Friday of the Sixth Week - April 10, 2020
At Morning Prayer
from the Lenten Triodion, at Orthros
O Christ my God, Giver of Light, Who hast driven out the primeval darkness of the abyss, disperse, O Word, the darkness from my soul, and give me the light of Thy commandments, that early in the morning I may glorify Thee.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Having completed the forty days that bring benefit to our souls, we beseech Thee in Thy love for man: Grant us also to behold the Holy Week of Thy Passion, that in it we may glorify Thy mighty acts and Thine ineffable dispensation for our sakes, singing with one mind: O Lord, glory to Thee.
Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
O Virgin undefiled, Mother of Christ our God, a sword pierced thine all-holy soul, when thou hadst seen thy Son and God crucified of His own will. O blessed among women, never cease to intercede that in this season of the Fast He may grant us pardon of our sins.
Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; that you may suck and be satisfied with her consoling breasts; that you may drink deeply with delight from the abundance of her glory.” For thus says the Lord: “Behold, I will extend prosperity to her like a river, and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall suck, you shall be carried upon her hip, and dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with His servants, and His indignation is against His enemies. For behold, the Lord will come in fire, and His chariots like the stormwind, to render His anger in fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire will the Lord execute judgment, and by His sword, upon all flesh; and those slain by the Lord shall be many. Those who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating swine’s flesh and the abom-ination and mice, shall come to an end together,” says the Lord. “For I know their works and their thoughts, and I am coming to gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and shall see My glory, and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Put, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands afar off, that have not heard My fame or seen My glory; and they shall declare My glory among the nations. And they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon dromedaries, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the Lord, “just as the Israelites bring their cereal offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. And some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites,” says the Lord. “For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord; “so shall your descendants and your name remain. From new moon to new moon, and from sabbath to sabbath, all flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord. “And they shall go forth and look on the dead bodies of the men that have rebelled against Me; for their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
At Evening Prayer
from the Lenten Triodion, at Vespers
O Lord, Thy voice destroyed the dominion of hell, and the word of Thy power raised from the tomb him that had been four days dead; and Lazarus became a saving first-fruits of the regeneration of the world. All things are possible to Thee, O Lord and King of all. Bestow upon Thy servants cleansing and great mercy.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Standing before the tomb of Lazarus, O Saviour, and calling to the dead man, Thou hast raised him as from sleep. He shook off corruption through the Spirit of incorruption, and at Thy word he came out bound with grave-clothes. All things are possible to Thee, all things serve Thee, loving Lord, all things submit to Thee: Our Saviour, glory to Thee.
from the Lenten Triodion, at Compline
Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
O Jesus, Who hast made all things in wisdom, Thou hast clothed Thyself in my whole nature, taken from the Virgin, yet forever Thou remainest wholly in the bosom of the Father; and Thou hast as God sent down Thy Holy Spirit on Thy flock: cover us with Thy shadow.
When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed, and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people. Then Joseph fell on his father’s face, and wept over him, and kissed him. And Joseph commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. So, the physicians embalmed Israel; forty days were required for it, for so many are required for embalming. And the Egyptians wept for him seventy days. And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to the household of Pharaoh, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, ‘My father made me swear,’ saying, “I am about to die; in my tomb which I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan, there shall you bury me.” Now therefore let me go up, I pray you, and bury my father; then I will return.” And Pharaoh answered, “Go up, and bury your father, as he made you swear.” So Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt, as well as all the household of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s household; only their children, their flocks, and their herds were left in the land of Goshen. And there went up with him both chariots and horsemen; it was a very great company. When they came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, they lamented there with a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he made a mourning for his father seven days. When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning on the threshing floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians.” Therefore, the place was named Abelmizraim; it is beyond the Jordan. Thus his sons did for him as he had commanded them; for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field at Machpelah, to the east of Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite, to possess as a burying place. After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father. When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil which we did to him.” So, they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died, ‘Say to Joseph, “Forgive, I pray you, the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, we pray you, forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him, and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Fear not, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus, he reassured them and comforted them. So, Joseph dwelt in Egypt, he and his father’s house; and Joseph lived a hundred and ten years. And Joseph saw Ephraim’s children of the third generation; the children also of Machir the son of Manasseh were born upon Joseph’s knees. And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die; but God will visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Then Joseph took an oath of the sons of Israel, saying, “God will visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” So, Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old; and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.
Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all who are left desolate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, maintain the rights of the poor and needy. A good wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from afar. She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and tasks for her maidens. She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong. She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor, and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. She makes herself coverings; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them; she delivers girdles to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.
Wisdom of the Holy Fathers
Athanasius of Alexandria
~ from a Paschal epistle of his ~
The Word Who became all things for us is close to us, our Lord Jesus Christ Who promises to remain with us always. He cries out, saying: Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20) He is Himself the Shepherd, the High Priest, the Way and the Door, and has become all things at once for us. In the same way, He has come among us as our feast and holy day as well. The blessed Apostle says of Him Who was awaited: Christ, our Pass-over, was sacrificed for us. (1 Corinthian 5:7) It was Christ Who shed His light on the psalmist as He prayed: Thou art my refuge, deliver me from them which have encircled me. (Psalm 31:7) True joy, genuine festival, means the casting out of wicked-ness. To achieve this, one must live a life of perfect goodness and, in the serenity of the fear of God, practice contem-plation in one’s heart.
This was the way of the Saints, who in their lifetime and at every stage of life rejoiced as at a feast. Blessed David, for example, not once but seven times rose at night to win God’s favor through prayer (Psalm 118:164). The great Moses was full of joy as he sang God’s praises in hymns of victory for the defeat of Pharaoh and the oppressors of the Hebrew people. Others had hearts filled always with gladness as they performed their sacred duty of worship, like the great Samuel and the blessed Elijah. Because of their holy lives they gained freedom, and now keep festival in heaven. They rejoice after their pilgrimage in shadows, and now distinguish the reality from the promise.
When we celebrate the feast in our own day, what path are we to take? As we draw near to this feast, who is to be our guide? Beloved, it must be none other than the One Whom you will address with me as our Lord Jesus Christ. He says: I am the way. (John 14:6) As blessed John tells us: it is Christ Who takes away the sin of the world. (John 1:29) It is He Who purifies our souls, as the prophet Jeremiah says: Stand in the ways, and see, and ask about the eternal paths of the Lord. See what the good way is, and walk in it, and you shall find purification for your souls. (Jeremiah 6:16)
In former times, the blood of goats and the ashes of a calf were sprinkled on those who were unclean, but they were able to purify only the body. Now through the grace of God’s Word, everyone is made abundantly clean. If we follow Christ closely, we shall be allowed, even on this earth, to stand as it were on the threshold of the heavenly Jerusalem, and enjoy the contemplation of that everlasting feast, like the blessed apostles, who in following the Savior as their leader, showed, and still show, the way to obtain the same gift from God. They said: See, we have left all things and followed you. (Luke 18:28 et al.) We too follow the Lord, and we keep His feast by deeds rather than by words.
Archbishop of Constantinople
~ from his oration, ‘On the Love of the Poor’ ~
Recognize to whom you owe the fact that you exist, that you breathe, that you understand, that you are wise, and, above all, that you know God and hope for the kingdom of heaven and the vision of glory, now darkly as in a mirror but then with greater fullness and purity. You have been made a child of God, co-heir with Christ. Where did you get all this, and from whom?
Let me turn to what is of less importance: the visible world around us. What benefactor has enabled you to look out upon the beauty of the sky, the sun in its course, the circle of the moon, the countless number of stars, with the harmony and order that are theirs, like the music of a harp? Who has blessed you with rain, with the art of husbandry, with different kinds of food, with the arts, with houses, with laws, with states, with a life of humanity and culture, with friendship and the easy familiarity of kinship?
Who has given you dominion over animals, those that are tame and those that provide you with food? Who has made you lord and master of everything on earth? In short, who has endowed you with all that makes man superior to all other living creatures?
Is it not God Who asks you now in your turn to show yourself generous above all other creatures and for the sake of all other creatures? Because we have received from Him so many wonderful gifts, will we not be ashamed to refuse Him this one thing only, our generosity? Though He is God and Lord, He is not afraid to be known as our Father. Shall we, for our part, repudiate those who are our friends and relatives?
Brethren and friends, let us never allow ourselves to misuse what has been given us by God’s gift. If we do, we shall hear Saint Peter say: Be ashamed of yourselves for holding on to what belongs to someone else. Resolve to imitate God’s justice, and no one will be poor. Let us not labor to heap up and hoard riches while others remain in need. If we do, the prophet Amos will speak out against us with sharp and threatening words: Come now, you that say: When does the month end, so we can barter? When will the sabbath end, so we can open the storehouses? (Amos 8:5)
Let us put into practice the supreme and primary law of God. He sends down rain on just and sinful alike, and causes the sun to rise on all without distinction. To all earth’s creatures He has given the broad earth, the springs, the rivers and the forests. He has given the air to the birds, and the waters to those who live in the water. He has given abundantly to all the basic needs of life, not as a private possession, not restricted by law, not divided by boundaries, but as common to all, amply and in rich measure. His gifts are not deficient in any way, because He wanted to give equality of blessing to equality of worth, and to show the abundance of His generosity.