Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Holy Myrrhbearing Women
An image of seeking the Lord.

   This letter has been written by Saint Theophan the Recluse to the sisters of the Tambov Convent on April 22, 1862, but it applies to every Christian seeking the Lord.

   In the Myrrhbearing Women I see your image, Sisters, the image of a similar attitude of the heart!. For what constitutes the particular characteristic of the myrrh bearing women?. Their constant patient following of the Lord, as if seeking Him. They minister to Him from their substance and accompany Him to Jerusalem; they follow Him as He bears the cross. They surround Him when He is crucified on Golgotha; they watch where He is laid after He is taken from the cross. After the Sabbath, early in the morning they hasten to the grave; and while still in total darkness they are overjoyed by the manifestation of the Resur­rection, and they run to inform the Apostles about Him. With such zeal they cling to the Lord, so insatiably did they want to see Him and be near Him. And so you too, abandoning everything, went to follow the Lord. Blessed is your path. Go and seek always His face.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Thomas l’incrédule.

Père Alexandre Schmemann.

   "Si je ne vois pas - je ne croirai point..." dit Thomas, l'un des douze disciples du Christ, en réponse aux récits pleins de joie de ceux qui avaient reconnu leur Maître ressuscité, après L'avoir vu, crucifié et mort. Huit jours plus tard, selon le texte de l'Évangile, tandis que les apôtres étaient à nouveau réunis, le Christ apparut et dit à Thomas: "Avance ton doigt, mets-le dans mon côté, et crois...", Thomas s'écria: "Mon Seigneur et mon Dieu". Alors le Christ lui dit: "Parce que tu m'as vu, tu as cru. Heureux ceux qui n'ont pas vu et qui ont cru".

Saturday, April 15, 2017

You are free to sing: “Christ is Risen!”.

   Father George Calciu (1925-2006) was a sufferer for Christ. A Romanian by birth, an Orthodox Christian by upbringing, and a priest by vocation, “Calciu” spent a total of twenty-one brutal years in prison, tortured and subjected to brainwashing for his outspoken evangelism and criticism of communist materialism.
   George Calciu was the youngest of eleven children, raised by devout parents as a faithful Orthodox Christian. Romania became communist in 1944, and the government soon began to crack down on the Church. Calciu was a medical student at the time, and his open faith made him suspect. He was imprisoned in 1948, where he was subjected to 1984-style mind control experiments, which aimed to torture the convicts until they denied Christ, and then were forced to torture others toward the same end. “They wanted our souls,” he recalled, “not our bodies.”

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Behold, the Crucified One!.

Elder Philotheos Zervakos.

   Do you see His incorrupt feet which are nailed to the Cross?. They are nailed for us, to direct our own feet upon the way of truth, faith and virtue. Do you see His open arms?. They symbolize the warm love which He has for us; to embrace us, and present us to His Heavenly Father; and to make us His children and His sons, and gods by grace. Do you see that pierced side which pours forth blood and water?. The water represents the baptism by which we were cleansed of original sin. The blood represents the Bloodless Sacrifice which is celebrated on the Holy Altars: by partaking of it, we are sanctified and unified with Him, becoming one Body. Just as a loving mother nourishes her children with her milk, in the same manner, our sweetest Jesus nourishes us as His beloved children; however, not with milk, but with His very Body and Blood.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Principles of Orthodox Ascetism.

Archimandrite Sophrony (Sakharov).

The tonsuring of Saint Silouan as a monk. Frescoe in
Saint John the Baptist Monastery in Essex.
   In every age the spirit of man finds itself concerned with the problem of asceticism. Asceticism is of pressing importance not only to those who set out to be ascetics in the nar­row and, may I say, 'specialist' sense - monks and hermits, for instance - but in general to every Christian. Asceticism, understood as spiritual labour, constitutes an inseparable part of the histories of all known religions and civilizations, even of civilizations with no religious basis. Every religion, all the old and new para-religious forms, the lives of the mystics - all have their ascetic culture, which varies in accordance with the underlying dogmatic consciousness.