Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

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The 1st Infancy Song

Postby Theophilus » May 25th, 2010, 8:33 pm

The 1st Infancy Song

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Conceal my soul from evil eyes, O God, when she gives birth to Your wisdom. Isolate me from people, in a shepherd's cave. Let no one among mortals accompany me except the shadow of one righteous man. In the grotto of Bethlehem, in the cave of stone that has never blasphemed Your name, let my pregnant soul seclude herself here.

Let the innocent lambs and calves keep her company, for from birth they are intended to be food for those who are less pure than they themselves are.

Let the heavenly fires burn silently, and let them fearfully gaze upon a humble corner of the universe, upon the black earth, and upon the most precious part of that corner, upon the grotto that is giving birth to God.

Let earthly kings go far away, and let philosophizing town squabblers not draw near.

The humble herders of lambs and calves will stand around my cave, and will watch as Heaven opens; and they will sing with heavenly angels, when my soul gives birth to my Saviour. Let all others move further away who live by means of false, fleeting, saviors and salvations.

With your light, O Lord, guide the wise men of the East, and the prophets, and the saints to the grotto of my soul, so that they may bring to her the three most precious gifts of mankind from the East.

The first gift is a percipient knowledge of You, which surpasses all other types of knowledge. Let the bearer of this gift cense his precious goods with the prayers of all the prophets of the East and of all the altars of the eastern prophets.

The second gift is the percipient expectation of Your birth in the purity of virginity: let the bearer of this gift keep fasting for the entire journey, lest his eye be confounded by the fat of the earth, and so that he may not lose sight of the guiding star.

The third gift is a percipient love for You. Let the bearer of this gift keep vigil over his gift over the course of his journey, lest his heart stumble over some earthly allurement and be tardy for the adoration of the newborn Infant.

Truly all my mind, and all the consciousness of my mind will accompany one of the three. All my heart, and all the desires of my heart, will accompany another. And my soul, filled with grace and love, will await the third.

Nevertheless the priestly wayfarers will make their journey carefully, making stops along their route to ask the way, which will endanger my soul and the first-born of my soul. As naive as doves, they will ask the way!

But You are infinitely compassionate and infinitely wise. For over fifty centuries You have been amassing precious gifts in the East. And You have not permitted the bearers of these gifts to fall into the hands of thieves.

From before eternity You have been preparing the birth of the Son in the virgin soul. You will not permit Him to be slain by Herod, someone whom the earth bore and crowned in the corrupted city of Jerusalem.[1]

Conceal my soul, O God, from the many evil eyes.




______________________________________________________

1. Cf. Matt. 2:13-18.
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The 2nd Infancy Song

Postby Theophilus » May 27th, 2010, 9:27 am

The 2nd Infancy Song

In the sluggish carriage of the body my Soul journeys through this world of illusions

Remember your beginning, O soul, when you were like a sunbeam and the body was like moonlight. Back then you were as piercing and translucent as sunlight, and your carriage was as swift as moonlight.

At that time you used to know that essence was within you, and that your carriage was merely your shadow and something loaned to you. And you knew nothing of fear, for you had your sight and saw yourself borne aloft on the wings of power and immortality.

The sluggish carriage in which you are now riding, is what you yourself wanted of your own free will, according to your own fear and your own ignorance, and you yourself created it.

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Behold, I see within you, my soul, a tiny nook, like a candle-illumined cave in a massive mountain overladen with darkness. The more deeply I peer into the light concealed within you, the more it seems to me to resemble your virginal beauty, your pristine beauty, my soul. Since my peering the dim light has been growing brighter, and more and more clearly one can distinguish in it the wondrous face of a virgin-like a sunbeam arrayed in moonlight.

Here is your salvation, my frightened soul. Here is your life - everything else is a sepulchre. If only you would make this dim light burst into flames, and bring this blazing fire to illuminate my heart and mind.

Come to your senses, my soul, and fix your gaze on the little cave where the youthful virgin dwells. Lo, out of this cave deliverance will come to you. Within it even now you will find all your remaining strength, your unblemished beauty, and your unsold immortality.

Outside the cave where a virgin gives birth to God everything is shadow and ash, including the sluggish carriage of the body.
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The 3rd Infancy Song

Postby Theophilus » May 28th, 2010, 4:12 pm

The 3rd Infancy Song

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O Holy Spirit, behold my soul! How she fearfully conceals Your fruit within herself, for fear of the Jews, for fear of the countless children of darkness, whom she has multiplied in herself from her marriage with the world.

She has borne innumerable wolves and foxes, and has placed them in her royal chambers, while Your Son has nowhere to rest His head.[1] And they all seek to keep what has been born of the Spirit. Ah, the accomplices of Herod! For they are afraid of might and true light! And those, who have usurped their crowns and placed them bloodstained on their heads, worry about their crowns most of all.

Flee, my soul, flee with the new fruit of your womb, with your only-begotten fruit; flee into Egypt, into a land even more somber than Israel. Behold, the multitudes of slaves that she has produced in herself from the seed of the world are out to hunt down your only Son, and are seeking to kill Him.[2]

The eyes of malefactors are darker than their crowns, however, and in their blindness they fail to distinguish God's infant. Therefore they will slaughter many infants, in order to slay yours.[3]

I once saw a frozen shepherd beside a tiny fire. He never took his eyes off the fire, as though he wanted to help it burn with the embers of his eyes. And he sheltered the fire from the cold wind with his hands, and he kept blowing with his breath, so that it would burn more strongly, grow larger, withstand the winds, and warm him.

In this way are the raging winds from my heart threatening to extinguish the divine candle within you, my soul. And in this way are the raging wicked thoughts from my mind spitting on the only light within you, because it is about to bring about their downfall.

Everything that you, my soul, have multiplied in my mind and in my heart, does not consider you a mother but a stepmother, and there is no one among your stepchildren who would place their finger on your burning tongue to cool it.[4] Now for the first time, you have become a mother for you have borne a Son, who is growing up in obedience to you and the Holy Spirit, and in the tender love of parenthood.

Do not burden His head, O bondswoman,[5] with the slavish cares of this world. He must grow in spiritual power, and be in that which is of His Father. Lo, your Son comes like a flame, which will consume your adversaries, and will warm and sanctify you.

As a messenger He comes from a kingdom, where you used to reign in virginal purity and beauty. How can you fail to recognize your Son, my demented soul?

As a herald He comes from the kingdom of light, where you also used to shine with the splendor of many suns, to summon you into that kingdom once again. How can you not distinguish the voice of your Son, my deaf soul?

As a champion of freedom He comes from a kingdom of freedom, where you also used to dwell, unacquainted with the fear and hunger of slavery, -- He comes to free you from the heavy chains, in which the obesity of the world has shackled you. How can you still hesitate to greet your liberator with cheering, my dumb soul?[6]

O Spirit Almighty, strengthen the salvation-bearing Infant in the cradle of my soul. And protect Him from all the poisoned arrows flying at Him from Israel above and from Egypt below.



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1. Cf. Luke 9:58.
2. Cf. Matt. 2:13-15.
3. Cf. Matt. 2:16-18.
4. Cf. Luke 16:24.
5. Cf. Gal. 4:21-31.
6. Cf. Gal. 5:1.
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4th Infancy Song

Postby Theophilus » May 29th, 2010, 9:29 am

4th Infancy Song

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Rejoice, my soul your Infant has grown up, and has girded Himself with a strength mightier than the earth. The Demolisher of all your towers of smoke has grown up in the world, and the world has neither noticed nor recognized Him.

The wilderness has been His companion, and meditation and prayer have bound Him to heaven, His homeland.

Behold Him, as He now of His own free will sets out to visit your swarthy offspring. In His eyes eternity glistens; and on His face eternity is written; and in His hands eternity resides. Mightier than the world, behold, He goes forth to struggle against the world -- against all your shadowy world, my enslaved soul. Rejoice, my soul, see how your Infant has grown up, undetected by the world, and has girded Himself with a strength mightier than the world.

As calm as any heroic man of mettle, who is conscious of his own invincible might even before his adversaries' vulnerability is vanquished, my Beloved stepped out among the wild beasts, and the beasts cleared out of His way, filled with fright.

In truth, nature recognized Him before people did, and submitted itself to Him as a lawful servant submits himself to his lawful Lord.

But among men only one recognized Him,[1] and he began to cry out, and his cry became the voice of one crying in the wilderness, a voice that men quickly strangled by violence and bloodshed.[2] For violence is the weapon of the weakling, and bloodshed is the way of weakness, from Cain to Herod.

The father of all the tyrants from the beginning of the world[3] greeted Him and offered Him all the treasures of this world, if only He would spare and not trample on his crops in the world.[4]

The ruler of this world saw my Favorite, just as in the morning the shadow of night watches the rising of the sun and dies while watching.

As the herald of the living and everlasting Trinity, my Favorite stood before the ruler of the world of illusions. And the king of darkness tried to introduce disharmony and confuse the personified trinity in unity. And so, in his customary way, using the craft he had tested on the human race, he first flattered the stomach of my Champion. If he could entrap His stomach first, he would then give it hegemony over the heart and the mind, and would make them shadows and servants of the stomach.

But the lower man remained in unscathed harmony with the middle and upper man. The stomach of my Champion remained faithful to the united trinity, in which the three are coequal and one.

Then the ruler of darkness and evil struck with flatteries at the heart of my Favorite. The heart of the latter, however, being brighter than light, did not receive darkness into itself, but instead remained as faithful as His stomach to His threefold harmony.

Finally the ruler of darkness mustered all his dark powers and attacked the mind of my Saviour, urging Him to test God with nonsensical, breakneck miracles.

The mind of my Only-Begotten, however, was like a blazing torch that scorches every impurity and then puts it to flight. And so not even the mind left the sweet harmony of holy triunity.

Thus did my Victor win the first victory over the king of smoke and ashes, who then came forth to negotiate with my General, offering him everything --except dominion over the world.





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1. John the Baptist (cf. Matt 3.1-17).
2. Cf. Mark 6:14-29.
3. Satan (cf. John 8:44).
4. Cf.Matt 4:1-11.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby mpempa » June 2nd, 2010, 2:06 am

At noon the children gather at the lake, to bathe in the sun and the water.

O Lord, how the whole of nature marvels at innocence! Strained and pained laborers in the presence of sinners -- the lake and the sun are transfigured in the presence of children. What a magnificent temple of the Lord the lake becomes, when children are in it, and what an inspired high priest the sun becomes, when its rays cross the rays of children's souls.

"Let the children come to me," whispers the whole of nature, "and you will understand that I myself am also a child. To the soulless I seem to be soulless, to saints I am an altar. Whoever seeks the beast in me, will be sent a beast; whoever seeks God in me, will be shown God. Sinners call me a slaughterhouse, the righteous call me a sacrificial altar. Only to innocence do I manifest myself as innocence, and only to children of God do I reveal myself as a child of God."

"Let the children come to Me," exclaims the Son of the Virgin, and only children come to Him.1 Those who prevent children from coming to the Son of God, will be liable to the fires of hell. For neither do they themselves come to Him nor do they allow others to come to Him.

"Why children, O Lord, why do You seek children?" those who are made and not born ask the One who was begotten and not made. Such people are made and not born, like statues of stone, and they are moved by the winds of the world. But the One who is begotten and not made moves with life within, and the winds of the world flee from Him.

"Because I Myself am also a child, for this reason I seek children. Impostors see an impostor in Me, atheists see an atheist, and those in authority see in Me one who usurps authority. The Pharisees ask 'Who is this man?' and they cannot resolve the question, while the wise of this world pursue Me into their own worldly wisdom.

"Only children recognize Me, for I too am a child. As a child I am not My own, and as a child I do not seek glory for Myself. As a child I do not think anything on My own, I do not speak anything on My own, and I do not do anything on My own. Instead, like a child, I think what My Father taught

Me, and I speak what I hear, and I do what I see.

"Children cease to be children, but I never cease being a child. Children cease to be children because of their wicked guides, who prevent them from continuing to sojourn with Me and teach them the time-worn wisdom of the world. But I do not cease to be a child, because I nourish Myself with the eternally youthful wisdom of heaven.

"Blessed are those who in old age rid themselves of their wicked guides and the wisdom of those guides, which makes one old, sick, and dead. Whoever turns to Me, even if he has been made old by the world, I shall make him a child and as an eternal child he will reign in My kingdom, to which the elders of the world have no access.

"I tell you that My kingdom is a kingdom of children.

"Truly, those who are made will not see the light of the Kingdom of God, but only those who are begotten. Whatever is Mine, whatever is as I am, this will be with Me.

"The statues of stone, which the winds of the world move, will be smashed, and their dust will be the sport of winds. But the children, who move with life within, will enter into eternal life."

O Resplendent Lord, Eternal Child of the Holy Triad, help me with Your innocence, the greatest strength in all realms, to be born of the Holy Spirit.

May I not be like a stone statue, made by this world, to be smashed and scattered into the wind.

May I rather be like a born youth, inseparable from You in eternity, O Prince of Innocence and of all innocents.
Image Guide my heart, O Blessed Wisdom, and my tongue will also be guided.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » March 9th, 2011, 3:24 pm

With fasting I gladden my hope in You, my Lord, Who are to come again.

Fasting hastens my preparations for Your coming, the sole expectation of my days and nights.

Fasting makes my body thinner, so that what remains can more easily shine with the spirit.

While waiting for You, I wish neither to nourish myself with blood nor to take life--so that the animals may sense the joy of my expectation.

But truly, abstaining from food will not save me. Even if I were to eat only the sand from the lake, You would not come to me, unless the fasting penetrated deeper into my soul.

I have come to know through my prayer, that bodily fasting is more a symbol of true fasting, very beneficial for someone who has only just begun to hope in You, and nevertheless very difficult for someone who merely practices it.

Therefore I have brought fasting into my soul to purge her of many impudent suitors and to prepare her for You like a virgin.

And I have brought fasting into my mind, to expel from it all daydreams about worldly matters and to demolish all the air castles, fabricated from these daydreams.

I have brought fasting into my heart, so that by means of it my heart might quell all passions and worldly selfishness.

I have brought fasting into my heart, so that heavenly peace might ineffably reign over my heart, when Your stormy Spirit encounters it.

I prescribe fasting for my tongue, to break itself of the habit of idle chatter and to speak reservedly only those words that clear the way for You to come.

And I have imposed fasting on my worries so that it may blow them all away before itself like the wind that blows away the mist, lest they stand like dense fog between me and You, and lest they turn my gaze back to the world.

And fasting has brought into my soul tranquility in the face of uncreated and created realms, and humility toward men and creatures. And it has instilled in me courage, the likes of which I never knew when I was armed with every sort of worldly weapon.

What was my hope before I began to fast except merely another story told by others, which passed from mouth to mouth?

The story told by others about salvation through prayer and fasting became my own.

False fasting accompanies false hope, just as no fasting accompanies hopelessness.

But just as a wheel follows behind a wheel, so true fasting follows true hope.

Help me to fast joyfully and to hope joyously, for You, my Most Joyful Feast, are drawing near to me with Your radiant smile.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » March 27th, 2011, 8:02 pm

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I descend deep into my mind, and I find within it the Jews, who prevent You from entering, my Light-bearing King, and who have filled the whole world with stories about their flight from the kingdom of Pharaoh, a kingdom which has not fled from them.

And after I looked around at everything that was swelling in my mind, I exclaimed: All this is neither myself, nor my God, nor the Kingdom of my God.

All these things are echoes and images of the world, which my overly assiduous senses have brought in from outside and have amassed in my mind.

So where am I? Where is my King and my Lord? Where is the Kingdom of my King? Have you actually dragged the entire realm of Egypt into the promised land? And have you brought all the mud of the Nile into the city of my King?

Wretched is the nourishment of my mind, as long as it is nourished only with what the senses offer it. External vestiges and notions, shadows of shadows, magnified to monstrous proportions (for shadows always grow monstrously huge where there is little light) -- is this in fact my mind? I have discovered that all the cogitation of my mind amounts to nothing more than constructing frail structures out of frail shadows.

Yet again I surveyed the vast field of my mind, where with the speed of many spiders entire cities, more fragile than cob­webs, had been constructed from shadows and demolished --and I became sad, and I reasoned with my inner self:

Where can shadows dance except in light? Is this light not my mind? Would the shadows not gradually grow smaller to the degree that the light of the mind grows stronger? Yet is not even my mind nothing more than a frail shadow of the mind of God?

Alas for me if my mind--after it is separated from the body, which is bequeathing it such an inheritance--is to be left alone in eternity with such a terrifying tapestry!

And in solitude I repeat to my mind: now, while I am seeing nothing, while I am hearing nothing, while I am smelling nothing, while I am tasting nothing, while I am touching nothing -- what is filling you now, if not merely the shadowy images and memories of what you have heard, seen, smelled, tasted and touched? All this has disappeared into the past, has changed, become disfigured, disintegrated, and died. Why do you not bury the dead once and then leave the dead to the dead and flee, instead of standing there like a graveyard, in which the shadows of the dead dance while waiting for new corpses?[1]

How the Jerusalem on high, the city of my King, has trans­formed itself into a kingdom of the dead and into the trash dump of the world.

O my King, I hear Your mysterious whisper, and I understand; I see Your light, and I comprehend.[2]

And when I understand and comprehend, joy brings tears to my eyes, and I cry: "My salvation is in my Lord!"

He is the light of my mind, for which I have been a sleepy sentry, and as a result strangers have crept in and have darkened the royal light.

My Lord will help me -- once I admit that there is no other helper in all realms -- to expel the darkness and the dark strangers from my mind.

Let the groom of gloom hover around my mind, but let him not enter into the city of the King of Light.




_________________________________________________________________

1. "But Jesus said... 'Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.'" (Matt. 8:22).
2. "Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, 'I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'" (John 8:12).
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » April 8th, 2011, 2:30 pm

You do not ask much of me, my love. Indeed, people ask more.

I am smothered in a thick wrapping of nonexistence that covers the eyes of my soul. You only ask my soul to take off her misty blindfold and open her eyes to You, my might and my truth. People ask my soul to wrap herself more and more thickly with heavier and heavier wrappings.

O help me, help me! Help my soul to attain freedom and lightness, to attain lightness and aerial wings, to attain aerial wings and fiery wheels.

Stories are long, too long; the moral is short, one word. Stories spill over into stories, the way the smooth face of my lake spills over from colour to colour. Where does the colourful overflowing of the water under the sun end, and where does the overflowing of stories into stories end?

Stories are long, too long; the moral is short, one word. You are that word, O Word of God. You are the moral of all stories.

What the stars write across heaven, the grass whispers on earth. What the water gurgles in the sea, fire rumbles beneath the sea. What an angel says with his eyes, the imam shouts from his minaret. What the past has said and fled with, the present is saying and fleeing.

There is one essence for all things; there is one moral for all stories. Things are tales of heaven. You are the meaning of all tales. Stories are Your length and breadth. You are the brevity of all stories. You are a nugget of gold in a knoll of stone.

When I say Your name, O Jesus, I have said everything and more than everything:

O my love, have mercy on me!

O my Might and Truth, have mercy on me!
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » April 20th, 2011, 9:45 pm

Deliver my soul from self-delusion, my God, so that my body may also be delivered from bodily sin.

Deliver my soul from foolish arrogance and burning anger, and my body will neither behave foolishly nor burn.

The soul designed the body to be a portrait of herself, to be the organ of her speech. The body is mute and inert, either for good or for evil, if the soul will not speak.

The body knows nothing of adultery, if the soul does not tell it. Adultery is carried out in the heart; the body only repeats in its clumsy way what has been woven with fine threads in the mysterious chambers of the heart.1

My neighbours, look upon a woman the way a woman looks upon herself and self-delusion will fall from your eyes like scales.2 Look upon every being from within that being, and you will look, not with desire, but with compassion. You, O God, have sanctified marriage, and You have also sanctified celibacy.3

Those, who have the wisdom and the strength to use all the life bestowed on them by You for serving You, You have blessed.

And those, who are unable to keep within themselves all the life given to them, You have blessed, so that they can share it and transfer it to new beings, through a wife.

Truly it is self-delusion for a man to think that a woman attracts him. Indeed, it is the unused life in a man -- which drives a man toward a woman, for life does not wish to remain unused. You are life, O my God, and life is light. You are light, O my God, and You do not wish to be hidden in darkness and kept from shining.

Blessed is the man, who knows You within himself, and gives free rein to You to shine in his soul and in his body.

It is not important, whether you shine in one body or in shared flesh -- You merely wish to shine and illuminate the world and to fill it with Your life and Your strength.

Blessed is the woman from whose eyes self-delusion falls and who knows a man the way a man knows himself, the woman who rejects desire and fills herself with compassion. She too keeps life within herself, with fear and dignity, as though she were keeping heaven within herself.

Blessed is everyone who comes to know in due time that adultery defiles and kills life.

One does not fool around with God. It is safer to fool around with fire than with God.

Nor is life, which comes from God, a narcotic for instant satisfaction, after which self-delusion manifests itself again and again; while shame and humiliati6n fall like heavy stones on the heart, emptied of one demented desire.

Deliver my soul from self-delusion, my God, so that my body may also be delivered from bodily sin.




_________________________________________________________

1. Cf. Matt. 5:27-30.
2. Cf. Acts 9:18.
3. Cf. Matt. 19:3-12, John 2:1-11, and 1 Cor. 7.
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Re: Selections from the Prayers by the Lake

Postby Theophilus » April 28th, 2011, 10:56 am

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My Lord is the One who resurrects. He resurrects the dead from morning until dusk, and from dusk until dawn.1

What the morning buries, the Lord brings to life in the evening; and what the evening buries, the Lord brings to life in the morning.

What work is more fitting for the living God than to resurrect the dead into life?

Let others believe in the God who brings men to trial and judges them.

I shall cling to the God who resurrects the dead.

Let others believe in the God, who does not even draw near to the living when they call upon Him.

I shall worship the God, who holds His cupped ear even at cemeteries and listens, to hear whether anyone is crying out for resurrection or for the One who resurrects.

The gravediggers dig graves and are silent. The Lord opens graves and shouts.2

A mother places her daughter in a grave, the Lord takes her out of the grave; the Lord is a better parent than the mother.

A father covers his son with soil, the Lord uncovers him. The Lord is a better parent than the father.

A brother buries his brother, the Lord resurrects him. The Lord is a better sibling than the brother.

The Lord has neither tears nor smiles for the dead. His whole heart belongs to the living.

The world mourns for their kindred in the cemeteries, the Lord seeks His own with a song and awakens them.


Resurrect my soul, O Lord, so that my body might also be resurrected. Dwell in my soul, and my body will become Your temple.3

My neighbors ask with anxiety whether this body of ours will be resurrected.

If you have denied yourself once and for all, and no longer live for yourself, then your body is already being resurrected.4

If your body is a temple of the Most High God, then the One who resurrects is within you, and your resurrection is already being accomplished.

Our body changes with age, throughout our lifetime we have called many bodies our own. Which of them will be resurrected?

Perhaps none of them. But you can be certain that if you have had a body which expresses the Word of God clearly, it will be resurrected.5

My Lord who resurrects, does not resurrect death, because death was never alive.

You are the One who resurrects and You are the resurrection, for You are life.6

Only the seed which contains You is resurrected, and that seed which is of You.7

You will only bring to life that soul which now lives by You and not by the world.

You will only preserve that body, which has begun to be filled with the Holy Spirit during this time.8

That which is of the Living God in the graves, will be resurrected into life.

No one can resurrect the dead except the Lord, and no one can rise from the dead except the Lord.

For He is in His holy people. Truly, He is in His living people, both in the grave and out of the grave.





_________________________________________________________

1. "Jesus said... 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live"' (John 11:25).
2. Cf. John 5:24-30 and 1 Thess. 4:13-17.
3. Cf. 1 Cor. 6:19.
4. Cf. Gal. 2:20, Rom 6:3-11, and Col. 2:12.
5. Cf. 1 Cor. 15:35-57.
6. Cf. John 11:25.
7. Cf. John 12:24.
8. Cf. Phil. 3:10-11, 20-21.
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