Origen Adamantius: The Crossing of the River Jordan is Experienced in the Present Wednesday, Jun 12 2013 

Origen3The ark of the covenant led the people of God across the Jordan.

The priests and the Levites halted, and the waters, as though out of reverence to the ministers of God, stopped flowing. They piled up in a single mass, thus allowing the people of God to cross in safety.

[…] The divine Word promises much greater and more lofty things to you who have passed through Jordan’s stream by the sacrament of baptism: he promises you a passage even through the sky.

Listen to what Paul says concerning the just: We shall be caught up in the clouds to meet Christ in heaven, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

There is absolutely nothing for the just man to fear; the whole of creation serves him.

Listen to another promise that God makes him through the prophet: If you pass through fire, the flame shall not burn you, for I am the Lord your God. The just man is everywhere welcome, and everything renders him due service.

So you must not think that these events belong only to the past, and that you who now hear the account of them do not experience anything of the kind. It is in you that they all find their spiritual fulfilment.

You have recently abandoned the darkness of idolatry, and you now desire to come and hear the divine law. This is your departure from Egypt.

When you became a catechumen and began to obey the laws of the Church, you passed through the Red Sea; now at the various stops in the desert, you give time every day to hear the law of God and to see the face of Moses unveiled by the glory of God.

But once you come to the baptismal font and, in the presence of the priests and deacons, are initiated into those sacred and august mysteries which only those know who should, then, through the ministry of the priests, you will cross the Jordan and enter the promised land.

There Moses will hand you over to Jesus, and He himself will be your guide on your new journey.

Mindful, then, of all the mighty works of God, remembering that he divided the sea for you and held back the waters of the river, you will turn to them and say: Why was it, sea, that you fled? Jordan, why did you turn back? Mountains, why did you skip like rams, and you hills, like young sheep?

And the word of the Lord will reply: The earth is shaken at the face of the Lord, at the face of the God of Jacob, who turns stones into a pool and rock into springs of water.

Origen Adamantius (c.185-254): Homilies on Joshua (Hom 4, 1: PG 12, 842-843), from the Office of Readings, Wednesday of the 10th Week of Ordinary Time @ Crossroads Initiative.

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Origen Adamantius: Gazing on the Glory of the Lord, We are Transformed into the Likeness of Christ Sunday, Feb 10 2013 

Origen3Paul himself shows how the life of Jesus Christ is mani­fested in the body when he says, I live, but it is no longer I: it is Christ who lives in me.

The Apostle John is saying the same thing when he writes in his letter, Every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.

Of course this does not imply that any person who has pronounced these syllables and uttered them in a public profession of faith will be deemed to be moved by the Spirit of God;

it refers rather to one who has shaped his life in such a way, and borne such fruit in good works, as to demonstrate by the very religious value of his actions and sensi­tivity that Christ has come in the flesh, has died to sin and is alive to God.

Let us look now at a further saying of Paul’s: So that as Christ rose from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too may walk in newness of life.

If we have been buried with Christ in the sense already mentioned  – that is, by the fact that we have died to sin – then it certainly follows that as Christ rises from the dead we too shall rise together with him;

as he ascends to heaven we too shall ascend together with him; as he sits at the right hand of the Father, we too shall be said to sit with him in heaven.

Indeed, the same Apostle teaches elsewhere: He has raised us with Christ, and made us sit together with him in the heavenly places.

Christ rose through the Father’s glory; if we too have died to sin and been buried with Christ, if all who see our good works glorify our Father in heaven, then it can rightly be said of us that we have risen with Christ by the Father’s glory, to walk in newness of life.

Let us walk then in newness of life, showing ourselves new every day to him who has raised us to life with Christ; new, and, if I may so put it, daily more beautiful, as our faces reflect the radiance of Christ.

As we gaze on the glory of the Lord, in him let us be transformed into his likeness, for Christ, having risen from the dead and from his earthly abasement, has ascended to the glorious majesty of the Father.

Origen Adamantius (c.185-254): Homilies on Romans 5, 8, (PG 14:1041-2); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Wednesday of the Second Week of Ordinary Time, Year 1.

Origen Adamantius: Transformed in the Likeness of God Tuesday, Oct 16 2012 

It is not said that ‘God made man in his image or likeness’, but that he made him in the image of God.

Sowhat is the other, this distinct image of God, in whose likeness man is made, except our Saviour who is the firstborn of all creatures?

[…] In the likeness of this image, then, was man made and for that very reason our Saviour, who is himself the image of God, was moved by pity for man.

For man had been made in his likeness; and yet he was seen to put off that likeness and put on instead the image of evil.

And so, moved by pity, our Saviour came to him, assuming the likeness of man…, taking the form of a servant, made in the likeness of man; and man he was found to be, through and through, as he humbled himself even unto death.

We who come to him, then, and strive to be made sharers in his image as we can understand it, are by our endeavour and our progress renewed inwardly each day in the image of him who made us; so that we may be made like the body of his radiance, his glory, each of us according to his capacity.

The Apostles remade themselves in his likeness; so much so, that he said of them: I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God. For he had prayed to the Father for his disciples, that the original likeness might be restored to them, when he said: Father, grant that just as you and I are one, so they also may be one in us.

Let us therefore contemplate this likeness of God, that we may be remade on that pattern. For if man, having been made in God’s image, can be made, against his nature, to resemble the devil merely by looking on him, how much more, by looking on the likeness of God, in whose image he is made, will he receive through the incarnate Word both the virtue and the likeness, already given him by his nature.

Let no one despair on seeing that he is more like the devil than God: for he is yet able to recover even so his likeness to God. Our Saviour came to call, not the just, but sinners to repentance. Matthew was a publican and indeed resembled the devil; but by coming as he did to the incarnate image of God, our Lord and Saviour, and following him, he has been transformed in the likeness of God.

Origen Adamantius (c.185-254): Homilies on Genesis 1,13, from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Thursday of Week 28 of Ordinary Time, Year 2.

Origen Adamantius: Building an Ark of Salvation Within the Heart Wednesday, Aug 22 2012 

Just as at that time Noah made an ark, so also our Noah, who is Christ Jesus, is told by the Father to make himself an ark of squared planks and give it dimensions filled with heavenly mysteries.

[…] There are two lower decks and three upper decks to show that in the Church, although all are contained within the one faith and are washed in the one baptism, progress is not one and the same for all, but each one in his own order.

Since God orders that the ark be constructed not only with two decks but also with three, let as also make sure we join to our twofold exposition of the Scriptures also a third meaning.

For the literal meaning which comes first is a kind of foundation at the lower level. The mystical interpretation comes second, being higher and loftier. Let us attempt, if we can, to add a moral exposition as the third level.

If there is anyone who, while evils are increasing, can turn from the things which are in flux, and can hear the word of God, this man is building an ark of salvation within his own heart and is dedicating a library, so to speak, of the divine word within himself.

He does not construct this library from planks which are unhewn and rough, but from planks which have been squared and arranged in a uniform line, that is, not from the volumes of secular authors, but from the prophetic and apostolic volumes and from the works of those who have followed them in the right lines of faith.

You shall make it with two decks and with three decks. From this library learn the historical narratives; from it recognise the great mystery which is fulfilled in Christ and in the Church.

From it also learn how to correct habits and to curtail vices. You ought also to bring in animals of every kind, the unclean as well as the clean.

I think that concupiscence and wrath, which are in every soul, are necessarily said to be unclean in the sense that they serve to make man sin.

But because the human race is not renewed without concupiscence nor can any correction or discipline exist without anger, they are said to be necessary and must be preserved.

Let us pray, however, the mercy of the omnipotent God to make us not only hearers of his word, but also doers and to bring upon our souls also a flood of his water and destroy in us what he knows should be destroyed and quicken what he knows should be quickened, through Christ our Lord and through his Holy Spirit.

Origen Adamantius (c.185-254): Homilies on Genesis 2.1, 3, 6; FoC 71 (1981) tr. Heine, from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Friday of the First Week of Ordinary Time, Year 2.

Origen Adamantius: Prayer is a Mighty Struggle Thursday, Mar 3 2011 

St Paul writes: I beg you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to help me with your prayers to God.

Who that reads of Paul asking the brethren in Rome to pray for him will be too proud to ask for the Church’s prayers, even if those whose prayers they request seem to be lower in merit than themselves?

Here is Paul, endowed with the merits of an Apostle, urging not only the Romans but even the Corinthians to pray for him!

Observe, moreover, the strong religious obligation by which he binds them to do so:

I beg you, he says, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to help me with your prayers to God.

The Latin words for to help me with your prayers translate a much stronger Greek term which means to strive together with me by your prayers.

He thus reveals that his own prayer is a conflict, a struggle, probably against those of whom he said:

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers, of this world of darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

For it is certain that just as all these powers are hostile to faith and opposed to religion and make war on justice and truth and everything that is good, so too they obstruct and oppose prayer.

If Paul thinks it necessary to ask the Romans to help him in this struggle, then clearly the struggle involved in prayer is no minor one.

The first way in which the demons and hostile powers obstruct prayer is by trying­ to ensure that those who exert themselves in this struggle will be unable to lift up hands that are clean and free from anger.

Furthermore, even if those praying manage to be free from anger, they will hardly avoid distractions, that is superfluous and empty thoughts.

You will scarcely find anyone who is not subject in prayer to some empty and irrelevant thoughts that turn aside and interrupt the attention of the mind to God and carry it away by inappropriate reflections.

Prayer, then, is a mighty struggle.

A mind always fixed on God contends with unwavering attention against the enemies opposing it, who try to steal away the spirit of prayer by wandering thoughts.

It can then say in all honesty: I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race.

Origen Adamantius (c.185-254): Commentary on Romans 10 (PG 14:1276-7); Fathers of the Church series 104 (2002) tr. Thomas P. Scheck, from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Friday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Year I.

Origen Adamantius: A Pattern of Suffering and Mortification, and of Resurrection and Newness of Life Friday, Feb 4 2011 

St Paul says, In order that, as Christ rose again from the dead through the glory of the Father, so also you might walk in newness of life.

So then, the newness of life by which we live in Christ through faith in his resurrection is attributed to the Lord, since it began with him not with us.

And for that reason, whether we live, we live to the Lord; whether we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

He calls “death” that by which we have died to sin, having been buried together with Christ and baptized into his death.

And he calls “life” that by which we have become strangers to this world.

We who are alive from the dead live not for ourselves, that is for the flesh, but for God, as Paul adds: For to this end Christ died and lived, so that he might be Lord of the dead and the living.

He says that Christ has died, doubtless by the dispensation of suffering; but he lives through the mystery of the resur­rection.

Whence also he has left a pattern for us: first of suffering and mortification, then later of resurrection and newness of life.

It is accepted that Christ’s dominion is over all creation in two ways…. As the Creator of all things and bear­ing authority over all things, he holds all things under subjec­tion by the force of his majesty and by the compulsion of power.

[…] But there is another way by which, as the Good and the Son of the good Father, he does not want to influence rational spir­its toward obedience to his Law by compulsion, but he waits for them to seek the Good willingly and come of their own accord.

It is for this reason, after all, that he thinks it worthy to go to death, so that he might leave behind a pattern of obedience and a type of dying for those who are willing to die to sin and to the vices.

Thus the Apostle writes in the present passage that the reason he died and lived was that he might be Lord over both the living and the dead:

of the living, that is those who, by the pattern of his resurrection, lead a new and heavenly life on earth;

of the dead, doubtless those who carry around the mortification of Christ in their own body and who put to death their own members that are on the earth.

Origen Adamantius (c.185-254): Commentary on Romans 9.39.2-4; Fathers of the Church series 104 (2002) tr. Thomas P. Scheck, from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time, Year I.

Origen Adamantius: The Spirit Cries “Abba Father” in the Hearts of the Blessed Wednesday, Dec 8 2010 

“Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmity. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspeakable groanings.

And He that searches hearts, knows what the Spirit desires; because He intercedes on behalf of the saints according to God” (Romans 8:26-27).

The Spirit cries “Abba Father” in the hearts of the blessed, knowing with solicitude that their sighing in this tabernacle can but weigh down the already fallen or transgressors.

Therefore He “more than intercedes with God in sighs unspeakable,” for the great love and sympathy He feels for men taking our sighs upon himself.

By virtue of the wisdom that resides in Him, He beholds our Soul humbled unto dust and shut within the body of humiliation.

Accordingly, He employs no common sighs when He more than intercedes with God but unspeakable ones akin to the unutterable words which a man may not speak.

[…] “I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit; and I will sing with the understanding also.”

Even our understanding is unable to pray unless the Spirit leads it in prayer.

Neither can it sing a hymn, with rhythmic cadence and in unison, with true measure and in harmony, to the Father in Christ, unless the Spirit who searches all things – even the depth of God – first praise and hymn Him whose depth He has searched and, as He had the power, comprehended.

I think it must have been the awakened consciousness of human weakness falling short of prayer in the right way – above all realized as he listened to great words of intimate knowledge falling from the Saviour’s lips in prayer to the Father – that moved one of the disciples of Jesus to say to the Lord when He ceased praying, “Lord, teach us to pray, even as John also taught his disciples.”

[…] Prayers which are really spiritual – because the Spirit was praying in the heart of the saints – are recorded in scripture, and they are full of unutterably wonderful declarations.

In the first book of Kings there is the prayer of Hannah, which appears only in part, because the whole of it was not committed to writing since she was “speaking in her heart” when she persevered in prayer before the Lord.

[…] These prayers are prayers truly made and spoken with the Spirit, and are full of the declarations of the wisdom of God.

Therefore we may say of the truths that they proclaim “Who is wise that he shall understand them? And who has understanding, that he shall fully know them?”

Origen Adamantius (c.185-254): On Prayer, ch. 1.

Origen Adamantius: Sanctified by Touching the Holy Flesh of the Word of God through Faith Friday, Oct 22 2010 

Everyone who touches the holy flesh will be sanctified.

[…] The one and perfect sacrifice, which all these sacrifices had anticipated in type and figure, is Christ sacrificed.

If anyone should touch the flesh of this sacrifice, immediately, he is sanctified. If he is unclean, he is healed.

So we can say that she who was suffering from a flow of blood understood that Christ was this flesh of the sacrifice, the flesh of the most holy.

And indeed, she is not bold enough to touch this holy flesh, for she had not yet been made pure and did not apprehend what is perfect, but she touched the hem of his robe with which the holy flesh was covered.

She drew out the power from the flesh by the touch of faith which cleansed her from uncleanness and healed her of the injury that she was suffering.

Does it not seem to you that it is better in this sense to be able to preserve the words of Moses, in which he says Everyone who touches the holy flesh will be sanctified?

For, as we have taught, all of the Gentiles who believed touched this flesh. And the holy Apostle also touched it who said, For we ourselves were once foolish, unbelievers, going astray, enslaved to various desires and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hating one another.

But when the kindness and humanity of God our Saviour illumined us, he saved us through the bath of regeneration and the renewal of the Holy Spirit.

For if anyone touches the flesh of Jesus in the way we explained above, with complete faith, and comes to Jesus just as to the Word made flesh, with all obedience, he has touched the flesh of the sacrifice and is sanctified.

Moreover, he also touches the flesh of the Word about whom the Apostle says, Solid food is for the perfect, who, by their ability to receive it, have trained the senses for distinguishing good and evil.

Therefore, the one who examines the inner realities and can explain the secret mysteries of the Law also touches the Word of God.

If we could teach the Church in such a way that nothing which was read remained ambiguous, nothing was left obscure, perhaps it could also be said about us that we had touched the holy flesh of the Word of God and were sanctified.

Origen Adamantius (c.185-254): Homilies on Leviticus (4:7,3-8,3), from the Monastic Office of Vigils for Tuesday of the 21st Week of Ordinary Time, Year 2.

 

Origen Adamantius: Thy Kingdom Come Tuesday, Dec 15 2009 

According to the word of our Lord and Savior, the Kingdom of God does not come observably, nor shall men say “Lo it is here”, or “Lo is it there”, but the Kingdom of God is within us; for the utterance is exceedingly near in our mouth and in our heart.

It is therefore plain that he who prays for the coming of the kingdom of God prays with good reason for rising and fruit bearing and perfecting of God’s kingdom within him.

For every saint is ruled over by God and obeys the Spiritual laws of God, and conducts himself like a well-ordered city.

And the Father is present with him, and Christ rules together with the Father in the perfected Soul, according to the saying that I mentioned shortly before: We will come unto him and make abode with him.

By God’s kingdom I understand the blessed condition of the mind and the settled order of wise reflection;

By Christ’s kingdom I understand the issue of words of salvation to their hearers and the practice of acts of righteousness and the other excellences; for the son of God is word and righteousness.

But every sinner is tyrannized by the ruler of this world, since every sinner is in conformity with the present evil world, and does not yield himself to Him who gave Himself for us sinners that He might release us from the present evil world and release us according to the will of God our Father, as it is expressed in the Epistle to Galatians.

And he who, by reason of deliberate sin is tyrannized by the ruler of this world, is also ruled over by sin: wherefore we are bidden by Paul to be no longer subject to sin that would rule over us, and we are enjoined in these words, Let sin therefore not rule in our mortal body that we should obey its lusts.

Origen Adamantius (c.185-254): On Prayer, ch. 15.

Origen Adamantius: God’s Presence in the Inner Sanctuary of the Soul Monday, Nov 30 2009 

That benefit accrues to him who prays rightly or according to his ability strives to do so, follows, I consider, in many ways.

It is, first of all, surely in every sense a spiritual advantage to him who is intent upon prayer, in the very composure of prayer to present himself to God and in His presence to speak to Him with a vivid sense that he looks on and is present.

For just as certain mental images and particular recollections connected with the objects recollected may sully the thoughts suggested by certain other images, in the same way we may believe that it is advantageous to remember God as the object of our faith – the One who discerns the movements within the inner sanctuary of the soul as it disposes itself to please the examiner of hearts and inquisitor of reins as One who is present and beholds and penetrates into every mind.

Even though further benefit than this be supposed to accrue to him who has composed his thoughts for prayer, no ordinary gain is to be conceived as gotten by one who has devoutly disposed himself in the season of prayer.

When this is regularly practiced, how many sins it keeps us from, and how many achievements it brings us to, is known only to those who have given themselves up with some degree of constancy to prayer.

Origen Adamantius (c.185-254): On Prayer, ch. 5.