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.
ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN SPIRITUALITY AND TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTION (Part II)
From The Authentic Seal: Spiritual Instruction and Discourse by Archimandrite Aimilianos, former Egoumenos (Abbot) of the Holy Monastery of Simonos Petra, Holy Mountain Greece.]
(b) Spiritual Vigilance
The most dreadful enemy created by post-industrial culture, the culture of information technology and the image, is cunning distraction. Swamped by millions of images and a host of different situations on television and in the media in general, people lose their peace of mind, their self-control, their powers of contemplation, and reflection and turn outwards, becoming strangers to themselves, in a word mindless, impervious to the dictates of their intelligence. If people, especially children, watch television for 35 hours a week, as they do according to statistics, then are not their minds and hearts threatened by Scylla and Charavdis, are they not between the devil and the deep blue sea? (Homer, Odyssey, XII, 85).
The majority of the faithful of the Church confess that they do not manage to pray, to concentrate and cast off the cares of the world and the storms of spirit and soul which are to the detriment of sobriety, inner balance, enjoyable work, family tranquility and a constructive social life. The world of the industrial image degenerates into real idolatry.
The teachings of the Holy Fathers concerning spiritual vigilance arms people so that they can stave off the disastrous effects of the technological society. "For the weapons of our warfare...have divine power to destroy strongholds" (2 Corinthians 10:4), according to the holy Apostle Paul. Spiritual vigilance is a protection for everyone "containing everything good in this age and the next" (cf. Hesychius the Elder, PG 93, 1481A) and "the road leading to the kingdom, that is and that of the future" (Philokalia, vol. II, p. 275). Spiritual vigilance is not the prerogative only of those engaged actively in contemplation. It is for all those who are conscientiously "dealing with this world as though they had no dealings with it" (I Corinthians 7:31).
In the industrial era, people became consumers and slaves to things produced. In the Post-Industrial society, they are also becoming consumers and slaves to images and information, which fill their lives.
Restrain and spiritual vigilance are, for all those who come into the world, a weapon made ready from the experience of the monastic life and Orthodox Christian Tradition in general, one which abolishes the servitude of humanity and preserves our health and sovereignty as children of God. (Orthodox Heritage).
ON THE MEDIATRESS OF OUR RACE
By Saint Hierotheos, from "Extract from the Ecomium at the Dormition (Koimisis) of the Theotokos."
When was such a wonder of wonders ever seen by men? How does the Queen of all lie breathless? How has the Mother of Jesus reposed? Thou, O Virgin, wast the preaching of the Prophets; thou art heralded by us. All the people venerate thee; the Angels glorify thee. Rejoice, thou who art full of grace, the Lord is with thee, with the Angels we glorify thee; and with the Prophets, we praise thee, for they announced thee.
Habakkuk beheld thee as an overshadowed mountain, for thou art covered with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Daniel beheld thee as a mountain from whom, seedlessly, the solid and strong King, the Christ, issued forth. Jacob saw thee as a ladder upon Whom Christ came down to eat and drink with us. And although we, His slaves, contemplate ascending into the heavens, yet thou hast ascended before all. Rejoice, O Virgin, for Gideon beheld thee as a fleece. David saw thee as the virgin daughter of the King. Isaiah called thee Mother of God and Ezekiel a gate. All the Prophets prophesied thee!
What shall we call thee, O Virgin? Paradise. It is meet, for thou hast blossomed forth the flower of incorruption, Christ, Who is the sweet-smelling fragrance for the souls of men. Virgin? Verily, a virgin thou art, for without the seed of man thou gavest birth to Our Lord Jesus Christ. Thou wast a Virgin before birth and Virgin at birth and still a Virgin after. Shall we call thee Mother? This is meet too; for as a Mother thou gavest birth to Christ the King of all. Shall we name thee Heaven? This thou art also for upon thee rose the Sun of Righteousness. Wherefore, rejoice O Virgin, and hasten to thy Son's rest and dwell in the tents of His beloved. Hasten there and make ready a palace and remember us and all thy people also, too. O Lady Mother of God, for both we and thyself are of the race of Adam. On account of this, intercede on our behalf; for this supplicate thy Son Whom thou hast held in thine embrace, and help us in our preaching and then afterward that we may find rest in our hopes.
Go forward, O Virgin from earth to heaven, from corruption to incorruption, from the sorrow of this world to the joy of the Kingdom of the heavens, from this perishable earth to the everlasting Heaven. Hasten, O Virgin to the heavenly light, to the hymns of the Angels, to the glory of the Saints from all the ages. Hasten, O Virgin, to the place of thy Son, to His Kingdom, to His power, where the Angels chant, the Prophets glorify and the Archangels hymn the Mother of the King, who is the lit lampstand, wider than the heavens (Platetera ton Ouranon), the firmament above, the protection of Christians, and the Mediatress of our race.
Please note: It is Our Holy Orthodox Christian Tradition to honor, glorify and praise the Mother of God, the Theotokos, and Ever-Virgin Mary throughout the year but especially during the first fifteen days of August. Orthodox Christian women especially feel very close to her and believe that Panagia is their advocate before Christ, Her Son and that their prayers are heard by Her. Let us, Christian men and women attend the solemn Paraklesis services and with profound love and respect seek her holy intercessions for ourselves, for our families, for our country, for peace and justice in the world.
All the Paraklesis services will continue to be conducted at our beloved Chapel of the Holy Dormition of the Mother of God in New Carlisle.
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostom
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God