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a word from the desert

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  • Christopher Haas
    Kontakion on the Theophany -- the Baptism of Christ (conclusion) by St. Romanos the Melodist, 6th century 14 After these dread words the offspring of Zachary
    Message 1 of 937 , Jan 6, 2010
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      Kontakion on the Theophany -- the Baptism of Christ (conclusion)
      by St. Romanos the Melodist, 6th century

      14
      After these dread words the offspring of Zachary cried to the Creator,
      "I hesitate no longer, but do what you command me."
      Having said this, he approached the Savior as a slave his lord.
      He gazed at him,
      looking devoutly at the naked limbs of the one who orders
      the clouds to envelop the heavens like a garment,
      and again he contemplated in the midst of the streams
      the one who appeared in the midst of the three youths,
      dew in the fire and fire in the Jordan
      shining, gushing,
      the unapproachable Light.

      15
      But, seeing these wonders,
      the son of the priest in the office of a priest
      stretches out his palm and lays his hand on Christ
      as he cries to those who see it, "See in the Jordan the willing rain.
      Contemplate the torrent of delights, as it is written,
      in the streams of the waters, a great sea in a river.
      Let no one then consider me daring.
      I act, not as foolhardy, but as a servant.
      He is Lord and he told me to do this;
      that is why I am baptizing
      the unapproachable Light."

      16
      "I was feeble as a mortal,
      but he as God of all gave me power, crying,
      `Place your hand on me and I will give it strength.'
      For how could I have done it,
      had this not been what he said and what came to pass?
      How would I have had the power to baptize the deep,
      I who am clay,
      had I not first received and accepted power from on high?
      For now, with his standing by me, I sense
      that I am more than I was before.
      I am something else.
      I have been changed, I have been glorified,
      for I am seeing, I am baptizing
      the unapproachable Light."

      17
      "I no longer say as before,
      `I may not loose the strap of his sandals,'
      for see, I advance from the feet to the head.
      I tread no longer the earth but heaven itself,
      for what I accomplish is of heaven.
      Rather I have surpassed the things on high, for they carry,
      but do not see whom they carry,
      while I both see and baptize.
      Heaven rejoice and earth be glad,
      springs of waters be hallowed,
      for by appearing he has filled all things with blessing,
      he enlightens all mankind,
      the unapproachable Light."

      18
      At the divine command, Zachary's offspring raises
      his mind on high,
      and stretching out his palm places it on the King,
      washes in the streams, then leads back to land the Lord of land and sky,
      whom the One who cried, "This is my beloved Son"
      pointed out from heaven by a voice as by a finger.
      To the Father himself, then, and to the Son
      who was baptized and to his Spirit I cry,
      "Crush those who afflict my soul;
      end my errors, my Redeemer,
      the unapproachable Light."

      (trans. by Archimandrite Ephrem Lash)
    • 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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