[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 – 8 May 2021 – Feria in Eastertide
[Image: Great East Window, Exeter Cathedral – “I am … the bright morning star.”]
Revelation 22: 10-21
The Testimony of Our Hope
And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense, to repay every one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and fornicators and murderers and idolaters, and every one who loves and practices falsehood.
“I Jesus have sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let him who hears say, “Come.” And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price.
I warn every one who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if any one adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if any one takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.
Abbot Achard of St. Victor
Sermon: On The Coming of the Lord (Cistercian Studies 165, tr. Hugh Feiss, O.S.B.)
Come, Lord Jesus. John placed these three words at the end of his Apocalypse, at the end of the entire canonical Scriptures, in order to impress our minds more sharply and profoundly so that we might unflaggingly long for the coming of the Lord Jesus. Woe to the person who does not long for him!
Whoever loves him longs for him, and the more one loves, the greater is one’s longing. He should be deeply desired, because he will not come empty-handed, but will hold in his hand the kingdom and the ruling authority. We are asking for this kingdom when we say: Your kingdom come; that is, that we may reign in him, or rather, he in us; he in us through righteousness, we in him through beatitude.
He came first to bestow on us original righteousness, which consists of participation in the merits of Christ. Christ himself granted us his merits, so that what would have been done to him on account of them, if he had need, might be done to us. We obtain this original righteousness when we are reborn in water and the spirit; through them we are made unworthy of death and worthy of everlasting life, just as through our first birth, with which we are by nature children of wrath, we incur a certain original unrighteousness called original sin, through which we are unworthy of life and worthy of death.
My point is that he first came into flesh to confer this original righteousness on us; then he comes in spirit into our spirit to add a certain actual righteousness, which the grace of Christ effects in us, but not apart from us. First, through the grace called operant or prevenient, which works in us but apart from us, the will is healed, liberated, and given the capacity to act rightly. Then, after the will has been healed, free choice begins to act with grace. The will does not do one thing and grace another, but the will does one and the same thing grace does. This grace, with which the will co-operates, or which co-operates with the will, is called subsequent or co-operating grace. What is to co-operate if not to operate with another?
Finally, Christ will come to glorify us on account of both kinds of righteousness. He first came into flesh in order to give for us the price of our redemption, and to liberate us from the yoke of sin and wretched slavery to the devil. Then he comes in the spirit into our spirit, in order to confer on us the effect of our redemption, that is, to lead us out of prison. Finally he will come in flesh to lead us home and into all truth.