Saturday, December 26, 2015

Philaret of Moscow – ‘Glory to God in the highest’

Below is a beautiful and brief Christmas sermon given by Philaret of Moscow explaining the angels’ hymn ‘Glory to God in the highest.’

‘God has from all eternity enjoyed the sublimity of His glory . . . His glory is the revelation, the manifestation, the reflection, the garment of His inner perfection. God reveals Himself to Himself from all eternity by the eternal generation of His consubstantial Son, and by the eternal procession of His consubstantial Spirit; and this the unity, within the Holy Trinity shines forth imperishable and unchangeable in its essential glory. God the Father is the Father of glory (Eph. i, 17); the Son is the brightness of His glory (Heb. i, 3) and He Himself has that glory which he had with the Father before the world was (John xvii, 5); likewise, the Holy Spirit of God is the Spirit of glory (I Pet. Iv, 14). In this glory, uniquely proper to Himself, God dwells in perfect felicity above all glory, without having need of any witness, without admitting of any division. But as in His mercy and His infinite love He desires to communicate His blessedness, to create for Himself beings capable of sharing in the joyfulness of His glory, He calls forth His infinite perfections and they disclose themselves in His creatures; His glory is manifested in the celestial powers, is reflected in man, and puts on the splendour of the visible world; He bestows it, and those who become partakers thereof receive it, it returns to Him, and in this perpetual circumvolution, so to say, of the divine glory the blessed life, the felicity of the creature consists.’[1]

[1] Choix de sermons et discours de son Eminence Mgr Philarete, French trnalsation by A Serpinet, Paris, 1866, I, pp.3-4. 

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