On Holy Writ

Pope St. Gregory the Dialogist ca. 540-604

[T]here are two Testaments of Holy Writ, both of which God wished to be written in order to set us free from the death of the soul. Or indeed because there are two precepts of charity, namely love of God and love of our neighbor, whereby the sayings of Holy Writ quicken us… For we are restored to life through the precepts of Holy Writ, we who lay dead in our guilt. Thus it is rightly said through the Psalmist to Almighty God: “Thy justifications I will never forget: for by them Thou hast given me life” (Ps. 118:93). The precepts of the Lord are called justifications by which He justifies us by correcting us. Of these the Psalmist speaks more plainly: “I will think of Thy justifications: I will not forget Thy words” (Ps. 118:16). Then He quickens us therein because He thereby shows us the spiritual life, and by the afflation of the Spirit instills it into our minds. Because this happens daily in the midst of the elect through the gift of grace…

This Holy Writ has become the light of our journey for us in the darkness of this present life. Hence Peter too says: “Whereunto you do well to attend, as to a light that shineth in a dark place” (2 Pet. 1:19). Hence the Psalmist too says: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Ps. 118:105). Yet we know that our very lantern is dim for us unless Truth light it for our minds. So the Psalmist says a second time: “For Thou lights my lamp, O Lord: O my God, enlighten my darkness” (Ps. 17:29). For who is a burning lantern unless the light is there? But created light does not shine for us unless it is illumined by the Uncreated Light. (Homilies on Ezekiel, Homily 7.16-17)

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