ON THE ANNUNCIATION: “BEHOLD, THOU SHALT CONCEIVE”

My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,

CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE,

ON THE ANNUNCIATION: "BEHOLD, THOU SHALT CONCEIVE."

"How shall this be unto me", she said, "seeing I know not a man?" The Ever-Virgin did not say this because she disbelieved, but because she wanted to find out as much as possible about the matter. Therefore, the Archangel told her, "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). "You are holy", he says, "AND FULL OF GRACE, O VIRGIN. However, the Holy Spirit shall again come upon you, preparing and completing the work of God within you by the bestowal of a higher sanctification. The power of the Most High shall overshadow you, to strengthen you, and by overshadowing you and uniting you with itself, shall from the humanity of the one to be born of you, that He may be holy, the Son of God and the power of the Most High in the shape of a man. And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth, who has been barren all her life, is now mysteriously with child in her old age, by the will of God, for with God NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE."

How did the Most High favored Virgin, with her unrivaled and holy understanding, respond to these words? She ran to God and reached out to Him in prayer, saying to the Archangel, "If, as you tell me, the Holy Spirit shall come upon me, purifying my nature still further and strengthening me to receive the unborn Savior; if the power of the Most High shall overshadow me, forming Him Who is in the form of God is man within me and bringing about a birth without seed; if the Holy Child which shall be born is to be the Son of God and God and the Everlasting King since with God nothing is impossible", "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word" (Luke 1:38). And the Angel departed from her, leaving the Maker of all united with a body within her womb. By means of this union, which was the object of his ministry, he had PROCURED SALVATION FOR THE WORLD. Prophet Isaiah clearly revealed all this beforehand by what he was so blessed as to be counted worthy to experience. He did not see the Seraphim take the live coal directly off the heavenly Spiritual Altar. The Seraph took it with tongs, and it was by means of these that he touched the Prophet’s lips to purify him (Isaiah 6:5-7). The TONGS WERE THE SAME AS THE BURNING BUSH WHICH WAS NOT CONSUMED BY THE FIRE, IN THAT GREAT VISION SEEN BY MOSES (Exodos 3:2-6).

Surely it is obvious to anyone that the Virgin Mother is both the burning bush and the tongs. She conceived the Divine Fire within her and was not burnt, and an Archangel ministered at the conception, and through her, the Bearer of the sins of the world was united with the human race, PURIFYING US THOROUGHLY BY MEANS OF THIS INDESCRIBABLE BOND. The Virgin Mother, and SHE ALONE, IS THE FRONTIER BETWEEN CREATED AND UNCREATED NATURE. All who know God will recognize her AS THE ONE WHO CONTAINED HIM WHO CANNOT BE CONTAINED. All who sing hymns to God will praise her next after Him. She is the cause of the benefits which preceded her, the Protectress of those which came after, and through her those good things which are eternal shall be received. She is the theme of the Prophets, THE FIRST OF THE APOSTLES, THE SUPPORT OF THE MARTYRS, THE DAIS OF THE TEACHERS. SHE IS THE GLORY OF THOSE ON EARTH, THE DELIGHT OF THOSE IN HEAVEN, THE ADORNMENT OF THE WHOLE CREATION. SHE IS THE BEGINNING FOUNT AND ROOT OF THE HOPE STORED UP FOR US IN HEAVEN.

To which may we all attain by her prayer for us, to the glory of Him Who was Begotten of the Father before all ages, and, in these last times, became incarnate of her, even Jesus Christ our Lord. To Whom belong ALL GLORY, HONOR, AND WORSHIP, NOW AND FOREVER AND UNTO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN. [Source: Saint Gregory Palamas.  The HOMILIES]

_________________

"Glory Be To GOD
For
All Things!"

– Saint John Chrysostomos

+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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