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 O SAINT BASIL THE GREAT
Blessed are you, O Lord God Almighty, You have illumined the day with the light of the sun And the night You have brightened with the rays of the fiery moon; You have made us worthy to go through this day And to approach the beginning of the night. Hear our petitions and those of all Your people, And forgive us all our voluntary and involuntary sins. Receive our evening prayers, And send down upon the people of Your inheritance The multitude of Your mercy and compassionate love. Encompass us with Your holy Angels. Arm us with the weapons of Your righteousness. Outline us with the mark of Your truth. Guard us by Your power. Deliver us from every circumstance and influence of the adversary. Grant us once again, O Lord, that this present evening, together with the approaching night, and all the days of our life, Will be perfect, holy, peaceful, sinless and without any scandalous imaginations. We pray for this through the intercessions of the holy Theotokos and all the Saints who have pleased You through the ages. Amen.
On October 17th 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; Hosea the holy Prophet; Righteous Monk-Martyr of Crete; Saint Andrew of Crete; holy Martyrs Cosmas and Damian of Arabia.
THE HOLY PROPHET HOSEA. The son of Beeri of the tribe of Issachar, he lived and prophesied more than eight hundred years before the birth of Christ. His inspired words are found in his book, which contains fourteen chapters. He strongly rebuked Israel and Judah for their idolatry, foretold God's punishment for their sin, the destruction of Samaria and Israel for their apostasy but the showing of God's mercy on the tribe of Judah. He foresaw the end of the sacrifices of the Old Testament, and the coming of the Lord and the rich gifts that He would bring to earth. He lived to great old age, and entered peacefully into rest.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Prophets, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Romans 9:18-33. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. And not only they, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, then we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searchest the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He Who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God Who justifies."
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 9:44-50. "Let these words sink down into your ears, for the Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men. But they did not understand this saying, and it was hidden from them so that they did not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this saying. Then a dispute arose among them as to which of them would be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a little child and set him by Him, and said to them, "Whoever receive this little child in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me receives Him Who send be. For he who is least among you all will be great." Then John answered and said, 'Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.' But Jesus said to him, 'Do not forbid him, for he who is not against is for us.'"
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION:
"That Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith; that you may be rooted and grounded in love". [Ephesians 3:17]
WHAT A GREAT EVIL ENVY IS
by Saint Nicodemos the Hagiorite
Be attentive, brethren, and beware, for the love of God, of this thrice-accursed passion, which is hateful to God (1) Because envy is the spawn of the Devil and worse than all other evils, as the Divine Chrysostomos says: "What could be worse than this passion? One would not err in calling it the Devil's spawn." For, according to Saint Basil the Great, "Just as freedom from envy is consistent with the good [God], so envy attend the wicked Devil." Hence, the Devil, from his own envy alone, and not from any other sin, brought death upon Adam, according to St. John Chrysostomos: "For the Devil destroyed Adam, not because he had anything wherewith to charge him, but solely from envy." For this reason, Solomon said: [T]hrough the envy of the Devil death came into the world." (2) Because envy is the root of murder and the fruit of envy is murder; for it was envy that incited Cain to murder Abel, Esau to compass the murder of Jacob, and Joseph's brothers to contrive his death. As St. John Chrysostomos says: "For envy is the root of murder"; and again: "Envy is the mother of murder; thereby Cain slew his brother; thereby Esau would have slain Jacob; thereby Joseph's brothers would have slain him; thereby did the Devil slay all mankind." (3) Because envy is an evil that has no forgiveness; for the fornicator adduces lust as the cause of his passion, the thief cites poverty, and the murderer pleads anger. However, the envious man has no other ground for envy than his excessive malice. Thus, the golden-tongued St. John says: "Wherefore, this sin is devoid of all forgiveness. For the fornicator can allege his lust, the thief his poverty, and the homicide his anger; lame and irrational excuses indeed, yet still they do have some excuses to offer. But pray tell me, what cause will you plead? None whatsoever, save intense wickedness alone."
And (4) because envy makes jealous men worse than any venomous snake. For snakes first wound a man, and then poison him by means of the wound. But envious men poison what is good by their eyes and words alone; not that poison comes out of their eyes and words--far from it! No, this is false, it is old wives' tales. Rather, on account of the baleful and malevolent disposition of their hearts, the envious Devil, who hates what is good, uses the eyes and words of the envious as his tools, and thus he withers beautiful trees, kills fine-looking animals, and oftentimes even slays men. To put it simply, envy ruins and destroys all that is good, as Moses attests when he says: "He that is tender and very delicate within thee shall look with an evil eye upon his brother, and the wife of his bosom." And Solomon says, "For the bewitching of wickedness doth obscure things that are good," just as many understand this verse in this sense, Sirach says: "The envious man hath a wicked eye." Saint Basil the Great testifies as follows:
"Even so, those afflicted with envy are supposed to be more pernicious than venomous animals, since whereas the latter inject their poison through wounds, and gradually the part which has been bitten is consumed by putrefaction, some people reckon that envious persons inflict harm merely through their eyes...with some destructive current, as it were, flowing through their eyes, causing damage and decay. For my part, I reject this explanation as crude and as old as wives' tales: I maintain that whenever the demons, who hate what is good, find intentions congenial to themselves, they twist these for their own ends, so as to make the eyes of envious people subservient to their will."
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God