Tell her that you love her!

Saint John Chrysostom

Tell her that you love her without fearing that she would ever delight herself or she would use in a bad way these words. For the shameless women who go with a man or another it is natural to get delighted when they hear such words. But a good girl will never boast. She will humble herself.

Show her that you like to spend much time with her, that you prefer to stay at home for her sake instead of meeting with your friends. Honor her more than you honor your friends, more than you honor your children. And love these ones for her sake. If she does something good praise her and admire her.

If she falls into a mistake advice her and correct her gently. Pray together. Go together to the church. If it happens to face poverty remind your wife that the holy apostles Peter and Paul who are above all the emperors and rich men spent their lives in hunger and thirst. Show her that no misfortune in life is terrifying unless we oppose God and His will.

Counsels of the Holy Apostles for their disciples

Urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.
 (Judah 1,3)

***

… nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. (I Timothy 4, 6-7)

***

In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, (I Timothy 6, 13-14)

***

You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine. (Titus 2, 1)

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Timothy, my son, I am giving you this command in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by recalling them you may fight the battle well, 19 holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and so have suffered shipwreck with regard to the faith.  (I Timothy 1, 18-19)

***

The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. (I Timothy 1, 5-7)

***

But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry. (II Timothy 4,5)

***

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching.14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you.

15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.

 (I Timothy 4, 12-16)

Can we acquire holiness today?

Monk Moses the Athonite

            All the saints of our Church are those who `fought the good fight and kept the faith.`

The saints are the winning strugglers and the brave confessors. Those who were sought by the Holy Spirit and filled with grace. Not simply those who are kind, meek, noble, smiling, moral, but those who are images of Christ. They are those who always remain united with Christ, who show Him to the world and guide the world to Him. The saints assure us that the Gospel is true and can be fulfilled in all times.

That is why we’ll be able too if we will and struggle to unite with Christ. The saints by receiving Christ without hesitation in their life, become christs, bearers of Christ like Him. Thus they confess Him, preach Him, show Him everywhere all the time. They cannot live without Christ. For them He is everything.

Sometimes we are given different opportunities to confess Christ too. Sometimes we do it gladly other times with difficulty and other times we don’t do it at all because of fear and shame.

The true Christian always confesses Christ without fear, because he lives in permanent repentance and humbleness. He feels he is weak but he entrust himself completely to Christ and is perfectly strengthened. He confesses Christ Who lives inside himself. Sometimes we find it hard to confess Christ even before the closest and most beloved person. Then according to the Gospel the enemies of a man are his won kinsfolk. It happens that our closest ones don’t understand us and we dn’t make any attempt to tell them discretely about Christ. Other times we choose the other extreme talking too much about Christ so we tire them, we oppress them and in the end they get sick of it and don’t want to hear about Christ anymore.We can’t constrain or threaten anyone to follow Christ, even if it were our closest one.

Christ is freedom and love. He calls, doesn’t demand or constrain. We are called to inspire people love for Christ. When the man is threatened by the powerful ties of his ego he suffers of selfishness, individualism, egotism and pride and he finds it hard to love the others or God. So he is unable to confess Him before people. Whoever doesn’t confess Him doesn’t love Him. And who doesn’t love Him condemns himself at a glacial loneliness that will begin in this life and will continue in eternity. The selfish, the one who loves only himself feels the love of God as a fire that he cannot bear, he doesn’t want it, it bothers him, it burns him.

Today there are Christians who love the saints, read their lives, go to their celebration days, light candles for them, make the sign of the cross before their icons, build churches in their honor, make iconostasis, icons, vigil lights, holy wafers for them There are also some Christians who don’t love the saints, I don’t mean the atheists, the unbelievers, but about those who are influenced by rationalism, by a modern intellectual theology that considers all these a popular sick untheological piety. Unfortunately a good part of the Christian world did not fully understand the great value of the saints in our life.

However the piety, respect and warmth of the believers who love the saints are not missing. You see houses full of icons, lit candles, censers and are glad of that. You see the simple old women talking with tears in their eyes about the wondrous presence of the saints in their lives and they put their trust in their intercessions and the intercession of the Theotokos for their salvation and for getting heaven. Lovers of saints are those who look for authentic saints for aid and spiritual benefit. They don’t imagine saints, they don’t follow the false saints who mock true holiness but worship the authentic pure holiness. The lovers of saints are the most exquisite part of the parish communities. Continuing tradition, they honor piously the commemorations of our saints, they aren’t influenced by the false saints and are not shaken in their faith because of the church follies. When they face difficult situations they endure bravely and hopefully.

The saints always remain humble because they have the firm belief that all good is given from above and it is not their victory. Thus the saints cannot be proud of their charismas since these are given by the Father of Lights. Our saints having the full awareness of their charismas attribute any honor and worship to God the Giver. Being praised by men they praise the Spring of all goods, the most kind God. And God the more He sees that the man humbles himself the more He blesses him and fills him with grace, because He gives grace to the humble. A spiritual person who uses the charisma for his own glory and benefit will surely lose it and will compromise himself in front of people that he blackmails. He will be from this life troubled confused and miserable and in the hereafter will know eternal hell.

My brothers, there is even in these hard times some hidden holiness. Not only in the life of insignificant unknown unseen monks from deserts and monasteries but also in the world. The wives who bear bravely their lecherous brutal alcoholic indifferent and good for nothing husbands, who don’t find escape in divorce but endure and hope, pray and try to give a good education to their children. This attitude of the mother teaches the children what is good, it is a good example for them and an urge to virtue. And they shall never forget this lesson their entire life.This brave attitude may even make the most violent husband change and for sure God will give her the crown of patience for this long lasting martyrdom sometimes even for a lifetime.We’ve met such heroines of faith who for long years had lived a terrible martyrdom in silence, patience, prayer, tears, humility, faith and hope in God. And won’t God fill of grace such beautiful souls?

You see holiness has many sides. The men from the world will not be judged because they don’t pray more even if there are some who pray more than the monks. Saint John Chrysostom says: `The laymen will save themselves by mercy. This proves a humble soul that knows how to love. In our so wily and provoking time, whoever humbles himself restrains, purifies himself, is honest, sincere, right and just will find much reward in heaven.`

The more someone is grumbling, the more it destroys itself

`Father, what is the cause of grumbling and how can we get rid of it ?

`Man’s wretchedness causes it and is drawn away by doxology. Grumbling generates grumbling and doxology generates doxology. When someone doesn’t complain when he faces a trouble then the devil goes away to someone else who grumbles to make things worse for him.
The more someone grumbles, the worse he destroys himself
. Sometimes the devil distracts us and makes us be discontent by everything when we could be glad of everything spiritually by doxology receiving in this way God’s blessing.

I know someone from the Holy Mountain who when it rained if you told him it rained he said: ` `Yes it is always raining. We are going to be rotten away.` If the rain stopped and you said: `It didn’t rain that much` he started all over again: `But could you call that rain? The land will get dry.`

And you cannot say he is insane. He simply got used to complain. To be a sane man and think so foolishly!

Lamentations draw curse. It is as if the man would curse himself and after that would come the curse from God. In Epirus I knew two peasants. One of them had a family and had two plots of land but he always entrusted everything to God. He worked us much as he could without worrying. `I’ll do only as much as I can.` he said. Sometimes a part of the wheat sheaves were left in the field and rotted away because of the rain because he couldn’t gather them all and some others were blown away by the wind. But for everything happened he said: `Glory to You, God!` and everything went well for him. The other one had many lands, cows, etc and had no children but if you had asked him: `How is everything going?` he answered: `Leave me alone, don’t as me!` He never said: `Glory to God` but always complained. And sometimes one of his cows died or he suffered other damages. He had everything but had no avail.

That is why they say that doxology is something great. It depends on us to taste the blessings given by God. But how  to taste them if for example when God gives us bananas we think what good food a certain rich man eats? How many people eat only dry bread and they glorify God day and night and they are fed with divine sweetness! These people acquire a spiritual sensitivity and come to know the comforts given by God. But we don’t understand these because out heart hardened and nothing satisfies us anymore. We don’t understand that we find happiness in what is eternal not in what is futile.

Pious Paisios the Athonite

The dream of the caterpillar

A small caterpillar is going down to earth. Very close to her was a grasshopper. `Where are you going? Asked the grasshopper. Without stopping from her going the caterpillar answered: `I had a dream last night. I dreamt that I was looking at the whole valley from the top of the high mountain. I liked what I saw in my dream and I decided to do this thing.`

Surprised, the grasshopper said while the caterpillar was going away: ` You must be crazy! How can you reach that place? You are only a caterpillar. For you a stone will be like a mountain, a small puddle like a sea and any tree trunk an insurmountable barrier.` But the small caterpillar was already far away and could not hear the grasshopper anymore. Its small legs didn’t stop from moving on. All of a sudden it heard the voice of a scarab: `Where are you going so determined?`

Already tired the caterpillar answered panting: `I had a dream and want to fulfill it, to climb the mountain and look at the whole world from there.`

The scarab could not stop from laughing, stopped at a certain moment and said: `Nt even me with such long legs would dare to do such an ambitious thing.` And laughed while the caterpillar continued its way.

In the same way the spider, the mole and the butterfly adviced our friend to give up. `You will never succeed!` they said but the caterpillar had something within itself that pushed it ahead. Already exhausted to death it decided to stop and rest and find with a last effort a shelter where to sleep.

`I’ll be better` the caterpillar said and died.

All the creatures from the valley passed by to see the dead caterpillar. There lied the maddest creature of all. Its tomb seemed to them a monument of absurdity. It was a refuge good for someone who had tried to achieve an impossible dream.One morning when the sun was shining unusually brightly all the animals gathered around that tomb which had become a warning for the bold. And suddenly they got stunned. That hard crust started to crack and they saw amazed some eyes and some antlers which could not belong t the caterpillar they thought was dead. Slowly to give them time to come back to their senses that amazing creature showed out its beautiful wings looking like rainbow – it was a butterfly.

They didn’t say anything else. They all know what the butterfly intended to do – to fly to the high mountain and achieve its dream, the dream it lived for the dreamd it died for and the dream it came back to life for. All of them had been wrong.

God created us to achieve a dream, to live for it, to try and achieve it, to risk our life for it and if we see we can’t do it maybe we need to stop and change our life radically. Then in another way with other possibilities and with the grace of God we will succeed. Only looking for the impossible the men found and reached the possible and those who limited themselves at what was obviously possible did not go further.

The crisis and autocriticism

Monk Moses the Athonite

            Saint Athanassios the Great says: `Although human mind was created by God to contemplate His Beauty and be enlighetened by the divine brightness, after the fall it fiercely turned against creation. Thus the men instead of having their mind turned towards God, got attached to creatures, worshipping them instead of worshipping God.

Many ask us what to do in the actual crisis. Saint Athanassios the Great tells us briefly how we reached this situation. Prophet David, in his beautiful psalms insists: Turn from evil and do good.`

The present times are not for easy and improvised words. There is no time to lose. As we wrote, the crisis should lead us to self-criticism, to reflection and authentic repentance. In order to make sweetness come out from bitterness.

The blind elder from Colciu, hieromonk Dionysios from Calciu said: `Because God loves us, He gives us these gifts. That is why we shoul always thank Him when He gives us a cross. And this is the Cross of Christ. Glory to God!` And he adds: `We must have hope. The pastors of the Church must give hope to the world and tell the people that we should always find our escape in God. God will help us in everything. Let us be faithful, let us have no doubts`

The Romanian hieromonk Petronius Prodromite said: `Wickedness draws the man in many directions, changes him, leads him astray. Then the man finds hard to get interested in the spiritual matters, is always under stress and becomes a slave of this awful inner mood..Today the spiritual men and many people have begun to have certain spiritual quests and anxieties. But when the man faces spiritually these things, he feels well on the outside and on the inside as well. He doesn’t feel broken down but he is aware of himself. Isn’t it so, the Fathers don’t they say so?`

The blessed monk Marcelus from Karakalu depicts quite accurately our issue: `Nowadays our life got poor because we cannot pray. Meaning that we don’t have any communion with God. And if you don’t have any communion with God, you are in communion with the world, through the media. And when you get your information through these you tear yourself apart of God. That is why we have a poor spirituality. The world got poor because it doesn’t know to pray. If you don’t talk with God – the Father, then you are poor inwardly, uncomforted, because you desire the worldly joys. But whoever has the joy and peace of God inside himself, doesn’t want anything else anymore.`

Is this hard to understand? Isn’t it perfectly true? The lack of communion with God is the greatest poverty.

The only true joy is the communion of the man with God. But we are not saddened by this lack, only when our monthly wage decreases. Only Christ gives true joy. All the other joys are false, elusory, only trying to fill the inner emptiness. With Christ the relationships between men become more lenient, the passions are ugly, the virtues adorn and beautify the soul.

There are needed divine strengthening, inner power and personal strife in order to reject the evil. The more someone estranges from God, the more nervous and irritated he becomes, he gets fond of the earthly things and worships them. Sometimes not even the voice of his conscience is on his taste and he makes it shut up. Thus the man lives a hell but he doesn’t want to give up on it.

He thinks that he will be released only with medicine for psychiatric ailments and he doesn’t confess, accepting to live in sin. Because of this confusion the passions of malice, envy, revenge and debauchery multiply. Only Christ can give patience, humility, joy, peace and love in the heart of the true Christian.

Then he looks rather inside himself than around himself. He is severe with himself and tolerant with the others. If the man now reaches that, then the crisis judged him and promoted him. It led him to the nice self criticism, to the self-knowledge and the knowledge of the others, by compassion for the neighbor, by assuming a sane and humble way of thinking and a spiritual simplicity, austerity and moderation.

The one who withdraws from the world must deplete himself of everything. How he should take care of these worldly acquisitions. For those living in a community to own something means a sure perdition

1. of saint Barsanuphius

A monk asked an elder: `My relatives owe me a small amount of money I want to give it to the poor. But those people don’t want to give it back to me. What to do? The elder answered: `If you don’t cut your fleshly thought and you won’t show a bit of shamelessness after God towards your relatives, you will fall into the sin of desiring to be liked by men.

2. From Patericon

A brother who had withdrawn from the world, had given his possessions to the poor and kept only a little for himself went to abba Antonius asking to become a monk. And the elder hearing that he had kept a little for himself told him: `If you want to become a monk go to the next village and buy some meat. Take off your clothes, put the meat around your body and come like this till here.`

That brother did exactly at he was told. And while returning naked and wearing the meat around his body the dogs and the birds of prey lacerated it trying to snatch the meat. After he returned to the elder and showed him his lacerated body, abba Antonius said: `This is the way are torn to pieces in their struggle with the demons those who withdraw from the world but still want to keep some money for themselves.`

*

     Abba Isidore:  The terrible and shameful addiction to money doesn’t know saturation and pushes the soul into the worst of sins. That is why we should chase it away from the start. Because if it controls us becomes uncontrollable.

*

`A man who wanted to withdraw from the world went to a great elder and told him : `I want to become a monk.` The elder told him: `If you want it go and give up on everything then come and sit in your cell.`

This man went and gave everything he had but he kept for himself one hundred golden coins and then came to the elder. The elder told him: `You cannot become a monk.` The man said: `But I can.` Then the elder told him: Go and sit in your cell.` So he went and sat down. But as he was sitting there he had a thought that said: `The door is old and must be changed.`    

The elder told him: `You haven’t given up on the world yet. Go and do it then come and sit here.`   The brother went and gave 90 coins from the money he had. Returning he said: `I gave up on the world.` And as the elder told him to go and sit in the cell he did this and he got another thought: `The roof is old and must be mended.` The elder told him: `Go and give up on the world.` So he went and gave the ten golden coins he still had then went back to the elder and said: `I gave up on the world.` Afterwards he went to sit in his cell and his thoughts told him: `Everything here is old, the place is desert and the lion comes to eat you.` He went to the elder and confessed his thoughts. `The elder told him: `Answer to your thoughts this: I wait to see everything coming against me, the lion to eat me to be freed faster. Say this to your thoughts, go and sit in your cell, pray without cease to God not being afraid and not worrying about anything.` The brother did this and he found his peace.

*

A young man wanted to withdraw from the world. He left the city many times to go to a monastery but his thoughts made him go back bringing him worries for things that seemed necessary. He was very rich. One day as he had left the city he was again overwhelmed by his thoughts that darkened his mind and urged him to go back for certain affairs apparently necessary. Feeling the war set against him and the burden of his thoughts he took off the clothes he was wearing and threw them. Then he ran naked as he was to one of the monasteries. God revealed to an elder to whom the young man was coming: `Get up and welcome my servant.` The man got up and welcomed him. And when he found out what had happened he marveled. He received the young man and gave him the schema immediately.    Since them when other brothers came to the elder to ask him about their thoughts if they asked about other things he answered them. But if they asked about the withdrawal from the world he sent them to that man saying: `Ask the brother.`

*

There was a monk who was sick and he was taken by the abbot of a monastery who took care of him as if he hadn’t had the necessary ones. He told the the monks who were under his guidance: Ler us try to give rest to the helpless one.` But the sick man had a vessel full of gold and he had hidden it in a hollow under the straw bed where he was lying. After some time he died without confessing the truth about the gold. While they buried him abba told the brothers: `Take this bedding out of here. The monks took it and found the hidden gold. They took brought it and brought it to abba. And this one seeing the gold and finding out how it had been found said: Because the man didn’t confess about this during his life not even on his death bed and put all his hopes in that I won’t touch it. Take it as it is and bury it near him. While returning from the burial they saw a fire coming from the skies and hitting the grave and it burnt for many days till it consumed the stones, the dust and everything was in the tomb. And all those who saw this got afraid and marveled.      

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Excerpt from EVERGHETINOS – first edition 2007  Holy Monastery Vatoped vol. I, Theme 17 – Metropolis Press, Athens, Greece, 2007.

The Sunday of Forgiveness

The Sunday, the day that precedes the beginning of the Great Lent is called the Sunday of Adam’s expulsion from heaven but it is also called the Sunday of forgiveness. The Holy Fathers gave this name to this Sunday for showing us that nobody can begin the Lent if he is not in peace with his fellow men.

God cannot be experienced by the one who is not in peace with his neighbor. Because He is Love and forgiveness. Thus only the one who forgives can commune with this divine love. And the more he forgives the more he communes with God.

There is an aspect we neglect very often when it comes to forgiveness.

If we hurt someone we think that’s enough to ask forgiveness only from God for that misdeed. But God asks us for more. He wants us to go and ask for forgiveness from those we hurt by our words and deeds and to forgive all those who ask this from us. He calls us to this because he wants us to be loved by our fellow men.

It is not easy to renounce at the contempt for the others and show forgiveness but it is even harder to give up on the ostensible superiority and as for forgiveness. Who accomplished these requirements prepared his heart to receive Christ.

The tradition of the liturgical practice of forgiveness

On this Sunday there is a special holy service which unfortunately is missing from many churches, being rather found in monasteries.

At this service the priests are dressed in bright clothes but after the Vespers these clothes would not be used anymore during the Lent.

In parishes after the Vespers the priests with epitrachelion and the holy cross in the hand bow before the believers asking for forgiveness. The believers bow before the priests and they ask for forgiveness too then they kiss the cross and the right hand of the priest. Afterwards they embrace asking for forgiveness from one another. In the meanwhile the choir sings the canon of the Holy Easter.

In the Holy Mountain after the Vespers they enter the refectory in a procession and they eat for the last time cheese and eggs, these not being consumed anymore during the whole Great Lent.

During supper it is read a word about Adam’s expulsion from heaven or a word of advice for fasting. At the end of the supper the monks sing the cannon of the akathist, the troparions of the church’s patron ending with the kontakion of the akathist. After the prayers of thankfulness it is left one candle lit for being read the Small Compline. At its end the community kneels down and the abbot reads a prayer of absolution. The abbot wearing the epitrachelion and having the Gospel in the right hand stops at the door for asking for forgiveness from the other brothers. The monks make a bow, kiss the Gospel and his right hand then they make bows to each other asking for forgiveness and they wish to each other A good fasting. After they had given forgiveness to each other the candles are blown out and everyone goes to his cell.

Let us take heed without cease during this Great Lent at the words of the Saviour:

` For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.` (Matthew 6, 14-15).

May you have a joyful Lent!

Adrian Cocoșila

Source: crestinortodox.ro

About God the Son (VIII)

163. If the being of the Father and the Son is one and the persons are two how can we avoid dividing what is one between them and avoid mixing what is different between them?

Evem the previous words from the Creed about the birth of the Son from the Father showed us not only the equality between the Father and the Son but also what is different as the words `of one essence with the Father` shows us what is common for them. Distinct are their so-called personal attributes that the Father and Son cannot change between themselves.

The personal attribute of the Father is that of being a Father, of begetting the Son or of giving existence to the Son by birth, while He has existence from his own.

The personal attribute of the Son is that of being a Son, of being begotten by the Father or of receiving his existence from the Father by birth.

Both the Father and the Son keep their personal attributes. The Father doesn’t give His personal attribute to the Son. If He had given His personal attribute of Father or begetter to the Son the Father and the Son would have been confounded they wouldn’t have been two different hypostases: The Father is unconceived, the Father is begotten and one and the same face cannot be in the same time begotten and not begotten., says the Orthodox Creed.

But having a common being the Father and the Son have all the attributes f the being, namely of the divinity. What is divine belongs not only to the Father but also to the Son. The Father and the Son have in common: the eternity, the omnipotence, the will, the kindness, the holiness and the glory. `We believe in a unique being, in a unique divinity, in a unique power, in a unique will, in a unique activity, in a unique spring, in a unique reign, in a unique kingdom known in three perfect hypostases.

164. Is it possible for the mind to understand the unity of the divine being and the distinction of the persons?

The unity after being and the distinction of the three persons of God is the most incomprehensible mystery of Christianity.

The Holy Trinity was compared with the mind, the thought and the will of the man that are distinct and in the same time each one of them contains the whole being of the man. But the comparison is not satisfying: the mind, the thought and the will are not three hypostases only parts of a single one.

More appropriate would be the comparison with three human persons who by love unite their thoughts, wills and feelings so much that these become common and they seem to have a single soul without stopping to some distinct persons. On the contrary, by this fact each one of them feels richer and happier that is not closed in his loneliness but is loved by the others and loves the others, being with those in a close bond and containing one another somehow. But the men never reach such a love or unity like that existing between the divine persons. But in God there is from eternity a perfect love and a perfect unity. This resemblance without being satisfying gives us the possibility to understand that the mystery of the Holy Trinity is the mystery of the perfect love.

165. What means `by Whom all things were made` ?

These words mean that everything the Father does the Son does as well thus He created the world through His Son, settle it in the Son and takes care of it through the Son.

Then by these words it is shown once again that the Son is `of the same essence with the Father before all ages.` Because the Father made everything through the Son because He is not separated of the Son, being contained in one another, after essence and work. From the Father comes any work and the Son accomplishes it.

Even the creation of the world. And if everything was made through the Son this means that the Son existed even before everything was made, before the time related to the created world was made. Thus the Son is from eternity, He is not created.

On another hand, the words:  `by whom everything was made` realize the transition to the third article of the Creed that speaks about the incarnation of the Son for the salvation of the men.

166. How do the words `by whom everything was made`realize the transition to the third article that speak about the incarnation of the Son of God for the salvation f the world?

If the Father made everything through His Son then even the salvation of the world he had to achieve by the Son.

Thus if in the Son was everything settled then the Son had to come and gather everything in Himself, in His Love since their bonds with Him had become loose and they were disunited by sin.

For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians I, 16-19 and 20).

Created in His image, the man was created to be a son of God himself as Christ is the Son of the Father. And when the face of the man became unclean, He came to restore it, taking a human body and becoming a closer model for men.

167. What is the third article of the Creed?

The third article of the Creed is: ` Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.` `

168. What does this article teach us in its entirety?

The second article raised our sight from earth to heaven telling us that Jesus Christ, who lived with the men on earth is the Only Begotten Son of God, before all ages. The third article take our sight back to earth to accompany this unique and eternal Son of God in His deed of incarnation as a man for our salvation.

169. We have found from the answers at the previous questions why the Son of God became man, to save our souls. Now let’s see closely what can we understand by the words that the Son of God became man? The Son of God didn’t He change Himself by this?

The Son of God became a man for real without ceasing to be God. Remaining an unchanged God, He became a real man. After His incarnation He is in the same time the Son of God and the Son of Man. Thus Jesus Christ is true God and true man. The Son of God accepts to become and be called Son of Man not changing what He was because He is unchanged but becoming what He hadn’t been before since He loves men.

Our Holy Church interpreted this teaching saying that Jesus Christ is a person and a hypostasis in two natures: the divine nature and the human nature. The Son of God, the second person of the Holy Trinity, took beside His divine nature that He has since eternity the human nature from Virgin Mary becoming hypostasis of the human nature, or man. The two natures united in the person or the hypostasis of Jesus Christ in an inseparable way but without changing or blending in one.

170. Do we have any comparison for this mystery?

We find a resemblance in man. But it is not a perfect resemblance because the man is a person with a single nature. But his nature consists of soul and body as Jesus Christ has a divine and a human nature. The soul and the body are not separated and the unique person of man is not divided in two because of these.

The person of man lives in every moment through both and acts through both. When he looks at something, this is achived both by the power of the soul and of the sight. However the soul and the body did not blend or changed themselves so that the soul ceased to be soul or the body to be body.

With Christ is the same. His two natures are united in His unique person in an inseparable and undivided way but without any amalgamation or change.

In the same way are united in an inseparable and undivided way but without amalgamation and change the wills of the two natures. Thus Jesus Christ lived and acted through both natures in an inseparable and unaltered way. When He healed the eye of the blind He touched his eye by His human nature and healed by His divinity. There was a single divine human act accomplished through two natures, by divine and human work, in an inseparable but also unmixed way, because although they lived and worked together the divine nature and work did not turn into human. It was not the human nature that healed and not the divine nature that moved His hand to the eye of the blind.

Jesus Christ being a person in two natures, wills and acts, is one who wills and acts but by two wills and acts. The Same One starves (by His human nature) and multiplies the bread (by His divine nature) The Same One has no place where to bend His head (by His human nature) and He is everywhere even in the bosom of the Father (by His divine nature).

About God the Son (VII)

the Son begotten from Him has always been with the Father. Since God could not be called Father without Son. And if He existed without Son, He wouldn’t be a Father. And if He had become afterwards a Father and He could change from not being a Father to being one, this would be worse than any blasphemy.`

The Father and the Son are two persons equal in divinity and glory, but one is the Father and the other is the Son, always having  for each other the love that exists between father and Son: one always being a fatherly love and the other always being filial love.

158. Can we understand this birth before ages ?

This birth before ages of the Son from the Father is a mystery that cannot be comprehended by the mind of men or angels.

`The Father has begotten Him in a way that cannot be conceived by the man but only as the Father knows. Not only the skies don’t understand the birth of the Son but the whole angelic creatures. Not even the Holy Ghost has spoken in the Gospels about the birth of the Son from the Father.

So why then do you search those that were not written in the Scriptures by the Holy Ghost? When you hear that God has begotten do not fall into fleshly thoughts or imagine a corruptible birth. `God is spirit.` (John, IV, 24) and the birth is spiritual.

The birth of the Son from the Father resembled the birth of the thought in mind. They said that as the birth of the thought in mind is spiritual, the birth of the Son from the Father is spiritual too. When there is a mind there are thoughts and there is no mind without thoughts. In the same way if the Father exists the Son exists too and there is no Father without the Son. But even this is an imperfect resemblance.

159. What means `light of light`?

This is for assuring us that the Son who has been begotten is entirely as the Father from whom he was born. The Creed says that in the same way the light that is lit doesn’t distinguish itself from the light from which is taken, the being of the Son doesn’t distinguish Himself from the being of the Father.

Everything the first light owns gives to the second one, except for its attribute as a giver and of the other one of receiver. The comparison with the light is very appropriate for God Who is uncreated Light. Light is what’s best, what’s the most elevate, while darkness is a lack, a harm, is nothingness, is the evil.

`God is light, and in him is no darkness at all`, says apostle John (I John I, 5), and Jesus says : `I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.` (John VIII, 12).

160. What means `true God of true God`?

The equality between the Father and the Son is reinforced by the words: `true God of true God`, so that nobody could think that the Son is not God in the true meaning or that He would be a lesser God, as it was the situation at the pagans, who attributed different grades to their gods. `True God of true God` aims to say in the same time that the Son did not receive less divinity nor the Father lessened His Own by begetting His Son.

`The Father by begetting the Son did not change Himself. He begot wisdom (I Cor. I, 24), yet He did not become unwise. He begot Power (I Cor. 1, 24) yet He did not weaken. He begot God yet He did not lose divinity. He did not lose a thing diminishing Himself or changing Himself, nor did the begotten One miss a thing. Flawless is the One Who begot and flawless is the Begotten One.`

161. What means `begotten, not made `?

Although it was said before that Jesus Christ is the One Begotten Son of God and therefore he distinguishes Himself of all those who might be called sons of God. The fathers who composed the Creed wanted to say that Jesus Christ is not a created son like the others, but He is the only One begotten from the Father. He is not a created being, not even the first and the highest of all creation as Arie said, He could not belong to creatures, so He is God.

162. What means `of one essence with the Father` ?

To express even more explicitly that the Son is not a created being, that He is truly begotten from the Father, in the Creed were included these words. The thing a man does is not from his being, but the son who is begotten from him is from his being. The same thing is with God: the whole world is the act of His will and of His work (energy). But the Son is from His being. Saint John Damascene says: `The birth is the act by which is taken out from the being of the one who begets the one who is begotten with the same essence as his. But the creation is an external deed, in which what is created does not come from the being of the One who creates but it is something different of him.`

And saint John Damascene says that if the Son is from the Being of the Father, He is the masterpiece of His essence. He must be begotten before times because what belongs to the being of the divinity is eternal, so that the divine essence would not be changed.

Being from the being of the Father, the Son has the same essence as Him, He is of the same essence with the Father. 

Being of the same essence does not mean only that the Son was begotten from the being of the Father or that he has the same being like the Father, but much more than this: that the Son’s being is inseparable of the Father’s.

The being of the father does not repeat itself begetting the Son, to have the same being twice, as it happens at men, but the Father gives His Son by birth His own being, this without being repeated.

The father and the Son are two persons with the same being in common. Between the Father and the Son there is a perfect union as a being, but they are still distint as persons.

“I and the Father are one` says the Saviour. (John X, 30). One shows the being. `I and the Father` show the persons, which are two. In the same way it is shown that the being of the Father and of the Son are one and their persons are two, by the following words of the Saviour: `

`Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me`  (John XIV, 11); or : `Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.`  (John XIV, 9).

Saint John Damascene explains these words very clearly: ` the hypostases are united not in the meaning that they mingle but that they contain one anther. Each one of them lives in the other one without blending and fusing. They are not separated or divided, as the heresy of Aries sustains. For saying all in a word, divinity is undivided in the divided ones, just like in three suns containing one another would be a single light in an inner interpenetration.`