Friday, November 4, 2016

Patristic Wisdom: Looking to Sunday

The Church Fathers, 11th century

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  (Rom 12:1)

Paul pleads with them through the mercy of God, by which the human race is saved…. This is a warning that they should remember that they have received God’s mercy and that they should take care to worship the one who gave it to them.  God’s will is our sanctification, for bodies subject to sin are considered not to be alive but dead, since they have no hope of obtaining the promise of eternal life.  It is for this purpose that we are cleansed from our sins by God’s gift, that henceforth we should lead a pure life and stir up the love of God in us, not making his work of grace of no effect.  For the ancients killed sacrifices which were offered in order to signify that men were subjected to death because of sin.  But now, since by the gift of God men have been purified and set free from the second death, they must offer a living sacrifice as a sign of eternal life.  For now it is no longer the case that bodies are sacrificed for bodies, but instead of bodies it is the sins of the body which must be put to death.

Ambrosiaster, Commentary on Paul’s Epistles

Let love be without hypocrisy.  Abhor what is evil.  Cling to what is good.  (Rom 12:9)

I think that any love without God is artificial and not genuine.  For God, the Creator of the soul, filled it with the feeling of love, along with the other virtues, so that it might love God and the things which God wants.  But if the soul loves something other than God and what God wants, this love is said to be artificial and invented.  And if someone loves his neighbor but does not warn him when he sees him going astray or correct him, such is only a pretense of love.

Perhaps it seems odd to find hatred listed among the virtues, but it is put here of necessity by the apostle.  Nobody doubts that the soul has feelings of hatred in it; however, it is praiseworthy to hate evil and to hate sin.  For unless a person hates evil he cannot love, nor can he retain the virtues.

Origen, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans

No comments: