Friday, April 6, 2012

On the Passion of Our Lord

A Blessed Good and Holy Friday to all of you!

Here are a few words to consider as we worship and commemorate the passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Saint John Chrysostom in one of his homilies on the passion of our Lord, speaks about the necessity of writing this mystery in our minds. By remembrance of that mystery, we are humbled and take honor in being called Christians.

“What could be equal to this [scene]? On that face which the sea, when it saw it, had reverenced, from which the sun, when it beheld it on the cross, turned away its rays, they spit, and struck it with the palms of their hands, and some even struck its head; giving full swing in every way to their own madness.  Adding to the insult of spitting at Him, they cried out in derision saying, “prophesy to us, you the Christ, who is he that smote you?” because the multitude called Him a prophet. Not only freemen, but slaves also were intemperate with this intemperance towards Him at that time.

These things let us read continually, these things let us hear aright, these things let us write in our minds, for these are our honors. In these things I take honor, not only in the thousands of dead which He raised, but also in the sufferings which He endured.

Let us always bear them in our mind; the crown of thorns, the robe, the reed, the blows, the smiting on the cheek, the spittings, the irony. These things, if continually meditated on, are sufficient to take down all anger.” - St. John Chrysostom

Saint Ephrem the Syrian, in typical Syrian fashion, compliments Chrysostom, by calling us to take the passion into our hearts, with tears of joy and sorrow. In this way, we find ourselves living a life in adoration of our Lord and His statutes. Through this disposition we prepare ourselves for the day in which we will meet our beloved God:

“We should meditate like this: by shedding tears every day, giving thanks to the Master for the sufferings that he suffered for you, so that in the day of his Coming your tears may become your boast and exaltation before the judgment seat.
Blessed is the one who has before his eyes the heavenly Master and his sufferings, and has crucified himself from all the passions and earthly deeds, who has become an imitator of his own Master.” - St. Ephrem the Syrian

And lastly, writing in the 18th century, Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk says the suffering of Christ should call us to examine our own lives, and how we have fallen short of our Lord’s Mercy and Love:

"Try to know yourself, your own wickedness. Think on the greatness of God and your wretchedness. Meditate on the suffering of Christ, the magnitude of Whose love and suffering surpass our understanding." - St. Tikhon of Zadonsk

Today is the day of the Crucifixion. Rejoice! For the suffering our Lord endured in his compassion, is our joy. By His death, he descends into Hades to loot it of all fear and despair. By faith we are preserved in peace and await His Glorious Resurrection.

Festal Beer Pairing:
Copper Ales at Sundown for His Precious Blood and His descent into the Tomb!

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