Friday, 17 May 2013

Saint Gregory of Nyssa-The Soul as an Arrow..

 Saint Gregory of Nyssa

The soul as an Arrow" is a theme explored by St.Gregory of Nyssa in his Commentary on the Song of Songs.He states that the bride(who is a figure of the soul) is both struck by the arrow of God's love,and at the same time becomes herself an arrow propelled toward God:The bride praises the bowman for his good marksmanship because he hits her with his arrow.The bride says"I am wounded with love"(Song2.5)
These words indicate that the bridegroom's arrows have penetrated the depths of her heart.The Archer of these arrows is love(cf. Jn 4.8),who sends his own "chosen arrow'(cf Isa 49.2) the Only-begotten Son,to those who are saved,dipping the triple-pointed tip of the arrow in the Spirit of Life.The tip of the arrow is faith, and by it God introduces the archer into the heart along with the arrow.
As the Lord says"I and the Father are one,we will come and make our home with him"(Jn 14-23).
O beautiful wound and sweet blow by which life penetrates within!.The arrow's penetration opens up,as it were,a door and entrance for love.As soon as the bride receives the arrow of love,the imagery shifts from archery to nuptial delight...Earlier we said that the bride was the target;she now sees herself as the arrow in the bowman's hands....God treats the purified soul as a bride and as an arrow aimed at a good target.

Saint Theophylact of Ochrid- The Myrrh-bearing Women


 Third Sunday of Pascha
The Myrrh-bearing Women

Mark 15:43-16:6

From The Explanation of the Gospel of St. Mark

by Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria

42-47. Now when the evening was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a noble counsellor, who also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and asked for the Body of Jesus. And Pilate wondered if He were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether He had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the Body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen, and laid Him in a tomb which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the tomb. And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where He was laid.

While yet a servant of the law, the blessed Joseph recognized Christ as God, and this is why he dared to do such a praiseworthy deed of courage. He did not stop to think to himself, "I am a wealthy man, and I will lose my wealth if I ask for the body of one condemned by the rulers authority, and I will be slandered by the Jews." No such thoughts did he harbor, but placing all other considerations second, he begged to bury the Body of the One condemned. Pilate wondered if He were already dead, for Pilate thought that Jesus would endure on the cross for a long time, as did the thieves. So he asked the centurion if Jesus had already died some time before. Joseph then took the Body, having bought linen, and when he had taken It down from the cross he wrapped It in the linen, and buried reverently that which was worthy of all reverence. For Joseph too was a disciple of Christ, and he knew that it was necessary to honor the Master. He was noble, that is, devout, pious, and blameless. And he held the rank of counsellor, a title which conferred duties of public service and responsibility; the counsellors supervised the affairs of the marketplace, and danger often befell one holding this position because of the evildoings in the market. Let the wealthy, and those engaged in public business, heed that Josephs high rank in no way hindered him from living a virtuous life. Joseph means "increase," and Arimathea means "taking hold of that." Let us be like Joseph, always increasing in virtue, and taking hold of that which is truly good. Let us also take the Body of Jesus, through Holy Communion, and place It in a tomb hewn out of a rock, that is, place It within a soul which always remembers God and does not forget Him. (1)

And let that soul be hewn from a rock, that is, from Christ Who is the Rock on which we are established. Let us wrap the Body of Jesus in the linen, that is, let us receive It within a pure body. For the body is the linen and the garment of the soul. We must receive the divine Body of the Lord not only with a pure soul, but with a pure body as well. And we must wrap It and enfold It within ourselves, and not leave It exposed. For this Mystery is something veiled and hidden, not something to be exposed.

16:1-8. And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the tomb at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him. But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the tomb; for they trembled and were amazed; neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. 
The women had no understanding of Christs divinity while they sat by the tomb, and they bought myrrh with which to anoint His Body in accordance with the Jewish practice, so that It would remain fragrant and not begin to have the foul odor of decay. Myrrh also dries things out, and thus it absorbs the moisture of the body and preserves it from corruption. Thinking such thoughts as these, the women rose and came to the tomb very early in the morning, or, as Matthew says, after the sabbath, or, as Luke says, at early dawn." [Mt. 28:1; Lk. 24:1] All four Evangelists say, On the first of the sabbath [mias Sabbaton], meaning, on the first day of the week (for "sabbath" was also the name they gave to the seven days of the week considered together, so that the "first day of the sabbath" meant Sunday). As the women approached the tomb, they talked among themselves about who would roll away the stone. While they were thinking about this, the angel rolled away the stone without their noticing. Matthew says that the angel rolled away the stone after the women had come to the tomb [Mt. 28:2] On this point Mark is silent, because Matthew had already said who rolled away the stone. Do not be troubled that Matthew says that the angel was sitting on the stone, while Mark says that after they entered the tomb, the women saw the angel sitting on the right side. It is likely that they first saw the angel sitting on the stone outside the tomb, as Matthew says, and that he then went before them into the tomb, where they saw him again. Some say that the women mentioned by Matthew were not the same ones mentioned here by Mark. Mary Magdalene, however, was with all of them, as she was fervent and aflame with zeal. The angel who appeared to the women said, Be not affrighted. First he takes away their fear, and then he announces to them the good tidings of the Resurrection. He calls Jesus "the Crucified", for the angel was not ashamed of the Cross, which is the salvation of mankind and the beginning of good things. He is risen. How do we know this? Because He is not here. Do you want further assurance? Behold the place where they laid Him. This is why the angel had moved away the stone to show them the place. But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter. He names Peter separately from the other disciples, as Peter was the foremost of the apostles. Also, because Peter had denied the Lord, the angel singles him out by name so that, when the women came and said that the Lord had commanded them to tell the disciples, Peter could not say, "I denied the Lord, and therefore I am no longer His disciple. He has rejected me and abhors me." The angel added the words and Peter, so that Peter would not be tempted to think that Jesus found him unworthy of mention, and unworthy to be ranked among the Lords disciples, because of his denial. He sends them [out of Judea] into Galilee, delivering them from tumult and from their great fear of the Jews. Fear and amazement had taken hold of the women at the sight of the angel and at the awesome mystery of the Resurrection, and because of this neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid." Either they were afraid of the Jews, or they were so in awe of what they had seen that their minds were confounded. For this reason neither said they any thing to any man, and they even forgot the command the angel had given them.

1. The Greek word for "tomb," mnemeion, is derived from the word mneme, which means "memory."

Το χάρισμα του γάμου..

Τού Πρωτοπρ. Αντωνίου Γ. Αλεβιζόπουλου Δρ. Θεολογίας Δρ. Φιλοσοφίας

1. Η κοινωνία ανδρός και γυναικός
«Και εδημιούργησεν ο Θεός τον άνθρωπον, κατ' εικόνα Θεού τον εδημιούργησε, τους έκαμε άνδρα και γυναίκα» (Γεν. 1,27).
Η εικών του Θεού, ο άνθρωπος, εδημιουργήθη από την αρχήν ως ζεύγος, ως άνδρας και γυναίκα. Όπως ο Τριαδικός Θεός δεν είναι μονάς, τοιουτοτρόπως και ο άνθρωπος δεν εδημιουργήθη ως μονάς. «Ο ποιήσας απ’ αρχής άρσεν και θήλυ εποίησεν αυτούς», επαναλαμβάνει ο ευαγγελιστής (Ματθαίος 19,4. Παράβαλλε Γένεση 1,27).
Το δόγμα, δηλαδή, της Αγίας Τριάδος, το οποίον εκφράζεται με την ενότητα της ουσίας και την τριαδικότητα των υποστάσεων, αποτελεί βασικήν αλήθειαν η οποία εκφράζει και την πραγματικότητα του ανθρώπου. Αυτή η μεγάλη και μοναδική θεία πραγματικότης (Αγία Τριάς), αποτελεί την βάσιν της ζωής μας και το θεμέλιον της σωτηρίας μας.
Κατ' αυτόν τον τρόπον, δυνάμεθα, χωρίς κανένα δισταγμόν, να εξηγήσωμεν το χωρίον αυτό της Παλαιάς Διαθήκης και να υπογραμμίσωμεν ότι ο άνθρωπος επλάσθη κατ' εικόνα του Τριαδικού Θεού και ως προς την φύσιν του και ως προς το γεγονός της ενότητος με τους άλλους ανθρώπους. Αυτός είναι ο λόγος δια τον οποίον εδημιουργήθη από την αρχήν ως ζευγάρι, ως άνδρας και ως γυναίκα.
Η Αγία Γραφή αναφέρεται πολλάς φοράς εις το μυστήριον του γάμου. Εις τας Παροιμίας διαβάζομεν ότι η «φρόνιμος γυνή παρά Κυρίου δίδεται» (Παροιμίες 19,14), ο δε προφήτης Μαλαχίας υπογραμμίζει ότι εγγυητής και μάρτυς του συζυγικού δεσμού είναι ο ίδιος ο Θεός (Μαλαχίας 2,14), ο κοινός Δημιουργός του ανδρός και της γυναικός.
Ο ίδιος προφήτης καταπολεμεί την αντίληψιν της εποχής, κατά την οποίαν μοναδικός σκοπός του γάμου είναι η απόκτησις τέκνων (Παράβαλλε Και Σοφ. Σολ. 4,1-6. Σοφ. Σειράχ 16,1-4) και ότι, συνεπώς επετρέπετο το διαζύγιον μετά την εκπλήρωσιν του σκοπού αυτού. Ο προφήτης υπονοεί ότι η ουσία του μυστηρίου ευρίσκεται εις την πραγμάτωσιν της κοινής ζωής, εις την διατήρησιν και την καλλιέργειαν του αδιάρρηκτου δεσμού των συζύγων, οι οποίοι καθίστανται εν πνεύμα και μία σαρξ (Μαλαχίας 2,15. Γένεση 2,24. Ματθαίος 19,5. Μάρκος 10,8). Γίνεται τοιουτοτρόπως φανερόν, διατί εις το εβραϊκόν κείμενον αναφέρεται ότι ο Θεός «μισεί την απόλυσιν», δηλαδή το διαζύγιον, το οποίον καταλύει τον πρωταρχικόν αυτόν σκοπόν του μυστηρίου (Μαλαχίας 2,16).
Το ίδιον νόημα πρέπει να δώσωμεν και εις τους λόγους της Αγίας Γραφής: «Όποιος χωρίση την σύζυγόν του έκτος ένεκα πορνείας, αυτός την αναγκάζει να διάπραξη μοιχείαν» (Ματθ, 5,32. 19,9. Λουκάς 16,18). «Πόρνους και μοιχούς θα κρίνη ο Θεός» (Εβραίους 13,4).
Με αυτήν την βάσιν ημπορούμε, επίσης, να είπωμεν ότι ο προορισμός του ανθρώπου είναι να ομοιάση εις τον Δημιουργόν του, να ζήση, δηλαδή, την ζωήν της πλήρους αγάπης μετά του συνανθρώπου του, σύμφωνος προς το θείον πρότυπον, σύμφωνος προς την αγάπην του Τριαδικού Θεού. Με άλλα λόγια, ο προορισμός αυτός δεν είναι άσχετος με την κοινωνίαν των δύο φύλον της μιας ανθρωπότητος.

2. Κοινωνία αγάπης

Γέροντας Πορφύριος:Η μητέρα να προσεύχεται σιωπηλά, ν’ αγκαλιάζει μυστικά το παιδί της!

Κάθε φορά, που ο Γέροντας μιλούσε για την προσευχή, αντιλαμβανόμουν ότι δεν εννοούσε μια προσπάθεια επιδερμική και αποσπασματική , αλλά βαθιά και διαρκή.
Κάποτε αντιμετωπίζοντας το πρόβλημα του παιδιού μίας γνωστής στο Γέροντα και σε μένα μητέρας, η οποία μου ζήτησε να τον ρωτήσω σχετικά, μου είπε: « Το παιδί έχει ένα εσωτερικό πρόβλημα και γι’ αυτό συμπεριφέρεται έτσι.
Το παιδί είναι καλό , δεν το θέλει αυτό που κάνει , αλλά αναγκάζεται , είναι δεμένο από κάτι. Δε διορθώνεται με τη λογική , δε μπορείς να το πείσεις με συμβουλές, ούτε να το αναγκάσεις με απειλές. Αυτό θα κάνει τα αντίθετα.
Μπορεί να γίνει χειρότερα, μπορεί να μείνει έτσι, μπορεί και να απαλλαγεί από αυτό. Για να απαλλαγεί, πρέπει να εξαγιασθεί η μητέρα του. Για να ελευθερωθεί, θέλει κοντά του έναν άγιο άνθρωπο , με πολλή αγάπη, που δε θα του κάνει διδασκαλία, ούτε θα το φοβερίζει , αλλά θα ζει με αγιότητα, και το παιδί, που θα τον βλέπει , θα ζηλέψει και θα τον μιμηθεί.
Προ πάντων το παιδί θέλει κοντά του έναν άνθρωπο πολλής και θερμής προσευχής. Η προσευχή κάνει θαύματα. Δεν πρέπει η μητέρα να αρκείται στο αισθητό χάδι στο παιδί της, αλλά να ασκείται στο πνευματικό χάδι της προσευχής.
Όταν πάει να το χαϊδέψει χωρίς προσευχή, το παιδί κάνει έτσι ( απλώνει βίαια τα χέρια και απωθεί τη μητέρα). Όταν όμως χωρίς να το χαϊδέψει , κάνει μυστικά για το παιδί της θερμή προσευχή, τότε αυτό αισθάνεται στην ψυχή του ένα ανεξήγητο , για κείνο, πνευματικό χάδι, που το ελκύει προς τη μητέρα του.
Η μητέρα στην προσευχή της για το παιδί πρέπει να λιώνει σαν τη λαμπάδα. Να προσεύχεται σιωπηλά και με τα χέρια ψηλά προς το Χριστό , ν’ αγκαλιάζει μυστικά το παιδί της.
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