All Saints for January 18


To the question, why did the Son of God reveal Himself to the world as man and not in the shape of some other creature, the wise Saint Athanasius replied thus: `If they ask why He did not reveal Himself in the form of some greater creature: for example, the sun, the moon or stars, or as flame or space, but as man, let them know that the Lord did not come simply to reveal Himself but to heal and teach those that suffer. For simply to reveal Himself and make His spec-tators marvel would mean to come as a show. Coming as a healer and teacher, He had not only to come, but to come in such a way that the revelation should be bearable to the wretched men whom He had come to serve. No single creature has been in error in the eyes of God save man alone; neither the sun nor the moon nor the sky, the stars nor water nor space has been unfaithful to its state, but, on the contrary, knowing their Creator and their King - the Word-they all live as they were created. Only human beings have turned themselves from good and changed that truth which belongs to God into deceit, as they transferred the knowledge of Him to devils and idols. What is there, therefore, unlikely in the Word's (the Son of God's) revealing Himself as man in order to save man-kind?' Indeed, we ask the unbelievers of our generation: `In what form would you wish God to reveal Himself, if not as man?'


Let me ponder on the Lord Jesus enduring slander and shame for our salvation, on: 1. His enduring slander and shame from the Jewish scribes and elders. 2. His enduring slander and shame from many scribes and elders in our own day. 3. His enduring slander and shame from each of us, baptised in His name but not fulfilling His commandments.


-on danger.

"Let your loins be girded and your candles burning" (Lk. 12:35).

This is the commandment of Him who knows the weakness of our being, and who desires our good more than do our father and mother. It is the commandment of our Lord who loves mankind. When a man is ungirded, does not his whole body droop down-wards? If he is belted and girded, does not his whole body stand straight like a candle? Our souls must stand upright like candles before God. How shall our souls stand upright before God if unre-strained bodily, earthly passions and lusts weigh them down? Lo, between the loins is the home of the greatest physical passions. To gird the loins means to brace oneself by restraint and not to choke oneself with wilful passions. But the girding of the physical loins is not the goal but the means we use more easily to gird up our mind, heart and will. Physical restraint is the first lesson in the formation of our Christian character; after that come harder lessons, in which we learn the restraint of the mind, the restraint of the heart and the restraint of the will. If we gird our mind, then we do not find in it a place for lustful thoughts. If we gird our heart, we do not find in it a place for lustful desires. If we gird our will, then we do not find in it a place for evil, bestial and demonic desires.

The Kingdom of God, my brethren, is entered by the narrow way. Only in restraint of mind, heart and will can the candles of vir-tue be lit, the flames of which rise up before God. We must, under the image of burning candles, understand the Christian virtues.

O pure and sinless Lord, the hearth of all virtues, help us to gird ourselves with restraint and walk to Thee by the narrow way, bearing the burning candle that Thou didst bring into the world. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.

* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
Please see our calendar for conversion between old and new calendar dates.


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