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 MYSTICAL PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
[Saint Symeon the Theologian]
Come, O True Light! Come, O Eternal Life! Come, O hidden Mystery! Come, O indescribable Treasure! Come, O ineffable thing! Come, O inconceivable Person! Come, O endless delight! Come, O unsetting Light! Come, O True and fervent expectation of all those who will be saved! Come, O rising of those who lied down! Come, O resurrection of the dead! Come, O Powerful One, Who always creates and re-creates and transforms by Your will alone! Come, O invisible and totally intangible and untouchable! Come, O You Who always remain immobile and at each moment move all, and come to us, who lie in Hades, You Who are above all heavens. Come, O desirable and legendary Name, which is completely impossible for us to express what You are or to know Your nature. Come, O Eternal joy! Come, O unwithering wreath! Come, O purple of the Great King Our God! Come, O crystalline cincture, studded with precious stones! Come, O inaccessible sandal! Come, O royal robe... I give You thanks that for me You have become unsetting Light and non-declining sun; for You Who fill the universe with Your Glory have nowhere to hide Yourself. No, You have never hidden Yourself from anyone but we are the ones who always hide from You, by refusing to go to You; but then, where would You hide, You Who nowhere find the place of Your repose? Why would You hide, You Who do not turn away from a single creature, Holy, Consubstantial, and Life-Creating Trinity that the Glory belongs, You Whom all faithful venerate, confess, adore, and serve in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
On October 29th 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 Anastasia the holy Martyr of Rome; Saint Avramios the Recluse and his niece, Maria of Mesopotamia.
OUR HOLY MOTHER, THE MARTYR ANASTASIA THE ROMAN. Saint Anastasia was born in Rome of well-born parents and left an orphan at the age of three. As an orphan, she was taken into a women's monastery near Rome, where the Abbess (Egoumenissa) was one Sophia, a nun of a high level of perfection. After seventeen years, St. Anastasia was known in the whole neighborhood, to the Christians as a great ascetic and to the pagans as a rare beauty. The pagan administrator of the city, Probus, heard of her and sent soldiers to bring her to him. The good Abbess Sophia counselled Anastasia for two hours on how to keep the Faith, how to resist flattering delusion and how to endure torture. Saint Anastasia said to her: "My heart is ready to suffer for Christ; my soul is ready to die for my beloved Jesus." Brought before the governor, Saint Anastasia openly proclaimed her faith in Christ the Lord and, when the governor tried to dissuade her from the Faith, first with promises and then with threats, the holy maiden said to him: "I am ready to die for my Lord, not once but--oh, if it were only possible!--a thousand times." When they stripped her naked, to humiliate her, she cried to the judge: "Whip me and cut at me and beat me; my naked body will be hidden by wounds, and my shame will be covered by my blood!" She was whipped and beaten and cut about. She twice felt a great thirst and asked for water, and a Christian, Cyril, gave her a drink, for which he was blessed by the martyr and beheaded by the pagans. Then her breasts and tongue were cut off, and an Angel of God appeared to her and upheld her. She was finally beheaded with the sword outside the city. Blessed Sophia found her body and buried it, and Saint Anastasia was crowned with the wreath of Martyrdom under the pagan Roman emperor Decius (249-251 A.D.).
+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: Colossians 2:13-20
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 11:29:33
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND SANCTIFICATION:
"Behold, God is mighty, but despises no one; He is mighty in strength of understanding. He does not preserve the life of the wicked, But gives justice to the oppressed". [Job: 5-6]
On the Four Types of Communion with God in the Orthodox Church
By Saint Cleopa of Romania
[source: The Truth of our Faith: On the Christian Mysteries]
The second way of communion and union with Christ is the prayer of Jesus, during which the intellect is plunged into the heart and there says unceasingly, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner."
- Prayer which takes place with the intellect in the heart has great significance, for it unites our soul with Jesus Christ and through Him with the Father, for the only road which leads to union with the Father is Christ, as He Himself has said: "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (St. John 14:6).
- The prayer of the heart offers the Holy Spirit the possibility of inhabiting and working within one heart, and the possibility of our being united with Him. This union through unceasing prayer is similar to that of the bride who greatly loves the Bridegroom, Christ, and never wants to part from Him.
The third way of communion with God Our Creator takes place through the keeping of His Commandments and the acquisition of the virtues.
- This way of dwelling with Jesus is shown in the Holy Scriptures, when He Himself says: "If a man loves Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." (St. John 14:23), and "If you keep My Commandments, you shall abide in my love, even as I have kept My Father's Commandments, and abide in His love" (St. John 15:10).
- Our holy Father Dionysios the Areopagite says that our likeness and union with God is accomplished only by the practice of the divine Commandments (cf. Discourse on Salvific Knowledge).
- Our holy Father Maximos the Confessor says the following concerning our union with God: "The word of [our] God and Father is found mystically in each of His Commandments, such that he who accepts the word of God accepts God."
- Our holy Father Gregory Palamas, when speaking of the theosis (deification) of man through the practice of the Commandments of God, say the following: "The Commandments of God contain not only the knowledge, but also theosis."
The fourth way of communion with Christ takes place through the hearing of the word of God.
- The New Testament addresses this thus: "Many of them which heard the Word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand" (Acts 4:4).
- The Apostle Paul says that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17).
The Apostle Paul accepted the word of God by hearing when he was called by the divine light and voice from heaven on the road to Damascus. The Samaritan women received the word of God through hearing, while still other Samaritans believed and were baptized through the preaching of the Apostle Philip (Acts 8:5, 6, and 12), and received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).
Fathers and brethren, I have brought before you some of the most important testimonies from Holy Scripture and the holy Fathers, which assist on your journey to an uninterrupted union with the Bridegroom, Christ. The Church is the special, most holy place in which is realized our many-sided communion with Christ. Therein, all of our faithful, approaching the divine services with piety and faith, dwell in a mystical atmosphere and communion by the intellect, heart, prayer, and participation in the divine communion of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Above all, the liturgical Sacrifice is the perfect expression of our union with our Lord. The commemoration of the names of Christians in the Proskomedi, when they are sinful but repentant, imparts the blessing of an invisible communion of their souls with the incarnate and resurrected Lord, who on occasion, imparts bodily healing as well.
I pray that the mercy and the compassion of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Word of God, will come and dwell within us, through the four ways of communion we have briefly mentioned.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God