Nikolai VelimirovichWhen swallows run short of food and the cold weather is coming, they set off to warm climes, where there is plenty of sun and food.

One swallow flies ahead, testing the air and showing the way, while the rest of the flock follows after.

When our souls run short of food in the material world, and when the cold of death draws near—ah, is there a swallow like that one, to take us to a warm place, where there is plenty of spiritual warmth and food?

Is there such a place? Is there, oh, is there such a swallow? […] The Church…has seen that part of Paradise for which our souls yearn in the frozen twilight of this earthly existence.

It has also seen this blessed swallow, the first to fly to that yearned-for place, dispersing the darkness and cutting through the heavy atmosphere between earth and Heaven with its powerful wings, opening the way to the flock behind it.

Apart from this, the Church on earth can tell one of innumerable flocks of swallows that have followed the first Swallow and flown off with it to that blessed land, a land abounding with all good things—the land of eternal Spring.

You will see from this that, by this saving Swallow, I am thinking of the ascended Lord Jesus Christ. Has He not said of Himself that He is the Way?

Did He not Himself say to His Apostles: “I go to prepare a place for you…and if I go…I will receive you unto Myself”(St. John 14:2–3)?

And did He not say to them before this: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me” (St. John 12:32)?

This that He Himself said began to be fulfilled a few weeks later, and has continued to be fulfilled right down to our own day, and shall be to the end of time.

That is, being the beginning of the first creation of the world, He became also the beginning of the second creation, or the blessed renewing of the old.

Sin clipped Adamʼs wings and those of all his descendants, and they all fell away from God, went off, and were blinded with the dust from which their bodies were created.

Christ, as the New Adam, the first Man, the Firstborn among men, was the first to rise up to Heaven on spiritual wings, to the throne of Eternal Glory and power, thus cleaving the way to Heaven and opening all Heavenʼs gates to His followers, with their spiritual wings—as an eagle cleaves the way for its eaglets ,as the swallow which goes ahead, showing the flock the way and breaking the airʼs heavy resistance.

Nikolai Velimirovich (1880-1956; Orthodox Church): from Homily 27: The Ascension of the Lord in Homilies (Birmingham: Lazarica Press, 1996, Vol. I, pp. 296-299; full text @ Kandylaki.

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