Friday, August 19, 2011

Who Is Jesus?

I was reminded about a poem written by Mother Teresa which has both convicted my heart and brought me much comfort:

Who Is Jesus to Me?

Jesus is the Word made Flesh.
Jesus is the Bread of Life.
Jesus is the Victim offered for our sins on the Cross.
Jesus is the Sacrifice offered at the Holy Mass
For the sins of the world and mine.
Jesus is the Word- to be spoken.
Jesus is the Truth- to be told.
Jesus is the Way- to be walked.
Jesus is the Light- to be lit.
Jesus is the Life- to be lived.
Jesus is the love- to be loved.
Jesus is the Joy- to be shared.
Jesus is the Sacrifice- to be offered.
Jesus is the Peace- to be given.
Jesus is the Bread of Life- to be eaten
Jesus is the Hungry- to be fed.
Jesus is the Thirsty- to be satiated.
Jesus is the Naked- to be clothed.
Jesus is the Homeless- to be taken in.
Jesus is the Sick- to be healed.
Jesus is the Lonely- to be loved.
Jesus is the Unwanted- to be wanted.
Jesus is the Leper- to wash his wounds.
Jesus is the Beggar- to give him a smile.
Jesus is the Drunkard- to listen to him.
Jesus is the Retarded- to protect him.
Jesus is the Little One- to embrace him.
Jesus is the Blind- to lead him.
Jesus is the Dumb- to speak for him.
Jesus is the Crippled- to walk with him.
Jesus is the Drug Addict- to befriend him.
Jesus is the Prostitute- to remove from danger and befriend.
Jesus is the Prisoner- to be visited.
Jesus is the Old- to be served.

To me-
Jesus is my God.
Jesus is my Spouse.
Jesus is my Life.
Jesus is my only Love.
Jesus is my All in All.
Jesus is my Everything.

Jesus, I love with my whole heart, with my whole being.  I have given  Him all, even my sins, and He has espoused me to Himself in tenderness and love.  Now and for life, I am the spouse of my Crucified spouse.


This poem personifies what it means to be a Christian.  We must see the face of Jesus in EVERYONE, even our worst enemy, even the person that society has written off.  And we must humble ourselves and serve those people.

Because He IS "the least of these..."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Υπεραγία Θεοτόκε σώσον ημάς!

O You Apostles from far off,
Being gathered together in the village of Gethsemane
Lay my body in burial
And You, my Son, and my God, 
Receive now my spirit from me.

You are the sweetness of Angels
The gladness of the afflicted ones
A protection of all Christians
O Virgin Mother of our Lord;
Grant now me help and save me
From eternal torments

I have you as Mediator
Before God who loves mankind;
May He not question my action
Before the hosts of the Angels
I ask of you, O Virgin,
Hasten now quickly to my aid.

You are a tower adorned with gold
A city surrounded by twelve walls
A shining throne touched by the sun
A royal seat for the King
O unexplainable wonder,
How do you nurse the Master?

What a blessed night of prayer!  I've tried to put my thoughts and feelings into words.  They are totally inadequate.

Υπεραγία Θεοτόκε σώσον ημάς!

Most Holy Theotokos, save us!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What to Do with Outrage

I've spent a fair part of the day investigating the cult my friend seems to have joined.

Its bad... Its really really bad.

I am angry.  I am outraged by what these people teach, their antisemitism, and by the way some of them have used our Holy Icons to substantiate their perverted, heretical, shameful teachings.  I know I am using strong language here and I can't get into specifics with it.  Suffice it to say that I do not use those words lightly.

Rather than argue with anyone, I will turn inward and upward for strength and stability.  I will dive into the Holy Scriptures with gusto.  I will keep every appointment to pray that I possibly can.  I will fill my mind and heart with the sounds and teachings of the Holy Orthodox Church.  I will take an extra moment to gaze through our icons, reaching past them to the person whom they represent, begging their prayers... because, if I'm honest with myself, I hate these teachings and I am angry at those who promote it.  I do not love them.  And yet, I am reminded of St. Maximos the Confessor who said:
“Be as eager as you can to love every man, but if you cannot do this, at least do not  hate anyone [which] you cannot do unless you scorn the things of this world”  
I'm not sure I can love these people.  I'm not sure I want to.  Not even the cool Christian "Jesus loves everyone" kind of love... cuz believe it or not, I'm not sure I like the fact that Jesus loved Hitler and Stalin, who between them, killed more than 16,000,000 people in the 20th Century.  I don't understand that, but that doesn't mean it isn't true.  After all, He is God and He is, in many ways, beyond understanding.

And so, I will ask for God's mercy to fall upon me and upon us all, for we are so in need.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Greater Weapon

Tonight I have witnessed what I believe to be the natural outworking of sola scriptura... I stumbled on the blog of a friend who has been lost to me for quite a while.  I'm not going into the story here... suffice it to say that I think she is the victim of one of the unintended consequences of using "the Bible alone" to prove her own beliefs.

If the Bible alone is sufficient to tell us everything God wants us to know about Him and how we are to worship Him, and there is no litmus test, no external Authority, nothing against which to weigh any teaching except the Bible itself, then honestly, how can we prove or disprove anything?  It ultimately comes down to my understand against yours or Luther's against the Pope's or St. Athanasios against the world.

How do I say to my friend, "You are being deceived.  Yes, I can show you from Scripture... and then you can show me your Scripture and then I'll show you mine and then you'll show me yours and then we'll agree to disagree just so we can stay friends but the fact of the matter is that only one or none of us is right!"

I know I said it above but I can't get into the story here except to say that someone I know has fallen prey to a cult of Christianity and if I were to try and talk with this person about it, the discussion would sound a lot like what I wrote above.

Thankfully, and most mercifully, I have a greater weapon against deception than my own words.

I can pray.

And I will pray.  Won't you join me?