Then he arose, and there was a great calm

AND, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.

Matthew 8:24-26.

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An icon of Christ enthroned in glory

“But we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2

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AND now, our God, as we sing the praises of thy Rising, pilot our life, and grant thy peace unto us, O thou that lovest mankind.

Matins, Sundays of the Plagal of the Fourth Tone. Source.

O IMMACULATE Lady, calm amid this life for storm-tossed mortals, sure and firm anchor, and harbour, and pilotage: by it dost thou guide us, and lead us by the hand.

Theotokion, Matins, October 8. Source.

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SUNSET and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

Alfred Lord Tennyson.

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Sir Hubert Parry / St Paul’s Cathedral Choir

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BELOVED, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

1 John 3:2

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6 thoughts on “Then he arose, and there was a great calm

  1. Great poem selection! Along with “Crossing the Bar” This one used to calm my violent soul.. and they still do.

    Wild Heart of Mine by Hermann Hesse

    Even the hottest, toughest days
    end in the evening cool and calm
    and quiet, gentle mother night
    embraces every one of them

    You must find solace too, my heart,
    although you feel inflamed with passion.
    The night is near, the caring mother,
    to hold you in her tender arms.

    With hidden hands she builds
    an invisible shrine, a sanctuary of repose
    for you the restless wanderer.
    In her temple you will finally find peace

    Wild heart of mine, remember this.
    And love each feverish passion
    and the bitterness of pain, love too
    before you have to enter your eternal rest

    Even the hottest, toughest days
    end in the evening cool and calm
    and quiet, gentle mother night
    embraces every one of them.

  2. Of course, I instantly equate the embrace of a ‘quiet, gentle mother’ with the Panagia!… I like it. There’s an intensity about the present which is striking. “And love each feverish passion / and the bitterness of pain, love too / before you have to enter your eternal rest”. Hesse speaks from experience, doesn’t he? He suffered from depression, I think I’m right in saying.

    The present consolation and encouragement of the promise of eternal life is often overlooked today, I think, as is the importance of spiritual eros, longing desire, passion in a good way. One Orthodox writer who has affected me profoundly is Elder Joseph the Hesychast (d. 1959), who speaks constantly of this eros, and had frequent experiences of the world to come, which he describes in the most touching detail. Another is Elder Paisios (d. 1994), who encountered the martyr Euphemia (5th century). When he heard of her sufferings, he exclaimed in horrified sympathy, but she said that if she had known then what the joys of heaven were, she would have borne much worse.

  3. Honestly, I did not realize that Hesse had suffered from depression. He did go through some major crisis in his life! In my reading somewhere, it said that he didn’t go to his mom’s funeral because he was afraid it will trigger his down-spiral reaction and cause him to fall into depression. I totally understand that.

    My confirmed belief in the eternal rest, and the promise of the enteral love kept me alive in many dark days. I don’t think I would have survived otherwise. I am lucky to have given the key to the salvation but as you said, this divine consolation is too often overlooked these days. Many are being attacked by their own dark minds these days so I thank God for these poems that penetrate the hearts.

  4. Yes, there are some who might be tempted to say that Hesse was weak-willed and selfish. But not me – that kind of down-spiral is no joke. Unless you’ve experienced it, it’s almost impossible to understand the utter collapse of it, and that (we) sufferers are often genuinely concerned about the impact on others too. As to the poetry, I think it’s essential because in the West we routinely over-rationalise. Something about the Orthodox liturgy which I truly value is that it addresses itself not to the rational mind but to the heart-sight. As mother Gavrielia said, Orthodox spirituality is not something you learn, it’s something you suffer.

  5. Wow there’s a great truth in what she said! Great saints are born of the sufferings and we have one great messiah that suffered the greatest. I will have to look her up more. Thank you for all the new teachings!

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