Thought of the day
Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday of the Second week of Lent
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Bearing fruit in the One who bore it in the fulness of time

Saint Gregory of Nyssa (c.335-395), monk and Bishop
3rd homily on the Song of Songs (trans.©Friends of Henry Ashworth, alt.)

Bearing fruit in the One who bore it in the fulness of time

       « My bridegroom to me is a cluster of grapes from Cyprus, in the vineyard of Engedi » (Sg 1,14)… This divine cluster is covered with flowers before the Passion and pours out its wine in the Passion… He is like a cluster of grapes hanging on a vine, which does not always look the same but changes its appearance with the season as blossom turns to fully formed fruit and then to the ripe fruit which eventually is made into wine. Its fruit gives promise to the vine even before that fruit is ripe enough for wine, and while still awaiting harvest time it does not lack the capacity to please. Its scent gives pleasure if its taste does not, for scent holds the expectation of future enjoyment. The breath of hope delights the senses of the soul, since the certainty of enjoying what is hoped for gives pleasure! those who patiently await that enjoyment. This then is what the grapes of Cyprus stand for, which even before becoming wine hold the promise of wine, and by their blossom, since blossom is hope, give assurance of future enjoyment…

Anyone whose will is in harmony with the law of God and who “meditates on it day and night is like an tree planted by running water, which yields its fruit in due season and whose leaves will never wither” (Ps 1,1-3). So it was that the vine of the bridegroom in Engedi, rooted in fertile ground, that is to say, in profound meditation nourished by the divine teachings, produced this flowering and ripening bunch of grapes in which it beholds its own vinedresser. Blessed that husbandry whose fruit takes on the appearance of the bridegroom! Since he… is true light, true life, true righteousness and every similar perfection, when anyone by his deeds becomes what he is, that person, beholding the cluster of grapes which is his own conscience sees therein the bridegroom himself, for in his own radiantly pure life he sees as in a mirror the light of truth. Hence this fruitful vine says: “My vines are in bloom, the buds have opened” (cf. Sg 7,13). The bridegroom is this true cluster of grapes in person, showing himself attached to the wood and whose blood becomes a saving drink for those who rejoice in their salvation.

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