Preparation…

I know that in my heart I am preparing. I am preparing for heaven and paradise and theosis. And the way to these–the path which leads one there–is Jesus. As Fr. Hopko has said, “you don’t get to Jesus through your holiness; it is through Jesus that we become holy.” In the spirit of “forsaking all else” in order to know “only Him” I resign myself from the pursuit of some of the bodily passions which have heretofore consummed me (how ironic: I had thought that I was consumming them!). And so I fast in preparation and in anticipation of the Feast.
What Feast? A feast of heavenly fellowship. A feast of the koinonia. A feast of communion of saints. In other words a feast which is the restoration of All.

a prayer by St. Basil the Great
Lord and Master Jesus Christ our God, fount of life and immortality, creator of all things both visible and invisible, Son of the eternal Father, who together with Him are eternal and without beginning. Who in Your goodness, in these latter days, took on our flesh and was crucified, sacrificing Yourself for us ungrateful and thankless people. Who through Your Blood has renewed our nature, which was corrupted by sin. 0 Immortal King, also receive my repentance, for I am a sinner.

Look upon me and hear my voice; I have sinned, 0 Lord, I have sinned against heaven and before You, and I am unworthy to look upon the height of Your glory. I have offended Your goodness by trampling upon Your precepts and ignoring Your commandments. But Lord, who bears malice towards no one, who are long-suffering and all merciful; You have not let me perish in my transgressions, but You wait for my complete return. Lover of mankind, You said through Your prophet: I do not desire the death of a sinner, but rather that he return and live. 0 Master, You do not desire that the work of Your hands should perish, nor do You wait the fall of mankind, “but You desire that all be saved in the true knowledge which is to come.”

Although I have completely subjected myself to sin and am unworthy of heaven, of earth and of this passing life. Even though I am a slave to delights and have disgraced Your image, yet I still do not lose hope in salvation, wretched as I am, for You have made and fashioned me. I place my hope in Your boundless mercy and approach You:

Receive me, 0 Christ, Lover of mankind, as You received the harlot and the thief, the publican and the prodigal son. Remove the heavy burden of my sins, for You take away the sin of the world and heal man’s weaknesses; You call the weary and over-burdened, giving them rest.

You came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Cleanse me of all impurity, both of soul and body. Teach me to practice holiness in the fear of You, that with a clear conscience I may partake of Your holy Body and Blood and may have You to dwell and abide in me together with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

Lord Jesus Christ, my God, may my partaking of Your pure and life-creating Mysteries not bring me into judgement, nor may I become weak in soul or body, for I partake of them unworthily. But to my last breath, grant that I may receive a portion of Your holy Mysteries without condemnation, for the communion of the Holy Spirit, as food for eternal life and for an acceptable response at Your fearful judgment seat. Together with Your chosen ones, may I participate in Your unfading goodness, which You have prepared for those who love You, 0 Lord, glorified unto ages of ages. Amen.

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