To the question, "Why did the Son of God appear on earth in a human body and not in another form of creation?" the brilliant St. Anthanasius replied in this manner: "If they ask why He did not appear in some other, better form of creation - for example, as the sun and the moon, or the stars or fire, or the wind - but just as a man, let them know that the Lord did not come to show Himself, but to heal and teach sufferers. For to reveal Himself only to amaze the viewers would mean to come for a show. It was necessary for the Healer and the Teacher, not only to come, but to serve for the benefit of the suffering ones, and to reveal Himself in such a way that this revelation would be bearable for the sufferers.
Not one single creature was in error in the eyes of God, except man alone: neither the sun, nor the moon, nor the sky, nor the stars, nor the water, nor the wind betrayed their ranks. On the contrary, knowing their Creator and their King - the Word - they all remained as they were created. Only the human beings separated themselves from good and replaced truth with deceit; and the honor belonging to God (as well as the knowledge about Him) they transferred to devils and to men carved out of stone [idols]. What, therefore, is so unbelievable in this, that the Logos appeared as a man to save mankind?"
Indeed, we also ask the unbelievers of our day: "In what form would you wish God to appear, if not as a man?"
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning." (Lk. 12:35)
This is the commandment of Him Who knows the weakness of our being, and Who desires our good more than our father and mother do. This is the commandment of our man-loving Lord. When man is ungirded, does not his entire body droop? When he girds himself, does not his entire body become as erect as a candle? As a candle stands, so must our soul stand, erect before God.
How will our souls stand erect before God if unrestrained physical earthly passions and lusts weigh them down? Behold, in the loins is the nest of the main physical passions. To gird one's loins means to tighten oneself with restraint and not to give in to passions at will. But to gird one's physical loins is not the goal, but the mans that we utilize to easily gird our mind, our heart and our will. But to gird one's physical loins is not the goal, but the means that we utilize to easily gird our mind, our heart and our will.
Physical restraint is the primary school of our Christian character; after it comes a higher school, in which we learn restraint of the mind, restraint of the heart and restraint of the will. If we gird our mind, then lustful thoughts will be unable to find a place in its narrowness. If we gird our heart, then lustful desires will be unable to find a place in its narrowness. If we gird our heart, then lustful desires will be unable to find a place in it. If we gird our will, then the evil, beastly and demonic desires will be unable to find a place in it.
Brethren, only by a narrow path can one enter into the Kingdom of God. Only in the narrowness of the mind, the heart and the will, can the candles of the virtues be lighted, the flames of which rise toward God. By the image of the lighted candles, we should understand Christian virtues.
O Lord, pure and sinless, the seat of all virtues, help us to gird ourselves with restraint and to walk the narrow path to Thee with the lighted candles that Thou has brought into the world.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
The Prologue of Ohrid, Vol. I
18 January, Reflection & Homily