“Graciously he received us into unifying communion with himself”

In his goodness and love for humankind, Jesus, the most divine Word, one, simple, and hidden, assumed our nature, appearing though unchanged in his own nature as a being both composite and visible.

Graciously he received us into unifying communion with himself, joining our lowliness to his sublime divinity, upon the sole condition that we in our turn should adhere to him as members of his body by living a pure and godly life like his, and not giving reign to ruinous, death-dealing passions, which would make us incapable of union with those completely healthy and divine members.

If we aspire to communion with Jesus, we must fix our eyes upon the most holy life he lived in the flesh and follow the example of his divine innocence so as to become pure and godlike. Then, in a manner befitting us, he will give us a resemblance to himself.

The bishop manifests these truths in the sacred rites he performs when he publicly unveils the hidden gifts, divides them into many parts, and by the perfect union of the sacrament he distributes with those who receive it, admits the recipients to communion with it. For by thus presenting Jesus Christ to our eyes he shows us the very life of our spirit and understanding in a way perceptible to our senses, as it were pictorially. He shows us how Christ came forth from his divine concealment to assume for love of humanity our human form, becoming completely human without loss of his own identity; how while remaining unchanged he descended from his natural unity to the level of our divisibility; and how through the beneficent deeds inspired by his love for us, he calls the human race to communion with himself and to a share in his blessings He asks only that we unite ourselves to his most divine life by imitating it to the best of our ability, so as to enter into a real communion with God and his divine mysteries.

Denys the Areopagite

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One Response to “Graciously he received us into unifying communion with himself”

  1. albert says:

    I wonder about this part: “The bishop manifests these truths in the sacred rites he performs when he publicly unveils the hidden gifts, divides them into many parts…” Are we to understand that the iconostasis was not part of the liturgy then? Or does “unveils” have a different meaning here?

    I understand the significance of the wall and the doors, but they also seem to have the effect of keeping us from being part of, or even welcome at, the mystery: “.. . by thus presenting Jesus Christ to our eyes he shows us the very life of our spirit and understanding in a way perceptible to our senses, as it were pictorially. He shows us how Christ came forth from his divine concealment to assume for love of humanity our human form, becoming completely human without loss of his own identity;”

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