Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Met. Georges Khodr's Eulogy for Patriarch Ignatius IV in Beirut

Arabic original here. I will also try to translate the eulogy Met. Georges gave in Damascus.

As the Church on earth was receiving great effort from you, the Lord called you to the wedding of the Lamb and to the Church of the righteous so that you can taste their splendor and ever-lasting joy. You speak to us from above to say to us that if we have not sought the lasting good things, we have cast ourselves into nothingness. Your departure was a lesson for us to keep company with those in heaven, so that something of their beatitude might come down upon us.

You want us to keep watch over the word that you have entrusted to us, lest we be tempted by meaninglessness. If we look to you, we know that you raise our eyes to your Lord.

It may be difficult to practice for departure, but you have taught us that there is no chasm between those who belong to Christ. You went ahead of us to the kingdom that is to come, to keep company with the saints. We long for you and for them, and we are eternal through the dwelling of the Holy Spirit within us.

After being armed with it, you invite us to desire nothing but the face of God. Because you stand before Him, our companionship with you is strengthened and through your voice we come to the pure ones' abode.

In your companionship with them, you would always go back to Christ simplicity, which eliminates any distinction among the bright. What is true intelligence other than the shining of the divine intellect within us? You were not deceived by appearances and their concepts because the remembrance of God was close to you, even though you are of dust like us and knew this. However, you also believed that are called to transcend in order to be robed in light, as the dear Book says, "As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ." It is not easy for anyone to abide with his entire being in God's light. But you knew that human intellects-- and with your culture you were among them-- amount to nothing at the decent of the divine Word.

This is on the level of thought, but you understood that you were destined to go beyond all intellect through the outpouring of the Word of God upon you, so that you could be beyond all words. This only happens for one who has robed himself in the mind of Christ.

I say this exhaustively, because you would think over things deeply before speaking about things divine. In the education that you received and the ideas on which you were raised, you started from your own way of being as the place of ascent to things divine. The Antiochian Church, in the ages of its beauty, always in a unique way emphasized human effort in its asceticism, and its striving to speak about God, who cannot be spoken about except after training in love.

Speaking about divine love, which alone is the subject of theology, can only come to you if you have been existentially overcome by love and at that point understand the relationship between obedience to God and speaking about God. However, something remarkable about you is that you did not separate the experience of God within you and speaking about matters of God in the human intellectual terms in which you grew up.

But if the mind is independent, this means that it has not been nourished with inspiration and that it remains attached to the body and the world. Each of us knows that your first cultural garment was philosophy and those who observe you know that this world and its philosophy is not enough and that we are not able to live unless theology is our garment.

This is what was written upon you or written within you, so that it appeared to all that you are also a man of the heart. It was the source of amity within you and you loved some people by the power of the strong feelings that graced you.

This was not only your nature, but part of the very Christian depth of your being. You let your friends enter your heart and you loved them in simplicity. Perhaps this was the predominant virtue for you, and with it you looked upon children and the elderly. With these blessings, we reckoned that you would long remain among our elders, but the Lord takes unto Himself those that He loves very much.

Say to the Savior that we rely on nothing but His mercy for His Church. When will she become, through His mercies, the longed-for bride? Greet those who love for us to join them. May the blessed Lord listen to your whisper that draws us to His mercy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you!