Joy and gladness of a humbled heart

Vatopaidi Monastery, Mount Athos

Vatopaidi Monastery, Mount Athos

Gospel of St Matthew

BLESSED are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:3).

St Gregory Palamas

NOTHING else heals all the passions of the flesh, than the distress of the body and prayer moved from out of a humbled heart, which is that poverty in spirit over which the Lord pronounced his Βeatitude.

“Letter to the Most Reverend Nun Xenia”. In the Philokalia, Vol. 4.

St Gregory (1296–1359) was a monk of of the Vatopaidi monastery on Mount Athos, and later Archbishop of Thessalonica. Today is one of two days in the year on which we celebrate his memory, the other being the second Sunday of Great Lent.

Psalm 50

HAVE mercy upon me, O God, according to thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of thy compassions blot out my transgression. 2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I am conscious of mine iniquity; and my sin is continually before me. 4 Against thee only have I sinned, and done evil before thee: that thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. 5 For, behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother conceive me.

6 For, behold, thou lovest truth: thou hast manifested to me the secret and hidden things of thy wisdom. 7 Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be purified: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow. 8 Thou shalt cause me to hear gladness and joy: the afflicted bones shall rejoice. 9 Turn away thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit in my inward parts. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and remove not thy holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of thy salvation: establish me with thy directing Spirit.

13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and ungodly men shall turn to thee. 14 Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation: and my tongue shall joyfully declare thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, thou shalt open my lips; and my mouth shall declare thy praise. 16 For if thou desiredst sacrifice, I would have given it: thou wilt not take pleasure in whole-burnt-offerings. 17 Sacrifice to God is a broken spirit: a broken and humbled heart God will not despise.

18 Do good, O Lord, to Sion in thy good pleasure; and let the walls of Jerusalem be built. 19 Then shalt thou be pleased with a sacrifice of righteousness, offering, and whole-burnt-sacrifices: then shall they offer calves upon thine altar.

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