All Saints for January 17


St Antony teaches: `Learn to desire humility, for that will cover all your sins. All sin is hateful to God, but the most hateful of all is pride of heart. Do not consider yourself learned or wise, or all your toil will be lost and your ship will arrive empty at the shore ... If you have great power, threaten no man with death; know that according to nature you also are subject to death and that each soul takes off its body as its final clothing.' In Byzantium there was a strange and instructive custom at the coronation of the Emperor in St Sophia's. This was that, when the Patriarch placed the crown on the Emperor's head, he at the same time placed in his hand a silk purse filled with grave-dust, that the Emperor might be mindful of his death, flee all pride and be hum-ble.


Let me ponder on the persecution of the Lord Jesus for the sake of righteousness, on: 1. The persecution He received as a child from Herod. 2. The persecution He received as a man, as Messiah, from the scribes and elders. E 3. The persecution He receives as God from many contempo- rary scribes and elders, both Jewish and Christian.


- concerning two different wisdoms.
"the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God" (I Cor. 3:19)

This also is among the great tidings that Christianity proclaims to the world. One wisdom is of and from God, and the other wisdom is of and from the world. God's wisdom is of the Holy Spirit; it was with such wisdom that the apostles were filled when the Holy Spirit descended upon them. Worldly wisdom is of the senses and of the material, and this appears as arrant folly before God if it is not salted and inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. All worldly wisdom that is guided by the bodily senses alone, without taking the Holy Spirit into account, is foolishness before God and His angels, for such wisdom sees neither the spirit nor the meaning of this world, but sees it only as ashes without and ashes within, as ashes which the wind casually heaps up and scatters, now here, now there.

All human wisdom, guided only by the senses and by physical considerations and fantasies, is foolishness before God and His angels and saints, for it does not understand man as man; that is, as a spiritual being, like in being to God, but knows him only as a body without and a body within, as a body in form and in essence. So a '.s- monkey, just by looking, might try to describe a railway engine and say: `It is iron outside and inside; its boiler, means of movement, of steering and stopping, are all iron.' ;; Who, my brethren, is able to fulfil the wisdom of God but he who first empties himself of the foolishness of the world? And this, by God's help, is in the capacity of each one of us. God's help moves in response to our desire and striving, for God is grace itself, and wisdom and holiness.

O gracious, wise and holy Lord, Fill us with Thy lifegiving wisdom. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.

* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
Please see our calendar for conversion between old and new calendar dates.


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