Daily Devotional for June 21-27
1 John 4:8…
Let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In
this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God
sent his only-begotten Son into the world, that we might live
through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that
he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God
dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we
that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his
Spirit. And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the
Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess that
Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.
God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and
God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have
boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this
world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear:
because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in
love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
Prayer: O Gentle Light of the holy glory of the immortal, heavenly, holy, blessed Father, O Jesus Christ: Having come to the setting of the sun, having beheld the evening light, we praise the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: God. Meet it is for Thee at all times to be hymned with reverent voices, O Son of God, Giver of life. Wherefore, the world doth glorify Thee.
*Eastern Vesper Hymn
“Between saintliness and vice there is a bridge, not an abyss. The saintliest and the meanest men have still common ground for brotherhood. Your sins are my sins, my sins are your sins. That is the starting-point for a practical and lucid Christianity. I cannot be clean as long as you are not clean. I cannot be happy as long as you are unhappy. I cannot enter Heaven as long as you are in Hell. What does that mean? It means that you and I are blended together for eternity, and that your effort to separate yourselves from me is disastrous for you and for me. As long as you look to the greatest sinner in the world and say: ‘God, I thank thee that I am not as that man,’ you are far from Christ and the Kingdom of God. God wants not one good man only, He wants a Kingdom of good men. If ninety-nine of us are good and saintly but one of our brothers is far from our solace and support, in sin and darkness, be sure God is not among us ninety-nine, but He has gone to find our brother whom we have lost and forgotten. Will you follow him or will you stand self-sufficient? Never has there existed in the world such a social power binding man to man and commanding each to take and bear the other’s sorrows as Christianity did. Your sins are my sins, my sins are your sins. ” – ‘Missionary Letters Vol. 3’ (St. Nikolai)
Prayer: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
“So much that is put in front of us is so rich, and yet we don’t slow down our hearts enough and
our minds enough to take delight in the abundance of what surrounds us. The more you exercise
yourself in seeing the gift that these things are, the more obvious the gifts become.
Let us take, for example, the Holy Liturgy. It is a familiar friend to us, we know it well, we experience it often. But how different it is when we open our eyes to the ineffable beauty of what is in front of us. This is the mystery of heaven and earth intermingling! When you walk into the temple, as soon as you feel your foot hit the floor of the temple—every time—let that be the bell in your head that causes you to remember that this is not just another building. There is something astonishing in it, and I am being allowed to set my foot into a place where God Himself chooses to dwell, where God makes Himself manifest to people who need Him; and I’m allowed to just walk in, as if it were my house. Let us take a moment to be astonished by that, every time we walk in.
As you cross that threshold from the narthex into the main church, to remind yourself that for many centuries, in the life of our Church, people weren’t allowed beyond that threshold. It was barred off, and we still remind ourselves of it in the liturgy: ‘The doors! the doors! Close the doors to the unillumined!’ And here, we not only walk freely into the temple but even into the heart of the temple. We say in the prayers before Holy Communion, 1 will not speak of Thy Mysteries to Thine enemies,’ but here we’re allowed not just to speak of these things but to see them, to feel them, to touch them, to taste them; and to remind ourselves that this is an awesome thing, just walking into the temple.”
– Talk by Bishop Irenei of Western Europe
Prayer: Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: have mercy upon us. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world: have mercy upon us. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, grant us peace.
Elder St Paisios on Consolation…
“God looks closely at the tribulations of His children and gives them consolation as a good Father. After all, do you think that God wants to see His children suffering? He is aware of all of the tribulations, all of the tears, and later, He compensates. Only God provides true consolation during sorrows. This is why a person who doesn’t believe in the true life, who doesn’t believe in God to ask for His mercy during times of tribulation, is a person full of
of despair and one whose life has no meaning. Such a person not only always remains without assistance, without consolation and tormented in this life, but also condemns his soul eternally.
But spiritual people, who face all their hardships while remaining close to Christ, do not have sorrows of their own. As they gather the many bitter experiences of others, they also gather the abundant love of God.
– ‘Family Life’
Prayer: O Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance. Grant victory over their enemies to Orthodox Christians, and protect Thy people with Thy Cross.
“It has been said of the 16th Century Western European religious climate, that the prevailing attitude was a conviction that man is so sinful that it would be nearly impossible for God to forgive him. We are now at the other extreme, as it seems to be the prevailing attitude that human beings are faultless and have no need of forgiveness. They might say that even if there are failings, it is the parents, the culture or other external influences that are to blame. We have a “no fault” attitude when it comes to sin. There are many who say that they have no need of confession because they have no sins. There are some who come to confession because it is the rule and requirement for receiving Holy Communion and they might even say that they have no sins. This of course is spiritual blindness and hardness of heart. This neutralizes the power and force of the mystery of confession. Anyone who can say that they have no sins is surely insensitive and blind to the reality of their lives. In the end we do ourselves no favors if we pass by this wonderful mystery of the Church. We should remember that the fathers tell us that the sins that are not confessed (and not repented of), are not forgiven.”
(Fr Joseph, ‘The Talanton’ monastery newsletter)
Prayer: O my God relying on Thy infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.
*Act of Hope
Elder St Paisios on Welcoming Slander…
“It is good that you told me! From now on, I will pray for others not to ever have a good opinion about you, for this will be to your benefit, my good child. God provides for people to wrong us or tell us some disturbing word that may help us redeem some debt of sin or to add to our treasure in Heaven. I cannot understand what you expect the spiritual life to be. You have not yet come to realize what is to your spiritual benefit, and you expect to be paid in full here; you leave nothing for Heaven. Why do you see things this way? What are you reading?”
~ ‘Spiritual Struggle’
Prayer: O my God I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all-good and worthy of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.
*Act of Contrition
“…that soon after an occasion of becoming angry I am reminded of what it would be like if Christ were to return for me now. The anger always leaves at that very moment. The vividness of this experience opened my eyes to the practical implications of our Lord’s teaching on His Second Coming. When He comes again, when He comes for us, we will be judged in the state that we are found. If the master of the house would have known when the thief was coming, he would have prevented the robbery (c/Mt 24:43-44), but as it was he was robbed in the state he was found. If the servants would have known when the master of the house was coming, they would have been ready to receive him instead of partying (c/Mt 24:45-51); they will be judged as they are found when the master returns. The five foolish virgins should have had oil, but they are judged in the state they are found, as are the wise virgins “(c/Mt 25:1-13).
– ‘Burning Bush’ of Dormition of the Mother of God
Prayer: O my God I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. (Act of Charity)