Great Lent – Friday of the 2nd Week

mourning22nd Friday of Great Lent
Step 7: On mourning which causes joy
(day 2 of 2 on this step)

7:32. Many of the Fathers say that the question of tears, especially in the case of beginners, is an obscure matter and hard to ascertain, as tears are born in many different ways. For instance, there are tears from nature, from God, from adverse suffering, from praise worthy suffering, from vainglory, from licentiousness, from love, from the remembrance of death, and from many other causes.

7:37. He who wends his way in constant mourning according to God does not cease to feast daily; but eternal weeping awaits him who does not cease to feast bodily.

7:38. Convicts in prison have no joy or delight, and true monks have no feast on earth. Perhaps that is why that excellent mourner, sighing, said: ‘Bring my soul out of prison that it may rejoice henceforward in Thy ineffable light.’

7:45. My friends, God does not ask or desire that man should mourn from sorrow of heart, but rather that out of love for Him he should rejoice with spiritual laughter. Remove sin, and the tear of sorrow is superfluous for your eyes of sense. What is the use of a bandage when there is no wound? Before his transgression, Adam had no tears, just as there will be none after the resurrection when sin will be abolished; for pain, sorrow and sighing will then have fled away.

7:49. When I consider the actual nature of compunction I am amazed at how that which is called mourning and grief should contain joy and gladness interwoven within it like honey in the comb. What then are we to learn from this? That such compunction is in a special sense a gift of the Lord. There is then in the soul no pleasureless pleasure, for God consoles those who are contrite in heart in a secret way…

7:62. Drive away the hell-dog that comes at the time of your deepest mourning, and suggests that God is not merciful or compassionate. For if you watch it, you will find that before the sin he calls God loving, compassionate and forgiving.

7:63. Practice3 produces habit, and perseverance grows into a feeling of the heart; and what is done with an ingrained feeling of the heart is not easily eradicated.

7:70. When our soul leaves this world we shall not be blamed for not having worked miracles, or for not having been theologians or contemplatives. But we shall certainly have to give an account to God of why we have not unceasingly mourned.


For the complete selection of postings from this Great Lent, click here.

[Quotations from: The Ladder of Divine Ascent, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery (ISBN 0943405033), which is based on Archimandrite Lazarus Moore’s translation]

Great Lent – Thursday of the 2nd Week

mourning2nd Thursday of Great Lent
Step 6: On remembrance of death
Step 7: On mourning which causes joy
(day 1 of 2 on this step)

6:3. Fear of death is a natural instinct that comes from disobedience; but terror at death is evidence of unrepented sin. Christ fears death, but does not show terror, in order to demonstrate clearly the
properties of His two natures.

6:5. As tin is distinct from silver although it resembles it in appearance, so for the discerning there is a clear and obvious difference between the natural and supernatural fear of death.

6:9. Some inquire and wonder: ‘Why, when the remembrance of death is so beneficial for us, has God
hidden from us the know ledge of the hour of death?’— not knowing that in this way God wonderfully accomplishes our salvation. For no one who foreknew his death would at once proceed to baptism or the monastic life; but everyone would spend all his days in iniquities, and only on the day of his death would he approach baptism and repentance. From long habit he would become confirmed in vice, and would remain utterly incorrigible.

6:14. Just as the Fathers lay down that perfect love knows no sin, so I for my part declare that a perfect sense of death is free from fear.

6:21. He who has died to all things remembers death, but who ever is still tied to the world does not cease plotting against himself.

7:3. Repentance is the cheerful deprival of every bodily comfort.

7:7. Groanings and sorrows cry to the Lord. Tears shed from fear intercede for us; but tears of all-holy love show us that our prayer has been accepted.

7:13. Do not be like those who in burying their dead first lament over them and then get drunk for their sake. But be like the prisoners in the mines who are flogged every hour by the gaolers.

7:17. When they weep, some force themselves unseasonably to think of nothing at all during this blessed time, not realizing that tears without thought are proper only to an irrational nature and not to a rational one. Tears are the product of thought, and the father of thought is a rational mind.

7:31. Just as fire is destructive of straw, so are pure tears destructive of all material and spiritual
impurity.


For the complete selection of postings from this Great Lent, click here.

[Quotations from: The Ladder of Divine Ascent, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery (ISBN 0943405033), which is based on Archimandrite Lazarus Moore’s translation]

Great Lent – Monday of the 2nd Week

ladder2nd Monday of Great Lent
Step 4: On blessed and ever-memorable obedience
(day 4 of 5 on this topic)

74. Let those entering a hospital for the first time indicate their pains, and let those entering upon obedience show their humility. For the former, the first sign of their health is the relief of their pains, and for the latter a growing self-condemnation; and there is no other sign so unerring.

75. Let your conscience be the mirror of your obedience, and it is enough.

77. Let us keep guard over ourselves with all care. For when a harbour is full of ships it is easy for them to get crushed by each other, especially if they are secretly riddled with bad temper as by some worm.

83. I saw an inexperienced disciple who in the presence of certain people boasted of the achievements of his teacher, thinking to win glory for himself from another’s harvest, but he only earned for himself dishonour, for everybody asked him: ‘But how could a good tree grow such a barren branch?’

92. Constantly wrestle with your thought, and whenever it wanders call it back to you. God does not require from those still under obedience prayer completely free of distractions. Do not despond when your thoughts are filched, but remain calm, and unceasingly recall your mind. Unbroken recollection is proper only to an angel.

95. When the senses find the orders heavy, the more lazy decide that they would prefer to devote themselves to prayer. But when they find they are ordered to do something easy they run from prayer as from fire.

102. A servant of the Lord is he who in body stands before men, but in mind knocks at heaven with prayer.


For the complete selection of postings from this Great Lent, click here.

[Quotations from: The Ladder of Divine Ascent, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery (ISBN 0943405033), which is based on Archimandrite Lazarus Moore’s translation]

Great Lent – Friday of the 1st Week

image (1)1st Friday of Great Lent
Step 4: On blessed and ever-memorable obedience
(day 3 of 5 on this topic)

35. I must not fail to adorn the crown of this step with this emerald. Once I started a discussion on silence with some of the most experienced elders in the community. With a smile on their faces and in jovial mood they said to me in a friendly way: ‘We, Father John, being material, live a material life, preferring to wage war according to the measure of our weakness, and considering it better to struggle with men, who are sometimes fierce and some times penitent, than with demons who are continually raging and up in arms against us!’

40. Once one of the brothers was expelled by him for slandering his neighbour to him and calling him a windbag and gossip. The expelled man did not leave the gates of the monastery for a whole week, begging to be granted entry and forgiveness. When that lover of souls learnt of this, and heard that this brother had had nothing to eat for six days, he told him: ‘If you have a resolute desire to live in the monastery, I will degrade you to the rank of a penitent.’ And when the penitent gladly accepted this, the pastor ordered him to be taken to the separate monastery for those who were mourning over their falls. And that was done. But since we have mentioned that monastery, I shall now speak about it briefly. [I will not paste here anything from this section of the other monastery, called The Prison.]

42. To admire the labours of the saints is good; to emulate them wins salvation; but to wish suddenly to imitate their life in every point is unreasonable and impossible.

49. He who is not submissive in speech, clearly will not be so in act either. For he who is unfaithful in little is also unfaithful in much, and is intractable. He labours in vain, and he will get nothing from holy obedience but his own doom.

53. By resolving to make one’s confession, the soul is thereby held from sinning as by a bridle. For what we do not confess, that we do fearlessly as though in the dark.

64. If everything depends on habit, and follows upon it, then still more do the virtues depend on habit, for they have God as their great collaborator.

For the complete selection of postings from this Great Lent, click here.

[Quotations from: The Ladder of Divine Ascent, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery (ISBN 0943405033), which is based on Archimandrite Lazarus Moore’s translation]

Great Lent – Thursday of the 1st Week

icons1st Thursday of Great Lent
Step 4: On blessed and ever-memorable obedience
(day 2 of 5 on this topic)

About Abbacyrus
4:29. Let us hear and wonder at the wisdom of God found in earthen vessels. When I was in the same monastery, I was amazed at the faith and patience of the novices, and how they bore rebukes and insults from the superior with invincible fortitude, and some times even expulsion; and endured this not only from the superior but even from those far below him. For my spiritual edification I questioned one of the brothers called Abbacyrus who had lived fifteen years in the monastery. For I saw that almost all greatly maltreated him, and those who served drove him out of the refectory almost every day because the brother was by nature just a little too talkative. And I said to him: ‘Brother Abbacyrus, why do I see you being driven out of the refectory every day, and often going to bed without supper?’ He replied: ‘Believe me, Father, my fathers are testing me to see whether I am really a monk. But they are not doing this in real earnest. And knowing the great man’s aim and theirs, I bear all this without getting depressed; and I have done so now for fifteen years. For on my entry into the monastery they themselves told me that those who renounce the world are tested for thirty years. And rightly, Father John, for without trial gold is not purified.’

4:30. This heroic Abbacyrus lived in the monastery for two years after my coming there, and then passed to the Lord. Just before his death he said to the Fathers: ‘I am thankful, thankful to the Lord and to you. For having been tempted by you for my salvation, I have lived for seventeen years without temptations from devils.’ The just shepherd duly rewarded him and ordered him, as a confessor, to be buried with the local saints.

For the complete selection of postings from this Great Lent, click here.

[Quotations from: The Ladder of Divine Ascent, published by Holy Transfiguration Monastery (ISBN 0943405033), which is based on Archimandrite Lazarus Moore’s translation]