My beloved spiritual children in Our Risen Lord, Redeemer, God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
Let us who have beheld the Resurrection of Christ, worship our Holy Lord Jesus, Who is alone without sin. We worship Thy Cross, O Christ, and praise and glorify Thy Holy Resurrection. For Thou art our God, and we know none other beside Thee, and we call upon Thy Name. Come, all ye faithful, let us worship Christ's Holy Resurrection, for behold, through the Cross, joy has come to the whole world. We praise His Resurrection, and forever glorify the Lord. He endured the Cross for us, and by death destroyed Death. Jesus, having risen from the grave, as He foretold, has given to us Eternal Life and the Great Mercy. Amen.
The Only Blessed and Ever-Glorious God of our fathers, Who redeemed the Children from the furnace, became man, and as mortal suffers, and through suffering, clothes the mortal flesh with the grace of incorruption.
EXAPOSTEILARION. Second Tone
O King and Lord, in the flesh, Thou didst sleep as a moral, and arise on the third day. Thou didst raise up Adam from corruption and abolish Death. O Pascha of incorruption and salvation of the world.
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On May 16th 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 soul made perfect in Our Holy Orthodox Christian faith: Saint Theodore the Sanctified of Egypt; St. Nicholas I, Patriarch of Constantinople; Abdas and Abdiesus, Bishops, with 38 Holy Martyrs, in Persia; St. Peter of Vlachernae; New holy Martyr Nicholas of Metsovo; Saints Isaacius, Symeon, and Bachthisoes; Holy Martyr Papylinos; St. Alexander, Archbishop of Jerusalem; Saint Ephymia near Neaorion; St. Cassia and Laurence, Egoumenoi (Abbots) of Komel; Holy Monk-Martyrs of the Community of Saint Sava the Sanctified; Saint Ephraim of Novgorod; St. Musa of Rome; St. Brendan the Voyager, Egoumenos (Abbot) of Clonfert; St. Carantoc of Carhmpton; St. Theodore, Bishop of Vrsac I Banar, Serbia; Vukasin of Klepats, Serbia; St. Matthew of Yaransk.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Bishops, Holy Patriarchs, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, Holy Ascetics, Holy Monks and Holy Nuns, Holy Egoumenoi, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
OUR HOLY FATHER THEODORE THE SANCTIFIED. Saint Theodore was a disciple of Saint Pachomius, being born and growing up an unbeliever. Coming to the True Faith as a young man, he was baptized and, having heard of Saint Pachomius, fled to him in his Monastery unknown to his parents. Saint Pachomius made him a monk and came to love him for his rare zeal and his obedience. When his mother came to fetch him back home, he would not let her see him, but prayed to God to enlighten her with the truth. And indeed, his mother not only did not take her son back home but herself did not return. Seeing a women's monastery, ruled by Saint Pachomius's sister close by, she entered it and was tonsured. After a certain time, Saint Paphnutius, St. Theodore's brother, also came to the monastery and was tonsured. It once happened that the Bishop of Panopolis invited St. Pachomius to build a Monastery for the many people who were desirous of the monastic life. Saint Pachomius took St. Theodore with him, and entrusted to him the duty of building the monastery. Upon St. Pachomius's death, St. Theodore became the Egoumenos (Abbot) of all St. Pachomius's monasteries, and lived until great old age, guiding a multitude of monks on the way of salvation. He entered into rest and went to the Kingdom of Eternal Light in the year of our Lord 368 AD.
THE BLESSED MAIDEN MUSA. Saint Gregory the Dialogist relates of her that she was a mere nine (9) years old when the Most Holy Mother of God appeared to her on two occasions, surrounded by virgins bathed in Light. When St. Musa expressed her desire to be included in the resplendent company of the Queen of Heaven, the Mother of God told her that she would come for her and take her within a month, outlining for her how she should spend those thirty days. On the twenty-fifth day, St. Musa took to her bed and on the thirtieth day the Most Pure Theotokos again appeared to her, calling to her in a quiet voice, to which St. Musa replied: 'Here I am waiting, my Lady! I'm ready! And she breathed forth her spirit. She passed from this life to life Eternal in the fifth century. (Source: The Prologue from Ochrid).
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 15:35-41
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 10:27-38
INSPIRING SAYINGS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY FATHERS, HOLY MOTHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"Let us astound them by our way of life rather than by our words. For this is the main battle, this is the unanswerable argument, the argument from conduct. For though we give ten thousand precepts of philosophy in words, if we do not exhibit a life better than theirs, the gain is nothing" (St. John Chrysostom).
LIFE IN CHRIST (PART III)
By Saint Nicholas Cabasilas
How Love of Christ Leads to True Repentance
Having made this effort and used these opportunities for considering the matter we may arrive at a knowledge of the dignity of our nature, and also a clear perception of the loving-kindness of God. Indeed, this will prevent us from even looking at anything evil, and should we happen to fall it will readily raise us up again.
Of the many things which impede our salvation the greatest of all is that when we commit any transgression we do not turn to God and ask forgiveness. Because we feel shame and fear we think that the way back to God is difficult, and that he is angry and ill-tempered towards us, and that there is need of great preparation if we wish to approach Him. But the loving-kindness of God utterly banishes this thought from the soul. What can prevent anyone who clearly knows how kind He is and that, as it is said, "while you are yet speaking He will say 'Here I am'" (Isaiah 58:9), from approaching Him at once for pardon of the sins which he has committed? This is a scheme and device against us on the part of our common enemy, that he moves him whom he leads into sin with rashness and daring, but inspires men with shame and groundless fear once they have ventured on the most terrible deeds. Thus in the former case he prepares their fall, in the latter he does permit them to rise anew, but rather leads them away from God and prevents them from returning to Him. So he leads to the same ruin by opposite paths.
It is necessary, then, to beware of these things with all eagerness and to avoid the presumption before the sin no less than the shame and fear that follow it. They profit nothing, for this fear is not a spur to action but a stupor for our souls. We are not ashamed of our wounds in order that we may discover the means of healing, but rather in order that we may escape the eyes of the Savior like Adam who hid himself (Genesis 3:8). On account of his wound he fled from the hand of the Physician whom he should have sought so that sin would not triumph over him, but by alleging his wife as an excuse he sought to cover up, as far as he could, the weakness of his will. After him Cain sought to be hidden by the means which he thought would hide him--and that from Him in whose sight are all things (Genesis 4:9)!
Now it is possible to have fear and shame and to humble one's soul and mortify one's body, and that with profit, when those things can lead to God. "You will know them," He says "by their fruits" (St. Matthew 7:20). Now since grievous distress, even more than shame and fear, follows upon sin, no harm will come from this to those who rightly understand the loving-kindness of God. Even if they feel guilty of the ultimate wickedness they do not give up hope, knowing that no sin is too great for pardon or can overcome God's kindness. They endure salutary grief and seek to increase it, other grief they reject since it outrages good hopes.
There are two kinds of grief for transgressions, one which restores those who are afflicted by it, and one which brings ruin to them. Of both there are clear witnesses, the blessed Peter in the former case, the wretched Judas in the latter. The grief of the one preserved his purpose and commended him, after he wept bitterly to Christ no less than before he had sinned, whereas Judas's grief led him to the noose. When the blood was being shed which cleansed the whole world and all were being set free, he went off in bonds in despair of his own cleansing.
Since we know them beforehand let us welcome the former grief but flee from the latter. So we must look at the characteristics of both, how the former benefits us and the latter does us harm.
Because by sinning we commit an offense both against ourselves and against God it will by no means harm us to grieve over our presumption against the Master; indeed, it would be most opportune. In the case of the other, when we have formed high opinions of ourselves we see them refuted by the acts whereby we have offended against our duty; we are pained and mourn, and sore remorse oppresses the heart as though life were not worth living for those who have fallen into such great evils. From this grief it is necessary to desist. It is clearly the mother of death, as is also excessive self-esteem.
The former kind of grief derives from affection towards our Master. It makes us clearly to know our Benefactor and the things for which we are indebted to Him. Of the things for which we are His debtors we have not repaid even one; on the contrary, we have requited Him with evil.
Therefore, just as pride is an evil, so the pain which comes to our souls from the latter grief is an evil. On the other hand the love of Christ is altogether worthy of praise. Nothing is more blessed to those who are well-disposed than to suffer pain by reason of the darts which come from that love and to pine away in soul.
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!
With sincere agape in Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God