Monday, February 13, 2023
St. Seraphima (Sezhenovo, Russia—1877). Saints Martinian, Zoe, and Photina of Caesarea in Palestine (5th c.). Ven. Stephen (in monasticism Simeon), the Myrrhgusher, Prince of Serbia (1199). St. Eulogius, Archbishop of Alexandria (607-608). Appearance of Christ to Saint Martin of Tours (316).
Before Reading the Holy Scripture
Illumine our hearts, O Master Who lovest mankind, with the pure light of Thy divine knowledge. Open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Thy gospel teachings. Implant also in us the fear of Thy blessed commandments, that trampling down all carnal desires, we may enter upon a spiritual manner of living, both thinking and doing such things as are well-pleasing unto Thee. For Thou art the illumination of our souls and bodies, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, Who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages. Amen.
1 John 2:18-3:10
18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. 21 I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 26 These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. 27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. 1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. 4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
1 And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, 2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. 3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. 4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. 5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? 6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. 8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: 10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. 11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.
SEASON OF REPENTANCE, by St. John of Kronstadt
The Season of Repentance
On the Parable of the Prodigal Son [Lk 15:11-32]
[Part 2 of 7]
“Likewise does our Heavenly Father act towards us. He does not keep us with Him, if we, having a dissolute and ungrateful heart, do not want to live according to His commandments. He allows us to go away from Him, and to see, by experience, just how dangerous it is to live according to our own heart: what a painful feeling, lack of tranquility, the soul feels when it gives itself over to the passions; what shameful food it feeds on. For what can be more shameful than the food of our passions? But God forbid that anyone remain forever away from God. To be away from God: that is true and eternal perdition. ”
Orthodox Agape by papademetrios
A Good Place
Keeping One’s Mind and Heart in a Good Place
Walking through life with a smile on your face and a song in your heart is the best way to keep your mind and heart in a good place. Life has many turns and many trials, but when you keep centered on all the good that is in your life, the trials are short lived. Smiles are contagious. Ever notice how a room brightens up when someone walks in who is always smiling, always happy, always extending a warm greeting to others? What better gift can you give another, than a sincere smile.
I remember finding a young man sitting on a log, deep in an Oregon forest, many years ago, while hiking on a trail. The trail head was some four miles from that spot, and I was somewhat surprised to find another person, alone, that far into the forest (I’d thought I was the only one who loved to hike alone). He was deep in thought, so I apologized for startling him. I commented on the beauty of God’s creation and asked if he’d like to share a sandwich and some coffee. Sitting down on the log next to him, I opened my backpack, and handed him half of my lunch.
A few moments passed when he turned to me, showed me a revolver, and told me he’d come to this remote spot with the intent of killing himself. When he saw me appear with a long beard, long hair, and dressed in my long black robe, he’d first thought I might be an angel, sent by God. He’d been praying that God would forgive him for what he was about to do. I assured him that I was indeed flesh and blood, and no angel. But I also told him that I was sent by God with a message. The message from God was that he was loved, and that God had a plan for his life, and this period of despair would soon pass.
He handed me his revolver, which I placed in my backpack, and we had a long conversation about his life. Eventually we walked together back to our vehicles. With the promise that he would return the revolver to his father’s desk drawer, I handed him the gun, and we parted ways.
I’ve long wondered about the direction his life must have taken after that encounter in the forest, so very many years ago. I’ve also wondered what may have happened if I’d continued on that trail without stopping to greet him, without offering a smile and a shared sandwich.
To this day I feel blessed that God allowed me to be His messenger on that lonely trail, and I try to be available each and every day as His messenger. When we make a concerted effort to be centered in Christ, each and every day, each and every hour, we make way for a heart and mind that is always in a good place, and we allow the love of Christ to be seen and experienced by others. When we put aside ourselves and put on Christ, we become God’s messengers.
Love in Christ,
Photo: The younger men spent the weekend in retreat at the monastery. Herman, the older gentleman from Seattle, is a regular participant in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays.