Listening at the end of Lent

About now I begin to think I really should hold my tongue and start listening harder. Here are some things I’m hearing:

1.  Do not show forth a useless fast.

2.  Can’t you see that the world is on fire, burning! Temptation is everywhere. The devil has set such a fire that even all firefighters in the world could not put it out. It is a spiritual fire. Nothing but prayer is left for us now, prayer that God may take pity on us! You see, when a fire spreads and the firefighters can do nothing about it, people turn to God and pray for a heavy rain. The same happens with the spiritual fire started by the devil; only prayer is needed so that God may help us.

Wherever you may turn, one thing is clear: things are falling apart! It’s not, for example, that we have a house and a window or something else that needs fixing and we can take care of it; it is the entire house that is in shambles––and worse yet, the entire village. We are spinning out of control. Only God can step in and make a difference. He’s got to roll up His sleeves, take a screwdriver and with a slap here and a caress there fix the mess. The world is harboring a blistering wound, full of puss, that needs to be opened and treated; but it’s too soon to open it now. Evil must come to term as it did in Jericho, a long time ago.
––Elder Paisios in With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man

3. A word about how we relate to the saints.

4. “There’s no taking snakes with sugar-tongs.”  -Proverb

5. From yesterday’s Orthodox matins service:

O wise Lazarus, prepare now for thy burial; for tomorrow thou shalt die and leave this life. Look at the tomb in which thou shalt dwell. But Christ will bring thee back to life again, raising thee on the fourth day.

Be glad, O Bethany: for Christ shall come to thee, performing in thee a great and fearful miracle. Binding death with fetters, as God of all He will raise up Lazarus, who was dead and now magnifies the Creator.

Come, let us make ready to meet the Lord, bringing to Him palms of virtue. So shall we receive Him in our souls as in the city of Jerusalem, worshiping Him and singing His praises.

icon from Sinai-12th century

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