As Iron Sharpens Iron

An ongoing and online discussion between: an Orthodox informed Ecumaniac without a denominational home, an ordained Baptist youth pastor with an open mind, a Calvinist worship leader/seminarian with a staggering vocabulary and ability to make a point, and a cradle Catholic with a love/hate relationship to Rome.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Fire of God






Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him, "Abba, as far as I can, I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace, and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?"

Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like ten lamps of fire and he said to him, "If you will, you can become all flame."

Friday, September 29, 2006

Two Prayers by Saints Named Ignatius

Earthly longings have been crucified;
in me there is left no spark of desire for worldly things,
but only a murmur of living water that whispers within me,
"Come to the Father."
- St. Ignatius of Antioch, the Godbearer

Lord Jesus Christ, take all my freedom,
my memory, my understanding, and my will.
All that I have and cherish you have given me.
I surrender it all to be guided by your will.
Your grace and your love are wealth enough for me.
Give me these, Lord Jesus, and I ask for nothing more.
- St. Ignatius of Loyala, founder of the Jesuits

Orthodox Prayer for Unity

O All Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
we your faithful children beseech you to forgive us the sin of divisiveness,
which is rooted in our hearts, our dioceses and land.
Implant in our lives the holy vine of unity which only you can bestow
on those who have come together in your name.
Enlighten us with your grace so that we may come to the knowledge of your truth
and move our hearts to respond with trust and total obedience to your divine will.

Through the intercessions of the God-inspired Holy Fathers of the Council at Nicaea,
who in harmony decreed that there should be one hierarch in each city
serving your faithful as a loving father over his children,
one shepherd over a united flock,
we also praise your all holy name.

O Father who is without beginning,
O Son who is eternal
O Holy Spirit, the life-creator,
illuminate the way and guide us all to once again unite your Holy Church.

Amen.

Deliverace OF Demons

...With the Sign of the Cross, the old monk Abba Joseph trapped in his cell a dark and miserable demon
who had come to tempt him. "Release me, Father, and let me go," pleaded the demon, "I will not come to tempt you again".

"I will gladly do that, but on one condition," replied the monk. "You must sing for me the song that
you sang before God's Throne on high, before your fall."

The demon responded, "You know I cannot do that; it will cause me cruel torture and suffering. And besides, Father, no human ear can hear its ineffable sweetness and live, for you will surely die."

"Then you will have to remain here in my cell," said the monk, "and bear with me the full struggle of repentance."

"Let me go, do not force me to suffer," pleaded the demon."

"Ah, but then you must sing to me the song you sang on high before your fall with Satan."

So the dark and miserable demon, seeing that there was no way out, began to sing, haltingly, barely audible at first, groping for words long forgotten. As he sang, the darkness which penetrated and surrounded him began slowly to dissipate. The song grew ever louder and increasingly stronger, and soon the demon was caught up in its sweetness, his voice fully lifted up in worship and praise. Boldly he sang of the power and the honour and the glory of the Triune God on High, Creator of the Universe, Master of Heaven and Earth, of all things visible and invisible. As the song sung on high before all ages resounded in the fullness of its might, a wondrous and glorious light penetrated the venerable Abba's humble cell, and the walls which had enclosed it were no more.

Ineffable love and joy surged into the very depths of the being of the radiant and glorious angel, as he ever so gently stooped down and covered with his wings the lifeless body of the old hermit who had liberated him from the abyss of hell.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

From St. Isaac the Syrian

Let yourself be persecuted, but do not persecute others.
Be crucified, but do not crucify others.
Be slandered, but do not slander others.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep: such is the sign of purity.
Suffer with the sick.
Be afflicted with sinners.
Exult with those who repent.
Be the friend of all, but in your spirit remain alone.
Be a partaker of the sufferings of all, but keep your body distant from all.
Rebuke no one, revile no one, not even those who live very wickedly.
Spread your cloak over those who fall into sin, each and every one, and shield them.
And if you cannot take the fault on yourself and accept punishment in their place,
do not destroy their character.

St. Isaac the Syrian
+A.D. 700

Saturday, September 02, 2006

A Little Litany by G.K. Chesterton

When God turned back eternity and was young,
Ancient of Days, grown little for your mirth
(As under the low arch the land is bright)
Peered through you, gate of heaven--and saw the earth.

Or shutting out his shining skies awhile
Built you about him for a house of gold
To see in pictured walls his storied world
Return upon him as a tale is told.

Or found his mirror there; the only glass
That would not break with that unbearable light
Till in a corner of the high dark house
God looked on God, as ghosts meet in the night.

Star of his morning; that unfallen star
In that strange starry overturn of space
When earth and sky changed places for an hour
And heaven looked upwards in a human face.

Or young on your strong knees and lifted up
Wisdom cried out, whose voice is in the street,
And more than twilight of twiformed cherubim
Made of his throne indeed a mercy-seat.

Or risen from play at your pale raiment's hem
God, grown adventurous from all time's repose,
Or your tall body climed the ivory tower
And kissed upon your mouth the mystic rose.