St Gregory Palamas' Homily on Pentecost
Christ had ascended bodily into heaven, so if He had not sent His Holy Spirit to accompany and strengthen His disciples and their successors in following generations who taught the gospel of grace, He would not have been preached to all nations, nor would the proclamation have been passed down to us. That is why the Lord, in His all-surpassing love for mankind, showed at Pentecost that His disciples were partakers, fathers and ministers of everlasting light and life, who bring us to new birth for eternal life and make those who are worthy children of the light and fathers of enlightenment. Thus, He Himself is with us unto the end of the world, as was promised through the Spirit (Matt. 28:20). For He is one with the Father and the Spirit, not according to hypostasis, but in His divinity, and God is one in three, in one tri-hypostatic and almighty divinity. The Holy Spirit always existed and was with the Son in the Father. How could the Father and divine Mind be without beginning if the Son and Word were not also without beginning? How could there be a pre-eternal Word without there also being a pre-eternal Spirit? Thus the Holy Spirit ever was and is and will be, co-Creator with the Father and the Son, together with them renewing that which has suffered corruption, and sustaining the things that endure. He is everywhere present and fills, directs and oversees everything. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit”, says the psalmist to God, “Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Ps. 139:7).
He is not just everywhere, but also above all, not just in every age and time, but before them all. And, according to the promise, the Holy Spirit will not just be with us until the end of the age, but rather will stay with those who are worthy in the age to come, making them immortal and filling their bodies as well with eternal glory, as the Lord indicated by telling His disciples, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). “It is sown”, says the apostle (meaning buried and committed to the earth), “a dead natural body”, that is to say, an ordinary created body with a created soul, stable and capable of movement. “It is raised” (that is, comes back to life), “a spiritual body” (cf. 1 Cor. 15:44), which means a supernatural body, framed and ordered by the Holy Spirit, and clothed in immortality, glory and incorruption by the Spirit’s power (cf. 1 Cor. 15:53). “The first man, Adam”, he says, “was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly” (cf. 1 Cor. 15:45, 47–48).
Who are these heavenly people? Those who are steadfast and immovable in their faith, who always abound in the Lord’s work and bear the image of the heavenly Adam through their obedience to Him….
But let us, brethren, I beseech you, abstain from deeds and words hateful to God, that we may boldly call God our Father. Let us truly return to Him, that He too may turn back to us, cleanse us from all sin and make us worthy of His divine grace. Then shall we keep festival both now and forever, and celebrate in a godly and spiritual way the accomplishments of God’s promise, the coming of the All-holy Spirit among men and His resting upon them; the fulfillment and perfection of the blessed hope in Christ Himself our Lord.
“Give me a word!”
'And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit' (Acts 2:3-4). They partook of fire, not of burning but of saving fire; of fire which consumes the thorns of sins, but gives luster to the soul. This is now coming upon you also, and that to strip away and consume your sins which are like thorns, and to brighten yet more that precious possession of your souls, and to give you grace; for He gave it then to the Apostles. And He sat upon them in the form of fiery tongues, that they might crown themselves with new and spiritual diadems by fiery tongues upon their heads. A fiery sword barred of old the gates of Paradise; a fiery tongue which brought salvation restored the gift.
-St. Cyril of Jerusalem