On the Dignity of Mankind

Psa 8:3-4 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

St. Gregory of Nyssa ca. 335-395

Man, who among the things that exist is reckoned as nothing, as ashes, as grass, as vanity, is made the familiar of such and so great a Majesty as can neither be seen, nor heard, nor reckoned. Man is received and accounted as son by the God of the universe. Who can discover a way of giving thanks worthily for such a gift? With what voice, with what thought, what movement of the heart, can a man sing the praises of this superlative gift? Man transcends his own nature: from mortal he is made immortal, from brazen, unalloyed, from ephemeral, eternal, and in short, from man, a god. For if he is made worthy of becoming a son of God he will have entirely in himself the dignity of the Father, and will be heir to all the paternal goods. O, the liberality of that wealthy Master! (The Beatitudes 7)

St. Macarius the Great ca. 4th cent.

If, then, anyone loves God, God also shares His love with him. Once a person believes in Him, God bestows on such a one a heavenly faith and so he becomes twofold. As you offer God any part of yourself, He Himself shares with your soul similar aspects of His own being, so that all you do, you may do sincerely and purely, lovong and praying in this same way. For great is the dignity of humanity. See how great are heavens and the earth, the suna and the moon. But the Lord was not pleased to find His rest in them but in humanity alone. Man, therefore, is of greater value than all other creatures, and perhaps, I will not hesitate to say, not only visible creatures, but also those invisible, namely, “the ministering spirits” (Heb. 1:14). For it was not Michael or Gabriel, the archangels, that God said: “Let Us make according to Our image and likeness” (Gen. 1:26), but He said it concerning the spiritual makeup of the human, I mean, the immortal soul. (The Fifty Spiritual Homilies, Homily 15.22)

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