“Virtually everything in our lives is gifted to us, and there are many ‘gifts’ that we would prefer never to have received. It is part of our incarnational existence. We are the offspring of others. To have an embodied existence in space and time is to have a body burdened with the DNA of eons and a family and culture that is both the product and carrier of history.”
Read the whole article by Father Stephen Freeman: The Sins of a Nation
From Father Stephen Freeman:
When the Fathers used the word “symbol,” they understood that something was actually, really and truly made present. A symbol makes present that which it represents. This is fundamental in the doctrine of the Holy Icons. In our modern world, a symbol represents something that is not there, it is a sign of absence. Indeed, because our modern world-view is essentially one of nominalism, we believe that the ancient notion of symbol is simply impossible. It feels like superstition to the modern consciousness.
But this brings us to my description of sin as not being a “legal problem.” St. Justin says that “sin defiles a man and his being.” This is not contemporary language. He means exactly what he is saying. It is of a piece with St. Athanasius’ description of sin as death, corruption and non-being. Sin is something, not just a thought in the mind of God. It kills us, and not because God is doing the killing. Sin is death itself. The “lawlessness” of I John 3:4 is the anarchy, chaos, and disorder of death and corruption. Sin is utterly contrary to the life that is the gift of God.
This is why St. Justin (and the Church) can say that the remedy of sin is holiness, the “synthesis and unity of all the holy virtues and grace-filled energies.” When we partake of the holy mysteries of Christ’s Body and Blood, they “cleanse us from all sin.” This is not a simple change of our status in the mind of God. His Body and Blood are life. They are the antidote to death, decay, corruption and non-being. They destroy the lawlessness that is the anarchy, chaos and disorder of death and corruption.
You can read the entire article here: Secularized Sin
If all the world a single body shared —
One heart, one breath, one blood, one flesh, one life —
Then sin has not one cell, one atom spared
The poison of shared wickedness and strife.
What wickedness, what strife, you well may ask,
Oblivious that you yourself are sick,
That fallen nature’s health is but a mask
And trust in this world just a devil’s trick.
We are one body, and our body died
The day we sinned, the days we sinned anew,
The walking-dead until the Crucified
By dying killed our sin to make life true.
And so, live well, ye merry gentlemen:
Sin’s antidote was born in Bethlehem.
-Fr. Louis Tarsitano
Yes, it’s my birthday today! Another day to thank God for all His wonderful gifts.
This spring I’ve been enjoying The Prologue of Ohrid by St.Nikolai Velimirovic. I splurged on this two-volume set of readings for every day of the year when our church bookstore offered it at a discount. I was the one who had to write down information about the book for a list of sale items, and that was the first time I’d actually looked inside. Something about the name along with its size had made me disregard it, but in the Preface I learned that the name Ohrid is “solely to distinguish it from the ancient Slavonic Prologue which — regrettably, because of its language — has become inaccessible to the Slavic people of our time.”
I’d heard and read many of St. Nikolai’s Prayers by the Lake, which are heartfelt and inspiring poems, so it is not surprising that his devotionals of three or four pages are also beneficial. They include stories of two or more saints commemorated that day, a Reflection, a Contemplation, a Homily of a few paragraphs, and often a Hymn of Praise. I’m happy to know that the whole thing is also available online, so I won’t need to carry my book across the continent later this month.
Today’s Reflection is a good one for Lent:
Even in His pain on the Cross, the Lord Jesus did not condemn sinners but offered up pardon for their sins to His Father, saying, They know not what they do (Luke 23:34)! Let us not judge anyone so that we will not be judged. For no one is certain that, before his death, he will not commit the same sin by which he condemns his brother. St. Anastasius of Sinai teaches: “Even if you see someone sinning, do not judge him, for you do not know what the end of his life will be like. The thief who was crucified with Christ was a murderer, while Judas was an apostle of Jesus, but the thief entered into the Kingdom, and the apostle went to perdition. Even if you see someone sinning, bear in mind that you do not know his good works. For many have sinned openly and repented in secret; we see their sins, but we do not know their repentance. Therefore, brethren, let us not judge anyone so that we will not be judged.”
|St. Anastasius by Rembrandt