Help me to be born anew, O consubstantial Trinity


At noon the children gather at the lake, to bathe in the sun and the water.

O Lord, how the whole of nature marvels at innocence! Strained and pained laborers in the presence of sinners -- the lake and the sun are transfigured in the presence of children. What a magnificent temple of the Lord the lake becomes, when children are in it, and what an inspired high priest the sun becomes, when its rays cross the rays of children's souls.

"Let the children come to me," whispers the whole of nature, "and you will understand that I myself am also a child. To the soulless I seem to be soulless, to saints I am an altar. Whoever seeks the beast in me, will be sent a beast; whoever seeks God in me, will be shown God. Sinners call me a slaughterhouse, the righteous call me a sacrificial altar. Only to innocence do I manifest myself as innocence, and only to children of God do I reveal myself as a child of God."

"Let the children come to Me," exclaims the Son of the Virgin, and only children come to Him.1 Those who prevent children from coming to the Son of God, will be liable to the fires of hell. For neither do they themselves come to Him nor do they allow others to come to Him.2

"Why children, O Lord, why do You seek children?" those who are made and not born ask the One who was begotten and not made. Such people are made and not born, like statues of stone, and they are moved by the winds of the world. But the One who is begotten and not made moves with life within, and the winds of the world flee from Him.

"Because I Myself am also a child, for this reason I seek children. Impostors see an impostor in Me, atheists see an atheist, and those in authority see in Me one who usurps authority. The Pharisees ask 'Who is this man?' and they cannot resolve the question, while the wise of this world pursue Me into their own worldly wisdom.

"Only children recognize Me, for I too am a child. As a child I am not My own, and as a child I do not seek glory for Myself. As a child I do not think anything on My own, I do not speak anything on My own, and I do not do anything on My own. Instead, like a child, I think what My Father taught

Me, and I speak what I hear, and I do what I see.3

"Children cease to be children, but I never cease being a child. Children cease to be children because of their wicked guides, who prevent them from continuing to sojourn with Me and teach them the time-worn wisdom of the world. But I do not cease to be a child, because I nourish Myself with the eternally youthful wisdom of heaven.

"Blessed are those who in old age rid themselves of their wicked guides and the wisdom of those guides, which makes one old, sick, and dead. Whoever turns to Me, even if he has been made old by the world, I shall make him a child and as an eternal child he will reign in My kingdom, to which the elders of the world have no access.

"I tell you that My kingdom is a kingdom of children.

"Truly, those who are made will not see the light of the Kingdom of God, but only those who are begotten. Whatever is Mine, whatever is as I am, this will be with Me.

"The statues of stone, which the winds of the world move, will be smashed, and their dust will be the sport of winds. But the children, who move with life within, will enter into eternal life."

O Resplendent Lord, Eternal Child of the Holy Triad, help me with Your innocence, the greatest strength in all realms, to be born of the Holy Spirit.

May I not be like a stone statue, made by this world, to be smashed and scattered into the wind.

May I rather be like a born youth, inseparable from You in eternity, O Prince of Innocence and of all innocents.

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1. Mark 10:13-16.

2. Matt. 23:13.

3. John 5:19-23,30,43.

Unprofitable servants!


"Unprofitable servants!"Thus speaks the Lord of life and Vanquisher of death:

"Can you increase your stature by a single cubit?2 Can you make a hair turn white or black?3 And when you cannot do what is least, why do you worry about the rest?

"The master of a house, who hires servants, gives them a field and tools and food. Even so does the Heavenly Father provide for His servants!

"Unprofitable servants, God gives you the strength to serve; and it is not even you who serve, but God who serves through you.

"If you could perform a single good service without God, you would be gods, and God would not exist.

"If you could take a single life, and resurrect a single dead man, without God's presence, you would be gods and God would not exist.

"When you perform all your service, it is God who has performed the service, and it is you who are the unprofitable servants."

I said to my feet: "You do not walk by your own power;" and to my hands: "You do not create by your own power;" and to my nerves: "You do not sense by your own power;" and I said to my mind: "You do not reason by your own power."

Nor can all my caution lead me through a single night alive. Nor can all my toil add a single installment to my lifetime.

And to bread I said: "It is not you who nourish me, but the One who invisibly enters into me with you." And to light I said: "It is not you who illuminate me, but the One from whom even you have borrowed luminosity."

Sons of men, you are all unprofitable servants. Elements of nature, you are all unprofitable servants. Suns, stars and moons, you are all unprofitable servants.

All your service is in vain, unless someone stronger than you provides it.

All your promises are illusions, unless someone wealthier fulfills them.

All your cares are like thorns, that you sow in your way. They do not bring down rain, but make a drought more severe. They do not increase life, but amass weakness.

Unprofitable servants, convert your cares into prayers, just as ice is converted into flowing water, and you will reap an unexpected harvest. Pray to the Lord of the harvest, and then you will understand how vain and ruinous your cares were.

What does it profit for a shepherd's pipe to worry about how it will play? All its worries will not produce a single sound until a player places his mouth on it.

Look upon yourself as nothing; lay claim to nothing -- and everything will be given to you.4

And after you will have done so, you will sense that you are ceasing to be unprofitable servants and that you are becoming sons and heirs of a father. And the Father will clothe you in the gold and purple of His glory.

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1. Matt. 25:30 and Luke 17:10.
2. Matt. 6:27.
3. Matt. 5:36.
4. Matt. 6:33.

The earth is a stepmother


The earth is a stepmother, O Heavenly Mother, and behaves toward us as a stepmother. She looks upon us as step­children, as strangers from afar, as adopted children - until she makes us her slaves.

We labor for her day and night, and for this she pays us wages with her miserable possessions: sin, sickness, and death.

Whoever only lives by her bread, will never know satiety.1 Rather, the more he eats, the hungrier he feels. And the more he dances to her tune, the more he will be overcome by grief.2

He is like a beast that falls into a deep pit and then digs ever lower and deeper in the earth in order to save himself. And even as he moves further away from salvation, he thinks that salvation is near. Truly, such are the sons of men, who toil hard over the earth, and assess the nearness of salvation on the basis of their toiling.

To what avail is your swimming in ashes, ever deeper and deeper? O sons of men, your salvation has been left behind you.

You say: "We need dig just a little bit deeper, and we shall come out into the light." But I say: "Just a little deeper into the earth, and you will be further from the light."

You say: "We need only complete certain tasks tomorrow and the day after, and the kingdom of goods will be con­structed." But I tell you: "All that you have constructed of earth, will crash down upon your head, and your tomorrow and day-after-tomorrow will again be only a painful lifting of your head beneath the ruins."3

Your fathers used to mutter the same words of consolation to themselves, and they died off amid the ruins and amid the unfinished repairs.

You need ladders, and nothing other than ladders; so that you can climb out of the hole into which you have fallen, so that you can flee from the cold embrace of your stepmother.

A virgin is that ladder.4 She lights a heavenly candle in the midst of your darkness and shows the way. She is clairvoyant, and she knows that which you have forgotten. Alienated from earth, she has been befriended by heaven. Disrobed of dark­ness, she is clothed in light. Through her Heaven peers into us. Through her we can see heaven.

She is cautious with regard to your counsels; rectitude is in her mouth; heavenly wisdom is in her womb; a reverend flame is in her heart.

Out of her come the healer and the cure. From her thighs come the guide and the way.

She is not a stepmother but a mother, and does not promise her son more than she can give. Her giving is her promise, while the giving of the stepmother consists of promises.

The stepmother is earth, O Heavenly Mother, and she behaves toward us as a stepmother. With a black veil she conceals You from our eyes, so that we may not see You and think that You are dead. Therefore generation after generation snuggles up to the stepmother, and kisses her harsh hand.

Flash Your face, O Mother, and the stepmother will flee, and the slaves will become sons.5

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1. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4).
2. Luke 7:32.
3. Luke 20:17-18.
4. Gen. 28:12.
5. Gal. 3:26-29 and 4:21-31.

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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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