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 CONTRITE PRAYER TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
(By Saint John Chrysostom)
O Lord my God, Great, Awesome and Glorious Creator of all things visible and invisible; You Who faithfully keep Your covenant and Your mercy with those who love You and observe Your Commandments; I thank You now and always for all the visible and invisible blessings which You have bestowed upon me. I praise, glorify and magnify You, up to the present time, for in accepting me from my mother's womb and providing for me out of Your abundant goodness and love for mankind. You have providentially protected and guided me in a holy manner, and thus Your rich mercy and compassion has been wonderfully demonstrated in me throughout my life. You did not overlook my lowliness because of my unworthiness and sinfulness, nor did You cease to help me and provide for me because of Your loving kindness and compassion. Do not forsake me then, of my God, even until my advanced and old age. O Jesus Christ, the Good Name above all names, my sweetness, my longing and my hope, You became man for us and in wisdom planned and assigned everything for our salvation. With all my heart, O Lord my God, I confess to you. I bow down upon the knees of my body and my soul and recount before You, my God, all my sins. May I hope that You too will incline Your ear to my supplication and will forgive the irreverence of my heart. I have sinned; I have transgressed; I have offended; I have irritated and embittered You my Good Master and Tutor and Guardian. There is no speakable or unspeakable type of evil that I have not committed excessively in word and deed, in knowledge and ignorance, in recollections and in thoughts, so as to have sinned exceedingly. And having promised many times to repent, I have also as often fallen into the same sins. It is easier to number the drops of rain than the multitude of my sins; they have risen higher than my head and as a heavy burden they press heavily upon me. From the time of my youth and up to now, I have opened the door of improper desires, using the unbridled and disorderly impulses to defile the heavenly robe of Holy Baptism, to stain the temple of my body, to pollute severely my soul with shameful passions, and to do every other transgression and injustice. If I were to attempt to remember each one of these sins separately, time would not permit me...Alas, O my soul, for to this has my life advanced! Life is short and troubled, moving quickly and leading to death. Eternal is the punishment of sinners, eternal also is the Kingdom of the righteous. And the life of both is not interrupted by death. What then must I do? How should I act? Into what chaos should I hurl myself? Death is horrible and evil, especially the death of sinners, for the death of sinners is indeed evil. But it is a far more fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God, from which there is none who can rescue... Yes, O Lord my God, may these things come to pass in us who hope in Your because of Your boundless Goodness and ineffable compassion and love for mankind, through the intercessions of our Lady, the Most Glorious, Most Blessed, the All-Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary, who is full of grace; through the intercessions of all the Saints who have please You throughout the ages. Amen.
[Please note: The above prayer reveals the greatness of Saint John's humility, sincerity, meekness, repentance and total obedience to Christ our Savior. It is made very clear how one should pray and how to seek God's forgiveness for one's many sins.]
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On May 26th 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: Holy and Glorious Apostle Carpus, one of the Seventy Apostles; Saint Avercius, son of the Holy Apostle Alphaeus, was perfected in martyrdom when he was stretched out naked over a hive and stung by bees; Saint Helen, sister of Saint Avercius, was perfected in martyrdom by stoning; Holy New Martyr Alexander of Thessaloniki, the former Dervish, was beheaded in Smyrna; Saint Augustine, First Archbishop of Canterbury; our Righteous and God-bearing Father Synesius, Bishop of Carpasia in Cyprus; Holy Relics of our Righteous Father Macarius of Kalyazin; holy New Martyr George of Bulgaria.
+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Mothers, Holy Archbishops, Holy Bishops, Holy New Martyrs, Holy Fathers, Holy Ascetics, Holy Apostles, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
THE HOLY APOSTLE CARPUS OF THE SEVENTY. This holy Apostle was numbered with the Seventy, and ministered unto the holy Apostle Paul, journeying with him and conveying his epistles unto those to whom they were written. He became Bishop of Veroia in Thrace, Greece, where he endured great tribulations while bringing many of the heathen to holy Baptism, and also suffered martyrdom there. Saint Paul mentions him in 2 Timothy 4:13.
Apolytikion (Dismissal) Hymn. Third Tone
O holy Apostle Carpus, intercede with the Merciful God that He grant unto our souls forgiveness of offences.
Kontakion Hymn. Fourth Tone
Having thee, O venerable Apostle Carpus, as a bright and shining star, the Church is ever made to shine with thine innumerable miracles. Save them that faithfully honor thy memory.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 21:26-32
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 16:2-13
INSPIRING WORDS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY FATHERS AND HOLY MOTHERS:
"The potential of moral discernment is like a seed sown in every human heart; and this seed grows only if it is nurtured through reflection, education, prayer and practice." (Saint John Chrysostom)
ON THE BEATITUDES OF CHRIST: THE EIGHTH BEATITUDE- SUFFERING
REPROACH FOR CHRIST
By Saint Nicholas Cabasilas
When we have thus received love for Christ and for virtue it is fitting that we should endure persecutions for their sake and even, if need be, choose to flee the world and to be the object of the most horrible accusations, and that gladly, since the greatest and fairest rewards are laid up for us in heaven.
The love of those who contend for Him who awards the prizes is able to effect even this. It causes them to put their trust in Him for the prizes which do not yet appear and to have constant hope in the present for that which is to come. It makes those who at all times reflect and mediate on the things of Christ so temperate and mindful of human weakness that they mourn. It makes them gentle and just, benevolent and sober, peacemakers and reconcilers of men. Thus they will so cleave to Christ and to virtue that for their sake they will not only bear insults, but rejoice over them and gladly be persecuted. In short, from these reflections it is possible to enjoy the greatest benefits by which we may become blessed, and so preserve the will in goodness and the noble soul in the beauty which it has attained, and to guard the riches derived from the Mysteries (Sacraments), neither rending nor defiling the royal vesture.
Therefore, as it is proper to human nature to have a mind and to use reason, so it is necessary to regard the contemplation of the things of Christ as the proper function of reasoning. This is so, particularly because Jesus alone is the pattern to which men must look, whether they are to do anything for themselves or lead others in the performance of duty. In the beginning, in the middle, and at the end, for personal living and for public affairs alike, He has shown men true righteousness.
In addition, He Himself is the prize and the crown whom those who contend are to receive. We must therefore look to Him and carefully examine the prizes which belong to Him, and as far as possible learn to understand them, so that we may now how we must strive for them. Athletes regard the contests in terms of the prizes that are offered and so endure toils and exhibit perseverance to the extent that they have perceived them to be great. Besides all these things, who does not know how great is the price for which Christ acquired possession of us? He alone purchased us with His Own Blood, therefore there is no other whom we must serve and for whom we must employ ourselves, body and soul alike, as well as give all our love, our memory, and our mental activity. For this reason also St. Paul says, "You are not your own; you were brought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
(Next: Christ the Exemplar of our perfection)
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.
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God