In the Name of the Father, the Son and
the Holy Ghost.
I should like to say a few words about
the greatness of this feast. When a man surveys this world in which we
live, which is so vast, seemingly boundless, and looks at himself in it,
he feels very small and insignificant. And if he adds to this the
hardness and coldness of men, he may sometimes feel extremely
vulnerable, helpless and unprotected both before people and before the
terrifying vastness of the world.
Yet at the same time if a man looks at
himself not in relation to his surroundings, but goes deep into himself,
he will there discover such an expanse, such depths, that the whole
created world is too small to fill it. Man sees the beauty of the world
- and the vision does not completely satisfy him; he learns an enormous
amount about God's creation - and the knowledge does not fill him to the
brim. Neither human joy nor even human sorrow can completely fill a man,
because in him is a depth that exceeds everything created; because God
made man so vast, so deep, so limitless in his spiritual being, that
nothing in the world can finally satisfy him except God Himself.
Today's feast of the Mother of God
demonstrates this fact with particular beauty and splendour. She so
believed in God, She gave herself to Him with such a pure mind and pure
heart, with an unwavering will, with the purity of Her virginity and
life, such that She was granted to say the Name of God perfectly, with
such love that the Word became flesh and God was made man in Her.
Through this we are shown that not only
is the soul, the inner being and spirit of man, so created by God that
it can contain the mystery of a meeting with the living God, but that
even the body is so made that in an unfathomable way it can be united
with the living God. Indeed, according to St. Peter we are called to
become partakers of the divine nature; according to St. Paul our
vocation is to become temples of the Holy Spirit. The whole of the New
Testament teaches us that we are the Body, the living tremulous Body of
Christ, through baptism and through Holy Communion. How wonderful this
is, and therefore with what reverence must we regard not only our
immortal soul, but this body of ours which is called to rise again, to
enter the Kingdom of God and be glorified, like the body of Christ.
In the XI century St. Simeon the New
Theologian wrote one day when he had returned to his humble cell after
receiving Holy Communion, words to this effect, "I look upon this
corruptible body, upon this frail flesh, and I tremble, because by
partaking of the Holy Mysteries it has been permeated by God, it has
been united with Christ, it is overflowing with the Holy Spirit... these
powerless hands have become the hands of God, this body has become a
body that God has taken possession of."
Consider what has been given us not only
by our faith, but by the sacraments of the Church; the immersion in the
blessed waters of baptism makes us particles, living members of Christ's
Body, the anointing with holy chrism is not only the visible seal of the
Holy Spirit, but makes us the temples in which He dwells. When the bread
and wine which are offered by our faith and love to God are consecrated,
they become incomprehensibly and mysteriously the Body and Blood of
Christ, and this created matter partakes of Christ and imparts to us,
who are incapable of soaring to God in spirit, the divinity of Christ,
which saves and transfigures us in soul and body.
This feast of Nativity of the Mother of
God is the time when we remember the birth of the One who for the sake
of us all, for the whole human race, was able to show such faith, to
surrender so absolutely to God, that He could become Man through Her,
and bring us these manifold, unfathomable gifts. Glory to Her humility,
glory to Her faith, glory to Her love, glory to God Who was incarnate
and to the Virgin Mother of God, the worthy vessel of the incarnation of
the Son of God, Christ our God! Amen.