‘The word of God, incorporeal, incorruptible and immaterial, came down to our world. Not that he had been far off before, since no part of creation was ever without him. Together with his Father he filled all things.
He came to us full of love for us and showed himself to us openly. He took pity on our race and our weakness and was so moved by the corruption that had got the better of us, that he could not allow death to rule over us any longer. Had death prevailed, creation would have perished and his Father’s work in forming man would have been in vain. Because he did not wish merely to be in a body or simply to be an apparition, he took to himself a nature which was no different from ours.
He built himself a temple, a body that is, in the Virgin, and so made himself an instrument in which to dwell and make himself known. In this way he took from us a body like our own and, since all men are subject to the corruption of death, he surrendered his body to death for all and offered it to the Father lovingly for our sake. His purpose was that, as all men died on him, the law of death which was in force against men should be abrogated. Death would have its final say in the body of the Lord and would thereafter be powerless against his fellow men. To turn men back from corruption to incorruption and rescue them from death to life, he himself destroyed death, as straw is bent up in a fire, by his incarnation and his glorious resurrection.
…So the word of God who is above all offered his own temple, his body, for the life of all, and by his death paid the debt that was due. United to us all by the human body that was his, the incorruptible Son of God clothed us all with incorruptibility by the promise of the resurrection. Even the corruption of death has no longer any power against men because of the Word who dwelt among them in one body’.
from his discourses by St Athanasius, c.296-373
Everliving God, whose servant Saint Athanasius bore witness to the mystery of the Word made flesh for our salvation: give us grace, with all thy Saints, to contend for the truth and grow into the likeness of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon