Orthodox Thought for the Day


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

On the conscience part 3


Humble yourself, and from now on confess, for confession contains holy humility, without which no one is saved.  The devil greatly rejoices when he manages to persuade a person to hide diabolical thoughts.  This is because he will achieve his premeditated, soul-destroying goal. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On the conscience part 2

Do not let your conscience prick you for long, but quickly give it whatever it wants, lest it take you to the judge and the prison (cf. Mt. 5:25).  Does your conscience want you to attend to your prayer rule and regain prayer?  Give it these things and behold, you are delivered from going to the judge.  Do not weaken the saving voice of your conscience by disregarding it, because later you will regret it to no avail. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

On the conscience part 1

I have written to you about the conscience, that we must be careful not to do something that will make it reproach and condemn us.  Bear in mind that God sees everything and that nothing is hidden from His eyes.  So, how could I tell lies before God?  Don’t you know that lies are from the devil and that by not being careful, it becomes a practice, then a habit, then a passion and don’t you know that liars will not inherit the Kingdom of God? 

Fear God.  God is not pleased with material offerings when we neglect attending to our inner heart.  But it is necessary to do these also without leaving the others undone (cf. Mt. 23:23). 

Attend to your conscience, for we do not know the hour of our death. And if we do not repay our creditor (our conscience, that is) everything we owe him, he will accuse us vehemently, without holding back.  Then—alas!—our mouth will be silenced, not having any answer to give.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A harp for our Christ

Let us allow Christ to speak through us.  He desires it more than we do.  For He made this instrument and wouldn’t want it to be useless and idle.  He always wants to keep it in His hands.  Why, then, don’t you make it useful for the Maker’s hand?  Why do you allow your soul to be unstrung, relaxed through luxury, and allow the whole harp to be useless to Him?  One should keep all its parts completely stretched, well strung and reinforced with spiritual salt.  For if Christ sees your soul tuned this way, He will make His music through it.  When this has taken place, you will see angels leaping for joy—archangels and the cherubim, too.  So then, let us become worthy of His spotless hands.  Let us invite Him to strike our hearts. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blessed simplicity

Good and blessed is that simplicity which some have by nature, but better is that which has been goaded out of wickedness by hard work.  The former is protected from much complexity and the passions, while the latter is the gateway to the greatest humility and meekness.  There is not much reward for the one and no end of reward for the other.

If you wish to draw the Lord to you, approach Him as disciples to a master, in all simplicity, openly, honestly, without duplicity, without idle curiosity.  He is simple and uncompounded.  And He wants the souls that come to Him to be simple and pure.  Indeed you will never see simplicity separated from humility. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The value of Confession

Confession is like a bridle that keeps the soul which reflects on it from committing sin, but anything left unconfessed we continue to do without fear as if in the dark.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

An Orthodox Saint for those suffering mental or nervous disorders

Recently I received a communique from a dear friend who has been laboring for many years with long-term care for beloved family members suffering from mental and physical handicaps.  This person lives a loving and dedicated life to Christ and maintains an overall optimistic spirit, nevertheless the feelings of extreme weariness and concerns for the future were bearing down heavily on this dear soul.
After pondering the communication, I wondered how it could be possible to provide some support in light of this person’s personal cross.  The one inspiration that came to me was a search for an Orthodox Saint known to be a patron for those suffering from mental illness.  It is often the Saints of God who lift and assist in the carrying of our burdens in this life—if we ask for their assistance. 
Through the wonders of the internet (and I appreciate the good that can come out of the vast sea of researchable materials on-line) I came across information on a 7th century Irish Saint, Dymphna, a holy martyr who is known as a Patron for those who suffer from mental and nervous disorders.  You can read her hagiography below. 
I can’t express the joy I felt over learning about St. Dymphna and being able to call upon her to support my dear friend’s loved ones.  I am now brimming with hope that many more will be moved to seek her holy help, those who previously were unaware of her particular intercessory ministry. 
Holy Martyr, St. Dymphna, pray to God for us! 
Your sister in Christ,
Pres. Candace 
May 15 ( early 7th c.)
St. Dymphna was the daughter of a pagan king and a Christian mother in Ireland. When her mother died, her father desired to take his own daughter to wife. Dymphna fled with her mother’s instructor, the priest Gerberen, to the continent. Her father followed and eventually found them. When Dymphna refused to submit to his unholy desire, he had them both beheaded at Gheel in what is today Belgium. Throughout the centuries she has shown special care and concern from the other world for those suffering from mental illnesses and is greatly venerated throughout Europe and America. 
Full article from whence this came:  http://orthodoxinfo.com/general/irishorthodoxchurch.aspx 

St. Dymphna (pronounced Deemfna) is known to be the patron Saint of those suffering from insanity, mental illness, nervous disorders, neurological disorders, depression and epilepsy.
Suggested prayer to St. Dymphna

For the mentally afflicted

Holy God, we humbly beseech You through Your servant, St. Dymphna, who sealed with her blood the love she bore for You, to grant relief to those who suffer from mental afflictions and nervous disorders, especially (names).  St. Dymphna, helper of the mentally afflicted, pray for the sufferers, (names).  Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever and unto the ages of ages.  Amen.  Through the prayers of our holy fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us, Amen.

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Mother of God fell asleep on this day

Blessed Feast of the Holy Dormition! 

In the Book of Akathists, Volume I, published by Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville, NY there is an Akathist in Honor of the Dormition of the Theotokos.  At the end of the Akathist, there is a closing prayer which contains a many titles or attributes by which we honor the Mother of God.  From this prayer I have extracted some of these beautiful words ascribed the Most Holy Theotokos:   

O Most Holy Theotokos, Virgin, Lady,
higher than the angels and archangels
more honored than all creation,
the great wonder of angels,
the lofty sermon of prophets,
the most glorious boast of apostles,
the special adornment of hierarchs,
the strong support of martyrs,
the saving precept of monastics,
the inexhaustible abstinence of fasters,
the purity and glory of those in virginity,
the peaceful gladness of mothers,
the wisdom and learning of children,
nourisher of widows and orphans,
garment of the naked,
health of the ailing,
deliverance of the imprisoned,
calm of those that sail upon the sea,
stormless haven of the tempest-tossed,
untiring instructress of the erring,
easy passage of the travelers,
good repose of laborers,
quick defender of those in trouble,
shelter and refuge of the wronged,
hope of the despairing,
helper of the needy,
inexhaustible wealth of the poor,
everlasting comforter of the grieving,
loving humility of the hated,
salvation of sinners and re-acquisition to God,
firm stronghold of the right-believing,
unconquerable help and intercession
most wonderful Queen of noetic light,
who gave birth to Christ the King,
glorified by the celestial,
praised by the earthly,
the mind of angels,
luminous star,
most holy one of the saints,
queen of queens,
mistress of all creation,
divinely-majestic virgin,
spotless bride,
palace of the Most Holy Spirit,
fiery throne of the invisible King,
heavenly ark,
vessel of God the Word,
fire-like chariot,
resting place of the living God,
ineffable source of the flesh of Christ,
nest of the heavenly Eagle,
divinely speaking turtle dove,
meek dove,
gentle and kind,
child-loving mother,
abyss of mercies,
disperser of the cloud of the wrath of God,
immeasurable depth,
inexpressible mystery,
incomprehensible miracle,
church not made with hands of the only King of all ages,
fragrant censer,
honorable robe of purple,
divinely woven porphyry,
animate paradise,
branch from the life-bearing garden,
most beautiful flower that hath blossomed heavenly gladness for us,
cluster of our salvation,
chalice of the King of Heaven,
intercessor of the Law,
inception of the true Faith of Christ,
unshakable pillar,
destruction of heretics,
sword of the divine wrath against those inimical to God,
intimidation of demons,
victory of those in warfare,
true preserver of all Christians
known salvation of all the world

May we remain under her protection, now and ever…Presbytera Candace


Please visit last year’s entry for the feast:  http://otftd.blogspot.com/2013/08/blessed-feast-of-holy-dormition.html and also John Sanidopoulos’ entry for this year’s commemoration:  http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2013/08/august-15th-summer-pascha.html

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Read the Fathers

We do not need great knowledge to be devout.  If we concentrate and meditate on the few things we know, our heart will be spiritually embroidered.  One may be profoundly affected by a single hymn, while another may feel nothing --- even though he may know all the hymns by heart, as he has not entered into the spiritual reality.  Therefore, read the Fathers --- even one or two lines a day.  They are very strengthening vitamins for the soul. 


Monday, August 11, 2014

God's comfort

A Meditation on a Conversation with Archimandrite Zacharias of St. John’s Monastery, Essex
The person who wrote the summary of the conversation remains anonymous to us at this point.  However, the man had some very good points to share on the basis of what was revealed by Archimandrite Zacharias.  We are grateful to read this teaching on the topic of God’s desire to comfort us.  Many thanks to the author of this summary.
Fr. Zacharias noted that God “wants to comfort us.”
The Father:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, (2Co 1:3 NKJ)
The Son is Himself the Comforter, the Spirit being “another Comforter” (Jn. 14:6).
This dynamic goes to the heart of repentance, which in many ways is the root of our true existence (so far removed from a legal and moralistic understanding). For it is when our hearts are broken and do not run away or hide that we can call on God to comfort us. And He does.
That comfort is the gift of His own life within us, a sharing of His own joy and love. The hardness of our hearts creates walls and obstacles that refuse to be comforted. In our suffering and pain we enclose ourselves and the ego anxiously seeks to escape (which is the source of most of our sin).
The Fathers wrote about the cycle of pain and pleasure that dominates us and creates the distorted passions within us. The seeking of pleasure brings pain from which we run towards pleasure only to find more pain and the cycle continues.
And so the Scriptures tell us that a “broken and contrite heart God will not despise” (Psalm 51). But we flee from a broken and contrite heart, refusing the suffering.
Fr. Zacharias said that instead of turning aside from this suffering, we should remain in that brokenness and call out to God to comfort us. I have had opportunity (as do we all) to practice this since the conversation. All that he said is true.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. (2Co 1:3-7 NKJ)
May you partake of  God’s comfort daily.  Pres. C.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Christian...or not?

Let it be understood that those who are not found living as He taught are not Christian--even though they profess with the lips the teaching of Christ.  St. Justin Martyr (160 AD)


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blessed are the peacemakers

Nothing is so characteristically Christian as being a peacemaker.  St. Basil the Great

You have many things to ponder. Ponder paradise, where Cain, who destroyed his brother through jealousy, does not return. Ponder the kingdom of heaven to which the Lord admits only those of one heart and mind. Ponder the fact that only those can be called the sons of God who are peacemakers, who, united by divine birth and law, correspond to the likeness of God the Father and Christ. Ponder that we are under God’s eyes, that we are running the course of our conversation, and life with God Himself looking on and judging, that then finally we can arrive at the point of succeeding in seeing Him, if we delight Him as He now observes us by our actions, if we show ourselves worthy of His grace and indulgence, if we, who are to please Him forever in heaven, please Him first in this world.  St. Cyprian of Carthage

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

St. Ephraim the Syrian on the Holy Transfiguration of Christ

Blessed Feast of the Holy Transfiguration!  Please visit the Full of Grace and Truth blogspot to read the August 5, 2010 entry which shares St. Ephraim’s homily for this joyous Feast:  http://full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com/2010/08/st-ephraim-syrian-on-transfiguration-of.html

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Patience, patience...

We should not find it strange if the passions and sicknesses war against us, but rather we should entreat God to give us patience, that great balm for the wounds of the soul as well as of the body.  Patience is the one and only diamond which beautifies the Christian and makes straight the rough road of our salvation.  Patience is the fortitude of the soul, the support, the deep root that holds the tree when the winds beat against it and the streams strike it.