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559Homily for 9/29/13 - P14 - our Trinitarian Faith

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  • David
    Sep 28, 2013
      2 Cor 1:21-2:4


      A very significant part of our worship, our prayers and hymns, is
      focused on the adoration and praise of the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son
      and Holy Spirit. Prior to the coming of Christ, the Trinitarian nature
      of God was not recognized by man for such a complete unity of persons is
      foreign to us and beyond our comprehension. The God/man Jesus Christ
      revealed to us this mystery in His incarnation for He came as the Son of
      God, born of a Virgin. In order for Him to be the Son, there had to be a
      Father; and yet, because He is fully God and fully man, the Father and
      the Son had to be One. This complex Unity of Persons was further
      unfolded for us by our Lord when He spoke also of sending to us another
      Comforter, that is the Holy Spirit. And having been prepared by the
      incarnation and the revelation of the Persons of the Father and the Son,
      we are now also confronted with a third Person in that unity, the Holy
      Spirit.


      Our Lord Jesus Christ also opened for us the path of salvation which
      leads to our union with Him and participation in His life. One of the
      effects of this union with Him is that we now have the potential to see
      more clearly the spiritual world – although as the Apostle says
      elsewhere, we still only see as though through a darkened mirror (1Cor
      13:12). Those who have acquired for themselves the grace of the Holy
      Spirit through ascetic labor and constant prayer have been granted this
      vision of the unseen world and even perceived God Himself in His Trinity
      – as Light of Lights. Protopresbyter John Romanides wrote of this saying
      that the saints experienced the “thrice radiant Godhead in one Godhead
      or in one Light. In other words, one Light is three Lights, but they are
      not separate Lights. (The saints) see the archetypal Light in on Light
      by means of another Light.� (Patristic Theology, Ch. 66). Now, I don’t
      doubt that this almost seems to most of us like so much double talk and
      makes the head spin a bit. But that is because we are not yet saints –
      our minds and hearts have not yet been sufficiently transformed by the
      grace of God to begin to grasp this reality – but it is indeed the
      revealed nature of the Trinity and the unwavering experience of those
      saints whom we call “God-seers�.


      All this is contained in the first two verses of the Epistle that we
      heard today. Such a small comment can easily be overlooked, but when one
      does look at it, it begins to grow and blossom revealing at each turn a
      new vista and new wonders. We are, in the words of the Apostle,
      established in Christ (that is in the Son) by God (that is the Father)
      and furthermore we are sealed and anointed by God (that is the Father)
      when we are given the Holy Spirit in our hearts. In this we see the role
      and action of the whole Trinity, for it is the Father who establishes us
      in the Son (that is Jesus Christ) by the rebirth of Baptism and then He
      also anoints and seals us by giving us the Holy Spirit. So it is the
      Father Who is the source of all these spiritual gifts and yet, He does
      not act independently but establishes us through the Son, Jesus Christ.
      This establishing is precisely our rebirth. We have died to sin and are
      now reborn into the life of Christ. Because we now share in the life of
      Christ the fullness of the Trinity is opened to us. We are established
      through the God/man into the new life in Christ by the Father.


      Having been established in the life of Christ, the Father now sends the
      Holy Spirit who seals us in that life and anoints us. What then is this
      “sealing� and “anointing� that is accomplished by the Holy Spirit? When
      we are baptized into Christ and established in the new life that we
      share with Him, we are like the soul in the parable from which a demon
      has been expelled (Mt12:43-45). It is fresh and clean and new – but
      empty. It needs to be filled. If it remains empty, then the demon who
      formerly occupied that soul will return and take up residence bringing
      others worse than himself to dwell there as well. But God protects us
      from this misfortune by “sealing� the newly baptized person by coming
      Himself in the Holy Spirit and taking up residence. This is what we pray
      every day, asking the Holy Spirit, “the Heavenly King, the Comforter,
      the Spirit of Truth� to come and “dwell within us and cleanse us from
      all impurity and save our souls…�. God seals us with His own presence,
      dwelling within us so that no evil may come and intrude and spoil this
      new life in which we have been established.


      The Holy Spirit also pours out upon us His grace, thereby anointing us.
      This anointing is revealed to us in the anointing with Holy Chrism in
      the sacrament of Chrismation. In the Old Testament there were three
      specific offices which were established by anointing with oil
      (symbolizing the anointment of grace by the Holy Spirit.) These three
      offices were those of priest, prophet and king. St John Chrysostom
      points out that by the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, we are also
      anointed into these same offices in our new life in Christ. We are all
      priests because we bring ourselves as sacrifices to God, offering our
      very selves upon the altar giving our own self as an offering to Him. We
      have lifted up our selves upon the altar of the Cross and we have died
      to this world, emptying ourselves of our own natural life that we might
      in return be filled with the life of Christ. As priests we voluntarily
      make this offering ourselves.


      We are prophets in that, like the prophets of old, we manifest in our
      lives the truth of God revealed to the world. When we receive the life
      of Christ within ourselves, it changes us and we conform ourselves to
      that life. The resulting changes in our desires, motivations and actions
      reflect no longer the worldly desires that we formerly served, but now
      they reflect the divine grace of the Holy Spirit which fills us. We
      proclaim, as did the prophets of old, the Word of God in our words, our
      actions, indeed in our whole lives. In addition, the fathers point out
      that the prophets, when they were overshadowed by the Spirit of God,
      entered a state of theosis where they perceived God directly – in other
      words, they became God-seers. Having the Holy Spirit dwelling within us,
      He works to cleanse us of all that would stand in the way of our own
      theosis (becoming like God) and works to transform us, making us
      God-seers as well. For many of us, this transformation is still a work
      in process, however, in the saints it is accomplished. If we follow
      through and cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit in ourselves, we
      too will see God as do the prophets and the other saints.


      Finally, we are kings, for with the help of the Holy Spirit, we struggle
      against our passions and thus we gain dominion over our unruly thoughts
      and desires. In this way, just as an earthly king who serves God offers
      to Him the whole of His domain as a servant offers the fruit of a
      vineyard to his master (Mt21:33ff), so also we offer our personal domain
      – our lives, our thoughts, our desires and our possessions to God as the
      fruit of the vineyard of grace that He has planted in our hearts.


      We constantly call upon the Holy Trinity in our prayers because we
      believe in “One God, the Father … the Son … and the Holy Spirit�. Indeed
      these three persons united in the one essence of the Godhead impact us.
      The Father has sent to us the Son who establishes us in His life and
      unites us to God through Himself. The Spirit the proceeds from the
      Father and enters into us, sealing us by His abiding presence, and
      anointing us with His grace that we might be priests, offering the
      sacrifice of ourselves upon the altar of the Cross; prophets,
      proclaiming the Word of God through our lives and being transformed
      ourselves that we might see God; and kings, becoming by grace rulers
      over our own lives, passions and desires which we then offer to God. In
      this way God takes us to Himself and transforms us by His grace that we
      might become like Him and participate in His life – the mystical life of
      the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God indivisible, in three
      unconfused Persons.


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