Watching the sea flood in, Stephen thinks, "diebus ac noctibus iniurias patiens ingemiscit," Latin words which mean "by days and nights it patiently groans over wrongs." He is recalling Saint Ambrose's commentary on Romans 8:22: "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now." In many translations of Paul's words, the creation suffers the pains of childbirth, waiting for the manifestation of God the way a pregnant woman waits for delivery. Stephen seems to be aware of this conflation of metaphysical expectation with sexual generation.

JH 2015

Saint Ambrose of Milan, in an early mosaic that may be a portrait from life. Source: Wikimedia Commons.