December 6, 2022

Homily on Saint Nicholas of Myra (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on December 6/19, 1953)

Listen to the words with which Holy Scripture begins: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness was over the deep, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. And God said: 'Let there be light.' And there was light. And God saw the light that it was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness night."

People who think they are educated scoff at the biblical story of the creation of the world, and especially scoff at the fact that the light was created on the first day, and the sun, moon and stars only on the fifth day. They mock our belief that light could exist when there were no heavenly bodies.

Well, by such mockery they reveal only their scientific ignorance: they do not know that the universe is full of luminous matter. The smallest particles of matter have the ability to glow, light is inherent in them.

And the light of the celestial bodies: the sun, the moon, the stars is only the result of the accumulation, condensation of this luminous matter.

The sun, moon and stars were formed by such condensation, by condensation of matter, which is inherent in luminosity.

This means that if God created heaven and earth on the first day, if He created all that countless matter with which the universe is filled, then there is nothing strange in the fact that on this first day He endowed matter with the property of being luminous, of being the bearer of light. And we know that in the vast universe there is an innumerable amount of luminous matter that has not yet condensed into stars and suns.

This is the first thing. And the second thing is that the creatures who mock the daylight don't know is that there are different kinds of light, not just sunlight.

There is another form of light called phosphoric light. This ability of matter to shine with a special phosphoric light inherent in it is manifested, among other things, in the fact that the vast depths and bottom of the oceans and seas, into which sunlight does not reach, are not at all dark: there is light, everything is illuminated by this phosphoric light.

This form of light is also inherent in matter itself.

But let's leave science, let's talk about something else. Do you not know that when the great prophet of God Moses descended from Mount Sinai, carrying two stone tablets on which the ten commandments were written with the finger of God, his face shone with a light unbearable for human eyes, and the Israelites asked him to cover his face, for they could not look at him.

You know that on the great day of the Transfiguration, the face, the whole figure, the whole garment of the Lord Jesus Christ shone with a similar light.

Many of you probably read in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles that when the chief priests and scribes and Pharisees, indignant at the preaching of the apostles, ordered them to be imprisoned, an angel of God appeared in prison at night, and with his unearthly light illuminated the entire prison.

What light is this, what light did the face of the prophet Moses shine with, with what light did the Lord Jesus Christ shine on Mount Tabor, what light shone in the dungeon when an angel entered it?

Of course, this is not material light, not the light of the sun, moon and stars - this is Divine light, a light unknown to this world, a light emanating from God. But there is another form of light, perhaps the most important for us - the invisible light, the light that the human eye does not see, the light that also has its origin from God.

With this invisible light, the bodies, faces and eyes of people who completely loved God, dedicated their whole lives to God, people who set the fulfillment of Christ's commandments as the goal of their lives have shone and still shine.

Their eyes, their bodies, all their movements are all imbued with an invisible light: how do we know about this invisible light, how do we perceive it? We know about it and can perceive it, because we ourselves are spiritual beings, not only corporeal. In addition to the body, we consist of a soul and a spirit – a spirit that is close to the Spirit of God, a spirit that has its origin from Him.

And we can perceive everything spiritual with our human spirit, for all forms of the spirit - the human spirit, the angelic spirit, the Spirit of God - are related to each other and have the ability of mutual penetration of one into another.

The spirit of holy people can invisibly reveal to us what their souls hide, for it has the ability to penetrate into our souls, into our spirit.

The invisible light of angels, the invisible light of the Holy Spirit can also enter into communication with our human spirit.

And the deeper the life in God of righteous people, the more their whole being will be imbued with an invisible light, the light that is perceived by the human spirit, is tremblingly perceived.

People like such great venerables as Anthony the Great, Makarios the Great and our great venerables Anthony and Theodosius of the Caves, Sergius of Radonezh and Seraphim of Sarov, were bearers of this invisible spiritual light.

Their whole life was the life of the spirit. They despised the flesh, they did not care about it, they cared only about the spirit. Their whole life passed in continuous prayer, contemplation of everything sublime, everything Divine, in constant reading of Holy Scripture.

The great Saint Nicholas, whose memory we celebrate, was full of invisible light. He was full of this invisible light that emanated from him and was perceived by human hearts and souls.

What is the source of this light? It appears in the human heart as a person fulfills the law of Christ more and more deeply, as he does more and more good deeds, as he becomes more and more merciful, to the point of approaching the Saint who is now commemorated by us, Nicholas, who saved an unfortunate starving man from the shameful sale of the bodies of his three daughters for fornication.

Don't you also know about many other good deeds of his?

Don't you know that he was the rule of faith and the image of meekness, and an invisible light, like the rays of the sun, emanated from his heart, from his whole being. He was meek, for he fulfilled the commandments of Christ. In humility and meekness, he drew close to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, whom he had served without laziness all his life.

And precisely because the invisible light has been emanating from the soul of the deceased Hierarch for a thousand and a half years already, for this light did not perish with his death, precisely because we love him so much that we ourselves strive for this spiritual light, the invisible light.

Strive, strive all of you for the invisible light, for the great light, which Saint Nicholas was full of. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.