For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the Garden… Joni Mitchell (1969)
“And it is prayer that leads us back to Paradise. It is said that when a priest stands before the closed gates of the altar at the beginning of Vespers, he represents Adam weeping before the closed gates of Paradise. I think of that image often as I stand quietly waiting for the Reader to end the prayers of the ninth hour. For as I stand before those holy gates, all humanity stands in me. We all stand before the closed gates of paradise. Many times I find the gates closed even to the Paradise of the heart. My thoughts swirl with a thousand distractions and the gates of hell threaten my undoing.
“But it is good to stand still and to bow the head and to weep with Adam. For the doors that are shut will be opened. The gates that are closed will be lifted up. In the wonder of the Divine Liturgy the fruit of the Tree of Life will be brought forth with the invitation, ‘In the fear of God and with faith, draw near!’”
I’m posting this because today is the Sunday of Forgiveness, the day before Orthodox Lent begins, when we remember how Adam and Eve were expelled from Paradise. Read more of this article byFr. Stephen