Wisdom of Solomon 9:15

For the corruptible body presseth down the soul, and the earthy tabernacle weigheth down the mind that museth upon many things.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
"Praise the Lord, my soul." Your soul will answer you, I will praise him as best I can, poorly, feebly, weakly. Why? Because as long as we are united to the body we are in exile, far from the Lord. Why do you praise the Lord in this manner, not giving him a perfect and continuous praise? Ask the Scriptures. It is because "the corruptible body weighs down the soul, and the earthly dwelling burdens the mind with many thoughts." Take from me this body that weighs down the soul, and I will praise the Lord. Free me from this dwelling that pushes the mind downward with its many thoughts. From a multitude of things I will recollect myself into unity"then I will praise the Lord. But, as long as I am as I am, I cannot praise him. I am too weighed down. And what then? Will you remain silent and refuse to praise the Lord perfectly? "I will praise the Lord in my life." - "Expositions of the Psalms 145.6"

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
We are human beings who carry the weight of the flesh along the paths of this life and who, though we are reborn from the seed of the Word of God, have nonetheless been renewed in Christ in such a way as to not yet be entirely stripped of Adam. In fact, it seems clear and evident that what is mortal and corruptible in us, weighing down the soul, comes from Adam. What is spiritual in us, lifting the soul, is the gift and mercy of God. He sent his only Son so that he might share with us in our death and lead us to his immortality. - "Tractates on the Gospel of John 21.1"

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
No knowledge can occur if there are not already objects to be known, and these objects exist in the Word, through whom all things were created, prior to their existing in all the beings that have been made. Human intelligence thus first perceives creatures with the senses of the body, forming a concept of them according to the capacity of human weakness. It then looks for causes, through which it can arrive at what resides originally and immutably in the Word of God, in this way coming to see with the intellect the invisible perfections of God in the works he has made. With what slowness and difficulty this happens, and how long it takes, on account of the corruptible body that weighs down the soul"even when the one who is ignorant is captivated by a most fervent desire to pursue it with insistence and perseverance! Angelic intelligence, by contrast, is united to the Word of God through pure charity. After being created according to the hierarchy from which all other creatures would pr...

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
"Therefore we groan in our present state, desirous to be clothed with our heavenly body." Thus we groan, as those weighed down by corruption. We long to put on the dwelling that is on high and that comes from heaven, which is to say immortality. We groan, not seeking freedom from what now exists but rather asking that it be clothed with incorruptibility, which is a dwelling not made by human hands. "And if we have clothed ourselves with it, we will not be found naked." It is indeed true that "a corruptible body weighs down the soul." Let us make the oppression of this corruption an occasion for groaning. Let us long to put on the dwelling that is above and comes from heaven, that is, immortality. What, then, does "to put on" mean, if not that incorruptibility will encompass the present body? - "Fragment on 2 Corinthians 5.2"

Fulgentius of Ruspe

AD 533
Tears that spring from compunction of heart defeat the enemy and gain for us the gift of a victorious happiness. In fact, those who "go out weeping, scattering their seeds, will return rejoicing, carrying their sheaves." How wisely the holy prophet teaches that the seeds of good works must be watered with rivers of tears! And in fact, no seed germinates without being watered. Nor does a seed bear fruit if it has been without the benefit of water. Thus we also, if we wish to harvest the fruits of our seeds, should not cease watering them with tears, which should spring from the heart rather than the body. This, in fact, is why we are told through the prophet to rend our hearts, not our garments. And we can do this only if we recall that we often sin, if not in deeds, at least in our thoughts. Since "the earthly tabernacle oppresses the mind, which stirs up many thoughts," and our earth does not cease to germinate thorns and difficulties for us, in the end we cannot eat our bread if we h...

Leo of Rome

AD 461
Then the Lord says, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." The earth has been promised to the gentle and the meek, the humble and the modest, those willing to put up with every kind of injury. And one should not think that this inheritance is small or to be disdained, as if it were something distinct from our heavenly dwelling, given that it is not said that anyone else will enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, the earth promised to the meek, and as a possession to the gentle, is the flesh of the saints, which will be transformed by a joyous resurrection on account of their humility and clothed with the glory of immortality. And it will no longer be opposed to the spirit in anything, finding the harmony of a perfect unity with the will of the soul. Then the exterior person will be the tranquil and uncontested possession of the interior. Then the mind that seeks to see God will no longer be impeded by human weakness. And it will no longer be necessary to say, "A co...


AD 606
The saints are certain of their hope, even if, as the Psalmist gives them voice, they always fear temptation. "Let my heart rejoice that it may fear your name." Note that it does not say, "Let my heart rejoice because it feels secure," but "Let it rejoice that it may fear." They remember, in fact, that though their works may have been successful, they are still in this life, about which Job says, "Life on earth is a trial." They have also remembered what is written, "A corruptible body weighs down the soul, and the earthy tent burdens the mind with many thoughts." They have remembered and they fear, and they don"t dare convince themselves they are secure. Rather, poised between the joy of hope and the fear of temptation, they trust and they fear, they feel comforted and they hesitate, they are certain and uncertain. - "Exposition on the Old and New Testament 179, On Psalm 85.11"

Peter Chrysologus

AD 450
"How many of my father"s servants have bread in abundance, while here I am dying of hunger!" Hunger calls back those whom surfeit had scattered. Hunger made him recognize the father, whom abundance had led to see only the parent. And if involuntary hunger bore such fruit, find out for yourselves what voluntary fasting can produce. A full belly spurs the heart to vice, oppressing the mind so that it cannot taste heavenly piety. "The body," it says, "which decays, weighs down the soul and burdens the mind, which harbors many thoughts." Thus also the Lord says, "Do not let your hearts be weighed down with carousing and drunkenness." The stomach must therefore be kept empty with the temperance of fasting. The lightened soul can then tend upward, rising to virtues and freeing itself, winging toward the author of piety. This is confirmed by Elijah, who, purified by continual fasting, rose from the weight of the flesh toward heaven, conquering death. - "Sermons 2.1"

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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