SOULcast #162-Why are you sleeping, my soul?


My soul,

My soul,

Get up, what are you sleeping for?

The end is near

And you will be troubled.

It wakes you up

That Christ God may have mercy on you,

Which is everywhere

And it fills them all.St. John the Baptist on the COMMEMORATION OF DEATH as bread of the soul

The remembrance of death is an everyday death. The remembrance of death is a sigh of relief.

The fear of death is an attribute of nature entered into it through disobedience. And the trembling of death is the sign of unrepentant sins.

Christ is afraid of death, but does not tremble, to show clearly the properties of the two natures.

Just as bread is the most necessary of all foods, so the remembrance of death is the most necessary of all works (of cleansing passions).

To those in the middle (communities), the remembrance of death causes hardships, obedience, dishonesty. To those outside the noises, it causes them to give up worries, unceasing prayer and guarding the mind. The memory of their death is both their mother and their daughter. [1]

[1] “The thought of death, he says, makes those under obedience lovers of toil and helps them to have the pleasure of dishonesty; he cares for those in peace without worries and always deals only with prayer. ” Another: “To those in the midst of the world, who live in carelessness, and not after God, the thought of death causes them vain pains or toils, useless occupations or words, and foolish chatter, the sweetness of dishonesty, the sweetening of dishonesty; and those outside the noises, the renunciation of worries, the prayer and the keeping of the mind, for their work is the keeping of the commandments of Christ and the return to Him ”. To those who live in the world without changing their lives, the thought of death gives them the feeling that their toils and conversations are in vain, that the dishonestness they have is true dishonesty. On the contrary, for those who change their lives, their labors are sweet, and their dishonesty is not their hardships. The staircase very often uses the paradox that results from the different perspective with which life is viewed: either by satisfying itself with the transient and worldly, or by seeking the eternal and the spiritual. There is thus a dishonorable honor for the one who brings it and for the one who receives it, when it is brought from the flattery of the one who seeks it for vain glory; and an honest dishonesty when, for example, it is brought by the cunning, the good to the naive. Likewise there is an unpleasant pleasure to the body, which is a pleasure to the soul.

Just as the tin differs from silver even if it resembles itself in sight, just as those who have the gift of distinguishing the natural fear of death differ in a clear way from that which is contrary to nature.

The true sign of those who remember death in the feeling of the heart is the voluntary separation from all edification and the perfect abandonment of their will. The one who waits for her every day is a wanted man. He who desires it in every hour is holy.

Not all the lust for death is good. For there are some who, constantly making mistakes by the force of habit, humbly desire it. And there are, again, others who do not want to repent, and they ask for it with despair. And there are others who are not afraid of death, because they consider themselves proud of pride. Finally, there are some who demand their departure from here through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Some of the believers wonder with perplexity: Why, if the remembrance of death does us so much good, has the Lord hidden its knowledge from us before? They do not know that God is working our way through our salvation in a wonderful way. For no one, if he had known his death beforehand, would not have come immediately to baptism or to monastic life, but would have spent all his days without delegates and would have rushed to baptism and repentance only at the hour of departure. But by acquiring the quality of sin from long-standing habit with it, it would remain utterly unjust. [2]

[2] “Receiving the quality of sin.” The whole human being acquires through his way of life a certain quality, a certain smell, good or bad. Sin or good does not sit in a corner of our being, but just as a drop of oil gives whole water from a vessel something of its quality, so sin or good changes in one way or another our whole nature. And the clean or improved quality of nature has a dynamic character. It urges man for better or worse and makes them easy. The effort to restore the worsened nature to good quality must fight with its urge to commit evil. (…)

The one who desires to keep in himself/herself the remembrance of God’s death and judgment, but has surrendered himself/herself to the cares and scatterings of the world, is like one who swims, but wants to clap his/her hands.
Lack of heartache swirls the mind. [3] And the multitude of dishes dries up the springs. [4] Thirst and vigilance bring to the heart. And from the broken heart the waters (tears) flow [5]

[3] The heart that is not afflicted with sins also makes the mind spin, that is, it takes to man the sensibility of understanding his condition. Man’s self-knowledge is therefore a matter of feeling. An insensitive man cannot really know himself. The P.G. School, emphasizing the intimate connection between mind and heart, presents the consequences of sin for the mind and heart alternately, as being the same: or vice versa: the swirling mind and the painless heart. “
[4] The multitude of dishes dries up the springs of tears, that is, the feeling of heart and mind. A lot of drink taken from the outside dries up the inside sources of tears. Whoever drinks a lot can no longer cry.
[5] He will not be afraid of the lack of food, thirst, heartache, etc.

What is said is harsh to the greedy for food and unbelievable to the lazy. But the perpetrator will search for them through his zeal. And the one who knew them by searching will smile thinking about them. But the one who still seeks to know them is sadder. [6]

[6] “The hardships of others are, to those who learn them willingly, causes of joy and merriment. By gaining an ease over them by searching, they also reach the perfect increase. But those who are still imperfect are busy with them, with effort, if they are busy everywhere. ” (…)

Just as parents say that perfect love cannot fall, so I say that the perfect feeling of death is devoid of fear.

There are many works of the mind that work. I remember from these: the thought of God’s love, the remembrance of God, the remembrance of the Kingdom of heaven, the remembrance of the zeal of the martyrs, the remembrance of God who is present, according to the one who said: “I have seen before. my Lord ”(Ps. XV, 8), the remembrance of the Holy Understanding Powers, the remembrance of death, of answer, of determination, of punishment. We start with the biggest and end with the ones that should not be forgotten.

I will not be silent to make known to you the story of Hesychius the Horevite [7] He always spent in total laziness, not caring for his soul. Sick with his/her body to the brink of life, so that it seemed that in an hour he/she would die, but coming to his/her senses again, he asked us all to leave immediately. Then, building the cell door, he stayed inside for twelve years without ever coming out to talk to anyone again. He tasted nothing but bread and water. He sat there only, his mind fixed (in ecstasy) on what he had seen in this outing (in ecstasy). He was so gathered with his mind in himself that he never changed his way of life, being always out of his mind and shedding hot tears in silence. [8] But when it was about to happen, opening the door I went inside. And praying to him a lot, that’s all I heard from him: “Forgive me! No one, even if he remembers death, will ever be able to sin. ” And we were amazed to see the one who once so carelessly changed so quickly, with a happy change and transformation. And burying him politely in the nearby cemetery of the camp, after a number of days searching for his remaining saints, I did not find them. The Lord also entrusted in this way about his repentance full of care and worthy of praise to all those who want to go after a long laziness.

[7] And he dwelt in Horeb, a place of refuge at the foot of Mount Sinai. Thola, locality on Horeb.
[8] He was, on the one hand, with his mind gathered in himself, on the other, out of his mind. Only the one gathered in himself sees beyond himself (and, of course, beyond the world), that is, he is in ecstasy. The wonder of those beyond me is seen only through the mind gathered in itself, because through it they are transparent and because their infinity resembles the indefinite of the mind and in connection with it. (…)

Let us trust that besides all goodness, this is also a gift of God. [9] Because otherwise how can it be explained that even coming to the graves, some remain without tears and swirling, but, on the other hand, even being far from this view, we are often pierced to the heart? [10]

[9] That is, the remembrance of death with the feeling of the heart and therefore with tears is a gift of God. And it is a gift of God and the fact that the perspective of infinity is opened to us through the thought of death, which opens to the spirit the eternal and infinite horizon, according to him.
[10] We are pierced to the heart and weep, because the wall that encloses us in the apparent and monotonous infinity of the passionate attachment to the world has pierced in front of us.

The one who died all remembered death. [11] But he/she who is still bound to them does not cease to work against himself/herself.

[11] Those who discovered the lack of attraction and false fullness of all those in the world discovered the infinity that awaits them after their separation from them through death.

I don’t want to tell everyone about your love for them. But ask God to show this love to them Him himself, in an unspeakable way. And if not, you won’t have enough time for connections (for relationships) and for breakthrough. [12]

[12] “To prove in words the love for all is a difficult thing to reject. To prove it by deeds is easier and easier for one who strives to do virtue. And listen to how: Someone came to swear at me or beat me. If I tell him that although I could appear, I do not appear, but on the contrary, I fall on my knees, I beg him, I kiss him, I give him what I can, it is obvious to everyone that I do these out of love. And I did this by deeds. For how could it be done in words? For if I pray to all, I will tell them that I love them, I will appear flatteringly and as one who seeks to please men, as one who engages in a feigned virtue, and as one who hunts by this vain glory. So the father urges us not to force ourselves not to show love by words, but by deeds, and love for God, by both, and even more by words. For the sign of love for Him is unceasing prayer. Thus we will perform both virtues. For if you strive to fulfill love for people only in words, it would not be enough for you all your life for connections and humility.

Don’t be fooled, mindless worker, that you can replace (lost) time with another time. For the day will not come to fulfill its duty to the Master. [13]

[13] The supreme capitalization of time is conditioned by the understanding of each day as standing at the door of the afterlife, of the eschatological. Carpe diem (uses the day intensely), but not in the sense of Horatiu, as the last thing that can bring us a passing pleasure, but as the last thing that can ensure our eternal life. So with more intensity he uses the Christian every moment.

It is not possible, someone says, it is not possible to go through this day in good faith, if it will not be considered as the last of all life. [14] It is truly amazing how the Greeks uttered this word. For they also consider it proper to philosophy to think of death.
This was the sixth step. He who has climbed on it will never sin, if what is said is true: “Remember the last things of your life, and you will not sin forever”. (Jn. VII, 38).

[14] Time is a gift of God, but also a duty to fill it with deeds given to the Lord, with the diligence to perfect us. We must not waste a moment. Even if we use it in its entirety, we do not have enough to fulfill all the duty given to us with it. It is a strong statement of the value of time, contrary to Origen. The constant thought of death does not mean the uselessness of time, but on the contrary, its good intense use.

From: “PHILOKALIA”, vol IX, translated by Priest Dumitru Staniloae

Translated, with permision from here

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