27 March 2017

St Jacob of Serug: Concerning St Gabriel and the Mother of God


The Annunciation
Saint Jacob of Serug is one of the great saints like St Ephrem and St Isaac the Syrian whose words speak with an amazing power today across the barriers of Church, churches, and denominations.  I have previously included excerpts from St Ephrem - the Harp of the Holy Spirit - concerning St Mary the Virgin Mother and Bearer of God.

Today I include a quotation from St Jacob of Serug that was brought to mind by the blog of Fr Alvin Kimel (ROCOR) entitled 'Eclectic Orthodoxy'. In the portion following bear in mind that the word 'Watcher' would in Western context be translated most often as 'Angel' or 'divine Messenger'. 

The revelation went out from God
to the pure one
by means of Gabriel, the learned one, 
who teaches fine sayings. 

The man of fire was sent from God
that he might bring the message 
from the house of the Father
to the glorious one. 

From the heavenly legions,
the spiritual one went forth,
who had been sent from God
with a hidden mystery. 

He met with the maiden,
greeted her,
and revealed the mystery,
as he had been commanded by God
in the heavens above. 

He bowed to the Virgin,
the Mother of the King,
and He spoke with her in the speech of the country
such as she was able to receive: 

“Peace be with you, full of divine splendour!
Peace to you Mary, Mother of the Sun of Justice! 

“Peace be upon you,
castle of holy things and full of virtues,
harbour of mysteries and new ship full or riches. 

“Blessed of women, peace be with you!
Our Lord is with you;
you have conceived
and in your virginity you have borne a son.” 

Mary listened,
and wonder seized her at the words of the Watcher;
the message was in her ears,
and great trembling within her mind: 

“My Lord, I am a virgin
and how is it that you speak to me of conception?
Your tale is new,
speak, explain what you are saying. 

“Who has sought a harvest from the land
without sowing it?
Who has sought grapes on the vine
without cultivating it? 

“From a virgin
who would expect birth without marital union?
Tell your tale which is babbling
and concealed from the intellect. 

“How will what you say come to pass,
as you say it?
Either explain it to me
or it will not be easy for me to consent.” 

The Watcher said:
“The Holy Spirit will come to you;
descending He dwells and sanctifies you
in your virginity. 

“He looses from you the curse of Eve and blesses you;
the Power of the hidden Father comes
and in you will be clothed with a body. 

“You are going to beget a Babe
whose kingdom will have no end;
because He is a great King,
the Son of the unsearchable God.” 

Saint Jacob of Serug