And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit? Mt.6:27
First the words of the Church Fathers on the meaning of Mt. 6:27:
27. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?
PSEUD-CHRYS. Having confirmed our hope by this arguing from the greater to the less, He next confirms it by an argument from less to greater, Behold the fowls of the air, they sow not, neither do they reap.
AUG. Some argue that they ought not to labor, because the fowls of the air neither Sow nor reap. Why then do they not attend to that which follows, neither gather into barns? Why do they seek to have their hands idle, and their storehouses full? Why indeed do they grind corn, and dress it? For this do not the birds. Or even if they find men whom they can persuade to supply them day by day with victuals ready prepared, at least they draw water from the spring, and set on table for themselves, which the birds do not. But if neither are they driven to fill themselves vessels with water, then have they gone one new step of righteousness beyond those who were at that time at Jerusalem, who of corn sent to them of free gift, made, or caused to he made, loaves, which the birds do not. But not to lay up any thing for the morrow cannot be observed by those, who for many days together withdrawn from the sight of men, and suffering none to approach to them, shut themselves up, to live in much fervency of prayer. What? Will you say that the more holy men become, the more unlike the birds of the air in this respect they become? What He says respecting the birds of the air, He says to this end, that none of His servants should think that God has no thought of their wants, when they see Him so provide even for these inferior creatures. Neither is it not God that feeds those that earn their bread by their own labor; neither because God has said, Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver you, ought the Apostle therefore not to have fled, but to have remained still to have been seized, that God might save him as He did the Three Children out of the midst of the fire. Should any object in this sort to the saints in their flight from persecution, they would answer that they ought not to tempt God, and that God, if He pleased, would so do to deliver them as He had done Daniel from the lions, Peter from prison, then when they could no longer help them selves; but that in having made flight possible to them, should they be saved by flight, it was by God that they were saved. In like manner, such of God's servants as have strength to earn their food by the labor of their hands, would easily answer any who should object to them this out of the Gospel concerning the birds of the air, that they neither sow nor reap; and would say, if we by sickness or any other hindrance are not able to work, He will feed us as He feeds the birds, that work not. But when we can work, we ought not to tempt God, seeing that even this our ability is His gift; and that we live here we live of His goodness that has made us able to live; He feeds us by whom the birds of the air are fed; as He says, Your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you of much greater value?
AUG. You are of more value, because a rational animal, such as man is, is higher in the scale of nature than an irrational, such as are the birds of the air.
ID. Indeed a higher price is often given for a horse than a slave, for a jewel than for a waiting maid, but this not from reasonable valuation, but from the need of the person requiring, or rather from his pleasure desiring it.
PSEUD-CHRYS. For God created all animals for man, but man for himself; therefore by how much the more precious is the creation of man, so much the greater is God's care for him. If then the birds without toiling find food, shall man not find, to whom God has given both knowledge of labor and hope of fruitfulness?
JEROME; There be some who, seeking to go beyond the limits of their fathers, and to soar into the air, sink into the deep and are drowned. These will have the birds of the air to mean the Angels, and the other powers in the ministry of God, who without any care of their own are fed by God's providence. But if this be indeed as they would have it, how follows it, said to men, Are not you of more worth than they? It must be taken then in the plain sense; If birds that today are, and tomorrow are not, be nourished by God's providence, without thought or toil of their own, how much more men to whom eternity is promised!
HILARY; It may be said, that under the name of birds, He exhorts us by the example of the unclean spirits, to whom, without any trouble of their own in seeking and collecting it, provision of life is given by the power of the Eternal Wisdom. And to lead us to refer this to the unclean spirits, He suitably adds, Are not you of much more value than they? Thus showing the great interval between piety and wickedness.
GLOSS. He teaches us not only by the instance of the birds, but adds a further proof, that to our being and life our own care is not enough, but Divine Providence therein works; saying, Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?
PSEUD-CHRYS. For it is God who day by day works the growth of Your body, yourself not feeling it. If then the Providence of God works thus daily in your very body, how shall that Same Providence withhold from working in necessaries of life? And if by taking thought you cannot add the smallest part to your body, how shall you by taking thought be altogether saved?
AUG. Or it may be connected with what follows it; as though He should say, It was not by our care that our body was brought to its present stature; so that we may know that if we desired to add one cubit to it, we should not be able. Leave then the care of clothing that body to Him who made it to grow to its present stature.
HILARY; Otherwise; As by the example of the spirits He had fixed our faith in the supply of food for our lives, so now by a decision of common understanding He cuts off all anxiety about supply of clothing. Seeing that He it is who shall raise in one perfect man every various kind of body that ever drew breath, and is alone able to add one or two or three cubits to each man's stature; surely in being anxious concerning clothing, that is, concerning the appearance of our bodies, we offer affront to Him who will add so much to each man's stature as shall bring all to an equality.
AUG. But if Christ rose again with the same stature with which He died, it is impious to say that when the time of the resurrection of all shall come, there shall be added to His body a bigness that it had not at His own resurrection, (for He appeared to His disciples with that body in which He had been known among them,) such that He shall be equaled to the tallest among men. If again we say that all men's bodies, whether tall or short, shall be alike brought to the size and stature of the Lord's body, then much will perish from many bodies, though He has declared that not a hair shall fall. It remains therefore that each be raised in his own stature-that stature which he had in youth, if he died in old age; if in childhood that Stature to which he would have attained had he lived. For the Apostle says not, 'To the measure of the stature,' but, To the measure of the full age of Christ. For the bodies of the dead shall rise in youth and maturity; to which we know that Christ attained.
By your thoughts are you able to add to your stature by one cubit? The Answer is no.
But Roman Catholic Astronaut Scott Kelly added two inches to his stature just by residing in the darksome atmosphere:
US astronaut Scott Kelly grew TWO INCHES because his spine 'elongated' in space (but it's only temporary)
Astronaut Scott Kelly grew two inches while he was on board the International Space Station, it has been revealed - but it is only temporary. Nasa's space-endurance astronaut returned to bitterly cold Kazakhstan yesterday, along with his crew mate for the past year, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. Now it has emerged that the 52-year-old American grew in height by two inches during his marathon stint away from Earth. Daily Mail Read More>>>>>
2. Demons of the Darksome Atmosphere?
Considering that the 29,050 boundary established by the Blessed Trinity is still in effect - I would say that the Demons of the Darksome Atmosphere had a hand in giving two inches to the stature of Kelly.
God does not want man living in the habitat of Demons. So call the added two inches a punishment for Kelly.
Now for St Thomas on the Demons of the Darksome Atmosphere:
Summa Th. I EN Qu.64 a.4
Article: 4 Whether our atmosphere is the demons' place of punishment?
1. It would seem that this atmosphere is not the demons' place of punishment. For a demon is a spiritual nature. But a spiritual nature is not affected by place. Therefore there is no place of punishment for demons.
2. Further, man's sin is not graver than the demons'. But man's place of punishment is hell. Much more, therefore, is it the demons' place of punishment; and consequently not the darksome atmosphere.
3. Further, the demons are punished with the pain of fire. But there is no fire in the darksome atmosphere. Therefore the darksome atmosphere is not the place of punishment for the demons.
On the contrary Augustine says (Gn ad lit. iii, 10), that "the darksome atmosphere is as a prison to the demons until the judgment day."
I answer that The angels in their own nature stand midway between God and men. Now the order of Divine providence so disposes, that it procures the welfare of the inferior orders through the superior. But man's welfare is disposed by Divine providence in two ways: first of all, directly, when a man is brought unto good and withheld from evil; and this is fittingly done through the good angels. In another way, indirectly, as when anyone assailed is exercised by fighting against opposition. It was fitting for this procuring of man's welfare to be brought about through the wicked spirits, lest they should cease to be of service in the natural order. Consequently a twofold place of punishment is due to the demons: one, by reason of their sin, and this is hell; and another, in order that they may tempt men, and thus the darksome atmosphere is their due place of punishment. Now the procuring of men's salvation is prolonged even to the judgment day: consequently, the ministry of the angels and wrestling with demons endure until then. Hence until then the good angels are sent to us here; and the demons are in this dark atmosphere for our trial: although some of them are even now in hell, to torment those whom they have led astray; just as some of the good angels are with the holy souls in heaven. But after the judgment day all the wicked, both men and angels, will be in hell, and the good in heaven.
Reply to Objection:
1. A place is not penal to angel or soul as if affecting the nature by changing it, but as affecting the will by saddening it: because the angel or the soul apprehends that it is in a place not agreeable to its will.
2. One soul is not set over another in the order of nature, as the demons are over men in the order of nature; consequently there is no parallel.
3. Some have maintained that the pain of sense for demons and souls is postponed until the judgment day: and that the beatitude of the saints is likewise postponed until the judgment day. But this is erroneous, and contrary to the teaching of the Apostle (2Co 5,1): "If our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, we have a house in heaven." Others, again, while not admitting the same of souls, admit it as to demons. But it is better to say that the same judgment is passed upon wicked souls and wicked angels, even as on good souls and good angels.
Consequently, it must be said that, although a heavenly place belongs to the glory of the angels, yet their glory is not lessened by their coming to us, for they consider that place to be their own; in the same way as we say that the bishop's honor is not lessened while he is not actually sitting on his throne. In like manner it must be said, that although the demons are not actually bound within the fire of hell while they are in this dark atmosphere, nevertheless their punishment is none the less; because they know that such confinement is their due. Hence it is said in a gloss upon Jc 3,6: "They carry fire of hell with them wherever they go." Nor is this contrary to what is said (Lc 8,31), "They besought the Lord not to cast them into the abyss"; for they asked for this, deeming it to be a punishment for them to be cast out of a place where they could injure men. Hence it is stated, "They [Vulg. 'He'] besought Him that He would not expel them [Vulg. 'him'] out of the country" (Mc 5,10).