We can be rich in liturgical correctness and wealthy in traditions, but if we do not have love and mercy, we are in reality bankrupt. Our Lord Himself made love and mercy the chief criterion whereby we will be judged on the Last Day. The fulfillment of the law is love, not liturgical correctness, as was thought by the Pharisees. When we see our Orthodox Christian faith only in the context of liturgical correctness, and the length of our services, but do not love others, we will have gained nothing of eternal value. If we do not show compassion and mercy towards everyone we meet, we will have committed a grievous crime against our Orthodox faith, and will stand before God with nothing to show for our life.
Our liturgical rites and religious traditions are of no value if we have not love and mercy. When we rise to a sincere evangelical love for others, we become God’s collaborators, for our Christian love and mercy is the most divine trait possible for the human being. Our mercy is the expression of our love of God, for it is in our love of God that our mercy is poured out upon those who suffer, and upon those who are ill, or helpless in body and mind. Our Christian mercy springs from love and is a concrete expression of love.
Our religious rites and practices are not ends in themselves, but vehicles by which we enter into a profound relationship with God, Who is love. The very essence of our Christian faith is love because God Himself is love (1 John 4:8). Thus, our Christian morality, our ethics, and even our liturgical services and rites, are inconceivable in the absence of love. And, this love is not merely an act that has sprung up from a sense of ethical duty, but something that binds our world, the one seen, to the heavenly world, that world unseen. One world is temporal, and the other world is eternal, yet both have been created by God. The temporal world is wherein we exercise, preparing ourselves for the eternal world. Mercy and love is the means by which both are connected.
With love in Christ,
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Photos: Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains of Washington State.
Tuesday September 9, 2014 / August 27, 2014
14th Week after Pentecost. Tone four.
Venerable Poemen the Great (450).
New Hieromartyrs Priests Michael Voskresensky and Stephen Nemkov, and those with them, of Nizhni-Novgorod (1918).
New Hieromartyrs John, John priest and Hieromartyr Methodius (1937).
New Hieromartyr Aleksander, priest (1939).
New Hieromartyr Vladimir, priest (1940).
St. Demetrius confessor, priest (1952).
Venerables Pimen, Kuksha, and Nicon of the Kiev Caves (1114).
St. Hosius (Osia) the Confessor, bishop of Cordova (4th c.).
St. Liberius, pope of Rome (366).
Venerable Poemen of Palestine (605).
Venerable Sabbas of Benephali.
Great-martyr Phanurius the Newly Appeared of Rhodes (Greek).
Translation of the relics of Sts. Theognostus, Cyprian, and Photius, metropolitans of Moscow (1479).
St. Caesarius, bishop of Aries (543) (Celtic & British).
Martyr-hermit Decuman of Watchet.
Martyr Djan Darada, the Ethiopian eunuch of Queen Candace.
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.
"Blogs and social networks give us new opportunities for the Christian mission...Not to be present there means to display our helplessness and lack of care for the salvation of our brothers." His Holiness Patriarch Kirill
The Scripture Readings for the Day
2 Corinthians 12:20-13:2
20 For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults; 21 lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and I shall mourn for many who have sinned before and have not repented of the uncleanness, fornication, and lewdness which they have practiced.
Coming with Authority
13 This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” 2 I have told you before, and foretell as if I were present the second time, and now being absent I write to those who have sinned before, and to all the rest, that if I come again I will not spare—
24 Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. 25 For whoever has, to him more will be given; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.”
The Parable of the Growing Seed
26 And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, 27 and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. 28 For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
The Parable of the Mustard Seed
30 Then He said, “To what shall we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable shall we picture it? 31 It is like a mustard seed which, when it is sown on the ground, is smaller than all the seeds on earth; 32 but when it is sown, it grows up and becomes greater than all herbs, and shoots out large branches, so that the birds of the air may nest under its shade.”
Jesus’ Use of Parables
33 And with many such parables He spoke the word to them as they were able to hear it. 34 But without a parable He did not speak to them. And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.
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