Feast of the Holy Prophet Micah
THE SIXTH evening brought back the beginning of night,
Driving away the light with the alternation of the times of day.
As all living things sought welcome rest,
Adam settled down to sleep, his limbs relaxed.
The Almighty Father induced in him a deep slumber
That overwhelmed him, dulling his senses with a great heaviness
So that no force could awaken his soundly sleeping mind.
Even if a loud crash had happened to strike his untroubled ears,
If the sky had thundered forth and the heavens shaken,
Under the weight of God’s hand his body’s rest would not have been disturbed.
Then from among all his bones God chose a single rib
From the left side and then repaired the damage to the body.
From it He creates a delightful figure, tall and beautiful,
And suddenly those new features develop into a woman
Whom God joins to her husband in an everlasting contract,
Rewarding him with marriage as compensation for his lost rib.
That death which Christ chose to undergo
When He assumed a body, followed the model of Adam’s sleep:
When Christ was about to suffer and was hanging aloft,
Fastened high on the cross, paying for the sins of the world,
An attendant stuck his spear into Christ’s side as He was stretched out there.
At once, water sprang forth, gushing out of the wound,
Already at that time promising the people a life-giving purification;
A stream of blood flowed too, providing a sign of martyrdom.
Then while He lay dead for two nights, the Church arose
From the rib in Christ’s side, becoming His bride as He slept.
In the beginning the Ruler, taking care to sanctify what was the type
For this important union, joined them in marriage with these words:
“Live in harmony and devotion to each other and fill the world;
May your offspring live long and increase from this prosperous seed;
Let the years of their lives be without number or limit.
I grant you generations without end which you will receive
For all time, you who are set as the prime source of your race.
May your great-grandson, scattering through the ages his own grandsons,
Number his great-grandparents among the living and may his children’s
Children lead their long-lived offspring before their ancestors’ eyes.
Then will the law of marriage be respected for all time
And preserved inviolate by all according to its own form.
Let woman, taken from within the man’s body, continue
Faithful in marriage and may no one else separate
What God has joined and united: may the husband
Bound by a lawful love, leave his mother and father.
Concern for his parents must not cause these ties to rupture
But the two of them should live together as one flesh.”
In this way God united them in marriage with an everlasting contract
And announced the wedding festivities, while the angels’ song
With its harmonious melody rang in celebration of their chaste modesty.
Paradise was their bridal chamber; the world was given
As the wedding-gift and the stars rejoiced with flames of joy.
—Avitus of Vienne, De Spiritualis Historiae Gestis