Translation of the Holy Gospel According to Mark
At that time, when there was a great multitude with Jesus, and they had nothing to eat, calling His disciples together, He saith to them: I have compassion on the multitude, for behold they have now been with Me three days, and have nothing to eat and if I shall send them away fasting to their home, they will faint in the way: for some of them came from afar off. And His disciples answered Him: From whence can any one fill them here with bread in the wilderness? And he asked them: How many loaves have ye? Who said: Seven. And He commanded the people to sit down on the ground. And taking the seven loaves, giving thanks, He broke and gave to His disciples to set before the people. And they had a few little fishes, and He blessed them, and commanded them to be set before them. And they did eat, and were filled: and they took up that which was left of the fragments, seven baskets: and they that had eaten, were about four thousand: and He sent them away.
A Message From St. Augustine’s Sermon 95
In expounding to you the Holy Scriptures, I as it were break bread for you. Do ye in hunger receive it, and break forth with a fulness of phrase from the heart; and ye who are rich in your banquet, be not meager in good works and deeds. What I deal out to you is not mine own. What ye eat, I eat; what ye live upon, I live upon. We have in heaven a common store-house; for from thence comes, the Word of God.
The seven loaves signify the seven-fold operation of the Holy Spirit; the four thousand men, the Church established on the four Gospels; the seven baskets of fragments, the perfection of the Church. For by this number very constantly is perfection figured. For whence is that which is said, seven times in a day will I praise thee? Does a man sin who does not praise the Lord so often? What then is seven times will I praise, but I will never cease from praise? For he who says seven times, signifies all time. Whence in this world there are continual revolutions of seven days. What then is seven times in a day will I praise Thee, but what is said in another place, His praise shall always be in my mouth? With reference to this perfection, John writes to seven Churches. The Apocalypse is a book of St. John the Evangelist; and he writes to seven Churches. Be ye hungered; own ye these baskets. For those fragments were not lost; but seeing that ye too belong to the Church, they have surely profited you. In that I explain this to you, I minister to Christ; and when ye hear peaceably, ye sit down. I in my body sit, but in my heart I am standing, and ministering to you in anxiety; lest peradventure, not the food, but the vessel offend any of you. Ye know the feast of God, ye have often heard it, that it is for the heart, not for the belly.
Of a truth four thousand men were filled by seven loaves; what is more wonderful than this! Yet even this were not enough, had not seven baskets also been filled with the fragments that remained. O great mysteries! they were works, and the works spake. If thou understand these doings, they are words. And ye too belong to the four thousand, because ye live under the fourfold Gospel. To this number the children and women did not belong. For so it is said, And they that did eat were four thousand men, excepting women and children. As though the void of understanding, and the effeminate were without number. Yet let even these eat. Let them eat: it may be the children will grow, and will be children no more; it may be the effeminate will be amended, and become chaste. Let them eat; we dispense, we deal out to them. But who these are, God inspecteth His feast, and if they do not amend themselves, He who knew how to invite them thither, knoweth also how to separate them from the rest.