Re: The Story of Water into Wine

Some more from St. Gregory the Great, by way of St. Beatus of Liebana:

“For he who could change water into wine, also had the power to fill empty waterjars with wine all at once. But He tells them to fill up waterjars with water, because through the story of this same sacred reading, our hearts are also refilled; and the water within us turns to wine when, by the mystery of allegory, this story is changed within us into spiritual understanding.”

St. Greg’s Homily 6 on Ezekiel talks a lot about how to read Scripture, because the topic of “the book written on, inside and outside” comes up. (From Ezekiel 4:9 and Revelation 5:1.) Since it’s pretty commonly seen as representing the Bible itself (among other things), it’s a handy time for St. Greg to bring up his thoughts.

St. Greg also sees the Bible being read in different ways: according to the letter by newbies, close reading by “vigilant” people (though still of literal points), and more spiritually and allegorically by more spiritually and Biblically experienced people. (The moral points are pretty much figured out by everybody, although more experienced people will understand these things better.) Literal meanings are “written on the outside”, and spiritual meanings bring you further and further “inside” the book. 🙂

Apparently at some point in his writings (maybe later on in this homily), St. Greg actually says that the Bible “grows” with the reader, because the reader sees more of the meaning packed into it. Since this is true even with normal secular classics, you better believe this is a feature of the Bible. (Often spookily so.)

But basically, I just wanted to share the image of Bible reading filling us up with story-water and the story in us being changed by Jesus into wine. 🙂 If you picture this as a description only secondarily related to personal reading or readings at mealtimes, and go to St. Greg’s primary touchstone, the Liturgy of the Word at Mass, the Bible story within us doesn’t (spiritually speaking) necessarily stay wine.

1 Comment

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One response to “Re: The Story of Water into Wine

  1. Maureen

    Okay, the quote about Scripture growing has two forms. One is “Cum legentibus crescit”, and it’s in Moralia in Job, lib. 20, cap. 1.

    The other is in the commentary homilies In Ezechielem, in homily 7:
    “Divina eloquia, cum legente, crescunt.”

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