[Consonant with both Anglicanism’s and monasticism’s love of patristic theology-spirituality, I occasionally post selections from a 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. When there are lacunae in the Durham edition, I draw from R. M. Healey’s edition. Click here for the link to his formatting of the lectionary.]
Patristic Lectionary – 18 January 2021—Ferial Day Following the Second Sunday After Epiphany; Monday, Second Week in Ordinary Time
The image, by Theophilia (Cecilia Lawrence), is her icon of “St. Paul the Apostle”]
Humankind’s Justification through Christ
Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.
While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Not only so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received our reconciliation.
St. Augustine of Hippo
Tractatus in Evangelio Johannis 32.9 (Corpus Christianorum Latina 36:305-6)
To learn that the love of which we speak belongs to the Holy Spirit, listen to St. Paul, when he says, The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Why, then, was it the will of the Lord, that he gave the Spirit only after his Resurrection, seeing what great benefits are given to us when the Spirit is poured into our hearts? What is the meaning of this? It was so that in our earnest desire for our own resurrection we should be detached from the world in order to hasten towards God. Let us not set our hearts on anything here, where we are born, and where we die. Rather, by love let us pass from hence, and through that love we have for God, dwell in heaven through love. In our pilgrimage through this life let our hearts be set only on this, that we are not to stay in this world for ever, but by living a good life, there shall be prepared for us a dwelling place from which we will never depart. Our Lord Jesus Christ, since he is risen again, dies no more. As St. Paul says, Death no longer has any dominion over him. This is where we must set our love.
See what the Lord has promised us, instead. Not earthly and temporal riches, not honour and power in the world. For these things are given to evil men, so that good men may think less of them. He has not promised bodily health, which he gives even to animals. Not a long life, for how can that be called long, which comes to an end? He has not promised us believers long life, or old age, as if they were something important. After all, people wish to live to old age, but when it comes, they find it a matter for grumbling. He has not promised physical beauty, which disease, or that longed-for old age destroy. People wish to be beautiful, and want to live to old age, but the two desires are not compatible! If you live to be old, you will not be beautiful. When old age comes, beauty flees away. Flourishing beauty and old age with its complaints are not found together in one body. Christ has promised none of these things. Rather, what he has promised is that those who believe in him should come to him and drink. From his heart flow streams of living water. He has promised us eternal life, where we shall no longer be afraid, suffer no disturbance.
We shall never pass from thence, for there will be no dying or weeping for one who is dead, while at the same time hoping for someone to succeed the person who has died. Such things he has promised us: things which fill us with fervent love, the gift of the Holy Spirit. That is why it was not his good pleasure to give us his Spirit until he had been glorified. In his Risen Body he shows us the life which we do not yet possess, but which we hope to have through our own Resurrection.