My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUIR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
Offered by the celebrant Priest at the Divine Liturgy:
I believe, O Lord, and I confess that Thou art truly the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Who camest into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. Furthermore, I believe that this is indeed Thine immaculate Body, and that This is indeed Thy precious Blood. Wherefore, I pray Thee: Have mercy on me and forgive me my transgressions, voluntary and involuntary, in word and deed, in knowledge and in ignorance. And vouchsafe that, uncondemned, I may partake of Thine immaculate Mysteries unto the remission of sins and unto life everlasting. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On October 6th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers of every righteous soul made perfect in faith: Holy Apostle Thomas; Holy New Righteous Martyr Macarius, who was perfected in martyrdom in Prusa in the year 1590, being first stoned, then beheaded; a certain anonymous Hagarene who believed in Christ through Saint Macarius; Synaxis of the Holy Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos called O All-hymned Mother.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Apostles, Holy Righteous, Holy Ascetics, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
THE HOLY APOSTLE THOMAS. Saint Thomas was one of the Twelve Holy and Great Apostles. Through his doubt of the Resurrection of the Lord Christ, a new confirmation was given of that wonderful and saving event, for the Risen Lord appeared again to His disciples, to convince Thomas eight days later. The Lord said to Thomas: "Reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side; and be not faithless, but believing", and Thomas cried: "My Lord and my God!" (St. John 20). After the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, when the Apostles cast lots to see who would go where to preach the Gospel, it fell to Thomas to go to India. He was somewhat saddened at having to go so far away, but the Lord appeared to him and comforted him. In India, Saint Thomas converted many, both rich and poor, to the Christian faith, and founded a Church there, ordaining priests and bishops. Among others, Saint Thomas converted two sisters, Tertiana and Mygdonia, wives of Indian princes. Both sisters were ill-treated for their faith by their husbands, who would not live with them after their baptism, and divorced them. Being freed from their marriages, they lived godly lives till their deaths. Dionysius and Pelagia, a couple at first betrothed to each other, heard the Apostle's teaching and did not live together, but devoted themselves to the ascetic life. Pelagia died a martyr for the Faith and Dionysius was made a bishop by the holy Apostle. Princes Misdaeus, the husband of Tertiana, whose wife and son Iuzanes Thomas baptized, condemned the Apostle to death, and sent five soldiers who ran him through with their lances, and thus the Holy Apostle Thomas gave his soul into the hands of his Christ. Before his death, he, with the other Holy Apostles, was miraculously borne to Jerusalem for the funeral of the Most Holy Mother of God. Arriving late, he grieved bitterly and, at his request, the tomb of the Most Pure Theotokos was opened, but the body was not there; the Lord had taken His Mother to His Heavenly home. Thus Saint Thomas first, by his unbelief confirmed the faith in the Resurrection of the Lord and then, by his late arrival, revealed to us the wondrous glorification of the Mother of God.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Third Tone
O Holy Apostle Thomas, intercede with the Merciful God that He grant unto our souls forgiveness of offences.
Kontakion. Fourth Tone
Christ's Apostle who was filled with God's Divine grace, he who was His genuine and faithful servant in all truth, all-lauded Thomas exclaimed aloud in deep repentance: Thou art both my God and Lord.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 4:9-16
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 20:19-31
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY APOSTLES, HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
There will be a time, the Holy Apostle Paul foretells, "when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn their ears from the Truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
THE LORD'S PRAYER
The Teaching of Saint John Cassian
1. "And so a still more sublime and exalted condition follows upon these kinds of prayer. It is fashioned by the contemplation of God alone and by fervent charity, by which the mind, having been dissolved and flung into love of Him, speaks most familiarly and with particular devotion to God as to its own father.
2. "The schema of the Lord's Prayer has taught us that we must tirelessly seek this condition when it says: "Our Father." When, therefore, we confess with our own voice that the God and Lord of the universe is our Father, we profess that we have in fact been admitted from our servile condition into an adopted sonship.
3. "Having advanced to the rank and status of sons, we shall from then on burn constantly with that devotion which is found in good sons, so that we may no longer expend all our energies for our own benefit but for the sake of our Father's glory, saying to Him: "Hallowed be Thy name." Thus we testify that our desire and our joy is the glory of our Father, since we have become imitators of Him Who said: "The one who speaks of himself seeks his own glory. But the one who seeks the glory of Him Who sent him is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
"Finally, the vessel of election, filled with this disposition, wished to become anathema from Christ if only a household many times larger would be gained for him and the salvation of the entire Israelite people would increase the glory of his Father.
4. "For he who knew that no one can die for the sake of life could safely choose to perish for the sake of Christ. And again he says: "We rejoice when we are weak but you are strong."
"But what is there so astonishing if the vessel of election chooses to become anathema for the sake of Christ's glory and for the sake of his brothers' conversion and the well-being of the pagans, when the prophet Micah also wished to become a liar and to be removed from the inspiration of the Holy Spirit if only the people of the Jewish nation might avoid the plagues and the ruinous captivity that he had predicted by his prophecy? As he says: "Would that I were not a man who has the Spirit, and I told a lie instead!" And let us pass over the sentiment of the Lawgiver, Who did not refuse to die with his brothers, who were themselves going to die, when he said: "I beseech you, O Lord; this people has committed a great sin. Either forgive them this evil or, if you do not, wipe me out from the book that you have written."
5. "The words, 'Hallowed be Thy name" can also be quite satisfactorily understood in this way--namely, that the hallowing of God is our perfection. And so when we say to him: "Hallowed be Thy name." we are saying in other words: make us such, Father, that we may deserve to understand and grasp how great Your hallowing is and, of course, that You may appear as hallowed in our spiritual way of life. This is effectively fulfilled in us when 'people see our good works and glorify our Father Who is in heaven.'
"The second petition of a most pure mind eagerly desires the Kingdom of its Father to come immediately. This means that in which Christ reigns daily in holy persons, which happens when the rule of the devil has been cast out of our hearts by the annihilation of the foul vices and God has begun to hold sway in us through the good fragrance of the virtues; when chastity, peace and humility reign in our minds, and fornication has been conquered, rage overcome, and pride trampled upon. And of course it means that which was promised universally to all the perfect and to all the sons of God at the appointed time, when it will be said to them by Christ: 'Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.' Desiring and hoping for this with intent and unwavering gaze, we tell Him: 'Thy Kingdom come.' For we know by the witness of our own conscience that when He appears we shall soon be His companions. No sinner dares to say this or to wish for it, since a person who knows that at his coming he will at once be paid back for his deserts not with a palm or rewards but with punishment has no desire to see the Judge's tribunal.
"The third petition is of sons: 'thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.' There cannot be a greater prayer than to desire that earthly things should deserve to equal heavenly ones. For what does it mean to say: 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,' if not that human beings should be like Angels and that, just as God's will is fulfilled by them in heaven, so also all those who are on earth should do not their own but the His will? No one will really be able to say this but him who believes that God regulates all things that are seen, whether fortunate or unfortunate, for the sake of our well-being, and that he is more provident and careful with regard to the salvation and interests of those who are his own than we are for ourselves.'
"And of course it is to be understood in this way--namely, that the Will of God is the salvation of all, according to the text of blessed Paul: 'Who desires all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the Truth.' Of this will the prophet Isaiah, speaking in the Person of God the Father, also says: 'All my will shall be done.' When we tell him, then: 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven', we are praying in other words: Father, just as those who are in heaven are saved by the knowledge of You, so also are those who are on earth."
"Then: 'Give us this day our "supersubstantial bread," [Note: Saint Cassian uses a Greek word here] which another Evangelist has referred to as 'daily.' The former indicates the noble quality of this substance, which places it above all other substances and which, in the sublimity of its magnificence and power to sanctify, surpasses every creature, whereas the latter expresses the nature of its use and it goodness. For when it says 'daily' it shows that we are unable to attain the spiritual life on a day without it.
When it says 'this day' it shows that it must be taken daily and that yesterday's supply of it is not enough if we have not been given of it today as well. Our daily need for it warns us that we should pour out this prayer constantly, because there is no day on which it is not necessary for us to strengthen the heart of our inner man by eating and receiving this. But the expression 'this day' can also be understood with reference to the present life--namely: Give us this bread as long as we dwell in this world. For we know that it will also be given in the world to come to those who have deserved it from You, but we beg You to give it to us this day, because unless a person deserves to receive it in this life he will be unable to partake of it in that life."
(To be continued)
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God