Daily Devotional for August 22-28
Excerpts from Orthodox Elders this week
St. Nikolai on Christ’s Resurrection… He is the Light of truth, because He revealed in Himself the truth of the true nature of God and the true nature of man, the relationship of man to man, and the relationship of man toward God. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but His words will not pass away; for heaven and earth both came into existence by His word, and His word is from Him and with Him always, and will not pass away. He is the Light of righteousness, because He revealed the might of righteousness and the weakness of unrighteousness. He revealed this in the brightest light— by what He said, by what He did, and by what He experienced— and overcame the unrighteous ones. He has revealed it through His Church over the course of twenty centuries— through His numerous righteous saints and martyrs, for righteousness’ sake. Righteousness is of God, and in the long line of history, it can never be defeated. Unrighteousness is of helpless beings. Unrighteousness quickly rushes out to the rampart with its triumphant banner, but at the same time, it is quickly thrown into the grave. He is the Light of life. His words illuminate life. His works illuminate life. His victory illuminates life. Especially His Resurrection, as the most luminous sun, illuminates life by its bright light and disperses death as a weak shadow. – ‘Prologue of Ohrid’
This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad therein.
Abbot Tryphon on Moving Forward…
“There are many people who cling to memories of past sins, holding on to guilt and shame, reliving things long ago confessed, as though they happened yesterday. They struggle with regrets, often revisiting shame as though they were archeologists, digging for historical artifacts that must be preserved. Such is not the case with God, for His interest is not in our past, but in our future. Confessed sins are counted as nothing, for God looks with interest on the transformed heart that has been made anew, with contrition. God looks to our future, for His loving mercy is upon the man who has confessed his sin, and that sin is counted as nothing. God is interested in what we are doing with our future, and as a loving Father takes pleasure in the steps we take in our journey towards Him.
For us to look back is to reject the very role of confession, for if we cling to past regrets, we are rejecting the very meaning of repentance, which means a change of heart and taking a direction that is all about the future.”
~ ‘The Morning Offering’
Blessed by the name of the Lord from henceforth and forever more.
Elder Joseph the Hesychast on Perseverance…
“Walk straight ahead. Keep knocking a little longer through frequent prayer, and not just a spring, but waterfalls from heaven and the fountain of the deep will open, so that the feeling you have now of love towards Christ will be watered and grow. The enthusiasm yon
have is due to the purifying grace of God which compassionately purifies a person. Grace is divided into three classes. Its first action is called purifying. After it purifies a person, he is given another greater gift, which is called illuminating grace, that is, he receives enlightenment of spiritual knowledge. And the third grace is called perfecting, which we shall talk about when yon get there. So behold, now you have your corresponding portion. Whatever good you do, whatever good you think of, it is all due to grace. As the saints write, ‘There is nothing good that is not from God, and nothing evil that is not from the devil’.
~ Monastic Wisdom
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning it is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
In order to receive Christ in our hearts this Christmas, we must work to destroy all that separates us from Him. We have the means close at hand to accomplish this: • repentance and sincere Confession, which are the hyssop which makes our souls whiter than snow (Ps. 50:7), • love of God and fellow creatures who are made in the image of God: this is the great commandment of God, making us like Him Who is true Love, • charity, which covers a multitude of sins and changes the vanity of this world into eternal glory, • spiritual hymns and pure prayer whic is the center from which all good deeds draw their power and strength • and above al participation at Holy Liturgy and receiving of Holy Communion” ~ From ‘Life Transfigured’, Monastery of the Transfiguration journal
Create in me a clean heart of God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not from thy presence nor take thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation and by thy governing spirit establish me.
Elder Ephraim of Arizona on Temptations…
“He chastens us a little in order to keep us humble, for He knows how easily our weak human nature changes, how easily it turns towards evil. He treats us with paternal solicitude and chastens us lovingly, so that we may obtain firm wisdom. This is the knowledge of the perfect saints: (it is not as some people explain it, but it has its own special power) to put it simply, one must confess that even when one is at the heavenly height of virtue, it is possible—if God abandons him—for him to fall into the abyss of corruption and debauchery! It is not a matter of just saying this with empty words, but one must really feel this way. But one cannot say this with conviction if one does not first pass through the Babylonian furnace of temptations, and if one’s human nature does not slip by God’s permission, so that he realizes his weak constitution. He then sees with whom he has to wrestle, what the wickedness and malice of his adversary (the devil) is, and how difficult it is to rise after a fall! In brief, this is what ‘know thyself’ means. When one obtains this knowledge, the Holy Trinity dwells in his heart. Then bliss gushes forth endlessly, and he reaches the point of seeing revelations!”
– ‘Counsels from the Holy Mountain’
Prayer: O give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.
St. Tikhon on Evangelism…
“In the first centuries it was not only the pastors who were tortured, but lay persons as well – men, women, and even children. And it was lay people likewise who enlightened the heathen and fought heresies. And now in the same way, the spreading of the Faith should be a matter that is personal, heartfelt, and dear to each one of us. Every member of the Church must take an active part in it – some by personal podvig9 spreading the Good News, some by material donations and service to “the needs of the holy persons,” and some by profuse prayer to the Lord that He “keep His Church firm and multiply it” – and concerning those unaware of Christ, that He would “proclaim the word of truth to them, open to them the Gospel of Truth, and join them to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.” I have told this numerous times to my flock. And today, upon my departing from this land, I once more command all of you to preserve and act upon this, and especially you brethren of this holy temple”
~ Homily upon leaving America for Russia
I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
of the Creator of creation.
From St. Patrick’s ‘Breastplate’
Elder St Paisios on the Conscience…
“…when things are put in their proper place, the conscience is awakened and the censuring starts. And if a person is not humbled, he can be driven to despair because he’s unable to bear the truth. But if one is humbled, he can be helped indeed…there are no people who are born with a hardened conscience. God has not created such a conscience. But when someone covers up his faults, his conscience will in time become musty and hardened and unable to break through and censure him for these faults…Of course it’s self-deception.”
– ‘Spiritual Struggle’
Jan 14, 2019, 8:23 AM
We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify Thee, we give thanks to Thee for they great glory.