Orthodox Daily Devotional for September 1-7
1 Corinthians 12:1… Concerning spiritual gifts, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
Saint Focus: Friday commemorates the Archangel Michael’s active intervention in Colossae. First, he told a father about a miraculous spring which would heal his daughter. After this event, a church was built and years later pagans sought to destroy it by diverting rivers toward it. Michael struck the ground with his staff and a chasm opened to gather the raging water. We have daily encounters with our Guardian Angel in a much less dramatic and hidden manner. Always remember he is at our side.
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 Paisios on Judgement… “We rush to judgment when we act based on logic. Only our brain is working, and this is the result. It would be good for those who have great minds if God took a screwdriver and turned the screws of these good minds a bit. The less logic works, the more Grace comes and fills our minds. When I say “mind”, I mean human judgment, egoism and self-confidence. From the moment we acknowledge that we may not have the right judgment and say, “I risk making mistakes because my judgment is simply logical and lacks divine enlightenment; I should not use it anymore,” God will enlighten us. We will be able to discriminate and truly discern right from wrong. The devil makes bright people useless when they judge according to appearance.16 When we have only the human element in our nature, we judge based only on human standards and have therefore, committed a crime. Only when this human element disappears will our judgment become divine. A judgment based only on secular criteria is a wrong judgment. There is so much injustice in this world! People are tempted and scandalised all the time! This is why, if you want to ensure a good state for your soul, your thoughts must always be good. Human beings are a mystery! It is so difficult to know the inner self of the other person, to know what is on his mind!” – ‘With Pain and Love’
Prayer: O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.
St. Nikolai on Cleansing Man’s Nature… “In order for the old to pass and for the new to come; for the rust to turn into shiny steel; for the heaps of dirt accumulated on mankind to be cast into the abyss, for all this a power was required, a power that is beyond human, along with an inconceivably great love for creatures that were despised even by themselves. There was no such power, or love, or courage on earth. It had to come from the heavens. And it came. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3: 16). Thus the Son of God came down from heavens, “God’s power and God’s wisdom” in order to revive the deadened world by His love. The earth shook twice because of Christ’s love. First, when He died on the cross in His torments in order to redeem mankind from sin and death. Second, when, having liberated the prisoners of Hades, He resurrected in splendor and glory. Those two quakes happened and passed. But the quaking of human hearts caused by His fiery love has gone on, initially through the first battalion of His apostles and myrrh-bearers and then through the armies of His followers throughout the ages and all over the world. Aflame with the love of Christ, His former persecutor exclaimed concerning the loss of former things, “and I do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (Phil. 3: 8).” – ‘Missionary Letters Vol 2′
Prayer: Holy angel of the Lord by guardian, pray to God for me.
Elder St. Porphyrios on Sanctifying Our Prayers… “Effort is required. For we have to wrestle against the rulers of the darkness of this age. We have to wrestle with the roaring lion. We cannot allow the devious enemy to prevail in the struggle. This presupposes tears, repentance, prayer, almsgiving and entreaties in conjunction with trust in Christ and not being of little faith. Only Christ can free us from the shackles of solitude. Prayer, repentance and almsgiving: give at least a glass of water if you don’t have money. And you may know that the more you are sanctified, the more your prayers are heard’.” – ‘Wounded by Love’
Prayer: Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
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 St Paisius on Worldly Attachments… “Ingratitude and greed are evils. A person that is possessed by material things is always possessed by worries and anxiety. He trembles at the thought that he may lose both his belongings and his soul…People’s lives are sheer misery because they do not keep things simple. Most of the conveniences we have cause difficulties. Those who live in the world often drown in abundance. They have filled their lives with gadgets and conveniences and have only succeeded in making their lives difficult. As long as we do not simplify things, even one convenience will give birth to a host of difficulties.” – ‘With Pain and Love”
Prayer: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (3X)
Elder Paisios on Accepting Trials… “There can be no sorrow when we face our trials spiritually, because when a person places himself properly, that is, spiritually, everything changes. If we place the bitterness of our pain on sweet Jesus, the bitterness and the poisons turn into honey. If one understands the mysteries of spiritual life and the mystical way in which God works, he ceases worrying over what happens to him, because he accepts joyfully the bitter medicines that God gives him for the health of his soul. Such a person considers everything to be the result of his prayer, since he constantly asks from God to purify his soul. But when people face their tribulations in a worldly manner, they are tormented.” – ‘Family Life’
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.