An Irish Welcome

Céad Míle Fáilte friend and rover ...
Wherever you come from and whosoever you may be.
That's an Irish greeting and it means

you are welcome
a thousand times over.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Lord praised by children

Philippians 4:4-9; John 12:1-18

O Immortal Lord, 
Thou has bound hell, slain death, and raised the world:
therefore the children, carrying palms,
sing praise to Thee as Victor, O Christ,
and they cry aloud to Thee this day:
"Hosanna to the Son of David!
"For no more," say they,
"shall the little children be slain because of Mary's child;
 but Thou alone art crucified for all, both young and old.
No more shall the sword be drawn against us,
for Thy side is pierced by a spear.
With great rejoicing, then, we cry:
Blessed art Thou that comest to call back Adam."
-- Ikos from Palm Sunday Matins.

"Let the children come to Me,"
exclaims the Son of the Virgin,
and only children come to Him (cf. Mk 10:13-16)

When you hear sung in the psalms, "Praise the Lord, ye children", do not imagine that the exhortation does not pertain to you because you have already passed your youth and you are either blooming in the prime of adulthood, or growing gray with honours of old age. For to you the Apostle says, "Brethren, be not children in understanding; howbeit, in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men" (cf. Cor 14:20; Mt. 18:3).

What malice in particular except pride? For it is pride that, presuming to false greatness, does not suffer man to walk along the narrow path, and to enter by the narrow gate. The child easily enters through the narrow entrance, and so no man, except as a child, enters into the kingdom of heaven ...

"Blessed be the name of the Lord from henceforth and for evermore"

If any of the holy children who praise the name of the Lord were to ask of me and say to me "for evermore" I understand to mean unto all eternity, but why 'from henceforth' and why is the name of the Lord not blessed before this and before all ages, I would not answer in contempt.

... Let the Name of the Lord be blessed, 'from henceforth', that is, from the moment you speak these words. For you begin to praise, but you praise without end ... Or, since in this passage he seems to signify humility rather than childhood, the contrary of which is the vain and false greatness of pride, and for this reason none but children praise the Lord -- since the proud do not know how to praise Him -- let your old age be childlike old age. Neither may your wisdom be with pride, nor your humility without wisdom ...

Wherever the Church of Christ is diffused in her childlike saints ... 'from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, the name of the Lord is to be praised'.

-- Blessed Augustine of Hippo, Commentary on Psalm 112

"Why children, O Lord, why do You seek children?" those who are made and not born ask the One who was begotten and not made. Such people are made and not born, like statues of stones, and they are moved by the winds of the world. But the One who is begotten and not made moves with life within, and the winds of the world flee from Him ...

Only children recognise Me,
for I too am a child.

As a child I am not My own, and as a child I do not seek glory for Myself. As a child I do not think anything on My own, I do not speak anything on My own, and I do not do anything on My own. Instead, like a child, I think what My Father taught Me, and I speak what I hear, and I do what I see (cf. Jn 5:19-23,30,43) ...

Children and Saints cling to You,
O Lord, the rest rebel against You.

-- St Nikolai Velimirovich, Prayers By the Lake, LXXVII and XCV.

The Sessional Hymn from Palm Sunday Matins:
With our souls cleansed
and in spirit carrying branches,
with faith let us sing Christ's praises
like the children,
crying with a loud voice to the Master:

Blessed art Thou, O Saviour,
who has come into the world to save Adam from the ancient curse;
and in Thy love for mankind
Thou hast been pleased to become spiritually the new Adam.
O Word, who hast ordered all things for our good, glory to Thee.

... that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible 1 may attain the resurrection from the dead
-- (Philippians 3:10-11).

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