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Carnival, and the last judgement

7 February 2010

Sunday of the Last Judgment 2010         Matthew 25:31-46

Hat-tip to Father Ted.

John 13:34
“God is truth and light.  God’s judgment is nothing else than our coming into contact with truth and light.  In the day of the Great Judgment all men will appear naked before this penetrating light of truth.  The ‘books’ will be opened.  What are these ‘books’?  They are our hearts.  Our hearts will be opened by the penetrating light of God, and what is in these hearts will be revealed.  If in those hearts there is love for God, those hearts will rejoice in seeing God’s light.  If, on the contrary, there is hatred for God in those hearts, these men will suffer by receiving on their opened hearts this penetrating light of truth which they detested all their life.

So that which will differentiate between one man and another will not be a decision of God, a reward or a punishment from Him, but that which was in each one’s heart; what was there during all our life will be revealed in the Day of Judgment.  If there is a reward and a punishment in this revelation – and there really is – it does not come from God but from the love or hate which reigns in our heart.  Love has bliss in it, hatred has despair, bitterness, grief, affliction, wickedness, agitation, confusion, darkness, and all the other interior conditions which compose hell (1 Cor 4:6).   ….  In the future life the Christian is not examined if he has renounced the whole world for Christ’s love, or if he has distributed his riches to the poor or if he fasted or kept vigil or prayed, or if he wept and lamented for his sins, or if he has done any other good in this life, but he is examined attentively if he has any similitude with Christ, as a son does with his father. (St. Symeon the New Theologian).” (Dr. Alexandre Kalomiros, “The River of Fire”)

Lent begins next week, and today is Meatfare Sunday, the Sunday of the Last Judgement.

The Western Church has Shrove Tuesday, pancake day, sometimes called Mardi Gras or Carnival — it is the day before Lent begins in the West, and the purpose of the pancakes is to use up all the eggs and butter and so on before Lent. Today is the Orthodox Carnival, Meatfare Sunday, the last day we eat meat before Pascha. But instead of a Pancake Day, we have a whole week, for tyhis week is Cheesefare Week, where eggs, butter, fish and cheese are permitted. So its the week of macaroni and cheese, omelets, Welsh rabbit, fish & chips and such things, which we will say farewell to next Sunday.

But these external preparations for Lent are outward signs of an internal preparation. The last judgement, as is pointed out in the text quoted by Father Ted, is the point at which all self deception ends. When God reveals to us what is really in our hearts.

Tone 6    (from the Lenten Triodion)

O Righteous Judge of all mankind,
You will come, enthroned in glory and escorted by Angels,
to judge the living and the dead.
Every man will stand in fear before You,
trembling at the river of fire flowing past Your throne,
as each one waits to hear the sentence he deserves.
On that awesome day have mercy on us as well, O Christ;
count us worthy of salvation,
for, worthless as we are, we turn to You in faith,//
O compassionate and merciful Lord!

v. (3) For with the Lord there is mercy and with Him is plenteous redemption, and He will deliver Israel from all his iniquities.

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