May 2019 Letter
In celebrating the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, we quote here some of the church fathers on the redemption that He fulfilled for us:
- Gregory Nazianzen: “Yesterday I was crucified with Him; today I am glorified with Him; yesterday I died with Him, today I am quickened with Him; yesterday I was buried with Him, today I rise with Him. But let us offer to Him who died and rose again for us; you will think perhaps that I am going to say gold, or silver, or woven work or transparent and costly stones, the mere passing material of earth! Let us offer ourselves, the possession most precious to God, and most akin… Let us become like Christ, since Christ became like us. Let us become gods for His sake, since He for ours became Man. He assumed the worse so that He may give us the better; He became poor that we, through His poverty, might be rich (2 Cor 8: 9). He took upon Him the form of a servant that we might restore our liberty; He came down that we might be exalted; He was tempted that we might conquer; He was dishonored that He may glorify us; He died that He may save us; He ascended that He may draw to Himself us, who were lying low in the fall of sin. Let us give all, offer all, to Him who gave Himself a ransom and a reconciliation for us. But one can give nothing like oneself, understanding the mystery, and becoming for His sake all that He became for ours”.
- John Chrysostom: “Does not St. Paul on every occasion show us that the death (of Christ) is the greatest proof of His love for us? He thus says “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5: 8). Also, for this reason, does not He take pride and yearn all the more, nay, even leap for joy and flutter his wings, as it were, when he writes to the Galatians: “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal 6: 14)? Even Christ Himself, who endured these sufferings calls them His glory (John 17: 1)! And when He wished to show us His love, what did He mention? His signs or miracles or wonders? Never! He but laid His cross in the middle saying: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3: 16). And so did St. Paul say: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom 8: 32). And when he exhorts to love, he describes this same model in the middle saying: “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Eph 5: 2)”.
- Athanasius: “If the Lord’s death is the ransom of all, and by His death “the middle wall of partition” (Eph 2: 14) is broken down, and the calling of the nations is brought about, how would He have called us to Him, had He not been crucified? For it is only on the cross that a man dies with his hands spread out. Thus it was fitting for the Lord to bear this also and to spread out His hands, that with the one He might draw the old nation (Jews), and with the other those from the gentiles, and unite both in Himself. For this is what He Himself has said, signifying by what manner of death He was to ransom all: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12: 32)”.
The blessings of St. Mary & St. Mercurius, and of the holy resurrection be with us all.
Belleville, May 1, 2019