Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Uncreated Light:A Day Without Sunset and One Eternal Sunrise

We all rejoice in a new day and are inwardly refreshed by the light of the dawning sun. In the spring of the year as the days lengthen and the warmth of the sun or even just the fresh burst of light awakens the slumbering shoots of daffodils, we await the sure sign of approaching summer as the awakening Forsythia seem to embrace the brightness with their burst of yellow flowers.

The created world is aroused and awakens but there is, beyond such mere existence, another birth. This is an eternal birth without Father that betokens a birth in time without mother. Now our tears start to flow for in this we know, in the silence of unknowing, the annunciation of hope beyond hope.

Who tells us of this wonder? Do these marvels come from within, from the human spirit? This cannot be: “let the dead bury their dead”. These things are ineffable and even when spoken, remain hidden. The Thrice Holy, yet One God, has spoken of these things in the heart of our Mother: the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. She, existing before the beginning of time, has, in her turn, proclaimed these tidings throughout creation and beyond being, the uncreated light, showers of mercy, ever-beginning and never-ending love and compassion surge forward from unfathomable depths of endless forgiveness and rebirth.

The pages of holy Scripture have now been rebound into the majestic growth of the Palms of eternal life, the life of God Himself Who ardently desires to live His life in sons of Adam reborn in the Font of Baptism and recreated in soul and body.

The one Christ, Himself Light of Light, prayed atop Mount Tabor in Galilee fulfilling the Psalmist’s words, “Fire shall blaze before Him, and round about Him shall there be a mighty tempest” (Ps.49:4 LXX). Uncreated brilliance made the sunlight insignificant in all respects. Could the sun brighten a dead Prophet Moses? Could a dying star illuminate the body of Elias, one yet to die? Surrounded by uncreated light these two stood and spoke with Christ, Forty days before His Passion, of His Crucifixion.

Does Light without beginning, without end, ever stream from a mountain? Never. How can that be? Our Christ is the saving and only source of Light from Light. Wrapped in His Light we emerge recreated in uncreated Light from the Baptismal font with a new name, a new recreating Spirit, our own life joined to Eternal Life, Who rose from the dead to raise us, now His own, with Him and in His humanity to seat us at the right hand of the Father unto the ages of ages.

Let those who say that this Light is created come forward with their groundless blasphemies. Does not every light have a source? Can a created fire give birth to an uncreated brilliance? If such “enemies of the Light” call the Light created, what do they say of the source of Light, our Christ? If they utter untruth then why are they not still-born issue from their father, Arius? Among such are they rightly grouped in the Service to Saint Gregory Palamas by the holy Patriarch Philotheus.

Recipients of the gift of life-bearing uncreated Light may ask, how do we keep our gift alive, how do we fan its flames into an eternal residence for ourselves? We can let Saint Gregory Palamas instruct us:

“We believe what we have been taught by those enlightened by Christ, which they alone know with certainty—“My secrets are for Me and for those who are mine” (το μυστηριον μου εμοι το μυστηριον μου εμοι και τοις εμοις)—as God said through the Prophet (Esaias 24:16 LXX; St. Gregory uses a variant reading from St. Lucian of Antioch); cf. the Prophet Daniel 2:27 ff). So, rightly believing what we were taught, and understanding the mystery of the Lord’s Transfiguration, let us make our way towards the radiance of that light. As we long for the beauty of unchanging glory, let us cleanse the eyes of our understanding from all earthly defilements, despising every delight and beauty that is not lasting, for sweet as it may be, it procures eternal suffering, and though it may enhance the body, it clothes the soul in that ugly robe of sin, on account of which the man without the garment of incorruptible union was bound and taken away into outer darkness (cf. Matt. 22:11-13).

May we all be freed from such a fate by the illumination and knowledge of the pre-eternal, immaterial Light of the Lord’s Transfiguration, to His glory, and the glory of His Father without beginning and the life-giving Spirit Whose radiance, divinity, kingdom and power are One and the same, now and forever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.”

(Migne. Patrologiae Cursus Completus. Series Graeca. Tomus 151: Homilia XXXIV: colonna 424-436. In venerabilem Domini et Dei ac Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi Transformationem; ubi probatur quod in ea est Lumen, increatum esse). This homily is also known as Homily 45 in the Collected Homilies of Saint Gregory Palamas.

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