On Theophany

You were led to the holy pool of Divine Baptism, as Christ was carried form the Cross to the Sepulchre …And each of you was asked whether he believed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit …You died and were born; and that Water of salvation was at once your grave and your mother …O strange and inconceivable thing! We did not really die; we were not really buried; we were not really crucified and raised again, but our imitation was only figurative, while our salvation is in reality. Christ was actually crucified, and actually buried, and truly rose …Christ received the nails in His undefiled hands and feet, and endured anguish; while to me without suffering or toil, by the fellowship of His pain He vouchsafes salvation…
Therefore with fullest assurance, let us partake as of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to you His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that you, by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, might be made of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ in us …thus it is that, according to the blessed Peter, we become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). Christ on a certain occasion discoursing with the Jews said, ‘Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life in you’ (John 6:53) …Contemplate therefore the Bread and the Wine not as bare elements, for they are, according to the Lord’s declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ …Let faith establish you.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Christ, the Maker of all, came down as the rain, and was known as a spring, and diffused Himself as a river, and was baptized in the Jordan. …Oh things strange beyond compare! How should the boundless River that makes glad the city of God have been dipped in a little water! The illimitable Spring that bears life to all men, and has no end, was covered by poor and temporary waters! He who is present everywhere, and absent nowhere-who is incomprehensible to angels and invisible to men-comes to the baptism according to His own good pleasure. When you hear these things, beloved, take them not as if spoken literally, but accept them as presented in a figure. Whence also the Lord was not unnoticed by the watery element in what He did in secret, in the kindness of His condescension to man. “For the waters saw Him, and were afraid.” They wellnigh broke from their place, and burst away from their boundary. Hence the prophet, having this in his view many generations ago, puts the question, “What aileth thee, O sea, that thou reddest; and thou, Jordan, that thou wast driven back? ” And they in reply said, We have seen the Creator of all things in the “form of a servant,” and being ignorant of the mystery of the economy, we were lashed with fear. … Do you see, beloved, how many and how great blessings we would have lost, if the Lord had yielded to the exhortation of John, and declined baptism? For the heavens were shut before this; the region above was inaccessible. We would in that case descend to the lower parts, but we would not ascend to the upper. But was it only that the Lord was baptized? He also renewed the old man, and committed to him again the sceptre of adoption. For straightway “the heavens were opened to Him.” A reconciliation took place of the visible with the invisible; the celestial orders were filled with joy; the diseases of earth were healed; secret things were made known; those at enmity were restored to amity. For you have heard the word of the evangelist, saying, “The heavens were opened to Him,” on account of three wonders. For when Christ the Bridegroom was baptized, it was meet that the bridal-chamber of heaven should open its brilliant gates. And in like manner also, when the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and the Father’s voice spread everywhere, it was meet that “the gates of heaven should be lifted up.” “And, lo, the heavens were opened to Him; and a voice was heard, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” … The beloved generates love, and the light immaterial the light inaccessible. “This is my beloved Son,” He who, being manifested on earth and yet unseparated from the Father’s bosom, was manifested, and yet did not appear. For the appearing is a different thing, since in appearance the baptizer here is superior to the baptized. For this reason did the Father send down the Holy Spirit from heaven upon Him who was baptized. For as in the ark of Noah the love of God toward man is signified by the dove, so also now the Spirit, descending in the form of a dove, bearing as it were the fruit of the olive, rested on Him to whom the witness was borne. For what reason? That the faithfulness of the Father’s voice might be made known, and that the prophetic utterance of a long time past might be ratified. And what utterance is this? “The voice of the Lord (is) on the waters, the God of glory thundered; the Lord (is) upon many waters.” And what voice? “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This is He who is named the son of Joseph, and (who is) according to the divine essence my Only-begotten. “This is my beloved Son”-He who is hungry, and yet maintains myriads; who is weary, and yet gives rest to the weary; who has not where to lay His head, and yet bears up all things in His hand; who suffers, and yet heals sufferings; who is smitten, and yet confers liberty on the world; who is pierced in the side, and yet repairs the side of Adam.
Hippolytus

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s