Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 8:5–8, 14–17
Second Reading 1 Peter 3:15–18
Gospel John 14:15–21

Tertullian on the Holy Trinity:
‎‎‎Then there is the Paraclete or Comforter, also, which He promises to pray for to the Father, and to send from heaven after He had ascended to the Father. He is called “another Comforter,” indeed; (Jn 14:16) but in what way He is another we have already shown, “He shall receive of mine,” says Christ, (Jn 16:14) just as Christ Himself received of the Father’s. Thus the connection of the Father in the Son, and of the Son in the Paraclete, produces three coherent Persons, who are yet distinct One from Another. These Three are, one essence, not one Person, as it is said, “I and my Father are One,” (Jn 10:30) in respect of unity of substance not singularity of number. (Tertullian, Adv. Prax. 25, ANF, vol. 3, pg. 621)

St. Augustine--Christ will manifest himself in his divinity to those that keep his commandments:
‎‎“He that loveth me, keepeth my commandments; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him”(Jn 14:21) — in the form, no doubt, of God, wherein He is equal to the Father; not in the form of a servant, for in this He will display Himself even to the wicked also. (Augustine, De spir. et litt. 22.37, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg. 98)

St. Augustine on having and keeping the commandments and on Christ's love for the believer:
‎‎“He that hath my commmandments,” He adds, “and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me.” He that hath [them] in his memory, and keepeth them in his life; who hath them orally, and keepeth them morally; who hath them in the ear, and keepeth them in deed; or who hath them in deed, and keepeth them by perseverance;—“he it is,” He says, “that loveth me.” By works is love made manifest as no fruitless application of a name. “And he that loveth me,” He says, “shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” But what is this, “I will love”? Is it as if He were then only to love, and loveth not at present? Surely not. For how could the Father love us apart from the Son, or the Son apart from the Father? Working as They do inseparably, how can They love apart? But He said, “I will love him,” in reference to that which follows, “and I will manifest myself to him.” “I will love, and will manifest;” that is, I will love to the very extent of manifesting. For this has been the present aim of His love, that we may believe, and keep hold of the commandment of faith; but then His love will have this for its object, that we may see, and get that very sight as the reward of our faith: for we also love now, by believing in that which we shall see hereafter; but then shall we love in the sight of that which now we believe. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 75.5, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 336-337)

St. John Chrysostom--Jn 14:16 refutes the error of the Sabellians:
‎‎Let those be ashamed who have the disease of Sabellius, who hold not the fitting opinion concerning the Spirit. For the marvel of this discourse is this, that it hath stricken down contradictory heresies with the same blow. For by saying“another,” He showeth the difference of Person, and by “Paraclete,” the connection of Substance. (Chrysostom, Hom. Jn. 75.1, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 274)

St. John Chrysostom on the difference between how Christ is "in" the Father and how the disciples are "in" Christ:
‎‎Ver. 20. “At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
‎‎With regard to the Father, these words refer to Essence; with regard to the disciples, to agreement of mind and help from God. “And how, tell me, is this reasonable?” saith some one. And how, pray, is the contrary reasonable? For great and altogether boundless is the interval between Christ and the disciples. And if the same words are employed, marvel not; for the Scripture is often wont to use in different senses the same words, when applied to God and to men. (Chrysostom, Hom. Jn. 75.2, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 275)

St. Hilary--we abide in Christ through the sacraments:
‎‎Now how it is that we are in Him through the sacrament of the flesh and blood bestowed upon us, He Himself testifies, saying, And the world will no longer see Me, but ye shall see Me; because I live ye shall live also; because I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you. (Jn 14:19, 20) If He wished to indicate a mere unity of will, why did He set forth a kind of gradation and sequence in the completion of the unity, unless it were that, since He was in the Father through the nature of Deity, and we on the contrary in Him through His birth in the body, He would have us believe that He is in us through the mystery of the sacraments? and thus there might be taught a perfect unity through a Mediator, whilst, we abiding in Him, He abode in the Father, and as abiding in the Father abode also in us; and so we might arrive at unity with tile Father, since in Him Who dwells naturally in the Father by birth, we also dwell naturally, while He Himself abides naturally in us also. (Hilary, De Trin. 8.15, NPNF1, vol. 9, pg. 141-142)

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