Saturday, October 23, 2010
“Lay aside all earthly care...”
The title of this post comes from a line in the Cherubic Hymn chanted in every Divine Liturgy of the Orthodox after the proclamation of the Holy Gospel. It is a line that comforts me immensely, like the words of Christ the Logos in His Gospel ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’ (Matt. 11:28), it gives me great strength to carry on the struggle, because ‘I can do everything through Him who gives me strength’ (Phil. 4:13), it focuses me on the timeless event that is happening before my own eyes: the Mystery of the Eucharist. And through the psalmody of the Church at this moment my nous is transfigured, taken into another world, a world in which there is no yesterday, today and tomorrow. It is just me and God, because the Timeless One always has time for me, even if no-on else does.
Indeed, this is very much so a mystery.
This is something central in the Orthodox phronema (manner of thinking/state of mind); that behind everything there is a mystery, not the least the humble human being, but also more deeply the heart of a human being. The Logos tells us in the so-called ‘Old Testament’ (although there is nothing ‘old’ about it) ‘My Son, give me your heart’ (Prov. 23:26).
What is the heart? "...As the bodily heart is the centre of the body's life, the spiritual heart is the centre of our spiritual life. The heart governs the whole body and when Grace conquers the whole heart, then it reigns over all thoughts and parts." (Archimandrite Spyridon Logothetis, The Heart). “The heart”, says Fr. Zacharias, "...is the place where God's communion with man is cultivated, the Spirit of God is revealed, operates and prays" (The Enlargement of the Heart).
Where is the heart? Fr. Zacharias answers, "The heart is within our chest. When we speak of the heart, we speak of our spiritual heart which coincides with the fleshly one; but when man receives illumination and sanctification, then his whole being becomes a heart." (The Hidden Man of the Heart).
It is no wonder that St Makarios said, “The heart itself is but a small vessel, yet dragons are there, and there are also lions; there are poisonous beasts and all the treasures of evil. But there too is God, the angels, the life and the kingdom, the light and the apostles, the heavenly cities and the treasuries of grace—all things are there.”
Why do we need to “Lay aside all earthly care”? “To receive the King of all” in our hearts.
Quotes of Fr Zacharias and Arch. Spyridon Logothetis from Finding the Way to the Heart
Posted by Orthodox Christian Resources at 12:25 PM