Tuesday, May 24, 2011

May 24, 2011 / May 11, 2011

Fifth Week of Pascha. Tone four.
Hieromartyr Mocius (Mucius), presbyter of Amphipolis in Macedonia (295).
Holy Equals-to-the Apostles Methodius (885) and Cyril (869), first teachers of the Slavs.
Equal-to-the-Apostles Rostislav, prince of Greater Moravia (870).
New Hieromartyr Michael priest (1920).
New Hieromartyr Alexander archbishop of Kharkov (1940).
Venerable Sophronius, recluse of the Kiev Caves (13th c.).
St. Joseph, metropolitan of Astrakhan (1671).
St. Nicodemus of Pech, archbishop of Serbia (Mt. Athos) (1325).
New Martyrs Dioscorus and Argyrus of Thessalonica (1808) (Greek).
Commemoration of the Founding of Constantinople (330).
Venerable Comgall, founder and abbot of Bangor (ca. 603) (Celtic & British).
St. Bessarion, Archbishop of Larissa (Greek).
Martyr Acacius of Lower Moesia (Greek).
New Martyr Olympia, abbess of Mitylene (1235) (Greek).
Blessed Christesias, called Christopher, of Garesja, Georgia (1771).
St. Theophylact, bishop of Stavropol and Ekaterinodar (1872).
St. Wiro, Irish missionary bishop to the Netherlands, in Limberg (710) (Celtic & British).
St. Cathan of Bute (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Asaph, bishop of Llanelwy, Wales (6th c.) (Celtic & British).
St. Mayeul, abbot of Cluny (994) (Celtic & British).
St. Tudy, abbot of the Tudy.
St. Comgall, bishop anf founder of Bangor Monastery (601).
St. Bassus.

This is the Names Day of His Holiness, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia.
May God grant our Holy Patriarch, Many Years!

Words from the Abbot:

Back in the days when I was teaching, I knew my students had a prayer life, for I could see their collective lips moving, when I was handing out an exam. My youngest former students are now in their mid thirties, and I suspect that most of them are still practicing  the same limited prayer life.

We hear it might rain on the weekend, and we've been planning a hike in the mountains, so we pray to God, asking that He provide the coveted sunshine. We're taxiing down the runway, so we pray that God will give us a safe journey, and not let there be engine problems. Our boss seemed irritated with us on Friday, so we pray that we still have a job on Monday morning. We spot a house on the market, one we've driven by for years, and ask God to make the price within our range.

Prayer, for most people, is all about ME, about MY wants, MY needs, MY fears. For many of us, it is never about God, or our relationship with Him. God, for many, is like a good luck charm, relevant only when needed. Yet, the Biblical God, the Creator of the Universe, who condescended to take on our flesh, and Who has adopted us, as His own children, and has invited us to have a relationship with Him, is not Santa Claus. Our prayer life should not be like a little child's visit, once a year, to ask Santa to give him a new tricycle.

Many years ago, I was counseling a couple who were having marital problems. The wife had decided that she wanted a divorce, feeling, as she did, that the marriage lacked love, and that the spark had long gone out of their relationship. The husband was dumbfounded, for he'd been under the impression that all was well, and that they had a great marriage. He told me that he came home, every night,  and spent the whole of the evening with his wife. They spent weekends together, and, of course, loved each other. When I asked if he'd regularly told his wife that he "loved her," his response was expected. He said he didn't need to tell her he loved her, because she knew he loved her. She sat, glaring at him, and responded that she'd long ago decided that she'd become nothing more than the cook, housekeeper, and mother to his children, but not a woman loved by her man. By the time this all came out, the marriage was already past tense.

When was the last time we told God that we love Him? When did we simply sit, praying before our holy icons, and invite the Lord to fill us with Himself? When was the last time we thanked God for difficult times, and trials, and losses, and illnesses, because we know that all these difficulties have been allowed by God, because they have the potential to draw us closer to God, and lead to our salvation?

When Christ said, "he who has seen Me, has seen the Father," Jesus was telling us that we can have a relationship with the God Who created us. Christ revealed God to us, as a loving Father, Who wants His children to return that love. It is not about demanding love, or else, for that would not be love. A child does not love his mother, because she'll beat him if he doesn't, but, rather, because she's loved him all along, even when he wasn't so good. God is like that with us, and all He wants in return, is for us to love Him.

The husband who never told his wife that he loved her, destroyed their marriage. He didn't see the necessity in telling of his love for her, because he assumed she "must know" it. Are we like this with God, or are we simply moving our lips, and pretending we have a relationship with Him? Had the husband come for counseling a year earlier, there could have been hope for the marriage, and he'd have realized his wife needed to hear him say those all important words, "I love you." Are we going to wait until the end of our life, when it is too late, or are we going to tell God now, how we love Him, and want a relationship with him? A relationship has to be based on communication. A one sided relationship, is no relationship at all.

Photo taken from the balcony of the library.
Sitting area at the rear of the library, within the enclosure.

Scripture Readings for the Day: 

Acts 12:25-13:12

Barnabas and Saul Appointed

25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their ministry, and they also took with them John whose surname was Mark.

Acts 13

 1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.
Preaching in Cyprus
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.
6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.”
And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

John 8:51-59

51 Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.”
52 Then the Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon! Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word he shall never taste death.’ 53 Are You greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? And the prophets are dead. Who do You make Yourself out to be?”
54 Jesus answered, “If I honor Myself, My honor is nothing. It is My Father who honors Me, of whom you say that He is your God. 55 Yet you have not known Him, but I know Him. And if I say, ‘I do not know Him,’ I shall be a liar like you; but I do know Him and keep His word. 56 Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad.”
57 Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?”
58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”
59 Then they took up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Hebrews 7:26-8:2

26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of the oath, which came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.

Hebrews 8

The New Priestly Service
 1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, 2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.

Matthew 5:14-19

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Christ Fulfills the Law
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Click photo to enlarge.

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