Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Rest in Your Heart's Foundation
"The depth of the human heart can't be measured. Its very nature is infinite, as it is rooted in the infinity of God. Your life has full meaning only if you try to discover the depth of your heart, the center of your being.
Ephraim the Syrian (306-373) says that when God created us, he put all of heaven in the depths of our hearts. Our task is to dig sufficiently deep to discover the hidden treasure we carry.
God can only be found if you search for the secret room in the depths of your being. If you dig deep into yourself, you will find the gate to the reign of God, and God Himself will stand at the gate and wait for you. The best way to dig is by daily reserving time for interior prayer.
When you have finally found your heart, you need to try to remain in it, live in it. This is not easy. The various tasks in life often force us to live with our attention far from our heart. But if you are rooted in your center, it doesn't need to be divisive to use the mind and the attention to do what the tasks of the day demand. Your heart is the foundation upon which all of your interior and exterior abilities rest, and, in the midst of all these external preoccupations, your heart can be rooted in God's infinity and silence."
Friday, August 14, 2020
Happy Feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God! The Divine Liturgy propers from the Metropolitan Cantor Institute share the following tradition about this feast:
"Tradition relates that the Mother of God died in Jerusalem, after a visit with all of Christ’s apostles. They carried her coffin to the Garden of Gethsemane where it was placed into a tomb. The apostle Thomas came late, and asked that the tomb might be opened so that he could reverence her body. When opened, the tomb was found empty except for the winding sheet."
Mother Cecilia wrote the following poem on her recent 30-day retreat, and would like to share it with you for this feast. Enjoy!
July 3, 2020 – Roman Catholic feast of the Apostle Thomas
perhaps it wasn’t your fault
that Jesus came that evening you were away,
stepping through the locked door,
making tremble the hearts of the apostles
as He pierced them with His Holy Spirit
you traveled the farthest
of any of these apostles,
having been expanded by doubt and longing,
seeing and touching fire;
your humiliation compelled you
what grief did you feel
when you arrived late for our Mother’s Dormition?
The angels flew each apostle to her side,
yet you alone they carried slowly.
It was your tears that opened for us her empty tomb
and our hope.
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Sometimes in the Byzantine Tradition we celebrate many things at once. It makes setting up for the services rather complicated, because the liturgical typikon (instruction manual for the daily liturgical services) prescribes that we pray particular sections of the texts for each of the things we are celebrating, but it is a joy to celebrate them all! Today is the 10th Sunday after Pentecost, so we celebrate the Resurrection with joy as we do every Sunday, and it falls during the post-festive period of the Transfiguration, so we continue to celebrate this great feast, and it is the feast of the Apostle Matthias! In honor of St. Matthias, here is a poem written by Sr. Natalia. Enjoy!
Fear of Being Chosen
O Matthias, what did you think,
what did you feel,
when you were beckoned forward?
Did your heart race at the idea
of joining ranks with those eleven?
Eleven different types of broken,
all seeking to be whole.
Did you fear the possibility
of secret brokenness revealed?
And did you also feel
the thrill of sure adventure,
after having seen the ups and downs
of the men whose eyes were now on you?
You’d seen their pain, their dying,
and in your heart felt a pull.
One thing you must have known,
known without a doubt:
being witness to the resurrection
would mean a life of miracles.
And when you heard your name called out,
and reality sunk in,
did you feel that joyful pain of knowing
that all now know that you are His?
Did your thoughts bounce back and forth
between death and resurrection?
And did you steal one more glance
at Joseph Barsabbas
and wonder, “Why not him?”