The Meeting of the Lord (Part IV)

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 PRAYER FOR DAILY PERSONAL SUPPORT
(Saint Paisios the Great)

Lord Jesus Christ my God, today grant me a good day without sin and vain distractions. Lord, extend to me a hand of assistance. Lord, support me in the fear of You. Let this fear of You but also Your love be implanted deeply into my heart. Lord, deliver me from every temptation of the spirit and of the body. Lord, uproot from me negligence, laziness, sorrow, forgetfulness, insensitivity, callousness and the surrender to captivity of my mind. Lord, as you know and as You want, have mercy on me and forgive all of my transgressions. Lord, having attained peace through a good repentance and a ready and full confession, I hope that You will permit my lamentable soul, in due time, to make its exodus from this body in pure and perfect faith. Amen.

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

On February 4th Our Holy Orthodox Christian Church commemorates, honors and seeks the 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: Saint Theodosios the Righteous; Saint Joseph the New Holy Martyr of Aleppo; Afterfeast (Apodosis) of the Presentation (Meeting of Christ) in the Temple; Saint Isidore of Pelusium the Confessor; Saint Abramios, Bishop of Arbela; St. Lucius, Bishop of Africa; Holy Martyrs Jadorus and Isidore; Saint John of Irenopolis; Holy Martyr Theoktistos; St. Iasimos, Wonderworker; Saint George, Prince of Vladimir; St. Coprius of Vologda; St. Evagrius of Tsikhedidi; St. Shio of Mgvime; St. Cyril of New Lake.

OUR HOLY FATHER ISIDORE OF PELUSIUM. Saint Isidore was an Egyptian, the son of eminent parents and a kinsman of the Patriarchs of Alexandria Theophilos and Cyril. Completing his secular studies, he renounced his riches and worldly standing and gave himself wholly to the spiritual life for the love of Christ. He was a great and ardent interpreter and defender of the Orthodox faith. The historian Nicephoros states that Saint Isidore wrote more than 10,000 letters to various people, in which he reprimanded one, advised another, consoled a third, instructed a fourth. 'It is more important to be proficient in good works than in golden-tongued preaching', he writes in one letter. In another, he says: 'If a man wishes his virtues to appear great, let him regard them as small and then they will be truly shown to be great.' The first and fundamental rule for Isidore was: first do and then teach, after the example of the Lord Jesus. At a time when Saint John Chrysostom was undergoing persecution and the whole world was divided into two camps, one for and one against this great pillar of Orthodoxy. Saint Isidore stood on the side of Chrysostom. He wrote to Patriarch Theophilos, saying what a great light Chrysostom was in the Church and begging that the hatred of him should cease. He lived long and labored greatly, glorifying Christ the Lord in his life and his writings, and entered into the Kingdom of Christ in about 450 A.D.

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TODAY'S SACRED SCRIPTURAL READINGS ARE THE FOLLOWING:

Holy Epistle Lesson: Ephesians 1:1-9
Holy Gospel Lesson: St. Mark 7: 24-30

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

"Of all evil suggestions, the most terrible is that of following one's own heart, that is to say, own thought, and not the law of God. A man who does this will be afflicted later on, because he has not recognized the mystery, and he has not found the way of the Saints in order to work in it" (St. Isidore of Pelusium)

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THE MEETING OF CHRIST (PART IV)

This last clearly reveals that the feast of the Meeting of Christ is not simply a feast referring only to Christ the Lord and pointing to one of the stages of the Divine Economy, but it is also a feast of the person who lives by Christ.

The Church made the feast of Christ's fortieth day also a ceremony, a service for the fortieth day after everyone's birth. On the fortieth day after birth the infant is offered to the Temple by its mother. This offering has a double meaning. First, the mother is blessed for the end of her purification after the bleeding of her confinement. Just as the Church prays for every illness, so also it prays for the woman who has given birth and naturally feels tired and physically weak. It prays for her purification and because, as we know today, the manner of our birth came after the fall. Secondly, it is a celebration of thanksgiving for the birth of a child. Since the conception and birth of a human being is not a work of nature alone, but of God's energy, we feel that it belongs to God. So we offer it to God and He, through our priest, gives it over to us again to bring it up. But in reality it belongs to God.

However, according to Saint Gregory of Nyssa, we must offer to God, to the altar above, in place of a pair of turtle-doves, the purity of soul and body, and in place of the two young pigeons we must offer much prayer not only before the face of God, but also before the face of mankind. And just as Christ did all that the law required and returned to His fatherland, filled and advancing in wisdom, so we too are to return to our true fatherland, which is the heavenly Jerusalem, because we are to live spiritually according to Divine law and advance in wisdom and joy and reach the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, perfected in the inner man and having become dwellings of the Holy Spirit.

According to Saint Athanasios the Great, it is our task to liken ourselves to righteous Symeon and the Prophetess Anna. We too must meet Christ with wisdom, purity, guilelessness, forgiveness and in general with love for God and mankind. No one can meet Christ, the true life, in any other way.

The meeting of Christ shows that Christ is the life and light of men and that man should aim tp attain this personal light and personal life. The Church sings, by way of exhortation, "Illuminate my soul and the light of my senses, that I may see Thee in purity; and I will proclaim that Thou art God". In order for anyone to proclaim God, he must see Him clearly. Only those who see God, or at least accept the experience of those who see, can become teacher. But in order to see God one must previously be illuminated, shine in soul and bodily senses. Then the feast of the Meeting of Christ also becomes a feast of the meeting of every believer. (Source: The Feasts of the Lord: An Introduction to the Twelve Feasts and Orthodox Christology by His Eminence Metropolitan of Nafpaktos HIEROTHEOS).

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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 (Ministry)
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George