The Pokrov

A topic raised recently at Desert Calling got me thinking… amongst the anticipation of approaching the Chalice, the examination of myself and what I need to do more of and less of, Lord have mercy, I thought of my want, need, desire… utter longing desire of approaching the Mysteries as an Orthodox Christian. Tomorrow is the Pokrov, the Protection of our Most Glorious Lady the Theotokos Mary, which will mark two years since I stepped foot into the parish dedicated to her Dormition. It’s almost hard to believe — two years I’ve been attending Saint Mary’s, a year and a half I’ve been a Catechumen… yet how much has changed? I do not pray as I should, I do not fast as I should, I cannot hold my temper and my tongue contains the fires of hell, I raise my hands willingly towards my passions but scarcely do I labor with them. Baptism has not come for me, because I have not been approaching God with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my strength.

Many of you pray for me often, for my quick entry into the Church, for my well-being, for my health, for my stability, for my salvation and for a light in my darkest times… for that I am infinitely thankful, I know that the only good in me comes from grace, and this grace through your selfless and holy prayers. St. Isaac the Syrian said something about 1,400 years ago that’s still so relevant…

Know with certainty, therefore, that to stand is not within your own power, nor does it pertain to your virtue, but it belongs to grace herself which carries you on the palm of her hand that you may not be alarmed.

St. Isaac the Syrian, our father most wise in God and speedy intercessor for my soul, pray unto God for my salvation.

I digress…

Tomorrow I will visit the Dormition of the Mother of God and seek her prayers, earnestly, that I may emulate her strength and virtue in such a way that I may be joined to Christ in death and resurrection. I’ve spent too much time in ease and idleness, knowing that it injures my soul more than the demons and where such a path leads. I’ve taken my faith too lightly, adapting it readily to my mind and to my thoughts, but not entirely to my heart. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, I don’t want to be a Pharisee — I want to stand in the old paths, walk the ancient way, and find rest for my soul.

It is not in my vainglory, it is not in a dinner plate, it is not in my infinite vanity or lusts or anger, it is not in my bare minimum near effortless rule of prayer or going to Church only when I want to, it is not even in the smells and bells and aesthetic beauty within the temple. It is in being outcast, the shame of the world, to dare to be spit upon and cast out by an uncomprehending world — it isn’t necessarily in a healthy and wealthy prosperous life, but in bearing a cross, in sharing in the pains and labors of Crucifixion even unto death — as Blessed Father Seraphim Rose of Platina said, there is nothing more to expect out of being Christian than to be crucified.

What servant is greater than his Master?

Panagia, most glorious, radiant intercessor before the throne of Grace, exalted beyond men and angels you pray for the souls of those who honor you — do so now pray for my soul that the Lord may look mercifully upon me and deliver me from every worldly care, that I may walk in the path set by the Cross and press forward, never looking back. O my Lady, smile warmly upon me, keep me in your holy prayers and do thou save me, that I may ever glorify and rightly worship your Son, together with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Amin.

Saints of Heaven, especially Saint John the Wonderworker of Shanghai and San Fransisco, Saint Herman of Alaska, Blessed Father Seraphim Rose and all the Saints of North America, together with Saint Isaac the Syrian, speedy and powerful intercessor for my soul, with Saint Anthony the Great, Saint Moses the Ethiopian, Saint Mary of Egypt, Saint John Chrysostom, and Saint Nikolai of Ohrid, pray for me a sinner that the Lord may have mercy upon me and save me.

The Lord is King, He has robed Himself in majesty.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amin.

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2 Responses to “The Pokrov”

  1. Beautiful, my brother.

  2. Well said, Blake.

    It’s hard to believe it’s been two years. Seems like just yesterday we were introduced at TAW, doesn’t it?

    You have come a long way in that time, you have helped others on similar journeys, and you are moving in the right direction. It’s obvious to me, and I can’t help but believe that others who have interacted with you during this time have witnessed this, too.

    You remain in my prayers.

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