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.
A PRAYER TO OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST
+In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O Christ our God, at all times and at every hour, in heaven and on earth, You are worshipped and glorified; you are long-suffering, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate, You love the righteous and have mercy upon the sinners; You call everyone to salvation through the promise of future blessing; receive, O Lord, our prayers at this hour and direct our life toward Your Commandments. Sanctify our souls; make our bodies chaste; correct our thoughts; purify our intentions; and deliver us from every grief and pain that comes from evil. Encompass us by Your Holy Angels, so that guarded and guided by them we may attain to the unity of the faith and to the knowledge of Your inapproachable glory, for You are Blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On September 11th 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 and of every righteous soul made perfect in faith: Saints Demetrios, Evanthia, and Demetrian at Skepsis; Saint Ia of Persia and 9,000 holy Martyrs with her; Saint Theodora of Alexandria; Saint Diodoros, and Saint Diomedes of Laodicea; Saint Efrosynus the Cook; Saint Theodora of Vasta; Saint Joseph of Zaonikieva; Translation (Anakomede) of the holy relics of Sergius and Herman of Valaam; Saint Deiniol, Egoumenos (Abbot) of Bangor, Bishop in Wales.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Confessors, Holy Mothers, Holy Cooks, Holy Fathers, Holy Ascetics, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
THE HOLY MARTYR Ia of Persia and 9,000 Holy Martyrs. Saint Ia and nine thousand other Christians were taken prisoner in the 3rd century by the Persians, who were fire and sun worshippers. They place their faith in things created rather than in the Creator. Saint Ia stood before the chief magus (magician) of the Persian king and her arms and legs were stretched and beaten, but she prayed out loud to Jesus Christ, asking to be strengthened and saved. In prison, she refused to deny Jesus. Again she was beaten until she could not move or speak, and remained there for half a year. Then the torturers pierced her skin with pieces of bamboo, and later when they were removed, St. Ia nearly bled to death. She was flogged and then beheaded. However, when this happened, the executioners were paralyzed and the sun darkened. When Saint Ia's blood spilled to the ground, it surged up again, and a sweet fragrance filled the air.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Galatians 1:1-3, 20:1-5
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 12: 19-36
FROM THE SACRED WRITINGS OF THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"It is a fearful thing to hate whom God has loved. To look upon another--his weaknesses, his sins, his faults, his defects--is to look upon one who is suffering. He is suffering from negative passions, from the same sinful human corruption from which you yourself suffer. This is very important: do not look upon him with the judgmental eyes of comparison, noting the sins you assume you'd never commit. Rather, see him as a fellow sufferer, a fellow human being who is in need of the very healing of which you are in need. Help him, love him, pray for him, do unto him as you would have him do unto you." (Saint Tikhon of Zadonsk)
ON OBEDIENCE TO GOD
By Saint Ignatius Brianchaninov
Over all epochs, world events, and individual destinies one can see the hand of God, the Creator of all creatures and their universal Master, all-seeing, all-ruling, assigning His purpose and intentions to everything. God allows man to be an observer of His rule. However, the reasons for various destinies and the origins of God's commands are known to God alone: for who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His Counselor (Romans 11:34)? And the fact that man is allowed to observe God in His Providence, in His Rule over creation, in His destinies, is the greatest good for man, bringing him abundant spiritual benefit.
The observance of the Creator and the Lord of all visible and invisible creations invests the observer with supernatural strength: this observance is united with an acknowledgment of the unlimited power of the Almighty King of creation over His creation. The hairs from our heads, the hairs that are so insignificant in man's frail opinion, are all accounted for by this limitless and all-encompassing Wisdom and are guarded by It. The more so not a single event, not a single upheaval in the life of mankind can occur without Its concurrence. A Christian, looking directly at God's Providence, preserves unfailing courage and unshakable strength among the heaviest of misfortunes. He says together with King David, the psalm-singer: I have set the Lord always before me: because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved (Psalm 16:8). The Lord is my helper: I will not fear any misfortune, I will not be subjected to despair, I will not become immersed in the deep sea of sorrow. Glory be to God for everything!
The observance of God's Providence instills in us a boundless obedience to God. When the servant of God is surrounded on all sides by a multitude of intricate sorrows, he comforts his wounded heart with the following thoughts: "God sees all of this. If for reasons known to Him, the All-Wise One, these sorrows were harmful to me and unnecessary, He, the Omnipotent One, would have prevented them. But He does not impede them; therefore, it is His All-Holy Will that they should oppress me. His Will is precious to me, more precious than life itself! It is better for a creation to die than reject the Will of the Creator! This Will contains True Life! Glory be to God for everything!"
The observance of God's Providence helps engender profound meekness in the soul and invariable love for others, which no adverse winds can disturb. For such a soul there are no offences, no reproaches, no misfortunes: all creation acts according to the Will or the tolerance of the Creator; creation is simply a blind tool. The voice of humility is heard within such a soul, accusing it of innumerable sins and vindicating others as tools of just Providence. This voice is joyfully heard amid suffering, bringing peace and comfort; it quietly says: "I am receiving just recompense for my deeds. It is better for me to suffer in this brief life, than to eternally suffer the eternal torments of hell. The fact that people are punished in their brief earthly lives attests to God's ineffable mercy." Glory be to God!
The observance of God's Providence preserves and increases faith in God. The one who sees the invisible Omnipotent hand ruling the world-remains unmoved by the terrible tempest that sweep the sea of life; he believes that public life, the Church ship, and the destinies of each individual are controlled by the omnipotent and omniscient hand of God. Gazing upon mighty waves, terrible tempests, gloomy clouds, he calms himself with the thought that God sees every-thing that is going on. It befits man-the frail creation-to exhibit quiet and modest submissiveness, a pious realization and observance of God's destinies. May everything be directed towards the purposes that were determined from above! Glory be to God in everything!
The observance of Divine Providence helps overcome not only temporal sorrows, but also those which await man on the threshold of eternity. They are blunted and destroyed by the blessed comfort which enters the heart that has denied itself for the sake of obedience to God. Those who are loyal to God's Will do not fear even death itself: the faithful servant of Christ gives up his soul and his eternal fate into Christ's hands, gives them up with a firm belief in Christ, with unshakable hope in His mercy and power. When the soul departs from the body, and the rejected spirits arrogantly approach it, with its submissiveness to God's will it shall defeat and rout the gloomy and evil spirits. The servants of Satan will tremble seeing such a meek and complete submissiveness to the will of God! Having rejected this blessed obedience, they turned from bright and good Angels into dark and evil demons. They will flee with shame, while the soul will freely direct its path towards its treasure-the Lord God. There it will see face-to-face the One Who is seen here through faith in his Providence, and will eternally proclaim: glory be to God!
....Glory be to God! Many of God's saints loved to frequently repeat these words, experiencing their hidden power. Saint John Chrysostom, when speaking with his spiritual friends about various circumstances, especially sorrowful ones, always used these words as the foundation and the principal dogma of his discourses: glory to God for everything!
Brethren! Let us become used to a frequent glorification of God; let us use this weapon in our sorrows. Through a continuous glorification of God let us repel our invisible adversaries, particularly those who try to overcome us with sadness, faintheartedness, grumbling, despair. Let us purify ourselves with tears, prayer, the reading of the Holy Scripture, and the writings of the Holy Fathers, in order to become observers of God's Providence, All-Seeing, All-Encompassing, All-Ruling, directing all along its incomprehensible destinies towards goals known to God alone. Having become observers of God's rule, let us with unshakable inner tranquility, complete obedience, and firm faith wonder at the majesty of the incomprehensible God and give Him glory now and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
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 (service),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God