Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Christ the Just Judge

Spring has come early to the valley. It has been an unusually warm March, definitely the warmest even in long memory. The air was heavy today, humid and still, redolent with the odor of spring mud from the creek, more than a multitude of green things pressing up, and woodsmoke from fires stoked to cut the residual damp and chill. Alas there is no wood burner or fireplace in the skete to take off a chill now and then.

The atmosphere seemed heavy and burdensome outside at first but then my attention was caught by the evening songs of a half a dozen different species of birds and the mood immediately lifted and filled with anticipation of the deep quiet of dark night and the promise of morning song to follow.

This week we work in anticipation of Pussy-Willow Sunday, of Christ's Entry into Jerusalem. We are deep into the heart of the Great Fast, but somehow there begins now the anticipation of release, of relief to come. We can stop here for a moment looking back, looking forward. We are in a time between the long weeks of fasting already done and the relatively few days left to complete our preparations for Great and Holy Week with its rigors of long liturgies and deep emotional connections between each soul and our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, Son of God. In this way the remaining days of this sixth week of the Great Fast are so precious to us.

For those who have done well in the fast, they are days of some satisfaction for having come successfully down this last stretch. For those of us, who have not done as well, they are days for acceptance of weakness, our own, and the overwhelming humility that should come with knowing that we are loved however weak we may be, and still there is enough time to make better preparations: time to fast a little more in terms of quantity if not kind; time to spend a few more hours in prayer each day; time to open our hearts a little more to the messages of the gospels, time to set about living the Beatitudes fully, not just in the parts that are more or less easy for us to do naturally.

Canon of Matins: Ode 9

Long ago the first created couple was expelled from Paradise for having eaten the forbidden fruit, and the human race was subject to death. Therefore O my soul, fast in these present days; run from this harmful example and turn yourself away from the pleasure, which is the source of evil, brought about by the forbidden fruit.

In my spirit I think about your judgment, and it is eternal fire. Even before appearing before you, O just Judge, I feel myself to be condemned. I shudder and tremble, for, more than any other here in this life, I have sinned against You without measure. But in your goodness, spare me.

Let us blot out the darkness of our passions with the light of prayer. And carrying the palms of virtues, let us hasten to meet Christ who shall come on a donkey; for his is preparing himself to suffer for the salvation of the human race.

* Icon: Christ the Just Judge



  1. I think your Blog is a treasure. God be with you.

  2. Considering the source...I am thrilled!!




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