Patristic Lectionary—24 October 2020, Feria after the Nineteenth Sunday of Trinitytide (Saturday ~ 29th Week in Ordinary Time)

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 October 2020, Feria after the Nineteenth Sunday of Trinitytide (Saturday ~ 29th Week in Ordinary Time)

[The image is of Sandro Botticelli’s “Saint Augustine in His Study” (1480), in the Chiesa di Ognissanti, Florence, Italy]

Sirach 51:1-12

A Hymn of Thanksgiving

I will give thanks to thee, O Lord and King, and will praise thee as God my Saviour. I give thanks to thy name, for thou hast been my protector and helper and hast delivered my body from destruction and from the snare of a slanderous tongue, from lips that utter lies. Before those who stood by thou wast my helper and didst deliver me, in the greatness of thy mercy and of thy name, from the gnashings of teeth about to devour me, from the hand of those who sought my life, from the many afflictions that I endured, from choking fire on every side and from the midst of fire which I did not kindle, from the depths of the belly of Hades, from an unclean tongue and lying words – the slander of an unrighteous tongue to the king. My soul drew near to death, and my life was very near to Hades beneath. They surrounded me on every side, and there was no one to help me; I looked for the assistance of men, and there was none. Then I remembered thy mercy, O Lord, and thy work from of old, that thou dost deliver those who wait for thee and dost save them from the hand of their enemies. And I sent up my supplication from the earth and prayed for deliverance from death. I appealed to the Lord, the Father of my lord, not to forsake me in the days of affliction, at the time when there is no help against the proud. I will praise thy name continually and will sing praise with thanksgiving. My prayer was heard, for thou didst save me from destruction and rescue me from an evil plight. Therefore I will give thanks to thee and praise thee, and I will bless the name of the Lord.

St. Augustine

Enarrationes in Psalmos, 90, II.2 (Corpus Christianorum Latina 39:1267)

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the protection of the Almighty. I commend these lines to you, so that none may place their hope in themselves, but put all their hope in him in whom our strength lies. We conquer by virtue of his shelter, not of our own presumption. Therefore the Almighty protects us if we say the next words to the Lord: He will say to the Lord: You are my helper and my refuge, my God, in whom 1 shall trust; for he will save me from the hunter’s trap and from the harsh word. I emphasise this; for in their fear of the harsh word many people fall into the hunter’s trap.

You are taunted for being a Christian and are sorry you became a Christian, and because of a harsh word you fall into the devil’s trap. You are even taunted for living a better life than most Christians, and because you are afraid of the taunters and their harsh words you fall into the devil’s snares, so as not to be wheat on the threshing-floor but to follow the chaff. But one who trusts in God is saved from the hunter’s trap and the harsh word.

But how does God protect you? He will cover you between his shoulders; that is, he will hold you to his heart, to protect you with his wings; provided only that you acknowledge your weakness, so that you flee like a weak little chicken under the wings of your mother, to avoid being snatched away by the kite. For the powers of the air, the devil and his angels, are kites; they are bent on seizing our weakness. Let us flee under the wings of our mother Wisdom, for even Wisdom herself became weak for our sake; for the Word became flesh. Just as the hen becomes weak with her chickens, to protect them with her wings, so our Lord Jesus Christ, who, since he was in the form of God, did not think equality with God was something to be seized, to become weak with us and protect us with his wings, emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, made in human likeness and found in human appearance. And you will find refuge under his wings.

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