August 30, 2021

Homily Seven on the Interpretation of the Doxology: "God as the Source of Life and Light" (Metr. Hierotheos of Nafpaktos)

On the Interpretation of the Doxology:
God as the Source of Life and Light

By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos and Agiou Vlasiou

In the Doxology that we are interpreting in the sermons of the Summer Sundays we find a summary of the whole teaching of the Church. It is significant that the Holy Fathers tried with prayers and hymns to teach us how to pray to God, but also to show us who God is. This can be seen in the verse that we will analyze today.

Towards the end of the Doxology we sing:

"For You are the source of life; in Your light we shall see light."

This verse is important because it reveals two energies of God, namely life and Light.

God is the source of life. He Himself said, "I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 9:6). Life is the opposite of death. As long as death is sin, life is God Himself. In fact, He is not just life, but the source of life. Whoever approaches Christ and unites with Him in the Mysteries of the Church senses Him as life, who gives meaning and purpose to their life, acquiring a lasting inspiration, optimism and joy, a creativity for all good, they are alive and not dead.

God is also the Light. Christ Himself said, "I am the light of the world" (John 9:12). This does not mean that He is the tangible, symbolic and moral light, but the real ontological light. Those who are found worthy to see God see Him as the Light. We find this in the texts of the Holy Fathers of the Church. Moreover, we see this in the event of the Transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor. There the Disciples were found worthy to see the glory of the Divinity of Christ, but also the voice of the Father as a great light, and the presence of the Holy Spirit as a cloud of light, which overshadowed them. The whole Triune God is Light. In the Church we sing: "Light is the Father, Light is the Word, Light also is the Holy Spirit."

But the important thing in this verse is that we confess that we want to see the Light. "We shall see light." This is the purpose of the spiritual life, to one day see God as Light. And this constitutes Orthodox Theology. But for this to happen we must be in the Light. "In Your light we shall see light." The Light of God is visible in itself, that is, we cannot see God as Light with our reason, with the senses, but with the Light of God itself. When we live in the stream of repentance through which the Grace of God works, then we can reach the vision of God as Light.

In an age of humanism, where people live in the human factor and according to their human potential, trying to construct gods that are dark and non-existent, here the truth is emphasized that our God is Light and that we can see God as Light, only when we live in His own Light, when we are guided by His Grace.

Source of life and light. Two great good things that man seeks in every age. He wants to live forever, to enjoy his life, not to die, but also to see the light, not to remain in the dark. We live in a time when man with science thirsts for life, seeks to prolong his life, but also desires to live in abundant light.

We Christians especially should know that our God is the giver of life and Light, for He is "the life and the light and the peace of the world." Thus, those who thirst for life, and desire to see the true light, turn to God and keep His will. We cannot otherwise know the true God.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.