by Nektaria Karantzi
Εγκώμια – The Lamentations – 1st, 2nd & 3rd Stasis – Holy Friday
I have heard people slandering, and I have rebuked them. And these doers of evil replied in
self-defense that they were doing so out of love and care for the person whom they were
slandering. I said to them: ‘Stop that kind of love, otherwise you will be condemning as a liar him who said: “Him that privily talked against his neighbor, did I drive away” (Ps. 100:5). If you say you love, then pray secretly, and do not mock the man. For this is the kind of love that is acceptable to the Lord. But I will not hide this from you (and of course be careful, lest you judge the offender): Judas was in the company of Christ’s disciples, and the thief was in the company of murderers. Yet it is a wondrous thing, how in a single instant, they exchanged places.
Saint John of Sinai, Step 10: “On Slander or Calumny,” # 4, in The Ladder of Divine Ascent
hat tip: Daily Dynamis
Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight,
and blessed is the servant whom He shall find watching;
and again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless.
Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighted down with sleep,
lest you be given up to death,
and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom!
But rouse yourself, crying: “Holy, holy, holy, are You, O our God!”
Through the Theotokos have mercy on us!
Again the Lord spoke to the disciples
“See now, Lazarus, our friend has fallen asleep,
And I wish to go and awaken him.”
But they did not understand that the
Redeemer referred to death as sleep,
Indeed if Paul had been there, he would
have known the word of the Word,
For, instructed by Him, he sent to his
Calling the dead those who have fallen asleep,
For who can die if he loves Christ? How can
he fall if he eats the living bread?
He has in his heart the miracle
As a phylactery, so even if he perish
He will be resurrected and he will rise up
Saying, “Thou art the Life and the Resurrection
Romanos the Melodist, “Kontakion on the Raising of Lazarus”
Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, New Testament Vol. 4b (John 11-21), Joel C. Elowsky
The Lord has created me, has brought me from nonentity into being, and after I had fallen, has restored me through His sufferings and death;
He has cleansed me, a sinner, has made me His son by adoption; He has promised me the inheritance of eternal bliss;
He has enlightened me through the light of His Gospel;
He punishes and forgives me like a father;
He lights me with the sun;
He gives me daily food and drink;
and above all He gives me His sweetest and life-giving food—His Body and Blood;
He has diffused air for me to breathe,
and above all He has poured upon me His Holy Spirit.
He clothes me in beauteous garments; above all, He inwardly clothes me with Himself, as it is said: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
He gives me rest in a spacious and clean dwelling, and promises me an eternal, resplendent abode in the heavens; He endows me with health: above all, He gives me spiritual health in abundance, through prayer and especially through the Holy Sacraments and other means.
What shall I render to Him for all this? What can I do for Him in return?
I cannot do anything, except to be faithful to Him with all my might, through fulfilling His Commandments and by offering a firm and unchanging resistance to sin and the Devil.
~St John of Kronstadt
spotted on FB
I knew a sixty-year old Cypriot lady who had cancer. She came to the monastery, and told me, “I have cancer. The doctors told me that in six months I shall die.” I said to her, “Androula, then go for the meeting with the Lord, hold on to His word: ‘whether we die or live we are the Lord’s’ (cf. Rom. 14:8), and prepare for this meeting. You have six months. Wonderful! It is the greatest moment of your life.” She was a woman of prayer. I never console people, “Ah, you will live, it will pass.” I say rather, “Prepare for the meeting”, even if they live afterwards. The woman accepted it, and started saying, “Glory be to Thee, O Lord”, all the time. One day she said to me, “I want you to promise me just one thing: when I will not be able to come to the monastery any more, that you will come to see me once in the hospital, before I die.” I agreed, and before she died I went twice.
The first time I went she was in a pretty bad state, but very peaceful, and I asked her how she was. She said, “Thanks to God, I am well”, even though she was not well – she was dying. She kept saying, “Glory be to Thee, O Lord”, and she was saying another prayer that I had asked her to say, “Lord, I am Thine, save me” (Ps. 119:94). “Just surrender to the Lord with this prayer”, I said to her, “you do not need any other prayers.” After a while, I went to see her again. Her situation had worsened. They phoned me, and I left for the hospital taking Holy Communion with me, although I was not sure if she would be able to partake. I arrived and I saw her: her tummy was like a balloon, from the cancer. The only part of her body that was free from cancer was from the throat up.
I asked her, “How are you, Androula?” Her face was pale but luminous. She stared crying. I was thinking, “Oh, my God, I hope she is not fainthearted.” I said, “Why are you crying?” Do you know what she told me? “Am I worthy to be given such a grace to bear this monstrous thing? Who am I? Glory be to the Lord!” She was in such deep humility. She could not thank God worthily for the grace that she had been given to bear that terrible cancer…. And she departed like that, like lightning.
After that, I returned to the monastery, and the next day celebrated the Liturgy. During the Liturgy, these words were sounding in my heart: “She is saved.” “She is saved.” “She is saved.” I was crying and could not control myself. Fr. Symeon, who is the oldest priest of our monastery, asked me, “What is the matter with you today?” I said, “I just cannot control myself.” I had such joy, and the only thing that was sounding in my heart was, “She is saved.” It was such a beautiful liturgy, and I thanked God who informed my heart that she was received as a saint in the kingdom.
Let us contemplate with faith the mystery of the divine Incarnation… For who, relying on the power of rational demonstration, can explain how the conception of the divine Logos took place? …How was there an engendering without loss of maidenhood? How did a mother, after giving birth remain a virgin? …How was He Who was pure baptized? How did He Who was hungry give sustenance? How did He Who was weary impart strength? How did He Who suffered dispense healing? How did He Who was dying bestow life? And, to put the most important last, how did God become a man? …Faith alone can embrace these mysteries, for it is faith that makes real for us things beyond intellect and reason.
~Saint Maximos the Confessor
hat tip: Daily Dynamis Church Fathers Wisdom