Gregory_PalamasNovember 21st is the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in the east, the Feast of the Entry of the More Pure Lady Theotokos into the Holy of Holies).

If a tree is known by its fruit, and a good tree bears good fruit (cf. Mt. 7.17; Luke 6.44), then is not the Mother of Goodness Itself, She who bore the Eternal Beauty, incomparably more excellent than every good, whether in this world or the world above?

Therefore, the coeternal and identical Image of Goodness, Pre-eternal, transcending all being, He Who is the pre-existing and good Word of the Father, moved by His unutterable love for mankind and compassion for us, put on our image.

This He did so that He might reclaim for Himself our nature which had been dragged down to uttermost Hades, so as to renew this corrupted nature and raise it to the heights of Heaven.

For this purpose, He had to assume a flesh that was both new and ours, that He might refashion us from out of ourselves.

Now He finds a Handmaiden perfectly suited to these needs, the supplier of Her own unsullied nature, the Ever-Virgin now hymned by us, and Whose miraculous Entrance into the Temple, into the Holy of Holies, we now celebrate.

God predestined Her before the ages for the salvation and reclaiming of our kind. She was chosen, not just from the crowd, but from the ranks of the chosen of all ages, renowned for piety and understanding, and for their God-pleasing words and deeds.

[…] God deigned to receive our nature from us, hypostatically uniting with it in a marvellous way. But it was impossible to unite that Most High Nature, Whose purity is incomprehensible for human reason, to a sinful nature before it had been purified.

Therefore, for the conception and birth of the Bestower of purity, a perfectly spotless and Most Pure Virgin was required.

Today we celebrate the memory of those things that contributed, if only once, to the Incarnation. He Who is God by nature, the Co-unoriginate and Co-eternal Word and Son of the Transcendent Father, becomes the Son of Man, the Son of the Ever-Virgin.

Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today, and forever (Heb. 13.8) is immutable in His divinity and blameless in His humanity. He alone, as the Prophet Isaiah prophesied, practiced no iniquity, nor deceit with His lips (Is. 53.9).

He alone was not brought forth in iniquity, nor was He conceived in sin, in contrast to what the Prophet David says concerning himself and every other man (Ps. 50:5 [LXX]).

Even in what He assumes, He is perfectly pure and has no need to be cleansed Himself. But for our sake, He accepted purification, suffering, death and resurrection, that He might transmit them to us.

Gregory Palamas (1296-1359): extracted from Discourse on the Feast of the Entry of the More Pure Lady Theotokos into the Holy of Holies (from the translation at Monachos.net).

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