Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 14:21–27
Second Reading Revelation 21:1–5a
Gospel John 13:31–33a, 34–35

Tertullian--sorrow and death will be removed by the cessation of their causes:
“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death,” (Rev 21:4) and therefore no more corruption, it being chased away by incorruption, even as death is by immortality. If sorrow, and mourning, and sighing, and death itself, assail us from the afflictions both of soul and body, how shall they be removed, except by the cessation of their causes, that is to say, the afflictions of flesh and soul? (Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Flesh 58, ANF vol. 3, pg 590)

St. Gregory of Nyssa--Since God is love, we who are made in Him image should be characterized by love, also:
God is love, and the fount of love: for this the great John declares, that “love is of God,” and “God is love” (1 Jn 4:7, 8): the Fashioner of our nature has made this to be our feature too: for “hereby,” He says, “shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye love one another” (Jn 13:35):—thus, if this be absent, the whole stamp of the likeness is transformed. (Greg. Nyss. De hom. opif. 5.2, NPNF2, vol. 5, pg. 391)

John Cassian--the good monk is known not by signs and wonders but by his love:
He says not: “if ye do signs and miracles in the same way,” but “if ye have to one another;” and this it is certain that none but the meek and humble can keep. Wherefore our predecessors never reckoned those as good monks or free from the fault of vainglory, who professed themselves exorcists among men, and proclaimed with boastful ostentation among admiring crowds the grace which they had either obtained or which they claimed. But in vain, for “he who trusteth in lies feedeth the winds: and the same runneth after birds that fly away.” (Prov 10:4) For without doubt that will happen to them which we find in Proverbs: “As the winds and clouds and rain are very clear so are these who boast of a fictitious gift.” (Prov 25:14) And so if any one does any of these things in our presence, he ought to meet with commendation from us not from admiration of his miracles, but from the beauty of his life, nor should we ask whether the devils are subject to him, but whether he possesses those features of love which the Apostle describes. (Cassian, Collat. 2.15.7, NPNF2, vol. 11, pg. 448)

St. Augustine--Jesus' announcement that he is glorified after the departure of Judas foreshadows His glorification at the end of time when the wheat and tares will be separated:
According, then, to the usage of Scripture language, which speaks of the signs as if they were the things signified, the Lord makes use of the words, “Now is the Son of man glorified;” indicating that in the completed separation of that arch sinner [Judas] from their company, and in the remaining around Him of His saints, we have the foreshadowing of His glorification, when the wicked shall be finally separated, and He shall dwell with His saints through eternity. (Augustine, Tract. in ev Joan. 63.2, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 315)

St. Augustine--love of God and love of neighbor imply one another:
Think not then, my brethren, that when the Lord says, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another,” there is any overlooking of that greater commandment, which requires us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, and with all our soul, and with all our mind; for along with this seeming oversight, the words “that ye love one another” appear also as if they had no reference to that second commandment, which says, “Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.” For “on these two commandments,” He says, “hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mt 22:37-40) But both commandments may be found in each of these by those who have good understanding. For, on the one hand, he that loveth God cannot despise His commandment to love his neighbor; and on theother, he who in a holy and spiritual way loveth his neighbor, what doth he love in him but God? (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 65.2, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 318)

St. John Chrysostom on Jn 13:35--our virtues and our vices are what most attract or offend the non-believer:
For nothing so raises respect in the heathen as virtue, nothing so offends them as vice. And with good reason. When one of them sees the greedy man, the plunderer, exhorting others to do the contrary, when he sees the man who was commanded to love even his enemies, treating his very kindred like brutes, he will say that the words are folly. When he sees one trembling at death, how will he receive the accounts of immortality? When he sees us fond of rule, and slaves to the other passions, he will more firmly remain in his own doctrines, forming no high opinion of us. We, we are the cause of their remaining in their error. (Chrysostom, Hom. Jn. 72.5, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 266-267)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sententiae Pastristicae: Fourth Sunday of Easter, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 13:14, 43–52
Second Reading Revelation 7:9, 14b–17
Gospel John 10:27–30

Tertullian on the dazzling whiteness of the robes of the martyrs:
For yet again a countless throng are revealed, clothed in white and distinguished by palms of victory, celebrating their triumph doubtless over Antichrist, since one of the elders says, “These are they who come out of that great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev 7:14) For the flesh is the clothing of the soul. The uncleanness, indeed, is washed away by baptism, but the stains are changed into dazzling whiteness by martyrdom. (Tertullian, Scorpiace 12, ANF, vol. 3, pg. 646)

Tertullian on the oneness of the Father and the Son:
The Word, therefore, is both always in the Father, as He says, “I am in the Father; ” (Jn 14:11) and is always with God, according to what is written, “And the Word was with God; ” (Jn 1:1) and never separate from the Father, or other than the Father, since “I and the Father are one.” (Jn 10:30) This will be the prolation, taught by the truth, the guardian of the Unity, wherein we declare that the Son is a prolation from the Father, without being separated from Him. (Tertullian, Cont. Prax. 8, ANF vol. 3, pg. 603)

St. Gregory of Nyssa on the same:
Having heard of Father and Son from the Truth, we are taught in those two subjects the oneness of their nature; their natural relation to each other expressed by those names indicates that nature; and so do Our Lord’s own words. For when He said, “I and My Father are one,” (Jn 10:30) He conveys by that confession of a Father exactly the truth that He Himself is not a first cause, at the same time that He asserts by His union with the Father their common nature; so that these words of His secure our faith from the taint of heretical error on either side. (Greg. Nyss., Cont. Eun. 1.34, NPNF2, vol. 5. pg. 81)

St. Ambrose--the "hand" of the Father signifying the Spirit, Jn 10:29-30 tells us that those who recieve eternal life in the Name of the Trinity (cf. the baptismal formula) will not be torn from Father, Son or Spirit:
So, then, if we attend diligently, we comprehend here also the oneness of the Divine Power. He says: “That which My Father hath given unto Me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and the Father are One.” (Jn 10:29, 30) For if we rightly showed above that the Holy Spirit is the Hand of the Father, the same is certainly the Hand of the Father which is the Hand of the Son, since the Same is the Spirit of the Father Who is the Spirit of the Son. Therefore whosoever of us receives eternal life in this Name of the Trinity, as he is not torn from the Father; so he is not torn from the Son, so too he is not torn from the Spirit. (Ambrose, De Spir. Sanct. 3.16.116, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 151)

St. Augustine on the inadequacy of words to describe the Holy Trinity:
For, in truth, as the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Father, and that Holy Spirit who is also called the gift of God is neither the Father nor the Son, certainly they are three. And so it is said plurally, “I and my Father are one.” (Jn 10:30) For He has not said, “is one,” as the Sabellians say; but, “are one.” Yet, when the question is asked, What three? human language labors altogether under great poverty of speech. The answer, however, is given, three “persons,” not that it might be [completely] spoken, but that it might not be left [wholly] unspoken. (Augustine, De Trin. 5.9, NPNF1, vol. 3, pg. 92)

St. John Chrysostom--the power of the Father and the Son is the same:
Then that thou mayest not suppose that He indeed is weak, but that the sheep are in safety through the power of the Father, He addeth, “I and the Father are One.” As though He had said “I did not assert that on account of the Father no man plucketh them away, as though I were too weak to keep the sheep. For I and the Father are One.” Speaking here with reference to Power, for concerning this was all His discourse; and if the power be the same, it is clear that the Essence is also. (Chrysostom, Hom. Jn. 61.2, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 224)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Third Sunday of Easter, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 5:27–32, 40b–41
Second Reading Revelation 5:11–14
Gospel John 21:1–19 or John 21:1–14

St. Ambrose--the threefold admonishment to feed Christ's flock corresponds to Peter's threefold denial:
It is Peter, chosen by the Lord Himself to feed His flock, who merits thrice to hear the words: “Feed My little lambs; feed My lambs; feed My sheep.” (Jn 21:15) And so, by feeding well the flock of Christ with the food of faith, he effaced the sin of his former fall. For this reason is he thrice admonished to feed the flock; thrice is he asked whether he loves the Lord, in order that he may thrice confess Him, Whom he had thrice denied before His Crucifixion. (Mt 26:70) (Ambrose, De fide 5, Prol. 2, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 284)

St. Augustine--By His Resurrection, Christ took away Peter's fear of death:
Where now is that denier? Then after this the Lord Christ said, “Follow Me.” Not in the same sense as before, when he called the disciples. For then too He said, “Follow Me;” but then to instruction, now to a crown. Was he not afraid to be put to death when he denied Christ? He was afraid to suffer that which Christ suffered. But now he must be afraid no more. For he saw Him now Alive in the Flesh, whom he had seen hanging on the Tree. By His Resurrection Christ took away the fear of death; and forasmuch as He had taken away the fear of death, with good reason did He enquire of Peter’s love. Fear had thrice denied, love thrice confessed. The threefoldness (trinitas) of denial, the forsaking of the Truth; the threefoldhess of confession, the testimony of love. (Augustine, Serm. 147.3, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 544)

St. John Chrysostom on the responses of Peter and John to the risen Lord:
But when they recognized Him, the disciples Peter and John again exhibited the peculiarities of their several tempers. The one was more fervent, the other more lofty; the one more keen, the other more clear-sighted. On this account John first recognized Jesus, Peter first came to Him. (Jn 21:11) For no ordinary signs were they which had taken place. What were they? First, that so many fish were caught; then, that the net did not break; (Jn 21:22) then, that before they landed, the coals had been found, and fish laid thereon, and bread. (Jn 21:9, 10) For He no longer made things out of matter already subsisting, as, through a certain dispensation, He did before the Crucifixion. When therefore Peter knew Him, he threw down all, both fish and nets, and girded himself.Seest thou his respect and love? Yet they were only two hundred cubits off; but not even so could Peter wait to go to Him in the boat, but reached the shore by swimming. (Chrysostom, Hom. Jn. 87.2, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 329)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Second Sunday of Easter, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 5:12–16
Second Reading Revelation 1:9–11a, 12–13, 17–19
Gospel John 20:19–31

St. Irenaeus on St. John's vision of the Son of Man:
John also, the Lord’s disciple, when beholding the sacerdotal and glorious advent of His kingdom, says in the Apocalypse: “I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And, being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the candlesticks One like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment reaching to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle; and His head and His hairs were white, as white as wool, and as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet like unto fine brass, as if He burned in a furnace. And His voice [was] as the voice of waters; and He had in His right hand seven stars; and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword; and His countenance was as the sun shining in his strength.” (Rev 1:12) For in these words He sets forth something of the glory [which He has received] from His Father, as [where He makes mention of] the head; something in reference to the priestly office also, as in the case of the long garment reaching to the feet. And this was the reason why Moses vested the high priest after this fashion. Something also alludes to the end [of all things], as [where He speaks of] the fine brass burning in the fire, which denotes the power of faith, and the continuing instant in prayer, because of the consuming fire which is to come at the end of time. But when John could not endure the sight (for he says, “I fell at his feet as dead;” (Rev 1:17) that what was written might come to pass: “No man sees God, and shall live” [Ex 33:20]), and the Word reviving him, and reminding him that it was He upon whose bosom he had leaned at supper, when he put the question as to who should betray Him, declared: “I am the first and the last, and He who liveth, and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, and have the keys of death and of hell.” (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 4.20.10, ANF, vol. 1, pg. 491)

St. Ambrose--The Church's ministry of forgiveness of sins is exercised by the power of the Holy Spirit:
Let us now see whether the Spirit forgives sins. But on this point there can be no doubt, since the Lord Himself said: “Receive ye the Holy Spirit. Whosesoever sins ye forgive they shall be forgiven.” (Jn 20:22) See that sins are forgiven through the Holy Spirit. But men make use of their ministry for the forgiveness of sins, they do not exercise the right of any power of their own. For they forgive sins not in their own name but in that of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. They ask, the Godhead gives, the service is of man, the gift is of the Power on high. (Ambrose, De Spir. Sanct. 3.18.139, NPNF2, vol. 18, pg. 154)

St. Leo the Great--the Lord's wounds were retained in his resurrected body to heal the wounds of unbelieving hearts:
And in the course of these and other miracles, when the disciples were harassed by bewildering thoughts, and the Lord had appeared in their midst and said, “Peace be unto you,” (Lk 14:36; Jn 20:19) that what was passing through their hearts might not be their fixed opinion (for they thought they saw a spirit not flesh), He refutes their thoughts so discordant with the Truth, offers to the doubters’ eyes the marks of the cross that remained in His hands and feet, and invites them to handle Him with careful scrutiny, because the traces of the nails and spear had been retained to heal the wounds of unbelieving hearts, so that not with wavering faith, but with most stedfast knowledge they might comprehend that the Nature which had been lain in the sepulchre was to sit on God the Father’s throne. (Leo the Great, Serm. 73.3, NPNF2, vol. 12, pg. 187)

St. Augustine argues that Jn 20:23 implies that the Spirit proceeds from the Son as well as from the Father:
And we are so taught that He proceeds from both, because the Son Himself says, He proceeds from the Father. And when He had risen from the dead, and had appeared to His disciples, “He breathed upon them, and said, Receive the Holy Ghost,” (Jn 20:23) so as to show that He proceeded also from Himself. And Itself is that very “power that went out from Him,” as we read in the Gospel, “and healed them all.” (Lk 6:19) (Augustine, De Trin. 15.26, NPNF1, vol. 3, pg. 224)

St. Augustine compares the bestowal of the Spirit by the breath of our Lord to His breathing on Adam:
But after His resurrection, when He first appeared to His disciples, He said to them: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” Of this giving then it is said, “The Spirit was not given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. And He breathed upon their faces,” (Jn 20:22) He who with His breath enlivened them first man, and raised him up from the clay, by which breath He gave a soul to the limbs; signifying that He was the same who breathed upon their faces, that they might rise out of the mire and renounce their miry works. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 32.6, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 195)

St. John Chrysostom on Jn 20:29:
Ver. 29. “Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed; blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.”
For this is of faith, to receive things not seen; since,“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. xi. 1.) And here He pronounceth blessed not the disciples only, but those also who after them should believe. “Yet,” saith some one, “the disciples saw and believed.” Yes, but they sought nothing of the kind, but from the proof of the napkins, they straightway received the word concerning the Resurrection, and before they saw the body, exhibited all faith. When therefore any one in the present day say, “I would that I had lived in those times, and had seen Christ working miracles,” let them reflect, that, “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.” (Chrysostom, Hom. Jn. 87.1, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 327-328)

Logos News

Catena Aurea
Thanks to a great write-up from a user posted on the Logos blog, it looks like the Catena Aurea is about to graduate from Community Pricing and go into production. If you get your bid in now, it will probably cost you about $20, but if bids keep coming in, the price may go even lower.

I've been using the Catena in a PDF pretty steadily for the last few months. Having in Logos will be a vast improvement.

Logos 4.0b
Logos 4.0b made it out of beta a few weeks back. 4.0b includes a batch of data types for the Early Church Fathers. In addition to the Chrysostom, Augustine and Ambrose data types that shipped with 4.0, users will now begin to see links to the works of Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Origen, Basil, Gregory of Nyssa, Gregory Nazianzen, John Cassian, Leo the Great, Gregory the Great and John Damascene.

Catholic Pre-Pubs
Pre-Pubs for the Catholic Spirituality Collection, Douay-Rheims Bible and Chesterton Collection have all ended, but there's still a chance to get in on discounts for the Summa Contra Gentiles, Butler's Lives of the Saints, the Catholic Theology and Dogma Collection, the Works of John Henry Newman and other great pre-pubs you can find on the Catholic Product Guide.

New Pre-Pubs
Some more recent pre-pubs worth mentioning:
Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction
The Apostolic Fathers Greek-English Interlinear
Dictionary of Biblical Interpreters
The Future of Christian Learning: An Evangelical and Catholic Dialogue
Introducting Moral Theology: True Happiness and the Virtues
Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture: Second Corinthians