From Faith to Faith (Part II)

Venerable Titus the Wonderworker

Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,


O God of ineffable and unseen mysteries, in You are hidden the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, yet You have revealed to us this Liturgy and, in Your great love for mankind, appointed us sinners to offer gifts and sacrifices to You, for our sins and for the failings of the people. Invisible King, You perform works great and inscrutable, glorious and extraordinary, beyond number. Look upon us Your undeserving servants as we stand, as at Your Throne of the Cherubim at this Your Holy Altar, where Your Only-Begotten Son, our God, rests in the awesome mysteries here offered.

Freeing us all, and Your faithful people, of all uncleanness, sanctify all of us, soul and body, with a sanctification that cannot be taken away. Thus, partaking of these divine Blessings with pure conscience, faces unblushing, hearts enlightened, and being quickened by them, we may be united to Your Christ Himself, our true God. For He said: "He who eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood, abides in Me and I in him." Having Your Word indwelling and moving within us, we may thus become the temple of Your All-Holy and worshipful Spirit, free of every wile of the Evil One affecting our acts, our words, our thoughts, and so obtain the blessings promised to us as to Your Saints who have pleased You through the ages. Amen.


by Saint Theophan the Recluse

"Reserve in your rule of prayer a place for the Jesus prayer. Repeat this prayer several times at the beginning of your recital of prayers, and several times at the end. If you have the zeal, do the same after every prayer which enters into your recital, imitating Saint Joanniky the Great, who, after every verse of the psalms, included in his rule of prayer, repeated his short prayer: 'The Father is my hope, the Son is my refuge, the Holy Spirit is my protection.'"



On April 2nd 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: Saint Gregory of Nicomedia; Saint Titus the Wonderworker; Holy Virgin Martyr Theodora of Palestine; Saint Polycarp of Alexandria; Saint George of Matskveri Monastery; Saint Amphianus and Saint Aedesius of Lycia; Saint Nicetius of Lyons.

+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy virgins, Holy Fathers, Holy Mothers, Holy Ascetics, Holy Monks, O Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

VENERABLE TITUS THE WONDERWORKER. Saint Titus developed a love for Jesus Christ during his childhood and he was pure in body and soul. Being unaffected by the vanities of the world, he became a monk. Saint Titus mastered the virtues of obedience and humility and he exceeded all men in these two virtues. Because of this, God granted him the gift of miracle working both during his life and after. When the iconoclasts attacked the Church, St. Titus steadfastly defended the icons. He died peacefully in the 9th century, leaving behind a great number of disciples.



Isaiah 41:4-14; Genesis 17:1-9; Proverbs 15:20-16:9


"At the approach of a great feast you must watch yourself with particular care. The enemy (Satan) endeavors beforehand to chill your heart towards the event being celebrated, so that you will not honor it by wholeheartedly considering its reality. He acts upon us through the weather, or through the food and drink we have taken, or through his own arrows thrown plentifully at the heart and inflaming the entire person, at which time evil, impure and blasphemous thoughts occur to us, and we feel thoroughly averse to the solemnity (of the feast). We must overcome the enemy by forcing ourselves to meditate and pray devoutly." (Saint John of Kronstadt).


by Archimandrite Zacharias {Source:] Remember Thy First Love (Revelation 2:4-5)}

The Three Stages of the Spiritual Life in the Theology of Elder Sophrony


When the Lord spoke of the mystery of His Heavenly Kingdom in the Parable of the Talents to those who succeeded in multiplying the talents entrusted to them, the Lord addressed the following word: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things" (St. Matthew 25:21). In other words, each Christian is not only a disciple of the Cross but also a disciple of blessedness, of the Kingdom of God. Because we follow the way of the Cross we become disciples of the blessed life which springs from the Cross and Resurrection of the Lord. Thus it is clear that, if on that Last Day we too want to hear the Lord say, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant..." we must possess the kind of faith which is so pleasing to Him because it is unmoved by the prevailing tendency toward evil.

However, there are many wrong kinds of faith, and the matter is not as straightforward as we might have thought. For example, many are content to confess a faith which is basically vague and unreasonable. They might claim that it is enough to believe that God exists and that it is not necessary to go to church. But the Apostle James says that this sort of attitude can be found even among the demons: "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (St. James 2:19). So there is a demonic kind of faith, but no one has ever said that this kind of faith saves, for it contains no love. It is plain belief--cold, intellectual and dead. But our desire is for the faith that saves, and this faith, as the Apostle Paul says, "worketh by love", (Gal. 5:6), and places us in a living and life-giving relationship with God...

Saint Paul expresses it thus: "He that cometh to God must believe that He Is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6). He is the Judge of the living and the dead (see 2 Timothy 4:1).

This realization marks the start of our faith: by diligently seeking Him, we place ourselves before the living God. Though this is only the beginning, we have already gained an eschatological perspective: He Who has come, will come again, and he will judge us according to our works. To enter into a dynamic faith of this sort ignites and sustains our concern to be sanctified, our concern that, in the undying Day of His Kingdom, we too may be able to see the Face of God which is the eternal blessedness of all the Saints. In other words, preliminary faith sets man's face towards the True God. It is his awakening to true life, for he can now acknowledge that God is the only true reality. He accepts the truth of all the mysteries of faith, and his steps are henceforth directed by the Commandments of the Gospel. This is a new beginning and the word of God is its foundation.

As Christians, we believe in a personal and Living God and not in some sort of remote and self-centered god who is immersed in contemplation of himself and cannot enter into communion with created beings. For us the proof of God's existence is His energy, His grace, by which we partake in His life. Man is full of doubts, but no sooner does the grace of God touch his heart than all the clouds are dispelled. The divine life that has become active in him is not of this world and no purely human thought can withstand it. Man's first faith, then, turns his being unto God, instills within him the fear of God and lays hold of his heart.

Indeed, it is this fear of God that helps our heart emerge. Scripture refers to man's "deep heart" (Ps. 64:6; Ps. 63:7) to which God's visitation is directed from morning till evening and from evening till morning (cf. Job 7:18). When Job asks, "What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him?" (cf. Job 7:18). Holy Scripture characteristically gives the answer straight away: man is the target of God (κατεντευκτής Θεού) Job 7:20. The man whose heart has been targeted by God will come to stand before God and converse with Him on "equal" terms as he intercedes for the salvation of the whole world, for God has given him this honor. God desires this equality of communication with man; he does not see him as a thing which He has simply "brought into being", but as His "image", His equal, with whom He can communicate.

Throughout Scripture we find countless instances of God addressing man as His equal: "He who shall confess in me before men, in him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (St. Matthew 10:32-33). If by His Spirit we enter into a personal relationship with Him, we then confess in Him, not so with words, but through a living sensation of God within us. For He will have entered our heart and there, in us, He confesses our salvation by His grace. Saint Silouan confirms this extraordinary truth when he says that the Spirit bears witness in our heart to our salvation"...

God truly wants man to be His equal, His likeness. God directs His gaze towards man and seeks out his deep heart. His desire is for man's heart to know "a spiritual and divine sensation" (νοερά και θεία αίσθησις) [cf. Prov. 15:14). This kind of inner life, not the mere exercise of thought, is what elevates man's existence above that of animals...And when man becomes aware of this treasure in his heart, a godly fear comes upon him.

As soon as this godly fear takes hold of our heart and we begin to feel God's Life-Giving energy, we enter into a personal relationship with the personal God, with the God Who has revealed Himself, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This relationship is an event which transcends all human understanding. Some say, "We cannot understand you Christians. You say that God is three and one at the same time. How is this possible? Our religion is so much more logical: God is one, He is almighty, He is this, that, and the other." But by saying that Christianity is illogical, they simply confirm that our faith has been revealed by God and is therefore true: revealed truth is not subject to human logic, it is beyond it. Indeed, how can they trust a definition of faith that is no more than the product of human reasoning? By insisting that their faith is logical, they discredit it by proving only that it lacks the true character of revelation which far surpasses human conception."


With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George