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 Lord reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The Lord is clothed, He has girded Himself with strength. Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved. Your throne is established from of old; You are from everlasting. The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. The Lord on high mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea. Your testimonies are very sure; Holiness adorn Your house O Lord, forever.
["This is a psalm of enthronement of God as King. It is sung every Saturday evening at Great Vespers to inaugurate the Lord's Day, proclaiming Christ as King and Ruler over All. In Israel, as in the Orthodox Church, the day begins with the sundown the night before (Genesis 1:5). Thus Sunday worship starts on Saturday at sundown with a service that Orthodox Christians consider of great importance. The psalm may be seen to refer to the first coming of the Lord, when He dwelt on earth, and established His Church."]
TODAY'S SYNAXARION (THE COMMEMORATION OF TODAY'S SAINTS):
On February 18th, our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors, and entreats the supplications 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 Leo the Great, Bishop of Rome; Saint Leo and Saint Paregorius in Patara; Saint Nicholas the Katholikos of Georgia; Holy Martyrs Victor, Dorotheos, Theodoulos, and Agrippa; Saint Vlasios (Blaise) of Mt. Athos; Holy Martyr Pioulios; New Holy Martyrs Priest Alexander (1932) and Holy Hieromonk Benjamin (1938) of Russia; Saint Kosma of Yakhromsk; Saint Agapitos, Bishop of Synada; New Holy Martyr Agapetos, Archbishop of Ekaterinoslav.
+By the Holy intercessions of Your Saints, Holy Martyrs, Holy Hieromonks, Holy Mothers, Holy Ascetics, Holy Bishops, Holy Archbishops, Holy Monks, Holy Fathers, O Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
SAINT AGAPITOS, BISHOP OF SYNADA IN PHRYGIA. Saint Agapitos was from a Christian family in the late third, early forth-century Cappadocia. From his youth he yearned for the monastic life. He entered a monastery where he struggled with fasting and prayer, and served the monastery well. During this time, the Lord granted him the gift of Wonderworking (Miracle working). When the pagan emperor Licinius learned that Agapitos had great physical strength, he had him conscribed into the military. During the persecutions of the Christians, Agapitos was wounded by a spear, but remained alive. After the death of Licinius, the holy Emperor Constantine the Great heard that St. Agapitos had healed people by prayer. So he sent a sick servant, who also was healed. For this Constantine allowed him to resign from military service. Soon after, the bishop of Synada ordained St. Agapitos to the holy Priesthood. When the bishop died, the clergy and all the people unanimously chose St. Agapitos to the See of Synada. He governed wisely and through his prayers many miracles (wonders) occurred. Saint Agapitos died peacefully.
TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:
Holy Epistle Lesson: 1 Peter 4:12-55
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Mark 7:24-30
INSPIRING WORDS FROM THE HOLY ASCETICS, HOLY MOTHERS AND HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH:
"One of the most excellent allotments of the gift of faith is for man to be certain of the petition of his prayer through his trust in God. Certainly of faith in God is not the soundness of a man's confession (although this is the mother of faith), but a soul that beholds the Truth of God by the power of her disciplines" (Saint Isaac the Syrian).
IMPUDENCE AND LACK OF RESPECT
By Saint Paisios of Mouth Athos (Source: With Pain and Love for Contemporary Man)
Boldness Drives Reverence Away
--Geronda (Elder), what causes us to speak boldly and without reserve? Where is boldness (parrhesia) from?
--From Paris...This kind of speech betrays impudence; it drives away the fear of God in us, much like smoke will drive bees away from the beehive.
--Geronda (Elder), how can I avoid such boldness?
--You must feel that you are beneath everybody else. This takes a lot of humility. Being the youngest here, you must have respect and reverence for all the Sisters. State your thoughts with humility and avoid appearing as if you know everything. God will then be blessing you with His Grace and you will be making good progress. Outspoken boldness is the novice's worst enemy, because it takes away reverence. Usually such boldness results in rebellion and, then, one starts becoming insensitive and indifferent to small sins, until gradually they become a habit and second nature; but deep inside the soul cannot find rest and is filled with anxiety. It is then difficult to understand one's condition because the heart is smeared with grime and cannot feel the wrong turns it is making.
--Geronda (Elder), what is the relationship between simplicity and boldness?
--There is a very clear difference between the two. Simplicity entails reverence and has a child-like quality. But the mark of boldness is audacity.
Sometimes, a person who is candid and frank will also be impudent. When we are not careful, straightforwardness and simplicity may end up harboring impudence. We say, for instance, "I am a straight arrow," or "I am a plain person," and, without realizing it, we put a lot of impudence in our words. It's one thing to be plain; it's another to be impudent.
--Geronda (Elder), what is it to be spiritually reserved?
--It is to have the fear of God in the good sense of the word. This fear and sense of awe, brings gladness and sweetness to the heart; it begins to drip with honey, of the spiritual kind! You see a little child who is reserved and out of respect for his father, will not even look at him in the eyes. When he goes close to him to ask for something, he blushes! That's the kind of child you want to place on the iconostasis! And then you have a child that will think, "He is my father after all," and with that in mind, he will put on airs and act out. And when he wants something, he demands it with tantrums and threats.
In a good family, the children will usually move about with a sense of freedom. They will have respect of the parents, without being overly reserved and afraid of speaking out--discipline is not rigid as in the military. The children enjoy their parents and the parents enjoy their children. "Love does not know shame." (Saint Isaac the Syrian). Abba (Father) Isaac says, Love has courage in the good sense of the word. It has reverence and devotion and so it wins over fear..."
(To be continued)
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