Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior Jesus Christ,
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 THE GUARDIAN ANGEL
O my Holy Guardian Angel, Attendant of my wretched soul and afflicted life, Do not abandon me, a sinner, Do not depart from me because of my lack of self-control. Do not allow the evil demons to subdue me Through the oppression of this mortal body of mine. Take hold of my wretched and outstretched hand And guide me on the way to salvation. O holy Angel of God, Guardian and protector of my miserable soul and body, Forgive me for all those things with which I have grieved you Throughout all the days of my life; And for whatever I have sinned this day, During this present night shelter me and keep me safe From every attack of the adversary, That I may not through some sin bring anger to God. Intercede with the Lord in my behalf To give me strength to stand in awe of Him And to become a worthy servant of His goodness. Amen.
Under the protection of Your wings I shall be covered and go to sleep; For You, Lord, have given me a mansion to dwell in hope. Into Your hand, O Lord, I place my soul and my body. Have mercy on me and grant me eternal life. Amen.
Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ, our God,
Have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
On November 8th 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: Synaxis of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel and the other Bodiless Powers.
SYNAXIS OF THE ARCHANGELS MICHAEL AND GABRIEL AND OTHER BODILESS HEAVENLY POWERS. In the 4th century, Bishop Sylvester and Patriarch Alexander established this day to celebrate the Nine Orders of Angels. God created these Orders nine months after He created the world. Why November? Because November is the 9th Month after March, and it is thought that the world was created in the month of March. The ninth month after March was chosen because of the nine orders of Angels that were the first created beings. According to a Church canon of the 4th century Council of Laodicea, Angels are not to be worshiped. The following is the hierarchy of the Nine Orders: Six-winged Seraphim, Many-eyed Cherubim, Godly Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels and Angels. Archangel Michael is the Leader of the Angelic army. His name means, "Who is like God." "Let us give heed! Let us stand aright! Let us stand with fear!" Archangel Michael defends the Garden of Eden, told Abraham not to sacrifice Isaac, told Lot to flee Sodom, protected Jacob from Esau, took the soul of Moses from the devil, and changed the course of a river in Asia Minor to protect a holy spring in a church. The holy icon depicting Archangel Michael is on the left side of the icon screen in Orthodox churches, and Archangel Gabriel is on the right side. The name Gabriel means "The Power of God." Archangel Gabriel announces the Mysteries of God. Among the Angels there rules a perfect unity of mind, of soul, and of love; of total obedience of the lesser powers to the greater and of all to the Holy will of God. Each nation has its Guardian Angel, as does each individual Christian. We must keep in mind that, whatever we do, openly or in secret, we do in the presence of our Guardian Angel and that, on the Day of Judgment, a great multitude of the Holy Angels of Heaven will be gathered around the throne of Christ, and the thoughts, words and deeds of every man will be laid bare before them. May God have mercy on us and save us at the prayers of the Holy Archangel Michael and all the bodiless powers of Heaven. Amen.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Archangels and Heavenly Powers, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Hebrews 2:2-10
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 10:16-21
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND EDIFICATION
"If you want to bring someone onto the right path, to teach and advise him, then you must humble yourself first and talk to the person with a lot of love. He will accept your advice, for he will feel that it is given with love" [Geronda(Elder) Thaddeus of Vitovnica]
THE CHURCH AND HER WORK
by Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos [Metropolis of Nafpaktos, Greece]
[source: Entering the Orthodox Church]
Since man's true life is found with God he must return to his father's house. So far, we have said that this house is Paradise and it is man's communion with God. Following the Fall, this communion takes place within the Church, which is the true Paradise. Consequently, fallen man must return to his house again; this house is the Church.
Wherever the wheat of prudence and the vine of self-control are not cultivated great hunger prevails, a great famine. This, of course, means that outside the Church, there is famine and spiritual deprivation. Whoever experiences this reality decides to return to the home that he left. His benevolent father is waiting for him. He is ready to show him His love and compassion. It is not a commercial transaction, but an overflow of love and charity. Naturally, this love and communion takes place within the Mysteria (Sacraments) of the Church. All that follows, including the orders the father gave, demonstrates this reality:
"But the father said to his servants, 'Bring out the first robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry" (St. Luke 15:22-24).
The robe, which the father ordered them to dress the son in, is the spiritual robe that was made from the fire of the Holy Spirit. This robe is woven in baptismal water and shows that man is naked apart from God and he loses his beauty. God's grace dresses him and adorns him. According to Saint John Chrysostom, the Father is represented as saying, characteristically, "Adorn the dearest members of my son. I can no longer bear to see him unadorned. I can no longer bear to have my own image abandoned naked." Through Holy Baptism, one puts on God's grace. This is why we chant, "All those who have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ." Moreover, through Holy Baptism the image, which was blackened and darkened, is cleansed.
The ring that they put on his hand denotes the spiritual betrothal and that he is guarded by the Holy Spirit. It is a sign of adoption. When he wears the ring, all God's enemies fear him. It demonstrates his communion with God. Even from a distance, it shows that he is the son of God by grace.
The shoes that they put on his feet are God's strength, so that the Evil One will not find his heel naked and strike him again. Instead, the baptized person will trample upon the dragon and crush him.
The fatted calf is Christ Himself, Who sacrificed Himself for the human race. He is "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (St. John 1:29). This symbolizes the Divine Eucharist, where man is gladdened spiritually and gains new life. Beyond the Church and the Divine Eucharist is the world of corruption and sin.
According to St. Nicholas Cabasilas, there are three basic Mysteria (Sacraments) that make up spiritual life. The first is Baptism, the second is Chrismation and the third is the Divine Eucharist. Through Baptism, man is born spiritually, since the baptismal font is the spiritual womb of the Church. Just as we acquire biological life within our mother's womb, likewise, we acquire spiritual life in the Church's womb, the Sacred Font. Chrism is the movements that activate the grace, which we received with Holy Baptism. It is not only necessary for someone to be born; he must also live after the birth. This takes place with Holy Chrism. The Divine Eucharist is also life, because we partake of the Body and Blood of Christ.
We are baptized and chrismated, so that we can become members of the Church, commune the immaculate Mysteria and live. This is why the Divine Eucharist and Holy Communion should follow Holy Baptism. The Divine Eucharist is the center of all the Mysteria and the whole of Church life. It is what shows that the Church is the body of Christ.
The Church is not a human organism. It is not a social and charitable organization. It is the theanthropic body of Christ. This means that there is inner spiritual communion between Christians and Christ. Christians are not members of a corporation, but members of the Body of Christ.
In the West, a theory has been developed that differentiates between two kinds of body. It says that the Mystical Body of Christ, where those baptized are members, is one thing. Whereas, the real Body of Christ, which is the Eucharist bread, found on the Altar table, is another. However, in the Orthodox Church there is no such distinction. We stress that the Church is the Body of Christ. At same time it is the Body, which He received from the Virgin Mary, deified, and resurrected, it is the Eucharist Bread found on the Altar table, and it is the Saints who make up the members of Christ's body. Thus, we fully comprehend the value of being a Christian, a member of the Body of Christ. In this perspective, we really feel the great gift of Holy Baptism and of the Divine Eucharist.
[Personal note]: It is unthinkable and a sign of delusion for anyone who claims to be an Orthodox Christian to deliberately abstain from the Mysteria (Sacraments) of the Church. All who consciously refuse the participation in the Divine Mysteria are absolutely not members of the Body of Christ, the Church. You are not Orthodox Christians!!!
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God