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 GIVEN. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE HOLY MEETING (HYPAPANTE) OR PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE (Part III)
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 a fantasy.
Saint Athanasios the Great says that the phrase "that 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 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.
This last clearly reveals that the feast of the Meeting of Christ is not simply a feast referring only to Christ the Lord and pointing to one of the stages of the Divine Economy, but it is also a feast of the person who lives by Christ.
The Church made the feast of Christ's fortieth (40) day also a ceremony, a service for the fortieth day after everyone's birth. On the fortieth day after birth, the infant is offered to the Temple by its mother. This offering has a double meaning. First, the mother is blessed for the end of her purification after the bleeding of her confinement. Just as the Church prays for every illness, so also it prays for the woman who has given birth and naturally feels tired and physically weak. It prays for her purification and because, as we know today, the manner of our birth came after the fall. Secondly, it is a celebration of thanksgiving for the birth of a child. Since the conception and birth of a human being is not a work of nature alone, but of God's energy, we feel that it belongs to God. So we offer it to God and He, through our priest, gives it over to us again to bring it up. But in reality, it belongs to God.
However, according to Saint Gregory of Nyssa, we must offer to God, to the altar above, in place of a pair of turtle-doves, the purity of soul and body, and in place of the two young pigeons we must offer much prayer not only before the face of God but also before the face of mankind. And just as Christ did all that the law required and returned to His fatherland, filled and advancing in wisdom, so we too are to return to our true fatherland, which is the heavenly Jerusalem, because we are to live spiritually according to Divine Law and advance in wisdom and joy and reach the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, perfected in the inner man and having become dwellings of the Holy Spirit.
According to Saint Athanasius the Great, it is our task to liken ourselves to righteous Symeon and the Prophetess Anna. We too must meet Christ with wisdom, purity, guilelessness, forgiveness and in general with love for God and mankind. No one can meet Christ, the true life, in any other way.
The meeting of Christ shows that Christ is the Life and Light of men and that man should aim to attain this personal life and personal life. The Church sings, by way of exhortation, "illuminate my soul and the light of my senses, that I may see Thee in purity, and I will proclaim that Thou art God." In order for anyone to proclaim God, he must see Him clearly. Only those who see God or at least accept the experience of those who see can become teachers. But in order to see God one must previously be illuminated, shine in soul and bodily senses. Then the feast of the Meeting of Christ also becomes a feast of the meeting of every believer. (Sources: The Synaxarion. The Lives of the Saints of the Orthodox Church, Vol. 1. and The Feasts of the Lord by Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos).
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God