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.
FORGIVENESS OF SINS FOR FORGIVENESS OF OFFENCES
Thus does the Lord speak to every soul: forgive your brother his transgressions, and I will forgive you your sins. You shall forgive minor errors, debts of perhaps a few coins or some three pence, and I will grant you thousands of talents. For you have only to forgive, without presenting any gift; but I will forgive you your sins and grant you healing and the heavenly Kingdom.
And I will accept your gift when you make peace with him who is at enmity with you. When you have no malice, when the setting sun does not find you angry, when you meet all with peace and love--then will your prayer be acceptable and your offering pleasing, and your house will be blessed and you also shall find blessing.
But if you do not make peace with your brother, then how will you ask Me for forgiveness? I am your Master; I command you and you do not heed Me. You are a servant; how dare you bring Me a prayer, or a sacrifice, or first fruits of your harvest, if you bear malice toward anyone? If you turn your face from your brothers, so shall I turn Mine eyes from your prayer and from your gift.
[A Spiritual Psalter from the works of our Holy Father Ephraim the Syrian]
On July 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: 45 Holy Martyrs in Armenia.
THE FORTY-FIVE HOLY MARTYRS: LEONTIUS, MAURICE, ALEXANDER, SISINIUS AND THE REST. In the time of the wicked Emperor Licinius, who ruled over the eastern half of the Byzantine Empire, there was a great persecution of Christians. In Armenian Nicopolis, Leontius came before the imperial governor, Lysius, together with several of his friends, and told him that he was a Christian. 'And where is your Christ?', asked Lysius. 'Was He not crucified and did He not die?' To this, Saint Leontius replied: 'If you know that our Christ died, know that He also rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.' After much harassment for their faith, Lysius had them whipped and thrown into prison, where they were given neither food nor drink. A noble Christian woman, Vlassiana, brought them water and gave it to them through the window of the prison, and an Angel of God appeared to them there, to comfort and encourage them. When their trial was held, two of their warders came before Lysius as Christian converts, and many others, numbering forty-five in all. The judge condemned them all to death, ordering that their arms and legs be hacked off and that they then be thrown into the flames. This vicious punishment was carried out, and the souls of the holy martyrs flew off to their Lord, to eternal life. They suffered with honor and inherited the Kingdom in the year of Our Lord 319 AD.
+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: I Corinthians 1:1-9
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 13:24-30
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION
"The Devil downplays minor sins; otherwise he cannot lead a person on to greater evil" (Saint Mark the Ascetic).
TO THE MAN WHO SAYS THAT HE BELIEVES IN GOD BUT DOES NOT PRAY TO HIM
By Saint Nikolai Velimirovich [Missionary Letters]
Struggle and strengthen the faith in yourself. With time, you will feel the need for prayer. Your faith is not strong, and that is why it does not yet move you to prayer. A few of us were watching how a trickle of water fell over the wheel of the mill and the wheel didn't move. Then more water came and the wheel started moving.
Faith is a spiritual force. A little faith does not move the mind to think about God, nor the heart to pray to God. Great faith moves both mind and the heart and the entire soul of man. As long as there is great faith in man, it moves his soul toward God by its force. You say you have read the Savior's word, "your Father knows what ye have need of even before your prayer", so you have concluded that prayer is no longer necessary. God does indeed know what we need in advance, but He still wants us to pray to Him. That is why the same Savior has commanded us to pray without ceasing, and He taught us how to pray.
This is easier to explain to a parent than to you, a bachelor. Parents also know in advance what their children need, but they still expect their children to ask for it. Because parents know that asking softens and exalts the child's heart; that it makes them humble, meek, gentle, obedient, merciful and grateful. Do you see how many divine sparks are lit in a man's heart by prayer? I read how a traveler stopped at a house along the way. In that house, there was some kind of a workers' meeting. At one moment, there was silence in the house. The workers knelt down for prayer. One of them exited the house and started walking around it. The traveler asked him what was going on inside.
They are praying to God. I am too embarrassed to do the same so I left the house. The traveler stopped talking and waited. "Who are you waiting for," the worker asked him. He said, "I am waiting for someone to come out so I can ask for directions for my journey". "I can show you", said the worker. The traveler shook his head, "How can the one who is ashamed of God and his brethren show me the way?"
I think that you are not ashamed of prayer, but just don't have enough faith. Therefore, nurture the child within you. When he grows up to be a hero, he will repay you your effort a hundredfold. A hero's faith will move the inner wheel of your being and you will receive new life. God's peace and blessing be with you.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia
The sinner and unworthy servant of God