Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Understanding passages that seem obscure

"Now we have made all these points first by way of a preface so as to stir up your minds, since the passage we have in hand is one that is hard to understand and seems unnecessary to read. But we cannot say of the Holy Spirit's writings that there is anything useless or unnecessary in them, however much they appear obscure to some. What we ought rather to do is to turn they eyes of our mind toward Him who ordered this to be written and to ask of Him their meaning. We must do this so that if there is weakness in our soul, He who heals all its infirmities (Ps. 103:3) may heal us, or so that if we are children in understanding, the Lord may be with us guarding His children and may nourish us and add to the measure of our age (cf. Eph. 4:13). For it is in our power to be able to attain both health from weakness and manhood from childhood. It is, then, our part to ask this of God. And it is God's to give to those who ask and to open to those who knock (cf. Mt. 7:7). Let this be enough by way of introduction."

Origen, Homily 27 on Numbers

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