The Mystery of Man's Heart (Part III)

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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.

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THE MYSTERY OF MAN'S HEART (Part III)
By Archimandrite Zacharias of Essex

Question 5: In the monastic life it is easy to see who might be your elders (gerondes), but how can we identify these persons in our life in the world? From what sources can we find our elders outside of that life?

Answer 5: This has always been an important question in the life of the Church, and I remember Saint Symeon the New Theologian saying that one must seek for an elder (geronda) with tears. Pray to God that He gives you one and, if you do not find one, then speak to God directly, pouring out your heart to Him with tears, and the Lord Himself will be your Teacher.

What I say now is a bit risky and dangerous, but it is easy to suppose that there are no such elders anymore. I believe that if we are humble, it is easier to find one. If we are humble, we can make anybody a prophet, because if we approach with a humble heart and trust, then God will speak to us. I remember Father Sophrony saying to us, "Make your spiritual father a prophet!" That is to say, approach with faith and trust, and God will inspire him to give you a word.

As I have said earlier, true repentance proves that God is just, righteous and blessed in all His ways and that we are liars. If often happens that we, the spiritual fathers, do not know what we are saying. People come and ask a word of us. Sometimes the word comes naturally without our realizing it; at other times, nothing comes. It does not depend only on us; it depends also in the faith of the person who asks.

A little girl, twelve years old, came to me and said, "Sometimes I have proud thoughts; tell me what to do." And I said to that little girl, "Give thanks to Him for every breath and air He gives you." And that little girl grabbed my word and ran away happily. Forgive me for talking about myself, but it is the only way to speak concretely about these things. There is a dangerous side to it, because we can spoil the ethos of our life and of the Church, but I am now speaking among my fellows, among priests, and I feel I can be more specific and open. We must do everything in such a way as not to usurp the spiritual space of the other, of our fellows. And if we are to succeed in this, we have to be careful not to lose our humility. (Source: Orthodox Heritage)

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ON THE DORMITION OF THE MOST HOLY THEOTOKOS
By Saint John of Kronstadt

"Magnify, O my soul, the honorable Translation of the Mother of God from earth to heaven" (Refrain for the 9th Ode of the Canon).

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Today the Holy Church solemnly glorifies the honorable Dormition (Koimisis) or Translation (Metastasis) of the Mother of God from earth to heaven. A wonderful translation--she died without serious illness, peacefully. Her soul is taken up in the Divine hands of Her Son and carried up into the heavenly abode, accompanied by the sweet singing of Angels. And then, her Most Pure body is transferred by the Apostles to Gethsemane where it is honorably buried, and on the third day it is resurrected and taken up to heaven. You see this on the holy icon of the Dormition of the Theotokos. On it is represented the Life-bearing of the Theotokos laying on a bier, surrounded by the holy Apostles and hierarchs, and in the center of the holy icon the Lord Himself holding in his hands the most pure soul (depicted as an infant) of the Theotokos. The Translation of the Mother of God is a paradigm of the Translation in general of the souls of Christians to the other world.

We say that our dead have "fallen asleep" or "passed away." What does this mean? This means that for the true Christian there is no death. Death was conquered by Christ on the cross. But there is a translation, i.e., a rearrangement of his condition, i.e.., his soul is in another place, in another age, in another world beyond the grave, eternal, without end, that is what it means by "falling asleep." It is as if it were a temporary dream after which, by the voice of the Lord and the fearful yet wonderful trumpet of the Archangel, "and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" (St. John 5:29). This is what the Christian means by translation. We should be ready for this translation, of the day of the general resurrection and judgment, for this indescribable world event, recorded in the Holy Scripture.

This preparation for the meeting of the Heavenly King before the Dread Judgment Seat, after death, is essentially the person's preparation throughout the whole of his life. This preparation means a change in all his thoughts, and the moral change of all his being, so that the whole man would be pure and white as show, washing clean everything that defiles the body and spirit, so that he is adorned with every virtue: repentance, meekness, humility, gentleness, simplicity, chastity, mercifulness, abstention, spiritual contemplation, and burning love for god and neighbor.

Our preparation for meeting the Heavenly King, and for the inheritance of Eternal life in heaven, should consist of these things. The Heavenly King desires souls adorned with immutable virtue, souls prepared so that the Very Lord Himself could abide in them. Do not marvel that the Very Lord wants to live in us. In fact, the human soul is more spacious than the heavens and the earth, for it exists in the image of God. And if one removes sins from the soul, the Lord of All will settle in it and will fill it with Himself. "we will come to him and make our dwelling with him" (Saint John 14:23), says the Lord about the souls who love Him.

And so, ye participants in the Christian feasts, and especially the present feast of the Dormition of the Mother of God, ye who are brightly adorned with every virtue and Translated to the Heavenly Kingdom, to Her Son and God, proclaim to each and every one about preparing their souls to be the dwelling place of the Lord, about continual repentance, and about the incorruptible adornment of Christian virtue. Let your death also be unashamed and peaceful, serving as the pledge of a good answer at the Dread Judgment Seat of Christ. Amen. (Orthodox Heritage)

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Divine Service of the Paraklesis (Supplication) at the Holy Dormition on Monday, and Tuesday at the chapel in New Carlisle at 7:00 p.m.

Great Vespers on the Eve of the Feast at 7:00 p.m. followed by Artoklasia (Blessing of the Loaves) and the Lamentations (Encomiah and Epitaphios) to the Ever-Virgin Mary.

On Sunday, August 18th: Holy Dormition Chapel (Saint Andrew closed)

Orthros (Matins) at 9:00 A.M.
Divine Liturgy at 10:00 a.m.

Immediately following:

16th Annual Parish Picnic

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"Glory Be To GOD For All Things!" -- Saint John Chrysostomos

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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+Father George