Orthodox America

  “Lo, I Am With You Alway”

     After His Resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ remained on earth yet another forty days, during which He appeared several times to His disciples, instructing them in all things concerning the Kingdom of Heaven.

    But the Lord's victory over the devil and over death would not have been complete had He not ascended into heaven. Having ascended, He sat once again on the right hand of God the Father, not as before, but with a transfigured human essence. And because of this, the Ascension of Christ is likewise our ascension.

    Although the Lord ascended into heaven, He is at the same time always present with us, as He promised to His disciples before His Ascension: "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:30),

How are we to understand this? In what way is the Lord with us.?

The Lord is with us above all in His Church, through the grace of the Holy Spirit Whom He sent upon His apostles and through them, upon all the members of the Church.

    The holy Church shares the nature of the God-Man, being both human and divine: her head is Christ, while her body is formed of believers; she possesses a visible structure, but communicates to her members that which is invisible and unites them with the Divine.

    Within the Church there takes place the supreme Mystery of the Eucharist- the transformation of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. What is characteristic of a Mystery? The Divine and eternal enter the physical and temporal; time disappears, as it were, and in the Mystery of the Eucharist there is reproduced the moment of redemption, not in its original sense, but as it applies to each one of us. Two thousand years ago, Christ accomplished the general economy of our salvation; He redeemed us objectively, But it is the grace of the Holy Spirit which makes this redemption our personal inheritance. In the Mystery of the Eucharist Christ is with us most completely.

    The Lord is likewise present with us through the grace of the Holy Spirit in all the other Mysteries--in Baptism, Chrismation... In the Mysteries of Baptism and Chrismation the seal of Christ is signed upon the heart and soul, and we are made partakers of Christ, we "put on Christ".

Christ is also with us in all the other prayers of the Church.  As He promised: "Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt, 18:20).

     The Lord is present with us through His Word--the Gospel. If we are in sorrow, He says: "Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matt, 11:28); if we are in despondency, He says: "Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:23); if we are persecuted, He strengthens us: Fear not them which kill the body, they are unable to kill the soul (Matt. 10:28).

     And in all circumstances of life, whether they be sorrowful or joyful, the Word of God testifies to us that the Lord is with us.

The Lord is always with us; He looks upon us and awaits from us a reciprocal love. We carry upon ourselves the seal of Christ and we bear His name. Let us strive to live worthy of our high calling. 

Bishop Alypy
of Chicago, Detroit and Midwest America

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