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 OF SAINT BASIL THE GREAT
Blessed are You, O Lord God Almighty, You have illumined the day with the light of the sun And the night You have brightened with the rays of the fiery moon; You have made us worthy to go through this day and to approach the beginning of the night. Hear our petitions and those of all Your people, and forgive us all our voluntary and involuntary sins. Receive our evening prayers, and send down upon the people of Your inheritance the multitude of Your mercy and compassionate love. Encompass us with Your Holy Angels. Arm us with the weapons of Your Righteousness. Outline us with the mark of Your Truth. Guard us by Your power. Deliver us from every circumstance and influence of the adversary. Grant us once again, O Lord, that this present evening, together with the approaching night, and all the days of our life, will be perfect, holy, peaceful, sinless and without any scandalous imaginations. We pray for this through the intercessions of the Holy Theotokos and all the Saints who have pleased You through the ages of ages. Amen.
On June 17th 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, teachers, and every righteous spirit made perfect in our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Isavrus the Holy Martyr and his holy Companions of Athens; Manuel, Savel and Ishmael the holy Martyrs of Persia.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints and Holy Martyrs, O Christ Our God have mercy on us and saves. Amen
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 21:8-14
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 14:27-15:7
THE SPIRIT IS LED INTO THE DIVINE WAY AND PERCEIVES IT INTERNALLY
by Saint Theophan the Recluse [source: The Path to Salvation]
The spirit, as we have seen, is closed up and bound by many layers. But by its nature, it is the perceiver of the Divine way. Its aptitude for this is ready to appear immediately, and indeed manifests its power as soon as the obstacles holding it back are removed. Thus, for arousal of the slumbering spirit within man and the leading of it to contemplation of the Divine way, Divine grace either 1) directly acts upon it, and, in carrying out its power, gives the opportunity to break the bonds that hold it, or 2) indirectly acts on it, shaking the layers and meshes off of it and thereby giving it the freedom to assume its rightful position.
Divine grace acting directly on the spirit of man
The Divine grace that is everywhere-present and fills all things directly inspires the spirit of man, impressing thoughts and feelings upon it that turn it away from all finite things and toward another better, albeit invisible and mysterious world. The general characteristic of such arousals is dissatisfaction with oneself and everything pertaining to oneself, and anguish over something. The person is not satisfied by anything around him; not by his accomplishments or possessions, even if he has incalculable wealth; and he walks around as if heart-broken. Because he finds no consolation in visible things, he turns to the invisible, and receives it with a readiness to acquire it for himself sincerely and to give himself over to it.
Many who have asked the question, "What does all this end with and where does it lead?" have left everything and changed not only their feelings and behavior, but also their way of life. There have been instances where such dissatisfaction was expressed primarily in the intellectual aspect, as with St. John the Martyr, who primarily sought the light of knowledge of the Divine Essence. Sometimes the dissatisfaction is expressed in the appetitive aspect, as with Blessed Augustine, who primarily sought peace for this troubled heart. Sometimes, perhaps most often, the dissatisfaction is expressed in the incensive aspect, in the conscience, as with the robbers Moses and David of Hermopolis. There have been numerous cases where the inner abode of the spirit was suddenly illumined, and an inclination was instilled that turned the spirit onto another path. "Thou... canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth," the Savior said about this (St. John 3:8).
Often the spirit is awakened by a past memory. Mary, the niece of Abraham the Recluse, was converted in this way; so was a disciple of Saint John the Apostle, who was perishing in dissolution, and also Saint Theophilos, the church steward. From somewhere something enters within and voice of the conscience distinctly utters: "Remember from where you have fallen," which totally overwhelms the person who has forgotten. One may attribute all conversions after youthful falls to this. There is no doubt that even these changes are prepared by Divine Economy in a roundabout way through various events which dispose one to accept the action of grace. That is why here, too, the spontaneity of the conversion is only relative. On the other hand, it is also necessary to know that every arousal by grace is revealed in inclinations similar to these and in awakenings of our spirit. Grace, though it be through a visible medium, is nonetheless always invisible and directly touches the spirit and draws it from the bonds that torment it into the Divine Light, into the realm of Divine Life.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God