Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Shoots of Salvation Out of Perdition"

"And they took hold of him and brought him to the Are-op′agus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you present? For you bring some strange things to our ears; we wish to know therefore what these things mean.” Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. So Paul, standing in the middle of the Are-op′agus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To an unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything.  And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’"
--Acts 17:19-28 (Epistle Reading for the Tuesday of the Sixth Week of Pascha)

"He uses the very proclamations of the devil to condemn the devil's tyranny; from the devil's citadel, he destroys the dominion of his authority; he cultivates piety amidst impiety and produces for us shoots of salvation out of perdition; from the snare of the devil, he strengthens them to run the course of the Gospel; he makes the summit of apostasy a portal of access through which they can enter into the bridal chamber and immaculate nuptials of Christ: the Church. Just so was that sublime mind, wherein was borne strength from on high, vigorous to wound and to subjugate the enemy by the enemy's own weapons." 
--St. Photios of Constantinople, The Mystagogy of the Holy Spirit §73

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