Monday, January 26, 2009

The Morning Offering

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him forever!
The Morning Offering
Monday,  January 26 / January 13 (Church Calendar)

Saints of the Day:

January 13 / 26. Afterfeast of the Theophany. Martyrs Hermylus and Stratonicus at Belgrade. Martyr Peter of Anium, at Hierapolis.St. James, Bishop of Nisibis. Martyr Athanasius. Martyrs Pachomius and Papyrinus in Greece. St. Maximus of Kavsokalyvia Sketeon Mt. Athos. St. Irinarch of Rostov. St. Eleazar of Anzersk Island at Solovki. St. Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers.

Scripture Readings for the Day:

1 Peter 2:21-3:9 (New King James Version)

21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
       22 " Who committed no sin,
      Nor was deceit found in His mouth";

 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

1 Peter 3

Submission to Husbands
 1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.
A Word to Husbands
7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.
Called to Blessing
8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

Mark 12:13-17 (New King James Version)

The Pharisees: Is It Lawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar?
13 Then they sent to Him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians, to catch Him in His14 When they had come, they said to Him, "Teacher, we know that You are true, and care about no one; for You do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?"
But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, "Why do you test Me? Bring Me a denarius that I may see it." 16 So they brought it.
And He said to them, "Whose image and inscription is this?" They said to Him, "Caesar's."
17 And Jesus answered and said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
And they marveled at Him.

Thought for the Day:

What is the goal of the Church, and what do we do that makes us move toward this goal? Is our experience of the Orthodox Church simply one of culture, perhaps Greek, Russia, Serbian?  Is our experience one of focusing on the form, rather than the essence of Orthodoxy? Our human nature will take that which is good, and spoil it, because our nature is to be in control, perpetuating a neurotic way of dealing with our feelings and emotions, and even our spiritual life. We are living in an age where everything is in a constant state of flux, and where people are in constant pursuit of pleasure. Given the state of our world, it is easy to approach our life in the Church in a state of neurosis. But the truth is, you can't live the Orthodox life in egocentricity.

The good news is found in the very nature of the Church, herself! The Church is NOT a religious institution. The Church is a living organism, and hospital of the soul, wherein one finds wholeness and healing. When we give ourselves over to the life changing, and life giving, grace that abounds within the Arch of the Church, we can find true happiness, and lasting peace. It is only when we treat the Church as though it were a religious institution, that we remain sick, neurotic, self-centered cripples. 

The goal of the Church is to bring healing to the human heart. Her priests are those who sought out healing for themselves, and, in the process, became the Church's therapists. When we give ourselves over to the Holy Mysteries  (or Sacraments), the Holy Scriptures, and the reading of the sayings of the Church Fathers, and the lives of the saints, we are availing ourselves to the transformational power of the Church. Each time we confess our sins, receive communion, and otherwise attend to our spiritual selves, we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts, and a transformation takes place. But if we use the Church simply as a cultural fix, we become Pharisees, and bring spiritual stagnation, or even spiritual death, upon ourselves.

Photo of the Day:

Hierodeacon Paul celebrated his names day on Friday, the 23rd of January. He is named after  Saint Paul of Obnora, a famed disciple of St. Sergius of Radonezh, who was born at Moscow in the year 1317.

Monastery's website:

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