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.
+In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Glory to Thee! O Lord, Glory to Thee!
Lord, our God You have given Your peace to mankind; and the gift of the All-Holy Spirit. You have sent to Your Disciples and Apostles, opening their lips with fiery tongues by Your power. Open also the lips of us sinners and teach us how and or what we should pray. Lord, govern our life for You are the calm harbor for those who are storm-tossed. And make known to us the way we should go. Renew a right spirit within us, and establish our spiritual instability with Your governing Spirit. Each day, may we be guided brightly by Your Good Spirit toward what is beneficial for us, being empowered to observe Your Commandments, to remember always Your glorious presence, which lead us to seek the salvation accomplished by You for mankind, and not to be deceived by the corrupting pleasures of this world. Strengthen us, Lord, to desire rather the delight of future blessings, for Your are truly blessed and praised among Your Saints unto the ages of ages. Amen. (Saint Basil the Great)
Through the prayers of our Holy Father, Lord Jesus Christ, our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On September 9th 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 Our Orthodox Christian faith: Holy and Righteous Ancestors of God Joachim and Anna; Commemoration of the Third Ecumenical Council; Severian of Sevaste; Saint Theophanes the Confessor of Mt. Diavenos; Holy Martyrs Chariton and Straton; Saint Nicetas the Hidden of Constantinope; Saint Joseph of Volokolmsk; Saint Joachim, Egoumenos (Abbot) of Opochka Monastery; Saint Onuphrius of Voronsk; Uncovering of the holy relics of St. Theodosius, Archbishops of Chernigov; Saint Omer, Bishop of Therouanne; Saint Kieran of Clonmacnois; Saint Bettelin, hermit of Crowland; Saint Wulfhilda, Egoumenissa (Abbess) of Barking.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Confessors, Holy Martyrs, Holy Abbots and Abbesses, Holy Hermits, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, Holy Ascetics, Holy Teachers, Holy Archbishops, Holy Bishops, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
SAINTS JOACHIM AND ANNA. Saint Joachim was of the tribe Judah, and a descendant of King David. Saint Anna was the daughter of Matthan the priest, of the tribe of Levi as was Aaron the High Priest. This Matthan had three daughters: Mary, Zoia and Anna. Mary was married in Bethlehem and bore Salome; Zoia was also married in Bethlehem and bore Elizabeth, the mother of Saint John the Baptist and Forerunner; and Anna was married in Nazareth to Joachim, and in old age gave birth to Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God. Saints Joachim and Anna had been married for 15 years, and were barren. They lived devoutly and quietly, using only a third of their income for themselves and giving a third to the poor and a third to the Temple, and they were well provided-for. Once, when they were already old and were in Jerusalem to offer sacrifice to God, the High Priest, Issachar, upbraided Joachim: "You are not worthy to offer sacrifice with those childless hands." Others who had children jostled Joachim, thrusting him back as unworthy. This caused great grief to the two aged souls, and they went home with very heavy hearts. Then the two of them gave themselves to prayer to God that He would work in them the wonder that he had worked in Abraham and Sarah, and give them a child to comfort their old age. God sent them His Angel, who gave them tidings of the birth of 'a daughter most blessed, by whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and through whom will come the salvation of the world. Saint Anna conceived at once, and in the Ninth Month gave birth to the Holy Virgin Mary. Saint Joachim live for 80 years and Saint Anna for 79, and they both entered into the Kingdom of God.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Galatians 4: 22-27
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 8: 16-21
FROM THE HOLY SAYINGS OF THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS:
"The first stage of the spiritual life, the beginning of it all, is to gain some control over the passions. The second stage is to devote oneself to the vocal recitation of the psalms, for when the passions have been calmed and prayer has brought some order in our quest for pleasure, then the psalms can bring us great delight, and they are pleasing in God's sight. The third stage is to pray with our nous (soul). The fourth is when we ascend to contemplation." (Saint Symeon the New Theologian)
THE POWER OF FAITH
By Father Michael Pomazansky (Source: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology)
Belief or Faith as an Attribute of the Soul
Christian faith is a mystical revelation in the human soul. It is broader, more powerful, closer to reality than thought. It is more complex than separate feelings. It contains within itself the feelings of love, fear, veneration, reverence, and humility. Likewise, it cannot be called a manifestation of the will, for although it moves mountains, the Christian renounces his own will when he believes, and entirely gives himself over to the will of God. "May Thy will be done in me, a sinner." The path to faith lies in the heart; it is inseparable from pure, sacrificial love, "working through love" (Galatians 5:6).
Of course, Christianity is bound up also with knowledge of the mind; it gives a world view. But if it remained only a world view, its power to move would vanish. Without faith it would not be the living bond between heaven and earth. Christian belief is something much greater than the "persuasive hypothesis" which is the kind of belief usually encountered in life.
The Power of Faith
The Church of Christ is founded upon faith as upon a rock which does not shake beneath it. By faith the Saints conquered kingdoms, performed righteous deeds, closed the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the sharp sword, were strengthened in infirmity (Hebrews 11:33-38). Being inspired by faith, Christians went to torture and death with joy. Faith is a rock, but a rock that is impalpable, free of heaviness and weight that draws one upward and not downward.
He "that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water," said the Lord (St. John 7:38); and the preaching of the Apostles, a preaching in the power of the word, in the power of the Spirit, in the power of signs and wonders, was a living testimony of the truth of the words of the Lord. Such is the mystery of living Christian faith.
The Source of Faith
"If you have faith, and doubt not...if you shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done" (St. Matthew 21:21). The history of the Church of Christ is filled with the miracles of the Saints of all ages. However, miracles are not performed by faith in general, but by Christian faith. Faith is a reality not by the power of imagination and not by self-hypnosis, but by the fact that it binds one with the source of all life and power--with God. In the expression of the Hieromartyr Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, faith is a vessel by which water is scooped up; but one must be next to this water and must put the vessel into it: this water is the Grace of God. "Faith is the key to the treasure house of God," writes Saint John of Kronstadt (My Life in Christ, Vol. I. p. 242).
Faith is strengthened and its truth is confirmed by the benefits of its spiritual fruits which are known by experience. Therefore the Apostle instructs us, saying, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Yet, it is difficult to give a definition of what faith is. When the Apostle says, "now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1), without touching here on the nature of faith, he indicates only what its gaze is directed towards: towards that which is awaited, towards the invisible; and thus he indicates precisely that faith is the penetration of the soul into the future ("the substance of things hoped for"), or into the invisible ("the evidence of things not seen"). This testifies to the mystical character of Christian faith.
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