Orthodox Daily Devotional for March 15-21
1 Thessalonians 4:1 We beseech you, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his Holy Spirit.
Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace good will among men.
The Philokalia for Lent…
When a person is so sick and weak that his body cannot accept food and drink, he is reduced to despair and becomes a living image of death, and his friends and relatives mourn over him. Similarly, God and the angels mourn and are full of sorrow for souls incapable of absorbing celestial nourishment. But if you become God’s throne and He Himself takes His seat on it; if your whole soul is a spiritual eye, all light; if you nourish yourself on the sustenance of the Spirit and drink living water and the spiritual wine that rejoices the heart (cf. Ps. 104:15); if you clothe your soul in ineffable light – if inwardly you attain experience and full assurance of all these things, then you will live the truly eternal life, reposing in Christ while still in this present world. If you have not yet attained this state or have not started to acquire it, you should weep bitterly and lament because you still do not as yet possess such riches; and you should constantly be mindful of your poverty and should pray because of it. But even the man who has attained this state should still be aware of his dearth lest, as though sated with divine riches, he becomes negligent. As the Lord says, he who seeks will find and to him who knocks it will be opened (cf. Matt. 7:8).
(St Makarios of Egypt)
Prayer: May the Strength of God guide us. May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us. May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us. May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Angels of God guard us. – Against the snares of the evil one.
Prayer for the Faithful of St. Patrick Part 1
God has done all things for our benefit. We are guarded and taught by the angels; we are tempted by the demons so that we may be humbled and have recourse to God, thus being saved from self-elation and delivered from negligence. On the one hand, we are led to give thanks to our Benefactor through the good things of this world, by which I mean health, prosperity, strength, rest, joy, light, spiritual knowledge, riches, progress in all things, a peaceful life, the enjoyment of honors, authority, abundance and all the other supposed blessings of this life. We are led to love Him and to do what good we can, because we feel we have a natural obligation to repay God for His gifts to us by performing good works. It is of course impossible to repay Him, for our debt always grows larger. On the other hand, through what are regarded as hardships we attain a state of patience, humility and hope of blessings in the age to be; and by these so-called hardships I mean such things as illness, discomfort, tribulation, weakness, unsought distress, darkness, ignorance, poverty, general misfortune, the fear of loss, dishonor, affliction, indigence, and so on. Indeed, not only in the age to be, but even in this present age these things are a source of great blessing to us.
(St Peter of Damascus)
May Christ be with us! May Christ be before us! May Christ be in us, Christ be over all!
May Thy Grace, Lord, Always be ours, This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.
Prayer for the Faithful of St. Patrick Part 2
If some shameful thought is sown in your heart as you are sitting in your cell, watch out. Resist the evil, so that it does not gain control over you. Make every effort to call God to mind, for He is looking at you, and whatever you are thinking in your heart is plainly visible to Him. Say to your soul: ‘If you are afraid of sinners like yourself seeing your sins, how much more should you be afraid of God who notes everything?’ As a result of this warning the fear of God will be revealed in your soul, and if you cleave to Him you will not be shaken by the passions; for it is written: ‘They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion; he that dwells in Jerusalem shall never be shaken’ (Ps. 125:1. LXX). Whatever you are doing, remember that God sees all your thoughts, and then you will never sin. To Him be glory through all the ages. Amen.
(Isaiah the Solitary)
Glory to Jesus Christ – Glory forever!
To have faith is to die for Christ and for His commandments; to believe that this death brings life; to regard poverty as wealth, and lowliness and humiliation as true glory and honor; to believe that by not possessing anything one possesses everything (cf. 2 Cor. 6:9-10) or, rather, that not possessing anything is to possess the ‘unsearchable riches’ of the knowledge of Christ (Eph. 3:8); and to look upon all visible things as dross and smoke. To have faith in Christ means not only to stand aloof from the delights of this life, but also to endure patiently every temptation and test that brings upon us distress, affliction and misfortune, for as long as God wishes and until He comes to us. ‘I waited patiently for the Lord and He heard me’ (Ps. 40:1).
(St Symeon the New Theologian)
For as many have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ…Alleluia
When chanting psalms, do this in a low voice, with your intellect fully attentive: do not allow any phrase to go uncomprehended. Should anything escape your understanding, begin the verse again, and repeat this as many times as necessary, until your intellect grasps what is being said. For the intellect can attend to the chanting and simultaneously can recollect God. You may learn this from everyday experience: you can meet and speak with someone and also focus your eyes on him. Similarly, you can chant psalms and focus on God through recollectedness.
Do not neglect prostration. It provides an image of man’s fall into sin and expresses the confession of our sinfulness. Getting up, on the other hand, signifies repentance and the promise to lead a life of virtue. Let each prostration be accompanied by a noetic invocation of Christ, so that by falling before the Lord in soul and body you may gain the grace of the God of souls and bodies.
To dispel sleep and indolence while practicing mental prayer you may occupy your hands with some quiet task, for this, too, contributes to the ascetic struggle. All such tasks when accompanied by prayer quicken the intellect, banish listlessness, give youthful vigor to the soul, and render the intellect more prompt and eager to devote itself to mental work.
(Metropolitan Theoliptos of Philadelphia)
Christ is in our midst – He is and always shall be
He who loves God will certainly love his neighbor as well. Such a person cannot hoard money, but distributes it in a way befitting God, being generous to everyone in need. He who gives alms in imitation of God does not discriminate between the wicked and the virtuous, the just and the unjust, when providing for men’s bodily needs. He gives equally to all according to their need, even though he prefers the virtuous man to the bad man because of the probity of his intention.
(St Maximos the Confessor)
Preserve O Lord while waking and guard us while sleeping that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace.