St Ambrose: In the Eucharist, Christ comes down into his Garden

THE Church, guarding the depth of the heavenly mysteries, repels the furious storms of wind, and calls to her the sweetness of the grace of spring, and knowing that her garden cannot displease Christ, invites the Bridegroom, saying: “Arise, O north wind, and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, and let my ointments flow down. Let my Brother come down to His garden, and eat the fruit of His trees.” (Song 4:15; 5:1)

The herb garden at Lewes Priory. © Ian Yarham, Geograph. Licensed for reuse.

“Let my Brother come down to His garden, and eat the fruit of His trees.” The herb garden at Lewes Priory, founded in the 11th century. © Ian Yarham, Geograph. Licensed for reuse.

For it has good trees and fruitful, which have dipped their roots in the water of the sacred spring, and with fresh growth have shot forth into good fruits, so as now not to be cut with the axe of the prophet, but to abound with the fruitfulness of the Gospel.

Lastly, the Lord also, delighted with their fertility, answers: “I have entered into My garden, My sister, My spouse; I have gathered My myrrh with My spices, I have eaten My meat with My honey, I have drunk My drink with My milk.”

Understand, you faithful, why He spoke of meat and drink. And there is no doubt that He Himself eats and drinks in us, as you have read that He says that in our persons He is in prison. (Mt 25:36)

Wherefore, too, the Church, beholding so great grace, exhorts her sons and her friends to come together to the sacraments, saying: “Eat, my friends, and drink and be inebriated, my brother.” (Song 5:1)

What we eat and what we drink the Holy Spirit has elsewhere made plain by the prophet, saying, “Taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man that hopeth in Him.” (Ps 33:9)

St Ambrose of Milan (c. 330 – 4 April 397). On The Mysteries IX. Source.

**

THE Lord tends me as a shepherd, and I shall lack nothing.

In a place of green grass, there he has made me dwell: he has nourished me by the water of rest. He has restored my soul: he has guided me into the paths of righteousness, for his name’s sake.

Yea, even if I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death, I will not be afraid of evils: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, these have comforted me.

Thou has prepared a table before me in presence of them that afflict me: thou hast thoroughly anointed my head with oil; and thy cup cheers me like the best wine.

Thy mercy also shall follow me all the days of my life: and my dwelling shall be in the house of the Lord unto length of days.

Psalm 22(23) LXX. Modified from Brenton

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