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Old 08-25-2004, 02:04 PM
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Wednesday, August 25 / August 12 (Church Calendar)

Afterfeast of the Transfiguration. Martyrs Anicletus and Photius (Photinus) of Nicomedia

Remembering the One Who Loved Us

The outstanding nature of God is Love (1 John 4:8). God is a limitless, all-encompassing and life-giving sea of love. From the largest to the smallest, everything in existence - visible and invisible, including every molecule in our being - is the work of His incomprehensible love and wisdom. Consequently, it is natural to expect that our daily need must be a ceaseless thanksgiving to our Creator - and not only for evoking us from non-existence by giving us life, but for His continuous fatherly caring for our welfare.

In need of no one, through His surfeit of goodness, God created us so that we could be in communion with Him in eternal life and ecstasy. His fatherly love unfolds with particular distinctiveness in the concern shown in establishing our human nature and the surroundings in which He intended us to settle. It would appear that mankind requires very little to survive and could have been limited to the bare daily essentials. However, through His generosity, God created this immense universe, containing countless galaxies and star systems in all their vastness and splendor that fascinates the mind and delights the heart. Who is worthy enough to competently describe the beauty of God's creation and do justice to it - the azure of the sky and the invigorating warmth of the sun, the immensity of the seas and grandeur of the mountain ranges, the vastness of the plains and the whiteness of the snow, the fragrance of grasses and flowers, the singing of birds, the bubbling of a brook?!

Just like a benevolent mother who is concerned for her children, our Creator has enriched our world with countless varieties of sustenance that strengthen and give us satisfaction, and with a diversity of plants to treat illnesses and fortify our health. In a word, all that is around us, right down to an insignificant blade of grass, is witness to the generosity and fatherly care of our Creator!

That is why learned thinkers and philosophers derived their brightest ideas in contemplating nature, while sensitive poets, composers, and writers, inspired by its beauty, created their works of genius, as exemplified by some of Lermontov's poetry:

When the yellowing wheat field ripples,
And the fresh forest rustles before the sound of the Breeze,
And a raspberry-colored plum hides
Under the shade of a delightful green leaf.
When, sprinkled with fragrant dew,
In the glowing evening or in the golden hour of morning
From under a shrub the silvery lily of the valley
Affably nods its head to me.
When a very cold stream plays along the ravine,
And, a thought, submerging in some vague dream or Other,
Babbles to me a mysterious saga
About a peaceful land from where it is rushing.
Then the uneasiness of my soul is subdued,
Then the wrinkles on my brow scatter,
And I perceive happiness on Earth,
And in Heaven I see God.
M. Lermontov (1814 - 1841).
Translated by Dimitry J. Hicks Hloboschin 8/XII/1999

From: "Remembering the One Who Loved Us," Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
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