Orthodox Thought for the Day


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Guidelines for spiritual life

Speak well of those who speak evil of you.  Pay good for evil.  Pray for those who cause you various offenses, wrongs, temptations, persecutions.  Whatever you do, on no account condemn anyone; do not even try to judge whether a person is good or bad, but keep your eyes on that one evil person for whom you must give an account before God–yourself. 

St. Ignatius Brianchaninov

Friday, November 27, 2015

Nov 15/28 Repose of St. Herman of Alaska

I am pleased to share with you a short message from Fr. Patrick Tishel, headmaster of Saint Herman of Alaska Orthodox Christian School in Allston, MA (a Boston neighborhood).  As the school’s Patron, St. Herman’s feast days are celebrated by the school and its umbrella church, Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church (they meet in the same building).   

Read below about the Feast Days dedicated to beloved Saint Herman and visit the Pravoslavie link for more information about the Saint and the recommended video. 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: 

Saturday Nov.15/28 is the date of the repose of our beloved Saint Herman of Alaska. He has three days of commemoration: August 9th-the date of his canonization, November 28-the day of his repose and Dec 25-when we remember his burial.

We ask St. Herman for his prayers and to bless the children of our school and parish to know the fullness of the Faith so they may be witnesses to those around them.

Here is a link with more details and with another link to a video about Spruce Island. http://www.pravoslavie.ru/english/88215.htm
With love in Christ,
Fr. Patrick

Our family was blessed to live in Alaska for eight years so St. Herman is near and dear to us.  When we left Alaska, God guided us to an Orthodox Christian School dedicated to St. Herman of Alaska (as mentioned above) which serves youth from K-8th grade.  This school is located in the Boston neighborhood of Allston. The school has been serving Orthodox families for more than two decades.  Our daughter was blessed to spend her middle school years and to graduate from this wonderful school! 

For those of you who have a heart for Orthodox Christian education, you can learn more about Saint Herman of Alaska Christian School by visiting their web site:   http://sainthermanschool.org/school/  They have a free e-newsletter ministry to which you can subscribe.  And, if support for Orthodox Christian Education is your passion, this school is worthy of the support it receives from friends both near and far.    

St. Herman of Alaska, pray for us!
Presbytera Candace 

"Then, for our good and for our happiness, let us all make a vow: at least from this day, this hour, this very minute, we should strive to love God above all else and do His will."  St. Herman of Alaska

Monday, November 23, 2015

On fruit bearing trees

There are certain kinds of trees which never bear fruit as long as their branches stay up straight, but if stones are hung on the branches to bend them down they begin to bear fruit.  So it is with the soul.  When it is humbled it begins to bear fruit and the more fruit it bears the lowlier it becomes.  So also the saints:  the nearer they get to God, the more they see themselves as sinners. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

On distress of soul

When a soul is distressed, it looks for comfort everywhere.  The afflicted soul doesn’t want to be concerned about many things.  It only wants peace and stillness.  It is content to be done with the present things, even if nothing else follows.  So then, don’t sink in your afflictions, but give thanks in everything so that you may profit from them and please God. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Prayer of Peace

Sharing a forwarded message from an Ortho Thought reader…a beautiful challenge for us all:

His Grace Bishop Gregory, Primate of the American Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese of the U.S.A. and Titular Bishop of Nyssa has a desire for his flock.  He has challenged everyone, old, young and even too young to read, to pray the Prayer of Peace each night during Advent.

Here is the prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, our God, You said to Your disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.”  We come before You in humility and ask that Your peace which surpasses all understanding will descend upon all people around the world, especially those currently in conflict and at war. Increase understanding and forgiveness between nations.  Awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hatred for their neighbor.  Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. Grant wisdom to civil authorities.  Free those held captive, protect those in danger, and comfort those who are suffering and displaced.  Implant in all of us reverence for You, and confirm us in love for one another.  Make us worthy to celebrate the feast of Your holy nativity and to join with the angels in chanting: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.” For You are the King of Peace and the Savior of our souls and to You we give glory together with Your eternal Father and Your most-holy, gracious and life-giving Spirit, now and ever and forever. Amen.

We know that God hears our prayers.  May we be like the Parable of the Persistent Widow as we pray for peace during the Advent season.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

On hard times

People give all sorts of reasons to excuse their lack of charity, their hardheartedness!  Some say, “hard times.”  But if the times are hard for those who have a sufficiency, how much harder are they for the poor?  This pretext alone should lead one to give all the more generously. 

Friday, November 13, 2015

Never fear

You must never be afraid, if you are troubled by a flood of thoughts, that the enemy is too strong against you, that his attacks are never ending, that the war will last for your lifetime, and that you cannot avoid incessant downfalls of all kinds. Know that our enemies, with all their wiles, are in the hands of our divine Commander, our Lord Jesus Christ, for Whose honour and glory you are waging war. Since He himself leads you into battle, He will certainly not suffer your enemies to use violence against you and overcome you, if you do not yourself cross over to their side with your will. He will Himself fight for you and will deliver your enemies into your hands, when He wills and as He wills, as it is written: ‘The Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee’ (Deut. xxii, 14).

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The foundation of man

Love every man in spite of his falling into sin.  Never mind the sins, but remember that the foundation of the man is the same—the image of God. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

On conceit


Conceit—that subtle arrow of the devil—secretly wounds the heart, and its seed is subtly planted; so that—little by little—it grows into a Pharisee.  

Monday, November 2, 2015

Science studies the Jesus Prayer

Can seven words—Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me—change lives?

It may seem a lot of effort over just seven words: Finding 110 Eastern Orthodox Christians, giving them a battery of tests ranging from psychology to theology to behavioral medicine, and then repeating the tests 30 days later. But the seven words—"Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me" (a.k.a. the Jesus Prayer)—are among the most enduring in history. What Boston University psychologist George Stavros, Ph.D., wanted to find out was whether repeating the Jesus Prayer for ten minutes each day over the 30 days would affect these people's relationship with God, their relationships with others, their faith maturity, and their "self-cohesion" (levels of depression, anxiety, hostility, and interpersonal sensitivity). In short, Stavros was asking whether the Jesus Prayer can play a special role in a person's "journey to the heart."

The answer—at least on all the scales that showed any significant effect compared to the control group—turned out to be a resounding yes. Repeating the contemplative prayer deepened the commitment of these Christians to a relationship with a transcendent reality. Not only that, it reduced depression, anxiety, hostility, and feelings of inferiority to others. So powerful were the psychological effects of the prayer that Stavros urges his colleagues to keep it in mind as a healing intervention for clients. He recommends that the prayer be used along with communal practices so that one's relationship with God and others is "subtly and continuously tutored." In other words, going inside to find God does not mean going it alone.

Sourced from:  http://stjohntheforerunnerblog.blogspot.com/2015/11/science-studies-jesus-prayer.html