Anastasius of Sinai: “Forgive Us Our Debts as We Forgive Our Debtors” Wednesday, Mar 26 2014 

Anastasios-of-SinaiForgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (St. Matthew 6:12).

What are you saying, O man? …

You remember wrongs which you brother has done to you, while you sharpen a knife to use against him, devise mischief against him, and bear malicious poison in your heart, and yet you cry out to God: Forgive me my debts, even as I, too, have forgiven my debtor?

Have you come to…receive Grace, or to draw down His wrath upon yourself? To gain forgiveness of sins, or to add to your sins? To obtain salvation or punishment?

Do you not see that we give each other the kiss of peace at that fearful hour precisely in order that, having rejected every bond of iniquity (Isaiah 58:6) and hard-heartedness, we might draw near to the Master with a pure heart? What are you doing, O man?

The six-winged Angels are ministering and covering the mystical Table, the Cherubim are standing around and exclaiming the Thrice-Holy Hymn with clear voices, the Seraphim are bowing their heads with reverence, the Hierarch is propitiating God on your behalf—all of them concentrating on the proceedings with fear and trembling.

The Lamb of God is being sacrificed, the Holy Spirit is descending from on high, the Angels are running about all the people unseen as they note down and register the souls of the Faithful.

Do you not shudder at the disdain that you show and at the kiss of Judas that you give to your brother, concealing in your heart the recollection of wrongs committed many years ago and the pernicious venom of the serpent against your brother?

How can you not shudder and fall down when you say to Him Who knows the secrets of the heart: Forgive me, even as I, too, have forgiven my brother?

In what way does such a prayer differ from a curse? Why, in saying this, you contradict yourself: If I pardon, pardon me; if I forgive, forgive me; if I show sympathy, show sympathy to me;

if I harbor a grudge against my fellow-servant, harbor one against me; if I am angry, be angry with me; with what measure I measure, let it be measured to me; if I forgive with hypocrisy, may I be shown mercy with hypocrisy.

I shall pronounce the verdict against myself, O Master. For I have heard Thy fearful voice, which says: For with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again (St. Matthew 7:2); and: If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive you (St. Matthew 6:15).

Convinced by the assertion of these unerring words of Thine, I have pardoned and forgiven those who have sinned against me. Therefore, O Master, pardon me, just as I, too, have pardoned my fellow-servants.

Anastasius of Sinai (7th Century): A Homily on the Holy Eucharist and on Not Judging Others or Remembering Wrongs, PG 89, 825A-849C @ OCIC.

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Anastasius of Sinai: Cry Out with the Priest who is Struggling for You Wednesday, Feb 26 2014 

Anastasios-of-SinaiSince the Priest is a mediator between God and man and offers sacrifice to God for the remission of the sins of the multitude, consider how he fortifies everyone in advance and bears witness, as if saying words such as these to the people:

Since you have established me, O my people, as a mediator before God on your behalf at this mystical Table, I implore you, be as zealous as I am.

Refrain from all worldly thoughts. Forsake every bodily care. It is time for fervent prayer, not for idle pursuits.

Hear what the Deacon exclaims to you, when he says: Let us stand well, let us stand with fear.

Let us be attentive to the holy Oblation, let us incline our necks, let us restrain our minds, let us hold our tongues, let us give wings to our minds, and let us ascend to Heaven.

Let us lift up our minds and hearts, let us raise the eye of our soul up to God, let us traverse Heaven, let us go past the Angels, let us go past the Cherubim, and let us run to the very Throne of the Master, let us grasp Christ’s immaculate feet themselves, let us weep, let us, as it were, compel Him to be compassionate, and let us give thanks in the holy, heavenly, and ethereal Sanctuary.

The Priest affirms these things to us when he says: Let us lift up our hearts. What do we then say in response to these words? We lift them up unto the Lord.

What are you saying? What are you doing? Our minds are distracted by corruptible and transient things, and they devote themselves to vanities, possessions, pleasures, and court cases.

And you say: I lift it [my heart] up unto the Lord? Make sure, I beseech you, that you have your heart elevated to the Lord, and not lowered to the devil.

What are you doing, O man? The Priest is offering the bloodless Sacrifice to the Master for your sake, and you view it with disdain?

The Priest is struggling for your sake. Standing before the Altar as if before a dread tribunal, he implores and urges that the Grace of the Holy Spirit might come down to you from on high, and you take no thought for your own salvation?

Do not carry on like this, I beg you. Abandon this evil and vain habit. Cry out with the Priest who is struggling for you, toil with him who prays for you.

Offer yourself for your salvation: The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (St. James 5:16). It will be effectual if you struggle together with the Priest and manifest the fruits of repentance.

Anastasius of Sinai (7th Century): A Homily on the Holy Eucharist and on Not Judging Others or Remembering Wrongs, PG 89, 825A-849C @ OCIC.

Anastasius of Sinai: The Church of God is a Surgery Thursday, Feb 6 2014 

Anastasios-of-SinaiDo you not know that the Church of God is a surgery and a harbor?

Now, if you remain in a surgery ailing and unhealed, when, henceforth, will you be cured?

And if you are tempest-tossed in a harbor, where, hereafter, will you find rest?

Stand with reverence, I implore you.

Stand with awe at the fearful hour of the Anaphora; for with whatever attitude and thoughts each of you attends at that hour, such also is the frame of mind in which he offers worship to the Master.

The oblation is called the Anaphora because it is offered up to God. Therefore, stand before God in silence and compunction.

Confess your sins to God through the Priests. Condemn your actions and do not be ashamed; for, there is a shame that bringeth sin, and there is a shame which is glory and grace (Ecclesiasticus 4:2 1).

Condemn yourself before men, so that the Judge may justify you before Angels and the whole world.

Seek mercy, seek forgiveness, seek remission of past sins and deliverance from future sins, so that you may approach the Mysteries worthily, so that you may partake of the Body and Blood with a pure conscience, and so that it may be for you unto purification and not unto condemnation.

Hear what the Divine Paul says: Let each man examine himself, and so let him eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s Body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (I Corinthians 11:27-30).

Do you notice that illness and death result, for the most part, from approaching the Divine Mysteries unworthily? But perhaps you will say: And who is worthy? I, too, am aware of this.

However, you will become worthy, if only you desire it. Recognize that you are a sinner. Cut yourself off from sin. Desist from sin, wickedness, and anger. Display the works of repentance; endue yourself with prudence, meekness, and forbearance.

Show compassion from the fruits of righteousness for those in need, and you will have become worthy. Beseech God with a contrite heart, and He will fulfill your petitions; for, if you do not do this, you will be wasting the time that you spend in church.

[…] And why, someone will object, because I have evil deeds, should I not pray? Why should I not spend time in the Church of God?

This is not what I am saying, nor do I even countenance it. But I beseech you to pray as you ought, so that when we draw near to God in our prayers, we may stand before Him in a way that befits Him

Anastasius of Sinai (7th Century): A Homily on the Holy Eucharist and on Not Judging Others or Remembering Wrongs, PG 89, 825A-849C, also attributed to Anastasios II of Antioch @ OCIC.