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 TO GOD THE HOLY TRINITY
Deacon: Let us pray to the Lord. Lord, have mercy.
Holy God, dwelling in Your Holy Sanctuary, praised by the Seraphim with the Thrice-Holy hymn, glorified by the Cherubim and adored by all the heavenly powers, You have brought all things into being out of nothing. You created us in Your own image and likeness and adorned us with all Your gifts. To all who seek it You grant wisdom and understanding; You do not spurn the sinner, but have set repentance as the way of salvation. You have deemed us, Your lowly and undeserving servants, worthy to stand at this hour before the glory of Your holy Altar and to offer You fitting worship and praise.
Will You accept, Lord, even from the lips of us sinners, the Thrice-Holy hymn. Look graciously on us, forgiving us our every offense, whether or not of our own free will, sanctifying us soul and body, and enabling us to worship You in holiness all the days of our life.
This we ask the intercessions of the Holy Theotokos and of all the Saints who through the ages have pleased You well. For You, our God, are Holy and to You we offer up glory: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
On October 15th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints: Saint Lukianos, presbyter of Greater Antioch; Saint Sabinos, Bishop of Catania; Saint Varos, bishop of Edessa; Saint Lucian, presbyter of the Kiev Caves; Synaxis of Twenty-Three New holy Martyrs of Belo-Russia; Saint John, bishop of Suzdul; Saint Dionysius, Archbishop of Suzdal; Righteous Euthemius the New of Ancyra.
OUR HOLY FATHER, THE MARTYR LUCIAN, PRINCE OF ANTIOCH. Born of noble parents in Syrian Samosata, he received in his youth a very wide education, both secular and spiritual, and was a man eminent both for his learning and for his strict ascetic life. Giving his goods away to the poor, he supported himself by the writing of works of instruction, feeding himself thus by the work of his hands. He did a very great service to the Church in the work which he undertook of the correcting of the Hebrew text of the Scriptures in many places, texts which heretics had taken the opportunity to twist and corrupt according to their wicked teaching. Because of his learning and his great spirituality, he was ordained priest in Antioch. In the time of Maximian's persecution, when Saint Anthimos of Nicomedia and Saint Peter of Alexandria were put to torture;. Saint Lucian was also on the list of those whom the emperor wanted to have killed. Saint Lucian fled the city and hid, but a jealous heretic priest, Pancratius, revealed his whereabouts. The persecution was terrible at that time, and not even tiny children were safe. Two boys, who would not eat food offered to idols, were thrown into a bath of boiling water, where, under torture, they gave their holy souls into God's hands. A disciple of Saint Lucian's, Pelagia, to preserve her virginal purity from the dissolute authorities, gave her soul into God's hands, and her body fell from the roof of her house. Saint Lucian was taken to Nicomedia, to appear before the emperor. On the way, he managed to bring forty soldiers to Christ by his counsel, and they all died a martyr's death. After interrogation and flogging, Saint Lucian was thrown into prison, where he was tortured by hunger. 'He scorned hunger,' writes Saint John Chrysostom of Lucian. "Let us also scorn luxury and destroy the lordship of the stomach; that we may, when the time comes for us to meet such torture, be prepared beforehand, by the help of a lesser ascesis, to show ourselves worthy of glory in the hour of battle." He received Holy Communion in prison on the feast of Theophany, and on the following day gave his soul into God's hands, on January 7th, 312 AD.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Martyrs, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Philippians 2:12-15
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 9:18-22
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION
"The true temple of Christ is the believer's soul. Decorate it, dress it, offer gifts to it, welcome Christ in it. For what use are walls that blaze with jewels when Christ, in His poor people, is in danger of starving to death? Your possessions aren't yours anymore, but they have been entrusted to your stewardship…be careful not to rashly waste what is Christ's. That is, don't foolishly give the poor's property to those who aren't poor. Otherwise, as a wise man once told us, charity would destroy charity...For to be a Christian and not merely seem like one is the greatest thing. But, somehow or other, those who please the world most, please Christ the least…" [Saint Jerome of Stridonium]
by Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite
In divine Communion, the Son that is the whole God-man enters into, mixes with, and leavens the whole man, being He Who illumines, enlightens, and sanctifies all of the powers and senses of the soul and body of man, and refashions him from corruption to incorruption. In his commentary on the Lord's Prayer, Saint Nikodemos translates "give us this day our daily bread" to "give us this day the superessential bread". The superessential bread is the Body and Blood of the Lord, which differs as much from the word of God as does the sun from a ray. Thus the words superessential bread primarily and for an especial reason refer to the divine Communion of the All-Immaculate Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for it preserves and sustains the essence of the soul, and gives strength to do the Master's Commandments and everything else, as our Lord says: "For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed" (St. John 6:55), which is today, "My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink."
If someone is in doubt as to how the Body of Our Lord is called superessential bread, let him listen to what the sacred teachers of our Church say concerning this. First, the divine Gregory, the illuminator of Nyssa, says: "If he ever comes to himself (like the Prodigal Son), if he longs for the food of his father's house, if he returns to the rich Table, upon which is an abundance of the superessential bread which feeds the hirelings of the Lord. The hirelings are those who labor in the vineyard of the Lord (which is to say, His Commandments) in the hope of receiving as payment the Kingdom of Heaven." Saint Isidore Pelousiotes says: "The prayer which the Lord taught does not contain anything earthly, but everything is heavenly and looks to the profit of the soul, even that which appears to be unimportant and sensible. And it is the opinion of many wise men that the Lord said this prayer for the following reason: in order to teach in a special way about the divine word and bread which nourishes the bodiless soul and which, in some way, is mixed and infused into the essence of the soul. For this reason it is called superessential bread, inasmuch as the word essence is more becoming of the soul than the body."
The Prophet Moses fasted forty days and nights without eating any bodily food. The Prophet Elias likewise fasted for forty days. Under the New Grace a great number of Saints, with only the word of God and Holy Communion, have lived without food for many days. For this reason, as many of us as have been deemed worthy to receive spiritual rebirth through Divine Baptism, have the need to frequently eat, with fervent love and a broken heart, this spiritual food, in order to live a spiritual life and to keep ourselves unharmed by the poison of the noetic serpent, the devil. If Adam had eaten of this food, he would not have died the double death of the soul and of the body.
We must not eat this spiritual bread, however, without preparation, for our God is called a consuming fire that burns. Holy Communion purifies, illumines, and sanctifies those who eat the Master's body and drink the immaculate blood with a pure conscience and true confession. But it scorches and injures severely the souls and bodies of those who commune unworthily and unconfessed, just as in the case of those, who as the Sacred Gospel says, "entered the wedding feast not having a garment worthy of the wedding"--that is, not having works and fruits worthy of repentance. And those who listen to satanic songs, gossip, chatter, and other like absurdities are not worthy to listen to the Word of God. Likewise, those who lead sinful lives cannot receive Communion and enjoy immortal life which is brought about by divine Communion, because the powers of their souls have been put to death by the sting of sin. As an analogy, let us consider the members of the body. Inasmuch as the members are able to receive Life-Giving power, they receive life from the soul. If some member rots or withers, however, it can no longer receive life, for life-giving power does not pass into dead members. In the same fashion, the soul lives inasmuch as it receives the life-giving power from God. But when it sins and becomes unreceptive to the life-giving power that pitiful soul dies a spiritual death. And, after a time, the body also dies, and the wretched man is completely lost in eternal hell.
Please note the following: "Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you and many sleep (died). [1 Corinthians 11:27-30]
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God