Second Day in the Octave


Breviary Ordo

At all Hours the ferial Psalms & Antiphons. At Matins Inv. & Hymn of the Feast. Other Hours from Chapter of the Feast. Commem. of St. William (at Matins legend could be added to lesson ix). See note for the Octave on p. E243.

Scripture Reading

II Samuel 11 (LXX = II Kings 11).

David, the man after God’s heart, abuses, commits adultery, and commits murder in a most heinous way. The Books of Samuel or rather the 1st and 2nd Book of Kings (according to the Septuagint) seem to be a commentary on power and the use of power. Human beings of a good character seem to always buckle under the weight of power. Even a man such as David. The only one in these books that can handle power without falling to its temptations is God.

Patristic Reading

St. Athanasius, Against the Heathen, Part I., Chapter 3 vs. 3-4.

3. But the truth of this one may see from the man who was first made, according to what the holy Scriptures tell us of him. For he also, as long as he kept his mind to God, and the contemplation of God, turned away from the contemplation of the body. But when, by counsel of the serpent, he departed from the consideration of God, and began to regard himself, then they not only fell to bodily lust, but knew that they were naked, and knowing, were ashamed. But they knew that they were naked, not so much of clothing as that they had become stripped of the contemplation of divine things, and had transferred their understanding to the contraries. For having departed from the consideration of the one and the true, namely, God, and from desire of Him, they had thenceforward embarked in various lusts and in those of the several bodily senses. 4. Next, as is apt to happen, having formed a desire for each and sundry, they began to be habituated to these desires, so that they were even afraid to leave them: whence the soul became subject to cowardice and alarms, and pleasures and thoughts of mortality. For not being willing to leave her lusts, she fears death and her separation from the body. But again, from lusting, and not meeting with gratification, she learned to commit murder and wrong. We are then led naturally to show, as best we can, how she does this.

In this passage once more it is emphasized that sin caused a change from better to worse. Sin has caused us to descend into bodily lusts. It is in this sense that we can speak of an imprisonment in the body. We are slaves of bodily needs rather than being in control of our bodies and their needs. We have fallen from contemplation of God to contemplation of bodies. This has fragmented us into as many pieces as there are bodily lusts. Because bodies are multiple, and function as outward expression of our created being, the bodies distinguish one person from the other. They serve to provide distinction while preserving unity. So long as God is contemplated we are receiving the strength that preserves unity in diversity. God being one, naturally, has a unifying (making one) effect on His creatures when they are oriented toward Him. When the contemplation of God ceases, and we cease to receive the unifying effect of God, to that very extent we become fragmented because we have begun to contemplate distinction as such. In simpler terms: worship of God unifies, worship of self shatters apart.

Fr. Gregory Wassen

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About Father Gregory

I am an Anglican Catholic Priest, currently residing in Orvelte, the Netherlands.
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