From “Oration 7” (369)
“What is man that you are mindful of him?” What is this new mystery surrounding me? I am both small and great, both lowly and exalted, mortal and immortal, earthly and heavenly. I am to be buried with Christ and to rise again with him, to become a co-heir with him, a son of God, and indeed, God himself.
This is what the great mystery means for us: this is why God became human and became poor for our sake: it was to raise up our flesh, to recover the divine image, to recreate humankind, so that all of us might become one in Christ who perfectly became in us everything that he is himself. So we are no longer to be “male and female, barbarian and Scythian, slave and free” — distinctions deriving from the flesh — but are to bear within ourselves only the seal of God, by whom and for whom we were created. We are to be so formed and molded by him that we are recognized as belonging to his one family.
If only we could be what we hope to be, by the great kindness of our generous God! He asks so little and gives so much, in this life and in the next, to those who love him sincerely. In a spirit of hope and out of love for him, let us then “bear and endure all things” and give thanks for everything that befalls us, since even reason can often recognize these things as weapons to win salvation And meanwhile let us commend to God our own souls and the souls of those who, being more ready for it, have reached the place of rest before us although they walked the same road as we do.
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. Gregory is commemorated on January 2 by most Anglican churches and the Roman Catholic Church, and on January 25 by the Orthodox churches.