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The divine calendar and how it works Part II

Please refer to this article if you have not read Part I already.

Divine calendar English

The early church’s legacy to ensure spiritual growth

The divine calendar is a deep and overwhelming mystery! It is like a pot overflowing with graces. It is an incredibly rich legacy of the early Church led by the Holy Spirit that enables and ensures systematic growth of our inner man by helping us to put off the old man and put on the new heavenly man—thus becoming Christ-like, bit by bit, year after year.

…it is based on the mystery of Christ’s incarnation

Why is it a mystery? Because it directly draws on the deep mystery of Christ’s incarnation. All that He did, He did for our sake, having taken our flesh and bearing us in Himself. Our spiritual perfection is already there—in Him! He accomplished it for us in all aspects of His own incarnation. So, it is already there! There is only one question: How can we take and receive from it? 

… overcoming the alliance of the enemy with our fallen nature

Yes, even if we want to take it, we experience being hindered in many ways. Our old nature stands against it, and the enemy uses every bit of our old and fallen nature to work against God’s complete salvation in us. Also, the more we come into Christ’s light, the more we realise the depth of the abyss of our fallen nature that extends before us. Where and how do we begin?

… through the divine work of the Holy Spirit

This is why we say the divine calendar is a tool of the Holy Spirit. He is the only One who can shed light into the dark areas of our souls and surface the hidden roots of our sins. It is only Him who can—in a mystical way—transfer the life of the Incarnate Christ and His acts of salvation to us. He alone knows how we can progress from one step to the other, so that we do not get lost nor distracted, but reach the high goal: ‘it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:20).

Christ’s acts of salvation are overflowing wells of grace

We all know that there is no physical growth without food and nourishment. The same applies to our spiritual growth! To become like Jesus, we need to feed on Him. Strange as it sounds this is exactly what Jesus calls us to do (John 6:53). This points to the deep mysteries of incarnation. Our salvation is in these mysteries of incarnation. In fact, God did not just proclaim salvation. He brought salvation to us through the incarnation of the Son: Jesus was born, circumcised, baptised, tempted in the desert, crucified, resurrected, and taken up into the heavens from where He asked the Father to pour out the Holy Spirit upon His Church. All these are ‘acts of salvation’ or ‘salvific events’, elements of the totality of our salvation. All of them are filled with divine energy for our transformation. They are overflowing wells of salvation. 

Full salvation needs all the acts of salvation together

Our salvation is not only in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. If we only focus on these two acts of salvation, we will not enter into the fullness of our salvation. Unfortunately, we have lost the full picture of salvation, resulting in the many lamentable defects and weaknesses which we witness in today’s Church. Full salvation needs all the acts of Christ’s salvation together. We need to take from all of them: from His birth, from His circumcision, from His baptism, etcetera.

… taking as much as possible from the infinite riches of each act of salvation

Not only do we need all the acts and aspects of Christ’s life as the incarnated God, but we also need to understand with the fathers of the early Church that each act of salvation in itself is an infinite and rich well of salvation (Isaiah 12:3), overflowing with graces, with divine energy. So, there are the graces of Christ’s baptism, the graces of His cross, the graces of His resurrection, etcetera; and we need to drink from each of these wells as much as we can.

The divine calendar is the instrument of the Holy Spirit 

We do this by living the divine calendar from year to year. As we follow this calendar, the Holy Spirit unlocks these graces for us. He yearns to pour Christ’s life—His life as the Baby Jesus, His life as the Crucified Christ, His life as the Risen Christ, etcetera—into our inner man.

… to tailor the abundance of grace to our specific needs

Since each of Christ’s acts of salvation is in itself an unlimited well of salvation and graces, we would be unable to absorb and digest it all in one instant. We need to receive it bit by bit. Therefore, the Holy Spirit portions it into digestible, yearly pieces. Every year, He offers us a specific aspect of the grace of each act of salvation tailored to the specific and individual needs of our inner man for that year. Thus, it would be my specific grace of Christ’s birth that year, my specific grace of Christ’s baptism that year, my specific grace of Christ’s cross that year, etcetera.

… to build our inner man, year after year

All these graces are divine energies, mystically driving the transformation of my inner man. And they are all connected to bring out a specific feature of Christ in me each year as I pass through each season of Christ’s acts of salvation.

The early Church understood the mystery

Based on this understanding, the early Church, led by the Holy Spirit, arranged the main acts of Christ’s salvation in a cycle of annual seasons and feasts. This is what we call the divine calendar. 

… but most of us have lost the understanding of this mystery

We all know about it, and we still celebrate the feasts and observe some of the seasons. Most Christians celebrate Christ’s birth at the appointed date (on December 25th for the churches that follow the Gregorian calendar, and January 7th for the churches that follow the Julian calendar). However, most of us have lost the true value and benefit of what we call the Church year or liturgical year. The annual feasts and seasons have become mere points of remembrance and commemoration. 

The divine calendar is a divine idea

When it is celebrated and lived out in the full understanding and correct way as the early fathers did, the Church year (the divine calendar) would be the perfect aid that would help us in being holy and becoming Christ-like.

Why perfect? Because it is a divine idea. 

… since the days of the people of Israel

God prepared the Church to understand this idea from long before. Already in Israel, in the Old Testament, not only did God establish an annual cycle of feasts and seasons for His people (see Leviticus 23, Deuteronomy 16:1-17), but He also put great emphasis on every member of the people to observe these feasts in order to continually bring back to Him His people who were always so prone to falling into idolatry and going astray from Him. Through the yearly feasts, particularly by calling all men to appear before Him in Jerusalem at the three main feasts (Exodus 23:14-19), God wanted to constantly realign His people to Himself. 

Therefore, the feasts of the Old Testament already carry a salvific effect, pointing to Christ’s acts of salvation—several of which are so obviously connected to the feasts and seasons in the Old Testament. This is most apparent in Christ being the ultimate Passover Lamb, slaughtered and crucified at Passover.

Let’s learn from the early Church how to unlock God’s transformative graces in each season of the divine calendar

How do I receive the specific grace of each season, each year?  How do I receive Christ’s life which I need to be poured into my inner man bit by bit—His life as the New-born Christ, the Baptised Christ, the Crucified Christ, the Risen Christ, etcetera?

Let’s look at what the early Church did. In the early times of Christianity, the believers learned to wait with a fervent desire for the impartation of the fresh grace, of a new measure of Christ’s divine transforming grace, year after year in every season. The readings and prayers of the Church during each season immersed the believers into the distinct atmosphere of the season. The teachers focussed their teachings on the truths and mysteries of the season, and the prophets opened up new depths in the Word of God regarding that season. To prepare, the season would start with a fast—and end with a feast, in order to fully receive and seal the grace. This is one of the secrets behind the gigantic spirituality of the early Church! 

Preparation is key!

Preparation is key! The purpose of the fast, in particular, is to prepare our spirits and empty a space in us to receive the new grace. Otherwise our spirits can be drained, asleep, quenched, or blocked, and thus unable to receive the grace. As we empty ourselves, the new life of Christ of the season starts being poured into our spirits.

The journey’s end: restoring your original person and your true fellowship with God

If you learn to draw from the wells of Christ’s salvific acts and to receive from His fullness year after year (John 1:16), Christ’s salvation will do a deep work in you and extend in you, making you grow spiritually from season to season and from year to year. This will transform you into the image of the Son of God. It will grant you the fullness of His salvation (Ephesians 4:13) and enable you to live like He did. You will be restored to your original image and to the true and full fellowship with the Holy Trinity. You will be able to live in the world as a true ambassador for Christ (Romans 8: 29; 2 Corinthians 5: 17–21) and you will be able to fulfil your responsibility in God’s Kingdom.

… and the unity of the Church 

Also, living the seasons of salvation according to the heritage of the early Church will reconnect us spiritually to a time when the Church was still one. This will mystically restore the unity of the Church, closing the gaps between the Eastern and the Western parts of the body of Christ, and thus prepare the scene for His Second Coming.

Now it’s your turn – get started!

Here you can download a practical guide on how to apply the divine calendar in your life.

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