Let’s learn something today from the slave of God Zosimas the wilderness dweller. We live in difficult times. Almost nobody tells the truth anymore, and our society is becoming infested with legally enforced and subsidized immorality and depravity. Many who identify as Christian are no different than those in the world and their love for Christ is cold. I suppose the conditions are no worse and not better than those in which Zosimas live. He chose to reject all the depravity and become holy. That is the ultimate solution for all of us.
When you read his life below, ask yourself if you can answer the question as he did – “I am a Christian”. I cannot say this completely yet, and that is why I suppose I confess that I am a liar twice a week, at least when I say my preparation prayers for communion
The word “world” is used in multiple senses in Scripture. It is important to recognize the different uses, and the most important discernment to have is to understand what is sinful and leads away from God – this is perhaps the most important understanding of the word “world”. We can leave the nuances of syntax to the philologists and theologians, but all Christians must recognize that which is of the world and is therefore to be avoided.
St Basil the Great, in his discourse on the Holy Spirit, incidentally gives a wonderful definition of the most important understanding of the word world. Let’s look at it, with text pertinent to “the world” highlighted in bold italics.
On Tuesday, Mar 6, for 12 hours, I prayed with many other Orthodox Christians in front of the McKinney Planned Parenthood in the “Orthodox Day” in the “40 Days for life, McKinney TX” prayer vigil. The purpose of vigil in front of these houses of another currently legal, government promoted and funded “peculiar institution “, is, for me, the healing of all people touched by abortion, directly and indirectly – the mother, father, other children, other family members, abortion workers. I know others pray for the especially for the murdered innocents, but for me, their suffering is over. … 12 hours is a long time. As in most things in life, this time was large amounts of “space” punctuated with brief, important moments. Some of the moments were very intense, and at the time. Here goes.
An essay on the aphorism: "Happiness (Salvation) is having our outside match our inside.", with real world examples of how to make this happen.
We have a Public prayer list, (http://docs.google.com/View?id=dzgvjb6_16f2pcdrhn ) which we use in our regular Monday Moleben, and also in special petitions in all Divine Liturgies we serve. Some people we know personally, but many times we have never met them or they live far away. Many are Orthodox Christians, and these we also commemorate in the Proskimidie of the Divine Liturgy, and many are not. It does not matter: if someone asked, we pray. Many times a person is on our prayer list for a long time and I have no idea how to contact them or find out how they are doing. Other times, I am able to ?check in? and know something of how their life is turning out. This is always a great consolation ? to see the object of our prayer doing well. Here are some recent ?answers? to prayer.
Icon of St Isaac the Syriuan with a saying of his (Let us not grieve when we make a slip, but when we become hardened by it.)and commentary including the aphorism
In your younger grandchildren’s typical wide-eyed excited manner of telling things, with her precious childish lisp she said to them:
“I finally know de secwet to being good in chuwch! – twy!! It’s so much easier to be good when you twy!”
An exhortation to partake of the Holy Eucharist, based upon the example of Hieromartyr Lucian of Antioch, a living antiminsion.
He fulfilled the words: “being made conformable unto his death”. His zeal for the Eucharist rebukes our lukewarm age. Commemorated Oct 15
try to read or listen to the Psalter daily. It is the church?s hymnal, and the depth of feeling, and combination of sadness and gladness always moves me. If we lived our life and prayed with the feeling that is in the Psalms, we would not be beset by the mediocrity we mostly settle for.
Today, one of the Kathismas I listened to was the second. Psalm 9 particularly caught my attention. I share some of my feelings about it, in the great hope that you would take up the Psalter and learn from it how to pray, and to live. Other than the Gospels, I think it is the most important book in Scripture ? it teaches us about Christ, and life and death, and how to pray and think and live in any situation in life.
9:8 And the Lord is become a refuge for the poor man, a helper in times of well-being and in afflictions…
37. A haughty person is not aware of his faults, or a humble person of his good qualities. An evil ignorance blinds the first, and ignorance pleasing to God blinds the second. (Ilias the Presbyter, Gnomic Anthology I, The Philokalia, the Complete Text Volume 3)
The quality of ignorance, or forgetfulness pleasing to God was evident on last Sunday’s Gospel, about the Last Judgment. The humility of the righteous made them “forget” their good works. May God help us to have this kind of humility.