Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Prince of peace is born!.

He Who made the ages, and existed before the ages,
and in profound silence created
the heavenly Powers of the holy angels.

   Christ is born to save everyone. Therefore, rejoice and exult with the angels and shepherds and all of creation, beloved children of Jesus.
   First of all, like the Magi, I bring you the splendid news that our sweet Jesus is born, and all creation exults and is fragrant, for it sees its Creator held in the Virgin's arms. The angels rejoice together with it and chant melodically, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace!". For God, the Prince of peace, is born - He Who made the ages, and existed before the ages, and in profound silence created the heavenly Powers of the holy angels. He is held today in the arms of His sweetest Mother. He is fed with milk and warmed in her bosom in order to save us all.
   Our sweet Jesus is born so that we may be reborn. He became man to save us and show us the way in which we must follow Him and imitate His deeds. He left us commandments so that we would not wander onto roads leading nowhere and walk in darkness. Our sweet Jesus took on flesh so that we may eat it and enjoy the blessed affinity; that we may become brothers of our Christ and children of His All-immaculate Mother; and finally, that we may become in all respects imitators of the Lord and children of the heaven­ly Father by grace.
   So let each one of us, both young and old, with every word we say, with every step we take, at every moment of night and day, examine if perhaps we do, say, or think something that is not pleasing to Christ. I wonder, are we always worthy when we approach to commune Christ?. I wonder, do we walk in imitation of Him?. I wonder, does our sweet Jesus remain within us?. Does He find a place in our pure heart, or does He depart immediately?.
   A true Christian ought to examine all these things at every moment, especially one who wants to walk the straight and narrow way of our Lord and reach perfection; just like you do, the beloved children of my good and kindly spiritual son, who suffered so much and lost his health so that you would find your spiritual happiness and health. Indeed, every shepherd of rational sheep ought to sacrifice himself for the flock, imitating Christ the Master, Who came to give His soul as a ransom for many.
   So see to it that with much mutual love, with a pure conscience, with pain of soul, and with Christ's love, you have perfect obedience to him, so that Christ is pleased and so that this father of yours, who cares for all of you and seeks your benefit, does not grumble.
   Give up your own will, for it is one's spiritual death. And let each one of you cover up each other's faults, so that Christ in turn will cover up yours. For if you seek justice from your brother, immediately you find yourself up against God, Who puts up with you the sinner. Now that He has awakened you with His grace, you don't want to put up with your weak brother. So where is your justice?. And what if Christ takes His grace away from you and demands the ten thousand talents you owe?. What hast thou, ungrateful man, that thou didst not receive?. Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory every day as if thou hadst not received it?.
   Say to yourself: "If you are standing, my soul, you do so only because grace is supporting you. And if your brother falls, he falls because grace is absent." Therefore, thank God and do not usurp foreign things as if they were yours, because then God takes His grace away and gives it to him, with the result that you fall and your neighbour rises. You will see your mistake then, but it will be too late.
   So whoever amongst you seeks justice, let him know that it is this: to bear the burden of one's brother until one's last breath, and to have perfect obedience to one's guide. Only with love is a weak person edified. And when your spiritual father sees your concord and love, he has joy and gives joy. But when he sees complaining and quarreling, his health breaks down, and he meets an untimely death, Leaving you orphans.
I pray with all my soul for all of you together,
my beloved grandchildren,
humble Fr. Joseph.

Monastic Wisdom: The Letters of Elder Joseph Hesychast (Fifty-Six Letter), St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Monastery (1998), Arizona, U.S.A.