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.
LENTEN SPIRITUAL PEARLS FROM THE HOLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH
FROM THE DESERT FATHERS AND MOTHERS
"Evagrius Ponticus taught, 'Against the monks who lead a life of silent contemplation the demons wage war in person, but against those who lead a life of spiritual excellence within a church, the demons only stir up and incite the lazy.'"
"The one who loves money has a doubt in his mind concerning God, and he prepares the means of life before God gives them to him; and, although in his words he rejoices in the promises, he makes them a lie by his deeds."
"The brothers asked, 'What is pure prayer?' The old monk answered, 'That which is of few words and is abundant in deeds."
"The brothers asked, 'How ought we to pray before God?' The old man (geronda) answered, 'For the repentance of sinners, and the finding of the lost, and the drawing near of those who are afar off, and friendliness towards those who do us harm, and love towards those who persecute us, and sorrowful care for those who provoke God to wrath."
[Abba (Father) Hyperichius said, "The monk that cannot master his tongue in time of anger will not be master of the passions of his body at some other time."
"Once a brother [i.e., monk) in Scete was found guilty, and the older brethren (i.e., monks] came in assembly and sent to the Abbot Moses, asking him to come: but he would not. Then the priest sent to him, saying, 'Come for the assembly of brethren awaits you.' And he rose up and came. But taking with him a very old basket, he filled it with sand and carried it behind him. And they went out to meet him, asking, 'Father, what is this?' And the old man said to them, 'My sins are running behind me and I do not see them, and I am come today to judge the sins of another man.' And they heard him, and said naught to the brother, but forgave him."
"The Abbot Isaac once came into the monastery and saw there a careless monk and in anger commanded that he be expelled from the monastery. And when he had gone out and was nearing his own house, there came God's Angel and stood before the door of his cell, saying, 'I shall not suffer you to enter.' Then he asked that he might be shown his fault. And the Angel made answer and said, 'God sent me, saying, 'Go and say to Isaac, Where do you command us to send this brother who has sinned?' Then did he straightway repent, saying, 'Lord, I have sinned, have mercy upon me.' And the Angel said, 'Arise, the Lord will have mercy. But do not the like again, to condemn any, before God has judged him."
THE LIFE OF SAINT PELAGIA THE HARLOT
[Spoken before Pelagia's conversion, just after she had passed by the place where bishops were assembled:] He [Bishop Nonnus] spoke to the [his fellow] bishops: 'What think you? How many hours has this woman spent in her chamber, bathing and adorning herself with all solicitude...,that there may be no stain or flaw in all that body's beauty and its wearing, that she may be a joy to all men's eyes, nor disappoint those paltry lovers of hers who are but for a day and tomorrow are not? And we who have in heaven a Father Almighty, an Immortal Lover, with the promise of riches eternal and rewards beyond all reckoning, since eye has not seen nor ear has heard nor has it ascended into the heart of man to conceive the things that God has prepared for them that love Him--but what need is there of further speech? With such a promise, the vision of the Bridegroom, that great and splendid and ineffable face, whereon the Cherubim dare not look, we adorn not, we care not so much as to wash the filth from our miserable souls, but leave them lying in their squalor."
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem wrote: "Let us not be ashamed to confess the Crucified. Let us boldly make the cross as our seal upon our brow on all occasions: over the bread we eat, over the cups we drink; in our comings and in our goings; before sleep; on lying down and rising up; when we are on the way and when we are still. It is a powerful safeguard; it is without price, for the sake of the poor; without toil, because of the sick; for it is a grace from God, a badge of the faithful, and a terror to demons; for 'He made a public display of them, triumphing over them in the cross" [Col. 2:15]. For when they see the cross, they are reminded of the Crucified" (13:36).
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem wrote: "We preach not one coming of Christ, but a second as well, far more glorious than the first. The first gave us a spectacle of His patience; the second will bring with it the crown of the Kingdom of God. In general all things are twofold in our Lord Jesus Christ. His birth is twofold, one of God before the ages, and one of a virgin in the consummation of the ages. His descent is twofold, one lowly, 'like rain that falls on the mown grass' [Psalm 72:6], and a second, His manifest coming, which is yet to be. In His first coming, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger; in His second He will be 'wrapped in Light as with a garment' (Psalm 104:2). In His first coming He 'endured the cross, disregarding its shame' (Hebrews 12:2); in His second He will come in glory, attended by a host of Angels. We do not rest, therefore, in His first coming, but we look also for His Second."
(Source: A Patristic Treasury: Early Church Wisdom for Today by James R. Payton, Jr.)
FROM THE LITURGY OF THE PRESANCTIFIED GIFTS
The First Prayer of the Faithful
"O God, great and praised, through the Life-Giving death of Your Christ, You have borne us from corruption to immortality. Liberate all our senses from killing passion, setting over them as a benevolent sovereign our inner reason. Let the eye be averted from every evil sight, and the ear be deaf to idle talk. May the tongue be purged of unseemly speech. Purify these lips that praise You, Lord. Make our hands abstain from wicked deeds, doing only such things as the pleasing to You, thus sealing with your grace all our members, and our mind.
For all glory, honor and worship are Your due: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forevermore. Amen."
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God