Monday, August 3, 2009

John Chrysostom: Hannah's Precious Cargo

The fear of God, in fact, like a steersman seated at the tiller, persuaded her to see out the billows in a noble fashion, and did not cease steering her soul until he brought to the safe haven the vessel loaded with cargo, the womb bearing its precious treasure. She was carrying, of course, not gold or silver, but a prophet and priest; the sanctification of her womb was twofold, being pregnant with such a child, and receiving the beginning of pregnancy both from prayer and from grace above. Now, it was not only that the cargo was baffling and remarkable: the manner of commerce proved even more baffling. I mean, she did not sell it to people, neither to merchants nor to pedlars; instead, once she unloaded it from the vessel she offered it for sale to God, and she made as great a profit as was fitting for her to make as one who had dealings with God. After God had accepted him, remember, he repaid her with another child - or, rather, not one, or two, or three, or four only, but even many more.

- John Chrysostom (around A.D. 347 to around A.D. 407), Homilies on Hannah, Homily 2, in St. John Chrysostom, Old Testament Homilies, Volume 1, p. 84 (2003), Robert C. Hill translator.