Anthony_Sermons - (SECOND CLAUSE)
(A sermon on the contempt of temporal things, which are nothing; I looked at the earth.)
17. There follows, thirdly:
And Simon, answering, said to him: Master, we have laboured all the night, and have taken nothing, but at thy word I will let down the net. And when they had done this, they enclosed a very great multitude of fishes, and their net broke. And they beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they were almost sinking. (Lc 5,5-7)
Night obscures the eyes, so that they cannot see. Those who work at night catch nothing; sometimes they are caught themselves. So the psalm says:
Thou hast appointed darkness, and it is night:
in it shall all the beasts of the wood go about. (Ps 103,20)
When night (the darkness of sin) falls upon the soul, the beasts (who are the demons) go about to tear it in pieces. He who works in the night, the darkness of this life, to find some transitory gain, gains nothing at all. These temporal things are nothing.
Jeremiah says: I beheld the earth, and lo it was void and nothing (Jr 4,23). Nothing is ‘no thing’. Nothing follows from a man who embraces this empty world. ‘Nothing’ is just a word, not a ‘thing’, and yet of old some took it for a kind of entity, ‘nothingness’. Isaiah says of it:
All nations are before him as if they had no being at all, and are counted to him as nothing and vanity. (Is 40,17)
All the heathen nations- that is, those who live like heathens- are as if they had no being before God. They exist by nature, but not by grace; for to be evil is scarcely to ‘be’ at all. Whoever falls away from true being, may be counted as nothing and vanity. ‘To be’, truly and properly speaking, applies to what does not grow more or less, or change in any way. ‘Being’ has no contrary except ‘non-being’. Whoever grows in respect of temporal things, is diminished by his lack of charity. He is changed and altered by his unstable mind. He falls away from true being, and is counted as nothing and vanity.
There follows: but at thy word I will let down the net. The Gloss says, ‘Unless the instruments of preaching are let down in words of heavenly grace (inner inspiration), in vain the preacher casts the javelin of his voice. The people’s faith is not aroused by clever and well-chosen words, but by the strength of divine calling. How vain is presumption! How fruitful is humility! Those who took nothing previously, enclose a great multitude at the word of Christ. The net is broken from the great number of fishes, because at the moment so many sinners enter with the elect, that they tear the Church apart with heresies. The net is broken, but not a fish is lost, because the Lord keeps his own even amid the scandal of persecution.’ At thy word, not mine, I will let down the net. Every time I have done this of my own accord, I have caught nothing, Alas! As often as I have done it of my own accord, I have given the credit to myself, not to you. I have preached myself, not you; my words, not yours. That is why I have caught nothing; or if I caught anything, it was not a fish but a croaking frog that praised me- and this praise was nothing at all! But at thy word I will let down the net. He lets down the net at the word of Jesus Christ, who gives no credit to himself, but all to Christ; and who lives according to what he preaches. If he does that, he will catch a great multitude of fishes.
(A sermon on how we should attribute nothing to ourselves, but everything to God, so that we may be able to catch the great multitude of fish: Elias went up to the top of Carmel.)
18. There is a concordance to this in the third book of Kings, where it says that:
Elias went up to the top of Carmel, and casting himself down upon the earth put his face between his knees. And he said to his servant: Go up, and look towards the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said: There is nothing. And again he said to him: Return seven times. And at the seventh time, behold, a little cloud arose out of the sea like a man’s foot... And, behold, the heavens grew dark, with clouds and wind; and there fell a great rain. (1R 18,42-45)
Let us see what is meant by Elias, the top of Carmel, cast down, the earth, the face between the knees, the servant, the seven times, the little cloud and the man’s foot, the sea, the cloud, the wind and the rain.
Elias is the preacher, who should go to the top of Carmel (‘knowledge of circumcision’), meaning the excellence of a holy way of life, in which a man knows very well that he should cut away all unnecessary things. He should be cast down in humility upon the earth, remembering his own weakness. He should put his face between his knees, by afflicting himself for his past sins. He should tell his servant to go up, and look towards the sea. The servant, a mere lad, stands for the preacher’s body, which he should keep in child-like purity. This servant should look towards the sea, towards worldlings who are infected with the bitterness of sin. He ‘looks towards’ them when in his preaching he sets forth the opposite of their vices. He should look seven times, setting forth the seven articles of faith: the Incarnation, Baptism, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ, his sending of the Holy Spirit, and his coming in the Judgement. Therein the sinners who have been judged will be cast into the lake of burning fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (cf. Mt 13,42 Ap 21,8). In this seventh article, as if at the seventh time, worldly people will be struck by the fear of punishment, and the preacher will see a little cloud, a little bit of compunction, arise from the sea of their hearts. It will be like the foot-step of a man, meaning the grace of Jesus Christ. When this takes root in the sinner’s heart, assuredly the little cloud of compunction arises and grows, little by little, until it is a great cloud overshadowing temporal things. Then follows the mighty wind of confession, which uproots all vices, and the great rain of satisfaction which inebriates the earth and makes it fruitful. And in this way the preacher takes a great multitude of fishes.
There follows: And they beckoned to their partners that were in the other ship, etc. We said above that these two ships signify two ways of life, of penitents and of carnal folk. Those who are in Peter’s ship, by obedience and penitence, call those who are in a carnal life to come and help them. There is something similar in the third book of Kings, where Solomon sent to Hiram, king of Tyre, to give him help in building the Lord’s temple (cf. 1R 5,1-6). So they call carnal people by their preaching, to come away from worldly vanity and help them by giving themselves to works of penance. In this way both
ships are filled, and the Lord’s temple is built of living stones, drawn from both groups, a temple built in the heavenly Jerusalem.
19. The third part of the Epistle is concordant with this third clause:
And who is he that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good? But if also you suffer any thing for justice’s sake, blessed are ye. And be not afraid of their fear, and be not troubled. (1P 3,13-14)
Peter speaks to penitents, drawn out of the world’s sea by the net of preaching. He says, if you follow and imitate good people, who have called you to penitence, who can hurt you? No-one, surely? Neither man nor the devil. If you suffer for justice, not for some fault, you are blessed and rewarded, because you will receive a crown. Do not be afraid of their fear: fear is of two kinds, fear about things and fear about our own bodies. Those who love God despise both. Do not be troubled or moved from your own firmness of mind. He does not speak of a mere outward disturbance, which the body sometimes experiences. He speaks of something deeper: the inner mind should remain fixed and firm.
Beloved brothers, let us ask the Word of God the Father that (at his word and not our own) we may let down the nets of our preaching, so as to be able to pull sinners out from the depths of their sins, and rise with them to him. May he grant this, who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen.
(A sermon on the two breasts of Jesus Christ, his Incarnation and his Passion:
You shall be carried at the breasts.)
20. There follows, fourthly:
Which when Simon Peter saw, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord. For he was wholly astonished, and all that were with him, at the draught of fishes which they had taken. And so were also James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were Simon’s partners. And Jesus saith to Simon: Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men. And having brought their ships to land, leaving all things, they followed him. (Lc 5,8-11)
Peter, knowing himself to be a sinner, was afraid of offending the presence of so great a majesty, and that is why he said: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
Because he knew he was a sinner, he threw himself at Jesus’ knees. There are two things to note here: fear for sin, expressed in He fell down; and hope in the Redeemer’s mercy, expressed by at Jesus’ knees. The Lord promised such sinners, by Isaiah:
You shall be carried at the breasts, and upon the knees they shall caress you. (Is 66,12)
The breasts, flowing with milk, are two in number. They refer to the Incarnation and the Passion. The first brings comfort, the second reconciliation. Newly converted penitents are like sucking babes, carried at the breasts, so as to be comforted with the milk of the Incarnation, and given life and reconciliation by the blood which flowed from his breast when it was pierced by the lance on mount Calvary, so that they may bear suffering.
They are caressed upon the knees of the Father’s kindness, as a mother caresses her child, so that they may trust most surely that he will not deny remission of sins and the bliss of the kingdom to those he has given the breasts of the Incarnation and the Passion.
He said, then: Depart from me, Lord, etc. Given so great a benefit, where nowadays is the man who fears to offend? Peter was afraid; but we, conscious of so many crimes, approach without reverence the presence of the divine majesty, and are not afraid. The presence of the divine majesty is where the Body of Christ, glory of the angels, is; where the Church’s sacraments are; where the holy Mysteries are handled. We believe in these things, but, obstinate in our ill-will, we do not stop sinning. That is why the Lord says through Jeremiah:
What is the meaning that my beloved hath wrought much wickedness in my house?
Shall the holy flesh take away from thee thy crimes in which thou hast boasted? (Jr 11,15)
Certainly not- rather it will increase them.
He was wholly astonished. Peter and his companions were astonished at so great a catch of fish. We, too, should be astonished at the conversion of sinners, like those spoken of in the book of Judges, because
Samson made a great slaughter of the Philistines, so that in astonishment they laid the calf of the leg upon the thigh. (Jg 15,8)
The calf is the back of the lower leg. When the Lord strikes the Philistines (the demons) and frees Israel (the soul) from their hands, we should be astonished and ‘lay the calf upon the thigh’. The thigh stands for fleshly pleasure, and we should ‘lay the calf upon it’ by following the example of converted sinners and repressing bodily pleasure with bodily penance.
There follows: Fear not: from henceforth thou shalt catch men. ‘From henceforth’ refers to Peter in particular, when the meaning of the catch of fish was explained to him. Just as he once caught fish with a net, so now he would catch men with his words. Alternatively, ‘From henceforward’ means, from being humble and ashamed of the blemishes of your life, yet not too ashamed to confess them, but rather seeking a remedy for your open wound: from this you will catch men.
And having brought their ships to land, leaving all things, they followed him. Christ,
"A giant in two-fold substance one, / rejoicing now his course to run,"4
rejoiced to run the way (Ps 18,6), and to complete the task for which he had come. Whoever wants to follow him must forsake everything, casting everything aside and leaving it behind. "A burdened man cannot follow a running man." So it says in the third book of Kings:
The hand of the Lord was upon Elias: and he girded up his loins and ran. (1R 18,46)
The ‘hand of God’ means his help, his grace. When it is upon a man, it gives him such great help that, as it were with loins girded, he runs in chastity; and by poverty, he "naked follows the naked Christ, poor follows the poor Christ."
(A sermon on the four things that are in the earth, and their meaning: Sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts.)
21. So the fourth part of the Epistle is concordant to this fourth clause of the Gospel:
But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts. (1P 3,15)
Note these three things: ‘Lord’, ‘Christ’ and ‘sanctify’. He is Lord because he commands; he is Christ because he is anointed; and he is sanctified or ‘holy’ from the Greek ‘hagios’, like ‘a-gaia’, ‘without earth’. Earth has four characteristics: it is unclean, it is unsatisfiable, it is opaque and it crumbles away. Someone who is ‘without earth’, the love of earthly things, is free from the uncleanness of lust, from insatiable avarice, from the blindness of wrath and envy, and from unreliability and inconstancy: such a person assuredly will sanctify Christ in his heart, like a humble servant and a true Christian.
Beloved brothers, let us pour out our prayers to Jesus Christ himself: that he will give us the ability to leave everything and run with the Apostles; and to sanctify him in our hearts, that we may thereby be able to attain to him who is the Holy of holies. May he grant this, who is to be praised and loved, who is gentle and kind, to whom be honour and glory for ever and ever. Let every penitent soul, drawn from the lake of Genesareth, say: Amen. Alleluia.
1 GLOSSA ORDINARIA on 3(1)Kg 3.17
2 BREVIARIUM ROMANUM, Christmas Day, second antiphon at Lauds
3 CATO, Disticha, 1.2
4 cf. BREVIARIUM ROMANUM, Advent Hymn, Veni redemptor gentium
The copyright in this translation belongs to the author, Revd Dr S.R.P. Spilsbury
(The Gospel for the sixth Sunday after Pentecost: Unless your justice abound; which is divided into three clauses.)
(First, a sermon for the prelates and preachers of the Church, and how they ought to live: On the bases of the temple were carved.)
1. At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: Unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5,20)
It says in the third book of Kings that on the bases of the temple were engraved cherubims, lions, oxen and bridles hanging down (cf. 1R 7,27-29). Note that three things come together to support the fabric of a house: capitals, columns and bases. The capitals, as it were the heads of the columns, stand for the prophets. As the third book of Kings says:
The capitals that were on the top of the pillars were of lily-work. (1R 7,19)
The lilies represent the heavenly brightness of our eternal home, and the beauty of the undying paradise, sweet-scented as flowers. The prophets, forebears of the Apostles, set this forth for us in their writings.
The pillars are the Apostles themselves, as is said: I have established the pillars thereof (Ps 74,4). In the third book of Kings it says that Solomon set up two pillars, one called Jachin (‘firmness’) and the other Booz (‘strength’). These columns stand for the Apostles, who are rightly called two columns, because they twice received the Holy Spirit after the Resurrection: first on earth, so as to love their neighbour, and secondly from heaven, so as to love God. They received firmness in the Resurrection of Christ, and unfailing strength in the sending of the Holy Spirit.
The bases are the prelates and preachers of our own time, upon whom should be engraved four things: cherubim, lions, oxen and bridles. The cherubim stand for the fulness of knowledge and doctrine, the lions for the terror of power, the oxen for the meekness of mercy, and the bridles for the bonds of discipline. I pray you: let these things be engraved upon the bases of the temple: the knowledge of doctrine, so that they may teach; the terror of power, so that they may correct; the meekness of mercy, so that they may encourage; and the bond of discipline, so that they may restrain. These four are spoken of in the fourth book of Kings, where Elisha cried out:
My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the driver thereof. (2R 2,12)
My father, who teaches; my father, who corrects; the chariot that carries; and the driver who steers. If the Church’s prelates and preachers have these four engraved upon them, they will truly have that abundant justice of which the Lord speaks in today’s Gospel: Unless your justice abound, etc.
2. There are three things to note in this Gospel. First, the justice of the Apostles, when it begins: Unless your justice abound. Second, the condemnation of the one angry with his brother, and censuring him, by continuing: You have heard that it was said to them of old. Third, the reconciliation of brother to brother, by ending: If therefore thou offer thy gift. We will concord with these thre clauses some stories from the third book of Kings.
In the Introit of this Sunday’s Mass we sing: The Lord is the strength of his people. The Epistle of blessed Paul to the Romans is read: All we who are baptized, etc. which we will divide into three parts and concord with the three clauses of the Gospel. The first part is: All we who are baptized; the second is: Knowing this, that our old man; and the third is: Knowing that Christ rising again from the dead.
(A sermon on the justice of hypocrites and of true penitents: Unless your justice abound; and: Choose you one bullock.)
3. Let us say, then:
Unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Mt 5,20)
The justice of the Pharisees a matter of restraining hand rather than heart. The Jews did not think sin was in the intention, but in the action alone. The justice of the Apostles abounds in the spirit of counsel and in the grace of God’s mercy, so that it not only holds back the hand from evil action, but also the mind from evil thoughts. The scribes and Pharisees (the word means ‘separated’) are hypocrites who, when writing in human sight, write injustice; yet being ultra-religious, regard themselves as just and look down on other people (cf. Lc 18,9). Their justice consists in washing hands and utensils, in wearing the right garments, in architectural niceties, in a multiplicity of rules and a variety of regulations. The justice of true penitents consists in spiritual poverty, in fraternal love, in sighs of sorrow, in afflicting the body, in the sweetness of contemplation, in despising worldly success, in willingly embracing adversity, and in the intention of persevering to the end.
Regarding these two kinds of justice, there is a concordance in the third book of Kings, where it says that:
Elias said to the prophets of Baal: Choose you one bullock, and dress it first, because you are many: and call on the names of your gods, but put no fire under... And they called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying: O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered: and they leaped over the altar they had made. And when it was now noon, Elias jested at them, saying: Cry with a louder voice; for he is your lord, and perhaps he is talking, or is in an inn, or on a journey; or perhaps he is asleep, and must be awaked. So they cried with a loud voice, and cut themselves alter their manner with knives and lancets, till they were all covered with blood. (1R 18,25-28)
This is what the Pharisees’ justice is like. The justice of true penitents is as is shown in what follows:
Elias built with the stones an altar to the name of the Lord: and he made a trench for water, of the breadth of two furrows round about the altar. And he laid the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces.
He ordered that water be poured upon the sacrifice once, twice and three times.
And the water ran about the altar: and the trench was filled with water.
And when he had finished his prayer:
The fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the holocaust, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw this, they fell on their faces. And they said: The Lord he is God. (1R 18,32-33 1R 18,35 1R 18,38-39)
(Against the proud religious: If the ox push with his horn.)
4. Those superstitious hypocrites, the prophets of Baal (which means ‘master’ or ‘devourer’), chose their own bullock, carnal appetite. This is the ox that pushes with his horn, of which Exodus says:
If the ox was wont to push with his horn yesterday and the day before, and they warned his master, and he did not shut him up, and he shall kill a man or a woman: then the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death. (Ex 21,29)
The ox that pushes with his horn is the carnal appetite, which with the horn of pride kills a man or a woman: that is to say, his reason or his good will. Because his owner, the spirit, does not shut him up, he is killed along with the ox: body and soul will be eternally punished together. Hear this, you abbots and priors! If you have an ox that pushes with his horn, a monk or canon who is proud, a lover of wine and pleasure, and you will not shut him up, so that men and women are not scandalized by his bad example: the ox shall be stoned to death, and die in his sin, and the abbot or prior who would not restrain him will be punished eternally.
There follows; And call on the names of your gods, etc. They call on, and worship, as many gods as they have mortal sins. It says in Exodus:
These are thy gods, O Israel, that have brought thee out of the land of Egypt. (Ex 32,4)
Alas! How many religious there are today, who still worship, in the desert of religion and the cloister, the same gods that they worshipped in Egypt, the world! Because they lack the fire of charity, their sacrifice is useless to them. From morning until noon the cry out: Baal, hear us! What is ‘crying to Baal’ if not desiring to be a superior? But there is no voice, no-one who answers their will. So they cry again, still louder. To cry is to desire. They cut themselves with knives and lancets, with fasts and disciplines. They disfigure their faces, fasting early in the day, so that later on they can celebrate the festival of the belly! In Elijah’s day, the prophets of Baal cried and were not heard. Nowadays, they cry and are heard! They are promoted to higher office, so that their fall is more ruinous. First they displayed a humble voice, a rough habit, a thin belly, a pale face, and assiduous prayer. Now they utter threats, and go coped and robed. They walk with ample stomach and ruddy face. They are assiduous in sleeping: but prayer- not at all! Come, Elijah, come! Take the prophets of Baal and slay them at the brook Cison (cf. 1R 18,40). Come, Solomon, and slay Adonias who wanted to be king (cf. 1R 2,24), Semei, who cursed David (cf. 1R 2,44-46), and Joab, who killed two princes of Israel, better than himself (cf. 1R 2,31-32).
(On the justice of penitents: Elias built an altar.)
5. Regarding the justice of penitents, there follows: Elias built an altar, etc. Elijah is the penitent who rebuilds the altar of the Lord, destroyed by sin, with the stones of virtue. On it he offers the sacrifice of praise in an odour of sweetness. He made a trench, etc. from a contrite heart and a humbled spirit, and sheds streams of tears, from fear of hell and desire for eternal life. He lays the wood in order by taking the words and deeds of the saints as examples for himself. He divides the bullock in pieces and puts it on the wood, by striving to shape all his actions according to the examples of the holy fathers. He pours water once, twice and three times upon the holocaust and the wood, by keeping his thoughts, words and deeds always in purity of conscience and compunction of tears. And he does not stop until the trench is full of water, that is, until the joy to come, which will follow present sadness, is perfectly fulfilled. Then it will be as is written: Fire fell from heaven and consumed the holocaust, etc. Then the judgement of the heavenly Judge,
which examines our words and deeds and our whole life perfectly, testing us as fire tests silver, will make us immortal and blessed, and will enthrone us for ever. Then, like the Israelites, we will sing for ever in thanksgiving: The Lord, he is God!
Such is the justice that justifies penitents, and of which the Lord says: Unless your justice abound, etc. ‘Justice is that by which, by a right judgement, everyone gets what he deserves.’ This is a legal principle. A man is bound to show justice in five ways: by honouring God, by taking proper care of himself, by loving his neighbour, by despising the world, and by hating sin. These five correspond to what is said in the Introit of today’s Mass:
The Lord is the strength of his people: and the protector of the salvation of his anointed.
Save, O Lord, thy people, and bless thy inheritance: and rule them for ever. (Ps 27,8-9)
If you show honour to God, God will be your strength. If, as far as you can, you take proper care of yourself, he will be the protector of your salvation. If you love your neighbour, he will save both you and him. If you despise the world, he will bless you, who are his inheritance. If you hate sin, he will rule you, and you will live with him for ever and ever.
(On the Passion of Christ: Whoever is baptized.)
6. The first part of today’s Epistle is concordant with this first clause of the Gospel:
All we who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in his death. For we are all buried together with him by baptism into death; that as Christ is risen from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection. (Rm 6,3-5)
Here are the five parts of justice. Note that from the side of Christ there flowed blood and water: the water of Baptism and the blood of redemption. Water is for the sake of the body, for the many waters are many peoples (cf. Ap 17,15). Blood is for the soul, because the life is in the blood (cf. Dt 12,23). We should give the whole to God, because he redeemed it all so as to possess it all.
All we who are baptized in Christ Jesus, that is, in the faith of Jesus Christ, are cleansed in his death, that is, in his blood. So the Apocalypse says:
Who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. (Ap 1,5)
Note that blood taken from a dove’s side will wash a spot of blood out of the eye. Therefore, whatever our condition and ability, we should show honour and reverence to
him who has cleansed the spot of blood (sin) from the eye of our soul, with his own blood. Jesus Christ our Dove, without gall, and uttering sighs and tears as his song, was willing to open his side so as to cleanse the spot of blood from blind men, and open the gates of paradise to those exiled.
We should also take proper care of ourselves; and so there follows: We are all buried together with him by baptism into death, that is to say, the mortification of our vices. Just as Christ bore the agony of the Cross with limbs stretched out and nailed, and as he rested in the tomb and was hidden from human sight: so we should bear the cross of penitence, having our limbs restrained by continence, so that we do not go back to our former ways, from which we should rest so perfectly that we have neither sight nor memory of them.
And we should show love for our neighbour. So there follows: that as Christ is risen, etc. Just as Christ rose from the dead, appeared to his disciples, and turned their sadness into joy: so we should rise from dead works to the glory of the Father, and rejoice with our neighbours, and walk with them in newness of life. What else is newness of life, if not love for our neighbour? He said:
A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another. (Jn 13,34)
And Leviticus: The new coming on, you shall cast away the old (Lv 26,10); namely, anger, envy, and the other things the Apostle lists.
(On contempt for the world and flight into the desert: Flee away, O my beloved.)
7. Likewise, we should despise the world and hate sin. So: If we have been planted together, etc. If we are transplanted from the Babylonian orchard, in which the false judges found Susanna, to the garden of the Bridegroom wherein he was buried, then we shall truly despise the world. And because hatred of sin is born of despising the world, the Apostle adds: in the likeness of his death. Where there is the likeness of Christ’s death, there is abhorrence of sin. So it says in Canticles:
Flee away, O my beloved, and be like to the roe,
and to the young hart upon the mountains of aromatical spices. (Ct 8,14)
Flee away, my beloved, expresses hatred for the world. As John says, when they wanted to take Jesus and make him king, he fled onto the mountain (cf. Jn 6,15); but when they sought him to kill him, he went to meet them (cf. Jn 18,4). It says in Exodus that:
Pharao sought to kill Moses. But he fled from his sight, and abode in the land of Madian: and he sat down beside a well. (Ex 2,15)
You too should flee, my beloved; because the devil wants to kill you. Go and live in the land of Madian (which means ‘of judgement’), so that you may judge your own land, and not be judged by God. Sit by the well of humility, from which you may draw water springing to eternal life (cf. Jn 4,14). Flee away, my beloved. It says in Genesis that Rachel said to Jacob:
Behold, Esau thy brother threateneth to kill thee. Now therefore, my son, hear my voice: Arise and flee to Laban, my brother, to Haran; and thou shalt dwell with him.(Gn 27,148)
Hairy Esau is the world, full of many vices. He threatens to kill you, my son. Flee away, then, my beloved, to Laban (meaning ‘whitening’), Jesus Christ who will make you whiter than snow (Ps 50,9) from your sins. He is in Haran (‘on high’), and there you will live with him; because God dwells on high (Ps 112,3). Flee away, then, my beloved!
Be like to the roe and to the young hart. The roe seeks hard places, and has keen sight as it aims for the heights. The young hart, offspring of deer, is hidden by its mother. These two represent Jesus Christ, God and man. The roe is his divinity, which sees all things; the hart is his humanity, hidden by his mother, delaying the business he began at twelve years of age until he was thirty, going down with her to Nazareth and being subject to her (cf. Lc 2,51). This young hart is the offspring of deer, the ancient fathers from whose flesh he took his origin. Be like this roe, then, my beloved, be like this hart: that being planted together in likeness of his death, you may go up upon the mountains of spices. This is what the Apostle says: Also of his resurrection. The mountains of spices are the excellent virtues which whoever has, will rejoice with Christ in the general resurrection.
We ask you, then, Lord Jesus, to make us abound in works of justice; that we may despise the world, bear in us the likeness of your death, ascend the mountains of spices and rejoice with you in the joy of the Resurrection. Grant this, you who are blessed for ever and ever. Amen.
Anthony_Sermons - (SECOND CLAUSE)