By Sr. Fidelis
The Reading for Lauds at the Community of Jesus this morning was from an Epistle of Clement I. The last paragraph read, “Even the Creator and Lord of the universe rejoices in his works. By his supreme power he set the heavens in their place; by his infinite wisdom he gave them their order. He separated the land from the waters surrounding it and made his own will its firm foundation. By his command he brought to life the beasts that roam the earth. He created the sea and all its living creatures, and then by his power set bounds to it. Finally, he formed humanity, the highest and most intelligent of his creatures, the copy of his own image. We must recognize, therefore, that all who are upright have been graced by good works, and that even the Lord himself took delight in the glory his works gave them.”
This seemed like a summary of the beautiful Vespers hymns we’ve been looking at these past weeks with themes of the various days of creation! The Friday hymn is the last in the set, with text mostly likely attributed to Saint Gregory the Great. Here is as description of true Paradise on earth.
O God, shaper of man, you who, alone, ordaining all things, order the earth to produce species of creeping and wild beasts;
You, who gave the great bodies of creatures, made alive by a word of command that they might serve in their place subduing them to mankind:
Drive away from your servants, whatsoever, by uncleanness, either suggests itself by customs, or insinuates itself by actions.
Give the rewards of joys, grant the gifts of graces; dissolve the chains of quarrelling, bind fast the agreements of peace.
Grant this, O most loving Father, and you, the only One equal to the Father, with the Spirit, the Paraclete, who reigns through every age. Amen.