What was the highlight of my day? Was it that Robert Hollander (who a professor called, “the greatest English speaking commentator on Dante… ever”) gave a lecture on The Comedy today, and that I was miraculously able to fit it into my schedule? Was that I had wonderful conversations with with Elder Sister, Best Friend, and Dear Ex-Coworker today? (Sorry) not quite.
It certainly wasn’t the exhaustion and sore throat that I shared my day with.
The highlight of my day – the most pleasant surprise – was that the service today was the Great Canon of St. Andrew, or at least today’s part. Instead of a 45 minute service, it was an hour and a half. And instead of mere standing, there were about a hundred prostrations. And I hadn’t had really had lunch. I was still a little sore from Sunday, and the bruises on my knees are proof. But I am telling you that not only was this a powerful and intense service, but I have felt better inside and out since that holistic workout. Glory to God!
This section is perfect description of myself:
I have slipped and fallen like David through lack of discipline, and I am covered with filth; but wash me too, O Saviour, with my tears. (II Kings 11:1-4)
No tears, no repentance have I, no compunction. But as God, O Saviour, grant me these.
I have lost my first-created beauty and comeliness; and now I lie naked, and I am ashamed.
Close not Thy door to me then, Lord, Lord; but open it to me who repent to Thee. (Matthew 25:11)
Give ear to the sighs and groans of my soul, and accept the drops of my eyes, O Saviour, and save me.
O Lover of men, Who wishest all to be saved, in Thy goodness recall me and receive me who repent. (1 Tim. 2:4)
…and a call to make the most of the Fast:
Rise and make war against the passions of the flesh, as Joshua did against Amalek, and ever conquer the Gibeonites – illusive thoughts. (Exodus 17:8; Josh. 8:21)Pass through the flowing nature of time, like the Ark of old, and take possession of the Land of Promise, my soul: It is God’s command. (Josh. 3:17; Deuteronomy 1:8)As Thou savedst Peter when he cried, “Save me!”, forestall and deliver me from the beast, O Saviour; stretch out Thy hand and raise me from the depths of sin. (Matthew 14:25-31)
I know Thee as a calm haven, O Lord, Lord Christ; but forestall and deliver me from the innermost depths of sin and despair.
…and where I fit in the cosmos, and the examples behind and ahead of me…
Christ the Word healed diseases, preached the Gospel to the poor, cured cripples, ate with publicans, conversed with sinners, and He brought back the departed soul of Jairus’ daughter by the touch of His hand. (Matthew 9:11; Mark 5:41-42)
The publican was saved, the harlot was made chaste, but the pharisee through boasting was condemned. For the first said, “Be merciful,” the second, “Have mercy on me,” but the last boasted and cried, “O God, I thank Thee,” and then some foolish words. (Luke 7:36-50; 18:9-14)
Zacchaeus was a publican, but yet was healed, and Simon the Pharisee was disappointed; but the harlot received the release of full forgiveness from Him Who has power to forgive sins. Obtain His forgiveness yourself, my soul. (Luke 19:1-10; 7:36-50)
You, my wretched soul, have not emulated the harlot who took the alabaster jar of perfumed oil and anointed with tears and wiped with her hair the feet of the Saviour, Who tore up for her the handwriting of her old accusation. (Luke 7:37-38; Colossians 2:14)
You know how the towns to which Christ offered the Gospel were cursed. Fear this example, my soul, do not be like them; for the Lord compared them to the Sodomites and condemned them to hell. (Luke 10:13-15)
Do not let despair make you worse than the Canaanite woman, my soul, for you have heard of her faith through which her daughter was healed by the Word of God. Call to Christ like her from the depth of your heart, “Son of David, save me.” (Matthew 15:22)
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.