Daily Devotional for September 17 – 23
Elder St Paisios on Waste…
“…if we don’t want to lose out in vain, worldly gains, how much more must we be careful not to harm ourselves spiritually! Worldly people seek material gain and don’t let it go to waste; is it right for spiritual people to throw away spiritual gain? But even if worldly people spend the money they have, they are at least wasting only material things, while we, when we do not accept an injustice, waste spiritual and heavenly things. We consume everything down here. Why trade the heavenly for the earthly?”
– ‘Spiritual Struggle’
Prayer: O Lord, our God, in Thy goodness and love for men forgive me all the sins I have committed today in word, deed or thought. Grant me peaceful and undisturbed sleep. Send Thy Guardian Angel to guard and protect me from all evil. For Thou art the guardian of our souls and bodies, and to Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
*(Evening Prayer and Confession of Sins)
Elder Ephraim of Arizona on Conscience…
“We must guard our conscience on three points—with respect to God, with respect to our neighbor, and with respect to things. One guards his conscience with respect to God when he avoids the various sins. He guards his conscience with respect to his neighbor when he does not grieve him, judge him, slander him, scandalize him, or push him towards evil deeds. He guards his conscience with respect to things when he does not cause destruction or damage to material things through carelessness, negligence, or unscrupulousness. The greatest wealth is obtained when one strives to preserve his conscience unburdened. But in the event that he senses that something has wounded him, he should correct it immediately, and thus he will return to his prior state.”
– ‘Counsels from the Holy Mountain’
Prayer: O come, let us worship God our King.
O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ our King and God.
O come, let us worship and fall down before Christ Himself, our King and God.
Elder St Paisios on the Lord’s Suffering…
“If we only remembered that Christ suffered the greatest injustice of all, then we would be ready to accept with joy every injustice done to us. Though God, He descended to earth out of infinite love and accepted to be confined in the womb of the Panaghia for nine months. Then He lived quietly for thirty years. From the age of fifteen to thirty, He worked as a carpenter among the Jews. Even the tools used in those days were very rudimentary, and required hard work to transform rough pieces of wood into useful furniture. It is difficult for us imagine how difficult the work of a carpenter was in those days. And after that, Jesus endured three years of hardships, wandering around barefoot and preaching. He healed the sick, restored the sight of blind people with spittle and clay, and they still wanted Him to show them signs and miracles. He cast out demons from the possessed but unfortunately, the ungrateful people claimed He Himself was possessed by a demon… in the end He was mocked crucified.”
– ‘Spiritual Struggle’
Prayer: Soul of Christ, sanctify me, Body of Christ, save me Blood of Christ, inebriate me, Water from Christ’s side, wash me, Passion of Christ, strengthen me, O good Jesus, hear me, Within Thy wounds hide me, Suffer me not to be separated from Thee, From the malicious enemy defend me, In the hour of my death call me, And bid me come unto Thee, That I may praise Thee with Thy saints, and with Thy angels, Forever and ever, Amen.
“Anything that comes from our enemy expels peace of mind and our hope in a better outcome. Why don’t we live in peace, pray to God and trust Him! Doesn’t the Lord know how to protect His children from times of calamity, as long as our hearts stay faithful to Him? A life replete with adversities teaches us how to pray. It was during my time in prison that I learned to pray genuinely, and it happened that way because I was on the brink of death every day.”
Archimandrite John Krestiankin +
Prayer: Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Elder St Paisios on God’s Will…
“Christ loves the child and will do whatever is good for him. If He sees that the child will become better when he grows up, He will hear my prayer. But if He sees that Illness the child will not be in a good spiritual condition later on, then, because He loves him, He will take the child.” “Ask, and it shall be given you,” But God will give an answer to my prayer if I am already given to God; otherwise why should He give me life – just to go astray? Whether a sick person lives or dies, I still rejoice for the opportunity to pray for him.”
– ‘Family Life’
Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.
Elder St. Paisios on Self-Knowledge…
“Many people take no account of their own gifts; they see only the gifts of others and are overcome by envy. They view themselves as having been wronged, as lesser, and end up tormenting themselves, making their lives miserable. They say to themselves, “Why should he have those gifts and not I?” But, you see, he has his own gifts, and you have others. Do you remember Cain and Abel? Cain did not seek out his own gifts, but looked upon the gifts of Abel, which is how he cultivated malicious envy toward his brother; then he turned against God, and from envy, went on to murder. Yet, he might have had more and greater blessings than Abel.”
– ‘Passions and Virtues’
Prayer: With the Saints, give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Thy servants, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sighing, but life everlasting.
*Kontakion of the Departed
Elder St Porphyrios on Evangelism…
“…you will show respect for him in a gracious manner irrespective of his religion. You will care for a Muslim when he IN in need, speak to him and keep company with him. There must be respect for the freedom of the other person. Just as Christ stands at the door and knocks and does not force an entry, but waits for the soul to accept Him freely on its own, so we should stand in the same way in relation to every soul. In our missionary endeavor we need to employ a very delicate manner so that people accept what we are offering, whether it be words, books or whatever, without reacting negatively. And something else: use few words. Words often provoke irritation. Prayer and living example find resonance. Living faith moves people, regenerates them and changes them, whereas words alone remain fruitless. The best form of mission is through our good example, our love and our meekness.”
-‘Wounded by Love’
Prayer: Lord, I have cried to Thee, hearken unto me. Hearken unto me, O Lord. Lord, I have cried to Thee, hearken unto me. Attend to the voice of my prayer, when I cry unto Thee. Hearken unto me, O Lord. Let my prayer be set forth as incense before Thee, the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Hearken unto me, O Lord.
*Psalm 140 (141)