The kingdom of the humble: a word on the day of Theophany

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Take your minds, my dears, to that sacred place where our Lord Jesus Christ’s Baptism was performed. And here appears to our gaze the picture of the Jordan event, deeply enlightening, wondrous, and full of Divine greatness. When Jesus Christ turned thirty, He went to the Jordan, where John was baptizing the people, saying that He too came to be baptized. God revealed to John Who it was Who had come to him, and he exclaimed: I have need to be baptized of thee. But Christ answered: “Withhold Me not, for so shall we fulfill the will of God.” At these words He went down into the water, and when He was submerged, then then heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit alighted upon Him in the form of a dove, and the voice of God the Father was heard: This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.

John baptized the people with the baptism of repentance. But did the Sinless, Holy God-Man Jesus Christ really have sins, such habits? Obviously not. He had no sins. He had nothing of which to repent… Indeed, He had no personal sins, but upon His Divine conscience weighed the sins of the world. The founder of the New Kingdom, the basis of which is self-sacrificial love, by which are known the members of this Kingdom, from the very beginning of His service has given the world an image of this love. As a pastor, when before him repents a sinner—a spiritual son, takes upon himself his heartfelt, repentant anguish and lifts this lamentation to the Lord as his own, so Christ, the Divine Pastor, when did groan Palestine with repentant wailing, seeing all the abyss of the sinful world with His All-Seeing Eye, bowed His head under the hand of the Forerunner, gathering under it His prayer for the repentance and purification of the sinful world. Here, my dears, is how we must love others! We must suffer their afflictions and be ailed with their ailments. A wondrous sight! The King of the universe is baptized by a servant, the Creator of the seas and waters is in want of the waters of Baptism, He Who holds all creation in His hand submits below the hand of the Forerunner. And all for the sake of mankind! God humbled Himself below all the sons of men. Such is the love of Christ. In this is the law; in this is the righteousness of this love.

To love our neighbor is possible not otherwise and not before in our own hearts will be trampled all vanity, all pride. He who cannot humble himself before his servant for the sake of his neighbor’s salvation, who cannot forget himself when it comes to the good of another, the same cannot have within himself the true spirit of humility, and where there is no humility, there can be no virtue. And then, as if desiring to intensify the suffering of Jesus Christ, God the Father Himself proclaims from heaven: This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased, and the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove. And this True Son of God, possessing the fullness of the Holy Spirit as His own, humbles Himself, teaching us all this humility. Let us, my dears, behold Christ the Redeemer, baptized of the Forerunner in the streams of the Jordan; come, we shall meet the Lord Who hast appeared. Amen.

January 1915

Source: The Good Shepherd: The Life and Words of the Moscow Elder Archpriest Alexei Mechev. 2nd edition, revised and expanded. Moscow: Cerda Press, 2000. pp. 35-36 (in Russian).

St. Alexei Mechev
Translated by Jesse Dominick

22 января 2017 г.

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Храм Новомученников Церкви Русской. Внести лепту
Photini Mills26 января 2017, 22:00
This is an inspiring life. I am drawn to people who suffer and are yet joyous. I can so easily complain about some small inconvenience. Lord have Mercy! And thank you for making this article available in English.
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