Philoxenus of Mabbug: For the giving of thanks have we received speech from God our Creator Sunday, Jun 5 2016 

philoxenos_of_mabbugFaith…makes certain that God is, and enquires not.

It holds His words to be sure and seeks not to investigate His nature.

It hearkens to His words, and judges not His deeds and actions.

[…] When it is God Himself who speaks, and the Lord of the universe Who says that He will perform it, it is necessary for us to believe.

For it is sufficient for the persuading of our faith that it is God Himself Who speaks and will perform.

And man has not the power to judge His will; for how can man who hath been made judge the will of Him that created him?

For as the vessel cannot chide the handicraftsman and ask why he hath thus formed it, or judge any of his works, so also is it with man who is a rational vessel, and has no power to chide the Workman Who made him.

And although man possesses the speech of knowledge, it was given to him not so that he could  judge the will of Him that made him, but that he might be a panegyrist of the knowledge which formed him.

For the rational man is farther removed from the power of scrutinizing His Creator than is the speechless vessel from the power of criticising him that made it.

For the giving of thanks have we received speech from God our Creator, and in order that we may admire His created things He has placed in us thoughts of knowledge.

He has made us to possess a sense of wisdom so that we may perceive Him and He has placed within our soul the sense of discernment so that we may receive a foretaste of His gracious acts.

He has given to us the eye of faith which can see deeply into His secret things so that we may see Him in His works.

God is too great to be investigated by the thoughts, and His dispensation surpasses the seeking out of speech. And with His nature go also His works. For, as His nature is inscrutable, so also the deeds and actions of His nature cannot be sought out.

[…] As He cannot be judged by us as to why He has made us in this form, and why He has formed us, and placed us in the world in this order of constitution, so also none of His wishes can be found fault with by us, either as to why He willed thus, or why He performed thus.

Philoxenus of Mabbug (d. 523): Discourse 2 – on Faith [adapted].

Philoxenus of Mabbug: When the eye of faith hears the voice of God there rises in it the light of His Word Tuesday, Jul 14 2015 

philoxenos_of_mabbugWhen Abraham heard the voice and knew that it was of God, he immediately despised everything and went forth to Him, and hearkened unto Him with simplicity.

[…] Look then, O disciple, upon this coming forth, and let thy coming forth be like unto it, and be not backward in following the living voice of Christ, Who hath called thee.

For as in that case it called to Abraham only, so in this He calls every one He pleases by His Gospel, and invites them to go forth after Him.

For in that He said, “Whosoever wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24), He shewed a universal calling to all the children of men.

And instead of choosing one person, Abraham, as He did at that time, He now invites every man to be like unto Abraham.

And again in the case of the holy Apostles, He renewed that call of Abraham; and observe their faith also, that it was like unto the faith of Abraham; for as Abraham heard immediately he was called, so also immediately He called the Apostles, they heard and went forth after Him.

“He saw them casting nets into the sea, and He called them, and straightway they forsook their nets and their father, and went after Him” (Matt. 4:18).

And before they had heard from Him the words, “If a man forsake not his father and mother, and everything that he hath, and cometh after me, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26), they forsook everything and went after Jesus.

For He did not propound for the disciples lengthy doctrine, but only the hearing of the word of faith; and because the faith which was in them was living, immediately it received the living word it became obedient unto life, and they ran thereafter straightway, and delayed not.

Now in this they show themselves to have been disciples before they were called. For the custom of faith which is mingled with simplicity is that it does not receive doctrine (or instruction) by much persuasion.

The sound and healthy eye does not receive the ray which is sent therein by contrivances and cunning inventions. but immediately that it is opened it looks with strength upon the light, because its natural sight is sound.

So also the eye of faith, which is set in the pupil of simplicity, immediately it hears the voice of God, recognises it, and there rises in it the light of His Word.

And joyfully it draws towards Him and receives Him, even as our Lord said in His Gospel, “My sheep hear My voice and come after Me” (John 10:27).

Philoxenus of Mabbug (d. 523): Fourth Ascetic Discourse (slightly adapted).

Philoxenus of Mabbug: God the Word was Embodied in the Virgin and of the Virgin. Saturday, Feb 15 2014 

philoxenos_of_mabbugWho then or what is truth, if not Jesus Christ, the God Who is over all, He Who said, “I am the Truth, and the Light, and the Life” (John 14:6).

This Jesus, God the Word, is our truth, with His Father and with His Holy Spirit: one Trinity, one essence, one divinity, one nature from everlasting and from eternity.

For there is not in Him (God) nature and nature, nor essence and essence, nor anything recent or old, but One in Three and Three in One; an eternal nature and eternal persons, one essence adored with its persons from everlasting and from eternity.

One of the persons of this essence is the Mediator of our Divinity, Truth from Truth, Light from Light, Living from the Living One, and Immortal from Him Who does not die.

By the will of the Divinity this same person came down from heaven, that is, God from God, natural Son of a natural Father, the Splendour of the Father and His essential Image, God the Word Who is over all.

He came down and dwelt in the pure Virgin who was sanctified by God the Spirit, and He became man of her without change, in everything like unto us except sin, there having been neither change, nor variation, nor confusion in His nature, as God Himself said by the Prophet, “I am and I change not” (Malachi 3:6).

For He Who was not made is not mutable; He Who was not created cannot change. Therefore He became man without change; He was embodied, and remained as He is – spiritual.

He did not cause the person of a man to adhere to Himself that two might be counted in Him, He and a man adhering to Him. Nor did He enter and dwell in another, He Who is the Only Son, but He was embodied from our nature and He is not counted two.

He became man of the Virgin, and His person was not doubled; He became man, and He was not changed, because even in His becoming His essence remained without change. For as He is in His essence, so He remained also in His becoming, that is, without change.

The Ancient of days became a child; the Most High became an infant in the womb, and God became man in the womb. The Spiritual One became corporal; the Invisible One was seen; the Intangible One was handled; He Who is consubstantial with the Father became of us in His becoming, because He, God the Word, was embodied in the Virgin and of the Virgin.

Philoxenus of Mabbug (d. 523): Letter to the Monks.

Philoxenus of Mabbug: Experiencing the Love of Christ and Tasting the Sweetness of Truth Wednesday, Jan 22 2014 

philoxenos_of_mabbugIt is good and fitting for the truth to be declared openly, because truth is like unto light in the type of its manifestation which is for all.

For, as light has been made to shine on everything so also truth has been revealed in the world to enlighten every man, according to the words of Him Who is Truth, and Who has given the truth:

“That which I tell I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light; and that which you hear in your ears, preach ye upon the house-tops” (Matt. 10:27).

[…] And, in the public confession before persecutors, He exhorts and urges us by His promises to declare the faith which He has delivered unto us, saying:

“Every one that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father Who is in heaven, and before His angels…” (Matt. 10:32-33).

Such is the openness, therefore, with which Jesus Our God commands us to declare our truth, and not to be ashamed, and not to blush, and not to be acceptors of persons in authority, and not to seek to please those men who are the adversaries of truth; for he who wishes to please men cannot be a servant of Christ.

But as for him who has experienced the love of Christ, and tasted the sweetness of truth, nothing shall ever be able to diminish the ardour of his pursuit in search of the truth which he loves.

For truth is agreeable and sweet above all things; and it inflames every soul, that has tasted it rightly, to seek after it. Like the divine Apostles and the holy Martyrs, everyone who has experienced this pleasure seeks it with an unspeakable ardour.

Nothing was able to diminish the ardour of their love in the pursuit of truth:

neither fire, nor beasts, nor swords, nor the combs of executioners, nor exile from country to country, nor close confinement in dungeons, nor the insults of enemies, nor calumnies, nor injustices,

nor the inconstancy of friends, nor the defection of acquaintances, nor separation from family, nor the opposition of the whole world,

nor the onslaught of visible and invisible enemies, nor anything above or below, can separate from the love of Christ those who have tasted and perceived the truth, as St. Paul, in the ardour of this love, speaking for all those like himself, declared, saying:

“For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor powers, nor virtues, nor height, nor depth, nor things present, nor things to come, shall be able to separate me from the love of Christ (our) God” (Rom. 8:38-39).

Philoxenus of Mabbug (d. 523): Letter to the Monks.