Once upon a time there was a man who was alive.

Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States
St. Cuthbert and Disciples in a Boat


He Himself Comes to the Sepulchre

I recently came across this lovely passage in the works of St. Ambrose- thought it a wonderful proclamation of God's grace, for He is the One Who comes to where we are, the Good Samaritan Who stoops over our filth and shame and death and raises us Himself, in His own body.


Nevertheless if we are unable to equal her {the woman in the Gospel who washed the Lord's feet}, the Lord Jesus knows also how to aid the weak, when there is no one who can prepare the feast, or bring the ointment, or carry with her a spring of living water. He comes Himself to the sepulchre.

Would that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to come to this sepulchre of mine, O Lord Jesus, that Thou wouldst wash me with Thy tears, since in my hardened eyes I possess not such tears as to be able to wash away my offence. If Thou shalt weep for me l shall be saved; if I am worthy of Thy tears I shall cleanse the stench of all my offences; if I am worthy that Thou weep but a little, Thou wilt call me out of the tomb of this body and will say: "Come forth," that my meditations may not be kept pent up in the narrow limits of this body, but may go forth to Christ, and move in the light, that I may think no more on works of darkness but on works of light. For he who thinks on sins endeavours to shut himself up within his own consciousness.

Call forth, then, Thy servant. Although bound with the chain of my sins I have my feet fastened and my hands tied; being now buried in dead thoughts and works, yet at Thy call I shall go forth free, and shall be found one of those sitting at Thy feast, and Thy house shall be filled with precious ointment. If Thou hast vouchsafed to redeem any one, Thou wilt preserve him. For it shall be said, "See, he was not brought up in the bosom of the Church, nor trained from childhood, but hurried from the judgment-seat, brought away from the vanities of this world, growing accustomed to the singing of the choir instead of the shout of the crier, but he continues in the priesthood not by his own strength, but by the grace of Christ, and sits among the guests at the heavenly table."

Preserve, O Lord, Thy work, guard the gift which Thou hast given even to him who shrank from it. For I knew that I was not worthy to be called a bishop, because I had devoted myself to this world, but by Thy grace I am what I am. And I am indeed the least of all bishops, and the lowest in merit; yet since I too have undertaken some labour for Thy holy Church, watch over this fruit, and let not him whom when lost Thou didst call to the priesthood, to be lost when a priest. And first grant that I may know how with inmost affection to mourn with those who sin; for this is a very great virtue, since it is written: "And thou shall not rejoice over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction, and speak not proudly in the day of their trouble." Grant that so often as the sin of any one who has fallen is made known to me I may suffer with him, and not chide him proudly, but mourn and weep, so that weeping over another I may mourn for myself, saying, "Tamar hath been more righteous than I."

From On Repentance


Blogger Rusty said...

Hey, just wanted to say that I've enjoyed your blog. I am an inquirer into Orthodoxy, and also from South Mississippi. I've been to Charlie's several times.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Thanks for the kind words! I read through your blog- very interesting. It sounds as if you have embarked on quite a journey- may Christ bless you and guide you in your pilgrimage of faith. Are you still living in South Mississippi? If so, you ought to come by Charlie's sometime and look me up- I'm the guy who occasionally leans against the ice machine (which may have a Byzantine icon on it) and reads snatches of a book by some old saint with a funny name, he he.

12:05 AM  
Blogger Rusty said...

My family and I just moved back to the Ellisville area in February after being away for five years. I've been attending Holy Resurection Orthodox Church in Clinton lately. I'll definitely have to look you up next time I'm in Charlies.

12:13 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Have you ever heard about the Orthodox monastery out near Union? It's on the Internet- Burning Bush Monastery I believe. It's a part of some small break-away group, rather odd. I've never been out there- one is supposed to schedule a visit before hand I understand.

Do try and make it out to Charlies- I work Thursday through Saturday nights; though I'll probably be off next week.

1:17 AM  
Blogger Rusty said...

Yes, I visited the Burning Bush Monastery when I first moved back home. I had been reading about Orthodoxy for a few months, and Fr. Elia (the monk there) was the first Orthodox I met face to face. He is a very knowledgeable person, but because of the nature of break-away groups, and much controversy, I'm taking the advice of my priest and staying away. We stay in touch through email however.

10:34 AM  

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