God offers Himself to you as nourishment

I was a shepherd for sheep, and You elevated me to be a shepherd for men.

I used to find green pasture for the sheep, and they were satisfied. I offer You as nourishment to men, and many do not even try you.

My heart is convulsed within me from
sorrow, my Lord, and my eyes are constantly moistened with tears, because many do not try You, but instead they seek their nourishment in the fields of famine.

Not in that direction, my brethren, not in that direction. Those are the fields of famine where you are heading; your hunger will grow greater. And in demon-crazed hunger you will hunt each other and will devour one another, and your hunger will not be satisfied.

Sheep are nourished with what is from God, but you are men, intended to be nourished with God. If men were also to be nourished with the nourishment of sheep, why would God have created both men and sheep?

What are sheep except grass -- the nourishment with which they are nourished. But you are invited to be gods, therefore God offers Himself to you as nourishment.(1)

O my Lord, I kneel down before You and entreat Your mercy. Faith among Your priests has grown cold, therefore many people do not try You. Your rich pasture lies there scarcely touched by grazing. A good shepherd for sheep is not a good shepherd for men. Why did you not leave me, to be good at something small, rather than designate me to be bad at something great?

Even when I was a shepherd of sheep, I was Your priest. With my shepherd's staff I would overturn every stone and blade of grass, and I would lie on my stomach on the ground and listen to the breathing of the earth, and I would lie on my back and watch the awesome fires of heaven. I would touch the dewy leaves in the mountain forest with my forehead, and would hug the tall fir trees that had been struck by lightning with compassion. And I used to read your name etched with fire all over the earth, and I used to feel every footstep beneath me burning and saying: "I am the altar of the Most High." And I used to fill all the valleys, all the groves, and all the pathways with my amazement at Your majesty. But once I grew up I discovered, with unutterable shuddering, that You are even closer to me than I used to suspect in the fields of my childhood. I discovered, O Lord, that even I myself am the earth, in which you burn and speak. I discovered, my Master, that I am the stranger within myself, and You are the Lord and master of the house.

And this discovery filled me with a horror, which pierced me to the marrow of my bones with an icy chill. I said to myself: "Have you not therefore sullied someone-else's home and not your own? And have you not brought shame upon another rather than on yourself? Instead of insulting yourself, have you not insulted the master of the house, in whose home you are a guest? And instead of slinging mud on your own place, have you not slung mud on some sort of sun within you?"

What sort of baptism can wash away my disgrace from You? What sort of repentance can rectify my sin against You? Help me to annihilate myself, so that there is no "me," and so that I may be born anew, as a youth without a past. Help me, my heavenly Father.

The pagan idols expect a certain measure of wisdom from their priests. How much more wisdom is necessary for a priest of the Living God!

The idols expect a certain measure of purity. How much more radiant purity is expected of one who serves the God of gods!

The idols expect a certain measure of strength from their servers. With how much more strength must one gird himself, who is a server of the All-Powerful Almighty?

O my Most High heavenly Father, purity my life and make it a sacrifice on Your sacrificial altar. When I was a shepherd of lambs, I used to cry when they wanted to sacrifice a single lamb. Make me as innocent as a lamb, and consume me in flames on Your altar. I promise You that I shall not cry, O my Lord and my God.


1. Cf. John 6:27-58.


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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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