The Elevation of the Cross (2010)

But look, O my soul, and see how the King of Heaven was welcomed by His subjects, in what manner they honored their God Incarnate … Who cleansed the lepers, healed the sick, made the paralytic walk and the blind man see; Who straightened the lame and the crippled, Who raised the dead and fed the many thousands who were hungry. Oh, shame covers my face, awe grips my heart, and my tongue trembles to speak! His holy Evangelist cries out in grief: ‘He came unto His own, and His own received Him not’ … Terrible and piteous are these words! … Listen, heaven, and hearken, earth!  Men did not accept their God; servants did not receive their Lord; subjects rejected their King! O, my God, all this You knew, and yet You came to save me, perishing; to find me, the lost!  You were not turned away by the wickedness and the ingratitude of Your enemies; You surrendered Yourself to Your love and kindness; You were persuaded by my wretchedness … They called You a glutton and a drunkard, the friend of publicans and sinners, and they vomited forth all manner of blasphemies against You, their Lord and Benefactor, against You Who are beyond all glory! Oh, the cruelty and ingratitude of men! … You looked into them, Reader of hearts; yet You suffered in silence … You witnessed this evil design, this iniquitous bargain; and You permitted it, desiring to suffer for my sake, Your unworthy servant, to cleanse me with Your blood, to give me new life by Your death, to honor me through Your disgrace. Glory be to You for all, O my Lover! … They judged You, the Judge of the living and the dead! They insulted and dishonored You, spat upon Your holy face, to which angels dare not lift their gaze! And they buffeted Your cheek and condemned You to death – You, the Life of all! They preferred a robber and a murderer to You, the Son of God, the only good and just One! … Oh prodigy! Oh, fearful and unheard-of crime! (St. Tikhon of Zadonsk, A TREASURY OF RUSSIAN SPIRITUALITY, pp 219-220)