Monday, December 04, 2006

St. John Damascene

Chrysorrhoas, the Golden Speaker. Today is the Feast of this Doctor of the Church, who was once the protosymbolous, the Chief Councillor to the Ummayid Caliph, and famous for his response to iconoclasm. Of late, his views on Islam, which regard it as a Christian heresy (and which was one of the principal lenses through which Islam was regarded by the Christian world for a long time since) have circulated in the blogosphere.

This excerpt from his Statement of Faith, from today's Office of Readings is quite powerful.
In this way you have humbled yourself, Christ my God, so that you might carry me, your stray sheep, on your shoulders. You let me graze in green pastures, refreshing me with the waters of orthodox teaching at the hands of your shepherds. You pastured these shepherds, and now they in turn tend your chosen and special flock. Now you have called me, Lord, by the hand of your bishop to minister to your people. I do not know why you have done so, for you alone know that. Lord, lighten the heavy burden of the sins through wich I have seriously transgressed. Purify my mind and heart. Like a shining lamp, lead me along the straight path. When I open my mouth, tell me what I should say. By the fiery tongue of your Spirit make my own tongue ready. Stay with me always and keep me in your sight.

Lead me to pastures, Lord, and graze there with me. Do not let my heart lean either to the right or to the left, but let your good Spirit guide me along the straight path. Whatever I do, let it be in accordance with your will, now until the end.

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