The Glory of Crucified Love

So, when we venerate the Cross, when we think of Christ’s crucifixion, when we hear the call of Christ to deny ourselves (and these words simply mean: turn away from yourself! Take up your cross!) we are called to open ourselves to the flood of Love Divine that is both death to ourselves and openness to God and to everyone.

Image result for exaltation of the crossIn the beginning of the Gospel of St. John we are told, And the Word was with God. In the Greek it says “Godwards”. The Word, the Son had no other love, no other thought, no other movement except towards the Beloved One, giving Himself to Him Who gave Himself perfectly to Him. Let us learn the glory of crucified Love, of this sacrificial Love, which is, in the words of the Old Testament, stronger than death, stronger than hell, stronger than all things because it is Divine Life conquering us and poured through us onto all those who need to be loved in order to come to Life, to believe in Love, to become children of Love, children of Light, and inherit Life eternal. Amen.

 Maetropolitan Anthony of Sourozh- 

(Exaltation of the Cross)

 

Holy Angelic Intercession

Another time when he was again in the country, he lifted up his hands to pray. Suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Lord sitting on a glorious throne surrounded by the apostles and a multitude of angels. Dazzled he stood looking at them. He wanted to fly like a bird, if he could, because he was ablaze with the desire to be close to them.

But they, too, were observing him with satisfaction, saying among themselves: “There’s our beloved friend, Nephon! Look, with what longing and love he looks at us! Rightly we also commemorate him during out divine and sacred Offices.”

The immaculate angels were saying these things. And when he came to himself, flooded with exhilaration, he extolled them with praises and songs full of sweetness. “Oh, how the holy angels love the Christian race! They help us in every good deed Then why shouldn’t our desire and longing remain unfailing for them, the precious stones, the glittering pearls, the heavenly beauty, the immortal flowers? They intercede for us unceasingly and they supplicate the Lover of man to pity us and deliver us from eternal fire. Night and day they stand by us: when we eat, they guard us and defend us; when we sleep, they cover us with their wings; when we work, walk or travel, they are always near us, protectors and helpers in everything!”

      St. Nephon An Ascetic Bishop

Blasphemous Thoughts

“…It is obvious that God truly abides in you and you in Him. What do I do, however, when the demon of ungodliness overcomes me? Whether I’m eating, drinking, or sleeping, he never ceases to annoy me, particularly in church during the time of prayer. He puts in my mind heresies and countless impious and blasphemous thoughts against Christ our God His Holy Mother, and other such things. He fights me so forcefully, that I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid that perhaps fire may fall down from heaven and thoroughly consume me.”

“Listen to me, my child, and you will be somewhat consoled,” the saint said to him. “Observe the sea: when the storm rises, it sends wild waves, which break upon the cliffs of the coast. But does anything happen to the cliffs from the mania of the waves? The waves simply beat upon them and return again to the sea. The same thing happens with blasphemous thoughts. They originate from the devil and assail human intelligence. Why? Obviously to throw the servants of God in despair, which has killed many souls and led them to perdition.”

“If however, the devil does not succeed in throwing man into despair, he tries with obscene thoughts to at least shake him up. And if he sees that even then man is not shaken, he is beaten, disgraced, and his wild attacks backfire on him; while the man who was tried not only is not judged, but instead is crowned and glorified by God.”

“You, too, be patient, then, kindling your zeal with fasting and prayer, and the temptation will leave. Didn’t the Lord say it? ‘This kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.”

With these thoughts he strengthened him greatly and sent him off in peace. When the visitor left, he told us that blasphemous thoughts are born of judging others and of anger.

St. Nephon An Ascetic Bishop

Riches of Great Compassion

“Because the sufferings of mankind are many in this world, nowhere else can we all find relief, except in the Panagia. When you are sitting there quietly, a thought suddenly comes to you and brings darkness. Where will you go to be loosed from this darkness? To the Panagia. All the Saints are our helpers, but above all is the Panagia.

She has the riches of great compassion. She has great love for mankind, especially for sinners. For this reason she never ceases to mediate to her Son, and the Son takes great joy when His mother intercedes on behalf of mankind. For this reason He brought us His mother and granted her to us that we may have her as a source of salvation.”            

+++ Elder Anthimos of St. Anne’s+++

On the Transfiguration

Jesus goes before us to show us the way, both up the mountain and into heaven, and – I speak boldly – it is for us now to follow him with all speed, yearning for the heavenly vision that will give us a share in his radiance, renew our spiritual nature and transform us into his own likeness, making us for ever sharers in his Godhead and raising us to heights as yet undreamed of.

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It is indeed good to be here, as you have said, Peter. It is good to be with Jesus and to remain here forever. What greater happiness or higher honor could we have than to be with God, to be made like him and to live in his light?

Therefore, since each of us possesses God in his heart and is being transformed into his divine image, we also should cry out with joy: It is good for us to be here – here where all things shine with divine radiance, where there is joy and gladness and exultation; where there is nothing in our hearts but peace, serenity and stillness; where God is seen. For here, in our hearts, Christ takes up his abode together with the Father, saying as he enters: Today salvation has come to this house.

St. Anastasius of Sinai

A Confession Which Leads to Humility…

  1. I do not love God. For if I loved god I should be continually thinking about Him with heartfelt joy. Every thought of God would give me gladness and delight. On the contrary, I much more often and much more eagerly think about earthly things, and thinking about God is labor and dryness. If I loved God, then talking with Him in prayer would be my nourishment and delight and would draw me to unbroken communion with Him. But, on the contrary, I not only find no delight in prayer, but even find it an effort. I struggle with reluctance, I am enfeebled by sloth, and am ready to occupy myself eagerly with my unimportant trifle, if only it shorten prayer and keeps me from it. My time slips away unnoticed in futile occupations, but when I am occupied with God, when I put myself into His presence every hour seems like a year. If one person loves another, he thinks of him throughout the day without ceasing, he pictures him to himself, he cares for him, and in all circumstances his beloved friend is never out if his thoughts. But I, throughout the day, scarcely set aside even a single hour in which to sink deep down into meditation upon God, to inflame my heart with love of Him, while I eagerly give up twenty-three hours as fervent offerings to the idols of my passions. I am forward in talk about frivolous matters and things which degrade the spirit; that gives me pleasure. But in the consideration of God I am dry, bored and lazy. Even if I am unwillingly drawn by others into spiritual conversation, I try to shift the subject quickly to one which pleases my desires. I am tirelessly curious about novelties, about civic affairs and political events; I eagerly seek the satisfaction of my love of knowledge in science and art, and in ways of getting things I want to possess. But the study of the Law of God, the knowledge of God and of faith, make little impression on me, and satisfy no hunger of my soul. To put it shortly, if love for God is recognized by the keeping of His commandments [i.e.: forgive; be merciful; long-suffer; turn the other cheek; do not look upon a woman…] and I not only do not keep them, but even make little attempt to do so, then in absolute truth the conclusion follows that I do not love God.
  2. I do not love my neighbor either. For not only am I unable to make up my mind to lay down my life for his sake, but I do not even sacrifice my happiness, well-being and peace for the good of my neighbor. If I did love him as myself, his misfortunes would distress me also, his happiness would bring delight to me too. But, on the contrary, I listen to curious, unhappy stories about my neighbor, and I am not distressed… what is worse, I find a sort of pleasure in them.

       — “The Way of a Pilgrim”–

On the Dormition

Let us think, brothers and sisters, about the blessed Dormition of the Most-Holy Virgin Mary and remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).

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May God also make us sinners worthy to experience this great joy, through the joy and love for man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom belong all glory and dominion, with His beginningless Father and His All-Holy Spirit, unto the ages. Amen.

St. Luke of Simferopol

God shows us His love for man not only in those instances when we do good, but also when we affront Him with our sins and anger Him. With what longsuffering he bears our lawlessness! “Do not call God a rightful Judge,” says St. Isaac, “for His rightful judgment is not seen in your deeds.

True, David called Him a righteous judge and rightly, but the Son of God has shown us that God is good and merciful even more. Where is His righteous judgment? We were sinners, but Christ died for us” (St. Isaac the Syrian, Word 90).

St. Seraphim of Sarov – July 19

“God is fire, warming and igniting the heart and inward parts. So, if we feel coldness in our hearts, which is from the devil (for the devil is cold), then let us call the Lord: He, in coming, will warm our heart with perfect love, not only towards Himself, but to our neighbors as well. And the coldness of the despiser of good will run from the face of His warmth.”

“The devil is like a lion, hiding in ambush (Ps. 9:29). He secretly sets out nets of unclean and unholy thoughts. So, it is necessary to break them off as soon as we notice them, by means of pious reflection and prayer.”

“Where there is God, there is no evil. Everything coming from God is peaceful, healthy and leads a person to the judgment of his own imperfections and humility.”

“He who has acquired perfect love foGod goes through this life as if he did not exist. For he considers himself a stranger to all that is visible, and awaits with patience that which is unseen. He is completely transformed into love for God and has abandoned all worldly attachments.”

“He who truly loves God considers himself a wanderer and newcomer on earth, for in him is a striving towards God in soul and mind, which contemplates Him alone.”

 

 

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“One must behave affectionately toward one’s neighbors, not showing even a hint of offense. When we turn away from a person or offend him, it is as if a rock settles on our heart. One must try to cheer the spirit of an embarrassed or dejected person with words of love.”

“In our relations with our neighbors we must be equally pure towards everyone in word as well as in thought; otherwise we will make our life useless. We must love others no less than ourselves, in accordance with the law of the Lord: “Thou shalt love … thy neighbour as thyself” (Lk. 10:27). But not so much that our love for others, by extending past the boundaries of moderation, diverts us from fulfilling the first and main law of love towards God, as our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me” (Mt. 10:37).

“As for care of the soul, a person in his body is like a lighted candle. The candle must burn out, and a person must die. But as our soul is immortal, so our cares should be directed more toward the soul than the body: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Mt. 16:26)for which, as is known, nothing in the world can serve as ransom? If the soul alone is worth more than all the world and the worldly kingdom, then the Kingdom of Heaven is incomparably more precious. We consider the soul as most precious for the reason stated by Macarius the Great, that God did not desire to bond and unite His spiritual essence with any visible creation except man, whom He loves more than any of His creations.”