Lectio Divina – Quotes related to the 30th Sunday of Ordinary time

Catena Aurea, Matthew 22:34-40, 30th Sunday in Ordinary time, Year A.

St. Jerome (340/2-420): The Pharisees having been themselves already confuted (in the matter of the denarius), and now seeing their adversaries also overthrown, should have taken warning to attempt no further deceit against Him; but hate and jealousy are the parents of imprudence.

St. Augustine (354-430) You are commanded to love God “with all your heart,” that is, your whole thoughts— “with all your soul,” that is, your whole life— “with all your mind,” that is, your whole understanding— so that these may be given to Him from whom you have received them, so that you may give them. Thus He has left no part of our life which may justly be un-filled with Him; but if anything else presents itself for the soul’s love, it should be absorbed into that channel in which the whole current of love runs. For man is then the most perfect when his whole life tends towards the life which is unchangeable, and clings to it with the whole purpose of his soul.

Pseudo-Chrysostom: But whoever loves man is like someone who loves God; for man is God’s image, wherein God is loved, as a King is honoured in his statue. For this reason this commandment is said to be like the first.

St. Hilary of Poitiers (300-368): Or otherwise; That the second command is like [p. 764] the first signifies that the obligation and merit of both are alike; for no love of God without Christ, or of Christ without God, can profit to salvation. It follows, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

Rabanus Maurus (c. 780-856): For to these two commandments belongs the whole Ten Commandments; the first three commandments to the love of God, and the remaining seven to the love of our neighbour.

Lectio Divina – Quotes related to the 29th Sunday of Ordinary time

Catena Aurea, Mt 22:15-21, Sunday 29A

St. Jerome (340/2-420): Lately under Caesar Augustus, Judaea, which was subject to the Romans, had been made tributary when the census was held of the whole world; and there was a great division among the people, some saying that tribute ought to be paid to the Romans in return for the security and quiet which their arms maintained for all. The Pharisees on the other hand, self-satisfied in their own righteousness, contended that the people of God who paid tithes and gave first-fruits, and did all the other things which are written in the Law, ought not to be subject to human laws. But Augustus had given the Jews as king, Herod, son of Antipater, a foreigner and proselyte; he was to exact the tribute, yet to be subject to the Roman dominion. The Pharisees therefore send their disciples with the Herodians, that is, with Herod’s soldiers, or those whom the Pharisees in mockery called Herodians, because they paid tribute to the Romans, and were not devoted to the worship of God.

Attributed to St. John Chrysostom On Matthew: He therefore calls them hypocrites, that seeing Him to be a discerner of human hearts, they might not be foolish enough to carry through their design. Observe thus how the Pharisees spoke pleasantly that they might destroy Him, but Jesus put them to shame that He might save them; for God’s wrath is more profitable to man, than man’s favour.

St. Hilary of Poitiers (300-368) On Matthew: We should also to render unto God the things that are His, namely, body, soul, and will. For Caesar’s coin is in the gold, in which His image was portrayed; but that is God’s coin, on which the Divine image is stamped. Give therefore your money to Caesar, but preserve a conscience without offence for God.

Origen (182-253/4) On Matthew: They then who without any moderation inculcate the law of God, and command us to have no care for the things required by the body, are the Pharisees, who forbade to give tribute to Caesar, “forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God has created” (1 Tim. 4:3). They, on the other hand, who allow too much indulgence to the body are the Herodians. But our Saviour wishes neither that virtue should be enfeebled by caring immoderately for the flesh; nor that our fleshly nature should be oppressed by our unremitting efforts after virtue.


Our Lady of the Rosary

Today we celebrate the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. It is a special feast for us as Dominicans as according to Catholic tradition, in the 13th century, Mary, the Mother of God appeared to our Holy Father St Dominic gave him the Rosary and asked him that instead of praying the psalms on the beads or knots, as was tradition in ancient times, the faithful pray the Hail Mary, Our Father and the Glory Be.  St Dominic was able to succeed in his mission to preach the gospel not by preaching alone but with the help of the rosary. He had a gift from Our Lady to help and guide him.

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Lectio Divina – Quotes related to the 26th Sunday

Each week we post lectio divina aids in the form of quotes from the Church Fathers and other notable authors in relation to the Sunday Gospel. This week there quotes are in relation to the 26th Sunday in Ordinary time (year A).

Catena Aurea, Matthew 21:28-32.

St. Jerome (340/2-420): He speaks to the Gentile people first, through their knowledge of the law of nature; “Go and work in my vineyard;” i.e. “What you would not have done to you, do not do to others” (Tobit 4:16). He answers haughtily, “I will not.” But when, at the coming of the Saviour, the Gentile people, having repented, laboured in God’s vineyard, and atoned by their labour for the obstinacy of their refusal, this is what is said, “But afterward he repented, and went.” The second son is the Jewish people who made answer to Moses, “All that the Lord has said unto us we will do” (Exodus 24:3).

Origen (182-253/4): Whence we may gather, that in this parable the Lord spoke to such as promise little or nothing, but in their works shine forth; and against those who promise great things but do none of these things that they have promised.

St. John Chrysostom (c. 347-407): The Lord abundantly confirms their decision, whence it follows, “Jesus said to them, Truly I say unto you, that the tax collectors and prostitutes shall go before you in the kingdom of God;” as much as to say, Not only the Gentiles are before you, but even the tax collectors and prostitutes.

Origen (182-253/4): Notwithstanding, the Jews are not shut out that they should never enter into the kingdom of God; but, “when the fulness of the Gentiles shall have entered in, then all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:25-26).

St. John Chrysostom (c. 347-407): This He brings in because the Priests had asked not in order to learn, but to tempt Him. But of the common people many had believed; and for that reason He brings forward the parable of the two sons, showing them that the common sort, who from the first professed secular lives, were better than the Priests who from the first professed the service of God, inasmuch as the people at length turned repentant to God, but the Priests impenitent, never left off to sin against God. And the elder son represents the people; because the people is not for the sake of the Priests, but the Priests are for the sake of the people.

Lectio Divina – Quotes related to the 25th Sunday

This week we resume our Lectio Divina series. Each week we post lectio divina aids in the form of quotes from the Church Fathers and other notable authors in relation to the Sunday Gospel. This week there quotes are in relation to the 25th Sunday in Ordinary time (year A).

Catena Aurea, Mt 20:1-16, Sunday 25A

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-614), Hom. in Evang., xix, 1: The morning is that age of the world which was from Adam and Noah, . . . The third hour is the period from Noah to Abraham; . . . The sixth hour is that from Abraham to Moses, the ninth that from Moses to the coming of the Lord. . . .

The Master of the household, that is, our Maker, has a vineyard, that is, the Church universal, which has borne so many stocks, as many saints as it has put forth from Abel the Just to the very last saint who shall be born in the end of the world. To instruct this His people as for the dressing of a vineyard, the Lord has never ceased to send out His labourers; first by the Patriarchs, next by the teachers of the Law, then by the Prophets, and at the last by the Apostles, He has toiled in the cultivation of His vineyard; though every man, in whatsoever measure or degree he has joined good action with right faith, has been a labourer in the vineyard.

Origen (182-253/4): For the whole of this present life may be called one day, long to us, short compared to the existence of God.

Remigius of Auxerre (841-908): A denarius was a coin anciently equal to ten sesterces, and bearing the king’s image. Well therefore does the denarius represent the reward of the keeping of the Ten Commandments. And that, “Having agreed with them for a denarius a day,” is well said, to show that every man labours in the field of the holy Church in hope of the future reward.

St. Jerome (340/2-420): A denarius bears the figure of the king. You have therefore received the reward which I promised you, that is, my image and likeness; what do you desire more?

St. Augustine (354-430): Because that life eternal shall be equal to all the saints, a denarius is given to all; but forasmuch as in that life eternal the light of merits shall shine diversely, there are with the Father many mansions (Jn 14:2); so that under this same denarius bestowed unequally one shall not live longer than another, but in the many mansions one shall shine with more splendour than another.

St. John Chrysostom (c. 347-407): That He called not all of them at once, but some in the morning, some at the third hour, and so forth, proceeded from the difference of their minds. He then called them when they would obey; as He also called the thief when he would obey. Whereas they say, “Because no man has hired us,” we ought not to force a sense out of every particular in a parable. Further, it is the labourers and not the Lord who speak thus; for that He, as far as it pertains to Him, calls all men from their earliest years, is shown in this, “He went out early in the morning to hire labourers.”

Lectio Divina, Pentecost Sunday

The Venerable Bede (672/3-735): Here is shown the weakness of the Apostles. . . . He came in the evening, because they would be the most afraid at that time.

St. Augustine (354-430): The shut door did not hinder the body, wherein Divinity resided. He could enter without open doors, who was as born without a violation of His mother’s virginity.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-614): And because their faith wavered even with the material body before them, He showed them His hands and side.

St. Augustine (354-430): The nails had pierced His hands, the lance had pierced His side. For the healing of doubting hearts, the marks of the wounds were still preserved.

St. Augustine (354-430): When he has said, Receive the Holy Spirit, He instantly makes mention of the remission and retaining of sins, because the love of the Church, which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, remits the sins of those who partake of it, but retains the sins of those who do not.

Lectio Divina, Ascension Sunday

Writings of the fathers of the Church, Mt 28:16-20, Ascension Sunday

The Venerable Bede (672/3-735): He goes before His disciples into Galilee, because “Christ is risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that slept” (1 Cor 15:20). And they that are Christ’s follow Him, and pass in their order from death to life, contemplating Him as He appears with His proper Divinity.

Remigius of Auxerre, 841-908: The disciples then, when they saw Him, knew the Lord; and worshipped Him, bowing their faces to the ground. And He their affectionate and merciful Master, that He might take away all doubtfulness from their hearts, coming to them, strengthened them in their belief; as it follows, And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.”
St. Jerome (340/2-420): He then who promises that He will be with His disciples to the end of the world, shows both that they shall live forever, and that He will never depart from those that believe.

Pope St. Leo the Great (c.400-461): Serm., 72, 3: For by ascending into heaven He does not desert His adopted; but from above strengthens to endurance, those whom He invites upwards to glory. Of which glory may Christ make us partakers, Who is the King of glory, “God blessed for ever,” AMEN.

Lectio Divina: Quotes related to the 6th week of Easter

St. John Chrysostom (c. 347-407) the disciples having heard Him say, I go to the Father, and being troubled at the thought of it, He says, “To love Me, is not to be troubled, but to keep My commandments: this is love, to obey and believe in Him who is loved.”

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-614) Moralia, on Job: The Holy Spirit kindles in every one, in whom He dwells, the desire of things invisible. And since worldly minds love only things visible, this world receives Him not, because it rises not to the love of things invisible. In proportion as worldly minds enlarge themselves by the spread of their desires for things they can see, in that proportion they narrow themselves, with respect to admitting Christ.

St. Augustine (354-430) In Joannem: The lovers of the world, cannot, Jesus says, receive the Holy Spirit: that is to say, unrighteousness cannot be righteous. The love of the world has not invisible eyes wherewith to see that which can only be seen invisibly.

It remains for us to understand, that he who loves has the Holy Spirit, and by having Him, attains to having more of Him, and by having more of Him, to loving more. The disciples had already the Spirit which our Lord promised; but they were to be given more of Him. They had Him secretly, they were to receive Him openly. The promise is made both to him who has the Spirit, and to him who has Him not; to him who does not have the Spirit, that he shall have Him; to him who does, that He shall have more of Him.

(Picture: Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper from the refectory of the Dominican Priory, Santa Maria delle Grazie, in Milan. )

Lectio Divina: Quotes related to the 3rd week of Easter

Please find below some quotes of the Church Fathers and other theologians in relation to the Gospel of the Third Sunday of Easter (Easter 3A, Lk 24:13-35.):

The Venerable Bede (672/3-735): And as they spoke of Him, the Lord comes near and joins them, that He may both influence their minds with faith in His resurrection, and fulfill that which He had promised, Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there, am I in the midst of them (Mt 18:20).

Theophylact (1055-1107): For having now obtained a spiritual body, distance of place is no obstacle to His being present to whom he wished, nor did He any further govern His body by natural laws, but spiritually and supernaturally. Hence as Mark says, He appeared to them in a different form, in which they were not permitted to know Him; for it follows, And their eyes were held back that they should not know him; in order truly that they may reveal their entirely doubtful conceptions, and uncovering their wound may receive a cure; and that they might know that although the same body which suffered, rose again, yet it was no longer such as to be visible to all, but only to those by whom He willed it to be seen; and that they should not wonder why henceforth He walks not among the people, seeing that His conversation was not fit for mankind, but rather divine; which is also the character of the resurrection to come, in which we shall walk as the Angels and the sons of God.

Origen (182-253/4):Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Lk 24:32). By which is implied, that the words uttered by the Savior inflamed the hearts of the hearers to the love of God.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-614): By the word which is heard the spirit is kindled, the chill of dullness departs, the mind becomes awakened with heavenly desire. It rejoices to hear heavenly precepts, and every command in which it is instructed, is as it were, adding kindling to the fire.

Lectio Divina: quotes related to this weeks Gospel

Find below some quotes from the Church Fathers and other notable authors in relation to the Gospel of the second Sunday of Easter (Divine Mercy Sunday)

St. Augustine (354-430): The shut door did not hinder the body, wherein Divinity resided. He could enter without open doors, who was as born without a violation of His mother’s virginity.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-614): But why is He [the Holy Spirit] first given to the disciples on earth, and afterwards sent from heaven? Because there are two commandments of love, to love God, and to love our neighbour. The spirit to love our neighbour is given on earth, the spirit to love God is given from heaven. As then love is one, and there are two commandments; so the Spirit is one, and there are two gifts of the Spirit. And the first is given by our Lord while yet upon earth, the second from heaven, because by the love of our neighbour we learn how to arrive at the love of God.

St. Augustine (354-430): The love of the Church, which is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, remits the sins of those who partake of it; but retains the sins of those who do not. Where then He has said, Receive you the Holy Spirit, He instantly makes mention of the remission and retaining of sins.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-614): It was not an accident that that particular disciple was not present. The Divine mercy ordained that a doubting disciple should, by feeling in his Master the wounds of the flesh, heal in us the wounds of unbelief. The unbelief of Thomas is more profitable to our faith, than the belief of the other disciples; for, the touch by which he is brought to believe, confirming our minds in belief, beyond all question.

Pope Benedict xvi: The proverbial scene of the doubting Thomas that occurred eight days after Easter is very well known. At first he did not believe that Jesus had appeared in his absence and said:  “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe” (Jn 20: 25).

Basically, from these words emerges the conviction that Jesus can now be recognized by his wounds rather than by his face. Thomas holds that the signs that confirm Jesus’ identity are now above all his wounds, in which he reveals to us how much he loved us. In this the Apostle is not mistaken.

As we know, Jesus reappeared among his disciples eight days later and this time Thomas was present. Jesus summons him:  “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing” (Jn 20: 27).

Thomas reacts with the most splendid profession of faith in the whole of the New Testament:  “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20: 28). St Augustine comments on this:  Thomas “saw and touched the man, and acknowledged the God whom he neither saw nor touched; but by the means of what he saw and touched, he now put far away from him every doubt, and believed the other” (In ev. Jo. 121, 5).

The Evangelist continues with Jesus’ last words to Thomas:  “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (Jn 20: 29). This sentence can also be put into the present:  “Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe”.

In any case, here Jesus spells out a fundamental principle for Christians who will come after Thomas, hence, for all of us.

It is interesting to note that another Thomas, the great Medieval theologian of Aquinas, juxtaposed this formula of blessedness with the apparently opposite one recorded by Luke:  “Blessed are the eyes which see what you see!” (Lk 10: 23). However, Aquinas comments:  “Those who believe without seeing are more meritorious than those who, seeing, believe” (In Johann. XXlectio VI 2566).