VENERABLE MARK THE ASCETIC

March 5

From the Prologue

Mark was an ascetic and miracle-worker. In his fortieth year he was tonsured a monk by his teacher St. John Chrysostom. Mark then spent sixty more years in the wilderness of Nitria in fasting, prayer and writing many spiritual works concerning the salvation of souls. He knew the entire Holy Scriptures by heart. He was very merciful and kind. He wept much for the misfortunes which had befallen all of God's creation. On one occasion, while crying, he prayed to God for a blind puppy of a hyena and the puppy received its sight. In thanksgiving the mother of the hyena brought him a sheepskin. The saint forbade the hyena in the future to kill any more sheep of poor people. He received Communion at the hands of the angels. His homilies concerning the spiritual law, on repentance, and on sobriety, etc., are ranked among the first-class literature of the Church. These works were praised by the great Patriarch Photius himself.

HYMN OF PRAISE

SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

The angels, our older and superior brothers are,

The Will of God Most High, their will.

Than light, more bright are they, swifter and brighter,

Of the air on the mountain, lighter and fresher,

In light they are clothed, the light of their Creator,

Tireless laborers of the work of Christ.

For men they are concerned, men, their only concern:

How to God return, the prodigal son,

How, from a strange land, their younger brothers

To return to the joyful courts of the Householder.

Michael, Archistratig, the first among the first,

What Venus is among the stars, he is among the angels;

To every penitent he hurries, to lift him up to God,

No matter how many penitents, he reaches them all.

To serve, serve and serve--for him that is joy,

Even in heaven, service to one's neighbor is paramount.

Service which strengthens life and makes a mother jubilant,

Service which adorns wreaths, unfading,

That service for the angels is joy and celebration

For it is directed to the glory of God and for men, salvation.





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