Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Apostle of the Seventy Onesimus (ca. 109). Ven. Paphnútii (Paphnutius), Recluse, of the Kiev Caves (Far Caves—13th c.). Ven. Paphnutius and his daughter, Ven. Euphrosynē, of Alexandria (5th c.). Ven. Eusebius, Hermit, of Syria (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 3:21-4:6
21 Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. 22 And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. 23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. 24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. 1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2 Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.
43 And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. 45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. 46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. 50 And they all forsook him, and fled. 51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. 53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. 54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire. 55 And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. 56 For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. 57 And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59 But neither so did their witness agree together. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. 65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands. 66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.
SEASON OF REPENTANCE, by St. John of Kronstadt
The Season of Repentance
On the Parable of the Prodigal Son [Lk 15:11-32]
[Part 4 of 7]
“All of you here present, sinners like me, do you treasure this priceless gift of the Lord, the gift of repentance? Do you sigh like the publican, do you cry like the prostitute, do you wash your bed with your tears, like our forefather David? Do you return to the Heavenly Father with sincere and deep repentance, as did the prodigal son?… There is no other way for sinners to regain the grace and mercy of the Heavenly Father than the way of sincere and true repentance. … And the Holy Church, the bearer and interpreter of the Spirit of Christ, His infinite love and compassion, calls each and every one of us to repentance everyday. As good children, let us answer the tender, loving voice of our Holy Mother Church. Let us awake from the sleep of sin. … Let us leave the lusts of the flesh. Let us take care of our immortal souls. Let us begin to perform the works of the Lord, and let us delight in the peace of soul and the consolation of a pure conscience. ”
Orthodox Agape by papademetrios
The Prayer of the Heart
The Jesus Prayer and the Acquisition of Inner Peace
The Jesus Prayer, also known as the Prayer of the Heart, is the central prayer for monastics. One of the early desert fathers, Saint Macarius the Great, said of the phrase from the Psalms, “The meditation of my heart is in your sight”, “There is no other perfect meditation than the saving and blessed Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ dwelling without interruption in you, as it is written ‘I will cry out like the swallow and I will meditate like the turtledove!’ This is what is done by the devout (person) who perseveres in invoking the saving Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The profound simplicity of the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner” makes it the perfect prayer, allowing us to follow the injunction of the Apostle Paul, that we “should pray always”.
The prayer can be said in various shortened versions, such as “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.”, or simply, “Lord Jesus Christ.”
Over the years I’ve heard so many people tell me that they have difficulty concentrating on their daily prayers. They’ve shared that they struggle with thoughts coming into their minds that distract them from prayer. Others have said the same thing happens during the public services in the temple. The Prayer of the Heart can help, for it is a way to dispel outside thoughts and bring our attention back to the Holy Name of Jesus.
This Prayer enriches our lives in every way as it can be used throughout the day, and in every situation. We can pray the Jesus Prayer while working, driving to the store in heavy traffic (it is a splendid way to refrain from road rage), and even while sitting in boring meetings at the office. I use this prayer when hearing confessions, or when counseling, since it is a way of seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit when giving spiritual direction.
I promise you, if you take up this Prayer for yourself, it will contribute to peace of heart, stillness of the mind and keep you centered in things of God. It will also allow you to participate in a spiritual practice that is as old as the Church herself.
In this Prayer we are not only asking for God’s mercy, but declaring a confession of Faith. The Lord Jesus Christ is God and able to grant mercy and forgiveness of our sins. He is Lord of our lives and the imparting of his mercy gives us life.
“Lord Jesus Christ, having mercy on me a sinner.”
Love in Christ,