Saturday, August 22, 2015

St Tikhon Zadonsk Last Homily

(feast day 13/26 August)

   Tikhon's voice was heard for the last time when his will was read at his funeral, which in its triumphant praise of God had pierced through all his earthly trials and conflicts.
   Glory to God, for he has created me in his image and likeness!. Glory to God, who redeemed me, the fallen one; Glory to God, for he was the providence of my unworthy self. Glory, for he called me, a sinner, to repentance!. Glory, for he has handed to me his Holy Word as a lamp shining in a dark place, and by it He taught me the true way. Glory to God, for He has illumined the eyes of my heart!. He has granted me to know His Holy Name!. Glory to God, for He has washed away my sins in the waters of baptism!. Glory, for He has shown me the way to eternal bliss. And this way is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who says of Himself: "I am the way, the truth and the life." Glory to Him, for He did not ruin me in my sin but in His mercy was patient to my transgressions!. Glory to God, for He has shown to me the vain enticements and vanity of this world. Glory to God, for He has helped me in the multi­tude of temptations, grieves and tribulations!.
Glory, for He has preserved me in accidents and mortal dan­gers. Glory to God, for He has defended me from the enemy Satan. Glory, for He raised me when I fell. Glory to God, for He has comforted me in my affliction. Glory to God, for when I erred He converted me: Glory to God, for, like a father, He punished me. Glory to God, for He showed me His dreadful judgment that I might be afraid and re­pent of my sins!. Glory to God, for He revealed to me eternal pain and eternal bliss that I might flee the one and seek the other!. Glory to Him, for to me, the unworthy, He gave food to strengthen the weakness of the body. He gave me clothes to cover the nakedness of my body; gave me a house in which to rest!. Glory to God, for all the other benefits which He gave to me for my sustenance and comfort. As many breaths I have taken, so many graces have I received of Him. Glory to God for everything.
   Today, my brethren, I address my words to you. I cannot talk to you as before with my lips and voice, for I am without breath and without voice; but I converse through this brief letter. First: The temple of my body is demolished and, as dust, is given to dust, according to the word of God: "dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return." But with the Holy Church I believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. My hope sits at the right hand of God, Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God. He is my resurrection and my life; He tells me: "I am the resurrection and the life; who­soever believeth in me even if he be dead shall live again." He will wake me, who am asleep, with his all-powerful voice. Secondly: I have departed from you in the way of all flesh and have gone away, and already we do not see each other as before. But we shall see each other there where all nations that have lived from the beginning of the world till its end will gather. Lord, show us mercy that we may meet there where God is seen face to face, where those who see are made alive, comforted in joy, gladness and eternal bliss!. There do men shine like the sun, there is true life; there, true honor and glory, there gladness and joy; there true blessedness and all that is eternal and endless. Lord, let thy mercy be upon us for we put our trust in thee. Thirdly: To my benefactors who have not abandoned me in need and sickness but in their charity and mercy have provided me with all sorts of goods, many thanks. May God reward them on the day when each will receive according to his deeds. Fourthly: All who in any way whatever have offended me I have forgiven and I do forgive; may God forgive them too, in his grace!. I beg you also to forgive me if perchance I, being human, have offended someone. Forgive and it shall be forgiven you, says the Lord. Fifthly: As I had no possession, I leave nothing behind. I beg those who have lived with me and have served me to exact nothing. Forgive, my beloved ones, and remember Tikhon in your prayer.
   This last message, his last personal greeting to all, bore a signature in his handwriting: "your well-wisher Tikhon unworthy Bishop."

   Gorodetzky N. (1976), Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk Inspirer of Dostoevsky, Saint Vladimir Seminary Press, Crestwood NY, USA.