The Life in Christ: How Meditation is Based on Constant Prayer

Saint Demetrios the New Martyr

Saint Demetrios the New Martyr

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.

AN EXTEMPORANEOUS PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
(Fr. Constantinos Kallinikos)

O Divine and All-Holy Spirit, twenty centuries ago You descended upon Zion, and the upper room where the disciples had gathered was changed into a Church, while the Galileans who were mere fishermen then experienced the great transformation and became Apostles and Evangelists.

Descend also upon us who beseech You in fervent prayer and on bent knees. Come into the midst of our disorderly chaos and transform it into a beautiful order of harmony and beauty. Like a powerful stormy wind, come to uproot our passions and cast them aside. Like a revitalizing river, come to irrigate our moral and spiritual aridity. Like a pleasant dew from heaven, come to renew and refresh our spiritual debility. Like a fire, come to warm and kindle our religious indifference and laxity. Like a fiery tongue, come to speak consolation in us. Like a seal, come to secure and protect the spiritual treasure of our adoption. Like an engagement of commitment, come to bind and betroth our hearts for all time with the Divine Bridegroom. Like a healing oil, come to heal our secret wounds. Like a dove of peace, come to make us into sons and daughters of Light and peace. As a Divine Builder, come and transform our souls into dwellings built by God, in which the Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, may find a worthy temple to dwell now and always. Amen.

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

On May 28th 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: St. Nicetas, Bishop of Chalcedon; St. Eutychius, Bishop of Melitene; Saints Crescens, Paul, and Dioscorus of Rome; Saint Germanos, Bishop of Paris; Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Rostov; Saints Heliconis and Daphni of Thessaloniki; St. Gerondius, Metropolitan of Moscow; St. Demetrios (Mitros) of Tripoli; New Holy Martyr Zacharias of Prusa (1802); Saint Andrew, Fool-For-Christ of Constantinople; Saint Sophronios of Bulgaria; St. William of Languedoc.

+By the holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Bishops, Holy Metropolitans, Holy Mothers, Holy Fathers, O Christ Our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.

NEW HOLY MARTYR DEMETRIOS OF THE PELOPONNESOS. As an eleven-year old Christian boy from 18th century Peloponnesos, Greece, St. Demetrios was deceived by the Muslim Turks, and he denied Christ and became a Muslim. As time passed, he became a wealthy Prefect. However, he came to view all his possessions as trivial. He remembered his Christian faith and piety and he renounced the Muslim religion. He repented deeply and with tears, confessed his sin to a spiritual father, and thereafter lived as a God-fearing Christian. One day his former acquaintances recognized Demetrios near Mistra and took him to Tripoli before the judge, accusing him of denying Christ and now again accepting Him. St. Demetrios said that as a naïve young man he had left the Light and accepted darkness and that he believed in the Holy Trinity, one in essence and undivided, for whom he was prepared to shed his blood. When Saint Demetrios refused their offer of an important position, he was jailed. Saint Demetrios asked the Christians to entreat the Lord on his behalf, and then he was beheaded. The Christians buried him the next day, but his arm remained stiff and protruded from the grave with three fingers poised in the sign of the Cross. When they attempted to break his arm, it immediately fell back to his body.

TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:

Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 25:13-19
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John 16:23-33

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

"A person cannot overcome the passions on his own. This is the work of the right hand of the Most High, the action of the power of God. On our part we have only to preserve intact the holy disposition given us by God, and, in keeping with it, offer our efforts to attain the land of passionlessness" (St. Leonid of Optina).

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THE LIFE IN CHRIST: HOW MEDITATION IS BASED ON CONSTANT PRAYER
By Saint Nicholas Cabasilas

But that we may be able to have our attention always directed towards Him and have this zeal at all times, let us call on Him, the subject of our reflections, at every hour. There is no need whatever of special formalities for prayers, nor need those who call upon Him have any special places or a loud voice. There is no place in which He is not present; it is impossible for Him not to be near us. For those who seek Him He is actually closer than their very heart.

It follows, then, that we should firmly believe that our prayers will have results. We should not waver because of our sinful condition, but rather take courage because He on Whom we call is "kind to the ungrateful and the wicked" (St. Luke 6:35). So far is He from ignoring the entreaties of His servants who have offend Him, that before they call on Him or pay any heed to Him, He Himself has already called them, in that He Himself came to the earth--for He said, "I came to call sinners" (St. Matthew 9:13).

How then will He, Who thus sought those who did not even desire Him, treat those who call on Him? If He loved even though He was the object of hatred, how will He disdain us when we love Him? This St. Paul makes clear when he says, "if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life" (Romans 5:10).

Let us also consider the form of our supplication. We do not ask for the things which friends properly ask for and receive, but rather for such things as above all belong to those who are subject to judgment, to slaves who have offended their Master. For we do not call upon the Master in order that He may reward us or bestow any favor upon us, but that He may have mercy. By whom, then, is it proper to ask for mercy, pardon, remission of sins and suchlike from Him Who loves men, that they may not depart with empty hands? Those who are under judgment, since "those who are well have no need of a physician" (St. Matthew 9:12). Since it is the general practice that when me lift up their voices to God they should appeal for mercy, who have committed sins.

So we call on God with voice, mind, and thoughts in order that there may be applied the only saving remedy for all our sins, for as it says, "there is no other name by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

The Benefits of Frequent Communion

Now the True Bread Who "strengthens the heart of man" (Psalm 104:15) and came down from Heaven bringing us life (cf. St. John 6:32-33) will suffice for all things. He will intensify our eagerness and take away the inborn sluggishness of the soul. Him we must seek in every way in order that we may feed on Him and ward off hunger by constantly attending this banquet. Nor should we unnecessarily abstain from the holy table and thus greatly weaken our souls on the pretext that we are not really worthy of the Mysteries (Sacraments). Rather, we must resort to the priests [for Confession] on account of our sins so that we may drink of the cleansing blood.

But if we know these things we should by no means incur guilt from great offences so as to be excluded from the Holy Table. It is the ungodly who insolently approach the Sacred Gifts after committing a sin unto death; those who are not afflicted with such diseases may not rightly flee from that Bread. For those who are still in their wills fighting its coals it is right to beware of the Fire and not Christ to dwell with them until they have been reconciled to Him. Those whose wills are rightly disposed but who are sickly in other respects have need of the strengthening medicine, and should betake themselves to Him Who bestows spiritual health, and Who "has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases" (Isaiah 53:4), rather than shun Him Who will heal them on the pretext of their ailments.

Christ's Blood, then, closes the doors of our senses and allows nothing to pass through them which is able to harm us. Nay more, by sealing the doors it wards off the destroyer (cf. Exodus 12:13) and makes the heart into which it has been poured a temple of God. It is better than the walls of Solomon, which are a type of that Blood, in that it prevents the evil idol, "the abomination of desolation in the holy place" (St. Matthew 24:15), from being set up. It strengthens the mind "with a governing spirit" (Psalm 51:12), as David says, and subdues the mind of the flesh to it so that man may enjoy calm.

But since it has already been treated at length there is no need to prolong the discussion of this Mystery (Sacrament) and of its effects for those who have been initiated (Baptized). If we are thus with Christ by sacred rite, prayer, meditation and reflection, we shall train the soul for every virtue. As Saint Paul commands, we shall "guard what has been entrusted to us" (1 Timothy 6:20) and preserve the grace which has been imparted to us from the Mysteries (Sacraments). It is Christ Himself who initiates us in His Mysteries (Sacraments); He Himself is the content of the Mysteries. Likewise it is He Who preserves His gifts in us. It is He alone who enables us to abide in that which we have received, for as He says, "Apart from me you can do nothing" (St. John 15:5).

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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