09 September 2008


For as the Apostle Paul says, we are no longer to be enslaved by the elemental spirits of the world or to be trapped in the yoke of slavery to the letter of the law. This is the summary of the benefits Christ has secured for us. In Christ the mystery is unveiled, nature is made new, divine and human, and the deification of our human nature is assumed by God. But so radiant, so glorious a visitation of God among mortals required some prelude of joy to introduce to us the great gift of salvation. Today's feast, celebrating the birth of the God-bearer, is that prelude, and the final act is the destined union between the Word and human nature.

Today a virgin is born, suckled and nurtured, and is being made ready to be the God-bearer, the king of all. With justification we should celebrate the mystery of this day, for if we do, our gain will be two fold: we shall be led towards the truth, and we shall be led away from a life of slavery to the letter of the law.

How can this be? In the same way that the shadow gives way to the presence of the light, grace introduces freedom in place of the letter of the law. Today's feast stands on the boundary between these two dispensations: it joins us to the truth instead of to signs and figures, and it ushers in the new in place of the old.

Let the whole creation, therefore, sing praise and dance and unite in celebrating the glories of this day. Today let there be one common feast of all in heaven and earth. Let everything that is, in and above the earth, join together in rejoicing. For today a shine is built for the creator of the universe. The creature is newly ready as a divine dwelling for the creator.

St. Andrew of Crete, homily
Celebrating the Saints

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