Monday, June 6, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Ascension, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary
First Reading Acts 1:1–11
Second Reading Ephesians 1:17–23
Gospel Matthew 28:16–20

For readings 1 and 2 see Ascension, Year C.

St. Augustine--the singular "name" of Father, Son & Spirit implies the unity of God:
‎‎We became attentive when we heard, “Go, baptize the nations.” In whose name? “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” This is one God; for it says not in the “names” of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, but “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Where thou hearest one name, there is one God; just as it was said of Abraham’s seed, and the Apostle Paul expounds it, “In thy seed shall all nations be blessed; he said not, In seeds, as in many, but as in one, and in thy seed which is Christ.” (Gen 22:18; Gal 3:16) Wherefore, just as the apostle wished to show thee that, because in that place it is not said “in seeds,” Christ is one; so here too, when it is said, “in the name,” not in the names, even as these, “in seed,” not in seeds, is it proved that the Father, and the Son. and the Holy Ghost are one God. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 6.9, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 42)

St. John Chrysostom--the Lord will be with us always, if we do not place ourselves at a distance:
‎This the Lord also promised, saying to His disciples, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt. xxviii. 20.) But this takes place when we are willing. For He will not be altogether with us, if we place ourselves at a distance. “I will be with you,” He says, “always.” Let us not therefore drive away grace. (Chrysostom, Hom. 2 Thess. 5, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 395)

St. Gregory of Nyssa on the unity of the Three Persons of the Trinity in the baptismal formula:
‎‎What says the Lord’s command? “Baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” (Mt 28:19) How in the Name of the Father? Because He is the primal cause of all things. How in the Name of the Son? Because He is the Maker of the Creation. How in the Name of the Holy Ghost? Because He is the power perfecting all. We bow ourselves therefore before the Father, that we may be sanctified: before the Son also we bow, that the same end may be fulfilled: we bow also before the Holy Ghost, that we may be made what He is in fact and in Name. There is not a distinction in the sanctification, in the sense that the Father sanctifies more, the Son less, the Holy Spirit in a less degree than the other Two. Why then dost thou divide the Three Persons into fragments of different natures, and make Three Gods, unlike one to another, whilst from all thou dost receive one and the same grace? (Greg. Nyss. In bapt. Christi, NPNF2, vol. 5, pg. 520-521)

St. Hilary on the perfection of Our Lord's command:
‎‎Believers have always found their satisfaction in that Divine utterance, which our ears heard recited from the Gospel at the moment when that Power, which is its attestation, was bestowed upon us:—Go now and teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I command you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. (Mt 28:19,20) What element in the mystery of man’s salvation is not included in those words? What is forgotten, what left in darkness? All is full, as from the Divine fulness; perfect, as from the Divine perfection. The passage contains the exact words to be used, the essential acts, the sequence of processes, an insight into the Divine nature. He bade them baptize in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, that is with confession of the Creator and of the Only-begotten, and of the Gift. For God the Father is One, from Whom are all things; and our Lord Jesus Christ the Only-begotten, through Whom are all things, is One; and the Spirit, God’s Gift to us, Who pervades all things, is also One. Thus all are ranged according to powers possessed and benefits conferred;—the One Power from Whom all, the One Offspring through Whom all, the One Gift Who gives us perfect hope. Nothing can be found lacking in that supreme Union which embraces, in Father, Son and Holy Spirit, infinity in the Eternal, His Likeness in His express Image, our enjoyment of Him in the Gift. (Hilary, De Trin. 2.1, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 51)

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