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Thursday, 26 January 2017

Elder Ephraim of Arizona-Humility is the cloak of the Godhead

An excerpt from homily 16

Our Christ's entire appearance upon the earth was humble,void of honor and glory.
He confronted the devil head-on and annihilated him with His humility.The devil assumed that he was dealing with a prophet,similar to the ones he had met and harmed in the past.
He accomplished nothing,however,because he was expecting to meet earth but instead found himself before Heaven.When did he realize this?When Christ descended into Hades.
Saint Issac the Syrian teaches us that the true,genuine humility that results from experience is "the cloak of the Divinity",And that whoever is clothed with true humility is clothed with God.
He then continues to explain that if God had not draped His Divinity with the humble human nature,the earth would not have been able to accept the "Divine Fire" on its surface or within its depths.
He concealed His Divinity within the human nature.He placed the "fire" within a veil and, in this manner,He was able to descend to the earth and converse with man without the earth being consumed by the fire of His Divinity.
How could God possibly speak with man and not simultaneously burn him?
"Who will see My face and live?"(cf.EX.33:12)
God asked Moses when he ascended Mount Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments.
Thus,He humbled Himself and concealed His Divinity within the lowly human nature.He engaged in the monumental battle with the devil,He gave His own blood,and He walked away with man as a trophy,"Leading him as a sacrifice before God the Father"(cf.1Pt.3:18).
In other words,He offered man to God the Father like a prize of victory.
When a ruler conquers a city in time of war,he enters the city and takes hold of the most beautiful and precious objects within it.
Henceforth,they become his possessions.
In the same manner,after defeating the devil,Christ took hold of man,for whom He fought in the battle,and He led him to God the Father as a trophy of victory.
This is why the person who has humility defeats the devil.
Do you know why we-and I first-are defeated by the devil?
Because we possess egotism.Our egotism allows the devil to thrash us with evil thoughts,passions,and weaknesses.
We are not dressed with the divine garment in order to distance the devil away from us.
We do not have the fire of the Divinity(i,e..,genuine humility)in our soul and heart,and thus the devil approaches us with his venomous claws and his disgusting presence,and he turns us upside down.
Christ came to the earth to save us;to provide us with medicine so we can be healed;to arm us with the weapons of light in order to battle and to kill the enemy before he kills us.
All the weapons are in our hands.Prayer is one weapon,tears are another,humility is another.Love,reading the holy scriptures,receiving Holy Communion,amd attending Church are yet more.

See how many weapons we possess!

Don't we have the ability to use rebuttal?

Don't we have watchfulness?Isn't this a marvelous weapon against each and every evil thought?By carefully and vigilantly watching over our internal being,in order to avoid contracting pathogens and to prevent the enemy from entering,we are able to kill the enemy with the weapon of prayer and preserve peace of God within us.

God always remains at His lofty height.
He created tens of thousands of galaxies with His word alone.Everything belongs to Him,and nothing is impossible for God.
Nevertheless,He descended to this earth in order to save man and to show him that He is not a Ruler,but a compassionate Father Who forgives and truly loves man.
If He did not love man,He would not have sacrificed Himself for him.

Taken from , Elder Ephraim "The Art Of Salvation"Published by The Holy monastery of Saint Nektarios, Roscoe ,New York
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