Golden Chain 3611
3611 (Mt 6,11)
Aug., Enchir., 115: These three things therefore which have been asked in the foregoing petitions, are begun here on earth, and according to our proficiency are increased in us; but in another life, as we hope, they shall be everlastingly possessed in perfection. In the four remaining petitions we ask for temporal blessings which are necessary to obtaining the eternal; the bread, which is accordingly the next petition in order, is a necessary.
Jerome: The Greek word here which we render, 'supersubstantialis,' is . The LXX often make use of the word,, by which we find, on reference to the Hebrew, they always render the word, sogola. (ed. note, c: on, vid. note c
on Cyr. Cat. xxiii. 15. Tr. and Petav. Dogm. t. iv. pp. 200,201. ed. Antwerp. 1700.)
Symmachus translates it, that is, (p. 229) 'chief,' or 'excellent,' though in one place he has interpreted 'peculiar.' When then we pray God to give us our 'peculiar' or 'chief' bread, we mean Him who says in the Gospel, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven." (Jn 6,51)
Cyprian: For Christ is the bread of life, and this bread belongs not to all men, but to us. This bread we pray that it be given day by day, lest we who are in Christ, and who daily receive the Eucharist for food of salvation, should by the admission of any grievous crime, and our being therefore forbidden the heavenly bread, be separated from the body of Christ. Hence then we pray, that we who abide in Christ, may not draw back from His sanctification and His body.
Aug., De Don. Pers. 4: Here then the saints ask for perseverance of God, when they pray that they may not be separated from the body of Christ, but may abide in that holiness, committing no crime.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Or by 'supersubstantialis' may be intended, 'daily.' (ed. note: Pseudo-Chrys. reads or translates 'quotidianus,' he does not introduce the word 'supersubstantialis' at all.)
Cassian, Coll., ix, 21: In that He says, "this day," He shews that it is to be daily taken, and that this prayer should be offered at all seasons, seeing there is no day on which we have not need, by the receiving of this bread, to confirm the heart of the inward man.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 7: There is here a difficulty created by the circumstance of there being many in the East, who do not daily communicate in the Lord's Supper. And they defend their practice on the ground of ecclesiastical authority, that they do this without offence, and are not forbidden by those who preside over the Churches, But not to pronounce any thing concerning them in either way, this ought certainly to occur to our thoughts, that we have here received of the Lord a rule for prayer which we ought not to transgress.
Who then will dare to affirm that we ought to use this prayer only once? Or if twice or thrice, yet only up to that hour at which we communicate on the Lord's body? For after that we cannot say, "Give us this day," that which we have already received. Or will any one on this account be able to compel us to celebrate this sacrament at the close of the day?
Cassian: Though the expression to-day may be understood of this present life; thus, Give us this bread (p. 230) while we abide in this world.
Jerome: We may also interpret the word 'supersubstantialis' otherwise, as that which is above all other substances, and more excellent than all creatures, to wit, the body of the Lord.
Aug.: Or by "daily" we may understand spiritual, namely, the divine precepts which we ought to meditate and work.
Greg., Mor., xxiv. 7: We call it our bread, yet pray that it may be given us, for it is God's to give, and is made ours by our receiving it.
Jerome: Others understand it literally according to that saying of the Apostle, "Having food and raiment, let us therewith be content," that the saints should have care only of present food; as it follows, "Take no thought for the morrow."
Aug., Epist., 130, 11: So that herein we ask for a sufficiency of all things necessary under the one name of bread.
Pseudo-Chrys.: We pray, "Give us this day our daily bread," not only that we may have what to eat, which is common to both righteous and sinners; but that what we eat we may receive at the hand of God, which belongs only to the saints. For to him God giveth bread who earns it by righteous means; but to him who earns it by sin, the Devil it is that gives.
Or that inasmuch as it is given by God, it is received sanctified; and therefore He adds, "our," that is, such bread as we have prepared for us, that do Thou give us, that by Thy giving it may be sanctified. Like as the Priest taking bread of the laic, sanctifies it, and then offers it to him; the bread indeed is his that brought it in offering, but that it is sanctified is the benefit from the Priest.
He says "Our" for two reasons. First, because all things that God gives us He gives through us to others, that of what we receive of Him we may impart to the helpless. Whoso then of what he gains by his own toil bestows nothing on others, eats not his own bread only, but others' bread also. Secondly, he who eats bread got righteously, eats his own bread; but he who eats bread got with sin, eats others' bread.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 7: Some one may perhaps find a difficulty in our here praying that we may obtain necessaries of this life, such as food and raiment, when the Lord has instructed us, "Be not ye careful what ye shall eat, or wherewithal ye shall be clothed." But it is impossible not to be careful about that for the obtaining which we pray.
Aug., Epist., 130, 6: But to wish for the necessaries of life and no more, (p. 231) is not improper; for such sufficiency is not sought for its own sake, but for the health of the body, and for such garb and appliances of the person, as may make us to be not disagreeable to those with whom we have to live in all good reputation. For these things we may pray that they may be had when we are in want of them, that they may be kept when we have them.
Chrys.: It should be thought upon how when He had delivered to us this petition, "Thy will be done as in heaven so in earth," then because He spake to men in the flesh, and not like angelic natures without passion or appetite, He now descends to the needs of our bodies. And He teaches us to pray not for money or the gratification of lust, but for daily bread; and as yet further restriction, He adds, "this day," that we should not trouble ourselves with thought for the coming day.
Pseudo-Chrys.: And these words at first sight might seem to forbid our having it prepared for the morrow, or after the morrow. If this were so, this prayer could only suit a few; such as the Apostles who travelled hither and thither teaching - or perhaps none among us. Yet ought we so to adapt Christ's doctrine, that all men may profit in it.
Cyprian, Tr. vii, 14: Justly therefore does the disciple of Christ make petition for today's provision, without indulging excessive longings in his prayer. It were a self-contradicting and incompatible thing for us who pray that the kingdom of God may quickly come, to be looking unto long life in the world below.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Or; He adds, "daily," that a man may eat so much only as natural reason requires, not as the lust of the flesh urges. For if you expend on one banquet as much as would suffice you for a hundred days, you are not eating today's provision, but that of many days.
Jerome: In the Gospel, entitled The Gospel according to the Hebrew, 'supersubstantialis' is rendered, 'mohar,' that is, 'tomorrow's; so that the sense would be, Give us today tomorrow's bread; i.e. for the time to come.
3612 (Mt 6,12)
Cyprian, Tr. vii, 15: After supply of food, next pardon of sin is asked for, that he who is fed of God may live in God, and not (p. 232) only the present and passing life be provided for, but the eternal also; whereunto we may come, if we receive the pardon of our sins, to which the Lord gives the name of debts, as he speaks further on, "I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me." (Mt 18,32)
How well is it for our need, how provident and saving a thing, to be reminded that we are sinners compelled to make petition for our offences, so that in claiming God's indulgence, the mind is recalled to a recollection of its guilt. That no man may plume himself with the pretence of innocence, and perish more wretchedly through self-exaltation, he is instructed that he commits sin every day by being commanded to pray for his sins.
Aug., De Don. Pers., 5: With this weapon the Pelagian heretics received their deathblow, who dare to say that a righteous man is free altogether from sin in this life, and that of such is at this present time composed a Church, "having neither spot nor wrinkle."
Chrys.: That this prayer is meant for the faithful, both the laws of the Church teach, and the beginning of the prayer which instructs us to call God Father. In thus bidding the faithful pray for forgiveness of sin, He shews that even after baptism sin can be remitted (against the Novatians.)
Cyprian: He then who taught us to pray for our sins, has promised us that His fatherly mercy and pardon shall ensue. But He has added a rule besides, binding us under the fixed condition and responsibility, that we are to ask for our sins to be forgiven in such sort as we forgive them that are in debt to us.
Greg., Mor., x, 15: That good which in our penitence we ask of God, we should first turn and bestow on our neighbour.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 8: This is not said of debts of money only, but of all things in which any sins against us, and among these also of money, because that he sins against you, who does not return money due to you, when he has whence he can return it. Unless you forgive this sin you cannot say, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
Pseudo-Chrys.: With what hope then does he pray, who cherishes hatred against another by whom he has been wronged? As he prays with a falsehood on his lips, when he says, I forgive, and does not forgive, so he asks indulgence of God, but no indulgence is granted him. There are many who, being unwilling to forgive those that trespass against them, will not use this (p. 233) prayer.
How foolish! First, because he who does not pray in the manner Christ taught, is not Christ's disciple; and secondly, because the Father does not readily hear any prayer which the Son has not dictated; for the Father knows the intention and the words of the Son, nor will He entertain such petitions as human presumption has suggested, but only those which Christ's wisdom has set forth.
Aug., Enchir., 73: Forasmuch as this so great goodness, namely, to forgive debts, and to love our enemies, cannot be possessed by so great a number as we suppose to be heard in the use of this prayer; without doubt the terms of this stipulation are fulfilled; though one have not attained to such proficiency as to love his enemy; yet if when he is requested by one, who has trespassed against him, that he would forgive him, he do forgive him from his heart; for he himself desires to be forgiven then at least when he asks forgiveness. And if one have been moved by a sense of his sin to ask forgiveness of him against whom he has sinned, he is no more to be thought on as an enemy, that there should be any thing hard in loving him, as there was when he was in active enmity.
3613 (Mt 6,13)
Pseudo-Chrys.: As He had above put many high things into men's mouths, teaching them to call God their Father, to pray that His kingdom might come; so now He adds a lesson of humility, when He says, "and lead us not into temptation."
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 9: Some copies read, "Carry us not," (margin note: inferas) an equivalent word, both being a translation of one Greek word, . Many in interpreting say, 'Suffer us not to be led into temptation,' as being what is implied in the word, "lead." For God does not of Himself lead a man, but suffer him to be led from whom He has withdrawn His aid.
Cyprian, Tr. vii, 17: Herein it is shewn that the adversary can nothing avail against us, unless God first permit him; so that all our fear and devotion ought to be addressed to God.
Aug.: But it is one thing to be led into temptation, another to be tempted; for without temptation none can be approved, either to himself or to another; but every man is fully known to God before all trial. Therefore (p. 234) we do not here pray that we may not be tempted, but that we may not be led into temptation. As if one who was to be burnt alive should pray not that he should not be touched by fire, but that he should not be burnt. For we are then led into temptation when such temptations befall us as we are not able to resist.
Aug., Epist., 130, 11: When then we say, "Lead us not into temptation," what we ask is, that we may not, deserted by His aid, either consent through the subtle snares, or yield to the forcible might, or any temptation.
Cyprian: And in so praying we are cautioned of our own infirmity and weakness, lest any presumptuously exalt himself; that while a humble and submissive confession comes first, and all is referred to God, whatever we suppliantly apply for may by His gracious favour be supplied.
Aug., De Don. Pers., 5: When the Saints pray, "Lead us not into temptation," what else do they pray for than that they may persevere in their sanctity. This once granted - and that it is God's gift this, that of Him we ask it, shews - none of the Saints but holds to the end his abiding holiness; for none ceases to hold on his Christian profession, till he be first overtaken of temptation.
Therefore we seek not to be led into temptation that this may not happen to us; and if it does not happen, it is God that does not permit it to happen; for there is nothing done, but what He either does, or suffers to be done. He is therefore able to turn our wills from evil to good, to raise the fallen and to direct him into the way that is pleasing to Himself, to whom not in vain we plead, "Lead us not into temptation."
For whoso is not led into temptation of his own evil will, is free of all temptation; for, "each man is tempted of his own lust." (Jc 1,14) God would have us pray to Him that we may not be led into temptation, though He could have granted it without our prayer, that we might be kept in mind who it is from whom we receive all benefits. Let the Church therefore observe her daily prayers; she prays that the unbelieving may believe, therefore it is God that turns men to the faith; she prays that the believers may persevere; God gives them perseverance even unto the end.
"But deliver us from evil. Amen."
Aug.: We ought to pray not only that we may not be led (p. 235) into evil from which we are at present free; but further that we may be set free from that into which we have already been led.
Therefore it follows, "Deliver us from evil."
Cyprian, Tr. vii. 18: After all these preceding petitions, at the conclusion of the prayer comes a sentence, comprising shortly and collectively the whole of our petitions and desires. For there remains nothing beyond for us to ask for, after petition made for God's protection from evil; for that gained, we stand secure and safe against all things that the Devil and the world work against us. What fear hath he from this life, who has God through life for his guardian?
Aug., Epist., 130, 11: This petition with which the Lord's Prayer concludes is of such extent, that a Christian man in whatever tribulation cast, will in this petition utter groans, in this shed tears, here begin and here end his prayer. And therefore follows "Amen," by which is expressed the strong desire of him that prays.
Jerome: "Amen," which appears here at the close, is the seal of the Lord's Prayer. Aquila rendered 'faithfully' - we may perhaps 'truly.'
Cyprian: We need not wonder, dearest brethren, that this is God's prayer, seeing how His instruction comprises all our petitioning, in one saving sentence. This had already been prophesied by Isaiah the Prophet, "A short word will God make in the whole earth." (Is 10,22) For when our Lord Jesus Christ came unto all, and gather together the learned alike and the unlearned, did to every sex and age set forth the precepts of salvation, He made a full compendium of His instructions, that the memory of the scholars might not labour in the heavenly discipline, but accept with readiness whatsoever was necessary into a simple faith.
Aug., Epist., 130, 12: And whatever other words we may use, either introductory to quicken the affections, or in conclusion to add to them, we say nothing more than is contained in the Lord's Prayer if we pray rightly and connectedly.
For he who says, "Glorify thyself in all nations, as thou art glorified among us," what else does he say than, "Hallowed be thy name?" He who prays, "Shew thy face and we shall be safe," (Ps 80,3) what is it but to say, "Let thy kingdom come?" To say, "Direct my steps according to thy word," (Ps 119,133) what is it more than, "Thy will be done?" To say, "Give me neither poverty nor riches," (Pr 30,8) what else is it than, "Give us this day our daily bread?" (p. 236) "Lord, remember David and all his mercifulness!" (Ps 131,1) and, "If I have returned evil for evil," (Ps 7,4) what else but, "Forgive us our debts even as we forgive our debtors?" He who says, "Remove far from me all greediness of belly," what else does he say, but "Lead us not into temptation?" He who says, "Save me, O my God, from my enemies," (Ps 59,1) what else does he say but "Deliver us from evil?"
And if you thus go through all the words of the holy prayers, you will find nothing that is not contained in the Lord's Prayer. Whoever then speaks such words as have no relation to this evangelic prayer, prays carnally; and such prayer I know not why we should not pronounce unlawful, seeing the Lord instructs those who are born again only to pray spiritually. But whoso in prayer says, Lord, increase my riches, add to my honours; and that from desire of such things, not with a view to doing men service after God's will by such things; I think that he finds nothing in the Lord's Prayer on which he may build such petitions.
Let such a one then be withheld by shame from praying for, if not from desiring, such things. But if he have shame at the desire, yet desire overcomes, he will do better to pray for deliverance from the evil of desire to Him to whom we say, "Deliver us from evil."
Aug., Serm. in Mont. ii. 11: This number of petitions seems to answer to the seven-fold number of the beatitudes.
If it is the fear of God by which are made "blessed the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," let us ask that the name of God be hallowed among men, a reverent fear abiding for ever and ever.
If it be piety by which "the meek are blessed," let us pray that His kingdom may come, that we may become meek, and not resist Him.
If it be knowledge by which "they that mourn are blessed," let us pray that His will may be done as in heaven so in earth; for if the body consent with the spirit as does earth with heaven, we shall not mourn.
If fortitude be that by which "they that hunger are blessed," let us pray that our daily bread be this day given us, by which we may come to full saturity.
If it is counsel by which "blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy," let us forgive debts, that our debts may be forgiven us.
If it be understanding by which they of "pure heart are blessed," let us pray that we be not led into temptation, lest we have a double heart (p. 237) in the pursuit of temporal and earthly things which are for our probation.
If it be wisdom by which "blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God," let us pray to be delivered from evil; for that very deliverance will make us free as sons of God.
Chrys.: Having made us anxious by the mention of our enemy, in this that He has said, "Deliver us from evil," He again restores confidence by that which is added in some copies, "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory," since if His be the kingdom, none need fear, since even he who fights against us, must be His subject. But since His power and glory are infinite, He can not only deliver from evil, but also make glorious.
Pseudo-Chrys.: This is also connected with the foregoing. "Thine is the kingdom" has reference to "Thy kingdom come," that none should therefore say, "God has no kingdom on earth. The power," answers to "Thy will be done, as in earth so in heaven," that none should say thereon that God cannot perform whatever He would. "And the glory," answers to all that follows, in which God's glory is shewn forth.
3614 (Mt 6,14-15)
Rabanus: By the word, "Amen." He shews that without doubt the Lord will bestow all things that are rightly asked, and by those that do not fail in observing the annexed condition, "For if ye forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will also forgive you your sins."
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 11: Here we should not overlook that of all the petitions enjoined by the Lord, He judged that most worthy of further enforcement, which relates to forgiveness of sins, in which He would have us merciful; which is the only means of escaping misery.
Pseudo-Chrys.: He does not say that God will first forgive us, and that we should after forgive our debtors. For God knows how treacherous the heart of man is, and that though they should have received forgiveness themselves, yet they do not forgive their debtors; therefore He instructs us first (p. 238) to forgive, and we shall be forgiven after.
Aug., Enchir., 74: Whoever does not forgive him that in true sorrow seeks forgiveness, let him not suppose that his sins are by any means forgiven of the Lord.
Cyprian, Tr. vii, 16: For no excuse will abide you in the day of judgment, when you will be judged by your own sentence, and as you have dealt towards others, will be dealt with yourself.
Jerome: But if that which is written, "I said, Ye are gods, but ye shall die like men," (Ps 82,6-7) is said to those who for their sins deserve to become men instead of gods, then they to whom sins are forgiven are rightly called "men."
Chrys.: He mentions heaven and the Father to claim our attention, for nothing so likens you to God, as to forgive him who has injured you. And it were indeed unmeet should the son of such a Father become a slave, and should one who has a heavenly vocation live as of this earth, and of this life only.
3616 (Mt 6,16)
Pseudo-Chrys.: Forasmuch as that prayer which is offered in a humble spirit and contrite heart, shews a mind already strong and disciplined; whereas he who is sunk in self-indulgence cannot have a humble spirit and contrite heart; it is plain that without fasting prayer must be faint and feeble; therefore, when any would pray for any need in which they might be, they joined fasting with prayer, because it is an aid thereof. Accordingly the Lord, after His doctrine respecting prayer, adds doctrine concerning fasting, saying, "When ye fast, be not ye as the hypocrites, of sad countenance." The Lord knew that vanity may spring from every good thing, and therefore bids us root out the bramble of vain-gloriousness which springs in the good soil, that it choke not the fruit of fasting. For though it cannot be that fasting should not be discovered in any one, yet is it better that fasting should shew you, than that you should shew your fasting.
But it is impossible (p. 239) that any in fasting should be gay, therefore He said not, Be not sad, but "Be not made sad;" for they who discover themselves by any false displays of their affliction, they are not sad, but make themselves; but he who is naturally sad in consequence of continued fasting, does not make himself sad, but is so.
Jerome: The word, "exterminare," so often used in the ecclesiastical Scriptures though a blunder of the translators, has a quite different meaning from that in which it is commonly understood. It is properly said of exiles who are sent beyond the boundry of their country. Instead of this word, it would seem better to use the word, "demoliri," 'to destroy,' in translating the Greek . The hypocrite destroys his face, in order that he may feign sorrow, and with a heart full of joy wears sorrow in his countenance.
Greg., Mor., viii, 44: For by the pale countenance, the trembling limbs, and the bursting sighs, and by all so great toil and trouble, nothing is in the mind but the esteem of men.
Leo, Serm. in Epiph., iv, 5: But that fasting is not pure, that comes not of reasons of continence, but of the arts of deceit.
Pseudo-Chrys.: If then he who fasts, and makes himself of sad countenance, is a hypocrite, how much more wicked is he who does not fast, yet assumes a fictitious paleness of face as a token of fasting.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 12: On this paragraph it is to be specially noted, that not only in outward splendor and pomp, but even in the dress of sorrow and mourning, is there room for display, and that the more dangerous, inasmuch as it deceives under the name of God's services. For he who by inordinate pains taken with her person, or his apparel, or by the glitter of his other equipage, is distinguished, is easily proved by these very circumstances to be a follower of the pomps of this world, and no man is deceived by any semblance of a feigned sanctity in him. But when any one in the profession of Christianity draws men's eyes upon him by unwonted beggary and slovenliness in dress, if this be voluntary and not compulsory, then by his other conduct may be seen whether he does this to be seen of men, or from contempt of the refinements of dress.
Remig.: The reward of the hypocrites' fast is shewn, when it is added, "That they may seem to men to fast; verily I say unto you, They have their reward;" that is, that reward for which they looked.
3617 (Mt 6,17-18)
(p. 240) Gloss. ap. Anselm: The Lord having taught us what we ought not to do, now proceeds to teach us what we ought to do, saying, "When thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face."
Aug.: A question is here wont to be raised; for none surely would literally enjoin, that, as we wash our faces from daily habit, so we should have our heads anointed when we fast; a thing which all allow to be most disgraceful.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Also if He bade us not to be of sad countenance that we might not seem to men to fast, yet if anointing of the head and washing of the face are always observed in fasting, they will become tokens of fasting.
Jerome: But He speaks in accordance with the manner of the province of Palestine, where it is the custom on festival days to anoint the head. What He enjoins then is, that when we are fasting we should wear the appearance of joy and gladness.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Therefore the simple interpretation of this is, that is added as an hyperbolical explanation of the command; as though He had said, Yea, so far should ye be from any display of your fasting, that if it might be (which yet it may not be) so done, ye should even do such things as are tokens of luxury and feasting.
Chrys., Hom. xx: In almsgiving indeed, He did not say simply, 'Do not your alms before men,' but added, 'to be seen of them.' But in fasting and prayer He added nothing of this sort; because alms cannot be so done as to be altogether hid, fasting and prayer can be so done. The contempt of men's praise is no small fruit, for thereby we are freed from the heavy slavery of human opinions, and become properly workers of virtue, loving it for itself and not for others. For as we esteem it an affront if we are loved not for ourselves but for others' sake, so ought we not to follow virtue on the account of these men, nor to obey God for men's sake but for His own.
Therefore it follows here, "But to thy Father which seeth in (p. 241) secret."
Gloss.: That is, to thy heavenly Father, who is unseen, or who dwells in the heart through faith. He fasts to God who afflicts himself for the love of God, and bestows on others what he denies himself.
Remig.: For it is enough for you that He who sees your conscience should be your rewarder.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Spiritually interpreted - the face may be understood to mean the mental conscience. And as in the eyes of man a fair face has grace, so in the eyes of God a pure conscience has favour. This face the hypocrites, fasting on man's account, disfigure, seeking thereby to cheat both God and man; for the conscience of the sinner is always wounded. If then you have cast out all wickedness from your heart, you have washed your conscience, and fast well.
Leo, Serm. in Quadr., vi, 2: Fasting ought to be fulfilled not in abstinence of food only, but much more in cutting off vices. For when we submit ourselves to that discipline in order to withdraw that which is the nurse of carnal desires, there is no sort of good conscience more to be sought than that we should keep ourselves sober from unjust will, and abstinent from dishonourable action. This is an act of religion from which the sick are not excluded, seeing integrity of heart may be found in an infirm body.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Spiritually again, "thy head" denotes Christ. Give the thirsty drink and feed the hungry, and therein you have anointed your head, that is, Christ, who cries out in the Gospel, "In that ye have done this to one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me." (Mt 25,40)
Greg., Hom. in Ev., xvi, 6: For God approves that fasting, which before His eyes opens the hands of alms. This then that you deny yourself, bestow on another, that wherein your flesh is afflicted, that of your needy neighbour may be refreshed.
Aug.: Or; by the head we rightly understand the reason, because it is preeminent in the soul, and rules the other members of the man. Now anointing the head has some reference to rejoicing. Let him therefore joy within himself because of his fasting, who in fasting turns himself from doing the will of the world, that he may be subject to Christ.
Gloss. ord.: Behold how every thing in the New Testament is not to be taken literally. It were ridiculous to be smeared with oil when fasting; but it is behoveful for the mind to be anointed with the spirit of His love, in whose sufferings we (p. 242) ought to partake by afflicting ourselves.
Pseudo-Chrys.: And truly we ought to wash our face, but to anoint, and not to wash, our head. For as long as we are in the body, our conscience is foul with sin. But Christ who is our head has done no sin.
3619 (Mt 6,19-21)
Chrys.: When He has driven away the disease of vanity, He does well to bring in speech of contempt of riches. For there is no greater cause of desire of money than love of praise; for this men desire troops of slaves, horses accoutred in gold, and tables of silver, not for use or pleasure, but that they may be seen of many; therefore He says, "Lay not up for yourselves treasure on earth."
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 13: For if any does a work with the mind of gaining thereby an earthly good, how will his heart be pure while it is thus walking on earth? For any thing that is mingled with an inferior nature is polluted therewith, though that inferior be in its kind pure. Thus gold is alloyed when mixed with pure silver; and in like manner our mind is defiled by lust of earthly things, though earth is in its own kind pure.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Otherwise; As the Lord had above taught nothing concerning alms, or prayer, or fasting, but had only checked a pretence of them, He now proceeds to deliver a doctrine of three portions, according to the division which He had before made, in this order. First, a counsel that alms should be done; second, to shew the benefit of almsgiving; third, that the fear of poverty should be no hindrance to our purpose of almsgiving.
Chrys.: Saying, "Lay not up for yourselves treasure on earth," He adds, "where rust and moth destroy," in order to shew the insecurity of that treasure that is here, (p. 243) and the advantage of that which is in Heaven, both from the place, and from those things which harm. As though He had said; Why fear you that your wealth should be consumed, if you should give alms? Yea rather give alms, and they shall receive increase, for those treasures that are in Heaven shall be added to them, which treasures perish if ye do not give alms. He said not, You leave them to others, for that is pleasant to men.
Rabanus, ap. Anselm: Here are three precepts according to the three different kinds of wealth. Metals are destroyed by rust, clothes by moth; but as there are other things which fear neither rust nor moth, as precious stones, He therefore names a common damage, that by thieves, who may rob wealth of all kinds.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Another reading is, "Where moth and banqueting consume." For a threefold destruction awaits all the goods of this life. They either decay and are eaten of moths as cloth; or are consumed by their master's luxurious living; or are plundered by strangers, either by violence, or pilfering, or false accusation, or some other unjust doing. For all may be called thieves who hasten by any unlawful means to make other men's goods their own.
But you will say, Do all who have these things, perforce lose them? I would answer by the way, that if all do not, yet many do. But ill-hoarded wealth, you have lost spiritually if not actually, because it profits you not to your salvation.
Rabanus: Allegorically; Rust denotes pride which obscures the brightness of virtue. Moth which privily eats out garments, is jealousy which frets into good intention, and destroys the bond of unity. Thieves denote heretics and demons, who are ever on the watch to rob men of their spiritual treasure.
Hilary: But the praise of Heaven is eternal, and cannot be carried off by invading thief, nor consumed by the moth and rust of envy.
Aug., Serm. in Mont., ii, 13: By heaven in this place I understand not the material heavens, for every thing that has a body is earthly. But it behoves that the whole world be despised by him who lays up his treasure in that Heaven, of which it is said, "The heaven of heavens is the Lord's," (Ps 115,16) that is, in the spiritual firmament. "For heaven and earth shall pass away;" (Mt 24,35) but we ought not to place our treasure in that which passes away, but in that (p. 244) which abides for ever.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Which then is better? To place it on earth where its security is doubtful, or in Heaven where it will be certainly preserved? What folly to leave it in this place whence you must soon depart, and not to send it before you thither, whither you are to go? Therefore place your substance there where your country is.
Chrys.: But forasmuch as not every earthly treasure is destroyed by rust or moth, or carried away by thieves, He therefore brings in another motive, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." As much as to say; Though none of these former losses should befall you, you will yet sustain no small loss by attaching your affections to things beneath, and becoming a slave to them, and in falling from Heaven, and being unable to think of any lofty thing.
Jerome: This must be understood not of money only, but of all our possessions. The god of a glutton is his belly; of a lover his lust; and so every man serves that to which he is in bondage; and has his heart there where his treasure is.
Pseudo-Chrys.: Otherwise; He now teaches the benefit of almsgiving. He who places his treasure on earth has nothing to look for in Heaven; for why should he look up to Heaven where he has nothing laid up for himself? Thus he doubly sins; first, because he gathers together things evil; secondly, because he has his heart in earth; and so on the contrary he does right in a twofold manner who lays up his treasure in Heaven.22-23
22. "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"
Chrys.: Having spoken of the bringing the understanding into captivity because it was not easy to be understood of many, He transfers it to a sensible instance, saying, "The light of thy body is thy eye." As though He had said, If you do not know what is meant by the loss of the understanding, (p. 245) learn a parable of the bodily members; for what the eye is to the body, that the understanding is to the soul. As by the loss of the eyes we lose much of the use of the other limbs, so when the understanding is corrupted, your life is filled with many evils.
Jerome: That is an illustration drawn from the senses. As the whole body is in darkness, where the eye is not single, so if the soul has lost her original brightness, every sense, or that whole part of the soul to which sensation belongs, will abide in darkness.
Wherefore He says, "If then the light which is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!" that is, if the senses which are the soul's light be darkened by vice, in how great darkness do you suppose the darkness itself will be wrapped?
Pseudo-Chrys.: It seems that He is not here speaking of the bodily eye, or of the outward body that is seen, or He would have said, If thine eye be sound, or weak; but He says, "single," and, "evil." But if one have a benign yet diseased eye, is his body therefore in light? Or if an evil yet a sound, is his body therefore in darkness?
Jerome: Those who have thick eye-sight see the lights multiplied; but the single and clear eye sees them single and clear.
Chrys.: Or; The eye He speaks of is not the external but the internal eye. The light is the understanding, through which the soul sees God. He whose heart is turned to God, has an eye full of light; that is, his understanding is pure, not distorted by the influence of worldly lusts. The darkness in us is our bodily senses, which always desire the things that pertain to darkness.
Whoso then has a pure eye, that is, a spiritual understanding, preserves his body in light, that is, without sin; for though the flesh desires evil, yet by the might of divine fear the soul resists it. But whoever has an eye, that is, an understanding, either darkened by the influence of the malignant passions, or fouled by evil lusts, possesses his body in darkness; he does not resist the flesh when it lusts after evil things, because he has no hope in Heaven, which hope alone gives us the strength to resist desire.
Hilary: Otherwise; from the office of the light of the eye, He calls it the light of the heart; which if it continue single and brilliant, will confer on the body the brightness of the eternal light, and pour again into the corrupted flesh the splendor of (p. 246) its origin, that is, in the resurrection. But if it be obscured by sin, and evil in will, the bodily nature will yet abide subject to all the evils of the understanding.
Aug.: Otherwise; by the eye here we may understand our purpose; if that be pure and right, all our works which we work according thereto are good. These He here calls the body, as the Apostle speaks of certain works as members; "Mortify your members, fornication and uncleanness." (Col 3,5)
We should look then, not to what a person does, but with what mind he does it. For this is the light within us, because by this we see that we do with good intention what we do. "For all which doth make manifest is light." (Ep 5,13) But the deeds themselves, which go forth to men's society, have a result to us uncertain, and therefore He calls them darkness; as when I give money to one in need, I know not what he will do with it.
If then the purport of your heart, which you can know, is defiled with the lust of temporal things, much more is the act itself, of which the issue is uncertain, defiled. For even though one should reap good of what you do with a purport not good, it will be imputed to you as you did it, not as it resulted to him. If however our works are done with a single purport, that is with the aim of charity, then are they pure and pleasing in God's sight.
Aug., cont. Mendac., 7: But acts which are known to be in themselves sins, are not to be done as with a good purpose; but such works only as are either good or bad, according as the motives from which they are done are either good or bad, and are not in themselves sins; as to give food to the poor is good if it be done from merciful motives, but evil if it be done from ostentation. But such works as are in themselves sins, who will say that they are to be done with good motives, or that they are not sins? Who would say, Let us rob the rich, that we may have to give to the poor?
Greg., Mor., xxviii, 11: Otherwise; if the light that "is in thee," that is, if what we have begun to do well, we overcloud with evil purpose, when we do things which we know to be in themselves evil, "how great is the darkness!"
Remig., ap. Gloss. ord.: Otherwise; faith is likened to a light, because by it the goings of the inner man, that is, action, are lightened, that he should not stumble according to that, "Thy word is a light to my feet." (Ps 119,105) If that then be pure and single, the whole body is (p. 247) light; but if defiled, the whole body will be dark. Yet otherwise; by the light may be understood the ruler of the Church, who may be well called the eye, as he it is that ought to see that wholesome things be provided for the people under him, which are understood by the body. If then the ruler of the Church err, how much more will the people subject to him err?
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