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.
ROUSE ME, GIVE ME ENERGY AND TEARS
Stretch forth, O Lord, Thy hand to me who lie in the dust and help me For I want to get up, but cannot. The burden of sin has crushed me; evil habits hold me chained to the earth, and I am altogether like the paralytic. I vow to change my ways and I fast, but everything remains the same. I am zealous to glorify Thee with my lips, but I have no zeal to please Thee with deeds.
How dare I ask forgiveness of my former sins when I have made no attempt to abandon my former love of sin? Or how shall I shed the old man, when I have not cut off my desire for sinful seductions?
O Lord, raise up me, a paralytic; rouse me who sleep; resurrect me, deadened by sin! Save my miserable soul from death, O Lord Who has authority over life and death!
Before the end comes, exterminate all sin in me; and grant, O Lover of mankind, that I might shed heartfelt tears for the cleansing of the stains of my soul all through my short life, that then I might be saved under the shelter of Thine Omnipotent hand, when every soul shudders before Thine awesome glory.
O Master, hearken unto me and accept the supplication of Thy sinful and unworthy servant. Save me freely, according to Thy grace, for Thou art a kindhearted and man-befriending God, and to Thee do we send up glory, thanks and adoration, to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
On July 9th 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 Pangratios, Bishop of Tavromenia in Sicily; Saint Cyril, Bishop of Gortyna in Crete; Saint Dionysios the Rhetorician and Metrophanes of Mt. Athos; Holy Martyrs Patermuthios, Copres, and Alexander the soldier; Saint Methodius of Amaria, Crete; St. Peter of Vologda; St. Theodore, Bishop of Edessa; Saint Theodosius of Edessa; Saint Efthymius of Karelia.
THE HIEROMARTYR PANGRATIOS, BISHOP OF TAVROMENIA IN SICILY. This holy hierarch was born in Antioch at the time that the Lord Jesus walked as a man among men on earth. Hearing of Christ's miracles, St. Pangratios' parents desired to see the Lord, the Wonder-Worker. They came to Jerusalem, bringing Pangratios, where they saw Jesus, heard His words and witnessed His miracles. There Saint Pangratios met the holy Apostle Peter. After the Lord's Ascension, both parents and their son were baptized in Antioch. St. Pangratios retired to a cave in Pontus, where the holy Apostle Peter found him and, in consultation with the holy Apostle Paul, installed him as bishop of Tavromenia (Taormina) in Sicily. Saint Pangratios worked great wonders in that town. He destroyed idols, baptized the unbaptized and instructed the baptized, and governed the Church of God. A pagan general, Aquilinus, hearing that the whole town of Tavromenia had become Christian, set out with an army to the town to destroy it. Holy Pangratios encouraged the faithful to be fearless, and he himself went out from the city with the clergy, carrying in his hands the unconquerable sign of the precious Cross. When the soldiers drew near to the town, a darkness fell on them and they were seized with great terror. A great confusion arose, so that they fell over one another and were stabbed and cut about by their own swords. Thus that godly man, St. Panagratios, saved his city and his flock by the power of his prayers before God. He was finally stored to death by some envious and wicked pagans, and entered into rest in the Lord. His holy relics are preserved in Rome.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Ascetics, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Romans 16:17-24
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Matthew 13:10-23, 43
FOR YOUR PERSONAL REFLECTION AND CONTEMPLATION
"When a person is in a state of bondage to sin and has as an obstacle sadness and cannot concentrate, it means that he is without the regeneration of our Savior Jesus Christ and is far from Him. But when a man "comes to himself" and feels that his soul is far from God and becomes aware of his sinfulness, and with tears of repentance entreats our Heavenly Father to forgive him and bring him back to the heavenly joy of our Christ, then the regeneration of his soul takes place." [Saint Raphael of Lesvos]
TO A WORKER WHO ASKS, "WHAT IS SPIRITUAL LIFE?"
By Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
source: Missionary Letters of Saint Nikolai Velimirovich
Well, spiritual life is the true life. Everything else is just matter.
Our body is matter-earth borrowed from the earth. Earth, water, fire and air-the human body is built out of these four things. It is built so skillfully and wondrously that it is impossible to describe it with words. And yet, the body is just matter-it is not life; it is a vehicle, not the passenger; it is a cage, not the bird.
Then what is life? Holy Scripture clearly explains this on its first page, "And the Lord God made man out of the dust of the earth, and breathed the breath of life into his nostrils, and man became a living soul." Do you understand what the words indirectly and directly mean? God created the body of man out of earth indirectly, and He breathed the breath of life into him out of Himself-directly. Thus, man became a living soul. And so, man is seemingly matter, but he is matter that has in himself the spirit of life which comes directly from the Creator.
Through that spirit of life, man keeps a relationship with his very Creator and with the entire heavenly world which is around the Creator; one small flame which resembles the eternal flame of God. Even though we bodily crawl upon the earth with insects, that small flame keeps us connected to the highest heavens and eternity.
The soul which lives in the body, ever supported and enlivened by this Divine breath of life- that is the life of man. Practically speaking spiritual life is our unceasing striving to make ourselves worthy of that Divine breath in ourselves. Why should we strive and make ourselves worthy? Because that is a gift of the Creator to us. Not one of us has purchased or paid for it, but eternal love granted it to us. The truth is, a gift is not paid for. That is why a gift is a gift. But the one who receives the gift, as precious as life is, needs to at least prove himself worthy of that gift.
How we can answer to God's love by love, and how we can prove ourselves worthy of this Divine gift is explained to us by a science which is called spiritual science. It is a science above all other sciences, just like God's breath of life is above all matter. That science comes not from man but from the Holy Spirit of God. The giver of the most precious gift has Himself taught people how to make themselves worthy of that gift.
If you want to enter the field of that bright and sweet science, may your desire be blessed. Peace and joy of the Lord be with you.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God