Thursday, January 30, 2014

Virtuous Life


One should not say that it is impossible to reach a virtuous life; but one should say that it is not easy. Nor do those who have reached it find it easy to maintain. Those who are devout and whose intellect enjoys the love of God participate in the life of virtue; the ordinary intellect, however, is worldly and wavering, producing both good and evil thoughts, because it is changeful by nature and directed towards material things. But the intellect that enjoys the love of God punishes the evil which arises spontaneously because of man's laziness.

St. Anthony The Great


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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Dormition of Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, the Theotokos


On this day, Our Lady, the all pure, Virgin St. Mary, the Mother of God, departed. As she was always praying in the holy sepulchre (sepulcher), the Holy Spirit informed her that she was about to depart from this temporal world. When the time of her departure arrived, the virgins of the Mount of Olives came to her, with the apostles, who were still alive, and they surrounded her bed. The Lord Jesus Christ, to Whom is the glory, with a host of thousands and thousands of angels came to her and comforted her and told her about the eternal joy that was prepared for her, and she rejoiced. The apostles and the virgins asked her to bless them. She stretched her hand and blessed them all, and she gave up her pure spirit in the hand of her Son and God, and He took her spirit to the heavenly mansions.

The apostles prepared the body in a fitting manner and carried it to Gethsemane. Some of the Jews blocked their way to prevent them from burying the body. One of the Jews seized the coffin with his hands, which were separated instantly from his body and they remained attached to the coffin. He regretted his evil deed and wept bitterly. Through the supplications of the saintly apostles, his hands were reattached to his body, and he believed in the Lord Christ. When they placed the body in the tomb, the Lord hid it from them.

St. Thomas the Apostle was not present at the time of St. Mary's departure. He wanted to go to Jerusalem and a cloud carried him there. On his way, he saw the pure body of St. Mary carried by the angels and ascended to heaven with it. One of the angels told him, "Make haste and kiss the pure body of St. Mary," and he did.

When St. Thomas arrived where the disciples were, they told him about St. Mary's departure and he said to them, "You know how I conducted myself at the resurrection of the Lord Christ, and I will not believe unless I see her body." They went with him to the tomb, and uncovered the place of the body but they did not find it, and everyone was perplexed and surprised. St. Thomas told them how he saw the holy body and the angels that were ascending with it. They heard the Holy Spirit saying to them, "The Lord did not will to leave her body on earth." The Lord had promised his pure apostles to let them see her in the flesh once again. They were waiting for this promise to be fulfilled, until the 16th day of the month of Misra, when the promise was fulfilled and they saw her.

The years of her life on earth were 60 years. She was 12 years old when she left the temple. She spent 34 years in Joseph's house, until the Ascension of the Lord, and 14 years with St. John the Evangelist, according to the commandment of the Lord which he told her at the cross, "Behold, this is your son," and to St. John, "Behold, this is your mother."

Her intercession and blessings be with us. Amen.


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Friday, January 24, 2014

Contrite Heart


You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5: 13 - 14


Let us acquire a contrite heart, a soul humbled in mind, and a heart that by means of tears and repentance is pure from every stain and defilement of sin.

So shall we too be found worthy in due time quickly to rise to such heights that even hear and now we may see and enjoy the ineffable blessings of the divine light, if not perfectly, at least in part, and to the extent to which we are able.

So shall we both unite ourselves to God, and God will be united to us. To those who come near us we shall become 'light' and 'salt' (Matthew 5: 13 - 14) to their great benefit in Christ Jesus our Lord.

St. Symeon the New Theologian


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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Cana of Galilee Wedding


O people who love Christ, come see and be amazed, about this mystery, that was revealed to us today.

For our Lord Jesus Christ, gathered with His virgin mother, and our fathers the apostles, He revealed to them His divinity.

Six jars of water, changed into chosen wine, through His great glory, in the Wedding of Cana of Galilee.


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The Wedding of Cana of Galilee





The Lord was invited and came to a wedding. Is it any wonder that He who came to that house for a wedding, came to this world for a wedding? 

Therefore He has a bride here whom He has redeemed by His blood and to whom He has given the Holy Spirit as a pledge. He took her from enslavement to the devil, He died for her sins.  He arose again for her justification.

Who will offer such great things to His bride? Men may  offer some trinkets or other things from the earth such as gold, silver, precious stones, horses, slaves, farms or estates. Will anyone offer His blood? For if He gives His blood to His bride, He will not be alive to take her as His wife.

But the Lord, dying free of anxiety, gave His blood for her in order that when He arose, He might have her whom He had already joined to Himself in the womb of the Virgin. 

For the Word was the bridegroom, and human flesh was the bride. And both are the one Son of God and likewise the Son of man. That womb of the Virgin Mary where He became the head of the church was His bridal chamber.

He came forth from there like the bridegroom from His bridal chamber, as Scripture foretold: "And he, as a bridegroom coming forth from his bridal chamber, has rejoiced as a giant to run the way."  He came forth from the bridal chamber like a bridegroom; and having been invited, He came to the wedding. 

St Augustine


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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy Epiphany


This is the Lamb of God, who carries the sin of the world, who brought a horn of salvation, in order to save His people.

Ⲫⲁⲓ ⲡⲉ ⲡⲓϩⲓⲏⲃ ⲛ̀ⲧⲉ Ⲫ̀ⲛⲟⲩϯ : ⲫⲏⲉⲧⲱ̀ⲗⲓ ⲙ̀ⲫ̀ⲛⲟⲃⲓ ⲙ̀ⲡⲓⲕⲟⲥⲙⲟⲥ : ⲫⲏⲉ̀ⲧⲁϥⲓ́ⲛⲓ ⲛ̀ⲟⲩⲧⲁⲡ ⲛ̀ⲥⲱϯ : ⲉⲑⲣⲉϥⲛⲟϩⲉⲙ ⲙ̀ⲡⲉϥⲗⲁⲟⲥ


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ON BEING BORN OF WATER AND THE SPIRIT




What, indeed, did He say? 'Amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.'  By these words He meant something like the following: 'You say that this is impossible, but I affirm that it is quite possible, so much so that it is even necessary and one cannot be saved without it.'

Now, God has made things that are necessary very easy for us. Earthly birth-that according to the flesh-is of the earth; therefore, heavenly things have been walled off from it. What has that which belongs to earth in common with heaven? But the birth which is of the Spirit easily opens for us the vaults above. 

Hear ye, as many of you as are outside the Light; shudder, groan. Fearful is the threat, fearful the sentence, 'It is not possible,' He asserted, 'for him who has not been born of water and the Spirit to enter into the kingdom of heaven, because he bears the garment of death, of the curse, of destruction.' He has not yet received the Master's stamp; he is a stranger and a foreigner, he does not possess the King's watch-word. 'Unless a man,' He said, 'be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.'……

'I mean another kind of birth, Nicodemus,' He said in effect. 'Why do you drag the meaning down to earth? Why do you subject the thing to the force of nature? This bringing forth is superior to such pangs and has nothing in common with you. This is truly called birth, but shares in the name only; it is different in reality.

Do not think of the usual kind of intercourse; I am introducing another kind of childbirth into the world; I desire that men be born in another way; I have come to bring a new method of procreation.

I did fashion (man) of earth and water; that which was fashioned did not become useful but the vessel was perverted. I no longer wish to fashion him of earth and water, but of water and the Spirit.' 
From the writings of St. John Chrysostom 

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Circumcision Feast - By St Ambrose




Genesis 17:9-14

And because he is called to what is perfect, Abraham receives the oracle that summons to perfection.  "Circumcise," it says, "every male of yours and circumcise your flesh"; but perfect circumcision is the spiritual one. Indeed, the Scripture also teaches this when it says, "Circumcise the hardness of your heart." 

Circumcision then is twofold because it requires the mortification of the mind and the body.

The Law orders that the baby boy be circumcised on the eighth day: evidently a precept that harbours a mystery, because this is precisely the day of the resurrection. 

Indeed, the Lord Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday. For this reason, if the day of resurrection finds us circumcised and free from excesses and crimes, purified from every filth, cleansed from bodily vices, if you go forth from this day clean, you will rise clean.


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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Praise The Lord - By Origen





Praise the Lord.

Praise God in his sanctuary; 

praise him in his mighty heavens.

Praise him for his acts of power; 

praise him for his surpassing greatness.

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
 
praise him with the harp and lyre,

praise him with timbrel and dancing,
 
praise him with the strings and pipe,

praise him with the clash of cymbals,
 
praise him with resounding cymbals.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Praise the Lord.

Psalm 150




Various musical instruments, when used in praising God, reflect God's commands, suppression of sinful physical desires, unity of belief, moral excellence and desire for Christ and His salvation.

God is property praised by people who are united in faith and cleansed of the blight of sin.

Although God is incomprehensible, we need to understand Him as best as we can, and although we cannot praise Him as fully and worthily as he deserves, still we must strive to praise Him as best we can. 
 

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

THE MAGI REVERENCED HIS BODY




Mary gave birth to our Savior, the good Lover of man, in Bethlehem 
of Judea, according to the sayings of the prophets.

Nativity Doxology



Let us draw near to Him, then, with fervor and burning charity, so that we will not have to endure punishment. For in proportion to the magnitude of the benefits bestowed on us, so much more exceedingly are we punished, if we show ourselves unworthy of the bounty. The Magi reverenced this body, even as it lay in the manger, and men profane and foreign, leaving their country and their home, set out on a long journey, and when they arrived, they worshipped Him with fear and trembling. 

Let us then, who are citizens of heaven, at least imitate those foreigners.  For when they saw Him, although in a manger in a hovel, and with nothing in view such as you look upon now, they drew near with great awe. 

But you behold Him not in a manger, but on an altar, not a woman holding Him in her arms, but in priest attending, and the Spirit hovering over the offerings with surpassing bounty. You do not see merely the body itself, as they did, but you also know its power, and the entire Economy, and you are ignorant of none of the holy things accomplished by it, for you have been carefully initiated into everything. 

Let us then, rouse ourselves up and be filled with awe, and let us show reverence far beyond that of those foreigners, that we may not, by approaching thoughtlessly and carelessly heap fire upon our own heads. I say these things not to keep us from approaching, but to keep us from approaching without consideration. For as to approach carelessly is perilous, so also not to share in these mystical suppers is famine and death. For this table is the sinews of our soul, the bond of our mind, the foundation of our confidence, our hope, our salvation, our light, our life.

From the writings of
St. John Chrysostom 


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Monday, January 6, 2014

Nativity Doxology



̀Ⲏⲥⲁⲏ̀ⲁⲥ ⲡⲓⲡ̀ⲣⲟⲫⲏⲧⲏⲥ : ⲱ̀ϣ ⲉ̀ⲃⲟⲗ ϧⲉⲛ ⲟⲩⲥ̀ⲙⲏ ⲛ̀ⲑⲉⲗⲏⲗ : ϫⲉ ⲉⲥⲉ̀ⲙⲓⲥⲓ ⲛ̀Ⲉⲙⲙⲁⲛⲟⲩⲏⲗ : Ⲡⲉⲛⲥⲱⲧⲏⲣ ⲛ̀ⲁ̀ⲅⲁⲑⲟⲥ

Isaiah the prophet, proclaimed with a voice of joy saying, "She will give birth to Emmanuel, our good Savior."



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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year 2014



Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12: 2 ESV


Happy New Year 2014



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