The Holy Dialogue with the Child of the Manger
(Luke 1: 26-38)
In the first Sunday of the month of Kiahk, we saw how St. Mary exemplified the holy silence since her childhood and how the Lord permitted the silence of Zachariah the priest to focus on the study of the Holy Bible and the prophecies about the expected Messiah. St. John, the babe, also praised in his mother’s womb in joy and no one heard his praise save for the Lord alone.
This holy silence does not contradict the holy dialogue, but rather it sanctifies the depths of the soul, emotions and tongue and prepares the believer for the holy dialogue that is harmonious with the holy silence. This is what we see in the person of St. Mary, the mother of the Messiah who is the Word.
Between the dialogue of the first Eve and the new Eve
- Our celebration of the feast of the nativity of the Lord Christ being the incarnate Word of God, is built on our practical enjoyment with the words of the apostle “has in these last days spoken to us by His Son” (Heb 1:2). He came down to us and dwelt among us, that we may hear His voice in our hearts, experience His salvation through the cross, and enter with Him in a holy mysterious and unceasing union. Our depths are sanctified and His kingdom is established in us (Luke 17:21) that our silence becomes like our dialogue, both sanctified in the Holy Lord.
- St. Jacob of Serog imagines St. Mary with her silence, for she was thinking of all the events of the Lord Christ from the annunciation of His birth to the day of her departure to paradise. She also had dialogues and conversations with many: with the shepherds, the Maggi, the heavenly coming to proclaim the annunciation and the heavenly that did not prevent His trial, tortures, and crucifixion. In all this, her Holy silence did not cease. We will recall briefly some of her dialogues.
- St. Erenious (2nd century) sees that Eve in her dialogue with the serpent tied a knot, and the new Eve (St. Mary) untied it with her dialogue with the angel Gabriel.
- St. Jacob of Serog sees that the first Eve began with a corrupt dialogue and followed it with a corrupt silence; however the new Eve began with a holy and beneficial dialogue and followed it with holy silence that is beneficial for her life and the lives of her children, the believers across the ages.
- The serpent crawled to Eve and started the dialogue with her without uttering a greeting or salutation, because the dialogue with the devil or sin does not grant peace. As Isaiah the prophet says “there is no peace for the wicked, said the Lord my God” (Isaiah 57:21). The angel, however, began the dialogue with his saying “peace to you, full of grace, the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). It’s as if the dialogue happened through the divine grace and God’s presence. He who practices holy silence, through which he enjoys the sweetness of the divine presence wherever he is, his dialogue becomes salted with the salt of the Holy Spirit, and in it is sweetness and charm. We then do not marvel at the focus of Joshua, son of Sirach, on the tongue as a tool for the growth of the wise and his glory and the destruction and demolition of the ignorant.
“Honor and shame is in talk: and the tongue of man is his fall” (Ecclesiasticus 5:13).
“Sweet language will multiply friends: and a fair speaking tongue will increase kind greetings” (Ecclesiasticus 6:5).
“To slip upon a pavement is better than to slip with the tongue: so the fall of the wicked shall come speedily” (Ecclesiasticus 20:18).
“Who shall set a watch before my mouth, and a seal of wisdom upon my lips, that I fall not suddenly by them, and that my tongue destroy me not?” (Ecclesiasticus 27:22).
- Eve leaned with her ears to hear the deceitful and the skepticism in the faith: “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Gen 3:1). The dialogue ended in silence before the enemy’s denial of God’s promise: “You will not surely die … and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen 3:4-5). She believed the lies and was silent, so her corrupt silence came following her corrupt dialogue. The new Eve, however, entered into a beneficial dialogue, whose focus is not curiosity, but rather the enjoyment of the growth in the knowledge of God’s mysteries and His interactions. Without this dialogue, who could have known the role of the Holy Trinity in the divine incarnation: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). This dialogue led her to the holy silence in the spirit of faith: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
Someone might wonder: with which should we start, with holy silence or holy dialogue? The practical answer came in the life of the new Eve, which is that whomever experiences the Lord will enjoy holy silence as well as holy dialogue. He who turns away from God to be alone with the enemy of goodness is like the first Eve; his words are corrupt and corrupting, and his silence is also corrupt and destructive.