Patristic Lectionary – Pentecost, Whitsunday – 5 June 2022

Patristic Lectionary – Pentecost, Whitsunday – 5 June 2022

[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: Anthony Falbo, _Pentecost Acts 2-2-4_  ]

Romans  8: 5-27

Those Who Receive the Spirit of God Are Children of God

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, indeed it cannot; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.

So then, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – for if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Saint Augustine

Sermon 271 ( Patrologia Latina 38:1245-1246 )

The glad day has dawned, brothers and sisters, on which holy church is resplendent in the faces of the faithful and warm in their hearts. This day that we are celebrating, of course, is the one of which the Lord Jesus Christ, glorified after the resurrection by his ascension, sent the Holy Spirit. That, after all, is what was written in the Gospel, when he said, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, …. “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” The Evangelist went on to explain, “Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” So it remained, once Jesus was glorified when he had risen from the dead and ascended into heaven, for the Holy Spirit now to be given, sent by him as it had been promised by him; and that indeed is what happened.

The Lord, you see, spent forty days with his disciples after the resurrection and then ascended into heaven; and on the fiftieth day, which we are celebrating today, he sent the Holy Spirit, as it is written, that “suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. That guest was purging their hearts of worldly chaff; that fire was consuming the straw of ancient lusts; those tongues they were speaking in, filled by the Holy Spirit, were prefiguring the church of the future through the languages of all nations.

I mean, just as after the flood the ungodly pride of the people built a high tower against the Lord and the human race was deservedly divided by languages, so that each nation would speak its own language and thus not be understood by the others; so in a similar way the devout humility of the faithful has brought to the unity of the church the variety of their different languages, so that what discord had dissipated charity might gather together and the scattered members of the human race, as of one body, might be attached to their one head Christ, and so reunited and fused together into the unity of the holy body by the fire of love. And so it is that those people have absolutely no share in this gift of the Holy Spirit who hate the grace of peace, who do not hold on to the fellowship of unity… You, though, my brothers and sisters, members of the body of Christ, seedlings of unity, sons and daughters of peace, keep this day joyfully, celebrate it without anxiety. Among you, after all, is being fulfilled what was being prefigured in those days, when the Holy Spirit came. Because just as then, whoever received the Holy Spirit, even as one person, started speaking all languages, so too now the unity itself is speaking all languages throughout all nations; and it is by being established in this unity that you have the Holy Spirit; you that do not break away in any schism from the church of Christ, which speaks all languages.

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