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Sundays and festivals with the Fathers of the Church

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  • 1. S U N D A Y S AND FESTIVALS WITH THEFATHERS O F THE C H U R C H OR HOMILIES OF THE HOLY FATHERS ON THE GOSPELS OF ALL THE SUNDAYS AND CHIEF FESTIVALS OF THE ECCLESIASTICAL YEAR BY THE REV. D. G. H U B E R T A U T H O R OK *ECCE HOMO! MEDITATIONS ON T H E PASSION, AND 1 HEAVEN ON E A R T H J OR, T W E L V E HOURS OF A D O R A T I O N B E F O R E THE BLESSED SACRAMENT R. & T. W A S H B O U R N E 4 PATERNOSTER ROW, LONDON BENZIGER B R O S . : NEW YORK, CINCINNATI A N D CHICAGO T9OI
  • 2. Biblio!èque Saint Libère http://www.liberius.net © Bibliothèque Saint Libère 2010.Toute reproduction à but non lucratif est autorisée.
  • 3. SUNDAYS AND FESTIVALS WITHTHE FATHERS OF T H E CHURCH
  • 4. ^liliil jobstat. DANIEL CANONICUS ILES, S.T.L Imprimatur. »t H E R B E R T U S CARD1NALIS VAUGHAN, Archiepiscopus Westmonast.Die 4 Junii, igoi.
  • 5. %0 THE RIGHT HONOURABLELADY H E R B E R T OF LEA IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE OF HER GREAT CHARITY AND GENEROSITY THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED BY HER HUMBLE AND OBLIGED SERVANT IN CHRIST D. G. HUBERT
  • 6. CONTENTS PAGEINTRODUCTION x iiiFIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT Gospel - - - - - . i Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St, Peter 2SECOND SUNDAY OF" ADVENT Gospel . . . . . . . 8 Homily by St. Jerome, Priest - - - 9THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT Gospel - - - - - - 12 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St. Peter - - - - - 13FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT Gospel • - - - - - - 20 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St. John the Baptist - - - - - 2 1CHRISTMAS DAY Gospel - - - - - - 26 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of Our Lady on Christmas Day - - - 27T H E FEAST OF S T . STEPHEN, THE FIRST MARTYR Gospel - 30 Homily by St. Jerome, Priest • - - 31SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS Gospel 35 Homily by the Venerable Bede, Priest - - 35T H E FEAST OF THE CIRCUMCISION Gospel . . . , - - - 40 Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop - 40
  • 7. ««• Vlll T H E EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD Gospel - - - - - - - Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St. Peter on the Epiphany - 43FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY Gospel - - - - - - - 50 Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop - 50 OCTAVE D A Y OF THE EPIPHANY Gospel 53 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 54SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY Gospel - Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop -THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY Gospel . . . . Homily by St. Jerome, PriestFOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY Gospel - I. Homily by St. Jerome, Priest II. Homily by St. Augustine, BishopFIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY Gospel - Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop -SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY Gospel - Homily by St. Jerome, PriestSEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY Gospel - Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St. Lawrence on Septuagesima SundaySEXAGESIMA SUNDAY Gospel - Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church* of St. Peter on Sexagesima Sundayy U I N Q U A G E S I M A SUNDAY Gospel - Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St. Peter on Quinquagesima SundayASH-WEDNESDAY Gospel - Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop -
  • 8. PAGE FIRST SUNDAY IN L E N T Gospel 109 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St. John Lateran - no SECOND SUNDAY IN L E N T Gospel • 116 Homily by Pope St. Leo the Great 116THIRD SUNDAY IN L E N T Gospel - 123 Homily by the Venerable Bede, Priest 124FOURTH SUNDAY IN L E N T Gospel - 131 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 133FIFTH SUNDAY IN L E N T , OR PASSION SUNDAY Gospel - 139 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St. Peter on Passion Sunday - 140SIXTH SUNDAY IN L E N T , OR PALM SUNDAY Gospel - 147 Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan 148GOOD FRIDAY Gospel - 154 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 160EASTER SUNDAY Gospel - 163 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary on Easter Sunday - 163EASTER MONDAY Gospel - - - - - - - 170 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St. Peter on Easter Monday 171FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER, OR Low SUNDAY Gospel 174 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St. John Lateran on the First Sunday after Easter - . . . . . . 175SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER Gospel 180 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St. Peter on the Second Sunday after Easter - 181
  • 9. PAGETHIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER Gospel 187 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 188FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER Gospel ig2 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 193FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER Gospel . . . - - . - . 199 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 200ASCENSION D A Y Gospel - - - - - - 207 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St. Peter on the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord - 207SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER Gospel 218 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 218WHIT-SUNDAY, THE FEAST OF PENTECOST Gospel - - - - - - - 224 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of St. Peter, Apostle, on the Feast of Pentecost - - 225WHIT-MONDAY Gospel - - - - - - - 234 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 234TRINITY SUNDAY Gospel - - - - - - - 238 Homily by St. Gregory of Nazianzus - - - 238FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - - - - - - - 239 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - - - 240F E A S T OF CORPUS CHRISTI Gospel . . . . . . . 245 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 246SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - - - - - - - 248 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of S S . Philip and James on the Second Sunday after Pentecost - - - - - - 249THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - - - - - - - 257 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of SS. John and Paul on the Third Sunday after Pentecost 258
  • 10. PAGEFOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel 265 Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop 266FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel 272 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop 272SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel 276 Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop 276SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel 282 Homily by St. Hilary, Bishop 283EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel 285 Homily by St. Jerome, Priest 286NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - 288 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Basilica of St. John, called the Constantine 289TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - 295 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 296ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel . . . . 299 Homily by Pope St. Gregory 300TWELFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - 304 Homily by the Venerable Bede, Priest 305THIRTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - - - - 308 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 308FOURTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - 312 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 313FIFTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - - . . . 317 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 318SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel . . . . 324 Homily by St. Ambrose, Bishop - 325
  • 11. SEVENTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - 327 Hcmily by St. John Chrysostom - 328EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - 332 Homily by St. Peter Chrysologus - 333NINETEENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - 337 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of the Holy Martyr Clement 338TWENTIETH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel . . . . 342 Homily by Pope St. Gregory, preached in the Church of SS. Nereus and Achilles on their Festival 343TWENTY-FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel 347 Homily by St. Jerome, Priest 348TWENTY-SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel - 349 Homily by St. Hilary, Bishop 35oTWENTY-THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel . . . . . 35i Homily by St. Jerome, Priest 352TWENTY-FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST Gospel 354 Homily by St. Jerome, Priest 356FEAST OF S S . PETER AND P A U L , APOSTLES Gospel - 361 Homily by St. Jerome, Priest 362T H E ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY Gospel - - - - . - - 365 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 365T H E FEAST OF A L L SAINTS Gospel . . . . . . . 370 Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop - 371
  • 12. INTRODUCTION T H E Christians rule of life is contained in the Gospels. T h e y are the Book on which he should meditate, and the teaching of which he should endeavour to put into practice all the days of his life. Y e t , it is to be fearedthat, in reading this Book, he might not have the necessarylight from above, and perhaps might attach to the sacredwords a meaning that was not intended by the DivineTeacher, nor by H i s disciples. T o prevent such pos­sibility, many learned men, well versed in H o l y W r i t ,have carefully explained the meaning of the Gospels, andhave thus imparted to Christians a greater taste and lovefor the reading of the W o r d of God. Hence we^Jiavetheir commentaries, meditations, lives of Jesus Christ, anddivers essays on the H o l y Scriptures, the titles of whichalone would form a large volume. Many of these worksare thoroughly well written, and the reader can be butgreatly edified and instructed by them. However, it isstrange, that from the beginning it never occurred to any­one to go up to the very source. Among spiritual booksthe oldest are the best and the surest. It seems, therefore,that the works of the holy Fathers should have obtainedthe preference, for they are nearly as old as the Church,and in them the tradition is preserved in all its strengthand purity.
  • 13. Indeed, when w e follow these wise teachers in theirwritings from century to century, w e are astonished thatChristian Faith, enlightening us now, should be alwaysone and the same, and that the doctrine of faith, taught bytlie Church, and the doctrine of morals, preached in theworld, have never undergone any change in the successionof centuries. W e see that the true Church, our gloryand the foundation of our hope, has a l w a y s remainedcalm in the midst of storms, victorious in the fierceststruggles, unhurt amidst the most powerful attacks, andalways preserved from the arrows of her enemies. W esee that the Bride of Jesus has always been holy and in­fallible in her precepts and commands, a l w a y s wise andenlightened in her teaching, a l w a y s prudent and reason­able in her discipline, and always pure in her religiouspractices. W e recognise that the Church, built upon theRock, has been, and will be to the end of the world, holyand immaculate, because she is protected by the infinitelypowerful and eternal G o d , and guided by the H o l y Ghost. It is, therefore, a subject of astonishment that, whatthe holy Fathers have written and preached about theGospels, has not more often been translated and pub­lished in modern times. W a s it not quite natural tothink of this pious duty, especially as they are oftenquoted in sermons and instructions, and consulted, whendifficult passages of H o l y Scripture have to be explained ?A r e not they our teachers, under whose guidance wecannot fall into error ? There are no better sourcesfrom which to draw with greater safety. W h a t eloquenceand diversity in their w o r k s ! W h o would not admirethe grace and strength of a St. John Chrysostom, thefecundity and sublimity of a St. Augustine, the clearpenetration and depth of a St. Ambrose, the vast learningof a St. Jerome, or the penetrating knowledge o f
  • 14. St. Gregory ? W h a t dignity and authority in St. L e o ,and what beauty in the writings of the Venerable Bede ! T h e works of the Fathers of the Church form a richlibrary. Y e t this field, so fertile in an abundance ofdelicious fruits, remains sterile for the greater number ofthe Catholic people, who perhaps know not what tochoose, or are ignorant of the language of these holywriters. It seems to me that a collection of Homiliesfrom different Fathers, arranged according to theSundays and principal festivals of the ecclesiasticalyear, would be a great spiritual help to all Christians.This is the reason w h y I undertook this collection, andI have carefully endeavoured that it should be usefulto all. Before every Homily is placed the respective part ofthe Gospels, thus showing the intimate relation existingbetween the one and the other. T h e literal, spiritual,allegorical, and figurative meaning of the Holy Scripturesis explained in these discourses. Their style is clear andsimple, yet elegant; the comparisons are most beautifuland instructive, for they are natural. Simplicity is theirornament, and this simplicity pervades the whole dis­course. T h e present book is, therefore, a selection ofdifferent essays which, by their number and diversity,form a collection presenting the doctrine of faith andmorals, and containing the principal truths of our H o l yCatholic Religion. This is the notion or idea which may be formed ofthese Homilies, I have endeavoured to render, in anatural and simple style, the sublime and forcibleeloquence of the holy Fathers, without weakening theirthoughts. F o r I am of opinion that a literal translation,often dry and tiring, could not give a clear idea of thebeautiful expressions found in these Homilies. A dog-
  • 15. matical work is not to be translated like .a history or anordinary speech. It is to be hoped that this book will be of great andgeneral utility, specially as priests and others, whoseduty it is to instruct the faithful, have not always thetime to consult the Fathers, even should they possesstheir works. T h e duties of priests in parishes, the timethey spend in the confessional, their visiting the sick andthe poor, the administration of the Sacraments, will notallow them to do so. Besides, would it not require along time to find out the special subject ? For, in order todiscover in the writings of the Fathers a few pages, oreven one passage, directly explaining the Gospel, a wholeessay or a whole book must sometimes be read, thegreater part of which has no direct reference to thatGospel. Again, there are many priests, whose duty itis to preach and instruct, who do not possess the worksof the Fathers, who have a few books only : their smallmeans not allowing them to buy any more. W e also offer this book to all Christians who spendsome time, specially on Sundays and Feast-days, inspiritual reading. T h e Homilies* are also offered to allthose who, through sickness or the nursing of the sick,are prevented from assisting at the instructions of theirPastor. T h e clergy and the laity will find in them asource of instruction and edification. A s to the writer,he will be rewarded by the thought that he has placed inthe hands of a great many a selection of solid instructions,a great portion of which has never been translated.T w o words will explain w h y this book ought to be dearto all good Christians : it contains the essential partsof the Gospels, and the most important parts of theworks of the Fathers. D. G. H U B E R T . BATH, October^ 1901.
  • 16. SUNDAYS AND FESTIVALS WITH THEFATHERS OF T H E CHURCH FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT.G O S P E L : L u k e x x i . 25-33. At that time: Jesus said toHis disciples: There shall be signs in the sun and in themoon and in the stars, and upon the earth distress ofnations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of thesea and of the waves, men withering away for fear andexpectation of what shall come upon the whole world.For the powers of the heavens shall be moved, and thenthey shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud withgreat power and majesty. B u t when these things beginto come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, becauseyour redemption is at hand. A n d H e spoke to them asimilitude : See the fig-tree and all the trees, when theynow shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh;so you also, when you shall see these things come topass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen,1 say to you, this generation shall not pass away till allthings be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away,but .My words shall not pass away. 1
  • 17. H O M I L Y BY P O P E ST. G R E G O R Y , P R E A C H E D IN THE CHURCH O F ST. PETER. FIRST HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. A s our adorable Saviour will expect at H i s comingto find us ready, H e warns us of the terrors that willaccompany the latter days in order to wean us from thelove of this world ; and H e foretells the misery which willbe the prelude to this inevitable time, so that, if weneglect in the quietness of this life to fear a G o d of com­passion, the fearful spectacle of the approaching last judg­ment may impress us with a wholesome dread. A shorttime before H e had said: Nation shall rise against nation,and kingdom against kingdom. And there shall be great earth­quakes in divers places, and pestilences and famines (Luke x x i . 10, n ) . N o w H e added: And there shall be signs in thesnn and in the moon and in the stars, and upon the earth distressof nations. Of all these events we have seen many alreadyfulfilled, and with fear and trembling we look for the nearfulfilment of the rest. A s for the nations which are torise up one against the other, and the persecutions whichare to be endured on earth, what w e learn from thehistory of our own times, and what we have seen withour own eyes, makes a far deeper impression than whatw e read even in H o l y Scripture. W i t h regard to theearthquakes converting numberless cities into lamentableheaps of ruins, the accounts of them are not unknown toyou, and reports of the like events reach us still fromvarious parts of the world. Epidemics also continue to cause us the greatest sorrow and anxiety ; and though we have not seen the signs in the sun and in the moon and in thestars, mentioned in H o l y Scripture, we know, at least, that fiery weapons have appeared shining in the sky, and even blood, the foreboding of that blood which was to be
  • 18. shed in Italy by the invading barbarian hordes. A s to the terrible roaring of the sea and of the waves, we have not yet heard it. However, we do not doubt that this also•will happen ; for, the greater part of the prophecies of our Lord being fulfilled, this one will also see its fulfil­ ment, the past being a guarantee for the future. I I . Moreover, we say this, beloved brethren, to en­ courage you to unceasing watchfulness over yourselves, so that no false confidence may take possession of your souls, leaving you to languish in ignorance; but that, on the contrary, a true and wholesome fear may drive you on to do good, and strengthen you in the carrying out of good works. T a k e special notice of the following, added by our S a v i o u r : Men shall wither away"for fear and expecta­ tion of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved. W h a t is meant by our heavenly Teacher when speaking of the powers of heaven, but the angels and archangels, the thrones, principalities and powers, that will appear on the day of vengeance of that severe Judge, W h o will then demand from us with severity the homage and submission, which H e now, as our Creator, although unseen, asks for in love as His due. Then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with greatpower and majesty. W h i c h means that the people will then see Him, whom in H i s meekness and humiliations they would neither listen to nor recognise, coming in power and majesty. In that day they will feel the more com­ pelled to acknowledge His power, since in the present time they deny H i m , and refuse to submit themselves to His yoke, to which H e so patiently invites them. III. A s , however, these words of our Saviour arespoken to the lost, so are the following uttered for the comfort of the elect: When these things begin to come to pass,look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at 1—2
  • 19. hand. Truth Itself teaches the chosen ones in thesewords, and seems to say to t h e m : W h e n y o u see thecalamities which portend the end of the world increasing ;when fear of that awful judgment-day takes possession ofeven the bravest hearts at the sight of the shaken powersof heaven, then lift up your heads, that is, rejoice withyour whole heart, because the end of this world, so littleloved by you, announces to you the wished-for, freedomto be enjoyed by you hereafter. T h e head is often usedin H o l y Scripture for the soul, and in this w a y , by warn­ing us to lift up our heads, it reminds us to rouse up oursouls to the thought of the heavenly home which is await­ing us. Those, therefore, who love God, are commandedto rejoice when they see the end of the world approach­ing, because, when this world, which they havenot loved,is destroyed, they will find themselves in possession ofHim, W h o is the one true object of their love. W e areassured that among these true believers, w h o have areal longing to see God, there is not one who will not bedeeply moved by the fearful events accompanying the endof the world. F o r we know from H o l y Scripture thatWhosoever will be a friend of this world, becometh an enemy ofGod. (James iv. 4.) Therefore, to show no pleasure at theapproach of the end of the world is as much as to declarethat we love this world, and that.we are the enemies ofGod. T h i s wicked clinging to the world must be farremoved from the hearts of good Christians, and of thosewho by faith are convinced that there is another life, andb y their good works deserve that life. L e t those weepover the destruction of the world, whose hearts are givento it, and whose hopes are fixed upon it, and who, farfrom seeking this new life, refuse to believe that therewill be another life. A s for us who believe in thisheavenly home and in its eternal bliss prepared for us, let
  • 20. -us hasten to reach them. W e should wish to attain this•home as soon as possible, and endeavour to find the shortest w a y thither. For, are w e not surrounded in this world by a great many misfortunes ? D o we not experi­ ence many troubles and calamities ? What, indeed, isthis mortal life but a painful w a y ? Consider, beloved brethren, what folly it would be in a man walking alonga toilsome and difficult road until overcome with fatigue,and yet not wishing to see the end of i t ! Moreover, ourSaviour teaches us by H i s wise similitude that thisworld does not deserve our affection, but that, on thecontrary, we should despise it. H e says : See the Jig-treeand all the trees. When they now shoot forth their fruit, youknow that summer is nigh. So you also, when you shall see thesethings come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand.Is it not as though H e said : In the same way that youconclude by the trees bearing fruit that summer is near,so by the downfall of the world you will know that thekingdom of G o d is not far off ? These words show usplainly enough that the fall and destruction of this worldare its real fruits, since its rise and increase are closelyconnected with its fall, and since it brings forth thosethings only which are destined to perish. If, on the con­trary, wd consider the kingdom of G o d , we are aware thatwe may in all truth compare it with the summer, whenall the clouds of our afflictions will be dispersed and befollowed by happy days, lighted up by a never disappear­ing sun of bliss. . I V . A n d that we should never doubt these truths, our Lord confirms them with an oath, saying : Amen, I say toyou, this generation shall not, pass away till all thingsbe ful­ 9filled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away. A m o n g all corporeal things and beings nothing is more durable than heaven and earth ; in the
  • 21. same w a y nothing disappears more quickly than theword. Before the word is expressed it exists, and hardlyis it said than it has disappeared; for the word cannotattain its perfection without at the same instant losing itsexistence. N o w heaven and earth shall pass away, says theoracle of eternal truth, but My words shall not pass away.It is as if our Saviour said : L e a r n ye, that everythingamong you, that seems to be durable, has not been madeto last for ever or to continue without any c h a n g e ;whereas what seems to pass away quickly, is firmlyand for ever established. F o r even the words I speak,and which fly away, contain in themselves irrevocableutterances. V . N o w , beloved brethren, to return to what you haveheard about this world being filled with continual dailyincreasing evils, consider what remains of the immensenation that has sustained the calamities of which I amspeaking. Meanwhile, the troubles have not yet left us ;w e are still oppressed by lamentable and unforeseencalamities, and we are grieved and afflicted by newlosses. Strip, therefore, your hearts from the love of thisworld which you enjoy so little ; and for this purpose taketo heart the precept of the A p o s t l e : Love not the world,nor the things which are in. the world. If any man love theworld, the charity of the Father is not in him (i John ii. 15).W h a t we have experienced these last three days is notunknown to y o u ; how suddenly raging storms haverooted out the largest and strongest trees, have pulleddown houses and destroyed churches ! M a n y of theinhabitants, who at the end of the day quietly and ingood health projected new plans for the morrow, weretaken away by a sudden death during the night, andburied under the ruins of their dwellings. V I . I beseech you, beloved brethren, be careful! If
  • 22. the invisible Judge is letting loose the stormy winds in order to produce these terrible effects; if H e only needs- to move the clouds of heaven and thus to shake the whole earth, and to overthrow and ruin the strongest buildings; what can we expect from this Judge when in His wrath H e comes to take revenge and to punish sinners? If a mere cloud raised by H i m against us is sufficient to strike us down, how shall we be able to resist His almighty power? St. Paul, thinking of the infinite power of the Judge appearing on this awful day, exclaims: It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. x. 31). The Royal Prophet expresses himself with the same force, when in his psalm he says : The God of gods, the Lord hath spoken; and He hath called the earth. From the rising of the sun, to the going down thereof Godshall come manifestly: our God shall come, and shall not keep silence. A fire shall burn before Him ; and a mighty tempest shall be round about Him, He shall call heaven from above, and the earth, to judge Hispeople. Gather ye together His saints to Him; and the heavens shall declare His justice, for God is Judge. Hear, 0 My people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I ivitt testify to thee; I am God thy God. Understand these things you thatforget God; lest He snatch you away, and there be none to deliver you ( P s . xlix.). It is not without a special reasonthat this severe judgment will be accompanied by fire and storms; for it will weigh, as in scales, men whowere devoured by the natural fire. Therefore, beloved brethren, keep this great day before your minds eye, andwhatever seems difficult and troublesome, will soon become light and easy, when you compare the one with the other. The prophet Sophonias says to us : The great day of the Lord is near, it is near and exceeding swift; the voice of the day of the Lord is bitter ; the mighty man shall there meet with tribula­ tion. That day is a day of wrath, a day of tribulation and
  • 23. distress, a day of calamity and misery, a day of darkless andobscurity, a day of clouds and whirlwinds; a day of thetrumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against thehigh bulwarks (Soph. i. 14-16). A n d the L o r d God hasspoken of this day through H i s prophet: Yet one littlewhile, and I will move the heaven, and the earth, and the sea,and the dry land ( A g g . ii. 7). B u t , as w e have alreadyremarked, if the earth could not resist the force of thewind set in motion, how will man be able to resist themotions of the heavens ? F o r what are all these terribleevents causing us so much uneasiness and fear, butheralds announcing to us the wrath of G o d followingthem ? F r o m all this we conclude that between the.evils oppressing us now, and those which will come inthe latter days, there is a s great a difference as betweenthe power of the highest Judge and the power announcingH i m . Therefore, beloved brethren, think of the last daywith renewed attention ; amend your lives; steadfastlyresist all temptations leading you to sin, and wipe outwith your tears the sins you have committed. T h e n themore you have endeavoured, through salutary fear, toanticipate the severity of H i s judgments, the greaterwill be the confidence with which you will witness thecoming of this Immortal K i n g . SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT.G O S P E L : Matt. xi. 2-10. At that time: W h e n John hadheard in prison the works of Christ, sending two of hisdisciples, he said to H i m : A r t T h o u H e that art to come,or look we for another ? And Jesus making answer, saidto t h e m : G o and relate to John what y o u have heardand seen. T h e blind see, the lame walk, the lepers arecleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor
  • 24. have the Gospel preached to t h e m ; and blessed is hethat shall not be scandalized in Me. And when theywent their w a y , Jesus began to say to the multitudes,concerning J o h n : W h a t went y e out into the desert tosee ? A reed shaken with the wind ? B u t what went yeout to see ? A man clothed in soft garments ? Behold,they that are clothed in soft garments are-in the houses ofkings. B u t what went ye out to see ? A prophet ? Y e a ,I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he ofwhom it is written : Behold, I send my angel before thyface, who shall prepare thy w a y before thee. HOMILY BY ST. JEROME, PRIEST. HOMILY ON S T . M A T T . xr. I. W h e n John the Baptist sent his disciples to Jesus,in order to question H i m about H i s mission, he was notignorant either of His advent or of His dignity as theMessiah. H e knew that Jesus w a s the Lamb of God Whotaketh away the sin of the world, for he had shown H i m toothers who had no knowledge of His divine nature.Indeed, the precursor had heard the almighty voice ofthe Father giving testimony : This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased (Matt. iii. 17). N o w we know thatour Saviour asked the Jews "to show H i m the place whereLazarus had been buried, though H e knew it well, sothat those w h o would accompany H i m thither, shouldbegin to believe in His divine mission, when witnessingthe miracle of the raising of Lazarus,, that was to follow.In the same w a y John, who w a s to be condemned todeath by Herod, sent his disciples to Jesus, that bywitnessing H i s miracles and the operation of H i s divineand almighty power, they might believe in H i m , as wellas receive instruction from the Divine Teacher Himself,
  • 25. W h o m they could then question as their personal teacher.It seems that S t . Johns disciples were angry with ourLord ; for the question shortly before addressed to H i mby them, sufficiently disclosed their pride and envy. T h eEvangelist tells us how the disciples of John came toH i m s a y i n g : Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, butThy disciples do not fast? (Matt. ix. 14). A t another timethe same disciples complained to John and said to h i m :Rabbi, He that was with thee beyond the Jordan, to Whom thougavest testimony, behold He baptizeth, and all men come to Him.(John iii. 26). It w a s as if they said : W e are a smallnumber and almost forsaken, for the multitude are withJesus Christ, and they follow H i m . I I . St. John does not say to our L o r d : A r t T h o u H ethat is come ? B u t he a s k s : Art Thou He that art to come ?A s if to s a y : L e t me know whether, after announcingT h y coming into this world, I shall not also announce T h ycoming into L i m b o , whither I shall soon be going ? F o ris it right and just that the Son of G o d should die ?A n d is it not T h y own wish to send someone to thejust in L i m b o and announce to them the mystery ofT h y advent ? I I I . And Jesus answered the inquiring disciples andsaid to t h e m : Go and relate to John what you have heard andseen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, thedeaf hear, the dead rise again. John had through hisdisciples asked this question of Jesus : Art Thou He thatart to come, or look we for another ? Y e t , instead of answer­ing this question, instead of removing with one wordwhatsoever had scandalized them, Jesus mentioned*Hismiracles and said to t h e m : G o and relate to John themiracles you have seen ; speak of the blind who now see,of the lame who now walk, and of all other miraculouscures you have witnessed. A n d tell him another fact, no
  • 26. less astonishing, that the poor have the Gospel preached to them. Under the name of poor our Saviour meant boththe poor in spirit and the poor deprived of the goods of thisworld; for there will not be any difference between richand poor, nobleman and serf, when the Gospel is preachedto them. T h i s also shows how just and wise and true theDivine Teacher is, W h o , when working for the salvationof their souls, considers them all-equal. And the wordswhich H e added, Blessed is he that shall not be scandalizedin Me, contain a reproof addressed to the disciples of John,as we shall see later on. I V . A n d when these messengers went their way, Jesusbegan to say to the multitudes, concerning John : What went yeout into the desert to see ? A reed shaken with the wind ? Butwhat went ye out to see ? A man clothed in soft garments ?Behold they that are clothed in soft garments are in the housesof kings. Had our Lord condemned St. John by thesewords, Blessed is he that is not scandalized in Me, as manypretend, w h y does H e overwhelm him with praises ?Indeed, Jesus praised John the Baptist, because themultitude did not understand the meaning of the disciplesquestion, and thought that even John was still in doubtas to whether Jesus really were the Messiah, though hehad already pointed H i m out as the true L a m b of G o d .In order, therefore, to give the multitude to understandthat John did not send his disciples for the purpose ofclearing up his doubt, but to- have them instructed, ourLord said : What went ye out into the desert to see ? W a sit to see a man who like a reed is shaken with every wind;an inconstant man who is still in doubt about the missionof H i m W h o m he had already announced ? D o youthink he envies Me, and that b y his preaching he seeksonly his own honour and glory and even personalinterest? And how could riches and dainty dishes
  • 27. delight one who makes his food of locusts and wild honey ?W o u l d soft garments be more useful to him, since he isclothed with camels hair and a leathern girdle about hisloins ? Such food and such garments are the appanage ofthose who look for no other dwelling than a prison ; forthis will be the abode of them that preach the truth.Flatterers and self-interested people, that is, those whoare eager in the pursuit of money and of luxurious living,you find them and their desires in the houses of kings. A l lthis clearly shows that those who lead a severe and peni­tential life, and who announce the truth in all its purity,without deceit and flattery, must remain a w a y from royalcourts and from the palaces of sensual people. V . T h e testimony which T r u t h Itself g a v e to John theBaptist, saying that he was more than a prophet, exaltedhim above all other prophets, because, whilst otherprophets had, many hundreds of years tefore, announcedagain and again the coming of Jesus, John had pointedH i m out as already come. Moreover, he was dis­tinguished above all other prophets by the privilegeaccorded to him of baptizing Jesus in the waters of theJordan. A n d in order to point out to all the specialdignity of John, our L o r d added: This is he of whom it iswritten; Behold, I send My angel before thy face, who shallprepare the way before thee (Mark iii. 2). N o t that Johnpossessed the angelic nature, but that, announcing to usthe coming of the Saviour, he performed one of the dutiesof the celestial messengers; THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT.G O S P E L : John i. 19-29. At that time: T h e Jews sentfrom Jerusalem Priests and L e v i t e s to John to ask him :W h o art thou ? A n d he confessed and did not d e n y ;
  • 28. and he confessed: I am not the Christ. A n d theyasked h i m : W h a t then ? A r t thou Elias ? A n d hesaid: I am not. A r t thou a Prophet? A n d heanswered: N o . T h e y said, therefore, unto h i m : W h oart thou, that we may give an answer to them that sentus ? W h a t sayest thou of thyself ? H e s a i d : I amthe voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight theway of the Lord, as said the Prophet Isaias. A n d theythat were sent were of the Pharisees. And they askedhim and said to him : W h y then dost thou baptize ifthou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet ? Johnanswered them, s a y i n g : I baptize with water, but therehath stood One in the midst of you W h o m you know not.The same is H e that shall come after me, W h o is pre­ferred before m e ; the latchet of W h o s e shoe I am notworthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania,beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing. H O M I L Y B Y P O P E ST. G R E G O R Y , P R E A C H E D I N THE CHURCH O F ST. PETER. SEVENTH HOMILY ON T H E GOSPELS. I. T h e words of this Gospel, beloved brethren, teachus highly to esteem the humility of St. John. H i s heroicvirtues were so well known, that he was believed by themultitude to be Jesus Christ Himself; yet, far from beingled astray by the high estimation in which he was held,or holding a good opinion of himself, he preferred toknow himself and to remain in his humble position. Heconfessed and did not deny; and he confessed: I am not theChrist. However, by saying that he was not the Christ,W h o m they believed him to be, he did not deny thatwhich he in reality was, and so in truth he became amember of H i m W h o s e name he would not-assume. H e
  • 29. renounced the name and the high dignity of Jesus Christ,and thus deserved to be a member of C h r i s t ; for the con­fession of his humble condition raised him up to a great­ness published and confirmed by our L o r d Himself. Ifnow we meditate on some words of Jesus which w e findin another part of H o l y Scripture, w e shall have to clearup a most important question. W h e n the disciples ofour L o r d asked H i m about the second coming of Elias,He, answering, said to them : Elias indeed shall come. But Isay to you, that Elias is already come, and they knew him not, hithave done unto him whatsoever they had a mind. Then thedisciples understood that He had spoken to them of John theBaptist (Matt. xvii. n - 1 3 ) . N o w , ask John the Baptist ifhe be Elias, and he will answer: / am not. W h o can explain this mystery, beloved brethren ? W h y does the Prophet of truth contradict H i m who is the Eternal T r u t h ? F o r there is a great contradiction between these two testimonies. And if John does not agree with the Truth, who shall be recognised as the Prophet of truth ? Y e t , when we examine the meaning of these words, which seem to be contradictory, w e at once, recognise that, although apparently announcing opposite things, they really are in perfect agreement. W h e n the angel, appearing to Zacharias, said that John shall go before the Lord in the spirit of Elias ( L u k e i. 17), he wished to convey the meaning that John would come into this world with the spirit and power of the prophet Elias, in order to precede the first coming of the Redeemer, as Elias would precede His second coming. E l i a s will be the precursor of the great Divine Judge, as John was the precursor of the Divine Redeemer. John was Elias in spirit but not in person; therefore, he could deny to be the person of one whose spirit was in him, according to the testimony of the L o r d . Besides, it was proper that
  • 30. Jesus, answering His disciples, should speak of the spiritof St. J o h n ; whereas the Baptist, answering a multitudeof rough and sensual people, spoke of his body and person,and not of his spirit. In this manner his words do notdepart from the w a y of truth, though at first sight theyseem to contain a contradiction. II. W h e n he promptly added that he w a s not aprophet, he wished to declare that he had not only thepower to announce the Redeemer of the world, but w a salso able to point H i m out; and he declared his mission,saying : i" am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. Y o uknow, beloved brethren, that the only-begotten Son iscalled the Word of the Father, as S t . John the Evangelisttells us, s a y i n g : In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John i. i ) .Now you certainly notice that, when you speak, the soundof the voice strikes the ear before the word is distinctlyheard. In the same sense John declares himself to be thevoice, because he precedes the W o r d , for his coming pre­ceded that of the Redeemer ; therefore he w a s the voicethrough which the W o r d of the Father was heard. H eis also the voice of one crying in the wilderness and an­nouncing to the hopelessly forsaken Judea, the approaching consolation of the Saviour. L a s t l y , he teaches the mean­ing of his cry by adding : Make straight the way of the Lord,as said the prophet Isaias (Isa. xl. 3). Now, the w a y of the Lord is made straight and prepared in our hearts, when.we hear the word of truth in humility and resignation. His w a y is also made straight, when through the purityof our life w e prepare ourselves to accept the teaching of His truth. T h u s Jesus Christ said : If anyone love Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We willcome to him, and will make Our abode with him (John xiv. 23).,Consequently, he that extols himself in pride and is
  • 31. governed by avarice; he that gives himself up to luxury and lust, closes his heart against truth, opens the door to passions, and shuts every entrance of his soul against the L o r d , W h o then cannot take up H i s abode with him. I I I . These same men sent by the Jews to St. John, inquired of him w h y he baptized, since he was not Christ, nor Elias, nor the Prophet? B u t it w a s envy, not the desire of knowing the truth, that led them to speak. T h i s is sufficiently clear from the words of the Evange­ list, who says : And they that were sent were of the Pharisees, just as if he had said : T h e y inquired into the doings of John with such eagerness as to show that they wished to find in them something blamable, and that they did not care for his teaching, which only aroused their envy and jealousy. H o w e v e r , since the spirit of meekness and holy zeal does not forsake the saints, even when the envious and wicked question them, w e see that John the Baptist answered with words of life and salvation the questions inspired by envy and hatred, arid said: J baptize with water ; but there hath stood One in the midst of you Whom you know not. T h e baptism of John w a s only a baptism with water, as he himself confessed, therefore it did not give the H o l y Ghost. It had not the power of forgiving sin; only of purifying the bodies, but not the souls, of those who received it. H e g a v e this unfruitful baptism only to fulfil his office of precursor, preceding by this baptism the one of the Redeemer, just as in his birth he had preceded the coming of Jesus into this world. E v e n in his preaching he had come before the Saviour. T h u s by the representation of this sacrament he signified the real Sacrament instituted b y our L o r d . While announcing the mystery of the Redeemer to the multi-• tude, John taught them that this Redeemer, W h o m they knew not, stood in the midst of them. F o r H e W h o was
  • 32. God had taken human nature, was like us in everything,and w a s visibly among men ; yet the splendour of H i s Divinity w a s hidden from their eyes. And when he added: The same is He that shall come after me, Who ispreferred before me, he wished to teach us, that if Jesus Christ, as to H i s birth, has come after him, according to His dignity H e was infinitely preferred before him. Andhe gives the reason of this preference in the precedingwords, He was before me, and declares that H e W h owas born after him far surpasses him, because timecannot enclose H i m in its bounds. Though H e was bornof His Virgin Mother in time, yet H e was begotten ofHis Father from all eternity. However, to show evenmore clearly the esteem and reverence which were due tothe Redeemer, he confessed in deep humility that he wasnot worthy to loose the latchet of H i s shoe. A m o n g theancients there was a custom that, when a man would notaccept the bride allotted to him by law, this bride was totake off his shoes. T h i s clearly indicates that, when Jesuscame to abide among men, H e also showed Himself as theBridegroom of the Holy Church, according to the words ofJohn himself, s a y i n g : He that hath the bride is the bride­groom (John iii. 29). N o w , in order to combat the opinion,according to which some thought that the person of Jesuswas John the Baptist, he positively declares that he w a s noteven worthy to loose the latchet of the Redeemers shoe,acknowledging by this that, as he could neither assumethe name nor the nature of the Bridegroom, so neitherhad he the power to uncover the feet of the Redeemer.There is yet another meaning in these words. Everyoneknows that what serves to cover the feet is taken fromthe skin of dead animals. N o w , our Saviour, taking abody like ours, appeared in this world with the coveringof our mortal and corruptible nature. W h o is able to 2
  • 33. understand the mystery of the Incarnation of the W o r d ofGod ? W h o can comprehend how the highest Spirit,giving life to everything, received life in the womb of amother ? H o w w a s H e , who had no beginning, but iseternal, and showed Himself in time, conceived ? A n das the obscurity of this mystery is signified b y the latchetof the Saviour of the world, we understand w h y John theBaptist declared that he had not the power to loose it.Though he had recognised by his prophetic spirit theIncarnation of the W o r d , his human mind w a s not ableto conceive this great mystery. W h e n he tells us that heis not worthy to loose the latchet of the Saviours shoe,he wishes to teach us that he acknowledges his ignorance,and that w e are not to be astonished at seeing that H e ,W h o was born after him, was preferred before h i m ; be­cause the mystery of our Saviours nativity was farbeyond his conception and understanding. Lastly, thisconfession of S t . John tells us that, though he mighthave possessed the required knowledge imparted to himin the gift of prophecy, he still remained in ignoranceconcerning this incomprehensible mystery. I V . Beloved brethren, our special attention is called tothe w a y in which the saints endeavour to preserve thevirtue of humility. A s soon as they are aware of theextraordinary wisdom and knowledge imparted to them,they consider all the things which they do not know, sothat the consideration of their weakness may keep themhumble, since the knowledge of their perfection mightengender pride in them ; they are convinced that, know­ ledge being a virtue, humility is its best preservative. For, be the mind ever so enlightened by extraordinaryattainments, it must be humbled deeply, that the blessings received and acquired by knowledge may not be blown away by the wind of pride. Therefore, beloved brethren,
  • 34. when you do good works, remember the evil you have done in past y e a r s ; for if you keep your faults beforeyour eyes, you will never feel vain delight nor takethoughtless pleasure in any merit you may possess. Con­sider yourselves less than others, especially less than those not entrusted to your care. Should you notice faults inyour neighbour, consider that he possesses virtues whichyou do not see. Everyone is intended to acquire a certaindegree of eminence through his merits ; yet in a certainsense he must not recognise this, lest he lose through pride the virtue he has attained. Woe to you, says the prophet Isaias, that are wise in your own eyes, and prudentin your own conceits (Isa. v. 21). St. Paul confirms thesewords when he s a y s : Be not wise in your own conceits(Rom. xii. 16). W h e n Saul was puffed up with prideGod said to h i m : When thou wast a little one in thy own eyes,was thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel ? (1 K i n g sxv. 17). T h a t is, when thou didst esteem thyself butlittle among others, I exalted thee above all of them; butnow, as thou thinkest thyself great, thou hast becomelittle in M y eyes. O n the contrary, we see David who,in spite of his power and glory, thought but little of him­self, dancing before the ark and saying: Before theLord . . . I will both play and make myself meaner than I havedone, and I will be little in my own eyes (2 Kings vi. 22). B u twho is he that would preserve himself from pride ? had hedone such heroic deeds as this King, and counted in hislife so many wonders as we read in the history of thisKing ? H e had, by the strength of his arms, struckdown lions and bears and cut them to pieces ; he waspreferred to his brothers, though the last of them, andwas chosen to wear the royal crown ; he was anointed bythe prophet, in order to take the place of a reprobateKing, and to govern the kingdom of Israel. W i t h one 2—2
  • 35. single stone he had overthrown a powerful giant, theterror of Sauls army. Y e t , in spite of these brilliantdeeds, and in the midst of his triumph and exaltation,this powerful K i n g , as seen by his humble words andfeelings, thought but little of himself. If the greatestsaints, amidst their wonderful deeds, thought themselvesworthy of contempt, how will those who do not practisethe least virtue excuse their vanity and pride? F o rshould we deserve praise for our good works, yet they mustbe considered as nothing, unless humility give them theirvalue. Virtue will lower, not exalt us, when humility iswanting. T h e Christian who heaps up virtues withoutthe accompanying humility is like a man exposing dustto the w i n d ; it will be carried a w a y by the wind andthrown into his own eyes. Therefore, beloved brethren,cling to humility in all your actions, as to the root of allgood works. D o not consider those whom you surpassin merits, but fix your eyes on those w h o excel you invirtues; then y o u will place before you as models thosewho are most perfect, and by your own humility you willattain the highest degree of perfection. FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT.G O S P E L : L u k e iii. 1-6. N o w , in the fifteenth year ofthe reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate beingGovernor of Judea, and Herod Tetrarch of Galilee, andPhilip his brother Tetrarch of Iturea and the country ofTrachonitis, and L y s a n i a s Tetrarch of Abilina, under thehigh priests A n n a s and Caiphas, the word of the L o r d w a smade unto John, the son of Z a c h a r y , in the desert.A n d he came into all the country. about the Jordan,preaching the baptism of penance for the remission ofsins, as it was written in the book of the sayings of Isaias
  • 36. the prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness :Prepare y e the w a y of the L o r d ; make straight H i spaths. E v e r y valley shall be filled, and every mountainand hill shall be brought low ; and the crooked shall bemade straight, and the rough w a y s plain. A n d all fleshshall see the salvation of G o d /HOMILY BY POPE ST. G R E G O R Y , PREACHED IN THE CHURCH O F ST. J O H N THE BAPTIST. TWENTIETH HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. T h e Gospel, speaking of the Roman EmperorTiberius and of the different Princes governing Judea andGalilee and other provinces, has no other motive but totell us the year in which the word of the Lord was made untoJohn, the Precursor of the true Messiah. H e was toannounce to the world H i m W h o would save some amongthe Jews and a great number of Gentiles; therefore thetime of his ministry is given by the name of the Emperorwho reigned over the Gentiles and by the Princes govern­ing in Judea. T h e enrolment which had taken place inthe world, indicates that the Gentiles were to be united,whilst the faithless nation of the Jews would be dispersed.For the Romans recognised but one supreme chief, whilstJudea w a s divided into four provinces under as manyPrinces. T h u s was verified among the Jews the wordof the Redeemer : Every kingdom divided against itself shallbe brought to desolation ( L u k e xi. 17). And the names of thehigh priests are given after those of the Kings, becauseJohn the Baptist announced the Messiah, who was bothPriest and K i n g . S t . L u k e , mentioning in his Gospelthe ministry of the Precursor, speaks at the same time ofthe office of priests and rulers. II. John came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching
  • 37. the baptism of penance for the remission of sins. F r o m thewords of H o l y Scripture it appears that S t . John not onlypreached the baptism of penance, but also administeredit to some of the Jews. H i s baptism could not forgivesins, for only the baptism instituted by Jesus can do that.However, he preached the baptism of penance; for,though he had not the power to give the baptism whichsanctifies, at least he announced it to the world. T h i sgreat prophet had preached, in the ministry of the W o r d ,the Saviour W h o , being the uncreated W o r d of the Father,was made man for us ; and now he represented by hissterile baptism the Sacrament of the real Baptism, whichalone can sanctify, truth and reality being preceded byshadows and symbols. I I I . And the Gospel adds : As it was written in the bookof the sayings of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one crying inthe wilderness : Prepare ye the way of the Lord ; make straightHis paths. W h e n John was asked by the priests andL e v i t e s : Who art thou ? he answered: / am the voice ofone crying in the wilderness (John i. 23). H e w a s called bythe prophet a voice, as we have shown elsewhere, be­cause by his voice he had preceded the Divine W o r d .W e also know the words uttered by this voice, for theprophet himself tells them, saying : Prepare ye the way ofthe Lord; make straight His paths. W e learn from all thisthat he, who preached the true faith and the necessity ofgood works, wished also to prepare the hearts of thosewho listened to him, that is, to prepare the w a y by which the L o r d was coming. F o r he removed from menshearts whatever could prevent the grace of G o d from entering into and illuminating them by the Divine light.T h e minister of the word makes the w a y s straight for the steps of the Redeemer, when he awakens pious thoughtsin the mind of his hearers. Therefore, when it is said:
  • 38. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hillshall be brought low, we understand that the humble aremeant by the valleys and the proud by the mountains.W e know now why at the coming of the Saviour of theworld the valleys were to be filled and the mountains tobe brought low, for H e Himself said: Everyone thatexalteth himself, shall be humbled; and he that humbleth him­self, shall be exalted ( L u k e xiv. 1 1 ) . A valley, which isfilled up, rises and increases; whilst a mountain or hillbrought down will decrease. T h u s we see that the Gen­tiles, who in all humility received the faith in JesusChrist, the Mediator between God and man, received thefulness of g r a c e ; whilst the Jews, puffed up and filledwith pride and vanity, lost the grace of G o d throughtheir faithlessness. T h e valleys are filled, because thehumble, receiving into their hearts the word of salvation,obtain at the same time grace to help them to practisevirtue, according to the words of the psalmist: Thousendest forth springs in the vales (Ps. ciii. 1 0 ) ; and again :The vales shall abound with corn (Ps. lxiv. 14). T h e waterrunning down the mountains represents those proudmen who have forsaken the doctrine of t r u t h ; buthumble souls receive the truth preached to them, likethe valleys receive the waters which render them fertile.Indeed, we recognise this fact when we consider thosewhose meekness and simplicity are despised by the world,but who are- nourished and filled with the bread ofDivine truth. I V . W h e n the multitude saw the extraordinary holi­ness of John the Baptist, they believed him to be thefirm and high mountain announced in H o l y Scripture:It shall come to pass that the mountain of the house of the Lordshall be prepared in the top of mountains, and high above thehills ; and the people shall flow to it (Mich. iv. 1 ) . These
  • 39. words were applied to S t . John the more confidently • since, according to the Gospel, he w a s taken for Christ Himself: The people were of opinion, and all were thinking in their hearts of John, that perhaps he might be the Christ ( L u k e iii. 15). T h e multitude, thinking this in their hearts, insisted on an answer, and said to h i m : Art thou not Christ ? B u t John the Baptist, through his own humility, was in his own eyes like a deep valley. H e was, therefore, filled with the grace of the H o l y Ghost, and, making known the opinion he had of himself, he answered: He that shall come after me is preferred before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. A g a i n he said : He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceih with joy because of the bridegrooms voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease (John iii. 29, 30). W e see, therefore, that John the Baptist, on account of his great virtues, was taken for Jesus Christ by those who saw and heard him. In order to bring them out of this error, he answered that he was not only not Christ, but that he was not even worthy to loose the latchet of H i s shoe, that is, to investigate and understand the great mystery of the Incarnation. They also imagined, when taking John for Jesus Christ, that the Church was H i s Bride. H o w e v e r , he formally de­ clared that the true Bridegroom was H e who possessed the bride, as if to s a y : I am not the bridegroom, only the friend of the Bridegroom, giving us to understand that his only joy consisted in hearing the Bridegrooms voice, and that he did not glory in his own voice. F o r the j o y which St. John felt in his heart did not come from the fact that the multitude listened to him in sincere humility, but from the hope that the voice of truth had gained their hearts, and that by his teaching he would then unfold the
  • 40. truth more fully to them. H e could, therefore, say that his joy w a s full; for he that rejoices only because his voice w a s listened to, cannot possess real and entire happiness. V . S t . John, speaking of our Redeemer, added: He must increase, but I must decrease. Now, let us consider in what our L o r d could increase and in what H i s prophet could decrease. This difficulty is easily overcome when we remember that the people, seeing the wonderful mortification of John the Baptist, and his retirement in the desert far from all intercourse with men, thought he was Christ the Messiah. Whereas, seeing Jesus among publicans, conversing and eating with them, and not avoiding the company of sinners, they took H i m for a prophet only, and not for the Christ. B u t what John said was literally fulfilled, when the time came that the Redeemer, W h o m they had looked upon as a mereprophet, was recognised as the Christ, and that John the Baptist, taken for Christ, w a s then known only as H i sprophet. Then, indeed, was fulfilled what John said ofJesus : He must increase, but I must decrease. A n d our Lordincreased in the esteem of men as soon as they recog­nised W h o H e in reality w a s ; whilst the honour givento John decreased, when it became known that he wasonly the prophet of the Messiah. T h u s the holiness ofJohn the Baptist was preserved, because he remainedhumble. T h e greater number of those w h o wish toattain to greatness, very often by their proud thoughtsand sentiments, fall deeply, and verify in their lives thesew o r d s : Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain andhill shall be brought low. F o r G o d is with the humble, andgives them H i s richest blessings; whereas H e forsakesthe heart of the proud man. V I . Again it is s a i d : And the-crooked shall be made
  • 41. straight, and the rough ways plain. T h e s e words will befulfilled when the wicked, whose hearts are corrupted byinjustice, endeavour to return to G o d by practisingChristian justice. A n d the .rough w a y s are made plain,when hard and passionate hearts are softened and becomepeaceful through the grace of God. W h e n the word oftruth is not received, but finds an insensible heart, it iswithdrawn, on account of the obstacles placed in its way.Whereas, when through the unction of the grace of God,we are softened and willingly receive the instructionsand exhortations of G o d s ministry, the truth they an­nounce, instead of finding rough w a y s , finds them smoothand plain, and thus easily penetrates the heart. V I I . And all flesh, continues the Evangelist, shall seethe salvation of God; that is, all men shall see Jesus Christ.B u t in this life all men cannot see the Redeemer. Itseems, therefore, that the prophet spoke of the future,that he saw heaven open before him, and Jesus in Hisglory, surrounded by angels, apostles and saints, as H ewill come to judge the world. T h e n all men, both thejust and the unjust, will see the Judge. T h e just, thatthey may receive the due reward of everlasting happi­ness ; and the wicked, that they may be punished ineverlasting torments for their sins and vices. A m e n . CHRISTMAS DAY.G O S P E L : L u k e ii. 1-14. And it came to pass that inthose days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustusthat the whole world should be enrolled. T h i s enrollingw a s first made by Cyrinus, the Governor of Syria. A n dall went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. AndJoseph also went up from Galilee out of the city ofNazareth into Judea, to the city of D a v i d , which is
  • 42. called Bethlehem, because he was of the house andfamily of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his espousedwife, w h o was with child. And it came to pass, thatwhen they were there, her days were accomplished thatshe should be delivered. A n d she brought forth herfirst-born Son, and wrapped H i m up in swaddling-clothes,and laid H i m in a manger, because there was no room forthem in the inn. A n d there were in the same countryshepherds watching and keeping the night-watches overtheir flock. A n d behold an angel of the L o r d stood bythem, and the brightness of God shone round aboutt h e m ; and they feared with a great fear. A n d the angelsaid to t h e m : Fear n o t ; for behold I bring you goodtidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people;for this day is born to you a S A V I O U R , W h o is Christthe L o r d , in the city of David. And this shall be asign unto y o u : Y o u shall find the Infant wrapped inswaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger. And suddenlythere w a s with the angel a multitude of the heavenlyarmy, praising God, and saying: Glory to G o d in thehighest, and on earth peace to men of good will.HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, PREACHED IN THE CHURCH OF OUR LADY ON CHRISTMAS DAY. EIGHTH HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. Since by the mercy of God we are to say threeMasses to-day, there is not much time left for preachingon this G o s p e l ; at the same time the festival of theL o r d s Nativity obliges us to speak a few words. L e tus first ask why, when our L o r d was to be born, theworld w a s enrolled ? W a s it not clearly to show thatH e W h o was to come into this world and be made manwould one day enroll H i s elect and inscribe their names
  • 43. in the book of eternity ? F o r the prophet, speaking ofthe reprobate, s a y s : Let them be blotted out of the book ofthe living ; and with the just let them not be written ( P s .lxviii. 29). Then it is not without a special reason thatthe L o r d is born in Bethlehem. F o r the name Bethlehemsignifies the House of Bread, and this is the birthplace ofH i m W h o said : 1 am the living Bread, which came down fromheaven (John vi. 5 1 ) . W e see then that the name ofBethlehem was prophetically given to the place whereChrist w a s born, because it w a s there that H e w a s toappear in the flesh, by the eating of which the souls ofthe elect are fed unto life everlasting. H e w a s born, notin H i s mothers house, but away from home. A n d thisis a mystery, showing that by assuming our mortalityH e w a s born in a strange country. W e say strange,considering the Divine nature of our Redeemer, andnot H i s Divine power. For, referring to this power,H o l y Scripture says that, when the L o r d came into thisworld, H e came unto H i s own. B u t , when thinking ofH i s Divine nature, and knowing that H e w a s begottenof the Father before all worlds, we may say that bytaking our nature in time, H e came into a strangecountry. Again, considering, as the prophet says, thatall flesh is grass (Isa. xl. 6), we easily understand howJesus, taking this flesh, changed it into wheat, since H esaid of Himself: Unless the grain of wheat falling into theground die, itself remaineth alone (John xii. 24). T h i s is thereason why the Divine Child is seen in a manger afterH i s birth, that H i s flesh, like pure wheat, may draw toH i m the faithful, as mysterious animals, to be fed andfilled with eternal wisdom. And when it is said that theangel showed himself to the shepherds keeping thenight-watches, and that a wonderful light surroundedthem, we learn from this that those, who carefully attend
  • 44. to the flocks entrusted to them must be favoured with deeper knowledge, since their ministry is highly meri­ torious. For, whilst they carefully watch over their flocks, they are enlightened by God with graces more abundant than those given to others. I I . T h e angel announced that a King was born, and sud­denly there w a s with the angel a multitude of the heavenlyhost praising G o d and saying : Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace to men of good will. Before the Incarnationof the Son of God there w a s disagreement between theangels and men. Original sin and the crimes daily com­mitted in the world were the cause of this division. It wasonly just that the angels, being the friends and faithful ser­vants of God, should look upon men as strangers and haveno communication with them on account of their trans­gressing the commandments. B u t since man submittedto G o d and recognised H i m as his lawful Master, theheavenly spirits consider mankind as their fellow-citizens.T h o u g h highly superior to us, they do not despise ourweakness, since the K i n g of heaven and earth camedown and took upon H i m this human weakness. Theseblessed spirits, forgetting their former aversion, wish tolive in friendship with us. Instead of despising us asfrail humanity, they look upon us as their fellow-creatures.W e read in H o l y Scripture that L o t and Josua prostrateon the ground worshipped the angels sent by God ; butwhen St. John fell down to adore before the feet of theangel he was prevented from doing so, for the angel said:See thou do it not, for I am thy fellow-servant and of thybrethren (Apoc. xxii. 9). W h y did the angels, before thecoming of the Redeemer, see men prostrate before themand prevent them not ? A n d why were they unwilling,after the birth of our Saviour, to receive such honour ?W a s it not because they saw the human nature, which they
  • 45. had before despised, now exalted high above their own inthe person of Jesus, true God and true man ? A l s o becausethey dread to see the human nature humbled, since theyadore that humanity in the person of the K i n g of Majesty,their own K i n g . Lastly, the angels consider man astheir equal because they adore God made man, sitting atthe right hand of the Father. L e t us, therefore, belovedbrethren, beware of every sin, by which w e might bemade unworthy of that heavenly city, which God hasprepared for us as well as for His angels. L e t us leadsuch good lives that they may correspond with ourdignity. Avoid, therefore, impurity and lust, even everysinful thought. L e t not wickedness soil the purity ofyour souls; let not the poison of envy and hatred penetrateyour hearts. K e e p your souls free from pride, covetous-ness and anger, and especially from the desire of tastingthe sinful pleasures of this world. Remember that youhave been called the sons of the most High ( P s . lxxxi. 6).Defend in yourselves the glory of G o d by avoiding sin,for G o d was made man in order to honour us and makeus partakers of H i s eternal glory. A m e n .THE FEAST OF ST. STEPHEN, T H E FIRST MARTYR.G O S P E L : Matt, xxiii. 34-39. At that time : Jesus saidunto the Scribes and Pharisees: Behold, I send to youprophets, and wise men and scribes ; and some of themyou will put to death and crucify, and some you willscourge in your synagogues and persecute from city toc i t y ; that upon you m a y come all the just blood that hathbeen shed upon the earth, from the blood of Abel thejust even unto the blood of Zacharias, the son of Barachias,whom you killed between the temple and the altar.
  • 46. TA m e n , I sa) to you all these things shall comeupon this generation. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou thatkillest the prophets and stonest them that are sent untothee, how often would I have gathered together thychildren as the hen doth gather her chickens under herwings, and thou wouldest not. Behold, your house shallbe left to you desolate. F o r I say to you, you shall notsee M e henceforth till you say : Blessed is H e thatcometh in the name of the L o r d . HOMILY BY ST. JEROME, PRIEST. COMMENT ON M A T T , XXIIL, BK. IV. I. T h e words addressed to the Jews by our Redeemer,when H e said: Fill ye up the measure of your fathers (Matt, xxiii. 32), especially refer, as we have alreadyremarked, to Himself, w h o m the Jews afterwards put todeath. In a secondary sense they may also be appliedto H i s disciples, of w h o m H e s a y s : Behold, I send to youprophets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them youwill put to death and crucify, and some you will scourge inyour synagogues, and persecute from city to city. Observethat, according to the Apostle writing to the Corinthians (1 Cor. xii. 4), there are diversities of gifts granted to Christs followers. Some are prophets of that which isto come ; some are wise men, who know the suitableseason for rebuke or exhortation; some are scribeslearned in the law. A n d of these they stoned Stephen,slew P a u l with the sword, crucified Peter, and scourgedthe disciples, as we read in the Acts of the Apostles(v. 4 0 ; x v i . 23). W h e n these men, sent by God, sawthat they were universally despised, persecuted from onecity to another, and lastly driven out of the land of the
  • 47. Jews, they went to the Gentiles. After reproaching the Jews with the blood of so many of their own people which they had shed, our L o r d added these words: Amen, I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation. B u t the multitude listening to Jesus, when H e said these words, had not shed the blood of Abel and other saints of the Old Testament unto the blood of Zacharias. Why, then, should they be guilty of all that blood ? Because, in the language of the Scriptures, all the just are in­ cluded in one and the same generation, and all the wicked in another generation, of which they are con­ sidered to be the offspring. A s to the generation of thejust we hear the prophet s a y : Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord, or who shall stand in His holy place ? (Ps. xxiii. 3). A n d , after speaking of those who shallascend into this mountain, he concludes with thesewords : This is the generation of them that seek Him, of them that seek the face of the God of Jacob. T h e same prophet, speaking in another psalm of all the saints, says that heaven will ever bless the generation of the just. Con­sidering the wicked mentioned in that passage, we seethat they are called a brood, or generation, of vipers (Matt. iii. 7), and all these things shall come upon that accursed generation. T h e prophet Ezechiel, after enumerating all the sins committed in this world, adds these terrible w o r d s : If these three men, Noe, Daniel, and Job, shall be in the land, they shall deliver their own souls by theirjustice, but the land shall be desolate (Ezec. xiv. 1 4 , 1 6 ) . T h e prophet includes under the names of Noe, Daniel, andJob, all the just who by their virtues were like thesemen. Then, all those who persecuted the Apostles, andimitated Cain and Joas in their sins, are included in thegeneration of the wicked. II. It is a matter of dispute among commentators,
  • 48. who is meant by Zacharias, the son of Barachias. W eread of several persons of the name of Z a c h a r i a s ; buthere, in order to prevent any mistake, it is particularlysaid : Whom you killed between the temple and the altar. Ihave read various opinions in various places upon thisquestion, and I will give each of them. Some hold thatZacharias, the son of Barachias, is the eleventh of thetwelve minor prophets, and this opinion is supportedby the fathers name. B u t Holy Scripture nowheretells us that this prophet w a s slain between the templeand the altar, and it is hardly possible that he can havebeen so, for in his time it could scarcely be said thateven the ruins of the temple still existed. Others main­tain that this Zacharias was Zacharias, the father ofJohn the Baptist. T h i s interpretation is derived fromthe dreams- of the A p o c r y p h a l Gospels, wherein it isasserted that he was martyred for preaching Christscoming. Again, others will have it that this Zacharias,the son of Barachias, w a s that Zacharias of whom weread, that he w a s killed b y Joas, King of Juda, betweenthe temple and the altar. Against this it is to beremarked that that Zacharias was not the son ofBarachias, but of Joiada the priest; whence it is writtenin H o l y Scripture : Joas did itot remember the kindness whichJoiada, his father, had done to him (2 Par. x x i v . 22). T h e question, therefore, arises, if this opinion be true, why,the name and manner of death both agreeing with the explanation, Zacharias is called, not the son of Joiada, but of Barachias. In Hebrew Barachias signifies the blessed of the Lord, and Joiada justice. In the Gospel used b y the Nazarenes the name of Joiada is used instead of Barachias. I I I . Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent to thee.- L e t us not imagine
  • 49. that by the word Jerusalem our L o r d meant the stonesand buildings of the city. N o , H e spoke of the in­habitants, and complained, like a kind father complainsof his childrens wickedness. In another Gospel ( L u k exix. 41) we are told that when Jesus saw the city H ewept over i t ; and b y t h e words added by our Saviour :How often would, I have gathered together thy children, H e teaches us that all the prophets who had arisen amongthe Jews, in order to convert them, were sent in H i s name. W h e n , lastly, H e tells the Jews that their house would be left desolate, H e only confirms what H e had already announced to the prevaricating people by the prophet Jeremiah, saying : / have forsaken my house ; I have left my inheritance (xii. 7). Indeed, w e see in our time that the house of the Jews, that is, the magnificent temple, considered as one of the wonders ctf the world, is a for­ saken and desolate place, since Jesus Christ abandoned it, and since the Heir w a s killed by the perfidious nation, which endeavoured to seize upon the inheritance. I V . In the same manner our L o r d addressed Jerusalem and the whole Jewish nation, when H e said : / say to you, you shall not see Me henceforth until you say: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord. T h e s e last words, which the children used when expressing their j o y at the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, are taken from the 117th Psalm, in which the royal prophet speaks of Jesus. B y these words our L o r d wished to tell the Jews, that they would never see H i m unless they did penance, and openly confessed that H e was the Son of God the A l m i g h t y , announced by the prophets. T i m e was given to the Jews to be converted. Their only duty was to acknowledge and adore H i m , W h o was sent by the Father to be their K i n g ; then they would see Jesus Christ and reign with H i m .
  • 50. SUNDAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS. G O S P E L : L u k e ii. 33-40. At that time: Joseph and Mary, the mother of Jesus, were wondering at these things which were spoken concerning Him. A n d Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother : Behold, the Child is set-for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted. And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the"tribe of Aser. She was far advanced in years, and hadlived with her husband seven years from her virginity;and she was a widow until fourscore and four y e a r s ;who departed not from the temple, by fastings andprayers serving night and day. Now, she at the samehour coming in, confessed to the Lord, and spoke ofH i m to all that looked for the redemption of Israel.And after they had performed all things according to thelaw of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, into theircity Nazareth. And the Child grew, and waxed strong,full of wisdom ; and the grace of God was in H i m . . H O M I L Y BY T H E V E N E R A B L E B E D E , T R I E S T . Bic. i., ON L U K E II. I. In the Gospel we see that Joseph was called thefather of our Saviour ; but we know that he w a s not, ac­cording to the erroneous interpretation of the Photinians,the real father of Jesus, but only His reputed father, inorder to save the honour of Mary his spouse. T h eEvangelist knew that the Virgin, though a mother, hadconceived by the operation of the Holy Ghost. However, 3—2
  • 51. 36 S UN DA YS A ND FESTIVA LSto follow the common expressions used b y historians, hemade no scruple at calling St. Joseph the father of Jesus.Moreover, w e may apply to him the qualifications of afather in the same sense and for the same reasons as we callhim the spouse of Mary, though she remained a Virgin inspite of the conjugal bond. Indeed, on account of thisbond, uniting Joseph with his spouse, he deserved the titleof father of Jesus more justly than if he had adopted H i m ;and he would have possessed the rights of a father overJesus, even though not born of his spouse, had he adoptedH i m according to the law. I I . It was in very truth that Simeon, when speakingof the Redeemer, could say to Mary : Behold, the Child isset for the fall, and for the resurrection of many in Israel.Indeed, many will rise through Jesus Christ, the lightand the glory of Israel. H e Himself teaches us thistruth, when He says : i" am the resurrection and the life.And everyone that liveth, and believeth in Me, shall not die forever (John xi. 25, 26). And H e will be an occasion offall for many, because H e is the stone which, rejected bythe builders, has become the head of the corner, and willgrind to dust those on whom it falls, those w h o do not believe in H i m . It was of them that H e spoke, saying :If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin;but now they have no excuse for their sin (John x v . 22). B u tJesus is also an occasion of fall for many, not only in H i s own person, but also in the person of H i s ministers. T h u s we hear St. P a u l say : We are the good odour of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them that perish (2 Cor. ii. 15). If, therefore, we willingly accept the doctrine of salvation, preached by G o d through H i s ministers sent to us, then it will be a good odour sanctify­ ing our s o u l ; whereas the same doctrine will be an odour of death and an occasion of fall for those who
  • 52. neglect or despise it. W h e n the prophecy again tells usthat this Child shall be contradicted, we know that by thesewords is meant the faith in the death of our L o r d on thecross preached to the world. St. Paul tells us that the.Jews, speaking of the Christians, said : We know that thissect—those believing and teaching this doctrine—is every­where spoken against (Acts xxviii. 22). A n d the sameApostle says : We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jewsindeed a stumbling-block, and unto the Gentiles, foolishness(1 Cor. i. 23). I I I . H o l y Simeon again said to our Blessed L a d y thata sword would pierce her own soul. W e easily under­stand that a sword of sorrow, grief and suffering, result­ing from the great sufferings of her Son, w a s meant bythese w o r d s ; for no tradition relates that M a r y died bythe sword, which after all has power over the body onlyand not over the soul. H o l y Scripture speaks of thisspiritual sword : Their tongue is a sharp sword ( P s . lvi. 5).T h o u g h the Blessed Virgin Mary was fully convincedthat her Son Jesus, the eternally Begotten of the Father,could avoid death, though about to accept it willingly,yet, being His Mother, she could not but suffer the mostacute pain on seeing H i s crucifixion. T h e sword which,according to the prophet, pierced the soul of Mary, clearlyindicates the terrible anguish, suffered by this sorrowfulmother in her own soul. Before the Redeemer appearedin this world, no one could recognise with certitude thoseJews who, either received the grace of Jesus Christ, orrefused to accept the grace that was offered them. B u twhen the tidings of H i s birth were spread abroad, thenthe hidden thoughts of many hearts were revealed.King Herod, hearing this news, was troubled, and allJerusalem with him; whereas the shepherds rejoiced whenthe angel said : / bring you good tidings of great joy ; for
  • 53. this day is born to you a Saviour ( L u k e ii. 1 0 , 1 1 ) ; and theyreturned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they hadheard and seen (verse 20). T h e splendour of the miraclesand Divine doctrine of the Saviour attracted many toH i m , and they listened to H i s w o r d s ; whereas otherscalled H i m a deceiver, and despised H i m . A n d when theysaw H i m hanging on the Cross, they even blasphemedH i m , and esteemed H i m worthy of that cruel punish­ment ; whilst the former showed deep sympathy andgrief on seeing the Author of life condemned to death.T h e Church of Jesus has until now felt this sword ofsuffering, and will be pierced by it till the end of thew o r l d ; for, as a mark of faith and salvation, she will becontinually contradicted. It is with grief and sorrowthat the Church sees great multitudes persevering ininfidelity and rushing on to perdition, though very many,hearing and obeying the word of G o d , will rise withJesus Christ. H e r sorrow increases when the thoughtsof many hearts are revealed, and when she perceives inthe field, in which she has been continually sowing theseed of the Gospel, cockle growing up. Indeed, theknowledge that the cockle of sin and vice is eminentlymore fertile, that it takes deep root and shoots forthluxuriantly, choking much of the wheat of virtue andinnocence, causes her tears to flow in abundance. I V . Anna, the prophetess, w h o by her long and holylife was accounted worthy to see the Redeemer of Israel,and to give testimony to the truth that she perceived inher prophetic mind, is the type of the Church; who seesherself deprived of the visible presence of her Bridegroomand Lord, since H e left this mortal life. T h e number ofyears mentioned by the Gospel as being the age of thiswidow, represents the time of the exile of the Church ina foreign land. She cannot, on account of this present
  • 54. life in the world, be united with her Lord and Master,W h o s e coming, like A n n a the prophetess, she impatientlyawaits at the entrance of the temple, for she trusts inH i s promise: We will come to him, and make our abode withhim (John xiv. 23). After the testimony given b y Simeonto the Redeemer of the world, and given also about herselfby a Virgin in the conjugal state, it seems quite natural,in order not to exclude any kind of conditions, that awidow, venerable both by her position and holy life,should appear in the person of Anna and testify to thecoming of the Redeemer of Israel, and confirm this by-her praises. V . St. L u k e speaks here of the return of Jesus and H i sparents to Galilee, after they had performed all things accord­ing to the law of the Lord. H e does not mention the flightinto E g y p t , already recorded by St. Matthew, and whichhe did not think it necessary to repeat, to the interruptionof his narrative. A t all events, we know that St. L u k e ,like the other Evangelists, was enlightened by the HolyG h o s t ; and we know that, had the things he omittednot been committed to writing, the omission would havebeen supplied later on by the inspiration of God, so thatthe reader could place them in their proper position in theGospel story. A s to the words added by S t . L u k e thatthe Child grew and ivaxed strong, full of wisdom, and the grace of God ivas in Him, we remark that Jesus Christ, havingtaken a human nature, was subjected to all its weak­nesses and infirmities, and could as man grow and wax strong. B u t , considering H i m only as the W o r d of God and God Himself, we know that H e could not increase in wisdom. H o w e v e r , in all truth it may be said that H e was full of wisdom and grace, since H e was filled with grace as the Mediator between God and man, and from H i s birth was overflowing with grace, on account
  • 55. of the perfect union between God and man in one DivinePerson. S t . John confirms all this when, speaking of theSon of God made man, he calls H i m full of grace and truth(John i. 14), meaning by this expression the fulness ofH i s Divinity, expressed by St. L u k e under the name ofwisdom. T H E FEAST OF THE CIRCUMCISION.G O S P E L : L u k e ii. 21. At that time: After eight dayswere accomplished that the Child should be circumcised,H i s name was called Jesus, which was called by theangel before H e was conceived in the w o m b . H O M I L Y B Y ST. AMBROSE, BISHOP. B K . 11., ON L U K E II. I. T h e Child is circumcised. W h o is that Child ? Itis the Child of W h o m it is said: A Child is born to us ; aSon is given to us (Isa. ix. 6). Made under the law, that Hemight redeem them who were under the law ( G a l . iv. 4).And His parents carried Him to Jerusalem to present Him tothe Lord ( L u k e ii. 22). I have explained, in my commen­tary on Isaias, what is meant by being presented to theL o r d ; I will not, therefore, enter into the subject again.H e that is circumcised in heart has G o d for his Protector,for the eyes of the Lord are upon the just ( P s . xxxiii. 16).Y o u will easily see that, as all the ceremonies of the oldlaw were types of the realities in the new, so the circum­cision of the body—a necessary duty—signified the cleans­ing of the heart from the guilt of sin. B u t , since thebody and the mind of men remain yet infected with aproneness to sin, the circumcision of the eighth day isalso a type of that complete cleansing of sin with which
  • 56. FEAST OF THE CIRCUMCISION 41we shall be endowed at the Resurrection. T h i s ceremonywas also performed in obedience to the commandmentof God : Every male opening the womb shall be called holy tothe Lord ( L u k e ii. 23). These words were written withspecial reference to the delivery of the Blessed Virgin.Truly, H e that opened her womb was holy, for H e wasaltogether without s p o t ; and we understand that the lawwas specially written for H i m from the words of thea n g e l : The Holy which shall be bom of Thee shall be called theSon of God (Luke i. 35). Indeed, the Redeemer of theworld was not born after a human and corporal manner,but by the operation of the H o l y Ghost, by W h o m H ewas conceived in the w o m b of the most pure VirginMary. I I . A m o n g all the children born of women the LordJesus Christ stood alone, and could in all truth be calledholy. F r o m the first moment of His immaculate birthH e felt no contagion from human corruption, for Hisheavenly majesty drove it away. If we are to follow theletter, and say that every male opening the w o m b is holy,how shall w e explain that so many have been sinful ?W a s A c h a b holy ? W e r e the false prophets holy ?W e r e they holy on whom Elias justly called down firefrom heaven ? B u t H e , to W h o m the sacred command­ment of the law of G o d is mystically directed, is the HolyOne of Israel. H e also alone opened the secret womb ofHis holy virgin-bride, the Church, filling her with sinlessfruitfulness to give birth to Christian souls. Therefore,Jesus Christ, on account of the wonderful and super­natural manner in which H e was conceived and born, isthe only first-born among men. -Nor is this surprising,since we remember that H e said to His prophet: / knewthee, and before thou earnest forth out of the womb, I sanctifiedthee (Jer. i. 5). Now, the same W h o blessed and sancti-
  • 57. fied the mother, and granted birth to this prophet is H eW h o by H i s Divine power came forth holy and withouta spot out of the w o m b of His own mother. T H E EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD.G O S P E L : Mat. ii. 1-12. W h e n Jesus therefore wasborn in Bethlehem of Juda, in the days of K i n g Herod,behold, there came wise men from the E a s t to Jerusalem,s a y i n g : W h e r e is H e "that is born K i n g of the J e w s ?For we have seen His star in the E a s t , and are come toadore H i m . A n d K i n g Herod, hearing this, w a s troubled,and all Jerusalem with him. And, assembling togetherall the chief priests and the scribes of the people, heinquired of them where Christ should be born. B u t theysaid to h i m : In Bethlehem of Juda. F o r so it iswritten by the prophet: A n d thou, Bethlehem, theland of Juda, art not the least among the Princes ofJuda; for out of thee shall come forth the Captain thatshall rule my people Israel. T h e n Herod, privatelycalling the wise men, learned diligently of them the timeof the star which appeared to them, and sending theminto Bethlehem, said : G o and diligently inquire after theChild, and when you have found H i m , bring me wordagain, that I also may come and adore H i m . W h o ,having heard the King, went their w a y ; and behold, thestar which they had seen in the East went before themuntil it came and stood over where the Child w a s . A n dseeing the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great j o y ;and entering into the house, they found the Child withMary, His mother, and falling down, they adored H i m ;and opening their treasures, offered H i m gifts, gold andfrankincense and myrrh. And having received an answer
  • 58. in sleep that they should not return to Herod, they wentback another w a y into their country.HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, PREACHED IN THE CHURCH O F ST. P E T E R ON T H E EPIPHANY. T E N T H HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. Y o u have heard from the Gospel lesson, beloved brethren, how, when the K i n g of heaven w a s born, the king of earth w a s troubled. T h e depths of earth are stirred, whilst the heights of heaven are opened. Now, let us consider the question why, when the Redeemer was born, an angel brought the news to the shepherds of Judea, but a star led the wise men of the E a s t to adore H i m . It seems as if the Jews, as reasonable creatures, received a revelation from a reasonable being, that is, an a n g e l ; whilst the Gentiles without, not listening to their reason, are attracted, not by a voice, but by a sign, that is, a star. Hence, St. P a u l s a y s : A sign, not to believers, but to unbelievers; but prophecies, not to unbelievers, but to believers (i Cor. xiv. 22). So the prophesying—that is, of an angel—was given to those who believed, and the signto them that believed not. W e also remark that later.on the Redeemer was preached among the Gentiles, not by Himself, but by the Apostles, even as when a little child H e is shown to them, not by the voice of angels, but merely by the vision of a star. W h e n H e Himselfbegan to speak, H e w a s made known to us by teachers ; but when H e laid silent in the manger, by the silenttestimony in heaven. II? However, whether we consider the signs accom­panying H i s birth, or H i s death, this special thing iswonderful, namely, the hardness of heart of the Jews,who would not believe in Him, in spite of both pro-
  • 59. phecies and miracles. A l l things in creation bore witnessthat its Creator w a s come. L e t us reckon them upafter the manner of men. T h e heavens knew that H ew a s G o d , and sent a star to shine over where H e lay.T h e sea knew it, and bore H i m up w h e n H e walkedupon it. T h e earth knew it, and quaked when H e died.T h e sun knew it, and w a s darkened. T h e rocks andwalls knew it, and broke in pieces at the hour of H i sdeath. Hell knew it, and gave up the dead that weretherein. A n d yet, up to this very hour, the hearts of theunbelieving Jews do not acknowledge that H e , to W h o mall nature did testify, is their G o d , and, being morehardened than rocks, refuse to be rent by repentance.B u t that which increases their guilt and punishment liesin the fact that they despise that G o d W h o s e birth hadbeen announced to them by • the prophets, hundreds of years before, and W h o m they had seen after H i s birth inthe stable. T h e y even knew the place of H i s birth, forthey spoke of it to the inquiring Herod, and told him that, according to the testimony of H o l y Scripture, Bethlehem w a s to be renowned as the birthplace of the Messiah. T h e y strengthen, therefore, our faith, whilst their own knowledge condemns them. T h e Jews are like Isaac, whose eyes were overtaken with the darkness of death, when he blessed, but could not see his son Jacob standing before him. T h u s the unhappy nation was struck with blindness, and, knowing what the prophets had said about the Redeemer, would not recog­ nise H i m , though H e stood in the midst of them. I I I . W h e n Herod heard of the birth of our K i n g , hebetook himself to his cunning wiles, and, lest he shouldbe deprived of an earthly kingdom, he desired the wisemen to search diligently for the Child, and when theyhad found H i m , to bring him word again. H e said,
  • 60. that he also may come and adore Him ; but, in reality, if hehad.found H i m , that he might put H i m to death.N o w , behold, of how little weight is the wickedness ofman, when it is tried against the counsel of theA l m i g h t y . It is written : There is no wisdom, there is noprudence, there is no counsel against the Lord (Prov. xxi. 30).A n d the star which the wise men saw in the E a s t stillled them o n ; they found the new-born King, and offeredH i m gifts ; then they were warned in a dream that theyshould not return to Herod. And so it came to pass,that when Herod sought Jesus, he could not find Him.E v e n so it is with hypocrites who, whilst they makepretence to seek the Lord, to adore Him, find H i m not. I V . It is well to know that one of the errors of thePriscillianist heretics consists in believing that every manis born under the influence of a star. In order to confirmthis notion, they bring forward the instance of the starof Bethlehem that appeared when the L o r d was born,and which they call H i s star, that is, the star ruling Hisfate and destiny. B u t , consider the words of the Gospelconcerning this star ; they say : It went before them until itcame and stood over where the Child was. W h e n c e we seethat it w a s not the Child who followed the star, but thestar that followed the Child, as if to show that the Childruled over the star, instead of the star ruling over Him.L e t , therefore, the hearts of the faithful be free from thethought that anything rules over their destiny. In thisworld there is only One W h o directs the destiny of man,that is, H e W h o made him. Neither was man made forthe stars, but the stars for man ; and if we say that theyrule over his destiny, we set them above him, for whoseservice they were created. W h e n Jacob came out of hismothers womb, and his hand took hold of his brother E s a u s heel, the first could not have been perfectly born
  • 61. without the second immediately following. Y e t such w a snot in after-life the position of these two brothers, whomtheir mother brought forth at one birth. V . Should a ridiculous astrologer, according to hisprinciples, pretend that the power of the stars dependson the very moment of the birth to which their wholeoperation is referred, we answer that the birth of manrequires a certain space of time during which the stars con­tinually change their position. These changes would conse­quently form as many destinies as there are limbs in thosewho are born during that space of time. T h e r e is anotherfixed rule accepted by the adepts of this pseudo-science,namely, that he who is born under the sign of Aquarius(waterman) will never have any other profession thanthat of a fisherman. Y e t we know from history that theGatulians never carry on that business. B u t who willpretend that not one of them was ever born under thatspecial sign of the Zodiac ? B y the same principle theywill say that all those, born under the sign of the Balance,will be bankers or money-lenders. B u t we know thatthere are many nations among which these kinds ofbusiness are unknown. These so-called learned astro­logers must, therefore, confess, either that these nationshave not this sign of the Zodiac, or that none of theirchildren are born under this sign. Many nations, as w eknow, have a law that their rulers must be of royalblood. B u t are not many poor children in these countriesborn at the very moment when the one, w h o is destinedto be king, sees the light ? W h y , then, should there bea difference between those who are born under the samesign, so that some are clothed in purple whilst others areslaves ? W e wish, in speaking of the star that appearedto the wise men, to say these few words against thedeceptions of astrology.
  • 62. V I . T h e wise men brought gold, frankincense andmyrrh. Gold is a gift suitable for a king, frankincenseis offered in sacrifice to G o d , and with myrrh are embalmedthe bodies of the dead. B y the gifts, therefore, theypresented to Him, the wise men set forth three thingsconcerning Him, to W h o m they offered them. T h e goldsignifies that H e was K i n g ; the frankincense that H e w a sGod, and the myrrh that H e was mortal. There aresome heretics who believe H i m to be God, but confessnot H i s Kingly dominion over all things. These offerHim the frankincense, but refuse the gold. There aresome others who admit that H e is King, but deny thatH e is God, These present the gold, but withhold thefrankincense. Again, there are other heretics who pro­fess that Christ is both G o d and King, but deny that H etook to Himself a mortal nature. These offer H i m goldand frankincense, but not myrrh for the burial incident toHis mortality. L e t us, however, present gold to thenew-born Lord, acknowledging His universal Kingship ;let us offer H i m frankincense, confessing that H e W h ohad been made manifest in time, was still God beforetime; let us give H i m myrrh, believing that H e , W h ocannot suffer as God, became capable of death b y assum­ing our human, mortal nature. There is also anothermeaning in this gold, frankincense and myrrh. Gold isthe type of wisdom, for, as Solomon says, wisdom is atreasure to be desired, and that it is found in the mouthof the wise (Prov. x x i . 20, Septuag.). Frankincense,which is burnt in honour of God, is a figure of prayer ;witness the words of the Psalmist: Let my prayer bedirected as incense in Thy sight (Ps. cxl. 2). B y myrrh isrepresented the mortification of the body, as where HolyChurch says of her children labouring in their strife afterGod even unto d e a t h : My hands dropped with myrrh
  • 63. (Cant. v. 5). W e offer, therefore, gold to this new K i n gwhen in H i s sight we reflect the brilliancy of truewisdom. W e offer H i m frankincense when our piousprayers, like a sweet odour before God, banish all wickedthoughts and inflame good desires. W e offer him myrrh,when by fasting and penance w e mortify our passions ;for through the effects produced by the myrrh, as wehave already remarked, the bodies are preserved fromcorruption. Our flesh is corrupted when w e give up "thismortal body to luxury, as the prophet says : The beastshave rotted in their dung (Joel i. 17). T h e image of thesebeasts indicates those carnal beings w h o give themselvesup to their shameful desires, and hasten towards theirown destruction. W e bring, therefore, a present of myrrhto God, when by temperance and mortification we pre­serve our bodies from all impurity. V I I . T h e wise men teach us also a great lesson inthat they went back another way into their country; andwhat they did, having received an answer in sleep, we oughtto do. Our country is heaven, and when we have onceknown Jesus, we can never reach it by returning to theway, wherein we walked before knowing H i m . We have gone far from our country by the w a y of pride, disobedience, worldliness, and forbidden indulgence; we must seek that heavenly fatherland by subjection, by contempt of the things which are seen, and by curbing the fleshly appetites. L e t us, then, depart into our own country by another way. T h e y that have by enjoyment put themselves a w a y from it, must seek it again b y sorrow. It behoves us, therefore, beloved brethren, to be ever fearful and watchful, having continually before the eyes of our mind, on the one hand, the guilt of our doings, and, on the other, the judgment at the last day. It behoves us to think how that awful Judge, W h o s e
  • 64. judgment is hanging over us, but has not yet fallen,will surely come. T h e wrath to come is before sinners,but has not yet smitten them ; the Judge yet tarries,that when H e comes there may perhaps be less tocondemn. L e t us afflict ourselves for our faults with weeping, and with the psalmist, let us come before Hispresence with thanksgiving (Ps. xciv. 2). L e t us takeheed that we be not befooled by the appearance ofearthly happiness, or seduced by the vanity of anyworldly pleasure; for the Judge is at hand, W h o says : Woe to you that now laugh, for you shall mourn and weep(Luke vi. 25). Hence, also, Solomon says : Laughtershall be mingled with sorrow, and mourning taketh hold of theend of joy (Prov. xiv. 13). And again : Laughter Icounted error, and to mirth I said: Why art thou vainlydeceived ? (Eccles. ii. 2). A n d yet again: The heart ofthe wise is where there is mourning, but the heart of foolsivhere there is mirth (vii. 5). L e t us fear lest we do notfulfil" the commandments given to us. If w e wish tocelebrate this feast to His glory, let us offer H i m theacceptable sacrifice of our sorrow, for the royal prophetsays : A sacrifice to God is an afflicted spirit; a contrite andhumbled heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise (Ps. 1. 19).Our former faults were remitted by the Sacrament ofBaptism, yet we have again offended God ; and these sins which the water of baptism cannot cleanse, willbe forgiven only when in real and deep sorrow we shed tears of contrition. W e have gone away from our real fatherland ; we have followed the false gods which allured u s ; let us, therefore, return Ijy another way, the w a y of suffering, the bitterness of which we shall endure with the grace of God,
  • 65. FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.GOSPEL : L u k e ii. 42-52. W h e n Jesus w a s twelve yearsold, they went up to Jerusalem, according to the customof the feast. A n d having fulfilled the days, when theyreturned, the child Jesus remained in Jerusalem, andHis parents knew it not. And thinking that H e was inthe company, they came a days journey, and soughtH i m among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. A n d notfinding Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking H i m .A n d it came to pass, that after three days they foundH i m in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors,hearing them and asking them questions. A n d all thatheard H i m were astonished at H i s wisdom and H i sanswers. A n d seeing H i m they wondered. A n d H i smother said to H i m : Son, w h y hast T h o u done so tous ? Behold, T h y father and I have sought T h e esorrowing. A n d H e said to them : H o w is it that yousought M e ? Did y o u not know that I must be aboutM y Fathers business? A n d they understood not theword that H e spoke unto them. A n d H e went downwith them, and came to Nazareth, and w a s subject tothem. A n d His mother kept all these words in herheart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age, andgrace with God and men. HOMILY BY ST. A M B R O S E , BISHOP. BOOK II., ON L U K E II. I. W h e n our L o r d w a s twelve years old, H e began todispute, as we read in the Gospel. A n d the number ofH i s years w a s the same as the number of H i s Apostles,whom H e afterwards sent forth to preach the faith. H e
  • 66. W h o , as to H i s humanity, was filled with wisdom andgrace from God, was not careless of the parentsof thissame humanity, and, after three days, was pleased tobe found in the T e m p l e ; thereby foreshadowing that,after the three days of His Passion, H e , that had beenreckoned with the dead, would present Himself livingto our faith, on His heavenly throne and in H i s DivineMajesty. II. How is it that you sought Me? Did you not knowthat I must be about My Fathers business ? T h u s spokeJesus to H i s parents, to teach us that in H i m there aretwo generations—one from His Father, another fromHis mother. T h a t from H i s Father is H i s eternalgeneration as God the S o n ; that from H i s mother isthat whereby H e came into this world to work for usand minister to us. These acts of His, therefore, whichare above nature, beyond H i s age, and different fromHis custom, proceeded not from the strength of Hishumanity, but from the power of His Divinity. Onanother occasion His mother moved H i m to work amiracle; on the contrary, here H e objects to H i smothers words, because she treats as belonging to Hishumanity what was of H i s Divinity. O n the firstoccasion it is said that H e w a s twelve years o l d ; but onthe other H e had already disciples. His mother hadwitnessed the wonder H e worked on an earlier occasion,and had learnt from her Son to call on the mightiernature for a work of power. I I I . T h e Gospel a d d s : And He went down with them,and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them. W h o will besurprised to see that the Teacher of all virtues shouldpractise those which were inspired by His devotion toHis parents ? L e t us not wonder, then, how H e , W h owas subject to His mother, was about H i s Fathers 4—2
  • 67. business. H i s subjection to H i s mother proceeded, notfrom weakness, but from dutiful affection. L e t the falseserpent of heresy lift its head from its cruel lair and spitpoison from its venomous breast. F o r the heretics say that,as the Son was sent b y the Father, the F a t h e r is, there­fore, greater; and if the Father be greater than the Son,it follows that the Son is less; yea, that H e W h o is senthas of necessity need of some strengthening from outside.H e w a s subject to H i s mother; had H e need of humanhelp ? God forbid! H e w a s obedient to H i s servantwho had said : Behold the handmaid of the Lord ( L u k e i. 38).H e also recognised the authority of him who on earth w a sthought to be H i s father. L e t us not be surprised, there­fore, to see that H e w a s obedient to H i s H e a v e n l y Father;for, if it is a virtue to be subject to human beings, theobedience to G o d must not be called weakness. T h ehonour paid by Jesus to His parents explains the honour which, as H e said, w a s due to God. T h e Father honoured the Son, w h y should not this Son honour H i s Father ? At the baptism of Jesus the voice of the Father w a s heard, and affirmed this was His beloved Son, in W h o m H e was well pleased. A n d this very Son, after assuming our human nature, should not be allowed, according to some heretics, to raise H i s voice and, expressing the feelings of H i s heart, publish that the F a t h e r is greater than H e ? W e are right when w e say that the L o r d is infinitely great and worthy of all honour and praise ; that H i s greatness has no limits, and w e confess that H e can neither increase nor decrease. W h y should w e not also believe that this Son, after uniting our humanity with H i s divinity, was obedient to H i s Father, specially after the testimony of the honour paid b y the Father to H i s Son ? I V . L e t us take this lesson to heart, in order to be con­ vinced of our duty to obey our parents. F o r w e see how the
  • 68. adorable Son of God, being one with the Father in time, inwill and in action, nevertheless seems to be obedient to H i s Father. T h e person of the Son is not the same as theperson of the F a t h e r ; yet their divine power is the same. L e t us also consider that the Son was begotten withoutlabour of the Father from all eternity; whereas our birthwas to our parents a cause of many troubles and anxieties. Is not a mother giving birth to a son exposed to manydangers ? Is she not for a long time troubled withanxiety and fear ? And w h e n her wishes are fulfilledand her pains are over, her anxiety is not at an end, onaccount of the dangers to which the new-born child willbe exposed. W h a t shall I say about the solicitude ofthe father in providing for his children, about his ex­penses for their education, and specially about his caresand labours, of which a future generation will reap thebenefit ? A l l this shows the duty of children to beobedient and grateful to their parents. And could therebe a son so unnatural as to find the life of his father toolong and his income too small to share it with him ?L e t such a one be ashamed of himself, and rememberthe great love of Jesus, W h o deigns to make us H i scoheirs of the kingdom of heaven. OCTAVE DAY OF T H E EPIPHANY.G O S P E L : John i. 29-34. At that time: John saw Jesuscoming to Him, and he saith: Behold the L a m b of God,behold H i m W h o taketh a w a y the sin of the world.This is H e of W h o m I said: After me there cometh aman, W h o is preferred before me ; because H e was beforeme. A n d I knew H i m not, but that H e may be mademanifest in Israel, therefore am I come baptizing withwater. A n d John gave testimony s a y i n g : I saw the
  • 69. Spirit coming down as a dove from heaven, and H eremained upon H i m . A n d I knew H i m n o t ; but H eW h o sent me to baptize with water, said to me : H e uponW h o m thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remainingupon H i m , H e it is that baptizeth with the H o l y Ghost.A n d I saw, and I g a v e testimony that this is the Son ofGod. H O M I L Y BY ST. A U G U S T I N E , BISHOP. SIXTH T R A C T ON JOHN. I. W h e n Jesus was baptized by St. John a dove came down from H e a v e n and rested upon H i m . A t the same time the three Persons of the H o l y Trinity, in W h o m w e believe, were manifested ; for, as the Gospel says : Jesus, being baptized, forthwith came out of the water ; and lo, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him. And behold, a voicefrom heaven saying: This is My beloved Son,in Whom I am wellpleased (Matt. iii. 16, 17). W e see here, then, the adorable T r i n i t y : the Father, W h o s e voice was heard ; the Son, W h o was present in H i s sacred Humanity ; and the H o l y Ghost, W h o showed Himself in the form of a dove. It w a s in the name of this Blessed Trinity that the Apostles were sent, and w e know well that such was the case. Nevertheless, w e are confronted with the fact that there are some heretics who disbelieve this plain truth, or, rather, who close their eyes to the light shining before them ; for, indeed, it is clear as the noonday sun that the Apostles were sent forth in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the H o l y Ghost, to teach and baptize, and also that they were so sent by our Saviour Himself, of W h o m it is written : He it is that baptizeth (John i. 33). A n d Jesus spoke thus by H i s Evangelist, since H e had
  • 70. reserved to Himself that power, the ministry only ofwhich H e has delegated to others. I I . N o w , S t . John was not at first aware of this truth ;he only learned it on the occasion of the baptism of ourLord. H e already knew that Jesus was the Son of G o dand the supreme Ruler of the universe, and that H ewas the Christ, and would baptize with the Holy Ghost.B u t what he did not know before, but only understoodfrom the dove descending and remaining upon our Lord,was this: that our Redeemer would retain an absolutepower over baptism, which H e was about to establish asa sacrament; that H e would not communicate His powerover the Sacrament to H i s ministers, but would employthem only to minister therein the power which H e retainsfor Himself. A n d it is in this power Jesus Christ reservesto Himself alone, and is yet daily administered by Hispriests, that the unity of the Church resides. Indeed,the true Church is likened to a dove in Holy Scripture,for we read : One is My dove, My perfect one is but one; sheis the only one of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her(Cant. vi. 8). B u t were the power of our Saviour in thesacrament of salvation to belong to. His ministers, therewould be as many baptisms as ministers, and there wouldno longer be the baptism of Christ. I I I . Notice, beloved brethren, that before St. Johnwas allowed by our L o r d to baptize H i m , he, theBaptist, knew that the Saviour would baptize with theHoly Ghost. B u t when Jesus had received Baptism,St. John, having seen the dove come down from heaven,learnt something hitherto unknown to him, that is, thatthough there would be ministers of that power, yet thispower to impart the H o l y Ghost in Baptism would bereserved to Jesus Christ Himself alone, and would notbe communicated to others. This is what St. John
  • 71. learnt on that occasion. B u t how can w e prove thathe knew the Redeemer would baptize with the H o l yGhost, and that he understood that this power w a s notto be transmitted to anyone ? T h e Gospel tells us thatJohn knew Jesus even before H e came to him at theJordan to be baptized, for he then said to Jesus : J oughtto be baptized by Thee, and contest Thou to me ? (Matt. iii. 14).Behold, he knew H i m to be the Lord, the Son of G o d ! B u t how can we prove that he knew H i m to be H eW h o would baptize with the H o l y Ghost ? Before theL o r d came to the river, whither many had betakenthemselves to be baptized by John, the Baptist said: /indeed baptize you with water; but there shall come One mightierthan /, the latchet of Whose shoe I am not worthy to loose : Heshall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire ( L u k eiii. 16). B u t how could John say, before the coming ofthe dove, that he knew not Jesus ? A r e w e to call hima liar ? God forbid! B u t when the dove came downand rested on Christ, then it was he first knew that theL o r d reserved the power of Baptism as peculiar to Him­self, so that, let whomsoever you will, whether just orunjust, baptize with H i s Baptism, yet the virtue of theSacrament will proceed, not from the minister, whetherjust or unjust, but from H i m on W h o m the dove rested.T h u s Christ is the real Baptizer in every ChristianBaptism, and will be so to the end of all time. In thissense it is written of H i m : He it is that baptizeth with theHoly Ghost. Should Peter baptize, the real Baptizer isC h r i s t ; should P a u l , should Judas, the real Baptizer isstill C h r i s t * * In order to understand this homily, wm must bear in mind thatSt. Augustines intention was to refute the Donatists. These hereticspretended that in the Holy Trinity the Father was greater than theSon, and the Son greater than the Holy Ghost. They also thought
  • 72. I V . F o r if the sanctity of Baptism depended on the personal holiness of the minister, no two baptisms would be exactly alike; then each recipient of the Sacrament would think himself more or less regenerated, according to the greater or less holiness of the minister of the Sacrament. B u t , beloved brethren, note this well. T h e saints, those holy servants of God, who appertain to the dove, whose portion is in Jerusalem, those good men in the Church, of whom the Apostle s a y s : The Lord hioweth who are His (2 T i m . ii. 19), differ among themselves by diversity of graces and holiness, some one having attainedto one degree of sanctity, another to another. It results,therefore, that though one person be baptized by a saint,and another by a less worthy minister, whose chastityis not so intense, and who has made less progress inthe w a y of perfection, yet, nevertheless, each recipientreceives the same grace through the same Sacrament. How could this be, were it not that Christ Himself isthe effectual Baptizer ? T h u s the degree of sanctityand merit of the minister does not result in a more orless perfect Sacrament, which is always one and thesame. A n d for the same reason it is evident that eventhough the minister be unworthy, yet, either because hisunworthiness is unknown to the Church, or because shetolerates him as chaff, which at the harvest will beseparated from the corn, the Baptism he administers isidentical with that administered by a minister never soworthy, since in every case Jesus Himself is the effectualBaptizer.that Catholics should be re-baptized. For this reason St. Augustinerepeats over and over again that the three Persons of the BlessedTrinity are equal, that they have one and the same Divinity, and thatBaptism is the same Sacrament by whatsoever officiant it be ad­ministered.
  • 73. V . L e t us, then, beloved brethren, recognise this truth, and not act as those blind heretics w h o do not see it, or pretend not to do so, and thus hasten towards their condemnation. If they would but open their eyes, it would be evident to them that the Apostles and dis­ ciples of the Lord were sent by their Master to all the nations of the earth, and commanded to baptize all men in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the H o l y Ghost. In fact, since our L o r d sent them to all nations, H e sent them to H i s inheritance. F o r we know the prophet referred to H i m when he said : Ask of Me, and I will give thee the Gentiles for thine inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession ( P s . ii. 8). A n d it is not unknown to you that the law came forth fromSion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isa. ii. 3), and also that our L o r d preached first at Jerusalem, and that it was thence H e sent H i s disciples, s a y i n g : Going, there­fore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (Matt, xxviii. 19). Y o u will notice that our L o r d , when send­ ing forth His disciples and commanding them to baptize all nations, did not say in the names of the Father, and of the Son, and of the H o l y Ghost, but in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to give us to understand that there is only one God. T h e Apostle emphasizes this when explaining Gods promise to Abraham : To A braham were the promises made and to his seed. He saith not, A N D TO HIS SEEDS, as of many; but as of one, A N D TO THY SEED, which is Christ (Gal. iii. 16). These words, as St. P a u l remarks, do not refer to the multitude of his descendants, but to one, W h o is Jesus Christ, to give .us to understand that, as Jesus is one, so also there is but one God—the Father,t h e Son, and the H o l y Ghost.
  • 74. V I . However, do not boast of your baptism, nor beproud on account of that privilege; for, though yourbaptism was perfectly effectual, as I am bound to acknow­ledge, and though the dove recognised it, yet she is con­tinually lamenting that, in spite of this sacrament, unitingyou with her, you are nevertheless outside her communion,and consequently out of the road to salvation. She seesin you the sign of a Christian and approves of it, but atthe same time she sees and deplores your disobedience tothe Church ; therefore she calls and invites you to returnto her. Y o u are wrong in glorying in her Baptism, sinceyou refuse to hear and obey het. T h e wicked, whomthe Church does not recognise as her children, may aswell boast of the privilege of her Baptism. A r e therenot, however, many avaricious and intemperate people,and others w h o are secretly idolaters, or those, again, whosurreptitiously consult fortune-tellers and astrologers, whoyet possess the self-same privilege of baptism in whichyou glory ? And all this time the dove, seeing herselfamong ravens, is lamenting such a state. Cease, then,to boast of a blessing which you have in common withthe wicked, and endeavour to practise humility, charity,peace, virtues of which you stand in great need, so thatthrough them the Baptism you have received may beprofitable to you. SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.G O S P E L : John ii. I - I I . At that time: There w a s amarriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesuswas there. A n d Jesus also w a s invited, and H i s disciples,to the marriage. A n d the wine failing, the mother ofJesus saith to H i m : T h e y have no wine. And Jesussaith to her: W o m a n , what is it to Me and to thee ? M y
  • 75. hour is not yet come. H i s mother said to the waiters:W h a t s o e v e r H e shall say to you, do y e . N o w therewere set there six water-pots of stone, according tothe manner of purifying of the Jews, containing two orthree measures apiece. Jesus saith to t h e m : F i l l thewater-pots with water. A n d they filled them up to thebrim. And Jesus saith to them : D r a w out now, andcarry to the chief steward of the feast. A n d they carriedit. A n d when the chief steward had tasted the watermade wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waitersknew who had drawn the water, the chief steward calleththe bridegroom, and saith to him : E v e r y man at firstsetteth forth good wine, and when men have well drunk,then that which is worse. B u t thou hast kept the goodwine until now. T h i s beginning of miracles did Jesus inCana of Galilee; and manifested H i s glory, and H i sdisciples believed in H i m . H O M I L Y BY ST. A U G U S T I N E , BISHOP. N I N T H T R A C T ON JOHN. I. T h e fact that our L o r d was pleased to be asked to,and to attend, the marriage, shows plainly—even settingaside any mystical interpretation—that H e is the Authorand Blesser of marriage. There were yet to arise thoseof whom the Apostle has warned us as forbidding to marry(i T i m . iv. 3), and who say that marriage is a bad thing initself and a work of the devil. Y e t we read in the Gospelthat when our L o r d w a s a s k e d : Is it lawful for a man toput away his wife for every came ? (Matt, x i x . 3), H eanswered that it was not lawful, unless it were for forni­cation. In which answer you will remember that H eused these w o r d s : What God hath joined together, let noman put asunder (ver. 6). T h e y who are well instructed
  • 76. in the Catholic religion know that God is the Author ofmarriage and blessed it; and that, whilst the union of manand wife in marriage is from God, divorce is from thedevil. B u t it is lawful for a man to put away his wife incase of fornication; for by not keeping her faith to herhusband, the woman has first willed to be a wife nolonger. B u t even those who have made a v o w of theirvirginity to G o d , and have thereby attained to a higherdegree of honour and holiness in the Church, are notunmarried ; for they indeed pertain to that marriage withthe whole Church, in which nuptials Christ is theirSpouse. T h e Lord, then, being invited, went to themarriage, to strengthen the marriage-tie, and to shedlight on the hidden meaning of matrimony. And in thatmarriage-feast the bridegroom, to whom it w a s said, thouhast kept the good wine until now, was a figure of the Lord,W h o has kept until now the good wine, namely, theGospel. I I . W i t h the help and grace of God we will now fulfilour promise, and begin by explaining the mysteries hiddenin this Gospel. W e say, therefore, that in the earliesttimes G o d g a v e H i s revelation, and never ceased duringthe following generations, thereby to instruct the world.Should the L o r d Jesus not be recognised in these revela­tions, then they may be compared with the water hidingin some degree the wine which w a s mixed with it.St. P a u l conveys this meaning, when, speaking of theunbelieving Jews, he says : Even until this day when Mosesis read, the veil is upon their heart. But when they shall beconverted to the Lord, this veil shall be taken away (2 Cor. iii. 15).B y this veil w a s meant the obscurity of the revelations,which prevented them from understanding their meaning. But this veil disappears when Jesus, the end of all pro­phecies, is known. Then the light dispels the darkness
  • 77. of our ignorance and false wisdom, and that, which likewater w a s tasteless, is changed into precious wine ; for,though w e should read all the books containing thewords of the prophets, yet, if w e had no knowledgeof Jesus Christ, W h o is the key of them, they wouldsurely seem tasteless and meaningless. B u t when weread them in the knowledge of Jesus, they will impart toour heart real happiness ; our soul will remain undefiledby sensuality ; past things will be forgotten, and we shallthink "only of the great wonders spoken of by the ancientprophets. I I I . Prophecy belongs to all times, yet it had notceased to speak of Jesus Christ to the different genera­tions following each other in the successive ages of theworld, and its meaning w a s hidden to them. In orderto show that the prophecies concerning the person ofJesus Christ continiued to announce H i m during all theages preceding H i s coming, we need only mention thewords that Jesus Christ Himself addressed to H i s disciplesafter H i s Resurrection. W h e n H e saw that, though theyhad followed H i m during H i s life, yet for H i s sake weremuch troubled; that the hope of seeing H i m rise fromthe dead had forsaken them, notwithstanding that thethief crucified with H i m had, by his faith and confidence,deserved to be received by Christ into paradise on thatday, and that H i s disciples were still uncertain anddoubtful; yea, that they even reproached themselves forhaving perhaps been too credulous in believing H i m tobe the Messiah ; then H e said to one of the disciplesgoing to E m m a u s : O foolish and slow of heart to believe inall things which the prophets have spoken ! Ought not Christto have suffered these things, and so to enter into His glory ?( L u k e x x i v . 25). Then H e expounded to them in allthe Scriptures, beginning at Moses and all the prophets,
  • 78. the things that were concerning H i m . Later on H e ordered H i s disciples to see His hands and feet, and to feel H i m with their hands, in order to be convinced that H e was risen, and said to them : These are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, and all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me (Luke xxiv. 44). Then He opened their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures. And He said to them : Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise againfrom the dead the third day; and that penance and the remission of sins should be preached in His name unto allnations, beginning at Jerusalem (vers. 45, 46, 47). I V . W h e n these words, taken from Scripture—andtheir meaning is evident and clear—are well understood,then the mysteries, hidden under the miracle of ourGospel, are laid open to every Christian. Indeed, whenwe consider what our L o r d said to H i s disciples, namelythat all things must needs be fulfilled which were writtenconcerning H i m , w e recognise that H e spoke of the law,the prophets and the psalms, to show that H e meant allthe books of the Old Testament containing the propheciesconcerning H i m . B u t since all these sacred books, aswe remarked, were represented by the water used forthis miracle, our L o r d called the disciples foolish and slowof heart, because they still considered H o l y Scripture,which should have been to them a precious wine, astasteless water. Y e t , how does Christ change for H i sdisciples the water into the choicest wine ? He openedtheir understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures,and explained to them the prophets. And the discipleshaving drunk of this heavenly wine, said to one another:Was not our heart burning within us, whilst He spoke in theway, and opened to us the Scriptures ? (Luke xxiv. 32).
  • 79. N o w the Apostles recognised Jesus Christ in theseSacred Books, wherein they had not perceived H i mbefore, and understood the changing of the water intowine. F o r at that moment, what till then had seemedto them void of taste, became all at once agreeable foodand precious drink, wherewith they were filled. W e donot read that in working this miracle our L o r d had thewater contained in the water-pots poured out, to substitutefor it wine. H e could have done, on this occasion, whatH e did when feeding five thousand men, besides womenand children, with five loaves, when H e produced fromthe treasures of His infinite power the enormous quantityof bread required for the feeding of that vast multitude.T h e five loaves would not have been enough to fill thetwelve baskets. H o w different H i s action in the miracleof which we are speaking ! Instead of pouring it away,H e changes the body of water into wine, in order to show visthat the Old Testament, figured by the water, w a s also H i swork. B u t the Old Testament Scriptures, though from the Lord, are tasteless until Jesus Christ be recognised therein. V . L e t us return to the lesson indicated by the wordsof our Redeemer: All things which are written in the lawof Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me. Y o u know that the law began with the world, when G o d created heaven and earth. A n d since that beginning until the century in which w e live, six different ages or epochs are counted. T h e first began with A d a m , and lasted until Noah ; the second extended from N o a h to Abraham—its order and succession are given by St. Matthew in his G o s p e l ; the third from A b r a h a m to D a v i d ; the fourth from D a v i d to the time when the Jews were taken captive to B a b y l o n ; the fifth from the captivity of Babylon to St. John the B a p t i s t ; and the sixth, which began with St. John the Baptist, will last
  • 80. until the end of the world. In order to mark these sixages, God created man on the sixth day, and to H i simage and likeness. B y this sixth day, on which Godmade man out of nothing, the L o r d wished to indicatethe sixth epoch of the world in which H e came to restorethe soul of man disfigured by sin, and to give back to itthat likeness to G o d which it had received at the Creation.Jesus also changed water into wine, to teach us by thismiracle to find real delight in the law and the prophets,who formerly seemed tasteless, for H e revealed andmanifested them to the world. Lastly, the six water-pots that H e had filled, are a figure of the six ages ofthe world, which were not without their water of theprophecies. F o r these ages were like the vessels thatwould have remained empty, had not Jesus Christ filledthem, thus teaching us that these epochs would have beenuseless, had not Jesus been announced to the world.They were, indeed, filled by the fulfilment of theprophecies; but the knowledge of Jesus is required topenetrate their incomparable meaning. THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.G O S P E L : Matt. viii. 1-13. At that time: W h e n Jesuswas come down from the mountain, great multitudesfollowed H i m . A n d behold a leper came and adoredHim, saying : L o r d , if T h o u wilt, Thou canst make meclean. And Jesus, stretching forth H i s hand, touchedhim, saying : I w i l l ; be thou made clean. A n d forthwithhis leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith to h i m : Seethou tell no man, but go, show thyself to the priest, andoffer the gift which Moses commanded for a testimonyunto them. And when H e had entered into Capharnaum, 5
  • 81. there came to H i m a centurion, beseeching H i m ands a y i n g : L o r d , m y servant lieth at home sick of the palsy,and is grievously tormented. A n d Jesus saith to him : Iwill come and heal him. A n d the centurion makinganswer said: Lord, I am not worthy that T h o u shouldstenter under my roof; but only say the word and myservant shall be healed. F o r I also am a man subject toauthority, having under me soldiers, and I say to this, G o ,and he goeth ; and to another, Come, and he cometh ;and to my servant, D o this, and he doeth it. A n d whenJesus heard this, H e marvelled, and said to them thatfollowed H i m : A m e n , I say to you, I have not found sogreat faith in Israel. A n d I say to you that many shallcome from the east and the west, and shall sit down with A b r a h a m and Isaac and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven; but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. A n d Jesus said to the centurion: G o , and as thou hast believed, so be it done to thee. A n d the servant was healed at the same hour. HOMILY BY ST. J E R O M E , PRIEST. COMMENTARY ON M A T T , VIII,, BK. I. I. When Jesus came-down from the mountain, great multitudesfollowed Him. T h e y had not been able to follow H i m when H e went up. A n d the first who now came w a s a leper. T h e disease of this poor creature had prevented him from hearing the Saviours long sermon on the mount. L e t it be noticed that he is the first person specially named as being cured. T h e second was the centurions servant; the third, St. Peters mother-in-law, who was sick of a fever at C a p h a r n a u m ; the fourth were those brought to Christ as being troubled with evil
  • 82. spirits. B y His word H e cast out those evil spirits,and at the same time healed all them that weresick. And behold a leper came and adored Him. Properlyafter preaching and doctrine comes the occasion for amiracle, that the power of the sign might confirm in thehearers the truth of the teaching that had gone before. I I . A n d the leper said : Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canstmake me clean. T h e leper prayed the L o r d to have thewill, for he doubted not but that H e had the power. AndJesus, stretching forth His hand, touched him, saying : I will; be thou made clean. A n d as soon as the L o r d put forth His hand the leprosy departed. L e t us remark how humble and unboasting is the Lords language. T h e leper had said, / / .thou wilt; the Lord answered, / will. The leper, Thou canst make me clean; and the Lord, Be thou made clean. Most L a t i n readers, misled by the identity of form in that language, read Christs answer as if it were: / will to make thee clean. T h i s is wrong, for the sentences are separate. First comes the expression of volition, I will, then the command, Be thou made clean. And Jesus saith to him: See thou tell no man. W a s there any need to tell what his body showed ? But go, show thyself to the priest. There were divers reasons w h y Christ should send him to the priest. First for humilitys sake, that he might show reverence to G o d s priest. T h e n there w a s a command of the law that they, w h o were cleansed from leprosy, should make an offering to the priests. Moreover, that when the priests saw the leper cleansed, they might either believe in the Saviour or refuse to believe ; if they believed, that they might be saved, and if they believed not, that they might have no excuse. L a s t l y , that H e might give no ground for the accusation too often brought against Him, that H e w a s unobservant of the L a w . i l l . Then the centurion came to Jesus, beseeching 2 5—
  • 83. H i m and saying : Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of thepalsy, and is grievously tormented. And Jesus saith to him:/ will come and heal him. A n d the centurion makinganswer, said : Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldstenter under my roof; but only say the word, and my servantshall be healed. N o one could accuse our L o r d of aninordinate desire after honour, because H e promised thecenturion that H e would go at once and heal the servant.It w a s on account of the faith, humility, and modestywhich H e saw in the centurion, that H e at once andmost generously granted his request. T h e centurionshowed his faith in believing that H e could heal a mansick of the palsy, who w a s still an unbeliever. H eshowed his humility, thinking himself unworthy toreceive Jesus into his house; and his modesty w a sshown b y his recognising the Divinity of Jesus hiddenunder the veil of H i s humanity. T h i s centurion knewthat it would be useless for him to follow the exampleof unbelievers, and to accept as true only what he couldsee with his bodily eyes, if he did not at the same timebelieve in the Divinity of Jesus, that he could not see.T h i s prudence made him s a y : / also am a man subject toauthority, having under me soldiers ; and I say to this, Go,and he goeth ; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to myservant, Do this, and he doeth it. B y these words hewished to express his belief that Jesus could conveyH i s intentions to H i s angels, and through them performwhatsoever H e would deign to fulfil Himself. I V . W h e n Jesus heard this H e marvelled, and saidto them that followed H i m : Amen, I say to you, Ihave not found so great faith in Israel. Jesus marvelled,because the centurion recognised the majesty of theSon of G o d made man, and H i s power to heal the sick,and to deliver the possessed from the influence of the
  • 84. devil, either through H i s word only, or through theagency of H i s angels. H e praised the centurions faithas being greater than that of the Jews, H i s contem­poraries, but did not speak of the patriarchs and prophetswho had lived before H i m . Under the figure of thecenturion H e wished perhaps to indicate the Gentiles,whose faith surpassed that of the children of Israel. /say to you, H e added, that many shall come from the eastand the west, and shall sit down with A braham and Isaac andJacob in the kingdom of heaven. Since the God of Abrahamis the Creator of heaven, and the Father of Jesus Christ,it follows that Abraham and all the nations which withhim believe in Jesus, the Son of the Creator, will sit inthe kingdom of heaven. In this also is contained themeaning of what we have said, namely, that the faithof the centurion represented the Gentiles, who wouldbelieve with him were the Gospel preached to thosewho dwell in the east and the west. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness. T h eJews, who, until the conversion of the Gentiles, had Godfor their King, were the children of the kingdom. Their darkness was interior; yet we may say that, since theyleft the true L i g h t and were rejected by G o d , they werealso surrounded by exterior darkness. FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.GOSPEL: Matt. viii. 23-27. At that time; W h e n Jesusentered into a ship H i s disciples followed Him,- andbehold a great tempest arose in the sea, so that the shipwas covered with w a v e s ; but H e was asleep. And Hisdisciples came to Him, and awakened H i m , s a y i n g :Lord, save u s ; w e perish. And Jesus saith to them:
  • 85. W h y are you fearful, O y e of little faith ? T h e n risingup, H e commanded the winds and the sea, and therecame a great calm. B u t the men wondered, s a y i n g :W h a t manner of man is this ? for the winds and the seaobey H i m . I. H O M I L Y B Y S T . J E R O M E , PRIEST. COMMENTARY ON M A T T , VIII., B K . I. I. Our L o r d worked the fifth miracle when H e tookship at Capharnaum, and commanded the winds andthe sea ; the sixth, when, in the country of the Gerasens,H e suffered the devils to enter into the s w i n e ; theseventh, when, coming into H i s own city, H e cured theman sick of the palsy lying on a bed. T h e first mansick of the palsy, whom H e cured, w a s the centurionsservant. But He was asleep, and His disciples came to Him,and awakened Him, saying: Lord, save us; we perish. Atype of this is found in the history of Jonas, who wasfast asleep when the storm arose, and whom the sailorswoke up to help them. H e saved the sailors by com­manding them to throw him into the s e a ; this castingof Jonas into the sea being, as we know, a figure ofChrists Passion. I I . Then, rising up, He commanded the winds and the sea.T h e words give us to understand that all things, which have been made, recognise their Master; all things, which H e rebukes or commands, hear His voice. T h i s is not the error of the heretics, who pretend that everything is alive, but part of the majesty of the Creator, W h o makes things to feel H i m , which w e cannot make to feel us. But the men wondered, saying : What manner of man is this ? for the winds and the sea obey Him. It w a s not H i s disciples w h o wondered, but the sailors and others who
  • 86. were in the ship. If, however, anyone be willing to oppose this our interpretation, and to maintain that it was the disciples who wondered, we answer that those who knew not before the power of the Saviour deserve to be stripped of the title of disciples, and to be called simply the men. II. H O M I L Y B Y S T . AUGUSTINE, BISHOP. COMMENTARY ON PSALM XXV. This ship, in which Jesus was asleep, and which was on the point of being swallowed up by the waves, is a figure of the dangers threatening mans life, compared to a sea continually agitated by winds and storms. T h e waves rising in the sea are the daily temptations of our life, assailing our fragile ship and threatening it with dismal wreck and destruction. And whence comes such impending danger, but because Jesus is asleep ? W e r e not Jesus asleep within you, you would not be exposed to all these storms; but interior peace and perfect calm would be your happy lot, through Jesus watching with you. For what is the meaning of Jesus is asleep ? Your faith in Jesus has fallen asleep. T h e tempests of the seaarise; you see evil men flourishing, good and just men introuble and misery; your faith is shaken and tossed aboutas by furious w a v e s . And in this temptation your soulsays : Is this T h y justice, O God, that the wicked shouldflourish, whilst the just are in trouble and misery? Y o u 1say to G o d : Is this T h y justice ? A n d G o d says toyou : * Is this your faith ? H a v e I promised you theperishable things of the world ? H a v e I called you tobe My followers, that is, Christians, that you shouldflourish in this life ? A r e you grieving because you seethe wicked enjoying all earthly pleasures, who shall here-
  • 87. after be tormented with the devil ? B u t w h y all thesecomplaints ? W h y are you disturbed by the w a v e s ofthe sea and the storm ? Because Jesus is asleep ; thatis, because your faith in Jesus has been laid asleep inyour hearts. H o w will you be delivered from this great danger ? A w a k e n Jesus, and say to H i m : Lord, save us, we perish; the waves of temptation rise against us and threaten our souls with impending death. And Jesus will awake, that is, your faith will return to you. A n d with H i s help you will recognise that the happiness the wicked enjoy will not abide with them. F o r , either it will be taken from them while they live, or they will be forced to leave it when they die. B u t the happiness promised to you will abide for ever and ever. W h a t is granted to the wicked for a time, will soon be taken away ; for they flourish like the flower of the grass. Allflesh is as grass ; the grass is withered, and the flower thereof isfallen away; hit the word of the Lord endureth for ever (i Pet. i. 24, 25). Turn, therefore, your back upon that which falls and is perishable, and your face to that which abides to the end. N o w that Jesus is awake, the storm shall no more shake your hearts, the waves shall not fill your barque. Your faith commands the winds and the waves, and the danger shall pass away, when a great calm will follow the storm. T o all this, beloved brethren, belongs*what the Apostle says about putting off the old man. Be angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your anger. Give not place to the devil (Eph. iv. 26, 27). T h e old-man did give p l a c e ; let not the new man do the same. He that stole, let him now steal no more (ver. 28). T h e old man,* then, did steal; not so the new. It is the same man, ft is one man. It was A d a m , let it be C h r i s t ; it was the old man, let it be the new man.
  • 88. FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.G O S P E L : Matt. xiii. 24-30. At that time: Jesus spokethis parable to the multitude, saying: T h e kingdom ofheaven is likened to a man that sowed good seed in hisfield. But while men were asleep his enemy came andoversowed cockle among the wheat, and went his w a y .And when the blade was sprung up, and brought forthfruit, then appeared also the cockle. Then the servantsof the good man of the house came and said to h i m :Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field ? Fromwhence, then, hath it cockle ? A n d he said to them : A nenemy hath done this. A n d the servants said to h i m :Wilt thou that w e go and gather it up ? A n d he said:No, lest while you gather up the cockle, you root up thewheat also together with it. L e t both grow until theharvest, and in the time of the harvest I will say to thereapers : Gather up first the cockle, and bind it in bundlesto burn, but gather the wheat into my barn. HOMILY B Y ST. A U G U S T I N E , BISHOP. EIGHTY-EIGHTH DISCOURSE ON THE WORDS OF THE GOSPEL. I. Y o u will easily understand, beloved brethen, thehidden meaning of this Gospel, when you rememberwhat we said about some other words of H o l y Scripturecomparing the just and the wicked in the Church of Godto the wheat and the cockle. B y this figure we aretaught that the threshing-floor is not to be left before thetime of the harvest, that the cockle may not be takenaway without being separated from the w h e a t ; for thefloor would be deprived of its due, and the wheat thustaken off could not be preserved in the barn. A timewill arrive when the Householder Himself will come
  • 89. with the fan in H i s hand, and separate the just from the wicked. T h e r e will be, in regard to the soul and in regard to the body, a separation of the just and the wicked ; for, with your hearts and dispositions you must be separated from the wicked, though in a spirit of humility you are for a time associated with them by the bonds of the body. L e t not this connection make you careless, for it is your duty to endeavour in every way to correct and convert those entrusted to your care, now teaching, then advising, or even threatening them as far as you are obliged or able to do so. D o not excuse your carelessness respecting this duty by quoting examples taken from the Old and N e w Testaments, or the lives of the saints, and thus endeavouring to show that, though living among the godless, they preserved their souls stain­less. M y answer will b e : T h a t these servants of G o ddid not agree with the wickedness of sinners, but punishedthem. It is quite true that there can be no intimacybetween ourselves and others as long as we are opposedto their opinions ; but when w e approve of the doings ofthe wicked and agree with them in their sinfulness, thenwe enter into mutual fellowship, forbidden by the Apostle,who says : Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works ofdarkness (Eph. v. I I ) . However, since to refuse our con­sent to evil would not be enough, unless we apply thenecessary remedies to cure it, the Apostle a d d s : Butrather reprove them (ibid.), giving us to understand thatthese two things must be united, namely, not to have anycommunication with sinners, and also to punish them.T h e first is observed, when the sinful act is neither praisednor approved of, nor consented t o ; and the second, whenthe sinner is reproved, punished, and prevented fromdoing wrong again. I I . However, when we reprove and punish sinners, let
  • 90. us not be puffed up on account of our own virtue; let us remember the words of the Apostle: He that thinketh him­ self to stand, let him take heed lest he fall (i Cor. x. 12). W h e n you prevent others from committing sin, or fear­ lessly punish them, do not forget to make use of kindnessand love at the same time, again remembering the teach­ing of the great Apostle : If a man be overtaken by any fault,yon, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the spirit of meek­ness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear yeone anothers burdens ; and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ(Gal. vi. 1, 2). And in another epistle the same Apostlesays : The servant of the Lord must not wrangle, but be mildtowards all men; apt to teach, patient with modesty; admonish­ing them that resist the truth, if peradveniure God may givethem repentance to know the truth, and they may recover them­selves from the snare of the devil, by whom they are held captiveat his will (2 T i m . ii. 24, et seq.). W e conclude from allthis that we must neither flatter nor praise the wicked,and that, when punishing them, we must be neither care­less nor haughty, nor by proud and injudicious reproachestreat them with contempt. III. H e that forsakes the unity, that is, the union ofthe Christians belonging to the true Church, will infalliblysuffer the loss of charity. And if he lose that virtue, heis nothing, even should he possess all other virtues in thehighest degree. T h e great Apostle says : / / / speak the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity, I am become like a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. And if I should have prophecy, and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I should remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. A nd if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing (1 Cor.xiii. 1-3). T h u s will it be with the Christian who has
  • 91. not charity. H e is deprived of that virtue which givesmerits to all others, so that other virtues will be fruitlessfor heaven and dead before G o d . L e t us, therefore,practise charity, and take great care to preserve theunion of minds through the bond of peace. L e t us notbe deceived by the words of those who, being carnal,have left the communion of the faithful, and are thusseparated, as through a spiritual sacrilege, from the true cwheat of the Church sown all over the world. T h i sprecious seed w a s sown in the world by the good Sower,the Son of Man. F o r H i s will was not that this seedshould be sown only in some countries, like Africa,* inwhich w e live, but among all nations. T h e cockle,springing up among the wheat, w a s the work of theenemy, Y e t the good man of the house would not allowhis servants to gather it up, but told them to let both,the wheat and the cockle, grow until the harvest. N o w ,where is the good seed to grow up, unless in the field inwhich it was sown ? Is Africa this special field ? N o .B u t which is this field ? T h e words of our L o r d areclear and explicit; for, when asked by H i s disciples toexplain the parable, H e said : The field is the world. Andthe good seed are the children of the kingdom. And the cockleare the children of the wicked one. And the enemy that sowedthem, is the devil. But the harvest is the end of the world.And the reapers are the angels (Matt. xiii. 38, 39). Afterthese words shall w e believe, according to heretics, thatthe field spoken of is not the world, but only Africa ?T h a t the harvest will not take place at the end of theworld, but in the present time, and that Donatus, the * St. Augustine speaks against Donatus, who, coming from Numedia,was preaching his heretical doctrine in Africa. The great Doctor ofthe Church proves that neither scandals nor bad Christians afford alawful and reasonable motive for leaving the true Church.
  • 92. chief of the heretics, is the reaper ? A h ! far fromaccepting such doctrines against the teaching of JesusChrist Himself, let us patiently await the harvest whichwill take place in the whole world. W e let the goodseed, spread out in the world, grow up until the timeappointed by the householder, and we suffer the cockle,oversowed among the good seed and growing up every­where, to remain until the time of the harvest. But letus take heed, lest w e be deceived by the language ofthese wicked men w h o , being as light as chaff, will becast out of the barn, even before the Householder comesto separate them. T h e application of this parable of thecockle, which w e explained, ought to be sufficient toconvince the heretics of the falsehood of their conclusions.But they will, perhaps, say, in order to excuse theirerrors and justify their conduct," that the Sacred Bookswere once handed over to the pagans by some Christiansafraid of torments and tortures. B u t since these Christiansbeing unknown, cannot be discovered, now this one andthen another is accused of that crime. Y e t , whatevermay be the truth about these Christians, I ask whethertheir infidelity has destroyed the Faith which comes fromGod ? Is it not the same Faith that G o d once promisedAbraham, saying that all nations should be blessed in hisseed ? A n d what are w e taught by this F a i t h ? T o letboth, that is, the good seed and the cockle, the just andthe wicked, grow up in the field of the Church, namely,the world, until the time of the harvest, the end of theworld. SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.G O S P E L : Matt. xiii. 31-35 At that time : Jesus spoke tothe multitude this p a r a b l e : T h e kingdom of heaven is
  • 93. like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a man took andsowed in his field. W h i c h , indeed, is the least of allseeds; but when it is grown up it is greater than all herbs,and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air comeand dwell in the branches thereof. Another parable H espoke to them : T h e kingdom of heaven is like to leaven,which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal,until the whole w a s leavened. A l l these things Jesusspoke in parables to the multitude, and without parablesH e did not speak to them ; that the word might be fulfilledwhich w a s spoken by the prophet, saying : I will openM y mouth in parables, I will utter things hidden from thefoundation of the world, H O M I L Y B Y ST. J E R O M E , PRIEST. COMMENTARY ON M A T T , XIII., B K . II. I. T h e kingdom of heaven, here spoken of by ourLord, is the propagation of the Gospel and the knowledgeof the Scriptures, which are the w a y leading to life. O fthis kingdom it w a s said to the J e w s : The kingdom ofGod shall be taken from you, and shall be given to a nationyielding the fruits thereof (Matt. x x i . 43). T h i s kingdom,therefore, is like to a grain of mustard-seed, which a mantook and sowed in his field. O u r Saviour is understoodby many to be that man who sowed the seed in his field,for H e is the Sower who sows in the souls of believers. Others understand every man w h o sows good seed in hisown field, that is, in himself, in his own heart. N o w , w h ois he that sows, but our own mind and soul, which takethe good grain from preaching, and by nourishing it in the soil, cause it to spring up in the field of our own heart ? T h e preaching of the Gospel is the beginning of all doctrines. H e that preaches, for his first lesson, a G o d
  • 94. made man, Christs death, and the stumbling-block ofthe Cross, receives at first but little credit. Comparesuch teaching as this with the doctrines of philosophers,with their books, their splendid eloquence and theirrounded sentences, and y o u will see that the grain of theGospel, when it is sown, is the humblest of all seeds. B u twhen the doctrines of men grow up, there is nothingpiercing, nothing healthy, nothing life-giving therein;the plant is drooping, w e a k and withered. There areherbs and grass of which it may truly be said that thegrass is withered and the flower is fallen (Isa. xl. 8). B u t thegrain of the Gospel-seed, though, when it is sown, seemsto be the least of all seeds, when once it is rooted in thesoul of man or in the whole world, grows, not into aherb, but becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air—whereby we may understand either the souls of thebelievers or the powers bound to the service of God—come and dwell in the branches thereof. I consider thatthe branches of the Gospel-tree, growing from the grainof the mustard-seed, are the divers developments ofdoctrine, on which the mysterious birds mentioned abovefind resting-places. O u r duty, therefore, is to take thewings of the dove and, in a quick flight, to soar up to themost sublime things, so that we may make our dwellingin the branches of this mysterious tree, where we shallrest in the shadow of the doctrine of salvation, beseparated from earthly things, and thus be nearer toheaven. There are many who, reading in the Gospelthat the mustard-seed is the least of all seeds, heard thatthe disciples said to their M a s t e r : Lord, increase our faith ;and that H e answered: If you have faith as u grain ofmustard-seed, you shall say to this mountain: Remove from hence,and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible to you(Matt. xvii. 19). S u c h people imagine that the Apostles
  • 95. asked for a little faith only, or that our L o r d doubted their faith. B u t if they considered the words of St. Paul, they would recognise that the faith, compared by our Saviour with a grain of mustard-seed, w a s in H i s eyes a very great faith ; for the Apostle s a y s : If I should have allfaith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing (i Cor. xiii. 2). T h u s we are taught that, what we can do with faith like a grain of mustard-seed, accord­ ing to our L o r d , is done, as S t . P a u l explains, with the most perfect faith. I I . A n d our Lord spoke another parable to the multi­ tude : The kingdom of heaven is like to leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal, until the whole wasleavened. Jesus, to accommodate Himself to the differentclasses of H i s hearers, made use of different parables, allmeant to be the means for curing divers spiritual ail­ments. T h e woman, who in the parable takes the leaven,seems to me to signify the preaching of the Apostles, orthe Church formed of different nations. T h e leaventaken by the woman means the knowledge of the H o l yScriptures; whereas the three measures of meal, in whichthe leaven is hidden, represent our intellect, soul and body,united in perfect agreement and harmony. T h e y are liketwo or three persons gathered together in prayer, andreceiving from the Heavenly Father whatsoever they askfor. Y e t , another meaning m a y also be found in thesewords of the parable. W e read in the writings of Plato—and this is the general opinion of philosophers,—thatthere are in our soul three passions called the reason­able, the irascible and the concupiscent. T h e same paganphilosopher also speaks of the different parts of our bodywherein each passion resides. T a k e , therefore, the leavenmentioned in the Gospel, that is, the wisdom of H o l yScripture, and you will keep these passions in check ; y o u
  • 96. will even make them serve as means to attain your desired object, that is, reason will help you to practise prudence, anger will inspire you with hatred against sin, and concupiscence will give you a longing for Christian virtues. And you will succeed in all this through thedoctrine given to us by the true Church of Christ. I I I . I will also mention some opinions held by differentlearned men concerning this parable, so that the readermay accept what pleases him best. Some think thatthe woman of the Gospel is the figure of the Churchfounding the belief of the faithful upon the doctrine ofthe three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and theHoly Ghost, represented under the image of the threemeasures of meal. T h e s e , they say, are of the samesubstance, and consequently speak to us of the sameDivine Nature of the three Persons, being one and thesame God. However, this is only a pious opinion which,like other comparisons, cannot be used to prove thefundamental truths of our holy religion, revealed to usby an infallible Authority. Other interpretations of thewords of this parable cannot be mentioned here withoutgoing beyond the limits assigned to this commentary. I V . All these things Jesus spoke in parables, says the Gospel,to the multitude, not to the Apostles. T h e same languageis even now used by zealous preachers addressing largeassemblies; but the disciples wished to learn from thevery source, that is, from the Master Himself, the truedoctrine which they were to preach to others. Againthe Gospel s a y s : That the word might be fulfilled whichwas spoken by the prophets, saying: I will open my mouthin parables, I will utter things hidden from the foundation ofthe world (Ps. lxxvii. 2). T h e prophet, relating the eventsthat took place at the departure of the Israelites fromEgypt, and the miracles wrought by God in their favour, 6
  • 97. announces that all these things are not to be taken in aliteral sense, for they contain comparisons and hiddenmysteries which will one day be explained b y the Saviourof the world Himself. SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY.GOSPEL: Matt. x x . 1-16. At that time: Jesus spoke toH i s disciples this parable : T h e kingdom of heaven islike to a householder who went out early in the morningto hire labourers into his vineyard. A n d having agreedwith the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them intohis vineyard. And going out about the third hour, hesaw others standing in the market-place idle. A n d hesaid to them : G o you also into my vineyard, and I willgive y o u what shall be just. A n d they went their w a y .A n d again he went out about the sixth and the ninthhour, and did in like manner. B u t about the eleventhhour he went out and found others standing, and hesaith to t h e m : W h y stand you here all the day idle ?T h e y say to h i m : Because no man hath hired us. H esaith to them : G o y o u also into my vineyard. A n dwhen evening w a s come, the lord of the vineyard saidto his steward: Call the labourers, and pay them theirhire, beginning from the last even to the first. W h e n ,therefore, they were come that came about the eleventhhour, they received every man a penny. B u t when thefirst also came, they thought that they should havereceived more; and they also received every man apenny. A n d receiving it, they murmured against themaster of the house, saying : T h e s e last have workedbut one hour, and thou hast made them equal to us thathave borne the burden of the day and the heats. B u the answering, said to one of t h e m : Friend, I do thee no
  • 98. wrong ; didst thou not agree with me for a penny? T a k ewhat is thine, and go thy way. I will also give to thislast even as to thee. Or, is it not lawful for me to dowhat I will ? Is thy eye evil because I am good ? Soshall the last be the first, and the first last. For manyare called, but few chosen.HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, PREACHED IN THE CHURCH OF ST. LAWRENCE ON SEPTUAGESIMA SUNDAY. NINETEENTH HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. This Gospel containing many things which need explaining, I will try as far as possible to shorten my explanation, that it may not become tedious to you. The kingdom of heaven, so.we are told by our Lord, is like to a householder, who went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. W h o , indeed, is more justly to be likened to a householder than our Creator, W h o is the Head of the household of faith, ruling over those H e has made, and being Master of His chosen ones in the world, as a master of those in his house ? H e it is that has the Church as H i s vineyard, a vineyard that ceasesnot to bring forth branches of the true Vine, from just Abel to the last of the elect that shall be born in theworld. This householder, then, for the cultivation of his vineyard, goes out early in the morning, and at thethird hour, the sixth, the ninth, and the eleventh, to hirelabourers into his vineyard. T h u s the Lord, from thebeginning to the end of the world, never ceases to gathertogether preachers for the instruction of H i s faithfulpeople. T h e early morning of the world w a s from Adamuntil Noah ; the third hour from Noah until Abraham ;the "sixth from Abraham until Moses ; the ninth from 6—2
  • 99. Moses until the coming of the L o r d ; the eleventh fromthe coming of the L o r d to the end of the world. A tthis eleventh hour were sent forth as preachers theApostles, who received full wages, though they came inlate. F o r the cultivation of H i s vineyard—that is, theinstruction of H i s people,—the L o r d has never ceased tosend labourers into it. First by the patriarchs, then b ythe prophets and teachers of the law, and lastly by theApostles, H e dressed and tended the lives of H i s people,as the owner of a vineyard dresses and tends it b y meansof workmen. Whoever, in whatever degree, joined to aright faith the teaching of justice, w a s so far one ofG o d s labourers in G o d s vineyard. B y the labourersat early morning, at the third, the sixth, and the ninthhour, m a y be understood G o d s ancient people, theHebrews, who, striving to worship H i m with a rightfaith, in company with H i s chosen ones from the begin­ning of the world, continually laboured in H i s vineyard.A n d now, at the eleventh hour, it w a s said to theGentiles : Why stand you here all the day idle ? T h e L o r dspeaks of their carelessness and indifference concerningtheir salvation, for they had not yet done anything tobe assured of i t ; yet, if you ponder upon their answerto the householder sending them to his vineyard, youwill have cause of being ashamed. Their answer to thehouseholders question, w h y they stood all the day idle,w a s : Because no man hath hired us. Indeed, they, unlikeothers, had neither patriarchs nor prophets to instructthem. N o one had hired them, for no one had shownthem the w a y leading to salvation. A s to us, w h oneglect the practice of good works, and lead an idle life,what shall w e answer for our justification ? F o r w ereceived the true faith, so to speak, in the w o m b of ourm o t h e r ; w e heard the words of life when still in the
  • 100. cradle, and we drank the milk of Christian doctrine, given by our holy Church at the time when, for the life of our bodies, w e were sucking the breasts of our natural mothers. I I . T h e different hours of the parable may also be compared to the different periods of mans life. Child­ hood, on account of the small sphere of knowledge, is the early hour, of morning ; youth may be compared to the third hour, when the sun rises and the heat of years increases; the sixth hour represents manhood, the virility, when the sun has reached the zenith of his course; by the ninth hour, showing the sun slowly retreating from his height, we recognise the elderly age of man, when he loses the strength and power of younger years ; whereas old age is figured by the eleventh hour. Now, consider how some are called, already in their childhood, to lead a perfect and holy life ; others in their youth ; these in their manly age ; some others in advancedyears ; and lastly others in their old age. D o you under­ stand that all of us are labourers, who may at any time be sent into the vineyard of the L o r d ? Again, belovedbrethren, consider your own lives, and ask yourselveswhether you are worthy labourers of tjie L o r d , whetheryou are mindful of the work you are doing, and lastlywhether you labour indeed in the Lords vineyard. B esure that those w h o work for their own interests only,have not entered the vineyard of the L o r d ; for thoseonly are accounted as His labourers, who prefer theglory of God to their own profit and interest. Suchworthy Christians endeavour to serve God with ardentlove and sincere devotion; they strive to win souls toGod, and exert themselves to take others along withthem to the habitation of the Saints ; whereas thosewho live for themselves and try to satisfy their vices and
  • 101. concupiscences, are condemned as idle labourers, makingno effort to work in, or care for, the L o r d s vineyard. I I I . W h a t shall w e say of those w h o put off theirconversion to the end of their life ? A r e they not likethose labourers standing in the market-place until the eleventh hour, to whom the householder said : Why standyon here all the day idle ? O u r Saviour wishes them tounderstand that, having spent their childhood and youth,in the service of the world and far from G o d , they arecalled upon to begin to turn to God, at least, now at theextreme limits of life, and with greater courage to walk on the road of justice, that leads to perfection and eternallife ; for the work they are bid to do cannot last very long,since they came so late. T h u s this good Householderinvites them to come back to H i m , and often rewardsthem before those who had been called from their child­hood, since very often the last comers are called a w a ythe first. Remember the good Thief ( L u k e xxiii.). H ecame at the eleventh h o u r ; but b y the capital punish­ment he suffered, he obtained a reward certainly not deserved by his former sinful life. H e recognised Jesusto be the Redeemer of the world, confessed H i m publicly,and almost at the same moment gave up the ghost. W esee thereby that the Householder, giving the promisedpenny, began with the l a s t ; for the good Thief w a sreceived into Paradise before S t . Peter. T h e same happened to many good and pious souls living before the L a w and under the L a w . T h e y had to wait for their reward, whilst those called after the coming of the Messiah, at once went to Paradise. W e m a y also say, in all truth, that the same reward—that is, a penny,—was given to them that had worked one hour only, as to the others w h o had been working the whole day and had borne the burden of the day and the heats. F o r the eternal
  • 102. happiness, that reward given to them that worked well,will be common to all of them, both to those who cameat the beginning and to those who arrived with theRedeemer. T h i s very equality w a s the cause of com­plaints : These last have worked but one hour, and thou hastmade them equal to us that have borne the burden of the dayand the heats. Indeed, the first comers can say that theyhave borne the burden of the day and the heats, sincetheir life w a s longer than ours. T h e y came at thebeginning, when the life of man was very long, and theyhad to fight against their own self for many years. W e -also feel in us the fire of concupiscence, against which wecontend, and which w e try to extinguish ; and this con­tinual fighting may be compared to the burden of the dayand the heals. I V . Besides all this, I ask, what is the meaning of themurmurs of those who received the reward in heavenvery late ? A l s o in what sense can we say that theymurmured, since heaven will not be given to those whomurmur, and since those who have entered heavenneither murmur nor complain ? I answer : If I considerthat the patriarchs, though leading a good and holy life,could not enter Paradise before the coming of the Son ofGod, W h o b y H i s death reopened the gates of heaven,we find therein, that is, in the delay preventing them toreceive the reward for which they worked so hard, thereal motive of their murmuring. After fighting forjustice sake, and thus deserving the crown of glory, theirsouls went to limbo, a place of rest and peace. T o them,therefore, we may attribute the murmurs of the labourersafter their days work. However, after this presupposedmurmuring, the souls of the just, leaving their prison,that is limbo, wherein they had been detained for a longtime, receive the promised penny, namely, the happiness
  • 103. of the eternal kingdom, of which they take possession.A s to us who, though arriving at the end of the day,receive a penny, we do not murmur like those whoarrived the first. Since the coming of the Redeemerinto this world, we enter into the kingdom of heaven assoon as we leave this life, and we receive without anydelay the crown of glory granted to the patriarchs aftertheir very long waiting.* O n this occasion the masterof the house said to one of the labourers : J will also giveto this last even as to thee. A n d , as the place in heavenassigned to a soul is an effect of H i s generous will, H eadds: Or, is it not lawful for me to do what I will ? Itwould be mans greatest folly to criticise the manner inwhich G o d s goodness deigns to act. Indeed, we couldmurmur against God, were H e to refuse that which H eis bound to give, but not when H e refuses to grant whatH e is not in justice obliged to give. H e , therefore, thatmurmurs, deserves this rebuke : Is thy eye evil because Iam good ? Hence we conclude that nobody is to boast ofhis work or of the time spent in doing it, for the EternalT r u t h tells u s : The last shall be first, and the first last.T h o u g h w e be aware of our good works, w e know nothow strictly they will be scrutinized by the great Judge ;yea, each of us ought to feel exceedingly happy to receiveeven the last place in the kingdom of G o d . V . T h e following words of this Gospel, many are called,but few are chosen, cannot but inspire us with terror; formany receive the light of faith, but to a few only isgranted the happiness of heaven. On account of the * It would be a mistake to infer from these words that St. Gregorydid not believe in Purgatory. Their meaning is that a soul, leaving thebody and having nothing to atone for, will be at once received intoParadise, unlike the just souls of the patriarchs which, before the comingof Christ, descended into limbo,
  • 104. festival there are now a great many gathered togetherhere, and there is hardly room for all within the walls ofthis temple. Y e t , who can tell how many of them will oneday be found among the number of the elect ? A l l voicesare loud in confessing Jesus, but the lives of those whoconfess H i m do not agree with their exterior acts of faith.T h e greater number of those here present think it suffi­cient to follow Jesus in words, whilst by their acts theyare separated from H i m . S t . Paul points them out to us,saying : They profess that they know God, but in their worksthey deny Him (Tit. i. 16). T h i s is confirmed by St. James:Faith without works is dead (Jas. ii. 26). And the Psalmistrepeats the words of God : I have declared and I have spoken;they are multiplied above number (Ps. xxxix. 6). B y thesewords we understand that, when the Lord calls menthrough H i s prophets, the number of believers greatlyincreases. However, not all those who b y the gift offaith obtain the knowledge of the truth will be numberedamong the elect. It is certain that when a great numberof wicked Christians are gathered together with trueservants of God, because of the same faith that theyprofess, they nevertheless do not deserve to be numberedwith the faithful on account of their unchristian lives.For it cannot be denied that, though the holy Churchincludes in the same fold the sheep and the goats, theEternal Judge will one day separate the just from thewicked, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats(Matt. x x v . 32). K n o w ye, therefore, and recognise thatnone of those now given up to the pleasures of the worldwill be received among the elect; that the Judge willexclude them from the happy fate of the humble, since inthis world they were lifted up on the wings of pride. T h e yhad received the gift of heavenly faith, but they clung tothe earth, and heaven will not be opened to them.
  • 105. V I . Meanwhile, though a great many people, whoselives are unchristian, may be found in the Church of God,I beseech you, beloved brethren, neither to imitate themnor to think them to be lost. W e are aware of theunhappy condition of these people to-day, but we knownot what they will be to-morrow. It often happens thatthose whom we see behind us on the road to holiness, soonprecede us on account of their progress in spirituality; thenit is with great difficulty that we follow those whom atsome time we seemed to precede. W h e n S t . Stephenshed his blood for Christ, his murderers laid their garmentsat the feet of a young man whose name was Saul (Acts vii. 57),and w h o may be accused of having also stoned S t . Stephenby assisting the murderers; yet, by his great laboursundertaken for the Church, Saul has gone before theholy martyr, to whose death he contributed. L e t us,therefore, consider these two things greatly deserving ourattention. First, knowing that many are called but feware chosen, no one can help himself without the grace ofGod, and, though being called by faith, no one is sure ofhis eternal salvation. Secondly, when w e see our neigh­bour in the clutches of sin and vice, let us not pre­sumptuously think that he will be lost, for G o d s infinitemercy is unknown to us. SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY.G O S P E L : L u k e viii. 4.-15.At that time : W h e n a verygreat multitude w a s gathered together, and hastened outof the cities to meet Jesus, H e spoke by a similitude.- Asower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, somefell by the w a y s i d e ; and it w a s trodden down, and thefowls of the air devoured it. A n d other some fell upon arock ; and as soon as it w a s sprung up, it withered away,
  • 106. SEXAGES1MA SUNDAY 91because it had no moisture. And other some fell among thotns ; and the thorns growing up with it choked it. And other some fell upon good ground, and sprung up,and yielded fruit a hundredfold. Saying these things, H ecried o u t : H e that hath ears to hear, let him hear. AndHis disciples asked H i m what this parable might be. T owhom H e said : T o y o u it is given to know the mysteryof the kingdom of G o d , but to the rest in parables ; thatseeing they may not see, and hearing they may not under­stand. N o w the parable is this: T h e seed is the W o r dof God, A n d they b y the wayside, are they that hear;then the devil cometh, and taketh the word out of theirhearts, lest believing they should be saved. Now, theyupon the rock are they who, when they hear, receive theword with joy ; and these have no roots, for they believefor a while, and in time of temptation fall away. Andthat which fell among thorns are they who have heard,and going their w a y , are choked with the cares and theriches and pleasures of this life, and yield no fruit. B u tthat on the good ground are they, who, in a good andperfect heart, hearing the word, keep it, and bring forthfruit in patience.HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, PREACHED IN THE CHURCH O F ST. P E T E R ON SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY. F I F T E E N T H HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. T h e extract from the H o l y Gospel which you havejust heard, beloved brethren, needs not so much that itshould be explained as that its lesson should be impressedon your minds. T h e Truth Himself has explained it, andafter that, it is not becoming mans frailty to discuss Hisexposition as if not reliable. B u t there is, in that veryexplanation of our L o r d , somewhat which it behoves us
  • 107. well to weigh. For, if w e asked you to believe that by the seed is signified the word, by the field, the world, b y the birds, the devils, and by the thorns, riches, you would perhaps doubt the truth of our exposition. Therefore, the L o r d Himself deigned to give this explanation, and that, not for this parable only, but that you may know in what manner to interpret others, the meaning of which H e has not given. Beginning H i s explanation, the L o r d says that H e is speaking in parables; and thereby H e assures us when our weakness would unveil .to you the hidden meaning of His words. F o r w h o would believe me were I to say that riches are thorns ? Thorns prick, but riches afford us delight. A n d yet riches are thorns, indeed, for the anxiety they bring is a ceaseless pricking in the minds of their owners, and, if they lead to sin, they are thorns which tear the soul to bleed. B u t w e under­ stand from another Evangelist (Matt. xiii. 28), that in this place our L o r d speaks not of the riches themselves, but of the deceitfulness of riches. Those riches are deceitful, which can be ours for a little while only ; those richesare deceitful, which cannot relieve the poverty of oursouls. If, then, you seek to be rich, beloved brethren,earnestly desire the true riches; if you would be trulyhonourable, strive after the kingdom of heaven ; if y o ulove to reach the summit of titles and dignities, hasten tohave your names written in Court above, where angelsare. I I . T a k e to heart the L o r d s words which your earshear. T h e food of the soul is the word of G o d . W h e nthe stomach is sick it rejects again the food that is putinto i t ; and so is the soul sick when a man hears anddigests not in his memory the word of God. A n d if anyman cannot retain his food, that mans life is in a desperatecase. T h u s we ought to fear for our soul, lest it should
  • 108. be lost, when receiving the food of holy admonition, we do not keep in our memory the words of life which would preserve in us true Christian justice. Further, consider that, whatsoever you are doing now, will in time pass away, and that every day you come nearer the moment of the strict account to be given to God. A r e you con­ vinced of this truth ? Then w h y do you love such goods as you must leave, and w h y are you careless about that end which y o u will soon reach, and by which your fate in eternity will be decided ? D o remember the words of your Redeemer : He that hath ears to hear let him hear. Not allof those who were present and heard these words, under­ stood them ; for our L o r d wished them to be heard withthe ears of the heart and mind, and not with the earsof the body only, so that H i s doctrine may be under­stood and accepted. B e careful, therefore, that the Divineword you receive be not taken from your heart andmemory ; be careful that this word fall not by the way­side, that is, watch, lest through your carelessness anddistraction the devil take the word out of your hearts.B e careful that this precious seed fall not into your soulsas upon rocks, that is, that for want of perseverance onyour part, it cannot take root, and will, therefore, witheraway. Many are seen receiving the words of salvationwith joy ; some also are noticed beginning to practisevirtues, but they fall away in time of temptation. B ytheir inconstancy and the fickleness of their mind theyare like the dry and rocky ground, where the seed springsup and withers away, because it has no moisture. SuchChristians perhaps hear a sermon against avarice, and atonce they feel for that vice the aversion it deserves, andthey praise those who despise the goods of this world.But as soon as an opportunity is at hand to gratify theirown concupiscence and covetousness, the praises given to
  • 109. the contempt of riches disappear from their memory.W h e n a sermon against impurity is preached, there aremany who, at the terrible picture drawn of this shamefulvice, not only resolve never to commit such heinous sins,but are also deeply ashamed of their past offences where­with they are reproached by their own conscience. Y e t ,should a dangerous object be presented, they long for itwith the same eagerness, as if they had not made theresolution to avoid such objects. T h e y relapse into thesame sins which they had previously committed andexecrated. It sometimes happens that they shed tearsover their debaucheries, and yet they return to them assoon as they cease to bewail them. T h u s B a l a a m shedtears of contrition, seeing the camp of the Israelites, andwished to be in death like this people beloved by G o d .Let my soul die the death of the just, he said, and my last endbe like to them (Num. xxiii. 10). B u t these feelings ofcontrition were hardly expressed, when the desires of thisimpious man were again inflamed by avarice. A t thesight of the presents offered to him, he g a v e the mostabominable advice, so as to bring about the destruction of the very people to whom he had wished to be like. H i s sorrow and contrition were forgotten, for he had not entirely extinguished the flames of avarice burning in his soul. I I I . Explaining H i s parable, our Redeemer says that the cares, the riches and the pleasures of this life choke the seed of the Divine word. Indeed, they choke it through the continual thoughts awakened in the mind, preventing this word of life from taking root. T h e n , since these useless thoughts shut the door of the heart to good desires, they also prevent the heart from receiving the inspirations of the Holy Ghost, W h o preserves the life of the soul. L e t us also note that, in the parable of
  • 110. the Lord, both the cares and the pleasures of this life areconnected with the possession of riches, because thetroubles about riches oppress the mind ; then, by theirsuperabundance, they deliver us up to sinful pleasures.For it is certain that rich people have many cares andtroubles on account of their love for the things of thisworld ; and it is also certain that they indulge in sensualpleasures, though it seems that these two statements donot agree. Y e t , we may say, that if at one time theyfeel uneasy about their riches, at another they aremollified b y the allurements of lust, to which they areattracted by their wealth. I V . T h e good seed, falling upon good ground, yieldsfruit a hundredfold, yet brings forth that fruit in patience.For our good works would be of no avail to us, did w enot patiently and generously bear the trials inflicted onus by our neighbour. T h e more we advance in virtue,the heavier become the crosses wherewith our Father in heaven allows us to be burdened, in order to try thosewho serve H i m . H o w is this ? Because the more asoul endeavours to be separated from the love of theworld, the more it finds this same world contemptibleand loathsome. Indeed, we see that the greater numberof virtuous people doing good works are neverthelessoverwhelmed with troubles and trials. T h e strongerthey fight against sensual temptations, the more bitter are their sufferings. Y e t it is just in this manner that, according to the Redeemers words, the just bring forthfruit in patience. T h e y humbly submit to the scourgeswherewith they are smitten by God in this world, andafterwards rise to enjoy the eternal rest prepared forthem in heaven. W e may compare them with grapes,which, being trodden under feet, yield a delicious wine.T h e y are also like the fruit of the olive-tree, which yields
  • 111. in the press a frothy liquid, that becomes the precious oil.L a s t l y , the just are like to the wheat, which, beingthrashed on the floor and separated from the chaff, ispreserved in the barn. Those, therefore, w h o wish theirsins and passions to be destroyed, ought to submitwillingly, for their spiritual progress, to the stripeswherewith Divine Providence chastises them. Thenthey will appear before the judgment-seat of G o d somuch the purer, the more they were cleansed from therust of sin by the fire of suffering. V . M y assertions will be proved by the example ofServulus, which I now place before you. He wasbegging at the door of the Church of St. Clement, andmany among you have known this poor man as well as Idid. Deprived of all earthly riches, yet rich in spiritualgoods, he was for years afflicted with a terrible disease.F r o m his youth to the very end of his life, he was on hissick-bed, without being able to rise or even to sit up.Palsy, which reduced him to this sad condition, haddeprived him of the use of his l i m b s ; he could neitherraise his hand to his mouth, nor turn over on his bed.T h e mother and brother of this poor man waited on him,and g a v e to other poor people the remainder of the almshe received. T h o u g h he had never learnt how to read,he had a copy of the H o l y Scripture bought, and piouspeople, whom he most hospitably received, read it out tohim. T h u s he acquired a thorough knowledge of theH o l y W r i t , according to his intellect, which, as I said,had not been cultivated. Amidst his sufferings, hisprincipal object was to thank and praise G o d day andnight with psalms and spiritual canticles. • B u t whenthe hour came that heaven was to reward such heroicvirtue, the acute pains of the palsy reached the heart,and, feeling himself at the point of death, he summoned
  • 112. his own people and others, and asked them to stand up and sing psalms until he died. Whilst he himself w a s singing with others, he suddenly stopped, and said in a strong and extraordinary voice : D o you hear the 1 songs of praise resounding in heaven? And while listening ^ to that melodious heavenly harmony, his innocent soul,left his body. A delicious fragrance was noticed by the assistants, and recognised by them as a sign that his soul had been taken up to heaven. A monk belonging to a monastery, where I stayed for some time, witnessed these facts, the remembrance of which made him shed tears of joy. I was assured by him that, until the burial of the body, the same delicious odour was perceived by all those present. Beloved brethren, do think of the precious death of one who, whilst on earth, bore all the troubles and trials of life with patience and resignation. B y his invincible courage, he became like to the good ground, which, according to our Redeemer, brings forth fruit in patience, and, after suffering theplough of tribulations, yields fruit a hundred-fold. N o w , I ask you and entreat you to consider what answer weshall give at the terrible judgment ? In spite of thegraces wherewith we were enriched by Divine Providence;in spite of the hands given to us for useful work, w elanguish in idleness and neglect good works. Does notthe example of that poor and sick man condemn ourcarelessness ? H e had in this life neither the goods ofthis world nor the use of his limbs, yet he strictlyobserved the L o r d s precepts. W h a t shall we say forour justification, when the example of the Apostles,surrounded by the innumerable nations converted bytheir labours and preaching, will be placed before us bythe Judge ; when we shall see so many praiseworthymartyrs who, making the sacrifice of their lives, bought 7
  • 113. heaven with their blood shed for Jesus Christ ? W h a tshall we answer, when blessed Servulus stands before us,he who constantly laboured and did good works, thoughhis arms, paralyzed by disease, were of no use to him ? D othink of all this, beloved brethren, in order to encourageyourselves to do good works ; place before your eyes thebeautiful models of virtue proposed to your imitation, andone day you will share with them the eternal beatitudein heaven. QUINQUAGESIMA SUNDAY.G O S P E L : L u k e xviii. 31-43. At that time: Jesus tookunto Him the twelve, and said to them : Behold, w e goup to Jerusalem, and all things shall be accomplishedwhich were written b y the prophets concerning the Sonof M a n . For H e shall be delivered to the Gentiles, andshall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon ; and afterthey have scourged H i m , they will put H i m to death, andthe third day H e shall rise again. A n d they understoodnone of these things. And this word was hid from them,and they understood not the things that were said. N o wit came to pass, that when H e drew nigh to Jericho, acertain blind man sat b y the wayside begging. Andwhen he heard the multitude passing b y , he asked whatthis meant. And they told him that Jesus of Nazarethw a s passing by. A n d he cried out, s a y i n g : Jesus, Sonof David, have mercy on me. And they that wentbefore rebuked him, that he should hold his peace ; buthe cried out much the more: Son of D a v i d , have mercyon me. And Jesus, standing, commanded him to bebrought unto H i m . And when he w a s come near, H easked Him, s a y i n g : W h a t wilt thou that I do to thee ?B u t he said: L o r d , that I may see. A n d Jesus said to
  • 114. him: Receive thy s i g h t ; thy faith hath made thee whole.And immediately he saw, and followed Him, glorifyingGod. A n d all the people when they saw it, gave praiseto God.HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, PREACHED IN THE C H U R C H O F ST. P E T E R O N Q U I N Q U A G E S I M A SUNDAY. SECOND HOMILY -ON T H E GOSPELS. I. Foreseeing that the minds of His Apostles wouldbe troubled by the thought of His suffering, ourRedeemer told them long before, both of the pains ofthat suffering and of the glory of His rising again; tothis end that, when they should see Him die, as H e hadprophesied, they might not doubt that H e was likewiseto rise again. But, since H i s disciples were as yetcarnal, and could not understand His words, telling ofthis mystery, H e wrought a miracle before them. Ablind man received his sight before their eyes, that, ifthey could not comprehend heavenly things by words,they might be convinced of heavenly things by deeds.But we must so take the miracles of our Lord andSaviour, as believing, both that they were actuallywrought, and that they have some mystic meaning forour instruction. F o r in H i s works power speaks onething, and mystery again another. Behold, for instance:we know not historically who this blind man was, butwe know of what he was mystically a figure. Mankindis blind, driven out of Paradise in the persons of our firstparents, knowing not the light of heaven, and sufferingthe darkness of condemnation. Nevertheless, by thecoming of his Redeemer man is enlightened, so that hesees by hope already the gladness of interior light, andwalks by good works in the path of life. 7—2
  • 115. I I . Note also, beloved brethren, that, as Jesus drewnigh to Jericho, a blind man received his sight. N o w ,this name Jericho, being interpreted, signifies the city of themoon, and in H o l y Scripture the moon is used as a figureof our imperfect flesh, of whose gradual corruption hermonthly waning is a type. Therefore, as our Creatordraws nigh to Jericho, a blind man receives his sight.W h i l s t God takes unto Himself our weak human nature,man receives again the light which he had lost. B yG o d s suffering in the Manhood, man is raised up towardsG o d . This blind man is also well described as sitting bythe wayside begging ; for the T r u t h says : / am the way(John xiv. 6). H e that knows not H i m W h o is eternallight, is blind. B u t as soon as he believes in Jesus, theRedeemer, then he is sitting on the road leading tosalvation. W h e n man has faith, but is not continuallyasking to be enlightened by Divine light, he may, like theblind man, sit on the road, but he is not begging alms.B u t when by means of faith he begins to believe, when he recognises the blindness of his heart, and unceasinglyasks to be delivered from it and to receive the light oftruth, then he is like to the poor and unhappy blind manwho, sitting by the wayside, w a s begging. L e t him,therefore, who recognises his darkness, and the need of eternal light, cry out with all the desires of his heart andall the fervour of his s o u l : Jesus, Son of David, have mercyon me! This was the prayer of the blind man to the Redeemer, whilst those w h o went before rebuked him, andasked him to hold his peace. I I I . A n d what do we understand by those who wentbefore, but the crowd of bad desires and therestlessnessof our passions disturbing our mind and troubling ourheart, when we cry to our Saviour ? W e experience thisonly too often, that, when after a sinful life we wish t o
  • 116. return to G o d ; when we ask Him for strength to pray well, and to renounce the sins enslaving us, the image of our former sins is pictured in our memory, the light of our intellect is darkened, our courage is weakened, and we remain insensible to the voice of Gods minister preaching the truth. T h u s , those who went before our Lord rebuked the blind man of Jericho, that he should hold his peace; and we learn therefrom the important lesson that, before Jesus comes into our hearts, the awful image of our sensual pleasures rises in our memory, so as to prevent the effects of our prayers, I V . H o w e v e r , the blind man, waiting to be cured, is our teacher. T h o u g h he w a s rebuked, he cried out much more : Son of David, have mercy on me ! T h u s our prayer must be the more ardent and assiduous, the stronger the noise of wicked thoughts that rise in our mind and endeavour to prevent it. W h e n the stormy crowd of temptations call back the remembrance of our sins, and assail us from all sides, trying to make us neglect, if possible, our prayers, then our powerful and repeated cry towards heaven will render all thesephantoms useless and powerless. However, the things I say now, may be learned by you, through your own experience. F o r when wd begin to tear our thoughtsand desires away from the world, and to turn them to G o d ;when w e give up our mind to prayer, then the worldlythoughts and sinful pleasures of our former life returnto attack and distract us. A n d this assault of our formerthoughts is so strong that, in spite of good desires andeven tears of repentance, it is only by the greatest careand watchfulness that we succeed in keeping our heartsin safety. V . Meanwhile, we may be sure that, if we perseverein our prayers, Jesus will remain with us, as H e stayed
  • 117. for some time with the blind man. And Jesus, standing,commanded him to be brought unto Him. A n d the words ofthe Gospel tell us, not without a special motive, thatJesus w a s first passing by, then was standing. W elearn from this that, when powerless phantoms endeavourto disturb us in our prayers, Jesus seems to be passingb y ; but that when, in spite of their attacks, w e perseverein these prayers, Jesus remains standing b y us, anddelivers us from blindness. F o r when G o d takes H i s abode in our heart, H e dispels darkness by H i s Divinelight. V I . There is yet another lesson taught by our L o r d inthat miraculous cure of the blind man, that is, themanifestation both of the marks of H i s Divinity and ofthe signs of H i s humanity. F o r when the Man-Godheard the blind man cry out to Him, H e did not curehim until standing still, showing us that H e w a s man,because H e passed by, and that H e w a s also G o d ,because H e remained standing. W a s not our Redeemer,as man, to be born among us, to increase in years, todie, to rise from the dead, and to move about from oneplace to another ? B u t , being at the same time God, H egives us to understand that H e is immovable, and thatall changes noticed in H i m , came from H i s humanity ;whilst, as God, H e is always the same, without anychange, present everywhere, without shifting H i sdwellings. A g a i n , our Redeemer heard the voice ofthe blind man whilst passing by, and granted him lightwhilst standing still, thus teaching us that H i s humanitycalled H i s attention and love to the blindness of whichw e suffered, and H i s Divine power enlightened us withthe light of H i s grace. V I I . F o r our further instruction w e hear Jesus, assoon as H e saw the blind man, say to h i m : What ivilt
  • 118. thou that I do to thee ? Our Saviour, having the power to restore the sight to the blind man, was certainly not ignorant of that which he was going to ask. B u t H e wished to teach us that it was His will we should ask Him, though H e knows our desires and is willing to grant them. H e , therefore, very often exhorts us to pray to Him, though H e assures us that H i s Father in heaven knows all our needs before we ask. H e wishes to encourage us to trust in H i m , and to awaken in our hearts real love for prayer. W e hear the blind man at once uttering his request, and asking to receive the light. H e was asking neither for gold nor for riches of any kind, but for light, since, without this gift, all other goods could not satisfy him. L e t us, then, beloved brethren, imitate this man in his prayer, for he received therewith the health both of soul and body. L e t us beseech the Lord not for the riches of this world, nor for the perishable blessings of honour and fame, but for the true light, and not for the limited light, which for a moment only interrupts the long night, and is common to us with the unreasonable animals. L e t us ask for the uncreated light to be seen in the company of the elect, that light having no beginning and being eternal in its duration. Faith will lead us to this light, according to the wordsof Jesus to the blind man : Receive thy sight; thy faith hathmade thee whole. Should the sensual man object and saythat this light, being invisible, cannot be reached, thatnobody can be sure of a thing which cannot be seen, he will soon be convinced of his error, when told that his interiorfeelings do not arise from his body, but from his thinkingsoul. T h o u g h nobody can see his s6ul, yet there cannotbe any doubt about our having an invisible soul, rulingour visible body. For, when this invisible soul is separatedfrom our visible body, the latter is immediately destroyed,
  • 119. being deprived of the essence of its existence. There­ fore, since it is certain that we live by means of this invisible being, namely, the soul, not perceived b y our senses, w h y should w e doubt the T r u t h teaching us that there will be another life which we cannot see now ? V I I I . W h e n w e perceive the good result of the blind mans prayer, we recognise from the words of the Gospel w h y this man at once saw the light and followed our Redeemer. H e that recognises what is good and at the same time endeavours to do it, imitates the blind man who, seeing Jesus, followed H i m . W h e r e a s he w h o sees Jesus and does not follow Him, acknowledges what is good, but does not consider it his duty to do it. B e ­ loved brethren, when w e are aware of the blindness in which we are weeping in this vale of tears ; when, by the help of faith telling us of the mystery of Redemp­ tion, we sit on the road leading to life ; when daily we ask the Author of salvation to enlighten us ; when, lastly, w e enjoy that heavenly light, taking us out of the dark­ ness in which we were wandering, then nothing remains to us but to follow by our good w o r k s the Saviour, W h o m we see by the light of faith. L e t us carefully examine the place H e passes through, then follow H i s steps by imitating H i s example; for it is by imitation that w e follow H i m , as H e Himself teaches, saying to one of H i s disciples: Follow Me, and let the dead bury the dead (Matt. viii. 22). And to show that the wordsfollow Me mean imitate Me, our L o r d says in another place of the G o s p e l s : If any man minister to Me, let himfollow Me (John xii. 26). T o be worthy of H i m , we must follow H i s steps and examine the w a y in which H e walked. A n d first we see that H e , the Creator of all heavenly and reasonable beings, deigned to descend into
  • 120. the womb of a virgin, there to assume the human nature, which H e Himself had created out of nothing. W e see that H e did not choose to be born of rich parents, when taking our human nature, but chose poor parents, who were not even able to offer for Him in the temple a lamb, but only a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons. T h u s our Redeemer did not seek happiness in this world; He endured insults, scorn, and blasphemies; H e allowed Himself to be spit upon, to be buffeted, scourged, crowned with thorns, and nailed to a cross. H e would give us to understand that the pleasures we derived from corporeal things, robbed us of the eternal happiness, of which we can again take possession only by drinking the bitter chalice of suffering. Y e t , since God suffered so much for man, what suffering will the sinful man be ready to endure ? W h e n after all this a Christian, be­ lieving in Jesus Christ, is still ruled and led b y avarice or ambition ; when he is still devoured by the fire of envy or carnal pleasures; when he is eagerly rushing after the happiness of this world, then we can truly saythat, instead of following Jesus, he is despising Him,because he is walking on quite a different road, and noton the road taken by the Son of God during H i s mortallife of bitter suffering. L e t us, therefore, recall to ourmind our own wickedness ; let us remember that theeternal Judge will punish our sins most severely*; then,let us endeavour to destroy them by sorrowful repentance.N o w , let us do severe penance, and thus escape ineternity the terrible wrath of an offended G o d . T h etears shed in this life will take us to the joys of heaven,for our L o r d said : Blessed are they that mourn, for they shallbe comforted (Matt. v. 5 ) ; whereas the pleasures of thisworld will, according to the same Saviour, bring us tothe eternal dwelling of tears and sorrow. Woe to you
  • 121. that now laugh, for you shall mourn and weep ( L u k e vi. 25).If we wish to obtain the highest felicity, let us now walkin the path of penance, and our penitential life will notonly gain for us great merits with G o d , but will be toH i s greater glory ; for, according to the words of theGospel, others will be encouraged by our good example:And all the people, when they saiv it, gave praise to God. ASH-WEDNESDAY. G O S P E L : Matt. vi. 16-21. At that time: Jesus said to H i s disciples : W h e n you fast, be not as the hypocrites,sad. F o r they disfigure tfcieir faces, that they mayappear to men to fast. Amen, I say to you, they have Treceived their reward. B u t thou, w hen thou fastest,anoint thy head, and wash thy face, that thou appearnot to men to fast, but to thy Father, W h o is in secret;and thy Father, W h o seeth in secret, will repay thee.L a y not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where therust and moth consume, and where thieves breakthrough and s t e a l ; but lay up for yourselves treasuresin heaven, where neither rust nor moth doth consume,and where thieves do not break through nor steal. F o rwhere thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. HOMILY BY ST. A U G U S T I N E , BISHOP. BOOK IT., ON THE LORDS SERMON ON THE MOUNT, CHAP. XII. I. B y these precepts, as it is evident, w e are biddento seek for interior gladness, lest, by running after thatreward which is without, we should become conformedto the w a y s of this world, and should so lose the promise,of that blessing which is all the truer and more solid asit is inward ; that blessing wherein G o d chose us to be
  • 122. ASH-WEDNESDAY 107conformed to the likeness of H i s Son. In this chapterwe will principally consider that vain-glory finds aground for action in sordid poverty as much as inworldly distinction and display; and this development isthe more dangerous, since it deceives under the pretenceof serving G o d . H e that is marked out b y his un­bridled indulgence in dress or luxury, or any otherdisplay, is by these very things recognised to be afollower of worldly vanities, and deceives no one byputting on a hypocritical mask of holiness. B u t t h o s eprofessing true Christianity, who draw all eyes on them­selves b y an eccentric show of filthiness and dirtiness,not suffered by necessity, but by their own will, we mustjudge of them by their other works, whether their con­duct really proceeds from the desire of mortification,giving up unnecessary comfort, or is only the means ofsome ambitious design. T h e Lord tells us to beware ofwolves in sheeps clothing, but, by their fruits you shallknow them, H e says (Matt. vii. 20). W e test them, whenby some trials such persons lose the very things which,under the cover of pretended unworldliness, they eithergained or sought to gain. T h e n it will appear whetherthey be wolves in sheeps clothing, or, indeed, sheep intheir own. B u t , that hypocrites do such contrary things,does not entitle the true Christian to think it his duty toshine before the eyes of men by the display of needlessluxury ; for the sheep need not lay aside their ownclothing, because wolves sometimes falsely assume it. I I . L e t us note that Jesus combines fasting withprayers and alms, spoken of in this Gospel, as one of thebest means to resist the devil. Though our L o r d attacksthe vain-glory attending the false virtues of the Pharisees,and making them hypocrites in the eyes of God, H e doesnot condemn the sadness of a sinful, humbled, and con-
  • 123. trite heart. O n the contrary, this sadness accompanyingour fasting, is agreeable to God. B u t H e condemns thevoluntary forced sadness, that comes not from a heartpenetrated with the love of God, but is only exterior. Itis a pretended sadness that tries to obtain the esteem ofthe multitude, who praise the severe penance of suchpeople, whom G o d , seeing their hearts, justly condemns.T h e words of the G o s p e l : When thou fastest, anoint thy headand wash thy face, must not be taken in a literal sense,for w e should certainly be found guilty if observing them.T h e real meaning of these words is this : A s the ancientsanointed their heads and washed their faces in days ofjoy, so we, in the days of fasting, ought to show holy joy.It is evident that, in all these commandments, ourRedeemer had in view one object only, that is, to makeus enter into our own heart, there to find the interior j o yof the Holy Ghost. There may be as much vanity inthe neglected exterior appearance of some people andtheir mournful looks, as in fine garments and exteriorcheerfulness. A n d this kind of vanity is to be feared themore, since it is the more deceitful under the appearanceof piety and godliness. H e , fasting, anoints his head,when subject to Jesus, his Divine Head, he refers to H i mall the merits of fasting, and feels an interior joy when,avoiding the pleasures of the world for H i s sake, he takesno notice of the praise of the people. H e washes hisface, who is carefully purifying his heart, knowing thatthe sight of the countenance of the L o r d is promised to a pure heart. I I I . Y o u wish to fast w e l l ; then humble your soul,especially at the approaching of that day, when theTeacher of humility humbled Himself and w a s obedientunto death, even to the death on the cross. L e t usimitate H i m in H i s sufferings by subduing our desires
  • 124. with salutary abstinence. L e t us chastise our body inorder to keep it into subjection, and, that our perverseflesh may not tempt us to commit unlawful deeds, let usrefuse to it, at least for a time, the lawful enjoyment ofsome things. Drunkenness and intemperance can neverbe allowed ; but in these holy days meals which may bepermitted at other times, should be restricted. Yourbody will feel more obedient and subservient, the more itis separated from things lawful, and is accustomed toabstain from rightful pleasures. And you will continuein holy cheerfulness to retrench the expenses of yourtable, the excesses of meals, and even avoid whatsoeverflatters the palate, F I R S T S U N D A Y IN LENT.G O S P E L : Matt. iv. 1 - 1 1 . At that time; Jesus w a s ledby the Spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil.And when H e had fasted forty days and forty nights,H e was afterwards hungry. And the tempter coming,said t o . H i m : If thou be the Son of God, commandthat these stones be made bread. W h o answered and 1said: It is written, N o t by bread alone doth man live,,but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouthof God. T h e n the devil took H i m into the holy city,,and set H i m upon a pinnacle of the temple, and said toH i m : If T h o u be the Son of God, cast Thyself down ;for it is written: H e hath given His angels charge overThee, and in their hands shall they bear T h e e up, lestperhaps T h o u dash T h y foot against a stone. Jesus saidto H i m : * It is written, T h o u shalt not tempt the L o r dthy G o d . Again the devil took Him up into a very highmountain, and showed H i m all the kingdoms of theworld, and the glory of them, and said to H i m : A l l
  • 125. these will I give T h e e , if T h o u wilt fall down and adoreme. T h e n Jesus said to him : Begone, Satan ; for it iswritten, T h e Lord thy G o d shalt thou adore, and H i monly shalt thou serve. T h e n the devil left H i m , and,behold, angels came and ministered unto H i m . HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, PREACHED IN THE CHURCH O F ST. J O H N LATERAN. SIXTEENTH HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. It is often asked by some people what spirit it wasby which Jesus was led into the wilderness, on account ofthe words a little further on : Then the devil took Him intothe holy city; and again : The devil took Him up into a veryhigh mountain. B u t in truth, and without any furthersearching, we may believe it was the H o l y Ghost wholed H i m up into the wilderness. H i s own Spirit led H i mwhere the evil spirit found H i m to tenlpt H i m . H o w ­ever, when it is said that H e , G o d and Man, was takenup by the devil, either into a very high mountain or intothe holy city, the mind shrinks from believing, and theears of man tingle when hearing it. Y e t w e know thatthese things are not incredible, when we consider certainother things concerning H i m . Indeed, the devil is thehead of all the wicked, and every wicked man is a member of that body, of which the devil is the head. W a s not Pilate a limb of Satan ? W e r e not the Jews who perse­ cuted, and the soldiers who crucified Christ, likewise limbs of Satan ? Is it then strange that H e should allow Himself to be led up into a mountain by the head, W h o allowed Himself to be crucified by the members ? Therefore it is not unworthy of our Redeemer, W h o came to be slain, that H e should be willing to be tempted. It w a s meet that H e should thus overcome our temptations
  • 126. by His own, even as H e came to overcome our death, byHis own. W e ought to know that temptation worksunder three forms. There is first the suggestion, thenthe delectation, or pleasure, and, lastly, the consent.W h e n we are tempted, it often happens that w e fall intodelectation, and even into consent, because in the sinfulflesh of which we are begotten, we carry in ourselvesmatter to favour the attack. But God, when H e tookflesh in the womb of the Virgin, and came into the worldwithout sin, did so without having in Himself anythingof this lusting of the flesh against the spirit. It waspossible, therefore, for H i m to be tempted in the firststage, namely, suggestion ; but there was nothing inHis mind, in which delectation could fix its teeth. T h u sall the temptation H e endured from the devil was with­out, and none within H i m . I I . If, now, we consider the order of the temptationsattacking the Redeemer of the world, we see with whatpower our Saviour delivered us from the snares preparedfor us by the enemy of our salvation. For, when theold Serpent rose against the first man, the father of thehuman race, he attacked him with three kinds of tempta­tions, namely, intemperance, vain-glory and avarice.And being thus tempted, he was overcome by the devil,for he g a v e his consent. W h e n Satan showed to manthe forbidden fruit, and persuaded him to eat of it, heattacked him with the weapon of intemperance; then hetempted him with vain-glory, saying that he would belike to G o d ; lastly, avarice was his weapon, since heassured him that he would possess the knowledge ofgood and evil. F o r avarice consists not only in theinordinate love of riches, but also in the desire ofexaltation ; and we are in reality avaricious, when in anambitious manner w e desire to obtain dignities to which
  • 127. w e cannot lay claim. T h i s is also the teaching of St. Paul, who, speaking of Jesus Christ, says : Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God ; but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant (Phil. ii. 6, 7). T h e devil, therefore, attacked our first parent with the arrows of avarice, for he awakened in him the desire of exalting himself. I I I . But this tempter, the old dragon, who by his artifice had overcome the first man, was in his turn overcome by another Man, with the very same weapons he had used in former times. F o r our Redeemer, the Man-God, was assailed by the devil in the same manneras our first parent; first, with the sensual appetite, sincehe said to H i m : / / thou be the Son of God, command thatthese stones be made bread. Then he tempted H i m withvain-glory, asking H i m to cast Himself down from apinnacle of the temple, and so to show that H e w a s theSon of God, saving His life by a miracle. L a s t l y , hetempted H i m with avarice, when he showed H i m all thekingdoms of the world, and promised to give them toHim, if falling down H e would adore him. B u t ourSaviour overcame this enemy by the same means thatH e had employed to tempt the father of the human race.A n d after this defeat he was enchained by our Lord, andforced by H i m to g o out of our heart by the same doorby which he had entered to enslave us. Y e t , belovedbrethren, there is another lesson contained in this tempta­tion of our Lord. H e could cast H i s tempter into theeternal abyss by one single word, H e being the EternalW o r d . B u t H e only answered with the commandmentscontained in H o l y Scripture, so as to give us an exampleof His patience and moderation, instead of a brilliantsign of H i s almighty power. B y this H e teaches usthat, when our sufferings are caused by the wicked, we
  • 128. should make good use of such persecutions, and be instructed by them, rather than take revenge. B u t are we not ashamed, when we consider, on one side Gods patience, and on the other our own impatience, when suffering injustice ? It often happens, when we are unjustly treated or despised, that anger fills our heart at once. W e try to take revenge, as far as lies in our power, and even threaten with a revenge of which we are powerless. Our L o r d overcame the temptations of the devil through H i s patience and meek words. H e bore an enemy who deserved the arrows of H i s justice, and H e is thus the more worthy of our admiration and praise, since H e was victorious over that enemy by Hismoderation rather than by the stripes of H i s anger. I V . T a k e notice of the fact that, as soon as the devilleft Jesus, Angels came and ministered unto Him. Therebywe are given to understand that there are two naturesin Jesus Christ. B y the temptation of the devil we knowthat H e w a s true Man, whilst the coming of the Angelsand their ministering to H i m , teach us that H e is alsotrue G o d . L e t us, then, recognise our own nature inour Saviour, for the devil would not have dared totempt H i m , had he not perceived in H i m our humanity.A t the same time ^we bring H i m our adorations, for theAngels would not have considered it their duty to ministerunto H i m , were H e not as G o d exalted over them and allcreatures. V . T h i s Gospel, calling to our mind the forty days andforty nights of fasting spent by our Lord in the desert,entirely agrees with the fast w e observe during this holyseason. B u t w h y w a s this number of forty days fastingsanctified ? W e read in the history of the Israelites thatMoses prepared himself for the reception of the L a w byfasting forty d a y s ; that Elias observed the same fast; 8
  • 129. that Jesus, before beginning His public life, abstainedfrom food for forty days and forty n i g h t s ; and lastly,that we also, as far as lies in us, observe this abstinenceand fasting during the time of L e n t . T h o u g h severalmotives may be set forth to explain this law of theChurch, we can say in all truth that, by observing thiscommandment, w e offer to God the tenth part of theyear granted to us for satisfying our corporeal necessities.After living solely for ourselves during the course of theyear, we now in L e n t live for God, offering H i m by ourabstinence a part of that year. N o w , after deductingfrom the six weeks of L e n t the Sundays—on which wedo not fast,—we find that there remain thirty-six days, soto speak, the tenth part of the year that we offer to God.T h e Lord God, beloved brethen, commands you in theOld L a w to offer to H i m the tithe (tenth part) of yourpossessions; it is, therefore, just that you should giveH i m the tithe of your days. F o r this reason it is every­bodys duty to mortify his body, according to his strength,to crucify his desires and subdue his sinful passions, thathe may be, as S t . Paul says, a living sacrifice (Rom. xii. i ) .F o r we are a living sacrifice when, as long as we live, wemortify the desires of the flesh. Just as the lust of theflesh led us to commit sin, true penance must bring usback to G o d . Consider, again, that since by the eatingof the forbidden fruit we were shut out of heaven, so w emust endeavour to re-enter these gates by that temperanceand abstinence which will atone for all the offences againstG o d committed by our intemperance. V I . Y e t , let us not think that our fasting will besufficient to appease God, if it is not accompanied by themerits of a l m s g i v i n g ; for H e said to u s : Is not this ratherthe fast that I have chosen ? Loose the bonds of wickedness, undothe bundles that oppress, let them that are broken go free, and
  • 130. break asunder every burden. Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and harbonrless into thy house; when thou shall see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh (Isa. lviii. 6, 7). This testimony teaches us that the fasting most pleasing to G o d is the one accompanied by alms offered by our hands, that is, by the love for our neighbour, perfected through works of mercy. Of what­ soever you deprive yourselves, give it to your poor neighbour, to relieve him ; and these goods, of which you deprive yourselves by mortifying your appetite, will re­ joice your neighbour who is in need. Hear the Lords complaint: When you fasted and mourned, did you keep a fast unto Me? And when you did eat and drink, did you not eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves ? (Zach. vii. 5, 6). N o w , we eat for ourselves when the needy has no share in the food we are taking, which, being a gift of G o d , has been created for all men. A n d he keeps a fast for himself, who, depriving himself for a time of the food he used to take, preserves it to satisfy his desires later on, instead of giving it to the poor. T h e prophet Joel exhorts us to sanctify a fast (Joel i. 14), teaching us, if we wish to make our abstinence worthy of God the Almighty, to unite the mortification of. our flesh with the practice of othervirtues; to refrain from anger and banish hatred fromour heart. In vain do w e chastise our body, if the mindis not subdued by our victory over sinful passions. God Himself declares this through H i s prophet: Behold, inthe day of your fast your own will is found, and you exact of allyour debtors. Behold, you fast for debates and strife, andstrike with the fist wickedly (Isa. lviii. 3, 4). N o injusticeis committed when you ask your debtors to pay whatthey owe you. Y e t you easily understand that he, whopractises penance, will even abstain from exacting thatwhich is owed to him in justice. W h e n he mortifies 8—2
  • 131. himself in this manner and feels real sorrow for his sins,then God will be ready to forgive the debts due to H i sjustice, seeing that for H i s sake the sinner forgives toothers what they owe him in justice. S E C O N D S U N D A Y IN LENT.G O S P E L : Matt. xvii. 1-13. At that time: Jesus takethunto H i m Peter and James, and John his brother, andbringeth them up into a high mountain apart; and H ew a s transfigured before them. A n d H i s face did shineas the sun ; and H i s garments became as white as snow.A n d behold, there appeared to them Moses and E l i a stalking with H i m . T h e n Peter answering, said to J e s u s :Lord, it is good for us to be h e r e ; if T h o u wilt, let usmake here three tabernacles, one for T h e e , and one forMoses, and one for Elias. And as he was yet speaking,behold a white cloud overshadowed them. And lo, avoice out of the cloud, s a y i n g : T h i s is M y beloved S o n ,in W h o m I am well pleased; hear ye H i m . A n d thedisciples hearing, fell upon their faces, and were verymuch afraid. A n d Jesus came and touched them, andsaid unto t h e m : Arise, and fear not. And when theylifted up their eyes, they saw no one, but only Jesus.A n d as they came down from the mountain, Jesuscharged them, s a y i n g : T e l l the vision to no man, till the Son of Man shall be risen from the dead. HOMILY BY POPE ST. LEO THE GREAT. HOMILY ON THE TRANSFIGURATION OF JESUS. I. T h e Gospel y o u have just heard, and which demandsyour whole attention, invites y o u to the knowledge of agreat mystery. W e shall attain this purpose more
  • 132. surely and with less trouble, if we consider what is written a n H o l y Scripture just before this event (Matt. xvi.). Indeed, our Lord, the Redeemer of all men, when H e began to introduce His doctrine into the world, namely, His Divine doctrine, which gives life to the dead and leads the wicked to justice, instructed His disciples no less by the wonders of His Almighty power than by the words of H i s eternal wisdom and truth. H e wished to convince them that H e was both the Son of God and the Son of Man ; for one without the other of these prerogatives could not save the world. It would have been as dangerous to believe that Jesus was only God, as to think that H e was only man. It was necessary to believe that H e was at the same time the one and the other, since the real humanity w a s in God, as the real Divinity was in man. Therefore, in order to confirm His disciples in the necessary knowledge of and faith in this mystery, our L o r d asked them what they thought of H i m , and what were the opinions of men concerning H i m . St. Peter, one of the Apostles, en­ lightened by God the Almighty, rose above all that which was human and sensual, and recognised in Jesus the Son of the living God. W i t h a loud voice he confessed the glory of His Divinity, revealed to the eyes of his soul, whilst the eyes of his body only saw the corporeal presence of his Divine Redeemer. And this testimony " of the Apostle to truth was so pleasing to our Saviour, that, to reward his faith, H e called him blessed, and at The same time appointed him a firm rock, upon which H e would build H i s Church, against which the gates of hell should never prevail. Jesus Christ even promised Peter that, whatever sentence he pronounced on earth, it would be ratified in heaven. II. T h i s sublime knowledge of the Divinity of Jesus
  • 133. w a s also to be united with that of the mystery of H i s humanity, so that the Apostles, after confessing their belief in the Divinity of the Saviour, should not think it unbecoming to God, unable to suffer, to unite Himself with our weak human nature. Again, they should not cherish the belief that H i s humanity was so glorified, as to be unable either to be subject to death or even to suffer torments. Indeed, we know that our L o r d said to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the ancients and scribes and chief priests, and be put to death, and the third day rise again (Matt. x v i . 21). W e see also that Peter, filled with love after proclaiming the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and certainly animated by a true zeal for the honour of his Divine Teacher, rebuked H i m , s a y i n g : Lord, be it far from Thee ; this shall not be unto Thee (Matt. x v i . 22). B u t our L o r d , by a gentle reproof,.changed the aversion of the Apostle to the ignominy of H i s sufferings, into a generous desire to take part in these very sufferings. T h i s was also the motive and the effect of the advice given by Jesus to all of H i s disciples: / / any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. And H e continued : He that will save his life, shall lose it, and he that shall lose his life for My sake, shall find it (Matt. xvi. 24, 25). And the more to strengthen them in this unmovable firmness, by which they were prompted to embrace without fear even the sharpest crosses ; to prevent them from being ashamed of the capital sentence H e was to undergo ; and lastly, to instruct them not to be scandalized at the patience H e w a s going to show during H i s Passion, when the brilliant signs of H i s almighty power would be hidden, H e took Peter and James, and John his brother, and brought them up into an exceeding high mountain apart, and there made manifest the brightness of H i s glory.
  • 134. Hitherto, though they understood that there was in H i m the majesty of God, they knew not the power ofthat body which veiled the Godhead; and therefore H ehad individually and expressly promised to some of Hisdisciples, who had stood with Him, that they should nottaste death, till they saw the Son of Man coming in His king­dom (Matt. x v i . 28) ; that is, in the kingly splendourwhich is the right of the humanity taken into God, andwhich H e desired to make visible to those three men.This is what they saw, for the unspeakable and inacces­sible vision of the Godhead Himself, which will be theeverlasting life of the pure of heart (Matt. v. 8), no man,who is still burdened with a mortal body, can see andlive. Our Lord, therefore, manifested His glory beforethe Avitnesses H e had chosen, and allowed His body,which is like to ours, to appear in such brilliant light, thatHis face did shine as the sun, and His garments became aswhite as snow, However, the principal reason for thistransfiguration was to banish the scandal of the crossfrom the hearts and minds of His disciples; also, aftershowing them the perfection and dignity hidden in Hisperson, H e wished to prevent their faith from beingweakened by the sight of the humiliations H e would sowillingly endure. T h i s mystery was also to be thefoundation of H i s Church. F o r the Church, being themystic body of Jesus. Christ, recognised in this glorysurrounding Him, the promise of that glory which sheexpects to be adorned with when, united to the Head inthe happy dwellings, she will participate in H i s own ever­lasting felicity. Our L o r d Himself said so, when speak­ing of His coming : Then shall the just shine as the sun in thekingdom of their Father (Matt. xiii. 43). And this is con­firmed by S t . Paul, saying : / reckon that the sufferings ofthis time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come,
  • 135. that shall be revealed in us (Rom. viii. 18). A n d a g a i n : You are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ shall appear, Who is your life, then you also shall appear with Him in glory (Col. iii. 3, 4). I I I . N o w , the more to strengthen the faith of H i s Apostles, and to instruct them in a more perfect manner, our Lord, at the miracle of the Transfiguration, let Moses and Elias appear, talking with H i m and representing the L a w and the Prophets respectively. T h e presence of these two personalities was to justify what is prescribed by the law : In the mouth of two or three witnesses every wordshall stand (Deut. xix. 15). Can there be anything more certain and credible than the word of truth confirmed by the testimony of both the Old and the N e w Testament ? T h e doctrine of the Gospel, preached by Jesus Christ,perfectly agrees with the prophecies of the old law, and H e , W h o was foreshadowed by the types and figures ofthe Old Testament, is manifested in the glory of H i sTransfiguration. The law was given by Moses ; grace andtruth came by Jesus Christ (John i. 17). B y H i s comingH e fulfilled all promises made by the A l m i g h t y to H i speople, and in H i s person were verified the commandsand legal ceremonies by which H e was announced.Lastly, H e gave us to understand by H i s coming intothis world that the prophecies concerning H i m were true,and, by means of the grace H e gives us, H e makes thefulfilling of the commandments very easy to us. T h r o u g hthe knowledge of this truth St. Peter felt in himself newlife, and began to despise the things of this world; hewas disgusted with earthly things, and all his desireswere then directed to heaven. In the excess of his j o yat this beatific vision of our Redeemers glory, he criedo u t : Lord, it is good for us to be here. If Thou wilt, let usmake here three tabernacles, one for Thee, and one for Moses,
  • 136. and one for Elias. Our L o r d did not answer these words ; H e wished the Apostle to understand that his request, though not sinful in itself, w a s untimely, since the world was to be redeemed by the death of the Saviour. Again, our Redeemer wished to teach all the faithful that, though it be unlawful to doubt the promise of eternal happiness, they should ask H i m for the necessary patience to bear the trials of this life, rather than for the happiness that is to be their reward; for the time of reigning with H i m in heaven cannot precede the time of fighting and suffering. I V . Peter was yet speaking, when a bright cloud over­ shadowed them. And lo, a voice out of the cloud, saying: This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; hear yeHim. T h e y plainly heard H i m say : This is My Son, Whose it is to be of Me, and with Me without all time. For neither is H e that begets before H i m that is begotten,nor H e that is begotten after H i m that begets. This isMy Son, between W h o m and M e , to be God is not a pointof difference, to be A l m i g h t y , a point of separation, norto be Eternal, a point of distinction. This is My Son, notby adoption, but M y very own ; not created from, or ofanother substance, or out of nothing, but begotten of Me ;not of another nature, and made like to Me, but of M yown Being, born of Me, equal to Me. This is My Son,by W h o m all things are made, and without W h o m wasmade nothing that w a s made ; W h o makes likewise allthings whatsoever I m a k e ; and whatsoever things I doH e does likewise, inseparably and indifferently. This isMy Son, W h o thought it not robbery, nor took it byviolence, to be equal with Me, but, abiding still in theform of M y glory, that H e may fulfil the common decreefor the restoration of mankind, bowed the unchangeableGodhead even to the form of a servant (Phil. ii. 6, 7).
  • 137. V . Instantly, therefore, hear ye Him, in W h o m I amin all things well pleased, by W h o s e preaching I ammanifested, and by W h o s e lowliness I am glorified.F o r H e is the T r u t h and the Life (John x i v . 6), M yPower and M y W i s d o m (i Cor. i. 24). Hear ye Him,W h o m the L a w prefigured, W h o m the prophets con­stantly announced; H i m , W h o redeemed the worldby the merit of His Blood, W h o subdued the powerof the devils, and rendered their efforts and assaultsuseless; W h o destroyed the sentence pronounced againstman, who by his disobedience w a s truly guilty. Hearye Him, W h o opened to you the road to heaven, and W h oby the punishment on the Cross erected the steps leadingyou up to Me. W h y are you afraid of H i m , since H eoffers you salvation ? W h y do y o u distrust H i m ?See, H e offers Himself to deliver you from yourmiseries ! D o , then, the will of M y Anointed, whichagrees with M y own. Get rid of that fear, with whichthe weakened nature fills you, and arm yourselves withthat courage, which ought to be awakened in you byfaith. For it would be unbecoming in you to feeldepressed at the sight of our Redeemers sufferings,which, by H i s help, you will share one day, when it will be necessary to give your life for H i s sake. V I . It w a s not only for the benefit of the witnesses ofthese events that these truths were declared, but thewhole Church received them in the person of the threedisciples, to whom they were revealed by God. W emust, therefore, ground our faith upon the teaching ofthe Gospel, so that no one may be scandalized by theCross on which Jesus deigned to redeem the world.L e t no one among you be afraid of suffering for justices a k e ; let no one doubt the revelations promising aneternal reward ; for through labour w e are made sure of
  • 138. rest, and through death we come to life. Since ourSaviour willed to take upon Himself our weakness, we,on our side, being faithful to Him, and persevering inH i s love, shall surely overcome our enemies, andinfallibly receive the crown prepared for us, speciallyif w e listen to the voice of the Father, W h o , to arm usagainst all adversities, and encourage us to observe H i scommandments, says : This is My beloved Son, in Whom Iam well pleased; hear ye Him. T h e same H e is W h owith the Father and the Holy Ghost reigneth for everand ever. Amen. T H I R D S U N D A Y IN LENT.G O S P E L : L u k e xi. 14-28. At that time: Jesus wascasting out a devil, and the same was dumb ; and whenH e had cast out the devil, the dumb spoke, and themultitude were in admiration at it. B u t some of themsaid : H e casteth out devils by Beelzebub, the prince of thedevils. A n d others tempting, asked of H i m a sign fromheaven. B u t H e , seeing their thoughts, said to them :E v e r y kingdom divided against itself shall be brought todesolation, and house upon house shall fall. And ifSatan also be divided against himself, how shall hiskingdom stand ? because you say, that through BeelzebubI cast out devils. N o w , if I cast out devils by Beelzebub,by whom do your children cast them out ? Thereforethey shall be your judges. But if I by the finger of Godcast out devils, doubtless the kingdom of G o d is comeupon you. W h e n a strong man armed keepeth hiscourt, those things are in peace which he possesseth.B u t if a stronger than he come upon him, and overcomehim, he will take a w a y all his armour wherein he trusted,
  • 139. and will distribute his spoils. H e that is not with M e isagainst M e ; and he that gathereth not with Me, scattereth.W h e n the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walkeththrough places without .water, seeking rest; and not find­ing, sayeth : I will return into my house whence I cameout. And when he come he findeth it swept andgarnished. T h e n he goeth and taketh with him sevenother spirits more wicked than himself, and entering inthey dwell there ; and the last state of that man becomethworse than the first. And it came to pass, as H e spokethese things, a certain woman from the crowd, lifting upher voice, said to H i m : Blessed is the w o m b that boreT h e e , and the breasts that gave T h e e suck. B u t H esaid : Y e a , rather, blessed are they who hear the word ofG o d and keep it. HOMILY BY T H E V E N E R A B L E BEDE, PRIEST. BOOK IV., CHAP, XLVIII., ON L U K E XI. I. In Matthew (xii. 22) we read that the devil by whomthis poor creature w a s possessed, was, not only dumb, butalso blind; and that, when he was healed by our Lord,he saw as well as he spoke. Three miracles, therefore,were performed on this one m a n : the blind saw, thedumb spoke, and the possessed was delivered. T h i smighty work was then wrought carnally indeed ; butit is still wrought spiritually in the conversion ofbelievers, when the devil is cast out of them, so thattheir eyes see the light of faith, and the lips, which beforewere dumb, are opened that their mouth m a y utter thepraise of God. But some of them said : He casteth out devilsby Beelzebub, the prince of devils. T h e s e some were notof the multitude, but were liars among the Phariseesand Scribes, as w e are told by the other Evangelist
  • 140. THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT (Matt. xii. 24). W h i l e the multitude, who seemed to be less instructed, wondered at the work of the Lord, the Pharisees and Scribes, on the other hand, denied thefacts when they could, and, when- they were not able to do so, twisted them by an evil interpretation, and asserted that the works of God were the works of anunclean spirit. I I . And others, tempting, askedof Him a sign from heaven.T h e y wished Jesus either to call down fire from heaven,like Elias (4 K i n g s i. 10), or, like Samuel (1 K i n g s vii. 10),to make thunder roll, and lightning flash, and rain fall atmid-summer. Y e t , had H e done so, they would havetried to explain a w a y these signs also, as being thenatural result of some unusual, though till then unre­marked, state of the atmosphere. O thou, who stub­bornly deniest what thy eye sees, thy hand holds, andthy sense perceives, what wilt thou say to a sign fromheaven ? Perhaps thou wilt say that the magiciansin E g y p t also wrought many signs from heaven (Exod.vii., viii.). But He, seeing their thoughts, said to them: Everykingdom divided against itself shall be brought to desolation, andhouse upon house shall fall. H e answered not their words,but their thoughts, as though H e would corfcpel them tobelieve in H i s power, since H e sees the secrets of theheart. B u t if every kingdom divided against itself isbrought to desolation, then the kingdom of the Father,and the Son, and the H o l y Ghost, is not divided, sinceH i s is a kingdom that, without all contradiction, shallnever be brought to desolation by any shock, but shallabide unchanged and unchangeable for ever. And ifSatan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdomstand ? because you say, that through Beelzebub I cast outdevils. S a y i n g this, H e sought to draw from their ownmouth a confession that they had chosen for themselves
  • 141. to be part of the devils kingdom, which, if divided against itself, cannot stand. It was, therefore, the duty of the Pharisees to answer our R e d e e m e r ; for should they say that Satan has not the power to cast out devils, they must confers that they have not anything to say against Jesus. On the other hand, should they pretend that the devil has that power, then, in order to secure their own safety, they will be forced to leave a kingdom which, being divided against itself, will be brought to desolation. H o w e v e r , should the Pharisees wish to know by what power our Lord casts out devils, and to be convinced that this is not done b y the power of Beelzebub, let them listen to the words H e added, say­ ing : Now, if I cast out devils by Beelzebub, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. H e r e our Lord is speaking of H i s disciples b y saying to the Pharisees that their children would be their judges ; for the disciples of Jesus, being their posterity, knew for certain that in the school of so perfect a T e a c h e r they had not learnt the detestable art of casting out devils by the power of the devil. Just as if our L o r d had said: Y o u will be judged by these simple men, whom you despise, in whom there is no guile, who are free from allcunning artifice, whose faces bear the mark of virtuesand holiness, which they discover in M e . Or should youwish to explain these words in another sense, then saythat our L o r d wished to give to the Pharisees and Scribesthis other lesson : If your children cast out devils fromthe bodies of the possessed by the power of the H o l yGhost, what reason have you to attribute the works Iperform to any other than to God the A l m i g h t y ? There­fore, these children will be the judges of their fathers andwill condemn them, for the children refer to God thepower they possess to cast out devils, whereas their
  • 142. fathers referred that power to Beelzebub, the prince of devils. I I I . Then, to confirm this truth, and to justify the great wonders H e performed, our Saviour continued His discourse with these words : But if I by the finger of Godcast out devils, doubtless the kingdom of God is come upon you. It w a s the finger of God, which was recognised by the magicians of Pharaoh, when they played their tricks or enchantments before M o s e s ; for, seeing the unheard-ofwonders of this man sent by God, they exclaimed : Thisis the finger of God ( E x o d . viii. 19). B y this finger of Godthe Commandments were written on the tables of stoneon Mount Sinai. A l l this teaches us that the HolyGhost is that finger of G o d proceeding, as it were, fromthe hand of the Son, W h o is the arm of the!, AlmightyFather, whilst the Father has one and the same naturewith the Son and the H o l y Ghost. Should you bescandalized by this comparison of the members whichseem unequal, the unity of the body formed by them willedify and even encourage you. It may also be said thatthe H o l y Ghost is called the finger of God, on account ofthe special graces bestowed by Him to angels and men ;for no other limb points like the finger at the differentparts composing the body. W h e n our L o r d said: Thekingdom of God is come upon you, H e meant by this kingdomthe happy dispositions of those who now do penance fortheir sins, and are, even in this life, separated from thewicked condemned bythem. When the strong man armedkeepeth his court, those things are in peace which he possesseth.This strong man is the d e v i l ; his court is the world,which he continually guards, which is thoroughly cor­rupted through his wickedness, and over -which thisunclean spirit ruled powerfully before the coming of theS a v i o u r ; for he reigned without opposition over the
  • 143. idolatrous nations, his worshippers. H o l y Scripture therefore calls him the prince of this world, and our Lord says of him to His disciples :" The prince of this world shall be cast out (John xii. 31). And the better to describe the defeat and flight of this prince of darkness, our L o r d added these words : But if a stronger than he come upon him, and overcome him, he will take away all his armour wherein he trusted, and will distribute the spoils. W e are thus taught by our L o r d that H e is the stronger One, more powerfulthan the devil, whose dominion was overcome, from whosetyranny H e delivered mankind by the strength of H i salmighty arm, and not by a deceiving or with Beel­ zebub-concerted deliverance, as by their calumnies theJews tried to make the multitude believe. T h e cunningartifices of this wicked spirit are the armour wherein theenemy of our salvation trusted, and men deceived by him,are the spoils taken from him and distributed by Jesusafter His victory. F o r , according to the prophet, H ewill take with H i m , on the day of H i s triumph, a multi­tude of prisoners up to heaven, where* H e grants Hisgifts in abundance, setting up in the Church, some asApostles, others as prophets, and choosing some as shep­herds or as teachers. I V . He that is not with Me, is against Me, and he thatgathereth not with Me, scattereth. T h o u g h these words maybe applied to heretics and apostates, they specially referto the devil; for, according to the words following, ourL o r d wished the multitude to understand that there can­not be any comparison between H i s works and those ofhell. W h a t does the devil desire but to keep souls in hisslavery ? whilst Jesus offers them freedom. T h e devilpresents idols and false gods for our adoration; Jesusteaches us to adore the one and true God. T h e devilpraises sin and vice, and Jesus encourages us to practise
  • 144. virtue, therefore, there cannot be anything in common between Jesus and Satan, for their works are in direct opposition. T h e Redeemer of the world says that, when the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walheth through places without water, and thus teaches us the difference between H i s works and those of the devil. T h i s latter endeavours to defile that which is clean, whereas the Redeemer cleanses what is defiled. Nevertheless, by these words may also be understood heretics and apos­ tates, and even wicked Christians who, after receiving the grace of Baptism, making profession of the true Catholic faith, and renouncing the pomps and vanities of- the world, banished the devil from their hearts. And to this unclean spirit, who finds his former house swept and garnished, and the dwelling of the Holy Ghost, one place only remains—a dry and barren land, to the approaches to which he goes, trying to take the soul by surprise, and to re-enter his former home. It may be said in all truth that this infernal spirit is seeking rest therein, and cannot find it. F o r this unclean spirit, who shuns the proximity of pure and innocent souls, can only make his abode in the souls of the wicked and godless, offering him an agreeable refuge and a place of rest. T h i s enemy of the human race, according to H o l y Scripture, sleeps in the shadow, in the covert of the reed, and in moist places (Job xl. 16). This shadow, hiding him, represents the darkness of a sinful s o u l ; by the reed, smooth outwardly, yet inwardly hollow, are meant the hypocrites, who cover the empti­ ness of their merits with the appearance of virtue ; lastly, sensual and lascivious souls are represented by the moist places into which the devil retires. He sayeth: I will return into my house whence J came out. Such resolution on the part of our enemy must make us fear lest our pas­ sions and vices, which we thought destroyed, return with
  • 145. greater force to overthrow and take possession of us atthe very moment when w e but carelessly resist them.T h o u g h the enemy on his return will find our soul sancti­fied by the grace of Baptism and adorned with the giftsof the H o l y Ghost, he will also find in it a dry and deso­late place, as the Gospel says, when w e do not endeavourto increase these graces and merits b y practising virtuesand good works, or when we do not try to obtain thespiritual goods of which w e were at one time deprived.A n d should our soul only seem to be adorned withvirtues, these will be but apparent virtues, brought forthby our hypocrisy. V . And the devil goeth and taketh with him seven other spiritsmore wicked than himself, and, entering in, they dwell there.B y these wicked spirits, seven in number, are meant allsins and vices. F o r those who, after being sanctified inBaptism, let their faith be perverted b y error and heresy,or give themselves up to the sinful desires of the childrenof the world, will soon, by the blandishments of Satan,be thrown into the abyss of all wickedness. These otherdevils, taking possession of the souls, are justly calledmore wicked than the first, not only because they intro­duce into them the seven capital sins, opposed to theseven gifts of the H o l y Ghost, but also because thesesouls, by their hypocrisy, preserve the exterior appear­ance of virtues, which they no longer possess. In alltruth we can say with the Gospel, that the last state be-cometh worse than the first, since it would be better, hadthese souls never known the w a y of justice, than to for­sake it when once recognised. T h i s happened to Judas,the traitor, to Simon, the magician, and to many othersmentioned in H o l y Scripture. Moreover, our L o r d hadalso another object in view when H e spoke this parable,namely, to apply it in a special manner to the Jews, and
  • 146. to teach them that, what H e said about one man would be fulfilled in the whole nation. For in St. Matthew H e concludes the same parable with these words : So shall it be also to this wicked generation (Matt. xii. 45). T h i s truth is confirmed in a most astonishing manner, when we bear in mind that the Jews, accepting the Divine law, forced the devil to go out of their hearts. This unclean spirit, driven out of his house, took refuge among the pagans, as in a desert, and there he found rest. B u t when these idolatrous nations began to believe in the Saviour of the world, then the devil, again driven out of this house, purposed to return to the Jews, where he had formerly taken up his abode. H e returned into the house he had left, and found it again deserted, for Jesus, W h o had foretold the Jews that their house would be desolate, no longer dwelt in their temple. T h i s , however, still seemed to be adorned ; but these ornaments were but exterior and meaningless observances, introduced by the Phari­sees. T h i s house was deprived of the assistance both of God and of the angels, and the enemy, accompanied byseven other spirits, entered without difficulty, and securedto himself the conquest of this nation, whose unfortunateend was worse than its beginning. For, since this unbe­lieving people has been blaspheming Jesus Christ, it ispossessed by devils in a more cruel manner than it. wasin E g y p t before the promulgation of the L a w . A t thetime, when the Jews did not believe in the comingMessiah, they were less guilty than when, after H i scoming, they refused to acknowledge and to receive H i m . F O U R T H S U N D A Y IN LENT.G O S P E L : John vi. 1-15. At that time: Jesus went overthe sea to Galilee, which is that of Tiberias; and a great 9—2
  • 147. multitude followed H i m , because they saw the miracleswhich H e did on them that were diseased. Jesus there­fore went up into a mountain, and there H e sat with Hisdisciples. N o w the Pasch, the festival day of the Jews,w a s near at hand. W h e n Jesus, therefore, had lifted upHis eyes, and seen that a very great multitude cometh toH i m , H e said to P h i l i p : W h e n c e shall w e buy breadthat these may eat ? A n d this H e said to try him, forH e Himself knew what H e would do. Philip answeredH i m : T w o hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficientfor them, that every one may take a little. One of H i sdisciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, saith toH i m : There is a boy here that hath five barley loavesand two fishes; but what are they among so many ?T h e n Jesus s a i d : M a k e the men sit down. N o w therewas much grass in the place. T h e men, therefore, satdown, in number above five thousand. A n d Jesus tookthe loaves, and when H e had given thanks, H e distri­buted to them that were sat down. In like manner alsoof the fishes, as much as they would ; and when theywere filled, H e saith to H i s disciples: Gather up thefragments that remain, lest they be lost. T h e y gathered up, therefore, and filled twelve baskets with the frag­ ments of the five barley loaves which remained over and above to them that had eaten. N o w these men, when they had seen what a miracle Jesus had done, said: This is of a truth the Prophet that is to come into the world. Jesus, therefore, when H e knew that they would come to take H i m by force and make H i m K i n g , fled again into the mountain Himself alone.
  • 148. H O M I L Y B Y ST. AUGUSTINE, BISHOP. TWENTY-FOURTH T R A C T ON ST. JOHN. I. T h e miracles done by our Lord Jesus Christ were the very works announcing His Divinity, and inviting men to recognise G o d in the visible work of His almighty power. G o d Himself is of such a nature as the human eye cannot see, and the miracles, by which H e continually rules the whole world, and satisfies the needs of all His creatures, do not excite our admiration; for w e always see them, and hardly take any notice of the wonderful fertility given by H i m to the little grain of grass trodden under our feet. According to His mercy, H e kept some• special works to be done in due season, but out of the common order of nature, so that men might see them and wonder, not because they are greater, but because they are not so common as those they but lightly esteem, since they see them every day. For it is a greater miracle to govern the whole universe than to feed 5,000 men with five loaves of bread. Y e t no man marvels at it, though everyone wonders at the feeding of 5,000 men, not because it is a greater miracle than the other, but because it is rarer. For is it not the same God W h o feeds the whole world, and W h o , from a little grain that is sown, makes the fulness of the harvest ? God works in both cases in one and the same manner ; H e makes the harvest to come of a few grains that are sown, and in His hands five barley loaves are multiplied for the feeding of 5,000 men. In Christs hands is this power. H e that multiplies the grains of corn, also multiplied the loaves, though not committing them to the earth created by H i m . T h i s miracle, therefore, is brought to bear upon our senses, that our mind may
  • 149. thereby be enlightened. It is shown to our eyes, to give food to our intellect; so that, through H i s works which we see, we may marvel at God, W h o m w e cannot see, and, being roused up to believe, and being purified by believing, we may be longing to see and to know, by the things we can see, H i m W h o is unseen. I I . However, it is not sufficient for us to see this meaning only in the miracles of Christ. W e must ask the miracles themselves what they have to tell us con­cerning Jesus Christ. Indeed, they have a tongue of their own, if only w e will understand it. Since Christ isthe W o r d of God, the work of this W o r d is a word forus. L e t us, therefore, endeavour to understand themiracle before us, and to discover the mystery containedin it. Our L o r d went up into a mountain, and this w a sdone that H i s voice might be better heard, and themiracle H e was going to perform, might be seen moreclearly, the higher the place and the easier H e could beseen. F r o m this place H e perceived the multitude,recognised that they were hungry, and fed them. Y e t ,the compassion of our L o r d for all these people wouldhave been of no avail to satisfy them, had H e not had atthe same time the power to do so. F o r the disciples ofJesus, being themselves tormented by hunger, felt greatsympathy with the multitude, and wished to help them ;yet they had neither the means nor the power. O u rLord, seeing the great multitude, said to Philip : Whenceshall we buy bread that these may eat ? A nd this He said totry him, for He flimself knew ivhat He wotdd do. B y thisquestion H e intended the ignorance of H i s disciple to bes h o w n ; and, since this was manifested, H e , withoutdoubt, wished to teach us a truth that shall be seenafterwards. I I I . In order briefly to explain the profound meaning
  • 150. contained in the story and circumstances of this wonderfulmultiplication of bread, let us first say that the five loavesrepresent the five B o o k s of Moses, which, belonging tothe Old Testament, may be compared with barley ratherthan with wheat. F o r you know that the former is, byits nature, covered with chaff, from which it is removedwith some difficulty. A n d it is the same with the writingsof the Old T e s t a m e n t : they are hidden under thickveils, and the meaning of them cannot be discovered butwith difficulty, though they yield rich food as soon as theshadow of the types, covering this meaning, has beensufficiently removed. T h e boy mentioned here, whobrought five loaves and two fishes, probably means theJewish people, among whom the Scriptures—of whichthey made no real use to recognise the truth—weredeposited. T h e two fishes seem to be the figure of thetwo powers established by God in the old covenant togovern and sanctify the nation, one being the priest­hood and the other the royal dignity. However, sinceboth these dignities were united in the person of JesusChrist, W h o s e types they were, H e perfectly fulfilledtheir duties b y sacrificing Himself for us as H i g h Priest,and reigning over us as K i n g . And thus the mysteriesof the Old Testament, announcing Jesus Christ, andseeming unintelligible, were made clear and intelligibleby the coming of this Divine Saviour. H e broke theloaves and multiplied them, thus showing that the fiveBooks of Moses, typifying these five loaves, are by theirfruitfulness infinitely multiplied when they are by inter­pretation opened, or, so to speak,broken.- T h e ignoranceof the people living under the Old L a w , is signified by thebarley of which the loaves were made; for it is said ofthe Jews that even now, when they read Moses, they arecovered with a veil, which the coming, the passion and
  • 151. the death of the Messiah were not able to remove orto tear asunder. Our L o r d makes us perceive this ignor­ance of the Jews b y the ignorance of H i s disciple whomH e addressed, when on the point of working the greatmiracle. I V . A l l the different circumstances of this great miracle,perfectly well connected, instruct us if only w e know howto draw the right conclusions. T h e number of 5 , 0 0 0men fed by our L o r d clearly represents the Israelitesliving under the L a w , which is explained by the fiveB o o k s of Moses. T h e same may be said of the pool ofBethsaida, in Jerusalem, surrounded b y five porches toshelter the sick. It represents the w e a k and languidstate of that people, who could only be cured by thepower of the Saviour, W h o restored health to the manfor many years sick of the palsy. L a s t l y , the multitudesitting on the grass are a figure of the bestial dispositionsof this carnal people, who only loved what flatters thesenses; for, according to the Scripture, allflesh is as grass(Isa. xl. 6). B y the fragments of the bread not eaten b ythe multitude w e are taught that there are certain truthswhich are above the intellect of common people, and theunderstanding of which is given only to those able toteach others, like the Apostles, represented b y the twelvebaskets filled with the remaining fragments. T h e multi­tude, witnessing this great miracle, never tired of admir­ing it. A s for us, beloved brethren, w h o hear it related,and know that it w a s performed for our instruction, weought not to admire it solely, like the Jews witnessing it.O u r faith, by which we believe what w e have not seen,raises us up far above the Jews, since our L o r d callsblessed those w h o have not seen and have believed, especiallyas w e have the" privilege to understand what the multi­tude could not perhaps perceive in this great miracle.
  • 152. L e t us be convinced that, as soon as we are able to pene­trate the mystery of this miracle, we shall find therein afar more useful food than that received by this multitude. V . Those witnessing this miracle said of our L o r d :This is of a truth the Prophet that is come into the world.T h e y probably spoke thus, because they only consultedtheir own senses witnessing the circumstances of themiracle. B u t the light of faith shows us Jesus as theTeacher of the prophets, a Teacher by W h o m they weresanctified, and in W h o m their prophecies were fulfilled.Jesus was a true P r o p h e t ; for the Almighty said toMoses : The Lord thy God will raise up to thee a Prophet ofthy nation (Deut. xviii. 1 5 ) ; that is, W h o will be likeMoses in the flesh, but W h o will be exceedingly higherthan Moses, on account of H i s Divine Majesty. T h etruth of this promise w a s confirmed by our L o r d , W h o ,speaking of Himself, s a i d : Amen, I say to you that noprophet is accepted in his own country (Luke iv. 24). Finally,the proof that H e is truly a prophet lies in the fact thatH e is the Divine W o r d , b y which all prophets, whom wemay call the word of God, were inspired. A n d if theworld has in olden times wonderingly gazed at prophetsinspired by G o d and filled by the Holy Ghost to bringHis words to the world, w e have the happiness of seeingthat Prophet, W h o is the all-powerful and uncreatedW o r d of G o d . Since Jesus Christ is called a Prophet,though superior to all other prophets, we also, using thewords of H o l y Scripture, call Him an Angel, though H eis the Prince of all heavenly spirits. W h e n the prophetcalls H i m the Angel of the great counsel (Isa. i x . 6 ; Sept.),he does not contradict himself, since he says elsewhere :Not an angel, nor an ambassador, but God Himself willcome and- save t h e m ; that is, to save them H e will notsend an angel, will not send an. ambassador, but will
  • 153. come Himself. W h o will come ? T h e A n g e l Himself. Certainly not by an angel, except as H e is an Angel, so as to be also the L o r d of angels. F o r angels, in our tongue, are messengers. If Christ brought no message, H e would not be called an A n g e l ; and if Christ prophe­ sied nothing, H e would not be called a Prophet. Since H e exhorted us to accept the faith, and to walk on the road leading to eternal life, H e fulfilled the duties of an A n g e l sent by G o d , for H e announced these truths whilstwith us. In the same manner H e fulfilled the duties ofa Prophet by H i s prophecies concerning the future.T h a t H e w a s the W o r d of God made flesh, H e was the L o r d both of angels and prophets. V I . B u t w h y did H e again ascend into the mountainwhen H e perceived that they wished to take H i m byforce and make H i m a K i n g ? D i d H e not know thatH e w a s a K i n g , since H e feared to be made a K i n g ?Indeed, H e w a s a K i n g ; not such a K i n g as could bemade by men, but such as should give a kingdom tomen. M a y w e not suppose that by this action Jesussignifies something special to us, since H i s deeds arewords ? Therefore, their wishing to take H i m by forceand make H i m a King, and H i s retiring into the moun­tain Himself alone, does this speak nothing and signifynothing ? It may. be that their wish to take H i m byforce meant they wanted to forestall the time of H i skingdom. F o r H e came into this world not to reignnow, as H e shall reign in that kingdom for which we praywhen w e say, Thy kingdom come. F o r being the Son ofG o d , the W o r d of G o d — W o r d by which all thingswere created—He for ever reigns with the Father. T h eprophets foretold H i s kingdom, according to that whereinH e is Christ, made man, and has made H i s believersChristians. There shall, therefore, be a kingdom of
  • 154. Christians, which is now gathering and getting together, and which is bought by the Blood of Jesus Christ. B u t there shall be also, at some future time, a glorious king­ dom of Christ, at the time when the glory of H i s saints shall be revealed, after the judgment executed by Him, which, as H e said above, the Son of Man will execute. Of this kingdom the Apostle s a y s : When He shall havedelivered up the kingdom to God and the Father (1 Cor. x v . 24).Jesus Christ Himself speaks of this kingdom : Come, yeblessed of My Father ; possess you the kingdom prepared for yonfrom the foundation of the world (Matt. x x v . 34). B u t thedisciples and the multitude, believing in H i m , thoughtH e had come to reign n o w ; hence they wanted to takeH i m by force and make H i m a King, not knowing thatthe time had not yet come. Therefore, our L o r d , fleeinginto the mountain, shows that H e wished to hide thisknowledge within Himself, and bring it forth in dueseason, that is, at the end of the world. FIFTH SUNDAY IN L E N T , OR PASSION SUNDAY. G O S P E L : John viii. 46-59, At that time: Jesus said to the multitude of the J e w s : W h i c h of you shall convince Me of sin ? If I say the truth to you, w h y do you not believe M e ? H e that is of G o d heareth the words ofGod. Therefore you hear them not, because you are notof God. T h e Jews therefore answered and said to Him :D o not we say well that T h o u art a Samaritan, and hasta devil ? Jesus answered: I have not a d e v i l ; but Ihonour M y Father, and y o u have dishonoured Me. B u tI seek not Mine own glory ; there is One that seeketh andjudgeth. Amen, amen, I say to y o u : If any man keep M y
  • 155. word, he shall not see death for ever. T h e Jews thereforesaid : N o w we know that T h o u hast a devil. Abrahamis dead, and the prophets; and T h o u s a y e s t : If any mankeep M y word, he shall not taste death for ever. A r t T h o ugreater than our father Abraham, who is dead ? A n d theprophets are dead ? W h o m dost T h o u make Thyself ?Jesus answered: If I glorify Myself, M y glory is nothing.It is M y Father that glorifieth Me, of W h o m you saythat H e is your G o d ; and you have not known H i m , butI know Him. A n d if I shall say that I know H i m not,I shall be like to you, a liar. B u t I do know H i m , anddo keep His word. Abraham, your father, rejoiced thathe might see M y day. H e saw it and was glad. T h eJews therefore said to H i m : T h o u art not yet fifty yearsold, and T h o u hast seen Abraham ? Jesus said to them :Amen, amen, I say to you, before A b r a h a m was made,I A M . T h e y took up stones, therefore, to cast at H i m .B u t Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple.HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, PREACHED IN THE CHURCH O F ST. TETER ON PASSION SUNDAY. EIGHTEENTH HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. L e t us consider here, beloved brethren, the greatgoodness and meekness of the Son of G o d . H e cameinto this world to take away sins, and H e says to theJ e w s : Which of you shall convince Me of sin ? H e wasable, through the power of His Divinity, to justify sinners,and was contented to show by argument that H e was notHimself a sinner. B u t the words H e added, He that isof God, heareth the words of God, must fill us with fear andfright; for you hear them not, because you are not of God, H eat once added. If, then, whosoever is of G o d hears G o d s
  • 156. words, and whosoever is not of God cannot hear Him,let everyone ask himself, whether in the ear of his hearthe hears Gods words, and understands whose words theyare. T h e Truth commands us to be longing for a homein heaven, to bridle the lusts of the flesh, to turn awayfrom the glory of the world, not to seek any mans goodsand to give away our own. L e t , therefore, every one ofyou think within himself, if this voice of God be heard inthe ear of his heart, and if he already know that he is ofGod. F o r there are some, who do not deign to hear thecommandments of God, not even with their bodily ears.And there are some who do not mind hearing them withtheir bodily ears, but whose heart is far from them.A n d there are some, who hear the words of God withjoy, and even are thereby moved to tears, but who turnagain to iniquity as soon as the fit of weeping is past.Those who despise to do the words of God, do not hearthem. Therefore, beloved brethren, carefully recall toyour mind your own life ; then with fear and tremblingponder on those awful words spoken by the mouth of theEternal Truth : Therefore you hear them not, because you arenot of God. And what the L o r d here speaks about thereprobate, they themselves make the same thing concern­ing them manifest by their evil deeds. These wordsfollow immediately : The Jews therefore answered and saidto Him: Do not we say well that Thou art a Samaritan, andhast a devil ? I I . N o w let us hear what the Lord answered to suchan insult. I have not a devil, but I honour My Father, andyon have dishonoured Me. T h e Lord said, I have not a devil ;but H e did not say, / am not a Samaritan, for in onesense H e was a Samaritan, because the word Samaritanin the Hebrew language signifies a watcher. Andthe L o r d is that W a t c h e r of W h o m the Psalmist says :
  • 157. Unless the Lord keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it ( P s . cxxviii. 2). H e also is the W a t c h m a n to W h o m Isaias s a y s : Watchman, what of the night ? Watchman, what of the night? (Isa. x x i . 1 1 . ) Therefore the L o r d said, / have not a devil, but not, / am not a Samaritan. Of the two things brought against H i m H e denied one, but by H i s silence admitted the other. Indeed, our Saviour came into this world to watch over the whole human race, therefore H e said nothing when accused of being a Samaritan, but defended Himselfagainst and denied the unjust and wicked imputation ofhaving a devil. B y the extraordinary meekness shownby our. L o r d towards H i s enemies H e puts, to shame ourpride and haughtiness ; for, when we receive the slightestinjustice, w e often accuse our opponents of greater crimesthan those imputed to us. W e do to them whatever injurywe are able to, and even threaten them with punishmentsthat are not in our power. N o w consider the exampleof patience given by our L o r d : the blackest calumniesare invented against H i m and H e is not a n g r y ; whenjustifying Himself H e never makes use of an offensiveword. In truth H e could have answered the Jews, whoin such improper manner calumniated H i m , that theywere themselves possessed by the devil, since they couldnot blaspheme G o d without being animated by the evilspirit. Y e t H e , W h o is T r u t h itself, did not on thisoccasion make use of the truth to defend Himself. H i swords were spoken solely for giving testimony to thetruth, and not for revenging Himself on H i s enemies. B ythis action of the Son of God we are taught that, whenwe are attacked by our brethren with false accusations,we are not to publish the faults they are themselvesguilty of, so that passion should not give to our handsweapons wherewith to satisfy our anger, instead of
  • 158. punishing them in a lawful manner. And since it is well known that those, who most zealously exert them­ selves to work for the glory and intentions of God, are very often calumniated by the wicked and freethinkers, our L o r d wished to give us in H i s own person an example of patience, saying to the Jews, by whom H e was unjustly accused : 7 honour My Father, but you have * dishonoured Me. A n d in order perfectly to instruct us concerning the dispositions of our mind when we suffer for justice sake H e added : / seek not Mine own glory. There is One that seeketh and judgeth. N o w the Gospel tells us that the Father hath given all judgment to the Son (John v. 2 2 ) ; therefore, when the Son, overwhelmed with insults and accusations, and without vindicating His own honour, leaves the duty of revenge to H i s Father, H ewishes us to understand that we are calmly to bear any detractions or calumnies coming from our brethren. For we see that H e , W h o received from His Father thepower to judge, did not make use of it then, to administerjustice. However, should, in spite of our moderation,the malice of the wicked against us increase from day today, let us not withhold from them the teachings ofthe Divine doctrine. O n the contrary, let us persevere inbur instructing them according to our L o r d s example,W h o , in spite of the insulting reproaches of H i s enemies,saying that H e had a devil, continued even with greaterzeal H i s kind and patient teaching. F o r immediatelyafter H e added: Amen, amen, I say to you : If any mankeep My word, he shall not see death for ever. A s it is certainthat the just become more perfect by the injuries done tothem, so it is also true that the wicked grow worsethrough the kindness shown to them. W e see, that afterthe kind exhortations and admonitions addressed tothem by Jesus, the Jews were stilly more angry, and had
  • 159. the wickedness to say to H i s face : Now we know that Thouhast a devil. T h e y were spiritually blind, and could notperceive the deadly state in which they were throughtheir sins. B u t since they considered temporal death asthe greatest of all evils, they said to our Saviour :A braham is dead, and the prophets, and Thou sayest: If any mankeep My word, he shall not taste death for ever. B y theirwords these Jews seem to have believed in the Scriptures,since they recognised Abraham and the prophets, andhonoured their memory ; yet the honour given to H i sservants by those who do not recognise G o d is neitherreal nor true. III. T h o u g h our L o r d saw that the Jews tried theirutmost to oppose H i s doctrine, H e never ceased to preach,the truth, and continued H i s teaching, for H e said tot h e m : Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see Myday; he saw it and was glad. T h a t day of the Lord, whichAbraham really saw, was that on which he received intohis house three Angels under the appearance of travellers.F o r these three Angels, appearing under a human form,represented to the faith of Abraham the adorable mysteryof the Blessed Trinity which he recognised. H e addressedthe Three present before him, as if speaking only to one,so as to show that in the three Persons of the H o l yTrinity, whom he adored, there was the Unity of theDivine Nature. A s to those who keep their souls boweddown to the earth, it is in vain they hear the doctrine ofh e a v e n ; their eyes never look upwards to gaze at it.T h u s we see that the Jews, with their carnal thoughts,had in view only the years of our Saviours mortal life,and said to H i m : Thou art not yet fifty years old, and Thouhast seen Abraham? Thereon our L o r d , to raise them upto the comprehension of His Divinity, and to shut theeyes of their bodies, wherewith alone they looked at H i m ,
  • 160. answered: Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham was made, I AM. Y o u will notice that our Lord did not say, I was before Abraham, but before Abraham was made, I A M , in order to show by this expression that His Divine Nature, which is eternal, knows neither the past nor the future, but is ALWAYS PRESENT. For this reason God the Almighty, speaking to Moses, said: I AM WHO AM ; then added : Then shalt thou say to the children of Israel: He who is, hath sent Me to you ( E x o d . iii. 14). A s man Jesus Christ was by His birth to come either before or after the time of Abraham. But, being the Eternal Truth, and not subject to any time, H e could have neither beginning nor end. Y e t , as the unbelieving Jews were not able to understand these eternal truths, announced to them by the Redeemer, They took up stones to cast at Him, and tried to kill H i m W h o m they were unable to understand. I V . T o avoid the fury of the Jews, who were on the point of stoning Him, Jesus, as the Gospel says, hid Him­ self and went out of the temple. W h a t ought to be to you, beloved brethren, a motive of astonishment, is the fact that our Saviour is seen escaping the persecution of His enemies, whose hands H e could have bound by His mere will, and whose lives H e could have taken, had H e madeuse of His almighty power. Y e t , this infinitely good God, W h o had come into this world to suffer and to die,would not show the severity of a judge. This was againproved at the time of His Passion, when H e said to thesoldiers, who had come with Judas to apprehend H i m :I am He (John xviii. 5), and they went backwards and fellto the ground. Y e t , H e allowed them to take hold of HisSacred Person, and H e willingly submitted to all thetortures they inflicted on H i m . Now, if we ask why ourLord hid Himself, since, without escaping from thepresence of His enemies, H e could have rendered all 10
  • 161. their efforts powerless, w e shall see that this Redeemerof the world wished to teach us an important lesson bothby H i s example and H i s words. H i s action tells usthat even when we are able to scorn the attacks of ourenemies, and the injuries they try to inflict on us, we are,after His example, to avoid by timely retirement, thewrath of their excited passions. S t . Paul, in his Epistleto the Romans (ch. xii.) repeats the same exhortation.L e t us therefore carefully avoid the fury of our brethrenwhom we see angry with us ; let us not rise against thoseby whom we are calumniated, nor render evil for e v i l ;but let us be convinced by the example given b y G o dHimself, that it is more honourable to overcome allinsults and persecutions by flight and silence, than bytaking revenge. V . Y e t the spirit of pride whispers into our ears :Silence brings shame, when we are attacked and do notresist. W h e n those, witnessing the affronts put upon us,notice that we are silent, they will not be convinced ofour patience, but will imagine that in the depth of ourconscience w e confess ourselves guilty of the sinsimputed to us. T h u s speaks pride. H o w e v e r , suchthoughts arising in our mind, and trying to stifle thefeelings of moderation inspired by patience, come fromour human opinion, and our inclination to think more ofthe false honour of the world and peoples opinions, thanof the esteem and approval of G o d , W h o from theheights of heaven witnesses our doings. This is not thew a y of following Jesus, for H e says : * / seek not Mine ownglory ; there is One that seeheth and judgeth. T h e words of the Evangelist, Jesus hid Himself and wentout of the temple, may have yet another meaning, namely,that our Saviour was forsaking the Jews, who despisedthe word of salvation announced to them, and of which
  • 162. they made no other use than to become more wicked,and even to wish to stone H i m . H e hid the truth beforethem, since by their pride and their contempt for it, theyhad become unworthy of H i s heavenly doctrine. Forproud and vain souls, not knowing the value of humility,are abandoned b y the T r u t h . Y e t , are there not manyChristians, perhaps among us, who, detesting the obduracyof the Jews w h o were deaf to the Lords teaching, arejust as guilty by refusing to put into practice this samedoctrine of Jesus ? Many hear what our Redeemercommands us to practise ; they recognise the Divinepower in H i s miracles, but they refuse to change theirlives and thus to be converted. Jesus calls us, and wedo not return to H i m ; H e bears with us in our sinfullife, and we abuse His patience. Oh, my belovedbrethren ! let us not hesitate to renounce our sinful wayswhilst there is yet time ; let us take care lest God betired of waiting for us, and, after despising H i s infinitemercy, we fall into the hands of His infinite justice.S I X T H S U N D A Y IN L E N T , O R P A L M S U N D A Y .G O S P E L : Matt. xxi. 1-17. A n d when they drew nighto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto MountOlivet, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them :G o ye into the village that is over against you, andimmediately you shall find an ass tied, and a colt withher; loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyman shall say anything to you, say ye that the L o r dhath need of them, and forthwith he will let them go.Now, all this was done that it might be fulfilled whichwas spoken b y the Prophet, saying: T e l l y e the daughter of Sion : Behold thy king cometh to thee,meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a-colt the foal of her 10—2
  • 163. that is used to the yoke. A n d the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them. And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made H i m sit thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the w a y ; and others cut boughsfrom the trees, and strewed them in the w a y ; and the multitudes that went before and that followed, cried,s a y i n g : Hosanna to the Son of D a v i d : Blessed is H ethat cometh in the N a m e of the L o r d . Hosanna in thehighest. A n d when H e was come to Jerusalem, thewhole city was moved, saying : * W h o is this ? A n d the 6people said : T h i s is Jesus, the Prophet, from Nazarethof Galilee. A n d Jesus went into the Temple of God,and cast out all them that sold and bought in theTemple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers,and the chairs of them that sold doves. A n d H e saith {to t h e m : M y house shall be called the house of prayer ;but you have made it a den of thieves. A n d therecame to H i m the blind and the lame in the Temple, andH e healed them. A n d the chief priests and scribes, seeingthe wonderful things that H e did, and the children cryingin the Temple, and saying : Hosanna to the Son ofDavid, were moved with indignation, and said to H i m :6 Hearest T h o u what they s a y ? A n d Jesus said tot h e m : Y e a , have you never read: " O u t of the mouthof infants and of sucklings thou hast perfected praise " ?A n d leaving them, H e went out of the city into Bethania,and remained there. HOMILY BY ST. AMBROSE, BISHOP OF MILAN. BOOK IX., ON ST. L U K E . I. W h a t a beautiful type is before our e y e s ! OurLord, on the point of forsaking the Jews, and of taking
  • 164. His abode in the hearts of the Gentiles, goes up into theTemple, thus indicating that H e would be adored bythem in spirit and in truth ; that the temple they were toconsecrate to H i m , would not be a building erected bythe hands of men, but the real Temple of the true God,laid upon the foundation of faith. T h u s our Lord pre­fers the Gentiles, who would love Him, to the Jews, whohad only hatred for H i m . Therefore H e goes up to theMount of Olives, that upon the heights of grace H e mayplant those young olive-branches whose mother is theJerusalem which is above. A n d the heavenly Husband­man stands upon this holy mount, so that all those whom H e planted in the House of G o d may be able truthfullyto say : But I am as a fruitful olive-tree in the house of God(Ps. Ii. 10). Perhaps that mountain signifies Jesus ChristHimself. F o r what other mount could bring forth suchfruitful olive-trees, not bending under the weight of theirown fruit, but spiritually fruitful with the fulness of theGentiles ? H e also it is by W h o m and unto W h o m wego up ; for H e is the W a y in which we walk ; H e is theDoor at which we knock, and which opens to let us enterinto the sanctuary after being made worthy to worshipHim. II. T h e Gospel also says that the disciples went intoa village, and that there they found an ass tied and a coltwith her. Neither could be loosed but by the commandof the L o r d ; and it w a s the hand of His Apostles thatloosed them. This was done to indicate the great graceimparted by our L o r d to H i s servants, giving them powerto loose from sin ; and also to teach H i s ministers toimitate the holiness of the Apostles, since they also havereceived the same power to loose them that are bound.Now, if w e consider the great misfortune of our firstparents who, after their fall, were banished from their
  • 165. home in Paradise into a village, we shall find that those who had been cast out b y death, were again called back by the Giver of Life. F o r this reason w e read in Matthew that there were tied both an ass and her colt, to give us to understand that, as man w a s banished from Paradise in a member of either sex, so is his recall b y the Redeemer figured in animals of both sexes. T h e she-ass is a type of our sinful mother, E v e , and the colt of the multitude of the Gentiles ; and it was upon the colt that Jesus took H i s seat. A n d it is well said that on that colt no man ever hath sitten ( L u k e x i x . 30), because before Jesus Christ no man ever called the Gentiles into the Church. And when St. Mark (xi. 2) repeats the statement, You shallfind a colt, upon which no man yet hath sat, it is to teach us that though the idolatrous nations had been until then kept in the darkness of error by an unjust authority, no ruler had any lawful right over them, because they were free by nature, though slaves by sin. F o r this reason our Lord commanded H i s disciples to say : The Lord hath need of them ; to give us to understand that, though there are many rulers and masters in the world, there is only one God and L o r d , W h o is the absolute Ruler of all H i s creatures. I I I . St. Mark also says in his Gospel, that the colt was tied before the gate without, in the meeting of two ways (xi. 4), to indicate that everyone w h o is not Christs, is without the gate of salvation. W h e r e a s he that is Christs, is not without, and is not, like this animal, standing in the meeting of two w a y s , exposed to the gaze of passers-by, and having neither stable nor fodder. T h i s colt belonged to no special owner, and its condition was most pitiable, because it was ready to bear the yoke of the first comer, and to be the slave of many, having no special master. Consider also the difference between
  • 166. Jesus and the rulers of the world. These latter makeuse of fetters and chains to secure their possessions,whilst Jesus Christ, as seen b y the command given toHis Apostles, looses and delivers those who serve H i m .His blessings and gifts are more powerful to attach us toHim than the chains by which we are bound. W e alsonotice that the disciples sent by our Lord to bring to H i mthe ass and the colt, spoke not by their own authority,but answered the owner in the manner commanded byour L o r d Himself. B y this also we understand that theApostles announced the true faith to the pagan nationsnot by their own words, but by the W o r d of God ; notin their own name, but in the name of Jesus C h r i s t ; andalso that the powers of darkness, keeping the nations inidolatry, were forced to restore them by the command ofGod announced to them by H i s ambassadors. W h e n ,lastly, w e see the Apostles spread their garments in theway under the feet of Jesus, we learn thereby that prac­tice of edifying works must needs precede the preachingof the Gospel. Garments, according to H o l y Scripture,often signify virtues, which are powerful means to softenthe hearts of unbelievers to whom the tenets of faith arepreached. These virtues also make straight the pathleading to the minds of those whom the apostoliclabourers. endeavour to convert. L e t us not think thatthe K i n g of the whole world had any other object inview at H i s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, than toannounce, by the exterior decorations covering the way,His wish to enrich our souls with His gifts, and to erectHis throne in our hearts. It was a sign of H i s triumph,and of the loving dominion H e would establish in allthese souls, after overcoming their passions and winningfor Himself their affections. Happy, therefore, theChristian who receives into his heart this great and
  • 167. peaceful Conqueror! H a p p y also he whose tongue isruled by this Divine W o r d . I V . However, beloved brethren, what bridle will beable to keep our tongue in check, or to loose it forspeaking at the opportune moment ? St. P a u l gives thea n s w e r ; for he asked the Ephesians to continue theirprayers and supplications to God, and for me, that speechmay be given to me, that I may open my mouth with confidence,to make known the mystery of the Gospel ( E p h . v i . 19). T h eword of the Lord, that is heard in the innermost of ourheart, is the bridle governing us, and the goad excitingour souls, and against which it is hard to kick, as Jesussaid to H i s Apostle, After learning from this Apostle toobey the grace of G o d , to accept the goad and bear H i syoke, let us also learn from the Prophet how to bridleour tongue; for the science of keeping silent is a virtuerarer than that of speaking at the right time. N o one willbe more able to teach us this science than the Prophethimself, who set a guard to his mouth, when sinners stoodagainst him ; who w a s dumb, and w a s humbled, andready for the scourges sent by Providence (Ps. xxxviii.).Learn, therefore, to imitate the example given by theMan-God ; learn to bear Jesus Christ, W h o has borneyou, carrying you back to the fold, when y o u had goneastray ; learn gladly to submit to the yoke of the Re­deemer, that you may become the rulers of the world.B u t no one can boast of bearing Jesus Christ, unless hebe able to say with the P r o p h e t : / am become miserable,and 1 am bound down even to the end; I am afflicted andhumbled exceedingly; I roared with the groaning of my heart(Ps. xxxvii. 7, 9). In order never to leave the right andstraight path, you must step upon the garments spreadby the disciples on the w a y of the Redeemer ; you mustbe careful not to soil your feet—that is, your works, with
  • 168. the filth of the w o r l d ; and you must follow the road made straight for you by the Prophets. T h u s , those whowent before our L o r d on H i s entry into the city, spreadtheir garments in the w a y , to point out to the Gentilesthe road to be taken by them. Thus, also, the Apostlesreddened this road of salvation with their own blood, toguide you and make your steps sure on that road. How­ever, the meaning we give to these words does not hinderus from saying that the Gentiles, typified by the coltstepping upon the garments of the Jewish people, havealready begun to take possession of the inheritancedestined b y God for them, and of which the Jews madethemselves unworthy. V . It would, perhaps, be a useless question to inquireabout the meaning of the branches cut off the trees andstrewed in the way, since they would hinder the progressof the passers-by rather than smooth their path. B u twe are told by the Lord of the whole world, whose Provi­dence governs the universe, that the axe was already laidto the root of the trees, to cut down every tree not yield­ing good fruit. W e see this fulfilled at-the coming of theSaviour of the world, by W h o m the pride of the Gentileswas trodden under foot by being subjected to the yoke ofHis Gospel. O n the knowledge of the Gospel these con­verted pagans founded their glory, and, treading on theirpride, followed H i m . These once idolatrous nations, nowrenewed and animated by the Spirit, are, so to speak,new branches bringing forth the fruit of life on a stemthat formerly seemed unfruitful. St. L u k e justly remarksthat, when He was now coming near the descent of Mount Olivetthe whole multitude of His disciples began with joy to praiseGod with a loud voice, for all the mighty works they had seen(Luke x i x . 37), thus testifying that the great mysteryof salvation was going to be fulfilled by this Redeemer
  • 169. sent from heaven. T h e s e people acknowledged in thePerson of Jesus Christ their G o d and K i n g ; they re­called to mind the words of the Prophet glorifying theSon of God, and they recognised H i m as the Saviour ofthe House of Israel, for W h o m they had been waiting solong. B u t , since the ungrateful nation of the Jews, whowere soon to crucify H i m , gave beforehand testimony toH i s Divinity, they pronounced against themselves thesentence of damnation, because exteriorly they recog­nised the God of truth, and yet in their hearts thebetrayed and condemned H i m . GOOD FRIDAY.T H E PASSION OF OUR L O R D J E S U S C H R I S T , ACCORDING TO S T . JOHN XVIII. AND XIX.At that time: Jesus went forthwith His disciples over thebrook Cedron, where there was a garden, into which H eentered with H i s disciples. N o w Judas also, who be­trayed Him, knew the place, because Jesus had oftenresorted thither, together with His disciples. Judas,therefore, having received a band of soldiers and servantsfrom the chief priests and the Pharisees, cometh thitherwith lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus, therefore,knowing all things that should come upon H i m , wentforth and said to t h e m : W h o m seek y e ? T h e yanswered H i m : Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith to them : I am He. A n d Judas also, who betrayed H i m , stood with them. A s soon, therefore, as H e had said to them, I am H e , they went backward, and fell to theground. Again, therefore, H e asked them : * W h o m seeky e ? A n d they said: Jesus of Nazareth. Jesusanswered: I have told you that I am H e ; if, therefore,
  • 170. you seek Me, let these go their way, that the word mightbe fulfilled, which H e said : " Of them whom T h o u hastgiven Me"I have not lost a n y o n e . " Then Simon Peter,having a sword, drew it, and struck the servant of thehigh priest, and cut off his right ear. And the name ofthe servant was Malchus. Jesus therefore said to Peter:6 Put up thy sword into the scabbard. T h e chalicewhich M y Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ?Then the band and the tribune and the servants of theJews took Jesus, and bound Him, and led H i m away toAnnas first, for he was father-in-law to Caiphas, who wasthe high priest of that year. Now, Caiphas was he whohad given the counsel to the Jews, that it w a s expedientthat one man should die for the people. A n d SimonPeter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple, andthat disciple was known to the high priest, and went inwith Jesus into the court of the high priest. B u t Peterstood at the door without. T h e other disciple, therefore,who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke tothe portress, and brought in Peter. T h e maid, therefore,that was portress, saith to Peter : * Art not thou also one iof this Mans disciples ? H e saith : I am not. N o w ,the servants and ministers stood at a fire of coals, becauseit was cold, and warmed themselves, and with them wasPeter also standing, and warming himself. T h e highpriest, therefore, asked Jesus of His disciples, and of His 1doctrine. Jesus answered him : 1 have spoken openlyto the w o r l d ; I have a l w a y s taught in the synagogueand in the temple, whither all the Jews resort, and insecret I have spoken nothing. W h y askest thou Me ?A s k them who have heard what I have spoken to them.Behold, they know what things I have said. And whenH e had said these things, one of the officers standing by egave Jesus a blow, s a y i n g : Answerest T h o u the high
  • 171. priest so ? Jesus answered h i m : * If I have spokenevil, give testimony of the evil, but if well, w h y strikestthou M e ? A n d Annas sent H i m bound to Caiphas, thehigh priest. And Simon Peter was standing, and warming 1himself. T h e y said, therefore, to him : A r t not thoualso one of H i s disciples? H e denied it, and said: Iam not. One of the servants of the high priest (a kins­man to him whose ear Peter cut off) saith to h i m : Didnot I see thee in the garden with H i m ? T h e n Peteragain denied, and immediately the cock crew. T h e n theyled Jesus from Caiphas to the governors hall. A n d itw a s morning, and they went not. into the hall, that theymight not be defiled, but that they might eat the pasch. 1Pilate therefore went out to them, and said: W h a taccusation bring you against this Man ? T h e y answered 1and said to him : If H e were not a malefactor, we wouldnot have delivered H i m up to thee. Pilate then said to 1them : T a k e H i m you, and judge H i m according toyour law. T h e Jews therefore said to him : It is notlawful for us to put any man to death. T h a t the word ofJesus might be fulfilled, which H e said, signifying whatmanner of death H e should die. Pilate therefore wentinto the hall again, and called Jesus, and said to H i m : A r t T h o u the K i n g of the J e w s ? Jesus answered:* Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or have others told it {thee of M e ? Pilate answered : A m I a Jew ? T h yown nation and the chief priests have delivered T h e e up 6to me. W h a t hast T h o u done ? Jesus answered : M ykingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were ofthis world M y servants would certainly strive that Ishould not be delivered to the J e w s : but now M ykingdom is not from hence. Pilate therefore said toH i m : A r t T h o u a K i n g , t h e n ? Jesus answered:* T h o u sayest that I am a K i n g . For this w a s I born,
  • 172. a n d for this came I into the world, that I should givetestimony to the truth. Everyone that is of the truthheareth M y voice. Pilate saith to H i m : W h a t istruth ? A n d when he had said this, he went out againto the Jews, and said to t h e m : I find no cause inH i m ; but you have a custom that I should release oneunto you at the pasch : will you, therefore, that I releaseunto you the King of the J e w s ? Then cried they all,saying : N o t this man, but Barabbas. N o w Barabbaswas a robber. Then, therefore, Pilate took Jesus andscourged H i m , and the soldiers, platting a crown ofthorns, put it upon His head, and they put on H i m apurple garment. And they came to Him, and said: 1* Hail, K i n g of the Jews I And they gave H i m blows.Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith to t h e m : Behold, I bring H i m forth unto you, that ye may knowthat I find no cause in H i m . Jesus therefore came forthbearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment.A n d he saith to them : Behold the Man. W h e n thechief priests, therefore, and the servants had seen Him,they cried out, s a y i n g : C r u c i f y H i m ! crucify H i m ! Pilate saith to them : T a k e H i m you, and crucify Him,for I find no cause in H i m . T h e Jews answered him : W e have a law, and according to the law H e ought todie, because H e made Himself the Son of G o d . W h e nPilate, therefore, had heard this saying, he feared themore. A n d he entered into the hall again, and he said toJesus: W h e n c e art T h o u ? But Jesus gave him noanswer. Pilate therefore saith to H i m : Speakest T h o unot to me ? Knowest T h o u not that I have the power tocrucify T h e e , and I have the power to release T h e e ? Jesusanswered: T h o u shouldst not have any power againstMe unless it were given thee "from above. Therefore,he that hath delivered M e to thee hath the greater sin.
  • 173. A n d from thenceforth Pilate sought to release H i m . B u t 1the Jews cried out, saying : If thou release this Manthou art not Caesars friend. F o r whosoever makes him­self a King, speaketh against Caesar. N o w , when Pilatehad heard these words, he brought Jesus forth, and satdown in the judgment-seat, in the place that is calledLithostrotos, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha. A n d it w a s theparasceve of the pasch, about the sixth hour. And hesaith to the J e w s : Behold your King. B u t they criedo u t : A w a y with H i m ; away with H i m ! CrucifyH i m ! Pilate saith to t h e m : Shall I crucify yourK i n g ? T h e chief priests answered : W e have no K i n gbut Caesar. Then, therefore, he delivered H i m to them *to be crucified. A n d they took Jesus, and led H i mforth ; and bearing His own cross, H e went forth to thatplace which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew, G o l g o t h a :where they crucified H i m , and with H i m two others, oneon each side, and Jesus in the midst. A n d Pilate wrotea title also, and he put it upon the cross, and the writingwas: J E S U S OF NAZARETH, THE K I N G OF THE J E W S . T h i s title, therefore, many of the Jews did read, becausethe place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city;and it was written in Hebrew, in Greek, and in Latin. (T h e n the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate : W r i t enot, " T h e K i n g of the Jews," but that H e said : " l a mthe K i n g of the J e w s . " Pilate answered: W h a t Ihave written, I have written. T h e n the soldiers, whenthey had crucified H i m , took His garments (and theymade four parts, to every soldier a part), and also Hiscoat. N o w , the coat was without seam, woven from thetop throughout. T h e y said then one to another : L e tus not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall b e ; that the Scripture might be fulfilled, s a y i n g : . * T h e yhave parted M y garments among them, and upon M y
  • 174. vesture they have cast lots/ And the soldiers indeeddid these things. N o w , there stood by the cross of Jesus H i s motherand H i s mothers sister, Mary of Cleophas and Mary Magdalene. W h e n Jesus, therefore, had seen His motherand the disciple standing, whom H e loved, H e saith toHis mother : W o m a n , behold thy son. After that, H esaith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And fromthat hour, the disciple took her to his own. Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished,that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said: * I thirst.N o w there w a s a vessel set there full of vinegar, andthey, putting a sponge full of vinegar about hyssop, put itto His mouth. Jesus therefore, when H e had taken (the vinegar, said : I t is consummated. And, bowingHis head, H e gave up the ghost. (Here all kneel andpause.) T h e n the Jews, because it was parasceve, thatthe bodies might not remain upon the cross on theSabbath-day (for that was a great Sabbath-day), besoughtPilate that their legs might be broken, and that theymight be taken away. T h e soldiers therefore came, andthey broke the legs of the first and of the other that wascrucified with H i m . B u t after they were come to Jesus,when they saw that H e was already dead, they did notbreak His legs, but one of the soldiers opened His sidewith a spear, and immediately there came out blood andwater. A n d he that saw it gave testimony, and his testi­mony is true, that you also may believe, For thesethings were done that the Scripture might be fulfilled : Y o u shall not break a bone of Him. And again anotherScripture sayeth : * T h e y shall look on.Him they pierced.And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because hewas a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews)besought Pilate that he might take away the body of
  • 175. Jesus. A n d Nicodemus also came, he who at first cameto Jesus by night, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes,about a hundred pounds weight. T h e y took, therefore,the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths, with thespices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. N o w therewas a garden in the place where H e w a s crucified, andin the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet hadbeen laid. There, therefore, because of the parasceve ofthe Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre w a s nighat hand. H O M I L Y BY ST. A U G U S T I N E , BISHOP. T R A C T 118, 119, ETC. I. W h e n Pilate had judged and condemned the L o r dJesus Christ at his judgment-seat, they took Him aboutthe sixth hour, and led Him forth ; and bearing His owncross, He went forth to that place which is called Calvary, butin Hebrew Golgotha, where they crucified Him. H e wasgoing, therefore, to the place where H e was to be cruci­fied. Jesus bearing His own cross. A great spectacle!B u t then to impiety a great sport to look upon, to pietyan exceedingly great mystery ! Impiety sees in it a greatdisplay of ignominy, piety a great strengthening of faith.Impiety looks on, and laughs at a king bearing, insteadof the sceptre of sovereignty, the wood of the punish­ment ; piety looks on, and sees the King bearing thatcross for Himself, to be fixed thereon, which H e wouldthereafter fix even on the brows of kings. A n object ofcontempt in the eyes of the impious, yet the same thingin which later on the hearts of the Saints will glory.T h u s to St. Paul, who one day will say, God forbid that I should glory but in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ(Gal. vi. 14), the L o r d commanded that very cross by
  • 176. GOOD FEW A Y bearing it on H i s shoulders ; and for that candle, which was to be lighted and not to be put under a bushel, the Lord bore the candlestick. II. T h e human race was lost by sin; for all men, coming from A d a m , had sinned in him. One alone was born without sin, and H e delivered from the yoke of sin. H e was made man in order to heal our wounds inflicted by sin. T h e Jews were as sick as all other men in the world, yet their pride made them believe that they were not in need of the physician ; and their disease was so much the more incurable, as their pride, by which it was caused, led them to despise H i m who had come to cure it. B u t they were not contented with despising* H i m ; they even put H i m to death. Y e t at the very time they took H i s life H e fulfilled for them the duties of a Physician. T h e y struck H i m , and H e cured them. H e felt the effects of their madness, but H e abandoned not the sick. T h e Jews surrounded Jesus Christ; they bound Him with ropes, buffeted Him, struck Him with a reed, overwhelmed H i m with insults and blasphemies ; lastly, they asked H i m juridical questions, condemned Him, and nailed H i m to the cross; yet H e still remained their Physician. Y o u have seen the character of the Jews in their madness, now consider the character of their Physician. Father, H e cried out, forgive them, for theyknow not what they do ( L u k e xxiii. 34). Blinded by theirrage and envy, they shed the blood, of their Physician,and the Physician shed His own blood to cure them oftheir blindness and fury; and in that intention that H i sblood might flow for them, H e cried out: Father, forgivethem, for they know not what they do, I I I . A n d Jesus, knowing that all things were nowaccomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said :I thirst. -The Divinity of Jesus Christ was hidden under 11
  • 177. the veil of H i s humanity. T h i s humanity suffered allthe insults and mockery of the Jews, whilst H i s Divinityallowed free scope to their fury. H e saw, then, that allthings were finished; that no more required to be donebefore H e should receive the vinegar and give up theg h o s t ; and that this also might be accomplished whatw a s foretold in the Scripture : And in My thirst they gaveMe vinegar to drink (Ps. lxviii. 22). H e said, / thirst, asif it were, One thing you have left undone; give whatyou are. F o r the Jews were themselves the vinegar, degenerated as they were from the wine of the Patriarchs and Prophets, and filled like a full vessel with the wicked­ ness of this world. T h i s godless people did all these things, and a compassionate Christ suffered them. T h i s blinded people knew not what they were doing ; but Jesus knew what w a s done, and w h y it w a s done; and H e wrought what was good through those w h o were doing what w a s evil. When Jesus, therefore, had taken the vinegar, He said : It is consummated. W h a t w a s finished, save all that the prophecies had foretold so long before ? T h e n , because nothing remained that yet w a s to be done before H e died, as H e had the power to lay down H i s life, and the power to take it up a g a i n ; now that all w a s accom­ plished, for the accomplishment of which H e w a s waiting, He bowed His head and gave up the ghost. W h o so sleeps when he will, as Jesus died when H e pleased ? W h o so lays aside his garment when he will, as H e put off H i s flesh when H e would ? W h a t traveller departs from a place when he pleases, as H e departed this life when H e pleased ? Therefore, what must we hope or fear to find H i s power as a Judge, if it was so great when H e died ?
  • 178. EASTER SUNDAY.G O S P E L : Mark x v i . 1-7. At that time: Mary Magdalen*and Mary, the mother of James, and Salome broughtsweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus. Andvery early in the morning, the first day of the week, theycome to the sepulchre, the sun being now risen. Andthey said one to another : W h o shall roll us back thestone from the door of the sepulchre ? A n d looking,they saw the stone rolled back. For it was very great.And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young mansitting on the right side, clothed with a white robe ; andthey were astonished. W h o saith to t h e m : B e notaffrighted; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, W h o was cruci­fied ; H e is risen, H e is not here ; behold the place wherethey laid H i m . B u t go, tell H i s disciples and Peter thatH e goeth before you into G a l i l e e ; there you shall seeHim, as H e told you.HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, PREACHED IN THE CHURCH OF T H E BLESSED VIRGIN MARY ON EASTER SUNDAY. TWENTY-FIRST HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. Y o u have heard, beloved brethren, the deed of theholy women w h o followed our L o r d , how they broughtsweet spices to His sepulchre, and, having loved H i mwhile H e was still alive, they still followed Him withcareful tenderness now that H e was dead. But, whatthese holy women did, points to something which is to bedone in the holy Church. And it behoves us well to giveear to what they did, that w e may afterwards considerwith ourselves what we must do after their example.W e also, believing in H i m W h o is dead, we come to His
  • 179. sepulchre bearing sweet spices, if we seek H i m with the savour of pious living and the fragrant odour of good works. These women, when they brought spices, saw a vision of angels, and those souls w h o are moved by the pious desire to seek the L o r d with the good odour of holy lives, will see the countrymen of our Fatherland that is above. I I . If we inquire about the mystery contained in the fact of the Angel who, appearing to the holy women, sat on the right side, w e shall find that by the left side is meant the life which now is, and life everlasting by theright side. F o r in the B o o k of the Canticles it is said ofthe B r i d e g r o o m : His left hand is under my head, and Hisright hand shall embrace me (Cant. ii. 6). Since, therefore,our Redeemer had passed from the corruption of this life,the Angel, who told that H i s eternal life w a s come, satbecomingly on the right side. T h e y saw him clothedwith a white robe, for he announced the j o y of this ourgreat solemnity, and the shining whiteness of his raimenttold of the brightness of this our holy festival. Of ours,did I say ? or of his ? B u t , if we speak the truth, wemust acknowledge that it is both his and ours. T h eResurrection of our L o r d is a festival of gladness for us,since w e now know that we shall not die for e v e r ; andfor the angels also it is a festival of joy, for they nowknow that we are called to complete their number inheaven. I I I . Therefore, on this glad festival, which is both hisand ours, the Angel appeared in a white robe. F o r asthe Lord, rising again from the dead, leads us to theeternal dwellings above, H e repairs the breaches or gapsof the heavenly Fatherland. B u t what is the meaningof these words spoken by the Angel to the women whohad come to the sepulchre: Be not affrighted ? Is it not
  • 180. as though he had said openly : L e t them fear who lovenot the coming of the heavenly citizens ; let them beaffrighted who are so burdened by fleshly lusts, that theydespair ever to be joined to their company. B u t as toyou, w h y do ye fear, since seeing us you only see yourfellow-citizens ? T h u s also S t . Matthew, describing theappearance of the Angel, says : His countenance was aslightning, and his raiment as snow (Matt, xxviii. 3). T h elightning speaks of fear and terror, *the snow of thebrilliant whiteness of rejoicing. Since God the Almightyshows Himself terrible to sinners, but at the same timewell pleased with good and pious souls, it w a s but rightthat the Angel, who had been sent by H i m to give testi­mony to H i s Resurrection, should inspire some with fearand terror by the lightning, and others with confidenceand hope by H i s garment. G o d Himself wished toconvey to us this meaning, for H e guided the Israelitesthrough the desert by a pillar of fire in the night and a cloud during the day (Exod. xiii.). F o r the life of thejust may be compared to daylight, and that of the sinnerto a dark night. T h u s the pillar of fire is to inspiresinners with fear, whilst the just, wandering in the lightof the day, see a cloud which fills them with hope andsecurity. St. Paul, writing to converted sinners, says : Yon were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord (Eph. v. 8). Lastly, all this will be accomplished by theLord on the day of H i s wrath, when His loving coun­tenance will shine on the just, while the terror of H i sjustice will crush the wicked. I V . You seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified ? saidthe Angel, to prevent any mistake about Him, since therewere several others bearing the same name of Jesus.Yet, this holy N a m e belongs in reality only to theRedeemer of the world, W h o was crucified. A s the Angel
  • 181. s a i d : He is risen, He is not here. H e is no longer herein H i s humanity, though H i s Divinity is present every­where. But go, the A n g e l continued, tell His disciples andPeter that He goeth before you into Galilee. Y o u will per­haps ask why the Angel, after speaking of the disciples,specially mentioned Peter. B u t when we consider thatPeter, after the great misfortune of denying his Master,would probably not have dared to accompany the otherdisciples to seek «and meet Jesus, you will easily under­stand w h y he was specially invited and his name men­tioned—that is, that he should have no motive to doubtthat his faithlessness w a s forgiven him. Acknowledgethe infinite goodness of G o d ! H e had permitted thatdisciple, chosen by H i m to be the visible head of H i sChurch, to be so frightened b y the words of a maid­servant, as to deny his Redeemer, so that the remem­brance of his own weakness and sin might teach himpatience and forbearance with other peoples misery, andwith the failings of the great flock that w a s to beentrusted to him. V . Not without a special reason did our L o r d sendword to H i s disciples that H e expected them in Galilee,where they would find H i m . T h e word Galilee means c h a n g e a n d this w a s entirely conformable with the stateof our Saviour, for H e had passed from suffering to theglory of the resurrection, from death to life, from a stateof corruption to incorruptibility. H e showed Himself inGalilee, glorious and risen from the dead, to manifestHimself to them by the place H e had chosen, and to giveus to understand that one day we shall have the joy andhappiness of seeing H i m in the glory of H i s resurrection,if now w e pass from the state of sin to the heights ofChristian virtues. Notice also that our Redeemer hadHimself announced to the disciples near the place of
  • 182. His sepulchre, yet appeared to them only after changingHis dwelling-place, because, according to His example,the mortification of the flesh must precede in this life ifwe wish for the beatific contemplation in the next.These few words, beloved brethren, I wished to addressto you on the Gospel of this great festival; yet, just onaccount of this great day, I will add a few more remarks. V I . It is certain that there are two kinds of life : theone we now lead in this world, the other of which wehave no knowledge. T h e life we now know is mortal,the other is immortal; by the one we are subject tocorruption, by the other we obtain incorruptibility. Deathwill be the end of the first, and our resurrection will bethe beginning of the second. Jesus Christ, W h o cameas the Mediator between G o d and man, lived the oneand the other life; for H e suffered the death of the first,and H e rose from the dead to give us some knowledge ofthe second. H a d H e only promised that one day weshall rise again, without giving us in His own flesh anexample of that resurrection, no one perhaps would havereferred to His testimony. B u t by taking our humannature, and becoming like ourselves, H e willingly gaveup His body to death ; then, by His infinite power, H eIrose again, and gave us in H i s own Person a pledge ofthe resurrection H e had promised. Should anyone saythat it was easy for God to rise from the dead, sinceH e could not be overcome by death, he will considerthat, to enlighten our ignorance and strengthen our faithin a future resurrection, our L o r d wished us to be con­vinced not by the example of His resurrection only.For notice, though H e was the only one who died at thatmoment, yet H o l y Scripture tells us (Matt. xxviir),,thatmany bodies of the saints, that had slept, arose at thattime, thus destroying any doubts still remaining in the
  • 183. minds of unbelievers. Therefore, should anybody, seeing that a M a n - G o d rose from the dead, still doubt about his own resurrection, he being only a mere man, he must remember that Providence willed people of the same nature as ours to rise with Jesus Christ. B e i n g members of the Redeemer, we have no doubt but that what is seen in the H e a d will be fulfilled in the members ; that what happened to those who, as the first .members of the Saviour, rose from the dead, will also happen to us though the last. V I I . T h e Jews blasphemed the crucified Redeemer, and said : / / He be the King of Israel, let Him now come downfrom the cross, and we will believe in Him (Matt, xxvii. 42). H a d Jesus yielded to these insults and mockery, H e would not have given us the beautiful example of H i s astonishing patience. H o w e v e r , H e w a i t e d ; H e accepted and boreinsults and blasphemies; H e persevered in that wonderfulpatience, and put off the time for giving a sign of H i s almighty power, that would then have caused a momentaryamazement only, in order to show a greater miracle,namely, the glory of H i s resurrection. It w a s a moreglorious triumph to leave the sepulchre, full of renewedlife, than to come down from the cross. B y H i s resur­rection H e triumphed over death,"whilst by descendingfrom the cross H e would only have saved H i s life. Meanwhile, the Jews were jubilant, for, in spite of theirinsults, our L o r d w a s still hanging on the cross; and theypresumed that, after His death, H i s name would beforgotten for ever. Y e t , out of the bosom of the earth, H i s N a m e w a s spread abroad all over the world, and withsuch glory that this perfidious.nation, so eager to punishH i m with an ignominious death, w a s quite confounded,when seeing that the torments inflicted on H i m hadbecome the cause of H i s triumph. It was thought of
  • 184. Samson by the Philistines that, being enclosed within thewalls of the city of G a z a , and surrounded by guards, hewould soon be overcome and bound with the chains theyhad prepared ; but during the night H e took the doors ofthe gate, and, laying them on His shoulders, carried themup to the top of the hill (Judg. xvi. 2, 3). T h u s the all-powerful Saviour, the strong God typified by Samson,burst the bonds of the sepulchre, surrounded by the Jewswith guards, whilst they fancied that the Author of life,W h o m they had killed and enclosed in the grave, wouldbe for ever buried therein. And this all-powerful God,more terrible after H i s death than Samson in his life,came out, after descending into Limbo, and, triumphingover His enemies, ascended into heaven. L e t us abideby this glorious resurrection, which, announced by theProphets, was so happily accomplished. L e t us desireto die, that we m a y be partakers of that resurrection.A n d since w e heard that the angels who announced theresurrection of our L o r d , are inhabitants of the eternaldwelling for which w e are longing, let us endeavour toreach them, and thus celebrate this festival with them.T h o u g h we are not just now able to enjoy a gloriousresurrection with these heavenly spirits, we will, never­theless, join them with the ardour of our desires. L e tus forsake sin and practise virtue, and by this change be able to see the face of our Redeemer. A s k God the Father, W h o for the sake of our salvation delivered His only-begotten Son to a cruel death, to strengthen our desires, so that w e may for ever praise Him, the Father, and the Son, and the H o l y Ghost. A m e n .
  • 185. EASTER MONDAY.G O S P E L : L u k e xxiv. 13-35. At that time: T w o of thedisciples went the same day to a town, which w a s sixtyfurlongs from Jerusalem, named E m m a u s . A n d theytalked together of all these things which had happened.And it came to pass, that while they talked and reasonedwith themselves, Jesus Himself also drawing near, wentAvith them. B u t their eyes were held, that they shouldnot know H i m . A n d H e said to them : W h a t are thesediscourses that you hold one with another as y o u walkand are sad ? A n d the one of them, whose name w a sCleophas, answering, said to H i m : A r t T h o u only astranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things thathave been done there in these days ? T o w h o m H e said :W h a t things ? And they s a i d : Concerning Jesus ofNazareth, W h o was a prophet, mighty in work and wordbefore G o d and all the people. A n d how our chief priestsand princes delivered H i m to be condemned to death, andcrucified H i m . B u t we hoped that it w a s H e that shouldhave redeemed Israel; and now besides all this, to-day isthe third day since these things were done. Yea, and cer­tain women also of our company affrighted us, w h o before itwas light, were at the sepulchre, and, not finding H i s body,came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels,w h o say that H e is alive. A n d some of our people wentto the sepulchre, and found it so as the women had said,but H i m they found not. T h e n H e said to t h e m : O h ,foolish and slow of heart to believe in all things whichthe Prophets have spoken! O u g h t not Christ to havesuffered these things, and so to enter into H i s glory ?And ^beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, H e ex­plained to them in all the Scriptures, the things that were
  • 186. concerning H i m . A n d they drew nigh to the town,whither they were going, and H e made as though H ewould go farther. B u t they constrained Him, saying :Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the dayis now far spent. A n d H e went in with them. And itcame to pass, whilst H e was at table with them, H e tookbread, and blessed, and brake, and gave to them. Andtheir eyes were opened, and they knew H i m : and H evanished out of their sight. And they said one to theother: W a s not our heart burning within us, whilst H espoke in the w a y , and opened to us the Scriptures ? And,rising up the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem;and they found the eleven gathered together, and thosethat were with them. A n d they told what things weredone in the w a y , and how they knew H i m in the break­ing of bread,HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, PREACHED IN THE CHURCH O F ST. P E T E R ON E A S T E R MONDAY. TWENTY-THIRD HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. Y o u have heard, beloved brethren, how two of theLords disciples went together to E m m a u s , and weretalking about H i m . T h e y did not believe in His resur­rection, yet talked about it, when the L o r d Himselfappeared to them, but held their eyes so that they shouldnot recognise H i m . A n d this holding of their corporaleyes was a figure of the spiritual veil by which the eyesof their hearts were still covered. In their hearts theyloved, yet they doubted; and the L o r d drew nigh tothem outwardly, though H e did not show Himself totheir soul. H e revealed H i s immediate presence to themthat talked of H i m , and H e hid from them who doubtedthe knowledge of H i s Person. B y words H e associated
  • 187. with them, and rebuked their- heart-hardness : He ex­pounded to them in all the Scriptures, the things that were con­cerning Him ; nevertheless, seeing that H e w a s still astranger to faith in their hearts, He made as though Hewould go farther. These words, He made as though, wouldseem to mean, He feigned; but H e , who is T r u t h itself,has nothing to do with feigning. H e showed Himself tothem in bodily manners, as H e w a s to them spiritually;but they were put to the proof whether they could love H i m , at least, as a wanderer, though they loved H i mnot yet as their G o d , I I . H o w e v e r , since it w a s impossible that they, withwhom the T r u t h w a s walking, should be without love,they invited H i m as a wanderer to accept their hospi­tality. W h y do we say they invited Him, since it iswritten : But they constrained Him ? Their example teachesus not only to bid, but even to compel wanderers, to acceptour hospitality. These disciples, therefore, laid a table,and set before H i m bread and m e a t ; and they knew inthe breaking of the bread that G o d , W h o m they had notknown in the expounding of the H o l y Scripture. T h e ywere not enlightened in hearing the Commandments ofGod, but they were enlightened in doing them, as it iswritten : Not the hearers of the law are just before God, butthe doers of the law are justified (Rom. ii. 13). W h o s o e v e rwill understand that which he hears, let him make hasteto practise in his works what he w a s able to hear.Behold, the L o r d was not known while H e spoke, butdeigned to be known when breaking the bread. I I I . I say this to you, beloved brethren, that y o u might willingly practise hospitality and-all other works of charity. Remember S t . P a u l s words : Let the charity of the brotherhood abide in you ; and hospitality do not forget;for by this some, being not aware of it, have entertained angels
  • 188. ( H e b . xiii. 1, 2). A n d St. Peter s a y s : Using hospitality one towards another without murmuring (1 P e t . iv. g). Lastly, T r u t h Himself says to y o u : / was a stranger, and you took Me in (Matt. x x v . 35). A n authentic history, related in the writings of our forefathers, tells us of a father of a family who, with all the members of his household, zealously practised the virtue of hospitality. E v e r y day he received poor strangers at his table, and waited on them. One day, among the poor strangers there was one who suddenly disappeared out of the room, at the moment when the humble and charitable man presented him, as w a s his custom, with water to wash his hands therewith. H i s surprise was g r e a t ; but during the night he had a vision. Our Lord appeared, and said to chim : On other days y o u received M e in M y members,but yesterday you received M e in Person. A t the lastjudgment our L o r d will say : Amen, I say to you, as long asyou did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me(Matt. x x v . 40). A l l this teaches us that, before thetime of the last judgment, Jesus Christ is received by usin the person of poor strangers, and that those, whoreceive them, are considered by Jesus as receiving H i m .Y e t we neglect the blessings and merits acquired by truehospitality. Consider the excellence of this virtue, andreceive Jesus at your table, that one day H e may receiveyou at H i s eternal banquet. T a k e into your house, inthe persons of strangers, the Lord Jesus, that on the dayof the judgment H e treat you not as strangers whom H eknows not, but take you as friends into H i s kingdom,there to enjoy H i s glory, W h o liveth and reigneth forever and ever. Anjen.
  • 189. FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER, OR L O W SUNDAYG O S P E L : John x x . 19-31. At that time: W h e n it waslate that same day, being the first day of the week, andthe doors were shut, where the disciples were gatheredtogether for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood inthe midst, and said to them : Peace be to y o u . Andwhen H e had said this, H e showed them His hands andHis side. T h e disciples therefore were glad when theysaw the L o r d . H e said, therefore, to them a g a i n :Peace be to you. A s the Father hath sent Me, I alsosend you. W h e n H e had said this, H e breathed onthem, and H e said to t h e m : Receive y e the H o l yG h o s t ; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiventhem ; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.N o w T h o m a s , one of the twelve, who is called Didymus,was not with them when Jesus came. T h e other dis­ciples, therefore, said to him : W e have seen the Lord,B u t he said to them : E x c e p t I shall see in H i s handsthe print of the nails, and put my finger into the placeof the nails, and put my hands into H i s side, I will notbelieve. A n d after eight days, again the disciples werewithin, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, thedoors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said : P e a c ebe to you. T h e n H e said to T h o m a s : P u t in thy fingerhither, and see M y hands, and bring hither thy hand, andput it into M y side; and be not faithless, but believing.T h o m a s answered and said to H i m : M y L o r d and my God. Jesus said to him : Because thou hast seen Me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that havenot seen, and have believed. Many other signs also didJesus in the sight of H i s disciples, which are not writtenin this book. B u t these are written that you m a y believe
  • 190. that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God ; and that,believing, you may have life in H i s Name.HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, PREACHED IN THE CHURCH OF ST. JOHN LATERAN ON THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. TWENTY-SIXTH HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. W h e n w e hear this Gospel, our human mind canhardly understand how it w a s that the B o d y of the risenLord, being a real Body, could pass through closed doorsinto the room where the disciples were assembled. B u tthis will not surprise us when we consider that the worksof God would no longer be wonderful, were they under­stood by mans reason, and that our faith would bedestitute of all merit, were the human intellect able todemonstrate how these works of God are done. H o w ­ever, these very works of our Redeemer, which we areunable to understand, must be taken in connection withsome others of H i s works, so that we may be led tobelieve in wonderful things by means of others still morewonderful. F o r that B o d y of our Lord, which came intothe assembly of the disciples, the doors being shut, w a sthe same which at H i s birth was manifested to the eyesof men, by passing out of the Virgins womb withoutbreaking the seal of her virginity. W h a t wonder, then,is it that Jesus Christ, after H i s Resurrection, enjoyed aglorious and immortal life, showed Himself to His dis­ciples, the doors being shut, since as a weak and mortalchild H e came out of a Virgins womb in an incompre­hensible manner ? B u t since the B o d y of our Lord,after H i s resurrection, though real and visible, couldraise doubts in the minds of the beholders, He showedthem His hands and His side, and allowed them to touch
  • 191. that same flesh which had just passed through closeddoors. In this event t w o strange things which, accordingto our understanding, are contrary the one to the other,were manifested, namely, that H i s B o d y w a s incorrup­tible and yet palpable. For, whatsoever can be touchedmust needs be corruptible ; and whatsoever is not subjectto corruption cannot be touched. B u t , in a w a y altogetherwonderful and incomprehensible, our Redeemer appearedafter H i s resurrection in a B o d y at the same time pal­pable and incorruptible. H e appeared in an incorruptibleB o d y , inviting us to seek the same glorification ; and ina palpable B o d y to strengthen our faith. H e showedHimself both incorruptible and palpable, to make mani­fest this fact, that H i s risen B o d y w a s the same in nature,though transfigured in glory. I I . He said therefore to them again : Peace be to you. Asthe Father hath sent Me, I also send you. T h e Father, W h ois God, sent Me W h o am G o d ; and I W h o am also man,send you who are men. T h e Father sent the Son, W h o mH e appointed to be made man for the redemption ofman. H e willed to send the Son into the world to suffer,though H e loved that Son W h o w a s sent to suffer. A n dour L o r d sent H i s chosen Apostles into the world, notto be happy in the world, but to suffer, as H e Himselfhad been sent. For, as the Father loves the Son, andyet sent H i m to suffer, so does the L o r d love H i sApostles, though sending them into the world to suffertherein. Therefore it is well said : As the Father hathsent Me, I also send you; meaning, while I send you intostorms and persecutions, I love you all the same with alove like that wherewith M y Father loves M e , W h o yetsent me into the world to suffer. T h i s sending of theSon may also be understood of H i s Eternal and Divinegeneration, for the H o l y Ghost, equal to the Father and
  • 192. to the Son, and W h o has not assumed our human nature, was to be sent according to the promise of our Redeemer: When the Paraclete cometh, Whom I mill send you from the Father (John x v . 26). F o r should the word send only mean to become man, then the H o l y Ghost could not be said to have been sent, since H e did not become man. W e call H i m , therefore, sent, in that sense that H e pro­ ceeds from the Father and the Son, and, as H i s sending refers to H i s Divine procession, so may the sending of the Son be referred to H i s Divine generation. I I I . W h e n Jesus, standing in the midst of H i s disciples, had said: Peace be to you, H e breathed on them and said : Receive ye the Holy Ghost. L e t me remark that H o l y Scripture speaks of two occasions only on which the H o l y Ghojst w a s given by our Redeemer: the first, when H e was still on earth, and the second when H e w a s already reigning in heaven. On the first occasion, as it is seen in this Gospel, H e breathed on His disciples, and on the second the H o l y Ghost came down from heaven upon them in the form of fiery tongues. N o w , should we wish to k n o w the reason w h y the H o l y Ghost w a s imparted at t w o different times, and under different circumstances, we must consider that charity contains two commandments, namely, the love of G o d and the love of our neighbour. It seems, therefore, that theHoly Ghost w a s given on earth to move us to fulfil theduty of loving our neighbour; whereas H e was sentfrom heaven to inflame our hearts with true love forG o d . B u t , since the two commandments spring forthfrom charity, which is one and the same, so was the oneand the same H o l y Ghost given by our Redeemer ontwo occasions—to wit, the first time when H e w a s still onearth, and the second after H i s Ascension into heaven,giving us. to understand that the love for our neighbour 12
  • 193. serves like steps leading us up to the love for God,according to the words of H i s beloved disciple : If anyonesay, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar. For hethat loveth not his brother, whom he seeth, how can he love God, Whom he seeth not(i John iv. 20). Y e t let us not concludethat the Apostles had not received the H o l y Ghostbefore, since they possessed H i m by faith. B u t afterthe Resurrection the H o l y Ghost w a s given to them in aspecial and visible manner; and we understand in thissense the words, As yet the Holy Ghost was not given,because Jesus was not yet glorified (John vii. 39). H e n c eMoses said : He set him that he might such honey out of therock, and oil otit of the hardest stone (Deut, xxxii. 13). For,perusing the B o o k s of the Old Testament, w e find thatthese words cannot be applied to the Israelites, since w e do not see anywhere that they ever sucked honey andoil out of stones. W e conclude, therefore, according tothe testimony of S t . Paul, that this rock w a s Christ. Indeed, seeing the acts and wonders of Jesus, the disciples sucked honey out of this Stone, and oil out of this R o c k ; for, after H i s Resurrection, they received the anointing ofthe H o l y Ghost. W e may also compare our Saviour with a soft stone, that, through the sweetness of H i s miracles, in H i s earthly life, H e offered honey to the disciples. B u t since, after H i s Resurrection H e cannot suffer any more, and has become like a hard rock, H e sent them the anointing of the H o l y Ghost. I V . T h i s is the supernatural oil spoken of b y the prophets: The yoke shall putrefy at the presence of the oil (Isa. x . 27). W e were under the y o k e of the cruel slavery of Satan ; but having received the anointing of the H o l y Ghost, and the grace to be set at liberty, the tyrannical yoke, under which w e were groaning, has dis­ appeared. T h i s truth is confirmed by S t . P a u l , saying
  • 194. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor. iii. 17).However, take notice that these very disciples, who hadalready received the H o l y Ghost, so as to lead a holy lifewith H i s assistance, and by their preaching to be usefulto others, again received the H o l y Ghost after theResurrection, and in a most striking manner, for thebenefit of the nations they were to instruct in the courseof time. Hence our Lord, giving them the H o l y Ghost,s a y s : Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them ;and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained. L e t uswonder at the high degree of honour to which the dis­ciples were raised at a time when destined to suffer thedeepest humiliations. T h e y were promised that not onlytheir own sins were forgiven, but that .they had power toabsolve others from their sins—that is, power to sit onGods judgment-seat, and, like God Himself, to forgive orretain sins committed against His Divine justice. It wasmeet that those who, for the love of God, were readyto accept every humiliation and contempt, should behonoured in this way, and that their fear of being con­demned by the severe Judge W h o m they adored shouldbe the motive prompting G o d to set them up as judgesof souls, which were to be condemned or to be absolved. V . Consider again, beloved brethren, this importanttruth, and carefully endeavour to be preserved from theeternal perdition. These Easter-days are celebratedwith great pomp and magnificence ; yet our duty is•to make ourselves worthy of arriving at the eternalFestivals. Y o u endeavour to be present at these feast-days, which pass and disappear; try, then, your utmostto be one day present, all together, at the never-endingcelebration in heaven. W h a t would it profit you toassist at our festivals now, were you never to be admittedto the festivities of the angels in heaven ? Our present 12—2
  • 195. feast-days are only the shadow of those w e are expecting, and, though year after year we are celebrating them, we are longing for those never-ending days in the kingdom of G o d . Renew in your hearts the desire of the eternalfestivities b y the celebration of the annual earthly festivals. Let the happiness granted to us in the present time pene­trate us in such a w a y that we continue sighing for theeternal happiness prepared for us in heaven, and ardentlydesired by us on earth. Prepare yourselves for thateternal rest b y amending your lives and practising virtueand holiness. N e v e r forget that H e W h o in H i s Resur­rection w a s meekness itself, will be terrible when comingto judge the world. O n this awful day H e will appearsurrounded by Angels, Archangels, Thrones, Principali­ties and P o w e r s . O n that day heaven and earth and allthe elements, being the ministers of H i s wrath, will bein a general conflagration. M a y this terrible Judge beever present to the eyes of your mind, that, penetrated b ya salutary fear of H i s severe judgment, that is to be held,you may confidently expect H i s coming. L e t us fear now,that we may be without fear then, and this fear will helpus to avoid sin and work out our salvation. F o r I tellyou that the more w e are now afraid to rouse the angerof our Judge against us, the greater will be our confidencewhen w e appear before H i m at the end of the world. SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.G O S P E L : John x . 1 1 - 1 6 . At that time : Jesus said to thePharisees : I am the G o o d Shepherd. T h e G o o d Shep­herd giveth his life for the sheep. B u t the hireling, andhe that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep arenot, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, andflieth ; and the wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep,
  • 196. and the hireling flieth, because he is a hireling, and hehath no care for the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd:and I know Mine and Mine know Me. A s the Fatherknoweth Me, and I know the F a t h e r ; and I lay downM y life for M y sheep. A n d other sheep I have, thatare not of this fold: them also I must bring, and theyshall hear M y voice, and there shall be one fold, and oneShepherd,HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, PREACHED IN THE CHURCH OF ST. P E T E R ON THE SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. FOURTEENTH HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. T h i s Gospel which you have heard, belovedbrethren, is to you, both an instruction and a warningagainst danger. F o r our Lord, W h o is infinitely good,not by an accidental gift of nature, but by the veryessence of H i s being, says to us : / am the Good Shepherd.T h e n H e tells us what is the character of H i s goodness,even of that goodness which we must endeavour toimitate. The Good Shepherd giveth His life for His sheep.T h i s truth was proved by our Redeemers own example;for both the instruction and the command were literallyfulfilled in His life. T h e Good Shepherd g a v e His lifefor the sheep, and made His own Body and Blood to bethe sacramental Food of the sheep H e had redeemed. Inthis Divine Model we perceive the way we are to go, andthe manner of imitating H i m . F o r we see in H i m theduty freely and tenderly to spend our temporal goods forHis sheep, and, if necessary, to give our life for them.Again, the soul being more precious than all outwardthings that we possess, how shall we be ready to giveour life for our brethren, seeing that we refuse to themeven our worldly substance ? However, there are many,
  • 197. loving the things of this world better than the sheepentrusted to them, w h o deserve no *longer to be called shepherds. Of them it is said by our Redeemer : The hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seetk the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fiieth. I I . H e is called a hireling, and is deprived of all the rights of a good shepherd, because he does not in reality love the sheep entrusted to him—that is, their souls— but wishes thereby to gain earthly wealth. H e thattakes a shepherds place, and seeks not the salvation ofsouls, is only a hireling. H e is seeking his happiness in he honours rendered to his dignity, and endeavours toprocure to himself the commodities of life. A n d doesnot the reward of the hireling consist in the temporalprofit he acquires b y the care he takes of his flock, whilsthe will be deprived of the eternal inheritance preparedb y G o d for H i s faithful servants? B u t it is not veryeasy to recognise the true shepherd, and to distinguishhim from the hireling, unless he be discovered by specialcircumstances or by dangers threatening the flock. F o rvery often, when men are kept in safety b y peace andtranquillity, the hireling seems, like a true and faithfulshepherd, to watch over his sheep. B u t when a wolfcomes near the flock, then will be noticed by what spiritthe selfish shepherd is animated. Under the image ofthe ravenous wolf attacking the flock we usually under­stand a violent and unjust man, who attacks souls, andtries to bring them under his power. In such circum­stances he, who has only the appearance of a zealousshepherd, will leave his sheep and fly a w a y , because heis afraid of dangers, and has not the courage to resist theunjust attempts of the enemy. B u t the hypocriticalshepherd does not a l w a y s leave his place or g o a w a yfrom his flock ; still, he may be said to fly, because he
  • 198. SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EASTERgives not his flock the necessary assistance and thespiritual help he owes to them. H e flies, since he keepssilent at the time when he ought to raise his voice againstinjustice ; he flies when, hiding under the cloak of dis­simulation, he tries to escape the strokes of the enemy.T h e Prophet justly complains against such faithlessshepherds, saying : You have not gone up to face the enemy,nor have you set up a wall for the house of Israel, to stand inbattle in the day of the Lord ( E z e c h . xiii. 5). T o face theenemy means to resist with true freedom and strength ofmind every kind of power misusing, its authority anddoing injustice. W e stand in battle, and set up a strongwall for the protection of the house of Israel, when withthe weapons of justice we defend the innocence of thefaithful attacked without cause. B u t under such criticalcircumstances the hireling, perceiving the wolf comingnear the flock, flies instead of resisting. I I I . H o w e v e r , there is yet another wolf against whosefury, far more terrible than the former, we are to protectourselves; for his cruelty ravishes not bodies, but souls.This is the infernal spirit, who kills souls and carriesthem off as his prey. Of the devil it is said : The wolfcatcheth and scattereth the sheep, and the hireling flieth. T h i shappens when the devil, by his temptations, tears soulsto pieces, and when he, w h o ought to perform the dutiesof a good shepherd, thinks of earthly advantages only,and lets the souls go to their ruin, without even attempt­ing to help them. T h e infernal wolf catches and scattersthe sheep, attracting some to lust and impure sins, andothers to a v a r i c e ; tempting some to pride or violentanger; awakening in some sinful envy, and instructingothers in the art of deceiving. Through these differenttemptations death is brought by the devil to Christiansouls; yet the zeal of the hireling is not awakened,
  • 199. neither is he prompted by godliness to save his flock from ruin and destruction. For, since he seeks only the comforts and commodities of life* he is not moved by the spiritual sickness nor the eternal death of his flock. H e n c e our L o r d adds these words : The hireling flieth, becausehe is a hireling, as if to s a y : It is not possible to one, who is a shepherd of M y sheep, to remain firm amidst dangers surrounding them, if he does not give tothe flock an unselfish love, but is seeking for the perish­able goods of the world. F o r , desiring honours and try­ing to find happiness in the enjoyment of earthly things,he will be careful to avoid those dangers b y which thethings he loves so well would be lost. After unfoldingbefore us the defects and faults of the hireling, our L o r dshows us in H i s own Person the qualities of the one weare to imitate, and says : / am the Good Shepherd, and Iknow Mine—that is, I love them—and Mine know Me,namely, they are subject to Me, because they love Me.H e that has no love for the truth announced by ourSaviour, cannot boast of knowing H i m . I V . Y o u have seen, beloved brethren, the dangers towhich the office of a pastor or shepherd is exposed; nowrecognise also, according to our L o r d s words, thosedangers to which you are exposed. Consider firstwhether you are of the sheep belonging to the DivineShepherd, and- hear H i s voice. A s k yourselves whetheryou know what truth is. F o r it is not enough to recog­nise the truth by faith—it must be sincerely loved ; andit is not enough to believe the truth—it must be put intopractice. St. John, who wrote this Gospel, says : Hewho saith that he knoweth God, and keepeth not His command­ments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him (i John ii. 4).A n d our L o r d added these w o r d s : As the Father knowethMe, and I know the Father ; and I lay down My life for My
  • 200. sheep—that is, I wish them to recognise the love I have for M y Father by the love that moves Me to give M y life for their salvation. A n d since our Saviour came to redeem not only the Jews but also the Gentiles, he con­ tinued: And other sheep I have that are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd. Our Lord, speaking of these other sheep, had in view our own salvation, for at that time w e were among the number of the Gentiles. And this is fulfilled every day, as you can witness the fact; for you are aware of the mystery of reconciliation among the idolaters, by which the two nations, formerly separated, are united in the one and the same fold, and Jews and Gentiles form one spiritual nation. St. Paul speaks of this : For Jesus Christ is our peace, Who hath made both one (Eph. ii. 14). T h u s our Lord gives life everlasting to simple and artless souls, chosen among the one and the other nation, and brings them as His sheep into His own fold. V . O f these sheep our L o r d was speaking, when H e said : My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them life everlasting. By Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved ; and he shall go in and out, and•shall find pasture (John x. 27-29). T h a t is, he will go in by faith, and go out of this life to see Me face to face. Then he will see with his own eyes that which he believed when on earth, and finally he will find eternal nourish­ ment in this happy dwelling. These are the pastures promised by our L o r d and found by His sheep; for since with a simple and willing heart they followed Him, they will be nourished with heavenly love, that fruitful fieldand that inexhaustible source of blessings. Indeed,what is the food of these beloved sheep but the interiorjoy felt at the ever new spectacle prepared for them in
  • 201. heaven ? God Himself, ever present to the elect, will be their food; and since there is no deficiency in H i m , their souls will be continually satiated with this Bread of H e a v e n . In these delicious pastures of eternity, which alone can satisfy our desires, was found real happiness by those who have already been victorious over the pleasures of this world. T h e heavenly court resounds with the eternal songs of its blessed inhabitants. A m o n g the citizens of this holy city are seen those who safely arrived there after a sad and long pilgrimage in this foreign country, in which w e are still living. There are seen the Prophets w h o announced future e v e n t s ; the Apostles on their thrones judging the nations; the glorious army of the Martyrs, the more praiseworthy the greater their sufferings had b e e n ; Confessors rewarded for their constancy; faithful and fearless men never over­ come by the wickedness of the world ; holy women who, in spite of the weakness of their sex, conquered the world ; children, whose virtues were beyond the number of their y e a r s ; and old men, whose infirmities never prevented them from advancing on the road to perfection. V I . A h , let us eagerly seek for that spiritual food! T h e happiness, which so many heavenly citizens wish to share with us, will be obtained, and the festivities to which w e are invited will be our portion.. W e r e a great market or fair to be held in a city, or the feast of the consecra­ tion of a church to be celebrated, we should all endeavour to be present. Y o u would feel very sorry, were you not able to enjoy the festivities by which those present are filled with delight and happiness. A n d we are indifferent about the eternal blessings, and make no efforts to possess them; we are not even desirous of assisting at these eternal festivities, and, though deprived of them, w e still rejoice. L e t us encourage ourselves, beloved brethren; let our
  • 202. faith be awakened by these truths, so that our desires• may be inflamed with love for the eternal g o o d s ; for to love them is the only w a y to reach them. L e t us not be prevented by any adversity; for this place of happiness must be the aim of our efforts, notwithstanding all troubles and obstacles encountered in the w a y . W e should be like a foolish traveller, were we to tarry on the road looking at the variety of flowers and the beauty of the fields, without caring to reach the end of our journey. All our desires ought to take us to the lands above, our real Fatherland. L e t us not desire the goods of this world, which soon forsake u s ; but, wishing to be faithful sheep of our heavenly Shepherd, instead of loving the worthless enjoyments of this life, let us be longing after the eternal pastures by which we shall be made happy for ever. A m e n . THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EASTER. G O S P E L : John x v i . 16-22. At thai time: Jesus said toHis disciples: A little while, and now you shall not see M e ; and again a little while, and you shall see M e ;because I go to the Father. T h e n some of H i s disciplessaid one to another: W h a t is this that H e saith to us :A little while, and y e shall not see M e ; and again a little while, and you shall see Me, and because I go tothe Father ? T h e y said therefore: W h a t is this thatH e saith: A little while ? W e know not what H espeaketh. A n d Jesus knew that they had a mind to askHim, and H e said to t h e m : Of this do you inquireamong yourselves, because I said: A little while, and youshall not see Me ; and again a little while, and you shallsee M e ? A m e n , amen, I say to you, that you shalllament and weep, but the world shall rejoice: and you
  • 203. 188 S UNDA YS A ND FESTIVA LSshall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall beturned into joy. A woman, when she is in labour,hath sorrow, because her hour is c o m e : but whenshe hath brought forth the child, she remembereth nomore the anguish, for j o y that a man is born into theworld. S o also you now indeed have sorrow, but I willsee you again, and your heart shall rejoice ; and your joyno man shall take from you. HOMILY BY ST. AUGUSTINE, BISHOP. T R A C T IOI ON ST. JOHN. I. These words of our Lord, where H e s a y s : A little while, and now you shall not see Me ; and again a little while, and you shall see Me; because I go to the Father, seemed to the disciples so obscure, before the fulfilment of what H e said, that, whilst asking themselves what they meant,they confessed that they could not understand them. T h e Gospel makes this remark, for it goes on : Then someof His disciples said one to another: What is this that He saith to us: A little while, and ye shall not see Me; and again alittle while, and you shall see Me, and because I go to theFather ? They said therefore : What is this that He saith :A little while ? We know not what He speaketh. F o r thisw a s the very difficulty that staggered t h e m ; H e said:A little while, and now you shall not see Me ; and again a littlewhile, and you shall see Me. Y e t , when, without speakingof the short time, the meaning of which they could notunderstand, H e had before that said to them : I go to theFather; and you shall see Me no longer, H e seemed to havespoken openly, and they were not astonished, neither didthey question among themselves about the words. N o w ,what to them at that time, before its fulfilment, w a s amystery, and w a s shown to them only later on, is quite
  • 204. clear and intelligible to us. F o r after a little while H e suffered, and they saw H i m n o t ; again after a little while H e rose again, and they saw H i m . And when before these words H e said that H e was going to H i s Father, and that they should see H i m no longer, H e wished them to understand that they would see H i m no longer in His mortality. I I . And Jesus knew, as the Evangelist continues to say : That they had a mind to ask Him, and He said to them: Of this do you inquire among yourselves, because I said: A little while, and you shall not see Me ; and again a little while, and you shall see Me. Amen, amen, I say to you, that you shall lament and weep, but the world shall rejoice : and yon shall be made sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. And the disciples experienced all this; for they were made sorrowful by the death of our Lord, and again were made glad by His Resurrection. B u t the world—that is, the enemies by whom Christ was killed—rejoiced at Christs being put to death, whilst the disciples were made sorrowful. B y the world, of which our L o r d speaks, is undoubtedly meant the wickedness of this world, namely, of those men who are the friends of the world. Of this wickedness St. James s a y s : Whosoever will be afriend of this world, becometh an enemy of God (Jas. iv. 4). This enmity of the world against God was the cause of their washing their hands in the Blood of the Son*of God. I I I . A n d to be the better understood by H i s disciplesour L o r d makes use of a similitude, and says : A woman,when she is in labour, hath sorrow, because her hour has come ;but when she hath brought forth the child, she remembereth nomore the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.It is not difficult to understand this similitude, and thepoint of comparison is seen at once in the expositiongiven by Himself of its meaning. T h e labour is com-
  • 205. pared to sorrow, the birth to joy. A n d this joy will bethe greater when it is not a girl, but a boy that is born.T h i s is a figure of the eternal felicity in heaven, a fruitof the tribulations of the just on earth. H o w e v e r , Jesusadded: Your heart shall rejoice; and your joy no man shalltake from you. H e thus teaches H i s disciples that H e Himself will be their joy, that H e will never be taken from them, signifying what the Apostle s a y s : Christrising again from the dead, dieth now no more ; death shall ncf more have dominion over Him (Rom. vi. 9). I V . I also think that the w o r d s : / will see you again,and your heart shall rejoice ; and your joy no man shall takefrom you, are not to be referred to the time when H e was risen from the dead, and when H e showed them H i s flesh to be looked at and touched, but rather to that time of which H e had already spoken, when H e said : He that loveth Me, shall be loved of My Father; and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him (John xiv. 21). In fact, H e had already risen, H e had already shown Himself to them in the flesh, and H e was already sitting at the right hand of His Father, when this same Apostle John, who wrote this Gospel, said in his Epistle : Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like to Him : because we shall see Him as He is (1 John iii. 2). T h i s vision, therefore, is not for this life, but for the life to come ; it is not temporal, but eternal. F o r H e that is the T r u t h and the Life s a y s : This is eternal life; that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent (John xvii. 3). Of this blessed seeing, and this perfect knowing the Apostle s a y s : We see now through a glass in a dark manner ; but then face to face. Now I know in part: hit then I shall know even as I am known (1 Cor. xiii. 12). A t present the Church is, so to speak, in labour
  • 206. by her desires, but then she will rejoice seeing the fruits ofher efforts. N o w she labours in sorrow and amidstprayers; then she will manifest her joy, and eternallypraise G o d W h o delivered her. Then she will arrive atthe long expected end, by which alone she can be satisfied;that end of which St. Philip, inspired by the H o l y Ghost,spoke when he said to our S a v i o u r : Show us the Father,and it is enough for us. In this showing of the Father,which is enjoyed by the Saints in heaven, the Son pro­mised to manifest Himself, s a y i n g : Do you not believe thatI am in the Father, and the Father in Me ? (John xiv. 8-10).A n d in the possession of this blessing, by which aloneour desires can be perfectly satisfied, consists our happi­ness, which, as our L o r d said, no man can take from us. V . T h i s little while of which until now w e have beenspeaking, must also be referred to this present time, flyingaway with such rapidity that the Apostle s a y s : It is thelast hour (1 John ii. 18). T h a t the short duration of timemay be understood, our L o r d compared Himself to awanderer on earth, for H e said: I go to the Father.These words have reference to the little while spokenof to H i s disciples, during which they would not seeH i m , and not to that other time when, as they wereassured, they would see him again. For, from the timeH e went to H i s Father, as H e said at the beginning, H e .ceased to show Himself to H i s disciples. Finally, bythese words a little while we are given to understandthe short space of the times in which we l i v e ; for ourL o r d did not say to H i s Apostles that H.e would die,and that they would be deprived of H i s presence, untilthe day of His Resurrection ; but H e said that H e wouldgo to H i s Father, as it was done on the day of H i sAscension, after showing Himselt to H i s disciples, andbeing with them during t h e forty days following H i s
  • 207. Resurrection. A s to these words, And again a little while,and you shall see Me, they must be understood of the special assistance H e promised to H i s Church, when on another occasion H e said : Behold I am with you all days,even to the consummation of the world (Matt, xxviii. 20).F o r as St. Peter s a y s : The Lord delayeth not His promise (2 Peter iii. 9 ) ; and after a little while we shall see H i m again, when there shall be no need of making request,no need of putting questions, because there shall benothing left to be desired, nothing hidden to be inquiredinto. T h i s little while seems long to us, because it isyet going on in our life; but when it shall be ended, thenwe shall feel how short it w a s . L e t not .our joy, there­fore, be such as the children of the world have, of whomour L o r d says : The world shall rejoice. Y e t let us not inour labouring with this desire be without j o y ; we maybe sorrowful, but, as the Apostle says, Rejoicing in hope ;patient in tribulation (Rom. xii. 12), because the verymother we are likened to is more rejoicing over the off­spring she is about to have, than she is sorrowful for herpresent pains. FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.G O S P E L : John x v i . 5-14. At that time; Jesus said toH i s disciples: I go to H i m that sent M e ; and none ofyou asketh Me, W h i t h e r goest T h o u ? B u t because Ih a v e spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filled yourheart. B u t I tell you the truth ; it is expedient to youthat I go : for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come toy o u ; but if I go, I will send H i m to you. A n d whenH e is come, H e will convince the world of sin, and ofjustice, and of judgment. Of sin ; because they believednot in Me. A n d of justice ; because I g o to the Father ;
  • 208. and you shall see M e no longer; and of judgment,because the prince of this world is already judged. Ihave yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bearthem now. B u t when H e , the Spirit of truth, is come,H e will teach y o u all truth. For H e shall not speak ofHimself, but what things soever H e shall hear, H e shallspeak; and the things that are to come H e shall showyou. H e shall glorify Me, because H e shall receive ofMine, and shall declare it to you. H O M I L Y BY ST. A U G U S T I N E , BISHOP. T R A C T 94 ON ST. JOHN. I. T h e L o r d Jesus, after foretelling H i s disciples thepersecutions they would have to suffer after H i s depar­ture, went on to say : But I told you not these things fromthe beginning, because I was with you. And now I go to Himthat sent Me. L e t us first inquire whether H e had beforethis moment foretold them their future suiferings. T h a tH e had done so before the night of the L a s t Supper istestified by the three first Evangelists; but it w a s at theend of that supper that, according to St. John, H e spokethese words : But I told you not these things from the begin­ning, because I was with you. A r e we, then, to try and findthe solution of this difficulty by asserting that, accordingto those three Evangelists, it was on the eve of thePassion, though before the supper, that H e had saidthese things to them ? That, therefore, not from thebeginning of H i s being with them, but when H e wasabout to leave them, and to g o to the Father, H e saidthese things ? A n d so, even according to those Evan­gelists, this also is true what H e said by the other : ButI told you not these things from the beginning. B u t then,what credit shall we attach to the Gospel according to
  • 209. St. Matthew, w h o tells us that our L o r d spoke to H i sApostles of these things concerning their sufferings, notonly when H e w a s on the point of eating the PaschalSupper with them, immediately before H i s Passion, butalso at the very beginning, when the names of the twelvewere for the first time mentioned, and they were sentforth to do the Divine works? (Matt. x.). It seems,then, that when H e said, But I told you not these thingsfrom the beginning, because I was with you, H e meant by these things not the sufferings they were to bear for H i s sake, but H i s promise of the H o l y Ghost, W h o should come to them and bear witness while they suffered. And these things H e did not say from the beginning, because H e w a s with them. I I . T h i s Comforter, then, or Advocate (for both terms render the Greek word Paracletos), would be necessary to them when they saw Christ no more ; and this is the reason why H e had not spoken of H i m to them at the beginning of H i s public life, while H e was with them, since His visible presence was then their sufficient com­ fort. B u t now that H e w a s about to depart from them, it behoved H i m to tell them of the coming of that Spirit, through W h o m it would come to pass that, by the love infused into their hearts, they should preach the word of G o d with boldness. And while the H o l y Ghost inwardly —that is, within them—bore testimony of Christ, they also should bear witness, and feel no cause of stumbling when their enemies, the Jews, should put them out of the synagogues and kill them, imagining that they were doing a service to G o d ; for charity endureth all things ( i Cor. xiii. 7), and that charity of G o d was poured forth in their hearts by the H o l y Ghost given to them (Rom. v . 5). This, then, is the whole meaning of H i s discourse, namely, that H e would make them H i s martyrs—that is, witnesses
  • 210. —through the H o l y G h o s t ; so that by H i s working theyshould endure any amount of persecutions, and not growcold in their preaching, being then inflamed by that Divine fire. But these things, H e said, / have told youthat, when the hour shall come, you may remember that I toldyou of them. These things, therefore, I have told you, notonly that you suffer them, but also that, when the Para­clete is come, H e shall bear testimony that y o u may notkeep silence through fear, when you ought to speak, butyou also shall bear testimony to Me. I I I , A n d when our L o r d said, Now I go to Him that sent Me, and none of you askethMe, Whither goest Thou? H ewished to intimate that H e was about to go in their presence, and in such a manner, that it would be uselessto ask to what place H e w a s going. For previously tothis they had asked H i m whither H e was going, and H ehad answered that H e w a s going whither they at thattime could not come. B u t now H e declared that Hisgoing will be in such a manner, that none of them shallask whither H e goes. F o r when H e ascended intoheaven, a cloud received H i m ; and as H e went, theyasked not in words whither, but with their eyes theyescorted H i m thither. I V . Jesus saw what effect these words about H i s goingproduced in the hearts of H i s disciples, and H e said :Because I have spoken these things to you, sorrow hath filledyour heart. Indeed, they had not yet the spiritual con­solation which they were to receive through the H o l yGhost, who would fill them with His gifts. T h e y feared,therefore, to lose the visible presence of their Master ; and,because they could not doubt that H e spoke the truth,their human affection w a s saddened, being convincedthat their carnal sight of H i m would be left desolate.However, H e knew what w a s most expedient to them, 13—2
  • 211. because that inner sight, wherewith the H o l y Spirit shouldconsole them, w a s assuredly superior. T h i s Spirit wouldnot present a human body before the bodies of men, thatthey should see Him, but H e would infuse Himself intothe hearts of men w h o believed. A n d Jesus goes on to say : But I tell you the truth ; it is expedient to you that I go ;for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to yon; but if I go, I will send Him to you. A s though H e said : It is expedient to you that this human form of a servant be taken from you. I am indeed the W o r d made flesh dwelling among y o u ; but I do not wish you to love only M y corporeal and carnal presence, and, content with this milk, desire to be always infants. If you suffer not the tender aliments, wherewith I have fed you, to be withdrawn from you, youwill never be longing for solid meat. If in a carnal w a y you cleave only to the flesh you see in Me, you will neverbe worthy to receive the communications of the H o l y Spirit. B u t what is the meaning of these w o r d s ; If I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you ; but if I go, I will sendHim to you ? W h o would say that our L o r d , whilst on earth with H i s disciples, had not the power to send themthe H o l y Ghost ? F o r it must not be imagined that H e had left the place where that Spirit w a s , and that H e had been sent by H i s Father in such a w a y as not to abide with the Father any longer. W h o will believe that Jesus Christ had not the power, even when still on earth, to send the H o l y Ghost, W h o , as w e know, came upon H i m at H i s baptism in the Jordan, and remained upon H i m , and from W h o m , indeed, w e know that H e w a s never separable ? T h e n the meaning of, If I go not, the Comforter will not come to you, will be : Y o u cannot receive the Spirit, as you persist in knowing Christ after the flesh and loving H i m in the flesh. W h e n c e S t . Paul, who also had received the Spirit, says : / / we have known Christ
  • 212. according to the flesh, but now we know Him so no longer(2 Cor. v. 16). For, even how he did not know the fleshof Christ in a carnal w a y , until brought to a spiritualknowledge of the W o r d that has been made flesh. Andsurely our good Master wished to intimate this, when H esaid : IfI go not, the Comforter will not come to yon; but if Igo, I will send Him to you. V . L e t us also believe that, when Christ bodily with­drew from the presence of His disciples, not only theH o l y Ghost, but both the Father and the Son were pre­sent to them spiritually. F o r if Christ departed fromthem in such a manner that the Holy Ghost was in them,instead of H i m and without Him, what becomes of Hispromise : Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consum­mation of the world ? A n d how can we explain these otherwords of our Redeemer: We ivill come to him, I and theFather, and will make Our abode with him, seeing that H ehad promised to send the H o l y Ghost in such a way asto be Himself with them to the end of the world ? Inthis w a y it was, on the other hand, that seeing they wereout of their carnal or animal condition to become spiritual,they were also, with undoubted certainty, to have boththe Father and the Son, with the Holy Ghost, in a morecomprehensive w a y . B u t we are not to believe that theFather is present in any man without the Son and theH o l y Ghost, or the Father and the Son without the HolyGhost, or the Son without the Father and the HolyGhost, or the H o l y Ghost without the Father and theSon, or the Father and the Holy Ghost without theSon. B u t wherever any one of them is, there also is theTrinity, one God. Here, however, the notion of theTrinity had to be suggested in such a manner that,though there was no diversity of substance, yet, by theseveral mentioning of each Person, we should be in-
  • 213. formed of the distinction of the Persons, of W h o m , tothem that rightly understand,there can never be a sepa­ration of Natures. V I . Our Lord, when promising that H e would sendthe Holy Ghost, said: When He is come, He will convincethe world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment. W h a t doesthis mean ? Did not the L o r d Jesus convince the worldof sin when H e s a i d : If I had not come and spoken to them,they would not have sin ; but now they have no excuse for theirsins (John x v . 22). A n d , that no one may take it intohis head to say that this applied properly to the Jews,and not to the world in general, H e said in anotherplace: If you had been of the world, the iwrld ivould love itsown (xv. 22). D i d H e not convince the world of justice,s a y i n g : O just Father, the world hath not known Thee ?(xvii. 23). Again, did H e not convince the world ofjudgment, when H e declared that H e would say to thoseon the left hand : Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlast­ing fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels ?(Matt. x x v . 41). A n d many other passages are found inthe holy Gospel, where Christ convinced the world ofthese things. H o w is it, then, that H e attributes this tothe H o l y Ghost, as if it properly belonged to H i m ? Isit, perhaps, that, because Christ spoke only among thenation of the Jews, H e does not appear to have reprovedthe world, so that he only be understood to be reproved,who actually hears the reprover ? Y e t the H o l y Ghost,W h o was in H i s disciples when scattered through theworld, is understood as having reproved not one nation,but the whole world. For, notice what H e said to themwhen about to ascend into h e a v e n : It is not for you toknow the times or moments, which the Father hath put in Hisown power ; but you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghostcoming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto Me in Jerusalem,
  • 214. and in all Jndcea and Samaria, and [even to the uttermost partof the earth (Acts i. 7, 8). Surely this is to reprove orconvince the whole world. B u t who would venture tosay that through the disciples of Christ the H o l y Ghostreproves the world, and that Christ Himself does not,when the Apostle exclaims : Do you seek a proof of Christthat speaketh in me? (2 Cor, xiii. 3). W h e n , therefore,the H o l y Ghost reproves, assuredly Christ also reproves.B u t , in m y opinion, because there was to be poured forthin their heart that charity (Rom. v. 5), which casteth out fear(1 John iv. 18), by which fear they might have beenhindered from* daring to reprove the world, roaring atthem with persecutions, H e said: He shall convince(reprove) the world. Being then strengthened by theH o l y Ghost, they reproved the world without fearingeither torture or death. W e have often mentioned thatthe operations of the Trinity are not separable, yet therewas need to set forth the Persons one by one, that, with-o.ut separating T h e m nor confounding T h e m together,we may have a clear understanding of Their Unity andTrinity. FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.G O S P E L : John x v i . 23-30. At that time: Jesus said toHis disciples: Amen, amen, I say to you ; if you askthe Father anything in M y name, H e will give it you.Hitherto you have not asked anything in M y name.Ask, and you shall r e c e i v e ; that your joy m a y be full.These things I have spoken, to you in proverbs. • T h ehour cometh when I will no more speak to you inproverbs, but will show you plainly of the Father. Inthat day you shall ask in M y name, and I say not to you,that I will ask the Father for you. F o r the Father Him-
  • 215. self loveth you, because you have loved Me, and havebelieved that I came out from G o d . I came forth fromthe Father, and am come into the w o r l d ; again I leavethe world, and I go to the Father. H i s disciples say toH i m : Behold, now T h o u speakest plainly, and speakestno proverbs. N o w we know that T h o u knowest allthings, and T h o u needest not that any man should askT h e e . B y this w e believe that T h o u comest forth fromGod. H O M I L Y BY ST. A U G U S T I N E , BISHOP. T R A C T 102 ON S T . JOHN. I. T h e words of our Lord, which y o u are now to con­sider, are these : Amen, amen, I say to you ; if you ask theFather anything in My name, He will give it you. It hasalready been said in the earlier part of this discourse ofthe Lord, with regard to those who ask some things of theFather in Christs name, and receive them not, that what­soever is asked and tends not to salvation, is not asked inthe name of the Redeemer. For, not the sounds of lettersand syllables, but what the sound signifies, and what bythat sound is honestly and truly understood, that H eis regarded to declare, when saying : In My name.Hence, he that has such ideas of Christ as ought not tobe entertained of the only Son of G o d , is not asking inH i s name, though he may not abstain from mentioningthe name of Christ in so many letters and syllables ;because by that sound he means not the real Christ, buta fancied being, w h o has no existence but in the speakersimagination. B u t , on the other hand, whosoever thinksof Christ as he ought to, this one is asking in Christs name,and will receive, provided he ask for nothing against hisown salvation ; and if it be good for him to receive, he willreceive. Some things are not given at once, but are
  • 216. FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER deferred, that they may be given at a more suitable time. T h i s is the true interpretation of the words : He will give it you—that is, those benefits or blessings will be given which are good to them that ask. A l l the saints are heard, when asking for themselves, but not necessarily when asking for others, whether friends or enemies; because it is not said in a general way, He will give, but He will give it yon. I I . Hitherto, says the Lord, you have not asked anything in My name. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may befull. T h i s joy of theirs, which H e calls full, is not to be understood as meaning a carnal joy, but a spiritual one. W h e n that joy is so great, that it cannot be increased any more, then it will undoubtedly be full. Whatsoever, then, is asked for the fulfilment of this joy—viz., grace and everlasting life—is a thing that is just and meet to ask in the name of Christ. Should we ask anything else, and not this, w e ask nothing, though we actually ask some­ thing ; because in comparison with this all other things we covet are nothing. If we say that man is something,we hear the Apostle, saying : / / any man think himself to besomething, whereas he is nothing, hedeceiveth himself (Gal. vi. 3). Biit the fact is, that in comparison with the spiritual man,who knows that by the grace of God only he is what heis, the one who entertains vain presumptions is nothing. In this w a y , therefore, may those words be rightly understood : Amen, amen, I say to you : if you ask the Fatheranything in My name, He will give it you ; so that by theword anything should not be understood any thing that weplease, but any thing that is not considered nothing inconnection with a blessed life. And the following words:Hitherto you have not asked anything in My name, may beunderstood in two w a y s : either, that you have not askedin M y name, because you have not known this name, as it
  • 217. ought to be k n o w n ; or you have not asked anything,because, in comparison with the things you ought to haveasked, what you have asked is to be accounted as nothing. A n d that they may ask in H i s name, not that which isnothing, but a full joy—since if they ask anything else, that anything is nothing,—He addressed to them this exhortation : Ask, and you shall receive; that your joy may befull—that is, ask this in M y name, that your joy may befull, and you shall receive. For H i s saints, w h o perseverein asking such a good thing will, by the mercy of G o d ,never be defrauded. I I I . These things, H e said, I have spoken to yon in pro­ verbs. The hour cometh ivhen I will no more speak to you inproverbs, but will show you plainly of the Father. T h e hour of which H e speaks might be supposed to mean the world to come, when w e shall see openly as S t . Paul says,face to face; and that what H e says, These things I have spoken to you in proverbs, should be understood by the words of the same Apostle : We see now through a glass in a darkmanner (i Cor. xiii. 12). B u t I will show yon, because the Father shall be seen through the instrumentality of the Son, according to what is said elsewhere : Neither dothanyone know the Father, but the Son, and he to whom it shallplease the Son to reveal Him (Matt. x i . 27). B u t this sense seems to be interfered with by what follows : In that dayyou shall ask in My name. For in the future world, when we have reached the kingdom, where we shall be like to Him, because we shall see Him as He is (1 John iii. 2), what shall we then have to ask, when our desires shall be satisfied with good things? (Ps. cii. 5). In another P s a l m it is also -said: / shall be satisfied when Thy glory shallappear (Ps. x v i . 15). T h e asking for anything implies need, which cannot have any place there, where this fulness of satisfaction shall be attained and reign.
  • 218. I V . It remains, therefore, for us, as far as I can conceivethe matter, to understand Jesus as having promised Hisdisciples that, of carnal or animal, they should throughH i m become spiritual, though not yet such as we shallbe, when a spiritual body shall also be ours, but such ashe w a s who said : We speak wisdom among the perfect(1 Cor. ii. 6), and I could not speak to you as unto spiritual,but as unto carnal (1 Cor. iii. 1) ; and : We have received notthe spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God, that wemay know the things that are given us from God. Whichthings we also speak, not in the words of human wisdom, but inthe doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things withspiritual. But the sensual man perceiveth not those things thatare of the Spirit of God (1 Cor. ii. 12-14). A n d thus thesensual man hears in such a w a y whatsoever is told himof the nature of God, that he can conceive of nothing elsebut some bodily form, however spacious or immense,however bright and splendid, yet still a body. T h e y are,therefore, proverbs to him, whatsoever is said of theincorporeal and immutable substance of wisdom. Notthat he accounts them as proverbs or riddles, but because his thoughts follow the same direction as those who usually listen to proverbs without understanding them. But the .spiritual man, w h o judges all things and isjudged by no one, perceives, though in this life it still be1 1 through a glass, and * in part. H e perceives, not by any bodily sense, and not by any imaginative conception, which takes in or fancies the likenesses of all sorts of bodies, but by the clearest understanding of the mind, that God is not a body, but a Spirit. In such a w a y does the Son of God openly show us of the Father, that H e W h o thus reveals, is also Himself of the same substance as the Father. T h u s we see how it is that those who are asking, ask in H i s name, because they know that to ask
  • 219. in this name, is to ask in the name of G o d . T h e y do not,in vanity or weakness of mind, fancy to themselves theFather being in one place and the Son in another; theSon humbly standing before the Father and makingrequest in our behalf; both, in the material substanceoccupying each its own place, and the W o r d pleadingverbally for us with H i m W h o s e W o r d H e is, whilst adefinite space exists between the speakers mouth and thehearers ears. S u c h absurdities are fabricated for them­selves in their own hearts by those w h o are natural andalso carnal. B u t such things, suggested b y the experi­ence of bodily habits, if occurring to spiritual men whenthinking of God, are at once denied, rejected, and drivenaway, like troublesome flies, from the eyes of their mind.T h e y rest in the sincerity of that light, b y whose testi­mony and judgment they prove how utterly false arethese bodily images that haunt their inward vision.T h e y are able, to a certain extent, to think of our. L o r dJesus Christ as Man addressing the Father on our behalf;but as God hearing our prayers with the Father. A n dthis, I suppose, H e wished to indicate, when H e said : Isay not to you that I mil ask the Father for you. B u t theperception of this, that the Son asks not the Father, butthat Father and Son together hear those w h o ask, thisheight of conception can be reached only b y the spiritualeye of the mind. V . For the Father Himself loveth you, because you have lovedMe. Does H e love because we love—or, rather, do w elove because H e loves ? L e t the same Evangelistanswer out of his own epistle: We love God, he says,because God first hath loved us (i John iv. 19). T h i s , there­fore, is the cause of our love, namely, that we were loved ;for to love G o d is the gift of G o d . H e , while still un­loved, gave us the grace to love H i m . W e were loved,
  • 220. even when displeasing H i m , that there might be in usthat whereby w e should be pleasing in His s i g h t ; forwe could not love the Son unless we also loved theFather. T h e Father loves us, because we love the Son,since w e have received of the Father and the Son thepower to love both the Father and the Son. F o r loveis poured forth into our hearts by the Spirit of b o t h ;by which Spirit we love both the Father and the Son,and H i m W h o m we love together with the Son andthe Father. God, therefore, it was, W h o made that re­ligious love of ours, whereby w e worship H i m , and H esaw that it was good. Therefore H e loved what H e made ; but H e would not have made in us anything H e could love, were it not that H e loved us before H e made us. 1 V I . A n d Jesus added: You have believed that I came outfrom God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world; again I leave the world, and I go to the Father. Y e s ,we have believed. Surely it ought not to be thought athing incredible, only because that, in coming into theworld, H e came in such a manner out of the Father, asnot to quit the Father, and, in leaving the world, H e wentto the Father in such a manner, as not to forsake theworld. F o r H e came forth from the Father, because H eis of the Father, and H e came into the world showing H i s bodily form, which H e took to Himself of the Virgin Mary. H e left the world by a bodily w i t h d r a w a l ; H e went to the Father by H i s Ascension as Man, yet H e quitted not the world in the ruling activity of H i s presence. V I I . E v e r y w h e r e throughout the Gospels, the inward state of Christs disciples is declared by many testi­ monies, when before H i s Passion H e talketh with them, as with children, of great things. B u t H e spoke in such
  • 221. a w a y , as w a s meet that great things should be spoken ofto children. Not having yet received the H o l y Ghost,as they did after H i s Resurrection, either b y H i s breath­ing upon them, or by the descent from above, they had amental capacity for the things of men rather than thethings of G o d . T h i s is also declared by what they saidin the lesson before us. For, says the E v a n g e l i s t : Hisdisciples say to Him; Behold, now Thou speakest plainly, andspeahest no proverbs. Now we know that Thou knowest allthings, and Thou needest not that any man should ask Thee.By this zve believe that Thou comest forth from God. T h eL o r d Himself had said just before: These things I havespoken to you in proverbs. The hour cometh when I will nomore speak to you in proverbs. H o w is it, then, that theys a y : Behold, now Thou speakest plainly, and speakest no pro­verbs ? W a s the hour now come, when H e had promisedH e would no more speak to them in proverbs ? N o ;that such an hour was not yet come is shown by the con­tinuation of H i s words, which are as follows : These thingsI have spoken to you in proverbs. The hour cometh when Iwill no more speak to you in proverbs, but will show you plainlyof the Father. In that day you shall ask in My name, and Isay not to you that I will ask the Father for you. For theFather Himself loveth you, because you have loved Me, andhave believed that I came out from God. I-came forth fromthe Father, and am come into the world; again I leave theworld, and I go to the Father. Since throughout all thesewords H e is still promising that hour, when H e shall nomore speak in proverbs, but shall show them openly theFather, w h y do they say : Behold, now Thou speakest plainly,and speakest no proverbs^ except because the things H e knowsto be proverbs to those that have no understanding, theyare still so far from understanding, that they do not evenknow that they do not understand them ? F o r they were
  • 222. babes, and had no spiritual discernment of what theyheard regarding things which pertained not to the body,but to the spirit. ASCENSION DAY. GOSPEL : Mark x v i . 14-20. At that time: Jesus appeared to the eleven as they were at table; and H e upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them w h o had seen H i m after H e was risen again. And H e said to them : G o ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. H e that believeth and is baptized shall be s a v e d ; but he that believeth not shall be condemned. A n d these signs shall follow them that believe: in M y name they shall cast but devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them ; they shall lay hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. A n d the Lord Jesus, after H e had spoken to them, was taken up to heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God. B u t they, going, preached everywhere, the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.- HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, P R E A C H E D IN THE CHURCH OF ST. PETER ON THE FEAST OF THE ASCENSION OF OUR LORD. TWENTY-NINTH HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. T h e slowness of the disciples to believe that the Lord had indeed risen from the dead was not so much, if I may be allowed to say so, a sign of their weakness, as the motive of Divine Providence to strengthen us in our faith. Indeed, the consequence of their doubts was
  • 223. the demonstration of the Resurrection by many infallibleproofs. A n d we read and acknowledge these proofs, andour faith is assured by the disciples doubt. For mypart, I do not put so much trust in M a r y Magdalen, whobelieved at once, as in T h o m a s , w h o doubted so l o n g ;for by his doubting he came actually to touch the L o r d swounds, and thereby closed up any wound of doubt in our own hearts. H o w e v e r , to confirm to our minds thetruth of the Resurrection of our Lord, w e do well to take notice of one of the statements of S t . L u k e : Eating together with them, He commanded them that they should not depart, from Jerusalem (Acts i. 4 ) ; and a little afterwards: While they looked on, He was raised up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight (vex. 9). H e ate, and ascended ; so that the fact of His eating might show the reality of H i s body in which H e went up. B u t S t . Mark tells us that before the L o r d ascended into heaven, H e upbraided H i s dis­ ciples with their incredulity and hardness of heart. I know not what w e should gather from this, unless that the L o r d then reproached His disciples, from whom H e was about to be parted in the body, to this end, that the words H e spoke to them, as H e left them, might be the deeper imprinted on their hearts. I I . A n d when H e had rebuked the hardness of their heart, what command did H e give them ? L i s t e n : Go ye into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. W a s , then, the holy Gospel to be preached to things insensate, or to brute animals, that the L o r d said to H i s disciples: Preach the Gospel to every creature ? N o ; but by the words every creature we must understand man, who possesses qualities pertaining to all creatures. H e has being in common with stones, life, in common with trees, feeling in common with beasts, and understanding in common with angels. If, then, man has something in
  • 224. common with every creature, man is to some extentevery creature. And if the Gospel is preached to manonly, it is preached to every creature, because man hasdominion over all things created by God on earth, andbecause every thing created has in itself something liketo man. However, we may also suppose that the inten­tion of Jesus, commanding H i s Apostles to preach theGospel to every creature, was to give them to understandthat H i s Gospel was to be preached to all the nations inthe world. On a former occasion H e had told them notto go to the Gentiles, but now H e commanded them topreach to all men. W h e n , therefore, the Jews despisedthe preaching of the Apostles announcing Jesus Christ,the preachers turned to the Gentiles and were listenedto. For, instead of imitating the pernicious pride andobstinacy of the Jews, the Gentiles humbly submitted tothe yoke of the Gospel. W h e n the Apostles were sentby the Eternal Truth to preach to the wor^d, a mostprecious seed was sown, which seems very small, butwhich, through faith, will soon bring forth a rich harvest.H o w could the number of the faithful have increased inthe world in such marvellous manner, had not the handof the A l m i g h t y spread abroad among the differentnations the small number of Apostles chosen for thepurpose of extending H i s kingdom on .earth ? I I I . He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; buthe that believeth not shall be condemned. Relying on thetruth of these words every one among us will perhapss a y ; I shall be saved, for I believe. This will un­doubtedly be the case if our actions agree with the faithwe profess. For we shall be saved by that faith bywhich our life is in conformity with the principles itteaches. St. Paul confirms this when, speaking of badChristians, he says ; They profess that they know God, but in
  • 225. their works they deny Him (Titus i. 16). T h e same is saidby S t . John: He who saith that he knoweth God and keepethnot His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him(i John ii. 4). If this be so, then our life must abso­lutely give testimony to the faith which w e profess; andif our conduct be not against the rules prescribed b y ourholy religion, then w e may trust to belong to the numberof the faithful. Indeed, w e do not forget the solemnpromises made at our baptism—namely, to renounceSatan, all his works and all his pomps. L e t each of usearnestly examine himself, and should he be able totestify to the fact that he has fulfilled all those dutiestaken upon himself in the Sacrament of Baptism, he maycongratulate himself on the happiness of being a good Christian. B u t should he be forced to confess that he has been faithless to his promises, that he has been a member of that company which he had formerly re­ nounced, and that his actions reproach him with having lost his innocence, then let him ask himself whether he feels deep contrition for his sins, and endeavours to wash them out with tears of repentance. O u r Judge is a G o d of mercies, who will no longer recognise as faithless the servant who, after leaving Him, now feels contrite, and sincerely returns to H i m ; for our penance will make H i m forget the sins that had rendered us guilty in H i s eyes. I V . Then our L o r d added these words : And these signs shall follow them that believe ; in My Name they shall cast out devils ; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take tip serpents ; and if they shall drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. N o w , do not think because such miracles are not wrought by y o u , that you have not the true faith. T h e s e miracles were necessary at the beginning of the
  • 226. Church, that the faith should be accepted, and thenumber of the faithful increased by the signs of theAlmighty power. F o r the beginning of the Church maybe compared to the planting of a young tree, which is tobe tended and watered until it has taken deep root in theground. Therefore St. P a u l s a y s : Tongues are for a signnot to believers, but to unbelievers (i Cor. xiv. 22). B u t thereis also an important lesson contained in these miraclesand gifts of the H o l y Ghost, provided we understand theirmeaning. F o r these miracles, which in former timeswere wrought by the Apostles in a corporal and visiblemanner, now take place in the Church of God in aspiritual and invisible manner. W h e n we, priests andministers of the Church, lay our hands upon the faithful,and see how by the power of exorcisms the evil spirit isprevented from entering souls, is it not as if we werecasting out devils ? W h e n Christians, formerly addictedto bad conversations, so common in the world, nowrenounce such sins, are edifying in their words, conversingabout the doctrine of salvation, and everywhere praisingtheir Creator and Redeemer, are they not like thoseChristians who spoke with new tongues ? A g a i n , thosewho, b y their zealous admonitions, withdraw others froma shameful and vicious life take up serpents, and are notpoisoned by them. If anyone, hearing corrupting lan­guage, is not affected by it or led to evil, does he notseem to drink a deadly thing, and is not hurt ? Lastly, allthose w h o , seeing their brethren, not yet strong in virtue—on the point of yielding to sin, run to their help, in orderto prevent their spiritual shipwreck ; all others who bytheir good example strengthen their neighbour in virtue—all of them lay hands upon the sick, and they recover. A l lthese miracles are the more astonishing, since they areworked on souls, the resurrection of which to the 14—2
  • 227. 212 S UNDA YS A ND FESTIVA LS spiritual life of" grace is more wonderful than the rising of bodies. W e l l , beloved brethren, you can do these in­ visible wonders with the help of God, if only you are willing. A s to the visible signs, proving the holiness of those who work them, they cannot of themselves sanctify, not even those by whom they are witnessed; whereas the spiritual gifts, spoken of just now, when imparted to souls, though not proving the virtue of the receivers,nevertheless give them the life of grace. B o t h the goodand the wicked may be favoured by exterior gifts; yetthe spiritual gifts are possessed by the just only. There­fore it was said by the Eternal T r u t h , speaking of thosewho boast of having done miracles in H i s N a m e : Manywill say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not weprophesied in Thy Name, and cast out devils in Thy name, anddone many miracles in Thy Name ? A nd then will I professunto them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you thai workiniquity (Matt. vii. 22, 23). Beloved brethren, do notdesire these exterior signs which are sometimes grantedb y God to H i s enemies and to the reprobate; butearnestly wish for those wonders of love and examples oftrue piety, I have spoken of to you. Their merits arethe surer the more they are hidden—merits that will bethe more generously rewarded by G o d , the less they areshining before the eyes of men. V . And the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, wastaken up to heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God.W h e n we read in H<?ly Scripture (4 K i n g s ii.) that Eliasalso was taken up to heaven, w e easily understand thedifference. T h e prophet w a s taken up in the air, whereasour Saviour ascended by H i s own power into heaven.A s the birds, flying up in the air and again coming down,are called the birds of the heaven, so Elias is said to havepassed through the space of the air or atmosphere, that
  • 228. he might be taken to an unknown land, there to spend painless and happy days, until the end of the world, when he will again appear and pay the debt of nature. Death is a punishment that was not remitted to h i m ; it was only postponed. B u t our Redeemer, suffering death without delay, conquered it and destroyed its dominion by H i s Resurrection, the glory of which was revealed in the triumph of H i s Ascension. Again, observe that the prophet Elias w a s taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot, showing that, as a human being, he had need of exterior help. Angels carried him into the atmosphere, whereinthe great weakness of his human nature could not havesupported him. B u t our Saviour ascended into heavenby H i s own power, without the assistance of angels or the help of creatures; and H e saw the earth under Hisfeet, since by H i s A l m i g h t y power H e was elevated aboveall things. H e ascended without any effort to the eternaldwellings, for H e had never left H i s glory; and if as man H e ascended into heaven, as G o d H e had a l w a y s beenpresent in heaven and on earth. V I . A s Joseph, sold by his brethren, was a symbol ofJesus sold by Judas, so were also Henoch, translated byGod to paradise, and Elias taken up to heaven, twotypes of H i s Ascension. O u r Lord wished this greatmystery to be announced by these two witnesses, the oneliving before the L a w , the other under the L a w . H o w ­ever, there are different degrees of glory in these transla­tions, according to the different conditions of the persons.H o l y Scripture says of H e n o c h : He was seen no more rbecause God took him (Gen. v . 2 4 ) ; of Elias, that he wastaken up in a fiery chariot. B u t our Saviour penetratedheaven without the help of another. H e w a s not takenup nor carried up, but went up into the dwelling of gloryby H i s own power. In H i s Ascension, and also in the
  • 229. translation of Henoch and Elias, are shown the differentdegrees of the virtue of chastity, of which H e is ourexemplar, and which H e wished to be perpetuated in H i sChurch. W h e n first we consider Henoch in the bonds ofmatrimony, then see Elias without wife and children, w enotice the progress of this holy virtue manifested in thesetwo men, as compared with Jesus in H i s Ascension. W eknow that Henoch, being begotten like other men, in histurn begot children; that Elias, coming later, thoughborn like others, never b e g o t ; and that Jesus Christ, notonly in H i s miraculous birth, but in H i s whole lite, w a sPurity itself. V I I . St. Mark says of our L o r d : And sitteth on thefight hand of God. Y e t S t . Stephen ( A c t s vii. 55) ex­claimed : Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son ofMan standing on the right hand of God. T h i s does notseem to agree, namely, sitting on the right hand, andstanding on the right hand. Y e t , beloved brethren, youwill not be astonished by this seemingly disagreeingtestimony of H o l y Scripture. Y o u will take into con­sideration that it appertains to a judge to be sitting,whereas one fighting or helping is thought to be standing.N o w , the Redeemer of the world, after ascending intoheaven, is the Judge of all things, and will come at theend to judge the whole w o r l d ; and in this capacity of highest judge H e is represented by S t . Mark as sitting on the right hand of God. B u t when Stephen, still in the throes of the battle, saw H i m standing in the midst of H i s glory, w e are to understand that Jesus in the highest heavens w a s fighting with this glorious martyr, giving him H i s help to overcome the fury of his perse­ cutors. V I I I . But they, going, preached everywhere; the Lordivork- ing withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.
  • 230. W h a t are we to notice in this, and what are we to re­member, but that obedience followed the commandment,and that great miracles followed their obedience ? B u tnow, since by the will of G o d we have lightly run overour reading from the Gospel, it remains that w e shouldgive you some considerations or reflections on this greatfestival. I X . A n d first, let us ask w h y the angels, appearing atthe birth of our Lord, were not in white garments;whereas, when the L o r d ascended into heaven, it is writtenthat they were clad in white. It is written : While theylooked on, He was raised up; and a cloud received Him out oftheir sight. And while they were beholding Him going up toheaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments (Actsi. g, 10). W h i t e garments are an outward sign of aninward joy. B u t how is it that these heavenly spirits,announcing the blessed birth of our Saviour, were notseen in white garments ? Because at the Ascension theangels, beholding the M a n - G o d going up in triumph toheaven, were manifesting their joy, since H i s humanityreceived the glory due to H i m ; whereas in H i s Nativitythe Divinity seemed to be humbled, taking the form of aservant, and the.angels showed no special exterior joy.Their appearance in white garments at the Ascension wasa sign of glory ; at the Nativity a sign of the humiliationof the Son of G o d . X . However, beloved brethren, what deserves ourgreatest consideration on this festival is the fact, that onthis day Christ was blotting out the handwriting of the decreethat was against us (Col. ii. 14), and that the sentence ofcorruption w a s reversed. F o r our human nature, ofwhich it was said, Thou art dust, and unto dust thou shaltreturn (Gen. iii. 19), was taken up to heaven on this day.Foreseeing this elevation of our flesh, the holy man Job
  • 231. compared our L o r d with a bird. A n d seeing that the Jews would not recognise this mystery, he reproached them with their incredulity, and said: The bird hath not htown the path (Job xxviii. 7). T h e name of a bird is" well given to the Lord, W h o in His human body soared up into heaven. A n d those who do not believe in H i s Ascension, do not know the path of the Bird. It is of this glorious occasion that the Psalmist s a y s : Thy magnifi­ cence, 0 Lord, is elevated above the heavens ( P s . viii. 2 ) ; again : God is ascended with jubilee, and the Lord with the sound of trumpet ( P s . xlvi. 6). And again he says : Thou hast ascended on high, Thou hast led captivity captive; Thou hast received gifts in men ( P s . lxvii. 19). Ascending to heaven, H e led captivity captive, for by His Resurrection w e were delivered from corruption; and H e gave gifts to men when sending H i s Spirit: To one, indeed, by the Spirit is given the word of wisdom ; to another the word of knowledge ; to another the grace of healing; to another the working of miracles ; to another divers kinds of tongues ; to another inter­pretation of speeches (1 Cor. xii. 8-10). T h e prophet Habacuc spoke of the glory of Christs Ascension in the w o r d s : The Sun and the Moon stood still in their habitation ( H a b . iii. 1 1 ) . W h o is here signified .by the Sun if not the Saviour ? or by the Moon, if not the Church ? T h i s Church was, until the L o r d s Ascension, exposed to violent storms, and lived in fear of her enemies. B u t when our Saviour had ascended into heaven, the Church was strengthened, took heart, and began to preach openly the faith which she had been holding secretly. L i k e the sun rising towards the south, the L o r d rose, and g a v e strength and increase to H i s Church b y the powerful command to preach H i s Gospel. A n d to confirm thetruth, the Church, taking the words of Solomon, ex­c l a i m s : The voice of my beloved; behold he cometh leaping
  • 232. upon the mountains, skipping over the hills (Cant. ii. 8). For the Church contemplates the sufferings of our Saviour, W h o , from the first moment of H i s coming into this world, leaped with giants steps on painful roads. And would you know, beloved brethren, these steps taken by the Redeemer ? Consider that from heaven H e stepped into the womb of a Virgin, from the w o m b into the manger, from the manger on to the cross, from the cross into the sepulchre, and from the sepulchre up to heaven. T h u s the truth manifested in the flesh took such steps for our sakes, that H e might draw us to run after H i m ; and for this end He hath rejoiced as a giant to run His way (Ps. xviii. 6), that we might passionately say : Drawus; we will run after Thee to the odour of Thy sweetness (Cant. i. 3). X L Therefore, beloved brethren, we must follow inheart and mind H i m W h o on this day ascended intoheaven. L e t our hearts be separated from all earthlydesires, so that we may henceforth taste no other happi­ness than the remembrance of H i m W h o is our Fatherin heaven. L e t us remember, and often meditate, on thistruth, that, though H e ascended as a peaceful K i n g , H ewill one day come as a terrible Judge, and require of uswith justice an account of our keeping those command­ments given to us by H i m in mercy. L e t no manneglect the time given to us for doing penance; leteveryone work for the salvation of his soul whilst thereis yet an opportunity. Our Redeemer will be all thesterner, when H e comes in judgment, the more won-drously long-suffering H e was before. Carefully con­sider my words, and dispose your life according to thisimportant lesson. And should your soul be tossed aboutby the storms of this life, let it be fastened by the anchorof hope to the eternal dwellings, our true fatherland, and
  • 233. let your, eyes steadfastly gaze on that heavenly light.After considering the Ascension of our L o r d , let ourfaith meditate on this mystery, and, though w e are stillfastened to this earth by the bonds of our body, let us atleast follow Jesus on the wings of our love, and ask H i m ,W h o granted us these heavenly desires, not to forsakeus, until they be perfectly fulfilled. Amen, SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER.G O S P E L : John x v . 26 to x v i . 4. At that time: Jesussaid to H i s disciples:. W h e n the Paraclete cometh,W h o m I will send you from the Father, the Spirit ofT r u t h , W h o proceedeth from the Father, H e shall givetestimony of M e : and y o u shall give testimony, becauseyou are with M e from the beginning. T h e s e thingshave I spoken to you, that you may not be scandalized.T h e y will put you out of the s y n a g o g u e s ; yea, the hourcometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that hedoeth a service to G o d . And these things will they doto you, because they have not known the Father, norM e . B u t these things I have told you, that when thehour shall come, you may remember that I told you. HOMILY BY ST. A U G U S T I N E , BISHOP. TRACTS 92 AND 93 ON S T . JOHN. I. W h e n our L o r d had told H i s Apostles that theworld, H i s enemies, hated both the Son and the Fatherwithout a cause—that is, both H i m that w a s sent andH i m by W h o m H e w a s sent—He added these w o r d s :But when the Paraclete cometh, Whom I will send you from theFather, the Spirit of Truth, Who proceedeth from the Father,He shall give testimony of Me : and you shall give testimony,
  • 234. because you ave with Me from the beginning. B u t what c o n :nection has this with what H e had just said: Now theyhave both seen, and hated both Me and My Father; but that theword may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They havehated Me without cause (John x v . 25). Is it that, when theParaclete, the Spirit of T r u t h , is come, H e will convictby a still clearer testimony those who have both seen andhated both G o d the Son and God the Father ? Y e a , indeed, some there were who had seen and still hated, whom the testimony of the Paraclete converted to thefaith which worheth by charity (Gal. v. 6). T o make this view of the passage intelligible, we recall to your mind that so it actually came to pass. For on the day of Pentecost the H o l y Spirit came down upon an assembly of 120 men, among whom were all the A p o s t l e s ; and when these, filled with the Spirit, spoke in the tongues of all the nations, a great number of those who had hated, were amazed by so great a miracle, specially when they saw in Peters speech, how great and how Divine a testi­ mony w a s borne to the fact that the Christ, W h o m they had murdered, atid W h o m they reckoned among the dead, had risen again, and w a s alive. And many of the bystanders had compunction in their hearts (Acts ii. 37), and were converted. T h e y received pardon from that precious Blood, which had been so sacrilegiously and cruelly shed by them, and they themselves became redeemed b y the very Blood they had shed ; for the Blood of Christ was shed so efficaciously for the remission of all sins, that it had power to blot out the very sin by which it w a s shed. T o w a r d s this the L o r d looked, when H e said : They hated Me without cause ; .but when the Paraclete cometh, He shall give testimony of Me. T h i s was as though H e had said : T h e y hated M e and killed M e when I stood visibly before their e y e s ; but the Paraclete
  • 235. shall bear such testimony concerning Me, that H e will compel them to believe in Me, when I am no longer visible to their sight. I I . And you, H e says, shall give testimony, because you are with Me from the beginning. T h e Holy Ghost shall give testimony, and so also shall you. Because you have been with me from the beginning, you can preach what you k n o w ; but you cannot do this just now, because the fulness of that Spirit is not yet within y o u . He, then, shall give testimony of Me ; and you shall give testimony ; for the charity of God is poured forth in your hearts by the Holy Ghost Who is given to you (Rom. v . 5), and will give you the needful confidence for such witness-bearing. T h i scertainly was still wanting to Peters heart, w h o , terrifiedby a maid-servants question, could give no true testi­mony, but, breaking his promise, was driven b y fearthrice to deny H i m . N o w , fear is not in charity; butperfect charity casteth out fear (1 John iv. 18). In fact, be­fore the Lords Passion, his slavish fear w a s questionedby a serving-woman, but after the Resurrection his freelove w a s asked by the very Prince of freedom. A n d soon one occasion he w a s troubled, on the other he w a s atp e a c e ; there he denied the One he loved, here he lovedthe One he had denied. B u t still even then this verylove w a s weak and narrow, until strengthened and ex­panded by the H o l y Ghost. A n d that spirit, pervadinghim with the fulness of richer grace, set on fire his oncecold heart, to give testimony to Christ, and unlockedthose trembling lips which had suppressed the truth.Therefore, while all on whom the H o l y Ghost haddescended were speaking with tongues of all the nationsto crowds of the Jews that stood around, Peter alone, morepromptly than the rest, broke forth to bear witness ofChrist, and, giving an account of H i s Resurrection,
  • 236. confounded H i s murderers. A n d if anyone would like to look at such a sweetly holy spectacle, let him read the A c t s of the Apostles (Acts ii. 5), there to be amazed at the preaching of blessed Peter, over whose denial of his Master he had just been mourning; there to behold that tongue translated from cowardice to boldness, from servitude to liberty, converting to the confession of Christ so many tongues of H i s enemies, not one of which he had had strength enough to bear, when lapsing himself into denial. W h a t shall I say more ? In him there shone forth such brightness of grace, such fulness of the H o l y Ghost, such weight of most precious truth, pro­ ceeding from the mouth of the preacher, that of the vast multitude of j e w s , who were the murderers of Christ, he transformed them into men who were ready to die for H i s Name, even those by w h o m he once dreaded to be put to death with H i m . A l l this was done by the Holy Ghost, then sent,.previously only promised. These were H i s own great and marvellous gifts, foreseen by the Lord, when H e said : They have both seen and hated both Meand My Father ; but that the word may be fulfilled which is written in their law: They have hated Me without cause. But when the Paraclete cometh, Whom I will send you from theFather, the Spirit of Truth, Who proceedeth from the Father,He shall give testimony of Me ; and you shall give testimony.For H e , giving testimony, and inspiring such witnesseswith inyincible courage, rid Christs friends of their fear,and turned into love the hatred of His enemies. I I I . In the words preceding this portion of the Gospel,the L o r d strengthened H i s disciples to bear the hatredof their enemies, and prepared them also by H i s exampleto become more ^courageous by imitating H i m . H e thenadded the promise that the H o l y Ghost would come andg i v e testimony of H i m , and also that they themselves
  • 237. should be made H i s witnesses through the powerfulworking of H i s Spirit in their hearts. T h i s is themeaning of H i s w o r d s : He shall give testimony of Me, andyou shall give testimony—that is, because H e shall givetestimony, you shall also give testimony, H e in yourhearts and you in your v o i c e s ; H e by inspiration, you by expression, that thus the words might be fulfilled : Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth (Ps. xviii. 5). F o r it would not have been enough to cheer them on by H i s example, had H e not also filled them with H i s Spirit. T h u s we see that the Apostle Peter, after hearing H i s word, The servant is not greater than his Master; if they havepersecuted Me, they will also persecute you (John x v . 20); and having seen that already fulfilled in his L o r d , wherein he ought to have imitated H i s patient suffering, had example been sufficient, succumbed and fell into denial, because he w a s unable to bear what he saw H i m enduring. B u t when he received the H o l y Ghost, he preached H i m W h o m he had denied; and W h o m he had been afraid to confess, he had no fear now openly to profess. H e had already been taught b y example to know w h a t w a s meet to be done; but he w a s not yet inspired by the power to do what he k n e w ; he w a s instructed that he might stand, but he was not strengthened that he might not fall. B u t when this w a s given b y the H o l y Ghost, he preached Christ even to the death, W h o m , for fear of death, he had previously denied. Therefore the L o r d , in the following chapter, of which we are now to speak to you, s a y s : These things have I spoken to you that you may not be scandal­ ized. T h u s w e sing in the p s a l m : Much peace have they that love Thy law; and to them there is no stumbling-block ( P s . cxviii. 165). Fittingly enough, then, after promising the H o l y Ghost, by W h o s e operation in their hearts they should be made H i s witnesses, H e goe.s on to s a y ;
  • 238. These things have I spoken to yon, that you may not bescandalized. F o r when the charity of God is poured forthinto our hearts by the Holy Ghost, Who is given h M<(!Rom. v . 5), those who love Gods law have greatpeace, so that nothing may scandalize them. I V . Then H e expressly declares what they were tosuffer : They will put you out of the synagogues. But whatharm was it to the Apostles to be expelled from theJewish synagogues ? W e r e they not about to separatethemselves therefrom, though none should expel them ?Doubtless H e meant to announce that the Jews wouldrefuse to receive Christ, from W h o m the Apostles ascertainly would refuse to withdraw. And so it wouldcome to pass that they, who could not be without Him^would also be cast out with H i m by those w h o refusedto be in H i m . Certainly, as there was no other peopleof God than that seed of Abraham, had they onlyacknowledged and received Christ, they would haveremained as the natural branches of the olive-tree; norwould the Churches of Christ have differed from thesynagogues of the Jews, but would have been one andthe same, had they also desired to abide in H i m . B u thaving refused, what remained but that, continuing to beout of Christ, they put out of the synagogues those w h owould not forsake Christ ? For, having received theHoly Ghost, and so become H i s witnesses, they wouldcertainly not belong to those of whom it was said: Manyof the chief men also believed in Him, hit because of thePharisees they did not confess Him, that they might not becast out of the synagogues; for they loved the glory of men morethan the glory of God (John xii. 42, 43). A n d so theybelieved in H i m , but not in the way H e wished them tobelieve, when H e said : How can you believe, who receive gloryone from another; and the glory which is from God alone,you do
  • 239. not seek? (John v. 44). It is, therefore, with those disciples who believe in H i m that, being filled with the Holy Ghost—or, in other words, with the gift of Divine grace—they no longer belong to those who, not knowing the justice of God, and seeking to establish their own, have not submitted themselves to the justice of God ( R o m . x . 3 ) ; nor to those of whom it is said, they loved the glory of men more than the glory of God, that this prophecy harmonizes $ which is fulfilled in their own persons : They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance, and in Thy Name they shall rejoice all the day, and in Thy justice they shall be exalted, for Thou art the glory of their strength (Ps. Ixxxviii. 16-18). Rightly enough it is said to them : They will put you outof the synagogues—that is, they, who have a zeal of God, butnot according to knowledge, because, not knowing the justice of God, and seeking to establish their own, they expel those whoare exalted, not in their own justice, but in Gods, andthe expelled have no cause to be ashamed at beingexpelled by men, because H e is the glory of their strength.Finally, H e added these words : Yea, the hour cometh, thatwhosoever killeth you, will think that he doeth a service to God;and these things will they do to you, because they have notknown the Father nor Me. That is to say, they have notknown the Father nor H i s Son, to W h o m they thinkthey will be doing a service in slaying y o u . W o r d swhich the L o r d added in the way of consolation to Hisown, who would be driven out of the Jewish synagogues. WHIT-SUNDAY, THE FEAST OF PENTECOST.G O S P E L : John xiv. 23-31. At that time: Jesus said toH i s disciples : If anyone love Me, he will keep M y word,and M y Father will love him, and W e will come to him,
  • 240. and will make Our abode with h i m ; he that loveth Menot, keepeth not M y words. A n d the word which youhave heard is not M i n e ; but the Fathers W h o sent Me.These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you.B u t the Paraclete, the H o l y Ghost, W h o m the Fatherwill send in M y name, H e will teach you all things, andbring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall havesaid to y o u . Peace I leave with you ; My peace I giveto you ; not as the world giveth do I give unto you. L e tnot your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. Y o u haveheard that I said to you : I go away, and I come againto you. If you loved Me, you would indeed be glad,because I go to the Father ; for the Father is greaterthan I. A n d now I have told you before it come to p a s s :that when it shall come to pass, you. may believe. Iwill not now speak many things with you ; for the Princeof this world cometh, and in M e he hath not anything.But that the world may know that I love the F a t h e r ; andas the Father hath given M e commandment, so do I.HOMILY BY POPE ST. GREGORY, PREACHED IN THE CHURCH OF ST. PETER, APOSTLE, ON THE FEAST OF PENTECOST. THIRTIETH HOMILY ON THE GOSPELS. I. It will be best, beloved brethren, briefly to runthrough the words of the Gospel, read out to you, andafterwards dwell for a longer time upon the subject ofthis solemn festival. T h i s is the day whereon suddenlythere came a sound from heaven, and the H o l y Ghostdescended upon the Apostles, and changed their fleshlyminds into minds filled with the love of God. Andwhilst without there appeared parted tongues, as it were ofAre, and it sat upon every one of them, within their hearts
  • 241. were inflamed. _ T h e y received the visible presence ofG o d in the form of fire, and their hearts were filled withthe flames of H i s love. T h e H o l y Ghost Himself is l o v e ;hence S t . John says : God is charity [love] (i John iv. 8).Whosoever, therefore, desires G o d with all his soul, hasalready obtained H i m W h o m he loves ; for no one is ableto love God, if he has not gained H i m W h o m he loves.N o w behold, if one of y o u were asked whether he loveGod, he would with boldness and quietness of spirita n s w e r : «I do love God. Y e t at the very beginning ofthis days Gospel we heard the Divine T r u t h s a y : Ifanyone love Me, he will keep My word. T h e test of love,then, is whether it is shown by works. H e n c e the sameJohn says in his Epistle : If any man say, I love God, andkeep not His commandments, he is a liar (i John i v . 20, v. 3).W e do indeed love G o d and keep H i s commandments,when w e deny ourselves the gratification of our appetites.Whosoever goes after unlawful desires, does not love G o d ,for he is acting against the will of God. I I . And My Father will love him, and We will come to him,and will make Our abode with him. O , beloved brethren,consider what a dignity it is to have God abiding as aguest in our heart! Surely, if some rich man, or somepowerful friend were to come into our house, w e wouldhasten to have the whole house cleaned, lest perhaps theeye of the entering friend should be offended by some­thing. S o let him, who wishes to make his heart a dwell­ing of God, cleanse it from all filth of sinful works. F o rwhat says the Truth ? We will come to him, and ivill makeOur abode with him. T h e r e are some hearts into whichG o d comes, but makes not H i s abode therein. W i t h acertain contrition they feel H i s presence, but in the timeof temptation they forget that which made them s o r r y ;and so they turn again to commit sin, as though they had
  • 242. never repented. Whosoever truly loves God, and keepsall H i s commandments, will receive the Redeemer intohis heart, and be the abode of God, because Divine love will enchain him so strongly that, in the time of tempta­tion, he will not be separated from that love. T h etrue love of God is made manifest by our firmnessamidst temptations, and our courage in overcoming them ; -for it is certain that we are the further from the love ofsupernal things, the more pleasure we find in the sinfulenjoyments of this life. Therefore our Saviour added :He that loveth Me not, keepeth not My words. Examine,then, yourselves, beloved brethren, whether you reallylove God ; and do not believe what your mind answersif you have not the testimony of your good works.T h e heart, the tongue, and the whole life must givetestimony; for real love cannot remain idle. Loveworks great things, and as soon as it ceases to work, itceases to exist. And the word which you have heard is notMine, but the Fathers Who sent Me. Y o u know, belovedbrethren, that the only-begotten Son W h o speaks is the W o r d of the Father, and that the word H e announcedis not the Sons, but the Fathers word, because the Sonis the W o r d of the Father. B u t how do these words ofJesus—These things have I spoken unto you, abiding with you—agree with H i s other words promising His disciples to be with them all days, even to the consummation of the world?This will be easily understood, when we remember thatthe W o r d made flesh will after a certain time secede fromthe world corporally, yet remain with us by virtue of H i sall-powerful and invisible Divinity. I I I . And our L o r d added: But the Paraclete, the HolyGhost, Whom the Father will send in My Name, He will teachyon all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever Ishall have said to you. Y o u know, beloved brethren, that 15—2
  • 243. the Greek word Paraclete means in our tongue intercessoror advocate, because the H o l y Ghost defends, so to speak,the poor sinner before the tribunal of the Fathers justice.Therefore, when it is said that the Holy Ghost, thoughone and the same with the Father and the Son, is inter­ceding for sinners, it means that by H i s inspirations H emoves our hearts to pray to God, as St. P a u l s a y s : Weknow not what we should pray for as we ought, but the SpiritHimself askethfor us with unspeakablegroanings ( R o m . viii. 26).Should you ask how it is that the Holy Ghost, not beinginferior to, but as infinitely great and powerful as theFather, nevertheless intercedes for us, you will under­stand this to mean that H e fills our hearts and inflamesour desires to send our petitions to heaven and lay ournecessities before the throne of the Almighty. H e is alsocalled the Comforter, because H e takes away the sorrow­fulness caused by the remembrance of our sins, andinspires us with the hope of being pardoned by God.O u r L o r d also says that the H o l y Spirit will teach us allthings, because the words of the most eloquent preacherwould be useless, did not the H o l y Ghost speak to thehearts,of the hearers. Therefore, do not attribute to theart and eloquence of the teacher whatsoever you under­stand about the Divine doctrine, but to the Spirit ofT r u t h speaking in your s o u l ; for does it not every dayhappen that the voice of the preacher reaches the ears ofhis hearers, yet the meaning of his words is not under­stood by all in the same manner ? T h e voice is the same,but the understanding is not the same, because thedivine Spirit, this invisible Teacher, opens the mind ofsome, and they comprehend the doctrine, whilst othersremain unmoved by the same sound of the words.St. John teaches this truth, when he s a y s : His mictionteacheth you all things (1 John ii. 27) ; and we understand
  • 244. that, were not the unction of the Holy Ghost poured forthinto our hearts, the words of the preacher could not teachus. B u t w h y should we insist on this fact that humaneloquence is not able to convince us of the truths of salva­tion, since G o d Himself would in vain speak for ourinstruction, did not the unction of the Spirit move ourhearts at the same time ? W e are aware that God,knowing Cains sinful intention to kill his brother, spoketo him, and said: Thou hast sinned; now stop (Gen. iv.,iuxta L X X . ) . Y e t , though he heard the voice of Godwarning him not to stain his hands with the innocentblood of his brother, he remained deaf to that voice,because the unction of the H o l y Spirit had not enteredhis heart, nor moved him to give ear to that voice.However, there is another difficulty. Our Saviour, speak­ing of the H o l y Ghost, said to H i s disciples: And Hewill bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said toyou. This seems to imply that the Son of God is superiorto the Holy Ghost. B u t when we consider the wordsbring all things to your mind, we understand that the H o l yGhost does not lower Himself by such suggestions, as ifdrawing these things out of the innermost of the souls,but by H i s supernatural light makes known the truthswhich before were hidden to them. Peace I leave with you,My peace I give you. These words of our Lord mean thatH e leaves H i s peace with those who endeavour to walk onthe road to salvation, and that H e will give H i s peace for ever to those w h o enter the kingdom prepared for them. I V . After briefly explaining the words of this daysGospel, let us now give our attention to the mystery ofthis solemn festival. Y o u heard, beloved brethren, that on this day the H o l y Ghost came down upon theApostles in parted tongues, as it were, of fire, and that chey began to speak with divers tongues, according as
  • 245. 230 SUNDA YS A ND FESTIVALSthe H o l y Ghost gave them to speak. B y this greatwonder we understand that the holy Church, filled withthe same spirit as the Apostles, and preaching to thenations of the world, will be heard by all of them.Indeed, when God, to confound the arrogance of thepeople building the T o w e r of B a b e l , also confoundedtheir tongue, H e in the same w a y united all languagesin those who humbly feared H i m , so that humility foundits power there, where pride and arrogance felt theirweakness and received their punishment. V . N o w let us examine w h y the H o l y Ghost, oneand co-eternal with the Father and the Son, appearedunder the element of fire ; w h y H e appeared in fire andt o n g u e s ; w h y H e at one time appeared as a dove, andat another as fire; w h y H e showed Himself as a dovewhen coming down upon the Son of God, and as tonguesof fire upon the Apostles (Acts ii. 2 ) ; so that the dovewas not visible when the H o l y Ghost came upon theApostles, neither the fire when H e appeared upon thePerson of the Son of God. These questions will beanswered, when we first say that the H o l y Ghost,co-eternal with the Father and the Son, showed Himselfas fire, because God Himself is a spiritual and invisiblefire, according to the words of S t . P a u l : For our God isa consuming fire (Heb. xii. 29). H e is indeed a fire, forH e consumes the rust of our sins; and this has beenconfirmed b y the words of the Eternal Truth : I am cometo cast fire on the earth ; and what will I but that it be kindled ( L u k e xii. 49). T h e earth of which H e speaks are theworldly hearts of men, which, being filled with earthlythoughts, are, so to speak, trodden upon b y the infernalspirits. B u t when, through the breathing of the H o l yGhost, the Almighty sends H i s Divine fire, _the carnalhearts of men are at once inflamed by H i s l o v e ; the
  • 246. earth is enkindled by this heavenly fire, and the worldly and cold hearts forsake the sinful desires, by which they are bound to this world, and they endeavour to belong only to G o d , now the sole object of their love. T h e Holy Ghost comes in fire, because by H i m our cold hearts are warmed and filled with desires of eternity. And, being co-eternal with the Son, the same Spirit appeared in the shape of tongues of fire, and thus showed the intimate relationship between the tongue and the W o r d . F o r the Son is the W o r d of the Father, and since the H o l y Ghost andthe Son have the same Divine Nature, it was fit that this Spirit should appear in the form of a tongue, this being the organ of words. T h e Holy Ghost w a s seen in tongues, for he that receives this Spirit will confess the W o r d of God, the only-begotten Son ; and he cannot deny the W o r d , since he already possesses the tongue of the Spirit. Again H e appeared in the shape of tongues of fire, because all those filled with the gifts of the H o l y Ghost are by H i m inflamed with love and endowed with eloquence. T h e true teachers of the doctrine of Jesus Christ have, so to speak, fiery tongues, because they preach the love of G o d , and inflame the hearts of the hearers; for the most.learned sermons are unprofitable, unless sparks of that holy fire are brought by them into the hearts of men. T h e heat of this fire was felt by the two disciples going to E m m a u s , and, being taught by the Eternal Truth, they said : Was not ouv heart burning within us, whilst He spoke in the way, and opened to us the Scriptures ? ( L u k e xxiv. 32). These are the effects produced in a soul listening to zealous p r e a c h i n g : the heart is inflamed, the ice of torpidness is melted, holy desires are aroused, and the longings for earthly things are removed. Real love, filling the soul, awakens in it sighs and tears; but b y
  • 247. these pains, suffered under the yoke of Divine love, thereal love is nourished and strengthened. S u c h a soulfinds its delight in hearing the word of G o d and theDivine commandments, and these commandments are asmany torches enlightening and guiding the soul on theroad to salvation, whereupon it had been walking care­lessly and inactively, but now zealously, because strength­ened by the word of God. T h u s Moses says : In Hisright hand a fiery, law (Deut. xxxiii. 2 ) ; for by the lefthand are indicated the damned, one day to be placed atthe left hand of the J u d g e ; whereas the right handshows the elect, who could not behold the fiery law inthe right hand of the Almighty without being inflamedwith fiery love to fulfil that law. A s soon as the wordsof the law are heard, these souls find no other rest butin the sweetness of this fire consuming them. B u t asthe H o l y Spirit showed Himself under the form of fires,and on another occasion appeared under the form of a dove, this twofold symbol meant the effects produced by H i m in the hearts of those who receive Him—that is, simplicity and ardour of love. B y H i m w e are madeartless through purity, and ardent through Divine zeal. F o r simplicity without zeal cannot please G o d , just as zeal without an artless heart cannot be accepted by H i m . W e hear, therefore, the Truth say to H i s A p o s t l e s : Be ye, therefore, wise as serpents, and simple as doves (Matt, x. 1 6 ) ; meaning that wise zeal must animate simplicity, whilst simplicity is to temperate our zeal. T h i s is corroborated by*the great Apostle admonishing us in these words : Brethren, do not become children in sense, but in malice be children, and in sense be perfect (1 Cor. xiv. 20). A n d H o l y Scripture, speaking of Job as a simple man, says : And this man was simple, and upright, and fearing God. B y which We are taught that there can be no upright-
  • 248. ness without simplicity, nor simplicity agreeable to Godwithout uprightness. A n d since the H o l y Ghost cameto teach us both these virtues, H e appeared as a doveand as fire, in order to teach us meekness and peaceful-ness under the form of a dove, and ardent love for justiceunder the form of fire—virtues imparted to those thatreceive H i m . V I . T h e motive w h y the same Holy Spirit came uponthe Redeemer as a dove, and upon the Apostles in tonguesof fire, is apparent when w e consider that the wrath ofthe justice of the Son of G o d could not have been borneby us, had H e appeared in fire to judge and punish, beforeattracting us through the sweetness of H i s blessings.T h e Son of God became man to redeem all men, and H eshowed Himself full of meekness that we might find Hisyoke light and amiable ; also because H e wished to con­vert and to be merciful to all in this life, since in Hisjustice H e must condemn some of them on the day of H i s wrath. This is the reason why the H o l y Ghost showed Himself first as a dove upon H i m who had come to forgive the sins of men, and not to punish. B u t if on this day H e appeared in consuming fire, it means that the Apostles, being mere men, and consequently sinners, were to be purified in the fire of Divine love, cleansed by their own penance from their faults, though G o d in His infinite mercy is always ready to forgive s i n s ; for let us not imagine that the Apostles, entrusted with that heavenly ministry, were without sin. St. John writes : // we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John i. 8). T h e Holy Ghost came in fire upon men, and as a dove upon our L o r d ; for Christ has borne our sins patiently and mercifully; whereas we are carefully to examine our sins and burn them in the fire of penance and ardent love of God.
  • 249. WHIT-MONDAY.G O S P E L : John iii. 16-21. At that time: Jesus said toNicodemus : G o d so loved the world as to give His only-begotten Son ; that whosoever believeth in H i m , may notperish, but may have life everlasting. F o r G o d sent notHis Son into the world, to judge the world, but that theworld may b e saved by H i m . H e that believeth in H i mis not judged. B u t he that doth not believe is alreadyjudged : because he believeth not in the N a m e of theonly-begotten Son of God. A n d this is the j u d g m e n t :because the light is come into the world, and men loveddarkness rather than the l i g h t : for their works were evil.F o r every one that doth evil hateth the light, and comethnot to the light, that his works may not be reproved.B u t he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his worksmay be made manifest, because they are done in God. H O M I L Y BY ST. AUGUSTINE, BISHOP, T R A C T 12 ON S T . JOHN. I. Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician, is come into theworld to heal the sick, as far as it lies in the Physician.F o r that man, w h o will not observe the orders of thatPhysician, is his own destroyer. H e is come a Saviourto the world. And w h y is H e called the Saviour of theworld, but because H e is come not to judge the world,but that the world may be saved by Him. T h o u dost notchoose to be saved by H i m ; of thy own self thou shaltbe judged. A n d w h y do I say shalt be judged ? See whatH e says : He that believeth in Him, is not judged ; but he thatdoth not believe. W h a t dost thou expect H e is going tosay, but is judged ? H e says, is already judged. The
  • 250. judgment has not yet appeared, yet it has already taken place ; for the Lord knows them that are His ; knows who shall persevere for the crown, persevere for the flame. H e knows the wheat on H i s threshing-floor, and knows the chaff; knows the good corn, and knows the tares. He that believeth not is already judged. W h y judged ? Because he believeth not in the Name of the only-begotten Son of God. I I . And this is the judgment; because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. B u t , my brethren, whose works will the L o r d find to be good ? T h e works of none. H e finds the works of all evil. In what sense, then, is it said that some have done truth, and are come to the light ? F o r this is what follows : But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God. In what sense have some done a good work to come to the light—that is, to Christ ? And how have some loved darkness? For if H e finds all men sinners, and heals all of sin, and that serpent, in which the death of the L o r d was figured, healed them that were bitten, and on account of the serpents bite the serpent was erected, that is, the death of the Lord, because of mortal men whom H e found sinful; how are we to understand that this is the judgment; because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil ? W h a t is this ? Whose works were good ? Hast T h o u not come to justify the godless ? B u t H e says : They loved darkness rather, than the light. Here H e makes the great point; for many loved their sins, many confessed their sins. N o w , he that confesses his sins and accuses his sins, henceforth works with God. G o d accuses thy sins, and if thou also accusest, thou art united with God, There are, as it were, t w o things : man and sinner. That thou art called man,
  • 251. is G o d s d o i n g ; that thou art called sinner, is mans owndoing. B l o t out what was thy doing, that G o d may savewhat was H i s doing. It behoves thee to hate thine ownwork in thee, and to love the work of G o d in thee. N o w ,when thy own works begin to be displeasing to thee,from that time thy good works begin, because thouaccusest thy evil works. T h e confession of evil works isthe beginning of good works. T h o u dost truth, andcomest to the light. W h a t means thou dost truth ? Ifthou dost not fondle thyself, nor soothe, nor flatter thy­self, and dost not say, / am just, whilst thou art a sinner,thus thou beginnest to do the truth. T h o u comest tothe light, that thy works may be manifest that they aredone in God. F o r thy sins, the very thing that gavethee displeasure, would not have displeased thee, had notG o d shone in thee, and His truth showed them to thee.B u t the man who, being admonished, loves his sins, hatesthe light admonishing him, and flees from it, that hisworks, which he loves, may not be proved as evil.W h e r e a s he that does truth, accuses his evil works inhimself, spares not himself, forgives not himself, thatG o d may forgive h i m ; for he himself acknowledgesthat which he desires to be forgiven by God, and hecomes to the light, to which he is thankful for showinghim what he should hate in himself. H e says to G o d :Turn away Thy face from my sins ; and with what assurancesays it, unless he adds : For I know my iniquity, and my sinis always before me (Ps. 1. n , 5). L e t that be before theewhich thou desirest not to be before G o d . B u t if thouwilt put thy sin behind thee, G o d will force it back beforethy eyes ; and this H e will do at a time when there willbe no more fruit of repentance. I I I . M y brethren, run, that the darkness come notupon you. A w a k e to your salvation; awake while there
  • 252. is time. L e t none be kept back from the temple of God,none kept back from the work of the Lord, none calledaway from continual prayer, none be defrauded of thecustomary devotion. A w a k e , then, while it is d a y ; theday shines, Christ is the day. H e is ready to forgive sinsto them that acknowledge their sins; ready to punishthose who defend themselves, and who boast that theyare just, and think themselves to be something, whenthey are nothing. B u t he that walks in H i s love andmercy, and being free from these great and deadly sins,such crimes as murder, theft, adultery, but is also sorryfor those which seem to be small, sins of thought or oftongue, or of want of moderation in things permitted, hedoes the truth of confession and comes to the light ingood works, seeing that many small sins, if they beneglected, are fatal. Small are the drops which swell theriver, small the grains of sand, but if such sand beheaped up, it presses and crushes. T h e bilge-waterallowed to accumulate in the ships hold, does the samething as a rushing w a v e . B y little and little it leaks inthrough the hold; and by long leaking in and no pumpingout it sinks the vessel. N o w , what is this pumping out,but that by good works, by sighing, fasting, giving, forgiv­ing, we take care that sins overwhelm us not ? Truly thepath of this life is troublesome, full of temptations; inprosperity let it not lift us up ; in adversity let it notcrush us. H e who g a v e the happiness of this world,gave it for your comfort, not for your ruin. Again, H ewho scourges you in this world, does it for your improve­ment, not for your condemnation. Y o u must bear Himas a Father W h o corrects you for your training, lest youfeel H i m as a.Judge W h o will punish yoti. T h e s e thingswe tell you every day, and they must be said often,because they are good and wholesome.
  • 253. TRINITY SUNDAY.G O S P E L : Matt, xxviii. 18-20. At that time: Jesus saidt o H i s disciples: A l l power is given to M e in heavenand in earth. Going, therefore, teach ye all nations ;baptizing them in the N a m e of the Father, and of the Son,and of the H o l y Ghost. Teaching them to observe allthings whatsoever I have commanded y o u ; and behold Iam with you all days, even to the consummation of theworld, HOMILY BY ST. G R E G O R Y O F NAZIANZUS. TREATISE ON T H E F A I T H . I. Is there a Catholic in the world who does not knowthat the Father is a very Father, the Son a very Son,and the H o l y Ghost a very H o l y Ghost ? T h e L o r dHimself said to H i s A p o s t l e s : All power is given to Me inheaven and in earth. Going, therefore, teach ye all nations;baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, andof the Holy Ghost. This is that perfect TRINITY, consistingin U N I T Y , of W h o m w e testify that H i s substance is ONE ;for w e make no division in G o d as divisions are made inbodies; but w e testify that, according to the power of theDivine Nature, which exists not in matter, the Personshave a real existence, and that G o d is ONE. W e alsobelieve that these three names and the Persons meant b ythem, are all of one Substance, one Majesty, and oneP o w e r ; and w e do not say, as some have dreamt, thatthe begetting of the Son of G o d is an extension from onepart to another part, neither do w e say that H e is theW o r d in the sense of a mere sound uttered by a voice,and not a reality. I I . W e testify, therefore, that G o d is ONE, because
  • 254. TRINITY SUNDAY 239this ONENESS of H i s Majesty forbids the use of the pluralform of speech saying Gods. It is Catholic language tosay Father and Son; but w e cannot and must not saythat the Father and the Son are two Gods. A n d that, notbecause the-Son of G o d is not by Himself God—for H eis true God of true God—but because we know that theSon of God is not from elsewhere, but from the OneFather, therefore w e say that God is ONE. T h i s is thedoctrine which the Prophets and the Apostles have trans­mitted to us ; and it is the doctrine which our LordHimself taught, when H e said: / and the Father are one(John x. 30). One refers to the one Divinity, as I said;whereas are means the Persons. Thus the Apostle says:To us there is but one God, the Father, of Whom are all things,and we unto Him ; and our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom areall things, and we by Him. But there is not knowledge ineveryone (1 Cor. viii. 6, 7). Concerning this truth, andhaving explained these words which were a stumbling-block, not to me who know what I am saying, but toothers, I believe to have removed every occasion of afalse interpretation. T h e profession of faith is manifest:for P E R S O N agrees with the words used, while theDivinity is ONE. Should anything else in these wordsseem ambiguous to the reader, let him refer to the realmeaning of the words. T h o u g h this meaning of thewords is clear, the obstinacy of a biassed intellect is oftenshown; and since our exposition agrees with the truth,the words also ought to be clear to a sincere mind. FIRST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST.G O S P E L : L u k e vi. 36-42. At that time: Jesus said to Hisdisciples: B e ye merciful, as your Father also is merciful.Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not,
  • 255. and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shallbe forgiven. G i v e , and it shall be given to y o u ; goodmeasure, and pressed down, and shaken together, andrunning over, shall be given into your bosom. F o r withthe same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall bemeasured to you again. A n d H e spoke also to them asimilitude ; C a n the blind lead the blind ? D o they notboth fall into the ditch ? T h e disciple is not above hismaster; but every one shall be perfect, if he be as hismaster. A n d w h y seest thou the mote in thy brotherse y e ; but the beam that is in thy own eye tho