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313Homily for 8/3/08 - P7 - blind and dumb

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  • Fr David Moser
    Aug 3, 2008
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      Matthew 9:27-35

      St. Seraphim, in explaining the goal of the Christian life described the
      creation of man and the condition of Adam and Eve before the fall. He
      said: “Adam was not created dead, but an active living being like all
      the other animate creatures of God living on earth. … If the Lord God
      had not breathed afterwards into his face this breath of life (that is,
      the grace of our Lord God the Holy Spirit Who proceeds from the Father
      and rests in the Son and is sent into the word for the Son’s sake) Adam
      would have remained without having within him the Holy Spirit Who raises
      him to Godlike dignity. However perfect he had been created, and
      superior to all the other creatures of God as the crown of creation on
      earth, he would have been just like all the other creatures which,
      though they have a body soul and spirit each according to its kind yet
      have not the Holy Spirit within them. But when the Lord God breathed
      into Adam’s face the breath of life, then according to Moses’ word, Adam
      became a living soul, that is completely and in every way like God and
      like Him, forever immortal. Adam was immune to the action of the
      elements to such a degree that water could not drown him, fire could not
      burn him, the earth could not swallow him in its abysses, and the air
      could not harm him by any kind of action whatever. Everything was
      subject to him as the beloved of God, as the king and lord of creation;
      and everything looked up to him, as the perfect crown of God’s
      creatures. Adam was made so wise by this breath of life which was
      breathed into his face from the creative lips of God, the Creator and
      Ruler of all, that there never has been a man on earth wiser or more
      intelligent than he, and it is hardly likely that there ever will be.
      When the Lord commanded him to give names to all the creatures, he gave
      every creature a name which completely expressed all the qualities,
      powers and properties given it by God at its creation.

      “Owing to this very gift of the supernatural grace of God which was
      infused into him by the breath of life, Adam could see and understand
      the Lord walking in paradise and comprehend His words, and the
      conversation of the holy angels, and the language of all the beasts,
      birds and reptiles and all that which is now hidden from us fallen and
      sinful creatures, but was so clear to Adam before his fall. To Eve also
      the Lord God gave the same wisdom, strength and unlimited power, and all
      the other good and holy qualities. …

      “But when through the tasting of the tree of knowledge of good and evil
      – which was premature and contrary to the commandment of God – they
      learned the difference between good and evil and were subjected to all
      the affliction which followed the transgression of the commandment of
      God, then they lost the priceless gift of the grace of the spirit of God.”

      Having lost this gift of grace, Adam and Eve became spiritually blind
      and deaf and dumb. They lost the ability to see God, to hear His words,
      and even to speak to Him. It is this very loss that we see clearly
      manifested in the Gospel today. Our Lord healed two blind men who came
      to him and later a dumb man was delivered from his inability to speak.
      These miracles were presented as physical and material lessons about the
      spiritual state of us all. We are blind and deaf – we perceive God only
      with great difficulty and only indirectly and even then our perception
      is imperfect. We do not, as the scripture tells us, know how to pray as
      we ought, that is we have forgotten even how to talk with God and so we
      are mute and dumb.

      These blind and dumb men were healed by our Lord Jesus Christ and in the
      same way He heals us of our blindness and our inability to speak. How is
      it that He restores us to these vital spiritual faculties? He restores
      to us the great gift of the grace of the Holy Spirit. He gives us the
      sacrament of Holy Baptism by which we are born anew and in the sacrament
      of Chrismation we are endowed with the “seal of the gift of the Holy
      Spirit.” We are given again the gift of grace, just as it was given to
      Adam at his creation.

      St Seraphim goes on in his conversation to point out that the goal of
      the Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit – that is we
      center our lives around acquiring and using this gift of grace so that
      by it we are regenerated and renewed and again brought into conformity
      with His image and likeness – just as Adam was before the fall. This is
      then our healing, our restoration, the restoration of our purpose – to
      live in union and communion with God. As we are filled more and more
      with the Holy Spirit and as His grace becomes more and more active in
      us, we begin to see the restoration of the qualities that Adam had
      before the fall.

      We perceive God, no longer indirectly, but rather we experience His
      presence with us directly. We speak not from theory or conjecture about
      Who God is and how He relates to us, but rather we speak from our own
      experience. Our eyes and ears are opened and we are no longer blind but
      now we see.

      In the same manner our mouth is opened and we are able to speak to God
      in prayer. The prayer of the psalmist when he says, “Open Thou my lips,
      and my mouth will show forth thy praise” is fulfilled and we see it
      happening in our own lives. We pray and speak directly to God. His Holy
      Spirit in us teaches us to pray, both by the direct action and
      inspiration in our hearts but also through the life of the Church, the
      body of Christ, by which He acts in this world. We open our mouths and
      He fills it with His praise. We glorify God and exalt Him. We offer to
      him our prayers of repentance and our cry for mercy. We tell Him of our
      joys and our sorrows, the blessings of our life and the difficulties and
      suffering that we face. For the joys we offer thanks and for the
      struggles we beg for His mercy and intervention. We are no longer dumb
      but we speak directly to God and He hears us and comes to us and covers
      us with His boundless compassion and love.

      In the lives of the saints we can see that as this grace continues to
      grow and become active in the lives of men some of the abilities
      bestowed upon Adam by the grace of God are also renewed in the lives of
      these holy men and women. There are those who were befriended by the
      animals, just as they flocked around Adam. There are those who see and
      hear the angels as they too praise and glorify God. There are those who
      are protected from the necessities of creation, needing no food nor
      sleep and who walk upon the water and are not burned by fire. This is
      nothing new or remarkable, rather it is the natural result of the action
      of grace on the body and the soul of the fallen man, restoring to him
      the glory that was once given to him by God before the fall.

      Let us therefore brothers and sisters exercise our faith and follow the
      direction of St Seraphim that we might spend our lives no longer in
      useless pursuits, but now pursue only the acquisition of the Holy Spirit
      and the active working of His grace in our lives. Our Lord Jesus Christ
      heals us, releasing us from the bonds of sin – from the spiritual
      paralysis, the blindness, the deafness, the dumbness that sin imposes on
      us. Our Lord reminds us, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God.” Seek to
      acquire the Holy Spirit, seek the working of grace in your life. Order
      your life no longer according to the things of this world, but always
      remember that everything you experience, all that you do and say, can
      become a means by which you acquire the Holy Spirit and a vehicle for
      the grace of God in you. Our Lord Jesus Christ has come to heal us from
      the disease of sin and he bestows upon us the grace of His Holy Spirit.
      It is our task to use what He has given us that we might be transformed
      into His image and His likeness.


      --
      Archpriest David Moser
      St Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church (ROCOR)
      Homilies: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/propoved/
      Website: http://stseraphimboise.org