Me and my shadow

“What pleasure in life remains without its share of sorrow? What glory stands on earth unchanged? All things are feebler than a shadow; all things, more deceptive than dreams. One instant, and death supplants them all.”

Excerpt from the first of the funerary hymns, composed by St. John of Damascus

I saw my shadow once while at a cemetery, and it reminded me of this, one of my favorite hymns. 

The lived experience of the Church recommends a healthy remembrance of our own mortality (μνήμη θανάτου, memento mori), for it is the common and inescapable lot of us all. Another great Syrian saint, Isaac (7th c.), said: “This life is given to you for repentance; do not waste it in vain pursuits.” 

“Endeavor, O Priest…”

“Endeavor, O priest, to show yourself to be a blameless worker, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

The opening line of St. Basil’s admonition to priests, paraphrasing St. Paul (2 Timothy 2:15), included in the Hieratikon, the priest’s service book.
A depiction of St. Basil, by Kontoglou, found in the Hieratikon (Apostoliki Diakonia). The scroll reads “No one bound by carnal desires and pleasures is worthy to approach, draw near, or minister to you, the King of Glory. For to serve you is great and awesome [, even for the heavenly powers.],” from the priestly prayer read prior to the Great Entrance of the Divine Liturgy.

 

Do not be ashamed

“Do not be ashamed.”

People would think you were insane if you had multiple physical maladies and didn’t go to a physician for help. They’d think you were even crazier if you were trying to diagnose and heal yourself. Yet because our spiritual maladies and wounds are often invisible to the eye (either to our own or to that of others), we become pathologically comfortable lying in our own spiritual filth, covered in spiritual sores, and we avoid a great gift of Christ to his Church: forgiveness of sins in confession.

Do not be ashamed to begin the process of cleansing and healing.