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Do you have a favorite saint?
One of the many revered saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church is depicted in The Life of St Mary of Egypt, an epic story of repentance. Saint Mary describes her soul was filled with shame and obscenity in her disgraceful life of lechery and debauchery and truly was the devil’s chosen vessel.
However, realizing that sin cannot satisfy the deep yearnings of the human soul, she repented and followed the instructions given to her to cross the Jordan River, where she would find rest. For 47 years, she lived in the desert in a state of constant repentance and prayer and, through the Lord’s grace and mercy, received the alive and active miraculous gifts from the Holy Spirit of God.
The story is narrated to us by Saint Sophronius, who records this holy account and great marvel of the Life of Saint Mary. Read (or listen above) to the journey of how a monastic (Abba Zosimus) in his spiritual walk, who prayed to God to encounter another who might further enlighten him in humility and holiness, meets Saint Mary of Egypt.
This story emphasizes the importance of Christ’s first and most important message to all of mankind, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is within you.” Saint Paul says, “it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20). Keeping this in mind, let this Lenten season be a walk with a desire to repent, to rediscover your soul and awaken from the sleep of prideful ignorance, freeing oneself from the prison of self-centeredness.
In Ecclesiastes 7:20, “For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.” Sin Is the wound; repentance is the medicine. Repentance is not a court of law, not a judge; not an investigation, for here is Christ, the Physician, and the Church the hospital, where one receives healing in the remission of sins.
Most things in life are in a constant state of repair. Should we not be just as attentive and concerned about our state, which is in need of repairs? Years are not needed for true repentance and not even days, but only an instance. Christ offers all of us the opportunity to be with Him eternally by daily confessing our sins with a repentant heart and mind. It is only then we are able to receive, from our Father in Heaven, all that He is and desires to share with us.
It is always possible to make a new start by means of repentance. “You fell,” it is written, “now arise” (Proverbs 24:16). And if you fall again, then rise again, without despairing at all of your salvation, no matter what happens. As long as you do not surrender yourself willingly to the enemy, your patient endurance, combined with self-reproach, will suffice for your salvation….. Saint John Chrysostom.
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- Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: Roman Catholicism - January 5, 2020
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- Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: Prayer Groups For Healing - November 25, 2019
- Salvation as defined by the Eastern Orthodox Church - November 5, 2019
- Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian: Triune God - October 19, 2019