Daily Devotional for April 16 – 22
Meditation on Easter/Pascha: no one can understand the real structure of the liturgical cycle of the year
unless he understands that the center, the day that gives meaning to all days and
therefore to all time, is the yearly commemoration of Christ’s Resurrection at Pascha.
Pascha is always the end and always the beginning. We are always living after Pascha,
and we are always going towards Pascha. The whole spirit and meaning of liturgical life is
contained in Pascha, together with the subsequent fifty-day period which culminates in
the feast of Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. This unique
Paschal celebration is reflected every week in the Christian Sunday, the day which
Russians, for example, still call Voskresenie, “Resurrection.” Though it man seem
strange to you, it is important to realize that every Sunday is a little Pascha. I say “Little
Pascha,” but it is really “Great Pascha.” Every week the Church comes to the same
central experience: “Having beheld the Resurrection of Christ . . .” Every Saturday night,
when the Priest carries the Gospel from the Altar to the center of the Church, after he
has read the Gospel of the Resurrection, the same fundamental fact of our Christian
Faith is proclaimed: CHRIST IS RISEN! St. Paul says, “If Christ has not been raised
then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (I Cor. 15:14). There is nothing
else to believe. This is the heart of our Faith; and it is only the reference to Pascha, as
the end of all merely natural time and the beginning of the new time, that we can
understand the whole liturgical year.
Prayer: Christ is Risen….Truly He is Risen!
*Sub Tuum Praesidium
“I would like to comment on what Elder Ephraim the spiritual professor has taught on the subject of prayer. Those things he described from his own personal experience do not always happen to everyone because all do not have the same personal character. The elder has said that when one is saying the Prayer, he feels Divine Grace, tears come any general godly zeal awakens. The beginning stages are indeed the same but if the results are not as described this does not mean that some mistake or failure has occurred. Our part is to persevere; Grace will act in each person according to his character and intent. The tears are certainly of Grace but not always the same way since usually the weeping is born of pain and affliction welling up from man’s shame.”
Elder Joseph of Vatopedi ~Obedience is Life
Prayer: O Heavenly King, Comforter, Spirit of Truth, Who art everywhere present and fillest all things, Treasury of good things and Giver of life: Come and dwell in us, and cleanse us of all impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.
“Christ recommends not an earthly but a heavenly example of love to His own, “If you keep My commandments you shall abide in my love; even as I have My Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” All of His commandments are summed up in one – to love. All the other commandments such as those concerning prayer, mercy, humility, purity, long-suffering, sacrifice, courage, carefulness, forgiveness, vigilance, joy, etc. are only individual beams of love. He requires the queen of all virtues will acquire all the Queens maidens as well.”
St. Nikolai Velimirovich ~Missionary Letter #2
Prayer: Holy angel of the Lord by guardian, pray to God for me.
“Do you want the prayer inside you? Do you want to find Christ? Well, you will find it here with the people we are working with. Do you hear them chatting idly, joking and laughing? Be careful as much as you can not to imitate them or to say to yourself “What kind of people are they?” And, to condemn them. You will be silent, do you work on your own and constantly say the Prayer. Then you will see what prayer you will find while working here in the mountain, while you’re killing yourself at work.”
Prayer: Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed by Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
“I however, feel that I am the most sinful person in the world. Of course, whatever I remembered I confessed, and I know God has forgiven me. But now I have the feeling that my spiritual sins are very many and I ask all those who have known me to pray for me…I always made the effort to pray, to read the hymns of the Church, the Holy Scriptures and the Lives of the Saints. May you do the same.”
St. Porphyrios of Kavsokalyvia ~Final Letter in 1991
Prayer: O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, blot out our sins. O Master, pardon our iniquities. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.
… “We must think about what Christ has prepared for us, in the good good Paradise, after the Second Coming. Now we go to the narthex of Paradise, but it cannot enter the mind of man what the good good Paradise is like. All light! All fragrance! Joy unspeakable! Blessedness! Nothing will grow old! Christ wants everything new in His Kingdom. Nothing odd. My mother died at 95 years old and I see her in Paradise at thirty years old.”
Elder Ephraim of Arizona ~2014 Interview
Prayer: Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us. (3X)
“When you see the contrary spirit approaching you to take hold of you do not be afraid; neither look at it nor attempt to expel it from within you. What do you do? The best thing is contempt. Open your arms to Christ like a little child that sees a wild beast approaching and is not afraid because his father is at his side: he throws himself into his father’s embrace. That is how to deal with every attack of the evil one and with every evil thought – with contempt.”
Elder Prophyrios ~Wounded by Love
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, both now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.