Thursday, July 30, 2015
The human conscience is a gift of God. It is so mysterious and enigmatic in its immediateness and reality that nothing less than God could give it to man. In its most inner cell, the human conscience is God-conscience because in essence the conscience has been given as a divine gift to man. Man could not have a self-conscience, if this had never been given to him by God.
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
A holy soul cares for his neighbor, either close at hand or far away. He cares where the homeless will spend the night, how the hungry will be fed, with what the naked will be clothed. He cares and he prays for the salvation of his neighbors: that their hearts may be filled with love towards God, that their minds may be directed towards God, that the wicked may turn from the paths of wickedness, that the hesitant may be confirmed in the Faith, that the firm may persevere, that the departed may behold the Face of God, that the living may be written in the Book of Life in the Kingdom of Light.
Those of you who have been Orthodox Thought readers for some time know that the persecution of the Christian populace of Kosovo (Serbia) is very close to my heart. Along with our brother in Christ, Fr. Nektarios Serfes of Boise, Idaho, I try to keep readers abreast of the difficulties in the province and provide a way of bringing relief to our brothers and sisters in Christ there.
The Decani Monastery Relief Fund is the means we use to make sure monies sent for relief make it to Kosovo and are fully utilized for those who are in significant hardship. The fathers of the Decani Monastery are God’s hands and feet who distribute funds to individuals and families who are oppressed. Sadly, conditions in the region continue to deteriorate.
Ariane Trifunovic Montemuro is a board member of the Fund and has prepared a short YouTube video as a reminder of Kosovo’s plight: https://youtu.be/ycBFeYbbmGc. As an artist, Ariane has prepared a poignant visual reminder of the desecration of Kosovo.
The aim of the desecration and personal oppression against Christians is to demoralize and destroy the Orthodox Christian population there. The struggle of Christians in the region is relentless, whether you hear about it in the news or not. This is what makes their situation particularly heavy. If you are willing to support those in hardship in Kosovo, our brethren in Christ, please consider Ariane’s offer at this time.
In Kosovo today, we are witnessing a consistent, slow but sure, modern day genocide of yet another Christian population, this one steeped in centuries of active Christian witness. What is happening there now is deplorable. However, those who care can bring relief and hope to those who struggle for faith and livelihood in Kosovo. Prayer is needed along with practical assistance.
Please give someone in Kosovo the strength to keep carrying a very heavy cross. Even our Christ received help to carry His cross from Simon the Cyrene on His approach to Golgotha. Do you feel compelled by God to take up Simon’s ministry for contemporary cross-bearers? Our spiritual kindred in Kosovo are among today’s cross-bearers. The opportunity to come alongside them and lift the cross is here and now, for Christ’s sake.
Visit the Decani Monastery Relief Fund site here: http://www.thedecanifund.org/ Donations can be made via Paypal or by check. I know Fr. Nektarios Serfes, DMRF president and am known by Bishop Teodosije of Decani Monastery. I recommend this philanthropic work without hesitation.
God reward you!
With heartfelt thanks,
Monday, July 27, 2015
My neighbor is a being with equal rights as myself, a man, like me, also made after the image of God, and as he is the same as I am I must love him as I love myself. Therefore, I must watch over him as over my own flesh and blood, behave lovingly, gently, and kindly to him, forgiving his thoughts as I should willingly forgive myself my own, as I long for forgiveness or indulgence from others toward my own weaknesses—that is, that other people should not even notice them, as though they did not exist, or that they should notice them gently, kindly, pleasantly and benevolently. St. John of Kronstadt
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Prayer together with almsgiving can furnish us with countless good things from above. They can quench the fire of sin in our souls and can give us great freedom. Cornelius had recourse to these two virtues and sent his prayers up to heaven. Because of these two virtues he heard the angel say, “Thy prayers and thy alms have gone up and been remembered in the sight of God,” Acts 10:4.
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Monday, July 20, 2015
Some people by the word freedom understand the ability to do whatever one wants…People who have the more allowed themselves to come into slavery to sins, passions, and defilements more often than others appear as zealots of external freedom, wanting to broaden the laws as much as possible. But such a man uses external freedom only to more severely burden himself with inner slavery. True freedom is the active ability of a man who is not enslaved to sin, who is not pricked by a condemning conscience, to choose the better in the light of God’s truth, and to bring it into actuality with the help of the gracious power of God. This is the freedom of which neither heaven nor earth are restrict.
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Boredom is the grandfather of despondency, and laziness is the daughter. In order to drive it away, exert yourself at work—do not be lazy at prayer. Then, boredom will pass and grace will come. And if you add patience and humility to this, you will spare yourself from much evil.