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.
THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS LIFE IS A LIFE OF PIETY
From the works of Platon, Bishop of Kostroma
Force yourself to get up early and at a definite time. Do not sleep for more than seven hours, unless you have a special reason. As soon as you wake up, direct your thoughts to God and piously cross yourself, thinking of our crucified Lord Jesus Christ, Who died on the Cross for the sake of our salvation.
Get up from your bed at once, get dressed and do not pamper yourself. While dressing remember that you are in the presence of the Lord and your Guardian Angel, think of the fall of Adam who, because of sin, deprived himself of the covering of innocence, and beg Lord Jesus Christ for the blessing of being adopted by Him. Then start immediately your morning prayers, kneeling, pray carefully with reverence and deepest humility, as ought to be done under the watchful regard of the Almighty; and ask Him for Faith, Hope, Love and a blessing for the coming day; and also for strength to humbly accept His will and bear all burdens, difficulties, misfortunes, disasters, sorrows, and illnesses of body and mind, because of our love for Jesus Christ. Make a firm resolution to do everything for the Lord, to receive everything from His Fatherly Hand, and make a special resolution to do some particular good, and to avoid some particular evil. Every morning spend at least quarter of an hour on a brief meditation on the truths of faith, meditating especially on the incomprehensible mystery of Christ's assumption of our flesh, and on His awesome Second Coming, and on Hell and Paradise. Thank the Lord for protecting you during the night and thank Him that you are still alive, not having died in your sins...
"...Remember that God sees you everywhere, sees all your actions, doings, feelings, thoughts and desires, and will generously reward you for all your good deeds. Do not begin anything without praying to God, because the things we do or say without prayer, later prove to be either sinful or harmful and display us through our deeds in a way unknown to us. Our Lord Himself said: "Without me you can do nothing."
At dinner picture to yourself the image of our Heavenly Father opening His hand, in order to feed you; never omit your prayer before you eat, and leave some of your food for the poor. After dinner consider yourself one of the five thousand who were miraculously fed by Jesus Christ; thank Him from your heart and pray that He not leave you without heavenly food His word and His Most Precious Body and Blood. If you wish for spiritual peaceful life, give yourself to God. You will not find any spiritual peace until you are satisfied with God alone, loving Him only. Always and in everything think of God and His Holy Love for us sinners. In everything try to fulfill God's will and to please God alone; do and suffer everything for God. Do not care to be respected and loved by people in their sins. Keep a vigilant watch over our feelings, thoughts, motions of your heart and your passions; give consideration to nothing trivial where your personal salvation is concerned.
When you think of God multiply your prayers so that God will remember you when you forget Him. In everything may your teacher be our Lord Jesus Christ, looking upon Him with the eye of your mind ask yourself more often: in this case, what would Jesus Christ have thought, said, or done? Be meek, quiet, humble, be silent and endure by the example of Jesus. He will not lay a cross upon you, which you are not able to carry. He Himself will help you carry your cross. Do not expect to acquire any one virtue without any sorrow and pains of the soul.
Beg God to give you grace to fulfill in the best way possible His holiest Commandments even though they may seem difficult for you. When you have fulfilled any one of God's Commandments, await temptation, for love for Christ is tested by our conquering the obstacles. Do not dwell in idleness even for a short time, but always remain in labor and be occupied, because he who does not labor does not deserve the name of man. Isolate yourself, by the example of Jesus, Who, drawing Himself away from others, prayed to the Heavenly Father...Every thought, which withdraws you further away from God, especially filthy thoughts of the flesh, banish from your heart, as quickly as possible, as you would cast from your clothes a spark of fire that fell burning on them. When such a thought appears, pray hard: God forgive me, God do not leave me, deliver me from temptations, or the like. But amidst temptations do not be troubled. He Who gives you the circumstance of a battle will also give your strength for victory...
"...Say nothing without thought. Bear it firmly in mind that time is short and that man must give an account of every [word uttered.] Listen more than speak, [for] in verbosity you will not escape sin. Do not be curious about news (for) it diverts the spirit. If by words you are helpful to someone, acknowledge it in God's grace. When you are alone, examine yourself whether you have become worse than before, whether you have committed any sins which you did not do before. If you did sin, immediately beg God's forgiveness with humbleness and a contrite heart, and trust His Mercy, hastening to repent before your spiritual father; because every sin left without repentance is a sin unto death. And if you do not repent with a contrite heart the sin you have committed, you will fall into that sin again...
"...During an illness, first of all, entrust yourself to God in order to strengthen your spirit in the midst of your misery. Often remember and think of the suffering and the death of Jesus Christ. Ceaselessly say all the prayers you know and can; beg God to forgive you your sins and to give you patience while ill. In all ways, possible abstain from complaining and irritation which are common when ill. Our Lord Jesus Christ underwent, for the sake of our salvation, the most painful illness and sufferings, and what have we done or suffered fro the sake of our salvation?
Go to the divine services in church as often as possible; try especially to be present often at the Divine Liturgy. Sundays and holy days without fail do deeds of piety; always remember that you are in the presence of God, the Angels, and the Saints; the remaining time devote to pious reading and other acts of piety and love. Devote your birthday and Saint's Day especially to pious deeds. Every year and every month examine your conscience rigorously. Go to confession and receive the Holy Sacraments as often as possible. Receive Holy Communion always with sincere hunger and real thirst of your soul, with a contrite heart, with reverence, humbleness, faith, trust, and love. Think of the sufferings and death of Jesus Christ as often as possible, begging Him to veil your sins and receive you into His Kingdom. May the name of Jesus always be on your lips, in your soul and your heart. As often as possible meditate on God's great love to you, glorified and worshipped in the Trinity so that you yourself may love Him with all your heart, all your soul, and with all your thoughts. Doing so, you will lead a peaceful life on this earth and a blessed one in heaven forever. The Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. [Source: Orthodox Life]
"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!"--Saint John Chrysostomos
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God