Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Nativity and Our Daily Lives

Dear Parish Faithful and Friends in Christ,

If you recall, on Monday morning I shared a few deeply theological passages from a Nativity Homily of St. Gregory Palamas with you in the form of a meditation. I concluded by promising some more from St. Gregory about the impact of this glorious Feast on our lives. In other words, the most profound theological reflection upon the mystery of the Incarnation leads to conclusions we must draw for our own daily lives, our own interior lives, and our relationships with fellow human beings. St. Gregory closes his homily with these words of pastoral exhortation (notice how scriptural his admonitions are):

Brothers and sisters, let us preserve this peace in ourselves as far as we can, for we have received it as an inheritance from our Savior who has now been born, who gives us the Spirit of adoption, through which we have become heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ (cf. ROM. 8:15,17). Let us be at peace with God, doing those things which are well-pleasing to Him, living chastely, telling the truth, behaving righteously, "continuing in prayer and supplication" (cf. ACTS 1:14), "singing and making melody in our heart" (cf. EPH. 5:19), not just with our lips. Let us be at peace with ourselves, by subjecting our flesh to our spirit, choosing to conduct ourselves according to our conscience, and having the inner world of our thoughts motivated by good order and purity. ... Let us be at peace with one another, "forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you" (COL. 3:13), and showing mercy to each other out of mutual love, just as Christ, solely for love of us, had mercy on us and for our sake came down to us. Then, recalled from the sinful fall through His help and grace, and lifted high above this world by virtues, we may have our citizenship in heavenly places (cf. PHIL. 3:20), whence we also wait for our hope (cf. ROM. 8:23), redemption from corruption and enjoyment of celestial and eternal blessings as children of the heavenly Father. May we all attain to this, at the future glorious advent and epiphany of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom belongs glory unto the ages. Amen.

Fr. Steven

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