Monday, November 1, 2010

Sententiae Patristicae: Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading 2 Maccabees 7:1–2, 9–14
Second Reading 2 Thessalonians 2:16–3:5
Gospel Luke 20:27–38 or Luke 20:27, 34–38

St. John Chrysostom--we need divine assistance to direct our hearts to the love of God:
‎“But the Lord,” he says, “direct your hearts into the love of God.” For there are many things that turn us aside from love, and there are many paths that draw us away from thence. In the first place the path of Mammon, laying, as it were, certain shameless hands upon our soul, and tenaciously holding it in its grasp, draws and drags us thence even against our will. Then vainglory and often afflictions and temptations, turn us aside. For this reason we need, as a certain wind, the assistance of God, that our sail may be impelled, as by some strong wind, to the love of God. (Chrysostom, Hom. 2 Thess. 5, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 393)

Tertullian on how the saints at the Resurrection will be like the angels:
‎‎“They shall be,” says He, “equal unto the angels.” (Lk 10:35; Mt 23:30) As by not marrying, because of not dying, so, of course, by not having to yield to any like necessity of our bodily state; even as the angels, too, sometimes. were “equal unto” men, by eating and drinking, and submitting their feet to the washing of the bath—having clothed themselves in human guise, without i the loss of their own intrinsic nature. If therefore angels, when they became as men, submitted in their own unaltered substance of spirit to be treated as if they were flesh, why shall not men in like manner, when they become “equal unto the angels,” undergo in their unchanged substance of flesh the treatment of spiritual beings, no more exposed to the usual solicitations of the flesh in their angelic garb, than were the angels once to those of the spirit when encompassed in human form? We shall not therefore cease to continue in the flesh, because we cease to be importuned by the usual wants of the flesh; just as the angels ceased not therefore to remain in their spiritual substance, because of the suspension of their spiritual incidents. Lastly, Christ said not, “They shall be angels,” in order not to repeal their existence as men; but He said, “They shall be equal unto the angels, that He might preserve their humanity unimpaired. When He ascribed an angelic likeness to the flesh,He took not from it its proper substance. (Tertullian, On the Resurrection of the Flesh 62, ANF, vol. 3, pg. 593)

Tertullian--that there is no marriage after the Resurrection does not mean that no bond remains with a departed spouse:
‎‎But if we believe the resurrection of the dead, of course we shall be bound to them with whom we are destined to rise, to render an account the one of the other. “But if ’in that age they will neither marry nor be given in marriage, but will be equal to angels,’ (See Mt 22:30, Mk 12:25, Lk 10:35, 36) is not the fact that there will be no restitution of the conjugal relation a reason why we shall not be bound to our departed consorts? ”Nay, but the more shall we be bound (to them), because we are destined to a better estate—destined (as we are) to rise to a spiritual consortship, to recognise as well our own selves as them who are ours. Else how shall we sing thanks to God to eternity, if there shall remain in us no sense and memory of this debt; if we shall be reformed in substance, not in consciousness? Consequently, we who shall be with God shall be together; since we shall all be with the one God. (Tertullian, On Monogamy 10, ANF, vol. 4, pg. 67)

St. Gregory of Nyssa argues that the condition of before the Fall, as there will be at the Resurrection, there was no marriage:
‎Now the resurrection promises us nothing else than the restoration of the fallen to their ancient state; for the grace we look for is a certain return to the first life, bringing back again to Paradise him who was cast out from it. If then the life of those restored is closely related to that of the angels, it is clear that the life before the transgression was a kind of angelic life, and hence also our return to the ancient condition of our life is compared to the angels. Yet while, as has been said, there is no marriage among them, the armies of the angels are in countless myriads; for so Daniel declared in his visions: so, in the same way, if there had not come upon us as the result of sin a change for the worse, and removal from equality with the angels, neither should we have needed marriage that we might multiply but whatever the mode of increase in the angelic nature is (unspeakable and inconceivable by human conjectures, except that it assuredly exists), it would have operated also in the case of men, who were “made a little lower than the angels,” (Ps 8:6) to increase mankind to the measure determined by its Maker. (Greg. Nyss., De hom. opfi. 17.2, NPNF2, vol. 5, pg. 407)

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