Summoned to Life

From The Second Easter Oration, 25-29 (ca. 384)

Why was the blood that was shed for us, God’s most precious and glorious blood, the blood of the One who carried out the sacrifice and of the One who was himself the sacrifice? Why was it poured out, and to whom was it offered? These are questions that echo within my mind.

If the death of Christ was a ransom paid to the Father, the question that arises is for what reason? We were not held captive by the Father. And anyway, why should the blood of his only Son be pleasing to the Father who once refused to accept Isaac when Abraham his father offered him as a burnt offering, and instead was pleased to accept the sacrifice of a ram?

Surely it is evident that the Father accepts the sacrifice of Christ, not because he demands it, still less because he feels some need of it, but in order to carry forward his ow purposes for the world. Humanity had to be brought back to life by the humanity of God. We had to be summoned to life by his Son.

Let the rest be adored in silence. Nothing can equal the miracle of my salvation. A few drops of blood have set free the entire universe.

St. Gregory Nazianzus (329-390) was among the most influential theologians and orators of the early church, and is ranked among the four great doctors of the Eastern Church. An uncompromising champion of the Nicene Faith, he led the Second Ecumenical Council in 381, which affirmed the full divinity of the Holy Spirit. Oration 45 is his last preserved sermon, preached in the church of Arianzus, near his home town, where he retired from his archbishopric. Gregory is commemorated on January 2 by most Anglican churches and the Roman Catholic Church, and on January 25 by the Orthodox churches.  


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