Let us use our minds as befits the presence of Christ

The Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople, dusted with snow. Photo by Gunnar Bach Pedersen, from Wikimedia Commons. Public domain image.

The Church of the Holy Wisdom in Constantinople, dusted with snow. Photo by Gunnar Bach Pedersen, from Wikimedia Commons. Public domain image.

*

THE fascination of wickedness obscures what is good, and roving desire perverts the innocent mind.

Wisdom 4:12.

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AMONG the themes of Christmas in the Orthodox liturgy is release from an irrational mind.

However deep our learning, we can’t think rationally if the grip of our passions and imprudent desires is not loosened first.

**

LADY Mary, as she who gave birth to the Lord of all, make free my mind, lorded over by the passions and blackened by wickedness, and make it radiant. Source.

I HAVE exceeded the puffed up mind of the Pharisee, ever giving myself airs and plunging into the deeps of unnumbered falls; O only pure one, take pity on me who have been terribly humbled. Source.

SANCTIFY my mind and lead my soul to light, O Virgin, and make me a partaker of divine glory; for see, I am filled with evils and have become enslaved to every kind of pleasure, and I bring forward a sullied conscience. Source.

*

THOU didst magnify the Theotokos, O Christ, that bare thee, from whom thou our Fashioner didst clothe thyself in a body of like passions to our own, the healing of our faults; and in our blessing of her, all generations magnify thee.

Putting off every stain of the passions, let us take up a prudent disposition, as befits the presence of Christ. For it is without stain that he cometh forth to bear flesh, and to grant to all divine refashioning by the Spirit.

With gaze fixed upon Christ the lowly, let us be lifted up from passions that creep upon the ground; but schooled in proper zeal by faith not to let our minds run* on lofty things, let us be made lowly in spirit: so that by our uplifting works we may lift up the infant child.

*φρονώ often implies presumptuous, rash knowledge.

At Vespers on December 20. Source.

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