My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
ON ACQUISITION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (PART V)
The Holy Spirit in History (cont.)
"At last the Holy Spirit foretold to Saint Simeon, who was then in his 65th year, the mystery of the virginal conception and birth of Christ from the Most Pure Ever-Virgin Mary. Afterwards, having lived by the grace of the All-Holy Spirit of God for three hundred years, in the 365th year of his life he said openly in the temple of the Lord that he knew for certain through the gift of the Holy Spirit that this was that very Christ, the Savior of the world. Whose supernatural conception and birth from the Holy Spirit has been foretold to Him by an angel three hundred years previously.
And there was also Saint Anna, a Prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, who from her widowhood had served the Lord God in the Temple of God for eighty years, and who was known to be a righteous widow, a chaste servant of God, from the special gifts of grace which she had received. She too announced that He was actually the Messiah Who has been promised to the world, the true Christ, God and man, the King of Israel, Who had come to save Adam and mankind.
"But when our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished the whole work of salvation, after His Resurrection, He breathed on the Holy Apostles, restored the breath of life lost by Adam, and gave them the same grace of the All-Holy Spirit of God as Adam had enjoyed. But that was not all. He also told them that it was better for them that He should go to the Father, for if He did not go, the Spirit of God would not come into the world. But if He, the Christ, went to the Father, He would send Him into the world, and He , the Comforter, would guide them and all who followed their teaching into all truth and would remind them of all that He said to them when He was still in the world. What was then promised was "grace upon grace" (St. John 1:16).
"Then on the day of Pentecost He solemnly sent down to them in a tempestuous wind the Holy Spirit in the form of tongues of fire which alighted on each of them and entered within them and filled them with the fiery strength of Divine Grace which breathes as with dew and acts with gladness in souls who partake of its power and operations (Acts Ch. 2). And this same fire-infusing grace of the Holy Spirit which is given to us all, the faithful in Christ, in the Mystery (Sacrament) of Holy Baptism, is sealed by the Mystery (Sacrament) of Chrismation on the chief parts of our body as appointed by the Holy Church, the eternal keeper of this grace. It is said: "The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit." On what do we put our seals, your Godliness, if not on vessels containing some very precious treasure? But what on earth can be higher and what can be more precious than the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are sent down to us from above in the Mystery (Sacraments) of Holy Baptism? This baptismal grace is so great and so indispensable, so vital for man, that even a heretic is not deprived of it until his actual death; that is, till the end of the period appointed on high by the Providence of God as a lifelong test of man on earth, in order to see what he will be able to achieve (during this period given to him by God) by means of the power of grace granted to him from on high.
"And if we were never to sin after our baptism, we should remain forever saints of God, holy, blameless, and free from all impurity of body and soul. But the trouble is that we increase in stature, but do not increase in grace and in the knowledge of God as our Lord Jesus Christ increased, but on the contrary, we gradually become more and more depraved and lose the grace of the All-Holy Spirit of God and become sinful in various degrees, and very sinful people. But if a man is stirred by the wisdom of God, which seeks our salvation and embraces everything, and if he is resolved for its sake to devote the early hours of the day to God and to watch in order to find His eternal salvation, then, in obedience to its voice, he must hasten to offer true repentance for all his sins and must practice the virtues which are opposite to the sins committed. Then through the virtues practiced for Christ's sake, he will acquire the Holy Spirit who acts within us and established in us the Kingdom of God. The word of God does not say in vain: "The Kingdom of God is within you" (St. Luke 17:21), and it "suffers violence, and the violent take it by force" (St. Matthew 11:12). That means that people who, in spite of the bonds of sin which fetter them and (by their violence and by inciting them to new sins) prevent them from coming to Him, our Savior, with perfect repentance for reckoning with Him. They force themselves to break their bonds, despising all the strength of the fetters of sin - such people at last actually appear before the face of God made whiter than snow by His grace, "Come, says the Lord: though your sins be as purple, I will make you white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18).
"Such people were once seen by the holy Seer John the Divine "clothed in white robes" (that is, in robes of justification) and with "palm in their hands" (as a sign of victory), and they were singing to God a wonderful son: "alleluia." And no one could imitate the beauty of their song. Of them an Angel of God said: "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation and have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Revelation 7:9-14). They were washed with their sufferings and made white in the communion of the Immaculate and Life-Giving Mysteries (Sacraments) of the Body and Blood of the most pure and spotless Lamb-Christ-Who was slain before all ages by His own will for the salvation of the world, and Who is continually being slain and divided until now, but is never exhausted (in the Mystery [Sacrament) of Holy Communion). Through the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments) we are granted our eternal and unfailing salvation as a viaticum to eternal life, as an acceptable answer at His Dread Judgment and a precious substitute beyond our comprehension for that fruit of the tree of life of which the enemy and devil seduced Eve, and Adam fell with her, yet the Lord not only granted them a redeemer in the fruit of the seed of the woman Who trampled down death by death, but also granted us all in the woman, the Ever-Virgin Mary Mother of God, who crushes the head of the serpent in herself and in all the human race, a constant mediatress (Μεσίτρια) with her Son and our God, and an invincible and persistent intercessor even for the most desperate sinners. That is why the Mother of God is called the "Plague of Demons", for it is not possible for a devil to destroy a man so long as man himself has recourse to the help of the Theotokos (Mother of God).
(Next: Grace is Light)
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God