|Images of Mount Athos|
from The Ascetic Experience
While receiving hospitality at this Greek Orthodox monastery in Florence, Arizona,
these thoughts came to mind becoming
my spiritual food. I wanted to
share them with you.
This WATER I drink will leave me thirsty again, but the water you give, O Lord, is Living Water which wells up in me unto eternal life.
This BREAD I break and eat points to you, my Savior, who said, "This is my Body which is broken for you."
The FRUIT on the table speaks of the righteous fruit of the Holy Spirit produced by love, devotion and obedience to Thee.
OLIVES speak of your passion in Gethsemane, where you sweat what were like great drops of blood under the groaning ancient olive trees.
The SALAD proclaims the verdant nature of the green pastures to which we, your sheep, are continually being led.
The OIL in the flask reminds me that you have given the pressed life of the olive to man, "to make his face shine."
And the VINEGAR takes me to the foot of your Cross, where "They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: And when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink." Oh! the bitterness of the cup you did drink from the hand of your Father out of pure love for man, your creation run afoul of original intent. You willingly took that cup and drank it to the full...and now offer it to me, as I follow thee.
The WINE we drink, which gives us joy, cost you great sorrow, for you trod the winepress alone separated from your Father, with whom you had existed from all eternity. You declared at that final supper, "This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."
O sinless One, what incomprehensible love you poured out, and are still pouring out, upon all mankind. It is when I struggle with my whole being to apprehend and understand this love (always beyond my finite mind), that I remember there remains an invitation from the King of kings and Lord of lords which I must not ignore:
"BEHOLD I stand at the door and knock: if anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and dine with him,