A Flower Rises from the Root of Jesse

From a treatise On the Hail Mary by Baldwin of Canterbury, bishop

A flower rises from the root of Jesse

Every day we devoutly greet the most Blessed Virgin Mary with the angel’s greeting and we usually add: Blessed is the fruit of your womb. After she was greeted by the Virgin, Elizabeth added this phrase as if she were echoing the salutation of the angel: Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb. This is the fruit of which Isaiah spoke: On that day the shoot of the Lord shall be splendid and radiant–the sublime fruit of earth. What is this fruit but the holy one of Israel, the seed of Abraham, the shoot of the Lord, the flower arising from the root of Jesse, the fruit of life, whom we have shared?

Blessed surely in seed and blessed in the shoot, blessed in the flower, blessed in the gift, finally blessed in thanksgiving and praise, Christ, the seed of Abraham, was brought forth from the seed of David into the flesh.

He alone among men is found perfected in every good quality, for the Spirit was given to him without measure so that he alone could fulfill all justice. For his justice is sufficient for all nations, according to Scriptures. As the earth brings forth its buds, and as the garden germinates its own seed, so the Lord God shall bring forth justice and praise before all the nations. For this is the shoot of justice, which the flower of glory adorns with its blessings when it has grown. But how great is this glory? How can anyone think of anything more glorious, or rather, how can anyone conceive of this at all? For the flower rises from the root of Jesse. You ask: “How far?” Surely it rises even to the highest place, because Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. His magnificence is elevated above the heavens so that he, the issue of the Lord, is splendid and glorious, the sublime fruit of the earth.

But what is our benefit from this fruit? What other than the fruit of blessing from the blessed fruit? From this seed, this shoot, this flower, surely the fruit of blessing comes forth. It has come even to us; first as a seed it is planted through the grace of pardon, then germinated with the increase of perfection, and finally it flowers in the hope or the attainment of glory. For the fruit was blessed by God, and in God, so that God may be glorified through it. For us, too, the fruit was blessed, so that blessed by God we may be glorified in him through the promise spoken to Abraham. God made the fruit a blessing for all nations.

Copyright Joann Nelander 2011

All rights reserved

Like a Lamb vs. My Way

Like a little lamb, I follow,
Though the way be set by trial ,
My shepherd walks before me.
His rod, His staff, His smile.

By Joann Nelander

Letting go, letting God, still holds a clallenge.

A lifetime of learning hasn’t made it easier, just more imperative, as my way just gets in my way.

Wisdom of the Church

From a sermon by Saint Augustine, bishop

He who perseveres to the end will be saved

Whenever we suffer some affliction, we should regard it both as a punishment and as a correction. Our holy Scriptures themselves do not promise us peace, security and rest. On the contrary, the Gospel makes no secret of the troubles and temptations that await us, but it also says that he who perseveres to the end will be saved. What good has there ever been in this life since the time when the first man received the just sentence of death and the curse from which Christ our Lord has delivered us?

So we must not grumble, my brothers, for as the Apostle says: Some of them murmured and were destroyed by serpents. Is there any affliction now endured by mankind that was not endured by our fathers before us? What sufferings of ours even bear comparison with what we know of their sufferings? And yet you hear people complaining about this present day and age because things were so much better in former times. I wonder what would happen if they could be taken back to the days of their ancestors–would we not still hear them complaining? You may think past ages were good, but it is only because you are not living in them.

It amazes me that you who have now been freed from the curse, who have believed in the son of God, who have been instructed in the holy Scriptures–that you can think the days of Adam were good. And your ancestors bore the curse of Adam, of that Adam to whom the words were addressed: With sweat on your brow you shall eat your bread; you shall till the earth from which you were taken, and it will yield you thorns and thistles. This is what he deserved and what he had to suffer; this is the punishment meted out to him by the just judgment of God. How then can you think that past ages were better than your own? From the time of that first Adam to the time of his descendants today, man’s lot has been labor and sweat, thorns and thistles. Have we forgotten the flood and the calamitous times of famine and war whose history has been recorded precisely in order to keep us from complaining to God on account of our own times? Just think what those past ages were like! Is there one of us who does not shudder to hear or read of them? Far from justifying complaints about our own time, they teach us how much we have to be thankful for.