Metropolitan Moses Nativity Encyclical]
-------- Original Message -------- Subject: 2003 Nativity Encyclical Date: Thu, 01 Jan 2004 22:49:21 -0800 From: Metropolitan Moses <MetMoses@...> To: (Recipient list suppressed)
His Eminence, Moses, Metropolitan of Seattle
- Christ is Born, give ye glory.
- Christ from heaven, receive ye Him.
- Christ on earth; be ye exalted.
- ---Saint Gregory the Theologian, On
the Theophany Or Birthday of
Christ is born, glorify Him!
Every year we hear the marvelous words of Saint Gregory the Theologian as set to music by Saint Cosmas the hymnographer in the Katavasia for the feast of the Nativity and our hearts are filled with joy and gladness. A marvel past telling, a scandal to the world, that our Lord and God and Savior, He Who dwells in unapproachable light put on our lowly nature! The reality of the fulfillment of the hope of Israel for deliverance was beyond anything that the mind of man could conceive of or expect. The Anointed one, Christ, is born and He is God incarnate! Neither an angel nor ambassador, but the Lord Himself has come to heal us and reconcile us to Himself.
Christ is come from heaven receive ye Him!
Let us exhort ourselves first and then our family and friends, to receive Him, respond to Him; let us draw nigh that we become “partakers of divine nature” as Saint Peter wrote in his epistle. Hearken all the earth to the news that for those that receive Him, “to them gave He power to become children of God, even to them that believe in His name” (John 1:12).
Christ is on earth, be ye exalted!
To be a Christian is to live an exalted life. As Saint Makarios the Great, a man who spent his life in fasting and prayer and divine vision, so eloquently explains in his Fifth Homily:
- For it is in the renewing of the mind, and the peace of the
and the love and heavenly passion for the Lord, that the new creation
Christians [is made distinct]…from all the men of the world. This was
purpose of the Lord’s coming, to [give] these spiritual blessings to
those who truly believe in Him. Christians have a glory and a beauty
a heavenly wealth which is beyond words, and it is won with pains, and
sweat, and trials, and many conflicts, and all by the grace of
- … the prince of wickedness…carries [the race of men] about with
restless thoughts, and entices the hearts of men with the lusts of the
world, and fills every soul with the darkness of ignorance, blindness
forgetfulness, save those which have been begotten from above, and have
been translated in disposition and mind to another world, according as
is said, But our citizenship is in heaven. (Phil 3:20)
- … This constitutes the difference between true Christians and
rest of mankind, and the distance between the two is great... The
Christian mind and way of thinking is always in the heavenly frame;
behold as in a mirror the good things of eternity, by reason of their
partaking and having the Holy Spirit, by being born of God from above,
and being privileged to be children of God in truth and efficacy, and
having arrived, through many conflicts and labors spread over a long
time, at a fixed and settled condition of freedom from disturbance and
rest, no longer sifted and wave-tossed by unquiet and vain thoughts. By
this they are greater and better than the world, because their mind and
the frame of their soul is in the peace of Christ and the love of the
Spirit. It was of such that the Lord spoke when He said that they had
passed from death unto life (John 5:24).
Our Savior became incarnate so that we would lift our minds on high and no longer be subject to the temptations of the evil one. To live as a Christian in our modern society is not easy and temptations will most assuredly come, but let us prepare. Let us set our hearts on our Lord with a “heavenly passion” and acknowledge that Christ is our treasure, Christ is our homeland and we are mere sojourners in this life. It is by the works of faith, i.e., reading scripture and the lives of the saints, taking time to ponder the things of God, prayer and fasting, that our hearts gain the capacity to perceive spiritual things.
Let us Glorify our Christ, receiving Him in truth by consciously making an effort to exalt our life by ever having the promises of our inheritance in our hearts and minds, and in our conversation. It is by our daily efforts in such things that we become “the new creation of Christians” that is indeed distinct from all the men of the world.
Christ is Born! Glorify Him by the difference in your life and may the joy, peace, mercy and love of the Lord ever reign in your hearts.
- +Moses, Metropolitan of Seattle