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Featured Reflections

July 23, 2014 + If You Desire to Become Equal to the Apostles, There is Nothing to Hinder You

by St. John Chrysostom

Wherefore, if you desire to become equal to the apostles, there is nothing to hinder you. For to have arrived at this virtue only suffices for your not at all falling short of them. Let no one therefore wait for miracles. For though the evil spirit is grieved, when he is driven out of a body, yet much more so, when he sees a soul delivered from sin. For indeed this is his great power [cf. Acts 8:10]. This power caused Christ to die, that He might put an end to it. Yea, for this brought in death; by reason of this all things have been turned upside down. If then thou remove this, you have cut out the nerves of the devil, you have bruised his head, you have put an end to all his might, you have scattered his host, you have exhibited a sign greater than all signs.

O Antioch, Lift Up Your Eyes!

Homily of H.B. Patriarch John X
In the Holy Liturgy celebrated at Balamand
On June 29, 2014
On the Feast of the Antiochian See

Source: antiochpatriarchate.org

"O Antioch lift up your eyes and look around for your sons came like the pearls shining with the light of God from the West and the North from the sea and the East, glorifying Jesus Christ in you to the ages of ages."

With these words of our Saint John of Damascus, the son of Antioch, it is my pleasure to welcome you and say:

My beloved,

July 16, 2014 + About the Participation of the Faithful in God's Nature

by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

"That by these you might be partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).

Brethren, how can mortal man have a part in God's nature? How can eternity be a companion of time and glory with unglory, the incorruptible with the corruptible, the pure with the impure? They cannot without particular conditions and these conditions the Apostle Peter mentions: one condition on the part of God and the other on the part of men. As a condition on God's part, the apostle mentions: "According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3). As a condition on the part of man: "having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter 1:4). God has fulfilled His condition and gave us His power. "Through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3). Now it is man's turn to fulfill his condition, i.e., to know Christ the Lord is to escape from the bodily desires of this world.

July 9, 2014 + On Having Firm Resolve Not to Become Angry

From Abba Isidore

Isidore the Priest was a monk of Scetis and early companion of Macarius (the Great). He is mentioned by Cassian as one of the heads of the four communities in Scetis.

2. A brother asked him, 'Why are the demons so frightened of you?' The old man said to him, 'Because I have practiced asceticism the day I became a monk, and not allowed anger to reach my lips.'

3. He also said that for forty years he had been tempted to sin in thought but that he had never consented either to covetousness or to anger.

7. Abba Isidore said, 'One day I went to the market place to sell some small goods; when I saw anger approaching me, I left the things and fled.'

July 2, 2014 + The Virtues of the Peasant

5. Someone said to blessed Arsenius, 'How is it that we, with all our education and our wide knowledge get nowhere, while these Egyptian peasants acquire so many virtues?' Abba Arsenius said to him, 'We indeed get nothing from our secular education, but these Egyptian peasants acquire the virtues by hard work.'

6. One day Abba Arsenius consulted an old Egyptian monk about his own thoughts. Someone noticed this and said to him, 'Abba Arsenius, how is it that you with such a good Latin and Greek education ask this peasant about your thoughts?' He replied, 'I have indeed been taught Latin and Greek, but I do not know even the alphabet of this peasant.'

June 25, 2014 + How Monastics are to Aide the Church's Leaders

As deacon, priest and bishop he [St. John Chysostom] not only remained a monk at heart (what, after all, was a monk but a Christian striving to live out the gospel to the full?), but continued as far as his new situation permitted, to practice his routine of monstic austerities - for example living alone as much as possible. Consistently with this, he never hesitated as bishop, when the needs of the church seemed to warrant it, to call monks from their seclusion and either ordain them and associate them with his ministry or employ them as missionaries. However romantically he could idealise monks in their secluded retreats, he could never, with his wider understanding of the monastic voation, envisage them as standing apart from the church and its prediciments.

The Fruit of Pentecost: The Holy Spirit and Healing

By Fr. George Morelli

The Gospels of the Sundays after Pascha in the Eastern Church deal with brokenness, hope and healing. Illnesses first appear to be physical ailments, such as of the paralytic and the blind man, yet Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ when healing always focused on the healing of the soul. Yes, He did cure some who had physical ailments, but His overriding concern was the spiritual infirmity and disease of sin. This is so clearly seen in his message to the paralytic: “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befalls you.” (Jn 5:15) The meaning of the great Feast of Pentecost, the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles and Disciples in the upper room 50 days after Pascha, may give us some insight into our Lord’s focus on spiritual healing.

June 18, 2014 + I Myself am a Miracle of God's Goodness, Wisdom, and Omnipotence

by St. John of Kronstadt

You wish to comprehend the incomprehensible; but can you understand how the inward sorrows with which your heart is overwhelmed overtake you, and can you find, except in the Lord, the means to drive them away? Learn at first, with your heart, how to free yourself from sorrows, how to ensure peace in your heart, and then, if necessary, philosophize on the incomprehensible, for "if ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest'' (St. Luke xii. 26)?

June 11, 2014 + On the Importance of Bringing Your Children to Church and Teaching Them the Gospel

by St. John Chrysostom

"For let no one tell me that our children ought not to be occupied with these things; they ought not only to be occupied with them, but to be zealous about them only. And although on account of your infirmity I do not assert this, nor take them away from their worldly learning, just as I do not draw you either from your civil business; yet of these seven days I claim that you dedicate one to the common Lord of us all... And yet when you take your children into the theaters, you allege neither their mathematical lessons, nor anything of the kind; but if it be required to gain or collect anything spiritual, you call the matter a waste of time. And how shall you not anger God, if you find leisure and assign a season for everything else, and yet think it a troublesome and unseasonable thing for your children to take in hand what relates to Him?

June 4, 2014 + About the Appearance of the Prophet Jeremiah from the Other World

by St. Nikolai Velimirovich

This done, in like manner there appeared a man with gray hairs and exceeding glorious, who was of a wonderful and excellent majesty. Then Onias answered, saying, This is a lover of the brethren, who prays much for the people and for the holy city, to wit, Jeremiah the prophet of God (2 Maccabees 15:13-14).

This was the vision which was seen by the courageous Judas Maccabees. The first to appear to him from the other world was Onias the high priest and after that the holy Prophet Jeremiah. Just as Moses and Elijah were seen in glory by the apostles on Mt. Tabor, thus, at one time Judas Maccabees saw the Prophet Jeremiah in glory. Not even before the resurrected Christ did God the Merciful leave men without proof of life after death. In Christian times, however, those proofs are without number and without end. Whoever, even after all of this, doubts in life after death, that one stands under the curse of his sin as under his grave stone. As inanimate things cannot see the light of day, so neither can he see who doubts life which is and to which there is no end.