Lectio Divina – Quotes related to the Second Sunday of Advent

The Venerable Bede (672/3-735), in Marc., i, 1: The beginning of this Gospel should be compared with that of Matthew, in which it is said, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham.” But here He is called “the Son of God.” Now from both we must understand one Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, and of man. And fitly the first Evangelist names Him “Son of man,” the second, “Son of God,” that from less things our sense may by degrees mount up to greater, and by faith and the sacraments of the human nature assumed, rise to the acknowledgment of His divine eternity.

Theophylact of Ochrid (1055-1107): The Forerunner of Christ, John the Baptist, therefore, is called an angel, on account of his angelic life and lofty reverence. Again, where he says, “Before thy face,” it is as if he said, Thy messenger is near thee: whence is shown the intimate connection of St. John the Baptist with Christ; for it is their greatest friends who walk next to kings. The “way” is the New Covenant, and the “paths” are the Old, because it is a trodden path. For it was necessary to be prepared for the way, that is, for the New Covenant; but it was right that the paths of the Old Covenant should be straightened.

The Venerable Bede (672/3-735): What he cried is revealed, in that which is added, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” For whosoever preaches a right faith and good works, what else does he but prepare the way for the Lord’s coming to the hearts of His hearers?

St. Jerome: Now by John as by the bridegroom’s friend, the bride is brought to Christ, just as by a servant Rebecca was brought to Isaac (Gen 24:61).

Gregory the Great (540-614), Moralia, xxxi, 25: John pointed out the Lord, of whom he was the forerunner, even by the kind of his food; for in that our Lord took to Himself the sweetness of the barren Gentiles, he ate wild honey.

Lectio Divina – Quotes related to the First Sunday of Advent

Catena Aurea, Mk 13:33-37, First Sunday of Advent (B)

The Venerable Bede (672/3-735): The man who, travelling abroad, left his house is Christ, who ascending as a conqueror to His Father after the Resurrection, left His Church, as to His bodily presence, but has never deprived her of the safeguard of His Divine presence.

Pope St. Gregory the Great (540-614): Hom in Evan, 9: “And he left his servants in charge, each with his own task,” when, by giving to His faithful ones the grace of the Holy Ghost, He gave them the power of serving every good work. He has also ordered the doorkeeper to watch, because He commanded the order of pastors to have a care over the Church committed to them. Not only, however, those of us who rule over Churches, but all are required to watch the doors of their hearts, lest the evil suggestions of the devil enter into them, and lest our Lord find us sleeping. Wherefore concluding this parable He adds, “Stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn: if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep.”

Theophylact of Ochrid (1055-1107): See again that He has not said, “I know not when the time will be,” but, “Ye know not.” For the reason why He concealed it was that it was better for us; for if, now that we do not know the end, we are careless, what should we do if we knew it? We should keep on our wickedness even unto the end. Let us therefore listen to His words; for the end comes at evening, when a man dies in old age; a midnight, when he dies in the midst of his youth; and at cockcrow, when our reason is perfect within us. For when a child begins to live according to his reason, then the cock cries loud within him, rousing him from the sleep of sense; but the age of childhood is the morning. Now anyone in these ages must look out for the end.

Lectio Divina – Quotes related to the Solemnity of Christ the King

Mt 25:31-46, Christ the King

St. Jerome (340/2-420): He who was within two days to celebrate the Passover, to be delivered to the cross, and mocked by men, fitly now holds out the glory of His triumph, that He may overbalance the offences that were to follow by the promise of reward. And it is to be noted, that He who shall be seen in majesty is the Son of Man.

Origen (182-253/4): Or, we need not understand this of a local gathering together, but that the nations shall be no more dispersed in various and false dogmas concerning Him. For Christ’s divinity shall be manifested so that not even sinners shall any longer be ignorant of Him. He shall not then show Himself as Son of God in one place and not in another; as He sought to express to us by the comparison of the lightning. So as long as the wicked know neither themselves nor Christ, or the righteous “see through a glass darkly,” (1 Cor. 13:12) so long the good are not separated from the evil, but when by the manifestation of the Son of God all shall come to the knowledge of Him, then shall the Saviour divide the good from the evil; for then shall sinners see their sins, and the righteous shall see clearly to what end the seeds of righteousness in them have led. They that are saved are called sheep by reason of that mildness which they have learnt of Him who said, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly,” (Matt 11:29) and because they are ready to go even to death in imitation of Christ, who “was led as a sheep to the slaughter.” (Isa 53:7) The wicked are called goats, because they climb rough and rugged rocks, and walk in dangerous places.

Gloss., non occ.: Under the figure of a sheep in Scripture is signified simplicity and innocence. Beautifully then in this place are the elect denoted by sheep.

Rabanus Maurus (c. 780-856): Mystically, He who with the bread of the word and the drink of wisdom refreshes the soul hungering and thirsting after righteousness, or admits into the home of our mother the Church him who is wandering in heresy or sin, or who strengthens the weak in faith, such a one discharges the obligations of true love.

When they say, “”Lord, when saw we you?” they say it not because they distrust the Lord’s words, but they are in amazement at so great exaltation, and at the greatness of their own glory; or because the good which they have done will seem to them to be so small in comparison, according to the saying of the Apostle, “For the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Rom 8:18).

Origen (182-253/4): It should be remarked, that though He had said to the Saints, “Ye blessed of my Father,” He says not now, “Ye cursed of my Father,” because of all blessing the Father is the author, but each man is the origin of his own curse.

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: PilgrimagemedievalIreland.com The Five Wise Virgins, St. Finnbarr’s Cathedral, Cork.)

Saint Martin de Porres

Feast day: 3rd of November

Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru, in 1579 of John, a Spanish nobleman, and Anna Velasquez, a freed slave. As a boy he studied medicine which later, as a member of the Order, he put to good use in helping the poor. Martin was received as a servant at the priory of the Holy Rosary in Lima where he was finally admitted to profession as a co-operator brother in 1603. In his life of prayer, Martin was especially devoted to the Blessed Sacrament and to the passion of our Lord. He was noted for his care of the poor and the sick. He died at Lima on November 3, 1639.

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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.