Saint Agathon of Egypt (Commemorated Mar. 2/ Mar. 15) died in about the year 435. For three days before his repose the monk sat in silence and concentration, as though disturbed about something. When the monks questioned him, he answered that he saw himself before the Judgment Seat of God. “How is it possible that you, Father, should fear judgment?” they asked him. “I have done my best to keep the commandments of the Lord, but I am a man.
All mortal life is but one day, so it is said, to those who labour with love. There are forty days in the Fast: let us keep them all with joy
[Canticle IX of the Canon, Monday of the First Week].
To the Venerable Monastics, Reverend Clergy and Pious Faithful of the Orthodox Church in America:
If anyone be devout and love God,
Let him commence this radiant fast with joy!
If anyone be a wise servant,
Let him, rejoicing, enter into the school of repentance.
ADAM ATE THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT AND WAS DRIVEN FROM PARADISE.
HE SAT OUTSIDE, WEEPING BITTERLY:
WOE TO ME! WHAT WILL BECOME OF ME, A WORTHLESS MAN?
I DISOBEYED ONE COMMAND OF MY MASTER, AND LOST EVERY GOOD THING!
HOLY PARADISE, PLANTED FOR ME BY GOD
AND CLOSED BY THE WEAKNESS OF EVE,
GRANT THAT I MAY ONCE AGAIN GAZE ON THE FLOWERS OF YOUR GARDENS!
THE SAVIOR SAID TO HIM:
I DO NOT WISH THE DEATH OF MY CREATION!
I DESIRE THAT ALL SHOULD BE SAVED
AND COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH,//
Note: This is a homily delivered by Father Theophan Whitfield, of Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church in Salem Massachusetts, on the Sunday of Saint Mary of Egypt.