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Raging as a maddened heifer
Twenty-five year into Orthodoxy I can still not quite reconcile myself to the Canon of St Andrew of Crete. ‘No sin has there been in life, no evil deed, no wickedness, that I have not committed, O Saviour, I have sinned as no one ever before, in mind, word, and intent, in disposition, thought and act.’ Perhaps such chest-thumping works in the upper reaches of spirituality, but if so, I’m not there yet. Nor do I relate to ‘Raging as a maddened heifer, O my soul, thou art become like Ephraim’. It does not quite ring true, and I still ask whether it was not written to order

By contrast the Matins canticles of today are much more sober. They speak to me: ‘Come, let us enter the inner chamber of our soul, offering prayers to the Lord and crying aloud: ‘Our Father, who art in heaven, remit and forgive our sins, for thou alone art compassionate. / Showing joyfulness of soul in the Fast, let us not be of a sad countenance; for the change in our way of life during these blessed days will help us to gain holiness.’ Here and elsewhere the struggle of the fast is put in its proper context of the promise of glory: ‘Let us enter into the darkness of holy visions; by the divine and mystical ascent, let us become godlike, and let us look only upon Christ our beloved in His beauty’.

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...written to order?
I've always looked upon the Canon just as a written version of the author's natural reflective thoughts while reading the Scriptures.
And why object to his seeing himself the greatest sinner? I don't doubt he did feel that way. We can interpret such troparions according to our personal state.

Edited at 2019-03-13 10:17 am (UTC)

'The author's natural reflective thoughts' - probably more episodes that stuck in his mind while hearing them read over an extended period. I'm not sure he would have had an Old Testament (a year's work for a scribe) on his table.
On 'sseing oneself as the greatest sinner'. See mine to Protonko. This wording does not work with me.

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