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.
In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Glory to You, Our God, glory to You!
PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
Heavenly King, Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, present in all places and filling all things, the treasury of blessings and Giver of Life: come and abide in us. Cleanse us from all impurity and save our souls, gracious Lord.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (3)
Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
All-Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, forgive our sins. Master, pardon our transgressions. Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Thy Name's sake.
Lord, have mercy. (3)
Glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
The Lord's Prayer
Our Father, Who art in Heaven...
On June 5th [The Week of the Holy Spirit] 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 Dorotheos, Bishop of Tyre; St. Dorotheos of Palestine; Saints Agapios and Nicodemos of Vatopedi; Theodore, Prince of Novgorod; New Holy Martyr of Smyrna in the island of Chios.
THE HIEROMARTYR DOROTHEOS, BISHOP OF TYRE. He was Bishop of Tyre from the time of pagan Roman emperor Diocletian right up to the time of Julian the Apostate, under whom he was tortured and suffered for the Orthodox faith. He lived on earth to the age of 107 A.D., and, being pleasing to God, entered into eternal life in 361 A.D. He was a great scholar and wrote many learned books both in Greek and Latin.
+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: Romans 1:1-7
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 4:23-25, 5:1-13
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION
"I think it's time for us Orthodox to live our faith". [Geronda [Elder] Paisios the Athonite]
THE ORTHODOX MIND OR SPIRIT
by Father Anthony Alevizopoulos [PhD. of Theology, PhD. of Philosophy
All that we have mentioned define the faith of Orthodoxy and protect the Mystery of man's salvation. They also establish the position of every believer vis-a-vis God, the world and his fellow man and constitute the Orthodox mind or phronema (Φρόνημα) or spirit. We do not have here the result of an attempt on man's part to develop a type of self-salvation, but the result of a cooperation between God and man.
Man, through his fall, was deprived of God's grace and depending upon his own powers, followed his own path. He was not able to prevail over his passions and was subdued by the spirit or mind of the flesh. In the person of Jesus Christ, God reached out to man and brought him back to the communion of His grace. In Christ Jesus, man becomes a partaker of the life of God, he overcomes his carnally-mindedness and embraces spiritually-mindedness which is "life and peace" (Romans 8:6), the mind of Christ (Philip. 2:5. I Cor. 2:16). He no longer "minds" [sets his affection on] "things on earth" but "things in Heaven" (Col. 3:2).
An essential change has come about in the man who is "in Christ": he has become a "new mna', and new creation; he is completely Christified. This is the result of man's embodiment into the Body of Christ and his partaking of the Divine Eucharist. Saint Symeon the New Theologian expresses this in the most moving way:
"We become members of Christ, and Christ our members, and Christ becomes the hand and Christ the foot of me the wretched one; I move my hand, and Christ is my entire hand, for you must understand the Holy Divinity as being inseparable from me."
This Christification of all of man leads the faithful to respect his body. The words of Saint Symeon are most moving. When we understand ourselves, who we are and who we have become in Christ, we will discern the miracle. We will respect and be timid before our very selves and will respect ourselves as we respect Christ:
"And I marvel, understanding myself from Whom I have become as such; O Miracle. And I respect myself and am timid And as You I honor and respect myself And I wonder being bashful all over, where to sit, and whom to approach. And where to rest Your members. For what works, and for what actions Should I employ Your fearful and divine members?"
All of man becomes Christified and feels infinite respect for his members which have become "members of Christ". This leads man to a completely new behavior towards his own body. His body no longer belongs to him but to Christ; it becomes a "temple of the Holy Spirit." Man cannot do whatever he wants with his body or that of his neighbor. He must approach it with the same devotion and respect which he attributes to God's temple. Any other behavior is a desecration.
His entire position vis-a-vis God, the world, his fellow man and his entire self becomes analogous to the height of the glory of Christified man. His life henceforth responds once again to his nature, to creation "according to the image" of God. He forsakes his autonomy and freely chooses the communion of love.
Love is undoubtedly the gift of God, the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22). But a necessary prerequisite for one to accept the grace of the Holy Spirit is that it be his wholehearted choice, a reception on the part of the mind and the heart, which leads to obedience of God's commandments (St. John 14:23).God loves man and gives him the possibility, if he himself so desires, to respond with his love to God's love and thus be changed into "an habitation of God through the spirit" (Ephesians 2:22).
But this for the believer implies a way of life. It presupposes his decision and firm desire to "crucify his flesh together with his passions and desires" and to struggle with all his being to acquire the virtues of God, making this his aim with absolute priority.
But again, that which man shall attain to with his own attempts will not be saving virtues which are God's gifts, but only the fruits of man's labor. Yet in this manner he demonstrates in deed, with all its personal consequences, his personal choice and wholehearted turning towards God; his desire to acquire the gifts of God. Then can he ask God to give him His grace, and God "takes into consideration" man's struggles, accepts the fruits of these labors and He transforms them into the gifts of the Holy Spirit, into love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance" (Galatians 5:22).
This new "mind", this new way of thinking, presupposes that the believer will forsake his autonomy and accept his insufficiency and inability to achieve the meaning of life, i.e., that he will repent "meta-noia": change his way of thinking. An autonomous man is also he who seeks to justify his life with good deeds or by any type of "technical" processes, outside the realm of God's grace in Christ Jesus. The Orthodox "mind" or way of thinking is free from all concepts of self-justification (Romans 3:20; Galatians 5:4). The true believer looks his sinfulness and insufficiency in the face and looks to Christ with complete trust. It is for this reason that "the publicans and harlots enter the Kingdom of God before those who are convinced of their righteousness and depend upon it" (St. Matthew 21:31).
The Fathers of the Church, talk about the "convulsions of the heart" which at the same time constitute the "opening up" for the grace of God to enter into man's soul. The hymns of the Great Canon express this reality in the life of the faithful.
Through repentance the faithful has the feeling that he finds himself in an ocean bed: "for no child of Adam has sinned as I have sinned unto you." He is convinced that this great distance separating him from God springs only from his disposition, "By myself have I sinned unto You"; and further, he expresses his inability to weep in man's impasse is set at naught by crying unto God the Savior:
"Do, thou, O God my Savior grant them to me. Grant me thoughts of repentance, Give to my wretched soul the desire for contrition, Lift me from the sleep of fearful hard-heartedness, Dispel the darkness of sloth, Dissolve the blackness of despair; so that I, the most wretched one, may lift up my head, And attach myself to You, O Logos, And walk in accordance with Your will".
Deep humility constitutes the beginning of spiritual life, the foundation of the Orthodox "mind" or way of thinking. Here we do not have a cry of hopelessness but a turning about by man that leads to hope, despite all impasses that may have been led to by his own volition.
The believer is henceforth called to a life-long spiritual struggle in which he is never abandoned by God, except in such instances where he were to consider himself able of his own and self-sufficient. For then he becomes autonomous and distance himself from the grace of God. The faithful realizes that not only God but the devil also calls his disposition and threaten his "mind in Christ" through deceptive means (St. John 8:44; 1 Peter 5:8).
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God