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Saturday, April 12, 2008

From the Office of Readings, April 4. 2008

A sermon from St. Theodore the Studite, on April 4, 2008 in the Office of Readings. This was the reading the day after my Theodore died. Good timing in a Divine Providence kind of way....

How precious the gift of the cross, how splendid to contemplate!

In the cross there is no mingling of good and evil, as in the tree

of paradise: it is wholly beautiful to behold and good to taste.

The fruit of this tree is not death but life, not darkness but light.

This tree does not cast us out of paradise, but opens the way for our return.

This was the tree on which Christ, like a king on a chariot,

destroyed the devil, the Lord of death, and freed the human

race from his tyranny. This was the tree upon which the Lord,
like a brave warrior wounded in his hands, feet and side,
healed the wounds of sin that the evil serpent had inflicted on
our nature. A tree once caused our death, but now a tree
brings life. Once deceived by a tree, we have now repelled
the cunning serpent by a tree. What an astonishing
transformation! That death should become life, that decay
should become immortality, that shame should become glory!
Well might the holy Apostle exclaim:

Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our
Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been

crucified to me, and I to the world!

The supreme wisdom that flowered on the cross has shown the

folly of worldly wisdom’s pride. The knowledge of all good, which

is the fruit of the cross, has cut away the shoots of wickedness.
The wonders accomplished through this tree were foreshadowed

clearly even by the mere types and figures that existed in the past.

Meditate on these, if you are eager to learn. Was it not the wood

of a tree that enabled Noah, at God’s command, to escape the
destruction of the flood together with his sons, his wife, his

sons’ wives and every kind of animal? And surely the rod of

Moses prefigured the cross when it changed water into blood,

swallowed up the false serpents of Pharaoh’s magicians, divided

the sea at one stroke and then restored the waters to their normal

course, drowning the enemy and saving God’s own people?
Aaron’s rod, which blossomed in one day in proof of his true

priesthood, was another figure of the cross, and did not Abraham

foreshadow the cross when he bound his son Isaac and placed

him on the pile of wood? By the cross death was slain and Adam

was restored to life. The cross is the glory of all the apostles,

the crown of the martyrs, the sanctification of the saints.

By the cross we put on Christ and cast aside our former self.

By the cross we, the sheep of Christ, have been gathered into one

flock, destined for the sheepfolds of heaven.


JeniR said...

What a beautiful reading. After Fr. Paul's homily at Theodore's funeral Mass this is indeed Divine providence. Fathers comparison between the life of Christ and Theodore's life truly inspired me. It caused me to remember that while Jesus is God He is also man. It reminded me of his human nature. The suffering, pain, agony, heartache. In many ways He suffered what we suffer here on earth. Jesus suffered all of this for us, His children. He suffered that we might find eternal life. It is because of Christ that we can weep with hope full promise. It is because of Christ that Theodore found eternal life. It is because of Christ we pray this for all of our children.

antonia said...


Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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