Saturday, January 29, 2011

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January 29, 2011 / January 16, 2011
36th Week after Pentecost. Tone two.
Veneration of the Precious Chains of the Holy and All-glorious Apostle Peter.
Blessed Maximus of Totma (Vologda), fool-for-Christ (1650).
New HieromartyrJohn priest (1919).
Martyrs the brothers Speusippus, Eleusippus, and Meleusippus, their grandmother Leonilla, and with them Neon, Turbo, and the woman Jonilla (Jovilla), in Cappadocia (ca. 161-180).
Martyr Danax the Reader in Macedonia (2nd c.).
Venerable Romilos, monk of Mt. Athos and Ravanica (Serbia) (1375), disciple of St. Gregory of Sinai, and with him Sts. Nestor, Martinius, Daniel, Sisoes, Zosimas, and Gregory (Greek).
New Hieromartyr Damascene of Hilandar on Mt. Athos and Gabrovo (Bulgaria) (1771) (Greek).
St. Honoratus, archbishop of Aries and founder of Lerins Monastery (429).
St. Sigebert, king of the East Angles, martyr (635) (Celtic & British).
St. Fursey of Burgh Castle, enlightener of East Anglia and Langy (650) (Celtic & British).
St. James of Tarentaise (429).
New Martyr Nicholas of Mitylene (1777).

Quote for the Day:

"My fathers, we have said only a few things today, by way of an introduction to what prayer is, how we experience it as it progresses and where we ought to reach.  Why has God called us?  So that we shall become gods.  Tell me, then, if we achieve anything else whatsoever but fail in this, have we actually done anything at all?  Our monastery will be a legal entity all right, but it won't be a monastery, it won't be one of God's mansions, it won't be a school for souls, it won't be a dwelling-place for God, nor a bosom to welcome the Holy Trinity.  And we, fore our part, shall merely exist.  We'll row the boat but not achieve anything and not make any progress.  We'll be stuck, still moored to the land by the "painter" of the flesh.  We are, in truth, called upon to become such as He has said.

This is why I'm asking you to tell me what we achieve if we don't do this?  IN my view, nothing!  Let's conduct our struggle with ourselves, with our passions, with our ascetic discipline, for our vigils, our fasting and for anything else.  Let us desire God, let's teach our souls to train, to take wing one day, in the hope that the Lord will count us worthy, that He'll take pity on us and open to us, too, the gate of His mercy.  And He will!  Let's do whatever we can, so that, some day, we'll reach that first level.  Let's conduct the struggle, the combat with God, as we said at the beginning of this catechism.  This is as much a struggle for me as it is also for you.  If I were rich, so would you be.  Since I myself am poor, you are poor, as well.  This is precisely why we must make this effort all together.

Let me return to where I started.  We'll have done nothing!  We'll have been fooling ourselves, God and everybody, unless we achieve this.  This is why I entreated you, my children, that, from now on, we should have such contacts between ourselves.  How can we struggle for God?  Not against Him, for Him, to get to Him.  To begin to pray, to begin to practice restraint, to begin to rejoice a little in God, the way ordinary hearts leap at the sight of their beloved.

I entreat you and I beg you …let's begin our spiritual progress and spiritual ascetic discipline, because that's the only thing that produces real monks, who are dwelling-places of the Holy Spirit and not unmonastic monks.  But if we want to be able to do this…the desire and disposition must exist to abandon anything we perceive as an obstacle to our loving God.  IF you come laden with earthly cares and caught up in the routine and the banal…there'll be no common ground between what you experiencing and seeking daily and what you say you have come for. 

Let's begin then, my children, so that we can all have the joy of knowing that our monastery is really a place where souls are schooled not where bodies are rested, not a place where we've come to make ourselves comfortable and lead tidy lives, as other people do. Let us, too, become flames of fire, as are His ministers, let us become His ministers.  Let us become flames of fire because only the flame goes upwards, while the body goes downwards to the earth…Let us leave the earth below and let us become flames, so that we can ascend to where God is."

Elder Aimilianos of Mount Athos

Scripture Readings for the Day:

Colossians 1:3-6

Their Faith in Christ
3 We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; 5 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, 6 which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;

Luke 16:10-15
10 He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 12 And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?
13 “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
The Law, the Prophets, and the Kingdom
14 Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him. 15 And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

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