Archive for the ‘Feasts Of the Savior’ Category

Nativity of the Savior. The Meaning of Christmas: Abba Father. Audio.

Saturday, January 8th, 2011

feasts-of-the-lord-nativity-02

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Synopsis: During the Advent season, the "Meaning of Christmas" is often referenced, and most of the time, it is far from the truth, and even hackneyed and shallow. This homily does an almost line by line exegesis of the Epistle Read on Nativity and one of the Epistles read the day before, explaining the true meaning of Christmas and why and how we achieve this meaning. This is heavily Christological, but as all true theology is, also quite practical and about things that are ultimately important in life.

Many More homilies on the Nativity are HERE

Galatians 4:4-7 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

Hebrews 2:11-18 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.


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Why A Chinese Buddhist Became an Orthodox Athonite Monk Christ is born! And we are not alone. Nativity 2011

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Why A Chinese Buddhist Became an Orthodox Athonite Monk

Christ is born! And we are not alone.

The Meaning of Christmas

Nativity of the Savior, 2011

This story, received in an email today [1], on the Eve of Nativity, (Dec 24 2010/ Jan 6 2011) is entirely appropriate for the Nativity season. Because God became man, we are not alone. We have someone Whom we can talk to, Who understand us, and CAN help us, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  (16)  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:15-16)

This sums up pretty well the meaning of the Incarnation of the Son of God, the meaning of the Nativity of the Savior, the true meaning of Christmas.

 

By Fr. Libyos

On my last trip to Mount Athos I visited the Monastery of Simonopetra. It is a majestic monastery and the sky was fully blue. There I met a graceful novice monk from China. In truth, he surprised me by his presence. An Orthodox rason on a Chinese man? I was moved somewhat. I had never seen this before up close, only in pictures of missions. An inheritor of a great cultural tradition and for him to embrace Christianity? My friends and I got curious to ask him about this.

"Brother, how did you, a Chinese man, embrace Orthodox Christian monasticism coming from such a great cultural tradition? Were you a Buddhist?"

"Yes, of course, I was a Buddhist."

"What won you over to Christianity?"

"Divine companionship!"

"Excuse me?"

"Yes, yes, Father, hahahahaha!", he laughed, since with every three words the Chinese seem to laugh at two. "In Buddhism, my Father, you are very very much alone. There is no God. Your entire struggle is with yourself. You are alone with yourself, with your ego. You are totally alone in this path. Great loneliness Father. But here you have an assistant, a companion and a fellow-traveler in God. You are not alone. You have someone who loves you, who cares about you. He cares even if you don't understand Him. You speak with Him. You tell Him how you feel, what you would have hoped for – there is a relationship. You are not alone in the difficult struggles of life and spiritual perfection.

I realized things in those days. A severe cold bound me to bed. No doctor could find anything wrong with me. The clinical picture was clear, at least the doctors couldn't see anything. The pain was unbearable and there was absolutely no pain killer that could stop it. I changed three different pain killers and still the pain was not alleviated.

At this time I got the news that the brother of my father, whose name I bear, had an advanced form of cancer in the vocal cords and larynx. He had a largyngectomy. It was the result of chronic alcohol consumption and smoking. Generally he lived a bad life, without any quality.

Then I felt something a former Buddhist and now a Christian monk on Mount Athos told me, that you need to have a God you can talk to; to perceive and to feel someone besides yourself Who hears you.

I don't know if it's wrong or right. I only know it is a deep need of man. This is evidenced by life itself. Even these Buddhists, who are from a non-theistic religion, created various deities. Even in dream language and worlds. But they have a need to refer to someone, to something, someone beyond and outside themselves, even if it's dreamy. Besides, reality and truth is something very relevant and will always remain so. It is an enigma, a mystery."

At this I remembered the words of Saint Gregory the Theologian, who had a sensitive and melancholic nature, when he said: "When you are not well, or not feeling so, speak. Speak even if it is to the wind."

 

St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-01-06-why-a-chinese-buddhist-became-an-orthodox-athonite-monk-christ-is-born-and-we-are-not-alone-the-meaning-of-christmas.doc

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2011-01-06-why-a-chinese-buddhist-became-an-orthodox-athonite-monk-christ-is-born-and-we-are-not-alone-the-meaning-of-christmas.html

 

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Use this for any edifying reason, but please give credit, and include the URL of the article. This content belongs to the author. We would love to hear from you with comments! (seraphim@orthodox.net)

 



[1] From an email from Matushka Elizabeth Perdomo, on the “StGeorgesOrthodoxTX” mailing list. She sends out ton of stuff every day, and I sometimes glean from it. St George the Great Martyr Orthodox Church is in Pharr Texas, and hosts an annual Orthodox Winter Service retreat that I recommend (with my words and my “feet”, since I have gone two years in a row)

 

 Subscribe by sending an email to: StGeorgesOrthodoxTX-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

 

Matushka got this text from a translation by John Sanidopoulos of this Greek language blog post: http://plibyos.blogspot.com/2010/12/blog-post_30.html. The Translation, form John’s excellent blog, is here: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2011/01/why-chinese-buddhist-became-orthodox.html

 

The icon is from the original blog post. .

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Sunday Of The Holy Fathers, Saint John Of Kronstadt, and The Purpose Of The Incarnation, Ye shall be children of the Highest.

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

St John of KronstadtSynopsis: On this Sunday before Nativity, St John of Kronstadt is also commemorated, and the Gospel for him and his life perfectly describes the purpose of the Incarnation. This Gospel contains our Lord's admonishments to love, using concrete examples, and concludes with the promise "And ye shall be children of the highest". This is the purpose of the incarnation, and examining this Gospel along with St John's life, which struggled to fulfill it illuminates this purpose for us, therefore, on this Sunday when we read the "Begats", it is appropriate to delve into what is means to be children of the highest, and how and why we can attain this high calling. We also suggest another way to describe the "Golden Rule" and what should be our inner motivation for loving our fellow man, and doing anything that is good in this life.

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More homilies on the Nativity (the 2 Sunday's preceding, Nativity, and the Sunday after) are HERE

 

Luke 6:31-36 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (32) For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. (33) And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. (34) And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. (35) But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. (36) Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

Lots of photos and ikons of St John, from Google image search

Photos and Ikons of St John from Bing search

 


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Sunday of the Holy Forefathers. The Great Supper; An Invitation to Become, Not to Eat.

Friday, December 31st, 2010

I know that this homily covers last sunday, but I have just finished putting the transcribed version online, even while at a retreat in the Valley and I did not want to waste the fervent labors of Helen, who transcribed it about 3 weeks ago!

Sunday of the Holy Forefathers. Two Sundays before the Nativity of Jesus Christ
The Great Supper; An Invitation to Become, Not to Eat.
Colossians 3:4-11, Luke 14:16-24
2007

 

More Homilies on the Nativity (Sundays before, Nativity, Sundays after) at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/index.html#FEASTS_OF_THE_SAVIOR,_NATIVITY

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

Today, brothers and sisters, is the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers. It is the first of two Sundays immediately preceding Nativity. We have these special readings.

Today we hear a parable about the great supper, and I submit to you that this supper is not the one that we eat. It is one that we become. If you understand the supper in this way, then you will understand why it is that people didn’t want to come to the supper.

Very few people are willing to turn down a free meal, right? This was not a free meal. This was the way of life that makes us free.

The certain man, of course, is God. And that great supper is our becoming like Him so that we will know Him.

Supper is at the end of the day. I learned this when I came to Dallas. In the South they have this idea of dinner as supper. In the North, dinner and supper are the same meal. But in the South, dinner is the lunch, usually enough lunch to feed an army and then supper later if you can somehow stand to eat it.

Supper is at the end of our life, and it also our total life. So it really means two things. In the end, of course, there will be the table heavy laden, and we will be with Christ. We will know Him, see Him, face-to-face, no longer in a glass darkly, but face-to-face without fear and without shame – If we live our life now in such a way that we will be ready when things are all ready, as the parable says. So the supper is our life. The supper is becoming.

 

Look at the people that did not want to come to the supper, all because they had their own priorities and their own desires.

One says, I’ve got some ground that I just bought, I want to go see it. The fathers speak about that as being possessions that can tie us down.

Another one says, I have five yoke of oxen; I go to prove them. The five yoke are the five senses, and therefore, all of our different desires that we have for pleasure.

 

Another says I have a wife that I just married; I cannot come. That is also our own self desires, our own selfishness for pleasure.

These excuses, in microcosm, describe all of the excuses that we have for not living the Christian life.

 

The supper is not one that we just sit down at. The supper is one that we are becoming.

Saint Paul says today, “When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then we shall also appear with Him in glory,” as at the supper. But to appear with Christ in glory means we must obey Him and live as He lives.

It is entirely appropriate that we discuss this parable just before Nativity because, without Christ, we would not have any life. So this calling to the supper, we can only obey this calling with Christ helping us, because Christ became man and lived the life that He wants us to live and made us capable of living that life.

Be careful in your life. Take a look and see what excuses you are giving that you don’t want to come to this supper. Think sometimes, especially in our semi-Christian society, what passes for Christianity is this idea that you go to glory and this glorious thing because you believe in Jesus Christ, without any of the substance of what it takes to be able to be part of this glory.

What it takes is to live as Christ lived.

 

And that is hinted at in the end of the parable or near the very end when the king is very upset because so many people have not come to the supper. And he says to his slaves, “Go out into the streets and lanes of the city quickly … and compel them to come in.”

 

That’s an order, not just to them; it is an order to us. If we are to be part of this supper, then we have to have the mentality of the one who gave it. We should desire to compel others to come into it by the way we live our life. It’s a very powerful word: Compel. It does not abrogate that we have free will to choose whether we’d want to do good or ill. And so does every man.

But if your way of life is such that a person is so attracted to it that they desire to find out and to live it, then you have compelled someone to come into the supper.

When I read this parable, I tremble because I wonder how much I’m compelling people. I’ve dedicated my life to doing it. That’s why I became a priest. I couldn’t see anything else important in life. Everything else dies. Everything else is temporary. The only thing that’s permanent is who we become. The only thing that matters for a person is who he becomes, because in becoming like Christ then you can know Him, then you can be with Him in glory, then you can be unashamed at the end of the age. Otherwise, everything is a loss. That’s all that matters. We should have that mentality, such that people would see it.

Perhaps you haven’t heard of this parable being spoken of in, shall we say, evangelistic terms. But everything we do in our life should be evangelism. Should be such that we are the light on the lamp stand, not underneath the bushel basket. Not what we say, but who we are. The supper is about becoming. This coming to the supper is actually our life.

Yes, there will be a time when we shall sit down with Him, but right now is the time for action. Right now the time is for effort. The time is to say: There is nothing in my way, Lord, from keeping me from coming to Thy supper; I am not going to let any oxen or any land or a wife or any other desires keep me from what is most important, and that is that Thou art my life.

The apostle further talks about, after saying that Christ will appear and we will appear in glory, he gives us the key to how we will appear in glory, and this is basically how we are going to get to the supper. Because there is a traveling period from the time you are bidden to the supper and you get to it. He’s saying, “Mortify your members that are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness.” He says not to lie, not to commit blasphemy, have no filthy communication out of your mouth. He’s saying to live virtuously. So if you want to come to this supper, live virtuously. The calling is from Christ telling us, Live like Me. He’s made us capable of this.

We are about to celebrate His birth. But His birth means nothing if we don’t obey His way of life. His birth doesn’t save us;  accepting His grace and living in it is what saves us. This supper is a calling to virtue. Not just a calling to be with glory in the end. It’s a calling now to change.

 

Look in your life, see what excuses you have. If I’m perfectly honest with myself, I could say each one of these excuses could apply to me in various ways. And certainly, the order to compel others to come in, I tremble when I think what opportunities I have not taken advantage of to compel others to come into the supper.

It’s not just words of a fictional story. Obviously, this occurrence didn’t happen in, shall we say, real life, right? There really wasn’t a person who called people to a supper and then went and had his slaves to find others. It is a picture for us. But in another way it truly is happening. Are we participating in it or are we making excuses?

May God help us to answer the call to be virtuous, the call to live as God lives. What an incredible opportunity, what an incredible privilege it is to live as a Christian! That’s what the Lord is saying in this parable: “Come to Me. Live as I live.“

May God help us to answer this call and also not just to come to the supper because there are a lot of people that are going to come to the supper and be very surprised because they haven’t lived that life. They have tagged along. They have considered themselves to be Christian. But let us be traveling to the supper in such a way that we are also causing others to come to it.

May God help us in all things. Amen.

 

Transcribed by the handmaiden Helen. May God save her and her family.

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 3010.    

 

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This homily is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-nativity-01_2007-12-30+sunday-of-the-holy-forefathers+the-great-supper-an-invitation-to-become-not-to-eat_colossians3-4-11+luke14-16-24.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-nativity-01_2007-12-30+sunday-of-the-holy-forefathers+the-great-supper-an-invitation-to-become-not-to-eat_colossians3-4-11+luke14-16-24.doc

AUDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-nativity-01_2007-12-30+sunday-of-the-holy-forefathers+the-great-supper-an-invitation-to-become-not-to-eat_colossians3-4-11+luke14-16-24.mp3

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The Nativity Fast. Typikon, Why Fast, Pastoral advice. Talk and Outline.

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

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Outline: : http://www.orthodox.net/catechism/orthopraxis_2010-11-28+nativity-fast+fasting-typikon-why-fast.doc

Synopsis: A short talk on the Nativity Fast, on the day the fast began. The Nativity Fast and Great Lent Compared, Nativity Fasting Typikon, Fasting until the Ninth Hour, Why Fast? How does the fast apply to you? (Office parties,Family,The Belly,Prayer,Almsgiving,If you do not fast well). The outline was used in the talk.


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Two Identical Definitions of Christianity. What is the way of the Cross? Important questions we must answer. Audio Homily 2010

Monday, October 4th, 2010

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Synopsis: The Epistle and Gospel for the Sunday after the Exaltation of the Cross both contain identical 'definitions' of Christianity. They both involve the cross, which is an instrument of death and of life. All Christians must voluntaily be crucified with Christ, and tak up their cross. This is explained by our Lord's instruction that we must 'lose' our life to save it, and His uestions: For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? We must understand this if we are to truly live the Christian life and know Christ.

More homilies on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross are HERE

Galatians 2:16-20 16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. 17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. 18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. 20 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Mark 8:34-9:1 34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. 1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.


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Sunday before the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – John 3:13-17. Audio Homily 2010

Monday, September 27th, 2010

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SYNOPSIS:A line by line exegesis of the important passage John 3:13-17, with particular emphasis on how the cross and the resurrection must be thought of in the same "breath;", and how we must live because of the cross.

More homilies on the Exaltation of the Cross are HERE

John 3:13-17 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved


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Homily on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross We preach Christ crucified What is the way of the cross? 1 Corinthians 1:18-24. Text Homily.

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Homily on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross
We preach Christ crucified

What is the way of the cross?
1 Corinthians 1:18-24

Sep 14/27 2009

(Many more homilies about the Exaltation of the Holy Cross here )

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


“For the preaching of the Cross is, to them that perish, foolishness. But unto us which are saved, it is the power of God.” [1]

 

So says the Apostle. We also preach that the Lord Jesus Christ crucified just as he did.

What is the preaching of the Cross? The preaching of the Cross is preaching about the way of the Cross.

 

Our Lord spoke about the way of the Cross. It’s rather mysterious, really. And the reason it’s mysterious is because of our sins, because the way of the Cross is the way of life; and yet, in order to gain it, we must die. The way of the Cross is the way of joy — or to joy. But in order to gain it, we must undergo tribulation and be sad.

The world does not understand this. It is foolishness to them. To the world, when someone takes something from you, take it back. To the world, when something is good for you, it is good, no matter whether it’s bad for someone else. To the world it is: I take what is mine. To the world it is: No one should treat me in this kind of way, whatever way we don’t enjoy or don’t like or think is beneath our station. To the world: When you have an enemy, you fight him. The way Christians live with their enemies, the way Christians do not strive after or shouldn’t strive – a true Christian, that is — after only things that they desire: The world doesn’t understand this; it’s foolishness.

And the reason I say, “The way of the Cross is a mystery” is because, to a large extent, we don’t understand either. We know what is right, but our sins obscure from us the real truth of the matter.

How can this be otherwise? Just look at your life. You know that, as a Christian, you should forgive everyone; and yet when someone slights you, what is your first response? Just like the world: To be angry, to judge. Perhaps, with reaching some maturity in the way of the Cross, you wouldn’t reach out against this person, but still the thought is there.

The way of the Cross is the way that Jesus Christ lived.

 

When we preach the Cross, we preach the One Who is on the Cross. We preach the way of life of the One Who is on the Cross. He taught us the way to live. The way to live is to turn your other cheek when your enemy slaps you on your cheek. The way to live is to love your enemies and to not fight against them. The way of life is to humble yourself, to not seek after the things that the world thinks are so pleasant and so alluring, and yet are so ephemeral and will go away. This is the preaching of the Cross. This is the way of the Cross.

The Lord said in another place: “He who wills, let him take up his Cross and follow Me” [2]. And in another place He says, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Take My yoke upon you for I am meek and lowly, and you shall find rest for your souls.” [3]

The way of the Cross is also taking on the yoke of our Lord Jesus Christ. But He said, it’s easy and light. The way of the Cross is not easy and light. This is where the mystery comes in. This is where the Christian begins to understand, in living his life, what the Lord means by “the way of the Cross” and by His promises that in the world we will have tribulation and then also promising that His yoke is easy and his burden is light.

Truly, to be holy is to have an easy way and a light way and a restful way. That is absolutely true. The problem is that we who are trying to be holy make many missteps. And we must have tribulation in order to learn to become holy.

So this way of the Cross is difficult. Our Lord’s way, the yoke of Christ, is easy and is light. When oxen follow their master’s command, it is quite easy for them. When they chafe against the yoke, when they’re disobedient, when they’re recalcitrant, then the yoke chafes them, bruises them, hurts them. So it is with us.

Our Lord’s yoke is easy and light. And the way of the Cross is difficult, because of us, and because of the world. This is a mystery that is difficult to penetrate. It is difficult to understand: Why should I delay my personal gratification when there is no immediate reward? The world doesn’t understand this.

 

Many times, let’s be honest with ourselves, we don’t either, which is why we sin. But the more we learn of our Lord’s yoke, the more we follow Him in every way, unfortunately, for us, there is going to be pain and difficulty, because every Christian must have a Cross.

I tell you right now, if you do not feel pain in your heart about the world, about the person you are and the person you should be and the difficulties that you have (I’m not talking about whether or not you don’t have enough money to pay the electric bill. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about deep in your heart, feeling the kind of person you are) —  If you don’t feel pain over that, then be afraid. Be very afraid, because you cannot be saved unless you know that there is a better way and you know that you’re lacking completeness and wholeness.

 
The way of the Cross is to feel pain. Not self-inflicted pain; we’re not masochists, but pain because things are not the way they should be, neither in your heart, nor the hearts of your loved ones, nor the hearts of those in the world. It’s not the way it should be. So the way of the Cross is to always be aware of this.

The Lord was walking the way of the Cross from the moment He was born. His face was always set to Jerusalem [4], and so should we, according to our meager abilities which increase with time. You must feel in your heart that you’re lacking something in order to desire what you need.

 

This is the way of the Cross: To know that you are missing something that is so critically important to your soul; to know that you’re missing wisdom and compassion and gentleness and humility and wholeness. And that the only way to gain this is to follow Christ and to cleave to Him, to hold onto Him, no matter what.

If you think your life is relatively easy right now, then be afraid. No one’s life should be easy, not in this world. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, sick or healthy; the Christian must feel deeply with his soul how things are out of order. Our Lord did. That’s all He thought about in the world. We call him “The Man of Sorrows.” [5] We have the tradition that He never laughed, because all He could think about was those who He loved and what they needed.

So all we should think about is what He thought about: Love for others without consideration for ourselves. That’s the way of the Cross.

It’s good to be before the Cross and to bow down before it and to have beautiful singing, decorate the church and all the other things that are beautiful in our faith. But if your heart doesn’t ache for what you should be and what others should be, then you’re not following the way of the Cross.

 

Cultivate this pain; don’t be afraid of it. The world doesn’t want to feel pain. Our Lord did, every day, every moment. So did the Apostles, so did the Saints. And eventually they found perfect peace.

You cannot find perfect peace without going the way of the Cross. And in the world the way of the Cross is not peaceful, because the world hates the Cross. Oh, it’s okay to wear it in an earring or as a tattoo, but they hate the way of the Cross.

And if we are honest with ourselves, we have to admit, there are many times when we do not want to go the way of the Cross either. Because the way of the Cross is difficult and painful. But let us ask God to help us to follow the way of the Cross, because this is the only way to life. What we see around us in the world: Most of it is death, most of it is meaningless and diseased. If we look even in ourselves, we see that there are meaningless and diseased things even in our own souls.
God came so that: Nothing would be meaningless; everything would have meaning; there would be no disease; everything would be made whole and perfect.

And so let us follow the way of the Cross. It is the only way to perfection. God help us. Amen.

 

Transcribed by the handmaiden Helen.

 

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/feasts-of-the-savior-exaltation-of-the-cross_2009-09-27+we-preach-christ-crucified.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-exaltation-of-the-cross_2009-09-27+we-preach-christ-crucified.doc

Audio: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-exaltation-of-the-cross_2009-09-27+we-preach-christ-crucified.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.

 



[1] 1 Corinthians 1:18

[2] “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

[3] “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  (30)  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30)

[4] “And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,  (52)  And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.  (53)  And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:51-53). Jerusalem is also a symbol of righteousness.

[5] “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?  (2)  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  (3)  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isa 53:1-3 KJV)

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Short talk on the Transfiguration

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

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We have been having short talks after Liturgy recently. The homily is after the Gospel, where it belongs, and after liturgy, I try to talk about something practical (usually), trying to keep it as short as possible.

I have talked about confession, oil, bows and prostrations, etc. Sometimes I cannot help myself and must talk about theological topic.

We just celebrated the Transfiguration, and as is usual for any "extra" services, most people were not in attendance. This is a very important feast, and I think the people should be taught about it at least every year, so I gave a short talk about the Transfiguration (or combination talk and homily) yesterday.

I am trying to get organized and have a handout for the talks. The way my brain works is just to scribble stuff down Sunday morning and go with it, but I am trying to mend my ways. Sunday, there was a handout:


Transfiguration. Aug 6/19

 

  1. The story, summarized.
  2. What does this teach us about Jesus Christ?
  3. What does this teach us about ourselves?
  4. Why did it occur when it did?
  5. Why were Moses and Elias present?
  6. What other event in our Lord's life has obvious similarities to the Transfiguration?
  7. Blessing of fruit, especially grapes.
  8. OT Scripture for the Feast
  9. The most important “take home message” scripture for the feast.

 

Troparion  Tone 7

 

Thou wast transfigured on the mountain, O Christ God, / Who didst show Thy glory unto Thy disciples as far as they could bear it. / May Thine ever-existing light / shine forth also upon us sinners / through the prayers of the Theotokos. // O Bestower of light, glory be to Thee!

 

Kontakion Tone 7


On the mountain wast Thou transfigured, / and Thy disciples beheld Thy glory as far as they could bear it, O Christ God; / that when they would see Thee crucified, / they would comprehend that Thy suffering was voluntary, / and proclaim to the world that Thou art of a truth //
the Effulgence of the Father.

 

2 Peter 1:16-17 16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 

2Pe 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

 

 

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 handout accompanies a short talk given after liturgy concerning the Transfiguration.

 

Audio: http://www.orthodox.net/catechism//feasts-of-the-lord_2010-08-23+transfiguration+after-liturgy-short-talk.mp3

 

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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Transfiguration Human nature in the Midst of the Divine Luke 9:28-36. New Text Homily.

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Transfiguration
Human nature in the Midst of the Divine
Luke 9:28-36
(The Gospel for Matins)
2008

 

http://www.orthodox.net/ikons/transfiguration-theophanes-01.jpg In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

We say today, brothers and sisters, that humanity can meet Divinity; Humanity can see Divinity; Humanity can be part of Divinity.

In the Old Testament Moses, saw the back parts of God; he was hidden in the cleft of a rock; he didn’t see that much [1]. But now, face to face, man is with God. Jesus Christ showing He is fully God, shining as the light.

Did you notice something in this historic and prophetic event? Moses and Elias, were conversing with Him, speaking of His decease: That was for the disciples to remember so that they would overwhelmed by the upcoming passion of our Lord.

 

What were Apostles doing? They were sleeping because it was late at night and they were tired. Man was in the midst of Divinity, Jesus was white as the light, shining as the sun,  and they were asleep. This indicates how easily we “sleep”, even when God is among us! We are sleepy because of our passions – O Lord, what are we missing? Divinity is right with us right now. We partake of the Holy Mysteries and Divinity is present. Wherever we go, God is with us and yet we don’t see Him.

 

They woke up, and then the cloud came, signifying the Holy Spirit, and the voice from the cloud, the Father. So this is like a Theophany just like the baptism of the Lord, declaring the Trinity, declaring God.

But then Moses and Elias saw Him and spoke with Him, and they were not frightened by the light, or the sound, or the cloud. This tells us, that we will eventually, even though at this moment our flesh is filled with sins and weakness and foolishness, we will be able to be with Divinity and not be afraid.

 

But the Apostles were not ready to be fully in the presence of Divinity. They still needed more seasoning, more training. So they were in the midst of Divinity, and for some of it they were asleep. So it is with us. We are in the midst of Divinity and we’re asleep. We’re more troubled about what’s going to happen today and tomorrow and the next day than we are about God being with us.

And of course, the Transfiguration shows us the future for us, not the future for God because all things are as one for God, the past, the future, the present. Jesus was always God. This was nothing new for Him.

This was the first time in history that man was to be able to be face to face with the Uncreated Light of God. They were afraid. They were not like Moses and Elias. It was too much for them. So it will take time for you and me to be able to be in the presence of Divinity and not be afraid.

 

And how is this? We know: to follow Christ, to become like Him. Moses and Elias were like Him, and they were comfortable around Him and at peace and not afraid.

We are trying to become like Him. And if our Lord Jesus Christ were to come to us now and shine in His Divinity, His Uncreated Light, we would be terrified because we are not ready yet. So this time of this light is getting ready, getting ready to see Christ as He is, not with the covering of humanity, but to see Him, His Humanity shining with Divinity because, after all, He is God as well as Man.

So, brothers and sisters, when you look at this story, let it give you some hope. Yes, it is a promise that we will see God.

But just see that they were frail men there on the mountain. First they were asleep and then they were afraid. Does it remind you of anybody? Reminds me of me. It should remind you of you.

But after a time what happened to those men? Their sound went forth over all the world. So it will be with us. We will be changed. But we have to live in the flesh a little bit and struggle a little bit in order to become able to see Divinity.

We see what happens when impure men see Divinity, they’re afraid. But later on, Peter spoke of this event with great affection, great longing, because he knew that he was soon going to, as he said, put off this tabernacle and be with the Lord, and he was looking forward with great expectation to seeing the Uncreated Light again, this time without fear [2].

So there’s the blueprint for our lives. Yes, the promise is there. But the promise only becomes reality for us if we live as Christians, and then we will see Divinity and not be afraid. Amen.

 

 

Luke 9:28-36 28 And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. 30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33 And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. 34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 36 And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.

 

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/feasts-of-the-savior-transfiguration_2008-08-19.html

http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-transfiguration_2008-08-19.doc

AUDIO: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/feasts-of-the-savior-transfiguration_2008-08-19.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.

 



[1] Exodus 33:11-23; 34:4-6, 8, read as the second of three readings (also called “Parables”) at Vespers for the Transfiguration. Here is an excerpt: “20 And again he said: Thou canst not see my face: for man shall not see me and live. 21 And again he said: Behold there is a place with me, and thou shalt stand upon the rock. 22 And when my glory shall pass, I will set thee in a hole of the rock, and protect thee with my right hand, till I pass: 23 And I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face thou canst not see”

[2] 2 Peter 1:10-19, read at the Liturgy on the Transfiguration.

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