LEO I (the Great
SERMONS 27 & 95

 Leo Confronts Atilla the Hun

Sermons 7 & 95,  NPNF 2, vol 12 , ; PL 54 

[1] The contemplation of nature and of our nature; [2] Brightness is either joy or torment

Friday of the 5th week of Ordinary Time Ė the Office of Readings






Sermon 7 On the Feast of the Nativity

. SERMO XXVII [Al. XXVI]. In Nativitate Domini VII.





I. It is equally dangerous to deny the Godhead or the Manhood in Christ

CAP. I. I. Aequalis esse periculi alterutram in Christo negare naturam

HE is a true and devout worshipper, dearly-beloved, of todayís festival who thinks nothing that is either false about the Lordís Incarnation or unworthy about His Godhead. For it is an equally dangerous evil to deny in Him the reality of our nature and the equality with the Father in glory. When, therefore, we attempt to understand the mystery of Christís nativity, wherein He was born of the Virgin-mother, let all the clouds of earthly reasonings be driven far away and the smoke of worldly wisdom be purged from the eyes of illuminated faith: for the authority on which we trust is divine, the teaching which we follow is divine. Inasmuch as whether it be the testimony of the Law, or the oracles of the prophets, or the trumpet of the gospel to which we apply our inward ear, that is true which the blessed John full of the Holy Spirit uttered with his voice of thunder: in the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was nothing made.(Jn 1:13)  And similarly is it true what the same preacher added: the Word became flesh and dwelt in us: and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father.  Therefore in both natures it is the same Son of God taking what is ours and not losing what is His own; renewing man in His manhood, but enduring unchangeable in Himself. For the Godhead which is His in common with the Father underwent no loss of omnipotence, nor did the form of a slave do despite to the form of God, because the supreme and eternal Essence, which lowered Itself for the salvation of mankind, transferred us into Its glory, but did not cease to be what It was. And hence when the Only-begotten of God confesses Himself less than the Father , and yet calls Himself equal with Him , He demonstrates the reality of both forms in Himself: so that the inequality proves the human nature, and the equality the Divine.

Festivitatis hodiernae dilectissimi, verus venerator est et pius cultor qui 92 nec de incarnatione Domini aliquid falsum, nec de Deitate aliquid sentit indignum: paris enim periculi malum est, si illi aut naturae nostrae veritas, aut paternae gloriae negatur aequalitas. Cum ergo ad intelligendum sacramentum Nativitatis Christi, qua de matre Virgine est ortus, accedimus, abigatur procul terrenarum caligo rationum, et ab illuminatae fidei oculis mundanae sapientiae fumus abscedat; divina est enim auctoritas cui credimus, divina est doctrina quam sequimur. Quoniam sive legis testificationi, sive oraculis prophetarum, sive evangelicae tubae interiorem [0216D] admoveamus auditum, verum est quod [0217A] beatus Joannes plenus Spiritu sancto intonuit: In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt, et sine ipso factum est, nihil (Joan. I, 1 3). Et similiter verum est quod idem praedicator adjecit: Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis; et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi Unigeniti a Patre (Ibid., 14). In utraque ergo natura idem est Dei Filius nostra suscipiens, et propria non amittens; in homine hominem renovans, in se incommutabilis perseverans. Deitas enim, quae illi cum Patre communis est, nullum detrimentum omnipotentiae subiit, nec Dei formam servi forma violavit, quia summa et sempiterna essentia, quae se ad humani generis inclinavit salutem, [0217B] nos quidem in suam gloriam transtulit, sed quod erat esse non destitit. Unde cum Unigenitus Dei minorem se Patre confitetur (Joan. XIV, 28), cui se dicit aequalem (Joan. X, 30), veritatem in se formae utriusque demonstrat: ut et humanam probet imparilitas, et divinam declaret aequalitas.



II. The Incarnation has changed all the possibilities of manís existence

Verbum caro factum est, quomodo intelligendum? Qui effectus?---

The bodily Nativity therefore of the Son of God took nothing from and added nothing to His Majesty because His unchangeable substance could be neither diminished nor increased. For that the Word became flesh does not signify that the nature of God was changed into flesh, but that the Word took the flesh into the unity of His Person: and therein undoubtedly the whole man was received, with which within the Virginís womb fecundated by the Holy Spirit, whose virginity was destined never to be lost , the Son of God was so inseparably united that He who was born without time of the Fatherís essence was Himself in time born of the Virginís womb. For we could not otherwise be released from the chains of eternal death but by Him becoming humble in our nature, Who remained Almighty in His own. And so our Lord Jesus Christ, being at birth true man though He never ceased to be true God, made in Himself the beginning of a new creation, and in the form of His birth started the spiritual life of mankind afresh, that to abolish the taint of our birth according to the flesh there might be a possibility of regeneration without our sinful seed for those of whom it is said, Who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (Jn 1:13) . What mind can grasp this mystery, what tongue can express this gracious act? Sinfulness returns to guiltlessness and the old nature becomes new; strangers receive adoption and outsiders enter upon an inheritance. The ungodly begin to be righteous, the miserly benevolent, the incontinent chaste, the earthly heavenly. And whence comes this change, save by the right hand of the Most High? For the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil (1 Jn 3:8), and has so united Himself with us and us with Him that the descent of God to manís estate became the exaltation of man to Godís.

Majestati igitur Filii Dei corporea nativitas nihil abstulit, nihil contulit, quia substantia incommutabilis nec minui potuit, nec augeri. Quod enim Verbum caro factum est, non hoc significat, quod in carnem sit Dei natura mutata, sed quod a Verbo in unitatem personae sit caro suscepta; in cujus utique nomine homo totus accipitur, cum quo intra Virginis viscera sancto Spiritu fecundata, et numquam virginitate caritura, tam inseparabiliter [0217C] Dei Filius est unitus, ut qui erat intemporaliter de essentia Patris genitus, ipse sit temporaliter de utero Virginis natus. Aliter enim ab aeternae mortis vinculis non possemus absolvi, nisi in nostris fieret humilis, qui omnipotens 93 permanebat in suis. Nascens itaque Dominus noster Jesus Christus homo verus, qui numquam destitit esse Deus verus, novae creaturae in se fecit exordium, et in ortus sui forma dedit humano generi spiritale principium, ut ad carnalis generationis abolenda contagia, esset regenerandis origo sine semine criminis, de quibus dicitur: Qui non ex sanguinibus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt (Joan. I, 13). Quae hoc sacramentum mens comprehendere, quae hanc gratiam valeat lingua narrare? [0217D] Redit in innocentiam iniquitas, et in novitatem vetustas; [0218A] in adoptionem veniunt alieni, et in haereditatem ingrediuntur extranei. De impiis justi, de avaris benigni, de incontinentibus casti, de terrenis incipiunt esse coelestes. Quae autem est ista mutatio, nisi dexterae Excelsi? Quoniam venit Filius Dei dissolvere opera diaboli (I Joan, III, 8), et ita se nobis, nosque inseruit sibi, ut Dei ad humana descensio, fieret hominis ad divina provectio.



III. The Devil knows exactly what temptations to offer to each person

Diabolum varie homines tentare pro variis eorum affectibus et studiis

But in this mercifulness of God, dearly beloved, the greatness of which towards us we cannot explain, Christians must be extremely careful lest they be caught again in the devilís wiles and once more entangled in the errors which they have renounced. For the old enemy does not cease to transform himself into an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14, and spread everywhere the snares of his deceptions, and make every effort to corrupt the faith of believers. He knows whom to ply with the zest of greed, whom to assail with the allurements of the belly, before whom to set the attractions of self-indulgence, in whom to instil the poison of jealousy: he knows whom to overwhelm with grief, whom to cheat with joy, whom to surprise with fear, whom to bewilder with wonderment: there is no one whose habits he does not sift, whose cares he does not winnow, whose affections he does not pry into: and wherever he sees a man most absorbed in occupation, there he seeks opportunity to injure him. Moreover he has many whom he has bound still more tightly because they are suited for his designs, that he may use their abilities and tongues to deceive others. Through them are guaranteed the healing of sicknesses, the prognosticating of future events, the appeasing of demons and the driving away of apparitions. They also are to be added who falsely allege that the entire condition of human life depends on the influences of the stars, and that that which is really either the divine will or ours rests with the unchangeable fates. And yet, in order to do still greater harm, they promise that they can be changed if supplication is made to those constellations which are adverse. And thus their ungodly fabrications destroy themselves; for if their predictions are not reliable, the fates are not to be feared: if they are, the stars are not to be venerated.

In hac autem, dilectissimi, misericordia Dei, cujus erga nos magnitudinem explicare non possumus, multa sollicitudine praecavendum est Christianis ne diabolicis iterum capiantur insidiis, et eisdem rursus, quibus renuntiaverunt, erroribus implicentur. Non enim desinit hostis antiquus, transfigurans se in angelum lucis (II Cor. XI, 14), deceptionum [0218B] laqueos ubique praetendere, et ut quoquo modo fidem credentium corrumpat, instare. Novit cui adhibeat aestus cupiditatis, cui illecebras gulae ingerat, cui apponat 94 incitamenta luxuriae, cui infundat virus invidiae; novit quem moerore conturbet, quem gaudio fallat, quem metu opprimat, quem admiratione seducat; omnium discutit consuetudines, ventilat curas, scrutatur affectus; et ibi causas quaerit nocendi, ubi quemque viderit studiosius occupari. Habet etenim multos ex eis quos tenacius obligavit, aptos artibus suis, quorum ad alios decipiendos et ingeniis utatur et linguis. Per istos remedia aegritudinum, indicia futurorum, placationes daemonum, et depulsiones promittuntur umbrarum. Addunt se et illi, qui totam humanae vitae conditionem de stellarum [0218C] pendere effectibus mentiuntur, et quod est aut divinae voluntatis, aut nostrae, indeclinabilium dicunt esse fatorum. Quae tamen, ut cumulatius noceant, spondent posse mutari, si illis quae adversantur sideribus supplicetur. Unde commentum impium sua ratione destruitur, quia si praedicta non permanent, non sunt fata metuenda; si permanent, non sunt astra veneranda.



IV. The foolish practice of some who turn to the sun and bow to it is reprehensible

Quod soli orienti quidam Christiani se inclinant, ex superstitione esse

From such a system of teaching proceeds also the ungodly practice of certain foolish folk who worship the sun as it rises at the beginning of daylight from elevated positions: even some Christians think it is so proper to do this that, before entering the blessed Apostle Peterís basilica, which is dedicated to the One Living and true God, when they have mounted the steps which lead to the raised platform , they turn round and bow themselves towards the rising sun and with bent neck do homage to its brilliant orb. We are full of grief and vexation that this should happen, which is partly due to the fault of ignorance and partly to the spirit of heathenism: because although some of them do perhaps worship the Creator of that fair light rather than the Light itself, which is His creature, yet we must abstain even from the appearance of this observance: for if one who has abandoned the worship of gods, finds it in our own worship, will he not hark back again to this fragment of his old superstition, as if it were allowable, when he sees it to be common both to Christians and to infidels?

De talibus institutis etiam illa generatur impietas, ut sol in inchoatione diurnae lucis exsurgens a quibusdam insipientioribus de locis eminentioribus adoretur; quod nonnulli etiam Christiani adeo se religiose facere putant, ut priusquam ad B. Petri apostoli basilicam, quae uni Deo vivo et vero est dedicata, perveniant, superatis gradibus [0218D] quibus ad suggestum areae superioris ascenditur, [0219A] converso corpore ad nascentem se solem reflectant, et curvatis cervicibus, in honorem se splendidi orbis inclinent. 95 Quod fieri partim ignorantiae vitio, partim paganitatis spiritu, multum tabescimus et dolemus: quia etsi quidam forte Creatorem potius pulchri luminis quam ipsum lumen, quod est creatura, venerantur, abstinendum tamen est ab ipsa specie hujus officii, quam cum in nostris invenit, qui deorum cultum reliquit, nonne hanc secum partem opinionis vetustae tamquam probabilem retentabit, quam Christianis et impiis viderit esse communem?



V. The sun and moon were created for use, not for worship

Coelestia corpora hominum utilitati servire.--- [0216C]

This objectionable practice must be given up therefore by the faithful, and the honour due to God alone must not be mixed up with those menís rites who serve their fellow-creatures. For the divine Scripture says: You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve (Mat 4:10) . And the blessed Job, a man without complaint, as the Lord says, and one that eschews every evil (Job 1:8), said, Have I seen the sun when it shone or the moon walking brightly, and my heart has rejoiced in secret, and I have kissed my hand: what is my great iniquity and denial against the most High God ? (Job 31:26-28) visible creation and material light: one of which is of greater brightness and the other of lesser light? For as it is now day time and now night time, so the Creator has constituted various kinds of luminaries, although even before they were made there had been days without the sun and nights without the moon. But these were fashioned to serve in making man, that he who is an animal endowed with reason might be sure of the distinction of the months, the recurrence of the year, and the variety of the seasons, since through the unequal length of the various periods, and the clear indications given by the changes in its risings, the sun closes the year and the moon renews the months. For on the fourth day, as we read, God said: Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven, and let them shine upon the earth, and let them divide between day and night, and let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, and let them be in the firmament of heaven that they may shine upon earth. (Gen 1:14-15)

Abjiciatur ergo a consuetudine fidelium damnanda perversitas, nec honor uni Deo debitus, eorum ritibus qui creaturis deserviunt, misceatur. [0219B] Dicit enim Scriptura divina: Dominum Deum tuum adorabis, et illi soli servies (Matth. IV, 10). Et beatus Job, homo sine querela, ut ait Dominus, et continens se ab omni re mala (Job. I, 8), Numquid vidi, inquit, solem cum fulgeret, et lunam incedentem clare, et laetatum est cor meum in abscondito, et osculatus sum manum meam: quae est iniquitas maxima, et negatio contra Deum altissimum (Job. XXXI, 26-28)? Quid autem [0220A] est sol, vel quid est luna, nisi visibilis creaturae et corporeae lucis elementa? quorum unum est majoris claritatis, et aliud minoris est luminis. Sicut enim alia diurna, alia nocturna sunt tempora, ita diversam in luminaribus qualitatem Creator instituit, cum tamen priusquam haec fierent, et dies sine solis officio, et noctes sine lunae ministerio praecessissent. Sed condebantur ista ad faciendi hominis utilitatem, ut rationale animal nec in distinctione mensium, nec in recursu annorum, nec in dinumeratione 96 temporum falleretur: cum per inaequalium horarum impares moras, et dissimilium ortuum signa manifesta, et annos sol concluderet, et menses luna renovaret. Quarto namque, ut legimus, die, dixit Deus: Fiant luminaria in firmamento coeli, et [0220B] luceant super terram, et dividant inter diem et noctem, et sint in signa, et tempora, et dies, et annos, et sint in firmamento coeli, ut luceant super terram (Gen. I, 14, 15).



VI. Let us awake to the proper use of all our parts and facilities

Quis rectus creaturarum usus. Homo ad praesentia natus, ad futura renatus

Awake, O man, and recognize the dignity of your nature. Recollect you were made in the image of God, which although it was corrupted in Adam, was yet re-fashioned in Christ. Use visible creatures as they should be used, as you use earth, sea, sky, air, springs, and rivers: and whatever in them is fair and wondrous, ascribe to the praise and glory of the Maker. Be not subject to that light wherein birds and serpents, beasts and cattle, flies and worms delight. Confine the material light to your bodily senses, and with all your mental powers embrace that true light which lights every man that comes into this world (Jn 1:9), and of which the prophet says, Come unto Him and be enlightened, and your faces shall not blush.  For if we are a temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in (1 Cor 3:16)  us, what every one of the faithful has in his own heart is more than what he wonders at in heaven. And so, dearly beloved, we do not bid or advise you to despise Godís works or to think there is anything opposed to your Faith in what the good God has made good, but to use every kind of creature and the whole furniture of this world reasonably and moderately: for as the Apostle says, the things which are seen are temporal: but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Cor 4:18) . Hence because we are born for the present and reborn for the future, let us not give ourselves up to temporal goods, but to eternal: and in order that we may behold our hope nearer, let us think on what the Divine Grace has bestowed on our nature on the very occasion when we celebrate the mystery of the Lordís birthday. Let us hear the Apostle, saying: for you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. But when Christ, who is your life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with Him in glory (Col 3:3-4: who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Ghost for ever and ever. Amen.

Expergiscere, o homo, et dignitatem tuae cognosce naturae. Recordare te factum ad imaginem Dei (Gen. I, 26); quae, etsi in Adam corrupta; in Christo tamen est reformata. Utere quomodo utendum [0221A] est visibilibus creaturis, sicut uteris terra, mari, coelo, aere, fontibus atque fluminibus; et quidquid in eis pulchrum atque mirabile est, refer ad laudem et gloriam Conditoris. Noli esse deditus illi lumini quo volucres et serpentes, quo bestiae et pecudes, quo muscae delectantur et vermes. Lucem corpoream sensu tange corporeo, et toto mentis affectu illud verum lumen amplectere quod illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum (Joan. I, 9), et de quo dicit propheta: Accedite ad eum, et illuminamini, et vultus vestri non erubescent (Ps. XXXIII, 6). Si enim templum Dei sumus, et Spiritus Dei habitat in nobis (I Cor. III, 16), PLUS EST quod fidelis quisque in suo habet animo, quam quod miratur in coelo. Non itaque vobis, dilectissimi, hoc aut indicimus, [0221B] aut suademus, ut despiciatis opera Dei, aut contrarium aliquid fidei vestrae, in iis quae Deus bonus bona condidit, aestimetis; sed ut omni creaturarum specie, 97 et universo hujus mundi ornatu rationabiliter et temperanter utamini: Quae enim videntur, sicut ait Apostolus, temporalia sunt; quae autem non videntur aeterna sunt (II Cor. IV, 18). Unde quia AD PRAESENTIA sumus nati, ad futura autem renati, non temporalibus bonis dediti, sed aeternis simus intenti; et ut spem nostram possimus propius intueri, in ipso sacramento Natalis Domini cogitemus quid naturae nostrae gratia divina contulerit. Audiamus Apostolum dicentem: Mortui enim estis, et vita vestra abscondita est cum Christo in Deo. Cum autem Christus apparuerit vita vestra, tunc et vos apparebitis [0221C] cum ipso in gloria (Coloss. III, 3, 4); qui vivit et regnat cum Patre et Spiritu sancto per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.







SERMON 95 of LEO !
Homily on the Beatitudes, St. Matthew 5:1-9
see also Isaac of Ninevah: The Scourge of Love

66 SERMO XCV, Sive homilia de gradibus ascensionis ad beatitudinem. De eo quod scriptum est: Videns Jesus turbas, ascendit in montem; et cum sedisset, accesserunt ad eum discipuli ejus, etc. (Matth. V, 1 seqq.). .





I. Introduction of the subject

CAP. I. I. Christum per exteriores medelas animos ad interiores praeparasse, quae per lenitatem gratiae [0460C]

WHEN our Lord Jesus Christ, beloved, was preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and was healing various sicknesses through the whole of Galilee, the fame of His mighty works had spread into all Syria: large crowds too from all parts of Judśa were flocking to the heavenly Physician. (Mat 4:23-24) For as human ignorance is slow in believing what it does not see, and in hoping for what it does not know, those who were to be instructed in the divine lore , needed to be aroused by bodily benefits and visible miracles: so that they might have no doubt as to the wholesomeness of His teaching when they actually experienced His benignant power. And therefore that the Lord might use outward healings as an introduction to inward remedies, and after healing bodies might work cures in the soul, He separated Himself from the surrounding crowd, ascended into the retirement of a neighbouring mountain, and called His apostles to Him there, that from the height of that mystic seat He might instruct them in the loftier doctrines, signifying from the very nature of the place and act that He it was who had once honoured Moses by speaking to him: then indeed with a more terrifying justice, but now with a holier mercifulness, that what had been promised might be fulfilled when the Prophet Jeremiah says: behold the days come when I will complete a new covenant for the house of Israel and for the house of Judah. After those days, says the Lord, I will put My laws in their minds , and in their heart will I write them.  He therefore who had spoken to Moses, spoke also to the apostles, and the swift hand of the Word wrote and deposited the secrets of the new covenant in the disciplesí hearts: there were no thick clouds surrounding Him as of old, nor were the people frightened off from approaching the mountain by frightful sounds and lightning , but quietly and freely His discourse reached the ears of those who stood by: that the harshness of the law might give way before the gentleness of grace, and the spirit of adoption might dispel the terrors of bondage.

Praedicante, dilectissimi, Domino nostro Jesu Christo Evangelium regni, et diversos per totam Galilaeam curante languores, in omnem se Syriam virtutum ejus fama diffuderat; et multae ex universa Judaea turbae ad coelestem medicum confluebant. Quia enim tarda est humanae ignorantiae fides ad credenda quae non videt, et speranda quae nescit, oportebat divina eruditione firmandos corporeis beneficiis et visibilibus miraculis incitari: ut cujus tam benignam experiebantur potentiam, 367 non ambigerent salutarem esse doctrinam. Ut ergo exteriores medelas Dominus ad remedia interiora transferret, et post sanitates corporum curationes operaretur [0461B] animarum, segregatus a circumstantibus turbis, secessum vicini montis ascendit, advocatis apostolis, quos sublimioribus institutis ab edito mysticae, sedis imbueret, ex ipsa loci atque operis qualitate significans se esse qui Mosen quondam suo fuisset dignatus alloquio: illic quidem terribiliore justitia, hic autem sacratiore clementia, ut impleretur quod fuerat, propheta Jeremia dicente, promissum: Ecce dies veniunt, dicit Dominus, et consummabo super domum Israel et super domum Juda testamentum novum. Post dies illos, dicit Dominus, dabo leges meas in sensu ipsorum, et in corde ipsorum scribam eas (Jerem. XXXI, 31; Hebr. VIII, 8). Qui ergo locutus fuerat Mosi locutus est et apostolis, et in cordibus discipulorum velox scribentis Verbi manus novi Testamenti decreta condebat; [0461C] nulla ut quondam circumfusa nubium crassitudine, neque per terribiles sonos atque fulgores populo ab accessu montis absterrito, sed patente ad aures circumstantium tranquillitate colloquii: ut per gratiae lenitatem removeretur legis asperitas, et spiritus adoptionis auferret formidinem servitutis.



II. The blessedness of humility discussed

Humilitatem, quae omnium esse potest, primum esse gradum ad beatitudinem

The nature then of Christís teaching is attested by His own holy statements: that they who wish to arrive at eternal blessedness may understand the steps of ascent to that high happiness. Blessed, He says, are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mat 5:3) . It would perhaps be doubtful what poor He was speaking of, if in saying blessed are the poor He had added nothing which would explain the sort of poor: and then that poverty by itself would appear sufficient to win the kingdom of heaven which many suffer from hard and heavy necessity. But when He says blessed are the poor in spirit, He shows that the kingdom of heaven must be assigned to those who are recommended by the humility of their spirits rather than by the smallness of their means. Yet it cannot be doubted that this possession of humility is more easily acquired by the poor than the rich: for submissiveness is the companion of those that want, while loftiness of mind dwells with riches. Notwithstanding, even in many of the rich is found that spirit which uses its abundance not for the increasing of its pride but on works of kindness, and counts that for the greatest gain which it expends in the relief of othersí hardships. It is given to every kind and rank of men to share in this virtue, because men may be equal in will, though unequal in fortune: and it does not matter how different they are in earthly means, who are found equal in spiritual possessions. Blessed, therefore, is poverty which is not possessed with a love of temporal things, and does not seek to be increased with the riches of the world, but is eager to amass heavenly possessions.

Qualis igitur doctrina sit Christi sacrae ipsius sententiae protestantur: ut qui ad aeternam beatitudinem pervenire desiderant, gradus felicissimae ascensionis agnoscant. Beati, inquit, pauperes spiritu, quoniam ipsorum est regnum coelorum (Matth. V, 3). De quibus pauperibus Veritas loqueretur forte esset ambiguum, si dicens, Beati pauperes, nihil adderet de intelligenda pauperum qualitate; et sufficere videretur ad promerendum regnum coelorum [0461D] ea sola inopia quam multi sub gravi et dura necessitate patiuntur. Sed cum dicit, Beati pauperes spiritu, ostendit eis regnum coelorum tribuendum quos humilitas commendat animorum magis quam indigentia [0462A] facultatum. Dubitari autem non potest quod humilitatis istius bonum facilius pauperes quam divites assequantur: dum et illis in tenuitate amica est mansuetudo, et istis in divitiis familiaris elatio. Verumtamen et in plerisque divitibus invenitur hic animus qui abundantia sua 368 non ad tumorem superbiae, sed ad opera benignitatis utatur, idque pro lucris maximis numeret quod ad relevandam miseriam alieni laboris impenderit. Omni generi atque ordini hominum datur in hac virtute consortium, quia possunt esse proposito pares, et impares censu; nec interest quantum sint in facultate terrena dissimiles, qui in spiritalibus bonis inveniuntur aequales. Beata igitur illa paupertas, quae rerum temporalium amore non capitur, nec mundi opibus augeri appetit, [0462B] sed coelestibus bonis ditescere concupiscit.



III. Scriptural examples of humility

Ditissimam potentissimamque apostolorum, Petrique in primis fuisse paupertatem

Of this high-souled humility the Apostles first , after the Lord, have given us example, who, leaving all that they had without difference at the voice of the heavenly Master, were turned by a ready change from the catching of fish to be fishers of men, and made many like themselves through the imitation of their faith, when with those first-begotten sons of the Church, the heart of all was one, and the spirit one, of those that believed (Acts 4:32): for they, putting away the whole of their things and possessions, enriched themselves with eternal goods, through the most devoted poverty, and in accordance with the Apostlesí preaching rejoiced to have nothing of the world and possess all things with Christ. Hence the blessed Apostle Peter, when he was going up into the temple, and was asked for alms by the lame man, said, Silver and gold is not mine, but what I have that I give you: in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk (Acts 3:6) . What more sublime than this humility? What richer than this poverty? He has not stores of money , but he has gifts of nature. He whom his mother had brought forth lame from the womb, is made whole by Peter with a word; and he who gave not Cśsarís image in a coin, restored Christís image on the man. And by the riches of this treasure not he only was aided whose power of walking was restored, but 5,000 men also, who then believed at the Apostleís exhortation on account of the wonder of this cure. And that poor man who had not what to give to the asker, bestowed so great a bounty of Divine Grace, that, as he had set one man straight on his feet, so he healed these many thousands of believers in their hearts, and made them leap as an hart in Christ whom he had found limping in Jewish unbelief.

Hujus nobis magnanimae paupertatis exemplum primi post Dominum apostoli praebuerunt, qui omnia sua sine differentia relinquentes, ad vocem coelestis magistri, a captura piscium in piscatores hominum alacri conversione mutati sunt (Matth. IV, 19), et multos sui similes fidei suae imitatione fecerunt, quando illis primitivis Ecclesiae filiis unum cor omnium et anima erat una credentium (Act. IV, 32); qui universis suis rebus possessionibusque distractis, per devotissimam paupertatem bonis ditabantur aeternis, et ex apostolica praedicatione gaudebant nihil habere de mundo, et omnia possidere cum Christo. Hinc beatus Petrus apostolus, cum ascendens in templum a claudo eleemosyna [0462C] posceretur, Argentum, inquit, et aurum non est mihi, quod autem habeo, hoc tibi do: In nomine Jesu Christi Nazareni surge et ambula (Act. III, 6). Quid hac humilitate sublimius? quid hac paupertate locupletius? Non habet praesidia pecuniae, sed habet dona naturae. Quem debilem edidit mater ex utero, sanum fecit Petrus ex verbo; et qui imaginem Caesaris in nummo non dedit, imaginem Christi in homine reformavit. Hujus autem thesauri opibus non solum ille adjutus est cui gressus est redditus, sed etiam quinque millia virorum, qui tunc ad exhortationem Apostoli ob ejusdem curationis miraculum crediderunt (Act. IV, 4). Et ille pauper qui non habebat quod petenti daret, tantam dedit divinae gratiae largitatem, ut quemadmodum unum hominem redintegrarat in [0462D] pedibus, sic tot millia credentium sanaret in cordibus, faceretque eos in Christo alacres, quos in Judaica perfidia invenerat claudicantes.



IV. The blessedness of mourning discussed

Quis luctus iter ad beatitudinem?

After the assertion of this most happy humility, the Lord has added, saying, Blessed are they which mourn, for they shall be comforted (Mat 5:4) . This mourning, beloved, to which eternal comforting is promised, is not the same as the affliction of this world: nor do those laments which are poured out in the sorrowings of the whole human race make any one blessed. The reason for holy groanings, the cause of blessed tears, is very different. Religious grief mourns sin either that of othersí or oneís own: nor does it mourn for that which is wrought by Godís justice, but it laments over that which is committed by manís iniquity, where he that does wrong is more to be deplored than he who suffers it, because the unjust manís wrongdoing plunges him into punishment, but the just manís endurance leads him on to glory.

Post praedicationem hujus felicissimae [0463A] paupertatis, 369 addidit Dominus, dicens: Beati qui lugent, quoniam ipsi consolabuntur (Matth. V, 5). Luctus hic, dilectissimi, cui consolatio aeterna promittitur, non est cum mundi hujus afflictione communis; nec beatum quemquam faciunt ista lamenta quae totius humani generis deploratione funduntur. Alia ratio est sanctorum gemituum, alia beatarum causa lacrymarum. RELIGIOSA tristitia aut alienum peccatum luget aut proprium; nec de hoc dolet quod divina justitia agitur, sed de eo moeret quod humana iniquitate committitur; ubi magis plangendus est faciens maligna quam patiens, quia injustum malitia sua demergit ad poenam, justum autem tolerantia ducit ad gloriam.



V. The blessedness of the meek

Quaenam terra mitibus promissa?-

Next the Lord says: blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth by inheritance.  To the meek and gentle, to the humble and modest, and to those who are prepared to endure all injuries, the earth is promised for their possession. And this is not to be reckoned a small or cheap inheritance, as if it were distinct from our heavenly dwelling, since it is no other than these who are understood to enter the kingdom of heaven. The earth, then, which is promised to the meek, and is to be given to the gentle in possession, is the flesh of the saints, which in reward for their humility will be changed in a happy resurrection, and clothed with the glory of immortality, in nothing now to act contrary to the spirit, and to be in complete unity and agreement with the will of the soul. For then the outer man will be the peaceful and unblemished possession of the inner man: then the mind, engrossed in beholding God, will be hampered by no obstacles of human weakness nor will it any more have to be said The body which is corrupted, weighs upon the soul, and its earthly house presses down the sense which thinks many things (Wis 9:15): for the earth will not struggle against its tenant, and will not venture on any insubordination against the rule of its governor. For the meek shall possess it in perpetual peace, and nothing shall be taken from their rights, when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality (1 Cor 15:53): that their danger may turn into reward, and what was a burden become an honour.

Deinde ait Dominus: Beati mites, quoniam [0463B] ipsi haereditate possidebunt terram (Matth. V, 4). Mitibus atque mansuetis, humilibus ac modestis, et ad omnium injuriarum tolerantiam praeparatis possidenda terra promittitur. Nec parva aestimanda est haec aut vilis haereditas, tamquam a coelesti habitatione discreta sit, cum regnum coelorum non alii intelligantur intrare. Terra ergo promissa mitibus, et in possessionem danda mansuetis, caro sanctorum est, quae ob humilitatis meritum felici resurrectione mutabitur et immortalitatis gloria vestietur, in nullo jam spiritui futura contraria, et cum voluntate animi perfectae unitatis habitura consensum. Tunc enim exterior homo interioris hominis erit quieta et intemerata possessio; tunc mens videndo Deo intenta nullis corporeae infirmitatis impedietur obstaculis, [0463C] nec jam dici necesse erit: Corpus quod corrumpitur aggravat animam, et terrena inhabitatio deprimit sensum multa cogitantem (Sap. IX, 15): quoniam habitatori suo non reluctabitur terra, nec immoderatum aliquid contra imperium sui rectoris audebit. Possidebunt enim illam mites 370 pace perpetua, et nihil umquam de eorum jure minuetur, cum corruptibile hoc induerit incorruptionem, et mortale hoc induerit [0464A] immortalitatem (I Cor. XV, 53): ut periculum vertatur in praemium, et quod fuit oneri sit honori.



VI. The blessedness of desiring righteousness

Sitim justitiae aliud nihil esse quam Dei amorem. 

After this the Lord goes on to say: blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied (Mat 5:6) . It is nothing bodily, nothing earthly, that this hunger, this thirst seeks for: but it desires to be satiated with the good food of righteousness, and wants to be admitted to all the deepest mysteries, and be filled with the Lord Himself. Happy the mind that craves this food and is eager for such drink: which it certainly would not seek for if it had never tasted of its sweetness. But hearing the Prophetís spirit saying to him: taste and see that the Lord is sweet ; it has received some portion of sweetness from on high, and blazed out into love of the purest pleasure, so that spurning all things temporal, it is seized with the utmost eagerness for eating and drinking righteousness, and grasps the truth of that first commandment which says: You shall love the Lord your God out of all your heart, and out of all your mind, and out of all your strength : since to love God is nothing else but to love righteousness. In fine, as in that passage the care for oneís neighbour is joined to the love of God, so, too, here the virtue of mercy is linked to the desire for righteousness, and it is said:

Post haec addit Dominus et dicit: Beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt justitiam, quoniam ipsi saturabuntur (Matth. V, 6). Nihil haec esuritio corporeum, nihil expetit sitis ista terrenum; sed justitiae bono desiderat saturari, et in omnium occultorum introducta secretum, ipso Domino optat impleri. Felix mens quae hunc concupiscit cibum, et ad talem aestuat potum; quem utique non expeteret, si nihil de ejus suavitate gustasset. Audiens autem dicentem sibi propheticum spiritum: Gustate et videte, quoniam suavis est Dominus (Ps. XXXIII, 9), accepit quamdam supernae dulcedinis portionem, et in amorem castissimae voluptatis exarsit, ut spretis omnibus [0464B] temporalibus, ad edendam bibendamque justitiam toto accenderetur affectu, et illius primi mandati apprehenderet veritatem dicentis: Diliges Dominum Deum tuum ex toto corde tuo, et ex tota mente tua, et ex tota virtute tua (Deut. VI, 5; Matth. XXII, 37; Marc. XII, 30; Luc. X, 27): quoniam nihil aliud est diligere Deum quam amare justitiam. Denique sicut illi dilectioni Dei, proximi cura subjungitur, ita et huic desiderio justitiae virtus misericordiae copulatur, et dicitur:



VII. The blessedness of the merciful

Misericordia hominem Deo similem effici

Blessed are the merciful, for God shall have mercy on them (Mat 5:7) .Recognize, Christian, the worth of your wisdom, and understand to what rewards you are called, and by what methods of discipline you must attain thereto. Mercy wishes you to be merciful, righteousness to be righteous, that the Creator may be seen in His creature, and the image of God may be reflected in the mirror of the human heart expressed by the lines of imitation. The faith of those who do good is free from anxiety: you shall have all your desires, and shall obtain without end what you love. And since through your almsgiving all things are pure to you, to that blessedness also you shall attain which is promised in consequence where the Lord says:

Beati misericordes, quoniam ipsorum miserebitur Deus (Matth. V, 7). Agnosce, Christiane, tuae sapientiae dignitatem, et qualium disciplinarum artibus ad quae praemia voceris intellige. Misericordem te misericordia, justum vult te esse justitia, ut [0464C] in creatura sua Creator appareat, et in speculo cordis humani per lineas imitationis expressa Dei imago resplendeat. Secura est operantium fides, aderunt tibi desideria tua, et iis quae amas sine fine potieris. Et quoniam 371 tibi per eleemosynam omnia munda sunt, ad eam quoque beatitudinem, quae consequenter est promissa, pervenies, dicente Domino:



VIII. The blessedness of a pure heart

CAP. VIII. [0465A]
Cordis oculum mundandum [0461A] esse, ut Deus videatur.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Mat 5:8) . Great is the happiness, beloved, of him for whom so great a reward is prepared. What, then, is it to have the heart pure, but to strive after those virtues which are mentioned above? And how great the blessedness of seeing God, what mind can conceive, what tongue declare? And yet this shall ensue when manís nature is transformed, so that no longer in a mirror, nor in a riddle, but face to face (1 Cor 13:12) it sees the very Godhead as He is (1 Jn 3:2), which no man could see ; and through the unspeakable joy of eternal contemplation obtains that which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man.  Rightly is this blessedness promised to purity of heart. Beati mundo corde, quoniam ipsi Deum videbunt (Matth. V, 8). Magna felicitas, dilectissimi, cui tantum praemium praeparatur. Quid ergo est habere cor mundum, nisi eis quae supra dictae sunt studere virtutibus? Videre autem Deum quantae sit beatitudinis, quae mens concipere, quae lingua valeat explicare? Et tamen hoc consequetur, cum transformabitur humana natura, ut non jam per speculum, neque in aenigmate, sed facie ad faciem (I Cor. XIII, 12), ipsam quam nullus hominum videre potuit (Joan. I, 18; I Tim. VI, 16), sicuti est, videat Deitatem: et quod oculus non vidit, nec auris audivit, nec in cor hominis ascendit (Is. LXIV, 4; I Cor. II, 9), per ineffabile gaudium aeternae contemplationis obtineat. Merito haec beatitudo cordis promittitur puritati. [0465B]
For the brightness of the true light will not be able to be seen by the unclean sight: and that which will be happiness to minds that are bright and clean, will be a punishment to those that are stained.  Splendorem enim veri luminis sordens acies videre non poterit; et quod erit jucunditas mentibus nitidis, hoc erit poena maculosis.

Therefore, let the mists of earthís vanities be shunned, and your inward eyes purged from all the filth of wickedness, that the sight may be free to feed on this great manifestation of God. For to the attainment of this we understand what follows to lead.

 Declinentur igitur terrenarum caligines vanitatum, et ab omni squalore iniquitatis oculi tergantur interiores, ut serenus intuitus tanta Dei visione pascatur. Ad hoc enim promerendum illud intelligimus pertinere quod sequitur:



IX. The blessedness of peace-making

Quaenam sit vera pax quae hominem Dei fitium efficit.

Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the sons of God (Mat 5:9. This blessedness, beloved, belongs not to any and every kind of agreement and harmony, but to that of which the Apostle speaks: have peace towards God ; and of which the Prophet David speaks: Much peace have they that love Your law, and they have no cause of offenses.  This peace even the closest ties of friendship and the exactest likeness of mind do not really gain, if they do not agree with Godís will. Similarity of bad desires, leagues in crimes, associations of vice, cannot merit this peace. The love of the world does not consort with the love of God, nor does he enter the alliance of the sons of God who will not separate himself from the children of this generation. Whereas they who are in mind always with God, giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph 4:3), never dissent from the eternal law, uttering that prayer of faith, Your will be done as in heaven so on earth (Mat 6:10) . These are the peacemakers, these are thoroughly of one mind, and fully harmonious, and are to be called sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17), because this shall be the record of the love of God and the love of our neighbour, that we shall suffer no calamities, be in fear of no offense, but all the strife of trial ended, rest in Godís most perfect peace, through our Lord, Who, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

Beati pacifici, quoniam filii Dei vocabuntur (Matth. V, 9). Beatitudo ista, dilectissimi, non cujuslibet consensionis, nec qualiscumque concordiae est, sed illius de qua dicit Apostolus: Pacem habete ad Deum (Rom. V, 1; II Cor. XIII, 11): et de qua dicit propheta David: Pax multa diligentibus legem tuam, et non est illis scandalum (Ps. CXVIII, [0465C] 16). Hanc pacem etiam arctissima amicitiarum vincula, et indiscretae similitudines animorum non veraciter sibi vindicant, si non cum Dei voluntate concordant. Extra dignitatem hujus pacis sunt improbarum parilitates cupiditatum, foedera scelerum et pacta vitiorum. Amor mundi cum Dei amore non congruit, nec ad societatem filiorum Dei pervenit, qui se a carnali generatione non dividit. Qui autem semper cum Deo mente sunt solliciti servare unitatem spiritus in vinculo pacis (Ephes. IV, 2), 372 numquam ab aeterna lege dissentiunt, fideli oratione dicentes: Fiat voluntas tua sicut in coelo et in terra (Matth. VI, 10). Hi sunt pacifici, hi bene unanimes, [0465D] sancteque concordes, vocandi aeterno nomine filii Dei, cohaeredes autem Christi (Rom. VIII, 17): quia [0466A] hoc merebitur dilectio Dei et dilectio proximi, ut nullas jam adversitates sentiat, nulla scandala pertimescat; sed finito omnium tentationum certamine, in tranquillissima Dei pace requiescat, per Dominum nostrum, qui cum Patre et Spiritu sancto vivit et regnat in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 1990....x....  í ďĒ.