A Curious Taste of Old – An Original Poem

image

Now there’s a taste I done forgot.
Might be ice cream or chocolot,
Or cookies and cream. Peanut butter?
Oh I know! It’s Nutter Butter!

Oh wait, no. I have another!
For sure it is not peanut butter.
Maybe Queen Anne’s chocolate cherries
Or even ranch dipped grapes or berries.

To find my taste may take a miracle.
Perhaps I simply want some cereal.
Oh I wish I could recall
Of that taste I had one Fall.

What if it’s OJ with some bacon?
That’s not how my breakfast’s taken,
No. A seasonal egg with cream?
This is all some awful dream.

It’s been an hour, and yet no luck.
At this point I may just eat a truck.
Oh wait! I know! A memory of old,
When I was a kid and was very bold!

Without a doubt it must be pudding
Of chocolate in a queer viewing:
Amid the toppings within a bun:
A burger with cheese, yes that’s the one!

The Prayer of the Arimathean – An Original Poem

THE LAMENT

I, Joseph, weep for my Lord.
The Son of David has been crucified.
The children of flesh, of their father the devil,
Not according to the promises,
Have struck the Shepherd
And all we like sheep have gone astray.
The bulls surrounded Him,
Like their fathers encamped around the prophets,
And He was poured out like water.
The One to Whom the government
Was given was wounded and bruised,
Though He opened not His mouth.

I was not afraid to approach Him
For I was not deceitful and
I paid my vows in God’s assembly,
Trusting the Lord from my heart and
Not from vain and empty lips.
Although I know the Law,
I do not know Your mysteries.
And though I teach righteousness,
I do not know what You have hidden.

You laid the foundation of the world,
And established Israel.
In the parting of the waters they were made.
You drew out Leviathan with a fishhook
And drowned Pharaoh with his army.
You placed the stars in the heavens,
And Your angels rejoiced.
You satisfied the wilderness with rain,
And, in Your power, Leviathan was given for food to beasts.
You gave the wind it’s weight
And made a way for the lightning.
The fear of You, You have said, is the beginning of wisdom
And to turn from evil is knowledge.

Israel angered You in the wilderness,
Yet You loved them
And gave them angels’ bread.
Though they provoked You,
You brought their children to the land You promised.
In faithfulness have You dealt with us,
And we repaid You with idolatry.
You gave us David, Your friend,
And You gave him an everlasting kingdom.
His son established the Temple
And, coming in fire, Your glory dwelt there.
But we would not turn away from our whoring,
Continually making sacrifice to demons
And persecuting Your prophets.
Therefore, You gave us up to the demons of the nations;
You have set Gentile rulers over us.
First Israel fell to Assyria,
Then Judah to Babylon.
Oh Lord, they have reigned over us until now.

I have searched, Oh God of Jacob.
I have searched the words of Your prophets.
I know Elijah has come and
Has baptized many in the Jordan.
I know the Christ comes after
And restores the kingdom to Israel.
I have seen Jesus, the Son of David.
I know what I have seen:
The heavens were opened
When the Son of David was immersed.
The blind man Bartimaeus can see,
The deaf man of Decapolis hear,
The leper of Galilee was cleansed,
And the dead were raised:
Jairus’ daughter and even Lazarus,
Who was three days dead.
He went up on a high place as Moses
And taught us a new Law.
He did not abolish the old one,
But fulfilled it in a word:
He loved us and taught the same.
He had compassion on many
And fed them with bread, as You did.
And so they wished for the
Death of Your Holy One;
They encircled the Righteous Man
Who they ambushed saying
“He opposes us and accuses us
Of sins against the law.
God will deliver His Son,
So let us test Him.”

But He did not revile,
Though they reviled Him.
He did not curse, but went to death.
At His cry, angels would have borne Him
And kept Him in their hands.
At His command, we would have fought,
But He rebuked His disciples for fighting
And kept them from the sword.
He was led like a lamb to slaughter
And in silence was He before His accusers.
So they beat Him
And He couldn’t be recognized;
They scourged Him.
They mocked Him, giving Him
A thorny crown and a purple garment.
But they were not yet content.
In their bloodlust they demanded Him crucified.
So the innocent Man was led away to die.

Oh Lord, my God, prove me to be wrong.
Let my understanding be of no account.
For I buried my King,
My Lord in whom I trusted.
I was a secret disciple,
But at His death was bold.
I spoke out in the council.
In the Sanhedrin I made my displeasure known.
So I was not afraid to ask for His body,
And in my tomb I laid Him.
I became like His father
Who saw Him in a cave at His birth;
Like the carpenter, a cave I gave Him to rest in.
So they arrested me for my kindness,
They have repaid evil for good
And heaped wrath upon themselves.
The soul of Your Righteous One
Is in Your hands, my God.
Let us receive Him again like Isaac.
Let Him be like Joseph who was thought dead,
And restore Him to us like Tobias
With Your angel, oh God.
I have hoped in You, my Refuge,
Let me not be put to shame.

THE PRAISE

A wonder! A mystery revealed to the sons of men and the hosts of heaven!
The Son of God is not kept in a tomb.
He who is borne upon the Powers and Thrones
Who sits enthroned between the Cherubim
And dwells in darkness
Has made known to us the mystery of Godliness:
The Word of God, who laid the foundations of the world
By Whom the heavens were made,
Even He was made flesh
And has been vindicated by the Spirit
In the power of the Resurrection!
Therefore let us lay aside all earthly cares,
Setting our minds above,
For our Christ has endured the grave,
Though it could not endure Him.
And He has conquered death by His own death.

For in my chains He appeared to me.
In my despair He answered me.
I was rewarded for my faithfulness by Him;
I received the knowledge of His raising from Him.
“Arise oh God” I prayed,
And He did come forth.
“Judge the earth” I said,
And He has come.
He has come to judge the nations
And put the wicked Powers to shame.
He has canceled our debt
And the elementary spirits he has put to scorn.
Therefore all power is His
And He shall sit upon the throne of the Father.
He shall reign until His enemies have been crushed.
His kingdom will have no end,
And his holy ones,
Whose names are written in His book,
Will reign and shine like stars with Him.
He has become the first fruits of the dead,
And in all things He is first.

Rejoice, Israel!
Be glad, all you nations!
For the King of Glory has risen!
In Him shall all be blessed;
He has inherited the gates of His enemies,
And Japeth shall dwell in His tents!
Blessed forever is the kingdom
Of the Father, Son, and Spirit!

THE EARTH OUGHT TO REJOICE TODAY -An Original Poem

imageTHE EARTH OUGHT TO REJOICE TODAY
And the heavens filled with gladness!
God has made for her a crown,
A diadem for the glory of the cosmos,
And a Ruby in it to adorn with beauty.
To her, angels have attended.
To her also, peace was given.

By her smile I am filled with joy
And giddiness has overcome me:
My heart is humbled at the
Sight of her innocence and of her purity,
And my soul receives strength when I see her resting.
Establish Catherine, oh Lord,
Steadfast and immovable.

Enable us also, our life-
giving Trinity, to glorify Thy wisdom.

“Blessed are the Clean of Heart” – An Original Poem

I have crossed myself with the staff
Of the Seed of Jacob, my Lord and my God,
And I have been baptized in the Jordan with my Christ.
Oh God, deal well with me, Your servant,
Though I am not worthy of the least
Of all Your mercies or of Your Truth.

Deliver me, oh Lord, from the hand of my enemies
And from them who encircle me, Oh my supreme Joy,
Teaching me to keep my treasure on earth for moths and rust.
But You, oh God, deliver me and purify my heart,
For You said, “I will surely treat you well
And make you as the angels in the resurrection.”

Enable me, oh Lord, to wrestle until daybreak
That I might be filled because I hunger,
That I might receive Your blessing,
That I may see Your Face.

A Word from St. Kosmas Aitolos

posts-icon-st-kosmos-aitolos2

Even if we perform upon thousands of good works, my brethren: fasts, prayers, almsgiving; even if we shed our blood for our Christ and we don’t have these two loves [love of God and love of brethren], but on the contrary have hatred and malice toward our brethren, all the good we have done is of the devil and we go to hell. But, you say, we go to hell despite all the good we do because of that little hatred?

Yes, my brethren, because that hatred is the devil’s poison, and just as when we put a little yeast in a hundred pounds of flour it has such power that it causes all the dough to rise, so it is with hatred. It transforms all the good we have done into the devil’s poison.

+St. Kosmas Aitolos, The Life of St. Kosmas Aitolos Together with an English Translation of His Teaching and Letters, Translated by Nomikos Michael Vaporis

A Word From Saint Maximus

12813973_963378987066204_7860296993314482003_n

If you fast and avoid a mode of life which excites the passions, and in general do whatever contributes to your deliverance from evil, then you have ‘prepared the way for the Lord’. 

But if you do these things out of selfesteem, or greed, or love of flattery, or for some similar motive, and not with a desire to perform God’s will, then you have not ‘made His paths straight’.

You have endured the labor of preparing the way but do not have God walking in your paths.

St Maximos the Confessor
The Philokalia – Vol II

How Worthless Is That Thing Called Love – Original Poem

How worthless is that thing called love (it is no love at all)
That strikes the heart with just the right strength
To leave all hope of sense behind!
It calls forth with such force a rage of sweat for palms,
Great clattering of knees, and the incessant drumming of the heart.
It is of the same devilish invention as the attention of
A dear trapped in headlights.
In full, I hope to be a friend, just a friend,
And put well aside this kind, this sin, of emotion.
In truth, my greatest offense is my affection
Which, without doubt, will tear apart all hope of sense and friendship.

But even in this darkness, I do hope against hope,
That your palms may soak in the sweat of your fear
And your knees left weak from the gaze of my eyes,
That even you might lose reason and feel with depth
The vast ocean that lies before you,
Waiting to be measured with the cup of the finitude
Of the time we may yet spend together,
A hope that one day we can live the
Beautiful portrait of the wonder of love.

The Successful 2016

The turn of the year brought about many heavy thoughts and cruel memories that I had to wrestle with. I have made many mistakes, as I’m sure most of us have. Mine are no more unique than yours, I’m sure. Unfortunately, that thought never stops me from spending hours at a time becoming consumed in the thick darkness of my own guilt.

Lately, though, I’ve noticed a great difference in the way I handle these negative thoughts. In my past, I would let them infect me, paralyze me, and destroy me. Recently, instead, I’ve been doing something about it. I’ve come to the point to where I’m tired of being consumed with negative thoughts and memories I can’t escape. Somewhere in the last six months I’ve decided to make the changes I need to make sure that these awful things can’t be repeated.

And so, many good things have simply fallen into place because of this change of attitude: I’ve gotten a promotion at work, I’ve paid off half of my debt, I’ve finished far more books in the last half a year than in my whole life, and I’ve overcome my crippling fear of strangers, even mastering the art of getting a phone number from them.

Naturally, then, I wanted to keep up this good work. So at the turn of the year, having been bombarded by the rampage of mind numbing mistakes of my past, I decided I was going to make a two resolutions this year: 1) read 52 books by the end of 2016, and 2) go back to school.

As far as one goes, I finished January having read 8 books cover to cover (the four Song of the Lioness books by Tamora Pierce and the first four Harry Potter books), and am currently on my 10th book. This is good for a few reasons. First, I’m committed to finishing the book series that I started back in high school, and hopefully to read those that I never got around to like the Chronicles of Narnia books. Second, since I’m starting to read these so late in the game, I’m seeing a lot of things that I really like and dislike in the books I’m reading. Essentially, I’m learning how to write (which is good because I love to write). Having 52 books to read in a year puts the quota at one book per week, and since I’m at book ten by week seven, I’d say I’m doing very well thus far.

Oh, and I’ve made some really good strides as far as going back to school is concerned. I filed my taxes at the end of January, as early as I could, so that I could fill out the FAFSA as early as possible. I’ve also spoken to both of my priests, all of my closest friends, a host of wise peers and good students, and mentors to ask for their wisdom, insight, tips, tricks, and knowledge on the challenges I’m going to be facing this fall.

Today, being the feast of St Polycarp, I spent away from work. (I’ve never worked on the feast of St Polycarp.) Instead, I was at Criswell college hoping to find out more on how to return in the fall and finish my degree. I’ve about 37 hours under my belt, which would leave me with about three years if I went back full time. Of course, that is my hope and thus far it seems quite possible. There are a few more details to be hammered out before I get carried away with it, but it seems to be working out for me. I still have to actually apply this Friday, schedule an appointment with the financial aid office, register for classes, and apply for a host of different scholarships, but by the prayers of Saints Polycarp, Nicholas of Myra, Nicholas of Japan, and Kosmas Aitolos, I’ll be attending Criswell in the fall of this year.

If I’ll be returning for a full time course load, the possible schedule would be:

Monday:

Old Testament Backgrounds
Hebrew 1

Tuesday:

Old Testament Survey 1
Topics in New Testament Studies: The Use of the Old Testament in the New
Baptist History and Distinctives

This is a very very good schedule that I hope remains unchanged. I like the professors I’ll be taking and will surely love the topics I’ll be studying (Baptist history too, even though I’m Orthodox).

 

If you made it to the end, please remember me in your prayers.