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.
FROM THE LITURGY OF THE PRESANCTIFIED GIFTS
[During the Completion Litany: (inaudibly) offered by the celebrant priest]
O God of ineffable and unseen mysteries, in You are hidden the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, yet You have revealed to us this Liturgy and, in Your great love for mankind, appointed us sinners to offer gifts and sacrifices to You, for our sins and for the failings of the people. Invisible King, Your perform works great and inscrutable, glorious and extraordinary, beyond number. Look upon us Your undeserving servants as we stand, as at Your Throne of the Cherubim at this Your Holy Altar, where Your Only-begotten Son, our God, rests in the awesome mysteries here offered.
Freeing us all, and Your faithful people, of all uncleanness, sanctify all of us, soul and body, with a sanctification that cannot be taken away. Thus, partaking of these divine Blessings with pure conscience, faces unblushing, hearts enlightened, and being quickened by them, we may be united to Your Christ Himself, our True God. For He said: "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood, abides in Me and I in him." Having Your Word indwelling and moving within us, we may thus become the temple of Your All-Holy and Worshipful Spirit, free of every wile of the Evil One affecting our acts, our words, our thoughts, and so obtain the blessings promised to us as to Your Saints who have pleased You through the ages.
On March 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: Saint Anastasia the Patrician; Holy Martyr Markianos; Saint George Arselaites; Saint Ioanne of Khakhuli; New Holy Martyr Michael of Thessanloniki (1544); Holy Martyr Quadratus of Corinth and His Companion Martyrs.
HOLY MARTYR QUADRATUS OF CORINTH AND HIS COMPANION MARTYRS: Saints Dionysios, Anectos, Paul, Cyprian, Dionysios, Crescens, Victorinos, Diodoros, Claudius, Victor, Nicephoros, Serapion, Papias, Chariessa, Leonidas, Vasilissa, Niki, Nunechia, Galina, Galla, Theodora, and others. St. Quadratus was born in the 3rd century in the wilderness, where his mother had gone to escape Christian persecutions. She died in childbirth. God nourished him with sweet dew that dripped from a cloud, and his guardian Angel kept him safe. He grew up in the wilderness without mother or father, just like Saint John the Baptist and Forerunner. When he was twelve years old, he went to the town and was taken in and educated as a doctor. He healed with medicine and prayer. Later, during a new persecution, St. Quadratus and his friends were apprehended. They were stoned and dragged through the streets to the place of execution. A spring came out of the ground in the place of their beheading, and it was named Quadratus.
+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: Hebrews 3:12-16
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Mark 1:35-44
[Before reading the holy Gospel lesson the priest reads the following prayer: Shine in our hearts, O Merciful Master, the pure light of Thy Divine knowledge, and open the eyes of our mind that we may understand the teachings of Thy Gospel; implant in us also the fear of Thy Blessed Commandments, that we, trampling down all carnal desires, may enter upon a spiritual manner of living both thinking and doing all those things that please Thee. For Thou art the Source of Light for our souls and bodies, O Christ Our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Eternal Father, and Thine All-Holy, Good, and Life-Giving Spirit, now and forever, and from all ages to all ages.] All Orthodox Christian should read the Holy Scripture daily and should offer this holy prayer before they begin.
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION
"You wish, or rather, have decided, to remove a splinter from someone? Very well, but do to go after it with a stick instead of a lancet for you will only drive it deeper. Rough speech and harsh gestures are the stick, while even-tempered instruction and patient reprimand are the lancet". [St. John Climacus]
ON AGAPE (LOVE)
by Saint Silouan the Athonite
My soul thirsts for the Living God. Time and again my soul seeks fullness of delight in the Lord. O mercy of God that passes all understanding! The Lord formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the soul of man was made kin to God.
The Lord so loved His creature that He gave man the Holy Spirit, and man knew his Creator and loves his Lord. The Holy Spirit is love and sweetness to the soul, the mind and the body; but when the soul loses grace, or grace is diminished, once again the soul will seek the Holy Spirit in tears, and yearn for God, and cry:
"My soul years for the Lord, and I seek Him in tears. 'How could I not seek Thee, O Lord? For Thou Thyself did seek me out aforehand, and gave me to delight in Thy Holy Spirit; and now my soul yearns for Thee. My heart fell to loving Thee, and I pray Thee: Give me to the end to abide in Thy love. Empower me for the sake of Thy love to endure all sickness and affliction."
Fear and trembling seize my soul when I would write of the love of God. My soul is poor and without strength to describe the Lord's love. And the soul is afraid and yet is drawn to set down, be it but a word or two of the love of Christ. My spirit fails but love constrains me to write of these things.
O man - what a feeble creature thou art!
When grace dwells within us, the spirit glows and reaches day and night towards the Lord, for grace impels the soul to love God; and now that she has come to love Him she cannot tear herself from Him - never can she have enough of the tenderness of the Holy Spirit.
And there is no end to God's love.
I know a man whom the Lord in His mercy visited with His grace. And had the Lord asked him, 'Wouldst thou have Me give three more?', from weakness of the flesh his soul would have made answer:
'Thou seest, Lord, that I cannot bear more and would die,' for man is compassed about and cannot carry the fullness of grace.
Thus on Mount Tabor the disciples fell on their face before the glory of the Lord. And no man can conceive how the Lord gives grace to the soul.
Good and gracious art Thou, O Lord. I give thanks for Thy mercy: Thou hast poured down Thy Holy Spirit on me and given me to taste of Thy love for me, grievous sinner that I am, and my soul is drawn to Thee, O Light unapproachable.
What shall I render unto the Lord?
I am sorry wretch, as the Lord knows, but my pleasure is to humble my soul and love my neighbor, though he may have give offence. At all times I beseech the Lord Who is merciful to grant that I may love my enemies; and by the grace of God I have experienced what the Love of God is, and what it is to love my neighbor; and day and night I pray the Lord for love, and the Lord gives me tears to weep for the whole world. But if I find fault with any man, or look on him with an unkind eye, my tears will dry up, and my soul sink into despondency. Yet do I begin again to entreat forgiveness of the Lord, and the Lord in His mercy forgives me, a sinner.
Brethren, before the face of my God I write: Humble your hearts, and while yet on this earth you will see the mercy of the Lord, and know your Heavenly Creator, and your souls will never have their fill of love. No man of himself can know what God's love is unless he be taught of the Holy Spirit; but God's love is known in our Church through the Holy Spirit, and so we speak of this love.
The sinful soul which does not know the Lord fears death, thinking that the Lord will not forgive her sins. But his is because the soul does not know the Lord and how greatly He loves us. But if people knew this, then no man would despair, for the Lord not only forgives but rejoices exceedingly at the return of a sinner. Though you be at death's door, believe firmly that the moment you ask, you will receive forgiveness.
The Lord is not like us. He is passing meek, and merciful, and good; and when the soul knows Him she marvels greatly, and exclaims: "O what a Lord is ours!" The Holy Spirit gave our Church to know how great God's mercy.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God