READ ALL ABOUT IT
THE LIES ABOUT THE RESURRECTION
Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice. Let Your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication. If You, O Lord, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand? But with You is forgiveness, that You may be revered.I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in His word. My soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn. More than sentinels wait for the dawn, let Israel wait for the Lord. For with the Lord is kindness and with Him is plenteous redemption; And He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.
Mary of Egypt lived in the fifth century, but her story is all too familiar in the twentieth. Running away from home at the age of twelve, she became a prostitute in Alexandria. At the age of twenty-nine, she grew curious about Jerusalem and joined a boatload of pilgrims by offering the crew her sexual services for the duration of the journey. She continued to work as a prostitute in Jerusalem. On hearing that a relic of the true cross was to be displayed at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, her curiosity was aroused again, and she joined the feast-day crowds. But at the threshold of the church some invisible force held her back. Suddenly ashamed of the life she’d led, she began to weep. Kneeling before an icon of the Virgin Mary, she begged forgiveness and asked for help. A voice said to her, “If you cross over the Jordan, you will find rest.” Mary spent the rest of her life, forty-seven years, as a hermit in the desert. Late in her life, Mary encounters a monk who had come to the desert for a period of fasting, and she tells him her story. . . . The monk is amazed to discover that Mary knows many Bible verses by heart, for in the desert she has had no one but God to teach her. She asks him to bring communion to her, when next he comes to the desert, and this he does. On his third visit, however, he finds that Mary has died. . . .
Monks have always told the story of Mary of Egypt to remind themselves not to grow complacent in their monastic observances, mistaking them for the salvation that comes from God alone. And in the Eastern Orthodox churches, Mary’s life is read on the Fifth Sunday of Lent, presented, as the scholar Benedicta Ward tells us, “as an icon in words of the theological truths about repentance.” . . . . Repentance is not a popular word these days, but I believe that any of us recognize it when it strikes us in the gut. Repentance is coming to our senses, seeing, suddenly, what we’ve done that we might not have done, or recognizing, as Oscar Wilde says in his great religious meditation De Profundis, that the problem is not in what we do but in what we become. Repentance is valuable because it opens in us the idea of change. I’ve known several young women who’ve worked in the sex trade, and one of the worst problems they encounter is the sense that change isn’t possible. They’re in a business that will discard them as useless once they’re past thirty, but they come to feel that this work is all they can do. Many, in fact, do not like what they become.
The story of Mary of Egypt opens the floodgates of change. . . . The monk who encounters Mary still has a lot to learn; his understanding of the spiritual life is facile in comparison to hers, and he knows it. Mary, for all her trials, is like one of those fortunate souls in the gospels to whom Jesus says , “Your faith has made you whole.” Benedicta Ward has said that these stories are about deliverance from “despair of the soul, from the risk of the tragedy of refusing life, of calling death life,” which may be one function of the slang term for prostitution: it is called “the life.” But the story of Mary of Egypt is one any of us might turn to when we’re frozen up inside, when we’re in need of remorse, in need of the tears that will melt what Ward terms “the ultimate block within [us]; that deep and cold conviction that [we] cannot love or be loved.” In this tradition, Ward says, virginity, defined as being whole, at one in oneself, and with God, can be restored by tears.
from Norris, Kathleen (1997-04-01). The Cloister Walk (pp. 164-166). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.
FATHER FRANCIS MAPLE
|Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons|
"I have loved you with an everlasting love" (Jeremiah 31:3b)Saw this quote Sunday night, and it stopped me in my mental tracts. It was in fine print, in italics on the back of a little business card stuck in a book given and written by a priest friend of mine.
My God, I love you with all my heart, I praise and thank you . . .
The stern Pharisee, who in his self pride not only boasted of himself but also discredited the tax collector in the presence of God, made his justice void by being guilty of pride. Instead of the Pharisee, the tax collector went down justified, because he had given glory to God, the Holy One. He did not dare lift his eyes but sought only to plead for mercy. He accused himself by his posture, by striking his breast, and by entertaining no other motive except propitiation. Be on your guard, therefore, and bear in mind this example of severe loss sustained through arrogance. The one guilty of insolent behavior suffered the loss of his justice and forfeited his reward by his bold self-reliance. He was judged inferior to a humble man and a sinner because in his self-exaltation he did not wait the judgment of God but pronounced it himself. Never place yourself above anyone, not even great sinners. Humility often saves a sinner who has committed many terrible transgressions.
Pride is a denial of God, an invention of the devil, contempt for men. It is the mother of condemnation, the offspring of praise, a sign of barrenness. It is a flight from God’s help, the harbinger of madness, the author of downfall. It is the cause of diabolical possession, the source of anger, the gateway of hypocrisy. It is the fortress of demons, the custodian of sins, the source of hardheartedness. It is the denial of compassion, a bitter pharisee, a cruel judge. It is the foe of God. It is the root of blasphemy.
Son of God, (3 words)Lord Jesus Christ, (3 words)
me, a sinner. (3 words)Have mercy on (3 words)
(12 words total)
"I am convinced that our kids and teens need to hear this prayer more than any other. It's called the Jesus Prayer and whenever we use it, we call upon Christ as the Holy Scripture says, keeping Him on our minds, in our hearts, and on our lips with every minute of the day. This short but powerful prayer sanctifies whatever task we are doing!
Fold the laundry ... and say this prayerDrive to school ... and say this prayerSay it in any language, say it in short or long form...When else can you say this prayer?Pray for others using the Jesus prayer:Take turns offering the first name of someone you'd like to sing the Jesus Prayer for, then complete the song on their behalf.We say, 'Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on ______, your servant (or a sinner).'Sometimes we include all the poor, the hungry, the orphaned, the priests, all monks and nuns, those with a handicap, etc.Indeed, our true task is always the same and is always accomplished in the same way: to call upon our Lord Jesus Christ with a burning heart so that His holy name intercedes for us."
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7, but read within context of 1 Samuel 16:1-13)
43 ‘No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; 44for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:43-45)
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
9 ‘So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. 10For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? 12Or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’ (Luke 11:9-13)
9Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?’
10 It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 11God said to him, ‘Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, 12I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. 13I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honour all your life; no other king shall compare with you. 14If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.’(1 Kings 3:9-14)
23 Thus says the Lord: Do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth; 24but let those who boast boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord; I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
St. Paul told us this: “Pray constantly.” 1 THESSALONIANS 5: 17
"Come to my help, O God. Lord, hurry to my rescue" (see Ps 70:1).Last week Sunday of Zaccheaus: Next week Sunday of the Prodigal Son: