суббота, 15 января 2011 г.

A WEEK AFTER CHRISTMAS

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
                   A WEEK AFTER CHRISTMAS
                      13 JANUARY 1985
                          ----

In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

In  imagination we think ourselves 2000 years back. What wonder should
fill  us:  a  week, and the world has become different. The world that
had  been for thousands of years like the lost sheep was now the sheep
found,  taken  upon  His shoulders by the Son of God become the Son of
man. The unbridgeable gap that sin had created between God and man was
now  at  least  incipiently bridged; God had entered into history, God
Himself  had  become man. God had taken flesh, and all things visible,
what  we perceive in our blindness as dead, inert matter, could in His
body recognise itself in glory. Something absolutely new had occurred,
the world was no longer the same.

Moreover,  there  is another aspect to the Incarnation. God had become
man,  but  God  in Christ had spoken words of truth that was decisive,
that  gradually like yeast dropped into dough was to change the world.
God  had  revealed to us the greatness of man. Christ becoming man was
evidence,  is and will remain forever evidence that man is so vast, so
deep,  so  mysteriously  deep, that he can not only contain the divine
presence as a temple, but can unite himself with God, “become partaker
of  the divine nature”, as St. Peter puts it in his Epistle. And again
that  man  is  great,  and  that  however  far  we  fall away from our
vocation,  however  unworthy  we  may  become  of  it,  God will never
re-establish  with  us  a  relationship which is less than that of His
fatherhood  and  our condition of sons and daughters of the Most High.
The  prodigal  son  was asking his father to receive him as a hireling
now that he was unworthy of being called a son; but the father did not
accept  it.  When  the son made his confession, the father stopped him
before  he  could  even  pronounce  those  words, because God does not
accept  our  debasement,  we  are  no slaves and no hirelings. Has not
Christ  said to His disciples, "I no longer call you servants, because
a  servant  does  not know the will of his master, and lo, I have told
you everything."

Again,  the  proclamation  in  Christ  and by Him is that what matters
supremely is every person, that He lives and dies for every one of us,
that  it  is not collective units that matter, but each of us. Each of
us, tells us the Book of Revelation, possesses from God a name, a name
which  will  be revealed to us at the end of time, but a name which no
one  can know but God and he who receives it, because this name is our
relationship  to  God,  unique, unrepeatable; each of us is unique for
Him.  What  a  wonder! The ancient world knew of nations and races, it
knew of slaves and owners, it knew of categories of people, exactly in
the  same way in which the modern world that is gradually becoming not
only secular but pagan, distinguishes categories and types and groups.
God knows only living men and women.

And  then  a  new justice was introduced, or rather proclaimed by Him,
not  the  distributive  and  retributive  justice  of the law, another
justice.  When  Christ says to us, "let your justice be beyond that of
the  scribes  and pharisees," He speaks of the way in which God treats
each of us. He accepts each of us as we are. He accepts good and evil,
He  rejoices  in  the good, and He dies because of and for the sake of
what  is  evil.  And that is what God calls us to remember, and how He
calls  us  to  be and to behave — not only within our Christian circle
but  in  the  whole  world,  to look at every person with that kind of
justice;  not  judging  and  condemning, but seeing in each person the
beauty which God has impressed upon it and which we call "the image of
God  in  man".  Venerate this beauty, work for this beauty to shine in
all glory, dispelling what is evil and dark and making it possible, by
the  recognition  of  beauty  in each other, for this beauty to become
reality and to conquer.

He  has  taught  us  also about a love which the ancient world did not
know,  and the modern world, like the old one, is so afraid of: A love
that  accepted to be vulnerable, helpless, giving, sacrificial; a love
that  gives  without  counting,  a  love  that  gives not only what it
possesses,  but  itself.  That  is  what the Gospel., that is what the
Incarnation  brought  into  the  world,  and  this has remained in the
world.  Christ  said  that  "the light shines in the darkness, and the
darkness  cannot  comprehend it," but it cannot put it out either. And
this  light  shines  and  shall  shine, but it will conquer only if we
undertake  to  be  its  heralds and the doers of these commandments of
justice  and of love, if we accept God's vision of the world and bring
to  it  our  faith,  that is, our certainty and our hope, which is the
only  power that can help others to start anew; but to start anew they
must  see  newness  in us. The world has become incipiently new by the
union  of God with man, when the Word became flesh; it is for us to be
a  revelation  of this newness, the resplendence and shining of God in
the darkness or the dusk of this world.

May  God  grant  us  courage and love and greatness of heart to be His
messengers and His witnesses, and may the blessing of the Lord be upon
you  by His grace and love towards mankind always, now and forever and
world without end. Amen.

                               ----
 * All texts are copyright: Estate of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

3rd  International  Conference  dedicated  to  Metropolitan Anthony’s
legacy  in Moscow, September 23-25, 2011
          http://www.mitras.ru/eng/eng_conf3mow.htm

           Metropolitan Anthony of  Sourozh Library
                   http://www.mitras.ru/eng/

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