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barbszy 01-30-2007 06:21 AM

Elizabeth, thank you for posting that one. It is very good advice to remember. :) I'm going to reflect on this one today.

ewriggs 01-30-2007 02:53 PM

Yes - the Saints of the Church have some really good things to say!!

I'm still strongly "attached" to St. Nikolai Velimirovich, a 20th century saint from Serbia. Incredible man...


*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ *~*
~*~ Lent is coming. In three weeks, the Vespers of Forgiveness will see in the fast proper, the actual period of 'joyful sorrow' that marks the journey into Pascha. But even now the Church begins to situate herself into that spirit which is necessary for joy, for sorrow, for repentance: the spirit of humility which can only come as our pride is brought low and in the depth of our hearts we realise that there is no other cry which mortal man can make in the presence of his King than the words of the humble collector of tax: God, be merciful unto me, a sinner!
M.C. Steenberg, 2001 ~*~
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ewriggs 01-31-2007 02:16 AM

This is the first week of the Triodion - the service book used during Great Lent. We are in the "getting ready for Great Lent" season.

This week is a fast-free week - we can eat whatever we wish every day of the week.

On Sunday, we celebrated the Sunday of the Publican and the Pharisee. Every year we enter the season of the Triodion by remembering the penitence of the Publican and by trying to emulate him.

There are special songs we sing throughout this "pre-season" and in Great Lent. But for the most part, we pray every day with the Publican, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner."

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ *~*
~*~ My eyes have been weighed down through my iniquities, and I am unable to look up and gaze on the height of heaven. But receive me, O Saviour, as I repent like the Publican, and have mercy on me. ~*~
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ewriggs 01-31-2007 12:41 PM

"Noxious foods give trouble when taken into the body; but as soon as he feels the pain, the person who has eaten them can quickly take some emetic and so be unharmed. Similarly, once the intellect that has imbibed evil thoughts senses their bitterness, it can easily expel them and get rid of them completely by means of the Jesus Prayer uttered from the depths of the heart."

St. Hesychios the Priest.

The Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."

ewriggs 02-03-2007 08:05 AM

"I have heard people say that one cannot achieve a persistent state of virtue without retreating far into the desert, and I was amazed that they should think that the unconfinable could be confined to a particular locality. For the state of virtue is the restitution of the soul's powers to their former nobility and the convergence of the principal virtues in an activity that accords with nature. Such a state is not achieved adventitiously, by external influences; it is implanted within us at our creation by virtue of our endemic divine and spiritual consciousness; and when we are impelled by the inner consciousness in accordance with our true nature we are led into the kingdom of heaven which, in our Lord's words, is 'within us' (cf. Luke 17:21). Thus the desert is in fact superfluous, since we can enter the kingdom simply through repentance and the strict keeping of God's commandments. Entry into the kingdom can occur, as David states, 'in all places of His dominion'; for he says, '

In all places of His dominion bless the Lord, O my soul' (Ps. 103:22)."

Nikitas Stithatos.

ewriggs 02-03-2007 11:08 AM

For Sunday, 4 Feb 2007
This is the second Sunday of the Triodion - the Lenten Service Book. On this Sunday we remember the Parable of the Prodigal Son. We recall that we, too, have rejected our Father in Heaven just as did the prodigal. During the period before Pascha (Easter) we remember our own sins and unworthiness. One of the verses we chant during the Vespers of the Sunday of the Prodigal Son (usually on Saturday night) is:

What great blessings have I forsaken, wretch that I am?
From what kingdom have I miserably fallen?
I have squandered the riches that were given me;
I have transgressed the commandments!
Woe to me when I shall be condemned to eternal fire!
Cry out to Christ, O my soul, before the end draws near://
Receive me as the prodigal, O God, and have mercy on me!

Throughout the year, we pray that God will have mercy upon us, but this is gradually intensified in the 4 weeks before Great Lent and even more intensified during Great Lent.

May God have mercy upon us all!

ewriggs 02-12-2007 02:18 AM

Yesterday was the Third Sunday of the Triodion - The Sunday of the Last Judgement. We note that all the verses are more and more penetential as we approach Great Lent.

The following is from the Vespers of the Sunday of the Last Judgement:

When Thou shalt come, O righteous Judge, to execute just judgement,/
enthroned in glory and escorted by Thine angels,/
every man will stand in fear before Thee,/
trembling at the river of fire flowing past Thy throne,/
as each one awaiteth the sentence he deserveth./
On that fearsome day have mercy on us as well, O Christ;/
vouchsafe us salvation,/
for, worthless though we are, we turn to Thee in faith,//
O compassionate and merciful Lord.

For with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption: //
And He shall redeem Israel out of all his iniquities.

Beginning today, Monday, we abstain from all meat, but we may have wine, olive oil, dairy foods, eggs and fish every day this week.

Our priest frequently speaks of the Church as our Mother - who eases us into the Great Fast so gently.

ewriggs 02-13-2007 05:50 AM

2/13/07 - Tuesday of Cheesefare Week
From the Aposticha of the Matins for Tuesday of Cheesefare Week

Come, O people, receive Lent with gladness!
The beginning of Spiritual Warfare arrives!
Forsake the indulgence of thy flesh,
That the Gifts of the Spirit may be increased in thee!
Embrace thy share of suffering, O Soldiers of Christ!
Prove thyselves to be children of God!
The Holy Spirit will take up His abode in thee,//
And thy souls will be filled with His light!

From the Aposticha of the Vespers for Tuesday of Cheesefare Week:

Come, O Faithful, let us receive with joy
The divinely-inspired announcements of Lent!
Like Ninevites of old, like harlots and publicans
Who heard John preaching repentance,
Let us prepare ourselves through fasting
For the Master's Communion in Zion!
Let us wash ourselves with tears of purification;
Let us pray to behold the fulfillment of Pascha, the true revelation!
Let us prepare ourselves
To adore the Cross and Resurrection of Christ Our God!//
Do not deprive us of our expectation, O Lover of mankind!

ewriggs 02-14-2007 06:54 AM

"As I ponder the true nature of compunction, I find myself amazed by the way in which inward joy and gladness mingle with what we call mourning and grief, like honey in a comb. There must be a lesson here, and it surely is that compunction is properly a gift from God, so that there is a real pleasure in the soul, since God secretly brings consolation to those who in their heart of hearts are repentant."

St. John Climacus.

ewriggs 02-14-2007 03:07 PM

Grant us to pass in peace and humility
Through the days of cleansing that prepare us for the Fast.
In Thy ineffable love for mankind, O Christ our God,
Destroy the evil plans of the enemy.
Preserve us all by Thy Cross, //
For Thou alone knowest the secrets of our hearts.

[Sessional Hymn, Matins for Wednesday of Cheesefare Week]

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