Canon of St. Andrew of Crete

As this is the season of joyous renewal (Great Lent) together with awareness that the drifting accumulations in our lives have perhaps run other than expected, it’s clear that those things we once welcomed and treasured as the white snows of our childish delights and the promises of freedom for a day here and there, have perhaps darkened with time and the soot thrown off of our modern lives. So that now as the eye falls, we see these differently, and may seek after more authentic treasures with circumspect desires and the zeal born of our wading through twists and turns only to find there is indeed a light ahead.

So in pausing before our next step, perhaps it’s worth some effort to clear our view as in The Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. The Canon offers self-deprecation and self-understanding without its common odd fellow – despair. And coming as it does within deep love, faith and confidence in the forthcoming requited love of the self-offerings of Christ, the promise of redemption, new life in resurrection, and all the treasures and joys of the Kingdom… perhaps there is something of use to keep in our hearts.

So it is a joy to find this musical rendering in English here. May you find the blessings of the Lenten Journey a time of joy and sweetness!

And FWIW, as we closed the Canon this Thursday night, my priest focused attention on the Kontakion at the end of Ode 6 as the heart of St. Andrew’s spirituality:

“My soul, my soul, arise! Why are you sleeping? The end is drawing near and you will be confounded. Awake, then, and be watchful that Christ our God may spare you, for He is everywhere and fills all things!”

As Father put it, “In the end, it’s not we who will “do” what needs to be done for our salvation, but Christ… who will lift us up where we are and as we are, and offer to do what’s needed, and save us. And in this, He will love us better than we love ourselves. In the accounts we find, if you look closely at St. Mary of Egypt, St. Paul, St. Peter, the Thief on the cross, …and so many others… what stands out is that no two are saved alike. You can’t just systematize and figure it out as if there’s a way to break the code… it just doesn’t work that way. Each course of salvation follows a different path even as ours will run as well. But the key to it all is that Christ gave each what they needed, led them where they needed to go… each found salvation by His hand, by His efforts… and not their own. Christ is the common thread, the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

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