And pray ye without ceasing in behalf of other men. For there is in them the hope of repentance that they may attain to God. See, then, that they be instructed by your works, if in no other way. Be ye meek in response to their wrath, humble in opposition to their boasting: to their blasphemies return your prayers; in contrast to their error, be ye steadfast in the faith; and for their cruelty, manifest your gentleness. While we take care not to imitate their conduct, let us be found their brethren in all true kindness; and let us seek to be followers of the Lord (who ever more unjustly treated, more destitute, more condemned?), that so no plant of the devil may be found in you, but ye may remain in all holiness and sobriety in Jesus Christ, both with respect to the flesh and spirit.
Monday, July 21, 2014
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Some people see the houses in which they live as their kingdom; and although in their minds they know that death will one day force them to leave, in their hearts they feel they will stay forever. They take pride in the size of their houses and the fine materials with which they are built. They take pleasure in decorating their houses with bright colors, and in obtaining the best and most solid furniture to fill the rooms. They imagine that they can find peace and security by owning a house whose walls and roof will last for many generations. We, by contrast, know that we are only temporary guests on earth. We recognize that the houses in which we live serve only as hostels on the road to eternal life. We do not seek peace or security from the material walls around us or the roof above our heads. Rather, we want to surround ourselves with a wall of divine grace; and we look upward to heaven as our roof. And the furniture of our lives should be good works, performed in a spirit of love.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
Why did the devil attack Jesus, knowing that Jesus was without sin? The devil could not possibly have been victorious. Why did the devil, through Judas, hand Jesus over to be crucified? The death of Christ on the cross could not possibly have served the devil’s purpose, except to give the devil pleasure in seeing Christ suffer. Nor could God have ordered the devil to attack and betray Jesus; the fulfillment of God’s plan cannot belong to the devil, but must belong to God alone. In truth the whole matter worked the other way round. By attacking and betraying a person so manifestly good and holy as Christ, the devil exposed himself; the devil revealed himself as evil. This may sound strange; surely we know evil for what it is, without such a terrible exposure. On the contrary, the problem of evil is that it is usually disguised as goodness. Think of Judas. Throughout the early ministry of Jesus, Judas was a most loyal and passionate disciple. And he willingly went out with the others to proclaim the Gospel and heal the sick. Yet all the while, evil thoughts were seething in his heart; the lust for power and wealth burned within him. So when the opportunity arose to destroy Jesus, he seized it. Judas shows us how evil operates in the world; that is why God allowed evil to be exposed—by allowing Jesus to die on the cross.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
You are, I am sure, aware that for your penitence is now no longer limited to disclosing your sins to your confessor, but that you must now bear your sins in mind always, until your heart nearly breaks with their ugly load; and would break, were it not for your firm faith in the mercy of our Lord. St. Makarios of Optina
God knows what each of us can bear, beloveds, how it is best borne and for how long…Presbytera Candace
Monday, July 14, 2014
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America hosts this instructive, edifying page on forgiveness and reconciliation, a Q & A with Hieromonk Jonah. Please visit this link: http://www.antiochian.org/content/forgiveness-and-reconciliation-how-forgive-others-and-receive-forgiveness It is definitely worth reading.
Reconciliation, by Josefina de Vasconcellos, in St. Michael's Cathedral, Coventry
Friday, July 11, 2014
The Woman with an issue of blood that Christ cured
Commemorated July 12/25
St. Veronica is identified with a hemorrhaging woman in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew (19.20), which reads: “And behold, a woman which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years came behind him and touched the hem of his garment, for she said within herself, `If I may touch hip garment I shall be made whole.’ But Jesus . . . when he saw her said, ‘Daughter, be of good comfort, thy faith hath made thee whole.” It is known from the Gospel that Veronica was not only a real person but one who was aging and who was but one of many healed by the Savior. Thereafter, she is said to have had a statue of Christ, arms extended to comfort the world, erected and placed in front of her home as a token of her gratitude and reverence.
St. Veronica, whose name is a compound of the two words “Vera” and “Icon” which means true image was a pious woman of God. On the first Good Friday, St. Veronica was the woman who stepped out of the crowd and wiped the perspiring face of Christ as he struggled to carry the Cross on the road to Calvary. The cloth she used miraculously retained an imprint of the countenance of the suffering Messiah.
Veronica’s veil, which is now the precious property of the Roman Catholic Church, has been placed in a hallowed corner of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, where it is put on display the second Sunday after Epiphany, the four days of Holy Week, Easter Sunday, the Monday after Easter, Monday of Pentecost, February 22, May 3, and November 18 of each year, as well as on other special occasions.
St. Veronica married a Christian convert named Zacchaios who joined her in all of her religious efforts, which were considerable and included missionary work, during which time she held tight to her precious veil. She was called to the side of the ailing Emperor Tiberius, whose physicians had given up hope, but at the mere sight of the veil which Veronica held forth, who was cured of his malady. Together with her converted husband, Veronica undertook to carry the message of Christ to remote areas, concentrating on what is now the south of France. George Poulos, Orthodox Saints, Vol. 3, Pg. 29
Hymns for Vespers Service to St. Veronica
Stichera for Lord I have cried…Tone 8
By humbly and courageously touching the hem of Christ’s garment with faith/ Holy Mother Veronica/ your issue of blood of twelve years was healed by the Master/ who then endowed you with the gift of healing/ and as rivers of spiritual waters overflowing their banks// you water those sick and suffering, with the healing grace of God.
Your name means true image, /for with true compassion, you used your veil to gently wipe Christ’s face as he carried His Cross./ His image remained on your veil,/ and you carried His wonderworking icon and the gospel to those in need./ Holy Mother Veronica, //teach us to seek healing through the One True God and Savior of our souls.
Who would not wonder at and glorify faithfully the unseen miracles of humble Veronica? O the wonder and glory of God given grace! / Teach us by thy example/ to turn with faith to God for the healing of our souls and bodies.
Glory… same tone
Your holy feast has become a bright heaven of salvation, / O Holy Mother Veronica, / that shines like the sun with the action of divine healings;/ your miracles of salvation shine like stars.// Teach us to pray with faith to Christ for the healing of our souls and bodies.
Troparion… Tone 8
The image of God was preserved in you Holy Mother Veronica, For taking up your cross you followed after Christ. Teaching us to disregard the flesh for it passes away, but rather to nurture the soul, for it is immortal. Therefore, your spirit is rejoicing with the Angels, O Holy Mother Veronica.
Sourced from: http://pearlofgreatpricebook.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/442/
Do I possess the house in which I live? No, it is only on loan to me from God while I remain in that place. Do I possess the clothes I wear? No, they are on loan to me until they wear out, or until I give them away to someone in greater need. Do I possess this body that you see before you? No, it was lent to me by God when I was born, and he will take it back when I die. Do I possess the mind that is composing the words that I speak? No, that, too, was lent by God at my birth and will go when I die. So, do I possess anything? Yes, I possess the virtues which during my life have grown and flourished within my soul. Inasmuch as I have grown in love, I possess love. Inasmuch as I have grown in faith, I possess faith. Inasmuch as I have grown in gentleness, I possess gentleness. These things are immortal; they are divine gifts which God will not take away, because he wants heaven itself to be filled with virtue. And, of course, I possess my soul, in which these virtues have their roots.