Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sententiae Patristicae: Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Exodus 22:20–26
Second Reading 1 Thessalonians 1:5c–10
Gospel Matthew 22:34–40


St. John Chrysostom on the joy of the Holy Ghost:
‎“With joy of the Holy Ghost,” he says. That no one may say, how speakest thou of “affliction”? how “of joy”? how can both meet in one? he has added, “with joy of the Holy Ghost.” The affliction is in things bodily, and the joy in things spiritual. How? The things which happened to them were grievous, but not so the things which sprang out of them, for the Spirit does not allow it. So that it is possible both for him who suffers, not to rejoice, when one suffers for his sins; and being beaten to take pleasure, when one suffers for Christ’s sake. For such is the joy of the Spirit. In return for the things which appear to be grievous, it brings out delight. (Chrysostom, Hom. 1 Thess. 1, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 325)

St. Augustine--to love your neighbor is to do all in your power to commend him to the love God:
‎‎For our good, about which philosophers have so keenly contended, is nothing else than to be united to God. It is, if I may say so by spiritually embracing Him that the intellectual soul is filled and impregnated with true virtues. We are enjoined to love this good with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength. To this good we ought to be led by those who love us, and to lead those we love. Thus are fulfilled those two commandments on which hang all the law and the prophets: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy soul;” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Mt 22:37-40) For, that man might be intelligent in his self-love, there was appointed for him an end to which he might refer all his actions, that he might be blessed. For he who loves himself wishes nothing else than this. And the end set before him is “to draw near to God.” (Ps 73:28) And so, when one who has this intelligent self-love is commanded to love his neighbor as himself, what else is enjoined than that he shall do all in his power to commend to him the love of God? This is the worship of God, this is true religion, this right piety, this the service due to God only. If any immortal power, then, no matter with what virtue endowed, loves us as himself, he must desire that we find our happiness by submitting ourselves to Him, in submission to whom he himself finds happiness. (Augustine, De civ. Dei 10.3.2, NPNF1, vol. 2, pg. 182)

St. Augustine on love of God and love of neighbor:
‎‎For this is the law of love that has been laid down by Divine authority: “Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself;” but, “Thou shall love God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind:” (Mt 22:37-39) so that you are to concentrate all your thoughts, your whole life and your whole intelligence upon Him from whom you derive all that you bring. For when He says, “With all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” He means that no part of our life is to be unoccupied, and to afford room, as it were, for the wish to enjoy some other object, but that whatever else may suggest itself to us as an object worthy of love is to be borne into the same channel in which the whole current of our affections flows. Whoever, then, loves his neighbor aright, ought to urge upon him that he too should love God with his whole heart, and soul, and mind. For in this way, loving his neighbor as himself, a man turns the whole current of his love both for himself and his neighbor into the channel of the love of God, which suffers no stream to be drawn off from itself by whose diversion its own volume would be diminished. (Augustine, De doctr. christ. 1.22.21, NPNF1, vol. 2, pg. 528)

St. John Chrysostom on the likeness of the two commandments:
‎‎But wherefore “like unto this?” Because this makes the way for that, and by it is again established; “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light;”(Jn 3:20) and again, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” And what in conssequence of this? “They are corrupt, and become abminable in their ways.” (Ps 53:1) And again, “The love of money is the root of all evils; which while some coveted after they have erred from the faith;” (1 Tim 6:10) and, “He that loveth me, will keep my commandment.” (Jn 14:15)
‎‎But His commandments, and the sum of them, are, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and thy neighbor as thyself.” If therefore to love God is to love one’s neighbor, “For if thou lovest me,” He saith, “O Peter, feed my sheep,” (Jn 21:16, 17) but to love one’s neighbor worketh a keeping of the commandments, with reason doth He say, “On these hang all the law and the prophets.” (Mt 22:40) (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 71.1, NPNF1,  vol. 10, pg. 431)

St. Leo the Great--love of neighbor must extend to all men:
‎‎And so, when the Lord says, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, from all thy heart and from all thy mind: and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself,” (Mt 22:37, 39) let the faithful soul put on the unfading love of its Author and Ruler, and subject itself also entirely to His will in Whose works and judgments true justice and tender-hearted compassion never fail. For although a man be wearied out with labours and many misfortunes, there is good reason for him to endure all in the knowledge that adversity will either prove him good or make him better. But this godly love cannot be perfect unless a man love his neighbour also. Under which name must be included not only those who are connected with us by friendship or neighbourhood, but absolutely all men, with whom we have a common nature, whether they be foes or allies, slaves or free. (Leo, Serm. 12.2, NPNF2, vol. 12, pg. 122)

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