Stephan loved the emperor much for what he had heard about the emperor’s grandeur, magnificence and wealth. He frequently placed the emperor’s picture before him and spoke to it with much respect and reverence.
Once, Stephan was jailed for committing a certain crime. He spent his days miserably in a cell, suffering from isolation and bitterness. Nevertheless, he remained faithful to the emperor, and spoke about him for a long time to all the visitors and the other prisoners.
The emperor also loved Stephan; his love was so great that he disguised himself, removing his royal crown and clothes, and gave himself up to the authorities, asking to be imprisoned in Stephan’s place. The emperor thus started living in the cell, wearing the shabby attire of the prisoners, mixing with the criminals, eating the bread of suffering and drinking the water of bitterness, while Stephan was released and was free to wear expensive clothes and spend his time with family and friends.
It was therefore with much surprise and shock that many who saw this freed prisoner, whom the emperor loved to the extent of imprisoning himself in his stead, witnessed him not only disowning the emperor, but also demeaning him, despising his prisoners’ clothes and mocking at the fact that he gave himself up for him.
St. John Chrysostom, the narrator of this story of ingratitude, was thus puzzled with the attitude of the Jews and the Greeks: they despised Him who was crucified for their sake. In this context, he recalled the words of St. Paul the Apostle,
“But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness”
(1 Cor. 1.23).
The cross remains the mystery of divine caring; to be experienced by those who know the infinite divine love and who, rather than seeing God in isolation, love Him in return.
May the mouth therefore be silenced of the French philosopher, who once said, “Our Father who art in heaven may You remain in Your heaven and may we remain on our earth...!”
We, humans, resort frequently to modern science and medicine,
To hide our scars, which are considered to be disfigurations.
But You, my Saviour, have risen from the dead,
Carrying in Your glorified body the scars of the Cross.
These scars, O Lord, are not disfigurations that must be hidden,
Rather, they represent the wounds of extreme love,
The wounds of glory and power,
That will remain the mysteries of great and Divine love.
They are not offensive; rather, they are the symbol of love for my soul.
They are not foolishness; rather, they are the revelation of Divine wisdom.
Your Cross with its wounds has opened the gates of heaven.
It has united me with the heavenly hosts,
And has enabled me to enjoy the heavenly life,
And to share the heavenly hosts in their chants and praises.
You have extended Your wounded hands,
To embrace all the world’s peoples,
And to create, from all races, members in Your one body.
Your Cross has destroyed the edict written against me.
You have redeemed me, and changed me from being the son of Satan,
To being a Son of God.
Your Cross has put the prince of this world to shame.
It has crushed his dominance and wrenched away his kingdom.
I have become free, bearing within me the kingdom of light.
You offered me Your righteousness that protects me from the devastation of sin.
You have granted me dominion that allays all my fears.
Your marvellous Cross has revealed to me Your loving self.
Worried About Myself
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