Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Philippians 4:6-9

This post begins with a brief analysis of Philippians 4 followed by comments on verses 6-9. Text in purple represent MacEvilly’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.


In this chapter, the Apostle exhorts the Philippians to persevere in Christian virtue (1), to practise concord and charity (2, 3); to rejoice always, notwithstanding their afflictions (4); to display a mild evenness of conduct, free from all extremes of passion (5); in every occurrence, to exercise acts of petition to God for future blessings, and thanksgiving for the past (6). He wishes them an increase of interior peace and joy (8). He sums up all his moral precepts, and exhorts them to the practice of everything good and praiseworthy (8–10). He commends their past and present liberality towards himself, and this he values not so much on account of being placed thereby beyond the reach of want, as on account of the charity manifested on their part; for, as to himself, he was enabled by God’s grace, to accommodate himself to every turn of fortune, as well in enduring want and privation, as in enjoying abundance (11–17). He concludes with the usual salutation, wishing them the full enjoyment of all spiritual blessings.

Phil 4:6 Be nothing solicitous: but in every thing, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God.

Therefore, be not over anxious for the concerns of this world, but in every occurrence, by fervent supplications and entreaties for future blessings, as well as by acts of thanksgiving for the past, let your petitions be offered up in such a way as to please God, and cause him to lend an ear to them.

Since the Lord is shortly to come from heaven to judge us, and to crown our patience, we should betray no excessive solicitude as regards the sufferings of this life, The words of this verse are a consequence of the words of the preceding verse: “the Lord is nigh,” as he is soon to come to judge us, we should show no excessive anxiety for the things of this life.

Phil 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

And may the interior tranquility and consolation of God’s spirit, consequent on the performance of good actions, which surpasses all understanding, guard your wills, your intellects and entire hearts, against all fears and anxieties whatever, that might lead you astray from virtue and the service of Christ Jesus.

MacEvilly offers no comment on this verse beyond what is provided in the paraphrase.

Phil 4:8 For the rest, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever modest, whatsoever just, whatsoever holy, whatsoever lovely, whatsoever of good fame, if there be any virtue, if any praise of discipline: think on these things.

To bring to a conclusion, and sum up in a word all my moral precepts, whatever things are true—either as opposed to falsehood in language or dissimulation in action—whatever things are brave, becoming, and honourable in conduct; whatever things tend to establish and preserve the relations of justice towards our neighbour; whatever things are chaste and pure from all carnal defilement; whatever things tend to beget the love and well-grounded esteem of others: whatever things are calculated to insure a good reputation; if there be anything that is regarded as virtuous and good; any mode of living that is praiseworthy; make these things the subject of your consideration, so that you may know how to practise them, with the greatest advantage, in proper time and circumstances.

He sums up all his precepts in this one, which is a most comprehensive precept of morality. “Whatsoever modest.” In Greek, σεμνα (semna), grave, or venerable. “Whatsoever holy.” In Greek, ἁγνα (hagna), the meaning of which is, chaste. For it, probably αγια (hagia), “holy,” might have been inserted., “Of good fame.” The first of earthy goods is a good reputation, “habe curam de bono nomine.”—Sirach 41:13

Phil 4:9 The things which you have both learned and received and heard and seen in me, these do ye: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Whatever things you have learned from me when instructing you, or received from me by writing, or heard of me when absent, or seen done by me when present; do these things, and the God of peace will be always with you—imparting and communicating his blessings to you.

The things that I have preached, written, spoken, and exemplified in my conduct, these things do.

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One Response to Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Philippians 4:6-9

  1. Pingback: Commentaries for the Twenty-Seventh Sunday in Ordainry Time, Year A | stjoeofoblog

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