[Consonant with both Anglicanism’s and monasticism’s love of patristic theology-spirituality, I occasionally post selections from Durham University’s two-year lectionary for the Divine Office that draws mostly from patristic writings. The lectionary was initially edited by Stephen Mark Holmes (University of Edinburgh School of Divinity) and subsequently re-edited and formatted by Michele Freyhauf (Durham University). Click here for the link to the lectionary.]
Patristic Lectionary—6 June 2020, Saturday in Whitsun Week (9th Week in Ordinary Time)
[The image is of the Cross inscribed on a page from the Lindisfarne Gospels. Northumbria, England. ca. 698-721 CE. Early Medieval, Hiberno-Saxon.]
Galatians 5:25 – 6:18
Advice About Charity and Zeal
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if any one thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbour. For each man will have to bear his own load.
Let him who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.
Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that would compel you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For even those who receive circumcision do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh. But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God. Henceforth let no man trouble me; for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brethren. Amen.
Sermon 160.4-5 (Patrologia Latina 38:85-6)
Far be it from me to boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. He could have said, in the wisdom of our Lord Jesus Christ: and he would have spoken the truth. Or he could have said, in the majesty – and again spoken the truth. But in fact he said: in the cross. Where the worldly-wise philosopher is abashed, there the Apostle finds his treasure: by not despising the unprepossessing outer husk he gets through to the precious centre. Not for me, he says, to boast, save in the cross of Christ. You have borne a fine burden; and there is everything you sought: what there was of significance hidden there, that you have now revealed. What help did he get? Through whom, he says, the world is crucified to me and I to the world. When could the world have been crucified to you, except when he through whom the world was made was crucified for you? He who boasts, then, let him make his boast in the Lord. What Lord? Christ crucified. Where there is humility, there also is majesty; where there is weakness, there also is strength; where there is death, there is life. If you wish to arrive at the latter, do not despise the former.
You have heard about the sons of Zebedee, in the Gospel. They sought the high places of preferment, asking that one of them might sit at the right hand of the great leader, and the other on his left. They were asking for great rank indeed: but because they relented, Christ called them from where they wished to go to that place whither they must go. What does he say, to those who sought such eminence? Can you drink of the chalice that I am to drink?
What chalice is that, unless it be that of humility and suffering? As he is about to drink it and change our infirmity in his own person, he says to the Father: Father, if it might be so, grant that this cup might pass from me. Changing those people into his own likeness who refused to drink his cup and instead sought the high places, ignoring the path of humility, he says this: Can you indeed drink the cup which I am to drink? You who seek Christ exalted and glorified, go back to Christ crucified. You wish to reign and to be glorified in Christ’s resting place. But first learn to say: It is not for me to glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is the Christian teaching, the precept of humility, the commendation of humility: that we should not glory, save in the cross of Christ. For it is not saying much if you glory in Christ’s wisdom: but it is if you glory in Christ’s cross. Where the impious revile you, there the pious soul makes his boast; where the proud man reviles him, there the Christian makes his boast. Do not be ashamed of Christ’s cross: you have taken the mark of it on your brow, in an embarrassing place. Remember what you have on your brow, for all to see, and be not in fear of idle tongues.