суббота, 6 марта 2010 г.

SUNDAY OF THE CROSS. Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
                    SUNDAY OF THE CROSS
                        10 March 1991
                           ----
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

One  of  the  Fathers  tells  us that the memory of the Cross has been
placed  halfway  between  the  beginning  of  Lent and the week of the
Lord▓s Passion because when people start on a journey they are full of
life  and  of energy; when they see the end, again, energy and courage
flood  into  their  hearts;  but  there  is  a  moment  half-way  when
despondency  comes,  when  the tiredness of the journey begins to tell
and  when  the end of it is not yet in sight. When we come to the Holy
Week,  we  will  be  confronted with the Crucifixion, the Cross as the
ultimate  tragedy,  the  moment  when  the Lord God in an act of total
surrender,  of a gift of Himself unreserved dies, dies for us and dies
our death with all the tragedy, the horror of it. But now the Cross is
presented to us as victory.

The  Cross is not only the instrument of Christ▓s death; it▓s also the
instrument  of  Christ▓s  victory and of our salvation. And it is with
hope  that  we can look at it and say, ▒Yes! If God has so trusted us,
if  He  believes  in  us to such an extent as to give His life for us,
then  we  can truly take up our own cross and follow Him, because this
cross is not a sign of defeat, this cross is the sign of victory.

But  the  first  step  on  this  way is given us by the Lord Who says,
▒Whoever  wishes to follow Me...▓ ≈ and He does not force us to do so,
He  leaves  us free to turn away from Him, to let Him die for us while
we  have  no  concern  for it. But if we want to follow Him, the first
thing we must do is to renounce ourselves.

What does that actually mean? It means that we must turn away from our
continuous  concern  with  us  and  look farther afield, see the whole
world  in its tragedy, in its significance, in its meaning to God, and
also  turn  to  God himself. We concentrate so continuously on what we
are,  what we have, what we do not possess, what we need, what we long
for,  what  we are afraid of. Is that the way in which we can live: in
continuous  hope  for  little things, in continuous fear, continuously
tormented  by greed, and fear, and dislikes, and hatred? What is there
what  we  can  regain, what we can make our own, which we can identify
with? Very little!

Saint  Paul  says:  what  is  there that you possess which is yours? ≈
Nothing! Everything is given. Our existence is a gift of God, our life
is  a gift of God, our knowledge of Him is a gift of God, our physical
well-being,  our  friendships,  the  beauty of the world ≈ all this is
given and we can do nothing either to possess it or to regain it if we
begin  to  lose  it.  We cannot retain the vision of the world when we
become blind, we cannot hear the harmony of the world if we go deaf...
Then  why  should  we concentrate so continuously on our own selves as
though  we  were  what we possess while we do not even possess what we
are!

Let  us  therefore  have  the  courage to recognize the meaning of the
first  Beatitude:  Yes,  I am poor, everything what I am, what I have,
what  I  treasure  or  what I fear is a gift of God for which I can be
grateful,  it is an act of Divine love for which I can be so grateful!
And  if  it  is  so, then I have understood what it means to be in the
Kingdom  of  God,  because  the  Kingdom  of  God is that relationship
between us and God which is love, between me and my neighbour which is
love.  And  the  moment we have understood this, we are in the Kingdom
provided we have freed ourselves from our foolish imagination, foolish
idea  that  ⌠I  am  in  my  own  right,  I possess by my own power and
strength■.

Let us then, in weeks to come, get more and more free of this concern,
this  centredness on what we imagine we have or we imagine we are; and
realize  that  all  that  is  a gift of God and therefore it cannot be
lost. It is enough to be with Him to be possessed of all things; it is
enough to be with Him to be free of the things earthly and yet as rich
as  God  because  God  does not give only the little we long for or we
need; He gives His whole own self, His life, and all He possesses.

Let  us  therefore  make  a start. But then, what is the self which we
are,  which  is  worth renouncing all the rest? Let us read the Gospel
with  attention,  and  let  us single out those things of which we can
say, ▒My heart is burning within me!▓ Those things which cast a ray of
light  in  our  life,  which  give  us  courage and inspiration, which
cleanse  and  renew  us ≈ because these things show us what we have in
common with God, the way in which we are already now the likes of God,
the  way in which His image is already shining through the twilight of
our  being.  Isn▓t  that a wonder! And if we concentrate on looking at
what is of God in us then we may let go of what is not of God, of that
very  twilight  or  darkness  to which we cling all the time imagining
that  it  is us. While the twilight exists only because there is light
in it, that light which the darkness cannot receive, but which dispels
all  darkness  and  lead us step by step to the day when there will be
nothing but light, the light of God, the life of God.

Let  us  therefore  concentrate  in weeks to come towards this ascent,
towards  that freedom which will allow us to enter into the Passion of
the  Lord without a thought of ourselves, thinking only of Him, of the
Mother  of  God  in the horror that pierces Her heart and the distress
and agony of the disciples. Amen.

                              ----

 * All texts are copyright: Estate of Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

           Metropolitan Anthony of  Sourozh Library
                   http://www.mitras.ru/eng/


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