The colt & the resemblance

Realize how obedient the colt was, how being unbroken and having never known the rein, did not resist but went on orderly. This was the prophecy of the future, signifying the submissiveness of the Gentiles, and their sudden conversion to good order. For all things did that word work, which said, “Loose him, and bring him to me” so that the unmanageable became orderly and the unclean, clean.

Why does the devil often prevail?

After the resurrection of Christ, the devil is bound. Some may say,'If he is bound, why does he often prevail?' It is perfectly true, my brethren, he does often prevail; but its is tepid and careless, and who do not really fear God, that he overcomes.

He is tied up like a dog on a chain, and only bites someone who, sure of himself, goes near him. Wouldn't you think a man a fool who let himself be bitten by a chained dog? 

Contemplation on the 1st hour of the Eve of Monday (1)

How should you hate your life?

“Let him follow Me” means this: Let him walk in my ways, and not in his own; as it written elsewhere, “He that said he abides in Christ, should himself also walk just as He walked.” For he should, if supplying food to the hungry, to do it in the way of mercy and not of boasting, seeking nothing else but the doing of good. In other words, all of that kind of self seeking should be completely separated from a work of charity. He that serves in this way serves Christ, and will have it rightly said to him, “Inasmuch as you did it unto one of the least of those who are My, you did it to me.” And thus doing not only those acts of mercy that pertain to the body but every good workm for the sake of Christ (for then will all be good, because “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes”), he is Christ’s servant even to that work of special love, which is to lay down his life for the brethren, for that were to lay it down also for Christ. For this also will He say hereafter in behalf of His members: Inasmuch as you did it for these, you have done it for me.

Contemplation on the 11th hour of the Eve of Thursday (1)

Glorify Him; flee from vainglory! (John 12:44-50)

Why do you adorn your body, while your soul is neglected, possessed by uncleanness? Why don't you care as much about your soul as you do for your body?..

What madness is this! Shift this adorning within, put these necklaces about your soul. The things that you put around your body help neither to its health nor to its beauty, for it will not make black white, nor what is ugly either beautiful or good looking. But if you put them about your soul, you will soon make it white instead of black; beautiful and well favored instead of ugly and unsightly. The words are not mine, but those of the Lord Himself, who said, "Though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow." (Isa. 1:18) 

Contemplation on the 3rd hour of the Eve of Great Friday

Peter's Denial (Luke 22:31-39)

Out of twelve deserted; eleven remained loyal. The cross came; they fled; one remained – Peter, one with One. The one himself fled, and would that he had! He denied Christ. We may say, then, that the entire human race was lost. Because it had perished, the complaint of the Lord crucified is: "The wine press I have trodden alone, and of my people there was no one with me." (Isa 63:3) Then the psalm was fulfilled, "Help, O Lord! For no one now is dutiful." (Ps. 12:1-2) "There is none who does good, no not even one." (Ps. 14:1-3; Rom 3:12) He who has promise, "Even if I should have to die with You, or to be imprisoned, I will not deny You" (Matt 26:35; Mark 14:31) denied Him.

Contemplation on the 3rd hour of Great Thursday (1)

Why did He keep the Passover?

To indicate in every way and until the last day that He was not opposed to the law. And for what possible reason does He send them to an unknown person? To also show by this that He might have avoided suffering. For He had the power to change the minds of those who crucified Him. So it is once again clear: He is willing to suffer. 

Contemplation on the 9th hour of Holy Wednesday (2)

The Cross (John 12:27-36)

A marvelous and mighty paradox has just occured; for the death, which they thought to inflict on Him as dishonor and disgrace has become the glorious monument of victory against death itself. Therefore, it is also, that He neither endured the death of John, who was beheaded, nor was He sawn asunder, like Isaiah: even in death He preserved His body whole and undivided, so that there should be no excuse hereafter for those who would divide the Church.

Contemplation on the 1st hour of the Eve of Tuesday (1)

Why is the door narrow and why is the path so broad?

Whoever enters must have, among everything, an upright and uncorrupted faith. Second, he must have a spotless morality, in which there is no possibility of blame, according to the measure of human righteousness…Nevertheless those who live in a holy manner cannot do so without labor. For constantly, so to speak, the pathway that leads to virtue is rugged and steep, and is difficult for most men to walk on. For labors spring before us and we need strength, patience, and good conduct…[The broad path] means an unrestrained tendancy to carnal lusts; a base and pleasure loving life; luxurious feasts, parties and banquets; and unrestrained inclinations to everything which is condemned by the law and displeasing to God…Those who enter by the narrow gate must withdraw from all these things in order to be with Christ and feast with Him.

Commentary on John 20:28 – Thomas’ confession

28 Thomas answered Him, and saith unto Him, My Lord and my God.

He that had shortly before been slack in the duty of faith was now eager to profess it. and in a short time his fault was wholly cured. For after an interval of only eight days the hindrances to his faith were removed by Christ, Who showed unto him the print of the nails and His wounded Side. But, perhaps, someone will ask the question: “Tell me why did the minds of the holy disciples carry out so rigid an inquiry, and so careful a scrutiny? For would not the sight of the Lord’s Body, the features of His Face, and the measure of His Stature, have sufficed to prove that He had indeed risen from the dead, and to secure His recognition?” What do we reply? The inspired disciples were not free from doubt, although they had seen the Lord. Continue reading Commentary on John 20:28 – Thomas’ confession

Contemplation on the Liturgy of the Eucharist (1)

The experience of the Eucharist

When we eat the holy body of Christ, our Savior of us all, and drink of His precious blood, we thus obtain the life in us, for we become as if we are one with Himl we dwell in Him, and He too reigns in us. Do not doubt, for this is true, since He is the One who says it clearly, This is My flesh, this is My blood.” (John 6) Rather, accept the word of the Savior in fath, for He is the Truth, who can never lie.

Contemplation on the 1st hour of Holy Monday (1)

Created in His image and likeness

You have printed Your traits on us! You created us in Your image and according Your likeness! You made us Your currency; yet Your coins should not remain in darkness. Send the ray of Your wisdom to scatter our darkness, for Your image to shine in us…Do not think how to return the reward to Him …Reflect back on His image; He does not ask for more…He wants His coin back…Do offer Him something of yours, because when you do this, you would only offer Him sin.

Contemplation on the 11th hour of the Eve of Great Friday (2)

His sufferings

This is clearly a reflection of the holy prophet's words, "Be astonished, O heavens, at this, And be horribly afraid; Be very desolate," says the Lord." (Jer 2:12) The one true God, the King of kings and Lord or lords. He was dishonored by us: first He endured blows, and then he endured laughter from the sinful, demonstrating the highest patience yet presented to us. How can the One who "examines the heart and mind" the One who illuminated the prophets, not know "who strikes You?" 

Commentary on John 21:4-6 ~ Jesus’ 3rd appearance after the Resurrection

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 4 But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No." 6 And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. 
As to the fact that our Lord and God Jesus Christ appeared after the Resurrection to Peter and John and their companions, and commanded them to cast the net on the right side of the ship, and to catch a multitude of great fish, making up the number of 153, I say in brief language that its meaning  is this. The gospel related that that night after toiling greatly they caught nothing whatever; and this narrative, when transferred to spiritual and suprasensual sublimity, suggests to us that before our Saviour's coming there was night in this world, for human affairs were devoid of the knowledge of God, being devoted to the service of gods falsely so-called; but, when a kind of rising and dawn of light took place, when our Saviour came and rose and shone upon those on earth, like a 'Sun of righteousness' (this the divine Scripture says), then the apostolic net was let down, and made a great catch of men, and for this reason had the right side allotted to it. For Moses and the prophets, when they let down the fishing-net, during the past night, caught the people of Israel only, while these often jumped out of the net and served demons, and the present state is understood to be the same as if they had not been caught. Wherefore, also they left for the apostles the most honourable place on the right, while they themselves occupied the left station, which according to our custom is inferior in honour. But in respect of the fish which were caught the number 100 shows the great multitude from the nations who were caught by the proclamation of the gospel; and, when Israel did not succeed, the teaching of the gospel seized that which is perfect;for the number 100 is perfect, being composed of 10 times 10. Wherefore also our Saviour likened all rational creation to 100 sheep, saying that 99…..
 
Taken from letter LXXXVI. – OF THE SAME FROM THE 70th LETTER OF THE 6th BOOK OF THOSE WRITTEN AFTER BANISHMENT, WHICH WAS ADDRESSED TO SERGIUS THE COUNT AND archiatros 

Contemplation on the 6th hour of Great Thursday (1)

Why the upper room for the Passover? (Mark 14:12-16)

 It seems to me that this [Upper] room symbolizes the spiritual law which, emerges from the restrains of the written record, receives the Savior in a lofty place. Pauls says that what he formerly counted as gain, he now despised as loss and refuse, that he might prepare a worthy guest chamber for the Lord.