FOR we are thy people and the sheep of thy pasture; we will give thee thanks for ever; we will declare thy praise throughout all generations.
SOME drive out empty pride by thinking to the end of their lives of their past misdeeds, for which they were forgiven and which now serve as a spur to humility.
Others, remembering the passion of Christ, think of themselves as eternally in debt.
Others hold themselves in contempt when they think of their daily lapses.
Others come to possess this mother of graces by way of their continuous temptations, weaknesses, and sins.
There are some – and I cannot say if they are to be found nowadays – who humble themselves in proportion to the gifts they receive from God and live with a sense of their unworthiness to have such wealth bestowed on them, so that each day they think of themselves as sinking further into debt.
That is real humility, real beatitude, a real reward!
St John Climacus, “The Ladder of Divine Ascent”, Step 25 (On Humility).
THE alabaster jar of my tears, O Savior, I pour out on Thy head as the perfume, and like the harlot I cry to Thee, seeking Thy mercy. I offer prayer and ask to receive forgiveness. (Matthew 26:7; Luke 7:38)
Though no one has sinned against Thee as I, yet accept even me, O compassionate Savior, repenting with fear and crying with love: Against Thee only have I sinned. I have done wrong, have mercy on me. (Psalm 50)
Spare, O Savior, Thy own creation, and seek as Shepherd Thy lost sheep; snatch the stray from the wolf, and make me a pet lamb in Thy sheep pasture. (Psalm 118:176; John 10:11-16).
Great Canon of St Andrew of Crete. Translation from St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, Dallas, TX.