VIII - SANCTIFICATION

Posted by on 11 September 2016

A) PENTECOST

1 - ‘A sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and they saw what seemed to be tongues of fire’ (Acts 2:3-4). This operation, visibly exhibited and presented to mortal eyes, is called the mission of the Holy Spirit; not that His very substance appeared, in which He himself also is invisible and unchangeable, like the Father and the Son, but that the hearts of men, touched by things seen outwardly, might be turned from the manifestation in time of Him as coming to the hidden eternity of Him as ever present (trin. 2, 5, 10)

2 - That gust of wind did not inflate, but vivified; that fire did not burn, but enlivened. The prophecy was fulfilled: ‘There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard’ and all the nations believed the preaching of the Gospel... At that time one believer was speaking all the languages, now the community of the believers as a whole speaks all the languages. All the languages are therefore ours also now, inasmuch as we are members of the body that speaks them (s. 269, 1)

3 - We believe in the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father without being His son, who rests on the Son without being the father of the Son, who takes from the Son without being the son of the Son: He is the Spirit of the Father and of the Son, Holy Spirit, He Himself God… Temple not of the creature but of the Creator (s. 214, 10)

4 - The whole Church, at Pentecost, was gathered in Jerusalem in just one house, and received the Holy Spirit; they were few people, but it was in all the languages of the world. It was prefiguring the extension it would have reached in our days. This great Church today speaks the languages of all the peoples (s. 267, 3)

5 - We receive the Holy Spirit if we love the Church, if we are joined together by charity, if we deserve the Catholic name and faith. Let us believe, brethren, that as much a man loves the Church of Christ, so much he has the Holy Spirit. For the Spirit is given for the manifestation of gifts for the common utility. We have, therefore, the Holy Spirit if we love the Church, if we stand firm in its union and charity (Io. ev. tr. 32, 8)

6 - Tasks are different, but life is common to all. Thus is the Church of God. The Holy Spirit is to the body of Christ, that is the Church, what the soul is to the human body. The Holy Spirit acts in the whole Church in the same way as the soul acts in all the members of one body (s. 267, 4) 

7 - We must have the Holy Spirit in our hearts every day. Christ betrothed His Church and has sent the Holy Spirit to her. The Spirit is like the wedding ring, and the One who has given her the ring, will give her also rest and immortality. Let us love Him, hope in Him, believe in Him (s. suppl. 31, 9)

8 - The Holy Spirit: restorer of freedom and guide to freedom (Gal. exp. 54) - Love free and needy (Gn. litt. 1, 7, 13)

9 - The Holy Spirit is eternally a gift, but given in time (trin. 5, 16, 17)  - The Holy Spirit is the Gift of God, inasmuch as it is given to those who, through Him, love God (trin. 15, 18, 32)

10 - The Holy Spirit, when He is benevolent and appeased, grants peace to the meek and humble of heart; when He is inimical and hostile, torments the violent and the proud with disquiet (ep. 55, 16, 29) - Since the Holy Spirit gathers us from multiplicity into unity, He is received through humility; He is, on the contrary, repelled by pride (s. 270, 6)

11 - Nobody is wise, intelligent, prudent, strong, pious and God-fearing if he does not have the Spirit of the seven gifts; and the same applies to the other gifts of courage, charity and continence; without the Spirit of faith nobody can be able to believe and, without the Spirit of prayer, nobody can be able to pray in a way useful to salvation. Without inhabiting them yet, He helps the souls so that they may become faithful, by inhabiting them He helps them to make progress in holiness (ep. 194, 4, 18)

12 - If the Spirit is lacking, the letter kills, inasmuch as it does not free the sinner, but makes him liable. Whenever you are told to do something according to the law, call upon the Spirit so that He may help you (s. 229/M, 2)

B) THE CHURCH 

One, holy, catholic, apostolic

1- The Church is the unity of the world (bapt. 1, 1, 2) - The great Church is the whole world (en. Ps. 21, II, 26)

2 - The Church is the communion of unity to be entered through the bond of charity (div. qu. Simp. 2, 1, 10) - The Church is not in a faction, but in the whole (s. suppl. 21, 17)

3 - The Church is, at the same time, mother, sovereign and subject (f. invis. 3, 6)

4 -The Church, our mother, is called ‘catholic’ because she is perfect in her totality, she does not fall into any error and is spread all over the world (Gn. litt. imp. 1, 4)

5 - The Church does not include heretics because she loves God; does not include schismatics because she loves her neighbour (f. et symb. 10, 21) 

6 - The Catholic mother must not choose to love one side or party because they hate the others (heretics and schismatics), but, following the Lord’s command and with His help, must avoid both sides and must desire to heal both of them as well (c. ep. pel. 2, 2, 4)

7 - A schism: a crime violating true peace in the unity of the world (c. litt. Pet. 1, 28, 30) - The origin and the obstinacy of a schism is nothing else than fraternal hatred (bapt. 1, 11, 16)

8 - Those who preferred the pride of their own animosity to the most holy bond of the Catholic peace are now going completely to ruin while being utterly fragmented (c. ep. Parm. 1, 4, 9) - Only true unity can most justly punish schisms (c. ep. Parm. 2, 3, 7)

9 - The Church spread all over the world, which gathers the members of the heavenly Jerusalem, is a small number, since walking along the narrow way belongs to few. If we add, however, all those who lived after the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel and will live until the end of the world, and also the very few men who lived with faith before the double coming of Christ thus obtaining grace and salvation, we can have the most blessed totality of the saints who form the eternal city (Gal. exp. 24)

10 - The Church is a sign of the past realities, a prophecy of the future ones (f. invis. 4, 7)

11 - We must distinguish the times of the Church: now she is mixed with the evil, in the end she will no longer have them (c. don. 9, 12)

12 - This is the garment of the Church: variety in the colour, unity in the texture (s. suppl. 24, 2) - The Church is said to be one because of the unity that reigns in her (en. Ps. 141, 7)

13 - The Church, spread among the nations, speaks in all tongues. You too, by being a member of her, speak in all tongues. Unity becomes harmony through the love of its members; and this unity speaks as one man (Io. ev. tr. 32, 7)

14 - The laws themselves of the Church that somehow are human are to be considered Christian as well (util. cred. 7, 19)

15 - The Church makes use of all kinds of people (vera rel. 6, 10) - Tasks are different, but life is common to all. Thus is the Church of God. The Holy Spirit is to the body of Christ, that is the Church, what the soul is to the human body. The Holy Spirit acts in the whole Church in the same way as the soul acts in all the members of one body (s. 267, 4)

16 - The true Church cannot be hidden to anyone (c. litt. Pet. 2, 32, 74) - May all people be really inside! (s. suppl. 25, 5)

17 - In the Church of Christ this is the greatest prove of love: to despise even honour, so important to men, as long as the members may not be divided and the weakness of the Christians may not be dilacerated by the breaking of unity (s. 10, 8)

18 - Who are the enemies of the Church? Pagans? Jews? Bad Christians are her worst enemies, since they live badly in Christ’s sacraments. The enemies who are outside are better than those who, while staying inside, live badly: the Church is oppressed and saddened by them. Have you ever thought, brethren, how many people would like to be Christians, but are scandalized by the bad behaviour of Christians? (en. Ps. 30, II, s. 2, 6)

19 - Inside the Church, good Christians are very much saddened by the behaviour of bad Christians. Until the end of time the Church progresses on her pilgrimage amidst this world's persecutions and God's consolations (civ. 18, 51, 2)

20 - This is the Church that I [Augustine] am looking for: the Church that, by listening to Christ’s words and by putting them into practice, tolerates those who listen and do not put into practice. I am trying to know where the wheat, which grows in the midst of the tares until the harvest, is, and not what the tares may have done or may do (ep. cath. 18, 48)

21 - The apostles were seeing Christ and were believing in the Church, which they were not seeing; we see the Church and must believe in Christ, whom we do not see. If we cling firmly to what we can see, we’ll also be able to see the One we cannot see (s. 238, 3)

22 - Nowadays, in the midst of such great evils, scandals and contemptuous behaviour on the part of the wicked, we cannot say that the Church is glorious just by the fact that kings serve her: this is an even more dangerous and greater temptation (perf. Iust. 15, 35) 

Bride, Mother, Virgin

1 - Christ is the Bridegroom, the Church is the Bride. The unity of this person is wonderful and sublime! If, therefore, they are two in one flesh, why aren’t they two in one voice? May therefore Christ talk, because in Him the Church talks and in the Church Christ (en. Ps. 30, II, 4)

2 - The love of Christ is the most faithful love of the Bridegroom towards the Church, His bride (c. don. 20, 27)

3 - The good and the evil eat and drink together the body and blood of the Lord, but with a fundamental difference: the former wear a wedding robe in honour of the bridegroom, since they do not seek their own advantage, but Christ’s; the latter, on the contrary, do not wear a wedding robe, inasmuch as they seek their own advantage (c. don. 20, 27)

4 - O bride of Christ, beautiful among women! O you, who ascend in whiteness, leaning upon your beloved! For by His light you are made dazzling to whiteness, by His assistance you are preserved from falling. How suitable are the words sung in that Song of Songs, which is, as it were, your nuptial song: ‘There is love in your delights!’ (Io. ev. tr. 65, 3)

5 - What a great mystery! We have been invited to the wedding, in fact we ourselves are the wedding! In human weddings one thing is the bride, another are those who have been invited. We are, on the contrary, those who have been invited and the bride at the same time. For we are the Church and we have been invited into the Church (s. 265/E, 5)

6 - The entire Church is called virgin. Gifts and tasks are different: there are married and unmarried people, widows and virgins; but all together we form only one virgin. Some possess virginity in the body, others in the spirit. What is the virginity of the spirit? Uncorrupted faith, solid hope, sincere charity (Io. ev. tr. 13, 12) 

7 - The Church, like Mary, is forever untainted and fertile, while remaining uncorrupted. Whatever Mary deserved to preserve in her body, the Church preserved in her heart. There is, however, a difference: Mary gave birth to one, the Church to many, but in a unity brought forth by Mary’s son (s. 195, 2) 

Christ-Head, Church-Body

1 - Only one Head, only one Body: one Christ (s. 138, 5, 5)

2 - If Christ is the Head and we are the members, the whole man is He and we. Christ is the Head, the Church is the members (Io. ev. tr. 21, 8)

3 - Christ deemed it worthy to be a complete reality together with us, He who is complete also without us from eternity (s. suppl. 22, 19)

4 - You are therefore many and you are one; we are many and we are one (en. Ps. 127, 4)

5 - Christ means ‘anointed’. We can rightly call christs all those who have been anointed with His chrism, but the whole body with its Head is only one Christ (civ. 17, 4, 9)

6 - Between us and Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, a relation of two to one exists. The one death of our Saviour removed our two deaths, of the soul and of the body; His one resurrection produced for us two resurrections, of the soul and of the body (trin. 4, 3, 6)

7 - Nobody attains salvation and eternal life if he does not have Christ as his head. Nobody can have Christ as his head unless he is in His body, which is the Church (ep. cath. 19, 49)

8 - We are in heaven with Him through hope, He is on earth with us through charity (en. Ps. 54, 3)

9 - The apostles were seeing the Head but not the body; we see the body, which is on earth, and do not see the Head, who is in heaven. We see the body and believe in the Head (s. 229/I, 2) 

Lord’s Field and Garden

1 - Christ was sowing and the Church was sprouting (s. 335/E, 2)

2 - We have a cult of God and God cultivates us (s. 87, 1, 1)

3 - God creates man so that he may be man, but cultivates and guards him so that he may be good and happy too (Gn. litt. 8, 10, 23)

4 - ‘You are God’s farmland, you are God’s building’. We are the vineyard of the Lord inasmuch as He cultivates us in order for us to bring forth fruit; we are God’s building inasmuch as He dwells in us. He cultivates and gives growth (en. Ps. 66, 1)

5 - Listen to me, grains, do not be saddened because of your mixture with the chaff: it will not be with you forever. The chaff is light: if we are really grains, it will not be able to press us. Let the chaff listen to us too. Listen, O chaff! May God’s patience be beneficial to you. May the nearness to the grains and the grains’ admonitions make you grains. The rains of God’s words are not lacking: may God’s field not be unproductive. Become green again, produce grains, become ripe! The One who has sown you wants to collect spikes, not thorns (s. 223, 2)

6 - The garden of the Lord has not only the roses of the martyrs, but also the lilies of the virgins, the ivies of the married people, the violets of the widows. No kind of people should despair about one’s calling to salvation (s. 304, 3, 2) 

House, Temple, Net, City of God

1 - God’s house is also God’s temple and God’s city. All this are the Christian faithful, that is, the people of God (en. Ps. 126, 3)

2 - He showed His first disciples where He dwelt. What a blessed day they spent, what a blessed night! What did they hear from the Lord? Let us also build in our hearts and let us make a house into which He may come and teach us; may He converse with us (Io. ev. tr. 7, 9)

3 - To build a house belongs to few, while any ignorant person can destroy it (en. Ps. 51, 7)

4 - Be yourselves God’s house, and the house is already built! (s. 107/A, 9)

5 - We ourselves are God’s house: we are built in this life in order to be dedicated at the end of time (s. 336, 1)

6 - God’s building, which is the Church, is still being built, since it has not yet received all men. By enlarging, it has already welcomed many of them, but its mission is to extend to all (en. Ps. 95, 2)

7 - God’s house and God’s handmaid are the same reality; and what is God’s house, unless the whole of His people? The offering presented to God is acceptable to Him if it is an offering of peace presented in peace. On the contrary, those who don’t want to be children of that handmaid do not love peace but war (en. Ps. 115, 9)

8 - Let us proceed speedily toward the eternal house! (s. 254, 8)

9 - It is the same Church that, within the Lord's net, is swimming along with the bad fish, but is in heart and in life separated from them, and departs from them, so that she may be presented to her Bridegroom as a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle (ep. 93, 9, 34)

10 - May the Church sing the praises of the fear of the Lord. Hard-working for so many nights, patient among so many scandals, provident in foreseeing, strong in tolerating, constant in perseverance, once the toil will be over ‘give her the fruit of her hands’ (Prov. 31:31) (s. 37, 29)

11 - The garden of the Lord, brethren, has not only the roses of the martyrs, but also the lilies of the virgins, the ivies of the married people, the violets of the widows. No kind of people should despair about one’s calling: Christ died for all! (s. 304, 3, 2)

12 - Nobody can love Christ and, at the same time, hate His city: the Church (Io. ep. tr. 2, 3)

13 - Who may be able to list all the testimonies of the Scripture about the spreading of the Church all over the world? In what page this truth does not resound? Everything shouts in favour of the unity of the people of the Lord, who has established peace within Jerusalem. You, heretic, are, on the contrary, barking from the tribunal of your heart’s presumption; high tribunal, but prone to collapse (en. Ps. 147, 16)

C) HOLY MARY 

Immaculate

1 - Aside from the Holy Virgin Mary, about whom -because of the dignity itself of the Lord- I do not want any question to be raised when discussing of sin (how can we know what greater abundance of grace has been conferred to her to win sin on all sides and deserve to conceive and generate the One who most certainly had no sin?), what response do we think all the other saints would have given if we asked them: ‘Do you have sins?’? They, in unison, would have shouted: ‘If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us’ (nat. et gr. 36, 42)

2 - We do not consign Mary to the power of the devil because of her birth, inasmuch as this condition itself is cancelled by the grace of rebirth (c. Iul. imp. 4, 122)

3 - The Lord Jesus was formed from sin, in the sense that He assumed flesh from the same mass which had deserved death because of sin. For, to speak more briefly, Mary, as a descendant of Adam, died because of original sin, Adam died because of his own sin, and the flesh of the Lord, which was from Mary, died in order to annihilate sin (en. Ps. 34, s. 2, 3)

4 - Because of a woman we had been condemned to death, because of a woman salvation has been given back to us (s. 289, 2)

5 - I ascribe to Your grace and to Your mercy that my sins have melted away like ice; I also ascribe to Your grace all the evil that, under Your guidance, I have not committed (conf. 2, 7, 15) 

Virgin

1 - She consecrated her virginity to God when she still did not know whom she would have to conceive. Thus the celestial life would be imitated in a mortal and earthly body by means of a vow and not by a command; choosing by love and not serving out of necessity (virg. 4, 4)

2 - Virginity is an imitation of celestial life and, in the corruptible flesh, a meditation on perpetual incorruptibility (virg. 13, 12)

3 - Virginal dignity began with the Lord’s Mother (s. 51, 16, 26)

4 - ‘Hail, full of grace’: the One who will be in you is already with you (s. 291, 4)

5 - An angel announces, the Virgin listens, believes and conceives. Faith in her heart and Christ in her womb. She conceived as a virgin: it’s wonderful! She gave birth as a virgin: it’s still more wonderful! She remained a virgin also after giving birth. Who will be able, therefore, to explain this birth? (s. 196, 1)

6 - ‘How can this be, since I know not man?’. A thing that certainly she would not have said unless she had consecrated her virginity to God first... The Angel replied: ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you’, and full of faith she, who conceived Christ in her mind before than in her bosom, said: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word’. May He be conceived virginally in the Virgin; may He be born by the power of the Holy Spirit and may the woman remain intact in Him in whom, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church is reborn intact (s. 215, 4)

7- Because of His holy conception in the womb of the Virgin, done not by the heat of carnal lust but by the fervour of charity that springs from faith, He is said to have been born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary, in the sense that one of these terms refers to the one who sanctifies, the other to the one who conceives and gives birth (s. 214, 6)

8 - Who are you, who will become a mother? How have you deserved it? Why will the One who created you be formed in you? You are virgin, you are holy, you have made a vow; but if what you have deserved is very much, still more is what you have received. Why all this to you?... ‘Believe you too in the One in whom I believed. You want to know why all this to me? Let the angel answer you’. ‘Tell me, angel, why all this to Mary?’. ‘I’ve already said it in my greeting: Hail, full of grace’ (s. 291, 6)

9 - Mary remained ever-virgin: before the conception, during and after childbirth (s. 191, 1, 2) - The nobility of the Son was the virginity of the mother; the nobility of the mother was the divinity of the Son (s. 200, 1, 2)

Mother of Jesus Christ

1 - Mary protected the truth in her mind more than the flesh in her womb. The Truth-Christ in Mary’s mind, the Flesh-Christ in Mary's womb (s. 72/A, 7)

2 - Her nearness as a mother would have been of no profit to Mary, had she not borne Christ in her heart in a more blessed way than in her flesh (virg. 3, 3)

3 - Mary was more blessed in receiving the faith of Christ than in conceiving the flesh of Christ (virg. 3, 3)

4 - Like the union of Joseph with Mary was a true marriage and a marriage without corruption, in the same way why should not the husband have welcomed chastely the one to whom the wife gave birth chastely? The spouse Joseph was chaste like his spouse Mary had been; like the mother was chaste, in the same way was the father. The Holy Spirit, on whom the justice of both spouses was resting, gave a son to both of them (s. 51, 16, 26)

5 - It is not therefore true that Joseph was not His father because he didn’t beget Him by natural generation. In spite of that, a son was born of the virgin Mary to Joseph’s piety and charity: He is the same Son of God made man (s. 51, 20, 30)

6 - The reason why the Virgin was still more saintly and wonderfully dear to her husband consists in the fact that, even without her husband’s intervention, she gave birth to a child: superior to him because of her Son, equal as far as faith is concerned. On account of this faithful marriage both deserve to be called Jesus’s parents. Joseph was a husband and a father in spirit (nupt. et conc. 1, 11, 12) 

7 - The womb of one woman was bringing the One whom heavens cannot contain. Mary was governing our king, was carrying the One in whom we are, was giving suck to the One who is our bread. O apparent weakness and admirable humility, in which divinity was completely hidden! He was ruling, by His power, His mother, to whom He was subjected as a baby; He was nourishing with truth the one from whose breast He was sucking (s. 184, 3, 3)  

8 - He sucks from a breast, but He feeds angels; He’s wrapped in swaddling clothes, but He dresses us with immortality; He is given suck, but He is worshipped; He cannot find a place in the inn, but He builds a temple for Himself in His faithful’s hearts. Strength became weak so that weakness might become strong (s. 190, 3, 4) 

Daughter, Co-redemptrix, Mother of the Church

1 - The Virgin Mary preceded the Church as her image (s. 72/A, 8) - The Church, by imitating the mother of her Lord, is mother and virgin at the same time in the spirit, even if she could not be such in the body (s. 191, 2, 3)

2 - Mary is blessed because she listened to God’s word and protected it. Mary protected the truth in her mind more than the flesh in her womb. Mary is holy, Mary is blessed, but the Church is better than Mary. Why? Because Mary is a portion of the Church, a holy, excellent, supereminent member, but still a member of the whole body. In relation to the body, the whole is more than a part. The head is the Lord and the whole Christ is head and body. What shall I say? We have a divine head, we have God as head (s. 72/A, 7)

3 - Mary was the only woman who was both a mother and a virgin, both in the spirit and in the body. Spiritually she was not the mother of our Head, our Saviour, of whom rather she was spiritually born, forasmuch as all who have believed in Him (among whom is herself also) are rightly called children of the bridegroom (virg. 6, 6)

4 - But she is undoubtedly the mother of His members, which are we, inasmuch as she cooperated by charity so that the faithful should be born in the Church, who are members of that Head. For it was necessary that our Head, by means of a notable miracle, would be born after the flesh of a virgin, in order to signify that, in the spiritual order, His members had to be born of a virgin, that is the Church (virg. 6, 6)

5 - Mary was the only woman who was both a mother and a virgin, both in the spirit and in the body: mother of Christ and virgin of Christ. The Church, in the saints to whom the possession of the kingdom of heaven is reserved, is entirely mother of Christ and entirely virgin of Christ in the spiritual order; but physically not entirely virgin and mother: in certain people only virgin of Christ, in other people only mother, but not of Christ. Both married women and virgins consecrated to God are spiritually mothers of Christ (virg. 6, 6)

6 - The Lord, on being invited, went to a wedding. What wonder if He went to a wedding, having come into this world for a wedding? For, indeed, if He did not come for a wedding, He has not a bride here. But what says the apostle Paul? ‘I have betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a chaste virgin to Christ’. Thus the Lord has a bride here whom He has redeemed by His blood. The Word is the bridegroom, the human flesh is the bride; and both are the one Son of God, who is, at the same time, son of man. The bosom of the Virgin Mary is the wedding chamber where He became the head of the Church, so that we might have the whole Christ, head and members (Io. ev. tr. 8, 4)

7 - His mother bore Jesus in her womb: let us bear Him in our hearts. The virgin became pregnant through the incarnation of Christ: may our hearts grow heavy with the faith of Christ. The virgin gave birth to the Saviour: let us produce praise. Let us not remain sterile: may our souls be fertile with God (s. 189, 3)

8 - Holy Mary did the Father’s will and did it completely; and therefore it means more for Mary to have been a disciple of Christ than to have been the mother of Christ; it means more for her, it is a greater blessing, to have been Christ's disciple than to have been Christ's mother (s. 72/A, 7) 

9 - Do in the innermost of your souls what you admire in the flesh of Mary. Whoever believes with his heart in order to be justified conceives Christ; whoever confesses with his mouth in order to be saved gives birth to Christ. May fecundity, in the same way, abound in your souls (s. 191, 3, 4)