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 Χριστός έν τώ μέσω ημών. Και ήν και έστι και έσται.
A PRAYER BEFORE RECEIVING HOLY COMMUNION
I stand before the doors of Thy Sanctuary, yet I do not put away from me my hurtful thoughts; but do Thou, O Christ our God, Who did justify the Publican, and have mercy upon the Canaanite woman, and open the gates of Paradise to the Thief, open also unto me the bounty of Thy compassion, and as I approach to touch Thee, receive me, even as the Harlot and the Woman with the issue of blood. For the one by the mere touch of the hem of Thy garment was healed, and the other by clasping Thy sacred feet obtained release from her sins. And I, in my pitiableness, dare to receive Thy whole Body; let me not, therefore, be seared as by flame, but receive me even as these; enlighten the senses of my soul, and purge as with fire the stains of my sins: through the intercessions of her, who in purity bore Thee, and of the heavenly Powers; for Thou are blessed from all Ages to all Ages. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION: On February 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 Martyr Haralambos, Saint Anastasius II, Archbishop of Jerusalem; St, Anatole, Metropolitan of Odessa; Holy Martyrs Porphyrios and Baptus; St. Zeno of Caesarea; St. Prochoros the Orach-eater; Synaxis of Novgorod Hierarchs; St. Scholastica the Righteous; St. Anna, wife of Yaroslav I; St. Longinus of Volodga.
HOLY MARTYR HARALAMBOS: This great Saint was bishop of Magnesia, and suffered for Christ at the age of 113. When a violent persecution broke out under the pagan Roman Emperor Septimus Severus, the aged St. Haralambos did not hide from his persecutors, but freely and openly preached the Christian faith. He endured all tortures as though not in the body, and when they flayed the living flesh from him, the godly Saint said to the Emperor's soldiers: 'Thank you, my brethren, for scraping off the old body and renewing my soul for new and eternal life.' He performed many miracles (wonders) and brought many to the Faith. Even the Emperor's daughter, Gallina, repudiated the paganism of her father and became a Christian. Condemned to death and led to the place of execution, Saint Haralambos raised his arms to heaven and prayed for all men, that God would give them bodily health and salvation of soul, and that He would grant them the fruits of the earth in abundance: 'Lord, Thou knowest that men are flesh and blood; forgive them their sins and pour out Thy blessing on all." After praying thus, the saintly elder gave his soul to God before the executioner had laid his sword to his neck. He suffered in 202 A.D. Gallina took his body and buried it.
+ 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: 2 Timothy 2:1-10
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 15:17-27, 16:1-2
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION
"Be mindful of God, so that in every moment He may be mindful of you. If He is mindful of you, He will give you salvation. Do not forget Him, letting yourselves be seduced by vain distractions. Do you want Him to forget you in your times of temptation? Stay near Him and obey Him in the days of your prosperity. You will be able to rely on His word in difficult days, because prayer will keep you safe in His continual presence. Remain constantly before His face, think of Him, and remember Him in your heart. Otherwise, if you only meet Him from time to time you risk losing your close friendship with Him." [Saint Isaac the Syrian]
THE WILL OF GOD
by Monk Nicodemos
"Now crisis, (judgment) is upon this world;" (St. John 12:31) The crisis of the whole world is this. The crisis of each and every one of us, is this. Whether we believe it or not, whether we believe in God or not, whether we are in His Church or in a false, heretical dogma, a deceiving denomination, whether we are Popes, Patriarchs, Archbishops, Bishops, Priests, Monks, Married or Lay, dedicated or missionaries, we are all subject to this Divine, pre-eternal and eternally ongoing valid law: "Do God's will or do you own will." This is the Divine Sword that Christ came to use. God or "mammon", our will or His, either one or the other! And the exact judgment that we will definitely face, will be exclusively, collectively and entirely based on this and only this:
"Did we do God's will or did we do our own will? Our own will covers everything ungodly, everything sinful, illegal and independent. God's will includes everything blessed, everything He asked us to do in His love everything that is pleasing to Him everything that is beneficial for our eternal soul and contributing to our salvation.
No special theology is needed, to understand this preliminary and primary belief and dogma of doing God's will. Even the "simple" Lord's Prayer, instructed to us by Christ Himself, begins with the very core principal request: 'Yennithito to thelima su', Your will be done! The very first thing that Christ urges us to ask for is not health, not wealth, not progress, not prosperity, but to ask God so that He can help us to do His will.
"To do God's will" is the centre of salvation, it is the Holy of Holies. To do God's will is the most sacred aim of every faithful and every soul who claims to believe in God and love God. "If you love Me, do my will!" (St. John 14, 15). To do God's will is the ultimate gift, the spiritual peak of all blessings. To do God's will is the actual, literal "Kingdom of Heaven!" Christ urges us to "seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and then everything else will be added." This righteousness is an interpretation of God's Kingdom, that is why Saint David the Psalmist exclaims: "Blessed be You, oh Lord, teach me Your judgments" (Your Will)." [Psalm 118:12] Christ means and implies that:
- we should first be genuinely interested in being very well taught and deeply educated in what exactly is God's will,
- we should readily be wanting from the heart to do God's will
- if we don't want this eagerly, then we can somehow force ourselves to do so,
- and then we will experience the Kingdom of Heaven.
All Saints who experienced this Kingdom and were elevated to great heights of holiness, primarily achieved this, because they enforced God's will. They also forced themselves and grasped this grace by "force" - "The Kingdom of heaven experiences violence and men of violence take it by force." (St. Matthew 11:12). If we find ourselves not being interested or not wanting to do God's will, then we should "force" ourselves, just like we force an infant to take its necessary medication when it refuses. This blessed "violence" is only done against our own will, against our ego and our evil self, but never against others. We can never and should never force others, but "whoever wishes in free will" may follow God's will. (St. Mark 8:34). Whoever decides to follow his own will does not glorify God but glorifies himself and the devil.
The whole of the Satanic law is this: "Do what you want" - "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" (The Book of the Law, by Aleister Crowley). Crowley was mostly known as "the Great Beast", due to the fact that he was a self-declared Satanist, despite any failed attempts to deny this and pseudo claims that "he borrowed various terms and notions from various religious sources because he liked to be defiant, sarcastic or witty, only for the purpose of shocking and disturbing people", though this excuse in itself is a disturbing statement indeed. Even the very own biographer and literary executor of Aleister Crowley, John Symonds, reveals to us and writes: "Crowley's philosophy takes a bit from here and a bit from there...but...he was more a Satanist than anything else. "I serve my great Master Satan", he wrote in one of his franker confessions, "and that august Council composed of Beelzebub, Lucifuge, Asmodeus, Belphegor, Baal, Adrammelech, Lilith and Nahema." (John Symonds, The Great Beast).
Another satanic law being outlined is that "there is no God but mans", therefore, man replaces God and places himself in his position and role of God, in every aspect of life. This is the spirit of the Antichrist. Anyone who does not believe in God automatically constitutes himself as god and deifies his own human personal will as "divine" will. Anyone who does not believe in God and stubbornly follows his own will, in fact, subconsciously declares the existence of God and verifies the narration of the fall of the "protoplastes", the first created ones, Adam and Eve. There, Satan, embodies the snake, and this is what "Avatar" means, "an evil embodiment", an unlawful "inter-course with humans and extra terrestrial (demonic) beings", an "incompatible interlink", and "cloning" into a "new creation", a "new being", or to be "Born Again" in a redeeming way.
All of the above terms, some of them biblical too, reveal the evilness of our antichristian age. There is so much profound Satanism in all aspects of our life, in cinema, on daytime television, even within children's stories, comics or toys, that it is just not funny at all. What is even weirder is that people are not reacting at all to this profound, preoccupying, predominant evilness. They are getting accustomed to it.
And this is the greatest trick and deception of the devil, to make you believe that he 'does not exist' and that all this occultist and staggering, petrifying witchcraft (such as "Harry Potter", Halloween and the subtle, suspicious Avatar which are all full of evil representations, satanic depictions and subliminal messages) is supposedly just symbolism at its best.
The aim of the devil is make people, even the elderly, even young kids, through cinema movies, television, internet, video clips and video games etc., to make them get used to these images, to get them acquainted with these evil notions and ideas and gradually become familiarized to any demonic representations and ghostly activity, so that when it all actually happens, when Satan arrives and his super "god-man" Antichrist appears in person, they will not be afraid, shocked or surprised. They will follow him because they will be subjected to his comforts, conformed to his convenient enterprises and slaves to the rhythm of their own will in tune to the will of Satan.
A final chapter in this indispensable yet inexhaustible topic is, that once we establish that we need to do God's will, we then need to establish: how is it expressed, how is it channeled to us humans, and how are re-assured that we are doing God's will?
Wanting to do God's will, presupposes a preliminary faith in God. We firstly to establish the existence of God, by readily wanting to believe in Him in advance and sternly examining our heart to see if we are actually prepared to proceed in such an enormous leap. All stumbling blocks and vast hindrances must ruthlessly be identified, severely battled and effectively removed. If we are utterly bound by logic and ego, if we are biased and proud, sarcastic or negatively disposed to the issue of God's existence, then we will never succeed and there is no point in being curious or testing the field.
We must begin through Him and intensely honestly pray to Him, asking God to "help and boost our unfaithfulness."
We also approach holy men of God, saintly elders, ascetics or God-fearing priests who are renowned for their spirituality and ask them to pray for us and to fervently beseech God for a sign or a way in order for us to get closer to Him, even (most preferably) through a sacred revelation or a miraculous transformation (of course without ever expecting it or demanding it, this would be the worse...) We should never have the trivial, arrogant, cunning and conceited expectation of "God proving Himself to us if He exists". He doesn't need to do this, we cannot contest or provoke God, He will not be a "servant" of our impudent demands or contemptible commands. At the end of the day, it is not at all honorable and dignifying of us to have such supercilious and superficial thoughts, to have such reproachful poor mentality and place irrational preconditions. Faith starts from the heart and comes from the heart. Faith is regenerated in a clean and humble heart that is free from prejudice, unfairness, ungodliness and idolatry.
We then establish the reality of the God-Man Jesus Christ as a true historical figure. We perform a personal study of good faith, examining closely and deeply all external and internal testimonies, especially His Holy Scripture, and most preferably, the whole New Testament, with a spirit of humbleness and sinfulness. But we must be especially alert of the critical necessity of a guide, a mentor for the proper translation of Christ's Teachings and His will contained within the Holy Bible. That guide is the Holy Church of God. Not any "Church" or Christian community that call themselves "Church," but His one and only true living Church, His body of believers that are united in the one truth, in the one chalice and enjoy a sacramental communion. The Great conquering truth is that, the basis of truth is not Holy Scripture in general; not any global modern translations and individual versions, not even the original Ancient Greek Text itself, but the nucleus basis of truth is the Church herself. The Holy Apostles and the Church are the ones who produced the Holy Bible and not the other way round.
We therefore proceed to establish the fact that He created, He built His Church on the foundations of the Holy Apostles, on the foundations of Truth. We search and examine to see which out of all these literally thousands of existing adversary "Churches" of today, have faithfully kept intact, unadulterated, incorrupt the teaching of Christ and of the holy Apostles. We look to see which preserves His Truth and which one maintains "Apostolic Succession", that is, the authority of canonical priesthood traced back to the very Apostles, the validity of Sacraments and common global recognition through a Patriarchate Structure. Thus we attain a sound knowledge of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ, we closely observe all beliefs, all their items of faith, the actual content and nature of faith, and identify an official compilation, Symbol of Faith, their Creed, their dogma.
With sincere agape In His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God