Saturday, March 22, 2014

Excerpt from the Homily on the Veneration of the Precious Cross, by St. Germanos of Constantinople

Christ crucified (source)
Excerpt from the Homily on the Veneration of the Precious Cross, by St. Germanos of Constantinople (amateur translation)
“Be illumined, illumined, Jerusalem. For the light and glory of the Lord has arisen upon you.” Today the great-voiced mouth of the Prophet Isaiah imparts to the Church from the nations, the joyous good news.

And truly, because this proceeds from a fiery tongue, which tasted the divinely hypostatic coal, which is radiant and grand, but at the same time, terrible and thundering, because this proceeds from the heavenly height of the Holy Spirit. For truly, such is the voice of the Prophet, as it hastens towards heaven, and encircles the earth.

“Hearken,” he says, “O heaven, and give ear, O earth.” And when the Prophet begins his God-inspired sermon, he immediately relates the thunder of his word. However, he does not preach this alone, but shines with light that is surpassingly bright and shining, and calls towards the harbor of supplication all those who are sailing in the sea of the fast.

I preach beforehand, the Prophet thunders forth, that the light of the Resurrection has come, to which you hasten to take rest in, and which you are running after anxiously. And from where is this seen? The glory of the Lord has shone upon the New Jerusalem. And the glory of the Lord, indisputably, is the Divine Cross, which, as the bright dawn, appears today, and shines forth with the first rays of the Sun of Righteousness. Truly, in this present feast we have the memory of light, and light that is unwaning, which enlightens all those who are found in the darkness of sloth. There, however, during the feast of the Resurrection, there is placed the great feast, and the feast of feasts.

Let no one sulk from the foods of the fast, nor exchange the meekness of his face for the dark expression of gloom. Let us approach the dawn of the Precious Cross, and let us be enlightened, and our faces shall never be shamed. “Let the light of Your countenance shine upon us, O Lord.” Our faces will shine with the light the Sun, and then the darkly-appearing demons will flee far from us, not being able to approach our face. And I from my position, as the ranking one in this ecclesiastical gathering, and choirmaster of grace, I entreat you to bask richly in the divine light of the Cross, and I pray that the fuse of my tongue be lit, and that within me be kindled an unquenchable divine flame. But I infer and I sense that at the same time, the warmth of my faith is moved within me, that I might bear this holy fire. And behold! The fire and the wood of the Cross are found before my tongue, to be used as fuel in praise of today's feast. Where, therefore, is the lamb that we shall sacrifice today to the glory of God, in order to be offered, as a result, as food for all of you, the spiritual dinner guests?

God will ordain this unslaughtered sacrifice and living seal, as he ordered towards joy of the soul for our benefit, fertile for my fruitless mind. It is He Who is able to raise from the stones true children of the Patriarch Abraham, as he once raised Isaac from the barren womb of Sarah.

Truly, “let the light of Your countenance shine upon us, O Lord” through the appearance and veneration of the Precious Cross. Our lips and eyes are sanctified, as we approach and embrace the organ of our salvation wrought by God. Until then, let us dare to be transported noetically to the much wailed-for Paradise of Eden. I am sure that the fiery sword will draw back, having noted upon us the sign of the Christ, because [the Angel] utterly reveres the light of the Master's face. Of course, for a short time the flame and danger of nature will be redirected, by this radiant day...
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

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