The Essence of Humility
Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Comprehensive Catholic Commentary by Fr. George Leo Haydockprovided by John Gregory
Editor's Note: We continue with this special feature provided by John Gregory with the Haydock Commentary found at the bottom of each page of the Douay-Rheims Bible. We publish it here in conjunction with the Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday Mass, with the cogent comprehensive Catholic Commentary penned by Father George Leo Haydock. For the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost we have as the theme man's pride and forgetting who he really is for without God he is nothing. St. Paul bears this out in his Epistle to the Corinthians in warning that the spirit (Holy Ghost) cannot deceive, knows all and knows which gifts to bestow. Likewise in the Gospel God knows man's heart and though he might act humble, he who strives to be exalted will be humbled, but he who credits God for whatever he has, be they gifts or crosses, will be exalted by God. After all, that's really all that matters.
Epistle: 1 Corinthians 12: 2-11
2 You know that when you were heathens, you went to dumb idols, according as you were led.
Commentary on Verse 2 You went to dumb idols. He speaks to the Gentiles before their conversion, to put them in mind, how much happier they are by receiving the faith of Christ, and such graces and favors from God. (Wi.)
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith Anathema to Jesus. And no man can say the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost.
Commentary on Verse 3 No man, speaking by the Spirit of God, & c. He tells them, if they see a person moved in an extraordinary manner, and say anathema, curse, or speak ill of Jesus, such an one cannot be moved by a good spirit. And no man can say, the Lord Jesus, that is, praise Christ as he ought, but by a good spirit. (Wi.)
4 Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit;
5 And there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord;
6 And there are diversities of operations, but the same God, Who worketh all in all.
7 And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit.
Commentary on Verse 4-7There are diversities of grace. Literally, divisions of grace; but all from the same spirit, from the same Lord, from the same God: and all these gifts are designed, and to be made use of for the profit of the faithful. (Wi.) – Saint Justin Martyr, Saint Irenaeus, and Origen bear testimony, that these special gifts of the Holy Ghost were not unusual in their time. Saint Paul, in order to curb the vanity of such as seemed to be a little puffed up with the gifts they had received, and likewise to comfort those who had received no such spiritual and extraordinary favors, wishes to teach both parties, that the same Holy Spirit distributes these graces according as they are more conducive to the welfare of His Church, and the glory of God. (Calmet)
8 To one indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit;
Commentary on Verse 8Word of wisdom, which differs from that of knowledge, inasmuch as wisdom is a more eminent and sublime knowledge. These are numbered among the gifts of the Holy Ghost. (Isaias chapter 11) – To another faith, by which, says Saint Chrysostom, is not here meant a belief of revealed truths, but an humble confidence of working miracles, grounded on faith, and on the power and goodness of God. – The same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as He will; by which words, they that valued themselves on the gifts of prophesying, and speaking tongues, are put in mind, that all these were purely the gifts of God, to Whom alone the honor is due. (Wi.)
9 To another, faith in the same spirit; to another, the grace of healing in one Spirit;
10 To another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, the discerning of spirits; to another, diverse kinds of tongues; to another, interpretation of speeches.
11 But all these things one and the same Spirit worketh, dividing to every one according as He will.
Gospel: St. Luke 18: 9-14
9 And to some who trusted in themselves as just, and despised others, He spoke also this parable:
Commentary on Verse 9 In this chapter we have three examples of prayer: one of the persevering widow; another of the poor publican, who solicits the divine mercy by the acknowledgment of his crimes; and the third of the proud Pharisee, who only goes to the temple to pronounce his own panegyric, and enter upon a accusation of his humble neighbor, whose heart is unknown to him. (Calmet)
10 0 Two men went up into the temple to pray: the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee standing, prayed thus with himself: O God, I give Thee thanks that I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, as also is this publican.
Commentary on Verse 11 The Pharisee standing. The Greek is, standing by himself, i.e. separated from the rest. Some understand this term, standing, as if in opposition to kneeling or prostrating, which they suppose to be the general posture in which the Jews offered up their prayers, and that of the humble publican. The Christians borrowed this practice from them. We see the apostles and disciples praying on their knees: Acts 7: 59, 9: 40, 20: 36. In the Old Testament, we see the same observed. Solomon, (3 Kings 8: 54) Daniel, (6: 10) and Micheas, (6: 6) prayed in that posture. Others however, think that the people generally prayed standing, as there were neither benches nor chairs in the temple. (Calmet) – There are four ways by which men are guilty of pride: 1st, By thinking they have any good from themselves; 2nd, by thinking that though they have received it from above, it was given them as due to their own merits; 3rd, by boasting of the good they do not possess; and fourthly, by desiring to be thought the only persons that possess the good qualities of which they thus pride themselves. The pride of the Pharisee seems to have consisted in attributing to himself alone the qualities of which he boasted. (Saint Gregory, mor. l. 23, c. 4.) – He who is guilty of publicly speaking against his neighbor, is likewise the cause of much damage to himself and others. 1st, He injures the hearer; because if he be a sinner, he rejoices to find an accomplice; if he be just, he is tempted to vanity, seeing himself exempt from the crimes with which others are charged. 2nd, He injures the Church, by exposing it to be insulted for the defects of its members. 3rd, He causes the name of God to be blasphemed; for, as God is glorified by our good actions, so is He dishonored by sin. 4th, He renders himself guilty, by disclosing that which it was his duty not to have mentioned. (Saint Chrysostom, Sermon on the Pharisee et Pub.)
12 I fast twice in a week: I give tithes of all that I possess.
Commentary on Verse 12See how the Pharisee here, by pride, lays open to the enemy his heart, which he had in vain shut against him by fasting and prayer. It is in vain to defend a city, if you leave the enemy a single passage, by which he may enter in. (Saint Gregory, mor. l. 19. c. 12)
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not so much as lift up his eyes towards heaven; but struck his breast, saying: O God, be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I say to you, this man went down into his house justified rather than the other: because every one that exalteth himself, shall be humbled: and he that humbleth himself, shall be exalted.
Commentary on Verse 14 If any one should ask why the Pharisee is here condemned for speaking some few words in his own commendation, and why the like sentence was not passed on Job, who praised himself much more; the difference is evident: the former praised himself without any necessity, merely with an intention of indulging his vanity, and extolling himself over the poor publican; the latter, being overwhelmed with misery, and upbraided by his friends, as if, forsaken of God, he suffered his present distress in punishment of his crimes, justifies himself by recounting his virtues for the greater glory of God, and to preserve himself and others in the steady practice of virtue, under similar temptations. (Theophylactus) http://www.newadvent.org/summa/2014.htm#article1Article 1. Whether counsel is an inquiry?Objection 1.
It would seem that counsel is not an inquiry. For Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that counsel is "an act of the appetite." But inquiry is not an act of the appetite. Therefore counsel is not an inquiry.Objection 2.
Further, inquiry is a discursive act of the intellect: for which reason it is not found in God, Whose knowledge is not discursive, as we have shown in the I, 14, 7. But counsel is ascribed to God: for it is written (Ephesians 1:11) that "He worketh all things according to the counsel of His will." Therefore counsel is not inquiry.Objection 3.
Further, inquiry is of doubtful matters. But counsel is given in matters that are certainly good; thus the Apostle says (1 Corinthians 7:25): "Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: but I give counsel." Therefore counsel is not an inquiry.On the contrary,
Gregory of Nyssa [Nemesius, De Nat. Hom. xxxiv.] says: "Every counsel is an inquiry; but not every inquiry is a counsel."I answer that,
Choice, as stated above (13, 1, ad 2; 3), follows the judgment of the reason about what is to be done. Now there is much uncertainty in things that have to be done; because actions are concerned with contingent singulars, which by reason of their vicissitude, are uncertain. Now in things doubtful and uncertain the reason does not pronounce judgment, without previous inquiry: wherefore the reason must of necessity institute an inquiry before deciding on the objects of choice; and this inquiry is called counsel. Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. iii, 2) that choice is the "desire of what has been already counselled."Reply to Objection 1.
When the acts of two powers are ordained to one another, in each of them there is something belonging to the other power: consequently each act can be denominated from either power. Now it is evident that the act of the reason giving direction as to the means, and the act of the will tending to these means according to the reason's direction, are ordained to one another. Consequently there is to be found something of the reason, viz. order, in that act of the will, which is choice: and in counsel, which is an act of reason, something of the will--both as matter (since counsel is of what man wills to do)--and as motive (because it is from willing the end, that man is moved to take counsel in regard to the means). And therefore, just as the Philosopher says (Ethic. vi, 2) that choice "is intellect influenced by appetite," thus pointing out that both concur in the act of choosing; so Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22) that counsel is "appetite based on inquiry," so as to show that counsel belongs, in a way, both to the will, on whose behalf and by whose impulsion the inquiry is made, and to the reason that executes the inquiry.Reply to Objection 2.
The things that we say of God must be understood without any of the defects which are to be found in us: thus in us science is of conclusions derived by reasoning from causes to effects: but science when said of God means sure knowledge of all effects in the First Cause, without any reasoning process. In like manner we ascribe counsel to God, as to the certainty of His knowledge or judgment, which certainty in us arises from the inquiry of counsel. But such inquiry has no place in God; wherefore in this respect it is not ascribed to God: in which sense Damascene says (De Fide Orth. ii, 22): "God takes not counsel: those only take counsel who lack knowledge."Reply to Objection 3.
It may happen that things which are most certainly good in the opinion of wise and spiritual men are not certainly good in the opinion of many, or at least of carnal-minded men. Consequently in such things counsel may be given.