Saturday, February 29, 2020

Sunday of Forgiveness.
Saint Sophrony the Athonite.

Saint Sophrony the Athonite.

We must say a few words about Sunday of Forgiveness. This day, when we sincerely ask forgiveness from one another, is extremely important. When forgiveness is granted from both sides, the soul then feels free and full of peace. Of course this state of freedom and peace exceedingly softens Lent. Prepare yourselves beforehand then, so that you may toss away from your heart and mind every trace of a negative stance against our brother.
          Already from the beginning of Lent we shall chant about Adam who was chased out of Paradise, and this is important. According to historical order, we shall also later remember the fall of Adam into sin and Christ's decision to blot out the curse. In this ingenious composition of the entire cycle of services, in this amalgamation of theology, prayer and doctrine, which is presented in the books of Great Lent, is written down the entire Tradition. To everything however has been given the form of prayer, so that theology can become the content of all our prayers.
          Forgive me. I have spoken now about the details of our life. Our principle aim I stated in my will. I ask you please to forget my nothingness and to keep that will. I said there that is not about something easy. Nevertheless, each time in such days, as the coming Sunday of Forgiveness, we shall realize this practice and forget all the wounds which were inflicted on us during our life! And when we forgive, from our heart all our brethren, for everything which has piled up in our full of toil, misunderstandings, sorrows, deprivations daily life, then all these are cast off, and our spirit is redeemed and obtains the liberty of the forgiven man, the redeemed from all the consequences of sin and inspired with new hope.
          We should not be surprised that misunderstandings in our life occur, especially during the period of Great Lent. We should however learn to overcome these difficulties, in order to fulfill the law of Christ Who said: "Forgive if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father Who is in Heaven may forgive you your trespasses"[1]. Through the same act, forgiving the sins of our brother, we enter the process of salvation of the entire mankind. Every time temptations or some difficulty appear- because it is impossible to avoid frictions, the consequences of the shortcomings of our flesh-, we must without fail overcome these, and in this will show wisdom.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

How To Cross Great Lent
Saint Sophrony the Athonite.

Saint Sophrony the Athonite.

Today and yesterday my heart aches, and aches in a strange way... And I entreated God: "Not now. Grant me to fulfill my life's work". And here it is. Walking towards the completion of my life's work I shall begin speaking with you on how we should pass the period of fasts.

          I have already spoken to you about my method, which I urge you to imitate. This method is the following: to see our final goal and to walk towards it beginning with the "a. b. c". As regards Great Lent, we should set ourselves precisely this same principle, but condensed. We must understand that we are being offered fifty days of fasting as a preparation to receive the Resurrection of the dead. And we shall build our vision in this way: Now begins our spiritual striving. Our inspiration is multiplied with the thought that millions of Christians will keep this Fast. The way to the Resurrection, even for the Incarnate God, passed through sufferings. The mystery of the Passion we will understand only later. From the beginning we accept this as a condition for our growth in God, as a condition for the acquisition of the word of God and the imitation of His ways in our daily life.

          Thus, let us set for ourselves such an image of Great Lent and we shall see how one Man on earth decided to climb alone Golgotha and break the iron collar of the curse, due to the sin of Adam. He decided to endure everything in a positive way, which no one on earth understood, and no one in reality accepted. And when He completed His "work"[1], He said: "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world"[2].

Saturday, February 15, 2020

On the Love and Humility of God.
Elder Ephraim of Arizona.

Elder Ephraim of Arizona.

Love is the Christian's triumph over the devil, hatred, and envy. In order to reach the divine harbour of God's love, we must first fear Him as God, Who chastens sin and transgression. It is not possible to cross the sea and reach the harbour without a boat. Likewise, it is impossible to reach the harbour of love without repentance. The fear of God appoints us com­mander and captain in the boat of repentance, and it takes us across the murky sea of life and guides us to the divine harbour of divine love. Just as we are unable to live without air likewise it is impossible to live in the eternal life with God if we do not breathe the very sweet and fragrant air of God's love.
Let us shake off the burden of our sins with the power of repentance, and thenceforth light and free as eagles, let us fly high above where the eternal God has stored up the inex­haustible treasures of virtue and wisdom, so that we may drink the waters of eternal life and be deified, as the Scrip­tures say: "You are gods, and all of you are the sons of the Most High."

Saturday, February 8, 2020

O my merciful Redeemer!.
Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.

Metropolitan Kallistos Ware.
As soon as we make a serious attempt to pray in spirit and in truth, at once we become acutely conscious of our interior disintegration, of our lack of unity and wholeness. In spite of all our efforts to stand before God, thoughts continue to move restlessly and aimlessly through our head, like the buzzing of files (Bishop Theophan) or the capricious leaping of monkeys from branch to branch (Ramakrishna). To contemplate means, first of all, to be present where one is - to be here and now. But usually we find ourselves unable to restrain our mind from wandering at random over time and space.
We recall the past, we anticipate the future, we plan what to do next; people and places come before us in unending succession. We lack the power to gather ourselves into the one place where we should be - here, in the presence of God; we are unable to live fully in the only moment of time that truly exists, now, the immediate present. This interior disintegration is one of the tragic consequences of the Fall. The people who get things done, it has been justly observed, are the people who do one thing at a time. But to do one thing at a time is no mean achievement. While difficult enough in external work, it is harder still in the work of inner prayer.
What is to be done? How shall we learn to live in the present, in the eternal Now? how can we seize the kairos(time), the decisive moment, the moment of opportunity? It is precisely at this point that the Jesus Prayer can help. The repeated Invocation of the Name can bring us, by God's grace, from dividedness to unity, from dispersion and multiplicity to singleness. “To stop the continual jostling of your thoughts,” says Bishop Theophan, “you must bind the mind with one thought, or the thought of One only”.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

«Vers toi j'ai levé mes yeux »(Ps122)
Saint Hilaire de Poitier.

Saint Hilaire de Poitier.

«Vers toi j'ai levé mes yeux, vers toi qui trônes dans les cieux.»(Ps122)
La vision progressive de Dieu qui se découvre à ceux qui le cherchent ressemble à une lumière discrète et mesurée, qui par intervalles met fin à une longue cécité et nous prépare à voir la lumière dans tout son éclat. Invoqué dans l'épreuve, cherché par les prophètes, Dieu, par les paroles des prophètes, nous apporte la joie. Il nous faut à présent contempler avec confiance des yeux de la foi celui qui habite les cieux.
Le ciel perceptible à nos yeux de chair, cet éther affermi que nous appelons firmament, passera et cessera d'exister. Le «trône de Dieu» au contraire demeure à jamais. Il est nécessaire que la demeure soit digne de celui qui l'habite: le Dieu infini et incorruptible ne peut habiter en un lieu périssable: nous croyons que Dieu habite le ciel.
Mais quelle est cette demeure? C'est celui qui a dit: «Le Père est en moi et moi je suis dans le Père» (Jn 10,38), «le Père et moi ne faisons qu'un» (Jn 10,30). C'est celui dont l'Apôtre a dit: «Dieu s'est réconcilié le monde dans le Christ» (2 Co 5,19). Il s'agit ici de son fils digne et authentique en lequel le Père habite par la vertu d'une même nature. Aucune différence de nature ne sépare le Fils du Père dont il est né. Mais nous ne parlons pas aujourd'hui de l'indissoluble puissance du Père et du fils. Nous confessons que le Dieu né de Dieu n'est pas par nature séparable de celui qui lui donne naissance. Et le Dieu inengendré qui engendre le Dieu qui est son Fils unique, demeure en ce dernier par l'acte même de son engendrement. Sur lui repose toute notre espérance de connaître Dieu dans son Fils unique. Quant au Dieu incréé, il n'est pas d'être assez sot pour regarder le ciel sans reconnaître que Dieu existe. Oui, Dieu habite le ciel qui est la digne demeure de sa divine majesté.