Epistle of The Nativity of Our Lord - Mass During the Daytime

Hebrews 1:1-11

God, Who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all in these days hath spoken to us by His Son, Whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the world: Who being the brightness of His glory and the figure of His substance, and upholding all things by the word of His power, making purgation of sins, sitteth on the right hand of the Majesty on high: being made so much better than the angels as He hath inherited a more excellent name than they. For to which of the angels hath He said at any time: Thou art My Son, today have I begotten Thee? And again: I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son? And again, when He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith: And let all the angels of God adore Him. And to the angels indeed He saith: He that maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire. But to the Son: Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows. And: Thou in the beginning, O Lord, didst found the earth: and the works of Thy hands are the heavens. They shall perish, but Thou shalt continue; and they shall all grow old as a garment: and as a vesture shalt Thou change them, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the selfsame, and Thy years shall not fail.


Verse 1. At different times, and in many ways. The first word signifies that God revealed the incarnation of his Son, as it were, by parcels, and by degrees, at different times, and to different persons, to Adam, to Abraham, to Moses, to David, &c. The latter word expresseth the different ways and manners, as by angels, by immediate inspirations, and revelations, by types, figures, and ceremonies.[2] — Last of all, by his Son, this true, natural, eternal Son, of whom we must always take notice, that being both true God, and true man, by the union of the divine and human nature to one and the same divine person, S. Paul speaks of him sometimes as God, sometimes mentions what applies to him as man, sometimes as our Redeemer, both God and man. This must necessarily happen in speaking of Christ; but when we find things that cannot be understood of one that is a pure or mere man only, or that cannot be true but of him, who is truly God, these are undeniable proofs against the errors of the Arians and Socinians. Wi.

Verse 2. Whom he hath appointed heir of all things. Heir is here not taken for one that succeeds another at his death, but for the same as Master or Lord. And though Christ be inseparably God and man, yet this applies to him, as man, because, as God, he was not constituted in time, but was always from eternity, Lord of all things, with the Father and the Holy Ghost: by whom also he made the world. That is, all created beings, and in such a manner, that all creatures were equally produced by the three divine persons. See Jo. i. 3. and the annotations on that place. Wi.

Verse 3. Who being the spendour, or brightness of his glory, not as beams or rays are derived from a lightsome body, but by a necessary and eternal communication of the same substance, and of the whole light; in which sense the council of Nice understood the eternal Son of God to be light of light. This partly helps us to conceive the eternal generation of the Son from the Father, because the brightness is at the same time with the sun, though all comparisons fall short of this mystery. Wi. — We may here observe the two natures of Christ. As God, he is the Creator of all things; as man, he is constituted heir of the goods of God. Not content to possess the inheritance of his Father in his own person, he will have us as coheirs to share it also with him. May we so live as to hear one day that happy sentence: Come, ye blessed of my Father, &c. — And the figure of his substance. In the Greek is the character of his substance; which might be translated, the express image. There are different ways by which a thing may be said to be a figure or image of another: here it is taken for such a representation of the substance of the Father, that though the Father and the Son be distinct persons, and the Son proceed from the Father, yet he is such a figure and image, as to have the same nature and substance with the Father, as the Catholic Church always believed and declared against the ancient heretics, and particularly against the Arians. Their words may be partly seen in Petavius, l. ii. de Trin. c. 11. l. iv. c. 6. l. vi. c. 6. being too prolix for these short notes. And this may be understood by the following words concerning the Son: and upholding or preserving all things by the word of his power. As he had said before, that all things were made by him, so all things are preserved by him, equally with the Father. See Col. i. 16, 17. See also v. 10. of this chapter, and the annot. Jo. i. 3. Wi. — Figure. This does not exclude the reality. So Christ’s body in the eucharist, and his mystical death in the mass, though called a figure, image, or representation of Christ’s visible body and sacrifice upon the cross, yet may be and is the self-same substance. B. —Sitteth on the right hand of the majesty on high. This also may be taken to express the equality of the Son with the Father, if considered as God; but this sitting on the right hand of God, both here, in S. Mark, c. xvi. and in the apostles' creed, express what agrees with Christ, as our Redeemer, God made man by his incarnation, and who as man is made the head of his Church, the judge of the living and of the dead; and so S. Stephen said, (Acts vii.) I see the heavens open, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God. Wi.

Verse 4. Being made so much better, &c. The Arians pretended from hence that Christ was made, or created. But the apostle speaks of Christ as man, and tells us that Christ, even as man, by his ascension was exalted above the Angels. — As he hath inherited a more excellent name. That is, both the dignity and name of the Son of God, of his only Son, and of his true Son. See 1 Jo. v. 20. Wi.

Verse 5. Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. These words, though commonly expounded of the eternal generation of the Son of God in the day or moment of eternity, yet may be truly applied either to Christ made man by his incarnation, or to Christ risen from the dead, as they are used by S. Paul, (Acts xiii. 33.) because the same Christ both these ways is the Son of God. It was the only true and natural Son of God, who was made flesh, who was made man, who rose from the dead; and the eternal Father manifested his eternal Son by his incarnation, and shewed him triumphing over death by his resurrection. — I will be to him a father, &c. Although these words might be literally spoken of Solomon, yet in the mystical sense (chiefly intended by the Holy Ghost) they are to be understood of Christ, who in a much more proper sense is the Son of God. Wi.

Verse 6. Let all the Angels of God adore him. These words seem to be cited out of Ps. xcvi. 7. according to the Sept. And they seem to be an invitation, and a command to the Angels to adore Jesus Christ, when at the end of the world he shall come to judgment. This is one of the proofs which S. Paul here brings, to shew that the Angels are inferior to Christ, because they are commanded to adore him. Wi. — God shews the superiority of his divine Son over the Angels, in ordering the latter to adore him. Wherever the person of Christ is, there it ought to be adored by both men and Angels, therefore in the blessed sacrament.

Verse 7. Maketh his Angels, spirits: and his ministers, a flame of fire. S. Aug. on Ps. ciii., and S. Greg. hom. xxxiv. in Evang. would have the sense and construction of the words to be, who maketh the blessed spirits to be also his Angels, or messengers to announce and execute his will: (messengers and Angels signify the same in the Greek) Calvin and Beza by spirits, here understand the winds, as if the sense was only, who maketh the winds and flames of fire, that is, thunder and lightning, the messengers and instruments of his divine will, in regard of men, whom he punisheth. But this exposition agrees not with the rest of the text, nor with the design of S. Paul, which is to shew Christ above all the Angels, and above all creatures. S. Paul therefore is to be understood of Angels or angelic spirits: but then the sense may be, who maketh his Angels like the winds, or like a flame of fire, inasmuch as they execute his divine will with incredible swiftness, like the winds, and with a force and activity not unlike that of fire. Wi.

Verse 8-9. But to the Son. That is, to his Son Jesus Christ, he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever, and lasts for eternity. — A sceptre, or rod of equity, is the sceptre of thy kingdom. That is, O Christ, God and man, head of thy Church, judge of all mankind, thou shalt reward and punish all under thee with justice and equity, as thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee. Many here understand God first named, to be in the vocative case, and that the sense is: therefore thee, O God, thy God, hath anointed: thus Christ is called God. Others take God in both places to be in the nominative case, and to be only a repetition of God the Father; and the sense to be, thee Christ, God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above them that are partakers with thee: by which spiritual unction, some understand graces infused into Christ’s soul at his incarnation, by a greater plenitude of graces than was ever given to any saints whom he made partakers of his glory in heaven; others expound it of an unction of greater glory given to Christ in heaven as man, because by his sufferings and merits he had destroyed and triumphed over sin. See Estius, A. Lapide, &c. Wi.

Verse 10, &c. And again: thou in the beginning, O Lord, hast founded the earth, &c. The text, as well as the authority of interpreters, shew these words to be still spoken of the Son of God, of Christ, who was both true God and man. And though part of Ps. ci. from which these words are taken, contain a prayer to God for the restoring of the city of Jerusalem, yet in this psalm is chiefly signified the glory of Christ, and of his Church, which will be spread over all nations. See S. Chrys. Estius, A. Lapide, &c. — As a vesture shalt thou change them, &c. The apostle, in the second verse of this chapter, had said that the world was made by the Son of God: now he tells us that all created things shall wax old like a garment, shall decay and perish, (at least from their present state and condition) shall be changed; but thou, who art both God and man, art always the same, without decay or change. Wi. — The apostle here applies the work of the creation to the Son of God, and thus furnishes a clear and striking proof of his divinity, against the Unitarians. To elude this proof, some of them pretend that these verses have been fraudulently added; but they are found in all the Greek copies, and in all ancient versions of this epistle. Others try to give forced interpretations to these verses, but the words are convincingly clear to all who do not purposely shut their eyes.


2176 to 2178: The Author and Method of Composition of the Epistle to the Hebrews

Reply of the Biblical Commission, June 24, 1914

2176 I. Whether so much force is to be attributed to the doubts which inthe first centuries possessed the minds of some in the Occident regarding the divine inspiration and Pauline origin of the Epistle to the Hebrews, because of the special abuse of heretics, that, although aware of the perpetual, unanimous, and continued affirmation of the Oriental Fathers, to which was added after the fourth century the full agreement of the entire Western Church; weighing also the acts of the Highest Pontiffs and of the sacred Councils, especially of Trent, and also the perpetual practice of the universal Church, one may hesitate to classify it with certainty not only among the canonical–which is determined regarding faith–but also among the genuine epistles of the Apostle Paul?–Reply: In the negative.

2177 II. Whether the arguments which are usually drawn from the unusual absence of the name of Paul, and the omission of the customary introduction and salutation in the Epistle to the Hebrews–or from the purity of the same Greek language, the elegance and perfection of diction and style,–or from the way by which the Old Testament is cited in it and arguments made from it,–or from certain differences which supposedly existed between the doctrine of this and of the other epistles of Paul, somehow are able to weaken the Pauline origin of the same; or whether, on the other hand, the perfect agreement of doctrine and opinions, the likeness of admonitions and exhortations, and also the harmony of the phrases and of the words themselves celebrated also by some non-Catholics, which are observed between it and the other writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles, demonstrate and confirm the same Pauline origin?–Reply: In the negative to the first part; in the affirmative to the second.

2178 III. Whether the Apostle Paul is so to be considered the author of this epistle that it should necessarily be affirmed that he not only conceived and expressed it all by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but also endowed it with that form with which it stands out?–Reply: In the negative, save for a later judgment of the Church.

1672: The False Freedom of Science (against James Frohschammer)

From the epistle, "Gravissimas inter", 
to the Archbishop of Munich-Freising,
Dec. 11, 1862

For, from the divine Scriptures and from the tradition of the Holy Fathers, it is agreed indeed that the existence of God and many other truths were known [cf. Rom. 1] by the natural light of reason, even by those who had not yet received the faith, but that God alone manifested those more hidden dogmas when He wished to make known “the mystery, which had been hidden from ages and generations” [Col. 1:26]. And in such a way indeed that, “at sundry times and in diverse manners He had formerly spoken to the fathers by the prophets, last of all … He might speak to us by His Son, … by whom He also made the world” [Heb. 1:1 f.]. For “no man hath seen God at any time: the only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared Him” [John 1:18]. Therefore, the Apostle who testifies that the gentiles knew God by those things which were made, discoursing about “grace and truth” which “came by Jesus Christ” [John 1:17], says, “We speak of the wisdom of God in a mystery, a wisdom which is hidden … which none of the princes of this world know … But to us God hath revealed them by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of God. For, what man knoweth the things of man but the spirit of a man that is in him? So the things also that are of God, no man knoweth but the Spirit of God” [1 Cor. 2:7 f].

1785: The fact of positive supernatural revelation

Ecumenical XX (on Faith and the Church)
SESSION III (April 24, 1870)
Dogmatic Constitution concerning the Catholic Faith

The same Holy Mother Church holds and teaches thatGod, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certitude by the natural light of human reason from created things; “for the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” [Rom 1:20]; nevertheless, it has pleased His wisdom and goodness to reveal Himself and the eternal decrees of His will to the human race in another and supernatural way, as the Apostle says: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets, last of all, in these days hath spoken to us by His Son” [Heb.1:1 f; can. 1].

878: The Worship and Veneration to be Shown to this Most Holy Sacrament

SESSION XIII (Oct. II, 1551)
Decree On the Most Holy Eucharist

There is, therefore, no room left for doubt that all the faithful of Christ in accordance with a custom always received in the Catholic Church offer in veneration [can. 6] the worship of latriawhich is due to the true God, to this most Holy Sacrament. For it is not less to be adored because it was instituted by Christ the Lord to be received [cf. Matt. 26:26 ff.]. For we believe that same God to be present therein, of whom the eternal Father when introducing Him into the world says: “And let all the Angels of God adore Him” [Heb. 1:6; Ps. 96:7], whom the Magi “falling down adored” [cf. Matt. 2:11], who finally, as the Scripture testifies [cf. Matt. 28:17], was adored by the apostles in Galilee. The holy Synod declares, moreover, that this custom was piously and religiously introduced into the Church of God, so that this sublime and venerable sacrament was celebrated every year on a special feast day with extraordinary veneration and solemnity, and was borne reverently and with honor in processions through the streets and public places. For it is most proper that some holy days be established when all Christians may testify, with an extraordinary and unusual expression, that their minds are grateful to and mindful of their common Lord and Redeemer for such an ineffable and truly divine a favor whereby the victory and triumph of His death is represented. And thus, indeed, ought victorious truth to celebrate a triumph over falsehood and heresy, that her adversaries, placed in view of so much splendor and amid such deep joy of the universal Church, may either vanish weakened and broken, or overcome and confounded by shame may some day recover their senses.

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