Treasures of the Faith, Part 1: Put On the Lord Jesus Christ

I live in a land where people tend to speak and read exclusively in English; God though, in His Providence, has given me the gift of learning multiple languages. Since some of those languages (such as Latin, Greek, and Italian) were the mother tongues of many of the greatest Saints in history, and since I have been granted access to grand libraries (in seminary, Religious life, and doctoral studies), I have come across treasures of the Faith that seem hidden from or even inaccessible to most of the English-speaking world. This article spearheads my attempt to dig up and to translate some of these treasures of the Faith, so that more people may use them to grow closer to Christ.

In the Latin writings of the great Franciscan Saint, Bernardine of Siena, is found the following gem. I have provided first for you the text of Romans 13:10-14, then his brief commentary which I have translated. I hope that it may be as fruitful for your meditation and inspiration as it has been for mine. May God bless you, and let us pray for each other.

Romans 13:10-14

“The love of our neighbour worketh no evil. Love therefore is the fulfilling of the law. And that knowing the season; that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is passed, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences.” (DR)

St. Bernardine of Siena

“We put on, I say, our Lord Jesus Christ,

as wool takes on color,

as air takes on light,

and as iron takes on fire:

The wool is dyed on the outside,

the air is penetrated through its very interior,

but iron is—both interiorly and exteriorly—transformed as it were

into the very nature of fire.

Show forth the color of Christ in your conversation,

the light of Christ in your knowledge of the Faith,

but the fire of Christ in your love;

for, as iron placed in the fire more truly becomes fire

than merely something on fire,

in the same way, men on fire with charity,

rather than being seen as putting it on, or being imbued with it, or even as being enkindled with it,

—to speak emphatically—

are rather seen to be charity.”

Translation, Photo, and Article by Stephen Snyder, 2019. All Rights Reserved

Original Latin Text: Induimini, inquam, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, sicut lana colorem, sicut aër lucem, sicut ferrum ignem; lana exterius tingitur, aër interius penetrator, ferrum vero in ignis naturam interius et exterius quodammodo transformatur. Colorem Christi repræsentate in conversatione, lucem in fidei cognitione, sed ignem in dilectione. Sicut enim ferrum in ignem missum magis ignis efficitur quam ignitum, sic viri ferventes caritate, vel induxi dixerim vel imbuti, caritas esse videntur potius, ut emphatice loquar, quam caritate succensi. (S. Bernardini Senensis, Serm. XLIX De Christian. Relig., De Triumphali et Magnificatione nominis gloriosi Regis Jesu, Opera Omnia, Tom. I. v. 24-31, p. 110)