Let heaven descend and let the earth arise

Let heaven descend and let the earth arise, when the pre-­eternal Nous, born of the Holy Spirit and the Most Pure Virgin in the cave of my soul, opens His mouth.

His words drip onto cemeteries, and ashes turn green and blossom. Those rejected by the world, who have also rejected the world, run to greet Him, but those cherished by the world flee from Him in terror. "I and the Father are one.1 Before man was, I am."2 - Thus speaks Wisdom, born in your virginity, my soul. Listen and understand your eternity, which was lost in the ashes of time.

"Every soul, who does the will of the heavenly Father, can be called a mother of God's Wisdom." 3 Thus speaks the Wisdom of God, born of the Holy Spirit within you, my soul: "I am the life and the resurrection of the dead.4 Whoever severs his bond with Me, has severed his bond with life and becomes like a cloud of smoke in which there is neither light nor moisture.

"You who think that you are alive, but are in fact a dead cloud of smoke blown about by capricious winds; come to Me, and I shall fill you with light and water, with true light and living water, and you will be truly alive.5

"You who are voluntarily coming to Me and filling yourselves with My life, are losing yourselves, such selves as the world made you, and are becoming one with Me, just as I am one with the heavenly Father.6 'Truly you will no longer fear time, for time is the scourge of the world, and belongs to the world, not to Me.

"Nor will you be confounded by tribulations in time and space. All tribulations are merely the imaginary hissing of time's scourge in a playground, and they belong to the world, not to Me.7

"Peace I give to you, peace which time cannot consume, peace which space cannot constrict, peace which even all the tribulations of the world cannot confound.8 "Those who are filled with the world are devoid of life, and are slaves of the world. Those who are filled with life are devoid of the world, and are the sons of life.

"I am full of life, and there is no death in Me, not even so much as the tip of a needle. Therefore the world fails to recognize Me, for there is nothing of the world within Me. The world knows only its own, just as life knows only its own.

"And truly, I am the most unknown guest in the world. I have come to offer, not to take. From My own fullness I offer; from nothingness there is nothing to take. My fullness -- is the fullness of God, who sent Me into the world to give Myself to the world, to bring cemeteries to life, and then to return again to the Kingdom of Life. I and life are one. Before Adam was, I am; and after Adam was, I am."9

O my soul, rise from the dead! While the One who can resurrect you is within you, arise! If He ever leaves you, you will not be able to do anything except give birth to the dead and bury the dead. Transform yourselves into listening and obedience, you lifeless offspring of my soul, and arise from the tomb.

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1. John 10:30.
2. John 8:58 and 17:5.
3. Matt. 12:50.
4. John 11:25.
5. John. 4:10-14 and 8:12.
6. John. 17:11, Mt. 10:39; 16:25.
7. John 16:33.
8. John 14:27 and Phil 4:7.
9. Cf. Rev. 1:8 and see I AM in the Glossary.

Rejoice, my soul your Infant has grown up

 

Rejoice, my soul your Infant has grown up, and has girded Himself with a strength mightier than the earth. The Demolisher of all your towers of smoke has grown up in the world, and the world has neither noticed nor recognized Him.

The wilderness has been His companion, and meditation and prayer have bound Him to heaven, His homeland.

Behold Him, as He now of His own free will sets out to visit your swarthy offspring. In His eyes eternity glistens; and on His face eternity is written; and in His hands eternity resides. Mightier than the world, behold, He goes forth to struggle against the world -- against all your shadowy world, my enslaved soul. Rejoice, my soul, see how your Infant has grown up, undetected by the world, and has girded Himself with a strength mightier than the world.

As calm as any heroic man of mettle, who is conscious of his own invincible might even before his adversaries' vulnerability is vanquished, my Beloved stepped out among the wild beasts, and the beasts cleared out of His way, filled with fright.

In truth, nature recognized Him before people did, and submitted itself to Him as a lawful servant submits himself to his lawful Lord.

But among men only one recognized Him,1 and he began to cry out, and his cry became the voice of one crying in the wilderness, a voice that men quickly strangled by violence and bloodshed.2 For violence is the weapon of the weakling, and bloodshed is the way of weakness, from Cain to Herod.

The father of all the tyrants from the beginning of the world3 greeted Him and offered Him all the treasures of this world, if only He would spare and not trample on his crops in the world.4

The ruler of this world saw my Favorite, just as in the morning the shadow of night watches the rising of the sun and dies while watching.

As the herald of the living and everlasting Trinity, my Favorite stood before the ruler of the world of illusions. And the king of darkness tried to introduce disharmony and confuse the personified trinity in unity. And so, in his customary way, using the craft he had tested on the human race, he first flattered the stomach of my Champion. If he could entrap His stomach first, he would then give it hegemony over the heart and the mind, and would make them shadows and servants of the stomach.

But the lower man remained in unscathed harmony with the middle and upper man. The stomach of my Champion remained faithful to the united trinity, in which the three are coequal and one.

Then the ruler of darkness and evil struck with flatteries at the heart of my Favorite. The heart of the latter, however, being brighter than light, did not receive darkness into itself, but instead remained as faithful as His stomach to His threefold harmony.

Finally the ruler of darkness mustered all his dark powers and attacked the mind of my Saviour, urging Him to test God with nonsensical, breakneck miracles.

The mind of my Only-Begotten, however, was like a blazing torch that scorches every impurity and then puts it to flight. And so not even the mind left the sweet harmony of holy triunity.

Thus did my Victor win the first victory over the king of smoke and ashes, who then came forth to negotiate with my General, offering him everything -- except dominion over the world.

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1. John the Baptist (Matt 3.1-17).


2. Mark 6:14-29.


3. Satan (John 8:44).


4. Matt 4:1-11.

Confidence in the Divine

When a man receives something Divine, in his heart he rejoices; but when he receives something diabolic, he is disturbed. The Christian heart, when it has received something Divine, does not demand anything else in order to convince it that this is precisely from the Lord; but by that very effect it is convinced that this is heavenly, for it senses within itself spiritual fruits: love, joy, peace, and the rest (Gal. 5:22).

+ St. Seraphim of Sarov, Little Russian Philokalia: Vol. I

O Holy Spirit, behold how vile my soul is!

 

O Holy Spirit, behold how vile my soul is! How she fearfully conceals Your fruit within herself, for fear of the Jews, for fear of the countless children of darkness, whom she has multiplied in herself from her marriage with the world.

She has borne innumerable wolves and foxes, and has placed them in her royal chambers, while Your Son has nowhere to rest His head.1 And they all seek to keep what has been born of the Spirit. Ah, the accomplices of Herod! For they are afraid of might and true light! And those, who have usurped their crowns and placed them bloodstained on their heads, worry about their crowns most of all.

Flee, my soul, flee with the new fruit of your womb, with your only-begotten fruit; flee into Egypt, into a land even more somber than Israel. Behold, the multitudes of slaves that she has produced in herself from the seed of the world are out to hunt down your only Son, and are seeking to kill Him.2

The eyes of malefactors are darker than their crowns, however, and in their blindness they fail to distinguish God's infant. Therefore they will slaughter many infants, in order to slay yours.3

I once saw a frozen shepherd beside a tiny fire. He never took his eyes off the fire, as though he wanted to help it burn with the embers of his eyes. And he sheltered the fire from the cold wind with his hands, and he kept blowing with his breath, so that it would burn more strongly, grow larger, withstand the winds, and warm him.

In this way are the raging winds from my heart threatening to extinguish the divine candle within you, my soul. And in this way are the raging wicked thoughts from my mind spitting on the only light within you, because it is about to bring about their downfall.

Everything that you, my soul, have multiplied in my mind and in my heart, does not consider you a mother but a stepmother, and there is no one among your repulsive progeny, who would place their finger on your burning tongue to cool it.4 Now for the first time, you have become a mother for you have borne a Son, who is growing up in obedience to you and the Holy Spirit, and in the tender love of parenthood.

Do not burden His head, O bondswoman,5 with the slavish cares of this world. He must grow in spiritual power, and be in that which is of His Father. Lo, your Son comes like a flame, which will consume your adversaries, and will warm and sanctify you.

As a messenger He comes from a kingdom, where you used to reign in virginal purity and beauty. How can you fail to recognize your Son, my demented soul?

As a herald He comes from the kingdom of light, where you also used to shine with the splendor of many suns, to summon you into that kingdom once again. How can you not distinguish the voice of your Son, my deaf soul?

As a champion of freedom He comes from a kingdom of freedom, where you also used to dwell, unacquainted with the fear and hunger of slavery, -- He comes to free you from the heavy chains, in which the obesity of the world has shackled you. How can you still hesitate to greet your liberator with cheering, my dumb soul?6

O Spirit Almighty, strengthen the salvation-bearing Infant in the cradle of my soul. And protect Him from all the poisoned arrows flying at Him from Israel above and from Egypt below.

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1. Cf. Luke 9:58.
2. Cf. Matt. 2:13-15.                      
3. Cf. Matt. 2:16-18.                       
4. Cf. Luke 16:24.
5. Cf. Gal. 4:21-31.
6. Cf. Gal. 5:1.

The worldly matters

Excessive care about worldly matters is characteristic of an unbelieving and fainthearted person, and woe to us, if, in taking care of ourselves, we do not use as our foundation our faith in God, who cares for us! If we do not attribute visible blessings to Him, which we use in this life, then how can we expect those blessings from Him which are promised in the future? We will not be of such little faith. By the words of our Savior, it is better first to seek the Kingdom of God, for the rest shall be added unto us (Mt. 6:33).
+ St. Seraphim of Sarov

Nourish the soul with the word of God

“One should nourish the soul with the word of God: for the word of God, as St. Gregory the Theologian says, is angelic bread, by which are nourished souls who hunger for God. Most of all, one should occupy oneself with reading the New Testament and the Psalter, which one should do standing up. From this there occurs an enlightenment in the mind, which is in the mind, which is changed by a Divine change.”
+St. Seraphim of Sarov, Spiritual Instructions

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"As the Prophets saw, as the Apostles taught, as the Church has received, as the Teachers express in dogma, as the inhabited world understands together with them, as grace illumines, as the truth makes clear, as error has been banished, as wisdom makes bold to declare, as Christ has assured, so we think, so we speak, so we preach, honoring Christ our true God, and his Saints, in words, in writings, in thoughts, in sacrifices, in churches, in icons, worshiping and revering the One as God and Lord, and honoring them because of their common Lord as those who are close to him and serve him, and making to them relative veneration. This is the faith of the Apostles; this is the faith of the Fathers; this is the faith of the Orthodox; this faith makes fast the inhabited world."
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