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

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Omnipotent King's Victory Over the Sinner

Today Thou revealest Thyself, not only as man, but as both God and man and dost rise up to the Divine Throne from which Thou wast never separated, more glorious than Holy Elias of old on his chariot of fire. Send down now the Fire of the Divine Holy Ghost to likewise raise up the sinner to Thy Divine Throne, consuming her sins and thereby rendering her original purity as never having been separated from her, O Divine King with infinite power and great mercy over all!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Glory to Christ Jesus Who Tramples Sin!

On this Sunday we go back to this blog's origins in the Latin Church, for it is on this day, the Sunday before Ascension Thursday, that the Feast of Ecce Homo (the Western variant of the Nymphios) is celebrated at the shrine of the same in Ponta Delgada, Portugal. I of course have more info, including pictures and video, linked in the sidebar as well as here.

The Bridegroom who beholds all comes at midnight to work justice: what He will establish will be established forever and what He will destroy will be destroyed forever, for He is the Victor that sacrificed Himself for His Bride and is therefore deserving of all glory and honor.

That is the whole essence of the devotion: to glorify Christ because He offered that sacrifice for His Bride the Church. The entire history of the statue and the devotion it sparked centers around glorifying Christ for His sacrifice. He offered the sacrifice of Himself to bring His Bride to Heaven and that sacrifice is the very essence of Divine Love: to sacrifice yourself to bring your beloved to Heaven. It is for that sacrifice that we laud Him.  It is that sacrifice of Divine Love that deserves glory and honor above everything else in the world. Suffering is dignified and precious because it is the expression of Divine Love. Christ made the perfect expression of Divine Love in His Passion, so today we praise Our Victorious King in all His Glory and Majesty for His sacrifice offered for us, His Bride.

Monday, May 19, 2014

We Must Keep Ourselves Pure

It doesn't matter to what extent is the flow of Divine Love impeded, it matters that the flow of Divine Love is impeded in the first place. Even the smallest sin keeps a soul out of heaven and she must be purified before she can enter. The Bridegroom wants to be with His beloved. It doesn't matter how much sin is interrupting them, only that sin is interrupting them. Any sin, whether it be easily forgivable or not, is evil.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

In Denial

From today's Gospel:

Then Jesus said to those Jews, who believed him: If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him: We are the seed of Abraham, and we have never been slaves to any man: how sayest thou: you shall be free? Jesus answered them: Amen, amen I say unto you: that whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin.
-Jn 8:31-34

"We are the seed of Abraham, and we have never been slaves to any man." Right, because Egypt meant nothing. And let's just conveniently forget Babylon while we're at it. Those who are addicted to sin speak the same way, with the same elitist attitude. Just because they have access to sin, they fancy themselves as free because of that, in complete denial that the sin in fact controls them and that they have a rather limited view of the situation. To make the state of denial even more obvious, it is exactly sinners to whom Christ compares the Jews who are in denial of their own history and of their own elitism.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Honorable Sacrifice of Motherhood

Motherhood is a sacrifice. It is a sacrifice that changes over time: first pregnancy and childbearing, then raising an infant, then a toddler, then an older child, than a teenager, then the child moves out. Motherhood is a constantly changing sacrifice. Motherhood is honorable simply because it is a sacrifice. Sacrifice is a good thing. A sacrifice is a blessing from God because it is a means for joining ourselves to His sacrifice on the cross. To those whom He favors, God bestows a cross to carry.

The selflessness of sacrifice makes it honorable. We are all called to sacrifice, and each of us in a different way. There are many gifts in one Spirit as the Apostle says. Today, we celebrate the sacrifice of motherhood. There are many women who refuse to offer sacrifice and be a mother when called upon by God. That is one of several things that makes divorce so sinful: each parent puts their own sex lives and who they want to have sex with ahead of their children. That is what makes abortion so sinful. Beyond the fact that it's murder (which is the least of what's wrong with it), it is a refusal to sacrifice and live the sacrifice of a mother. Contraception is the refusal to live the sacrifice of a mother and is sinful for the same reason (they are both anti-reproductive and that is what makes them sinful, abortion being murder is just gravy on top). All these sins are a refusal to sacrifice; a refusal to offer the sacrifice of a mother when called upon by God. They are all forms of the "me before sacrifice" mentality and that philosophy is indeed the root of all evil and all sin in the Church and in the whole world.

The selfishness of such women only serves to make the honorable women that dutifully offer the sacrifice of motherhood to appear all the more honorable. Today we salute the women who had the courage, strength, selflessness, decency, and discipline to accept God's will when they were found with child, imitating their leader the Theotokos, and live the sacrifice of motherhood faithfully every day.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

God's Love is Itself a Condemnation of Sin

The fact that God loves a sinner at all is itself a condemnation of her sin. Far from God's love for a sinner being God supporting the sins that make her happy or God accepting her together with her sins, if God loves her, that's the same as saying that He wants her out of her sin and with Him. God's Love is itself a condemnation of sin. Heaven is being wholly swallowed up by Divine Love. Those who go to Hell then, are those who close themselves off to Divine Love and won't let it possess them. They have found pleasure in their own desires and passions and reject Divine Love for that reason. Divine Love simply doesn't give them that same happiness, which isn't surprising, because it was never supposed to in the first place. Divine Love makes Himself present to help us overcome our passions and desires, build self-control, and live in Him in this life, that we might do likewise in the next. Worldly pleasures and passions are destructive of the end of eternal salvation, because that is the entire reason why the Devil promotes them with demonic passion in the first place.

Today we celebrate the feast of St. John the Theologian and at Vespers last night we heard from his first epistle:
"You are of God, little children, and have overcome him. Because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore of the world they speak, and the world heareth them.  We are of God. He that knoweth God, heareth us. He that is not of God, heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (1 Jn 4:4-6)

Divine Love is in us. Self-serving passions are in worldly people. On one hand, what we possess is greater, so we will eventually defeat them. They are "playing from behind" because their master and their power is the inferior one. But at the same time, the two sides are mutually exclusive and will always be fighting one another, no matter how much they try to justify themselves by making up origins in God for their message.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Showing the Truth of Marriage

Today, in addition to St. Theodosius, Father of Ukrainian Monasticism, we also celebrate the great patron saints of marriage, Sts. Timothy and Maura. They were crucified together on the same cross in 304. They lasted an astounding 9 days before they died, the normal length for lasting on the cross being 2 days. This is what marriage is for. The only actual purpose of marriage is to give yourself to get the other to heaven. That is the sacrifice in which marriage consists. Sts. Timothy and Maura strengthened and each other on the cross, encouraging each other on the hard and narrow path to heaven, thus showing us the truth of marriage. It's not about happiness; it's about sacrifice to get each other to heaven. Everything else is passing and empty pleasure.