Orthodox Thought for the Day


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

On sinners and penitents

It is necessary to distinguish a sinner from a penitent.  If you have taken it upon yourself to rebuke a sinner, take care that you do not rebuke the penitent also.  The parable of the Prodigal Son demonstrates how dear a repentant sinner is to God.  Therefore, let one who has become dear to God, be very dear to you.

One time, a monk succumbed to sin, for which he was banished from his monastery.  This monk went to St. Anthony, confessed his sin, repented, and remained with Anthony for a period of time.  Then Anthony sent him back again to his monastery, but they did not receive him, and again drove him out. Again, the penitent went to St. Anthony.  Again, Anthony sent him back to the monastery, with a message to the fathers there:  “A ship suffered shipwreck and lost its cargo, and only with great difficulty did that boat reach the harbor—and you want to sink even that which was saved from sinking!”  Hearing this wise message, the fathers received the penitent brother into the monastery with joy.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

All are created spiritually equal

God has created all people spiritually equal.  Every person has the same propensity for good and evil.  Every peson has the same choice, as to whether to obey God or to defy Him.  Yet in other ways, we are very unequal.  Some people are highly intelligent, while others have feeble intellects.  Some people are physically strong and healthy, while others are weak and prone to illness.  Some people are handsome and attractive while others are plain.  Those who are gifted in some way should not despise those less gifted.  On the contrary, God has distributed gifts and blessings in such a way that every person has a particular place and purpose within a society--and thus everyone is equally necessary for a society to function well.  So, do not resent the fact that someone is more intelligent or stronger than you are.  Instead, give thanks for their intelligence and strength, from which you benefit.  And then ask yourself, "What is my gift, and thence what is my place in society?"  When you have answered this question, and you act according to your answer, all contempt and all resentment will melt away. 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

On quarreling / fighting

Avoid quarrels; by agitating the heart they deprive us of peaceful disposition of soul.  Oppose all quarrelsome thoughts with the Jesus Prayer.  An Elder’s Counsels to Christians Living in the World

Let’s stop fighting and pray in a becoming way.  We should put on the mildness of angels instead of the demons’ brutality.  No matter how we’ve been injured, we must soften our anger by considering our own case and our reward.  Let us quiet the storms; we can pass through life calmly.  Then, upon our departing, the Lord will treat us as we treated our neighbors.  If this is a heavy, terrible thing to us, we must let Him make it light and desirable.  What we don’t have strength to carry out because of our struggle against sin, let us accomplish by becoming gentle to those who sinned against us.  St. John Chrysostom

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Desert wisdom from Abba Poemen

I prefer a man who sins and repents to one who does not sin and does not repent.  The first has good thoughts, for he admits that he is sinful.  But the second has false, soul-destroying thoughts, for he imagines himself to be righteous. 

Going further:  listen to or read the transcript of the program “Abba Poemen the Great:  On Softening the Hardest of Hearts,” from Ancient Faith Radio, found at this link:


Dead to sin, but alive to God

To deny oneself means to give up one's bad habits; to root out of the heart all that ties us to the world; not to cherish bad thoughts and desires; to suppress every evil thought; to avoid occasions of sin; not to desire or to do anything out of self-love, but to do everything out of love for God.  To deny oneself, according to St. Paul means "to be dead to sin. . . but alive to God." 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dispelling the darkness within

The darkness which you have, my child, comes both from nature and from the tempter.  Both are healed by the arrival of God's grace.  For this reason, entreat God to give you sobriety and the ability to remember good things and forget bad things.  When you persist, little by little the grace of God will help you. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Advice for life in a God-forsaking age

Let us follow our Good Master; let us shun worldly desires; let us shun the world of deceit and its temporal ruler; let us give ourselves in purity to our Maker; let us honor our image; let us respect our call and change our lives.  Why do we debase ourselves when our origins are lofty?  Why do we cling to the visible realm? 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Imitate the Saints of God

We must live like the saints themselves and imitate their works.  When we become like them and live the common life, we can understand what God has revealed to them.  And by being closely knit to them, we can escape the danger of sinners and fire at the Day of Judgment.  We can receive what is stored up in the kingdom of heaven for the saints.  Such treasure, “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have they entered into the heart of man.”  These things are prepared for those who live a righteous life and who love God and Christ Jesus our Lord. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Inner work is essential

When someone applies himself to external activity, before having polished his spiritual inner state, he may struggle spiritually; but he will be fraught with worry, anxiety, lack of confidence in God and frequent loss of serenity.  If he does not improve himself, he cannot say that his interest for the common good is pure.  When he is liberated from the old self and all worldly things, then he will receive Divine Grace; and be not only at peace with himself, but also able to bring peace to everyone else.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

On internal work and serenity

If we look to correct ourselves and look more intently towards our inner activity—rather than our external, giving precedence to Divine help—we can, in turn, be of greater and more positive help to others.  We will also achieve an inner serenity that will quietly help the souls of the people we encounter, because spiritual serenity reflects the virtue of the soul and transforms souls. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Royal Martyrs--heroes of the Faith worthy of praise

On July 17 (Julian calendar), Russia’s last Tsar Nicholas II, his wife, Tsarina Alexandra, and their children--Alexandra, Alexis, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastastia went to Christ as a choir of holy martyrs.   Their martyrdom, as a family, occurred July 16-17, 1918, in Ekaterinburg.  This was a loving, Orthodox Christian family, the children were privileged by their station, but raised as ordinary children. 

Fr. Nektarios Serfes maintains some beautiful pages on his web site (http://www.serfes.org/royal/index.htm) honoring the holy martyrs of the Russian Royal Family.  Here is one especially dedicated to the martyred children of the Tsar:  http://www.serfes.org/royal/child-martyrs.htm

A second page containing poetry related to Royal Martyr Grand Duchess Olga at the time of martyrdom, is found here:  http://www.serfes.org/royal/83rdanniversary.htm.  A miracle of the Child Martyr Grand Duchess Maria is found here:  http://www.serfes.org/royal/miracleofmaria.htm.  Please take time to peruse the variety of pages on the holy martyred family on Fr. Nektarios' site.

Let us consider a prayer to the Royal martyrs, Tsar Nicholas, Tsarina Alexandra and the royal martyred children who have undergone the ultimate trial in this life and emerged triumphant: 

O Holy Royal Martyrs Nicholas, Alexandra,

Alexis, Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia,

pray to God for us, that we, too,

when the hour of trial comes upon us,

remain faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

A very informative icon featuring the Royal Family and other New Martyrs, Confessors and Passion-bearers of Russia can be found here:  http://www.allsaintsofamerica.org/martyrs/nmruss.html

A heroine for teen girls

Today, July 17, is the feast day of the Great Martyr St. Marina. St. Marina was 15 years old when she contested for her faith in Christ. This morning I was blessed by reading her life from the volume The Lives of the Holy Women Martyrs published by Holy Apostles Convent in Buena Vista, Colorado.

As I read, I was deeply moved by her faith and our Lord’s response to her petitions before her soul ascended to Him. In the life and martyrdom of St. Marina we have a blessed testament, worthy to be read by Christian youth, especially teen girls. This teen-aged Saint is rightly called a heroine of the Christian Faith.

Marina was a faithful Christian during the third century. She was beautiful, intelligent and maintained strong convictions. Her greatest strength may have been that she recognized her own limitations and relied completely upon Christ for His strength to confess Him before the tyrant Olymvrios, knowing that she would suffer for her Faith. Through her humility and willingness to confess Christ wholeheartedly, God was glorified in and through her life. He has, as an everlasting testimony, glorified His servant, Marina. We remember her today as a Great Martyr as her witness converted multitudes. And, even in our time, we learn about miracles wrought by St. Marina!

I came across this edifying entry about St. Marina on Full of Grace and Truth blogsite: http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2008/10/great-miracle-of-st-marina.html. John Sanidopoulos’ web site, also, contains a lovely tribute to St. Marina. It, too, mentions her as a heroine for teen girls: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2009/07/saint-marina-great-martyr-role-model.html

If you have time today, share her life with an Orthodox teen-aged girl you know. And let us remember that St. Marina continues to hear the prayers and requests of the faithful as is beautifully noted in the blogsite articles. Holy Great Martyr Marina, pray to God for us!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

On lack of contentment

Any circumstance in which a man finds himself unwillingly is a prison for him. So be content with whatever circumstances you may now be in, lest, by being ungrateful, you punish yourself unwittingly. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

On partaking of the Holy Mysteries

The angel who is always near us is by nothing so distressed and made indignant as when, without being constrained by some necessity, we deprive ourselves of the ministration of the Holy Mysteries and of reception of Holy Communion, which grants remission of sins. For at that hour the priest offers up the sacrifice of the Body of Him Who gives us life, and the Holy Spirit descends and consecrates the Body and Blood and grants remission to creation.  The cherubim, the seraphim, and the angels stand with great awe, fear, and joy.  They rejoice over the Holy Mysteries while experiencing inexpressible astonishment.  The angel who is always by us is consoled, because he also partakes in that dread spectacle and is not deprived of that perfect intercourse. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Keep the eternal perspective

Hold to patience in your hearts, my friends, and put it into action when the situation calls for it.  Don't let any abusive word from your neighbor stir up hatred in you, and don't allow any loss of things that pass away to upset you.  If you are steadfast in fearing the loss of those things that last forever, you will never take seriously the loss of those that pass away; if you keep your eyes fixed on the glory of our eternal recompense, you will not resent a temporal injury.  You must bear with those who oppose you, but also love those you bear with.   Seek an eternal reward in return for your temporal losses. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On the possession of love

If you possess love, you feel no jealousy or envy.  You are not boastful, carried away by reckless pride.  Nor do you put on airs with anyone.  Nor do you act shamefully towards your fellow beings.  You seek, not simply what is to your own advantage, but what also benefits your fellow beings.  You are not quickly provoked by those who are angry with you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Akathist to the Precious Cross

I would like to credit Elizabeth at the Garden Window blogspot for posting this Akathist.  If you read about our Lord's Robe (yesterday's entry), you will learn that on July 10, an Akathist to the Cross is prayed by the faithful in Moscow in veneration of the Robe.  The text of the akathist is given below:

The Akathist Hymn To the Spiritual Ladder, The Precious Cross

Kontakion 1
Thrice-blessed and all-worshipful Cross of Christ, we the faithful venerate and magnify you being joyous at your divine Exaltation. But since you are the trophy and unconquered weapon, by your grace protect, cover, and shelter those who cry to you: Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Eikos 1
Angels from Heaven invisibly circle the life-bringing Cross in fear, and seeing it now brilliantly shedding light-bestowing grace upon the faithful, amazed they stand and cry to you such words as these:

Rejoice, O Cross, guardian of the world;
Rejoice, the glory of the Church;
Rejoice, you that bountifully gush forth with healings;
Rejoice, you that enlighten the ends of the earth;
Rejoice, Wood fragrant with life, and treasury of wonders;
Rejoice, fitly-joined, thrice-blessed, and bestower of graces;
Rejoice, for you are the divine footstool;
Rejoice, for you were ordained for the worship of all;
Rejoice, bowl of nectar, full to the brim;
Rejoice, torch of the radiance above;
Rejoice, you through whom the creation is blessed;
Rejoice, you through whom the Creator is worshipped;
Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Kontakion 2
Perceiving the longing within her Queen Helen spoke to the Emperor boldly: "The great desire of your soul corresponds to my zeal; therefore, seeking for you that most excellent trophy, the Most Holy Cross, I cry, Alleluia!"

Eikos 2
With spiritual insight, Queen Helen called out to her attendants: "From the depths of the earth, hasten with speed to discover and give me the Cross" to which, when she saw it, she spoke in fear crying out:

Rejoice, the sign of joy;
Rejoice, redemption from the ancient curse;
Rejoice, treasure in the earth by hidden envy;
Rejoice, that which appeared in the stars as a sign;
Rejoice, four-rayed-beaconing and fire-like Cross;
Rejoice, ladder set on high, foreseen once of old;
Rejoice, wonder of Angels;
Rejoice, wounding of demons;
Rejoice, welcome relic of the Word;
Rejoice, quencher of deception's fire;
Rejoice, O Cross, protector of the helpless;
Rejoice, the stern trainer of the victors;
Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Kontakion 3
The might of the Wood was then shown forth as a true pledge to all, and it raised to life the woman that was voiceless and dead to life – an awesome sight to them that shall reap salvation by singing: Alleluia!

Eikos 3
Holding the Cross, the invincible weapon, Queen Helen ran back to her son, and he rejoiced greatly when he looked upon the Holy Cross, and rejoicing he cried to it such words as these:

Rejoice, O Cross, vessel of light;
Rejoice, O Cross, treasury of life;
Rejoice, bestower of the gifts of the Spirit;
Rejoice, storm-free port of those at sea;
Rejoice, table that holds Christ as Sacrifice;
Rejoice, vine that bears the mystical vine;
Rejoice, for you protect the scepters of princes;
Rejoice, for you crush the heads of demons;
Rejoice, illustrious mark of the faith;
Rejoice, preservation of all the world;
Rejoice, God's blessing upon mortals;
Rejoice, our mediation with God;
Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Kontakion 4
Receiving divine zeal within, Queen Helen diligently sought and found the Cross hidden in the earth and upon seeing it, the whole people cried in faith: Alleluia!

Eikos 4
Like the sun, the Cross appeared in the world, and all men were filled with its light, and running as towards a star, they viewer it as the cause of good raised up by Hands divine, and hymning it they said:

Rejoice, dawn of the spiritual Sun;
Rejoice, font unfailing of myrrh;
Rejoice, recall of Adam and Eve;
Rejoice, death-blow to the princes of Hades;
Rejoice, for in being exalted you now also exalt us;
Rejoice, for in being venerated you sanctify men's souls;
Rejoice, the world proclaimed report of the Apostles;
Rejoice, most plentiful strength of champions;
Rejoice, O Cross, reproach of the Jews;
Rejoice, praise to men of the Faith;
Rejoice, you through whom Hades was cast down;
Rejoice, you through whom grace did rise up;
Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Kontakion 5
Having beheld the God-crowned Wood, let us come under its protection, and taking it up as a weapon, with it we put our enemies to flight, and touching the untouchable with our lips we cry to it: Alleluia!

Eikos 5
The Great Constantine beheld a light from the heaven, displaying the sign of the Cross in the stars through which he was also to conquer a multitude of adversaries, he made haste to reveal the Wood and to cry to it such words as these:

Rejoice, accomplishment of the ineffable counsel;
Rejoice, the horn of godly people;
Rejoice, you that turns back the ranks of our foes;
Rejoice, you flame that burns the demons;
Rejoice, heavenly scepter of the faithful King;
Rejoice, invincible trophy of the Christ-loving armies;
Rejoice, you that humble the arrogance of barbarians;
Rejoice, you that care tenderly for the souls of men;
Rejoice, defense against many evils;
Rejoice, awarder of many good things;
Rejoice, you on whose account the Christ-bearers run with joy;
{Rejoice, you on whose account the Jews lament; }
Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Kontakion 6
The Cross of the Lord became a ladder as lofty as heaven, leading up all from earth that they might always dwell together with the choirs of Angels, abandoning things present as though they were not, and singing: Alleluia!

Eikos 6
Shining as a light upon all in Hades, O Savior you enlightened them who were in darkness, and the gate-keepers of Hades, not enduring your coming, fell down as dead, but they who were delivered now behold the Cross and cry:

Rejoice, resurrection of the dead;
Rejoice, consolation of those that mourn;
Rejoice, despoiling of the treasuries of Hades;
Rejoice, enjoyment of the Paradise of delight;
Rejoice, rod that drowned the Egyptian army;
Rejoice, you who watered the Israelite people;
Rejoice, living Wood, the Thief's salvation;
Rejoice, fragrant rose, sweet scent of the godly;
Rejoice, food of the hungry in spirit;
Rejoice, God's seal that men have received;
Rejoice, O Cross, doorway to the divine mysteries;
Rejoice, from which divine streams pour forth;
Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Kontakion 7
When Moses was about to deliver his much-troubled race from the Egyptians you, O Cross, were given to him as a rod, but you were made known to him also as a symbol of God wherefore, amazed at your sovereign might, O Cross, he cried: Alleluia!

Eikos 7
He who was on Sinai gave the law to Moses, Christ our God, by his own will is nailed to the Cross, lawlessly for the lawless men, and he loosed the ancient curse of the law so that beholding the might of the Cross, we might all now cry:

Rejoice, uprighting of the fallen;
Rejoice, downfall of the world's adorers;
Rejoice, inauguration of the Resurrection of Christ;
Rejoice, divine revealing of monastics;
Rejoice, shady-leafed tree under which believers are sheltered;
Rejoice, prophet-proclaimed Wood which has been planted on earth;
Rejoice, alliance of the kingdom against the enemy;
Rejoice, mighty protection of the state;
Rejoice, manifestation of the just Judge;
Rejoice, condemnation of offending mortals;
Rejoice, O Cross, aid to orphans;
Rejoice, O Cross, enricher of the poor;
Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Kontakion 8
Seeing the strange wonder, let us live our life as strangers, lifting our minds up to heaven, for this reason was Christ affixed to the Cross, and suffered in the flesh having willed to draw to the heights them that cry to it: Alleluia!

Eikos 8
Fully God, Christ came down from on high, retaining His divinity, the only Word from before all ages, and being born of a Virgin Mother, He appeared to the world in the flesh having willed to draw to the heights them that cry:

Rejoice, O Cross, weapon of peace;
Rejoice, starting-point and goal of travelers;
Rejoice, wisdom and firm support of the saved;
Rejoice, folly and destruction of the damned;
Rejoice, fruitful, immortal, and life-bearing plant;
Rejoice, flower that blossomed with our salvation;
Rejoice, for you join together things on earth with things above;
Rejoice, for you enlighten the hearts of all below;
Rejoice, through whom corruption is banished;
Rejoice, through whom sorrow has vanished;
Rejoice, you wealth of goods;
Rejoice, you boast of believers;
Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Kontakion 9
The armies of demons is fallen and the race of Jews is put to shame, seeing that the Cross is worshipped by all with longing as it continuously gushes forth healing to those who cry: Alleluia!

Eikos 9
When you, O Christ, were affixed to the Wood, the floods of the false beliefs were checked for they are confounded at how You endured the Cross and avoided corruption, but we, glorifying Your Resurrection, cry out:

Rejoice, height of the wisdom of God;
Rejoice, depth of His providence;
Rejoice, ignorance of the unwise;
Rejoice, misfortune of the foolish;
Rejoice, for you manifest the Resurrection of Christ;
Rejoice, for you revive His Passion;
Rejoice, undoer of the trespass of the first-created;
Rejoice, opener of the entrance to Paradise;
Rejoice, O Cross, revered by all;
Rejoice, adversary of faithless nations;
Rejoice, O Cross, healer of the sick;
Rejoice, constant help of them that cry;
Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Kontakion 10
With the purpose of saving the world, the lord of the word ineffably descended into it and submitted to the Cross, and being God He accepted for us the entire human nature, wherefore having also redeemed us, he hears from all: Alleluia!

Eikos 10
The Cross is the protection of the whole world, for the Creator of heaven and earth Who prepared you stretches out his hands and teaches all to proclaim:

Rejoice, foundation of godliness;
Rejoice, conquest of the promised land;
Rejoice, you who put the spiritual Amalek to flight;
Rejoice, you who were prefigured by the hands of Jacob;
Rejoice, for you transformed the ancient shadows;
Rejoice, for you fulfilled the prophetic utterances;
Rejoice you that carried the Savior of all;
Rejoice, you who destroyed the corrupter of souls;
Rejoice, through whom we are united with Angels;
Rejoice, through whom we are illumined by light;
Rejoice, for with honor we worship you;
Rejoice, for crying out we address you;
Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Kontakion 11
Every hymn falls short in comprehending the multitude of your many wonders, for though we should offer you a multitude of praises, O precious Cross, we can do nothing worthy of what you have granted us, but we still cry: Alleluia!

Eikos 11
The life-giving Cross, bestowing the radiance that given light to those in darkness, has shown us the immaterial light, and has lightened the way for all to divine knowledge, and being lifted up it now lifts up our minds that we might chant these words:

Rejoice, luminary that shines on those in darkness;
Rejoice, star that dawns upon the world;
Rejoice, lightning that blinds the slayers of Christ;
Rejoice, thunder that terrifies the faithless;
Rejoice, for you have made radiant the choirs of the Orthodox;
Rejoice, for you have consumed the altars of idols;
Rejoice, you whose form has appeared from the heaven;
Rejoice, you whose grace drives away evil;
Rejoice, you who signifies mortification of the flesh;
Rejoice, you who slays the insurrection of the passions;
Rejoice, you upon whom Christ was crucified;
Rejoice, you by whom all the world was saved;
Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Kontakion 12
Having willed to grant grace to men, Christ stretched his hands on the Wood, and calls all nations together and grants the Kingdom of the Heavens to all that worthily sing the hymn and faithfully cry: Alleluia!

Eikos 12
Chanting this hymn out of love we praise you as the living Wood of the lord, for in the flesh being nailed upon you, He who rules over the powers on high has sanctified, glorified, and taught us to cry these words to you:

Rejoice, O Christ, spiritual sword;
Rejoice, holy gaze of Saints;
Rejoice, prediction of the prophets and righteous;
Rejoice, brilliant stratagem of Christ;
Rejoice, beauty and crown of godly kings;
Rejoice, strength and stronghold of reverent priests;
Rejoice, most noble jewel of truth;
Rejoice, fairest haven of salvation;
Rejoice, joyful splendor of all;
Rejoice, banishment of Hagar's sons;
Rejoice, lamp of purest light;
Rejoice, gladness of my soul;
Rejoice, O Wood most blessed.

Kontakion 13
O most laudable Wood which held the Word, the Most Holy of all holy beings, having received our entreaties deliver from every calamity and redeem from eternal torment all who cry to you: Alleluia!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Robe of our Lord Jesus Christ

Tomorrow, July 10, is the Translation of the Honorable Robe of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The July 10 entry in the Prologue of Ohrid speaks of this.    I found this rather amazing as one of the books my daughter chose to read this summer is Lloyd C. Douglas’ The Robe.  The book is fiction and is well written but does not reflect the actual history of our Lord’s Robe.  Of course, my daughter naturally asked, “What became of Christ’s Robe?”  The query prompted me to investigate further the documented history on the Robe of our Lord. 

I found a wealth of great information of the Full of Grace and Truth blogspot and here is the link:  http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2009/07/precious-robes-of-christ-and-orthodox.html  The article is well worth reading and meditating upon.  Great and marvelous are all the works of the Lord!

I will also share a special blessing that came to me a couple months ago without any real awareness on my part.  I came upon an icon in a thrift store (four thrift shop found icons have found homes with us over the years).  This icon (the one which puzzled me up until today) is specifically related to the Lord’s Robe.

In the icon, Christ and His angels look down upon a holy pillar that appears to hover over a stump beneath which someone has reposed, is wearing a halo and is clutching something to his/her chest—the figure is dim, though the halo glimmers.  St. Nina is pictured on the right, along with other faithful and there appear a pious king and queen and clergy in the foreground.  The pillar of wood is being held by an angel and above it is a crown and some stars.  I’d never seen anything like this before but when I first came across it, I was able to pick out St. Nina with her grapevine cross.  Since my daughter is named for St. Nina, I felt blessed to have it, but still couldn’t figure out what the scene related to.  However, after reading on the Full of Grace and Truth blogspot, I learned what a lovely treasure I’d found, indeed!  In our icon, the holy one beneath the stump is St. Sidonia of Georgia (Iberia) clutching Christ’s Robe!  Also shown are King Mirian and Queen Nana along with St. Nina and pious clergy.  This icon depicts the revealing of our Lord’s Robe in Georgia.  Wow—what a surprise—what a blessing!  (I wish I could post a photo of the icon but the colors are not particularly bright and it would be hard to see much detail.  There is no indication anywhere on the icon from where it came.)  

I hope you’ll have time to visit the link to the Full of Grace and Truth blogspot to learn more about the Robe of our Lord and its history.  And I want to thank the blogger for the edifying and educational posts that so often appear there.

Love in Christ,
Pres. Candace

Tireless in the pursuit of God

He who has realized love for God in his heart is tireless, as Jeremiah says (Jer. 17:16) in his pursuit of the Lord his God, and bears every hardship, reproach, and insult nobly, never thinking the least evil of anyone.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sustained by the Word of God

If there is anything in this life which sustains a wise man and induces him to maintain his serenity amidst the tribulations and adversities of the world, it is in the first place, I consider, the meditation and knowledge of the Scriptures.

Friday, July 6, 2012

On prayer and spiritual liberty

Prayer affords an experience of spiritual liberty of which most people are ignorant.  The first sign of emancipation is a disinclination to impose one's will on others.  The second--an inner release from the hold of others on oneself. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Who are the intelligent?

People are generally called intelligent through a wrong use of this word.  The intelligent are not those who have studied the sayings and writings of the wise men of old, but those whose soul is intelligent, who can judge what is good and what is evil; they avoid what is evil and harms the soul and intelligently care for and practice what is good and profits the world, greatly thanking God. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vice is easy, virtue is a challenge

Vice is so attractive and ready at hand, and nothing is so easy as to become evil --- even without anyone to lead us on to it; while the attainment of virtue is rare and difficult, even where there is much to attract and encourage us. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Meeting the Lord after our departure

In death the soul that has come to know God through the Holy Spirit experiences a measure of dread when the angels bring her before the Lord, since while living in the world she was guilty of sin.  But when the soul beholds the Lord, she rejoices in His meek and merciful countenance, and the Lord in the abundance of His gentleness and love remembereth not her sins.  One glance at the Lord, and love of Him will take up its abode in the soul, and from love of God and the sweetness of the Holy Spirit she will be completely transformed.  St. Silouan the Athonite

The lives of many Orthodox Christians were deeply touched and moved by the Holy Spirit to initially investigate the Eastern Orthodox Faith through the writing of Fr. Peter Gillquist in his book, "Becoming Orthodox"  first printed in August 1989.  Only God knows the on-going effect of this writing.  A multitude of souls made the journey to the historic Christian Church on the basis of its reading over the years and that legacy remains.  

With the saints give rest, O Lord, to the soul of your departed servant,
where there is no pain, nor sorrow, nor suffering, but life everlasting!

Today, I join my heart with others proclaiming "memory eternal!" for the soul of the servant of God, Fr. Peter.  Concluding a battle with cancer, God called him from this life on Sunday, evening, July 1.  His soul departed while surrounded by loved ones and upheld by the prayers of many.  Please see this link for details for visitation and burial:  http://www.antiochian.org/content/memory-eternal-fr-peter-gillquist

On forcefulness of will

At the beginning of the struggle...the holy commandments of God must be fulfilled with a certain forcefulness of will (cf. Matt. 11:12); then the Lord, seeing our intention and labor, will grant us readiness of will and gladness in obeying His purposes.  For 'it is the Lord who makes ready the will,' (Prov. 8:35 LXX), so that we always do what is right joyfully. Then shall we truly feel that 'it is God who energizes in you both the willing and the doing of His purpose,' (Phil. 2:13).