Orthodox Thought for the Day

ORTHODOX THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A talk from 1981 that rings fresh today

I happened to be going through some archived papers and came across the transcript of a talk given by Hieromonk Seraphim Rose titled “Signs of the End Times.” The transcript was made available by Orthodox America some time back.  I took the time to re-read it, fresh, through the eyes of recent history and found it inspirational, confirming and revealing as to where we find ourselves today. 

The transcript of the talk is found at this link:  http://www.roca.org/OA/134/134b.htm

The questions and answers that followed the talk do not appear there, but if enough people have interest, I will make them available. 

Solid reading for our day and age.  Memory eternal, Fr. Seraphim! 

Icon by the hand of Fr. Luke Dingman

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Make Your Spouse Beautiful

A Meditation for Married Men from St. John Chrysostom:
 
Wives, be subject to your husbands, as to the Lord.  From these words of Paul you sense how open-hearted should be your wife’s subjection.  But now listen to what Paul requires of you.  Follow the same example, Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church.  You see how much obedience is asked of you.  Now hear how much love is required. 

You want your wife to obey you as the Church obeys Christ?  Then you  must care for her as much as Christ cares for the Church.  Should it be necessary to die for her, to be cut into a thousand pieces, to bear any sort of suffering, you should not say no; and if you have indeed suffered like that, you still have done nothing compared with what Christ has done.  In point of fact, you would be doing these things for one to whom you are already united, while he has done them for one who opposed him and hated him, despised him, spat on him, rejected. him.  With all the tenderness of his soul he prevailed upon her to kneel at his feet without insulting her, without humiliating her, without making her afraid. 

You, too, must behave in the same way with your wife.  Even if you see that she despises you, even if she rejects and humiliates you, you can bring her back to you if you take trouble over her, if you care for her, if you are fond of her, if you love her. 

 

Nothing is stronger than these bonds, particularly between husband and wife.  By resorting to intimidation you might be able to keep a domestic servant attached to you—but not even him, for probably the servant will leave you and escape.  The companion of your life, the mother of your children, the basis of all your joy, ought not to be tied to you by threats and fear, rather by love and the warmth of emotion.  What sort of union would that be in which the wife is afraid of her husband?  And what pleasure could her husband find in staying with her as if she were a servant? 

Whatever kind of woman you have chosen, you cannot have chosen anyone like the spouse Christ has chosen in marrying the Church.  And if she is different from you, it is not so different as the Church is from Christ.  Even so, he has not hated her, or loathed her for her terrible deformity.  You want to know the extent of her deformity?  Then listen to Paul, You were one time darkness. (Ephesians 5:8)  Do you see how obscure she was?  What is more obscure than darkness? 

See too how brazen faced she was.  We were passing our days in malice and iniquity.  (Titus 3:3) and how unclean, We were foolish and disobedient.  What I mean to say is, she was a fool and a blasphemer, and yet, despite that, he sacrificed himself for that deformed spouse as if she had been beautiful, most deserving of love, marvelous.  Full of admiration, Paul exclaims, One will hardly die for a righteous man, yet Christ died for us while we were still sinners.  (Romans 5:7-8) 

 

After taking a spouse like that, he made her beautiful and he washed her.  He did not shrink even from that.  He did it that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present her to himself in splendour.  With water he washed her uncleanliness away, water accompanied with a word.  What word was it, In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  He not only adorned her, he made her resplendent without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.


We too in our spouse seek this beauty.  It could be that we are in a position to create this beauty ourselves.  Do not ask of your wife what is not in her power.  Note carefully that the Church received everything from the Lord.  It was he who made her resplendent without spot or wrinkle. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

In thanksgiving to the Holy Archangel Michael & the Heavenly Bodiless Powers

I cannot speak for others, but I am particularly grateful to the Holy Archangel Michael and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven for having preserved us to this day.  Did you sense their presence throughout the day  yesterday?  I did…and felt the gift of peace.  I hope you did, too. 

Sometimes the Saints help us in ways we’re aware of and we desire to show our appreciation somehow.  If you’ve spent extra time in prayer to the angels of Heaven recently and have been blessed through it, there’s a way to express gratitude to them in return.
 
Here is a photo of the monastery dedicated to the Archangel Michael on the island of Thassos, Greece. 


The monastery of the Holy Archangel Michael has in its possession the holy nail that was used to affix our Lord’s right hand to the Cross.  The Archangel Michael has made certain that the holy nail remains in this monastery. https://nikana.gr/en/tourist-guide/thassos/what-to-see/1605/monastery-of-st-archangel-michael-and-the-holy-nail. 

Greek video is here—AA Michael Monastery starts around 4:30:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_Q6MChNX_Q.  You’ll see the holy nail under glass in a case during the video.  Music being chanted is the paraklesis to the Archangel Michael.  It looks like this YouTube video may be a log of a church pilgrimage taken to some monasteries/churches on Thassos. 

This monastery suffered damage from a fire during September of this year.  Funds were sought for repairs in the amount of $25,000 USD.  To date, $24,728.00 has been raised.  If you would like contribute to help the monastery repair damage, here’s how:  https://www.gofundme.com/thassosfirefund 

If you decide to send a gift, it will surely be appreciated by the sisterhood.  And, be assured, the Holy Archangel Michael and the Holy Heavenly Bodiless Powers will certainly be aware of your heartfelt gratitude as well.
 

Love in Christ,
Pres. Candace

Sunday, November 6, 2016

November 8--an auspicious day

What a blessing and mercy it is that the Synaxis of the Archangel Michael and all the Heavenly Bodiless Powers is commemorated on November 8 (new calendar).  I think it’s not a coincidence that this day is also set aside for the U.S. government elections this year. 

This holy feast gives us a special opportunity to worship during the Divine Liturgy and to ask the prayers, especially, of the Holy Archangel Michael and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven.  Let us honor them and ask their intercessions and help because God has given the Holy Angels as ministering spirits who are able to be strong on our behalf.  We must do our part and call on them.

 
 

If you own the Book of Akathists, Volume 1, published by Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY, you will find the Akathist to the Holy Archangel Michael on page 299.  If you offer these prayers you will draw the support of the Supreme Commander of the Heavenly Hosts.   

When we invoke the heavenly hosts, we enable the Bodiless Powers to come to our aid—and not our aid only, but that of the whole world.  And if the world ever needed the help of the Hosts of Heaven it is now.  They are able to dispel the malignant spirits which seem to be increasing in boldness as time passes.  Let us help vanquish them by calling upon God’s warriors and ministers, ever active in heavenly realm.    

A Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

SOURCE: Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA

Archangel Michael by Andrei Rublev
 
O Holy and Great Archangel of God Michael, who standest, as the first of the Angels, before the ineffable and super-substantial Trinity; who art placed as a watcher and keeper over the human race; who hast with thine armies crushed the head of the proud Lucifer in the heavens and brought forever to shame his wickedness and treachery on earth!
 
To thee we have recourse in faith, and thee we entreat with love: be thou an indestructible shield and firm rampart for the holy Church and the Orthodox Christians, guarding them by the lightning power of thy sword from all enemies visible and invisible.

Be thou a guardian Angel, a wise counsellor and companion of the Christian people, bringing them enlightenment, strength, joy, peace and consolation.
Be thou a leader and a companion in battle to those who strive for the Orthodox Faith, so that all who fight against us may know that God and His holy Angels are with us.

Forsake us not, O Archangel of God, with thy help and protection, who today glorify thy holy name: for behold, even if we are have sinned greatly, nevertheless we would not perish in our misdeeds, but rather turn to the Lord and be enlivened by Him unto good works.

Illumine our minds with the light of God, which ever shineth on thy lightning-like brow, that we may come to understand what the good and perfect will of God for us is, and know all that we must do, and all that we must despise and shun.

Strengthen, by the Lord’s grace, our weak will and infirm intention, so that, confirmed in the law of the Lord, we may cease to be cast about by worldly thoughts and lusts of the flesh, or like thoughtless children to be drawn by the perishing glamour of this world, lest by corruptible and earthly things we foolishly forget the eternal and the heavenly.

And above all these things, ask for us from on high the spirit of true repentance, unfeigned sorrow before God, and contrition for our sins, so that we may spend the days that remain of this passing life, not in pleasing ourselves and serving our passions, but rather in effacing the evils we have committed, by the tears of faith and heartfelt contrition, by striving for purity and the holy works of mercy.

And when the time of our demise shall approach, and of our liberation from this
body of clay, leave us not, O Archangel of God, without defense against the spirits of evil under heaven, who surround us to close off the ascent on high for human souls; so that, guarded by thee, without stumbling we may attain unto those glorious habitations of Paradise, where there is neither sadness nor sighing, but life without end, and may be granted to see the light-filled Face of our all-good Lord and Master, falling with tears at His feet, crying out in joy and gladness:

Glory to Thee, our most dear Redeemer, Who for Thy great love toward us unworthy ones hast seen fit to send Thine Angel as a minister of our salvation.
Amen.

Excerpted from the Akathist to the Archangel
 
 

 

 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

Holy Networking

No, it’s not an exclamation.  Instead, it’s a request for action. 

In short, would you help us, please? 

Fr. Nektarios is trying to round up 1000 seed packets to take to Kosovo on November 14.  Right now we have 614 packets.  Do any of you have a relationship with a local plant nursery or with gardening friends who might have be willing to donate seed packets for humanitarian relief?  Would you be willing to do some “holy networking” to find out?  This is, of course, to benefit the recipients of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund. 


Recently, a kind request to a nursery from a parishioner in New England yielded a gift of 100 seed packets.  If nurseries learn that the seeds are going to feed people who might otherwise go hungry, they are often willing to make a donation.  They would prefer to have new packets of seeds to sell in the spring than ones left over from the previous year.  Will you help with this humanitarian aid request for Serbian families &  monasteries in Kosovo, beloveds?  All it might take is a little “holy  networking.” 

Please mail seeds to arrive by the end of the first week of November, if possible.  Fr. Nektarios boards the plane on November 14.

God bless & reward you, our benefactors! 

Thank you so much,
Presbytera Candace
DMRF Board Member 

Mail seeds to:     
Decani Monastery Relief Fund
Very Rev. Nektarios Serfes
2618 W. Bannock Street
Boise, ID   83702