Spiritual Inspiration (Part II)

Mid-Pentecost

Mid-Pentecost

My beloved spiritual children in Our Risen Lord, Redeemer and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!

PASCHA SUNDAY KONTAKION

Though Thou, O Deathless One, didst descend into the grave, Thou didst destroy the power of Hades and as Victor, Thou didst rise again, O Christ Our God. Thou didst greet the Myrrh-bearing women, saying: Rejoice! Thou didst bestow peace upon Thy Disciples, and resurrection upon those that are fallen.

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RESURRECTION ODE

Let us who have beheld the Resurrection of Chris, 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, though 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.

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

On May 6th 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: Mid-Pentecost; Synaxis of the Sinaite Holy Fathers of Serbia; Varvaros the soldier, with Saints Bacchus, Callimachos, and Dionysios, in Morea; Varvaros the former robber in Epirus, Greece; Saints Mamas, Pachomius and Hilarion, monks; Holy Martyrs Danax, Mesurs, Therin, and Donatus; Job the Long-suffering; St. Job of Pochaev; St. Micah of Radonezh; New Martyr Demetrios of Peloponnesus (1803); St. Seraphim of Mt. Domvu; Translation (Anakomide) of the holy relics of Pachomius of Nerekhta; Saint Elbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne.

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

MID-PENTECOST FEAST-DAY

"In the midst of this Feast, O Savior, give Thou my thirsty soul to drink of the waters of a true worship; for Thou didst call out to all: Whosoever is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. Wherefore, O Christ our God, Fountain of Life, glory to Thee." (Apolytikion of the Feast, Tone 8)

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On the Wednesday of the Paralytic, our Church celebrates the Feast of Mid-Pentecost.
Standing in the midst of the teachers, Christ the Messiah teacheth at Mid-Pentecost

Mid-Pentecost is the midpoint of the fifty days between the Feasts of Pascha and Pentecost. In the Divine Liturgy Gospel message, we read "in the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the Temple, and taught" (St. John 7:14). The feast in question is the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles which commemorates the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years, when they lived under tents and tabernacles. "Tabernacles" served as the middle link between the Jewish Passover, which recalls God's deliverance of His people from the Egyptian Pharaoh, and the Jewish Pentecost which remembers Old Israel's entry into the "Promised Land" of Mount Sinai. The Risen Christ is the link for new Israel as it celebrates the new Passover (Pascha, the Resurrection) and the new Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Disciples and Apostles. When Jesus had preached in the Temple, He had just healed the Paralytic man--which the Orthodox Church recalled on the previous Sunday--and was about to give sight to the Blind Man--which the Orthodox Church will recall in ten days. The Apolytikion (Dismissal) hymn of Mid-Pentecost announces the "waters of true worship", which Christ will give us to drink, just as he gave the Samaritan woman to drink, we commemorate that event on the coming Sunday. Thus, Mid-Pentecost reveals to the world that Christ will heal all of its infirmities, both physical and spiritual.

Again the Orthodox Christians are reminded of the Master's presence and His saving promise: "If anyone is thirsty let him come to Me and drink" (St. John 7:37).

The holy icon of the Feast depicts the young Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem speaking with the Elders (S. Luke 2:46-47), the first biblical example of Jesus as teacher (rabbi). In traditional Orthodox holy icons of this subject, the figure of Jesus is depicted larger than those of the Elders, showing His superior spiritual status.

Mid-Pentecost has an Afterfeast o seven days with its Apodosis (Leave-Taking). Through these eight days (including the day of the feast) hymns o the Mid-Pentecost are joined to those of the Paschal season.

APOLYTIKION OF THE FEAST

Mid-way in the feast, refresh my thirsty soul with the flowing waters of piety. For You cried out to all, "Let him who thirsts come to Me and drink." You, O Christ our God, are the Fountain of Life, glory to You.

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TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:

Holy Epistle Lesson: Acts 14:6-18
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. John: 14-30

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

"Brethren, let us imitate all the Saints, who did not yield to sin even unto death--listening to their consciences and thereby inheriting the Heavenly Kingdom. Let us, therefore, pay attention to our conscience with the fear of God, until the conscience--and we--are set free from evil influences and passions, so that there might be harmony between our actions and the upright commands of conscience, and so that there might reign in the realm of our souls, perfect harmony of thoughts, intentions, and virtuous actions." (St. Isaiah of Scetis)

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SPIRITUAL INSPIRATION, PART II
By His Eminence Metropolitan of Nafpaktos Hierotheos (Source: Hesychia and Theology: The Context for Man's Healing in the Orthodox Church)

In order to see more clearly what spiritual inspiration is, we must examine how it finds expression in our lives. There are four main ways in which this happens:

Firstly, it is the grace of love for God, inspired by God Himself Who loves man. Elder Sophrony says, "The most important thing now is that God inspire our struggle for salvation. When inspiration is given, all of life is filled with light and joy. One's attention is no longer absorbed by details."

God Himself sends us His grace out of love. He lights the spark of love in our hearts...Anyone who is inspired by God is continuously in light. He lives the fullness of love and in this state he does not pay attention to details…

A Christian life full of the inspiration of God's love and our love for Him is completed fulfilled…

Secondly, spiritual inspiration is the grace of repentance and finds expression within the spiritual atmosphere of penitence. The advent of God's grace in man's heart and the awareness of God's love lead him to self-accusation…Repentance results from the advent of grace in us…Even if we sin, then "repentance, if it is like a flame, can restore every loss."

Thirdly, spiritual inspiration is the grace by which we are reborn. If we have spiritual inspiration, which as we saw above, means that we love God and live in a spirit of penitence, we wish to do the will of our beloved God and to attain to communion with Him, which is deification (theosis)…God's Commandments are the expression of spiritual health and lead man to communion with Him. Through the Commandments man cleanses his heart form passions and orientates his whole being towards life according to God…

Fourthly, inspiration is the grace of patient endurance when grace is withdrawn and we experience the martyrdom of despondency. Then a sort of spiritual despair grips our heart, because we are unable to realize our goal and our inspiration. Anyone who has experienced what inspiration means, is inspired even at such times, and patiently endures periods when divine grace departs. The Elder writes:

"Despair is the loss of consciousness that God wants to give us Eternal Life. The world is living in despair. People have condemned themselves to death. We must struggle resolutely against despondency."

Patience is also essential in all the other situations that the Christian encounters in his life, such as hostility from other people. Then for us to love our enemies "is really difficult. It is painful. But the moral beauty of Christ attracts us to such a degree that we are ready to bear all trials, as long as we are being raised up by His Holy Spirit. There is no other choice."

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Please note: What you have read on "Spiritual Inspiration" explains the Orthodox understanding of what true inspiration is all about. Many have been influenced by Protestantism and its concept of "inspiration" which is totally different than ours. The Protestant kind of "inspiration" is more of an emotional and psychological response to a minister's sermon or "good feel gospel" message. This kind of "spiritual inspiration" has no depth and is not based on anything of any value or of God's grace. It is only a human response and nothing more. It is therefore "instant gratification" which does not lest for very long.

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CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN! ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!

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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

+Father George