June 2017 Letter
On the occasion of the Pentecost, let us be edified with what the Fathers had to say about this feast:
- Irenaeus: “The gift of God (the Spirit) has been entrusted to the Church, as breath was to the first created man, for this purpose, that all the members receiving it may be vivified; and the [means of] communion with Christ have been distributed throughout it, that is, the Holy Spirit, the earnest of incorruption, the means of confirming our faith, and the ladder of ascent to God … For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and every kind of grace; but the Spirit is truth. Those, therefore, who do not partake of Him, are neither nourished into life from the mother’s breasts, nor do they enjoy that most quenching fountain which issues from the body of Christ.”
- St Basil the Great: “Through the Holy Spirit comes our restoration to paradise, our ascension into the kingdom of heaven, our return to the adoption as sons, our liberty to call God our Father, our being made partakers of the grace of Christ, our being called children of light, our sharing in eternal glory, and, in a word, our being brought into a state of all “fullness of blessing,” (Rom 15: 29) both in this world and in the world to come, of all the good gifts that are in store for us, by promise whereof, through faith, beholding the reflection of their grace as though they were already present, we await the full enjoyment.”
- St Gregory Nazianzen: “From the Spirit comes our new birth (Jhn 3: 5), and from the new birth our new creation, and from the new creation our deeper knowledge of the dignity of Him from whom it is derived. The Spirit is the Creator-Spirit (Psa 104: 30), who by baptism and by resurrection creates anew; the Spirit that knows all things (1C0 2: 10), that teaches (Jhn 14: 26), that blows where and to what extent he lists (Jhn 3: 8); that guides (Jhn 16: 13), … that reveals (Eph 1: 17)), illumines (Eph 1: 18), quickens (Jhn 6: 63), or rather is the very Light and Life; that makes temples (1Cor 3: 16) …”
- St Cyril of Jerusalem: “Why did He call the grace of the Spirit water? Because by water all things subsist; because water brings forth grass and living things; because the water of the showers comes down from heaven; because it comes down one in form, but works in many forms. For one fountain waters the whole of Paradise (Gen 2: 10), and one and the same rain comes down upon all the world, yet it becomes white in the lily, and red in the rose, and purple in violets and hyacinths, and different and varied in each several kind: so it is one in the palm-tree, and another in the vine, and all in all things; and yet is one in nature, not diverse from itself; for the rain does not change itself, and come down first as one thing, then as another, but adapting itself to the constitution of each thing which receives it, it becomes to each what is suitable. Thus also the Holy Spirit, being one & of one nature, and indivisible, divides to each His grace according to His will (1Cor 12: 11).
May the blessings of St. Mary & St. Mercurius, and the blessings of Pentecost be with us all.
Belleville, June 1, 2017