Patristic Lectionary – 21 October 2021 – Thursday, Twentieth Week in Trinitytide

Patristic Lectionary – 21 October 2021 – Thursday, Twentieth Week in Trinitytide

[Consonant with both Anglicanism’s and monasticism’s love of patristic theology-spirituality, this is a series of occasional 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.  R. M. Healey’s edition is also used if there are lacunae in the Durham edition.  Click here for the link to Healey’s formatting of the lectionary.]

[Image: St. Ignatius of Antioch.  Episcopal National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.  “Suffer me to become food for the wild beasts, through whose instrumentality it will be granted me to attain to God. I am the wheat of God, and let me be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ. Rather entice the wild beasts, that they may become my tomb, and may leave nothing of my body; so that when I have fallen asleep [in death], I may be no trouble to any one. Then shall I truly be a disciple of Christ, when the world shall not see so much as my body.”  St Ignatius of Antioch, martyred in 108.]

Habakkuk 2:5-20

Curses Against the Oppressors

“Moreover, wine is treacherous; the arrogant man shall not abide. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations, and collects as his own all peoples.”

Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, in scoffing derision of him, and say, “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own – for how long? – and loads himself with pledges!” Will not your debtors suddenly arise, and those awake who will make you tremble? Then you will be booty for them. Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you, for the blood of men and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell therein.

Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the reach of harm! You have devised shame to your house by cutting off many peoples; you have forfeited your life. For the stone will cry out from the wall, and the beam from the woodwork respond.

Woe to him who builds a town with blood, and founds a city on iniquity! Behold, is it not from the LORD of hosts that peoples labour only for fire, and nations weary themselves for nought? For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Woe to him who makes his neighbours drink of the cup of his wrath, and makes them drunk, to gaze on their shame! You will be sated with contempt instead of glory. Drink, yourself, and stagger! The cup in the LORD’s right hand will come around to you, and shame will come upon your glory! The violence done to Lebanon will overwhelm you; the destruction of the beasts will terrify you, for the blood of men and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell therein.

What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For the workman trusts in his own creation when he makes dumb idols! Woe to him who says to a wooden thing, Awake; to a dumb stone, Arise! Can this give revelation? Behold, it is overlaid with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in it.

But the LORD is in his holy Temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.

St. Ignatius of Antioch

Letter to the Ephesians 9, 12-13, 15-16 (Ancient Christian Writers 1, tr. James Kleist [1946])

I have heard of certain persons passing through Ephesus whose doctrine was bad. These you did not permit to sow their seed among you; you stopped your ears, so as not to receive the seed sown by them. You consider yourselves stones of the Father’s temple, prepared for the edifice of God the Father, to be taken aloft by the hoisting engine of Jesus Christ, that is, the Cross, while the Holy Spirit serves you as a rope; your faith is your spiritual windlass and your love the road which leads up to God. And thus you all are fellow travellers, God-bearers and temple-bearers, Christ-bearers and bearers of holiness, with the commandments of Jesus Christ for festal attire. At this I am jubilant, privileged as I am to converse with you through this letter, and to congratulate you because in your otherworldliness you have nothing but God alone.

I know who I am and to whom I am writing. I have been condemned, you have been spared; I am in danger, you are in perfect safety. You are the highway of God’s martyrs. You are fellow initiates and worthy of every felicitation, in whose footsteps I wish to be found when I come to meet God, and who in an entire epistle remembers you in Christ Jesus.

Make an effort, then, to meet more frequently to celebrate God’s Eucharist and to offer praise. For, when you meet frequently in the same place, the forces of Satan are overthrown, and his baneful influence is neutralized by the unanimity of your faith. Peace is a precious thing: it puts an end to every war waged by heavenly or earthly enemies.

It is better to keep silence and be something than to talk and be nothing. Teaching is an excellent thing, provided the speaker practises what he teaches. Now, there is one Teacher who spoke and it was done. But even what he did silently is worthy of the Father. He who has made the words of Jesus really his own is able also to hear his silence. Thus he will be perfect: he will act through his speech and be understood through his silence. Nothing is hidden from the Lord; no, even our secrets reach him. Let us, then, do all things in the conviction that he dwells in us. Thus we shall be his temples and he will be our God within us. And this is the truth, and it will be made manifest before our eyes. Let us, then, love him as he deserves.

Do not be deceived, my brethren. Those who ruin homes will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Now, if those who do this to gratify the flesh are liable to death, how much more a man who by evil doctrine ruins the faith in God, for which Jesus Christ was crucified! Such a filthy creature will go into the unquenchable fire, as will anyone that listens to him.

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