Posts

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).