The Cross. Tree of Life
FAITH Magazine March-April 2007
This Tree is my eternal salvation. It is my nourishment and my banquet. Amidst its roots I thrust my own roots deep; beneath its boughs I grow and expand, revelling in its sighs as in the wind itself. Flying from the burning heat, I have pitched my tent in its shadow, and have found a resting place of dewy freshness.
I flower with its flowers; its fruits bring perfect joy - fruits which have been preserved for me since time's beginning, and which freely now I eat. This Tree is food, sweet food for my hunger, and a fountain for my thirst; it is clothing for my nakedness; its leaves are the breath of life. Away with the fig tree from this time on !
If I fear God this is my protection; if I stumble this is my support; it is the prize for which I fight and the reward of my victory. This is my straightened path, my narrow way; this is the stairway of Jacob, where angels pass up and down, and where the Lord in very truth stands at the head.
This Tree, vast as heaven itself, rises from earth to the skies, an immortal plant, set firm in the midst of heaven and earth, base of all that is, foundation of the universe, support of this world of men, binding force of all creation, holding within itself the mysterious essence of man.
Secured with the unseen clamps of the spirit, so that, adjusted to the Divine, it may never bend or warp, with foot resting firm on earth it towers to the topmost skies and spans with its a embracing arms the boundless gulf of space between.
... And lo, even while all things shuddered and heaved in earthquake, reeling for fear, his divine Soul ascended, giving life and strength to all; and again creation was still, as if the divine Crucifixion and Extension had everywhere unfolded and spread, penetrating all things, through all and in all.
O Thou who art Alone among the alone, and All in all, let the heavens hold thy Godhead, paradise thy soul and earth thy blood. For the Indivisible has become divided so that all might be saved and the world below might not remain ignorant of the coming of God.
Pseudo-Chrysostom Sermon VI for Holy Week (PG lix 743 - 6)