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THE IfflW 

OF m (MOT 





The Catholic University of America 

Editorial Director 


Fordham University The Catholic University of America 


The Catholic University of America Villanova University 


The Catholic University of America St. Anselm's Priory 

Queens College 



Translated by 

New York 



Censor Deputatus 


Archbishop of Hartford 

October 15, 1958 

Copyright 1959 by 

475 Fifth Avenue, New York 17, N. Y. 

All rights reserved 

Lithography by Bishop Liiho, Inc. 
V. 5. -4. 




184-196) 3 

FOR NEW YEAR'S DAY (Sermons 197-198) ... 49 

FOR THE EPIPHANY (Sermons 199-204) ... 59 

FOR THE LENTEN SEASON (Sermons 205-211) 83 

218) 117 

FOR THE VIGIL OF EASTER (Sermons 219-223) 171 

FOR EASTER SUNDAY (Sermons 224-228) ... 185 

FOR THE EASTER SEASON (Sermons 229-260) . 201 

261-265) 379 

INDEX 421 




(HE SERMONS OF St. Augustine which, as a group, 
are here published in English translation for the first 
time in this country were delivered on the various 
feasts and seasons of the liturgical year. They include twelve 
discourses for the feast of Christmas, two for New Year's 
Day, six for the Epiphany, fourteen for Lent, five for the 
Vigil of Easter, five for Easter Sunday, thirty for the Easter 
season, and five for Ascension Thursday. In the translation 
an attempt has been made to adhere, as closely as seemed 
feasible, to the style of St. Augustine, repetitious though it is, 
since to do otherwise would inevitably detract from the sim- 
plicity and directness which constitute the singular charm 
of his discourse. 

These Serrnones de tempore constitute one part of the 
monumental collection of the preaching of St. Augustine 
as published by the Benedictines of St. Maur in 1683 and 
as subsequently compiled by P. Migne in the Patrologia 
Latina. There we find a corpus of about 400 sermons, includ- 
ing 83 on various passages of the Old Testament, 88 on the 
great liturgical feasts of the year, 69 on the festivals of the 
saints, 23 on a variety of subjects and 31 of doubtful authen- 
ticity. To this number may be added the sermons in explana- 
tion of the psalms and of the Gospel and Epistles of St. John 
which are often designated as tracts, as well as a small num- 



ber of others distributed through the corpus. In addition, 313 
sermons are classified as spurious. 1 Nevertheless, though 
grounded on the first printed edition compiled by Augustinus 
Dodo in 1495 and enlarged by supplementary material furn- 
ished by Vlimmerius (1564), J. Sirmondus (1631), J. Vig~ 
nier (1654), and though revised with great discrimination 
by the monks of St. Maur, this Benedictine edition was far 
from definitive. 2 

Since the publication of Migne's Patrologia Latina, various 
libraries have contributed over 600 additional manuscript 
sermons attributed, on tenable or untenable grounds, to St. 
Augustine. In 1792, for example, M. Denis discovered 
a twelfth-century manuscript of San Severino, Naples, con- 
taining 57 sermons, two dozen of which are recognized 
as reliable, hitherto-unpublished sermons of St. Augustine. 
On the other hand, in the collection of 200 or more sermons 
discovered and published by A. B. Caillou (18364842) 
and of a like number brought to light by Cardinal Angelo 
Mai (1852), few sermons appear to be authentic. However, 
a truly valuable find of a Carolingian manuscript from the 
Wolfenbiittel Library, made by Dom Germain Morin in 
1913, supplied 40 new Augustinian sermons. Such discoveries 
not only furnish us with new sermons, but also lead to emen- 
dations of texts previously published. The task of building 
up a complete collection of the sermons is a tremendous one 
and will be accomplished only when all existing manuscripts 
of St. Augustine's sermons have been discovered, inspected, 
and criticized* 

The existence of hundreds of sermons spuriously desig- 
nated as Augustinian is not surprising. In the first place, the 
actual number of St. Augustine's sermons must have exceeded 

1 See R. J. Beferrari, 4 St. Augustine's Method of Composing and 
Delivering Sermons/ AJP 43 (1922) 98; D. J, Kavanagh, Commentary 
on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount (Fathers of the Church 11) 14. 

2 See A. Wilmart, 'Easter Sermons of St. Augustine/ Journal of Theo- 
logical Studies, 28 (1927-1928) 113-116. 


even the combined total of genuine and spurious discourses 
attributed to him. From the time of his ordination to the 
priesthood when, contrary to the practice of the period 
whereby bishops alone enjoyed the privilege of preaching, 
he was directed to assume this duty because of Bishop Vale- 
rius 3 unfamlliarity with the Latin tongue to his death, 3 
he preached regularly on Sundays and on all special feasts. 
Instances of sermons on five successive days, and on three 
successive days, 4 besides numerous references to discourses 
on two consecutive days may be cited. Forty years of preach- 
ing even at the rate of two sermons a week would entail 
more than 4,000 sermons. Furthermore, we know that he 
often preached in churches outside his episcopal see, in Car- 
thage, Bulla Regia, Utica, and elsewhere, since Possidius, his 
biographer, says : 'Besides, as a bishop, with a zeal and fervor 
the greater in proportion as his authority was ampler, he 
preached the word of eternal salvation enthusiastically and 
skillfully, not only in one region but wherever, on invitation, 
he had come, at that time when the Church of the Lord 
was developing and growing. He was always ready to furnish, 
to those requesting it, an explanation of the faith and hope 
which is directed to God.' 5 In the second place, St. Augus- 
tine's sermons formed, throughout the Middle Ages, 'the 
reservoir which fed richly for a thousand years the piety and 
preaching of priest and monk and saint.' 6 The sermon col- 
lections of the Middle Ages are constantly revealing sermons 
attributed to St. Augustine, 7 so close to his in style and con- 
tent that it will require rigorous examination to sift the 

3 See Possidius, Aurelii Augusttni Vita 5; also, St. Augustine, Epis- 
tulae 21. 

4 See St. Augustine, Sermons 153-156; Tractatus in Joannis Evangelium, 
19-23; Sermons 320-322. 

5 Possidius, op. cit. 9; cf. D. C. Lambot, Sancti Aurelii Augustini 
Sermones selecti duodeviginti (Brussels 1950) 5. 

6 T. Shahan, 'St. Augustine of Hippo Educator of Christian Europe/ 
Catholic World (1930) 580. 

7 G. Bardy, Biblioth&que Augustinienne 12 (Paris 1950) 52. 


authentic from the imitations in this mass of material, a task 
in which Dom Morin has rendered invaluable service as 
evidenced by the collection published in Miscellanea Ago- 
stiniana (Rome 1930). He has also given the world 51 newly 
discovered sermons, 34 of which were published in Munich 
(1917) and 17 of which have appeared at intervals in the 
Revue Benedictine. 

With the exception of these fruitful labors of Dom Morin 
in which he has been ably seconded by de Bruyne, Wilmart, 
and Lambot, 8 scholars have not generally held the sermons 
in such high esteem as the other portions of St. Augustine's 
literary achievement. Possibly the author himself is responsible 
for this depreciation by reason of his personal dissatisfaction 
with his sermons: 'Indeed, in my case, too, my own discourse 
nearly always displeases me. For I am covetous of something 
better, which I frequently enjoy inwardly before I begin 
to express it in intelligible words; and then, when my capa- 
cities of expression prove inferior to my inner apprehensions, 
I grieve over the failure which my tongue has manifested 
in co-operating with my heart, for I desire that my auditor 
should have the same complete understanding of the subject 
which I myself have.' 9 In his Retractations, too, the saint refers 
to the unrevised character of the sermons: 'When I corrected 
these ninety-three works which I recall having dictated in 230 
books, I published the retraction of these books in two vol- 
umes at the earnest request of my brethren, before I began 
to look over my letters and sermons to the people, the former 
dictated and the latter spoken.' 10 Possidius also adds that 
c he left certain of his books unfinished.' 11 

8 D. DeBruyne, 'Enarrationes in Psalmos pr&chees a Carthage.' Miscel- 
lanea Agosttiniana II 321-325; Xa Chronologic de quelques sermons 
de S. Augustin,' Revue Benedictine 43 (1931) 185-193; A. Wilraart, op. 
cit. 112-144; D. C, Lambot, op. dt. f and articles in Revue BMdictine 
since 1933. 

9 St. Augustine, De catechizandis rudibus 7. 

10 St. Augustine, Retractationes 2.93.2. 

11 Possidius, op. cit. 28. 


Adalberto Kunzelmann's dissertation (1928) and his com- 
prehensive study 12 have partially established the chronology 
of the sermons, so that about two-thirds of them can now 
be dated with certainty. Monographs on the style and lan- 
guage of the sermons have been printed in the Patristic Stu- 
dies of the Catholic University of America and in the Nijme- 
gen Patristic Studies; Marie Comeau in several works has 
treated the exegetical sermons, particularly the Tractates 
on the Epistle and Gospel of St. John; and in the decade 
1930-1940 the Revue Benedictine carried many valuable 
contributions to the study of these sermons. 13 

St. Augustine's sermons on the Gospel and Epistle of St. 
John, and those on the psalms and on the saints, the groups 
used to advantage in the Breviarium Romanum, have been 
translated, but not the Sermones de tempore. 1 * Yet, these 
sermons give a valuable insight into Augustinian thought 
in general and into specific phases of the culture and liturgy 
of the age which produced them. 15 For example, the Lenten 
sermons (205-216), stressing the preparation for Easter of all 
the faithful and, in particular, of the candidates for baptism, 
give considerable information on the Creed and on the 
liturgical practices of that season. Likewise, the Easter sermons 
give detailed expositions of the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist 
(227.1, 229, 235). Furthermore, in his excoriation of his 
hearers for placing undue emphasis on gift-giving at the New 
Year to the exclusion of spiritual practices (198.2), and for 
engaging in a ceremony which was tantamount to a mockery 
of baptism (196.4), in his appeal for toleration in place of 

12 A. Kunzelmann, 'Die Chronologic der Sermones des hi. Augustinus/ 
Miscellanea Agostiniana II 417-520. 

13 M. Corneau, S. Augustin exegete du quatrieme evangile (Paris 1930) ; 
also, 'Sur la transmission des sermons de S. Augustin,' Revue des 
Etudes Latines 10 (1932) 408422. 

14 Eric Pryzwara presents several apt quotations from the Sermones 
de tempore in his Augustine Synthesis, but they are fragmentary 
and isolated. 

15 Kunzelmann, 'Augustins Predigttatigkeit,' Festschrift der Gorres- 
Cesellschaft (1930) 167. 


i-Semitism (204.3) and for a discountenancing of money- 
ding at interest, and of astrology (202,2, 238), Augustine 
es interesting sidelights on religious and sociological con- 
ions of his day. Valuable information on the Arians, 
inatists, Manichaeans, Priscillianists, and other heretics 
the fourth and fifth centuries also appear. 16 
In subject matter the Sermones de tempore, though cele- 
iting the various seasons of the liturgical year, are always 
ncerned with the revealed word of God. St. Augustine's 
uthful disdain for what he considered stylistic deficiencies 
the Scriptures 17 had delayed his acquaintance with what 
ts later to become the quarry for all his doctrine., but once 
m over to their study, he seems to have made them part 
his own being. He seems to have committed to memory 
e greater part of the Scriptures, for apt quotations adorn. 
d underscore every paragraph. At times he repeats the 
riptural phrase, as though pondering it, rolling it over, 
it were, on his tongue, savoring its sweetness. That this 
nstant recourse to Scripture was deliberate is clear from 
e doctrina Christiana 4.8 : c lt is especially necessary for the 
an who is bound to speak wisely, even though he cannot 
eak eloquently, to retain in memory the words of Scripture. 
)r, the more he discerns the poverty of his own speech, the 
ore he ought to draw on the riches of the Scripture, so that 
hat he says in his own words he may prove by the words 
Scripture and so that he himself, though small and weak 
, his own discourse, may gain strength and power from 
te corroborative testimony of great men.' 
It is very probable that, in citing Scripture, Augustine did 
3t use St. Jerome's Vulgate version until after the turn 
f the fifth century. Extremely cautious in regard to the 
umerous Latin versions current in Africa in his day, he con- 
dered the Itala as the most faithful of these versions, but 

I See Sermons 197, 237, 238, et passim. 
1 St. Augustine, Confessions 3.4-6, 


he frequently made his own changes in an effort to approx- 
imate the Greek of the Septuagint more closely. 18 This will 
explain the occasional unfamiliar phrasing of well-known 
Scriptural passages. 19 

To St. Ambrose, his first teacher in Christian exegesis, 
Augustine owes the trait which Bardy describes as a 'strange 
tendency to an allegorical interpretation' of the Scriptures. 20 
In his Confessions he commends this stylistic device of the 
Bishop of Milan in the words : When Ambrose 'had removed 
the mystical veil, he would reveal the spiritual meaning of 
those passages which seemed to teach falsehood when they 
were interpreted literally. 321 He used it frequently throughout 
his works. In the sermons here translated it is evident in his 
interpretation of the metaphors whereby the Church is likened 
to a net cast into the sea, gathering within its folds both 
the good and the bad (248-250), and again, to a threshing 
floor whereon the separation of the chaff from the wheat 
takes place (223, 259). The engrafting of the wild olive 
upon the olive tree is another image to which he often 
adverts (218). 

Linked with St. Augustine's fondness for allegorical inter- 
pretation is his preoccupation with the symbolism of numbers. 
With an enthusiasm incomprehensible to the modern reader, 
he expatiates at length on the significance of the 40 days 
of Lent (205.1, 210.6), the 50 days after Easter (252.11), 
the 153 fishes (248-250), and similar passages. 

Akin to these idiocyncrasies of composition is what we 
might term his 'tangentialism.' The marvelous breadth of 
vision whereby he embraced in one glance the theological, 

18 See Kavanagh, op. dt. 8; also, St. Augustine, De doctrina Christiana 
2.15.22, and F. C. Burkitt, 'A Reconstruction of the Old-Latin Text 
of the Gospels Used by St. Augustine/ Journal of Theological Studies, 
28 (1927) 101-105. 

19 See Sermons 251.2, 5, 244 n. 26, 257. 

20 Bardy, op. cit. 104. 

21 St. Augustine, Confessions 6.4,6, 


philosophical, philological, historical, and sociological impli- 
cations of the subject in hand made it possible for him 
to break off repeatedly into tangential topics which he dis- 
cussed, sometimes at great length, without any irrelevance 
so far as he was concerned, but with a resultant blurring 
of the logical sequence of thought so far as the reader is con- 
cerned. One unfamiliar with the saint's thought patterns 
might condemn such passages as destructive of unity, but 
wider experience with his works enables the reader to discern 
the superb architectural skill of this master-builder in words. 

These peculiarities in composition may have influenced 
Schmid in his unwarranted criticism of St. Augustine's ser- 
mons: They are extremely deficient in respect to thorough- 
ness of investigation, appropriateness of illustration, useful 
treatment of subjects, correct interpretation of the holy 
Scripture, and an easy, agreeable style and manner of 
address. 522 In answer to this criticism, Dr. Deferrari says 
that such supposed deficiencies may easily be explained by 
a knowledge of the circumstances under which the homilies 
of St. Augustine were composed and delivered. In two well- 
documented discussions 23 it is made clear that the opinion, 
generally accepted before 1922, that St. Augustine wrote 
most of his sermons before delivery, that he dictated many 
to be read thereafter, and that he delivered some extempo- 
raneously was based upon a faulty rendering of the last 
sentence of the Retractations. The passage was corrected by 
Kroll in Volume 36 of the Vienna Corpus to read 'before 
I had begun to correct the letters and the sermons to the 
people, the former [letters] having been dictated by me, the 
latter [sermons] having been delivered by me,' and thus the 
cause for misinterpretation was removed. 

At the conclusion of a survey of the practice of preachers 

22 Quoted by Deferrari, loc. cit. 213. 

23 See also Deferrari, 'Verbatim Reports of Saint Augustine's Unwritten 
Sermons/ TAPA 46 3547. 


contemporary or nearly contemporary with St. Augustine, 
Deferrari states that most of the clerics who acquired a repu- 
tation as preachers in the third, fourth, and fifth centuries 
(such as Origen, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. Jerome) delivered 
their sermons without written assistance of any kind, but 
after more or less careful consideration of their subject. This 
fact is evident, not only from various statements made to that 
effect by St. Augustine in his treatises on preaching, 24 and 
from excerpts from his sermons, such as (225.3): C I, who 
now speak to you, thought out beforehand what I was going 
to say to you before I came to you. When I thus considered 
what I was to say to you the speech already existed in my 
heart,' but also from his manner of delivering his discourses. 

The patient repetition of the simplest statements which, 
to the modern reader accustomed to rigorous pruning of 
verbosity, seems the ultimate in redundancy, could have 
resulted only from extemporaneous discourse, and from the 
constant effort of St. Augustine to gauge the response of his 
audience to the lesson he was striving to inculcate. A watch- 
ful study of his auditors' countenances and reactions resulted 
in the reiteration of the subject matter, now in the same 
words, now in another form, again in a sharp interrogation, 
sometimes even in a fervent prayer. Incidentally, the reader 
is forced to keep in mind the fact that the usual congrega- 
tion of the Bishop of Hippo consisted of Christians and 
heretics, Jew and pagans, and that his repetitious unfolding 
of truths familiar to us from childhood was an absolute 

The spontaneity of these sermons is noticeable, too, in the 
various digressions which are interspersed in many of the 
sermons and which would have been removed or adjusted 
if the sermons had been written out beforehand. In addition, 
there are familiar comments which could not have been inter- 
polated in advance, such as St. Augustine's rebuke of those 

24 See St. Augustine, De doctrina Christiana 4.3, 4, 25; De catechizandis 
rudibus 18, 


worshipers who were more eager to depart from than to come 
to the church, and who begrudged the time which was taken 
from their feasts (264,1); his sad reference to those who 
emulated the pagans in their New Year's festivities (198.2) ; 
his parenthetical explanations in regard to those to whom 
he was directing his strictures (264.4); his appeal to those 
who showed signs of impatience at his oft-repeated dis- 
quisition on the symbolism of numbers to bear with him 
so that others less well instructed than they might receive 
that information (250.3); and finally, his impetuous, broken 
sentences, his brief ejaculations, imperatives, and rhetorical 
questions (e.g., in 185.1, 196.4, 213.1, 224.3) all of which 
were indisputable signs of the off-hand nature of his discourse. 

Frequent references to the time element, to the necessity 
of curtailing what he wished to say because of the shortness 
of the time, is another indication that the sermons were not 
written out in advance with due consideration of the alloted 
time, one hour as it appears in the Catecheses of St. Cyril 
of Jerusalem. In spite of the fact that many of the sermons 
would take less than an hour, and that St. Augustine was 
ever alert to signs of fatigue on the part of his audience, 
the reader notes that the saint frequently seemed surprised 
by the end of the hour and embarrassed by the impossibility 
of completing what he had in mind. 

These indications of the spontaneous character of the dis- 
courses of St. Augustine, and, in particular, the familiar con- 
versational passages evoked by some unforeseen occurrence, 
are ample evidence of the fact that the sermons were, for 
the most part, extemporaneous. That we possess so many 
of the homilies today is the result of the custom which pre- 
vailed at that time of having notarii present, who took down, 
in a kind of shorthand, notes on the sermons. Deferrari cites 
abundant evidence to prove that among the Greek and Latin 
Fathers this was the customary procedure, and he calls 
attention to the fact that St. Augustine refers to the presence 


of such notarii at the philosophical dialogues which took 
place in Cassiciacum and that in one of his letters he quotes 
from a sermon in which he had said : 'As you perceive, what 
I say is being taken down by the notarii of this church and 
what you say is likewise being transcribed, so that my sermon 
and your cries of approval are not falling unheeded to the 
earth.' 25 Hence, we are indebted to the notarii for the pre- 
servation of the sermons of St. Augustine, and, since each 
notarius noted what he thought essential to recall, we are 
likewise indebted to them for some of the inconsistencies and 
obscurities apparent in the sermons (e.g., 251.4, 211.4). 

In spite of patent inaccuracies, lacunae, and repetitions, 
the sermons constitute c one of Saint Augustine's most notable 
services to Christian literature and especially to the literature 
of the pulpit.' 26 So far as style goes, they are uneven, for 
variation in quality is almost unavoidable in occasional pieces 
which depend upon extraneous circumstances equally capable 
of exalting or of depressing a preacher. Yet, there are 
moments when vigorous aptness of expression stirred to 
heights of enthusiasm his congregation of fourth-century 
Hippo. Their stylistic effectiveness seems to stem from a con- 
fluence of three definitely marked streams: the rhetorical 
tradition of the Second Sophistic, which was deeply imbed- 
ded in him by reason of long familiarity with it as a student 
and as professor of rhetoric; the Scriptural influence, dating, 
in the first place, from the days when he listened with critical 
mind to the sermons of St. Ambrose and, second, from the 
period of seclusion which he extorted from Bishop Valerius 
after his ordination in which he planned to steep himself 
in the study of the Old and New Testaments; finally, the 
colloquial strain which he deliberately affected in an endeavor 

25 Deferrari, 'St. Augustine's Method' 107-110, 119-121; cf. St. Augustine, 
De ordine 1.5; Epistulae 213.2 (PL 33.967) . 

26 H. J. Rose, 'St. Augustine as a Forerunner of Medieval Hymnology, 
Journal of Theological Studies 28 (1927) 385. 


to carry out the Pauline dictum, 'Omnibus omnia factus sum, 
ut omnes facerem salvos. 321 

The use of rhetorical devices which had become second 
nature to St. Augustine is evident on every page of the 
sermons, particularly in the figures of repetition and of sound. 
Epanaphora and antistrophe, paranomasia and polyptoton, 
give emphasis and vigor to one passage after another. Clever 
plays upon words abound, such as 'incredibilem credibilem 
jactam et tota mundo incredibiliter creditam? (190.2), and 
'voluntaria copiosi inopia fiat necessaria inopis copia* 
(210.10), as well as 'hoc tarn grande miraculum malunt illi 
fictum putare, quam factum' (184.1). Parachesis, assonance, 
and alliteration are frequently used to give point and effec- 
tiveness to the matter under discussion. 28 

Scriptural influence is noticeable in St. Augustine's constant 
recourse to parallelism and antithesis, the dominant charac- 
teristics of Hebrew poetry. 29 It is evident, too, in the plentiful 
use of metaphors and similes drawn from the immediate sur- 
roundings of his auditors, the fields, the sea, the firmament, 
as were those of our Lord. The classical background, his 
heritage as a professor of rhetoric, which was so rich in source 
material for such imagery, appears but rarely (197,1,6; 

Finally, in the stylistic pattern of short questions and an- 
swers arranged in dialogue form which enlivens these sermons, 
making them person-to-person contacts we have what may 
well be the clavis lignea to his consummate skill as a preacher. 
For, completely possessed by love of God and burning with 
the desire to share his own blessings with his flock, he taught, 
he questioned, he encouraged, and he reproved his listeners 
\\ith all the tenderness of a true father, with the keen-sighted 
precision of a good physician, and with the earnestness of 

27 1 Cor. 9.22. 

28 See, further, Sister M. Inviolata Barry, St. Augustine the Orator 

(Washington, D.C. 192-1) . 

29 See P. Schaff, Literature and Poetry (New York 1890) 68, 87, 101. 


a true teacher. That he was eminently successful is attested 
by the immediate response, often quite audible, of his audi- 
ence, by the zeal which they manifested in the preservation 
and promulgation of his sermons, and by the recorded testi- 
mony of contemporaries. 

Among the manifold works of St. Augustine, then, the 
sermons hold a unique place. They are different from the 
philosophical, exegetical, and ascetical works in content, style, 
and diction in much the same way as Aristotle's exoteric 
works must have differed from the esoteric. They differ, too, 
from most sermons in their greater emphasis on dogmas 
which set the pattern for the entire spiritual and liturgical 
life of the congregation rather than on other subjects. Like- 
wise, pronouncements upon the merits of the sermons have 
differed throughout the centuries, but all critics agree that 
they were great because of the greatness of their author. 

The text used in the translation of these sermons is that 
found in Migne's Patrologia Latino, 38. Sermons 184, 221, 
254, and 261 were taken from D. C. Lambot's recent revision, 
Sancti Aurelii Augustini Sermones selecti duodeviginti. 
Quotations from the Old Testament are cited from the Douay 
version, with the exception of passages from Genesis; these, 
along with quotations from the New Testament, are taken 
from the Confraternity Edition. Any deviations from this 
procedure are indicated in the footnotes. 

The translator expresses profound gratitude to Sister Marie 
Pauline Murphy R. S. M. for invaluable assistance in the 
compilation of the Index and in proof-reading and to Miss 
Martha Muldowney for the typing of the manuscript. 




Migne, J., Patrologia Latina 38 (Paris 1841) . 

Lambot, D. C,, Sancti Aurelii Augustfaii Sermones sclecti duode- 
viginti (Brussels 1950). 

Other works: 

Bardy, G., Bibliothcque Augustinienne 12 (Paris 1950) . 

Bourke, V, J., Augustine's Quest of Wisdom (Milwaukee 1945) . 

Comeau, M., S. Augustin exegete du quatri&me evangile (Paris 1930) . 

, 'Sur la transmission des sermons de S. Augustin/ Revue 

des Etudes Latines 10 (1932) . 

Deferrari, R. J,, 'St. Augustine's Method of Composing and Deliver- 
ing Sermons,' AJP 43 (1922) . 

, 'Verbatim Reports of St. Augustine's Sermons,' TAPA 46. 

Kavanagh, D. J., Commentary on the Lord's Sermon on the Mount, 
with Seventeen Related Sermons (New York 1951) . 

Pope, H., St. Augustine of Hippo (London 1937) . 

Possidius, Aurelii Augustini Vita, PL 32. 

Schanz-Kruger, Geschichte der romischen Littcratur JF2 (Munich 
1920) . v 

Wilmart, A., 'Easter Sermons of St. Augustine/ Journal of Theo- 
logical Studies 28 (1927-1928). 

Translated by 


Saint Joseph College 
West Hartford, Conn. 


Sermon 184 
On the Birthday of Our Lord Jesus Christ 

| HE BIRTHDAY OF our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, 
on which Truth sprang forth from the earth 1 and the 
procession of day from day extending even unto our 
time began, has, with the return of its anniversary, dawned 
upon us today as deserving of special celebration. c Let us 
be glad and rejoice therein,' 2 for the faith of Christians 
holds fast to the joy which the lowliness of such sublimity 
has offered to us, a joy far removed from the hearts of the 
wicked, since God has hidden these things from the wise and 
prudent and has revealed them to the little ones. 3 There- 
fore, let the lowly hold fast to the lowliness of God so that, 
by means of this great help as by a beast of burden support- 
ing their infirmity, they may come to the mountain of God. 
The wise and prudent, however, while they aim at the 
heights of God, do not put their trust in lowly things, but 
pass them by, and hence they fail to reach the heights. 
Vain and worthless, puffed up and elated, they have halted, 

1 Cf. Ps. 84.12. 

2 Ps. 117.24. 

3 Cf. Matt. 11.25. 


as it were, on the wind-swept middle plain between heaven 
and earth. Wise and prudent in the rating of this world, they 
fall short of the standards set by Him who made this world. 
For, if they possessed the true wisdom which is of God and 
which is God, they would understand that flesh could have 
been assumed by God without the possibility of His having 
been changed into flesh; that He took upon Himself what 
He was not and remained what He was; that He came to 
us in the form of man and yet did not depart from His 
Father; that He preserved His divine nature while He 
appeared to us in our human nature ; and, finally, that power 
derived from no earthly source was bestowed upon an in- 
fant's body. The whole world is His work as He remains in 
the bosom of His Father; the miraculous child-bearing of a 
virgin is His work when He comes to us. In fact, His Virgin 
Mother has given testimony to His majesty in that she, a 
virgin before His conception, remained a virgin after child- 
birth; found with child, she was not made so by man; 
pregnant with man without man's co-operation, she was 
more blessed and marvelous in that her fecundity was granted 
without loss of integrity. People prefer to consider so tremen- 
dous a miracle as fictional rather than factual. Hence, in 
regard to Christ, the God-Man, since they cannot believe 
His human attributes, they despise them; since they cannot 
despise His divine attributes, they do not believe them. How- 
ever, in proportion as the body of the God-Man in His 
humiliation is the more abject in their estimation, to that 
same degree it becomes more pleasing to us; and in propor- 
tion as the fruitfulness of a virgin in the birth of a child is 
more impossible in their eyes, in ours it becomes the more 

(2) Hence, let us celebrate the birthday of the Lord with 
a joyous gathering and appropriate festivity. Let men and 
women alike rejoice, for Christ, the Man, was born and 
He was born of- a woman; thus, each sex was honored* Now 5 
let the honor accorded to the first man before his condem- 


nation pass over to this second Man. A woman brought 
death upon us; a woman has now brought forth life. The 
likeness of our sinful flesh 4 was born so that this sinful flesh 
might be cleansed. Let not the flesh be blamed, but let it 
die to sin so that it may live by its real nature; let him who 
was in sin be born again in Him who was born without 
sin. Exult, you holy youths, who, having chosen Christ as a 
model eminently worthy of imitation, have not sought mar- 
riage. He whom you have thus esteemed did not come to you 
through marriage, so that He might bestow upon you the 
grace to despise the means through which you came into 
the world. For you came into existence through carnal 
union, without which He came to spiritual nuptials; and to 
you, whom He has called in a special way to spiritual nup- 
tials, He has granted the grace to scorn earthly ones. There- 
fore, you have not sought joys from the source whence you 
derived existence because you, more than others, have loved 
Him who did not come into the world in that manner. Exult, 
you holy virgins. A Virgin has brought forth for you One 
whom you may wed without defilement, and you can lose 
the One whom you love neither by conceiving nor by bring- 
ing forth children. Exult, you who are just; it is the birthday 
of the Justifier. Exult, you who are weak and ill; it is the 
birthday of the Saviour. Exult, you who are captives; it is 
the birthday of the Redeemer. Exult, you who are slaves; 
it is the birthday of the Ruler. Exult, you who are free; it 
is the birthday of the Liberator. Exult, all Christians; it is 
the birthday of Christ. 

(3) This child, born of the Father, created all ages; now, 
born of a mother, He has commended this day. That first 
nativity could not possibly have had a mother, nor did the 
second one call for any man as a father. In a word, Christ was 
born of both a father and a mother, and He was born with- 
out a father and without a mother; for as God He was 
born of the Father and as Man He was born of a mother; 

4 Of. Rom. 8.3. 


as God He was born without a mother and as Man He 
was born without a father. Therefore, 'Who shall declare 
his generation?' 5 whether we consider His generation without 
the limits of time or that without seed; the one without a 
beginning or that without precedent; the one which has 
never ceased or that without previous or subsequent exist- 
ence ; the one which has no end or that which has its begin- 
ning there where it has its end. 

Rightly, then, did the Prophets announce that He would 
be born; truly did the heavens and angels announce that 
He had been born. He who sustains the world lay in a 
manger, a wordless Child, yet the Word of God. Him whom 
the heavens do not contain the bosom of one woman bore. 
She ruled our King; she carried Him in whom we exist; 
she fed our Bread. O manifest weakness and marvelous 
humility in which all divinity lay hid! By His power He 
ruled the mother to whom His infancy was subject, and He 
nourished with truth her whose breasts suckled Him. May 
He who did not despise our lowly beginnings perfect His 
work in us, and may He who wished on account of us to 
become the Son of Man make us the sons of God. 

Sermon 185 1 

( 1 ) That day is called the birthday of the Lord on which 
the Wisdom of God manifested Himself as a speechless 
Child and the Word of God wordlessly uttered the sound 
of a human voice. His divinity, although hidden, was re- 
vealed by heavenly witness to the Magi and was announced 
to the shepherds by angelic voices. With yearly ceremony, 
therefore, we celebrate this day which saw the fulfillment 

5 Isa. 53.8. 

1 The Navarre Codex assigns this sermon to Maximus, but its style 
and spirit are definitely St. Augustine's. 


of the prophecy: Truth is sprung out of the earth: and 
justice hath looked down from heaven.' 2 Truth, eternally 
existing in the bosom of the Father, has sprung from the 
earth so that He might exist also in the bosom of a mother. 
Truth, holding the world in place, has sprung from the 
earth so that He might be carried in the hands of a woman. 
Truth, incorruptibly nourishing the happiness of the angels, 
has sprung from the earth in order to be fed by human 
milk. Truth, whom the heavens cannot contain, has sprung 
from the earth so that He might be placed in a manger. For 
whose benefit did such unparalleled greatness come in 
such lowliness? Certainly for no personal advantage, but 
definitely for our great good, if only we believe. Arouse 
yourself, O man; for you God has become man. 'Awake, 
sleeper, and arise from among the dead, and Christ will 
enlighten thee.' 3 For you, I repeat, God has become man. 
If He had not thus been born in time, you would have 
been dead for all eternity. Never would you have been freed 
from sinful flesh, if He had not taken upon Himself the 
likeness of sinful flesh. Everlasting misery would have en- 
gulfed you, if He had not taken this merciful form. You 
would not have been restored to life, had He not submitted 
to your death; you would have fallen, had He not succored 
you; you would have perished, had He not come. 

(2) Let us joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation 
and redemption. Let us celebrate the festal day on which 
the great and timeless One came from the great and timeless 
day to this brief span of our day. He c has become for us ... 
justice, and sanctification, and redemption; so that, just as 
it is written, "Let him who takes pride, take pride in the 
Lord." ' 4 For, so that we might not resemble the proud 
Jews who, 'ignorant of the justice of God and seeking to 
establish their own, have not submitted to the justice of 

2 Ps. 84.12. 

3 Eph. 5.14. 

4 1 Cor. 1.30,31. 


God/ 5 when the Psalmist had said: Truth Is sprung out of 
the earth/ he quickly added: 'and justice hath looked down 
from heaven/ 6 He did this lest mortal frailty, arrogating this 
justice to itself, should call these blessings its own, and lest 
man should reject the justice of God in his belief that he 
is justified, that is, made just through his own efforts. Truth 
Is sprung out of the earth 3 because Christ who said: 'I am 
the truth 57 was born of a virgin; and 'justice hath looked 
down from heaven' because, by believing in Him who was 
so born, man has been justified not by his own efforts but 
by God. Truth is sprung out of the earth' because 'the 
Word was made flesh/ and 'justice hath looked down from 
heaven' because 'every good and perfect gift is from above.' 8 
Truth is sprung out of the earth/ that is, His flesh was 
taken from Mary; and 'justice hath looked down from 
heaven 9 because c no one can receive anything unless it Is 
given to him from heaven.' 9 

(3) 'Having been justified therefore by faith, let us have 
peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through 
whom we also have access by faith unto that grace in which 
we stand and exult in the hope of the glory ... of God.' 10 
With these few words, which you recognize as those of the 
Apostle, it gives me pleasure, my brethren, to mingle a few 
passages of the psalm [which we are considering] and to 
find that they agree in sentiment. 'Having been justified by 
faith, let us have peace with God' because 'justice and peace 
have kissed 3 ; 'through our Lord Jesus Christ 5 because 'truth 
is sprung out of the earth'; 'through whom we also have 
access by faith unto that grace in which we stand, and 
exult in the hope of the glory of God' he does not say 
c of our glory/ but 'of the glory of God' because justice 

5 Rom. 10.3. 

6 Ps. 84,12, 

7 John 14.6. 

8 John 1.14; James 1.17. 

9 John 3.27. 

10 Cf, Rom. 5.1,2. The text as quoted omits the word filiorurn of the 
Vulgate, and thus is closer to the Greek. 


has not proceeded from us but 'hath looked down from 
heaven.' 11 Therefore, 'let him who takes pride, take pride 
in the Lord' 12 not in himself. Hence, when the Lord whose 
birthday we are celebrating today was born of the Virgin, 
the announcement of the angelic choir was made in the 
words: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace 
among men of good will.' 13 How can peace exist on earth 
unless it be because 'truth is sprung out of the earth,' that 
is, because Christ has been born in the flesh? Moreover, 
'He Himself is our peace, he it is who has made both one' 14 
so that we might become men of good will, bound together 
by the pleasing fetters of unity. Let us rejoice, then, in this 
grace so that our glory may be the testimony of our con- 
science 15 wherein we glory not in ourselves but in the Lord. 
Hence the Psalmist [in speaking of the Lord] has said: 
'My glory and the lifter up of my head.' 16 For what greater 
grace of God could have shone upon us than that, having 
an only-begotten Son, God should make Him the Son of 
Man, and thus, in turn, make the son of man the Son of 
God? Examine it as a benefit, as an inducement, as a token 
of justice, and see whether you find anything but a gratuitous 
gift of God. 

Sermon 186 

( 1 ) Let us rejoice, my brethren, let the nations exult and 
be glad because, not the visible sun, but the invisible Crea- 
tor of the sun has consecrated this, day on which the Virgin, 
a true but inviolate Mother, gave birth to Him who became 
visible for our sake and by whom she herself was created. 

11 Ps. 84.11,12. 

12 1. Cor. 1.30,31. 

13 Luke 2.14. 

14 Eph. 2,14. 

15 Cf. 2 Cor. 1.12. 

16 Ps. 3.4. 


A virgin conceives, yet remains a virgin; 1 a virgin is heavy 
with child; a virgin brings forth her child, yet she is always 
a virgin. Why are you amazed at this, O man? It was fitting 
for God to be born thus when He deigned to become man. 
Such did He make her, who was bora from her; He existed 
before she was created; and, because He was omnipotent, 
He was able to become man while remaining what He was. 
He created His own Mother when He was with the Father; 
and when He was born of that Mother He remained in 
His Father. How would He who granted to His Mother the 
privilege of remaining a virgin when she brought forth her 
child cease to be God when He became Man? Furthermore, 
the fact that the Word became flesh does not imply that the 
Word withdrew and was destroyed on being clothed with 
flesh, but rather that flesh, to avoid destruction, drew near 
to the Word, so that, as man is soul and body, Christ might 
be God and Man. The same One who is Man is God, and 
the same One who is God is Man, not by a confusion of 
nature but by a unity of person. Finally, He who is the Son 
of God, being born of the Father, is always co-eternal with 
His Father; He, being born of the Virgin, became the Son 
of Man. Thus, humanity was added to the divinity of the 
Son without producing a fourfold union of Persons; the 
Trinity remains. 

(2) Do not, therefore, let the opinion of certain persons 
who are unmindful of the rule of faith and of the words 
of the sacred Scriptures influence you. For these persons 
say: c He who was the Son of Man became the Son of 
God; He who is the Son of God did not become the Son 
of Man.' In making this statement they have concen- 
trated their attention on a principle that is true, but they 
have not been able to elucidate the truth. For to what 
principle did they direct their attention except that human 
nature could have been changed into something higher, but 
that divine nature could not have been changed into some- 

1 The reading permanent virgo of the Mss. was adopted here in place 
of parie'ns virgo of the text. 


thing lower? That is true, but, even so, the Word became 
flesh without the divinity being changed into something 
lower, for the Gospel does not say: 'Flesh was made the 
Word,' but it does say: The Word was made flesh.* 
Moreover, the Word is God, [as the Evangelist says:] 'The 
Word was God.' 2 And what is flesh but man? Furthermore, 
this flesh of man did not exist in Christ without a soul, since 
He says: 'My soul is sad, even unto death.' 3 If, therefore, 
the Word is God and man is flesh, what else does the state- 
ment, 'The Word was made flesh, 3 signify except that He who 
was God became Man? And, by the same reasoning, He 
who was the Son of God became the Son of Man by taking 
upon Himself a lower nature without changing His higher 
nature, by receiving what He was not, not by losing what 
He was. For, how would we proclaim in the Creed that we 
believe in the Son of God who was born of the Virgin Mary, 
if it were not the Son of God but the Son of Man who was 
born of the Virgin Mary? What Christian would deny that 
the Son of Man was born of that woman; that God became 
Man ; and that, thus, a God-Man was born, since 'The Word 
was God 5 and 'the Word was made flesh'? Therefore, we 
must admit that He who was the Son of God, in order to 
be born of the Virgin Mary, assumed the form of a servant 
and became the Son of Man, remaining what He was and 
taking upon Himself what He was not, beginning to exist 
in that, as Man, He was less than the Father, yet always 
existing in so far as He and the Father are one. 

(3) For, if He who is eternally the Son of God did not 
become the Son of Man, how does the Apostle say of Him: 
'Who though he was by nature God, did not consider being 
equal to God a thing to be clung to, but emptied himself, 
taking the nature of a slave, being made like unto men, and 
appearing in the form of man'? 4 Not another, but He Him- 

2 John 1.14,1. 

3 Matt. 26.38. 

4 Phil. 2.6-8. 


self, equal to the Father in the form of God, He the only- 
begotten Son of the Father 'emptied himself, being made 
like unto men. 3 Not another, but He Himself, equal to the 
Father in the form of God, 'humbled' not another but 
'himself, becoming obedient to death, even to death on a 
cross.' 5 All this the Son of God accomplished only under the 
form of the Son of Man. Likewise, if He who is always the 
Son of God did not become the Son of Man, how does 
the Apostle describe himself in his Epistle to the Romans 
as: c set apart for the gospel of God, which he had promised 
beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, con- 
cerning his Son who was born to him according to the flesh 
of the offspring of David 1 ? 6 Behold, He who had always 
been the Son of God was made one of the offspring of 
David according to the flesh, becoming that which He had 
not been before. Likewise, if He who is the Son of God 
did not become the Son of Man, how it is that 'God sent 
his Son, born of a woman'? 7 In the Hebrew language, virginal 
integrity is not denied by this word, but female sex is in- 
dicated. Who was sent by the Father except the only-begotten 
Son of God? How, then, was He born of a woman unless 
this same Son of God who was with the Father was sent 
and became the Son of Man? Born of the Father without 
the limits of time, He was born of a Mother on this day. 
This day, which He created, He chose for His own creation 
in the flesh, just as He was born of the Mother whom He 
Himself had created. This day, from which each subsequent 
day receives additional light, symbolizes the work of Christ 
by whom our inner man is renewed day by day. 8 It was 
indeed fitting that the day on which all temporal creation 
was in peace and harmony should be the birthday of the 
eternal Creator now created in time. 

5 Phil. 2.8. 

6 Rom. 1.1-4. 

7 Gal. 4.4. 

8 Cf. 2 Cor. 4.16. 


Sermon 187 

1 I ) My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, of that 
Lord by whom all things were made and who was made 
[flesh] amid all the works of His hands; who is the Mani- 
festor of His Father, the Creator of His Mother; Son of 
God born of the Father without a mother, Son of Man born 
of a mother without a father; the great Day of the angels, 
small in the day of men; the Word as God existing before 
all time, the Word as flesh existing only for an allotted 
time; the Creator of the sun created under the light of the 
sun; ordering all ages from the bosom of of His Father, 
from the womb of His Mother consecrating this day; re- 
maining there, yet proceeding hither; Maker of heaven and 
earth brought forth on this earth overshadowed by the 
heavens; unspeakably wise, wisely speechless; filling the whole 
world, lying in a manger; guiding the stars, a nursling at 
the breast; though insignificant in the form of man, so great 
in the form of God that His greatness was not lessened by 
His insignificance nor was His smallness crushed by - His 
might. When He assumed human form He did not abandon 
His divine operations, nor did He cease to reach 'from end 
to end mightily and to order all things sweetly. 51 When 
clothed in the weakness of our flesh He was received, not 
imprisoned, in the Virgin's womb so that without the Food 
of Wisdom being withdrawn from the angels we might 
taste how sweet is the Lord. 

(2) Why do we marvel at these conflicting powers of the 
Word of God when the discourse which I utter is appre- 
hended so freely by the senses that the hearer receives it, 
yet does not confine it? If it were not received, it would 
give no instruction; if it were confined, it would not reach 
others. In spite of the fact that this discourse is divided into 
words and syllables, you do not take individual particles 
of it as you do of food for your stomach, but you all hear 

1 Cf. Wisd. 8.1. 


the whole discourse and each individual takes in the whole. 
While speaking, I do not fear that one listener may, by 
hearing me, grasp the whole discourse so that his neighbor 
can get nothing of it. On the contrary, I wish you to be so 
attentive that, depriving the ear and mind of no other per- 
son, you as individuals may hear the entire discourse and, 
at the same time, may permit others to hear it, also. Nor 
is this hearing accomplished at successive periods of time so 
that, after the discourse which is being delivered has come 
to you first, it leaves you so that it may go to another person. 
No, it comes to all at the same time and the whole discourse 
is apprehended by each individual. And if the entire sermon 
could be retained in memory, then, just as you all came to 
hear the whole discourse so you individually would go away 
bearing the whole discourse with you. How much more 
readily, then, would the Word of God, through whom all 
things were made and who, remaining in Himself, renews all 
things, who is neither confined by places nor restrained by 
time, neither changed by long or short intervals of time, 
neither adorned by speech nor terminated by silence, be able 
to make fertile the womb of His Mother when He assumed 
human flesh, yet not leave the bosom of His Father; to 
make His way hither for human eyes to gaze upon Him, 
and still to enlighten angelic minds; to come down to this 
earth while ruling the heavens; to become Man here while 
creating men there? 

(3) Let no one believe, then, that the Son of God was 
changed into the Son of Man; rather, let us believe that, 
with the perfect preservation of His divine nature and the 
perfect assumption of human nature, He, remaining the 
Son of God, became also the Son of Man. For the fact that 
the Scriptures say The Word was God' and The Word 
was made flesh' 2 does not mean that the Word became 
flesh in such a way as to cease to be God since, because 
the Word was made flesh, in that same flesh 'Emmanuel . . . 

2 John 1.1,14. 


God with us' was born. 3 In like manner, the word which 
we form within us becomes an utterance when we bring it 
forth from our mouth; the word is not changed into the 
utterance, but the voice by which it comes forth is taken 
on while the inner word remains unchanged; what is thought 
remains within, what is heard sounds forth. Nevertheless, 
the same thing is expressed in sound which had previously 
been expressed in silence; thus, when the word becomes an 
utterance, it is not changed into this utterance, but remains 
in the light of the mind; having taken on the voice of the 
flesh, it reaches the listener without leaving the thinker. Not 
when the utterance, whether it be in Greek, Latin, or any 
other language, is being thought out in silence, but when, 
before all the diversity of language [begins to operate], the 
matter to be expressed exists bare and unadorned in the 
chamber of the heart, is it clothed with the voice of the 
speaker so that it may come forth. Both that which is con- 
sidered in the mind, however, and that which sounds forth 
in speech are variable and diverse; the thought will not 
remain when you have forgotten it, nor will the utterance 
remain when you are silent. But the Word of the Lord 
remains forever and remains lunchanged. 

(4) When the Word assumed flesh in time, so that He 
might enter into our temporal life, He did not, in this flesh, 
give up His eternity, but gave immortality to this flesh. Thus 
He, 'as a bridegroom coming out of his bride-chamber, 
hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way,' 4 who, 'though he was 
by nature God, did not consider being equal to God a thing 
to be clung to,' 5 but, so that for our sake He might become 
what He was not, 'He emptied himself,' not laying aside the 
nature of God, but 'taking the nature of a slave,' and by this 
nature 'being made like unto men,' not in His own nature [as 
God], but 'appearing in the form of man.' For, all that we are 

3 Cf. Matt. 1.23. 

4 Ps. 18.6. 

5 Phil. 2.6-8. 


in soul and body constitutes, for us, our complete nature, but, 
for Him, only a visible nature. If we had not this soul and 
body, we would still exist; if He had not this soul and 
body, He would still be God. Remaining God, He became 
Man; that is, He began to be what had not been before, so 
that not one but two natures may truthfully be ascribed to 
Him. Because He was made Man, the statement, Tor the 
Father is greater than I, 5 is true; because He remained God, 
the statement, 'I and the Father are one, 5 is true. If the Word 
were changed into flesh, that is, if God were changed into 
man, only the statement, Tor the Father is greater than 
I,' would be true because God is greater than man; but the 
other statement, C I and the Father are one,' would be false 
since God and man are not one. In such a case, He could 
say: C I and the Father were one, 5 but not 'are one,' im- 
plying that He has ceased to be what He was; that He was 
so in the past, but is so no longer. On the contrary, because 
of the true nature of servant which He had taken upon 
Himself, He said truthfully: The Father is greater than F; 
because of the true nature of God which He retained, He 
said with equal veracity: The Father and I are one.' 6 
Therefore, He emptied Himself among men, becoming what 
He had not been previously, not in such a way as to cease 
to be what He was, but, hiding what He was, He showed 
forth only what He had become. Hence, since the Virgin 
conceived and brought forth a Son, because of His manifest 
nature of servant, [we read:] 'A child is born to us 1 ; 7 but, 
because the Word of God, which remains forever, became 
flesh so that He might dwell with us, on account of His 
real, though hidden nature of God, we, using the words of 
the Angel Gabriel, call e his name Emmanuel/ Remaining 
God, He has become Man so that the Son of Man may 
rightly be called 'God with us' and so that [in Him] God 
is not one person and man another. Let the world rejoice 

6 John 14.28; 10.30. 

7 Isa. 9.6. 


In those who believe, for whose salvation He came, by whom 
the world was made, the Creator of Mary born of Mary, 
the Son of David yet Lord of David, the Seed of Abraham 
who existed before Abraham, the Fashioner of this earth 
fashioned on this earth, the Creator of heaven created as 
Man under the light of heaven. This is the day which the 
Lord has made and the Lord Himself is the bright Day of 
our heart. Let us walk in His light; let us exult and be glad 
in Him. 

Sermon 188 

(1) It is not at all strange that human consideration and 
human speech are inadequate when we undertake to praise 
the Son of God, the Word of God and God Himself, the 
Life and Light of men, as He exists in the bosom of the 
Father, equal to and co-eternal with Him in whom all things 
visible and invisible, in heaven and on earth, were estab- 
lished. For how would our tongue be able to pay suitable 
tribute to Him whom our heart, destined by God to be the 
instrument by which He is to be seen, as yet cannot see, if 
iniquity would be purged, weakness be healed, and the clean, 
of heart become blessed because they will $ee God? 1 It is 
not strange, I say, for us to fail to find words in which to 
speak of the Word by whom the word was spoken which 
gave being to us who would now say something about Him. 
For our mind brings words into existence after they have 
been thought over and formed, but our mind itself is formed 
by the Word. Nor does man fashion words in the same way 
in which man was made by the Word, because the Father 
Himself did not beget His only Word in the same way in 
which He made all things through the Word. For God begot 
God, but the Begettor and the Begotten are one and the 
same God. Moreover, God made the world but the world 
passes while God remains. Although these things which 

1 Cf. Matt. 5.8. 


were made certainly did not make themselves, He by whom 
all things were made was made by no one. It is not strange, 
then,, that man, one of those created things, does not know 
how to discuss the Word by whom all things were made. 

( 2 ) Let us direct our ears and minds to this consideration 
for a little while to see if, by any chance, we can say some- 
thing suitable and worthy, not by reason of the fact that 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with 
God; and the Word was God,' but because 'the Word was 
made flesh'; to see if, by chance, something adequate may 
be expressed by us because He 'dwelt among us 52 ; or if, 
perchance, He may be satisfactorily discussed there where 
He wished to be seen. For these reasons we celebrate this 
day on which He deigned to be born of a virgin, a genera- 
tion which He Himself caused to be narrated by men. But 
'who shall declare his generation' 3 in that eternity in which 
God was born of God? Such a day set apart for solemn 
celebration does not exist in eternity, for the day in eternity 
does not pass, destined to return with the revolving year; 
it remains without a setting because it began without a 
rising. Therefore, the only-begotten Word of God, the 
Life and Light of men, is indeed the Eternal Day, but 
this day on which, joined to human flesh, He became, as 
it were, a 'bridegroom coming out of his bride-chamber' 4 
is our today and passes as tomorrow becomes yesterday. 
Nevertheless, our today commends the Eternal Day born of 
the Virgin because the Eternal Day born of the Virgin con- 
secrated this day. What praises shall we voice, what thanks 
shall we give for the charity of God who so loved us that 
for us He by whom all time was made became Man in 
time; that He, in His eternity more ancient than the world, 
became inferior in age to many of His servants in the world ; 
that He who made man became Man; that He was formed 

2 John 1.1,14. 

3 Isa. 53.8. 

4 Ps. 18.C). 


In the Mother whom He Himself formed, carried in the 
hands which He made, nourished at the breasts which He 
filled; that, in the manger in mute infancy, He the Word 
without whom all human eloquence is mute wailed? 

(3) Consider, O man, what God became for your sake; 
understand this lesson of surpassing humility presented by 
a teacher who, as yet, says no word. Once, in paradise, 5 
you were so eloquent that you named every living thing; 
for your sake, however, your Creator lay speechless and did 
not even call His Mother by her name. By disregarding 
obedience, you have lost yourself in the tractless reaches of 
fruitful groves; He, in obedience, came into the very narrow 
confines of mortality so that by dying He might seek you 
who were dead. Though you were man, you wished to be 
God, to your own destruction; though He was God, He 
wished to be man that He might find what He had lost. 
Human pride brought you to such a depth that only divine 
humility could raise you up again. 

Therefore, let us celebrate with joy the day on which 
Mary brought forth the Saviour; on which the one joined 
in marriage brought forth the Creator of the union, and 
a virgin, the Prince of virgins; on which one given to a 
husband is a mother not by that husband, since she was a 
virgin before marriage and in marriage, a virgin when with 
child and when nursing her child. The birth of her omni- 
potent Son detracted in no way from the virginity of holy 
Mary, whom He Himself chose when He contemplated the 
assumption of human nature. Fertility is a blessing in mar- 
riage, but integrity in holiness is better. Therefore, the Man 
Christ who was able to furnish both prerogatives to His 
Mother (for He was God as well as Man) would never 
have granted to His Mother the blessing in which wives 
delight in such a way as to deprive her of the better gift 
for which virgins forego motherhood. And so, the holy 
Church, as a virgin, celebrates today the child-bearing of a 

5 Cf. Gen. 2.19-21; 3. 


virgin. For to the Church the Apostle says: C I have betrothed 
you to one spouse, that I might present you a chaste virgin 
to Christ.' 6 Why, addressing so many persons of both sexes, 
including not only youths and maidens but also married 
men and women, does he say c a chaste virgin'? Why is this, 
I repeat, unless he refers to the integrity of faith, hope, and 
charity? Hence, Christ, intending to establish virginity in 
the heart of the Church, preserved it first in the body of 
Mary, In human marriage, a woman is given to her husband 
so that she may no longer be a virgin; but the Church could 
not be a virgin, unless she had first found the Son of the 
Virgin as a spouse to whom she might be given. 

Sermon 189 

( I ) The Eternal Day who made all days has sanctified 
this day for us, my brethren. Of Him the Psalmist writes: 
'Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: sing to the Lord, all 
the earth. Sing ye to the Lord and bless his name: bless his 
salvation from day to day.' 1 What does this phrase 6 from day 
to day' mean unless it be that the Son was born of the 
Father, Light of Light? That Eternal Day called into being 
this Day, who was born of a virgin today. The Eternal Day, 
therefore, has no beginning and no end. I refer to God the 
Father. What is this Day if it be not Light? Not the light 
of carnal eyes, the light which we share with beasts, but 
the Light which shines upon the angels, by the brilliance 
of which hearts are cleansed. The night in which we live, 
and in which the lamps of the Scriptures are lighted for us, 
passes; then that Light will come which is foretold in the 
psalm: In the morning I will stand before thee, and I will 
contemplate thee.' 2 

6 2 Cor. 11.2. 

1 Cf. Ps. 95.1-3. 

2 Cf. ?s. 5.5. 


(2) That Day, then, the Word of God, the Day which 
shines upon the angels, the Day which brightens the home- 
land from whence we came, was born clothed in flesh of 
the Virgin Mary, was wondrously brought forth, for what is 
more wondrous than the child-bearing of a virgin? She con- 
ceives and is still a virgin; she brings forth her Child and 
remains a virgin. He was formed in her whom He Himself 
formed; He gave her fertility but He did not mar her integ- 
rity. Whence did Mary spring? From Adam. Whence did 
Adam come? From the earth. If Mary sprang from Adam, 
and if Adam came from the earth, then Mary, too, came 
from the earth. If this is so, let us acknowledge the truth 
of the words: 'Truth is sprung out of the earth.' What 
benefit has Truth bestowed upon us? 'Truth is sprung out 
of the earth and justice hath looked down from heaven. 33 
For the Jews, as the Apostle says, 'ignorant of the justice 
of God and seeking to establish their own, have not sub- 
mitted to the justice of God.' 4 How can man become just? 
Of himself? What poor man gives bread to himself? What 
naked person clothes himself unless clothes have been given 
to him? Whence does justice come? What justice is there 
without faith? For 'he who is just lives by faith.' 5 He 
lies who says that he is just without faith, for he lies in 
whom there is no faith. If anyone wishes to speak the truth, 
let him turn to the Truth. For Truth which 'is sprung 
out of the earth' was far removed from you. You were 
sleeping; Truth came to you. You were wrapped in heavy 
slumber; Truth aroused you and prepared a path for you 
lest you should be lost. Hence, 'Truth is sprung out of the 
earth,' since Christ was born of a virgin, and 'Justice hath 
looked down from heaven,' that, through justice men might 
learn to relish again what through injustice they had foolish- 
ly cast aside. 

(3) We were mortal, overwhelmed by our sins; we bore 

3 Ps. 84,12. 

4 Rom. 10.3. 

5 Rom. 1.17. 


the penalties of our sins. Every man, at birth, begins life in 
wretchedness. Do not seek for a prophetic utterance in this 
regard; ask the child who is born; see his tears. Since this 
wretchedness was the mark of God's anger on the earth, what 
sort of condescension came suddenly into His attitude? Truth 
is sprung out of the earth. 5 He created all things; He [as 
man] was created among all things. He made the day; He 
came into the day. He is the Lord Christ existing without a 
beginning eternally with His Father, yet He has a birthday. 
In the first place, if the Word had not had human genera- 
tion, we would not have acquired divine regeneration; He 
was born so that we might be born again. Christ was born; 
let no one hesitate to be reborn. He was generated with no 
need of regeneration, for who has experienced the need of 
rebirth except the one whose birth was blameworthy? Let 
His compassion, then, be born in our hearts. His Mother 
carried Him in her womb; let us carry Him in our hearts. 
The Virgin was heavy with the incarnate Christ; may our 
hearts be heavily freighted with belief in Christ. The Virgin 
brought forth the Saviour; may our souls bring forth salva- 
tion; may we bring forth praise also. Let us not be sterile; 
let our souls be full of fruitfulness in the Lord. 

(4) The twofold generation of Christ is admirable; the 
first, His birth of a Father without a mother, is eternal; the 
second, His birth of a Mother without a father, happened 
in time. Eternal Himself, He was born of His eternal Father. 
Why do you wonder? He is God. Consider His divinity, and 
all cause for wonder will cease. Let amazement pass away; 
let praise ascend; let faith be present; believe what has hap- 
pened. Has not God humiliated Himself enough for you? 
He who was God became Man. The inn was too small; 
wrapped in swaddling clothes, He was placed in a manger. 
Who does not marvel? He who fills the world found no room 
in an inn. Placed in a manger, He became our food. Let 
the two animals, symbolic of two races, approach the manger, 
for c the ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's 


crib. 36 Do not be ashamed to be God's beast of burden. Carry- 
ing Christ, you will not go astray; with Him burdening you, 
you make your way through devious paths. May the Lord 
rest upon us; may He direct us where He wishes; may we 
be His beast of burden and thus may we come to Jerusalem. 
Though He presses upon us, we are not crushed but lifted 
up; when He leads us, we shall not go astray. Through Him 
may we come to Him so that we may rejoice forever with 
the Child who was born today. 

Sermon 190 

(1) Our Lord Jesus, who was with the Father before 
He was born of His Mother, chose not only the Virgin of 
whom He was born, but also the day on which His birth 
took place. Men subject to error very often choose days: one 
for planting, another for building, another for making a 
journey, and still another for contracting marriage. When 
a man so chooses, he is motivated by the hope that success- 
ful issue may come from his undertaking. No one, however, 
can choose the day of his birth. But Christ the Lord was 
able both to create and to select the day of His birth. Nor 
did He make His choice as they do who foolishly determine 
the fates of men by the arrangement of the stars. He who 
was born was not rendered blessed by being born on a 
particular day, but He made that day blessed on which He 
deigned to be born. The day of His nativity holds the mys- 
tery of His light, for the Apostle says: 'The night is far 
advanced; the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the 
works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us 
walk becomingly as in the day.' 1 Let us recognize the day 
and let us be as the day, for we were in darkness when we 
lived unfaithfully. Since that infidelity which had covered 

6 Isa. 1.3. 
1 Rom. 13.12. 


the whole world with the darkness of night had to be lessened 
by an increase of faith, therefore, on the birthday of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, night began to suffer diminution and day 
began to increase. And so, my brethren, let us hold this 
day as sacred, not as unbelievers do because of the material 
sun, but because of Him who made the sun. For, He who 
was the Word became flesh so that for our sake He might 
live under the light of the sun. He was incarnate beneath 
the sun, but in majesty He was above the entire universe in 
which He had placed the sun. Now, in truth, even in the 
flesh He is above the sun which is worshiped as a god by 
those who, blinded in mind, do not see the true Sun of 

(2) Let us, O Christians, celebrate this feast, not of the 
divine nativity of the Lord, but of His human nativity when 
He became one of us so that through the invisible made 
visible we might pass to the invisible from the visible. For 
we of the Catholic faith ought to hold that there are two 
births of the Lord: the one divine, and the other human; 
the one timeless, and the other in time. Both nativities are 
marvelous: the one, without a mother; and the other, with- 
out a father. If the one is incomprehensible, the other is in- 
explicable. Who could understand this strange, extraordinary 
happening, unique in the history of the world, wherein the 
unbelievable became believable and in unbelievable fashion 
was entrusted to the whole world; namely, that a virgin 
would conceive and would bear and bring forth a Son, while 
remaining a virgin? What human reason does not grasp faith 
lays hold on; and where human reason fails faith succeeds. 
For who would say that the Word of God, by whom all 
things were made, could not have taken flesh even without 
a mother, just as He made the first man without father and 
mother? However, since He had created both sexes, that is, 
male and female, He wished to honor, in His birth, both 
sexes which He had come to save. You know well that the 
first man fell because the Serpent, not daring to address the 


man, used the help of a woman to encompass man's ruin. 
Through the weaker sex he gained the stronger and, worm- 
ing his way in through the one, he triumphed over both. 
Therefore, so that we would not be able to shudder with a 
sentiment of justifiable grief at our death in this woman, 
Eve, and to believe ourselves irreparably condemned, when 
the Lord came to seek what was lost, He wished to approve 
both sexes by honoring both because both had been ruined. 
In regard to neither sex, then, should we do injury to the 
Creator; the nativity of the Lord encouraged both to hope 
for salvation. The glory of the male sex is in the humanity 
of Christ; the glory of womanhood is in the Mother of 
Christ. The grace of Jesus Christ has worsted the wile of 
the Serpent. 

(3) Therefore, let both sexes be reborn in Him who was 
born today and let both celebrate this feast on which the 
Lord Christ, far from beginning to exist since He had 
always existed with His Father brought forth into the 
light of day the human nature which He had received from 
His Mother when He granted her fertility without depriving 
her of integrity. He is conceived and born; He is an Infant. 
Who is this Infant whom we so call because He is not able 
to speak? He is both a speechless Child and He is the Word. 
In His humanity, He is silent; through His angels, He teaches. 
The Leader and Shepherd of shepherds is announced to 
shepherds, and the food of the faithful lies in the manger of 
dumb beasts. For the Prophet had predicted: 'The ox know- 
eth his owner, and the ass his master's crib.' 2 For*that reason 
He sat upon the colt of an ass when He entered Jerusalem 
amid the praises of the multitude surging around and before 
Him. 3 Let us understand; let us draw near to the manger; 
let us eat of this food; let us bear the Lord, our Guide and 
Leader so that under His direction we may come to the 
heavenly Jerusalem. The birth of Christ from His Mother is 

2 isa. 1.3. 

3 Cf. Matt. 2U-9. 


subject to human weakness, but from His Father He has 
unlimited majesty. In these fleeting days of ours He lives 
for a brief span but He is the Eternal Day born of Eternal 

Rightly, then, are we stirred by the voice of the Psalmist 
as by the sound of a heavenly trumpet, when we hear: 'Sing 
ye to the Lord a new canticle: sing to the Lord all the 
earth. Sing ye to the Lord and bless His name. 34 Let us 
recognize, then, and proclaim the 'Day born of the Day' 
who became incarnate on this day. The Day is the Son born 
of the Father, the Eternal Day, God of God, Light of Light; 
He is our Salvation, of whom the Psalmist says elsewhere: 
'May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may He cause 
the light of his countenance to shine upon us ... That we 
may know thy way upon earth: thy salvation in all nations. 35 
The idea expressed in 'upon the earth' he expanded to 'in 
all nations' and the significance of 'thy way' he repeated in 
'thy salvation.' We recall that the Lord Himself said: 'I am 
the way.' 6 And only recently, when the Gospel was read, we 
heard that the thrice-blessed old man, Simeon, had received 
a divine promise that he would not experience death until 
he had seen Christ the Lord and that, when he had taken the 
infant Christ into his hands and had recognized the mighty 
little One, he said: 'Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O 
Lord, according to thy word, in peace; Because my eyes 
have seen thy salvation.' 7 Gladly, then, let us announce His 
salvation, this Day born of the Eternal Day, let us declare 
'his glory among the Gentiles: his wonders among all peo- 
ple. 38 He lies in a manger but He holds the world in His 
hand; he is nourished at the breast but He feeds the angels; 
He is wrapped in swaddling clothes but He clothes us with 
immortality; He is suckled but is adored; He does not find 

4 Ps, 95.1-3. 

5 Ps. 66.2. 

6 John 14.6. 

7 Luke 2.29-31. 

8 Ps. 95.2-4. 


room in the inn but He makes a temple for Himself in the 
hearts of believers. For Strength took on weakness that weak- 
ness might become strong. Therefore, let us marvel at rather 
than despise His human birth; from it let us learn the low- 
liness which such loftiness assumed for our sake. Then let 
us enkindle our love so that we may come to His eternal 

Sermon 191 

Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, the true Sun of 
Justice, so shone upon the earth as not to leave the heavens, 
remaining there eternally, but coming hither for a time; 
there determining the everlasting day, here enduring the day 
of humanity; there living perpetually without the passage of 
time, here dying in time without the inroads of sin; there 
remaining in life without end, here freeing our life from the 
destruction of death. There He enkindles the minds of 
angels with the fiery splendor of His majesty; here He de- 
termines the lives and characters of men. There light is re- 
ceived which no one extinguishes by sin; here Man is bom 
who clearly defines all sin. There God is with God; here 
He is God and Man. There He is Light of Light; here, the 
Light which enlightens every man. There by a word He 
spreads out the heavens; here He shows a way of reaching 
the heavens. There with His Father He confirmed the mys- 
tery of His nativity; here He formed His human members 
in His Mother. There sitting at the right hand of the Father, 
here lying in a manger; there feeding the angels, here on 
earth a hungry Child; there unfailing Bread with perfect 
powers, here, along with speechless children, needing the 
nourishment of milk; there doing good, here suffering evil; 
there never dying, here rising after death and bestowing 
eternal life on mortals. God became man so that man might 
become God. The Lord took the form of a servant so that 
man might be turned to God. The Founder and Inhabitant 


of heaven dwelt upon earth so that man might rise from 
earth to heaven. 1 

(1) The Word of the Father, by whom all time was 
created, was made flesh and was born In time for us. He, 
without whose divine permission no day completes its course, 
wished to have one day [set aside] for His human birth* 
In the bosom of His Father, He existed before all the cycles 
of ages; bora of an earthly Mother, He entered upon the 
course of the years on this day. The Maker of man became 
Man that He, Ruler of the stars, might be nourished at the 
breast; that He, the Bread, might be hungry; that He, the 
Fountain, might thirst; that He, the Light, might sleep; that 
He, the Way, might be wearied by the journey; that He, 
the Truth, might be accused by false witnesses; that He, the 
Judge of the living and the dead, might be brought to trial 
by a mortal judge; that He, Justice, might be condemned 
by the unjust; that He, Discipline, might be scourged with 
whips; that He, the Grape, 2 might be crowned with thorns; 
that He, the Foundation, might be suspended upon a cross; 
that Courage might be weakened; that Security might be 
wounded; that Life might die. To endure these and similar 
indignities for us, to free us, unworthy creatures, He who 
'existed as the Son of God before all ages, without a beginning, 
deigned to become the Son of Man in these recent years. 
He did this although He who submitted to such great evils 

1 This extended exordium is prefixed to this sermon in several manu- 
scripts. Although its rather monotonous succession of balanced phrases 
seems to indicate the work of an assiduous disciple of St. Augustine, 
the content, vocabulary, and style resemble the other sermons so 
closely that it has been included here on the supposition that it may 
have been an unfinished preliminary sketch by St. Augustine. 

2 This metaphor by which Christ is represented under the imagery 
of the grape is developed at greater length in a previous sermon 
(137.13) , wherein St. Augustine says that the grapes referred to in 
'Numquid colligunt de spinis uvas' (Matt, 7.16.) are the words of 
truth issuing from the Pharisees in spite of the obstacles arising 
from their perverse deeds. In the present passage St. Augustine 
applies the same figure to the Word of God who was thwarted and 
opposed by the Pharisees. 


for our sake had done no evil and although we, who were 
the recipients of so much good at His hands, had done 
nothing to merit these benefits. Begotten by the Father, He 
was not made by the Father; He was made Man in the 
Mother whom He Himself had made, so that He might 
exist here for a while, sprung from her who could never and 
nowhere have existed except through His power. 

Thus the prediction of the Psalmist was fulfilled: Truth 
is sprung out of the earth.' 3 Mary, a virgin before concep- 
tion, remained a virgin after childbirth. Far be it that in 
this earth, that is, in the flesh out of which Truth has sprung, 
integrity should be marred. Indeed, after His Resurrection, 
when He was thought to be merely a spirit and not actually 
corporeal, He said: 'Feel me and see; for a spirit does not 
have flesh and bones as you see I have. 54 Nevertheless, the 
substance of His mature body passed through closed doors 
to His disciples. 5 Why, then, could He, who as a grown 
man was able to enter through closed portals, not pass 
through incorrupt members as an infant? To neither the 
one nor the other of these marvels do unbelievers wish to 
give their assent. Therefore, faith believes both, because 
infidelity believes neither. In truth, this is that type of un- 
belief which sees no divinity in Christ. Furthermore, if faith 
believes that God was born in the flesh, it does not doubt 
that the two miracles are possible to God, namely, that though 
the doors of the house were closed, He manifested His mature 
body to those within the house, and that as an infant He 
came forth, a spouse from His bride-chamber, that is, from 
the virginal womb, leaving His Mother's integrity inviolate. 6 

(2) The only-begotten Son of God deigned to take upon 
Himself a human nature drawn from a virgin so that He 
might thus link a spotless Church to Himself, its spotless 

3 Ps. 84.12. 

4 Luke 24.39. 

5 Cf. John 20.19. 

6 Cf. Ps. 18.6. 


Founder. In doing so He not only thought of virgins unde- 
filed in body, but He also desired that, in that Church which 
the Apostle Paul calls a virgin, the minds of all should be 
undefiled. Tor I betrothed you to one spouse, that I might 
present you a chaste virgin to Christ.' 7 The Church, there- 
fore, imitating the Mother of her Lord in mind, though not 
in body, is both mother and virgin. Since the virginity of 
His Mother was in no way violated in the birth of Christ, 
He likewise made His Church a virgin by ransoming her 
from the fornication of demons. You holy virgins, born of 
her undefiled virginity, who, scorning earthly nuptials, have 
chosen to be virgins in the flesh, rejoice now and celebrate 
with all solemnity the fecundity of the Virgin on this day. 
The Lord was, indeed, born of a woman, but He was con- 
ceived in her without man's co-operation. He who has offered 
to you this blessing of virginity to cherish did not deprive 
His Mother of that gift. Far be it that He who repairs in 
you the harm wrought by Eve should even in the slightest 
degree mar in His Mother Mary that virginity which you 
have prized. 

(3) She in whose footsteps you are following had no 
human intercourse when she conceived ; she remained a virgin 
when she brought forth her child. Imitate her as far as you 
can, not in her fecundity, because this is not in your power, 
but in the preservation of your virginity. She alone enjoyed 
both prerogatives; you have chosen one of them and you 
lose this one if you desire to possess both. She alone could 
be both virgin and mother because she brought forth the 
omnipotent Lord by whose power she thus miraculously 
conceived. It was fitting that the only-begotten Son of God 
alone should become the Son of Man in this way. Never- 
theless, the fact that Christ is the Son of only one virgin 
does not preclude any relation between you and Him. Indeed, 
you have gained as the spouse of your heart Him whom you 
could not bring forth as your child in the flesh. He is a 

7 2 Cor. 11.2. 


spouse whom your joy so cherishes as a redeemer that your 
virginity does not shrink from Him in fear of violation. For 
He who did not deprive His Mother of virginity by actual 
child-bearing preserves that virginity in you to a much greater 
degree in His spiritual embrace. Do not consider yourselves 
sterile because you remain virgins, for that holy integrity 
of the flesh conduces to fertility of the soul. Do as the Apostle 
directs. Since you do not ponder over the things of the world, 
wondering how you may please husbands, think about the 
things of the Lord and consider how you can please Him in all 
respects, 8 so that you may have offspring, not of the flesh, 
but of the soul, that is, of virtues. Finally, I address all here 
present; I speak to all; I include in my exhortations the whole 
Church, that chaste virgin whom the Apostle speaks of as 
espoused to Christ. 9 Do, in the inner chambers of your soul, 
what you view with amazement in the flesh of Mary. He 
who believes in his heart unto justice conceives Christ; he 
who with his mouth makes profession of faith unto salvation 
brings forth Christ. 10 Thus, in your souls, let fertility abound 
and virginity be preserved. 

Sermon 192 

( I ) On this day 'Truth is sprung out of the earth' j 1 Christ 
was born as Man. Rejoice as befits a great feast; reminded 
by this temporal day, consider the Eternal Day and desire 
eternal gifts with unfaltering hope; according to the privilege 
granted to you, presume to be the sons of God. For your 
sake the Maker of time has been made in time; for your 
sake the divine Architect of the world has appeared in 

8 Cf. 1 Cor, 7.32-35. 

9 Cf. 2 Cor. 11.2. 
10 CL Rom. 10.10. 

1 Ps. 84.12. 


human form; for your sake the Creator has been created. 
Why, O mortals, are you still delighted with passing trifles 
and why do you attempt to grasp this fleeting life, as if this 
could be done? A far brighter hope has now shone upon the 
earth as a pledge to mortal men of life in heaven. To gain 
credence in this promise an incredible event has been per- 
mitted. He who was God became Man in His effort to make 
godlike those who were men; without relinquishing what He 
was, He desired to become what He had made. He Himself 
fashioned what He would become, in that He added man's 
nature to God without losing God's nature in man. We 
marvel at the child-bearing of a virgin and we try to con- 
vince unbelievers of this unheard-of manner of birth wherein 
the fetal life began without seed, and the mother, without 
human intercourse, brought forth a son of man, whose father 
she did not embrace as man, and wherein the integrity of 
virginity remained intact in conception and incorrupt in 
parturition. God's power is wonderful but more marvelous 
is His mercy, for He, who was able to be born in this manner, 
wished to be so born. He who was born as the only Son of 
His Mother was already the only Son of His Father; He 
was fashioned as man by the Mother whom He Himself 
had made; existing eternally with His Father, He took a 
temporal existence from His Mother; created by His Mother 
after* His Mother, He was uncreated by His Father before 
all time; without Him the Father never existed; without 
Him His Mother would never have existed. 

(2) Rejoice, virgins of Christ, for the Mother of Christ 
is your associate. You could not have borne the Christ-Child, 
but for the love of Christ you have not desired to bear any 
child. He who was not born of you was born for you. How- 
ever, if you remember His words, as you should, you know 
that you are His mothers because you do the will of His 
Father. For He Himself has said : 'Whoever does the will of 
my Father ... he is my brother and sister and mother. 52 

2 CL Matt. 12.50. 


Rejoice, widows of Christ, for you have vowed the holiness 
of continency to Him who made your virginity fruitful. 
Rejoice, you who are chaste in marriage, living faithfully 
with your husbands; guard in your hearts what you have 
lost in body. Since physical integrity is no longer possible 
for you, let your conscience be intact in faith even as the 
whole Church is virginal. In Mary, consecrated virginity 
brought forth Christ; in Anna, aged widowhood recognized 
the little Christ; in Elizabeth, conjugal chastity and late fer- 
tility struggled for Christ. All classes of faithful members have 
brought to their Head what by His grace they were able to 
give. In like manner do you, because Christ is Truth and 
Peace and Justice, conceive Him in faith and show Him 
forth in works. Let your heart accomplish in the law of 
Christ what Mary's womb wrought in the flesh of Christ. 
How are you not included in the child-bearing of the Virgin 
since you are the members of Christ? Mary brought forth 
your Head; the Church, you His members. For the Church, 
too, is both mother and virgin: mother by the bowels of 
charity, virgin by the integrity of faith and piety. She brings 
forth diverse peoples, but they are members of Him whose 
body and spouse she is, and even in this respect she bears 
the likeness of the Virgin because in the midst of many she 
is the mother of unity. 

(3) Let us all, therefore, unanimously, with chaste minds 
and holy affections, celebrate this birthday of the Lord on 
which we came into being according to the words: 'Truth is 
sprung out of the earth.' 3 For the following passage of the 
same psalm has already been fulfilled. When He who sprang 
from this earth, that is, who was born of flesh, ascended into 
heaven, then without a doubt 'Justice hath looked down 
from heaven,' because He came from heaven and is above 
all men. 4 He Himself commends this justice in the words 
He used when promising the Holy Spirit: 'He will convict 

3 Ps. 84.12. 

4 Cf. John 3.31. 


the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment: of sin ? 
because they do not believe in me; of justice, because I go 
to the Father, and you will see me no more. 35 This is the 
justice which hath looked down from heaven for 'his. going 
out is from the end of heaven, and his circuit even to the 
end thereof. 56 Lest anyone should despise the Truth because 
He sprang from the earth when as a spouse He came forth 
from His bride-chamber, that is, from the virginal womb 
and when He, the Word of God, was united in an ineffable 
union with human nature I repeat, lest anyone should 
despise Him on that account and believe that Christ, al- 
though marvelous in His birth, and in His words and deeds, 
was, because of the likeness of sinful flesh, nothing more 
than man, the Psalmist, after saying: 'As a bridegroom 
coming out of his bride-chamber hath rejoiced as a giant 
to run the way, 5 immediately adds: 'His going out is from 
the end of heaven.' 7 Therefore, the words which you hear, 
'Truth is sprung out of the earth, 5 constitute an honor, not a 
mere condition; they are a mark of mercy, not of misery. 
Truth descended from heaven that He might spring forth 
from earth; His going out is from the end of heaven so that 
as a bridegroom He might proceed from His bride-chamber. 
Hence it is that He was born on the day which is the shortest 
in our earthly reckoning and from which subsequent days 
begin to increase in length. He, therefore, who bent low and 
lifted us up chose the shortest day, yet the one whence light 
begins to increase. By such a coming, though silent, He 
urged us, as with the sound of a mighty voice, to learn how 
to be rich in Him. who became poor for us; to accept freedom 
in Him who took the form of a slave for us; to possess 
heaven in Him who sprang from earth for us. 

5 John 16.8-10. 

6 Ps. 18.7. 

7 Ps. 18,6,7. 


Sermon 193 

(1) When the Gospel was read today, we heard the 
words of the angels through which the birth of Jesus Christ 
of the Virgin Mary was announced to the shepherds; 'Glory 
to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of 
good will.' 1 It was a jubilant and congratulatory message, not 
only for the one woman whose womb had given us this off- 
spring, but for the whole human race for which the Virgin 
had brought forth a Saviour. For it was fitting and proper 
that, instead of insignificant women with kindly services, 
angels with divine praises should do honor to the parturition 
of her who had brought forth the Lord of heaven and earth 
and who had remained inviolate after childbirth. Let us, 
then, who do not announce His birth to shepherds of flocks, 
but who celebrate it with His sheep, sing with as much jubila- 
tion as possible, with faithful heart and devoted voice : 'Glory 
to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of 
good will. 9 Let us consider in faith and hope and love these 
divine words, these praises of God, this angelic jubilation, 
this whole scene viewed with all possible profundity of 
thought. For, in proportion as we believe and hope and 
desire, we, too, shall be a source of additional glory to God 
in the highest when, after the resurrection of our spiritual 
body, we shall be lifted up in the clouds to meet Christ, 2 
on condition, of course, that we work for peace with good 
will while we are here on earth. This life is in the heavens 
because that is the abode of the living, and, wherever the 
Lord Himself is, there are good days and years without end. 
If any person desires this life and longs to see these good 
days, let him restrain his tongue from evil and his lips from 
deceit; let him turn from evil and do good; let him thus be 
a man of good will. Let him 'seek after peace and pursue 

1 Luke 2.14. 

2 Cf. 1 Thess. 4.17. 


it, 53 because 'peace on earth [is] among men of good will.' 
(2) But, O man, if you say: 'Behold, to wish is within 
my power, but I do not find the strength to accomplish what 
is good' ; if you are delighted 'with the law of God according 
to the inner man, but [you] see another law in [your] mem- 
bers, warring against the law of [your] mind and making 
[you] prisoner to the law of sin that is in [your] members,' 
hold fast to your good will and cry out in the following words 
of the Apostle: 'Unhappy man that I am! Who will deliver 
me from the body of this death? The grace of God through 
Jesus Christ our Lord. 34 For He is 'peace on earth among 
men of good will,' coming after the war in which 'the flesh 
lusts against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; . . . 
so that you do not do what you would,' since 'he himself 
is our peace, he it is who has made both one.' 5 Therefore, 
let your good will hold fast against evil desires and, in its 
faithful endurance, let it beg for the help of the grace of 
God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Though the law of its 
carnal members resists it and even overcomes it, let your 
good will implore this help; let it not trust in its own strength; 
let it, even in its weariness, not refuse to give praise. For 
He will be at hand to say to those whom He has seen trust- 
ing in Him: 'If you abide in my word, you shall be my 
disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth 
shall make you free.' He will be at hand, and His truth 
will free you from the body of this death. It is on that account 
that Truth, whose birthday we are celebrating, 'sprang forth 
from the earth' 7 that peace might be on earth among men 
of good will. For, who is capable of wishing and of accom- 
plishing what he wishes unless helped in the accomplishment 
by the inspiration of Him who, in calling us into being, 
gave us the power to wish? Everywhere His mercy anticipates 

3 Cf. Ps. 33.15; 1 Peter 3.10. 

4 Cf. Rom. 7.18-25. 

5 Gal. 5.17-19; Eph. 2.14. 

6 John 8.31-33. 

7 Cf, Ps. 84.12. 


our need so that we, who did not wish it, were called and 
now have the power of being able to do what we desire. 
Therefore, let us say to Him: C I have sworn and am deter- 
mined to keep the judgments of thy justice. 58 I am deter- 
mined, indeed, and because Thou hast commanded it, I have 
promised to obey. However, since I 'see another law in my 
members, warring against the law of my mind and making 
me prisoner to the law of sin that is in my members, 5 on that 
account C I have been humbled, O Lord, exceedingly: quicken 
thou me according to thy word.' 9 For 'to wish is within my 
power'; therefore, 'the free offerings of my mouth make 
acceptable, O Lord, 310 so that peace may be produced on 
earth among men of good will. Let us voice these words and 
any others which piety instructed by good reading may sug- 
gest, so that we may worthily celebrate the feast of the Lord 
who was born of the Virgin, beginning with good will and 
accomplishing it with the utmost charity poured forth in our 
hearts, not through our own efforts, but c by the Holy Spirit 
who has been given to us.' 11 

Sermon 194 

( 1 ) Hear, O sons of light, who have been received by 
adoption into the kingdom of God; hear, my very dear 
brethren; hear and be glad in the Lord, ye just ones, so that 
praise may become the upright. 1 Hear what you already 
know; reflect upon what you have heard; love what you 
believe; proclaim what you love. Since we are celebrating a 
great anniversary on this day, you may expect a sermon in 
keeping with the feast. Christ as God was bom of His Father, 

8 Ps. 118.106. 

9 Rom. 7,23; Ps. 118.107. 

10 Rom. 7.18; Ps. 118.108. 

11 Rom. 5.5. 

1 Cf. Ps. 32.1. 


as Man of His Mother; of the immortality of His Father, of 
the virginity of His Mother; of His Father without a mother, 
of His Mother without a father; of His Father without limits 
of time, of His Mother without seed; of His Father as the 
source of life, of His Mother as the end of death; of His 
Father ordering all days, of His Mother consecrating this 
particular day. 2 

(2) God sent John to earth as His human Precursor so 
that he was born when the days were becoming shorter while 
the Lord Himself was born when the days were growing 
longer, that in this minute detail the subsequent words of this 
same John might be prefigured : c He must increase, but I must 
decrease/ 3 For human life ought to grow weaker in itself 
and stronger in Christ, that e they who are alive may live no 
longer for themselves, but for him who died for all and rose 
again/ and that each one of us may say in the words of the 
Apostle: c lt is now no longer I that live, but Christ lives in 
me.' 4 For 'he must increase, but I must decrease.' 

All His angels worthily praise Him, for He is their ever- 
lasting food, nourishing them with an incorruptible feast. He 
is the Word of God, by whose life they live, by whose eternity 
they live forever, by whose goodness they live happily forever. 
They praise Him worthily, as God with God, and they render 
glory to God on high. May we, c his people and the sheep of 
his hand,' 5 reconciled to Him by our good will, merit peace 
in consideration of the limited measure of our weakness. For 
these words to which the angels themselves gave utterance in 
jubilation at the birth of our Saviour are their daily tribute: 
'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men 
of good will.' Therefore, they praise Him duly; let us praise 

2, The Louvain manuscript adds a lengthy passage here which, though 
pertinent in content, is Augustinian neither in vocabulary nor in 
style, Cassian, in De Incarnatione 7, assigns the passage, with apparent 
justification, to St. Ambrose or to one of the Ambrosian School. 
However, the unusual brevity of this first section and the abruptness 
of the transition to the second seem to indicate some sort of lacuna. 

3 John 3.30. 

4 Cf. 2 Cor. 5.15; Gal. 2.20. 

5 Cf. Ps. 94.7. 

6 Luke 2.14. 


Him in obedience. They are His messengers; we, His sheep. 
He filled their table in heaven; He filled our manger on 
earth. He is the fullness of their table because c in the begin- 
ning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the 
Word was God.' He is the fullness of our manger because 
"the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. 37 So that 
man might eat the Bread of angels the Creator of the angels 
became man. The angels praise Him by living; we, by be- 
lieving; they by enjoying, we by seeking; they by obtaining, 
we by striving to obtain; they by entering, we by knocking. 
(3) What human being could know all the treasures of 
wisdom and knowledge hidden in Christ and concealed under 
the poverty of His humanity? For, 'being rich, he became 
poor for our sake that by his poverty we might become rich.' 8 
When He assumed our mortality and overcame death, He 
manifested Himself in poverty, but He promised riches 
though they might be deferred; He did not lose them as if 
they were taken from Him. How great is the multitude of 
His sweetness which He hides from those who fear Him but 
which He reveals to those that hope in Him ! 9 For we under- 
stand only in part until that which is perfect comes to us. 
To make us worthy of this perfect gift, He, equal to the 
Father in the form of God, became like to us in the form 
of a servant, and refashions us into the likeness of God. The 
only Son of God, having become the Son of Man, makes 
many sons of men the sons of God; and on these men, reared 
as servants, with the visible form of servants, He bestows the 
freedom of beholding the form of God. For e we are the 
children of God, and it has not yet appeared what we shall 
be. We know that, when he appears, we shall be like to him, 
for we shall see him just as he is.' 10 What, then, are those 
treasures of wisdom and knowledge? What are those divine 
riches unless they be that which satisfies our longing? And 
what is that multitude of sweetness unless it be what fills us? 

7 John 1.1,14. 

8 Cf. 2 Cor. 8.9. 

9 Cf. Ps. 30.20. 
10 1 John 3.2. 


'Show us the Father and it is enough for us. 311 Furthermore, 
in one of the psalms, one of our race, either in our name or 
for our sake, said to Him: C I shall be satisfied when thy 
glory shall appear.' 12 But He and the Father are one, and 
the person who sees Him sees the Father also; 13 therefore, 
the Lord of hosts, he is the King of Glory. 314 Turning to us, 
He will show us His face and 'we shall be saved'; 15 we shall 
be satisfied, and He will be sufficient for us. 

(4) Therefore, let our heart speak thus to Him; C I have 
sought thy countenance; thy face, O Lord, will I still seek. 
Turn not away thy face from me. 316 And let Him reply to 
the plea of our hearts: 'He who loves me keeps my com- 
mandments; and he who loves me will be loved by my 
Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. 317 
Indeed, those to whom He addressed these words did see Him 
with their eyes; they heard the sound of His voice with their 
ears; they regarded Him as a man in their human heart. 
But, what eye has not seen, what ear has not heard, and 
what has not entered into the heart of man He promised 
to show to those who love Him. 18 Until this favor is granted 
to us, until He shows us what will completely satisfy us, 
until we drink to satiety of that fountain of life, while 
we wander about, apart from Him but strong in faith, while 
we hunger and thirst for justice, longing with an unspeakable 
desire for the beautiful vision of God, let us celebrate with 
fervent devotion His birthday in the form of a servant. Since 
we cannot, as yet, understand that He was begotten by the 
Father before the day-star, let us celebrate His birth of the 
Virgin in the nocturnal hours. Since we do not comprehend 
how His name existed before the light of the sun, let us 

11 John 14.8. 

12 Ps. 16,15. 

13 Cf. John 10.30; 14.9. 

14 Ps. 23.10. 

15 Cf. Ps. 79.4. 

16 Cf. Ps. 26.8-10. 

17 Cf. John 14.21. 

18 Cf. 1 Cor. 2.9. 


recognize His tabernacle placed in the sun. Since we do not, 
as yet, gaze upon the Son inseparably united with His Father, 
let us remember Him as the 'bridegroom coming out of his 
bride-chamber. 319 Since we are not yet ready for the banquet 
of our Father, let us grow familiar with the manger of our 
Lord Jesus Christ. 

Sermon 195 

( 1 ) Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is likewise 
the Son of Man, Born of the Father without a mother, He 
created every day; born of His Mother, without a father, 
He consecrated this day; invisible in His divine nativity, 
visible in His human birth, marvelous in both. Hence, it 
is difficult to determine to which birth the Prophet referred 
when he said: 'Who shall declare his generation?' 1 It is 
difficult to judge whether Isaias spoke of that nativity where- 
by, though never unborn, He had a co-eternal Father, or 
that whereby He was born in time of. the Mother whom 
He had already made; or whether Isaias meant that nativity 
whereby He was always born since He always existed. For 
who will declare how Light is born of Light and how both 
constitute but one Light; how God is born of God without 
increasing the number of gods; how the statement is made 
that He was born, as if one were speaking of an accom- 
plished event when, in that nativity, time neither elapsed, 
becoming past; nor progressed, becoming future; nor was it 
present as though it were being made up to that moment 
and was not yet completed? Therefore, who shall declare 
this generation when what is to be declared remains superior 
to the limits of time, while the speech of the one who makes 
the declaration passes in time? And who will declare that 

19 Cf. Ps. 71.17; 18.6. 
1 Isa. 53.8. 


other generation of the Virgin, in which conception took 
place without seed and in which parturition brought fullness 
to her when she nourished but did not deprive her of integrity 
when she gave birth? 'Who shall declare his generation' in 
either or both of these nativities? 

(2) This is the Lord our God; this Man, our Saviour, is 
the mediator between God and man. Born of the Father, 
He created His Mother; formed as Man in His Mother, 
He glorified His Father. He is the only Son of the Father 
without woman's parturition; the only Son of His Mother, 
without man's co-operation. Surpassing all the sons of men 
in beauty, 2 He, the Son of holy Mary and the Spouse of 
holy Church, has made the Church like to His Mother, 
since He made it a mother for us and He kept it a virgin 
for Himself. To the same Church the Apostle says: Tor I 
have betrothed you to one spouse, that I might present you 
as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 Elsewhere he says that our 
mother is not a handmaid but free, and that the children 
of the desolate are more numerous than of the one who has 
a husband, 3 The Church, then, like Mary, has inviolate 
integrity and incorrupt fecundity. What Mary merited phys- 
ically, the Church has guarded spiritually, with the exception 
that Mary brought forth one Child, while the Church has 
many children destined to be gathered into one body by One. 

(3) This is the day on which He by whom the world was 
made came into the world; it is the day He became present 
In the flesh although He was never absent in spirit; He was 
in this world and He came unto His own; He was in the 
world but He passed without notice because the light shone 
*in the darkness and the darkness grasped it not.' 4 Therefore, 
He came in the flesh intending to cleanse the vices of the 
flesh. He came, clothed in healing human clay, to cure our 
interior eyes which our outer earthy vesture had blinded, so 
that, with soundness of vision restored, we who had before 

2 Cf. Ps. 44.3. 

3 2 Cor, 11.2; cf. Gal. 4.26-28. 

4 Cf. John 1.10-12,5. 


been darkness might become a shining light in the Lord, 5 
and so that the Light might no longer shine in darkness but 
might be clearly envisaged by those perceiving it. For this 
purpose, He came forth as a bridegroom from His bride- 
chamber and 'hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way.' 6 
Comely as a bridegroom, strong as a giant; amiable and 
terrible, severe and serene; beautiful to the good, stem to 
the evil remaining in the bosom of His Father, He took 
possession of the womb of His Mother. In this bride-chamber, 
that is, in the womb of the Virgin, He united human to 
divine nature. The Word was made flesh for us so that, 
coming forth from His Mother, He might dwell among us 7 
and so that, going forth to His Father, He might prepare 
a dwelling place for us. Therefore, let us joyfully and sol- 
emnly celebrate this day; let us earnestly desire the Eternal 
Day through Him who, though eternal Himself, was born 
in time for us. 

Sermon 196 

(1) Today, the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ has 
dawned in festive splendor for us. It is His birthday, the day 
on which the Eternal Day was born. And hence it is this 
day because from this day forward the length of the day 
increases. Our Lord had two nativities : one divine, the other, 
human; both marvelous; the one without a woman as 
mother, the other without a man as father. Hence, the words 
of the Prophet Isaias may be applied to both generations: 
'Who shall declare his generation? 1 Who would worthily 
tell of a God generating [His Son]? Who would worthily 
relate the parturition of a virgin? The former generation 

5 Cf. Eph. 5.8. 

6 Ps. 18.6. 

7 Cf. John 1.14. 

1 Isa. 53.8. 


took place without the limits of time; the latter, on a definite 
day in time. Both happened without human calculation, and 
both are viewed with intense admiration. Consider that first 
generation: 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word 
was with God; and the Word was God.' 2 Whose Word? 
That of the Father Himself. What Word? The Son Himself. 
Never did the Father exist without the Son, yet He who was 
never without the Son generated that Son. He generated 
Him, yet the Son had no beginning, for there is no beginning 
for Him who was generated without beginning. Nevertheless, 
He is the Son and He was generated. Someone is going to 
say: 'How was He generated if He had ho beginning? If 
He was generated, He has a beginning; if he has no begin- 
ning, then, how was He generated?' I do not know how this 
happened. Do you ask me, a mere man, how God was 
generated? I am troubled by your question, but I have re- 
course to the words of the Prophet: 'Who shall declare his 
generation? 3 Come with me to [a consideration of] that human 
generation; come with me to that in which He 'emptied 
himself, taking the nature of a slave, 33 come, to see if we 
can comprehend it, to see if we can speak about it. For 
who would grasp the significance of: 'Who though He was 
by nature God, did not consider being equal to God a thing 
to be clung to 5 ? 4 Who would understand that? Who would 
worthily ponder it? Whose mind would dare to investigate 
it? Whose tongue would have the temerity to utter a decision 
concerning it? Whose thought can encompass it? Meanwhile, 
let us lay aside this problem as being too weighty for us. 
But, so that it would not be too weighty for us, He 'emptied 
himself, taking the nature of a slave and being made like 
unto men,' Where? In the Virgin Mary. Then, let us say 
something if we have any power of utterance. The angel 
announces; the Virgin hears, believes, conceives, faith in her 

2 John i.l. 

3 Phil. 2.7. 

4 Phil. 2.6. 


mind, Christ in her womb. A virgin has conceived you are 
amazed; a virgin has brought forth a child you are more 
amazed; after childbirth she has remained a virgin there- 
fore 'Who shall declare his generation?' 

( 2 ) I am going to say something that will please you, my 
very dear brethren. There are three states of life pursued by 
the members of the Church of Christ : marriage, widowhood, 
and virginity. Because those states, those different manifesta- 
tions of purity, were destined to be found in the holy mem- 
bers of Christ, all three states of life gave witness to Christ. 
In the first place, the conjugal state bore this witness, for, 
when the Virgin Mary conceived, Elizabeth, the wife of 
Zachary, having already conceived, bore in her womb the 
herald of this Judge. Holy Mary came to Elizabeth to greet 
her cousin. Thereupon, the infant in Elizabeth's womb leaped 
for joy. He exulted; she prophesied. 5 Here you have conjugal 
purity bearing witness to Christ. Where did the state of 
widowhood bear such witness? In the case of Anna. When 
the Gospel was read recently, you heard that Anna was a 
holy widow with prophetic powers who, having lived seven 
of her eighty-four years with her husband, was constantly 
in the Temple, worshiping in prayer both night and day. 
She, a widow, recognized Christ, She saw a tiny babe; she 
recognized the great God and she bore Him witness. 6 You 
have, then, in her an illustration of the state of widowhood. 
In Mary herself we have an illustration of the virginal state. 
Let each one choose for himself which of these three states 
he will. Whoever has elected to live outside these states does 
not make provision for his inclusion in the members of 
Christ. Let not those women who are married say: 'We do 
not belong to Christ, 5 for holy women have had husbands. 
Let not those women who are virgins boast; let them, rather, 
humble themselves in all things in proportion to their great- 

5 Cf. Luke 1.39-56. 

6 Cf. Luke 2.36-39. 


ness. 7 You have all the instances of sanctification set before 
your eyes. Let no one turn aside from these bounds. Let 
no one turn away from his wife; it is better to be without a 
wife. If you seek conjugal chastity, you have Susanna; if 
chastity of widowhood, you have Anna; if virginity, you 
have Mary. 

(3) The Lord Jesus wished to become man for our sake. 
Wisdom lies upon this earth ; let not His mercy become worth- 
less. c ln the beginning was the Word, and the Word was 
with God; and the Word was God.' O Food and Bread of 
angels! The angels are filled by Thee; they are sated, yet 
they do not draw away from Thee. They live by Thee; they 
are wise in Thee; they are happy because of Thee. And 
where art Thou for my sake? In a narrow dwelling, in 
swaddling clothes, in a manger. For whom [dost Thou 
endure] all this? He who guides the stars is nourished at the 
breast, but He fills the angels; He speaks in the bosom of the 
Father, but He is silent in the womb of His Mother. As He 
advances in age, however, He will speak to us; He will 
finish the Gospel for us. For us He will suffer and die; He 
will rise again in token of our reward; He will ascend into 
heaven before the eyes of His disciples; He will come to the 
judgment from heaven. Behold, He who lay in the manger 
demeaned but did not destroy Himself; He took upon Him- 
self what He was not but He remained what He was. Behold, 
we have the Infant Christ; let us grow up in Him. 

(4) Let these thoughts be sufficient for your Charity, be- 
cause it is fitting for me to say something to the crowds whom 
I see gathered here for the feast. The first of January is near 
at hand. You are all Christians; 8 by the grace of God, the 

7 Cf. Eccli. 3.20. 

8 Because of this statement some persons question whether St. Augus- 
tine was the author of this sermon on the grounds that he certainly 
would know that there were Manichaeans, Donatists, and other her- 
etics at Hippo in his clay. However, since the term 'Catholic' is not 
used, and since St. Augustine in various places includes Manichaeans 
and Donatists among Christians, the objection seems to lack support. 


state is Christian although there are two classes of people 
in it, that is, Christians and Jews. Let not those things be 
done which God hates: injustice in games, wickedness in 
jest. Let not men make themselves judges, lest they fall into 
the hands of the true Judge. Hearken, O Christians, you are 
the members of Christ. Consider what you are; ponder at 
what price you have been bought. Finally, if you wish to 
know what you are doing, I address myself to those who are 
doing evil. I beg you, to whom those actions are now dis- 
pleasing, not to repeat them to your own harm. And I speak 
to those who still do wrong and take pleasure in it. Do you 
wish to know what you are doing and what great sorrow 
you are bringing upon us? The Jews do that. I beg you to 
be too ashamed to do so. On the birthday of John the Baptist 
six months ago (for the two birthdays of the herald and 
of the Judge are six months apart), in celebration of a 
pagan superstition, Christians came to the sea and there they 
baptized themselves. I was absent, but I later learned that, 
in accordance with the instructions of the Christians, the 
priests, being disturbed, inflicted a well-deserved ecclesiastical 
chastisement on certain individuals. Then some of these men 
murmured and said: 'What great crime was committed that 
it should be reported against us? If we had been instructed, 
we would not have done it. If the priests had forewarned 
us, we would not have acted thus. 3 Listen, your bishop now 
forewarns you. I admonish you; I tell you in public; I threaten 
you. May you hearken to your bishop when he gives a com- 
mand; may you hearken when he admonishes you; may you 
hearken when he begs you; may you hearken when he im- 
plores you, I swear by Him who was born today; I adjure 
you; I constrain you; let no one do this evil. I absolve myself 
from blame. It is better for me to be heard warning you 
than to feel compunction. 


Sermon 197 1 
Against the Pagans, on the First of January 

HE WRATH OF God is revealed from heaven against 
all ungodliness.' Whose ungodliness, if not that of 
the Jews and Gentiles? Lest any one should object,, 
saying: c Why against the ungodliness of the Gentiles? The 
Gentiles have never received the Law and have they become 
transgressors? The wrath of God is rightly directed at the 
Jews, since the Law was given to them and they have refused 
to observe it. But it was not given to the Gentiles [I give 
my answer]. Consider the passage, my brethren, and under- 
stand that the Apostle declares that all men are indicted, that 
all need the salvation and mercy of the Lord. Tor the wrath 
of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and 
wickedness of those men who in wickedness hold back the 
truth of God.' Note that he does not say: 'who do not 
possess the truth,' but c who in wickedness hold back the 
truth.' And, as though he anticipated your question: How 
can they, who have not received the Law, possess the truth?' 
he continues: seeing that what may be known about God 
is manifest to them.' And how could that which may be 

1 This sermon and the following are poorly organized and seem rather 
fragmentary, yet the style is that of St. Augustine. 



known about God be manifest to those who have not received 
the Law? He goes on to say: Tor since the creation of the 
world his invisible attributes are clearly seen his everlasting 
power also and divinity being understood through the things 
that are made. 3 As we listen, the passage/ now understood, 
becomes clear. For why would one notice works and not seek 
the Workman? You direct your attention to the productive 
soil; you see the water full of its aquatic animals; you note 
that the air is beaten by winged creatures; you gaze at the 
heavens studded with stars; finally, you notice other mani- 
festations of power and do you not seek the Maker of so 
glorious a creation? But you say to me: e l see these visible 
works; I do not see the Maker.' But God gave you your 
bodily eyes to see His works and your mind to see Him. 
Neither do you see the soul of man. Therefore, as you re- 
cognize the existence of the soul, which you do not see, from 
the movements and management of the body, so from the 
management of those very souls and from the administration 
of the whole world recognize the Creator. 

However, it is not enough to understand. For those per- 
sons understood, of whom the Apostle says: 'Although they 
knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give thanks, 
but became vain in their reasonings, and their senseless minds 
have been darkened. 3 By what fault [did this happen] except 
that of pride? For see the next passage: c While professing 
to be wise, they have become fools.' They should not have 
arrogated to themselves what He had given them, nor should 
they have vaunted what they possessed, not from their own 
efforts, but from Him. This acknowledgment ought to have 
been given to God in order that, to possess what they could 
see, they might be healed by Him who had granted them 
the power to see. If they would act thus they would safe- 
guard humility, they would make their exoneration possible, 

2 The entire passage is Rom. 1.18-25. 


and they would live in harmony with that most blessed con- 
templation. But because they were proud, a false, deceptive, 
and haughty spirit interposed itself and, promising that their 
souls would be cleansed through some measures agreeable 
to their pride, made them worshipers of demons. Hence 
came all those sacred rites which are celebrated by the pagans 
and which they say are sufficient to cleanse their souls. 

Hear what the Apostle says in regard to the people who 
have received these evils as a reward of their pride. Because 
they have not honored God as He deserves to be honored, 
St. Paul says: 'They have changed the glory of the incor- 
ruptible God for an image made like to corruptible man.' 
Now, those images are statues and such objects bearing the 
likeness of man which are possessed by all the Greeks and 
other nations. In truth, there is no greater or more superstitious 
idolatry than that of the Egyptians, for Egypt has flooded 
the world with such statues as the Apostle mentions when 
to the words, 'for an image made like to corruptible man/ 
he adds 'and to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping 
things.' My brethren, have you ever seen in the temples an 
image with the head of a dog or bull, and the representations 
of other irrational animals? These are the idols of the Egyp- 
tians. Referring to both kinds of images, the Apostle says: 
'an image made like to corruptible man and to birds and 
four-footed beasts and creeping things. Therefore God has 
given them up in the lustful desires of their heart to unclean- 
ness, so that they dishonor their own bodies among them- 
selves.' These evils arise from the ungodliness of pride. More- 
over, because these sins originate in pride, they are not only 
sins but punishments. For, when the Apostle says: 'God has 
given them up,' there is already question of vengeance in 
the fact that they perpetrate these evils. 'They who exchanged 
the truth of God for a lie.' What does this mean: 'They 
exchanged the truth of God for a lie'? Obviously, it means 
they substituted the 'image made like to corruptible man 
and to birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things/ 


Lest any one of his hearers should say: I do not worship 
the image but what the images signify,' St. Paul adds Im- 
mediately: 'and they worshiped and served the creature 
rather than the Creator. 3 Understand this well. They are 
worshiping an image or a creature. He who worships an 
image exchanges the truth of God for a lie. For, the sea is 
a truth, but Neptune is a lie fabricated by man when the 
truth of God was exchanged for a lie, because God made 
the sea, whereas man made the image of Neptune. Likewise, 
God made the sun, but man, by fashioning an image of the 
sun, exchanges the truth of God for a lie. Hence, lest these 
people should say: 'I do not worship an image; I worship 
the sun/ the Apostle continued: 'They worshiped . . . the 
creature rather than the Creator. 3 

But, perhaps, some one will say: 'Although the Lord 
Himself was born in lowly circumstances, He wished to make 
much of the nobility of His disciples. 3 He did not choose kings 
or senators or philosophers or orators; on the contrary, He 
selected common people, the poor, the unlearned, fishermen. 
Although Cyprian was an orator, Peter was a fisherman. If 
the fisherman had not come first in all fidelity, the orator 
would not have followed in all humility. Let no lowly person 
despair; let him hold fast to Christ and his hope will not go 

What was it that Simon desired except to be praised be- 
cause of the miraculous power [which he coveted] and to 
be lifted up in the pride which impelled him to think that 
the gift of the Holy Spirit could be bought with gold? 3 In 
opposition to this pride the Apostle, by persevering in his 
humility, although glowing with zeal [like the sun] at midday 
and shining as a light by his prudence, said: 4 'Neither he 
who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who 
gives the growth. 3 He had previously stated : C I have planted, 
Apollos watered, but God has given the growth,' and in 

3 Cf. Acts 8.18. 

4 1 Cor, 3.7,6; 1.13. 


another passage: 'Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you 
baptized in the name of Paul? 3 See how he shrinks from 
being esteemed in place of Christ and how averse he is to 
appear as a spouse to an unfaithful soul! Does it not seem 
great to plant and to x water? Nevertheless, he says : 'Neither 
he who plants is anything, nor he who waters.' What did 
he fear when he said that his efforts were as nothing in 
promoting the salvation of those whom he desired to build 
up in Christ? 

The Apostle wished the hope of his hearers to be centered, 
not in himself, but in the truth which he was presenting. 
What was being brought to them through his instrumentality 
was better than he through whom it was being presented. 
He says : 'Even if we, 'and, as if that were not strong enough, 
hear his subsequent words: c or an angel from heaven should 
preach a gospel to you other than that which you have re- 
ceived, let him be anathema.' 5 For he envisaged the possi- 
bility of a false messenger transforming himself into an angel 
of light and announcing a false message. Therefore, just as 
proud men wish to be adored as God, to arrogate to them- 
selves whatever credit they can get, to be spoken highly of, 
and, if possible, to surpass Christ Himself in glory, so the 
Devil and his angels do likewise. The Donatists 6 consider 

5 Cf. Gal. 1.8. 

6 The Donatists were a schismatical sect that came into existence in 
Northern Africa in the wake of the persecution of Diocletian, when 
certain rigorists claimed that the validity of the sacraments depended 
on the moral character of the minister, and that sinners could not be 
members of the Church. This conflict between the intransigence of 
the Northern Africans and the wisdom and moderation of the Church 
of Christ was precipitated by the refusal of Donatus, Bishop of 
Carthage, to recognize the consecration of a fellow bishop, Caecilian, 
on the grounds that it had been conferred by a bishop who, during 
the persecution, had handed the Scriptures to the pagans, thus com- 
mitting a grievous sin. The Donatists, as they were called, were op- 
posed by Pope Miltiades in 313, by the bishops assembled in the 
Council of Aries in 314, and by Emperor Constantine the Great in 
316. Nevertheless, the sect continued to spread throughout Northern 
Africa until the advent of St. Augustine, who combatted it over a period 
of twenty years. Through his efforts a conference was held at Carthage 


Donatus as Christ. If they should hear a pagan slandering 
Christ, they would very likely bear it more patiently than if 
they heard like abuse of Donatus. 

Because Christ Himself speaks in his holy ones, the Apostle 
says: 7 Do you seek a proof of the Christ who speaks 
in me?' And although he says: 'Neither he who plants is 
anything, nor he who waters; but God who gives the growth/ 
because he wished God to be loved in him and not himself, 
nevertheless he acknowledges the services of certain Galatians 
in the words: 'You received me as an angel of God, even as 
Christ Jesus. 3 Hence, in all His saints is He to be cherished 
who says: C I was hungry and you gave me to eat.' 8 He 
does not say 'You gave them to eat/ but 'You gave me to 
eat.' Such is the love of the Head for His Body! 

What is Juno? 'Juno/ they answer, 'is the air.' For a long 
time [paganism] has called upon us to worship the sea under 
an earthy representation; now we are summoned to worship 
the air. They are merely the elements of which this world 
consists. Therefore, the Apostle Paul in his Epistle says: 'See 
to it that no one deceives you by philosophy and vain deceit. 
( . . according to the elements of the world.' 9 Here he refers 
to those who set forth idols to presumably intellectual persons. 
Hence, when he says 'philosophy/ he adds directly, 'accord- 
ing to the elements of the world/ giving warning that the 
faithful should be on their guard against certain persons, 
not so much as the worshipers of idols, but as the learned 
interpreters of signs. 

in 411, at which the Donatists were confounded. Their churches were 
then seized and those who refused to abjure their error were exiled. 
Cf. P. Amann, The Church of the Early Centuries (St. Louis 1930) 
134-138, 180-184. 

7 2 Cor. 13.3; 1 Cor. 3.7; Gal. 4.14. 

8 Matt. 25.35. 

9 Col. 2.8. 


Sermon 198 

(1) My brethren, seeing that you have gathered together 
today as for a solemn feast and that you have come in greater 
numbers than usual, I admonish you in your devotedness to 
remember what you have just sung so that your voice may 
not resound while your heart is silent, but, rather, that what 
you have uttered for one another's ears may reach the ears 
of God. For this is what you sang: 'Save us, O Lord our 
God: and gather us from among the nations: that we may 
give thanks to Thy holy name. 51 Now, if this feast of the 
pagans which is celebrated today with such joy of the world 
and of the flesh, with the singing of meaningless and base 
songs, with banquets and shameful dances, if these things 
which the pagans do in the celebration of this false festival 
do not please you, then you shall be gathered from among 
the nations. 

(2) Yes, indeed, you have sung this psalm and its echo is 
still sounding in our ears: 'Save us, O Lord our God: and 
gather us from among the nations. 3 Who can be gathered 
from among the nations without being saved? Therefore, 
those who are intermingled with the pagans are not saved; 
those are saved who are gathered from among them, in the 
salvation of faith, in the salvation of the spirit, in the salva- 
tion of the promises of God. Hence, he who believes, "hopes, 
and loves must not, on that account, be assured of salvation. 
For what he believes, what he hopes, and what he loves 
make a difference. No one lives in any type of life without 
those three movements of the soul, that is, of believing, 
hoping, loving. If you do not believe what the pagans believe, 
if you do not hope for what they hope for, if you do not 
love what they love, then you are gathered from among the 
pagans; you are removed from them; that is, you are se- 
parated from the nations. Let not mere physical association 
alarm you when you are separated in mind. For what greater 

1 Ps. 105.47. 


separation can there be than that they believe in demons as 
gods while you believe in Him who is the one and true God; 
that they hope in the vanities of this passing age but you, 
in eternal life with Christ; that they love this world but 
you, the Creator of the world? Let him, therefore, who 
believes, hopes, and loves something other than these people 
prove it by his life and show it by his deeds. Are you going 
to take part in a celebration of the New Year? Are you, 
just like a pagan, going to play dice and become intoxicated 
when you believe, hope, and love otherwise? How can you 
then sing with an open countenance: c Save us, O Lord our 
God: and gather us from among the nations'? 

For you are segregated from the pagans; associated with 
them physically, you are unlike them in your way of life. 
See how marked this separation is if only you make it so, if 
only you prove it. For our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of 
God, who became Man for our sake, paid a price for us. 
He gave Himself as a price and He did so for this purpose, 
namely, to redeem and to separate you from the pagans. But, 
if you wish to intermingle with the pagans, you do not wish 
to follow Him who redeemed you. Moreover, you intermingle 
with the pagans in your life, your deeds, your heart, by 
believing, hoping, and loving as they do. Then you are un- 
grateful to your Redeemer; you do not appreciate your pur- 
chase price, the blood of the Immaculate Lamb. Therefore, 
in order to follow your Redeemer, who bought you back 
with His own blood, do not mix with the pagans by aping 
their customs and deeds. When they give gifts; do you give 
alms. They are called away by songs of license; you, by the 
discourses of the Scriptures. They run to the theatre; you, to 
the church. They become intoxicated; do you fast. If you 
are not able to fast today, at least dine with moderation. If 
you have acted thus, then you have rightly sung: 'Save us, O 
Lord our God: and gather us from among the nations. 5 

(3) Many will wrestle in their hearts today with the word 
which they have heard, for I said: 'Do not give gifts, but 


give to the poor.' It is not enough merely to give you should 
give generously. Do you not wish to give more? Well, just 
give. But you object: 'When I give New Year's gifts, I 
myself give to myself. 3 What then? Do you receive nothing 
when you give to the poor? You surely would not believe 
what the pagans believe; you surely would not hope for what 
the pagans hope for. But if you say that you get nothing 
when you have given to the poor, you have become one of 
the pagans and without justification you have sung: 'Save 
us, O Lord our God : and gather us from among the nations.' 
Do not be unmindful of that passage which says: 'He that 
giveth to the poor shall not want.' 2 Have you already for- 
gotten what the Lord is going to say to those who have given 
alms to the poor: 'Come, blessed of my Father, take possession 
of the Kingdom/ and what He will say to those who have 
not given alms: 'Cast them into everlasting fire 3 ? 3 Here at 
this moment, those who gladly heard what the Lord said are 
standing with those who were not so glad to hear it. 

Now, I speak to the true Christians. If you believe, hope, 
and love otherwise [than the pagans do], then live other- 
wise and gain approval for your distinctive faith, hope, and 
charity by distinctive actions. Hearken to the Apostle when, 
in earnest admonition, he says: 'Do not bear the yoke with 
unbelievers. For what has justice in common with iniquity? 
Or what fellowship has light with darkness? ... Or what part 
has the believer with the unbeliever? And what agreement 
has the temple of God with idols? 54 Elsewhere he also says: 
*What the pagans sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to 
God; and I would not have you become associates of devils. 35 
The customs [of the pagans] delight their gods. However, 
he who said 'I would not have you become associates of 
devils' wished his hearers to be separated in their way of 

2 Prov. 28.27. 

3 Matt. 25.34; cf. 25.41. 

4 2 Cor. 6.14-16. 

5 1 Cor. 10.20. 


life and in morals from those who served demons. For such 
demons are pleased with misleading songs, with worthless 
shows, with the varied foulness of the theatre, with the 
frenzy of the games, with the cruelty of the amphitheatre, 
with the violent contests of those who undertake strife and 
controversy provocative even of hostility in their support of 
noxious characters, for instance, of an actor in a mime, a 
play, or a pantomime, of a charioteer, or of a hunter. By 
acting in this way they, as it were, offer incense to the demons 
within their hearts. For the deceptive spirits rejoice in seduc- 
tion; they feast upon the evil customs and the notoriously vile 
life of those whom they have misled and entrapped. c But 
you/ says the Apostle, 'have not so learned Christ for surely 
you have heard of him and have been taught in him.' 'Do 
not, then, become partakers with them. For you were once 
darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk, then, 
as children of light,' 6 so that we, too, who preach the word 
of the Lord to you, may with you and because of you rejoice 
in perpetual light. 

6 Eph. 4.21; 5.7-9. 


Sermon 199 
On the Epiphany of the Lord 

(1) Recently we celebrated the day on which Christ was 
born among the Jews; today we celebrate the day on which 
He was adored by the Gentiles. Tor salvation is from the 
Jews/ but this salvation is c even to the farthest part of the 
earth.' 1 For, on that day shepherds adored; on this day. 
Magi. To the former., angels made the announcement; a star 
brought the good tidings to the latter. Both groups were 
enlightened from heaven so that, when they saw the King 
of heaven on earth, there might be 'glory to God in the 
highest, and on earth peace among men of good will/ 3 Tor 
he himself is our peace, he it is who has made both one.' 3 
To the one group, the Infant at birth is shown as the chief 
cornerstone announced by the Prophet; 4 to the other group 
He is manifested at the very outset of His career. He has 
already begun to weld together in Himself the two walls 
originally set in different directions, bringing shepherds from 
Judea and Magi from the East so 'that of the two he 

1 John 4.22; Isa. 49.6. 

2 Luke 2.14. 

3 Eph. 2.14. 

4 Cf. Isa. 28.16. 



might create in himself a new man, and make peace , . . 
peace to those who were afar off, and peace to those who 
were near/ 5 Hence, though the shepherds coming from near 
at hand on the very day of His birth and the Magi coming 
from afar on this day have marked two days as worthy of 
commemoration by posterity, they both saw the one and 
only Light of the world. 

On this day, however, we must pay tribute to those men 
whom faith led to Christ from far distant regions. They 
came in search of Him, saying: 'Where is he that is born 
king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East and 
have come to worship him.' 6 They announce and they ques- 
tion; they believe and they seek, as it were, foreshadowing 
those who walk in faith and who long for reality. Were 
not other kings of the Jews born at various other times in 
Judea? Why is it that strangers recognize this King by a 
sign in the heavens and seek Him on earth; that He is 
resplendent on high, though here He lies in a lowly bed? 
The Magi see a star in the East and they know that a King 
has been born in Judea. Who is that King, so small and so 
mighty, not yet speaking on earth and already issuing com- 
mands in heaven? In truth [He did this] for us, in His desire 
that we might learn about Him from the sacred Scriptures, 
and for the Magi, that they might believe in Him from His 
prophecies even though He had given them so bright a sign 
in the heavens and had revealed to their hearts that He was 
born in Judea. For, in seeking the place where He whom 
they desired to see and to adore was born, they had to contact 
the leaders of the Jews, so that these unfaithful men, wit- 
tingly deceptive but unwittingly truthful, might give evidence 
to the faithful about the grace of faith, evidence drawn from 
holy Scripture which they carried on their lips but not in 
their hearts. How wonderful it would have been if these 
leaders of the Jews, when they had heard from the Magi 

5 Cf. Eph. 2.14-20. 

6 Matt. 2.2. 


that under the guidance of the star they had come desiring 
to adore Him, had associated themselves with the searchers 
for Christ, had led them to Bethlehem, which they had 
pointed out from the sacred books, and had seen, understood, 
and adored Him along with them? Instead, after directing 
others to the fountain of life, they preferred to die of thirst. 
They became, as it were, milestones to these strangers; they 
indicated the path to the travelers but they remained motion- 
less and immovable. The Magi sought in order to find; Herod 
sought only to destroy. The Jews read the name of the city 
of His birth, but did not know the time of His coming. Con- 
fronted with the devoted love of the Magi and the cruel 
fear of Herod, the Jews, having pointed out Bethlehem, 
withdrew. Nevertheless, they would later deny the Christ 
who has born there, whom they did not seek at His birth, 
but whom they afterwards saw; they would kill Him, not 
as an infant, but later when they had heard Him speak. 
Happier far the ignorance of the babes whom Herod in his 
terror persecuted than the knowledge of those whom he in 
his anxiety consulted. Children not yet capable of confessing 
Christ could suffer for Him; they who could point out the 
city of His birth did not follow the truth enunciated by Him 
as a teacher. 

( 2 ) A star led the Magi to the exact spot where God the 
Word was born. Here may confusion overtake that impious 
ignorance and, if I may use the expression, that unlearned 
learning, which considers that Christ was born in accordance 
with the movements of the stars because it is written in the 
Gospel that the Magi saw His star in the East when He was 
born. This would not be true even if the birth of men were 
determined by a decree of this sort, because men are not 
born of their own will as was the Son of God, but by a 
condition imposed by their mortal nature. Moreover, so far 
from the truth is this statement that the birth of Christ was 
determined by the course of the stars that anyone who really 
believes in Christ is convinced that no man is born in this 


fashion. Let deluded men say what their ignorance fabricates 
about the birth of men; let them deny the free will by which 
they sin and invent the existence of a driving force by which 
they defend their sins; let them attempt to trace to the 
heavens the vicious traits which cause them to be scorned 
even on earth by their fellow men, and let them untruthfully 
say that these traits originate in the heavens. Let each one 
who is so minded not only see how his own life will have to 
be regulated but let him consider how his household is going 
to be ruled, since, by subscribing to these opinions, he is not 
permitted to punish his own servants who do wrong in his 
house without first being obliged to blaspheme his gods re- 
splendent in the heavens. Nevertheless, these persons, in spite 
of their own senseless conjectures and in spite of their books, 
which, far from being prophetic, are definitely false, cannot 
believe that Christ's birth was determined by any astrological 
decree, because the Magi saw the star in the East only after 
Christ was born. 

Hence, Christ appeared as the Master with power over 
the star rather than as one subject to its influence, since the 
star did not hold to the shining course of the other constel- 
lations in the heavens, but, to the persons seeking Christ, 
pointed out the path which led directly to the place where 
He had been born. Wherefore, the star itself did not, in 
wondrous fashion, cause Christ to live, but Christ, in won- 
drous wise, caused the star to appear; the star did not deter- 
mine the marvels of Christ's birth, but Christ determined 
the appearance of the star among His other miracles. For 
He, born of the Father, had made heavens and earth; on 
being born of a Mother, He showed the earth a new con- 
stellation. When He was born, a new light was unveiled in 
a star; when He died, the ancient light of the sun was veiled. 
At His birth, the heavens became bright with new lustre; 
at His death, the lower regions trembled with new fear; at 
His Resurrection, the disciples burned with new love; at His 
Ascension, the heavens opened in a new act of homage. Let 


us, then, celebrate with devout solemnity this day on which 
the Magi from pagan nations adored Him whom they ac- 
knowledged as Christ, just as we recently celebrated that other 
day on which shepherds from Judea saw that Christ had 
been born. 7 For our Lord God Himself chose as His Apostles 
shepherds from Judea, so that through their instrumentality 
He might gather into His fold the sinners who were to be 
saved from among the pagans. 

Sermon 200 

( 1 ) Magi come from the East to adore the Virgin's Child. 
Today we celebrate this event; we pay our respects and 
deliver a sermon in keeping with the feast. This day first 
shone resplendently for the Magi; its anniversary is renewed 
by us with festal rejoicing. They were the first-fruits of the 
Gentiles; we are a nation of Gentiles. The words of Apostles 
announced His birth to us; a star was, as it were, the lan- 
guage of heaven for them; like the heavens, therefore, the 
Apostles announced the glory of God to us. 1 Why should we 
not recognize as heavens those who have become the abode 
of God, as it is written: 'The soul of the just is the seat of 
wisdom 5 ? 2 For, through these heavens [the Apostles], the One 
who made and who dwells in the heavens has sounded forth. 
The earth trembled at the sound and now, behold, it believes. 
O mighty mystery! The Lord lay in a manger, yet He drew 
the Magi from the East. He was hidden in a stable, yet He 
was acknowledged in the heavens, so that, thus recognized in 
the heavens, He might be manifested in the stable and that 
this day might be called the Epiphany or, in the Latin deriva- 
tive, the Manifestation. Thus, at one and the same time, He 

7 Cf. Matt. 2.1-12; Luke 2.8-20. 

1 Cf. Ps. 18.1. 

2 Cf. Wisd. 7. 


set His seal of approval on His high and His lowly estate, so 
that He to whom the heavens bore witness by a starry sign 
might, when sought, be found in an insignificant dwelling 
where, helpless in His tiny frame and wrapped in swaddling 
clothes, He might be adored by the Magi and feared by the 

For King Herod feared the Infant Saviour when these 
same Magi announced to him that they were seeking the 
Child of whose birth they had learned through the testimony 
of the heavens. What will be the judgment seat of Him 
whose infant cradle so terrified haughty kings? How much 
more wisely kings now do not, like Herod, seek to kill Him, 
but, like the Magi, rather delight in adoring Him who, for 
His enemies and at the hands of His enemies, endured that 
very death which the hostile Herod desired to inflict upon 
Him and thus, by His own supreme sacrifice, vanquished 
death. Let kings now devoutly fear Him as He sits at the 
right hand of His Father, since that wicked king feared Him 
as, a babe at the breast of His Mother. Let them hearken to 
the Scriptures: 'And now, O ye kings, understand: receive 
instruction, you that judge the earth. Serve ye the Lord with 
fear: and rejoice unto Him with trembling. 53 For that King, 
the avenger of wicked kings and the ruler of the good, was 
not born as kings are born in this world. He was born as 
One whose kingdom is not of this world: 4 the nobility of 
the Child attested by the virginity of the Mother; the nobil- 
ity of the Mother, by the divinity of her Child. Finally, al- 
though many kings of the Jews had previously been born 
and laid to rest, never before had Magi sought to adore any 
one of them, because they had not been apprised of the birth 
of any one of them by a heavenly message. 

(2) Nevertheless, we must not lose sight of the fact that 
the enlightenment of the Magi bears definite witness to the 
blindness of the Jews. For it was in their land that the Magi 

3 PS. 2.10-12. 

4 CL John 18.36. 


sought Him whom the Jews did not recognize in their own 
land. The Magi found Him as a child among those who 
later denied Him when He taught in their midst. These 
strangers from afar adored the Infant Christ, when He was 
not yet capable of uttering a word, in the land where His 
own fellow citizens crucified Him as a young Man working 
miracles for them. The Magi recognized God in His tiny 
human frame; the Jews, notwithstanding His mighty deeds, 
did not spare Him as a Man, as if it were a greater thing to 
see a new star blaze forth at His birth than to witness the 
sun mourning at His death. Then, in truth, the star which 
had led the Magi to the country where the Infant God was 
with His Mother and which could likewise have guided them 
to the city itself, withdrew and did not appear again until 
the Jews had been questioned about the city in which Christ 
was born, so that they might be the ones to name it in ac- 
cordance with the testimony of sacred Scripture: e ln Beth- 
lehem, of Judea, for thus it is written . . . "And thou, Beth- 
lehem, of the land of Juda, art by no means least among 
the princes of Juda ; For out of thee shall come forth a leader 
who shall rule my people Israel." ' 5 What else did Divine 
Providence indicate in this passage except that the sacred 
Scriptures would remain in the hands of the Jews so that by 
them the pagans might be enlightened and the Jews them- 
selves blinded ; that the Jews might bear them, not as a help in 
securing their own salvation, but as a testimony of ours? For, 
when we today bring forth the prophecies about Christ ut- 
tered in anticipation of His coming and now confirmed 
in the light of the accomplished facts, if, by chance, the 
pagans whom we wish to convert declare that the prophecies 
were not uttered so far in advance but were fabricated by 
us after the actual events, so that what really did happen 
might appear to have been prophesied, we read aloud the 
scrolls of the Jews to remove this doubt of the pagans. For 
they were prefigured by the Magi whom the Jews, by means 

5 Matt. 2.5-7. 


of their sacred writings, instructed about the city in which 
Christ was born, although they themselves neither sought 
nor acknowledged Him. 

( 3 ) Now, then, my dearly beloved sons and heirs of grace, 
look to your vocation and, since Christ has been revealed 
to both Jews and Gentiles as the cornerstone, cling together 
with most constant affection. For He was manifested in the 
very cradle of His infancy to those who were near and to 
those who w r ere afar -to the Jews whose shepherds were 
nearby; to the Gentiles whose Magi were at a great distance. 
The former came to Him on the very day of His birth; the 
latter are believed to have come on this day. He was not 
revealed, therefore, to the shepherds because they were 
learned, nor to the Magi because they were righteous, for 
ignorance abounds in the rusticity of shepherds and impiety 
amid the sacrileges of the Magi. He, the cornerstone, joined 
both groups to Himself since He came to choose the foolish 
things of the world in order to put to shame the wise 6 and 
"to call sinners, not the just,' 7 so that the mighty would not 
be lifted up nor the lowly be in despair. 

Hence, the Scribes and Pharisees, while they seemed ex- 
ceedingly wise and just in their own estimation, by reading 
the sacred words pointed out the city of the Child's birth, 
but in building they rejected Him. However, because He 
has 'become the head of the corner' 8 and because He ful- 
filled by His passion what He indicated by His birth, let us 
cleave to Him with that other wall which maintains the 
remnant of the Jews who have been saved through the gift of 
grace. 9 For the shepherds coming from nearby typified these 
Jews who deserve to be united to Him so that both they and 
we, whose vocation from afar was signified by the coming of 
the Magi, might remain, no longer foreigners and strangers, 

6 Cf. 1 Cor. 1.27. 

7 Matt. 9.13. 

8 Ps. 117.22. 

9 Cf. Rom. 11.5. 


but fellow citizens of the saints and members of the house- 
hold of God, built up on the foundation of the Apostles and 
Prophets with Jesus Christ Himself the chief cornerstone. 
He 'has made both one' 10 so that in Him alone we might 
cherish unity and display untiring charity in collecting the 
branches which, once engrafted from the wild olive and now 
broken off by pride, have become heretical, for God is able 
to graft them back again. 11 

Sermon 201 

( 1 ) Not very many days ago we celebrated the birthday 
of the Lord ; today, with no less fitting solemnity, we celebrate 
the revelation which marked the beginning of His manifesta- 
tion to the Gentiles. On Christmas day, Jewish shepherds 
saw the newly born Infant; today, Magi coming from the 
East adored Him. For He, the cornerstone, the peace of two 
walls arising from no small difference, namely, that concern- 
ing circumcision and uncircumcision, was born so that they 
might be united in Him who became our peace and who 
made both one. 1 This union was prefigured in the shepherds 
of the Jews and the Magi of the Gentiles. Then and there 
began what would later increase and bear fruit throughout the 
world. Let us, then, with spiritual joy consider these two 
feasts of the Nativity and the Manifestation of our Lord as 
sources of our happiness. The Jewish shepherds were led to 
Him by the angelic message; the Gentile Magi, by a guiding 
star. This star confounded the meaningless reckonings and 
prognostications of the astrologers when it showed these wor- 
shipers of stars that the Creator of heaven and earth was 
worthier of adoration. For at His birth He Himself revealed 

10 Eph. 2.14. 

11 Cf. Rom. 11.17-25. See also M. Bourke, A Study of the Metaphor of 
the Olive Tree in Romans XI (Washington, D.C. 1947) 94-96. 

1 Cf. Eph. 2.11-22. 


this new star and at His death He veiled the ancient sun. 
In the light of the star faith began for the Gentiles; in the 
veiling of the sun the treachery of the Jews was indicted. 
What was that star which neither appeared previously among 
the other constellations nor remained to be pointed out at 
a later day? What else was it but the sublime voice of the 
heavens assigned to proclaim the glory of God, to announce 
with unusual brilliance the unusual parturition of the Virgin, 
and, on its withdrawal, to yield place throughout the whole 
world to the Gospel? What was it that the Magi said on 
their arrival? 'Where is he that is born king of the Jews?' 
What does this mean? Had not many kings of the Jews been 
born in previous ages? Why did they desire so ardently to 
see and adore the king of another nation? They say: Tor 
we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship 
him. 32 Would they seek with such devotion, would they desire 
with so impelling a movement of piety, if they did not re- 
cognize Him who is King of the ages in the king of the Jews? 
(2) In this way Pilate, too, was inspired by a flash of 
the truth when at the time of our Lord's passion he wrote 
the inscription, 'King of the Jews, 3 and when, at the attempt 
of the wicked Jews to change it, he answered: 'What I have 
written, I have written/ 3 because the prediction had been 
made in the Psalms: 'Destroy not the inscription of the title.' 4 
Let us consider this great and wondrous mystery: the Magi 
were from among the Gentiles; Pilate, too, was a Gentile. 
They saw a star in the heavens; he wrote the inscription for 
the cross. Yet both Pilate and the Magi sought, or at least 
recognized, not a king of the Gentiles, but the King of the 
Jews. The Jews themselves, however, neither followed the 
star nor approved the inscription. Even then, therefore, the 
words which our Lord Himself later uttered were prefigured : 
'Many will come from the east and from the west, and will 
feast with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom. 

2 Matt. 2.2. 

3 John 19.19,22. 

4 Cf. Ps. 56.1. 


of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be put forth 
into the darkness outside. 35 For the Magi came from the 
East and Pilate from the West. Hence, the Magi bore wit- 
ness to the King of the Jews at His rising, that is, at His 
birth, and Pilate at His setting, that is, at His death, so that 
in the kingdom of heaven with Abraham and Isaac and 
Jacob, the progenitors from whom the Jews drew their lineage, 
they might feast, not as legitimate offspring of these three, 
but as engrafted upon their stock through faith so as to pre- 
figure the wild olive to be engrafted upon the olive tree of 
which the Apostle speaks, 6 Therefore, by these same Gentiles 
He was sought, or at least acknowledged, not as the king 
of the Gentiles, but as the King of the Jews, because the 
wild olive came to the olive tree, not the olive tree to the 
wild olive. Nevertheless, the branches deserving to be broken 
off, that is, the unfaithful Jews, answered the Magi when 
they inquired as to where Christ was born: 'In Bethlehem 
of Judea' ; 7 when Pilate reproached them because they wished 
their King to be crucified, they raged furiously. Thus, the 
Magi adored Christ after the Jews had indicated the place 
of His birth, a forecast of the fact that we learn to know 
Christ through the Scriptures which the Jews received; Pilate, 
one of the Gentiles, washed his hands when the Jews de- 
manded the death of Christ, 8 a forecast of the fact that our 
sins are washed away by the Blood which the Jews shed. 
There will be another opportunity later, when our theme is 
the Passion, to discuss the testimony furnished by Pilate's 
inscription on which he wrote that Christ was the King of 
the Jews. 

(3) Now, in truth, in this consideration of the manifesta- 
tion of the incarnate Christ, let us devote the few moments 
which remain to the day of this revelation, the day which, 

5 Matt. 8.11-13. 

6 Cf. Rom. 11.24. See Bourke, loc. cit. 

7 Matt. 2.5. 

8 Cf. Matt. 27.24. 


in the Greek derivative, is called the Epiphany, the day on 
which He began to be manifested to the Gentiles, when the 
Magi adored Him. It is a constant source of pleasure to 
consider how the Jews answered the query of the Magi as 
to where Christ was born by saying : 'In Bethlehem of Judea,' 
yet did not come to Him themselves. But, as the Magi de- 
parted, the star led them to the place where the Infant was, 
as if to show that it could have pointed out the spot in the 
first place, but had temporarily disappeared to make it pos- 
sible for the Jews to be questioned. Moreover, the Jews were 
interrogated to show that they were preserving the divine 
records, not for their own salvation and knowledge, but for 
that of the Gentiles. For this reason, the Jews were ex- 
pelled from their own kingdom and scattered throughout the 
earth so that, in all places, they might be forced to become 
witnesses to the faith which they hated. In fact, even after 
losing their temple, their sacrifice, their priesthood, and their 
kingdom, they hold on to their name and race in a few an- 
cient rites, lest, mixed indiscriminately with the Gentiles, they 
perish and lose the testimony of the truth. Like Cain, who in 
envy and pride killed his just brother, they have been marked 
with a sign so that no one may kill them. 9 Indeed, this fact 
can be quite definitely noted in Psalm 58, where Christ, 
speaking as Man, says: My God has made revelation to me 
concerning my enemies: do not kill them lest they forget 
thy law. 310 Strangely enough, by means of this people, ene- 
mies of the Christian faith, proof has been furnished to the 
Gentiles as to how Christ was foretold, lest, perhaps, when 
the Gentiles had seen how manifestly the prophecies were 
fulfilled, they should think that the Scriptures were made 
up by the Christians, since things which they perceived as 
accomplished facts were read aloud as foretold about Christ. 
Therefore, the sacred books are handed down by the Jews 
and thus God, in regard to our enemies, makes clear to us 

9 Cf. Gen. 4,1-15. 
10 Cf. Ps. 58,12. 


that He did not kill them, that is, He did not annihilate them 
from the face of the earth so that they might not forget His 
law, for by reading it and by observing it, though only out- 
wardly, they keep it in mind and thus bring judgment upon 
themselves and furnish testimony to us. 

Sermon 202 

(1) The occasion bids me to make the subject of my 
sermon on this day the question as to why the noteworthy 
celebration of this day throughout the world brings joy to 
us and what it recalls by its yearly renewal. The Greek term 
Epiphany can be translated in Latin by Manifestation. For, 
on this day, the Magi are said to have adored the Lord, 
warned by the appearance of a star and led by its guidance. 
In fact, they saw the star in the East on the very day He was 
born and they realized whose birth it portended. Therefore, 
from that day they hurried on to this day; they frightened 
King Herod by their announcement; and, when the Jews 
gave them information from the sacred Scriptures, they 
found the city of Bethlehem where the Lord had been born. 
To the Lord Himself, then, they came, led by the star; they 
adored Him who had been thus pointed out to them; they 
offered Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh; and they went 
back by another route. 1 On the day of His birth, our Lord 
was manifested to shepherds aroused by an angel, and 
on that day, too, through the appearance of a star He was 
announced to Magi in the distant East, but it was on this day 
that He was adored by the Magi. Therefore, the whole 
Church of the Gentiles has adopted this day as a feast worthy 
of most devout celebration, for who were the Magi but the 
first-fruits of the Gentiles? The shepherds were Israelites; 
the Magi, Gentiles. The one group came from nearby; the 
other, from afar. Both, however, were united in [Christ] the 

1 Cf. Matt. 2.1-13. 


cornerstone. For, as the Apostle says : 'Coming, he announced 
the good tidings of peace to us who were afar off, and of 
peace to those who were near. . . . For he himself is our peace, 
he it is who has made both one, . . . and of the two he has 
created in himself one new man, making peace, and he has 
reconciled both in one body to God, having slain the enmity 
in himself. 52 

(2) The Donatist heretics have never desired to celebrate 
this feast with us, and rightly so, for they neither love unity 
nor do they unite in fellowship with the Church of the 
East where the star appeared. But we, in the unity of Gen- 
tiles, celebrate the Manifestation of our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ where He gathered His first-fruits of the Gen- 
tiles. For, before the Child knew how to call His father and 
mother, as Isaias had prophesied of Him, He took the 
strength of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria, 3 that is, 
before He uttered human speech through His humanity, He 
took the strength of Damascus or that which gave confidence 
to Damascus. For, in the estimation of the world, that city 
had flourished for some time on account of her riches. But 
pre-eminence in riches is gained by gold, and the Magi as 
suppliants offered gold to Christ. 

The spoils of Samaria were the people who worshiped 
her. Samaria was used as a symbol of idolatry, since it was 
there that the people of Israel, having turned away* from 
the Lord, turned to the worship of idols. Therefore, Christ, 
intending to attack with the sword of the spirit the kingdom 
of the Devil throughout the whole world, even as a Child 
drew away these first spoils from idolatrous influence to 
attract to His worship these Magi, converted from the deadly 
curse of superstition; so that, although He as yet spoke no 
word on this earth, He might speak from heaven by a star; 
and, finally, to make known, not by the voice of His body, 
but by the power of the Word made flesh, who He was, and 

2 Eph. 2,11-22. 

3 Cf. Isa. 8.4. 


why, and for whom He had come hither. For the Word, 
who from the beginning was God and was with God, now 
having become incarnate, had come to us to live with us 
while still He remained with the Father; not leaving the 
angels in the heavens above, but here below drawing men 
to Himself by means of angels. As the Word, He shone upon 
the heavenly inhabitants with unchanging truth; yet, because 
the inn was inadequate, He lay in a manger. A star revealed 
by Him in the heavens showed Him as worthy of adoration 
on earth. And yet this Child, who was so powerful and so 
great as a little One fled to Egypt in the arms of His parents 
because of the enmity of Herod, thus speaking eloquently, 
not yet in words, but in the members which He had assumed 
and in silence saying: 'If they have persecuted you in one 
town, flee to another.' 4 For, He was clothed in mortal flesh 
in which He prefigured us and in which He was going to die 
for us at the appointed time. Hence, from the Magi He 
accepted not only gold because He deserved to be honored, 
and frankincense because He merited adoration, but also 
myrrh because He was going to be buried. Moreover, He 
showed, in the case of the children whom Herod killed, how 
innocent and lowly were the sort of people who would, in 
turn, die for Him; for the two years of age of these children 
signified the number of the precepts upon which 'depend 
the whole Law and the Prophets. 55 

(3) Now, in truth, who is not interested in the significance 
of the fact that, though the Jews quoted the Scriptures in 
reply to the question of the Magi as to where Christ was 
bora, they did not adore Him with the Magi? Do we not 
see this even now when those very rites, to which their hard- 
ness of heart is subject, symbolize no other than Christ in 
whom they refuse to believe? When they kill a lamb and 
eat the Pasch, 6 do they not show to the Gentiles Christ whom 

4 Cf. Matt. 10.23. 

5 Matt. 22.40. 

6 Cf. Exod. 12.1-14. 


they do not adore with them? For what else is proved by the 
fact that, in order to reassure the minds of those who doubt 
concerning the testimony of the prophecies by which Christ 
was predicted and which some men suspect of having been 
written by the Christians, not as prognostications, but as 
records of things done, we often appeal to the sacred books 
of the Jews? Do not the Jews, then, show to the Gentiles 
Christ whom they refuse to adore? 

We, then, my most dearly beloved, of whose nation the 
Magi constituted the first-fruits, we are the inheritance of 
Christ even unto the ends of the earth. For our sakes partial 
blindness has befallen Israel so that the full number of the 
Gentiles might enter 7 [heaven] after our Lord and Saviour 
Jesus Christ has been acknowledged, who to console us once 
lay in a narrow dwelling and now sits in heaven to draw us 
thither. Hence, let us proclaim Him on this earth, in this 
abode of our human nature, so that we may neither return 
to the place whence we came nor seek again the haunts 
of our former associations. For that is why the Magi did not 
return as they had come. The way was changed; their 
way of life was changed. To us, also, the heavens have an- 
nounced the glory of God, 8 and truth, blazing forth from the 
Gospel like a star from heaven, has led us to adore Christ. 
With faithful attention we have accepted the prophecy pro- 
claimed to the Jewish race as an indictment of the Jews 
who do not go along with us. Finally, acknowledging and 
praising Christ as the King and Priest who died for us, we 
have honored Him, as it were, with gold, frankincense, and 
myrrh. The only thing left now is that, making known His 
Gospel, we follow a new course so that we may not return 
to the place whence we came. 

7 Cf. Rom. 11.25. 

8 Cf. Ps. 18.2. 


Sermon 203 

(1) The word Epiphany, a derivative from the Greek 
language, can be translated in Latin by Manifestation. On 
this day, therefore, the Redeemer of all nations, being re- 
vealed to all nations, occasioned this solemn feast. A very few 
days ago we celebrated His Nativity; today we celebrate His 
Manifestation. The tradition is that our Lord Jesus Christ 
was adored by the Magi on this day, thirteen days after 
His birth. The Gospel truthfully states that this event took 
place, and the universal acceptance of this glorious feast 
attests that it happened on this day. For it has seemed just, 
and it really is just, that, since the Magi were the first of 
the Gentiles to know Christ the Lord and since they, not 
yet influenced by His speech, followed the star which ap- 
peared to them and, like a tongue from heaven, distinctly 
spoke to them in behalf of the Speechless Word, then, I 
repeat, it is just that the Gentiles should recognize this day 
as the occasion of salvation for their first-fruits and that, with 
solemn observance, they should consecrate it to Christ the 
Lord in a spirit of thanksgiving. To be sure, the first-fruits 
of the Jews unto faith in the revelation of Christ were the 
shepherds who, approaching from nearby, saw Him on the 
very day of His birth. To them angels made the announce- 
ment; a star did this for the Magi. To the shepherds 'Glory 
to God in the highest' 1 was said; in the case of the Magi, 
the Psalmist's words, The heavens show forth the glory of 
God,' 2 were fulfilled. Both groups, as if they were the begin- 
nings of two walls coming from different directions, that is, 
of circumcision and of uncircumcision, hurried on to the 
cornerstone so that He might be their peace, making both 
one. 3 

(2) Now, the shepherds praised God because they had 

1 Luke 2.14. 

2 Ps. 18.2. 

3 Cf. Eph. 2.11-22. 


seen Christ; the Magi, however, adored Christ when they saw 
Him. In the Jews, thanksgiving took precedence, whereas 
humility was more marked in the Magi. Perhaps the shep- 
herds, less conscious of guilt, rejoiced more readily in the 
thought of salvation, whereas the Gentiles, burdened with 
many sins, sought pardon with greater submissiveness. This 
is the humility which sacred Scripture commends as more 
pronounced in those who belonged to the Gentiles than in 
the Jews. For from the Gentiles came the centurion who, 
although he had accepted the Lord with all his heart, said 
that he was unworthy to have Him enter into his house, 
desiring the Lord not to see his servant, but merely to com- 
mand that he be healed. Thus he cherished deep within his 
heart the presence of Him from whose actual presence within 
his house he recoiled in all reverence. Then it was that the 
Lord said: C I have not found such great faith in Israel.' 4 The 
Chanaanite woman, too, was a Gentile, who, when she 
heard the Lord liken her to a dog unworthy of having the 
bread of the children cast to her, nevertheless demanded the 
scraps destined for the dogs, and merited not to be consid- 
ered unworthy because she did not deny her true status. For 
she herself heard the Master say: O woman, great is thy 
faith.' 5 Humility had made her faith great because she had 
made herself small. 

(3) Therefore, the shepherds come from nearby to see; 
the Magi come from afar to adore. This is the humility on 
account of which the wild olive merited to be engrafted upon 
the olive tree and to bear olives contrary to its nature, 6 be- 
cause it merited to change its nature through grace. For, 
although the whole world through the influence of the wild 
olive was becoming wild and bitter, enriched by the grace 
of the grafting it has become resplendent. Now people are 
coming from the ends of the earth, saying in the words of 

4 Cf. Matt. 8.5-10. 

5 Cf. Matt. 15,21-29. 

6 Cf. Rom. 11.17-25. See Bourke, loc. cit. 


Jeremias: 'Surely our fathers have possessed lies.' 7 And they 
come, not from one part of the world only, but, as the holy 
Gospel according to Luke says: 'from the east and from the 
west, from the north and from the south' 8 to sit down with 
Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 
So, by the grace of the Blessed Trinity, the whole earth from 
its four comers is called to the faith. According to this 
reckoning, when four is taken three times, the apostolic 
number, twelve, is consecrated as symbolizing the salvation 
of the whole world from its four corners in the grace of the 
Trinity. This number was also indicated by the vessel full of 
all kinds of animals, as it were of all nations, shown to 
Peter, 9 For this vessel, let down from the heavens by the 
four corners, was lowered and taken up three different 
times, so that the four became twelve. On that account, 
perhaps, when twelve days had elapsed after the birth of 
Christ, the Magi, the first-fruits of the Gentiles, came to see 
and to adore Christ and thus merited not only to insure 
their own salvation but also to prefigure that of all Gentiles. 
Let us, therefore, celebrate this day most devoutly and let 
us adore the Lord Jesus now dwelling in heaven, as those 
first-fruits of our race adored Him lying in the inn. They 
reverenced in Him what He would later be; we reverence 
what He has become. They, the first-fruits of the Gentiles, 
adored Him at the breast of His Mother; we, the Gentiles of 
today, adore Him sitting at the right hand of God. 

Sermon 204 

( 1 ) A few days ago we celebrated the birthday of the 
Lord; today we celebrate His Epiphany. This word, derived 
from the Greek, means Manifestation and reminds us of the 

7 Jer. 16.19. 

8 Luke 13.29. 

9 Cf. Acts 10.11-13. 


words of the Apostle: 'Obviously great is the mystery of god- 
liness which was manifested in the flesh.' 1 Thus, both feasts 
pertain to the revelation of Christ. On the first, He who 
existed as God with His Father without a beginning was born 
as Man of a human Mother. For mankind He was manifested 
in the flesh, because man could not see Him as He existed in 
His spiritual nature. On that day, which is called His Nativity, 
Jewish shepherds saw Him; on this day, rightly called the 
Epiphany, that is, the Manifestation, Magi from the East 
adored Him. To the former, angels announced His coming; 
for the others, a star performed this duty. The angels dwell 
in the heavens which the stars adorn. Hence, to both shep- 
herds and Magi the heavens have shown forth the glory 
of God. 2 

(2) For both groups, He was born as the cornerstone so 
that, as the Apostle says: 3 c of the two he might create in 
himself one new man, and make peace and reconcile both 
in one body to God by the cross.' For what is a corner but 
the joining of two walls coming from different directions and 
finding there, as it were, the kiss of peace? Circumcision and 
uncircumcision, that is, Jews and Gentiles, were definitely 
hostile to each other because of their differing and, indeed, 
conflicting religions, the former worshiping the one true God 
and the latter many false gods. Although the Jews were 
nearby and the Gentiles afar off, He who welded the two 
into one body for God brought them both to Himself, as the 
same Apostle immediately adds: c by the cross, having slain 
the enmity in himself. And coming, he announced the good 
tidings of peace to you who were afar off, and of peace to 
those who were near; because through him we both have 
access in one Spirit to the Father.' See if the Apostle did 
not refer to the two walls arising from diverse enmities and 
to the Lord Jesus, the cornerstone to whom both groups were 

1 1 Tim. 3.16. 

2 Cf. Ps. 18.2. 

3 Eph. 2.15-19. 


drawn from different directions and in whom both groups 
were established in harmony, that is, those of the Jews as 
well as those of the Gentiles who believed in Him. It was as 
if the Psalmist referred to them when he said: 'Come ye 
to him [you who are from nearby and you who are from 
afar] and be enlightened: and your faces shall not be con- 
founded.' 4 For it was also written: 'Behold, I lay in Sion a 
chief cornerstone, chosen, precious; and he who believes in 
it shall not be put to shame.' 5 From one region and the 
other, both groups, having heard and obeyed, came; they 
held their peace; they ended their hostility; and thus shep- 
herds and Magi were the first-fruits of both nations. 

In the persons of the shepherds and of the Magi, the ox 
began to recognize his owner and the ass his Master's crib. 6 
From the Jews came the horned ox, since among them the 
horns of the cross were prepared for Christ; from the Gentiles 
came the long-eared ass, since it was concerning them that 
the prophecy had been made : ' A people, which I knew not, 
hath served me: at the hearing of the ear they have obeyed 
me. 37 For the Owner of the ox and the Master of the ass 
lay in a manger, yet He was furnishing common sustenance 
to both creatures. Therefore, because peace had come to 
those who were afar and to those who were near, Israelite 
shepherds, as those found nearby, came to Christ on the day 
of His birth, saw Him, and rejoiced; but the Magi Gentiles, 
as those found at a distance, came at an interval of several 
days after His birth, found, and adored Him on this day. 
It was quite appropriate, then, that we, the Church made 
up of converts gathered from the Gentiles, should join the 
celebration of this day on which Christ was manifested to 
the first-fruits of the Gentiles to the observance of that day 
on which Christ was born of the Jewish race, and that we 

4 Cf. Ps. 33.6. 

5 1 Peter 2.6. 

6 Cf. Isa. 1.3. 

7 Ps. 17.45. 


should preserve the memory of so great a mystery by a two- 
fold solemnity. 

(3) When the two walls arising, on the one side, from 
the Jews and, on the other, from the Gentiles are looked 
upon as joining at the cornerstone and as preserving c the 
unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace,' 8 let not the mere 
numerical superiority of the degenerate Jews disturb the 
mind, since among them were the builders, that is, those who 
wished to be teachers of the Law and of whom the Apostle 
says : 'They understand neither what they say nor the things 
about which they make assertion. 59 For, through this blind- 
ness of mind, they rejected the stone which c is become the 
head of the corner. 310 But it would not have become the 
head of the corner had it not furnished, by the help of grace, 
a peaceful union to the two peoples who approached from 
different sources. 

Therefore, let not the persecutors and slayers of Christ, 
those interested in building up the Law while tearing down 
the faith, those who reject the cornerstone and plot destruc- 
tion for our poor city, be considered as on the Israelite wall. 
And let not the innumerable multitude of the Jews scattered 
throughout the lands to which they bring the testimony of 
sacred Scripture, although ignorant themselves of their im- 
port, be included on that wall. For in those Jews Jacob limps, 
whose thigh shrank in size after being touched, 11 symboliz- 
ing the halting multitude of people descended from his seed. 
But let those, among whom Jacob is blessed, be considered 
as on that holy wall which extends from them to the peace 
of the cornerstone. For Jacob is both blessed and lame; 
blessed in his holy descendants, lame in the reprobate. Let 
those be listed as on that holy wall who in large numbers 
preceded and followed the ass of the Saviour proclaiming: 

8 Eph. 4.3. 

9 1 Tim. 1.7. 

10 Ps. 117.22. 

11 Cf. Gen. 32.25. 


'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.' 12 Let them 
be so considered who became disciples, chosen ones, and 
apostles. Let Stephen, too, be included who, called by the 
name signifying 'crown 5 in Greek, was crowned with martyr- 
dom after the Resurrection of the Lord. Let those thousands 
who, though from among the persecutors, believed in Him 
after they received the Holy Spirit be numbered among 
them. Let the churches be so classified of which the Apostle 
says: 'And I was unknown by sight to the churches of Judea 
which were in Christ. But they had heard only that he who 
formerly persecuted us, now preaches the faith which once 
he ravaged. And they glorified God in me/ 13 With the above- 
mentioned distinctions, let the Israelite wall be considered 
and let it be joined to the wall, now visible, coming from the 
Gentiles. Thus Christ the Lord, the cornerstone first set in 
position in the manger and now lifted up to the height of 
heaven, is recognized and is no longer preached in vain. 

12 Matt. 21.9. 

13 Gal. 1.22-24. 


Sermon 205 

IODAY WE ENTER upon the observance of Lent, the 
season now presented to us in the passage of the 
liturgical year. An appropriately solemn sermon is 
your due so that the word of God, brought to you through my 
ministry, may sustain you in spirit while you fast in body 
and so that the inner man, thus refreshed by suitable food, 
may be able to accomplish and to persevere courageously 
in the disciplining of the outer man. For, to my spirit of devo- 
tion, it seems fitting that we, who are about to honor the 
Passion of our crucified Lord in the very near future, 
should fashion for ourselves a cross of the bodily pleasures 
in need of restraint, as the Apostle says: c And they who 
belong to Christ have crucified their flesh with its passions 
and desires. 51 In fact, the Christian ought to be suspended 
constantly on this cross through his entire life, passed as it is 
in the midst of temptation. For there is no time in this life 
when we can tear out the nails of which the Psalmist speaks 
in the words: Tierce thou my flesh with thy fear.' 2 Bodily 
desires constitute the flesh, and the precepts of justice, the 
nails with which the fear of the Lord pierces our flesh and 

1 Gal. 5.24. 

2 Cf. Ps. 118.120. 



crucifies us as victims acceptable to the Lord. Whence the 
same Apostle says: 'I exhort you therefore, brethren, by the 
mercy of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice, living, 
holy, pleasing to God. 53 

Hence, there is a cross in regard to which the servant of 
God, far from being confounded, rejoices, saying : 'But as for 
me, God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to 
me, and I to the world. 54 That is a cross, I say, not of forty 
days' duration, but of one's whole life, which is symbolized 
by the mystical number of forty days, whether because man, 
about to lead this life, is formed in the womb for forty days, 
as some say, or because the four Gospels agree with the ten- 
fold Law and four tens equal that number, showing that both 
the Old and New Testaments are indispensable for us in this 
life, or it may be for some other and more likely reason 
which a keener and superior intellect can fathom. Hence, 
Moses and Elias and our Lord Himself fasted for forty days 
so that it might be suggested to us that in Moses and in Elias 
and in Christ Himself, that is, in the Law and the Prophets 
and the Gospel, this penance was performed just as it is by 
us, and so that, instead of being won over to and clinging 
to this world, we might rather put to death the old man, 
'living not in revelry and drunkenness, not in debauchery and 
wantonness, not in strife and jealousy. But [let us] put on the 
Lord Jesus, and as for the flesh, take no thought for its 
lusts/ 5 Live always in this fashion, O Christian; if you do not 
wish to sink into the mire of this earth, do not come down 
from the cross. Moreover, if this ought to be done through- 
out one's entire life, with how much greater reason should 
it be done during these forty days in which this life is not 
only passed but is also symbolized? 

( 2 ) Therefore, on other days let not your hearts be weighed 

3 Rom. 12.1. 

4 Gal. 6.14. 

5 Cf. Rom. 13.13,14. 



down with self-indulgence and drunkenness, 6 but on these 
days also fast. On other days do not commit adultery, fornica- 
tion, or any unlawful seduction, but on these days also 
refrain from that conjugal pleasure which is lawful. What 
you deprive yourself of by fasting add to your almsgiving; 
the time which was formerly taken up with conjugal duties 
spend in conversation with God; the body which was engaged 
in carnal love prostrate in earnest prayer; the hands which 
were entwined in embraces extend in supplication. You, who 
fast even on other days, increase your good works on these 
days. You, who crucify your body by perpetual continency 
on other days, throughout these days cleave to your God 
by more frequent and more fervent prayer. Let all be of one 
mind, all faultlessly faithful while on this journey, breathing 
with desire and burning with love for their one country. Let 
no one envy in another or belittle the gift of God which 
he himself lacks. Rather, where spiritual blessings are con- 
cerned, consider as your own what you love in your brother 
and let him, in turn, consider as his own what he loves in 
you. Let no one, under pretense of abstinence, aim at merely 
changing rather than eliminating pleasures, so that he seeks 
costly food because he is abstaining from meat, and rare 
liquors because he is not drinking wine, lest in the process, 
as it were, of taming the flesh he give greater rein to the 
demands of pleasure. Indeed, for the clean all food is clean, 
but for no one is luxury clean. 

(3) Above all else, my brethren, fast from strife and dis- 
cord. Keep in mind the words used by the Prophet in his 
vehement denunciation of certain persons: c ln the days of 
your fast your own wills are found because you torment all 
who are under your power and you strike with your fists ; your 
voice is heard in outcry.' Continuing in the same strain, 
he adds: 'Not such a fast have I chosen, saith the Lord.' 7 
If you desire to cry aloud, then have recourse to that appeal 

6 Cf. Luke 21.34. 

7 Cf. Isa. 58.3-5. 


of which the Scripture says: C I cried to the Lord with my 
voice.' 8 That voice is certainly not one of strife, but of charity; 
not of the flesh, but of the heart. Neither is it that cry of 
which Isaias says: C I waited for him to make a judgment, 
but he has worked iniquity, not justice but a cry.' 9 'Forgive, 
and you shall be forgiven; give, and it shall be given to you.' 10 
These are the two wings of prayer on which one flies to God : 
if any fault is committed against him, he forgives the offender 
and he gives alms to the needy. 

Sermon 206 

(I) With the completion of the year's cycle, the season 
of Lent has come, at which time I am constrained to exhort 
you because you owe the Lord works in harmony with the 
spirit of the season, works which, nevertheless, are useful 
not to the Lord, but to you. True, other seasons of the year 
ought to glow for the Christian by reason of his prayers, 
fasts, and almsdeeds, but this season ought to arouse even 
those who are sluggish at other times. In fact, those who are 
quick to attend to these works at other times should now 
perform them with even greater diligence. Life in this world 
is certainly the time of our humiliation as these days signify 
when the sufferings of the Lord Christ, who once suffered 
by dying for us, are renewed each year with the recurrence 
of this holy season. For what was done once and for all time 
so that our life might be renewed, is solemnized each year 
so that its memory may be kept fresh. If, therefore, we ought 
to be humble of heart with sentiments of most sincere piety 
throughout the entire period of our earthly sojourn when 
we live in the midst of temptations, how much more neces- 
sary is humility during these days when we not only pass the 

8 Ps. 141.2. 

9 Cf. Isa. 5.7. 
10 Luke 6.37-39, 

LENT 87 

time of our humiliation by living but signalize it by special 
devotion? The humility of Christ has taught us to be 
humble because He yielded to the wicked by His death; the 
exaltation of Christ lifts us up because by rising again He 
blazed the way for His devoted followers. For, c if we have 
died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we 
shall also reign with him.' 1 One of these conditions we now 
celebrate with due observance in view of His approaching 
Passion; the other we shall celebrate after Easter when His 
Resurrection is, as it were, accomplished again. Then, after 
the days of this humiliation will be the time of our exalta- 
tion. Although this is not yet the time to experience this 
[happiness], it gives us pleasure to anticipate it in our con- 
siderations. Now, therefore, let us voice our lamentations 
more insistently in prayers; then we shall exult more ex- 
uberantly in praise. 

(2) Let us by our prayers add the wings of piety to our 
almsdeeds and fasting so that they may fly more readily to 
God. Moreover, the Christian soul understands how far 
removed he should be from theft of another's goods when 
he realizes that failure to share his surplus with the needy 
is like to theft. The Lord says: 'Give, and it shall be given 
to you; forgive, and you shall be forgiven.' 2 Let us graciously 
and fervently perform these two types of almsgiving, that 
is, giving and forgiving, for we, in turn, pray the Lord to 
give us good things and not to requite our evil deeds. 'Give, 
and it shall be given to you/ He says. What is truer, what 
is more just, than that he who refuses to give should cheat 
himself and not receive? If a farmer is not justified in seek- 
ing a harvest when he knows he has sowed no seed, how 
much more unreasonably does he who has refused to hear the 
petition of a poor man seek a generous response from God? 
For, in the person of the poor, He who experiences no hunger 
wished Himself to be fed. Therefore, let us not spurn our 

1 2 Tim. 2.11-13. 

2 Cf. Luke 6.37,38. 


God who is needy in His poor, so that we in our need may 
be filled in Him who is rich. We have the needy, and we 
ourselves have need; let us give, therefore, so that we may 
receive. In truth, what is it that we give? And in return for 
that pittance which is meagre, visible, temporal, and earthly, 
what do we desire to receive? What the c eye has not seen 
nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man/ 3 
Without the assurance of God it would have been effrontery 
to wish to gain such treasures in return for such paltry trifles, 
and it is effrontery to refuse to give to our needy neighbor 
these things which we would never have possessed except 
from the bounty of Him who urges us to give. With what 
confidence do we hope to see Him giving to our neighbor 
and to us, if we despise His commands in the least details? 
Torgive, and you shall be forgiven,' that is, pardon and 
you shall be pardoned. Let servant be reconciled to fellow 
servant lest he be justly punished by the Lord. In this kind 
of almsgiving no one is poor. Even he who has no means 
of livelihood in this world may do this to insure his living 
for eternity. Gratuitously this alms is given; by being given 
away it is increased; and it is not consumed except when 
it is not shared. Therefore, let those enmities which have 
lasted even to this day be broken up and ended. Let them 
be ended lest they end you; let them be no longer held lest 
they hold you; let them be destroyed by the Redeemer lest 
they destroy you, the retainer. 

(3) Let not your fasting be of the kind condemned by the 
Prophet when he said: c Not this fast have I chosen, saith 
the Lord.' 4 For He denounces the fasts of quarrellers; 
He seeks those of the devout. He denounces those who oppress 
and seeks those who release. He denounces those who stir 
up hostilities and seeks those who set free. For, during these 
days, you restrain your desires from lawful pursuits that you 
may not do what is unlawful. At no time will he be addicted 

3 1 Cor. 2.9. 

4 Cf. Isa. 58,5. 

LENT 89 

to wine or adultery who is now continent in marriage. Thus> 
by humility and charity, by fasting and almsgiving, by tem- 
perance and forgiveness, by sharing blessings and by not 
retaliating for evils, by declining from wickedness and by 
doing good, our prayer seeks and attains peace. 5 For prayer, 
supported as it were, on the wings of virtues, speeds upwards 
and is easily borne into heaven whither Christ, our peace > 
has preceded. 

Sermon 207 

( 1 ) By the help of the merciful Lord our God, the tempta- 
tions of the world, the snares of the Devil, the suffering of the 
world, the enticement of the flesh, the surging waves of 
troubled times, and all corporal and spiritual adversities are 
to be overcome by almsgiving, fasting, and prayer. These 
practices ought to glow throughout the entire life of a Chris- 
tian, but especially as the Paschal solemnity approaches which 
stirs up our minds by its yearly return, renewing in them the 
salutary memory that our Lord, the only-begotten Son of 
God, showed mercy to us and fasted and prayed for us. As 
a matter of fact, eleemosyna in Greek signifies mercy in Latin. 
Moreover, what mercy could be greater, so far as we poor 
wretches are concerned, than that which drew the Creator 
of the heavens down from heaven, clothed the Maker of 
the earth with earthly vesture, made Him, who in eternity 
remains equal to His Father, equal to us in mortality, and 
imposed on the Lord of the universe the form of a servant, 
so that He, our Bread, might hunger; that He, our Fulfill- 
ment, might thirst; that He, our Strength, might be weakened; 
that He, our Health, might be injured; that He, our Life, 
might die? And all this [He did] to satisfy our hunger, to 
moisten our dryness, to soothe our infirmity, to wipe out our 
iniquity, to enkindle our charity. What greater mercy could 
there be than that the Creator be created, the Ruler be 

5 Cf. Ps. 33.15. 


served, the Redeemer be sold, the Exalted be humbled^ 
and the Reviver be killed? In regard to almsgiving, we are 
commanded to give bread to the hungry, 1 but He first gave 
Himself over to cruel enemies for us so that He might give 
Himself as food to us when we were hungry. We are com- 
manded to receive the stranger; for our sake He 'came unto 
his own and his own received him not.' 2 In a word, let our 
soul bless Him who becomes a propitiation for all its ini- 
quities, who heals all its diseases, who redeems its life from 
corruption, who crowns it in mercy and pity, who satisfies its 
desires in blessings. 3 Let us give alms the more generously 
and the more frequently in proportion as the day draws 
nearer on which the supreme almsgiving accomplished for us 
is celebrated. Fasting without mercy is worthless to him who 

(2) Let us fast, humbling our souls as the day draws 
near on which the Teacher of humility humbled Himself 
becoming obedient even to death on a cross. 4 Let us imitate 
His cross, fastening to it our passions subdued by the nails 
of abstinence. Let us chastise our body, subjecting it to obe- 
dience, and, lest we slip into illicit pleasures through 
our undisciplined flesh, let us in taming it sometimes with- 
draw licit pleasures. Self-indulgence and drunkenness ought 
to be shunned on other days; throughout this season, how- 
ever, even legitimate eating is to be checked. Adultery and 
fornication must always be abhorred and avoided, but on 
these days special restraint must be practised even by mar- 
ried persons. The flesh, which has been accustomed to 
restraint in regard to its own satisfaction, will readily submit 
to you when there is question of clinging to another's goods. 
Of course, care must be taken to avoid merely changing 
instead of lessening pleasures. For you may observe that cer- 
tain persons seek out rare liquors in place of their ordinary 

1 Cf. Isa. 58.7. 

2 John 1.11. 

3 Cf. Ps. 102.2-5. 

4 Cf. Phil. 2.8. 



wine; that they, with much greater relish, counterbalance 
by the juice of other fruits what they lose by denying them- 
selves the juice of grapes; that, in place of meat, they procure 
food of manifold variety and appeal; that they store up, 
as opportune for this season, delights which they would be 
ashamed to indulge in at other times. In this way, the observ- 
ance of Lent becomes, not the curbing of old passions, but 
an opportunity for new pleasures. Take measures in advance, 
my brethren, with as much diligence as possible, to prevent 
these attitudes from creeping upon you. Let frugality be 
joined to fasting. As surfeiting the stomach is to be censured, 
so stimulants of the appetite must be eliminated. It is not 
that certain kinds of food are to be detested, but that bodily 
pleasure is to be checked. Esau was censured, not for having 
desired a fat calf or plump birds, but for having coveted 
a dish of pottage. 5 And holy King David repented of having 
excessively desired water. 6 Hence, not by delicacies obtained 
with much labor and at great expense, but by the cheaper 
food found within reach, is the body to be refreshed, or, rather, 
sustained in its fasting. 

(3) During these days of Lent our prayer is lifted up to 
God, supported by pious almsdeeds and by tempered fasting. 
With justification one seeks mercy from God when he does 
not deny it to his fellow man and when the pure intention 
of the petitioner's heart is not disturbed by phantom clouds 
of carnal desires. Let prayer be chaste, lest, perhaps, we crave 
not what charity but what cupidity seeks; let us not call down 
any evil upon our enemies; let us not rage passionately 
in prayer against those whom we cannot harm by actual 
injury or revenge. Surely, just as we are rendered fit for pray- 
ing by almsdeeds and fasting, so our prayer itself gives alms 
when it is directed and poured forth not only for friends 
but for enemies as well and when it refrains from anger, 
hatred, and harmful vices. For, if we fast from food, how 

5 Cf. Gen. 25.30-34. 

6 Cf. 1. Par. 11.18-20. 


much more does prayer recoil from poisons? Finally, while 
we are refreshed by taking food at regular and suitable 
times, let us never distract our prayer by such feasts. Rather 
let it endure perpetual fasts because there is a food proper 
to prayer which it is commanded to take without ceasing. 
Therefore, let it always fast from hatred and feast upon love. 

Sermon 208 

(1) The solemn season has come when I remind and 
goad on your charity in the Lord, although, were I to remain 
silent, the time itself would remind and encourage you to be 
enkindled with more active and lively fervor than usual in 
fasting, praying, and almsgiving. But the help of this 
sermon is given you so that, by the trumpet of this voice, 
your spirit, about to wage war against the flesh, may gain 
strength. Therefore, let your fasting be without contention, 
noise, and conflict, so that even those who are under your 
sway may notice a provident and gracious gentleness; so that 
harsh severity may be checked, but not so as to cast out 
salutary discipline. In truth, when you abstain from any 
kind of food, even that which is granted and permitted, for 
the purpose of chastising the body, remember that c for the 
clean all things are clean' and do not consider anything 
unclean except what infidelity has polluted. For the Apostle 
says: Tor the defiled and unbelieving nothing is clean. 51 
Obviously, when the bodies of the faithful are brought into 
subjection, whatever lessens physical desires contributes to 
spiritual salvation. On that account you must take care not 
to substitute equally costly foods or even more costly banquets 
while you abstain from the flesh of animals. For, when the 
body is chastised and brought into subjection, 2 pleasures are to 
be limited, not merely changed. What difference does the kind 

1 Titus 1.15; cf. Rom. 14.20. 

2 Cf. 1 Cor. 9.27. 

LENT 93 

of food make when it is immoderate desire that is censured? 
Not only in regard to flesh, but also in regard to certain 
fruits and products of the fields, was the desire of the Israel- 
ites condemned by the divine voice. 3 And Esau lost his first 
birthright, not for a morsel of pork, but for a mess of pottage. 4 

I need not mention what our hungry Lord said about 
bread to His tempter, 5 when, far from taming His flesh 
as if it were rebellious, He was mercifully advising us as to 
what we ought to answer in similar temptations. Wherefore, 
my dearly beloved, regardless of whatever food you have 
decided to retrench, remember to keep your resolution with 
devout temperance and do not, by a sacrilegious error, con- 
demn a creature of God. And you, who are bound by con- 
jugal ties, do not despise the Apostle's advice that you 
mutually practice self-denial for a time so that you may have 
time for prayer. 6 For it is without reproach to omit on these 
days what is useful on other days. I think it should not 
be burdensome for married people to do on the holy days 
of this yearly observance what widows have openly professed 
for a certain part of their life and what virgins have under- 
taken for their entire life. 

(2) It is truly a kind of obligation to increase one's alms- 
deeds during these days. For where do you expend what 
you deprive yourself of by abstinence more justly than in 
pity? And what is more unjust than that prolonged avarice 
should hold on to, or deferred self-indulgence should con- 
sume, what abstinence saves? Consider to whom you owe 
what you deny yourself, so that mercy may give to charity 
what temperance withholds from self-satisfaction. What shall 
I say of that work of mercy wherein nothing is weighed out 
from the storerooms, nothing taken from the purse, but alms 
is given from the heart, alms which begins to be harmful 

3 Cf. Num. 11.5,33,34. 

4 Cf. Gen. 25.30-34. 

5 Cf. Matt. 4.3-5. 

6 Cf. 1 Cor. 7.5. 


if it is kept rather than bestowed? I speak now of anger 
against another held in the heart. For what is more foolish 
than to avoid one enemy outwardly, yet hold a much more 
dangerous one in the inner recesses of your heart? In this 
regard the Apostle says : 'Do not let the sun go down on your 
anger, 3 to which he immediately adds: 'Do not give place 
to the devil/ 7 as if he meant that he who does not quickly 
drive anger from his mind furnishes through his anger, as 
through a door, an opening for the Devil. In the first place, 
then, man must see to it that the sun does not go down on his 
anger lest the sun of justice leave his mind. But, if anger has 
persisted in anyone's heart up to the present, at least let it be 
routed by the approaching day of the Passion of our Lord, 
who, instead of being angry at His slayers, poured forth His 
prayers and His blood for them while He hung upon the 
wood of the cross. 8 Therefore, if anger has held out with 
most shameful boldness in the heart of any one of you until 
these holy days, now at least let it depart, 9 so that your 
prayer may proceed in peace and so that it may not stumble, 
tremble, or become mute under the pricking of conscience 
when it has come to that passage where it must say : Torgive 
us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.' 10 You are about 
to ask that something may not be paid back to you and that 
something may be given to you. Then, 'forgive, and you 
shall be forgiven; give, and it shall be given to you.' 11 Even 
if I did not admonish you, my brethren, you ought to 
attend to these matters with constant consideration. But, 
since my sermon is helped, not only by the assistance of so 
many divine testimonies, but also by the celebration of this 
present day, I ought not to fear lest any one of you despise, 
not me, but the Lord of all in me. I ought, rather, to hope 
that His flock, recognizing what is said as His, will listen 

7 Eph. 4.26,27. 

8 Cf. Luke 23.34. 

9 Cf. Eccle. 11.10. 

10 Matt. 6.12. 

11 Luke 6.37,38. 



to Him with profit, since this flock, in turn, needs to be 
listened to by Him. 

Sermon 209 

( 1 ) The solemn season has come when I would remind 
your Charity to give more attentive consideration to your 
soul and to chastise your body. For these forty days are very 
sacred throughout the whole world, and at the approach 
of Easter the entire universe, which God reconciles to Him- 
self in Christ, celebrates them with laudable devotion. If any 
enmities, which either ought not to have arisen or ought 
to have died quickly, have succeeded in persisting among 
the brethren because of negligence, obstinacy, or a reserve 
which is not modest but proud, at least now let them be 
brought to an end. The sun ought not to have set upon 
them; 1 at least, after many risings and settings of the sun 
let them be extinguished by their own disappearance and 
let them not be renewed by another rising. The negligent 
person forgets to end his hostility; the stubborn one is unwill- 
ing to grant pardon when it is asked; the proudly reserved 
person disdains to seek pardon. Hostilities feed upon these 
three vices, but they kill the soul in which they are not put 
to death. On the other hand, memory guards against neg- 
ligence, mercy against obstinacy, and submissive prudence 
against haughty reserve. Let him who realizes that he is 
unmindful .of harmony shake off his sluggishness by ener- 
getically rousing himself. Let him who desires to be harsh 
in making demands upon his debtors consider that he is God's 
debtor. Let him who is ashamed to seek forgiveness of his 
brother overcome this reprehensible shame by honorable 
fear, so that, with these harmful enmities ended and really 
dead, you may live. All this, charity which c is not pretentious' 2 
accomplishes. In so far as charity is present, my brethren, 

1 Cf. Eph. 4.26. 

2 1 Cor. 13.4. 


let it be exercised in living well; in so far as it is lacking, 
let it be obtained by fervent prayer. 

(2) So that our prayers may be helped by suitable sup- 
ports during these days when we ought to make them more 
fervently, let us also bestow alms more fervently. Let us sup- 
plement our ordinary contributions with that which is saved 
by fasting and abstaining from our usual food. Although 
each one ought to give more abundant alms, he who, because 
of some physical need or regular diet, is not able to abstain 
so as to give to the poor that of which he deprives himself, 
ought in piety to contribute to the poor for the very reason 
that he does not restrict himself in other ways. Since it is less 
possible for him to help his prayers by mortification of his 
body, let him enclose in the heart of the poor man a more 
generous alms which can there pray for him. This is a most 
beneficial and estimable advice from holy Scripture: 'Shut 
up alms in the heart of the poor, and it shall obtain help 
for thee.' 3 

(3) Furthermore, we advise those who are abstaining from 
meat not to avoid as unclean the dishes in which meat has 
been cooked. For the Apostle, speaking on this point, says: 
Tor the clean all things are clean.' 4 According to sound 
doctrine, what is done in practices of this sort is done, not 
for the sake of avoiding uncleanness, but to restrain concu- 
piscence. Wherefore, those who refrain from flesh meat in 
order to seek other kinds of food more difficult to obtain and 
more costly make a great mistake. For this is not undertaking 
abstinence, but simply varying one's luxury. How am I going 
to tell such people to give to the poor that of which they 
deprive themselves when ordinary food is put aside by them 
so as to increase expenses by obtaining something else? There- 
fore, on these days fast more frequently, spend money on 
yourselves more sparingly, and give more generously to the 
needy. These days also demand continence in married per- 

3 Eccli. 29.15. 

4 Titus 1.15. 

LENT 97 

sons, as the Apostle says : 'for a time, that you may give your- 
selves to prayer; and return together again lest Satan tempt 
you because you lack self-control. 95 It is not arduous and 
difficult for faithful married persons to do for a few days 
what holy widows have undertaken from a certain period 
to the end of their lives and what holy virgins do through- 
out their entire lives. And so, in all these classes, let devotion 
be enkindled, let self-elation be checked. Let no one rejoice 
in the blessing of generosity to such a degree that he lose the 
blessing of humility. In truth, all other gifts of God are of 
no avail unless the bond of charity be present. 

Sermon 210 

(1) The solemn season has come which reminds us to 
humiliate our souls by prayer and fasting and to chastise our 
body to a greater degree than at other periods of the year. 
In reply to the questions as to why this season is observed 
at the approach of the solemnity of the Lord's Passion and 
why its celebration is linked with the mystery of the number 
forty, since this information is wont to move some people, 
I have undertaken to set before you what our Lord deigned 
to give as a worthy answer to these queries. Furthermore, 
in the effort to find matter suitable to present, I am helped 
much by the faith and piety of those who, I know, seek this 
information, not in a controversial spirit, but in a sincere 
desire for knowledge. 

The query is often posed as to why our Lord Jesus Christ, 
who, after assuming human nature and becoming man, 
showed Himself to men to furnish us an example of living, 
dying, and rising again, did not fast before but after He was 
baptized. For it is recorded thus in the Gospel: 'And when 
he had been baptized, he immediately came up from the 
water. And behold, the heavens were opened to him, and 

5 1 Cor. 7.5. 


he saw the Spirit of God descending . . . and coming upon 
him. And behold, a voice from the heavens said: "This 
is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Then Jesus 
was led into the desert by the Spirit, to be tempted by the 
devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was 
hungry.' 1 We, however, along with those who are to be 
baptized, fast before the day of baptism, which comes 
close to Easter, and we relax the fast for fifty days after 
Easter. Now, if it were permitted to baptize and to be bap- 
tized only on the very solemn feast of the Pasch, this arrange- 
ment would rightly be followed. But, since, through the 
bounty of Him who gave us power to become sons of God, 2 
there is no prohibition in regard to the administration of 
baptism throughout the whole year according as anyone ex- 
periences the need or desire, and since we are permitted to 
celebrate the anniversary of the Passion of the Lord only 
on a particular day of the year, which is called the Pasch, 
then without a doubt the sacrament of baptism ought to be 
distinguished from the Pasch. For one is permitted to receive 
the sacrament on any day, but it is proper to celebrate the 
Pasch only on one definite day of the year. The sacrament 
is given to renew life; the Pasch is commended to the memory 
of one's piety. But, because a far greater number of can- 
didates for baptism assembles on the Pasch, this day stands 
out, not because it is richer in the grace of salvation, but 
because the greater joy of the feast invites us. 

( 2 ) What of the fact that even the baptism of John, which 
Christ then received, must be distinguished from the baptism 
of Christ Himself, which His followers receive, and that the 
baptism by which Christ was baptized is not better than that 
by which the Christian is baptized because Christ is better 
than the Christian, but, rather, that the baptism which is 
Christ's is preferred to the other just because it is Christ's? 
For John baptized Christ, although he acknowledged that 

1 Matt. 3.16-4.3. 

2 Cf. John 1.12. 

LENT 99 

he was Inferior to Christ; but Christ, who manifested Him- 
self as greater than John, baptizes the Christian. In like 
manner, the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ, by which 
the Christian is circumcised for the destruction of the old, 
carnal life, so that he may hearken to the Apostle when he 
says: 'Just as Christ has risen from the dead through the 
glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of life/ 3 
is better than the circumcision of the flesh which no Christian 
now receives, although Christ received it. Likewise, the old 
Pasch which the Jews were commanded to celebrate by the 
slaying of a lamb is not, by reason of the fact that Christ 
celebrated it with His disciples, better than our Pasch on 
which Christ Himself was immolated. For it was in keeping 
with His desire to furnish us an example of humility and 
devotion that He, on coming to us, deigned to share in those 
symbolic mysteries by which His coming was foreshadowed, 
so that in this way He might indicate the great devotion 
with which we should receive these sacraments which pro- 
claim that He has come. Therefore, it must not be believed 
that Christ laid down as a rule of regular observance that it is 
necessary to fast immediately after the reception of baptism, 
because He Himself fasted after having received the baptism 
of John. On the contrary, He clearly taught by His example 
that we must fast when we are engaged in a trying conflict 
with the Tempter. For Christ, who deigned to be born as 
man, did not scorn to be tempted as man for this very reason, 
namely, that the Christian, thus instructed by his Master, 
might not be overcome by the Tempter. Therefore, man must 
fast when a similar struggle with temptation cornes, whether 
it be immediately after baptism or after a considerable lapse 
of time, so that the body may discharge its military service 
by its discipline and the soul may gain a victory by its humili- 
ation. Hence, in this precedent set by our Lord, the fast 
was occasioned, not by the immersion in the Jordan, but 
by the [anticipated] temptation of the Devil. 

3 Rom. 6.4. 


(3) This is the reason why we fast before solemnizing the 
Passion of the Lord and why the relaxation of the fast is 
ended on the fiftieth day after Easter. Everyone who fasts 
with right dispositions either in a spirit of sincere faith 
humbles his soul in prayerful lamentation and in corporal 
penance, or directs his intention, raised above carnal entice- 
ment by a holy, spiritual delight in truth and wisdom, to the 
endurance of hunger and thirst. 4 Our Lord explained 5 both 
types of fasting to those who asked Him why His disciples 
did not fast. Concerning the first type which pertains to the 
humiliation of the soul, He said: c The children of the bride- 
groom cannot mourn so long as the bridegroom is with them. 
But the hour will come when the bridegroom shall be taken 
away from them, and then they will fast.' In regard to the 
other type of fasting which offers feasts for the mind, He 
went on to say: No one sews a patch of new cloth on an 
old garment, lest a greater rent be made. Nor do people 
pour new wine into old wineskins lest the skins burst and 
the wine be spilt. But they put new wine into fresh skins*, and 
both are saved.' Hence, because the Bridegroom has been 
taken away, we, the children of that beautiful Bridegroom, 
certainly must mourn. For He is 'beautiful above the sons 
of men: grace is poured abroad in his lips.' 6 In the hands 
of His persecutors, however, He had neither beauty nor 
comeliness, and His life was taken away from this earth. 7 
With reason do we mourn if we burn with desire for Him. 
They, indeed, were blessed who were permitted, before His 
Passion, to enjoy His presence, to question Him as they 
wished, and to listen to Him as it befitted them to listen. 
Before His coming, their fathers desired to see those days 
and did not see them, because they had been allotted 
their function in another dispensation; through them His 
coming would be predicted but He, on His advent, would 

4 The reading in pia instead of inopia, suggested by Morel, Elem. 
Critic. 355-356, has been followed here. 

5 Cf. Matt. 9.15-18. 
f> Cf. Ps. 44.3. 

7 Cf. Isa. 53.2,8. 

LENT 101 

not be heard by them. It was of them that our Lord 
spoke when He said to His disciples: 'Many just men and 
prophets have longed to see what you see, and they have 
not seen it; and to hear what your hear, and they have not 
heard it.' 8 In us, however, that other statement which He 
Himself likewise uttered has been fulfilled: The days will 
come when you will long to see one of these days and you 
will not be able to do so.' 9 

(4) Who would not be on fire with the flame of holy 
desires? Who would not mourn here? Who would not be 
afflicted in his sorrow? Who would not say: 'My tears have 
become my bread day and night, whilst it is said to me daily: 
Where is thy God?' 10 Of course, we believe in Him as He 
sits at the right hand of the Father; nevertheless, as long as 
we are in the body we are exiled from Him 11 and we are 
unable to show Him to those who, in doubt and rejection, 
say: e Where is thy God?' 12 Rightly did the Apostle desire to 
be dissolved and to be with Him. However, Paul considered 
that to stay on in the flesh was not best for him, but neces- 
sary for us, 13 since the 'earthly habitation presseth down the 
mind that museth upon many things' when e the thoughts of 
mortal men are fearful and our counsels uncertain.' 14 

The life of man upon earth, then, is a time of trial, 15 and 
in the night of this age the lion goes about seeking someone 
to devour,' 16 not the c lion of the tribe of Juda' 17 our King, 
but the diabolic lion, our Adversary. Our King, however, 
portraying in Himself alone the four figures of animals men- 
tioned in the Apocalypse of John, was born as a man, rendered 
service as a lion, was immolated as a calf, and flew upward 

8 Cf. Matt. 13.17. 

9 Cf. Luke 17.22. 

10 Cf. Ps. 41.4. 

11 Cf. 2 Cor. 5.6. 

12 Ps. 41.4. 

13 Cf. Phil. 1.23-25. 

14 Cf. Wisd. 9.14-16. 

15 Cf. Job. 7.1. 

16 1 Peter 5.8. 

17 Apoc. 5.5. 


as an eagle. 18 He flew upon the wings of the winds. And 
he made darkness his covert.' 19 He appointed the darkness, 
and the night was made in which all beasts of the woods 
go about. 20 The roaring whelps of lions [mentioned in that 
same passage] are, to be sure, the tempters through whom 
the Devil seeks whom he may devour. Nevertheless, they 
have no power except over those whom they have ensnared, 
as is indicated by this passage which follows in the same 
psalm: 'seeking their meat from God.' Who would not fear 
in the night of this world, a night so dangerous and so full 
of temptations? Who would not tremble in every bone lest 
he be judged worthy of being cast Into the jaws of so cruel 
an enemy to be devoured? Therefore, we must fast and pray. 
(5) And when [would we fast and pray] with greater 
reason and with greater intensity than when the solemniza- 
tion of the Lord's Passion is approaching, on which yearly 
celebration, the memory of that night is, In a certain manner, 
engraved on our minds lest it be destroyed by forgetfulness 
and lest that roaring beast find us sleeping, not physically, 
but spiritually? For what else did the Passion of our Lord, 
in the person of our Head, Christ Jesus, commend to us as 
calling for the greatest attention except the trial of this life? 
Hence, as the time of His death drew near, He said to Peter: 
'Satan has desired to sift you as wheat: and I have prayed 
for thee, Peter, that thy faith may not fail; go and strengthen 
thy brethren. 521 And assuredly he did strengthen us through 
his apostolate, his martyrdom, and his letters. Furthermore, 
when he was admonishing us about the terrifying night of 
which I am speaking, he taught us how cautiously we should 
be on our guard, [using] the encouragement of prophecy 
as a night lamp, in the words: c And we have the word of 
prophecy, surer still, to which you do well to attend, as to 

18 Cf. Apoc. 4.7. 

19 Ps. 17.11,12. 

20 Ps. 103.20,21. 

21 Cf. Luke 22.3132. 

LENT 103 

a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the 
morning star rises in your hearts,' 22 

Therefore, let our loins be girt about and our lamps burn- 
ing, and we ourselves like men waiting for the master's 
return from the wedding. 23 Let us not say to one another: 
'Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we shall die. 324 But for 
the very reason that the day of death is uncertain and the 
day of life is troublesome, let us fast and pray more earnestly 
'for tomorrow we shall die/ The Lord said: 25 'A little while 
and you shall not see me, and again a little while and you 
shall see me.' This is the hour of which He said: 'You shall 
be sorrowful, but the world shall rejoice, 5 that is, this life in 
which we sojourn apart from Him is full of temptations. 
However, He goes on to say: 'But I will see you again, and 
your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one shall take from 
you. 3 We rejoice even now, however, trusting Him who is 
most faithful to His promises, waiting for that fuller joy to 
come when 'we shall be like to him, for we shall see him 
just as he is, 5 and our joy no one shall take from us. 26 For 
we have received the Holy Spirit, the gracious and gratuitous 
pledge of this hope, who stirs up in our hearts the inde- 
scribable pains of holy desires. Tor we have conceived/ as 
Isaias says, 'and we have brought forth the spirit of salva- 
tion. 327 And the Lord says: 'When a woman is in labor, she 
is sad because her day has come. But when she has brought 
forth the child, there is great joy because a man is born into 
the world.' 28 This will be the great joy which no one will 
take from us, by means of which we shall be transferred to 
eternal light from this preliminary stage of faith. Let us now, 
therefore, fast and pray, since this is our day of labor. 

22 2 Peter 1.19. 

23 Cf. Luke 12.35,36. 

24 1 Cor. 15.32. 

25 John 16.19,20,22. 

26 1 John 3.2; cf. John 16.22. 

27 Cf. Isa. 26.18. 

28 Cf. John 16.21. 


(6) The whole Body of Christ, diffused through the entire 
world, that is, the whole Church, practises penance as that 
corporate unity which says in the psalm: To thee have I 
cried from the ends of the earth; when my heart was in 
anguish.' 29 Hence, light begins to dawn upon us as to why 
the Lenten season was inaugurated as the solemnity of this 
humiliation. For the [united Church] which cries from the 
ends of the earth when its heart is in anguish cries from 
those four regions of the earth which even the Scriptures 
often mention, that is, from the East and West, from the 
North and* the South. Through the entire area the Decalogue 
of the Law has been promulgated, not merely to be feared 
in its literal expression, but to be fulfilled in the grace of 
charity. Hence, when four has been multiplied by ten, we 
see the number forty rounded out. Yet, in the struggle with 
temptation, when there is pardon for sin, who fulfills per- 
fectly the law, Thou shalt no covet 5 ? 30 For this reason, we 
must fast and pray, without, however, ceasing from good 
works. For such labor,, that, recompense called by the name 
of denarius is given eventually. 31 Moreover, just as ternarius 
receives its name from 'three, 3 and quaternarius from 'four, 3 
so denarius comes from 'ten.' This number, associated with 
forty, is given as a reward for labor. The representation of 
the number fifty signifies the period of rejoicing which no 
one will take from us. In this life we do not yet have any 
experience of this joy. Nevertheless, after the commemora- 
tion of our Lord's Passion, through the fifty days following 
His Resurrection on which we relax the fast, we proclaim 
this joy by singing 'Alleluia 3 in the praises of the Lord. 

Now, therefore, in the name of Christ, I exhort you, 
my dearly beloved brethren, to propitiate God by daily 
fasts, by more generous almsgiving, and by more fervent 
prayers so that you may not be overcome by Satan. Now is 

29 Ps. 60.3. 

30 Exod. 20.17. 

31 Cf. Matt. 20.2-13. 

LENT 105 

the time for husbands to practise self-restraint with their 
wives and likewise for wives to do so with their husbands 
so that both may have more time for prayer. And, as a 
matter of fact, they ought to do this on certain days through- 
out the entire year; the more frequently they do so, the 
better it will be, because he who greedily seeks privileges 
offends the one who has granted these privileges. Prayer is 
definitely a spiritual matter. Hence, it is more acceptable 
according as it fulfills more completely the demands of its 
nature. It is, moreover, poured forth from a more spiritual 
source in proportion as the soul which gives expression to 
it is raised above carnal desires. 

(7) For forty days Moses, the guardian of the Law, fasted; 
for forty days Elias, the most excellent of the Prophets, fasted; 
for forty days the Lord Himself, to whom both the Law and 
the Prophets gave testimony, fasted. Hence, it was in com- 
pany with these two that He revealed Himself on the moun- 
tain. Let us, however, who are not able to perform this long 
fast, as they did, taking no nourishment for so many days 
and nights, at least do as much as we can, so that, with 
the exception of those days on which, for certain reasons, 
the law of the Church forbids us to fast, we may please the 
Lord God by daily or frequent fasting. But you do not think, 
do you, that as the fast from food and drink cannot be 
constant throughout so many days, so abstinence from marital 
pleasures cannot be continuous? When we see many persons 
of both sexes preserving inviolate, in the name of Christ, 
their bodies which have been consecrated to God, I think it 
is not a great accomplishment for chaste married persons to 
do during the entire Paschal season what virgins do through- 
out their whole life. 

(8) Truly, I have commended this practice [of fasting] 
to you as forcibly as I could, although I should not have to 
urge you since it is a time for humiliating one's soul. Never- 
theless, because of the errors of certain persons who, through 
their boastful enticements and vicious habits, unceasingly 


make me anxious in your regard, I cannot remain silent. 
There are certain observers of Lent who are voluptuous rather 
than religious; who seek out new delights in place of doing 
violence to old passions; who, by the lavish and costly pre- 
paration of various fruits, strive to surpass the variety and 
taste of all other dishes. They shun as unclean the vessels 
in which flesh has been cooked, but they do not shun the 
excesses of taste and appetite in their own flesh. They fast, 
not to lessen their usual gluttony by temperance, but to in- 
crease their immoderate desires by unusual variety. For, when 
the time for eating has come, they rush to well-laden tables 
as cattle to stalls. They tax their hearts and bloat their 
stomachs with too many courses, and lest their appetite should 
become jaded by the abundance, they stimulate it by various 
kinds of artfully prepared and exotic condiments. In a word, 
when fasting, they take so much to eat that they are not 
able to digest it. 

(9) There are people who do not drink wine so that they 
may seek out for themselves other liquors from the juice of 
other fruits, not for their health's sake, but for pleasure, just 
as if Lent were not an observance of devout humility but 
an opportunity for new delights. If the weakness of one's 
stomach cannot endure the drinking of water, how much 
more honorable it would be to sustain it by a moderate 
amount of the customary wine than to seek liquors which 
neither wine-dealer nor wine-press have ever seen, not so 
much for the purpose of choosing a more costly drink as of 
showing disapproval of a less expensive one? Moreover, what 
is more absurd, at this time when the flesh should be more 
closely held in check, than to obtain such great delights for 
it that the greediness of the appetite is loathe to have the 
season of Lent come to an end? What is more unseemly in 
these days of humiliation when all people ought to imitate 
the food of the poor, than to live in such a manner that, 
if one were to continue so to live throughout his whole life, 
the patrimonies of the rich would not be sufficient to support 



him? Be on your guard against these tendencies., then., my 
dearly beloved. Consider what is written: 'Go not after thy 
lusts.' 32 If this most salutary precept ought to be observed 
at all times, how much more fully should it be carried out 
in these days when the relaxation of our desires in unusual 
pleasures is so discountenanced that even he who has not 
restrained his usual pleasures is rightly censured. 

(10) Be particularly mindful of the poor, so that what you 
take from yourself by living sparingly you may lay away in 
heavenly treasures. Let the needy Christ receive that of which 
the fasting Christian deprives himself. Let the self-restraint 
of the willing soul be the sustenance of the one in need. 
Let the voluntary neediness of the one possessing an abun- 
dance become the necessary abundance of the one in need. 
Let there be a merciful readiness to forgive in a conciliatory 
and humble soul. Let him who has done wrong seek pardon 
and let him who suffered the wrong give pardon, so that 
we may not be possessed by Satan who gloats over the dis- 
agreements of Christians. For this is a very profitable way of 
giving alms, namely, to cancel the debt of one's fellow ser- 
vant so that one's own debt may be cancelled by the Lord. 
The heavenly Master commended both deeds as good when 
He said: 'Forgive, and you shall be forgiven; give, and it 
shall be given to you. 533 Recall how that servant, whose 
entire debt had been cancelled by his master, received a 
double punishment because he did not show to a fellow 
servant owing him a hundred denarii the same mercy which 
he had received in regard to his debt of 10,000 talents. 34 

In this kind of good work, where good will is the sole 
requisite, there is no excuse possible. Some one may say: e l 
cannot fast without upsetting my stomach. 3 He may even 
say: C I wish to give to the poor, but I do not have the means 
to do so/ or 'I have so little that I run the risk of being in 

32 Eccli. 18.30. 

33 Luke 6.37,38. 

34 Cf. Matt, 18.26-35. 


need myself if I give to others.' Even in these matters men 
sometimes make false excuses for themselves, because they 
do not find true ones. Nevertheless, who is there who would 
say: C I did not pardon the one seeking forgiveness from me 
because ill health prevented me, 3 or 'because I had not a 
hand with which to embrace him'? Forgive, that you may 
be forgiven. 35 Here there is no work of the body; no mem- 
ber of the body is lifted up to help a soul, so that what is 
asked may be granted. All is done by the will; all is accom- 
plished by the will. Act without anxiety; give without anxiety. 
You will experience no physical indisposition; you will have 
nothing less in your home. Now in truth, my brethren, see 
what an evil it is that he who has been commanded to love 
even his enemy does not pardon a penitent brother. Since 
this is so and since it is written in the Scriptures; 'Do not 
let the sun go down upon your anger,' 36 consider my 
dear brethren, whether he ought to be called a Christian 
who, at least in these days, does not wish to put an end to 
enmities which he should never have indulged. 

Sermon 211 

These holy days which we are devoting to the observance 
of Lent remind me to speak to you about fraternal agree- 
ment, so that whoever has a complaint against another may 
bring it to an end lest he himself come to an end. Do not 
despise these words, my brethren. For, by reason of the fact 
that this mortal and frail life, which is passed amid so many 
earthly temptations and which prays that it may not be 
overwhelmed by them, cannot be lived even by a just per- 
son without some sins, we have a remedy by which we can 
live because our Teacher, God, taught us to say in His 

35 Cf. Luke 6.37. 

36 Eph. 456. 

LENT 109 

prayer: 'Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.' 1 
We have done what was stipulated and what was pleasing 
in the eyes of God, and we have signed the agreement for can- 
celling our debt. If we ourselves forgive, we seek to be forgiven 
with the utmost confidence ; but if we do not forgive, let us not 
think that our sins are forgiven; let us not deceive ourselves. 
Let man not deceive himself; God deceives no man. It is 
human to get angry : would that we did not have this power ! 
It is human to get angry; but your anger ought not, like a 
tender young twig, to be watered by suspicions and finally to 
grow into a tree of hatred. For anger is one thing; hatred, 
another. Assuredly, a father often becomes angry at his son, 
but he does not hate him; he becomes angry in order to 
correct him. If he is angry for the purpose of correction, he 
is angry while he continues to love. For that reason it has 
been said: 'Thou dost see the speck in thy brother's eye, 
but dost not consider the beam in thy own eye.' 2 You censure 
anger in another, and you nourish hatred in yourself. In com- 
parison with hatred, anger is a mere twig; but, if you cul- 
tivate a twig, it will become a tree; if you uproot it and 
cast it out, it will amount to nothing. 

( 2 ) If you were attentive when the Epistle of St. John was 
read, you should have been terrified by his words, for he 
says: 'The darkness has passed and the true light is now 
shining.' Then, continuing, he adds: 'He who says that he 
is in the light, and hates his brother, is in the darkness still.' 3 
But perhaps man may think that the darkness is like that 
suffered by those who are shut up in prisons. Would that 
it were so! Nevertheless, no one wishes to be in such dark- 
ness. Innocent people, however, can be confined in the dark- 
ness of prisons. In fact, the martyrs were so imprisoned; 
darkness engulfed them on all sides but light shone in their 
hearts. In that gloom of the prison they saw God, not with 

1 Matt. 6.12. 

2 Cf. Matt. 7.3. 

3 I John 2.8,9. 


the eyes of the body, but in the love of the brethren. Do 
you wish to know the nature of that darkness of which the 
Scriptures say: c He who hates his brother is in the darkness 
stilF? St. John also says in another place: 'He who hates 
his brother is a murderer.' 4 He who hates his brother walks 
about, leaves and enters the house, goes on his way burdened 
with no fetters, shut up in no prison, yet bound by his guilt. 
Do not consider that he is without confinement. His heart 
is his prison. Lest by chance you should contemn such dark- 
ness when you hear: 'He who hates his brother is in the 
darkness still,' St. John says in addition: 'He who hates his 
brother is a murderer. 3 Do you hate your brother and walk 
about free from care? Are you unwilling to be reconciled, 
although God is giving you an opportunity for that purpose? 
Behold, you are a murderer and yet you live. If you had an 
angry Master, you would be taken off suddenly in the midst 
of your hatred of your brother. God is sparing you; spare 
yourself; make peace with your brother. But, perhaps, though 
you wish to do so, he is unwilling. Let that suffice so far as 
you are concerned. You now have cause for grievance, for 
you have done your part. If you wish to be reconciled and 
he is unwilling, say in all security: 'Forgive us our debts, 
as we also forgive our debtors.' 

(3) Perhaps you have sinned against your brother; you 
wish to make peace with him; you wish to say to him: 'My 
brother, forgive me for having sinned against you.' But he 
is unwilling to forgive; he does not wish to discharge your 
debt; he is reluctant to cancel what you owe him. Let him 
take heed inasmuch as he, too, has to pray. When he shall 
come, who has been unwilling to forgive you for having 
sinned against him, when he shall come to pray, what is 
he going to do? Let him say: 'Our Father who art in heaven.' 
Let him speak thus and add: 'Hallowed be thy name. 5 In 
addition to this say: Thy kingdom come.' And continue 
with: Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.' Then 

4 Cf. 1 John 3.15. 

LENT 111 

proceed with: 'Give us this day our daily bread/ 5 You have 
said this much; now see if, perchance, you wish to omit 
what follows and substitute something else. There is no way 
by which you can pass; you are held in this spot. Speak, 
then, and speak the truth, or if you have no cause for say- 
ing: 'Forgive us our debts,' do not say it. Yet, where is [your 
recollection of] that other statement which the same Apostle 
made: 'If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, 
and the truth is not in us'? e But if the consciousness of our 
frailty stings us, and, indeed, in this world there is an abun- 
dance of iniquity, then say: 'Forgive us our debts.' But, 
consider what follows, for you have been unwilling to forgive 
your brother's sin and you are about to say: c as we also 
forgive our debtors. 5 Or are you not going to say it? If you 
are not going to say the words, you will receive nothing; but 
if you are going to say them, you will speak falsely. There- 
fore, speak and speak the truth. How are you going to speak 
the truth, if you have been unwilling to forgive the sin of 
your brother? 

(4) I have admonished him; now I console you, whoever 
you are, if only you are one who has said to your brother: 
Torgive me for having sinned against you.' If you have 
spoken with your whole heart, with a true humility and un- 
feigned charity, which God sees in the heart whence your 
words have come, and if your brother has continued to 
refuse to forgive you, do not be concerned. You are both 
servants and you have the same Master; you are indebted 
to your fellow servant, but he is unwilling to forgive you; 
importune your Master. What the Lord has pardoned let a 
servant exact, if he can. Furthermore, I say this: I advised 
him who was unwilling to forgive his brother to do what 
he was reluctant to do when his brother sought to be 
forgiven, lest when he himself prays he may not obtain what 
he desires. I also advised him who sought pardon for his 

5 Matt. 6.9-12. 

6 1 John 1.8. 


sins from his brother and did not obtain it to be confident of 
obtaining from the Lord what he failed to get from his 
brother. There is another word of advice which I would 
give when your brother has sinned against you and has been 
unwilling to say to you : 'Forgive me for having sinned against 
you.' Such words are plentiful. 7 Would that God would root 
them out of His land, that is, out of your hearts ! How many 
there are who know that they have sinned against their 
brethren and yet are unwilling to say: 'Forgive me. 5 They 
were not ashamed to commit sin, but they are ashamed to 
beg pardon; they did not blush when there was question 
of iniquity, but they do blush where humility is concerned. 

(5) Above all, therefore, do I admonish those of you who 
are at variance with the brethren. You are summoning your- 
selves before your own tribunal; you are examining your- 
selves; you are bringing a just judgment against yourselves 
within your own hearts; and you are discovering that you 
ought not to have done what you have done, that you ought 
not to have said what you have said. Seek pardon, then, as 
brethren from brethren. Do for your brethren what the 
Apostle advises: 'Generously forgiving one another, as also 
God in Christ has forgiven you. 38 Do this, and do not be 
ashamed to seek pardon. In the same manner I speak to 
all, men and women, young and old, lay persons and clerics, 
and to myself, also. Let us all hearken; let us all fear. If we 
have sinned against our brethren, if up to this time we have 
been granted a truce for further living, we are not dying as 
a result of our sin. In fact we are still living; we have not 
yet been condemned. Then, while we are alive, let us do 
what is ordered by our Father who will be our Judge; let 
us seek pardon from our brethren whom we have offended 
and, perhaps, wounded by sinning against them. 

There are some persons who, though they are lowly in 

7 The text is quite vague at this point; there seems to be a lacuna 
or a faulty transmission. 

8 Eph. 4.32. 

LENT 113 

the rating of this world, yet are lifted up in pride if one 
seeks pardon of them. This is what I advise in such a case. 
Sometimes a master sins against a servant. Even though he 
is the master and the other a servant, both are servants of 
another Master because both have been redeemed by the 
blood of Christ. Yet it seems hard that 1 should order and 
command that, if a master sins against his servant by unjustly 
quarreling or by unjustly striking him, the master should 
say: Torgive me; pardon me. 5 This seems hard, not because 
he ought not to do it, but because [the master fears] that the 
servant may become unbearably haughty. What then? Before 
the eyes of God let the master repent; before the eyes of God 
let him punish himself; and if he cannot say: Torgive me* 
to a servant because it is not fitting, let him address that 
servant graciously, for to accost one graciously is to ask for 

(6) It remains now for me to address those against whom 
others have sinned and from whom the offenders have been 
unwilling to seek pardon. I have already spoken to those 
who were unwilling to forgive offenders who sought pardon. 
Now, then, since I address you all and since these are holy 
days, do not let your enmities remain. I suppose that some 
of you, who know that you have some differences with your 
brethren, have thought the matter over in your hearts and 
have found that, instead of your having sinned against them, 
they have sinned against you. Even though you do not say 
this to me now, because in this place it is my privilege to 
speak and yours to listen in silence, still, perhaps while think- 
ing, you speak to yourselves and say: C I wish to make peace, 
but he has injured me; he has sinned against me; and he 
does not wish to ask pardon. 3 What then? Am I going to 
say: c Go to him and beg pardon of him 5 ? Not at all. I do 
not wish you to lie. I do not want you who know that you have 
not sinned against your brother to say: 'Pardon me/ For 
how does it profit you to be your own prosecutor? Why 
would you seek pardon from him whom you have not of- 


fended or against whom you have not sinned? That Is of 
no use to you, I do not wish you to do it. You understand ; you 
have examined the matter well; you know that he sinned 
against you, not you against him. 'I know,' he says. 9 Let 
your conscience rest in that definite knowledge. Do not go 
to your brother who has sinned against you and voluntarily 
ask pardon of him. There ought to be other peacemakers 
between you to exhort him earnestly to seek forgiveness from 
you ; do you merely be ready to forgive him, ready to pardon 
him completely from your heart. If you are ready to forgive, 
you have already forgiven. You still have something to pray 
for; pray for him, that he may seek pardon from you. Be- 
cause you realize that it is harmful for him if he does not 
seek forgiveness, pray for him that he may do so. Say to 
the Lord in your prayer: 'Lord, You know that I have not 
sinned against my brother and that he has sinned against 
me. You know, too, that his having sinned against me is 
harmful for him if he does not seek pardon from me. With a 
good intention, then, I beg You to pardon him.' 

(7) Behold, I have told you that especially during these 
days of your fasts, of your pious practices, of your continency 
you ought to co-operate with me so as to make peace with 
your brethren. May I, who am saddened by your strife, re- 
joice in your peace, so that, forgiving one another if anyone 
has a complaint against another, we may in peace celebrate 
the Pasch and in peace observe the Passion of Him who, 
owing nothing to anyone, paid the price for those who were 
in debt. I refer to our Lord, Jesus Christ, who sinned against 
no man and against whom almost the entire world sinned. 
Yet He demanded no punishments but promised rewards. 
Therefore, we have Him as witness in our hearts that, if we 
have sinned against anyone, we are seeking pardon with 
sincere hearts and that, if anyone has sinned against us, we 
are prepared to give pardon and that we are praying for 

9 These words seem spurious. The Mss. differ concerning them, but 
do not offer any satisfactory solution. 

LENT 115 

our enemies. Let us not expect to be avenged, my brethren. 
What does vengeance mean except to be delighted by an- 
other's misfortune? I know that each day men come, bend 
their knees, touch the earth with their foreheads, sometimes 
moisten their faces with tears, and in all this great humility 
and distress say: 'Lord, avenge me. Kill my enemy. 3 Cer- 
tainly pray that the Lord may kill your enemy, but also 
pray that He may spare your brother. Let God destroy hos- 
tilities, but let Him save your brother's life. Pray that God 
may avenge you; let him who persecuted you perish; but 
let him remain who is restored to you. 


Sermon 212 
On the Presentation of the Creed 

|T is TIME for you to receive the Creed 1 which con- 
tains a brief summary of all that you believe for 
eternal salvation. We call it Creed or symbolum, 
transferring the term by a kind of simile, because merchants 
draw up for themselves a syrnbolum by which their alliance 
is held bound as by a pact of fidelity. Your union, moreover, 
is a spiritual fellowship, so that you are like traders seeking 
a valuable pearl, 2 that is, the charity which will be poured 
forth in your hearts by the Holy Spirit who will be given 
to you. 3 One makes progress toward this charity by faith in 
what is contained in the Creed: that you believe in* God 
the Father Almighty, the invisible, immortal King of ages, 
the Creator of things visible and invisible; and in whatever 
else either sound reason or the authority of holy Scrip- 
ture worthily tells us about Him. And do not separate the 

1 According to the Lou vain Codices, this sermon was delivered on the 
second feria after the fifth Sunday of Lent. However, the manuscripts 
differ as to the day on which the Creed was given to those about to 
be baptized. According to Roman custom, it, together with the Lord's 
Prayer, was given on the fourth feria of the fourth week of Lent 
and recited on Holy Saturday. 

2 Cf. Matt. 13.45. 

3 Cf. Rom. 5.5. 



Son from the perfections of God, for those perfections of 
the Father are not to be mentioned in such a way as to be 
withdrawn from Him who said: l l and the Father are one/ 4 
and of whom the Apostle says: Who, though he was by 
nature God, did not consider it rapine to be equal to God. 55 
Now, rapine is the usurpation of another's property even 
though there be an equality in nature. In view of this, how 
will the Son not be omnipotent, since through Him all things 
were made and since He is also the Power and Wisdom of 
God, 6 of which it was written: 'Being but one, she can do 
all things 5 ? 7 Moreover, in that form in which He is equal 
to the Father He is by nature invisible. In fact, the Word 
of God is invisible by nature because He was in the begin- 
ning and He was God. 8 In this same nature He is also com- 
pletely immortal, that is, He remains immutable in every 
respect. For the human soul is also said to be immortal to 
a certain extent, but that is not genuine immortality in 
which there is such great change, making it possible to fail 
and to advance. Thus, it is death for the human soul to be 
severed from the life of God through the ignorance which 
is in the soul; but it is life for it to run to the fountain of 
life, so that in the light of God it may see light. Immediately 
after this life you, too, through the grace of Christ, will be 
restored from certain death which you renounce. But the 
Word of God, the only-begotten Son, always lives unchange- 
ably with His Father. He neither decreases, because His 
abiding presence is not lessened; nor does He advance, be- 
cause His perfection is not increased. He Himself is the 
Creator of the visible and invisible worlds, because, as the 
Apostle says: 'In him were created all things in the heavens 
and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether 
Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Powers. All 

4 John 10.30. 

5 Cf. Phil. 2.6. 

6 Cf. 1 Cor. 1.24. 

7 Wisd. 7.27. 

8 Cf. John 1.8,1. 


things have been created through and unto him, . . . and in 
him all things hold together,' 9 

However., since He 'emptied himself,' not losing the nature 
of God, but 'taking the nature of a slave,' 10 He, the invisible, 
became visible in this form of a servant, because He was 
born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary. In this 
form of a servant, the Omnipotent One became weak, in 
that He suffered under Pontius Pilate, In this form of a 
servant, the Immortal One died, in that He was crucified 
and was buried. In this form of a servant, the King of ages 
rose on the third day. In this form of a servant, the Creator 
of things visible and invisible ascended into heaven, whence 
He had never departed. In this form of a servant, He who 
is the arm of the Father, and of whom the Prophet says: 
'And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?' 11 sits at the 
right of the Father. In this form of a servant, He will come 
to judge the living and the dead, for in this form He wished 
to be a Companion of the dead inasmuch as He is the Life 
of the living. Through Him the Holy Spirit was sent by the 
Father and by Himself, the Spirit of the Father and of the 
Son, sent by both, begotten by neither; the unity of both, 
equal to both. 

This Trinity is one God, omnipotent, invisible, King of 
ages, Creator of things visible and invisible. For we do not 
speak of three Lords, or of three Omnipotent Ones, or of 
three Creators or of three of whatever other perfections of 
God can be mentioned, because there are not three Gods 
but only one God. Although in this Trinity, the Father is 
not the Son, nor is the Son the Father, nor is the Holy 
Spirit the Son or the Father, yet the Father belongs to the 
Son; the Son, to the Father; and the Holy Spirit, to both 
the Father and the Son. Believe so that you may understand. 
For, unless you believe, you will not understand. 12 As a 

9 Col. 1.16-18. 

10 Phil. 2.7. 

11 Isa. 53.1. 

12 Cf. Isa. 7.9 (secundum Septuagint) . 


result of this faith, hope for grace by which all your sins 
will be forgiven. Only in this way and not by your own 
efforts will you be saved, for [salvation] is a gift of God. 
Furthermore, after this death, which comes to all men and 
which is incumbent upon the descendants of the first man, 
hope for the final resurrection of your bodies, not unto the 
endurance of pain to which the wicked will rise, nor unto 
the gratification of fleshly desires as the foolish think, but as 
the Apostle says: 'What is sown a natural body rises a spirit- 
ual body/ 13 so that it is no longer a c load upon the soul' 14 
nor does it seek any refreshment because it will experience 
no need. 

(2) Therefore, I have given you a short sermon on the 
entire Creed as was obligatory. You will recognize that, in 
this short sermon of mine, all that you will hear in the Creed 
has been summarized. You should not write it out in any 
way, but, so as to hold the exact words of the Creed, learn 
it by listening. Not even when you have learned it should 
you write it down, but, rather, always hold it and cherish 
it in your memory. For whatever you will hear in the Creed 
is contained in the inspired books of the holy Scriptures. 
The fact that it is not permitted to write down what has 
been thus collected and reduced to a definite form comes 
about in memory of the promise of God in which, predict- 
ing a New Testament, He said in the words of the Prophet: 
This is the covenant which I will make with them after 
those days, saith the Lord, by setting my law in their minds, 
I will write it also in their hearts. 515 Because of the interpreta- 
tion of this passage, the Creed is learned by listening; it is 
written, not on tablets nor on any material, but on the heart. 
He who has called you to His kingdom and glory will grant 
that, when you have been regenerated by His grace and by 
the Holy Spirit, it will be written in your hearts, so that you 

13 1 Cor. 15.44. 

14 Wisd. 9.15. 

15 Cf. Jer. 31.33. 


may love what you believe and that, through love, faith 
may work in you and that you may become pleasing to the 
Lord God, the Giver of all good things, not by fearing His 
punishments in servile fashion, but by loving justice as true 
sons of God. This, therefore, is the Creed which has become 
familiar to you through the Scripture and through eccle- 
siastical sermons. Under this brief formula the faithful must 
live and advance. 

Sermon 213 

(1) The Creed is a rule of faith briefly compiled so as 
to instruct the mind without burdening the memory. It is 
expressed in few words, from which, however, much instruc- 
tion may be drawn. C I believe in God the Father Almighty.' 
See how quickly it is said and how much it signifies! God 
exists and He is the Father: God by His power; Father, 
by His goodness. How fortunate we are who have discovered 
that God is our Father! Let us, therefore, believe in Him, 
and let us promise ourselves all things from His mercy, be- 
cause He is omnipotent. On that account we believe in God 
the Father Almighty. Let no one say: 'He is not able to 
forgive me my sins. 5 How can the Omnipotent lack that 
power? But you say: C I have sinned much/ I answer: 'But He 
is omnipotent.' You insist: 'I have committed sins of such a 
nature that I cannot be freed or cleansed from them.' I 
reply: 'But He is omnipotent. See what you sing in the 
psalm: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all 
he hath done for thee. Who forgiveth all thy iniquities: who 
healeth all thy diseases." 51 

In addition to all this, His omnipotence is necessary for 
us inasmuch as it was necessary for all creation in order that 
it might be created. He is omnipotent to make things great 
and small; He is omnipotent to make things heavenly and 

l Ps. 102.2-4. 


earthly; He is omnipotent to make things immortal and 
mortal; He is omnipotent to make things spiritual and cor- 
poreal ; He is omnipotent to make things visible and invisible ; 
He is great amid great things and He is not small amid the 
smallest. In a word. He is omnipotent to make all things 
which He may have desired to make. But I also mention 
what He cannot do: He cannot die; He cannot sin; He 
cannot deceive; He cannot be deceived. Such things He 
cannot do; were He able to do those things, He would not 
be omnipotent. Therefore, believe in Him and extol Him, 
for c with the heart a man believes unto justice, and with 
the mouth profession of faith is made unto salvation.' 2 It is 
fitting, then, that since you have believed you acknowledge 
it when you recite the Creed. Take now what you may keep 
for a time, and afterwards return, and never forget. 

(2) After these introductory words, what follows? 'And 
in Jesus Christ. 5 You say: T believe in God the Father Al- 
mighty, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord. 3 If only 
Son, then equal to the Father; if only Son, then of the same 
substance as is the Father; if only Son, then of the same omni- 
potence as is the Father; if only Son, then co-eternal with 
the Father. All this He is in Himself, and with Himself, 
and with the Father. What is He for our sake? What is He 
to us? Who was conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the 
Virgin Mary.' Behold who comes, to whom He comes, and 
how. Through the Virgin Mary in whom, not an ordinary 
human husband, but the Holy Spirit operated, making the 
chaste one fruitful and preserving her chastity inviolate. Thus, 
therefore, the Lord Christ was clothed with human flesh; 
thus did He who made man become Man, by taking upon 
Himself what He was not without losing what He was. For 
'the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.' 3 The 
Word was not changed into flesh, but, remaining the Word 
after He had assumed flesh, He who had always been in- 

2 Rom. 10.10. 

3 John 1.14. 


visible, became visible when He wished and He 'dwelt among 
us. 5 What does 'among us' mean? Among men. He, the one 
and only-begotten, became one of the multitude of men. 
He is the only-begotten of the Father; what is He in 
our regard? He is our only Saviour; no one except Him 
is our Saviour. And He is our only Redeemer; no one except 
Him has redeemed us, and that, not with gold or silver, but 
with His blood. 

(3) Therefore, let us examine the transaction whereby 
we were bought. When these words were said in the Creed, 
'Who was conceived of the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin 
Mary/ what did they signify as far as we are concerned? 
The words follow: c He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was 
crucified, died and was buried.' He, who was the only Son 
of God, our Lord, was crucified; the only Son of God, our 
Lord, was buried. As man He was crucified; as man He was 
buried. But God was not changed; God was not annihilated, 
in spite of the fact that as man He was put to death. Tor 
had they known it,' says the Apostle, e they would never have 
crucified the Lord of glory.' 4 He [the Apostle] thus declared 
that He was the Lord of glory; he admitted that He was 
crucified. Now, if anyone tears your tunic without harming 
your person, he does an injury to you. In regard to your 
garment, you do not exclaim and say; c You have torn my 
tunic/ but you do say: f You have torn me to pieces; you 
have made shreds of me.' Though unharmed, you make 
these complaints and rightly, although he who harmed you 
tore away none of your flesh. So, too, the Lord Christ was 
crucified. He is the Lord; He is the only Son of the Father; 
He is our Saviour; He is the Lord of glory. Yet He was 
crucified, but only in His human nature; and He was buried, 
but only in his human nature. For neither there where He 
was buried nor then when He was buried was His soul 
present. He lay in the tomb in flesh alone, and in spite of 
that you confess that He is Jesus Christ, the only Son of 

4 1 Cor. 2.8. 


God, our Lord. He who was conceived of the Holy Spirit 
and born of the Virgin Mary was Jesus Christ, the only 
Son of God, our Lord. He who was crucified under Pontius 
Pilate was Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, our Lord. He 
who was buried was Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, our 
Lord. Flesh alone lies there, and you say it is our Lord? Yes, I 
say so, and I say it emphatically because I look upon His 
clothing and I adore the One who was clothed with it. That 
flesh was His garment because He, 'though He was by nature 
God, did not consider being equal to God a thing to be 
clung to, but emptied himself, taking the nature of a slave/ 
and without losing the nature of God, 'being made like unto 
men, and appearing in the form of man. 35 

(4) Let us not despise this [abandoned flesh], for, when 
it lay there, then He purchased us. How did He purchase 
us? Because His flesh did not always lie there; 'He rose 
from the dead on the third day. 5 This follows in the Creed. 
When we have acknowledged His Passion, we also confess 
His Resurrection. What did He do in the Passion? He taught 
us why we suffer. What did He do in the Resurrection? He 
showed us why we hope. Here there is labor but there, re- 
ward; labor in the Passion, reward in the Resurrection, Nor ? 
because He rose from the dead, did He remain here. What 
follows? 'He ascended into heaven.' And where is He now? 
*He sits at the right hand of the Father.' Understand that 
it is the right hand; do not seek the left hand. Eternal hap- 
piness is called the right hand of God. Ineffable, inestimable, 
incomprehensible blessedness and prosperity are called the 
right hand of God. This place where He sits is the right 
hand of God. What does 'the place where He sits' mean? 
There where He dwells, for where each one dwells is called 
his seat. Inasmuch as St. Stephen saw Him, did he lie who 
said: He sits at the right hand of the Father'? For, in what 
sense does Stephen say: 'Behold, I see the heavens opened, 

5 Phil. 2,6-8. 


and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God'? 5 
Because he [Stephen] saw Him standing, did he, perhaps, 
He who said: 'He sits at the right hand of the Father 5 ? There- 
fore, it has been expressed: He sits; He remains; He dwells. 
How? In the same way as you do. In what position? Who 
shall say? Let us say what He taught; let us say what we 

(5) What follows in the Creed? Thence He will come to 
judge the living and the dead. 3 Let us acknowledge our 
Saviour; let us not fear our Judge. For he who now believes 
In Him, who obeys His commands, who loves Him, will 
not fear when He comes to judge the living and the dead. 
Not only will he not fear, but he will desire Him to come. 
As a matter of fact, what is more joyful for us than when 
one comes whom we desire, than when one comes whom 
we love? Yet, we may fear because He will be our Judge. 
He, who is now our Advocate, will then be our Judge. Hear 
what St. John says: c lf we say that we have no sin, we 
deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. But if we 
acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us 
our sins and to cleanse us from all iniquity. . . , These things 
I have written to you in order that you may not sin. But if 
anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus 
Christ the just; and he is a propitiation for our sins. 37 If you 
should have a case to be tried before a judge and should 
procure an advocate, you would be accepted by the lawyer 
and he would plead your case to the best of his ability. If > 
before he has finished his plea, you should hear that he is 
to be the judge, how you would rejoice because he could 
be your judge who shortly before was your lawyer! Now, 
the Lord Himself prays for us; He Himself intercedes for 
us. We have Him as Advocate; would we fear Him as Judge? 
Nay, rather, because we have sent Him ahead as our Ad- 
vocate, let us hope that He will be our Judge. 

6 Acts 7.55. 

7 Cf. 1 John 1.8-2.3. 


(6) Those sections of the Creed which pertain to Jesus 
Christ, the only Son of God, our Lord, have been summa- 
rized. Now we continue: 'And [I believe] in the Holy Ghost/ 
so that the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit may be 
complete. Much has been said concerning the Son, because 
the Son assumed human form. Not the Father nor the Holy 
Spirit, but the Son, the Word, became flesh; the whole 
Trinity, however, made that flesh, for the operations of the 
Trinity are inseparable. Therefore, get such a clear under- 
standing of the Holy Spirit that you will not believe Him 
to be less than the Father and less than the Son; for the 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit make up the Trinity, one God. 
In the Trinity there is nothing unlike, nothing different, 
nothing defective, nothing in one Person at variance with 
another; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are always equal, in- 
visible, unchangeable. May the Holy Trinity free us from 
a multitude of sins! 

(7) Now, that which follows pertains to us: 'I believe in 
the holy Church/ We constitute the Church, but I do not 
say c we' in such a way as to include only those who are 
here, who now hear me. [I include] as many faithful Chris- 
tians as are here, by the grace of God, in this church, that is, 
in this city, as many as are in this region, as many as are in 
this province, as many as are across the sea, as many as 
are in the whole world, since c from the rising of the sun 
unto the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is 
worthy of praise/ 8 Thus, the Catholic Church, our true 
mother, true bride of her Spouse, exists today. Let us honor 
her because she is the bride of so great a Lord. And what 
shall I say? Great and unique is the condescension of her 
Spouse; He found her a courtesan and made her a virgin. 9 
She should not deny that she was a courtesan, lest she forget 
the mercy of her Liberator. How was she not a courtesan 

8 Ps. 112.3. 

9 St. Augustine here refers to the previous infidelity of the persons who 
made up the Church in his day. 


when she committed fornication in the pursuit of idols 
and demons? Fornication of heart was in all; of the flesh 
in a few, but of the heart in all. And He came and 
made her a virgin; He made the Church a virgin. She is 
a virgin in faith. He has a few nuns, virgins in the flesh; 
He ought to have all, women and men alike, virgins in the 
faith. For there chastity, purity, and holiness ought to exist. 
Do you wish to know how the Church is a virgin? Hear 
the Apostle Paul; hear the friend of the Bridegroom who is 
zealous, not for himself, but for the Bridegroom : C I betrothed 
you to one spouse. 5 He spoke to the Church. To which 
Church? To all, whithersoever his letter could reach. T be- 
trothed you to one spouse, that I might present you a chaste 
virgin to Christ. But I fear lest, 5 he said, c as the serpent 
seduced Eve by his guile . . . no That serpent never phy- 
sically defiled Eve, did he? Yet he did destroy her virginity 
of heart. On that account Paul said: I fear lest . . . your 
minds may be corrupted from that chastity which is in Christ.' 
Therefore, the Church is a virgin; she is a virgin, may she 
be a virgin. Let her beware of the deceiver, lest he turn out 
to be a corrupter. The Church is a virgin. Are you, perhaps, 
going to say to me: 'If the Church is a virgin, how does 
she bring forth children? Or, if she does not bring forth 
children, how did we give our names so that we might be 
born of her?' I answer: 'She is a virgin and she also brings 
forth children.' She imitates Mary who gave birth to the 
Lord. Did not the holy Mary bring forth her Child and 
remain a virgin? So, too, the Church both brings forth 
children and is a virgin. And if you would give some con- 
sideration to the matter, she brings forth Christ, because 
they who are baptized are His members. 'You are,' said the 
Apostle, 'the body of Christ and his members.' 11 If, there- 
fore, the Church brings forth the members of Christ, she is 
very like to Mary. 

10 Cf. 2 Cor. 11,2-4. 

11 Cf. 1 Cor. 12.27. 


(8) I believe in the forgiveness of sins.' If this power 
were not in the Church, there would be no hope; if there 
were no remission of sins in the Church, there would be no 
hope of future life and of eternal salvation. We give thanks 
to God who gave this gift to His Church. Behold, you are 
about to come to the sacred font; you will be washed in 
baptism; you will be renewed in the saving laver of regenera- 
tion; when you rise from these waters, you will be without 
sin. All the sins which in the past haunted you will be wiped 
out. Your sins will be like the Egyptians following the Israel- 
ites, pursuing only up to the Red Sea, 12 What does c up to 
the Red Sea' mean? Up to the font consecrated by the cross 
and blood of Christ. For, because that font is red, it reddens. 
Do you not see how the member of Christ becomes red? 
Question the eyes of faith. If you see the cross, see the blood, 
too. If you see what hangs on the cross, see what drips down 
from it. The side of Christ was pierced with a lance and 
our purchase price flowed forth. 13 Therefore, baptism is 
signified by the sign of Christ, that is, by the water in which 
you are immersed and through which you pass, as it were, 
in the Red Sea. Your sins are your enemies. They follow 
you, but only to the Red Sea. When you have entered [the 
water], you will escape; they will be destroyed, just as the 
Egyptians were engulfed by the waters while the Israelites 
escaped on dry land. And why does Scripture say: 'There 
was not one of them left'? 14 Because, whether you have 
committed many or few, great or small sins, even the smallest 
of them has not remained. But, since we are destined to live 
in this world where no one lives without sin, on that account 
the remission of sin depends, not solely on the washing in 
holy baptism, but also on the Lord's daily prayer which you 
will receive after eight days. In that prayer you will find, 
as it were, your daily baptism, so that you may give thanks 

12 Cf. Exod. 14. 

13 Cf. John 19.34. 

14 Ps. 105.11. 


to God who has given to His Church this gift which we 
acknowledge in the Creed. Hence, when we have said: 'I 
believe in the holy Church,' let us add, 'and in the remission 
of sins. 5 

(9) After these words we say: 'And in the resurrection 
of the body.' That, then, is the end. But the resurrection 
of the body will be an end without end. After that there 
will be no death of the body, no difficulties of the body, no 
hunger and thirst of the body, no afflictions of the body, no 
old age and weariness of the body. Do not, therefore, shudder 
at the resurrection of the body. See its good aspects; forget 
the evil. As a matter of fact, whatever bodily complaints 
there are now will not exist then. We shall be immortal, 
equal to the angels of God. 15 We shall have one city along 
with the angels; we shall be possessed by the Lord; we shall 
be His inheritance and He shall be our inheritance, as we 
ourselves say now: 'The Lord is the portion of my inher- 
itance.' 10 And, concerning us, that promise was made to 
God's Son : 'Ask of me, and 1 will give thee the Gentiles for 
thy inheritance.' 17 We shall possess and we shall be possessed; 
we shall hold and we shall be held. What shall I say? We 
are cherished and we cherish. But we cherish God and we 
are cherished as a field. That you may know how we are 
cherished, hear the Lord saying: 'I am the true vine; you 
are the branches; my Father is the husbandman.' 18 If He 
is called a husbandman, He cultivates a field. What field? 
He cultivates us. The farmer of this visible earth can plow; 
he can dig; he can plant; he can irrigate if he has found 
water. But can he give the increase, produce the seed in the 
ground, set the roots, raise the plants to the breezes, give 
strength to the branches, load them with fruit, adorn them 
with leaves? Can a farmer do these things? But our Husband- 

15 Cf. Matt. 22.30. 

16 Ps. 15.5. 

17 Ps. 2.8. 

18 Cf. John 15.1,5. 


man, God our Father, can do all these things In us. Why? 
Because we believe in God the Father Almighty. Therefore, 
hold what we have set before you and what we have ex- 
plained as to how God has deigned to give. 

Sermon 214 

( 1 ) In consideration of my own lack of age and training, 
and of my inexperience in this office which I have received, 
and in view of my affection for you, I, who now assist as 
priest at this altar which you will soon approach, should not 
deprive you of the ministry of a sermon. 1 The Apostle says: 
Tor if thou confess with thy mouth that Jesus is the Lord, 
and believe in thy heart that God has raised him from the 
dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart a man believes 
unto justice, and with the mouth profession of faith is made 
unto salvation. 32 The Creed builds up in you what you ought 
to believe and confess in order to be saved. Indeed, these 
truths, which you are about to receive and which should 
be entrusted to your memory and professed in your speech, 
are neither new nor unfamiliar to you, for you are accus- 
tomed to hear them set forth in various ways in the holy 
Scriptures and in sermons delivered in the church. But now 
they are to be handed over to you gathered together, arranged 
in a fixed order, and condensed so that your faith may be 
well grounded and preparation made for your manifesta- 
tion of that faith without taxing your memory. These are 
the truths which you are going to hold in mind assiduously 
and recite from memory. (After this introduction, the whole 
Creed is to be said, without interposing any explanation, in 
this way: C I believe in God the Father Almighty 5 and the 
other sections which follow, ending with the reminder: 'You 

1 It is thought that this is the first sermon delivered by St. . .ugustine 
after his ordination to the priesthood at Hippo in 391. 

2 Rom. 10.9-11. 


know that it is not customary to write the Creed.' To this 
preface the following discussion is to be added.) 3 

( 2 ) You are under an obligation not only to believe these 
truths which you have heard summarized, but also to com- 
mit them to memory in just so many words and to give oral 
expression to them. Furthermore, since these truths have to 
be protected against persons who have conflicting opinions 
and who, held in bondage by the Devil, menace the faith 
by opposing eternal salvation, remember to believe that God's 
omnipotence is such that there is no nature at all which He 
did not create. On that account He punishes sin, which He 
did not create, because it defiles nature which He did 
create. Therefore, He, the omnipotent God, made all 
creatures, visible and invisible: whatever by a rational mind 
can become a sharer in unchangeable truth, such as the 
angels and men; whatever lives and is sentient, even though 
it may lack understanding, such as all creatures on earth, in 
the waters, in the air, those that walk, creep, swim or fly; 
whatever is said to live in a fashion without intelligence and 
without sense perception, such as those things which are 
fastened by roots in the earth and which, by sprouting, push 
forth and rise into the air; whatever by physical mass alone 
occupies space, such as stones and whatever elements of 
earthly structure are perceived or even touched all these 
the omnipotent God created, joining the highest and lowest 
to the middle and assigning to suitable times and places all 
that He created. Moreover, He did not make these things 
from material which He Himself did not create; nor did He 
fashion what somebody else had made. He Himself created 
what He fashioned. 

How does he who says that it is impossible to make some- 
thing out of nothing believe what the omnipotent God has 
done? Of course, he undoubtedly denies that God is omni- 

3 These; words were evidently inserted later by a copyist. A reference 
to the custom of not writing the Creed has already appeared in Ser- 
mon 212. 


potent, since he says that God could not make the world 
if He did not have the material with which to make it. Now, 
what omnipotence is there where so much need exists that, 
like any ordinary workman, He could not bring His work 
to completion without help of material which He Himself 
did not create? From such views and errors, therefore, let 
him who believes in an omnipotent God purge himself. As 
a matter of fact, that which is called the formless stuff of 
things 4 is capable of receiving form, is subject to the work 
of the Creator, and can be transformed into all things which 
the Creator has willed to make. God did not find material, 
as it were, co-eternal with Himself from which to make the 
world; He Himself created it from nothing at all at the 
same time as the things which he made from it. The 
material did not exist before the things which were evidently 
made from it. Hence, in the beginning, the omnipotent 
God made all things from nothing, at the same time 
creating the matter from which they were fashioned. 
The matter of heaven and earth, since they were created 
in the beginning, was created along with them; nor was 
there anything previously in existence from which would 
come those things which God made in the beginning. Never- 
theless, those things were made which the omnipotent God 
created and which, when created, He set in place, completed, 
and adorned. Now, if God created from nothing at all those 
things which He made in the beginning, He is able to do 
whatever He pleases with those things which He has made, 
because He is all powerful. 

Let not the wicked believe that God is not omnipotent 
because people do many things contrary to His wishes, for, 
when they do what He does not wish, He is doing just what 
He wishes with them. In no way, therefore, do men change 
or prevail over the will of the Omnipotent One. For instance, 
whether a man is condemned justly or freed mercifully, the 
will of the Omnipotent One is fulfilled. Therefore, the only 

4 Cf. Lucretius, De rerum naiura, 1.483-550 et passim. 


thing the Omnipotent One cannot do is that which He does 
not will to do. He makes use of the wicked, then, not accord- 
ing to their depraved will but according to His own just 
desires. For, as the evil make bad use of their own good 
nature, that is, His good work, so He Himself, being good, 
makes good use of their evil deeds, lest the will of the Omni- 
potent One be prevailed over in any respect. For, if He, 
being good, did not have the power to produce justice and 
goodness from their evil deeds, under no circumstances would 
He permit them to be born or to live. He did not make them 
evil even though He created mankind., because He created 
their natures, not the sins which are contrary to nature. 
Nevertheless, being omniscient, He could not be ignorant of 
the fact that they would be evil; but just as He was aware 
of the evil that they would commit, so He was aware of the 
good that He would accomplish through them. Who would 
explain in human speech, who would do justice in human 
praise to the great good which the Passion of our Saviour 
brought to us when His blood was poured out in remission 
of sins? Yet, this so great a good was accomplished through 
the malice of the Devil, through the malice of the Jews, and 
through the malice of Judas, the betrayer. Nevertheless, the 
good which, through their instrumentality, God, not they, 
brought to men is not justly assigned to them; but the punish- 
ment is justly assigned to them because they wished to do 
harm. Moreover, as we have been able to discover arguments 
which have thrown light on how God made good use of the 
evil deeds of the Jews and of Judas the betrayer for our 
redemption and salvation, so in all creation with its hidden 
and secret places of concealment which we penetrate by 
keenness neither of vision nor of mind, one realizes how God 
makes good use of evils so that His omnipotent will is fulfilled 
in all things which are produced and administered in this 

(4) Since I have stated that the omnipotent God is not 
able to do only that which He does, not will to do, let no 


one think that I have rashly declared that there was some- 
thing which the Almighty could not do. The blessed Apostle 
likewise says: "\i we are faithless, he who remains faithful 
cannot disown himself.' 5 Because He does not will this He 
cannot do it, inasmuch as He cannot will and not will at 
the same time. For justice cannot wish to do what is unjust; 
wisdom cannot wish what is foolish; truth cannot wish what 
is false. Whence we are reminded that the omnipotent God 
cannot do not only what the Apostle states: 'He cannot dis- 
own -himself,' but many other things as well. Behold, I say 
this and I dare to say it in accordance with His truth, be- 
cause I do not dare to deny that the omnipotent God cannot 
die, cannot be changed, cannot be deceived, cannot be- 
come wretched, cannot be overcome. Far be it that the 
Omnipotent One should be able to do these things and other 
things of this sort. And for that very reason not only does 
truth show that He is omnipotent because He cannot do 
these things, but truth also concludes that he who can do 
such things is not omnipotent. For God exists, willing what- 
ever He is; therefore, He wills to be eternal, unchangeable, 
true, beautiful, and insuperable. If, then, what He does not 
will can exist, He is not omnipotent. But He is omnipotent; 
therefore, whatever He wishes can be. And for that reason 
whatever He does not wish cannot be. Wherefore He is said 
to be omnipotent, since whatever He wishes can' be. Of 
Him the Psalmist says: 'Whatever he hath pleased he hath 
done, in heaven and on earth.' 6 

(5) The omnipotent God, therefore, who hath done all 
things whatsoever He wished, brought forth, not from no- 
thing, but from Himself, His only Word by whom all things 
were made. On that account, He did not make, but gener- 
ated, Him. For 'in the beginning [He] created heaven, and 
earth.' 7 But He did not create the Word in the beginning, 

5 Cf. 2 Tim. 2.13. 

6 Cf. Ps. 134.6. 

7 Cf. Gen. 1.1. 


because e in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was 
with God; and the Word was God/ 8 He [the Word] is God 
of God. The Father is God, but not of God. The Word is 
the only-begotten Son of God, because there is no other 
Son of the substance of the Father, co-eternal with and 
equal to the Father. He, God, is the Word, not like a word 
whose sound can be planned in the mind and produced in 
the mouth, but as an utterance which cannot be expressed 
in a briefer or better fashion. The Word was God. 3 Un- 
changeably remaining with the Father, He is unchangeable 
also with the Father, for of Him the Apostle says: 'Who 
though he was by nature God, did not consider being equal 
to God a thing to be clung to. 39 Obviously, being equal to 
God was His prerogative by nature not by theft. So, we 
believe in Jesus Christ, the only Son of God the Father, our 

(6) But, because He, who in the nature of God by whom 
we were created c did not consider being equal to God a 
thing to be clung to' in His effort to seek and to save that 
which was lost, 'emptied himself, taking the nature of a 
slave and being made like unto men, appearing in the form 
of man,' 10 we believe that He was born 11 of the Holy Spirit 
and of the Virgin Mary. Each of His two nativities is mar- 
velous, both the divine and the human. The former is of 
the Father without a mother; the latter, of a mother without 
a father. The one is without the limits of time; the other, 
in an acceptable time. The one is eternal; the other, timely. 
The one in the bosom of the Father is without a body; 
the other, with a body by which the virginity of His Mother 
was not violated. The one is without sex; the other without 
man's co-operation. Moreover, we say that He was born of 
the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary because when the 

8 John 1.1. 

9 Phil. 2.6. 

10 Phil. 2.6-8. 

11 The reading of Ms. Theodericensis, sic credimus quod natus sit, has 
been followed here. 


holy Virgin had asked of the angel : 'How shall this happen?' 
he answered: 'The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and 
the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.' Then 
he added: 'And therefore the Holy One to be born of thee 
shall be called the Son of God. 512 His words are not: 'The 
Child to be born of thee shall be called the Son of the Holy 
Spirit/ For, as a matter of fact, complete manhood, that is> 
rational soul and body, was assumed by the Word so that 
the Word, the Son of God, might be not only Christ, not 
only God, but also Man, being in His entirety the Son of 
God the Father because He is the Word, and the Son of 
Man because of His humanity. By reason of the fact that 
He is the Word, He is equal to the Father; by reason of the 
fact that He is Man, the Father is greater than He, At the 
same time that He is Man, He is the Son of God because 
He is the Word by whom human nature was assumed; at 
the same time that He is the Word, He is the Son of Man 
because of the human nature assumed by the Word. Because 
of His holy conception in the Virgin's womb, effected, not 
through burning concupiscence of the flesh, but through 
ardent charity of faith, He is said to have been born of 
the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary in such a way that 
the former was concerned, not with His generation, but with 
His sanctification and the latter, with His conception and 
parturition. Therefore, 3 the angel said, 'the Holy One to 
be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.' Because 
He is 'holy,' therefore He is of the Holy Spirit; because 
He is 'to be born of thee,' therefore He is of the Virgin 
Mary; because He is the Son of God, therefore 'the Word 
was made flesh. 313 

( 7 ) Moreover, it was fitting that, in His assumed humanity, 
not only the Invisible One should become visible and that 
He, co-eternal with the Father, should be born in time, but 
also that the Untouchable One should be bound, the In- 

12 Luke 1.34,35. 

13 John 1.14. 


superable One should be suspended on the wood of the cross, 
the Inviolable One should be pierced with nails, and that 
both Life and the Immortal One should die upon a cross 
and be buried in a tomb. This entirety is the Son of God, 
our Lord Jesus Christ. Whence it follows that we believe 
In our hearts unto justice and proclaim with our lips unto 
salvation that this same only-begotten Son of God, our Lord 
Jesus Christ, was not only born as Man of a woman, but 
also that He endured human sufferings even unto death and 
burial. For, since the only-begotten Son of God, our Lord 
Jesus Christ, in His entirety is the Word and Man or, to 
speak more precisely, the Word, soul and body, then in 
reference to His entirety is the statement made that in His 
soul only was He 'sad, even unto death,' 14 because Jesus 
Christ the only Son of God was sad. In reference to His 
entirely is the statement made that He was crucified in His 
humanity alone, since Jesus Christ the only Son of God 
was crucified. Likewise, in reference to His entirety is the 
statement made that He was buried in His human nature 
alone. For, from the moment at which we say that we 
believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, from that 
moment whatever else we say about Him is attributed to 
Jesus Christ our Lord, the only Son of God. Do not be 
surprised at this, for, even though only His body was buried, 
we say that the only Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord 
was buried, in just the same way that we say today, for 
example, that the Apostle Peter lies in the tomb and, although 
we may say that very truthfully, we add that he rejoices with 
Christ in eternal rest. Obviously, we are speaking of one 
and the same Apostle, for there are not two Apostles named 
Peter, but only one. Therefore, we say of one and the same 
person that in his body only he lies in the tomb and that in 
spirit alone he rejoices with Christ. Moreover, the words 
'under Pontius Pilate' are added either to establish the truth 
about the time or to give further commendation to the 

14 Cf. Matt. 26.38. 


humility of Christ, because He who is to come with such 
great power as judge of the living and the dead endured 
such great sufferings under a human judge. 

(8) On the third day He rose again, in flesh truly His 
own, but destined in nowise to suffer death again. This fact 
His disciples accepted on the testimony of their eyes and 
hands; such great goodness would not take advantage of 
their faith, nor would such great truth deceive them. For 
the sake of brevity we add immediately that He ascended 
into heaven. As a matter of fact. He remained forty days 
with His disciples, lest, if He were to withdraw quickly from 
their vision, this tremendous miracle of His Resurrection 
would be considered a mockery. He now sits at the right hand 
of the Father in heaven. We ought to give careful considera- 
tion to this fact with the eyes of faith to prevent the im- 
presssion that He is immovably fixed in any spot so as not 
be permitted to stand or to walk. For, the fact that St. 
Stephen said that he saw Him standing 15 does not mean 
that St. Stephen's vision was distorted or that his statement 
is at variance with the words of this Creed. Far be such a 
thought, far be such a statement from us! The Lord's 
dwelling in lofty and ineffable blessedness has merely 
been expressed in this way to indicate that He dwells 
there. In the same fashion, dwellings are called "seats/ 
just as, when we ask where someone is, we receive the 
answer: 'In his seat.' Furthermore, the expression is very 
frequently used, especially in reference to the servants of 
God, in this way: Tor so many years he sat in this or 
that monastery, 3 that is, he found refuge, he sojourned, 
he dwelt there. Nor is this form of expression unknown 
in the holy Scriptures. In fact, after King Solomon ordered 
Semei to dwell in the city of Jerusalem and, in addi- 
tion,, threatened that, if at any time he dared to depart 
thence, he would pay the just punishment, Semei is said to 
have had his seat (ekdthise) there for three years, 16 by 

15 Cf. Acts 7.55. 

16 Cf. 3 Kings 2.36-40. 


which we understand that he dwelt there. The words 'right 
hand of the Father' certainly do not refer to the structure 
of the human body, as if the Father would be at the left 
of the Son when, according to the corporeal structure of the 
human members, the Son is at the right hand of the Father. 
On the contrary, this phrase e at the right hand of God' be- 
speaks an indescribable height of honor and happiness. In 
the same way, we read this passage about Wisdom: 'His 
left hand is under my head, and his right hand embraces 
me.' 17 For, if earthly ease has been scorned here below, then 
eternal blessedness embraces one from above. 

(9) Therefore, from the lofty habitation of the heavens 
where, at this moment, His now immortal body dwells, our 
Lord Jesus Christ will come to judge the living and the 
dead according to the indisputable angelic testimony recorded 
in the Acts of the Apostles. For, as the disciples of the Lord 
watched Him ascending into heaven and followed Him with 
intent gaze, they heard the angels say: 'Men of Galilee, 
why do you stand here? This Jesus who has been taken up 
from you shall come in the same way as you have seen 
him going up to heaven.' 18 (Human presumption in many 
different aspects has been checked. 19 ) Christ will come to 
judge in that form in which He was judged. For it was in 
that form that the Apostles saw Him ascending into heaven 
when they heard that He would come again in like manner* 
That form will be visible to the living and the dead, to the 
good and to the evil, whether we understand that, under the 
name of the living, the good are mentioned, and the evil, 
under the name of the dead; or whether we consider as living, 
those whom He on His arrival will find living and as dead, 
those whom His presence will arouse, as He Himself states in 
the Gospel when He says: Tor the hour is coming in which 
all who are in the tombs shall hear his voice. And they who 
have done good shall come forth unto resurrection of life; 

17 Cf. Cant. 2.6. 

18 Cf. Acts 1.11. 

19 This sentence seems to be an interpolation. 



but they who have done evil unto resurrection of judgment. 
In this human form the good will see Him in whom they 
have believed ; the wicked, Him whom they have despised. But 
the wicked will not see Him in the form of God in which 
He is equal to the Father, for as the Prophet says: The 
wicked shall be taken off that he may not see the glory of 
the Lord/ 21 and, on the other hand, 'Blessed are the clean 
of heart, for they shall see God.' 22 These conclusive state- 
ments have been made [in the Creed] concerning Jesus Christ 
our Lord the only Son of God. 

(10) We believe in the Holy Spirit who proceeds from 
the Father without, however, being the Son; who rests upon 
the Son without, however, being the Father of the Son; 
who receives of what is the Son's without, however, being 
the Son of the Son; 23 but who is the Spirit of the Father 
and of the Son, the Holy Spirit, God Himself. For, if He 
were not God, He would not have such a temple as the 
Apostle mentions: 'Do you not know that your members are 
the temple of the Holy Spirit [who is] in you, whom you have 
from God? 324 They are the temple, not of a creature, but 
of the Creator. Far be from us the possibility of being the 
temple of a creature, since the Apostle says: Tor holy is 
the temple of God, and this temple you are.' 25 In the Trinity 
there is nothing in one Person greater or less than in another; 
there is no separation of operations; there is no dissimilarity 
of substance; but there is one Father who is God, one Son 
who is God, one Holy Spirit who is God. Nevertheless, the 
Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not three Gods, but only 
one God, not in such a way that it is the Father who is the 
Son, or the Son who is the Father, or the Holy Spirit who 
is either the Father or the Son, but so that the Father is 

20 Cf. John 5.28-30. 

21 Cf. Isa. 26.10 (secundum Septuagint) . 

22 Matt. 5.8. 

23 John 15.26; 1.32; 16.14. 

24 Cf. 1 Cor. 6.19, 

25 1 Cor. 3.17. 


Father of the Son p the Son is Son of the Father, and the 
Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Son. Thus, 
each is God and the Trinity is one God. May this belief 
imbue your hearts and guide you in professing it. On hearing 
this, believe so that you may understand, so that by putting 
into practice what you believe you may be able to under- 
stand it. 

(11) Honor, love and praise the holy Church, your 
mother, the heavenly Jerusalem, the holy City of God. It 
is she who, in this faith which you have received, bears 
fruit and spreads throughout the world, 26 She is the 'Church 
of the living God, the pillar and mainstay of truth,' 27 who, 
in dispensing the sacraments, tolerates the wicked who are 
eventually to be separated and whom, meanwhile, disparity 
of customs keeps at a distance. For the sake of the grain now 
growing amid the chaff, at the final sifting of which the 
harvest destined for the granary will be revealed, the Church 
has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, so that in 
her there may be remission of sins through the blood of 
Christ and the operation of the Holy Spirit. In this Church 
the soul which was dead in sins will live again so that it may 
be stirred to life in Christ by whose grace we have been 

(12) We should have no doubt that our mortal flesh also 
will rise again at the end of the world. Tor this corruptible 
body must put on incorruptibility, and this mortal body must 
put on immortality. What is sown in corruption rises in 
incorruption; what is sown in dishonor rises in glory; . . . 
what is sown a natural body rises a spiritual, body.' 28 This 
is the Christian faith; this, the Catholic faith; this, the 
apostolic faith. Believe Christ when He says: 'Not a hair 
of your head shall perish,' 29 and, putting aside all unbelief, 
consider how valuable you are. For how can our Redeemer 

26 Cf. Col. 1.6. 

27 1 Tim. 3.15. 

28 1 Cor. 15.53,42-45. 

29 Luke 21.18. 


despise any person, when He cannot despise a hair of that 
person's head? And how are we going to doubt that He 
intends to give eternal life to our soul and body since He 
assumed a soul and body in which to die for us, which He 
laid down for us when He died and which He took up again 
that we might not fear death? 

I have disclosed to your Charity, 30 my brethren, all the 
truths which are handed down in the Creed for our guid- 
ance. For this reason the Creed is called the symbolum be- 
cause in it the approved belief of our fellowship is contained 
and by its profession, as by a password, the faithful Christian 
is recognized. Amen. 

Sermon 215 
At the Recitation of the Creed 

(1) The Creed of most holy martyrdom, 1 which you re- 
ceived as a group and which you have recited today as 
individuals, contains the truths upon which the faith of 
Mother Church is solidly established as on a firm founda- 
tion, which is Christ the Lord. Tor other foundation no 
one can lay, but that which has been laid, which is Christ 
Jesus.' 2 Accordingly, you have received and recited what 
you ought always to hold in your mind and heart so- that 
you may say it on your couches, think it over on the streets, 

30 In St. Augustine's day, qualities associated with persons in ecclesiastical 
or civil offices suggested the corresponding abstract nouns as titles of 
address. Many of these became, stereotyped and purely conventional. 
Both Charitas and Sanctitas were used not only in addressing bishops 
and clergy, but also in speaking to the laity. See Sister M. Bridget, 
Titles of Address in Christian Epistolography (Washington D C. 
1930) 34,52. 

1 The reading martyrii symbolum as given in Migne has been followed 
here, since it is supported by the oldest codex of the Sermons. It is 
understood as a reference to the martyrdom suffered for professing 
the faith. r 5 

2 1 Cor. 3.1 L 


be mindful of it when eating, and, even when your body 
sleeps, guard it in your hearts. For, renouncing the Devil, 
his pomps, and his angels, and withdrawing your mind and 
your soul from them, you ought to forget the past. Despising 
the duration of your former life, you ought by holy practices 
to renew your natural life along with the new spiritual man. 
As the Apostle says, you ought to press on toward the prize 
of God's heavenly call, forgetting what is behind and strain- 
ing toward what is before you. 3 You ought to believe what 
you do not as yet see, so that you may deservedly come to 
that which you have believed. Tor how can a man hope 
for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, 
we wait for it with patience.' 4 

(2) This, then, is our faith and our rule of salvation, 
namely, that we believe in God the Father Almighty, the 
Creator of all things, the King of ages, immortal and invisible. 
In fact, He is the omnipotent God who, in the beginning of 
the world, created all things from nothing; who is before 
all ages; who made and directs all ages. For He is not aug- 
mented by time; He is not extended in place; nor is He 
confined or limited by any material substance. On the con- 
trary, with Himself and in Himself He remains a full and 
perfect Eternity which human thought cannot grasp nor 
human speech utter. Inasmuch as c eye has not seen or ear 
heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man 35 [to conceive] 
the reward which God promises to His saints, how can the 
mind represent, the heart consider, or the tongue discuss 
Him who makes such a promise? 

(3) We also believe in His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, 
true God of true God, God the Son of God the Father, but 
not two Gods, for He and the Father are one. 6 Through 
Moses God introduces Himself to His people, saying: 'Hear, 

3 Cf. Phil. 3.13-15. 

4 Rom. 8.24-26. 

5 1 Cor. 2.9. 

6 Cf. John 10.30. 


O Israel, the precepts of life; the Lord your God is one 
God. 57 Moreover, if you wish to consider how the eternal 
Son of the eternal Father was generated without the limits 
of time, the Prophet Isaias confutes you, saying: 'Who shall 
declare his generation?' 8 And so, you will be able neither to 
consider nor to discuss the generation of God from God; 
you are permitted only to believe so that you may be able 
to be saved, as the Apostle says: Tor he who comes to God 
must believe that God exists and that he will be a rewarder 
to those who seek him.' 9 But if you desire to know about 
His nativity according to the flesh which for our salvation 
He deigned to assume, hear and believe that He was born 
of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary. Yet, who shall 
declare this nativity of His, either? For who can worthily 
appraise the fact that God wished to be born for the sake 
of men; that a virgin conceived without man's co-operation; 
that she brought forth her Child without corruption; and 
that she remained a virgin after childbirth? As a matter of 
fact, our Lord Jesus Christ in His condescension entered the 
Virgin's womb, without stain impregnated a woman's mem- 
bers, without corruption made His Mother fertile, and, when 
formed, came forth from her, preserving intact His Mother's 
body so that He might fill with the honor of maternity and 
with the holiness of virginity her from whom He deigned to 
be born. Who ponders this? Who talks about this? Who, then, 
shall declare this nativity of His? For, whose mind is adequate 
to consider, whose tongue is capable of declaring not only 
that in the beginning was the Word' without having had 
any beginning by way of birth, but also that the c Word was 
made flesh,' 10 choosing the Virgin whom He would make 
His Mother, making her His Mother whom He would 
preserve as a virgin; being the Son of God with no mother 

7 Cf. Deut. 6.4. 

8 Isa. 53.8. 

9 Cf. Heb. 11.6. 
10 John 1.1,14. 


conceiving Him, being the Son of Man with no father co- 
operating; bringing fertility to His Mother on His coming, 
but not depriving her of integrity on His birth? What is 
this? Who shall say? Who shall be silent about it? Wonderful 
to relate, we are not permitted to be silent about what we 
are not capable of expressing. By our speech we praise what 
we do not grasp in our thoughts. In fact, we cannot discuss 
so great a gift of God because we are too insignificant to 
declare His greatness. Nevertheless, we are compelled to 
praise, lest by preserving silence we remain ungrateful. But, 
thanks to be God because what cannot be adequately ex- 
pressed can be faithfully believed. 

(4) Accordingly, we believe in Jesus Christ our Lord 
who was born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary. 
That blessed Mary, by believing, conceived Him whom she, 
by believing, brought forth. For, after she was promised a 
Son, she inquired how this would happen since she knew 
not man and since the only way of knowing man and of 
giving birth known to her, although she herself had not 
experienced it but had learned about it from other women, 
was that, in the normal course of nature, a child was born of 
man and woman. She received this response from the angel : 
'The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the 
Most High shall overshadow thee; and therefore the Holy 
One to be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.' 
When the angel had answered thus, she, full of faith and 
conceiving Christ in her mind before she did so in her womb, 
said: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me 
according to thy word.' 11 'Be it done,' she said. 'Let Him, 
conceived in a virgin without man's co-operation, be born 
of the Holy Spirit and of an inviolate woman, and in Him 
let an unspotted Church be born of the Holy Spirit.' Let 
the Holy One to be born of a human mother without a 
human father be called the Son of God, since it was fitting 
that He who was born of the Father without any mother 

11 Cf. Luke 1.34-36,38. 


should, in marvelous fashion, become the Son of Man. So that 
as a little One He might issue from her inviolate body, He was 
born in that human form in which, after His Resurrection, 
He would, as a grown Man, enter [the Cenacle] through 
closed doors. These happenings are wondrous because they 
are divine; they are ineffable because they are unfathomable; 
the mouth of man is not capable of explaining them because 
the heart of man cannot plumb their depths. Mary believed, 
and that which she believed was accomplished in her. Let 
us, also, believe, so that what has been accomplished may 
be able to benefit us. Therefore, although this nativity is also 
marvelous, consider, O man, what your God undertook for 
your sake, what your Creator undertook for you, a creature, 
namely, that God remaining in God, living eternally with 
the Eternal, as Son equal to the Father, did not disdain 
to take the nature of a slave in behalf of guilty and 
sinful slaves. Nor was this action occasioned by our human 
merits. On the contrary, we merited punishments for our 
iniquities; but, if He had observed our iniquities, who would 
have endured it? Consequently, for wicked men and sinful 
slaves the Lord became Man; He deigned to be born of the 
Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary. 

(5) Perhaps it may seem a small thing to you that God, 
for the sake of men, that the Just for the sake of sinners, 
that the Innocent for the sake of the accused, that the King 
for the sake of captives, that the Lord for the sake of servants 
came, clothed in the flesh of humanity, was seen on earth, 
and conversed with men. But, over and above all that, He 
was crucified, died, and was buried. Do you not believe this? 
You say, perhaps: c When was this done?' Hear when it was 
done under Pontius Pilate. As a corroboration for you, the 
name of the judge has been set down lest you should doubt 
about the exact time. Believe, then, that the Son of God was 
crucified under Pontius Pilate and was buried. 'Greater love 
than this/ moreover, 'no one has, that one lay down his life 
for his friends. 512 Are you wondering about that no one'? 

12 John 15.13. 



Yes, I say, no one at all. This is true; Christ has said it. Let 
us question the Apostle and let him also answer us. 13 'Christ/ 
he says, c died for the wicked.' And again he says: 'When 
we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death 
of his Son. 3 

Behold, therefore, in Christ we find greater love because 
He laid down His life, not for friends, but for His enemies. 
How great, then, is the love of God for men and how great 
Is His desire to love even sinners since He died for love of 
them! These are the words of the Apostle: c He commends 
his charity towards us, because when as yet we were sinners, 
Christ died for us.' Then, believe this and, for the sake of 
your salvation, do not be ashamed to admit it, for e with 
the heart a man believes unto justice, and with the mouth 
profession of faith is made unto salvation. 5 Lastly, lest you 
should be in doubt, lest you should be ashamed, when you 
first believed, you received the sign of the cross on your 
forehead, as it were, on a house of shame. Think of your 
blessed forehead now, lest you fear the tongue of others. The 
Lord Himself said: 'For whoever is ashamed of me before 
men, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him before 
the angels of God. 314 Do not, then, be ashamed of the igno- 
miny of the cross which God Himself did not hesitate to take 
up for your sake; and say with the Apostle: 'But as for me, 
God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord 
Jesus Christ. 315 This same Apostle gives this advice to you: 
Tor I have determined not to know anything among you 
except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 316 He who was then 
crucified by one nation is now fixed in the hearts of all nations. 
(6) Whoever you are who prefer to boast about [His] 
power rather than about [His] lowliness, be consoled; be joy- 
ful. He who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and was 
buried arose from the dead on the third day. Perhaps you 

13 Cf. Rom. 5.6,8,10. 

14 Cf. Mark 8.38. 

15 Gal. 6.14. 

16 1 Cor. 2.2. 


are now in doubt and trepidation. When I said to you: 
'Believe that He was born, that He suffered, was crucified, 
died and was buried/ you believed these things rather easily 
concerning Him as a Man; do you doubt now, O man, 
because I say: c On the third day He rose again from the 
dead'? That I may furnish you with but one argument from 
many, focus your attention on God; consider that He is 
omnipotent; and do not doubt. For, if He could make you 
from nothing when you did not exist, why could He not 
raise from the dead His own humanity which He had already 
created? Therefore, my brethren, believe. Where faith is con- 
cerned, there is no need of resorting to lengthy discussion. 
It is this belief alone which distinguishes and separates Chris- 
tians from all men. For pagans now believe and the Jews 
then saw that Jesus died and was buried; but neither pagan 
nor Jew grants that He rose from the dead on the third 
day. Therefore, the resurrection of the dead distinguishes the 
life of faith from the faithless dead. The Apostle Paul, too, 
when he was writing to Timothy, said: 'Remember that 
Jesus Christ rose from the dead. 317 Let us believe, then, my 
brethren, and let us hope that what was done in the case of 
Christ will be done in our case, also, because God who 
promises it does not deceive. 

( 7 ) After He rose from the dead He ascended into heaven, 
where He sits at the right hand of God the Father. Even 
now, perhaps, you do not believe. Then hear the Apostle: 
*He who descended, he it is who ascended also above all the 
heavens, that he might fill all things.' 18 Be on your guard 
lest you experience the judgment of Him in whose resurrec- 
tion you are unwilling to believe. In fact, c he who has not 
believed is already judged, 319 for He who now sits at the 
right hand of the Father as an advocate for us will come 
thence to judge both the living and the dead. Let us believe, 

17 2 Tim. 2.8. 

18 Eph. 4.10. 

19 Cf. John 3.18. 


therefore, so that whether we live or whether we die we 
may be the Lord's. 20 

(8) Let us also believe in the Holy Spirit, for He is God, 
because it is written: c God is spirit.' 21 Through Him we 
receive remission of sins; through Him we believe in the 
resurrection of the body; through Him we hope for eternal 
life. But see to it lest you become involved in error by your 
calculation and think that I said there are three Gods 
because I mentioned the one God three times. In the Trinity 
there is one substance of the deity, one strength, one power, 
one majesty, one name of divinity, as Christ Himself said 
to His disciples when He had risen from the dead: Go, 
baptize the Gentiles,' not in several names, but in one c name 
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 922 
Believing, then, in the divine Trinity and threefold Unity, 
my dearly beloved, beware lest anyone draw you away 
from the faith and unity of the Catholic Church. Tor if 
anyone has preached a gospel to you other than that which 
you have received, let him be anathema.' Hear, not me, but 
the Apostle who says: 'But even if we or an angel from 
heaven have preached otherwise to you than ihat which you 
have received, let him be anathema.' 23 

(9) You undoubtedly see, my dearly beloved, how even 
in the very words of the holy Creed, as a conclusion to all 
the beliefs which pertain to the mystery of faith, a certain 
addition has been made so that the words 'through the Holy 
Church' might be used. Avoid, therefore, as much as possible, 
the various separated deceivers whose sects and names, in 
view of their large number, would take too long to mention 
now. As a matter of fact, I have many things to say to you, 
but you are not able to bear them just now. One thing I 
commend to your prayers, namely, that you turn away your 

20 Cf. Rom. 14.8. 

21 John 4.24. 

22 Cf. Matt. 28.19. 

23 Cf. GaL 1.9,8. 


mind and your attention in every respect from him who is 
not a Catholic, so that you may be able to gain remission 
of sins, resurrection of the body, and life everlasting through 
the one, true, and holy Catholic Church, in which the 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are presented as one God to 
whom be honor and glory forever and ever. 

Sermon 216 
To the Seekers [of Baptism] 

( 1 ) The beginnings of my ministry 1 and of your concep- 
tion, when by heavenly grace you are beginning to be gener- 
ated in the womb, ought to be sustained by prayer 2 that 
my sermon may be beneficial in exhorting you and that your 
conception may be of service in consoling me. I instruct by 
discourses; do you advance in good works. I scatter the 
teaching 3 of the word; do you render the fruit of faith. Let 
us all run in His way and path according to the vocation 
in which we have been called by the Lord; let no one look 
back. For Truth, who neither can nor does deceive, de- 
clares openly: 'No one, putting his hand on the plow and 
looking back will be fit for the kingdom of God. 34 Indeed, 
your very name, since you are called c competentes,* shows 
that you desire this, that you are striving for this with all 
the energy of your mind. As a matter of fact, what else 
are 'competentes* but persons seeking something together? 
For, just as 'condocentes/ 'concurrentes* and 'considentes* 

1 This, along with Sermon 214, seems to have been delivered in 391, 
when St. Augustine was ordained to the priesthood at Hippo. 

2 The readings incipitis and oratione instead of concipitts and ore have 
been followed here in accordance with the suggestion in the footnote 
of Migne, PL 38.1077, 

3 It would seem that semen would suit the context here instead of 
sermonem; cf. the following column (1078) , "where semen verbi is 

4 Cf. Luke 9.62. 


signify nothing but persons teaching together, running to- 
gether, and sitting together, so the name 'competentes* was 
compounded for no other reason than to indicate that these 
persons are seeking one and the same thing at the same 
time. And what is that one thing which you seek or desire, 
except what a certain fearless person cried out when carnal 
desires had been conquered and the terrors of the world 
had been overcome, namely: c lf armies in camp should 
stand together against me, my heart shall not fear. If a battle 
should rise up against me, in this will I be confident. 3 And, 
explaining what that is, the Psalmist says in addition: c One 
thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that 
I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my 
life.' Furthermore, describing the happiness of this region 
and abode, he goes on to say: That I may behold the delight 
of the Lord, and may be protected in his temple, 35 

(2) Do you realize, my fellow beginners, to what delight 
in the Lord you will come when you cast aside the delight 
of the world? If you despise the world, you will have a clean 
heart and you will see Him who made the world. Just as 
He conquered the world, so will you do likewise by His 
grace. In fact, you will conquer it and trample upon it 
again and again if you place your confidence, not in your 
own strength, but in the help of the most merciful God. 
Do not despise yourselves, because c it has not yet appeared 
what you will be. 36 Know, however, that when He will 
appear, you will be like to Him until it will appear what you 
will be. Know, moreover, that you will see Him, not as He 
came to us in the fullness of time, but as He, in His unending 
existence, has made us. Strip yourselves of the old man that 
you may be clothed with the new. 7 The Lord is entering 
upon an agreement with you. You have lived for the world; 
you have given yourselves to flesh and blood; you have borne 

5 PS. 26.3,4. 

6 Cf. 1 John 3.2. 

7 Cf. Col. 3.9. 


the likeness of an earthly man. As, therefore, you have borne 
the likeness of one who is of the earth, so now, in addition, 
bear the image of Him who is from heaven. Because the 
Word was made flesh, my speech is that of a man, namely, 
that as you presented your bodies to sin as the instrument 
of iniquity, so now you may present your members to God 
as instruments of justice. 8 Your Enemy has been armed 
with your darts against you unto your destruction; against 
him let your Protector, in turn, be armed with your mem- 
bers unto your salvation. Your Enemy will not harm you 
if he does not possess your members while you are trying 
to withdraw. Your Protector will abandon you, and rightly 
so, if you resist Him in desire and will. 

(3) Behold, the kingdom of heaven is set before you for 
purchase along with the auction and sale of faith! Examine 
and heap together the resources of your conscience; with 
one accord, collect the treasures of your heart. Yet, you buy 
for nothing if you recognize the acceptable grace which is 
offered to you. You spend nothing; nevertheless, what you 
acquire is great. Do not be worthless in your own eyes when 
your Creator and the Creator of all things esteems you so 
highly that daily He pours out the most precious blood of 
His only-begotten Son for you. You will not be so worthless 
if you distinguish what is precious from what is valueless; 
if you serve, not a creature, but the Creator; if your lower 
nature has not prevented you from being cleansed from 
great and deadly sins; 9 if the seed of the word of God, which 
the heavenly Husbandman is even now scattering in the field 
of your heart, is not trampled upon by the steps of unworthy 
needs as though in the road, or if, just when it is budding, 
it is not crushed by the dullness of your very harsh conscience 
as though amid rocks, or if it is not choked by the deadly 
points of your passions as though amid thorns. If you shrink 
from the sterility of such harmful and accursed land, a fruit- 

8 Cf. Rom. 6.19. 

9 Cf. Ps. 18.14. 


ful and very productive land will certainly receive you, and 
with great joy you will render a harvest, increased a hundred- 
fold, to Him who planted and watered It; or, if perchance 
you are not equal to this, you will discharge your interest 
with sixtyfold fruit; but if you do not meet with this success, 
even your thirtyfold harvest will not be unacceptable, 10 be- 
cause all will be received into the celestial granaries and all 
will be stored away in eternal rest. From the harvest of all 
the heavenly bread will be made, and every workman who 
labors without guile in the Lord's vineyard will be satisfied a- 
bundantly and profitably, provided that the glory of the 
mighty One who sowed, watered, moistened, and gave the in- 
crease be spread far and wide by the preaching of the Gospel. 
(4) Draw near to God, therefore, in contrition of heart, 
since He is nigh unto all that are of contrite heart and He 
Himself will save you when you are humble in spirit. 11 Draw 
near with eager emulation, that you may be enlightened. 
For you are still in darkness and darkness is in you. But you 
will be light in the Lord who e enlightens every man who 
comes into this world.' 12 Be strengthened before the world; 
be reformed before God. Now at last be weary of the Baby- 
lonian Captivity! Behold, Jerusalem, that heavenly mother, 
with joyful invitation meets you in the streets and begs you 
to wish for life and to choose to see good days, such as you 
have never enjoyed and never will enjoy in this world. For, 
in the world, your days have failed like the smoke; days 
on which to be increased was to be lessened, to grow was 
to fall short, to rise was to disappear. Desire now to live to 
God, you who have lived for so many evil years in sins, not 
hurrying in the shadow of death through many years which 
must be ended in destruction at some time or other, but 
hurrying in the truth through the good years close to ever- 
lasting life where you will be exhausted neither by hunger 

10 Cf. Matt. 13.1-23. 

11 Cf. Ps. 33.19. 

12 Cf. John 1.9. 


nor thirst, because faith will be your food and wisdom will 
be your drink. For now, in the Church, you bless the Lord 
in faith; then, however, in His presence you will be washed 
in the abundant waters of the fountain of Israel. 

(5) Meanwhile, however, in the course of this journey, 
let tears be your bread day and night, while people say to 
you: 'Where is your God? 513 You cannot show these carnal 
persons what 'eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered 
into the heart of man'; 14 but until you come and appear 
before the eyes of your God, do not be disheartened. For 
He will come; He who freely declared that He was our 
debtor will come and will fulfill His promises. He who bor- 
rowed nothing from anybody deigned to be a debtor on 
His own promise. We were in debt; we were in debt to 
just such an extent as we had sinned. He came without debt 
because He was without sin; He found us oppressed by a 
deadly and accursed debt, and, paying what He had not 
stolen, He mercifully freed us from everlasting debt. We had 
acknowledeged our guilt and we were expecting punishment, 
but He, having become, not an accomplice in our fault, but 
a sharer in our punishment, wished to cancel both fault and 
punishment. For He it is who will snatch 'from usuries and 
from iniquity' the souls of those who believe and of those 
who say from their heart in every event: 'I believe that I 
shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the 
living. 315 This land ought to be desired, not in an earthly 
or lifeless but in a heavenly fashion, and with a quickened 
heart, for it is the land in regard to which the Psalmist, 
burning with love of it and singing with joy, says in another 
psalm: Thou art my hope, my portion in the land of the 
living.' 16 

To such a land they are making their way who, in life- 

13 Cf. Ps. 41.4, 

14 1 Cor. 2.9. 

15 Ps. 71.14; 26.13. 

16 Ps. 141.6. 


giving fashion, put to death their members here upon earth: 
not those members upon which the structure of this earthly 
body depends, but those by which the strength of the soul 
is miserably weakened. Enumerating and designating them 
quite openly, the Apostle Paul, the vessel of election, says: 
'Mortify your members which are on earth: immorality, 
uncleanness, lust, evil desire, and covetousness (which is a 
form of idol worship).' 17 Behold what you, who desire to 
live in that land of the living, ought to put to death in this 
land of the dying. Therefore, so make yourselves members 
of Christ that you will not exalt these vices and become 
members of a harlot. For, what harlot is baser, what harlot 
is more disgraceful, than that immorality which the Apostle 
placed first and that covetousness which he placed last? 
He truthfully called covetousness a form of worship of 
idols, because, not only in the indulgence of the body, but 
also in the dissoluteness of the soul, you ought to recognize 
and avoid it lest you incur that fate of the threatening, chaste 
spouse and just judge mentioned in the passage: 'Thou hast 
destroyed everyone who is disloyal to thee. 3 How much more 
reasonable, how much more advantageous it is for each one 
of you to cry out in chastity of heart: 'It is good for me 
to adhere to my God 9 ? 18 Such adherence is evidenced by that 
love of which the Apostle says: 'Let love be without pretence. 
Hate what is evil, hold to what is good.' 19 

(6) Behold where the stadium is; behold where the 
wrestling grounds are; behold where the racecourse is; behold 
where the boxing ring is! If you wish to crush a most dan- 
gerous opponent with the forces of faith, then destroy your 
evil ways and embrace good ones. If you wish so to run as to 
receive the prize, then avoid the unjust and imitate the just. 
If you wish so to fight that you do not beat the air in vain 
but so as to strike your opponent manfully, then chastise your 

17 Col, 3,5. 

18 Cf. Ps. 72.27,28. 

19 Rom. 12.9. 


body and bring it into subjection that, abstaining from all 
things and contending lawfully, you may in triumph share 
the heavenly prize and the incorruptible crown. 20 What I, 
invoking the name of your Redeemer, am doing for you, do 
you complete by a careful examination and by contrition of 
heart. I resist the wiles of the old Enemy by prayers and 
complaints to God; do you continue steadfast in your peti- 
tions and in the compunction of your heart so that you may 
be rescued from the power of darkness and transferred into 
the kingdom of God's brightness. This is now your work; 
this, your task. I heap well-deserved maledictions on the 
Devil for his wickedness; do you, rather, by turning away 
from him and by devoted renunciation, declare a glorious 
strife against him. He, God's enemy and yours, and most of 
all his own, must be worn down, bound, and completely 
removed. As a matter of fact, his rage is manifested shame- 
lessly against God, abominably against you, and most disas- 
trously against himself. Let him breathe forth slaughter every- 
where; let him set his snares; let him sharpen his manifold 
and wily tongues; but do you, calling upon the name of 
the Saviour, cast out all his poisons from your hearts. 

(7) Whatever he [the Devil] instigated by most atrocious 
suggestions and by most shameful enticements will now be 
disclosed publicly and removed. Now the domination by 
which he tyrannized over you will be destroyed. The yoke by 
which he pressed you down with monstrous cruelty will be 
lifted from you and placed on his own neck. To accomplish 
this liberation, merely give your whole-hearted co-operation 
to your Redeemer. Hope in Him, O full assembly of a new 
people; and, O you who are now being born [to the faith], 
whom the Lord has made, strive to be born in sound and 
healthful fashion, lest you be prematurely and disastrously 
delivered. Behold the womb of your mother, the Church; 
behold how she labors in pain to bear you and to bring you 
forth into the light of faith. Do not, by your impatience, 

20 Cf. 1 Cor. 9.24-27. 


disturb your mother's body and make narrow the passage 
of your delivery. O my people who are being created, praise 
your God; praise your Lord, you who are being made, 
Praise Him because you are being nursed; praise Him be- 
cause you are being fed; and, because you are nourished, 
advance in wisdom and age. These delays of birth in time 
were also endured by Him who neither failed for lack of 
time nor advanced because of any length of time, but, rather, 
excluded time and all its difficulties from His eternal days. 
Just as a kind nurse admonishes a child, the Apostle says: 
'Do not become children in mind, but in malice be children 
and in mind mature.' 21 As e competentes* grow up compe- 
tently in Christ, so that after the manner of youth you may 
grow into a perfect man. Make your Father joyful by your 
increase in wisdom; and do not sadden your Mother by 
your deficiency. 22 

(8) Love what are you going to be, for you will be sons 
of God and children of His adoption. This favor will be 
given to you gratuitously; gratuitously will it be bestowed 
upon you. You will possess it the more generously and abun- 
dantly in proportion as you have been more grateful to Him 
from whom you have received it. Go to Him who knows 
those who are His. Then He will not disdain to acknowledge 
you among those who are His own if, naming the name of 
the Lord, you depart from iniquity. 23 You have the parents 
of your flesh, or at least you had in the world those who 
brought you forth to suffering, to punishment, and to death. 
But, because each one of you, by reason of a blessed bereave- 
ment, can say of such parents: 'My father and my mother 
have left me/ acknowledge, O Christian, that Father who, 
when they abandoned you, received you from your mother's 
womb and to whom one of the faithful says faithfully : Trom 
my mother's womb thou art my protector.' 24 Your Father 

21 1 Cor. 14.20. 

22 Cf. Prov. 10.1,1530. 

23 Cf. 2 Tim. 2.19. 

24 Ps. 26.10,11. 


is God; the Church is your Mother. Far otherwise will you 
be generated by them than when you were begotten by your 
physical parents. No labor, no misery, no weeping, no death 
will attend these parturitions, but only ease, blessing, joy, 
and life. Generation through human instruments was full of 
sorrow; through these, it is desirable. They, in giving us life, 
generated us unto eternal punishment because of the long- 
standing guilt; these, in regenerating us, bring it about that 
neither fault nor punishment remain. This is the generation 
'of them that seek him, of them that seek the face of the 
God of Jacob.' 25 

In humility, seek; and when you have found you will 
come to heights that are free from danger. Innocence will 
be your infancy; reverence, your childhood; patience, your 
adolescence; courage, your youth; merit, your manhood; and 
nothing other than venerable and wise discernment, your old 
age. Through these divisions or stages of age, you are not 
developed, but, though remaining the same, you are renewed. 
For, the second will not push in so that the first may fall; 
nor will the coming of the third be the death-knell for the 
second; nor will the fourth be brought into being so that 
the third may die; nor will the fifth begrudge the fourth its 
continuance; nor will the sixth bury the fifth. Although all 
these stages do not come at the same time, they abide 
together harmoniously in a devout and justified soul. They will 
bring you to the seventh stage of enduring peace and quiet. 
Evils will no longer touch you in this seventh stage when 
you have been freed from the exigencies of destructive age 
for the sixth time. 26 For evils which will not be in existence 
will not contend against you; nor will evils prevail which 
will not dare to contend. There will be secure immortality; 
there will be immortal security. 

(9) Whence [come] all these blessings except from a 
change of the right hand of the Most High, who will bless 

25 PS. 23.6. 

26 Cf. Job 5.19. 


your children in you and who will place peace in your bor- 
ders? 27 Be aroused, therefore, for these joys, you who are 
both mixed together and separated: mixed with the good 
and separated from the evil; you who are the elect, the 
beloved, the foreknown, the called, those who are to be jus- 
tified, those who are to be glorified, so that, growing, matur- 
ing, and becoming old in your faith and in the maturity of 
your powers, not in the corruption of your members, in a 
fruitful old age you may serenely tell of the works of the 
Lord who has done great things for you, 28 who is mighty 
because His name is great, and of whose wisdom there is 
no reckoning. You seek life; run to Him who is the fountain 
of life and, when the darkness of your smoldering passions 
has been dissipated, you will see light in the light of the 
Only-begotten, your most gracious Redeemer and your most 
brilliant Enlightener. If you seek safety, hope in Him c who 
savest them who trust in him,' 29 If you seek satiety in drink- 
Ing and other delights, He will not refuse them. Only come 
and adore; fall down and weep before Him who made you. 30 
He will inebriate you with the plenty of His house, and He 
will give you to drink of the torrent of His delights. 31 

(10) However, beware lest the foot of pride come to you; 
and guard lest the hands of sinners move you. 32 Lest the 
former should happen, pray that God may cleanse you from 
your secret sins; but, lest the second should rush in and 
destroy you, beg Him to spare you from the sins of others. 33 
If you are lying down, rise up; if you are rising, stand; if 
you are standing, sit down; if you are sitting, resist. Do not 
willingly bear the yoke; rather, break their bonds asunder, and 
cast away their yoke from you, 34 that you may not be held 

27 Cf. Ps. 147.13-15. 

28 Cf. Luke 1.49. 

29 Cf. Ps. 16.7. 

30 Cf. Ps. 94.6. 

31 Cf. Ps. 35.9. 

32 Cf, Ps. 35.12. 

33 Cf. Ps. 18.13-15. 

34 Cf. Ps. 2.3. 


fast again by the bonds of servitude. The Lord is near. Have 
no anxiety.' 35 Now eat the bread of sorrow; the time will 
come when, after this bread of sadness. He will give you 
the bread of gladness. However, the worth of the latter 
depends on the endurance of the former. Your apostasy and 
flight merited this bread of sorrow; turn back, be sorry, and 
return to your Lord. He is ready t& bestow His bread of 
joy upon him who returns in penitence, if you are sincere 
and if, in your misery, you do not defer praying with tears 
in reparation for your flight. Therefore, in so great masses 
of troubles, put on sackcloth and humble your soul by fast- 
ing. What has been denied to pride is restored to humility* 
Indeed, when you were examined and when the instigator 
of your flight and desertion was duly rebuked in the omni- 
potence of the mighty Trinity, you were not clothed with 
sackcloth; nevertheless, your feet mystically stood upon it. 

(11) The vices and skins of she-goats must be trodden 
under foot; cloth from perverse kids must be torn asunder. A 
merciful Father, who did not delay in sacrificing the fatted 
calf to dispel your consuming hunger, will come out to meet 
you with the best robe. 36 You will feed upon His flesh; you 
will drink His blood; and, by the effusion of His blood, your 
sins are forgiven; your debts are cancelled; your blemishes 
are removed. Eat as poor people, and then you will be filled 
so that you may be included among those of whom the 
Scripture says; The poor shall eat and shall be filled.' 37 
When thus wholesomely nourished, give forth the glory of 
His bread. Run to Him and be converted, for He it is who 
brings back those who have turned away; who searches after 
the fugitives; who finds those who have been lost; who 
humbles the proud; who feeds the hungry; who releases 
those who are in chains; who gives light to the blind; who 
cleanses the unclean; who refreshes the weary; who raises 

35 Phil. 4.6. 

36 Cf. Luke 15.11-32. 

37 Ps. 21,27. 


the dead; and who rescues those who are possessed and held 
by the spirits of iniquity. Because I am convinced that you 
are now free from these evil spirits, in joy I admonish you 
to preserve in your hearts the health which is evident in 
your bodies. 

Sermon 217 
On the Prayer of the Lord at the Last Supper 1 

(1) The Lord Christ, who listens to us with His Father, 
deigned to pray for us to His Father. What is more certain 
than our happiness, seeing that He prays for us who gives 
what He Himself prays for! For Christ is Man and God. 
He prays as Man; as God, He grants what He begs in prayer. 
What you ought to grasp here is that He attributes every- 
thing to the Father, because the Father is not begotten by 
Him, but He is begotten by the Father. He attributes all 
to the source whence He was born. Yet He Himself was 
born as a source, for He is the Fountain of Life. Hence, 
the Father as a Fountain generated a Fountain. That Foun- 
tain, indeed, has generated a Fountain, but the latter is both 
a generating Fountain and a generated Fountain just as He 
is a generating God and a generated God, but still only one 
God. The Father is not the Son; the Son is not the Father; 
the Holy Spirit of both is not the Father nor the Son; but 
the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one God. Be built up 
in this unity lest you fall down in separation. 

(2) You have heard what our Lord begged for us, what, 
in very truth, He wished for us. He said: 'Father, I will 
that where I am, they also whom thou hast given me may 
be there. I wish/ He said, 'that where I am, they also may 
be with me. 32 O blessed home! O peaceful country! It has 

1 This sermon, evidently delivered shortly before Easter, seems to be 
non-Augustinian in places. 

2 John 17.24. 


no enemy; it has no disease. In peace we shall live there; 
we shall not seek to move away; we shall not find a safer 
place. Whatever you choose here on earth, you choose with 
fear, not tranquility, in view. Choose a place for yourself 
while you are in this evil place, that is in this world, in this 
life full of temptations, in this mortality full of groans and 
fears. I repeat, while you are in this evil place, choose a place 
for yourself to which you may move from this evil place. 
You will not be able to move to a good place from a bad 
one unless you have done well in that evil place. What sort 
of place is that where no one is hungry? Well, then, if you 
wish to live in that good place where no one is hungry, now 
in this evil place break your bread with the hungry. In that 
blessed place no one is a stranger; all live as in their native 
country. If, then, you wish to live in that good place where 
no one is a stranger, now in this evil place receive into your 
house the person who has no home to enter. Give lodging 
to the stranger in this evil place so that you may come to 
that good place where you cannot be a stranger. In that good 
place no one needs clothing; there is no cold, nor is there 
any heat, so what need is there of a house or of clothing? 
There will be no house there, but there will be protection. 
Behold there we find shelter, as the Psalmist says: 'Under 
the shadow of thy wings will I hope.' 3 Therefore, in this evil 
place furnish shelter to him who has none so that you may 
be in that good place where you will have a house of such 
a sort that you will not need to repair because the rain does 
not fall there. The perpetual Fountain of Truth is there; 
but it fertilizes without moistening. It is the rain; it is the 
Fountain of Life. What else do these passages signify: Tor 
with thee is the fountain of life/ 4 and The Word was with 
God'? 5 

(3) Therefore, my dearly beloved, do good in this evil 

3 Cf. PS. 56.2. 

4 Ps. 35.10. 

5 John 1.14. 


place so that you may come to the good place concerning 
which He, who is preparing it for us, says: C I will that where 
I am, they also may be with me.' 6 He has gone up to pre- 
pare, so that we may come with confidence to what He has 
prepared. He Himself has made it ready; abide in Him. Is 
Christ a small abode for you? Do you now fear His Passion? 
He has risen from the dead; He dies no more; 'death shall 
no longer have dominion over him. 37 This place is evil; these 
days are evil; this world is evil. But let us do well in this 
evil place, and let us live well in these evil days. The evil place 
and the evil days pass; a good and everlasting place and 
good, everlasting days will come; and those good days will 
make but one day. Now, why are days here evil? Because 
one day passes, that another may come; today passes, that 
tomorrow may come; yesterday passed, so that today might 
come. When nothing passes, there is one day only. Christ is 
Day and the Father is Day; but the Father is Day derived 
from no other day, while Christ is Day born of Day. There- 
fore, in His Passion the Lord Jesus Christ commended to 
us the sufferings and sorrows of this present life; in His 
Resurrection He commended the eternal and blessed life of 
the world to come. Let us bear with the present; let us 
hope for the future. Hence, at this time we, bruising our 
souls in fasts and religious devotions, are living the days 
which signify the suffering of this present world; but, in the 
days to come, we point out the days of the future world to 
which we have not yet come. I said: e We point out, 3 not 
c we hold, 3 for, as long as the Passion lasts, there is sorrow; 
after the Resurrection, there is praise. 

6 Cf. John 17.24. 

7 Rom. 6.9. 


Sermon 218 

Concerning the Passion of the Lord, 
Delivered on the Parasceve 1 

(1) The Passion of Him by whose blood our sins were 
wiped out is being read solemnly and is being honored with 
due respect, so that by this yearly devotion our memory may 
be more readily refreshed, and our faith more brightly il- 
lumined by the great gathering of people. Hence, this 
solemn celebration obliges me to give you a sermon on the 
Passion of the Lord, such as He Himself gives [in the words 
of sacred Scripture]. In truth, in these sufferings which He 
endured from His enemies our Lord has deigned to give us 
an example of patience, for our ultimate salvation and for 
practical use in living this life, so that we may refuse 
to suffer nothing if, according to the authority of the Gospel, 
He Himself was willing to suffer it. Nevertheless, because in 
His mortal being He suffered nothing by compulsion, but 
endured all things by His own will, we rightly believe that 
He desired to indicate something by each individual event 
which took place in connection with His Passion and which 
has been recorded. 

(2) In the first place, He gave as a sign of continency 
the fact that He, having been given up to be crucified, carried 
His own cross, 2 and, by thus going before us, He showed 
those desirous of following Him what they ought to do. 
Furthermore, He expressed this advice in words when He 
said: Let him who loves me take up his cross and follow 
me.' 3 For, to a certain extent, he takes up his cross who 
controls his human nature. 

1 This sermon was delivered on the Parasceve. Though the eve of 
every sabbath was called the parasceve, or day of preparation, this 
was the eve of the Great Sabbath, that is, the one which fell in the 
Paschal week. 

2 Cf. John 19.17. 

3 Cf. Matt. 16.24. 


(3 ) The fact that He was crucified in the place of Calvary 4 
showed that in His Passion there is remission of all sins, since 
the Psalmist says: 'My iniquities are multiplied above the 
hairs of my head.' 5 

(4) By the fact that two others were crucified with Him, 
one on either side, He indicated that some would suffer to 
their advantage and others, to their disadvantage; the former 
being those of whom it is said: 'Blessed are they who suffer 
persecution for justice 3 sake'; 6 but the latter, those of whom 
the Apostle says: 'If I deliver my body to be burned, yet 
do not have charity, it profits me nothing/ 7 

(5) The title placed upon His cross, bearing the inscrip- 
tion, 'The King of the Jews/ 8 indicated that, even by killing 
Him, they were not able to prevent their having as King 
Him who would render to them according to their works, 
with most manifest and evident power. Hence the Psalmist 
says: 'I am appointed king by him over Sion his holy moun- 
tain/ 9 

(6) Because the title was written in three languages, 
Hebrew, Greek and Latin, 10 the announcement was made 
that He would rule not only over the Jews, but also over 
the Gentiles. Hence, in the same passage in which the 
Psalmist says: 'I am appointed king by him over Sion his 
holy mountain/ where, of course, the Hebrew language 
prevailed, immediately, as if including the Greek and Latin, 
he adds: 'The Lord hath said to me: Thou art my son, this 
day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee 
the Gentiles for thy inheritance, and the utmost parts of the 
world for thy possession.' 11 [The title was so written] not 
because Greek and Latin are the only languages of the Gen- 

4 Cf. John 19.17-19. 

5 Cf. Ps. 39.13. 

6 Matt. 5.10. 

7 1 Cor. 13.3. 

8 John 19.19. 

9 Ps. 2.6. 

10 Cf. John 19.20. 

11 Ps. 2.6-9. 


tiles, but because they are especially outstanding, the Greek 
because of interest in literature, the Latin, because of the 
skill of the Romans. Although the complete subjugation to 
Christ of all the Gentiles was pointed out by the mention of 
the three languages, nevertheless, the words 'King of the 
Gentiles' were not written there, but only 'King of the Jews/ 
so that the source of the seed might be preserved in the 
correctness of the name. For it was said: 'The law shall come 
forth from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.' 12 
Now, who are they who in the psalm say: 'He hath subdued 
the people under us; and the nations under our feet' 13 unless 
they are the people of whom the Apostle says: Tor if the 
Gentiles have shared in their spiritual blessings, they should 
also minister to them in material things 5 ? 14 

(7) As to the fact that the leaders of the Jews suggested 
to Pilate not to write specifically that He was the King of 
the Jews, but that He said He was the King of the Jews, 15 
Pilate here represents the wild olive tree to be engrafted in 
place of the branches which had been broken off. 16 This man 
was one of the Gentiles, writing the testimony of the Gentiles, 
concerning those of whom the Lord Himself rightly said: 
'The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and will 
be given to a people working justice. 317 Nor yet, on that 
account, is the Lord not King of the Jews. For, the trunk 
of the tree bears the engrafted wild olive; not the wild olive, 
the trunk. And, even though branches were broken off be- 
cause of infidelity, the Lord did not, for that reason, cast 
off His people whom He foreknew, since He said: C I am 
an Israelite.' 18 And, although the sons of the kingdom who 
did not wish the Son of God to rule over them go into 
exterior darkness, nevertheless, 'many will come from the 

12 Isa. 2.3. 

13 Ps. 46.4. 

14 Rom. 15.27. 

15 Cf. John 19.21. 

16 Cf. Rom. 11.17-25. 

17 Cf. Matt. 21.43. 

18 Cf. Rom. 11.1-3,17. 


east and from the west and will feast/ not with Plato and 
Cicero, but 'with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the king- 
dom of heaven. 319 Pilate definitely wrote 'King of the Jews/ 
not 'King of the Greeks' or c King of the Latins/ even though 
the Lord was destined to rule over the Gentiles. And what 
Pilate wrote he wrote; he did not change it at the suggestion 
of the unbelievers, 20 inasmuch as some time previously this 
prediction concerning him had been made in the psalms: 
'Destroy not the inscription of the title.' 21 All the Gentiles 
believe in the King of the Jews; He rules over all the Gen- 
tiles; but still He is King of the Jews. The trunk is strong 
enough to change the engrafted wild olive into itself, but 
the wild olive cannot take away the name of the olive tree. 

(8) The fact that the soldiers took His garments after they 
had divided them into four parts 22 signified that His sacra- 
ments would penetrate into all four parts of the world. 

(9) Because the soldiers cast lots for the tunic which 
'was without seam, woven in one piece from the top/ 23 
rather than tear it, sufficient indication was given that any 
persons whatsoever, whether good or bad, may possess the 
visible signs, even the garments of Christ. However, the 
absolutely sincere faith, which through love brings about the 
integrity of unity, does not belong to any persons whatsoever, 
but, by the grace of God is granted as if by lot, 'because 
the charity of God is poured forth in our hearts by the 
Holy Spirit who has been given to us.' 24 Hence, Peter said 
to Simon, who had received baptism, but who did not have 
faith: 'Thou hast no lot nor part in this faith.' 25 

(10) The fact that, on the cross, He recognized His Mother 
and commended her to His beloved disciple 26 appropriately 

19 Matt. 8.11. 

20 Cf. John 19.22. 

21 Cf. Ps. 56.1; 57.1. 

22 Cf. John 19.23. 

23 Ibid. 

24 Rom. 5.5. 

25 Cf. Acts 8.21. 

26 Cf. John 19.26-28. 


shows His human affection at the moment when He was 
dying as Man. For, His hour had not yet come when He, 
about to change water into wine, said to that same Mother: 
'What wouldst thou have me to do, woman? My hour has 
not yet come.' 27 For, He had not drawn from Mary what 
was divine in Him, but He had taken from Mary what hung 
upon the cross, 

(11) Because He sought faith from His own, He said: 
*I thirst/ but, because 'He came unto his own and his own 
received him not/ 28 instead of the sweetness of faith, they 
gave Him the bitterness of perfidy, and that on a sponge. 
Truly are they to be compared to a sponge, since they are 
not solid but inflated; not open with a direct approach of 
acknowledgment, but full of empty places with winding pas- 
sages of trickery. To be sure, that drink had hyssop also, a 
lowly herb of a very strong root which is said to cling to 
the rock. 29 For, you see, there were in that crowd people by 
whom this crime was afterwards kept in mind for the pur- 
pose of humbling their souls by penitence and abjection. 
He who accepted the hyssop with the vinegar knew these 
persons. As a matter of fact, when hanging on the cross, He 
prayed for them, as another Evangelist testifies: 'Father, for- 
give them, for they do not know what they are doing.' 30 

(12) Then 'he said: "It is consummated!" And bowing 
his head, he gave up his spirit.' 31 Thus, waiting until all the 
prophecies which had been made concerning Him should 
be fulfilled, He made evident, not the compulsion of His 
death, but His power, because this had been written: 'And 
in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.' 32 [He acted] 
as One having the power to lay down His life, as indeed 
He Himself had testified. 33 He gave up His spirit in humility, 

27 Cf. John 2.4. 

28 John 19.28; 1.11. 

29 Cf. John 19.28-30. 

30 Luke 23.34. 

31 John 19.30. 

32 Ps. 68.22. 

33 Cf. John 10.18. 


that is, with bowed head; with uplifted head He would 
receive it again in the Resurrection. Jacob the Patriarch, in 
his blessing of Juda, predicted that this death and bending 
of the head were of great efficacy in the words: 'You have 
gone up; crouching, you have couched as a lion, 334 signi- 
fying His death by the going up and His power by the lion. 

( 13 ) Now, in truth, the Gospel itself has given an explana- 
tion as to why it happened that the legs of the other two 
were broken, but His were not, because He was dead. For, 
it was fitting that by this sign He should show that the Pasch 
of the Jews was commended in an express prophecy about 
Him where the command was given that they should not 
break the bones of the sheep. 35 

(14) As for the blood and water which His side, pierced 
with the lance, poured forth upon the earth, without a doubt 
they represent the sacraments by which the Church was 
formed, as Eve was formed from the side of the sleeping 
Adam who was the form of the future. 

(15) Joseph and Nicodemus buried Him. 36 As some have 
interpreted these names, Joseph signifies 'the exalted'; and 
because Nicodemus is a Greek name, many think it is derived 
from Victory' and from 'people' since nikos means victory 
and demos, people. Who, then, has been exalted by dying 
except the One who said: 'Unless the grain of wheat . . . 
dies, it remains alone. But if it dies, it is multiplied'? 37 And 
who, even by dying, conquered a persecuting people, unless 
it be He who will judge them at the resurrection? 

34 Cf. Gen. 49.9. 

35 Cf. Exod. 12.46. 

36 Cf. John 19.31-42. 

37 Cf. John 12.24-26. 


Sermon 219 

I HE BLESSED APOSTLE Paul, when exhorting us to 
imitate him, mentions, among many other manifest- 
ations of his virtue, 'many sleepless nights.' 1 How 
much more readily, then, ought we to watch on this night, 
the mother, as it were, of all holy vigils, on which the whole 
world keeps watch ! Not that world of which it was written : 
'If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in 
him; because all that is in the world is the lust of the flesh, 
and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; which is not 
from the Father.' 2 Indeed, the Devil and his angels rule such 
a world, that is, the children of unbelief, against whom the 
same Apostle warns us that we have to struggle in the words : 
'Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against 
the Principalities and the Powers, against the world-rulers of 
this darkness.' 3 We, too, at one time were darkness, but now 
we are light in the Lord. And so, in the light of the vigil, 
let us resist the world-rulers of this darkness. No, that world 
does not watch on this feast, but the watch is kept by that 

1 Cf. 2 Cor. 11.27. 

2 1 John 2.15-17. 

3 Eh. 6.12. 



world concerning which the Apostle says : Tor God was truly 
in Christ, reconciling the world to himself by not reckoning 
against men their sins. 34 

Nevertheless, let the celebration of this vigil be so glorious 
throughout the whole world as to compel even those to watch 
at least physically who, I do not say, sleep in heart, but who 
are actually buried in hellish wickedness. Even they watch 
on the night when what was promised so long in advance 
is manifestly fulfilled: 'And night shall be light as the day.' 5 
This is accomplished in the hearts of the devout to whom 
St. Paul says : Tor you were once darkness, but now you are 
light in the Lord.' 6 This happens also in those who are 
emulous, both those who see in the Lord and those who are 
prejudiced against the Lord. Hence, on this night both a 
hostile world and a reconciled world watch. The one keeps 
watch so that, having been freed, it may praise the Healer; 
the other, that, having been condemned, it may blaspheme 
the Judge. The one watches, glowing bright with pious 
thoughts; the other, gnashing the teeth and wasting away 
through envy. In a word, love prevents the one from sleep- 
ing during this celebration while iniquity prevents the other; 
Christian vigor, the one and diabolic spite, the other. 

Therefore, even by our enemies we are unintentionally 
warned as to how we ought to keep watch for our own 
interests since, on account of us, they who envy us are keep- 
ing watch. Indeed, on this vigil, many of those who are 
marked in no way by the name of Christ do not sleep be- 
cause of pain; many, too, because of shame; and some, even, 
who are close to the faith, through fear of God. For various 
reasons this celebration rouses them. How, then, should the 
friend of Christ watch in joy when the enemy watches in 
pain? How should the Christian burn to keep watch in view 
of such great glory of Christ when the pagan is ashamed to 

4 2 Cor. 5J9. 

5 Ps. 138.12. 

6 Eph. 5.8. 



sleep? How fitting it is for him to keep watch who has 
already entered this great house [of the Lord] when he is 
keeping watch who is arranging to enter it? Let us watch and 
pray, therefore, so that we may celebrate this vigil both 
externally and internally. May God speak to us in His les- 
sons; may we speak to God in our prayers. If we in obedience 
hearken to His words, He whom we petition dwells among us. 

Sermon 220 

We know, my brethren, and we hold to it in very firm 
faith, that Christ died once for us: the Just for sinners, the 
Master for slaves, the Free for captives, the Physician for 
the sick, the Happy One for the wretched, the Rich One for 
the needy, the Seeker for the lost, the Redeemer for the sold, 
the Shepherd for the sheep, and, what is more wonderful 
than all, the Creator for the creature; preserving what He 
had always been, giving up what He became; hiding as 
God, appearing as Man; giving life by His power, but dying 
because of His infirmity; unchangeable in divinity, yet suscep- 
tible to pain in the flesh. As the Apostle says: He was deliv- 
ered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification.' 1 
You know very well that all this happened once. Yet, with 
the passage of time, the solemnity is renewed as if that were 
happening again which truth, in so many places in Scripture, 
declares has happened only once. Nevertheless, truth and the 
solemnity are not at variance, so that one lies while the other 
tells the truth. As a matter of fact, what truth declares has 
actually happened only once, this the solemnity renews as 
worthy of being celebrated often by pious hearts. Truth re- 
veals what has happened as it actually took place; the solemn- 
ity, however, not by re-enacting events, but by dwelling upon 
them, does not permit the past to pass away. 

1 Cf. Rom. 4.25. 


In a word, 'Christ, our passover, has been sacrificed.' 2 As 
He died once who 'dies now no more, death shall no longer 
have dominion over him/ 3 Therefore, according to this voice 
of truth, we say that our Pasch has been sacrificed once and 
that He will not die again; nevertheless, according to the 
voice of the feast we say that the Pasch will return each year. 
Thus I think we interpret what is written in the psalm: 'The 
thought of man shall give praise to thee; and the remainders 
of the thought shall keep holiday to thee.' 4 For, if the 
thoughts did not entrust to the memory what is said about 
things accomplished in time, it would afterwards find no 
remainders of the thought. On that account, the thought of 
man, when gazing upon truth, gives praise to God; but the 
traces of the thought, which remain in the memory, do not 
cease to solemnize the feast at the recognized times, lest the 
thought should be judged ungrateful. To this reasoning we 
owe the glorious celebration of this night, when by our vigil 
we honor, through the remainders of thought, the Resurrec- 
tion of the Lord, which by our actual thought we truthfully 
acknowledge has taken place only once. Therefore, may God 
forbid that the neglect of this solemnity should make irreli- 
gious those whom the preaching of the truth has made 
learned! This celebration has made this night outstanding 
throughout the whole world. It shows the ranks of the Chris- 
tians; it confounds the darkness of the Jews; it overturns 
the idols of the pagans. 

2 1 Cor. 5.7, 

3 Rom. 6.9. 

4 Ps. 75.11. 


Sermon 221 1 

(I) Since our Lord Jesus Christ made one day dolorous 
by His death and another glorious by His Resurrection, let 
us, by recalling both days in solemn commemoration, keep 
vigil in memory of His death and rejoice in celebration of 
His Resurrection. This is our yearly feast; it is our Passover, 
not symbolized by the slaying of an animal as in the case of 
the ancient people, but fulfilled by the Victim of salvation as 
to a new people, because 'Christ, our Passover, has been 
sacrificed,' and 'the former things have passed away; behold, 
they are made new! 52 For we do not mourn unless weighed 
down by our sins, nor do we rejoice unless justified by His 
grace, inasmuch as He 'was delivered up for our sins, and 
rose again for our justification.' 3 In our grief over His death 
and our joy at His Resurrection, we are happy; and because, 
on account of us and for our sake, sorrow was endured and 
joy anticipated, we do not proceed in ungrateful forgetfulness 
but we celebrate in grateful memory. 

Let us keep vigil, therefore, my dearly beloved, because 
the entombment of Christ was protracted to this night so that 
on this particular night the resurrection of His body might 
take place, of that body once mocked on the cross but now 
adored in heaven and on earth. This night, of course, is 
understood as belonging to the coming day which we call 
the Lord's day. Furthermore, it was fitting for Him to rise 
again during the night because by His Resurrection He has 
illumined our darkness. Not without significance, then, did 
we sing to Him a little while ago : 'Thou shalt enkindle my 
lamp, O Lord, my God; thou shalt enlighten my darkness. 34 

1 This sermon, of which only a fragment appears in Migne's Patrologia^ 
was discovered and published by Dom Morin in 1917; cf. Wilmart, 
op. cit, 117. The text used here is that of Lambot, op. cit. 77-80. As 
first-hand information on the early celebration of the Easter yigil this, 
sermon is of special importance today. 

2 1 Cor. 5.7; 2 Cor. 5.17. 

3 Rom. 4.25. 

4 Cf. Ps. 17.29. 


In like manner, our own devotion commends this great 
mystery so that, as our faith strengthened by His Resurrection 
now keeps vigil, so, too, this night illuminated by our vigil 
shines resplendent and so that we are able worthily to take 
thought with the whole Church diffused throughout the 
world lest we be found in darkness. From so many and such 
great nations which this very solemn celebration has gathered 
together everywhere in the name of Christ, the sun has with- 
drawn but the day has not departed, since a brightly lighted 
earth has succeeded to a brightly lighted heaven. 

( 2 ) Furthermore, if anyone should inquire as to the reasons 
for this great vigil, we can both find them without difficulty 
and express them with confidence. As a matter of fact, He 
who has bestowed upon us the glory of His name has Him- 
self illuminated this night. He to whom we say: 'Thou shalt 
enlighten my darkness' furnishes light for our hearts, so that, 
just as we joyfully perceive this splendor of lights with our 
bodily eyes, with an enlightened mind we see the reason 
for this glorious night. What, then, is the reason Christians 
keep vigil today on this festive anniversary? In truth, we are 
now observing a special vigil, the one to which we are 
accustomed to refer when, with intense desire, we ask and 
say: 'When are we going to keep the vigil? 3 We keep watch 
in preparation for many days; nevertheless, in comparison 
with this one other vigils are not to be considered. The 
Apostle, indeed, commended to the Church assiduity in fast- 
ing as well as in keeping vigils, saying of himself: 'in fastings 
more often [than others], in vigils more often.' 5 Yet, the 
vigil of this night is so important that it appropriates as its 
own even the name which it shares in common with the 
other vigils. Therefore, after first saying a few words about 
vigils in general, I shall discuss the special vigil of this day 
which the Lord has given to us. 

(3) In that life for the attainment of the peace of which 
we labor, and which Truth promises to us in the resurrection 

5 Cf. 2 Cor. 11.27. 


after the death of this body or at the end of this world, we 
shall never sleep, just as we shall never die. For what else 
is sleep but a daily death which does not completely remove 
man hence nor detain him too long? And what else is death 
but a very long and very deep sleep from which God arouses 
man? Therefore, where there is no death, there is likewise 
no sleep, the image of death. Finally, there is no sleep except 
that of mortals. Rest does not belong to the angels because 
they are always alive and never refresh their health by sleep. 
Just as there is life there [in heaven], so there is watchfulness 
without end; neither does living signify anything other than 
keeping watch; nor does keeping watch signify anything other 
than living. But, since we do not live in this body 'which 
is corruptible and a load upon the soul,' 6 unless we repair 
our strength by sleep, we interrupt our life by a likeness of 
death so that, in the intervals at least, we may be able to 
live. And, in this way, each one keeps watch chastely, inno- 
cently, and assiduously, meditating undoubtedly on the life 
of the angels for, in so far as the weakness of the body is 
an earthly burden, heavenly desires are frustrated and striv- 
ing against this death-bringing mass by longer vigil so that 
he may gain merit for eternal life. For he who desires to live 
forever and who does not love to keep watch generously is 
not consistent. He wishes that there be no death and yet 
he does not wish to lessen its image. This is the reason, this 
is the explanation, why the Christian must rather frequently 
exercise his mind in keeping vigil. 

(4) Now, my brethren, while I mention a few other points, 
consider the special vigil of this night. I have told you why 
we ought to curtail our sleep and increase our vigils rather 
often; now I must discuss why we keep watch with such 
great solemnity on this particular night. No Christian doubts 
that the Lord Christ rose again from the dead on the third 
day. Moreover, the holy Gospel attests that the Resurrection 
took place on this night. Furthermore, there is no doubt that 

6 Cf. Wisd. 9.15. 


the day is computed from the preceding night, and not ac- 
cording to the order of days which is mentioned in Genesis, 7 
although there, too, darkness took precedence, for 'darkness 
covered the abyss,' when c God said, "Let there be light," and 
there was light. 5 But, because that darkness was not yet night, 
for not yet had day come into being, 'God separated the light 
from the darkness,' first calling the light Day, and then 
calling the darkness Night. Thus, the period from the crea- 
tion of light to another morning was reckoned as one day. 
It is clear that those days began at dawn and ended, at the 
expiration of night, with the dawn of the next morning. 
But, after created man turned from the light of justice to 
the darkness of sin from which the grace of Christ frees him, 
it came about that we now compute our days from nights, 
because we are attempting to come, not from light to dark- 
ness, but from darkness to light and, with the help of God, 
we hope that this will happen. As the Apostle says: The 
night is far advanced; the day is near at hand. Let us there- 
fore lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the armor 
of light/ 8 

Hence, the day of the Passion of the Lord on which He 
was crucified followed its own night, already past, and on 
that account it was closed and terminated at the Parasceve 
which the Jews also call the 'unblemished supper,' at the 
beginning of which night they entered upon the observance 
of the sabbath. Then the sabbath, commencing with its own 
night, ends with the evening of the next night which, in 
turn, belongs to the beginning of the Lord's Day, since the 
Lord consecrated it by the glory of His Resurrection. And so 
we are now celebrating by this solemnity the memory of that 
night which belongs to the beginning of the Lord's Day. By 
keeping vigil we pass that night on which the Lord rose and, 
for us, entered upon that life concerning which I spoke not 
long ago, where there is no death nor sleep. He did this with 

7 Gen. 1.2-4. 

8 Rom. 13.12. 


His own body, which He 'raised up from the dead/ so that 
He 'dies no more, death shall no longer have dominion over 
him.' 9 For, when those who sought Him lovingly came to 
His tomb at daybreak, they did not find His body and they 
received from the angels the answer that He had already 
risen. It is clear, then, that He rose during the night at the 
end of which that daybreak came. Therefore, He to whom, 
rising from the dead, we sing a little longer than usual in our 
vigil will grant us to reign with Him in eternal life. But if, 
by chance, His body was still in the tomb and He had not 
yet risen at these hours when we prolong this vigil, even so 
it is not incongruous to keep the watch, because He who 
died that we might live slept that we might watch. 

Sermon 222 

Although this night's solemn service of itself urges you 
to watch and pray, my dearly beloved, you are also entitled 
to a sermon from me so that the voice of the shepherd may 
rouse the flock of the Lord against envious hostile powers and 
rulers of darkness, as against beasts of the night. For, as 
the Apostle says: 'Our wrestling is not against flesh and 
blood, 3 that is, against men who are weak in mortal frame, 
"but against the Principalities and the Powers, against the 
world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of 
wickedness on high.' 1 And yet, on that account, you should 
not think that the Devil and his angels to whom the Apostle 
refers in these words are the rulers of that world concerning 
which St. John wrote: The world was made through Him.' 2 
For, when the Apostle has said that they were rulers of the 
world, lest anyone should understand it as the world men- 

9 Acts 3.15; Rom. 6.9. 

1 Eph. 6.12. 

2 John 1.10. 


tioned in several passages of the Scriptures under the name 
of heaven and earth, he added immediately by way of ex- 
planation : 'of this darkness/ that is, of unbelievers. On that 
account, he says to those who now believe: Tor you were 
once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. 53 

There are, then, spiritual forces of wickedness on high, 
not where the stars glimmer in orderly array and the holy 
angels abide, but in the murky abode of the lowest region 
of the air, where the mist is collected, in spite of the fact 
that it is written: 'Who covereth the heaven with clouds,' 
where birds, too, fly about in spite of the fact that they 
are called: 'fowls of the air. 34 In such high places, then, and 
not in the loftier tranquillity of the heavens, those very 
wicked spirits dwell against whom we publicly declare a spi- 
ritual warfare, so that, when these bad angels have been 
overcome, we may enjoy that reward by which we will be 
associated with the good angels in unchanging eternity. 
Wherefore, in another passage, when the same Apostle was 
referring to the gloomy kingdom of the Devil, he said: 'Ac- 
cording to the fashion of this world, according to the prince 
of the power of the air about us, the prince of the spirit 
which now works on the unbelievers. 35 They are rulers of 
the world, then, in regard to that which is the spirit of this 
world. And, just as in the one case he explained what he 
meant by the 'world 5 by adding 'unbelievers, 5 so, in the 
passage quoted above, he added 'of this darkness. 3 Further- 
more, just as he says here 'the prince of the power of the air 
about us, 3 so, above, he says 'on high. 3 Consequently, thanks 
be to the Lord our God, who 'has rescued us from the power 
of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his be- 
loved Son. 36 

Therefore, since you have been separated from that dark- 

3 Eph. 5.8. 

4 Ps. 146.8; 49.11. 

5 Eph. 2.2. 

6 Col. 1.12-14. 


ness by the light of the Gospel and redeemed from those 
powers by the precious blood, e watch and pray that you 
may not enter into temptation/ 7 For, if you have 'faith which 
works through charity/ 8 the prince of the world has been 
cast out of your hearts, 9 but outside, c as a roaring lion, [he] 
goes about seeking someone to devour. 510 Do not, then, give 
place to the Devil, no matter where he tries to penetrate; 
rather, let the Lord dwell within you to oppose him whom 
He cast out by His sufferings. When the Devil had power 
over you, c you were once darkness, but now you are light 
in the Lord. Walk, then, as children of light.' 11 Keep vigil 
against the darkness and its rulers in your mother, the light; 
and from the bosom of your mother, the light, pray to the 
Father of lights. 

Sermon 223 

In the book which is called Genesis, Scripture says: e And 
God saw that the light was good. God separated the light 
from the darkness, calling the light Day and the darkness 
Night.' 1 If, then, the Lord called the light Day, undoubtedly 
those to whom the Apostle said: Tor you were once dark- 
ness, but now you are light in the Lord,' 2 were the day, 
since He 'who commanded light to shine out of darkness, 
has shone' 3 in their hearts. Those infants 4 whom you see 
externally clad in white robes and cleansed internally, who 
by the gleaming whiteness of their garments indicate the 

7 Matt. 26.41. 

8 Gal. 5.6. 

9 Cf. John 12.31. 

10 1 Peter 5.8. 

11 Eph. 5.8. 

1 Gen. 1.4-6. 

2 Eph. 5.8. 

3 2 Cor. 4.6. 

4 The newly baptized, though advanced in years, were called infantes. 


brightness of their souls, were darkness when they were over- 
whelmed by the night of their sins. But now, because they 
have been cleansed in the bath of mercy, watered by the 
fountain of wisdom, and drenched with the light of justice: 
This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad 
and rejoice therein. 35 Let the day of the Lord hear us; let the 
day made by the Lord hear us; let it hear and hearken, so 
that we may rejoice and be glad in Him, since this is our 
joy and our crown if you, as the Apostle says: 'stand fast in 
the Lord/ 6 Hear us, therefore, O new-born sons of a chaste 
mother; yes, hear us, O sons of a Virgin Mother. Since 'you 
were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. 
Walk then, as children of light,' 7 and cleave to the children 
of light. To speak more precisely, cling to the faithful who 
are good, for there are believers who are evil a deplorable 
situation. There are those who, though called believers, are 
not so. There are believers in whom the sacraments of Christ 
are subjected to abuse; persons who live in such a way that 
they themselves perish, and they ruin others. They themselves 
perish by evil living; they destroy others, however, by giving 
the example of evil living. Do not wish, my dearly beloved, 
to be associated with such as these. Seek the good; cleave 
to the good; be good. 

Do not be surprised at the large number of bad Christians 
who fill the church, who communicate at the altar, who, with 
much ado, praise the bishop or priest when he discourses on 
good morals. In the case of such people the prediction made 
by my fellow shepherd in the psalm is fulfilled: C I have de- 
clared and I have spoken; they are multiplied above number.' 8 
They can exist along with us in the Church of this time, 
but they will not be able to remain in that assembly of saints 
which will be after the resurrection. For the Church of this 

5 PS. 117.24. 

6 Cf. Phil. 4.1. 

7 Eph. 5.8. 

8 Ps. 39.6. 


time, since it has good mixed with bad, is compared to a 
threshing floor where grain is mixed with chaff; but, after 
the judgment, it will have all good members without the evil. 
This threshing floor contains the harvest sown by the Apostles, 
watered by subsequent good teachers down to the present 
time, somewhat bruised by the persecution of enemies, but 
with the remnant not yet purged by the final sifting. Never- 
theless, He will come concerning whom you recited in the 
Creed: 'Thence He will come to judge the living and the 
dead, 5 and, as the Gospel says: 'His winnowing fan is in his 
hand, and he will thoroughly clean out his threshing floor, 
and will gather his wheat into the barn; but the chaff he will 
burn up with unquenchable fire. 39 

Let the old faithful members hear what I say; let him 
who is the grain rejoice in the tossing; let him remain; let 
him not depart from the threshing floor. Let him not, follow- 
ing his own judgment, try to free himself from the chaff, 
since he will not be able to remain on the threshing floor 
if he wishes to separate himself now from the chaff. Further- 
more, when He comes who distinguishes without error, He 
will not raise to the granary what He has not found on the 
threshing floor. Whatever grains have now withdrawn from 
the threshing floor will then boast in vain about their stock. 
The barn will be filled and closed. Fire will consume what- 
ever has remained outside. Therefore, my dear brethren, 
let him who is good put up with the evil; let him who is 
bad imitate the good. On this threshing floor, in truth, grain 
can degenerate into chaff; and, on the other hand, grain 
can be restored from chaff. These changes take place daily, 
my brethren. This life is full of punishments and consolations. 
Daily those, who seemed good, do wrong and perish; and 
again, those, who seemed evil, are converted and live. For, 
'God does not will the death of the sinner, but only that he 
be converted from his ways and live.' 10 

9 Matt. 3.12. 
10 Cf. Ezech. 18.23. 


Hear me, O grains of wheat; hear me, you who conform 
to my desires; hear me, O grain. Do not be saddened by the 
intermixture of chaff; the evil will not be with you forever. 
To how great an extent does the chaff press upon you? 
Thank God that it is not heavy. Only let us remain the 
wheat; then, how abundant soever the chaff may be, it will 
not oppress us. For God is faithful and will not permit us 
to be tempted beyond our strength, but with the temptation 
will also give us a way out that we may be able to bear it. 11 
Let the chaff also hear us; let them listen, wheresoever they 
may be. I do not wish them to be here; nevertheless, in case 
they are here, let us exhort them. Therefore, hear me, O 
chaff; yet, if you are listening, you will be chaff no longer. 
Listen, then. May the patience of God benefit you; may 
close association with the grain, and may this admonition 
make you grain also. You do not lack the showers of the 
words of God; let not the field of God in you be arid. There- 
fore, be revived, become grain, grow to full sheaves, for He 
who sowed you wishes to find ears, not thorns. 

11 Cf. l Cor. 10.13. 


Sermon 224 

|N THIS DAY I address those who have been baptized > 
reborn in Christ Jesus, and you, my brethren, in 
them, and they in you. Behold, you have become 
members of Christ. If you consider what you have become, 
all your bones will cry out: 'Lord, who is like to thee?' 1 
For that condescension of God, namely, that grace has come 
gratuitously to you without any antecedent merits on your 
part, cannot be adequately pondered; all human utterance 
and feelings fail us. Because it is given gratis, for that very 
reason it is called grace. What grace? That you should be 
members of Christ, sons of God; that you should be brothers 
of the Only-begotten. If He is the Only-begotten, how are 
you His brothers unless, while He is the Only-begotten by 
nature, you have become His brothers by grace? Therefore, 
because you have become members of Christ, I warn you; 
I fear for you, not so much from the pagans, nor so much 
from the Jews, nor so much from the heretics, as from the 
bad Catholics. Choose for yourselves those whom you may 
imitate among the people of God. For, if you wish to imitate 
the crowd, you will not tread the narrow path in the com- 
pany of the few. Abstain from fornication, robbery, fraud> 

1 Ps. 34.10. 



perjury, from illicit conduct, and from quarrels; keep drunk- 
enness at a distance from you; fear adultery as you fear 
death, not that death which releases the soul from the body, 
but that in which the soul will burn forever. 

(2) My brethren, my sons, my daughters, my sisters, I 
know that the Devil is playing his part and that he does 
not cease to speak in the hearts of those whom he holds 
bound by his fetters. I know that to fornicators, to adulterers 
who are not content with their own wives, he says in their 
hearts: 'Sins of the flesh are not grievous.' In opposition to 
this diabolical whispering we ought to emphasize the Incarna- 
tion of Christ. The reason why the Enemy deceives Christians 
by the allurements of the flesh is that he makes trivial what 
is weighty, gentle what is harsh, sweet what is bitter. But, 
of what use is it for Satan to make light of what Christ 
shows is serious? Does the Devil accomplish anything new 
when he says to faithful Christians: 'Nothing that you are 
doing is serious 3 ? You sin in the flesh; is that not in the spirit, 
also? Is the sin of the flesh easily wiped out; is pardon easily 
granted by God? What great thing does the Devil accom- 
plish? He resorts to the same trick which he used in paradise 2 
when he said: 'Eat, and you shall be as gods; you shall not 
die. 5 God had said: 'For the day you eat of it, you must 
die. 3 The Enemy came, saying: 'No, you shall not die, but 
your eyes will be opened; and you will be as gods. 3 The 
command of God was set aside, and the argument of the 
Devil accepted. Then came the realization that God's com- 
mand was true and the Devil's deception false. Was it of 
any help, I ask you, for the woman to say: 'The serpent 
deceived me'? Did her excuse help any? If it did, then why 
did condemnation follow? 

(3) Therefore, I say to you, my brethren, my sons, to 
you who have wives, do not admit any other interest; to 
you who do not have wives and who wish to marry, keep 
yourselves inviolate for your wives as you desire to find them 

2 Cf.Gen. 3.4; 2.17; 3.4-6,13-24. 



Inviolate. You who have vowed chastity to God, do not look 
back. Behold, I say this to you; I cry out to you; I exonerate 
myself, for God has placed me here as a minister, not as an 
overseer. Nevertheless, wherever I can, wherever I am given 
the opportunity, wherever I am permitted, wherever I know 
circumstances, I chide; I rebuke; I anathematize; I excom- 
municate; yet I do not correct. Why? Because 'neither he 
who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who 
gives the growth.' 3 Now, since I am speaking, since I am 
admonishing you, what else is needed except that God hear 
me on your behalf and that He accomplish something in 
you, that is, in your hearts. I speak briefly; to you I com- 
mend the faithful, yet I alarm them; I am trying to build 
you up [in the Lord]. You are members of Christ; hear, 
not me, but the Apostle when he says: 'Shall I then take 
the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot?' 4 
But someone or other says to me: e She whom I have is not 
a harlot; she is my concubine. Holy bishop, you have made 
my concubine a harlot !' Did I say that? The Apostle makes 
the complaint and I have brought a false charge upon myself ! 
I wish you to be sound in mind; why do you rave at me as 
if you were insane? Do you, who say this, have a wife? 
You answer: 'Yes.' Well, then, as I said, whether you wish 
it or not, any woman other than your wife who cohabits 
with you is a harlot. There, go, tell her that the bishop has 
insulted you. You have your lawful wife, and another co- 
habits with you; whoever she is, as I said before, she is a 
harlot. On the contrary, your wife is faithful to you; she 
knows no one except you alone and she does not contemplate 
knowing another. Therefore, since she is chaste, why do you 
commit fornication? If she loves you alone, why do you love 
two women? But you say: 'My servant is my concubine. I 
do not go to somebody else's wife, do I? I do not go to a 
public harlot, do I? Am I not permitted to do what I wish 

3 1 Cor. 3.7. 

4 1 Cor. 6.15. 


in my own house? 3 I answer: e You are not so permitted. 
They who act thus go to hell and will burn in everlasting 
fire. 3 

(4) Let me be permitted to speak thus and to make these 
statements even here. Let those who are of the sort described 
above correct their ways while they are living, lest they should 
wish to do so later and not be able, because death comes 
suddenly, and then there is question, not of being corrected, 
but of being cast into fire. You do not know when that 
last hour is going to come and yet you say: 'I am reforming/ 
When are you going to reform? When are you going to 
change? 'Tomorrow/ you say. Behold, how often you say: 
'Tomorrow, tomorrow. 3 You have really become a crow! 5 
Behold, I say to you that when you make the noise of a crow, 
ruin is threatening you. For that crow whose cawing you 
imitate went forth from the Ark and did not return. Instead, 
my brother, return to the Church, which the Ark then re- 
presented. O you who are newly baptized, hear me; you 
who have been reborn through the blood of Christ, hear 
me. I beg you by the name which has been invoked upon 
you, by the altar to which you have approached, by the 
sacraments which you have received, by the future judgment 
of the living and the dead, I beg you, I put you under 
obligation in the name of Christ, not to imitate those persons 
who you know are such as I described. On the contrary, 
may the sacrament of Him who did not wish to come down 
from the cross, but who did wish to rise from the tomb, 

5 Cf. Gen. 8,7. The words 'tomorrow, tomorrow' would In the Latin 
form, 'eras, eras/ approximate the cawing of a crow. 


Sermon 225 1 

( 1 ) TJie Son of God, born of the Father without the limits 
of time, entrusts to us the depth of divine grace which has 
been poured forth on us. For what was He before He was 
made Man? Suppose that you have wondered about that 
problem, and that you have asked that question. As a matter 
of fact, my brethren, we are considering whether or not 
Christ existed before He was born of the Virgin Mary. 
Realize, of course, that we are investigating that about which 
we are not permitted to doubt. For, to such thoughts the 
Lord Himself made answer when He was asked: 'Thou art 
not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?' He 
replied: 'Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came 
to be, I am/ 2 Therefore, He existed, but He was not yet 
Man. Lest, by chance, someone might say: e He was an angel/ 
the holy Gospel has declared to you that He was Christ. And 
do you seek what He was? In the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God.' 3 Consider what He was. 'In 
the beginning was the Word.' The Word was not made in 
the beginning, but it existed; it was. Moreover, hear what 
the Scripture says about the world: 'In the beginning God 
created the heavens and the earth. 54 Do you ask through 
what means God made the world? 'In the beginning was the 
Word/ and, through the Word, heaven and earth were made. 
The Word was not made, but was. Now it remains to see 
what was the nature of the Word, because our words, too, 
are expressed. Our words, indeed, are conceived by thought; 

1 In the Louvain Codex, this sermon is entitled De nativitate and in 
the Vatican manuscript, De Trinitate. The fourth section, however, 
gives evidence that it was delivered on Easter Sunday, when it was 
customary to read the beginning of St. John's Gospel to the newly 
baptized to give them an appreciation of the depth of divine grace 
by which the Son of God made Man had made the regenerated sons 
of men the sons of God. 

2 John 8.57,58. 

3 John 1.1. 

4 Gen. 1.1. 


are brought forth by the voice; nevertheless, when thought 
out and brought forth, they pass away. But what about that 
other passage: The Word was with God'? [You say:] 'Tell 
where He was, tell what He was.' I have already done so. The 
holy Gospel has said to you : 'In the beginning was the Word." 
[You repeat:] 'Tell where He was; tell what He was.' 'And 
the Word was with God.' 'But I asked what was the nature 
of the Word/ [you continue]. Do you wish to hear what He 
was? 'And the Word was God.' O Word ! what sort of Word 
art thou? Who shall explain the word: 'And the Word was 
God 5 ? Perhaps He was made by God? Far be such a thought! 
Hear what the holy Gospel says: "All things were made 
through him.' 5 What does the 'all' mean? Whatever was 
made by God was made through the Word. And how was 
He Himself made who made all things? Did He make Him- 
self? Finally, if He made Himself, then He who made Himself 
previously existed. If, therefore, He who made Himself pre- 
viously existed, then He always existed. 

(2) How was such a Word in the Virgin? 'All things were 
made through him. 5 What does 'all 5 mean? Whatever was 
made by God was made through the Word. My brother, 
do not separate the Holy Spirit from so great a work. From 
what great work? The angels are not an insignificant, but a 
great work; yet the angels adore the humanity of Christ as 
He sits at the right hand of the Father. Such a work, then, 
the Holy Spirit in particular accomplished. In that work 
He was mentioned by name when the angel announced to 
the holy Virgin that she would bear a Son. Because she had 
vowed virginity, and because her husband was, not the des- 
troyer, but the guardian, of her chastity no, not the guard- 
ian, either, for God was the guardian, but her husband was 
the witness of her virginal chastity, lest she should be con- 
sidered an adulteress when the angel made this announce- 
ment to her, she said: 'How shall this happen, since I do 
not know man? 3 If she were planning to know man, she 

5 John 1.3. 


would not wonder. That wonderment is witness of her vow. 
'How shall this happen, since I do not know man? How shall 
this happen?' And the angel said to her: The Holy Spirit 
shall come upon thee, (and behold how that which you 
question shall be done) and the power of the Most High shall 
overshadow thee; and therefore the Holy One to be born 
shall be called the Son of God.' 6 Well did he say: 'It shall 
overshadow thee,' lest virginity should feel the heat of passion. 
And when she was pregnant, the Gospel says of her: 'Mary 
was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.' 7 Therefore, 
the Holy Spirit wrought the flesh of Christ; and the only- 
begotten Son of God wrought His own flesh. How do we 
prove this? Because Scripture says: 'Wisdom hath built her- 
self a house.' 8 

Now, then, consider this question: How is so great a God, 
God with God, the Word of God through whom all things 
were made, how is He shut up in a womb? In the first place, 
did the Word leave heaven in order to be there? In order 
to be in the Virgin's womb, did the Word leave heaven? 
And how would the angels live, if the Word should leave 
heaven? Yet, in order that man might eat the Bread of 
angels, the Lord of the angels became Man. Let human 
consideration wander through its mists, let it get lost, let it 
seek, and let it find out how the Word of God, through whom 
all things were made, did not leave the angels, did not leave 
His Father when He was in the Virgin's womb. How could 
He be shut up in that womb? He could exist; He could not 
be enclosed. 'How,' the seeker asks, 'could such greatness 
exist in so small a place?' That womb, therefore, received 
what the world does not contain. He was not made smaller 
so that He might be in the womb. He was in the womb and 
He was great. How great was He? Tell us how great He 
was; tell us what He was. 

(3) Tell us what He was. 'And the Word was God.' And 

6 Luke 1.34,35. 

7 Matt. 1.18. 

8 Prov. 9.1. 


I say that I who speak to you know this, yet I do not under- 
stand It; but thought causes us to be extended, extension 
enlarges us, and this enlargement makes us capacious. Even 
when we have become capacious, however, we will not be 
able to understand completely. Nevertheless, I am going to 
talk the matter over with you in my own words. Behold 
what I am saying, what I am going to say; hear this; under- 
stand this word of mine, for this is a human word. If you 
are not able to understand this word, see how far you are 
from understanding that Word. Certainly we wonder how 
Christ took flesh, how He was born of a virgin, yet did 
not depart from the Father. Behold, before I, who now speak 
with you, came to you, I gave thought in advance to what 
I was going to say to you. When I thought over what I was 
going to say to you, the word was already in my mind, for 
I would not say it to you unless* I had thought it out before- 
hand. I found you a Latin; the word, then, had to be ex- 
pressed in Latin. If you had been a Greek, I would have 
been obliged to speak to you in Greek and to compose a 
speech in Greek for you. Now, that word in my mind is 
neither Latin nor Greek; what is in my mind certainly pre- 
cedes those two languages. I seek a sound for it; I seek, as 
it were, a vehicle; I seek some means by which it may come 
to you without departing from me. Behold, you have heard 
what is in my mind; now it is in yours; you have begun to 
possess it and I have not lost it. Just as my word assumed 
sound, through which it might be heard, so the Word assumed 
flesh, through which It might be seen. I have explained this 
problem to the best of my ability. Yet, what have I said? 
And who am I who have spoken? I, an ordinary human 
being, have wished to speak about God. He is so great; He 
is such that we cannot speak about Him, yet we ought not 
to be silent about Him. 

(4)1 give thanks to Thee, O Lord, because Thou knowest 
what I say and even what I have desired to say. I have fed 
my fellow servants with the crumbs from Thy table; do Thou 


feed and nourish interiorly those whom Thou hast regen- 
erated. Behold, what was that group? 'Darkness, but now 
. . . light in the Lord,' For in such words the Apostle says: 
'For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the 
Lord, 39 O you who have been baptized, you 'were once dark- 
ness, but now you are light in the Lord.' If light, then day; 
for God 'called the light Day.' 10 You were darkness; He 
made you light; He made you the day; concerning you we 
now sing: 'This is the day which the Lord hath made: let 
us be glad and rejoice therein.' 11 Avoid darkness. Drunkenness 
leads to darkness. Do not depart sober and return intoxicated. 
We shall see you this afternoon. The Holy Spirit has begun 
to dwell [in you]; let Him not move out; do not shut Him 
out of your hearts. He, a good guest, found you empty; 
He is filling you. He found you hungry; He is feeding you. 
Finally, He found you thirsty; He is giving you to drink. 
Let Him inebriate you, for the Apostle says: 'Do not be 
drunk with wine, for in that is debauchery.' And, as if wishing 
to teach us how we ought to be inebriated, he adds: 'But 
be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing to one another in hymns 
and psalms and spiritual songs, singing in your hearts to the 
Lord.' 12 Is not he who rejoices in the Lord and who sings 
praises to the Lord with great exultation like to an inebriated 
person? I approve of such inebriation, 'for with thee, O God, 
is the fountain of life; and thou shalt give them to drink of 
the torrent of thy pleasure. 5 Whence will this be? 'For with 
thee, O God, is the fountain of life; and in thy light we shall 
see light. 313 The Spirit of God is drink and light. If you 
would find the fountain in the darkness, you should enkindle 
a light, so that you might come to it. But do not enkindle a 
light at the fountain of light; He Himself will shine upon 

9 Cf. Eph. 5.8. 

10 Cf. Gen. 1.5. 

11 Ps. 117.24. 

12 Cf. Eph. 5.18-20. 

13 Cf. Ps. 35.9-11. 


you; He will lead you to Himself. When you come to drink, 
approach and be enlightened. 'Come ye to him and be en- 
lightened/ 14 Do not depart, do not be enveloped in darkness, 
O Lord God, call them and let them approach Thee; 
strengthen them, lest they depart from Thee. Make Thy 
sons new men; make strong men from these newly baptized; 
but do not make dead men of the old ones, for in this wisdom 
one may grow old, but one may not die. 

Sermon 226 

Thus you have heard it proclaimed that Christ is the Lord, 
because 'in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was 
with God; and the Word was God.' 1 For, if the Lord Christ 
had not humbled Himself, but had wished to remain always 
as He was, then man would have perished. We acknowledge 
the Word as God with God; we acknowledge that the only- 
begotten Son is equal to the Father; we recognize the Light 
from Light, Day from Day. He who made the day is the 
Day, not made, but begotten by the Day. If, then, Day is 
from Day, not made but begotten, what is the day which the 
Lord has made? Why is it day? Because it is light. 'And the 
Lord called the light Day. 52 Let us seek the day which the 
Lord hath made, so that we may be glad and rejoice therein. 3 
We read that, in the first stage of the world, 'darkness covered 
the abyss, and the spirit of God was stirring above the waters. 
God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. . . God 
separated the light from the darkness, calling the light Day 
and the darkness Night.' 4 Behold the day which the Lord 
made. But is this the day on which we ought to rejoice 

14 Ps. 33.6. 

1 John 1.1. 

2 Cf. Gen. 1.5. 

3 Cf. Ps. 117.24. 

4 Gen. 1.2-6. 


and be glad? There is another day which the Lord made 
and which we are under a greater obligation to acknowl- 
edge and to be glad and rejoice therein, since this was 
said to the faithful believers in Christ: c You are the light 
of the world.' 5 If light, then certainly day, because He called 
the light Day. Therefore, even here on yesterday the Spirit 
of God moved over the waters and darkness was upon the 
face of the deep when these newly baptized were still bearing 
the weight of their sins. Hence, when their sins were forgiven 
through the Spirit of God, then God said, "Let there be 
light," and there was light. 3 Behold 'this is the day which 
the Lord hath made: let us be glad and rejoice therein.' 
Let us greet this day in the words of the Apostle: 6 'O day 
which the Lord hath made, you were once darkness, but 
now you are light in the Lord. 5 He says: 'You were once 
darkness.' Were you or were you not? If [you think you were] 
not, recall your deeds; examine the sinfulness which you 
have repudiated. Hence, because c you were once darkness, 
but now you are light, 3 not in yourselves but 'in the Lord, 
walk then as children of the light.' Let these few words be 
sufficient for you, since I intend to elaborate on them later 
and since the newly baptized are to receive today an instruc- 
tion on the sacraments of the altar. 

Sermon 227 1 

I am not unmindful of the promise by which I pledged 
myself to deliver a sermon to instruct you, who have just 
been baptized, on the Sacrament of the Lord's table, which 
you now look upon and of which you partook last night. 
You ought to know what you have received, what you are 

5 Matt. 5.14. 

6 Cf. ph. 5.8. 

1 This sermon bears a very close resemblance, in many details, to 
Sermon 6 (Den.) , translated and discussed by D. J. Kavanagh, O.S.A., 
in Fathers of the Church 11 321-326. 


going to receive, and what you ought to receive daily. That 
Bread which you see on the altar, consecrated by the word 
of God, is the Body of Christ. That chalice, or rather, what 
the chalice holds, consecrated by the word of God, is the 
Blood of Christ. Through those accidents the Lord wished 
to entrust to us His Body and the Blood which He poured out 
for the remission of sins. If you have received worthily, you 
are what you have received, for the Apostle says : The bread 
is one; we though many, are one body. 52 Thus he explained 
the Sacrament of the Lord's table: 'The bread is one; we 
though many, are one body. 3 So, by bread you are instructed 
as to how you ought to cherish unity. Was that bread made 
of one grain of wheat? Were there not, rather, many grains? 
However, before they became bread, these grains were sepa- 
rate; they were joined together in water after a certain 
amount of crushing. For, unless the grain is ground and 
moistened with water, it cannot arrive at that form which 
is called bread. So, too, you were previously ground, as it 
were, by the humiliation of your fasting and by the sacrament 
of exorcism. Then came the baptism of water; you were 
moistened, as it were, so as to arrive at the form of bread. 3 
But, without fire, bread does not yet exist. What, then, does 
the fire signify? The chrism. For the sacrament of the Holy 
Spirit is the oil of our fire. Notice this when the Acts 
of the Apostles are read. (Soon the reading of the book is 
going to begin; today the reader is beginning that book which 
is called the Acts of the Apostles. 4 ) He who wishes to advance 
has the source of advancement. When you come to church, 
put aside empty talk; concentrate your attention on the Scrip- 
tures. We are your books. Attend, then, and see that the 
Holy Spirit will come on Pentecost. And thus He will come : 
He will show Himself in tongues of fire. For He enkindles 

2 cf, i Cor. 10.17. 

3 See Kavanagh, loc, cit. f for a similar discussion and an excellent com- 

4 In St. Augustine's time, the lector read the text from Scripture and 
the bishop then commented on it. 


charity by which we ardently desire God and spurn the world, 
by which our chaff is consumed and our heart purified as 
gold. Therefore, the fire, that is, the Holy Spirit, comes after 
the water; then you become bread, that is, the body of Christ. 
Hence, in a certain manner, unity is signified. 

You now have the sacraments in their order. At first, after 
the prayer, you are admonished to lift up your heart. This 
befits the members of Christ. For, if you have become mem- 
bers of Christ, where is your Head? Members have a head. 
If the Head had not preceded, the members would not fol- 
low. Where has your Head gone? What did you recite in 
the Creed? 'On the third day He rose again from the dead; 
He ascended into heaven; He sits at the right hand of the 
Father. 5 Therefore, our Head is in heaven. Hence, when the 
'Lift up your heart' is said, you answer: 'We have [them 
lifted up] to the Lord. 55 Then, because this lifting up of your 
hearts to God is a gift of God and lest you should attribute 
to your own strength, your own merits, and your own labors 
the fact that you have your hearts thus lifted up to the Lord, 
after the answer, 'We have our hearts lifted up to the Lord,' 
the bishop or priest who is officiating also says: 'Let us give 
thanks to the Lord our God, because we have our hearts 
raised up to Him. Let us give thanks to Him, because if 
He did not give [the grace], we would have our hearts fixed 
on the earth.' And you bear witness to this, saying: 'It is 
right and just for us to give thanks to Him who caused us 
to raise our hearts up to our Head.' 

Then, after the consecration of the Holy Sacrifice of God, 
because He wished us also to be His sacrifice, a fact which 
was made clear when the Holy Sacrifice was first instituted, 
and because that Sacrifice is a sign of what we are, behold, 
when the Sacrifice is finished, we say the Lord's Prayer which 
you have received and recited. After this, the 'Peace be with 
you' is said, and the Christians embrace one another with 
the holy kiss. This is a sign of peace; as the lips indicate, let 

5 From the Preface of the Mass. 


peace be made in your conscience, that is, when your lips 
draw near to those of your brother, do not let your heart 
withdraw from his. Hence, these are great and powerful 
sacraments. Do you wish to know how they are commended? 
The Apostle says: 'Whoever eats the body of Christ or drinks 
the cup of the Lord unworthily, will be guilty of the body 
and blood of the Lord. 56 What does it mean to receive un- 
worthily? To receive in mockery, to receive in contempt. Let 
the Sacrament not appear of trifling value to you because 
you look upon it. What you see passes; but the invisible, 
that which is not seen, does not pass; it remains. Behold, it 
is received; it is eaten; it is consumed. Is the body of Christ 
consumed? Is the Church of Christ consumed? Are the mem- 
bers of Christ consumed? God forbid! Here they are cleansed; 
there they will be crowned. Therefore, what is signified will 
last eternally, even though it seems to pass. Receive, then, 
so that you may ponder, so that you may possess unity in your 
heart, so that you may always lift up your heart. Let your 
hope be, not on earth, but in heaven; let your faith be firm 
and acceptable to God. Because you now believe what you do 
not see, you are going to see there where you will rejoice 

Sermon 228 

(1) Since, after the exercises of last night, 1 the flesh is 
weak even though the spirit is eager, I should not detain 
you by a sermon. Nevertheless, I owe you a few words. These 
days, on which, after the Passion of the Lord our God 
we sing 'Alleluia,' we joyfully celebrate as feasts right up 
to Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was sent down from 

6 Cf. 1 Cor. 11.27. 

1 On the vigil of Easter Sunday, the candidates for baptism, that is, 
the 'competentes/ were exorcised from the influence of demons, then 
baptized, and subsequently confirmed. The Mass of Easter Sunday 
followed, at which the newly baptized received Holy Communion. 
See discussion in Kavanagh, loc. cit. 323. 


heaven. Of these days, the seven or eight which are now 
in progress are set aside for the sacraments of the newly 
baptized. Those persons, who not long ago were called com- 
petentes, are now called infantes. They were said to be com- 
petentes because they were beating against their mother's 
womb, seeking to be born; they are now called infantes be- 
cause they, who were first born to the world, are now born 
to Christ. In them has been effected for the first time what 
ought to be strengthened in you. May you who are now 
believers furnish them example which will lead, not to their 
destruction, but to their salvation. For they, new-born, ob- 
serve how you, who were born some time ago, live. Even 
they who are born according to Adam do this. At first they 
are but little ones. After they have begun to observe the ways 
of their elders^ they note what they are going to imitate. 
And, since the younger follows wherever the older leads, it 
is much to be desired that the older proceed by a good path, 
lest, in following, the younger perish as well as the older. 
And so, my brethren, I address you who, to a certain extent, 
by reason of the duration of your regeneration, are their 
parents. I exhort you so to live that you may rejoice, not 
perish, with those who imitate you. The newly born notices 
some inebriate or other; I fear that he says to himself: 'Why 
is he one of the faithful when he drinks so much? 9 He notices 
some usurer, some gloomy debtor, some grim tax collector, 
and he says to himself: C I shall do likewise. 3 He receives the 
answer: 'Now you are one of the faithful; do not act in this 
way. You have been baptized; you are reborn. Your hopes 
have been changed; let your character also be changed. 5 And 
he replies: 'Why are this one and that one among the faith- 
ful? 5 I do not wish to say more, for who could mention 
everything? Therefore, my brethren, when you, who are now 
believers, live badly, you will render a poor account to God 
of yourselves and also of these newly baptized. 

(2) Now I address them, the newly born, so that they 
may be the grain on the threshing floor; that they may not 
follow and perish with the chaff which is tossed about by 


the wind; but that by the weight of charity they may 
remain and come to the kingdom of immortality. Therefore, 
I beseech you my brethren, you my sons, you the new off- 
shoots of our mother, the Church. By what you have received 
I beseech you to focus your attention on Him who called 
you, who loved you, who sought you when you were lost, 
who enlightened you when you were found. I beg you not 
to follow the paths of ruined souls among whom the name 
of believers is lost. For, we do not ask why they are called, 
but whether their lives are in harmony with their name. If 
one has been reborn, where is his new life? If he is one of 
the faithful, where is his faith? I hear the name; let me 
recognize the reality. Choose for yourselves as worthy of 
imitation those who fear God, those who enter the church 
with reverential fear, those who hear the word of God with 
diligence, keeping it in mind, pondering it in their thoughts, 
and carrying it out in their deeds. Choose those whom you 
may imitate. Let your heart not say: 'And where shall we 
find such men?' Be such, and you will find like characters. 
All things cling to their likes; if you have lived in a profligate 
fashion, no one but a profligate will attach himself to you. 
Begin to live well and you will see how many companions 
will gather around you and in how great a brotherhood you 
will rejoice. Finally, if you do not find what you may imitate, 
then be what somebody else may imitate. 

(3) I am under an obligation to give to those who are 
newly born a sermon at the altar of God concerning the 
Sacrament of the altar. I have placed before them what they 
ought to believe about the sacrament of the Creed; I have 
discussed the sacrament of the Lord's Prayer and how they 
should say it; and I have also treated of the sacrament of the 
font and baptism. All these subjects they have heard discussed, 
and they have accepted them as handed down. Concerning 
the Sacrament of the holy altar, which they have seen today, 
however, they have heard nothing. Today a sermon on this 
subject is their due, but it ought to be brief both because 
of our fatigue and their edification. 


Sermon 229 
On the Sacraments of the Faithful 1 

JEGAUSE HE [the Lord] suffered for us, He left us 
in this Sacrament His Body and Blood which He 
made even as He made us, also. For we have be- 
come His Body, and through His mercy we are what we 
receive. Remember: once you did not exist; you have been 
created. You were brought to the threshing floor of the Lord; 
by the labors of oxen, that is, of those preaching the Gospel, 
you have been threshed. When as catechumens you were 
being temporarily deferred, you were under observation in 
the granary. Then you were enrolled; 2 the grinding process, 
achieved by fastings and exorcisms, began. Afterwards you 
came to the font; you were sprinkled and, you became one 
[with the whole mass]; by the application of the burning 

1 This sermon is evidently a fragment. It is practically identical with 
sections of Sermon 6 (Den.) as translated by D. J. Kavanagh in 
Volume 11 of this series. 

2 The formal petition for the reception of baptism was indicated by 
giving one's name (nomen dare) . 



heat of the Holy Spirit you were baked and you became 
the bread of the Lord. 

Behold what you have received ! Therefore, just as you see 
that the bread which was made is one mass, so may you 
also be one Body by loving one another, by having one faith, 
one hope, and an undivided charity. When heretics receive 
this Sacrament, they receive testimony against themselves, 
because they seek division, while this bread indicates unity. 
Thus, too, the wine existed in many clusters of grapes; and 
now it is one. It is one in the beautiful golden cup after the 
crushing of the grapes in the wine-press. And now you, in 
the name of Christ, have come to the chalice of the Lord, 
after your fasts, your labors, your humiliations, and your 
contrition. There you are on the table, and there you are 
in the chalice, for you are one with us. We receive [His 
Body] together, and we drink [His Blood] together because 
we live together. 

Sermon 230 
On the Verse: 'This is the day which the Lord hath made' 

What we have sung to our Lord let us put into practice 
by His help. To be sure, every day has been made by the 
Lord, but with good reason has it been said of a particular 
day: 'This is the day which the Lord hath made. 31 We read 
that, when He created heaven and earth, 'God said, "Let 
there be light," and there was light. . . . And God called the 
light Day, and the darkness Night.' 2 But there is another day, 
well established and definitely to be commended by us, con- 
cerning which the Apostle says: 'Let us walk becomingly 
as in the day.' That day, commonly called c today,' is caused 
by the rising and setting of the sun. There is still another 

1 Ps. 117.24. 

2 Cf. Gen. 1.3-6. 


day by which the word of God shines on the hearts of the 
faithful and dispels the darkness, not of the eyes, but of evil 
habits. Let us, therefore, recognize this light; let us rejoice 
in it; let us hearken to the Apostle when he says: Tor we 
are children of the light and children of the day. We are not 
of night nor of darkness.' 3 'Let us walk becomingly as in 
the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in debauchery 
and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the 
Lord Jesus Christ, and as for the flesh, take no thought for 
its lusts.' 4 If you do this, you sing with your whole heart: 
This is the day which the Lord hath made.' For, if you live 
well, you are what you sing. How many are inebriated 
throughout these days? How many, not content with being 
intoxicated throughout these days, add base and cruel strife? 
Such persons do not sing: 'This is the day which the Lord 
hath made.' To them the Lord says: 'You are darkness; I 
have not made you.' If you wish to be the 'day which the 
Lord hath made,' live well; and you will possess the light 
of truth which will never set in your hearts. 

Sermon 231 
On the Resurrection according to St. Mark 

(1) According to our custom, during these days the ac- 
count of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ is read 
from all the books of the holy Gospel. In this selection [from 
Mark] we notice how the Lord Jesus Himself chided His 
disciples, His first members who remained close to Him, 
because they did not believe that He, over whom they grieved 
as dead, was now alive. 1 They were the fathers of the faith, 

3 Cf. 1 Thess. 5.5. 

4 Rom. 13.13,14. 

1 Cf. Mark 16.14. 


but not yet were they believers. They did not yet believe, 
although they were made teachers so that the whole world 
might believe what they were destined to preach and what 
they were going to die for. They did not yet believe that 
He, whom they had seen raising others from the dead, had 
arisen Himself. Deservedly, then, were they rebuked. They 
were revealed to themselves so that they might recognize 
what they were through their own efforts and what they 
would be through Him, Thus, too, Peter was revealed to 
himself, in that he manifested presumption when the Passion 
of the Lord was imminent, but wavered when the actual 
suffering materialized. In person he saw himself; in person 
he grieved himself; in person he wept over himself; he turned 
to Him who had made him. 2 Behold, they still did not believe, 
although they now saw. What has been His condescension 
in permitting us to believe what we do not see! We believe 
the words of those who did not trust their own eyes. 

(2) Moreover, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ 
is a new life for those who believe in Jesus, and this is the 
sacrament of His Passion and Resurrection which you ought 
to know and discuss. For, with good reason, Life came to 
death; with good reason, He, the Fountain of Life, whence 
one drinks in order to live, drank this chalice when He was 
under no obligation to do so. Truly, Christ was under no 
obligation to die. Let us examine the source from which 
death arose. Sin is the father of death. If there had been 
no sin, there would have been no death. The first man 
received the law of God, that is, the command of God, with 
this stipulation: that, if he kept the law, he would live; if 
he violated it, he would die. By not believing that he was 
going to die, man brought about his own death; and he 
discovered that He who had given the law had said what 
was true. Thence [came] death; thence, mortality; thence, 
fatigue; thence, wretchedness; thence, even after the first 
death, came a second death, that is, after the death in time 

2 Cf. Matt. 26.33-35, 69-75. 


came death for all eternity. Therefore, every man is born 
subject to this condition of death, subject to these laws of the 
lower world, with the sole exception of that Man who became 
Man so that man might not perish. For He came, hampered 
by no laws of death, as the Psalmist says: Tree among the 
dead. 53 Without concupiscence a virgin conceived Him to 
whom she, still a virgin, gave birth, remaining a virgin. He 
lived without sin; He did not die because of His own sin; 
He shared with us our punishment, but not our sin. Death 
is the punishment of sin. The Lord Jesus Christ came to 
die; He did not come to sin. By sharing with us the penalty 
without the sin, He cancelled both the penalty and the sin. 
What penalty did He cancel? That which was destined for 
us after this life. Hence, He was crucified, so that on the 
cross He might show the destruction of our old man; and 
He rose again so that He might point out the newness 
of our life. For thus the apostolic teaching expresses it: 
*He was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our 
justification. 54 To symbolize this fact, circumcision was im- 
posed upon the ancients, so that on the eighth day every male 
child was circumcised. 5 The circumcision was performed with 
stone knives 6 'because Christ was the Rock. 57 That circum- 
cision typified the stripping off of the carnal life on the eighth 
day through the Resurrection of Christ. For the seventh day 
of the week is completed by the sabbath. On the sabbath, the 
seventh day being the day of the sabbath, the Lord lay in 
the tomb. He arose on the eighth day; and His Resurrection 
renews us. Therefore, by rising on the eighth day He circum- 
cises us; in this hope we live. 

(3) Let us hearken to the Apostle when he says: c lf you 
have risen with Christ. 3 How do we rise when we are not 

3 Ps. 87.6. 

4 Cf. Rom. 4.25. 

5 Cf. Gen. 17.12. 

6 Cf. Jos. 5.2. 

7 Cf. 1 Cor. 10.4. 


yet dead? What, then, is it that the Apostle intended to say 
by the words: 'If you have risen with Christ 5 ? Would Christ 
have risen again if He had not first died? Was the Apostle 
addressing persons who were still living, not yet dying, and 
yet rising again? What does he mean? Consider what he says: 
'If you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, 
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Mind the 
things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For 
you have died.' 8 The Apostle himself says that, not I; never- 
theless, he tells the truth, and for that reason I, too, say it. 
Why do I say it? 'I have believed, therefore have I spoken/ 9 
If we are living well, we are dead, and we have risen. More- 
over, he who is not yet dead and has not risen is still living 
badly; and if he is living badly, he is not living; let him die, 
lest he die. What does that mean, 'let him die, lest he die'? 
Let him change himself, lest he be condemned. 'If you have 
risen with Christ,' I repeat the words of the Apostle, 'seek 
the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right 
hand of God. Mind the things that are above, not the 
things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is 
hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, shall ap- 
pear, then you too will appear with him in glory.' 10 These 
are the words of the Apostle. I bid him, who is not yet dead, 
to die; I bid him, who is still living badly, to change himself. 
For, if he used to live badly and is not now doing so, he has 
died ; if he is now living well, he has risen again. 

(4) But what does it mean to live weU? It means to seek 
'the things that are above, not the things that are on earth. 5 
How long are you going to be earth and how long are you 
returning into earth? 11 How long are you going to lick the 
earth? By loving the earth you certainly lick it, and you 
become an enemy of Him of whom the Psalmist says: 'And 

8 Col, 3.1-3. 

9 Ps. 115.1. 

10 Col. 3.1-5. 

11 Cf. Gen. 3.19. 


his enemies shall lick the ground.' 12 What were you? Sons of 
men. What are you? Sons of God. 'O ye sons of men, how 
long will you be dull of heart? why do you love vanity and 
seek after lying?' 13 What lying do you seek? Now I shall tell 
you. I know that you wish to be happy. Show me a robber, 
a scoundrel, a foraicator, an evil-doer, a law-breaker, a person 
stained with all vices, steeped in all crimes or outrages, who 
does not wish to be happy. I know you all wish to live 
happily, but you do not wish to find out what it is that 
makes a man live happily. You seek gold because you think 
that you will acquire happiness from the possession of gold, 
but gold does not make men happy. Why do you seek for 
what is deceptive? Why do you wish to be exalted in this 
world? Because you think that you will acquire happiness 
from the honor of men and from worldly display? But worldly 
display does not make men happy. Why do you seek lying 
and whatever else you seek here? When you seek in a 
worldly fashion, when you seek through love of the earth, 
when you seek by clinging to the earth, you seek for one 
purpose, that is, to be happy; but no earthly object makes 
you happy. Why do you not cease to look for what is decep- 
tive? What, then, will make you happy? 'O ye sons of men, 
how long will you be dull of heart?' Do you, who thus weigh 
down your hearts with earth, not wish to be dull of heart? 
How long were men dull of heart? Until Christ came, until 
Christ rose again, men were dull of heart. 'How long will 
you be dull of heart? why do you love vanity, and seek after 
lying?' Though you wish to be happy, you are seeking things 
which make you unhappy. What you are seeking is betraying 
you; what you are seeking is a lie. 

(5) Do you wish to be happy? If you wish, I shall show 
you how you may be happy. Continue to read that passage: 
'How long will you be dull of heart? why do you love vanity 
and seek after lying? Know ye. 3 What? c that the Lord 

12 Ps. 71.9. 

13 Ps. 4,3. 


hath made his holy one wonderful. 514 Christ came to our 
miseries. He was hungry and thirsty; He was weary and He 
slept; He worked wonders and He suffered evils; He was 
scourged, crowned with thorns, covered with spittle, beaten 
with cudgels, fixed to a cross, wounded with a lance, placed 
in a tomb. But He rose again on the third day when His 
work was finished and death was dead. Lo, keep your eye 
fixed on His Resurrection, because 'the Lord hath made his 
holy one wonderful' to such a degree that He raised Him from 
the dead, and bestowed upon Him the honor of sitting at 
His right hand in heaven. He showed you what you ought 
to attend to, if you wish to be happy, for here on earth you 
cannot be happy. In this life you cannot be happy; no one 
can. You seek what is good, but earth is not the source of 
that which you seek. What are you seeking? A happy life. 
But it is not available here. If you were looking for gold 
in a place where it did not exist, would not he who knew 
that it was not there say to you: 'Why are you digging? 
Why are you plowing up the earth? You are digging a trench 
to descend into a place where you will find nothing/ What 
are you going to answer the one who proffers you this advice? 
*I am looking for gold. 5 And he answers: 'I do not tell you 
that what you seek is of no importance, but I do say that 
it is not in the place where you are looking for it.' Likewise, 
when you say: 'I desire to be happy, 5 [the answer may be 
given:] 'You seek what is good, but it is not in this place. 5 
If Christ had happiness here, so also will you. But notice 
what He found in this land of your death. When He came 
from another region, what did He find here except what 
abounds here? With you He ate what is plentiful in the 
cellar of your wretchedness. He drank vinegar here; He had 
gall, too. Behold, what He found in your cellar! 

However, He has invited you to His own table abounding 
in all good things, the table of heaven, the table of the angels 
where He Himself is the bread. Coming, then, and finding 

14 Ps. 4.3-5. 


these unpalatable viands in your cellar, He did not disdain 
such a table as yours, but He promised you His own. And 
what does He say to us? 'Believe, just believe that you will 
come to the good things of My table inasmuch as I did not 
scorn the poor things of your table. 9 He accepted your evil; 
will He not give you His good? Certainly He will. He prom- 
ised His life to us; but what He has done is more unbeliev- 
able. He offered His own life to us, as if to say: 'I invite 
you to My life where no one dies, where life is truly blessed, 
where food is not corrupted, where it refreshes and does not 
fail. Behold the place to which I invite you, to the abode 
of the angels, to the friendship of the Father and of the Holy 
Spirit, to the eternal banquet, to My companionship, finally, 
to Me Myself and to My life do I invite you. Do you not 
wish to believe that I will give you My life? Take My death 
as a pledge.' Now, therefore, while we are living in this 
corruptible flesh, by changing our ways, let us die with 
Christ; by loving justice, let us live with Christ. We shall not 
gain the happy life unless we shall have come to Him who 
came to us and unless we shall have begun to live with Him 
who died for us. 

Sermon 232 
On the Resurrection of Christ according to St. Luke 

(1) The account of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus 
Christ was read aloud again today, but from another book 
of the Gospels, that is, according to Luke. At first, naturally, 
it was read according to Matthew, yesterday according to 
Mark, and today according to Luke. This is the usual order 
of the Evangelists. For, as the account of the Passion has 
been written by all the Evangelists, so these seven or eight 
days give an opportunity for reading the account of the 
Resurrection from each o them. However, because the ac- 
count of the Passion is read on only one day, the custom 


is to read it from Matthew only. Once I wished that the 
account of the Passion might be read, year by year, from each 
of the Evangelists in turn. This was done, but people were 
disturbed because they did not hear what they had become 
accustomed to hear. He who loves the Scriptures of God, 
and who does not wish to be ignorant forever, keeps in touch 
with new findings and diligently examines all things. But each 
one makes progress in proportion as God has granted to each 
his measure of faith. 

(2) Let us now attend to what we heard when the Gospel 
was read today (for what I presented to your Charity yester- 
day we heard in greater detail today, namely, the disciples' 
lack of belief), so that we may appreciate how great a favor 
was bestowed upon us by His kindness in that we believe 
what we have not seen. He called them; He instructed them; 
He lived with them on earth; He performed great miracles 
before their eyes, even to the extent of bringing the dead 
back to life. He raised the dead to life, but His disciples did 
not believe that He had power to raise Himself to life. The 
women came to the sepulchre and they did not find His 
body; angels told them that the Lord had risen and the 
women brought the word to the men. And what is written? 
What have you just heard? 'These words seemed to them 
to be nonsense.' 1 Oh, humanity's great lack of discernment! 
When Eve told what the Serpent had said, she was believed 
immediately. Credence is given to a woman who tells a lie 
resulting in our death; women who tell truth calculated to 
make us live are not believed. If women were not worthy 
to be believed, why did Adam believe Eve? If women were 
worthy to be believed, why did the disciples not believe the 
holy women? Hence, we must give thought to the gracious 
providence of our Lord in this incident. For this was the 
means used by the Lord Jesus Christ so that the female sex 
might be the first to announce that He had risen. Because 
man's fall was occasioned by womankind, man's restoration 

I Cf. Luke 24.11. 


was accomplished through womankind, since a virgin brought 
forth Christ and a woman announced that He had risen from 
the dead. Through a woman came death; through a woman 
came life. But the disciples did not believe what the women 
announced; they thought these women were speaking fool- 
ishly when, nevertheless, they were telling the truth. 

(3) Consider, two other disciples while walking along 
the road were discussing those events which had taken place 
in Jerusalem, namely, the crime of the Jews and the death 
of Christ. While they walked, they talked, grieving for Him 
as if He were dead and completely unaware that He had 
risen again. He appeared to them, became a third traveler, 
and mingled with them in friendly conversation. 'Their eyes 
were held, that they should not recognize Him,' 2 for it was 
fitting that their hearts be better instructed. Recognition was 
deferred. He questioned them as to what they were discussing, 
so that they might disclose to Him what He knew already. 
And, as you have heard, they began to wonder that they 
were questioned by one who seemed to know nothing about 
so well-known and manifest an event. They said: 'Art thou 
the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know the things 
that have happened there?' And e he said to them, "What 
things?" . . . Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a pro- 
phet, mighty in work.' 3 (Is He that, O disciples? Was Christ, 
the Lord of Prophets, only a Prophet? You are giving to your 
judge the name of herald.) They had turned to the words 
of others. What did I say the words of others? Recall, when 
Jesus Himself said to His disciples: 'Who do men say the 
Son of Man is?' they gave in reply the opinion of others. 
'Some say you are Elias; others, John the Baptist; others, 
Jeremias or one of the prophets. 3 Those were the words of 
others, not of the disciples. Behold, the disciples heard 
these very words: 'Now, therefore, who do you say that I 
am? You have given me the opinions of others; I wish to 

2 Luke 24.16. 

3 Luke 24.18,19. 


hear your own belief. 3 Then, because unity prevailed among 
them all. Peter alone spoke for all saying: 'Thou art the 
Christ, the Son of the living God. 5 Not anyone whatsoever 
of the Prophets, but the Son of the living God; the Fulfiller 
of the prophecies, and the Creator of the angels. 'Thou art 
the Christ, the Son of the living God. 3 Then Peter heard what 
he deserved to hear after such a statement made in such 
words : 'Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood 
has not revealed this to thee, but my Father in heaven. And 
I say to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build 
my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 
And I will give thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and 
whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, 
and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in 
heaven. 34 Faith, not man, merited to hear these words. For 
what was man except what the Psalmist says: 'Every man 
is a liar/ 5 

(4) Then, immediately after these words, He announced 
His passion and death to them. Peter was alarmed and he 
said: 'Far be it from thee, O Lord; this will not happen/ 
Then the Lord said: 'Get behind me, Satan/ 6 Peter, Satan? 
Where are those words: 'Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona 3 ? 
Is Satan blessed? Blessed [by the gift] of God; Satan [by the 
malice] of man. Finally, the Lord Himself showed why He 
had called Peter, Satan, in the words: 'For thou dost not 
mind the things of God, but those of men/ Why, then, was 
Peter blessed? Because 'flesh and blood has not revealed this 
to thee, but my Father in heaven/ Why was he called Satan 
later on? 'Thou dost not mind the things of God; when you 
did mind them, you were happy; but now you mind the 
things of men/ Behold how the spirit of the disciples fluctu- 
ated, as if rising and falling; now lifted up, now pros- 
trate; now illuminated, now in darkness, because it was 

4 Cf. Matt. 16.13-20. 

5 Ps. 115.11. 

6 Cf. Matt. 16.22,23. 


illuminated by God but wrapped In dark shadows by its own 
deeds. How was their spirit illuminated? 'Come ye to him and 
be enlightened.' 7 How was it enveloped in darkness? 'When 
he tells a lie he speaks from his very nature.' 8 Peter had said 
that He [Christ] was the Son of the living God, and yet he 
feared that He would die, although He was the Son of God 
and had come for that very purpose, that is, to die. If He 
had not come to die, how would we live? 

(5) Why was life given to us and death to Christ? Hear 
the sacred Scripture: c ln the beginning was the Word, and 
the Word was with God; and the Word was God.' 9 Seek 
death there. Where? Why? In what manner? He was the 
Word; the Word was with God; the Word was God. If 
you find flesh and blood there, you find death. Why, there- 
fore, did death come to the Word? Why, on the other hand, 
did life come to us, men placed upon earth, mortal, corrupt, 
and sinners? There was no reason why He should experience 
death; there likewise was no reason why we should enjoy 
life. He accepted the death merited by our misdeeds, that He 
might give us life by His merits. How did He accept the 
death merited by us? 'The Word was made flesh, and dwelt 
among us.' He accepted from us here below what He would 
offer for us. But how did life come to us? c And the life 
was the light of men.' 10 He Himself was life for us; we were 
death for Him. What sort of death? Death by condescension, 
not by natural exigency; He died by His own power because 
He so deigned, because He wished it, because He had com- 
passion. He said: C I have the power to lay down my life, 
and I have the power to take it up again.' 11 This declaration 
was not known by Peter when he trembled at the Lord's 
prediction of His death. But, behold, the Lord had already 
foretold that He would die and that He would rise again 

7 Ps. 33.6. 

8 John 8.44. 

9 John 1.1. 

10 John 1.14,4. 

11 Cf. John 10.18. 


on the third day. 12 What He had predicted took place, and 
yet they did not believe what they had heard. 'Behold, today 
is the third day since these things came to pass. We were 
hoping that it was he who should redeem Israel.' 13 (You 
were hoping, and now you are despairing? Have you fallen 
from your hope? He who walks with you raises you.) They 
were His disciples; they had heard Him; they had lived with 
Him; they had recognized Him as their Teacher; they had 
been instructed by Him; yet they could not imitate and 
hold to the faith of the thief who hung upon a cross! 

( 6 ) But, perhaps, some of you may not know what I have 
already said about that robber, because you have not heard 
the account of the Passion according to all the Evangelists. 
As a matter of fact, Luke has related what I am going to 
discuss. Matthew 14 also says that two robbers were crucified 
with Christ, but Luke, 15 not Matthew, tells us that one of 
the two robbers reviled the Lord, while the other believed 
in Christ. Let us call to mind the faith which Christ found 
in the thief but did not find in His own disciples after the 
Resurrection. Christ was hanging on the cross, and the 
robbers were hanging there, too; He in the middle, they on 
either side. One thief reviled; the other believed; He, placed 
between them, passed judgment. For, he who scoffed said: 
*If thou art the Son of God, save thyself. 3 And the other 
thief answered: 'Dost not even thou fear God? Though we 
suffer justly on account of our deeds, what has He done?' 
Turning to the Lord, he said: 'Lord, remember me when 
thou comest into thy kingdom. 3 O great faith! I do not 
know what can be added to such faith! They who had seen 
Christ raising the dead faltered; he who saw Him hanging 
on the cross believed. When they wavered, he believed. What 
a return Christ took from this dry wood! Let us hear what 

12 Cf. John 2.19. 

13 Cf. Luke 24.21. 

14 Cf. Matt. 27.38. 

15 Cf. Luke 23.39-43. 


the Lord said to him: 'Amen I say to thee, this day thou 
shalt be with me in paradise. You put yourself aside; but I 
acknowledge you as my own.' When would a robber have 
hope, [passing] from robbery to his judge, from his judge to 
the cross, from the cross to paradise? Finally, he himself, 
cognizant of his deserts, did not say: 'Remember me, so that 
you may free me today/ but, rather, 'when thou comest into 
thy kingdom, [then] remember me, so that, if punishment 
awaits me, it may be only until you come into your king- 
dom.' And the Lord answered: 'Not so. You have taken the 
kingdom of heaven by storm; you have forced an entry; 
you have believed; you have seized it. This day thou shalt 
be with me in paradise, I do not put you aside; this very day 
I pay what I owe to such great faith.' The thief said: 
^Remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 5 Not 
only did he believe that the Lord would rise again, but he 
also believed that He would reign. To One hanging on a 
cross 3 crucified, blood-stained, immovably fixed, he said: 
'When thou comest into thy kingdom.' And the disciples 
said: 'We were hoping. 3 Where a thief found hope, the 
disciples lost it. 

(7) Now, then, my dearly beloved, hear about the great 
sacrament which we appreciate. He walked with them; He 
shared their hospitality; He broke bread with them; and 
He was recognized. 16 Let us not say that we do not recognize 
Christ; we know Him if we believe. It is not enough to say 
we know Him if we believe; we possess Him if we believe. 
They had Christ at their table; we have Him in our soul. 
It means more to have Christ in one's heart than in one's 
house, for our heart is more intimately a part of us than our 
house is. Now, in truth, when should the believer recognize 
Him? He who believes knows Him; however, he who is a 
catechumen does not know Him. Yet, let no one close the 
door against Him so that he may come to know Him. 

Yesterday I brought to your attention, and today I recall 

16 Cf. Luke 24.21-31. 


to your Charity, that the risen Christ is in us if we live well, 
if our former evil life is dead, and if a new life is daily 
making progress. 17 There are penitents here in great numbers. 
When the blessing is given, the line is very long, indeed. Pray, 

penitents; even penitents go up to pray. I examine peni- 
tents and I find them living badly. How are they repenting 
of what they are doing? If they are repentant, let them not 
commit these sins; if sins continue to be committed, their 
name is a mistake; their guilt remains. Some have sought the 
status of penitents for themselves; some, excommunicated by 
me, have been brought back to a state of penitence. Those 
who have sought this state for themselves wish to do just 
what they were doing; and those who, after having been 
excommunicated by me, have been brought to a state of 
repentance are unwilling to rise from thence as if the status 
of penitents were something subject to their own choice. 
Hence, what ought to be a place of humility becomes a place 
of iniquity. I address you who are called penitents without 
being so. I speak to you. What shall I say to you? Shall I 
praise you? No, in this I do not praise you; on the contrary, 

1 groan and lament. 

(8) What shall I do, since I have become a worthless 
song, repeating my petition: 'Change yourselves, change 
yourselves. 3 The end of life is uncertain. Every man walks 
about at his own risk. Why do you delay to live well, think- 
ing that life will be long? You are planning on a long life; 
do you not fear a sudden death? But [you say] it may be 
long; and I, meanwhile, look for one penitent and do not 
find one. How much better will a long good life be than an 
evil one? No one wishes to endure a long-drawn-out, distaste- 
ful banquet; and yet all wish to have a long evil life. Indeed, 
if the fact that we are alive is a great thing, let it be a great 
good, also. As a matter of fact, tell me what evil do you 
wish in all your actions, thoughts, and desires? You do not 
wish for bad land; you certainly do not wish for a bad, 

17 See Sermon 231.2,3. 


but rather for a good, crop. Likewise, you desire a good 
tree, a good horse, a good servant, a good friend, a good 
son, a good wife. Why do I enumerate these big things, 
seeing that you do not desire even poor clothing, but prefer 
good garments. Finally, you do not wish for shoes unless 
they are good. Show me anything evil that you desire and 
anything good that you do not crave. I am of the opinion 
that you wish for a good home, not a poor one; is your soul 
the only poor possession you desire? Why have you been a 
stumbling block to yourself? Why have you merited so badly 
at your own hands? Among your goods you wish for nothing 
evil except yourself. Consider that I am saying just what I 
usually say and that you are doing just what you usually do. 
Before God I rend my garments in fear lest I be rebuked 
for not having spoken thus. I am performing my duty; I 
seek results from you; I wish to get joy, not money, from 
your good works. For he who lives well does not make me 
wealthy; and yet, let one live well and he does enrich me. 
My riches are nothing unless your hope is in Christ. My joy, 
my solace, and even my breathing-in of dangers during these 
trials are nothing unless your life is good. I beseech you, my 
brethren, if you are unmindful of yourselves, have pity on rne. 

Sermon 233 
On the Resurrection of Christ according to St. Mark 

(1) You have heard the lesson from the holy Gospel on 
the Resurrection of Christ. Our faith has been established 
on the Resurrection of Christ, Pagans, wicked people, and 
Jews believed in the Passion of Christ; Christians alone be- 
lieve in His Resurrection. The Passion of Christ discloses the 
miseries of this life; the Resurrection of Christ points to the 
happiness of the life to come. At present, let us labor; let us 


hope for the future. Now is the time for work; then, for 
reward. He who is lazy in doing his work here is shameless 
if he demands recompense. You have heard what the Lord 
said to His disciples after the Resurrection. He sent them to 
preach the Gospel and they carried out His command; the 
Gospel was preached; it has come to us. Behold: 'Their sound 
hath gone forth into all the earth : and their words unto the 
ends of the world.' 1 By one journey after another the Gospel 
came to us and to the farthest limits of our country. In a few 
words the Lord sketched His plan for us, telling His disciples 
what we were to do and what we were to hope for. As you 
heard when the Gospel was read. He said : 'He who believes 
and is baptized shall be saved. 32 Faith is demanded of us; 
salvation is offered to us. 'He who believes and is baptized 
shall be saved.' Precious is the gift which is promised to us; 
what is bidden [faith] is fulfilled without cost. 

'He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.' What 
then? Were not those who heard these words safe? Do not 
many who are already safe believe? Are they not safe before 
they believe? Obviously, they are safe, but c Vain is the 
salvation of men.' 3 What is the nature of that safety which 
you share with your beast of burden? Whence does it derive 
unless from Him of whom Scripture says: c Men and beasts 
thou wilt preserve, O Lord, 3 and the passage continues: 'ac- 
cording to the multitude of thy mercies, O God.' 4 So great 
is the multitude of Thy mercies that safety comes to the 
mortal flesh of men and to the flesh of beasts as well. This is 
the multitude of Thy mercies. What about Thy sons? Be- 
hold, 'men and beasts thou wilt preserve, O Lord.' Is there 
nothing more for us? Is what is furnished to any men what- 
soever and to beasts furnished to us also? Clearly, this is 
not so. 

1 Ps. 18.5. 

2 Mark 16.16. 

3 Cf. Ps. 59.13. 

4 Cf. Ps. 35.7. 


(2) As a matter of fact, what else is there? Hear: The 
children of men shall put their trust under the covert of 
thy wings. They shall be inebriated with the plenty of thy 
house; and thou shalt make them drink of the torrent of 
thy pleasure. For with thee is the fountain of life.' 5 Christ 
is this Fountain of Life. We possessed safety in conjunction 
with the beasts until the Fountain of Life came to us. The 
Fountain of Life came to us and died for us. Will He deny 
His life when He paid out His death for us? This is the 
salvation which is not vain, and why? Because it does not 
pass away. 

The distinction made in that passage is worthy of notice. 
*Men and beasts thou wilt preserve, O Lord,' that is, men as 
human beings. 'But the children of men shall put their trust 
under the covert of thy wings,' that is, men who belong to 
the Son of Man. Set before your eyes two men. Stir up your 
faith; let your heart keep watch. Recall the memory of the 
man who deceived us; remember the Man who redeemed us. 
Was not the latter the Son of Man? Adam was man, but 
not the son of man. The Lord Christ constantly speaks of 
Himself as the Son of Man to make us remember the man 
who was not a son of man, so that we may be mindful 
of death in the one and life in the other; of sin in the one 
and remission of sins in the other; of enslavement in the one 
and of freedom in the other; of condemnation in the one 
and of acquittal in the other. Therefore, those two men were 
indicated in that passage: 'Men and beasts thou wilt pre- 
serve, O Lord,' that is, 'men' as human beings and 'beasts' 
along with which 'thou wilt preserve' the men. For man, 
placed in honor, did not understand, as the Scripture says: 
'And man when he was in honor did not understand; he is 
compared to senseless beasts and is become like to them.'* 
Wherefore, 'thou wilt preserve, O Lord, men and beasts/ 
men who have become like to beasts because they did not 

5 Ps. 35.8-11. 

6 Ps. 48.13. 


understand^ and beasts to which men have been compared 
and over which man was created to rule. 

(3) But is that the safety of which the Scripture says: 
He who believes and is baptized shall be saved'? 7 No, there 
is another, far different salvation. The angels possess it; do 
not look for it on earth. It is great 3 but it is not here. That 
blessing is not a product of this region; such safety is not 
here on earth. Lift up your heart. Why do you seek this safety 
here on earth? This salvation came hither and here found 
our death. Did our Lord Jesus find this salvation here when 
He came to us in human form? He, coming as a Merchant 
from His own region, brought something great indeed; but 
that Merchant found in our country only what abounds here. 
And what is plentiful here? Birth and death. The earth 
is full of these two wares: birth and death. He was born; 
and He died. But in what way was He born? He came to 
this country of ours, but not in the same way in which He 
came to us. For He came from heaven, from His Father. 
Yet He was born as a mortal; He was born of the Virgin 
Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. Were we so born of 
Adam and Eve? No, we were born through concupiscence 
of the flesh; but He was not, for Mary was a virgin, without 
human intercourse, without the heat of passion, since to save 
her from this heat of passion the promise was made to her: 
"The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee and the power of the 
Most High shall overshadow thee.' 8 Therefore, Mary con- 
ceived without human intercourse, but she believed and she 
conceived. To mortal eyes, then, He was born as a mortal. 
Why as a mortal? Because He was 'in the likeness of sinful 
flesh,' 9 not in sinful flesh, but in the 'likeness of sinful flesh.' 
What does sinful flesh have? Death and sin. What does the 
likeness of sinful flesh have? Death without sin. If it had sin, 
it would be sinful flesh; if it did not have death, it would 

7 Mark 16.16. 

8 Luke 1.35. 

9 Rom. 8.3. 


not be the likeness of sinful flesh. As such He came; He came 
as Saviour. He died, but He vanquished death; in Himself 
He put an end to what we feared; He took it upon Himself 
and He vanquished it, as a mighty Hunter He captured 
and slew the lion. 

(4) Where is death? Seek it in Christ, for it exists no 
longer; but it did exist and now it is dead. O Life, O Death 
of death! Be of good heart; it will die in us, also. What has 
taken place in our Head will take place in His members; 
death will die in us, also. But when? At the end of the 
world, at the resurrection of the dead in which we believe 
and concerning which we do not doubt. For 'he who believes 
and is baptized shall be saved. 3 Read the following words, 
which are calculated to make you fear: c He who does not 
believe shall be condemned/ 10 Therefore, death will die in 
us; but it will prevail in those who are condemned. Where 
death will not know death there will be everlasting death, 
because there will be everlasting torments. In us, however, 
it will die and it will not exist. Do you wish to understand? 

I am going to repeat to you a few words of those who are 
triumphant, that you may have something to think about, 
something to sing about in your heart, something to hope 
for with all your heart, something to seek with faith and 
good works. Hear the words of those who triumph where 
death will be no more, where death will die in us, too, as 
in our Head. The Apostle Paul says: 11 Tor this corruptible 
body must put on incorruption, and this mortal body must 
put on immortality. . . . Then shall come to pass the word 
that is written, "Death is swallowed up in victory." 3 I have 
told you that death will die in us. 'Death is swallowed up in 
victory. 3 That is the death of death. It will be swallowed up 
so that it will not appear. What do those words 'so that it 
will not appear 3 mean? So that it will not exist, either 
within or without. 'Death is swallowed up in victory. 3 Let 

10 Mark 16.16. 

II 1 Cor. 15.53-55. 


those who triumph rejoice. Let them rejoice and repeat 
the words which follow: 'O death, where is thy victory? O 
death, where is thy sting?' Where is death? You have cap- 
tured it, taken possession of it, conquered it, sentenced it, 
struck and killed it. 'O death, where is thy victory? O death, 
where is thy sting?' Has not my Lord destroyed it? O death, 
when you embraced my Lord, then you died so far as I am 
concerned. In this salvation 'he shall be saved who believes 
and is baptized, but he who does not believe shall be con- 
demned. 3 Avoid condemnation; love and hope for eternal 

Sermon 234 
On the Resurrection of Christ according to St. Luke 

( 1 ) During these days, the account of the Resurrection of 
the Lord is read aloud according to all four Evangelists. It 
is necessary that all four be read, because the individual Evan- 
gelists have not related all that happened. However, what one 
omitted another has given, and, to a certain extent, all have 
written in such a way that their interrelation, or harmony, is 
evident. Mark, the Evangelist whose Gospel was read aloud 
yesterday, briefly mentions one incident which Luke follows 
up in greater detail, that is, the account of the two disciples 
who, though not included in the group of twelve, were, 
nevertheless, disciples; and he relates how the Lord appeared 
to them as they were making a journey, and walked along 
with them. That is to say, Mark simply states that the Lord 
appeared to two disciples who were making a journey. The 
Evangelist Luke, however, tells what He said to them, what 
answer He gave to them, how far He walked with them, 
and how they recognized Him in the breaking of bread all 
these points Luke brings out, as we have just heard. 

(2) What, therefore, are we to discuss here, my brethren? 
We are to be established in our belief that the Lord Christ 


rose again. We already believed that when we heard the 
Gospel, and believing, we have entered this church today. 
Nevertheless, what is recalled by our memory we hear with 
a certain amount of joy. How do you think my heart rejoices 
when we seem to be superior to those who were walking along 
the road and to whom the Lord appeared? 1 For we have 
believed what they did not believe. They had lost hope, while 
we have no doubt about what caused them to waver. When 
the Lord was crucified, they lost their hope; this was apparent 
when, in answer to His question : 'What words are these that 
you are exchanging, and why are you sad?' they replied: 
'Art thou the only stranger in Jerusalem who does not know 
the things that have happened there?' And He asked: 'What 
things? 3 Knowing all things, He inquired about Himself, be- 
cause He desired to be in them. 'What things?' He said, and 
they answered: 'Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a 
prophet, mighty in words and works.' Behold, we are supe- 
rior to them. They called Christ a Prophet; we know that 
He is the Lord of Prophets. They say: 'He was a prophet, 
mighty in works and words . . .; and how our chief priests 
crucified him. And behold this is the third day since these 
things came to pass. But we were hoping. 3 You were hoping; 
are you no longer hoping? Is this the extent of your disciple- 
ship? A thief on a cross surpasses you. You have forgotten 
Him who taught you; he recognized Him with whom he 
was hanging on a cross. 'We were hoping.' What were you 
hoping? 'That it was he who should redeem Israel.' What 
you hoped and then lost at the crucifixion, that a crucified 
thief understood. For he said to the Lord: 'Lord, remember 
me when thou comest into thy kingdom.' 2 Behold, because 
He was going to redeem Israel, that cross was His school. 
There the Master taught the thief. The wood upon which 
He was hanging has become the chair of the Teacher. But, 
let Him who gave Himself for you revive hope in you, for 

1 Cf. Luke 24.17-22. 

2 Luke 23.42. 


so it was done there. Nevertheless, my dearly beloved, re- 
member how the Lord Jesus wished those whose c eyes were 
held, that they should not recognize him/ 3 to acknowledge 
Him in the breaking of bread. (The faithful understand 
what I am saying; they know Christ in the breaking of 
bread. For, not all bread, but only that which receives the 
blessing of Christ becomes the Body of Christ.) Thereupon, 
the disciples understood; they were filled with joy; they 
hurried on to the others; telling what they had seen, they 
found that the others already knew the truth; they added 
their contribution to the Gospel. 4 These things were said; 
they were done; they were written down; and thus they came 
down to us. 

(3) Let us believe in Christ crucified, but let us also 
believe in Him who rose again on the third day. This is the 
faith which distinguishes us from others, from pagans and 
from Jews; namely, the faith by which we believe that Christ 
rose again from the dead. The Apostle said to Timothy: 
'Remember that Jesus Christ rose from the dead and was 
descended from David; this is my gospel. 95 Likewise, the same 
Apostle says: Tor if thou believe in thy heart that Jesus is 
the Lord and if thou confess with thy mouth that God has 
raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.' 6 This is the 
salvation which I discussed yesterday, 7 in connection with 
the passage, 'He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. 38 
I know that you believe; hence, you will be saved. Cherish 
in your heart and proclaim with your lips that Christ has 
risen from the dead. But, have the faith of Christians, not of 
demons. Behold, I shall distinguish these matters for you; 
as far as is in my power, I shall do this and I shall discrim- 
inate for you according to the grace of God which has been 

3 Luke 24.16. 

4 Cf. Luke 24.31-36. 

5 2 Tim. 2.8. 

6 Cf. Rom, 10.9. 

7 Sermon 233. 

8 Mark 16.16. 


given to me. Then, when I have set forth the distinctions, 
choose and cherish. 

Behold, I have told you that the faith which marks us off 
from pagans is that by which we believe that Christ Jesus rose 
from the dead. Ask any pagan whether Christ was crucified: 
he declares emphatically: 'Certainly, He was. 3 Then ask 
whether He rose again; he denies it. Ask any Jew whether 
Christ was crucified; he acknowledges the sin of his ancestors, 
in which he, too, shares for he drinks the cup which those 
ancestors passed down to him with the words : 'His blood be 
on us and on our children.' 9 But ask the Jew whether Christ 
rose again from the dead; he will deny it, ridicule it, and 
accuse you. Thus we are separated. We believe that Christ, 
born of the seed of David according to the flesh, rose from 
the dead. Were the demons unaware of this, or did they not 
believe the things which they saw? Yet, even before He had 
arisen, they shouted and said: 'We know who you are, O 
Son of God. 5 We have distinguished ourselves from the 
pagans by our belief that Christ has risen. If we can, let us 
now distinguish ourselves from the demons. What is it, I 
ask you, what is it that the demons said? c We know who you 
are, O Son of God. 3 And they hear the reply: 'Hold thy 
peace. 310 Did they not say just what Peter said when the 
Lord questioned the disciples, saying: 'Who do men say 

I am?' When they had reported the opinions of others, He 
repeated His question, saying: 'But who do you say I am?' 
Then Peter answered: 'Thou art the Christ, the Son of the 
living God.' 11 The same statement was made by the demons 
and by Peter; the same by evil spirits and by the Apostle. 
Yet, the demons hear: 'Hold thy peace, 3 while Peter hears: 
'Blessed art thou. 3 May what differentiated them also differ- 
entiate us from the demons. Why did the demons make that 

9 Matt. 27.25. 
10 Cf. Mark 1.24,25. 

II Cf. Matt 16.13-17. 


declaration? From fear. Why did Peter? From love. Choose, 
then, and cherish. 

This is the faith,, therefore, that distinguishes Christians 
from demons, not any faith whatsoever. For the Apostle 
James says: 12 'Thou believest.' Yes, the Epistle of the Apostle 
James has this statement: 'Thou believest that there is one 
God. Thou dost well. The devils also believe, and tremble.' 
Those are the words of the Apostle who wrote in the same 
Epistle : 'If a man says he has faith, but does not have works, 
can the faith save him?' And the Apostle Paul, making a 
like distinction, says: 'Neither circumcision is of any avail, 
nor uncircumcision, but faith which works through charity.' 13 
We have established and set up the distinction; rather, we 
have discovered the differentiating factor, we have read about 
it, and we have learned that it exists. Just as we are set apart 
by faith, let us be distinguished by our morals; let us be 
distinguished by our works; let us be enkindled by the fire 
of charity which the demons did not possess. With such a 
fire those two disciples also burned as they went on their 
way. For, when Christ had manifested Himself and was with- 
drawing from them, they said to one another, 'Was not our 
heart burning within us on the road while he explained to 
us the Scriptures? 314 

Be enkindled, my brethren, that you may not burn with 
the fire in which the demons are destined to burn. 15 Be 
enkindled with the fire of charity, that you may separate 
yourself from the demons. That fire carries you upward, lifts 
you up, raises you up to heaven. No matter what troubles 
you have endured on earth, no matter how the Enemy over- 
whelms the Christian heart with humiliations, the burning 
ardor of love seeks the highest places. Take this by way of 
comparison: If you hold a small flaming torch and if you 

12 James 2.19,14. 

13 Gal. 5.6. 

14 Cf. Luke 24.32. 

15 C. Matt. 25.41. 


lift it upward from your head, the crest of the flame will 
rise to heaven; if you press the torch downward, the flame 
still rises upward to heaven; if you turn the torch down 
from your head, you do not direct the flame earthward, 
do you? In whatsoever direction a burning object is turned, 
the flame knows no other path; it seeks the heavens. So, 
fervent in spirit, be enkindled with the fire of charity; make 
yourselves glow with the praises of God and unimpeachable 
morals. One person is hot; another, cold. Let the one who 
is hot warm the one who is cold. Let him who is not suffi- 
ciently on fire desire an increase of fervor; let him pray for 
assistance. The Lord is ready to give; let us desire to receive 
with open hearts. Having turned toward the Lord, etc. 16 

Sermon 235 
On Luke 24.13-31 

( 1 ) On yesterday, that is, in the evening, the account of 
the Resurrection of the Saviour was read aloud from the 
Gospel. However, it was taken from the Gospel according 
to Matthew; today, as you have heard the reader announce, 
the account of the Resurrection was read according as the 
Evangelist Luke wrote it. You must be frequently reminded 
and you ought to keep in mind the fact that you should not 

16 Among the early Fathers of the Church it was customary to begin 
and end sermons with a short prayer. Comparatively few of St. 
Augustine's sermons have a prayer at the beginning, in spite of the 
fact that he advocated this practice in De doctrina Christiana 4,32. 
However, at the end of his sermons we frequently find the words, 
'Conversi ad Dominum/ which indicate the use of the folloxving 
prayer: Conversi ad Dominum Deum Patrem omnipotentem, puro 
corde ei, quantum potest parvitas nostra, maximas atque uberes gratias 
agamus; precantes to to animo singularem mansuetudinem eius, ut 
preces nostras in beneplacito suo exaudire dignetur, inimicum a nostris 
actibus et cogitationibus sua virtute expellat, nobis multiplicet fidem, 
gubernet m&ntem, spirituales cogitationes concedat, et ad beatitu- 
dinem suam per ducat per lesum Christum Filium eius. Amen. 


be disturbed because one Evangelist says what another omits, 
since he who omits what the other says also says something 
which the other has omitted. In fact, an individual Evangelist 
may make certain statements which the other three do not 
make; two Evangelists sometimes relate things which the 
other two do not mention; or three of the Evangelists tell 
something which the fourth omits. Nevertheless, because the 
one Spirit spoke through the Evangelists, the authority of the 
holy Gospel is so great that even what only one writer gives 
is true. For instance, only the Evangelist Luke relates the 
incident which you have heard just now, that, after the Lord 
Jesus rose from the dead, He met two of His disciples on the 
road, talking about the events which had just taken place, 
and that He said to them: 'What words are these that you 
are exchanging. . . and are sad?' 1 Mark briefly touched 
upon the incident, saying that the Lord appeared to the two 
disciples on the road, 2 but he did not mention what the 
disciples said to the Lord nor what the Lord said to them. 

What lesson does that reading bring home to us? A very 
important one, if we understand. Jesus appeared; He was 
visible to their eyes, yet He was not recognized. The Master 
walked with them on the way; in fact, He was the Way 
on which they were not yet walking; but He found that 
they had wandered some distance from the Way. For, when 
He was with them before His Passion, He had foretold 
all that He would suffer, that He would die, that He would 
rise again on the third day 3 He had predicted all; but His 
death was as a loss of memory for them. They were so dis- 
turbed when they saw Him hanging on the cross that they 
forgot His teaching, did not look for His Resurrection, and 
failed to keep His promises in mind. 

(2) The disciples said: c We were hoping that it was he 
who should redeem Israel.' 4 O disciples, you were hoping! 

1 Luke 24.17. 

2 Cf. Mark 16.12. 

3 Cf. Matt. 20.18-20. 

4 Luke 24.21. 


Therefore, are you no longer hoping? Behold, Christ is alive; 
and hope is dead in you ! Certainly Christ is alive ! The living 
Christ finds the hearts of His disciples dead. He appeared 
before their eyes, yet He was not manifest to them; He was 
visible, yet He was hidden from them. For, if He were not 
visible to them, how did they hear Him when He questioned 
them? How did they answer His questions? He walked with 
them on the road as a companion, yet He was their leader. 
Certainly they saw Him, but they did not recognize Him, 
for 'their eyes were held, that they should not recognize him,' 5 
as we have heard today. They were not prevented from seeing 
Him, but they e were held that they should not recognize 
him. 3 

Ah, my brethren, where was it that the Lord wished to 
be recognized? In the breaking of bread. We are safe; we 
break bread, and we recognize the Lord. He did not wish 
to be recognized except in that act, for the sake of us who 
were not destined to see Him in the flesh but who, never- 
theless, would eat His flesh. Therefore, whoever you are who 
are faithful, you for whom the title Christian is not an empty 
name, you who do not enter this church without reason, 
you who hear the word of God with sentiments of fear and 
hope, let the breaking of bread bring consolation to you. The 
absence of the Lord is not real absence; have faith, and He 
whom you do not see is with you. When the Lord spoke to 
the disciples, they did not have faith; because they did not 
believe that He had risen, they did not hope that they could 
rise again. They had lost faith; they had lost hope. As dead 
men they walked with the Living; as dead men they walked 
with Life Itself. Life walked with them, but life was not yet 
renewed in their hearts. 

(3) Therefore, if you wish to have life, do what they 
did that you may recognize the Lord. They received Him 
with gracious courtesy. Because the Lord seemed intent on 
proceeding further, they constrained Him. And after they had 

5 Luke 24.16. 


reached the place toward which they were making their way, 
they said: 'Now stay with us here, for it is getting toward 
evening. 56 Constrain your Guest, if you wish to recognize 
the Saviour. Hospitality restored what unbelief had taken 
away. Therefore, the Lord revealed Himself in the breaking 
of bread. Learn where to seek the Lord; learn where to 
possess Him; learn where to recognize Him, that is, when 
you eat His Body. Truly do the faithful discern something 
in that reading which they understand better than they who 
do not discern. 

The Lord Jesus was recognized and, after being recognized, 
He was nowhere to be seen. He withdrew His bodily presence 
from those who now possessed Him by faith. In fact, the 
Lord withdrew His corporeal presence from the whole 
Church and ascended into heaven, so that the faith might 
be built up. For, if you accept nothing except what you see, 
where is your faith? On the other hand, if you believe what 
you do not see, you will rejoice when you do see. Let your 
faith be strengthened because sight will be restored. What 
we do not see now will come. It will come, my brethren, it 
will come; but give thought as to how it will find you. For 
that will happen which men talk about, saying: 'Where is 
it? When is it? How is it? When will it be? When is it going 
to come?' Be assured, it will come. Not only will it happen, 
but it will happen even if you do not wish it. Woe to those 
who have not believed! They will be in great fear; but great 
joy will be the lot of those who have believed. Believers will 
rejoice; unbelievers will be confounded. Believers are going 
to say: 'Thanks be to Thee, O Lord. We have heard the 
truth; we have believed the truth; we have hoped for the 
truth; we now see the truth.' But unbelievers are going to 
say: 'When is it that we did not believe? When is it that we 
considered as lies the things which were read to us?' 

(Therefore, let those be praised who do not see and yet 
believe, because they will rejoice when they do see. The 

6 Luke 24.29. 


Lord assumed flesh for our salvation and in that flesh He 
suffered death. He rose again on the third day, destined to 
die no more, and, having taken again the substance of the 
flesh which He had laid aside, He was the first to show us 
an example of incorruptible resurrection. In this same cor- 
poreal form He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right 
hand of God, in His omnipotence sharing judgment with 
the Father. We hope that He will come to the judgment of 
the living and of the dead, so that we, too, may believe that 
from the dust we shall receive again the same flesh, the same 
bones, the same regeneration of our members, destined to last 
forever. We shall all rise again, but we shall not all rejoice. 
Scripture says: 7 'The day is coming in which all who are 
in the tombs shall hear the voice of the Son of God. And 
they who have done good shall come forth unto resurrection 
of life; but they who have done evil unto resurrection of 
judgment.') 8 And so it will happen that punishment will be 
accorded to those who are confounded, and reward to those 
who have been faithful. Tor these will go into everlasting 
fire, but the just into eternal life, 39 Having turned to the 
Lord, etc. 

Sermon 236 

( I } Our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Apostle says : c died for 
our sins and rose again for our justification.' 1 Just as we are 
brought into being by His death, so by His Resurrection we 
come to maturity. For truly, our life is foreshadowed by His 
death. Hear what the Apostle says in this connection: Tor 
we were buried with him by means of baptism into death, 

7 Cf. John 5.28-30. 

8 The section enclosed in parentheses is found in the Louvain Codex, 
but not in some of the other codices. Its apparent irrelevance seems 
to indicate that a portion of a sermon on the Creed has found its 
way into the original sermon. 

9 Cf. Matt. 25.46. 

1 Cf. Rom. 4.25. 


in order that, just as Christ has risen from the dead through 
the glory of the Father, so we also may walk in newness of 
life. 3 2 He had nothing to atone for on the cross, because He 
was without sin when He was lifted up on the cross. Let us be 
freed from sin by His cross; let us there lay down what evil 
we have committed so that we may be able to be justified 
by His Resurrection. Indeed, you ought to emphasize the 
distinction between 'He was delivered up for our sins' and 
'He rose again for our justification. 3 The Apostle did not 
say: 'He was delivered for our justification and He rose for 
our sins. 3 In His betrayal sin is evident; in His Resurrection, 
justice. Let sin die, then, and let justice rise again. 

(2) When Christ died, His disciples lost completely from 
their souls this hope, this gift, this promise, this great grace; 
at His death they fell from their high hopes. Behold, His 
Resurrection was announced to them, 3 and the words of 
the messengers 'seemed to them to be nonsense. 3 Truth had 
become, as it were, nonsense. If at any time the Resurrec- 
tion is preached in these days and the account seems to some 
listener to be nonsense, do not all agree that such a person 
is greatly afflicted? Do not all denounce, shun, and avoid 
this person, close their ears and refuse to listen to him? Be- 
hold what the disciples were after the death of Christ: they 
were that which we abhor. Like rams, they had the plague 
from which lambs shrink. 

Furthermore, the words of the two disciples to whom 
the Lord appeared on the road, whose 'eyes were held that 
they should not know him/ indicate where their hearts were; 
and their voice is witness of what was going on in their 
minds I mean so far as we are concerned, for their hearts 
lay wide open to Him. They were talking together about 
His death. He joined them as a third wayfarer, and on the 
way the Way began to talk, and He entered into their con- 
versation. Although He knew all things, He inquired what 

2 Rom. 6.4. 

3 Cf. Luke 24.17-28, 


they were discussing, so that by His apparent ignorance He 
might draw them to make an acknowledgment. And they 
said to Him: 'Art thou a stranger in Jerusalem, and dost 
thou not know the things that have happened there in these 
days, concerning Jesus of Nazareth who was a great prophet? 5 
No longer was He the Lord, but only a Prophet. For, since 
He was dead, they decided that He had been merely a Pro- 
phet. Now they were honoring Him as a Prophet; they did 
not yet recognize Him as the Lord, not only of Prophets, 
but of the angels as well. They continued: 'And how our 
elders and chief priests delivered him up to be sentenced to 
death. And behold, this is the third day since these things came 
to pass. But we were hoping that it was he who should 
redeem Israel.' So that is your whole difficulty! You were 
hoping; and now are you in despair? You see, my brethren, 
they had lost hope. 

Therefore, the Lord began to explain the Scriptures to 
them so that they might recognize Christ there where they 
had abandoned Him, for they had lost hope in Christ be- 
cause they had seen Him dead. In fact, He opened up the 
Scriptures to them so that they might understand that, if 
He had not died, He could not be the Christ. And what 
He said to them, namely, 'That it was fitting for Christ to 
die and so to enter into his glory,' He proved from Moses, 
from subsequent passages, and from the Prophets. They 
heard, rejoiced, breathed freely again; as they themselves 
acknowledged, their hearts burned within them; yet they did 
not recognize the Light that was with them. 

(3) What a mystery this is, my brethren! He enters their 
abode, He becomes their Guest, and Him whom they did not 
recognize on the road they recognize in the breaking of bread. 
Learn how to receive guests in whom you recognize Christ. 
Do you not know that, if you receive any Christian, you re- 
ceive Him? Does He not say: 'I was a stranger and you 
took me in'? And when the reply is given: 'Lord, when did 
we see thee a stranger? 5 He answers: 'As long as you did it 


for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it for me.' 4 
Therefore, when Christian receives Christian, the members 
serve the members; and the Head rejoices and considers what 
was bestowed on His member as given to Himself. Here, 
then, let the hungry Christ be fed; let the thirsty Christ be 
given a drink; let the naked Christ be clothed; let the stranger 
Christ be sheltered; let the sick Christ be visited. The exigency 
of our journey makes this an obligation, for, on our journey 
through life, we must live where Christ is in need. He is in 
need in His followers; of Himself He has no need. But He, 
who is needy in His followers and who abounds in Himself, 
draws all the needy to Himself. There they will find no hunger, 
no thirst, no nakedness, no sickness, no wandering about, no 
suffering, no sorrow. I know that these things will not be in 
His presence, but I do not know what will be there. In other 
words, I know what will not be there, but what we are going 
to find there 'eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered 
into the heart of man. 55 We can love, we can desire, we 
can sigh after so great a good on this journey of ours; but 
we cannot adequately imagine it or describe it. Certainly, I 
cannot do so. Therefore, my brethren, seek one who can do 
so. If you succeed in finding such a person, bring me along 
with you as a disciple. This much I do know: 'He who is 
able to do more than we ask or conceive,' 6 as the Apostle 
says, will bring us to that place where that will happen 
which has been written: 'Blessed are they that dwell in thy 
house, . . . they shall praise thee for ever and ever. 5 7 Our 
whole task will be the praise of God. What shall we praise 
if we do not love? And shall we love that which we do not 
see? But we shall see what is true; and what is true will be 
God whom we shall praise. There we shall find what we have 
sung today : 'Amen. It is true ! Alleluia ! Praise the Lord !' 

4 Matt. 25.35,38,40. 

5 I Cor. 2.9. 

6 Cf. Eph. 3.20. 

7 Cf. Ps. 83.5. 


Sermon 237 
On the Last Reading from the Gospel of St. Luke (24.37-39) 

(1) Today the account of the Resurrection of the Lord 
according to the Gospel of Luke was brought to a close when 
we heard of the Lord's appearance in the midst of His disci- 
ples who, in unbelief, were disputing about His Resurrec- 
tion. As a matter of fact, His appearance was so unexpected 
and unbelievable that, seeing, they did not see. For they saw 
Him alive whom they were lamenting as dead; they saw 
Him standing in their midst whom they had grieved over 
when He hung on the cross. They saw, therefore, and be- 
cause they did not believe that their own eyes were seeing 
aright, they thought they were deceived. For they 'thought 
that they saw a spirit, 31 as you have heard. The wavering 
Apostles anticipated what the worst heretics later believed 
about Christ. For there are people today who do not believe 
that Christ had a body, 2 because they rule out the parturition 
of a virgin and they refuse to believe that Christ was born 

1 Luke 24.37. 

2 The Manichaeans were members of a religious sect introduced by 
Mani, a Persian, in the third century. The foundation of this system 
based upon Babylonian, Chaldean, and Persian beliefs was the dualism 
of two eternal principles or kingdoms that are opposed: the one of 
Light, that is, of moral and physical good, belonging to God; the 
other of Darkness, that is, of evil, belonging to Satan and the bad 
angels xvho seek to destroy the work of God. According to their 
teaching, man's spirit is from God and is good; his body is from 
Satan and is evil. Hence, man is constantly drawn in opposite direc- 
tions by these two antagonistic forces, and he can triumph over the 
powers of darkness only by austere asceticism. To the Manichaeans, 
Christ was a divine Being who appeared on earth, but not in a 
human body. In the fourth century the sect spread westward, espe- 
cially to Northern Africa, where many of the educated classes 
embraced its tenets. St. Augustine was among those who were drawn 
bv the Manichaean boast that they could explain all mysteries. 
However, close association with the leaders of the sect over a period 
of nine years convinced him of the emptiness of their boa^r. After 
his conversion St. Augustine wrote at least forty books in refutation 
of their doctrines. Cf. Mourret-Thompson, History of the Catholic 
Church (St. Louis 1931) 441-443. 


of a woman. They delete completely from their belief, or, 
rather, from, their unbelief, the fact that 'the Word was made 
flesh. 33 The entire provision for our salvation, namely, the 
fact that God who had made man became Man for the pur- 
pose of finding man, the entire plan by which Christ poured 
out His real, not pretended, blood for the remission of our 
sins and with His own blood wiped out the handwriting of 
our sins all this accursed heretics tried to make void. All 
that appeared to the eyes of men, as the Manichaeans believe, 
was spirit, not flesh. 

(2) Behold, the Gospel speaks to us! The Lord was stand- 
ing among His disciples who did not yet believe that He had 
risen. They saw Him and they thought that they saw a spirit. 
If there is no harm in believing that Christ was a spirit, not 
flesh, I repeat, if there is no harm in that belief, let the disci- 
ples be dismissed holding to that belief. Pay attention now, 
so that you may grasp what I wish to say. May God grant 
that I may speak, or, rather, may He grant that I may so 
speak as it is expedient for you to hear. Listen, I resume my 
argument. Sometimes those detestable\ persons who denounce 
the flesh, yet live according to the flesh, deceive others by 
making this statement: 'Who hold a better belief concern- 
ing Christ: those who say that He had a body or we who 
say that He was God, that He was a spirit, and that, not a 
body, but God appeared to the eyes of men? What is better, 
flesh or spirit?' What are we going to answer except that 
spirit is better than flesh? 'Therefore/ they say, c if you admit 
that spirit is better than flesh, we, who say that Christ was 
spirit, have a better belief concerning Him/ O accursed error! 
Why? Do I say that Christ is flesh? You say that He is spirit; 
I say that He is spirit and flesh. You express, not a better, 
but a briefer, belief. Therefore, hear the whole doctrine which 
I assert, that i^ which the Catholic faith asserts, which the 
most firmly grounded and serene Truth asserts. You, who 
say that Christ was only a spirit, declare that Christ was only 

3 John 1.14. 



that which our spirit is, that is, a soul. Now, listen to what 
you say. I am setting forth merely what you say: He was a 
spirit of that same nature and substance as our spirit is. 
Notice how much less you say than we: He was the Word, 
and He was flesh. You say He was only a human spirit. I 
say that He was the Word, spirit, body; God and Man. If 
I do not wish to make two statements, if I do not wish to 
say two things, I use the shorter expression, 'He was God and 
Man; true God and true Man. There was nothing false in 
His humanity; there was nothing false in His divinity.' But, 
if you ask me about Him as Man, I repeat the twofold 
answer : c He had a human soul and a human body. You are 
a man because of your soul and body; He was Christ because 
He was God and Man. 3 That, then, is my statement. 

You, however, think that you make a superior statement 
because you say that He was a spirit, that a spirit appeared, 
that a spirit was seen, and that a spirit engaged in conversa- 
tion. You say this, and, as I said before, the disciples thought 
this. If you are saying nothing wrong, if what you say is 
good, then what the disciples thought was good, also. If the 
Lord left them in such a way that they continued to think 
this, then you, too, ought to be dismissed. For the disciples 
believed what you also believe. If what you believe is good, 
then what they believed was good. But it was not good. 

(3) The Lord said to them: 'Why are you disturbed?' 
In their confusion, they believed what you believe. What was 
that? They 'thought that they saw a spirit. 5 And the Lord, 
in answer to their doubts, said: 'Why are you disturbed, 
and why do doubts arise in your hearts?' Those doubts are 
earth-born, for, if they were heaven-sent, they would descend, 
not rise, to their hearts. As a matter of fact, why are we 
told to lift up our hearts unless it be so that our hearts, which 
we have directed heavenward, may not find thoughts of 
earth before them? Therefore, 'Why are you disturbed, and 
why do thoughts arise in your hearts? See my hands and feet, 
that it is I myself. Feel me and see. 5 If it is not enough for you 


to see, then put in your hand. If it is not enough for you to 
observe, then, feel He not only said Touch,' but c Feel and 
handle. 5 Let your own hands prove it if your eyes deceive. 
Teel me and see.' Have eyes in your hands. Why does He 
say: Teel and see'? Because a spirit does not have flesh and 
bones, as you see I have.' 4 

You, as well as the disciples, have made a mistake; now 
be corrected along with the disciples. I grant that it is human 
to err. You think Christ is a spirit. Peter, too, thought this, 
and the others who thought they saw a spirit. But they did 
not remain in their mistake, although you know for a fact 
that this false idea had been in their minds. The Physician 
did not leave them in this state. He approached; He applied 
a remedy; He saw the wounds in their hearts; He bore in 
His own body the scars with which their wounds would be 

(5) Thus, then, let us believe. I know that you do believe, 
but lest, perhaps, there should be weeds in the garden of the 
Lord, I address even those whom I do not see. Let no one 
believe anything about Christ other than what Christ Him- 
self wished to be believed about Himself. In His presence it 
is certainly fitting for us to believe what He wished to be 
believed about Himself, since He redeemed us, since He 
sought our salvation, since He poured out His blood for us, 
since for our sake He endured what He had not merited, 
and since He brought to us what we had not merited. Let us 
believe this. What is Christ? The Son of God, the Word of 
God. What is the Word of God? The Word of God is that 
which cannot be uttered by the word of man. You ask me 
what the Word of God is! 

If I should attempt to tell you what the word of man is, 
I fail to make it clear, I become weary, I stammer, I give 
up, I am unable to explain the power of the human word. 
Behold, before I say to you what I wish to say, the word is 
already in my mind. It has not yet been voiced by me, and 

4 Cf. Luke 24.37-40. 


it is with me. It is expressed by me and it comes to you with- 
out leaving me. You listen so that you may hear words 
from me. I feed your minds when I speak. If I were to bring 
you food for your stomachs, you would divide it among you 
and no individual would get the entire amount. Furthermore,, 
in proportion as you are more numerous, you would divide 
what I set before you into more parts; each one would re- 
ceive a smaller portion according as the number of those 
receiving would be increased. Now, however, I have brought 
you food for your minds with the words: 'Take, receive, eat/ 
You have taken, eaten, and yet you have not divided it. 
Whatever I say is intended as a whole for all and for each 
individual. Behold how it is not possible to give a satisfactory 
explanation of the power which the human word possesses! 
Yet you say to me: 'What is the Word of God?' 

The Word of God feeds many thousands of angels. They 
are nourished in mind; they are filled in mind. He fills the 
angels; He fills the world; He fills the Virgin's womb, He 
is neither spread out in the world, nor confined in the womb. 
What is the Word of God? Let Him Himself tell us; He 
says but little concerning Himself, but what He says means 
much: 'I and the Father are one.' 5 Do not count the words; 
weigh them. Why so? A plurality of words does not help in 
explaining the one Word. 'The Word,' which cannot be 
explained, 'was made flesh, and dwelt among us.' 6 He as- 
sumed the whole, as it were, the complete man, the soul and 
the body of man. And if you wish to hear something more 
minutely detailed, because beasts also have a soul and a 
body, when I say that He assumed a human soul and a 
human body, I mean that He assumed a complete human 
soul. For there have been persons who have fashioned a 
heresy from this fact, saying that the soul of Christ did not 
have a mind, that it did not have understanding, that it did 
not have reason, but that on the contrary, the Word of God 

5 John 10.30, 

6 John 1.14. 


served as mind for Christ, as intellect and as reason for 
Him, 7 I do not want you to believe this. He who created the 
whole man and redeemed the whole man assumed the whole 
man and thus freed the whole man. In Him is the mind and 
intellect of man; in Him is a soul giving life to the body; 
in Him is flesh, true and entire; sin alone is not in Him. 

Sermon 238 
On Luke 24.38-47 

(1) Thus, the reading of the holy and enduring Gospel 
shows us the true Christ and the true Church, to save us 
from making a mistake in regard to either, by giving another 
bride to the sacred Spouse instead of His own or by bringing 
to the holy Church another consort in the place of her own. 
Therefore, to prevent any such error, let us hear, as it were., 
their matrimonial record as given in the Gospel. 

(2) In regard to the Lord Christ, there have not been 
lacking, and in fact there are not lacking now, persons who 
are so deceived that they believe that He did not have a true 
body. Let them hear what we have just heard. He is in 
heaven, but His voice is audible here; He sits at the right 
hand of the Father, but He speaks here in our midst. Let 
Him reveal Himself; let Him manifest Himself. What need 
is there of seeking any other witness concerning Him? Rather, 
let us listen to Him. He appeared to His disciples and sud- 
denly stood in their midst. (You were listening when that 
was read aloud.) They, however, were disturbed; they 
'thought that they saw a spirit. 31 That is what is thought by 
those who do not believe that He had a true body; these 
are the Manichaeans, 2 the Priscillianists, 3 and other scourges 

1 Luke 24.37. 

2 See Sermon 237 note 2. 

3 The Priscillianists were adherents of a heresy introduced into Spain 
7 See Sermon 244 note 13. r 



not worthy to be mentioned. As a matter of fact, they do 
not think that Christ is nothing; they do not hold that; but 
they think that He is a spirit, that He had no body. 

What do you think, O Catholic? What do you think, O 
faithful spouse? What can you think except what you have 
learned from Him? For you have not been able to find a 
better witness concerning Him than Himself. What, then, 
do you say? You have learned that Christ is the Word, and 
that He has a human body and soul. What have you learned 
about the Word? 'In the beginning was the Word, and the 
Word was with God; and the Word was God. This was in the 
beginning with God.' 4 What have you learned about His 
human soul? 'And bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.' 5 
What have you learned about His human body? Just listen. 
Forgive those who think what the disciples in their confusion 
previously thought. The disciples, however, did not remain in 
their error. They thought, as the Manichaeans and as the Pris- 
cillianists think today, that the Lord Christ was only a spirit 
without a true body. Let us see whether the Lord allowed 
them to remain in this error. See how pernicious is the mis- 
take which the Physician, reluctant to have it grow stronger, 
hastened to heal. They thought that they saw a spirit. He, 
who knew how dangerous those thoughts were, endeavored 
to root them out of their hearts, saying: 'Why are you dis- 

toward the end of the fourth century by an Egyptian named Marcus 
and fostered by a distinguished Spaniard, Priscillian. A letter of 
Pope Leo the Great (Epistula 15, PL 54.680) reveals that its chief 
tenets were: belief in two kingdoms of Light (Spirit) and Darkness 
(Matter) ; the theory of the imprisonment of the spirit in flesh and 
its redemption by a pseudo-incarnation of a higher being; and the 
heretical view that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one and 
the same Person, spoken of under three names but not consisting 
of three Persons. The doctrines and practices of the Priscillianists 
were examined in the Synod of Saragossa in 380, and Priscillian and 
his followers were excommunicated. Violent attempts to extirpate 
the heresy by putting the leaders to death only served to augment 
it. However, it gradually died out before the end of the sixth century. 
Cf. M. L. Cozens, Handbook of Heresies (London 1928) 101. 

4 Cf. John 1.1-3. 

5 John 19.30. 


turbed, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my 
hands and my feet . . . Touch me and see that a spirit does 
not have flesh and bones as you see I have/ 6 Hold on to 
what you have learned; hold on against all the foolish opin- 
ions of all men; otherwise, you are lost. Christ is the true 
Word, the Only-begotten, equal to the Father; He has a 
true human soul and a true human body without sin. This 
body died and rose again; it hung upon a cross, it lay in 
a tomb; it now dwells in heaven. The Lord Christ wished 
to convince His disciples that what they saw was really bones 
and flesh; but you deny that. Does He lie, then, and do you 
tell the truth? Do you build up one's belief while He deceives? 
Why did Christ wish to convince me of this unless He knew 
that belief is advantageous to me and that unbelief harms 
me? Therefore, believe. He is our Spouse. 

(3) Let us now hear about His Spouse, also, because some 
persons, favoring adulterers, are again trying to displace the 
true spouse and to substitute a false one. Let us hear about 
His Spouse. When, therefore, they had touched His feet, 
hands, flesh, and bones, the Lord went on to say: 'Have 
you anything here to eat?' 7 so that His true humanity might 
be proved by His sharing their food. He accepted what they 
offered; He ate and gave to them. And when they were still 
trembling with joy, He said: 'Are not these the words which 
I spoke to you while I was yet with you?' Why did He not 
say merely 'While I was with you 5 ? Why does He say: 'While 
I was yet with you, 5 that is, 'while I was still mortal as you 
are? Why did I say to you then that "all things must be 
fulfilled that are written in the Law, and in the Prophets 
and in the Psalms concerning me" '? Then He opened their 
minds, that they might understand the Scriptures. And He 
said to them that thus Christ should suffer, and should rise 
again from the dead on the 'third day. Take away the true 
body and there will be no true Passion; there will be no true 

6 Cf. Luke 24.38-40. 

7 Luke 24.41. 


Resurrection. Behold, you have your Spouse: 'Thus the 
Christ should suffer, and should rise again from the dead 
on the third day.' Hold fast to your Head; hear about the 

Now, in truth, what should I point out to you? Let us, who 
have heard about the Spouse, understand about His bride. 
[The narrative continues:] 'And that repentance and remis- 
sion of sins should be preached in his name.' Where? When? 
How far? 'To all nations, beginning from Jerusalem/ 8 Be- 
hold, now you have the bride. Let no one commend mere 
fables to you; let no frenzy of heretics bark at you from 
corners. The Church is spread throughout the whole world; 
all nations possess the Church. Let no one deceive you; the 
Church is true, it is Catholic. We did not see Christ, but 
we do see His Church; let us believe about Him. The Apos- 
tles, on the contrary, saw Him; they believed concerning 
the Church. They saw one thing; in addition, they believed 
another. On the other hand, we see one thing; let us also 
believe the other. They saw Christ and they believed in the 
Church which they did not see. We see the Church; let us 
believe in Christ whom we do not see. Holding fast to what 
we see, we shall come to Him whom we do not yet see. Thus, 
knowing about the Spouse and His bride, let us gain more 
knowledge about them in their marriage records, that we 
may not stir up trouble in such a holy marriage. 

8 See Luke 24.44-47. St. Augustine has combined his own words with 
those of Scripture in the above quotations. 


Sermon 239 

On the Resurrection of Christ 
according to St. Mark and St. Luke 

( 1 ) Today we have heard the account of the Resurrection 
of our Lord for the third time from the Gospel As you 
remember, I told you that it is the custom to read aloud the 
account of the Resurrection from all the Evangelists. It is 
the Gospel of Mark which we heard just now. Mark merited 
that arrangement, in spite of the fact that, like Luke, he was 
not one of the twelve Apostles. For, although there are four 
Evangelists, Matthew, John, Mark, and Luke, only two of 
them, Matthew and John, belong to the Twelve. But their 
precedence was fertile in that they produced quite suit- 
able companions. Mark and Luke were not equal to the 
Apostles, but they were nearly so. For the Holy Spirit willed 
to choose for the writing of the Gospel two who were not 
even from those who made up the Twelve, so that it might 
not be thought that the grace of evangelization had come 
only to the Apostles and that in them the fountain of grace 
had dried up. As a matter of fact, since the Lord had said of 
him who had worthily received and had kept His spirit and 
His word : c lt shall become in him a fountain of water, spring- 
ing up unto life everlasting, 31 the fountain reveals itself, es- 
pecially by flowing, not by standing still. So, through the 
Apostles, grace came to others and they were sent to preach 
the Gospel. Inasmuch as He who called the first called the 
second, also, He has continued right down to most recent 
times to call the Body of His only-begotten Son, that is, the 
Church spread throughout the whole world. 

(2) What, then, did we hear Mark say? That the Lord 
appeared to two disciples on the road, as Luke whose Gospel 
we heard yesterday also related. Mark's words are: 'He was 

1 Cf. John 4.14. 


manifested in another form to two of them. 52 Luke, however, 
said this in other words, though without deviating from the 
fact. What was it Luke said? Their eyes were held, that they 
should not recognize him.' 3 But what did Mark say? 'He 
was manifested to them in another form.' 4 When Luke said; 
'Their eyes were held, that they should not recognize him/ 
he implied Mark's statement, 'in another form.' For, if their 
eyes were not open, but held, then another form was seen. 
Therefore, my brethren, although Luke said what I believe 
you remember quite well from yesterday's reading, that their 
eyes were opened when He blessed and broke the bread, 
why do we conclude that, because their eyes were opened then, 
they had walked along the road in His company with their 
eyes closed? Furthermore, how were they able to direct their 
steps if their eyes were closed? Therefore, their eyes were 
opened to knowledge, not to vision. And thus, our Lord Jesus 
Christ, unrecognized before the breaking of bread, speaks 
with men ; He is recognized in the breaking of bread because 
He is perceived there where eternal life is gained. Hospitality 
is offered on earth to Him who prepares for us a place in 
heaven, for in the Gospel of John He says: 'In my Father's 
house there are many mansions. Were it not so, I should 
have told you, because I go to prepare a place for you. And 
if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again, and 
I will take you to myself.' 5 The Lord of heaven willed to be 
a Sojourner on earth; He, by whom the world was made, 
willed to be a Wayfarer in the world; He deigned to be a 
Guest that you might obtain a blessing by receiving Him. 
When He entered the house as a Guest, it was not because 
He was in need of shelter. 

(3) In time of famine, the Lord fed holy Elias by means 
of a crow; birds served him whom men were persecuting. 

2 Mark 16.12. 

3 Luke 24.16. 

4 Cf. Mark 16.12. 

5 John 14.2-4. 


Each morning a crow brought bread to the servant of God 
and flesh in the evening. Hence, he whom God fed through 
the ministry of birds was not in need. Nevertheless, although 
Elias was not in need, he was sent to the widow in Sarepta, 
and he was given this direction: 'Go to that widow; she will 
feed thee.' Had God failed, that Elias was sent to the widow? 
Quite the contrary, but, if God always furnished bread to 
His servant without human ministration, how would the 
widow get any reward? Therefore, he who is not in need is 
sent to one who is in need; he who is not hungry, to one who 
is hungry; and he says to her: 'Go, bring me a morsel of 
bread that I may eat.' She had only a small portion which 
she was about to eat and then die. She answered and told 
the Prophet how much she had; he replied: 'Go, and give 
it to me first.' Without hesitation, she brought it. He obtained 
refreshment; she merited a blessing. Holy Elias blessed the 
pot of meal and the cruse of oil; that meal had been set out 
in the house to be consumed, and the oil cruse hung on the 
post ready to be used up. The blessing was given, and those 
receptacles became treasures; the little cruse became a foun- 
tain of oil and the handful of meal surpassed the richest 
harvests. 6 

(4) If Elias needed nothing, did Christ need anything? 
My brethren, the Scriptures admonish us for this very reason : 
God frequently brings need upon His servants, whom He is 
able to feed, so that He may find devoted souls. Let no one 
be proud because he gives to the poor; Christ was poor. Let 
no one be proud because he receives a wayfarer: Christ was 
a Wayfarer. The One received is better than the one who 
offers hospitality; the One who accepts is richer than he 
who gives. He who received possessed all things; he who gave 
gave to Him from whom he had received what he gave. 
Let no one, then, be proud when he gives to the poor, my 
brethren. Let him not say in his mind: C I give, he accepts; 
I receive him, he needs shelter.' Perhaps he is superior to 

6 Cf. 3 Kings 17.9-17. 


you In some respect in which you are lacking. Perhaps he 
whom you receive is just; he lacks bread, but you lack truth; 
he lacks a roof, but you lack heaven; he lacks money, but you 
lack justice. 

Be a money-lender; pay out what you receive. Do not be 
afraid that God will judge you if you are a money-lender. 
By all means, by all means, be a money-lender. But God says 
to you: 'What do you wish?' Do you wish to exact usury? 
What does 'to exact usury' mean? To give less and receive 
more. Then God says to you: 'Behold, give to me; I receive 
less and I give more. What do I say? Yes, I give a hundred- 
fold and life everlasting. 5 He to whom you seek to give your 
money so that it may increase, the man whom you thus seek, 
rejoices when he gets the money and weeps when he returns 
it; he begs to get the money, but he calumniates you to avoid 
repaying it. Yes, indeed, give to the man and do not turn 
away from him who seeks a loan. 7 But take only so much as 
you have given. Let him to whom you have given not weep; 
otherwise, you have spoiled an act of kindness. And if what 
you gave and what he received is due and he, perhaps, does 
not have it at hand, just as you gave it to him when he asked 
for it, so now wait since he does not have it; he will pay you 
when he does have it. Do not make new troubles for him 
whose burdens you once lightened. Behold, you have given 
money, and now you are demanding it; but he does not 
have it to give to you. He will pay you when he does have 
it. Do not shout and say: 'Am I asking for a loan? I am 
seeking only what I gave; what I have given, that I will get 
back. 3 You are right; but he does not have the money. You 
are not a money-lender, yet you wish him to whom you 
furnished the money to have recourse to a money-lender in 
order to pay you. If you are not making your demand because 
of the interest, so that he may not suffer you as a money- 
lender, why do you wish him to put up with another money- 
lender because of you? You are putting pressure on him, 

7 Cf. Matt. 5.42. 


you are tightening your hold on him even though you are 
demanding only what you gave. Moreover, by stifling him 
and by making difficulties for him, you have not bestowed 
a kindness but, instead, you have brought much distress upon 
him. Perhaps, you may say: 'He has the wherewith to pay. 
He has a home; let him sell it. He has possessions; let him 
sell them. 5 When he sought help from you, he did so in order 
not to sell; let him not, because of your importunity, do 
that which you helped him to avoid. God orders and God 
wills that this attitude be taken toward all men. 

(5) But are you avaricious? God says to you: 'Be avari- 
cious ! Be just as avaricious as you can, but come to terms 
with Me in regard to your avarice; come to terms with Me, 
for I made My rich Son poor for your sake.' Truly, when 
Christ was rich, He became poor on account of us. 8 Do you 
seek for gold? He made it. Do you seek for silver? He made 
it. Do you seek for a household? He made it. Do you seek for 
flocks? He made them. Do you seek for possessions? He made 
them. Why do you seek only what He made? Seek Him who 
made all these things. Consider how He loved you: C A11 
things were made through him, and without him nothing 
was made/ 9 All things, He Himself among them, were made 
by Him. He who made all things was Himself made among 
them. He who made man was Himself made Man; He was 
made what He made, so that what He made might not perish. 
He who made all things was made among all things. Con- 
sider riches; what is richer than He by whom all things were 
made? Yet, although He was rich, He took mortal flesh in 
a virgin's womb. He was born as an Infant; He was wrapped 
in swaddling clothes; He was laid in a manger; He patiently 
waited for the normal periods of life ; He, by whom all seasons 
were made, patiently endured the seasons. He was nursed; 
He cried; He appeared as an infant. He lay there, yet He 
was reigning; He was in the manger, yet He sustained the 

8 Cf. 2 Cor. 8.9. 

9 John 1.3. 



world; He was nursed by His Mother and adored by the 
Gentiles; He was nursed by His Mother and adored by angels; 
He was nursed by His Mother, and announced by a gleaming 
star. Such riches and such poverty! Riches, that you might 
be created; poverty, that you might be redeemed. Therefore, 
the fact that He as a poor Man was granted hospitality as 
a poor Man was the result of the condescension of the re- 
cipient, not of the wretchedness of the needy. 

(6) Oh, blessed are they who have merited to receive 
Christ ! Oh, if only I had been there ! If only I had been one 
of the two whom He encountered on the road! Be on the 
way; let not the Wayfarer Christ be in need. Do you think 
one is no longer permitted to offer hospitality to Christ? 
You say : How is it permitted? Having already risen, He was 
manifested to His disciples; He ascended into heaven; there 
He is at the right hand of the Father; He will not come 
again except to judge the living and the dead at the end of 
the world. Then, however, He will come in glory, not in 
weakness; He will bestow a kingdom instead of seeking hos- 
pitality.' And when He bestows His kingdom, will that which 
He is going to say be addressed to you: 'As long as you did 
it for one of these, the least of my brethren, you did it for 
me 5 ? 10 Though rich, He is in need even unto the end of the 
world. Not in the Head, assuredly, does this need exist, but 
in His members. How is He in need? In those in whose 
person He suffered when He said ; 'Saul, Saul, why dost thou 
persecute me? 511 Therefore, let us serve Christ. He is with 
us in His followers; He is with us in ourselves: not without 
reason did He say: 'Behold, I am with you . . . even unto 
the consummation of the world.' 12 By acting thus, in our 
good works we perceive Christ, not with the body, but with 
the heart; not with the eyes of the body, but with those of 
faith. 'Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed,' 

10 Matt. 25.40. 

11 Acts 9-4. 

12 Matt. 28.20. 


He said to a certain unbelieving disciple who had said: C I 
will not believe unless I have touched him.' And the Lord 
bade him: 'Come, touch me, and not be unbelieving. 3 The 
disciple did so and cried out: 'My Lord and my God. 5 Then 
the Lord replied: 'Because thou hast seen me, thou hast 
believed, 313 as if to say: 'That is the whole extent of your 
faith; you believe because you see; I praise those who do 
not see and do believe, because when they see, they will 
rejoice. 3 

Sermon 240 
On the Resurrection of the Body, against the Pagans 

(1) Throughout these days, as your Charity recalls, the 
passages from the Gospel pertaining to the Resurrection of 
the Lord are solemnly read. For no one of the Evangelists 
could pass in silence over the Passion or the Resurrection. 
Inasmuch as the Lord Jesus did many things, all the Evan- 
gelists did not relate all His works one related some things; 
another, other incidents nevertheless, there is complete har- 
mony in the truth. John the Evangelist mentions the fact that 
the Lord Jesus Christ did many things which have been writ- 
ten down by no one. Such tremendous things were done as 
needed to be done then; such tremendous deeds were related 
as need to be read now. To show that all the Evangelists said 
nothing contradictory on those subjects which all mention 
and none omit, that is, on the Passion and Resurrection of 
Christ, is truly a laborious undertaking; but, because some 
persons have thought that the Evangelists were at variance 
with one another since they were of different dispositions, for 
that reason I have secured assistance from those who, with 
the help of God, were able to prove that there is no lack of 
harmony among the Evangelists. However, as I have said, if 
I should make this information known to you and if I should 

13 Cf. John 20.25-29. 


wish to discuss this problem in public, the majority of listeners 
would be overwhelmed with weariness before they would 
grasp the knowledge of the truth. But I know your faith, 
that is, I know the faith of this entire assembly and of those 
who are not here today but who are, nevertheless, faithful; 
I know that the faith of these people in regard to the veracity 
of the Evangelists is so well grounded that they do not need 
my exposition. He who knows how to defend these arguments 
is more learned, not necessarily more faithful. He has faith 
and he has the ability to defend the faith. Another may not 
have the ability, the opportunity, or the training which fits 
one to defend the faith, but he has the faith itself. He who 
knows how to defend the faith is necessary for the wavering, 
not for the believers; for, in the defense of the faith the 
wounds of doubt or of unbelief are healed. Therefore, he 
who defends the faith is a good doctor; but there is no disease 
of unbelief among you. How can he cure a disease which 
you do not have? He knows how to give a remedy; but you 
have no sickness. 'It is not the healthy who need a physician, 
but they who are sick.' 1 

(2) Nevertheless, there is no point in keeping silent about 
matters which can be quickly discussed and conveniently 
heard in the time at our disposal. Many persons call into 
question many points about the Resurrection, of which the 
Lord furnished us an example in His own case so that we 
might know what to hope for at the end of the world in 
regard to our own bodies. Some do this in good faith; others, 
in unbelief. Those who enter the discussion in good faith 
wish to gain a better knowledge of how to answer the un- 
believers. On the other hand, those who dispute through 
unbelief argue to the detriment of their own souls by opposing 
the power of the Omnipotent, saying: c How is it possible for 
a dead person to rise again?' I answer: c lt is God who does 
this, and do you say that it cannot be done? I do not ask 
you to show me a Christian or a Jew, but to show me any 

1 Matt. 9.12. 


pagan, any worshiper of idols and server of demons, who 
does not admit that God is omnipotent. He can deny that 
Christ exists; he cannot deny that God is omnipotent. There- 
fore, as if I were speaking to this pagan, I say that the very 
same God whom you believe to be omnipotent is the One 
who raises the dead; and, if you say that it cannot be done, 
you detract from the Omnipotent. However, if you believe 
that He is omnipotent, why do you reject the statement that 
I make? 5 

(3) If I were to say that the body would rise again to be 
hungry and thirsty, to be sick and to suffer, to be subject to 
corruption, you would be right in refusing to believe me. 
True, the flesh now suffers these needs and afflictions. And 
why? Sin is the reason. We have all sinned in one man, and 
we have all been born unto corruption. Sin is the cause of 
all our evils. As a matter of fact, it is not without reason 
that men suffer all these evils. God is just; God is omni- 
potent; in no way would we suffer these evils if we did not 
deserve them. But, since we were committed to these punish- 
ments to which we are subject because of our sins, our Lord 
Jesus Christ wished to be involved in our punishments with- 
out any sin on His part. By enduring the penalty without 
any guilt, He cancelled both the guilt and the penalty. He 
cancelled the guilt by forgiving sins; the penalty, by rising 
from the dead. He promised this and He wished us to walk 
in hope; let us persevere, and we shall come to the reward. 
The flesh will rise incorruptible; the flesh will rise without 
defect, without blemish, without mortality, without burden, 
and without weight. What now brings pain to you will then 
be your glory. Therefore, if it is good to have an incorruptible 
body, why do we wish to despair that God will do this? 

(4) The philosophers of this world who were great and 
learned, and superior to the rest, believed that the human 
soul is immortal. Not only did they hold this belief, but they 
supported their assertions by as many arguments as possible 
and they left to posterity these arguments in writing. The 



books exist and are read. I said that these philosophers were 
better in comparison with those who were inferior, because 
there have been philosophers who declared that no life re- 
mained for man after his death. The former are certainly 
to be preferred to the latter; and, although they deviated 
from the truth in many respects, yet they were better in 
proportion as they were superior in approaching more closely 
ot the truth. The philosophers, therefore, who thought and 
declared that human souls are immortal, investigated, as far 
as human powers permitted, the causes for the evils of men, 
and for the troubles and mistakes of mortals, and they stated 
that, so far as they could see, some sins or other had been 
committed in a previous life in punishment for which the 
souls acquired bodies, as it were, a prison. 2 Then they raised 
the question as to what would take place after man died. 
On this problem they expended all their talents, striving as 
well as they could to give a reason to men, to themselves 
and to others, and they said that, when the unclean souls 
of men who had lived badly in the worst vices departed from 
their bodies, immediately they went into other bodies and 
were now paying the penalties which we observe in these 
bodies- They added, however, that when the souls which 
had lived well went forth from their bodies, they proceeded 
to the highest places in the heavens and there rested amid 
the stars and the brilliant lights and all the heavenly places 
of seclusion, unmindful of their past evils; but that they were 
happy to return again to bodies and to suffer these trials 
once more. The philosophers wished to point out this differ- 
ence between the souls of sinners and the souls of the just: 
that when the souls of sinners went forth from their bodies, 
they were immediately placed in other bodies; but that the 
souls of the just remained in repose for a long time, not, 
however, forever, and that they again took delight in bodies, 
and from the heights of heaven, after so much justice, wreaked 
havoc upon those evils. 

2 See Plato, Phaedrus 245; Cicero, Tusculanae disputationes 1.53-55: 
De re publica 6.26,28-29. 


(5) Truly great philosophers made that statement; the 
philosophers of this world could discover nothing more than 
that. Hence, concerning them our Scriptures say: c Has not 
God turned to foolishness the "wisdom" of this world? 5 If 
the wisdom, then how much more so the foolishness? If the 
wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God, then 
how far from God is the true foolishness of the world? There 
is, however, a certain foolishness of this world which has 
led to God, concerning which the Apostle says: 'Since, in 
God's wisdom, the world did not come to know God by 
"wisdom," it pleased God, by the foolishness of our preach- 
ing, to save those who believe.' And he continues: Tor the 
Jews ask for signs, and the Greeks look for " wisdom' 3 ; but 
we, for our part, preach a crucified Christ to the Jews 
indeed a stumbling-block and to the Gentiles foolishness, but 
to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the 
power of God and the wisdom of God. 33 

The Lord Christ, the Wisdom of God, has come; the 
heavens resound; let frogs cease their croaking. That which 
Truth has said is true. It is clear that He said the human 
race is in evil straits on account of sin. But he who has be- 
lieved in Him who was placed as Mediator between God 
and men (a just Man midway between a just God and 
unjust men, possessing His humanity from below and His 
justice from above, and, on that account, placed midway; 
having one nature from this region and the other from that, 
because if He were completely divine, He would not belong 
here and if He were completely human, He would lie here 
with us and would not be midway) ; he, therefore, who has 
believed in such a Mediator and has lived faithfully and well, 
will go forth from his body and will be at rest; afterwards, 
in truth, he will receive his body, not for torment, but for 
glory; and he will live with God for all eternity. There is 
nothing to entice him to return, because he has his body with 
him. Therefore, my dear brethren, since I have set 

3 1 Cor. 1.20-25. 


before you today what is held by the philosophers of this 
world whose wisdom God rejected as true foolishness, to- 
morrow with the help of God I shall give you my explana- 

Sermon 241 

( 1 ) The belief in the resurrection of the dead is the distinc- 
tive belief of Christians. Christ,, our Head, in His own 
person revealed this to us, that is, the resurrection of the 
dead, and He furnished us an example of this belief, so 
that His members might have hope for themselves in regard 
to that which had already happened to their Head. Yesterday 
I informed you that wise men of the pagans whom they 
call philosophers, and who were outstanding among their own 
people, had made a thorough investigation of nature and had 
come to know the Creator from His works. 1 They did not 
hear the Prophets; they did not receive the Law of God; 
but God, though silent, spoke to them in a certain way 
through the works of this world, and the outward aspect 
of the world challenged them to seek its Maker; they could 
not be convinced that the heavens and the earth existed 
without a Creator. The blessed Apostle Paul speaks thus con- 
cerning these philosophers: 2 'The wrath of God is revealed 
from heaven against all ungodliness. 3 What does c against all 
ungodliness 5 mean? That the wrath of God is revealed from 
heaven not only against the Jews who received the Law and 
offended the Giver of the Law, but also against all the 
ungodliness of the pagans. And, lest anyone should say : 'Why 
is that, since they did not receive the Law? 5 he went on to 
add: 'and wickedness of those men who in wickedness hold 
back the truth.' Now you ask: 'What truth? For they did 
not receive the Law; they did not hear the Prophet. 3 Learn 
what truth [from the words of the Apostle] : 'Seeing that 

1 See Sermon 240. 

2 Rom. 1.18-21. 


what may be known about God is manifest to them.' How 
was it manifested? Hear the answer: Tor God has manifested 
it to them. 3 If you persist in asking: 'How did He manifest 
it to those to whom He did not give the Law?' hear the 
reply: Tor since the creation of the world his invisible at- 
tributes are clearly seen . . . being understood through the 
things that are made.' Tor his invisible attributes/ that is, the 
invisible attributes of God, 'since the creation of the world/ 
that is, since the world was made, 'are clearly seen . . , being 
understood through the things that are made/ that is, those 
attributes, being understood through the things of creation, 
are clearly seen. I am giving the words of the Apostle, inter- 
weaving my own commentary: His everlasting power also 
and divinity/ you supply being understood, are clearly seen. 5 
'And so they are without excuse.' Why 'without excuse'? 
Because 'although they knew God, they did not glorify him 
as God or give thanks.' He did not say 'although they did 
not know God' but 'although they knew God.' 

(2) How did those philosophers know God? From the 
things which He had made. Question the beautiful earth; 
question the beautiful sea; question the beautiful air, diffused 
and spread abroad; question the beautiful heavens; question 
the arrangement of the constellations; question the sun 
brightening the day by its effulgence; question the moon, 
tempering by its splendor the darkness of the ensuing night; 
question the living creatures that move about in the water, 
those that remain on land, and those that flit through 
the air, their souls hidden but their bodies in view, visible 
things which are to be ruled and invisible spirits doing the 
ruling; question all these things and all will answer: 'Be- 
hold and see! We are beautiful.' Their beauty is their ac- 
knowledgment. Who made these beautiful transitory things 
unless it be the unchanging Beauty? 

Finally, these philosophers, in order to be able to under- 
stand God, the Creator of the whole world, in man himself, 
investigated the two parts of man: his soul and his body. 



They investigated what they themselves possessed; they saw 
the body, they did not see the soul; but they saw the body 
only by means of the soul. For they saw through the eyes; 
but what looked out through the windows [of the eyes] was 
within them. Besides, when the dweller departs, the house 
lies empty; when that which guided withdraws, that which 
was guided falls; and since it falls, it is called a fallen body 
or a corpse. Are not those eyes unimpaired? They are wide 
open, but they see nothing; the ears are there, but the hearer 
has departed; the organ of speech remains, but the music 
which stirred it has gone. Therefore, the philosophers inves- 
tigated these two parts of man, the body which is seen 
and the soul which is not seen, and they came to the con- 
clusion that what is not seen is better than what is seen, 
that the invisible soul is superior and the visible body inferior. 
They saw these things; they considered them; they discussed 
both parts and they found that both parts of man were 
subject to change, that the body changed through the various 
stages of life, through the breaking down and the building 
up of tissues, through refreshment and wasting away, through 
life and through death. They turned their attention to the 
soul which they had recognized as undoubtedly superior and 
at which they marvelled even though it was invisible. They 
found that it, too, was subject to change, that now it wished 
and again it did not wish; that now it knew and again it 
did not know; that now it remembered and again it forgot; 
that now it feared and again it dared; that now it advanced 
toward wisdom and again it dropped back into foolishness. 
They saw that it, too, was subject to change; they passed 
on from it, also; they sought something which would not be 
subject to change. 

(3) Thus, therefore, the philosophers came to the knowl- 
edge of God through the things which He had made. 'But 
they did not glorify him as God or give thanks,' says the 
Apostle, e but became vain in their reasonings, and their 
senseless minds have been darkened. For while professing to 


be wise, they have become fools.' By arrogating to themselves 
what they had received, they lost what they possessed. Pro- 
fessing to be, as it were, great men, they became as fools. 
And what did they come to? The Apostle goes on: 'They 
have changed the glory of the incorruptible God for an image 
made like to corruptible man.' He refers to idols. And It was 
not enough to make an image like to man and to abandon 
the Maker for the likeness of His work; that was not enough. 
What else did they make? Images like to 'birds and four- 
footed beasts and creeping things.' 3 They, as it were, great 
wise men, made all those dumb beasts and irrational objects 
as gods for themselves. I censured you when you adored the 
image of a man. What shall I do when you adore the image 
of a dog, the image of a serpent, the image of a crocodile? 
They descended even to those depths. Falling just as low as 
they had been carried aloft in their investigations, they were 
sunk in the depths, for the greater the height from which an 
object falls, the more deeply is it submerged. 

(4) Therefore, as I impressed upon you yesterday, these 
philosophers then investigated what came after this life. They 
conducted their inquiry as mere men; but how would they 
find out anything, since they were but mere men? They 
did not have the revelation of God; they did not hear the 
Prophets; they were not capable of finding out; they simply 
conjectured. I put their opinions before you yesterday. 
*Wicked souls go forth/ they say, c and, because they are 
unclean, they are placed immediately in other bodies; the 
souls of the wise and just go forth, and, because they have 
lived well, they ascend to the heavens. 3 Well, well ! You have 
found a good place for them! Winging their way upward, 
they come to the heavens! And what then? There they will 
be,' they say, 'and they will rest with the gods; the stars will 
be their abode.' You have found a fairly good dwelling place 
for them; if you wish, leave them there; do not cast them 
down from it. 'But,' they say, 'after long ages, when their 

3 Rom. 1.21-23. 


former miseries have been completely forgotten, they expe- 
rience a longing to return into bodies. Then it will give 
them pleasure to return, to come again to suffer and to 
endure those evils, to forget and to blaspheme God, to pursue 
the pleasures of the body and to fight against its lusts.' How 
and for what purpose do they come back to those miseries? 
Tell me, why do they return? Because they forget them. But, 
if they forget all the evils, let them also forget the carnal 
delight. From their former evil state, do they remember only 
that which caused them to fall? They return. Why? Because 
it gives them pleasure to live again in their bodies. How does 
this pleasure arise unless through the memory that they once 
dwelt in the body? Destroy the memory completely and, 
perhaps, you will retain wisdom alone. Let nothing remain 
which may recall the past. 

(5) This doctrine was repugnant to one of the pagan 
authors to whom it was disclosed and who even represented 
a father teaching it to his son. Almost all of you know the 
reference ; would that it were only a few of you ! Nevertheless, 
some of you know from books, and many of you from the 
theatre, that Aeneas descended to the lower regions, and that 
his father pointed out the souls destined to take up their 
abode in the bodies of mighty Romans. Aeneas himself 
trembled and said: C O my father, must we consider that 
some great souls go hence to heaven and return again to 
sluggish bodies? 3 He says, in other words, 'Must we believe 
that they go to heaven and return again?' Vergil continues: 
'What mad desire for life do these wretches have?' 4 The son's 
understanding penetrated more deeply than did the father's 
explanation. Aeneas censured the desire of souls that longed 
to return again into bodies. He called it an insane desire; he 
called such souls wretched; he had no respect for them. And, 
O philosophers, you have come to this conclusion, namely, 
souls are purged; that they come to the utmost purity; 
that through that very purity, they forget all things; and, 
through the forgetfulness of miseries, they return to the 

4 Vergil, Aeneid 6.719-721. See also, St. Augustine, De civitate Dei 14.5. 


miseries of the body. Tell me, I beg you, even if these things 
were true, would it not be better not to know them? Even if 
they were true, I say (although without a doubt they are false 
because they are foul), would it not be better to be ignorant 
of them? 

Perhaps you will say to me: 'You will not be wise if you 
are ignorant of these teachings.' What will be the point of 
my knowing them? Can I be better now than I shall be in 
heaven? If in heaven, when I shall be better and more per- 
fect, I shall forget all that I have learned here, and if I, 
though better, will not know these things there, permit me to 
be ignorant of them now. You say that the one who dwells 
in heaven forgets all things; permit me to be ignorant of 
all these things on earth- Besides, I ask you, do the souls 
in heaven know that they are going to suffer again the 
miseries of this life, or do they not? Choose whichever alter- 
native you wish. If they know that they are going to suffer 
such great miseries, how are they happy when thinking about 
their impending sufferings? How are they happy when they 
are without security? I see, however, what you are choosing; 
you are going to say: c They do not know. 5 Therefore, you 
praise a state of ignorance there which you do not permit 
me to enjoy now, by teaching me on earth what you say I 
shall not know in heaven. You say: 'They do not know. 3 
If they do not know and if they do not realize that they are 
going to suffer, then they are happy by mistake, for they 
think that they are not going to suffer what they are going 
to suffer. What else is to make a mistake than to think falsely? 
So, they will be happy by mistake; they will be blessed, not 
because of eternity, but because of a false impression. May 
truth free us so that we may be really happy, since the word 
of our Redeemer is not meaningless: e lf the Son makes you 
free, you will be free indeed. 3 For He had just said: 'If you 
that souls are purged; that they come to the utmost purity; 
abide in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed, and 


you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.' 5 

(6) Now hear something worse, something more deplor- 
able, or, rather, something more ridiculous. You who are a 
philosopher here, that is, on this earth (for the sake of a 
name, I mention Pythagoras, Plato, Porphyry or some other 
of the philosophers), why do you philosophize? He answers: 
'Because of the happy life. 5 And when will you possess that 
happy life? He replies: 'When I shall have abandoned this 
body on earth.' Therefore, one lives a wretched life now, but 
there is hope of a happy life; there one lives a happy life but 
there is hope of a wretched one. Hence, the hope of our 
unhappiness is happy; but the hope of our happiness is un- 
happy. Let us cast aside these ideas; let us even laugh at 
them because they are false; or let us grieve because they are 
considered great. For those, my brethren, are the great ravings 
of great teachers. How much better it is to hold to the great 
sacraments of the great saints? These philosophers say that, 
from love of their bodies, souls that are cleansed, purified, 
and wise return to bodies. Is it true, then, that a puri- 
fied soul loves in this fashion? Is not such a love really 
something sordid? 

(7) But every kind of body must be avoided. Porphyry, 
a later but important member of that group of philosophers, 
one who lived in the Christian era, was a bitter enemy of 
the Christian faith. Although through shame he abjured his 
mad ravings to a certain extent, yet when censured by the 
Christians, he said and wrote: 6 'Every kind of body must 
be avoided.' He said 'every kind of body' as if every body 
were a wretched prison of the soul. And certainly, if we must 
escape from every kind of body, there is no opportunity for 
one to praise that body to him and to say that, according 
to the teaching of God, our faith praises the body, because, 
although we draw punishment for sin from the body which 
we now possess, and although 'the corruptible body is a load 

5 John 8.36,31-33. 

6 See St. Augustine, op. at. 12.20; 22.26. 


upon the soul/ 7 nevertheless, the body has its own beauty, 
its own arrangement of members, its differentiation of senses, 
its erect posture, and other qualities which evoke the admira- 
tion of those considering it. Furthermore, it is destined to be 
completely incorruptible, completely immortal, completely 
agile and quick in movement. 

Porphyry, however, says : c You praise the body to me with- 
out good reason. No matter what kind of body it is, you 
must escape from it if you wish to be happy. 5 Philosophers 
say this, but they are wrong; they are raving. As I do not 
desire a long discussion, I shall give my proof quickly, namely, 
what is predicated must have a subject, for subject and pre- 
dicate are two things which are intimately connected. God 
surpasses all things; all things are subject to Him. The soul, 
too, if it has any honor in the eyes of God, ought to have 
something subject to it. But I am reluctant to prolong this 
discussion. I read your books wherein you say that the world 
is animated, that is, that the heavens, the earth, the seas, 
all the huge bodies which exist, all the immense elements 
of all times, this whole universal body which consists of all 
these elements all this, you say, is a vast living thing and 
has its own soul; but you claim that it does not have the 
senses of the body because outside of it there is nothing which 
can be perceived; that, nevertheless, it has intelligence; that 
it cleaves to God; and that the soul of the world is called 
Jupiter or Hecate, that is, as if it were a universal soul ruling 
the world and with it constituting but one living thing. You 
claim that this same world is eternal, that it will always exist, 
that it will not have an end. If, then, the world is eternal, 
and remains without an end; if this world is a living thing 
and if its soul is always held in the world, then, as a matter 
of fact, must we flee every kind of body? What is that which 
you said: 'Every kind of body must be avoided'? I say that 
blessed souls will always dwell in incorruptible bodies. Destroy 
the world, you who say that every kind of body must be 

7 Wisd. 9.15. 


avoided. You say that I shall flee from my body. Let your 
Jupiter flee from heaven and earth. 

(8) What of the fact that we find the same Plato, the 
teacher of all those philosophers, in a certain book which he 
wrote on the foundation of the world, introducing God as 
the Maker of the gods, creating the heavenly deities, all the 
stars, the sun, and the moon? He says, then, that God is the 
Creator of the heavenly deities; he says that the stars them- 
selves have intellectual souls which know God and visible 
bodies which are perceived. So that you may understand, I 
agree that the sun which you see would not be seen if it had 
no body. That is true. Neither would any star or the moon 
be seen if they had no body. Thus far, Plato is right. The 
Apostle Paul also says: 'There are heavenly bodies and 
earthly bodies,' and he continues: 'but of one kind is the 
glory of the heavenly, of another kind is the glory of the 
earthly. 5 And again, speaking of the glory of the heavenly 
bodies., the Apostle adds: 'There is one glory of the sun, and 
another glory of the moon, and another of the stars; for 
star differs from star in glory. So also with the resurrection 
of the dead. 58 You see, glory was promised to the bodies of 
the saints and different degrees of glory because the merits 
of charity are different. But what do these philosophers say? 
* Those stars which you see are, indeed, corporeal, but they 
have intellectual souls, and they are gods.' Meanwhile, so 
far as the bodies are concerned, they tell the truth, for the 
stars are corporeal; but as to whether or not the stars have 
souls, why should I say anything? 

Now, let us come to the subject at hand. God is represented 
by Plato himself as addressing the gods which He made of 
corporeal and incorporeal substance and as saying to them: 
'Since you have come into being, you cannot be immortal 
and indestructible.' At once they began to tremble. Why? 
Because they desired to be immortal and they did not wish 
to die. Therefore, in order to relieve them of their fear, He 

8 1 Cor. 15.40; 41-43. 


went on to make this statement: 'Nevertheless, you will not 
be destroyed nor will any fate of death annihilate you or 
prevail over My plan because your link with everlasting 
life is stronger than those links by which you are held to- 
gether.' 9 Behold., God gives security to the gods made by 
Him; He gives them the security of immortality; He gives 
them security because they are not to abandon the substance 
of their bodies. Must we, then, really flee every kind of body? 
I think I have answered their arguments in as great detail 
as you are able to understand and as I am able to give to 
them; I have replied to them as conclusively as the time of 
this sermon permits and as your capacity allows. Moreover, 
there is still much to be said to you today in regard to what 
they say about the resurrection of the body so skillfully, as 
they think, that I cannot answer them. But because I once 
promised you that, throughout these days, the problem of 
the resurrection would be discussed, prepare your ears and 
minds for those points which remain to be treated, with God's 
help, tomorrow. 

Sermon 242 

( I ) On these days consecrated to the Resurrection of the 
Lord, I shall discuss the resurrection of the body to the 
best of my ability, with His assistance. For this is our belief: 
this gift was promised to us in the person of our Lord Jesus 
Christ; and He has furnished an example in Himself, for 
He wished not only to foretell but also to show us what He 
promised for us at the end of the world. Those, indeed, who 
were with Him at that time, saw; and when they feared 
and believed that they saw a spirit, they felt the solidity of 
His body. For, not only did He speak by way of words for 
their ears, but also by actual appearance for their eyes; 
it was not enough to offer Himself to be seen, He had to 

9 See Plato, Timaeus 41b.; also, St. Augustine, op. cit. 22.26. 


present Himself to be handled and touched. For He said: 1 
'Why are you disturbed, and why do doubts arise in your 
hearts?' In fact, they thought they saw a spirit. 'Why are 
you disturbed, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?' He 
said. 'See my hands and feet. . . . Feel me and see; for a 
spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have. 5 And 
men argue against that evidence! For, in view of the fact 
that men know only the things that are of men, what else 
would they do except dispute about God in opposition to 
God? For He is God; they are men. God, however, 'knoweth 
the thoughts of men, that they are vain. 52 In carnal man the 
habit of perception is the sole guide of understanding; what 
they are accustomed to see, that they believe; what they are 
not accustomed to see, that they do not believe. On account 
of that habit, God works miracles because He is God. Indeed, 
there are greater miracles in the fact that so many men are 
born each day who did not exist before than in the fact that 
a few who did exist have risen again, yet those miracles have 
not been grasped by consideration, but have been under- 
estimated by reason of their repetition. Christ has risen; that 
is an absolute fact. He had a body; He had flesh; He hung 
upon a tree; He breathed forth His soul; His body was placed 
in a tomb. He, who dwelt in that body, later showed it alive 
again. Why do we wonder? Why do we not believe? It is 
God who has done this; consider the Doer and cast aside 
your doubt. 

(2) Therefore, men ask whether the corruption of the 
body which they perceive in their own flesh will exist in 
the resurrection of the dead. I answer that it will not. Then 
they inquire: e lf corruption is not going to exist, then 
why will food be taken? Or, if food will not be consumed, 
why did the Lord eat after His Resurrection?' Just now, when 
the Gospel was read, we heard that, when the Lord presented 
Himself alive to the eyes and hands of His disciples, mere 

1 Luke 2438-41. 

2 Ps. 93.11. 


appearance seemed to Him insufficient to furnish evidence 
of His corporeality, so in addition, 'he said, "Have you any- 
thing here to eat?" And they offered him a piece of broiled 
fish and a honeycomb; and he ate and gave them what was 
left.' 3 Then we are asked: 'If the corruption of the body 
will not remain in the resurrection, why did the Lord Christ 
eat? 3 You have read the statement that He ate ; did you read 
that He was hungry? The fact that He ate was a manifesta- 
tion of power, not of need. If He should desire to eat, He 
would be in need of food. Again, if He were not able to eat, 
He would be lacking in power. Did not the angels eat when 
they were given hospitality by our fathers? 4 Yet, they were 
not corruptible, were they? 

Again, these persons say: 'Will the defects which were in 
the human body when man died exist in the resurrection? 5 
I answer: 'No, these defects will not exist.' Then they ask: 
'Why, then, did the Lord arise bearing the scars of His 
wounds?' What reply am I going to give except that this was 
a mark of His power, not of necessity? He willed to rise in 
this state ; He willed thus to present Himself to certain persons 
who were doubting. The scars of the wounds in His flesh 
healed the wound of unbelief. 

(3) Still they continue to argue and to ask: 'Will those 
who die as children rise again as children? Or will the age 
of those who are restored to life be complete, even though 
it was slight at the time of death?' This, indeed, we do not 
find set forth in Scripture. It has been promised that the 
bodies will rise incorruptible and immortal, but [no state- 
ment has been made as to] whether a brief span of life is 
restored, whether small stature is renewed, whether the weak- 
ness consequent upon early age is resumed, or whether, if 
they are small, they will just lie there, unable to walk. Never- 
theless, it is accepted as more credible, more probable, and 
more reasonable that the privilege will be granted to 

3 Cf. Luke 24.41-44. 

4 Cf. Gen. 18.1-9; Tob. 12.19. 


souls to rise again at the fullness of the age which had been 
destined for them in time. We certainly do not believe that 
breathless and bent old age will be restored. In a word, re- 
move the possibility of corruption and add what you choose. 

But, you now ask how an earthly body will exist in heaven. 
Those philosophers of the pagans, those very great men 
whose theories I described as foolish or at least merely human 
(for they made their investigations, not under the guidance 
of the Spirit of God, but by mere human conjecture), they, 
in particular, propose this problem. They treat very minutely 
the significance of the weight and of the order of the elements; 
and they say, what we also see, that the world has been so 
adjusted that the lowest layers of earth constitute, so to speak, 
its foundation; that water is then superimposed on the earth; 
that air comes next, in third place; and that the upper air, 
as the fourth element, covers all things. They state that this 
upper element, which they call upper air, is pure liquid fire, 
out of which the stars are formed and in which nothing 
earthy can exist because the order of weights does not allow 
it. Were we to say to them that our bodies are going to 
survive in a new land, not in heaven, we would speak boldly 
and rashly, if not against faith, for we ought to believe that 
we shall inhabit bodies of such sort that we shall be wherever 
we wish, whenever we wish. On the other hand, if, in order 
to solve this problem about the order of weights, we answer 
that we are going to live on earth, then we are confronted 
with the question about the body of the Lord with which 
He ascended into heaven. 

(4) You have heard the portion of the Gospel which 
recently sounded in our ears: 'And he lifted up his hands 
and blessed them. And it came to pass as he blessed them, 
that he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.' 5 
Who was carried up into heaven? The Lord Christ. What 
Lord Christ? The Lord Jesus Christ. How is that? Are you 
going to separate His humanity from His divinity, and are 

5 Luke 24.50-53. 


you going to make one person of His humanity and another 
of His divinity so that there is no longer a Triune God but 
a fourfold Deity? Just as you, a man, consist of soul and 
body, so the Lord Christ, the Word, had a soul and body. 
But the Word did not depart from the Father; He came to 
us without leaving the Father; He assumed flesh in the womb 
and yet ruled the world. What, then, was taken up into 
heaven except what he had taken from earth, that is, the 
flesh, the body concerning which He had said to His disci- 
ples: Teel me and see; for a spirit does not have flesh and 
bones as you see I have 3 ? Let us believe this, my brethren, 
and, if we find it difficult to answer all the arguments of the 
philosophers, let us hold, without any difficulty of belief, to 
that which has been manifested in the Lord. Let them chatter 
away; let us believe. 

(5) But they say it is not possible for an earthy body to be 
in heaven. What if God wished this? Make answer against 
God and say : God cannot do that.' Do you and every pagan 
not say that God is omnipotent? Is it not written in the work 
of Plato, to which I referred yesterday, 6 that God uncreated 
said to the gods which He had made: 'Since you have come 
into being, you cannot be immortal and indestructible; how- 
ever, you will not be destroyed nor will any fate of death 
annihilate you or prevail over My plan, because your link with 
everlasting life is stronger than those links by which you are 
held together'? 7 God, who is able to do even what is impos- 
sible, has subdued everything to His will. For, what other 
significance do the words, 'You cannot be immortal, but I 
shall bring it to pass that you will not die, 5 have except C I am 
going to do what cannot be done'? 

(6) Nevertheless, I wish to say something about this 
diversity of weights. I ask you, tell me this: Earth is earth; 
water is water; air is air; the upper air, that is, heaven, is 
heaven or pure liquid fire. Obviously, those four elements 

6 See Sermon 241 note 9. 

7 See Plato, Timaeus 41b. 


have gradually made and built up the world, that is, the 
world was made from these four elements. Seek what is at 
the very lowest part, it is earth; what is above that is water; 
what is above the water is air; what is above the air is heaven, 
the upper air. Now, what are solid bodies which are held 
and handled? I do not mean moist things which float and 
flow; I refer to bodies which can be handled. In which 
classification do they come? Are they to be considered as 
belonging to earth, to water, to air, or to the upper air? You 
are going to say: To earth. 5 Therefore, is wood an earthy 
body? Certainly it is; it is born on the earth, is nourished on 
the earth, grows on the earth. It can be handled; it is not 
fluid. Now, come back with me to that order of weights. 
Earth is on the bottom. Follow the order. What is above the 
earth? Water. Then, why does wood float on water? It is 
an earthy body; if you recall the order of weights, it ought 
to be under the water, not above it. We find water midway 
between earth and wood, earth being underneath, water 
above it, and earth again above the water, since wood is 
earth. You have destroyed that fine order; hold to your faith. 
I say, then, that earthy bodies have been found above that 
element which is second in the order of elements since logs 
float and are not submerged. 

( 7 ) Notice another substance which will make you wonder 
more. There are very heavy bodies, still earthy, which, as 
soon as they have been cast into water, sink immediately 
and go to the lowest depths, bodies like iron and lead. For, 
what is heavier than lead? Nevertheless, the hand of the 
artisan touches the lead, makes of it a hollow vessel, and the 
lead floats upon the water. Therefore, will not God give to 
my body what the workman gives to the lead? Then, 
again, where do you place water in that series? You will 
readily answer that water is above the earth. Why, then, 
are rivers suspended from the clouds before they flow on the 

Now, turn your thought and consideration to what I am 


going to say, if with God's help I am able to do so. Which 
is moved more readily, which is stirred more quickly, a 
heavier or a lighter body? Who would not answer: 'The 
lighter body, for lighter bodies are moved more easily and 
stirred more quickly; but heavier bodies, with greater diffi- 
culty and more slowly. 3 You have fixed the rule with cer- 
tainty; you have considered the problem with assurance; 
and, after all aspects have been considered, you have an- 
swered that lighter bodies are moved more readily and stirred 
more quickly than heavier ones. That is so, you say. Then 
answer this question for me. Why does the extremely light 
spider move so slowly, and the heavy horse run so quickly? 
Let me speak of men themselves. A larger body of man is 
heavier; a shorter body which has less weight is lighter. That 
is true, but only if another carries it. However, if the man 
carries his own body, the strong man runs while the one 
who is weak from languor scarcely walks. Now weigh the 
emaciated man and the robust man; the one, by reason of 
his weakness, weighs scarcely a few pounds; the other, be- 
cause of the healthy condition of his body, bears much weight 
in his flesh. Try to lift each one; the strong man is heavy 
while the weak man is light. Let the comparison by lifting 
cease and that by walking begin. Dismiss them both; let 
them carry their own weight. I see the thin man scarcely 
moving a step; I see the strong, sturdy man running. If 
mortal health accomplishes this, what will immortality do? 
(8) Therefore, God will grant a wondrous ease of move- 
ment, a wondrous lightness. Not without reason have those 
bodies been termed 'spiritual.' They have not been called 
'spiritual 5 because they will be spirits, not bodies. As a matter 
of fact, those bodies which we now possess are called 'soul-in- 
fused' bodies, yet they are not souls, but bodies. Just as our 
bodies are now called 'soul-infused,' yet are not souls, so 
those bodies are called 'spiritual 5 without being spirits, be- 
cause they will be bodies. Why, then, is it called a spiritual 
body, my dearly beloved, except because it will obey the 


direction of the spirit? Nothing in yourself will be at variance 
with yourself; nothing in yourself will rebel against yourself. 
No longer will there be that which the Apostle laments in 
the passage: 'The flesh lusts against the spirit, and the spirit 
against the flesh.' 8 No longer will the words of the same 
Apostle be true: 'I see another law in my members, warring 
against the law of my mind.' 9 Those conflicts will not exist 
there; but peace, perfect peace, will be there. Wherever you 
will have wished to be, there you will be; but you will not 
depart from God. Wherever you will have wished to be, there 
you will be ; but wherever you will have gone, you will possess 
your God. You will always be with Him in whom your hap- 
piness consists. 

Let no one make a mistake; let no one argue against this 
truth; let no one insist foolishly on his own mad theory; but 
let us hold most tenaciously to the belief that what God has 
promised will come to pass. When Christ appeared and was 
considered a spirit, my brethren, in order to convince His 
disciples that He was really corporeal, He offered them an 
opportunity, not only to see His body with their eyes, but to 
touch it with their hands. Then, to support the truth of their 
belief in His body, He deigned to take food impelled, not by 
necessity, but by power. Moreover, while they were still 
trembling with joy, He gave them strength of heart from the 
sacred Scriptures and 'he said to them : "These are the words 
which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things 
must be fulfilled that are written in the Law of Moses and 
the Prophets and the Psalms concerning me." Then he 
opened their minds,' as the Gospel which has just been read 
says, 'that they might understand the Scriptures. And he said 
to them, "Thus it is written; and thus the Christ should 
suffer, and should rise again from the dead on the third 
day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be 
preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from 

8 Gal. 5.17. 

9 Rom. 7.23. 


Jerusalem."' 10 We did not witness the Resurrection; we do 
witness the preaching of His Gospel. When those promises 
were made, their fulfillment was not foreseen. The Apostles 
saw Christ in person; they did not see His Church spread 
throughout the world. They saw the Head; they believed 
about the [Mystical] Body- We have our part to play ; we have 
the grace of the distribution and of the dissemination of the 
Gospel; the opportunity has been granted to us for believing 
in the unity of our faith on the strength of indisputable 
evidence. They saw the Head and they believed about the 
Body; we see the Body, let us believe about the Head. 

Sermon 243 

On the Resurrection of the Lord 
according to John 20.17 

(1) The reading of the account of the Resurrection of 
our Lord Jesus Christ according to John the Evangelist was 
begun today. Of course you know, for I have told you, that 
the account of the Resurrection of the Lord is read aloud 
according to all four Evangelists during these days. Now, in 
this particular passage which we have just heard, one problem 
alone usually disturbs us, namely, the question as to why the 
Lord Jesus said to the woman who, seeking His body, had 
just realized that He was alive: c Do not touch me, for I have 
not yet ascended to my Father.' 1 But I have told you and you 
ought to remember that each of the Evangelists does not 
mention every incident, but that what is omitted by some 
is mentioned by others, not in such a way that they must 
be considered as being at variance with one another, if 
controversy be avoided and if the devotion of an intelligent 

10 Luke 24.44-48, 

1 John 20.17. 


person prevail. For example, In the account of the Evangelist 
Matthew we read that, after the Lord rose again. He met 
two women, one of whom was Mary Magdalen, that He 
said: 'Hail!' to them and that 'they came up and embraced 
his feet and worshiped him.' 2 Certainly He had not yet as- 
cended to His Father. Why, then, did He say to the woman 
in this instance: c Do not touch me, for I have not yet as- 
cended to my Father 5 ? In fact, those words seem to imply 
that Mary would be able to touch Him after He had as- 
cended into heaven. But what mortal can touch Him when 
He is seated in heaven if he does not touch Him here on 

(2) That touch, moreover, signifies belief; he who believes 
in Christ touches Christ. For example, the woman who suf- 
fered from hemorrhage said to herself: 'If I touch but the 
fringe of his garment I shall be saved.' 3 In full confidence 
she touched Him; the health which she had anticipated 
followed. Then, so that we might know the real significance 
of touching Him, immediately the Lord said to His disciples : 
'Who touched me?' They answered: 'The crowds press upon 
thee, and dost thou say, "Who touched me?" ' And He re- 
plied: 'Someone touched me,' 4 as if to say: The crowd 
presses; but faith touches.' Hence, Mary Magdalen to whom 
the Lord said : 'Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended 
to my Father,' seems to represent the Church which believed 
in Christ when He had ascended into heaven. Behold, I ask 
you when did you believe; I ask the Church spread out over 
the whole face of the earth but represented in the passage 
under discussion by one woman, and the Church, with one 
voice, answers: 'I believed at the time when Jesus ascended 
to His Father.' What does e l believed at that time' mean 
except 'I touched at that time'? Many earthly-minded persons 
believed that Christ was merely a Man; they did not discern 

2 Matt. 28.9. 

3 Cf. Matt. 9.21. 

4 Luke 8.45,46. 


the divinity which lay concealed in Him. They did not touch 
well because they did not believe well. Do you wish to touch 
well? Then discern Christ where He exists co-eternal with the 
Father and you have touched Him. But, if you think that 
He is only Man, and if you think that He is nothing more 
than Man, then so far as you are concerned. He has not yet 
ascended to the Father. 

(3) The Lord Jesus presented the sight of His body to 
human senses so as to confim the Resurrection of that body. 
By showing Himself corporeally alive after His Resurrection 
He wished to teach us nothing more than that we should 
believe in the resurrection of the dead. Therefore, since all 
things are to be renewed whole and entire at that time, the 
difficult question concerning the use of the bodily members 
is usually asked by those who really desire to know, and is 
likewise usually proposed by those who desire to argue. Now, 
these persons say that our body has all its members and that 
it is quite clear that certain members are necessary for certain 
works. For who does not know, who does not see that we 
have eyes for seeing, ears for hearing, a tongue for speaking, 
nostrils for smelling, teeth for eating, hands for working, feet 
for walking, and even those members which are called pu- 
denda for propagating the race? Furthermore, we also have 
the inner organs which God wished to be hidden lest they 
should frighten us by their appearance, but many men and 
doctors, in particular, understand the ends for which our 
inner organs and those which are called intestines are useful. 
Therefore, persons argue and say to us: e lf we shall have 
ears to hear, eyes to see, and a tongue to speak, why, if we 
are not going to eat, shall we have teeth, jaws, lungs, stomach, 
and intestines by which food may pass and be transformed 
for the furthering of our health? 5 Finally, they say: c Why 
shall we have those very members which are called pudenda 
In that place where there will be no generation, no digestion?' 

(4) What are we going to reply to such persons? Are we 
to say that we shall rise without intestines after the fashion 


of statues? Certainly, a ready answer can be given in regard 
to teeth, for they assist us, not only in eating, but also in 
speaking, since in the formation of syllables they strike against 
our tongue just as the plectrum strikes the strings of the 
lyre. Other members, therefore, will exist for appearance, 
not for use; for the furtherance of beauty, not for the satis- 
faction of a need. Will they necessarily be unseemly because 
they are without function? Indeed, because we are now ig- 
norant and uninstructed in the causes of things, if our inner 
organs are disclosed to view, we experience feelings of revul- 
sion rather than of love. For who understands how these 
members are interrelated and in what proportions they have 
been adjusted? Hence, this interrelation is called harmony, 
a word derived from music where we definitely see the strings 
stretched upon the lyre. If all the strings were to give forth 
the same sound, there would be no song; it is variation 
in degrees of tension that produces different sounds. These 
different sounds, however, joined together by a guiding in- 
telligence, produce, not beauty for the onlookers, but sweet- 
ness of sound for the listeners. Whoever has recognized that 
same guiding intelligence in our human members is so over- 
come with wonder, is so enthralled that he prefers that mar- 
vellous design to all physical beauty. Now we do not under- 
stand it, but then we shall understand, not because things 
will be laid bare, but because it will not be possible to conceal 
even things that are covered. 

(5) Someone answering me will say: c lf things are covered, 
how will it not be possible to conceal them? Will not 
our hearts and our inner organs be hidden?' In that fellow- 
ship of the saints, my brethren, all will mutually see the 
thoughts which now only God sees. There no one wishes to 
conceal what he thinks because no one thinks evil. Hence 
the Apostle says: 5 Tass no judgment before the time,' that 
is, do not judge rashly because you do not see the intention 
from which one acts. If something is done which can proceed 

5 1 Cor. 4.5. 


from a good heart, do not censure it; do not take upon your- 
self more than your humanity warrants. To see the heart is 
God's privilege; it is not man's prerogative to judge except 
in regard to those matters which are manifest. So the Apostle 
says: Tass no judgment before the time.' What does 'before 
the time' mean? He goes on to say: 'Until the Lord comes 
and brings to light the things hidden in darkness. 3 In the 
following words the Apostle shows clearly what darkness he 
referred to in this passage: 'And brings to light the things 
hidden in darkness. 3 What is that darkness? Hear what fol- 
lows: 'And he will make manifest the counsels of hearts. 5 To 
bring to light the things hidden in darkness is equivalent to 
making manifest the counsel of hearts. Now, therefore, our 
thoughts are in full view to each one of us individually because 
we know them; but they are in darkness to our neighbors 
because they do not see them. There your neighbor is going 
to have knowledge of what you know you are thinking- Why 
are you afraid? Now you wish to conceal your thoughts, and 
you fear to make them public because, perchance, you some- 
times think something evil, something base, or something 
vain. But, when you will be there, you will think nothing but 
what is good, nothing but what is honorable, nothing but 
what is true, nothing but what is pure, nothing but what is 
sincere. Just as you are willing to have your countenance seen 
now, so then you will be willing to have your conscience seen. 
(6) For will not that very knowledge, my dearly beloved, 
will not that very knowledge belong to all of us? Do you think 
that you will recognize me because you know me, and that 
you will not recognize my father whom you do not know or 
some bishop or other who presided in this church many years 
ago? You will know everybody. Those who will be there will 
not recognize each other because they will see their coun- 
tenances; there will be mutual recognition because of greater 
knowledge. Thus, all will see and will see much more keenly, 
just as Prophets are accustomed to see here. When they will 
be filled with God, they will see divinely, nor will anything 


exist there calculated to oppose or to escape the individual. 
Therefore, all our members will exist there, even those 
which are looked upon as shameful here; but there they will 
not be so, since the glory of integrity will not be troubled 
there where the disgrace of lust will not exist. Behold, even 
here where in a certain manner necessity is the mother of all 
our works (a necessity which will not exist there), nevertheless, 
we find certain members which God has placed in our bodies 
for no specific uses but for adornment alone. 

(7) For some moments now I have been referring in a 
cursory way to our members. Now let us go over that matter 
somewhat more carefully. We have eyes for seeing, ears for 
hearing, nostrils for smelling, a mouth and tongue for speak- 
ing, teeth for eating, a throat for swallowing, a stomach for 
receiving and digesting, intestines for passing food to the 
lower parts, and those members which are called pudenda 
for excreting or for generating, hands for working, and feet 
for walking. But of what use is a beard unless it be for Beauty 
alone? Why did God create a beard for man? I see its beauty; 
I do not seek its use. The reason why women have breasts 
is quite clear, namely, that they may nurse their little ones; 
but why do men have paps? If you regard their use, there 
is none; if you regard their appearance, a mammillated breast 
becomes a man. Take away the paps from a manly breast 
and see how much beauty you have taken away and how 
much ugliness you have substituted. 

(8) Therefore, my dearly beloved, believe and maintain 
that [in the risen life] there will be no usefulness for many 
of our members, but that no one of them will be deprived 
of glory. There where the greatest peace will prevail, nothing 
will be unsightly, nothing inharmonious, nothing monstrous, 
nothing calculated to offend the eyes, but in all things God 
will be praised. For if now, in such frailty of the flesh and 
in such weak operation of our members, such great beauty 
of the body appears that it entices the passionate and stim- 
ulates the learned and the thoughtful to investigate it, and 


if the harmony of numbers is found in the body indicating 
that the Creator of these members is no other than the 
Creator of the heavens and that the same One has created 
the lowest and the highest, then, how much more [beauti- 
ful will the body be] there where there will be no passion, 
no corruption, no unsightly deformity, no miserable necessity, 
but, instead, unending eternity, beautiful truth, and the ut- 
most happiness? 

(9) But you say to me: 'What am I going to do? If there 
will be no use for my members there, what am I going to 
do? 3 Does existing, seeing, loving, praising seem idleness to 
you? Behold! These holy days which are celebrated after the 
Resurrection of the Lord signify the life that is to come after 
our resurrection. For, just as the forty days before Easter 
symbolized the life full of suffering in this mortal period of 
distress, so these joyful days point to the future life where 
we are destined to reign with the Lord. The life which is 
signified by the forty days before Easter is our burden now; 
the life which is symbolized by the fifty days after Easter is 
not possessed now, but is an object of hope and is loved 
while it is hoped for. By that very love we praise God who 
promised this eternal life to us, and our praises are Alleluias. 
For what does 'Alleluia 3 mean? It is a Hebrew word signi- 
fying 'praise God, 3 allelu meaning 'praise' and la meaning 
4 God. ? Therefore, by our 'Alleluia 3 we cry out: Traise God,' 
and we arouse one another to praise God. We sing praises 
to God, we chant our 'Alleluias' with hearts attuned to har- 
mony far better than with the chords of the lyre. When we 
have sung our praises, impelled by our weakness we with- 
draw to refresh our bodies. Why do we do this, except because 
we are faint? Furthermore, the weakness of the flesh is so 
great and the annoyance of this life so oppressive that every- 
thing, no matter how great it be, eventually leads to aversion. 
When these days were drawing to a close, how we longed for 
those of the coming year, and with how rnuch eagerness we 
approached them after a lapse of time ! But, if we were given 


the command: 'Sing Alleluias without ceasing/ we would ex- 
cuse ourselves. Why? Because in our weariness we would not 
be able to do so, because even in the face of such a good we 
would be overcome by our distaste. There [in the risen life] 
no weakness, no aversion will exist. Stand and give praise, 
you 'who stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the 
house of our God.' 6 Why do you question what you are going 
to do there? The Psalmist says: 'Blessed are they that dwell 
in thy house, O Lord: they shall praise thee for ever and 

ever.' 7 

Sermon 244 
On John 20,148 

(1) The reading of the account of the Resurrection of 
the Lord from the Gospel of St. John began today. We heard 
and we witnessed with the eyes of faith the attitude of a 
devoted woman toward the Lord Jesus. She was seeking 
Jesus; however, she was as yet looking for the corpse of a 
dead man, and she was loving Him as if He were only a 
good teacher. She did not know, nor did she believe, that 
He had risen from the dead. Because she saw the stone rolled 
away from the tomb, she believed that the body which she 
was seeking had been taken away, and she reported the sad 
news to the disciples. Two of them ran ahead, one of whom 
was Peter and the other, John. The latter was the one whom 
Jesus loved, that is, in a special way beyond the others, for 
as their Lord He loved them all. They ran forward to see 
whether the woman was telling the truth [when she said] 
that the body had been removed from the tomb. They 
reached the place, observed carefully, and, failing to find 
the body, they believed. But what did they believe? What 

6 PS. 133.1. 

7 Ps. 83.5. 


they ought not to have believed. Therefore, when you heard 
the words: 'And they believed/ perhaps you thought that 
they believed what they should believe, that is, that the Lord 
had risen from the dead. They did not believe this, but 
rather what the woman had announced. Indeed, so that you 
may know that they believed this, the Evangelist adds di- 
rectly: Tor as yet they did not understand the Scripture, 
that he must rise from the dead. 31 Where is their faith? 
Where is the truth so often attested? Did not the Lord Jesus 
Himself tell them on various occasions before His Passion 
that He had to be betrayed and put to death but that He 
would rise again? Yet He spoke to deaf people. Not long 
before, Peter said to Him: Thou art the Christ, the Son of 
the living God.' Not long before, he heard: "Blessed art 
thou, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed 
this to thee, but my Father in heaven. And I say to thee, 
thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, 
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 32 Faith 
such as this was overwhelmed when the Lord was crucified. 
For Peter believed in the Son of God for only so long, until 
he saw Him hanging on the cross, until he saw Him pierced 
with nails, until he saw Him dead, until he saw Him buried. 
Then he lost what he had possessed. Where is the rock? 
Where is the stability of the rock? Christ Himself was the 
Rock, but Peter was derived from the Rock. The Rock had 
risen again to give stability to Peter, for Peter would have 
perished if the Rock were not alive. 3 

(2) Afterwards, however, when the Lord said to the 
woman: 'Mary,' she, turning, recognized Him and called 
Him Master, that is, 'Rabboni.' 4 The Resurrection of the 
Lord was manifested to this woman. What, therefore, did 

1 John 20.9. 

2 Matt. 16.16-19. 

3 Here, as elsewhere in the works of St. Augustine, the English transla- 
tion fails to carry the effect of the author's play upon words. See 
Bardy, op. cit. 96. 

4 John 20.16. 


He mean by: 'Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended 
to my Father'? The problem is perplexing in several respects: 
in the first place, because He forbade her to touch Him, as 
if He could be touched with malice by the one touching; 
secondly, because in giving the reason why He was unwilling 
to be touched and why He forbade it, He said: Tor I have 
not yet ascended to my Father/ as if to say: 'Then, when I 
shall have ascended to My Father, you shall touch Me.' Was 
she forbidden to touch Him present on earth, and able to 
touch Him seated in heaven? Truly, I questioned the meaning 
of the words : 'Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended 
to my Father.' Now I add a further query: When He rose 
again, just as He Himself predicted and the Evangelists say, 
and just as we heard a few moments ago when the holy 
lessons were read, He appeared to His disciples, and, since 
they thought He was a spirit, He said to them: 'Why are 
you disturbed, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See 
my hands and feet, that it is myself. Feel me and see. 55 He 
had not yet ascended, had He? He had not yet ascended to 
His Father, and still He said to His disciples: 'Feel me and 
see.' Where is His command: 'Do not touch me'? 

Hereupon someone perhaps will say: 'He was willing to 
be touched by men; but He was unwilling to be touched 
by women.' If He had scorned womankind, He would not 
have been born of a woman. Nevertheless, whatever the words 
mean, they are capable of giving rise to a problem whereby 
it is declared that, before the Lord ascended to His Father, 
He was willing to be touched by men and unwilling to be 
touched by women. 6 The Evangelist Matthew says in fact 
he has described the incident that some women, including 
Mary Magdalen herself, met the risen Lord and embraced 
His feet. 7 The question is reduced in many respects to what 

5 Luke 24.38-40. 

6 The reading of the Codex edited by Jacobus Sirmondus has been 
followed here: Verumtamen quiquid hoc est f potest. . . jiit Evan- 
gelist Matthaeus, ipse enim narravit. 

1 Cf. Matt. 28.8-1 L 


the Lord meant by: 'Do not touch me, for I have not yet 
ascended to my Father.' All that I have said I have said for 
the purpose of increasing the difficulty of the question which 
you see is great and, as it were, insoluble. May the Lord 
assist me in its solution. May He who deigned to set this 
problem before us deign to set forth the explanation. Pray 
with me for this result; give your attention to me, your heart 
to Him. I shall share with you what He deigns to suggest 
to me. Let Him who knows better enlighten me; I am learned 
enough to be docile to instruction. But let him who does not 
know better hear from me what He knows. 

(3) As we have heard and as it seems evident, the disciples 
thought that the Lord Jesus was a Man, and they balanced 
their belief accordingly; they did not raise it higher. They 
walked with Christ on earth. They knew that He had been 
made Man for our sake; they did not know that He made 
us. Christ Himself is the Maker and the One made. See 
Him as Maker: In the beginning was the Word, and the 
Word was with God; and the Word was God. He was in 
the beginning with God. All things were made through him.' 
See Him as the One made: 'And the Word was made flesh 
and dwelt among us.' 8 Consequently, we see Jesus, but it is by 
means of the faith of the Apostles which has been preached 
to us. What we know they did not yet know. I do not wrong 
them. I do not dare to call them ignorant; nevertheless, I 
see them acknowledging their ignorance. They did not know, 
but they afterwards learned what we now know. They did 
not yet know what we know: that Christ is both God and 
Man; that Christ is the Maker of things and that He was 
made among things; that Christ is both the Creator of man 
and that He is a created Man. As God, Christ is equal to 
the Father; He is just as great as the Father is; He is such 
as the Father is; what the Father is, Christ is; but He is not 
who the Father is. He is what the Father is because the 

8 John 1.1-4,14. 



Father is God and He is God; the Father is omnipotent and 
He is omnipotent; the Father is immutable and He is' im- 
mutable He is that which the Father is. He is not who the 
Father is because the latter is the Father and He is the Son. 
So far as anyone who knows this is concerned, Christ has 
ascended to the Father; so far as he who does not know this 
is concerned, Christ has not yet ascended to the Father; He 
is a little Child with that person; He is on earth with that 
person; but, in the eyes of that person. He is not yet equal 
to the Omnipotent One. To the one making progress, He is 
ascending; He is ascending with him who advances. 

Therefore, what is the meaning of the words: 'Do not 
touch me'? Touch signifies faith. For by touching, one draws 
near to him who is touched. See that woman who suffered 
from a hemorrhage. She said in her heart: 'If I touch the 
fringe of his garment I shall be healed.' 9 She approached 
and touched; she was healed. What does 'she approached 
and touched 3 mean? She drew near and believed. So that 
you may understand that by believing she touched Him, the 
Lord said: 'Someone touched me.' What does 'touched Me' 
mean except 'believed in Me'? And, so that you might under- 
stand that these statements 'touched Me' and 'believed in 
Me' mean the same thing, the disciples answered and said 
to Him: 'The crowds press upon thee and dost thou say, 
"Who touched me?" 10 If Thou wert walking alone, if the 
crowd had granted Thee a space for walking, if no one were 
near Thee, then Thou wouldst say well: "Someone touched 
me." But a crowd presses upon Hiee and Thou dost say that 
one person is touching Thee.' And He repeated: 'Someone 
touched me. 3 For, first He had said: 'Who touched me?' and 
afterwards: 'Someone touched me. You do not understand 
my meaning because you say: "The crowd presses upon 
thee." Someone touched me. That crowd knows how to 

9 Cf. Matt. 9.21. 
10 Luke 8.45,46. 


press; it does not know how to touch.' 11 It is evident that 
this was His meaning when He said: 'Who touched me?' 
and 'Someone touched me/ so that they "may believe that 
faith is the touch of the one touching Him or, rather, the 
drawing near of the one believing in Him. 

What, then, is the meaning of the words: c Do not touch 
me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father'? You think 
that I am what you see Me to be. C I have not yet ascended 
to my Father/ You see Me as Man; you think that I am only 
a Man. I am, indeed, a Man, but let not your faith halt 
there. Do not touch Me in such a way as to believe that 

I am merely a Man. Tor I have not yet ascended to my 
Father. 3 I am ascending to My Father, but touch Me, that 
is, advance, understand that I am equal to the Father; then 
touch Me and you will be saved. 'Do not touch me, for I 
have not yet ascended to my Father.' You see that I have 
descended; you do not yet see that I have ascended. Tor I 
have not yet ascended to my Father.' I have emptied Myself, 
'taking the nature of a slave and being made like unto men, 
and appearing in the form of man. 312 [You see] that in this 
form I was crucified, that in this form I was buried, that in 
this form I rose again, but you do not see that other truth: 
*Being in the form of God, he thought it not robbery to be 
equal to God. 3 You do not yet see that I ascended. Do not 
lose heaven by touching the earth; do not fail to believe in 
God by cleaving to the Man in Christ. 'Do not touch me, 
for I have not yet ascended to my Father.' 

(4) Let the follower of Arius 13 come forward, but let the 
follower of Photinus 14 come first. I say to the disciple of 

II The reading nescitis of Sirmondus has been followed here instead 
of nostis of the text. St. Augustine combines the words of Scripture 
with his own additions. 

12 Phil. 2.7,6. I have adopted here and below the English translation 
of Prat, Theology of St. Paul I 312. 

13 Arius was a Greek-speaking African cleric (250-336) who propagated 
a heresy which denied the divinity of Christ. According to his teach- 
ing, the Son of God was a super-angelic creature, the only Being 
directly created by God; through the Son, or the Logos, the universe 


Photinus: c Do not touch.' What does 'do not touch' mean? 
Do not believe thus, for, as far as you are concerned, Christ 
has not yet ascended to the Father. Let the disciple of Arius 
come forward. 'I,' he says, 'believe that Christ is God, but 
less [than the Father].' Then, so far as you are concerned, 
He has not yet ascended to the Father. Since He actually has 
ascended to the Father, stretch out so that you may touch 
Him; stretch out; touch God. 'But,' he says, 'I do acknowl- 
edge that He is God, but of another nature and of another 
substance; that He was created, not that He is the One by 
whom all things were created; that He was made, not that 
in the beginning He was the Word without the limits of 
time. 3 Then you are still on the under side; not yet has He 
ascended to the Father so far as you are concerned. Do you 
wish Him to ascend to the Father in your regard? Believe 
that He 'being in the form of God, thought it not robbery 
to be equal to God.' la It was not robbery, because it was 

was created; in return for His fidelity to God, the Son was granted 
a share in the divine prerogatives in so far as this was possible for 
a creature, but He was not of one essence, nature, and substance with 
the infinite, omnipotent, eternal, unchangeable God. The heresy 
spread rapidly and threatened to disrupt the Catholic Church, espe- 
cially since it was favored by the emperors of the East. It was con- 
demned at the first great Ecumenical Council of the Church at 
Nicaea in 325, at which the untiring labors of St. Athanasius brought, 
about the adoption of the term consubstantial (homooiision} to 
express the identity of the Son in essence, nature, and substance 
with the Father. Among the many heresies which sprang from 
Arianism was that called Apollinarianism which stressed Arius' here- 
tical view of Christ's human nature, that is, that Christ took flesh 
but not a soul, that in Him the place of the human soul was taken 
by the pre-existing Son. Pope Damasus condemned this doctrine in 
377. See M. L. Cozens, Handbook of Heresies (London 1928) 30-36; 
H. Belloc, The Great Heresies (New York 1938) 31-69. 

14 Photinus was Bishop of Sirmiurn (c. 376) who taught that Christ 
was a man miraculously born, who had attained divine dignity 
by reason of his high moral development. See Bardenhewer, Patro- 
logie (trans. Shahan) 242. 

15 Phil. 2.6. Here, as elsewhere in the Sermons (e.g., 264.3,7; 187.5; 
212.1; 214.5.), St. Augustine has adopted the active sense of the Latin 
text, non rapinam arlntratus est, while the Greek Fathers and most 
modern English translators favor the passive rendering of dpraxy^iov 
fiyrjoocTO. For a complete discussion of the problem see Prat, The 
Theology of St. Paul I 310-322, 


His nature. By robbery something is taken unlawfully; by 
its nature something is recognized and acknowledged. 'Being 
in the form of God, he thought it not robbery to be equal to 
God. 3 Thus, He was born, and He was always born; both 
bora and always born, and born without a beginning. 

What do you say, O disciple of Arius? That there was 
a time when He was not the Son? Do you see that, so far 
as you are concerned, He has not yet ascended to the Father? 
Do not touch, do not believe in this manner. There is no 
interval of time between the Father and the Son. The Father 
begot; the Son was born. Without the limits of time, the 
One begot; without the limits of time, He by whom all 
time came into being was born. Touch in this way and, 
so far as you are concerned, He has ascended to the Father. 
He is the Word, but He is co-eternal with God; He is the 
Wisdom of God, but the Father never existed without this 
Wisdom. Your own flesh has to answer you; it is ready to 
converse with you and to say to you in this darkness: 'How 
was He born? 5 The darkness speaks to you. You cry out: 
'Let it be explained to me. 5 I, too, cry out: 'Let it be ex- 
plained to me.' What do you wish to be explained? 'Was 
He born or was He not born? For, He would not be the 
Son if He were not born. If, then, He was born, there was 
a time when He did not exist. 3 This is false: you speak as 
earth and you speak about earth. Then explain to me,' you 
say, how He was born if He always existed. 3 I do not ex- 
plain; I do not explain; I am not able to do so. I do not 
explain; but, in my place, I substitute the Prophet who says: 
'Who shall declare his generation? 516 

16 Isa. 53.8. 


Sermon 245 

(1) Today, too, the account of the Resurrection of the 
Lord was read aloud from the holy Gospel. Moreover, the 
Gospel according to St. John was read. We heard statements 
which we did not hear in the other books of the Gospel. 
Indeed, the preaching of the truth is common to all the 
Evangelists; they all drank of the same fountain. But, in the 
preaching of the Gospel, as I have often explained to your 
Charity, 1 all four have set forth certain events; three have 
set forth some; two, other * events ; and even individually 
they have recounted still other details. Consequently, the 
Evangelist John alone mentions what we have just heard 
according to the Gospel of John: that Mary Magdalen saw 
the Lord and that the Lord said to her: 'Do not touch me, 
for I have not yet ascended to my Father.' 2 On this subject, 
therefore, I must speak to your Holiness. 3 Having seen the 
linen cloths in the sepulchre [these women] believed, not 
that the Lord had risen, but that He had been taken away. 
When John himself (for he calls himself 'the one whom 
Jesus loved' ) had heard the women making their announce- 
ment and saying: 'They have taken away my Lord from 
the tomb,' he ran with Peter, examined the tomb, saw the 
linen cloths, and believed. What did he believe? Not that 
the Lord had risen, but that He had disappeared from the 
tomb. The following words substantiate this, for what we 
have just heard is written thus: 'He observed, he saw, and 
he believed; for as yet he did not understand the Scripture, 
that he must rise from the dead. 54 What he believed was 
evident; he believed what was not of faith. He believed; 
but what he believed was false. Afterwards, the Lord ap- 
peared to him and, dispelling error, implanted truth, 

1 See Sermon 214 note 30. 

2 John 20.17. 

3 See Sermon 214 note 30. 

4 Cf. John 13.23; 20.2,8-10. 


(2) Nevertheless, what may disturb the reader and listener 
who is attentive and careful is in what sense this statement 
was made: 'Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended 
to my Father.' Here, with the help of the Lord Himself, let 
us consider just what was said. Truly, the significance of 
the passage, 'Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended 
to my Father, 3 is troublesome. For, when did He ascend to 
the Father? On the fortieth day after His Resurrection, as 
the Acts of the Apostles indicate, that day which we are soon 
to observe in His honor. Then He ascended to the Father; 
then the disciples, who touched Him with their hands, fol- 
lowed Him with their eyes; then the angelic voice uttered 
the words: 'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up to 
heaven? This Jesus who has been taken up from you, shall 
come in the same way as you have seen him going up to 
heaven.' 5 

If, therefore, He then ascended into heaven, what answer 
do we make, my brethren? Was Mary not able to touch 
Him when He was standing here on earth and was she able 
to touch Him when He was seated in heaven? If she could 
not do so here, how much less would she be able to do it 
there? What, then, is the significance of the words: 'Do not 
touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father'? As a 
matter of fact, the words sound to me as if He were saying: 
'Touch Me then when I have ascended; do not touch Me 
before I ascend.' O Lord, art Thou here, and do I not touch 
Thee; and shall I touch Thee when Thou hast ascended? 
Furthermore, if He shrank from human touch before He 
ascended to the Father, how was it that He presented Him- 
self to His disciples not only to be seen but also to be handled 
by them, since He said: 'Why do you reflect in your hearts? 
See my hands and my feet Feel me and see; for a spirit does 
not have flesh and bones as you see I have.' 6 Besides, that in- 
credulous disciple, Thomas, touched His pierced side and 

5 Acts 1.11. 

6 Cf. Luke 24.38-41. 


exclaimed: c My Lord and my God.' 7 When he thus touched, 
Jesus had not yet ascended to the Father. 

Perhaps someone who lacks wisdom has declared; 'Before 
He ascended to His Father, men could touch Him; but 
women could do so only when He had ascended to the Father.' 
That is an absurd thought and a perverse opinion. In a word, 
let the Church hear what Mary heard. Let all hear; let all 
understand; let all do this. What, then, is the significance 
of 'Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my 
Father'? Because you see Me, you think that I am merely 
a Man; you do not yet know that I am equal to the Father. 
Do not touch Me as such; do not believe that I am mere 
Man; but understand that the Word is equal to the Father. 
What, then, is the significance of: 'Do not touch me'? Do 
not believe. Do not believe what? That I am merely what 
you see. I shall ascend to My Father; then touch Me. As 
far as you are concerned, I ascend when you understand 
that I am equal [to the Father]. As long as you consider 
Me as less [than the Father], I have not yet ascended so far 
as you are concerned. 

(3) Moreover, I think that, in the woman who touched 
the fringe of Christ's garment and was made whole, we can 
easily understand that to touch is to believe. You recall the 
Gospel: The Lord Jesus Christ went to visit the daughter 
of a ruler of the synagogue who was first said to be ill, and 
afterwards, dead. As He went along, behold from a side 
path there came a woman who, having suffered from a 
hemorrhage for twelve years, had spent all her means on 
physicians, who prescribed in vain without curing her. She 
said: 'If I touch the fringe of his garment I shall be saved. 38 
To make such a statement was already to touch. In short, 
hear the Lord's judgment. 9 When she had been healed ac- 
cording to her faith, the Lord Jesus Christ said: 'Someone 

7 John 20.28. 

8 Cf. Matt. 9.18-23; Mark 5.22-30; Luke 8.40-45. 

9 Cf. Luke 8.45,46. 


touched me.' And the disciples answered: 'The crowds press 
upon thee, and dost thou say, "Who touched me?" ' But 
He replied: 'Someone touched me; for I know that power 
has gone forth from me. 5 Grace went forth so that she might 
be healed, but without detracting from Him. Hence, the 
disciples said : 'The crowds press upon Thee, and didst Thou 
perceive this man or that woman?' Bat He answered: 'Some- 
one touched Me. The others press upon Me; one touched.' 
What is the significance of c they press; one touched'? The 
Jews still struggle; the Church has believed . 

(4) According to this interpretation by which we see that 
the woman touched, that is to say, that she believed, accord- 
ing to this same interpretation were the words said to Mary : 
'Do not touch me; I will ascend, then touch. In fact, touch 
then when you have understood the words: "In the beginning 
was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word 
was God." ' Indeed, 'the Word was made flesh/ 10 but the 
Word remains unsullied, unspotted, unchangeable, and un- 
touched. But, because you see only a Man, you do not see 
the Word. I do not want you to believe in His humanity 
and disregard the Word. Let the whole Christ be visible to 
you because as the Word He is equal to the Father. There- 
fore, He said: 'Do not touch Me now, because you do not 
yet see who I am.' 

Hence, let the Church, which Mary represented figurative- 
ly, hear what Mary heard. We would all touch if we would 
all believe. He has already ascended to the Father; He sits 
at the right hand of the Father. The whole Church acknowl- 
edges this today in the words: 'He ascended into Heaven 
and He sits at the right hand of the Father.' Those who are 
baptized hear this; they believe this before they are baptized. 
Therefore, when they believe, Mary [the Church] touches 
Christ. The understanding is darkened, but sound; it is closed 
to unbelievers, but open to the one who knocks in faith. 
Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ is there, and He is also here 

10 John 1.1,14. 


with us; He is with the Father and He is in us; He does 
not withdraw from the Father nor does He depart from us; 
as the Lord, He teaches us how to pray, and as the Son, He 
listens to us with the Father. 

Sermon 246 

(1) After the Resurrection, the Lord Jesus appeared to 
His disciples in many ways. They had [the source material] 
from which the Evangelists might write as divine inspira- 
tion furnished to them the recollection of things to write 
about. One Evangelist related one incident, another told 
something else. Any one of them could omit what was true; 
but he could not put in anything false. Consider that 
one person said all those things, for One truly did say them, 
because there was one Spirit in all the Evangelists. What 
did we hear today? This, that the disciples did not believe 
that Jesus had risen again. Likewise, they did not believe 
Him although He had previously predicted this. Their dis- 
belief is evident, and on that account it was written down 
so that we might give great thanks to God, because we believe 
in Him whom we do not see on earth, while they with great 
difficulty were convinced by the testimony of their hands 
and eyes of what we believe. 

(2) You heard that His disciple entered the tomb and 
c saw the linen cloths lying there, . . . and believed; for as yet 
he did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from 
the dead. 51 Thus you have heard; thus it was written: He 
saw and he believed, for as yet he did not understand the 
Scripture.' But it ought to have been written: c He saw and 
he did not believe, for as yet he did not understand the Scrip- 
ture. 5 What, then, is the significance of c He saw the linen 
cloths and he believed 3 ? What did he believe? What a woman 
had said: They have taken the Lord from the tomb. 3 For, 

1 Cf. John 20.6-10. 


if you heard nay, rather as you heard, that woman 
said: They have taken away the Lord from the tomb, and 
I do not know where they have laid him. 52 When they heard 
this, they ran together; he entered the tomb, saw the linens, 
and believed what the woman had said, namely, that Christ 
had been taken away from the tomb. Why did he believe 
that Christ had been taken and stolen from the tomb? Why? 
Tor as yet he did not understand the Scripture, that he must 
rise from the dead. 3 He had entered and had not found. 
He ought to have believed that He had risen again, not that 
He had been stolen. 

(3 ) What, then, did the Lord mean? We are in the habit of 
speaking to you about this matter every year. Moreover, the 
lesson is solemnly read and the sermon itself is solemnly 
delivered. Why did the Lord speak to the woman who 
now recognized Him? For, at first, He had said: 'Whom 
dost thou seek? Why art thou weeping?' 3 But she thought 
He was the gardener. And truly, if you would consider how 
we are His plants, Christ is the Gardener. Is He not the 
Gardener who planted in His garden a grain of mustard 
seed, that is, a very small and pungent seed, which grew 
and climbed upward, making such a mighty tree that even 
the birds of the air rested in its branches? 'If you have faith 
like a mustard seed, 3 He Himself said. 4 A grain of mustard 
seed seems trifling; there is nothing more insignificant in 
appearance, nothing stronger in taste. What else does it sym- 
bolize but the intense ardor and the profound strength of faith 
in the Church? 

Therefore, Mary rightly considered Him a Gardener and 
she said c Sir 3 to Him in token of respect, because she was 
seeking a favor; it was for that reason that she called Him 
Sir. c lf thou hast removed him, show me where thou 
hast laid him and I will take him away.' 5 She spoke as if she 

2 John 20,2. 

3 John 20.15. 

4 Cf, Matt. 13.31-33; 17.19. 

5 Cf. John 20.15. 


were saying: Tor me He is necessary; for you. He is not.' 

woman, you think a dead Christ is necessary for you; 
recognize the living Christ. You are seeking a dead Christ, 
but He Himself alive is speaking to you. Dead, He would 
have been of no service to us, unless He had risen from the 
dead. Furthermore, He who was sought as dead manifested 
Himself alive. How did He do this? He called her by her 
own name, 'Mary.' And immediately, on hearing her own 
name, she answered : c Rabboni. 3 A gardener could say : 
'Whom dost thou seek? Why art thou weeping? 3 But no one 
except the Lord could say: 'Mary. 3 He who called her to the 
kingdom of heaven called her by name. He used that name, 
Mary, which He Himself had written in His book. And she 
called Him 'Rabboni, 3 which means 'Master. 3 She recognized 
Him by whom she was given the light to recognize Him; 
He who was first thought to be a Gardener was seen now 
as Christ. And still the Lord said to her: 'Do not touch me, 
for I have not yet ascended to my Father. 36 

(4) What do these words signify: 'Do not touch me, for 

1 have not yet ascended to my Father 3 ? If she could not 
touch Him when He was present on earth, could she touch 
Him when He was seated in heaven? It is as if He 
were to say: 'Do not touch Me now; you will touch Me 
when I shall have ascended to the Father. 3 Let your Charity 
recall yesterday's reading, when the Lord appeared to the 
disciples and they thought that they saw a spirit; but He, 
wishing to dispel their illusion, offered Himself to be touched. 
What did He say? It was read yesterday; the sermon was 
based on it. 'Why are you disturbed, and why do doubts 
arise in your hearts? See my hands and feet; . . . Feel me 
and see. 37 Had He yet ascended to the Father when He said: 
'Feel me and see 3 ? He presents Himself to be touched by 
His disciples, not merely to be touched, but to be handled, 
so that faith in His true flesh, faith in His true body might 

6 John 20.17. 

7 Luke 24.38-40. 


be produced, so that the substantiality of truth might be 
presented to human touch. Therefore, He offered Himself to 
be felt by the hands of the disciples, yet to the woman He 
says: 'Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my 
Father. 3 What does He mean? Could men touch Him only 
on earth, and did women have power to touch Him in heaven? 

What, therefore, does 'to touch 3 signify except 'to believe 3 ? 
For, by faith we touch Christ; it is better not to touch Him 
with one's hand and to touch Him by faith, than to feel 
Him with one's hand and not to touch Him by faith. It was 
not a great boon to touch Christ with one's hand. The Jews 
touched Him when they seized Him; they touched Him when 
they bound Him; they touched Him when they lifted Him; 
they touched Him, and by touching Him with evil intent 
they lost what they touched. By belief which touches, O 
Catholic Church, faith makes thee safe. So, touch only by 
faith, that is, approach faithfully and believe firmly. If you 
have looked upon Christ as only a Man, you have touched 
Him on earth. If you have believed that Christ as God is 
equal to the Father, then you have touched Him when He 
ascended to the Father. Hence, so far as we are concerned, He 
has ascended when we understand Him rightly. Then, at that 
time He ascended once; but now He ascends daily. O, for 
how many persons He has not yet ascended ! For how many 
persons He still lingers upon the earth ! How many say : 'He 
was a great man'! How many say: 'He was a Prophet 3 ! 
How many antichrists have arisen who, like Photinus, have 
declared: 'He was a man; He was nothing more; but He 
excelled all holy and devout men in the excellence of His 
wisdom and justice; but certainly He was not God. 3 O Pho- 
tinus, you have touched Him on earth; you have hastened 
to touch; you have rushed headlong; and, on this account, you 
have not come to the fatherland because you have wandered 
from the path. 

(5) Next, let us hear His words: I ascend to my Father 


and your Father, to my God and your God.' 8 Why does He 
not say: To our Father and our God,' instead of making 
the distinction: c to my Father and your Father 5 ? 'My Father' 
because I am His only Son; 'your Father' by grace, not by 
nature. c My Father' because I have always been His Sorr; 
'your Father' because I have chosen you. 'My God and your 
God.' Whence is God the Father of Christ? Because He 
begot Him. Whence is He His God? Because He also created 
Him. He begot Christ as the only-begotten Word; He created 
Him from the seed of David according to the flesh. There- 
fore, God is both the Father of Christ and the God of Christ : 
Father of Christ according to His divinity, God of Christ 
according to His weakness. Hear how He is the God of 
Christ; let us question the Psalmist: 'From my mother's 
womb,' he says, c thou art my God.' 9 Before the womb of 
My mother [Thou art] My Father; from My mother's womb, 
My God. Consider, then, why there is the distinction in the 
words: 'My Father and your Father.' There is this distinc- 
tion because in one way He is the Father of the only-begotten 
Son; in another way He is our Father; His Father by nature, 
ours by grace. 

Therefore, should He not have said: c To my Father and 
to your Father,' but c to our God,' because, if He is God, 
He is the God of creatures, and, on that account, of Christ, 
because Christ is a creature according to His human nature? 
God is the Father of Christ with distinction [rightfully noted] 
because Christ is the Creator; but why the distinction, c God 
of Christ,' since, according to His human nature, Christ is 
a creature, a creature even as we are? According to His 
human nature, Christ is certainly a servant, 'taking the nature 
of a slave, 310 in the words of the Apostle. Why, therefore, 
the distinction: 'My God and your God'? There is definitely 
a distinction. For God formed us all through sinful genera- 

8 John 20.17. 

9 Ps. 21.11. 
10 Phil. 2.7. 


tion; but He as Man was fashioned differently. He was born 
of a virgin; His Mother conceived Him, not by passion, but 
by faith. He did not derive sinful generation from Adam. 
We have all been born in sin; He who cleansed our sins was 
born without sin. Therefore, the distinction is made in the 
words: 'My God and your God.' You have been created 
from seed, from man and woman; from the desire of the 
flesh with sinful generation you have come into being in 
regard to whom the Scripture says: 'Who is clean in thy 
sight? Not even the infant whose life upon earth lasts for but 
one day/ 11 In a word, in the case of infants things are hurried 
along so that what they brought with them at birth, not 
what they added in life, may be removed. But Christ did not 
come thus. 'My God and your God,' { my God J on account 
of the likeness of sinful flesh; 'your God 3 on account of sinful 

(6) Up to this point it has been sufficient to draw our 
sermons from the Gospel passages which pertain to the Re- 
surrection of the Lord and which John the Evangelist wrote, 
and for that reason other passages about the Resurrection of 
the Lord from the same Gospel are going to be read. For 
no one has written in greater detail about His Resurrection 
than St. John, so that his account cannot be read in one 
day, but is also read on a second day, and on a third day 
until whatever St. John has written about the Resurrection 
of the Lord is finished. 

11 Cf. Job. 14.4. (secundum Septuagint) . 


Sermon 247 
On John 20.19-31 

(1) The account of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus 
Christ according to the four Evangelists seemed to have been 
completed yesterday. For, on the first day the account of 
the Resurrection was read according to Matthew, on the 
second day according to Luke, on the third day according 
to Mark, and on the fourth day, that is, yesterday, according 
to John. But, since John and Luke wrote very many things 
about the Resurrection itself and the events which occurred 
after the Resurrection, accounts which cannot be read aloud 
in one reading, we heard some passages from St. John both 
yesterday and today; and still other readings remain. What, 
then, did we hear today? That on the very day on which 
He rose again, that is, on the Lord's Day, when it had 
become late and the disciples were together in one place, 
with the doors closed for fear of the Jews, the Lord appeared 
in the midst of them. Hence, on that day, as John the 
Evangelist is witness, He appeared twice to His disciples, 
once in the morning and once in the evening. Also, a 
passage from the account of His appearance early in the 
morning has been read aloud to you; that He appeared again 
late on the same day we have just heard when it was read 
aloud. There was no need for me to mention these facts to 
you, but only for you to note them. However, it was fitting 
for me to mention them, by reason of the scant intelligence 
of certain persons and the excessive negligence of others, so 
that you may understand, not only what you have heard, but 
also from what portion of the Scripture that which you have 
heard was read to you. 

(2) Let us see, therefore, what today's reading presents 
to us for discussion. Obviously, the passage urges us, and in 
a certain manner tells us to say something as to how the 
Lord was able to appear to His disciples when the doors 


were closed, since He had risen in such physical substantiality 
that He was not only seen by His disciples but even touched 
by them. Some persons are so disturbed about this matter 
that they endanger themselves, setting up the prejudice of 
their own reasoning against divine miracles. In fact, they 
argue in this fashion: 'If there was a body, if there were 
flesh and bones, if that body which hung on the cross rose 
again from the tomb, how could it enter through closed 
doors? If it could not do this, 5 they say, c then it was not 
done. If it could do this, how was it able to do so? 3 If you 
understand the way, there is no miracle; and if there seems 
to you to be no miracle, you are close to denying that He 
rose again from the tomb. 

Look back over the miracles of your Lord from the begin- 
ning, and give me an explanation for each one. Man did not 
approach, and a virgin conceived. Explain how a virgin con- 
ceived without a husband. Where reason has failed, there 
faith builds up. Behold, you have one miracle in the con- 
ception of the Lord. Hear another in connection with the 
parturition. A virgin gave birth and remained a virgin. There- 
fore, even before the Lord rose again He was bora through 
closed doors. You question me saying : 'If He entered through 
closed doors, where is the extension of His body? 5 I answer: 
'If He walked upon the sea, where is the weight of His body?' 
But you say the Lord did that as the Lord. Then, did He 
cease to be the Lord when He rose again? What of the fact 
that He caused Peter to walk upon the sea? 1 What divinity 
was able to accomplish in the one case, faith brought about 
in the other. Christ, however, [did so] because He possessed 
power; Peter, because Christ helped him. If, therefore, you 
begin to discuss the explanation of miracles in a human way, 
I am afraid you are losing faith. Do you not know that 
nothing is impossible to God? Hence, to the one who has 
said to you: 'If He entered through closed doors, He had 
no body/ reply with the argument: 'On the contrary, if He 

1 Cf. Matt. 14.25-34. 


was touched, He had a body; if He ate, He had a body; 
furthermore, He did that by a miracle, not by nature. 3 Is 
not the daily course of nature itself something to be amazed 
at? All things are full of miracles, but our wonder is lessened 
by their repetition. Give me an explanation I am asking 
about things ordinary and familiar give me an explanation 
as to why the seed of so great a tree as the fig tree is so small 
that it can hardly be seen, and why the lowly gourd produces 
such a large seed. However, if you consider with your mind 
and not with your eyes: in that minute grain of seed, though 
it is scarcely visible, in that insignificance, in those cramped 
quarters, a root lies hid, strength has been implanted, future 
leaves are attached, and fruit which will appear on the tree 
is already present in the seed. There is no need of mentioning 
many examples; no one offers an explanation of daily hap- 
penings; yet you demand of me an explanation about mira- 
cles. Then, read the Gospel, and believe that things have 
been done which are wonderful. What God has done is still 
greater, and you do not marvel at what surpasses all His 
other works: there was nothing; the world now exists. 

(3) But, you say the bulk of a body could not pass through 
doors which were closed. How great was that bulk? I ask 
you. As great as exists in all bodies. 5 Not so great as in a 
camel? 'No, assuredly, not so great.' Read the Gospel; 2 hear 
what the Lord said when He wished to indicate the dif- 
ficulty with which a rich man enters the kingdom of heaven: 
*More easily does a camel pass through the eye of a needle 
than a rich man into the kingdom of heaven.' When they 
had heard this, the disciples, considering that in no way 
could a camel possibly pass through the eye of a needle, were 
sad and said to one another: c lf that is so, who, pray, will 
be able to save himself?' If it is easier for a camel to pass 
through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter 
the kingdom of heaven : in no way can a camel pass through 
the eye of a needle; therefore, it is impossible for a rich 

2 Cf. Luke 18.25-27. 


man to be saved. The Lord answered: 'Those things 
are easy for God which are impossible for men.' God can 
cause a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, and God 
can bring a rich man into the kingdom of heaven. Why do 
you heckle me in regard to closed doors? Closed doors cer- 
tainly have a crack. Compare the crack of doors and the 
eye of a needle ; compare the bulk of a human body with the 
size of camels; and do not question the divine origin of 

Sermon 248 
On John 21,1-14 

(1) Today, also, the reading was taken from the Gospel 
of the Evangelist John and was about the events which took 
place after the Resurrection of the Lord. Along with us, 
your Charity heard that the Lord Jesus Christ showed Him- 
self, to His disciples at the Sea of Tiberias; He who had al- 
ready made them fishers of men found them still fishers of 
fish. Throughout the whole night they had taken nothing, 
but, when they saw the Lord and at His bidding let down 
nets, they took the large number you have heard mentioned. 
The Lord would never have given this command unless He 
wished to indicate something which it would be of benefit 
for us to know. Why, therefore, could it interest Jesus Christ 
as something great if fishes were caught or if they were not? 
Nevertheless, that fishing was our clue. Let me recall with 
you, then, those two hauls of fish which the Apostles gathered 
in at the bidding of the Lord Jesus Christ: one before the 
Passion; the other after the Resurrection. In these two 
catches of fish, therefore, the whole Church is re- 
presented, both as she is now, and as she will be in the resur- 
rection of the dead. For now she has multitudes without num.- 


her, both good and bad; after the resurrection, however, she 
will have only the good in a fixed number. 

(2) Recall, then, that first netting .of fish 1 where we 
see the Church such as she is at this time. The Lord Jesus 
found His disciples fishing when He first called them to fol- 
low Him. At that time they had taken nothing during the 
whole night. When He appeared, however, they heard Him 
say: 'Lower the nets.' And they answered: 'Master, through- 
out the whole night we have taken nothing, but behold, at 
thy word we are lowering the net.' At the bidding of the 
Almighty they lowered the nets. What else could happen 
except what He had wished? Nevertheless, by that very in- 
cident He deigned to point out to us something advantageous 
for us to know. The nets were lowered- At that time the 
Lord had not yet suffered; He had not yet risen. The nets 
were lowered; they took so many fish that the two boats 
were filled and the nets themselves were breaking from the 
large number of fish. Thereupon He said to them: c Come, 
and I will make you fishers of men. 52 They received from 
Him the nets of the word of God; they cast them into the 
world as though into a deep sea; they took the great mul- 
titude of Christians which we perceive and marvel at. More- 
over, the two boats signified the two peoples, the Jews and 
the Gentiles, the members of the synagogue and of the 
Church, the people marked by circumcision and by uncir- 
cumcision. For, of those two ships, as of two walls coming 
together from different directions, Christ is the cornerstone. 3 
But what have we heard? There the ships were sinking be- 
cause of the great number of fish. Now the same thing is 
happening. Many Christians who live evil lives are pulling 
the Church down. It is not enough for them to crush her; 
in addition, they are breaking the nets. For, if the nets were 
not broken, schisms would not have taken place. 

1 Cf. Luke 5.4-8. 

2 Cf. Matt. 4.19. 

3 Cf. Eph. 2.11-22. 


(3) Let us pass therefore, from that fishing in which we 
now take part, and come to that which we ardently desire 
and faithfully long for. Behold, the Lord died, but He rose 
again. He appeared to His disciples near the sea; He ordered 
them to lower the nets, but not in any haphazard fashion. 
Notice this: in the first fishing episode He did not say to 
them: 'Lower the nets to the right or to the left, 3 because, 
if He were to specify 'to the left' only evil persons would 
be signified, and, if He were to specify c to the right,' only 
the good would be indicated. Hence, He did not say either 
c to the right' or 'to the left,' because the good mixed with 
the evil were to be taken. But now, after the Resurrection, 
hear, perceive, rejoice, hope, and understand what is the 
nature of the Church. 'Cast the nets to the right side,' He 
said. 4 Only those on the right side are being taken in; let 
not evil persons be feared. For you know He said He would 
separate the sheep from the goats; that He would place the 
sheep on the right side and the goats on the left; that He 
would say to those on the left: 'Go into everlasting fire,' and 
to those on the right: 'Receive the kingdom.' 5 See why He 
said: 'Cast the nets on the right side.' They cast, and they 
drew in; the number is fixed; there is no one beyond that 
number. 6 Now, however, as many as approach the altar in 
excess of the number are apparently included in God's peo- 
ple, but they are not inscribed in the book of life. It is there, 
then, that the number is fixed. Aim, also, at being among 
the number of those fishes, not only by listening and praising, 
but by understanding and by living good lives. Therefore, 
the nets are lowered, and great fish are taken, for who is 
small there where men will be equal to the angels? 7 

Accordingly, 153 large fish were taken. Someone will say 
to me: 'And will there be that many saints?' Far be it from 

4 Cf. John 21.6. 

5 Cf. Matt.25.41,34. 

6 Cf. Ps. 39.6. 

7 Cf. Matt. 22.30, 


me to conjecture that there will be so small a number of 
saints in that kingdom, even from the Church alone. The 
number will be fixed, but there will be thousands upon 
thousands from the people of Israel. St. John in the Apoca- 
lypse says 8 that from the people of Israel alone there will be 
twelve times twelve thousand 'who were not defiled with 
women; for they remained virgins. 5 However, he also says 
that so many thousands clothed in white robes came from 
other nations that he was unable to count them. 

(4) That number, therefore, carries some signification, 
and on this year's delivery of this sermon I ought to recall 
to you what you are accustomed to hear each year. There 
were 153 fishes; the number signifies thousands and thousands 
of the saints and of the faithful. Why, then, did the Lord 
deign to represent by that particular number the many thou- 
sands destined to be admitted into the kingdom of heaven? 
Hear the reason why: You know that the Law was given 
to the people of God by Moses, and that in the Law the 
Decalogue, that is, the Ten Commandments of the Law, is 
mentioned specifically. Of these commandments, the first is 
concerned with the worship of the one God; the second com- 
mandment is: Do not take the name of the Lord thy God 
in vain 5 ; 9 the third commandment relates to the observance 
of the sabbath, which the Christians keep in a spiritual man- 
ner but which the Jews violate in an earthly manner. Those 
three commandments refer to God; the other seven, to men. 
For that reason there are two chief commandments: 'Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with 
thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind. . . . And thou shalt 
love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments 
depend the whole Law and the Prophets.' 10 Therefore, be- 
cause those are the chief precepts, in the Decalogue three 

8 Cf. Apoc. 7.14. 

9 Cf, Exod. 20.7 4 
10 Matt, 22.37-41 


commandments pertain to the love of God and seven to the 
love of the neighbor. What are the seven pertaining to man? 
'Honor thy father and thy mother. Thou shalt not commit 
adultery. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou 
shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not covet thy neigh- 
bor's wife. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.' 11 

(5) No one keeps the Ten Commandments by his own 
powers unless he is aided by the grace of God. If, therefore, 
no one fulfill these commandments by his own strength unless 
God helps him by His Spirit, recall now that just as the Holy 
Spirit is commended by the sevenfold number, according to 
the holy Prophet, so man is to be filled with the Spirit of 
God, 'of wisdom and of understanding, of counsel and of 
fortitude, of knowledge and of godliness, and with the spirit 
of the fear of God.' 12 Those seven operations commend, by 
the sevenfold number, the Holy Spirit who, as it were, in 
descending to us begins with wisdom and ends at fear. But we, 
in our ascent, begin with fear and are perfected in wisdom, 
for c the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.' 13 If, 
then, there is need of the Spirit so that the Law may be 
fulfilled, add seven to ten, making the number seventeen. 
If you then add all the numbers from one to seventeen, the 
total will be 153. There is no need of mentioning all the 
numbers now; count them at home; count in this fashion, 
one plus two, plus three, plus four equals ten. In that way 
add the other numbers up to seventeen, and thus you will 
find the sacred number of the faithful and of the saints 
destined to be in heaven with the Lord. 

11 CL Exod. 20.1-18; Deut. 5.6-22. St. Augustine's enumeration of the 
Ten Commandments approximates our catechism version more closely 
than either of the Scriptural passages cited. 

12 CL Isa. 11 4. 

13 Eccli. 1.16. 


Sermon 249 

( I ) We have heard the Gospel account of how the Lord 
Jesus, after the Resurrection, appeared to the disciples who 
were fishing in the Sea of Tiberias. When He had first 
called them, He had said: c Come, follow me, and I will 
make you fishers of men. 31 And then, indeed, when they had 
been called, lowering the nets at His word, they took a large 
number of fish, but the number is not specified. Furthermore, 
in that first fishing incident, He did not say to them: 'Cast 
the net to the right side, 32 but only 'Cast 3 ; He said neither 
"to the right ' nor 'to the left. 3 Nevertheless, so great a number 
of fish was caught that it was innumerable, and their boats 
were filled. And to what extent were they laden? The Gospel 
says: 'so that they began to sink. 33 Then He said to them 
what I have mentioned above: 'Come, follow me, and I will 
make you fishers of men. 3 We belong to those nets; we have, 
indeed, been caught in those nets; but we do not remain 
captive. Let no man fear to be caught; if he can be caught, 
he cannot be deceived. 

But what is the significance of that second fishing incident 
about which the Gospel told us today? The Lord, standing 
on the shore, appeared to the fishermen, and asked them if 
they had any food. They said that they did not, for they had 
taken nothing during the whole night. Then He said to them : 
'Cast the net to the right side, 3 which direction He had not 
given on the previous occasion. They obeyed, and they were 
not able to draw in the net because of the great number 
of fish. Moreover, 153 fish were found in it. And, since 
it had been stated that, in the first fishing incident, the nets 
were breaking because of the great number of fish, the 

1 Matt. 4.19. 

2 Cf. John 21.6. 

3 Cf. Luke 5.1-11. 


Evangelist took pains to say in regard to this haul: c And, 
although there were so many, the net was not torn. H 

( 2 ) Let us distinguish between these two fishing incidents : 
the one before the Resurrection, the other after the Resur- 
rection. In the former, the nets were lowered in any direction; 
the right is not mentioned, lest only the good should be in- 
cluded; the left is not mentioned, lest only the evil should be 
included. Hence, the good and the evil were mixed together. 
And the nets were broken by reason of the great number. 
Broken nets suggest schisms. We see this; thus it is; thus it 
happens. The two ships are filled on account of the two 
peoples. the circumcised and the uncircumcised and they 
are filled to such an extent that they are overwhelmed and 
almost sinking. What this signifies is lamentable. A group has 
upset the Church. How great is the number of those who 
have been living evil lives, pressing and complaining! But 
the boats have not been sunk because of the good fishes. 

Now let us consider that later fishing incident, the one after 
the Resurrection. No evil person will be there; great security 
will be there, but only if you will be good. Be good in the midst 
of evil, and so you will be good when the evil are not present. 
There is reason for your being disturbed in that first fishing 
episode; you are among evil persons, O you who hear me 
faithfully, O you for whom what I say does not pass in vain 
but descends into the heart, O you who are more afraid to 
live badly than to die badly because if you have lived a good 
life you will not have a bad death you, therefore, who listen 
to me in order not only to believe but to live rightly, live 
good lives and so live even amidst the wicked; be unwilling 
to break the nets. Those who made their own decisions and 
were unwilling to put up with others because they were evil 
have broken the nets and have perished in the sea. Live good 
lives in the midst of the wicked; let not bad Christians per- 
suade you to live bad lives. Let your heart not say: 'I alone 
am good. 3 If you have begun to be good, believe that, if you 

4 John 21.11. 


have begun to be so, others can be good, also. Do not com- 
mit adultery; do not commit fornication; do not perpetrate 
a fraud; do not steal; do not give false testimony; do not 
swear falsely; do not become inebriated; do not fail to repay 
loans; do not fail to restore somebody else's property found 
in the street. Shun these and similar actions, and you will be 
secure amid the bad fish. You swim about in the same nets; 
but you will come to the shore; you will be found on the 
right side after the resurrection. There, there will be no evil 
person. What good is it for you to know the Law, to under- 
stand the commandments of God, to know how to distinguish 
between good and evil if you do not act accordingly? Is not 
your conscience punished on account of that very knowledge? 
So learn that you may put your knowledge into practice. 

(3) The commandments of God are contained in the De- 
calogue because of a great mystery of perfection. The ten 
precepts were written on stone tablets by the finger of God, 
that is, by the Holy Spirit. On one tablet were the precepts 
which relate to God; on the other, those which pertain to 
man. Why so? Because on the love of God and of neighbor 
depend the whole Law and the Prophets. 5 But of what value 
are the Ten Commandments? The Law has been given, but 
c if a law had been given that could give life, justice would 
truly be from the Law.' 6 You know the Law, but you do not 
fulfill the Law. 'The letter kills,' but, so that you may fulfill 
what you know, 'the spirit gives life.' 7 Let seven be added 
to ten, for, just as the Law is signified by the Decalogue, 
so the Holy Spirit is represented as sevenfold. He is called 
down upon the baptized so that, according to the Prophet, 
God may give them the spirit of wisdom and of understand- 
ing behold two; the spirit of counsel and of fortitude 
behold four; the spirit of knowledge and of godliness behold 
six; the spirit of fear of the Lord behold seven. 8 When those 

5 Cf. Matt. 22.37-40, 

6 Gal. 3.21. 

7 2 Cor. 3.6. 

8 Cf. Isa. 11.2,3. 


seven are added, they make ten. What did I say? The state- 
ment is, as it were, absurd: when seven and ten are added, 
they make ten, just as if I had forgotten how to count. I 
ought to have said: 'When seven and ten are added, they 
make seventeen.' Everybody knows that, for when I said: 
"If seven and ten are added, they make ten/ did not even 
the children laugh at me? Yet I do say that; I repeat it, and 
I am not ashamed. When you understand, you will not 
censure me in my computation, but you will take pleasure 
in my argument. The ten are the precepts of the Law, but 
I have also enumerated the seven co-operating graces of the 
Holy Spirit. When those seven are added, they make the 
precepts ten; when the Holy Spirit has been added, the Law 
is fulfilled. But, if the seven have not been added, the others 
do not make ten; they will exist in the letter, but the letter 
kills; knowledge makes a prevaricator. Let the Spirit be added 
and, by the help of God, not by your own endeavors, the 
Law is fulfilled. 

Therefore, reflect upon this. Let us not be too anxious to 
attain to the Ten. Tor if justice is by the Law, then Christ 
died in vain.' 9 But, for what should we strive? For the seven? 
That is a kind of situation where we have the ability to act, 
but we do not know what we are doing. Therefore, let us 
attend to the seventeen. The Law commands and the Spirit 
helps; the Law co-operates with you so you may know what 
to do; the Spirit, that you may do it. Then, let us strive for 
the seventeen; let us add up the seventeen numbers; and 
we shall find ourselves in the 153. You already know this; I 
have often said it; I have often pointed it out. The numbers 
from one to four total ten, but only on condition that you 
add them all. Let two follow one; then add the two; now 
there are three. Let three follow two; now there are six. Let 
four follow three; now there are ten. Why am I exerting 
myself? I am saying what you already know. Add the other 
numbers and you will reach the total. When, by the successive 

9 Gal. 2.21. 


additions, you have come to number seventeen, you will reach 
153. What does 'by successive additions' mean? By advancing, 
as it were, step by step, you will come to the right side. 
Obey me; do the addition for your own benefit. 

Sermon 250 

(1) The Lord Jesus, choosing the weak things of the 
world to confound the strong and gathering His Church 
from the whole face of the earth, did not begin with generals 
or senators, but with fishermen. For, if they had enjoyed any 
honors before their selection, they would have dared to at- 
tribute the Lord's choice to themselves, not to the grace of 
God. The Apostle disclosed this hidden plan of God, this 
plan of our Saviour, when he said: Tor consider your own 
call, brethren, 5 (these are the words of the Apostle) e that 
there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many 
mighty, not many noble. But ... the weak things of the 
world has God chosen to put to shame the strong, and the 
base things of the world and the despised has God chosen, 
and the things that are not as well as the things that are, 
to bring to naught the things that are; lest. any flesh should 
pride itself before him.' 1 The Prophet, too, said this: 'Every 
valley shall be filled; every mountain and hill shall be made 
low; the surface of the fields shall be leveled.' 2 Finally, today 
both noble and ignoble, learned and unlearned, poor and 
rich alike draw near to the grace of God. In the reception 
of that grace, pride takes no precedence over humility, over 
the one who knows nothing and who possesses nothing. But 
what did He say to them? 'Come, follow me, and I will make 
you fishers of men.' 3 If those fishermen had not preceded, 
who would have taken us? Now, however, any orator will 

1 Cf. 1 Cor. 1.27-30. 

2 Cf. Isa. 40.4. 

3 Matt. 4.19. 


be considered great if he is able to give a good explanation 
of what a fisherman wrote. 

(2) Since, therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ had chosen 
fishers of fish and had made them fishers of men, He wished, 
in those fishing experiences of theirs, to teach us something 
about the call of nations. Notice that the two fishing episodes 
have been differentiated by an essential distinction, the one 
being when the Lord chose men from the class of fishermen 
and made them His disciples, the other being the incident 
after the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ which we have 
just heard when the holy Gospel was read. One was 
before the Resurrection; the other, after the Resurrection. 
We ought to give careful consideration to what constituted 
the difference between the two fishing episodes, the means of 
our instruction being the recent account of the Gospel in 
which, having found the disciples fishing, the Lord said to 
them: 'Lower your nets.' They answered: The whole night 
through we have . . . taken nothing,' that is, we have labored 
in vain, 'but, behold, at thy word we will lower the nets.' 
They lowered the nets and took so great a haul that they 
filled two boats which were so weighed down with the large 
number of fish that they began to sink. Furthermore, because 
of the large number of fish, the nets were broken. Then it 
was He said to them: 'Come, follow me, and I will make you 
fishers of men.' Thereupon, leaving their nets and boats, 
they followed Christ. 1 

After the Resurrection, however, the Lord Christ used 
another fishing incident different from the one we have been 
considering. For, in the former He said: "Lower the nets,' 
without specifying c to the left' or 'to the right,' saying merely: 
'Lower the nets.' For, if He had said to the left/ He would 
have indicated only the evil; if He had said 'to the right,' 
He would have indicated only the good. Therefore, because 
He said neither 'to the right' nor k to the left,' both good 
and evil were included, in regard to whom the Gospel says 

4 Luke 5 .-1,5,11. 


in another passage that the master of a household, having 
prepared a feast, sent out his servants who brought in all 
whom they could find, both good and bad, and the marriage 
feast was filled with guests. 5 Now, the Church is like this 
feast, filled with the good and the bad. The Church is filled 
with a large number; but that large number is now over- 
whelming her and is beginning to bring shipwreck upon her. 
The multitude of those living evil lives so disturbs those living 
good lives that he who lives righteously looks upon himself 
as a fool when he considers those who live bad lives, especially 
since many guilty people are found to be fortunate in this 
world's goods and many guiltless people are found to be 
unfortunate. How one has to fear lest he be overwhelmed 
by shipwreck and sunk ! How one has to fear, dearly beloved, 
lest he who lives righteously should say: 'How does it 
profit me to live uprightly? For, behold, he who lives a 
bad life is more highly honored than I. Of what use is it for 
me to live a good life? I am constantly running a risk; I live 
in fear of being ruined.' 

In an endeavor to lift such a person from the depths, I 
shall say to him: 'Live a good life, you who are already 
doing so; do not grow weary; do not look back. Your Lord's 
promise is true when He says: "Whoever perseveres to the 
end, he shall be saved." ' 6 You answer: C I notice that the 
one who lives an evil life is fortunate. 3 You are mistaken; he 
is unfortunate, and he is more unfortunate to that very degree 
in which he seems to you to be more fortunate. His is an 
insanity which does not recognize its own misery. If you 
were to see a man in a high fever laughing, you would feel 
sorry for him as for one insane. What has been promised to 
you has not yet materialized. He who seems to you to be more 
fortunate is satisfied with visible and temporal joys; he is 
delighted with them. Yet, he did not bring them with him, 
nor will he take them away with him; he came into life 

5 Cf. Matt. 22.1-11. 

6 Matt. 24.13. 


naked, and naked he will depart. From false joys he is des- 
tined to come to real sorrows. However, what has been pro- 
mised to you has not yet materialized. Be patient, so that 
you may come to it; persevere, so that you may not cheat 
yourself by giving up, for God cannot deceive you. 

Behold, I have spoken these few words so that your ships 
may not be overwhelmed. However, there was another more 
detestable aspect to that fishing incident, namely, that their 
nets were broken. The nets were broken; heresies were 
brought into existence. For, what else are schisms but rents? 
Thus, that first fishing must be so tolerated and endured that 
no one may be worn out by weariness, although it was 
written: 'A fainting hath taken hold of me, because of the 
wicked that forsake thy law/ 7 The ship which is laden with 
the multitude cries out as if it had a voice: C A fainting hath 
taken hold of me, because of the wicked that forsake thy 
law. 3 Although you are hard pressed, see to it that you are 
not submerged. For the present, evil people must be tolerated, 
not separated. Mercy and judgment I sing to the Lord': 8 
mercy is demanded first; judgment is exercised afterwards; 
the separation will be made at the judgment. Now let the 
good man hearken to me, so that he may become better; 
and let the evil hearken, so that hp may become good, since 
this is the time for repentance, and not yet for judgment. 
Let us pass from that fishing which has joys mixed with 
tears, joys because the good are being gathered in, mixed 
with tears because the wicked are tolerated with difficulty. 

(3) Let us turn our attention to the other later fishing 
incident; there let us be cheered and consoled. That incident 
took place after the Resurrection of the Lord because it 
indicated what the nature of the Church was going to be 
after His Resurrection. Behold, a direction is given to the 
disciples; the Lord who spoke before speaks now, but, 
whereas previously He told them what to lower, now He tells 

7 PS. 118.53. 

8 Cf. Ps. 100.1. 


them where to lower, that is, on the right side of the boat. 
Hence, those persons are now gathered in who will stand at 
the right side; those are now gathered in to whom these 
words are addressed: 'Come, blessed of my Father, take pos- 
session of the kingdom.' 9 The disciples lower the nets and 
they draw in the haul. In the first case the number was not 
given; only the multitude was mentioned, but the exact num- 
ber was not specified. Truly, now there is an innumerable 
multitude; they come, they enter, and they fill the churches. 
They who fill the churches fill the theatres, and do so without 
number, but they do not belong to the number destined 
for eternal life unless they change themselves while they are 
in this life. All do not make this change, do they? No, nor 
do all the good persevere. On that account the Scripture 
says; 'Whoever perseveres to the end, he shall be saved. 510 
And to those who are still wicked, it says: 'I desire not the 
death of the sinner, but that he be converted and live.' 11 
Therefore, the number was not specified in the first instance, 
because an innumerable multitude was taken. The Psalmist 
says: C I have declared and I have spoken: they are multi- 
plied above number.' 12 

Now, however, on the right side they are not above num- 
ber; they are 153, but they are great. In fact, it was on that 
account that the Evangelist said: 'And although they were 
so great, the net was not broken.' 13 For, in the future, there 
will be a gathering together of saints, but there will not be 
the divisions and separations of heretics; there will be peace 
and there will be perfect unity. There will be not one less, 
not one more; the number will be complete. But they are 
very few, indeed, if they number only 153. Far be it from 
me to say that there will be only that many from this nation ; 
how many more will there be in the whole Church! In the 

9 Matt. 25.34. 

10 Matt. 24.13. 

11 Cf. Ezech. 33.11. 

12 Ps. 39.6. 

13 Cf. John 21.12. 


Apocalypse, John the Evangelist declares that such a great 
number of saints and of blessed ones was revealed in the 
eternal abode that no one could count them. He has made 
a statement to that effect. 14 

Nevertheless, all belong to that number, that is, to the 
153. I desire to make that number still smaller. There are 
153; let us make them fewer. Ten and seven make up those 
153. Why ten? Why seven? Ten, because of the Law; seven, 
because of the Spirit. The form is sevenfold because of the 
perfection which is mentioned in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 
The Prophet Isaias said: The holy Spirit shall rest upon 
him. 5 And when he had spoken of the Holy Spirit, he enum- 
erated the seven virtues: 'The spirit of wisdom and of 
understanding, the spirit of counsel and of fortitude' (making 
four), 'the spirit of knowledge and of godliness, the spirit of 
fear of the Lord. 315 He began with wisdom and ended with 
fear; he spoke as one descending from the highest to the 
lowest, from wisdom to fear. But, from the lowest to the 
highest, from fear to wisdom for 'the fear of the Lord is 
the beginning of wisdom' 16 that is, the gift of grace, by 
means of that sevenfold virtue the Holy Spirit works in the 
chosen ones of God so that the Law may accomplish some- 
thing there. For, if you take away the Spirit, how does the 
Law avail? It makes a prevaricator. On that account the 
Scripture says: The letter kills. 517 The Law orders and you 
do not obey. It did not kill before the order was given to you, 
and, if foreknowledge held the sinner, it did not hold the 
prevaricator. Something is commanded, and you do not do 
it; something is forbidden, and you do it. Behold, 'the letter 
kills. 9 

The Law, moreover, has ten precepts. The first precept 
of the Law is that God alone, and no other, is to be wor- 

14 Cf. Apoc. 7.9. 

15 Cf. Isa. 11.2,3. 

16 Ps. 110.10. 

17 2 Cor. 3.6. 


shiped; no idol is to be made. The second precept is: Thou 
shalt not take the name of thy God in vain, 1 The third pre- 
cept is : 'Observe the sabbath day,' not in an earthly manner, 
as the Jews do, but spiritually. Those three precepts pertain to 
the love of God. However, because the Scripture says: 'On 
these two commandments depend the whole Law and the 
Prophets,' 18 that is, on the love of God and of the neighbor, 
and since you have heard what pertains to the love of God: 
unity, truth, and peace, consider what pertains to the love 
of one's neighbor. 'Honor thy father and thy mother' : there 
you have the fourth precept. Thou shalt not commit adul- 
tery' : there you have the fifth precept. Thou shalt not com- 
mit murder' : there you have the sixth. Thou shalt not steal 5 : 
there you have the seventh. Thou shalt not bear false wit- 
ness': there you have the eighth. 'Thou shalt not covet thy 
neighbor's goods' : there you have the ninth. Thou shalt not 
covet thy neighbor's wife': there you have the tenth. 19 He 
who says Thou shalt not covet' directs His blows at internal 
sins; He strikes at the interior; it is concupiscence that per- 
petrates the deed. 

Behold, the Law exists in ten precepts, but what good is 
it if you, having learned the Law, do not observe it? You 
will be a prevaricator. In order that you may fulfill the pre- 
cepts, help is necessary. Where do we get that help? From 
the Spirit. Hence, 'the letter kills but the Spirit gives life.' 
Let seven be added to ten, making seventeen. The entire 
multitude of the perfect is included in that number. Now I 
am accustomed to tell you how those numbers come to equal 
153. Many of you already know this; nevertheless, the sermon 
must be given according to custom. Many have forgotten 
it; some have never heard it. Let those who have heard it 
and who have not forgotten it endure in patience, so that 
others may be reminded and instructed. When two persons 

18 Matt. 22.37-40. 

19 Cf. Exod. 20.1-17. 


are walking along the road, one being rather quick and the 
other rather slow, it depends upon the quicker one not to 
leave his companion behind. He loses nothing who hears 
what he has already learned, and, for the very reason that 
he loses nothing, he ought to rejoice because one who did 
not know it is being taught. Count the seventeen numbers 
from one to seventeen in such a way that you add them all, 
and you will arrive at the number 153. What are you await- 
ing from me? Count for yourselves. 

Sermon 251 

(1) The fishing of our Saviour is our salvation. More- 
over, we notice two fishing incidents in the holy Gospel of 
our Lord, that is, times when the nets were lowered at His 
word : one earlier when He chose the disciples, and the other 
when He had risen from the dead. That earlier fishing in- 
cident showed what the nature of the Church is now; the 
one which took place after the Resurrection of the Lord 
showed what the nature of the Church is going to be at the 
end of this world. Finally, in that earlier fishing, He bade 
the nets to be lowered without saying in what direction; 
He simply ordered them to be lowered. The disciples obeyed; 
there was no direction specifying c to the right' nor was there 
any direction specifying e to the left.' For the fish represented 
men. If, therefore, He had said c to the right, 5 only the good 
were going to be included; if He had said c to the left,' only 
the wicked would be taken. In fact, it was because both 
good and bad were going to be mixed together in the Church 
that the nets were lowered without any distinction, so that 
fish might be taken indiscriminately, signifying the mixture 
of the good and the bad. Furthermore, the statement is also 
made in the same passage that they took so many fish that 
the two boats were filled and were about to sink, that is, 


they were pressed down to the sinking point. 1 As a matter 
of fact, those two boats did not sink, but they were in danger 
of doing so. Why were they in danger? Because of the large 
number of fish. In this way it was pointed out that, by reason 
of the large number of people which the Church would 
gather, her discipline would be endangered. Besides, a state- 
ment was added to the account of the fishing relating that 
the nets were broken on account of the large number of fish. 
What did broken nets signify except future schisms? 

Therefore, three points were emphasized in that first fish- 
ing incident; the mixture of the good and the bad, the pres- 
sure of the crowds, and the severance of heretics. The mixture 
of the good and the bad [was indicated] because the nets 
were lowered neither to the right nor to the left; the pressure 
of the crowds, because so many were taken in that the boats 
were weighed down; the severance of heretics, because the 
number was so great that the nets were broken. 

(2) Turn your attention now to the account of the other 
fishing incident which was read aloud today. For that hap- 
pened after the Resurrection of the Lord to indicate what 
the nature of the Church would be after our resurrection. 
The Lord said: 'Cast the net to the right side' 2 Therefore, 
the number of those who will stand on His right hand was 
determined, for you remember that the Lord said that He 
will come with His angels, that all nations will be gathered 
before Him, that He will separate them as the shepherd 
separates the sheep from the goats, that He will set the sheep 
on His right side and the goats on the left, and that He will 
say to the sheep: f Come, receive the kingdom,' and to the 
goats: Go into everlasting fire.' 3 

'Cast [the net] to the right side.' It is as if He were say- 
ing: 'Now that I have risen again, I wish to show what the 
Church will be at the resurrection of the dead/ 'Cast to the 

1 Cf. Luke 5.1-7. 

2 John 21.6. 

3 Cf. Matt. 25.31-42. 


right side.' The nets were cast to the right, and the disciples 
were not able to raise them because of the large number of 
fish. In the previous incident the word 'multitude' was used, 
but here a definite number was specified both multitude 
and magnitude; there, however, the number was not men- 
tioned. For now, before the resurrection takes place and 
before the good are separated from the evil, that which the 
Prophet predicted is being fulfilled, namely: 'I have declared 
and I have spoken/ 4 What is the meaning of: T have de- 
clared and I have spoken 3 ? It signifies: 1 have lowered the 
nets. 3 And what then? 'They are multiplied above number.' 
There is a number; they exceed that number. The number 
pertains to the saints who are destined to reign with Christ. 
Now persons can enter the Church in excess of that number; 
they cannot so enter the kingdom of heaven. 

(3) For this reason, I urge you to remove yourselves from 
the evil world of our day. For this reason, I urge you, who 
wish to live, not to imitate wicked Christians. Do not say: 
"How is it? Is he not a believer, and is he intoxicated? How 
is it? Is he not a believer, and has he concubines? How is it? 
Is he not a believer, and does he daily perpetrate frauds? 
How is it? Is he not a believer, and does he consult 
astrologers? 5 Actually, you who now wish to be grain will 
then be found in the bread; you who now wish to be chaff 
will then be found in the great heap destined to be burned 
in a great conflagration. 

What follows? He continues: 5 They hauled the nets to 
the shore.' Just now, when the Gospel was read aloud, you 
heard that Peter hauled the nets to the shore. When you 
hear 'shore,' understand the end of the sea; when you hear 
'the end of the sea/ understand the end of the world. In the 
earlier fishing, the nets were not hauled to the shore; but 
the fish that were taken were poured into the boats. However, 
in this incident they hauled the nets to the shore. Hope for the 

4 Ps. 39.6. 

5 Cf. John 21.11. 


end of the world. The end is going to come to the advantage 
of those on the right, to the disadvantage of those on the 
left. And how many fishes were there? 'They hauled in the 
nets which held one hundred fifty-three fishes.' In addition, 
the Evangelist notes a necessary detail: 'And though they 
were so great/ that is, so large, 'the net was not torn.' They 
will be great, but there will not be heresies; and it is for the 
very reason that they will be great that there will not be her- 
esies. Who are the great? Read the words of the Lord Himself 
in the Gospel and you will find who are the great. For He 
says: 'I have not come to destroy the Law and the Prophets, 
but to fulfill them.' 6 

(4) Tor amen I say to you that whoever does away with 
one of these least commandments, and so teaches men' 
does away with and so teaches; 'does away with' by evil 
living, and 'so teaches' by good instruction 'shall be called 
least in the kingdom of heaven.' 7 But in what kingdom of 
heaven? In the Church which exists now, because it is also 
called the kingdom of heaven. For, if the Church which 
gathers in the good and the bad were not also called the 
kingdom of heaven, the Lord Himself, speaking in a parable, 
would not have said: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a net 
cast into the sea that gathered in fish of every kind.' But, 
behold what follows! 'The kingdom of heaven is like a net 
cast into the sea' sagenae are nets 'that gathers in fish of 
every kind.' What then? They drag them to the shore. (The 
Lord said this in the parable.) And when they have hauled 
the nets to the shore, they sit down and c gather the good 
fish into vessels, but they throw away the bad.' Moreover 
the Lord explained what He declared. What is it He says? 
'So will it be at the end of the world.' (Did you grasp the 
meaning of the word 'shore'?) He continued: 'The angels 
come and separate the wicked from among the just, and cast 

6 Cf. Matt. 5.17. 

7 Cf. Matt. 5.19. 


them into the furnace of fire, where there will be the weeping 
and the gnashing of teeth.' 8 

Nevertheless, the Church is called the kingdom of heaven. 
And, inasmuch as the sea has both good and bad fish swim- 
ming about at the same time, in that kingdom of heaven, 
that is, in the Church of our times, he is called least who 
teaches good things but does evil, because such people are 
there also. Yes, such a one is there; he is there in the king- 
dom of heaven, that is, in the Church as she exists in our 
times. He teaches good things; he does evil. He is a member, 
but he is a hireling. 'Amen I say to you,' the Lord says : 'they 
have received their reward.' 9 Such a person is of some good, 
for if they who teach good things and do evil were of no 
use, the Lord Himself would not have said to His people: 10 
'The Scribes and the Pharisees sit on the chair of Moses. Do 
what they say; do not do what they do. 5 Why? Tor they 
talk, but do nothing. 5 

(5) Therefore, let your Charity be attentive, for I desire 
to explain to you whom these great fishes represent : 'Whoever 
has done away with one of these least commandments, shall 
be called least in the kingdom of heaven/ He will be there, 
but he will be least. 'But whoever has carried them out and 
has so taught them, he shall be called great in the kingdom 
of heaven/ Behold, those are the great fishes taken on the 
right side. 'Whoever has carried them out and has so taught 
them 3 : he has done good things; he has taught good things; 
he has not contradicted his own instructions by evil living, 
having a good tongue in spite of his evil life. Therefore, 
'whoever has carried them out and has so taught them, he 
shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.' And the 
Scripture continues : Tor I say to you that unless your justice 
exceeds that of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter 
the kingdom of heaven/ 11 Now, how do you understand the 

8 Cf. Matt. 13.47-51. 

9 Matt. 6.2. 

10 Cf. Matt. 23.2-4. 

11 Cf. Matt. 5.19,20. 


words 'kingdom of heaven 3 here? As that place of which the 
Scripture says: 'Come, blessed of my Father, receive the 
kingdom. 512 'Unless your justice exceeds that of the Scribes 
and Pharisees' what does 'exceeds that of the Scribes and 
Pharisees 3 mean? Recall those Scribes and Pharisees who sit 
on the chair of Moses, of whom the Scripture says: 'Do 
what they say; do not do what they do; for they talk, but 
do nothing.' 13 Hence, the justice of the Pharisees is to talk 
and not to do. Let your justice exceed that of the Scribes 
and Pharisees so that you may both speak well and live well. 

(6) Now, therefore, what need is there of repeating the 
same statements about the number of the 153 fishes? You 
know all that. A gradually increasing number derives from 
ten and seven. Begin with one, go on to seventeen in such 
a way that you add all the intervening numbers, that is, add 
one to two, and it becomes three; add three, and it becomes 
six; add four, and it becomes ten. In this way add all the 
numbers up to seventeen, and the total is 153. Hence, our 
whole attention ought to be directed to nothing else except 
the significance of ten and seven, for therein lies the founda- 
tion of the 153. 

Now, what is the significance of the ten and the seven? 
Understand the ten as in the Law. Ten precepts were given 
first; the Decalogue was inscribed by the finger of God on 
tablets. In the ten, understand the Law; in the seven, under- 
stand the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit is presented in 
sevenfold form. On that account, sanctification is not men- 
tioned in the Law until the seventh day. God made light; 
the Scripture does not say: 'He sanctified it.' He made the 
firmament; it does not say: 'He sanctified the firmament.' 
He separated the sea from the earth; He ordered the earth 
to bud forth; it does not say: 'He sanctified it. 3 He made the 
moon and the stars; it does not say: 'He sanctified them.' 
He ordered living things that swim and fly to come forth 

12 Cf. Matt. 25.34 

13 Cf. Matt. 23.1-5. 


from the waters; it does not say: He sanctified them.' He 
ordered four-footed animals and all creeping things to come 
forth from the earth; it does not say: 'He sanctified them/ 
He made man himself; it does not say: 'He sanctified him.' 14 

(7) We have reached the seventh day whereon He rested; 
and He sanctified it. 15 By His rest, God sanctified our rest. 
Therefore, our complete sanctification will be there where 
we shall rest eternally with Him. But why should God rest, 
for He was not wearied by His work? If you were to accom- 
plish things by a mere word, you would not be tired; if you 
should give a direction and should find it carried out im- 
mediately, you would stay at rest, you would remain unex- 
hausted. He spoke a few words by which He made all 
things, and was He suddenly wearied? 

Hence, understand that the Law is represented by the ten; 
understand that the Holy Spirit is represented by the seven. 
Let the Spirit be joined to the Law, because, if you have 
received the Law, and if you lack the help of the Spirit, you 
do not fulfill what is of the Law, you do not carry out what 
is commanded you. Moreover, man under the Law is held 
as a prevaricator. Let the Spirit be added, let Him help: 
that which is commanded is accomplished. If the Spirit is 
absent, the letter kills you. Why does the letter kill you? 
Because it will make you a prevaricator. You cannot excuse 
yourself on the plea of ignorance since you have received 
the Law. Now, because you have learned what you should 
do, ignorance does not excuse you; the Spirit does not help 
you: therefore, you are ruined. But why does the Apostle 
say: The letter kills, but the spirit gives life'? 16 How does 
the Spirit give life? Because He causes the letter to be ful- 
filled so that it may not kill. The sanctified are those who 
fulfill the Law of God according to the gift of God. The 
Law can command; it cannot help. The Spirit is added as 

14 Cf. Gen. 1.1-31. 

15 Cf. Gen. 2.3. 

16 2 Cor. 3.6. 


a helper, and the commandment of God is fulfilled with joy 
and delight. Certainly many observe the Law from fear, but 
those who keep the Law from fear of punishment would 
prefer that what they fear did not exist. On the contrary, 
those who observe the Law through love of justice rejoice 
even in that respect because they do not consider it hostile 
to them. 

(8) On that account the Lord says: 'Come to terms with 
thy opponent quickly while thou art with him on the way.' 17 
Who is your opponent? The word of the Law. What is the 
way? This life. How is the word of the Law an opponent? 
It says: 'Thou shalt not commit adultery, 3 and you wish to 
commit adultery. It says: Thou shalt not covet thy neigh- 
bor's goods,' and you wish to steal the property of another. 
It says: 'Honor thy father and thy mother,' and you are 
insolent to your parents. The Law says: Do not bear false 
witness,' but you do not refrain from lying. When you see 
that the Law commands one thing and you do another, the 
Law is your opponent. You have a destructive adversary; 
let it not enter into intimacy with you; come to an agree- 
ment while you are on the way. God is near at hand to 
reconcile you. How does God reconcile you? By forgiving 
your sins, and by implanting justice so that your works may 
become good. Therefore, when you have come to terms with 
your opponent, that is, with the Decalogue of the Law 
through the Holy Spirit, you will arrive at the ten and the 
seven. When you have come to the ten and the seven, then 
the number will increase to 153. You will deserve to be 
crowned on the right side; do not remain in the left side 
to be condemned. 

17 Matt. 5.25. 


Sermon 252 

(1) In the holy Scriptures our Lord Jesus Christ shows 
both the loftiness of His divinity and the mercy of His human- 
ity in many different ways as He is accustomed to do, in 
mysteries and in symbols, so that those who ask may receive 
and those who seek may find, and so that to those who knock 
it may be opened. 3 For what was read today from the holy 
Gospel seeks an understanding heart, and gives rise to spiritual 
joy when it has been understood. Let your Holiness attend to 
the significance of what the Scripture says the Lord pointed 
out His disciples, in the way in which the Evangelist relates 
it. 2 For the disciples went out to fish and took nothing during 
the whole night. In the morning, moreover, the Lord ap- 
peared to them on the shore; He asked whether they had 
any fish to eat; they answered that they had nothing. He 
said to them: c Cast the net to the right side and you will 
find them.' He who had come as if intending to buy bestowed 
so much for nothing, and He bestowed it from the sea as 
from His own creation a great miracle indeed! 

The disciples cast the nets immediately, and they took so 
great a haul that they were unable to draw in the nets 
because of the multitude of fishes. But, as a matter of fact, 
this miracle is not so wonderful if you notice who performed 
it, for He had already performed many greater miracles. In- 
deed, the fact that, after His Resurrection, He caused fishes 
to be caught was nothing great for Him who, before His 
Resurrection, had raised the dead. Hence, we ought to inquire 
into the interior message which this miracle brings to us. 
Certainly it was not without reason that He did not say 
in indefinite terms: Cast the nets, 3 but, rather: c Cast the 
nets to the right side.' Furthermore, it was meaningful for 
the Evangelist to give the number of the fish. It was significant 
for him to say : 'And though there were so many, the nets were 
not torn.' 

1 Cf. Matt. 7.7. 

2 Cf. John 21.6-11. 


In this passage the Evangelist causes us to recall that on a 
previous occasion, when the Lord chose His disciples before 
His Passion, they likewise let down the nets at the bidding 
of the Master. Peter, John, and James were there. They cast 
the nets; they took innumerable fish. When one boat was 
filled, they sought help from the next boat, and the two 
boats were filled with fish (this was before the Resurrection), 
with so many, in fact, that the nets were breaking. 3 Why is 
no number given there? Why were the nets broken there, and 
not broken here? Why was it not said there that the nets 
were cast to the right side, and why did the Evangelist say 
here: 'Cast the nets to the right side 5 ? Assuredly, it is not 
without design, for the Lord did not do things without pur- 
pose and intent. Christ is the Word of God; He speaks to 
men not only by words but also by deeds. 

(2) Therefore, the problem as to what that diversity of 
action signifies is set before us and I shall discuss it with your 
Charity. As a matter of fact, those nets which were lowered 
on the previous occasion, which took an innumerable number 
of fishes weighing down the two boats and breaking the 
nets, were not cast to the right side; but neither is it said 
[that they were cast] to the left side. Now, the mystery of 
that first haul is fulfilled at this time, but the other is still a 
mystery, the one which He performed not without reason 
after His Resurrection when He was no more to die but was 
to live forever, not only in His divinity in respect to which 
He never died, but also in His body in which He deigned 
to die for us. Not without design, then, was the one incident 
before the Passion and the other after the Resurrection. In 
the former He said merely: Lower the nets,' specifying 
neither to the right nor to the left; in the latter, 'Cast to the 
right side.' In the first account there is no number, but only 
the fact that the catch was so great that it almost sank 
the two boats; the other account gives, in addition, the num- 

3 Cf. Luke 5.1-8. 


ber and size of the fish. Besides, the nets were broken in the 
one case; in the other, it was fitting for the Evangelist to 
say: c And although there were so many, the nets were not 

Do we not see, my brethren, that the Word of God is the 
net, that the world is the sea, and that all who believe are 
included within that net? If, by chance, anyone doubts that 
this is signified, let him consider that the Lord Himself 
declared in a parable what He indicated in this miracle. For 
He said : The kingdom of heaven is like a net cast into the 
sea that gathered in fish of every kind. When it was filled, 
they hauled it out, and sitting down on the beach, they 
gathered the good fish into vessels, but threw away the bad. 
So will it be at the end of the world. The angels will go out 
and separate the wicked from among the just, and will cast 
them into the furnace of fire, where there will be the weeping, 
and the gnashing of teeth.' 4 Hence, He seems to consider 
the nets cast into the sea as a symbol of the faith. Is not 
this world a sea in which men devour one another like fishes? 
Do not small tempests and waves of temptation disturb this 
sea? Are the dangers of those sailing, that is, of those seek- 
ing their heavenly country on the wood of the cross, trifling? 
The parallel, therefore, is very evident. 

(3) Let us see this only, my brethren (because the Resur- 
rection of the Lord indicates a new life which we shall en- 
joy when this world will have passed away), let us see how 
the Word of God was first sent into this sea, that is, into 
this world. Into this world seething with waves, dangerous 
by reason of storms, and hazardous because of shipwrecks, 
the Word of God was sent, and He took so many that the 
two boats were filled. What are those two boats? The two 
peoples, for which, as for two walls, the Lord has become 
the chief cornerstone, so that in Himself He might join to- 
gether the nations coming from different directions. 5 For 

4 Matt. 13.47-51. 

5 Cf. Eph. 2.11-22. 



the nation of the Jews came from a far different tradition; 
but the nation of the Gentiles, from the worship of idols. 
The nation of the Jews came from circumcision; the nation 
of the Gentiles, from uncircumcision. They came from dif- 
ferent directions, but they are united in the chief corner- 
stone, for walls never form a corner unless they come from 
different directions. 

In Christ, therefore, the two nations, called from the Jews 
who were nearby and from the Gentiles who were from afar, 
have come to an agreement. For, because the Jews were near 
(in fact, they already worshiped the one God), notice what 
they did when they believed in Christ. They sold whatever 
they possessed and laid the price of their property at the 
feet of the Apostles. Then distribution was made to each 
according as anyone had need. 6 They were relieved of the 
baggage of worldly cares and, with unencumbered shoulders, 
they followed Christ. They submitted their neck to His gentle 
yoke and, embracing the cornerstone from nearby, they rested 
in peace. But the nation of the Gentiles came from afar; they 
arrived at the cornerstone and were established in peace. 
Hence, the two boats represent these two nations, More- 
over, they were filled with so great a multitude of fishes that 
they were almost overwhelmed. Now, we read that among 
those of the Jews who accepted the faith there were 
earthly-minded people who brought distress upon the Church 
and who tried to prevent the Apostles from preaching the 
Gospel to the Gentiles, saying that Christ was sent only to 
the circumcised, and that, if the Gentiles wished to receive 
the Gospel, they should be circumcised. For this reason when 
the Apostle Paul was sent to the Gentiles, he, even when he 
was preaching the truth, 7 became an object of offense to 
those of the Jewish nation who had embraced the faith. For 
the Apostle wished the nation of the Gentiles to touch the 
cornerstone where peace was established, in spite of the fact 

6 Cf. Acts 4.34-36. 

7 Cf. Gal. 4.16. 


that they came from a different background. Those earthly- 
minded men, therefore, who demanded circumcision, did not 
belong to the number of spiritual persons, nor did they yet see 
that, after all earthly mysteries had been set aside, He had 
come in whose light the shadows were put to flight. Never- 
theless, because they caused disturbances, they, as it were, 
almost sank the boat because of their large number. 

(4) Let us also consider the boat of the Gentiles. Let us 
see if so great a multitude has not been gathered into the 
Church that the grains of wheat are scarcely evident in so 
great an abundance of chaff. How many are robbers, how 
many drunkards, how many slanderers, how many frequenters 
of the theatres ! Do not the same people fill the churches who 
fill the theatres? And very often, by their disturbances, they 
seek the same things in the churches as they are wont to 
look for in the theatres. And very often, if something of a 
spiritual nature is said or ordered, they resist and struggle 
against it, following the flesh and scorning the Holy Spirit. 
(Stephen accused the Jews also of this.?) Have we not ex- 
perienced in this city, my brethren, as your Holiness will 
recall with me, with what great danger to us God has driven 
drunkenness from the basilica? 9 Has not the boat been almost 
submerged by the disturbance of the earthly-minded, and we 
along with it? How does this happen except because of the 
innumerable multitude of the fish? 

Furthermore, it was also stated that the nets were broken. 
When nets have been broken, heresies and schisms have taken 
place. The nets, indeed, take in all persons; but unmanageable 
fishes, those who do not wish to come to the food of the 
Lord, push, break out, and leave whenever they can. To 
be sure, the nets are stretched out over the whole world; 
those who break out, however, do so in certain places. The 
Donatists 10 broke away in Africa, the Arians 11 broke away 

8 Cf. Acts 7.51. 

9 See St. Augustine, Letters 22 and 29. 

10 See Sermon 197 note 6. 

11 See Sermon 244 note 13. 


In Egypt, the Photinians 12 broke away in Pannonia, the Cata- 
phrygians 13 broke away in Phrygia, and the Manichaeans 14 
in Persia. In how many places the net has been broken! 
Nevertheless, it brings to the shore those whom it includes. 
Certainly it brings some to shore, but when they break the 
net, do all the wicked leave? 15 Assuredly, people do not de- 
part unless they are evil; both good and evil, however, re- 
main. Otherwise, how is the net brought to the shore with 
both the good and bad fishes of which the Lord spoke in the 

(5) In fact, a threshing floor in operation bears a like 
resemblance. There is chaff and there is grain; neverthe- 
less, those who look at the floor find it difficult to see 
anything but chaff. There is need of diligence in order to find 
grain in the chaff. But the winds blow over the entire 
threshing floor. And when it is being threshed, before it is 

12 See Sermon 244 note 14. 

13 The name Cataphrygians was applied in the West to the members 
of the schismatical sect founded in Phrygia by the pseudo-prophet 
Montanus in the last half of the second century. With the assistance 
of two women, Priscilla and Maximilla, who, like him, claimed to 
have ecstasies in which they received communications from the Holy 
Spirit, Montanus strove to purify and reinvigorate the Church, and 
he prevailed upon many followers to live a more spiritual life in 
preparation for the second coming of Christ. With exaggerated 
rigorism, where the Christians praised chastity, Montanus condemned 
marriage or, at least, the remarriage of the widowed; where Christians 
relied on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Montanus claimed to be 
the mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit; where Christians extolled martyr- 
dom, Montanus commanded that it be sought; where Christians 
submitted to the hierarchical authority of their pastors, Montanus 
substituted personal inspiration and ecstasy. From their original 
endeavors to revive the primitive fervor of the Christians, the Mon- 
tanists ended in arrogantly declaring that the Holy Spirit had 
descended upon Montanus in a fuller manner than upon the Apostles. 
Tertullian became one of their most ardent converts. In spite of 
condemnation and excommunication, the sect lingered until the fifth 
century, when the survivors submitted to the authority of the Church. 
Cf. Mourrett-Thompson, History of the Catholic Church (St. Louis 
1931) I 306-331; M. L. Cozens, A Handbook of Heresies (London 
1928) 23-26. 

14 See Sermon 237 note 2. 

15 The reading suggested in Migne, PL 38.1174, has been followed here: 
Sed numquid cum rumpunt retia omnes mail exeunt? 


raised up to be tossed by the wind, does it not endure the 
winds then also? The wind blows and it raises the chaff 
from one side, so to speak; then it blows again and it lifts 
it to the other side. From any place whatever it lifts the 
chaff and tosses it into the hedge, among the thorns, and to 
any place at all. Furthermore, the wind cannot lift the grain ; 
it lifts only the chaff. Nevertheless, when the blasts of wind, 
blowing from all directions, have taken away the chaff, will 
wheat alone remain on the threshing floor? Nothing leaves 
the floor except chaff; however, both chaff and grain remain. 
Where does all the chaff go? When the Lord will come 
bearing His winnowing fan in His hand, He will cleanse 
His threshing floor; He will gather the wheat into His barn, 
but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. 16 Let 
your Holiness listen more attentively to what I am saying. 
For now and then the winds which lift the chaff from the 
threshing floor blow back again from the hedge where the 
chaff was caught and bring it back again to the floor. In 
the same way, for example, some man or other, enrolled in 
the Catholic Church, has suffered some trial of tribulation. 
He has seen that he could be helped in a wordly fashion by 
business with the Donatists, but they said to him: c You will 
get no assistance unless you join us. 3 The wind has blown; 
it has cast him among thorns. If it should happen that he has 
worldly business again which can be concluded only in the 
Catholic Church, paying no attention to where he is, but 
regarding only where he will transact his business more ad- 
vantageously, as if by a wind blowing from the other side 
of the hedge, he is brought back to the threshing floor of 
the Lord. 

(6) Hence, my brethren, those who seek earthly advan- 
tages in the Church do not set before their minds what God 
promises, for here there are temptations, dangers, and diffi- 
culties but He promises eternal rest and the companionship 
of the holy angels after these temporal sufferings. Therefore > 

16 Cf. Matt. 3.12. 


by failing to set these promises before their minds and by 
desiring temporal advantages in the Church, they are chaff 
whether they are on the threshing floor or outside it. We 
neither rejoice to any great degree with them nor do we 
curry their favor by meaningless flattery; it is to their own 
advantage to become grain. Of course, there is this difference 
between real chaff and these men: the chaff does not have 
free will, but God has given free will to man. If man wishes, 
what was chaff yesterday becomes grain today; if he turns 
away from the word of God, man becomes chaff today. And 
grain is not to be sought there unless the final winnowing 
brings such persons to light. 

(7) Now, my brethren, consider that blessed, mystical, 
and great Church which the 153 fishes represent. For we 
have heard, we know, and we see what its nature is now; 
what it will be like in the future, however, is disclosed to us 
only in prophecy; up to this time we have not an experi- 
mental knowledge of it. Nevertheless, we may rejoice about 
that future Church in spite of the fact that we do not yet 
see it in actuality. On the former occasion, the nets were 
lowered with no distinction as to the right or left, because 
they were intended to catch both the good and the bad. For, 
if the direction c to the right' were given, the wicked would 
not be included; if the direction e to the left 5 were given, 
the good would not be included. However, since the nets 
were destined to hold both the good and the bad, they were 
lowered here and there, without specific direction, and they 
took in both unjust and just, as I have pointed out. But 
then, in the future Church, in that holy Jerusalem where 
the hearts of all mortals will be open to view, there need be 
no fear that anyone who is wicked will enter into that 
Church, for no one will then conceal under the cloak of 
mortality the craftiness of a most vile heart. As a matter of 
fact, the Lord is coming soon. On that account, after His 
Resurrection when He is to die no more, He orders the nets to 
be cast on the right side. Then what the Apostle relates will 


happen: 'When the Lord comes and brings to light the 
things hidden in darkness, He will make manifest the counsels 
of hearts; and then everyone will have his praise from God.' 17 
At that time, consciences which have been veiled will be 
laid bare. Then, therefore, the good alone will be present; 
the wicked will be driven out. For the nets were cast to the 
right; they will not be able to take in the wicked. 

(8) Why, therefore, were there 153 fishes? Will there be 
only that many saints? For, if we count, not all the faithful 
who have departed from the body in the midst of a good life, 
but the martyrs alone, if one day of suffering be considered 
a martyrdom, many thousands of men will be found crowned 
as saints. Hence, without a doubt, the significance of the 153 
fishes must be investigated. What does the fifty signify? In 
fact, there is a mystery in that number, that is, in the fifty, 
because fifty taken three times equals 150. On this account, 
the number three appears in addition, so that we may be in- 
structed as to the multiplier by which the 150 was produced, 
as if the direction were given: 'Divide the 150 into three 
parts. 3 But, if the number 152 were mentioned, guided by 
that number which is over and above [the 150] we would 
divide it into two parts of seventy-five, since seventy-five 
taken twice equals 150. Indeed, the addition of the number 
two would indicate a twofold division. If 156 were men- 
tioned, we should have divided it into parts of twenty-five 
each so that there would be six parts. But now, because 153 
was mentioned, we ought to divide that whole number, that 
is, 150, into three parts. Of this number, therefore, fifty is 
a third part. And so, our entire consideration must be fixed 
on the number fifty. 

(9) Is it merely by chance that the days which we now 
celebrate are fifty in number? Indeed, it is not without good 
reason that the Church maintains this practice of long-stand- 
ing tradition, so that the 'Alleluia' is said throughout these 
fifty days. For 'Alleluia' indicates praise of God; hence, to 

17 Cf. 1 Cor. 4.5. 


us who are laboring it signifies the attainment of our rest. 
For, when we come to that rest after this period of labor, 
our sole occupation will be the praise of God, our action 
there will be 'Alleluia.' What does 'Alleluia 3 mean? Praise 
God. Who would faultlessly praise God except the angels? 
They do not experience hunger or thirst or sickness or death. 
But we also have sung 'Alleluia.' It was sung here early in 
the morning, and when we were present, we sang 'Alleluia' 
a little while ago. A certain suggestion of the divine praise 
and of that peace reaches us, but, for the greater part, our 
mortality presses us down. We grow weary from speaking, 
and we wish to rest our limbs. If we were to say 'Alleluia' 
for a long period of time, the praise of God would become 
a burden for us because of the weight of our body. But, 
after the labors of this world, there will be an unceasing 
repetition of 'Alleluia.' What [are we to do], then, my 
brethren? Let us say it as often as we can so that we may 
merit to say it eternally. There 'Alleluia' will be our food; 
'Alleluia' will be our drink; 'Alleluia' will be our peaceful 
action; 'Alleluia' will be our whole joy, that is, the praise 
of God. For who ceaselessly praises anything except the one 
who enjoys without distaste? Therefore, how much strength 
will there be in the mind, how much immortality and 
firmness in the body so that the application of the mind may 
not fail in contemplating God and the body may not succumb 
in constantly praising God? 

(10) Why, therefore, do we celebrate this mystery [of 
the Resurrection] for fifty days? The Lord passed forty days 
with His disciples after the Resurrection, as the Acts of the 
Apostles testify. After forty days He ascended into heaven, 
and on the tenth day after His Ascension He sent tEe Holy 
Spirit. Filled with the Holy Spirit, the Apostles and all who 
had assembled into one place spoke with the gift of tongues 
and performed those wonderful deeds which we, reading 
and believing, accept when we utter the word of God with 


great confidence. 18 The Lord passed forty days on earth with 
His disciples; He fasted for forty days before His Passion. 19 
You find that no other person fasted for forty days except the 
Lord, and Moses, and Elias. 20 Because the Gospel draws its 
testimony from the Law and the Prophets, 21 the Lord 
[represents] as it were, the Gospel; Moses, the Law; and 
Elias, the Prophets. For that reason, too, when our Lord 
Jesus wished to manifest His glory on the mountain, He 
stood between Moses and Elias. 22 He Himself, in the middle, 
was resplendent in honor; the Law and the Prophets gave 
witness on the two sides. 

Therefore, the number forty represents this period in which 
we labor in this world, because wisdom is temporarily 
portioned out to us here. For, in one way, the vision of 
wisdom is immortal, timeless; in another way, it is granted 
for a time. Indeed, the patriarchs lived here, and passed 
from hence; their dispensation was transitory. I do not say 
they live only for a time, for they live forever and they live 
with God. But the transmission of the word which was made 
through their instrumentality was temporal, for they do not 
speak here and now, but what they said was written down 
and is read in the course of time. The Prophets came at 
their particular time, and they, too, have departed. The 
Lord came in His own good time, and, as a matter of fact, 
the presence of His majesty never departed; present every- 
where by His divinity, He never really withdrew but, as the 
Gospel says: 'He was in the world and the world was made 
through him, and the world knew him not. He came unto 
his own and his own received him not. 323 How was He here 
and how did He come unless He came in His humanity 
since He was already here in His divinity? Now, because 

18 Cf. Acts 1-2, 

19 Cf. Matt. 4.2. 

20 Cf. Exod. 34.28; 3 Kings 19.8. 

21 Cf. Rom. 3.21. 

22 Cf. Matt. 17.2-4. 

23 John 1.10-12. 


He came in human form, He manifested His wisdom to us 
for a time ; temporarily through the Law, temporarily through 
the Prophets, and temporarily through the writings of the 

Indeed, when time has passed, we shall see that it is 
Wisdom itself, just as it is, which has given us the number 
ten. For the number seven indicates creation, because God 
worked on six days, but He rested from His labor on the 
seventh day. The number three signifies the Creator, Father, 
Son, and Holy Spirit. Wisdom has been made perfect to 
subdue the creature to the Creator, to distinguish the Maker 
from the thing called into existence, and the Artist from the 
work of His hands. He who confuses the art with the Artisan 
knows neither the art nor the Artisan, but he who distin- 
guishes is filled with wisdom. The number ten, then, is the 
fullness of wisdom. But, since the distribution is made in 
time, and since the number four is the indication of tempo- 
rality, then ten multiplied by four gives the number forty. 
Besides, the year is differentiated in a fourfold manner by 
spring, summer, autumn, and winter, and this fourfold 
change is especially noticeable in time. The Scripture, too, 
mentions four winds ; through four channels the Gospel which 
is preached in all time has spread; and that Church is truly 
catholic which has gained acceptance in the four corners 
of the world. Hence, in this way, ten becomes the number 

(11) Therefore, they fasted for forty days, signifying by 
that period of time that abstinence from the love of temporal 
things is necessary, for those constant fasts for so many days, 
that is, for forty days, indicate this. For that same reason, 
the people of Israel were led through the desert for forty 
years before they entered the Promised Land to rule over it. 
So we, too, in this life where there is the utmost anxiety, 
where there is fear, where there are dangers from tempta- 
tions, are being led, as it were, through a desert by a temporal 
dispensation. But when we shall have made good use of these 


days, forty in number, that is, when we shall have lived well 
in this temporal dispensation, walking according to the 
precepts of the Lord, we shall receive that tenfold reward 
of the faithful, inasmuch as when the Lord hired workmen 
for His vineyard He gave them ten coins in payment. To 
all those who had been hired early in the morning, those 
at mid-day, and those at the close of day to all He gave 
ten coins, 24 because, if anyone has been faithful from his 
earliest years, he is going to receive ten coins, no longer 
through a temporal dispensation, but because of a wisdom 
which distinguishes the Creator from the creature in eternal 
contemplation, so that he enjoys the Creator and offers 
praise to the Creator as from a creature. Moreover, another 
youth has believed, but has not been faithful from his early 
years; he, too, is going to receive ten coins. Besides, an old 
man has believed ; led to the vineyard now at the close of the 
day, as it were at the eleventh hour, he is going to receive 
ten coins also. Thus, to the forty days which have been well 
spent add the reward of ten coins and you will have the 
number fifty which signifies the future Church where God 
will be praised eternally. But, because all have been called 
in the name of the Trinity to live good lives in these days 
forty in number, and to receive the ten coins, multiply that 
total of fifty by three and you have the number 150. Add 
the mystery of the Trinity and you have 153, the number 
of fishes found on the right side, in which number, however, 
countless thousands of saints are included. Hence, no evil 
persons will be cast out, because they will not be there; nor 
will the nets which are the bonds of unity and peace be 
broken by any schism. 

(12) I think that this great mystery has been made suffi- 
ciently clear, but you know that it behooves us to work well 
during this period of forty days so that we may be able to 
praise the Lord during the fifty days. For that reason we 
spend these forty days before we keep vigil in labor, fasting, 

24 Cf. Matt. 20.1-10. 


and abstinence; for these are the marks of this present time. 
However, after the Resurrection of the Lord, because those 
days signify everlasting joy (they are not yet this, but they 
signify it, the whole future being enveloped in mystery, 
brethren, and not yet existing in actuality, for when the 
Pasch is celebrated, the Lord is not actually crucified, but 
in a certain way we show forth past events by a yearly 
celebration, so we indicate future conditions which do not 
exist), therefore, at the period of fifty days we relax our 
fasting, for the number of those days signifies future rest. 

But, see to it, my brethren, lest, wishing to celebrate these 
days in a worldly fashion by excessive inebriation, as if this 
were permitted by the great relaxation, you may not merit 
to observe with the angels forever what these days fore- 
shadow. In fact, if I have chided any intoxicated person, 
he will say to me: You told us that these days signify ever- 
lasting joy; you declared that this season foretells angelic 
and heavenly delight; should I not have done w r ell by myself, 
then? 5 Would that it were well and not ill! For this season 
predicts joy for you if you have been the temple of God. 
However, if you fill the temple of God with the uncleanness 
of intoxication, the Apostle says to you: 'If anyone destroys 
the temple of God, him will God destroy.' 25 Let this be 
engraven in the hearts of your Holiness that it is better to be 
a man who knows less and who lives a better life, than to 
be a man who knows much but does not live a good life. 
Indeed, it is perfect and complete happiness for each one to 
understand readily and to live well; but if, by chance, both 
blessings are not possible, then it is better to live well than 
to understand quickly. For, he who lives a good life merits to 
understand more; he who lives a bad life will lose what he 
understands. Thus Scripture says: 'To everyone who has 
shall be given, but from him who does not have even that 
which he seems to have shall be taken away.' 26 

25 1 Cor. 3.17. 

26 Cf. Matt. 25.29. 


Sermon 253 

( 1 ) The reading of the Gospel of St. John, which is called 
the Gospel according to John, was finished today with those 
words in which he told how the Lord appeared to His disci- 
ples after the Resurrection. After the Lord had conquered 
death, therefore, He, now alive again, accosted that head- 
strong denier, the Apostle Peter, and addressed him, 1 saying : 
'Simon, son of John (for so Peter was called) dost thou love 
me? 5 Peter answered what was in his heart. Now, if Peter 
answered what was in his heart, why did the Lord who saw 
his heart question him? Indeed, Peter himself, also wondered 
at this, and listened with a certain amount of anxiety to the 
question of the Lord who, he realized, knew the answer. The 
Lord said once: 'Dost thou love me?' Peter answered: C I 
love thee, Lord ; thou knowest it.' And again to the question : 
'Dost thou love me?' Peter replied: 'Lord, thou knowest all 
things, thou knowest that I love thee.' For the third time, the 
Lord asked: 'Dost thou love me?' Peter was grieved. Why 
are you grieved, Peter, at making this threefold declaration 
of your love? Have you forgotten your thrice-repeated fear? 
Let the Lord question you; He who interrogates you is a 
Physician; what He asks pertains to your well-being. Do not 
be overcome with anxiety. Wait; let the number of your 
declarations of love be completed so that it may cancel the 
number of your denials. 

In each instance, however, in each instance, that is, in 
each part of the threefold interrogation, the Lord commends 
His flock to Peter as he reiterates his love, saying: Teed my 
lambs; feed my sheep,' as if He meant: 'What return are 
you making to Me in proof of your love? Show your love 
in regard to My sheep. What are you giving to Me in proof 
of your love for Me, since I have given you the opportunity 
to love Me? But, as a matter of fact, you have a chance to 

1 Cf. John 21.15-18. 



show your love for Me; you have an occasion where you 
may give expression to it: 'Feed my lambs/ 

( 2 ) Moreover, in the following passage, the Lord indicated 
how the lambs of the Lord were to be fed, and with what 
great love sheep purchased at so great a price were to be 
nurtured. For after Peter, upon the attainment of the required 
limit of the threefold response, had acknowledged that he 
was a lover of the Lord, and after the Lord's sheep had been 
entrusted to his keeping, he learned about his future suffer- 
ing. Hereupon the Lord declared that His sheep were to be 
so loved that those to whom He entrusted them should be 
ready to die for them. Thus the same writer, John, says in 
his Epistle: 'Just as Christ laid down his life for us, so we 
ought to lay down our life for the brethren.' 2 

Hence, when Peter had previously said: e l will lay down 
my life for thee,' 3 he had answered the Lord with a certain 
proud presumption; he had not yet received the strength 
with which to carry out that promise. But now, at this 
moment, he is so filled with love that he is able to do so. 
Therefore, to the Lord's question: 'Dost thou love me?' he 
answers: 'I do love thee,' because nothing but love fulfills 
such a promise. Then, what was it, Peter, that you feared 
when you denied? All that you feared was death. He, whom 
you saw dead, now living speaks to you. Do not fear death 
any longer; what you feared has been conquered by the 
Lord. He hung upon the cross; He was affixed to it with 
nails; He breathed forth His spirit; He was pierced with 
a lance; He was placed in the tomb. When you denied, you 
feared all this; you feared that you would suffer this; and, 
by fearing death, you denied life. Understand this now : when 
you feared to die, then you died. (For he, Peter, died by 
denying; but he rose again by his weeping.) 

What was it that the Lord then said to Peter when He 

2 Cf. 1 John 3.16. 

3 John 13.37. 


recognized his ripeness for suffering? 4 'Follow me. 3 For if 
you remember in truth, because those who have read it do 
remember, let those who do not remember it be reminded 
and let those who have not read it be enlightened if you 
remember, when Peter had said: 'I shall follow thee where- 
soever thou shalt go/ the Lord answered: Thou canst not 
follow me now, but thou shalt follow later. 3 'Thou canst 
not now, 3 He said; 'you promise, but I see your strength. 
I look into the depths of your heart, and I disclose the truth 
to one who is weak. You cannot follow Me now. 3 But that 
pronouncement of the Physician is not a mark of despair, 
for He went on to say: 'But thou shalt follow later. Then 
you will be strong, and you will follow Me. 3 Now, because 
He sees what is transpiring in the heart of His disciple, and 
because He sees that He has given the gift of His love to 
the soul of that disciple, the Lord says to him: 'Follow me. 
As a matter of fact, I did say formerly: "Thou canst not 
follow now," but now I say: "Follow me." * 

(3) However, there has arisen a certain question which 
must not be passed over in silence. When the Lord had said 
to Peter: 'Follow me, 3 Peter, looking back at the disciple 
whom Jesus loved, that is, at John who wrote this Gospel, 
said to the Lord: 'Lord, and what of this man? I know that 
you love him. How is that I shall follow and he shall not?' 
But the Lord answered: 'So I wish him to remain until I 
come. . . . Do thou follow me. 35 In truth, that very Evangelist 
who wrote this account and of whom the Lord said: 'I wish 
him to remain until I come,' went on to add his own com- 
mentary in the Gospel, saying that, because of this statement, 
the report 'went abroad among the brethren that that disciple 
was not to die. 3 And, to remove that opinion, he added: 
'But he did not say that he was not to die. On the contrary, 
he only said: "So I wish him to remain until I come. . . . 

4 Cf. John 21.19-21;13.36. 

5 Cf. John 21.22. The word sic of the text is translated here and else- 
where as 'so/ instead of as 'if as in the Confraternity Edition. 


Do thou follow me." 56 Therefore, in the following words 
John himself denied the false report according to which the 
people thought that he, John, was not going to die, and 
lest it should be believed, he added: 'The Lord did not say 
this, but He make this other statement.' However, John did 
not disclose why the Lord had spoken thus. Instead, he left 
that problem to us to see if, in response to our knocking, 
the door might be opened to us. 

(4) So far as the Lord designs to grant [light] to me, so 
far as it appears to me (yet better minds may see it in a better 
light) I think that this problem may be solved in two ways: 
either the Lord said what He did say about the suffering 
of Peter, or He spoke about the Gospel of the Evangelist 
John. So far as the suffering of Peter is concerned, the words 
'Follow me 5 would mean: 'Suffer for Me; suffer what I 
have suffered. 5 For Christ was crucified; Peter, too, was 
crucified. He experienced the nails; he experienced the tor- 
tures. John, however, suffered none of these things. On that 
account, the words, 'So I wish him to remain, 3 signify 'Let 
him sleep and let him wait for Me without wounds and with- 
out suffering. Do thou follow Me; do thou suffer what I 
have suffered. I shed My blood for thee; do thou shed thy 
blood for Me. 5 Hence, one way in which we can interpret 
the passage, 'So I wish him to remain until I come. . . . Do 
thou follow me,' is this: 'I do not wish him to suffer; do 
thou endure the suffering.' 

However, according to the Gospel of John, this interpreta- 
tion seems to me to be indicated: that Peter wrote about 
the Lord, but others wrote, also; their writings, however, 
were concerned more with the humanity of the Lord. As a 
matter of fact, the Lord Christ is both God and Man. What 
is man? Soul and body. What, then, is Christ? The Word, 
a soul, and a body. But of what sort is His soul, since beasts 
also have souls? The Word, a rational soul and a body 
Christ is all this. In the Epistles of Peter there is a little 

6 Cf. John 21.23. 


about the divinity of Christ; more, however, is disclosed in 
the Gospel of John. 7 He has said: 'In the beginning was 
the Word.' He has passed beyond the clouds; he has passed 
beyond the stars; he has passed beyond the angels; he has 
passed beyond all creation; he has reached the Word by 
whom all things were made. c ln the beginning was the Word, 
and the Word was with God; and the Word was God. He 
was in the beginning with God. All things were made through 
him.' Who sees this? Who thinks about this? Who would 
worthily undertake this? Who would worthily pronounce 
upon this? Then at last, when Christ has come, will this 
passage be understood clearly. 'So I wish him to remain until 
I come.' I have explained it to the best of my ability; He 
Himself can inspire a more satisfactory solution in your hearts. 

Sermon 254 1 

(1) Thus there exist, my brethren, thus there exist the 
misery of our present condition and the mercy of God so 
that the time of joy is preceded by the time of sorrow; that 
is, so that the time of sorrow comes first and that of joy 
later; so that the time of labor is first and that of rest later; 
so that the time of misfortune is first and that of good fortune 
later. So there exist now, as I have said, the misery of our 
present condition and the divine mercy. For our sins have 
brought upon us the time of sorrow, of labor, and of misery; 
the time of joy, of rest, and of good fortune will come, not 
from our merits, but from the grace of our Saviour. We 
deserve one thing; we hope for another. We deserve evils; 
we hope for blessings. The mercy of Him who created us 
brings this about. 

7 Cf. John 1.1-4. 

1 The text followed here is that given in D. C. Lambot, 'Sancti Aurelii 
Augustini Sermones Selecti Duodeviginti/ Stromata Patristica et 
Mediaevalia 1 (1950) 81-87. 



(2) Nevertheless, in the time of our misery and, as the 
Scripture says, in the days of our vanity, 2 we ought to under- 
stand the cause of that sadness. For, in a certain way, sadness 
is like dung. Dung, not consigned to its proper place, is filth; 
dung, not consigned to its proper place, makes a house 
unclean; but, in its place, it makes a field fertile. Notice the 
place provided for dung by the farmer. Now, the Apostle 
says: 'And who can gladden me, save the very one who is 
grieved by me?' 3 And, in another passage, he says: 'The 
sorrow that is according to God produces repentance that 
tends to salvation of which one does not repent.' 4 He who 
is sad according to God is sad in penitence for his sins; 
sorrow because of one's own iniquity produces justice. First, 
let what you are displease you so that you may be able to 
be what you are not. 'The sadness that is according to God 
produces repentance that tends to salvation of which one 
does not repent.' He says: 'repentance that tends to salvation.' 
What sort of salvation? That of which one does not repent. 
What does that mean? One of which you do not repent at 
any time. For we have had a life of which we ought to have 
repented; we have had a life calculated to inspire repentance. 
But we cannot come to that life of which one does not 
repent except through penitence for an evil life. Will you, 
my brethren, as I had begun to say, ever find dung in a 
sifted mass of wheat? Nevertheless, the wheat arrives at that 
lustre, at that fine an beautiful appearance, by means of 
dung; the foulness was the path to a beautiful result. 

(3) Moreover, in the Gospel the Lord rightly said of a 
certain barren tree : 5 'Behold for three years now I have come 
to this tree, and I find no fruit on it- I shall cut it down, 
that it may not encumber my field. 5 The husbandman inter- 
ceded; he interceded when the ax was already threatening 

2 Cf. Eccle. 7.16. 

3 2 Cor. 2.2,7. 

4 Cf. 2 Cor. 7.10. 

5 Cf. Luke 13.6-10. 


and almost striking the fruitless roots; the husbandman inter- 
ceded, just as Moses interceded with God, saying: 'Sir, let 
it alone this year also. I am digging around it and I am 
using a quantity of dung. If it bears fruit, all well and good; 
if not, thou shalt cut it down/ That tree represents the 
human race. The Lord came to see that tree in the time of 
the patriarchs, as it were, in the first year. He came to see it 
again in the time of the Law and the Prophets, as it were, 
in the second year. Behold, in the Gospel the third year 
dawned for it. Now it was fitting for it to be, as it were, cut 
down; mercy, however, pleads with Mercy. For He who 
wished to manifest Himself as merciful placed an intercessor 
before Himself, saying: 'Let it alone this year also; let it be 
dug up roundabout (the ditch is a sign of humility) ; let a 
quantity of dung be used; truly, it may perchance bear fruit/ 
In reality, because it bears fruit, and in part does not bear 
fruit, its Master will come and will separate it. 6 What does 
'he will separate it 'mean? That there are good, and there 
are evil; now, however, they are mixed together in one 
crowd, as it were, in one Body. 

(4) Therefore, my brethren, as I have said before, a 
suitable place for dung helps to produce fruit, but an 
unsuitable place leads to uncleanness. Someone or other is 
sad; I have come upon this sad person; I see the dung; I 
examine the place. Tell me, my friend, why are you sad? 
He says: C I have lost my money/ The place is unclean; there 
is no fruit. Let him hear the Apostle: 'The sorrow that is 
according to the world produces death/ 7 Not only is there 
no fruit, but there is great danger. The outcome is the same 
of other things pertaining to worldly joys, things which it 
would take too long to mention. I see another person sorrow- 
ing, moaning, and weeping; I see much dung and there I 
examine the place. Although I have seen him sad and weep- 
ing, I have also seen him praying. Some good impression or 

6 Cf. Luke 12.46; Matt. 24.51. 

7 2 Con 7.10. 


other had brought to my attention this man who was sad, 
moaning, weeping, and praying; but still I examine the place. 
For, what if that man who is praying and groaning is also 
with much weeping imploring death for his enemies? More- 
over it is thus, even thus that he now asks; he now begs; 
he now prays. The place is unclean; there is no fruit. What 
we find in Scripture goes further: the man begs that his 
enemy may die and he falls under the curse of Judas: 'May 
his prayer be turned to sin. 58 I have looked at still another 
person groaning, weeping, and praying; I recognize the 
dung and I examine the place. Moreover, I have directed 
my ear to this man's prayer, and I have heard him say: C O 
Lord, be thou merciful to me: heal my soul, for I have 
sinned against thee.' 9 He laments his sin; I recognize the 
field; I look for fruit. Thanks be to God! The dung is in 
account let us grieve; let us be sad because of this state of 

a good place; it is not useless there; it produces fruit. This 
is truly the time of fruitful sorrow, so that we may lament 
the state of our mortality, the abundance of temptations, the 
stealthy attacks of sinners, the clash of desires, the conflicts 
of passions ever rebelling against good thoughts. On this 
(5) The forty days before Easter signify this time of our 
misery and of our sorrow, if there is anyone who has such 
hope for sorrow; but the time of joy which will come later, 
of rest, of happiness, of eternal life, of a kingdom without 
end which does not yet exist, that time is signified by these 
fifty days on which praises are sung to God. For two periods 
are observed by us: the one before the Resurrection of the 
Lord, the other after the Resurrection of the Lord; the one 
in the midst of which we are now, the other in which we 
hope to be in the future. We both observe and possess the 
time of sorrow which the forty days of Lent symbolize; the 
time of joy, of rest, and of power which those [fifty] days 

8 Ps. 108.7. 

9 Ps. 40.5. 


signify we observe, indeed, by our 'Alleluias' but we do not 
yet possess the praises; now, however, you do breathe forth 
the 'Alleluia 3 , What does 'Alleluia' mean? Praise God. Where- 
fore, throughout these days after the Resurrection the praises 
of God are celebrated in the church, because after our Resur- 
rection we shall have perpetual praise. The Passion of our 
Lord signifies our time, the period in which we weep here. 
Scourges, bonds, insults, spittle, a crown of thorns, wine mixed 
with gall, vinegar on a sponge, revilings, abuse, finally the cross 
itself, the sacred limbs hanging on the wood [of the cross] 
what do all these sufferings signify for us except the period 
through which we are passing, the time of sorrow, the time of 
mortality, the time of trial? Hence, it is a foul period; but, let 
that foulness of the dung be in the field, not in the house. 
Let grief arise on account of one's sins, not on account of 
frustrated desires. A foul period, if used to advantage, is a 
fertile period. What has a more unpleasant odor than a 
field which has been covered with dung? It was a beautiful 
field before it received this load of manure; it was first 
reduced to foulness so that it might come to fertility. Foulness, 
therefore, is a mark of this time; let that foulness, however, 
be for us a period of fertility. Furthermore, let us see with 
the Prophet who says: 'We have seen him.' What is He 
like? 'There is no beauty in him, nor comeliness.' 10 Why is 
this? Ask another Prophet. 'They have numbered all my 
bones.' 11 They have numbered His bones as He hung upon 
the cross. A foul sight, the sight of one crucified; but that 
foulness produced beauty. What beauty? That of the Resur- 
rection, because He is 'beautiful above the sons of men.' 12 
(6) Therefore, my brethren, let us praise the Lord, because 
we hold fast to His faithful promises; we have not yet 
received [their fulfillment]. Do you consider it a trifling 
matter to hold Him as One who has made a promise so that 

10 Isa. 53.2. 

11 Ps. 21.18. 

12 Ps. 44.3. 



we may prove that He is our Debtor? God, the Promiser, 
has become our Debtor; He has become our Debtor because 
of His own goodness, not because of any just claim on our 
part. What have we given to Him that we should hold Him 
as our Debtor? Is it, by chance, what you have heard in the 
psalm: 13 'What shall I render to the Lord?' In the first 
place, when the Psalmist says: 'What shall I render to the 
Lord?' the words are those of a debtor, not of one de- 
manding payment of a debt. He has asked the leading ques- 
tion : 'What shall I render to the Lord?' What is the meaning 
of 'What shall I render'? It means: 'What shall I pay back?' 
For what? Tor all the things that he hath rendered to me.' 
What has He given to you? 'At first I was nothing, and He 
made me; I had been lost, and He sought me out; seeking 
me, He found me; when I was captive, He redeemed me; 
having purchased me, He freed me; from being a slave, He 
made me His brother. "What shall I render to the Lord?" ' 
You have nothing which you can give Him. Since you look 
for everything from Him, what have you to give? But wait; 
the Psalmist wishes to indicate something when he asks: 
'What shall I render to the Lord for all the things that he 
hath rendered to me?' Searching on all sides for what he 
can give, he, as it were, finds something. What does he find? 
'I will take the chalice of salvation. 3 You have been planning 
to give; but, up to the present, you have been seeking to 
receive. Think this over, I ask you. If you are still seeking 
to receive, you will still be a debtor. When will you be a 
giver? If, therefore, you will always be a debtor, when will 
you pay back? You will find nothing which you may pay 
back; you will possess nothing except what He has given. 

(7) Consider that, when you said: 'What shall I render?' 
the question belongs to what you previously said: 'Every 
man is a liar.' 14 For, whoever has wished to say that he 
renders something to God is a liar. All things must be hoped 

13 Ps. 115.12,13. 

14 Ps. 115.11. 


for from the Lord; from ourselves, without Him, we possess 
nothing except, perhaps, sin and lying because he who utters 
a lie speaks of himself. Truly, man abounds in a profusion 
of what is his own; he certainly possesses untruthfulness, and 
his heart is a treasury of lies. He lies as much as he can; he 
does not fail in this respect. He makes up whatever he can; 15 
he lies about whatever he can. Why? Because what he has 
without cost, he has from himself; he has not paid for it. 
However, when he comes to the truth, if he wishes to be 
truthful, it will not come from himself. Of himself, Peter 
was untruthful. When was he untruthful? The Lord foretold 
His Passion to us and Peter said: Tar be it from thee; this 
will not happen. 3 'Every man is a liar. 3 How is he a liar? 
Hear the Lord Himself: Thou dost not mind the things 
of God, but those of men. 3 But Peter was truthful, too. 
When? Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.' 
How does that truth come from an untruthful man? Be- 
hold, a man says: Thou art the Christ, the Son of the 
living God/ Who says this? Peter. What was Peter? A man 
who spoke the truth? But, assuredly, 'every man is a liar/ 
Behold, behold his words; behold the truth of his words; 
how, then, is this: 'Every man is a liar 5 ? Hear how every 
man is a liar, but Peter is truthful because he does not speak 
of himself. Hence, c every man is a liar' because lying is of 
his own nature. How, then, was Peter truthful? Hear Truth 
Himself: 'Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona/ Why blessed? 
Is it of yourself, Peter? Not at all ! Tor flesh and blood has 
not revealed this to thee, but my Father in heaven. 316 

(8) Hence, my dearly beloved, let us praise the Lord 
who is in heaven; let us praise God; let us say: 'Alleluia/ 
During these days let us symbolize the unending day; let us 
symbolize the place of our immortality, the time of our im- 

15 I have adopted here the variant reading 'fingit' of codices T and K 
as being in harmony with the verbs which stand in parallel construc- 

16 Cf. Matt. 16.22,23,16,17. 


mortality; let us hasten to our eternal home. 'Blessed are they 
that dwell in thy house; they shall praise thee for ever and 
ever.' 17 The Law says so; the Scripture says so; Truth says 
so. We are destined to come to the house of God which is 
in heaven. There we shall praise God, not for fifty days, 
but as it is written, 'for ever and ever.' We shall see; we 
shall love; we shall praise. What we see will not fail; what 
we love will not perish; nor will what we praise be silent. 
Everything will be everlasting; it will be without end. Let 
us give praise; let us give praise, but not merely by words; 
let us also give praise by our actions. Let our speech give 
praise, and let our life give praise; let not our life be in 
conflict with our speech but let them both display infinite 

Sermon 255 1 

( 1 ) Since the Lord has wished me to observe your Charity 
in the 'Alleluia,' I ought to say a word to you concerning 
the 'Alleluia. 5 I trust I will not weary you if I mention what 
you know already: that we say 'Alleluia' daily and that we 
take delight in it daily. For you know that 'Alleluia' means 
Traise God,' and, by this expression, we, agreeing in speech 
and thought, exhort one another to praise God. Only the 
man who displeases God In no respect praises Him in security. 
Furthermore, in this time of our journeying we say 'Alleluia' 
for solace on our way, and now the 'Alleluia' is the song of the 
traveler for us; but we are advancing through a laborious path 
to a peaceful country where all our activities will be laid 
aside, and nothing will remain for us except the 'Alleluia.' 

(2) Mary chose this most delightful part for herself: she 
remained at leisure; she continued to learn; she continued to 

17 Cf. Ps. 83.5. 

1 It is possible that St. Augustine delivered this sermon when he was 
attending the synod held in Carthage against the Pelagians in 418. 


praise. But Martha, her sister, was busy about many things. 
She was accomplishing what was, indeed, necessary, but not 
lasting; she was doing the work of the journey, but not that 
of her homeland; she was performing the task of the traveler, 
of one not yet in possession. In fact she, as hostess, had 
received the Lord and those who were with Him. Besides, 
the Lord had a body, and just as He deigned to assume a 
physical body for our sake, so He deigned to be hungry and 
thirsty. And, as a result of the fact that He deigned to be 
hungry and thirsty, He condescended to be fed by those whom 
He Himself enriched; He condescended to be received as a 
guest, not from need, but from favor. 

Therefore, Martha busied herself with what pertained to 
satisfying the needs of those who were hungry and thirsty; 
with solicitous activity she prepared what the Holy of Holies 
and His saints would eat and drink in her house. 2 It was 
an important but transitory work. It will not always be 
necessary to eat and drink, will it? When we cleave to the 
most pure and perfect Goodness, there will be no reason 
for serving necessity. We shall be blessed, needing no one; 
possessing much, seeking nothing. And what is it that we 
shall possess which will make it unnecessary to seek anything? 

1 have already told you: you believe now, afterwards you 
will see. Therefore, because I have used the words 'possess- 
ing much and seeking nothing, that is, having need of no 
one/ what is that which we shall have? What will God give 
to those who serve Him, to those who worship Him, to those 
who believe in Him, to those who hope in Him, to those 
who love Him? 

(3) Indeed, we see what great things He gives in this 
time to those who do not trust in Him, to those who have 
ceased to hope in Him, to those who have turned away from 
Him, to those who blaspheme Him; we see what great gifts 
He lavishes upon these people. For, in the first place, health 

2 Cf. Luke 10.38-42. 


is from Him, health which is so dear that it never becomes 
burdensome. What does a poor man lack when he has health? 
No matter what a rich man possesses, what is of any use to 
him if he does not have health? From Him, then, is this 
exceedingly great gift, our health from the Lord our God 
whom we worship, from the true God in whom we believe, 
in whom we hope, and whom we love. Nevertheless, though 
health is so great a gift, see how He gives it to good and bad 
alike, to those who blaspheme Him as well as to those who 
worship Him. But what am I to say? Both classes are men; 
even a wicked man is better than any beast. Yet, He gives 
health to beasts of burden and to dragons; He even bestows 
health on flies and little worms; He who created all things 
preserves all things. Therefore, to pass over other details, 
because we find nothing superior to health, not only does 
God give this gift to men but also to beasts, as the Psalmist 
says: 'Men and beasts thou wilt preserve, O Lord; as thy 
mercy has been multiplied, O God. 53 For, because Thou 
art God, Thou art of such a nature that Thy goodness does 
not remain fixed upon the highest nor does it desert the 
lowest; it reaches from the angels even to the last and most 
insignificant living things. For wisdom, reaching mightily, 
comes from end to end and orders all things sweetly. 4 In the 
distribution of her sweetness, health is pleasing to all. 

(4) Since, then, the Lord gives so great a blessing to both 
good and bad, to men and to beasts, what is there, my 
brethren, that He reserves for the good? For the Psalmist 
said: 'Men and beasts thou wilt preserve, O Lord, as thy 
mercy hath been multiplied, O God.' And then he added: 
'But the children of men. 5 Who are they? It is as if some 
are men, of whom he had spoken a little while before when 
he said: 'Men and beasts thou wilt preserve, O Lord,' and 
some are the children of men. But, as a matter of fact, are 
men something different from the children of men, and are 
the children of men something different from men? What, 

3 Cf. PS. 35.7,8. 

4 Cf. Wisd. 8.1. 


then, does that distinction signify unless, perchance, that 
men belong to man, but the children of men to the Son of 
Man; men to man, and the children of men to the Son of 
Man. For there is a certain man who was not the son of 
man. As a matter of fact, he who was created first was a 
man, but he was not the son of man. What, therefore, has 
come to us through man and what through the Son of Man? 
I remind you of what came through man, and 1 [do so] 
using the words of the Apostle: 'Through one man sin 
entered into the world and through sin death, and thus death 
has passed unto all men because all have sinned- 5 5 Behold 
what man has passed on to us; behold what we drink in 
from our parent and digest with difficulty. If this [comes] 
through man, what comes to us through the Son of Man? 
The Apostle says: 6 He did not spare his own Son. 3 If He 
'did not spare his own Son but has delivered him for us all, 
how will he not give us all things along with him?' Likewise, 
'just as by the disobedience of the one man the many were 
constituted sinners, so also by the obedience of the one the 
many will be constituted just.' Through man, therefore, sin 
came; through Christ, justice. Hence, all sinners belong to 
man; all the just, to the Son of Man. Then why do you 
wonder because sinners, because the wicked, because the 
unjust, because those who despise God, those turned away 
from God, those who love the world and embrace iniquity, 
those who hold the truth in abhorrence, that is, men who 
belong to man, why do you wonder because they possess this 
health when you hear the Psalmist say: c Men and beasts 
thou wilt preserve, O Lord'? So that men might not be lifted 
up with pride because they possess health for a time, beasts 
were included with them. What reason is there for you to 
rejoice, then, O man? Is not health of body common to you 
along with your donkey, with your hen, with any living 

5 Rom. 5.12. 

6 Cf. Rom. 8.32; 5.19. 



creature in your house, even with the sparrows? Is not health 
of body shared by you with all these creatures? 

(5) Therefore, seek out what was promised to the children 
of men and hear what follows: 'But the children of men 
shall put their trust under the covert of thy wings.' 7 Mean- 
while they will hope as long as they are on the way. 'But 
the children of men shall put their trust under the covert 
of thy wings. 5 Tor in hope were we saved.' 8 This hope under 
the covert of the wings of God does not belong to beasts as 
well as to men. And behold, this hope allures us, nourishes 
us, strengthens us, and consoles us in this troublesome life; 
in this hope we sing 'Alleluia. 3 

Behold what great joy hope contains! What will this joy 
be? Do you seek what it will be? Hear what follows: 'They 
shall be inebriated with the plenty of thy house. 59 There is 
hope of this joy. We are thirsty and hungry; we need to be 
fed. However, hunger exists only on the way; there is plenty 
in the homeland. When shall we be filled? C I shall be satisfied 
when thy glory shall appear. 510 Now, however, the glory of 
our God, the glory of our Christ lies hidden; and with it 
our glory has been hidden, also. But 'when Christ, your 
life, shall appear, then you too will appear along with him 
in glory. 511 Then there will be 'Alleluia' in reality; now, only 
in hope. Hope sings it, and love sings it now; love will also 
sing it then, but it will be a satisfied love while now it is a 
hungry love. In truth, what is the 'Alleluia, 3 my brethren? 

I have told you that it is the praise of God. Behold, now you 
hear the word of God and you are made happy in hearing 
it, and in your joy you give praise. If you thus love the 
dew, how will you love the fountain itself? As a matter of 
fact, what belching is to a disordered stomach, praise is to 
a full heart. Indeed, if we give praise because we believe, 

7 Ps. 35.8. 

8 Rom. 8.24, 

9 Ps. 35.9. 
10 Ps. 16.15. 

II Col, 3.4. 


how will we give praise when we have seen? Behold what 
Mary chose for herself; but she only pointed to that life, 
she did not yet possess it. 

(6) There are two lives: one associated with happiness; 
the other, with necessity. The one which belongs to necessity 
is troublesome; the one which belongs to happiness, delight- 
ful. But go within; do not seek happiness outside; do not be 
puffed up on account of it, and thus be unable to enter 
through the narrow way. Behold how Mary saw the Lord 
in His humanity and heard the Lord by means of His 
humanity, as if through a veil, just as you heard when the 
Epistle to the Hebrews was read. 12 But there will be no veil 
when we see Him face to face. 

Therefore, Mary remained seated, that is, she was at 
leisure, and she listened, and she gave praise. Martha, how- 
ever, was busy with much serving. And the Lord said to 
her: 'Martha, Martha, thou art engrossed with many things; 
and yet only one thing is necessary.' 13 Only one thing is 
needful; many things will not be so. Before we come to the 
one thing, we stand in need of many things. Let the one 
thing occupy us, so that the many things may not distract 
and sever us from the one. Because the Apostle had not yet 
attained the one thing necessary, he said: 14 1 do not consider 
that I have laid hold of it already. But one thing I do: 
forgetting what is behind, I strain forward toward it.' He 
is not turned aside from it, but straining forward toward it. 
For, one thing stretches out; it does not divide. Many things 
separate into parts; one thing stretches forward. And how 
long does it continue to stretch? As long as we are here. 
When we have arrived, it contracts and stretches out no 
longer. But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind, I 
strain forward to what is before, according to my intention.' 
Behold a stretching forward, not a separation! 'According 

12 Cf. Heb. 10.20. 

13 Cf. Luke 10.41. 

14 Phil. 3.13-15. 


to my intention, I press on to the prize of God's heavenly 
call in Christ Jesus.' The order of the words is; 'But I follow 
the one thing.' 

Then, therefore, we shall come and we shall enjoy the one 
thing; but the one thing will be all things to us. For what 
was it I said, my brethren, when I began to speak? What is 
that sufficiency which we shall possess when we shall have 
no need? What is that sufficiency which we shall possess? I 
had intended to say: 'What will God give to us which He 
will not give to them?' 'Let the wicked be taken away that 
he may not see the glory of God.' 15 Hence, God will give 
His glory to us so that we may enjoy it; and the wicked 
will be taken away that he may not see the glory of God. 
God Himself will be the entire sufficiency which we shall 
possess as our own. Greedy one, what did you seek to gain? 
What does anyone, for whom God is not enough, seek from 

(7) But when the statement is made that we shall possess 
God and that we shall be content with Him alone, that in 
fact we shall be so delighted with Him alone that we shall seek 
nothing else, because we shall take pleasure in Him alone 
and we shall, in turn, enjoy Him in ourselves (for what are 
we if we do not possess God, or what else besides God ought 
we to love in ourselves either because we possess Him or 
in order to possess Him?) when, therefore, the statement 
is made that other things slip into insignificance, and 
that it will be God alone who will delight us, the soul 
which was accustomed to enjoy many things is, as it were, 
circumscribed. This carnal soul, committed to the flesh, 
bound by carnal desires, having wings enmeshed in the bird 
lime of evil passions to prevent it from flying to God, says to 
itself: c What will I have when I shall not eat or drink, when 
I shall not sleep with my wife? What sort of joy shall I 
have?' This joy of yours derives from sickness, not from 
health. Assuredly, in this world this flesh of yours is some- 

15 Cf. Isa. 26.10. 


times sick and sometimes well. Pay attention now, so that 
I may tell you something from which you can understand 
that of which I am unable to speak. Sick persons have certain 
longings: they are consumed with desire for some spring- 
water or for some fruit; and they are so consumed with 
this longing that they think that if they were well they should 
enjoy these same desires. Health comes back; and the long- 
ing disappears. The man now scorns what he used to long 
for, because he sought this object when he was in a fever. 
And now, what is the nature of that health in which the sick 
man grows strong? 

( 8 ) What is the nature of that health by the possession of 
of which we are said to be strong? Well, take another example 
from this situation. Since there are manifold desires of the 
sick which health takes away, in just the same way as physical 
health does that, so immortality removes all other desires 
because immortality is our health. Recall the [words of] the 
Apostle and see what will be our lot: 'This corruptible body 
must put on incorruption, and this mortal body must put on 
immortality. 516 And furthermore, we shall be equal to the 
angels of God. 17 Now are those persons wretched who do 
not feast? Are they not happier for the very reason that 
they do not need these things? Or, in truth, is any rich man 
whatsoever equal to the angels? Angels are truly rich. What 
things are called riches? Abilities. Angels have great abilities 
because they have great capabilities. When a rich man is 
extolled, you hear: 'How great he is! He is a master; he is 
rich; he is powerful. How great a thing it is that he can go 
wherever he wishes! Beasts of burden are at hand; equip- 
ment is at his disposal; servants are at his call; services are 
rendered. The rich man has all these blessings; he goes 
wherever he wishes; he suffers no labor.' Wherever an angel 
desires in which the victory of charity is endangered. Here, 
horses, 3 nor does he say: 'Prepare my couch/ as rich people 

16 1 Cor. 15.53. 

17 Cf. Matt. 22.30. 


say with pride when they desire to make themselves great 
because they have underlings to whom they can say: Yoke 
the horses' or 'Prepare my couch. 5 Unhappy man! Those 
words indicate weakness, not power. Hence, in heaven we 
shall not experience need, and, on that account, we shall be 
happy. For we shall be filled, but it will be with our God ; and 
He will be for us all those things which we here look upon 
as being of great value. Here you seek for food as for some- 
thing important; there God will be your food. Here you 
seek carnal embraces; 'but it is good for me to adhere to my 
God.' 18 Here you seek for riches; how will you need all things 
there where you possess Him who made all things? Lastly, 
to establish you in security by the words of the Apostle, 
concerning that life he said: 'That God may be all in all.' 19 

Sermon 256 

( 1 ) Since it has pleased the Lord our God that, me'eting 
here in person, we should, in union with your Charity, sing 
in His honor the 'Alleluia' which is translated as Traise 
God,' let us give praise to the Lord, my brethren, in life and in 
speech, in heart and in voice, in words and in actions. For 
God wishes the 'Alleluia' to be said in His honor in such a 
way that there will be nothing discordant in the one giving 
praise. Therefore, in ourselves above all let speech accord 
with life, tongue with conscience. I repeat, let our words 
agree with our actions lest, perhaps, fair words bear testimony 
against foul manners. O! joyous is the 'Alleluia 5 in heaven 
where angels are the temple of God ! For the utmost harmony 
of those giving praise exists there where there is tranquil 
rejoicing among those singing, where no law in the members 
opposes the law of the mind, where there is no conflict of 
desires in which the victory of charity is endangered. Here, 

18 Ps. 72.28. 

19 1 Cor. 15.28. 


therefore, let us sing 'Alleluia' though we are still beset with 
cares, so that in the future we may sing it there in tranquillity. 
Why are you beset with cares here? Do you not wish me 
to be anxious when I read: 'Is not the life of man upon 
earth a warfare? 31 Do you not wish me to be anxious when, 
in addition, this warning is given to me: 4 Watch and pray, 
that you may not enter into temptation'? 2 Do you not wish 
me to be anxious where temptation so abounds that our very 
prayer 3 prescribes vigilance, since we say: Torgive us our 
debts, as we also forgive our debtors'? Daily there are plain- 
tiffs; daily there are debtors. Do you wish me to be free 
from care where I daily seek pardon for sins and help against 
dangers? For when, on account of past sins, I have said: 
Torgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors, 3 imme- 
diately, on account of future dangers, I hasten to add: c And 
lead us not into temptation.' Furthermore, how is a nation 
in good circumstances when it cries with me: 'Deliver us 
from evil'? 

Nevertheless, my brethren, even in the midst of evil let us 
sing 'Alleluia' to our good God who frees us from evil. Why 
do you look around you at the circumstances from which 
God is to free you when He does free you from evil? Do 
not go far; do not focus the keenness of your mind on every 
possible object. Return into yourself; look at yourself. You 
are still evil. Hence, when God frees you from yourself, then 
He delivers you from evil. Hear the Apostle, 4 and in his 
words recognize the evil from which you must be delivered. 
Tor I am delighted with the law of God according to the 
inner man, but I see another law in my members, warring 
against the law of my mind and making me prisoner to the 
law of sin that is . . . .' Where? He says: 'Making me 
prisoner to the law of sin that is in my members.' I was 

1 Cf. Job. 7.1. 

2 Mark 14.38. 

3 Matt. 6.12,13. 

4 Rom. 7.22-25. 


under the impression that it made you prisoner to some bar- 
barian strangers or other; I was under the impression that 
it made you prisoner to some foreign nations or other, or at 
least to some men or others as rulers. But he says : That is in 
my members.' Cry out, then, with him : 'Unhappy man that 
I am! Who will deliver me?' From what will anyone deliver 
him? Tell me this. One says from freedom, another from 
prison, another from captivity among barbarians, another 
from fever and weakness; tell us, O Apostle, not where we 
are being cast or where we are being led, but what we carry 
within ourselves, what we ourselves are; tell us. Trom the 
body of this death.' From the body of this death? Yes, he 
says: Trom the body of this death.' 

(2) Someone now says: 'The body of this death does not 
concern me. My prison is a temporary one; my fetters are 
temporary. I am in the body of death; I am not the body 
of death.' I answer: c You are merely drawing conclusions; 
hence, you are not being freed.' For he says: 'I am a spirit; 
I am not flesh, but I am in the flesh; when I shall have been 
delivered from the flesh, what shall I then have to do with 
the flesh?' My brethren, do you wish me to answer this chal- 
lenge, or do your prefer the Apostle? If I reply, perhaps the 
great value of the message will be despised because of the 
insignificance of the messenger. I prefer to be silent. But listen 
with me to the Doctor of the Gentiles; listen with me to 
the Vessel of election, so that you may be freed from con- 
tentious debating. Listen, but first repeat what you were 
saying. Indeed, this is what you were declaring: *I am not 
flesh; but I am a spirit. I groan in my prison, and when 
these bonds and fetters have been dissolved, I depart hence 
as a free man. Earth is restored to earth; the spirit is taken 
up into heaven. I depart; I cast aside what I am not.' Now, 
therefore, is this what you were saying? c Yes,' he answers. 
I do not reply to you; I beg you to answer, O Apostle; 
answer. You preached so that you might be heard; you 
wrote so that you might be read; you did everything so that 


you might be believed. Say: 'Who will deliver me from the 
body of this death? The grace of God through Jesus Christ 
our Lord. 5 Whence does it free you? 'From the body of this 
death.' But, are you yourself not the body of this death? He 
answers: 'Therefore I myself with my mind serve the law 
of God, but with my flesh the law of sin.' But, you say: T 
myself.' How is it you yourself under different aspects? He 
answers: 'With my mind, because I love; with my flesh, 
because I desire. I am, indeed, a victor if I do not consent; 
but up to now I am still struggling, and my adversary is still 
enticing me.' And, O Apostle, when you have been delivered 
from this flesh, will you no longer exist except in spirit? The 
Apostle, still confronted with death, an obligation which no 
one escapes, answers: 'I do not put off the flesh forever; I 
put it aside for a time.' Therefore, are you destined to return 
to this body of death? Now what do you say? Let us rather 
listen to the words of our questioner: c How do you return to 
the body from which you declared in such a devout voice that 
you had to be delivered?' He replies: 'Indeed, I do return to 
the body, but no longer to the body of this death.' Hearken, 
O ignorant one, deaf to the daily instruction of the readings, 
hear how one returns to the body, indeed, but not to the 
body of this death. This happens, not because it will be 
another body, but because 'this corruptible body must put 
on incorruption, and this mortal body must put on immor- 
tality. 5 My brethren, when the Apostle said 'this corruptible 
body' and 'this mortal body,' he by these words referred, 
in a certain way, to his own flesh, and hence, not to another 
body. He said: T do not put aside my earthly body and 
take up a spiritual or heavenly body. I take up the same 
body, but it is no longer a body of this death, because this 
corruptible body (not another body, but this one) must put 
on incorruption, and this mortal body (not another, but this 
one) must put on immortality. . . . Then shall come to pass 
the word that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory!" 
(Let the 'Alleluia' be sung.) Then shall come to pass the 


word that is written, which is the utterance of persons, no 
longer fighting, but now victorious: "Death is swallowed up 
in victory! (Let the 'Alleluia' be sung.) O death, where is 
thy sting? (Let the 'Alleluia 3 be sung.) Now the sting of 
death is sin." ' 5 But e thou shalt seek his place and shalt not 
find it. 56 

(3) Yet, even here amid dangers, and here amid tempta- 
tions, let the 'Alleluia' be sung by others and by us, too. Tor 
God is faithful and will not permit you to be tempted beyond 
your strength.' Therefore, let us, too, sing 'Alleluia' here. 
Man is still guilty; but God is faithful. The Apostle does not 
say: 'He will not permit you to be tempted,' but: 'He will 
not permit you to be tempted beyond your strength, but 
with the temptation will also give you a way out that you may 
be able to bear it.' 7 You have entered into temptation, but 
God will give you a way out, so that you may not perish in 
the trial; so that, like a vessel of clay, you may be fashioned 
by preaching and baked by tribulation. However, when you 
enter into temptation, look forward to a successful issue, 
because God is faithful; 'He will keep thy going in and thy 
going out.' 8 

But, on the other hand, when this body has become im- 
mortal and incorruptible, when all temptation has passed, 
because 'the body, it is true, is dead,' why did it die? 'By 
reason of sin, but the spirit is life,' are the words of the 
Apostle. 9 Why [is the spirit life]? 'By reason of justification.' 
Therefore, do we cast aside the dead body? Not at all; on 
the contrary, hear this: 'But if the spirit of him who raised 
Christ from the dead dwells in you, then he who raised 
Christ from the dead will also bring to life your mortal 
bodies.' In fact, it is now a natural body; then it will be a 
spiritual body, 'for the first man became a living soul; the 

5 1 Cor. 15.53-57. 

6 Ps. 36.10. 

7 1 Cor. 10.13. 

8 Cf. Ps. 120.8. 

9 Rom. 8.10,11. 


last man, a life-giving spirit. 510 Hence, c he will also bring to 
life your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who dwells in 
you.' 11 O 'Alleluia,' joyful on that account; O peaceful 'Alle- 
luia' ! O 'Alleluia' without any adversary, there where no one 
will be hostile, where no friend perishes ! There praises ascend 
to God; here, too, praises ascend to God; but here they rise 
from troubled hearts, there from hearts at peace; here they 
rise from those destined to die, there from those destined to 
live forever; here praises rise in hope, there, in reality; here 
they ascend from the wayfarer's path, there from his home- 
land. Therefore, my brethren, let us sing now, not for the 
delights of peace, but for the solace of our labor. Just as 
travelers are accustomed to sing, sing but advance; solace your 
labor by singing; do not love inactivity; keep singing and keep 
progressing. What does that mean? Make progress, make pro- 
gress in well-doing, for, according to the Apostle, there are 
certain people who go from bad to worse. 12 If you are progres- 
sing, you are advancing; but progress in well-doing, progress 
in good faith, progress in good deeds. Keep singing and keep 
advancing. Do not wander; do not return; do not remain 

Sermon 257 

(1) What is expressed in the Hebrew language by 'Alle- 
luia' is, in Latin, Laudate Dominum, or Traise the Lord/ 
So, let us praise the Lord our God, not only with our voice, 
but also with our heart, since he who praises from the heart 
praises with the voice of the inner man. As far as men are 
concerned, the voice is a sound; as far as God is concerned, 
it expresses an emotion. 

(2) As you have read and as you have heard, the Psalmist 

10 Cf. 1 Cor. 15.45, 

11 Rom. 8.11. 

12 Cf. 2 Tim. 3.13. 


under divine inspiration said: c Every man is a liar. 31 Then, 
later, there was the disciple who refused to believe unless he 
had touched the body of the Lord. The truth which his 
fellow disciples voiced seemed to him to be a lie. It was not 
enough for him to hear the truth; he wished also to have 
tangible evidence. Moreover, the Lord made this clear to 
him in the passage which follows in the Gospel and which 
will be read later. 2 Whoever hears the words, 'Every man 
is a liar, 3 ought not to become entangled in lying and be 
unwilling to rise from that state; he ought not to fashion 
specious arguments within himself, like an untruthful man, 
saying: 'When will I not be a man? If, moreover, I shall be 
a liar as long as I am a man, it is better for me to be a liar 
than that the Scripture should lie when it says: "Every man 
is a liar. 33 For, if I am truthful, the Scripture is untruthful. 
But, because the Scripture cannot lie, I shall be a liar.' 
Prattling such things as these, he seems to himself to rest 
as if in security in the harbor of lying where he is about to 
suffer shipwreck. As if you, too, have been eager to enjoy 
a good rest in that port, learn about the rock against 
which you are running: 'Thou wilt destroy all that speak 
a lie. 33 And that is the Scripture of God which says: 'Thou 
wilt destroy all that speak a lie. 3 Therefore, He is going to 
destroy all, because 'Every man is a liar. 3 But, why was this 
said to us? Why have we been admonished? Because of our 
own nature we are liars. However, if we wish to be truthful, 
let us have recourse to the Lord. By His help we are truthful; 
by our own nature we are liars. 

(3) Learn this lesson from one example, one that is both 
small and great, small because it is related quickly, great 
because it is freighted with wisdom. Peter alone illustrates 
this lesson which I wish to point out. 4 When he said to the 

1 Ps. 115.11. 

2 Cf. John 20.25-30. 

3 Ps. 5.7. 

4 Matt. 16.16-18,22,23. 


Lord Christ: Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God/ 
what did the Lord answer? 'Blessed art thou, Simon Bar- 
Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to thee, but 
my Father in heaven. 5 You have told the truth, but not of 
yourself. Whence, then? 'My Father who is in heaven has 
revealed it to you.' Hence, you are blessed because of the 
help of God; of yourself you are nothing but wretchedness. 
After these words in which the Lord said to Peter: 'Blessed 
art thou, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to thee, 
but my Father in heaven/ after these words the Lord 
Christ began to predict His passion and death. Thereupon 
Peter said immediately: Tar be it from thee, O Lord.' 'Every 
man is a liar.' Behold, a short time previously, Peter was 
truthful; behold, now, Peter is a liar. But what was the source 
of Peter's truthfulness? 'Flesh and blood has not revealed 
this to thee, but my Father in heaven. 3 What was the source 
of Peter's lie? 'Get behind me, Satan ... for thou dost not 
mind the things of God, but those of men/ 'Every man is 
a liar.' This statement, therefore, has been made to us so that 
we may flee from ourselves and take refuge in God who 
alone is truthful. 

Sermon 258 

(1) Let us here discuss what we have just sung to God: 
This is the day which the Lord hath made/ because He 
has given it to us. Here by a Scriptural passage which is 
certainly prophetic, He wished us to recognize a day out of the 
ordinary, not visible to the eyes of flesh, a day which does 
not rise and set, but a day which could know a rising and 
never know a setting. Let us see what the Psalmist had said 
previously: 'The stone which the builders rejected; the same 
is become the head of the corner. This is the Lord's doing: 
and it is wonderful in our eyes.' And then there follows the 
passage: This is the day which the Lord hath made.' 1 Let 

1 Ps. 117.22-24. 


us consider this day as beginning at the cornerstone. Who is 
the cornerstone whom, the teachers of the Jews rejected? 
In truth, the learned teachers of the Jews rejected the Lord 
when they said: 'This man is not from God, for he does 
not keep the Sabbath.' 2 You have already said: This man 
is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.' 'The 
stone which the builders rejected; the same has become the 
head of the corner.' How has He become the head of the 
corner? Why has Christ been called the cornerstone? Because 
every corner welds together two walls coming from different 
directions. The Apostles came from the circumcision; they 
came from the race of the Jews. Thence, also, came the 
crowds, who preceded and followed His beast of burden, sing- 
ing the words which are found in the same psalm: 'Blessed 
is he who comes in the name of the Lord!' 3 Thence, too, 
came the several churches of which the Apostle Paul wrote: 
'And I was unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which 
were in Christ. But they had heard only that he who formerly 
persecuted us, now preaches the faith which once he ravaged. 
And they glorified God in me.' 4 These were Jews; but only 
those who adhered to Christ as did the Apostles, those who 
came and believed in Christ, constituted the one wall. 
There was another wall: the Church coming from the 
Gentiles who [in doing so] found themselves. There was 
peace in Christ, unity in Christ 'who has made both one.' J 
This is the day which the Lord hath made.' Consider |the 
whole day: head and body; Christ the Head, the Church the 
Body. This is the day which the Lord hath made.' 

(2) Recall to your minds the original state of the world. 
'Darkness covered the abyss, and the spirit of God was stirring 
above the waters. God said, "Let there be light," and there 
was light .... God separated the light from the darkness, 

2 John 9.16. 

3 Matt, 21.9; Ps. 117.26. 

4 Gal. 1.22-24. 

5 Eph. 2.14. 


calling the light Day and the darkness Night.' 6 Consider the 
darkness of people before they came to the remission of 
sins. Hence, 'darkness covered the abyss' before the sins of 
these people were forgiven. However, the 'spirit of God was 
stirring above the waters'; they descended into the water and 
the 'spirit of God was stirring above the waters' ; the darkness 
of sins was dispersed. 'This is the day which the Lord hath 
made. 5 This is the day of which the Apostle said: 'You were 
once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.' 7 He did 
not say, did he: 'You were darkness in the Lord'? No; you 
were 'darkness' in yourselves, but 'light in the Lord.' More- 
over, the Lord called the light Day because whatever is done 
is done by His grace. People could be darkness by their 
own propensities; they could become light only if the Lord 
made them so, because 'this is the day which the Lord 
hath made/ which, not the day itself, but the Lord hath 

(3) Was not Thomas a man, one of the disciples, as it 
were, a man of the crowd? His fellow disciples said to him: 
'We have seen the Lord.' But he answered: 'Unless I touch 
him, unless I put my finger into his side, I will not believe.' 8 
(The Evangelists make an announcement to you, but you do 
not believe) . The world has believed them, but a disciple does 
not believe. Concerning those Evangelists the Scripture says: 
'Their sound hath gone forth into all the earth: and their 
words unto the ends of the world.' 9 Their words go forth 
and they reach unto the ends of the world; the whole world 
believes; all nations make the announcement to one man, and 
yet he does not believe. Not yet was it the day which the 
Lord had made; darkness still covered the abyss and darkness 
was still there in the depths of that human heart. 

6 Gen. 1.2-6. 

7 Eph. 5.8. 

8 John 20.25. 

9 Ps. 18.5. 


However, let Him come; let the Head of this day come, 
and let Him, patient, meek, and not angry, because He is the 
Physician, say: 'Come, touch Me and believe. You said: 
"Unless I touch Him, unless I put my finger in, I shall not 
believe." Come, touch Me. Put in your finger and be not 
unbelieving but believing. Come, put in your finger. I knew 
your wounds. I have kept My wounds for you.* Moreover, 
putting in his hand certainly confirmed the faith of that 
disciple. For what is the fullness of faith? That Christ be 
believed to be not merely Man, that Christ be believed to 
be not only God, but that He be believed to be both Man 
and God that is the fullness of faith because the Word was 
made flesh, and dwelt among us. 310 

Therefore, when the wounds and limbs of His Saviour had 
been presented to him to be touched, the disciple touched 
them and exclaimed: e My Lord and my God! 311 He touched 
a Man; he recognized God. He touched flesh; he looked 
upon the Word, because 'the Word was made flesh, and 
dwelt among us.' This Word suffered His flesh to be hung 
upon a tree; this Word suffered His flesh to be fastened with 
nails; this Word suffered His flesh to be pierced with a lance; 
this Word suffered His flesh to be placed in a tomb; this 
Word raised His flesh to life, presented it to the gaze of His 
disciples, offered it to be touched by their hands. They touch 
and they cry out: 'My Lord and my God!' 'This is the Day 
which the Lord hath made.' 

10 John 1.14. 

11 John 20.28. 


Sermon 259 
For the Octave of Easter 

( 1 ) This day is a symbol of perpetual joy for us, for the 
life which this day signifies will not pass away as this day 
is going to pass away. And so, my brethren, I urge and 
entreat you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, through 
whom our sins have been forgiven, who wished His blood to 
be our purchase price, who deigned to make us His brethren 
although we are unworthy of being called His servants, I 
urge you to direct your entire reason for being Christians 
and for carrying His name on your forehead and in your 
heart solely to that life which we are destined to enjoy with the 
angels, where there is perpetual peace, everlasting happiness, 
unfailing blessedness, with no anxiety, no sadness, and no 
death. Only those persons who have experienced this life 
understand it; only those who believe can experience it. For, 
if you require me to show you what God promises you, I can- 
not do so. However, you have heard the words with which the 
Gospel of John ended : 'Blessed are they who do not see and 
yet believe. 31 You wish to see and so do I. Let us believe 
together and we shall see together. Let us not be obstinate 
in regard to the word of God. For, my brethren, is it fitting 
for Christ to descend now from heaven and to show us His 
wounds? He deigned to manifest them to one incredulous 
person so that he might rebuke and instruct those who would 
believe in the future. 

(2) Therefore, the eighth day signifies the new life at the 
end of the world; the seventh day, the future rest of the 
saints on this earth. For the Lord will reign on earth 2 with 

1 Cf. John 20.29. 

2 It seems that, In the early days of his conversion, St. Augustine 
believed that the saints after death would enjoy a period of rest 
and happiness here on earth for many years before ascending to 
heaven; see De civitate Dei 20.7; 22.30. 


His saints, as the Scripture says, and He will have here His 
Church into which no wicked person will enter, which will 
be purged and cleansed from all contagion of iniquity, a 
situation typified by the 153 fishes 3 about which I spoke at 
length in another sermon as I well remember. For the 
Church will appear here for the first time in great glory and 
dignity and justice. In it no one will take delight in deceit, 
in lying, or in concealing a wolf under the skin of a sheep. 
Indeed, as it is written: The Lord will come and will bring 
to light the things hidden in darkness and make manifest 
the counsels of hearts; and then everyone will have praise 
from God. 34 

Therefore, the wicked will not be there, for by that time 
they will have been separated. The multitude of saints will 
appear as a sifted mass on a threshing floor, as it were, and 
will thus be transferred to the celestial granary of immortality* 
For, in like manner, grain is first threshed there where it is 
is winnowed, and the place where the grain suffered the 
purging so that it might be cleansed of chaff is adorned with 
the glory of the sifted mass. Indeed, after the winnowing we 
see on the threshing floor a pile of chaff in one place and a 
pile of grain in another. Moreover, we know well what the 
destination of the chaff is going to be and we know how the 
grain brings joy to the farmers. Therefore, just as the grain 
first appears on the threshing floor after having been separated 
from the chaff and then, when the sight of that mass which 
lay concealed in the chaff and which was invisible during 
the threshing has brought so much joy after such great 
labors, it is sent off to the granary and is stored away in a 
secluded place, so in this age you see how the threshing is 
done, but the chaff is so mixed with the grain that it is 
scarcely perceived because the pile has not yet been win- 
nowed. Thus, too, after the winnowing of the day of judg- 
ment, the multitude of saints will appear resplendent by 

3 Cf. John 21.11. 

4 Cf. 1 Cor. 4.5. 


reason of their glory, powerful by their merits, and mani- 
festing the mercy of their Redeemer. 

That will be the seventh day, just as if the first day in the 
whole era were the time from Adam to Noe; the second, from 
Noe to Abraham; the third, from Abraham to David, as the 
Gospel of Matthew divides it; r> the fourth, from David to 
the Transmigration into Babylon; the fifth, from the Trans- 
migration to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The sixth 
day, therefore, begins with the coming of the Lord, and we 
are living in that sixth day. Hence, just as in Genesis 6 [we 
read that] man was fashioned in the image of God on the 
sixth day, so in our time, as if on the sixth day of the entire 
era, we are born again in baptism so that we may receive 
the image of our Creator. But, when that sixth day will 
have passed, rest will come after the judgment, and the 
holy and just ones of God will celebrate their sabbath. After 
the seventh day, however, when the glory of the harvest, 
the brightness and the merit of the saints have appeared on 
the threshing floor, then we shall go to that life and rest of 
which the Scripture says: 'Eye has not seen nor ear heard, 
nor has it entered into the heart of man, what things God 
has prepared for those who love him.' 7 Then we return, as 
if to the beginning, for just as when seven days have passed, 
the eighth becomes the first [of a new week], so after the 
seven periods of this transitory world have been spent and 
completed, we shall return to that immortal blessedness from 
which man fell. Hence, octaves complete the sacraments of 
the newly baptized. Hence, too, the number seven multiplied 
bv seven gives forty-nine and with one added it returns to 
the beginning and becomes fifty, the number of days which 
we celebrate in symbolic fashion up to the feast of Pentecost. 
The same number is reached in a different way according 
to that division whereby the tenfold reward is added to the 

5 ct Matt. 1.17. 

6 Cf. Gen. 1.27. 

7 1 Cor. 2.9. 


number forty. Both methods of calculation lead to the same 
number, fifty. Then, when fifty has been multiplied by three 
because of the mystery of the Trinity, the result is 150. 
Furthermore, by the addition of three, as the witness and 
indication of the Trinity, we recognize the Church in those 
153 fishes. 

(3) In the meantime, until we come to that rest, let us 
work well in this time when we are laboring and are in 
darkness as long as we do not see what we hope for and as 
long as we are making our way through the desert until we 
arrive at that heavenly Jerusalem as at the land of promise 
overflowing with milk and honey. Now, therefore, since 
temptations do not cease, let us work well. Let medicine 
be always at hand, as though kept near to be applied to our 
daily wounds. Moreover, there is a healing power in good 
works of mercy. For, if you wish to obtain the mercy of 
God, be merciful. If you as a man refuse human help to a 
man, God will refuse you divine help, that is, the incorrup- 
tion of immortality by which He makes us Godlike. For 
God does not need anything from you; but you need every- 
thing from God. He seeks nothing from you in order to be 
happy; but, if you do not receive from Him, you cannot 
be happy, What do you receive from Him? I am certain 
that you would not dare to complain if, from Him who 
made all things, you were to receive any one of the things 
which He made most perfectly. However, He does not merely 
give you something from those objects which He created, 
but He gives Himself, the Creator of all things to you for 
your enjoyment. Indeed, of all those things He has made, 
what can be more beautiful or better than He who made 
them? And why will He give Himself to you? Is it because 
of your merits? If you seek what you have merited, consider 
your sins; hear the sentence passed by God upon man, the 
transgressor: Dust you are and unto dust you shall return' 8 
the warning had been given along with the precept: Tor 

8 Gen. 3.19. 


the day on which you touch it, you will die the death.' 9 If 
you seek the merit of your sins, what presents itself except 
punishment? Therefore, forget your merits lest they bring 
terror to your heart; or rather, do not forget them lest, by 
reason of your pride, you repel mercy. 

Let us commend ourselves to God, my brethren, by works 
of mercy. C O praise ye the Lord, for he is good: for his 
mercy endureth forever.' 10 Give praise, for God is merciful 
and He wishes to forgive the sins of those who give praise. 
In addition, offer sacrifice to Him. O man, be merciful to 
your fellow man, and God will show mercy to you. You are 
a man; the other person is a man also; you are both in 
need of mercy. On the other hand, God is not in need of 
mercy, but He is merciful. If, however, the person who is 
in need of mercy does not show mercy to another who is in 
need of mercy, how does he expect mercy from One who 
will never be in need of mercy? Think over what I am 
saying, brethren. For example, whoever is pitiless in regard 
to a shipwrecked person remains pitiless until he himself 
suffers shipwreck. But if he has been shipwrecked, whenever 
he sees a shipwrecked person he recalls his former experience 
and a sympathetic feeling of misery afflicts him. Hence, a 
personal experience of misfortune softens the one whom the 
common bond of human nature was not able to incline to 
mercy. How readily he who has been in service in the past 
compassionates a servant! How readily he who was once 
a hired laborer feels sorry for a laborer deprived of his pay ! 
The man who has once suffered a similar loss sympathizes 
most sincerely with a father lamenting the loss of his child. 
Therefore, a similarity of suffering softens any degree of 
hardness in a human heart. If, then, you who either have 
been in need of mercy or who fear that you may be in such 
need (for, as long as you are on this earth, you ought to fear 
what you have not been, to remember what you have been, 

9 Cf. Gen. 2.17. 
10 Ps. 117.29. 


and to consider what you may be) if, then, encompassed 
with the memory of your former need of mercy, with the 
fear of future needs, and with the suffering of present miseries, 
you do not have mercy on a man who is in trouble and in 
need of your help, do you expect Him whom misery has 
never afflicted to have mercy on you? And do you fail to 
give of the abundance which you have received from God 
and then wish God to give to you from that which He has 
not received from you? 

(4) My brethren, all of you who are about to return to 
your homes and whom I shall scarcely see from this moment 
except at some celebration, do works of mercy because your 
sins are numerous. There is no other rest, there is no other 
way by which to come to God, by which our life may be re- 
newed, by which we may be reconciled to Him whom we have 
offended with the utmost danger to ourselves. We are going 
to appear in His presence: let our works speak for us there 
and let them speak so effectually that they will prevail over 
our offenses. For whatever has been more abundant will 
avail either unto punishment, if our sins have so merited, or 
unto eternal rest, if our good works have prevailed. 

Moreover, there is a twofold mercy in the Church: the 
first, which depends on a privilege on account of which 
one has to expend no money and no labor; the other, 
which demands of us either the performance of some work 
or the expenditure of money. The former, which makes no 
demand upon us, not even of labor, has been implanted in 
the soul so that you may pardon him who sinned against 
you. The treasure to be drawn upon for the expenditure of 
this alms is in your heart; there in the presence of God you 
open up this treasure. You are not given the command: 
'Bring your treasure-chest; open your strong box; give up 
your storehouse/ Nor is this said to you: 'Come, walk, run, 
hurry, intercede, speak, visit, work.' On the contrary, remain- 
ing in one place, you cast from your heart the two 
charges which you hold against your brother; you show 


mercy with no expense, with no labor, but with goodness 
alone and with merciful consideration alone. For, if I were 
to say: 'Give your possessions to the poor,' I would seem 
harsh. But now I am certainly moderate and lenient when 

I say: 'Give in such a way that you will lose nothing; forgive 
so that you may be forgiven.' Moreover, let us add that other 
statement: 'Give and it shall be given to you.' The Lord 
joined these two directions in His precept, and thus He set 
forth the two kinds of mercy: 'Forgive and you shall be 
forgiven' that is the mercy of the one who pardons; 'give 
and it shall be given to you' 11 that is the mercy of the one 
who gives payment. See if God does not give more to you. 
You pardon a man the offense in which a man has injured 
another man; God pardons you the offense in which you, 
a man, have offended God. Is the offense against a man 
commensurate with the offense against God? Therefore, God 
has given you more, in so far as you have forgiven an act by 
which a man was offended, but He has forgiven you an act by 
which He, God, was offended. Notice another mercy of His 
dispensation: you give bread, but He gives salvation; you 
give a drink of some liquid to a thirsty person, but He gives 
a draught of His wisdom. Now, are those two gifts, namely, 
what you give and what you receive, to be compared? Behold 
how your money must be set at interest. If anyone desires 
to be a money-lender, I have no objections; but let him 
invest with Him who does not become impoverished by 
giving more and greater gifts in return, and to whom belongs 
each and every gift that you give to Him so that you may 
receive more and better gifts. 

(5) I give this instruction to your Holiness so that you 
may know that he performs a twofold act of mercy who gives 
something to the poor in such a way that he himself may 
look for remuneration. For there ought to be not only the 
graciousness of the one who bestows but also the humility 
of the one who serves. In some way or other, my brethren, 

II Luke 6.37-39. 


when the hand of the one who has much is placed in the 
hand of the needy, the mind of the one who makes the offering 
to the poor man suffers, as it were, in sympathy with his 
common humanity and infirmity. Although the one gives and 
the other receives, both he who serves and he who is served 
are joined together. As a matter of fact, it is humility, not 
calamity, that unites us. Your abundance will be yours, and 
your children's, if it please the Lord; but there is no mention 
here of that earthly abundance which you see attended by 
such great misfortunes. A treasure lies in peace in the house; 
but it does not permit the master to be at peace. He fears 
the robber; he fears the house-breaker; he fears the unfaithful 
servant; he fears his wicked and powerful neighbor. The 
more he possesses, the more he fears. But if you give alms to 
God in behalf of the poor, you do not lose your wealth and 
you are rendered secure because God, who gives you what 
you need on earth, watches over the rest for you in heaven. 
Or, perhaps, you fear that Christ may lose what you have 
entrusted to Him? Does not each one choose from his house- 
hold a faithful steward to whom he may entrust his money? 
Even though this steward may be able to refrain from 
stealing the treasure, he does not have it in his power to 
prevent somebody else from doing so. What is more advan- 
tageous than the fidelity of Christ? What is more divine than 
His omnipotence? He can neither steal anything from you 
because He Himself has given all to you with the expecta- 
tion that you would return it to Him; nor can He lose 
anything because, being omnipotent, He possesses all things. 
You refresh bodies when you make gifts. Our gifts are 
bestowed, and they are bestowed by us because we seem to 
be giving them; nevertheless, the gifts that are bestowed are 
those which God gave us. Still, it is good, my brethren, and 
it is very pleasing to God for you to present these gifts with 
your own hand. He who gave you what you might bestow 
even before He was, as it were, obligated to you, accepts them 
and will reward you. The duty of making remuneration ought 


to be concomitant with that of ministration. Since you are 
permitted to have two rewards, why do you lose one? Besides, 
if anyone is not able to give to all, let him, in proportion 
to his resources, give to the poor with joy. 'Moreover, God 
loves a cheerful giver. 512 The kingdom of heaven has been 
presented to us as worthy of being purchased at any price. 
There is no need for anyone who has merely two coins to say 
that he is not worthy to purchase it, for at such a price the 
widow mentioned in the Gospel purchased it. 13 

(6) The days of leisure have come to an end; 14 now 
those of court actions, trials for debt, and lawsuits are 
beginning. Give thought to your manner of life during these 
days, brethren. From the freedom of the former days you 
ought to derive kindness, not ponder plans for contentions. 
For there are men whose sole purpose in resting during those 
days was to plan wicked projects to be consummated after 
the holidays. I ask you to live as persons who know that you 
are about to render to God an account of your whole life 
and not merely of those fifteen days. 

Furthermore, I admit that I ought to discuss the questions 
on the Scriptures which I proposed yesterday and which I 
did not answer because of lack of time. In view of the fact 
that the days which are at hand permit the exaction even 
of money by a legal and public right, you are certainly 
justified in demanding this of me by your right as Christians. 
As a matter of fact, all are now coming [to church] because 
of the feast; but, after these days let love of the law lead 
them to demand of me what I have promised. For He who 
gives to you gives through my instrumentality; He certainly 
gives to all of us. Indeed, I realize that the Apostle says: 
'Render to all men whatever is their due; tribute to whom 

12 Cf. 2 Cor. 9.7. 

13 Cf. Luke 21.1-5. 

14 St. Augustine here refers to the two weeks, one before and one after 
Easter, during which, according to the Code of Theodosius, strife and 
contention \vere to cease. 


tribute is due; taxes to whom taxes are due; honor to whom 
honor is due; fear to whom fear is due. Owe no man anything 
except to love one another/ 15 Love alone must always be 
rendered; no one is to be excluded from this obligation. Now, 
in the name of the Lord, my brethren, I am going to pay 
what I owe; but I make this admission to you that I am 
doing this, not as a duty in regard to the inert, but in response 
to those who urge me. 

Sermon 260 

Lest I should interpose unnecessary delay when there are 
many things to be done, my sermon to those who have been 
regenerated in baptism and who today are to be intermingled 
again with the crowd must be brief but weighty. You, who 
have been baptized and who on this day are completing the 
rite of your eight-day celebration, receive and understand 
by these few words that the symbolism of circumcision of 
the flesh has been transferred to a circumcision of the heart. 
On the eighth day the Jews are circumcised in the flesh 
according to the Old Law; 1 this was done in anticipation 
of the fact that the Lord Christ, after the seventh day of 
the sabbath, rose again on the eighth day or the Lord's Day. 
It was ordered that the circumcision be done with petrous 
knives: 2 the Rock was Christ. 3 You are called infants since 
you have been reborn and have entered upon a new life; 
you have been reborn unto eternal life if, by evil living, you do 
not stifle that which has been regenerated in you. You have 
to return to the people; you have to mingle with the faithful; 
beware of imitating wicked believers, even false believers, 
those who are believers by their profession, but unbelievers 

15 Cf. Rom. 13.7-9. 

1 Cf. Gen. 17.12. 

2 Cf. Jos. 5.2. 

3 Cf. 1 Cor. 10.4. 


by their evil lives. Take care I call you to witness in the 
presence of God and of His angels preserve your chastity, 
whether it be conjugal or any other kind of continency. 
Let each one fulfill what he promises. You who do not have 
wives may marry women whose husbands are not living. 
Women whose husbands are not living are permitted to 
marry only men whose wives are not living. You who have 
wives, refrain from evil doing with other women. Give what 
you demand. Fidelity is owed to you; you owe fidelity. The 
husband owes fidelity to his wife; the wife, to her husband; 
both, to God. You who have vowed continency, give what 
you have vowed; it would not have been demanded if you 
had not vowed it. What could have been licit is not licit, 
not because marriage is condemned, but because he who 
looks back is condemned. 4 Guard against trickery in your 
business transactions. Guard against lying and perjury. Guard 
against talkativeness and luxury. Do not do to others, to men 
or to God, whatever you do not wish to be done to you. 
Why do I burden you [with many instructions]? 'These 
things practise. And the God of peace will be with you. 55 

4 Cf. Luke 9.62. 

5 Phil. 4.9. 

Sermon 261 1 

| HE RESURRECTION of the Lord is our hope; the Ascen- 
sion of the Lord is our exaltation. Now, today we 
are celebrating the feast of the Ascension. If, there- 
fore, we celebrate the Ascension of the Lord with due cere- 
mony, with faith, devotion, holiness, and reverence, let us 
ascend with Him and let us have our hearts lifted up to 
Him. 2 Moreover, though we ascend, let us not be lifted up. 
Indeed, we ought to have our hearts lifted up, but to the 
Lord. For, to have the heart lifted up otherwise than to the 
Lord is called pride; but, to have it lifted up to the Lord 
is called a refuge, for we say to Him who ascended: 'Lord, 
thou hast been our refuge.' 3 For He rose again to give us 
hope that what dies will rise again, lest in dying we should des- 
pair and think what our whole life has come to an end. As a 
matter of fact, we were anxious about our soul; He, by 
rising again, has given us assurance about our body also. 
Now, therefore, He has ascended. Who? He who descended. 
He came down from heaven to heal you; He ascended to 
heaven to lift you up. You will fall if you attempt to raise 

1 The text used for this sermon is that given in Lambot, Sermones 
Selecti 88-94. 

2 From the Preface of the Mass. 

3 Ps. 89.1. 



yourself; you will remain there if He has raised you up. 
Then, lift up your heart but to the Lord: He is your 
Refuge; lift up your heart not to the Lord: it is pride. 
Therefore, when the Lord rises, let us say to Him: 'Because 
thou, O Lord, art my hope'; but when He ascends, let us 
say to Him: Thou hast made the most high thy refuge. 54 
For, how shall we be proud if we have our hearts lifted up 
to Him who for our sake became lowly so that we might 
not remain proud? 

(2) Christ is God; He is always God; He will never cease 
to be God, because He never had a beginning. For, if, by 
His grace., something begins which is never going to cease, 
how will He cease to exist who never began? What is that 
which begins and will never cease? Our immortality will have 
a beginning; it will never have an end. For we do not now 
possess that which we shall never lose again once we have 
begun to possess it. Therefore, Christ is always God. And 
what sort of God is He? Do you ask this? He is equal to the 
Father. Do not, therefore, inquire about His nature, but 
about His blessedness in eternity. Understand now, if you 
can, the nature of Christ as God. Behold, I am telling you; 
I shall not deceive you. You seek to know about the nature 
of Christ as God? Listen to me; nay, rather, listen with me. 
Let us listen together; let us learn together. For the fact that 
I am speaking and you are listening does not mean that I 
am not listening along with you. Therefore, when you hear 
that Christ is God, you make inquiry as to the nature of 
Christ as God. Listen with me. I do not say: 'Listen to me/ 
but 'Listen with me. 3 For, in this school we are all fellow 
students; heaven is the chair of our professor. Hear, then, 
what the nature of Christ as God is. c ln the beginning was 
the Word/ Where? 'And the Word was with God. J But we 
are accustomed to hearing those words daily. Do not consider 
the passage: 'And the Word was God 35 as you usually hear 

4 Ps. 90.9. 

5 John 1.1. 



It; I am asking what His nature is. For, behold, I already 
believe that He is God; however, I seek what the nature of 
God is. 'Seek his face evermore. 56 Let no one fail in the 
search; but let each one accomplish his purpose. He who is 
impelled by piety, not by vanity, succeeds in this search. 
How does piety proceed to investigate? How does vanity? 
Piety investigates by believing; vanity, by arguing. Now, if 
you seek to argue with me and to say to me: 'What God do 
you worship? What is the nature of the God whom you 
worship? Show me what you worship, 3 I shall reply: 'Though 
there is that which I may show, there is no one to whom to 
show it. 

(3) I do not dare to say that I have grasped what you 
desire to know for I am following, to the best of my ability, 
in the footprints of that great athlete of Christ, the Apostle 
Paul, who says: 'Brethren, I do not consider that I have 
laid hold of it already. But I myself .' Why does he say: 
T and 'I myself I who 'have labored more than any of 
them'? 7 I understand, O Apostle, why you say 'I.' It is for 
emphasis, not for self-elation. Do you wish to hear why he 
says T? When the Apostle had said: I have labored more 
than any of them/ he referred to himself. He said: 'I have 
labored more than any of them.' And, as if we had asked: 
'Who has?' he answers us: 'Yet not I, but the grace of God 
with me.' Therefore, he in whom the grace of God was so 
abounding that, though called later, he accomplished more 
than his predecessors, nevertheless, said: 'Brethren, I do not 
consider that I have laid hold of it already.' There, where 
he has not comprehended, he uses C I.' Slowness of compre- 
hension is, indeed, a mark of human frailty. But, when he 
was lifted up to the third heaven and when he heard ineffable 
words which man is not permitted to utter, then he did not 
say 'I.' As a matter of fact, what did he say? 'I know that 

6 PS. 104.4. 

7 Cf. Phil. 3.13; 1 Cor. 15.10. 


a man fourteen years ago .' 8 C I know that a man,' and he 
himself, the one who was speaking, was the man. What 
happened to him he speaks of as having happened to another 
and, on that account, he has not failed [through pride-] 

Therefore, do not contend with me, do not argue with 
me, demanding an explanation of the God whom I worship. 
For He is not an idol. I extend my finger and, whether it 
points to some constellation or some star, or to the sun or 
moon, I say to you: 'Behold the God whom I worship.' I 
point my finger to the heavens and I say: 'Behold what I 
worship/ He is not merely in the place to which my finger 
is pointed, but He is wherever my mind is directed. See the 
Apostle, not comprehending, yet seeking; following eagerly, 
gazing after, longing for, and desiring; see him; see his God 
toward whom he presses, whether by direction of others or by 
his own contemplation. What does he say? 6 I do not consider 
that I have laid hold of it already. But one thing I do: 
forgetting what is behind, I strain forward to what is before, 
I press on towards the goal, to the prize of God's heavenly 
call in Christ Je&us. 39 He says: 'I press on.' He says: I 
advance; I am on the way. Follow if you can. Let us come 
to the homeland together, where you will not seek from me 
nor I from you. Therefore, now let us seek together in our 
common belief so that afterwards we may rejoice together 
in eternal life.' 

(4) As a matter of fact, who can enlighten you as to the 
nature of God? Behold, let Him say through this His servant 
to my fellow servants, His servants, what He deigned to say 
through that other servant. His words are: 'In the beginning 
was the Word.' And when you asked me where He was, you 
received the answer: c And the Word was with God/ Then, 
lest you should scorn words uttered in the fashion of human 
speech, you heard: 'And the Word was God.' Do you still 
ask about the nature of God? 'All things were made through 

8 Cf. 2 Cor. 12.2. 

9 Phil. 3.13-15. 


him. 510 Love Him; whatever else you love is from Him. 
Let us not, neglecting the Creator, love the creature; instead, 
let us look at the creature and give praise to the Creator. 

I cannot show you my God; I show what He has done; I 
call to your attention what He has made. C A11 things were 
made through him. 3 Not new Himself, He made all things 
new; eternal Himself, He made things temporal; He, who 
knew not how to change, made things mutable. Look at 
His works; praise the Workman. Believe so that you may 
be cleansed. 

Do you really wish to see? Do you desire to see something 
good, something great? I urge you : wish for it. Do you wish 
to see? 'Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see 
God.' 11 First, then, think about purifying your heart; consider 
this an obligation; enlist all your energies for this task; be 
intent upon this work. What you desire to see is clean; the 
place from which you wish to see is unclean. You think of 
God as an immense or manifold brilliance visible to mortal 
eyes; you multiply space as much as you wish; you do not 
set a limit where you do not wish and you set the limit 
wherever you wish. These are the figments of your imagina- 
tion; these are the uncleannesses of your mind. Take and cast 
them out. If dust were to fall into your eye, and if you wished 
me to show you the light, your eyes would first need to be 
cleansed. There is much uncleanness in your heart; wherever 
there is avarice, there is no small amount of uncleanness. 
You are heaping up what you cannot take with you. Do you 
not know that, when you thus heap up things, you are drag- 
ging mire into your heart? How, then, will you see what you 

(5) You say to me: 'Show me your God/ I answer you: 
'Turn your attention to your own heart for a little while.' 
You say to me: 'Show me your God.' Again I answer: 
'Turn your attention to your own heart for a little while. 
Take from it whatever you see there that is displeasing to 

10 John 1.1. 

II Matt. 5.8. 


God. 5 He, God, wishes to come to you. Hear the Lord Christ 
Himself: 'I and the Father will come to him and make our 
abode with him.' 12 Behold what God promises. If I were to 
promise to come into your house, you would cleanse it. God 
wishes to come into your heart; are you too lazy to clean 
out your house for Him? He does not like to live with avarice, 
with an unclean and insatiable mistress whose bidding you 
were obeying even when you sought to see God. What have 
you done which God commanded? What have you not 
done which avarice commanded? What have you done 
which God commanded? I am going to show you what 
is in your heart since you wish to see God. For I made 
this statement: There is that which I may show; there is 
no one to whom to show it.' What have you done which God 
has ordered? What have you failed to do which avarice has 
ordered? God ordered you to clothe the naked and you 
shuddered; avarice ordered you to strip the one clothed and 
you obeyed with alachity. If you had done what God ordered 
(why do I remind you?) would you have this and that posses- 
sion? You would have God Himself. If you had done what 
God ordered, you would have God. You have done what 
avarice dictated; what do you have? I know you are going 
to say to me: C I have whatever I have gained. 3 Hence, you 
possess by depriving others. Do you, who have lost yourself, 
have anything at home? You answer: c Yes. I have. 3 I ask 
you : 'Where, where? 3 Without a doubt, it is in a secret place, 
or a purse, or a chest: I need not say more. Wherever you 
have it, you certainly do not have it with you now. Undoubt- 
edly, you think you have it now in your chest. Perhaps it 
has disappeared and you do not realize it; perhaps, when 
you return home, you will not find that which you have 
lost. I am sounding your heart; I ask you what you have 
there. Behold, you have filled your treasure chest, and you 
have violated your conscience. Take thought of fullness; learn 
how to be full. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken 

12 Cf. John 14.23. 


away: as it hath pleased the Lord so it is done: blessed be 
the name of the Lord. 313 He [Job] certainly had lost all 
things. Whence, then, did he produce such gems of praise 
for the Lord? 

( 6 ) Therefore, cleanse your heart, so far as you can. Work 
at this; accomplish this. Ask, beg, and humble yourself so 
that God may cleanse the place where He is to abide. You 
do not understand the words: 'In the beginning was the 
Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was 
God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were 
made through him, and without him was made nothing that 
has been made. In him was life and the life was the light 
of men. And the light shines in the darkness; and the dark- 
ness grasped it not. 314 Behold the reason why you do not 
understand: The light shines in the darkness; and the dark- 
ness grasped it not. 5 What constitutes darkness except evil 
works? What constitutes darkness except evil desires: 
pride, avarice, ambition, envy? All those evils constitute 
darkness and, on that account, you do not understand. For 
the light shines in the darkness/ but give me one who 

( 7 ) Exert yourself so that you may be able to comprehend 
in some way or other: 'The Word was made flesh and dwelt 
among us.' 15 Through the Man Christ you go to the God 
Christ. God means much to you; but God became Man. The 
Word which was far from you became Man in your midst. 
Where you are to abide, He is God; on your way thither, 
He is Man. Christ Himself is both the Way by which you 
go and the Haven toward which you make your way. 
Therefore, He the 'Word was made flesh and dwelt among 
us. 3 He took upon Himself what He was not; He did not 
lose what He was. He appeared as Man; He concealed His 
Godhead. He was slain as Man; He was offended as God. 

13 Job 1.21. 

14 John 1.1-6. 

15 John 1.14. 


But as Man He rose again and proved that He was God. 
Consider, then, how much He did as God; how much He 
suffered as Man. He was put to death, but not in His divinity; 
Christ Himself was slain. For there are not two Persons, God 
and Man, in such a way that we no longer consider or 
recognize a Trinity but rather a quaternity. Man is indeed 
man, and God is indeed God, but the whole Christ is both 
God and Man. Therefore, Christ Himself is both God and 
Man. Just as you, a man, are body and soul, so the whole 
Christ is body, soul, and God. 

The same Person says something which pertains to God; 
He says something which pertains to His soul; He says some- 
thing which pertains to His body; but the whole belongs to 
Christ. What does He say as God? 16 'As the Father has life 
in himself, even so has he given to the Son also to have life 
in himself. 5 'Whatever the Father does, this the Son also does 
in like manner. 5 C I and the Father are one. 3 What does 
Christ say in reference to His soul? c My soul is sad, even 
unto death. 517 What does Christ say in regard to His body? 18 
'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.* 
Teel me and see; for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, 
as you see I have.' These words are treasures of wisdom and 

(8) Certainly the whole Law depends on two precepts: 
Thou shall love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, 
and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind; . . . and 
thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two com- 
mandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.' 19 In 
Christ you have the Entirety. Do you wish to love your 
God? You possess Him in Christ: In the beginning was the 
Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was 
God. 3 Do you wish to love your neighbor? You possess him 

16 Cf. John 5.26,19; 10.30. 

17 Matt. 26.38. 

18 John 2.19; Luke 24.39. 

19 Matt. 22.37-41. 


in Christ: c The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. 320 

(9) May His grace cleanse us; may He purify us by His 
assistance and His consolations. My brethren, through Him 
and in Him I beseech you to abound in good works, in mercy, 
in kindness, and in goodness. Be quick to forgive the sins 
committed against you. Let no one nourish anger against 
another lest he obstruct his own prayer to God. For, since 
we are in this world, even if we perform all these worthy 
actions, even if we live righteously, we do not live here with- 
out sin. As a matter of fact, those offenses which are called 
crimes are not the only sins, namely, adulteries, fornications, 
sacrileges, thefts, plunder, false testimonies: these are not the 
only sins. To give your attention to what you should not 
heed is a sin ; to listen gladly to something which you should 
not hear is a sin ; to think of something upon which you should 
not dwell is a sin. 

(10) But, after the laver of regeneration, our Lord has 
given us other daily remedies. The Lord's Prayer is our daily 
purification. Let us say, and let us say with sincerity because 
it is an alms in itself: 'Forgive us our debts, as we also forgive 
our debtors. 321 'Give alms and all things are clean to you. 322 
Remember, my brethren, what God is going to say to those 
destined to stand on His right hand. 23 He will not say: Tou 
accomplished these and those great deeds,' but He will say: 
C I was hungry and you gave me to eat. 3 To those destined 
to stand on His left hand He will not say: 'You performed 
these and those evil deeds, 3 but He will say: 'I was hungry 
and you did not give me to eat. 3 The former, by reason of 
their almsgiving, [will go] into life everlasting; the latter, 
by reason of their barrenness, into everlasting fire. Choose 
now either the right or the left. For, I ask you, what hope 
of health will there be for one who is slow in applying 

20 John 1.1,14. 

21 Matt. 6.12. 

22 Cf. Luke 11.41. 

23 Cf. Matt. 25.35,42. 


remedies though he abounds in diseases? 'But the diseases 
are insignificant.' Heap them together, and they weigh you 
down. 'But the sins which 1 commit are rather trifling. 3 Are 
they not numerous? How are sins trifling which press upon 
one and bring destruction? What is more minute than drops 
of rain? Yet, they fill the rivers. What is more minute than 
grains of wheat? Yet, they fill the barns. You note the fact that 
they are rather small, but you do not note that they are 
numerous. You know how to appraise; count, if you can. 
However, God has certainly given us a daily remedy. 

(11) Great is the mercy of Him who 'ascended on high 
and led captivity captive/ 24 What is the significance of he led 
captivity captive'? He overcame death. Captivity has been tak- 
en captive; death has died. What then? Did He who 'ascended 
on high and led captivity captive' accomplish only this? Did 
He then abandon us? 'Behold, I am with you even to the 
consummation of the world/ 25 Therefore, attend to this state- 
ment: 'He has given gifts to men/ 26 Open wide the bosom 
of your piety; receive the gift of eternal happiness. 

Sermon 262 

(1) The Lord Jesus, the only-begotten of the Father, 
co-eternal with Him who begot Him, equally invisible, equally 
unchangeable, equally omnipotent, equally God, became 
Man for our sake, as you have learned, as you have believed, 
and as you hold. Assuming human nature, He did not 
abandon His divine nature; hidden in His omnipotence, He 
was revealed in His weakness. As you know, He was born 
50 that we might be reborn; He died so that we might not 
die forever. Straightway, that is, on the third day, He rose 
again; He promised to us a like resurrection at the end of 

24 Cf. Ps. 67.19; Eph. 4.8. 

25 Cf. Matt. 28.20. 

26 Cf. Ps. 67.19; Eph. 4.8. 


the world. He presented Himself to be seen by the eyes of 
the disciples, to be touched by their hands, thus proving 
what He had become without detracting from what He 
always was. He remained with them for forty days, as you 
have heard, coming and going, eating and drinking, no 
longer from any need, but entirely by His power, convincing 
them of the reality of His body, of its weakness on the cross, 
but of its immortality on issuing from the tomb. 

(2) Today, therefore, we celebrate the day of His Ascen- 
sion. In addition, this day marks a local solemnity for this 
particular church. 1 On this day the burial of holy Leontius, 
the founder of this basilica, took place. However, let the star 
deign to be obscured by the Sun, and therefore, as I had 
begun, let me choose to speak about the Lord. The good 
servant rejoices when the Master is praised. 

(3) On this day, therefore, that is, on the fortieth day 
after His Resurrection, the Lord ascended into heaven. We 
did not witness His Ascension, but let us believe. Those who 
did witness it proclaimed it and filled the entire world [with 
their preaching.] You know that, concerning those who 
witnessed it and who told us about it, the Scripture had 
predicted: 'There are no speeches nor languages, where 
their voices are not heard. Their sound hath gone forth into 
all the earth: and their words unto the ends of the world.' 2 
Hence, their voices have reached us and have aroused us 
from sleep. Behold, this day is being celebrated throughout 
the whole world. 

(4) Recall the words of the psalm to your minds. To 
whom was this said: Be thou exalted, O God, above the 
heavens'? 3 To whom was this said? Was be thou exalted' 
said to God the Father, who was never humiliated? No, 
'be thou exalted,' Thou who hast been enclosed in the womb 

1 This sermon was evidently delivered to mark the burial of Leontius, 
Bishop of Hippo, in the basilica named in his honor See also Sermon 
260 and Letter 29.1, 

2 Ps. 18.4-6. 

3 Ps. 56.12. 


of Thy Mother; Thou who hast been formed in her whom 
Thou didst form; Thou who hast lain in a manger; Thou 
who, in true flesh, as a little Babe hast been nourished at the 
breast; 4 Thou who, carrying the world, wert carried by Thy 
Mother; Thou whom the old man Simeon recognized as a 
Little One and praised as the Mighty One; Thou whom the 
widow Anna saw as a nursling and acknowledged as omni- 
potent; Thou who wert hungry for our sake, thirsty for our 
sake, and weaned on the way for our sake. (Yet is Bread 
ever hungry, or is the Fountain ever thirsty, or is the Way 
ever weary?) Thou who hast endured all things for our 
sake; Thou who hast slept, yet slumberest not in protecting 
Israel; finally, Thou whom Judas sold, whom the Jews 
bought and yet did not possess; Thou who wert seized, bound, 
scourged, crowned with thorns, suspended on the cross, 
pierced with the lance; Thou who didst die and who wert 
buried, 'be thou exalted O God, above the heavens.' 

(5) 'Be thou exalted,' the Psalmist says, 'be thou exalted 
above the heavens,' because Thou art God. Be enthroned 
in heaven, since Thou didst hang upon the cross. You are 
feared as the Judge who is to come, You who, having been 
feared, were once judged. Who would believe such things 
if they were not done by Him who raises the needy from the 
earth and lifts the poor from the dunghill? He Himself 
raises His own needy body and places it with the princes 
of His people, with whom He is going to judge the living 
and the dead. He has placed this needy body among those 
to whom He said: 'You shall sit on twelve thrones, judging 
the twelve tribes of Israel,' 5 

(6) Therefore, 'be thou exalted, O God, above the 
heavens.' That has already happened; it has already been 
fulfilled. Nevertheless, we, not understanding but believing, 
ask how that prediction, c Be thou exalted, O God, above 
the heavens/ is going to be fulfilled. Behold before our eyes 

4 The reading of Ms. Floriancensis has been followed here: in vera 
carne suxisti, 

5 Matt. 19.28. 


the statement which follows: 'Be thou exalted, O God, above 
the heavens: and thy glory above all the earth. 5 Let him 
who does not grasp the second part not believe the first part. 
For what is the significance of 'And thy glory above all the 
earth,' except that Thy Church is above all the earth, Thy 
lady is above all the earth, Thy spouse, Thy beloved, Thy 
dove, Thy bride is above all the earth? She is Thy glory as 
the Apostle says: C A man ought not to cover his head, 
because he is the image and glory of God. But woman is 
the glory of man. 56 If woman is the glory of man, the Church 
is the glory of Christ . . . . 7 

Sermon 263 

(I) The glorification of our Lord Jesus Christ was com- 
pleted by His Resurrection and Ascension. We celebrated 
His Resurrection on Easter Sunday; today we are celebrating 
His Ascension. Both feasts belong to us, for He rose again 
to give us a token of our resurrection; He ascended in order 
to protect us from heaven above. Hence, we have our Lord 
and Saviour Jesus Christ hanging on a cross, now enthroned 
in heaven. He paid our price when He hung upon the cross; 
He gathers what He purchased when He sits enthroned in 
heaven. As a matter of fact, when He has collected all whom 
He will gather together throughout all time, He will come 
at the end of the world just as it is written : 'God shall come 
manifestly/ 1 not as He came first, in obscurity, but, as the 
Scripture says, 'manifestly.' For it was fitting that He should 
come in obscurity so that He might be judged; but He shall 
come manifestly when He is to pass judgment. Indeed, if 

6 1 Cor. 1L7. 

7 In the Ms. Floriancensis this sermon has a long additional passage. 
However, since the content is repeated, with few exceptions, in Sermon 
265, it has not been included here. 

1 Ps. 49.3. 


He had first come manifestly, who would have dared to 
judge Him thus manifested, since in truth the Apostle says: 
Tor had they known it, they would never have crucified the 
Lord of glory. 32 But, if He had not been put to death, death 
would have not died. The Devil was overcome by his own 
trophy, for the Devil rejoiced when, by seducing the first 
man, he cast him into death. By seducing the first man, he 
killed him; by killing the last Man, he lost the first from his 

Therefore-, the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ was assured 
when He rose again and ascended into heaven; and that 
was fulfilled which you heard when the Apocalypse was 
read: 'The lion of the tribe of Juda . . . has overcome. 33 He 
who was slain as a lamb has been called a Lion: a Lion 
because of His courage, a Lamb because of His innocence; 
a Lion because invincible, a Lamb because gentle. And the 
Lamb Himself, when slain, by His death overcame the lion 
who 'goes about seeking someone to devour.' For the Devil 
has been called a lion by reason of his ferocity, not because 
of his courage. Indeed, the Apostle Peter says: 'It is necessary 
for you to be on your guard against temptations, for your 
adversary the devil goes about seeking someone to devour.' 
Moreover, in regard to how he goes about, Peter says: 'As 
a roaring lion he goes about seeking someone to devour.' 4 
Who would be safe from the teeth of this lion if the Lion 
of the tribe of Juda had not prevailed? The Lion [stood] 
against the lion; the Lamb against the wolf. The Devil 
exulted when Christ died, and by that very death of Christ 
the Devil was overcome: he took food, as it were, from a 
trap. He gloated over the death as if he were appointed a 
deputy of death; that in which he rejoiced became a prison 
for him. The cross of the Lord became a trap for the Devil; 
the death of the Lord was the food by which he was ensnared. 

2 1 Cor. 2.8. 

3 Apoc. 5.5. 

4 1 Peter 5.8. 


And behold, our Lord Jesus Christ rose again. Where is the 
death which hung upon the cross? Where is the reviling of 
the Jews? Where is the pride and haughtiness of those who 
shook their heads before the cross saying: 'If he is the Son 
of God let him come down from the cross.' 5 But He did 
more than they demanded in their revilings, for it is greater 
to rise from the tomb than to come down from the cross. 

(2) Even now, in truth, how great is His glory because 
He ascended into heaven, because He sits at the right hand 
of the Father! But we do not see this with our mortal eyes 
because we did not see Him hanging on the cross. We cherish 
all this by faith; we see it with the eyes of our hearts. For 
on this day, my brethren, as you have heard, our Lord Jesus 
Christ ascended into heaven; may our hearts, too, ascend 
with Him. Let us hearken to the Apostle when he says: 'If 
you have risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, 
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Mind the 
things that are above, not the things that are on the earth. 36 
For, just as He ascended into heaven without departing 
from us, so we, too, are already there with Him although 
that which He promised us has not yet been accomplished in 
our body. He has already been exalted above the heavens. 
Nor must we despair of reaching that perfect and angelic 
heavenly dwelling because of the fact that He said: 'No 
one has ascended into heaven except him who has descended 
from heaven: the Son of Man who is in heaven.' 7 But this 
was said on account of the unity by which He is our Head 
and we are His Body. Although He ascended into heaven, 
we are not separated from Him. He who descended from 
heaven does not begrudge it to us; on the contrary, He 
proclaims it in a certain manner: c Be My members if you 
wish to ascend into heaven.' By this word let us be strength- 
ened in the meantime; by this word let us be enkindled in 

5 Cf. Matt. 27.40. 

6 Col. 3.1-3. 

7 John 3.13. 


all our prayers. On earth let us meditate on that which we 
look forward to in heaven. Then we shall put off the flesh 
of mortality; now let us put aside the sluggishness of our 
mind. The body will easily be lifted to the heights of heaven 
if the weight of our sins does not press down upon our spirit. 
( 3 ) For this, too, incites some people to slanderous heresies, 
namely, the question as to how the Lord descended without 
a body when He ascended with a body, as if this were 
contrary to those words which state: 'No one ascends into 
heaven, except him who has descended from heaven.' They 
ask how a body which did not descend from heaven could 
ascend into heaven, as if He had said : "Nothing ascends into 
heaven except what has descended from heaven,' instead of 
'No one ascends except him who has descended.' For the 
statement referred to the Person, not to His external appear- 
ance. He descended without bodily vesture; He ascended 
with bodily vesture. Still, no one has ascended except Him 
who has descended. For, if He has so attached us to Himself 
as His members that He is one and the same with us who 
have been united to Him, how much more certain is it that 
the body which He took from the Virgin cannot have a 
plurality of persons in it! For, in regard to a mountain or 
a wall or any rather high place, who insists that one who 
descended has not ascended if, although he descended un- 
clothed, he ascends clothed, or if he ascends armed although 
he came down unarmed? Therefore, just as one says in regard 
to this case : 'No one ascends except him who has descended, 5 
even though he ascends with something with which he did 
not Descend, so no one has ascended into heaven except 
Christ, because no one has descended from heaven except 
Christ. Although He descended without a body, He ascended 
with a body and with us who are destined to ascend, not by 
reason of our own virtue, but on account of our oneness with 
Him. For there are two in one flesh; this is the great mystery 
ir^Christ and in the Church. 8 Wherefore, He Himself says: 
8 Cf. Eph. 5.31-33. 


"Therefore now they are no longer two, but one flesh. 39 

(4) Furthermore, the Lord, although He still needed food, 
fasted when He was tempted before His death; but He ate 
and drank when, no longer needing any food, He was 
glorified after His Resurrection. For, in the former instance, 
He manifested in His own Person our sufferings; in the latter, 
He revealed His own consolations in regard to us, limiting 
both periods to forty days. In fact, He fasted for forty days 
when He was tempted in the desert before the death of His 
body, as is written in the Gospel; 10 and again He spent forty 
days with the disciples, as Peter [sic] says in the Acts of the 
Apostles, 11 coming in and going out, eating and drinking, 
after the Resurrection of His body. 

In the use of the number forty to designate this period 
of time, a reference seems to be made to those who are 
called to grace through Him who came not to destroy the 
Law but to fulfill it. For, there are ten precepts of the Law. 
Now, the grace of Christ has been diffused throughout the 
world and the world is divided into four parts. Furthermore, 
when ten is multiplied by four, since those 'that have been 
redeemed by the Lord He hath gathered out the countries, 
from the rising and from the setting of the sun, from the 
north and from the sea/ 12 the result is forty. Hence, He 
fasted for forty days before the death of His body as if to 
say: 'Abstain from the desires of the world/ but He ate and 
drank during the forty days after the Resurrection of His 
body as if to say: 'Behold, I am with you . . . even to the 
consummation of the world.' 13 Fasting is, indeed, proper in 

9 Matt. 19.6. 

10 Cf. Matt. 4.1-3. 

11 Cf. Acts 1.3-5. The reference to Peter instead of Liike in this passage 
leads one to question whether St. Augustine was referring to one of 
the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles. See O. Bardenhewer, Patrologie 
(trans. Shahan) 97-110. The Lucan authorship of the Acts was defi- 
nitely established by the Biblical Commission on June 12, 1913; see 
Robert and Tricot, Guide to the Bible I 221-223. 

12 Cf. Ps. 106.24, 

13 Matt. 28.20. 


the trial of the contest, since he who strives in a contest 
abstains from all things; 14 but food is proper in the hope of 
peace which will not be achieved until our body, whose 
redemption we hope for, will have put on immortality. How- 
ever, we now feast by anticipation upon that in which we do 
not yet take glory by actual possession. St. Paul predicted 
our doing both these things at the same time when he said: 
'Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, 315 as if the former 
were contingent on food; the latter, on fasting. In fact, when 
we enter upon the way of the Lord, let us fast from the 
vanity of this present life, and refresh ourselves with the 
hope of the future life, not focusing our heart on things here, 
but feasting it on things above. 

Sermon 264 

1 I ) There are many mysteries hidden in the sacred Scrip- 
tures, some of which I myself consider as calling for investiga- 
tion and others which the Lord has deigned to reveal to our 
lowliness, but there is not enough time now to disclose these 
mysteries to your Holiness. For I know that on these days, 
especially, the church is filled with people who prefer to 
depart quickly more than to come and who consider me 
boring if I speak somewhat at length. Nevertheless, if these 
same people are detained until evening at those banquets 
to which they are hastening, they neither suffer, nor refuse, 
nor depart without at least some embarrassment. Still, not 
to deprive those who came here desirous of nourishment, 
I shall speak, though briefly, about the mystery of the fact 
that our Lord ascended with that body in which He rose 

(2) Indeed, it was on account of the weakness of His 
disciples for, even in that number, there were those whom 

14 Cf. 1 Cor, 9.25. 

15 Cf. Rom. 12.12. 



the Devil tempted by unbelief to such an extent that a 
certain disciple did not have as much faith in the Lord's 
living members, in that personal appearance with which 
he was familiar as in His recent wounds 1 therefore, to 
strengthen their faith the Lord deigned, after His Resurrec- 
tion, to live with them for forty whole days, from the very 
day of His Passion even to this day, coming in and going 
out, eating and drinking, just as the Scripture states, 2 proving 
that the physical life of which He had been deprived by the 
crucifixion was restored to their vision after the Resurrection. 

Nevertheless, He did not wish them to cleave to His flesh 
nor to detain Him too long by their earthly affection. For, 
with the same attitude of mind as Peter had shown when he 
did not wish the Lord to suffer, the disciples wished Him 
to be always physically present with them. For they looked 
upon Him as a Teacher, as a Comforter, as a Consoler and a 
Protector, in a word, as a man such as they themselves 
were. If they did not see anything of this sort, they believed 
that He was not there even though He was always present 
in His majesty. 

Moreover, He actually looked upon them, as He Himself 
deigned to say, just as a hen does upon her chickens. 3 In fact, 
as a hen herself becomes weak because of the weakness of 
her young for, if you recall, of all the birds which bring 
forth their young before our eyes, we do not know of any 
bird except the hen which becomes weak with her young 
so, from her the Lord drew a similitude because, on account 
of our weakness, He also deigned to become weak by the 
assumption of a human body. Now, however, it was fitting 
for them to be lifted up a little, for them to think of Him in 
a spiritual fashion as the Word of God, as God with God, 
as the One through whom all things were made; but the 
flesh which they saw did not permit them to do all this. 
Hence, it was advantageous for them to be strengthened in 

1 Cf. John 20.25. 

2 Cf. Acts 1.3-5. 

3 Cf. Matt. 23.37. 


faith by His association with them during these forty days; 
but it was more advantageous for Him to withdraw Himself 
from their eyes, for Him who had associated with them on 
earth as a brother, to assist them from heaven as their Lord, 
and for them to learn to look upon Him as God, As a matter 
of fact, the Evangelist John stated this/ if anyone happens 
to note and if anyone happens to understand. For the Lord 
says: 'Let not your heart be troubled. ... If you loved me, 
you would indeed rejoice that I am going to the Father, 
for the Father is greater than I. 3 And in another place He 
says: 6 I and the Father are one. 3 He appropriates to Himself 
such equality, not by theft, but by nature so that to one of 
the disciples who said to Him: 'Lord, show us the Father 
and it is enough for us/ He answered: 'Philip, have I been 
so long a time with you and you have not known the Father? 
He who sees me sees also the Father. 5 What is the significance 
of 'who sees me 3 ? If it refers to the eyes of the flesh, they 
who crucified Him saw. What, then, is the real meaning of 
who sees me 5 unless it be 'who understands, who sees with 
the eyes of the mind 3 ? For, just as there are interior ears 
which the Lord sought when He said: 'He who has ears to 
hear, let him hear, 55 although there was no deaf person 
standing before Him, so there is an interior sight of the 
mind by which, if anyone has seen the Lord, he has seen 
the Father, also, because He is equal to the Father. 

(3) Hear the Apostle when he endeavors to commend to 
us the mercy of Him who for our sake became weak so that 
He might gather His chickens under His wings, instructing 
other disciples who, from lack of strength had arisen to a 
certain strength, so that they too might compassionate the 
weakness of their weaker brethren since He had come down to 
our weakness from heavenly strength. The Apostle says : 'Have 
this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus. 36 'Consider 

4 John 14.1,28; 10.30; 14.8-10. 

5 Matt. 11.15. 

6 Phil. 2.5-8. 


It an honor, 3 he says, 'to imitate the Son of God in com- 
passion for His little ones. "Who though he was by nature 
God . ..." 3 By saying 'though he was by nature God/ he 
declares that Christ is equal to God, for one's nature is not 
less than he whose nature it is. In fact, if it is less, it is not 
one's nature. Nevertheless, lest anyone should doubt, he 
made an addition and he placed the Word itself there to 
close the mouth of the sacrilegious: 'Who though he was by 
nature God, did not consider it theft to be equal to God.' 
My dear brethren, what is the meaning of the Apostle's 
words: 'He did not consider it theft'? Because He was by 
nature equal. For whom, then, was equality to God a theft? 
For the first man to whom was said: 'Taste and you will 
be as gods.' 7 He wished, by theft, to raise himself to equality 
and, by his punishment, he lost immortality. But he, for 
whom it was not theft, 'did not consider it theft to be equal 
to God.' If, then, it was not theft, it was nature, unbroken 
union, and very close relationship. 

But what did the Lord do? 'He emptied himself, taking 
the nature of a slave and being made like unto men. And 
appearing in the form of man, he humbled himself, becoming 
obedient to death, even to death on a cross/ 8 It was not 
enough to mention death; he specified the kind of death. 
Why the kind of death? Because many are ready to die; 
many say: 'I am not afraid to die, but I would like to die 
in my bed, surrounded by my children, my grandchildren, 
and my grief-stricken wife.' Such people, indeed, do not seem 
to refuse death, but by choosing a particular kind of death 
they are punished by fear. However, He chose that kind of 
death which is worse than all others. Just as men choose for 
themselves a better kind of death, so He chose a worse kind, 
that which was accursed in the eyes of all Jews- For 
He who will come to judge the living and the dead was not 
afraid to die through false witness, through the sentence of 

7 Cf. Gen. 3.5. 

8 Phil. 2.7-9: 


a judge; He was not afraid to die by the ignominy of the 
cross so that He might free from all disgrace those who 
believe in Him. Therefore, He became 'obedient to death, 
even to death on a cross/ though He was by nature equal 
to God; strong in the strength of His majesty, weak in the 
compassion of His humanity; strong enough to make all 
things, weak enough to remake all things. 

(4) Give your attention, therefore, to what John says: 
'If you loved me, you would indeed rejoice that I am going 
to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.' 9 How, then, 
is He equal, as the Apostle says, and as the Lord Himself 
says: T and the Father are one,' and in another passage: 
'He who sees me sees also the Father'? 10 How is this true: 
'The Father is greater than I 5 ? That expression, brethren, in 
so far as the Lord is striving to direct the attention of the 
disciples, was both reproach and consolation, for their 
thoughts were concentrated on His human nature, and they 
were unable to consider Him as God. In fact, they would 
then think of Him as God when His human nature would 
be removed from their eyes, so that, with the intimacy which 
they had formed with His human nature thus severed, they 
might learn to consider His divinity in the absence of His 
humanity. Hence, He says to them: Tf you loved me, you 
would indeed rejoice that I am going to the Father.' Why? 
So that, when I go to the Father, you may think of me as 
equal to the Father. For on this account 'He is greater than 
T: as long as you see Me in the flesh, for just so long is 
the Father greater than I. 

See if you have grasped this point, for the disciples did 
not know how to think of Him except as man. I am saying 
this somewhat more explicitly for the sake of our slower 
brethren. Moreover, let those who have grasped it put up 
with the slowness of the others and imitate the Lord Himself 
who 'though he was by nature God, . . . humbled himself, 

9 John 14.28. 
10 Cf. Phil. 2.6; John 10.30, 14.9. 


becoming obedient to death. 11 What is the meaning of the 
clause, 'if you loved me, 5 in the passage 'If you loved me, 
you would indeed rejoice that I am going to the Father'? 
What does c if you loved me' signify other than 'you do not 
love me'? What, then, do you love? The human nature 
which you see, for you do not wish it to be removed from 
your vision. Moreover, what does the c me 3 signify in 'if you 
loved me'? 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word 
was with God; and the Word was God,' as John himself 
says. 12 If, therefore, you would so love me because all things 
were made through me, 'you would rejoice that I am going 
to the Father. 3 Why? 'For the Father is greater than I. As 
long as you see Me on earth, the Father is greater than L 
Let Me depart from your eyes; let this mortal flesh which 
was assumed for the sake of your mortality be taken away 
from your vision; let this vesture which I took upon Myself 
in humility begin to withdraw from your eyes; and let it, 
instead be lifted up to heaven so that you may learn what 
to hope for. 3 In fact, He did not leave here the vesture with 
which He wished to be clothed while here on earth because, 
if He had done so, all would despair of the resurrection of 
their own bodies. 

Now He has actually raised this body to heaven and there 
are persons who doubt about the resurrection of the body! 
If God has demonstrated this in His own case, is He going 
to refuse it to man? For, God took a body through compas- 
sion; man, through necessity. Nevertheless, God manifested 
His body; He confirmed His followers in their faith when 
He raised it up to heaven. Moreover, when His physical 
presence was removed from their eyes, they no longer looked 
upon Him as mere man. Whatever there was of earthly affec- 
tion in their hearts for Him produced sadness in them; still, 
they gathered together in one place and began to pray. 
Moreover, He intended to send the Holy Spirit after an 

11 Phil. 2.6,8. 

12 John 1.1. 


interval of ten days so that, taking away from them their 
earthly desires, the Holy Spirit might fill them with spiritual 
love. Thus He now caused them to understand how Christ 
was the Word of God, God with God, through whom all 
things were made. Besides, they could not have been filled 
with such understanding if earthly love had not departed 
from their eyes. 

Hence, the Lord said : c lf you loved me, you would indeed 
rejoice that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater 
than I.' He is greater than I considered as Man; He is equal 
to Me considered as God; equal in regard to nature, greater 
in regard to the mercy of the Son. For He lowered Him, 
not only beneath His own rank, but even below the angels, 
as the Scripture says. 13 But the Son is not less, even if you 
perceive that He, by the assumption of a human body, has 
withdrawn somewhat from equality with the Father, whence 
He never really departs. Moreover, by taking flesh (for He 
did assume a human form), He was not changed. In the 
same way, one who puts on a garment is not changed into 
that garment, but within it he remains himself, an unchanged 
man. So, too, if a senator puts clothing of a slave when, per- 
chance, clothed in his senatorial robes, he cannot enter a 
prison to console someone who is detained there if he puts 
on prison garb, he seems to be wretchedly clothed as far as 
his physical being is concerned, but interiorly his senatorial 
dignity remains unimpaired to just such a degree as the mercy 
was greater by which he was prompted to put on what was 
of lowly nature. Thus, too, did the Lord, remaining God, 
remaining the Word, remaining Wisdom, remaining Divine 
Power, remaining supreme in the administration of the world, 
yet filling the angels, whole and entire everywhere, in the 
world, in the patriarchs, in the Prophets, in all the saints, 
in the womb of the Virgin, [demean Himself] in order to 
assume human nature, to unite it to Himself as a spouse so 
that as a Bridegroom He might come forth from the bride- 

13 Cf. PS. 8.6. 


chamber and so that He might espouse the Church, a chaste 
virgin. In this respect, therefore, He was less than the Father 
because He was Man; but equal to the Father because He 
was God. 

Therefore, cast out earthly longing [for Him] from your 
hearts. He would speak to His Apostles somewhat after this 
fashion: 'You do not wish Me to depart, just as one does 
not wish his friend to go away and, as it were, says to him: 
"Stay with us for a little while; our spirits are refreshed when 
we see you." But it is better for you not to see this body 
and to think of My divinity. I am removing Myself from 
you exteriorly, but I am filling you with Myself interiorly.' 
For, Christ does not enter your heart physically, with His 
body, does He? On the contrary, He takes possession of the 
heart in a spiritual sense. Through the eyes, in a physical 
sense, He speaks to the heart and He admonishes from with- 
out; but He dwells within us so that we may be interiorly 
converted, so that we may be quickened by Him and formed 
after His pattern, for He is the uncreated form of all created 

(5) Hence, if He passed forty days with His disciples, He 
did not make it forty days without reason. Perhaps twenty 
days would have sufficed, perhaps thirty days would have 
been enough; nevertheless, forty days is His dispensation for 
this whole period. In another sermon I discussed the fact 
that forty is the number ten multiplied by four; I recall that 
sermon to those of you who were present. As a matter of 
fact, the number ten symbolizes -all wisdom. This wisdom has 
been dispensed throughout the four parts of the world, 
throughout the entire universe. Even the seasons are marked 
off by a fourfold arrangement, for the year has four seasons 
just as the world has four directions. Hence, ten taken four 
times produces the number forty. 

Moreover, for the above reason, the Lord fasted for forty 
days, 14 showing us that the faithful ought to abstain from 
all corruption as long as they are in this world. Elias, in the 

14 Cf. Matt. 4.2. 


capacity of Prophet, fasted for forty days, indicating that 
this is taught by the Prophets, too. 15 Moses, symbolizing the 
Law, fasted for forty days, showing that this is also taught in 
the Law. 16 For forty years the people of Israel were led 
through the desert. 17 For forty days the ark was tossed about 
in the flood, that ark which, fashioned from incorruptible 
material typifying the souls of the saints and of the just, 
represents the Church; that ark which sheltered both clean 
and unclean animals, because, as long as life continues in 
this world and as long as the Church is cleansed by baptism 
as by a flood, it cannot fail to include both good and bad, 
and which for that reason contained both clean and unclean 
animals. However, when Noe came forth from the ark, he 
offered sacrifice to God of clean animals only. 18 From this 
fact we ought to realize that there are clean and unclean 
in the ark of the Church, but that, after the flood [that is, 
after baptism], God accepts only those who have purified 

Therefore, look upon this whole period of time which is 
presented to us as forty days, my brethren. As long as we 
are here on earth, during this entire period, our ark is in the 
flood. As long as Christians are baptized and cleansed through 
water, the ark seems to float upon the waves just as Noe's 
ark rested upon the water for forty days. But the Lord, 
remaining with His disciples for forty days, deigned to indi- 
cate that throughout this period faith in the Incarnation of 
Christ is necessary for all, since it is necessary for the weak. 
Now, if we possessed the vision to perceive that c in the 
beginning was the Word, 5 to perceive, to hold fast, to 
embrace, to delight in [this truth], it would not have been 
necessary for the Word to become flesh and to dwell among 
us. 19 But, by the dust of sins, the interior vision had been 

15 Cf. 3 Kings 19.8. 

16 Cf. Exod. 34.28. 

17 Cf. Num. 32.13. 

18 Cf. Gen. 6-9. 

19 Cf. John 1.1,14. 


blinded so far as grasping and enjoying that truth was 
concerned, and men no longer possessed the capacity of 
understanding the Word. Hence, He deigned to become 
flesh in order that what cannot be grasped now might be 
presented so as to be perceived later on. 

Thus, the manifestation of the human nature of Christ is 
necessary for the faithful in this life so that they make their 
way toward the Lord. However, once they have come to 
the vision of the Word, an entirely human manifestation 
will not be necessary. On that account, His association in the 
flesh for forty days after the Resurrection was necessary to 
show that faith In the Incarnation of Christ was indispensable 
for as long a time as the. ark is said to have been tossed upon 
the flood in this life. Hearken to what I am saying, brethren. 
Believe in Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary 
and who, having been crucified, rose again. There is no 
need of our questioning anything after that point, because 
we have already accepted it in faith; let us hold fast to this; 
it is necessary for our weakness. Consider, therefore, the 
charity of Him who, as a hen, protects our weakness ; consider 
that charity as the beast of burden belonging to the merciful 
traveler who placed upon it the poor man who had been 
wounded. 20 For, he lifted up the wounded man; and where 
did he place him? Upon his own beast of burden. The flesh 
of the Lord is our beast of burden. Hence, when this world 
will have passed, what will be said to you? c Because you 
have rightly believed in the humanity of Christ, now enjoy 
the majesty and divinity of Christ. 5 Weak human nature 
was necessary for weak human nature; strength will be 
necessary for the strong. 

(6) You also have to lay aside that weak human nature, 
just as you heard in the Epistle of the Apostle : This corrupt- 
ible body must put on incorruption, and this mortal body 
must put on immortality,' because, as he says: 'flesh and 

20 Cf. Luke 10.30-35. 


blood can obtain no part in the kingdom of God.' 21 Why 
will they obtain no part? It it because the flesh will not 
rise again? Far be it! The flesh will rise again, but what 
will it become? It is changed; it becomes a heavenly and 
angelic body. Do angels have a corporeal body? But there 
is this difference because that body will rise again, that 
same body which is buried, which dies; that same body 
which is seen and felt; that body which needs to eat and 
drink in order to live; that body which becomes sick and 
suffers pain; that same body has to rise again, unto ever- 
lasting punishment in the case of the wicked, and to undergo 
a change in the case of the good. When this change has 
been made, what will it become? Now it will be called, not 
a mortal, but a heavenly body, because 'this corruptible 
body must put on incorruption, and this mortal body must 
put on immortality.' 

However, people are amazed that God, who made all 
things from nothing, makes a heavenly body from human 
flesh. When He was in the flesh, the Lord made wine from 
water; is it anything wonderful if He makes a heavenly 
body from human flesh? Do not admit any doubt about God 
because He is able to do this. There was nothing [upon 
which to draw] so that angels might exist; but by His power 
alone they are what they are. Is He who was able to make 
you when you did not exist not able to make over what you 
once were? And is He not able to give a greater degree of 
glory to your faith on account of His own Incarnation? 
Therefore, when this world will have passed, that reward 
will be ours of which John says: 'Beloved, now we are the 
children of God, and it has not yet appeared what we shall 
be. We know that, when he appears, we shall be like to 
him, for we shall see him just as he is.' 22 Meanwhile, prepare 
yourselves for that vision; as long as you are in the flesh, 
believe in Christ incarnate; believe in such a way as to 

21 1 Cor. 15.53,50. 

22 I John 3.2. 


preclude any thought that you have been deceived by any 
falsehood. For Truth never lies. In fact, if Truth deceives, 
where are we to go for counsel? What are we to do? Whom 
are we to trust? Hence, Truth, the true Word, the true 
Wisdom, the true Power of God, 'the Word became flesh,' 
true flesh. He Himself says: Teel me and see; for a spirit 
does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.' 23 

As a matter of fact, His bones were real bones; His sinews 
were real sinews; His wounds were real wounds. Whatever 
was touched was real; whatever was perceived was true. 
Man was touched; God was perceived. Flesh was touched; 
Wisdom was perceived. Weakness was touched; Power was 
perceived. He is all Truth. Nevertheless, His humanity, that 
is, the Head [of the Mystical Body], has gone before us into 
heaven; the other members will follow. Why? Because it is 
fitting for those other members to enjoy rest here for a little 
while, and for each one to arise in his own time. If the Lord, 
too, should wish to rise at that later time, there would be 
no one in whom we would believe. For that reason, He 
wished, in His own Person, to offer to God the first fruits 
of those sleeping, 24 in order that, on seeing what has been 
restored to Him, you might hope for the same reward in 
your own case. All the people of God will be equal to and 
associated with the angels. Therefore, let no one say to you, 
my brethren, Those stupid Christians believe that the flesh 
will rise again. Who rises, or who has risen? Who has come 
back from the lower regions and has spoken to you?' Christ 
has come back, O wretched one, O perverse and unreasonable 
human heart! If his grandfather should rise again, this man 
would believe him ; the Lord of the world has risen, but he is 
unwilling to believe. 

(7) Consequently, my brethren, hold fast to the true, 
genuine, and Catholic faith. The Son is equal to the Father; 

23 Luke 24.39. 

24 The reading libare, suggested in Migne, PL 38.1218, note 2, has heen 
adopted here. 


the Gift of God, the Holy Spirit, is equal to the Father; and 
therefore, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit constitute 
one God, not three gods; they have not been added by succes- 
sive stages to one another, but are united together in majesty; 
they are one God. However, for our sake, the Son, c the 
Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us. 5 'He did not 
consider it theft to be equal to God, but emptied himself, 
taking the nature of a slave, and appearing in the form of 
man.' 25 And, so that you may know, my brethren, that the 
Trinity is truly an equality, and that the statement, 'The 
Father is greater than I,' was made only in reference to the 
human nature which the Lord assumed, why was the same 
statement, 'He is less,' never made in regard to the Holy 
Spirit unless it be because He did not assume a human 
nature? Consider what I have said; scrutinize all the Scrip- 
tures; take all the pages in your hand; read all the verses; 
and you will never find that the Holy Spirit is less than 
God. Therefore, the Son was said to be less because He 
became less for our sake, so that through Him we might be 
made greater. 

Sermon 265 

( I ) On the solemnity of this feast I admonish those who 
are mindful, and \ instruct those who are careless. Today 
we solemnly celebrate the Ascension of the Lord into heaven. 
For the Lord our Saviour who departed from His body and 
later assumed it again, after He rose from the dead, mani- 
fested Himself alive to His disciples who had lost hope in 
Him as one dead. After that, He presented Himself to be 
viewed by their eyes and touched by their hands, building 
up their faith by disclosing the truth, Since it would be too 
great a tax on human frailty and insecure anxiety to reveal 
so great a miracle and to withdraw it again within one day, 
He remained with them on earth, as we heard when the 

25 Cf. Phil. 2.6-8. 


book of the Acts of the Apostles was read; He associated 
with them on earth for forty days, coming in and going out, 
eating and drinking, not because He needed to do so, but 
in order to manifest the truth. Therefore, on the fortieth 
day which we celebrate today, while they looked on and 
followed Him with their eyes, He ascended into heaven. 

Then, therefore, they afterwards marveled at the fact that 
they saw Him ascending and they rejoiced that He went up 
to heaven, for the precedence of the Head is the hope of 
the members. Moreover, they heard the angelic message: 
'Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up to heaven? 
This Jesus . . . shall come in the same way as you have seen 
him going up to heaven.' 1 What is the significance of He 
will come in the same way 1 ? He will come in that same 
form, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled : 'They shall look 
upon him whom they have pierced.' 2 'He shall come in the 
same way. 3 He shall come to men; He shall come as a Man; 
but He shall come as the God-Man. He shall come as true 
God and true Man to make men like unto God. He has 
ascended as Judge of heaven; He has expressed Himself as 
Herald of heaven. Let us have a good cause so that we may 
not fear the judgment that is to come. As a matter of fact, 
He did ascend; those who announced it to us witnessed it. 
The people who did not see it believed; some incredulous 
persons mocked, 'for not all men have the faith.' 3 Further- 
more, because 'not all men have the faith 3 and because 'the 
Lord knows who are his, 54 why do we take exception to the 
fact that God ascended into heaven? Rather, let us wonder 
that God descended into hell. Let us wonder at the death 
of Christ; but let us praise rather than wonder at His Resur- 
rection. Ours is the loss; ours is the sin; but the blood of 
Christ is our redemption. The Resurrection of Christ is our 

1 Acts i.n. 

2 John 19.37; Zach. 12.10. 

3 2 Thess. 3,2. 

4 2 Tim. 2-19. 


hope; the coming of Christ is our possession. Therefore, we 
must wait until He comes who now sits at the right hand 
of the Father. Let our soul, thirsting for Him, say: 'When 
will He come? 3 and 'My soul hath thirsted after the living 
God.' 5 When will He come? He will come, but when will He 
come? You long for Him to come. Would that He may find 
you ready! 

(2) However, let us not think that we are the only ones 
to have such a longing for our Lord that we keep saying: 
"When will He come?' His disciples had this same longing. 
If I were able to give this information to you, as you long- 
ingly gaze upward, looking with expectancy and suspense, 
desiring to find out when the Lord our God is going to 
come, if I were able to impart this information to you, what 
would I seem like in your eyes? But if you do not hope to 
be able to hear this answer from me (and if you do hope, 
you are foolish people), certainly, if you should have the 
Lord Jesus Christ Himself, present in His body, alive and 
speaking, before your eyes and your hands, I know well that, 
in view of your longing, you would ask and say to Him: 
'Lord, when are You going to come? 5 The disciples them- 
selves, when the Lord was actually present, asked Him that 
question. You cannot ask as they asked, but listen to the an- 
swer they received. For they were then in existence, but we 
were not yet living. However, if we believe them, they asked 
for us and they heard the answer for us. Therefore, the dis- 
ciples of Christ, who was about to be taken from their sight, 
questioned Christ as He was on the point of ascending to 
heaven and said to Him: 'Lord, will you be presented 
at this time? 36 To whom were they speaking? Whom did 
they see present? 'Will you be presented at this time?' What 
does that mean? Did they not see Him present? Did they 
not hear Him present? Did they not even touch Him present? 
What, then, does this mean: 'Will you be presented at this 

5 Cf. PS. 41.3. 

6 Cf. Acts 1.6. 


time?' unless It be that they knew that the future judgment 
would take place in the presence of Christ so that He would 
be seen by His followers and by others. For, when He rose 
again. He was seen only by His followers. 

Therefore, the disciples knew this and they clung to the 
belief that the time would come when He who was judged 
here would Himself judge, when He who was accused here 
would Himself accuse and blame, when He who was viewed 
by both classes of men would Himself place some on His right 
hand and others on His left; and that He would say what both 
groups would hear, that He would offer what only one group 
would not receive, and that He would threaten what only 
one group would fear. They realized that this would take 
place; but they asked when it would be. 'Will you be pre- 
sented at this time? [We ask this] not as for ourselves, for 
we now see You, but will You be presented also to those 
who have not believed in You? Tell us whether You will be 
presented at this time and tell us when the kingdom of Israel 
will come.' What kingdom? The one in regard to which we 
say: 'Thy kingdom come.' 7 What kingdom? The one in 
regard to which those placed on the right side are going to 
hear: 'Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the 
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world/ 
At the same time God will say to those on His left: 'Depart 
. . . into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the 
devil and his angels.' 8 It is a dreadful sentence; a fearful 
sentence! The just, however, 'shall be in everlasting remem- 
brance: he shall not fear the evil hearing.' 9 For the one 
group, this reward; for the others, that punishment. He is 
truthful toward each because He is just toward each. 

(3) Moreover, if they heard the answer to their question, 
let us hear, too; if they did not hearken, then, let us hold fast 
to what they heard. Let us not fear what is to come. 
'Lord, will you be presented at this time?' Let us, believing 

7 Matt. 6.10. 

8 Matt. 25.34,41. 

9 Ps. 111.7. 


that we see the Lord present here in His Mystical Body, say 
to Him: 'Lord, will you be presented at this time, and when 
will the kingdom of Israel come? 3 When will the reign of 
Your followers come? When will the reign of the lowly 
come? How long will the arrogance of the proud continue? 
Certainly, this is what you sought; this is what you desired 
to hear. Let us see what He will answer; let not lambs refuse 
to hear what rams have listened to. Let us hear what the 
Lord Himself said. To whom? To Peter, John, Andrew, 
James, to others like them, as great and as worthy but yet 
men whom the Lord found unworthy and whom He made 
worthy. What did He say to them when they asked Him: 
'Lord, will you be presented at this time, and when will the 
kingdom of Israel come?' He answered : 'It is not for you to 
know the times which the Father has fixed by his own authori- 
ty.' 10 What does this mean? Is Peter told: 'It is not for you' 
[to know], and do you imply: 'It is for me' [to know]? 'It 
is not for you to know the times which the Father has 
fixed by his own authority. 3 What you believe you believe 
rightly, namely, that it will come. But, what difference does 
it make to you when it is going to come? Prepare yourself 
for it whenever it will come. 'It is not for you to know the 
times which the Father has fixed by his own authority.' Let 
curiosity depart; let devotion take its place. What difference 
does it make to you when it will come? So live as if it were 
to come today and you will not be afraid when it does come. 
(4) Nevertheless, see the order and the training of the 
good Teacher, the outstanding Teacher, the only Teacher. 
He did not tell what they asked; He told what they did not 
ask. For He knew that it was not expedient for them to 
know what they asked; but He told them, even without their 
asking, what He knew was expedient for them to know. He 
said: e lt is not for you to know the times. 5 How are the times 
significant for you? Time is given to you for the sole purpose 
of going forth from time, and yet you seek time. e lt is 

10 Cf. Acts 1.6,7. 


not for you to know the times which the Father has 
fixed by his own authority,' Then, it is as if He were 
asked: 'And what is there for us to know?' Let us now hear 
what is especially pertinent for us; let us now hearken. That 
was asked which is not necessary for us to know; but that 
was answered which we ought to hear. 'It is not for you 
to know the times which the Father has fixed by his own 
authority.' What, then, is fitting for you to know? 

(5) 'But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit 
comes upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me-' Where? 
'In Jerusalem.' It was fitting for us to hear this, for in 
accordance with these words the Church is foretold and the 
Church is commended; unity is announced and division is 
censured. The statement was made to the Apostles: 'And 
you shall be witnesses for me.' To the faithful this is said; 
to the temples of God this is said; to the vessels of mercy this 
is said. 'You shall be witnesses for me.' Where? 'In Jerusalem' 
where I was put to death and in 'all Judea and Samaria and 
even to the very ends of the earth. 311 Behold your answer: 
hearken to it. Behold your answer: hold fast to it. Be as a 
spouse, and in security await the Bridegroom. 

The Church is a spouse. Where was it predicted that she, 
whom the Apostles were to announce, would be? Where was 
it foretold that she would be? For many persons are going 
to say: 'Behold she is here.' I would hearken if someone 
else did not say: 'Behold, she is here.' Why do you say: 
'Behold, she is here'? I was about to enter when someone 
called in similar fashion: 'Behold she is here.' You, on your 
part say: 'Behold, she is here'; another on his part says: 
'Behold, she is here.' Let us ask the Lord; let us question 
the Lord. Let the parts be silent; let us hear the Whole. One 
person from one corner says: 'Behold, she is here'; another 
from another corner says: 'No, behold she is here.' Speak 
to us, Lord. Declare which You have redeemed; indicate 
which You have loved. We have been invited to Your wed- 

11 Acts 1.8. 


ding; show us Your spouse so that we may not disturb 
Your solemn pledges with our contention. 

He answers without obscurity and He indicates without 
obscurity; He does not abandon those who seek information 
and He does not like those who are contentious. He speaks 
to His disciples, and He answers a question which they did 
not ask., because He is opposed to those who instigate quar- 
rels. Perhaps this question was not yet asked by the Apostles 
because the flock of Christ was not yet torn asunder by 
robbers. Let us, who have experienced the sufferings of 
division, earnestly seek the means of securing unity. The 
Apostles ask about the time of the judgment and the Lord 
discloses the extent of the Church. He did not answer what 
they asked, but He did foresee our sufferings. 'You shall be/ 
He said, 'witnesses for me in Jerusalem.' That is not enough. 
It was not for this, not to purchase this region alone, that 
You paid so great a price. 'In Jerusalem.' Add: 'and even 
to the very ends of the earth.' You have come to the ends 
of the earth; why do You not end these contentions? Let 
no one now say to me : 'Behold she is here,' or 'No, behold she 
is here.' Let human presumption be silent; let divine revela- 
tion be heard; let the true promise be held fast: 'In Jerusa- 
lem and in all Judea and Samaria and even to the very 
ends of the earth/ And when He had said this, a 'cloud took 
him out of their sight. 312 No longer was there need for any- 
thing to be added or to be considered from any other sources. 

(6) My brethren, are the last words of a parent who is 
soon to be taken to his tomb usually to be heard with great 
respect and are the last words of the Lord ascending to 
heaven going to be treated with scorn? Let us consider that 
our Lord wrote His will and set down in that will His last 
words. For He foresaw the future contentions of wicked 
children; He foresaw men striving to make themselves sharers 
of another's goods. Why should they not share what they did 
not purchase? Why should they not destroy that for which 
they paid no price? But the Lord did not wish that tunic 

12 Cf. Acts 1.9. 


which 'was without seam, woven in one piece from the 
top/ 13 to be divided; it was gained by lot. In that garment, 
unity has been commended to us; in that garment, charity 
has been preached; it was woven together from the top. 
Greed comes from the earth; charity, from above. Come now, 
my brethren. The Lord has written His will; He has set down 
His last words. Consider them, I beg you, and let them move 
you even as they move me; let them move you, if that can 
be done. 

(7) There are two glorifications of the Lord according to 
His human nature: one, because He rose from the dead 
on the third day; the other, because He ascended into heaven 
before the eyes of His disciples. Those two glorifications, 
which are commended to us, have already taken place. There 
remains a third which will also take place in the sight of 
men when He will come to judge. The Evangelist John made 
this statement about the Holy Spirit : Tor the Spirit had not 
yet been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. 514 
'The Spirit had not yet been given.' Why had it not yet been 
given? 'Since Jesus had not yet been glorified. 3 It was ex- 
pected, therefore, that the Spirit would be given when Jesus 
was glorified. Rightly was He glorified twice, by His Resur- 
rection and by His Ascension; twice, too, did He give the 
Holy Spirit. He gave one Spirit, and He alone gave; He 
gave unto unity and yet He gave twice. In the first place, after 
He rose again He said to His disciples: 'Receive the Holy 
Spirit,' 15 and He breathed upon them. There you have one 
instance. Later, promising to send the Holy Spirit, He said : 
*You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon 
you.' 16 Furthermore, in another place He says: 'Wait here in 
the city, for I shall fulfill the promise of my Father which 
you have heard from my mouth.' 17 When ten days had 

13 John 19.23. 

14 John 7.39. 

15 John 20.22. 

16 Acts 1.8. 

17 Cf. Luke 24.49. 


elapsed after His Ascension, He sent the Holy Spirit. That is 
the solemnity of Pentecost which is near at hand. 

(8) Attend to this, my brethren: someone may ask me: 
'Why did the Lord give the Holy Spirit twice?' Many men 
have said many things and, as men, they have asked ques- 
tions. Within the bounds of faith they have had their 
discussions, one saying one thing, another stating something 
else, but both keeping within the rule of truth. If I should 
say that I know why the Lord gave the Holy Spirit twice, I 
would be lying to you. I do not know why He did this. He 
who says that he knows what he does not know is rash; he 
who denies that he knows what he knows is ungrateful. There- 
fore, I confess to you that I am still seeking the reason why 
the Lord gave the Holy Spirit twice; I desire to arrive at 
a more definite conclusion. May the Lord help me because 
of the instancy of your prayers and, because He deigns to 
grant favors, may He not be silent in your regard. Hence, 
I do not know the answer. Nevertheless, although I do not 
yet know what to think and although I do not yet hold any 
definite view as to your question, still I hold it as certain 
that He did give the Holy Spirit twice. Therefore I shall not 
be silent as to why I hold to this. If my view is correct, 
may the Lord confirm it; if there is another theory which 
seems closer to the truth, may the Lord grant me that 

Hence, I think (but this is merely my own view) that the 
Holy Spirit was given twice for the purpose of commending 
to us the two precepts of charity. For, though there are two 
precepts, there is only one love in: Thou shalt love the 
Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole 
soul, and with thy whole mind/ and Thou shalt love thy 
neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments depend the 
whole Law and the Prophets.' 18 One love and two precepts; 
18 Cf. Matt. 22.37-41. 



one Spirit and two bestowals of the Spirit. For, one Spirit was 
not given on the first occasion and another Spirit on the 
second, just as it is not one charity which loves the neighbor 
and another which loves God. Hence, there is not another 
charity: we love God with that same charity with which we 
love our neighbor. In spite of the fact that God as one object 
of love and the neighbor as another are loved with one love, 
those who are loved do not constitute only one object of love. 
The love of God, therefore, must be granted the first place 
in our esteem; the love of neighbor, the second place. Yet, 
we must begin with the second love in order to arrive at the 
first, 'for if you do not love your brother whom you see, 
how can you love God whom you do not see?' 19 

Therefore, giving us definite instructions as to the love 
of neighbor, He, very patently a neighbor to His neighbors 
while He was on earth, gave the Holy Spirit by breathing 
upon their faces. Furthermore, with that special charity which 
is in heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit from heaven. Receive 
the Holy Spirit on earth you love your brother; receive the 
Holy Spirit from heaven you love God also, because what 
you have received on earth is from heaven. Christ gave [the 
Spirit] on earth, but what He gave is from heaven, for He 
who came down from heaven gave it. Here He found people 
on whom to bestow the Spirit, but He brought from heaven 
what He bestowed. 

(9) What is the significance of this discussion, my breth- 
ren? Do I perhaps mention it because charity pertains to 
the Holy Spirit? Hear what Paul says: c And not only this, 
but we exult in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation 
works out endurance, and endurance tried virtue, and tried 
virtue hope. And hope does not disappoint, because the 
charity of God is poured forth in our hearts.' 20 Whence is 

19 Cf. 1 John 4.20. 

20 Rom. 5.3-6. 


the charity of God poured forth in our hearts? Whence? 
What have you given to yourself? What, as it were, have 
you acquired from yourself? 'What hast thou that thou hast 
not received?' 21 Whence, then, did you receive except In the 
way indicated by the following words: 'by the Holy Spirit 
who has been given to us 5 ? 22 

Charity is possessed only in the unity of the Church. Con- 
tentious persons do not possess it, as the Apostle Jude says: 
These are they who set themselves apart, sensual men, not 
having the Spirit. 323 'Who set themselves apart. 3 Why do 
they set themselves apart? Because they are 'sensual men, 
not having the Spirit/ They slide away because they do not 
have the stabilizing force of charity. The hen, who becomes 
weak for the sake of her young, is full of this charity, lower- 
ing her voice with her little ones and extending her wings 
over them. The Lord said : 'How often would I have gathered 
thy children together! 524 He says 'gathered 3 not 'separated/ 
and He gives His reason : 'And other sheep I have that are 
not of this fold. Them also must I bring ... so that there 
may be one fold and one shepherd.' 25 Rightly, then, He did 
not hearken to the man who, in disagreement with his 
brother, said: 'Master, tell my brother to divide the inher- 
itance with me. 526 He said: 'Master, tell my brother.' What? 
To divide the inheritance with me/ And the Lord said: 
'Speak, man/ For why do you wish to divide except because 
you are human? Tor whenever one says, "I am of Paul," 
but another, "I am of Apollos," are you not mere man?' 27 
Tell me, man, who has appointed me a judge of the inherit- 

21 1 Cor. 4.7. 

22 Rom. 5,6. 

23 Jude 1.19. 

24 Matt. 23.37. 

25 Cf. John 10,16. 

26 Luke 12.13. 

27 1 Cor. 3.4. 


ance among you? I have come to gather, not to scatter/ 
Therefore He said: 'I say to you, guard against all covetous- 
ness.' For covetousness desires to divide, just as charity de- 
sires to gather together. What is the significance of 'guard 
against all covetousness/ unless it be 'fill yourselves with 
charity'? We, possessing charity for our portion, importune 
the Lord in regard to our brother just as that man did against 
his brother; but we do not use the same plea. He said: 
'Master, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.' 28 
We say: 'Master, tell my brother that he may have my 
inheritance. 5 

(10) See, then, my brethren, what you are to love especial- 
ly and what you are to hold to tenaciously. The Lord, 
glorified in His Resurrection, commends the Church; about 
to be glorified in His Ascension, He commends the Church; 
sending the Holy Spirit from heaven, He commends the 
Church. For, when He rose again, what did He say to His 
disciples? ' ''These are the words which I spoke to you 
while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled 
that are written in the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms 
concerning me." Then he opened their minds, that they 
might understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, 29 
"Thus it is written; and thus the Christ should suffer, and 
should rise again from the dead on the third day." ' Where 
is the commendation of the Church? 'And that repentance 
and remission of sins should be preached in his name.' And 
where? 'To all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.' He 
was glorified by His Resurrection. Why does He deserve to 
be glorified by His Ascension? Because you have heard : 'You 
shall be witnesses for me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and 
Samaria and even to the very ends of the earth.' 30 Why is 

28 Cf. Luke 12.13-15. 

29 Cf. Luke 24.44-47. 
BO Acts 1.8. 


He glorified by the coming of the Holy Spirit? The Holy 
Spirit came: those, whom He filled first, spoke with the 
tongues of all nations. What else did this incident where each 
man spoke all languages signify except unity in all speech? 
Holding fast to this, confirmed in this, strengthened in this, 
implanted, as it were, in this by indestructible charity, let us 
as children praise the Lord and let us sing 'Alleluia.' But in 
one group? And whence? And whither? 'From the rising of 
the sun unto the going down of the same, praise the name 
of the Lord. 331 

31 Cf. Ps. 112.3. 

Abraham, 17, 68, 69, 77, 167, 

189, 370; 

Seed of, 17 
abstinence, 85, 90, 93, 96, 105, 

335, 336 
Adam, 21, 169, 199, 210, 219, 

220, 296, 370 
adoration, 67, 73 
adultery, 85, 89, 90, 186, 304, 

307, 315, 323, 387 
Aeneas, 259 

Africa, xiv, 53 n., 235 n., 328 
Alleluia, 104, 198, 234, 278, 279, 

332, 333, 346, 349, 353, 357- 

362, 420 
alms., 56, 57, 86, 90, 93, 96, 107, 

373, 375, 387 

almsgiving, 85-93, 104, 387 
altar, 130, 182, 188, 195, 196, 

200, 302 
Amann, P., 54 n. 

Ambrose, St., xv, xix, 38 n. 

Andrew, St., 412 

angels, 6, 7, 13, 20, 21, 25-27, 
35, 38, 39, 44, 46, 53, 54, 59, 
71, 73, 75, 78, 129, 131, 136, 
139, 145, 147, 149, 177, 179, 
180, 189-191, 208-210, 212, 210, 
220, 233, 239, 249, 266, 288, 
302, 317, 319, 326, 330, 333, 
337, 342, 351, 356, 378, 402, 
406, 407; 

of the Devil, 53, 143, 171, 179, 
180, 235 n., 411; 
angelic choir, 9; 
angelic message, 67, 409; 
angelic minds, 14 

anger, 91, 94, 108, 109, 387; 
of God, 22 

Anna, 33, 45, 46, 390 

Apollinarianism, 285 n. 

Apollos, 52, 418 


apostasy, 160 

Apostles, 63, 67, 81, 139, 183, 
235, 243, 244, 272, 282, 300, 
327, 329 n., 365, 403, 413, 414 

Arianism, xiv, 284-286, 328 

Ark, 188, 404, 405 

Ascension, 62, 333, 379, 389, 391, 
408, 415, 416, 419 

astrology, xiv, 62, 67, 318 

Athanasius, St., 285 n. 

attributes of God, 4, 50, 256; 
see also divinity; divine attri- 

Augustine, St., x-xxii, 6 n., 28 n., 
50 n., 53 n., 126 n., 130 n., 
142 n., 150 n, 161 n., 196 n., 
235 n., 259 n, 264 n., 285 n., 
304 n., 349 n., 376 n., 395 n.; 
Sermons of, ix-xi nn., xiii, 
xiv n., xvi, xxi, 142 n., 277 n.; 
style of, ix, xi, xiii, xv, xvi, 
xix-xxi, 6 n., 28 n., 38 n., 50 

thought of, xiii, xvi, 38 n.; 
works of, xi, xii, xiv, xv n., 
xvi, xvii n. 5 xix n., 227 n., 
261 n., 280 n., 328 n.; 
use of Scripture, xiv, xv, xvi, 
xix, 243 n., 284 n. 

avarice, 93, 248, 384, 385 

Babylon, 153, 370 

baptism, 98, 99, 128, 150, 167, 

196, 200, 202, 231, 370, 377, 


candidates for, xiii, 198 n.; 

of John, 98, 99; 

mockery of, xiii 
Bardenhewer, 0., 285 n. 
Bardy, G., xi n., xv n., xxii, 280 


Barry, Sister M. Inviolata, xx 
Belloc, H., 285 n. 
Bethlehem, 61, 65, 69-71 

of Christ, 9, 19, 22-25, 27, 28, 

30, 32, 34, 35, 38, 40-42, 59-62, 

64-67, 69, 71, 75, 77, 79, 144, 


of men, 4, 22, 23, 61, 62, 64, 

157, 220, 296; 

through grace, 22; 

birthright, 93; see also birth- 
day; nativity 

of Christ, 3-6, 9, 12, 22, 24, 

33, 36, 40, 43, 67, 77; 

of John the Baptist, 47 
bishop, xi, 47, 53, n., 142 n., 182, 

187, 196 n. } 197,276 
blessedness, 124, 138, 139, 368, 

370, 380 


in general, 151, 171, 179, 188, 
280, 348, 364, 406; 
of Christ, 56,69, 94, 113, 123, 
128, 133, 141, 152, 160, 164, 
169, 181, 196, 198, 201, 202, 
212, 213, 225, 236, 238, 341, 
368, 409 

Body, Mystical, 33, 42, 54, 78, 
104, 127, 157, 196, 201, 202, 


243, 244, 272, 365, 393, 407, 



of Christ, 4, 29, 72, 78, 104, 

135, 137, 139, 142, 175, 179, 

196-198, 200, 202, 210, 224, 

230, 235-242, 264, 265, 267, 

268, 271, 272, 274, 279, 293, 
298, 299, 325, 341, 350, 363, 
389, 390, 395, 397, 401-403, 
408, 410; 

of creatures, 256, 262, 263, 

269, 270; 

of man, 10, 16, 33, 35, 36, 50, 
51,83-85,90-92,95-97,99, 101, 
105, 108, 110, 120, 129, 136, 
137, 139, 141-143, 149, 150, 
152, 155, 156, 161, 165, 177, 
186, 221, 239, 249-264, 266- 
268, 270, 274, 277, 278, 299, 
300, 332, 333, 344, 352, 352, 
353, 359-361, 375, 379, 386, 
396, 401, 405, 406; 
of Mary, 20, 30, 144, 146; 
spiritual, 141, 270, 360, 361; 
universal, 262 

Bourke, V. J., xxii, 67 n., 69 n., 
76 n. 


of olive tree, 67, 69; 
of the vine, 129 

Bread (Christ), 6, 27, 39, 46, 
89, 191, 196, 390 

Bridget, Sister M., 142 n. 

burial of Christ, 137 

Burkitt, F. C., xv n. 

Caecilian, 53 n. 

Caillou, A. B., x 

Cain, 70 

Calvary, 165 

Carthage, xi, 53 n:, 349 n, 

Cassian, 38 n. 

Cataphrygians, 329 n. 

Catechumens, 201, 215 

Catholic, 24, 46 n., 126, 141, 

150, 185, 240 
Cenacle, 146 
centurion, 76 
chaff, xv, 141, 183, 184, 197, 199, 

318, 328-331, 369 
chalice, 196, 202, 204, 347 
Chanaanite woman, 76 
Charity, your, 46, 95, 142, 210, 

216, 250, 287, 293, 300, 320, 

325, 349, 357 
charity, 18, 20, 33, 37, 57, 67, 

86, 89, 91-93, 95, 97, 104, 111, 

117, 136, 147, 165, 167, 181, 

197, 200, 202, 226, 263, 349, 

357, 405, 415-420 
chastisement, ecclesiastical, 47 

conjugal, 33, 46, 378; 

of Mary, 122, 190; 

virginal, 127, 155, 187, 329 n.; 

of widowhood, 46 
Child (Christ) , 5, 6, 23, 25, 27, 

32, 42, 63, 64, 66, 72, 73, 127, 

136, 144, 283 
child, 10, 16, 21, 30, 45, 65, 69, 

127, 145, 157, 159, 171, 181, 

182, 191, 203, 218, 219, 225, 


266, 308, 351-353, 372, 375, 
399, 406, 418, 420 

child-bearing, 4, 19, 21, 31-33 

childbirth, 4, 29, 35, 45 

childhood, 158 

chrism, 196 

Christ, 3-5, 7-12, 19-27, 29-35, 
37-39, 45-47, 52-54, 56-63, 65, 
66, 69, 70, 72-81, 83, 84, 86-89, 
95, 98, 99, 102, 104, 105, 107, 
112, 113, 118, 123, 127, 128, 
136-139, 141, 142, 145, 147, 
157, 161, 163, 166, 171-178, 
182-255, 265-268, 271-274, 280, 
282-285, 289, 290, 292-296, 308, 
310, 318, 325, 327, 329 n., 341, 
342, 348, 353, 355, 361, 364, 
364, 398, 399, 402, 414, 419 

Christians, xvii, 3, 5, 11, 24, 
46 n., 47, 57, 70, 74, 83, 84, 
86, 87, 89, 99, 107, 108, 126, 
141, 142, 148, 157, 174, 176, 
177, 182, 186, 197, 217, 224, 
226, 229, 233, 234, 251, 255, 
261, 301, 303, 306, 318, 329 n., 
368, 376, 404, 407 

Christmas, ix, 67 

Church, xi, xv, 19, 20, 29-33, 
42, 45, 53, 71, 72, 79, 104, 
105, 126-129, 141-145, 149, 
150, 154, 156, 176, 182, 188, 
198, 200, 212, 230, 240, 243, 
272, 273, 280, 285 n., 289, 
290, 294, 300-303, 306, 309-313, 
371, 373, 391, 394, 403, 404, 
413, 414, 418, 419; 

as courtesan, 126; 

as spouse, 242, 391 
Cicero, 167, 253 n. 
circumcision, 67, 75, 78, 99, 205, 

226, 301, 327, 328, 365, 377 
City of God, 141; see also Jeru- 
clerics, xvii, 284 n.; see also 


Comeau, Marie, xiii n., xxii 
command, of God, 47, 60, 88, 

125, 169, 186, 204, 218, 278, 

281, 300, 373 
commandment, 40, 303, 304, 

307, 315, 319, 320, 323, 386, 


Communion, Holy, 198 n. 
compassion, 22, 213, 400, 401; 

see also mercy; pity 
competentes, 150, 151, 157, 

198 n., 199 

compunction, 47, 156 

of Christ, 4, 29, 32, 42, 136, 


of Christians by baptism, 150 
concupiscence, 96, 136, 205, 220, 

confidence, 72, 88, 109, 151, 163, 

176, 273, 334 
conscience, 9, 33, 94, 114, 152, 

198, 276, 307, 332, 357, 384 
Constantine, 53 n, 
contemplation, 51 
continency, 33, 85, 89, 96, 114, 

164, 378 
contrition, 153, 156, 202; see 


also sorrow 

converts, 79, 117 

cornerstone, 59, 66, 67, 72, 75, 
78-81, 301, 326, 327, 365 

corruption, 90, 141, 144, 159, 
252, 265-267, 278, 403 

covetousness, 155; see also ava- 

Cozens, M. L., 241 n., 285 n., 
329 n. 

creation, 12, 50, 121, 131, 133, 
178, 256, 324, 325, 342 

Creator, 9, 12, 13, 17, 19, 25, 
32, 39, 50, 52, 56, 67, 89, 117- 
119, 132, 140, 143, 152, 173, 
212, 255, 256, 263, 278, 282, 
335, 336, 370, 371, 383; see 
also Maker 

creature 28, 50, 52, 79, 93, 131, 
140, 146, 152, 173, 256, 284 n., 
285 n., 295, 335, 336, 353, 383 

Creed, xiii, 11, 117, 120-126, 
129-131, 138, 140, 142, 149, 
183, 197, 200, 231 


of Christ, 12, 28, 68, 78, 79- 
84, 90, 94, 128, 137, 147, 164, 
165, 167, 168, 175, 188, 205, 
208, 215, 223, 228, 232, 235, 
242, 280, 298, 326, 339, 346, 
389-393, 399, 400 

crow, 188, 245, 246 

Cyprian, 52 

Damascus, 72 
Damasus, Pope, 285 n. 

figurative, 23, 42, 43, 58, 109, 
110, 156, 159, 171, 172-182, 
193-195, 203, 212, 213, 276, 
286, 332, 369, 371, 385; 
physical, 57, 69, 102, 166, 178, 
181, 193-195, 202, 213, 256, 
276, 332, 365, 366, 369, 385 

David, King, 12, 17, 91, 224, 
225, 295, 370 

Day (Christ), 13, 17, 18, 20, 
21, 26, 31, 43, 163, 194, 366, 

Day (first), 178, 181, 193-195, 

day, xi, xv, 3, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 17- 
20, 22-28, 30, 31, 37, 38, 41-43, 
45, 59, 60, 63, 66-71, 75, 77-79, 
84-86, 91, 93-98, 100, 101, 103- 
108, 110, 113, 115, 117 n., 
119, 124, 126 n., 128, 138, 147, 
148, 153, 157, 163, 172, 175- 
178, 182, 193-195, 197, 199, 
202, 203, 205, 208, 214, 215, 
223, 224, 228, 231, 233, 242, 
243, 256, 264, 271, 278, 288, 
296, 997, 315, 318, 321, 322, 
332-337, 343, 345, 346, 348, 
349, 364-366, 368-372, 376, 
377, 386, 388, 389, 395, 397, 
398, 402-405, 408, 409, 415, 419 


in general, xi, 5, 25-27, 36, 38, 
39, 64, 65, 68, 69, 90, 95, 103, 
118, 120, 129, 141, 177, 178, 
183, 186, 188, 204, 205, 208, 
210, 211, 213, 216, 219-222, 
228, 231, 253, 257, 264, 266, 


268, 306, 333, 338, 339, 345, 
351, 359-361, 368, 372, 388; 
of Christ, 7, 11, 12,27,64,65, 
68, 69, 87, 90, 102, 123, 137, 
138, 163, 168, 169, 174, 175, 
179, 204, 209, 211-213, 219, 
399-401, 409, 413 

de Bruyne, D., xii, xii n. 

Decalogue, 104, 303, 307, 321, 

Deferrari, Roy J., x n., xvi n., 
xvii, xviii, xix n., xxii 

demons, 30, 51, 56, 58, 127, 
198 n., 224-226, 252; see also 
angels of the Devil; spirits, 

denarius, 104, 107 

Denis, M., x 

devils, 57, 226 

Diocletian, 53, n. 

disciple, 28 n., 29, 36, 46, 52, 62, 
81, 99-101, 138, 139, 167, 203, 
210-212, 214, 218, 222, 224- 
226, 228, 229, 232, 234-238, 
240-242, 244, 249, 250, 260, 
265, 268, 271, 273, 279, 281- 
284-294, 297-302, 305, 310, 
312, 313, 316, 318, 324, 325, 
334, 338, 340, 363, 366, 367, 
389, 395-398, 400, 403, 404, 
408, 410, 411, 414, 415, 419 

discord, 85 

dishonor, 141 


attributes, 4, 50; 
nature, 4, 10, 14; 

operations, 13 
divinity, 50, 256; 

of Christ, 6, 10, 11,22,29,64, 

173, 237, 267, 268, 274, 284 n., 

295, 298, 324, 325, 334, 342, 

386, 400, 403, 405 
Donatists, xiv, 46 n., 53 n., 54 

n., 72, 328, 330 
drunkenness, 84, 85, 90, 186, 

193, 203, 328 
dualism, 235 n. 

earth, 3, 4, 7-9, 13, 14, 17, 20-22, 
31-39, 46, 59, 60, 62-64, 67, 
70-74, 76, 77, 84, 89, 101, 104, 
110, 115, 118, 129, 131, 132, 
134, 146, 152, 155, 162, 175, 
176, 180, 189, 197, 198, 202, 
206-208, 210, 212, 213, 218, 
220, 226, 235, 255, 256, 260- 
263, 267-269, 273, 281-284, 286, 
288, 291, 293, 294, 309, 321, 
322, 334, 358, 359, 366, 368, 
372, 375, 390, 391, 393, 394, 
401, 408, 413-415, 417, 419; 
see also world 

East, 59-63, 67-69, 71, 72, 78, 
104, 285 n. 

Easter, ix, xv, 87, 95, 98, 100, 
161 n., 185, 189 n., 201, 278, 

vigil of, ix, 171, 175, 198 n.; 
see also Holy Saturday 

Egypt, 51, 73, 128, 329 

Elias, 84, 105, 211, 245, 246, 
334, 403 

Elizabeth, 33, 45 


enmity, 72, 73, 78, 88, 95, 108, 


envy, 70, 172, 385 
Epiphany, ix, 59, 63, 70, 71, 75, 

77, 78 

Esau, 91, 93 
eternity, 7, 15, 18, 38, 89, 180, 

205, 254, 260, 278, 380 

in general, 209, 210, 214, 222, 

228, 244, 250, 251, 272, 281, 

287, 297, 366; 

John, 11, 44, 250, 272, 280, 

287, 305, 313, 314, 319, 324, 

326, 340, 341, 398, 415; 

Luke, 168, 222, 227, 228, 244, 

245, 325; 

Mark, 222, 228, 244, 245; 

Matthew, 244, 273, 281, 291 
Eve, 25, 30, 127, 169, 210, 220 
exoneration, 50 
exorcism, 196, 201 


Catholic, 24, 141, 172, 236, 
326, 327, 365, 407, 409; 
as summary of Christian doc- 
trine, 10, 24, 33, 70, 80, 81, 
131, 141-143, 149, 156, 251, 
261, 267, 272, 282, 287; 
as a virtue, xi, 3, 8, 20-22, 29, 
31, 33, 35, 40, 44, 55, 57, 60, 
68, 69, 75, 76, 100, 102, 103, 
117, 120-122, 127-130, 136, 
138, 145-156, 159, 164, 167, 
168, 173, 176, 181, 198, 200, 
202, 204, 210, 212, 214, 215, 

217-219, 224-226, 229, 230, 
249, 250, 251, 269, 273, 279, 
280, 283, 284, 289, 290, 292- 
294, 296, 298, 362, 367, 379, 
393, 397, 398, 401, 404-406, 
408, 416 

falsehood, xv 

fasting, 83-92, 96, 97, 99, 100, 
104-106, 114, 160, 163, 176, 
196, 201, 336, 337, 395, 396 

Father (heavenly), 4, 5, 7, 10- 
13, 16, 17, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27- 
29, 32, 34, 37-44, 57, 62, 64, 
73, 78, 89, 99, 101, 110, 112, 
117-119,121-126, 129,130,135, 
136, 138-141, 143-146, 148-150, 
160, 161, 163, 168, 171, 181, 
189, 191, 192, 194, 209, 212, 
220, 231, 232, 239, 241 n., 242, 
245, 268, 272-274, 280-291, 
293-295, 313, 321, 335, 348, 
364, 380, 384, 386, 388, 393, 
398, 400403, 407, 408, 410, 
411-413, 415; 

bosom of, 4, 7, 13, 14, 17, 28, 
43, 46, 135; 

right hand of, 27, 101, 139, 
148, 190, 197, 240, 249, 290 

father, xx, 5, 6, 13, 22, 24, 32, 
38, 41, 43, 72, 77, 100, 109, 
135, 145, 157, 259, 266, 276, 
304, 315, 323 


in general, 64, 162, 226, 230, 
297, 304, 311, 323, 335, 338, 
377, 399; 
of death, 363; 


of the Lord, 83, 95, 172, 200, 

229, 304, 307, 314; 

of punishment, 323 

of the Blessed Virgin, 4, 30 

of the Church, 42 

of the Blessed Virgin, 19, 21, 

25, 145; 

of Elizabeth, 33; 

of the soul, 22, 31 
fidelity, 52, 117, 285 n., 375, 


in general, 196; 

of charity, 101, 196, 226, 227; 

of hell, 57, 183, 188,226, 231, 

302, 317, 320, 326, 330, 387, 


Holy Spirit as, 197; 

as primary element, 267, 268; 

tongues of, 196 

of the Gentiles, 63, 71, 72, 74, 

75, 77, 79; 

of the resurrection, 407 
fisherman, 52, 305, 309, 310 
fishes, xv, 266, 301, 302, 305, 

306, 310, 316, 318-321, 324- 


of animals, 92, 93, 96, 106,246; 

assumed by Christ, 4, 5, 8-16, 

18, 21, 23, 24, 28, 29, 33, 39, 

42,43,72,73,93, 122-124, 126, 

138, 144, 146, 152, 160, 173, 

191, 203, 209, 212, 213, 218, 

220, 225, 229, 231, 236, 237, 
239, 240, 242, 248, 265, 266, 
268, 282, 285 n., 288, 290, 
293, 295, 367, 385-387, 390, 

397, 400-402, 404-408; 
concupiscence of, 136, 296; 

of man, 5, 11, 15, 30, 31, 36, 
55, 83-86, 89, 90, 92, 99, 101, 
106, 123, 127, 141, 151, 157, 
171, 179, 186, 198, 213, 231, 
236, 238, 241 n., 252, 265, 270, 
271, 277, 278, 280, 286, 309, 
328, 348, 359, 360, 364, 376, 

398, 405-407; 
of Mary, 31; 

sinful flesh, 5, 7, 34, 220, 221, 

296, 355 

in general, 13, 85, 91-93, 96, 

106, 209, 242, 266, 271, 305, 

333, 357, 392, 393, 395, 396; 

of angels, 38, 46; 

Eucharist as, 22, 25, 90, 328; 

of Wisdom, 13 
forgiveness, 86-89, 95, 108, 114, 


idea of, 94, 110-112; see also 

fornication, 30, 85, 90, 127, 185, 

187, 307, 387 
frankincense, 71, 73, 74 
fraud, 135, 307, 318 
free will, 62 
frugality, 91 

Gabriel, 16 
Galilee, 139 


garment, 123, 124, 167, 181, 217, 

273, 283, 289, 402, 414, 415 

of Christ, 6, 18, 22, 41-45, 136, 

144, 286, 296; 

human, 22, 158, 295, 296; 

as period of time, 158; 
generosity, 97 
Gentiles, 26, 49, 59, 63, 66-81, 

129, 149, 165-167, 249, 254, 

301, 327, 328, 365 
gentleness, 92 


in general, 56, 57, 218, 264, 
350, 351, 374, 375; 
of God, 8, 9, 31, 39, 52, 85, 
97, 120, 128, 129, 145, 197, 
212, 322, 340; 
of grace, 66, 232, 314; 
of tongues, 333 

glory, 8, 9, 25, 26, 35, 38, 40, 
51, 53, 59, 63, 68, 74, 75, 78, 
99, 120, 123, 140, 150, 153, 
160, 172, 176, 178, 206, 232, 
233, 249, 252, 254, 258, 263, 
277, 334, 353, 355, 369, 370, 

gluttony, 106 

God, xi, 3-24, 26, 27, 29, 31, 32, 
35-44, 46, 47, 49-57, 59, 61, 65, 
67, 68, 70, 72, 73, 75, 77, 78, 
81, 83-89, 91, 93, 95, 97, 98, 
101, 102, 104, 105, 108-113, 
115, 117-121, 123-125, 129-135, 
138-141, 143, 144, 146-150, 153- 
158, 161, 162, 172-175, 177, 
178, 180, 181, 183-187, 189- 

194, 196-200, 202-204, 206, 
210-214, 217, 224, 226, 227, 
229, 231, 234-237, 239, 241, 
245, 248, 250-252, 254-259, 
262-265, 267-271, 274-279, 
282-286, 289, 291, 294-296, 
298-304, 307-309, 312, 314, 315, 
321, 322, 327, 328, 331-337, 
321, 322, 327, 328, 331-337, 
341-344, 346-351, 353, 355- 
358, 360-365, 367-376, 380-391, 
393, 397-404, 406-411, 413, 

godliness, 78, 304, 307, 314 

gods, 24, 41, 56, 57, 62, 63, 78, 
186, 258, 263, 264, 399, 408; 
see also idols; images 

gold, 52, 71-74, 123, 197, 207, 
208, 248 

goodness, 38, 121, 133, 138, 347, 
351, 373, 387 

Gospel, ix, xiii, 11, 12, 26, 35, 
45, 46, 53, 61, 68, 74, 75, 77, 
84, 97, 139, 149, 153, 164, 169, 
177, 181, 183, 189-191, 201, 
203, 209, 210, 217, 218, 222- 
224, 227, 228, 235, 236, 240, 
244, 245, 265, 267, 271, 272, 
279, 287, 289, 296, 299, 300, 
305, 310, 316, 318, 327, 334, 
335, 338, 340, 342-344, 363, 
368, 370, 376, 395; see also 

grace, 5, 8, 9, 25, 33, 36, 46, 60, 
66, 76, 77, 80, 98, 100, 104, 
118, 120, 126, 141, 150-152, 
367, 175, 178, 185, 189, 224, 


232, 244, 272, 290, 295, 304, 376, 380, 381, 389-394, 398, 

308, 314, 342, 360, 366, 380, 401, 407-410, 414, 415, 417, 

381, 387, 395 419; see also paradise 

grain (wheat), 141, 169, 183, heavens (firmament), 6, 7, 13, 

184, 196, 197, 199, 299, 318, 14, 27, 60, 62-64, 68, 73-75, 77, 

328-331, 369, 388; 78, 97, 98, 124, 132, 176, 180, 

grape, 28 n., 91, 202 189, 202, 227, 254, 255, 258, 

Greek, 263, 389-391 

language, xv, xviii, 8 n., 15, Hebrew, 12, 165 

70, 71, 75, 77, 81, 89, 165, Hecate, 262 

166, 169, 192; hell, 188, 212, 280, 409 

people, 51, 167, 192, 254 heresy, 239, 240 n., 241 n., 

grief, 25, 177, 346; see also sor- 284 n., 285 n., 312, 319, 328 

row heretic, xiv, xvii, 46 n., 72, 

guile, 127, 153 185, 202, 235, 236, 243, 313, 


happiness, Herod, King, 61, 64, 71, 73 

of angels, 7; Holiness, your, 287, 324, 328, 

earthly, 67, 87, 207, 208, 337, 330, 337, 374, 396 

354; holiness, 19, 33, 127, 144, 379 

eternal, 124, 139, 151, 161, homoousion, 285 n. 

217, 261, 271, 278, 345, 368, honor, 34, 139, 144, 150, 262, 

388; see also joy 288, 309, 357, 376, 377, 399 

harmony, 12, 51, 79, 86, 95, 200, hope, xi, 8, 20, 23, 31, 32, 35, 

222, 250, 275, 278, 348 n., 357; 52, 53, 57, 103, 128, 154, 198, 

see also peace; tranquillity 199, 202, 205, 214, 217, 223, 

hatred, 91, 92, 109, 110 229, 223, 229, 232, 233, 

heaven, 7, 8, 13, 17, 21, 27, 28, 252, 261, 278, 345, 353, 362, 

32-35,39,46,49,53,59,67,69, 379, 380, 387, 396, 408-410, 

72-75,77,78,89,110,119,124, 417 

134, 138-141, 149, 152, 167, humanity, 

175, 177, 180, 191, 197-199, in general, 27, 210, 276, 375; 

212, 220, 226, 230, 231, 240, of Christ, 10, 25, 39, 72, 136, 

245, 247, 249, 255, 260, 281, 137, 146, 148, 190, 237, 242, 

284, 288, 290, 293, 294, 299, 254, 267, 268, 290, 334, 341, 

300, 304, 318-321, 326, 333, 354, 400, 405, 407; 

348, 349, 357, 359, 368, 375, human form, 13, 220, 335 



of God, 4; 

of man, 86, 87, 99, 100, 104, 

106, 196, 202, 226 
humility, 19, 50, 52, 76, 86, 89, 

90, 97, 99, 106, 111, 112, 115, 

158, 160, 216, 309, 344, 374, 

375, 401; 

of Christ, 4, 6, 19, 87, 138, 

168; see also lowliness 
husband, 19, 20, 31, 33, 42, 45, 

105, 122, 190, 298, 378 

idols, 51, 54, 57, 72, 127, 155, 

174, 252, 258, 315, 327, 382 

of death, 177; 

of God, 152, 370, 391 
immorality, 155 
immortality, 15, 26, 38, 118, 141, 

158, 200, 221, 264, 270, 333, 

348, 356, 360, 369, 371, 380, 

389, 396, 399, 405, 406 
impatience, xviii, 156 
impiety, 66 

Incarnation, 186, 404-406 
incorruption, 141, 221, 356, 360, 

371, 405, 406 
infancy, 6, 19, 66, 158 
Infant (Christ) , 25, 46, 59, 64, 

65, 67, 70, 248 
infant, 4, 26, 29, 45, 61, 181, 

296, 377; 

infantes, 181 n., 199 
infidelity, 23, 29, 92, 126 n., 166 
iniquity, 17,57,86,90, 111, 112, 

121, 125, 146, 152, 154, 157, 

161, 165, 172, 216, 343, 352, 

369; see also sin 
injustice, 21, 47 
inn, of Bethlehem, 22, 26, 73, 

integrity, 19, 20, 167, 277; 

of Church, 33, 42; 

of Mary, 4, 19-21, 24, 25, 29, 

31-33, 42, 145; 

virginal, 12, 31, 33 
Isaac, 68, 69, 77, 167 
Israel, 65, 72, 74, 76, 144, 154, 

214, 223, 228, 233, 303, 335, 

390, 404, 411 
Israelites, 71, 79-81, 93, 128, 166 

Jacob, 68, 69, 77, 80, 158, 167, 

James, St., 226, 325, 412 

jealousy, 84, 203 

Jeremias, 211 

Jerusalem, 23, 25, 138, 141, 153, 
166, 211, 223, 243, 272, 331, 
371, 413, 414, 419 

Jesus Christ, 3, 8, 23-25, 35, 36, 
41, 43, 46, 54, 56, 67, 72, 74, 
77, 84, 97, 98, 102, 114, 122- 
126, 130, 134, 137, 139, 144, 
145, 147, 148, 163, 175, 185, 
203-205, 209-211, 220, 223-225, 
228, 230, 231, 233, 244, 250, 
252, 264, 267, 272-274, 279, 
280, 282, 287-291, 297, 300, 
301, 305, 309, 310, 322, 325, 
326, 334, 340, 355, 360, 368, 


370, 382, 388, 391-393, 398, 
405, 409, 410, 415 

Jews, xvii, 7, 21, 47, 49, 59-61, 
64, 65-71, 73-76, 78-80, 99, 133, 
148, 165-167, 169, 174, 178, 
185, 211, 217, 224, 225, 251, 
254, 255, 290, 294, 297, 301, 
303, 311, 327, 328, 365, 377, 
390, 393, 399 

Job, 385 

John, St. (Apostle), 110, 111, 
125, 279, 303, 325, 338-341, 
400, 401, 406, 412 

John the Baptist, 38, 47, 98, 
99, 211 

Jordan, 99 

Joseph of Arimathea, 169 

joy, 3, 5, 19, 30, 45, 55, 67, 71, 
98, 103, 104, 153, 154, 158, 
159-161, 172, 175, 182, 217, 
223, 224, 230, 242, 271, 311, 
312, 323, 324, 333, 337, 342, 
344, 353, 355, 368, 368, 376 

jubiliation, 35, 38 

Juda, 65, 101, 169, 392 

Judas, 133, 345, 390 

Judea, 59, 60, 63, 65, 69, 70, 81, 
365, 413, 414, 419 

judge, 28, 47, 125, 138, 146, 155, 
215, 400, 418 

judgment, 34, 37, 71, 86, 112, 
148, 183, 214, 231, 275, 276, 
289, 312, 409; 

final, 46, 140, 188, 231, 312, 
369, 370, 392, 410, 414; 

judgment seat, 64 

Juno, 54 

Jupiter, 262, 263 


as representing Christ, 7, 8, 
21, 33, 34, 134; 
of God, 7-9, 21, 37; 
as moral virtue, 83, 86, 121, 
133, 152, 165, 182, 247, 253, 
294, 323; 

as state of righteousness, 8, 21, 
31, 40, 57, 94, 122, 130, 137, 
147, 166, 209, 232, 254, 304, 
308, 321, 343, 352, 369 

justification, 38 n., 57, 91, 173, 
175, 205, 231, 232, 361 

Kavanagh, D. J., x n., xv n., 

xxii, 195 n., 196., 198 n., 201 
King (Christ), 6, 60, 64, 68, 

69,74, 101, 117, 119, 143, 146, 

165, 166; 

of glory, 40; 

of heaven, 59; 

of the Jews, 68-70 
kingdom, 57, 64, 69, 110, 120, 

156, 166, 214, 215, 223, 235, 

302, 303, 313, 317, 321, 345, 

of the Devil, 72, 180; 

of God, 37, 150, 166, 180, 249, 


of heaven, 68, 69, 77, 141, 

152, 212, 215, 293, 299, 300, 

303, 318-321, 326, 376; 
of immortality, 200; 
of Israel, 411, 412; 
of the Jews, 70 

of God, 39, 386; 


of men, 61, 70, 97, 114, 251, 

257, 276, 307, 416; 

spirit of, 304, 307, 308, 314 

lamb, 73, 99, 338, 339, 392, 412 

Lambot, D. C., xi n., xii, xxi, 
xxii, 175 n., 342 n., 379 n. 

Last Supper, 161 


language, xi, xviii, 15, 63, 71, 
75, 89, 165, 166, 188, 192, 362; 
people, 167, 192 

Law, 49, 50, 73, 80, 84, 104, 105, 
242, 255, 256, 271, 303, 304, 
307, 308, 314, 315, 319, 321, 
322, 323, 334, 335, 344, 349, 
377, 386, 395, 404, 416, 419 

law, 33, 36, 37, 70, 71, 104, 

105, 120, 204, 205, 271, 312, 
357, 358, 360, 376 

lector, 196 

Lent, ix, xiii, xv, 83, 86, 91, 104, 

106, 108, 117 n. 
Leontius, 389 

Leo the Great, Pope, 241 n. 
Life, 28, 89, 119, 137, 204, 221, 


Life and Light, 17, 18 


of the angels, 177; 
carnal, 99, 205; 
eternal, 27, 32, 35, 38, 128, 
139, 142, 149, 150, 153, 162, 
176-179, 209, 217, 231, 244, 
245, 247, 253, 261, 264, 266, 
268, 277-279, 302, 313, 326, 
343, 345, 357, 361, 368, 370, 
377, 382, 387, 396; 

evil, 216, 301, 306, 311, 320, 
343, 354, 378; 
fetal, 32; 

of God, 118, 209, 219, 385; 
spiritual, xxi, 38, 40, 61, 90, 
98, 99, 118, 141, 158, 159, 193, 
200, 204-206, 209, 211, 219, 
229, 231, 232, 307, 315, 329 n., 
357, 361, 373, 377; 
states of, 45; 

temporal, 5, 7, 15, 22, 27, 32, 
38, 55, 56, 58, 62, 74, 83, 84, 
86, 89, 93, 97, 99, 100-106, 
108, 115, 118, 143, 144, 146, 
147, 151, 158, 163, 164, 168, 
171, 173, 177, 208, 210, 213, 
216, 217, 219, 240, 248, 257- 
260, 278, 296, 302, 306, 311, 
323, 332, 335-337, 339, 349, 
353, 367, 376, 379, 396, 397, 

Light, 20, 26-28, 41, 43, 60, 233, 
235 n.', 241 n.; 
Life and Light, 17, 18; 
Light of Light, 20, 27, 194 


armor of, 178; 
children of, 181, 182, 203; 
figurative, 15, 17, 23, 37, 43, 
53, 103, 104, 109, 118, 133, 
153, 156, 159, 193, 195, 203, 
213, 328, 331, 332, 341, 366, 
369, 385; 

of justice, 178, 182; 
physical, 20, 23-27, 34, 40, 52, 
58, 62, 68, 160, 171, 178, 181, 


182, 193-195, 202, 276, 321, 
365, 366, 383 

Lord xi, xx, 3, 4, 6, 9, 13, 15, 
17, 20, 22-26, 30, 31, 33, 35-38, 
40, 42, 43, 49, 52, 55, 57-59, 
63, 64, 67, 68, 71, 72, 74-76, 
78, 81, 83-89, 92-94, 97-105, 
107, 111, 112, 114, 115, 119, 
120, 123-130, 140, 142, 144-147, 
149-151, 153, 154, 157, 160, 
161, 164-166, 171-182, 185, 
187, 189, 191-198, 201-205, 
208, 210, 212-215, 218-220, 
222-224, 227-238, 240-242, 244, 
250, 251, 254, 264-268, 272-274, 
276, 278-283, 287, 289, 291- 
293, 298, 300-303, 305, 309- 
312, 314, 316, 319, 320, 323- 
325, 328-334, 336-338, 341, 
343-352, 354, 357, 360, 362- 
367, 369, 370, 372, 374, 375, 
377, 379, 380, 384-389, 391- 
399, 402-416, 418-420 

Lord's Day, 178, 297, 377; see 
also sabbath; 

Lord's Prayer, 117 n. 


carnal, 85; 
Christ's, 32, 340; 
earthly, 402; 
God's, xx, 35, 147, 121; 
man's 27, 35, 61, 62, 85, 92, 
110, 146, 154, 155, 167, 171, 
172, 225, 226, 261, 275, 278, 
303, 304, 307, 315, 323, 335, 
338, 339, 353, 377, 416, 417; 
spiritual, 402 

lowliness, 3, 7, 27, 147, 396; see 

also humility 
Lucretius, 132 n. 
lust, 84, 107, 155, 171, 203, 259, 


Magi, 6, 59-79 

majesty, 4, 24, 26, 27, 334, 397, 
400, 405, 408 

Maker, 13, 28, 31, 50, 89, 255, 
258, 263, 282, 335; see also 
God; Creator 

Man (Christ) , 4-7, 9-11, 14, 16- 
19, 22, 27-29, 31-34, 38-40, 42, 
46, 56, 65, 70, 73, 78, 97, 99, 
101, 122, 136, 137, 146, 161, 
168, 173, 189, 191, 205, 219, 
236, 237, 248, 249, 254, 273, 
274, 282, 284, 289, 290, 294, 
296, 341, 352, 367, 385, 386, 
388, 392, 402, 403, 407, 409 


in general, xiv, 9, 11-15, 17, 
18, 20, 21, 23, 30, 32, 35-39, 
44, 47, 49, 50, 52, 53, 62, 78, 
83, 84, 91, 97, 97, 99, 101, 103, 
108, 109, 112, 114, 115, 120, 
122, 123, 127, 130, 133, 135, 
143-147, 154, 172, 179, 190, 
191, 194, 200, 205, 207, 210- 
212, 216, 218-220, 229, 230, 
234, 239, 240, 245, 246, 248, 
257, 258, 265, 267, 268, 270, 
281, 284, 288, 289, 290, 294, 
296, 298-305, 309, 310, 311, 
312, 316, 319, 322, 326, 328, 
331, 332, 336, 340, 345, 347, 


351-353, 356, 357, 359, 364, 
366, 370, 381, 382, 386, 388, 
391, 407, 409, 411, 414, 415, 
416, 418, 420; 

in direct address, 7, 10, 19, 
36, 146, 148, 352, 372, 418; 
form of, 11, 13, 15, 124, 135; 
representing mankind, 4, 8, 
10, 11, 16-19, 21, 22, 24, 27, 
28, 39, 42, 51, 146, 152, 174, 
177, 178, 191, 194, 204, 210, 
212, 235, 236, 238, 252-254, 
265, 276, 277, 282, 304, 307, 
341, 348, 352, 358, 361, 363, 
364, 392, 399, 401, 405; 
spiritual, 12, 83, 143, 151, 
157, 358, 362 

manger, 6, 7, 13, 19, 22, 25-27, 
39, 41, 46, 63, 73, 79, 81 

manhood, 136, 138, 158 

Manichaeam, xiv, 46 n., 235 

n., 236, 240, 241, 329 
Manifestation (Epiphany) , 63, 

67, 69, 71, 72, 75, 77, 78, 405 
Marcus, 241 
marriage, 5, 19, 20, 23, 33, 45, 

85, 89, 93, 105, 243, 329 n., 


Martha, 350, 354 
martyrdom, 81, 102, 109, 142, 

329 n., 332 
Mary, Virgin, 8, 17, 19-21, 

29-31, 33, 35, 42, 44-46, 119, 

122-124, 127, 135, 136, 144-146, 

168, 191 

Mary Magdalen, 273, 280, 281, 

287-290, 292, 293, 349, 354 
Mass, 197, 379 
Master (Christ) , 62, 76, 79, 99, 

110, 111, 113, 173, 223, 228, 

280, 293, 301, 325, 344, 389, 

418, 419 
Maximus, 6 n. 

of Christ (as Mystical Body) , 

33, 45, 47, 66, 127, 128, 155, 

187, 197, 198, 203, 221, 234, 

249, 255, 394, 407, 409; 

of the Church, 45, 53, 183, 

185, 320; 

of the human body, 27, 29, 

36, 37, 73, 108, 139, 140, 144, 

152, 155, 159, 231, 262, 271, 

274-276, 278, 357, 359; 

human members of Christ, 

27, 73, 397; 

of a philosophical group-, 261; 

of the synagogue, 301 

of God, 26, 32, 34, 36, 46, 49, 

84, 89-91, 121, 126; 

virtue of, 95, 107, 372-374, 


works of, 371, 373; see also 

compassion; pity 
merit, 158, 185, 197, 213, 263, 

342, 370-372 
Migne, P., ix, x, xxi, xxii, 142 

n., 150 n., 175 n., 329 n., 

407 n., 
Miltiades, Pope, 53 n. 



in general, 62, 65, 138, 210, 

265, 298-300, 326, 408; 

of the Incarnation, 4, 29 
misery, 7, 34, 158, 160, 208, 217, 

259, 260, 311, 342, 343, 345, 

372, 373 
monastery, 138 
money-lending, xiv, 247, 374 
Montanus, 329 n. 
Morin, Germain, x, xii, 175 n. 
mortality, 19, 39, 89, 162, 204, 

252, 332, 332, 333, 345, 346, 

394, 401, 84, 105, 143, 233, 271, 

303, 320, 321, 334, 344, 404 
Mourret-Thompson, 235 n., 329 

Mother (of God) , 9, 10, 12-14, 


46, 62, 64, 65, 77, 78, 135, 144, 

145, 157, 158, 167, 168, 249, 

296, 390 

in general, 5-7, 3, 19, 22, 24, 

30, 32, 33, 38, 41-43, 72, 135, 

144, 145, 157, 182, 277, 304, 

315, 323; 

Church as a, 30, 33, 42, 126, 

141, 156-158, 199, 200; 

light as, 181; 

of vigils, 171 
myrrh, Vl, 73, 74 
mystery, 23, 27, 63, 68, 78, 80, 

97, 99, 176, 233, 235 n., 307, 

324, 325, 328, 332, 333, 336, 
337, 371, 394, 396 


in general, 121, 131, 132, 145, 

218, 255, 286, 298; 

of Christ, 4, 10, 11, 13-16, 19, 

25, 29, 34, 43, 78, 97, 118, 

123, 136, 137, 185, 189, 190, 

237, 254, 285, 298, 380, 381, 

398-400, 402, 415; 

of Christ as God-Man, 11, 16, 

78, 124, 135, 285 n.; 

of darkness, 110; 

of discourse, xviii, 328; 

divine, 4, 10, 14, 43, 388; 

of flesh, 5; 

of God, 4, 11, 14-16, 32, 43, 

44,78, 118, 119, 135,351, 381, 

382, 399, 400; 

of health, 356; 

human, 4, 5, 10, 14, 19, 25, 

29, 34, 43, 74, 94, 123, 136, 

137, 164, 295, 372, 388, 400, 

401, 402, 405, 408, 415; 

of man, 4, 5, 16, 32, 61, 118, 

133, 152, 295, 348, 363; 

of olive tree, 76; 

of prayer, 105; 

of a slave, 11, 15, 44, 119, 124, 

135, 146, 284, 295, 399, 408; 

of a servant, 16 
nativity, 3, 5, 23-25, 27, 41-43, 

67, 75, 78, 135, 144, 146; see 

also birth; birthday 
Neptune, 52 


New Year, ix, xiii, xviii, 49, 56, omnipotence, 121, 122, 131, 132, 

57 160, 231, 375, 388 

Nioxlemus, 169 One (Christ), 5, 7, 10, 12, 26, 

Night (first), 178, 181, 194, 42, 63, 64, 73, 124, 132, 134, 

202, 366 146, 215, 246, 252, 278, 282, 
night, 23, 24, 45, 98, 101, 102, 285, 286, 291, 346, 397 

105, 171, 174-179, 181, 198, 

203, 256, 300, 301, 305, 310, pagans, xvii, xviii, 49, 51, 53 n., 

324, 366 54-57, 63, 65, 148, 172, 174, 
nobility, 185, 217, 224, 225, 250, 252, 

of Christ, 64; 255, 267, 268 

of disciples, 52; pain, 103, 120, 172, 173, 252, 

of Mary, 64 406 

Noe, 370, 404 Pannonia, 329 

numbers, paradise, 19, 186, 215; see also 

in general, 41, 55, 74, 98, 182, heaven 

216, 239, 300, 301, 303, 306, Parasceve, 164 n., 178 

310-318, 325, 328, 332, 335- pardon, 76, 95, 104, 107, 111-114, 

338, 396; 186; see also forgiveness 

symbolism of, xv, xviii, 73, parturition, 

77, 84, 97, 104, 278, 300-306, of the Blessed Virgin, 32, 35, 

308, 309, 313-318, 321, 323, 42, 43, 68, 136, 235, 298; see 

325, 326, 332, 334-337, 370, also child-bearing; 
371,395,403 of the Church, 136, 158 

nuptials, Pasch, 73, 98, 99, 114, 169, 337; 

earthly, 30; Christ as, 174, 175; 

spiritual, 5 Paschal season, 105; 

Paschal solemnity, 89, 164 n. 

obedience, 19, 38, 90, 173, 352 Passion (of Christ), 66, 68, 69, 

obstinacy, 95 83, 87, 94, 98, 100, 102, 104, 

offspring, 69; 114, 124, 133, 163, 164, 165, 

of the Blessed Virgin, 35; 178, 198, 204, 209, 210, 212, 

of David, 12; 214, 217, 228, 242, 250, 280, 

of the soul, 31 300, 325, 334, 346, 348, 364, 

olive tree, xv, 67, 69, 76, 166, 397 

167 patience, 143, 158, 164, 184, 315 


Patriarch, 169, 334, 344, 402 

Paul (Apostle), xx, 8, 11, 12, 
20, 21, 23, 30, 31, 36, 38, 42, 
49-54, 57, 58, 69, 72, 77-84, 
92-99, 101, 111, 112, 118, 120, 
123, 127, 130, 134, 135, 140, 
143, 144, 147-149, 155, 157, 
165, 166, 171-173, 176-182, 
187, 193, 196, 202, 203, 205, 
206, 221, 224-226, 231, 232, 
234, 254-258, 263, 271, 275, 
276, 295, 309, 322, 327, 331, 
337, 343, 344, 351, 356-362, 
365, 366, 376, 381, 382, 391- 
393, 396, 398-400, 405, 417, 

peace, 8, 9, 12, 26, 35-38, 59, 60, 
67, 72, 75, 78-80, 94, 110, 113, 
114, 158, 159, 162, 197, 198, 
225, 271, 277, 313, 315, 327, 
333, 336, 362, 365, 368, 375, 
378, 396 

Pelagians, 349 n. 

penance, 84, 100, 104; see also 
mortification; self-denial 

penitence, 160, 168, 216, 343 

Pentecost, 196, 198, 370, 416 

perfidy, 168 

Persia, 235, 329 

perjury, 186, 378 

Peter (Apostle) , 52, 77, 1 02, 137, 
167, 204, 212, 213, 225, 226, 
238, 279, 280, 287, 298, 318, 
325, 338-341, 348, 363, 364, 
392, 395 n., 397, 412 

Pharisees, 28 n., 66, 320, 321 

Philip, 398 

philosophers, 52, 54, 252-259, 

261-263, 267, 268 
Photinus, 284, 285, 294, 329 
piety, xi, 33, 37, 68, 86, 87, 96- 

98, 381, 388 
Pilate, Pontius, 68, 69, 119, 123, 

124, 137, 146, 147, 166, 167 
pity, 90, 93, 217; see also com- 
passion; mercy 
Plato, 167, 253 n., 261, 263, 264 

n., 268 n. 
Porphyry, 261, 262- 

of Christ, 39, 249; 

of speech, xiv; 

voluntary, 107 
Powers (angelic choir) , 118, 

171, 179 

of the Church, 128; 

of the Devil, 102, 156, 179- 


of God, 4, 6, 13, 27, 29, 30, 

32, 50, 62, 72, 121, 133, 136, 

138, 145, 147, 165, 168, 169, 

173, 191, 210, 213, 220, 254, 

256, 266, 271, 290, 298, 345, 

389, 406; 

healing, 371; 

of men, xiv, 30, 36, 37, 50, 

85, 98, 109, 158, 224, 253, 294, 

304, 357, 375, 413, 415; 

miraculous, 52; 

prophetic, of Anna, 45; 

of utterance, 44, 238, 239 


praise, 13, 18, 22, 25, 35-37, 87, 315, 319, 334, 335, 344, 386, 
104, 12(5, 133, 163, 174, 193, 402, 404, 416, 419 
227, 234, 278, 279, 332, 333, Elias, 246, 404 
336 345, 346, 349, 353, 354, Isaias, 25, 41, 43, 44, 59, 85, 
357,362,369,372,383,386 88, 119, 140, 144, 286, 304, 

Prat, 284 n., 285 n. 307, 309, 314, 346 

prayer, xvii, 45, 85-87, 89, 91-94, Jeremias, 120 

96, 97, 104, 105, 109, 114, 128, propitiation, 90, 125 

149, 150, 156, 161, 173, 197, Providence (Divine) , 65, 210 

227, 345, 387, 394, 416 prudence 

preaching, xi, xvii, 174, 254, 287, in general, 52, 95; 
389 worldly, 3, 4 

precept, 73, 83, 107, 144, 303, Psalmist, 8, 9, 20, 26, 29, 34, 75, 
307, 308, 314, 315, 321, 336, 79, 83, 134, 151, 154, 162, 165, 
371, 374, 386, 395, 416; 205, 206, 212, 279, 295, 313, 

see also command; command- 347, 351, 352, 362, 364, 390 

ment purity, 45, 127, 259, 260; 

Precursor, 38 conjugal, 45 

Preface of the Mass, 197 n., Pythagoras, 261 
379 n. 

presumption, 139, 204, 339, 414 Rabboni, 280, 293 

pride, 7, 9, 19, 50-52, 67, 70, reason, 24, 117 

113, 159, 160, 171, 309, 352, Redeemer, 5, 56, 75, 88, 90, 
357, 372, 379, 380, 382, 385, 123, 142, 156, 159, 173, 260, 
393 370 

priest, xi, 47, 130, 182, 197, 223, redeemer, 31 

233 redemption, 7, 133, 241 n., 396, 

Principalities (angelic choir) , 409 

118, 171, 179 regeneration, 22, 128, 199, 231 

Pilscilla, 329 n. remission (of sins), 128, 129, 

Prisdllianists, xiv, 240 n., 241 n. 133, 141, 149, 150, 165, 196, 

prophecy, 7, 60, 65, 70, 74, 79, 219, 236, 243, 271, 366, 419 

102, 168, 169, 212, 331; repetition, xvii, xix, 265, 298; 
prophetic, 22; ifgures of, xx 

prophets, 6, 12, 67, 73, 84, Resurrection of Christ, 29, 62, 
101, 105, 211, 212, 233, 242, 81, 87, 99, 104, 124, 138, 146, 
255, 258, 271, 276, 303, 307, 148, 163, 164, 169, 174, 175- 


178, 203-209, 214, 217, 218, 
222, 227, 228, 231, 232, 235, 
243, 244, 250, 251, 264, 265, 
272, 274, 278, 279, 280, 287, 
288, 291, 296, 297, 300, 302, 
305, 306, 310, 312, 316, 317, 
324-326, 331, 333, 337, 338, 
345, 346, 379, 389, 391, 395, 
397, 405, 409, 415, 419 

resurrection of the dead, 35, 
120, 129, 139, 140, 148, 149, 
150, 163, 169, 176, 182, 221, 
231, 250, 255, 263-266, 274, 
278, 300, 301, 307, 317, 318, 
388, 391, 401 

reverence, 76, 379 


of Jews, 70, 73; 
of pagans, 51 

robbery, 185, 215, 284-286 

Romans, 166, 259 

rusticity, 66 

sabbath, 178, 205, 303, 315, 365, 

370, 377 

in general, 53 n., 99, 141, 167, 

169, 182, 195, 197-199, 201, 

215, 261, 370; 

of baptism, 98, 188, 200; 

of the Creed, 200; 

of exorcism, 196; 

of the Holy Eucharist, 195, 

196, 198, 200-202; 

of the Holy Spirit, 196; 

of the Passion and Resurrec- 
tion, 204; 

of the Lord's Prayer, 200 

sacrifice, 84, 197, 372; 
of Christ, 64; 
of the Jews, 70 

sacrilege, '66, 387 

salvation, xi, 7, 17, 20, 22, 25, 
26, 31, 49, 53, 55, 59, 65, 70, 
75-77, 92, 98, 103, 117, 120, 
122, 128, 130, 131, 133, 137, 
143, 144, 147, 164, 199, 218- 
220, 222, 224, 231, 236, 238, 
316, 343, 347, 374 

Samaria, 72, 413, 414, 419 

sanctification, 7, 46, 136, 321, 

Sarepta, 246 

Satan, 97, 102, 104, 107, 186, 
212, 235 n., 364; 
as Adversary, 101, 392; 
as Devil, 53, 72, 89, 94, 98, 
99, 102, 131, 133, 143, 156, 
171, 179, 181, 186, 392, 396, 

as Enemy, 152, 156, 186, 226; 
as a lion, 392; 

as Serpent, 24, 25, 127, 186, 
as Tempter, 93, 99 

Saviour (Christ), 3, 5, 19, 22, 
35, 38, 42, 64, 72, 74, 80, 123, 
125, 133, 156, 221, 227, 230, 
309, 316, 367, 391, 408 

Scribes, 66, 320, 321 

Scripture, Holy, xiv-xvi, 10, 12, 
14, 20, 53 n., 56, 60, 64, 65, 
69, 70, 71, 73, 76, 80, 86, 96, 
104, 108, 110, 117, 120, 121, 


128, 130, 

180, 181, 

213, 218- 

242, 243, 

280, 284, 

297, 313, 

335, 337, 

366, 368, 

396, 397, 

138, 160, 

189, 191, 

220, 226, 

246, 254, 

287, 291, 

315, 320, 

343, 345, 

370, 376, 
402, 408, 

164, 173, 

196, 210, 

231, 233, 

266, 271, 

292, 296, 

321, 324, 

349, 363, 

389, 391, 

409, 419 

Quotations from or references 
to individual books 
Acts of the Apostles, 52 n., 
77 n., 125 n., 138 n., 139 n., 
167 n., 179 n., 196, 249 n., 
288 n., 327 n., 328 n., 333 n., 
334 n., 395 n., 397 n., 409 n., 
410 n., 412-415 nn., 419 n. 
Apocalypse, 101 n., 102 n., 
303 n., 314 n., 392 n. 
Canticle of Canticles, 139 n. 
Colossians, 54 n., 141 n., 151 
n., 155 n., 180 n., 206 n., 353 
n., 393 n. 

1 Corinthians, xx, 7 n., 9 n., 
40 n., 52 n., 57 n., 66 n., 88 n., 
92 n., 93 n., 95 n., 97 n., 103 
n., 118 n., 120 n., 123 n., 127 
n., 140-143 nn., 147 n., 156 n., 
157 n., 165 n., 174 n., 175 n., 
184 n., 187 n., 196 n., 198 n., 
205 n., 221 n., 234 n., 254 n., 
263 n., 275 n., 309 n., 332 n., 
337 n., 356 n., 357 n., 361 n., 
362 n., 369 n., 370 n., 377 n., 
381 n., 391 n., 392 n., 396 n. 
406 n., 418 n. 

2 Corinthians, 9 n., 12 n., 20 
n., 30 n., 31 n., 38 n., 39 n., 

42 n., 54 n., 57 n., 101 n., 127 
n., 171 n., 172 n., 175 n., 176 
n. 181 n., 248 n., 307 n., 314 
n., 322 n., 343 n., 344 n., 376 
n., 382 n. 

Deuteronomy, 114 n., 304 n. 
Ecclesiastes, 94 n., 343 n. 
Ecclesiasticus, 46 n., 96 n., 

107 n., 304 

Ephesians, 7 n., 9 n., 36 n., 

43 n., 56-60 nn., 67 n., 72 n., 
75 n., 78 n., 80 n., 94 n., 95 n., 

108 n., 112 n., 148 n., 171 n., 
172 n., 179-182 nn., 193 n., 
195 n., 234 n., 301 n., 326 n., 

365 n., 366 n., 388 n., 394 n. 
Exodus, 73 n., 104 n., 128 n., 
169 n., 303 n., 304 n., 315 n., 
334, 404 n. 

Exechiel, 183 n., 313 n. 
Galatians, 12 n., 36 n., 38 n., 
42 n., 54 n., 81 n., 83 n., 147 
n., 149 n., 181 n., 266 n., 271 
n., 307 n., 308 n., 327 n., 365 

Genesis, xxi, 19 n., 70 n., 80 
n., 90 n., 91 n., 93 n., 134 n., 
169 n., 178 n., 181 n., 186 n., 
188 n., 189 n., 193 n., 194 n., 
202 n., 205 n., 266 n., 322 n., 

366 n., 370 n., 371 n., 372 n., 
377 n., 399 n., 404 n. 
Hebrews, 144 n., 354 n. 
Isaias, 16 n., 18 n., 23 n., 25 
n., 41 n., 43 n., 59 n., 72 n., 
79 n., 85 n., 86 n., 88 n., 90 n., 


100 n., 103 n., 119 n., 140 n., 
144 n., 166 n., 286 n., 304 n., 
307 n., 309 n., 314 n., 346 n., 
354 n. 

James, 8 n., 266 n. 
Jeremias, 77 n., 120 n. 
Job, 101 n., 158., 296 n., 358 
n., 385 n. 

John, ix, xiii, 8 n., 11 n,, 14 n., 
"l6 n., 18 n., 26 n., 29 n., 33 n., 
34 n., 36 n., 38-40 nn., 42-44 
nn., 59 n., 64 n., 68 n., 90 n., 
98 n., 103 n., 118 n., 122 n., 
128 n., 129 n,, 135 n., 136 n., 
140 n, 143 n,, 144 n., 146 n., 
148 n., 149 n., 153 n., 161-169 
nn., 179 n., 181 n., 189 n., 
190 n., 194 n., 213 n., 214 n., 
231 n., 236 n, 239 n., 241 n., 
244 n., 245 n., 248 n., 250 n., 
261 n., 272 n., 279, 280 n., 
282 n., 287 n., 289-293 nn., 
295 n., 302 n., 305 n., 313 n., 
317 n., 318 n., 324 n., 334 n., 
338 n., 340-342 nn., 363 n., 
365-369 nn., 381 n., 383-387 
nn., 393 n., 397 n., 398 n., 400 
n., 401 n., 404 n., 406 n., 409 
n, 415 n., 418 n., 
1 John, ix, xiii, 39 n., 103 n,, 
109-1 1 1 nn., 125 -n., 151 n., 
171 n., 417 n. 

3 Kings, 138 n., 246 n., 334 n., 
404 n. 

Luke, 9 n., 26 n., 29 n., 35 n., 
38 n., 45 n., 59 n., 63 n., 75 n., 
77 n., 85-87 nn., 101-103 nn. 

145 n., 150 n., 159 n., 160 n., 
168 n., 191 n., 209-211 nn., 
214 n., 215 n,, 220 n., 222- 
230 nn., 232 n., 235 n., 238 n., 
240 n., 242 n., 245 n, 265-267 
nn., 272 n., 273 n., 281 n., 283 
n., 288 n., 289 n., 293 n., 299 
n., 301 n., 305 n., 210 n., 317 
n., 325 n., 343 n., 344 n., 350 
354 n., 374 n., 376 n., 378 n., 
386 n., 387 n., 405 n., 407 n., 
415 n., 418 n., 419 n. 
Mark, 147 n., 203, 204 n., 209, 
217, 218 n., 220 n., 221 n., 
222, 224 n,, 225 n., 228 n., 
245 n., 289 n., 358 n. 
Matthew, 3 n., 11 n., 15 n., 17 
n., 25 n, 28 n., 32 n., 54 n., 
57 n., 60 n., 63 n., 65 n., 66 
n., 68 n, 69 n., 71 n., 73 n., 
76 n., 81 n., 94 n,, 98 n., 100 
n., 101 n., 104 n., 107 n., 109 
n. Ill n., 117 n., 129 n., 137 
n., 140 n., 149 n., 153 n., 164- 
167 nn., 181 n., 183 n., 191 
n, 195 n., 204 n., 209, 210, 
212 n,, 214 n., 225 n., 226 n., 
227, 228 n., 231 n., 234 n., 247 
n., 249 n., 251 n, 273 n., 280 
n., 283, n., 289 n., 292 n., 298 
n., 301-303 nn., 305 n., 307 n., 
309 n., 311 n,, 313 n., 315 n., 
317 n, 319-321 nn,, 332 n., 
324 n., 326 n., 330 n., 334 n., 
336 n., 337 n,, 344 n., 348 n., 
356 n., 358 n., 363 n., 365 n., 

107 n., 108 n., 136 n., 141 n., 370 n., 383 n., 386-388 nn., 


390 n., 393 n., 395 n,, 397 n. f 
398 n, 402 n., 411 n., 416 n., 
418 n. 

Numbers, 93 n., 404 n. 
Paralipomenon, 91 n. 

1 Peter, 36 n., 79 n, 101 n., 

181 n., 341, 393 n. 

2 Peter, 103 n. 

Phillipiam, 11 n., 12 n., 15 n., 
44 n., 90 n., 101 n., 118 n., 
119 n., 124 n., 135 n., 143 n., 
160 n,, 182 n., 284 n., 285 n., 
295 n., 354 n., 378 n., 381 n., 
382 n, 398-401 nn., 408 n. 
Proverbs, 57 n., 157 n., 191 n. 
Psalms, ix, xiii, 3 n., 7-9 nn., 
15 n., 18 n,, 20 n., 21 n., 26 n., 
29 n,, 31 n., 33 n., 34 n., 36-40 
nn., 42 n., 43 n., 55 n., 63 n., 
64 n,, 6(5 n., 68 n., 70 n., 74 n., 
75 n., 78-80 nn., 83 n., 86 n., 
89 n., 90 n., 100-102 nn., 104 
n., 121 n., 126 n., 128 n., 129 
n., 134 n., 151-155 nn., 157- 
160 nn., 162 n., 165-168 nn., 
172 n., 174 n., 175 n., 180 n., 

182 n., 185 n., 193 n., 194 n., 
202 n., 205-208 nn., 212 n., 
213 n., 218 n., 219 n., 234 n., 
242, 265 n., 271, 279 n., 295 
n., 302 n., 312-314 nn., 318 n., 
345-347 nn., 349 n., 351 n., 
353 n., 357 n., 361 n., 368-366 
nn., 372 n, 378-381 nn., 388- 

391 nn., 395 n., 402 n., 410 n., 
411 n., 419, 420 n. 
Romans, 5 n., 8n., 12 n., 21 

n., 23 n., 31 n., 36 n., 37 n., 
50 n., 66 n., 67 n., 69 n, 74 
n., 76 n., 84 n., 92 n., 99 n., 

117 n., 122 n., 130 n., 143 n., 
147 n., 149 n, 152 n., 155 n., 
163 n., 166 n., 167 n., 173-175 
nn., 178 n., 179 n., 203 n., 
205 n., 220 n., 224 n., 231 n., 
232 n., 255 n., 258 n., 271 n., 
334 n., 352 n., 353 n., 358 n., 
361 n., 362 n., 377 n., 396 n., 
417 n., 418 n. 

1 Timothy, 78 n., 80 n., 141 n. 

2 Timothy, 87 n., 134 n., 148 
n., 157 n., 224 n., 362 n., 409 

Thcssalonians, 35 n., 203 n. 
2 Thessalonians, 409 n. 
Titus, 92 n., 96 n. 
Tobias, 266 n. 
Wisdom, 13 n., 63 n,, 101 n., 

118 n., 120 n., 139 n., 177 n., 
262 n., 351 n. 

Zacharias, 409 n. 


human, 6, 32, 42, 166, 296; 

plant, 87, 129, 292, 299 
self-control, 97 
self-denial, 93, 105, 107; see also 

mortification; penance 
self-indulgence, 85, 90 93 
self-restraint, 90, 105, 107 
Semei, 138 
Septuagint, xv, 119 n., 140 n., 

sermons, ix-xiii, xv-xxi, 6 n., 


14, 28 n., 37, 46 n., 50 n., 63, Sion, 79, 165, 166 

71, 83, 92, 94, 117 n., 120, Sirmondus, Jacobus, x, 281 n., 

121, 130, 150, 161 n., 164, 175 284 n. 

n., 179, 189 n., 195, 198, 200, slaves, 5, 11, 15, 34, 44, 119, 135, 

201, 227, 231 n., 264, 292, 284, 399, 402, 407 

2Q3 296 303 315 349 n 369 Solomon, King, 138 

77 408 Son of God ( Christ ) ' - 14 ' 17 * 

Seroent 24 25 127 186 210 20 - 2 Q ' 39 ' 41 ' 56 ' 61 ' 89 ' 

Serpent, X, 25, 127, 18b, 210 ^ 

servant, 18, 26, 39, 62, 76, 88, ' ' . 

Ill list 14fi 187 217 246 140 ' 14 ^ 146 ' 15 - I52 > ]fi (>. 

Ill, \16, 146, 187, 217, 240, , 2 2]3 

295, 311, 356, 372, 375, 389; J ^ 1J ^J 233 241 n 

fellow, 107, 111, 192, 382; * ^ ^ * go ' 284 " 

form of, II, 27, 39, 40, 89, 119; ^ ^^'^'f^' 

of God, 84, 246, 368, 382; m m> m> m 

nature of, 16; see also slave on ^ th ; ^^ , 2> 2g> S2f 

seventy, 92 41> 42> 44f 44> 118; ] 2 3, 139. 

Shahan, T., xi n. 14] H3 I46 16] 38f 402; 

shepherds, 6, 25, 35, 59, 60, 63, 407 4()8 

66, 67, 71, 75, 76, 78, 79, 179, Son of Davkl ]y 

182, 317, 418 Son of the Holy Spiritj ]36 

Simeon, 26, 390 Son of j uslice> 24 , 27 

Simon Magus, 52, 167 Son of ' Man> ^ 9 . 14; 28) 30 , 

Simon Bar-Jona, 212, 280, 338, 39> 41> m< 13f); H5 . 147j 219; 

348, 364 352) 393 

sin, 5, 21, 22, 27, 34, 36, 37, 51, Son ^ the vi mn, 16, 19, 20, 

53 n., 62, 69, 76, 104, 108, 109, 24 30> 32 , 42> b j9 

111, 112, 120, 121, 125, 126, sons of Godj 6> 31 , 39> 98f 121j 

128, 129, 131-133, 141, 149, ]57> I85 189 i 94 , 207 , 218, 

150, 152-154, 159, 160, 164, 283 

165, 172, 173, 175, 182, 186, sons O f the kingdom, 166 

195, 204, 205, 216, 219, 220, sons of meil) ]89j m , 219, 346 

225, 23L 232, 236, 240, 242, sorroW) 175f S12> 342, 343, 345, 

252-254, 261, 296, 315, 323, 3 4 6 

342, 343, 345-347, 352, 358, s oul, 10, 16, 22, 31, 50, 51, 53, 

360, 361, 366, 368, 371-373, 55, 63, 87, 90, 95, 97, 99, 100, 

387, 388, 394, 404, 409 105, 107, 108, 118, 120, 121, 

sinner, 63, 146, 173, 213, 253, 136, 141-143, 158, 162, 168, 

313, 314, 345, 352 177, 182, 186, 200, 215, 217, 

''; 446 

232, 237, 239, 246, 251, 252, 
253, 256-262, 267, 268, 270, 
303, 340, 341, 345, 355, 361, 
373, 379, 386, 404, 410, 416; 
of Christ, 10, 11, 123, 137, 
142, 154, 155, 239-242, 265, 
268, 285 n., 341, 386; 
of the stars, 263; 
of the world, 262 

Spirit, Holy, 33, 37, 52, 78, 81, 
103, 111, 119, 120, 122-124, 
126, 135, 136, 140, 141, 144- 
146, 149, 150, 161, 167, 190, 
191, 193, 196, 198, 202, 209, 
220, 241, n., 304, 307, 321-232, 
329 n., 333, 335, 401, 402, 408, 
413, 415420 

Spirit of God, 78, 98, 149, 193- 
195, 228, 267, 291, 304, 314, 
315, 322, 362, 365, 366, 415, 
417, 418 

spirit, 29, 36, 42, 55, 83, 92, 137, 
186, 198, 213, 227, 235-238, 
240-242, 244, 256, 264, 265, 
268, 270, 271, 281, 288, 293, 
339, 359, 360, 361, 386, 394, 
403, 407; 
deceptive, 58; 
of iniquity, 161, 180, 225; 
as quality, 51 ,83, 86, 100,307; 
of salvation, 103; 
sword of the, 72 

spite, 172 

star, 13, 23, 28, 46, 50, 59-63, 
67, 68, 70-75, 78, 102, 180, 
249, 253, 258, 263, 267, 321, 
342, 382, 389; 
clay star, 40; 
morning star, 103 

Stephen, St., 81, 124, 125, 138, 


strife, 58, 84-86, 114, 156, 203 

of the Lord, 86, 137, 138, 163, 

181, 346; 

of the world, etc., 89, 157, 260, 

278, 340, 341, 414 
sun, 9, 13, 24, 40, 41, 52, 62, 

65, 68, 94, 95, 108, 126, 176, 

203, 256, 263, 382, 395, 420 
superstition, 47, 72 
Susanna, 46 

at Carthage, 349 n,; 

at Carthage, 349 n.; 

at Saragossa, 241 n. 

tabernacle, 41 
temerity, 44 
temperance, 89, 93, 106 

of a creature, 140; 

of God, 26, 57, 140, 151, 337, 

357, 413; 

Christ as a, 386; 

of the Jews, 45, 70; 

of pagans, 51 
temptation, 83, 86, 89, 93, 99, 

102, 103, 104, 108, 162, 181, 

183, 326, 330, 335, 345, 358, 

361, 371, 392 
Tertullian, 329 n. 
testimony, xiv, xxi, 4, 9, 64, 65, 

69,70,71,74,80,94, 105, 138, 

139, 202, 291, 307, 334, 357, 

thanks, 18, 50, 55, 128, 180, 192, 


197, 230, 257, 291, 345 
thanksgiving, 75, 76 
theatre, 56, 58, 259, 313, 328 
theft, 87, 135, 387, 398, 399, 408 
Theodosius, Code of, 376 
Thomas, St., 288, 366 
Thrones (angelic choir) , 118 
Timothy, St., 224 
Titles of the Lord, 

Advocate, 125 

Almighty, 134, 301 

Architect, 31 

Artist, 335 

Artisan, 335 

Babe, 390 

Beauty, 256 

Begotten, 17 

Bridegroom, 14, 34, 41, 43, 

100, 402 

Comforter, 397 

Consoler, 397 

Courage, 28 

Companion, 119 

Death of death, 221 

Debtor, 347 

Discipline, 28 

Divine Power, 402 

Emmanuel, 14, 16 

Enlightener, 159 

Entirety, 386 

Eternal, 146 

Eternity, 143 

Exalted, 90 

Farmer, 129 

Fashioner of the Earth, 17 

Foundation, 28 

Founder and Inhabitant of 

Heaven, 27 

Fountain, 28, 390 

Fountain of Life, 161, 162, 

204, 219 

Fountain of Truth, 162 

Free, 173 

Fulfiller, 212 

Fulfillment, 89 

Gardener, 292, 293 

Giver, 121, 255 

Grape, 28 

Guest, 230, 233, 245 

Guide, 25 

Happy One, 173 

Haven, 385 

Head, 33, 54, 102, 197, 221, 

234, 249, 255, 272, 366, 406, 


Healer, 172 

Health, 89 

Herald, 409 

Holy One, 136, 145, 191, 208 

Husbandman, 129, 152 

Immaculate Lamb, 56 

Immortal One, 120, 137 

Innocent, 146 

Insuperable One, 137 

Inviolable One, 137 

Invisible One, 136 

Judge, 28, 45, 47, 112, 125, 

172, 390, 409 

Just, 146, 173 

Justice, 28, 33 

Justifier, 5 

King, 143, 146, 165, 166 

King of Glory, 40 

Lamb, 382 

Leader, 25 

Leader and Shepherd of Shep- 


herds, 25 

Liberator, 5, 126 

Lion, 392 

Little One, 390 

Living, the, 229 

Lord of Prophets, 211, 233 

Manifestor, 13 

Mediator, 42, 254 

Merchant, 220 

Mercy, 344 

Most High, 136, 145, 158, 191, 


Mighty One, 153, 390 

Omnipotent One, 119, 121, 

132, 134, 251, 252, 283 

Only-Begotten, 185, 242 

Owner, 79 

Peace, 33 

Person, 394, 395, 407 

Physician, 173, 238, 241, 340, 


Power, 118, 407 

Priest, 74 

Prince of Virgins, 19 

Promiser, 347 

Prophet, 211, 233 

Protector, 152, 157, 397 

Refuge, 380 

Reviver, 90 

Rich One, 173 

Rock, 205, 280, 377 

Ruler, 28, 29 

Salvation, 26 

Security, 28 

Seed of Abraham, 17 

Seeker, 173 

Shepherd, 173 

Sojourner, 245 

Spouse, 20, 30, 31, 34, 126, 
155, 240, 242, 243 
Spouse of the Church, 42 
Strength, 27, 89 
Sun, 389 

Sun of Justice, 24, 27 
Teacher, 19, 61, 90, 108, 214, 
223, 397, 412 
Unity, 149 

Untouchable One, 136 
Way, 28, 228, 232, 385, 390 
Wayfarer, 245, 246, 249 
Whole, 413 

Workman, 50, 383; see also 
Bread, Child, Day, Infant, 
King, Life, Light, Man, 
Master, One, Redeemer, Savi- 
our, Truth, Wisdom 

tomb, 123, 137, 139, 179, 188, 
205, 208, 231, 265, 279, 287, 
291, 292, 298, 339, 367, 389 

tranquillity, 180, 358; see also 
peace; harmony 

Trinity, Blessed, 10, 77, 119, 
126, 140, 141, 149, 160, 336, 
371, 386, 408 

Truth (Christ), 3, 7-9, 21, 22, 
28, 29, 31, 33, 34, 36, 138, 
150, 162, 176, 236, 254, 349, 


as philosophical truth, 6, 10, 
21, 36, 49, 51, 52, 61, 68, 70, 
73, 74, 100, 134, 153, 173, 174, 
203, 224, 230, 232, 251, 252, 
255, 260, 261, 263, 271,. 278, 
284, 287, 294, 340, 352, 404, 
405, 408, 409; 


as summary of Christian doc- Virgin, 5, 9, 10, 13, 22, 23, 30, 

trine, xvii, 53, 130, 131, 142, 33, 37, 40, 42, 43, 68, 136, 190, 

287, 327; 191, 239, 394, 402; 

as virtue, 21, 111, 125, 137, Virgin Mary, 11, 21, 35,44, 45, 

206, 210, 242, 279, 315, 348, 119, 122-124, 135, 144-146, 

363, 364, 416 189, 220, 405; 

Virgin Mother, 4, 182 

uncircumcision, 67, 75, 78, 226, virgin, 4, 5, 3, 10, 18-21, 24, 29- 

301, 327 33, 42, 43, 45, 93, 97, 105, 127, 

uncleanness, 51, 96, 337, 344, 144j 145> 192, 205, 211, 220, 

383 235, 248, 296, 298, 303; 

ungodliness, 49, 51, 255 Church as a> 19) 20> 30; 31, 33, 

unit y> 42, 126, 127, 403 

among men, 9, 67, 72, 161, { . . J9 2Q 3Q . 33 3g 45 

167, 196, 202, 212, 213, 315; | 6 J' ^ ^ H4 ' 190 191 

r i /-.I 1 00 if\A iAf\ * U > UT > AA/, AJJ, X*XT, 1 3\J, A C7 1 

of the Church, 33, 104, 149, . ^ gq m 3H 394 4iy 

197, 336, 365, 393, 413, 414, ' Sl ' BJ> Ul ' ^' ***' * U 

415 418- vision, 

of faith, 272; "J f" 6 " 1 ' 42 ' 133 ' 138 ' 397 ' 

of heart, 198; ' 

of the person of Christ, 10; God - 40 ' ^' 

of speech, 420; of . wls d m ' 34 = R 

of the Spirit, 80; spiritual, 404, 405 

in the Trinity, 10, 119 vocation, 66 

universe, 24, 89, 95, 284 n., 403 vow - 19 

usuries, 154, 199, 247 watch ' J 7M73, 176, 177, 179, 

219; see also vigil 

Valerius, Bishop, xi, xix wheat, xv, 102, 169, 183, 184, 

vengeance, 196, 328, 330, 343, 388 

of God,' 51; wickedness, 47, 49, 89, 156, 172, 

of men, 115 179, 180, 255 

Vergil, 259 widow, 33, 45, 93, 97, 246, 376, 

vice, 42, 91, 95, 155, 160, 207, 390 

253 widowhood, 33, 45, 46 

Victim of Salvation, 175 wife, 19, 45, 46, 105, 186, 187, 

vigil, 171-179, 181, 198 n., 336; 217, 304, 315, 355, 378, 399 

see also watch Wilmart, Dom, x n., xii, xxii, 

vine, 129 175 n. 


wine, 85, 89, 91, 100, 106, 168, 
193, 202, 346, 406 

Wisdom, 6, 13, 46, 118, 139, 191, 
286, 335, 402, 407 

wisdom, 3, 4, 39, 53 n., 63, 100, 
134, 154, 157, 194, 254, 255, 
257, 259, 289, 294, 304, 307, 
314, 334-336, 351, 363, 374, 
386, 403; 
fountain of, 182; 
true wisdom, 4 

witness, 45, 64, 69, 70, 114, 190, 
197, 232, 240, 241, 371, 413; 
angelic (heavenly) , 6; 
false, 28, 304, 315, 323, 399 

woman, 4-7, 11, 12, 20, 24, 25, 
30,35,42,43,45,76, 103, 112, 
127, 137, 145, 168, 186, 187, 
210, 211, 236, 272, 273, 277, 
279-281, 283, 287, 289-294, 296, 
303, 329 n., 378, 391 

womb, 157; 

of the Blessed Virgin, 13, 14, 
22, 33-35, 43-46, 84, 136, 144, 
145, 191, 239, 248, 268, 295, 
389, 402; 

of the Church, 150, 156, 199; 
of Elizabeth, 45 

Word (Christ), 6, 8, 10, 11, 13- 
19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 28 n., 34, 
38, 39, 43, 44, 46, 61, 72, 73, 

75, 118, 122, 126, 134-137, 144, 
152, 162, 189, 190, 191, 192, 
194, 213, 236-239, 241, 242, 
268, 282, 285, 286, 289, 290, 
295, 325, 326, 341, 342, 367, 
380-382, 385-387, 397, 399, 401, 
402, 404-408; 
Speechless Word, 75 

world, xii, 4-7, 13, 16-18, 22- 
24, 26, 31, 34, 42, 49-51, 54- 
56, 60, 64, 66, 68, 71, 72, 76, 
77, 84, 86, 88, 89, 95, 102-104, 
111, 113, 114, 118, 126, 128, 
131-133, 141, 143, 151, 153, 
157, 162, 163, 165, 167, 171, 
172, 174, 176, 177, 179-181, 
189, 191, 194, 195, 197, 199, 
205, 207, 218, 221, 239, 243- 
245, 249, 251-256, 262-264, 
267-269, 272, 299, 301, 309, 
311, 316, 318, 319, 326, 328, 
333, 334, 335, 344, 352, 355, 
365, 366, 368, 370, 387-391, 
395, 402-407, 411; see also 

world-rulers, 171, 179 

wrath of God, 49, 255 

wrestling, 171, 179 

Zachary, 45 
zeal, xi, xxi, 52