From “Oration 45” (ca. 384)
He who makes rich is made poor; he takes on the poverty of my flesh that I may gain the riches of his divinity. He who is full is made empty, he is emptied for a brief space of his glory, that I may share in his fullness. What is the wealth of goodness? What is this mystery that surrounds me? I received the likeness of God, but failed to keep it. He takes on my flesh, to bring salvation to the image, immortality to the flesh. He enters into a second union with us, a union far more wonderful than the first.
Holiness had to be brought to us by the humanity assumed by one who was God, so that God might overcome the tyrant by force and so deliver us and lead us back to himself through the mediation of his Son. The Son arranged this for the honor of the Father, to whom the Son is clearly obedient in all things.
The Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for the sheep, came in search of the straying sheep to the mountains and hills on which you used to offer sacrifice. When he found it, he took it on the shoulders that bore the wood of the cross, and led it back to the life of heaven. . .
We need God to take our flesh and died, that we might live. We have died with him, that we might be purified. We have risen again with him, because we have died with him. We have been glorified with him because we have risen again with him.
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 went to Constantinople in 379, aiming to reconvert the city to orthodoxy, and was made its archbishop. He led the Second Ecumenical Council in 381, which affirmed the full divinity of the Holy Spirit. Oration 45, for the Easter season, was one of Gregory’s last sermons, preached in the church at Arianzus, where he retired. Gregory is commemorated on January 2 by most Anglican churches and the Roman Catholic Church, and on January 25 by the Orthodox churches.