Patristic Lectionary – 13 December – St. Lucy, Virgin, Martyr; Saturday, Third Week in Advent

Patristic Lectionary – 13 December – St. Lucy, Virgin, Martyr; Saturday, Third 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: Cloister walk of Fontenay Abbey. (Photo: John-Bede Pauley, O.S.B.) The buildings survive (with some restoration) close to their original architectural state.  Fontenay is perhaps the best and most complete representation of the architectural ideal of the early days of the twelfth-century Cistercian reforms, that ideal being a symbolic representation of Uncreated Light.  William of Saint-Thierry (1085-1148), the abbot of the Benedictine monastery at Saint-Thierry, eventually resigned as abbot to become a Cistercian at Signy, where the layout and design of the buildings and spaces would no doubt have been very similar to what can now be seen at Fontenay.]

Isaiah 30:18-26

Future Happiness is Promised

Therefore, the LORD waits to be gracious to you; therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Yea, O people in Zion who dwell at Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it”, when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. Then you will defile your silver-covered graven images and your gold-plated molten images. You will scatter them as unclean things; you will say to them, “Be gone!”

And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your cattle will graze in large pastures; and the oxen and the asses that till the ground will eat salted provender, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. And upon every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the LORD binds up the hurt of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

William of Saint-Thierry

De Contemplando Deo (On Contemplating God) 9-11

You alone are the Lord. To be ruled by you is for us salvation. For us to serve you is nothing else but to be saved by you!

Now how is it we are saved by you, O Lord, from whom salvation comes and whose blessing is upon your people, if it is not in receiving from you the gift of loving you and being loved by you? That, Lord, is why you willed that the Son of your right hand, the Man whom you made strong for your own self, should be called Jesus, that is to say, Saviour, for he will save his people from their sins. There is no other in whom is salvation except him who taught us to love himself when he first loved us, even to death on the cross. By loving us and holding us so dear he stirred us up to love himself, who first had loved us to the end.

You who first loved us did this, precisely this. You first loved us so that we might love you. And that was not because you needed to be loved by us, but because we could not be what you created us to be, except by loving. Having then in many ways and on various occasions spoken to the fathers by the prophets, now in these last days you have spoken to us in the Son, your Word, by whom the heavens were established, and all the power of them by the breath of his mouth. For you to speak thus in your Son was an open declaration, a setting in the sun as it were, of how much and in what sort of way you loved us, in that you spared not your own Son, but delivered him up for us all. Yes, and he himself loved us and gave himself for us.

This, Lord, is your word to us, this is your all-powerful message: he who, while all things kept silence (that is, were in the depths of error), came from the royal throne, the stern opponent of error and the gentle apostle of love. And everything he did and everything he said on earth, even the insults, the spitting, the buffeting, the cross and the grave, all that was nothing but yourself speaking in the Son, appealing to us by your love, and stirring up our love for you.

For you, O God, our souls’ creator, knew that this affection cannot be forced in the souls of the sons of men, but has to be evoked. And this is for the obvious reason that there is no freedom where there is compulsion, and, where freedom is lacking, so too is righteousness.

Now we on our part hold you dear by the affection of love which you have implanted in us. But, O you who are One supremely good and the ultimate Goodness, your love is your goodness, the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son! From the beginning of creation, he has been borne upon the waters – on the tossing souls of men, that is – offering himself to all, drawing all to himself. And breathing into and upon them, by warding off things harmful and supplying things useful, he unites God to us and us to God.

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