St Nikitas: The soul renewed in the beauty of Christ’s image becomes a light to others

SEE, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

Revelation 3:8.

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WE must not allow ourselves to be frightened into silence. Yes, it’s hard to “keep on keeping on” when being pushed around – but like Ronald Reagan said: when we stiffen our spines, those around us can stiffen theirs, too! Press in, press on. Don’t retreat, friends!

Sarah Palin. Source.

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A monk of Mount Athos

“If it concerns itself with things divine, the soul becomes a light to others, it inspires them to glorify God.”

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IF it concerns itself with things divine and tills the ground of humility, tears fall on it like rain from heaven, and it cultivates love for God, faith and compassion for others.

And when in this way the soul is renewed in the beauty of Christ’s image, it becomes a light to others; attracting their attention with the rays of its virtue, it inspires them to glorify God.

St Nikitas Stithatos (c. 1005 – c. 1090). Source.

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REMOVE from me reproach and contempt; for I have sought out thy testimonies. For princes sat and spoke against me: but thy servant was meditating on thine ordinances. For thy testimonies are my meditation, and thine ordinances are my counsellors.

Psalm 118[119]:22-24.

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Franz Liszt, Transcription of ‘Ständchen’ (Serenade) by Franz Schubert.
Played by Vitaly Pisarenko.

‘Men have forgotten God; that is why all this has happened’

Sarah Palin, former Governor of the State of Alaska.

“Remember to be grateful for the blessings and opportunities God has given us. … Here’s to liberty!” Sarah Palin, former Governor of the State of Alaska.

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IF my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14.

Cited in Sarah Palin’s New Year ‘resolution’, 2013. Source.

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Russian dissident and activist Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn (1918-2008).

Russian dissident and activist Aleksandr Solzhenitzyn (1918-2008).

OVER a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’

Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval.

But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008). In Edward E. Ericson, Jr., “Solzhenitsyn – Voice from the Gulag,” Eternity, October 1985, pp. 23, 24.

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ALL now know that creation is at liberty,
They are sons of light who before were in darkness.
Only the succourer of darkness is groaning.
Now let the whole inheritance of the Gentiles,
Once so wretched, eagerly bless the cause of it .

Feast of the Circumcision (yesterday). Source.

I SHALL acknowledge you as my chosen vessel, if the seal of my free gift, the threefold sparkling light, is signed upon you – Christ the Word saith, to those who through indifference are still hesitating to come to Baptism – for in it I come granting a new way of salvation, and a life of liberty.

Forefeast of the Theophany. Source.

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Antonin Dvořák, Symphony 9 “From the New World”.
Second Movement, Largo.

Sarah Palin: Hang in there, America

HANG in there, America. Fight for what is right. Don’t look to government or any politician to solve your problems. Government can’t make you happy, healthy, wealthy or wise. Obama is a master at reading the right “soaring” words fed into his teleprompter, but actions speak louder than words. So, hold tight to 2 Corinthians 4:8 because we’re in for a wild ride.

We must survive. United. One nation under God.

“We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.

– Sarah Palin. Source.

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Sarah Palin on “Passionate Faith”, at the Extraordinary Women Conference in 2011.

Apologies for the sound quality, but it’s the best I could find.

Israel was a servant, and I loved him

Today, the Greek Church celebrates the Feast of the Protection of the Mother of God, which is kept elsewhere on October 1. For the background, see GOARCH.

Since 1952, the feast has been moved to coincide with ‘Ohi Day’ (Επέτειος του «’Οχι», the anniversary of the ‘No’), remembering the day in 1940 when the Greek leader Ioannis Metaxas repulsed fascist Benito Mussolini, and so brought Greece into the Second World War on the side of the Allies.

As political elites increasingly dictate our lives under the cover of seductive promises of ‘fairness’ and easy riches, the protection of the Mother of God is desperately needed. “People’s characters are not shaped by laws, but by faith. Passing laws is easy; building characters is hard.” (Sarah Palin).

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IN a beautiful phrase Mary calls Israel the servant of the Lord.

The Lord came to his aid to save him. Israel is an obedient and humble servant, in the words of Hosea: Israel was a servant, and I loved him.

Those who refuse to be humble cannot be saved. They cannot say with the prophet: See, God comes to my aid; the Lord is the helper of my soul.

But anyone who makes himself humble like a little child is greater in the kingdom of heaven.

St Bede. Source.

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WE sing the praise of the graces of your Protecting Veil, O Virgin, which like a light-bearing cloud you unfold beyond understanding, and you spiritually protect your people from every assault of their foe.

For we have gained you was Protection and defender and helper, as we cry out to you: Glory to your mighty deeds, O Pure one; glory to your Protection; glory to your providence towards us, O Immaculate!

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To you my Champion and Commander I your city, saved from disasters,
dedicate, O Mother of God, hymns of victory and thanksgiving;
but as you have unassailable might, from every kind of danger now deliver me,
that I may cry to you: Hail, Bride without bridegroom!

Source.

Kontakion. Tone 8. [To the melody] To you, my Champion.

LIKE a cloud brightly overshadowing the whole company of the Church, O all-pure, you appeared of old on the royal City.

But as the Protection and Champion of your people, protect from every affliction us who cry to you: Hail, Protection wholly light.

Source.

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WE must not profess the Christian faith and go to church simply because we want social reforms and benefits or a better standard of behavior – but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ expressed so well in the hymn:

WHEN I survey the wondrous Cross
on which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Margaret Thatcher, 1988. Source.

St John Chrysostom on the one gift our political leaders need

THERE is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism.

This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk.

No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare.

This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys.

Sarah Palin, Former Governor of Alaska (Source).

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St John Chrysostom

St John Chrysostom (+407)

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St John Chrysostom would wholeheartedly agree with Gov. Palin, I think. He wrote:

THERE are three types of government.

The first is where one person, or a group of persons, pass laws and issue decrees which everyone must obey.

The second is where every person is his own master, acting as he or she thinks fit.

The third is where God is acknowledged as ruler, and all people seek to follow his way of love.

He argued that type 3 is the ideal, and that if we all had such Christian self-control then government type 2 would be realistic as well.

However, because there is sin in the world this will not happen, meaning that some government of type 1 is regrettably necessary.

HOWEVER no society has ever existed in which every member fully and consistently tries to obey God; there are always people motivated by greed and self-interest.

For this reason there need to be individuals or small groups who pass laws and issue decrees which can be enforced. The existence of the first type of government is a tacit admission of human sin and frailty.

The challenge is to ensure that these lawmakers act on behalf of the people as a whole and not just for their own benefit.

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A scene from the House of Commons in the 1980s

“The challenge is to ensure that these lawmakers act on behalf of the people as a whole and not just for their own benefit.” A scene from the House of Commons in the 1980s.

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So what kind of leaders should we look for? Scions of some political dynasty? Wealthy businessmen? Inspiring orators of ‘peace and security’? Bipartisan deal-makers? No, no, says St John Chrysostom.

LOOK at those who rule your city or your nation.

Some seem to have no qualities which mark them out for such a task; they hold a position of power through an accident of birth, or through ingratiating themselves with their superiors.

Some have natural authority, so that they inspire confidence and respect in others.

Some possess natural wisdom, so they handle easily the complex affairs of state.

But whether or not they have natural gifts, there is another type of gift which surpasses all others: the gift of knowing right from wrong, and the courage to choose what is right.

St John tells us that this gift is not something we are born with, but something we must acquire “through reflection, education, prayer, and practice”. He even says,

IT would be better that our leaders were poor in natural gifts, but rich in this moral gift, than that they exuded authority and wisdom, but used these natural gifts for their own ends.

Extracts from “On Living Simply” Nos 40 and 42. This book is a selection of passages from the writings of St John Chrysostom, edited and translated by Robert Van de Weyer.

Note: The editor of this fascinating little volume (Amazon US | Amazon UK) warns us that he has translated loosely and occasionally paraphrased; sadly, the original source of each passage is not given, so I haven’t been able to check them out, or translate them afresh.

Passing laws is easy: building characters is hard

PEOPLE’S characters are not shaped by laws, but by faith. Passing laws is easy; building characters is hard.

Sarah Palin, Former Governor of the State of Alaska (Source).

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Metropolitan Ignatios of Demetrias

Metropolitan Ignatios of Demetrias

TODAY, while many speak about liberty, no one is making sacrifices for her, and so the consequences are tragic.

Nobody plays his part, each claims his individual rights.

This has been going on until it has reached the point at which everyone claims rights only for himself, for his group, for what he sees as affected, and society and community are lost, which for us Greeks has constituted the very essence of our lives.

And once participation is lost, then words are all that is left, and they become grand and expansive, and the lie becomes easier; and people who are not free live like a herd, and the herd always prefers the easy lie to the bitter and difficult truth.

We in particular are living through this, in our place and our time.

We have come to prefer to live in the midst of a lie than to comprehend the reality, because we refuse the pain.

And those who had responsibility to lead this people, who knew one day there would be pain, unfortunately fed them with grand and expansive words, erected fraudulent foundations for them, shaky, on the sand; and now, everything is coming down like a house of cards.

So because we lost the liberty of this place, because we forgot to play our part in common life, we have refused the pain, refused to bear the cross of work and labor, nor have we laboured as a society and community to have real liberty.

In our monasteries, we have preserved the model of a life which is the answer to the problems that provoke despair today.

Metropolitan Ignatios of Demetrias. This is my inexpert translation. Original at Ρομφαία.