The Awakening of the Heart Through Bearing Shame in the Sacrament of Confession

Metropolitans of Moscow

Metropolitans of Moscow

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 FOR THE PEOPLE
(from the Prayer Book of Serapion)

+In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

O loving God, we confess and bring before You our weaknesses, beseeching You to add strength to our efforts for correction and restoration. Forgive the sins we have committed until now and remit all our faults from the past, making each one of us into a new person in our soul. Help us to be Your authentic and pure servants. We entrust ourselves to You, Lord. Accept us, O God of Truth, as we humbly come to You. Accept these Your people, Lord, and grant that we all become truly Your people. Make it possible for all to live without reproach and to be cleansed of sins. May they become such faithful people that they will be counted with the heavenly Angelic spirits and will all be with the elect and the Saints in heaven.

We pray for the Christians who have believed and have come to know You, Our Lord Jesus Christ. May they all become steadfast in the faith, in the knowledge of the Truth, and in the reception of the teaching. We beseech You, Lord, for all these Your people. Remove from them every enmity of sin and establish friendly relations with all. May Your Holy Name be always known and glorified among them. Amen.

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TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):

On October 5th 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 of every righteous souls made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Holy Martyr Charitina of Amisus; Holy Martyr Mameltha of Persia; our Righteous Mother Methodia; our Righteous Father Placid, disciple of Saint Benedict; our Righteous Father John, Bishop of Euchaita; our Fathers among the Saints Peter, Alexis, Jonas, and Philip, Metropolitans of Moscow and all Russia, and Hermogenes and Tikhon, Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia, the Wonderworker; Saint Gregory of Khandzta in Georgia; our Righteous Fathers Damian the Presbyter and Healer, Jeremias the Righteous, and Matthew the Clairvoyant, of the Kiev Caves; our Righteous Mother Charitina, Princess of Lithuania, who became Egoumenissa (Abbess) of the Women's Monastery of Saints Peter and Paul in Novgorod; Holy New Hieromartyr Peter, Archpriest of Belgorod, who was slain by the atheists in the year 1919.

+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Righteous, Holy Hieromartyrs, Holy Mothers, Holy Patriarchs, Holy Metropolitans, Holy Disciples, Holy Wonderworkers, Holy Fathers, Holy Ascetics, Holy Egoumenoi, Holy Archpriests, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

THE HOLY MARTYR CHARITINA. THE HOLY HIERARCHS OF MOSCOW PETER, ALEXIS, JONAS, PHILIP, HERMOGENES, AND TIKHON.

Saint Charitina contested for Christ during the reign of Diocletian, in the year 290 A.D. The handmaid of a certain Claudius, she was betrayed as a Christian to Dometian, the Count, before whom she fearlessly confessed Christ. After suffering the most terrible tortures, including the uprooting of her teeth and nails, she gave up her soul into the hands of the Lord.

The feast of the Hierarchs of Moscow was established during the reign of Tsar Theodore Ioannovich and Patriarch Job in the year 1596. Their individual feasts are: Saint Peter (+ 1326), December 23, and August 24, translation (anakomide) of holy relics, Saint Alexis + 14th cent., February 12, and May 20, recovery of holy relics; Saint Jonas (+ 1461), March 31 and June 15th, with the recovery of the holy relics celebrated on May 27. In 1875, at the proposal of Metropolitan Innocent of Moscow, to this feast was joined the commemoration of Saint Philip of Moscow (+ 1569), whose feast is kept on January 9, and the recovery of his holy relics on July 3rd. In more recent times, the holy Patriarchs Hermogenes ( + 1612) and Tikhon (+ 1925) have been added to the Synaxis. Saint Hermogenes, who was starved to death by the Poles, is also celebrated on February 17 and May 12, and Saint Tikhon, a confessor under the atheists yoke, on March 25. The Menaion service itself makes reference only to Saint Peter, Alexis, Jonas, and Philip.

Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn of the Martyr. 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.

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TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:

Holy Epistle Lesson: Philippians 1:1-7
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Luke 6:24-30

INSPIRING WORDS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:

"The quality and the grace of prayer which is done, as it should, with fervent love and desire for God, has so much great power, that it unites human beings with their Creator and raises their mind to be inseparably bonded with Him. The energy of such prayer, moreover, can hold the world together and keep it from being annihilated by the many sins done each day" (Saint John of the Ladder).

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THE AWAKENING OF THE HEART THROUGH BEARING SHAME IN THE SACRAMENT OF CONFESSION
By Archimdandrite ZACHARIAS (Zacharou) (Source: The Hidden Man of the Heart)

[1 Peter 3:4]

The first created man and woman in Paradise 'were both naked...and were not ashamed' (Gen. 2:25). They wore garments of incorruption and their spirit was directed towards God, their Archetype. But when Adam turned his gaze to the created world and subsequently transgressed God's Commandment, he was stripped of the luminous garment of divine breath. The eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons (Gen. 3:7). Shame entered their lives and they lost their spiritual honor. The presence of the beneficent God had become intolerable for them, so they 'hid themselves from the presence of God' (Gen. 3:8). Man's withdrawal from God and his alienation from divine life reached the point of his coming to resemble beasts without understanding (cf., Psalm 49:12), and in his hardened heart he said, 'There is no God' (Psalm 14:1).

After Adam's fall, man's nature was mortally wounded, even in Paradise. He became subject to corruption and death. And this is why Christ came to heal the sickness of human nature. He came humbly as a man, took our shame upon Himself and, by His Resurrection, clothed us anew in the holy and undefiled garment of His glory, without any 'spot or wrinkle' (Eph. 5:27). He did not leave us even the slightest trace of shame, since, as Scripture says, all 'the reproaches of them that reproached Him fell on Him' (cf., Rom. 15:3).

In his great desire for our healing and salvation, Christ did not spare Himself. 'For the joy that was set before Him He endured the cross, despising the shame' (Heb. 12:2). In other words, by enduring the shame of the Cross, Christ wiped away our shame and saved us. He traced His humble path upon earth, so that anyone who follows it is healed entirely, wherefore the Lord Himself calls all who have sinned and are sick (Matt. 9:12). Therefore, repentance as a means of healing and salvation is linked inseparably to the way of the Lord, and this is a way that willingly accepts shame.

But if he would repent and be healed from sin, man must first discover his sin. When he is far from God, he is in darkness and cannot comprehend how far he has fallen. However, when he receives a word from God with faith in Christ, at the same time he receives in his heart the heavenly fire of divine grace. He is enlightened and acquires a new vision. The effect of this vision is twofold. On the one hand, the fire of grace forms in the heart of the believer the heavenly image of the Logos (Word) Who created him. On the other hand, the spiritual poverty and the abyss of darkness, in which fallen man finds himself, are revealed. This vision is a wonderful gift from heaven and does not cease to inspire man to ever-increasing repentance. It produces in him a deep need to throw away 'all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness' (Jas. 1:21) and return in repentance to his Father's house in heaven.

There is, however, a very great obstacle to enlightenment and the twofold vision mentioned above, namely pride. Pride turns the heart to stone and so dulls the soul's spiritual vision that it cannot perceive the metaphysical 'substance' of sin and its all-pervasiveness. For whosoever is proud cannot love. Pride isolates man within himself and seduces him with the delights of luciferic self-deification. That gives away to a depressing emptiness, and he becomes a captive of hell, and even madness. He is now so tyrannized by the force of the passion of pride that his only escape appears to lie in the world around him. As he seeks to fill this inner emptiness, he is immersed in ever deeper distortion and destruction, and soon becomes capable of committing any crime or sin (cf., Archim, Sophrony, We Shall See Him as He Is, p. 30).

In this tragic state, man is confronted by a dilemma: either he hides himself 'from the presence of the Lord God' (cf. Gen. 3:8) and 'dies in his sins' (cf., John 8:24), refusing the burden of shame for his sinfulness, or he thrusts aside the corrupt reasoning he uses to justify his fall, and accepts Christ's call to repentance (cf. Matt. 4:17; Archim. Sophrony, On Prayer, p. 133). This acceptance of the word of the Lord, we have already said, brings enlightenment and a twofold vision and perception. On the one hand is Christ's blameless love and Holiness, and on the other, the horrific gloom of sin and the deception of the passions.

Such illumination by grace not only brings the soul to contemplation, but also imparts the courage needed to make the leap of confession (cf., 1 John 1:9). The Lord says, 'Whosoever shall confess Me before men, Him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven " (Matt. 10:32). However, He also warns: 'Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when He cometh in the glory of His Father' (Mark 8:38). In other words, whoever is ashamed to receive Christ as his crucified God and Savior, and the word of the Cross, the Gospel of Christ as the power of God 'unto salvation to everyone that believeth' (Rom. 1:16) him also will Christ be ashamed to receive on the day of His glorious Second Coming.

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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.

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Glory Be To GOD For All Things!

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

+Father George