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April 20, 2016 + Remedies for Senseless Anger, Part 2

by St. Mark the Ascetic

From the time that Christ came to dwell with us, man created according to God's image and likeness is truly renewed through the grace and power of the Spirit, attaining to the perfect love which 'casts out fear' (1 John 4:18) - the love which is no longer able to fail, for 'love never fails' (1 Cor. 13:8). Love, says John, is God; and 'he who dwells in love dwells in God' (1 John 4:16). The apostles were granted this love, and so were those who practiced virtue as they did, offering themselves completely to the Lord, and following Christ with all their heart throughout their lifetime.

So you should continually keep in mind the great humiliation which the Lord took upon Himself in His ineffable love for us: how the divine Logos dwelt in a womb; how He took human nature upon Himself; His birth from a woman; His gradual bodily growth; the shame He suffered, the insults, vilification, ridicule and abuse; how He was scourged and spat upon, derided and mocked; the scarlet robe, the crown of thorns; His condemnation by those in power; the outcry of the unruly Jews, men of His own race, against Him: 'Away with him, away with him, crucify him' (John 19:15); the cross, the nails, the lance, the drink of vinegar and gall; the scorn of the Gentiles; the derision of the passers-by who said: 'If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross and we will believe you' (cf. Matt. 27:39-42); and the rest of the sufferings which He patiently accepted for us: crucifixion; death; the three-day burial; the descent into hell. Then keep in mind all that has come from these sufferings: the resurrection from the dead; the liberation from hell and from death of those who were raised with the Lord; the ascension to the heavens; the enthronement at the right hand of the Father; the honor and glory that is 'far above every principality and power . . . and above every name that is named' (Eph. 1:21); the veneration of the Firstborn from the dead by all the angels, because of the sufferings He had undergone. As the Apostle says: 'Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Though He is in the form of God, He did not insist on clinging to His equality with God; but He emptied Himself and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of man. Being in this likeness. He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, things on earth and things under the earth' (Phil. 2:5-10). See to what a height of glory the Lord's human nature was raised up by God's justice through these sufferings and humiliations.

If, therefore, you continually recall this with all your heart, the passion of bitterness, anger and wrath will not master you. For when the foundations constructed of the passion of pride are sapped through this recalling of Christ's humiliation, the whole perverse edifice of anger, wrath and resentment automatically collapses. For can anyone keep perpetually in mind the humiliation that the Divinity of the only-begotten Son accepted for our sake, and all the sufferings that we have mentioned, and yet be so hard and stonyhearted as not to be shattered, humbled and filled with remorse? Will he not willingly become dust and ashes, trampled underfoot by all men?

So, when we are humbled and shattered, and keep in mind Christ's humiliation, what anger, wrath or bitterness can take possession of us? But when forgetfulness of these life-creating truths is accompanied by the sister vices of laziness and ignorance, then these three oppressive and deep-seated passions of the soul, hard to discover and correct, overlay and darken us with a terrible futility. They prepare the way for the rest of the evil passions to become active and nest in the soul, stifling its sense of awe, making it neglect what is good, and providing easy access and free scope for every passion.

–- St. Mark the Ascetic, Letter to Nicolas the Solitary


Hieromartyr Venerable Theodore Trichinas "The Hair-Shirt Wearer" and Hermit near Constantinople

Troparion, Tone 3

Holy Father Theodore, you were a temple of abstinence and a vessel of dispassion; you served God by your works, and were found worthy of His gifts. Now pray to Christ our God to grant us His great mercy.

Kontakion, Tone 2

God-bearing Theodore, treasury of virtue, storehouse of grace and adornment of monks; pray for the forgiveness of our sins and for our salvation, for you are the protector of the faithful.

Readings and Inspiration from the Diocese of Charleston Homepage

Spiritual Notes of the Diocese of Charleston 04-20-16 (PDF) 188.96 KB