Molly Sabourin

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imitate me

Posted by on Mar 31, 2010 in Reflections | 5 comments

Bear fruit

Abide in me and bear fruit: 98 of 365

Instructing Thy disciples in the mystery, O Lord, 

Thou didst say to them:

My beloved, see that no fear separates you from me.

Though I suffer, it is for the sake of the world.

Let me not be a cause of scandal to you.

I came, not to be served, but to serve,

to give myself for the redemption of the world.

If you are my friends, then imitate me.

Let the first among you be last.

Let the master be like the servant.

Abide in me and bear fruit, for I am the vine of life.

From the Matins of Great and Holy Thursday

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My soul, my soul, arise!

Posted by on Mar 30, 2010 in Reflections | 10 comments

Thy passion 2 

I believe: 96 of 365

       It is 8:53 pm and I am exhausted. I ran around all over the place today with my list of Holy Week and Pascha to-do's in hand.  What I am juggling here is excitement, stress and tiredness – an expected combination, really, one I wrestle with annually. And that is why for my poem choice this Wednesday I am featuring an attention grabbing hymn we Orthodox Christians will hear at the Holy Friday service between the 5th and 6th Gospel reading.  The first time I was exposed to it, over a decade ago now, I was quite struck by its depth and insightfulness. As I read it again presently, I am once again in awe – it is good to be in awe when pondering the magnitude of Christ's death and Resurrection. Cut through, I pray, my callousness, O God! 

Do you want to hear something kind of amazing? While I was typing this post, my friend, Steve, e-mailed me the link to this video in which the late Archbishop Job (I cannot get used to writing that) sings this very hymn, the 15th Antiphon! It was recorded just a year ago at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Chicago.  

Wow, it gives me chills. Wow. May his memory be eternal! 

We worship Thy Passion, O Christ! Show us also Thy glorious Resurrection!


Today He who hung the earth upon the waters is hung on the tree, 

The King of the angels is decked with a crown of thorns

He who wraps the heavens in clouds is wrapped in the purple  

   of mockery. 

He who freed Adam in the Jordan is slapped on the face. 

The Bridegroom of the Church is affixed to the Cross with nails. 

The Son of the virgin is pierced by a spear. 

We worship Thy passion, O Christ. 

We worship Thy passion, O Christ. 

We worship Thy passion, O Christ. 

Show us also Thy glorious resurrection. 

 

POETRY WEDNESDAY

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understanding the cross

Posted by on Mar 29, 2010 in Reflections | 2 comments

The cross of christ

 This week, Holy Week, we are focusing, obviously, on the cross.  Christians all around the world are contemplating Christ's death. The fact that He did die voluntarily, and rose again three days later, is a given, a non-negotiable. The question of why He died, however, is more complex. About a year ago, my mom called me to say, Molly, you have to hear this! She was referring to a podcast by the prolific Father Thomas Hopko in which he laid out clearly the Orthodox position on why Jesus's crucifixion was necessary. Sure, I said, and then put it off (I noticed the podcast was an hour long). It took another week for me to download it and put it on my iPod. A few days after that, I finally devoted a portion of an evening to folding a large amount of laundry while listening to that said podcast in it's entirety. 

Now, I do not say this lightly, but that podcast on the crucifixion…well, it altered my life. I had never realized before how truly foundational to one's faith and worldview is their understanding of the cross. By the end of it, I had tears streaming down my cheeks and my soul was shouting, Yes! This is right! Praise God!! It changed the way I viewed salvation, my neighbor, God, Himself.  I urge you to join me this week, as we prepare for Pascha, in listening (I'll be listening again) to this most profound Orthodox Christian commentary on Jesus's sacrificial death on the cross, in being nothing less than blown away by His love. 


Understanding the Cross of Christ

Hopko      Fr. Tom takes an extensive look at the death of Christ and the juridical assumptions that have been taught largely in the West. This talk was given in March 2009 at Holy Ascension Orthodox Church in Charleston, SC.

Click HERE to listen!

Click HERE to download! 

Thanks to Ancient Faith Radio. 


 

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Hosanna!

Posted by on Mar 28, 2010 in Reflections | 3 comments

 

Palm sunday 1 

  
 Palm sunday 3
   Palm sunday 6

Palm sunday 5 

  Palm sunday 4

   Palm sunday 7

 Prayer at the Blessing of the Branches

O Lord our God, Who sits upon the Cherubim, You have reaffirmed Your power by sending Your Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to save the world through His cross, burial and resurrection. When He came into Jerusalem to suffer His voluntary passion, the people that sat in darkness and in the shadow of death took boughs of trees and branches of palms as signs of victory, thus foretelling His Resurrection. Do You, Yourself, O Master, keep and preserve us who, in imitation of them, carry palms and branches in our hands. As we join the crowds and the children who sang Hosanna to You, may we, with hymns and spiritual songs, attain the life-giving resurrection of the third day.

This morning's Liturgy was joyful. The choir broke out the fancy versions of the Cherubic Hymn, the Lord's Prayer and Blessed be the Name of the Lord (they gave me chills). I was entranced by it, by the Gospel reading, the Epistle reading, the troparion. Together, with palm branches in our hands, we began immersing ourselves in Christ's Passion.  As a community, we'll now turn our attention away from temporal concerns and focus wholly on the eternal Reality of death and hades being crushed by the Cross and empty tomb – by LOVE. We'll spend literally hours in Church this week; I'll forget what day it is, what time it is as the services flow from one into the other. How can I put into words the power of this experience, how both demanding and fulfilling it is to stretch ourselves via fasting and prayer and the attendance of these many amazing services in order that we might stay awake with Jesus in the Garden of Gesthsemane, that we might carry His heavy cross on our shoulders, that we might weep with the Theotokos and apostles at His crucification, and then, having tasted (just a sip) of His hunger, pain and exhaustion, to marvel at and be utterly, profoundly, renewed and enlivened by His Resurrection?   

Palm Sunday summons us to behold our king – the Suffering Servant. We cannot understand Jesus' kingship apart from the Passion. Filled with infinite love for the Father and the Holy Spirit, and for creation, in His inexpressible humility Jesus accepted the infinite abasement of the Cross. He bore our griefs and carried our sorrows; He was wounded for our transgressions and made Himself an offering for sin (Isaiah 53). His glorification, which was accomplished by the resurrection and the ascension, was achieved through the Cross. In the fleeting moments of exuberance that marked Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the world received its King, the king who was on His way to death. His Passion, however, was no morbid desire for martyrdom. Jesus' purpose was to accomplish the mission for which the Father sent Him. (OCA.org)

“Hosanna! Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord!”


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unbound

Posted by on Mar 26, 2010 in Reflections | 4 comments

Berries 2

berries on blue: 93 of 365


I'm looking forward to tomorrow. In the morning we'll attend a special Divine Liturgy in honor of Lazarus Saturday, followed by a potluck breakfast with our parish community. I read this amazing thing today on Father Stephen Freeman's blog, Glory to God for All Things:

Lazarus is an important character in 19th century Russian literature. Raskolnikov, in Crime and Punishment, finds the beginning of his repentance of the crime of murder, by listening to a reading of the story of Lazarus. It is, for many, and properly so, a reminder of the universal resurrection. What Christ has done for Lazarus He will do for all.

For me, he is also a sign of the universal entombment: that even before we die, we have frequently begun to inhabit our tombs. We live our life with the doors closed (and we stink). Our hearts are often places of corruption and not the habitation of the good God. Or, at best, we ask Him to visit us as He visited Lazarus. That visit brought tears to the eyes of Christ. The state of our corruption makes Him weep. It is such a contradiction to the will of God. We were not created for the tomb.

I also note that in the story of Lazarus – even in his being raised from the dead – he rises in weakness. He remains bound by his graveclothes. Someone must “unbind” him. We ourselves, having been plunged into the waters of Baptism and robed with the righteousness of Christ, too often exchange those glorious robes for graveclothes. Christ has made us alive, be we remain bound like dead men.

Whoa.

You know what I don't want? To live my life with the doors closed, to wear grave clothes instead of the glorious robes of Christ's righteousness. 

Have I mentioned to you, maybe once or twice or a thousand times before, how thankful I am for the Church? I don't mean to be a bore but I honestly just cannot get over it – how rich and deep and intense are the Truths and Mysteries layered within Her hymns and feasts. Oh, what a treasure. 

By raising Lazarus from the dead before Your Passion, You confirmed the universal resurrection, O Christ God! Like the children with palms of victory, We cry out to You, O Vanquisher of Death; Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!

- Apolytikion: First Tone

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