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

Monday, July 2, 2012

Arise My Friend, the Time for Pruning is Come

A voice calls out to the sinner:

Arise O Sinner and come! The Mother of God approacheth bearing Christ the Bridegroom. Rejoice with John the Baptist, Best Man to the Divine Bridegroom, at the sight of our salvation.1 Be not like unto the foolish virgins, inattentive and focused on the enjoyment of their own lives, lest thou be overcome with sleep, lest thou be given up to death, and be shut out from the Kingdom together with those wretched women.2 Rouse thyself out of thy sleep O Sinner and cry out to the approaching Mother of God. Go forth with the wise virgins to meet Christ the Bridegroom.3 Behold he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping over the hills. He is like a roe, or a young hart. Behold he standeth behind our wall, looking through the windows, looking through the lattices. He calls out, "Arise, make haste, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, and come."4 Thy flesh O Sinner, the temple of the Holy Ghost, was pure at thy birth, but thy sanctity hast been fouled by a Godless life. Be made pure in the Immaculate One; she cometh to take off all thy sins and clothe thee in her own purity.5 She will adorn thee in the garment of salvation and the vesture of gladness.6 Stand on the right hand in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.7 Cast off the poverty of thy sins O Sinner and be adorned with a crown as a bridegroom and as a bride with comeliness.8 Arise, arise O Sinner cast off thy vain pleasures and give thyself to the life for which thou wast created; to be the image of Christ the Bridegroom. Arise, arise and utter a canticle with the Mother of God: "My soul shall rejoice in the Lord."9

Robe of the Mother of God

*The title of the post referenced the antiphon "Nigra sum sed formosa" ("I am black but beautiful") and today's reading for the Visitation (Cant. 2:8-12).
1Today in the Latin Rite it is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
2Troparion of Christ the Bridegroom
3Mt 25:1-13
4Cant. 2:8-12 (the reading for the Feast of the Visitation)
5Today in the Byzantine Rite it is the feast of the Disposition of the Robe of the Mother of God
6Byzantine vesting prayers, at the stikharion (Is 61:10)
7Ps 44:10
8Byzantine vesting prayers, at the stikharion (Is 61:10)
9Byzantine vesting prayers, at the stikharion (Is 61:10); Lk 2:46