The saints' freedom from envy is a wonderful phenomenon. The saints not only did not allow envy to conquer their hearts, but exerted themselves greatly to ensure that their friends be exalted and they themselves debased.When St Hilarion of Palestine once visited St Antony in Egypt, St Antony exclaimed: `Welcome, O morning star!' To this, St Hilarion replied: `And greetings to thee, thou pillar of light that supports the universe.' When St Macarius was praised as a monk, the saint replied: `Forgive me, my brethren! I am not a monk, but I have seen those who are.' When some people told St Sisoes that he was the equal of St Antony in perfection, he replied: `Were I to have but one single thought such as Antony's, I would be all of flame.'
Let me ponder on the Lord Jesus as a servant, on: 1. His readiness to come down among men to be the servant of all. 2. How He refused good service to none who demanded it of Him. 3. How He silently and invisibly serves the world today, as He has always done.
- on the Man whom no-one knows .
... who art Thou? And Jesus said unto them:" The beginning... "' (Jn. 8:25).
The Lord Jesus is the beginning of creation, the beginning of resto-ration, the beginning of salvation, the beginning of resurrection and eternal glory.
Wherever any evil in the world must be rooted up, He is the beginning. It is impossible wthout Him. If one wants to root out malice and discord from a family, a village, a town or the whole world, it is impossible without Him. One must begin with Him. If one wants to bring goodwill, peace, love and concord to a family, village, town or the whole world, it is impossible without Him. He is the beginning. Why can one not uproot evil or sow good without Christ? Because all evil comes from sin, and only He can forgive sins. When He, and He alone, forgives sins, He tears sin out by the root. And no good can be sown without Him because in Him is the whole treas-ury of good, all the seeds of good. He is the only sower of good in the fields of the world.
The Apostle Paul, who understood all this better than us, cried: `I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me' (Phil. 4:13); but, without Christ, who can begin to cure himself or others of evil, or sow good in himself or others? No-one indeed.
So, my brethren, if we are determined to root out the evil in ourselves and others, and in its place to sow good, let us begin at the beginning, with the Conqueror of evil and the Sower of good-with the Lord Jesus Christ.
O Lord Jesus Christ, be Thou to us the beginning in every struggle against evil and in every good work. 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.
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