The Holy Writings of Saint Nektarios (Part II)

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.

THE HOLY WRITINGS OF SAINT NEKTARIOS OF AEGINA (Part II)

SPIRITUAL TRAINING

Spiritual training (pneumatic gymnasia) is askesis for piety. It most valuable, "having promised for the life that now is, and for that which is to come." The efforts made for the sake of piety bring spiritual gladness.

Saint Theophylaktos says: "Train yourself for piety, that is, for pure faith and the right life. Training, then, and continual efforts are necessary; for he who trains exercises until he perspires, even when there is no contest."

Training accustoms one to be lenient, temperate, capable of controlling his anger, subduing his desires, doing works of charity, showing love for his fellow men, practicing virtue. Training is virtuous askesis, rendering one's way of life admirable.

Ascesis is practice, meditation, training, self-control, love of labor.

FASTING

Fasting is an ordinance of the Church, obliging the Christian to observe it on specific days. Concerning fasting, our Savior teaches: "When thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father Who is in secret: and thy Father, Who seethe in secret, shall reward thee openly." From what the Savior teaches we learn:

  1. that fasting is pleasing to God, and
  2. that he who fasts for the uplifting of his mind and heart towards God, shall be rewarded by God, Who is a most liberal bestower of Divine gifts, for his devotion.

In the New Testament fasting is recommended as a means of preparing the mind and the heart for divine worship, for long prayer, for rising from the earthly, and for spiritualization.

INNER ATTENTION

Attention is the first teacher of truth and consequently absolutely necessary. Attention rouses the soul to study itself and its longings, to learn their true character and repulse those that are unholy. Attention is the guardian Angel of the intellect, always counseling it this: Be attentive. Attention awakens the soul, rouses it from sleep...Attention examines every thought, every desire, every memory. Thoughts, desires, and memories are engendered by various causes, and often appear masked and with splendid garb, in order to deceive the inattentive intellect and enter into the soul and dominate it. Only attention can reveal their form. Often their dissimulation is so perfect that the discernment of their true nature is very difficult and greatest attention. One must remember the saving words of the Lord: "Be wakeful and pray that you enter not into temptation." He who is wakeful does not enter into temptation, because he is vigilant and attentive.

PRAYER

True prayer is undistracted, prolonged, performed with a contrite hear and alert intellect. The vehicle of prayer is everywhere humility, and prayer is a manifestation of humility. For being conscious of our own weakness, we invoke the power of God.

Prayer unites one with God, being a divine conversation and spiritual communion with the Being that is Most beautiful and highest.

Prayer is forgetting earthly things.

AN ASCENT TO HEAVEN THROUGH PRAYER WE FLEE TO GOD

Prayer is truly a heavenly armor, and it alone can keep safe those who have dedicated themselves to God. Prayer is the common medicine for purifying ourselves from the passions, for hindering sin and curing our faults. Prayer is an inexhaustible treasure, an unruffled harbor, the foundation of serenity, the root and mother of myriad's of blessing.

HOLY COMMUNION

The Mysterion (Sacrament) of the Divine Eucharist that has been handed down by the Lord is the highest of all the Mysteria (Sacraments); it is the most wondrous of all the miracles which the power of God has performed; it is the highest which the wisdom of God has conceived; it is the most precious of all the gifts which the love of God has bestowed upon men. For all the other miracles result through a transcendence of certain laws of Nature, but the Mysterion of the Divine Eucharist transcends all these laws. Hence it may justly be called, and be viewed as, the miracle of miracles and the Mysterion (Sacrament) of Mysteria (Sacraments).

Do you want to become a partaker of the blessings conferred by Divine Communion?

Do you want your salvation?

Become a true Christian, have fear of God, faith in the Mysterion of Divine Communion, and love for God and for your neighbor.

MIRACLES

Miracles are not impossible from a logical standpoint, and right reason does not deny them. Natural laws do not have the claim to be the only ones, nor are they threatened with being overturned by the appearance of other laws, supernatural ones, which also are conducive to the development and furtherance of creation...Miracles are consequence of the Creator's love for His creatures.

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Agni Parthene (Gr. Αγνή Παρθένε) is a non-liturgical hymn composed in Greek by Saint Nektarios of Aegina in the 19th century during his tenure as director of the Rizarios Theological School of Athens. Saint Nektarios liked to compose hymns in honor of the Mother of God to deepen his personal prayer and relationship with her. The tradition passed down at the monastery of Saint Nektarios, in Aegina, Greece, is that the Lady herself appeared before him and requested that he record on paper a particular hymn the angelic choirs were about to sing. This hymn was the "Agni Parthene". The original script can still be viewed on his prayer table in his bedroom at this monastery.

The original melody to this hymn was composed by an Athonite hymnographer who is said to also have had a vision of the Virgin Mary prior to composing the work. The recording of this melody by the Monks of Simonopetra has contributed significantly to the popularization of the hymn.

Due to its popularity, the hymn has been translated into many languages and the original melody has been adapted to suit the particular style of Church chanting. One such variation is the Valaam Monastery chant of the Russian translation.

This hymn has been used during communion in the Divine Liturgy and it is sometimes chanted at the beginning of Vespers.

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QUOTES FROM ST. NEKTARIOS

Saint Nektarios: Christians, have we understood the great responsibility that we have taken...

"Christians, have we understood the great responsibility that we have taken on before God through baptism? Have we come to know that we must conduct ourselves as children of God, that we must align our will with the will of God, that we must remain free from sin, that we must love God with all of our hearts and always patiently await union with Him? Have we thought about the fact that our heart should be so filled with love that it should overflow to our neighbor? Do we have the feeling that we must become holy and perfect, children of God and heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven? We must struggle for this, so that we may not be shown unworthy and rejected. Let none of us lose our boldness, nor neglect our duties, nor be afraid of the difficulties of spiritual struggle. For we have God as a Helper, Who strengthens us in the difficult path of virtue."

Miracles are not impossible from a logical standpoint...

"Miracles are not impossible from a logical standpoint, and right reason does not deny them. Natural laws do not have the claim to be the only ones, nor are they threatened with being overturned by the appearance of other laws, supernatural ones, which also are conducive to the development and furtherance of creation...Miracles are a consequence of the Creator's love for his creatures."

A Prayer to the Immaculate Virgin

Take away from me, O Virgin, the fetters of sin, of my lusts and other transgressions: the terrible carelessness and the overcaring, the evil curiosity and the talkativeness, the useless incontinence and the haughtiness, the negligence, the drunkenness and the lack of mercy, the bad desires, the terrible impurity,  the extravagance, the darkness, the great insensitivity.

Take away the tendency to say jokes, the enjoyment, the prodigality.

The laughter of immorality and every evil.

Give me, O maiden, fasting, carefulness, vigilance and perfect obedience.

Give me carefulness in all and acute discernment, silence, order and holy patience.

Grant to me, O Lady, eagerness to work and to attain my perfection, and zeal for virtues and exercise.

Keep, O Most-Holy One, my soul, my heart and my mind in holiness and guard it in virginity.

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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!"--Saint John Chrysostom

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

+Father George