Cherish these remembrances unforgettably in your heart

St Mark the Ascetic

St Mark the Ascetic. The scroll reads: "Ignorance urges a man to speak against that which is helpful".

LET this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God*:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.

Philippians 2:5-10.

*Lit. “who, as he was in the form of God, did not regard his equality with God as a prize”.

**

St Mark the Ascetic (5th century), whose feast day falls today, tells us that even troublesome passions such as anger and hurt pride will bend the knee.

He quotes that same passage from St Paul’s letter, and then writes:

IF you cherish these remembrances unforgettably in your heart, the passion of bitterness and wrath and anger will not lord it over you.

For when its foundations, built from the passion of pride, are undermined through the humility of Christ, as you reflect on it, the whole edifice of the transgression of anger and wrath and hurt is thrown down readily and of itself.

For what heart is there so hard and stony that is not shattered, possessing before its eye (ἐν νῷ) the divinity of the Only-Begotten taking upon itself such humiliation, and the innumerable remembrances of the sufferings we have mentioned? What heart is not pierced through? What heart is not humbled?

Will it not willingly become earth and ashes (Gen 18:27), a place for all men to trample underfoot?

With the soul humbled and shattered like this, keeping in sight the humiliation of Christ, what passion of anger can seize control of it? What wrath? What bitterness can prevail?

St Mark the Ascetic, “Letter to Nicholas the Solitary”, Philokalia Vol. I.

**

THE Cross of the Lord for those who worship it unswervingly is a bridle on every pleasure and a law of self-mastery.

For as they gaze unceasingly on the One who was nailed to it, they crucify the flesh with its passions and desires.

As we too hurry from them through pure fasting, let us become his own, who in love for humankind became our own by the passion and gave us a share in the nature of his own dispassion, he who has great mercy.

TO you I lift up my eyes, to you who are enthroned in the heavens. As the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master: or as the eyes of a maid toward the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God: until he show us his mercy. (Ps 122[123])

Thursday Vespers in Cheese Week (this week). Translation from Anastasis.

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