Orthodox Thought for the Day


Friday, October 24, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

On wasted time

What is more precious than anything in the world? Time! And what do we waste uselessly and without being sorry? Time! What do we not value and what do we disregard more than anything? Time! When we waste time, we lose ourselves! We lose everything! When we have lost the most trivial item, we search for it. But when we lose time--we're not even aware of it. Time is given by God to use correctly for the salvation of the soul and the acquisition of the life to come. Time must be allocated in the same way that a good housekeeper allocates every coin--each one is used for something. Each one has its own purpose. In such a way let us also allocate time profitably, not for vain amusements and entertainments, conversations, feasts and parties. The Lord will call us to account for having stolen time for our own whims, and for not using it for God and our soul. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

On personal prayer

Every faithful man and woman, when they have risen from sleep in the morning, before they touch any work at all, should wash their hands and pray to God and so go to their work…Pray also before your body rests on the bed. 

About (St.) Hippolytus, c. 170-235 AD:  Bishop of Pontus (near Rome), was an eminent and learned scholar who wrote voluminously in the early third century.  Since he was unusually well versed in Greek philosophy, the Hellenistic mystery religions, and the teachings of the Apologists, it seems clear that, like (St.) Irenaeus, (St.) Hippolytus came from the eastern half of the Roman Empire.  He professed himself to be a disciple of (St.) Irenaeus and, like his teacher, (St.) Hippolytus wrote his works in Greek; indeed, he was the last Christian author in Rome to do so.  He died a martyr. 

(St.) Hippolytus’s writings include several widely different fields of Christian concern.  His Refutation of All Heresies engaged pagan culture and philosophy extensively.  In his Apostolic Traditions, (St.) Hippolytus handed on what had become customary practice within the Church by his day.  Topics covered include particulars regarding Christian life, details about the administration and celebration of the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist, and some information about the responsibilities of clergy. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

A prayer of St. Ambrose of Milan

May God grant us our prayer:  to sail on a swift ship under a favorable breeze and finally reach a haven of safety; that we may not be exposed to spiritual obstacles too great to overcome; that we may not meet with shipwreck to our faith.  We pray also for a peace profound and, if there be anything that may arouse the storms of this world against us, that we may have as our ever-watchful pilot our Lord Jesus, who by His command can calm the tempest and restore once more the sea’s tranquility.  To Him be honor and glory in perpetuity, both now and forever, and for all ages to come.  Amen. 

The Decani Monastery Relief Fund thanks you

Philippians 1:3-11 NKJV 

3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. 9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. 

Our brother in Christ, Rev. Fr. Nektarios Serfes, is traveling to Kosovo today, October 13…please offer prayer for him as he travels and seeks to bring your loving and generous gifts to those who live in hardship in that area.   

Know that the benefactors of the Decani Monastery Relief Fund are remembered with love and thanksgiving before the altar of God at the Decani Monastery as seen above.  In behalf of Fr. Nektarios, the fathers of the Decani Monastery and the faithful in the area, they send their heartfelt thanks and prayers for you, their benefactors and brethren in Christ!
Decani Monastery, Kosovo and Metohija, Serbia

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Some thoughts on the Hexaemeron (Six days of Creation)

From the writings of St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan +397AD:

In the beginning of time, God created heaven and earth.  Time proceeds from this world, not before the world. 

The earth is not suspended in the middle of the universe like a balance hung in equilibrium:  the majesty of God holds it together by the law of His own will. 

Evil arose from us, and was not made by the Creator God.  It is produced by the created thing; it does not have the dignity of a natural substance.  It is a fault due to our mutability and is an error due to our fall. 

And God said, “Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters and let it separate the waters from the waters; .. and it was so,” Genesis 1:6.  Listen to the words of God, “Let there be,” He said.  This is the word of a commander, not of an adviser.  He gives orders to nature and does not comply with its power.  He does not regard its measurements, nor does He examine its weight.  His will is the measure of things and His word is the completion of the work. 

But since His word is nature’s birth, justly therefore does He who gave nature its origin presume to give nature its law. 

“Let the earth bring forth,” God said, and immediately the whole earth was filled with growing vegetation.  And to humanity it was said, “Love the Lord your God”; yet the love of God is not instilled in the hearts of all.  Deafer are human hearts than the hardest rock. 

The bramble preceded in time the light of the sun; the blade of grass is older than the moon.  Therefore, do not believe that object to be a god to which the gifts of God are seen to be preferred.  Three days [of creation] have passed.  No one, meanwhile, has looked for the sun, yet the brilliance of light has been in evidence everywhere. 

“Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures,” Genesis 1:20, said the Lord—a brief statement, but a significant one and one widely effective in endowing with their nature the smallest and the largest animals without distinction.  The whale as well as the frog came into existence at the same time by the same creative power. 

Fish follow a divine law, whereas human being contravene it.  Fish daily comply with the celestial mandates, but humans make void the precepts of God. 

Moses saw that there was no place in the words of the Holy Spirit for the vanity of this perishable knowledge which deceives and deludes us in our attempt to explain the unexplainable.  He believed that only those things should be recorded which tend to our salvation. 

The Word of God permeates every creature in the constitution of the world. 

The divine wisdom penetrates and fills all things.  Far more conviction is gained from the observation of irrational creatures than from the arguments of rational beings.  Of more value is the testimony given by nature than the proof presented by teaching. 

A Patristic Treasury, Early Church Wisdom for Today, Ancient Faith Publishing, pp 339-342 (excerpts from among those pages)

Ancient Faith Publishing offers a beautiful set of Creation icons
Written by iconographer Michael Kapeluck

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Where did this Faith originate?

Our faith is right, and starts from the teaching of the Apostles and the tradition of the Fathers, being confirmed both by the New Testament and the Old.  St. Athanasios of Alexandria (298 - 373 AD)