Mor_Ephrem_iconSaul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? (Acts 9:4).

He who had conquered His persecutors in the world below, and ruled over the angels in the world above, spoke from above with humble voice.

[…] Our Lord spoke in humility from heaven, that in humility the heads of His church might speak.

And if any one should say, “Wherein did our Lord speak humbly with Paul? for lo! the eyes of Paul were grievously smitten”, let him know that it was not from our merciful Lord that this chastisement proceeded, who spoke those words in humility; but from the vehement light that vehemently shone forth there.

And this light did not strike Paul by way of retribution on account of his deeds, but on account of the vehemence of its rays it hurt him, as he also said:  When I arose, I could discern nothing for the glory of the light (Acts 22:11).

But if that light was glorious, O Paul, how did the glorious light become a blinding light to thee thyself?

The light was that which, according to its nature, illuminates above, but contrary to its nature, it shone forth below. When it illumined above, it was delightful; but when it shone forth below, it was blinding.  For the light was both grievous and pleasant.

It was grievous and violent towards the eyes of the flesh; and it was pleasant and lightful to those who are fire and spirit (Matthew 4:11).  For I saw a light from heaven that excelled the sun, and its light shone upon me (Acts 26:13).

So then mighty rays streamed forth without moderation, and were poured upon feeble eyes, which moderate rays refresh.  For, lo! the sun also in measure assists the eyes, but beyond measure and out of measure it injures the eyes.

[…]  For since Paul might have been injured by the vehemence of this sun to which he was accustomed, if he gazed upon it not according to custom, how much more should he be injured by the glory of that light to which his eyes never had been accustomed?

For behold, Daniel also (Daniel 10:5,6) was melted and poured out on every side before the glory of the angel, whose vehement brightness suddenly shone upon him!

And it was not because of the angel’s wrath that his human weakness was melted, just as it is not on account of the wrath or hostility of fire that wax is melted before it; but on account of the weakness of the wax it cannot keep firm and stand in presence of fire.

Ephrem the Syrian (c.306-373): Homily on Our Lord, 26-27.

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