Archive for July, 2010

The Exorcism of the Lunatic Son. Why fast? Because this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

What is faith like a mustard seed?
10th Sunday of Pentecost
Matthew 17:14-23

2009

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Brothers and sisters, many people, including many Orthodox Christians, do not understand why we fast. This is why we as a people fast so poorly. So many Orthodox Christians barely follow the fast or follow the fasts when they’re convenient, forget to fast, things like this.

 
We fast because of what the Scripture tells us today.

 

We fast because of this famous oft repeated saying of our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

“This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting [1]

 

We also fast because of a stronger reason our Lord gives just before this.  

The apostles come to Him after He had healed the demoniac boy. They couldn’t heal him. They didn’t have the faith to heal him. So they wondered why? And He answered their question as to why they could not heal the boy:

 

Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. [2]

 

The mustard seed is a very small seed, very pungent, very strong in flavor. It flavors the entire dish. So our faith must be like that mustard seed. What He is saying, what the Fathers tell us, is that faith like this comes from becoming good, from pleasing God, and living according to the Commandments.

So that when we say that we have weak faith, we are saying at the same time that we are sinners, that we don’t do the law of God at all times.

 

Perhaps we don’t even place the law of God as a priority in our lives, because the doing comes first from the desiring to do and the planning to do.

All these things: To not desire to do the will of God, to not plan to do it, to not be able to do it: These are all from weak faith.

So the kind of faith that can cast out a demon from a boy, comes only by living according to the Gospel.

Now, this seems impossible to us. How can we do such things?

 

We do such things bit by bit, by prayer and by fasting. That is why fasting is so important, and it’s always joined with prayer.

And that is why we are so mediocre as Christians – we pray very little and we don’t fast with much attention. And that’s why we’re weak. But we have great things to be done. We are supposed to cast out demons.

 
Now, the demons in this boy cast him into fire and into water. And this is where it is important to identify ourselves with this boy. Remember, read the Scriptures and see what they say about you. It’s not going to really help you a whole lot to know what they say about other people. You need to know how to help yourself. You need to know how to become good, with God helping you, because you can’t make anybody else good. You can’t decide for anyone else to follow the Gospel. You have to decide for yourself to follow the Gospel and desire the Gospel above everything else. Reading the Scriptures should always be instructive for you in what you should do and what you shouldn’t do, how you should change, what you should keep doing, what kind of person you are, what kind of person you aren’t. It’s all there in the Gospel.

Can anyone identify with the man with weak faith? Has there ever been some thing that’s been difficult for you that you pray to God for but you don’t really quite believe but it can really be changed?

Look what the Lord called him. He said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? [3] The Lord was both rebuking the man and the Jewish people and us for our lack of faith.

And remember, lack of faith is because of lack of righteousness. I told you many times, it’s always about morality.

 

Christian life is to become moral, to become good as God is good. Then we can know Him and understand Him. Until then we can only talk about Him and really have no idea what we’re talking about. We have to be, in order to understand; we have to become righteous.

This fire and the water that the demon cast the boy into represent various sins. Fire is hot sins, concupiscence and anger and those sorts of things. The Fathers say water represents it confusion and worldly cares.

 

Has anybody ever felt confused? Have you ever had times in your life when, you don’t really know what the next thing to do is, how to fix this problem? It happens to me all the time. I’m convinced, from reading the lives of the saints and from talking with people who are much more righteous than myself that it should happen to all of us all the time. It’s part of the human condition. And it’s the part that only comes out by prayer and by fasting.

 

The sins of desire and the sins of weakness of will, weakness of mind — these only come out by prayer and fasting.

But along with prayer and fasting must be faith as the mustard seed. And the faith is from doing. The faith is from becoming. There is no way of escaping it.

I’ve told you many times before, it’s my belief that the greatest heresy of all time is the idea that one can have salvation without labor. It is a relatively new heresy. It’s so new it wasn’t even spoken of really except obliquely in the Ecumenical Councils. The idea that one can have salvation without labor is a horrible idea because it’s false.

The man says that the boy is a lunatic, and he begs the Lord for help. A lunatic is someone who goes crazy at certain phases of the moon, and the reason why they went crazy at these phases of the moon is because the demons who inhabited these poor souls would stir them up at certain seasons so that people would associate their sickness with the moon which God created, so they would think it must be God doing this because the moon becomes full and these people become crazy. It was a way of trying to blaspheme the Creator through hurting those He created and slandering Him.

But the boy isn’t a lunatic. There’s no such thing as a lunatic. He was possessed by demons because of the weakness of his father.

How many things are wrong in our lives and we don’t know the reason? We think we know the reason. But we don’t know it because we don’t have the wisdom to see it. Wisdom comes from righteousness. Until we become righteous, we can’t see the truth about things. We only see darkly about things, and we make a lot of mistakes about cause and effect. The only solution for us as Christians is to struggle to follow the law of God. There’s not one thing you must do. You must do all of it.

Now, there are things that are part of this life. Fasting and prayer, are critical, not as an end, but a means – so that we would be able to cast out the fire and the water in our souls.

The Lord gives us all the capability to do it, but we must struggle to do it. So we must pray and fast and struggle to follow the Commandments. And little bit by little bit, some of that fire will be quenched; some of that water will be drained from our soul, and we will see things more clearly, and we will have these things cast out of us because of our great efforts and because of God’s Grace.

So, brothers and sisters, why do we fast? Because it’s absolutely necessary.

 

And it is no wonder most of the Christian world doesn’t fast. It’s critically important to the spiritual life that we fast and pray. It makes perfect sense to me why most of the Christian world, even the Orthodox Christian world, doesn’t fast, because it’s critically important.

So it is with us, but not fasting because it is an arbitrary rule, but in order to cast out the fire and the water in our souls. Amen.

 

Transcribed by the hand of Helen

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2009.    

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

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This homily is at:

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http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-10_2009-08-16+demoniac-son+fasting.doc

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[1] Matthew 17:21

[2] Matthew 17:20-21

[3] Matthew 17:17

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Preparation for Holy Communion. 10 things. Part 4. The Evening Service.

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Preparation for Holy Communion

10 Things [1]

 

4. Typical preparation for Holy Communion includes prayer at the evening service.

 

In our parish, on Saturdays, this is Vigil, consisting of Vespers and Matins and the First Hour. It is about two and a half hours long, and contains detailed and exalted, intricately theological prayers of praise, supplication and thanksgiving, all interwoven with the theme of the Resurrection, and its implications, since every Sunday of the year is a commemoration of the resurrection.

 

The principle here of “if you can do something, you must do it” surely applies here.

 

Some people have the strength to attend the whole vigil regularly, and they benefit greatly from this practice. Others have varying levels of strength, but if they follow this all important Christian principle, they will grow in strength.

 

Practically, a person should not commune unless they have attended Vespers at a minimum.

 

In general, the confessor must be aware of why you were absent from the evening service if you wish to commune.

 

I have allowed many to commune who have not attended the evening service, if as, the petition in our ectenia says they were “absent for honorable cause.” There are honorable reasons to be absent, such as work, or some family needs, distance, health, etc. 

 

I am well aware that we live in an “all or nothing” culture. Evening attendance would surely increase for some mysterious reason if I only served Vespers. If I did this, then nobody in our church would ever be benefited by matins, which in my opinion is the most important service of the week. You can attend a service that is not served!

 

If you only have the strength for Vespers, then come to the Vespers portion of the vigil. If you need to confess, in this case, you would need to confess before Vespers (4-5 pm) or make an appointment with me for confession Sunday morning.

 



From St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texaswww.orthodox.net

 

This document is at http://www.orthodox.net/10things/preparation-for-holy-communion.doc

& http://www.orthodox.net/10things/preparation-for-holy-communion.html

 

New 10 things” entries, sermons, journal entries , scripture commentary & more are posted on our BLOG: http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of “10 things”: http://www.orthodox.net/10things

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!



[1] This document is a list of ten (more or less) things about a particular topic. More “Ten Things” topics may be found at http://www.orthodox.net/10things. They are also posted to the blog of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texas, called  “Redeeming the Time”http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime. Look under the category “10things”. Use anything you wish, but please indicate authorship, with the URL.

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Preparation for Holy Communion. 10 things. Part 3. Fasting.

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Preparation for Holy Communion

10 Things [1]

 

3.  Fasting is generally a part of preparation for Holy Communion.

 

Since the chief thing we must do to prepare for Holy Communion is try to live a Christian life, we should fast according to the typikon of the church (that is, according to the fasting rules for various days of the year), and according to our strength, and always under the guidance of our confessor.

 

Any confessor has many fasting rules for different people, depending on their spiritual maturity, physical health, zeal and strength of will.

 

In our day, there is much misunderstanding about fasting. Many people see our fasting tradition to be any or all of the following:

 

1.      Fasting is not applicable to lay people, but only to monks. 

2.      Fasting is only done during short parts of the year, and usually with accommodations to our apparently difficult modern life – for instance, abstaining from meat on the first week of Great Lent and Holy Week.

3.      Fasting is obligatory for three days, or perhaps a week before receiving Holy Communion, but usually not at any other times.

4.      Fasting is a set of arbitrary rules, which have little or no application to daily life, but a person feels “bad” when they do not fast, which is a good part of the time.

5.      There is one fasting rule for everyone, and it is too hard to do, so in essence, fasting is not attempted, except perhaps in the case of #3, above.

6.      Some are even influenced by sectarian ideas and believe fasting is some sort of attempt to be “saved by works”.

 

None of these things is remotely true. Fasting is a way of life; it is the way to life. It is not arbitrary rules that make us feel “bad’ when we do not follow them. If the reason for fasting is understood, it is immediately apparent that it is not just a set of arbitrary rules. It is also not a set of optional rules. It has never been “only for monks”.

 

An explanation of fasting is not part of the scope of this document, so the interested person, included the one “who has trouble fasting”, should talk to his confessor. Of course, if his confessor does not fast (and there is no medical reason), he should find another confessor!

 


From St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texaswww.orthodox.net

 

This document is at http://www.orthodox.net/10things/preparation-for-holy-communion.doc

& http://www.orthodox.net/10things/preparation-for-holy-communion.html

 

New 10 things” entries, sermons, journal entries , scripture commentary & more are posted on our BLOG: http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of “10 things”: http://www.orthodox.net/10things

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!



[1] This document is a list of ten (more or less) things about a particular topic. More “Ten Things” topics may be found at http://www.orthodox.net/10things. They are also posted to the blog of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texas, called  “Redeeming the Time”http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime. Look under the category “10things”. Use anything you wish, but please indicate authorship, with the URL.

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Preparation for Holy Communion 10 Things. Part 1,2 of 10 – Strive to be a Christian, Concerning all communion rules

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Preparation for Holy Communion

10 Things [1]

Part 1 , 2 of 10 – Strive to be a Christian, concerning all communion rules

O God the Lord and Creator of all, Thou are become poor, uniting a created nature to Thyself, while remaining free from passion. Since Thou art the Passover, Thou hast offered Thyself to those for whose sake Thou wast soon to die; and Thou hast cried: 'Eat My Body, and ye shall be firmly established in the faith. [2]

 

1. The most important “thing” about preparation for preparing for communion is that one must strive to be a Christian. If you are not trying to live a Christian life, you should not be going to communion.

 

Definitely, go to confession and seek counsel, but if you are not trying to live a Christian life, then you should not approach the cup.

 

I cannot emphasize enough that you should not make this decision for yourself. This is the role and responsibility of the confessor.

 

You may consider yourself to be “not trying” but the confessor may see things very differently. Sometimes being addicted to a sin, or being unable to start something good (such as prayer, or consistent fasting, and a thousand other things) can make a person think that they are not trying, when actually, they are trying, but failing, because they do not have the strength of will to accomplish their desire.

 

The point of Holy Communion is to give medicine to the sick, so such a person is precisely the one who should commune, with as much preparation as their weak will allows them to, under the guidance of their confessor. In time, if they approach the chalice with fear and expectation, they will get stronger.

 

If you are unable to commune for some long-standing reason, keep coming to confession, and do whatever you CAN do.  Anything you do, even if it seems to be a “little thing” to you and you are embarrassed to be “repeating the same sins over and over”, will help you, and is definitely at least an effort at repentance.

 

Sometimes we need to “want” to repent before we repent. Or perhaps we even need to “want to want to repent”. A terrible mistake that those who are enmeshed in some difficulty or sin, such that they are unable or not allowed to commune is to give up on the small things they CAN do, even if they cannot do what they feel they should be doing. With effort, even what seems to be a small effort, comes eventual success, as long as you do not just give on everything because you feel unworthy.

 

The confessor is even more important for such a person, who needs guidance and encouragement.

 

2. All “rules” for preparation for Holy Communion MUST be understood as “general rules”, under the guidance of a confessor.

 

There are some hard and fast rules. If you never want to confess, ever, or accept the guidance of one of God’s priests, ever, then you definitely should never commune!  Certain other things are obvious to some, but not to others.

 

We are proud creatures, and we think we know stuff, when we really don’t. The way this ignorance comes to light is when we humble ourselves and seek counsel, and over time.

 

Do not decide to go to communion, or to not go to communion on your own!

 

This is a very difficult lesson for modern man, because our culture is polluted with a sense of enlightenment, and ruinous self-reliance. Don’t fall into this trap. Fight it!

 

Humble yourself, and accept the church’s way of doing things, and you will be much more peaceful. You do not know a better way to prepare for communion than the church does.

 

This does not mean that you collect a list of 27 “rules” that you slavishly follow. Doing this without counsel is just another form of self-reliance. Talk to your confessor. Do not treat him like a holy guru (but his priesthood is holy) who knows all mysteries, but submit to his authority in a healthy way, and everything will be as it should.

 

Perhaps one may ask “what does submit to your confessor in a healthy way” mean? This is a difficult question to answer. If you have a healthy confessor, he will be sure that your submission to his authority is healthy. This is one of those things that you will know when you experience it.

This is an important subject that is too big for this little tract, but I must leave you with at least something:

 

“One of the signs by which a layman can recognize his spiritual Father is this: a spiritual guide is not longing to give anyone advice; on the contrary, he knows that of himself he is empty and incapable — as even Elder Makarios wrote: "I have told you nothing that is an invention of my own. All of what I say comes from the writings of the Fathers. Mine is only the humble work of choosing passages suitable to your particular case."

 

Similarly, Bishop Ignatios says that the Fathers forbid us to give advice to our neighbor of our own accord, without our neighbors asking us to do so. The voluntary giving of advice is a sign that we regard ourselves as possessed of spiritual knowledge and worth, which is a clear sign of pride and self-deception.

 

How many spiritual Fathers today can withstand such a test? Yet, there may be a handful. Such true spiritual guides give advice with fear of God and only because it was asked of them; knowing their own grievous inadequacies, they do not expect instant obedience, but leave it to the judgment of their spiritual child. In this way they protect both themselves and their spiritual children.

 

The spiritually mature layman, however, knows that if he obeys his spiritual Father in all things that do not conflict with the Law of God or his God-given common sense, God will not at all abandon him.” [3]

 

A person cannot learn about healthy submission without the help of God, and of course, his effort to submit to another human being regarding his sins. As the scripture has said, “this is a hard saying” [4], and very few are able to do this. May God help you and guide you.


From St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texaswww.orthodox.net

 

This document is at http://www.orthodox.net/10things/preparation-for-holy-communion.doc

& http://www.orthodox.net/10things/preparation-for-holy-communion.html

 

New 10 things” entries, sermons, journal entries , scripture commentary & more are posted on our BLOG: http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of “10 things”: http://www.orthodox.net/10things

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!



[1] This document is a list of ten (more or less) things about a particular topic. More “Ten Things” topics may be found at http://www.orthodox.net/10things. They are also posted to the blog of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texas, called  “Redeeming the Time”http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime. Look under the category “10things”. Use anything you wish, but please indicate authorship, with the URL.

[2] Triodion p. 549 Matins Canon Irmos, Ode III, taken from an unpublished term paper by Reader Nicholas Park: “The Eucharist”, Spring 2008

[4] “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:60 KJV) This was said regarding out Lord’s assertions about Himself being the “bread of Life”, that is, what we call the Holy Eucharist. The scripture has many “hard sayings”. May God help us to hear them, and follow them, even if we also have fear.

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9th Sunday.We are labourers together with God. 1 Corinthians 3:9-17. Audio Homily.

Monday, July 26th, 2010

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Other homilies on the 9th Sunday after Pentecost are here

1 Corinthians 3:9-17 9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. 10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. 11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; 13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. 14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. 15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.


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Walking on the water A parable of our own lives.

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

We need many 4th watches in the night

Don’t be afraid of having feelings that are negative. Just don’t give in to them.

9th Sunday after Pentecost
Matthew 14:22-34

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Brothers and sisters, I’ve told you many times that when we read the Scriptures, we must apply them to ourselves. First we must understand what they say, dogmatically; and when you understand this, then there is application to your personal life. Like I’ve said before, not what kind of car you should buy or should you go to this college or that. It’s spiritual things.

Much of the Scripture can be thought of allegorically. You must be careful with this, not to have any fanciful fantasies about the Scripture, but to apply the Scripture to your lives.

And this particular selection today for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost, where Jesus walks on the water, is particularly good to apply to our own personal lives. When I read this Scripture, I think about my own personal weaknesses  - and yours too. The reason I know this, not because I’m a mind reader but because you’re human and you have human weaknesses and passions and get tired and get lonely and are unsure of yourself and have darkness in your heart just like everybody else.

So it feels like the fourth watch of the night to me sometimes, just like it did to the Apostles.

When Jesus came to them on the water, it was late in the morning, just before the sun would rise. They had been at sea the entire evening and there was a terrible storm. And they were in a very small ship, and they were in danger of sinking and the Lord was not with them, or so they thought.

Of course, the Lord is always with us. But He was not visibly with them because He was on a mountain praying apart from them. And He had sent them out in the ship to go to the other side, away from the multitudes.

So the Lord sends us, sends me, sends you.

Christianity is not just collections of facts, not just things we know, not just wonderful stories of saints that inspire us. It is life. It is how to live. We have a task. We are told to do it. So the Lord sends us, and we go before Him.

 

The Lord is not walking the earth anymore. Of course, He’s with us but not visibly with us. And sometimes, let’s admit it, we don’t feel Him. Of course He’s there. We know He’s there. But we don’t feel Him. Of course, the reasons for this are our own. Our own darkness. But nevertheless, there is this feeling of sometimes being alone or not being completely protected or being confused.

I’m sure that if the Lord was present with us visibly right now, there would be no confusion. When He speaks, we would feel peace. But this is not the way that the Lord would have us live. He would have us go before Him. He would have us do the things that He did. And in fact, the Lord said that we would do greater things than He. Because we would all do good things that the Lord taught us to do.

But He’s not visibly present with us. He is still praying and He’s still looking after us. And He still sends His angels to help us.

So the Apostles are in the waves and the wind, and it is early in the morning, before the sun would rise. If you ever have trouble sleeping, that time of day is the worst of all. There’s just a sense of real sadness about that day or real sense of melancholy just before the dawn. And so the Apostles were struggling and they didn’t know if they would live or not. They were afraid, but the Lord came to them.

And I find in my life, and I should think you should find in yours, that the Lord comes to you too in times of distress, in times of struggle, in times when you are down, in times when you’re not so sure of yourself, in times of – dare we even breathe it, dare we whisper it – when our faith fails us. And He comes.

But look what happened. They were afraid. The Lord is too much for us. We are about to, soon, I guess, whatever, in two weeks or so, celebrate the Transfiguration of the Lord. And when the Lord went up on the mountain and He became, as He is, visibly to the Apostles, that was way too much for the Apostles, that was too frightening, that was too much Grace, too much light, and they were afraid.

The greatness, the goodness of the Lord, is too much for us all at once. That’s why it comes little by little, because we could not bear it all because of our sins, our weaknesses, and our darkness.

 

The Lord walking on the water frightened the Apostles, and yet they were glad when they saw Him. And then Peter says, if it’s You, then tell me to come out and walk on the water too. And so Peter went and of course we know what happened. Peter failed. His faith was not strong enough. Even though the Lord was with him, his faith was not strong enough.

This kind of thing, to be honest with you, makes me happy because that’s me out there on the waves with the Lord right with me and I’m still sinking.

 

Many stories of great men in the Scriptures show their weaknesses. That’s for a reason. Just recently we celebrated Saint Elias. After a great victory, after killing all the prophets of Baal and having a great victory, he was afraid and he ran away. And then after this period where he ran away, the Lord fed him and sent him on a mission to a mountain, and he heard the voice of God in the cave. The Lord revealed Himself to Elias after Elias had shown cowardice, and yet Elias was great and is great.

And so is Peter great, but with weaknesses, with darkness, with fear. But the Lord will help us in all these things. The thing about Elias, the thing about Peter, the thing about all of the saints – they did not give up.

 
Don’t be afraid of your feelings. Don’t think that there’s somehow a sign that you’re not a Christian, that you don’t have enough faith. Well, of course, you don’t have enough faith. But do what you need to do despite your feelings.

And if any of you, I tell you, I tell you boldly, if any of you don’t sometimes have those feelings when you get tired and you wonder, you get confused about why the world is the way it is and why there’s so much pain and why God seems far away to you – if you don’t have these feelings sometimes, then you’re not thinking hard enough. Because these feelings are natural to the human condition.

The Lord is revealing Himself to us bit by bit. Like I said, we cannot take Him all at once, and He is too fantastic for our sinful hearts to fully believe in except we be converted, except we be changed.

And we need a lot of fourth watches of the night and a lot of storms and a lot of wind over many periods of our lives in order for us to truly believe in Him.

 

So don’t be afraid of having feelings that are negative. Just don’t give in to them.

 

Just believe that the Lord will come to you. And you will partially understand Him. But the next time a little bit more and a little bit more.

And of course, the understanding of the Lord is not understanding dogmatic facts about Him. The understanding of the Lord is to become like Him. So that we know Him by our experience. And that is over many, many occurrences in our life, some very difficult, some rather easy. But hundreds and thousands of times when we struggle to do the right thing, to follow the Commandments and when we struggle with loneliness and confusion and fear.

This Gospel gives me great hope. I hope it gives you great hope too because it describes the Lord coming to heal the human condition and how it happens in pieces. Little by little.

But in order for us to be healed, we must obey the Lord. And He says go before Him so we had best do that. We had best spread the good news to others in the way we live.

 

It doesn’t have to be by any absolute formal method.

 

It means to love others as the Lord loves us.

It means to be compassionate with others as we would be to ourselves.

It means to humble ourselves.

It means to think of others first.

It means to pray, and pray that God would reveal Himself to us and to our enemies.

 

And as we do this, little bit by little bit, the Lord reveals Himself in such a way that we can apprehend Him, in such a way that we can actually hold onto the things that He gives us and not drop them because they are too heavy, too wonderful, too fantastic for us to bear.

The way that we become able to see the Lord is to live like Him. And a lot of that living like Him is where we are sent out on our own.

There’s a lot of mothers, fathers, here. Nobody told you how to be a mother or a father. How many mistakes have you made? How many times have you wondered what is the right thing to say, to do? Why do I have this weakness? Why do I do this or that? And yet, your children know that you love them. You pray for your children. And by God’s Grace you will all be saved. But it’s not absolutely crystal clear at all, what to do.

And if you take the experience of being a mother or father and you multiply it by about a million, then you have what it feels like to be a pastor because so many times the pastor has no idea what to say, what to do, what is right, the right way to proceed or the wrong way. And yet, somehow by God’s Grace people grow, people change and God is revealed.

It’s the same in all of our lives, when you’re a mother, a father, a pastor, a sister or a brother, anybody. There’s much that we don’t know and we are sent out to do, even though we don’t completely understand. But the Lord is with us, even though we don’t feel Him.

That’s what this Gospel tells me. I hope it says something of the like to you. God is with us at all times, even when we don’t feel Him.

And we need these times, brothers and sisters, when we do not feel Him. So that we can learn to reach out for Him all the more and so that when we see Him and when we do feel Him, we would appreciate and obey Him and in a more complete way.

May God help us to look forward to, to endure those fourth watches of the night that come in our lives and to await for the Lord to enlighten us.

But remember, the way a Christian waits is not by sitting down and doing nothing. The way a Christian waits is by being in the ship and fighting the waves and the wind and believing that the Lord will come, and He will for us, every time.

May God help us in all things.

 

Transcribed by the hand of the handmaiden of God Helen.

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 3010.    

 

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

·         Rectory Phone: 972/529-2754

·         Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

·         Web Page: http://www.orthodox.net

·         Redeeming the Time Blog: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/

 

This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-09_2009-08-09+walking-on-the-water.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-09_2009-08-09+walking-on-the-water.doc

AUDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-09_2009-08-09+walking-on-the-water.mp3

 

http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

 

To receive regular mailings of sermons, and scriptural and services commentary and other things throughout the church year, read our blog “Redeeming the Time” (http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime). You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed or receive its postings by email.

 

Our parish Email list ( http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church) also has all the latest postings from our website and blog; everyone is welcome to join.

 

All rights reserved.  Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way.  We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.

 

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Jesus walks on the water Will we recognize Christ when He comes to us in the middle of the night?

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

9th Sunday after Pentecost
Matthew 14:22-34

 

Christ saving Peter on the water.In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.

Brothers and sisters, when we read the Gospel, it’s not just a story. It is instruction.

 

This story about the Lord walking on the water is a vignette of our lives: The waves, the boat, the wind, the fact that the Lord came to them in the fourth watch of the night. Peter asked Him if it’s Him, and went out on the water. That describes us.

Let me explain. First off, the Lord went off apart from the people to a mountain to pray at night. The Fathers are very explicit. This teaches us how we should pray too. Make sure you take your time apart to pray: At night, early morning, some time when your thoughts are collected.

And the Lord was praying, but the disciples were out on a boat, and they were in a great storm. So the Lord was not with them in body.

 

I think that describes a lot of our life, doesn’t it? Don’t you have times in your life when things are happening too fast, with great difficulty? And you cannot cope? And sometimes doesn’t it seem, let’s admit it, the Lord doesn’t seem that close? Yes, we believe in Him, but we don’t seem to be communicating; we are not so sure; things are not going well.

That’s what’s happening to the disciples, because the Lord was not right in their midst. But if He had been right in their midst, would they have been afraid? No.

So He comes to them walking on the sea at the fourth watch of the night. That’s just before dawn. It had been a long time that they were fighting the storm in the darkness, the wind, the waves, in peril for their lives. And He comes to them. Now, when the Lord comes, all should be well with us. All the Lord needs to be is be with us and we should feel content. Much like when a child is scared. All they need is their mother or their father to be with them.

This happened to me many times as a nurse late at night working on the night shift. People would be very frightened sometimes late at night, or in the very early morning hours. All you needed to do was go in and hold their hand and be there. I couldn’t do anything about the disease that was ravaging their body; but the fact that I was just present with them, they would be calmer. So should it be with the Lord and us.

But that’s not what happened, was it? Peter said, if it’s you, tell me to go out on the waves. He still wasn’t sure, even though the Lord had announced Himself. Let’s not blame Peter for this. We would do the same thing.

 

This is a microcosm of our life.

 

Christ saving Peter on the water.

 

The Lord comes to us all the time. And perhaps we don’t ask the question, Lord, is it really you that’s here? But we don’t recognize that He’s here. And we are not calm.

So Peter says, if it’s you, tell me to get out of the boat and walk to you. And he did. And then of course we know what happened. Peter saw the waves and the wind and he started to fall. Many people would say, oh, when he got out onto the waves and the wind, he lost sight of the Lord. That’s when the Lord rebuked him and said, ye of little faith.

I would say his show of little faith was before that, when he said: Is it you? The Lord had already said it was Him. He saw the Lord. He spoke to them. He said, “It is I, be not afraid”. What else do we need? That’s where he showed his weak faith. He got out in the water. It was almost preordained from there. You have weak faith, you’re going to fail.

When the Lord comes to us, we have to accept Him. Know that He’s there. But the Lord doesn’t come in a way that we expect every time. We like things to be arranged just so, but they’re not. So when the Lord comes, it might be in the midst of the wind and the waves and late at night, later than we would want Him to be. And we have to recognize Him.

Peter didn’t completely recognize Him. This is His instruction to us. I hope it’s instructed to you. Because it really strikes a cord in me. I’ve told you before, the answer to every question is Christ, and the reason for every problem is our lack of faith.

 

So when Christ appears and says, It is I, be not afraid, and then we say: Is it you? – That’s the wrong answer.

Instead, a Christian is at peace with the Lord with Him. You know, sometimes I admit to you, sometimes as a sinner I struggle if services are not well attended at weekday services or something; I’ve served Vespers by myself, liturgies with just one other person, and sometimes I get depressed about that. But fortunately, I remember, that He has said  “where two or three are gathered among us, there I am with you.” I can’t say honestly that that completely alleviates all of my distress. It should, but it doesn’t, and that’s because of lack of faith.

The Lord is with us. If He’s present with us, then all should be well with us.

Peter shows us how not to behave when the Lord visits us. Instead, all should be well. We should be calm, the Lord will help us. I’m reminded of when the Lord says we must be like a little child. What would a child do when they saw the Lord? What would happen if a little boy was on the boat? Wouldn’t he tug on Peter’s cloak and say, ‘Look, there is Jesus!’ That’s all he would need. That’s all we should need. To have the faith of a little child is to believe the Lord, to be happy with His presence. Since He is always present, I guess we should be always happy.

Now, of course, life is hard. A lot of things happen that just shouldn’t happen, a lot of things, in our lives, in the lives of those we love. A lot of things in our own character that shouldn’t be there and should get better. So it’s not an instantaneous thing: Oh, the Lord is here, okay, now everything is perfect and hunky-dory. That’s not Christianity. Christianity is struggle to become better.

If we have to recognize the Lord’s presence in our lives, I’m absolutely convinced, the more and more I think about it, that the reason why we have our struggles and our travails is because we don’t recognize the Lord’s presence in our life.

 

I’m not sure why it is always. Sometimes it’s perhaps because of our sins, our distractions, our lack of faith, because we intellectualize things too much. I think a lot of it is because we don’t apply ourselves in the spiritual life so much. How are you going to recognize somebody if you barely know them? And we see what happens when we don’t recognize the Lord. Even with Him right there, Peter sunk into the waves.

Now, I’m sure all of us pray for various things, things that really matter to us. It’s good to pray, but it’s also very good to know when the prayer is answered. And you can see the disciples, they must have been praying, but they didn’t even know that their prayer was answered. It should not be like that.

Christianity is really simple. It’s hard, but it’s simple. The Lord is with us. The Lord will help us. We follow the Lord and all is good and all is well and the waves are calm and there is no wind. And the Lord is with us. And even if you feel waves and wind, if the Lord is with you, it is as if there is no waves and wind.

 

Now later on, Peter would understand this. He is among the greatest of the disciples, yes, he learned. His faith was great, but it took time for his faith to grow. So he made the same sort of mistakes that we all make. And the question is: Are we going to stop making these mistakes? Are we going to, when we pray for the Lord to help us, are we going to believe that He helps us? Are we going to recognize when He comes to visit us?

When Elias was in the cave, he didn’t hear the Lord in the earthquake or the flood or the fire – Only in the still small voice. You can’t hear that voice unless you’re quiet. You can’t recognize the Lord unless you listen for Him and you also become like Him.

 

Later on when Peter was transfigured and transformed, when he became a holy person, he recognized the Lord in everything now. He even went to the Cross without any fear. So it should be with us, brothers and sisters.

Our life, we are in this boat. Sometimes things are calm when we set out. But then later on, usually when there is some darkness in our life, things are stormy, things are difficult, and we don’t feel the immediate presence of the Lord.

The Lord is aware of what we need at all times. Our problem is we are not aware of this. So let us pray that our faith be increased, that we recognize the Lord is with us. And that all is well. Amen.

 

 

Matthew 14:22-34

 

22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29 And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. 34 And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2008.    

 

This and other Orthodox materials are available in from:

St. Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

·         Mailing Address: Box 37, McKinney, TX 75070

·         Rectory Phone: 972/529-2754

·         Email: seraphim@orthodox.net

·         Web Page: http://www.orthodox.net

·         Redeeming the Time Blog: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime/

 

This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-09_2008-08-17.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-09_2008-08-17.doc

AUDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-09_2008-08-17.mp3

 

http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Archive of commentaries: http://www.orthodox.net/scripture

Archive of homilies: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons

 

To receive regular mailings of sermons, and scriptural and services commentary and other things throughout the church year, read our blog “Redeeming the Time” (http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime). You may also subscribe to the RSS Feed or receive its postings by email.

 

Our parish Email list ( http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church) also has all the latest postings from our website and blog; everyone is welcome to join.

 

All rights reserved.  Please use this material in any edifying reason. We ask that you contact St. Nicholas if you wish to distribute it in any way.  We grant permission to post this text, if completely intact only, including this paragraph and the URL of the text, to any electronic mailing list, church bulletin, web page or blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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To feel good, you must do good. Thursday molebens Prison Ministry It is always about morality Designer churches.

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

To feel good, you must do good.

Thursday molebens

Prison Ministry

It is always about morality

Designer churches.

10 Things [1]

July 10/23. 9th Friday after Pentecost.

 

1. Here I go. Man, my little brain has a bunch of stuff rolling around in it. I must have 3 dozen things happen every day that I want to capture, for the benefit of my flock. Unfortunately, in the very short list of my strengths and virtues, organization is not one of them. And perfectionism, mixed with laziness (reminds me of jumbo shrimp and army intelligence!) is. Here is part of my raging against perfectionism and laziness. My new mantra J; just get it written down! So maybe I will continue making lists of ten things, with some stuff no doubt being incredibly inspiring, and some mundane, and some being “Greek Jokes” [2]

 

Some stuff that I start I keep doing, like weekday liturgies (for over two years now), Thursday night Molebens, carrying around the parish dyptichs and praying for my flock when I am in the truck, and lifting heavy odd objects, and other stuff I start and stop, like keeping my room clean, correspondence, and gardening. I guess time will tell on my ten things.

 

2.

 

Last night I served a Moleben with Akathist to St Nicholas, our patron, as I have for over 2 years nowRaising the cross http://www.orthodox.net/photos/raising-the-cross.jpg . We started in front of the big wooden cross which we erected on our land, when we had NO IDEA when or how we were going to afford to build a temple.

 

We served Molebens every outside Thursday, with a dog barking next door most of the time, rain or shine.  

 

Eventually the cross was taken down because of construction, and we served “in” the church, whether it was

 

 

A Thursday molben on the ground that would become our temple - August 9, 2009 http://www.orthodox.net/photos/parish/2009-08-09_moleben-on-the-land+during-moleben.jpg

just bulldozed ground,

 

 

Thursday night moleben, 11-07-2009 http://www.orthodox.net/photos/parish/2009-11-05_construction+moleben-01.jpg a concrete slab, or walls with no roof, or in any other phase of construction.


 

“We” was always me and a small group of people, or nobody at all. I think this service is one of the most important things I have ever done. It has often been very hard to do – I am tired, it is hot, and I am alone.

 

Actually, I have been alone maybe a half dozen or a dozen times. Fr Nicholas and Jenny have been very faithful praying in this service. They have full busy lives, and 4 wonderful, young and time intensive children, so sometimes one of them cannot make it. Sometimes my wife is late coming back from work, or is exhausted because of being on her feet for twelve hours. Sometimes Christina is at work or school.

 

Those are my “regulars”, and sometimes they cannot come. Occasionally a few others come, but for the most part, if somebody related to me is not there, it is just me, myself and I. On very rare occasion, I have been unable to some, and Fr Nicholas or Jenny has faithfully served.

 

3. I really believe that if you want to feel good you must do good.

 

I say it all the time, and I live by it. It is actually not perfectly accurate, because the time frame of “feeling good” is not specified. It is really: “You will eventually feel good if you do good”.

 

We are not patient people. We want it now. That is not the way Christianity works. We have so much dark stuff inside us. A sensitive soul feels this darkness, and clings to Christ to get rid of it. It takes a lot of time to get rid of it all.

 

Christianity is not like those stupid postcards that everybody gets advertising some “designer church”, with its handsome husband/.pastor, pretty wife/often co-pastor, and two perfect, smiling children (a boy and a girl, of course), with perfect teeth. Ain’t no average  people in that church, no sir!

 

Christianity is praying when you do not want to pray, and not being alone when you feel alone, because you are actually with God and his angels.

 

I feel a great consolation when I pray alone, but no sir, not a good emotional feeling. I just know that I am doing the right thing, and the Lord knows, I do a lot of wrong things, so whenever I get the opportunity to get it right and I do, it is a great thing!

 

4. Above, I mentioned that we started these Thursday molebens before we had any idea when we would build, or how we could afford it. Well, the first question has been answered, and we have a beautiful temple, that I pray every day we will be worthy to have, to the glory of God. As for the second, well, I have no idea. We could not afford it, and yet, here a temple stands!

 

The two most important reasons why our temple was built are: our Thursday molebens and weekday liturgies. In each, we pray for all the parish members by name, and also others from our public prayer list (http://docs.google.com/View?id=dzgvjb6_16f2pcdrhn).

 

 

5. I went to a prison yesterday. I have not seen these guys for over two months, because it is as hard to get into a prison as it is to get out of one! I try to go once a month to one prison, and twice a month to another. But there is always something that gets in the way. Usually, the prison is locked down, or they have a staffing shortage. I get “bumped” all the time.

 

Yesterday, a new volunteer came with me. John is from a parish in Tyler, and will come with me and instead of me so these men can have more sessions.

 

This is exciting. I need volunteers so these men can have more than one (or none!) Orthodox service a month.

 

6. At the Michael unit, there are four guys who show up regularly. There were five, but One was released today, and will be heading to a monastery. The initial time outside of a prison is very difficult, in a million ways. I would like to tell you his name. I will try to remember to ask all the men if I can release all their first names, so others can pray for them. In general, I guard their identities carefully. A priest has so many secrets, that he tells almost nobody anything, just in case.

 

Two of the men are Orthodox. One was baptized in the prison though the Antiochian prison ministry. Two are inquirers. And one is very sure that he wants to be baptized.

 

Here is my plan. I go over the creed, great detail, emphasizing the moral aspects of it, because “IT IS ALWAYS ABOUT MORALITY”. I will ask him if he believed everything, and if he does, make him a catechumen. In time, I will baptize him, with an adult baptismal font, that, so far, has been in every Texas prison I have been in (God bless the Baptists!)

 

7. We have started a Prison Ministry Account. With our recent parish poverty, travel and stamps, etc is on my nickel. Previously, the parish subsidized the ministry, but the times, they are a changin. If I could remember the pin number, I could even use the debit card to buy gas!

 

If anybody wants to support our Prison Ministry, here is a page describing it, and giving an opportunity to donate through PayPal: http:///www.orthodox.net/ministries/orthodox-prison-ministry.html

 

8. Although some molebens have been hard, a ton have been a lot of fun, especially when the “babies” are there. I remember them with fondness.

 

Kids posing where the apse will be after an August 8, 2009 moleben http://www.orthodox.net/photos/parish/2009-08-09_moleben-on-the-land+kids-posing.jpg       After a Thursday moleben, hanging out in a southern window http://www.orthodox.net/photos/parish/2009-10-1-construction+papa-and-s-and-e-in-south-window.jpg

 

l-r: Kids posing where the apse will be after an August 8, 2009 moleben, After a Thursday Moleben, 10/1/2009, hanging out in a southern window

The deaconesses in the apse after a moleben. 10/1/2009 http://www.orthodox.net/photos/parish/2009-10-1-construction+deaconesses-in-altar-apse.jpg

The deaconesses in the apse after a moleben. 10/1/2009

 

9. Here is something I always emphasize about the Symbol of Faith. All we really need to know is the very beginning: “I believe in one God, the Father Almighty…”

 

This is a dogmatic and MORAL statement. We are not God’s children by nature, but by adoption. If we are sons by adoption, we should act like sons! To say God is my Father is to say a fantastic thing, and to make a solemn promise. We promise to become good, as God our Father is good. Christianity is not primarily about forgiveness; it is about moral perfection, because of our adoption by grace, and our zeal and aided desire to be worthy sons of the Most High.

 

 

10. Another one of my pet sayings: “a forgiven sinner is still a sinner”. Even forgiven sin still leaves its mark and causes pain. Jesus Christ became incarnate so they we could be free from sin, and not just forgiven.

 

 

 

From St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texaswww.orthodox.net

 

This document is at http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2010-07-23_to-feel-good-you-must-do-good+thursday-molebens+prison-ministry+it-is-always-about-morality-+designer-churches.doc

 

And on our blog

 

New 10 things” entries, sermons, journal entries , scripture commentary & more are posted on our BLOG: http://www/.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

 

Archive of “10 things”: http://www.orthodox.net/10things

 

Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL were the text was found. We would love to hear from you with comments!



[1] This document is a list of ten (more or less) things about a particular topic. More “Ten Things” topics may be found at http://www.orthodox.net/10things. They are also posted to the blog of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texas, called  “Redeeming the Time”http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime. Look under the category “10things”. Use anything you wish, but please indicate authorship, with the URL.

[2] My family still does not understand a lot of my jokes or the things I find humorous after all these years. It turns out that my father in law also tall jokes that others “don’t get”.  He is Greek, so those jokes are called “Greek jokes”, and my jokes have many times also been labeled in the same way. Here is one example. I love this joke, every time, but if I tell it again at the table, I may get bitten: “Did you hear about the atheist dyslexic? He did not believe in a dog!”

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Kingdom parables Children’s liturgy, Children’s sermon Prayers in the mother tongue Prayer and doing things prayerfully.

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010


Wednesday, July 8/21 St Procopius

Kingdom parables

Children’s liturgy, Children’s sermon

Prayers in the mother tongue

Prayer and doing things prayerfully.

10 Things[i]

 

1. I served children’s liturgy today. I love to sit on the step of the solea and give the children’s sermon, with the children seated around me. I think the adults like it too. Although the content is simple, I ALWAYS learn something from what I say, so I figure the adults learn too.  

 

2. One of the Gospels readings today was about the vineyard workers (Matthew 20:1-16, 9th Wed after Pentecost). It is one of the “Kingdom parables”. I asked the children what a parable was, and got a pretty good answer – a story that is told to explain something important. I added that the Lord taught many parables, but they were by no means only in the Gospel – for instance ‘Jack and the beanstalk and Cinderella are also parables.

 

3. I explained that the “Kingdom parables” all begin in this way “The kingdom of heaven is like…”, much like many fairy tales begin with “Once upon a time”. These parables are not describing heaven as much as they are describing the way we must live to get to heaven. Although this is a “child friendly” explanation, it is still true.

 

4. Is thine eye evil, because I am good?” This is the 15th verse in the reading. This parable is about jealousy. I do not think any one of us can answer this question in the negative. Our pride shackles us, and makes us jealous in little and great ways, and not matter how little or great, any jealousy puts us far away from God.

 

5. In the parable, the “householder” is God, and the workers of the vineyard are all of us.

 

6. I have so much stuff to say, and not enough time to say it. Perhaps writing “ten things” once in a while will get some of it “said”.

 

7. I was offering counsel recently, and I counseled myself. This happens frequently. I unofficially think this is one of the consolations of the priesthood.

 

8. What do we want when we pray? Fundamentally, we want union with God. What fundamentally interferes with our union with God? Our sins, or more properly, our sinful condition. Prayer can illuminate the heart, but obedience can too. Doing things that seemingly interfere with our prayer can be more effective than prayer, if we do them – prayerfully.

 

9. I was at a friend’s house today in the afternoon and saw a book he had recently purchased. He has a great library with a comfortable couch, and we sit there and drink coffee. The book is “The Life and Teachings of Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica”, from St Herman of Alaska press. This book is a keeper. I may get it, or just read it in segments.

I read the introduction and was, as they say, “blown away!” He emphasizes something that I have learned the hard way, but still have not been able to control – our thoughts determine how we experience our life.

 

10. Had lunch with a friend today. He posted on his Facebook that he had a “lunch date with Fr Seraphim” and some of his friends were fascinated that he would have lunch with a priest. I guess they think we are so heavenly that we do not eat! I posted later that he actually had lunch with a long haired nurse in a black dress. All of this is true!



[i] This document is a list of ten (more or less) things about a particular topic. More “Ten Things” topics may be found at http://www.orthodox.net/10things. They are also posted to the blog of St Nicholas Orthodox Church, McKinney Texas, called  “Redeeming the Time”http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime. Look under the category “10things”. Use anything you wish, but please indicate authorship, with the URL.

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Holy Virgin Martyr Lucy July 6/19

Monday, July 19th, 2010

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Many years to my penultimate (for 6 months!) granddaughter, Goody Goose, Lulu, Ludy Doo, Lucy!

The Holy Martyrs Lucy (Lucia) the Virgin, Rexius, Antoninus, Lucian, Isidore, Dion, Diodorus, Cutonius, Arnosus, Capicus and Satyrus:

St Lucy, a native of the Italian district of Campania, from the time of her youth dedicated herself to God and lived in an austere and chaste manner. While still quite young, she was taken captive and carried off into a foreign land by Rexius, who had the title of Vicarius (a substitute for a dead or absent provincial governor). Rexius at first tried to compel St Lucy to sacrifice to idols but, she remained firm in her faith and was ready to accept torture for the sake of Christ. Rexius was inspired with profound respect for her and even permitted her and her servants the use of a separate house, where they lived in solitude, spending their time in unceasing prayer. Whenever he left to go on military campaigns, Rexius reverently asked for St Lucy's prayers, and he returned victorious.

After 20 years St Lucy, having learned that the emperor Diocletian had begun a persecution against Christians, entreated Rexius to send her back to Italy. She wanted to glorify the Lord together with her fellow countrymen. Rexius, under the influence of St Lucy, had already accepted Christianity by this time, and even longed for martyrdom. Leaving behind his retinue and family, he went to Rome with St Lucy. The Roman prefect Aelius sentenced them to be beheaded with a sword. After them the holy martyrs Antoninus, Lucian, Isidore, Dion, Diodorus, Cutonis, Arnosus, Capicus and Satyrus were also beheaded. In all, twenty-four martyrs suffered with Sts Lucy and Rexius.

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