St. Isaac of Syria on Preparation for the Day of Judgement

When you approach your bed, say to it: “This very night, perchance, you will be my tomb, O bed; for I know not whether tonight, in place of a transient sleep, the eternal sleep of the future will be mine.” And so, while you still have legs, follow the path of doing, before you are tied by bonds that can never be severed. While you still have hands, crucify yourself in prayer before death comes. While you still have eyes, fill them with tears, before they are covered by dust. As a rose wilts at a breath of the wind, so at a little puff on even one of the elements of which you are composed you will die. Establish, O man, in your heart the thought that instant departure confronts you, and constantly say to yourself: “There, already, at the door is the messenger come for me. Why am I idle? My removal is for ever; there will be no return.” – St. Isaac of Syria

Church and State

Father Stephen at Glory to God for All Things has a wonderful post about the relationship between Christianity and government. From that post:

We are commanded of God to preach. But we must think very carefully about the difference between a call to preach the Kingdom of God and various opportunities offered to us to bring about some earthly shadow of that Kingdom by the means used by the State. For make no mistake, at the end of the day, the state will use the gun and the gallows to enforce its will…

Iraq church has ‘new martyrs’, says Baghdad archbishop

Geneva (ENI). Christians are fleeing Iraq and Christianity risks disappearing from the country, says a senior Baghdad archbishop, reiterating appeals made recently to Western churches to intercede with their governments about the plight of the Iraqis. “We do have the courage of faith, the outpouring of love, but because of the war, you see death and destruction, the manifestation of evil. Our people are lacking hope, and so they are leaving,” said Archbishop Avak V. Asadourian of the Armenian Church of Iraq in an interview with Ecumenical News International. “We have new martyrs in the church in Iraq,” said Asadourian. “I know of no one incident in the last four years where priests have converted to another religion because they have been threatened,” the archbishop stated, adding the same was true for lay people. “So in Iraq the faith of your brothers and sisters in Christ is strong enough to face martyrdom.” [593 words, ENI-07-0956]

Ecumenical News International Online

C.S. Lewis on Perfection

The command “Be ye perfect” is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible. He is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command. He said (in the Bible) that we were “gods” and He is going to make good His words. If we let Him–for we can prevent Him, if we choose–He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, a dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine, a bright stainless mirror which reflects back to God perfectly (though, of course, on a smaller scale) His own boundless power and delight and goodness. The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said. – C.S. Lewis, “Beyond Personality”