My beloved in Christ Jesus,
ON SEPTEMBER 23RD THE HOLY ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN CHURCH COMMEMORATES THE CONCEPTION OF SAINT JOHN THE FORERUNNER AND BAPTIST
"John the Forerunner, the fruit of prayer, hath budded from a barren womb today. Rejoice, O wilderness, and dance for joy, O mankind! Behold, the preacher of repentance beginneth to take flesh in his mother's womb. Come, as we rejoice over his glorious conception, O ye feast-lovers, let us form a choir, crying: O thou greatest of them that are born of women, cease not to intercede for us who with faith honor thy divine conception, that we may find forgiveness of sins and Great Mercy." --Doxastikon from Great Vespers, Tone Six
"Rejoice, O barren one, who had not given birth; for behold thou has conceived clearly the one who is the down of the Sun Who was about to illuminate the whole universe, blighted with sightlessness, shout in joy, O Zacharias, crying in favor, Verily, the one to be born is a Prophet of the High."--Troparion, Tone Four
Today in the Holy Orthodox Church we commemorate the conception of the honorable, glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John. On this day the mercy, miracles and wisdom of God are celebrated: His mercy toward the devout and righteous parents of Saint John, the aged Zacharias and Elizabeth, who all their lives had wished for and begged a child from God; His miracle, that of John's conception in the aged womb of Elizabeth; and his wisdom, in the dispensation of man's salvation. God had an especially great intention for John: namely, that he be the Prophet and Forerunner of Christ the Lord, the Savior of the world. Through His Angels, God announced the births of Isaac to the childless Sarah, Samson to the childless wife of Manoah, and John the Forerunner to the childless Zacharias and Elizabeth. All of these were those whom He had special intentions, and He foretold their birth through His Angels.
All of these were those for whom He had special intentions, and he foretold their birth through His Angels. How could children be born of aged parents? If someone desires to understand this, he should not ask men about it, for men do not know; nor should he study natural law, for this is beyond natural law. Rather, he should turn his gaze upon the power of the Almighty God, Who created the whole world from nothing, and Who needed no parents-old or young-for the creation of the first human being (man), Adam. Instead of being curious, let us give thanks to God, Who often reveals His power, mercy and wisdom to us in ways that are beyond natural law-in which we would be imprisoned without these special miracles of God, and would fail into despair and forgetfulness of God. (Source: St. Nicholas Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid - Volume Two.
REMINDER: The divine services of Orthros and Divine Liturgy tomorrow will take place at our beautiful Chapel of the Holy Dormition of the Theotokos in New Carlisle. Orthros (Matins) at 9:00 A.M. and Divine Liturgy at 10:00 A.M.
I sincerely encourage those of you who are not working to attend the divine services of our Holy Church. As we grow older, dear friends, we need to turn our attention more and more towards our Savior Jesus Christ. We, as seniors, must prepare ourselves through prayer, worship and by partaking of Holy Communion as often as possible. Preparing for eternal life is the most prudent act that we can make. As you know there is no repentance after we die. Also, we need to remember what our Holy Church says, "It is not the sin that condemns the believer, but the unwillingness for the believer to repent of his sin." There is nothing in the world more important and necessary then to spend as much time as possible in the Presence of Our Savior and Creator; seeking His Mercy and Forgiveness.
For the Orthodox Christian believer every day is a holy day. Every day is God's gift to us. Every day is a special opportunity to reconcile with Him and with one another. Every day should be a day of Thanksgiving. Every day is a day of prayer and worship. Every day is a day to offer our love and compassion to our neighbor and fellow man.
On September 23, we also commemorate the holy, glorious and right-victorious Martyr Raidos; New-Martyrs Nicholas and John; Venerable Xanthippi and Polyxeni of Spain. Through their intercessions, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen.
COME TO PANAGIA'S HOLY DWELLING PLACE.
With love in Christ,