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 heavens declare the glory of God; The firmament shows the creation of His hands. Day to day utters speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voices are not heard. Their proclamation went forth into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world. In the sun He set His tabernacle; and it rejoices exceedingly like a bridegroom coming forth from his bridal chamber, like a strong man to run a race. Its rising runs to the other end; and nothing shall be hidden from its heat.
The law of the Lord is blameless, converting souls; the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making children wise; the ordinances of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is bright, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is pure, enduring unto ages of ages; the judgments of the Lord are true, being altogether just. More to be desired are they than gold and a very precious stone, sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
For indeed Your servant keeps them; in keeping them there is great reward. Who will understand his transgressions? Cleanse me from hidden sins, and spare Your servant from unnatural sins; if they have no dominion over me, then I shall be blameless, and I shall be cleansed from great sin. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be always pleasing before You, O Lord, my helper and my redeemer.
A Time for Everything
To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to give birth
And a time to die;
A time to plant
And a time to pluck what is planted.
A time to kill
And a time to heal;
A time to pull down
And a time to build up.
A time to weep
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn
And a time to dance.
A time to throw stones
And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace
And a time to refrain from embracing.
A time to seek
And a time to lose;
A time to keep
And a time to throw away.
A time to tear
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silent
And a time to speak.
A time to love
And a time to hate;
A time of war
And a time of peace.
Prophet Isaiah 12:1-6
And in that day, you will say, 'I will bless You, O Lord. Although You were angry with me, You turned away Your anger and had mercy on me. Behold, God is my Savior and Lord. I will trust in Him and be saved by Him. I will not be afraid, for the Lord is my glory and my praise. He has become my salvation.' You will draw water with gladness from the wells of salvation. In that day, you will say, 'Praise the Lord; call upon His name. Declare His glorious things among the Gentiles and make mention that His name is exalted. Sing to the name of the Lord, for He has done great things. Declare this in all the earth. Exalt and be glad, O inhabitants of Zion, for the Holy One of Israel is exalted in her midst.
THE NEW TESTAMENT
Gospel of St. Matthew 13:44-45
"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."
Gospel of St. Mark 12:28-31
"Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, 'Which is the first commandment of all?' Jesus answered him, 'The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."
Gospel of St. Luke 6:27-36
"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want them to do to you, you also do to them likewise.
But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful."
Gospel of Saint John 15:1-8
"I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples."
Saint Paul's Epistles (Letters)
"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophecy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it to our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness."
1 Corinthians 3:18-21
"Let no one deceive himself, If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, 'He catches the wise in their own craftiness', and again, 'The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.' Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours."
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of Angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide in faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
(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!"-St. John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God