Gregory_PalamasHe who produced all earthly and heavenly things out of non-being, when He saw that His rational creatures were brought to nothing because of their desire for something greater (Genesis 3.5), bestowed upon them Himself…

…in order that from that time forward we might exercise our desire for something better without risk, although in the beginning we fell into the ultimate danger on that account (1 Corinthians 15.26),

and in order that each of us, in desiring to become God, might not only be blameless, but also attain to our longing.

[…] Because the author of evil did not want to be lower than any of the angels, but to be equal in excellence to the Creator Himself, he was the first to suffer the terrible fall before anyone else.

Smitten by envy, he deceitfully attacked Adam and dragged him down to the abyss of Hades by means of the same desire.

By so doing, he made Adam’s fall difficult to reverse, and it required God’s extraordinary presence, which has now been accomplished, to restore him.

[…] Now since it was God’s good pleasure to annul the pretext for that pride which brought down His rational creatures, He makes everything like Himself;

and because by nature He is equal to Himself and equal in honour, He makes the creation equal to itself by grace and equal in honour.

And how was this done? The very Word of God from God emptied Himself in an indescribable way, came down from on high to the lowest state of man’s nature, and indissolubly linked it with Himself, and in humbling Himself and becoming poor like us, He raised on high the things below,

or rather, He gathered both things into one, mingling humanity with divinity, and by so doing He taught everyone that humility is the road which leads upwards, setting forth today Himself as an example before men and holy angels alike.

Because of this, the angels now possess steadfastness, having learnt in a practical way from the Master that the way to be exalted and to resemble Him is not arrogance but humility.

Because of this, men are easily set right, as they recognize humility as the road by which they are recalled.

Because of this, the prince of evil, who is conceit itself, has been put to shame and overthrown, whereas previously he imagined that he could somehow stand and was something, inasmuch as he had enslaved some, and pulled them down with himself, through their desire for something greater, while also hoping to do the same to others through their extreme folly.

[…] Now that Christ had been born, the devil is trampled down by those who were previously under his feet, who are no longer presumptuous, as the destroyer advised, but identify with the lowly (Romans 12.16), as the Saviour taught through His deeds, and win heavenly exaltation through humility.

Gregory Palamas (1296-1359): Homily 58, on the Holy Nativity of the Lord. From Saint Gregory Palamas: The Homilies (Mount Thabor Publishing, 2009) @ Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension, Oakland, California.

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