Preparing for Pentecost

ascension icon - for website.jpgDear brothers and sisters, greetings, as we continue to celebrate the after-feast of the Lord’s Ascension.

We now find ourselves in that waiting period between Ascension and Pentecost, remembering the contemplative days in which the Holy Apostles awaited the revelation of the meaning of the Saviour’s words: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever…” (John 14:16) and “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7)Continue reading

Sermon on the Ascension of the Lord

Thus did the One ascend to Heaven Who held heaven within Himself. He who carries hell within himself will end up in hell, but he who bears heaven within his soul will ascend to heaven.  And truly, no one can ascend to heaven other than those who have heaven within; and no one can end up in hell besides those who have hell within. The familiar is drawn to what is familiar and unites with the familiar; but it rejects what is not familiar. Matter submits to the spirit to the extent that the human soul is filled with the Divine Spirit; and the laws of nature are obedient to moral laws, which govern the world. Because the Lord Jesus Christ is the fullness of the Holy Spirit and the perfection of moral law, to Him is subject all matter—the entire physical world, with all the laws of nature.

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BLESSED ARE YOU, O UPPER ROOM!

Blessed are you, O Upper Room, so small

in comparison to the entirety of creation;

yet what took place in you

now fills all creation –

which is even too small for it.

Blessed is your abode, for in it was broken

that Bread which issues

from the blessed Wheat Sheaf,

and in you was trodden out

the Cluster of Grapes that came from Mary

to become the Cup of Salvation.

vitavierom

Blessed are you, O Upper Room;

no-one has ever seen

nor ever shall see, what you beheld:

Our Lord became at once

The Altar, Priest, Bread, and Cup of Salvation.

In His own person

He could fulfil all these roles;

none other was capable of this:

Whole Offering and Lamb,

Sacrifice and Sacrificer,

Priest and the One destined to be consumed.

St Ephrem the Syrian

THE CANON OF SUPPLICATION TO THE MOST HOLY MOTHER OF GOD AT THE CONFESSION OF A SINNER

This canon, which is to be found the Greek Great Book of Needs, is also chanted at Tuesday Compline in the week of tone six of the Octoechos. Whilst we are having confessions during Saturday Compline, this may be pertinent to be chanted at that time, and would certainly be valuable for parishioners as they prepare for confession and Holy Communion. In the Euchologion (Book of Needs) it is followed by a prayer of absolution by St John of Damascus, making it clear that it is intended for use in this context.

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PREPARING FOR CONFESSION

When the faithful confess in church, it is interesting to observe the slightly different ways in which the pentitents approach the Lord in the manner in which they confess. Some speak very personally to the Lord, whilst after the opening of their confession, others address the priest in great detail. Others rhetorically ask whether they have failed in various ways, and confess their shortcomings. I sometimes have to reassure people in saying that there is a very personal diversity here, but that in confessing with sincerity, the ‘style’ of their confession matters little.

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