Daily Notes

Dustin's Daily NoteS

Suffering, Martyrdom Places The Church, Sacraments, Divinity Horticultural Imagery People Messianic Kingship Sin, Death, Decay

DAY 174 (2 Kgs. 5, Hos. 1-3, Ps. 101)

2 Kgs. 5:

  • 5:14 Naaman’s ritual cleansing in the Jordan is prefigurative of the Sacrament of Baptism, which “saves” (1 Pt. 3:21) us, “not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Pt. 3:21). Naaman’s flesh becoming like “the flesh of a little child” indicates that it is through baptism that we are “born again” (Jn. 3:4-5). Leprosy represents sin, but Jesus Christ has “saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit” (Ti. 3:5), washing our spiritual leprosy away in the holy water of this sacrament, being “buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life” (Rm. 6:4).

DAY 171 (2 Kgs. 2, 2 Chr. 25, Ps. 70)

2 Kgs. 2:

  • 2:2, 4, 6 Elisha’s threefold profession of loyalty to Elijah prefigures Peter’s threefold profession of love to Christ following the Resurrection.

  • 2:9-10 These verses prefigure Christ’s ascent to Heaven and the Holy Spirit’s descent at Pentecost. Jesus parallels the words as Elijah in reference to the Holy Spirit: “For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (Jn. 16:7).

  • 2:11 Elijah’s assumption into Heaven prefigures Christ’s ascension.

  • 2:13 In many ways, the narrative of Elijah and Elisha resembles the commissioning of Peter to feed Jesus’ flock after his ascension. Cf. 1 Kg. 19:19; the twelve yoke of oxen represent the College of Apostles, and Elijah covering Elisha with his cloak represents Christ clothing Peter with the authority to govern the Church. Here, we see Elisha take up Elijah’s cloak and begin to exercise his prophetic office, just as we see Peter do after he receives a “portion” (2 Kg. 2:9) of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (cf. Acts 2).

DAY 169 (1 Kgs. 22, 2 Chr. 23, Sg. 8)

Sg. 8:

  • 8:6-7 This is a prefiguration of the Sacrament of Confirmation, whereby we are sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The fire and water characteristically represent the Spirit of God (cf. Mt. 3:11).

  • 8:14 This is a prefiguration of the parousia.


DAY 168 (1 Kgs. 21, 2 Chr. 21-22, Sg. 7)

Sg. 7:

  • 7:3 This is a prefiguration of the Eucharist.

  • 7:14 These fruits, “fresh and dried,” old and new, represent the sacred mysteries of the Kingdom of God under the Old and New Covenants.

DAY 167 (1 Kgs. 19-20, 2 Chr. 20, Sg. 6)

Sg. 6:

  • 6:3 Here is perhaps the most profound statement of love in the entirety of Sacred Scripture. We belong to Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ belongs to us. There are seldom any other words which more consummately profess our faith than these.

  • 6:8-9 The Church is depicted as the singular Bride of Christ in contrast to the “queens” and “concubines.” Hear the words of St. Cyprian of Carthage:

    • The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother. If any one could escape who was outside the Ark of Noah, then he also may escape who shall be outside of the Church. The Lord warns, saying, He who is not with me is against me, and he who gathers not with me scatters. (Matthew 12:30) He who breaks the peace and the concord of Christ, does so in opposition to Christ; he who gathers elsewhere than in the Church, scatters the Church of Christ. The Lord says, I and the Father are one; (John 10:30) and again it is written of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, And these three are one. (1 John 5:7) And does any one believe that this unity which thus comes from the divine strength and coheres in celestial sacraments, can be divided in the Church, and can be separated by the parting asunder of opposing wills? He who does not hold this unity does not hold God's law, does not hold the faith of the Father and the Son, does not hold life and salvation.

  • 6:10 The woman here is reminiscent of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is depicted as being “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet” (Rv. 12:1).

DAY 166 (1 Kgs. 17-18, 2 Chr. 18-19, Sg. 5)

Sg. 5:

  • 5:1 This verse is a prefiguration of the eucharistic banquet. The myrrh represents Christ’s death, which is made present in the Sacred Liturgy. The honey referenced here recalls the manna in the desert, which “tasted like wafers made with honey” (Ex. 16:31) and which prefigures the eucharistic host. The wine here represents Christ’s blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant. The milk, as with 4:11, refers to orthodox teaching. The invitation to drink deeply is a call to communion between the lovers.

  • 5:4 Taken literally, this seems to be a sexual reference, but, allegorically, this represents the indwelling of Christ in the heart of his faithful.

  • 5:5 The emphasis on myrrh here should remind us that it is only through the death of Jesus Christ that we are made his bride. Christ gives his flesh to us in his death.

  • 5:6-8 This can be allegorically understood as the apostles and disciples being in anguish after the death of Christ and before his glorious resurrection. The soul of the believers “sank,” but it rose again on the third day as Christ emerged from the tomb.

  • 5:7 The watchmen represent death and the devil, who seemed to have won as Christ breathed his last. But it was by his very death that he “overcame the sting of death” (Te Deum).

  • 5:10-16 These verses joyfully proclaim the Risen Christ, who is “radiant” and victorious over sin and death. His resurrected body is the epitome of human and divine beauty.

DAY 165 (1 Kgs. 15-16, 2 Chr. 16-17, Sg. 4)

Sg. 4:

  • 4:7 Christ calls us—both the Church and the individual soul—“beautiful” and declares there to be “no flaw” in us because he, himself, has made us beautiful and has washed away all of our sins in his own perfect blood. He has conjugally united himself to his Church and to our souls, and we have become one with him. When he sees us, he sees himself in us, an icon of the Father’s perfect love, for “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). We, the Church, are the beautiful Bride of Christ. Even in the mire of our sin, may we never forget our beauty.

  • 4:8 The mountains which are named here “symbolize obstacles that would separate the lovers” (NABRE), particularly pride. The Bridegroom calls upon the Bride to descend from the peaks of such mountains, like Christ, who, “though he was in the form of God,” in his “sublime humility” (St. Francis of Assisi), “emptied himself” (Phil. 2:6-7). Christ oft repeats, “Follow me,” but to do so requires one to “lay down one’s life” (Jn. 15:13), to “deny himself” and “take up his cross” (Mt. 16:24). It is only when we empty ourselves that we may be filled with the love of God and to follow him wherever he goes. And where does he go? As he descends from the heights of his divinity and humbly assumes our lowly humanity, he then lovingly ascends Mount Calvary, taking our humanity with him and elevating it to the heights of his divinity. This is the great mystery of God’s love for us, but it requires us to be willing to leave everything behind and to come down from the mountain of our ego to meet our humble Lord face to face and heart to heart.

  • 4:11 The honey refers to the sweetness of God’s Law, which the Psalmist says is “sweeter also than honey, or drippings from the comb” (Ps. 19:11). The milk refers to the “pure spiritual milk” of orthodoxy, which we, “like newborn infants,” consume “so that, through it,” we may “grow into salvation” (1 Pt. 2:2).

  • 4:12-16 The Bride is likened to a garden because this scene is the climactic reversal of the narrative of the Fall in the Garden of Eden. In the Eden narrative, following the sin of Adam and Eve, God is depicted as walking through the garden during the “breezy time of day” (Gn. 3:8). The breeze here is interpreted allegorically as the Holy Spirit convicting our first parents of their sin against God. Since the garden narrative of the Song of Songs is a reversal of the narrative of Genesis, we also see God calling for the wind to “blow upon” the garden; this time, however, he calls the Holy Spirit not to convict us of our sins but to testify to our “perfumes,” or the virtues Christ has brought to fruition in us, that they “may spread abroad.” The festering malodor of sin, the “odor of death that leads to death” (2 Cor. 2:16), gives way to the “fragrant aroma” (Eph. 5:2) of the “flowing perfume” of Christ (Sg. 1:3), the “odor of life that leads to life” (2 Cor. 2:16).

  • 4:13-14 The plants mentioned here are reminiscent of the sacred temple liturgy. Pomegranates adorned the two exterior columns of the Temple of Solomon (1 Kgs. 7:18) and lined the hem of the High Priest’s vestments (Ex. 28:33-34). When considered in the context of the garden mentioned in Sirach 24, these plants emit the “odor of incense in the holy tent” (Sir. 24:15). Cf. Ex. 30:23-28, 34-35. These fragrant plants were indicative of the abundance of the Garden of Eden, the first temple in which man communed with the living God.

  • 4:15 This is a fulfillment of Is. 58:11. The water represents the Holy Spirit. Similarly, connecting the garden of the Song to the Garden of Eden, Sirach 24 mentions the four rivers which flow from Eden (Sir. 24:25-27, cf. Gn. 2:10-14).

  • 4:16 This is an invitation to receive Christ mystically into one’s heart.

  • Fun fact: I pray this little verse each time before receiving the Eucharist. Try it out! 🙂

DAY 164 (1 Kgs. 14, 2 Chr. 14-15, Sg. 3)

Sg. 3:

  • 3:6-7 Here is a prefiguration of Christ enthroned as the eternal King of Israel. The “valiant men” represent the angels who encompass the throne of God. The columns of smoke recall the presence of God with the Israelites during the Exodus, the myrrh prefigures his death, and the frankincense prefigures his eternal High Priesthood.

  • 3:9-10 The royal litter of Solomon represents the Kingdom of God, the Church. The fact that its wood is from Lebanon signifies the incorporation of the Gentiles into the Church. The silver columns and gold roof represent the fact that the People of God includes both Jews and Gentiles. The litter is “lovingly fitted,” which means that this Kingdom is prepared as a place of harmony and abundant love for the whole world.

  • 3:11 This verse depicts the loving relationship between the King and his mother, the gebira (Great Lady, or Queen Mother). The Blessed Virgin Mary is the eternal gebira, being the mother of the eternal king, Jesus. Mary lovingly “crowns” Christ with his humanity at the Incarnation, gives birth to him and nurtures him through his adolescence and into adulthood, and is present at his enthronement upon the Cross, where he takes up his reign. She shares in his kingship, just as we do, but her position in the kingdom is far more exalted because of her status as gebira. She is our mother because Christ, through our marriage to him, is our bridegroom.

DAY 163 (1 Kgs. 13, 2 Chr. 12-13, Sg. 2)

1 Kgs. 12:

  • 13:33 The ministerial priesthood simply is not for everyone; it is only for those whom the LORD calls. One cannot simply “decide” to be a priest, nor can those with impediments to ordination (as defined by the Church) be ordained to the priesthood. The priesthood is a vocation, not a career.

DAY 162 (1 Kgs. 12, 2 Chr. 10-11, Sg. 1)

1 Kgs. 12:

  • 12:31-33 To ordain as priests those whom God did not call to the priesthood is disapproved by the LORD. In a similar vein, such “cultic infidelities” (New Jerome Biblical Commentary) as tampering with the liturgical calendar in an unauthorized manner–or, in some cases, dispensing with it entirely, as a number of Christian denominations have done today–is met with divine disapproval.

  • On the religious separation of the kingdoms in general: When reading about the divided monarchy, most specifically their cultic differences, I cannot help but think about the divisions among the Body of Christ which exist today. “My soul is sorrowful even to death” (Mt. 26:38) when I ponder our separated brethren who have broken away from the fullness of the Apostolic faith, and I beg our loving and most merciful God to return them safely home–one flock and one shepherd, not hundreds or thousands, but one. “One alone is my dove…” (Sg 6:9).

    • May we also recall that Jeroboam’s religious abominations sprang, originally, from political quarrels. May we take great caution that our political opinions do not influence our faith. We must not ever idolize our political ideologies and make them an article of our faith. Such is abominable to the LORD, and he will make those who do so desolate, as Jeroboam and his accursed stock. “My kingdom does not belong to this world” (Jn. 18:36).

DAY 159 (Mk. 11-12, Ps. 67)

Mk. 12:

  • 12:25 It is the constant teaching of the Church from the first centuries that celibacy is the preferable state of living and is a superior vocation because it resembles the lives of the angels. There will be no marriage between men and women in Heaven because all will be married exclusively to God. However, on Earth, living a celibate life is not a grace which is given to all, for “not all can accept this word, but only those to whom that is granted” (Mt. 19:11). Those who live in the married state, a beautiful sacrament in itself, live a life prefiguring the heavenly matrimony of the Church to Christ. Those who live celibate lives are already living in Heaven on Earth, being married to Christ. “Whoever can accept this ought to accept it” (Mt. 19:12).

DAY 158 (Mk. 9-10, Ps. 29)

Mk. 9:

  • 9:29 There are some spiritual ailments whose only remedy is prayer. In order to overcome them, we must, by prayer, abandon ourselves into the loving arms of our God. This is why it is urgent for Christians to keep a consistent rule of prayer by which they can, at all times and without ceasing, offer a continual sacrifice of praise to God, that we may participate in his act of self-emptying on the Cross and be loosed from our sins.

  • 9:43-48 We must be devoted to asceticism, to denying our flesh, in order to allow it to be governed by the spirit. Like a rose bush, the soul requires pruning in order to be able to put forth its pleasant and fragrant blossoms. Without pruning, the bush will never attain the fullness of its beauty and may even never bloom at all! So, too, is the soul; we must be willing to prune ourselves, not merely of what is evil but also of some things which are good, in order to attain to things which are better.

  • 9:43-48 Everyone will be tested by this metaphorical fire (i.e., temptation). It is best we emerge tasting good rather than being burned and becoming distasteful, being spit out of the mouth of the one who judges our flavor (i.e., our works).

Mk. 10:

  • 10:21-31 Material possessions, at the end of the age, are worth little and are often distractions from doing the will of God. While matter itself is not evil (God calls his creation good!), it is when material things obstruct our view of God that they are made into idols. Material things are to serve our material needs and nothing more. Those who accrue material wealth at the expense of the poor and downtrodden are condemned many places in the Sacred Scriptures and in the writings of the Fathers. We see here that material wealth, more often than not, becomes idolatrous. Consider the words of the Sacred Scriptures and of the Fathers:

    • James 5:1-3: “Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you; it will devour your flesh like a fire. You have stored up treasure for the last days.”

        • Money will save no one on the “day of wrath” (Zep. 1:15).

    • Acts 4:32-35: “The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.

    • St. Basil: “When someone steals a man’s clothes we call him a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked but does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry man; the coat hanging unused in your closet belongs to the man who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the man who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.”

    • St. John Chrysostom: “This is robbery: not to share one’s resources. Perhaps what I am saying astonishes you. Yet be not astonished. For I shall offer you the testimony of the Sacred Scriptures, which say not only to rob others property but also not to share your own with others, is robbery and greediness and theft. Do you give to the poor? What you give is not yours but your Master’s, common to you and your fellow-servants. For which you ought especially to be humbled in the calamities of those who are your kindred.”

    • St. Augustine: “Those who wish to make room for the Lord must find pleasure not in private, but in common property. ... Let us therefore abstain from the possession of private property–or from the love of it.”

      • If one cannot completely renounce one’s possessions, then one ought to at least have a tenuous relationship with them, not seeing them as objects to be loved but rather as objects to be used.

    • St. Thomas Aquinas: “Man has a twofold competence in relation to material things. The first is the title to care for and distribute the earth's resources. Understood in this way, it is not merely legitimate for a man to possess things as his own, it is even necessary for human life … Man's other competence is to use and manage the world's resources. Now in regard to this, no man is entitled to manage things merely for himself, he must do so in the interests of all, so that he is ready to share them with others in case of necessity.”

      • While we have a natural right to possess private property, we must ensure that the property we claim as our own first serves the common good. There is no absolute right to material goods; the common good must always be regarded first.


Therefore, those who are wealthy ought to be cautious of their wealth and of the common good. When Jesus asks one to renounce it all for the sake of his Kingdom, one must be ready to follow him. We cannot afford to be like the rich young man who embraced his material wealth but who rejected the abundant wealth of the Holy Spirit. “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life?” (Mk. 8:36)

  • 10:43 Jesus is not interested in strongmen. He is not interested in the mighty of this world. He is not interested in greatness. In the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus has “cast down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the lowly” (Lk. 1:52). He is interested in those who are meek and little, for that is the true sign of a person who is a Christian: one who is humble before the LORD and before men, knowing oneself to be sinful and in need of a savior, knowing oneself to be sick and in need of medicine. Those who consider themselves mighty and great have no place in Heaven. They are like chaff which will be thrown into the everlasting fire, for the Kingdom of God is composed neither of the brute tyranny of the strong nor the survival of the fittest; rather, the Kingdom of God is composed of those who are like little children, who show forth the fruits of the Spirit: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:22).

DAY 156 (Mk. 5-6, Ps. 21)

Mk. 6:

    • 6:34-44 The feeding of the five thousand parallels the twenty-third Psalm.

    • 6:34 Cf. Ps. 23:1.

    • 6:39 Cf. Ps. 23:2.

    • 6:42 Cf. Ps. 23:5.

    • 6:44 This incident prefigures the Eucharist.

DAY 155 (Mk. 3-4, Ps. 20)

Mk. 3:

  • 3:13 Jesus going up the mountain is symbolic of his ascent to Heaven. It is a sign of his divinity and of his authority to give law, not merely as a new Moses but as the very God who gave the Law to Moses. In a similar way, his going up the mountain is symbolic of humanity being allowed back into the Garden of Eden. Because of sin, humankind was cast out of Eden—which was on a mountain (Ezek. 28:14-16)—but Jesus, divine and human, by his divinity, elevates our humanity and restores us to the divine life which had been forsaken by our first parents.

Mk. 4:

  • 4:11 This is why the Church—through the apostolic ministry—properly has the authority to formulate doctrine.

  • 4:34 Through the College of Apostles, God safeguards orthodoxy.

  • 4:39 Whenever our spirit is troubled, may these words of Jesus resound in the tumult of our hearts (cf. Ps. 46:10).

DAY 154 (Mk. 1-2, Ps. 11)

Mk. 1:

  • 1:6 John may have been influenced by the Essenes, an ascetical sect who lived in the desert and emphasized baptism.

  • 1:16 Simon is the first Apostle of all mentioned because of his preeminent role.

  • 1:18 Jesus’ invitation is at once simple yet radical: leave everything behind to follow me. See note at Ex. 32:29. Cf. Lk. 9:62.

Mk. 2:

  • 2:23-28 This incident prefigures the Eucharist.

DAY 152 (1 Kg. 10, Eccl. 8-9, Ps. 8)

1 Kg. 10:

  • 10:2 The gifts to the king are reminiscent of the gifts of the Magi to the Christ child. They prefigure the inclusion of the Gentiles in God’s salvific plan.

  • 10:13 Once we hear the Gospel, we must take it into our own communities and share it.

Eccl. 8:

  • 8:17 Ultimately, God’s ways are mysterious. Cf. Ps. 139:6.

DAY 151 (1 Kg. 9, Eccl. 6-7, Ps. 7)

Eccl. 6:

  • 6:11 More often than not, silence is golden.


Eccl. 7:

  • 7:2-4 We must keep ever before our eyes the inevitability of our death. Meditate on death frequently to be able to understand the meaning of life. Memento mori.

  • 7:5 When the wise chastise us, it is a gift from God, and we must endure it in humility for the sake of our own edification. Cf. Heb. 12:6

DAY 150 (1 Kg. 8, Eccl. 3-5, Ps. 6)

Eccl. 3:

  • 3:15 FLOR. 6. (Whenever there is a note that says “FLOR. #,” that means that, eventually, this note will be replaced with a much longer note because it corresponds with an entry in my Florilegium, or my Bible study journal.)


Cf. Eccl. 1:9-10, Ps. 90:4. This verse offers words of great comfort for the People of God. Past, present, and future all existing simultaneously in a block universe (to use a term familiar to those interested in special relativity, horology, and the philosophy of time) is consistent with the classical conception of God's perception of time since God exists outside of it and observes all events simultaneously. According to Albert Einstein, "the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion." God views time—past, present, and future—like a complete book, whereas we experience it page by page; though we have not yet experienced it, our future already exists. This is why it is vanity to worry about what was and what is to come; God has no such worries, for he sees everything that has been, is, and will be. This should be a source of great solace for us as we strive ever more to live in uniformity with God’s will, under the care of his great providence. Ultimately, God is sovereign over all, so worrying would be vain for those who know God and love him. As Jesus says, “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?” (Mt. 6:27). No, of course not! Jesus provides the remedy: “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself” (Mt. 6:34).

DAY 149 (1 Kg. 7, Eccl. 1-2, Ps. 5)

1 Kg. 7:

  • 7:23 The molten sea prefigures the sacrament of Holy Baptism.

  • 7:25 The twelve oxen prefigure the twelve Apostles. That the molten sea “rested on” the oxen signifies that it belongs to the Church to initiate the world into the mystery of God’s Kingdom through the washing of this sacrament.

  • 7:26 The lily shape signifies Christ. Baptism immerses us into his Kingdom, for baptism is mystical participation in Christ’s Paschal sacrifice, which cleanses us of sin.

Eccl. 1:

  • 1:9-10 Since God is eternal (i.e., he exists outside of spacetime), nothing is truly new in his grand plan unfolding in time. We who are living under the New Covenant of God with Israel ought to understand that our covenant is intimately tied to the old. The newness of the covenant means that the old has been brought to its fullest revelation. It has not vanished; it has been perfected in Christ Jesus.

DAY 148 (1 Kg. 6, 2 Chr. 9, Ps. 4)

1 Kg. 6:

  • 6:18 Such horticultural imagery was iconic of the Garden of Eden. See 6:29.


2 Chr. 9:

  • 9:9 As with 1 Kg. 5:22, this prefigures the Gentiles contributing their gifts for the edification of the Church.

  • 9:14 See note on 9:9.

  • 9:17 Solomon’s throne mystically prefigures the All-Holy Theotokos, who bore her son, the King, in her lap. That it is made of ivory, being white, is a symbol of her purity, the fine gold representing her virtues and holiness.

  • 9:18 The two lions guarding the throne are iconic of the Cherubim guarding the Ark of the Covenant. They mystically represent the truth that Mary, the true Ark of God, is protected from sin.

  • 9:19 The twelve lions which guard the throne signify the College of Apostles, who guard the deposit of Faith handed to them by Jesus Christ.

DAY 147 (1 Kg. 5, 2 Chron. 7-8, Ps. 66)

1 Kg. 5:

  • 5:14 This prefigures the nature of the universal Church.

  • 5:22 Gentiles contributed to the construction of the Temple of God, foreshadowing the inclusion of the Gentiles to build up the Church.

2 Chron. 7:

  • 7:1 Like 5:12-13, this scene is a prefiguration of Pentecost.

  • 7:16 This verse prefigures both Mary and the Church: Mary in that Christ consecrated her to be his mother from all eternity, a place where his eyes and his heart would dwell, in her “Womb of Divine Incarnation” (Akathist to the Theotokos, Oikos 1); the Church in that Christ’s incarnate presence would be in the Church in the Eucharist forever.

DAY 146 (1 Kg. 4, 2 Chron. 6, Ps. 65)

1 Kg. 4:

  • 4:7 The twelve governors are types of the Apostles, who govern the Church.


2 Chron. 6:

  • 6:12 Here begins a most excellent prayer to God which emphasizes that the life of the People of God must be liturgically-oriented. The Temple liturgy is the “source and summit” (or “fount and apex”) of life itself (Lumen Gentium 11; CCC 1324).

  • 6:18 Solomon prophesies the Incarnation of Christ. “Him whom the heavens cannot contain, the womb of one woman bore” (St. Augustine of Hippo).

  • 6:33 This is a prophecy of the incorporation of the Gentiles into the People of God.

  • 6:41 This is another prefiguration of the Incarnation.

DAY 145 (1 Kg. 3, 2 Chron. 4-5, Ps. 64)

2 Chron. 4:

  • 4:6 The ritual ablutions prefigure baptism.

  • 4:22 The Mother of God, through whom God entered the world, had to be of the purest gold. In her could be found no stain of sin, for, at the moment of her conception, she was forged immaculately in the fire of divine love. Every beautiful vessel in the temple, in some mystical way, prefigures her, for God desires to show us how beautiful his mother is and what a glorious triumphal procession he has planned—for himself, into the world, and for us, into Heaven—through her.

2 Chron. 5:

  • 5:2 This prefigures ecumenical councils.

  • 5:7-8 She who is the true Ark of God, “more honorable than the Cherubim” (Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom), is constantly guarded from all defilement by them, just as the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple.

  • 5:10 The two tablets signify Christ Jesus, who personified the Law, becoming incarnate of Mary.

  • 5:12 The hundred and twenty prefigure the number of disciples present at Pentecost (cf. Acts 1:15).

  • 5:13 The cloud prefigures the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

Day 144 (1 Kg. 2, 2 Chron. 2-3, Ps. 62)

1 Kg. 2:

  • 2:19 Bathsheba is the Gebirah (Queen Mother) of Israel, a type which the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, later fulfils.

2 Chron. 2:

  • 2:3 Keeping this perpetual obligation in mind always, the Church continues doing these things to this very day.

2 Chron. 3:

  • 3:4 Pure gold prefigures the purity of the Mother of God.

  • 3:5, 16 The horticultural imagery intends to convey that the Temple is the new Garden of Eden, which was the original primordial garden temple in which man communed with his Creator.

  • 3:14 The veil which marked the entrance of the Holy of Holies, in some way, prefigures the veil which the Most Holy Theotokos wears. As the veil once covered the Holy of Holies to protect the mystery of the presence of God among men, so, too, does Mary’s veil signify that she is the true “bridal chamber” of God (Akathist to the Theotokos, Oikos 10).

  • 3:16 Cf. Sg. 4:13. The pomegranates signify that the garden of the Song of Songs is the very Temple of God, an antitype of the Garden of Eden, and, ultimately, the Catholic Church. Interestingly, pomegranates also lined the hem of the High Priest’s vestments as a symbol of the abundance of the Promised Land. The primary function of the Garden of Eden, just like the Temple in Jerusalem, is liturgical: the meeting place of Heaven and Earth.

Day 143 (1 Kg. 1, 2 Chron. 1, Ps. 43)

1 Kg. 1:

  • 1:29-30 This parallels the Annunciation to Mary, who is the consummate Gebirah (Queen Mother) of Israel.

  • 1:36 These words are the same royal words spoken by Mary to the Archangel Gabriel at the Annunciation.

DAY 1 (Gn. 1-2, Ps. 19)


FLOR. 1: Gn. 2:5


The Creation of Adam and Eve

On the sixth "day" of creation, before bringing creation to its consummation in the sabbath rest, God created Adam (man) from adama (the ground) and, thereafter, created Havva, the mother of all the living (from the hebrew hay, or "living") to be the wife of the first man (NABRE). God, in the creation narrative, brings forth Adam from pre-existent matter and, since it is "not enough” (NABRE) for him to be mere matter, God breathes spirit into him, ensouling his flesh, making him a composite of matter and spirit. It is at that precise moment, when God blew into his nostrils the breath of life (Gn. 2:7), when flesh was adorned with spirit and when spirit was sublimely enrobed with flesh, that "man became a living being" (Ibid.). The implantation of the rational soul in the image of God (Gn. 1:26-27) made adama truly adam.


While the narrative set forth in the Book of Genesis "uses figurative language,” it, nevertheless, “affirms a primeval event, which mysteriously took place at the beginning of the history of man” (CCC 390). It is presented in "simple and metaphorical language adapted to the mentality of people” who were “little cultured” compared to people in this present age, yet it states “principal truths which are fundamental for our salvation” under the “help of divine inspiration” (Humani Generis 38-39). Its essence—if not its accidents—indeed “pertains to history in a true sense” and “must in no way be considered on a par with” mere myths, even though the use of mythological language—often similar to, or even derived from, the myths of other surrounding cultures—is employed in order to convey essential truths concerning human nature (HG 38, 39).


Periodizing Eden

While scientific concerns “are not the primary interest of the sacred author," (Bergsma and Pitre, 2018), there are some clues in the text as to when we might be able to periodize the historical setting of the Eden narrative.


According to the narrative itself, Adam's role in the garden was to "till'' (Hebrew: abad, or "work") and "keep" (shamar, or "guard") it, giving him a primarily horticultural and agricultural function (Bergsma and Pitre). Prior to Adam, “there was no man to till the ground" (Gn. 2:5). The use of agricultural terminology here is of great significance for periodizing the events of this narrative because the sacred author takes care to note the "absence of cultivated plants,” for “agriculture had not yet started” (Bergsma and Pitre).


Consequently, it seems likely that the loose chronology of the narrative depicts man some time during the Neolithic period. I am of the opinion that the fanciful, yet well intentioned, view that the narrative is set around the well-established emergence of homo sapiens as a species some 300,000 years ago is inadmissible. If it is to be believed that the pair of homo sapiens called Adam and Eve existed as historical persons—not merely as literary and theological plot devices—it seems probable that they existed fairly recently in human history, certainly not as the first homo sapiens but as the first to have received the distinguishing quality of rational souls, making them, in this sense, the first "true" human beings. Though they shared their material nature with the homo sapiens who preceded them, it is this unique grace of possessing rational souls which allowed them to exercise agricultural dominion over creation in imitation of, and in communion with, their creator.


The Evolutionary Record

If the “origin of the human body" is derived from “pre-existent and living matter,” which the Eden narrative itself states to be the case, man's body being formed from the ordinary ground (which is to be interpreted not as the literal ground but as pre-existent matter), then “the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God” and infused in to the body by an extraordinary act (HG 36).


Of course, such a claim is not purely in the domain of scientific inquiry, since it would be difficult to attempt to falsify such metaphysical claims with recourse to physical means, but such an assertion seems, at least, to be more in line with the scientific record of the evolutionary origins of the human species, being “distinct from, but in harmony with the results of observation" (St. John Paul II, Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: On Evolution, 4).


Such a view accords with God's act of extending creation over six "days"—or 13.7 billion years—instead of in an instant: a "divine pedagogy" through which "God communicates himself to man gradually," preparing him "to welcome, by stages, the supernatural revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate word, Jesus Christ" (CCC 53), willing to create a world “‘in a state of journeying’ towards its ultimate perfection" (CCC 310) in him, guiding all of creation "to that definitive sabbath rest for which he created heaven and earth" (CCC 314).


Even further, taking into account the complete history of salvation, as set forth plainly in the whole of Sacred Scripture, it is "reasonable" to "expect" (Rev. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., "Defending Adam after Darwin") that creation would "not spring forth complete from the hands of the creator (CCC 302) but would gradually, in "the fullness of times... sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth” (Eph. 1:10), that "God may be all in all" (1 Cor. 15:28).


In my view, it would seem utterly incoherent to claim that all things were created already in a state of completion, for such a claim would seem to negate the necessity of the "happy fault," the truly necessary sin of Adam, which “earned, so great, so glorious a redeemer" as Christ (from the Exsultet). It is clearly ascertained from the annals of salvation history that this was not at all the case. The history of man, using the word of Servant of God Hans Urs von Balthasar, is a “theodrama” consisting of the patient manifestation of God's providence. As God, surely, “does whatever he wills" (Ps. 115:3), he could have willed otherwise, but he did not.


The Historical Record

Only fairly recently in the history of this grand theodrama did human beings begin to exercise agricultural dominion over creation, the genesis of agriculture occuring during the Neolithic period, which dates from c. 10,000-4,500 BC (12,000-6,500 years ago). Significant events which occurred either during or around the Neolithic period include:


  • Holocene Climate Optimum

    • A warming period which may have facilitated the rise of agriculture and during which many ancient civilizations emerged

      • 9,000-5,000 years ago


  • Founder Crops Cultivated

    • Emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, barley, peas, lentils, bitter vetch, chickpeas, and flax (Zeder, 2011)

      • By 9,500 BC


  • Population Boom

    • Globally, the rise of agriculture "caused unusually high rates of population growth" (Gignoux, Henn, and Mountain, 2011; Biraben, 1980; Armelagos, Goodman, and Jacobs, 1991).


These events lead me to strongly believe that the Eden narrative is set some time very close to the emergence of human civilizations, not the mere appearance of homo sapiens in the evolutionary record. Civilization—at least to some degree—implies the presence of rational souls, and agriculture—at least in the view of Sacred Scripture—requires the infusion of rational souls into homo sapiens. Why is this so?


Sharing in the Divine Nature

Humanity's destiny—its very essence—is bound up in agriculture because agriculture is an exercise of spiritual and material "dominion" over creation (Gn. 1:26, 28), which belongs to God principally (Ps. 24:1) and to Adam and his offspring instrumentally, for humanity's destiny is "to share in the divine nature (2 Pt. 1:4) and in the plenitude of sacerdotal and regal authority as a "royal priesthood" and a "holy nation" (1 Pt. 2:9, cf. Ex. 19:6).


The Divine Scriptures speak of the purpose for which humans were created when they proclaim: "You have given [them] rule over the works of your hands, put all things at [their] feet (Ps. 8:7) and, elsewhere, "In your wisdom, [you] have established humankind to rule the creatures produced by you and to govern the world in holiness and righteousness” (Wis. 9:2-3).


Following the Eden narrative, the words used to denote Adam's agricultural function of working in and guarding the garden appear next in Scripture to describe the function of the Levitical priests (Bergsma and Pitre). In essence, Adam's role is to be the “mediator of a covenant between God and creation," the first priest (Bergsma), eventually coming to fruition in the high priesthood of the good things that have come to be” in Jesus Christ, the "one mediator between God and the human race" (1 Tm. 2:5, cf. Heb. 9:15, Heb. 9:11). Indeed, in the book of the prophet Ezekiel, Adam is "portrayed as wearing priestly attire," specifically the stones on the breastpiece of the High Priest of Israel (cf. Ex. 28: 17-21; Beale, 2018). Adam was the first priest, and the Garden of Eden was the first temple (Beale; Wenham, 1987; Barker, 1991; Kingsmill, 2009).


Similarly, the authority given to Adam to name creatures in the garden is a function which "fully belongs to God" but is "deputed to Adam as vicegerent,” the first creature to exercise a regal function over creation (Bergsma and Pitre). Man's ability to govern the earth—to "subdue it" and "have dominion over it” (Gn. 1:28)—is what distinguishes him from all other creatures, for "man is, by nature, a political animal” (Aristotle), endowed with reason and created for the purpose of being able to share in his creator's infinite beatitude as "heirs" (Rom. 8:17), for "God willed creation as a gift addressed to man, an inheritance destined for and entrusted to him” (CCC 299). It is no wonder that, some time following the development of agriculture, human beings began to organize themselves into civilizations with political hierarchies. Adam's dominion extends to the whole of creation, tending to it as a vicegerent and son of God, coming to fruition in the messianic kingship of Jesus Christ, the "King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rv. 19:16).


Agriculture is a locus around which spirit and flesh are intertwined, human beings only rightfully being called so when they were able to till and keep the garden of God, in contrast to every other creature who could not because they were not created in the image of God, infused with rational souls, able to exercise loving dominion over the world in holiness and righteousness. The genesis of agriculture was the first event which demonstrated that humankind could exercise a sacerdotal and regal function over creation because the Garden of Eden, itself, "was a kind of primordial garden temple for the worship of God and communion with him" (Bergsma and Pitre). In Genesis, man finds his beginning in the Garden of Eden; in the Revelation, man finds his consummation in the garden of Heaven (Rv. 22:1-2).


Bibliography

Armelagos, George J., Alan H. Goodman, and Kenneth H. Jacobs. The Origins of Agriculture: Population Growth during a Period of Declining Health. Population and Environment 13 (1991): 9–22.


Barker, Margaret. The Gate of Heaven: The History and Symbolism of the Temple in Jerusalem. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 1991.


Beale, G.K.. Adam as the First Priest in Eden as the Garden Temple. The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 22, no. 2 (2018): 9-24.


Bergsma, John and Brant Pitre. A Catholic Introduction to the Bible: The Old Testament. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2018.


Biraben, Jean-Noël. An Essay Concerning Mankind's Evolution. Population, Selected Papers 4 (1980): 1–13.


Gignoux, Christopher R., Brenna M. Henn, Joanna L. Mountain, ed. Ofer Bar-Yosef. Rapid, Global Demographic Expansions after the Origins of Agriculture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108, no. 15 (April 12, 2011): 6044-6049.


International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Roman Missal, Third Edition. 2010.


John Paul II. Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The Quarterly Review of Biology 72, no. 4 (Dec. 1997): 381-383.


Kingsmill, Edmée. The Song of Songs and the Eros of God: A Study in Biblical Intertextuality. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.


Pius XII. Humani Generis. Rome: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1950.


St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. "Rev. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P.: "Defending Adam After Darwin." YouTube Video, 1:07:16. December 12, 2017.


von Balthasar, Hans Urs. Theo-drama: Theological Dramatic Theory: Prolegomena. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1988.


Wenham, Gordon J.. Genesis 1-15, Volume 1. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1987.


Zeder, Melinda. The Origins of Agriculture in the Near East.