Saturday, June 20, 2009

νυν απολυεις τον δουλον σου, δεσποτα - updated

With a heavy heart I just read a post at JN1034. One of the three Orthodox brothers of that blog is preparing to sleep in Christ.

PARAKLESIS ALERT: +JN1034/Athens Eclipsed, Diseased, Agonizing, Preparing to Sleep (and Resurrect!)

This is a great trauma, an impeding loss transcending expression. None knew that +JN1034/Athens (68 y/o) has been suffering with an incurable disease (bladder cancer) for over a year, keeping this a secret save between his heart and God.
"Paraklesis alert" is what most of us westerners call a "prayer request."
He asks we do not pray for his well-being, but for those yet alive whose theosis must be made perfect in the Tradition, as the living members of the Church, for the glory of the Holy Trinity, of the sacred creation, and of all humanity - those who were, are, and will be


The Holy Spirit is upon us; God with us, always, in all ways. This is the Gospel.

I weep to share this with you.

I give thanks for his life and witness to God's gracious love for creation. I pray that his pain may be eased, his heart held in God's love, his entrance to eternal joy come peacefully.

I pray for his comrades as they walk with him in this journey's end and for the Holy Spirit to strengthen and console them in their grief.

I pray for all my Orthodox siblings throughout the world, and especially for my LGBT Orthodox siblings.

Almighty God, we entrust all who are dear to us to thy never-failing care and love, for this life and the life to come, knowing that thou art doing for them better things than we can desire or pray for; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Lord, I know not what to ask of thee; thou alone knowest what are my true needs. Thou lovest me more than I know how to love myself. Help me to see my real needs which are concealed from me. I dare not ask either a cross or consolation. I can only wait on thee. My heart is open to thee. Visit and help me for thy great mercy’s sake, strike me and heal me, cast me down and raise me up. I worship in silence thy holy will and thine inscrutable ways. I offer myself as a sacrifice to thee. I put all my trust in thee. I have no other desire than to fulfill thy will. Teach me how to pray, pray thou thyself in me. Amen.
Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh Metropolitan Philaret of Moscow

May the cross of the Son of God, who is mightier than all the powers of evil, abide with you in your going out and your coming in! From the wrath of evil people, from the temptation of the devil, from all low passions that beguile the soul and body, may it guard, protect, and deliver you: and may the blessing of God the Almighty and Merciful, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always. Amen.
—Adapted from the Book of Common Prayer
of the Church of India, Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon

νυν απολυεις τον δουλον σου δεσποτα κατα το ρημα σου εν ειρηνη
οτι ειδον οι οφθαλμοι μου το σωτηριον σου
ο ητοιμασας κατα προσωπον παντων των λαων
φως εις αποκαλυψιν εθνων και δοξαν λαου σου ισραηλ
--Song of Simeon the God-receiver

Update: my friend Raven Crawford-Dunn corrected my attribution on the prayer. Thanks!
--the BB


Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Prayers ascending!

Jane R said...

Prayers from here too! And much love to our dear Orthodox brothers.

+++JN1034 said...

Paul: Thank you (and Goran and Jane R) for your prayers and this blessed post (yes, it caused an emotional tsunami). Your brilliance ever-shines, as evidenced by the quotations (and Greek!). It's not the inevitability of his death that causes us much distress; rather, it was his longterm silence, his year+ of quiet suffering all the while doing what he must for others so none would grieve for him. Such a thing is remarkable, to hide one's physical agony so skillfully. Update: None knows how long he will stay on with us; months, a couple of years, but he won't tell family or close friends. Silly priest he his ... he still believes in miracles, refusing to let the disease have any power.

Paul said...

As the piety of my conservative, evangelical Protestant background affirms - and this I believe they have correctly - we know not what the future holds but we know Who holds the future. However this phase of the journey unfolds, hearts will stand before God holding you all in love.

The Nunc Dimittis is obvious; how could I not offer it in Greek? May Simeon the God-receiver intercede for the receiving of this li'l god.

+++JN1034 said...

"but we know Who holds the future"

Yes! This is why the centre holds (and holds true). Often we get sucked into the debilitating vortex of self and forgetfulness.