Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Easter Sermon of St. John Chrysostom

This sermon is read every year at the end of the services that we celebrate for Holy Pascha. Read this beautiful sermon out loud. It is wonderful.

The Easter Sermon of John Chrysostom
If any be pious and a lover of God,
let him rejoice in this fair and radiant festival.
If any be a faithful servant
let him enter into the joy of his Lord.
If any be weary with fasting,
let him now enjoy his payment.

If anyone has labored from the first hour,
let him receive today his just reward.
If anyone has come after the third hour,
let him now be thankful that the feast is at hand,
If anyone has waited until after the sixth hour,
let him not be anxious, no loss shall be his own.
If anyone has tarried until the ninth hour,
let him draw near also, shedding all his doubts.
If anyone has come only at the eleventh hour,
let him not be fearful because of his delay.

For the Master is bountiful
and receives the last even as the first.
He gives repose to him who came at the eleventh hour
just as to one who labored from the first.
The tardy are shown mercy
and the timely are made whole.
To the one he gives,
on the other he bestows.
He honors the deed and praises the intention.

Let all therefore enter into the joy of our Lord,
(let both the first and those who came later receive their wages)
Let rich and poor dance with one another.
You sober and you heedless celebrate the day.
You who have fasted and you who have not
rejoice in this occasion.

The table is full-laden
let all enjoy the feast.
The calf is fatted,
let no one go forth hungry.
Let all partake of the banquet of faith,
let all partake of the riches of goodness.

Let none mourn his poverty,
for the kingdom stands before us.
Let none lament his failings,
forgiveness has risen from the tomb.
Let none fear death,
for the death of the Savior has set us free.

He quenched death when it had tasted his flesh.
He despoiled Hades when he descended thereto
Foreseeing this, Isaiah cried:
'Hell was embittered when it met you face to face.'

It was embittered for it was made void,
It was embittered for it was mocked,
It was embittered for it was slain,
It was embittered for it was despoiled.
It was embittered for it was led off in chains.

It received a body and encountered God,
It received earth and came face to face with heaven.
It received what it saw and fell where it could not see.

Death where is thy sting,
Hades where is thy victory?

Christ is risen and you are cast down,
Christ is risen and the demons are fallen,
Christ is risen and the angels rejoice,
Christ is risen and life is made free.
Christ is risen and there is none dead in the tomb.

For Christ is risen from the dead as the first fruits of those that
fell asleep.

To him be glory and power forever and ever, Amen.

Translated by Frank Dobbs
God bless all of you.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Mysterious Commonality in Terrorism

The MSM has been baffled, wondering if there is a common thread in the many acts of terror that have been occurring in the past several years (or decades).

Here is a discussion of the problem;

Iranian Government Failed

In my previous post I quoted Walid Phares who argued that the Iranian government was playing for time in holding the British hostages. Even though they released the hostages sooner than expected he may have been right. How can this be? It could be that they were not going to get what they wanted and they were increasing their isolation as a result of the kidnapping.

The great VDH explains (as he does so very well).

Please Bomb Me!
What should we make of the Iranians' behavior?

Namely that the country's leadership is in deep political trouble. The Iranian government is desperate to provoke the West to win back friends in the Islamic world, and to quell growing unrest at home. Subsidizing food and gas, providing billions for terrorists and building nukes all cost money at a time when the state-run Iranian economy is in shambles.

Because of incompetence in their oil industry, the Iranian mullahs have achieved the impossible: Despite having among the world's largest petroleum reserves, their production is shrinking and they have managed to earn increasingly less petrodollars even as the world price has soared.

While the Iranian theocrats understand that the entire world, including many of their own citizens, is turning against them, they also know that this could change if a Western nation would just attack them. Their strategy seems to be to find a way to provoke someone to drop a few bombs on them, on the naive assumption that such an assault would be of limited duration and damage. Such an attack, they may figure, would earn them sympathy in much of the world.
As always, read the whole thing for background and supporting information.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Iran's Big Plan

Walid Phares explains the Mullah's plan with respect to the British hostages that they continue to hold.

The Mullahs' Next Steps
Since Day One of the planned operation to snatch British sailors from Iraqi waters, the Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards) "War Kitchen" in Tehran had already drawn multiple recipes for the following weeks and potentially months to come. Indeed the regime, reacting to rising pressures from sectors of its own population and from the American-British-led coalition, engineered an "escalating" incident. The main scenario, as projected inside the minds of the Iranian "Jihadi-cooks," is based on one request from the Khamenei-Ahmadinejad regime: waste time, as much time as possible. To the mullahs and their men in power, it is crucial to win the race between rising internal pressure inspired by the political changes in the region and pressure against the Iranian-led "axis" in the region, directed at the U.S. and the U.K. initiatives in Iraq. In short, Tehran's regime wants to crumble its enemies before they crumble it.

"Catching" a British Navy unit off the shores of Iraq -- regardless of the GPS positioning of the unit -- is the opening play. In ten days, Tehran has already scored one success: The UN is discussing what to do about the 15 British sailors instead of how to shut down the 15 nuclear centers in Iran. The debate has been deflected and is now in the hands of the Iranian cooks. The opening play is followed by the dramatization of the "incident." First, the regime begins showing the captives and swings media attention between details ("were they in Iranian waters?") and outcomes ("will they be tried?") of the phony case. Another psychological victory is scored: The international press follows the Iranian maestro's gesticulations. As usual with the Western mainstream media, the story's details become the devil, and their readers are denied the big picture. Here is how the mullahs' "psych-war" develops and could evolve in different directions.
Read the whole thing to see how this is playing out. Once explained, the shape of it is clear. A sample;
What is also to be expected is the circulation in the media of stories about an "internal struggle" between the good guys and the bad guys in Tehran. Media reports are already talking about two poles inside the military security apparatus, giving some hope to the Western voices calling for calm and diplomacy.

On April 1, the Sunday Times reported that "Major-General Yahya Rahim Safavi is said to have told the country's Supreme National Security Council on Friday that the situation was 'getting out of control' and urged its members to consider the immediate release of the prisoners to defuse tension in the Gulf." Expectedly, the article's headline was "Power struggle in Iran over hostages." The Times adds, "However, Safavi's intervention was reportedly denounced by another senior general at a meeting of high-ranking commanders yesterday. Yadollah Javani, the head of the Revolutionary Guards' political bureau, was said to have accused him of weakness and 'liberal tendencies'."

How interesting to see that this "internal information" was obtained only now by Western (and some Arab) media from "well informed sources." Until this incident, few in the Western press have uttered the names of these Iranian generals. But now, they have become the Good Cop and the Bad Cop of Tehran. And on top of it, it works, because the logical western reaction would be then to wait for the "good guy" to prevail. That is precisely what the astute propaganda machine out of Tehran wants: Time.
There is a lot more, read it all.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Ban DiHydrogen Monoxide!

Penn and Teller are at it again.

Don't think about what you are protesting, just protest!