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George Herbert: Lent

10 February 2016

 

Portrait of George Herbert

Welcome deare feast of Lent:
who loves not thee, He loves not Temperance, or Authoritie,
But is compos’d of passion.

The Scriptures bid us fast; the Church sayes, now:
Give to thy Mother, what thou wouldst allow
To ev’ry Corporation.

The humble soul compos’d of love and fear
Begins at home, and layes the burden there,
When doctrines disagree.

He sayes, in things which use hath justly got,
I am a scandall to the Church, and not
The Church is so to me.

True Christians should be glad of an occasion
To use their temperance, seeking no evasion,
When good is seasonable;

Unlesse Authoritie, which should increase
The obligation in us, make it lesse,
And Power it self disable.

Besides the cleannesse of sweet abstinence,
Quick thoughts and motions at a small expense,
A face not fearing light:

Whereas in fulnesse there are sluttish fumes,
Sowre exhalations, and dishonest rheumes,
Revenging the delight.

Then those same pendant profits, which the spring
And Easter intimate, enlarge the thing,
And goodnesse of the deed.

Neither ought other mens abuse of Lent
Spoil the good use; lest by that argument
We forfeit all our Creed.

It ‘s true, we cannot reach Christ’s fortieth day;
Yet to go part of that religious way,
Is better than to rest:

We cannot reach our Savior’s purity;
Yet are bid, Be holy ev’n as he.
In both let ‘s do our best.

Who goeth in the way which Christ hath gone,
Is much more sure to meet with him, than one
That travelleth by-ways:

Perhaps my God, though he be far before,
May turn, and take me by the hand, and more
May strengthen my decays.

Yet Lord instruct us to improve our fast
By starving sin and taking such repast
As may our faults control:

That ev’ry man may revel at his door,
Not in his parlor; banqueting the poor,
And among those his soul.

Mark the Ascetic: “true knowledge”

9 February 2016

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“Whoever does not fight the one who despises him, neither in word not in thought, has received true knowledge and demonstrates a firm trust in God.” 

– St. Mark the Ascetic

Ephraim the Syrian: “For if thy grace does not illumine my soul”

8 February 2016

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“According to thy mercy, pour out upon me, who am miserable, at least one small drop of grace to make me understand and be converted, that I might make at least some small effort to correct myself. For if thy grace does not illumine my soul, I will not be able to see the carelessness and negligence that the passions have produced in me through my apathy and recklessness.”

– St. Ephraim the Syrian

Ignatius Brianchaninov: “Apostasy is permitted by God”

8 February 2016

 

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“Apostasy is permitted by God-do not attempt to stop it with your powerless hand. Flee from it yourself, protect yourself from it…”

– St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

Elder Ephraim: “Slander is a great evil.”

7 February 2016

 

Elder Ephraim of Arizona

“Slander is a great evil. Just as the little rudder steers the whole ship wherever it wants, likewise the tongue leads a person either to good or to evil. The holy fathers greatly censure judging other people’s sins, faults, or evil habits. When we judge our brother, we condemn ourselves to a great sin. But when we cover our brother, God will also protect us from great sins. When we expose our brother, we drive the grace of God away from us and He permits us to fall into the same sins so that we learn that we are all weak and that the grace of God supports us. Whoever guards his tongue guards his soul from great sins and grievous falls. The chief cause of criticism and slander is pride and egotism, because one considers oneself better than the others. For this reason it is very beneficial for a person to think of himself as below everyone, so that he considers his brother than him in order that, with the help of God, he may be delivered from this evil.”

– Elder Ephraim of Arizona

Elder Ephraim: “a mood for prayer”

6 February 2016

 

Elder Ephraim of Philotheou edited

“… We must prepare ourselves for it. We must enclose ourselves within cells at the appointed time. We must make an effort to reflect on something related to prayer; for example our sins or the fact that time is passing and we are not doing anything or that death and the tribunal await us and so on. After this sort of impoverished and brief meditation immediately a mood for prayer comes.”
– Elder Ephraim of Arizona, in Counsels from the Holy Mountain

“Rejoice, O impassable gate of the Lord!”

5 February 2016

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“Rejoice, O impassable gate of the Lord! Rejoice, O wall and protection of those who run to thee! Rejoice, O unshakable refuge! Rejoice, O Virgin Mother of thy God and Creator! Cease not praying for those who praise thee and worship thy Son.”

– Hymn to the Theotokos

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