John of Damascus: The inexhaustible grace of God the Giver

“Through the Holy Scriptures we are trained to action that is pleasing to God, and untroubled contemplation. For in these we find both exhortation to every virtue and dissuasion from every vice. If, therefore, we are lovers of learning, we shall also be learned in many things. For by care and toil and the grace of God the Giver, all things are accomplished. ‘For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened’ (cf. Luke 11:10).”

“’But let us not knock carelessly but rather zealously and constantly: lest knocking we grow weary. For thus it will be opened to us. If we read once or twice and do not understand what we read, let us not grow weary, but let us persist, let us talk much, let us enquire. For ask thy Father, he saith, and He will shew thee: thy elders and they will tell thee’ (cf. Deuteronomy 32:7)…. Let us draw of the fountain of the garden perennial and purest waters springing into life eternal. Here let us luxuriate, let us revel insatiate: for the Scriptures possess inexhaustible grace.”
John of Damascus (676-749), patriarch of Jerusalem, monk, and noted widely as the last of the Greek fathers of the church, in De Fide Orthodoxa, translated as An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book IV Chapter XVII, “Concerning Scripture.”

Do not merely look to the Scriptures to find advice for living. Find therein the only pathway to life. Revel in the fact that the grace of God the Giver is inexhaustible. Mine the Scriptures to come to know the God we serve and tap into God as the Source of true riches and abundant generosity.
In the midst of the dark ages, this church father called people to dig into God’s Word and therein find “inexhaustible grace” and life. His enthusiasm was likely rooted in texts such as Ephesians 3:14-21. This is my prayer for all meditations readers today.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

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