Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Habakkuk 1:2–3, 2:2–4
Second Reading 2 Timothy 1:6–8, 13–14
Gospel Luke 17:5–10

St. Augustine--we only see our good by faith, so we must live by faith:
‎‎And thus it is written, “The just lives by faith,” (Hab. 2:4) for we do not as yet see our good, and must therefore live by faith; neither have we in ourselves power to live rightly, but can do so only if He who has given us faith to believe in His help do help us when we believe and pray. (Augustine, De civ. Dei 19.4.1, NPNF1, vol. 2, pg. 401)

St. John Chrysostom on recieving the Spirit of power and love:
That is, we did not receive the Spirit, that we should shrink from exertion, but that we may speak with boldness. For to many He gives a spirit of fear, as we read in the wars of the Kings. "A spirit of fear fell upon them." (Ex. 25:16?) That is, he infused terror into them. But to thee He has given, on the contrary, a spirit of power, and of love toward Himself. This, then, is of grace, and yet not merely of grace, but when we have first performed our own parts. For the Spirit that maketh us cry, "Abba, Father," inspires us with love both towards Him, and towards our neighbor, that we may love one another. For love arises from power, and from not fearing. For nothing is so apt to dissolve love as fear, and a suspicion of treachery. (Chrysostom, Hom. 2 Tim. 1, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 477)

John Cassian--faith is a gift that we must pray for:
‎‎But so thoroughly did the Apostles realize that everything which concerns salvation was given them by the Lord, that they even asked that faith itself should be granted from the Lord, saying: “Add to us faith” (Lk 17:5) as they did not imagine that it could be gained by free will, but believed that it would be bestowed by the free gift of God. (Cassian, Collat. 1.3.16, NPNP2, vol. 11, pg. 327)

St. Augustine--the Apostles knew of their need for faith and of whom to ask it:
‎‎For [the Apostles] themselves, as mindful of their own weakness, said to Him, as we read in a certain place in the Gospel, “Lord, increase our faith. (Lk 17:5) Lord,” say they, “increase our faith.” The knowing that they had a deficiency, was the first advantage; a greater happiness still, to know who it was of whom they were asking. “Lord,” say they, “increase our faith.” See, if they did not bring their hearts as it were to the fountain, and knocked that that might be opened to them, out of which they might fill them. For He would that men should knock at Him, not that He might repel those that knock, but that He might exercise those who long. (Augustine, Serm. 80.1, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 349)

St. John Chrysostom--all that we do is merely toward payment of a debt:
‎‎For on the part of the servant the thing done was but a debt after all, if it had been done. For all things that we do, we do towards the payment of a debt. And this is why Himself said, “When ye have done all, say, We are unprofitable servants, we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10.) If then we display charity, if we give our goods to them that need, we are fulfilling a debt; and that not only in that it was He who first began the acts of goodness, but because it is His goods that we are distributing if we ever do give. (Chrysostom, Hom. Rom. 7, NPNF2, vol. 11, pg. 382)

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