Monday, February 28, 2011

Isa 10, 9-11 My hand reached out to idolatrous kingdoms

(Isa 10, 9-11) My hand reached out to idolatrous kingdoms

[9] "Is not Calno like Carchemish, Or Hamath like Arpad, or Samaria like Damascus? [10] Just as my hand reached out to idolatrous kingdoms that had more images than Jerusalem and Samaria, [11] Just as I treated Samaria and her idols, shall I not do to Jerusalem and her graven images?"

(CCC 304) And so we see the Holy Spirit, the principal author of Sacred Scripture, often attributing actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a "primitive mode of speech", but a profound way of recalling God's primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world (Cf. Isa 10:5-15; 45:51; Dt 32:39; Sir 11:14), and so of educating his people to trust in him. The prayer of the Psalms is the great school of this trust (Cf. Pss 22; 32; 35; 103; 138; et al.).

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Isa 9, 5 A child is born to us, a son is given us

(Isa 9, 5) A child is born to us, a son is given us

[5] For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.

(CCC 2305) Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic "Prince of Peace" (Isa 9:5). By the blood of his Cross, "in his own person he killed the hostility" (Eph 2:16 J.B.; cf. Col 1:20-22), he reconciled men with God and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God. "He is our peace" (Eph 2:14). He has declared: "Blessed are the peacemakers" (Mt 5:9).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Isa 7, 14 The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son

Isa 7, 14 The virgin shall be with child, and bear a son

[14] Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

(CCC 497) The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesus as a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility: (Mt 1 18-25; Lk 1:26-38) "That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit", said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancée (Mt 1:20). The Church sees here the fulfilment of the divine promise given through the prophet Isaiah: "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son" (Isa 7:14 (LXX), quoted in Mt 1:23 (Gk).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Isa 6, 11-12 How long, O Lord?

(Isa 6, 11-12) How long, O Lord?

[11] "How long, O Lord?" I asked. And he replied: Until the cities are desolate, without inhabitants, Houses, without a man, and the earth is a desolate waste. [12] Until the LORD removes men far away, and the land is abandoned more and more.

(CCC 712) The characteristics of the awaited Messiah begin to appear in the "Book of Emmanuel" ("Isaiah said this when he saw his glory" (Jn 12:41; cf. Isa 6-12), speaking of Christ), especially in the first two verses of Isaiah 11 (Isa 11:1-2): There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots, and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD (Isa 11:1-2).

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Isa 6, 8 Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?

(Isa 6, 8) Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?

[8] Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?" "Here I am," I said; "send me!"

(CCC 2543) "But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from law, although the law and the prophets bear witness to it, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe" (Rom 3:21-22). Henceforth, Christ's faithful "have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires"; they are led by the Spirit and follow the desires of the Spirit (Gal 5:24; cf. Rom 8:14, 27).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Isa 6, 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me

(Isa 6, 6) Then one of the seraphim flew to me

[6] Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar.

(CCC 332) Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples (Cf. Job 38:7 (where angels are called "sons of God"); Gen 3:24; 19; 21:17; 22:11; Acts 7:53; Ex 23:20-23; Judg 13; 6:11-24; Isa 6:6; 1 Kings 19:5). Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself (Cf. Lk 1:11, 26).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Isa 6, 5 My eyes have seen the King the LORD of hosts!

(Isa 6, 5) My eyes have seen the King the LORD of hosts!

[5] Then I said, "Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!"

(CCC 208) Faced with God's fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils his face in the presence of God's holiness (Cf. Ex 3:5-6). Before the glory of the thrice-holy God, Isaiah cries out: "Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips" (Isa 6:5). Before the divine signs wrought by Jesus, Peter exclaims: "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord" (Lk 5:8). But because God is holy, he can forgive the man who realizes that he is a sinner before him: "I will not execute my fierce anger… for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst" (Hos 11:9). The apostle John says likewise: "We shall… reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything" (1 Jn 3:19-20). (CCC 2584) In their "one to one" encounters with God, the prophets draw light and strength for their mission. Their prayer is not flight from this unfaithful world, but rather attentiveness to the Word of God. At times their prayer is an argument or a complaint, but it is always an intercession that awaits and prepares for the intervention of the Savior God, the Lord of history (Cf. Am 7:2, 5; Isa 6:5, 8, 11; Jer 1:6; 15:15-18; 20:7-18).

Monday, February 21, 2011

Isa 6, 3 Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!

(Isa 6, 3) Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!

[3] "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts!" they cried one to the other. "All the earth is filled with his glory!"

(CCC 2809) The holiness of God is the inaccessible center of his eternal mystery. What is revealed of it in creation and history, Scripture calls "glory," the radiance of his majesty (Cf. Ps 8; Isa 6:3). In making man in his image and likeness, God "crowned him with glory and honor," but by sinning, man fell "short of the glory of God" (Ps 8:5; Rom 3:23; cf. Gen 1:26). From that time on, God was to manifest his holiness by revealing and giving his name, in order to restore man to the image of his Creator (Col 3:10).

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Isa 6, 1-2 I saw the Lord seated on a high throne

(Isa 6, 1-2) I saw the Lord seated on a high throne

[1] In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, with the train of his garment filling the temple. [2] Seraphim were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two they veiled their feet, and with two they hovered aloft.

(CCC 1137) The book of Revelation of St. John, read in the Church's liturgy, first reveals to us, "A throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne": "the Lord God" (Rev 4:2, 8; Isa 6:1; cf. Ezek 1:26-28). It then shows the Lamb, "standing, as though it had been slain": Christ crucified and risen, the one high priest of the true sanctuary, the same one "who offers and is offered, who gives and is given" (Rev 5:6; Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Anaphora; cf. Jn 1:29; Heb 4:14-15; 10:19-2). Finally it presents "the river of the water of life… Flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb," one of most beautiful symbols of the Holy Spirit (Rev 22:1; cf. 21:6; Jn 4:10-14). (CCC 1138) "Recapitulated in Christ," these are the ones who take part in the service of the praise of God and the fulfillment of his plan: the heavenly powers, all creation (the four living beings), the servants of the Old and New Covenants (the twenty-four elders), the new People of God (the one hundred and forty-four thousand) (Cf. Rev 4-5; 7:1-8; 14:1; Isa 6:2-3), especially the martyrs "slain for the word of God," and the all-holy Mother of God (the Woman), the Bride of the Lamb (Rev 6:9-11; Rev 21:9; cf. 12), and finally "a great multitude which no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes, and peoples and tongues" (Rev 7:9).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Isa 5, 1-7 Vineyard of the LORD is the house of Israel

(Isa 5, 1-7) Vineyard of the LORD is the house of Israel

[1] Let me now sing of my friend, my friend's song concerning his vineyard. My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside; [2] He spaded it, cleared it of stones, and planted the choicest vines; Within it he built a watchtower, and hewed out a wine press. Then he looked for the crop of grapes, but what it yielded was wild grapes. [3] Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard: [4] What more was there to do for my vineyard that I had not done? Why, when I looked for the crop of grapes, did it bring forth wild grapes? [5] Now, I will let you know what I mean to do to my vineyard: Take away its hedge, give it to grazing, break through its wall, let it be trampled! [6] Yes, I will make it a ruin: it shall not be pruned or hoed, but overgrown with thorns and briers; I will command the clouds not to send rain upon it. [7] The vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his cherished plant; He looked for judgment, but see, bloodshed! for justice, but hark, the outcry!

(CCC 734) Because we are dead or at least wounded through sin, the first effect of the gift of love is the forgiveness of our sins. The communion of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 13:14) in the Church restores to the baptized the divine likeness lost through sin. (CCC 735) He, then, gives us the "pledge" or "first fruits" of our inheritance: the very life of the Holy Trinity, which is to love as "God [has] loved us" (1 Jn 4:11-12; cf. Rom 8:23; 2 Cor 1:21). This love (the "charity" of 1 Cor 13) is the source of the new life in Christ, made possible because we have received "power" from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; cf. 1 Cor 13).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Isa 2, 2-5 Let us walk in the light of the LORD!

(Isa 2, 2-5) Let us walk in the light of the LORD!

[2] In days to come, The mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it; [3] many peoples shall come and say: "Come, let us climb the LORD'S mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, That he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths." For from Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [4] He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. [5] O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the LORD!

(CCC 64) Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts (Cf Isa 2:2-4; Jer 31:31-34; Heb 10:16). The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a salvation which will include all the nations (Cf. Ezek 36; Isa 49:5-6; 53:11). Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope. Such holy women as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel's salvation. The purest figure among them is Mary (Cf. Zeph 2:3; Lk 1:38). (CCC 2317) Injustice, excessive economic or social inequalities, envy, distrust, and pride raging among men and nations constantly threaten peace and cause wars. Everything done to overcome these disorders contributes to building up peace and avoiding war: Insofar as men are sinners, the threat of war hangs over them and will so continue until Christ comes again; but insofar as they can vanquish sin by coming together in charity, violence itself will be vanquished and these words will be fulfilled: "they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more" (GS 78 § 6; cf. Isa 2:4).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Isa 1, 24 The LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel

(Isa 1, 24) The LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel

[24] Now, therefore, says the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel: Ah! I will take vengeance on my foes and fully repay my enemies!

(CCC 269) The Holy Scriptures repeatedly confess the universal power of God. He is called the "Mighty One of Jacob", the "LORD of hosts", the "strong and mighty" one. If God is almighty "in heaven and on earth", it is because he made them (Gen 49:24; Isa 1:24 etc.; Pss 24:8-10; 135 6). Nothing is impossible with God, who disposes his works according to his will (Cf. Jer 27:5; 32:17; Lk 1:37). He is the Lord of the universe, whose order he established and which remains wholly subject to him and at his disposal. He is master of history, governing hearts and events in keeping with his will: "It is always in your power to show great strength, and who can withstand the strength of your arm? (Wis 11:21; cf. Esth 4:17b; Prov 21:1; Tob 13:2).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Isa 1, 10-15 Bring no more worthless offerings

(Isa 1, 10-15) Bring no more worthless offerings

[10] Hear the word of the LORD, princes of Sodom! Listen to the instruction of our God, people of Gomorrah! [11] What care I for the number of your sacrifices? says the LORD. I have had enough of whole-burnt rams and fat of fatlings; In the blood of calves, lambs and goats I find no pleasure. [12] When you come in to visit me, who asks these things of you? [13] Trample my courts no more! Bring no more worthless offerings; your incense is loathsome to me. New moon and sabbath, calling of assemblies, octaves with wickedness: these I cannot bear. [14] Your new moons and festivals I detest; they weigh me down, I tire of the load. [15] When you spread out your hands, I close my eyes to you; Though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood!

(CCC 2100) Outward sacrifice, to be genuine, must be the expression of spiritual sacrifice: "The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit...." (PS 51:17). The prophets of the Old Covenant often denounced sacrifices that were not from the heart or not coupled with love of neighbor (Cf. Am 5:21-25; Isa 1:10-20). Jesus recalls the words of the prophet Hosea: "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice" (Mt 9:13; 12:7; Cf. Hos 6:6). The only perfect sacrifice is the one that Christ offered on the cross as a total offering to the Father's love and for our salvation (Cf. Heb 9:13-14). By uniting ourselves with his sacrifice we can make our lives a sacrifice to God.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Isa 1, 6 There is no sound spot

(Isa 1, 6) There is no sound spot

[6] From the sole of the foot to the head there is no sound spot: Wound and welt and gaping gash, not drained, or bandaged, or eased with salve.

(CCC 1293) In treating the rite of Confirmation, it is fitting to consider the sign of anointing and what it signifies and imprints: a spiritual seal. Anointing, in Biblical and other ancient symbolism, is rich in meaning: oil is a sign of abundance and joy (Cf. Deut 11:14; Pss 23:5; 104:15); it cleanses (anointing before and after a bath) and limbers (the anointing of athletes and wrestlers); oil is a sign of healing, since it is soothing to bruises and wounds (Cf. Isa 1:6; Lk 10:34); and it makes radiant with beauty, health, and strength.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Isa 1, 2-4 They have disowned me!


(Isa 1, 2-4) They have disowned me!

[2] Hear, O heavens, and listen, O earth, for the LORD speaks: Sons have I raised and reared, but they have disowned me! [3] An ox knows its owner, and an ass, its master's manger; But Israel does not know, my people has not understood. [4] Ah! sinful nation, people laden with wickedness, evil race, corrupt children! They have forsaken the LORD, spurned the Holy One of Israel, apostatized.

(CCC 762) The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great people (Cf. Gen 12:2; 15:5-6). Its immediate preparation begins with Israel's election as the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of all nations (Cf. Ex 19:5-6; Deut 7:6; Isa 2:2-5; Mic 4:1-4). But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. "Christ instituted this New Covenant" (LG 9; cf. Hos 1; Isa 1:2-4; Jer 2; 31:31-34; Isa 55:3).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sir 50, 20 The name of the LORD would be his glory

(Sir 50, 20) The name of the LORD would be his glory

[20] Then coming down he would raise his hands over all the congregation of Israel. The blessing of the LORD would be upon his lips, the name of the LORD would be his glory.

(CCC 433) The name of the Savior God was invoked only once in the year by the high priest in atonement for the sins of Israel, after he had sprinkled the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies with the sacrificial blood. The mercy seat was the place of God's presence (Cf. Ex 25:22; Lev 16:2,15-16; Num 7:89; Sir 50:20; Heb 9:5,7). When St. Paul speaks of Jesus whom "God put forward as an expiation by his blood", he means that in Christ's humanity "God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself" (Rom 3:25; 2 Cor 5:19). (CCC 434) Jesus' Resurrection glorifies the name of the Saviour God, for from that time on it is the name of Jesus that fully manifests the supreme power of the "name which is above every name" (Phil 2:9-10; cf. Jn 12:28). The evil spirits fear his name; in his name his disciples perform miracles, for the Father grants all they ask in this name (Cf. Acts 16:16-18; 19:13-16; Mk 16:17; Jn 15:16).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sir 48, 1 Till like a fire there appeared the prophet

(Sir 48, 1) Till like a fire there appeared the prophet

[1] Till like a fire there appeared the prophet whose words were as a flaming furnace.

(CCC 696) Fire. While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit's actions. The prayer of the prophet Elijah, who "arose like fire" and whose "word burned like a torch," brought down fire from heaven on the sacrifice on Mount Carmel (Sir 48:1; cf. 1 Kings 18:38-39). This event was a "figure" of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes "before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah," proclaims Christ as the one who "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Lk 1:17; 3:16). Jesus will say of the Spirit: "I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!" (Lk 12:49). In the form of tongues "as of fire," the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself (Acts 2:3-4). The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit's actions (Cf. St. John of the Cross, The Living Flame of Love, in The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, tr. K. Kavanaugh, OCD, and O. Rodriguez, OCD (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1979), 577 ff.). "Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thess 5:19).

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sir 43, 30 Awful indeed is the LORD'S majesty

(Sir 43, 30) Awful indeed is the LORD'S majesty

[30] Awful indeed is the LORD'S majesty, and wonderful is his power.

(CCC 300) God is infinitely greater than all his works: "You have set your glory above the heavens" (Ps 8:1; cf. Sir 43:28). Indeed, God's "greatness is unsearchable" (Ps 145:3). But because he is the free and sovereign Creator, the first cause of all that exists, God is present to his creatures' inmost being: "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). In the words of St. Augustine, God is "higher than my highest and more inward than my innermost self" (St. Augustine, Conf. 3, 6, 11: PL 32, 688).

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sir 43, 27-28 Let the last word be, he is all in all!

(Sir 43, 27-28) Let the last word be, he is all in all!

[27] For him each messenger succeeds, and at his bidding accomplishes his will. [28] More than this we need not add; let the last word be, he is all in all!

(CCC 2129) The divine injunction included the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man. Deuteronomy explains: "Since you saw no form on the day that the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure...." (Deut 4:15-16). It is the absolutely transcendent God who revealed himself to Israel. "He is the all," but at the same time "he is greater than all his works" (Sir 43:27-28). He is "the author of beauty" (Wis 13:3).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Sir 37, 27-30 Be not drawn after every enjoyment

(Sir 37, 27-30) Be not drawn after every enjoyment

[27] For not every food is good for everyone, nor is everything suited to every taste. [28] Be not drawn after every enjoyment, neither become a glutton for choice foods, [29] For sickness comes with overeating, and gluttony brings on biliousness. [30] Through lack of self-control many have died, but the abstemious man prolongs his life.

(CCC 1810) Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. With God's help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous man is happy to practice them. (CCC 1811) It is not easy for man, wounded by sin, to maintain moral balance. Christ's gift of salvation offers us the grace necessary to persevere in the pursuit of the virtues. Everyone should always ask for this grace of light and strength, frequent the sacraments, cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good and shun evil.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sir 36, 11 Show mercy to the people called by your name

(Sir 36, 11) Show mercy to the people called by your name

[11] Show mercy to the people called by your name; Israel, whom you named your first-born.

(CCC 441) In the Old Testament, "son of God" is a title given to the angels, the Chosen People, the children of Israel, and their kings (Cf. Dt 14:1; (LXX) 32:8; Job 1:6; Ex 4:22; Hos 2:1; 11:1; Jer 3:19; Sir 36:11; Wis 18:13; 2 Sam 7:14; Ps 82:6). It signifies an adoptive sonship that establishes a relationship of particular intimacy between God and his creature. When the promised Messiah-King is called "son of God", it does not necessarily imply that he was more than human, according to the literal meaning of these texts. Those who called Jesus "son of God", as the Messiah of Israel, perha

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sir 30, 1-2 He who loves his son chastises him often

(Sir 30, 1-2) He who loves his son chastises him often

[1] He who loves his son chastises him often, that he may be his joy when he grows up. [2] He who disciplines his son will benefit from him, and boast of him among his intimates.

(CCC 2223) Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery - the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the "material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones" (CA 36 § 2). Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them: He who loves his son will not spare the rod.... He who disciplines his son will profit by him (Sir 30:1-2). Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4).

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sir 27, 17-18 If you betray his confidence, follow him not

(Sir 27, 17-18) If you betray his confidence, follow him not

[17] Cherish your friend, keep faith with him; but if you betray his confidence, follow him not; [18] For as an enemy might kill a man, you have killed your neighbor's friendship.

(CCC 2491) Professional secrets - for example, those of political office holders, soldiers, physicians, and lawyers - or confidential information given under the seal of secrecy must be kept, save in exceptional cases where keeping the secret is bound to cause very grave harm to the one who confided it, to the one who received it or to a third party, and where the very grave harm can be avoided only by divulging the truth. Even if not confided under the seal of secrecy, private information prejudicial to another is not to be divulged without a grave and proportionate reason. (CCC 2492) Everyone should observe an appropriate reserve concerning persons' private lives. Those in charge of communications should maintain a fair balance between the requirements of the common good and respect for individual rights. Interference by the media in the private lives of persons engaged in political or public activity is to be condemned to the extent that it infringes upon their privacy and freedom.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sir 24, 3 From the mouth of the Most High I came forth

(Sir 24, 3) From the mouth of the Most High I came forth

[3] "From the mouth of the Most High I came forth, and mistlike covered the earth.

(CCC 721) Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary (Cf. Prov 8:1- 9:6; Sir 24). Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom." In her, the "wonders of God" that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sir 21, 28 A slanderer besmirches himself

(Sir 21, 28) A slanderer besmirches himself

[28] A slanderer besmirches himself, and is hated by his neighbors.

(CCC 2477) Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury (Cf. CIC, can. 220). He becomes guilty: - of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor; - of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another's faults and failings to persons who did not know them (Cf. Sir 21:28); - of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sir 18, 30 Go not after your lusts

(Sir 18, 30) Go not after your lusts

[30] Go not after your lusts, but keep your desires in check.

(CCC 1809) Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will's mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion: "Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart" (Sir 5:2; cf. 37:27-31). Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament: "Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites" (Sir 18:30). In the New Testament it is called "moderation" or "sobriety." We ought "to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world" (Titus 2:12). To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one's heart, with all one's soul and with all one's efforts; from this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude). It obeys only [God] (and this is justice), and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence) (St. Augustine, De moribus eccl. 1, 25, 46: PL 32, 1330-1331).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sir 17, 17 A man's goodness God cherishes

(Sir 17, 17) A man's goodness God cherishes

[17] A man's goodness God cherishes like a signet ring, a man's virtue, like the apple of his eye.

(CCC 2447) The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities (Cf. Isa 58:6-7; Heb 13:3). Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead (Cf. Mt 25:31-46). Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God (Cf. Tob 4:5-11; Sir 17:22; Mt 6:2-4): He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise (Lk 3:11). But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you (Lk 11:41). If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? (Jas 2:15-16; cf. 1 Jn 3:17).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sir 15, 14 He made him subject to his own free choice

(Sir 15, 14) He made him subject to his own free choice

[14] When God, in the beginning, created man, he made him subject to his own free choice.

(CCC 1730) God created man a rational being, conferring on him the dignity of a person who can initiate and control his own actions. "God willed that man should be 'left in the hand of his own counsel,' so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him" (GS 17; Sir 15:14). Man is rational and therefore like God; he is created with free will and is master over his acts (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 4, 3: PG 7/1, 983).