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 ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
ON THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE HOLY VIRGIN MARY
by Saint Gregory of Neocaesarea, known as Thavmatourgos, The Miracle-Worker (+ 275 A.D.).
Today the choir of angels sings strains of praise joyfully, and the Light of the advent of Christ shines brightly upon the faithful. Today is the glad springtime to us, and Christ the Sun of Righteousness has beamed with clear Light around us, and has illumined the minds of the faithful. Today Adam is made anew, and moves in the choir of Angels, having winged his way to heaven. Today the whole circle of the earth is filled with joy, since the sojourn of the Holy Spirit has been realized to men. Today the grace of God and the hope of the unseen shine through all wonders transcending imagination, and make the mystery that was kept hidden from eternity plainly discernible to us. Today are woven the chapters of never-fading virtue. Today, God, willing to crown the sacred heads of those whose pleasure is to hearken to Him, and who delight in His festivals, invites the lovers of unswerving faith as His called and His heirs; and the heavenly Kingdom is urgent to summon those who mind the celestial things to join the Divine service of the incorporeal choirs. Today is fulfilled the word of David, "Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad..."
"...In the Holy Virgin alone is the fall of that (first mother) repaired. Yet this Holy One was not competent to receive the gift until she had first learned who it was that sent it, and what the gift was, and who it was that sent it, and what the gift was, and who it was that conveyed it. While the Holy One pondered these things in perplexity with herself, she says to the Angel, "Whence have you bought to us the blessing in such wise?"...These things the holy one considered with herself, and the Archangel solved the difficulty expressed in such reasoning by saying to her: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you." Therefore, also that holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God. And "fear not, Mary; for I am not come to overpower you with fear, but to repel the subject of fear. "Fear not, Mary, for you have found favor with God."
"...Where the Holy Spirit is, there are all things readily ordered. Where Divine grace is present, all things are found possible with God. The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Therefore, also that Holy Thing which shall be born of you "shall be called the Son of God." And if He is the Son of God, then is He also God, of one form with the Father, and Co-Eternal; in Him the Father possesses all manifestation; He is His image in the Person, and through His reflection the (Father's) glory shines forth. And as from the Ever-flowing fountain the streams proceed, so also from this ever-flowing and ever-living fountain does the Light of the world proceed, the perennial and the True, namely Christ Our God....
"...Come, therefore, beloved brethren, and let us take the Angelic strain, and to the utmost of our ability return the due share of praise, saying, "Hail thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with you!" For it is yours truly to rejoice, seeing that the grace of God, as he knows, has chosen to dwell with you--the Lord of glory dwelling with the handmaiden; He that is fairer than the children of men with the fair virgin; He Who sanctifies all things with the undefiled. "God is with you, and with you also is the perfect man in whom dwells the whole fullness of the Godhead. "Hail, thou that are highly favored," the fountain of the Light that lightens all who believe upon Him, thou that art highly favored, the rising of the rational Sun, and the undefiled flower of Life! Hail, thou that art highly favored, the mead of sweet savor! Hail, thou that art highly favored, the ever-blooming vine, which makes glad the souls of those who honor you!
"...Most of the Holy Fathers, and Patriarchs, and Prophets desired to see Him, and to be eye-witnesses of Him, but did not attain hereto. And some of them by visions beheld Him in type, and darkly; others, again, were privileged to hear the Divine voice through the medium of the cloud, and were favored with sights of holy Angels; but to Mary the pure virgin alone did the Archangel Gabriel manifest himself luminously, bringing her the glad address, "Hail, thou that art highly favored!" Thus, she received the word, and in the due time of the fulfillment according to the body's course, she brought forth the priceless pearl.
Come, then, you too, dearly beloved, and let us chant the melody which has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, "Arise, O Lord, into Your rest; You, and the ark of Your sanctuary." For the Holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without, that has received the whole treasury of the sanctuary. "Arise, O Lord, into Your rest." Arise, O Lord, out of the bosom of the Father, in order that You may raise up the fallen race of the first-formed man. Setting these things forth, David in prophecy said to the rod that was to spring from himself, and to sprout into the flower of that beauteous fruit, "Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline your ear, and forget your own people and your father's house; so shall the King greatly desire your beauty; for He is the Lord your God, and you shall worship Him." Hearken, O daughter, to the things which were prophesied before time of you, in order that you may also behold the things themselves with the eyes of understanding. Hearken to me while I announce things beforehand to you, and hearken to the Archangel who declares expressly to you the perfect mysteries.
Come then, dearly beloved, and let us fall back on the memory of what has gone before us; and let us glorify, and celebrated, and laud, and bless that rod that has sprung so marvelously from Jesse. For Luke, in the inspired Gospel narratives, delivers a testimony not to Joseph only, but also to Mary the Mother of God, and gives this account with reference to the very family and house of David: "For Joseph went up," says he, "from Galilee, unto a city of Judea which is called Bethlehem, to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child, because they were of the house and family of David. And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered; and she brought forth her son, the first-born of the whole creation, and wrapped him in swaddling-clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
She wrapped in swaddling clothes Him Who is covered with light as with a garment. She wrapped in swaddling clothes Him Who made every creature. She laid in a manger Him Who sits above the cherubim, and is praised by myriads of angels. In the manger set apart for dumb brutes did the Logos/Word of God repose, in order that He might impart to men, who are irrational by free choice, the perceptions of true reason. In the board, from which cattle eat, was laid the Heavenly Bread, in order that He might provide participation in spiritual sustenance for men who live like the beasts of the earth.
There was no room for Him in the inn. He found no place, who by His word established heaven and earth; for though He was rich, for our sakes became poor, and chose extreme humiliation on behalf of the salvation of our nature, in His inherent goodness toward us. He, Who fulfilled the whole administration of unutterable mysteries of the economy in heaven in the bosom of the Father, and in the cave in the arms of the mother, reposed in the manger. Angelic choirs encircled Him, singing of glory in heaven and of peace upon earth. In heaven, He was seated at the right hand of the Father; and in the manger, He rested, as it were, upon the Cherubim. Even there was in truth His Cherubic Throne; there was His royal seat. Holy of the Holy, and alone glorious upon the earth, and holier than the holy, was that wherein Christ Our God rested.
To Him be Glory, Honor, and Power, together with the Father undefiled, and the altogether Holy and Quickening Sprit, now and ever, and unto the ages of the ages. Amen. (Source: Orthodox Heritage).
Please note: What other Christian body has this kind of profound Theology? Our Orthodox Christian Church is indeed the only Authentic Church of Christ, Our God and Savior! Thanks be to God!
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God