Dracontius: Does Your Silent Heart Speak in His Presence?

Feast of St Maximus the Confessor

medieval_square.jpgGOD ALONE IS ruler and creator everlasting,

God is threefold power, God is wholly three and one,

He who grants each good thing one hopes for,

Never cheating the pure soul of what it confidently expects;

His words never fail to produce immediate results.

In His presence silent hearts can speak through their feelings;

Though the tongue says nothing its words resound above the heavens:

The pure soul can entreat God better than the tongue.

And so, mindful of His creation, God ordered both the humans

Who had left their peaceful home, to take charge of the world

And to hold everything the world contains under their jurisdiction.

That the earth produces flowers and green grass grows,

That ears of wheat form, and trees bear fruit,

That buds sprout from the vines, and trees have lovely locks of leaves,

That streams produce rivers, and the sea rises in billows,

That the waves draw the ocean waters and beat upon the shores,

That gusting winds roar and ruffle the shifting seas,

What the earth brings forth—or fire, air, or water—

All this was ordered to exist for the use of mankind

So that he who was created from dust, in the image of Christ,

Should rule over all these things and all physical beings

Should submissively serve these creatures clothed in flesh.

There is, however, an incorporeal breath serving man: the wind.

The wind dispels the clouds or the air thickens,

Condensing into clouds; so the rain comes and then clear skies.

The wind nourishes the fruits, the wind forms ears of corn

Which the gentle breeze of summer fans with its breath.

It sheds the blossom to form the fruit, shaking flowers from the trees.

It kindles the flames with its breath and tempers summer’s heat.

As it is breathed in and out, life’s manifestations continue:

The breath departs and returns in repeated exhalation [. . .]

To breathe in this way is not granted to the human body alone:

In all animate beings the air moves in and out.

The spirit of God, encompassing all things, sets all bodies in motion,

Stirs them up, nurtures, ingrafts them, drives them on.

From it all the different seeds of things derive their origin, too.

Coming out of bondless chaos, in an everlasting stream

They pour forth, formed by the hand of the Creator

And all arranged in order: the gift of creation stands firm for ever.


—Dracontius, De Laudibus Dei

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