”I see Your bridal chamber adorned, O my Saviour, and I have not the garment, to enter therein; O Giver of Light, make radiant the vesture of my soul, and save me.” (Exaposteilarion-Hymn of “Bridegroom Matins” on Holy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday)
Some of us have not fasted enough, or prayed enough, to be well-prepared for the upcoming celebration of Pascha. But in fact the hymns of this Holy and Great Week, like the one quoted above, speak of and for all of us, as ill-prepared for the ”bridal chamber” that is the upcoming celebration. – Like the man in the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, who is found to have no “wedding garment,” and is thrown out for his impropriety (Mt 22: 1-14).
But today let me let go of any preoccupation with my “ill-preparedness” and join the celebration, handing ov...
”Behold, the Bridegroom comes at midnight, / And blessed is that servant whom He shall find watching, / And again, unworthy is the servant whom He shall find heedless. / Beware, therefore, O my soul, do not be weighed down with sleep, / Lest you be given up to death, and lest you be shut out of the Kingdom. / But rouse yourself crying: Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, O our God, / Through the Theotokos have mercy on us.” (Troparion-Hymn of “Bridegroom Matins” on Holy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday)
This hymn, chanted in our churches at the morning-service of the first three days of this Holy and Great Week of our Lord’s passion, refers to the Parable of the Ten Virgins (Mt 25: 1-13). In that well-known parable, there are five “wise“ virgins, signifying those of us who are well-prepared, with “oi...
“Open to me the doors/gates (πύλας) of repentance, O Giver of Life: for early in the morning my spirit seeks Your holy temple, bearing a temple of the body all defiled. But in Your compassion cleanse it by Your loving-kindness and mercy.” (Byzantine Hymn at Sunday Matins before and during Lent)
This pre-Lenten (and Lenten) hymn reminds me of “doors” that are presently closed. Otherwise I would not be asking for them to be opened. The fact is, I have closed the way leading to change, or “change of mind” (“metanoia” or repentance), having stagnated in certain, habitual patterns that “defile” (from “defouler,” to trample down) or “trample down” my growth in God, the Giver of Life. And I need help, when it comes to making a change and opening those “doors” again, leading to change.
“Glory to You, Who has shown us the light!” (Byzantine Matins, Great Doxology)
Indeed, God shows me “the light,” specifically His light, to see things as they are, rather than how I might imagine them to be, when left to my own “lights.” On my own, without a God-centered focus, I tend to slip into a distorted vision of things; I begin to see “more” or “less” than there is, in the various realities of my life. For example, I might “see” my financial situation as “less” than it is, when I’m not embracing gratitude. Conversely, I might see “more” than I actually have, and spend unwisely. I can also distort my relationships with people, including myself, burdening them with unrealistic expectations or even demands.
Today let me let God show me His light, setting aside both fear and denial. Becau...