Saturday, March 16, 2013

Excerpt from Homily II on Repentance, by St. John Chrysostom

The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise - Commemorated on Cheesefare Sunday (source)
Excerpt from Homily II on Repentance, for Cheesefare Sunday, by St. John Chrysostom (amateur translation)

Trumpets cry out to gather the soldier into the ranks of the earthly king. However, the reading of the divine Scriptures incites the soldier of the heavenly king, Jesus Christ, towards doxology and fear of God. They form ranks to oppose the visible enemies and wars, while we against invisible enemies and demons, as Paul writes: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual wickedness in the heavenly places.” Behold, O brethren, what kind of enemies we have. Behold, what kind of wars we are fighting. For they are evil, as you see, and shameless, and struggle to lead us towards every sin...

I entreat you, O brethren, let us repent of the rest, let us awaken, let us be vigilant, let us cast off the deep sleep of sin. Come, hearken, and I will tell you, all those who fear God. Come, hearken to spiritual and saving deeds and words. Come, learn of saving and God-pleasing desire. Come, learn how God our Savior is confessed. Come, before the festival of this life is dissolves. Come, before the gates of life are closed, before death comes and finds us unprepared. Come, before the sun sets, before the light turns to darkness. Come, hearken all nations, and listen, all who dwell throughout the world. Come, all those born on earth and sons of men, rich and poor. Come, noble and glorious, slaves and free. Come, every race and age, men and women, small and great, young and old. Come, O priests of the Lord, and all the fullness of the Church from one end of the world to the other. Come, youths and virgins, priests with young people. Come kings of the earth, whether wise or selfish. Come, let us fall down before the Lord Who made us, for He is our God, and we are His people, and the sheep within his hand. Come, behold how we have entered this world naked, and again we shall depart for there naked. Come, let us confess the Lord in tears and groaning, in almsgiving and goodness to the poor, for He teaches us how we can be saved.

Let us say to Him: Lord, we have sinned against heaven and before you. Receive our return and repentance. Receive our groan and tears. Receive the repentance of sinners, the mourning and wailing on behalf of death. Receive our struggles, which we endured terribly. Receive us, O lover of man, who have greatly enraged You. Receive us, O Master, who in prodigality and every lust and impurity wasted our whole life. Receive, O Lord God, those who disobeyed Your commandments. Receive us, O Master, Your unworthy servants, and do not depart from us according to the works of our hands. We confess, O Lord, that we are not even worthy to look upon this sun, for there is no sin, nor is there any evil which we wretched ones have not done. But receive us, O Master, as the Prodigal Son, receive us as the Thief, receive us as the Sinful Woman and the Publican. O Lord, bring us back. O Lord, hearken to us, and to not be angry, but have mercy upon our sins, for You are our God, and we know no other God but You. O Lord, deliver us from our enemies, and enter not into judgment with Your servants. O Lord, You are God, and we are Your people. We have sinned, therefore, we have transgressed, we have done wrong before You, and we have not watched, or done as You commanded us, and because of this we are separated far from You. But have mercy, O Lord, on the works of Your hands. Have mercy, O Master, on those who, because of the deception of the enemy, were cast out of Paradise. Have mercy on us, and cloth us with the robe of rejoicing, and the garment of salvation. Have mercy on us, for we have been stripped naked of Your help by the devil. O Merciful One, have mercy on us who abandoned You, and became slaves of the devil. Have mercy on those who have been deluded, have mercy on those who did not keep Your ordinances, but were subjugated to the evils of the demons. Have mercy on those who have been soiled in sins, have mercy on those who have been tyrannized by the devil, have mercy on those who have been befouled in prodigality. Have mercy, O Merciful One, have mercy, O Good One, have mercy, O Forbearing One, for we have done every evil and every impurity and greed and injustice with our hands. We have desecrated the soul, which is made in Your image. We have desecrated the body and desecrated the senses. Our tongue has become a sharp sword against my neighbor, my eyes look upon fire, my hands are full of blood, and my feet rush to do evil somewhere...

Let us therefore weep, O brethren, that we might not be tortured there eternally. Let us have mercy, that we be shown mercy, that we be forgiven.
Adam and Eve weeping outside of Paradise (source)
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!  

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