As we approach the eve of the great and awe-inspiring Solemnity of the Assumption of the Mother of God (called the Dormition in the East), body and soul, into Paradise I could not help but recall the festal homily given by the Eastern Orthodox bishop-theologian, St. Gregory Palamas; who was also the subject of my M.A. Thesis.
His homily is a classic example of the hyper-excess that characterizes the liturgical language of the East, an excess that is employed strategically to bring the mind into the heart and approximate the excessive character of Divine Mystery by means of a veritable lexical tsunami. The East proposes two paths into God’s un-circumscribed Nature: the super-luminous poetic torrent of liturgy or dark silence.
So, here’s Palamas’ torrent, if you dare submit your mind to its torrential flow….
Both love and duty today fashion my homily for your charity. It is not only that I wish, because of my love for you, and because I am obliged by the sacred canons, to bring to your God-loving ears a saving word and thus to nourish your souls, but if there be any among those things that bind by obligation and love and can be narrated with praise for the Church, it is the great deed of the Ever-Virgin Mother of God. Read more…