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a word from the desert

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  • Christopher Haas
    Kontakion on the Theophany (part 2) by St. Romanos the Melodist, 6th century 8 He who foresees all, seeing the fear of the Forerunner, answered him, It is
    Message 1 of 937 , Jan 5, 2010
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      Kontakion on the Theophany (part 2)
      by St. Romanos the Melodist, 6th century

      8
      He who foresees all, seeing the fear of the Forerunner, answered him,
      "It is good, John, it is good that you were afraid of me.
      Nonetheless, let be for now - for thus it is fitting - to fulfill
      what I have decided.
      Let be for now and shake off this cowardly fear;
      You owe me this ministry, and you must now perform it.
      Once before I sent out Gabriel,
      and he performed his task well at your birth.
      You too then, send me your palm as an angel,
      that you may baptize
      the unapproachable Light."

      9
      "Now you are frightened, Baptist, and tremble at this action as great.
      And so it is.
      But your cousin saw one that was greater.
      Look at Mary and consider how she carried me.
      Of course you will say to me, `Then it was your wish.'
      Now too it is my wish.
      Do not hesitate, baptize me. Just lend me your right hand.
      I dwell in your spirit and I possess you wholly.
      Why then do you not stretch out your palm to me?
      I am within you and outside you. Why do you flee from me?
      Stand your ground and grasp
      the unapproachable Light."

      10
      "I am not asking, Baptist, that you overstep the bounds;
      I do not say, `Say to me what you say to offenders,'
      nor `Give me the advice you give sinners.'
      Simply baptize me in silence,
      and in expectation of what will follow the baptism.
      Because in this way you gain a dignity
      which does not belong to angels, for I will make you
      greater than all the prophets.
      None of them saw me clearly,
      but only in types and shadows and dreams.
      But as he stands before you by his own will,
      you see, you grasp,
      the unapproachable Light."

      11
      "Set aside what you say and do what you hear.
      Do not bear witness to me;
      for in heaven I always have a faithful witness.
      Your witness, the people standing here clearly do not accept.
      Let them then be taught from heaven who I am and whose
      Offspring I am, what I am going to bestow on those I love.
      I shall open the heavens, I shall send down the Spirit,
      which I shall give them as a pledge.
      So come now, draw near to learn
      from where I blaze out,
      the unapproachable Light."

      12
      When he heard these ineffable and dread words,
      the son of the barren said to the Son of the Virgin,
      "If I still speak, do not be angry with me, Redeemer
      For even now, necessity is preparing me to act with great boldness.
      That these people may learn who you are, must I then, Savior,
      expose to danger
      my poor hand by thrusting it into a brazier?
      Once Osa stretched out his hand to steady the Ark,
      and his life was cut off.
      Now, if I grasp the head of my God, how will I not be burned by
      the unapproachable Light?"

      13
      "Baptist and disputant, prepare at once, not for confrontation
      but for ministration. For look, you will see what I am accomplishing.
      In this way I am painting for you
      the fair and radiant form of my Church,
      granting to your right hand the power that after this
      I shall give to the palms of my friends and the priests.
      I am showing you clearly the Holy Spirit,
      I am making you hear the voice of the Father
      as it declares me his true Son and cries, "This is
      the unapproachable Light.
    • Christopher Haas
      Dear Friends of the Desert, As 2012 draws to a close, so too must “a word from the desert.” As you know, my postings have not been forthcoming in the past
      Message 937 of 937 , Dec 31, 2012
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        Dear Friends of the Desert,


        As 2012 draws to a close, so too must “a word from the desert.” As you know, my postings have not been forthcoming in the past several months, and I have received inquires from many dear friends regarding future postings. Unfortunately, the dictates of life prevent me from posting in any sort of regular way. I am grateful for the kind feedback I have received over the years, and for the many new friends I have made, both near and far. I hope that in some small way, the postings have been as beneficial to you as they have been to me. My guiding principal in selecting a “word” has always been that the reading is something that I need to profit from on that particular day. If you have been blessed in any way by these sayings from the ancient (and modern) spiritual fathers and mothers, please remember this unworthy sinner and my family in your prayers.


        Later today I hope to post a short bibliography of sources that I have used over the years, as well as some suggested online sources. Until then, two brief words that might be applicable to the New Year:


        -----------


        “The great Macedonius, the first of their deacons and a man zealous for God, told me: It is said of angels that they do not, or as some would have it, that they cannot fall. But men fall, yet they can quickly rise again as so often as this may happen to them. Devils, and devils only, never rise one they have fallen.”


        St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Spiritual Perfection 4


        ----


        Abba Poemen said concerning Abba Pior that every day he made a new beginning.


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