Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Diokleia
Am I not free?
(1 Corinthians 9:1)
God persuades, He does not compel;
for violence is foreign to Him.
(Epistle to Diognetus VII, 4)
What Shall We Offer?
In an Orthodox hymn used at Vespers on Christmas Eve, the Virgin Mary is seen as the highest and fullest offering that our humanity can make to the Creator:
What shall we offer You, O Christ,
Who for our sakes have appeared on earth as human?
Every creature made by You offers You thanks:
The angels offer You a hymn,
The heavens a star,
The Magi gifts,
The shepherds their wonder,
The earth its cave,
The wilderness the manger;
And we offer You a Virgin Mother.
As our supreme human offering, the Mother of God is a model — next to Christ Himself, and through God’s grace — of what it means to be a person. She is the mirror in which we see reflected our own true human face. And what she expresses, as our pattern and example, is above all…