Articles related to Lectio Divine and Biblical Studies.

Lectio Divina – Quotes related to the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary time

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-614): The man in travelling into a far country is our Redeemer, who ascended into heaven in that human body which He had taken upon Him. For the proper home of the human body is the earth, and it, as it were, travels into a foreign country, when it is placed by the Redeemer in heaven.

St. Jerome (340/2-420): Calling together the Apostles, He gave them the Gospel doctrine, to one more, to another less, not as of His own bounty or scanting, but as meeting the capacity of the receivers, as the Apostle says (1 Cor 3:2), that he fed with milk those that were unable to take solid food. In the five, two, and one talent, we recognise the diversity of gifts wherewith we have been entrusted. … The servant who of five talents had made ten, and he who of two had made four, are received with equal favour by the Master of the household, who looks not to the largeness of their profit, but to the disposition of their will.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-614): To hide one’s talent in the earth is to devote the ability we have received to worldly business.

Rabanus Maurus (c. 780-856): “Well done” is an interjection of joy; the Lord showing us therein the joy with which He invites the servant who labours well to eternal bliss; of which the Prophet speaks, “In thy presence is fulness of joy.” (Ps 16:11)

Elias Levi-Merikakis (Br. Simeon): ‘We know what the Lord thinks of servants who bury their talents out of fear of losing them. Our greatest talent and treasure is our ability to love, and in this enterprise the champion is the greatest risk taker, which means the one most willing to invest himself where the odds appear most against him The absolute victor is Jesus crucified. Love, the overflow of goodness, is, as Thomas Aquinas tells us, “diffusive of itself.” […] If a characteristic of cosmic nature is horror vacui, an “abhorrence of the [physical] void” the divine nature abhors the void of love and runs to remedy it. To be in heaven, to have one’s dwelling in the heavens, far from connoting a spiritualistic fleeing from the earth, means rather to reside in the fullness of love and to be always engaged in bestowing the benefits of love on others – to pour out one’s being into the void of others as if one were sunlight and rain.

Lectio Divina – Quotes related to the 32th Sunday of Ordinary time

Origen (182-253/4): They that believe rightly, and live righteously, are likened to the five wise; they that profess the faith of Jesus, but prepare themselves not by good works to salvation, are likened to the five foolish.

St. Jerome (340/2-420): For there are five senses which hasten towards heavenly things, and seek after things above. Of sight, hearing, and touch, it is specially said, “That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, and our hands have handled.” (1 John 1:1) Of taste, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Ps 34:8) Of smell, “Because of the savour of thy good ointments.” (Song of Songs 1:3) There are also other five senses which gape after earthly husks.

St. Augustine (354-430): Or, The “oil” denotes joy, according to that, “God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness” (Ps 45:7). He then whose joy springs not from this that he is inwardly pleasing to God, has no oil with him; for they have no gladness in their continent lives, save in the praises of men. “But the wise took oil with their lamps,” that is, the gladness of good works, “in their vessels,” that is, they stored it in their heart and conscience, as the Apostle speaks, “Let every man prove himself, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself, and not in another” (Gal 6:4).

St. Jerome (340/2-420): Suddenly thus, as on a stormy night, and when all think themselves secure, at the hour when sleep is the deepest, the coming of Christ shall be proclaimed by the shout of Angels, and the trumpets of the Powers that go before Him. This is meant when it says, “Lo, the bridegroom comes, go out to meet him.”

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-614): The lamps of the foolish virgins go out, because the works which appeared outwardly to men to be bright, are dimmed within at the coming of the Judge. That they then beg oil of the wise virgins, what is it but that at the coming of the Judge, when they find themselves empty within, they seek for witness from without?

St. Jerome (340/2-420): These wise virgins do not refuse to share out of covetousness, but out of fear. Wherefore, each man shall receive the recompense of his own works, and the virtues of one cannot atone for the vices of another in the day of judgment. Their worthy confession calling Him, “Lord, Lord,” is a mark of faith. But what avails it to confess with the mouth Him whom you deny with your works?

(Photo: The Five Wise Virgins, St. Finnbarr’s Cathedral, Cork.)

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.


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.