Archive for the ‘A Word from the Fathers/ Mothers’ Category
Christ is Risen!
As the Sunday of the Cross marks the halfway point to our celebration of Pascha, I thought this quote from St. Chrysostom was wonderful. It is by His mercy that we will be saved, mercy He offers us so that we might someday reach the summit of virtue.
We’re halfway there, folks, let’s not become fainthearted! The cross reminds us that through trial comes joy, the joy of the Resurrection. Just a little while longer and our “mourning” will be turned into joy when we chant together, “Christ is risen from the dead!”
The world that lives far away from God hates you. It hates light and truth. The disbelieving, corrupt world never forgives you, because you say “no” to the nameless desires of this generation. You raise a lash, smite their evils, and brand their sins. If it were possible, they would crucify you in the town square! Lies, intrigue, and slander are the rewards with which Satan fills your world. And what will you do? Will you seek revenge? Rather than sacrifice one iota of Gospel law, make sharp rebukes against error and evil, but be sympathetic and forgiving to people who hate you, raise you on a cross, and subject you to the most fearful martyrdom. Pray the Lord to give you forbearance to forgive them, so that you can repeat the words of the First-Martyr Stephen, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:60). This will be the loftiest sermon of your life, and it cannot possibly leave souls unmoved. There are aromatic trees which when cut bathe the ax with fragrance. Faithful servants of the Lord, aromatic trees in Christ’s Church, you also should bathe with the aroma of heavenly forgiveness the world which strikes you and crucifies you.
(An excerpt from Blessed Augoustinos Kantiotes’ Follow Me, translated by Asterios Gerosterigios, pp. 184-185)
Can you read these words and possibly doubt that they proceeded from the heart and mind of a great saint? Blessed Augustinos Kantiotes was a bishop in Florina, in Northern Greece. He reposed in 2009 and left us his life and many books as everlasting examples of a true shepherd, an apostle to this corrupt generation. May we have his blessing!
(Excerpts from Abba Dorotheos: Practical Teachings on the Christian Life, p. 60 and p. 63). I highly recommend this book. The English translation is superb and it comes with an audio CD of the text.
Perfect obedience is this:
[St. Dorotheos] never allowed [his disciple, Dositheos] to become attached to any material objects. Dositheos took everything with joy and faith and obeyed willingly in everything. When he needed a cloack, Dorotheos provided him with the cloth and he would go away and sow it carefully with style. When he had finished, he would ask, “Dositheos, did you sow that cloak?”
Dositheos would reply [in simplicity], “Yes, Father, I made it most beautifully and well.”
He would then say to him, “Go and give it to that brother or to that sick man.”
He would go and give it away willingly. Dorotheos provided him with more material again and likewise, after he had sewn it and finished it with great care and style, he would say to him, “Give it to that brother” and he would immediately give it away without feeling distressed and without grumbling, or saying, “Why should he take it away from me and give it to someone else, after all, I was the person who took the trouble to sew it and finish it stylishly and carefully?” Rather, he would willingly do good whenever there was good to be done.
* * *
God wanted to reveal the glory which was prepared for [Dositheos after death] because of his holy obedience and also the gift which blessed Dorotheos had, for saving souls, even while still a disciple. Dorotheos guided Dositheos so unwaveringly and quickly to God. Therefore, shortly after the blessed end of Dositheos, a saintly man, a great elder, desired to see all the saints of the community who had passed away and asked God to grant him this wish. He then saw all of them standing together as a choir and amongst them was a certain younger monk. He said, “I wonder who this young man I saw amongst the fathers is?” When he described his facial features, everybody realized that it was Dositheos. So they glorified God, marvelling at the fact that Dositheos had become worthy of reaching such a great height in such a short time, despite his earlier life and discipline, simply through obedience and denying his own will.
Pray to God for us, St. Porphyrios! (His feast day is tomorrow).