Daily Devotional for March 7-13
*This week excerpts from modern elders…
Elder Joseph the Hesychast on Humility…
“Where is your humility when you feel and say that everyone wrongs you and that only you are good? Humility is, when the other person is at fault, for us to do a metanoia to him saying, “Forgive me, my brother, I am sorry!” before he has time to seek forgiveness. This should not seem difficult and burdensome to you. It is nothing in comparison to what Christ the Master did for us. Before the angels He stooped down and did a metanoia from heaven to earth; “He bowed the heavens and came down” — God to men! Whereas you turn the world upside-down so that you don’t say one “sorry”! So then, where is your humility? When you humble yourself, everyone will seem saintly to you; when you are proud, everyone will seem bothersome and bad.”
This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad therein.
St Tikhon of Moscow on Forgiveness”…
…we will approach the sacrament of Penance and ask the Lord to forgive our sins, which forgiveness will be granted us only if we ourselves forgive each other. “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”(Matt. 6) Yet it is said to be extremely difficult to forgive discourtesy and to forget disrespect. Perhaps our selfish nature finds it truly difficult to forgive disrespect, even though in the words of the Holy Fathers it is easier to forgive than to seek revenge. Yet everything in us that is good is not accomplished easily, but with difficulty, compulsion and effort. “The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.”(Matt. 11. 12) For this reason we should not be discouraged at the difficulty of this pious act, but should rather seek the means to its fulfillment. The Holy Church offers many means towards this end, and of them we will dwell on the one which most corresponds to the forthcoming season of repentance. “Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions and not to judge my brother.” The source of forgiving our neighbors, of not judging them, is included in seeing (acknowledging) our sins.”
Blessed by the name of the Lord from henceforth and forever more.
Elder St Paisios on Self Deception…
“When someone lulls to sleep his self-accusing thoughts, he represses his conscience. And when one lulls to sleep, or refuses to acknowledge these self-accusations from his conscience for a long period of time, he creates another, his own a la carte conscience, that is, a faulty conscience. But such a person has no inner peace, because a faulty conscience cannot bring about inner peace. You see, even when someone makes a mistake and another person tells him, “It’s not your fault, why are you worried?”, or even if he pretends not to have noticed his mistake, again, he will not find any inner peace. There are some who go to consult certain gurus, and so on, and when they realize that things are not going well, they will come to ask me. And while I tell them something to help them, they still insist, “No, what I believe is correct.” “But if what you believe is correct, then why do you come and ask me?” Even though they are not at peace with what is wrong, they insist and keep on trying to find a false peace one way or another, but they cannot find true peace.”
~ ‘Spiritual Struggle’
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 the Hesychast on Remembering Death…
“…blessed is he who remembers his death day and night and pro pares himself to meet it. For it has a habit of coming joyfully to those who wait for it, but it arrives unexpectedly, bitterly, and harshly for those who do not expect it. Therefore, my son, you, too, should reflect on the false hood, the illusion of this deceiving world, and with the help of God’s grace, be careful never to sin. For this deceiving world pushes everyone to be by its side. And if it is able to catch them in its nets, it will have them as its own forever! For men deceive and are deceived. As mortals, they work on their mortal affairs. But you, day and night listen to the divine voice within you: ‘Do not love the world, all the deceit of the world, for it passes by quickly along with all its pleasures. Only he who does the will of God remains unto the ages’.”
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 Epiphanios on the ‘Truth’…
“Because the truth is most certainly one; truths cannot be many in number. The thing is, who is the possessor of the truth? That is the major question. Hence, it is not a matter of a better or worse belief! It is a matter of the only true belief! I agree, that other beliefs also have moral teachings. Naturally, Christianity’s moral teachings are incomparably superior. But, we do not believe in Christ because of His moral teachings. Or for His prompting to “Love one another”, or for His sermons on peace and justice, freedom and equality. We believe in Christ, because His presence on earth was accompanied by supernatural events, which was a sign that He is God. : Either Christ is an incarnate God, in which case, He is indeed, only then, the most ethical, the holiest and noblest personage of mankind, or, He is not an incarnate God, in which case, He cannot possibly be any of these. In fact, if Christ is not God, then we are talking about the most horrible, the most atrocious and the most despicable existence in the history of mankind.”
Prayer: O give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.
“It is a long journey to that Kingdom. The word “journey” has been very overused in the past few decades throughout Orthodox North America. It has most often been the way people describe how they found the Church and were ultimately baptized/chrismated into the Orthodox Faith. But that is not the end of the journey! Our journey is our entire life. Sometimes the road is smooth and often it is rocky and hard to travel. There are signs along the way telling us, warning us, encouraging us.
The Lord gives us everything we need during our life that will bring us to His heavenly Kingdom, our one desired fatherland. Like all children, sometimes we listen and heed His counsel, and sometimes we are obstinate in wanting things that are harmful to us or lead us away from the right path. We take our own detours from the main road. Sometimes those detours again bring us back to the right path. Sometimes they turn out to be truly a dead end.”
~ Sisterhood of Holy Protection Monastery, ‘The Veil’
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 Cleopa+ on Holy Tradition…
“Just as people were guided in the knowledge of God and on the path of salvation by Holy Tradition alone (that is, by a living voice—oral tradition) during the period of time before the books of the Old Testament were written, so were the people similarly guided before books of the New Testament were written. Holy Tradition was the guide by which the first Christians were directed to the path of salvation. The first Person to bring the teachings of the New Testament with a living voice to the ears of the people was our Saviour Jesus Christ Himself, Who taught the people continually for three and a half years, spreading His Gospel without writing any of it down. Inasmuch as He was fulfilling His obedience to His Father, He did not send His Apostles to write the Gospel, but rather to preach it to the whole world, saying: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Mat. 28:19-20). From its establishment in (33 AD) until the year 44 AD, when the Holy Apostle Matthew wrote the first Gospel, the Church was governed without the Scriptures of the New Testament, but by Holy Tradition, only part of which was later recorded. Although there were many other writers who were considered inspired and faithful scribes of the Apostles, it is the Church which did or did not recognize them, for She is unerring. The Church lived the truth of the Gospel even before anything was committed to writing, having lived by Holy Tradition from the outset.
Thus, Holy Tradition is this: the source and the root of the two Testaments—the Old and the New—and this is why we call it a source of Holy Revelation, for it carries the same weight as Holy Scripture.”
We praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify Thee, we give thanks to Thee for they great glory.