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.
PSALM 104-A HYMN TO GOD THE CREATOR
Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, Covering Yourself with Light as with a garment, Spreading out the heavens like a tent, Laying on waters the beams of Your Heavenly pavilions. You make the clouds to be Your chariot, Riding on the wings of the wind. You make the winds Your messengers And flames of fire Your servants. You have fixed the earth on its foundation So that it should never be shaken. You have covered it with the deep waters as with a garment, And the waters stood above the mountains. At Your rebuke the waters fled, At the sound of Your thunder they rushed away. The mountains were raised and the valleys were lowered To the place appointed for them. You have fixed a boundary which they should not pass; They shall not return to cover the earth. You make springs gush for in the ravines; Waters flow between the hills.... All the creatures look to You expectantly To give them their food at the proper time. Whatever You give to them, they gather it up; When You extend Your helping hand Everything is filled with goodness. When You turn Your face aside, They are restless and troubled. When You take away Your breath of life they die And return to the dust from which they came. But when You send out Your Spirit, they are created And You renew the face of the earth. May the glory of the Lord endure forever; May the Lord rejoice in His works...I will sing to the Lord as long as I live, I will sing praises to my God while I have my being...Bless the Lord, O my soul! The sun knows it's time for setting. You make darkness and it is night. O Lord, how wonderful are Your manifold works! You have created all things in wisdom. Glory to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. Now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
On November 10th 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: Holy Apostles Erastos, Olympas, Herodion, Sosipatros, Quartos, and Tertios of the 70; Saint Orestes of Cappadocia; Saint Nonnos, Bishop of Heliopolis; Saint Milos, Bishop of Persia; Saint Constantine, king of Georgia; Saint Theocteristos of Symbola; Holy Martyr Martin; Holy Martyr Orion; Holy Martyr Niros; Holy Martyr Kalliopios.
HOLY APOSTLES ERASTOS, OLYMPAS, HERODION, SOSIPATROS, QUARTUS, AND TERTIOS OF THE SEVENTY. Of these six, Saints Olympas, and Herodion became disciples of the Apostle Peter. They both went to Rome to spread the Faith, and pagan Roman Nero beheaded them. The other four became bishops. Saint Sosipatros led Iconium, Saint Quartus led Beirut; he suffered greatly and brought many to the Christian faith and Saint Erastus led Caesarea of Philippi. They strove in spirit, became victors and were crowned with wreaths of glory.
+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: 1 Corinthians 4:9-16
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 37-43
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND SANCTIFICATION
"At the present time, owing to our almost universal coldness of Our Holy faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ, and to our inattention to the working of His Divine Providence in us, and the communion of man with God, we have gone so far that, one may say, we have almost abandoned the true Christian life. The testimonies of Holy Scripture now seem strange to us when, for instance, by the lips of Moses the Holy Spirit says: 'And Adam saw the Lord walking in Paradise' [cf. Gen. 3:10], or when we read the words of the Apostle Paul: 'We went to Achaia and the Spirit of God went not with us, we returned to Macedonia, and the Spirit of God came with us!' More than once in other passages of Holy Scripture the appearance of God to men is mentioned. That is why some people say: 'These passages are incomprehensible. Is it really possible for people to see God so openly?' But there is nothing incomprehensible here. This failure to understand has come about because we have departed from the simplicity of the original Christian knowledge." [Saint Seraphim of Sarov]
THE NARROW WAY IS DESIGNED BY GOD HIMSELF
by Bishop Ignatius (Brianchaninov) 1807-1867 [source: THE ARENA]
Our Lord Jesus Christ spent His earthly life in the greatest humility, subject to constant hardship and maltreatment, persecuted, slandered and libeled by His enemies who finally condemned Him to a shameful death with common criminals. The way of salvation which leads to eternal life is "narrow and hard" (St. Matthew 7:14). It is appointed both by our Lord's Holy example and by His Holy Teaching. The Lord foretold to His disciples and followers that in "the world, that is, during their earthly life, they would have tribulation, that the world would hate them, that they would be persecuted and killed" (St. John 16:33; 15:18; 16:2-3). The Lord compared the position of His disciples and followers in the midst of vicious humanity to the position of "sheep among wolves" (St. Matthew 10:16). From this it is clear that sorrow and suffering are appointed by the Lord Himself for His true slaves and servants during their life on earth. What is appointed by God it is impossible to prevent by any human being, by any kind of wisdom, or prudence, or forethought, or care…Sacred Scripture says: "My child, if you come to serve the Lord God, prepare yourself for trial. Control your heart and persevere, and never be hasty in time of adversity. Cling to God and never leave Him, that you may keep growing till your last breath. Accept whatever happens to you, and in the vicissitudes of your humble state be patient. For gold is tested by fire, and acceptable men in the furnace of humiliations" (Ecclesiastes 2:15).
Earthly life--this brief period--is given to man by the mercy of the Creator in order that man may use it for his salvation, that is, for the restoration of himself from death to life. Salvation or revival of man by the Holy Spirit is accomplished by means of the Redeemer or Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Men born before the coming of the Redeemer were to seek salvation by faith in the promised Redeemer and to receive salvation after the accomplishment of redemption by the Redeemer. Those born after the coming of the Redeemer were to seek salvation by faith in the Redeemer who had come and were to receive salvation even during their earthly life, and final and immutable salvation immediately after the separation of the soul from the body and after the Particular Judgment. Everyone who believes in the Savior must necessarily acknowledge and confess his fall and his state of exile on earth; he must acknowledge and confess it by his actual life so that his acknowledgment and confession may be living and effective, and not dead and ineffectual. Otherwise he cannot properly acknowledge the Redeemer, because a Redeemer and Savior is needed only for those who are fallen and perishing; He is quire superfluous and cannot be of any use to those who do not wish to acknowledge and confess their fall, their perdition. To confess one's fall by one's life means to bear all the sufferings of this earthly life as a just recompense for the fall, as a rational and logical consequence of one's sinfulness, and constantly to refuse all pleasures as improper for a criminal and exile who has angered God and has been rejected by God. Temporal earthly life is merely the forecourt to eternal life…
The Lord, having taken upon Himself humanity and all human infirmities except sin, also took upon Himself a vivid realization of the fallen state into which the whole human race had cast itself. He spent His earthly life in constant sufferings, without ever uttering a word of displeasure against those sufferings. On the contrary, He called them the chalice given Him by His Heavenly Father which He must drink and drain to the dregs unquestionably. The innocent and All-Holy Lord, having suffered in his assumed humanity for guilty and sin-infected mankind, has provided suffering as the way of salvation for all His followers, for all His spiritual tribe and family, in practical realization of their fall and sinfulness, in active acknowledgment and confession of the Savior, in active union with Him, one with Him. At the same time He infuses into the sufferings of His servants from His own sufferings unspeakable spiritual consolation in proof positive of the truth of salvation, and of the truth of the way of suffering which leads to salvation.
The holy Apostle Peter tells Christians that their vocation is suffering (1 Peter 2:21). He must believe in the Redeemer, confess Him with heart and mouth, confess Him by his action by obediently accepting whatever cross Jesus is pleased to lay upon His disciple. He who has not accepted the Cross cannot be a disciple of Jesus. "Let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in well-doing as to a faithful Creator" ( 1 Peter 4:19)...Then a Christian surrenders himself to the will of God, denies himself and casts all his cares on God, he thanks and glorifies Him for the cross. Then the extraordinary spiritual power of faith suddenly appears in his heart; Jesus seals the disciple who has accepted His call with the Spirit--and earthly sufferings become a source of delight for the Servant of God. On the hand, a sorrowless earthly life is a true sign that the Lord has turned His face form a man, and that he is displeasing to God, even though outwardly he may seem reverent and virtuous.
The fruit of troubles, which consists in the purification of our soul and its rising to a spiritual state, should be guarded as precious treasure. This fruit is guarded when, on being subjected to temptation and rebuke, we take all care at the time to abide by the Commandments of the Gospel, without being seduced by the passions which are exposed and stirred by temptation. between the Cross and the Commandments of the Gospel there is a wonderful relationship!
When the Roman governor Pilate, led by carnal wisdom, said to the Lord Who was standing before him, "I have power to crucify thee, and power to release thee," the Lord replied: "You would have not power over Me unless it had been given had been given to you from above" (St. John 19:10). You are such a blind tool that you neither realize nor suspect the work for which you are being used. "By your patience your will save your souls", said the Lord. "He who endures to the end will be saved. The just man shall live by faith, but if he shrinks back, (if anyone wavers) my soul has no delight in him" (St. Luke 21:19; St. Matthew 24:13; Hebrews 10:38).
Saint Macarius the Great says: "He who wishes to be an imitator of Christ, so as to become a son of God born of the Spirit, must first of all bear generously and patiently all the troubles that befall him, such as bodily illnesses, offenses, wrongs and insults from men, and the attacks of invisible enemies; because it is by the permission of God that various temptations are allowed to holy souls, so that it may become clear which souls sincerely love God."
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God