Monthly Archives: April 2009

God and Unbelief

It is evident that unbelief is an evil offspring of an evil heart; for the guileless and pure heart everywhere discovers God, everywhere discerns Him, and always unhesitatingly believes in His existence. When the man of pure heart looks at the World of Nature, that is, at the sky, the earth, and the sea and at all things in them, and observes the systems constituting them, the infinite multitude of stars of heaven, the innumerable multitude of birds and quadrupeds and every kind of animal of the earth, the variety of plants on it, the abundance of fish in the sea, he is immediately amazed and exclaims with the Prophet David: “How great are Thy works, O Lord! in wisdom hast Thou made them all.” Such a man, impelled by his pure heart, discovers God also in the World of Grace of the Church, from which the evil man is far removed. The man of pure heart believes in the Church, admires her spiritual system, discovers God in the Mysteria, in the heights of theology, in the light of Divine revelations, in the truths of the teachings, in the commandments of the Law, in the achievements of the Saints, in every good deed, in every perfect gift, and in general in the whole of creation. Justly then did the Lord say in His Beatitudes of those possessing purity of heart: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Saint Nektarios of Aegina. Sermon of the First Sunday of Fasts [=Lent], Concerning Faith. Excerpt and translation: Constantine Cavarnos, Modern Orthodox Saints, volume 7: St. Nectarios of Aegina, pp. 160-161.

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The Evergetinos

I have briefly mentioned The Evergetinos before here as one of the classics of Orthodoxy designed for reading by all Orthodox, though primarily intended for reading by monastics. In this, it differs from the better-known Philokalia, which was intended as a kind of monastic training guide in hesychasm, and not originally intended for lay audiences at all. This post will describe in some detail the excellent new English translation of The Evergetinos recently completed, revised, and released in four large volumes by the Center for Traditionalist Orthodox Studies in Etna, California, under the direction of the chief editors and translators Archbishop Chrysostomos and Hieromonk Patapios.

The Evergetinos has a very interesting publishing history. First it is necessary to discuss the name. The full name of this collection is, translated, “Collection of the Divinely-uttered words and teachings of the God-Bearing and Holy Fathers: Assembled from the entirety of Divinely-inspired literature aptly and conveniently arranged by Paul, the most venerable monk and founder of the Monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos the Benefactress and known as Evergetinos.” “Benefactress” in Greek is Ευεργετις, Evergetis, and the genitive of this is Ευεργετιδος, Evergetidos, “Of the Benefactress.” But the monastery was known by the slightly different Ευεργετινος, Evergetinos (which was perhaps merely a dialectical difference, or was perhaps understood as a further genitive based upon Evergetidos: “Of the ‘Of the Benefactress’”), and the book, having been written there by the founder, bears the same name. Thus the book’s title reflects both the name of the monastery (long-destroyed), and the Holy Theotokos (all-praised). A certain Paul founded the monastery at his country estate, not far from Constantinople, in 1049, before dying in 1054 (Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, s.v. “Euergetis Monastery,” 2:740). Thus this great work of four very large volumes is the product of less than five years’ devoted work. This is made all the more astonishing by the nature of the work itself.

The Evergetinos is a vast collection of materials from a number of other collections of sayings of monastics and others, ranging from the well-known works of St John Cassian and Palladius, to the anonymously produced Apophthegmata collections, but including materials also from hagiographies, menologia, and other, unspecified and now-lost sources. As Archbishop Chrysostomos relates (1:xxiv):

Father Paul Evergetinos methodically arranged materials to fit into two hundred ὑποθέσεις (hypotheses—subjects or themes, or, as I prefer to say, “hypotheses”) about the πρᾶξις (praxis, or practice) and θεορία (theoria, or theory) of spiritual life. Fifty of these hypotheses make up each of the four books of The Evergetinos. Very much like a programmed text, each book works towards addressing matters of correct faith (orthodoxy) and matters pertinent to the proper observation and practice of that faith (orthopraxy), taking the reader from basic matters of comportment and moral formation to experiences of the ineffable mysteries of communion with God through Grace, carefully concentrating on the teachings of the Church Fathers and the specific examples of the monks and nuns (the Abbas and Ammas, or Fathers and Mothers) of the Egyptian desert and other monastics. It is because of this didactic aim of Father Paul that I chose—over the philological objections of several very competent advisors—to treat each of his themes as an “hypothesis,” since his methodological approach, advanced for its time, actually contains elements recognizable in contemporary experimental pedagogy.

So, we see that Father Paul intended for this great collection not to be simply an archive of sayings of monastics and others from the past, a kind of beautiful antique or museum of sayings, but rather for it to be an active teacher of those who read it, guiding them in the process of θέωσις (theosis, divinization), in which we are led closer and closer (though always infinitely distant!) to the perfection of God (Matthew 5.48). And the realization of this program of Father Paul is happily reflected in Archbishop Chrysostomos’ somewhat awkward, but in light of the nature of The Evergetinos, understandable translation of each section heading as “Hypothesis.” (See below for the full listing of the Hypotheses.)

This does not exhaust the interesting details regarding the publishing history of The Evergetinos. For seven and a half centuries, The Evergetinos circulated only in manuscript form. Our Father among the Saints, Macarios of Corinth, was responsible for putting together a manuscript for publication based upon a number of manuscripts scattered among the libraries of the Holy Mountain. This voluminous manuscript he then entrusted to his friend and collaborator, Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite, for further editing, and for the inclusion of an introduction to the work (which is, happily, also translated in the CTOS edition). Saint Nikodemos was able to obtain the funds to have the collection published in Venice in 1783. Various editions have since appeared, in both the original Koine/Byzantine and Modern Greek. The CTOS translation is based upon the seventh, diglot edition (Koine/Byzantine and Katharevousa Greek) publishied by the Monastery of the Transfiguration (Athens, 1977), edited by Archimandrite Matthew. As the translators were working between the two versions of the text, following at time one or the other, the CTOS translation must really be considered another edition of The Evergetinos. Archbishop Chrysostomos mentions very favorably a new translation of The Evergetinos that is currently being done by Demetres Christaphakopoulos in “a reasonably literate form of δεμοτική [demotike], or the common Greek dialect” (1:xxiii), the first two volumes of which have appeared, published by Ekdoseis “To Periboli tes Panagias” in Athens in 2001 and 2003, and that “this edition of The Evergetinos will undoubtedly become the standard text for future generations of Orthodox Greeks” (1:xxiii).

The CTOS translation is available in paperback (set of four or individual volumes 1, 2, 3, 4) and hardcover (set of four only; the hardcover is not sold in individual volumes) from the excellent Eastern Christian Supply Company.

Following an exhortation found at the end of St Nikodemos’ Proem to The Evergetinos, I list the Hypotheses of the four volumes below. St Nikodemos writes:

And all of you who are partakers of the heavenly Orthodox calling, who, looking to God alone, desire to adorn your souls with every kind of virtue: put forth your arms like two golden stanchions and receive and store up this harvest; or, in the words of Scripture, receive this sacred embrace and with much joy press it close to your breast. As you constantly read it, gather from it the sweetest fruits of edification and desist not, I beg you, from interceding before the Lord for him who planted this harvest at his own cost and for him who worked together with him to water it. Thus you will show forth a disposition to gratitude that, in your love for the Fathers, whom “the Lord chose to love” [Deuteronomy 10:15—Eds.], you might everyday seek their counsel, ordering your life according to their wise, time-tested, and God-given intstructions, as it has been commanded: “Ask thy Father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee” [Deuteronomy 32:7—Eds.]; and that you might, in so ordering your life, become practitioners of moral virtue and, in practicin the virtues, give glory to your Father Who is in Heaven, together with His Only-Begotten Son and His Life-Giving Spirit, the one God of all, to Whom be all glory, honor, and worship unto the ages of ages. Amen.

VOLUME 1
Hypothesis I
No one should despair ever, even if he has committed many sins, but should have hope that, through repentance, he shall be saved.
Hypothesis II
As long as we are in the present life, we must do good here and not delay until the future. For after death we cannot set things aright.
Hypothesis III
Concerning how we should repent.
Hypothesis IV
That the afflicted should be guided slowly in the works of repentance.
Hypothesis V
That we must always call to mind death and the future judgment; for he who does not continually expect death and the future judgment is easily overcome by the passions.
Hypothesis VI
The joy of Heaven is inexpressible, as is the glory which awaits the Saints; therefore, we must remember with our whole souls the joy of Heaven and the glory of the Saints. In all that we accomplish, nothing is equal to that joy and glory.
Hypothesis VII
Many times the souls of virtuous people are made cheerful at the time of death by some Divine overshadowing, and thus they depart from the body.
Hypothesis VIII
Regarding those who die and come to life again, and how this happens by Divine Providence. And how many times sinners while still alive, beholding the torments of Hell and the demons, shudder with fear; and in this state of fear, their souls depart the body.
Hypothesis IX
Proof of where the souls of the dying go and how they exist after their separation from the body.
Hypothesis X
The soul, after its departure from the body, undergoes testing in the air by evil spirits which encounter it and attempt to impede its ascent.
Hypothesis XI
How, after death, souls are assigned to the same place as those souls which lived in a similar way on earth.
Hypothesis XII
God-loving parents should rejoice and be thankful for the trials and temptations that their children endure for the sake of the Lord. As well, parents who love God should exhort their children to struggle and to risk all for the sake of virtue.
Hypothesis XIII
How one renouncing the world should go to a remote place; what constitutes a remote place and what benefit derives from it; and what places are most appropriate for living out the ascetic life.
Hypothesis XIV
From whence the fear and love of God are first engendered in man and to what extent he is obliged to fear and love God.
Hypothesis XV
It is essential for those who have abandoned the world not to communicate with their relatives according to the flesh or to nurture the slightest interest in them.
Hypothesis XVI
We must love our relatives in the flesh equally with our other brothers, as long as our relatives lead a similar kind of life; if, however, they conduct themselves in a way discordant with that of our brothers, we must avoid them as harmful.
Hypothesis XVII
How he who becomes a monk must bare himself of all things, and how he must dispose of everything which belongs to him. That the existence of personal property for a monk in a cœnobitic monastery is clearly disastrous.
Hypothesis XVIII
It is necessary for one who wishes to be saved to seek the company of virtuous people and, as a thing much beneficial, to question them with exceeding desire and flaming zeal, so as to learn from them all those things which are essential for the salvation of the soul.
Hypothesis XIX
Regarding the necessity of obedience: what benefits arise from it and how a man accomplishes it.
Hypothesis XX
That one should not trust in himself in anything, but should heed the advice of the Fathers in all things and should clearly confess the secrets of his heart without hiding anything.
Hypothesis XXI
That we must confess our thoughts to those among the Fathers who are discerning and not entrust them to just anyone; how we are to confess and what we should ask our confessors; what faith we should place in the answers of the Fathers; and how, through this faith, we should work together with our confessors for the achievement of good.
Hypothesis XXII
Concerning the fact that he who wishes to be saved must avoid meetings with careless men and must avoid disturbances, and that estrangement from worldly affairs is necessary for him.
Hypothesis XXIII
Concerning the fact that we must keep away from those who harm us, even if they are friends or are otherwise quite indispensable.
Hypothesis XXIV
Concerning the fact that one who has renounced the world should not be entangled at all with earthly affairs, even if they seem justified, but should submit to Divine Providence in these matters also.
Hypothesis XXV
Concerning the fact that evil is easy, and that there are many who choose this, especially in our day; that virtue is demanding, and that there are few who pursue it; and that we must emulate the latter and pay no heed to the majority.
Hypothesis XXVI
Those coming to the monastic life are received with much testing; those admitted after scrutiny are for the most part reliable; what tasks are entrusted to them.
Hypothesis XXVII
Rejections of the world based on different circumstances should not be wholly turned aside; we should not immediately dismiss someone who comes to the monastic community and fervently seeks to remain with the brethren, before we have examined him in detail; rather, we should grant him some possibility of staying and test him in accordance with what we have written. After we have ascertained that he is abiding by his intention, and after testing him, we should accept him into the monastic community, unless something happens that is forbidden by the Divine laws.
Hypothesis XXVIII
From what point we should begin a life of asceticism; all who start need patience and need to put pressure on themselves, since virtue appears difficult at the beginning, on account of one’s passions and prejudices; but later on it proves to be much easier to acquire; a strong foundation at the beginning is very beneficial; it is impossible to follow Christ or to gain any virtue at all if one does not prepare himself as though his death were imminent.
Hypothesis XXIX
The demons wage a furious war against him who struggles with all his strength, whereas they are uninterested in the negligent, since they have them at their beck and call; those who want the good find God to be their ally, Who permits wars for our spiritual profit.
Hypothesis XXX
We should not regard the demons as causes of all the sins we commit, but rather ourselves; for the demons are unable to harm those who are attentive, since the help that comes from God is great; and that God allows struggles in proportion to the strength of men.
Hypothesis XXXI
One who has come to the ascetical life should only be clothed in monastic garb after he has been sufficiently trained in the virtues; the monastic schema is honorable, soul-profiting, and salvific.
Hypothesis XXXII
The faithful monk should display a manner of life that is appropriate to his schema; for he who does not live in conformity with his schema is not faithful; likewise, a Godly old age is not characterized by length of time, but by the way in which a man lives.
Hypothesis XXXIII
The faithful monk should eagerly accept whatever his spiritual Father suggests to him, because all such suggestions are in his interest, even if they induce distress or are arduous; for mercy is given by God for this purpose and for the alleviation of afflictions.
Hypothesis XXXIV
We should be obedient to our superiors in the Lord, even unto death, and love and fear them.
Hypothesis XXXV
We should be subject in simplicity to our superiors in the Lord and accept their orders as coming from God, without criticizing, examining, or correcting them, even if they do not seem for the time being to be of benefit.
Hypothesis XXXVI
What the sins of disobedience and grumbling against our teachers in the Lord are; the Christian should not object at all or justify himself, but should in all cases resist his own will and love reproof, not avoid it.
Hypothesis XXXVII
One should not condemn his teacher, even if his teacher does some things at variance with what he teaches; for many disciples have entrusted themselves to negligent teachers and, not having condemned them, but remaining subject to them in the Lord, have saved themselves and have become the cause of their teachers’ salvation.
Hypothesis XXXVIII
How the Grace of God often teaches those who watch over themselves and entrust themselves to His Providence what they ought to do through simple people and strangers; the humble do not refuse to learn from anyone they may encounter.
Hypothesis XXXIX
The faithful Christian should not be confident in himself, but should believe that through his spiritual Father he is both saved and enabled to do everything good; and he should invoke the prayers of his Elder, for they have great power.
Hypothesis XL
That one should not lightly go out of, or withdraw from, the monastery in which he has promised, in the sight of God, to remain until the end of his life; for the Fathers did not even go out of their cells, in which they found great benefit.
Hypothesis XLI
That for those who are not prepared, it is perilous to live alone.
Hypothesis XLII
That we should not gainsay anyone in a contentious manner even regarding those things that are considered good, but should be subject to our neighbor in everything.
Hypothesis XLIII
That whatever happens, happens by the justice of God; for this reason the believer must always follow Divine Providence and must seek, not his own will, but the Will of God; for he who does or accepts all things in this manner has spiritual rest.
Hypothesis XLIV
That humility is completely impregnable to demons, how humility is engendered, and what its power is; that humility, more than all the other virtues, is able, by itself, to save a man.
Hypothesis XLV
A distinctive mark of the humble man is that he blames and disparages himself and thinks that his good deeds, howsoever many and whatsoever they may be, amount to nothing; what the characteristic traits of humility are, and what are its fruits.
Hypothesis XLVI
Concerning what profit there is in reproaching ourselves.
Hypothesis XLVII
That we should not seek honor or desire privileges; for whatever men reckon to be honorable is an abomination to God.
Hypothesis XLVIII
That to appear humble, when this is done inopportunely or excessively, is not beneficial, but harmful; how we ought to act towards those who praise us, and that praise does no harm at all to one who is attentive.
Hypothesis XLIX
Concerning how one should use clothing, what kind, and up to what point, in order to cover the body, and how the Fathers loved frugality in their very dress; the faithful should prefer frugality in every circumstance.
Hypothesis L
That we should not do anything to gratify ourselves or do anything out of a passionate craving.

VOLUME 2
Hypothesis I
That those who abase themselves are held in honor by God.
Hypothesis II
By nature, abasement invites humility, while honor invites pride; and so it is that those who are of humble mind, when they are scorned, rejoice, while they become sorrowful if they are shown homage.
Hypothesis III
That one should not be idle, but undertake physical labor, too; and that idleness is the cause of many ills.
Hypothesis IV
To what end a monk should work and for what amount of time, and what kind of work he should perform.
Hypothesis V
That against which the brothers should take caution when they work together.
Hypothesis VI
That in a cœnobitic monastery no one should have any property of his own; for one who acquires anything, there is the danger that he will bring upon himself the severest punishment.
Hypothesis VII
That he who shamelessly betrays or removes anything from among those things belonging to the monastery sins very greatly before God and will be punished more severely; for this reason we should care for these things as being dedicated to God and not despise the most insignificant things; and that negligence hurts everyone.
Hypothesis VIII
With what disposition we should serve or be served and what is the profit resulting from service.
Hypothesis IX
When and by whom service is to be preferred to prayer.
Hypothesis X
One must eagerly rise up in the night in prayer and attend thereto. From where and for what reason prayer was appointed, from the beginning, at certain hours, and why we must not be remiss therein.
Hypothesis XI
Regarding psalmody and prayers and the orderliness that one should maintain in them.
Hypothesis XII
We should reprove those who talk idly or converse with each other in the Divine services; and if they do not correct themselves, we should sternly eject them from the Church.
Hypothesis XIII
That we should always keep vigil and should only sleep for as long as is necessary to keep our bodies healthy; and that beginners in asceticism should use any contrivance to accustom themselves to staying awake.
Hypothesis XIV
Concerning pathological self-love.
Hypothesis XV
Concerning the benefit that comes from abstinence, the harm that comes from a lack of abstinence, and the damage caused by the immoderate consumption of wine.
Hypothesis XVI
How the Fathers loved fasting and how they were successful in it; and to what extent they were strict in their observance of it.
Hypothesis XVII
Various exploits of the Holy Fathers, which encourage us, in our infirmity, to exercise patience and which, in their hyperbole, teach us humility.
Hypothesis XVIII
How we should care for the body and what constitutes proper asceticism and restraint.
Hypothesis XIX
How one who loves God should celebrate Feasts and what the food of the Fathers should be on Feasts.
Hypothesis XX
That secret eating is a great evil, and that it by itself can lead a monastic to ruin.
Hypothesis XXI
That a monk should eat once a day, after the ninth hour, if he wishes to adhere to the exact practice observed by the Fathers, and not only anchorites, but also many among those who lived in cœnobitic monasteries.
Hypothesis XXII
We should not eat for enjoyment, but out of bodily need; he who does not eat for enjoyment, even if the food is enjoyable, suffers no harm.
Hypothesis XXIII
How and with what purpose a monk should sit in the refectory, how he should approach food, and what he should guard against after the meal.
Hypothesis XXIV
Concerning food and drink: how at times we should not partake of certain kinds; and from which kinds we should abstain.
Hypothesis XXV
What the warfare of fornication is and how we should struggle against it.
Hypothesis XXVI
That it is not possible for one to be delivered from warfare with fornication by any means, save by the aid of God, which comes to those who struggle. What perfect chastity is.
Hypothesis XXVII
The honor of chastity and the dishonor of fornication; the reward and the recompense of each, both in the present life and in the future life.
Hypothesis XXVIII
That to accept evil thoughts and not to reject them immediately is worthy of chastisement, just as are looking inquisitively and saying or hearing shameful things; likewise, one who assents (to shameful thoughts) is punished in the same way as one who carries them out; the spirit of fornication assails us in many and various ways, and for this reason we should always be on our guard against it.
Hypothesis XXIX
We must avoid associating with women and all else that arouses desire.
Hypothesis XXX
That a believer must never consent to listen to a flute or a guitar or any other theatrical instrument, but avoid these as ruinous.
Hypothesis XXXI
That dreams (or nocturnal emissions) occur for various reasons.
Hypothesis XXXII
How great is the work of contrition, what the manifold forms of contrition are, and what the different kinds of tears are.
Hypothesis XXXIII
That demons attack a man with greater intensity at the end of his life; for this reason, we should be all the more attentive at this time.
Hypothesis XXXIV
Nothing is so inappropriate for the believer as familiarity and laughter; this present hypothesis also treats of reverence and its characteristic features.
Hypothesis XXXV
One should never become angry or shout at anyone; how anger is generated and how it can be cured.
Hypothesis XXXVI
For those who desire perfection, if their hearts are in any way stirred up against one who wrongs or insults them, let this not be deemed exempt from reproach.
Hypothesis XXXVII
A brother must be forbearing towards those who grieve him and must not take vengeance on those who wrong him.
Hypothesis XXXVIII
A Christian must not only avoid defending himself against those who wrong him, but must endure injustice with long-suffering and shame them by his forbearance.
Hypothesis XXXIX
That to those who endure injustice with gratitude and do not avenge themselves, God becomes their avenger and recompenses them many times over for the wrongs which they have suffered.
Hypothesis XL
That we must love our enemies, since they are very beneficial to us, and that we must do good to them and pray for their salvation.
Hypothesis XLI
That we should not hate any man.
Hypothesis XLII
That the remembrance of wrongs (rancor) is destructive, and that it not only renders spiritual labors useless, but even deflects God’s sympathy; and how we are to deal with it.
Hypothesis XLIII
That we should not curse anyone.
Hypothesis XLIV
That we not only should not insult anyone, but should even bless those who insult us and thereby curb their anger.
Hypothesis XLV
That we should not lie, but tell the truth.
Hypothesis XLVI
That slander is a great sin, and that it redounds to the glory of those who are slandered, if they patiently put up with their slanderers; and that even in this life, punishment from God often comes upon slanderers.
Hypothesis XLVII
Concerning speech and silence, how and when to make use of them, and that idle talk is a sin.
Hypothesis XLVIII
That simply taking an oath is sinful and that perjury is punished without fail; that we must renege on any oath which has been ta¬ken impetuously for the purpose of violating one of God’s commandments and repent for it.
Hypothesis XLIX
That we should not only not calumniate anyone, but should not even put up with one who calumniates others; and that we should not whisper or murmur about others.
Hypothesis L
How brothers who live together should correct each other, when they fall into various sins; when, and concerning what kinds of sins, they should keep silent, and when, and concerning which ones, they should speak and not conceal them.

VOLUME 3
Hypothesis I
That one should not condemn anyone on the basis of suspicions or, in general, give any credence to suspicions.
Hypothesis II
That one should not condemn or denigrate even one who sins openly, but should be attentive to himself and not busy himself with other people’s affairs; for he who attends to his own vices is incapable of condemning his neighbor.
Hypothesis III
That one should not cause scandal through deeds performed without a blessing; what the term “scandal” means; that one should not be scandalized; and that one should heal those who are scandalized.
Hypothesis IV
That the Christian should take his every thought into captivity and offer it to Christ; for spiritual people, and certain lay people, draw positive lessons even from most disgraceful circumstances.
Hypothesis V
Concerning craftiness and guile, simplicity and guilelessness; whence they are engendered; what sort of harm and benefit we derive from them; and concerning envy.
Hypothesis VI
That those who despise and deride unpretentious and self-abasing people sin very gravely.
Hypothesis VII
That the believer should do what he does with a good, and not with a bad, conscience; for God judges the deeds of each man, not according to appearance, but according to the intention of the doer.
Hypothesis VIII
That the conscience is a great gift of God to us and is very beneficial to him who listens to it.
Hypothesis IX
That we should always be attentive and guard ourselves on all sides, since the Enemy assails us from all sides and through every means.
Hypothesis X
That we should examine ourselves, so as to correct our mistakes and increase our good deeds.
Hypothesis XI
That for a faithful Christian it is hazardous to transgress even a single commandment, since he has received from God the ability to fulfill them all; and that a small evil is very harmful.
Hypothesis XII
That monastics and devout lay people who have received Divine knowledge are subjected to great chastisements even for minor sins.
Hypothesis XIII
That we must courageously resist listlessness and demonic dejection, and concerning patience.
Hypothesis XIV
That the ascetic struggler, even when he is physically ill, should have no desire whatsoever for pleasures or relax his discipline, or place any hope of a cure in medical treatment, but in God, by Whose dispensation illnesses also come to us.
Hypothesis XV
How and when we should seek medical treatment and what kind of treatment; that the monk should not leave his monastery for bodily healing, but should persevere there even if he is ill, being content with the care provided by his brothers.
Hypothesis XVI
That a monk should not bathe or strip completely naked unless compelled by necessity.
Hypothesis XVII
That there is nothing undetermined by God; all that happens, even sudden death, has been ordained by Divine Providence.
Hypothesis XVIII
Concerning patience amid illnesses and the benefit to be derived therefrom, and that God brings providential chastisements upon certain virtuous persons for their perfect purification.
Hypothesis XIX
That the righteous are often permitted to die a violent death for some beneficial purpose.
Hypothesis XX
That we should not be surprised when some misfortune befalls righteous men.
Hypothesis XXI
That the Christian, even when deprived of life’s necessities for his own benefit, should not straightforward become fainthearted, but should give thanks to the Lord and wait on Him and hope without hesitation that God, in His goodness, will unfailingly provide for him. As well, that it is shameful for an ascetic, who is a servant of God, to associate with worldly people and to ask for what he needs, even if he is burdened by indigence.
Hypothesis XXII
Concerning that hope in Christ which is imprudent.
Hypothesis XXIII
That one should violate not even the least commandment on account of bodily necessity, no matter how pressing it may be, or on account of human fear.
Hypothesis XXIV
That a believer, even if he falls into the tumult of secular life, should not conform to external circumstances, but should look to God and do what is pleasing to Him.
Hypothesis XXV
He who seeks to please God must reckon as nothing the dishonors or honors that come from men.
Hypothesis XXVI
That one must strive for virtue in secret, without display or boasting; and concerning vainglory and pleasing men, and whence vainglory is engendered, what evils it brings about, and how it is destroyed.
Hypothesis XXVII
That we should not pursue friendships with people who are prominent in the world.
Hypothesis XXVIII
That we should not, on account of feelings of self-conceit, do more than the other brethren of the monastery.
Hypothesis XXIX
That pride alone is sufficient to destroy a Christian, and that those who become puffed up over their accomplishments are abandoned by Divine Grace and suffer a deadly fall.
Hypothesis XXX
Whence blasphemy is engendered and how it is cured.
Hypothesis XXXI
The greatest among the virtues is discretion; the believer must act in all that he does with discretion. For what is done aimlessly, without discretion, even if it may be good, is not beneficial and can even be harmful.
Hypothesis XXXII
That without help from on high, the ascetic struggler can neither be delivered from vice nor acquire virtue, and that adoption into sonship does not come about from deeds, but from Divine Grace.
Hypothesis XXXIII
What is the cause of temptations and tribulations, what is the benefit thereof, and what are their different kinds.
Hypothesis XXXIV
How we should withstand temptations; that we should not expose ourselves to them; those circumstances in which we should avoid or endure a temptation.
Hypothesis XXXV
That one who is able to work miracles should not have recourse to miracle-working, but decline it out of humility; likewise, that we should not aspire to, or ask for, other spiritual gifts. That, even if we are vouchsafed them, we should not be high-minded, but guard ourselves through humility; that those who exhibit a Godly way of life are in no way inferior to those who work miracles; and that there are other spiritual gifts, superior to that of miracle-working, whereby spiritual men are known.
Hypothesis XXXVI
That love is the greatest of all the virtues and that he who loves his neighbor, as God wills, in all circumstances puts the benefit and comfort of his neighbor before his own interests.
Hypothesis XXXVII
That we ought to lay down even our life for our neighbor.
Hypothesis XXXVIII
That he who has love and humility in the Lord strives not to grieve his neighbor, but serves him in every way, considering his needs and difficulties as his own.
Hypothesis XXXIX
He who loves his neighbor, as God wills, is his neighbor’s benefactor without the latter ever knowing it.
Hypothesis XL
A pious man, whenever he sells or buys something, or engages in similar actions, should have God before his eyes and not occasion to cause harm to his neighbor, even if the latter should say that he has not suffered harm. As well, the young should be upright and not easily succumb to boldness. In the cœnobion, they should not establish cliques, for these are deleterious.
Hypothesis XLI
How we should act towards visitors and how we should receive and speak with them.
Hypothesis XLII
During the visits of Godly brothers, many of the Fathers, to refresh their visitors, mildly relaxed their asceticism, without being harmed thereby, since they were dispassionate; some of them would later chastise themselves for this small relaxation. He who maintains his asceticism during visits and consolatory encounters, or relaxes it somewhat, is worthy of praise from those who judge correctly; but we should not give credence to those who compel themselves more than necessary in consolatory encounters.
Hypothesis XLIII
That one should not casually allow visitors to a cœnobion, even if they are monks, to converse or associate with the brothers; and how the brothers in a cœnobion should behave towards visitors.
Hypothesis XLIV
That we should not eat with irreligious people; and as for those who ask us questions and do not put our advice into practice, we should avoid them after the first or second meeting.
Hypothesis XLV
Now, regarding those who visit places away from home, how they should behave, how they should walk, and how they should act when accompanying brothers.
Hypothesis XLVI
That we must not turn away empty-handed anyone who approaches us for the purpose of obtaining alms, but must receive him kindly as one sent by God and share with him what we have; and that even if he is importunate, we must imitate God by forbearing with him and not getting angry. That God often recompenses many times over those who give alms. How and by whom alms should be distributed in cœnobitic monasteries.
Hypothesis XLVII
That a monk should not possess money on the pretext of almsgiving or accept offerings for this purpose; and what sort of almsgiving befits a monk.
Hypothesis XLVIII
That oftentimes those who are poor and give alms to the best of their ability, and who subsequently acquire money, are overcome by avarice and cease the almsgiving that they previously did.
Hypothesis XLIX
That a monk should not receive indiscriminately from any person; nor should he take more than he needs. And that he who receives alms ought to labor (in prayer and fasting) for the sake of those who give them.
Hypothesis L
That we should stay away from those things that do not concern us, or which belong to others, as being ruinous.

VOLUME 4
Hypothesis I
That a monastic has vowed to live in poverty; what the sign is of one not wishing material goods; and how the Fathers succeeded in living in poverty.
Hypothesis II
Corporeal charity is required of laymen, when they are not poor, since they enjoy endless benefits therefrom. Simple believers should practice this kind of charity with all of their might, offering the choicest from what they possess.
Hypothesis III
The passion of greed is the most destructive of all the other passions.
Hypothesis IV
From whence comes forth the love of God, how it is expressed, and what its works are.
Hypothesis V
That the greatest achievement among the virtues is silence (hesychia), when one living in silence does so with full knowledge of its meaning; greatness of soul is needed to achieve this. What silence with knowledge is and how one may achieve it.
Hypothesis VI
In what way and from whence one derives strength to gain victory over one’s thoughts, and to what extent we are not responsible for the thoughts that come to us.
Hypothesis VII
That aimless wandering of the mind and forgetfulness spell death for the believer, even as unceasing remembrance and the vision of God constitute life for him and deliverance from every evil.
Hypothesis VIII
That we must pray unceasingly; what unceasing prayer is and how it is achieved.
Hypothesis IX
That one who is always walled about by prayer is impregnable to his noetic enemies; for this reason we must be diligent in cultivating prayer.
Hypothesis X
What the power of prayer is; that through prayer every good thing is given to the man of God; that through prayer man is united to God.
Hypothesis XI
That he who asks something from God should not ask for that which he desires, but that which is in his interest, according to the judgment of God.
Hypothesis XII
He who asks of God what is beneficial for his soul must also gladly accept that which is sent by Divine Providence, even if it is opposed to the desire and will of the petitioner.
Hypothesis XIII
Prayer must be strengthened by the performance of good deeds; what things render prayer acceptable to God.
Hypothesis XIV
Our prayer is not acceptable when we have enmity against another, or when others have enmity against us and we do not take care to reconcile with them.
Hypothesis XV
It is necessary for a faithful Christian to read Holy Scripture; and great is the benefit therefrom.
Hypothesis XVI
That which we read we must also put into action; for salvation is achieved by deeds, not by words. For this reason, knowledge alone is of no benefit. The spiritual person should not limit himself to the words of a text, but rather seek to understand their higher meaning and spirit.
Hypothesis XVII
We must not, moved by pride, greatly pry into the lofty meaning of Scripture or dogmatic matters that surpass human reason; nor should we try to comprehend the judgments of God.
Hypothesis XVIII
A believer should abstain from knowledge falsely so called and must not consort with heretics. What true wisdom in God is, and that certain people would do well to live in simplicity, far from such discussions.
Hypothesis XIX
Demons can do nothing against the faithful; hence, we must hold them in contempt, not take fright on account of them, and pay them no heed, whatever they do. How one discerns whether a vision proceeds from the demons or from the Angels; for demons frequently create illusions, in order to lead the simple-minded astray and to bring a (false) consolation to the soul. Regarding which visions are Divine and which are satanic.
Hypothesis XX
Dreams appear in divers manners, for which reason it is safer not to place our trust in them. Nothing of the future is known to the demons, though they pretend to know certain things, foretelling them as if from their own knowledge.
Hypothesis XXI
That the demons do not at all know what is in the heart of man, or which passions overcome us; they can discern these only by what we say and do.
Hypothesis XXII
What the measure of dispassion is, what its traits are, and how a man acquires these.
Hypothesis XXIII
How and when one should touch upon theology; what constitutes theological wisdom and what is reckoned knowledge; what the difference is between them and how the mind is made worthy of them.
Hypothesis XXIV
How and whence the mind becomes a partaker of the Grace of God and is led up to the vision of God, and how it is maintained in this state of Grace.
Hypothesis XXV
In how many ways Divine withdrawal and abandonment occur, and what we should do in such instances, so that Divine Grace might again come upon us.
Hypothesis XXVI
Spiritual contemplation excites the spiritual mind and causes it to forget all earthly things. Divine Grace becomes all things to those perfected: nourishment, drink, and raiment. For this reason, many of the Saints, strengthened by Divine Grace, either gave no heed whatever to these material resources or accounted them of least worth, thus overcoming the boundaries of nature.
Hypothesis XXVII
The rank of Priest is a great rank; therefore, a believer must not seek after it. On the contrary, out of reverence, one should renounce the call thereto, if indeed he believes that his calling is not according to the Will of God, but from human zeal. A believer should act in a similar way whenever he is called to any position of authority or to work as a Teacher.
Hypothesis XXVIII
Regarding the Priesthood, that he who unworthily carries out the duties of a Priest lays up for himself the most severe punishment, while, on the contrary, he who serves as a Priest with care and remains worthy of his profession is benefited greatly in his soul.
Hypothesis XXIX
Daily Liturgy occasions great benefit; for this reason, we find that this was a practice among the Fathers. In the Liturgy, heavenly and earthly things are united.
Hypothesis XXX
Not just for the living, but also for those who have reposed, oblations provide great aid.
Hypothesis XXXI
After death, there is not forgiveness, except for very light sins, and this only with the greatest difficulty. As for those whose acts have merited them Hell, it is impossible for them to exit therefrom.
Hypothesis XXXII
What the nature of the Sanctified Gifts (the Mystery of the Divine Eucharist) is, what their power is, and how one should approach them.
Hypothesis XXXIII
How and when we should approach Communion of the Sacred Gifts and in what state our consciences should be.
Hypothesis XXXIV
Regular Communion is very beneficial, while, on the contrary, infrequent Communion is harmful and dangerous.
Hypothesis XXXV
Any who are under ban (excommunicated) and not communing during the Divine Liturgy should exit the Church together with the Catechumens.
Hypothesis XXXVI
That burial in the Church benefits the faithful, but incurs further punishment on those condemned to eternal fire.
Hypothesis XXXVII
That a sumptuous burial also brings no small harm to the soul; wherefore, lovers of God greatly desire and prefer humble and inglorious burial.
Hypothesis XXXVIII
That teaching is not the work of just anyone, but only of one foreordained by Divine Providence as fit for such: he who puts into practice what he teaches and who has conquered his passions. He who does not have an aptitude for education must watch over himself lest, wishing to instruct others, he should neglect and harm himself. There are some—though rare—who are from the beginning guided directly by the Holy Spirit. Not only are they not in need of human advice and guidance, but they are even able to become the spiritual guides of others. We should marvel at such people, but not attempt to imitate them, ignoring our own weakness.
Hypothesis XXXIX
That for one who makes judgments by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, whatever his judgment may be, it is in accordance with God, even if he is not a Priest. Teaching others is permitted by God not only to Priests, but also to men who are pure in soul. What the mystical Priest¬hood is. In what manner those in the desert may partake of the Immaculate Mysteries, if there is no Priest.
Hypothesis XL
That the true Shepherd must readily undergo every danger for the sake of his sheep and care wholeheartedly for them.
Hypothesis XLI
Those who have received the gift from God to teach, to the ex¬tent that they take care to increase the circles of those whom they teach, will correspondingly enjoy greater Grace. For this reason, they should teach indefatigably. And those who listen to their teachings with indifference will be subject to insufferable chastisement. A Superior must remain in his monastery and have a second in command to attend to the brothers.
Hypothesis XLII
No one should teach or test those who are not in submission to him, even if they should be sinning, unless they should request such; nor should one even come to their defense, if they are wronged.
Hypothesis XLIII
We should not conduct ourselves autocratically towards our disciples or assign to them work that is inapposite. All that is assigned with humility of mind and with a clean conscience the Grace of God will bring to an auspicious end.
Hypothesis XLIV
We should not criticize someone who does some good thing, even if it is perhaps imperfect; on the contrary, we should reinforce his good intention and incite him, bit by bit, to perfection.
Hypothesis XLV
The Abbot should instruct the weaker of the brothers in obedience, patience, and other ascetic feats by the example of the stronger; and in all things, he should be lenient with the inexperienced.
Hypothesis XLVI
You should not ask of everyone the same ascetic feats, but only in keeping with the former life of each and according to the strength of each.
Hypothesis XLVII
That we should especially care for the weak and be most accommodating with them in circumstances in which they do not violate some command of God, so that they do not suffer scandal. The successes and sins of each individual are judged according to his strength and knowledge.
Hypothesis XLVIII
That we must not immediately oppress with sharp rebukes one who has sinned and is on the verge of despair, but must comfort him tenderly and strive with kindness to raise him from his fall. Likewise, if one has departed from the cœnobion and has thereafter returned, we must receive him affably.
Hypothesis XLIX
That an Abbot must not remain silent when those under his direction sin, but must chastise and reprove them, trying by every means to cure them.
Hypothesis L
That he who sins incorrigibly and brings harm to the brotherhood by his persistence must be expelled if, after appropriate care has been taken to bring benefit to him, nothing is achieved; and that the Abbot must not, out of excessive compassion, allow both himself and the rest of the brotherhood to come to harm.

~+~

Christ is risen!

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Meier, A Marginal Jew 4

Heads up! The fourth volume of John Meier’s magisterial investigation of Jesus in history is about to be released: A Marginal Jew—Rethinking the Historical Jesus: Law and Love.

Professor Jacob Neusner gives it two thumbs up (so to speak), having contributed a very positive blurb. So keep an eye out. It’s assured to be excellent. The release date on the Yale University Press site is 4 May 2009.

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On Knowing and Doing

“Listen my child, and pay attention to my words,” said Elder Daniel. “If you want to become a true and perfect monk, to master the monastic way of life, which is the true philosophy, the art of arts and the science of sciences, and leads man safely to the Kingdom of Heaven, it is necessary from the very outset to learn three lessons. If you pay the proper attention to these and apply yourself and learn them, you will subsequently learn with ease all the other lessons that are necessary for the mastery of the science which you have decided to follow. Or rather, in these three lessons are contained (on them depend) the whole Law, and the virtues, and all the other lessons. These three lessons are the following: The first is called cuttting out of one’s will; the second, humility; the third, obedience. It is easy for one to learn these intellectually; but to learn them in this way is of no benefit. What benefits one is putting them into practice. It is easy for one to read about them in the writings of the Apostles, and of the Fathers and Teachers of our Holy Church, and thus learn about them. But while it is easy to read and learn about them, it is difficult to put them into practice. Many men, especially educated persons, scholars, teachers, bishops, priests have read about them, are reading about them and have learned about them, and many of them have also taught them and are teaching them to others. However, as they did not practice them, they did not derive any benefit at all. Rather, they brought harm upon themselves and upon other, for ‘he who knew his master’s will and did not act according to it shall receive a severe beating, while he who did not know shall receive a light beating.’ Hence our Lord Jesus Christ enjoined on His holy Apostles, and through them on us and on all men of all generations, first to do and then to teach. ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.’ You note that the Lord did not say: ‘that they may see or hear your good words,’ but ‘your good works.’ Similarly, he says: ‘Whosoever shall do and teach, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.’ He does not say: ‘Whosoever shall teach’ only, but who wil also and in the first place ‘do.’

Elder Daniel to the novice Athanasios, later St Arsenios of Paros. From the Life of St Arsenios written by the Blessed Elder Father Philotheos Zervakos, translated by Constantine Cavarnos in volume 6 of the Modern Orthodox Saints series, pages 43-44.

This instruction is particularly pointed in this period of Renewal Week for Orthodox Christians. Orthodoxy is, one might say, a very bookish thing, judging if only from the bewildering number of volumes required for the celebration of services. But there is a kind of bookishness found in Orthodoxy in the strong reliance on the writings of the Church Fathers not merely as historical data for the writing of theological histories, but as living voices preserving and presenting the Faith continually throughout the generations since their own. We see an interesting thing particularly in the modern editions, whether critical editions or scholarly translations or studies, where the emphasis of the author or editor has precisely moved to a disengagement with the text and a subsequent distancing from the value of the text itself. This is noticeable in the peculiar example of the as yet incomplete Faber & Faber English translation of the Philokalia, which has had the most edifying and lengthy introduction to the work as a whole, written by St Nikodemos the Hagiorite, replaced by a rather lackluster general introduction, and the short introductions to the various Fathers penned by the Saint likewise replaced by new compositions of a less luminous nature. That is, we find that everything written by St Nikodemos in the Philokalia has been removed from this English translation, although his name stands on the cover, inaccurately credited with the compilation. It is St Makarios of Corinth who compiled the Philokalia, and who asked St Nikodemos to edit it, with the latter, as mentioned, also writing a lengthy general introduction and short introductions to each author. Fortunately, a full English translation of St Nikodemos’ introduction to the Philokalia (and a selection of other texts) is available in Constantine Cavarnos’ The Philokalia: Writings of Holy Mystic Fathers in which is Explained how the Mind is Purified, Illumined, and Perfected through Practical and Contemplative Ethical Philosophy (Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 2008). Setting aside the minutiae of publication details of the Philokalia, we must widen our scope to all spiritually edifying literatue and confront the issue: reading is not practice. (Much less than that is simply owning an unread book!) We may find edification in the gnomic sayings strewn throughout Patristic literature, relishing them as though these were the wise sayings of Christian gurus of a sort. This is not good. The Fathers teach us in order for us to actively repent, to work at changing our lives, not just to become intellectual stores of their sayings. Their words are meant to help us, to guide us along the spiritual path, sometimes gently, sometimes as though they are spurs in our sides. So, let us all make sure, whether we are reading a book or a collection of online materials, that our focus is correct: in our lives, not on the page. An example of this is found again with St Arsenios of Paros:

Father Arsenios often upon hearing the semantron calling the monks to the refectory, while he was reading the Holy Scripture or praying, felt sorrow and wept, because he was leaving spiritual food, which is sweetest, incorruptible, immortal, and was going to eat material, bodily food (p. 56).

May we all get our passions out of the way enough that we learn to cooperate with God to progress to such a point.

Christ is risen!

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The Origin of the Species

Observe these things, my brother, and you will live the life of angels in a mortal body. This too you should be aware of, my brother, that the principle element of all good for a man of God in this world is pure prayer, and unless a person die to every human being and remain continually in stillness with himself, like a dead person in a grave, he cannot acquire this in his own person, seeing that pure prayer requires emptiness from everything else, in order that by means of this he may stand chastely and without distraction before God at the time of prayer, his mind being gathered in from everywhere to itself, gazing only upon God in the stillness of its stirrings. And by the recollection of his majesty it will be made to shine out, and God will raise it up to the glory of his being. By recalling his acts of grace towards the race of rational beings, it will be diffused over the earth in the wonder of joy. Then at the incomprehensiblity of God’s being, he will be filled in his entire soul with praise, so as to be moved by holy stirrings, with fear and with love at the nature of the majest of his Godhead—whose being a thousand spiritual beings glorify, yet are unable to look into the opaque cloud of the innermost sanctuary of his hiddenness; he it is who has brought into existence innumerable worlds and natures without limit, and who has established the creation of numberless legions of angels out of nothing; he it is who, while dwelling in his own being when there was none to urge him—in that nothing existed—of his own accord and in his grace was pleased to will that the worlds should come into being so that they might be aware of him, and he effected the creation in his grace, even holding us human beings—who are dust from the earth, a mute nature—worthy, for by means of his creative craftmanship he raised us up to the state of rationality, so that we might stand and speak in his presence in prayer, and might be partakers in our intellect in that glory of the divine nature—if our way of life be worthy of it—and so that we should emulate on earth the model of the bodiless beings.

St Isaac of Nineveh. Chapter One, the Second Part. Translation by Sebastian Brock (Sobornost 19.1)

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Because we can never say it enough

Χριστος ανεστη!
Αληθως ανεστη!

Christ is risen!
Truly, He is risen!

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The Haven of Mercies

I’ve been too busy, tired, and uninterested in online things to post anything lately, for which I apologize.

To all of you Eastern Orthodox readers, I wish a beautiful Holy Week.

As a gift and an act of contrition of a sort, I provide here a selection of some instruction on prayer given by St Isaac of Nineveh in the first chapter of the Second Part of his Ascetical Homilies (from Sebastian Brock’s translation in Sobornost 19.1):

I want now to set down for you a few words of prayer, and then I will bring this letter to an end. It seemed to me necessary to put these in the letter, so that they might provide you with material for prayer, and so that, by means of the tenor of the meaning in them, the mind might acquire humility, and stay away from empty distraction through the feelings of contrition they contain. And when you eat or drink, stand up or sit down, or are going to sleep, or doing something—even when you are walking on the road, or are among many people—you should be occupying youself in the hiddenness of your heart with these words of prayer that I am writing down for you. The same applies to when you make a prostration. Once you have said the obligatory prayers and you are in need of these in your supplication, continue with the following prayers.

By what sort of stirrings the mind is awakened so as to gaze on God at the time of prayer.

When you pray, attach the following to your prayer:

O GOD, make me worthy to become aware of the hope that is reserved for the righteous at your coming, when you will come again in our body to make known your glory to the two worlds.

O CHRIST, haven of mercies, who effected the revelation of yourself in the midst of a sinful generation; for whom the righteous awaited in their several generations, and who was revealed in your own time to the joy of the entire creation: grant to me different eyes, a different sense of hearing, and a different heart, so that, instead of the world, I may see, hearn and perceive those things which are kept back by you for the revelation of your glory to the race of Christians, by means of that sight, hearing and perception which is outside the ordinary senses.

STIR UP IN ME, LORD, the taste of perception of you, so that I may be held worthy of passing from this world to you, seeing that the world has captivated me, away from you, by its joys. As long as my eyes rejoice at the sight of corruptible things, and my mind has a corporeal understanding, it is not possible for me to be completely free from the feeble feelings, subject to corruption, that arise out of them.

MAKE ME WORTHY, LORD, to encounter that mode of vision over which corruption holds no sway, so that, on encountering it and becoming oblivious of the world and of myself, all corporeal images may be wiped out before my eyes.

STIR UP IN ME, LORD, the delight of our human race, the consolation of our impoverished condition, the support of our human nature’s low estate, seeing how it has tottered and fallen, the hope of those deprived, the honourable name that became known among humanity: accord a rising up for my fallen condition, effect a resurrection to my deadness, cause an awareness of life to stir within me, bring my soul out of the prison of ignorance, so that I may give thanks to your name. Blow upon my limbs with some of the air of the new life; visit my corrupt state in the grave, and bring me out of the place of darkness. May the dawn of the revelation of you visit me in the Sheol of ignorance. Human nature, endowed with speech, has grown silent in me: do you, Lord, stir it once again to its natural vitality, for ‘Sheol will not acknowledge you, nor will those who go down to the pit give praise to your name.’ I have no tongue to utter that last thing, but may the living, such as me today, give thanks to you.

THE SENSES HAVE GROWN DUMB, the heart’s stirrings have been silenced, thoughts have dried up, the entire operation of human nature in me is destitute of true life: there is no remembrance of you in me, there is no thanksgiving to you in Sheol where I dwell, there is no joyful sound of the praises of you in my soul’s lost state, all my limbs which are dead are awaiting the birth-pangs of resurrection. There is no one who comes in to me in the desolation of Sheol.

O MY GOD, cause me to hear your voice that resurrects all in a hidden way, decree for me in symbol the example of Lazarus, your friend. I know, Lord, that I have never been seen to be a diligent friend of yours, yet I belong to your flock, and my enemy has taken me off and humiliated me on earth. O God, make me worthy of a share in that magnificent state which you have prepare for your friends in the new world, and likewise of an awareness of the knowledge of your love, and the inseparable union, and the indissoluble bond of the delight that comes from gazing upon you. O Lord, do not withhold from me your acts of grace; may I not be deprived of the knowledge of you that is filled with hope.

O LORD, save be from darkness of soul; O compassionate Christ, give me joy in your hope: sow the hope of yourself in my thoughts, and make me worthy of your compassion when the revelation of you shines out from heaven. O Lord, may I not be required for the judgment of my wrongdoings when you come in your glory.

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