Resurrection of the Body

ST. HILARY OF POITIERS

hilaryGod will repair what has been shattered, but not by mending it with something else. Rather, out of the old and very same material of its origin He will impart to it an appearance of beauty pleasing to Himself; and the resurrection of corruptible bodies in the glory of incorruption will not take away their nature by the utter destruction thereof, but will work only a qualitative change of condition. For it is not another body that will be resurrected, but the same body in another condition, as the Apostle says: “It is sown in corruption, it will rise in incorruption; it is sown in ignominy, it will rise in glory; it is sown in weakness, it will rise in strength; it is sown an animal body, it will rise a spiritual one.” There will, therefore, be a change, but this does not mean an annihilation. And if that which was, rises up as that which it was not, it has not lost its original material but has perfected it unto glory.

The Faith of the Early Fathers (p. 384)
Selected and Translated by William A. Jurgens

Knowledge as a Gift

ST. JUSTIN THE MARTYR

justinExhortation to the Greeks

Since, therefore, nothing true is able to be learned about religion from your teachers, who by their mutual contradiction have supplied you with sufficient proof of their own ignorance, I regard it as reasonable to turn to our forefathers, who in point of time have very much of a precedence over your teachers, and who have taught us nothing of their own imagining, nor have they disagreed among themselves and tried to overturn each other’s positions; but, without arguing and without contradiction, they have taught us the very knowledge which they received from God.

Neither by nature nor by human reasoning is it possible for men to know things so great and so divine; but such knowledge can be had only as a gift, which in this case descended from above upon the holy men, who had no need of the art of words, nor of saying anything in a quarrelsome or contentious manner, but only of presenting themselves in a pure manner to the operation of the Divine Spirit, so that the Divine Plectrum Himself, descending from heaven and using righteous men as an instrument like a harp or lyre, might reveal to us the knowledge of things divine and heavenly.

The Faith of the Early Fathers (p. 64)
Selected and Translated by William A. Jurgens

Abundant Gifts

MOTHER MARIA (GYSI)

maryI see in humility, and the never-ceasing repentance of what we are perpetrating on the one side of ‘world,’ precisely the unity of mind and heart, or the descending of the mind into the heart, as an attitude. I intensely reject the idea of any esoteric side to the Christian or to the monastic life. What is esoteric (or made so, to sound interesting) must be unchristian and anti-Gospel; and there is never a sign of it in our liturgical texts, which, I think, must be our first guide after the New Testament. They shape us unawares and uncramped, and we must not force ourselves beyond that. The most important things are given us, where we least expect them; and they are, perhaps, if we could see, all the while most abundantly there where we feel ourselves shut out.

December 16th, 1974

A cancer never leaves one. It has entered one’s soul and every day is an extra gift. I find it a peaceful condition, because it keeps one’s soul on the watchtower, where it anyway wants to be, and so is an immense help for life.

Mother Maria: Her Life in Letters (pp. 56,59)
Edited by Sister Thekla

Bringing Our Message

PROF. SERGE VERHOVSKOY

verhovskoyOur love of Orthodoxy and our absolute dedication to it must not bring us to religious isolationism and by no means toward hatred of the non-Orthodox. We must be open to all Christians and to all men in the world; we must bring them the treasures of truth which we have kept for twenty centuries. Even when we cannot convert others, we can still enrich the non-Orthodox and the whole American society by our message. Whenever we meet other Christians, we must always appreciate them in the light of truth. If we should discover in other Christians some elements of true Orthodox Christianity, we can enjoy with them a partial community in faith and we can act together, being inspired by that common faith. But let this unity be a true one, and not one imagined by ecumenical passion. The tragedy of modern heterodox Christianity is that, under the influence of modernistic ideas and trends, it often loses its Christian character. The unity that can be partially discovered with the great Christian denominations, inasmuch as they are still faithful to their own traditions, is no longer possible with the mass of modernistic Christians of all denominations. It would be no exaggeration to say that this modernistic Christianity is no Christianity at all. Real Christians could be united in a common opposition to the atheistic world and modern pseudo-Christianity.

The Light of the World (p. 19)

Illness, Accidents, Bereavement

METROPOLITAN ANTHONY BLOOM

bloomAt every instant of our lives we can be authentic and real if we choose the risk of being what we are and of not aiming at copying a model or identifying ourselves with preconceived images. But our true self cannot be discovered merely by watching our empirical self, but only in God and through him. Each of us is an image of the Living God, but an image which, like an old painting that has been tampered with, overlaid or clumsily restored to the point of being unrecognizable, yet in which some features of the original survive; a specialist can scrutinize it and, starting with what is still genuine, clean the whole painting of all its successive additions. St. Paul advises us to find ourselves in Christ and Christ in us; instead of attaching ourselves to what is wrong, ugly and sinful, to learn to see what is already in the image of God and, having discovered it, to remain faithful to our own truest and best self. Instead of asking ceaselessly the questions ‘what is wrong with me?’ why not ask ourselves the questions ‘in what way am I already akin to God? in harmony with him? How far am I on the way of reaching the full measure of the stature of Christ? Would not that be more inspiring in our striving for perfection?

We are encompassed on all sides by worries, concerns, fears and desires and so inwardly perturbed that we hardly ever live within ourselves — we live beside ourselves. We are so much in a state of befuddlement that it takes either acts of God or a deliberate discipline to come to our senses and begin that inward journey which will lead us through ourselves to God himself. God tries without ceasing to call us back, to open the door of our inner cell. His love, wise and far-sighted, may seem ruthless to us at times, for does not the guardian angel of Hermas say to him: ‘Be of good cheer, Hermas, God will not abandon you before He breaks either your heart or your bones!’

We seldom perceive God’s mercy when it is expressed to us through illness, bereavement or loneliness, and yet how often it is the only way in which God can put an end to the inner and outer turmoil which carries us away like a flood! How often we exclaim ‘If only I had a short period of peace, if only something made me aware that life had greatness, that eternity exists!’ and God sends us such moments when we are brought up short by illness or accident; but instead of understanding that the hour of recollection, of withdrawal and of renewal has come, we fight desperately to return as fast as possible to our former state, rejecting the gift concealed in that act of God which frightens us. And when bereavement comes to us, instead of growing and becoming as great as life and death, we shrink into self-centeredness and self-pity and lose sight of the eternity into which we could enter together with the one who, as St. Paul says, ‘is now clothed with eternity.’

Meditations (pp. 12,13)

God from God

ST. HILARY OF POITIERS

hilaryHe is, therefore, the perfect Son of the perfect Father, and the only-begotten Offspring of the unbegotten God. The Son receives all from Him who has all, God from God, Spirit from Spirit, Light from Light. The Son says with confidence: “The Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” For, as the Father is Spirit, so also the Son is Spirit; and as the Father is God, so also the Son of God; and the Father is Light, so also the Son is Light.

Those properties, therefore, which are in the Son, are from those properties in the Father. That is, from the whole Father the whole Son is born: not from elsewhere, because nothing is prior to the Son; not out of nothingness, because the Son is of God; not in part, because the fullness of the Godhead is in the Son; not in some respects, because He is in all a Son; but as He willed who had the power, and as He knows, who begot the Son. That which is in the Father is in the Son also; that which is in the Unbegotten is in the Only-begotten also; One from the Other, and both are One; not One made up of Two, but One in the Other, because in the Both there is no otherness. The Father is in the Son, because the Son is from Him. The Son is in the Father, because His Sonship has no other source: the Only-begotten is in the Unbegotten, because the Only-begotten is from the Unbegotten.

The Faith of the Early Fathers (p. 375)
Selected and Translated by William A. Jurgens

Not Names but Appellations

ST. JUSTIN THE MARTYR

justinTo the Father of all, who is unbegotten, no name is given; for anyone who has been given a name has received the name from someone older than himself. Father and God and Creator and Lord and Master are not names but appellations derived from His beneficences and works. His Son, who alone is properly called Son, who was both with Him and was begotten by Him before anything was created, when in the beginning the Father created and put everything in order through Him — He is called Christ, from His being anointed and from God’s putting everything in order through Him. This name ‘Christ’ contains an unknown significance, just as also the appellation ‘God’ is not a name but the notion implanted in the nature of men of a thing which can hardly be explained. ‘Jesus,’ His name as Man and Savior also has a significance; for indeed, He also became Man, as we have said, having been conceived according to the will of God the Father, for the sake of believing men and for the defeat of the demons.

The Faith of the Early Fathers (p. 57)
Selected and Translated by William A. Jurgens