“Adam’s exile from Paradise precipitated the catastrophic divide into the visible and the invisible worlds.” Father Zacharias (Zacharou)
Man can only come to true repentance when he has caught a glimpse of the other world.“Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8).”
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovič
on how God cleanses repentant sinners
Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18).
Oh, the boundless mercy of God! In His greatest wrath upon the faithless and ungrateful people, upon the people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters (Isaiah 1:4) as princes of Sodom (Isaiah 1:10), and upon the people who have become as the people of Gomorrah (Isaiah 1:10): in such wrath, the Lord does not abandon mercy but rather calls them to repentance?just as, after terrible lightning, a gentle rain falls. Such is the Lord?long-suffering and full of mercy: neither will He keep His anger forever (Psalm 103:9). Only if sinners cease to commit evil, and learn to do good, and turn to God with humility and repentance, will they become white as snow. The Lord is mighty and willing. No one but Him is able to cleanse the sinful soul of man from sin, and by cleansing to whiten it. No matter how often linen is washed in water with ashes and soap?no matter how often it is washed and rewashed?it cannot achieve whiteness until it is spread under the light of the sun. Thus, our soul cannot become white, no matter how often we cleanse it by our own effort and labor, even with the help of all the means of the Law?until we, at last, bring it to the feet of God, spread out and opened wide, so that the light of God may illumine and whiten it. The Lord condones and even commends all of our labor and effort. He wants us to bathe our soul in tears, to wring it out by repentance, to press it by the pangs of the conscience, and to clothe it with good deeds. After all of this, He calls us to Him: Come now, says the Lord, and let us reason together (Isaiah 1:18). That is, ?I will look at you, and I will see if there is Me in you; and you will look upon Me, as in a mirror, and you will see what kind of person you are.?
O Lord, slow to anger, have mercy on us before the final wrath of that Dreadful Day.
To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.
Prologue from Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic
The Savior said, “I desire not the loss of the creature which I fashioned, but that he should be saved and come to knowledge of the truth; and when he comes to me I will not cast him out.”
Adam was driven out of Paradise, because in disobedience he had eaten food; but Moses was granted the vision of God, because he had cleansed the eyes of his soul by fasting. If then we long to dwell in Paradise, let us abstain from all needless food; and if we desire to see God, let us like Moses fast for forty days.
Tone 6. Having set all your hope.
O precious Paradise, unsurpassed beauty, tabernacle built by God, unending gladness and delight, glory of the just, joy of prophets, and dwelling place of saints, with the sound of your leaves implore to the Maker of all to open for me the gates which I closed by my transgression, and may count me worthy to partake of the Tree of Life and of the joy in which I delighted when I dwelt in you before
(Cheese Sunday,Vespers, Prosomio)
May the Lord grant us a Blessed Great and Holy Lent
and celebrate His Glorious Resurrection!