Irenaeus of Lyons: It was necessary that Adam should be summed up in Christ, that mortality might be swallowed up and overwhelmed by immortality Saturday, Jan 23 2016 

st-irenaeus-of-lyonContinued from here….

Our Lord took that same original formation as (His) entry into flesh, so that He might draw near and contend on behalf of the fathers, and conquer by Adam that which by Adam had stricken us down.

Whence then is the substance of the first-formed (man)? From the Will and the Wisdom of God, and from the virgin earth.

For God had not sent rain, the Scripture says, upon the earth, before man was made; and there was no man to till the earth (Gen. 2:5).

From this, then, whilst it was still virgin, God took dust of the earth and formed the man, the beginning of mankind.

So then the Lord, summing up afresh this man, took the same dispensation of entry into flesh, being born from the Virgin by the Will and the Wisdom of God; that He also should show forth the likeness of Adam’s entry into flesh, and there should be that which was written in the beginning, man after the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26).

And just as through a disobedient virgin man was stricken down and fell into death, so through the Virgin who was obedient to the Word of God man was reanimated and received life. 

For the Lord came to seek again the sheep that was lost; and man it was that was lost: and for this cause there was not made some other formation, but in that same which had its descent from Adam He preserved the likeness of the (first) formation.

For it was necessary that Adam should be summed up in Christ, that mortality might be swallowed up and overwhelmed by immortality; and Eve summed up in Mary, that a virgin should be a virgin’s intercessor, and by a virgin’s obedience undo and put away the disobedience of a virgin (1 Cor. 15:53).

And the trespass which came by the tree was undone by the tree of obedience, when, hearkening unto God, the Son of man was nailed to the tree; thereby putting away the knowledge of evil and bringing in and establishing the knowledge of good: now evil it is to disobey God, even as hearkening unto God is good.

And for this cause the Word spake by Isaiah the prophet, announcing beforehand that which was to come…. By him then spake the Word thus:  I refuse not, nor gainsay: I gave my back to scourging, and my cheeks to smiting; and my face I turned not away from the shame of spitting (Isaiah 50:5).

So then by the obedience wherewith He obeyed even unto death, (Phil. 2;8) hanging on the tree, He put away the old disobedience which was wrought in the tree.

Irenaeus of Lyons (2nd century AD – c. 202): Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, 31-34.

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Gregory Nazianzen: In Himself He exhausted the bad, as fire does wax, or as the sun does the mists of earth Friday, May 1 2015 

St.-Gregory-Nazianzen“He learnt obedience by the things which He suffered” (Heb. 5:8), and to His “strong crying and tears,” and His “Entreaties,” and His “being heard,” and His” Reverence,” all of which He wonderfully wrought out, like a drama whose plot was devised on our behalf.

For in His character of the Word He was neither obedient nor disobedient.  For such expressions belong to servants, and inferiors, and the one applies to the better sort of them, while the other belongs to those who deserve punishment.

But, in the character of the Form of a Servant, He condescends to His fellow servants, nay, to His servants, and takes upon Him a strange form, bearing all me and mine in Himself, that in Himself He may exhaust the bad, as fire does wax, or as the sun does the mists of earth; and that I may partake of His nature by the blending.

Thus He honours obedience by His action, and proves it experimentally by His Passion.  For to possess the disposition is not enough, just as it would not be enough for us, unless we also proved it by our acts; for action is the proof of disposition.

And perhaps it would not be wrong to assume this also, that by the art of His love for man He gauges our obedience, and measures all by comparison with His own Sufferings, so that He may know our condition by His own, and how much is demanded of us, and how much we yield, taking into the account, along with our environment, our weakness also.

For if the Light shining through the veil upon the darkness, that is upon this life, was persecuted by the other darkness (I mean, the Evil One and the Tempter), how much more will the darkness be persecuted, as being weaker than it?

And what marvel is it, that though He entirely escaped, we have been, at any rate in part, overtaken?  For it is a more wonderful thing that He should have been chased than that we should have been captured;—at least to the minds of all who reason aright on the subject.

I will add yet another passage to those I have mentioned, because I think that it clearly tends to the same sense.  I mean “In that He hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted” (Heb. 2:18).

But God will be all in all in the time of restitution…when we shall be no longer divided (as we now are by movements and passions), and containing nothing at all of God, or very little, but shall be entirely like.

Gregory Nazianzen (c.330-390): Oration 30, 6.

Theodore the Studite: We shall be a Holy Temple to God, Beautified with Gifts upon Gifts Friday, Mar 14 2014 

Theodore_the_StuditeContinued from here….

And since we should become yet more humble and obedient by the study of the inspired Scriptures, let us beware lest we be puffed up in the vanity of our mind, so as to make our knowledge an occasion of evil, and like-wise also our power in speech and argument, our experience, our skill, our correctness in framing and uttering our words; our good reading, or maybe our subtlety, our skill of hand, our psalmody, our learning, our skill in music, our culture, and the like.

But let the gift of these things be to us rather a cause of fear and of self-abasement before God who has given them. For thus we shall find God merciful, — or rather bountiful, and ready to give us yet more, that we may be filled with good things. And we shall be a holy temple to God, beautified with gifts upon gifts.

But if we shall become presumptuous towards God, and seek to lord it over our brethren, stretching up, as it were, the neck of our souls, and raising our eyebrows and hoisting our shoulders and walking boastfully, seeking this or that, judging others in our pride and foolishness: — asking ever “why are not things otherwise?” or “why have not I the charge of this matter?” or “why should this man have the management of that business?” if we act thus, we are indeed vain and foolish, and are like those in the proverb who pour water into leaky vessels.

Not so, my brethren, not so. Let us not make our opportunities a cause of destruction or the day of work a day of loss; nor, when we may mount the walls of virtue, slip down into vice. Our opportunity is great, our days are delightful. For they are spent in following the commandments of God, in attaining everlasting wealth, in purchasing the kingdom of Heaven. Let us run, let us hasten.

I exhort you, I beseech you. I would kneel before you and implore you as my inmost life and all my joy, my boasting and my crown, my glory and praise. Those who have affirmed and those who have denied; those who have followed the way for long and those who are new to it; those from distant folds and those bred among us; all now of one herd and one flock, of one fold and one charge, nurslings of one shepherd ! Let us think no more of evil that might come. May you live thus and strive thus and be perfected thus in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be the glory and the power with the Father and the Holy Spirit now and for ever. Amen.

Theodore the Studite (759-826): Great Catechesis, Discourse 61 in Alice Gardner, Theodore of Studium: His Life and Times (1905), pp. 90-91.

John Damascene: The Tree of Knowledge Friday, Feb 21 2014 

John-of-Damascus_01Now when God was about to fashion man out of the visible and invisible creation in His own image and likeness to reign as king and ruler over all the earth and all that it contains, He first made for him, so to speak, a kingdom in which he should live a life of happiness and prosperity.

And this is the divine paradise, planted in Eden by the hands of God, a very storehouse of joy and gladness of heart (for “Eden” means luxuriousness).

[…] It is flooded with light, and in sensuous freshness and beauty it transcends imagination: in truth the place is divine, a meet home for him who was created in God’s image: no creature lacking reason made its dwelling there but man alone, the work of God’s own hands.

In its midst God planted the tree of life and the tree of knowledge (Gen. 2:9).

The tree of knowledge was for trial, and proof, and exercise of man’s obedience and disobedience: and hence it was named the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, or else it was because to those who partook of it was given power to know their own nature.

Now this is a good thing for those who are mature, but an evil thing for the immature and those whose appetites are too strong, being like solid food to tender babes still in need of milk.

For our Creator, God, did not intend us to be burdened with care and troubled about many things, nor to take thought about, or make provision for, our own life.

But this at length was Adam’s fate: for he tasted and knew that he was naked and made a girdle round about him: for he took fig-leaves and girded himself about. But before they took of the fruit, They were both naked, Adam and Eve, and were not ashamed (Gen. 2:25).

For God meant that we should be thus free from passion, and this is indeed the mark of a mind absolutely void of passion.

Yea, He meant us further to be free from care and to have but one work to perform, to sing as do the angels, without ceasing or intermission, the praises of the Creator, and to delight in contemplation of Him and to cast all our care on Him.

[…] So to Martha Christ said, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her (Luke 10:41, 42), meaning, clearly, sitting at His feet and listening to His words.

John Damascene (c.675-749): De Fide Orthodoxa 2, 11.

Tikhon of Zadonsk: Remember Your Unseen Benefactor Everywhere and Always with Love Wednesday, Feb 19 2014 

Tikhon_of_ZadonskTake care not to forget your Benefactor when you enjoy His benefactions, lest you appear ungrateful to Him; for forgetfulness of a benefactor is a clear sign of ingratitude.

God is your creator, deliverer, supreme benefactor, and good provider.

He created you just as He gives you every good thing, since without His goodness you could not live even for a minute.

You do not see your Benefactor with these eyes, but you see the benefits He has given you.

You see the sun, the moon and His stars which illumine you.

You see the fire that warms you and cooks your food.

You see the food which satisfies you, you see the clothing by which your naked body is covered.

You see all other countless blessings which He gave you for your needs and comfort.

Seeing, then, and receiving these benefits, remember your unseen Benefactor everywhere and always with love, and thank Him for all His benefits with a pure heart.

The greatest and highest of all His blessings is that by His good will Christ, His Only-Begotten Son, came to us and redeemed us by His precious Blood and suffering from the devil, hell, and death.

In this work He showed us His unspeakable goodness to us. We must, then, always gaze with faith upon this great work of God so incomprehensible to the mind, and remember God Who so loved us unworthy ones.

We must thank Him from our whole heart, worship Him, praise, hymn, and glorify Him with our heart and lips.

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David” (Lk. 1:68-69).

You, too, should always remember this great work of God and marvel at it, and thank God from your heart, and live as it pleases God, Who came into the world to save sinners, lest you offend Him with your ingratitude.

He desires to save you, since He came into the world for your sake, and suffered and died in His holy flesh. You should fulfil His holy will, then, and take care for the salvation of your soul with all diligence.

Be thankful to Him, and live in the world humbly, with love, meekly and patiently, as He Himself lived. He also desires the same of you.

Endeavor to please God with faith and obedience, that is, do what He desires and what is pleasing to Him, and do not do what He does not desire and what is not pleasing to Him. Without obedience, whatever a man may do is not pleasing to God.

Tikhon of Zadonsk (1724-1783; Russian Orthodox): extract @ Kandylaki  from Journey to Heaven: Counsels On the Particular Duties of Every Christian by Our Father Among the Saints, Tikhon of Zadonsk, Bishop of Voronezh and Elets (Jordanville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery, 2004) .

Proclus of Constantinople: The Holy Mother of God is the Intended Paradise of the Second Adam Wednesday, Jan 15 2014 

Proclus_of_ConstantinopleOur present gathering in honor of the Most Holy Virgin inspires me, brethren, to say of Her a word of praise, of benefit also for those come unto this churchly solemnity.

It comprises a praise of women, a glorying of their gender, which (glory) is brought it by Her, She Who is at one same time both Mother, and Virgin.

O desired and wondrous gathering! Celebrate, O nature, that wherein honour be rendered to Woman; rejoice, O human race, that wherein the Virgin be glorified.

“For when sin did abound, grace did superabound” (Rom 5:20).

The Holy Mother of God and Virgin Mary has gathered us here. She is the pure treasure of virginity, the intended paradise of the second Adam.

She is the place wherein was accomplished the co-uniting of natures, wherein was affirmed the counsel of salvific reconciliation.

Who has ever seen, who has ever heard, that within a womb the limitless God – whom the heavens cannot circumscribe, whom the womb of a Virgin limits not – would make for Himself a habitation?

He who was born of woman is not only God and He is not only Man.  He made woman, who had been the ancient gateway of sin, into the gateway of salvation.

Where evil poured forth its poison, bringing on disobedience, there the Word made for Himself a living temple, into which He brought obedience. From whence the arch-sinner Cain sprang forth, there without seed was born Christ the Redeemer of the human race.

The Lover-of-Mankind did not disdain to be born of woman, since this bestowed His life.  He was not subject to impurity, being settled within the womb, which He Himself arrayed free from all harm.

If perchance this Mother did not remain a Virgin, then that born of Her might be a mere man, and the birth would be no wise miraculous. But since she after birth remained a Virgin, then how could it be that He who is born in this way be other than God?

It is an inexplicable mystery, since in an inexplicable manner was born He who without hindrance went through doors when they were locked.

When confessing in Him the co-uniting of two natures, Thomas cried out: “My Lord, and my God!” (Jn 20:28). The Apostle Paul says, that Christ is “to the Jews indeed scandal, and to the Gentiles yet folly” (1 Cor 1:23).

They did not perceive the power of the mystery, since it was incomprehensible to the mind: “for had they understood, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory” (1 Cor 2:8).

Proclus of Constantinople (d. 446 or 447): Sermon on the Annunciation; full text @ Preachers Institute.

Augustine of Hippo: Praying in Words Tuesday, Jan 14 2014 

St Augustine of AfricaIn most cases prayer consists more in groaning than in speaking, in tears rather than in words.

But…words are necessary, that by them we may be assisted in considering and observing what we ask, not as means by which we expect that God is to be either informed or moved to compliance.

When, therefore, we say: “Hallowed be Thy name,” we admonish ourselves to desire that His name, which is always holy, may be also among men esteemed holy, that is to say, not despised; which is an advantage not to God, but to men.

When we say: “Thy kingdom come,” which shall certainly come whether we wish it or not, we do by these words stir up our own desires for that kingdom, that it may come to us, and that we may be found worthy to reign in it.

When we say: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” we pray for ourselves that He would give us the grace of obedience, that His will may be done by us in the same way as it is done in heavenly places by His angels.

When we say: “Give us this day our daily bread,” the word “this day” signifies for the present time, in which we ask either for that competency of temporal blessings which I have spoken of before (“bread” being used to designate the whole of those blessings, because of its constituting so important a part of them),

or the sacrament of believers, which is in this present time necessary, but necessary in order to obtain the felicity not of the present time, but of eternity.

When we say: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” we remind ourselves both what we should ask, and what we should do in order that we may be worthy to receive what we ask.

When we say: “Lead us not into temptation,” we admonish ourselves to seek that we may not, through being deprived of God’s help, be either ensnared to consent or compelled to yield to temptation.

When we say: “Deliver us from evil,” we admonish ourselves to consider that we are not yet enjoying that good estate in which we shall experience no evil.

And this petition, which stands last in the Lord’s Prayer, is so comprehensive that a Christian, in whatsoever affliction he be placed, may in using it give utterance to his groans and find vent for his tears – may begin with this petition, go on with it, and with it conclude his prayer.

For it was necessary that by the use of these words the things which they signify should be kept before our memory.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430): Letter to Proba, X, 20 – XI, 21 @ Crossroads Initiative.

Leo the Great: A Man is Made the Body of Christ, because Christ Also is the Body of a Man Thursday, Dec 19 2013 

leo1Such was the state of all mortals resulting from our first ancestors that…no one would have escaped the punishment of condemnation, had not the Word become flesh and dwelt in us, that is to say, in that nature which belonged to our blood and race.

And accordingly, the Apostle says:  “As by one man’s sin (judgment passed) upon all to condemnation, so also by one man’s righteousness (it) passed upon all to justification of life.

For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one man’s obedience shall many be made righteous” (Rom. 5:18, 19);

and again, “For because by man (came) death, by man also (came) the resurrection of the dead.

And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive”  (1 Cor. 15:21, 22).

All they to wit who though they be born in Adam, yet are found reborn in Christ, having a sure testimony both to their justification by grace, and to Christ’s sharing in their nature;

for he who does not believe that God’s only-begotten Son did assume our nature in the womb of the Virgin-daughter of David, is without share in the Mystery of the Christian religion, and, as he neither recognizes the Bridegroom nor knows the Bride, can have no place at the wedding-banquet.

For the flesh of Christ is the veil of the Word, wherewith every one is clothed who confesses Him unreservedly.

[…]  Hence whosoever confesses not the human body in Christ, must know that he is unworthy of the mystery of the Incarnation, and has no share in that sacred union of which the Apostle speaks, saying, “For we are His members, of His flesh and of His bones.

For this cause a man shall leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and there shall be two in one flesh” (Eph. 5:30-32). And explaining what was meant by this, he added, “This mystery is great, but I speak in respect of Christ and the Church.”

Therefore, from the very commencement of the human race, Christ is announced to all men as coming in the flesh.

In which, as was said, “there shall be two in one flesh,” there are undoubtedly two, God and man, Christ and the Church, which issued from the Bridegroom’s flesh, when it received the mystery of redemption and regeneration, water and blood flowing from the side of the Crucified.

For the very condition of a new creature which at baptism puts off not the covering of true flesh but the taint of the old condemnation, is this, that a man is made the body of Christ, because Christ also is the body of a man.

Leo the Great (c.400-461): Letter 59, 4.

Pacian of Barcelona: Christ Rose Again in the Flesh, Reconciling it to God, and Restoring it to Immortality Tuesday, Aug 20 2013 

Fathers_of_the_ChurchFollowing on from here…

In all these attacks [the temptation of Christ in the wilderness] the enemy is overcome, and destroyed by the heavenly power. The devil ought now to have yielded.

But nevertheless he does not yet cease. He suborns with his wonted snares, and stimulates with rage the Scribes and Pharisees and all that band of wicked men.

They, after various arts and lying devices of the heart, in which, serpent-like, they thought to deceive the Lord by professions of faithfulness, did not prevail.

At last they attacked Him with open violence and a most cruel kind of suffering.

They did this that, through the indignity of the thing, or the pain of punishment, He might either do or say something unrighteous, and thus destroy the human nature which He bore, and His soul be left in hell, which had one law to retain the sinner.

For the sting of death is sin. Christ therefore endured, and did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, as we have said, not then even when He was led as a victim. 

This was to conquer, to be condemned without sin! For the devil had received over sinners the power which he claimed for himself over the Immaculate One.

And thus he himself was overcome; decreeing that against the Holy One which was not allowed him by the law that he had received.

Whence says the Prophet David to the Lord, That Thou mightest be justified in Thy saying, and clear when Thou art judged. 

And thus, as St Paul says, Having led principalities in triumph, Christ condemned sin in the flesh, nailing it to His Cross and blotting out the hand-writing of death.

Thence it was that God left not His soul in hell, nor suffered His Holy One to see corruption. 

Accordingly, having trodden under-foot the stings of death He rose again on the third day in the flesh, reconciling it to God, and restoring it to immortality, having overcome and blotted out sin.

But if He only conquered, what did He confer on others? Hear briefly. The sin of Adam had passed on the whole race. For by one man (as says St Paul) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men. 

Therefore also the righteousness of Christ must needs pass over to the whole race; and as Adam by sin destroyed his race, so must Christ by righteousness give life to all His race.

This St Paul urges, saying, For as by the disobedience of one, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous. That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life.

Pacian of Barcelona (c.310-391): Discourse on Baptism, 4-6.

Gregory of Nyssa: Mary Magdalen’s Faith in the Resurrection Reverses the Disaster of Eve’s Disobedience Wednesday, Jul 24 2013 

Gregory_of_NyssaTouch Me not, for I am not yet ascended to My Father: but go to My brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God (John 20:17).

Having by purity brought into closest relationship with the Father of our nature that new man which is created after God, in Whom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, He drew with Him into the same grace all the nature that partakes of His body and is akin to Him.

And these glad tidings He proclaims through the woman [Mary Magdalen], not to those disciples only, but also to all who up to the present day become disciples of the Word.

[…] He from Whom we were formerly alienated by our revolt has become our Father and our God. Accordingly in the passage cited above the Lord brings the glad tidings of this benefit.

And the words are not a proof of the degradation of the Son, but the glad tidings of our reconciliation to God. For that which has taken place in Christ’s Humanity is a common boon bestowed on mankind generally.

When we see in Him the weight of the body, which naturally gravitates to earth, ascending through the air into the heavens, we believe according to the words of the Apostle, that we also “shall be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:16).

So also, when we hear that the true God and Father has become the God and Father of our First-fruits, we no longer doubt that the same God has become our God and Father too, inasmuch as we have learned that we shall come to the same place whither Christ has entered for us as our forerunner (cf. Heb. 6:20).

And the fact too that this grace was revealed by means of a woman [Mary Magdalen] itself agrees with the interpretation which we have given.

As the Apostle tells us, “the woman [Eve], being deceived, was in the transgression” (1 Tim. 2:14), and was by her disobedience foremost in the revolt from God.

For this reason she [Mary Magdalen] is the first witness of the resurrection, that she might retrieve by her faith in the resurrection the overthrow caused by her [Eve’s] disobedience.

By making herself at the beginning a minister and advocate to her husband of the counsels of the serpent, she [Eve] brought into human life the beginning of evil, and its train of consequences.

So also, by ministering to His disciples the words of Him Who slew the rebel dragon, she [Mary Magdalen] became to men the guide to faith, whereby with good reason the first proclamation of death is annulled.

Gregory of Nyssa (c 335 – after 394): Against Eunomius, 12,1.

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