O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Transfiguration of Humanity

 

Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ
Why is this feast so important? On Mt. Tabor, we see the perfection of humanity in Christ. We see the perfect humanity we will have if we attain perfect union with God, a union that we start and constantly work on in this life, but is only ever perfected when we reach Heaven. Since Christ is both human and Divine by nature, He has a perfected humanity by design, since He is a human perfectly joined to God by virtue of His incarnation, where as a Divine Being, he became a human being in full, without giving up His Divinity. He became the perfect man and revealed that He is so in the Transfiguration on Tabor, showing that this humanity, always manifest to His apostles, is in fact a perfected humanity, since it is perfectly united to God. This both strengthen the apostles in advance of the passion with the knowledge that Christ truly is God and thus will survive death and also shows us the perfected humanity we will have if we attain perfect union with God, a union attained by an ongoing process of sacrifice and self-control throughout your life, leaving the pleasures of this life for the tranquility and inner peace found in God. It is a process in which we progress throughout life, but is only complete in Heaven, for only there are we ever free from the passions and pleasures and selfishness of this world. This is the process of our salvation, the ongoing process of our sanctification throughout life that is only perfected or completed when we reach Heaven, and we see the end goal of our salvation, possessing a perfected humanity, in Christ's Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Clothe Us In Thy Purity, O Virgin!

The Deposition of the Precious Robes of Our Most Holy Lady, the Theotokos at
Blahernae

O Champion Leader, who hast constantly defended thy city by thy robe, clothe the sinner in thy purity and virginity and raise her from the death of sin, O Mother of the Immortal who survives death!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Send Thy Love in Flames of Fire to Destory Our Sins


Great Feast of the Descent of the All-Holy and Life-Creating Spirit
(also called Pentecost Sunday, Trinity Sunday, and Green Sunday)

We call the Son of God "Christ" ("Anointed One") because He is anointed with the Holy Ghost. This status as a Divine Person is something He held from all eternity and was made manifest to us while He walked with us on earth. Today we celebrate the same Holy Ghost coming down upon the Holy Apostles. This event is an anointing with the Holy Ghost and is the first celebration of the Sacrament of Chrismation. This took up the Church into a more perfect union with Christ, as the Bride of Christ was now also anointed with the Holy Ghost, participating as a creature in the Divine Life that Christ already had from all eternity.

The Holy Ghost comes to us through each of the Seven Mysteries of the Church, but most prominently in the Mystery of Chrismation, which gives us the power to bear witness to the Faith. That is what we see in the Holy Apostles when they were Chrismated (literally "Anointed", a word clearly related to the title "Christ"): they went out and bore witness to the faith, in the immediate term by preaching the truth unapologetically (which is what we are all called to do as Christians, to likewise bear witness) and in the long term by being tortured and, in the case of 11 of the 12, dying for the faith as martyrs, which is the most perfect witness.

Christ gave us only two commandments to live by: first, to love God above all else and second to love our neighbor as ourselves. The Holy Ghost is Divine Love, the Bond of Love that holds together the Father and the Son as One Divine Being, Proceeding from the Father and resting on the Son (lest we confuse the Divine Persons for each other, the Son is not the Origin and the Father is not the Christ, each is His own Divine Person). The Holy Ghost also is the Bond of Love that holds together Christ and His Bride, the Church, as well as holding together married couples as one as an icon of Christ and the Church (and I mean real couples, not lustful affairs that falsely pass for marriage in countries with more passions than sense *cough*Ireland*cough* [To be fair, if a man and a woman have a bond that is only physical and emotional passions without Divine Love, that isn't marriage either, just to be clear. Lust is a sin no matter who does it.]).

So the Holy Ghost guides us to accomplish the two most basic functions of a Christian: to love God as He loves us and to love our neighbor as God loves our neighbor. We read that we are to love neighbor as self, but we are first to love God as He loves us, so then when we love neighbor, we are to love that person as God loves that person. When we love God or others, we do not wish any worldly good on them. This world passes. Don't get attached. We just celebrated the Saturday of the Dead yesterday, a nice reminder that we won't stick around and no one is guaranteed a long life. We all exist for God, not this world. We love God as He loves us and we love neighbor as God loves that neighbor. We return to God the same Divine Love He shows us, and we show to neighbor the Divine Love that God is trying to show that person, so that Divine Love may flow through us, into those God has placed in our lives, and back to the Father who sent this Divine Fire to us through the Son. It is the same Divine Love manifesting Himself in multiple places in multiple ways, each in a different capacity according to the purpose God has for each of the people there. This is what we do. Having received Divine Love in flames of fire, we bear witness to this Love by enduring the difficulties of life. This is our following the footsteps of the Apostles and our participation in the Passion of Christ, so that we may participate in His Resurrection, a Passion and Resurrection He endured because of His love for us, because of the Anointing with Divine Love He had from all eternity. Let us do the same.


Troparion, Tone 8
Blessed are You, O Christ our God who revealed the fishermen as most wise by sending them the Holy Spirit; through them You caught the entire world. Loving Master, glory to You.

Kontakion, Tone 8
When the Most High descended and confused tongues,* He scattered the people;* but when He distributed the tongues of fire,* He called all to unity.* Therefore, with one voice,* let us praise the most Holy Spirit.

Ikos
Grant to your servants, O Jesus, a prompt and firm comfort; for our spirits are filled with sadness. Do not abandon us in our affliction and do not keep yourself far from our sorely-tried hearts, but come to us in haste. Come close to us, O Lord, who are present everywhere; in your goodness, remain united to those who love You, as You were always with your apostles, so that, united with You, we may sing and glorify your most Holy Spirit.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Conqueror is Risen!!!


Christ is risen, despoiling the attacks of Cosmos! Cosmos can attack as he pleases, be it an unfaithful spouse or a country invading your country, he cannot defeat Christ and Christ cannot be defeated by him. By surviving the attacks of Cosmos, Christ defeats him, for Cosmos has no power over Him. Cosmos is exposed as empty and nothing, impotent and a fraud, for Christ endured every attack of Cosmos, even to the greatest attacks, yet Christ survived because Cosmos has no power over Him. Cosmos is defeated because even his greatest attacks are impotent against the Immortal anointed with Divine Love. So whatever cross we continue to carry, be it the wounds caused by infidelity or the wounds caused by an invading army, we rejoice and celebrate for Christ is Our Conqueror and He is Risen!


ХТОС ВОСКРЕСЕ! ВОИСТИНУ ВОСКРЕСЕ!
ΧΡΙΣΤΟϚ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΙΘΩϚ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
CHRISTUS SURREXIT! VERE SURREXIT!

Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!
Cristo Ressuscitou! Em Verdade Ressuscitou!
Христос Воскрес! Воістину Воскрес!
Christus ist auferstanden! Er ist wahrhaftig auferstanden!
Cristo è risorto! È veramente risorto!
¡Cristo ha resucitado! ¡En verdad ha resucitado!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

True Unrequited Love


"Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago answered and said to king Nabuchodonosor: We have no occasion to answer thee concerning this matter. For behold our God, whom we worship, is able to save us from the furnace of burning fire, and to deliver us out of thy hands, O king. But if he will not, be it known to thee, O king, that we will not worship thy gods, nor adore the golden statue which thou hast set up." -Daniel 3:16-18 (From the 15th Reading at Vespers this evening).

As we keep vigil at the tomb, let us remember these words of the Three Holy Children, that they will serve God faithfully, regardless of what the Lord does for them. Whether the Lord blesses them or not, they will still serve Him. That is Love. That is the Love of God. That is the Love God teaches us. Let us remember this everyday, that those who love purely and selflessly like this will see the Resurrection that we behold at this evening's services.

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Sacrifice of the Bridegroom Because of Free Will


Today we celebrate the Passion of Christ more vividly than the other days of the year. We do so with an air of appreciation and awe, aspiring to live the same Divine Love, as well as Christ lived it. He is the Christ, the One "anointed" with the Holy Ghost, with Divine Love, and we are called to be icons of Him to the people He puts around us.

So many of the hymns today speak of the wondrous things that Christ did for His beloved, only to be tortured and killed by them. Such is the life of the Bridegroom. He gave his bride blessings, only to receive curses. He wanted her to have a wedding crown from him, but she gave him a crown of thorns and crowned herself with sin. He wanted her to live her life with him and worked to prepare a place for her, but she ran away like the prodigal.

All this because she has free will and he refuses to trample on that. He continues to live his sacrifice for her regardless of what she does. He, as bridegroom, gives himself to give Divine Love that proceeds from the Father to her and her to the Father. That is the sacrifice he is called to live. No matter how holy or unholy she is, this sacrifice is always needed. She cannot become holy without it and she cannot remain holy without it. She needs this sacrificial love constantly, more than air itself. Such is the life of the soul. As we heard in the first Passion Gospel, apart from Christ, we can do nothing.

This sacrifice of his is not for nothing. While it is bitter and unbearable while she rejects him for her life of sin, his endurance of this suffering is the sacrifice by which she is healed and restored to the purity she had before. The third day always follow with the resurrection. Divine Love is the Immortal. The sacrifice of Christ is efficacious because He survives death. He is victorious because He survives death. For as long as we endure in this sacrifice, seeing the Passion of Christ in our own suffering, we will survive and be victorious, for this Love expressed so perfectly on the Cross is the Immortal Love.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Mystical Supper of the Bridegroom with His Bride

On this holy day, the Church dines with Her Bridegroom, and He gives His own Flesh to Her for food, that they might be united in the flesh forever.


Вечери Твоея Тайныя днесь, Сыне Божий, причастника мя приими: не бо врагом Твоим тайну повем, ни лобзания Ти дам яко Иуда, но яко разбойник исповедаю Тя: помяни мя Господи во Царствии Твоем.

Of your mystical Supper, Son of God, receive me today as a communicant; for I will not tell of the Mystery to your enemies; I will not give you a kiss, like Judas; but like the Thief I confess you: Remember me, Lord, in your Kingdom.