Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading 2 Samuel 12:7–10, 13
Second Reading Galatians 2:16, 19–21
Gospel Luke 7:36–8:3 or Luke 7:36–50

St. Cyril of Jerusalem on David's repentence:
‎‎Nathan the Prophet came, a swift accuser, and a healer of the wound. The Lord is wroth, he says, and thou hast sinned (2 Sam 12). So spake the subject to the reigning king. But David the king was not indignant, for he regarded not the speaker, but God who had sent him. He was not puffed up by the array of soldiers standing round: for he had seen in thought the angel-host of the Lord, and he trembled as seeing Him who is invisible (Heb 11:27); and to the messenger, or rather by him in answer to God who sent him, he said, I have sinned against the Lord (2 Sam 12:13). Seest thou the humility of the king? Seest thou his confession? For had he been convicted by any one? Were many privy to the matter? The deed was quickly done, and straightway the Prophet appeared as accuser, and the offender confesses the fault. And because he candidly confessed, he received a most speedy cure. (Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. Lect. 2, NPNF2, vol. 7, pg. 10)

St. Ambrose, in his famous rebuke to the Emperor Theodosius, exhorts him to follow the example of the repentence of David:
‎‎Are you ashamed, O Emperor, to do that which the royal prophet David, the forefather of Christ, according to the flesh, did? To him it was told how the rich man who had many flocks seized and killed the poor man’s one lamb, because of the arrival of his guest, and recognizing that he himself was being condemned in the tale, for that he himself had done it, he said: “l have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Sam 12:13) Bear it, then, without impatience, O Emperor, if it be said to you: “You have done that which was spoken of to King David by the prophet. For if you listen obediently to this, and say: “I have sinned against the Lord,” if you repeat those words of the royal prophet: “O come let us worship and fall down before Him, and mourn before the Lord our God. Who made us,” (Ps 95:6) it shall be said to you also: “Since thou repentest, the Lord putteth away thy sin, and thou shalt not die,” (2 Sam 12:13) (Ambrose, Ep. 51.7, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 451)

Origen on denying oneself and glorying in the Cross:
‎‎Moreover in regard to the saying, “Let him deny himself,” (Mt 16:24) the following saying of Paul who denied himself seems appropriate, “Yet I live, and yet no longer I but Christ liveth in me; ” (Gal 2:20) for the expression, “I live, yet no longer I,” was the voice of one denying himself, as of one who had laid aside his own life and taken on himself the Christ, in order that He might live in him as Righteousness, and as Wisdom, and as Sanctification, and as our Peace, (1 Cor 1:30; Eph 2:14) and as the Power of God, who worketh all things in him. But further also, attend to this, that while there are many forms of dying, the Son of God was crucified, being hanged on a tree, in order that all who die unto sin may die to it, in no other way than by the way of the cross. Wherefore they will say, “I have been crucified with Christ,” and, “Far be it from me to glory save in the cross of the Lord, through which the world has been crucified unto me and I unto the world.” (Gal 2:20, 6:14) For perhaps also each of those who have been crucified with Christ puts off from himself the principalities and the powers, and makes a show of them and triumphs over them in the cross; (Col 2:15) or rather, Christ does these things in them. (Origen, Comm. Matt. 12.25, ANF, vol. 10, pg. 464)

St. Augustine--we recieve life from Christ, who has life in Himself:
‎Where hath Paul life? Not in himself, but in Christ. Where hast thou, believer? Not in thyself, but in Christ. Let us see whether the apostle says this: “Now I live; but not I, but Christ liveth in me.” (Gal 2:20) Our life, as ours, that is, of our own personal will,will be only evil, sinful, unrighteous; but the life in us that is good is from God, not from ourselves; it is given to us by God, not by ourselves. But Christ hath life in Himself, as the Father hath, because He is the Word of God. With Him, it is not the case that He liveth now ill, now well; but as for man, he liveth now ill, now well. He who was living ill, was in his own life; he who is living well, is passed to the life of Christ. Thou art made a partaker of life; thou wast not that which thou hast received, but wast one who received: but it is not so with the Son of God as if at first He was without life, and then received life. For if thus He received life, He would not have it in Himself. For, indeed, what is in Himself? That He should Himself be the very life. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 22.9, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 148)

St. John Chrysostom on being crucified with Christ:
‎In these words, “I am crucified with Christ,” he alludes to Baptism and in the words “nevertheless I live, yet not I,” our subsequent manner of life whereby our members are mortified. By saying “Christ liveth in me,” he means nothing is done by me, which Christ disapproves; for as by death he signifies not what is commonly understood, but a death to sin; so by life, he signifies a delivery from sin. For a man cannot live to God, otherwise than by dying to sin; and as Christ suffered bodily death, so does Paul a death to sin. (Chrysostom, Hom. Gal. 2, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 22)

St. Irenaeus--God's patience works that we may always live in gratitude:
‎This, therefore, was the [object of the] long-suffering of God, that man, passing through all things, and acquiring the knowledge of moral discipline, then attaining to the resurrection from the dead, and learning by experience what is the source of his deliverance, may always live in a state of gratitude to the Lord, having obtained from Him the gift of incorruptibility, that he might love Him the more; for “he to whom more is forgiven, loveth more:” (Lk 7:43) and that he may know himself, how mortal and weak he is; while he also understands respecting God, that He is immortal and powerful to such a degree as to confer immortality upon what is mortal, and eternity upon what is temporal; and may understand also the other attributes of God displayed towards himself, by means of which being instructed he may think of God in accordance with the divine greatness. For the glory of man [is] God, but [His] works [are the glory] of God; and the receptacle of all His. wisdom and power [is] man. Just as the physician is proved by his patients, so is God also revealed through men. (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 3.20.2, ANF, vol. 1, pg. 450)

St. Ambrose--because the Church is the Body of Christ, he who has mercy on the lowly pours water on the feet of Christ:
‎And, therefore, He said to Simon: “Thou seest this woman. I entered into thine house, and thou gavest Me no water for My feet, but she hath washed My feet with her tears.” (Lk 7:44) We are all the one body of Christ, the head of which is God, and we are the members; some perchance eyes, as the prophets; others teeth, as the apostles, who have passed the food of the Gospel preached into our breasts, and rightly is it written: “His eyes shall be bright with wine. and his teeth whiter than milk.” (Gen 49:12) And His hands are they who are seen to carry out good works, His belly are they who distribute the strength of nourishment on the poor. So, too, some are His feet, and would that I might be worthy to be His heel! He, then, pours water upon the feet of Christ, who forgives the very lowest their offences, and while delivering those of low estate, yet is washing the feet of Christ. (Ambrose, Ep. 41.11, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 447)

St. Augustine--he who has been forgiven little ought also to be grateful for being preserved by God's grace from sin:
‎The other has not committed many sins; what shall we do for him that he may love much? what shall we persuade him? Shall we go against the words of the Lord, “To whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little”? Yes, most truly so, to whom little is really forgiven. But O thou who sayest that thou hast not committed many sins: why hast thou not? by whose guidance? God be thanked, that by your movement and voice ye have made signs that ye have understood me. Now then, as I think, the difficulty has been solved. The one has committed many sins, and so is made a debtor for many; the other through God’s guidance has committed but few. To Him to whom the one ascribes what He hath forgiven, does the other also ascribe what he hath not committed. Thou hast not been an adulterer in that past life of thine, which was full of ignorance, when as yet thou wast not enlightened, as yet discerned not good and evil, as yet believed not on Him, who was guiding thee though thou didst not know Him. Thus doth thy God speak to thee: “I was guiding thee for Myself, I was keeping thee for Myself. (Augustine, Serm. 99.6, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 417)

No comments: