Good Friday

“He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; He had no majestic bearing to catch our eye, no beauty to draw us to him.” (Isaiah 53:2.)

Saint Gregory of Nazianzus reflects on this verse from today’s First Reading:

“For he whom you now treat with contempt was once above you. He who is now man was once the uncompounded. What he was he continued to be; what he was not he took to himself. In the beginning he was uncaused; for what is the cause of God? But afterwards for a cause he was born. And that cause was that you might be saved, who insult him and despise his godhead, because of this, that he took on him your denser nature, having converse with flesh by means of mind. While his inferior nature, the humanity, became God, because it was united to God and became one person because the higher nature prevailed, [this happened] in order that I too might be made God so far as he is made man. He was born—but he had been begotten. He was born of a woman — but she was a virgin. The first is human, the second divine. In his human nature he had no father, but also in his divine nature [he had] no mother. Both these belong to godhead. He dwelled in the womb — but he was recognized by the prophet [John the Baptist], himself still in the womb, leaping before the Word, for whose sake he came into being. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes — but he took off the swathing bands of the grave by his rising again. He was laid in a manger — but he was glorified by angels, and proclaimed by a star and worshiped by the magi. Why are you offended by what is presented to your sight, because you will not look at what is presented to your mind? He was driven into exile into Egypt — but he drove away the Egyptian idols. He had no form or comeliness in the eyes of the Jews — but to David he is fairer than the children of humankind. And on the mountain he was bright as the lightning and became more luminous than the sun, initiating us into the mystery of the future.” (Theological Oration 3)

O God,
Who by the Passion of Christ Your Son, our Lord,
abolished the death inherited from ancient sin
by every succeeding generation,
grant that just as, being conformed to Him,
we have borne by the law of nature
the image of the man of earth,
so by the sanctification of grace
we may bear the image of the Man of heaven.
Through Christ our Lord.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen

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