CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!
Pascha approaches: we should reflect once again on this crux of our faith, orient ourselves anew by the perspective that if offers, and enter afresh into its mystery.
By his death, his voluntary self-offering in love for us, Christ has destroyed death and granted us life. We say such words so often, that we frequently become immune to the stumbling-block and scandal that they present, and so overlook their implications for us. By dying, as a human being, Christ has shown us what it is to be truly divine. Lordship manifest in service, strength in weakness, wisdom in folly. If he had shown us what it is to be divine in any other way (acting, for instance, as a superhuman god), we could have had no share in him and his work. The fact is that we are all going to die, whether we like it or not. The only question is how we are going to die? Clinging to all that we think is ours, our own life and possessions, our own status or merit? Or following him on his path to Golgotha, laying down our life in love for him and our neighbors? Living, yet still dying, or dying to live.
It is quite clear that sin is likened unto the fig, inasmuch as it possesses the "delight" of sensual pleasure, the "stickiness" of sin itself and the "hardness and sharpness" of a guilty conscience.
The fig tree is also every soul which is devoid of all spiritual fruit. In the morning, that is, after this present life, if the Lord finds no refreshment in such a soul, He withers it with a curse and hands it over to the everlasting fire. It remains standing as a dried-up post, striking fear into those who do not produce the fitting fruit of the virtues.
These are the seven rules of a Christian:
In the first place, as scripture says,
"Love God with all your soul and all your mind."
Then, love your fellow human beings
as you love yourself.
Fast from all evil.
Never pass judgement on anyone, for any cause.
Never do evil to anyone.
Discipline yourself and purge yourself
from material and spiritual evil.
Cultivate a modest and gentle heart.
If you can do all these things
and see only your own faults, not those of others,
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ
will be with you abundantly.
Always to want your own way,
becoming accustomed to having it,
always to seek the easy path -
all this leads straight to depression.
But love, quietness, and contemplation of the inner life
cleanse our hearts.
I have never allowed myself to go to bed
while I still felt resentment against a person,
And, as far as I was able,
I never allowed anyone else to go to bed either,
as long as they still felt resentment against me.
When you go out after prayer,
keep your tongue under restraint,
for it is well capable of dissipating,
in a very short time,
what you labored to gather together.
Where else in the ancient world - or in the modern world, for that matter - has a people had the courage to say that its origin was characterized by weakness, if not failure? This is another reminder that Israel tells its history, not from the standpoint of human achievement but in the consciousness of God's searching judgment. (Understanding the Old Testament, p. 78)
The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children's children, to the third and fourth generation. (EX. 34:6-7)
Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. (HEB. 12:12)
The angel Lucifer fell from heaven
solely on account of one passion - his pride.
It makes me wonder whether it is possible
to rise up to heaven
solely on the strength of humility.
If you cannot avoid grave lapses,
because of bodily weakness,
you must take the road of
and all its qualities,
for there is no other road
that will lead you back to salvation.
If we dwell on hurts that others have given us,
we will be like those bizarre
interpreters of scripture
who read the spiritual text in any way that suits
Put this attitude to shame within you
by reciting the Jesus Prayer:
"Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on us."
Do not be surprised
if you fall back into the old ways every day.
Do not be disheartened
but resolve to do something positive,
and without question,
that angel who stands guard over you
will honor your
I have often prayed and asked God
for what seemed good in my own estimation.
Like a fool, I kept on at God to grant me this;
I would not leave it to him
to arrange as he knows best for me.
Then, having obtained the thing
I had prayed for so stubbornly,
I have often been sorry
that I did not leave it to the will of God,
for the reality often turned out very different
from the way I had imagined.
The fast, the source of blessings,
now has brought us midway through its course.
Having pleased God with the days that have passed
we look forward to making good use of the days to come,
for growth in blessings brings forth even greater achievements ...
And so I desire to fix three precepts in your mind so that you may accompany them during the fast: to speak ill of no one, to hold no one an enemy, and to expel from your mouth altogether the evil habit of swearing.
Before Thy Cross, we bow down in worship, O Master, and Thy holy Resurrection we glorify!
Today, as we bow down before the Cross of the Lord, we cry:
Rejoice, O tree of life, the destroyer of hell!
Rejoice, O joy of the world, the slayer of corruption!
Rejoice, O power that scatters demons!
O invincible weapon, confirmation of the faithful:
Protect and sanctify those who kiss you!
(Wednesday evening, Fourth Week of Lent)
Let us cleanse our souls in the waters of the fast.
Let us approach the precious and most pure cross of the Lord,
venerating it in faith and drawing forth divine enlightenment,
reaping even now the rich harvest:
eternal salvation, peace and great mercy.
(Wednesday evening, Fourth Week of Lent)
Do not pray for your heart's desires,for they may not entirely harmonizewith God's purposes.Pray instead as you have been taught:"May your will be done in me."Pray to God this way about everything,that his will might be accomplished in you,for he only desires what is good and usefulfor your life,whereas you do not always request this.