March 7, 2011

Saint Aimilianos the Roman

St. Aimilianos the Roman (Feast Day - March 7)

By St. Nikolai Velimirovich

Aimilianos was born in Rome and committed many grave sins in his youth. When Aimilianos came to his senses later in life, he refrained from sinning and began to tremble just thinking about the judgment of God. Aimilianos immediately entered a monastery and by fasting, vigils and obedience, he tamed and shriveled his body. He was an ideal example to his brethren in all virtuous acts of asceticism. Frequently at night, he would step out of the monastery and enter into a nearby cave to pray. Not knowing where Aimilianos was going, the abbot of the monastery secretly followed him one night. The abbot saw Aimilianos standing at prayer in reverence and in tears. All at once, a heavenly light, brighter than the sun, encompassed the entire mountain but especially the cave and Aimilianos. A voice was heard from heaven saying, "Aimilianos, your sins are forgiven you." Filled with fright, the abbot hurried back to the monastery. The next day, he revealed to the brethren what he had seen and heard the previous night. Great respect was shown to Aimilianos by the brethren. He lived long and died in the Lord.

A Reflection From the Life of St. Aimilianos

A thick rope is made from thin, fibrous strands of hemp. One thin fiber cannot hold you tied nor can it strangle you. For you will easily, as in jest, break it and free yourself from it. If you are tied by a thick rope, you can be held bound and even be strangled by it. Neither can you break it easily nor free yourself from it. As a thick rope consists of thin and weak fibers, so the passions of man consist of minor sins. Man can break off and turn away from the beginnings of minor sins. But, when sin after sin is repeated, the weave becomes all the more stronger and stronger until in the end a passion is created, which then turns man into some kind of monster as only it knows how. You cannot easily cut it off, nor distance yourself from it, nor can you divorce yourself from it. O, if only men would beware and take care of the beginnings of sins! Then, they would not have to endure much in freeing themselves from passions. "To cut off rooted passions is as difficult as cutting off the fingers," said a monk from the Holy Mountain. To free himself from sinful passions, St. Aimilianos was helped by thinking thoughts of death and, understandably, the Grace of God, without which it is extremely difficult to rid oneself of the fetters of passion. To think often of impending death, to repent and to implore Grace from Almighty God, these three save a man from the bondage of sin. St. Sisoes was asked, "At which time can passions be uprooted?" The Saint replied, "As soon as one passion takes root in you, uproot it immediately."

Saint Aimilianos

Aimilianos, a grave sinner,
And from sin, the soul aches,
Aimilianos, disconsolate
For forgiveness, he prays to God:

O Most High, O Most wonderful,
From Whom the sun has light,
From Whom the angelic choir, its wakeful
Existence, joy and radiance receive!

For You only, O God, do I care,
Repentantly, I return to You,
Only to You do I offer thanks
That now, I truly comprehend life.

Tears, tears, tears, I shed,
Body and spirit now are fasting,
Vision of the world and hearing I conceal,
Forgive, O God, forgive, forgive!

For Your mercy I am a field,
Weed me and cultivate me,
Let my soul be alive,
And the flesh suffer and feel pain.

Of all men, I am the worst,
Behold, I judge myself,
Just do not judge me, O God,
I fear You, Only You!