The Feast of the Beads
It is the custom at St. Simeon Skete to anoint our prayer ropes (beads) with sweet smelling oil on the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels because our prayers are likened as the sweet smelling incense that the angels offer to the throne of God.
Rev. 8: 1-4-
"1 When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.
2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.
3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all the saints, on the golden altar before the throne.
4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the saints, went up before God from the angel's hand."
The angels are waiting for us to pray. Picture in your mind, angels leaning over from heaven catching our prayers that rise as incense and quickly offering them at the throne of God. I can see them holding their golden bowls peering down at us, whispering "more prayers, more prayers."
Rev. 5:6, 8 -
"Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.
7 He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.
8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints."
The three verities that embody the spirituality of St. Simeon Skete are The Bible, the Bowl and the Beads.
Relative to the Bowl:
- If we don't pray, we are like an overturned bowl, nothing can enter (Isa 28:12; Mk. 8:18).
- If we don't put our prayers into practice, we are like a bowl with a hole in it - everything leaks out (James 1:22; 4:17).
- If we are double-minded in our prayer, this is similar to using an unclean bowl, contaminating what it receives (James 1: 8; Mt. 23:25).
- If we don't pray the bowl becomes full of ourselves - like the "inn" where there was no room for Him (Lk. 2:7; Rev. 3:20).
- If we don't pray, we become untrusting so that whatever is placed in the bowl will never be enough (Lk. 2:25-32; Mt. 6:33).
At the Skete, the anointing of our beads is known as "The Liturgy of the Beads". The Liturgy of the Beads is very simple and should be celebrated from time to time and not just on the Feast of All Angels. Simply lay the beads down on table before a lit candle, anoint them with sweet smelling oil of your choice and pray the prayer of offering as you offer them to God.
Remember, it is the prayer we say on the beads and each bead is like a little bowl holding what we offer to God. Then say the following prayer.