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Presented by Presbytera Eisodia Menis
Christ is Risen! We are still experiencing the brightness and luminance of the Paschal Feast. It is fitting, after a long journey through the Triodion (the liturgical period before Pascha). As we travelled through Lent we did not ever lose sight of, nor put aside the fact that Christ is risen. Now in our joyful progression through the Pentecostarion (the period of fifty days between Pascha and the feast of the Descent of the Holy Spirit), we can keep our focus on Christ our Lord, His coming, His suffering and His resurrection. In this light I would like to share a little reading that I gleaned from a book by St Anthimos of Chios (Athens: Astir Publishers, 2000, pp. 31-33) that was provided for my edification at a monastery in Greece in 2000. The translation is my own but I pray that I have been faithful to the message that it conveys. “Today, from the morning, I have in my thoughts the parable which says a “man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell into the hands of thieves.” Someone, it says, came down from Jerusalem to Jericho and on the way thieves fell upon him, robbers. Who do you suppose that man was? Now I want to be a professor, the unlearned and uneducated! But never mind. That man, it would seem, was Adam. Jerusalem is explained as Paradise and Jericho, hell. Adam fell from Paradise to the depths of hell; and how did he fall? By his disobedience. “And fell into the hands of thieves.” Thieves are the demons and bad thoughts. He fell into temptations and passions. And when they had denuded him of the graces that he had, they left him naked and wounded. “A priest travelling along the road passed by on the other side” The priest, it seems to me, is Moses. Moses came into the world, tried to save the people, he revealed the commandments of God, he suffered to save the Israelites from their passions and wickedness, but didn’t achieve anything. “Similarly a Levite being in the place came, saw and left”. The prophets subsequently came, they tried to strengthen the faith and the laws, but they also passed by. “A Samaritan travelling, came up to him and seeing him had compassion.” The Samaritan is the most philanthropic Jesus Christ. He saw His creation being punished by the tyrant devil for so long, and He had compassion for him. And so He inclined the heavens and came down, not for His will but being obedient to His heavenly Father, because Adam’s wound was caused by disobedience, it had to be fixed by obedience of the second Adam, Jesus Christ. What was the reason that motivated the Son of God to come down to earth and to suffer so much, even unto death on the Cross? Adam’s disobedience. When God
created Adam, he put him, as you know, in Paradise and appointed him king therein. Only one commandment did he give him: to not eat from the forbidden fruit. He, however, ignored the commandment of God. But what followed this? From immortal, he became mortal, from king over all creation, which he was, he was condemned to eat bread by the sweat of his own brow, he was denied the direct relationship with God, he was exiled from Paradise. “Approaching,” it says,” he bound his wounds and anointed them with oil and wine.” Christ came therefore and having suffered a lot, was mocked, scorned and slapped and spat upon. Lastly He was crucified and gave us His own blood and with the mercy of His compassion He was merciful unto us. “He put him on his own animal and took him to an inn”. He lifted us from our irrational state and handed us over to the church, like to an inn. The money that he gave to the innkeeper is all the words of the apostles and the holy Gospel. “And
year XXXII march - april 2007
MISCELLANEOUS ON THE SPIRITUAL GUIDANCE
(selection of texts by Rev Doru Costache)
St Anthony the Great, Sayings 37
I know about monks who, after many efforts, have fallen and gone crazy, as they trusted their own discipline and payed no attention to the following commandment: “ask your father and he will guide you” [Deuteronomy 32:7]
St Symeon the New Theologian, Catechism 20:2
…constantly call on God, that He may show you a man who is able to direct you well, one whom you ought to obey as if he were God Himself, whose instruction you must St Silouan the Athonite, carry out without hesitation, even if On prayer what he enjoins on you appears to St Basil the Great, you to be repugnant and harmful. If …the novice naturally needs a guide, your heart is moved by grace to even for until the advent of the grace of Epistle 223:2 the Holy Spirit the soul is involved I had wasted much time on follies in fierce struggle against her foes, and spent nearly all my youth in vain and is unable to disentangle itself if labours, and devotion to the the enemy offer it his delights. Only teachings of a wisdom that God had the man with experience of the grace made foolish [cf. 1 Corinthians of the Holy Spirit can understand 1:20]. Suddenly I awoke as out of a this. He who has savoured the Holy deep sleep. I beheld the wonderful Spirit recognises the taste of grace. light of the Gospel truth, and I recognised the nothingness of the Fr André Scrima, wisdom of the princes of this world Time of the burning bush that was come to naught [cf. 1 ...the image of the spiritual father, of Corinthians 2:6]. I shed a flood of tears over my wretched life, and I the elder... He is simultaneously a witness of glory, a servant of his prayed for a guide who might form friends in what matters the union and in me the principles of piety. the agent of the union…
greater confidence in the spiritual father whom you already have, do what he tells you and be saved. It is better for you to be called a disciple of a disciple rather than to live by your own devices and gather the worthless fruits of your own will.
there was morning, one day,” as though the same day often recurred. Now “one” and “eighth” are the same, in itself distinctly indicating that really “one” and “eighth” of which the Psalmist makes mention in certain titles of St Basil the Great, the Psalms, the state which follows On the Holy Spirit 66 after this present time, the day On the day of the resurrection we which knows no waning or eventide, and no successor, that age remind ourselves of the grace which ends not or grows old. Of given to us by standing at prayer, necessity, then, the church teaches not only because we rose with its children to offer their prayers on Christ, and are bound to “seek those things which are above,” [cf. that day standing, to the end that through continual reminder of the Colossians 3:1], but because the endless life we may not neglect to day seems to us to be in some make provision for our removal sense an image of the age which we expect, wherefore, though it is thither. Moreover all Pentecost [the fifty days between Pascha and the the beginning of days, it is not called by Moses first, but one. For feast of the Descending of the Holy Spirit] is a reminder of the resurhe says “There was evening, and rection expected in the age to
The Meaning of Sunday and the Paschal Feast
come. For that one and first day, if seven times multiplied by seven, completes the seven weeks of the holy Pentecost; for, beginning at the first, Pentecost ends with the same, making fifty revolutions through the like intervening days. And so it is a likeness of eternity, beginning as it does and ending, as in a circling course, at the same point. On this day the rules of the church have educated us to prefer the upright attitude of prayer, for by their plain reminder they, as it were, make our mind to dwell no longer in the present but in the future. Moreover every time we fall upon our knees and rise from off them we show by the very deed that by our sin we fell down to earth, and by the loving kindness of our Creator were called back to heaven.
Parochial Life | march - april 2007 |
Ephrem the Syrian, Paschal Prayer
[from Monachos.net] The following prayer is attributed to St Ephrem the Syrian.
I fall in adoration at your feet, Lord! I thank you, God of goodness; God of holiness, I invoke you, on my knees, in your sight. For me, an unworthy sinner, you have willed to undergo the death of the cross, setting me free from the bonds of evil. What shall I offer in return for your generosity? Glory to you, friend of men! Glory to you, most merciful! Glory to you, most patient! Glory to you who forgive sin! Glory to you who have come to save us! Glory to you who have been made man in the womb of a Virgin! Glory to you who have been bound! Glory to you who have been scourged! Glory to you who have been derided! Glory to you who have been nailed to the cross! Glory to you, laid in a sepulchre, but risen again! Glory to you who have preached the Gospel to men and have been believed! Glory to you who have ascended to heaven! Glory to you, seated at the right hand of the Father and who will return with him, in majesty, among the angels, to judge those who have disregarded your passion! The powers of heaven will be shaken; all the angels and archangels, the cherubim and seraphim will appear in fear and trembling before Your glory; the foundations of the earth will quake and all that has life will cry out before Your majesty. In that hour let your hand draw me beneath Your wings, and save me from the terrible fire, from the gnashing of teeth, from the outer darkness and from despair without end. That I may sing to Your glory: Glory to Him who through His merciful goodness has designed to redeem this sinner.
THE TRUTH WITHIN A LIE
Young Anonymous Romanian Poet in Sydney
I hear their weak words whisper, I hear naught but fabled lies, Although I’m the greatest trickster, It’s these men I despise, In every lie there lies a truth, In every truth a lie, And so these men they lie aloof, Whilst rules are forced to die, They give bad names to all that sin, To all that sinners gain, For one must lose so one may win, The loser allotted pain, A lot of pain this world doth deal, A lot of pain is shared, A lot of pain is figured real, A lot of pain is bared, For lies shelter us from hurt, And bear the worst with ease, For within truth lies endless retort, And all are hard to please. So back inside this broken room, Where liars bear the worse, Who do not lie to banish gloom, But lie to spread its curse.
St Ephrem the Syrian
On the good... page 1 whoever,” it says, “keeps what is written, on my return, when I come back (in my second coming) I will reward him.” It is not becoming to me […], to speak because, as you know, I am unlearned and uneducated. But because I have a responsibility for your souls I am not at rest,
Parochial Life | march - april 2007 |
unfortunately, neither day nor night, concerning you. And the obligation that I have makes me become tiresome and garrulous, a chatterbox. […] I beg you, do not tire of me, because my love, my passion, my fatherly affection makes me want to help, I the unworthy, and I am willing to suffer, even to lose my life for your salvation.”
editor: Rev. Doru Costache, PhD layout design: Ion Nedelcu address: 64 Linthorn Ave, Croydon Park, NSW 2133. phone: (02) 9642 02 60 www.sfmariasydney.com
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