Thursday of the Sixth Week April 9, 2020 - April 9, 2020
At Morning Prayer
from the Lenten Triodion, at Orthros
Idwell in the tomb of sloth, O Christ, and I stink from the festering wounds of sin. And so I call upon Thee: Raise me up and save me, that I may come to meet Thee with branches of virtue, shouting aloud: Hosanna be to God.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
O compassionate Lord, at the full completion of the Fast fill our hearts and minds with joy, through the prayers of Thine apostles who loved the with sincerity, O Saviour of our souls.
Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Be swift to heal the painful passions of my soul and the diseases of my flesh. Keep my mind from turning away, O most pure Theotokos, and enable me in stillness of thought to offer pure prayers to the King of all, and to gain remission of sins.
Thus says the Lord: “As the wine is found in the cluster, and they say, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,’ so I will do for My servants’ sake, and not destroy them all. I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah inheritors of My mountains; My chosen shall inherit it, and My servants shall dwell there. Sharon shall become a pasture for flocks, and the Valley of Achor a place for herds to lie down, for My people who have sought Me. But you who forsake the Lord, who forget My holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny; I will destine you to the sword, and all of you shall bow down to the slaughter; because, when I called, you did not answer, when I spoke, you did not listen, but you did what was evil in My eyes, and chose what I did not delight in.” Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, My servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry; behold, My servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; behold, My servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame; behold, My servants shall sing for gladness of heart, but you shall cry out for pain of heart, and shall wail for anguish of spirit. You shall leave your name to My chosen for a curse, and the Lord God will slay you; but His servants He will call by a different name. So that he who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth, and he who takes an oath in the land shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten and are hid from My eyes.
At Evening Prayer
from the Lenten Triodion, at Vespers
O Christ, Who art borne on high by the dread seraphim, as God and Creator of all, Thou dost make haste to ride on earth upon a colt, as a man like us. Bethany rejoices greatly to receive Thee, O Saviour, and Jerusalem is glad as it awaits expectantly to welcome Thee. Death has been slain, and as a foretaste of the coming Resurrection it sees Lazarus return from the dead. In joy we go to meet Thee with palms, praising the power of Thy love, O Lord.
from the Lenten Triodion, at the Sixth Hour
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Forget not the cry of Thy servants, O Lord, but remember that at all times we have put our hope in Thee; for Thou art all-powerful, and we pray Thee to help us.
from the Menaion, at Vespers
Both now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
As the well-spring of holiness and the all-golden ark of God, who dost brightly shine with the Holy Spirit’s grace, O Sovereign Lady, I pray thee and beseech thee to shine thy light on my poor and wretched soul, which the passions hold in their thrall; but deliver me from this most bitter tyranny of demons and reveal to me the path of salvation by thine unfailing prayers.
So Israel took his journey with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night, and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here am I.” Then He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation. I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again; and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.” Then Jacob set out from Beersheba; and the sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him. They also took their cattle and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters; all his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.
My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. My soul will rejoice when your lips speak what is right. Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your mind in the way. Be not among winebibbers, or among gluttonous eaters of meat; for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags. Hearken to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who begets a wise son will be glad in him. Let your father and mother be glad, let her who bore you rejoice. My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. For a harlot is a deep pit; an adventuress is a narrow well. She lies in wait like a robber and increases the faithless among men. Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine, those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your mind utter perverse things. You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I will seek another drink.” Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; for their minds devise violence, and their lips talk of mischief. By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is mightier than a strong man, and a man of knowledge than he who has strength.
Wisdom of the Holy Fathers
Archbishop of Constantinople
~ from his Third Theological Oration ~
Christ was baptized as man, but He remitted sins as God, not because He needed purificatory rites Himself, but that He might satisfy the element of water. He was tempted as man, but He conquered as God; indeed, He bids us: Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world (John 16:33). He hungered, but He fed thousands; indeed, He is the bread of life that gives life, and that is of heaven. He thirsted, but He cried: If any man thirsts, let him come to Me and drink (John 7:37); indeed, He promised that fountains should flow from those who believe. He was wearied, but He is the rest to those who are weary and heavy-laden (Matthew 11:28). He was heavy with sleep, but He walked lightly over the sea. He rebuked the winds, He made Peter light as he began to sink. He is called a Samaritan and a demoniac; but He saves him that came down from Jerusalem and fell among thieves; the demons acknowledge Him, and He drives out demons and sinks in the sea legions of foul spirits (Luke 8:28-33), and sees the Prince of the demons falling like lightning. He is stoned, but is not taken. He prays, but He hears prayer. He weeps, but He causes tears to cease. He asks where Lazarus was laid, for He was Man; but He raises Lazarus, for He was God (John 11:43).
He is sold, and very cheap, for it was only for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15); but He redeems the world, and that at a great price, for the price was His own blood (1 Peter 1:19). As a sheep, His is led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), but He is the Shepherd of Israel, and now of the whole world also. As a lamb He is silent, yet He is the Word, and is proclaimed by the voice of one crying in the wilderness (Isaiah 40:3 & John 1:23). He is bruised and wounded, but He heals every disease and every infirmity (Cf. Matthew 4:23). He is lifted up and nailed to the Tree, but by the Tree of Life He restores us. Indeed, He saves even the robber crucified with Him (Luke 23:43); indeed, He wrapped the visible world in darkness. He is given vinegar to drink mingled with gall. Who? He Who turned water into wine (John 2:1-11), Who is the destroyer of the bitter taste, Who is sweetness and altogether desired. He lays down His life, but He has power to take it again (John 10:18). and the veil is rent, for the mysterious doors of Heaven are opened; the rocks are cleft, the dead arise (Matthew 27:51). He dies, but He gives life, and by His death destroys Death. He is buried, but He rises again; He goes down into hell, but He brings up the souls.
We will hold fast to the Trinity, and by the Trinity may we be saved, remaining pure and without offense, until the more perfect showing forth of that which we desire, in Him, Christ our Lord, to Whom be the glory forever.
Tikhon of Zadonsk
~ from Confession and Thanksgiving to Christ ~
Look, O my soul, and see how the King of Heaven was welcomed by His subjects, in what manner they honored their God Incarnate: what offerings, what thanksgivings, what honors they bestowed on their Benefactor, Who had come to save them, Who performed miracles before them; Who cleansed the lepers, healed the sick, made the paralytic walk and the blind man see; Who straightened the lame and the crippled; Who raised the dead and fed the many thousands who were hungry. Oh, shame covers my face, awe grips my heart, and my tongue trembles to speak! His holy Evangelist cries out in grief: He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. (John 1:11) And they repudiated him, saying: ‘We do not wish this man to rule over us.’ Terrible and piteous are these words! God in flesh came to His people, and they did not receive Him. The King and Lord came to His servants, and they rejected Him. Listen, heaven, and harken, earth! Men did not accept their God; servants did not receive their Lord; subjects rejected their King! O, my God, all this You knew, and yet You came to save me, perishing; to find me, the lost! You were not turned away by the wickedness and the ingratitude of Your enemies; You surrendered Yourself to Your love and kindness; You were persuaded by my wretchedness.
It was not enough that ungrateful men should reject their Lord and Benefactor. They piled wickedness upon wicked-ness, cruelty upon hardness. They considered Your divine teaching to be inspired by the devil. Because you mingled with sinners, desiring to win their souls by Your compassion and to save them, they called You a glutton and a drunk-ard, the friend of publicans and sinners, and they vomited forth all manner of blasphemies against You, their Lord and Benefactor, against You Who are beyond all glory! Oh, the cruelty and ingratitude of men! Oh, the patience and magnanimity that You showed, my Lord! And more–they sought to kill You, their Savior. You beheld their wicked plans, their hearts instinct with hatred. You looked into them, Reader of hearts; yet You suffered in silence. You witnessed this evil design, this iniquitous bargain; and You permitted it, desiring to suffer for my sake, Your unworthy servant, to cleanse me with Your blood, to give me new life by Your death, to honor me through Your disgrace. Glory be to You for all, O my Lover!
You were betrayed and sold; or, to speak more truly, You gave Yourself up to them and freely went to them, knowing all that would follow. And they bound You, the Lord inaccessible to the Seraphim and the Cherubim! They judged You, the Judge of the living and the dead! They insulted and dishonored You, spat upon Your holy face, to which Angels dare not lift their gaze! And they buffeted Your check and condemned You to death–You, the Life of all! They preferred a robber and a murderer to You, the Son of God, the only good and just One! Oh prodigy! Oh, fearful and unheard-of crime! They led Him out of the city like a condemned criminal, and they hung Him like a villain, between two villains. They put to death the Immortal One, and as He hung on the Cross, they mocked Him and wagged their heads. And when You expired, they pierced Your side. And then once more they mocked You in death.
You suffered their fury, and like a lamb led to the slaughter, You did not open Your lips. The Lord suffered at the hands of His servants, the Creator at the hands of His creatures, the King at the hands of His subjects, the Benefactor at the hands of those who received from Him innumerable gifts, the Just and Innocent at the hands of the lawless. And because He came into the world for the sake of all, He therefore suffered for me too, for I am one of all, O my Lord! For my sake did He bear so great a humiliation, O my Lord! And who am I, and what am I? Ashes and clay, a sinner and a worthless slave! Oh, new and unheard-of miracle! Oh, unutterable and ineffable mercy! Incomprehensible indulgence! Arise, my soul, arise! Be filled with awe; humble yourself, bow low and fall at the feet of your Lord! Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle; because He hath done wonderful things. My Lord and Creator suffered, endured His passion, and died for His worthless servant and lawbreaker. I deserve to be spat upon by the Devil; I deserve to be mocked, insulted, buffeted, beaten, tortured, to die for all eternity! But You, my Lord and Sovereign, have suffered in my place. The servant sinned, but my Lord suffered the punishment; the servant erred, but my Lord was scourged; the servant stole, and my Lord offered compensation; the servant was indebted, but my Sovereign paid the debt. And in what manner did He pay it? Not in gold and silver but with His disgrace, His wounds, His blood, His death on the Cross. For me, wretched and accursed, He bore the infamy, He Who is blessed throughout all eternity. For my blasphemies and my insults, He suffered disgrace, He Who is the Lord of Glory. For me–I who was held captive for sin–He was sold, He Who is beyond price. For me He stood trial and was condemned. For me He suffered death, my Lord and Creator! Glory be to You, glory be to You, glory be to You for all things! I have nothing else to bring to You but this: Glory be to You!
O Lover of men, my Lover, grant me, a sinner, yet another favor, I humbly implore You: cleanse me of all my sins with Your precious blood, the blood You have shed for the sake of Your sinning servant. Confirm me in fear of You, and in love of You. Grant that I may follow in Your steps through faith and charity. And guard me by Your strength from my enemies, who seek to stay my feet and to turn me from You, O Redeemer. And Thy mercy will follow me all the days of my life: so that, being preserved by Your grace, I shall offer You thanksgiving, face to face, with Your chosen ones, and shall sing, and praise, and glorify You, with the Eternal Father and the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever.