Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » February 1st, 2010, 4:39 pm

    Image
    Icon of Christ and His Mother, surrounded by the Prophets

All the prophets have from the beginning cried out to my soul, imploring her to make herself a virgin and prepare herself to receive the Divine Son into her immaculate womb;

Imploring her to become a ladder, down which God will descend into the world, and up which man will ascend to God;1

Imploring her to drain the red sea of sanguinary passions within herself, so that man the slave can cross over to the promised land, the land of freedom.2

The wise man of China admonishes my soul to be peaceful and still, and to wait for Tao to act within her. Glory be the memory of Lao-tse, the teacher and prophet of his people!

The wise man of India teaches my soul not to be afraid of suffering, but through the arduous and relentless drilling in purification and prayer to elevate herself to the One on high, who will come out to greet her and manifest to her His face and His power. Glorious be the memory of Krishna, the teacher and prophet of his people!

The royal son of India teaches my soul to empty herself completely of every seed and crop of the world, to abandon all the serpentine allurements of frail and shadowy matter, and then--in vacuity, tranquility, purity and bliss--to await nirvana. Blessed be the memory of Buddha, the royal son and inexorable teacher of his people!

The thunderous wise man of Persia tells my soul that there is nothing in the world except light and darkness, and that the soul must break free from the darkness as the day does from the night. For the sons of light are conceived from the light, and the sons of darkness are conceived from darkness. Glorious be the memory of Zoroaster, the great prophet of his people!

The prophet of Israel cries out to my soul: Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a son, whose name will be -- the God~man.3 Glorious be the memory of Isaiah, the clairvoyant prophet of my soul!

O heavenly Lord, open the hearing of my soul, lest she become deaf to the counsels of Your messenger.

Do not slay the prophets sent to you4, my soul, for their graves contain not them, but those who slew them.

Wash and cleanse yourself; become tranquil amid the turbulent sea of the world, and keep within yourself the counsels of the prophets sent to you. Surrender yourself entirely to the One on high and say to the world: "I have nothing for you."

Even the most righteous of the sons of men, who believe in you, are merely feeble shadows which, like the righteous Joseph, walk in your shadow. For mortality begets mortality and not life. Truly I say to you: earthly husbands are mistaken when they say that they give life. They do not give it but ruin it. They push life into the red sea and drown it, and beforehand they wrap it in darkness and make it a diabolical illusion. There is no life, O soul, unless it comes from the Holy Spirit. Nor is there any reality in the world, unless it comes down from heaven.

Do not slay the prophets sent to you, my soul, for killing is only an illusion of shadows. Do not kill, for you can slay no one but yourself.

Be a virgin, my soul, for virginity of the soul is the only semi-reality in a world of shadows. A semi-reality--until God is born within her. Then the soul becomes a full reality.

Be wise, my virgin, and cordially receive the precious gifts of the wise men from the East, intended for your Son. Do not glance back toward the West, where the sun sets, and do not crave gifts that are figments and false.



_______________________________________________________

1. Cf. Gen. 28:12 and John 1:51.
2. Cf. Ex. 14.
3. Cf. Is. 7:14.
4. CL Matt. 23:37.
Last edited by Theophilus on March 20th, 2010, 12:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » March 20th, 2010, 11:41 am

White doves fly over my blue lake, like white angels over the blue heaven. The doves would not be white nor would the lake be blue, if the great sun did not open its eye above them.

O heavenly Father, open Your eye in my soul, so that I may see what is what--so that I may see who is dwelling in my soul and what sort of fruits are growing in her.

Without Your eye I wander hopelessly through my soul like a wayfarer in the night, in the night's indistinguishable gloom. And the wayfarer in the night falls and picks himself up, and what he encounters along the way he calls "events."

You are the only event of my life, O lamp of my soul. When a child scurries to the arms of his mother, events do not exist for him. When a bride races to meet her bridegroom, she does not see the flowers in the meadow, nor does she hear the rumbling of the storm, nor does she smell the fragrance of the cypresses or sense the mood of the wild animals--she sees only the face of her bridegroom; she hears only the music from his lips; she smells only his soul. When love goes to meet love, no events befall it. Time and space make way for love.

Aimless wanderers and loveless people have events and have history. Love has no history, and history has no love.

When someone makes their way down a mountain or climbs up a mountain without knowing where he is going, events are imposed upon him as though they were the aim of his journey. Truly, events are the aim of the aimless and the history of the pathless.

Therefore the aimless and the pathless are blocked by events and squabble with events. But I tranquilly hasten to You, both up the mountain and down the mountain, and despicable events angrily move out of the way of my footsteps.

If I were a stone and were rolling down a mountain, I would not think about the stones against which I was banging, but about the abyss at the bottom of the steep slope.

If I were a mountain stream, I would not be thinking about my uneven course, but about the lake that awaited me.

Truly terrifying is the abyss of those who are in love with the events that are dragging them downward.

O heavenly Father, my only love, set me free from the slavery of events and make me Your slave.

O most radiant Day, dawn in my soul, so that I may see the aim of my tangled path.

O Sun of suns, the only event in the universe that attracts my heart, illuminate my inner self, so that I may see who has dared to dwell there besides You--so that I may eradicate from it all the fruits that seem sweet from the outside, but smell rotten in their core.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » March 22nd, 2010, 10:13 pm

You souls of the dead, join me in glorifying the Heavenly Trinity. What other way do you have to spend your time except either to cringe for fear far from God or to soar for joy close to God?

You have left behind your bodily ashes, your favorite concern, and now you only have to worry about your nakedness. Surely you realize now that the body does not give fragrance to the soul, but the soul to the body.

How difficult it is for a sinful soul when it is undiluted by flesh and unhidden by flesh! Truly, a wheel does not go into the mud by itself, but only if a coachman drives it there. Surely you realize now that the wheel became sullied by the coachman's own will. The wheel has received its payment, and the coachman will receive his.

You sinful souls, yearn no longer to return to the body, as though you could supposedly flee from the evil stench that is suffocating you where you are now. You would only bring that same stench back with yourselves, and would increase it in a new body.

You sinful souls, yearn no longer to enter the body, as though you could flee the fire that is roasting you and the smoke that is smothering you! You would only bring the fire and smoke with yourselves, and your body would not be your rescuer but your burnt offering.

Rather direct all your attention to the eternal Virginity of God, which can cast out the evil stench from you, and to the Son of the Virgin, who would illuminate you with the flame of the wisdom of the Trinity, and to the All-Holy Spirit, who would give you the strength and the wisdom to elevate you to the choirs of angels.

You purified souls, who smell more captivating than all the balsams on earth, do not separate yourselves from those of us still on earth, who for another hour or two are still wandering over your paths of suffering and your ashes. All those who are pure on earth will be pure in heaven also, and will be your companions, perfumed with the balsam of paradise and clothed in the whiteness of virginity.

Strengthen your love for us and your prayer for us. For between you and us is no partition other than the frail veil of our flesh. For even though you have gone ahead while we have remained behind, the path is the same and the city at the end of the path is the same.

You righteous souls, we pray to the Lord for you as well, so that He may make your passage to Him easy and swift. Even though we are weaker than you, we nevertheless pray to God for you. We pray out of the love with which our heart burns for you, even as a younger and weaker brother reaches out to help his older and stronger brother.

For just as younger and older brothers are one flesh in the eyes of the love that gave them birth, so also are we and you one flesh in the eyes of the exceedingly wise and exceedingly strong love of the Most High.

You countless flocks of souls of the dead, do not be distraught and confounded, and have no more regard for the cold island of life on earth, to which we, being few in number, are still stuck for another hour or two until we come to join you for the summer in warmer and brighter regions.

For all of you, both righteous and sinful, we who are half-dead, half-alive pray to the Mercy of Heaven, so that you may not be confounded, so that you may not be afraid and look back, but may, in the fullness of summer, head ever forward and ever higher--
    toward light and joy
    toward peace and plenitude.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » March 23rd, 2010, 11:52 pm

What is clothing worth, if there is no body to clothe? What is the body worth, if the soul is not covered with it? What is the soul worth, If You do not keep vigil in it, like fire in ashes?

My clothing is smoke and ashes, if my body does not give it value.

My beautiful lake is blind mud, if its wide-eyed water is drained from it.

My soul is dust, if You, my morning Dew, are drained from her.

You write Your name over the ashes of all things, and the flame of Your radiance dazzles the smoke of all things.

Your flame is a dew for the thirsty, who find refuge in Your embrace. But Your flame is a consuming fire for those who flee from it.

Truly, You are paradise for the pure and hell for the impure.

When the last Day comes--when the First and last Day shall be revealed as the One Day--the pure shall rejoice, but the impure shall mourn. And the impure shall cry out: “Alas, we ate ashes on earth, and now we must eat fire in heaven!”

Your prophets, O heavenly Father, were the discoverers of the fire beneath the ashes, who dived into the mouths of volcanoes. Through Your boundless mercy You allowed each prophet to discover the spark for which he dove, until all the sparks merged into the blazing conflagration of Your Son, O heavenly Father.

O Lord, You raised up shepherds for every flock, and the shepherds kindled fires for their flocks, lest they freeze on the rugged road of history, leading to the time when the Ultimate Man, the Only-begotten Son, would burst into a great fire and summon all the flocks to warm themselves.

Indeed how deeply hidden are all the precious metals--the eyes of the depths of the earth! Just as You are concealed beneath the ashes of the world, O most precious Stone!

The poor man plows his field and shakes his head when I say to him: "Rich man, deep beneath your barren field lies a lake of molten gold."

Do not shake your heads, impoverished sons of the King, when I tell you that the body is more precious than clothing, the soul is more precious than the body, and the Blazing King is more precious than the soul.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » March 26th, 2010, 10:34 pm

"Who are You?" the children of the world ask the Son, O my virgin soul.

For they see Him walking among them as a King among slaves. And they listen to His powerful words, but fail to understand. And they behold His powerful deeds, and are filled with fear. And they feel power going out of Him, and are confounded.

But your Son--the fairest among the sons of men, with the clear eyes of an ox, with the peacefulness of a lamb, with the strength of a lion, with the soaring loftiness of an eagle, and with the face of an angel--answers them: "I am the Truth. I have come from the Truth, I bear you a gift from the Truth, and I am returning to the Truth.1

"If truth were in you, you would have recognized Me and would not have asked: 'Who are you?'

"Truly, you do not even know how to ask who you are; how then will you understand if I tell you -- who I am?

"Lo, you are nothing by yourselves alone. You are like a dream separated from the dreamer. You are neither two seconds in time nor two paces in space. As when smoke drifts over the lake and its shadow dances on the water, so is your life also an empty and non-existent dancing of shadows.

"You have not forgotten how to utter the word 'truth,' but this is all that remains to you of the Truth. You call the glitter of matter truth, as though you were a lifelong captive in a dungeon who had only heard of daylight, and seeing a firefly called it the sun.

"When someone comes to know the Truth, Truth takes up its abode in him. He becomes one with the Truth and is no longer half a man but a whole man. Truth heals him and makes him whole, while illusion chops a man up into pieces and grinds him into powder.

"Just as it is no longer possible for the scattered ashes of a tree to recognize a living tree, so is it impossible for you to recognize Me.

"In truth I am the Truth, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.2 The Spirit of Truth, who is with Me, He it is who also speaks through Me and He it is who lives within Me. Without Him I would be nothing, just as you yourselves are. But because of Him living within Me, I am the One Who Is.

"I have come down from on high, like frightful rain, to fill a parched river bed, which you always used to call a river.

"Others brought laws, but I bring the Truth.3 Others cleared the river bed of its dried mud and prepared it for water, but they could not supply the water. I am supplying the water; I am filling the river bed; and I am justifying the river's name.

"I have not come to your drought-stricken land to teach you how to dig for ground water; rather I-- the Living Water--have come so that thirsty souls may drink Me.4

"Neither have I come to teach you how to make bread, but rather to be bread for all souls that hunger.5

"Neither have I come down into your darkness to teach you how light is created, but rather to illumine you. Indeed, even the sun--a light far dimmer than Myself--does not teach how light is emitted, but instead illumines.

"Neither have I descended into this maniacal quivering of shadows to teach you what reality is, but rather to be Reality, in regions of emptiness and nothingness.

"Truly, I have not come to you as a teacher of wisdom, but as Wisdom itself.

"Whoever does not accept Me, does not eat Me, does not drink Me, does not breathe Me, and thereby does not become one with Me, remains outside Me --which means he remains outside of Life and Truth."



_________________________________________________________

1. In the vision of Ezekiel, the prophet saw four winged creatures in a whirlwind. Each of the four had the face of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (cf. Ezek. 1:10). In patristic writings and Christian iconography, these symbolize the four evangelists; i.e., the angel of St. Matthew, the lion of St. Mark, the ox of St. Luke, and the eagle of St. John. The "lamb" would symbolize Christ as "the Lamb of God" (cf. John 1:29 and Rev. 4:7 and 5:6).
2. Cf. John 14:6 and Heb. 13:8. In Serbian, the words for "truth" (istina) and "the same" (isti) share a common stem.
3. "For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17).
4. Cf. John 7:38.
5. Cf.John6:22-59
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » April 13th, 2010, 7:45 am

People carry on foolish conversations as soon as they move away from Your presence, my Wisdom. Those without faith speak about works, and those without works speak about faith.

Each disparages what he does not have, and what he does have he proclaims throughout the marketplace.

While You, O Lord, are filling my home with Your life-creating breath, I always forget to ask which is more important -- faith or works? As soon as I offend You and feel abandoned by You, I angrily enter into people's discussions, and support one side or the other.

For without You I am like a weather vane on a chimney that rattles in the direction of the wind. When the wind of faith rises in my soul, I stand with those who have abandoned works and championed faith; when the wind of activity rises in my soul, I support the side of those who have abandoned faith and championed works.

But in Your all-calming presence there is no wind, no swaying, no "doing things." I neither feel faith nor see works; instead I feel and see only You, the living God. In truth, You are not my faith but my vision. And You do not come to me through my work, but I come to You through Yours. And again I say: You are not my faith but I am Your faith, and Your trust.

And so I teach those around me who are carrying on the debate: whoever has true faith in the Living God prefers to remain silent. And whoever performs a true work of God, prefers to remain silent. But whoever shuts up his faith with his mind, gladly squabbles about faith. And whoever does his own work and not God's gladly boasts of his works.

Deep is the tranquility of the soul in a man of faith, deeper than the tranquility at the bottom of the sea. For God's Wisdom is born and resides in deep tranquility.

Deep is the tranquility in the tongue of one who does God's work, deeper than the tranquility of the iron in the heart of a mountain. For whoever does the work of another listens to instructions and carries them out, moreover he listens, and has no time to speak.

I speak believing in works: Is not my prayer a working and reworking of my very self? Is not the whole world within me, from beginning to end, together with all the world's poverty and impurity? Truly I am not without works, when I sweat and weep in prayer, but am immersed in the weighty task of helping the poor in my soul -- healing the sick and casting out the unclean spirits from my soul.

I speak believing in faith: Do I not awaken faith in my neighbors through the good works that I do?

Is not my work in the world the song of my faith, the psalm of one saved among the unsaved? Who would stop the song in the throat of a brimming soul? Who would stop a brimming spring from flowing? Would the spring quarrel with the stream over which water is more beneficial? Truly, if there were no spring, there would be no stream.

O my Lord, do not go far away from me, lest my soul succumb to meaningless quarrels. Silence in Your presence expands my soul; discussions in Your absence shrink her and expend her to the thinness of a boon of flax.

I listened last time to the people squabbling, and You waved your hands and went far away. Indeed, those who truly have faith do not squabble with those who are true doers of Your work. This is the quarrel of servants with little faith and much ill will. Those who are of little faith squabble with the errand boys of the world. They are a dried-up spring quarreling with a dried-out stream.

While they were full, they both used to sing a true song of joy, and joyfully used to hail each other.

But this is a malicious believer quarreling with a malicious doer. What do I have in common with them? What ties me to them except compassion, which flows forth from Your radiance?

Fill the house of my soul, O Life-Creating Spirit, so that I may become blind and not see angry squabbling people, and so that I may be deaf to their foolish discussion.

They have slipped away from You, my Joy, therefore they engage in foolish discussions.

I bow down and beseech You, tie my soul across the thousands of sunbeams to You, lest she slip away from You, and plunge into the cold abyss.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » April 27th, 2010, 9:53 am

You have filled Yourself with peace, O Glory of the realms on high, and the anger of all lands cannot confound Your peace.

Among mortals peace is scarce, therefore anger has become arrogant.

In the bosom of arrogance anger makes its nest, and in the bosom of anger lies murder.1

All sins lead to murder, but none stands so close to murder as anger.

The one-eyed laws of the world do not punish anger, because they do not see that anger kills. But Your clairvoyant law, O Glory of the realms on high, calls anger murder.

I strove, in sunlight and moonlight, to penetrate the mystery of Your law. And once my striving began to wear away all my worldly aspirations, I began to perceive how the anger of my neighbors was killing me.

The children of anger are slaves, while the children of peace are sons.

Therefore Your Wisdom vociferates and reiterates to people, telling them to be sons!

For a son looks into the face of his father, and directs his own face toward the face of his father. And when he sees peace in the father's face, how can he disfigure his own face with anger, without diverting his gaze away from his father?

Anger brings infirmity into both the one who is angry and the one against whom the anger is vented. And infirmity is the predecessor of death.

A wonder worker does not work miracles among the children of anger, for the children of anger bring infirmity into him.

My neighbors: why do you feel stronger among those who love you, and weaker among those whom your presence angers? Is it not because the former lengthen your life with love, and the latter shorten your life with anger?

Therefore I enjoy being constantly with You, O Glory of the realms on high. For only in Your presence am I neither murdering, nor being murdered by them.

Just as drop after drop of water erodes even the hardest stone, so does anger erode the life of two people.

Like a murderer waiting in ambush with a knife, so does anger lurk in a haughty heart.

Truly, arrogance knows that it is guilty; therefore it places anger at the gates, to act as its sentry.

Arrogance knows that it is sinful; therefore it has found itself an advocate in another sin.

Fill my heart with serenity, O Glory of the realms on high, with the serenity of the angels before Your throne. For serenity has no abode or resting place for anger.

Grant me the serenity of a son, and I shall be ashamed to become angry at slaves or to kill slaves. Armor me with Your peace, which the anger of the children of anger will not be able to confound.





_________________________________________________________
1. Cf. Matt. 5:21-26.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » May 12th, 2010, 9:44 pm

You pour Your holy oil into the stars, O Holy Spirit, and out of senseless fires You make vigil lamps before the Glory of Heaven. Pour Yourself into my soul also, and out of a passionate conflagration make a vigil lamp before the heavens.

You stroll through fields of flowers without being heard, and You sprinkle the flowers with Your grace, so that the blood of the earth may not look through, but the beauty of God. Sprinkle the field of my soul with Your grace also, so that it may not be said that the field of my soul sprouted from the blood of the earth, but that it is adorned with the beauty of God.

You mingle with every heap of ashes and pour in life. Pour life into the ashes of my body also, so that I may live and glorify Your works.

You tame the fire and wind, and out of demons of fury You make servants of the Most High. Tame my pride and make me a servant of the Most High.

You show gentleness to the animals of the woods. Show kindness to me also, who am animalized by ignorance.

You nurture every seed of life. You hover in every womb. You sit in the egg of a bird's nest and masterfully form a new miracle of life. Nurture, I beseech You, the invisible seed of goodness within me also, and keep watch over it until it reaches maturity.

O Awesome and Almighty Spirit, by Your presence You turn a den of thieves into a haven of Heaven, and a terrifying universe into a temple of God. Descend into me also, I beseech You, and turn a handful of ashes into what You know how to do and can.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » May 19th, 2010, 9:56 am

People can do me no evil, as long as I have no wounds.

I saw two caves, one of which revealed an echo, while the other had none. And many curious children were visiting the former and were mischievously carrying out shouting matches with the cave. But from the other cave visitors were quickly returning, because it was not answering them with an echo.

If my soul is wounded, every worldly evil will resound within it. And people will laugh at me, and will throng more and more strongly with their shouting.

But truly, evil-speaking people will not harm me, if my tongue has forgotten how to speak evil.

Nor will external malice sadden me, if there is no malice in my heart to resound like a goatskin drum.

Nor shall I be able to respond to anger with anger, if the lair of ire within me has been vacated and there is nothing to be aroused.

Nor will human passions provoke me, if the passions within me have been reduced to ashes.

Nor will the unfaithfulness of friends sadden me, if I have resolved to have You for my friend.

Nor can the injustice of the world crush me, if injustice has been expelled from my thoughts.

Nor will the deceitful spirits of worldly pleasure, honour and power entice me, if my soul is like an immaculate bride, who receives only the Holy Spirit and yearns for Him alone.

People cannot push anyone into hell, unless that person moves himself. Nor can people hoist anyone up on their shoulders to the throne of God, unless that person elevates himself.

If my soul has no open windows, no mud can be thrown into it.

Let all nature rise up against me; it can do nothing to me except a single thing--to become the grave of my body more swiftly.

Every worldly crop is covered with fertilizer, so that it will sprout as soon as possible and grow better. If my soul, alas, were to abandon her virginity and receive the seed of this world into herself, then she would also have to accept the manure, which the world throws onto its field.

But I call upon You day and night: come dwell in my soul and close all those places where my enemies can enter. Make the cavern of my soul empty and silent, so that no one from the world will want to enter it.

O my soul, my only concern, be on guard and learn to distinguish between the voices striking your ears. And once you hear the voice of your Lord Jesus Christ abandon your silence and resound with all your strength.

O my soul, cavern of eternity, never permit temporal thieves to enter you and kindle their fire within you. Keep quiet, when they shout to you. Stay still, when they bang on you. And patiently await your Master. For He will truly come.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » May 25th, 2010, 4:14 pm

You work wonders through created things, O Lord, while men have lost the gift of wonder working.

You take fire and water for Your servants, while people refuse to serve You.

To wood and metal You give Your power, while it is returned to You, despised by people.

Through earth and grass You bestow mercy on Your chosen ones, while people make themselves too impure to be channels of mercy.

Through fabric and paper Your might shines, while human carnality dominates the spirit.

The bones of the saints proclaim Your name and Your presence, while the tongue of people has been struck dumb by disbelief.

When generals have forgotten how to achieve victory, You make the rank and file the victors.

You have filled dead objects with fire, so that they may shine, when darkness closes the eyes of the stars.

When there is no sun, the fern and the hawthorn assume the duty of shining.

When the blind begin to lead the blind,1 You surrender the army to the horses and dogs.

When sick men foist themselves upon the sick as healers, You make healers out of dead bones and mud.

When Your image in the human soul vanishes, You give power and might to Your image in wood.

Those, who in the end will weep bitterly, laugh and say: "How can dead objects work wonders, which even we cannot work?"

Are these objects not alive, if You bring them to life? And are people not dead, if You abandon them, O Fearful Lord?

Your angels know, yet people do not know, that all powers are Yours, in You and from You, and that You manifest them through pure channels. What if a stone is pure while a man is impure? Will not the Lord's might be manifested through the stone rather than through the man?

Only a righteous man laughs with the laughter of joy. The laughter of the unrighteous man is malice.

The unrighteous man laughs at the relics of the saints, and he is consumed by malicious laughter. Oh if he only knew that the dead relics of the saints contain more life than his own flesh and blood!

Truly, malice is distant from the Most Merciful Lord , just as malice is always distant from virginity, rationality and sanctity.

Indeed, the Logical Lord is always ready to do good to men through men. But when men become impure, and become bereft of logic and holiness, the All-Merciful rushes to help people through dead objects.

O All-Merciful and Long-suffering Lord, do not leave the world without channels of Your might and mercy.






_____________________

1. Cf Matt. 15:14.
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