Cleansing the Door of Our Perceptions

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Christ is Risen!

“Let us go forth in peace” is the last commandment of the Liturgy. What does it mean? It means, surely, that the conclusion of the Divine Liturgy is not an end but a beginning. Those words, “Let us go forth in peace,” are not merely a comforting epilogue. They are a call to serve and bear witness. In effect, those words, “Let us go forth in peace,” mean the Liturgy is over, the liturgy after the Liturgy is about to begin. This, then, is the aim of the Liturgy: that we should return to the world with the doors of our perceptions cleansed. We should return to the world after the Liturgy, seeing Christ in every human person, especially in those who suffer. In the words of Father Alexander Schmemann, the Christian is the one who wherever he or she looks, everywhere sees Christ and rejoices in him. We are to go out, then, from the Liturgy and see Christ everywhere. ~ Metropolitan Kallistos Ware of Diokleia

What does God want me to do? …The answer: God is not interested in where you are or what you do… He is interested only in the quality and quantity of the love you give. Nothing else. Nothing else. ~ Mother Gabrielia

God is everywhere.  There is no place God is not…You cry out to Him, ‘Where art Thou, my God?’  And He answers, “I am present, my child! I am always beside you.’  Both inside and outside, above and below, wherever you turn, everything shouts, ‘God!’  In Him we live and move. We breathe God, we eat God, we clothe ourselves with God.  Everything praises and blesses God.  All of creation shouts His praise. Everything animate and inanimate speaks wondrously and glorifies the Creator. Let every breath praise the Lord! ~ St. Joseph the Hesychast, 78th Letter

Spiritual Friendship

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! ~ Psalm 133:1

The righteous choose their friends carefully… ~ Proverbs 12:26

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. ~ Proverbs 13:20

Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel. ~Proverbs 27:9

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. ~ St. John 15:12-15

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another… ~ Romans 12:10

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. ~ 1 Peter 4:8-10

Though you should name infinite treasures, none of them is comparable to a genuine friend. And first let us speak of the great delight of friendship itself. A friend rejoices at seeing his friend, and his heart expands with joy. He is tied to him with an union of soul that affords unspeakable pleasure. I speak of genuine friends, men of one soul, who would even die for each other, who love each other fervently. ~ St. John Chrysostom

Eating and drinking don’t make friendships – such friendship even robbers and murderers have. But if we are friends, if we truly care for one another, let us help one another spiritually. . . Let us hinder those things that lead our friends away to hell. ~ St. John Chrysostom

It would be better for the sun to be extinguished than that we should be deprived of friends. Better to live in darkness than to be without friends. ~ St. John Chrysostom

A true friend is one who in times of trial, calmly imperturbably suffers with his neighbour the ensuing afflictions, privations and disasters as if they were his own. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

A faithful friend is a strong defense; for when things are going well with you, he is a good counselor and a sympathetic collaborator, while when things are going badly, he is the truest of helpers and a most compassionate supporter. ~ St. Maximus the Confessor

Strive by every means constantly to rejoice the Heavenly Father by your life; that is, by your meekness, humility, gentleness, obedience, abstinence, right judgment, love of peace, patience, mercy, sincere friendship with worthy people, kindness to everybody, cordial hospitality, universal benevolence, accuracy in business, simplicity of heart and character, and by the purity of all your thoughts. ~ St. John of Kronstadt

Spiritual Dew

Scientifically speaking, dew is water vapour in air that condenses and collects on cool surfaces such as plants, soil and other ground coverings. (Think of a mirror in a steamy bathroom.) Dew point is the temperature which water vapour in the air becomes saturated and the condensation begins. Many kinds of flora and fauna rely on dew for healthy hydration. In some fields of natural medicine, dew is esteemed with a surprising range of internal and external healing properties.

Dew only forms under a clear sky. It won’t come if there are clouds, wind, or stormy weather. Dew is a silent blessing… a humbler version of rain. It is gentle and nourishing. It sustains. It energizes. It is as refreshing as God’s unconditional love.

I am reminded of a particular trip to a convent visiting my goddaughter. Around day number three, and not feeling well, I was introduced to an unusual idea (new to me, but touted widely), that bare feet can absorb dew’s health benefits directly into the immune system. The abbess suggested whether or not that was indeed the case, I should just try Dew Walking, barefoot on the grass; for its reviving effects alone… plenty enough reason in itself.

Next morning I slipped out from the guesthouse and removed my sandals. Standing on the grassy green and savoring its coolness, the rising sun beamed through the trees, emblazoning the field as with millions of diamonds. A small choir of birds trilled. There was a whiff of fragrant incense. Was it breath from the pores of tiny wildflowers and grasses, ascending in morning praise to God? I slowly passed through the pearl and diamond droplets which clung to clover, wildflowers and grass. I paused. With sun on my face and feet gently planted on the grass – I felt a strong sense of connectedness, of being rooted together with God’s creation. In my heart, I joined my breath with theirs, in a silent prayer of praise, thankful for this peaceful blessing, for this Spiritual Dew.

Many Scripture passages refer to the importance, blessings and miracles of dew. During the Exodus to the Promised Land, God miraculously feeds the Israelites with manna from heaven and dew every morning (Exodus 16:13-14; Numbers 11:9). There are the two miracles (Judges 6:36-40) in which Righteous Gideon asks God regarding a fleece, first that it should be wet with dew in the morning while everything around is dry, and then that it should be dry in the morning while everything around is wet with dew.

Unexpected and tranquil blessings of Spiritual Dew are gifts from the Holy Spirit. There is strength and power in blessed silence.

I heartily encourage you to try barefoot Dew Walking on a summer’s morning!

May we, with God’s help, be refreshed with Spiritual Dew in all things, with each other, and to His glory.

May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. ~ Genesis 27:28

May my teaching drop as the rain, my speech distill as the dew, like gentle rain upon the tender grass, and like showers upon the herb ~ Deuteronomy 32:2

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard,  even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore. ~ Psalm 133: 1-3

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