The Healing of our Wounds

By Fr. Panayiotis Papageorgiou, Ph.D.

As we come closer to the great feast of the Nativity of Christ, questions may arise in our minds regarding this incredible event. I would like to take a few moments to ponder over a few of these questions with you today.

The Church presents this feast as a celebration of the birth of the Son of God — a tremendous miracle and a great mystery: How can the Divine be born of a human? How can God become man and yet remain God? How does this unity of the human and the divine work and function without the divine absorbing and obliterating the human, or the human confining and limiting the divine? We can ponder over this mystery for a long time. We may also want to read the theological debates of the first few centuries of Christianity and try to understand this, but after a certain point we need to surrender to the mystery of this miracle. 

And yet, the birth of Christ is also presented to us as a promise from God for peace and love. The hymn of the angels reverberates: “Glory to God in the Highest and on Earth peace, goodwill to men.”

How can this event relate to our own lives on a personal level. How can the coming of Christ become for us a source of peace and love?

Of course, if we treat this feast only as an opportunity to rest from work, eat a lot of good food, drink, dance and sing, then the benefits from the birth of Christ will be minimal. 

But if we see it as a chance to heal our wounds from the warfare of the devil against us; if we grasp on it as an opportunity for reconciliation with those around us; if we try to understand it as it was meant to be, “that God became man so that we may become ‘God-like'” (St. Athanasios); if we see it as the way through which our human nature may be healed as it unites itself to the Divine nature in Christ, we may begin to truly benefit from the Feast of Christmas.

The Orthodox Church has established various ways to help us be healed, find peace and experience God’s love. Confession of sins is the place and time where we humble ourselves and surrender to God’s Mercy. Through this act of humility, we open up the heavens for the light of God to shine into our hearts and heal us. Prayer, both private, as well as communal, is the way we connect to the Divine and allow Him to unite Himself to us, heal us and grant us His Joy. Holy Communion is where we finally become one with Him and offer Him our whole being in order to be transformed and perfected by Him. It is necessary to take all three of these steps. We can’t skip one and jump to the next. 

Please consider seriously these tested ways for the healing of your soul, as you would consider the best tested treatments that a doctor would offer you for the healing of your body. No one goes to the doctor and begins to give him advice as to how he might treat their particular disease. We respect the opinion of the doctor because he has knowledge through training and experience. He has treated my others and has acquired the experience to treat us, as well.

In the same way, we need to trust the Church and the Wisdom given to Her by God. 

We need to trust the experienced spiritual fathers and allow them through the sacrament of Confession and their spiritual guidance to prescribe for us the medicine specific to our need. That is the only way to a speedy recovery from spiritual ailments and our restoration to peace and joy in Christ.

In Christ’s Love,

Fr. Panayiotis