Human Earthly Life: Illness, Suffering and Death

Our life on this earth is a sacred journey and unquestionable a gift of God. Father Alexander Schmeman wrote, "All that exists is God's gift to man, and it all exists to make God known to man, and to make man's life communion with God." Life is totally unpredictable and anything can happen to anyone of us in an instant. Our life can change dramatically when one becomes ill, has an accident, sudden death, or experience a tragic circumstance.

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God the Holy Spirit

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Glory To Thee, Our God, Glory To Thee!

O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Thou are everywhere and fill all things Treasury of blessings and Giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One!

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"...And they were filled with the Holy Spirit..."

So that by gradual increase... and progress from glory to glory, the Light of the Trinity might shine upon the more illuminated...for this reason it was, I think, that He gradually came to dwell in the Disciples. He measured Himself out to them according to their capacity to receive Him: at the beginning of the Gospel, after the Passion, after the Ascension, making perfect their powers, being breathed upon them and appearing in fiery tongues...You see Lights breaking upon us, gradually, and knowledge of such order of theology, as is better for us to maintain, neither proclaiming things too suddenly nor yet keeping them hidden to the end...

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Glossolalia (Speaking in Tongues)

The Greek Orthodox Church does not preclude the use of Glossolalia but regards it as one of the minor gifts of the Holy Spirit. If Glossolalia has fallen out of use it is because it served its purpose in New Testament times and is no longer necessary. However, even when used, it is a private and personal gift, a lower form of prayer. The Orthodox Church differs with those Pentecostal and Charismatic groups which regard Glossolalia as a prerequisite to being a Christian and to having received the Holy Spirit.

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Saturday, Eve of Pentecost: Final Saturday of Souls

Through the Apostolic Constitution (Book VII, ch. 42), the Church of Christ has received the tradition to make commemoration for the departed on the third, ninth, and fortieth days after the repose. Since many throughout the ages, because of an untimely death in a faraway place, or other adverse circumstances, have died without being deemed worthy of the appointed memorial services, the Holy Fathers of the Church, being so moved in their love for man, have decreed that a common memorial be made this day for all pious Orthodox Christians who have reposed from all ages past, so that those who did not have particular memorial services may be included in this common one for all. Also, the Church of Christ teaches us that alms (charity) should be given to the poor by the departed one's relatives as a memorial for him.

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On the Gift of Speaking in Tongues (Part II)

Many in the early Church were gifted with tongues, but over time the gift became rare. The problem was, quite simply, that if someone spoke in tongues, he would unintentionally take up all the spiritual space of the congregation as a whole, which would not derive the least profit from the gift. The best explanation for God's gift of tongues to the early Church lies in the necessity of teaching newly-converted Christians to pray with their heart rather than just externally, as they were likely to have been used to doing.

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On the Gift of Speaking in Tongues

Ten days after the Lord's Ascension into heaven, the gifts of the Holy Spirit were manifested on the day of Pentecost as a sign of the reconciliation that had occurred between God and man. But one of these gifts in particular, that of speaking in tongues, was different. The gift is a difficult one to understand, partly because it had all but disappeared by the end of the life of the Holy Apostle Paul. Moreover, it is clear from the later Epistles (Letters) of Saint Paul, in which he puts it last on the list of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that its importance had diminished. How are we to understand this?

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