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—12 September 2020, Feria after the Thirteenth Sunday of Trinitytide (Saturday ~ 23rd Week in Ordinary Time); The Most Holy Name of Mary
The Letter of St. Jude 1-8, 12-13, 17-25
A Denunciation of the Wicked and an Exhortation to the Faithful
Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, to those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:
May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Now I desire to remind you, though you were once for all fully informed, that he who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Yet in like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones. These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they boldly carouse together, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, carried along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars for whom the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved for ever.
But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Saviour through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.
St. Bede the Venerable
In Iudam 5, 20-24 (Cistercian Studies 82, tr. Hurst, 1985)
But I wish to remind you who once knew all things, namely, knew all the hidden mysteries of faith, and had no need to hear novelties from new teachers as if they were more holy, that Jesus saved the people from the land of Egypt and afterward destroyed those who did not believe. He is referring not to Jesus the son of Nun but to our Lord, showing first that he did not have his beginning at his birth from the holy virgin, as the heretics have wished to assert, but existed as the eternal God for the salvation of all believers, according to the mystery of his name. For in Egypt he first so saved the humble who cried out to him from their affliction that he might afterward bring low the proud who murmured against him in the desert. He stresses this so much that we may remember even now that he so saves believers through the waters of baptism, which the Red Sea foreshadowed, that he demands a humble life of us even after baptism. He demands from us a life separated from the filth of vices, as was rightly foreshadowed by the hidden way of life of the desert. If anyone actually profane this life either by departing from the faith or by acting evilly, being turned away in heart to Egypt, he will deserve not to reach the promised fatherland of the kingdom but to perish among the ungodly.
But you, dearly beloved, build yourselves on your most holy faith, pray in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God. We pray in the Holy Spirit when pierced by divine inspiration we request help from on high to receive the good things which we are unable to acquire of ourselves. Blessed Jude, therefore, advises us so to build ourselves up on the foundation of our holy faith, so as to join ourselves as living stones to the house of God which is the Church. We must never presume on our own strength but must hope in the help of divine protection, lest anyone, according to the teaching of Pelagius, declare that he can be saved on his own.
Hating even that stained garment which is fleshly. He calls our body our fleshly garment. We ought not, however, to hate our body but we ought to hate it in every way it is stained and see to it, as far as we are able, that we render it stainless, so that from being fleshly it may deserve to be made spiritual.