Gregory the Wonder-Worker: “Hail, Thou that Art Highly Favoured, the Lord Is With Thee!” Monday, Mar 26 2012 

Yet thou alone, O purest virgin, art now made the recipient of things of which all these were kept in ignorance, and thou dost learn the origin of them.

For where the Holy Spirit is, there are all things readily ordered. Where divine grace is present, all things are found possible with God.

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee. Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

And if He is the Son of God, then is He also God, of one form with the Father, and co-eternal; in Him the Father possesses all manifestation.

He is His image in the person, and through His reflection the (Father’s) glory shines forth.

And as from the ever-flowing fountain the streams proceed, so also from this ever-flowing and ever-living fountain does the light of the world proceed, the perennial and the true, namely Christ our God.

For it is of this that the prophets have preached: “The streams of the river make glad the city of God.”

And not one city only, but all cities; for even as it makes glad one city, so does it also the whole world.

Appropriately, therefore, did the angel say to Mary the holy virgin first of all, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee;” inasmuch as with her was laid up the full treasure of grace.

For of all generations she alone has risen as a virgin pure in body and in spirit; and she alone bears Him who bears all things on His word.

[…] He Himself is with thee who is the Lord of sanctification, the Father of purity, the Author of incorruption, and the Bestower of liberty, the Curator of salvation, and the Steward and Provider of the true peace, who out of the virgin earth made man, and out of man’s side formed Eve in addition.

Even this Lord is with thee, and on the other hand also is of thee.

[…] Let us take up the angelic strain, and to the utmost of our ability return the due meed of praise, saying, “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee!”

For it is thine truly to rejoice, seeing that the grace of God, as he knows, has chosen to dwell with thee—the Lord of glory dwelling with the handmaiden;

“He that is fairer than the children of men” with the fair virgin;

He who sanctifies all things with the undefiled. God is with thee, and with thee also is the perfect man in whom dwells the whole fulness of the Godhead.

From a Homily on the Annunciation by an unknown author, formerly attributed to Gregory the Wonderworker (c.213-c.270).

Anonymous: The Source of Life, the Beginning of Brightness, the Author of Life – Our Lord Jesus Christ Saturday, Apr 30 2011 

Paul rejoices that we are restored to spiritual health and cries out:

As through Adam death came into this world, so through Christ salvation was restored to the world.

And again: The first man was from the earth, earthly, the second man is from heaven, heavenly.

And he adds: As we have borne the image of the man of the earth, that is, of the old sinful nature, so let us bear the image of the man of heaven.

That is, let us hold fast in Christ to the nature that is saved, accepted, redeemed, restored and purified.

For Paul says: First there is Christ, that is, the author of resurrection and life.

Then those who are Christ’s, that is, those who live in imitation of his purity, those who live in unshakeable hope because of his resurrection, those who are to possess with him the glory promised to us in heaven.

As the Lord himself says in the Gospel: He who has followed me will not perish, but will pass from death to life.

Thus the passion of the Saviour is salvation for mankind.

This was why he willed to die for us, that we should believe in him, and live forever.

He willed to become for a time what we are, so that we should receive the promise of his eternity and live with him forever.

[…] In this feast the baptismal font, the womb which begets pure life, is ablaze with the light of candles under the cross, the tree of faith.

Here men are sanctified by the gift of heavenly grace and fed by the spiritual sacrament, the sacred mystery.

Here the Church, gathered in brotherhood and unity, is nourished.

Adoring the substance of the one Godhead and the powerful name of the three persons, they join with the Prophet in singing the psalm of the annual feast:

This is the day which the Lord made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it.

What is this day? It is he who is the source of life, the beginning of brightness, the author of life-our Lord Jesus Christ, who said of himself: ‘I am the day: he who walks by daylight does not stumble.’

That is to say, if a man follows Christ in all things, he will cross over in Christ’s steps to the very throne of eternal light.

While Christ was still in this bodily life, he prayed to the Father for us in these words:

Father, I desire that those who have believed in me may be with me where I am, that even as you are in me, and I in you, so they too may remain in us.

From an Ancient Paschal Homily dating back to the fourth century from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Easter Wednesday, Year I.

Anonymous: The Bridal Chamber is Adorned, the Banquet is Ready, the Eternal Dwelling Places are Prepared Saturday, Apr 23 2011 

Christ said to Adam:

I am your God, who for your sake have become your son.

Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise.

I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell.

Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image.

Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth.

For your sake…who left a garden, I was betrayed…in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden. 

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you.

See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image.

On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back.

See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree. 

I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours.

My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you. 

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven.

I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you.

I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God.

The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager.

The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open.

The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity. 

From a Holy Saturday homily written in Greek dating back to the fourth century liturgy (PG 43, 439, 462f), from the Office of Readings for Holy Saturday @ Crossroads Initiative.

Anonymous: Let Him Dwell in Their Hearts and Complete the Work He Has Begun in Them Thursday, Dec 23 2010 

Rejoice, Zion! Your King is coming. Let Zion rejoice, I say; and by Zion I mean our own souls.

Let our souls reject all that is evil and fix their gaze on the blessings that are to come. See, he is coming to dwell among you.

[…] When he has established his dwelling place within us and taken full possession of our souls, he will make our whole being holy, perfect, and blameless.

Let him come then and take possession of those he has redeemed. Let him dwell in their hearts and complete the work he has begun in them. Let him go ahead of them, leading the way for them out of the land of Babylon.

He will find his resting place among us and be glorified in our midst when other people see our good works and glorify our heavenly Father, whose sons we have become not through anything we have done to deserve it, nor on account of our good deeds, but solely because of his mercy.

Yes, it is through God’s mercy that we have received our freedom and are counted among his adopted sons.

God is glorified among us when we grow in love and compassion, when we carry out his commands and persevere in doing his will; these are the ways in which he is glorified.

Now we know that the Lord has been sent to us as our redeemer, our life, and our healing, bringing us his loving mercy and grace beyond all our deserts.

So when we see ourselves lifted up from the dust of the earth to receive a heavenly prize, let all of us believers be glad of heart and rejoice, and, as living souls raised up from the dead, let each one of us seek the Lord.

What return shall we make to the Lord for such blessings? All we can do is to bow our heads and beat our breasts, saying with the publican: O God, be merciful to me a sinner!

Rejoice, then, my friends, at these great gifts of his, exult in such great blessings!

Take care not to ascribe to yourselves the good things you have received from him, for if you do, you will lose what you have.

You must be convinced that you possess nothing that you have not received. And if you have received it, do not boast as though you had not.

If you keep to this rule the gifts you have received will be preserved among you, and anything you now lack will be granted to you in full.

An Anonymous Ancient Author: Sermon 12 (Patrologia Latina Supplementum 4, 770-771), from the Monastic Office of Vigils, December 22nd in Advent Year 1.

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