Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21, 2011 / May 8, 2011

Fourth Week of Pascha. Tone three.
Synaxis of New Martyrs of Butovo (movable holiday on the Saturday after the Pascha).
Holy Apostle and Evangelist John the Theologian (98-117).
Venerable Arsenius the Great of Scetis (448).
Venerables Arsenius the Lover of Labor (14th c.) and Pimen the Ascetic (12th c.), of the Kiev Caves.
Translation of the relics (1785) of Venerable Arsenius of Novgorod, fool-for-Christ (1570).
Venerable Hierax of Egypt (5th c.).
The Monks Zosima and Adrian of Volokolamsk (15-16th c.).
St. Emilia (375), mother of Sts. Macrina, Basil the Great and Gregory of Nyssa.
Venarable Cassian, recluse and faster of the Kiev Caves (13-14th c.).
St. Macarius of Ghent, archbishop (1012) (Neth.).
St. Iduberga, foundress of Nijvel (652) (Neth.).
Commemoration of the healing of blinded Stephen by the Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos of Cassiopia.
Hiermartyrs Indract and Comp, at Shapwick.
St. Wiro, bishop of Utrecht.
St. Odger, hierodeacon, of Odilienberg.
St. Milles the Melode, monk(Greek)


A Word from the Abbot:

Back in the early 1970's, I attended a talk by an Indian guru, in Berkeley, CA. Having previously given up my Christian faith as something irrelevant, I was hungry for an inner life. Like many of my contemporaries, I'd rejected much of my parents values, both religious, social, and political, and was feeling a deep longing for something that would give meaning to my life. War was being waged in Vietnam, and, like many college students, I was looking at the world as something full of hope, but dangerously on the brink of hopelessness. Christianity, to me, was dead, and meaningless. Yet I could not see myself as simply going on without some sort of spiritual life. The guru seemed like he might have the answers to my spiritual void. Yet, leaving the talk, I knew clearly that he did not.

Later that year, I joined the Zen Center in San Francisco, and began a journey that I thought would lead to inner peace. Yet, after many years, I had to admit that I was no closer to that long sought inner peace, than I'd been when beginning my spiritual quest. The moment of truth came during zazen (sitting, silently, in the Zendo,) when I felt I was sitting on the edge of a great pit. I was filled with fear, and, walking out in the darkness of the meditation room, I found myself asking Christ to return to me, His lost son, and save me. Thus began my journey back to Christ, and, ultimately, to His Church.

When I look around, I see many young people who seem lost. They are worried about the economy, wondering if there will ever be a fulfilling job waiting for them (or any job, for that matter,) after college. Unlike my generation, most of these young people were not raised in a church, and grew up without any spiritual formation. Yet, I see in their collective spirits, a sense of hope, and a sincere desire to make a difference in our world. In many ways, my generation has failed them. My generation, in rejecting our parents religious, political, and social values, treated our children as though they were adults, and thus left it up to these children to make choices that they were too young to make. The end result has been a religion of hopelessness, of nihilism.

I understand their plight, for I, too, had gone through a period of nihilistic fatalism, devoid of hope. Yet, in my own search for truth, I was to return to my Christian roots, and rediscover Christ. This time, I also, by God's grace, discovered early Christianity, unchanged, and filled with the power to transform my life, and give me not only hope, but joy! A lasting joy!

It is this experience of lasting joy, found in Christ, that has made me want to share my joy, and share my Orthodox Faith. These precious young people are the future of our world, and I know from personal experience, how they need Christ. I pray that the Light of this very Christ, will shine through me, and be a beacon to them. The love that I have for these young people, the love that is in me, is none other than the Love of Christ.

Photos of the Day:

Friday photos of the Monastery.


Scripture Readings for the Day:

Acts 12:1-11
Herod’s Violence to the Church
 1 Now about that time Herod the king stretched out his hand to harass some from the church. 2 Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. 3 And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Now it was during the Days of Unleavened Bread. 4 So when he had arrested him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four squads of soldiers to keep him, intending to bring him before the people after Passover.
Peter Freed from Prison
5 Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church. 6 And when Herod was about to bring him out, that night Peter was sleeping, bound with two chains between two soldiers; and the guards before the door were keeping the prison. 7 Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, “Arise quickly!” And his chains fell off his hands. 8 Then the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and tie on your sandals”; and so he did. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.” 9 So he went out and followed him, and did not know that what was done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they were past the first and the second guard posts, they came to the iron gate that leads to the city, which opened to them of its own accord; and they went out and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
11 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.”

John 8:31-42

The Truth Shall Make You Free

31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
Abraham’s Seed and Satan’s
37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”
39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”
Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”
Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.

Click photo to enlarge.

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