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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Futility of Sin

Icon of Christ the Bridegroom over the
exact place of the Cross on Calvary

Consider Christ the Bridegroom and your sinful soul. The more you sin and the more you advance yourself in your life of sin, the more suffering you inflict on the Divine Bridegroom. The more suffering you inflict on Him, the more suffering He endures to atonement for your sins. You can't win. The more you sin, the more the Divine Bridegroom suffers to destroy your sins such that they never took place. Your life of sin is for nothing. It is the supreme vanity. The more it exists and the more it flourishes, the more suffering it inflicts on the Divine Bridegroom, and the suffering He endures is a penance to destroy your sins. The self-destructive nature of sin is really a wonder to behold. Not only does the sinner destroy herself by sinning, but even the sins themselves are self destructive as the more they exist, the more the Bridegroom atones for them.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Bridegroom's Bride

O Bridegroom, make us pure in soul and body, past and present for thou dost deserve to have us immaculate and sinless, never having sinned. Thou dost absolve sins such that they are deleted from our past and our present, never having sinned; those sins never took place; they have been destroyed and Thou art able to cure our flesh for that is what Thou dost deserve: to have us sinless, never having belonged to anyone but Thee. By the prayers of the Theotokos O Savior save us! Heal us O Holy One for the sake of Thy Name!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Very First Icon & St. Luke

The Byzantine and Latin calendars synchronize today as we celebrate the Feast of St. Luke on both. Here is an icon of St. Luke writing the very first icon. It reminds me of the meme, "Yo dawg, I heard you like icons...". It must be nice to have the model for the icon pose in person. No other iconographer can say that. This icon was written on the table top that belonged to the Holy Family at Nazareth. Over the centuries, the paint used to write the icon decayed, with many colors turning dark, giving the icon the nickname "Black Madonna". The icon moved around Europe for centuries before eventually resting at Częstochowa, Poland, where it still is today at the monastery atop Jasna Gora. Here is what the icon looks like today:

A little odd that the first icon in the icon above shows Our Lord held by the Mother of God on the observer's left. In most icons He is held by her on the observer's right as in the actual icon St. Luke wrote.

Monday, October 15, 2012

We Owe Ourselves and Our Whole Lives to Christ Our God

Icon of Christ the Bridegroom atop Calvary
We owe Christ the Bridegroom our very selves. He has given Himself to the Father, enduring suffering as a penance for our sins, that from the Father, He might fill us with the Father's Love. In the Eucharist the Bridegroom gives us with His Very Flesh that we might be filled with Divine Love, and filled with Divine Love, we become a part of Him, and as a part of Him, we rest in His Heart.

Christ sacrifices Himself to fill us with Divine Love and Divine Love is such that it must be reciprocated. The reason why Divine Love is offered to us is to get us to Heaven. We receive Divine Love and leave everything behind to follow Him who offered it to us.1 Being filled with His Love, we become a part of Him and rest in Him. Divine Love is given to us by Christ to bring us to Him and make us one with Him, the two becoming One Flesh, the Divine Bridegroom and His Bride the Church becoming One Flesh in the the Sacred Intimacy of the Eucharist.

We give ourselves to He who first offered us love, that we might reciprocate His love by giving ourselves to Him to be filled with His love, and filled with His love, become a part of Him and rest in His Heart. The Heart wounded by our sins against Him, receives then the one whom It loves and is satisfied. Only at this point is the Love of God satisfied, when the Beloved has reciprocated the love which Christ has offered Her to rest in Him by being filled with Him and His love. Only then is the Love of God complete and only then has It accomplished its purpose: to bring the beloved into union with God.

We then have a duty to offer ourselves to God. The fact that Christ has already sacrificed Himself to the Father to fill us with His Love to bring us to Heaven creates a certain obligation on our part to reciprocate Christ's Love because this is the means for our salvation. The fact that His Love requires reciprocation, creates a certain obligation on our part to reciprocate His Love back to Him. Our action is the only one left. The Love of God forces Itself on no one, but there is still an obligation on our part to give ourselves to Him for this is our only means of salvation. To not give ourselves would be a rejection of God and the Love brought into this world to bring us to Heaven. We *must* give ourselves to Him. To reject Him would leave us with nothing but the world around us with all its lies and empty pleasures and no means of entering Heaven for we would have rejected the Love which is our only means of salvation.

1Mt 4:20

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Just Servant

Icon of Extreme Humility
Christ gives Himself to the Father for our Salvation regardless of our actions. Even when we sin, abandoning and rejecting Him in favor of a life of sin, He gives Himself to the Father to make us holy and bring us out of sin and into the life for which we were created. He gives Himself and everything He has and all the suffering He endures as a penance to the Father that we might be made pure and rest in the Father's bosom.

He ignores our protests against Him, enduring them as a part of all the insults and beatings He endures in His Holy Passion, given to Him by sinners who reject Him, as a penance for their conversion. He is obedient1 and by His obedience, enduring the suffering sinners inflict on Him as a penance for them, He heals the wounds of their sins.2 He is the just servant3 who is just because He acts in accordance with Divine Love. When sinners reject Him in favor of sin, He gives Himself as a sacrifice to the Father, enduring the suffering inflicted on Him by sinners as a penance for their conversion that they might live in the Father's Love, abandoning their sin.

Because of His sacrifice of Himself, He is found worthy by the Father of all glory and honor and forever holds His Bride the Church in purity and Eternal Glory.4

1Mt 26:39
2Is 53:5
3Is 53:11
4Is 53:11-12 & Phil 2:5-11

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Hungry Christ

Hear the words of the Divine Bridegroom O Sinner: "I give Myself to the Father for Thy sake. It is my life. It is the reason why I came into this world. All I do is give Myself to the Father every minute of every day, every hour of every week, in the Holy Sacrament of the Altar. One Self-sacrifice of Mine made present in all time. I am always waiting, always watching out from my place looking at thee in thy sins.1 I am powerless to stop them because I have nailed Myself to the Cross. In My sacrifice of Myself I do naught but give Myself to the Father, that He might bring thee to Himself through Me. He shall call thee when it pleases Him. Until then I lie here hungry for a return of My love from thee, but I can only sacrifice Myself to the Father for thee and He shall call thee when it pleases Him. He shall raise thee gloriously from the dead to be with Me on the Life-giving Cross, free from all thy sins. Thou shalt be raised out of the muck and filth into which thou hast cast thyself and thou shalt live the glorious life for which thou wast created, because of My sacrifice of Myself to the Father, who created thee to live in His love and sent Me to bring thee to Him to remain there through the ages of ages. Amen."

1Pr 7:6-26

Friday, October 5, 2012

Living in a Monastery as a Family

The family is the domestic monastery. There have been many posts about this around the blogosphere and I feel inspired to write another. There are many monastic traditions, but they invariably involve a mixture of prayer as the foundation of their life and the manual labor by which the monks support themselves. Does a family not do the same? What is the role of the husband and father? He is protector and provider over his wife and children. It is his job to pray for them and bring them to the Lord. He is a mediator between God and his family. He leads them in prayer as a community and teaches them the faith, assisted by his wife every step of the way, similar to a priest assisting his bishop, or better, a monastic priest assisting his abbot. It is also the husband's job to provide for his family by his labors. Ora et labora as the Benedictines put it. Prayer and work. He gives himself to God through his prayers and his labors to take care of his family and bring them to Heaven. Having a career and a prayer life are not contrary to one another, rather they are meant to be two sides of the same coin. It is people who degrade having a career to a secular pursuit and degrade prayer to an emotional pursuit. The husband is called the Christ-figure of the home because what Christ does for His Bride (the Church) and Her children (us), the man does for his wife and children. They are an icon of the Church existing within the Church.

The woman, as Genesis tells us, exists to help the man. She assists him in doing the things he is unable. She uses what her husband provides her to feed and clothe their children. The husband specializes in providing for the family and the wife specializes in domestic duties. Neither of them can survive alone, nor are they supposed to. Only together do they form a completed whole. The children then live a life similar to the three monastic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The children must obey their parents in all things, offering to God the sacrifice of obedience when they don't like something. The children, upon reaching a certain age, must protect their chastity unto marriage. They will learn that sex is the giving of your entire self, even your very body, to your spouse to get her (or him) to Heaven, creating an environment in which God creates new life, and not an act based on emotions or physical pleasure. The children must also learn that things belong to the family more than they belong to the individual and will learn to share with other and avoid materialism. A little monastery; the domestic monastery.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The "Tolerant" Only Tolerate Themselves

"By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them."-Mt 7:16-20

I present to you this essay written by a (very smart) young woman denouncing feminism as evil and a dangerous to society.

Isn't it interesting that the "tolerant" only tolerate themselves and condemn anyone different from them as "backwards"? The only thing tolerated by this "tolerance" is sin and man's own arrogant pride, claiming to know better than God.

The evil fruits of arrogance are plain to see. Man is arrogant and forces his artificial life on everyone. God and the natural order are hated because man is arrogant and proudly declares himself superior to God; that he knows better and everything different is hated with rabid passion and slandered as "backwards" and "intolerant" because it won't allow man to follow his own will in his own arrogant pride. License to sin is falsely called "freedom". Pride is the root of all sin. Sin happens when man says to God, "No, my way is better." Some go so far that they demand that God support their fabricated life.

A young woman condemned sin because of the destruction it caused. By their fruits she knew them. She was persecuted because the only thing "sinful" in society is opposition to sin. Man is arrogant and demands to do as he pleases. If God doesn't like it, then he condemns God with satanic anger.

None of us are greater than God. A man-made order is wrong, just because it is from man. It's fake, artificial, man-made. The God-made natural order is good, just because it is from God. It is that for which we were created.

"Know ye that the Lord He is God: He made us, and not we ourselves. We are his people and the sheep of His pasture."-Ps 99:3

We do not know ourselves better than He does.

Some go as far as to lie about God, saying that He accepts their sins and created them to sin. That is a lie and a blasphemy. That is a direct attack on God and a fraud. God didn't die on the cross so that we would be able to sin. He died to remove us from our sins and bring us to the life for which He created us. He sacrifices Himself so we can be free from sin and live the life for which we were created.