Daily Devotional for July 5 – 11
Luke 15:1 … At that time: There drewnear unto Jesus all the publicans and – sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes mur-
mured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
And he spake this parable unto them, saying, What man of you,
having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave
the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is
lost, until he find it ? And when he hath found it, he layeth it on
his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh home, he calleth
together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice
with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto
you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that
repenteth more than over ninety and nine just persons, which
need no repentance. Either what woman having ten pieces of
silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep
the house, and seel diligently till she find it? And when she hath
found it she calleth her friends and her neighbours together,
saying: Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I had
lost ? Likewise, I say unto you: There is joy in the presence of the
Angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace good will among men.
Reflections from Fr Themi…Orthodox Missionary to Africa:
June 14’s conflated gospel reading (Matthew 10:32 – 33; 37 – 38; 19: 27 – 30) has been given to us by our church as a reminder that, after celebrating Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, we as Christians are now obliged to live the life of Christ. If we expect God in all His fullness to rest among his people, then his people need to honour Him not only with worship and praise but with action. Through the father Christ came into the world. Through Christ, we receive the word. Through the Holy Spirit the word was embedded in our heart. Now, we have to live the word.
• Let us get this clear: there is no such thing as a crypto Christian. There is no such thing as a Christian fence sitter. Either you are for Christ or against him. There is no middle ground. Christ himself says who does not gather, scatters. The antithesis of gathering is, according to Christ, scattering. Simply put, you are either ” in ” or “out “.
• We if we are ” in ” then we are obliged to walk in the way of the Lord. This is no easy path – do not fool yourself.
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
Fr Themi continued…
There is no such thing as cheap salvation. You have to work and work hard every day – whether you like it or not or whether you feel like it or not – you are committed to Christ and are a soldier permanently in service. So any relationship that we may have in this world must be secondary to our relationship with Christ. My youngest grandchildren say that they love me to the stars, the moon and back. Well, they can love me that much but they must love Christ even more. Nothing, or no one, can get between us and the love of Christ.
• So, we are called to declare the son in the presence of all the world. Now, to love the son means that we deliberately declare ourselves to be the least worthy of his soldiers. This must be so because Christ emptied himself and took on the form of a servant for us. Likewise, we now need to empty ourselves of all hatred, anger, agitation, self-aggrandizement, arrogance, impatience, bitterness and disobedience. Then take on the fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In this way our training, as soldiers for Christ, prepares us for the coming battle ahead.
• Then after having done all this we must do it with the thought that we are the least worthy creatures among our fellow man. It is in that way that we place ourselves, in all humility, into the hand of the Lord and patiently await his abundant mercy.
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
A true leader is humble and looks to the great responsibility that he is taken on and not to the glory of his position for self-aggrandizement. This leader, Christ, spoke great wisdom. He lived love. His miracles spoke of his divinity for no man could do what this man did. This filled the heart of his followers with zeal and conviction which at Pentecost coalesced and turned them into men most wise thus making simple fishermen into fishers of men.
• Christ was not a just man. As Paul said in his epistle to the Romans, for scarcely would one die for a just man. But one would die for God. These disciples, apart from John the Divine, were all martyred for their faith because as fishers of men, filled with the Holy Spirit, they in their turn laid down their life for their sheep whilst walking in the footsteps of Christ.
• So, Christ calls both you and me to become fishers of men. If we are true fishers of men then we too must be repaired to lay down our life for those in our care whilst we, too, follow in the footsteps of Christ.” (Fr Themi reflection)
Glory to Jesus Christ – Glory forever!
St. Irenaeus of Lyons on Separation from God…
“God gives His communion to all who love Him. Communion with God is life and light and sweetness with all the good things that He has. But those who of their own will forsake him he rewards with separation from Him, which they themselves have chosen. As separation from light is darkness, so also alienation from God is deprivation of all good things which He has. But the good things of God are eternal and without end, so that the loss of them is eternal and without end. Thus sinners shall be the cause of their own torments, just as the blind do not see the light, although it is shining on them.”
– Against Heresies
For as many have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ…Alleluia
“The diversity of the Saints gathered in communion in the love of the Most Holy Trinity shows us the beauty of the Church…‘God is wonderful in the richness of holiness, which is shown in different nations and different times as the glory of God, who shares His holiness with those who believe in Him. The Only Holy God wishes that all humans may partake of His holiness through faith and righteous lifestyle…We have not known them as such in history. They did not show up, being humble persons…The saint only knows that he is a sinner. He who considers himself holy is an imaginary saint, not a real one. Only the One Holy God knows whether His holiness exists in people or not.”
(Patriarch Daniel of Romania on ‘unknown saints’)
Christ is in our midst – He is and always shall be
Given the growing hostility of many earthly powers to Our Lord and His Church, it is only reasonable that Christians would view such systems of social control as potential threats and strive to avoid and oppose them. But identifying the point at which faithful Christians must “refuse to accept” a new measure of control and its enabling technology is extremely difficult. Government itself is a system of social control, and yet we are obliged to obey even bad governments so long as we ourselves do not sin in doing so. Our Lord tells us to “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21). Likewise, the Holy Apostle Paul tells us, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God,” Rom. 13:1). For Orthodox Christians, there is therefore no question of a government’s “legitimacy,” whereby we are relieved of all obedience to an earthly power on account of the “illegitimacy” of its constitution or its policies. Since all governments are ordained by God for His own purposes, all governments deserve a measure of our respect, be they monarchies, democracies, or even tyrannies (as under some Roman emperors). Our practice has therefore always been to assist the State in the doing of good, to resist the State in the doing of evil, and to patiently and prayerfully suffer the State in many things beyond our power to avoid or address or even understand.”
– From ‘Parish Life’ of St. John the Baptist Cathedral
Preserve O Lord while waking and guard us while sleeping that awake we may watch with Christ and asleep we may rest in peace.