Tuesday, January 4, 2011

 Koshin Christopher Cain, Abbot of the Puget Sound Zen Center,  and his wife, Soshin Lidunn, visited with Abbot Tryphon, in the Monastery's library.
January 4, 2011 / December 22, 2010
33rd Week after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Nativity (St. Philip's Fast). By Monastic Charter: Food without Oil
Forefeast of the Nativity of Christ.
Great-martyr Anastasia of Rome, deliverer from bonds, and her teacher Martyr Chrysogonus, and with them martyrs Theodota, Evodias, Eutychianus, and others who suffered under Diocletian (304).
New Hieromartyrs Demetrius and Theodore priests (1938).
Martyr Zoilus (Greek).

Quote for the Day:

Christmas Message
of His Holiness Patriarch KIRILL of Moscow and All Russia
to the Archpastors, Pastors, Monastics and all the Faithful Children
of the Russian Orthodox Church
Your Eminences the archpastors, honourable fathers,
venerable monks and nuns, dear brothers and sisters!
On this present light-bearing night we again spiritually relive the joy of the world’s finding of its Saviour. Again in our thoughts we gaze upon the Son of the Living God who lies in a manger of the cave of Bethlehem. Again we hear in our hearts the voice of the angels giving praise to the Creator and Redeemer: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men’ (Lk. 2:14).
As we listen attentively to the powers of heaven, we realize that Christ’s Nativity is filled with an extra-temporal meaning and has a direct bearing upon the destiny of each human person. Even he who does not know of the Saviour’s feat may now acquire the knowledge of the Truth, become a son of God and inherit life eternal. Christ’s Nativity reveals to us the truth about ourselves and makes it possible for us to understand and assimilate this truth.
Let us recall that the first man was made by the Creator as perfect ‘in the image and likeness of God’ (see: Gen. 1:26). Yet Adam transgressed the commandment and distorted the Creator’s intention for him. Deprived of a living communion with God, humanity buried itself evermore into the abyss of sin and pride. And then the Lord, in loving his creation and desiring salvation for it, sends into the world his Only-begotten Son, who restored the integrity of human nature and became the New Adam. Christ has shown to us an example of life conforming to the divine plan for the human person. This example is a reliable guide, which enables us not to depart from the way and to find only true direction leading to the fullness of life in both the conditions of our earthly existence and in eternity.
We progress along this saving path when we respond to the calls of God. One such call directed towards us is contained in the Epistle of St. Paul: ‘glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s’ (1 Cor. 6:20). This means that we render praise to God not only in our prayers and hymns but also through good deeds for the benefit of our neighbour, people and Church.
This labour becomes a joyous labour in the name of Christ; it genuinely transforms the world around us and ourselves. People achieve a sense of togetherness when they work not by compulsion and not for the sake of gain but when moved by the sincere desire to do good and useful deeds. It is in this way that we serve the Creator together by embodying his will in our lives. The Greek word leitourgia (‘liturgy’) is translated as ‘common cause.’ Our entire lives should become a Liturgy, a common prayer and cause accomplished so that God’s plan for the world and human person may be embodied in life and so that we can thereby give glory and praise to the Creator. This demands from us solidarity with our brothers and sisters in faith and even with those who have not yet found the Lord in their heart yet, like the Magi of the Gospels, find themselves on the path towards him.
The importance of unifying our endeavours in order to overcome tragedy and misfortune was demonstrated to us by the fires, droughts and floods of the past year in Russia and in the other countries of historical Rus’. They once more reminded us of our Christian duty to help our neighbours without regard to their beliefs, nationality and social status. During the hot summer months many people generously shared their efforts, time and material goods with those they may not even know and whom they shall ever likely see. To what purpose did they do this? Out of compassion for those to whom misfortune fell, who experienced hardship and who needed help.
Public solidarity and joint labours for the attainment of common goals are impossible without overcoming selfishness, without forcing oneself to do good, without the renunciation of exclusive attention to our needs and interests. At the foundation of true ‘unity of the Spirit’ (Eph. 4:3) there lies the law of love bequeathed to us by the Saviour. National unity cannot be limited to merely times of trials. It has to become an integral part of our national self-consciousness and life.
I manifestly felt the strength of church unity during my numerous journeys to the dioceses of Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. Everywhere I saw the readiness of the bishops, clergy, monks and nuns to labour for the good of the Orthodox Church, to bring to perfection their parochial, monastery and diocesan ministries. This plants hope for a successful growth of church life in the spirit of unity and co-operation.
From the bottom of my heart, which is filled with joy, I congratulate you, Your Eminences the archpastors, honourable clergy, monks and nuns, brothers and sisters, on the great and saving feast of the Nativity of Christ and the New Year. I prayerfully wish that you be zealous executors of the will of God, bringing spiritual gifts to the Saviour of the world who has now been born so that his name be glorified always, now and forever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia
The Nativity of Christ 2010/2011

Scripture Readings for the Day:

1 Peter 3:10-22
10 For

      “ He who would love life
      And see good days,
       Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
      And his lips from speaking deceit.
       11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
       Let him seek peace and pursue it.
       12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,
       And His ears are open to their prayers;
      But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”
Suffering for Right and Wrong
13 And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
Christ’s Suffering and Ours
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. 21 There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

Mark 10:2-12
2 The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him.
And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?”
They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.
And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9
Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
10 In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. 11 So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

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