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—24 August 2020, St. Bartholomew
[The image is from André Thévet’s Les vrais pourtraits et vies des hommes illustrés grec, latins et payens (1584)]
The Letter of St. Paul to Titus 2:1 – 3:2
Exhortations to the Faithful
But as for you, teach what befits sound doctrine. Bid the older men be temperate, serious, sensible, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Bid the older women likewise to be reverent in behaviour, not to be slanderers or slaves to drink; they are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be discredited. Likewise urge the younger men to control themselves. Show yourself in all respects a model of good deeds, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, and sound speech that cannot be censured, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us. Bid slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to be refractory, nor to pilfer, but to show entire and true fidelity, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour.
For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for any honest work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarrelling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all men.
St. Clement of Alexandria
Exhortation to the Greeks (Cohortatio ad Gentes, Patrologia Graeca, 8:59-63)
We should live reasonable, honest, and devout lives in this present age, as we wait for the manifestation of the glory of our great God.
The Lord has mercy on us, trains, exhorts and warns, preserves and guards us. He rewards us for our learning more than we could deserve with his promise of the kingdom of heaven, his sole return from us being our salvation. For while evil lives on the destruction of mankind, truth, like the bee, harms nothing in nature, and glories only in the salvation of men.
So you have the Lord’s promise and his love for man; it is yours to partake of that grace. And you need not imagine that my song of salvation is something new, like a new piece of furniture or a new house, for as Scripture says: He was before the morning star; and: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Our own existence dates from before the foundation of the world; because of our future destiny our being began in God himself. It is to the Word of God that we owe our creation as rational beings, and through him that we belong to eternity, because: In the beginning was the Word. So in respect of his eternal nature the Word was and is the divine beginning of all things; but because he has now taken the name of Christ, a name consecrated long ago and worthy of his kingly power, for that reason I call my song new.
This Word then, the Christ, is he to whom we owe our life from of old, and the goodness of that life, by the fact that he appeared himself to men. This Word, who alone is both God and man, in teaching us to live rightly on earth conveys us to eternal life. For in the words of that holy Apostle of the Lord: The saving grace of God has appeared to all, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly desires, and to live reasonable, honest, and devout lives in this present age, as we wait for our blessed hope, the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
This is the new song of the Word, who was in the beginning, and who has now appeared on earth, our pre-existent Saviour. The Word who was with God, and by whom all things were made, has appeared as our Teacher. The Word, who, as Creator, made us in the beginning and gave us life, taught us how to live rightly when he came as our teacher, so that later as God he might grant us immortal life.