Contemplation on Holy Tuesday of Pascha
A contemplation on the passage, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’” (Matt. 23:37-39), read during the Third Hour of Holy Tuesday.
Let us not be faint, then, my Brethren: there will be an end to all earthly kingdoms. If that end be now, God knows. For by chance it has not yet come, and we, through some infirmity, or mercifulness, or misery, are wishing that it may not be yet; nevertheless will it not therefore be some day?
Fix your hope in God, desire the things eternal, wait for the things eternal. You are Christians, Brethren, we are all Christians. Christ did not come down into the flesh that we might live softly; let us endure rather than love the things present int he world; the harm of adversity is manifest, deceitful is the soft blandishment of prosperity. Fear the sea, even when it is calm.
On no account let us hear in vain, “Let us lift up our hearts.” Why do we place our hearts in the earth, when we see that the earth is being turned upside down? We cannot but exhort you, that you may have something to say and answer in defense of your hope against the deriders and blasphemers of the Christian name.
Let no one by his murmuring turn you back from waiting for the things to come. All who by reason of these adversities blaspheme our Christ, are the “scorpion’s” tail. Let us put our egg under the wings of that Hen of the Gospel, which cries out to that false and abandoned city, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathered you children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens, and you were not willing!”
Let it not be said to us, “How often would I have gathered you, and you were not willing!” For that hen is the Divine Wisdom; but assumed flesh to accommodate Itself to its chickens. See the hen with feathers bristling, with wings hanging down, with voice broken, and tremulous, and faint, and languid, accommodating herself to her little ones. Our egg then, that is, our hope, let us place beneath the wings of this Hen.
You have noticed, it may be, how a hen will tear a scorpion in pieces. O then that the Hen of the Gospel would tear in pieces and devour these blasphemers, creeping out of their holes, and inflicting hurtful stings, would pass them over into Her Body, and turn them into an egg that she watches over.