Thursday, September 10, 2009
A Few Thoughts on Matthew 16 from the Catena Aurea
Here are some thoughts of the early Fathers and writers of the Church from St Thomas Aquinas' Catena Aurea. The Catena was a commentary on the Gospels put together by the great Angelic Doctor. It is commonly called the "Golden Chain" because of the great wisdom of the Church Fathers compiled within it. Although it was composed as a running commentary designed for spiritual meditation, it also has great worth as an apologetic tool. Of course, as with all Church Father writings, the quotes must be understood in their proper context, which was well understood at the time they were put together. These days the Fathers are often misinterpreted by those who have rejected the tradition and context in which they were originally written. The particular texts that caught my attention are in bold type. I highly suggest checking it out online or picking up a copy for yourself to add to your library.
Excerpts from Catena Aurea - The Golden Chain
Of St. Thomas Aquinas
13. When Jesus came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14. And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist, some, Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.
15. He said to them, But whom say you that I am?
16. And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17. And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father which is in heaven.
18. And I say also to you, That you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
CHRYS; Then He speaks of another honor of Peter, when He adds, And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; as much as to say, As the Father has given you to know Me, I also will give something to you, namely, the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
CYRIL; According to this promise of the Lord, the Apostolic Church of Peter remains pure and spotless from all leading into error, or heretical fraud, above all Heads and Bishops, and Primates of Churches and people, with its own Pontiffs, with most abundant faith, and the authority of Peter. And while other Churches have to blush for the error of some of their members, this reigns alone immovably established, enforcing silence, and stopping the mouths of all heretics; and we, not drunken with the wine of pride, confess together with it the type of truth, and of the holy apostolic tradition.
RABAN; But this power of binding and loosing, though it seems given by the Lord to Peter alone, is indeed given also to the other Apostles, and is even now in the Bishops and Presbyters in every Church. But Peter received in a special manner the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and a supremacy of judicial power, that all the faithful throughout the world might understand that all who in any manner separate themselves from the unity of the faith, or from communion with him, such should neither be able to be loosed from the bonds of sin, nor to enter the gate of the heavenly kingdom.
RABAN; For as with a zeal beyond the others he had confessed the King of heaven, he is deservedly entrusted more than the others with the keys of the heavenly kingdom, that it might be clear to all, that without that confession and faith none ought to enter the kingdom of heaven. By the keys of the kingdom He means discernment and power; power, by which he binds and looses; discernment, by which he separates the worthy from the unworthy.
22. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from you, Lord: this shall not be to you.
23. But he turned, and said to Peter, Get you behind me, Satan: you are an offense to me: for you savor not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
JEROME; But to me this error of the Apostle, proceeding from the warmth of his affection, will never seem a suggestion of the devil. Let the thoughtful reader consider that that blessedness of power was promised to Peter in time to come, not given him at the time present; had it been conveyed to him immediately, the error of a false confession would never have found place in him.