Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
A PRAYER FOR THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF THE SOUL
+In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O Lord Jesus Christ, Word of God, O God the Logos, You are the Light that created the perceptible light. You are the Way and the Truth and the Life. In You there is no darkness, no deception or lie, no vanity and no death. You are indeed the Light, and apart from You there is spiritual darkness. You are the Way of Truth and virtue, and without You mankind wanders in error. You are the Truth, without which there is only vanity. You are the Life and without You there is death...
O Lord, the Light of my soul, shine Your enlightenment upon me. As I stand now before You in prayer, shine Your Light upon me who am blind of soul, sitting in spiritual darkness and under the influence and power of death. Guide my works on the way of virtue, which brings peace, so that I may worthily approach the wondrous tabernacle, Your Holy Temple, the House of God, and there offer to You, with joyous voice, words of thanksgiving and doxology. For this doxology, when truly coming from the heart, is a way and a means by which I will first be able to turn away from the path of sin, and then directly return to You. For You are truly the Way that leads to life. Amen.
On October 31st Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Preachers, Apostles, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers and every righteous spirit made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Holy Apostles: Stachys, Apelles, Amplias, Urban, Aristovoulos, and Narciscus; Saints Spyridon and Nicodemos the Prosphora bakers; Saint Mavra of Constantinople; Saint Epimachus of Pelusium; Saint James, Bishop of Mygdonia; Saint Epimachus the Roman and St. Gordian; Saint Anatolios of the Kiev Caves; St. Nicholas of the island of Chios; Saint Foillan, Irish monk-martyr; Saint John (Kochurov) of Chicago (1917); Saint Selefcius and Stratoniki his wife; Holy Martyr Pais; Holy Martyrs: Stephen, Barnabas, Trophimos, Dorymedon, Cosmas, Damian, Savvas, Vassa, Abraham, and others; 3 Holy Martyrs of Melitene; 12 Virgin-martyrs; Holy Martyr Avramius; Holy Martyrs of Tbilisi (Georgia).
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Bishops, Holy Mothers, Holy Ascetics, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
HOLY MARTYR NICHOLAS THE NEW OF CHIOS. Holy Martyr Nicholas was a handsome and pious Orthodox Christian who became a builder in the 18th Century, and his profession would take him to various cities. One day, while in the city of Magnesia in Asia Minor, Nicholas awoke in a mentally disturbed state of mind and remained so for an extended period. During this time, he joined the Ottoman faith and was taken to the religious authorities and was presented as a young man who desired to abandon Christianity. When he was questioned, however, St. Nicholas would not say a word. Finally, they concluded that he was not mentally well and let him go. St. Nicholas was taken to the island of Chios to be cared for by his sister. He resorted to tending sheep, and over time and with the patient help of a priest, Nicholas was finally free of his mental illness. He began to live a life of prayer and fasting. When the Muslim authorities heard this, Nicholas was arrested and interrogated. He said that he had never denied Christ, nor would he do so now. They attempted to change his mind through flattery, force, torture, and imprisonment. While in prison, a priest, who was in fear of his own life, told St. Nicholas to deny his faith to forego torture. However, St. Nicholas would not betray his Christian faith. He was put on a bed of nails, a chain was wrapped around his neck, and a large weight put on his chest. Finally, he was stabbed and his throat was cut. Later many miracles occurred through his holy intercessions.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Philippians 1:20-27
"For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being, confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith, that your rejoicing for me may be more abundant in Jesus Christ by my coming to you again. Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel."
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 11:47-54, 12:1
FROM THE HOLY VOICE OF THE HOLY ASCETICS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"The memory of insults is the residue of anger" (Saint John Climacus).
CHRISTIANS LIVING IN A SECULAR WORLD
It is my personal belief that Secularism threatens the very fabric of a civilized society and creates artificial conditions and behavior even in a pluralistic society such as ours today. Secularism has enormous impact upon people and is divisive. It has absolutely no tolerance for any kind of religion but especially Christianity. Atheism and neo-paganism thrives in a secular society and world.
"Though Secularism is a broad ideology embracing many contradictory ideas, it is recognized by its central dogmas that are held by Secularists as universal truths. The dogmas rest upon the myth of human progress, the idea that humanity, or at least the sector of humanity that has adopted Secularism, is more scientifically, technologically, even intellectually and morally, more advanced right now than any generation before us. Knowledge passed down through the millennia is casually brushed aside as "pre-modern" and "outdated". Suddenly, that which has always been known to be right and true is dismissed while the unthinkable gains public acceptance."
"Secularism is built on pride, egotism. Pride is the path of self-love. Self-love leads to self-worship, which is narcissistic idolatry. (Narcissus, according to Greek mythology, fell in love with the most beautiful creature his eyes had ever seen-his own reflection in a perfectly still pool of water.) Even Secularists who suffer from atheism have a god. The image of that god gazes back at its most faithful devotees through a mirror. The Secularist aspires to a state of self-love and self-will, often described in terms like 'good self-esteem' and 'personal empowerment.' To the Secularist, the best way to live is reduced to an existence moved by whatever urges and inclinations seem natural as long as other autonomous individuals consent to participate. The beauty of that loving, devoted intimacy between a man and woman who have been joined together in the union of true Marriage, each a martyr striving to give up personal wants and needs for the benefit of the other, has been traded for the misuse of the body in the selfish pursuit of vanishing pleasure. The wonder of bringing children into the world to nurture in a loving home has become something of a hobby for those who have time left over from attending to more important priorities, like working at a job, socializing, or traveling. Career advancement, high status, and generous income are mistaken for signs of success."
"Among the foundational doctrines of Secularism is religious pluralism, the belief that all religions contain universal truths that are part of the human experience, and since, according to the Secularists, there is no one religion with a 'monopoly on truth', no one religion can rightly claim to be substantially more correct than other religions...According to the dogma of religious pluralism, being a Christian is permissible as long as the Christian person is willing to compromise his/her Christian faith at the point where the Christian way conflicts with Secular doctrine. In other worlds, Christians are expected to practice syncretism, the diluting of the Christian faith with incompatible religious beliefs. Attempts to mix Orthodoxy, that is, the true belief, with non-Orthodox opinions produces something far less than authentic Christianity. The Orthodox Christian should always be mindful that our earliest Christian ancestors were tortured and killed by pagans because they rejected religious pluralism, but proclaimed the True God, and refused to compromise the truth even to the point of death.
(To be continued)
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God