In our continuing series of small homilies between Vespers and matins, based upon the texts of the services, we examine the repentance of St Mary of Egypt, and see how we can emulate it. Her repentance was not a one time, unique event! We must find ways to cultivate a repentant spirit; the hymns discussed today give us much to do to accomplish this.
“The pollution of past sins prevented thee from entering the church to see the elevation of the Holy Cross; but then thy conscience and the awareness of thine actions turned thee, O wise in God, to a better way of life. And, having looked upon the ikon of the blessed Maid of God, thou hast condemned all thy previous transgressions, O Mother worthy of all praise, and so hast gone with boldness to venerate the precious cross” (5th Sunday of Lent, Sat Vespers, Lord I have cried)
“I am held fast in the mire of sin, and there is no strength or courage in me; the tempests of my trespasses hast overwhelmed me. Look upon me, O Virgin, I entreat thee, for thou hast borne the Word who alone loves mankind. Deliver me from every sin, from all the passions that destroy my soul, and from every ill inflicted by the enemy, that I may sing with joy; Intercede with thy Son and God, O undefiled, that remission of transgressions may be given to those who in faith take refuge beneath thy protections.” (5th Sunday of Great Lent, Matins, Sessional Hymn after the 3rd Ode)
Many Russian people find it difficult to confess in English, even if they are fluent. These two charts are excellent. The longer one is great to use for preparation, and FOR A PERSON TO TAKE NOTES AND BRING THE NOTES TO CONFESSION. Of course, this PRESUPPOSES that there is preparation for confession, which is absolutely necessary for a good confession
These charts are in pdf format, and were provided to one of our ROCOR clergy list some time ago.
Also many links about prepartions for confession, examples for confession, etc.
Schedule of Divine Services in the Coming week
Fasting in the Coming week
Links related to the coming week – including Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday
Annunciation Sermon by St Ambrose, Bishop of Milan
? Annunciation Sermon by Pope Leo the Great
? Sermon on the Annunciation by St Proklos, Patriarch of Constantinople
? Annunciation Homily by St. Jerome
? Annunciation of the Theotokos – March 25- a Prayer
A short talk on how to prepare for confession. Some of it is not what you might expect, but several practical items are mentioned. Many links about preparing for confessin and confession lists and examples are also listed.
The Life of St Mary of Egypt, which is read during Matins for the 5th Thursday of Great Lent, has many numbers in it. This is a summary of all important numbers, such as 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,17,30,42,47,53,76,77,100,522. The explanation of these numbers gives a good summary of her edifying life. We tell her life “by the numbers” and provide links to her life. many icons, and questions about her life.
We must understand the nature and effect of sin. The Matins canon, especially, in the Triodion, describes this in many important ways. Sin is not so much things we do or do not do, as it is our condition – weakened and often estranged from God. Let us look at the Matins Canon for the 4th week of Great Lent as it continues the Lenten theme of exploring the parable of the prodigal son and understand about the “whips of sin”, but looking at 3 stichera form the canon:
“My mind has been scourged by the whips of sin by wicked thieves and evil thoughts. Heal me, Christ my Savior, and save me for Thou art rich in mercy” (Matins Canon, 4th Sunday of Great Lent, Ode 1)
“I have wasted my God-given life on the passions, O Master, and I am fiercely scourged in every part by my transgressions; but I turn to Thee for refuge and I pray: Have pity on me” (Matins Canon, 4th Sunday of Great Lent, Ode 6)
“Scourging my mind with the passions, thieves have seized my wealth and left me as one dead, but take pity on me and save me O Lord. ” (Matins Canon, 4th Sunday of Great Lent, Ode 1)
Why do we fast? Few people understand that we fast because of a requirement of our nature and because of the nature of the demons. “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting” (Mark. 9:29). Let us understand why we fast and put off all legalism concerning this essential practice.
Today, brothers and sisters, on this fourth Sunday of Great Lent, we remember Saint John Climacus who is known as Saint John of the Ladder. The icon of The Ladder of Divine Ascent in our church shows the monks that are climbing up towards Jesus Christ. It is a metaphor for our life and for how we must continually ascend, we must continually add virtue to virtue.
But where should we begin? The Lord gives us a place to begin. He says to us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit because theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” …
Homily by St Ignati Briachaninov: The Lord said to His Apostles about the evil spirits, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting” (Mark. 9:29). Here is a new aspect of fasting! Fasting is acceptable to God when it is preceded by the great virtue of mercy; fasting prepares a reward in heaven when it is foreign to hypocrisy and vainglory; fasting works when it is joined with another great virtue – prayer.
How does it work? It not only tames the passions in the human body, but it enters into battle with the spirits of evil, and conquers them.
St Ignaty goes on to explain in great detail how fasting works and why we must fast, and what our disposition must be. This may be the most important text on fasting you will every read! Your battle against the spirits of the air is very weak unless you understand St Ignaty’s words!