Patristic Lectionary – 11 December – Saturday, Second Week in Advent
[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: Mary, Mother of the Church – artist and date unknown.]
God’s Judgement on Jerusalem
Ho Ariel, Ariel, the city where David encamped! Add year to year; let the feasts run their round. Yet I will distress Ariel, and there shall be moaning and lamentation, and she shall be to me like an Ariel. And I will encamp against you round about, and will besiege you with towers and I will raise siege-works against you. Then deep from the earth you shall speak, from low in the dust your words shall come; your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost, and your speech shall whisper out of the dust.
But the multitude of your foes shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff. And in an instant, suddenly, you will be visited by the LORD of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire. And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel, all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her, shall be like a dream, a vision of the night. As when a hungry man dreams he is eating and awakes with his hunger not satisfied, or as when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched, so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.
Bl. Isaac of Stella
The Son of God is the firstborn among many brethren; though by nature he is the Only-begotten, by grace he united many to himself, to be one with him. For to those who receive him he gave the power of becoming sons of God. When therefore he was made a son of man, he made many to be sons of God. By his love and power he united—as one—many to himself; in themselves, by their birth in the flesh they are many, but by their divine rebirth they are one with him.
For Christ, Head and Body, is one, whole and unique; but this one Christ is of one God in heaven and one mother on earth; this Christ is both many sons and one son. For as Head and Body are one son and many sons, so Mary and the Church are one mother and many; one virgin and many.
Each is mother, each is virgin; both conceive in holiness from the same Spirit; both bring forth a child without sin for God the Father. Mary gave birth to the absolutely sinless Head for the Body; the Church gave birth, in the forgiveness of every sin, to the Body for the Head. Each is the mother of Christ, but neither without the other gives birth to the whole Christ.
And so in the divinely inspired Scriptures, what is said in general of the Virgin Mother the Church, is said individually of the Virgin Mary; and what is said in the particular case of the Virgin Mother Mary, is rightly understood of Virgin Mother Church universally; and when mention is made of either, it is to be understood almost indifferently and conjointly of both.
Every faithful soul, spouse of the Word of God, mother, daughter and sister of Christ is understood to be a virgin with her own form of fertility. This is said of the whole Church, more particularly of Mary and individually of the faithful soul, by the Wisdom itself of God, the Father’s Word.
Therefore the text continues, I shall abide in the inheritance of the Lord. The inheritance of the Lord universally is the Church, more particularly Mary, and individually every faithful soul. Christ abode for nine months in the he tent of Mary’s womb; he abides until the consummation of the ages in the tent of the Church’s faith; he will abide for ever and ever in the knowledge and love of the faithful soul.