TWO SATURDAYS BEFORE LENT
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.” (Jn 5: 24-29)
The picture I'm posting today is a selfie, just for your amusement, with His Beatitude, Metr. Tikhon of the OCA, taken yesterday at a conference here in DC, where he (and I) are speaking on Byzantine monasticism.
As for the reading quoted above, it's for this pre-Lenten “Memorial Saturday,” on which we commemorate those who have already passed on, to the afterlife. But in this passage the Lord is also talking about “the dead” in the here and now, the walking dead, who suddenly hear His word and believe, and thus “pass from death to life”; to true and new life in Him.
Let me hear His voice a bit more attentively today, that I may live, and not be isolated from the truly-living, in this world and beyond. And let me tune out any death-bringing voices, that I may have faith instead of fear; gentle realism instead of wishful thinking; humble self-acceptance instead of morbid self-judgment; communion instead of self-isolation; discipline instead of chaos; gratitude instead of self-pity; self-offering instead of self-centeredness; and light instead of darkness. Let me rest, in Him, on this Memorial Saturday, as we offer Divine Liturgy for us and for our beloved deceased, that together with them we may live in, and celebrate, “the resurrection of life.” It is already breaking into our here and now, particularly in the season of renewal that is Lent, when I choose to pick up its helpful tools for healthy living. “Do not marvel at this,” says the Lord. But I must admit, I am “marveling” at this. Thank You, Lord, for speaking to me, and all of us, even when we are “in the tombs,” and bringing us back to life, rather than judgment, again and again. God of the Living! Glory be to You. Happy weekend from Washington, DC, dear friends, and please see my Speaking Schedule here on our website, about my talk TODAY at 4:30 pm at Catholic University of America, and my other two talks this weekend here in the US, and come if you're in the area! Sister Vassa