Anthony_Sermons - (THIRD CLAUSE)

1 P. LOMBARD, Commentary on Ps 44.9; PL 191.441-2
2 CICERO, Orator 10,33
3 AUGUSTINE, In loannis evang. tr. 27,9; PL 35.1619
4 ARISTOTLE speaks of a horned ass (unicorn) living in India. De Hist. an. II,1,499b

The copyright in this translation belongs to the author, Revd Dr S.R.P. Spilsbury


(The Gospel for the sixth Sunday after Easter: When the Paraclete cometh; which is divided into two clauses.)


(First, a sermon on the Resurrection of soul and body: When the Paraclete cometh.)

1. At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: When the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, who proceedeth from the Father, etc.

The Lord says by Isaiah:

Thy dead men shall live, my slain shall rise again.

Awake, and give praise, ye that dwell in the dust, or thy dew is the dew of the light. (Is 26,19)

Dew is a finer precipitation than rain. It is said that dew drenches the fields longer when the night is clearer and the moon brighter, and it takes only a short time of the night for the dew to replace the moisture of the earth which it had taken all day for the sun to dry up. The dew is an image of the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, who sweetly descends upon the mind of a sinner, cooling the heat of sin, carnal desire. So Ecclesiasticus says:

A dew that meeteth it, from the heat that cometh, shall overpower it. (Si 43,24)

When the grace of the Holy Spirit meets a sinner, as he comes from the heat of vice, it cools the heat like dew. As it shows the sinner how many and how great vices his mind is wrapped up in, it humbles him to sorrow, to grieve over what he has done. So Jeremiah says:

After thou didst show unto me, I struck my thigh. (Jr 31,19)

After the grace of the Holy Spirit shows the sinner his accumulated wickedness, he

strikes his thigh (his body) with the scourges of penance.

And note that the Holy Spirit is rightly called ‘dew of the light’, because he gives refreshment like dew, and illumination like light. When the dew of light comes, those who are dead in sin come to life with the life of grace, and those slain by the sword of guilt rise in the first resurrection, that of penitence. Awake, then, you who are fast asleep in sin; and give praise to God by confession of sin, you that dwell in the dust of earthly vanity: because the dew of light is the Holy Spirit, Father of penitents and consoler of the grief-stricken. Of him the Son says in today’s Gospel: When the Paraclete cometh, etc.

2. Note two things in today’s Gospel: first, the sending of the Paraclete, beginning: When the Paraclete cometh, etc. Second, the persecution of Christ’s disciples, continuing: These things I have spoken to you that you may not be scandalized. This Sunday we sing the Introit of the Mass: Hear my voice, O Lord, with which I cry to you; and the Epistle of blessed Peter is read: Be prudent; which we will divide into two parts and concord with the two clauses of the Gospel. The first part is: Be prudent; the second: Using hospitality one towards another, without murmuring.


(A sermon on the Holy Trinity: When the Paraclete cometh.)

3. Let us say, then: When the Paraclete cometh, etc.

The first thing to note in this Gospel is the clear statement of faith in the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son; and these three are of one substance, and inseparably equal. Unity is found in the essence, plurality in the persons. Whence, "The Lord clearly implies the unity of the divine essence, and the Trinity of persons, when he says in Matthew: Go, baptize all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Mt 28,19). He says, ‘in the name’, not ‘in the names’, to show the unity of essence; but by adding three names, he indicates that there are three persons." "In that Trinity there is the ultimate Origin of all things, the most perfect Beauty and the most blessed Delight. As St Augustine shows in his book On the true Religion,1 we understand the supreme Origin to be God the Father, from whom all things come, from whom come the Son and the Holy Spirit. We understand the most perfect Beauty to be the Son, the Truth of the Father, who resembles him in every way, and whom we worship with and in the Father himself. He is the form of all the things that are created from a single source, and which return to a single end. We understand the most blessed Delight and supreme Goodness to be the Holy Spirit, who is the gift of the Father and the Son. It is our duty to worship and hold on to this gift of God, as unchangeable as the Father and the Son. Thus by considering creation, we gain understanding of the Trinity in one substance, namely one God the Father from whom we exist, the Son through whom we exist, and the Holy Spirit in whom we exist. The Beginning to which we return, the Form which we imitate and the Grace by which we are reconciled." So that our mind may extend itself to contemplate the Creator, and believe without hesitation the Unity in

Trinity and Trinity in Unity, let us see how the ‘vestiges’ of the Trinity appear in the mind itself.

St Augustine says in his book On the Trinity,2 "Though human mind is not of the same nature as God, yet the image of him, than whom nothing is better, is to be sought and found in that part of our nature than which nothing is better: namely, the mind. See how the mind remembers itself, understands itself and loves itself. When we see this, we see a trinity; not God, but the image of God. There is a kind of trinity apparent in memory, understanding and love or will. These three are not three ‘lives’, but a single life. They are not three minds but a single mind, not three essences but a single essence. We attribute memory to a subject, and similarly understanding and will (or love) belong to a subject; but life, mind and essence are themselves that subject. These three are one: a single life, a single mind, a single essence."

"Although these three are distinct among themselves, we say they are one, because they exist substantially in the soul. The mind itself is, as it were, a parent; and its knowledge is, as it were, its offspring. When the mind knows itself, it begets an idea of itself, and it is the sole parent of that idea. The third thing is love, which proceeds from the mind itself and from its idea, as the mind knows itself and loves itself. It could not love itself unless it knew itself. It loves its beloved offspring, its idea of itself; so love is a kind of joining of parent and offspring. See in these words how there appears a certain ‘vestige’ of the Trinity."

(A sermon against those beset by the devil while living on earth: Pharao set over the children of Israel; and on the nature of frogs and spiders.)

4. Let us say, then:

When the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth, etc.

Note these three words: ‘Paraclete’, ‘Spirit’ and ‘Truth’. In the miseries of our exile there are three evils: suffering which torments, guilt which kills, and vanity which deceives.

Of the suffering which torments, Exodus says:

Pharao set over the children of Israel masters of the works, to afflict them with burdens. And they built for Pharao cities of tabernacles, Phithom and Ramesses. (Ex 1,11)

In this way he who is called the Devil sets task-masters over Christians, demons assigned to each vice, to afflict them with the burden of sin. In Lamentations they groan:

We were dragged by the necks: we were weary and no rest was given us.

We have given our hand to Egypt and to the Assyrians, that we might be satisfied with bread. (Lm 5,5-6)

The Babylonians (the demons) impose heavy burdens on the neck of the man they take captive, and they drag him with threats, like an ox or an ass, with a cord tied to his neck. They give no rest to the weary as they hurl him from sin to sin. Alas! What madness to be weary of the road, yet unwilling to stop! They say: We have given our hand (that is, made ourselves slaves) to Egypt (the world) and the Assyrians (the demons) that we might be satisfied with the bread of carnal pleasure. They build cities for Pharao, the Devil: Phithom and Ramesses.

Phithom means ‘mouth of the abyss’, and Ramesses ‘malice of the moth’. Phithom stands for lust, the mouth of an abyss that never says "Enough!", where the light of grace never reaches, bottomless and never filled. As St Jerome3 says, "Pleasure is always hungry."

Of this abyss the Psalm says, Deep calleth to deep (Ps 41,8), that is, lust calls to lust, as frog calls to frog. The frog has its proper call, or ‘croak’, which it only makes in water. At the time of mating, the male calls to the female with this particular call, which it magnifies by putting its lower jaw level with the water and stretching out the upper. As its mouth gapes, its eyes shine like candles. Again, they resemble spiders when they wish to mate. The female draws the male with a thread of web, and then the male draws the female. This pulling does not stop until they are joined. The lustful are like frogs who, in the waters of carnal pleasure, invite one another to lust by signs and words. Their eyes are full of adultery, burning with desire. Like spiders they draw themselves together by threads of words and promises, and join themselves in the abyss of perdition.

Ramesses stands for avarice, which eats away the mind as a worm eats clothing. The moth is tenacious, staying where it is until it eats it away. In the same way avarice eats away the mind of the miser, multiplying many things, yet the more it grows the hungrier the wretch is. So St Bernard4 says: "Gold can no more satisfy man’s heart than air his body." And the Philosopher5 says: "What worse can you wish a miser than long life?" and "The only good thing a miser does, is to die." These, then, are the Devil’s cities, lust and avarice. What greater torment than to be imprisoned in the abyss and eaten up by worms?

(A sermon against those in the midst of pleasures: They laid Asa.)

5. Of the guilt which kills, Genesis says:

Rachel died and was buried in the highway that leadeth to Ephrata. (Gn 35,19)

Ephrata means ‘fruitful’, and stands for the abundance of temporal things with which the

unhappy soul is smothered; and when it is buried it is weighed down with the mass of evil custom. In this way the rich man dressed in purple, who in this life was immersed in pleasure, will be buried in the next in the pains of hell. In this way, as the second book of Chronicles says:

They laid Asa on his bed, full of spices and odoriferous ointments, which were made by the art of the perfumers, and they burnt them over him with very great pomp. (2Ch 16,14)

Asa (‘taking away’) is the proud rich man of this world, of whom the Psalmist says:

I have seen the wicked highly exalted, and lifted up like the cedars of Libanus. (Ps 36,35)

His ‘bed’ is his body, in which he lies helpless like a paralytic, and it is full of spices and odoriferous ointments (honours, riches and pleasures) made by the art of the perfumers, the demons. Afterwards the unhappy soul will be buried with his unhappy body in the unquenchable fire of hell, with a great burning.

Every man at first setteth forth good wine, then that which is worse. (Jn 2,10)

Because you drank from the golden chalice of Babylon, you will drink to the dregs from the pit of eternal damnation.

(A sermon against the vanity of the world, which deceives even a spiritual man; A certain old prophet deceived the man of God.)

6. Of the vanity which deceives, it says in the third book of Kings that:

a certain old prophet... deceived the man of God... and brought him back to his own house to eat bread and drink water... When he had eaten and drunk he saddled his ass. And when he was gone, a lion found him in the way and killed him. And his body was cast in the way, and the ass stood by him, and the lion stood by the dead body. And the lion did not hurt the ass, nor eat of the dead body. ()

The ‘old prophet’ is the vanity of the world which always prophesies falsehoods. So Jeremiah says in Lamentations:

Thy prophets have seen false and foolish things. (Lm 2,14)

Our prophets are the vanity of the world and the pleasure of the flesh. If they seeus despising the world or afflicting the flesh, they immediately prophesy want and weakness to us. "If you give away your property," they say, "how will you live? If you afflict your flesh, you will make yourself ill." Alas! How many people these prophets deceive! They are prophets who speak in their own name, not the name of the Lord.

It is well said, then, that an old prophet deceived the man of God. The vanity of the world is well called an ‘old prophet’, because from the beginning of the world to the fag-end of the age it has gone on deceiving, and will go on. In its house the man of God was deceived, and ate bread and drank water. The bread is the splendour of worldly glory, of which Solomon says in Proverbs:

The bread of lying is sweet to a man, but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with a coal. (Pr 20,17)

St Augustine says:6 "Everything which must be given up at last, should be regarded as something already done with." Because this glory is sweet to a man, it will fill his mouth with a coal, a fiery stone: eternal punishment which can neither be swallowed nor vomited up. To ‘drink water’: this water is lust or avarice which whoever drinks will thirst again (cf. Jn 4,13). He who eats this bread and drinks this water will be killed by a lion, the devil. Yet notice that the lion did not hurt the ass nor eat the dead body. This is because the devil does not care about money or the body, but only to be able to kill the soul. He is like the king of Sodom who said to Abraham: Give me the souls, and the rest take (Gn 14,21). Christ bought the soul by delivering his own soul to death (cf. Is 53,12); and the devil wants to defraud so great a purchaser and so great a labour, by his desire to kill our souls.

(A sermon to comfort those who are in temptation: When thou shalt pass through the waters I will be with thee.)

7. The Lord sends the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit of truth, against these three evils, suffering, guilt and vanity. As Paraclete he confronts suffering, as Spirit he confronts guilt, and as truth he confronts vanity. The Paraclete comforts us in suffering and tribulation; as he says in Isaiah:

When thou shalt pass through the waters I shall be with thee; and the rivers shall not cover thee.

When thou shalt walk in the fire, thou shalt not be burnt; and the flames shall not burn in thee. (Is 43,2)

Note these four words: ‘waters’, ‘rivers’, ‘fire’ and ‘flames’. The waters stand for greed and lust, the rivers for worldly prosperity, the fire for suffering and adversity, and the flames for the malice of the devil’s persecution. He says, then: When thou shalt pass through the waters, etc. A mind which the Holy Spirit strengthens with charity cannot be washed away by the waters of greed and lust, nor by the rivers of worldly prosperity. As Solomon says in Canticles:

Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it...

(for) the lamps thereof are lamps of fire and flames. (Ct 8,7 Ct 8,6)

Neither can a mind which the Holy Spirit fires be consumed by the fire of adversity or the flames of devilish persecution. As in the book of Daniel, the Spirit himself drives the flame of fire out of the furnace, and makes the midst of the furnace like the blowing of a wind bringing dew (cf. Da 3,49-50).

He sends the Spirit to confront guilt and to give life to the soul. As Genesis says:

He breathed into his face the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Gn 2,7)

The breath of life is the grace of the Holy Spirit, and when God breathes it into the face of the soul, he assuredly restores that soul from death to life.

(A sermon on the infusion of grace and compunction of mind: Daughters of Sion, rejoice and be joyful.)

And this Spirit is called ‘of truth’, to confront the vanity of the world, which truth itself drives out. So Joel says:

Daughters of Sion, rejoice and be joyful in the Lord your God:

because he hath given you a teacher of justice,

and he will make the early and the latter rain to come down to you...

And the floors shall be filled with wheat,

and the presses shall overflow with wine and oil. (Jl 2,23-24)

Blessed be the Lord our God, the Son of God, in whom we children of Sion (the Church, militant and triumphant) should rejoice in heart and be joyful in deed, because he has given us a teacher of justice, the Spirit of grace, who teaches each of us to show forth his justice. In his giving, he makes the ‘early rain’ (compunction for our own sins) and the ‘latter rain’ (sorrow for the sins of others) to come down. He who devoutly mourns over the sins of others perfectly washes away his own. In the descent of the teacher of justice, the floors (the minds of the faithful) will be full with the ‘wheat’ of faith; and the presses (their hearts) will overflow with the wine of compunction and the ‘oil’ of piety.

It is well said, then:

When the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me. And you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning.

The Spirit of truth will bear witness in the hearts of the faithful to Christ’s Incarnation, his Passion and his Resurrection. And we too should bear witness to everyone that Christ was truly Incarnate, that he truly suffered, and also truly rose again.

(A sermon on the just man renouncing the world: Jacob passed over the ford of Jaboc.)

8. The first part of today’s Epistle is concordant with this first clause of the Gospel:

Be prudent and watch in prayers. But, before all things, have a constant mutual charity among yourselves; for charity covereth a multitude of sins. (1P 4,7-8)

Note that blessed Peter urges us to three things: prudence, watchfulness and constant prayer.

Regarding prudence, Solomon says in Proverbs:

Blessed is the man that is rich in prudence.

The purchasing thereof is better than the merchandise of silver. (Pr 3,13-14)

A man who is negligent and improvident is open to many dangers.

Regarding watchfulness, Genesis tells how Jacob

passed over the ford of Jaboc. And when all things were brought over that belonged to him, he remained alone; and behold, a man wrestled with him till morning... who said to him: Let me go, for it is break of day. (Gn 32,22-24,26)

Jacob is ‘the supplanter’, and Jaboc ‘torrent of dust’ (meaning temporal delights which pass like a torrent, and are sterile, blinding the eyes like dust). The prudent man must cross this torrent with all the goods which the Lord has given him, and must remain alone. He remains alone when he attributes nothing to himself, but everything to the Lord. He subjects his own will to that of another; he does not remember the injuries he has suffered; he is not ashamed to despise himself. If he remains alone like this, he is well able to wrestle with the Lord, and beg from him whatever he will; and he will deservedly hear, Let me go, for it is break of day. In other words, it is already dawn, there is no more need to struggle. Misery is over for you, and glory begins. Thus it says of the soul of the just in Canticles:

Who is she that cometh forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun? (Ct 6,9)

She is called ‘moon’ as being but one light. The just soul, when she goes up from this abode of misery, enters blessedness in which she is ‘fair as the moon’, being associated with the lights of the blessed souls, being one of them. She is ‘bright as the sun’, because she shines with the splendour of the entire Trinity.

(A sermon on prayer: Hear my voice, O Lord.)

9. Regarding constant prayer, the Introit of today’s Mass sings:

Hear my voice, O Lord, with which I have cried to thee.

My heart hath said to thee, I have sought thy face.

Thy face, O Lord, will I still seek, turn not away thy face from me. (Ps 26,7-9)

Note that prayer is of three kinds: mental, vocal and manual. Of the first, Ecclesiasticus says:

The prayer of him that humbleth himself shall pierce the heavens. (Si 35,21)

Of the second, the Psalm says:

Let my prayer come in before thee. (Ps 87,3)

Of the third, the Apostle says:

Pray without ceasing. (IThess 5.17)

He ceases not to pray who ceases not to do good.

He says, then: Hear my voice, O Lord, (of heart and mouth and work), with which I have cried to thee. My heart hath said to thee: I have sought thy face. The Lord’s face is that image according to which we have been created in his image and likeness. We lose it when we incur the guilt of mortal sin, superimposing the face of the devil upon the face of God. This Ecclesiasticus forbids, saying:

Accept no face against thy own face. (Si 4,26)

The more sins you commit, the more you superimpose the devil’s face upon the divine

face. The Psalmist says:

How long will you judge unjustly, and accept the face of the wicked? (Ps 81,2)

So that we may be able to find the face of the Lord which we have lost, let us light a lamp and search the house diligently until we find it (cf. Lc 15,8). That is, let us be contrite for our sins, search out the corners of our conscience in confession, and be frequent in works of penance. Then at last we will be able to find the lost face of the Lord, and sing joyfully:

The light of thy countenance, O Lord, is signed upon us, etc.

Because the Lord’s face is restored and finally preserved by charity, St Peter adds: Before all things, have constant mutual charity, etc. Just as God is the Beginning of all, so charity, the principal virtue, should take first place. If it is mutual and constant it will cover a whole multitude of sins. It should be ‘mutual’, reciprocal and in common, and ‘constant’, not failing in bad times or good, but persevering to the end. Alternatively, charity is the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth, who covers a multitude of sins as oil spreads over other liquids. But if it is blown away, what was hidden by it reappears: so also if the grace of God (which by penitence covers a multitude of sins) is blown away by repeated mortal sin, then what was forgiven returns. He who offends in one point, the law of charity, becomes guilty of all (cf. Jc 2,10). So if you commit mortal sin again, and approach a fresh confessor, you should confess everything.

May the Holy Spirit, who is the love of the Father and the Son, deign to cover the multitude of our sins with his charity. To him be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.


(A sermon on patience: These things I have spoken to you that you may not be scandalized.)

10. There follows, secondly:

These things I have spoken to you that you may not be scandalized. They will put you out of the synagogues; yea, the hour cometh that whosoever killeth you will think that he doth a service to God. And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father nor me. But these things I have told you, that when the hour shall come you may remember that I told you of them. (Jn 16,1-4)

Because "spears seen beforehand do less injury"7 , the Lord fore-arms his soldiers so that they may raise the shield of patience against the spears of persecution, and so not be scandalized when the crisis occurs. These things I have spoken to you that you may

not be scandalized. I, the Word of the Father, from whom you should take an example of patience, am speaking to you so that you may not be scandalized. Whoever is scandalized in time of tribulation through the scandal of impatience is separated from Christ’s disciples. They will put you out of the synagogues, indeed outside the Synagogue. St John says:

The Jews had already agreed among themselves that if any man should confess him to be Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. (Jn 9,22)

(A sermon against many preachers, and on the nature of the wild cow which strikes the hunter with its dung: Dost thou know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word.)

Christ says, I am the Truth (Jn 14,6). Whoever preaches the truth, preaches Christ. Whoever conceals it in his preaching, denies Christ. "Truth leads to hatred,"8 and so, not to incur anyone’s hatred, they cover their mouths with a veil of silence. If they preached the truth as it really is, as truth requires and as holy Scripture clearly commands, then (if I be not mistaken) they would incur the hatred of carnal people, and maybe these would ‘put them out of the synagogue’. But because they go by human standards, they fear human scandal; whereas truth should not be abandoned because of scandal. So Matthew reports what the disciples said to Jesus:

Dost thou not know that the Pharisees, when they heard this word, were scandalized? But he, answering, said: Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind and leaders of the blind. (Mt 15,12-14)

0 you blind preachers! You fear the scandal of blind men, and so incur blindness of the soul! They do to you what the wild cow does to the hunter. Natural History tells us that the wild cow, when the hunter is pursuing it, shoots out its dung from afar and hits him; and while the hunter is hindered and delayed it makes its escape. To be sure, there are some prelates who do this sort of thing today! Like fat cows on the mount of Samaria (cf. Am 4,1), like fine fat cows feeding in marshy places (cf. Gn 41,2), they give the dung of temporalities to the hunter (the preacher), so as to escape his criticism. So Ecclesiasticus says:

The sluggard is pelted with a dirty stone. (Si 22,1)

And the Lord says by Isaiah:

1 will stir up the Medes against them, (preachers) who shall not seek silver, nor desire gold.

But with their arrows (of holy preaching)

they shall kill the children (the lovers of the world). (Is 13,17-18)

(A sermon on hospitality: Using hospitality one towards another.)

11. The second part of the Epistle is concordant with this second clause:

Using hospitality one towards another, without murmuring, as every man hath received grace, ministering the same one to another; as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the words of God. If any man minister, let him do it as of the power which God administereth. (1P 4,9-11)

(In Latin) the same word is used for one giving and one receiving hospitality, the one who stands at the door and the one who opens it. Preachers offer hospitality by opening the door of preaching to sinners, and without murmuring (that is, without scandal). Preachers are certainly ‘hospitable’, because like good stewards they should minister the manifold grace of preaching which they have received. Just as there are many kinds of sin, so there should be many kinds of preaching. The form of the preaching should re-form the soul that is de-formed by sin. So Peter says to prelates and preachers:

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking care of it, not by constraint, but willingly, according to God; not for filthy lucre’s sake, but voluntarily; neither as lording it over the clergy, but being made a pattern to the flock. (1P 5,2-3)

And he adds: If any man speak, let him speak as the words of God. He ‘speaks the words of God’ when he attributes any skill in preaching which he has, not to himself but to God. Whoever ‘speaks the words of God’ is afraid of teaching anything beyond God’s will, beyond the authority of holy Scripture, or not useful to his brethren; and he fears to be silent about the things he should teach. If any man minister (in word or in any other duty of charity), let him do it as of the power (not his own but) which God administereth, that in all (our actions) God may be honoured through Jesus Christ our Lord (1P 4,11).

Let us humbly implore him, then, beloved brothers, to pour into us the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth; and to give us patience, that we be not scandalized in tribulation. To him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.

1 AUGUSTINE, De vera religione 55,113; PL 34.172.
The surrounding quotations are from P. LOMBARD, Sententiae I, dist 2,5 and 3,1
2 AUGUSTINE, De Trinitate XIV,8,11; PL 42.1044;
Quotations from P. LOMBARD, Sententiae I, dist 3,2 and 3,3
3 cf. GLOSSA ORDINARIA on Lk 15.14
4 BERNARD, De conversione 14,26; PL 182.849
5 PUBLIUS SYRUS, Sententiae 35 and 39
6 AUGUSTINE, Enarratio in Ps 145,6; PL 37.1889
7 GREGORY, Homilia in Ev. 35,1; PL 76.1259
8 TERENCE, Andria I,1,41

The copyright in this translation belongs to the author, Revd Dr S.R.P. Spilsbury


(The Epistle for the holy day of Pentecost, which is divided into five clauses.)


(First, a sermon on the Holy Spirit himself, and on the property of chrysolite: The spirit of life was in the wheels.)

1. When the days of Pentecost were accomplished, the disciples were all together in one place, etc. (Ac 2,1)

Ezekiel says:

The spirit of life was in the wheels. (Ez 1,20)

The ‘sounding wheels’ (cf. Ez 10,13) were the Apostles, who proclaimed the Son of God throughout the whole world. These wheels, as the prophet continues, had an appearance like the appearance of chrysolite stone (Ez 10,9). Chrysolite is a stone which gleams like gold, hence its name, from the Greek chrysos, gold. This stone seems to emit burning sparks from itself, and it puts to flight serpents of every kind. It represents the Apostles, who were resplendent with seven-fold grace and sent forth from themselves the sparks of preaching which set others on fire, and with which they put to flight demons of every kind. These wheels, as the same prophet says, were upright, high and of terrifying appearance. The Apostles too there was an upright posture in the rectitude of their precepts, height in the heavenly nature of their sublime promises, and a terrifying appearance in the threat and terror of the coming judgement.

And so the penitent says in Canticles:

My soul troubled me, for the chariots of Aminadab. (Ct 6,11)

Aminadab means ‘spontaneous’, and represents Jesus Christ who freely offered himself for us on the Cross; his chariots were the Apostles, of whom Habbakuk says: Thy chariots are salvation (Ha 3,8), meaning, ‘for whose sake you give salvation’. So the penitent says: for them (that is, because of their preaching) my soul is troubled, stirring me up to repentance. So Habbakuk says:

Thou madest a way in the sea for thy horses, in the midst of many waters:

I have heard and my bowels were troubled. (Ha 3,15-16)

The Lord sends his horses (the Apostles) into the sea of this world, to stir up many waters (many peoples) by their preaching of repentance. I heard their preaching, says the penitent, and my ‘bowels’ (my fleshly nature) were troubled.


(A sermon on the solemnity of the same Holy Spirit: The third day had now come.)

2. In these wheels was the spirit of life, giving life to all, of which it says in today’s Epistle:

When the days of Pentecost were accomplished, the disciples were all together in one place: and suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Spirit gave them to speak. (Ac 2,1-4)

Pentecost in Greek, Quinquagesima in Latin, is the fiftieth day, which was observed by the ancient people. Counting from the day of the sacrifice of the lamb, whereon the children of Israel went forth from Egypt, the Law was given in fire on the fiftieth day. And so, in the New Testament, on the fiftieth day from the Pasch of Christ the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles, appearing in fire. The Law was given on the mountain, the Spirit in the upper room.

So, when the days of Pentecost were accomplished, the disciples were all together in one place. None was absent, and the number of the Twelve was complete, and they had a single heart and soul. They were in the same place, the upper room to which they had gone up. Whoever desires the Spirit must leave the dwelling of the flesh and go up in contemplation of mind.

Suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

The grace of the Holy Spirit knows no lagging nor labour; as it is said:

The stream of the river maketh the city of God joyful. (Ps 45,5)

He came with a sound, as he had come before to teach his people.

So there is a concordance in Exodus:

And now the third day was come, and the morning appeared; and, behold, thunders began to be heard, and lightning to flash, and a very thick cloud to cover the mount. And the noise of the trumpet sounded exceeding loud, and the people in the camp feared.

Anthony_Sermons - (THIRD CLAUSE)