Leo the Great: The outer man will be the peaceful and unblemished possession of the inner man Saturday, Feb 6 2016 

leo1Continued from here….

After the assertion of this most happy humility, the Lord hath added, saying, “Blessed are they which mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matt. 5:4).

This mourning, beloved, to which eternal comforting is promised, is not the same as the affliction of this world.

Nor do those laments which are poured out in the sorrowings of the whole human race make any one blessed.

The reason for holy groanings, the cause of blessed tears, is very different.

Religious grief mourns sin either – that of others’ or one’s own.

Nor does it mourn for that which is wrought by God’s justice, but it laments over that which is committed by man’s iniquity.

For he that does wrong is more to be deplored than he who suffers it, because the unjust man’s wrongdoing plunges him into punishment, but the just man’s endurance leads him on to glory.

Next the Lord says:  “blessed are the meek, for they shall possess the earth by inheritance” (Matt. 5:5).

To the meek and gentle, to the humble and modest, and to those who are prepared to endure all injuries, the earth is promised for their possession.

And this is not to be reckoned a small or cheap inheritance, as if it were distinct from our heavenly dwelling, since it is no other than these who are understood to enter the kingdom of heaven.

The earth, then, which is promised to the meek, and is to be given to the gentle in possession, is the flesh of the saints, which in reward for their humility will be changed in a happy resurrection, and clothed with the glory of immortality, in nothing now to act contrary to the spirit, and to be in complete unity and agreement with the will of the soul.

For then the outer man will be the peaceful and unblemished possession of the inner man.

Then the mind, engrossed in beholding God, will be hampered by no obstacles of human weakness nor will it any more have to be said “The body which is corrupted, weigheth upon the soul, and its earthly house presseth down the sense which thinketh many things” (Wisdom 9:15).

For the earth will not struggle against its tenant, and will not venture on any insubordination against the rule of its governor.

For the meek shall possess it in perpetual peace, and nothing shall be taken from their rights, “when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:53), that their danger may turn into reward, and what was a burden become an honour.

Leo the Great (c.400-461): Sermon 95, 4-5.

John Chrysostom: “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted” Monday, Nov 23 2015 

Chrysostom3Continued from here….

“Blessed are they that mourn” (Matt. 5:4).

Here too again Christ designated not simply all that mourn, but all that do so for sins.

Since surely that other kind of mourning is forbidden, and that earnestly, which relates to anything of this life.

This Paul also clearly declared, when he said “The sorrow of the world worketh death, but godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of” (2 Cor. 7:10).

These then He too Himself calls blessed, whose sorrow is of that kind. Yet He does not simply designate those who sorrow did He designate, but those who sorrow intensely.

Therefore He did not say “they that sorrow” but “they that mourn.” For this commandment again is fitted to teach us entire self-control.

Those who grieve for children, or wife, or any other relation gone from them, have no fondness for gain or pleasure during that period of their sorrow.

They aim not at glory, are not provoked by insults, nor led captive by envy, nor beset by any other passion, their grief alone wholly possessing them.

This being so, how much more will they who mourn for their own sins, as they ought to mourn, show forth a self-denial greater than this?

Next, what is the reward for these? “For they shall be comforted,” He says.

Where shall they be comforted? Both here and there. For since the thing enjoined was exceeding burdensome and galling, He promised to give that, which most of all made it light.

Wherefore, if you wish to be comforted, mourn, and think not this a dark saying. For when God comforts, though sorrows come upon you by thousands like snow-flakes, you wilt be above them all.

Since in truth, the returns which God gives are always far greater than our labours…, He declares those who mourn to be blessed – not after the value of what they do, but after His own love towards man.

For they that mourn, mourn for misdoings, and to such it is enough to enjoy forgiveness, and obtain wherewith to answer for themselves.

But forasmuch as He is full of love towards man, He does not limit His recompense either to the removal of our punishments, or to the deliverance from our sins, but He makes them even blessed, and imparts to them abundant consolation.

But He bids us mourn, not only for our own, but also for other men’s misdoings.

And of this temper were the souls of the saints. Such was that of Moses, of Paul, of David; yea, all these many times mourned for evils not their own.

John Chrysostom (c.347-407): Homilies on the Gospel According to St Matthew, 15, 4 (on Matthew 5:4); slightly adapted.

John Climacus: The sponge of God-loving sorrow and the cool water of devout tears wipes out the record of our sins Friday, Mar 27 2015 

ClimacusMourning, according to God, is sadness of soul, and the disposition of a sorrowing heart, which ever madly seeks that for which it thirsts;

and when it fails in its quest, it painfully pursues it, and follows in its wake grievously lamenting.

Or thus: mourning is a golden spur in a soul which is stripped of all attachment and of all ties, fixed by holy sorrow to watch over the heart.

[…] A characteristic of those who are still progressing in blessed mourning is temperance and silence of the lips;

and of those who have made progress—freedom from anger and patient endurance of injuries;

and of the perfect—humility, thirst for dishonours, voluntary craving for involuntary afflictions, non-condemnation of sinners, compassion even beyond one’s strength.

The first are acceptable, the second laudable; but blessed are those who hunger for hardship and thirst for dishonour, for they shall have their fill of the food that does not cloy.

[…]  Theology will not suit mourners, for it is of a nature to dissolve their mourning. For the theologian is like one who sits in a teacher’s seat, whereas the mourner is like one who spends his days on a dung heap and in rags.

That is why David, so I think, although he was a teacher and was wise, replied to those who questioned him when he was mourning: ‘How shall I sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?’—that is to say, the land of passions.

Both in creation and in compunction there is that which moves itself and that which is moved by something else.

When the soul becomes tearful, moist and tender without effort or trouble, then let us run, for the Lord has come uninvited, and is giving us the sponge of God-loving sorrow and the cool water of devout tears to wipe out the record of our sins.

Guard these tears as the apple of your eye until they withdraw. Great is the power of this compunction—greater than that which comes as a result of our effort and meditation.

He who mourns when he wishes has not attained the beauty of mourning, but rather he who mourns on the subjects of his choice, and not even on these, but on what God wants.

The ugly tears of vainglory are often interwoven with mourning which is pleasing to God. Acting devoutly, we shall find this out by experiment when we see ourselves mourning and still doing evil.

[…] When our soul leaves this world we shall not be blamed for not having worked miracles, or for not having been theologians or contemplatives. But we shall certainly have to give an account to God of why we have not unceasingly mourned.

John Climacus (c.575-c.650): The Ladder of Divine Ascent, step 7 “on mourning which causes joy”, 1, 4, 24-26, 70, translated by Archimandrite Lazarus Moore (Harper & Brothers, 1959) @ Prudence True.