:8 And there are three that give testimony on earth: the spirit and the water and the blood. And these three are one.
And there are three earthly and created witnesses that bear testimony on earth to the reality of the same Divinity and Humanity in Jesus Christ, viz., the water, and blood, that issued from his side on the cross, and his soul which he breathed forth, when expiring; and these three witnesses concur in one and the same testimony.
And there are three earthly and created witnesses (such is the meaning of “on earth,” as contrasted with “in heaven,” in the preceding verse), viz., “the Spirit,” that is, the created soul of Christ, which he breathed forth with a loud cry upon the cross; from the mode in which this happened, the Centurion cried out, “truly this man was the Son of God,” (Mark, 15:39), “and the water and the blood.” The “water”—the first and chiefest of material elements—which flowed from his side extended on the cross, and the “blood”—the first of the four humours whereby animated creatures live—which likewise flowed there from, and which he abundantly shed during his entire Passion, proved him to have a true body. He had, then, a true body and a soul (“spirit.”) These three witnesses, therefore, prove him to be a real man. They also prove him to be truly God also; since the very mode in which he expired convinced the Centurion at the foot of the cross of this; and his laying down his life freely, and reuniting, by an astonishing effort of his own power, his soul and body in his Resurrection, the circumstances, and mode; and time of which he predicted beforehand, also proves the same. “And these three are one,” that is (as is more clearly expressed in the Greek, εἰς τὸ ἔν εἰσιν, unto one); they conspire together and concur in one and the same testimony, viz., that Jesus Christ is both God and man.
The authenticity of this passage, from the words of verse 7, “in heaven,” to the words of verse 8, “on earth,” inclusively, has been disputed, and has given rise to several learned critical dissertations, for and against.
1 Jn 5:9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater. For this is the testimony of God, which is greater, because he hath testified of his Son.
But, if we admit the testimony of two or three men, as conclusive on any subject, how much more weight should we not attach to the undoubted testimony of God the Father. Now, the testimony of God has been pledged in favour of the divinity of his Son (Matthew, 3:17; 17:25, &c.)
By an argument, a minori ad magus, he sets forth, in a still clearer light the weight of the Divine testimony, which he adduces in verse 7. If the testimony of two or three witnesses, taken from among men, be regarded as final and decisive on any subject, “in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall stand,” (Deut. 19:15), how much more authoritative must not the testimony of God the Father be, when joined to the concordant testimony of the two other Persons of the Adorable Trinity. Now, “this is the testimony of God, which is greater,” viz., that which “he has borne concerning his Son,” (which is greater, is not in the Greek). The ordinary Greek copies, in place of, “because he hath testified,” have, ην μεμαρτυρηκε, which he hath testified, as if he said the testimony of the Father, to which I refer, is that which regards the Son. When it was, that the Father had borne this testimony, has been already shown (verse 7). The Alexandrian and Vatican MSS. support the Vulgate, and have ὅτι μεμαρτυρηκεν.
1 Jn 5:10 He that believeth in the Son of God hath the testimony of God in himself. He that believeth not the Son maketh him a liar: because he believeth not in the testimony which God hath testified of his Son.
He that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God and the Word Incarnate, has within himself, and firmly assents to, the testimony of God the Father regarding him, and thus honours the Father; whereas, he that does not believe him to be the Son of God, insults and outrages the veracity of God, by making him a liar, since he does not believe the testimony which he has borne regarding his son, but rather rejects it, as if it were false.
In this verse is contained a tacit exhortation to embrace and retain the faith regarding Jesus Christ, which the Apostle has been proposing throughout this chapter, in refutation of the errors of the day, viz., that he is true God and true man, the Saviour and Mediator given by God to mankind—“he that believeth in the Son of God,” in the sense now explained, “hath the testimony of God in himself,” that is, firmly assents to what God testified, and thereby honours him by doing homage to his veracity. The words “of God,” are omitted in the Greek, they are, however, found in the Alexandrian MS. On the other hand, “he that believeth not the Son,” (in Greek, “he that believeth not God,” ὁ μὴ πιστευων τῳ Θεῷ the Alexandrian MS. favours the Vulgate); he that refuses to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, “maketh him a liar,” proclaims by this unbelief that God is a liar, having borne testimony to what is false, “because he believeth not in the testimony which God had testified.” He believes not what God has testified “of his Son,” viz., that Jesus is his Son, and the Saviour of the world; but rejects it as false, as if God were a liar.
1 Jn 5:11 And this is the testimony that God hath given to us eternal life. And this life is in his Son.
And a portion of the testimony of the Father regarding Jesus, is this, that he has given us, who believe in him, and obey his law, the life of grace here, which is a certain pledge of glory, and he will surely give us eternal life hereafter, and this life of grace and of glory is attributable to the saving merits of his Son.
“And this is the testimony,” that is, the following is a part of the testimony which the Father “hath testified of his Son,” (verse 10), or the result of our faith in this testimony is, “that God had given to us eternal life,” in its certain seed, viz., sanctifying grace, in hope here, and in the actual possession of it hereafter. “And this life is in his Son,” that is, his Son is the meritorious cause of the graces which God imparts to us here, and of our glory hereafter. The practical advantage, resulting to us from God’s testimony, concerning his Son, and from our faith in it, is life eternal, which is to be obtained through his merits; he, therefore, is justly entitled to be termed our Saviour.
1 Jn 5:12 He that hath the Son hath life. He that hath not the Son hath not life.
He that has the Son residing in him, owing to his lively operative faith, has within himself the fountain of all grace, and the source of eternal life. On the other hand, he that has not this lively operative faith in the Son of God, has no claim or title to eternal life.
The Apostle, here, again exhorts them to have faith in Jesus Christ, on the grounds both of its great utility, “hath life,” and of its necessity, “he that hath not,” &c., “hath not life.”
“He that hath the Son,” means, he that believes in the Son of God, and, of course, it is understood, obeys his law, thus having a faith that worketh by charity, hath life, has within himself the source, and a sure pledge of eternal life. Whereas, “he that hath not the Son of God,” either by not believing in him, or who, although he believes, still, obeys not his law, whose faith, therefore, is dead and inoperative, such a man “hath not life.” There is no other name under heaven, given to men, wherein they may be saved (Acts, 4:12), “no one comes to the Father but by me,” (John, 14). The Apostle thus particularly insists on the necessity of faith in Christ, owing to the errors of the time, which were specially directed against this fundamental point of belief.
1 Jn 5:13 These things I write to you that you may know that you have eternal life: you who believe in the name of the Son of God.
These things I have written to you, regarding the utility and necessity of faith in Christ, in order that you who believe in the Son of God, may know that you have here a sure claim to eternal life, and may thus be stimulated to perseverance in the same faith.
“These things,” which have been mentioned in the preceding verse, “I write to you,” (in Greek, ἔγραψα, I have written to you), “that you may know, that you have eternal life,” that is, a claim to eternal life, and a sure earnest here, which, however, is not inamissible; “you who believe in the name of his Son,” or, in his Son himself. Name, is used for the person named. In some Greek copies, these words, and that you may believe in the name of the Son of God, are added, and must mean, unless we fall into a useless tautology, that you may persevere in the same belief, which you hold at present. The same is, however, sufficiently implied in our version, since it was to encourage them to persevere in the faith, notwithstanding the allurements of pleasure and the pressure of persecution, that he writes these things. The words are wanting in the Alexandrian and Vatican MSS., which support the Vulgate reading. Similar are the words of the gospel: “These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in his name.”—(John. 20:31).
4:14. And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit unto Galilee.
Having left the habitations of cities, He dwelt in deserts: there He fasted, being tempted of Satan; there He gained victory in our behalf: there He crushed the heads of the dragons: there, as the blessed David says, “The swords of the enemy utterly failed, and cities were destroyed,” that is, those who were like towers and cities. Having therefore mightily prevailed over Satan, and having crowned in His own person man’s nature with the spoils won by the victory over him, He returned unto Galilee in the power of the Spirit, both exercising might and authority, and performing very many miracles, and occasioning great astonishment. And He wrought miracles, not as having deceived the grace of the Spirit from without and as a gift, like the company of the saints, but rather as being by nature and in truth the Son of God the Father, and taking whatever is His as His own proper inheritance. For He even said unto Him, “That all that is Mine is Thine, and Thine Mine, and I am glorified in them.” He is glorified therefore by exercising as His own proper might and power that of the consubstantial Spirit.
4:16. And He came to Nazareth: and entered into the synagogue.
Since therefore it was now necessary that He should manifest Himself to the Israelites, and that the mystery of His incarnation should now shine forth to those who knew Him not, and inasmuch as He was now anointed of God the Father for the salvation of the world, He very wisely orders this also, [viz. that His fame should now spread abroad.] And this favour He grants first to the people of Nazareth, because, humanly speaking, He had been brought up among them. Having entered, therefore, the synagogue, He takes the book to read: and having opened it, selected a passage in the prophets, which declares the mystery concerning Him. And by these words He most plainly Himself tells us by the voice of the prophet, that He both would be made man, and come to save the world. For we affirm, that the Son was anointed in no other way than by having become according to the flesh |59 such as we are, and taken our nature. For being at once God and man, He both gives the Spirit to the creation in His divine nature, and receives it from God the Father in His human nature; while it is He Who sanctifies the whole creation, both as having shone forth from the Holy Father, and as bestowing the Spirit, Which He Himself pours 6 forth, both upon the powers above as That Which is His own, and upon those moreover who recognised His appearing.
4:18. The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me; therefore He hath anointed Me: He hath sent Me to preach the Gospel to the poor.
He plainly shews by these words that He took upon Him the humiliation and submission to the emptying (of His glory), and both the very name of Christ and the reality for our sakes: for the Spirit, He says, which by nature is in Me by the sameness of Our substance and deity, also descended upon Me from without. And so also in the Jordan It came upon Me in the form of a dove, not because It was not in Me, but for the reason for which He anointed Me. And what was the reason for which He chose to be anointed?It was our being destitute of the Spirit by that denunciation of old, “My Spirit shall not abide in these men, because they are flesh.” |60
These words the incarnate Word of God speaks: for being very God of very God the Father, and having become for our sakes man without undergoing change, with us He is anointed with the oil of gladness, the Spirit having descended upon Him at the Jordan in the form of a dove. For in old time both kings and priests were anointed symbolically, gaining thereby a certain measure of sanctification: but He Who for our sakes became incarnate, was anointed with the spiritual oil of sanctification, and the actual descent of the Spirit, receiving It not for Himself, but for us. For inasmuch as the Spirit had taken its flight, and not made His abode in us because of our being flesh, the earth was full of grief, being deprived of the participation of God.
And He proclaimed also deliverance to captives, which also He accomplished by having bound the strong one, Satan, who in tyrant fashion lorded it over our race, and having torn away from Him us his goods.
As the words “He anointed Me” befit the manhood: for it is not the divine nature which is anointed, but that which is akin to us: so also the words “He sent Me” are to be referred to that which is human.
Those also whose heart was of old obscured by the darkness of the devil, He has illuminated by rising as some Sun of Righteousness, and making them the children no longer of night and darkness, but of light and day, according to Paul’s word, And those who were blind,—–for the Apostate had blinded their hearts,—-have recovered their sight, and acknowledged the truth; and, as Isaiah says, “Their darkness has become light:” that is, the ignorant have become wise: those that once were in error, have known the paths of righteousness. And the Father also says somewhere unto the Son Himself, “I have given Thee for a covenant of kindred, for a light of the Gentiles, to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out the prisoners from their bonds, and from the guard-house those that sit in darkness.” For the Only-begotten came into this world and gave a new covenant to His kindred, the Israelites, of whom He was sprung according to the flesh, even the covenant long before announced by the voice of the prophets. But the divine and heavenly light shone also upon the Gentiles: and He went and preached to the spirits in |61 Hades, and showed Himself to those who were shut up in the guard-house, and freed all from their bonds and violence. And how do not these things plainly prove that Christ is both God, and of God by nature?
And what means the sending away the broken in freedom? It is the letting those go free whom Satan had broken by the rod of spiritual violence. And what means the preaching the acceptable year of the Lord? It signifies the joyful tidings of His own advent, that the time of the Lord, even the Son, had arrived. For that was the acceptable year in which Christ was crucified in our behalf, because we then were made acceptable unto God the Father, as the fruit borne by Him. Wherefore He said, “When I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all men unto Myself.” And verily He returned to life the third day, having trampled upon the power of death: after which He said to His disciples, “All power has been given Me, &c.” That too is in every respect an acceptable year in which, being received into His family, we were admitted unto Him, having washed away sin by holy baptism, and been made partakers of His divine nature by the communion of the Holy Ghost. That too is an acceptable year, in which He manifested His glory by ineffable miracles: for with joy have we accepted the season of His salvation, which also the very wise Paul referred to, saying, “Behold, now is the acceptable time, behold now is the day of salvation:” the day, when the poor who erewhile were sick by the absence of every blessing, having no hope and being without God in the world, such as were the gentiles, were made rich by faith in Him, gaining the divine and heavenly treasure of the Gospel message of salvation; by which they have been made partakers of the kingdom of heaven, copartners with the saints, and heirs of blessings such as neither the mind can conceive nor language tell. “For eye, it saith, hath not seen, and car hath not heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things that God hath prepared for them that love Him.” Though it may also be true, that the text here speaks of the abundant supply of graces bestowed by Christ upon the poor in spirit,
But by the bruised in heart, He means, those who have a weak and yielding mind, unable to resist the attacks of their |62 passions, and so carried along by them, as to seem to be captives: to these He promises both healing and forgiveness.
And to those who are blind, He gives the recovering of sight. For those who serve the creature instead of the Creator, “and say to the wood, Thou art my father, and to the stone, Thou hast begotten me,” without recognising Him Who is by nature and in truth God, how can they be ought else than blind, seeing they have a heart devoid of the light that is divine and spiritual? And on these the Father bestows the light of the true knowledge of God: for they are called through faith, and acknowledge Him, or rather are acknowledged of Him, and whereas they were children of night and darkness, they have been made children of light. For the day has shone upon them, and the sun of righteousness has arisen, and the bright morning star has dawned.
There is no objection, however, to any one’s referring all these declarations to the Israelites. For they were poor, and crushed in heart, and, so to speak, prisoners, and in darkness. “For there was not upon earth that was doing good, not even one. But all had turned aside, together they had become unprofitable.” But Christ came, preaching to the Israelites before all others, the glories of His advent. And like to their maladies were those of the Gentiles; but they have been redeemed by Him, having been enriched with His wisdom, and endowed with understanding, and no longer is their mind weak and broken, but healthy and strong, and ready to receive and practise every good and saving work. For in their error they had need of wisdom and understanding, who in their great folly worshipped the creature instead of the Creator, and inscribed stocks and stones with the name of Gods. But those who long ago lived in gloom and darkness, because they knew not Christ, now acknowledge Him as their God.
These words having been read to the assembled people, He drew upon Himself the eyes of all, wondering perhaps how He knew letters Who had not learnt. For it was the wont of the Israelites to say, that the prophecies concerning Christ were fullilled, either in the persons of some of their more glorious kings, or, at all events, in the holy prophets. For not correctly understanding what was written of Him, they missed the |63 true direction, and travelled on another path. But that they might not again thus misinterpret the present prophecy, He carefully guards against error by saying, “This day is this prophecy fulfilled in your ears,” expressly setting Himself before them in these words, as the person spoken of in the prophecy. For it was He Who preached the kingdom of heaven to the heathen, who were poor, having nothing, neither God, nor law, nor prophets; or rather, He preached it unto all who were destitute of spiritual riches: the captives He set free, having overthrown the apostate tyrant Satan, and Himself shed the divine and spiritual light on those whose heart was darkened; for which reason He said, “I am come a light into this world:” it was He Who unbound the chains of sin from those whose heart was crushed thereby: Who clearly shewed that there is a life to come, and denounced the just judgment. Finally, it was He Who preached the acceptable year of the Lord, even that in which the Saviour’s proclamation was made: for by the acceptable year I think is meant His first coming; and by the day of restitution the day of judgment.
4:22. And all bare Him witness and wondered.
For not understanding Him Who had been anointed and sent, and Who was the Author of works so wonderful, they returned to their usual ways, and talk foolishly and vainly concerning Him. For although they had wondered at the words of grace that proceeded out of His mouth, yet their wish was to treat them as valueless: for they said, “Is not this the son of Joseph?”But what does this diminish from the glory of the Worker of the miracles? What prevents Him from being both to be venerated and admired, even had He been, as was supposed, the son of Joseph? Seest thou not the miracles? Satan fallen, the herds of devils vanquished, multitudes set free from various kinds of maladies?Thou praisest the grace that was present in His teachings; and then dost thou, in Jewish fashion, think lightly of Him, because He accounted Joseph for His father? O great senselessness! True is it to say of them, “Lo! a people foolish, and without understanding: they have eyes and see not, ears, and hear not.” |64 (source)
Note: to help provide context I have included Fr. MacEvilly’s summaries of chapters 4 and 5. The notes then follow. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.
SUMMARY OF 1 JOHN 4~In this chapter, the Apostle cautions the faithful against embracing, too readily, any doctrine proposed to them, or against attaching themselves, without due consideration, to every teacher that may pretend to a divine inspiration; because, many false teachers even in his day, went forth to deceive the people (verse 1). He gives a special mark for distinguishing true doctrine or true teachers from the false, derived from the doctrine of Christ’s Incarnation (2, 3).
He attributes the stability of the faithful, and their resistance to the false teachers, to the grace and power of God dwelling in them (4). He next accounts why these false teachers have followers in the world, on the ground, that they please the world in their preaching (5). He assigns a general note, accommodated to all times, for distinguishing true and false teachers, viz., their rejecting or receiving the doctrine of the Church, and submitting to the authority of her chief Pastors (6).
The Apostle resumes the subject of brotherly love, from which he digressed (3:2, 3), and while exhorting them to love one another, shows the advantages of loving our neighbour (7), and the evils of not loving him; and how incompatible the hatred of our brother is with the love of God (8). He extols the charity of God for us, on account of the great sacrifice it involved (9), and on account of its utter gratuitousness, being wholly unmerited on our part (10); from this he draws a conclusion containing an exhortation to us, after the example of the great love of God for us (11). He says that, although no one ever saw God; and hence, no one could either love him as he deserves, or make him a return of love; still, God dwells in us intimately, if we love our brethren (12). God has given another proof of his love, and of his abiding in us, in the spiritual gifts bestowed on the Church (13).
From the testimony of the senses, he demonstrates the certainty of God having sent his Son to redeem us: this point, and the necessity of believing it, he dwells on particularly, owing to its great importance (14, 15). The Apostle again refers to the great charity of God in sending his Son to redeem us, and asserts that God is himself the increated charity, from which all created charity flows (16). He shows the effect of charity, viz., to give us confidence in the day of judgment (17). He shows how this charity excludes all servile or perplexing fear (18).
He next exhorts us to love God, and assigns the reason of this (19), and proves that no one can love God and hate his neighbour—first, because the thing is impossible (20); and, secondly, because the man who hates his neighbour, violates God’s precepts, and, therefore, cannot love God (21).
SUMMARY OD 1 JOHN 5~In this chapter, the Apostle continues his exhortation to brotherly love; he considers our brethren as sons of God, and under this respect, he exhorts us to love them, since our love of the Father involves the love of his sons (verse 1). He gives a mark for knowing that we love our neighbour, viz., if we love God himself and observe his commandments (2). The surest test of our loving God himself is to keep his commandments, and this duty is not too grievous to the sons of God, aided by his actual graces (3). He shows that His commandments are not grievous to the sons of God, since, every description of persons born of Him have conquered the world, and thus observed his precepts, and the instrumental cause of this victory is faith (4), viz., the faith in Christ, as God and man (5).
The Apostle next proves Christ to be Saviour of the world, of whom the Prophets predicted, that he would redeem mankind by water and blood,—and the Holy Ghost also, on divers occasions, testified that he was true God and true man (6). He next adduces three undoubted witnesses in heaven (7), and three witnesses on earth, to prove the Divinity and Humanity of Jesus Christ (8). He contrasts the superior excellence of the Divine testimony with the testimony of men, which is considered, in some cases, as final and decisive (9).
He tacitly exhorts and stimulates them to persevere in the faith of Christ, by pointing out the advantage of this faith, and the spiritual and eternal ruin which its rejection entails on us (10). One of the fruits of this true faith is, eternal life (11, 12). Another result of this faith is, a firm confidence of obtaining from God the objects of our lawful petitions (14, 15).
He takes occasion, from the mention of the confidence with which all true Christians should approach the throne of God, to recommend the exercise of charity in behalf of their sinning brethren. He tells them to pray confidently for such persons; for, in certain cases, their prayers will be attended to. He does not hold out the same encouragement in case our brethren may fall into sins of a certain description which he calls “sins unto death” (16). He points out the blessings exclusively enjoyed by the children of God—they are preserved from sin and the tyranny of the devil, and they only are thus favoured (18, 19). He shows the source of these blessings—Christ our Saviour (20). He cautions them against idol worship (21).
1 Jn 4:19 Let us therefore love God: because God first hath loved us.
Let us, then, love God, since he first loved us, even when we were his enemies, having sent his Son to redeem us.
“Let us, therefore, love God.” The Greek has not “therefore,” nor “God,” it runs thus: “let us love him, because he first loved us.” The Alexandrian MS. supports the Vulgate. According to our reading, the Apostle now addresses to us the same exhortation to love God, which, in verse 11, he addresses to us, regarding the love of our neighbour, grounded on the same reason, viz., the pure and gratuitous love of God for us, manifested, in a special manner, in the Incarnation of his Son—“Because he first loved us,” which shows the inseparable connexion that exists between the love of God and of our neighbour The Greek for, “let us love,” αγαπῶμεν, may be also rendered, we love.
1 Jn 4:20 If any man say: I love God, and hateth his brother; he is a liar. For he that loveth not his brother whom he seeth, how can he love God whom he seeth not?
The best proof that we love God, is the love of our neighbour. If any person say, or even think in his mind, that he has the prescribed love for God, and at the same time hate his brother and exclude him from his affection; such a man is a liar and grossly deceives himself; for, he that loveth not the visible image of God, viz., his brother, whom he sees—whose wants he knows—with whom he shares the same common nature—on whom he depends for mutual aid and assistance—how can he love God whom he seeth not, who lies far beyond the reach of the senses? The thing is impossible.
In this verse, the Apostle points out the test which God requires of our love for himself, and he shows by an argument, a minore ad majus, that no one can love God and hate his brother.
“If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother,” if he say it, either in word, or conceive it in his mind, such a man “is a liar,” he both says and conceives what is perfectly untrue; he imagines two things to co-exist, which are perfectly incompatible, “for he that loveth not his brother whom he sees,” (the Apostle puts loving not—when and where it is a matter of duty to manifest our love for our neighbour—and hating him, on the same footing), if a man cannot love the visible image of God, viz., “his brother whom he sees,” whom the knowledge of his wants, together with a sense of mutual dependence, as well as the participation of the same common nature, should induce him to love and relieve in his necessities; if, in one word, he cannot comply with the more easy, and to him, the more natural branch of the precept of charity, how can he discharge the more difficult, in loving “God whom he sees not,” who is placed far beyond the reach of the senses? And, although the supernatural love of our neighbour be not more easy than the love of God, since it is on account of God we love our neighbour, and hence, the supernatural love of him involves the love of God; still, as natural affection would appear to precede in the mind the love of charity, the man who has not natural affection proves that he is wholly indisposed for the love of charity.
1 Jn 4:21 And this commandment we have from God, that he who loveth God love also his brother.
Moreover, no one can love God and violate his commandments; now, it is a commandment of God, that we should love our brother. Hence, no one can hate his brother and love God.
Another reason why a man cannot love God and hate his neighbour, is that the best proof we can give of our love of God is, the observance of his commandments. “If you love me,” says our blessed Lord, “keep my commandments.” Now, it is one of God’s commandments, that we should love our brethren, as we love ourselves. The man, therefore, who hates his brother, or does not love him as he ought, that is to say, “in deed and truth,” or relieve him in his necessities, such a man violates the commandments; and, therefore, cannot love God.
1 Jn 5:1.Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. And every one that loveth him who begot, loveth him also who is born of him.
Every one who believes that Jesus is the long expected Messiah promised by the prophets, is spiritually born of God by sanctifying grace, and every one who loves the Father, loves also his Son, whether natural or adopted.
The Apostle here inculcates brotherly love, on the ground, that our brethren are sons of God, but this does not exclude from our love such of them as are not sons of God; for, these are to be loved so as to be made sons of God and true brethren in Christ. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ,” that is, the long-expected Messiah, and of course reduces this faith to practice; “is born of God,” has received of him the new spiritual birth through sanctifying grace which imparts to him a new essence, and makes him “partaker of the divine nature,” (2 Peter, 1). Under the faith that “Jesus is the Christ,” is most probably contained the belief in all the other points of revealed doctrine; and the truths of Christ’s divine mission is prominently put forward, because called in question by the heretics of the day. “Is born of God;” this being an affirmative proposition, of course, only implies, that he is such, all other conditions being observed; “and every one that loveth him who begot,” that is, the Father, “loveth him also who is born of him,” viz., the Son, be he natural or adopted. Some persons restrict the words, “him who is born of him,” to Christ, the natural Son of God. It is better, however, to give it a general signification of an adage or maxim, in use among men, referring to fathers and sons generally.
1 Jn 5:2 In this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep his commandments.
And by this we can know that we love the children of God, viz., by our loving God himself and observing his commandments.
The Apostle, in this verse, applies to a particular case, viz., as regards the children of God, the adage employed in a general sense, as regarding all fathers and sons in the preceding. In the foregoing part of this Epistle, he gave it as a sign and argument of our loving God, if we loved our neighbour. Now, by an argument, e converso, he shows, that if we love God, we love our neighbour, the love of both being inseparable; for, the motive of both is the very same, as has been shown (4:12). It may often happen, that the love of God may be better known at one time, and the love of our neighbour at another, according to the nature of our immediate occupation; according as we may be engaged in acts immediately affecting the divine honour, or, in relieving human misery. “And keep his commandments;” this he adds to the words, “we love God,” lest any person should deceive himself by imagining that he can love God, without fulfilling his precepts.
1 Jn 5:3 For this is the charity of God: That we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not heavy.
And the surest test we can have that we love God is, the observance of his commandments, and these commandments, whether viewed in contrast with the heavy yoke of the ceremonial law of the Jews, or considered in themselves, are not onerous to the sons of God, aided by actual grace.
The best proof we can afford that we love God is to keep his commandments; for, whosoever sincerely loves God, will, influenced by that love, observe all his other precepts. And lest any one should be disheartened by the test of God’s love required by the Apostle, he says, “his commandments are not heavy,” which words are understood by some, in a relative sense, as compared with the heavy yoke of the Ceremonial Law of the Jews, “which neither they nor their fathers could bear,” and was abrogated by Christ; the precepts of the New Law are not heavy. Or, although many precepts in the New Law be repugnant to the feelings of corrupt nature (v.g.)—taking up our cross, renouncing ourselves, losing our lives, &c.; still, they are rendered light by God’s grace, and the stimulating examples of Christ and his saints. Moreover, it is likely, as appears from the entire context, that the Apostle refers to such as are sons of God, and in sanctifying grace, and love him; and to such, persons nothing is “heavy,” or burdensome. Hence, St. Paul calls all present tribulations, as compared with eternal bliss, “light and momentary” (2 Cor. 4:17). If the commandments of God are not “heavy,” none of them, therefore, is impossible, as has been taught by Jansenius.
1 Jn 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world. And this is the victory which overcameth the world: Our faith.
For, every description of persons, spiritually born of God, be they young or old, male or female, Jew or Gentile, have overcome the world, and renounced all its false maxims—to such, therefore, the commandments of God are not heavy—and the instrumental cause by which this victory over the world is obtained, is our faith.
“For whatsoever is born of God.” “Whatsoever,” that is, every description of persons born of God—and this favours the interpretation of the preceding verse, which understands it of all the sons of God—“overcometh the world,” with all its temptations, seductive maxims, and ruling principles, “the concupiscence of the flesh,” &c. (2:16). To such, therefore, the commandments of God are not heavy. He next points out the source of victory, viz., “our faith,” since faith alone is the foundation of all those graces which enable us to overcome the world; it alone obtains for us those necessary graces; without it no one can ever have the means necessary for overcoming the world.
Note: This post contains Homily numbers 6 and 7 and covers the first Mass readings for the Monday and Tuesday after Epiphany.
1 John 3:19–4:3..“And herein we know that we are of the truth, and assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart think ill of us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart think not ill of us, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we shall receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do in His sight those things that please Him. And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment. And he that keepeth His commandments shall dwell in Him, and He in him. And herein we know that He abideth in us, by the Holy Spirit which He hath given us. Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into this world. In this is known the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the antichrist, of whom ye have heard that he should come; and even now already is he in this world.”
1. If ye remember, brethren, yesterday we closed our sermon at this sentence,1 John 3:18–20.
“>1 which without doubt behooved and does behoove to abide in your heart, seeing it was the last ye heard. “My little children, let us not love only in word and in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” Then he goes on: “And herein we know that we are of the truth, and assure our hearts before Him.”[Better, “judge ill,” i.e., condemn.—J. H. M.]
“>3 think ill of us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.” He had said, “Let us not love only in word and in tongue, but in work and in truth:” we are asked, In what work, or in what truth, is he known that loveth God, or loveth his brother? Above he had said up to what point charity is perfected: what the Lord saith in the Gospel, “Greater love than this hath no man, that one lay down his life for his friends,”John 15:13.
“>4 this same had the apostle also said: “As He laid down His life for us, we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren.”1 John 3:16.
“>5 This is the perfection of charity, and greater can not at all be found. But because it is not perfect in all, and that man ought not to despair in whom it is not perfect, if that be already born which may be perfected: and of course if born, it must be nourished, and by certain nourishments of its own must be brought unto its proper perfection: therefore, we have asked concerning the commencement of charity, where it begins, and there have straightway found: “But whoso hath this world’s goods, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of the Father in him?”1 John 3:17.
“>6 Here then hath this charity, my brethren, its beginning: to give of one’s superfluities to him that hath need to him that is in any distress; of one’s temporal abundance to deliver his brother from temporal tribulation. Here is the first rise of charity. This, being thus begun, if thou shalt nourish with the word of God and hope of the life to come, thou wilt come at last unto that perfection, that thou shalt be ready to lay down thy life for thy brethren.
2. But, because many such things are done by men who seek other objects, and who love not the brethren; let us come back to the testimony of conscience. How do we prove that many such things are done by men who love not the brethren? How many in heresies and schisms call themselves martyrs! They seem to themselves to lay down their lives for their brethren. If for the brethren they laid down their lives, they would not separate themselves from the whole brotherhood. Again, how many there are who for the sake of vainglory bestow much, give much, and seek therein but the praise of men and popular glory, which is full of windiness, and possesses no stability! Seeing, then, there are such, where shall be the proof of brotherly charity? Seeing he wished it to be proved, and hath said by way of admonition, “My little children, let us not love only in word and in tongue; but in deed and in truth;” we ask, in what work, in what truth? Can there be a more manifest work than to give to the poor? Many do this of vainglory, not of love. Can there be a greater work than to die for the brethren? This also, many would fain be thought to do, who do it of vainglory to get a name, not from bowels of love. It remains, that that man loves his brother, who before God, where God alone seeth, assures his own heart, and questions his. heart whether he does this indeed for love of the brethren; and his witness is that eye which penetrates the heart, where man cannot look. Therefore Paul the Apostle, because he was ready to die for the brethren, and said, “I will myself be spent for your souls,”2 Cor. 12:15.
“>1 yet, because God only saw this in his heart, not the mortal men to whom he spake, he saith to them, “But to me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you or at man’s bar.”1 Cor. 4:3.
“>2 And the same apostle shows also in a certain place, that these things are oft done of empty vainglory, not upon the solid ground of love: for speaking of the praises of charity he saith, “If I distribute all my goods to the poor. and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”1 Cor. 13:3.
Is it possible for a man to do this without charity? It is. For they that have divided unity, are persons that have not charity. Seek there, and ye shall see many giving much to the poor; shall see others prepared to welcome death, insomuch that where there is no persecutor they cast themselves headlong: these doubtless without charity do this. Let us come back then to conscience, of which the apostle saith: “For our glorying is this, the testimony of our conscience.”2 Cor. 1:12.
Let us come back to conscience, of which the same saith, “But let each prove his own work, and then he shall have glorying in himself and not in another.”Gal. 6:4.
Therefore, let each one of us “prove his own work,” whether it flow forth from the vein of charity, whether it be from charity as the root that his good works sprout forth as branches. “But let each prove his own work, and then he shall have glorying in himself and not in another,” not when another’s tongue bears witness to him, but when his own conscience bears it.
3. This it is then that he enforces here. “In this we know that we are of the truth, when in deed and in truth” we love, “not only in words and in tongue: andPersuademus.
“>7 What meaneth, “before Him?” Where He seeth. Whence the Lord Himself in the Gospel saith: “Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward with your Father which is in heaven.”Matt. 6:1–3. Infra, Hom. viii. 19, Serm. cxlix. 10–13.
And what meaneth, “Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:” except that the right hand means a pure conscience, the left hand the lust of the world?Comp. de Serm. Dom. in Monte, ii. 6–9, where having discussed and rejected several other explanations, St. Augustin rests in the interpretation, that “the left hand” denotes the carnal will looking aside to earthly rewards and the praise of men: “the right hand,” the singleness of heart which looks straight forward to the will and commandment of God. Serm. cxlix. 15; Enarr. in Psa. 65, sec. 2.
Many through lust of the world do many wonderful things: the left hand worketh, not the right. The right hand ought to work, and without knowledge of the left hand, so that lust of the world may not even mix itself therewith when by love we work aught that is good. And where do we get to know this? Thou art before God: question thine heart, see what thou hast done, and what therein was thine aim; thy salvation, or the windy praise of men. Look within, for man cannot judge whom he cannot see. If “we assure our heart,” let it be “before Him.” Because “if our heart think ill of us,” i.e. accuse us within, that we do not the thing with that mind it ought to be done withal, “greater is God than our heart, and knoweth all things.” Thou hidest thine heart from man: hide it from God if thou canst! How shalt thou hide it from Him, to whom it is said by a sinner, fearing and confessing, “Whither shall I go from Thy Spirit? and from Thy face whither shall I flee?”Ps. 139:7, 8.
He sought a way to flee, to escape the judgment of God, and found none. For where is God not? “If I shall ascend,” saith he, “into heaven, Thou art there: if I shall descend into hell, Thou art there.” Whither wilt thou go? whither wilt thou flee? Wilt thou hear counsel? If thou wouldest flee from Him, flee to Him. Flee to Him by confessing, not from Him by hiding: hide thou canst not, but confess thou canst. Say unto Him, “Thou art my place to flee unto;”Ps. 32:7.
and let love be nourished in thee, which alone leadeth unto life. Let thy conscience bear thee witness that thy love is of God. If it be of God, do not wish to display it before men; because neither men’s praises lift thee unto heaven, nor their censures put thee down from thence. Let Him see, who crowneth thee: be He thy witness, by whom as judge thou art crowned. “Greater is God than our heart, and knoweth all things.”
4. “Beloved, if our heart think not ill of us, we have confidence towards God:”1 John 3:21.
“>2—What meaneth, “If our heart think not ill”? If it make true answer to us, that we love and that there isGermana.
“>3 genuine love in us: not feigned but sincere; seeking a brother’s salvation, expecting no emolument from a brother, but only his salvation—“we have confidence toward God: and whatsoever we ask, we shall receive of Him, because we keep His commandments.”1 John 3:21, 22.
—Therefore, not in the sight of men, but where God Himself seeth, in the heart—“we have confidence,” then, “towards God: and whatsoever we ask, we shall receive of Him:” howbeit, because we keep His commandments. What are “His commandments”? Must we be always repeating? “A new commandment give I unto you, that ye love one another.”John 13:34.
It is charity itself that he speaks of, it is this that he enforces. Whoso then shall have brotherly charity, and have it before God, where God seeth, and his heart being interrogated under righteous examination make him none other answer than that the genuine root of charity is there for good fruits to come from; that man hath confidence with God, and whatsoever he shall ask, he shall receive of Him, because he keepeth His commandments.
5. Here a question meets us: for it is not this or that man, or thou or I that come in question,—for if I have asked any thing of God and receive it not, any person may easily say of me, “He hath not charity:” and of any man soever of this present time, this may easily be said; and let any think what he will, a man of man:—not we, but those come more in question, those men of whom it is on all hands known that they were saints when they wrote, and that they are now with God. Where is the man that hath charity, if Paul had it not, who said, “Our mouth is open unto you, O ye Corinthians, our heart is enlarged; ye are not straitened in us:”2 Cor. 6:11, 12; id.12:15.
“>6 who said, “I will myself be spent for your souls:” and so great grace was in him, that it was manifested that he had charity. And yet we find that he asked and did not receive. What say we, brethren? It is a question: look attentively to God: it is a great question, this also. Just as, where it was said of sin, “He that is born of God sinneth not:” we found this sin to be the violating of charity, and that this was the thing strictly intended in that place: so too we ask now what it is that he would say. For if thou look but to the words, it seems plain: if thou take the examples into the account, it is obscure. Than the words here nothing can be plainer. “And whatsoever we ask, we shall receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” “Whatsoever we ask,” saith he, “we shall receive of Him.” He hath put us sorely to straits. In the other place also he would put us to straits, if he meant all sin: but then we found room to expound it in this, that he meant it of a certain sin, not of all sin; howbeit o[ a sin which “whosoever is born of God committeth not:” and we found that this same sin is none other than the violation of charity. We have also a manifest example from the Gospel, when the Lord saith, “If I had not come, they had not had sin.”John 15:22.
“>7 How? Were the Jews innocent when He came to them, because He so speaks? Then if He had not come, would they have had no sin? Then did the Physician’s presence make one sick, not take away the fever? What madman even would say this? He came not but to cure and heal the sick. Therefore when He said, “If I had not come, they had not had sin,” what would He have to be understood, but a certain sin in particular? For there was a sin which the Jews would not have had. What sin? That they believed not on Him, that when he had come they despised Him. As then He there said “sin,” and it does not follow that we are to understand all sin, but a certain sin: so here also not all sin, lest it be contrary to that place where he saith, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us:”1 John 1:8.
but a certain sin in particular, that is, the violation of charity. But in this place he hath bound us more tightly: “If we shall ask,” he hath said, “if our heart accuse us not, and tell us in answer, in the sight of God, that true love is in us;” “Whatsoever we ask, we shall receive of Him.”
6. Well now: I have already told you, my beloved brethren, let no man turn toward us. For what are we? or what are ye? What, but the Church of God which is known to all? And, if it please Him, in that Church are we; and those of us who by love abide in it, there let us persevere, if we would show the love we have. But then the apostle Paul, what evil are we to think of him? He not love the brethren! He not have within himself the testimony of his conscience in the sight of God! Paul not have within him that root of charity whence all good fruits proceeded! What madman would say this? Well then: where find we that the apostle asked and did not receive? He saith himself: “Lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, an angel of Satan to buffet me. For which thing I besought the Lord thrice, that He would take it from me. And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for strength is made perfect in weakness.”2 Cor. 12:7–9.
“>1 Lo, he was not heard in his prayer that the “angel of Satan” should be taken from him. But wherefore? Because it was not good for him. He was heard, then, for salvation, when he was not heard according to his wish. Know, my beloved, a greatSacramentum.
“>2 mystery: which we urge upon your consideration on purpose that it may not slip from you in your temptations. The saints are in all things heard unto salvation: they are always heard in that which respects their eternal salvation; it is this that they desire: because in regard of this, their prayers are always heard.
7. But let us distinguish God’s different ways of hearing prayer. For we find some not heard for their wish, heard for salvation: and again some we find heard for their wish, not heard for salvation. Mark this difference, hold fast this example of a man not heard for his wish but heard for salvation. Hear the apostle Paul; for what is the hearing of prayer unto salvation, God Himself showed him: “Sufficient for thee,” saith He, “is my grace; for strength is perfected in weakness.” Thou hast besought, hast cried, hast thrice cried: the very cry thou didst raise once for all I heard, I turned not away mine ears from thee; I know what I should do: thou wouldest have it taken away, the healing thing by which thou art burned; I know the infirmity by which thou art burdened. Well then: here is a man who was heard for salvation, while as to his will he was not heard. Where find we persons heard for their will, not heard for salvation? Do we find, think we, some wicked, some impious man, heard of God for his will, not heard for salvation? If I put to you the instance of some man, perchance thou wilt say to me, “It is thou that callest him wicked, for he was righteous; had he not been righteous, his prayer would not have been heard by God.” The instance I am about to allege is of one, of whose iniquity and impiety none can doubt. The devil himself: he asked for Job, and received.Job. 1:11, 12.
“>3 Have ye not here also heard concerning the devil, that “he that committeth sin is of the devil”?1 John 3:3, 8.
“>4 Not that the devil created, but that the sinner imitates. Is it not said of him, “He stood not in the truth”?John 8:44.
Is not even he “that old serpent,” who, through the woman pledged the first man in the drink of poison?Gen. 3:1–6.
Who even in the case of Job, kept for him his wife, that by her the husband might be, not comforted, but tempted? The devil asked for a holy man, to tempt him; and he received: the apostle asked that the thorn in the flesh might be taken from him, and he received not. But the apostle was more heard than the devil. For the apostle was heard for salvation, though not for his wish: the devil was heard for his wish, but for damnation. For that Job was yielded up to him to be tempted, was in order that by his standing the proof the devil should be tormented. But this, my brethren, we find not only in the Old Testament books, but also in the Gospel. The demons besought the Lord, when He expelled them from the man, that they might be permitted to go into the swine. Should the Lord not have power to tell them not to approach even those creatures? For, had it not been His will to permit this, they were not about to rebel against the King of heaven and earth. But with a view to a certain mystery, with a certainCerta dispensatione.
ulterior meaning, He let the demons go into the swine: to show that the devil hath dominion in them that lead the life of swine.Luke 8:32. Dimisit, not misit: so, Expulsa et in porcos permissa dæmonia: “the demons cast out from the man and allowed to go into the swine.” Quæst. Evang. ii. 13. Quod in porcos in montibus pascentes ire permissa sunt, &c. “That they were allowed to go into the swine feeding upon the mountains, betokens unclean and proud men over whom through the worship of idols the demons have dominion.”
Demons then were heard in their request; was the apostle not heard? Or rather (what is truer) shall we say, The apostle was heard, the demons not heard? Their will was effected; his weal was perfected.
8. Agreeably with this, we ought to understand that God, though He give not to our will, doth give for our salvation. For suppose the thing thou have asked be to thine hurt, and the Physician knows that it is to thine hurt; what then? It is not to be said that the physician does not give ear to thee, when, perhaps, thou askest for cold water, and if it is good for thee, he gives it immediately, if not good, he gives it not. Had he no ears for thy request, or rather, did he give ear for thy weal, even when he gainsaid thy will? Then let there be in you charity, my brethren; let it be in you, and then set your minds at rest: even when the thing ye ask for is not given you, your prayer is granted, only, ye know it not. Many have been given into their own hands, to their own hurt: of whom the apostle saith, “God gave them up to their own hearts’ lusts.”Rom. 1:24.
“>1 Some man hath asked for a great sum of money; he hath received, to his hurt. When he had it not, he had little to fear; no sooner did he come to have it, than he became a prey to the more powerful. Was not that man’s request granted to his own hurt, who would needs have that for which he should be sought after by the robber, whereas, being poor, none sought after him? Learn to beseech God that ye may commit it to the Physician to do what He knows best. Do thou confess the disease, let Him apply the means of healing. Do thou only hold fast charity. For He will needs cut, will needs burn; what if thou criest out, and art not spared for thy crying under the cutting, under the burning and the tribulation, yet He knows how far the rottenness reaches.Enarr. in Ps. 130. sec. 1; Serm. cccliv. 7.
“>2 Thou wouldest have Him even now take off His hands, and He considers only the deepness of the sore; He knows how far to go. He does not attend to thee for thy will, but he does attend to thee for thy healing. Be ye sure, then, my brethren, that what the apostle saith is true: “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered: for He maketh intercession for the saints.”Rom. 8:26, 27.
How is it said, “The Spirit itself intercedeth for the saints,” but as meaning the charity which is wrought in thee by the Spirit? For therefore saith the same apostle: “The charity of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.”Rom. 5:5.
It is charity that groans, it is charity that prays: against it He who gave it cannot shut His ears. Set your minds at rest: let charity; ask, and the ears of God are there. Not that which thou wishest is done, but that is done which is advantageous. Therefore, “whatever we ask,” saith he, “we shall receive of Him,” I have already said, If thou understand it to mean, “for salvation,” there is no question: if not for salvation, there is a question, and a great one, a question that makes thee an accuser of the apostle Paul. “Whatever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do these things that are pleasing in His sight:” within, where He seeth.
9. And what are those commandments? “This,” saith he, “is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another.”1 John 3:23.
“>5 Ye see that this is the commandment: ye see that whoso doeth aught against this commandment, doeth the sin from which “every one that is born of God” is free. “As He gave us commandment:” that we love one another. “And he that keepeth His commandment”1 John 3:24.
“>6—ye see that none other thing is bidden us than that we love one another—“And he that keepeth His commandment shall abideManebit.
in Him, and He in him. “And in this we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us. Is it not manifest that this is what the Holy Ghost works in man, that there should be in him love and charity? Is it not manifest, as the Apostle Paul saith, that “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given us”?Rom. 5:5.
For [our apostle] was speaking of charity, and was saying that we ought in the sight of God to interrogate our own heart. “But if our heart think not ill of us:” i.e. if it confess that from the love of our brother is done in us whatever is done in any good work. And then besides, in speaking of the commandment, he says this: “This is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment.” “And he that doeth His commandment abideth[Abideth. R. V.—J. H. M.]
If in truth thou find that thou hast charity, thou hast the Spirit of God in order to understand: for a very necessary thing it is.
10. In the earliest times, “the Holy Ghost fell upon them that believed: and they spake with tongues,” which they had not learned, “as the Spirit gave them utterance.”Acts 2:4.
“>11 These were signs adapted to the time. For there behooved to be that betokening of the Holy Spirit in all tongues, to shew that the Gospel of God was to run through all tongues over the whole earth. That thing was done for a betokening, and it passed away. In the laying on of hands now, that persons may receive the Holy Ghost, do we look that they should speak with tongues? Or when we laid the hand on these infants,The neophytes.
“>1 did each one of you look to see whether they would speak with tongues, and, when he saw that they did not speak with tongues, was any of you so wrong-minded as to say, These have not received the Holy Ghost; for, had they received, they would speak with tongues as was the case in those times? If then the witness of the presence of the Holy Ghost be not now given through these miracles, by what is it given, by what does one get to know that he has received the Holy Ghost? Let him question his own heart. If he love his brother, the Spirit of God dwelleth in him. Let him see, let him prove himself before the eyes of God, let him see whether there he in him the love of peace and unity, the love of the Church that is spread over the whole earth. Let him not rest only in his loving the brother whom he has before his eyes, for we have many brethren whom we do not see, and in the unity of the Spirit we are joined to them. What marvel that they are not with us? We are in one body, we have one Head, in heaven. Brethren, our two eyes do not see each other; as one may say, they do not know each other. But in the charity of the bodily frame do they not know each other? For, to shew you that in the charity which knits them together they do know each other; when both eyes are open, the right may not rest on some object, on which the left shall not rest likewise. Direct the glance of the right eye without the other, if thou canst. Together they meet in one object, together they are directed to one object: their aim is one, their places diverse. If then all who with thee love God have one aim with thee, heed not that in the body thou are separated in place; the eyesight of the heart ye have alike fixed on the light of truth. Then if thou wouldest know that thou hast received the Spirit, question thine heart: lest haply thou have the sacrament, and have not the virtue of the sacrament. Question thine heart. If love of thy brethren be there, set thy mind at rest. There cannot be love without the Spirit of God: since Paul cries, “The love of God is shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us.”Rom. 5:5.
11. “Beloved, believe not every spirit.”1 John 4:1.
“>3 Because he had said, “In this we know that He abideth in us, by the Spirit which He hath given us.” But how this same Spirit is known, mark this: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits whether they be from God.” And who is he that proves the spirits? A hard matter has he put to us, my brethren! It is well for us that he should tell us himself how we are to discern them. He is about to tell us: fear not: but first see; mark: see that hereby is expressed the very thing that vain hereticsDonatists.
“>4 taunt us withal. Mark, see what he says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits whether they be from God.” The Holy Spirit is spoken of in the Gospel by the name of water; where the Lord “cried and said, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.”John 7:37–39.
But the evangelist has expounded of what He said this: for he goes on to say, “But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believed on Him should receive.” Wherefore did not the Lord baptize many. But what saith he? “For the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” Then seeing those had baptism, and had not yet received the Holy Ghost, whom on the day of Pentecost the Lord sent from heaven, the glorifying of the Lord was first waited for, so that the Spirit might be given. Even before He was glorified, and before He sent the Spirit, He yet invited men to prepare themselves for the receiving of the water of which He said, “Whoso thirsteth, let him come and drink;” and, “He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” What meaneth, “Rivers of living water”? What is that water? Let no man ask me; ask the Gospel. “But this,” saith it, “He said of the Spirit, which they should receive that should believe on Him.” Consequently, the water of the sacrament is one thing: another, the water which betokens the Spirit of God. The water of the sacrament is visible: the water of the Spirit invisible. That washes the body, and betokens that which is done in the soul. By this Spirit the soul itself is cleansed and fed. This is the Spirit of God, which heretics and all that cut themselves off from the Church, cannot have. And whosoever do not openly cut themselves off, but by iniquity are cut off, and being within, whirl about as chaff and are not grain; these have not this Spirit. This Spirit is denoted by the Lord under the name of water: and we have heard from this epistle, “Believe not every spirit;” and those words of Solomon bear witness, “From strange water keep thee far.”Prov. 9:18; LXX.
What meaneth, “water”? Spirit. Does water always signify spirit? Not always: but in some places it signifies the Spirit, in some places it signifies baptism, in some places signifies peoples,Rev. 17:15.
in some places signifies counsel: thus thou findest it said in a certain place, “Counsel is a fountain of life to them that possess it.”Prov. 16:22.
So then, in divers places of the Scriptures, the term “water” signifies divers things. Now however by the term water ye have heard the Holy Spirit spoken of, not by an interpretation of ours but by witness of the Gospel, where it saith, “But this said He of the Spirit, which they should receive that should believe on Him.” If then by the name of water is signified the Holy Spirit, and this epistle saith to us, “Believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they be of God;” let us understand that of this it is said, “From strange water keep thee far, and from a strange fountain drink thou not.”Prov. 9:18; LXX.
What meaneth, “From a strange fountain drink thou not”? A strange spirit believe thou not.
12. There remains then the test by which it is to be proved to be the Spirit of God. He has indeed set down a sign, and this, belike, difficult: let us see, however. We are to recur to that charity; it is that which teacheth us, because it is the unction. However, what saith he here? “Prove the spirits, whether they be from God: because many false prophets have gone out into this world.” Now there are all heretics and all schismatics. How then am I to prove the spirit? He goes on: “In this is knownCognoscitur, so Vulg. representing the reading of some mss.γινώσκεται. But the best authorities have γινώσκετε.
“>5 the Spirit of God.” Wake up the ears of your heart. We were at a loss; we were saying, Who knows? who discerns? Behold, he is about to tell the sign. “Hereby is known the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the antichrist, of whom ye have heard that he should come; and even now already is he in this world.”1 John 4:2, 3.
“>6 Our ears, so to say, are on the alert for discerning of the spirits; and we have been told something, such that thereby we discern not a whit the more. For what saith he? “Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ came in the flesh, is of God.” Then is the spirit that is among the heretics, of God, seeing they “confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh”? Aye, here perchance they lift themselves up against us, and say: Ye have not the Spirit from God; but we confess “that Jesus Christ came in the flesh:” but the apostle here hath said that those have not the Spirit of God, who confess not “that Jesus Christ came in the flesh.” Ask the Arians: they confess “that Jesus Christ came in the flesh:” ask the Eunomians; they confess “that Jesus Christ came in the flesh:” ask the Macedonians; they confess “that Jesus Christ came in the flesh:” put the question to the Cataphryges; they confess “that Jesus Christ came in the flesh:” put it to the Novatians; they confess “that Jesus Christ came in the flesh.” Then have all these heresies the Spirit of God? Are they then no false prophets? Is there then no deception there, no seduction there? Assuredly they are antichrists; for “they went out from us, but were not of us.”
13. What are we to do then? By what to discern them? Be very attentive; let us go together in heart, and knock. Charity herself keeps watch; for it is none other than she that shall knock, she also that shall open: anon ye shall understand in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Already ye have heard that it was said above, “Whoso denieth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, the same is an antichrist.” There also we asked, Who denies? because neither do we deny, nor do those deny. And we found that some do in their deeds deny;Supra, Hom. iii. 7–9.
“>7 and we brought testimony from the apostle, who saith, “For they confess that they know God, but in their deeds deny Him.”Tit. 1:16.
“>8 Thus then let us now also make the enquiry in the deeds not in the tongue. What is the spirit that is not from God? That “which denieth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” And what is the spirit that is from God? That “which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh.” Who is he that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh? Now, brethren, to the mark! let us look to the works, not stop at the noise of the tongue. Let us ask why Christ came in the flesh, so we get at the persons who deny that He is come in the flesh. If thou stop at tongues, why, thou shalt hear many a heresy confessing that Christ is come in the flesh: but the truth convicteth those men. Wherefore came Christ in the flesh? Was He not God? Is it not written of Him, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God?”John 1:1.
Was it not He that did feed angels, is it not He that doth feed angels? Did He not in such sort come hither, that He departed not thence? Did He not in such sort ascend, that He forsook not us? Wherefore then came He in the flesh? Because it behooved us to have the hope of resurrection shown unto us. God He was, and in flesh He came; for God could not die, flesh could die; He came then in the flesh, that He might die for us. But how died He for us? “Greater charity than this hath no man, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”John 15:13.
Charity therefore brought Him to the flesh. Whoever therefore has not charity denies that Christ is come in the flesh. Here then do thou now question all heretics. Did Christ come in the flesh? “He did come; this I believe, this I confess.” Nay, this thou deniest. “How do I deny? Thou hearest that I say it!” Nay, I convict thee of denying it. Thou sayest with the voice, deniest with the heart; sayest in words, deniest in deeds. “How,” sayest thou, “do I deny in deeds?” Because the end for which Christ came in the flesh, was, that He might die for us. He died for us, because therein He taught much charity. “Greater charity than this hath no man, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Thou hast not charity, seeing thou for thine own honor dividest unity. Therefore by this understand ye the spirit that is from God. Give the earthen vessels a tap, put them to the proof, whether haply they be cracked and give a dull sound: see whether they ring full and clear, see whether charity be there. Thou takest thyself away from the unity of the whole earth, thou dividest the Church by schisms, thou rendest the Body of Christ. He came in the flesh, to gather in one, thou makest an outcry to scatter abroad. This then is the Spirit, of God, which saith that Jesus is come in the flesh, which saith, not in tongue but in deeds, which saith, not by making a noise but by loving. And that spirit is not of God, which denies that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh; denies, here also, not in tongue but in life; not in words but in deeds. It is manifest therefore by what we may know the brethren. Many within are in a sort within; but none without except he be indeed without.
14. Nay, and that ye may know that he has referred the matter to deeds, he saith, “And every spirit, qui solvit Christum, which does away with Christ that He came in the flesh,Qui solvit Christum in carne venisse. Edd. Erasm. Lugd. and Ven. omit in carne venisse, but the Louvain editors attest that they are found in the mss. of Augustin. Ed. Par. (Bodl. mss. ext. Laud. 116, a late one, have them). Infra, Hom. vii. 2. Omnis qui solvit J.C., et negat eum in carne venisse. The printed Vulg. has, Omnis spiritus qui solvit Christum ex Deo non est. In Serm. 182 and 183, preached some time later on this text, Aug. reads it, Omnis sp. qui non confitetur (and, qui negat) Jesum Christum in carne venisse. S. Cypr. Test. adv. Jud. ii. 18, qui autem negat in carne venisse, de Deo non est. S. Iren. iii. 18, in the ancient Latin version, Et omnis sp. qui solvit Jesum Christum, non est ex Deo. Tertull. adv. Marcion. v. 16, praecursores antichristi spiritus, negantes Christum in carne venisse et solventes Jesum, sc. in Deo creatore. De jejun. adv. Psych. 1, non quod alium Deum prædicent.…,nec quod Jesum Christum solvant. De carne Christi, 24. Qui negat Christum in carne venisse, hic antichristus est: where he says, the apostle “by clearly marking one Christ, shakes those who argue for a Christ multiform, making Christ one, Jesus another, &c.” Leo Ep. x. 5. ad Flavian, seems to have read in the Gr. διαιροῦν. Other Latin authorities for the reading qui solvit are cited by Mill. in loc. Socrates H. E. vii. 32, affirms, that in the old mss. the reading was πᾶν πνεῦμα ὃ λύχει τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐκ ἒστι: adding, that the expression was expunged from the old copies by those who would fain separate the Godhead from the Man of the Incarnation, οἰ χωρίζειν ἀπὸ τῆς οἰκονομίας ἀνθρώπου βουλόμενοι τὴν θεότητα. (Valesius in loc. suggests that Socrates may have read in his mss.ὃ λύει τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπὸ τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ οὐκ ἔστι: Matthäi, that he wrote, ό μὴ ὁμολογει̂, τούτεστιν, ὂ λύει.) But no extant mss. acknowledge the reading: and the Greek Fathers headed by S. Polycarp ad Philipp. sec. 7 (πᾶς ὃς ἂν μὴ ὁμολογῇ Ἰ.Χ. ἐν σαρκἱ ἐληλυθέαι,) bear witness to the received text: only Cyril. de recta Fide ad Reginas being cited by Mill for the reading λύει. This reading may (as Mill has suggested, comp. Grot. in loc.) have originated in a marginal gloss, directed against the Gnostics. Thus in a scholion edited by Matthäi it is said: “For the precursors of Antichrist were the heresies, whose characteristic mark it is by the means of false prophets and spirits λύειν τὸν Ιησου̂ν, to unmake Jesus, by not confessing that He is come in the flesh.”
“>2 is not of God.” A doing away in deeds is meant. What has he shown thee? “That denieth:” in that he saith, “doeth away” (or, “unmaketh”). He came to gather in one, thou comest to unmake. Thou wouldest pull Christ’s members asunder. How can it be said that thou deniest not that Christ is come in the flesh, who rendest as under the Church of God which He hath gathered together? Therefore thou goest against Christ; thou art an antichrist. Be thou within, or be thou without, thou art an antichrist: only, when thou art within, thou art hidden; when thou art without, thou art made manifest. Thou unmakest Jesus and deniest that He came in the flesh; thou art not of God. Therefore He saith in the Gospel: “Whoso shall breakSolverit.
“>3 one of these least commandments, and shall teach so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.”Matt. 5:19.
What is this breaking? What this teaching? A breaking in the deeds and a teaching as it were in words.S. Aug. de Serm. Dom. in Monte, i. 21. Qui ergo solverit et docuerit homines … i.e., secundum id quod solvit, non secundum id quod invenit et legit … Qui autem fecerit et docuerit sic (οὒτως for οὒτος) h. e. secundum id quod non solvit. Here he takes docuerit sic in the sense of teaching men by and agreeably with the practice of the teacher, which is that of breaking the commandments: “whosoever shall break one of these least commandments and in that way shall teach men,” solverit et secundum suam solutionem docuerit. But supra, Hom. in Ev. cxxii. 9, he seems to make it parallel with Matt. 23:3, “they say and do not:” qui docent bona loquendo quæ solvunt male vivendo. Comp. Serm. cclii. 3. His full meaning appears to be, that together with the good teaching in words, there goes a sort of teaching (quasi docet) not in words but in the deeds.
“Thou that preachest men should not steal, dost thou steal?”Rom. 2:21.
Therefore he that steals breaks or undoes the commandment in his deed, and as it were teaches so: “he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven,” i.e. in the Church of this present time.So in Serm. cclii. 3: de Civ. D. xx. 9; but otherwise explained above, Tract. cxxii. 9.
Of him it is said, “What they say do ye; but what they do, that do not ye.Matt. 23:3.
But he that shall do, and shall teach so, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” From this, that He has here said, fecerit, “shall do,” while in opposition to this He has there said solverit, meaning non fecerit, “shall not do, and shall teach so”—to break, then, is, not to do—what doth He teach us, but that we should interrogate men’s deeds, not take their words upon trust? The obscurity of the things compels us to speak much at length, chiefly that that which the Lord deigns to reveal may be brought within reach even of the brethren of slower understanding, because all were bought by the blood of Christ. And I am afraid the epistle itself will not be finished during these days as I promised: but as the Lord will, it is better to reserve the remainder, than to overload your hearts with too much food.
1 John 4:4–12. “Now are ye of God, little children, and have overcome him: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in this world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. From this know we the spirit of truth, and [the spirit] of error. Dearly, beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God in us, that God sent His only-begotten Son into this world, that we may live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the AtonerLitatorem.
“>3 for our sins. Dearly beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time.”
“>4 For where they went about during forty years, the journey itself is made up of a very few stations, and is known to all. They were retarded because they were in training, not because they were forsaken. That therefore which God promiseth us is ineffable sweetness and a good,Isa. 64:4.
“>5 as the Scripture saith, and as ye have often heard by us rehearsed, which “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man.”1 Cor. 2:9.
But by temporal labors we are exercised, and by temptations of this present life are trained. Howbeit, if ye would not die of thirst in this wilderness, drink charity. It is the fountain which God has been pleased to place here that we faint not in the way: and we shall more abundantly drink thereof, when we are come to our own land. The Gospel has just been read; now to speak of the very words with which the lesson ended, what other thing heard ye but concerning charity? For we have made an agreement with our God in prayer, that if we would that He should forgive us our sins, we also should forgive the sins which may have been committed against us.Matt. 6:12.
Now that which forgiveth is none other than charity. Take away charity from the heart; hatred possesseth it, it knows not how to forgive. Let charity be there, and she fearlessly forgiveth, not being straitened. And this whole epistle which we have undertaken to expound to you, see whether it commendeth aught else than this one thing, charity. Nor need we fear lest by much speaking thereof it come to be hateful. For what is there to love, if charity come to be hateful? It is by charity that other things come to be rightly loved; then how must itself be loved! Let not that then which ought never to depart from the heart, depart from the tongue.
2. “Now,” saith he, “are ye of God little children, and have overcome him:”1 John 4:4.
“>1 whom but Antichrist? For above he had said, “Whosoever unmakethSolvit.
“>2 Jesus Christ and denieth that He is come in the flesh is not of God.” Now we expounded, if ye remember, that all those who violate charity deny Jesus Christ to have come in the flesh. For Jesus had no need to come but because of charity: as indeed the charity we are commending is that which the Lord Himself commendeth in the Gospel, “Greater love than this can no man have, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”John 15:13.
How was it possible for the Son of God to lay down his life for us without putting on flesh in which He might die? Whosoever therefore violates charity, let him say what he will with his tongue, his life denies that Christ is come in the flesh; and this is an antichrist, wherever he may be, whithersoever he have come in. But what saith the apostle to them who are citizens of that country for which we sigh? “Ye have overcome him.” And whereby have they overcome? “Because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in this world.” Lest they should attribute the victory to their own strength, and by arrogance of pride should be overcome, (for whomsoever the devil makes proud, he overcomes,) wishing them to keep humility, what saith he? “Ye have overcome him.” Every man now, at hearing this saying, “Ye have overcome,” lifts up the head, lifts up the neck, wishes himself to be praised. Do not extol thyself; see who it is that in thee hath overcome. Why hast thou overcome? “Because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Be humble, bear thy Lord; be thou the beast for Him to sit on. Good is it for thee that He should rule, and He guide. For if thou have not Him to sit on thee, thou mayest lift up the neck, mayest strike out the heels: but woe to thee without a ruler, for this liberty sendeth thee among the wild beasts to be devoured!
“>4 Who? The antichrists. Ye have already heard who they be. And if ye be not such, ye know them, but whosoever is such, knows not. “These are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” Who are they that “speak of the world”? Mark who are against charity. Behold, ye have heard the Lord saying, “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you also your trespasses. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”Matt. 6:14, 15.
“>5 It is the sentence of Truth: or if it be not Truth that speaks, gainsay it. If thou art a Christian and believest Christ, He hath said, “I am the truth.” This sentence is true, is firm. Now hear men that “speak of the world.” “And wilt thou not avenge thyself? And wilt thou let him say that he has done this to thee? Nay: let him feel that he has to do with a man.” Every day are such things said. They that say such things, “of the world speak they, and the world heareth them.” None say such things but those that love the world, and by none are such things heard but by those who love the world. And ye have heard that to love the world and neglect charity is to deny that Jesus came in the flesh. Or say if the Lord Himself in the flesh did that? if, being buffeted, He willed to be avenged? if, hanging on the cross, He did not say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”?Luke 23:34.
But if He threatened not, who had power; why dost thou threaten, why art thou inflated with anger, who art under power of another? He died because it was His will to die, yet He threatened not; thou knowest not when thou shalt die, and dost thou threaten?
“>7 Let us see why; see whether it be for any other thing than charity. “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and of error:” namely by this, that he that heareth us hath the spirit of truth; he that heareth not us, hath the spirit of error. Let us see what he adviseth, and let us choose rather to hear him advising in the spirit of truth, and not antichrists, not lovers of the world, not the world. If we are born of God, “beloved,”1 John 4:7.
“>8 he goes on—see above from what: “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and of error:” aye, now, he makes us eagerly attentive: to be told that he who knows God, hears; but he who knows not, hears not; and that this is the discerning between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error: well then, let us see what he is about to advise; in what we must hear him—“Beloved, let us love one another.”1 John 4:7.
Why? because a man adviseth? “Because love is of God.” Much hath he commended love, in that he hath said, “Is of God:” but he is going to say more; let us eagerly hear. At present he hath said, “Love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God.”1 John 4:7, 8.
What more could be said, brethren? If nothing were said in praise of love throughout the pages of this epistle, if nothing whatever throughout the other pages of the Scriptures, and this one only thing were all we were told by the voice of the Spirit of God, “For Love is God;” nothing more ought we to require.
5. Now see that to act against love is to act against God. Let no man say, “I sin against man when I do not love my brother, (mark it!) and sin against man is a thing to be taken easily; only let me not sin against God. How sinnest thou not against God, when thou sinnest against love? “Love is God.” Do “we” say this? If we said, “Love is God,” haply some one of you might be offended and say, What hath he said? What meant he to say, that “Love is God”? God “gave” love, as a gift God bestowed love. “Love is of God: Love IS God.” Look, here have ye, brethren, the Scriptures of God: this epistle is canonical; throughout all nations it is recited, it is held by the authority of the whole earth, it hath edified the whole earth. Thou art here told by the Spirit of God, “Love is God.” Now if thou dare, go against God, and refuse to love thy brother!
6. In what sense then was it said a while ago, “Love is of God;” and now, “Love Is God?” For God is Father and Son and Holy Ghost: the Son, God of God, the Holy Ghost, God of God; and these three, one God, not three Gods. If the Son be God, and the Holy Ghost God, and that person loveth in whom dwelleth the Holy Ghost: therefore “Love is God;” but “IS God,” because “Of God.” For thou hast both in the epistle; both, “Love is of God,” and, “Love is God.” Of the Father alone the Scripture hath it not to say, that He is “of God:” but when thou hearest that expression, “Of God,” either the Son is meant, or the Holy Ghost. Because while the apostle saith, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us:”Rom. 5:5.
“>3 let us understand that He who subsisteth in love is the Holy Ghost. For it is even this Holy Spirit, whom the bad cannot receive, even He is that Fountain of which the Scripture saith, “Let the fountain of thy water be thine own, and let no stranger partake with thee.”Prov. 5:16, 17.
“>4 For all who love not God, are strangers, are antichrists. And though they come to the churches, they cannot be numbered among the children of God; not to them belongeth that Fountain of life. To have baptism is possible even for a bad man; to have prophecy is possible even for a bad man. We find that king Saul had prophecy: he was persecuting holy David, yet was he filled with the spirit of prophecy, and began to prophesy.1 Sam. 19.
To receive the sacrament of the body and blood of the Lord is possible even for a bad man: for of such it is said, “He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself.”1 Cor. 11:29.
To have the name of Christ is possible even for a bad man; i.e. even a bad man can be called a Christian: as they of whom it is said, “They polluted the name of their God.”Ezek. 36:20.
I say, to have all these sacraments is possible even for a bad man; but to have charity, and to be a bad man, is not possible. This then is the peculiar gift, this the “Fountain” that is singly one’s “own.” To drink of this the Spirit of God exhorteth you, to drink of Himself the Spirit of God exhorteth you.
7. “In this was manifested the love of God in us.”1 John 4:9.
“>8 Behold, in order that we may love God, we have exhortation. Could we love Him, unless He first loved us? If we were slow to love, let us not be slow to love in return. He first loved us; not even so do we love. He loved the unrighteous, but He did away the unrighteousness: He loved the unrighteous, but not unto unrighteousness did He gather them together: He loved the sick, but He visited them to make them whole. “Love,” then, “is God.” “In this was manifested the love of God in us, because that God sent His only-begotten Son into the world, that we may live through Him.” As the Lord Himself saith: “Greater love than this can no man have, that a man lay down his life for his friends:”John 15:13.
“>9 and there was proved the love of Christ towards us, in that He died for us: how is the love of the Father towards us proved? In that He “sent His only Son” to die for us: so also the apostle Paul saith: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not with Him also freely given us all things?”Rom. 8:32.
Behold the Father delivered up Christ; Judas delivered Him up; does it not seem as if the thing done were of the same sort? Judas is “traditor,” one that delivered up, [or, a traitor]: is God the Father that? God forbid! sayest thou. I do not say it, but the apostle saith, “He that spared not His own Son, but “tradidit Eum” delivered Him up for us all.” Both the Father delivered Him up, and He delivered up Himself. The same apostle saith: “Who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”Gal. 2:20.
If the Father delivered up the Son, and the Son delivered up Himself, what has Judas done? There was a “traditio” (delivering up) by the Father; there was a “traditio” by the Son; there was a “traditio” by Judas: the thing done is the same,but what is it that distinguishes the Father delivering up the Son, the Son delivering up Himself, and Judas the disciple delivering up his Master? This: that the Father and the Son did it in love, but Judas did thisIn proditione.
in treacherous betrayal. Ye see that not what the man does is the thing to be considered; but with what mind and will he does it. We find God the Father in the same deed in which we find Judas; the Father we bless, Judas we detest. Why do we bless the Father, and detest Judas? We bless charity, detest iniquity. How great a good was conferred upon mankind by the delivering up of Christ! Had Judas this in his thoughts, that therefore he delivered Him up? God had in His thoughts our salvation by which we were redeemed; Judas had in his thoughts the price for which he sold the Lord. The Son Himself had in His thoughts the price He gave for us, Judas in his the price he received to sell Him. The diverse intention therefore makes the things done diverse. Though the thing be one, yet if we measure it by the diverse intentions, we find the one a thing to be loved, the other to be condemned; the one we find a thing to be glorified, the other to be detested. Such is the force of charity. See that it alone discriminates, it alone distinguishes the doings of men.
8. This we have said in the case where the things done are similar. In the case where they are diverse, we find a man by charity made fierce;Særvientem.
“>4 and by iniquity made winningly gentle. A father beats a boy, and a boy-stealer caresses. If thou name the two things, blows and caresses, who would not choose the caresses, and decline the blows? If thou mark the persons, it is charity that beats, iniquity that caresses. See what we are insisting upon; that the deeds of men are only discerned by the root of charity. For many things may be done that have a good appearance, and yet proceed not from the root of charity. For thorns also have flowers: some actions truly seem rough, seem savage; howbeit they are done for discipline at the bidding of charity. Once for all, then, a short precept is given thee: Love, and do what thou wilt: whether thou hold thy peace, through love hold thy peace; whether thou cry out, through love cry out; whether thou correct, through love correct; whether thou spare, through love do thou spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.
9. “In this is love—in this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God senthis only-begotten Son into this world, that we may live through Him.—In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us:”1 John 4:9, 10.
“>5 we did not love Him first: for to this end loved He us, that we may love Him: “And sent His Son to be the Atoner for our sins: “litatorem,” i.e. one that sacrifices. He sacrificed for our sins. Where did He find the sacrifice? Where did He find the victim which he would offer pure? Other He found none; His own self He offered. “Beloved, if God so loved us we ought also to love one another.1 John 4:11.
“>6 Peter,” saith He, “lovest thou me?” And he said, “I love.” “Feed my sheep.”
“>7 He is a thing invisible; not with the eye but with the heart must He be sought. But just as if we wished to see the sun, we should purge the eye of the body; wishing to see God, let us purge the eye by which God can be seen. Where is this eye? Hear the Gospel: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”Matt. 5:8.
“>8 But let no man imagine God to himself according to the lust of his eyes. For so he makes unto himself either a huge form, or a certain incalculable magnitude which, like the light which he sees with the bodily eyes, he makes extend through all directions; field after field of space he gives it all the bigness he can; or, he represents to himself like as it were an old man of venerable form. None of these things do thou imagine. There is something thou mayest imagine, if thou wouldest see God; “God is love.” What sort of face hath love? what form hath it? what stature? what feet? what hands hath it? no man can say. And yet it hath feet, for these carry men to church: it hath hands; for these reach forth to the poor: it hath eyes; for thereby we consider the needy: “Blessed is the man,” it is said, “who considereth the needy and the poor.”Ps. 41:1.
It hath ears, of which the Lord saith, “He that hath ears to hear let him hear.”Luke 8:8.
These are not members distinct by place, but with the understanding he that hath charity sees the whole at once. Inhabit, and thou shalt be inhabited; dwell, and thou shalt be dwelt in. For how say you, my brethren? who loves what he does not see? Now why, when charity is praised, do ye lift up your hands, make acclaim, praise? What have I shown you? What I produced, was it a gleam of colors? What I propounded, was it gold and silver? Have I dug out jewels from hid treasures? What of this sort have I shown to your eyes? Is my face changed while I speak? I am in the flesh; I am in the same form in which I came forth to you; ye are in the same form in which ye came hither: charity is praised, and ye shout applause. Certainly ye see nothing. But as it pleases you when ye praise, so let it please you that ye may keep it in your heart. For mark well what I say brethren; I exhort you all, as God enables me, unto a great treasure. If there were shown you a beautiful little vase, embossed,Anaglyphum.
inlaid with gold, curiously wrought, and it charmed your eyes, and drew towards it the eager desire of your heart, and you were pleased with the hand of the artificer, and the weight of the silver, and the splendor of the metal; would not each one of you say, “O, if I had that vase!” And to no purpose ye would say it, for it would not rest with you to have it. Or if one should wish to have it, he might think of stealing it from another’s house. Charity is praised to you; if it please you, have it, possess it: no need that ye should rob any man, no need that ye should think of buying it; it is to be had freely, without cost. Take it, clasp it; there is nothing sweeter. If such it be when it is but spoken of, what must it be when one has it?
11. If any of you perchance wish to keep charity, brethren, above all things do not imagine it to be an abject and sluggish thing; nor that charity is to be preserved by a sort of gentleness, nay not gentleness, but tameness and listlessness.Ep. cliii. 17, c. litt.; Petil. ii. 67: Serm. clxxi. 5.
“>4 Not so is it preserved. Do not imagine that thou then lovest thy servant when thou dost not beat him, or that thou then lovest thy son when thou givest him not discipline, or that thou then lovest thy neighbor when thou dost not rebuke him: this is not charity, but mere feebleness. Let charity be fervent to correct, to amend: but if there be good manners, let them delight thee; if bad, let them be amended, let them be corrected. Love not in the man his error, but the man: for the man God made, the error the man himself made. Love that which God made, love not that which the man himself made. When thou lovest that, thou takest away this: when thou esteemest that, thou amendest this. But even if thou be severeSævis.
“>5 at any time, let it be because of love, for correction. For this cause was charity betokened by the Dove which descended upon the Lord.Hom. in Ev. vi. p. 82; Matt. 3:16.
That likeness of a dove, the likeness in which came the Holy Ghost, by whom charity should be shed forth into us: wherefore was this? The dove hath no gall: yet with beak and wings she fights for her young; hers is a fierceness without bitterness. And so does also a father; when he chastises his son, for discipline he chastises him. As I said, the kidnapper, in order that he may sell, inveigles the child with bitter endearments; a father, that he may correct, does without gall chastise. Such be ye to all men. See here, brethren, a great lesson, a great rule: each one of you has children, or wishes to have; or if he has altogether determined to have no children after the flesh, at least spiritually he desires to have children:—what father does not correct his son? what son does not his father discipline? And yet he seems to be fierceSævire.
with him. It is the fierceness of love, the fierceness of charity: a sort of fierceness without gall after the manner of the dove, not of the raven. Whence it came into my mind, my brethren, to tell you, that those violaters of charity are they that have made the schism: as they hate charity itself, so they hate also the dove. But the dove convicts them: it comes forth from heaven, the heavens open, and it abideth on the head of the Lord. Wherefore this? That John may hear, “This is He that baptizeth.”John 1:33.
Away, ye robbers; away, ye invaders of the possession of Christ! On your own possessions, where ye will needs be lords, ye have dared to fix the titles of the great Owner. He recognizes His own titles; He vindicates to Himself His own possession. He does not cancel the titles, but enters in and takes possession. So in one that comes to the Catholic Church, his baptism is not cancelled, that the title of the commander[“Captain (αςχήζος) of their salvation.” Heb. 2:10.—J. H. M.]
be not cancelled: but what is done in the Catholic Church? The title is acknowledged; the Owner enters in under His own titles, where the robber was entering in under titles not his own.
Rather than tackling heresy, dissent and ugliness head on using attack posts, even though direct confrontation of liturgical abuse and immorality is needed from time to time, let's set aside the polemic for a moment in preference of fostering a sweeter approach to a discussion of liturgical life, that of rejoicing in the following aspects of Catholic life and practice. Let us laud the practices of:
the central placement of the tabernacle in the sanctuary.
ad orientem worship.
Holy Communion on the tongue.
proper chants (Introit, Offertory and Communion).
celebration of the rubrics prescribed for the Ordinary Form (e.g., kneeling or bowing during the Creed, etc.)
Where these aspects of Catholic life and practice have been enacted, a much deeper sense of discipleship has arisen rightly energizing the spiritual development of parishioners for mission.
With regards to the above points:
Tabernacle placement restores the sense that the Holy Eucharist is the source, centre and summit of the Christian life. That is, Jesus Christ is the head and heart of every parish family. If the Head of the Church family is restored to His appropriate position, all authority in a parish family and in each home will be rightly ordered and healthy. "The tabernacle is to be located in an elevated position in the sanctuary of the church, along the central axis behind the main altar" (Norms for the Placement of the Tabernacle in the Parish Churches of the Archdiocese of Vancouver- January 12, 2010).
Ad orientem worship gives right focus and true direction to the individual's life and the Church's mission.
Communion on the tongue celebrates with compelling witness Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour Who we receive with humility and with a dignity that has been restored by Christ. Communion on the tongue images the personal loving communion with Christ and His Church to which all people are called. That act of receptivity best helps instil an appropriate intention, the attitude of deference, as well as docility that permits openess to the action of the Holy Spirit. With our sense of dignity restored and wed to our humility before the living God Who sustains our very being, our celebration of or participation in the sacraments will necessarily be deepened. The Sacrament of Penance will become a well used gateway through which people discover their dignity in Jesus Christ. That dignity recovered will strengthen families and provide people the peace they need—and which only Christ can give—to live lives of virtue that necessarily influence society in ways beneficial to the common good.
Proper chants. So called because they are the chants designated for specific liturgies, i.e., they are proper to a given liturgical celebration, proper chants restore a sense of the unchanging nature of the Mass and unite us with a continuous legacy of faith that necessarily includes a deep immersion in the true, the good and the beautiful.
There are prescribed gestures for the Ordinary Form that are routinely overlooked, ignored, forgotten, what-have-you. These include the striking of the breast three times during the Confiteor (I Confess; at the mea culpa... my fault...) and the bow or genuflection during the Creed (at the mention of the Incarnation). Is it too much to ask that priests teach their flocks to be observant Catholics by pointing out and directing congregants to practice the liturgical gestures? A note in the parish bulletin, a reminder by the commentator or cantor spoken before Mass begins, a blurb on a parish website—these are simple catechetical moments that can shape attitudes and encourage embodied prayer that should be typical for Catholics.
The above aspects of Catholic life and practice, given application, can help restore attention and prominence to: theological detail; respect for rubrics/liturgical law; the creation of beautiful spaces (filled with authentic Catholic art and music "of" the Mass to fuel the imagination and ennoble the heart); fostering orthodox spiritual intimacy—i.e., an intimate loving communion with Christ and His Church. Furthermore, a return to the study and embodiment of the transcendentals will also help dispose homilists to feature more prominently the universal call to holiness and conversion to Christ. In the words of Sr. Gabriela Li featured at the head of this blogsite:
"Oftentimes, (God) draws us to Himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.
Archbishop Sample reminds us that the "authentic and faithful renewal of the sacred Liturgy" is essential to the New Evangelization.
[H/T OnePeter5 blog] Archbishop Alexander Sample of the Diocese of Portland, Oregon, clearly understands the foundational role that the liturgy plays in rebuilding our Catholic faith:
“I am solidly convinced that an authentic and faithful renewal and reform of the sacred liturgy is not only part of the New Evangelization—it is essential to its fruitfulness. The liturgy has the power to form and transform the Catholic faithful. We must live by the axiom lex orandi, lex credendi (the law of praying is the law of believing). What we celebrate in the Mass expresses the essential content of the faith, and it also reinforces our faith when celebrated well and with fidelity. The liturgy both teaches us and expresses what we believe. If we do not get the sacred Liturgy right, I fear that we will just be spinning our wheels rather than getting the New Evangelization going in the right direction. If we are transformed by the sacred liturgy, then we, as believers, can help transform the culture.”
It is the contention of this brief essay, in part, that a full rediscovery of and zealous application of knowledge of the transcendentals will best guide the renewal of the Liturgy.
Identity & Mission
Given an authentic Catholic environment, believers will likely adopt a more confident understanding of Catholic identity and then more likely translate their faith into action and become more transparent vessels through whom the Holy Spirit will guide the New Evangelization.
If the above points are implemented, the faith of Catholics would naturally issue forth in a fervent public witness to Jesus Christ and enhance communion among believers redeemed in Christ. An obvious manifestation of that celebration of communion and joy of the Gospel would be religious processions such as an annual Corpus Christi procession which brings the joy of the Gospel to the heart of culture, thus engaging and transforming culture in a way that invites the imaginations of those who witness our hope and joy in Christ and love for His Church and all people.
The above proposals move the Faith from mere head knowledge to saving knowledge that moves believers to trust more readily in grace, the grace from God that is needed to purify wills, illuminate intellects and to help souls grow in holiness.
The organist at one of the parishes that I serve brings a dog with her onto the organ loft. The dog is silent for most of the Mass, but usually begins to howl for the recessional hymn. It howls almost in tune, so that it seems to be trying to join in the singing. Large grins appear on the faces of the congregated faithful whenever the dog is heard. At Christmas the dog’s howls remind me of the responsory O Magnum Mysterium:
O magnum mysterium, et admirabile sacramentum, ut animalia viderent Dominum natum, jacentem in praesepio!
For the past four years, my parents and I have brought in the New Year with a jigsaw puzzle and some American history documentaries. One year we watched (listened to, really) Ken Burns's Civil War, another year the American Experience series on the Presidents. Last year we did The Rockefellers and The Art of the Steal, followed up by a foray into drama with the BBC's Broadchurch. The job of choosing viewing material is usually deputed to me, and this year I was at a loss for quality documentaries to watch, so I decided to suggest the Amazon produced TV drama The Man in the High Castle, which is loosely based on a novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick.
The show opens on a false note with a faux German performance of Rogers and Hammerstein's Edelweiss. Aside from the fact that Edelweiss is extremely cheesy and was written by R & H as an anti-Fascist song, the worst thing about the song is that the singer, director, etc. seem to have been under the impression that Germans can't pronounce the letter "s", but only "sh".
The result is a painful track — which is sung at the opening of every single episode — in which a woman lisps "bloshom of shnow may you bloom and grow ... Edelweisch, Edelweisch, blesh my homeland forever". Given that the show is largely a conjectural alternative history about Nazis in the US, the fact that this very basic level of familiarity with the German language was missing did not encourage my hopes for the show's writing quality on the whole.
And indeed, the Germans shown in The Man in the High Castle are basically a pastiche of Nazi clichés. The writers stick in as much heel-clicking, "Sieg Heil"-ing, euthanasia, antisemitism, "entartete Kunst", "Arbeit macht frei", etc. as they possibly can, without any subtlety or interest in the question of how the Third Reich might have developed during the years from 1933 to 1962 (when the show begins). On the West Coast, where the Japanese have taken over, the caricature is much along the same lines. Apparently Japanese culture consists of Emperor worship, Aikido, committing Seppuku (so much Seppuku!), racism, "Wu", and the I Ching (so much I Ching!).
The Man in the High Castle focuses immediately on two people in their late twenties, each being landed with a mission to carry illicit film reels into the non-occupied "neutral zone" (basically the Western Plains and the Rockies) in service of the "Resistance", who will eventually deliver them to "The Man in the High Castle". Sounds like a great set-up for an adventure story, right? Not so fast.
The biggest fault of the show is its plot pacing. Many readers of this blog are probably familiar with the famous paradox of Zeno, according to which it is impossible to cross a room: in order to cross the room, first you would have to cross half the room, then half the remaining distance, then half the distance still remaining, etc. And, because any distance can be subdivided into an infinite number of parts, and an infinite series can never be completed, it is impossible to cross the room. The Man in the High Castle feels like it was written by a disciple of Zeno. As mentioned, the show begins with two characters trying to carry illicit film reels into the "neutral zone". This plot point invites several basic questions: (1) Why are these film reels so important? (2) What happens to the film reels once they get to their destination? (3) What is the "Resistance" trying to do? (4) Who is "The Man in the High Castle?"
Believe it or not, despite being shown several films at different points in the first season, by the end of the tenth (and, for now, final) episode we still have no idea what the point of the films is. Not only do we not know, apparently no one knows what the point is, because no indication is given that anyone has any clue why they're important or who they're important to. ("The Man in the High Castle"! Who is...?)
In fact, none of the questions are answered, at all, through the entire first season. None of them. Instead, we are given an array of subsidiary distractions: The boyfriend of a protagonist is Jewish and his family gets into trouble. The Japanese trade minister is trying to trade nuclear secrets with the Germans. The SS group leader (ostentatiously referred to as Obergrüppenführer about five times a minute, or so it feels) who recruited one of the protagonists is almost assassinated, and finds out that his son has a degenerative nervous disorder. The Jewish boyfriend almost tries to assassinate the Japanese crown prince, but doesn't, but is wanted for it anyway. Etc. etc. Meanwhile none of this tells us anything about the basic questions listed above. Why should we care about the anticipated euthanization of the Obergrüppenführer's son? What does that have to do with anything?
So, to return to Zeno, season one of The Man in the High Castle is like trying to cross a room. At the beginning, after the first step, we point over to the opposite wall and say "Hey! I'd like to go there." Then, a smaller step is taken. And, the more steps we take, the more pointless subdivisions are inserted to slow the progress of the plot — token demonstrations of fascist evilness, antisemitism, emotional upsets, random characters who are somehow planning somethingor are concerned — so that, by the time we run through our ten episode season, we've thrown up our hands and said, "Gosh, I guess it was impossible to get to that initial goal after all!"
Fans of Lost know that this sort of delayed gratification can be enjoyable. But Lost got away with the perpetually deferred plot resolution on account of two factors: (1) the huge question mark hovering over the basic premise of the show (was everyone dead? were they on a magical floating island? was it all a corporate conspiracy?), and (2) the engaging character drama, with mini-storylines introduced and resolved by way of flashbacks. The Man in the High Castle has neither. (1) The writers hit us over the head ever thirty seconds with a reminder that the Axis won WWII and that's the whole idea here; (2) the characters are (almost without exception) bland young people whose situation in life could be amply summarized in two or three sentences each.
The worst thing, the absolute worst thing about the show, is a hint, given in the last episode, that really this isn't an alternative history drama, really it's some sort of inter-dimensional crossover sci-fi series. Suddenly we're seeing the protagonists executing each other in newsreel footage, and the Japanese trade minister uses his meditation-powers to cross over into a different version of 1962. To any viewers who actually wanted to know what was going on with the films at the beginning of the first episode, these revelations are mind-blowingly obnoxious, because they simply introduce another cascade of complications and unanswered questions, which now we will have to wait through another ten episode season simply to discover that the writers aren't going to resolve for us anyway.
Could the show redeem itself in the second season? Maybe. Will it? I doubt it. Given the flat characters, the poor story structure, and the habit of leaving basic questions about the plot and background perpetually unaddressed, as long as the same people are making the second season, I expect more of the same.
Of course, it's still watchable as background noise while you work on a jigsaw puzzle.
Buona domenica carissimi Amici!
Grazie a Gemma possiamo leggere un'altra perla della "collana" di omelie di Joseph Ratzinger. Essa risale al 1977 ma è così bella ed attuale da sembrare scritta oggi. Davvero un regalo prezioso per il nostro cuore e la nostra mente.
Abbiamo visto la sua gloria
Nel Vangelo della terza messa di Natale che abbiamo or ora ascoltato, quello che di
St. Genevieve was born around Anno Domini 419 or 422 in Nanterre, France, “a small village four miles from Paris, near the famous modern stations, or Calvary, adorned with excellent sculptures, representing our Lord’s Passion, on Mount Valerien.”1 She died in Paris in 512. Holy Mother Church celebrates her feast day on the third of January. “She was the daughter of Severus and Gerontia; popular tradition represents her parents as poor peasants, though it seems more likely that they were wealthy and respectable townspeople.”2
2. The Prophecy Over Young Genevieve
“Pope St. Boniface had sent St. Germain to Great Britain to combat the Pelagian heresy around the year 430. He was accompanied by St. Lupus, Bishop of Troyes. On their way through France, they stopped at the village of Nanterre. Upon their arrival, the two Prelates went to the Church to pray for the success of their trip. The people surrounded them with pious curiosity and to ask their blessing. Illuminated by a divine inspiration, Germain espied in the crowd a young girl of seven years of age, and he was interiorly advised that Our Lord had chosen her for a singular mission. He asked the name of the child and that she be brought before him. The people told him that her name was Genevieve. Her father and her mother brought her forward.”
“Is this child yours?” Germain asked.
They answered, “Yes.”
And the holy man said: “Blessed are you that God hath given you this child. Know you for certain that on the day of her birth the Angels sang and a great feast was made in Heaven. This girl shall be of great merit before the Lord. And from her good life and words many shall take example, that they shall leave the yoke of sin and convert to God.”
Then, he turned toward the child, and she said to him: “Blessed Father, your servant is listening.”
The Bishop asked: “Tell me, and be not embarrassed, if you will consecrate yourself to Christ in purity without stain as His spouse?”
The maid answered: “Blessed be you, my Father. What you ask of me is the most cherished desire of my heart. I ask only that by your prayers, Our Lord will accomplish my desire.”
“Have confidence, my daughter,” said Germain. “Be firm in your resolution. Prove by your works the good things that you believe in your heart and say with your mouth, and Our Lord shall give you strength as well as virtue.”3
It is also reported the saint told young Genevieve, “Be of good heart, my child, act with earnestness, and struggle to prove by thy works that which thou believest in thy heart, and professest with thy lips; the Lord will sustain thee, and will give thee the strength that is required to carry out thy holy resolution.”4 Most sources conclude the event between the young girl and the saint as follows: “Genèvieve then expressed her wish that Saint Germain would bless her. Granting the child’s wish, Saint Germain took her to a local church where he performed the consecration. The next day, before he continued on his journey, Saint Germain gave Genèvieve a brass medal engraved with a cross. He instructed her to always wear it around her neck, in remembrance of her consecration to God and devotion to Christ. Further, he told her to be content with only the medal, and to wear it instead of more showy ornaments such as gold and silver bracelets, and necklaces. She kept the medal all her life, never giving it up even when she badly needed money. She lived a life of fervent devotion and penance. As there were no convents near her village, Genèvieve practiced her religious virtue and prayer at home.”5
3. Similarities Between St. Genevieve & St. Joan of Arc
“Many of her neighbours, filled with jealousy and envy, accused Genevieve of being an impostor and a hypocrite. Like Blessed Joan of Arc, in later times, she had frequent communion with the other world, but her visions and prophecies were treated as frauds and deceits. Her enemies conspired to drown her; but, through the intervention of Germain of Auxerre, their animosity was finally overcome. The bishop of the city appointed her to look after the welfare of the virgins dedicated to God, and by her instruction and example she led them to a high degree of sanctity.”6
4. Stopping Attila the Hun, AD 451
“This statue of Sainte-Geneviève, patron saint and protector of the city of Paris, was created in 1928 for the Pont de la Tournelle.” She stands high above the river, facing East, watching over the city.
“Another significant and often-reported event in Genèvieve’s life occurred around 451, when the barbarian Attila and his army of Huns marched across the continent, intending to take control of Gaul away from the ruling Visigoths. After Attila crossed the Rhine and neared Paris, the Parisian citizens were ready to flee the city in terror. Genèvieve, however, advised them against evacuation. She told them that if they kept their faith in God, fasted, prayed and performed penance, the city would be protected by heaven and their lives would be spared. The citizens were doubtful, however, as they all knew that Attila was a vicious and merciless warlord who left devastation in his wake. His soldiers were an equally cruel band of marauders who raped, looted, killed and destroyed. Still, many of the citizens passed days and nights in prayer with Genèvieve in the baptistery. But when the crisis neared its peak, and Attila seemed to be right outside the city walls, the people became panic-stricken, and they turned against Genèvieve. They accused her of being a false prophet who would bring about their deaths as well as the destruction of their beloved city, and they threatened to stone her.”
“Again, Saint Germain’s intervention helped her. News of the situation reached him as he lay near death in Ravenna, Italy. In response, he sent his archdeacon, Sedulius, to help calm the citizens. Sedulius counseled them to listen to Genèvieve, saying she was not a prophetess of doom but the means of their salvation. Still, some inhabitants abandoned Paris. Genèvieve then supposedly gathered the women who had remained behind and led them outside the walls of the city. As the sun rose, and with enemy weapons before them, Genèvieve and the women prayed for deliverance. Later that night, Attila turned away from Paris, leaving the city unharmed, and headed south, to Orleans. Genèvieve was proclaimed a savior and heroine.”7
5. King Childeric & the Siege of Paris, AD 486
“Genèvieve demonstrated her bravery and helped the people of Paris a second time, almost similarly, more than 30 years later. In 486, Childeric, the king of the Salian Franks, a Germanic tribe, blockaded the city. The prolonged siege created a serious food shortage that brought the citizens to the starvation point. One night, Genèvieve led 11 boats out onto the river, rowing past the enemy’s siege lines. Once safely across, she went from village to village, begging for food. Later that night, she returned to Paris, again slipping safely past the blockade, with boatfuls of precious grain.”
“When he heard about her deed, Childeric was impressed with Genèvieve, even though he was a pagan and she was a Christian. After the siege had ended, he sent for her and, out of admiration, he asked what he could do for her. She said to him, “Release your prisoners. Their only fault was that they so dearly loved their city.” He granted her wish, and later performed other merciful acts at her request.”8
6. The Church of Sts. Peter & Paul
“When Childeric died, King Clovis succeeded him and consolidated control of the land from the Rhine to the Loire. He married Childeric’s elder daughter, Clothilde, who was a Christian. Clovis, like Childeric, was a pagan, and his wife often tried to convert him, but without success. Still, Clovis chose Genèvieve to be one of his counselors, and she earned his trust. As Childeric once did, Clovis freed many prisoners at Genèvieve’s request. Once, as Clovis prepared to enter what he knew would be fierce battle, he promised his wife that he would be baptized in the Christian rite if he came back alive. True to his word, when his army won, he became a Christian in 496, guided in his conversion by Genèvieve. His people and servants soon became Christians as well. Genèvieve is credited with developing the plans for a church to honor Saints Peter and Paul, to be built in the middle of Paris. King Clovis started the church, managing only to lay the foundation before he died in 511. The church was completed by Queen Clothilde.”9
7. Named the “Patron Saint of Paris”
“Genèvieve died January 3, 512, only five weeks after King Clovis’s death. She was in her eighth decade of life; at least one account said she was 89 years old. She was buried in a long, flowing gown with a mantle covering her shoulders, similar to the type of garments worn by the Virgin Mary. Genèvieve’s burial site within the church would become a place of pilgrimage, as people had heard many stories of miracles and cures attributed to Genèvieve. Even after her death, miracles were credited to Genèvieve. Perhaps the most famous account involved the great epidemic of ergot poisoning that afflicted France in the twelfth century. After all efforts to find a cure were unsuccessful, in 1129, Bishop Stephen of Paris instructed that Genèvieve’s casket be carried through the city streets in procession to the cathedral. According to reports from the time, thousands of sick people were cured when they saw or touched the casket. The following year, Pope Innocent II visited Paris and ordered an annual feast to commemorate the miracle. Parisian churches still celebrate the feast.”
“St. Genèvieve also became known as the Patron Saint of Young Girls. Also, in 1962, Pope John XXIII named her the patron saint of French security forces, a gesture that honored her many efforts to secure Paris. Her feast day is January 3, but it is not part of the general Roman Catholic calendar.”10
Inside the Pantheon by Jean-Pierre Lavoie, wiki.
The Church of St. Genevieve & Her Relics
8. Paris Turns Against Her Patron
In 512, St. Genevieve died and her body was interred in the Sts. Peter & Paul Church she helped design. “This fact, and the numerous miracles wrought at her tomb, caused the name of Sainte-Geneviève to be given to it. Kings, princes, and people enriched it with their gifts. In 847 it was plundered by the Normans and was partially rebuilt, but was completed only in 1177. This church having fallen into decay once more, Louis XV began the construction of a new church in 1764.”11 Unfortunately, the French Revolution broke out before the new church dedicated to St. Genevieve was finished. In 1791, the Constituent Assembly secularized the church and renamed it “The Pantheon” – a building dedicated as a mausoleum for notable Frenchmen. The fight for the building continued as it was rededicated as a church in 1821, then secularized in 1831, rededicated in 1852, and then finally secularized as the Pantheon in 1885.12 Today, the Pantheon remains a secularized burial place for Frenchmen, which occasional permits religious events.13
9. The Burning of St. Genevieve’s Relics
“St. Genevieve’s relics were preserved in her church, with great devotion, for centuries, and Paris received striking proof of the efficacy of her intercession. She saved the city from complete inundation in 834. In 1129 a violent plague, known as the mal des ardents, carried off over 14,000 victims, but it ceased suddenly during a procession in her honour. Innocent II, who had come to Paris to implore the king’s help against the Antipope Anacletus in 1130, examined personally into the miracle and was so convinced of its authenticity that he ordered a feast to be kept annually in honour of the event on 26 November. A small church, called Sainte-Geneviève des Ardents, commemorated the miracle till 1747, when it was pulled down to make room for the Foundling Hospital. The saint’s relics were carried in procession yearly to the cathedral, and Mme de Sévigné gives a description of the pageant in one of her letters. The revolutionaries of 1793 destroyed most of the relics preserved in St. Genevieve’s church, and the rest were cast to the winds by the mob in 1871. Fortunately, however, a large relic had been kept at Verneuil, Oise, in the eighteenth century, and is still extant.”14
10. Prayer to Saint Genevieve
Saint Genevieve, you who by the days before, penance and prayer, ensured the protection of Paris, intercede near God for us, for our country, for the devoted Christian hearts. You who cured the sick and fed the hungry, obtain the light of God and make us stronger to reject temptation. You who had the concern of the poor, protect the sick, the abandoned, and the unemployed. You who resisted the armies and encouraged the besieged, give us the direction for truth and justice. You who through the centuries never ceased taking care of your people, help us to keep the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. May your example be for us, an encouragement to always seek God and serve him through our brothers and sisters. Amen.15
11. Litany to Saint Genevieve
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
St. Genevieve, who since childhood was filled with GodÂ’s grace, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, consecrated to Christ by St. Germane, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, obedient to the Holy Spirit, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, zealous defender of the faith, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, heroically devoted to the Church, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, whose life is an example how we should live for God, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, intercessor of the clergy, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who suffered for your vocation, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who knew about hostility and abandonment, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who spent hours in prayer, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, whose fasts and prayers saved the city, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who had a demanding friendship with the king, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, whose wisdom enlightened the pagans, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, whose prudence guided the leaders, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, with purity you overcame slander, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, whose strength stood up against the evil doers, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who miraculously nourished the hungry, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who reconciled sinners with God, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who brought back to the Church the lost ones, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who read the conscience through the gift of the Holy Spirit, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who cured the sick, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who controlled the floods, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who restored peace between enemies, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who softened the fate of the prisoners, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, who drove out demons, pray for us.
St. Genevieve, protector of your devoted people, pray for us.
Give us, Lord, the spirit of intelligence and love of which you filled your daughter, Genevieve, so that attentive to your service and seeking to do your will, we can please you by our faith and our deeds. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Sprit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Let us open our hearts in thanks to God for the favors showered upon us. Saint Paul teaches us to give thanks to God the Father always through Christ, in whom He has given us everything. For when we became GodÂ’s children in Christ, God gave us the riches of his grace, rescuing us from the powers of darkness and bringing us into the kingdom of his beloved Son. Whenever we acknowledge GodÂ’s gifts, we prepare ourselves to take part more fully in the Eucharist, which is the sum of all blessings and the crown and source of all thanksgiving. Amen.16
Celebrating the Feast Day
12. Celebratory Alcoholic Drinks
Cheers! SPL is certainly no stranger to celebrating the traditions of the Catholic faith with alcohol. A week before St. Genevieve’s feast, the Church celebrates the feast of St. John the Apostle, which has a long tradition of blessing wine.17 With SPL posting lists on prayers to bless beer and introductions to Trappist Ale, it is no surprise that alcohol would be included in celebrating the great St. Genevieve. The first recipe come recommended by the author of Drinking with the Saints, Michael P. Foley. He also recommends looking into Sainte Genevieve Winery for those more inclined to wine. He proposed toast is “to St. Genevieve: May she protect us from today’s barbarians.” As the Patroness of Paris, the “Paris Cocktail” is a fitting drink to celebrate this wonderful saint.
3/4 oz. gin
3/4 oz. Grand Marnier
1/2 oz. cherry liqueur
1/2 oz. lemon juice
Pour ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake forty times. Strain into a cocktail glass.
Another option, suggested by SPL, would be a French Coffee:
1/2 cup whipping cream, chilled (heavy cream)
1/8 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups coffee, hot
Beat the cream until it’s rich and fluffy, with soft peaks (or use already whipped cream from a can). Mix in the powdered sugar, and continue to beat until you have stiff peaks. Split whipped cream between 2 mugs. Add vanilla to the hot coffee, then pour over cream. Serve right away, Don’t stir!18
Enjoy the cocktail, the wine, or the caffe – but be sure to toast St. Genevieve. St. Genevieve: May she protect us from today’s barbarians!
13. Celebratory Foods
While there does not appear to be a traditional food associated with the feast of St. Genevieve, there are two fun options for breakfast. The first would be to serve french toast and the second would be to serve the so-called Apostle’s Fingers, which is a traditional French dish served during the winter carnival. The Apostle’s Fingers are lemon and riccota filled crepes.19
St. Genevieve, pray for us!
St. Genevieve VIRGIN, CHIEF PATRONESS OF THE CITY OF PARIS, EWTN.
Why are women so stupid that they let doctors (and their boyfriends) convince them to stick metal coils and powerful drugs inside their bodies? You can't fool Mother Nature.
Conceiving babies is a natural result of sexual intercourse. Using drugs, plugs, and odd shaped metal contraptions (or alligator dung like those in the ancient world) is a sure way to mess up your body. They also mess up the nature of love. Chemical contraceptives are poison.
Catholics who follow Church teaching won't have a trouble-free life. There's no such thing since Adam's sin, but following God's rule book will avoid many of the body-killing and soul-killing choices that guarantee unhappiness. Study the beautiful Church teachings on love and marriage. If you are sincerely seeking God's will, you'll find it. If you want to be happy for the rest of your life (in the sense of blessed) do things God's way and join His Church.
At least to my mind and ear "epiphany" is a wonder-filled word. According to any useful dictionary, our English word "epiphany" comes to us via the Middle English word epiphanie, derived from Anglo-French through the Latin epiphania. Before Latin, the word originated in the Greek epiphaneia, which simply refers to an appearance, or manifestation. We typically use the word to refer to the appearance or manifestation of something, or someone, that is not only significant in some way, but an appearance pregnant with meaning, a manifestation that goes deeper than what appears to our senses, having what I will call, for lack of a better term, spiritual resonance.
James Joyce made use of "epiphany" as a literary tool throughout his oeuvre. In his posthumously-published autobiographical work, Stephen Hero - which work was the basis of his A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - Joyce defined what he meant when he used "epiphany." Stephen Hero's epiphany about epiphanies happened one evening as he was strolling down a Dublin street ("Eccles' St," according to Joyce). As he walked he became aware of a young woman speaking to a young man on the steps "of one of those brown brick houses which seem the very incarnation of Irish paralysis." Stephen overhears the young woman telling the young man, no doubt in an effort to be demure, that she had just been at chapel. To this the young man responds with something inaudible to Stephen, but something to which the young woman "softly" replies, "0 ... but you're ... ve ... ry ... wick ... ed." Joyce conveys that "This trivialit*y made [Stephen] think of collecting many such moments together in a book of epiphanies."
By an epiphany [Stephen] meant 'a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments. He told Cranly that the clock of the Ballast Office was capable of an epiphany. Cranly questioned the inscrutable dial of the Ballast Office with his no less inscrutable countenance:
-Yes, said Stephen. I will pass it time after time, allude to it, refer to it, catch a glimpse of it. It is only an item in the catalogue of Dublin's street furniture. Then all at once I see it and I know at once what it is: epiphany.
-Imagine my glimpses at that clock as the gropings of a spiritual eye which seeks to adjust its vision to an exact focus. The moment the focus is reached the object is epiphanised. It is just in this epiphany that I find the third, the supreme quality of beauty [italicizing mine]
The third "supreme quality of beauty" to which Joyce's protagonist refers was articulated by Aquinas, no doubt explicating Aristotle. Stephen goes on to opine that cataloging epiphanies can only be done "with the aid of the lantern of tradition," that is, he must work from an aesthetic theory. With this he wades into a discourse on beauty according to the Angelic Doctor (i.e., Thomas Aquinas):
You know what Aquinas says: The three things requisite for beauty are, integrity, a wholeness, symmetry and radiance. Some day I will expand that sentence into a treatise. Consider the performance of your own mind when confronted with any object, hypothetically beautiful. Your mind to apprehend that object divides the entire universe into two parts, the object, and the void which is not the object. To apprehend it you must lift it away from everything else: and then you perceive that it is one integral thing, that is a thing. You recognise its integrity. Isn't that so?
With this introduction Stephen proceeds to unpack for poor Cranly Aquinas' three qualities. While it doesn't seem that Cranly is very interested from get-go, this does not begin to become apparent to Stephen until his companion is distracted by the antics of a drunk man who has just been thrown out of a bar. It seems that while Stephen, in the wake of his awakening, is content to discourse about epiphanies, Cranly simply pays attention to what is going on around him, reminiscent of Stephen's walk down Eccles' St.
Having finished his argument Stephen walked on in silence. He felt Cranly's hostility and he accused himself of having cheapened the eternal images of beauty. For the first time, too, he felt slightly awkward in his friend's company and to restore a mood of flippant familiarity he glanced up at the clock of the Ballast Office and smiled:
-It has not epiphanised yet, he said
How often have you felt like Stephen after engaging in a discourse? You know, the kind you launch into, telling someone how to build a watch when she only asked you what time it was. I don't know about you, but I have to be careful not to cheapen "the eternal images of beauty." One way of reading this Joycean excerpt, the way I read it today, is by refusing to accept it as a case of Stephen casting pearls before swine and seeing it, instead, as an instance in which a swine dons pearls and sashays about like a great beauty.
So-called "apologetics" often cheapens images of eternal beauty. To live faith apologetically can render you blind to daily life, to what is unfolding right in front of you in all its beauty and complexity. Faith that is truly faith does not seek to apply pre-fabricated answers to life's pressing and persistent questions and quandaries. As Msgr Giussani often noted, what is needed is not a discourse, but a witness. To take our cue from Joyce: the mystery of God-made-man-for-us has to be epiphanised.