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"Great Lent, Our Exile"

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  • byakimov@csc.com.au
    http://www.russianorthodoxchurch.ws/01newstucture/pagesru/articles/serroseopotse.html (in Russian) Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose) Great Lent, Our Exile By the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 9, 2005
      (in Russian)

      Hieromonk Seraphim (Rose)

      "Great Lent, Our Exile"

      "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down,
      yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion."

      In these words of the Lenten psalm, we Orthodox Christians, the New Israel,
      remember that we are in exile. For Orthodox Russians banished from Holy
      Russia, the psalm has a special meaning; but all Orthodox Christians, too,
      live in exile in this world, longing to return to our true home, Heaven.
      For us the Great Fast is a season of exile ordained for us by our Mother,
      the Church, to keep fresh in us the memory of the Zion from which we have
      wandered so far. We have deserved our exile and we have great need of it
      because of our great sinfulness. Only through the chastisement of exile,
      which we remember in the fasting, prayers, and repentance of this season,
      do we remain mindful of our Zion.

      ТIf I forget thee, O JerusalemЙУ

      Weak and forgetful, even in the midst of the Great Fast we live as though
      Jerusalem did not exist for us. We fall in love with the world, our
      Babylon; we are seduced by the frivolous pastimes of this Тstrange landУ
      and neglect the services and discipline of the Church which remind us of
      our true home. Worse yet, we love our very captors - for our sins hold us
      captive more surely than any human master - and in their service we pass in
      idleness the precious days of Lent when we should be preparing to meet the
      rising sun of the New Jerusalem - the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus

      There is still time; we must remember our true home and weep over the sins
      which have exiled us from it. Let us take to heart the words of St. John of
      the Ladder: ТExile is separation from everything in order to keep the mind
      inseparable from God. Exile loves and produces continual weeping.У Exiled
      from Paradise, we must become exiles from this world if we hope to return.
      This we may do by spending these days in fasting, prayer, separation from
      the world, attendance at the services of the Church, in tears of
      repentance, in preparation for the joyful Feast that is to end this time of
      exile; and by bearing witness to all in this Тstrange landУ of our
      remembrance of that even greater Feast that shall be when our Lord returns
      to take home His people to the New Jerusalem, from which there shall be no
      more exile, for it is eternal.

      Father Seraphim Rose
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