“Today is made known the mystery that existed before the foundation of the world. The Son of God becomes the Son of Man, so that he may share in what is worse in order to enable me to share in what is better. Adam once was deceived: He longed without success to become God. Now God becomes human to make Adam god. Let creation rejoice, Let nature exult: In awe the archangel approaches the Virgin, conveys her the greeting, our sorrow’s consoling. Glory to you, O God, Who in merciful compassion became a human being” (from Vespers of the 5th Saturday of Lent).
“O man, for your sake was Christ born, and the Son of God came that He might make you to live; He became a babe, He became a child, and He became a man, being (at the same time) God in His Nature, and the Son of God.
He Who was the Lawgiver became a reader, and He took the Book in the synagogue, and read, saying, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, therefore He has anointed Me, and has sent Me to preach the Gospel to the poor (Lk 4:18)” (from Paradise of the Holy Fathers).
“The Lord, the Word of God, came down to earth and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Mary the Virgin and became man, without change becoming our equal in all things save sin, so that, traversing all that which is ours, He might re-forge and make that first man anew and, through him, all of us who were begotten and came into being from him and are like him who engendered us. Since, because Adam who engendered us had become corruptible and mortal—and, I will add, deaf and blind – and, by reason of his transgression, both naked and insensible of his divine vesture, such being the man of dust, so as well have they all become who were born of him: of dust, corruptible, mortal, deaf, blind, naked and insensible, differing in no way from the irrational animals or, better, become even worse than the beasts as having embraced all the latter’s’ passions and taken them into themselves” (Saint Symeon the New Theologian).
“With the God-man Christ, all that is God’s has become man’s, human, ours, so that each of us individually and all of us assembled together in the Divine-human body of Christ, the Church, might become god-men, having attained ‘to the perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Eph 4:12-13). Therefore Christmas, the day of the birth of the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the greatest and most important day in the history of all the worlds in which man moves and lives” (Saint Nikolai Velimirovich).
God loves us more than a father, mother, friend, or any else could love, and even more than we are able to love ourselves (Saint John Chrysostom).
Truth is not a thought, not a word, not a relationship between things, not a law. Truth is a Person. It is a Being which exceeds all beings and gives life to all. If you seek truth with love and for the sake of love, she will reveal the light of His face to you inasmuch as you are able to bear it without being burned (Saint Nicholas of Serbia).
The soul that loves God has its rest in God and in God alone. In all the paths that men walk in the world, they do not attain peace until they draw nigh to hope in God (Saint Isaac the Syrian).
How mistaken are those people who seek happiness outside of themselves, in foreign lands and journeys, in riches and glory, in great possessions and pleasures, in diversions and vain things, which have a bitter end! In the same thing to construct the tower of happiness outside of ourselves as it is to build a h ouse in a place that is consistently shaken by earthquakes. Happiness is found within ourselves, and blessed is the man who has understood this. Happiness is a pure heart, for such a heart becomes the throne of God. Thus says Christ of those who have pure hearts: “I will visit them, and will walk in them, and I will be a God to them, and they will be my people.” (II Cor. 6:16) What can be lacking to them? Nothing, nothing at all! For they have the greatest good in their hearts: God Himself! (Saint Nektarios of Aegina).
Saint John Paul II called the Church to breathe with “both lungs”, incorporating the spiritual traditions of both East and West. We tend to associate deification with the Christian tradition of the East. However, as the author of this very good summary of the subject shows, deification is very much part of the Western tradition as well. The tragedy of the Protestant revolt and the Lutheran understanding of man as totally depraved led to its undermining in the West. However, deification is very much in harmony with the Divine Indwelling in the soul as promoted by St Elizabeth of the Trinity and Blessed Columba Marmion. It is also entirely in keeping with the doctrine of spiritual childhood promoted by St Therese of Lisieux.
Deification, the author notes, is the transformative process whose aim is union with God. God became man so that man might become God. Not by nature, of course, as certain religions of Asia suggest: it is not possible for created beings to become God in the way that a drop of water falls into the sea. Deification is brought about by purification of mind and body and by theoria: that is, illumination with the vision of God.
For this reviewer, the importance of this subject lies in the fact that deification is not for the spiritually elite. It is for all Christians. It is effected only by human activity and God’s uncreated energies. Continue reading here.
He will crush your heart so that you can learn to love His people as He desires them to be loved; indeed, as He has loved them Himself. For without a heart that is crushed, it would remain closed or insufficiently open to His people and they would remain unable to enter into His Heart. He will crush your heart so that you become more and more like His Son, taking on not just the image that was imprinted on our souls at conception, but also His beautiful likeness; the likeness of the Lamb and the Lion of Judah.
He will crush your heart so that you will never be better off than your Master and Savior; your Brother. He shall afflict you with some of the same trials, part of the same Chalice, that He bestowed upon His Son for our salvation and deification. In the process you will meet the postmodern-day Judas Iscariot face to face – as traitorous, as hate-filled, as vicious, and no less vengeful than was the original Judas. Even more, He will crush your heart with the same sorrows that were endured by the Mother so that you will know what the salvation of your soul entailed.
Above all, He will crush your heart so that you become the means through which His people, His long-lost and ever-stubborn children, can return to Him in safety. He shall crush your heart so that His children can all finally call out to Him, with the entirety of their beings, the sweet name of Father.