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.
FROM THE SERVICE OF ORTHROS (MATINS) THE SIX PSALMS
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill among men. (3)
O Lord, Thou shalt open my lips, and my mouth shall declare Thy praise. (2)
O Lord, why are they multiplied that afflict me? Many rise up against me. Many say unto my soul: There is no salvation for him in his God. But Thou, O Lord, art my helper, my glory, and the lifter up of my head. I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and He heard me out of His holy mountain. I laid me down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord will help me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people that set themselves against me round about. Arise, O Lord, save me, O my God, for Thou hast smitten all who without cause are mine enemies; the teeth of sinners hast Thou broken. Salvation is of the Lord, and Thy blessing is upon Thy people.
And again: I laid me down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord will help me.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On November 26th 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 Alypius the Stylite of Adrianople; Saint Nicon Repent-Ye; Saint Stylianos of Paphlagonia; Saint Acacius; Saint James the Anchorite of Cyrrhus in Syria; Saint Silus, Bishop of Persia; Holy New Martyr George of the island of Chios, Greece, who was perfected in martyrdom by the sword; Saint Innocent the Wonderworker, First Bishop of Irkutsk.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Bishops, Holy Ascetics, Holy Anchorites, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, Holy Confessors, Holy Stylites, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
OUR RIGHTEOUS FATHER ALYPIUS THE STYLITE AND NICON "REPENT-YE." Saint Alypius was from Adrianople of Bithynia; having lived upon a pillar for 53 years, he reposed about the year 607 AD, at the age of one hundred.
Saint Nicon, the son of a certain noble, was from Armenia. Forsaking his parents and homeland, he passed throughout the parts of the East, crying to all men, "Repent-ye," because of which he received this name. Finally, he came to Lacedaemonia of the Peloponnesus, Greece, where he built a church in honor of Christ the Savior. After having dwelt there many years in solitude, and having converted many from paganism, he departed to the Lord about the end of the 9th Century.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of Saint Alypius. First Tone
Thou becamest a pillar of patience and didst emulate the Forefathers, O righteous one: Job in his sufferings, Joseph in temptations, and the life of the bodiless while in the body. O Alypius, our righteous Father, intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of Saint Nicon. Third Tone
Lacedaemon doth rejoice with gladness in the godly shrine of they blest relics, which doth make streams of healings to overflow and doth preserve from afflictions and sore distress all them that hasten, O Father, to thee with faith. Righteous Nicon, intercede with Christ God in our behalf that His great mercy may be granted unto us.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 18:15-17, 26-30
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS, AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH;
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
PRAYER AND LIFE
By Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov (Source: On the Prayer of Jesus)
"Let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity" (2 Timothy 2:19), commands the Apostle. This command refers to all Christians, but it specially refers to those who intend to practice unceasing prayer by the name of the Lord Jesus. The most pure name of Jesus cannot tolerate to dwell in the midst of impurity. It requires that all impurity should be expelled and banished from the vessel of the soul. It enters the vessel according to the degree of its purity, and it at once begins to act in it and effect the further purification for which the man's own efforts were insufficient and which is needed if the vessel is to become a worthy receptacle for the spiritual treasure, a shrine for the most Holy Name.
Let us avoid overeating and even satisfaction. Let us make our rule moderate, constant abstinence in food and drink. Let us deny ourselves the pleasure of tasty foods and drinks. Let us sleep sufficiently, but not excessively.
Let us renounce idle talking, laughter, jokes, scoffing. Let us put a stop to unnecessary visits and receptions of brothers in our cell under the pretext of love, under which name are screened idle talks and occupations which devastate the soul. Let us renounce day-dreaming and vain thoughts which arise within us on account of our unbelief and imprudent worrying, and on account of vainglory, resentment, irritability and our other passions. With absolute faith let us rely entirely upon the Lord, and our many thoughts and empty dreams let us replace with unceasing prayer to the Lord Jesus. If we are still surrounded by enemies, let us cry with strong weeping and mourning to the King of kings, just as people who have been wronged and persecuted cry out of a crowd. And if we are admitted to the King's inner apartment, let us present our complaint to Him and ask His mercy with the greatest quietness and humility, from the very depth of our soul. Such prayer is particularly powerful. It is entirely spiritual, expressed immediately to the very ear of the King, to His heart.
An indispensable, essential condition of success in the prayer of Jesus is the keeping of His Commandments. "Continue ye in My love" (St. John 15:9), He said to His disciples. What does it mean to remain in love for the Lord? It means to remember Him unceasingly, to remain unceasingly in union with Him in spirit. The former without the latter is dead, and cannot even exist. "If ye keep My commandments ye shall abide in My love" (St. John 15:10). If we constantly observe the Lord's Commandments, then by our spirit we shall be united with Him. If we are united with Him in spirit, we shall long for Him with our whole being, we shall unceasingly remember Him. Direct your actions, all your conduct by the Commandments of the Lord Jesus, direct your words by them, direct your thoughts and feelings by them, and you will get to know the virtues of Jesus. When you feel within yourself these virtues by the action of Divine grace, and when you acquire through these feelings an experimental knowledge of them, you will be ravished by the incorruptible sweetness which is not of this world or age, a gentle but powerful sweetness that annihilates the heart's inclination for all earthly enjoyments and pleasures. Having been ravished by the virtues of Jesus, you will love Him, and you will yearn for Him to dwell in you completely. Without Him, you will regard yourself as perishing and lost. Then you will cry incessantly, cry from the fullness of conviction, with all your soul: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner." The Prayer of Jesus will replace all other prayers for you. And all of them--what thought can they contain and express more comprehensive than the thought of the pardon of sinners by Jesus?
Make your one aim in life the doing of the will of Jesus in every circumstance, however important or trifling it may seem. Try to do only what is pleasing to Jesus, and all your actions will be equally worthy of heaven. Love the will of Jesus more than the desires of your flesh, more than your ease and comforts, more than life, more than your soul. As often as possible read the Gospel, and learn in it the will of your Lord and Savior.
Do not disregard the smallest feature of the Gospel, not the least commandment however unimportant it may seem. Check and mortify all movements of your own, not only the sinful ones but also the apparently good ones which belong to fallen human nature, often very developed among pagans and heretics who are as far from the virtues of the Gospel "as the East is from the West" (Psalm 102:11). Let all your old man be silent within you! Let Jesus alone act within you by His most holy commandments, and by the thoughts and feelings that arise from these commandments. If you live in this way, the prayer of Jesus will certainly blossom within you, quite independently of whether you dwell in the deepest solitude or amidst the noise of a community, because the place of abode and rest of this prayer is the mind and heart, renewed by the knowledge, experience and fulfillment of the "good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2). Life according to the commandments of the Gospel is the one true source of spiritual progress, accessible to everyone who sincerely desires to succeed in whatever outward situation he may be place by the inscrutable Providence of God.
The practice of the prayer of Jesus by its very nature requires unbroken vigilance over oneself. "Reverent care," says Saint Seraphim, "is needed here because that sea, that is, the heart with its thoughts and desires which must be purified by mans of attention, is "great and spacious...; therein are things creeping innumerable" (Psalm 103:25), that is, many vain, wrong and impure thoughts, the offspring of evil spirits." We must keep constant watch over ourselves if we are to prevent sin from stealing in and ravaging our soul. But that is not enough. We must keep constant watch to see that our mind and heart remain in the will of Jesus and follow His holy orders; otherwise, carnal wisdom may crowd our spiritual wisdom, or we may be carried away by some excitement or heating of the blood. We must try to remain as far as possible in as state of constant deadness, in a kind of fine coolness. When this feeling of a fine coolness makes its appearance, then the will of God is seen out of it more clearly and fulfilled more freely.
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.
A BLESSED AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL OF YOU FROM THE KONSTANTOPOULOS FAMILY.
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God