Holy and Great Thursday

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Metropolitan Moses – Holy and Great Tuesday

Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:12 pm (PDT) . Posted by:

“Fr. Panagiotes Carras” frpanagiotes

Kontakion
of Saint Romanos Melodos on the Ten Virgins
O brothers, let us love
the Bridegroom, Let us make ready our lamps, Shining out with brightness and
true faith, So that, like the wise virgins at the Lord’s coming, We may arrive
with Him at the marriage, For He, the Merciful, since He is God, Offers to all
as a gift The incorruptible crown!
Thou, O God, the Bridegroom of
salvation, the hope of those who hymn Thee, Grant to us who pray to Thee That
we find, without stain, in Thy marriage, Just like the virgins The
incorruptible crown.
+++
The Synaxarion
On Holy
and Great Tuesday, we make remembrance of the parable of the Ten Virgins, as
related in the sacred Gospel.
Verses
Great Tuesday bringeth ten virgins,
Of whom
five bear the victory of the inexorable Master.
Yet, O
Bridegroom Christ, number us with the wise virgins, and unite us with Thine
elect flock, and have mercy on us. Amen.

Exapostilarion. Third Tone
Thy
bridal chamber, O my Saviour, do I behold all adorned; and a garment I have not
that I may enter therein. Illumine the garment of my soul, O Light-bestower,
and save me.
Second Tone
I
who have slumbered with slothfulness of soul, O Bridegroom Christ, do not
possess a torch aflame with virtues; and I am become like those foolish
maidens, as I daydream when it is time for work. Close not against me, O
Master, the bowels of Thy compassions; but shaking off my heavy sleep, rouse me
up, and, with the wise Virgins, do Thou bring me into Thy bridal chamber, where
there is the pure sound of them that keep festival and unceasingly cry: O Lord,
glory be to Thee.

The Parable of the Five
Wise and the Five Foolish Virgins from the
Gospel of Saint Matthew Chapter 25:1-13
Then shall the
Kingdom of the Heavens be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and
went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were
foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom
tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made,
Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins
arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of
your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so;
lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell,
and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and
they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he
answered and said, Amen I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye
know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

+++
An Excerpt from, “The Conversation of Motovilov with Saint Seraphim of
Sorov.”
…”That is it, your Godliness. Acquiring the Spirit of God is the
true aim of our Christian life, while prayer, fasting, almsgiving and other
good works done for Christ’s sake are merely means for acquiring the Spirit of God.”
“What do you mean by acquiring?” I asked St. Seraphim.
“Somehow I don’t understand that.”
“Acquiring is the same as obtaining,” he replied. “Do you
understand, what acquiring money means? Acquiring the Spirit of God is exactly
the same. You know very well enough what it means to acquire in a worldly
sense, your Godliness. The aim of ordinary worldly people is to acquire or make
money; and for the nobility, it is in addition to receive honors, distinctions
and other rewards for their services to the government. The acquisition of
God’s Spirit is also capital, but grace-giving and eternal, and it is obtained
in very similar ways, almost the same ways as monetary, social and temporal
capital.
“God the Word, the God-Man, our Lord Jesus Christ, compares our
life with the market, and the work of our life on earth He calls trading. He
says to us all: “Trade till I come” (Lk. 19:13), “buying up every
opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). In other
words, make the most of your time getting heavenly blessings through earthly
goods. Earthly goods are good works done for Christ’s sake that confer the
grace of the All-Holy Spirit, on us.”
“In the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, when the foolish
ones ran short of oil, they were told: “Go and buy in the market.”
But when they had bought it, the door of the bride-chamber was already shut and
they could not get in. Some say that the lack of oil in the lamps of the
foolish virgins means a lack of good deeds in their lifetime. Such an
interpretation is not quite correct. Why should they be lacking in good deeds,
if they are called virgins, even though foolish ones? Virginity is the supreme
virtue, an angelic state, and it could take the place of all other good works.
“I think that what they were lacking was the grace of the All-Holy
Spirit of God. These virgins practiced the virtues, but in their spiritual ignorance
they supposed that the Christian life consisted merely in doing good works. By
doing a good deed they thought they were doing the work of God, but they cared
little whether they acquired the grace of God’s Spirit. These ways of life,
based merely on doing good, without carefully testing whether they bring the
grace of the Spirit of God, are mentioned in the patristic books: “There
is another way which is deemed good in the beginning, but ends at the bottom of
hell.”
“Anthony the Great in his letters to monks says of such virgins:
“Many monks and virgins have no idea of the different kinds of will which
act in man, and they do not know that we are influenced by three wills: the
first is God’s all-perfect and all-saving will; the second is our own human
will which, if not destructive, neither is it saving; and the third will is the
devil’s will – wholly destructive.” This third will of the enemy prompts
man to do no good deeds, or to do them good out of vanity, or merely for
virtue’s sake rather than for Christ’s sake. The second, our own will, prompts
us to do everything to flatter our passions, or else it teaches us like the
enemy, to do good for the sake of good and not care for the grace which is
acquired by it. But the first, God’s all-saving will, consists in doing good
solely to acquire the Holy Spirit, as an eternal, inexhaustible treasure which
is priceless. The acquisition of the Holy Spirit is, in a manner of speaking,
the oil, which the foolish virgins lacked. They were called foolish just because
they had forgotten the necessary fruit of virtue, the grace of the Holy Spirit,
, without which no one is or can be saved, for: “Through the Holy Spirit
every soul is quickened and through purification is exalted and illumined by
the Triune Unity in a Holy mystery.”
“The oil in the lamps of the wise virgins could burn brightly for a
long time. So these virgins, with their bright lamps were able to meet the
Bridegroom, who came at midnight. With Him, they could enter the bridal chamber
of joy. But the foolish ones, though they went to market to buy more oil, when
their lamps were going out, were unable to return in time, for the door was
already shut. The market is our life; the door of the bridal chamber, which was
shut and barred the way to the Bridegroom is human death; the wise and foolish
virgins are Christian souls; the oil is not the good deeds, but the grace of
the All-Holy Spirit of God which is obtained through good deeds and which
changes souls from one state to another – such as, from a corruptible state to
incorruptible state, from spiritual death to spiritual life, from darkness to
light, from the stable of our being (where the passions are tied up like dumb
animals and wild beasts) into a temple of the Divinity, the shining bridal
chamber of eternal joy in Christ Jesus our Lord, the Creator, Redeemer and
eternal Bridegroom of our souls.
“How great is God’s compassion on our misery, that is to say, our
inattention to His care for us, when God says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock” (Rev. 3:20),
meaning by “door” the
course of our life which has not yet been closed by death! Oh, how I wish, your
Godliness, that in this life you may always be in the Spirit of God! “In
whatsoever I find you, in that will I judge you,” says the Lord.
“Woe betide us if He finds us overcharged with the cares and
sorrows of this life! For who will be able to bear His anger, who will bear the
wrath of His countenance? That is why it has been said: “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Mk.
14:38), that is, lest you be deprived of the Spirit of God, for watching and
prayer brings us His grace.

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