Sunday, 27 October 2013

Psalm 118 by Saint Ambrose

Monastic Office of Vigils.   

First Reading
Jeremiah 23:9-17.21-29
Responsory   Lam 2:14; Jer 23:21
The visions your prophets saw for you were false and deceptive.
+They did not expose your sin, so as to reverse your fortunes.
V. I did not send these prophets; I did not speak to them. +They did not ...

Second Reading
From a commentary on Psalm 118 by Saint Ambrose
Expositio in Psalmum 118, 19, 36-39: CSEL 62, 440-442

You are near, Lord, and all your commandments are true. The Lord is near to all of us, because he is everywhere. We cannot escape him if we offend him, nor deceive him if we sin, nor lose him if we worship him. God watches everything, he sees every­thing. He is close to each one of us; as he says: I am a God who is close at hand. How can God fail to be everywhere, when you read of the Spirit of God that the Spirit of the Lord has filled the whole world? For where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is the Lord God. I fill heaven and earth, says the Lord. Where then can he fail to be who fills everything? Or how can we all share in his fullness unless he is near all of us?

So, knowing that God is everywhere, and fills the sky, the earth, and the sea, David says: Where can I escape from your Spirit, where flee from your face? If I go up to heaven you are there; if I go down to Sheol you are there; if I take flight before dawn to dwell at the sea's furthest end, even there your hand will lead me and your right hand hold me fast. In what few words he has shown that God is everywhere, and that wherever the Spirit of God is, there is God, and where God is there is his Spirit! The union of the indivisible Trinity is portrayed here, since it is the Son of God who pro­nounced these words through the mouth of the prophet. He spoke in his human nature, for he descended to earth in the incarnation, ascended to heaven in the resurrection, and through his bodily death went down to the underworld to free the prisoners. Or if you prefer to ascribe these words to the

prophet, you notice it is clearly shown that wherever God the Father and God's Holy Spirit are, Christ is near as the hand, and the right hand of God.
Since we know that the sun shines everywhere, can we doubt that the splendor of God's glory and the image of his being shines everywhere? What could the Word of God, the eternal splendor, not penetrate, when he illuminates even the hidden mind, which the sun itself cannot penetrate?
He penetrates the soul, then, and illuminates it as with the brightness of eternal light. But although his virtue is poured out among all and into all and over all, since he was born of the Virgin for the sake of all, both good and bad, just as he com­mands his sun to rise over good and bad, nevertheless he warms only those who come near to him. For just as people shut out the sun's brightness when they close the windows of their houses and choose to live in darkness, so those who turn their backs on the Sun of Righteousness cannot see its splendor. They walk in darkness, and it is plain to everyone that they them­selves are the cause of their blindness. Open your windows, then, so that your whole house shines with the brightness of the true Sun; open your eyes so that you can see the Sun of Righteousness rising for you.

Responsory   Jer 23:23-24; Ps 139:7
Am I a God when near at hand, and not a God when far away? Can anyone hide in a dark corner without my seeing him? + Do I not fill heaven and earth?
V. Where can I escape from your Spirit? Where flee from your face? + Do I not fill ...

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