"If you love your neighbor, then all of heaven will love you. If you are united in spirit with your fellow creatures, then you will be united with God and all the company of heaven; if you are merciful to your neighbor, then God and all the Angels and Saints will be merciful to you. If you pray for others, the all of heaven will intercede for you. The Lord our God is Holy; be holy yourself also."--Saint John of KronstadtRead More
"Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy" (St. Matthew 5:7). The merciful person is he who gives to others what he has himself received from God, whether it be money, or food, or strength, a helpful word, a prayer, or anything else that he has through which he can express his compassion for those in need. At the same time, he considers himself a debtor, since he has received more than he is asked to give. By Christ's grace, both in the present and in the world to come, before the whole of creation, he is called merciful, just as God is called merciful (cf. St. Luke 6:36).--Saint Peter of DamascusRead More
My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
ARE SINS COMMITTED AFTER BAPTISM FORGIVEN? (Part II)
By Saint John Damscene
"Thus therefore it is, and thus we believe. But after receiving the knowledge of the Truth and winning regeneration and adoption as sons, and tasting of the Divine mysteries, we must strive hard to keep our feet for fear we fall. For to fall becomes not the athlete, since many have fallen and been unable to rise. Some, opening a door to sinful lusts, and clinging obstinately to them, have no more strength to hasten back to repentance; and others, being untimely snatched by death, and having not made speed enough to wash them from the pollution of their sin, have been damned. And for this cause, it is hazardous to fall into any kind of sinful affection whatsoever. But if any man fall, he must at once leap up and stand again to fight the good fight: and, as often as there comes a fall, so often must there at once ensue this rising and standing, to the end. For, "turn you to Me and I will turn to you" (Zech. 1:3).
The land to which the prodigal son went is called "The land of Iniquity." It is a land that has various and countless ways to sin at any moment of time. Remember, dear reader, the vision of our father among the Saints, Saint Anthony, in which the whole world was filled with traps to catch and destroy man. And who was saved? The one who was very humble; this was the answer that was given to the Saint. And it is true! Without this virtue the devil triumphed over proud souls.
The expiatory sacrifice of Christ is the source of remission of sins, "The Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (I John 1:7). This is one of the fundamental truths of the Christian faith. Without the Blood of Christ, 20, 30, 50, even a thousand years of strict ascetic living will not erase the least spot of sin. The author of this ascetic work feels this very deeply, that is why be repeatedly speaks about the remission of sin by the Blood of the Lord. But emphasis on this truth by the Orthodox preacher does not mean acceptance of the Protestant belief that good works are unnecessary because besides the above truth Orthodox teaching does not stop emphasizing that other spiritual truth that he who has faith and is honestly repentant is obligated to prove his faith by producing fruit worthy of his repentance in his everyday life in the world. Faith and good works (works of mercy or charity) are joined together unbreakable as the root and the fruit of a bountiful tree. (Source: Orthodox Heritage)
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--by Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
Ioasaph said to the elder (geronda), "Well then, as the strictness of these doctrines demands such chaste conversation, if after baptism I chance to fall in one or two of these commandments, shall I therefore utterly miss the goal and shall all my hope be in vain?"Read More
When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the Angel had commanded him, and took the Virgin Mary to himself again, "and knew her not until she had brought forth her Firstborn Son, and he called His name Jesus." When we read the Gospels, we must enter into the Evangelist's mind, and not project our mind into the Gospel. The Evangelist himself marvels as he speaks of the wonder of the Savior's birth. His main task is to show that this birth came about in a wondrous manner. This that the Evangelist Matthew emphasizes is already the fourth proof of this. Firstly, he says that the Virgin Mary was only betrothed to Joseph; secondly, that she found herself "with child of the Holy Spirit;" thirdly, that the Angel, in a dream, showed that her pregnancy was wondrous and supernatural and, fourthly, we see here that the Angel now repeats this same thought with the words that Joseph "knew her not until she had brought forth her Firstborn Son." It is, therefore, as clear as day that the Evangelist has no thought of saying that, after birth, Joseph had carnal relations with Mary.Read More
He was a kinsman of the holy Apostle Paul and one of those Jews who lived in a Hellenic milieu. Stephen was the first of the seven deacons whom the holy Apostles ordained for the service of the poor in Jerusalem. This is why he is called the Archdeacon--the first, or chief, of them. By the power of his faith, Stefanos worked many miracles (wonders) among the people. The wicked Jews disputed with him but were always confounded by his wisdom and the power of the Spirit who acted through him. Then the shameful Jews, adept at calumny and slander, stirred up the people and leaders against this innocent young man. They slandered Stefanos (Stephen), saying that he had blasphemed against God and against Moses, and quickly found false witnesses who supported their assertion.Read More
This same Angel who had revealed to her the great mystery of her conceiving made haste to speak now in place of the silent Virgin. Explaining, then, to Joseph that which had already come to pass, the Angel of God went further, and explained to him that which was to be: "And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus; for he shall save His people from their sins." Saint John Chrysostom says: He does not say: "she will bear you a son," but simply "will bear," because she does not bear for him alone, but for the whole world. The Angel told Joseph to behave towards the Newborn as though he were His real father, and he, therefore says: "and thou shalt name Him Jesus." "Jesus" means "Savior", and so the next sentence begins with "for", meaning: "thou shalt name Him "Savior", for He shall save His people from their sins.Read More
"But the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit." Before this, the Evangelist had given the genealogy of the Lord Jesus, or, more precisely, that of righteous Joseph, from the Tribe of Judah and the House of David. In this genealogy, the Evangelist listed men, born of men in a natural way, such as all mortal men on earth are born. He then suddenly begins to record the Lord's birth, and says: "But the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise" as though , with this "but", he wants to show the unusual and supernatural nature of His birth, completely divorced from the manner of birth of all Joseph's recorded forebears. Mary, His mother, was betrothed to Joseph. In the eyes of the world, this betrothal was seen as an introduction to married life; but, in the eyes of Mary and Joseph, it could not be seen like this.Read More