My beloved brothers and sisters 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 behind the Ambo For the Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom
O Lord, Who blessest them that bless Thee, and sanctifiest them that put their trust in Thee: save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance. Preserve the fullness of Thy Church, sanctify them that love the beauty of Thy house. Do Thou in turn glorify them by Thy Divine power, and forsake us not that hope in Thee. Give peace to Thy world, to Thy churches, to the priests, to those in authority, and to all Thy people. For every good giving and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from Thee, the Father of Lights, and unto Thee do we send up glory, thanksgiving, and worship, to the Father, and to the Son , and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On September 24th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and entreats the holy intercessions of the following Saints, Forefathers, Fathers, Patriarchs, Prophets, Preachers, Evangelists, Martyrs, Confessors, Teachers and of every righteous soul made perfect in our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Holy Great Martyr Thecla, the Equal to the Apostles; Righteous Father Coprius of the Monastery of St. Theodosius the Cenoviarch in Palestine; Righteous Father Stephen, First Crowned king of Serbia, who in the Great Schema as a monk was renamed Simon, and who reposed in the year 1224; Saints David and Vladislav of Serbia; Righteous Father Nicander the Faster, Wonderworker of Pskov; Holy Righteous Martyr Galaction of Vologda; our Righteous Father Avramius of Nirozh; On this day we commemorate the miracle wrought by the Most Holy Mother of God on the Island of Cythera, wherein she raised up a paralytic through her holy icon which was found in a myrtle-tree.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy kings, Holy righteous, Holy Wonderworkers, Holy Monks, Holy Nuns, Holy Ascetics, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, Holy Confessors, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
THE HOLY FIRST MARTYR THECLA, THE EQUAL TO THE APOSTLES. This Saint was from the city of Iconium. When she was eighteen years of age, she was instructed in the Faith of Christ and the hope of the resurrection by the Apostle Paul, whom also she followed, forsaking her betrothed and espousing a life of virginity for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Heavenly Bridegroom. Having preached Christ in various cities and suffered many things, she reposed in Seleuchia of Cilicia at the age of 90.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Fourth Tone
O Lord Jesus, unto Thee Thy lamb doth cry with a great voice: O my Bridegroom, Thee I love; and seeking Thee, I now contest, and with Thy baptism am crucified and buried. I suffer for Thy sake, that I may reign with Thee; for Thy sake I die, that I may live in Thee: accept me offered out of longing to Thee as a spotless sacrifice. Lord, save our souls through her intercessions, since Thou art great in mercy.
Kontakion. Plagal of Fourth Tone
O glorious virgin, thou was entrusted with an apostolate, while shining brightly with virginal beauty and adorned with crowns of martyrdom. And, O Thecla, thou also didst subdue the bull's fury and change the fire to dew by thine entreaties, O first contestant among all womankind.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: II Timothy 3:10-15
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 10:38-40, 11:27-28
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"If the outer man does not die, not only sin, but also to every material attachment and care of life, and, correspondingly, the inner man to evil thoughts, and if the natural movement of one's body (towards cares and sin) does not abate, such that the pleasure of sin no longer moves in his heart, it will not be possible for the sweetness of the Holy Spirit to be manifested in his heart--and such a person will not experience the spiritual intoxication and that fit of folly for which the ignorant condemned the Holy Apostles." (Saint Isaac, The Evergetinos)
Excerpts from the diary of Saint John Kronstadt
What is a pure heart? It is meek, humble, guileless, simple, trusting, true, unsuspicious, gentle, good, not covetous, not envious, not adulterous.
All you who draw near to serve God in prayer, learn to be like Him, meek, humble, and true of heart; do not let there be any deceitfulness or duplicity nor coldness in your soul.
If, during service, your brother does anything irregularly, or somewhat negligently, do not become irritated, either inwardly or outwardly with him, but be generously indulgent to his fault, remembering that during your life you yourself commit many, many faults, that you yourself are a man with all infirmities, that God is long-suffering and most merciful, and that he forgives you and all of us our iniquities and most merciful, and that he forgives you an all of us our iniquities an innumerable multitude of times. Remember the words of the Lord's Prayer: "And forgiven us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us." These words should always remind us that we ourselves at all times are great trespassers, great sinners before God, and that, remembering this, we should be humble in the depths of our hearts, and not be very severe t the faults of our brethren, weak like ourselves; that as we do not judge ourselves severely, we must not judge others severely, for our brethren are--our members, like ourselves. Irritability of temper proceeds from want of self-knowledge, from pride, and also from the fact that we do not consider the great corruption of our nature, and know but little the meek and humble Jesus.
The Comforter, the Holy Spirit, Who fills the whole universe, passes through all believing, meek, humble, good, and simple human souls, dwelling in them, vivifying and strengthening them.
But at the same time, the Lord said: "Be harmless as doves;" that is, simple and guileless. Borrow from the serpent his wisdom only, but let your heart remain simple, pure, and uncorrupt. Be meek and humble as I am; do not give yourself up to wrath and irritability, for "The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God;" keep yourself pure from all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit..
When a man is about to pray, he must humble his proud heart, must cast away earthly vanity from it, and must bring it living and undoubting faith.
Why does the Lord allow people to be poor? For the same reason, amongst others, that He does not make you righteous all at once according to your wish. God might have made all men well off, even rich; but then a great forgetfulness of God would have arisen, and pride, envy, and so forth, would have increased. And you would have thought too highly of yourself had the Lord made you soon righteous. But as sin humbles you, showing you your great infirmity, impurity, and constant need of God and His grace, so likewise the poor man is humbled by poverty and his need of other people. If the poor man is humbled by poverty and his need of other people. If the poor were to be enriched, many of them would forget God and their benefactors, would ruin their souls in the luxury of this world. So destructive are riches, and so do they blind the spiritual vision! They make the heart gross and ungrateful!
Be as kind, meek, humble and simple as possible in your intercourse with all, considering yourself not hypocritically inferior to all in respect to your spiritual condition; that is, more sinful and weaker than all. Say to yourself, "Of all sinners I am the first." From pride proceeds self-sufficiency, coldness, and insincerity in our behavior to our inferiors, or to those from whom we do not expect to obtain any advantage.
Our self-love and pride manifest themselves especially in impatience and irritability when some of us cannot bear the slightest unpleasantness intentionally, or even unintentionally, caused us by others; or obstacles lawfully or unlawfully, caused us by others. Our self-love and pride would like everything to be as we wish, that we should be surrounded by every honor and comfort of this temporal life; would like all men, and even--how far is pride carried!
Christian you must absolutely be humble, meek and long-suffering, remembering that you are clay, dust, nothingness, that you are impure; that everything good that you have is from God's gifts; that for your sins of disobedience and intemperance you ought now to redeem your future blessedness in paradise by the long-suffering which is indispensable in this world of imperfections and innumerable transgressions of the fallen men living together with us, and forming the numerous members of the one sin-sullied human race." Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." He who is impatient and irritable does not know himself and the human race, and is unworthy of the name of Christian. In saying this, I pronounce judgment against myself, for I am the first of those who are afflicted with impatience and irritability.
(To be continued)
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