Do not let the sun go down on the
anger of your brother (Eph. 4:26)
"Anger is by nature designed for waging war with the demons and for struggling with every kind of sinful pleasure. Therefore angels, arousing spiritual pleasure in us and giving us to taste its blessedness, incline us to direct our anger against the demons. But the demons, enticing us towards worldly lusts, make us use anger to fight with men, which is against nature, so that the mind, thus stupefied and darkened, should become a traitor to virtues." Abba Evagrius the Monk
While getting into my car in a local parking lot I overheard someone taking God's name in vain, angry that they'd dropped something. Looking up I realized I knew the person. They were a self-declared Christian and would have been horrified had they realized I'd overheard them. They were unaware that I was not the only person who'd heard their outburst, for a woman noticed and rolled her eyes at me. How sad I felt for the person who'd given himself over to the passion of anger, especially that his anger involved taking the Lord's name in vain, the very Lord Who's name he bears. Whenever a Christian falls into such sin it is especially tragic, for there are many non-believers who guard their words better than many who profess Christ.
The Fathers tell us that whenever anyone takes God's name in vain the ramifications reverberate throughout the entire cosmos. However insignificant we think our secret sins may be, they impact the whole of God's universe. Redemption is not just about us, but the whole of the universe. My salvation and your salvation are connected.
"One must by every means strive to preserve peace of soul and not be disturbed by offenses from others; for this one must in every way strive to restrain anger and by means of attentiveness to keep the mind and heart from improper feelings. And therefore we must bear offenses from others with equanimity and accustom ourselves to such a disposition of spirit that these offenses seem to concern not us, but others. Such a practice can give quietness to the human heart and make it as dwelling for God Himself." St. Seraphim of Sarov
Abba Nilus said, "Prayer is the seed of gentleness and the absence of anger."
During this Nativity Fast, let us not only abstain from non-fasting foods, but let us more importantly abstain from all anger. If we truly be of Christ we have the means to change, for it is because we have Christ in us that victory over the passions can be ours.
Love in Christ,
Sunday December 4, 2011 / November 21, 2011
25th Sunday after Pentecost. Tone eight.
Nativity Fast. Fish Allowed
Nativity Fast. Fish Allowed
The Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple.
Venerable Columbanus of Bobbio, abbot and founder of Luxeuil Abbey (Gaul) (615) (Celtic & British).
New Martyrs Priest Alexander Khotovitsky of New York (1937), and Priest Alexis Benemansky of Tver (1937).
Icon of the Most Holy Theotokos "Everlasting Hope".
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The Earthly Sanctuary1 Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. 2 For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; 3 and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, 4 which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.
Limitations of the Earthly Service6 Now when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into the first part of the tabernacle, performing the services. 7 But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for the people’s sins committed in ignorance;
Mary and Martha Worship and Serve38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
41 And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Keeping the Word27 And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!”
28 But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”