Gregory Palamas: The Entry of the More Pure Virgin Mary into the Holy of Holies Thursday, Nov 21 2013 

Gregory_PalamasNovember 21st is the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in the east, the Feast of the Entry of the More Pure Lady Theotokos into the Holy of Holies).

If a tree is known by its fruit, and a good tree bears good fruit (cf. Mt. 7.17; Luke 6.44), then is not the Mother of Goodness Itself, She who bore the Eternal Beauty, incomparably more excellent than every good, whether in this world or the world above?

Therefore, the coeternal and identical Image of Goodness, Pre-eternal, transcending all being, He Who is the pre-existing and good Word of the Father, moved by His unutterable love for mankind and compassion for us, put on our image.

This He did so that He might reclaim for Himself our nature which had been dragged down to uttermost Hades, so as to renew this corrupted nature and raise it to the heights of Heaven.

For this purpose, He had to assume a flesh that was both new and ours, that He might refashion us from out of ourselves.

Now He finds a Handmaiden perfectly suited to these needs, the supplier of Her own unsullied nature, the Ever-Virgin now hymned by us, and Whose miraculous Entrance into the Temple, into the Holy of Holies, we now celebrate.

God predestined Her before the ages for the salvation and reclaiming of our kind. She was chosen, not just from the crowd, but from the ranks of the chosen of all ages, renowned for piety and understanding, and for their God-pleasing words and deeds.

[…] God deigned to receive our nature from us, hypostatically uniting with it in a marvellous way. But it was impossible to unite that Most High Nature, Whose purity is incomprehensible for human reason, to a sinful nature before it had been purified.

Therefore, for the conception and birth of the Bestower of purity, a perfectly spotless and Most Pure Virgin was required.

Today we celebrate the memory of those things that contributed, if only once, to the Incarnation. He Who is God by nature, the Co-unoriginate and Co-eternal Word and Son of the Transcendent Father, becomes the Son of Man, the Son of the Ever-Virgin.

Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and today, and forever (Heb. 13.8) is immutable in His divinity and blameless in His humanity. He alone, as the Prophet Isaiah prophesied, practiced no iniquity, nor deceit with His lips (Is. 53.9).

He alone was not brought forth in iniquity, nor was He conceived in sin, in contrast to what the Prophet David says concerning himself and every other man (Ps. 50:5 [LXX]).

Even in what He assumes, He is perfectly pure and has no need to be cleansed Himself. But for our sake, He accepted purification, suffering, death and resurrection, that He might transmit them to us.

Gregory Palamas (1296-1359): extracted from Discourse on the Feast of the Entry of the More Pure Lady Theotokos into the Holy of Holies (from the translation at

Elizabeth of the Trinity: That The Holy Spirit May Transform You Into God Tuesday, Feb 2 2010 

Elizabeth writes to her sister Marguerite:

I have lately been reading some splendid things by St. Paul about Divine adoption, and I naturally  thought of you.

Being a mother, you know what depth of love for your children God has put into  your heart, so you can understand how great is the  mystery of our being the children of God.

Does it not make you tremble, Marguerite? Listen to what my dear St. Paul says:

“God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…Who hath  predestinated us into the adoption of children…unto the praise of the glory of His grace”.

Which means that, almighty as He is, it does not seem as if  He could have done anything more grand.

Again: “If a son, an heir also through God.” And what is this inheritance? “God hath made us worthy to  be partakers of the lot of the saints in light.”

And  then, as if to show that it does not mean in the far future, the Apostle adds: “Now, therefore, you are no more strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow-citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God.”

Marguerite! this heaven is the centre of our soul; as St. John of the Cross says, when we are in its deepest centre, we are in God. How simple and consoling it is!

In the midst of all your motherly cares and occupations you can retire into this solitude and give yourself up to the Holy Spirit, so that He may transform you into God, impressing the divine image of His beauty on your soul, in order that, when the Father looks down on you, He may see nothing but His Christ, and may say: “This is my beloved daughter in whom I am well pleased!”

Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906); quoted in The Praise of Glory: Reminiscences of Elizabeth of the Trinity by A Carmelite Nun of Dijon, pp. 130-131.