Julebudskab 2010 fra Hans Eminence Patriark Bartholomæos af Konstantinopel (engelsk)

2010 Patriarchal Encyclical for the Nativity of Christ

Prot. No. 1338

BARTHOLOMEW

By the Mer­cy of God
Arch­bis­hop of Con­stan­ti­nop­le-New Rome
and Ecu­me­ni­cal Patri­arch
To the Ple­ni­tu­de of the Church
Gra­ce, Pea­ce and Mer­cy
from the Savi­or Christ Born in Bet­hle­hem

Belo­ved bro­t­her con­ce­le­brants and bles­sed chil­dren in the Lord,

Wit­hin the som­ber atmosp­he­re that recent­ly pre­vails throug­hout the wor­ld with the diver­se affli­ction of the finan­ci­al, soci­al, moral and espe­ci­al­ly spi­ri­tu­al cri­sis, which has cre­a­ted increa­sing fru­stra­tion, bit­ter­ness, con­fu­sion, anxie­ty, dis­ap­po­int­ment and fear among many peop­le with regard to the futu­re, the voi­ce of the Church sounds swe­et:

Come, O fait­h­ful, let us rai­se our minds to thin­gs divi­ne and behold the hea­ven­ly con­des­cen­sion that has appea­red to us from above in Bet­hle­hem … (Hymn from the 6th Hour, Christ­mas)

The uns­ha­keab­le belief of Chri­sti­ans is that God does not sim­ply or indif­fe­rent­ly obser­ve from above the jour­ney of huma­ni­ty, which He has per­so­nal­ly cre­a­ted accor­ding to His ima­ge and like­ness. This is why the incar­na­tion of His only-begot­ten Son and Word was from the very begin­ning His “good will,” His ori­gi­nal inten­tion. His “pre-eter­nal will” was pre­ci­se­ly to assu­me in His per­son, in an act of extre­me love, the human natu­re that He cre­a­ted in order to ren­der it “a par­ti­ci­pant of divi­ne natu­re.” (2 Peter 1.4) Inde­ed, God wil­led this pri­or to the “fall” of Adam and Eve, even befo­re their very cre­a­tion! Fol­lowing the “fall” of Adam and Eve, the “pre-eter­nal will” of the Incar­na­tion embra­ced the Cross, the Sacred Pas­sion, the Life-giving Death, the Des­cent into Hades, and the Resur­rection after three days. In this way, the sin that infil­tra­ted human natu­re the­re­by infecting eve­ryt­hing and the death that sur­rep­ti­tious­ly pene­tra­ted life were com­ple­te­ly and defi­ni­ti­ve­ly dis­pel­led, whi­le huma­ni­ty was able to enjoy the ful­l­ness of the Pater­nal and eter­nal her­i­ta­ge.

Howe­ver, the divi­ne con­des­cen­sion of Christ­mas is not restri­cted to thin­gs rela­ted to eter­ni­ty. It also inclu­des thin­gs rela­ted to our eart­hly jour­ney. Christ came into the wor­ld in order to spre­ad the good news of the King­dom of Hea­ven and to ini­ti­a­te us into this King­dom. Yet, He also came in order to help and heal human weak­ness. He mira­culous­ly and repe­a­ted­ly fed the mul­ti­tu­des who liste­ned to His word; He cle­an­sed lepers; He sup­por­ted para­ly­ti­cs; He gran­ted light to the blind, hea­ring to the deaf and spe­ech to the dumb; He deli­ve­red the demo­nized of impu­re spi­rits, resur­rected the dead, sup­por­ted the rights of the oppres­sed and aban­do­ned; He con­dem­ned ille­gal wealth, heart­les­sness to the poor, hypo­cri­sy and “hubris” in human rela­tions; He offe­red Him­self as an examp­le of volun­tary self-emp­tying sacri­fi­ce for the sake of others!

Per­haps this dimen­sion of the mes­sa­ge of divi­ne incar­na­tion should be par­ti­cu­lar­ly emp­ha­sized this year. Many of our fri­ends and col­le­agu­es are expe­ri­en­cing ter­rib­le tri­als from the cur­rent cri­sis. The­re are count­less num­bers of unem­ploy­ed, nou­veau poor, home­less, young peop­le with “crop­ped” dreams. Nevert­he­less, Bet­hle­hem is trans­la­ted as a “Hou­se of Bre­ad!” There­fo­re, as fait­h­ful Chri­sti­ans, we owe all of our troub­led bro­t­hers and sisters not only the “essen­ti­al bre­ad” – that is to say, Christ, who lies in swad­dling clo­t­hes in the simp­le man­ger of Bet­hle­hem – but also the daily tan­gib­le bre­ad of sur­vi­val and all that “pertains to the bodi­ly needs.” (James 2.16) Now is the time for a pra­cti­cal appli­ca­tion of the Gospel mes­sa­ge with a dig­ni­fied sen­se of respon­si­bi­li­ty! Now is the time for a clear and exa­ct imple­men­ta­tion of the words of the Apost­le: “Show me your faith with wor­ks!” (James 2.18) Now is the time and the opportu­ni­ty for us “to rai­se our minds to thin­gs divi­ne” to the height of the roy­al vir­tue of Love, which brings us clo­ser to God.

This is what we pro­claim to all the chil­dren of the Ecu­me­ni­cal Patri­ar­cha­te from this sacred and mar­ty­ric See, the Church of the Poor of Christ, and we invo­ke upon all of you the divi­ne con­des­cen­sion and the bound­less mer­cy, as well as the pea­ce and gra­ce of the Only-Begot­ten Son and Word of God, who for our sake was incar­na­te of the Holy Spi­rit and the Vir­gin Mary. To Him belong the glory, power, honor and wors­hip, with the Fat­her and the Spi­rit, to the ages of ages. Amen.

At the Pha­nar, Holy Christ­mas 2010

BARTHOLOMEW of Con­stan­ti­nop­le
Your fer­vent inter­ces­sor befo­re God