Anthony_Sermons - (SECOND CLAUSE)
(A theme on the three wedding garments, which are concordant to the three weddings: When the king went in.)
8. There follows, thirdly: And the king went in to see the guests; and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment (Mt 22,11). Note that as there are three weddings, so there are three wedding-garments, of fine linen, embroidery and scarlet. At the first
wedding, fine linen is needed; at the second, embroidery; at the third, scarlet. Whoever wants to go in to the marriage of the Lord’s Incarnation, must have a wedding garment of fine linen, namely the cleanliness of chastity. So it says in the Apocalypse:
The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath prepared herself. And it is granted to her that she should clothe herself with fine linen, glittering and white. (Ap 19,7-8)
The lamb, more than all other animals, recognises its mother; thus it represents Jesus Christ who, when hanging on the Cross, recognised his Mother among thousands of Jews, and commended her, a Virgin, to a virgin. The marriage of the Lamb is come, namely the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, and so his wife, Holy Church, or any faithful soul, should prepare herself by faith and clothe herself in fine linen, chastity which glitters as to conscience, white as to the body. How can anyone attend the marriage of the Son of God and the blessed Virgin, who is not clad in the fine linen of chastity? How can he enter the church, join the gathering of the faithful, presume to be present at the making of the lord’s Body, if he knows he lacks the glittering white linen of inward and outward chastity? To him, the king says ironically, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having on a wedding garment? (Mt 22,12) The Son of the blessed Virgin delights exceedingly in the cleanness of chastity.
(On the fourfold garden and its meaning: My beloved went down into the garden.)
That is why the Bride says of him in the Canticles:
My beloved is gone down into his garden,
to the bed of aromatical spices,
to feed in the gardens and to gather lilies.
I to my beloved, and my beloved to me, who feedeth among the lilies.(Ct 6,1-2)
The garden of the beloved is the soul of the just man, in which are two things: the bed of aromatical spices, which is humility, mother of the other virtues; and the lilies of twofold continence. Therefore the beloved goes down into this garden, and feeds there. The garden is fourfold: of nuts, fruits, vines, and spices. There are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the spirit of fear, knowledge, and piety, counsel and fortitude, understanding and wisdom (cf. Is 11,2-3). The soul of the just man is made a garden of nuts by the spirit of fear, which has in itself these three: bitterness in the rind, hardness in the shell, and sweetness in the kernel. The garden of nuts is penitence, which is bitter in the flesh, hard in trouble and mental endurance, sweet in spiritual joy. Then, by the spirit of knowledge and piety, the soul is made a garden of apples, having the gentleness of mercy. By the
spirit of counsel and fortitude it is made a garden of vines, having the fervour of charity. By the spirit of understanding and wisdom it is made a garden of spices, sending its scent in the gateways (cf. Ct 7,13).
(On the threefold war: The third war was in Gob; and on the same subject, on the nature of the salamander, the sparrow, and the pains of hell.)
9. Again, whoever wants to enter the wedding-feast of penitence, must have the embroidered tunic of humility of heart. Genesis says:
Israel loved Joseph above all his sons, because he had him in his old age; and he made him a coat of divers colours. (Gn 37,3)
Israel (God the Father) loves Joseph (Jesus Christ), his own son, more than all his adopted children because he begot him of the virgin Mary in his ‘old age’, that is, when the world was growing old. He madcles, which are concordant with the three aforementioned wedding feasts. At the wedding feast of the Lord’s Incarnation you must have the psalm of right action, so as to do what you believe, and be a good psalmist upon the ten-stringed harp of the keeping of the ten Commandments. So you sing a psalm to God. At the wedding feast of penitence, you must have the hymn of confession and humility, of which the Psalm says:
Translated by Paul Spilsbury (PROLOGUE FOR NOVEMBER)
We proclaim our thanks, and pay a tribute of praise to the Divine Majesty, by whose grace we have reached the first Sunday of the ninth month. Note, then, that from the first of this month of November, until the first of December, there are read in Church Ezekiel, Daniel and the twelve Prophets, which we want to divide as follows: on the first Sunday Ezekiel is set, on the second Daniel, on the third and fourth the twelve Prophets. In this month there are four Sundays, on which four Gospels are read; with the clauses of which, as God may grant, we wish to concord various texts from the aforesaid books.
(The Gospel for the twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost: There was a certain ruler, which is divided into two clauses.)
(First, the theme for a sermon on the mortification of carnal desires and the confession of sins, which is compared to the sapphire, on account of its four properties: Above the firmament.)
1. At that time: There was a certain ruler, whose son was sick at Capharnaum. (Jn 4,46) Ezekiel says:
Above the firmament that was over the living creatures’ heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of the sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was a likeness as of the appearance of a man above upon it. (Ez 1,26)
Note that in this text four things are mentioned: first the living creatures, second the firmament, third the sapphire throne, and fourth the appearance of a man. The living creatures are carnal desires, that like brute beasts pollute the land of our mind; and so the Lord says in Ezekiel:
Thou wast cast out upon the face of the earth in the abjection of thy soul...
I saw that thou wast trodden under foot in thy own blood, (Ez 16,5-6)
meaning the uncleanness of carnal desire. The head of the living creatures is the principle of carnal desire, of which it says in Genesis, She shall crush thy head (Gn 3,15). This happens when the firmament is over the head of the living creatures. The firmament is contrition; so that it says in Genesis: Let there be a firmament made amidst the waters, dividing the waters from the waters (Gn 1,6). The mind of the penitent, contrite for sin, possesses the upper waters of flowing grace, and the nether waters of flooding desire (cf. Jg 1,15), which should be below her, since they always lead to a fall. Alternatively, the upper waters stand for reason, the higher power of the soul, that always stimulates a man to good; while the nether waters are sensuality. There is something similar in Ezekiel, who says:
And I saw as it were the resemblance of amber... from his loins and upward;
and from his loins downward, as it were the appearance of fire. (Ez 1,27)
The Gloss says, "The parts above the loins, where sense and reason are situated, do not need to be burnt with fire or flames. They require the most precious and pure metal. But the parts from the loins downwards, where sexual activity is found, inciting to vice, need purification by flames."
Thus the firmament should be above the heads of the living creatures, contrition of heart crushing the principle of carnal desire; and then there will be the appearance of a sapphire stone, resembling a throne, above the firmament. The throne stands for confession of sins, and rightly so. Just as a man lowers himself to sit upon a throne, so in confession the penitent should lower himself, judging and condemning himself, and scattering all the evil he has done. As Proverbs says: The king that sitteth upon the throne... scattereth away all evil with his look (Pr 20,8).
And note that confession should have the appearance of the sapphire stone, which has four characteristics. It is like the clear sky, it sparkles like a star, it staunches blood and it extinguishes a burning coal. In the same way, the confession of sins should be like a clear sky by hope of pardon; it should say with the thief, Lord, remember me when thou shalt come into thy kingdom (Lc 23,42). It should also sparkle within like a star, fixed in its place to signify the firm intention never to relapse. Just as the stars keep a fixed place in the heavens, yet move perpetually, so the penitent should be fixed immovably in his penitence, and wherever he goes and moves have the firm intention never to fall again into sin. If confession does not show this ‘star’, penance should in no way be enjoined. The Lord says, Go, now sin no more (Jn 8,11). He does not say, "You will not sin"; he says, "Do not sin". Again, confession should staunch blood, the pleasure in sin that flows so easily, yet which confession should stem, lest it flow out of the heart and bodily senses. If confession has these three qualities, it will have the fourth as well; it will extinguish the burning coal of the devil’s suggestion. On such a throne rests Jesus Christ, God and man, like amber, freeing the soul of the penitent from every weakness of sin, just as he freed the ruler’s son from bodily weakness; as is told in today’s Gospel: There was a certain ruler, whose son was sick at Capharnaum.
2. There are two points to note in this Gospel, the sickness of the ruler’s son, and the belief of the ruler himself. The first begins, There was a certain ruler. The second begins, The man believed the word, etc. In the Introit of today’s Mass we sing: If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities..., and we read the Epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul to the Ephesians, Be strengthened in the Lord., which we will divide into two parts and concord with the aforesaid clauses of the Gospel. The first part is, Be strengthened. The second part is, Stand, having your loins girt about. Attend to the fact that in today’s Gospel John speaks of the sickness and the healing of the ruler’s son; while in the Epistle the Apostle speaks of the devil’s temptation, which weakens the soul, and the armour of God, which strongly resists the devil. That is why this Epistle is read with this Gospel.
(A theme on the nine orders of angels and their meaning: A certain ruler.)
3. Let us say, then: There was a certain ruler, whose son was sick at Capharnaum.
Let us see what these four: the ruler, his son and his sickness, and Capharnaum, mean; and say a little about each. Any faithful person is called a ‘ruler’, after the King of kings of all creation, the Lord Jesus Christ, who rules angels in heaven and men on earth; because he has within himself a kind of representation of the heavenly orders, and consists of the four elements from which all creation is made. There are nine orders, which we will arrange in three orders of three.
In the first order are Angels, Archangels and Virtues; the Angels representing obedience to the commandments, the Archangels the keeping of the counsels, and the Virtues the miracles of a holy life. You belong to the angelic order when you obey the Lord’s command; thus the prophet Malachi says: The lips of a priest shall keep knowledge, etc. (Ml 2,7). Regarding this, see the Gospel, A blind man sat by the way (Quinquagesima). You belong to the order of Archangels when you strive to fulfil not only the commandments, but also the counsels of Jesus Christ. Whence Isaiah counsels you: Take counsel, gather a council (Is 16,3). You belong to the choir of Virtues when you shine with the wonders of a holy life. Whence it says in John: He that believeth in me, the works that I do he also shall do; and greater than these shall he do (Jn 14,12). The Gloss says, "What the Lord does in us with our co-operation is greater than everything he does without us; that a just man is made from a wicked one is greater than all heaven and earth and the rest. Those things pass away, but this remains; and in them there is only God’s work, but in this there is also his image. And though he created the angels, it seems a greater thing to justify sinners than to create just men; for though each manifests an equal power, this shows a greater mercy."
(For religious: I saw an angel coming down.)
4. In the second order are Principalities, Powers and Dominations. Note that there are three things in us which we should control, if not as kings then at least as rulers. These are our thoughts, our eyes and our tongue. Principalities subdue the evil spirits, and we should subdue evil thoughts, which are set alight by evil. Whence John says in the Apocalypse:
I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand; and he laid hold of the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil, and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. (Ap 20,1-2)
Moral interpretation. The angel is the just man, who comes down from heaven when he strives to shape his way of life, as he lives on earth, according to the purity of heaven. The key is discretion, with which the just man closes and opens the abyss of thought. He ‘closes’ when he restrains them, he ‘opens’ them when he judges them. The chain in his hand is penance in his works. A chain holds fast, and holds by means of many links. When contrition is linked to confession, confession to satisfaction, and satisfaction to love of neighbour, there is made a great chain with which the just man can bind the dragon, the old serpent who is the devil and Satan. ‘Dragon’ denotes the spirit of pride, ‘serpent’ the thoughts of poisonous lust, ‘devil’ (‘the one cast down to his ruin’, in Hebrew) avarice, and Satan, the adversary, the malice of discord. The just man binds all these with a chain for a thousand years; subduing the dragon of pride by contrition of heart, the serpent of lust by confession, the devil of avarice by satisfaction and almsdeeds, and the Satran of discord by love of neighbour. This ‘for a thousand years’, the perfect number, meaning by final perseverance.
Again, we ought to have power over our eyes, which are like the robbers who had stolen a little maid out of the land of Israel (cf. 2S 5,2), that is, modesty from the mind of the just man. We should say with Job: I made a covenant with my eyes, that I would not so much as think upon a virgin (Jb 31,1). In Genesis, the Lord says to Cain:
If thou do well, shalt thou not receive? But if ill, shalt not sin henceforth be present at the door? But the lust thereof shall be under thee, and thou shalt have dominion over it.
Sin at the door is the concupiscence of the flesh in the eyes. If we exercise power over them, our carnal appetite will be under us, being subject to the yoke of reason.
Again, we should have dominion over our tongue, which is like a harlot, talkative and wandering... not bearing to be quiet, not able to abide still at home; now abroad, now in the streets, now lying in wait at the corners (Pr 7,11-12). Otherwise, as James says, it defileth the whole body and inflameth the wheel of our nativity, and kindleth a great wood (Jc 3,6). If we abide in this threefold order of Principalities, Powers and Dominations, we shall truly be rulers.
(On the threefold charity: One cherub stretched out his arm.)
5. In the third order are Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim. We are Thrones when we humble ourselves within ourselves, and judge ourselves. Whence it says in the psalm: Give to the king thy judgement, O God (Ps 71,2). God gives his judgement to the king (that is, to the just man) that he may judge himself, so that God may not find anything to condemn in him. The Apostle says, If we should judge ourselves, we should not be judged (1Co 11,31). O God, give me your judgement, that I may make your judgement my own, and in making my own judgement, I may escape yours! It is fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (He 10,31).
Again, Cherubim represent the fulness of knowledge, which is charity. Whoever has this is full, and knows how he should walk. We are Cherubim, then, when we do good with charity. Whence it says in Ezekiel:
One cherub stretched out his arm from the midst of the cherubims to the fire that was between the cherubims: and he took and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen. (Ez 10,7)
Note that in this text cherubim are referred to once in the singular and twice in the plural, because chaity is threefold: to yourself, to God and to your neighbour. You who are a cherub as to yourself, then, should stretch out the hand of holy working from the midst of the cherubim (the charity of God) towards the fire of a holy life, which is between the cherubim (holy and charitable men), and of that fire (the example of a holy life) give to the man clothed in linen (any faithful Christian, clad in the faith of the Lord’s Incarnation). As the Apostle says, As many of you as have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ (Ga 3,27). Unless you are first a cherub in yourself, you cannot stretch out your hand from the midst of the cherubim to the fire which is between the cherubim; so begin with your own charity first, and then you can have charity for others.
Again, Seraphim means ‘burning’. We are Seraphim when we are on fire with compunction, overflowing with tears for the upper and the nether watery ground (cf. Jg 1,14-15). I am come to cast fire on the earth, and what will I, but that it be kindled? (Lc 12,49) says the Lord: that it may melt what is frozen. Whence the Bride says in Canticles: My soul melted when my beloved spoke (Ct 5,6). Whoever, then, represents in himself these nine orders, as we have explained them, and from them orders and shapes the life of his body, made up of the four elements, can be truly called a ‘ruler’, of whom it is said, A certain ruler.
(On the four abominations, firstly against prelates and priests: Son of man, lift up your eyes.)
6. There follows, Whose son was sick at Capharnaum.The ruler’s son is the soul of anyone faithful to Jesus Christ; who lives unharmed as long as he lives in the order described. But when he dwells at Capharnaum, he becomes sick to death. Capharnaum means ‘field of fatness’ or ‘farm of consolation’. The four states of men are expressed in these four words: field, fatness, farm and consolation: that is, clergy, religious, poor and
rich. Clergy in the field of the Church are proud of the patrimony of Christ. Religious in quiet and peace, like a rich orchard, are gnawed by the worm of concupiscence. Poor layfolk labour as on a farm, and mourn because of their poverty. Rich people rejoice in the comfort of riches, and so forget the Lord. All these are sick at Capharnaum.
Four abominations are concordant to these four, which the Lord showed to Ezekiel, in whom there is a concordance where the Lord says:
Son of man, lift up thy eyes... And I lifted up my eyes towards the way of the north: and behold, on the north side of the gate of the altar the idol of jealousy in the very centre...to provoke to jealousy. And he said to me: Son of man, dost thou see, thinkest thou, what these are doing, the great abominations that the house of Israel committeth here, that I should depart far off from my sanctuary? (EZ ,
See the pride of the clergy. The idol of jealousy is the pride of the clergy, which provokes the Lord to jealousy, that is, to indignation and punishment. As Deuteronomy says, They have provoked me with that which was no God (Dt 32,21). The proud prelate of the Church, or minister of the altar, what is he but an idol of jealousy at the very entrance to the altar? Alas, what abominations these commit in the house of the Lord!
Therefore, in the same Prophet, the Lord says of them: They shall violate my secret place, and emissaries shall enter into it and defile it (Ez 7,22). The word ‘emissary’ strictly refers to a stallion set aside to mate with mares. These stallions are proud and lustful clerics, who violate the secret of the Lord, the Body of Jesus Christ; and as far as they are able tread it underfoot and defile the holy Church. Therefore the Lord adds, I shall depart far off from my sanctuary. It says in the first book of Kings that on account of the sins of the priests Ophni and Phinees, who lay with the women that waited at the door of the tabernacle (1S 2,22), the Ark of the Lord of hosts, who sits upon the Cherubim, was captured.
(Against prelates and religious who give the patrimony of the Crucified to their parents: Son of man, dig in the wall.)
7. There follows, regarding the second abomination:
And turn thee yet again and thou shalt see greater abominations.... And he said to me: Son of man, dig in the wall. And when I had digged in the wall, behold, a door. And he said to me: Go in and see the wicked abominations which they commit here. And I went in and saw, and behold, every form of creping things and of living creatures, the abomination; and all the idols of the house of Israel were painted on the wall all round about. And seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel and Jechonias the son of Saphan stood in the midst of them that stood before the pictures. And every one had a censer in his hand: and a cloud of smoke went up from the incense. And he said to me: Surely thou seest, O son of man, what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every one in private in his chamber: for they say: the Lord seeth us not, the Lord hath
forsaken the earth. (Ez 8,6)
From ‘dig in the wall’ up to ‘painted on the wall all round about’, see in the sermon: Take yourself spices and myrrh-oil, which is preached on Ash Wednesday.
There follows, And seventy men of the ancients , etc. St Jerome’s Gloss here says, "We should pray lest the elders of the house of Israel fulfil in the darkness the sacred number seventy, multiplying seven tens, standing in their errors and worshipping the pictures of idols, their vices, and a sacrilegious smoke goes up in opposition to God." Religious of our own day are called ‘seventy men’, because they ought to have the sevenfold grace of the Holy Spirit in the perfection of their works. But what do the fools do? They stand in front of pictures, and Jechonias in their midst, who (according to the Interlinear Gloss) "lost the true religion and worshipped idols in the temple of God." The pictures on the wall are images of pride, gluttony and lust in the mind, or the appearance of hypocrisy in religion, or carnal love of parents (and maybe of sons and daughters) in a religious. Thus the creeping things that cry out "Woe! Woe!" represent children and nephews. The abomination of animals represents the uncleanness of fornication. The painted idols are parents and friends. See what pictures some religious of our day adore! And what is worse, ‘Jechonias’, the abbot or prior, the ‘son of Saphan’ (‘judgement’, that is, eternal death) who ought to stop them, is there in the midst of them adoring the same pictures!
And every one had a censer in his hand. What is the censer in the hand, but the property of the monastery, given with a view to almsgiving and sacrifice, in the power of the superior? But these associates of Judas, having the traitor’s purse, with the thurible of alms and the incense of sacrifice offered for the dead cense their pictures: that is, they give the goods of the monastery, which belong to the poor, to their families and friends. There is no need to go into details. You have surely heard and seen, O son of man, what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, having grown old in evil days (cf. Da 13,52). They say, The Lord seeth us not; because they themselves are in darkness and do not see, they think they are not seen. St Jerome’s Gloss says, "If we would only think how the Lord is present, seeing and judging everything, we would hardly ever sin."
(Against worldly prosperity: Turn thee again.)
8. The third abomination follows. The Lord said to me:
If thou turn thee again, thou shalt see abominations. And he brought me in by the door of the gate of the Lord’s house which looked to the north: and behold, women sat there mourning for Adonis. And he said to me: Surely thou hast seen, O son of man. (Ez 8,13-15)
St Jerome’s Gloss says that the Hebrew and Syrian name for Adonis is Thammuz. By Thammuz or Adonis we understand worldly prosperity, the lover of Venus and of lust.
The weeping women are all those who mourn for lost prosperity. Alas! How many feeble folk today weep for the prosperity they have lost, rather than voluntary poverty! How
often they lose their faith! They are like labourers on the devil’s farm; not of the noble blood of Jesus Christ, who commanded them not only to let go what they have, but to rejoice in poverty over the things they have lost.
(Against those who forget the Lord because of temporal things: And behold at the door of the temple.)
9. There follows, concerning the fourth abomination:
But turn thee again and thou shalt see greater abominations than these. And behold, at the door of the temple... were about five and twenty men having their backs towards the temple of the Lord and their faces to the east: and they adored towards the rising of the sun. And he said to me: Surely thou hast seen, O son of man. (Ez 8,15-17)
To turn one’s back on God’s temple is to despise the Creator, forget Jesus Christ’s death, and put off eternal life. To turn one’s face to the east, and worship the rising sun, is to exult in the glory of earthly dignity, to seek that glory, and to worship a man in order to get it.
In the book of Esther, Mardochaeus says against this:
Lord, thou knowest all things: and thou knowest that it was not out of pride and contempt, or any desire of glory, that I refused to worship the proud Aman. For I would willingly and readily for the salvation of Israel have kissed even the steps of his feet. But I feared lest I should transfer the honour of my God to a man, and lest I should adore any one except my God. (Est 13,12-14)
The hapless rich of this world do not behave like this. The Lord says to them in Luke: Woe to you that are rich; for you have your consolation (Lc 6,24). All those who commit these abominations, like the ruler’s son at Capharnaum, lie sick unto death with a sickness of the soul. Therefore the ruler is insistent in his prayer, that his son may be freed from sickness and restored to health. May he grant this, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
(A sermon on the Lord’s Nativity: He who sat on the throne in the gate said.)
There follows: He, having heard that Jesus was come from Judea into Galilee, went to him and prayed him to come down and heal his son; for he was at the point of death (Jn 4,47). Judea means ‘confession’, and Galilee means ‘a wheel’ or ‘volubility’. So Jesus Christ comes from Judea into Galilee when he comes down from eternal life, wherein is the confession of angelic praise, to the wheel of our volubility.
10. There is a concordance to this in Ezekiel, where it says that he who sat on the throne
spoke to the man that was clothed with linen, and said: Go in between the wheels that are under the cherubims and fill thy hand with the coals of fire that are between the cherubims and pour them out upon the city. (Ez 10,2)
The linen represents the glorious body of Jesus Christ, which he took from the virgin earth and put on himself, to cover our nakedness. The Father said to him, Go in between the wheels. A wheel, which returns again to the point it started from, stands for human nature; to which was said, You are earth, and to earth you will return (cf. Gn 3,19). The Son of God went in between the wheels when he went down from Judea to Galilee, taking our nature, being seen upon earth and conversing with men (cf. Ba 3,38), in habit found as a man (Ph 2,7). They are under the cherubim, because they are made a little less than the angels (cf. Ps 8,6). Thus he filled his hand with the coals of fire, the burning teachings, which are between the cherubim, the two Testaments; and he poured them out upon the city, that is, Holy Church. Alternatively, he pours coals of fire upon the city when he sends the coals of his fear and love upon the soul, destroying the joy of the world and of the flesh, so that it may be warmed and enlightened, to get well again from its sickness. That is why the ruler who knows his son is sick at Capharnaum, should go to him in contrition of heart, and ask with the mouth of confession, that he heal his son, who is said to be at the point of death. Note that these words, at the point of death, are well-chosen. The death of the soul begins with fleshly indulgence and worldly comfort. It ends (though it will never end!) in the damnation of hell.
There follows: Jesus therefore said to him: Unless you see signs and wonders, you believe not (Jn 4,48). The word for ‘wonders’ suggests speaking of what is hereafter, predicting the future from far off. The Lord says something similar to Ezekiel:
Son of man, I send thee to the children of Israel, to a rebellious people that hath revolted from me... Thou art among unbelievers and destroyers, and thou dwellest with scorpions... They will not hearken to thee, because they will not hearken to me. (Ez 2,3)
The ruler saith to him: Lord, come down before that my son die (Jn 4,49). The Gloss says that it is as if otherwise he could not save, unless he were present. Therefore the Lord healed by his mere command, to show that he was not absent from the place he was invited to.
And so he says: Go, thy son liveth (Jn 4,50). And in Ezekiel, When thou wast in thy blood, I said to thee: Live! (Ez 16,6). Is my will the death of the wicked? says the Lord God, rather than that he be converted and live? (Ez 33,11). If he considereth and turneth away himself from all his iniquities which he hath wrought, he shall surely live and not die (Ez 18,28). And therefore we sing in the Introit of today’s Mass:
If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities, Lord, who shall stand it?
For with thee there is merciful forgiveness, O God of Israel. (Ps 129,3-4)
11. The first part of the Epistle is concordant to this first clause: Be strengthened in the Lord, lest you fall into the infirmity which comes from Capharnaum, and in the might of his power, who said, "Go, thy son liveth", put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil (Ep 6,10-11). Note that whoever wants to be a soldier of God, and put on his armour, and stand firm against the snares of the devil: he must have the horse of good will, the saddle of humility, the stirrups of constancy, the spurs of a two-fold fear, the bridle of temperance, the shield of faith, the breastplate of justice, the helmet of salvation, the spear of charity. Whoever puts on himself this armour, the infirmity of Capharnaum will not overcome him. They are necessary, because our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, the vices of flesh and blood alone, but against principalities and powers, the demons who rule over others, and have power over those who are in the darkness of sins; against the rulers of the world of this darkness, leading worldly folk to ruin, the darkened souls who are cast into the works of darkness which are the abominations spoken of by Ezekiel; against the spirits of wickedness in high places, the wickedness of the spirit which is against what is heavenly. They fight for no small thing, but to take away our heavenly heritage.
Therefore we ask you. Lord Jesus Christ, to free us from the infirmity of Capharnaum, and from the fourfold abomination, so that we may stand fast against the snares of the devil, and be found fit to love with you in the heavenly life. Grant this, you who live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.
Anthony_Sermons - (SECOND CLAUSE)