14 March 2008

repentance opens up a new way...

Prayers by the Lake, XVIII by St Nicholai of Ohrid and Zica

Repent of your ways, inhabitants of the earth. Behold, the eye of the Master of the world is keeping watch deep within you. Do not trust your seducible eyes, let the Eye illumine your way. Your eyes are curtains over the Eye of God.

Repentance is admission of the way of sin. Repentance opens up a new way. The penitent’s eyes are open to two ways: to the way which he is going, and to the way he should be going.

There are more who feel repentant than there are who turn their wheels onto a new way. I tell you: the penitent must have two types of courage--he must have the courage to weep over his old way, and he must have the courage to prepare himself for a new way.

What good is it for you to feel repentant and still tread the old way? How do you describe a person who is drowning and shouts for help, but when help arrives will not grab hold of the life line? I liken such a person to you.

Repent of your yearning for this world and all that is in this world. For this world is the graveyard of your ancestors, which is gaping and waiting for you. Just a little longer and you will be ancestors and will yearn to hear the word "repentance," but you will not hear it.

Just as the wind begins blowing and carries off the mist before the sun, so will death carry you off before the face of God.

Repentance rejuvenates the heart and lengthens one’s lifetime. The tears of a penitent wash darkness from his eyes, and give his eyes a childlike radiance. The eye of my lake is like the eye of a deer, always moist and radiant as a diamond. In truth, the moisture in the eyes drains the anger in the heart.

The soul in the penitent is like a new moon. A full moon must wane, a new moon must wax.

The penitent clears the weeds from the field of his soul, and the seed of goodness begins to grow.

Truly, the penitent is not one who laments over the evil deed he has committed, but one who laments over all the evil deeds that he is capable of committing. A wise landowner not only cuts the thornbush that has pricked him, but every thornbush on the field that is waiting to prick him.

O my Lord, make haste to show a new way to every penitent, after he scorns his old way.

O heavenly Mother, Bride of the All-Holy Spirit, bow down toward our heart, when we repent. Open the fountain of tears within us, that we may wash away the heavy clay, that saddens our eyes.

O All-Holy Spirit, blow and disperse the unclean stench from the soul of the penitent that has been choking him and lead him to repentance.

We bow down and beseech You, O Life-giving and Mighty Spirit!

13 March 2008

Lenten prayer of St Ephraim the Syrian

O Lord and Master of my life,
Take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust of power, and idle talk.
But grant unto me, Thy servant, a spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love.
Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not to judge my brother,
For blessed art Thou unto the ages. Amen.

O God, cleanse me a sinner.

09 March 2008

asking forgiveness

Dear family and friends in Christ,

Today is Forgiveness Sunday, a day of preparation for our journey of repentance and struggle against the passions, or in other words, Great Lent. Today at church priests and laity alike prostrated ourselves before each other, one by one, repenting and asking for forgiveness. With our hope in the Bright Resurrection of our Lord, in unity we chose unconditional forgiveness and responded to each other "God forgives, and I forgive you."

To my loved ones, acquaintances and to readers just passing by, I ask you to please forgive me, a sinner, for any offense I my have committed against you, whether in knowledge or in ignorance, known or unknown, in word or deed.

To the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray for those who may have sinned against me: may nothing be held against them on my account, but may they be saved by Thy grace. Forgive us, O Lord, for all are the works of Thy hands. Show compassion on us, for Thou art good and the Lover of mankind.

07 March 2008

Women with Icons

I linked to this beautiful slide show from Martha's page. I just love it and hope you will all take a look. Women with Icons

01 March 2008

demon hunters beware

"You don't become holy by fighting evil. Let evil be. Look towards Christ and that will save you." -Fr Stephen

I remember my days of seeking out spiritual battles--taunting the demons, declaring holy war against them...wow. In the end, when my soul passes through the realm of kingdom of darkness with my 'third eye' wide open, we will see who is taunting who along the way to the Final Judgment. (Lord, grant me repentance before the end!)

The thing is that these battles with demons distract from what really matters: the battle within ourselves against our evil passions which pull us further and further away from who/what we are meant to be--holy images of our holy God. Instead of looking toward God in order to learn true love and humility, we are focusing on the evil which exists 'out there' as well as basically practicing pride and judgment to boot. The demons know this and revel in anything that hinders us from using this short life to find unity with God. If we want to fight demons for real, we must achieve real humility. They have no defense against a contrite heart...neither do our passions.

Maybe one could say that instead of hating evil, we should turn from it and love God and our neighbor? 'Cause it sure seems true that we become what we hate...I can't get these guys out of my mind.
Demon Hunter:
"Storm the Gates of Hell"
"Hell hath no fury at all"