Friday, January 29, 2010

"When a man reproaches himself, he will have endurance and patience in every circumstance."

Abba Poemen

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"When you pray, endeavour to pray more for others than yourself alone, and during prayer represent to yourself vividly all men as forming one body with yourself, and each separately as a member of the Body of Christ and your own member, "for we are members one of another" (Ephesians 4:25). Pray for all as you would pray for yourself, with the same sincerity and fervour; look upon their infirmities and sicknesses as your own; their spiritual ignorance, their sins and passions, as your own; their temptations, misfortunes, and manifold afflictions as your own. Such prayer will be accepted with great favour by the Heavenly Father, that most gracious, common Father of all, with Whom "there is no respect of persons" (Romans 2:11), no variableness" (James 1:17), that boundless Love that embraces and preserves all creatures."

St. John of Kronstadt

"My Life in Christ"

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Atmospheric Corruption

The devil is jealous of God's gifts to mankind and endeavors to steal them for his glory. The closer a man draws to God, the more the devil comes against that man for the devil abhors the shining glory of God that emanates from His beloved. It is blinding, annoying and a continually ever present illumination of the devil's filth, his uncleanness and his stench for where the beloved of God are present, so is the sweet aroma and shining glory of God.

"All who desire to live Godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." 2 Tim 3:12

"Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience" Eph 2:2
There is a worldly course and a heavenly course
A prince has power but his power is trumped by the power of the king.
Air is everywhere and invisible. Air contains fuel for all living things. Satan is the prince of the power of the air.
Death came through Satan. Man willingly gave himself over to the power of Satan and thus death entered into the world. Mankind as the king of the earthly realm relegated his powers to the devil and in return received only that which Satan was able to give which was all that was against God, anti-God and that gift was death and darkness. God in mercy allowed for death to enter into the world for in death, sin is ended yet God also in mercy conquered death so that we might live again forever free from the sin that formally enslaved us.
Saint Paul exhorts us to pray unceasingly. Just as we unceasingly breath to sustain life in this worldly realm, so we must unceasingly pray (which is our breath) for survival in the heavenly realm. Unceasing prayer sustains us in the heavenly realm. When we stop breathing in the worldly realm, we die. When we stop praying in the heavenly realm, we die.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"May the Lord Jesus, Who said: 'Ask, and ye shall receive' (John 16:24), grant all your requests. Only prepare your house, and sweep it thoroughly to receive the Divine gifts. They remain secure only where there is no impurity. He who tastes of them becomes a stranger to the old Adam; he becomes crucified to the world as the world is to him, and lives always in the Lord."
St. Barsanuphius and St. John
"Directions in Spiritual Work"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

St. Genevieve of Paris (502)

She was born near Paris to a family of wealthy landowners. When she was about ten years old St Germanus of Auxerre, passing through the region on his way to Britain, discerned a special divine purpose for her, and told her parents that she had been chosen for the salvation of many. "He asked her that day, and early the next, if she would consecrate herself to holy virginity for Christ and, on both occasions, she answered that it was her dearest wish. Then he blessed her and gave her a copper coin inscribed with the Cross to wear around her neck, telling her never to wear gold, silver or pearls, but to elevate her mind above the small beauties of this world in order to inherit eternal and heavenly adornments."
  Convents were unknown at that time in Gaul, so Genevieve lived as a solitary, in a cell in her own house, first with her parents then, after their death, with her godmother in Paris. She devoted herself to the poor, giving away everything that came into her hands, except the small amount that she needed to feed herself on bread and beans. (When she passed the age of fifty, she was commanded by the bishops to add some fish and milk to her diet). She kept Lent from Theophany to Pascha, during which time she never left her house. She was never afraid to rebuke the powerful for their oppression of the weak and the poor, and thus earned many powerful enemies; but the people's love for her, and the support of the Church, kept her from persecution.
  It became her custom to walk to church on Sundays in procession with her household and many pious laypeople. Once the candle borne at the front of the procession (it was still dark) blew out in a rainstorm. The Saint asked for the candle and, when she took it in her hand, it re-lit and stayed lighted until they reached the church. At several other times, candles lit spontaneously in her hand; for this reason her icon shows her holding a candle.
  She traveled throughout Gaul (modern-day France) on church business, being greeted with all the honors usually accorded a bishop. Several times she saved the city of Paris from the assaults of barbarian tribes through her prayers, by pleading with barbarian chieftains, and once by organizing a convoy to bring grain to the besieged city.
  Saint Genevieve reposed in peace at the age of eighty. Through the centuries since then, she has shown her holy protection of the city of Paris countless times, and her relics in the Church of Saint Genevieve have wrought innumerable healings. Her relics were many times carried in huge processions in times of war, pestilence or other national trial. These relics were mostly burned and thrown into the River Seine by the godless Revolutionaries in 1793, but, as the Synaxarion concludes, "those who continue to invoke Saint Genevieve with faith, find her to be well and truly alive."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sainted Basil the Great, Archbishop of Caesarea Cappadocia, "belongs not to the Church of Caesarea alone, nor merely to his own time, nor to his own kinsmen was he merely of benefit, but rather to all lands and cities worldwide, and to all people he brought and yet brings benefit, and for Christians he always was and will be a teacher most salvific", – thus spoke the contemporary of Saint Basil, Sainted Amphylokhios,

Bishop of Iconium Basil the Great had mastered all the available disciplines: "He so thoroughly studied everything, more than others are wont to study a single subject, each science he studied to its very totality, as though he would study naught else". Philosopher, philologist, orator, jurist, naturalist, possessing profound knowledge in astronomy, mathematics and medicine, – "this was a ship, loaded down full of learning, to the extent allowed of by human nature".

Overcoming the heretics "by the weapon of his mouth, and by the arrows of his letters", as an untiring champion of Orthodoxy, Saint Basil all his life gave challenge to the hostility and the every which way possible intrigues of the Arian heretics.

The emperor Valens, mercilessly dispatching into exile any bishops that displeased him, and having implanted Arianism into other Asia Minor provinces, suddenly appeared in Cappadocia for precisely this purpose. He sent off to Saint Basil the prefect Modestus, who began to threaten the saint with ruin, banishment, beatings and even death by execution. "All this, – replied Basil, – for me means nothing, since one cannot be deprived of possessions that one does not have, beyond some old worn-out clothing and some books, which comprises the entirety of my wealth. For me it would not be exile, since I am bound to no particular place, and this place in which I now dwell is not mine, and indeed any place whither I be cast shalt be mine. Better it is to say: everywhere is the place of God, whither be naught stranger nor new-comer (Ps. 38 [39]: 13). And what tortures can ye do me? – I am so weak, that merely but the very first blow will be felt. Death for me would be an act of kindness: it wilt bring me all the sooner to God, for Whom I live and do labour, and to Whom moreover I do strive". The official was bewildered by such an answer. "Perhaps, – continued the saint, – thou hast never had encounter with a bishop; otherwise, without doubt, thou wouldst have heard suchlike words. In all else we are meek, the most humble of all, and not only afront the mighty, but also afront all, since such is prescribed for us by the law. But when it is a matter concerning God and they make bold to rise up against Him, then we – being mindful of naught else, think only of Him alone, and then fire, sword, wild beasts and chains, the rending of the body, would sooner hold satisfaction for us, than to be afraid".
Reporting to Valens on the not to be intimidated Saint Basil, Modestus said: "Emperor, we stand defeated by a leader of the Church".

Saint Basil almost daily celebrated Divine-services. He was particularly concerned about the strict fulfilling of the canons of the Church, and kept attentive watch, so that only worthy individuals should enter into the clergy. He incessantly made the rounds of his own church, lest anywhere there be an infraction of Church discipline, and setting aright any unseemliness.

Sickly since youth, the toil of teaching, efforts at abstinence, the concerns and sorrows of pastoral service early sapped the strength of the saint. Saint Basil died on 1 January 379 at age 49.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Holy Martyred 14,000 Infants

The Holy Martyred 14,000 Infants were killed by king Herod in Bethlehem. When the time was come for the fulfilling of the greatest of events – the Incarnation of the Son of God and His Birth of the MostHoly Virgin Mary, Magi in the East beheld a new star in the heavens, foretelling the Nativity of the King of the Jews. They set off immediately to Jerusalem to worship the Born-Child, and the star showed them the way. Having worshipped the Divine-Infant, they did not return to Jerusalem to Herod, as he had ordered them to, but rather – receiving a revelation from on high – they went back to their country by another way. Herod finally realised that his scheme to find the Infant would not have success, and he gave orders to kill all the male children two years and younger at Bethlehem and its surroundings. He reasoned, that among the dead children would be also the Divine-Infant, Whom he considered a rival. The murdered infants became the first martyrs for Christ. The rage of Herod fell also on Simeon the God-Receiver, who declared in witness in front of everyone in the Temple that the Messiah had been born. When the holy elder died, Herod would not give permission that he be properly buried. And on the orders of king Herod, the holy prophet and priest Zachariah also was killed: they murdered him in the Jerusalem Temple betwixt the Offertory and the Altar – because he would not tell the whereabouts of his son John, the future Baptist of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The wrath of God soon fell upon Herod himself: an horrid condition struck him down and he died – devoured by worms while still alive. Before his death the impious king accomplished full measure of his wicked deeds: he murdered chief-priests and scribes among the Jews, and also his brother by birth, and his sister and her husband, and also his own wife Mariam and three of his sons, and likewise 70 men of wisdom that were members of the Sanhedrin.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"No wonder, then, that it is so hard to be Christian--it is not hard it is impossible. No one can knowingly accept a way of life which, the more truly it is lived, leads more surely to one's own destruction. And that is why we constantly rebel, try to make life easier, try to be half-Christian, try to make the best of both worlds. We must ultimately choose--our felicity lies in one world or the other, not in both."

Fr. Seraphim Rose

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Down To Earth, Not Of This World

"What lies in time and goes according to the temporal order comes to a stop when it reaches completion, for then its natural growth is finished. But what is brought forth by the grace of God according to the order of virtuous living, when it reaches completion proceeds to grow again - for here the end of one serves as the beginning of another. He who by active virtue has put a stop to corruptible passions in him, by this very fact has begun other Divine transformations 'from glory to glory' (2 Cor. iii.18), since God, acting in him, never ceases, just as He never began, to enact good."
St. Maximus the Confessor
"Contemplative and Active Texts"
(The Philokalia)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Synthetic Christ

We moderns have done with Christ, the same as we have done with everything else in this world in which we exist. We have taken the seed of life, sliced it, dissected it and studied it, taking a bit of it for our own and then from that little bit of real life, we have created a synthetic look a like. In the midst of a world created by God for our benefit, we have done the same thing with all of life. We have refused His ways, insisting on creating our own world, our own food, our own medicine, our own clothes, our own religion, our own way of life, living apart from God yet deluding ourselves into thinking this is reality. We have rejected the true God and created an imitation. We have rejected the real world and created an toxic placebo. We have rejected the real purpose for which man has been put upon this earth and embraced a delusion that appears real and feels real but is really just a computer generated image. Pull the plug and it disappears for it has no depth and no connection with a sustainable energy source. We moderns have built a tidy, shiny, impressively appearing civilization on lies, distortions, half truths and delusions. We have become masters at imitating and counterfeiting truth and reality. We have convinced ourselves and the world around us that our creation is reality and that the authentic reality is inadequate to sustain life. We moderns call our rebellion; freedom and enlightenment. The old world, the ancient world, the world of our fathers is of no use to us and must be destroyed for it ties us to the past which keeps us from embracing that hope which is to come. The shining star that led the wise men of the East to Christ, has been replaced with a new star that is leading the wise men of our age to the antichrist and the new world order. The purveyors of this new world order are re-creating civilization, the world and the universe to satisfy their egos and the masses have been become intoxicated with their strong drink. In our drunkenness, we have been incited to rape the virginal maidens of beauty and truth. We have burned to the ground the ancient traditions that were the pillars of our faith. We have pillaged the glorious treasures that through the ages have sustained us in times of famine and war. Our society has entered into a period of desolation and abomination from which there is no return.

This is a time in which the inhabitants of the heavenlies, the Holy Trinity, the Mother of God, the saints of old with all the holy angels look mournfully upon the earth. Yet in their mourning for our souls, they are ready and able to save those of us who perhaps will come to our senses to call out to the heavenlies for salvation so that we might escape from this insanity of life, we call modernity.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Sainted Gregory, Bishop of Omiritia (North Africa)

...When he finished the prayer, the earth quaked, and in the East the heavens were opened up, and in a radiant cloud, amidst flaming and fiery rays of light the Lord Jesus Christ came down on earth, and thus was heard the Voice of the Lord: "On account of the prayers of bishop Gregory be ye healed of My Crucifixion by your fathers".
Like unto Saul before his becoming Paul, who on the Road to Damascus was struck blind by the Heavenly light, the Jews here were struck blind and they implored the holy bishop to heal them. In receiving holy Baptism, all of them were healed. Rabbi Ervan received the Christian name Leo (meaning "lion") on title for the rest of the story.