Monday, June 22, 2009


“St. Paulinus of Nola”
artist and date are UNKNOWN



Biographical Information about St. Paulinus of Nola [1]

Readings for the Memorial of St. Paulinus of Nola

Readings and Commentary:

2 Corinthians 8:9-15

Brothers and sisters:
You know the gracious act of our Lord Jesus Christ,
that for your sake he became poor although he was rich,
so that by his poverty you might become rich.
And I am giving counsel in this matter,
for it is appropriate for you who began not only to act
but to act willingly last year:
complete it now, so that your eager willingness may be matched
by your completion of it out of what you have.
For if the eagerness is there,
it is acceptable according to what one has,
not according to what one does not have;
not that others should have relief while you are burdened,
but that as a matter of equality
your surplus at the present time should supply their needs,
so that their surplus may also supply your needs,
that there may be equality.
As it is written:

Whoever had much did not have more,
and whoever had little did not have less.
Commentary on
2 Cor 8:9-15

St. Paul continues an appeal to the church at Corinth for funds to support the Church of Jerusalem. In this section of that appeal he uses the gracious act of Jesus who gave up his wealth (his pre-existence with the Heavenly Father) for poverty (his earthly life). He then proceeds to introduce the discussion of equality between the various parts of the Body of Christ (the Church). The Apostle encourages this fiscal equality to the extent possible but not to the extent were the donor becomes poorer than the recipient of the donation. He concludes with a quote from
Exodus 16:18 using the example of the rules imposed about manna gathered in the desert.

CCC: 2 Cor 8:1-15 2833; 2 Cor 8:9 517, 1351, 2407, 2546
Psalm 40:2 and 4ab, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10

R. (8a and 9a) Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Sacrifice or oblation you wished not,
but ears open to obedience you gave me.
Burnt offerings or sin-offerings you sought not;
then said I, "Behold I come."
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

"In the written scroll it is prescribed for me,
To do your will, O my God, is my delight,
and your law is within my heart!"
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

I announced your justice in the vast assembly;
I did not restrain my lips,
as you, O LORD, know.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.

Your justice I kept not hid within my heart;
your faithfulness and your salvation I have spoken of;
I have made no secret of your kindness
and your truth in the vast assembly.
R. Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.
Commentary on
Ps 40:2 and 4ab, 7-8a, 8b-9, 10

While Psalm 40 is a song of thanksgiving, it is also combined with a lament. The initial waiting is satisfied by favor shown by God to one who is faithful in service to Him. Praise and thanksgiving are given to God whose justice is applied to all.

CCC: Ps 40:2 2657; Ps 40:7-9 LXX 462; Ps 40:7 2824
Luke 12:32-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
"Do not be afraid any longer, little flock,
for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom.
Sell your belongings and give alms.
Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out,
an inexhaustible treasure in heaven
that no thief can reach nor moth destroy.
For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be."
Commentary on Lk 12:32-34

This passage is part of a great compilation of the saying of Jesus in the 12th Chapter. Here the Lord emphasizes the need of true dependence on God alone, a commandment taken to its most extreme by the Franciscan Religious.

CCC: Lk 13:33 557

St Paulinus of Nola (355 - 431)
He was born in Bordeaux, in France, to a rich and powerful family. He was well trained in poetry and rhetoric, and had a successful political career, culminating in the governorship of an Italian province. Returning to France, he married a Spanish lady, who shared with him her ideal of living a strictly evangelical life. He was baptized in 389 and moved to Spain, where after the death of his son he gave away all his property and began to live a monastic style of life. He was ordained in 394, in Barcelona, at the urgent insistence of the people there; but then moved back to Italy, to Nola, in the province of which he had once been governor. There he began to live the monastic life and set up a hospice for the sick and for poor visitors to the shrine of St Felix. He became bishop, by popular request, in about 409, and died some twenty years later.

For many of us, when we hear the Gospel telling us to give up our material wealth and give it to the poor, we become like the young man who wanted to achieve holiness but love his riches too much to give them up to follow Jesus. That instruction, to be generous to the poor, to give away material wealth, is for our own good. 

Material comfort is seductive to the spirit. It appeals to our baser instincts and attempts to lead us down the path to hedonism with all of the selfishness and greed that accompanies that life style. Periodically, the Church holds up Saints whose particular charism is an ascetic life, adopted in the face of a society that embraces avarice and extols excess. Such a saint is St. Paulinus. His example shows us clearly that the riches of the spirit are much more important that the wealth of the world. Like so many of those who have gone before us, lighting the way to the heavenly kingdom, St. Paulinus gave up his worldly riches and was acclaimed for his servant spirit that he used to good purpose as Bishop of Nola.

Today, on is feast day, we ask for his prayers. May he intercede for us to the Heavenly Father, asking that we be given some part of his love of others and in that way find our way to stand by his side, praising God forever in Heaven.


[1] The picture is “St. Paulinus of Nola” artist and date are UNKNOWN
[2] Text of Readings is taken from the New American Bible, Copyright © Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 1973, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.
[3] This description is taken from the Universalis site.

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