charismatic despair, Elder Ephraim of Arizona, Elder Joseph the Cave-Dweller, Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Elder Sophronios of Essex, Elder Sophrony of Essex, Holy Trinity, Holy Week, Humility, My Elder Joseph the Hesychast, St. Silouan of Mount Athos, St. Silouan the Athonite
Humility is the cloak of the Godhead
by Elder Ephraim of Arizona
We have arrived at Holy Week and the Passion of our Lord. His life-giving Passion began at Bethany, from the village of Martha and Mary. This is where He set out with the little donkey and His disciples in order to make His entrance into Jerusalem. We witness Him Who sits upon a throne of glory simultaneously sitting upon a throne of humility. This is what our Lord wanted to teach us by mounting this humble animal: humility.
With His humility our Christ prompted everyone down here on the earth—even the small children—to sing praises: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mt. 21:9). With His humble entrance before the multitudes of people, He moved and shook up all of Jerusalem. “Who is this person?” exclaimed everyone who was unaware [of what was taking place]. All the people raced to cut branches from palm and bay trees in order to lay them down before His path.
Yet, take a look at how the things of this world change so quickly. On Sunday the crowds were crying out, “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is He who comes,” as well as many other things; four-five days later, however, they shouted, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” (Jn. 19:15). This is how things are on the earth. Nothing is stable. One moment the world exalts a person and the next moment it degrades him. Man is unstable; his works are unstable; his thoughts are unstable; everything in his life is unstable. The humility of our Christ is truly remarkable! It is awesome! We witness the God-man humbly and unpretentiously seated upon a young donkey. His holy example is such a beautiful lesson for us. As we proceed through the mostsacred week of His Passion, His supreme humility becomes even more pronounced. We see Him enduring tortures, ridicule, and slaps. We watch Him suffering the hardship of imprisonment, lifting the Cross, and eventually falling to His knees from the weight of the Cross. Who can fathom that God on earth was slapped by a human hand made of clay, by the hand of the creature whom He fashioned with such beauty, perfection, and wisdom! This person whom He [initially] created as “a god by grace” upon the earth afterward raised his hand and hit God! If our child were to hit us, we would rise up and protest, “How you dare hit me? Your mother, your father…?” But what is a mother or a father when compared to God on the earth? They are just fellow human beings made of clay.
This is where the beauty of Christ lies: His humility! If He were not humble, He would not be God. He is not a dictator; He is not a ruler; He is not haughty. His glory is His humility.