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.
THE MEETING OF CHRIST (PART III)
Righteous Symeon blessed the Theotokos (Mother of God) and Joseph, who followed these events with wonder and amazement. And he then turned to the Theotokos to make two remarkable prophecies to her.
The first referred to the Person of the Godman Christ. "Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against" (St. Luke 2:34). This prophecy was realized during Christ's life-time, but it continues to be realized in the history of humanity and in the personal life of every man.
The Godman Christ is the fall of those who do not believe in Him and the rising of those who do. Golgotha is an example, one thief believes and is saved, the other doubts and is condemned. This happens also in our inner life, Christ falls when we, the baptized, fall through prostitution, and He is raised through our prudence. Likewise it can be understood that Christ will suffer and fall in death, but also many will be raised through His own fall and His own death (Saint Theophylaktos).
Christ is also "a sign that is spoken against". The word 'sign' can be understood in many ways and many senses. In the first place, Christ's Incarnation, that the Logos/Word of God became man, is a sign. At the Incarnation many paradoxical and strange things happened. God became man, the Virgin became a mother. Precisely this sign is contradicted and doubted by many people. Some maintain that He assumed a real body, and others that His body and His actions were illusory. Some think that His body is earthly, others that it is heavenly. Some think that Christ as God has a Pre-Eternal existence from the Virgin and immaculate Mary (Saint Cyril of Alexandria).
Analyzing Saint Theophilaktos' interpretation that the Incarnation of the Son and Logos/Word of God is understood as a sign that is spoken against, Saint Nicodemos the Hagiorite says that the heretic who sees the works of Christ, Who has the double energies of man and God and sometimes as man hungers, thirsts, is martyred, crucified, suffers, etc., and sometimes as God performs miracles, drives out demons and is resurrected, etc., is in two minds as to whether Christ is God or man. But the Christian does not have such doubts, because he knows from the experience of the deified saints that although Christ has two natures, Divine and human, He is one in hypostasis and person, and so one and the same Christ acts sometimes in a divine way and sometimes in a human way. And certainly when each nature acts, it acts, "in communion with the other".
Another sign that is spoken against is the Cross of Christ. According to Saint Cyril of Alexandria, "the precious Cross is called a disputed sign". Some accept the Cross and the crucifixion of Christ, regarding it as salvation: that in the Cross He conquered the principles and authorities of darkness, and others deny the cross. They cannot accept that Christ was crucified. Therefore, as the Apostle Paul said, the Cross is a stumbling-block to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. But for us the faithful the Cross is "the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:23-24).
Saint Symeon's Second Prophecy, which referred to the Panagia (All-Holy Mother of God), is as follows: "Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" (St. Luke 2:35).
Apparently this prophecy refers to the pain and sorrow of the Theotokos about the Cross, when she saw her Son, Who is the Son of God at the same time, suffering and enduring. Though the Panagia did not endure or suffer pain during the birth of Christ, precisely because she conceived Him without seed and gave birth without corruption, she has to suffer much at the time His departure.
This way the very sword that would pierce the soul of the Theotokos (Mother of God) at Christ's death on the Cross and would reveal the thoughts of many men which were hidden in their hearts. From the pain which she felt they understood that this was His natural mother.
This reminds us of the case of the two women in the Old Testament who claimed a baby and appeared before Solomon to resolve their difference. Solomon asked for a sword to divide it and give a part to each woman. Then one of them begged him not to kill it, but to give it whole to the other. And the other asked him to kill it so that neither of them should take it. The king gave the child to the one who preferred that the child should live even if the other woman took it. This was proof that she was the natural mother (1 Kings 3:16-28).
In the same way, the Panagia's sorrow at the Cross showed that she was the real mother, that it was from her that the Lord took flesh. For since the Panagia is the real mother, it means that Christ also has a real body and is not fantasy.
Saint Athanasios the Great says that the phrase "that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed" means that the Cross of Christ, His Passion, would reveal all the inner dispositions of men, since Peter, out of warmth and zeal, would deny Him, the Disciples would desert Him, Pilate would express regret by washing his hands, his wife would believe through a dream at night, the centurion would believe from the signs, Joseph and Nicodemos would be occupied with matters of the funeral, Judas would strangle himself, the Jews would give money to the guards to conceal the Resurrection. And indeed "there will be some conflict and discord of thoughts and opposing speculations".
This prophecy does not refer only to the Incarnation and the Crucifixion, but also to the whole life of the Church, which is the real body of Christ. Some are saved, remaining in the Church, and others are condemned, denying its saving work. Also, since through Baptism we have received the Grace of God in our heart and it never leaves us, but is simply concealed by the passions, therefore when we sin, we fall, and when we struggle and repent, we are raised up again.
Christ will be "for the fall and rising of many" also in the next life, since all will see Christ, but for some it will be paradise and for others hell.
(To be continued)
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 (Ministry)
The sinner and unworthy servant of God