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.
THE HOLY FEAST OF HYPAPANTE (THE MEETING OF CHRIST) Part III
ON FEBRUARY 2nd OUR HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMMEMORATES THE HOLY FEAST OF HYPAPANTE (THE MEETING OF CHRIST)
By His Eminence Metropolitan of Nafpaktos HIEROTHEOS
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 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 up. But in reality, it belongs to God. (What does this say about those who practice and believe in the abortion of a child?)
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 light and personal life. The Church sings, by way of exhortation: "Illuminate my soul and the light of my senses, that I may see the 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. (Source: The Feasts of the Lord. An Introduction to the Twelve Feasts and Orthodox Christology)
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" - Saint John Chrysostomos
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God