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—19 September 2020, Feria after the Fourteenth Sunday of Trinitytide (Saturday ~ 24th Week in Ordinary Time)
Baruch 3:9-15, 24 – 4:4
The Salvation of Israel Rests on Wisdom
Hear the commandments of life, O Israel; give ear, and learn wisdom! Why is it, O Israel, why is it that you are in the land of your enemies, that you are growing old in a foreign country, that you are defiled with the dead, that you are counted among those in Hades? You have forsaken the fountain of wisdom. If you had walked in the way of God, you would be dwelling in peace for ever. Learn where there is wisdom, where there is strength, where there is understanding, that you may at the same time discern where there is length of days, and life, where there is light for the eyes, and peace.
Who has found her place? And who has entered her storehouses?
O Israel, how great is the house of God! And how vast the territory that he possesses! It is great and has no bounds; it is high and immeasurable. The giants were born there, who were famous of old, great in stature, expert in war. God did not choose them, nor give them the way to knowledge; so they perished because they had no wisdom, they perished through their folly.
Who has gone up into heaven, and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds? Who has gone over the sea, and found her, and will buy her for pure gold? No one knows the way to her, or is concerned about the path to her. But he who knows all things knows her, he found her by his understanding. He who prepared the earth for all time filled it with four-footed creatures; he who sends forth the light, and it goes, called it, and it obeyed him in fear; the stars shone in their watches, and were glad; he called them, and they said, “Here we are!” They shone with gladness for him who made them. This is our God; no other can be compared to him! He found the whole way to knowledge, and gave her to Jacob his servant and to Israel whom he loved. Afterward she appeared upon earth and lived among men.
She is the book of the commandments of God, and the law that endures for ever. All who hold her fast will live, and those who forsake her will die. Turn, O Jacob, and take her; walk toward the shining of her light. Do not give your glory to another, or your advantages to an alien people. Happy are we, O Israel, for we know what is pleasing to God.
St. Cyril of Alexandria
Against Those Unwilling to Confess the Theotokos 7
Jeremiah expressly cries out, this is our God, and no other shall be compared with him; he found in every way of knowledge and gave it to Jacob this child and to Israel his beloved; and after these things, he appeared on earth and lived among men. David the hymn-writer also sings, Mother Zion will say: and a man was born in her, and the Most High himself established her.
What else could this mean but that he exists as God and man? For David confessed the same one to be man and the Most High and the Founder. And in another psalm, we find him preserving no less the principle of the indivisibility of the union and attributing again the things, which are proper to the humanity of the very Logos of God. This is not the result of confusion of their essences, but rather of clearly perceiving the reason of the union of the essences. For he speaks in this way in the forty-fourth psalm, ‘Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever; the sceptre of your kingdom is a sceptre of righteousness; you have loved righteousness and hated injustice; therefore, God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your fellows.’ Do you see how he spoke of the Logos as God, confessed him to be God and King, but did not divide him, nor introduce another person in addition to him? Do you see how he spoke of the anointing? Let them then explain this saying. How was the Logos, being God, anointed except by virtue of the fact that he put on the form of the servant, which would be appropriate to the reception of anointing? But, if they say that the anointing is spoken of the person of the Logos because of his indwelling in the man, as they are deceived into saying, let them learn that indwelling is not said with reference to Christ, but with reference to the prophets and the saints, and so, the saying in the psalm greatly surpasses the terms of the indwelling. For, while God dwells in all the saints, and they are consequently sanctified and anointed, he is not himself said to be sanctified and anointed. If, then, they apply the indwelling to him in a similar manner as in the saints, their blasphemy will be obvious to everyone, and it will be clear that their teaching is entirely alien to the apostolic teaching.