Saturday morning we held a Liturgy, a memorial for the departed souls, in our church. Later that evening, at Great Vespers, the priest recalled, that morning, having become aware of a very strong scent, with a rose-like smell, coming from the vicinity of the two Icon stands. Unknown to him, my husband, John, told me of a very strong, somewhat like incense smell, that had bothered him during the service. John has allergies, and if he is exposed to certain rose-smelling scents, he must leave the church. Sure enough, he was ill following the service. He was congested before the service as well, so who's to say. Hearing the same story from two people, was a confirmation. Since John wasn't well enought to attend Great Vespers that evening, I relayed John's story to the priest.
There are unexplained happenings all the time. We had a myrrh-streaming Icon of St. Anne in our church, in that very area, almost one month to the date. I wondered if that had anything to do with the "appearance of the scent". Perhaps, we have a myrrh-streaming Icon of our own? Who can explain it? I could smell it Sunday, as I approached to venerate the Icons, on the stands.
Sceptics must have "proof" or they will not believe. Not everything can be proven, therefore, we have what we call "mysteries." There is after all, the known, and the unknown. On Sunday, we heard from the Kontakion from the Triodion, the words "and the hidden things disclosed" as much is beyond our understanding.
We worship, in our faith, with all our senses, to the capacity that we can, as it is revealed to us. As we grow in our faith, what we were not aware of previously, we become enlightened to, and find ourselves looking back to a time, where there was little or no understanding.
Many came to "see" the myrhh-streaming Icon, because they were looking for something. That something, sometimes, is just a reassurance, as they, like doubting Thomas, find it hard to believe.
The Lenten Spring has arrived, and we will enter into the gospel, to see Jesus with his twelve apostles, eating their passover meal. Christ with fervent desire, speaks to them of the Kingdom of God. Saying clearly "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you."(Luke 22:20). Then, we will walk with Jesus and we will witness the denials, and trials, and finally, after hearing the shouts from the crowd, "Crucify Him" we will look upon our Lord and Savior, Jesus hung on a cross.
This is not the end of the story.
It is the beginning, a New Covenant between God and Man. Many will come to see the "unexplained",but will they come to receive the body and blood of Christ present and offered at each and every Liturgy? This is the greatest of all Mysteries.
What struck me in today's reading, (Luke 19:40), is what Jesus said in response to the Pharisees who called out to Him from the crowd asking Jesus to rebuke his disciples. Jesus said. "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."
We are bursting at the seams wanting to reveal "immediately" to a world greatly needing to know the truth, which sadly today, many have been kept from receiving, by so many diversions. All will be revealed as creation stands in the ready to proclaim the good news that "cannot be contained nor silent", as all things hidden will be disclosed.
Do you have spiritual readiness? It means to be watchful with perseverance and having supplications, boldly making known the mystery of the gospel, which is the good news of salvation, "Christ, crucified and risen from the dead." Will you then, journey with us? Lent begins now. Come and hear, taste and see!
All scriptural references are taken from the Orthodox Study Bible.
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