Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"For the Master is generous and accepts the last even as the first"

Christ is Risen!  Indeed He is Risen!

We hope you are enjoying your celebration of the Resurrection!  Click here to see some photos from our Holy Week and Pascha (Easter) at the monastery!

The homily of St. John Chrysostom is traditionally read during Resurrection Matins on Pascha.  This powerful invitation to the banquet of God's mercy never ceases to move us to tears!  If you have never heard it or read it, we have posted it here for you!  Or, if you have heard it before, we invite you to read it again and to see what strikes you and what God may be calling you to reflect on during this Paschal season!

If any be a devout lover of God,
  let him partake with gladness from this fair and radiant feast.
If any be a faithful servant,
  let him enter rejoicing into the joy of his Lord.
If any have wearied himself with fasting,
  let him now enjoy his reward.
If any have labored from the first hour,
  let him receive today his rightful due.
If any have come after the third,
  let him celebrate the feast with thankfulness.
If any have come after the sixth,
  let him not be in doubt, for he will suffer no loss.
If any have delayed until the ninth,
  let him not hesitate but draw near.
If any have arrived only at the eleventh,
  let him not be afraid because he comes so late. 
For the Master is generous and accepts the last even as the first.
He gives rest to him who comes at the eleventh hour
  in the same way as him who has labored from the first.
He accepts the deed, and commends the intention. 
Enter then, all of you, into the joy of our Lord.
First and last, receive alike your reward.
Rich and poor, dance together.
You who fasted and you who have not fasted, rejoice together.
The table is fully laden: let all enjoy it.
The calf is fatted: let none go away hungry. 
Let none lament his poverty;
  for the universal Kingdom is revealed.
Let none bewail his transgressions;
  for the light of forgiveness has risen from the tomb.
Let none fear death;
  for death of the Savior has set us free. 
He has destroyed death by undergoing death.
He has despoiled hell by descending into hell.
He vexed it even as it tasted of His flesh.
Isaiah foretold this when he cried:
Hell was filled with bitterness when it met You face to face below;
  filled with bitterness, for it was brought to nothing;
  filled with bitterness, for it was mocked;
  filled with bitterness, for it was overthrown;
  filled with bitterness, for it was put in chains.
Hell received a body, and encountered God. It received earth, and confronted heaven.
O death, where is your sting?
O hell, where is your victory? 
Christ is risen! And you, o death, are annihilated!
Christ is risen! And the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is risen! And the angels rejoice!
Christ is risen! And life is liberated!
Christ is risen! And the tomb is emptied of its dead;
for Christ having risen from the dead,
is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. 
To Him be Glory and Power, now and ever, and forever.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

"Do not close off Your love and Your heart to me..."

Well, we've made it to Great and Holy Week!

During this week, many scriptural themes are placed before us to us to rouse us from our sleep and inspire us to keep watch for the coming of the Bridegroom, Christ.  Some of these themes include: the parable of the talents, the image of the sterile fig tree which Jesus curses, the account of the Last Judgment, the sinful woman who washes Jesus' feet with her tears, and others.

One of these primary themes is the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13).  There are many ways to interpret this parable, and many saints have given diverse and beautiful reflections.  Today, let's allow St. Macarius the Great to speak to us about the oil which filled the lamps of the five wise virgins:

"The five wise virgins, watchful and alert, had taken oil in the vessels of their heart. That oil, not part of their own nature, means the grace of the Spirit. They were enabled to enter with the Bridegroom into the heavenly bridal chamber.  The other five virgins, however, were content with their own nature. They neither watched nor busied themselves to receive the oil of gladness [Ps. 44:6] in their vessels, while they were yet in the flesh. ...  Held fast by their tie to the world, and by some earthly affection, they did not give their whole love or passionate devotion to the heavenly Bridegroom; thus they were not provided with oil" (Fifty Spiritual Homilies, Homily IV).

How encouraging to know that the oil which we need (the grace of the Spirit) doesn't come from us!  God provides it!  But we need to turn to Him and give Him our "whole love!"  Let's try to do that, this week.

"My slothful soul has fallen into sleep, O Christ, my Spouse, and I do not have a lamp shining with the fire of virtues.  I have become like the foolish virgins; for, instead of laboring, I have wasted my time.  Do not close off your love and your heart to me, O Master; but dispel my dark slumber; awaken me that I may enter your palace with the wise virgins.  There the choir of the just shall resound as they sing to You: O Lord, glory to You" (Stichera at the Praises, Matins of Great and Holy Tuesday).

Friday, April 11, 2014

Enjoy our Spring Newsletter

Read Mother's reflection on our fifth anniversary and the current growth of the monastery, meet our new dokimos (postulant) Jacqui, read a reflection about God's commandment of love as our song during this earthly exile, and more!

Click on the image to read it online.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

You're invited to join us for Bridegroom Matins with Bishop John

Great and Holy Wednesday, April 16
8:30 a.m.

Join us for this beautiful Holy Week service that is so special to us here at Christ the Bridegroom Monastery!  Celebrated only on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week, the readings and hymns of Bridegroom Matins rouse the heart to conversion and vigilance for the coming of the Bridegroom and offer strength to His Bride the Church as we journey with Him in His passion.  The service, celebrated in our chapel with Bishop John, begins at 8:30 a.m. and will be followed by a light breakfast.  Please RSVP by Wednesday, April 9, to 440-834-0290 or

Facebook Event

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Today is our fifth anniversary!

Our makeshift "habit" in our early days!
Five years ago today, on April 3, 2009, Mother Theodora and Sister Cecilia moved into the monastery, with drywall dust still hanging in the air due to the ongoing renovation projects!  Prior to this move, they had been living and praying together for a short time at the empty rectory at St. John's Byzantine Catholic Church in Solon, Ohio.  But on April 3 they moved into the monastery which had been donated to them by Sr. Flora and Sr. Adalberta, the Social Mission Sisters who formerly lived there for many years.  So we celebrate this day as the beginning of our monastery!

We are overflowing with gratitude today for all of God's blessings in these past five years!  Many of these blessings have come through you, our family, friends and benefactors!  Thank you for seeing potential in our small and humble efforts and for your continued support and prayers!