Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sententiae Patristicae: Second Sunday of Lent, Year B

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Genesis 22:1–2, 9a, 10–13, 15–18
Second Reading Romans 8:31b–34
Gospel Mark 9:2–10

For the Gospel, see also parallels at Lent 2, Year A and Year C.

Tertullian--the sacrifice of Isaac prefigures Christ's sacrifice:
‎Accordingly, to begin with, Isaac, when led by his father as a victim, and himself bearing his own “wood,” was even at that early period pointing to Christ’s death; conceded, as He was, as a victim by the Father; carrying, as He did, the “wood” of His own passion. (Comp. Ge 22:1-10 with Jn 19:17) (Tertullian, Adv. Jud. 10, ANF, vol. 3, pg. 165)

St. Augustine on the same prefiguring of Christ in Isaac:
‎“By faith,” he says, “Abraham overcame, when tempted about Isaac: and he who had received the promise offered up his only son, to whom it was said, In Isaac shall thy seed be called: thinking that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead;” therefore he has added, “from whence also he received him in a similitude.” (He 11:17-19) In whose similitude but His of whom the apostle says, “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all?” (Ro 8:32) And on this account Isaac also himself carried to the place of sacrifice the wood on which he was to be offered up, just as the Lord Himself carried His own cross. Finally, since Isaac was not to be slain, after his father was forbidden to smite him, who was that ram by the offering of which that sacrifice was completed with typical blood? For when Abraham saw him, he was caught by the horns in a thicket. What, then, did he represent but Jesus, who, before He was offered up, was crowned with thorns by the Jews? (Augustine, De civ. Dei 16.32.1, NPNF1, vol. 2, pg. 329)

St. Augustine--God is said to come to know something when he causes us to know:
‎So also God is said to “know” when He causes us to know. God says to Abraham, “Now I know that thou fearest God.” (Ge 22:12) Did He then not know it before then? But Abraham did not know himself till then: for it was in that very trial he came to know himself.… And God is said to “know” that which He had caused him to know. (Augustine, Enarr. in Ps. 44.16, NPNF1, vol. 8, pg. 144)

St. John Chrysostom--God exercises his own athletes through trials:
‎And he shows another thing too, by saying, that “God tempted Abraham.” (Gen. 22:1.) What then? Did not God know that the man was noble and approved? Why then did He tempt him? Not that He might Himself learn, but that He might show to others, and make his fortitude manifest to all. And here also he shows the cause of trials, that they may not suppose they suffer these things as being forsaken [of God]. For in their case indeed, it was necessary that they should he tried, because there were many who persecuted or plotted against them: but in Abraham’s case, what need was there to devise trials for him which did not exist? Now this trial, it is evident, was by His command. The others indeed happened by His allowance, but this even by His command. If then temptations make men approved in such wise that, even where there is no occasion, God exercises His own athletes; much more ought we to bear all things nobly. (Chrysostom, Hom. Heb. 25.2, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 478)

St. Ambrose--God is not pleased by blood, but by dutiful obedience:
‎The father offered indeed his son, but God is appeased not by blood but by dutiful obedience. He showed the ram in the thicket (Ge 22;13) in the stead of the lad, that He might restore the son to his father, and yet the victim not fail the priest. And so Abraham was not stained with his son’s blood, nor was God deprived of the sacrifice. The prophet spoke, and neither yielded to boastfulness nor continued obstinate, but took the ram in exchange for the lad. And by this is shown the more how piously he offered him whom he now so gladly received back. And thou, if thou offer thy gift to God, dost not lose it. But we are tenacious of our own; God gave His only Son for us, (Ro 8:32) we refuse ours. Abraham saw this and recognized the mystery, that salvation should be to us from the Tree, nor did it escape his notice that in one and the same sacrifice it was One that seemed to be offered, Another which could be slain. (Ambrose, De excessu fratris 2.98, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 190)

St. Augustine--what blessings shall God give us in the blessed life, who was willing to give his Son:
‎What blessings will He in the blessed life shower upon those for whom, even in this state of misery, He has been willing that His only-begotten Son should endure such sufferings even to death? Thus the apostle reasons concerning those who are predestined to that kingdom: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also give us all things?” (Ro 8:32) When this promise is fulfilled, what shall we be? What blessings shall we receive in that kingdom, since already we have received as the pledge of them Christ’s dying? In what condition shall the spirit of man be, when it has no longer any vice at all; when it neither yields to any, nor is in bondage to any, nor has to make war against any, but is perfected, and enjoys undisturbed peace with itself? Shall it not then know all things with certainty, and without any labor or error, when unhindered and joyfully it drinks the wisdom of God at the fountain-head? What shall the body be, when it is in every respect subject to the spirit, from which it shall draw a life so sufficient, as to stand in need of no other nutriment? For it shall no longer be animal, but spiritual, having indeed the substance of flesh, but without any fleshly corruption. (Augustine, De civ. Dei 22.24.5, NPNF1, vol. 2, pg. 504)

St. John Chrysostom--God's wisdom turns the plots of those who oppose us unto our salvation and glory:
‎Why, it may be said, who is there that is not against us? Why the world is against us, both kings and peoples, both relations and countrymen. Yet these that be against us, so far are they from thwarting us at all, that even without their will they become to us the causes of crowns, and procurers of countless blessings, in that God’s wisdom turneth their plots unto our salvation and glory. See how really no one is against us! (Chrysostom, Hom. Rom. 15, NPNF1, vol. 11, pg. 453)

Origen--after six days, Jesus gives a glimpse of a new Sabbath in the Transfiguration:
‎For since in six days—the perfect number—the whole world,—this perfect work of art,—was made, on this account I think that he who transcends all the things of the world by beholding no longer the things which are not seen, for they are temporal, but already the things which are seen, and only the things which are not seen, because that they are eternal, is represented in the words, “After six days days Jesus took up with Him” certain persons. If therefore any one of us wishes to be taken by Jesus, and led up by Him into the high mountain, and be deemed worthy of beholding His transfiguration apart, let him pass beyond the six days, because he no longer beholds the things which are seen, nor longer loves the world, nor the things in the world, (1 Jn 2:15) nor lusts after any worldly lust, which is the lust of bodies, and of the riches of the body, and of the glory which is after the flesh, and whatever things whose nature it is to distract and drag away the soul from the things which are better and diviner, and bring it down and fix it fast to the deceit of this age, in wealth and glory, and the rest of the lusts which are the foes of truth. For when he has passed through the six days, as we have said, he will keep a new Sabbath, rejoicing in the lofty mountain, because he sees Jesus transfigured before him; for the Word has different forms, as He appears to each as is expedient for the beholder, and is manifested to no one beyond the capacity of the beholder. (Origen, Comm. Matt. 12.36, ANF, vol. 9, pg. 469-470)

Origen--Jesus appears in his divinity to those who ascend with him:
‎But hear these things, if you can, at the same time giving heed spiritually, that it is not said simply, “He was transfigured,” but with a certain necessary addition, which Matthew and Mark have recorded; for, according to both, “He was transfigured before them.” (Mt 17:2; Mk 9:2) And according to this, indeed, you will say that it is possible for Jesus to be transfigured before some with this transfiguration, but before others at the same time not to be transfigured. But if you wish to see the transfiguration of Jesus before those who went up into the lofty mountain apart long with Him, behold with me the Jesus in the Gospels, as more simply apprehended, and as one might say, known “according to the flesh,” by those who do not go up, through works and words which are uplifting, to the lofty mountain of wisdom, but known no longer after the flesh, but known in His divinity by means of all the Gospels, and beholden in the form of God according to their knowledge; for before them is Jesus transfigured, and not to any one of those below. (Origen, Comm. Matt. 12.37, ANF, vol. 9, pg. 470)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sententiae Patristicae: First Sunday of Lent, Year B

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Genesis 9:8–15
Second Reading 1 Peter 3:18–22
Gospel Mark 1:12–15

For the Gospel, see also parallels in Year A and Year C.

St. Cyprian on the ark of the Church and the saving waters of baptism:
‎Moreover, Peter himself, showing and vindicating the unity, has commanded and warned us that we cannot be saved, except by the one only baptism of one Church. “In the ark,” says he, “of Noah, few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water, as also baptism shall in like manner save you.” (1 Pe 3:20, 21) In how short and spiritual a summary has he set forth the sacrament of unity! For as, in that baptism of the world in which its ancient iniquity was purged away, he who was not in the ark of Noah could not be saved by water, so neither can he appear to be saved by baptism who has not been baptized in the Church which is established in the unity of the Lord according to the sacrament of the one ark. (Cyprian, Ep. 74.11, ANF, vol. 5, pg. 389)

St. Jerome draws an extensive allegory between the ark and the Church:
‎Noah’s ark was a type of the Church, as the Apostle Peter says— (1 Pe 3:20) “In Noah’s ark few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water: which also after a true likeness doth now save us, even baptism.” As in the ark there were all kinds of animals, so also in the Church there are men of all races and characters. As in the one there was the leopard with the kids, the wolf with the lambs, so in the other there are found the righteous and sinners, that is, (2 Ti 2:20) vessels of gold and silver with those of wood and of earth. The ark had its rooms: the Church has many mansions. Eight souls were saved in Noah’s ark. And (Eccl 11:2) Ecclesiastes bids us “give a portion to seven yea, even unto eight,” that is to believe both Testaments. This is why some psalms bear the inscription for the octave, and why the one hundred and nineteenth psalm is divided into portions of eight verses each beginning with its own letter for the instruction of the righteous. The beatitudes which our Lord spoke to his disciples on the mountain, thereby delineating the Church, are eight. And Ezekiel for the building of the temple employs the number eight. And you will find many other things expressed in the same way in the Scriptures. The raven also is sent forth from the ark but does not return, and afterwards the dove announces peace to the earth. So also in the Church’s baptism, that most unclean bird the devil is expelled, and the dove of the Holy Spirit announces peace to our earth. The construction of the ark was such that it began with being thirty cubits broad and gradually narrowed to one. Similarly the Church, consisting of many grades, ends in deacons, presbyters, and bishops. The ark was in peril in the flood, the Church is in peril in the world. When Noah left the ark he planted a vineyard, drank thereof, and was drunken. Christ also, born in the flesh, planted the Church and suffered. The elder son made sport of his father’s nakedness, the younger covered it: and the Jews mocked God crucified, the Gentiles honoured Him. The daylight would fail me if I were to explain all the mysteries of the ark and compare them with the Church. (Jerome, Lucif. 21, NPNF2, vol. 6, pg. 331)

St. Augustine--Baptism and the Eucharist are salvation and life:
‎The Christians of Carthage have an excellent name for the sacraments, when they say that baptism is nothing else than “salvation,” and the sacrament of the body of Christ nothing else than “life.” Whence, however, was this derived, but from that primitive, as I suppose, and apostolic tradition, by which the Churches of Christ maintain it to be an inherent principle, that without baptism and partaking of the supper of the Lord it is impossible for any man to attain either to the kingdom of God or to salvation and everlasting life? So much also does Scripture testify, according to the words which we already quoted. For wherein does their opinion, who designate baptism by the term salvation, differ from what is written: “He saved us by the washing of regeneration?” (Tit 3:5) or from Peter’s statement: “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us?” (1 Pe 3:21) And what else do they say who call the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper life, than that which is written: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven;” and “The bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world;” (Jn 6:51) (Augustine, De pecc. merit. et remiss. 1.24.34, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg. 28)

St. Bede on Christ's retreat into the desert and temptation:
‎But He retires into the desert that He may teach us that, leaving the allurements of the world, and the company of the wicked, we should in all things obey the Divine commands. He is left alone and tempted by the devil, that He might teach us, that all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution; (2 Tim. 3:12) whence it follows, And he was in the wilderness forty days and forty nights, and was tempted of Satan. But He was tempted forty days and forty nights, that He might shew us, that as long as we live here and serve God, whether prosperity smile upon us, which is meant by the day, or adversity smite us, which agrees with the figure of night, at all times our adversary is at hand, who ceases not to trouble our way by temptations. For the forty days and forty nights imply the whole time of this world, for the globe in which we are serving God is divided into four quarters. Again, there are Ten Commandments, by observing which we fight against our enemy, but four times ten are forty. (Bede, in Marc. 1.5, Cat. Aur., vol. 2, pg. 18)

St. Bede--Christ dwells among wild beasts as man, but, as God, uses the ministry of angels:
‎Consider also that Christ dwells among the wild beasts as man, but, as God, uses the ministry of Angels. Thus, when in the solitude of a holy life we bear with unpolluted mind the bestial manners of men, we merit to have the ministry of Angels, by whom, when freed from the body, we shall be transferred to everlasting happiness. (Bede, in Marc. 1.5, Cat. Aur., vol. 2, pg. 19)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sententiae Patristicae: Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Isaiah 43:18–19, 21–22, 24b–25
Second Reading 2 Corinthians 1:18–22
Gospel Mark 2:1–12

St. Cyprian--Isaiah foretells the coming of salvation to the nations through baptism:
‎But as often as water is named alone in the Holy Scriptures, baptism is referred to, as we see intimated in Isaiah: “Remember not,” says he, “the former things, and consider not the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, which shall now spring forth; and ye shall know it. I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the dry place, to give drink to my elected people, my people whom I have purchased, that they might show forth my praise.” (Is 43:18-21) There God foretold by the prophet, that among the nations, in places which previously had been dry, rivers should afterwards flow plenteously, and should provide water for the elected people of God, that is, for those who were made sons of God by the generation of baptism. (Cyprian, Ep. 63.8, ANF, vol. 5, pg. 360)

John Cassian--our efforts cannot expiate our offences unless they are blotted out by the Lord:
‎Let not the stubbornness of an obdurate heart turn away any from the saving remedy and the fount of so much goodness, because even if we have done all these things, they will not be able to expiate our offences, unless they are blotted out by the goodness and mercy of the Lord, who when He sees the service of pious efforts offered by us with a humble heart, supports our small and puny efforts with the utmost bounty, and says: “I even I am He that blotteth out thine iniquities for Mine own sake, and I will remember thy sins no more.” (Is 43:25) (Cassian, Collat. 20.8, NPNF2, vol. 11, pg. 500)

St. Augustine--all things spoken to Israel are fulfilled in Christ:
‎All things that were spoken to the ancient people Israel in the manifold Scripture of the holy law, what things they did, whether in sacrifices, or in priestly offices, or in feast-days, and, in a word, in what things soever they worshipped God, what things soever were spoken to and given them in precept, were shadows of things to come. Of what things to come? Things which find their fulfillment in Christ. Whence the apostle says, “For all the promises of God are in Him yea;” (2 Co 1:20) that is, they are fulfilled in Him. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 28.9, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 181)

St. John Chrysostom on 2 Cor. 1:20:
‎But what is, “In Him is the yea, and the Amen.” He signifies that which shall certainly be. For in Him, not in man, the promises have their being and fulfilment. Fear not, therefore; for it is not man so that thou shouldest mistrust; but it is God Who both said and fulfilleth. “Unto the glory of God through us.” What is, “unto [His] glory through us?” He fulfilleth them by us, that is, and28 by His benefits towards us unto His glory; for this is “for the glory of God.” But if they be for the glory of God, they will certainly come to pass. For His own glory He will not think little of, even did He think little of our salvation. But as it is, He thinketh not little of our salvation either, both because He loveth mankind exceedingly, and because our salvation is bound up with His glory from these things accruing. So that if the promises are for His glory, our salvation also will certainly follow (Chrysostom, Hom. 2 Cor 3.4, NPNF1, vol. 12, pg. 289)

St. John Chrysostom--we are anointed with the Spirit as priests, prophets and kings:
‎And what is, “anointed,” and “sealed?” Gave the Spirit by Whom He did both these things, making at once prophets and priests and kings, for in old times these three sorts were anointed. But we have now not one of these dignities, but all three preeminently. For we are both to enjoy a kingdom and are made priests by offering our bodies for a sacrifice, (for, saith he, “present your members a living sacrifice unto God” [Ro 12:1]) and withal we are constituted prophets too: for what things “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard,” (1 Cor. 2:9) these have been revealed unto us. (Chrysostom, Hom. 2 Cor. 3.4, NPNF1, vol. 12, pg. 290)

St. John Chrysostom on the "earnest" of the Spirit:
‎Thus here also he makes the things already bestowed a sure token of the promise of those which are yet to come. For this reason he further calls it an “earnest,” (Cf. also 2 Cor. 1:22.) for an earnest is a part of the whole. He hath purchased what we are most concerned in, our salvation; and hath given us an earnest in the mean while. Why then did He not give the whole at once? Because neither have we, on our part, done the whole of our work. We have believed. This is a beginning; and He too on His part hath given an earnest. When we show our faith by our works, then He will add the rest. Nay, more, He hath given yet another pledge, His own blood, and hath promised another still. In the same way as in case of war between nation and nation they give hostages: just so hath God also given His Son as a pledge of peace and solemn treaties, and, further, the Holy Spirit also which is from Him. For they, that are indeed partakers of the Spirit, know that He is the earnest of our inheritance. Such an one was Paul, who already had here a foretaste of the blessings there. And this is why he was so eager, and yearned to be released from things below, and groaned within himself. He transferred his whole mind thither, and saw every thing with different eyes. Thou hast no part in the reality, and therefore failest to understand the description. Were we all partakers of the Spirit, as we ought to be partakers, then should we behold Heaven, and the order of things that is there. (Chrysostom, Hom. Eph. 2, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 56)

St. Clement of Alexandria--Christ heals both body and soul:
‎For a while the “physician’s art,” according to Democritus, “heals the diseases of the body; wisdom frees the soul from passion.” But the good Instructor, the Wisdom, the Word of the Father, who made man, cares for the whole nature of His creature; the all-sufficient Physician of humanity, the Saviour, heals both body and soul. “Rise up,” He said to the paralytic; “take the bed on which thou liest, and go away home.” (Mk 2:11) (Clem. Alex., Paed. 1.2, ANF, vol. 2, pg. 210)

St. Augustine--Christ orders us to master our flesh as the paralytic carried his bed:
‎He cured the sick man, and told him to carry his couch, and go unto his house. (Jn 5:8, 9) And so too He said to the sick of the palsy whom He cured. (Mk 2:9) What is it to carry our couch? The pleasure of our flesh. Where we lie in infirmity, is as it were our bed. But they who are cured master and carry it, are not by this flesh mastered. (Augustine, Serm. 125, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 481)

St. John Chrysostom on the faith of the paralytic:
‎But this man had the fortitude to go outside the house, and to be carried into the midst of the market place, and to exhibit himself in the presence of a crowd. And it is the habit of sick folk to die under their disorder rather than disclose their personal calamities. This sick man however did not act thus, but when he saw that the place of assembly was filled, the approaches blocked, the haven of refuge obstructed, he submitted to be let down through the roof. So ready in contrivance is desire, so rich in resource is love. “For he also that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Lk 11:10) The man did not say to his friends “What is the meaning of this? why make this ado? why push on? Let us wait until the house is cleared and the assembly is dissolved: the crowds will withdraw, we shall then be able to approach him privately and confer about these matters. Why should you expose my misfortunes in the midst of all the spectators, and let me down from the roof-top, and behave in an unseemly manner?” That man said none of these things either to himself or to his bearers, but regarded it as an honour to have so many persons made witnesses of his cure. (Chrysostom, Paralyt. 5, NPNF1, vol. 9, pg. 216)

St. John Chrysostom--Christ first destroys sin as a physician addresses the cause of a malady:
‎For it is a habit with physicians to destroy the originating cause of the malady before they remove the malady itself. Often for example when the eyes are distressed by some evil humour and corrupt discharge, the physician, abandoning any treatment of the disordered vision, turns his attention to the head, where the root and origin of the infirmity is: even so did Christ act: He represses first of all the source of the evil. For the source and root and mother of all evil is the nature of sin. (Chrysostom, Paralyt. 5, NPNF1, vol. 9, pg. 217)

St. John Chrysostom--to forgive sins is a greater act than to heal the body, but Christ demonstrates the greater from the more manifest:
‎See moreover He makes a second proof of His power of forgiving sins. For to forgive sins is a very much greater act than to heal the body, greater in proportion as the soul is greater than the body. For as paralysis is a disease of the body, even so sin is a disease of the soul: but although this is the greater it is not palpable: whereas the other although it be less is manifest. Since then He is about to use the less for a demonstration of the greater proving that He acted thus on account of their weakness, and by way of condescension to their feeble condition He says “whether is easier? to say thy sins are forgiven thee or to say arise and walk?” For what reason then should He address Himself to the lesser act on their account? Because that which is manifest presents the proof in a more distinct form. (Chrysostom, Paralyt. 7, NPNF1, vol. 9, pg. 219)

St. Cyril of Jerusalem--the paralytic is healed through the faith of others:
‎Yea, so much power hath faith, that not the believer only is saved, but some have been saved by others believing. The paralytic in Capernaum was not a believer, but they believed who brought him, and let him down through the tiles (Mk 2:4): for the sick man’s soul shared the sickness of his body. And think not that I accuse him without cause: the Gospel itself says, when Jesus saw, not his faith, but their faith, He saith to the sick of the palsy, Arise! (Mt 9:2, 6) The bearers believed, and the sick of the palsy enjoyed the blessing of the cure. (Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. Lect. 5.8, NPNF2, vol. 7, pg. 31)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sententiae Patristicae: Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Leviticus 13:1–2, 44–46
Second Reading 1 Corinthians 10:31–11:1
Gospel Mark 1:40–45

St. Augustine--St. Paul pleases men in order to please God:
‎For the apostle also says, “If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ;” (Gal 1:10) while he says in another place, “Please all men in all things, even as I also please all men in all things.” (1 Co 10:32, 33) And they who do not understand this think it a contradiction; while the explanation is, that he has said he does not please men, because he was accustomed to act rightly, not with the express design of pleasing men, but of pleasing God, to the love of whom he wished to turn men’s hearts by that very thing in which he was pleasing men. Therefore he was both right in saying that he did not please men, because in that very thing he aimed at pleasing God: and right in authoritatively teaching that we ought to please men, not in order that this should be sought for as the reward of our good deeds; but because the man who would not offer himself for imitation to those whom he wished to be saved, could not please God; but no man possibly can imitate one who has not pleased him. (Augustine, De serm. Dom. in mont. 2.1.2, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 35)

St. John Chrysostom--our actions should draw the unbeliever, not give him an occasion for stumbling:
‎“Give no occasion of stumbling, either to Jews, or to Greeks, or to the Church of God:” i.e., give no handle to anyone: since in the case supposed, both thy brother is offended, and the Jew will the more hate and condemn thee, and the Gentile in like manner deride thee even as a gluttonous man and a hypocrite.
‎Not only, however, should the brethren receive no hurt from us, but to the utmost of our power not even those that are without. For if we are “light,” and “leaven,” and “luminaries,” and “salt,” we ought to enlighten, not to darken; to bind, not to loosen; to draw to ourselves the unbelievers, not to drive them away. Why then puttest thou to flight those whom thou oughtest to draw to thee? Since even Gentiles are hurt, when they see us reverting to such things: for they know not our mind nor that our Soul hath come to be above all pollution of sense. And the Jews too, and the weaker brethren, will suffer the same. (Chrysostom, Hom. 1 Cor. 25.3, NPNF1, vol. 12, pg. 146)

St. Hilary--when we do all for the glory of God, we pray without ceasing:
‎Parallel to this passage are the words of the Apostle, Pray without ceasing. (1 Th 5:17) As though we were bound to set at naught our bodily requirements and to continue praying without any interruption! Meditation in the Law, therefore, does not lie in reading its words, but in pious performance of its injunctions; not in a mere perusal of the books and writings, but in a practical meditation and exercise in their respective contents, and in a fulfilment of the Law by the works we do by night and day, as the Apostle says: Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Co 10:31) The way to secure uninterrupted prayer is for every devout man to make his life one long prayer by works acceptable to God and always done to His glory: thus a life lived according to the Law by night and day will in itself become a nightly and daily meditation in the Law. (Hilary, Tract. super Ps. 1.12, NPNF2, vol. 9a, pg. 239)

St. John Chrysostom on the faith of the leper:
‎“For when He was come down from the mountain, there came a leper, saying, Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.” (Mt 8:1-2, Mk 1:40, Lk 5:12) Great was the understanding and the faith of him who so drew near. For he did not interrupt the teaching, nor break through the auditory, but awaited the proper time, and approaches Him “when He is come down.” And not at random, but with much earnestness, and at His knees, he beseeches Him, (Mk 1:40, cf. Lk 5:12) as another evangelist saith, and with the genuine faith and right opinion about him. For neither did he say, “If Thou request it of God,” nor, “If Thou pray,” but, “If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.” Nor did he say, “Lord, cleanse me,” but leaves all to Him, and makes His recovery depend on Him, and testifies that all the authority is His
‎“What then,” saith one, “if the leper’s opinion was mistaken?” It were meet to do away with it, and to reprove, and set it right. Did He then so do? By no means; but quite on the contrary, He establishes and confirms what had been said. For this cause, you see, neither did He say, “Be thou cleansed,” but, “I will, be thou clean;” that the doctrine might no longer be a thing of the other’s surmising, but of His own approval. (Chrysostom, Hom. Mt. 25.2, NPNF1, vol. 10, pg. 172)