Friday, June 18, 2010

SOME THOUGHTS FROM SAINT SIMEON THE NEW THEOLOGION

From his "One Hundred & Fifty-Three Practical & Theological Texts"...

104. Anyone who thinks himself intelligent because of his scholarly or scientific learning will never be granted insight into divine mysteries unless he first humbles himself and becomes a fool (cf. I Cor. 3:18), discarding both his presumption and the knowledge that he has acquired. But if he does this and with unhesitating faith allows himself to be led by those wise in divine matters, he will enter with them into the city of the living God. Guided and illumined by the divine Spirit, he will see and learn what others cannot ever see or learn. He will then be taught by God (cf. John 6:45).
. . .
106. Even now, living in our midst, there are people who are dispassionate and saintly, filled with divine light, who have so mortified whatever in them pertains to the earth (cf. Col. 3:5), freeing it from all impurity and impassioned desire, that not only do they themselves not think or act maliciously, but even when drawn in this direction by another they are unwavering in their dispassion. Those who accuse these saints of folly, and who do not believe them when in the wisdom of the Spirit they teach about divine matters, would have recognized them had they understood the sacred writings of that are read and sung daily. For if they possessed a mature knowledge of the Holy Scriptures they would have believed in the blessings spoken of and bestowed on us by God. But because out of self-conceit and negligence they do not share in these blessings, in their unbelief they slander those who do share in them and who teach others about them.




As to those that fall away from God, I wonder where it is they exist, those that are far removed from Him that is everywhere, and verily, O brothers, is it a wonder full of great trembling, one that requires the reasoning of an illumined mind,




in order properly to understand this thing and not to fall into heresy as a result of ignorance of the words of the Holy Ghost. They, too, will wholly have existence within the universe, but outside of the divine light and even outside of God.



For, just as those that cannot see the shining sun, although they are wholly bathed in its light, end their days outside of the light, severed from any sense or sight of it, so too in this universe is the divine light of the Trinity,



and in its midst the sinners that are enclosed in darkness, unseeing, bereft of any divine sense, but consumed and chastised by their conscience, will know for all eternity unspeakable affliction and ineffable pain.

(St. Symeon the New Theologian, Hymns, I, 215-231)
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Akathist to Jesus, Light to those in Darkness


Akathist to Jesus, Light to those in Darkness

Kontakion 1 (Tone 7)
Out of the depths of darkness and despair I cry to You, O Lord, You that hung upon the Cross in darkness. From the pit of pain and confusion, I lift up this prayer, and with all my heart I sing aloud to You: Jesus, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Ikos 1 (see Ps. 77)
In the day of my trouble, I seek You, O Lord, and in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying. My eyes find no rest from weeping, and I am so troubled that I cannot speak. Yet as my spirit ponders in the night, I raise this song to You:

JESUS, rescuer of the abandoned!

JESUS, hope of those in despair!

JESUS, guiding star to the lost!

JESUS, joyful return of the exile!

JESUS, unforeseen victory!

JESUS, eternal triumph!

JESUS, radiant dawn after endless night!

JESUS, everlasting light of the Kingdom!

JESUS, wipe away my tears!

JESUS, calm the panic of my heart!

JESUS, exultation of those hemmed in by fear!

JESUS, joy of those crushed by sorrow!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Kontakion 2 (see Ps. 88)
O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried out to You day and night. My soul is full of troubles and my life has drawn near to Sheol. I lie in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep; my friends and those who love me are removed far from me, and my companions are in darkness. But by Your grace, I defy the darkness, and I declare Your saving help in the land of forgetfulness, crying aloud, Alleluia!


Ikos 2
Sorrow has isolated me from all those around me, and I cannot feel Your love either, O Lord. I walk about in the light like one forsaken among the dead, like the slain who molder in the grave whom You remember no more. But You are the One who performs wonders for the dead, and whose steadfast love is declared in the grave. Trusting in You alone, I make known Your wonders:

JESUS, comforter of the bereaved!

JESUS, consoler of the dying!

JESUS, liberty of the imprisoned and forgotten!

JESUS, companion of the divorced and abandoned!

JESUS, grant peace to a heart in turmoil!

JESUS, work through me to touch others in pain!

JESUS, calmer of storms!

JESUS, haven of the voyager!

JESUS, resurrection for those whose children have died!

JESUS, serenity for those in chronic pain!

JESUS, promise of final triumph!

JESUS, possession of invincible peace!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Kontakion 3: (see Ps. 143)
The enemy has pursued my soul, O Lord, he has crushed my life to the ground, and I am made to sit in darkness, like those who have been long dead. My spirit within me is overwhelmed by depression, and my heart within is appalled. But I am Your servant, O merciful God, and Your good Spirit will lead me on level paths with renewed strength. Looking to that day, even now I stretch out my hands, crying: Alleluia!


Ikos 3
Despite the attacks of my spiritual foes, I put my trust in You, O Saviour, knowing that You will teach me the way in which I should walk in safety. Though I dwell in parched land, I look to You for the water of life, offering to You such songs as these:

JESUS, shield and buckler!

JESUS, unfailing defense!

JESUS, well-spring in the desert!

JESUS, fountain of the Kingdom!

JESUS, drive away all depression!

JESUS, be my radiance of heart!

JESUS, security in the midst of enemies!

JESUS, hope when all other hope is lost!

JESUS, pledge of eternal gladness!

JESUS, banisher of life’s shadows!

JESUS, vindicate my innocence!

JESUS, forgive all my sins!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!

Kontakion 4 (see Mt. 15:21:28, Ps. 54)
The Syro-Phoenician woman whose daughter was cruelly demon-possessed shouted after You, O Son of David, only to learn that You were sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Despite Your silence, the faith of this Gentile found Your compassion, and she returned home singing: Alleluia!


Ikos 4
Despite my many and ceaseless supplications, I can find no answer, O Lord, and my heart is too tired to go on. I feel unworthy even to gather up the crumbs under Your table, and from all sides I find nothing but discouragement. But knowing that You save those who invoke Your Name, O Jesus, and trusting that You will give ear to the words of my mouth, I bow down before You, saying:

JESUS, welcomer of strangers!

JESUS, boast of the saints!

JESUS, save me as I chant Your Name with love!

JESUS, vindicate me as I cling to Your mercy with faith!

JESUS, pardoner of my many offences!

JESUS, healer of my sinful heart!

JESUS, feeder of children!

JESUS, feast of the poor!

JESUS, King who gives strength to the weary!

JESUS, Master who grants deliverance to the oppressed!

JESUS, destroyer of demons!

JESUS, song of the angels!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Kontakion 5 (see Mk. 10:46-52, Ps. 57)
The blind beggar Bartimaeus thought that You would pass him by, O Saviour, and though many rebuked him, he did not cease to cry, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!” In Your customary lovingkindness, You called him to Yourself and granted him illumination, so that he followed You on the way, singing Alleluia!


Ikos 5
Like a child left alone in the dark, I cry out to You, Son of David, taking refuge in the shadow of Your wings until the storms of destruction pass by. Though my soul is among lions who roar out that there is no salvation for me, my heart is steadfast and I sing these praises:

JESUS, sight for the blind!

JESUS, wealth for the beggar!

JESUS, harbour for those who are bestormed!

JESUS, fortress for all who are besieged!

JESUS, Your glory is above the heavens!

JESUS, Your radiance fills the earth!

JESUS, exaltation of the transcendent Father!

JESUS, bestower of the life-giving Spirit!

JESUS, hear my cry when all others are deaf!

JESUS, call me to Your throne and save me!

JESUS, bottomless ocean of mercy!

JESUS, infinite firmament of truth!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Kontakion 6 (see Ps. 42-43)
Like the deer who pants for flowing streams, like the parent who mourns the loss of a child, I am left breathless. Grief grips me, and my tears have been my food day and night. Although all the waves of panic have rolled over me, You remain the help of my countenance, O God, and my song to You in the night remains: Alleluia!


Ikos 6
The joy of Paschal processions around the House of God remains a distant memory, O Lord, and my soul is in despair. All my former faith has been disturbed, so that I say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?” But the Lord will yet command His steadfast love to me, and hoping in His help I praise Him, saying:

JESUS, joy of homecoming for those on earth!

JESUS, long-awaited reunion with all in heaven!

JESUS, dry my bitter tears!

JESUS, restore my forgotten song!

JESUS, light sent out from the luminous Father!

JESUS, truth that leads us to the heavenly altar of God!

JESUS, celebration that lifts the heavy heart!

JESUS, tranquility that calms the troubled mind!

JESUS, return of celebration for the down-cast!

JESUS, restoration of festivity for the weary!

JESUS, You that make the woeful to dance!

JESUS, You that make the depressed to sing!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Kontakion 7 (see Mk. 5:21-24, 35-43)
The man whose young daughter had just died was in anguish, O Lord, when it seemed that Your coming to save her was too late. But You told him to fear not, but to have faith, and with a simple command You raised the girl from death. Beside himself with joy, the bereaved parent exclaimed, Alleluia!


Ikos 7
Like those whose houses are made desolate by death, my own home is filled with mourning, and I look to the dawning of each new day with fear. But keeping my faith in You, I trample down my fear, and open my mouth with defiance to offer these hymns to You, O Life-giving Lord:

JESUS, vanquisher of hell!

JESUS, giver of resurrection!

JESUS, banish my fear of the future!

JESUS, heal the sorrows of my past!

JESUS, redeem my soul in peace from the battle with my foes!

JESUS, conquer my many spiritual enemies!

JESUS, You that put despair to flight!

JESUS, You that fill the heart with hope!

JESUS, light that no darkness can extinguish! JESUS, joy that no sorrow can quench!

JESUS, glorious liberty of the children of God!

JESUS, endless song of those raised to new life!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Kontakion 8 (see Mk. 5:25-34, Ps. 38)
The woman with a hemorrhage suffered for many years, growing only worse for all the money she had spent on physicians. In her uncleanness, she was afraid to approach You, O Lord, and so she secretly touched the hem of Your garment to find healing. But when You found her in the crowd, You took away her fears as well as her disease and dismissed her in peace. When she experienced Your unexpected compassion, her heart leaped up and cried, Alleluia!


Ikos 8
O Lord, there is no soundness in my flesh and my pain is ever with me. My wounds grow foul and fester, and I go about mourning all the day. Though many try to comfort me, I am benumbed, and find only groaning because of the tumult of my heart. But You are not far from me, O my God, and You will make haste to help me. Therefore I open my mouth in praise to the Lord my salvation, saying:

JESUS, health of my bones!

JESUS, promise of my resurrection!

JESUS, unfailing strength!

JESUS, forgiveness of my folly!

JESUS, healing for all who just touch the hem of Your robe!

JESUS, restoration for all who but trust in Your mercy!

JESUS, sudden joy!

JESUS, eternal exultation!

JESUS, hold me up when I am ready to fall!

JESUS, forgive me when my iniquities go over my head!

JESUS, power of my youth!

JESUS, wisdom of my old age!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Kontakion 9 (see Mk. 5:1-20, Ps. 56)
The Gadarene demoniac was overwhelmed by a legion of demons within, O saving Master, and he dwelt in the deserts of despair, for no human chains were strong enough to restrain his fury. Seeing his Saviour come near, he ran up to Him and bowed down before Him, imploring deliverance. When You drove out his enemies and drowned his sins in the depths of the sea, he breathed forth a sigh of peace, saying Alleluia!


Ikos 9
My spiritual foes have trampled me to the ground, O Lord my God, for they are many who fight against me. A legion of internal sins fights proudly against me, lurking to trip up my every step. Yet You have seen all my tears, O Christ, and noted all my grief in Your book, and You will deliver my feet from falling so that I may walk before You in the light of life, praising Your word and saying:

JESUS, absolution of the condemned!

JESUS, song of the forgiven!

JESUS, drive away my countless foes!

JESUS, forgive the multitude of my sins!

JESUS, robe of the naked!

JESUS, sanity for the distracted!

JESUS, terror of demons who fly from Your Name!

JESUS, hymn of the angels who draw near to Your love!

JESUS, You that wipe away my tears!

JESUS, You that calm my agitation!

JESUS, You that bring joy to those in the desert!

JESUS, You that restore the exile to his home!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Kontakion 10 (see Lk. 7:11-17)
The widow whose only son had died was left all alone in the world, abandoned by those who had loved her. When her son was being carried out to burial, the Lord met her and bade her dry her tears. With a word he raised the young man to new life, teaching all there to change their funeral dirge to the song Alleluia!

Ikos 10
O Lord, I am separated from the one who once loved me, and sorrow has estranged me from my friends. I am weary with crying, and my eyes fail while I wait for my God. Emptiness and loneliness crush me every night, and meaninglessness haunts me by day. From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint, lifting up to You these praises:

JESUS, unfailing friend for the abandoned!

JESUS, lover of my soul!

JESUS, serenity for those in the midst of storms!

JESUS, renewed strength for the burdened!

JESUS, fill the emptiness of my heart!

JESUS, use me as the instrument of Your peace!

JESUS, strength for the day of battle!

JESUS, banner of glorious victory!

JESUS, healer of the past!

JESUS, guide for the future!

JESUS, triumphant forgiveness!

JESUS, eternal vindication!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Kontakion 11 (see Jn. 11:1-44, Ps. 6)
Jesus allowed His beloved friend Lazarus to face the bitterness of death, so that he lay in the tomb for four days, his flesh experiencing corruption. But Christ came into the world to trample down death, and with a mighty cry He summoned Lazarus from the depths, so that the man doomed to death emerged from the tomb to cry: Alleluia!


Ikos 11
That which I greatly feared has come upon me, and death looms before me. My faith in which I trusted is no defense against the cold fear that grips my heart, and every night I flood my bed with tears. But You, O Jesus, are the resurrection and the life, and even in Sheol I will not cease to give You praise:

JESUS, hope of those sentenced to death!

JESUS, resurrection of those who believe in Your word!

JESUS, song that no fear can silence!

JESUS, tranquility that no horror can shake!

JESUS, raise my eyes from death to see Your unfading Kingdom!

JESUS, fill my heart with the promise of Your unending life!

JESUS, radiant glory of those facing death!

JESUS, timeless boast of the martyrs!

JESUS, courage in the face of mortal danger!

JESUS, constancy before continual trial!

JESUS, divine glory, transfiguring the wounded hearts!

JESUS, victory of God, bringing the embattled home!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Kontakion 12 (see Lk. 22:41-44, Heb. 5:7-9)
With loud cries and tears, O Jesus, You asked that the cup of grief might be removed from You, and sweat from Your holy body fell like drops of blood. Though all Your disciples forsook You and fled, O Christ, You never faltered, but fulfilled the will of the Father until the end. Marveling at Your faithfulness, we who are weak exclaim, Alleluia!

Ikos 12
For the sake of us men and for our salvation, O Son of God, You hung upon the Cross. Though You cried out that God had forsaken You, in obedience You drained the cup of suffering to its very dregs. Though all those around You jeered at You and blasphemed, You committed Your spirit into the Father’s hands and died in the darkness. Struck with awe at this mystery, we sinners cry from the depths of our souls:

JESUS, Lamb whose meekness is stronger than the world!

JESUS, Sacrifice whose Blood washes clean the whole earth!

JESUS, rejected by men, obedient to the death of the Cross!

JESUS, King of the ages, ruling from the heavenly throne!

JESUS, keep me from failing in the hour of trial!

JESUS, strengthen me for the impending battle!

JESUS, whose death on the Tree tramples down my mortality!

JESUS, whose lifting up on the Cross casts down the ruler of this age!

JESUS, everlasting Pascha and power of God!

JESUS, universal Kingdom given to us sinners!

JESUS, light of the despairing children of the earth!

JESUS, light of the triumphant saints in glory!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Kontakion 13 (said thrice)
O Jesus our Lord, God and Saviour, in Your word alone we put our trust. Though suffering and agitation fill our minds, we reach up through the darkness to seize Your hand and receive Your mercy. Be our joy and peace as we pass through this terrible valley, and carry us through when our strength fails that we may sing to You through the ages, Alleluia!


And again,

Ikos 1
In the day of my trouble, I seek You, O Lord, and in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying. My eyes find no rest from weeping, and I am so troubled that I cannot speak. Yet as my spirit ponders in the night, I raise this song to You:

JESUS, rescuer of the abandoned!

JESUS, hope of those in despair!

JESUS, guiding star to the lost!

JESUS, joyful return of the exile!

JESUS, unforeseen victory!

JESUS, eternal triumph!

JESUS, radiant dawn after endless night!

JESUS, everlasting light of the Kingdom!

JESUS, wipe away my tears!

JESUS, calm the panic of my heart!

JESUS, exultation of those hemmed in by fear!

JESUS, joy of those crushed by sorrow!

JESUS, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


And again,

Kontakion 1 (Tone 7):
Out of the depths of darkness and despair I cry to You, O Lord, You that hung upon the Cross in darkness. From the pit of pain and confusion, I lift up this prayer, and with all my heart I sing aloud to You: Jesus, light to those in darkness, glory to You!


Prayer:

O Jesus our King, have mercy on us as we struggle, and receive our songs as a fragrant offering and a sweet-smelling sacrifice. In all our turmoil, emptiness and suffering, we turn to You, praising You for Your great glory. Lift us up as a father lifts up his little child, and bring us through this season of darkness and pain into Your marvelous light. Resolve our distresses as You will, according to Your great wisdom and love. We accept all that comes from Your merciful hand, and ask that You grant us to do Your will. Thus strengthened to walk in a way that is pleasing to You, to our last breath we never cease to praise Your most holy Name, together with that of Your Father who has no beginning and Your all-holy, good and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Amen.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Pope Benedict Plans to Beatify Newman During Visit to Britain



By Simon Caldwell

LONDON (UK Catholic Herald) - The Pope is to waive his own rules so he can preside in person over the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman during a papal visit to Britain next year, according to sources close to the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI will personally take charge of the ceremony to declare the Victorian convert Blessed when he visits England in early September at the invitation of Gordon Brown.

The Pope has previously insisted that all beatifications are carried out by a Vatican official in the diocese in which the candidate died, which in Newman's case is Birmingham.

But because the Pope has such a strong devotion to Cardinal Newman and his theological writings he has decided to break his own rules and beatify the cardinal himself.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster refused to either confirm or deny the report: "The details of the Pope's visit are far from clear," he said. "What is clear is that the Holy Father has a great and long-standing devotion to Cardinal Newman and the beatification of Cardinal Newman is due."

Fr Ian Ker, author of the definitive biography of Cardinal Newman, said: "By breaking his own rules Pope Benedict clearly shows he regards Newman as a completely exceptional case, one of the great theologians of the Catholic Church. Many of the popes have been anxious to canonise Newman. They look to him as a man who welcomed modernisation but in fidelity to Church authority and in continuity with the traditions of the Church."

Pope Benedict announced the beatification in July after Vatican theologians ruled that the inexplicable healing of Jack Sullivan, an American with a severe spinal condition, was a miracle brought about by praying for help to Cardinal Newman.

Pope on Advent: With Jesus, there is no life without meaning




CNA) - On Saturday night, Pope Benedict XVI officiated a celebration in St. Peter's Basilica of first vespers before the first Sunday of the Advent season. His message in the homily was one of 'silence and hope' during the season of Advent.

The Holy Father ushered the Church into the new liturgical year, telling those in attendance at yesterday evening's celebration of first vespers that "Advent invites us to pause in silence to understand a Presence."

In his homily, Pope Benedict, gave a short lesson on the meaning of 'advent' to those early Christians who adopted the word "to explain their relationship with Jesus Christ." He taught that the word adventus would have been understood by them in that time to mean "God is here, he hasn't retired to his world, he hasn't left us alone." He further explained that an additional definition of the word could be " a visit from God."

His Holiness implored that the faithful put aside the activities, amusements, and multiple societal interests that "possess us" and can "sweep us away" to take the time observe silence and seek to understand signs of God that are present in every day life. These signs, he said, illustrate the presence of His love.

The Pontiff explained that "Advent invites and stimulates us to contemplate the Lord present."

It's also a time of expectation and hope, the Pope said. "It is a favorable occasion for our salvation." But, he continued, one has "hoped too little if beyond the profession or social position he has nothing left to hope in"

"Hope signals the path for humanity, and for Christians," he continued, " this is encouraged by a certainty: the Lord is present in our lives."

Through this relationship, he said, when a person's "time is full of sense, and in each instant we perceive something specific and valid, then the joy of the expectation makes the present more precious."

Pope Benedict called the congregation to "live the present intensely" and to "project it towards the future" with the gifts given to each of them. "In this way," he related, "the Christian Advent becomes occasion for a reawakening of the true meaning of expectation in us, returning to the heart of our faith that the mystery of Christ, the much awaited Messiah... "

"And if Jesus is present there no longer exists any time without meaning and empty," said the Holy Father, "if He is present, we can continue to hope even when others can no longer assure us of support, even when the present becomes difficult."

"Advent is a time of the presence and the expectation in the eternal," he stated. "Exactly for this reason, it is... the time of joy, an internalized joy, that no suffering can negate. Joy because God is made child."


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Communion Prayer of St Philoxenus of Mabbug


When you have extended your hands and taken the body, bow, and put your hands before your face, and worship the living Body whom you hold. Then speak with him in a low voice, and with your gaze resting upon him say to him:

I carry you, living God, who is incarnate in the bread, and I embrace you in my palms, Lord of the worlds whom no world has contained. You have circumscribed yourself in a fiery coal within a fleshly palm–you Lord, who with your palm measured out the dust of the earth. You are holy, God incarnate in my hands in a fiery coal which is a body. See, I hold you, although there is nothing that contains you; a bodily hand embraces you, Lord of natures whom a fleshly womb embraced. Within a womb you became a circumscribed body, and now within a hand you appear to me as a small morsel.

As you have made me worthy to approach you and receive you–and see, my hands embrace you confidently–make me worthy, Lord, to eat you in a holy manner and to taste the food of your body as a taste of your life. Instead of the stomach, the body’s member, may the womb of my intellect and the hand of my mind receive you. May you be conceived in me as you were in the womb of the Virgin. There you appeared as an infant, and your hidden self was revealed to the world as corporeal fruit; may you also appear in me here and be revealed from me in fruits that are spiritual works and just labors pleasing to your will.

And by your food may my desires be killed; and by the drinking of your cup may my passions be quenched. And instead of the members of myg inwardly, and excel outwardly, and run diligently, and to attain to the full stature of an interior human being. May I become a perfect man, mature in the intelligence residing in all my spiritual members, my head being crowned with the crown of perfection of all of my behavior. May I be a royal diadem in your hands, as you promised me, O hidden God whose manifestness I embrace in the perfection of your body. body, may my thoughts receive strength from the nourishment of your body. Like the manifest members of my body, may my hidden thoughts be engaged n exercise and in running and in works according to your living commands and your spiritual laws. From the food of your body and the drinking of your blood may I wax stron

St Philoxenus of Mabbug





Saint John Chrysostom, "On Leading Others to Christ"


Nothing is more frigid than a Christian who does not care about the salvation of others. You cannot plead the excuse of poverty here; the widow who gave her two mites will stand to accuse you. Peter said, “Silver or gold I have none.” Paul was so poor he often went hungry, lacking the necessary food. You cannot allege lack of education or preparation. They were unlearned men. You cannot plead infirmity. Timothy was often laid low by sickness and the Apostle had to counsel him to take a little wine for his stomach. Every one can profit his neighbor if he will do what he can.

Do not say, It is impossible for me to lead others to the faith. If you are a Christian, it is impossible for it not to be so. The natural properties of things cannot be denied. This witnessing to others is part of the very nature of being a Christian. It would be easier for the sun to cease to shine and give forth heat than for a Christian not to send forth light; easier for the light to be darkness than for this to be so.