Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Omega and the Alpha

After completing forty years of sojourn in this world, I was, in some small, given a foretaste and admission to paradise this past Sunday upon my reception to the Orthodox Catholic Church. That which I shared from St. Ephrem the Syrian near the beginning of this blog is applicable also to us all as we come to the faith, I think:

The thief gained the faith which gained him,
And brought him up and placed him in paradise.
He saw in the Cross a tree of life;
That was the fruit,
He was the eater in Adam's stead.
The fool, who goes astray,
Grazes the faith, as it were an eye,
By all manner of questions.
The probing of the finger blinds the eye,
And much more doth that prying blind the faith.
For even the diver pries not into his pearl.
In it do all merchants rejoice
Without prying into whence it came;
Even the king who is crowned therewith
Does not explore it.

As we sing in the liturgy: "But like the theif will I confess thee: Remember me, O Lord, in Thy kingdom."

Thus, my soujourn in the desert has come to a close. I enter the promised land, but like the Hebrews of old, that is not the end of the story, but the beginning - only the end of the prologue, perhaps.

A wise priest of whom I asked for prayers at the time of preparation for confession and chrismation did not offer them in response, but did offer a general remark to a wider audience that I took as his response to me: that too many talked of larger things as if they were Church Fathers rather than minding the little things required of the daily Christian walk. It was an excellent reminder and rebuke, even if not directly intended for me. Too often, even by simply quoting from the Fathers that which I thought profitable to quote, I have overspent on larger things than small things.

Today my father-in-law stands at the very threshhold of death. Yesterday I talked to him of little things and ultimate things, and perhaps despite the coma, somewhere, he heard me. I read to him from Revelation Chapter 21:

Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new." And He said to me, "Write, for these words are true and faithful." And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son."

It has been good to be with my father-in-law during this last suffering of his, and to glean something more about the mystery of such things, and reflect that not only do we have God the Word that knows our sufferings (since he also, suffered), but that the Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary stands as witness to the mystery of the suffering of the bystander watching another carry their cross. I have learned about little, but important things, and I need to continue in this vein.

Thank you (you know who you are) for your kindly prayers. Much as I decided to close the previous 'blog down after my entry to the catechumenate, I have decided to close this down and concentrate on little things as I prepare for deployment to the geographical desert of old Babylonia and as I continue the work begun in this life in the Church. I will leave up the contents so that I may refer back to this and that scripture or quote that I found profitable, and thus keep the profile alive and well so that I may visit from time to time and give good wishes to you, my friends (you know who you are!).

May I, with your prayers, as St. Cyril says (see previous post), keep the seal unspotted, and press forward with good works pleasing to the Captain of my salvation, our Lord Jesus Christ. And may you be kept in the knowledge and love of our Lord and enjoy that peace which passes understanding.

The end. And the beginning!


Blogger Mimi said...

Congratulations! Many Years and Welcome Home!

Please keep us posted.

My prayers with you and your family during this difficult time

7:18 PM  
Blogger John said...

This is wonderful, wonderful news. Congratulations and many years!

As Mimi said, please keep us posted, and of course my prayers are with you.

7:32 PM  
Blogger D.I. Dalrymple said...

God bless you and your family, H.

It has been such a blessing to me to have met you in person and shared in some small way in your journey to the Church.

Christ is in our midst!

9:16 AM  
Blogger Hilarius said...

Thanks friends . . . will keep you posted.

Eric John

9:39 AM  
Blogger Abu Daoud said...

Congratualtions! COme over to my place and I'll take you to the Byzantine liturgy in Arabic :-)

Ahlan wa sahlan

PS: I am thinking about your question regarding Nestorianism and Islam...keep an eye on the blog bc I might write about that.

2:36 PM  

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