Daily Devotional for January 26 – February 1
Romans 12: Brethren: Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not]want.
2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
3 He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad therein.
*Quote from Orthodox Elders this week
Elder St Paisios on Humility…
“Keep in mind that we have nothing of our own. God has given us everything; whatever we have is God’s. Only the sins are ours. If we do not humble ourselves, spiritual laws will be in constant effect for us, until our ego caves in. May God grant that this happens before death takes us. If someone is not in tune with himself, he won’t be able to understand anything, and nothing will help him or benefit him.”
– ‘Family Life’
Blessed by the name of the Lord from henceforth and forever more.
Elder Anthimos+ on Hidden Saints…
“In our day, I assure you, that many saints will come out of the big cities, from within the apartment buildings, the noise, the pollution and the agony of earthly cares. There are charismatic people who do violence to their nature and live a virtuous life more than some ascetics who live in the desert. To them the saying applies: ‘It is not the place which sanctifies, but the manner of life.’ You see, forcefulness of the body breaks the bonds of sin and frees the intellect. It allows it to fly near the throne of God’s unapproachable glory, and to rejoice with the joy of the Angels.”
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.
Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi on the Need for Temptations…
“That is the reason why the phase of the various temptations exists. Our corrupted image has distorted the faculties of our intellect. Therefore the decrees “be holy for I am holy” (A Peter 1, 16) and “be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5, 48) must become our absolute duty. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14, 22) and justifiably “a righteous man may have many troubles” (Psalms34, 19). It is through the violent struggle against the irrational laws which affect our corrupted body, that we convince the restoring grace to reform us. That is the reason why our Fathers have embraced the love for hard work even to an extent well beyond their own ability. They have grasped the meaning of the saying: “if we died with him we will also live with him” (B Timothy 2, 11) and have truly nullified their bodily members. Thus they became worthy of wearing the image of the divine. They have learnt by experience that before they enter life they must go through Golgotha. Therefore, they did not allow their tired feet to walk the broad and easy road, but they followed the narrow and steep path throughout their lives in order to reach their Savior Christ, who had died and risen for them.”
‘Practical Repentance and its Fruits’
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 St Paisios on Accepting Injustice…
“When we are wronged and we accept this injustice, then in fact we gain. For example, am I wrongfully accused of having committed a crime and imprisoned unjustly? That’s fine. My conscience is clear since I have not committed that crime, and on top of that, I have a heavenly reward. Is there a greater benevolence? I don’t complain to God; instead, I glorify God, “How can I thank you, my Lord, that I didn’t commit that crime? If I had, I wouldn’t have been able to bear the pangs of remorse.” That’s when jail can become Paradise. Has someone struck me unjustly? “Glory be to you, O Lord! Perhaps I may be able to pay off a sin; I, too, had once struck someone.” Have I been insulted unjustly? “Glory be to Thee, O Lord! I accept it out of love for You; for You, too, were struck and slandered for me.””
~ ‘Spiritual Struggle’
Prayer: O give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.
St Tikhon of Moscow on Seeing Our Sin…
“Unfortunately, brethren, we do not like to acknowledge our transgressions. It would seem natural and easy for a person to know his own self, his own soul and his shortcomings. This, however, is actually not so. We are ready to attend to anything but a deeper understanding of ourselves, an investigation of our sins. We examine various things with curiosity, we attentively study friends and strangers, but when faced with solitude without extraneous preoccupation even for a short while, we immediately become bored and attempt to seek amusement. For example, do we spend much time examining our own conscience even before confession? Perhaps a few minutes, and once a year at that. Casting a cursory glance at our soul, correcting some of its more glaring faults, we immediately cover it over with the veil of oblivion until next year, until our next uncomfortable exercise in boredom. Yet we love to observe the sins of others. Not considering the beam in our own eye, we take notice of the mote in our brother’s eye.”
~ Homily During Lent
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 Ephraim of Arizona on Remembering Death…
“When the remembrance of death is diligently meditated upon, it provides great strength in the beginning when one ineffective then, for every mouth shall be silenced with no excuse. We should ponder these things and other such things so that we can trace out more clearly what kind of goal we have and so that we can run as quickly as possible to obtain it, for we do not know what tomorrow holds. The time of death is unknown. Only good deeds done for God will remain and will follow man beyond death. And what is better than working for God all one’s life so those dwelling in them will tell you: ‘For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?’”
– ‘Counsels from the Holy Mountain’
We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify Thee, we give thanks to Thee for they great glory.