My beloved spiritual children 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.
THE PRAYER OF SAINT EPHRAIM THE SYRIAN
O Lord and Master of my life, Give me not a spirit of laziness, of aimless curiosity, A spirit of lust for power over others and of vain talk.
Rather, grace me, Your servant, With the spirit of purity, humility, patience and love.
Yes, O Lord King, Grant me discernment to see my own faults, And not to judge and condemn my fellow human beings.
For You are Blessed unto the ages. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATIONS OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On November 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 of every righteous soul made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Gennadius, Patriarch of Constantinople; Saint Gregory, Wonderworker of Neo-Caesarea; Saints Victor, and Geminus of Heracleon; Saint Longinus of Egypt; 150 philosophers converted by Saint Catherine; Saints Zacharias and John at Constantinople; Saint Maximus, Patriarch of Constantinople; Saint Gregory, Bishop of Tours; Saint Gennadius of Vatopedi Monastery, Mt. Athos; Saint Aredius, Egoumenos (Abbot) of Limoges; Saint Vulfolaic, Stylite of Trier; Saint John the Cobbler of Olumba; Saint Zacharia the Cobbler and his wife Mary; Saint Nicon, Egoumenos(Abbot) of Radonezh; Righteous Justin; Saint Lazarus, iconographer of Constantinople; Saint Gobron and 133 soldiers of Georgia; Saint Hilda of Whitby.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Patriarchs, Holy Wonderworkers, Holy Philosophers, Holy Ascetics, Holy Monks, Holy Nuns, Holy Martyrs, Holy Egoumenoi, Holy Cobblers, Holy Iconographers, Holy Soldiers, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, O Christ Our God have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
VENERABLE NICON, EGOUMENOS (ABBOT) OF RADONEZH. Saint Nicon was a 15th century monk from the Monastery of Radonezh. He was later promoted to Egoumenos. During this time, a foreign army besieged the Russians. When Saint Nicon asked God to save the people, the Moscow hierarchs, Saints Peter and Alexis, together with Sergius, the former Egoumenos of Radonezh, appeared to Saint Nicon. They told him not to be discouraged because God permitted the invasion, which would prove to benefit the Russian people, and that peace would once again return. Saint Nicon died peacefully.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: 1 Corinthians 12:7-11
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 14:1, 12=15
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"We live in this vain world and are truly ignorant--or rather, we have not yet understood why we are alive, what goal this life of ours has, and what the purpose man has on earth! Unfortunately, we have become almost like the irrational beasts; we live without considering that the time of our life here is the most precious thing for our future restoration. We use up and waste this time with no regret, and when we come to our senses we shall be unable to bring this time back. Therefore, how truly wise is the man who has realized the great value of time in this transient life and takes advantage of it accordingly, enriching his life with good works, so that when the grievous hour of death comes, his conscience will be confident and say in his defense before the spiritual prosecutors, the demons: "I have done what I should. So why are you still raging?" (Saint Cyril of Jerusalem).
By Geronda [Elder] Paisios
(Source: From the Conversations and Homilies of Elder Paisios)
Our duty and concern must be how to please God and our fellow men; we should not be preoccupied with our needs, as God will take care of them. There is a silent spiritual agreement between God and man. He will look after us, while we will concentrate to His Will. "Cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares about you" (1 Peter 5:7).
One day, Mr. I.F. visited me from Germany. He had just completed a study for the construction of a fish pond in Komotini (a city in Northern Greece), and asked me to pray that he get the state's approval for it. I asked him out of curiosity to tell me about the method of the fishes' reproduction and their growth in the fish pond. He replied:
The small fish, Father, when they are born have a small sack in their abdomen called "Lecithin utricle." The sack contains all the vitamins and necessary substances for the fishes' self-preservation during the first crucial days of their life. By the time the sack empties, the abdomen of the small fish has grown enough to be able to take in food from the sea.
When I heard this I was deeply moved. During that time, I was in a state of constantly glorifying God and this became one more reason for me to be doing so. I thought to myself: God is so kind that although He created the small fish for us to eat, He takes care of them in such a wise way, that they can fearlessly grow up. Yet, we are so miserable, that we get distressed and so not trust everything in Him. This is terrible! God looks after the tiniest detail of the smallest of His creatures. How much more He cares for us, His own images, for whom He did everything! Since we are blind, however, we are unable to see His Providence which covers every aspect of our life.
Providence is the care that comes from God. Everything which is done with God's Providence is done in the best possible way, that is, in a godly manner. The fact that God takes care-indeed very good care of-mankind could very well result from the following logical reasoning:
God is kind; therefore, He takes care and looks after His children (for the one who doesn't provide care is considered evil). Since God is also Omniscient, He demonstrates His Providence for the whole creation in the most perfect way. When we witness and examine the acts of God's Providence, we admire His kindness. We must Glorify Him and accept all the acts of Divine Providence without questioning them, even if sometimes they seem unjust or incomprehensible to us.
By Saint Neilos the Ascetic
"Prayer is the conversation of the mind of God."
"Moses, who attempted to approach the burning bush on earth, was prevented until he had removed the sandals from his feet; how do you expect to see and to become conversant with the One Who is above every perception and every thought, if you do not remove from yourself every passionate thought?"
"First of all pray for the reception of tears; for through contrition and grief the wilderness which co-exists in your soul may be softened, and, having confessed to the Lord your transgression, you may receive forgiveness from Him."
"Your Lord rejoices greatly when you pray with tears..."
"When the demons see you truly willing to pray ardently, they will present you with certain thoughts about things that are presumably important and then, after a short while, will remove them from your memory. But the mind, moved to pursue these thoughts and unable to find them, becomes greatly despondent and saddened. When at such a time you stand in prayer, they will remind you of these thoughts again so that the mind may be again distracted by them and thus bring about the loss of fruitful prayer."
"During the time of prayer, struggle to make your mind deaf and dumb, and then you will be able to pray."
"Do not pray for your wills to be done; for they do not always agree with the Will of God. Rather, pray as you have been taught: "Thy will be done" in me. And in everything ask God that this same will be done. For He wants what is good and beneficial for your soul, while you do not always seek this."
"As bread is nourishment for the body and virtue for the soul, so also is spiritual prayer for the nous."
"Blessed is the mind which has achieved undistracted prayer, and which is always drawn with greater toward God."
"Do you desire to pray? Remove yourself from these present things, and always have your commonwealth in heaven, not merely in word but in Angelic activity and a more Divine knowledge."
"The praise of prayer is not simply in the quantity, but rather in the quality..."
"When you are standing in prayer and the joy comes to you that is greater than any other joy, then you have indeed found prayer."
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