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.
A NINTH PRAYER BY SAINT JOHN OF DAMASCUS
THE COMMUNION PRAYERS
I have not put aside my dreadful thoughts though I stand before the gates of Your Temple. But You, O Christ, my God, Who justified the publican, showed mercy to the Canaanite woman and opened the gate of Paradise for the thief, open for me the gates to the recesses of Your love for man and receive me who approaches and touches You as did the harlot and the woman with the issue of blood. For the former touches the hem of Your garment and readily received healing and the latter clasped Your immaculate feet and came away with forgiveness of sins. I, however, pitiful as I am, who dare to receive Your whole Body, do not let me be consumed by fire but receive me as You received them. Enlighten the senses of my soul. Conflagrate the crimes of my sins through the intercessions of the heavenly powers and of her, who without seed, bore You. For You are blessed forever and ever. Amen.
On July 31st 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: Forefeast of the Precious Cross; Deposition of the Holy Relics of Apostle Philip on the island of Cyprus; Saint Joseph of Arimathea; Saint Evdokemos of Cappadocia; Saint John the Exarch of Bulgaria; Twelve martyrs of Rome; Consecration of the church of the Most Holy Theotokos of Vlachernae; Saint Dionysios of Vatopedi, Mt. Athos; Saints Benjamin, Sergius, George, and John of Petrograd; Saint Basil of Kineshma; Saint Angelina Brancovich of Serbia.
SAINT EVDOKEMOS. He was born in Cappadocia of devout parents, Basil and Evdokia. In the time of the Emperor Theophilos (829-842 AD), Saint Evdokemos was a young army officer. Even as a soldier, he endeavored with his whole heart to live according to the precepts of the Gospel. He kept his purity unstained and avoided converse with any woman except his mother. He was liberal to the poor, assiduous in the reading of holy books and yet more assiduous in prayer to God. He fled vain chatter and idle talk. 'Among all the chaos and vanity of the world, he was like a lily among thistles, and like gold in the furnace.' For his rare virtues, the Emperor made him military governor of Cappadocia. In this high state, St. Evdokemos strove to be righteous before God and man. By God's providence he died early, at the age of thirty-three, and his holy relics were found to have healing power. An insane man touched his tomb and was healed, and a paralytic child stood upright and was made whole. After eighteen months, his mother opened his coffin, and found his body as though still alive, with no mark of corruption--and a wonderful fragrance arose from the Saint's body. His holy relics were later translated to Constantinople and buried in the new church of the Holy Mother of God, built by Saint Evdokemos's parents.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: 1 Cor. 12:12-26
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 18:18-22, 19:1-2, 13-15
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION
"If we keep remembering the wrongs which men have done us, we destroy the power of the remembrance of God. But if we remind ourselves of the evil deeds of the demons, we shall be invulnerable". [Saint Makarius the Great]
WORK DONE WITH PEACE OF MIND AND PRAYER IS SANCTIFIED
by Elder Paisios of Mount Athos [source: With Pain and Love for Contemporary
Isn't it better, Geronda [Elder], to take your time and your job slowly in order to maintain your calm?
Yes, because when we work calmly, we maintain our serenity and the our whole day is sanctified. Unfortunately, we do not realize that when we do our work in a hurry, we become nervous. And when work is done nervously, it is not sanctified. Our goal should not be to do many things and be in constant anxiety. This a demonic condition.
When monastic handicrafts are made with peace of mind and prayer, they are sanctified and they also sanctify the people who use them. Then, it makes sense for lay people to seek these handiworks from us as a blessing. By contrast, any work made with haste and nervousness transmits this demonic condition to others. Work done with haste and anxiety is the mark of a very secular person. Instead of giving people a blessing, what these troubled souls impart on others with their handiwork is their troubled state. A person's state affects not only the work that he does, but also the materials, the wood that he is using! The final product of a man's work reflects his spiritual state. If he is upset and angry and swears, his work will not bring a blessing to others. But if he chants, if he says the Jesus Prayer, his work is sanctified. The first condition is demonic, the other is divine.
If you act with piety and pray while you are working, you are always sanctified. When one has God in mind, his work and his handicraft are also sanctified. Let us say, for example that I am making a box while saying the Jesus Prayer; I am praying and at the same time working for the Glory of God. My goal is not to make boxes, and to do it quickly, to produce a lot of them and end up full of anxiety. That would be a demonic state. We did not come to the Monastery for this. We came to be sanctified and to sanctify whatever we do. This is the reason why sometimes you feel like a good employee performing your assigned tasks; you get so busy running around, doing your job that you forget to take Christ with you. But if you begin your work with the Jesus Prayer, you will feel like a servant of Christ. So, if you want to be sanctified and to sanctify your work, make sure that you make the Jesus Prayer a part of everything you do. Do you know how abundantly God will bless you then, and how many good things and blessings He will send your way?
Geronda[Elder], when the task is mental, such as an translation, how can you possibly say the Jesus Prayer to sanctify the work you are doing?
When the task requires mental concentration, your work will be sanctified when your mind is focused on God. Then you will be living in the atmosphere of God, even if you are not able to say the Prayer. When one reaches a spiritual state, he is greatly helped by this. He does not attempt to understand the meaning of words based on reason alone, but get to know them by divine illumination.
And what happens when I must understand this type of work, but have not yet reached such a spiritual state?
In that case, you must still go ahead and do the work, but you need to pray and ask God to enlighten you. You must do your best to find help in these divine meanings (what divine illumination allows) and to work with piety. Make sure that you take a short break every one or two hours and say the Jesus Prayer.
Geronda [Elder], especially in translation work, one has many distractions. We must consult dictionaries, read commentaries...
As I have already said in the past, what helps in translation work is to live on a daily basis with purified thoughts that make a person a receptacle of Grace. Then divine interpretation will come from divine illumination and not from the mind, the dictionary, or the pen. What I am trying to say is that we must rely on the divine rather than the human (on what comes first, not on what come second).
Geronda [Elder], does worrying about too many things take us away from God?
Look, let me try to explain. When a little child is playing and is all absorbed with his toys, he is not aware that his father may be next to him caressing him. If he interrupts his play a bit, then he will become aware of his fathers' caresses. Similarly, when we are preoccupied with too many activities and are anxiously concerned about them, when we worry too much about worldly matters, we cannot become aware of God's love. God gives but we do not sense it. Be careful not to waste your precious energy or redundant worries and vanities, which will turn to dust one day. When you do this, you not only tire your body, but you also scatter your mind aimlessly, offering God only your fatigue and yawn at the time of prayer--much like the sacrifice offered by Cain. It follows that your inner state will be like that of Cain's, you will be full of anxiety and sighs provoked by the devil standing by your side.
We must not waste aimlessly the fruit, the inner core of our power and then leave the shells for God. The many cares of life sap the marrow of our heart and leave nothing for Christ. If you notice that your mind constantly wanders off to various chores that you have to do, you must realize that you are not doing well spiritually, and this should alarm you because you have distanced yourself from God. You must realize that you are closer to material things than you are to God, closer to creation than to the Creator.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God