2716 North Dobson Road Chandler, AZ 85224 (480) 899-3330
dolor sit
Rev. Fr. Philip S. Armstrong, Presbyter 2716 N. Dobson Rd. Chandler, AZ 85224 (480) 899-3330 (Located South of Elliot Rd on Dobson Rd) Church e-mail : office@st-katherine.org Email Fr. Phil : skpriest@yahoo.com Office hours: Monday Thru Thursday 9:30am - 3:30pm Closed from 12:00 to 1:00pm for lunch. Inquirer’s Classes Offered (Contact our Church Office). Sunday Service Schedule: 8:30 AM Orthos 9:30 AM Divine Liturgy
St. Katherine Greek Orthodox Church Chandler AZ 85224
For 3-1-20
For 3-1-20
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“We Are God’s Masterpieces ” One of the most fascinating experiences one can have in life is to view the oil paintings of the “great mas-ters”. Those who have had the privilege to visit such renowned art museums as the Louvre, Musee D’Orsay, British Museum, Smithsonian and the Vatican Museum are overwhelmed by what they’ve encountered. How DaVinci, Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir and Michelangelo were able to express visible reality through the medium of canvas and paint is extraordinary. Their gifted ability to create light, depth, pro-portion and subtle distinctions in color is awe inspiring. When one views their art they are convinced that those works are far from ordinary. Truly, they are masterpieces. Needless to say, one of the most important tasks of museums is restoring their collections of fine art periodically. The great museums of the world spend considerable sums of money to restore the works of the “great masters”. Special chemicals are used and processes employed to return these canvasses and frescoes to their original beauty. What does this short course on art appreciation have to do with me as a parishioner of St. Katherine? Quite simply, we are God’s masterpieces. In Genesis 1:27, we are reminded that God created man in His own Image and Likeness. Another word for image is “icon”. Yes, we are icons of God. This is why the priest censes us during the Divine Liturgy. Does that mean we look like God? Is God both male and fe-male? Bodily likeness is not what is intended here. Remember that “God is Spirit” (Jn. 4:24). He doesn’t have a body like you and I. Further, St. Gregory of Nyssa states that the distinction between male and fe-male has no place in the divine Archetype (Acrostic Chapters on Spiritual Meditations). How does the body, then. Reveal God’s image? The body (being the outer covering of our soul) and soul together com-prise the human person. St. Irenaeus asserts that God conferred “godlikeness” not only on the soul but on His “visible appearance” as well. St. Cyril says this “likeness” refers to God’s attributes of holiness, good-ness, justice, mercy, righteousness, self-determination and all the other virtues. Yes, we are to mirror God in virtue. This is what St. Paul intended in I Co. 11:1 when he commented about “imitating Christ”. Because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, our masterpieces have been altered; they have become dull and lackluster. Through Holy Baptism, God’s Image is restored in us. By this it is meant that we are made able to participate in His goodness. However, to achieve God’s “likeness”, we must cooperate with divine grace (God’s Uncreated Energies) so that our lives may become inseparable from His. This state of “likeness” refers to union with God. The Church has coined a word for this state; it is called “theosis”. When one obtains the state of God’s “likeness”, St. Athanasios says this person has become a god (by grace). This does not mean that man has become God’s equal! Certainly not! These were the devil’s malicious thoughts! What is intended here is that man has been given the gift of sharing or participating in God’s Nature (Energies of God. No man can know of or experience God’s Essence). Just as a piece of iron that is placed in a fire becomes indistinguishable from the fire (for it akes on the color and brightness of the flame) so does the Orthodox Christian who reaches the state of God’s likeness. However, to reach this lofty gifted state one must struggle against the passions. He combats them through prayer, fasting, charity, detachment, and immersing himself into the sacramental life of the Church. As we embark on a new month-February– the Church gently reminds us that God has given us the gift of time to work on restoring God’s masterpieces, namely, each and everyone of us. Let us make this task our highest priority for the months ahead. With this in mind, I wish you and yours a most blessed month! +Fr. Phil