02 January 2009

January 2 - Office of Readings

From time to time I'll continue posting reflections drawn from the Office of Readings for visitors to the site.  Today, reflecting on the opening passage of the Book of Genesis, I present portions of Gregory of Nyssa's treatise "On Baptism".

Scriptural Reading: Genesis 1:1 - 3:24

Patristic Reading: From the treatise "On Baptism" by Gregory of Nyssa.

Too long have you rolled in the mire; hasten - not at the voice of John, but of Christ - to Jerusalem.  For indeed the river of grace flows everywhere.

Jerusalem does not rise in Palestine to disappear in some nearby sea.  It spreads over the whole earth and flows into paradise, flowing in the opposite direction to those four rivers which come from paradise and bringing in things far more precious than those which come forth.  

Those rivers carry perfumes, the fruit of the culture and germination of the earth.  This river brings in men and women, begotten of the Holy Spirit.

Wherever you draw water, you will find this river flowing; it is diverted throughout the earth, and it does not consume its water in those places into which it is divided.  For it has a rich source, Christ, and flowing out from him it inundates the enitre world.

This river is delightful and drinkable, attracting nothing that is salty or unpleasant.  It is rendered sweet by the Spirit's coming, like the fount of Marah by the touch of wood.

It can easily be crossed by those who are devout, but it is too deep for those who are focused on this world and it cannot even be approached by them.  

Imitate Jesus, bear the Gospel as he bore the ark.  Leave behind the desert of sin.  Cross the Jordan, and hasten to life according to the commands of Christ. 

Hurry to that land which brings forth fruits of joy; where, as promised, milk and honey flow.

Overturn Jericho, your former way of life; and do not allow it to be rebuilt.

All these things constitute types for us; and they all prefigure the truths that have now been revealed.


All original material (C) 2007-2010 by Father Robert Lyons.

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