April 23, 2016

The House of Lazarus (Christocentric Experiences of a Hermit)

By St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite

They laid out a dinner with Lazarus beside You, my God and my Lord, You Who are the Resurrection and the Life.

Who could see You there and not be inflamed with wonder, love, gratitude and glorification?

And what would You have supposedly said when Mary, in a divine frenzy and outburst of thanksgiving, whose four-day dead brother You raised, "took about a pinta of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair."

What would You have said, my Jesus, since You were made silent by the evangelist?

What a paradisaical image is presented of the house of Your friend Lazarus, when "six days before Passover" You went to the house of the one risen from the dead!

But, when the house "was filled with the fragrance of myrrh," and the souls were fascinated by the divine change brought by Your divine myrrh-flowing, the "charitable" voice of Judas was heard.

It sounded like a terrible echo that came through the darkling abyss of hell.

What a tragic contrast was created by the demonized iron heart!

If, my Christ, the nous was illumined and the heart liberated of the blameworthy passions, so they were divinely altered by the flame and light of Your divine presence, could they become unfettered from earthly thoughts, impoverished, unworthy of the moment and of Your ineffable goodness?

Does this not perhaps appear like the tragedy of a life without belief and the human apostasy of the history of mankind?

And after the resurrection, by Your despotic word, of Lazarus of the four-days, there flared up so much envy from the chief priests, that they "made plans to kill Lazarus as well!"

O Lord and God of love! What an unbelievable fall! What a splattering is malice and envy! How demonized the clergy!

But You, my sweet Jesus, head towards Your voluntary Passion, as a sacrifice for the salvation of the entire world, no matter how much Your soul is troubled, as a man, by the ingratitude and murderous intentions of the rulers of the people.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.