Tag Archives: salvation

Here was at home.

Today was most wonderful, as it was a fully At Home Day, after a long period of being away every day, always for good things, of course. It could be called a catch-up day, as I’ve had the time to concentrate on tasks that have been getting shoved aside and neglected for too long. Cooking and tidying up took quite a bit of time; because I’ve been cooking more lately, I end up washing dishes more often, but that’s okay, because I enjoy cleaning up the kitchen if I can really give it proper attention. I watered a wilting/dying house plant, and while I ate my lunch I watched the birds outside on the patio, as they finished up the last of the suet feeder.

I took some papaya peelings and Brussels sprouts trimmings out to add to the worm bucket. And it occurred to me, since worm farming is called vermiculture or vermicomposting, etc., maybe I could call my worms “vermi’s” — what do you think? It sounds cuter than worms. This is what my worms typically look like when I take off the lid of their 5-gallon bucket. I’m always relieved if they are looking alive. When the weather drops to freezing, they are unhappy, and disappear into the center of their habitat to huddle together.

It’s been raining steadily all day — until now, when just before the sun went down, it came out and made everything sparkle — and I knew last night that I would want to have a fire in the stove so that I wouldn’t be distracted by being cold, on this day of opportunity. So I brought quite a few logs into the garage in advance of the rain, before I left for a General Unction service at a sister parish.

At this Orthodox service we pray and sing, and hear seven epistle readings and seven Gospel readings by, ideally, seven priests. Last night we only had one bishop and four priests, which meant that when we got to the anointings “for the healing of soul and body,” we had just five of those. Surely they were more than adequate to convey this special grace during Lent. One of the epistle readings included this passage from the book of James:

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

(I didn’t take pictures at the service, but I found online these images that are typical.)

Since I opened my sleepy eyes I’ve been blissful knowing that I didn’t have to watch the clock, or change my clothes and get in the car to go anywhere. Much of my morning could be contemplative. Though my supply is very low, there were plenty of logs still, to keep the fire going and the house cozy. It seemed the most blessed day. Once, for a brief moment, a thought came to mind, comparing my life to the “old times” of a few years or decades ago — but I regained my focus pretty fast.

After dinner I was reading in a church calendar that has quotes for every day. This one from St. Luke the Blessed Surgeon was just on point:

It is not right to speak of the former years and to bless them and to curse our own age. We must know that in every age and in every place, people who actually seek their salvation find it.

-St. Luke of Simferopol and Crimea

St. Luke might well have reason to bless his former life, that is: before his wife died leaving their four children motherless, before Lenin came to power, and before his three imprisonments and torture. He had his priorities right, as you can see by reading his life here.

It’s likely that sometime in the future I will fall into longing backward for days like today; I hope the example of St. Luke will help me to cut it short and be fully present in whatever kind of days lie ahead. But for today, his exhortation made me glad that I had been able to be here and now, and that the here was at home.

Success is the cause of its decline.

“The death of the spirit is the price of progress. Nietzsche revealed this mystery of the Western apocalypse when he announced that God was dead and that He had been murdered. This Gnostic murder is constantly committed by the men who sacrificed God to civilization. The more fervently all human energies are thrown into the great enterprise of salvation through world–immanent action, the farther the human beings who engage in this enterprise move away from the life of the spirit. And since the life the spirit is the source of order in man and society, the very success of a Gnostic civilization is the cause of its decline.

“A civilization can, indeed, advance and decline at the same time—but not forever. There is a limit toward which this ambiguous process moves; the limit is reached when an activist sect which represents the Gnostic truth organizes the civilization into an empire under its rule. Totalitarianism, defined as the existential rule of Gnostic activists, is the end form of progressive civilization.”

― Eric Voegelin, The New Science of Politics: An Introduction

We need Thy prayers so sore.

THE MEDIATOR

O Christ, true Son of God most high,
Thy name we praise for ever;
Whoe’er to Thee for help doth cry
Shall find Thee fail him never;
‘Tis Thou wilt plead,
Thou intercede
With God, for us who need Thy prayers so sore:
Thy bitter strife
Hath wrought us life,
And Thine be thanks and praise for evermore!

To Thee the Father giveth now
All power in earth and heaven;
Sin, Satan, Death to Thee must bow,
All fetters Thou hast riven,
Bade fear to cease,
And made our peace,
That now to God we dare our hearts outpour:
Thy bitter strife
Hath wrought us life,
And Thine be thanks and praise for evermore!

Fulness of grace is in Thy Word;
The Life, the Truth, the Way
To life eternal art Thou, Lord;
To Thee alone we pray,
Who didst appear
A servant here
To bear the sin that crushed the world before:
Thy bitter strife
Hath wrought us life,
And Thine be thanks and praise for evermore!

Hans Sachs (1494 – 1576) Germany

The ultimate human experience.

From a church bulletin:

The Resurrection of Jesus… was the ultimate human experience. For the first time, a human brain and a human nervous system were suffused from within by the energies of the Resurrection. The whole, material universe begins to be transformed from that moment to what Paul will call “the fullness of Christ.” For the first time, a human heart pulsed with a life beyond the power of death, the pulsation of a heart which will never stop. For all eternity that heart will beat.

Jesus was thereby manifest as the “firstborn from the dead” as he is called in the book of Revelation. His experience of rising from the dead, the first man to do so, is the secure promise of the glory that awaits all those who are joined to him in faith and Divine Grace. This will be the final stage of Salvation. The final stage of Salvation will come only at the end of the world. You see, even dying and going to heaven is not the last stage. It’s a rather important one, but it’s not the last stage. True Soteria—True Salvation—is found when our bodies will rise in glory.

—Father Patrick Henry Reardon