Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Gregory of Nazianzus: the Word has approached and assumed "his own [defaced] image"

"What is the wealth of his goodness?  What is this mystery concerning me?  I participated in the [divine] image, and I did not keep it; he participates in my flesh both to save the image and to make the flesh immortal.  He shares with us a second communion, much more paradoxical than the first; then he gave us a share in what is superior, now he shares in what is inferior.  This is more godlike than the first; this, to those who can understand, is more exalted."

Τίς ὁ πλοῦτος τῆς ἀγαθότητος;  τί τὸ περὶ ἐμὲ τοῦτο μυστήριον;  Μετέλαβον τῆς εἰκόνος, καὶ οὐκ ἐφύλαξα·  μεταλαμβάνει τῆς ἐμῆς σαρκὸς, ἵνα καὶ τὴν εἰκόνα σώσῃ, καὶ τὴν σάρκα ἀθανατίσῃ.  Δευτέραν κοινωνεῖ κοινωνίαν, πολὺ τῆς προτέρας παραδοξοτέραν·  ὅσῳ τότε μὲν τοῦ κρείττονος μετέδωκε, νῦν δὲ μεταλαμβάνει τοῦ χείρονος.  Τοῦτο τοῦ προτέρου θεοειδέστερον·  τοῦτο τοῖς νοῦν ἔχουσιν ὑψηλότερον.

     St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oration 45.9, On Holy Pascha, trans. Nonna Verna Harrison (Festal orations:  Saint Gregory of Nazianzus, Popular patristics series 36 (Crestwood, NY:  St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2008), 169).  PG 36, col. 633.  Office of readings, Tuesday of the First Week of Advent, Liturgy of the hours:  "What is this wealth of goodness? What is this mystery that surrounds me? I received the likeness of God, but failed to keep it. He takes on my flesh, to bring salvation to the image, immortality to the flesh. He enters into a second union with us, a union far more wonderful than the first. . . ."

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