Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Met Georges Khodr: The Light of Knowledge

Arabic original here.

The Light of Knowledge

The feast has once again revealed the light of knowledge. Our night is all light, an ascension into the profundities of God. The Savior was born at the heart of the world's tragedy, into cold, nakedness and prejudice. His birth provoked Herod's jealousy and hatred for Him reached the point of crucifying Him. The traditional icon for the Nativity places the Child in a manger, wrapped as though for a burial, as though He were cast into the manger for pain and death, as He bore all pain and death.

The Master of the feast does not want us to turn our eyes from the current situation around us, from people's brokenness. Christ is always the newborn child of this brokenness, forever cast into it. Wounds are His companions and in them He reads peace. The peace that the angels sang, Jesus gives to the sick and the thirsty who bring ruin to falsehood by their presence because they demonstrate the truth and follow in His path, the way of wounds.

Those dedicated few who accept on earth the bow of heaven bear witness that we are dust and light all at once, dust called to be aglow, life proceeding from death, lordship proceeding from total brokenness. In the Nativity, God came to us in the form of a servant. In this brokenness, He exercised His lordship over the world, He shone in this world as light. There is no other way than this poverty to sublimity, this humility to greatness, this death to life.The light of the world, its beauty, its salvation from passing away is in there being christs inhabiting it, reflecting the light of Christ, who are born every day through God's kindness and forgiveness.

The issue is no longer remembering Jesus in people's time, as though He were merely an image with which houses are decorated. The issue is whether or not we are with Christ and in Him, for the world to be saved by His coloring and those who are colored by Him. In them alone is the universe saved from darkness and death, rising in the light of the resurrection.

As I strive for sincere devotion, I see You, O Master, as the splendor of the universe and so I cover my face because I am a man of unclean lips, rooted in the world, drowning in my self, taking pleasure in its deceitful enchantment. I turn about it in and I suffocate, as though my hope were defeated. Before what You give, O Lord, I am barehanded. Have you not accepted my poverty as a gift? Your humble presence in the manger is all my wealth. Remind me of this when I am prideful or when I try to acquire something. Say that You are the wealth, O Master.

What is becoming of me in my weakness, when the world in us is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the bloatedness of existing? All these things rage in the secret parts of the soul. Your nativity reveals that you are cast into this frightful furnace that is the heart in order to transform it by the dew of Your presence into a peaceful abode.

Do not let this stubborn sin that nests within us storm to the point of vertigo, and we delight in our torment. Do not nail us to anguish and remorse, but turn us to Your forgiving face so that, if we contemplate it, we may immune to ugly deeds.

O God, do not let transgressions remain defiant and do not let souls be soured by them. Give us tears with which we may wash and be quenched. Touch our mouths with the ember of love, so that they may be familiar with your mercy and repent to you with joy.

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