Tuesday, February 14, 2023
Ven. Auxentius of Bithynia (ca. 470). Repose of St. Cyril, Equal-to-the-Apostles and Teacher of the Slavs (869). Ven. Isaac, Recluse, of the Kiev Caves (Near Caves—ca. 1190). The Twelve Greeks who built the Dormition Cathedral in the Lavra of the Kiev Caves (11th c.). Translation of the Relics of Martyrs Michael and his councilor, Theodore, of Chernígov (1578). Ven. Maron, Hermit, of Syria (4th c.). St. Abraham, Bishop of Charres, Mesopotamia (5th c.).
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 3:11-20
11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. 13 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. 14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. 20 For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him. 12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover? 13 And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. 14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 15 And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. 16 And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. 17 And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. 18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me. 19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? 20 And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish. 21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born. 22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. 23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. 26 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. 28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. 29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. 30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. 31 But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all. 32 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 33 And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. 35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. 37 And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. 39 And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. 40 And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. 41 And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.
SEASON OF REPENTANCE, by St. John of Kronstadt
The Season of Repentance
On the Parable of the Prodigal Son [Lk 15:11-32]
[Part 3 of 7]
“Must we say that the prodigal son … is an image of us sinners? More precisely, an image of our abilities: intellect, will and heart; of body, with its health — with its most wise and beautiful composition; of the vocation, to which each one of us is called; of our wealth; of the entirety of our well-being, even the piece of land on which we live. All of this, the share of the goods of our Heavenly Father that have fallen to us, … He divided among each of us, from His rich treasure — solely out of His goodness, completely undeserving on our part. And He gave us the freedom to go in whichever … direction we wish to go. Rarely do any of us remain with his or her share under our Father ’s roof. Many of us, taking our share, move away from the All-Good Father into a faraway country, into the sinful world; and live there – dissolutely, under the captivity of the passions – until, finally, their sheer oppression and destructiveness convince us to return to our Father’s house. ”
Orthodox Agape by papademetrios
Faith Without Works Is Dead
We are not compelled to love God, having been created with free will. God does not, nor can He, compel His creatures to love Him. Mutual love requires, by its very nature, freedom to either respond in love, or not. Yet when we respond to God’s love with love His mercy leads us into holiness, for entering into this relationship with our Creator transforms us, changes us. When we respond to God’s offer to commune with Him, He changes us into His likeness. We were meant from the beginning to be in His image and likeness and our positive response to the invitation to enter into divine communion leads to holiness.
Like Saint Paul we can say that whatever good we do is Christ in us. We can do nothing good without God’s grace, which is why Saint John Chrysostom tells us, “faith’s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast.” No man can call Jesus the Christ but by the power of the Holy Spirit and the gift of faith implants in us the grace to do good works. Can good works save us? No! God’s mercy and grace saves us.
“Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (James 1:17)
Our Christian vocation is to acquire holiness (become whole), something that can only take place by the power of the Holy Spirit. Faith by itself, without good works, is indeed dead. Yet good works can only be done with God’s grace (Christ in us).
“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17)
If we claim Christ to be our Savior yet have no love in us and do no good works, we delude ourselves, thinking we have Christ when in reality we simply have religion. Religion is dead, but Christ in us is alive! Works don’t save us, Christ saves us. Good works are a sign that we are being transformed, made holy, because Christ dwells in our hearts. Anything good we do is because Christ is in us, and His grace abounds.
With love in Christ,