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July 17, 2013 + Why We Search for the Meaning of Hymns

St. John Chrysostom 

O Lord, I have cried to thee; hear me: attend to the voice of my supplication, when I cry to thee (Ps. 140:1).

While everybody, you might say, knows the words of this psalm (sung almost everyday at Vespers) and continues singing it at every age, they are ignorant of the sense of the expressions. What is no slight grounds for accusation, those singing it daily and uttering the words by mouth do not inquire about the force of the ideas underlying the words. By contrast, someone who espies clear and pure water could not bear not to approach it and touch and drink it, and someone who frequently enters a meadow would not allow themselves not to pick some flowers before leaving, whereas we on the other hand from earliest years to extreme old age continue meditating on this psalm while knowing only the words…

… many psalms [are] suited to evening time. It was not for this reason at any rate that the fathers singled out this psalm; rather, they prescribed its recital as a kind of saving medicine and cleansing of sins so that whatever stain we incur throughout the course of the day – abroad, at home, wherever we pass the time – we might on coming to the evening expunge through this spiritual air. It is, you see, a medicine that removes all these stains.”

St. John Chrysostom, Commentary on Psalm 140 from Vespers


Greatmartyr Marina (Margaret) of Antioch in Pisidia

Troparion, Tone 4

Your lamb Marina calls out to You, O Jesus, in a loud voice: / “I love You, my Bridegroom, and in seeking You

I endure suffering. In baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You, and I died so that I might live with You. Accept me as a pure sacrifice, for I have offered myself in love.” Through her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.

Kontakion, Tone 3

Adorned with the beauty of virginity, you have been crowned with unfading crowns, O Marina. Having shed your blood in holy martyrdom, and radiant with the miracles of healing, you have received from the hand of your Creator the prize of victory.