16 December 2014

O Emmanuel - the 7th Advent Meditation.



O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, expectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the one awaited by the gentiles, and their Saviour: come to save us, Lord our God.

A reading from the works of St Cyril of Alexandria

In earlier days a life of moral excellence was a road difficult of access to nearly everyone and evangelical behaviour a path untrodden. All minds were ruled by worldly and earthbound desires and were swept away by the inordinate impulses of the flesh. But when God became man – or was made flesh, as the Scripture says – he abolished sin in the flesh: he overthrew the principalities and powers and the world rulers of this universe. He made our path to godliness into a level road on which travelling is easy, where nothing is too steep or too high, and nothing lies down in a hollow: a road smoothed out into a plain. All the devious tracks have been straightened.

But there is more: The glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all flesh will see the salvation of God, because the Lord has spoken. The prophet says that the glory will be revealed, but how will this be done? Christ is the only Son of the Father and the Word of God, subsisting as God and born of the Father in a way no words can explain in the sublimity of the Godhead, far above all heavenly rulers, authorities, thrones, and dominations and every title that can be given in this world or the next. He is the Lord of glory, and we have come to recognize his glory even though formerly we did not know it, because by becoming a man like us he revealed himself in his incarnation. He was revealed who is equal in power to God the Father, equal to him in action and equal in glory; he was revealed who upholds the universe by his mighty word, accomplishes miracles with ease, rebukes inanimate creation, raises the dead, and achieves without effort all the rest of his wonderful works.

Thus the glory of the Lord has been revealed, and all flesh has beheld with wonder the salvation of God; that is, the saving act of the Father who sent his Son from heaven to be our saviour and redeemer. For since the law brought nothing to perfection and since the sacrifices that were only types had no power to cleanse us from sins, we were made perfect in Christ, freed from every stain and honoured by the gift of the Spirit who makes us by adoption sons of God. And in the intention of the One who saves, the grace given in Christ will extend to all flesh; that is, to the whole human race.

St Cyril of Alexandria, Is. 3,4 (PG 70, 802-803), from Word in Season 1