July 22-St. Mary Magdalene and St. Markella

One of the myrrh-bearing women, and equal to the Apostles, she was born in the city of Magdala by the Lake of Gennesaret, of the tribe of Issachar. She was tormented by seven evil spirits, of which she was freed and healed by the Lord Jesus. She was a faithful follower and servant of the Lord during His earthly life, and also stood beneath the Cross on Golgotha and lamented bitterly with the Most Holy Mother of God. After the Lord's death, she visited His tomb three times; and when He rose again, she saw Him twice, once alone and the other time with the other myrrh-bearing women. She traveled to Rome, went before Tiberias Caesar and presented him with a red egg, greeting him with the words: "Christ is risen!"

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Prayer as an Important Part of our Spiritual Life (Part V)

The delay in seeing our prayer requests fulfilled, in having our questions answered, is yet another point on which our life of prayer is tested. It is neither a matter of God not hearing our prayers nor of His being indifferent to our suffering. God does not want us to be troubled and tormented, but to be in constant communion with Him with our fervent prayers, which should increase if not immediately answered. We should thank God whether He gives us what we ask for or not since in either case He is acting for our own good. We should not be discouraged and disillusioned when we do not receive what we ask for in prayer. God may be testing our persistence. Let us not tire easily.

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Prayer as an Important Part of our Spiritual Life (Part IV)

An elder (geronda) of Mt. Athos used to tell young monks: "Do not strike up a conversation with your thoughts and imaginings!" Another elder (geronda) said: "Above my cell, many birds will fly. I cannot forbid them, But that which I can do is to disallow them to make their nest on my roof!"  Saint John of the Ladder (Climacus) says: "Even if your mind is constantly distracted from your prayer, you must struggle unceasingly to recall it.  We shall not be condemned because our attention was distracted in prayer, but rather because we did not attempt to bring it back."

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Is Tithing an Orthodox Christian Practice?

The answer is yes. As Orthodox Christians, we believe the Holy Scripture to be inspired by God. "Since it is divinely inspired, the Bible possesses a fundamental unity, total coherence, for it is the same Spirit that speaks on every page. We do not refer to it as "the books," in the plural, ta biblia, but we call it "the Bible," "the Book," in the singular ("E Vivlos" e "Agia Grafi"). It is one book, one Holy Scripture, with the same message throughout--one composite and yet single story, from Genesis to Revelation."

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Prayer as an Important Aspect of our Spiritual Life (Part III)

Compressing lengthy, beautiful and comprehensive homilies of Saint John Chrysostomos on prayer, we offer the following salient points to help the praying person. Prayer must be a systematic and regular practice in our life, with a pious and reverent stance, and with absolute attention. To pray as we should, with the reverence appropriate to conversation with God, we should be aware of the great benefit of prayer, independently of knowing whether there have been specific responses. The person whose prayer is truly a conversation with God is transformed into an earthly angel.

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July 17-Saint Marina

Born in Pisidian Antioch of pagan parents, Marina only heard of the Lord Jesus at the age of twelve, of His Incarnation of the Most Pure Virgin, His many miracles, His death by crucifixion and His glorious Resurrection. Her little heart was inflamed with love for the Lord, and she vowed never to marry and, further, desired in her soul to suffer for Christ and be baptized with the blood of martyrdom. Her father hated her for her faith, and would not regard her as his daughter.

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Prayer as an Important Aspect of Our Spiritual Life (Part II)

What, after all, is the nature of prayer? Is it worth the toil, concern, and effort that goes into it?

Let us examine the words of the Holy Fathers for insight.

Saint John Chrysostomos says:

"Prayer is a harbor in the storms of life, an anchor for those who are storm tossed, the treasure of the poor, the security of the rich, the healing of the sick, the preservation of health. Prayer banishes evil things, and preserves the good."

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Prayer as an Important Aspect of our Spiritual Life

The life of prayer is one part of a much broader topic of spiritual life, in general, the life in Christ, spiritual ascension, the way to sanctification and deification (theosis). Combined with personal inner purification and a regular sacramental life, a life of prayer will help significantly in the regeneration of the faithful during this difficult period in which we live.

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