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.
PRAYER OF THE HOURS
O Christ our God, at every season and every hour, in heaven and on earth, You are worshipped and glorified. You are long-suffering, merciful and compassionate, loving the just and showing mercy to the sinner, calling to salvation through the promise of blessings to come O Lord, in this hour receive our supplications and direct our lives according to Your Commandments. Sanctify our souls, hallow our bodies, correct our thoughts, cleanse our minds. Deliver us from all tribulations, evil and distress. Surround us with Your holy Angels, that guided and guarded by them, we may come to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of Your unapproachable glory, for Your are Blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.
On March 5th 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 Conon the Gardener of Nazareth; St. Mark the Athenian; St. Conon of Isauria; St. Onisios of Isauria; St. Rhais of Antinoe in Egypt; St. Evlambios of Palestine; Saint Archelaus and 152 holy Martyrs in Egypt; St. Evlogios of Palestine; St. Basil and Constantine of Yaroslavl; New holy Martyr George of Rapsana (1818); St. Nicholas Velimirovich, bishop of Zhicha, Serbia (1956); St. John of Bulgaria (1784); St. Adrian of Poshekhonye.
HOLY MARTYR CONON THE GARDENER OF NAZARETH. St. Conon was a gardener, first in Nazareth, when he was arrested, he could not understand why an idol-worshiping governor would not invite other idol-worshippers instead of him, a Christian. He rebuked the governor for his mistake of idol worship and stated that it was impossible for him to give up his faith in Jesus Christ. With nails driven through his feet, he was tied behind a chariot. Praying the whole time, he was first run over sharp stones then dragged on his knees. When his whole body was mutilated, he gave up his soul.
+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:
Old Testament: Isaiah 4:2-5:7
Old Testament: Genesis 3:21-:4:7
Old Testament: Proverbs 3:34-4:22
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION
"There is a humility which comes out of the fear of God, and there is a humility which comes from the fervent love of God. One person is humble out of his fear, whereas another is humble out of his joy. The person who is humble out of fear is possessed of modesty in his members, a right ordering of his senses, and a heart that is contrite at all times. But the person who is humble out of joy is possessed of great exuberance and open and irrepressible heart... A chaste body is more precious before God than a pre offering. These two, humility and chastity, prepare a tabernacle in the soul for the Holy Spirit." (Saint Isaac the Syrian)
THE USE OF REASONING IN DRAWING CLOSER TO GOD
by Saint Theophan the Recluse
Working on yourself in this way, you will more and more drive away your blindness, deadness, and carelessness. But work, and work without slacking. There is a slyness and deceit in the sinful soul. The soul in this state evades in every way possible the work which pertains to salvation. Come, take the soul and carry it; it will not object--it just does not want to work by itself. No one can be master of your inner life except yourself. Enter within yourself and strike yourself, break yourself and bring yourself to reason. Deal with yourself before the face of God; keep persuading and convincing yourself. In the matter of conversion, reasoning with yourself is the only door for this. After all, if you will not think through and ponder what is to be done, then who will do this for you? That is why it was said to you above: "Carefully consider and think through this, imagine that, thoroughly scrutinize these other things," and so on.
What a great blessing it is for a sinner if his depravity has not yet had time to extinguish the light of the knowledge of the truth within him. Let his inward disposition be corrupt, let his feelings be unclean, but if sound ideas are kept and preserved in the mind, then there still is something on which the man who has begun to think about his salvation can gain a toehold. But when there are no sound ideas, when the mind has become corrupted as well, either it will fall into doubts, having lost conviction, or it will accept distorted and perverted teachings. Then there will no longer be any point of leverage from which a man can act on himself. Then one has to accept that "from the sole of the foot even to the head there is nothing sound in it, only bruises, and raw wounds, not pressed out or bandaged, not softened with oil" (Isaiah 1:6); that from the foot to the head, there is no wholeness in him. Few are reduced to this state, however. And those who are reduced to such a state--if conversion is possible for them--are converted by the extraordinary and striking action of God's grace.
But most sinners do not lose their faith, or according to the Apostle, "the pattern of sound teaching" (2 Timothy 1:13); they only become morally corrupted. For such people it is enough to cleanse the thoughts which were darkened by forgetfulness, and to restore their weakened conviction, which arose from negligence and lack of attention towards every good. Sit, and by yourself scrutinize everything: what you must believe, how to live, and what to expect--according to the Creed of the Orthodox faith and the commandments of the Lord. If you find this difficult, then look in the Catechism. If you cannot even do this, then talk with someone; it would be best to speak most intimately with your spiritual father. [In Orthodoxy, each person who is serious about the spiritual life is encouraged to find a spiritual father, a priest experienced in the spiritual life who can guide the soul through the difficulties of this life so that the person can enjoy the fullness of the Christian life].
When you do this, the sovereign truth will arise victorious within you. With authority and power, it will start to press back the wrongness of your actions, your inward dispositions, and the feelings which have taken possession of you. Then it will be easy for your reason to expose your blindness, to strike your deadness, and to drive away your carelessness.
When so many subjects arise about which one must reason with himself, then it should not be supposed that only learned persons are able to accomplish this. Anyone can reason with himself about salvation, even a child. This is not the same as scientific reasoning. Every truth which is taken in to the mind immediately and by itself inspires a person with that which it requires. Just be conscientious and restore within yourself a genuine desire for good, with a willingness to follow the instructions of the truth."
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God