Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Luke 1:44-45

44 For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.

Augustine: In order to say this, as the Evangelist has premised, she was filled with the Holy Spirit, by whose revelation undoubtedly she knew what that leaping of the child meant; namely, that the mother of Him had come to her, whose forerunner and herald that child was to be.

Origen: From that time Christ ordained John to be a prophet.

45 And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.

Theophylact: The mother of our Lord had come to see Elisabeth, as also the miraculous conception, from which the Angel had told her should result the belief of a far greater conception, to happen to herself; and to this belief the words of Elisabeth refer.

Amborse: Mary doubted not but believed, and therefore the fruit of faith followed.

Bede: Nor is it to be wondered at, that our Lord, about to redeem the world, commenced His mighty works with His mother, that she, through whom the salvation of all men was prepared, should herself be the first to reap the fruit of salvation from her pledge.

Ambrose: Happy are you also who have heard and believed, for whatever soul has believed, both conceives and brings forth the word of God, and knows His works.

Gregory: She was touched with the spirit of prophecy at once, both as to the past, present, and future. She knew that Mary had believed the promises of the Angel; she perceived when she gave her the name of mother, that Mary was carrying in her womb the Redeemer of mankind; and when she foretold that all things would be accomplished, she saw also what was as to follow in the future.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. III (London: Rivington, 1843).

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Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Luke 1:42-43

42 And she cried out with a loud voice, and said: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

Ambrose: With a loud voice she exclaimed when she perceived the Lord’s coming, for she believed it to be a holy birth.

Bede: Mary is blessed by Elisabeth with the same words as before by Gabriel, to shew that she was to be reverenced both by men and angels.

Theophylact: Because there have been other holy women who yet have borne sons stained with sin, she adds, And blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

Titus of Bostra: She rightly calls the Lord the fruit of the virgin’s womb, because He proceeded not from man, but from Mary alone. For they who are sown by their fathers are the fruits of their fathers.

Greek Expositor: This fruit alone then is blessed, because it is produced without man, and without sin.

Bede: This is the fruit which is promised to David, Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne [Ps 132:11]. . . . All fruit is of the same nature with the tree that bears it. It remains then that the virgin was also of the same nature with the second Adam, who takes away the sins of the world. . . . The fruit itself proceeds from the very substance of the tree.

43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Ambrose: She knew it was by the grace and operation of the Holy Spirit that the mother of the prophet should be saluted by the mother of his Lord, to the advancement and growth of her own pledge; but being aware that this was of no human deserving, but a gift of Divine grace, she therefore says, Whence is this to me, that is, By what right of mine, by what that I have done, for what good deeds?

Origen: In saying this, she coincides with her son. For John also felt that he was unworthy of our Lord’s coming to him [Luke 3:16]. But she gives the name of “the mother of our Lord” to one still a virgin, thus forestalling the event by the words of prophecy.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. III (London: Rivington, 1843).

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Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Luke 1:39-41

39 And Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.

Ambrose: Rejoicing in the fulfillment of her wish, and conscientious in the observance of her duty, she gladly went forth into the hill country. For what could Mary now, filled with God, but ascend into the higher parts with haste!

Origen: Jesus who was in her womb hastened to sanctify John, still in the womb of his mother.

40 And she entered into the house of Zachary, and saluted Elizabeth.

Theophylact: She came a kinswoman to her next of kin, the younger to the elder, nor did she merely come to her, but was the first to give her salutations; as it follows, And she saluted, Elisabeth. For the more chaste a virgin is, the more humble she should be, and ready to give way to her elders. Let her then be the mistress of humility, in whom is the profession of chastity. Mary is also a cause of piety, in that the higher went to the lower, that the lower might be assisted, Mary to Elisabeth, Christ to John.

41 And it came to pass, that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

Ambrose: Elisabeth first heard the word, but John first experienced the grace. She heard by the order of nature, he leaped by reason of the mystery. She perceived the coming of Mary, he the coming of the Lord.

Greek Expositor: The Prophet sees and hears more acutely than his mother, and salutes the chief of Prophets; but as he could not do this in words, he leaps in the womb, which was the greatest token of his joy. . . . Shut up in the womb, the soldier acknowledged his Lord and King soon to be born, the womb’s covering being no obstacle to the mystical sight.

Origen: He was not filled with the Spirit, until she stood near him who bore Christ in her womb.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. III (London: Rivington, 1843).

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A Householder – Matt 13:49-52

51 Have ye understood all these things? They say to him: Yes.

Jerome: This is spoken especially to the Apostles, whom He would have not to hear only as the multitude, but to understand as having to teach others.

52 He said unto them: Therefore every scribe instructed in the kingdom of heaven, is like to a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure new things and old.

Gregory: If by things “new and old” in this passage we understand the two Testaments, we deny Abraham to have been learned, who although he knew indeed some deeds of the Old Testament, yet had not read the words. Neither Moses may we compare to a learned householder, for although he composed the Old Testament, yet had he not the words of the New. But what is here said may be understood as meant not of those who had been, but of such as might hereafter be in the Church, who then “bring forth things new and old” when they speak the preachings of both Testaments, in their words and in their lives.

Hilary: Speaking to His disciples, He calls them Scribes on account of their knowledge, because they understood the things that He brought forward, both new and old, that is from the Law and from the Gospels; both being of the same householder, and both treasures of the same owner. He compares them to Himself under the figure of a householder, because they had received doctrine of things both new and old out of His treasury of the Holy Spirit.

Jerome: The Apostles are called Scribes instructed, as being the Saviour’s notaries who wrote His words and precepts on fleshly tables of the heart with the sacraments of the heavenly kingdom, and abounded in the wealth of a householder, bringing forth out of the stores of their doctrine things new and old; whatsoever they preached in the Gospels, that they proved by the words of the Law and the Prophets. Whence the Bride speaks in the Song of Songs [7:13]: “I have kept for thee my beloved the new with the old.”

Gregory: Otherwise; The things old are, that the human race for its sin should suffer in eternal punishment; the things new, that they should be converted and live in the kingdom.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).

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A Net of Fish – Matt 13:47-50

47 Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a net cast into the sea, and gathering together of all kind of fishes. 48 Which, when it was filled, they drew out, and sitting by the shore, they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad they cast forth. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world. The angels shall go out, and shall separate the wicked from among the just. 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Jerome: In fulfilment of that prophecy of Hieremias, who said, “I will send unto you many fishers” [Jer 16:16], when Peter and Andrew, James and John, heard the words, “Follow me, I will make you fishers of men” [Matt 4:19], they put together a net for themselves formed of the Old and New Testaments, and cast it into the sea of this world, and that remains spread until this day, taking up out of the salt and bitter and whirlpools whatever falls into it, that is good men and bad; and this is that He adds, “And gathered of every kind.”

Gregory: The Holy Church is likened to a net, because it is given into the hands of fishers, and by it each man is drawn into the heavenly kingdom out of the waves of this present world, that he should not be drowned in the depth of eternal death. This net gathers of every kind of fishes, because the wise and the foolish, the free and the slave, the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, are called to forgiveness of sin.

As the sea signifies the world, so the sea shore signifies the end of the world; and as the good are gathered into vessels, but the bad cast away, so each man is received into eternal abodes, while the reprobate having lost the light of the inward kingdom are cast forth into outer darkness. But now the net of faith holds good and bad mingled together in one; but the shore shall discover what the net of the Church has brought to land.

Chrysostom: Wherein does this parable differ from the parable of the tares [Matt 13:24-30]? There, as here, some perish and some are saved; but there, because of their heresy of evil dogmas; in the first parable of the sower [Matt 13:3-9], because of their not attending to what was spoken; here, because of their evil life, because of which, though drawn by the net, that is, enjoying the knowledge of God, they cannot be saved.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).

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Pearls – Matt 13:45-46

45 Again the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls. 46 Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Chrysostom: The Gospel preaching not only offers manifold gain as a treasure, but is precious as a pearl; wherefore after the parable concerning the treasure, He gives that concerning the pearl. And in preaching, two things are required, namely, to be detached from the business of this life, and to be watchful, which are denoted by this merchant-man.

Truth moreover is one, and not manifold, and for this reason it is one pearl that is said to be found. And as one who is possessed of a pearl, himself indeed knows of his wealth, but is not known to others, ofttimes concealing it in his hand because of its small bulk, so it is in the preaching of the Gospel; they who possess it know that they are rich, the unbelievers, not knowing of this treasure, know not of our wealth.

Jerome: The good pearls are the Law and the Prophets. One pearl, the most precious of all, is the knowledge of the Saviour and the sacrament of His passion and resurrection, which when the merchantman has found, like Paul the Apostle, he straightway despises all the mysteries of the Law and the Prophets and the old observances in which he had lived blameless [Phil 3:8]. . . . Not that the finding of a new pearl is the condemnation of the old pearls, but that in comparison of that, all other pearls are worthless.

Gregory: By the pearl of price is to be understood the sweetness of the heavenly kingdom, which, he that hath found it, selleth all and buyeth. For he that, as far as is permitted, has had perfect knowledge of the sweetness of the heavenly life, readily leaves all things that he has loved on earth; all that once pleased him among earthly possessions now appears to have lost its beauty, for the splendour of that precious pearl is alone seen in his mind.

Augustine: Or, A man seeking goodly pearls has found one pearl of great price; that is, he who is seeking good men with whom he may live profitably, finds one alone, Christ Jesus, without sin; or, seeking precepts of life, by aid of which he may dwell righteously among men, finds love of his neighbour, in which one rule, the Apostle says [Rom 13:9], are comprehended all things; or, seeking good thoughts, he finds that Word in which all things are contained, “In the beginning was the Word” [John 1:1], which is lustrous with the light of truth, stedfast with the strength of eternity, and throughout like to itself with the beauty of divinity, and when we have penetrated the shell of the flesh, will be confessed as God.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).

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Hidden Treasure – Matt 13:44

44 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in a field. Which a man having found, hid it, and for joy thereof goeth, and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.

Hilary: This treasure is indeed found without cost; for the Gospel preaching is open to all, but to use and possess the treasure with its field we may not without price, for heavenly riches are not obtained without the loss of this world.

Jerome: That he hides it, does not proceed of envy towards others, but as one that treasures up what he would not lose, he hides in his heart that which he prizes above his former possessions.

Gregory: This, when a man finds, he hides, in order that he may preserve it; for zeal and affections heavenward it is not enough that we protect from evil spirits, if we do not protect from, human praises. For in this present life we are in the way which leads to our country, and evil spirits as robbers beset us in our journey. Those therefore who carry their treasure openly, they seek to plunder in the way. When I say this, I do not mean that our neighbours should not see our works, but that in what we do, we should not seek praise from without. The kingdom of heaven is therefore compared to things of earth, that the mind may rise from things familiar to things unknown, and may learn to love the unknown by that which it knows is loved when known.

Jerome: That treasure “in which are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” [Col 2:3] is either God the Word, who seems hid in Christ’s flesh, or the Holy Scriptures, in which are laid up the knowledge of the Saviour.

Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I (London: Rivington, 1842).

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