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June 24, 2024

Homily on the Monday of the Holy Spirit (Emperor Leo VI the Wise) - 1 of 3

Homily 13

Discourse of Leo the King in the name of Christ the Eternal King, On the Divine Spirit Who is Enthroned with Christ, from Whom and through Whom, Having Descended of His Own Accord, He Granted to Men the Adoption

Delivered by Emperor Leo VI the Wise (+ 912)

Yesterday we celebrated the festival of the coming of the Paraclete, and by making the day happy and by offering reconciliation to God the Father, He made the presentation brilliant. Today we introduce the festival, as if enjoying some remnants of yesterday's sacred pleasure. Yesterday He honored us with His presence, today we honor the coming of the Paraclete. Yesterday, for us, the favor we received was a matter of celebration, today the reason to celebrate is the glorification of the Spirit. What praise, then, should be given to Him? Of course the confession of the glory that is due to God. For which He was sent by the Son, after this had been accomplished with Him. Because He came to glorify Him (Jn. 16:14). But He arrived to display in His creature also His own honor. Precisely because the honored Trinity, even before the world existed, also had to be honored by those who are in the world. Today, being willing to do this, my speech begins in this way:

There is one God in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, a Trinity of persons, united in a unity of nature, self-existent, filling all things, ever-present and who grants existence to beings. The preeternal glory of the Father is not diminished by the Son, who before was not known and then was manifested with the glory of the Father. Neither is the Son, by shining later, inferior to the Father, nor did the Holy Spirit take His being later though He has a third rank in theology. But all the three Persons exist together and are glorified with the same honor, although the Father is treated as the beginning and the root, and the Son and the Spirit as some shoots which pre-eternally sprouted together. Into this dogma of God, in olden times, certainly some were initiated, when out of the philanthropy or goodness of the divinity, which has power over all, revealed itself, but dimly, as if the beauty of piety were painted with some dark colors, and the great splendor was hid to be revealed at the proper time. Thus, therefore, before God and Father was honored only by the people who said they knew Him, without the Son participating in this honor, Who has all that the Father also has, although in many appearances the Son showed Himself. The Spirit, who is pre-eternal with the Father has the light and shines with Him. The One who appeared to us in time, even He did not yet receive from men the honor He deserved. But since on the one hand the glory of the Father became more apparent through the Only Begotten Son and at the same time His divinity was revealed to those who had not been initiated into their salvation, the Spirit already appears and reigns together with Him. And before of course, when the Word was on earth in the flesh, the Spirit was with Him and cooperated in the works He did as God and gave testimony that He was the Son and He also received testimony from Him. But afterwards, when the Son was taken up from us, the Spirit descended in His own power and appeared more clearly, like fire.

Now, instead of the Paraclete Son who ascended, the Spirit was clearly presented, descending as another Paraclete (John 8:16), fulfilling His promise and filling every man with His power in him, but also fulfilling the prophecy about His empowering every man (Joel 2:28), and those things which the divinely-inspired lips said of Him. Now, not being divided by being distributed among the disciples, He manifests His office, not cooperating as before, but working miracles Himself, and by the kinship which the works have with the works of Christ, affirms the kinship of His nature with Him. First, from the lips of the unlettered were heard the words of Christ, the teacher of wisdom, and now from the unlearned tongue of the disciples pours out speech full of knowledge. The divine office is equal in the Son and in the Spirit, that is why the events in the past and now are similar. First the Spirit with the Word, who co-ruled, co-operated in service to the creatures, now being present Himself and reaching the servants He works the mysteries. Therefore, let the Holy Spirit who is equal in energy with the Son, and therefore equal in essence, be honored with the same honor by those who know well how to show gratitude, and guard without offense the office of despotic majesty.

Let the Spirit be divinely glorified by those who are worthy to know the glory of His divinity. For the Jew from envy turns towards darkness, and those who from the other darkness of unbelief has been deprived of the action, instead of praising, casts aside the things that are done. And he criticizes the mystery, not understanding, due to incurable insanity, the paradox of what is being celebrated. Nor does he shut his insolent mouth about what he sees, that is, men who before did not even know how to use their own language, suddenly in language possess the primacy, and speak foreign languages as if they were accustomed to them. But, instead of being led by the miracle to faith, they are aroused to the mockery of those whom the Spirit inspires to work paradoxes. What do you say, who are filled with rage, from which, having once darkened your judgment, it cannot recover and revive, but on top of the former offenses you add new ones? Did the wine make the unlearned mouths speak of greatness (Acts 2:13) and do they spring a river of wisdom with drunkenness? O foolish Jew, with your impious impudence! Because in the old days communicating with theologians, since you did not become such that you could be guided from there to understand what is happening today, and since out of envy you deprive yourself of guidance by your will, now pay attention to those who theologize with illiterate lips and learn from them that not wine, as you chatter, but inspiration from on high wrought eloquence. Educate yourself now and without your will learn that these words that you did not understand while studying, with today's outpouring of the Holy Spirit, which were foreshadowed before, are explained to you by the interpretation of the fisherman (Acts 2:17). You, then, perhaps as before you showed malice with a blind opinion, so even now closing your ears you do not want to know what is being said, nor do you compromise for your own salvation, but this war, which you have raised for your own harm, you will likewise praise Him and fight Him, just as you did Jesus my God, so of course also the Spirit who has the same nature with Him. And because you cannot stretch out your hands against Christ, since He is God, and He came down to bring about the salvation of men (for once God had to suffer in the flesh for the sake of the salvation of His creature, and the Only Begotten suffered the folly of men - Lk. 24:46), hence by arming yourself against the disciples whom the Spirit inspires, you will show your own prepared cunning. And you will succeed, however, as much as your hatred for God is, and you will accept the calamities that will surround you because of your hatred. But the word of the disciples will be heard in all the earth.

How incurable, indeed, is your wickedness, which well scatters the disciples in the assembling of the nations, who will truly receive the wisdom of sober mouths and thence drink the sweet wine of faith, washing away the bitterness of salty unbelief. In the nations where His beloved Son is honored, His good Spirit is also honored, and God the Father will rejoice as He is honored and worshiped through them. And He will return the glory to those dwelling-places of the Holy Trinity, repelling you and your worship. Of them, however, He will be worshiped with the worship "in the Holy Spirit", Who today came down in the form of tongues of fire. For your own eloquence must, together with the flame of other impiety spread in the world, be quenched with a fiery voice, or be heard by fiery tongues. But let the Jew talk nonsense, and whoever else like him does not see the grace of the Spirit which is clearly seen. But we who have been enlightened by His divine light and through those who out of philanthropy made His dwelling in us, after we have enjoyed His manifestation to a great extent, let us honor the Spirit as we ought to God. Let us praise Him as we were taught. Let us honor Him as we have been commanded, seeing Him drawn together and worshiped with the Father and the Son. He exists with them pre-eternally and did not come to be numbered with them later. He is not separate from the authority of the Trinity, nor foreign to the divine nature, nor is He unparticipated in the common attributes of the Father and the Son, that is, He sits on the same throne, has the same glory, creates with them and reigns with them.


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