Patristic Lectionary—17 October 2020, Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop, Martyr

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—17 October 2020, Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop, Martyr

[This image is posted as a representation of Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom.  But I found no information about the statue in my online search.  Any information on the statue would be appreciated.]

Sirach 24:1-22

Wisdom in Creation and in the History of Israel

Wisdom will praise herself and will glory in the midst of her people. In the assembly of the Most High she will open her mouth, and in the presence of his host she will glory: “I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and covered the earth like a mist. I dwelt in high places, and my throne was in a pillar of cloud. Alone I have made the circuit of the vault of heaven and have walked in the depths of the abyss. In the waves of the sea, in the whole earth, and in every people and nation I have gotten a possession. Among all these I sought a resting place; I sought in whose territory I might lodge.

“Then the Creator of all things gave me a commandment, and the one who created me assigned a place for my tent. And he said, ‘Make your dwelling in Jacob, and in Israel receive your inheritance.’ From eternity, in the beginning, he created me, and for eternity I shall not cease to exist. In the holy tabernacle I ministered before him, and so I was established in Zion. In the beloved city likewise he gave me a resting place, and in Jerusalem was my dominion. So I took root in an honoured people, in the portion of the Lord, who is their inheritance.

“I grew tall like a cedar in Lebanon, and like a cypress on the heights of Hermon. I grew tall like a palm tree in Enge’di and like rose plants in Jericho; like a beautiful olive tree in the field, and like a plane tree I grew tall. Like cassia and camel’s thorn I gave forth the aroma of spices, and like choice myrrh I spread a pleasant odour, like galbanum, onycha, and stacte, and like the fragrance of frankincense in the tabernacle. Like a terebinth I spread out my branches, and my branches are glorious and graceful. Like a vine I caused loveliness to bud, and my blossoms became glorious and abundant fruit.

“Come to me, you who desire me, and eat your fill of my produce. For the remembrance of me is sweeter than honey, and my inheritance sweeter than the honeycomb. Those who eat me will hunger for more, and those who drink me will thirst for more. Whoever obeys me will not be put to shame, and those who work with my help will not sin.”

St. Augustine

De Trinitate (On the Trinity), 7.3 (Fathers of the Church, tr. Stephen McKenna, 1963)

Why is it that Scripture hardly ever mentions wisdom, except to point out that it has been either begotten or made by God? That is to say, it was begotten, through which all things were made; but it was created or made, as in men, when they turn to and are enlightened by that wisdom, which was not created or made but begotten. Then something is brought about in them which may be called their wisdom, which the Scriptures foretell and describe when they say: The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. For Christ became our wisdom in this way when he became man.

Is it for this reason, then, that wisdom does not speak in those books, or say anything about itself, except to show that it was born or made by God, although the Father himself is also wisdom, because wisdom was to be commended to and indicated by us, since we ourselves were to be formed by imitating it?

The Son, who is wisdom, is from the Father, who is wisdom, light from light and God from God. And the Father singly is light and the Son singly is light; the Father singly is God and the Son singly is God. Consequently, the Father singly is wisdom and the Son singly is wisdom. And as both together are one light and one God, so both together are one wisdom. But the Son has been made for us wisdom from God, and justice and sanctification, because we turn ourselves to him temporally, that is, from some particular time, in order to remain with him eternally. For he himself at a certain moment of time was the Word made flesh that dwelt among us.

Therefore, when anything concerning wisdom is said or recorded in the Scriptures, whether wisdom itself speaks or anything is said of it, then the Son is particularly meant. And with the example of this image before us, let us also not depart from God. For we are, likewise, the image of God, not indeed an equal image, since it was made by the Father through the Son, not born of the Father as that is. And we are so, because we are enlightened by the light, but he is the light that enlightens. And, therefore, this image is an example for us without itself having an example. For he does not imitate anyone who comes before him in respect to the Father, from whom he is wholly inseparable, since he has the same essence with him from whom he is. But by our striving we imitate him who remains and follow him who stands; when we walk in him, we tend towards him, because by his humility he has been made a road for us in time, in order that by his divinity he might be for us a mansion in eternity.

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