to heal and to teach suffering men

Saint Athanasius is remembered today. Excerpts from On the Incarnation:

The Lord did not come to make a display. He came to heal and to teach suffering men. For one who wanted to make a display, the thing would have been just to appear and dazzle the beholders. But for Him Who came to heal and to teach, the way was not merely to dwell here, but to put Himself at the disposal of those who needed Him, and to be manifested according as they could bear it (not vitiating the value of the Divine appearing by exceeding their capacity to receive it).

…You know how it is when some great king enters a large city and dwells in one of its houses; because of his dwelling in that single house, the whole city is honored, and enemies and robbers cease to molest it. Even so is it with the King of all; He has come into our country and dwelt in one body amidst the many, and in consequence the designs of the enemy against mankind have been foiled and the corruption of death, which formerly held them in its power, has simply ceased to be.

…The Self-revealing of the Word is in every dimension—above, in creation; below, in the Incarnation; in the depth, in Hades; in the breadth, throughout the world. All things have been filled with the knowledge of God.

…Thus is happened that two opposite marvels took place at once: the death of all was consummated in the Lord’s body; yet, because the Word was in it, death and corruption were in the same act utterly abolished.

…In ancient times before the divine sojourn of the Savior took place, even to the saints death was terrible; all wept for the dead as though they perished. But now that the Savior has raised his body, death is no longer terrible; for all who believe in Christ trample on it as it were nothing and choose rather to die than deny their faith in Christ. And that devil that once maliciously exulted in death, now that its pains were loosed, remained the only one truly dead.

…There were thus two things which the Savior did for us by becoming Man. He banished death from us and made us anew; and, invisible and imperceptible as in Himself He is, He became visible through His works and revealed Himself as the Word of the Father, the Ruler and King of the whole creation.

under the direction of the Great Architect

From Divine Craftsmanship by Jean Hani (compare to this poem):

To say that God is the only architect can be understood in a yet more precise fashion in the case of the construction of the temple. Here, God is more directly the architect of His own abode. …The earthly temple is realized according to a heavenly archetype communicated to men through the intermediary of a prophet or other sacred figure. (46-47)

…The Heavenly Jerusalem, which descends from God, and the shape and dimensions of which were also taught to St John by an angel, is the model of the Christian temple, as is amply proved by the layout of the later, and affirmed by its ritual consecration. (47)

…Now this archetypal building, by its very nature, reproduces the architecture of the universe in such a way that its base corresponds to the earth, its intermediate space to the air, and its roof to the heavenly vault.

From this it follows that the house is a symbol of the universe, which, in a way, is the primordial House of Man; and, as a result, the building of a house will also reproduce or imitate the creation of the world. (48)

…The text from Job evokes the splendor of the original world, spoilt by sin. But God decided to rebuild it. And this new world in the making is the Church, both the earthly and heavenly. The Church is the Holy City, ‘the masterpiece’ of the divine Artisan. ‘It is God who builds Jerusalem’ (Psalm 46). (49)

…The unfolding of this story appears as the spiritual construction of a new world, the New Jerusalem, which under the direction of the Great Architect, is the work of all. It unfolds in three phases. In the first, Christ comes to earth to lay the first or foundation stone, upon this foundation, of which Simon Peter is the visible substitute, the Temple is built with living stones, which are the believers. Finally, in the third phase, the building is completed with the placing of the keystone of the vault, which is again Christ, the Beginning and End, Alpha and Omega. Then the whole building undergoes a glorious transmutation, the stones becoming precious and shining in the Divine Light. At this point, the Heavenly City appears in all its splendor…. (54)

apparently contradictory and without point

From the Bonds of Imperfection by Oliver O’Donovan (a potent exposition of John’s Apocalypse):

As a scroll, it represents history; as a sealed scroll, its contents are unintelligible. So the prophet presents his problem: how can the created order which declares the beauty and splendor of its creator be the subject of a world history, the events of which are apparently contradictory and without point? Only if history can be shown to have a purpose can the prophet’s tears be wiped away and the praise of the creation be resumed.