митрополит Антоний Су́рожский (Блум)

Newsletter N. 175 , May, 1985

April 21st 1985

In the name of the Father , of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

For forty days we worship and we sing the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We proclaim not only a spiritual presence, not only an experience of God mediated by Him, but the wonder that our Lord Jesus Christ, whom St. Paul calls the Man Jesus – underlining His true, His real humanity – is risen from the grave with His body. However, this bodily resurrection of Christ is difficult to believe for any one who does not truly believe with the certainty of faith, experientially, that the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus of Nazareth who lived in the Holy Land nearly 2000 years ago was truly God Himself who had taken flesh and lived in our midst in order to renew the world He had created, and which had waxed old and corrupt through the sin of man. The wonder is not that Christ rose from the grave; what is beyond imagination is that He who was God in the flesh could die upon the Cross. St. Maxim the Confessor, already in the sixth century, perceiving the problem which is in front of every intellect, said in one of his writings that in Christ the divinity and the humanity, both in soul and body, were not only interwoven, but united, made one, pervaded one another in the same way in which fire can pervade a sword plunged into a glowing furnace, so that when we look at it we do not know whether it is fire or iron; so that one can, in his words, 'burn with iron and cut with fire.' It is not only to his human soul that the Son of God, become the Son of Man, united Himself. He united Himself to the material substance of His body. This is another thing which nowadays so many find difficult to believe; because we have come to think of matter as though it was dead, inert, lifeless, incapable of any relation to God or to man. Miracles which affect the created world seem to so many incredible because we have lost the sense that all things were created by God capable of knowing Him: oh, in so many different ways; of rejoicing in Him, and of growing from a simple materiality to the fullness of a matter that had attained the Spirit. What was impossible humanly speaking was the death of Him who was Life eternal: it was the quenching of the Light that was eternal Light. What is simple and natural is the Resurrection. The Resurrection teaches us both of the immeasurable, unplumbable depth of the love of God; of a God who has become man to share with us everything which was, and is still, the human predicament, including dying, in order to bring eternal life to us; and also who has revealed to us that not only is man so deep and so vast that he can unite himself to God and that only then is he truly human, and not sub-human; but that all things created are capable of uniting themselves to the Godhead because they are without sin: they groan and suffer because of our sinfulness; and that one day will come when all creation, according to St. Paul's promise, will become the vesture of God, when God will be all in all and when all that He has created will become His splendour, His glory, His beauty, the miracle of communion and oneness with Him. This is what incipiently, in faith, in hope, and already partly in experience, we sing in the Resurrection of Christ: the first Fruit of those who had died, the First one who rose with His body and who in His body transfigured, transformed, is seated at the right had of Glory. But if that is our vocation, if that is our faith, how glorious could our inner life be, and how glorious the world in which we live and which we disfigure; and how great is the call of God for us to make this world what He has dreamt, what He has willed, what He has loved: the vesture of the living God, the shining glory of the Creator. Amen.

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