Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Effect of Christ

I've been enjoying again St. Athanasius work On The Incarnation (SVS Press). He provides sterling reflection on why the Father sent the Son into the world, what happened because of the Son's incarnation, and what continues to happen because of the incarnation.

Here are a couple of gems:
from Para 30: The Savior is working mightily among men, every day. He is invisibly persuading numbers of people all over the world, both within and beyond the Greek-speaking world, to accept His faith and be obedient to His teaching. Can anyone, in face of this, still doubt that He has risen and lives, or rather that He is Himself the Life? Does a dead man prick the consciences of men, so that they throw all the traditions of their fathers to the winds and bow down before the teaching of Christ? If He is no longer active in the world, as He must needs be if He is dead, how is it that He makes the living to cease from their activities, the adulterer from his adultery, the murder from murdering, the unjust from avarice, while the profane and godless man becomes religious?"

From Para. 50: "Again, who has ever so rid men of their natural passions that fornicators become chaste and murders no longer wield the sword and those who formerly were craven cowards boldly play the man? In a word, what persuaded the barbarians and heathen folk in every place to drop their madness and give heed to peace, save the faith of Christ and the sign of the Cross? What other things have given men such certain faith in immortality as have the cross of Christ and the resurrection of His body?"

From Para 52: "The barbarians of the present day are naturally savage in their habits, and as long as they sacrifice to their idols they rage furiously against each other and cannot bear to be a single hour without weapons. But when they hear the teaching of Christ, forwith they turn from fighting to farming, and instead of arming themselves with swords extend their hands in prayer. In a word, instead of fighting each other, they take up arms against the devil and the daemons, and overcome them by their self-command and integrity of soul. These facts are proof of the Godhead of the Savior, for He has taught men what they could never learn among the idols . . . Even in youth they are chaste, they endure in times of testing and persevere in toils. When they are insulted, they are patient, when robbed, they make light of it, and marvelous to relate, they make light even of death itself, and become martyrs of Christ."

This last paragraph I read after listening to a certain radio program where the host talked in fear that the new governing administration in the United States is planning to severely reduce availability to guns and ammunition. The host, a confessing Christian, and all of us should consider these wise words of Athanasius. Let us draw near to Jesus, the Son immortal, the Son incarnate, our Life, and may He do His work in us.

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