Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

mind

need, where no other person can be had; otherwise it is much better to forbear. Moreover, take notice how much good men are glad to be freed from its practice. Also, forbear all pleading, save in the event of contradicting an evident calumny, or where some wretched person is concerned, or where the cause is wholly a pious one; or where it is manifest, that it be for the repression of manifest wrong, or for the protection of the

poor,
in which cases,

if you keep your even, you may forego thy forbearance, and plead. But take great care that you be not moved to this by motives of friendship, kindred, or dislike, and if he, your client, be one of such, ask your own heart what you would have done, if the person were not your friend, your kinsman, or enemy. How true it is that the countryman is said to have a happy lot, because, according to Virgil, he does not see

“Ferrea jura, Insanumque forum.” “ The iron law, and courts that rage and brawl.” 9. Again, do not appear before any civil or spiritual judge for the favour of any friend or kinsman, except the cause be one of piety, and greatly urgent; and even then you ought to send a procurator, if possible, and not to go yourself; for by this the repose of the mind is disturbed, and if you would keep yourself and your affairs from the noise and shipwreck of the world in all other things, “let the dead bury their dead.” So appear not before commissaries or any secular judge in Daventry, save in the like necessity; because your friends can do all this for you. Never interfere with controversies but to allay them, except as above, that is, if they can be allayed speedily and without noise, and provided you never forget to keep thy own repose and do all for peace as far as is possible.

10. Likewise, when any of thy kinsmen is beaten, slain, or molested, never molest him that did the injury, never give evil counsel against him, never attack him with your words, or avoid him, but rather admonish him consolingly or bring him back to peace. friends wish to take vengeance, appease their revenge with placid words, and let them do no injury. Do you forgive all, and show such an example as you advise others to follow. Hence I resolve neither to take any notice of the deeds of my friends, kinsmen, or superiors, except such as have reference to piety, or by which others may be benefited; for in such a case, it would be contrary to quiet contemplation, to desert the cause of piety, justice, and usefulness, that could uot be done for our neighbour by any but ourselves.

And if your

Georgic. II. 502.

560

LINES, SUGGESTED BY A PASSAGE IN THE MEDITATIONS" COMMONLY

CALLED OF ST. AUGUSTINE."-CHAP. XXXIV.

On! if the angel choir above,
Who breathe excess of changeless love,
Even while they praise and worship Thee,
Great God! bow down with trembling knee,
Alas! and how shall I appear,
How should I fall in suppliant fear,
I, who have foully sinful been,
Whose heart is dust-whose lips unclean !

How may I praise, or laud, or bless,
I, who am poor and profitless,
Whose every step is wont to fly,
Over the hills of Vanity,
Whose tongue has erred, whose every thought
Has wandered far, and gathered nought,
Whose heart has beat with pulses free,
Insensible to none but Thee.

With trembling heart and visage pale,
With faltering tongue, and many a wail,
With shivering limbs, and weeping eyes,
With lamentations, woes, and cries.
Such are the gifts that I can bring,
And such mine only offering ;
In trembling hope, and shivering fear,
Before Thee, God, must I appear!
Oh! by the grace that Jesus bought,
Soften my heart, and bend my thought,
Oh! by the wounds that Jesus bore,
Confirm my will to sin no more.
Oh! let me with obedience meek,
Even now the chair of penance seek,
My weary load unburthen there,

Yet still weep on, but not despair !
In Fest. Sti. Polycarp.

HOMILY OF ST. BEDE THE VENERABLE, ON THE GOSPEL FOR THE SIXTEENTH SUNDAY AFTER

PENTECOST.

GOSPEL.—St. Luke xiv. 1-11.4" At that time, when Jesus went into the house of one of the chief of the Pharisees, on the Sabbath day, to eat bread, they watched him. And behold there was a certain man before him that had the dropsy : and Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day? But they held their peace. But he, taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, he said : which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out on the Sabbath-day? and they could not answer him these things. And he spoke a parable also, to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seat at the table, saying to them : When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest, perhaps, oue more honourable than thou be invited by him; and he that invited thee and him, come, and say to thee, give this man place; and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go sit down in the lowest place; that when he who invited thee cometh, he may say to thee,-Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee: because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled ; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” The dropsy* is a disease caused by watery humours, and is so called from the Greek word öÈwp, which signifies water. It is the formation of a humour under the skin, generated from a diseased state of the bladder, and attended with swelling, and difficulty of breathing. There is one feature in this complaint, namely, that the more the watery humour increases, the more is the patient's thirst. And therefore is he well compared to him who runs riot in carnal pleasures, that grow in their indulgence; and to the covetous, who the more his wealth abounds, the more ardently he lusteth after more.

“ And JESUS answering, spoke to the lawyers and pharisees, saying : is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? but they held their peace.” The answer of Jesus refers to what went before, namely, to the clause “they watched him;" Our Lord knoweth indeed the thoughts of men ; but did they well to hold their peace, when they were questioned, seeing that whatever they should say must needs be against themselves ?

* Dropsy, contracted from hydropsy.

ness.

For if it were lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day, why did they watch to see if he did it? and if it were not, why did they take care of their cattle on the Sabbath-day? “And taking him, he healed him, and sent him away." By a thoughtful management, our Lord first heals the man that had the dropsy, in the sight of the lawyers and pharisees; and presently speaketh against covetousness,--that in this way the sickness of their hearts might be shown in the sickness of their body; till after much earnest exhortation it is subjoined: “Now the pharisees, who were covetous, heard all these things ; and they derided him.” (St. Luke xvi. 14.) Like the man with the dropsy, the more they drank, the greater was their thirst. And thus, truly, does every

covetous man increase his thirst; for when he has got what he desires, still he panteth after more. And answering them, he said: which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out on the Sabbath-day ?” And thus he convinced the pharisees that watched him, at the same time that he condemned their covetousIf you,

he
says,

make haste to draw an ox, or an ass, or any other animal out of a pit,—not consulting the pain of the animal, but your own avarice, how much more ought I to liberate a man, who is much better than any cattle. For aptly may a man with the dropsy be compared to an animal that has fallen into a pit; for he was labouring under a heavy humour. So also, when that woman who it is said had been bound for eighteen years, was loosed from her bonds, he compared her to the ox that was unloosed and led to water. (Luke xiii. 15.) And well in both passages is the ox and the ass mentioned; for whether it be the wise or the simple, we think that it signifies that the yoke of the law has worn their neck, that both have heard the voice of the seducer, and wandered wheresoever they listed, in the path of error; till our Saviour at his coming, found all bound by the yoke of Satan,—all sunk in the one pit of concupiscence. “For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God, being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. iii. 23.)

“ And he spoke a parable also, to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: when thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place.” In the literal sense, it is plain that this admonition of our Lord is designed to teach us that humility is not only praiseworthy in the sight of God, but also before men. But since the evangelist, and that not without a purpose, calls this a parable, let us consider its mystical interpretation.

From many passages it appears, that the union of Christ and his Church is

called a wedding; as, for instance,-" Can the children of the marriage fast, as long as the bridegroom is with them? (St. Mark ii. 19.) And again, “ The kingdom of heaven is likened to a king, who made a marriage for his son. And he sent his servants to call them that were invited to the marriage." (St. Matth. xxii. 2.) Whosoever, then, that shall come invited to the marriage, that is, shall join himself to the members of the Church by the grace of faith, let him “not sit down in the first place;" that is, let him not by glorying in his merits, puff himself up, as if he were more exalted than others; but rather, let him be zealous according to the parable in another place (St. Matth. xxii. 12) to be clothed in a wedding-garment; that is, to shine brightly in the splendour of virtues ; and to adorn himself in the habit of all virtues, in the place of devout humility. “Lest, perhaps, one more honourable than thou be invited by him: and he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee, give this man place; and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place." He gives thy place to one more honourable than thee, invited after thee; who by the merit of a long conversation has become more secure, and shown his activity in following Christ. And with shame you begin to take the last place; since knowing by experience that others are better than thyself, thou humblest thyself, saying with the prophet,—"I am poor, and in labours from my youth; and being exalted have been humbled and troubled.” (Ps. Ixxxvii. 16.)

" But when thou art invited, go sit down in the lowest place.” The greater thou art, he says, humble thyself the more in all things; and the Psalmist boasts, "I have been humbled, O Lord, exceedingly ; quicken thou me according to thy word.” (Ps. cxviii. 107.) Manifestly signifying, that so as he felt that he was humbled, the more he would be quickened by the Lord. “ And when he who invited thee cometh, he

may say to thee, Friend, go up higher,” that is our Lord, when he cometh, shall bless him that is humble, by the name of a friend, and command him to go up higher. For, 66 whosoever shall humble heimself as a little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven." (St. Matthew xviii. 4.) “ Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee. He says well; “ Then shalt thou have glory," lest you begin to seek that now, which is reserved for thee in the end ; lest, as Solomon says; “ The inheritance gotten hastily in the beginning, in the end shall be without a blessing." (Prov. xx. 21.) Yea, even this may be understood of this life; when he that is found sitting in the lowest place, is raised up higher when his Lord cometh. For daily doth our Lord come to his marriage ; daily he judgeth the

« PredošláPokračovať »