Daily Devotional for August 29 – September 5
*Quote from Orthodox Elders this week
Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi+ on Rewards of Struggle…
“Our Lord promises to those who wish to follow Him with the appropriate self denial, a hundredfold reward in this life and His eternal kingdom in the afterlife. By ‘hundredfold’ reward He does not mean the physical goods or peoples’ appreciation, but the spiritual gifts which freshen the soul, and the supernatural contemplations which render us capable of communicating with the divine mysteries. Since “the kingdom of God is within us” ( Luke 17, 21) it does not hide its mysteries from the one who heeds its precepts, but responds to the silent exhalations of his heart in a motherly way, and reveals to him what is in store in the future for him. It also shows him those who lived before him and how they are now participating in the divine glory to the measure of their adequacy. The fruits of the Holy Spirit, the divine gifts which are the strength of the Church, are shared amongst the god-loving and hard-working fighters. It is in this way that those who live insignificant and despised lives during the period of their struggle become honest and respected later because they offer support and comfort to the faithful since they have been “instructed by God” and “bring out of their storeroom new treasures as well as old” ( Matthew 13, 52).”
We adore Thee O Christ and we bless Thee for by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.
Elder Arsenie Papacioc on Love…
“We need to love much! For Christ is commanding us! Lets be attentive, love is the criteria of [the last] judgment! When Christ asked us to love, He also gave us the strength to do it. We should love our pain [sorrow] and those that caused it. You are free and have the possibility to climb [grow], if you do not hate. Our hearts must always be free for Christ. This world is not evil; we are at fault for we do not know to love. The hate of your neighbor is the most devilish work.”
Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight O Lord my strength and my redeemer
Fr. Seraphim Rose+ on Active Faith…
“[Some] Protestants have a simple and warm Christian faith without much of the sectarian narrowness that characterizes many Protestant groups. They don’t believe, like some Protestants, that they are “saved” and don’t need to do any more; they believe in the idea of spiritual struggle and training the soul. They force themselves to forgive each other and not to hold grudges. They take in bums and hippies off the streets and have a special farm for rehabilitating them and teaching them a sense of responsibility. In other words, they take Christianity seriously as the most important thing in life; it’s not the fullness of Christianity that we Orthodox have, but it’s good as far as it goes, and these people are warm, loving people who obviously love Christ. In this way they are an example of what we should be, only more so.
Whether they attain salvation by their practice of Christianity is for God to judge, for some of their views and actions are far from the true Christianity of Orthodoxy handed down to us from Christ and His Apostles; but at least an awareness of their existence should help us to be aware of what we already have.”
O Lord come to my assistance, O Lord make haste to help me.
Elder Joseph the Hesychast on Starting Early in the Holy Life…
“So if you don’t struggle and labor now when you are young, you won’t reap the benefit when you’re old; you won’t have anything in your ‘retirement fund.’ So, my child, you too should work hard now so that when the years have passed and you’re old, you will find these things. Just as our forefathers used to say: ‘Work when you’re young to have something when you’re old’ Gero-Arsenios and I wore ourselves out when we were young, and now God has come to reward us. Now that we are old and leaving this life, we are experiencing these things within us. I’m telling you all this so that you will remember it. You’re young and later this will be useful for you.”
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.
Elder St Paisios on the Final Moments of Life…
“When a soul is well prepared and ascending to Heaven, the demons can’t assault it. If it isn’t prepared, it is tormented by the demons. Sometimes, God may allow a soul with unpaid debts at the time of his death to see the tollgates, so that we, who will continue to live, struggle to repay our debts here. Do you remember reading about the event with Theodora? In other words, God provides that some people see certain things to help others repent. In the life of Saint Euphrosynos, for example, we read that after the vision he experienced, the Abbot found himself with the apples in his hand for the others to see and be helped in their spiritual life. Sometimes God will provide for a soul to have a dialogue at the time of death, so that the person himself may repent even at the last minute, or for the benefit of those who are listening. You see, God has many ways to save people. Sometimes He helps with Angels, other times with trials and tribulations, and still at other times through various signs.”
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts, the whole earth is filled with Thy Glory.
Elder Ephraim of Arizona on Longsuffering in Theosis…
“The struggle is not small; it does not last for only one day, but until our last breath. Therefore, let us arm ourselves with the sweetest name of our Jesus, so that the devil finds no room in our heart. But to acquire the memory of our Jesus, much diligence, forcefulness, faith, hope, perseverance, patience, and time are needed. Place your hope in our Christ and do not fear the threats of the demons, but establish yourself beside Him and say, “By my God shall I leap over a wall;” that is, I shall pass over the barriers of demonic temptations with the power of my God. Try to make a good start, for then you will have an excellent end. How you begin is how you will continue to walk. Do not disregard your small imperfections and say, “This is nothing.” No. Small things will become large and will give birth to other evils as well. He who does not pay attention to small vices will fall into great ones.”
Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
(St. Patrick’s Breastplate prayer excerpt)
Elder Anthimos+ on Confession…
“If we don’t confess our thoughts, they will become snakes and beasts and will eat us up. The farmer who found a frozen snake and put it next to his breast was unfortunate. As soon as it warmed up, it cast off its sleep and bit him. Thus, if we don’t confess our thoughts, they will become acts and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death (James 1:15).”
O Come let us worship and fall down before Christ, O Son of God, Who didst rise from the dead, save us who chant unto Thee, Alleluia.