Hilary of Poitiers: We are subjected to the glory of His body, that we may share that splendour with which He reigns in the body Tuesday, Apr 7 2015 

St_Hilary_of_Poitiers_cassienBut we must not forget what follows the subjection, namely, Last of all is death conquered by Him (1 Cor. 15:26).

This victory over death is nothing else than the resurrection from the dead.

For when the corruption of death is stayed, the quickened and now heavenly nature is made eternal, as it is written,

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

But when this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in strife. O death, where is thy sting? O death, where is thy strife (1 Cor. 53-55).

In the subjection of His enemies death is conquered; and, death conquered, life immortal follows.

The Apostle tells us also of the special reward attained by this subjection which is made perfect by the subjection of belief:

Who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of His glory, according to the works of His power, whereby He is able to subject all things to Himself (Phil. 3:21).

There is then another subjection, which consists in a transition from one nature to another, for our nature ceases, so far as its present character is concerned, and is subjected to Him, into Whose form it passes.

But by ‘ceasing’ is implied not an end of being, but a promotion into something higher. Thus our nature by being merged into the image of the other nature which it receives, becomes subjected through the imposition of a new form.

Hence the Apostle, to make his explanation of this Mystery complete, after saying that death is the last enemy to be conquered, adds:

But when He saith, All things are put in subjection except Him, Who did subject all things to Him, then must He be subjected to Him, that did subject all things to Him, that God may be all in all (1 Cor. 15:27,28).

The first step of the Mystery is that all things are subjected to Him: then He is subjected to Him, Who subjects all things to Himself.

As we are subjected to the glory of the rule of His body, so He also, reigning in the glory of His body, is by the same Mystery in turn subjected to Him, Who subjects all things to Himself.

And we are subjected to the glory of His body, that we may share that splendour with which He reigns in the body, since we shall be conformed to His body.

Hilary of Poitiers (c.300-368): On the Trinity, 11, 35-36.

Anastasius of Antioch: Cross, Resurrection and Glorification Thursday, Apr 24 2014 

Anastasius_SinaiChrist, who has shown by his words and actions that he was truly God and Lord of the universe, said to his disciples as he was about to go up to Jerusalem:

We are going up to Jerusalem now, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the Gentiles and the chief priests and scribes to be scourged and mocked and crucified.

These words bore out the predictions of the prophets, who had foretold the death he was to die in Jerusalem.

From the beginning holy Scripture had foretold Christ’s death, the sufferings that would precede it, and what would happen to his body afterward.

Scripture also affirmed that these things were going to happen to one who was immortal and incapable of suffering because he was God.

Only by reflecting upon the meaning of the incarnation can we see how it is possible to say with perfect truth both that Christ suffered and that he was incapable of suffering, came to suffer.

In fact, man could have been saved in no other way, as Christ alone knew and those to whom he revealed it. For he knows all the secrets of the Father, even as the Spirit penetrates the depths of all mysteries.

It was necessary for Christ to suffer: his passion was absolutely unavoidable. He said so himself when he called his companions dull and slow to believe because they failed to recognise that he had to suffer and so enter into his glory.

Leaving behind him the glory that had been his with the Father before the world was made, he had gone forth to save his people. This salvation, however, could be achieved only by the suffering of the author of our life, as Paul taught when he said that the author of life himself was made perfect through suffering.

Because of us he was deprived of his glory for a little while, the glory that was his as the Father’s only-begotten Son. But through the cross this glory is seen to have been restored to him in a certain way in the body that he had assumed.

Explaining what water the Saviour referred to when he said: He that has faith in me shall have rivers of living water flowing from within him, John says in his gospel that he was speaking of the Holy Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive.

For the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified. The glorification he meant was his death upon the cross for which the Lord prayed to the Father before undergoing his passion, asking his Father to give him the glory that he had in his presence before the world began.

Anastasius of Sinai (7th Century): Homily 4:1-2, PG 89. 1347-1349 @ Crossroads Initiative.

Gregory Nazianzen: I Await the Transformation of the Heavens, the Transfiguration of the Earth, the Renovation of the Universe Saturday, Nov 9 2013 

St.-Gregory-NazianzenI believe the words of the wise.

I believe that every fair and God-beloved soul, when it has been set free from the bonds of the body, departs hence, and at once enjoys a sense and perception of the blessings which await it.

It enjoys this inasmuch as that which darkened it has been purged away, or laid aside—I know not how else to term it.

And it feels a wondrous pleasure and exultation, and goes rejoicing to meet its Lord.

For it has escaped, as it were, from the grievous poison of life here, and has shaken off the fetters which bound it and held down the wings of the mind.

And so it enters on the enjoyment of the bliss laid up for it, of which it has even now some conception.

Then, a little later, it receives its kindred flesh, which once shared in its pursuits of things above, from the earth which both gave and had been entrusted with it.

And, in some way known to God, who knit them together and dissolved them, the soul enters with the flesh upon the inheritance of the glory there.

And, as it shared, through their close union, in its hardships, so also it bestows upon it a portion of its joys, gathering it up entirely into itself, and becoming with it one in spirit and in mind and in God, the mortal and mutable being swallowed up of life.

Hear at least how the inspired Ezekiel discourses of the knitting together of bones and sinews (Ezek. 37:3).

Hear how after him Saint Paul speaks of the earthly tabernacle, and the house not made with hands, the one to be dissolved, the other laid up in heave.

Hear how Paul alleges absence from the body to be presence with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:1, 6; Phil. 1:23), and bewailing his life in it as an exile, and therefore longing for and hastening to his release.

Why am I faint-hearted in my hopes?  Why behave like a mere creature of a day?

I await the voice of the Archangel (1 Thess. 4:16), the last trumpet (1 Cor. 15:52), the transformation of the heavens, the transfiguration of the earth, the liberation of the elements, the renovation of the universe (2 Pet. 3:10).

Then shall I see Cæsarius himself, no longer in exile, no longer laid upon a bier, no longer the object of mourning and pity, but brilliant, glorious, heavenly.

Gregory Nazianzen (c.330-390): Oration 7, 21 (Panegyric on His Brother S. Cæsarius).

Cyril of Alexandria: Transformed to so Surpassing and Godlike a Brightness – the Mystery of the Transfiguration Sunday, Aug 4 2013 

cyril_alexandriaOn Luke 9:27-36

Jesus had said unto them, “Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross every day, and follow Me. For he that will save his life shall lose it; and he that will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

The commandment is indeed both for the salvation and honour of the saints, and the cause of the highest glory, and the means of perfect joy: for the choosing to suffer for the sake of Christ is not a thankless duty, but on the contrary makes us sharers in everlasting life, and the glory that is prepared.

But as the disciples had not yet obtained power from on high, it probably occasionally happened, that they also fell into human weaknesses, and when thinking over with themselves any such saying as this, may have asked “how does a man deny himself?” or how having lost himself does he find himself again? And what reward will compensate those who thus suffer? Or of what gifts will they be made partakers?

To rescue them therefore from such timid thoughts, and, so to speak, to mould them unto manliness, by begetting in them a desire of the glory about to be bestowed upon them, Jesus says, “I say unto you, there are some of those standing here, who shall not taste of death until they have seen the kingdom of God.”

Does He mean that the measure of their lives will be so greatly prolonged as even to reach to that time when He will descend from heaven at the consummation of the world, to bestow upon the saints the kingdom prepared for them? Even this was possible for Him: for He is omnipotent: and there is nothing impossible or difficult to His all-powerful will.

But by the kingdom of God He means the sight of the glory in which He will appear at His manifestation to the inhabitants of earth: for He will come in the glory of God the Father, and not in low estate like unto us. How therefore did He make those who had received the promise spectators of a thing so wonderful?

He goes up into the mountain taking with Him three chosen disciples: and is transformed to so surpassing and godlike a brightness, that His garments even glittered with rays of fire, and seemed to flash like lightning.

And besides, Moses and Elijah stood at Jesus’ side, and spake with one another of His departure, which He was about, it says, to accomplish at Jerusalem: by which is meant the mystery of the dispensation in the flesh; and of His precious suffering upon the Cross.

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444): Commentary on St Luke’s Gospel, Sermon 51.

Hilary of Poitiers: The Saving Power of the Name of God Saturday, Jul 13 2013 

St_Hilary_of_Poitiers_cassienSave me, O God, by Thy Name, and judge me by Thy power. Hear my prayer, O God; give ear unto the words of my mouth (Psalm 53:3-4).

The suffering of the Prophet David is…a type of the Passion of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.

This is why his prayer also corresponds in sense with the prayer of Him Who being the Word was made flesh:

in such wise that He Who suffered all things after the manner of man, in everything He said, spoke after the manner of man;

and He who bore the infirmities and took on Him the sins of men approached God in prayer with the humility proper to men.

This interpretation, even though we be unwilling and slow to receive it, is required by the meaning and force of the words, so that there can be no doubt that everything in the Psalm is uttered by David as His mouthpiece.

For he says: Save me O God, by Thy name. Thus prays in bodily humiliation, using the words of His own Prophet, the Only-begotten Son of God, Who at the same time was claiming again the glory which He had possessed before the ages.

He asks to be saved by the Name of God whereby He was called and wherein He was begotten, in order that the Name of God which rightly belonged to His former nature and kind might avail to save Him in that body wherein He had been born.

And because the whole of this passage is the utterance of One in the form of a servant—of a servant obedient unto the death of the Cross—which He took upon Him and for which He supplicates the saving help of the Name that belongs to God, and being sure of salvation by that Name, He immediately adds: and judge Me by Thy power.

For now as the reward for His humility in emptying Himself and assuming the form of a servant, in the same humility in which He had assumed it, He was asking to resume the form which He shared with God, having saved – that it might bear the Name of God – that humanity in which as God He had obediently condescended to be born.

And in order to teach us that the dignity of this Name whereby He prayed to be saved is something more than an empty title, He prays to be judged by the power of God.

For a right award is the essential result of judgment, as the Scripture says: Becoming obedient unto death, yea, the death of the Cross. Wherefore also God highly exalted Him and gave unto Him the name which is above every name.

Hilary of Poitiers (c.300-368): Homily on Psalm 53 [54], 4-5.

Macarius the Egyptian: That heavenly fire of the Godhead which Christians receive in their hearts Thursday, Jul 4 2013 

Macarius3That heavenly fire of the Godhead, which Christians receive in their hearts now in this present world, that same fire which now ministers inwardly in the heart becomes outward when the body is dissolved, and recomposes the members, and causes a resurrection of the members that had been dissolved.

As the fire that ministered on the altar at Jerusalem lay buried in a pit during the time of the captivity, and the selfsame fire, when peace came and the captives returned home, was renewed, as it were, and ministered in its accustomed manner (2 Maccabees 1:19ff), so now the heavenly fire works upon this body that is so near us, which after its dissolution turns to mire, and renews it, and raises up the bodies that had decayed.

The inward fire that now dwells in the heart becomes then external, and causes a resurrection of the body.

The fire in the furnace under Nabuchodonosor was no divine fire, but a creature; but the Three Children (Daniel 3), because of their righteousness, while they were in the visible fire, had in their hearts the divine and heavenly fire ministering within their thoughts and exerting its energy in them.

That very fire showed itself outside them. It stood between them and the visible fire, and restrained it, that it should not burn the righteous, nor do them any manner of hurt.

In like manner, when the mind of Israel and their thoughts were bent upon departing far from the living God and turning to idolatry, Aaron was compelled to tell them to bring their golden vessels and ornaments (Exodus 32). Then the gold and the vessels, which they cast into the fire, became an idol, and the fire, as it were, copied their intention.

That was a wonderful thing. They, secretly, in purpose and thought, determined upon idolatry, and the fire accordingly fashioned the vessels thrown upon it into an idol, and then they committed idolatry openly.

As, then, the Three Children, having thoughts of righteousness, received in themselves the fire of God, and worshipped the Lord in truth, so now faithful souls receive that divine and heavenly fire, in this world, in secret; and that fire forms a heavenly image upon their humanity.

As the fire formed the golden vessels, and they became an idol, so does the Lord, who copies the intentions of faithful and good souls, and forms an image even now in the soul according to their desire, and at the resurrection it appears external to them, and glorifies their bodies within and without.

Macarius the Egyptian (c. 300-391) [attributed]; Spiritual Homily 11,1-3, trans. by A.J. Mason DD.

Gregory Palamas: Clothed in Immortality, Glory and Incorruption by the Power of the Holy Spirit Thursday, May 16 2013 

Gregory_PalamasChrist…, in His all-surpassing love for mankind, showed at Pentecost that His disciples were partakers, fathers and ministers of everlasting light and life, who bring us to new birth for eternal life and make those who are worthy children of the Light and fathers of enlightenment.

Thus, He Himself is with us unto the end of the world, as was promised through the Spirit (Matt. 28:20). For He is One with the Father and the Spirit, not according to hypostasis, but in His divinity, and God is One in Three, in one tri-hypostatic and almighty divinity.

The Holy Spirit always existed and was with the Son in the Father. How could the Father and divine Mind be without beginning if the Son and Word were not also without beginning? How could there be a pre-eternal Word without there also being a pre-eternal Spirit?

Thus the Holy Spirit ever was and is and will be, co-Creator with the Father and the Son, together with them renewing that which has suffered corruption, and sustaining the things that endure.

He is everywhere present and fills, directs and oversees everything. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit”, says the Psalmist to God, “Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Ps. 139:7). He is ‘not just everywhere, but also above all, not just in every age and time, but before them all.

And, according to the promise, the Holy Spirit will not just be with us until the end of the age, but rather will stay with those who are worthy in the age to come, making them immortal and filling their bodies as well with eternal glory, as the Lord indicated by telling His disciples, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16).

“It is sown”, says the Apostle (meaning buried and committed to the earth), “a dead natural body”, that is to, say, an ordinary created body with a created soul, stable and capable of movement.

“It is raised” (that is, comes back to life), “a spiritual body” (cf. 1Cor. 15:44), which means a supernatural body, framed and ordered by the Holy Spirit, and clothed in immortality, glory and incorruption by the Spirit’s power (cf. 1Cor. 15:53).

“The first man, Adam”, he says, “was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly” (cf. 1Cor. 15:45,47-48).

Gregory Palamas (1296-1359): On Pentecost, 12-13 @Mystagogy.

Georges Florovsky: He Raises the Very Earth with Him to Heaven Wednesday, May 8 2013 

FlorovskyHe arose in a body of glory, immortal and incorruptible. He arose, never to die, for “He clothed the mortal in the splendor of incorruption.” His glorified Body was already exempt from the fleshly order of existence.

“It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body” (I Cor. 15:42-44).

This mysterious transformation of human bodies, of which St Paul was speaking in the case of our Lord, had been accomplished in three days. Christ’s work on earth was accomplished. He had suffered, was dead and buried, and now rose to a higher mode of existence.

By His Resurrection He abolished and destroyed death, abolished the law of corruption, “and raised with Himself the whole race of Adam.” Christ has risen, and now “no dead are left in the grave” (cf. The Easter Sermon of St John Chrysostom).

And now He ascends to the Father, yet He does not “go away,” but abides with the faithful for ever (cf. The Kontakion of Ascension). For He raises the very earth with Him to heaven, and even higher than any heaven.

God’s power, in the phrase of St John Chrysostom, “manifests itself not only in the Resurrection, but in something much stronger.” For “He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).

And with Christ, man’s nature ascends also. “We who seemed unworthy of the earth, are now raised to heaven,” says St John Chrysostom.

“We who were unworthy of earthly dominion have been raised to the Kingdom on high, have ascended higher than heaven, have came to occupy the King’s throne, and the same nature from which the angels guarded Paradise, stopped not until it ascended to the throne of the Lord.”

By His Ascension the Lord not only opened to man the entrance to heaven, not only appeared before the face of God on our behalf and for our sake, but likewise “transferred man” to the high places. “He honored them He loved by putting them close to the Father.”

God quickened and raised us together with Christ, as St Paul says, “and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephes. 2:6).

Heaven received the inhabitants of the earth. “The First fruits of them that slept” sits now on high, and in Him all creation is summed up and bound together. “The earth rejoices in mystery, and the heavens are filled with joy.”

Georges Florovsky (1893-1979; Eastern Orthodox): And Ascended Into Heaven…; originally published in St Vladimir’s Seminary Quarterly, Vol. 2 # 3, 1954; full text @ Mystagogy.

Leo the Great: “The Sufferings of the Present Time are not Worthy to be Compared with the Future Glory which shall be Revealed in Us” Sunday, Feb 24 2013 

leo1(Following on from here…)

And in this Transfiguration the foremost object was to remove the offence of the cross from the disciple’s heart, and to prevent their faith being disturbed by the humiliation of His voluntary Passion by revealing to them the excellence of His hidden dignity.

But with no less foresight, the foundation was laid of the Holy Church’s hope, that the whole body of Christ might realize the character of the change which it would have to receive, and that the members might promise themselves a share in that honour which had already shone forth in their Head.

About this the Lord had Himself said, when He spoke of the majesty of His coming, “Then shall the righteous shine as the sun in their Father’s Kingdom.”

And the blessed Apostle Paul bears witness to the self-same thing, and says:  “for I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the future glory which shall be revealed in us;”

and again, “for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  For when Christ our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.”

[…] Moses and Elias, that is the Law and the Prophets, appeared talking with the Lord.

[…] St John says, “the law was given through Moses:  but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ,” in Whom is fulfilled both the promise of prophetic figures and the purpose of the legal ordinances.

For He both teaches the truth of prophecy by His presence, and renders the commands possible through grace.

The Apostle Peter…, being excited by the revelation of these mysteries, despising things mundane and scorning things earthly, was seized with a sort of frenzied craving for the things eternal.

Filled with rapture at the whole vision, he desired to make his abode with Jesus in the place where he had been blessed with the manifestation of His glory.

Whence also he says, “Lord, it is good for us to be here:  if thou wilt let us make three tabernacles, one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias.”

But to this proposal the Lord made no answer, signifying that what he wanted was not indeed wicked, but contrary to the Divine order.

For the world could not be saved, except by Christ’s death, and by the Lord’s example the faithful were called upon to believe that, although there ought not to be any doubt about the promises of happiness, yet we should understand that amidst the trials of this life we must ask for the power of endurance rather than the glory, because the joyousness of reigning cannot precede the times of suffering.

Leo the Great (c.400-461): Sermon 51, 3-5.

Cyril of Alexandria: The Lord of Glory Takes the Form of Our Low Estate to Raise Human Nature to Royal Honour Sunday, Nov 25 2012 

Father, glorify me with the glory which I had with you before the world was made.

Notice that Christ does not ask for a new begin­ning in glory, but a restoration of the glory which he had of old, and also that he speaks these words as a man.

Again, the fact that he became a man is the reason why all things are said to have been given to the Son.

We who are eager for knowledge will gather wisdom from every source in seeking to understand this.

But nothing will teach us better than that awe-inspiring vision of Daniel, in which the Prophet says he saw him whose days are without beginning seated in majesty, with thousands upon thou­sands and myriads upon myriads there to serve and attend him.

He continues: And behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a man, who approached him whose days have no beginning and was presented to him.

And to him was given the dominion and glory of the kingdom, so that all people, the nations of all tongues, should serve him.

Do you see how in these words we have an accurate portrayal of the whole mystery of the incarnation?

In telling us how the Son received the kingdom from the Father, the Prophet refers not merely to the Son, but to one who appeared as a man.

For he humbled himself,as it is written, by taking the form of a man for our sake, so that in ascending first to the kingdom he might open up the way for us to follow him to the kingdom of glory.

And just as he is by nature life, so it was for our sake that he came down to die in the flesh for all humanity, to set us free from death and corrup­tion.

By his likeness to ourselves he could as it were mingle his own nature with ours, and make us to be partakers of eternal life.

So although as God he is the Lord of glory, yet he takes on the form of our low estate in order to raise human nature also to royal honour.

For he came to take precedence in all things, as Paul says.

He is the way, the door, the first fruits of our blessings.

He leads us from death to life, from corruption to incorruption, from weakness to strength, from slavery to adoption as children of God, and from all the obscurity of our low estate to kingly honour and glory.

Cyril of Alexandria (c. 376-444): Commentary on John, 2, 35 (PG 73:283-286); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Solemnity of Christ the King, Year 2.

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