One of the best supplementary resources for the Daily Office, after the basic four, of course, of the Book of Common Prayer, a Bible, Lesser Feasts and Fasts (or its successor, Holy Men, Holy Women), and the Hymnal is “Readings for the Daily Office from the Early Church,” edited by J. Robert Wright, a professor of church history at GTS. This morning it is available on Amazon and eBay as follows: Amazon: new from $47.00 to $199.00; used from $34.00 to $189.00 and eBay: four listed from $30.00 to $45.00.
One of the readings, which I first read about 25 years ago, is from the “First Apology of Justin,” Martyr at Rome, c.167. The reading, which is a full page, contains a short paragraph that, for me, shined a bright light on a fundamental dogma of the church and led to several trains of thought over the years that tied many concepts together. Today I’ll just quote that paragraph and let you ponder it. In future cups I’ll try to share some of those trains of thought.
“We do not consume the eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a human being of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilate for their nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.”
Today I’ll add only this — that it saved me from being like the Red Queen in her youth who “sometimes believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Thank you Justin, and thank you J. Robert Wright, thank you, thank you, thank you.
Ron Hicks, Parish Verger, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church Washington DC.