Sunday, December 23, 2012

"Clothed in our mortal nature"

Scout "helping" with gift wrapping
At the end of the Divine Liturgy this morning, a new set of habits (sewn by Sr. Cecilia's mom, Darlene Hritz) and belts (thanks to Fr. Peter Tomas) were blessed--in time to wear them for the first time for the Feast of the Nativity!  As I listened to the prayer of blessing, I realized how appropriate it is that this blessing would take place near the Feast of the Nativity.  See if you can figure it out: (but I'll give you some help below).
Lord Jesus Christ, Who condescended to clothe Yourself in our mortal nature, we beg You in Your boundless goodness to bless this clothing which the holy Fathers have sanctioned as the garb for monastics, in token of the innocence and humility which should be theirs.  Laying aside the vanity of secular garb, may these servants of Yours, who are to wear this clothing, likewise put on You, and be recognized as women dedicated to Your service.  May this garb also serve as a sermon to the people, reminding them that there is a God, that life is short, death certain, a judgment forthcoming, and that only through good works will they attain to everlasting life: For to You is due all glory, honor, and worship, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and forever. Amen.

Did you come up with something?  Well, here are my thoughts.

In this Feast of the Nativity of Our Lord, we celebrate His incarnation.  In a beautiful hymn from vespers a few days ago we prayed:
"He will take on our likeness * by clothing Himself in the flesh of the virgin Handmaid of God. * He is coming to be born; * He who is unapproachable by nature, * is approachable to me."
By celebrating the incarnation we are celebrating the fact that God clothed Himself "in our mortal nature," as the prayer of blessing of habits says.  Our habits can remind us of this mind-blowing reality, while also reminding us that through our baptism we have been "clothed with Christ" (Gal 3:27), and as all Christians, we are called, and actually given the grace, to become transformed into Christ!

The prayer of blessing also says that our habits are a sign of the "innocence and humility" which should be ours.  The greatest example of innocence and humility is Jesus Christ, who humbled Himself so completely to come into the world as a a little cave...  What joy we have, to share in these things with Christ!
"O ineffable Begotten One of the Unbegotten Father, * You have come in the appearance of my likeness. * You come in order to enrich the human race * which is afflicted with the poverty that You took upon Yourself. * We praise Your compassion, O Lord." (Stichera of Vespers, Dec. 22)
We pray that you have a very blessed, joyful, prayerful Christmas!

(Now I need to get back to the kitchen to help prepare for the Christmas Eve Velija Supper!  Don't cry Sr. Gabriella...every onion in the monastery has been chopped!)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the reflection Sister! Merry Christmas to all of you, love you!!


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