Thursday, December 16, 2004

St. Gregory of Nazianzus "On the Incarnation"

At a Serbian fest recently, I picked up a book of St. Gregory Nazianzus' poetry called On God and Man, and then, in the way we all have (I hope), congratulated myself on being the kind of person who picks up a book of the poetry of St. Gregory of Nazianzus and never got around to reading it. My guilt finally caught up with me today, and I opened it up at random to this poem called simply "On the Incarnation of Christ". I thought it was wonderful.

Foolish is he or she who does not worship the ever-existing Word of God, the Lord, as equally God with the supernal Father,
Foolish is he or she who does not worship the Word, the Lord, a human here appearing, as equally God with the heavenly Word.
The one divides the Word from the great Father, the other our human form and fleshiness from the Word.

Though being God, the Father's Word took on our human being,to mingle it with God, and be little amongst earthlings.
He is one God out of both, being so human as to make me God, instead of human.

Be merciful, O wounded one on high!
Let that much suffice you. What more have I to do with an ineffable mind and mixture?
Both are God, you mortals, be content with reason's limits.

If, then, I've won you over, much the better. But if you blacken the page
with many myriads of words,
come, and I'll inscribe these little verses upon tables with letters from my carving pen, which have no blackness in them.


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