My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE CUP OF CHRIST
By Saint Ignatii Brianchaninov
Two beloved disciples asked the Lord for thrones of glory He gave them His cup (St. Matthew 20:23). The Cup of Christ is suffering. To those who drink from it on earth, the Cup of Christ grants participation in Christ's Kingdom of grace; it prepares for them the thrones of eternal glory in heaven.
We stand in silence before the Cup of Christ, nor can any man complain about it or reject it; for He who commanded us to taste it, first drank of it Himself. O tree of the knowledge of good and evil! You killed our ancestors in Paradise, you deceived them by the delusions of sensual pleasure and the delusions of reason. Christ, the Redeemer of the fallen, brought His Cup of salvation into this world, to the fallen and to those who are exiled from Paradise. The bitterness of this Cup cleanses the heart from forbidden, and destructive and sinful pleasure; through the humility flowing from it in abundance, the pride of understanding on the carnal level is mortified. To him who drinks from the Cup with faith and patience, the eternal life which was and still is lost to him by his tasting of forbidden fruit will be restored.
"I will accept the Cup of Christ, the cup of salvation" (Psalm 116:13). The cup is accepted when a Christian bears earthly tribulation in the spirit of humility learned from the Gospel.
Saint Peter turned swiftly with a naked sword to defend the God-man, who was surrounded by evil-doers; but the meek Jesus said to Peter: "Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup My Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" (St. John 18:11). So you too, when disaster surrounds you, should comfort and strengthen your soul, saying: "The Cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"
The Cup is bitter: at first sight, all human reasoning is confounded. Surmount reason by faith and drink courageously from the bitter Cup: it is the Father Who gives it to you, He Who is All-Good and All-Wise. It is neither the Pharisees, nor Caiaphas, nor Judas who prepared the Cup; it is neither Pilate nor his soldiers who gave it! "The cup which My Father hath given Me shall I not drink?'
The Pharisees think evil, Judas betrays, Pilate orders the unlawful killing; the soldiers of the government execute his order. Through their evil deeds, all these prepared their own true perdition. Do not prepare for yourself just such perdition by remembering evil, by longing for and dreaming of revenge, and by indignation against your enemies. The heavenly Father is Almighty and All-seeing: He sees your afflictions, and if He had found it necessary and profitable to withdraw the Cup from you, He certainly would have done so.
The Lord as the Scripture and Church history testify has often allowed afflictions to befall his beloved, and often warded off afflictions from them, in accordance with the unfathomable ways of Providence. When you are faced with the Cup, turn your gaze from the people who give it to you; lift your eyes to Heaven and say: "The Cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"
I will take the cup of salvation, I cannot reject the Cup, the promise of heavenly and eternal good. The Apostle of Christ teaches me patience when he says: "...we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). How can one reject the Cup which is the means of attaining this Kingdom and growing within it? I will accept the Cup the gift of God. The Cup of Christ is the gift of God. The great Paul writes to the Philippians, "For unto you it is given in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for his sake" (Phil. 1:29).
(To be continued)
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" -- Saint John Chrysostomos
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God