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The Holy Theophany of Our Lord

Commentary: Gregory the Wonderworker

I am the voice, the voice crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way for the Lord. So I cannot be silent, Lord, in your presence. / need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me ? At my birth I took away my mother's barrenness, and while still an infant I healed my father's dumbness, for you gave me in childhood the gift of working miracles. But when you were born of the Virgin Mary, in the way you willed and in a manner known to you alone, you did not take away her virginity, but while preserving it intact you gave her in addition the name of "mother." Her virginity did not hinder your birth, nor did your birth destroy her virginity. On the contrary, two opposites, motherhood and virginity, were easily united by you, because the laws of nature have their origin in you. I am a mere man, sharing in the grace of God, but you are both God and man because of your love for humankind.

/ need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me ? You existed from the beginning, you were with God and you were God. You are the radiance of the Father's glory, the perfect image of the perfect Father. You are the true light enlightening every person who comes into the world. You were in the world, yet you have come to where you were already. You have become flesh, but you have not been changed into flesh. You have lived among us, appearing to your servants in the likeness of a servant. You by your holy name have bridged heaven and earth, and do you come to me? You, so great, to such as I? King to herald, master to servant?

You were not ashamed to be born within the lowly limits of our human nature, but I cannot pass its bounds. I know the distance between the earth and the Creator, between the clay and the potter. I know how far I, a lamp lit by your grace, am outshone by you, the Sun of Righteousness. You are concealed by the pure cloud of your body, but I still recognize your sovereignty. I acknowledge my servile condition; I proclaim your greatness. I admit your absolute authority, and my own lowly estate. I am unworthy to undo the strap of your sandal; how then could I dare to touch your immaculate head? How could I stretch out my hand over you, who stretched out the heaven like a tent, and set the earth upon the waters? How could I enlighten the light? Surely it is not for me to pray over you, for you are the one who receives the prayers even of those who have no knowledge of you.

(Homily 4 on the Holy Manifestation: PC 10, 1181-1183)

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