- Written by Fr. Wiseman Op
“Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34).
“The import of the commandment is mutual love; thus He says, ‘that you love one another.’ It is of the very nature of friendship that it is not imperceptible; otherwise it would not be friendship, but merely good-will. For a true and firm friendship the friends need a mutual love for each other; for this duplication makes it true and firm. Our Lord, wanting there to be perfect friendship among His faithful and disciples, gave them this commandment of mutual love: ‘Whoever fears the Lord directs His friendship aright’ (Sir 6:17)” (1837). “The standard for this mutual love is given when He says, “as I have loved you.” Now Christ loved us three ways: gratuitously, effectively and rightly. He loved us gratuitously because He began to love us and did not wait for us to begin to love Him: ‘Not that we loved God but because He first loved us’ (1 Jn 4:10). In the same way we should first love our neighbors and not wait to be loved by them or for them to do us a favor.”
“Christ loved us effectively, which is obvious from what He did; for love is proven to exist from what one does. The greatest thing a person can do for a friend is to give Himself for that friend. This is what Christ did: ‘Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us’ (Eph 5:2). So we read: ‘Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ (Jn 15:13). We also should be led by this example and love one another effectively and fruitfully: ‘Let us not love in word and speech but in deed and in truth’ (1 Jn 3:18).
” “Christ also loved us rightly. Since all friendship is based on some kind of sharing (for similarity is a cause of love), that friendship is right which is based on a similarity or sharing in some good. Now Christ loved us as similar to Himself by the grace of adoption, loving us in the light of this similarity in order to draw us to God. ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; and so, taking pity on you, I have drawn you’ (Jer 31:3). We also, in the one we love, should love what pertains to God and not so much the pleasure or benefits the loved one gives to us. In this kind of love for our neighbor, even the love of God is included” (1838).
“Then when He says, ‘By this all men will know that you are My disciples,’ He gives the reason for following this command. Here we should note that one who is in the army of a king should wear his emblem. The emblem of Christ is the emblem of charity. So anyone who wants to be in the army of Christ should be stamped with the emblem of charity. This is what He is saying here: ‘By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.’ I mean a holy love: ‘I am the mother of beautiful love and of fear and of knowledge and of holy hope’ (Sir 24:24).”
“Although the disciples received many gifts from Christ, such as life, intelligence and good health, as well as spiritual goods, such as the ability to perform miracles – ‘I will give you a mouth and wisdom’ (Lk 21:15) – none of these are the emblem of a disciple of Christ, since they can be possessed both by the good and the bad. Rather, the special sign of a disciple of Christ is charity and mutual love; ‘He has put His seal upon us and given us His Spirit’ (2 Cor 1:22) (1839).
St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, trans. James A. Weisheipl, O.P. and Fabian Larcher, O.P. (Petersham, MA: St. Bede Publications), 319-320.
“Therefore, I wish that you may be enclosed in the opened side of the Son of God, which is an opened store, full of fragrance, in so much that the sin becomes odorous. There the gentle spouse reposes on the bed of fire and of blood. There she sees and is shown the secret of the heart of the Son of God.”
St. Catherine of Siena, Letter 112.
- Written by Fr. Wiseman Op
“Unless your holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20).
“Things may be distinguished in two ways. First, as those things that are altogether specifically different ways, e.g. a horse and an ox. Secondly, as perfect and imperfect in the same species, e.g. a boy and a man: and in this way the Divine Law is divided into Old and New. Hence the Apostle compares the state of a man under the Old Law to that of a child under a pedagogue; but the state under the New Law to that of a full grown man, who is no longer under a pedagogue (Gal 3: 24, 25).”
“Now the perfection and imperfection of these two laws is to be taken in connection with the three conditions pertaining to law… For, in the first place, it belongs to law to be directed to the common good as to its end… This good may be twofold. It may be a sensible and earthly good, and to this, man was directly ordained by the Old Law: wherefore, at the very outset of the law, the people were invited to the earthly kingdom of the Chananeans (Ex 3:8, 17). Again it may be an intelligible and heavenly good: and to this, man is ordained by the New Law. Wherefore, at the very beginning of His preaching, Christ invited men to the kingdom of heaven, saying ‘Do penance, the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (Mt 4:17). Hence Augustine says that ‘promises of temporal goods are contained in the Old Testament, for this reason it is called old; but the promise of eternal life belongs to the New Testament (Contra Faust. Iv).”
“Secondly, it belongs to the law to direct human acts, according to the order of righteousness: wherein also the New Law surpasses the Old Law, since it directs our internal acts, according to Mt 5:20: ‘Unless your justice abound more than that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ Hence the saying that ‘the Old Law restrains the hand, but the New Law controls the mind’ (Peter Lombard, 3 Sentent., D. xl).”
“Thirdly, it belongs to the law to induce men to observe its commandments. This the Old Law did by the fear of punishment: but the New Law by love, which is poured into our hearts by the grace of Christ, bestowed in the New Law, but foreshadowed in the Old. Hence Augustine says that ‘there is little difference between the Law and the Gospel – fear and love’ (Conra Adimant. Manich. xvii).” (1a2ae. 91, 5).
“As the father of a family issues different commands to the children and to the adults, so also the one King, God, in His one kingdom, gave one law to men, while they were yet imperfect, and another more perfect law, when, by the preceding law, they had been led to a greater capacity for Divine things,” (1a2ae. 91, 5 ad 1).
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Vol. II trans. English Dominicans (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1947), 1000.
“And because it proceeded from one same light, the new law did not break the old law. Rather the new was bound together with the old, but it removed the imperfection since it was founded only in fear. The Word, My only-begotten Son, coming with the law of love, fulfilled it, giving the love, lifting the fear of punishment and retaining the holy fear. And so My Truth said to His disciples to show them that He was not a breaker of the law, 'I have not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. As if My Truth said to them; the law is now imperfect but with My blood I will make it perfect. And so I will fulfill it with that which is now lacking, taking away the fear of the suffering and founding it in love and in holy fear. What made it clear that this was the truth? The light that was given by grace and is given to whoever wants to receive it beyond the natural light, as I said.”
St. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 85.
- Written by Fr. Wiseman Op
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp to put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:14-16).
“Now it is not a sin to know and approve of one’s own good, for it is written: ‘Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God, that we may know the things that are given us from God’ (1 Cor2:12). Likewise it is not a sin to be willing to approve one’s own good works, for it is written: ‘Let your light shine before men’ (Mt 5:16). Hence the desire for glory does not, of itself, denote a sin, for it is sinful to desire anything vain…”
“Glory may be called vain in three ways. First, on the part of the thing for which one seeks glory: as when a man seeks glory for that which is unworthy of glory, for instance when he seeks it for something frail and perishable: secondly, on the part of him from whom he seeks glory, for instance a man whose judgement is uncertain: thirdly, on the part of the man himself who seeks glory, for that he does not refer the desire of his own glory to a due end, such as God’s honor or the spiritual welfare of his neighbor” (2a2ae. 132, 1)
“It is requisite for man’s perfection that he should know himself; but not that he should be known by others, wherefore it is not to be desired in itself. It may, however, be desired as being useful for something, either in order that God may be glorified by men, or that men may become better by reason of the good they know to be in another man, or in order that man knowing by the testimony of others’ praise the good which is in him, may himself strive to persevere therein and to become better. In this sense it is praiseworthy that a man should take care of his good name, and that he should provide good things in the sight of God and men, but not that he should take empty pleasure in human praise” (2a2ae. 132, 1, ad 3) [Second part of the Second part, question 132, article 1, response to the first objection]
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Vol. II trans. English Dominicans (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1947), 1738.
“I have chosen My ministers for your salvation in order that through them may be ministered to you the blood of the humble and immaculate Lamb, My only-begotten Son. I have given to them to minister the Sun, giving them the light of learning, the warmth of the divine charity, and the color joined with the heat and with the light, that is the blood and the body of My Son. This body is a sun because He is one thing with Me, the true Sun. …. I am that sun, God eternal, from whom proceeds the Son and the Holy Spirit. To the Holy Spirit is appropriated the fire, to the Son, wisdom. In this wisdom My ministers receive a light of grace because they have ministered this light with light and with gratitude for the blessing received from Me, the eternal Father, following the teaching of this Wisdom, My only-begotten Son. This is that light that has in itself the color of your humanity, the one united with the other. So the light of My Godhead was that light united with the color of your humanity. This color became luminous when it was made impassable in the power of the Godhead, the divine nature.”
St. Catherine of Siena, The Dialogue, 110.
- Written by Fr. Wiseman Op
"When Jesus saw the crowds he went up on the mountainside. After He had sat down His disciples gathered around Him, and He began to teach them" (Mt 5:1-2).
"All these rewards will be fully consummated in the life to come; but meanwhile they are, in a manner, begun, even in this life. Because the kingdom of heaven, as Augustine says (The City of God, 19) can denote the beginning of perfect wisdom, in so far as the Spirit begins to reign in men. The possession of the land denotes the well-ordered affections of the soul that rests, by its desire, on the solid foundation of the eternal inheritance, signified by land. They are comforted in this life, by receiving the Holy Spirit, Who is called the Paraclete, i.e. the Comforter. They have their fill, even in this life, of that food of which Our Lord said: 'My bread is to do the will of Him who sent Me (Jn 4:34). Again, in this life, men obtain God's mercy. Again, the eye being cleansed by the gift of understanding, we can, so to speak, see God. Likewise, in this life, those who are peacemakers of their own movements, approach to likeness of God and are called the children of God... These things will be more perfectly fulfilled in heaven" (1a2ae. 68, 2, ad 3) [First part of the Second part, question 68, article 2, reply to the third objection].
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Vol. I trans. English Dominicans (New York: Benzinger Brothers, 1947), 886.
"Therefore God the Father, constrained by the fire of His charity, Himself sent the Word, His only Son, who came as a chariot of fire, manifesting Him to us the fire of ineffable love and mercy of the eternal Father, teaching the doctrine of truth and showing us the way of love which we ought to hold. And therefore He said, 'I am the way, the truth and the life, whoever goes through Me does not go in darkness, but arrives in the light. And so it is because whoever follows this way, in truth, receives the life of grace, and goes with the light of most holy faith and with this light arrives at the eternal vision of God. Where has this sweet and loving Word taught this teaching? On the chair of the most holy cross. And there He washed the face of our soul with His precious blood. I say that He taught the way of love and the teaching of virtue. He showed us in what way we ought to love, to wish to have life."
St. Catherine of Siena, Letter 35.