Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nativity -- Day 17

Here are a couple of video clips from the recent funeral of His Holiness, Patriarch Alexy II:

Part 1
Part 2

The attendance and respect paid by so many clergy, monastics, political dignities, and Russian people, is particularly impressive considering what transpired in Russia under Communism in the 20th century.

Memory Eternal!

The Ochlophobist has written an interesting post: almost a definition of a gentleman; seeming like a disciple of Christianity, whatever that is; the gospel of gentlemanly deduction, and here is the obligatory excerpt:
There is, and has long been, the danger that gentlemanly society replace the ethos of ascetic society in the life of the Church. This might happen when the virtues of gentlemanliness are seen as ends unto themselves - and the wisdom of the Dostoevskian prophet is to see the futility of such ends. What does it profit a man? In the posture of gentleman as the right end of man, the fundamental thing that matters, ecclesiologically speaking, is that the Church act as a civilizing force, that great socio-political vehicle of public virtues, social utility, the provocation of decency and social order. The dream of Dostoevsky's antichrist. This must not be accepted. The right appreciation and love, even, of the gentlemanly occurs when we accept its limits, when we know that it not an end, and not even a means to an end, but perhaps a means to the means to the end. And with this we must keep in constant mind that it is not the only means to the means to the end, but one of many which God may use.

I'll end this post with a quote from Step 7 of The Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climacus:
Mourning 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.
When our soul leaves this world we shall not be blamed for not having worked miracles, or for not having been theologians, or not having been rapt in divine visions. But we shall certainly have to give an account to God of why we have not unceasingly mourned.

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