Tag Archives: Met. Anthony Bloom

He is holding me so tight.

Metropolitan Anthony Bloom:

I remember something my grandmother told me when I was a child. She was talking to me about the Greek war of independence against Turkey…and she told the case of a soldier who, after the battle, in the dark night, called his lieutenant and cried: ‘Lieutenant, Lieutenant, I have taken a prisoner!’ — ‘Bring him here,’ answered the lieutenant.– ‘I can’t, he is holding me so tight,’ replied the soldier.

This seems absurd…and yet I have the impression that very often it is the situation in which we find ourselves with respect to the world when we who are prisoners of this world in a thousand ways — not so much outwardly as inwardly — think that we can transform it….

from God and Man

Not looking back at ourselves.


…we enter today into the joy of Lent; the joy of Lent. The word ‘lent’ means the spring; it is a beginning, and a beginning of life, a beginning of newness, a new time. It is a time when we will no longer be reminded of our own sins, no longer be confronted with images in parables of fall and repentance, but faced with the names of Saints who have started their lives as we start them: the frail, weak, vacillating, but who by the grace of God, by the power of God have become what they are: men, women, children whom we can venerate, in whom we can rejoice, who can be set as examples to us, to whom we can turn for their prayers unto salvation.

Tonight we will start on this journey; on the journey that leads us from our sinful condition, recognised, repentant unto a new time, unto the Resurrection of Christ which is the beginning for us of our own eternal life. We will start on this journey tonight as the people of Israel started from the land of Egypt for the Promised Land: still frail, still burdened, still incompletely free.

But it is not by looking back at ourselves, but by looking towards the Living God Who is Life and salvation, and to the example of those who have been victorious by the power of God that we will find courage, inspiration to come to the final victory, to the newness of life which is our calling and God’s promise. We will have to journey together, and we must not be in any delusion: we will be difficult for one another as companions on the journey; but we will depend on one another if we want to achieve to come to an end, — in the same way in which the Israelites were in the desert: not always obedient to God, not always loyal to one another, and yet, needing each other in order to reach the promised goal.

-Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
SUNDAY OF FORGIVENESS LITURGY
12 March 1989

The icon is of the Venerable Cornelius the Abbot of the Pskov Caves, whose death by beheading is commemorated on February 20th. He is one of those in whom we can rejoice!

Beyond the grave and beyond time.

cemetery-markers-dont-know-where

“Saint John Chrysostom says in one of his writings that the terrible thing is, when someone dies, that we look at the person whom we loved and say, ‘And yet, I have been unable to love him, love her to perfection.’ But then we must remember that life does not cease with death, that life continues, that for God all are alive, and that our mutual love and our mutual power to forgive go beyond the grave and beyond time. This is what Father Lev Gillet called a certainty of hope.”

-Metropolitan Anthony Bloom

The only answer that makes sense!

My last post was mostly a quote from Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, and in my transcription I somehow left out a whole sentence and turned the meaning of the main point on its head! Ugh. So I am going to post it here again, and put in boldface the critical passage that I have corrected, so you don’t have to read the whole thing through if you don’t want to. It should make more sense now.

…the aim and content of our life…is to be where we are now, whereas ordinarily, catch bus runningand nearly all the time, we live as if we were trying to catch a bus.

We have an erroneous notion of time. The amazing thing in life, said a seventeenth century Russian philosopher, is that all the necessary things are simple and all the complicated things are useless. In fact, if we could only remember that time does not run away, that at a slow pace or at a gallop it rushes towards us, we should be much less fearful of losing it. Do you think that by going towards the hour of your death as fast as possible you can prevent it from coming, or catch it? Do you think that if you go on placidly, tranquilly listening to me, the hour of your deliverance will not come? In both cases it is time which is coming towards you, you have no need to run after it.

It is coming…and you will not escape it any more than it will escape you. Therefore we can establish ourselves quite peacefully where we are, knowing that if the time ahead has a meaning that is necessary for us, it is inevitably coming towards us at a sure and regular pace, sometimes more quickly than we could run to meet it.

On the other hand, if we establish ourselves peacefully in the present, we are living in a world of realities, whereas if we hurry towards the future, we are moving towards a world of unreality…. eternity and time are incommensurable with one another. Eternity is not an indefinite length of time; eternity is not the presence of time without end. The difference between time and eternity is that time is a category of the created: it appears at the moment when something which did not exist before begins to be and to become, and it exists as long as the becoming continues.

Eternity does not answer thePantocrator OW Hagia Sophia question ‘What?’ It answers the question ‘Who?’ Eternity is God, God who is always contemporaneous with each moment of time; He is always there, completely stable, unchanged and unchangeable because He already  has in Himself, before the first thing was, all the richness necessary to meet all things and all situations. He does not need to change in order to be contemporaneous.

It is useless to look for God within a time. He is in the time in which we are….

–Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, from “Holiness and Prayer” in God and Man.

“The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” CS Lewis