Tuesday, October 8, 2019

"doxological contrition"

"From my youth, O Saviour, I have rejected Thy commandments.  Ruled by the passions, I have passed my whole life in heedlessness and sloth.  Therefore I cry to Thee, O Saviour, even now at the end:  Save me."

Ἐκ νεότητος Σωτὴρ, τὰς ἐντολάς σου ἐπαρωσάμην, ὅλον ἐμπαθῶς, ἀμελῶν ῥᾳθυμῶν, παρῆλθον τὸν βίον·  διὸ κράζω σοι Σωτήρ·  Κᾂν ἐν τῷ τέλει σῶσόν με.

     St. Andrew of Crete, The Great Canon, Tone six, Canticle one, Mattins, Thursday in the Fifth Week of Lent; The Lenten Triodion, trans. Mother Mary and Kallistos Ware (South Canaan, PA:  St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, 2002), 380.  Greek:  Triōdion katanyktikon, periechon hapasantēn anēkousan autō akolouthian tēs Hagias kai Megalēs Tessarakostēs.  Apo tēs Kyriakēs tou telōnou kai tou Pharisaiou, mechri tou Hagiou kai Megalou Savvatou . . . , 4th ed.(Venice:  Ek tou Hellēnikou typ. ho Phoinix, 1876), 259 (the translators of The Lenton Triodion give their own original at the top of p. 66).  The wonderful phrase "doxological contrition" I have taken from a 7 September 2019 Thomistic Institute lecture by Fr. Khaled Anatolios entitled "Salvation:  a view from the Byzantine liturgy," which also put me onto this passage. 

"Joy to the world"

"from its very beginning Christianity has been the proclamation of joy, of the only possible joy on earth.  It rendered impossible all joy we usually think of as possible.  But within this possibility, at the very bottom of this darkness, it announced and conveyed a new all-embracing joy, and with this joy it transformed the End into a Beginning.  Without the proclamation of this joy Christianity is incomprehensible.  It is only as joy that the Church was victorious in the world, and it lost the world when it lost that joy, and ceased to be a credible witness to it.  Of all accusations against Christians, the most terrible one was uttered by Nietzsche when he said that Christians had no joy."

     Alexander Schmemann, For the life of the world:  sacraments and Orthodoxy, 2nd rev. & expanded ed. (New York:  St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1973), 24.  I was reminded of this passage by Fr. Khaled Anatolios, whose 7 September 2019 Thomistic Institute lecture "Salvation:  a view from the Byzantine liturgy," which speaks of (among other things) "doxological contrition", is a helpful attempt to take up the senses in which joy must of course be a Christian experience (summarized from 39:45, or, more specifically, 40:50).