Monday, May 14, 2012

Sententiae Patristicae: Ascension, Year B

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 1:1–11
Second Reading Ephesians 1:17–23 or Ephesians 4:1–13 or Ephesians 4:1–7, 11–13
Gospel Mark 16:15–20


For the First Reading and for the Second Reading, Option A, see Ascension, Year C.

St. Cyprian--the unity and peace of the Church rely on the love and patience of the brethren:
‎“Forbearing one another,” he says, “in love, using every effort to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.”6 He proved that neither unity nor peace could be kept unless brethren should cherish one another with mutual toleration, and should keep the bond of concord by the intervention of patience. (Cyprian, De bono pat. 15, ANF, vol. 5, pg. 488)

St. Augustine--the gift given by Christ after his ascension is the Holy Spirit:
‎Paul the apostle also says, “To each of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ;” and then, that he might show that by the gift of Christ he meant the Holy Spirit, he has gone on to add, “Wherefore He saith, He hath ascended up on high, He hath led captivity captive, and hath given gifts to men.” (Eph 4:7, 8) And every one knows that the Lord Jesus, when He had ascended into heaven after the resurrection from the dead, gave the Holy Spirit, with whom they who believed were filled, and spake with the tongues of all nations. (Augustine, De Trin. 15.19.34, NPNF1, vol. 3, pg. 218)

St. John Chrysostom on the unity of the Spirit:
‎“Giving diligence,” he proceeds, “to keep the unity of the Spirit.” What is this “unity of Spirit?” In the human body there is a spirit which holds all together, though in different members. So is it also here; for to this end was the Spirit given, that He might unite those who are separated by race and by different manners; for old and young, rich and poor, child and youth, woman and man, and every soul become in a manner one, and more entirely so than if there were one body. For this spiritual relation is far higher than the other natural one, and the perfectness of the union more entire; because the conjunction of the soul is more perfect, inasmuch as it is both simple and uniform. And how then is this unity preserved? “In the bond of peace.” It is not possible for this to exist in enmity and discord. (Chrysostom, Hom. Eph. 9, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 96-67)

St. John Chrysostom on our unity in "one Lord, one faith, one baptism":
‎There is “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Behold “the hope of your calling. One God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.” For can it be, that thou art called by the name of a greater God, another, of a lesser God? That thou art saved by faith, and another by works? That thou hast received remission in baptism, whilst another has not? “There is one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all, and in all.” “Who is over all,” that is, the Lord and above all; and “through all,” that is, providing for, ordering all; and “in you all,” that is, who dwelleth in you all. Now this they own to be an attribute of the Son; so that were it an argument of inferiority, it never would have been said of the Father. (Chrysostom, Hom. Eph. 11, NPNF1, vol. 13, pg. 103)

St. Hilary--Christ is one:
‎The Apostle knew nothing else, and he determined to know nothing else: we men of feebler wit, and feebler faith, split up, divide and double Jesus Christ, constituting ourselves judges of the unknown, and blaspheming the hidden mystery. For us Christ crucified is one, Christ the wisdom of God another: Christ Who was buried different from Christ Who descended from Heaven: the Son of Man not at the same time also Son of God. We teach that which we do not understand: we seek to refute that which we cannot grasp. We men improve upon the revelation of God: we are not content to say with the Apostle, Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth, who is he that condemneth? It is Christ Jesus, that died, yea, rather, that was raised from the dead, Who is at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession far us. (Ro 8:33, 34) Is He Who intercedes for us other than He Who is at the right hand of God? Is not He Who is at the right hand of God the very same Who rose again? Is He Who rose again other than He Who died? He Who died than He Who condemns us? Lastly, is not He Who condemns us also God Who justifies us? Distinguish, if you can, Christ our accuser from God our defender, Christ Who died from Christ Who condemns, Christ sitting at the right hand of God and praying for us from Christ Who died. Whether, therefore, dead or buried, descended into Hades or ascended into Heaven, all is one and the same Christ: as the Apostle says, Now this ‘He ascended’ what is it, but that He also descended to the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all heavens, that He may fill all things. (Eph 4:9, 10) How far then shall we push our babbling ignorance and blasphemy, professing to explain what is hidden in the mystery of God? He that descended is the same also that ascended. Can we longer doubt that the Man Christ Jesus rose from the dead, ascended above the heavens and is at the right hand of God? We cannot say His body descended into Hades, which lay in the grave. If then He Who descended is one with Him, Who ascended; if His body did not go down into Hades, yet really arose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, what remains, except to believe in the secret mystery, which is hidden from the world and the rulers of this age, and to confess that, ascending or descending, He is but One, one Jesus Christ for us, Son of God and Son of Man, God the Word and Man in the flesh, Who suffered, died, was buried, rose again, was received into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God: Who possesses in His one single self, according to the Divine Plan and nature, in the form of God and in the form of a servant, the Human and Divine without separation or division. (Hilary, De Trin. 10.65, NPNF2, vol. 9, pg. 200)

John Cassian--the Son of Man who ascended is the same Person as the Word of God who descended:
‎Consider then this at last, and note that the Son of man is the same Person as the Word of God: for He is the Son of man since He is truly born of man, and the Word of God, since He who speaks on earth abideth ever in heaven. And so when He truly terms Himself the Son of man, it refers to His human birth, while the fact that He never departs from heaven, refers to the Infinite character of His Divine nature. And so the Apostle’s teaching is admirably in accordance with those sacred words: (“for He that descended,” says He, “is the same that ascended also above all heavens, that He might fill all things,” [Eph 4:10]) when He says that He that descended is the same that ascended. But none can descend from heaven except the Word of God: who certainly “being in the form of God, emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.” (Php 2:6-8) Thus the Word of God descended from heaven: but the Son of man ascended. But He says that the same Person ascended and descended. Thus you see that the Son of man is the same Person as the Word of God. (Cassian, De incarn. 4.6, NPNF2, vol. 11, pg. 576-577)

Apostolic Constitutions--gifts of miracles are given not for the advantage of those who perform them, but for the conviction of unbelievers:
‎With good reason did He say to all of us together, when we were perfected concerning those gifts which were given from Him by the Spirit: “Now these signs shall follow them that have believed in my name: they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall by no means hurt them: they shall lay their hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” (Mk 16:17, 18) These gifts were first bestowed on us the apostles when we were about to preach the Gospel to every creature, and afterwards were of necessity afforded to those who had by our means believed; not for the advantage of those who perform them, but for the conviction of the unbelievers, that those whom the word did not persuade, the power of signs might put to shame: for signs are not for us who believe, but for the unbelievers, both for the Jews and Gentiles. (Const. Apost. 8.1, ANF, vol. 7, pg. 479)

St. Augustine--not any faith saves, but only that which works through love:
‎So again when we hear, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;” (Mk 16:16) we do not of course understand it of one who believes in such a way “as the devils believe and tremble;” (Jas 2:19) nor of those who receive baptism in such sort as Simon Magus,7 who though he could be baptized, could not be saved. As then when He said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,” He had not in his view all who believe and are baptized, but some only; those, to wit, who are settled in that faith, which, according to the Apostle’s distinction, “worketh by love:” (Gal 5:6) (Augustine, Serm. 71.10.16, NPNF1, vol. 6, pg. 323)

St. Ambrose--the Son of God, preached to all creation, cannot himself be a creature:
‎We have yet to confute another blasphemy, and to show that the Son of God is not a created being. Herein is the quickening word that we read as our help, for we have heard the passage read where the Lord saith: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to all creation.” (Mk 16:15) He Who saith “all creation” excepts nothing. How, then, do they stand who call Christ a “creature”? If He were a creature, could He have commanded that the Gospel should be preached to Himself? It is not, therefore, a creature, but the Creator, Who commits to His disciples the work of teaching created beings. (Ambrose, De fide 1.14.86, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 215-216)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sententiae Pastristicae: Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year B

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 10:25–26, 34–35, 44–48
Second Reading 1 John 4:7–10
Gospel John 15:9–17


St. Augustine on Ac 10:44-48 and the necessity of baptism:
‎Now, in this matter I do not hesitate for a moment to place the Catholic catechumen, who is burning with love for God, before the baptized heretic; nor yet do we thereby do dishonor to the sacrament of baptism which the latter has already received, the former not as yet; nor do we consider that the sacrament of the catechumen is to be preferred to the sacrament of baptism, when we acknowledge that some catechumens are better and more faithful than some baptized persons. For the centurion Cornelius, before baptism, was better than Simon, who had been baptized. For Cornelius, even before his baptism, was filled with the Holy Spirit; (Ac 10:44) Simon, even after baptism, was puffed up with an unclean spirit. (Ac 18:13, 18-19) Cornelius, however, would have been convicted of contempt for so holy a sacrament, if, even after he had received the Holy Ghost, he had refused to be baptized. But when he was baptized, he received in no wise a better sacrament than Simon; but the different merits of the men were made manifest under the equal holiness of the same sacrament—so true is it that the good or ill deserving of the recipient does not increase or diminish the holiness of baptism. But as baptism is wanting to a good catechumen to his receiving the kingdom of heaven, so true conversion is wanting to a bad man though baptized. (Augustine, De bapt. 4.21.29, NPNF1, vol. 4, pg. 460)

St. John Chrysostom--water is still necessary for baptism, even when the Holy Spirit had come down before it was applied:
‎That the need of water is absolute and indispensable, you may learn in this way. On one occasion, when the Spirit had flown down before the water was applied, the Apostle did not stay at this point, but, as though the water were necessary and not superfluous, observe what he says; “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” (Acts 10:47.) (Chrysostom, Hom. Jo. 25.2, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 89)

St. Cyril of Jerusalem--Acts 10:48 illustrates the John 3:3:
‎Except a man be born anew (and He adds the words) of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (Jn 3:3) Neither doth he that is baptized with water, but not found worthy of the Spirit, receive the grace in perfection; nor if a man be virtuous in his deeds, but receive not the seal by water, shall he enter into the kingdom of heaven. A bold saying, but not mine, for it is Jesus who hath declared it: and here is the proof of the statement from Holy Scripture. Cornelius was a just man, who was honoured with a vision of Angels, and had set up his prayers and alms-deeds as a good memorial before God in heaven. Peter came, and the Spirit was poured out upon them that believed, and they spake with other tongues, and prophesied: and after the grace of the Spirit the Scripture saith that Peter commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ; (Ac 10:48) in order that, the soul having been born again by faith, the body also might by the water partake of the grace. (Cyril of Jerusalem, Cat. Lect. 3.4, NPNF2, vol. 7, pg. 15)

St. Augustine--we recieve from God the love by which we love:
‎In order, indeed, that we might receive that love whereby we might love, we were loved while as yet we had no love ourselves. This the Apostle John most expressly declares: “Not that we loved God,” says he, “but that He loved us;” (1 Jn 4:10) and again, “We love Him, because He first loved us.” (1 Jn 4:19) Most excellently and truly spoken! For we could not have wherewithal to love Him, unless we received it from Him in His first loving us. And what good could we possibly do if we possessed no love? Or how could we help doing good if we have love? For although God’s commandment appears sometimes to be kept by those who do not love Him, but only fear Him; yet where there is no love, no good work is imputed, nor is there any good work, rightly so called (Augustine, De grat. Christi 1.26.27, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg. 227-228)

St. Augustine--to act against love is to act against God:
‎Now see that to act against love is to act against God. Let no man say, “I sin against man when I do not love my brother, (mark it!) and sin against man is a thing to be taken easily; only let me not sin against God. How sinnest thou not against God, when thou sinnest against love? “Love is God.” Do “we” say this? If we said, “Love is God,” haply some one of you might be offended and say, What hath he said? What meant he to say, that “Love is God”? God “gave” love, as a gift God bestowed love. “Love is of God: Love IS God.” Look, here have ye, brethren, the Scriptures of God: this epistle is canonical; throughout all nations it is recited, it is held by the authority of the whole earth, it hath edified the whole earth. Thou art here told by the Spirit of God, “Love is God.” Now if thou dare, go against God, and refuse to love thy brother! (Augustine, Tract. in ep. Joan. 7.5, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 503)

St. Augustine--the Holy Spirit subsists in love:
‎In what sense then was it said a while ago, “Love is of God;” and now, “Love Is God?” For God is Father and Son and Holy Ghost: the Son, God of God, the Holy Ghost, God of God; and these three, one God, not three Gods. If the Son be God, and the Holy Ghost God, and that person loveth in whom dwelleth the Holy Ghost: therefore “Love is God;” but “IS God,” because “Of God.” For thou hast both in the epistle; both, “Love is of God,” and, “Love is God.” Of the Father alone the Scripture hath it not to say, that He is “of God:” but when thou hearest that expression, “Of God,” either the Son is meant, or the Holy Ghost. Because while the apostle saith, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us:” (Ro 5:5) let us understand that He who subsisteth in love is the Holy Ghost. (Augustine, Tract. in ep. Joan. 7. 6, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 503)

St. Irenaeus--the friendship of God imparts immortality to those who embrace it:
‎“I will not now call you servants, for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends, for all things which I have heard from My Father I have made known.” (Jn 15:15) For in that which He says, “I will not now call you servants,” He indicates in the most marked manner that it was Himself who did originally appoint for men that bondage with respect to God through the law, and then afterwards conferred upon them freedom. And in that He says, “For the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth,” He points out, by means of His own advent, the ignorance of a people in a servile condition. But when He terms His disciples “the friends of God,” He plainly declares Himself to be the Word of God, whom Abraham also followed voluntarily and under no compulsion (sine vinculis), because of the noble nature of his faith, and so became “the friend of God.” (Jas 2:23) But the Word of God did not accept of the friendship of Abraham, as though He stood in need of it, for He was perfect from the beginning (“Before Abraham was,” He says, “I am” [Jn 8:58]), but that He in His goodness might bestow eternal life upon Abraham himself, inasmuch as the friendship of God imparts immortality to those who embrace it. (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 4.13.4, ANF, vol. 1, pg. 478)

St. Augustine--Christ chose his disciples that they might choose him:
‎Let us, then, understand the calling whereby they become elected,—not those who are elected because they have believed, but who are elected that they may believe. For the Lord Himself also sufficiently explains this calling when He says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” (Jn 15:16) For if they had been elected because they had believed, they themselves would certainly have first chosen Him by believing in Him, so that they should deserve to be elected. But He takes away this supposition altogether when He says “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you.” And yet they themselves, beyond a doubt, chose Him when they believed on Him. Whence it is not for any other reason that He says, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,” than because they did not choose Him that He should choose them, but He chose them that they might choose Him; because His mercy preceded them according to grace, not according to debt. (Augustine, De praed. sanct. 17.34, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg. 514-515)

St. Augustine--we love Christ in the same measure as we keep his commandments:
 ‎“Continue ye,” He says, “in my love.” How shall we continue? Listen to what follows: “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love.” Love brings about the keeping of His commandments; but does the keeping of His commandments bring about love? Who can doubt that it is love which precedes? For he has no true ground for keeping the commandments who is destitute of love. And so, in saying, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love,” He shows not the source from which love springs, but the means whereby it is manifested. As if He said, Think not that ye abide in my love if ye keep not my commandments; for it is only if ye have kept them that ye shall abide. In other words, it will thus be made apparent that ye shall abide in my love if ye keep my commandments. So that no one need deceive himself by saying that he loveth Him, if he keepeth not His commandments. For we love Him just in the same measure as we keep His commandments; and the less we keep them, the less we love. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 82.3, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 347)

St. Ambrose on friendship with God:
‎God Himself makes us friends instead of servants, as He Himself says: “Ye are My friends if ye do whatsoever I command you.” (Jn 15:14) He gave us a pattern of friendship to follow. We are to fulfil the wish of a friend, to unfold to him our secrets which we hold in our own hearts, and are not to disregard his confidences. Let us show him our heart and he will open his to us. Therefore He says: “I have called you friends, for I have made known unto you all things whatsoever I have heard of My Father.” (Jn 15:15) A friend, then, if he is a true one, hides nothing; he pours forth his soul as the Lord Jesus poured forth the mysteries of His Father. (Ambrose, De offic. 3.22.136, NPNF2, vol. 10, pg. 89)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sententiae Patristicae: Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B

The Fathers of the Church on the Readings of the Lectionary

First Reading Acts 9:26–31
Second Reading 1 John 3:18–24
Gospel John 15:1–8


St. Augustine on 1 Jn 3:21, 22:
“If our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we shall receive of Him.” (1 Jn 3:21, 22) The warning which he clearly has addressed to us in this passage, is to beware lest our heart should reproach us in our very prayers and petitions; that is to say, lest, when we happen to resort to this prayer, and say, “Forgive us, even as we ourselves forgive”, we should have to feel compunction for not doing what we say, or should even lose boldness to utter what we fail to do, and thereby forfeit the confidence of faithful and earnest prayer. (Augustine, De perf. justit. 15.36, NPNF1, vol. 5, pg.172)

St. Augustine--love in deed and truth opposed to vainglory:
‎Again, how many there are who for the sake of vainglory bestow much, give much, and seek therein but the praise of men and popular glory, which is full of windiness, and possesses no stability! Seeing, then, there are such, where shall be the proof of brotherly charity? Seeing he wished it to be proved, and hath said by way of admonition, “My little children, let us not love only in word and in tongue; but in deed and in truth;” we ask, in what work, in what truth? Can there be a more manifest work than to give to the poor? Many do this of vainglory, not of love. Can there be a greater work than to die for the brethren? This also, many would fain be thought to do, who do it of vainglory to get a name, not from bowels of love. It remains, that that man loves his brother, who before God, where God alone seeth, assures his own heart, and questions his. heart whether he does this indeed for love of the brethren; and his witness is that eye which penetrates the heart, where man cannot look. (Augustine, Tract. in ep. Joan. 6.2, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 494)

St. Clement of Alexandria--the vinedresser prunes us with the knife of the Word, adjust to the conduct of each:
Further, the Lord shows very clearly of Himself, when, describing figuratively His manifold and in many ways serviceable culture,—He says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” Then He adds, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit He pruneth, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (Jn 15:1, 2) For the vine that is not pruned grows to wood. So also man. The Word—the knife—clears away the wanton shoots; compelling the impulses of the soul to fructify, not to indulge in lust. Now, reproof addressed to sinners has their salvation for its aim, the word being harmoniously adjusted to each one’s conduct; now with tightened, now with relaxed cords. (Clement of  Alexandria, Paed. 1.8, ANF, vol. 2, pg. 226)
St. Cyrprian--the sacrament of the blood of Christ, the true vine, requires wine:
‎Know then that I have been admonished that, in offering the cup, the tradition of the Lord3 must be observed, and that nothing must be done by us but what the Lord first did on our behalf, as that the cup which is offered in remembrance of Him should be offered mingled with wine. For when Christ says, “I am the true vine,” (Jn 15:1) the blood of Christ is assuredly not water, but wine; neither can His blood by which we are redeemed and quickened appear to be in the cup, when in the cup there is no wine whereby the blood of Christ is shown forth, which is declared by the sacrament and testimony of all the Scriptures. (Cyprian, Ep. 63.2, ANF, vol. 5, pg. 359)

St. Augustine--the branches bear the fruit of charity:
‎For it was not in vain that our Lord Jesus Christ, when He declared Himself to be the vine, and His disciples, as it were, the branches in the vine, gave command that those which bare no fruit should be cut off, and removed from the vine as useless branches. (Jn 15:1-2) But what is really fruit, save that new offspring, of which He further says, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another?” (Jn 13:34) This is that very charity, without which the rest profiteth nothing. The apostle also says: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance;” (Ga 5:22-23) which all begin with charity, and with the rest of the combination forms one unity in a kind of wondrous cluster. Nor is it again in vain that our Lord added, “And every branch that beareth fruit, my Father purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit,” (Jn 15:2) but because those who are strong in the fruit of charity may yet have something which requires purging, which the Husbandman will not leave untended. (Augustine, De bapt. 1.18.28, NPNF1, vol. 4, pg. 423-424)

St. Augustine--we are joined to the Son in the human nature he assumed as a vine and branches:
‎This passage of the Gospel, brethren, where the Lord calls Himself the vine, and His disciples the branches, declares in so many words that the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (1 Tim. 2:5) is the head of the Church, and that we are His members. For as the vine and its branches are of one nature, therefore, His own nature as God being different from ours, He became man, that in Him human nature might be the vine, and we who also are men might become branches thereof. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 80.1, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 343)

St. Augustine--whoever imagines that he his bearing fruit of himself is not in the vine:
‎“As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” A great encomium on grace, my brethren,—one that will instruct the souls of the humble, and stop the mouths of the proud. Let those now answer it, if they dare, who, ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Ro 10:3) Let the self-complacent answer it, who think they have no need of God for the performance of good works. Fight they not against such a truth, those men of corrupt mind, reprobate concerning the faith, (2 Ti 3:8) whose reply is only full of impious talk, when they say: It is of God that we have our existence as men, but it is of ourselves that we are righteous? What is it you say, you who deceive yourselves, and, instead of establishing freewill, cast it headlong down from the heights of its self-elevation through the empty regions of presumption into the depths of an ocean grave? Why, your assertion that man of himself worketh righteousness, that is the height of your self-elation. But the Truth contradicts you, and declares, “The branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine.” Away with you now over your giddy precipices, and, without a spot whereon to take your stand, vapor away at your windy talk. These are the empty regions of your presumption. But look well at what is tracking your steps, and, if you have any sense remaining, let your hair stand on end. For whoever imagines that he is bearing fruit of himself is not in the vine, and he that is not in the vine is not in Christ, and he that is not in Christ is not a Christian. Such are the ocean depths into which you have plunged. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 81.2, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 345)

St. Augustine--insofar as our prayers arise from our abiding in Christ, they will be answered:
‎“If ye abide in me,” He says, “and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” For abiding thus in Christ, is there aught they can wish but what will be agreeable to Christ? So abiding in the Saviour, can they wish anything that is inconsistent with salvation? Some things, indeed, we wish because we are in Christ, and other things we desire because still in this world. For at times, in connection with this our present abode, we are inwardly prompted to ask what we know not it would be inexpedient for us to receive. But God forbid that such should be given us if we abide in Christ, who, when we ask, only does what will be for our advantage. Abiding, therefore, ourselves in Him, when His words abide in us we shall ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us. For if we ask, and the doing follows not, what we ask is not connected with our abiding in Him, nor with His words which abide in us, but with that craving and infirmity of the flesh which are not in Him, and have not His words abiding in them. (Augustine, Tract. in ev. Joan. 81.4, NPNF1, vol. 7, pg. 346)

St. John Chrysostom--God the Father and God the Son care for the disciples in common:
‎Ver. 5. “He that abideth in Me, and I in him.”
‎Seest thou that the Son contributeth not less than the Father towards the care of the disciples? The Father purgeth, but He keepeth them in Himself. The abiding in the root is that which maketh the branches to be fruit-bearing. For that which is not purged, if it remain on the root, bears fruit, though perhaps not so much as it ought; but that which remains not, bears none at all. But still the “purging” also hath been shown to belong to the Son, and the “abiding in the root,” to the Father, who also begat the Root. Seest thou how all is common, both the “purging,” and the enjoying the virtue which is from the root? (Chrysostom, Hom. Jo. 76.1, NPNF1, vol. 14, pg. 279)