Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Note To Self

[From the words of St. Simeon the New Theologian]
"Unless you are humbled, brother, and unless you are under submission, afflicted and dishonored; unless you are despised and slandered; unless you accept to become as one of those who are obscure, foolish, base and down-trodden; unless you are shunned by all men and regarded as one of those who are reprehensible and begging in the squares and byways of the city, how, do tell me, can you become alienated from your own will?
God has commanded that we endure all thee things that come our way for a testing and for experience, not for testing and experience but for catharsis of our souls. In spite of this fact, we do not desired to suffer these things, but, instead, the reluctance to endure them lives within us which is the earthly mind of the flesh.
How then can we become dead? In no way. If we do not become dead to the world and to the things of the world, how can we live the life which is hidden in Christ, not having become dead for God? How can we behold God dwelling within us as light, as St. Symeon* said (*St. Symeon was his namesake and his spiritual father) ? In no way, brother. Let no one deceive you.
But you are saying that it is foolish to follow the blessed Symeon and it is shameful to imitate his actions? Then imitate Christ our God. Endure sufferings yourself for your own salvation, as he suffered for you. As you know, they called him a demonized, a deceiver, a glutton and a winebibber. They said: "You have a demon" (John 7:20), and again: "Behold a man gluttonous, and winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners" (Matt. 11:19)
These things even our blessed father, St. Symeon, heard in our behalf or rather for us. Furthermore you can hear again concerning the Lord being bound and dragged as a murder and criminal and standing before Pilate as one who is base, receiving a slap from the servant, being thrown into prison and being taken out of prison, led by the soldiers who bear sticks and then handed over by the people to Pilate who said: "Take ye him and crucify him" (John 19:6).
Understand how he was rendered in their midst- He Who is above all the Heavens and Who holds all things in His hand: scourged, flogged, maligned, abused and led to the praetorium-He Who is beyond the sight of all creation and even of the Seraphim, undressed and tied to a post, receiving forty full stripes, indicating the death sentence.
Then, what? He was dressed in a purple mantle scoffingly and He was struck on the head and asked, "Who is he that struck you?" He was crowned with thorns, bowed down and scoffed, spat at and did hear what sarcastically was uttered? "Behold the King of the Jews" (Mark 15:26). He was dressed again with his own garments, tied with a rope by the neck and led to death, and then carrying the burden of His own cross, when He came to the place where the cross was set, He was deserted only by His friends and disciples; after this, He was again divested of His garments, lifted up with His hands and feet and nailed to the cross by the soldiers and left to hang; He was offered gall to drink and was pierced with a lance and blasphemed by a thief, scoffed at and heard: "He who destroys the temple and three days raises it up again, save yourself and come down from the cross," and again, "If you are the Son of God (Matt. 27:40), come down from the cross and we will believe in you".
Thus after suffering these things, and having given thanks, he prayed for those who put him to death, and gave up his soul into the hands of His Father."
Note to self: All is fine if all is not fine.

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