Friday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Friday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time [II]
I Kings 19:9,11-16  +  Matthew 5:27-32
June 10, 2016

“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away.”

“[Jesus] then goes on to correct the error of the Pharisees, declaring, “Whoso looketh upon a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery already with her in his heart.” For the commandment of the Law, “Thou shalt not lust after thy neighbour’s wife,” [Ex 20:17] the Jews understood of taking her away, not of committing adultery with her.”

“For there are three things which make up a sin; suggestion either through the memory, or the present sense; if the thought of the pleasure of indulgence follows, that is an unlawful thought, and to be restrained; if you consent then, the sin is complete.  For prior to the first consent, the pleasure is either none or very slight, the consenting to which makes the sin.  But if consent proceeds on into overt act, then desire seems to be satiated and quenched. And when suggestion is again repeated, the contemplated pleasure is greater, which previous to habit formed was but small, but now more difficult to overcome.”

“As the eye denotes contemplation, so the hand aptly denotes action.  By the eye we must understand our most cherished friend, as they are wont to say who would express ardent affection, ‘I love him as my own eye.’ And a friend too who gives counsel, as the eye shews us our way.  The ‘right eye,’ perhaps, only means to express a higher degree of affection, for it is the one which men most fear to lose.  Or, by the right eye may be understood one who counsels us in heavenly matters, and by the left one who counsels in earthly matters.  And this will be the sense; Whatever that is which you love as you would your own right eye, if it ‘offend you,’ that is, if it be an hindrance to your true happiness, ‘cut it off and cast it from you.’  For if the right eye was not to be spared, it was superfluous to speak of the left. The right hand also is to be taken of a beloved assistant in divine actions, the left hand in earthly actions.”

“Yet I would not have the reader think this disputation of ours sufficient in a matter so arduous; for not every sin is spiritual fornication, nor does God destroy every sinner, for He hears His saints daily crying to Him, ‘Forgive us our debts;’ but every man who goes a whoring and forsakes Him, him He destroys.  Whether this be the fornication for which divorce is allowed is a most knotty question – for it is no question at all that it is allowed for the fornication by carnal sin.”

“If any affirm that the only fornication for which the Lord allows divorce is that of carnal sin, he may see that the Lord has spoken of believing husbands and wives, forbidding either to leave the other except for fornication.”

The above quotations of St. Augustine of Hippo are taken from St. Thomas Aquinas’ compilation Catena Aurea.