Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS AND IS AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ. ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
A PRAYER FOR THE DEPARTED
Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend the souls Thy servants (N), and beseech Thee to grant them rest in the place of Thy rest, where all Thy blessed Saints, and where the Light of Thy Countenance shines forever. And I beseech Thee also to grant that our present lives may be godly, sober, and blameless; that we too may be made worthy to enter into Thy heavenly Kingdom with those whom we love but see no longer: for Thou are the Resurrection, and the Life, and the Repose of Thy departed servants, O Christ Our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
On October 11th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics and Teachers of Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Philip one of the Seven Deacons chosen by the Holy Apostles to serve the needs of the poor and widows; Saints Nectarios, Arsakios, and Sisinios, Patriarchs of Constatinople; Saint Zenais and Saint Philonilla of Tarsus; Saint Leonid of Optina and holy Confessor Theophanes the Branded.
THE HOLY APOSTLE PHILIP. Born in Palestinian Caesarea, he was married and had four daughters, all four endowed by God with the gift of discernment and all four vowed virgins for the sake of Christ (Acts 21:8-9). When the Holy Apostles chose deacons, Saint Philip was chosen along with Saint Stefanos (Stephen) and others (6:5). Saint Philip served the poor and the widows with great fervor. When persecution fell on the Christians in Jerusalem, he fled to Samaria and there preached the Gospel and witnessed to it by many miracles, driving out demons, healing the sick, and so forth. Seeing the miracles of the Holy Apostle, Simon the Magician was baptized. Saint Philip also baptized the eunuch of Queen Candace. After that, an Angel of God suddenly and invisibly bore him away to Azotus, where he taught and preached, bringing many to Christ (Acts 8). He was later made bishop in Tralles. He fell asleep in the Lord peacefully in great old age, and entered into the joy of the Lord.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Apostles, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 8:26-39
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 9:7-11
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION
"If you say the Lord's Prayer yet do not think of God as Father and consider your neighbors as strangers, all your deeds will go awry, your path will be that path of Cain, your life a muddled water from a muddled spring, and your end like that of Judas. If you call yourself a Christian yet do not say the Lord's Prayer at all, then you are like a traveler on the seas with neither compass nor polar star; you will be in storms, in night, in despair, having lost the sense of where you are from and how and where you are going". [Saint Nikolai Velimirovich].
THE UNANIMOUS VOICE OF THE HOLY FATHERS ON THE VIRTUE OF PHILANTHROPY
"A man is not saved by having once shown mercy to someone, although, if he scorns someone but once, he merits eternal fire. For 'hunger' and 'thirst' is said not of one occasion, not of one day, but of the whole life. In the same way 'ye gave me meat', 'ye gave me drink', 'ye clothed me', and so on, does not indicate one incident, but a constant attitude to everyone. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that He himself accepts such mercy from His slaves (in the person of the needy)." [Archimandrite Sophrony]
An Account on Charity:
"A monk had a brother living in the world who was poor, and so he supplied him with all he received from his work. But the more the monk supplied, the poorer the brother became. So the monk went to tell an old man (Geronda) about it. The old man said to him, 'If you want my advice, do not give him anything more, but say to him 'Brother, when I had something I supplied you; now bring me what you get from your work.' Take all he brings you, and whenever you see a stranger or a poor man, give him some of it, begging him to pray for him.'
The monk went away and did this. When his secular brother came, he spoke to him as the old man had said , and the brother went away sadly away. The first day, taking some vegetables from his field, he brought them to the monk. The monk took them and gave them to the old men, begging them to pray for his brother, and after the blessing he returned home. In the same way, another time, the brother brought the monk some vegetables and three loaves, which he took, doing as on the first occasion, and having received the blessing he went away.
And the secular brother came a third time bringing many provisions, some bread, and fish. Seeing this, the monk was full of wonder, and he invited the poor so as to give them refreshments. Then he said to his brother, 'Do you not need a little bread?' the other said to him, 'No, for when I used to receive something from you, it was like fire coming into my house and burning it, but now that I receive nothing from you, God blesses me.'
Then the monk went to tell the old man all that had happened, and the old man said to him, 'Do you not know that the work of the monk is of fire, and where it enters, it burns? It helps your brother more to do alms with what he reaps from his field, and to receive the prayers of the Saints and thus to be blessed.'" [Saint Benedicta Ward]
"Above all things: Forget not the poor, but support them to the extent of your means. Give to the orphan, protect the widow, and permit the mighty to destroy no man. Take not the life of the just or the unjust, nor permit him to be killed. Destroy no Christian soul, even though he be guilty of murder." [Vladimir Monomakh]
"An old man and a brother lived their ascetic life together. Now the old man was charitable. It happened that there was a famine and people came to his door seeking alms, and in charity the old man gave to all who came. Seeing what was happening, the brother said to the old man, 'Give me my share of the loaves, and do what you like with yours'. The old man divided the loaves and gave alms from his share.
Now many people hastened to the old man, learning that he supplied everyone, and God---seeing that he supplied everyone--blessed these loaves. But when the brother had consumed his own
food he said to the old man, 'Since I have only little food left, Abba (Father), take me back into the common life again.' The old man said, "I will do as you wish.' So they began again to live in common. When scarcity broke out again, the needy came back seeking alms.
Now one day the brother came in and saw they were short of loaves. A poor man came, and the old man told the brother to give him alms. He said, 'It is no longer possible, father.' The old man said to him, 'go in and look.' The brother went inside and found the bin full of loaves. When he saw that, he was filled with fear, and taking some he gave to the poor. In this way, he learned the faith and virtue of the old man, and he gave glory to God." [The Desert Fathers].
Saint John Chrysostom writes: "Feeding the hungry is a greater work than raising the dead".
"He who gives alms in imitation of God does not discriminate between the wicked and the virtuous, the just and the unjust, when providing for men's needs". [Saint Maximos the Confessors]
"One day, the all-wise (John the Almsgiver, Patriarch of Alexandria, 610-619 AD) heard of a generous giver and so he sent for him privately and said jokingly, 'How is it that you became so generous? Was it natural to you, or did you put constraint upon yourself?' Some to whom he put this same question stood shamefacedly before him and would not answer, whilst others would tell him their story. One man whom the Saint questioned answered as follows: 'As a fact, master, I neither give anything nor do any good; but the little I do give and do from that which comes to me through Christ and your prayers I am to do in this way. Formerly I was very hardhearted and unsympathetic and one day I lost money and was reduced to poverty. Then my reason began to say to me: 'Truly, if you had been charitable, God would not have forsaken you.' And thereupon I decided to give five coppers a day to the poor. But when I started giving them Satan immediately checked me by saying: 'Those coppers would really have been enough to buy a bath-ticked or vegetables for your family.' Then I felt at once as if I were taking the money out of my children's mouth and so I gave nothing.'
'But I noticed I was being mastered by this vice, so said to my slave: 'I want you to steal five coppers daily without my noticing it, and give them in charity.' For I am a moneychanger, master.'
'My slave, worthy fellow, began by stealing ten coppers, and occasionally even a shilling. As he noticed that we were being blessed, he began to steal gold crowns too, and give them away. One day I was expressing my astonishment at God's blessings to us. I said to him 'Those five coppers, boy, have greatly benefited us. So now I want you to give ten.' At that the slave said to me with a smile, 'Yes, be thankful for my thefts, since but for them we should not even have bread to eat today. However, if there can be a just thief, I am he!' And then he told me that he had given shillings and even crowns. So it was through his faith, master, that I grew accustomed to giving with all my heart.'
The holy Patriarch was much edified by this story and said: 'Truly I have read many stories in the lives of the Fathers, but I have never heard anything like this!'
"When you can do good, defer it not, because 'alms delivers us from death'." (The Epistle Of Polycarp).
With sincere agape In His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God