Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The 'Must' of Divine Love


Dear Parish Faithful,

The following is an excerpt (with a few more to come) from a brilliant essay by Fr. George Florovsky (+1979) entitled, simply “Redemption:”

"The mystery of the Cross is beyond our rational comprehension. This “terrible sight” seems strange and startling. The whole life of our Blessed Lord was one great act of forbearance, mercy and love. And the whole of it is illuminated by the eternal radiance of Divinity, though that radiance is invisible to the world of flesh and sin….

"Christ came not only that He might teach with authority and tell people the name of the Father, not only that He might accomplish works of mercy. He came to suffer and to die, and to rise again. He Himself more than once witnessed to this before the perplexed and startled disciples. He not only prophesied the coming Passion and death, but plainly stated that He must, that He had to, suffer and be killed. He plainly said that “must” not simply “was about to.” … “Must” [Gk. dei] not just according to the law of this world, in which good and truth is persecuted and rejected, not just according to the law of hatred and evil. The death of Our Lord was in full freedom. No one takes His life away. He Himself offers His soul by His own supreme will and authority. “I have authority” (JN. 10:18). He suffered and died, “not because He could not escape suffering, but because He chose to suffer,” as it is stated in the Russian Catechism. Chose, not merely in the sense of voluntary resistance, not merely in the sense that He permitted the rage of sin and unrighteousness to be vented on Himself. He not only permitted but willed it. He must have died according to the law of truth and love. In no way was the Crucifixion a passive suicide or simply murder. It was a Sacrifice and an oblation. This was the necessity of divine Love."

From Volume Three of the Collected Works of Georges Florovsky, p. 99-100.

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