Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Second Sunday of Easter, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 2:42–47
Second Reading 1 Peter 1:3–9
Gospel John 20:19–31

For the Gospel, see Easter 2, Year C.
 
St. John Chrysostom--the Church's fellowship was not just in prayers or doctrine but in social relations:
‎Consider what an advance was here immediately! For the fellowship was not only in prayers, nor in doctrine alone, but also in (πολιτεια) social relations. “And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.” See what fear was wrought in them! “And they parted them,” he says, showing the (το οιονομικον) wise management: “As every man had heed.” Not recklessly, like some philosophers among the Greeks, of whom some gave up their land, others cast into the sea great quantities of money; but this was no contempt of riches, but only folly and madness. For universally the devil has made it his endeavor to disparage the creatures of God, as if it were impossible to make good use of riches. (Chrysostom, Hom. Act. 7, NPNF1, vol. 11, pg. 45)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Easter Sunday, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 10:34a, 37–43
Second Reading Colossians 3:1–4 or 1 Corinthians 5:6b–8
Gospel John 20:1–9 or Matthew 28:1–10 or Luke 24:13–35

For first and second readings and the Gospel from Luke, see Easter Sunday, Year C.

St. John Chrysostom--we too can embrace resurrected Christ:
‎‎Perchance some one of you would wish to be like them, to hold the feet of Jesus; ye can even now, and not His feet and His hands only, but even lay hold on that sacred head, receiving the awful mysteries with a pure conscience. But not here only, but also in that day ye shall see Him, coming with that unspeakable glory, and the multitude of the angels, if ye are disposed to be humane; and ye shall hear not these words only, “All hail!” but also those others, “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world.” (Mt 25:34) (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 89.3, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 257)

St. Cyril of Jerusalem--the angels are not ashamed to confess the Cross of Christ:
‎Let none be weary; take thine armour against the adversaries in the cause of the Cross itself; set up the faith of the Cross as a trophy against the gainsayers. For when thou art going to dispute with unbelievers concerning the Cross of Christ, first make with thy hand the sign of Christ’s Cross, and the gainsayer will be silenced. Be not ashamed to confess the Cross; for Angels glory in it, saying, We know whom ye seek, Jesus the Crucified. (Mt 28:5) Mightest thou not say, O Angel, “I know whom ye seek, my Master?” But, “I,” he says with boldness, “I know the Crucified.” For the Cross is a Crown, not a dishonour. (Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. Lect. 13.22, NPNF2, vol. 7, pg. 88)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Holy Thursday, Mass of the Lord's Supper

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Exodus 12:1–8, 11–14
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 11:23–26
Gospel John 13:1–15

For the second reading, see Body and Blood of the Lord, Year C.

St. Cyprian--Christ is the passover lamb whose blood delivers from death:
‎‎And that the sign pertains to the passion and blood of Christ, and that whoever is found in this sign is kept safe and unharmed, is also proved by God’s testimony, saying, “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses in which ye shall be; and I will see the blood, and will protect you, and the plague of diminution shall not be upon you when I smite the land of Egypt.” (Ex 12:13) What previously preceded by a figure in the slain lamb is fulfilled in Christ, the truth which followed afterwards. As, then, when Egypt was smitten, the Jewish people could not escape except by the blood and the sign of the lamb; so also, when the world shall begin to be desolated and smitten, whoever is found in the blood and the sign of Christ alone shall escape. (Eze 9:4; Rev 7:3, 4) (Cyprian, Ad Demetr. 22, ANF, vol. 5, pg. 464)

St. John Chrysostom--the Christian must eat the passover lamb with loins girded:
‎[W]e too eat a Passover, even Christ; “for,” saith he, “our Passover hath been sacrificed, even Christ.” (1 Cor. 5:7) What then? We too ought to eat it, both sandalled and girded. And why? That we too may be ready for our Exodus, for our departure hence.
‎‎Moral. Let not any one of them that eat this Passover look towards Egypt, but towards Heaven, towards “Jerusalem that is above.” (Gal. 4:26) On this account thou eatest with thy loins girded, on this account thou eatest with shoes on thy feet, that thou mayest know, that from the moment thou first beginnest to eat the Passover, thou oughtest to set out, and to be upon thy journey. And this implies two things, both that we must depart out of Egypt, and that, whilst we stay, we must stay henceforth as in a strange country; “for our citizenship,” saith he, “is in Heaven” (Phil. 3:20); and that all our life long we should ever be prepared, so that when we are called we may not put it off, but say, “My heart is fixed.” (Ps. 108:1) (Chrysostom, Hom. Eph. 23, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 165)

St. Augustine--Christ loved his disciples to the end:
‎‎But perhaps the words, “He loved them unto the end,” may have to be understood in this way, That He so loved them as to die for them. For this He testified when He said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (Jn 15:13) We have certainly no objection that “He loved them unto the end” should be so understood, that is, it was His very love that carried Him on to death. (Augustine, Tract. en ev. Joan. 55.2, NPNF1, vol. 1, pg. 300)

St. Augustine--St. John prefaces the washing of the feet by commending the Lord's majesty:
‎‎We ought, dearly beloved, carefully to mark the meaning of the evangelist; because that, when about to speak of the pre-eminent humility of the Lord, it was his desire first to ommend His majesty. It is in reference to this that he says, “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He has come from God, and is going to God.” It is He, therefore, into whose hands the Father had given all things, who now washes, not the disciples’ hands, but their feet: and it was just while knowing that He had come from God, and was proceeding to God, that He discharged the office of a servant, not of God the Lord, but of man. And this also is referred to by the prefatory notice he has been pleased to make of His betrayer, who was now come as such, and was not unknown to Him; that the greatness of His humility should be still further enhanced by the fact that He did not esteem it beneath His dignity to wash also the feet of one whose hands He already foresaw to be steeped in wickedness. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 55.6, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 300-301)

St. Augustine--in baptism, the Christian is washed entirely, but contact with the world brings sin and need for daily "washing of the feet" by Christ:
‎‎The Lord says, The Truth declares that even he who has been washed has need still to wash his feet. What, my brethren, what think you of it, save that in holy baptism a man has all of him washed, not all save his feet, but every whit; and yet, while thereafter living in this human state, he cannot fail to tread on the ground with his feet. And thus our human feelings themselves, which are inseparable from our mortal life on earth, are like feet wherewith we are brought into sensible contact with human affairs; and are so in such a way, that if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 Jn 1:8) And every day, therefore, is He who intercedeth for us (Rom 8:34), washing our feet: and that we,too have daily need to be washing our feet, that is ordering aright the path of our spiritual foot. steps, we acknowledge even in the Lord’: prayer, when we say, “Forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors.” (Mt 6:12) For “if,’ as it is written, “we confess our sins,” then verily is He, who washed His disciples’ feet, “faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 Jn 1:9) that is, even to our feet wherewith we walk on the earth. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 56.4, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 302)

St. John Chrysostom--Christ tries to restrain Judas from his wickedness by his act of humilty:
‎‎The man whom most of all there was reason to hate, because being a disciple, having shared the table and the salt, having seen the miracles and been deemed worthy of such great things, he acted more grievously than any, not stoning indeed, nor insulting Him, but betraying and giving Him up, observe in how friendly sort He receiveth this man, washing his feet; for even in this way He desired to restrain him from that wickedness. Yet it was in His power, had He willed it, to have withered him like the fig-tree, to have cut him in two as He rent the rocks, to have cleft him asunder like the veil; but He would not lead him away from his design by compulsion, but by choice. Wherefore He washed his feet; and not even by this was that wretched and miserable man shamed. (Chrysostom, Hom. Jn. 70.1, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 257)

St. John Chrysostom--Christ gives us an example of humility:
‎‎“If I then,” He saith, “your Lord and Master have washed your feet, ye ought also to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”
‎‎And yet it is not the same thing, for He is Lord and Master, but ye are fellow-servants one of another. What meaneth then the “as”? “With the same zeal.” For on this account He taketh instances from greater actions that we may, if so be, perform the less. Thus schoolmasters write the letters for children very beautifully, that they may come to imitate them though but in an inferior manner. Where now are they who spit on their fellow-servants? where now they who demand honors? Christ washed the feet of the traitor, the sacrilegious, the thief, and that close to the time of the betrayal, and incurable as he was, made him a partaker of His table; and art thou highminded, and dost thou draw up thine eyebrows? “Let us then wash one another’s feet,” saith some one, “then we must wash those of our domestics.” And what great thing if we do wash even those of our domestics? In our case “slave” and “free” is a difference of words; but there an actual reality. For by nature He was Lord and we servants, yet even this He refused not at this time to do. (Chrysostom, Hom Jn. 71.1, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 260)

St. Ambrose prays to Christ who came among us as a servant:
‎‎Come, then, Lord Jesus, put off Thy garments, which Thou didst put on for my sake; be Thou stripped that Thou mayest clothe us with Thy mercy. Gird Thyself for our sakes with a towel, that Thou mayest gird us with Thy gift of immortality. Pour water into the basin, wash not only our feet but also the head, and not only of the body, but also the footsteps of the soul. I wish to put off all the filth of our frailty, so that I also may say: “By night I have put off my coat, how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet, how shall I defile them?” (Cant 5:3)
‎‎How great is that excellence! As a servant, Thou dost wash the feet of Thy disciples; as God, Thou sendest dew from heaven. Nor dost Thou wash the feet only, but also invitest us to sit down with Thee, and by the example of Thy dignity dost exhort us, saying: “Ye call Me Master and Lord, and ye do well, for so I am. If, then, I the Lord and Master have washed your feet, ye ought also to wash one another’s feet.” (Jn 13:13, 14)
‎‎I, then, wish also myself to wash the feet of my brethren, I wish to fulfil the commandment of my Lord, I will not be ashamed in myself, nor disdain what He Himself did first. Good is the mystery of humility, because while washing the pollutions of others I wash away my own. But all were not able to exhaust this mystery. (Ambrose, De Spir. Sanct. 1, Prol. 13-15, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 95)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Palm Sunday, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

Procession:
Gospel Matthew 21:1–11

Mass:
First Reading Isaiah 50:4–7
Second Reading Philippians 2:6–11
Gospel Matthew 26:14–27:66 or Matthew 27:11–54

For the First and Second Readings, see Palm Sunday, Year C.

Origen--the Lord's entry into Jerusalem and:his entry into the soul:
‎Now Jesus is the word of God which goes into the soul that is called Jerusalem, riding on the ass freed by the disciples from its bonds. That is to say, on the simple language of the Old Testament, interpreted by the two disciples who loose it: in the first place him who applies what is written to the service of the soul and shows the allegorical sense of it with reference to her, and in the second place him who brings to light by the things which lie in shadow the good and true things of the future. But He also rides on the young colt, the New Testament; for in both alike we find the word of truth which purifies us and drives away all those thoughts in us which incline to selling and buying. But He does not come alone to Jerusalem, the soul, nor only with a few companions; for many things have to enter into us before the word of God which makes us perfect, and as many things have to come after Him, all, however, hymning and glorifying Him and placing under Him their ornaments and vestures, so that the beasts He rides on may not touch the ground, when He who descended out of heaven is seated on them. But that His bearers, the old and the new words of Scripture, may be raised yet higher above the ground, branches have to be cut down from the trees that they may tread on reasonable expositions. But the multitudes which go before and follow Him may also signify the angelic ministrations, some of which prepare the way for Him in our souls, and help in their adorning, while some come after His presence in us, of which we have often spoken, so that we need not now adduce testimonies about it. (Origen, Comm. Jo. 10.18, ANF, vol. 10, pg. 396-397)

St. John Chrysostom--the ass and colt signify Israel and the Gentiles:
‎‎But He did these things, as I said, signifying beforehand the things to come. For here the church is signified by the colt, and the new people, which was once unclean, but which, after Jesus sat on them, became clean. And see the image preserved throughout. I mean that the disciples loose the asses For by the apostles, both they and we were called; by the apostles were we brought near. But because our acceptance provoked them also to emulation, therefore the ass appears following the colt. For after Christ hath sat on the Gentiles, then shall they also come moving us to emulation. And Paul declaring this, said, “That blindnesss in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved.” (Rom 11:25, 26) For that it was a prophecy is evident from what is said. For neither would the prophet have cared to express with such great exactness the age of the ass, unless this had been so. (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 66.2, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 406)

St. Augustine--Our Lord gives us an example of accepting God's will in prayer:
‎‎Accordingly, if anything is ordered in a way contrary to our prayer, we ought, patiently bearing the disappointment, and in everything giving thanks to God, to entertain no doubt whatever that it was right that the will of God and not our will should be done. For of this the Mediator has given us an example, inasmuch as, after He had said, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me,” transforming the human will which was in Him through His incarnation, He immediately added, “Nevertheless, O Father, not as I will but as Thou wilt.” (Mt 26:39) Wherefore, not without reason are many made righteous by the obedience of One. (Rom 5:19) (Augustine, Ep. 130.14.26, NPNF1, vol. 1, pg. 467)

St. Augustine--Christ teaches that we must pray that we may not enter into temptation:
‎‎Wherefore, our Heavenly Master also says: “Watch and pray, that ye enter pot into temptation.” (Mt 26:41) Let every man, therefore, when fighting against his own concupiscence, pray that he enter not into temptation; that is, that he be not drawn aside and enticed by it. But he does not enter into temptation if he conquers his evil concupiscence by good will. And yet the determination of the human will is insufficient, unless the Lord grant it victory in answer to prayer that it enter not into temptation. What, indeed, affords clearer evidence of the grace of God than the acceptance of prayer in any petition? If our Saviour had only said, “Watch that ye enter not into temptation,” He would appear to have done nothing further than admonish man’s will; but since He added the words, “and pray,” He showed that God helps us not to enter into temptation. (Augustine, De grat. et lib. arb. 4.9, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg. 447)

St. Augustine--Our Lord refused to come down from the cross, giving us an example of patience:
‎‎They who crucified Him wagged their head, and standing before His Cross, as though they had attained the fruit of their cruel rage, they said in mockery, “If He be the Son of God, let Him come down from the Cross. He saved others, Himself He cannot save.” (Mt 27:40, 42) He came not down, because He lay hid. For with far greater ease could He have come down from the Cross, who had power to rise again from the grave. He showed forth an example of patience for our instruction. (Augustine, Serm. 87.7.9, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 276)

St. John Chrysostom--that Christ's passion was foretold does not excuse Judas's guilt:
‎But some one will say, Yet if it was written that He was to suffer these things, wherefore is Judas blamed, for he did the things that were written? But not with this intent, but from wickedness. For if thou inquire not concerning the motive, thou wilt deliver even the devil from the charges against him. But these things are not, they are not so. For both the one and the other are deserving of countless punishments, although the world was saved. For neither did the treason of Judas work out salvation for us, but the wisdom of Christ, and the good contrivance of His fair skill, using the wickednesses of others for our advantage. (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 81.2, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 486)

St. John Chrysostom on why Christ instituted the Eucharist at the time of the passover:
‎“And as they were eating, He took bread, and brake it.” Why can it have been that He ordained this sacrament then, at the time of the passover? That thou mightest learn from everything, both that He is the lawgiver of the Old Testament, and that the things therein are foreshadowed because of these things. Therefore, I say, where the type is, there He puts the truth. (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 82.1, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 491)

St. John Chrysostom on why Christ instituted the Eucharist at the time of the passover:
‎“And as they were eating, He took bread, and brake it.” Why can it have been that He ordained this sacrament then, at the time of the passover? That thou mightest learn from everything, both that He is the lawgiver of the Old Testament, and that the things therein are foreshadowed because of these things. Therefore, I say, where the type is, there He puts the truth.
‎But the evening is a sure sign of the fullness of times, and that the things were now come to the very end.
‎And He gives thanks, to teach us how we ought to celebrate this sacrament, and to show that not unwillingly doth He come to the passion, and to teach us whatever we may suffer to bear it thankfully, thence also suggesting good hopes. For if the type was a deliverance from such bondage, how much more will the truth set free the world, and will He be delivered up for the benefit of our race. Wherefore, I would add, neither did He appoint the sacrament before this, but when henceforth the rites of the law were to cease. And thus the very chief of the feasts He brings to an end, removing them to another most awful table, and He saith, “Take, eat, This is my body, Which is broken for many.” (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 82.1, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 491)

St. John Chrysostom--we proclaim the sufferings of Christ:
‎And these things are read amongst us, when all meet together. For that the heathens may not say, that ye display to people and nations the things that are glorious and illustrious, such as the signs and the miracles, but that ye hide these which are matters of reproach; the grace of the Spirit hath brought it to pass, that in the full festival, when men in multitude and women are present, and all, as one may say, at the great eve of the passover, then all these things should be read; when the whole world is present, then are all these acts proclaimed with a clear voice. And these being read, and made known to all, Christ is believed to be God and, besides all the rest, is worshipped, even because of this, that He vouchsafed to stoop so much for us as actually to suffer these things, and to teach us all virtue.
‎These things then let us read continually; for indeed great is the gain, great the advantage to be thence obtained. For when thou seest Him, both by gestures and by deeds, mocked and worshipped with so much derision, and beaten and suffering the utmost insults, though thou be very stone, thou wilt become softer than any wax, and wilt cast out of thy soul all haughtiness. (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 87.1, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 516)

St. John Damascene--Christ was not forsaken by his divinity, but spoke as making our personality his own:
‎‎Further, these words, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? (Mt 27:46) He said as making our personality His own. For neither would God be regarded with us as His Father, unless one were to discriminate with subtle imaginings of the mind between that which is seen and that which is thought, nor was He ever forsaken by His divinity: nay, it was we who were forsaken and disregarded. So that it was as appropriating our personality that He offered these prayers. (John Damascene, De Fide Orth. 3.24, NPNF2, vol. 23, pg. 71)

St. Ambrose--in the hour of mockery and insult, the elements did Christ homage:
‎‎Even in the very hour of mockery and insult, acknowledge His Godhead. He hung upon the Cross, and all the elements did Him homage. (Mt 27:51) The sun withdrew his rays, the daylight vanished, darkness came down and covered the land, the earth trembled; yet He Who hung there trembled not. What was it that these signs betokened, but reverence for the Creator? (Ambrose, De fide 2.11.96, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 236)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Fifth Sunday of Lent, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Ezekiel 37:12–14
Second Reading Romans 8:8–11
Gospel John 11:1–45 or John 11:3–7, 17, 20–27, 33b–45

For Rom. 8:1-11, see Pentecost, Year C.

St. Cyprian--the Christian has hope in the face of death:
‎‎But we who live in hope, and believe in God, and trust that Christ suffered for us and rose again, abiding in Christ, and through Him and in Him rising again, why either are we ourselves unwilling to depart hence from this life, or do we bewail and grieve for our friends when they depart as if they were lost, when Christ Himself, our Lord and God, encourages us and says, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he die, yet shall live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall not die eternally?” (Jn 11:25) If we believe in Christ, let us have faith in His words and promises; and since we shall not die eternally, let us come with a glad security unto Christ, with whom we are both to conquer and to reign for ever. (Cyprian, De mort. 21, ANF, vol. 5, pg. 474)

Origen--Jesus himself is the resurrection and the other good things announced in the Gospel:
‎‎Now what the Gospels say is to be regarded in the light of promises of good things; and we must say that the good things the Apostles announce in this Gospel are simply Jesus. One good thing which they are said to announce is the resurrection; but the resurrection is in a manner Jesus, for Jesus says: (Jn 11:25) “I am the resurrection.” (Origen, Comm. Jo. 1.10, ANF, vol. 10, pg. 302)

St. Augustine--Christ's own example shows that sorrow over death is not altogether prohibited:
‎There is nothing in the sorrow of mortals over their dearly beloved dead which merits displeasure; but the sorrow of believers ought not to be prolonged. If, therefore, you have been grieved till now, let this grief suffice, and sorrow not as do the heathen, “who have no hope.” (1 Th 4:12) For when the Apostle Paul said this, he did not prohibit sorrow altogether, but only such sorrow as the heathen manifest who have no hope. For even Martha and Mary, pious sisters, and believers, wept for their brother Lazarus, of whom they knew that he would rise again, though they knew not that he was at that time to be restored to life; and the Lord Himself wept for that same Lazarus, whom He was going to bring back from death; (Jn 11:19-35) wherein doubtless He by His example permitted, though He did not by any precept enjoin, the shedding of tears over the graves even of those regarding whom we believe that they shall rise again to the true life. (Augustine, Ep. 263.3, NPNF1, vol. 1, pg. 592)

St. Augustine--Christ raises the sinner buried by the load of evil habit:
‎‎But the sinner is dead, especially he whom the load of sinful habit presseth down, who is buried as it were like Lazarus. For he was not merely dead, he was buried also. (Jn 11:17) Whosoever then is oppressed by the load of evil habit, of a wicked life, of earthly lusts, I mean, so that that in his case is true which is piteously described in a certain Psalm, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God,” (Ps 14:1) he is such an one, of whom it is said, “Confession perisheth from the dead, as from one that is not.” And who shall raise him up, but He who when the stone was removed, cried out, and said, “Lazarus, Come forth?” (Jn 11:43) Now what is to “come forth,” but to bring forth what was hidden? He then who confesseth “cometh forth.” “Come forth” he could not were he not alive; he could not be alive, had he not been raised again. And therefore in confession the accusing of one’s self, is the praise of God. (Augustine, Serm. 67.1.2, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 311)

St. Augustine--the four days Lazarus was dead signify four deaths by sin of mankind:
‎‎When a man is born, he is born already in a state of death; for he inherits sin from Adam. Hence the apostle says: “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so that passed upon all men, wherein all have sinned.” (Ro 5:12) Here you have one day of death because man inherits it from the seed stock of death. Thereafter he grows, and begins to approach the years of reason that he may know the law of nature, which every one has had implanted in his heart: What thou wouldst not have done to thyself, do not to another. Is this learned from the pages of a book, and not in a measure legible in our very nature? Hast thou any desire to be robbed? Certainly not. See here, then, the law in thy heart: What thou art unwilling to suffer, be unwilling to do. This law also is transgressed by men; and here, then, we have the second day of death. The law was also divinely given through Moses, the servant of God; and therein it is said,” Thou shall not kill; thou shall not commit adultery; thou shall not bear false witness; honor thy father and mother; thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s property; thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” (Ex 10:12-17) Here you have the written law, and it also is despised: this is the third day of death. What remains? The gospel also comes, the kingdom of heaven is preached, Christ is everywhere published; He threatens hell, He promises eternal life; and that also is despised. Men transgress the gospel; and this is the fourth day of death. Now he deservedly stinketh. But is mercy to be denied to such? God forbid; for to raise such also from the dead, the Lord thinks it not unfitting to come. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 49.12, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 247)

St. Hilary--Christ prayed not because of his own need but for our benefit:
‎‎When He was about to restore Lazarus, He prayed to the Father: but what need had He of prayer, Who said, Father, I thank Thee, that Thou hast heard Me; and I know that Thou hearest Me always, but because of the multitude I said it, that they may believe that Thou didst send Me? (Jn 11:41, 42) He prayed then for us, that we may know Him to be the Son; the words of prayer availed Him nothing, but He said them for the advancement of our faith. He was not in want of help, but we of teaching. (Hilary, De Trin. 10.71, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 202)