Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Our Risen Lord, God, Redeemer and Only True Savior of the world,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
SUNDAY OF THE PARALYTIC
Stichera of the Resurrection. Third Tone
By Thy Cross, O Christ our Savior, the dominion of death hath been destroyed, and the deception of the devil hath been abolished; and the race of man, having been saved by faith, doth ever offer praise to Thee.
All things have been enlightened by Thy Resurrection, O Lord, and Paradise is opened again. And whilst acclaiming Thee, the whole of creation doth ever offer praise to Thee.
I glorify the Might of the Father and the Son, and the Power of the Holy Spirit do I praise, even the indivisible, uncreated Godhead, the Trinity One in essence, Reigning unto Eternity forever.
Thy precious Cross do we worship, O Christ, and Thy Resurrection do we praise and glorify; for by Thy wounding are we all healed.
We praise the Savior, Who was incarnate of the Virgin, for He was crucified for our sake and arose on the third day, granting us great mercy.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On May 9th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honor and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Ascetics, Teachers, and every righteous soul made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Holy and Glorious Prophet Isaiah; Holy Martyr Chirstopher who was sacrificed with a sword for Christ Jesus; Holy Martyrs Callinica and Aquilina, who believed in Christ through Saint Christopher and were perfected in martyrdom, the first being pierced with a long spit from foot to shoulder, the second being hanged by the hair of her head with a heavy stone tied to her feet; Holy Martyr Epimachus and Gordian of Rome; Holy Righteous Martyr Nicholas the New of Vounene in Thessaly; our Righteous Father Shio of Mghvime, the disciple of St. John Zedazeni; our Righteous Father Joseph of Optina.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, Holy Prophets, O Christ Our God have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
HOLY MARTYR CHRISTOPHER. A great wonderworker, he is especially venerated in Spain. His help is invoked particularly against infectious illnesses and great pestilence. He was martyred for Christ and glorified in the year of our Lord 249 A.D.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 8:40; 9:1-19
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 6:48-54
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
When Jesus was transfigured, says Saint Gregory the Great, Peter wanted to live in that glory forever. But the time was not right. We have work to do here before we can live in glory with Jesus forever.
"The Apostle Peter was excited by the revelation of these mysteries. He despised what was mundane and scorned what was earthly, and he was filled with a sort of frenzied craving for what was eternal. Filled with rapture at the whole vision, he wanted to make his home with Jesus in the place where He had been blessed with the manifestation of His Glory. This is why he said, "Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah" (St. Matthew 17:4).
But the Lord made no answer to this proposal, showing that what He wanted was certainly not wicked, but contrary to the Divine order. The world could not be saved but by Christ's death. The Lord's example called the faithful to believe that, although we should not have any doubt about the promise of happiness, yet we should understand that we must ask the power to endure among the trials of this life, rather than the glory, because the joy of reigning cannot come before the times of suffering." (Saint Gregory the Great)
ON SPIRITUAL STRUGGLE
By Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica (Source: Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives)
Everything is constantly changing; nothing remains static. We perfect ourselves either in good or evil.
We must learn how to live a heavenly life. And that is not easy, because up until now we have led a life of resistance and opposition. Take, for example, a family man who has a home and a family and who knows how to do his job well but is doing this job against his will. That is how inner resistance builds up. If we do not learn to rid ourselves of this inner resistance, we will not be able to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and dwell among the Angels and the Saints. For we have acquired the habit of always opposing one thing or another as there is always something that is against our will. We have not learned to be obedient to the Will of God but always want our will to be done. Well, in that case there will be no place for us in heaven.
Therefore, let us be thankful to God for everything. He knows why He has put us in the position where we find ourselves, and we will get the most out of it when we learn to be humble.
We should always remember that whatever task we perform here in this life is for Him. He gives it to us; whether we are believers or not, whether we are pious or not, we must carry out God's plan.
The evil spirits are always wanting to interfere with whatever we are doing for our salvation. Alas, we who are lukewarm usually say to ourselves, "Wait, I have not yet done this, I have not yet tried that...I will repent later. After I have done all these things I will repent, God, and I will walk the straight path, wandering neither to the right nor to the left." This is exactly what the spirits of evil want us to do; they want us to put off our salvation until tomorrow, or the day after, and so on and so forth, until the end of our life. But the Holy Fathers say, "Go with the Lord, go today, follow Him!"
May the Lord give us Serbs and the whole world the spiritual strength to transform ourselves. We now that time is running out, and the evil spirits know this, too. They do not want a single person to be free from evil thoughts. With that aim, they teach even small children to oppose their parents so that, when these children grow up, they will be easy prey for them. One can see what the spirits of evil are doing with our youth: these young people offend their parents and other adults, and they have no peace.
But it can all take a turn for the good if each one of us begins with himself, if the transformation starts with us. We should try to have good thoughts which will radiate from us. A meek and humble person is always very pleasant to be with, for he emanates peace and warmth. That person may not say a single word, yet we rejoice to be in his presence. So, if we all begin with ourselves, transformation will take place. Goodness will be renewed and established all around us, in our country and further abroad.
The seal of the Holy Spirit is in our heart, which bears the fruits of our life. Meekness, peace, a merciful heart, goodness, kindness, faith, and abstinence are some of the fruits of tears offered to Christ from the heart. The results of such tears are love of one's enemies and prayers offered up to the Lord for them. Tears give us strength to be joyful even in times of great suffering and tribulation and to look upon the sins of others as our own and repent for them. Tears make it possible for us to lay down our life for our brother.
The Holy Fathers have taught us how to fast. Those who are physically weak and sick do not need to fast; they can take Holy Communion without fasting. But we who are physically healthy must prepare for Holy Communion by fasting. This means that we eat less and only certain kinds of food, for by doing so we discipline our bodies and our thoughts. When the body is humbled, our thoughts become more peaceful, too. This is the purpose of fasting. God is present in a mysterious way in every being, most especially in the heart, which is the center of life. It is impossible to unite with God when the stomach is full, for a full stomach causes many cares and worries. All our thoughts, all our emotions, and all our will must be concentrated. When they are not, we are restless and lose our peace.
The Lord endowed all of us with free will. He knows all things because, for Him, time is irrelevant. For God, all eternity is today, the present moment. This is impossible for us to understand, but that is because we are limited. Every human being who comes into this world is unique, and all are given the opportunity to know God. Since we have the gift of free will, we often abuse it. For example, there are people who eat in moderation and others who eat more than their bodies need. Those who are moderate usually live longer and are healthier. It is the same in the spiritual life. Some people have quiet and peaceful thoughts, whereas others are not satisfied with that, so they go overboard and sometimes must run into a wall in order to go back to the straight path!
The Lord knows all things; He knew us even before we were conceived. That is why He gave us the law of obedience through Moses on Mount Sinai. This law was given because of us who need correction, not because of the meek and humble ones. They do not need this law. The law of obedience is necessary for the correction of our will and to set our free will on the path of humility, righteousness, and love. Obedience is necessary for maintaining harmony...
We must learn to bow down before the Will of God and not insist on our will. Obedience to the Will of God is carried out through obedience to our elders, parents, teachers, supervisors at work...If we have obedience we will understand what is required of us.
Our life on this earth is such that we are always becoming enslaved to material things, while the Angels never are. This life was given to us so that we may learn about eternal life, that we may learn how to become free, to walk freely and with a clear conscience and pure thoughts. When we are free, then there are no spiritual battles or warfare; victory is ours only because we have abandoned ourselves to God, because we worship Him in our hearts and have united with Him, giving no more thought to this world. He is the One Who determines our life, and we receive everything that comes to us from His Own hand.
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
With sincere agape in Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God