Archive for the ‘Redeeming the Time’ Category

Do not say, after spending a long time at prayer… The Ladder, John Climacus, Step, 28, Prayer

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Do not say, after spending a long time at prayer…

The Ladder, John Climacus, Step, 28, Prayer

29. Do not say, after spending a long time at prayer, that nothing has been gained, for you have already gained something. And what higher good is there than to cling the Lord and to persevere in unceasing union with Him?

The Ladder, John Climacus, Step, 28, Prayer

I have learned, slowly, to pray more, almost exclusively the Prayer of Jesus. There is an irrational feeling that this is not productive since I have many temporal things to do, and because of my passions and insensitivity, I do not feel God very much.

I am reminded of a phrase my friend, Fr Michael, rails against. He hates it when someone says, often apologetically, “At least I will pray for you”. This is the MOST we can do, and our actions are fruitless without prayer.

Try praying for those you are concerned about with lengthy sessions of the Jesus prayer. This is hard, but is the only work that will succeed; it gives wings to all our other work.

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2014??? ?St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

This article is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/full-voice/full-voice_2014-04-10+do-not-say-after-spending-a-long-time-at-prayer_ladder-of-divine-ascent-step28-29.doc

http://www.orthodox.net/full-voice/full-voice_2014-04-10+do-not-say-after-spending-a-long-time-at-prayer_ladder-of-divine-ascent-step28-29.html

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“They that observe vain and false things have abandoned mercy for themselves.” Sobering and comforting at the same time.

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

SYNOPSIS:The Biblical Odes are used especially during Great Lent. and during weekday matins, this verse, from ode 6, is always said: “They that observe vain and false things have abandoned mercy for themselves.” This is one of my favorite parts of the matins service, because this pithy verse describes the reason for ALL our problems, and the simple solution. It is sobering, rebuking, but also comforting. It reminds me of the oft read scripture: ” For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor might, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom 8:38-39) Nothing can separate the sinner from God, except if the sinner observes vain and false things without repentance.

http://www.orthodox.net/full-voice/full-voice_2014-03-27+they-that-observe-vain-and-false-things-have-abandoned-mercy-for-themselves_biblical-ode-6-jonah2-9.mp3

Biblical Ode 6. Jonah 2:9
2014-03-27

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For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity….

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

“For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity. (24) Nevertheless through envy of the devil came death into the world: and they that do hold of his side do find it.” Wisdom (of Solomon) 2:23-24

This is why I read this book, and you should too. This is a fine, Patristic quality explanation of why man was created and what happened in the fall, many hundreds of years before the birth of the God-man, Jesus Christ. this book is mainly about Him.

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WHY do we fast? Always do the things you CAN do The Holy Fathers on Fasting.

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Prison Ministry Letter, Mon, Jul 30/ Aug 12 2013

 

[This is the contents of a letter sent to the men in prison whom I visit in prison. Personal references are removed.]

 

Dear Brothers:

 

I am writing on Sunday (oops, actually now Mon morning), with the hopes that this jpay letter will reach you on Tue. I am healthy now, and just as stubborn as usual. I have not after effects from the Shingles, except an autograph on my forehead. No big deal. I appreciate your prayers, and the card that some of you sent from the Hughes unit.  I showed my wife the card, and she was very touched, as was I. I suppose it is good to be reminded of one's mortality. but I was never really, really sick, although the pneumonia, before it was treated, made me feel pretty puny, and the shingles, while they were active, although the discomfort was minimal (especially for shingles!), made it impossible for me to be in groups of people that could get infected (Chicken pox, from which Shingles comes, is dangerous when an adult gets it). I went to the Michael unit last week, and then kayaked, and plan to come to the Hughes unit this week (on Wed, Aug 14). May God allow it.

 

The Dormition Fast begins this Wednesday (Aug 1/14 until Aug 15/28 – the 1st date is the church calendar day, and the 2nd is the date on the civil calendar, the one hanging on a typical wall in America, such as in "Joe's Garage"). I will chant the supplicatory canon to the Mother of God at church every day for this 14 day fast. This canon is in your prayer books. I recommend highly that you also read it during these 14 days. In this way, we will all be praying together, and this is a very powerful thing. I will explain about Dormition and the supplicatory canon when I see you, and write about it if I am able.

 

I also ask you to try as best you can to fast also. If you have money for commissary, peanut butter and beans will help a lot, and if you have no other protein sources, then fast as best you can according to the spirit of the fast. I know you have few choices, but nevertheless, fasting is greatly beneficial to the soul.

 

The typical fasting we do on a "fast day" is to refrain from eating animal products (meat, fish, milk products, eggs), olive oil and alcoholic beverages. The latter two are no problem, I am sure, but in prison, they serve mostly things that resemble animal products! In the free world, a person has many choices – we are always allow to eat non-finned seafood (like shrimp, clams, etc), and peanut butter, nuts, beans, rice, and lentils and even Quinoa are easy to come by. The diet may be a bit monotonous, but it never killed anyone. If you have no other protein source, and cannot abstain because of health reasons, then you can make choices like not using cream in your coffee, or not using condiments on that thing (I saw it once!) they call a chicken patty. Talk to me about this too.

 

WHY DO WE FAST?

 

Why do we fast? It is because we are aware that we need healing, and fasting is something that helps us be healed of our passions. Jesus clearly expected that his disciples would fast after He ascended into heaven: "Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?  (15)  And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast." (Mat 9:14-15)

 

I try to look at things simply. Jesus expected it, and even prophesied it, so I do it. Jesus established His church to guide us, and the wisdom of the church is from the mind of Christ. If the church teaches it, I do it.

 

If I fully understand it, that is great, but a hidden bit of wisdom that people in our world do not understand is this – understanding comes AFTER obedience. We are disobedient people – we constantly are concerned with ourselves, and rely on our own understanding. This is always a bad thing to do. We must rely on God for all things, and obeying Him regarding fasting, which His church teaches, is a superb fist and ongoing step.

 

"Trust in the LORD with all Thine heart; and lean not unto Thine own understanding." Pro 3:5

 

So, plain and simple, I fast because I am a Christian, and my Savior expects me to do it.

 

I suppose obedience to someone other than ourselves is the first and best reason to fast. this helps us to defeat self-reliance, which is a product of pride and vanity, which assails almost every human being on the earth.

 

Fasting is something that we normally do twice a week (Wed and Fri all but about 4 weeks of the year), and is something that we CAN do.

 

I have learned a really important bit of wisdom over the years, that has served me and those I have counseled well. It is summed up in the aphorism:

 

Always do the things you CAN do

 

"Always do the things you CAN do, so you can learn to do the things you CANNOT do". This sums up the Christian life – we should always be learning and improving.

 

There are many things we cannot do – control our thoughts, pray with attention, love everyone with a pure heart, etc. In each individual there are sins, passions and habits that are very hard to eradicate – these are things we CANNOT do consistently. In every individual there also things that are easier to do, that are also important in the Christian life. For me, fasting is one of those things.  I hope it will also be so for you.

 

There are other things that a particular individual CAN do – perhaps you are consistent in reading the Scriptures, or attending the services, going to confession regularly, having communion, or saying your morning prayers, or praying for others. If this is the case, then you will make great progress in EVERYTHING if you obediently do the things that you are capable of doing.

 

THIS WORKS! One of my most important goals as a pastor is to get people to believe it, to "sign on" to the idea if you will. I hope you "sign on", and seek the wisdom of God to know which things you CAN consistently do, even if they take a little effort.

 

In my pastoral experience, the person who makes the greatest progress in the spiritual life is the one who is consistent in *something*. The one who makes very little progress is consistent in nothing, or almost nothing. Each person must find the things they CAN more info

do, and do them. Nothing is too small, if you can be consistent in doing it. Even something as small as always taking out the garbage each morning, or doing the dishes even if you have not dirtied them, if you do it consistently, and without complaining, and offer it to God as a sacrifice, will really help you in EVERYTHING.

 

Other reason to fast are that consistent fasting helps us remember God and our purpose. We are born to be spiritual beings, to think in spiritual ways. When speaking with Nicodemus, Jesus told him:

 

"Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.  (12)  If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" (John3:11-12).

 

We are earthly in our ways and habits. It takes work and practice to he "heavenly". Fasting helps focus us on heavenly things.

 

Fasting is in no way a repudiation of pleasure. Food is pleasurable, and it is good to enjoy it, but it is still an earthly thing. 

 

Abstinence from certain foods teaches us self control and to think spiritually. Self control gained from fasting will extend to self-control in everything in life, especially in the most important area – our thoughts.

 

If we think rightly, everything is right with us. All sin starts with thought, and controlling thoughts is one of the greatest accomplishments of a Christian. We learn to control our thoughts from self-control in easier things (like fasting – no matter how hard it is for someone to fast, controlling what we eat is infinitely easier than controlling our thoughts, which is often like trying to catch the wind).

 

Fasting also helps greatly with the really difficult thoughts, those "hot" thoughts which are very hard to control, such as lust, anger, judgment of others, jealousy, etc.

 

Jesus taught that fasting is needed to get rid of "this kind" of thoughts when He said:

 

"… This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." (Mark 9:29)

 

He was answering the disciple's question about why they were unable to cast a demon out of a boy. He answered first that is was because of their lack of faith, and followed by telling them about fasting. The juxtaposition of those things (faith and fasting) is important! The church knows that fasting will increase our faith.

 

We also understand the Lord's words about "this kind" to also refer mystically to the passions that "possess" all of us. All of us are slaves to passions, because the nature of sin is that it always enslaves us. We were born to be free from sin, and it is clear to those who fast with effort, diligence and expectation, that fasting helps immensely in this.

 

We all have bad days, and sometimes bad weeks, or months. We get lazy, or depressed, or out of sorts. I have found that fasting is a kind of "anchor" for me. I may have a terrible day – I may not have prayed as I should – I may have had trouble controlling my thoughts – but I have at least fasted, and offered God something! This is not anything to be proud of, like the Pharisee, who boasted that he "fasted twice in the week", but it is something that keeps me "attached" in some way to God.

 

I have fasted according to the teaching of the church for over 30 years, and I am glad for it. I would not want to know myself if I had never fasted. I am not a continent man, and do not always control my thoughts, or have attentive prayer, but over the years, things have gotten much better, and fasting is like an old friend now, who supports me and helps me get through things when things are tough.

 

My experience as a pastor is definitely that those who fast consistently have much more self-control and a more "even" spiritual life, instead of the "ups and downs" that most people experience. I want you all to have this stability and comfort too, and that is why I encourage you to fast.

 

 

The Holy Fathers on Fasting.

 

What we gain by fasting is not so great as the damage done by anger; nor is the profit from spiritual reading as great as the harm done when we scorn or grieve a brother. – St. John Cassian

 

Prayer and reading are excellent; they stop the aimless wandering of thoughts, shackle the thought which turns on useless things and keep it close by them with profit, occupied without distraction by this excellent doing.' St. Nilus of Sinai

 

Do not say to me that I fasted for so many days, that I did not eat this or that, that I did not drink wine, that I endured want; but show me if thou from an angry man hast become gentle, if thou from a cruel man hast become benevolent. If thou art filled with anger, why oppress thy flesh? If hatred and avarice are within thee, of what benefit is it that thou drinkest water? Do not show forth a useless fast: for fasting alone does not ascend to heaven. – St. John Chrysostom

 

As a flame of fire in dry wood, so too is a body with a full belly. – St. Isaac the Syrian

 

Whosoever rejects the fasts, deprives himself and others of weapons against his own much-suffering flesh and against the devil, who have power over us especially as the result of our intemperance. St. John of Kronstadt

 

O brethren, as ye take up the spiritual fast, speak no deceit with your tongue, neither put a stumbling block in the way of your brother as an occasion for him to fall: but by repentance let us trim the lamp of our soul, that with tears we may cry unto Christ Forgive us our transgressions, since Thou art the Friend of man.

Vespers of Wednesday of the Second Week of Great Lent

 

Let us love that fasting of the soul which, by the cooperation of the Spirit, doth wither the grievous passions and doth strengthen us to do godly deeds, and doth uplift our mind towards Heaven, and doth obtain our sins' forgiveness, grant unto us by the compassionate God. Triodion, Monday Vespers of the Third Week

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2013     St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

This article is at:

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2013-08-12+why-do-we-fast+always-do-the-things-you-can-do+prison-ministry-letter.doc

http://www.orthodox.net/journal/2013-08-12+why-do-we-fast+always-do-the-things-you-can-do+prison-ministry-letter.html

 

New Journal entries, homilies, etc. are on our BLOG: http://www.orthodox.net/redeemingthetime

Journal Archive: http://www.orthodox.net/journal

Blog posts & local parish news are posted to our email list. Go to here: http://groups.google.com/group/saint-nicholas-orthodox-church to join.

 

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John 17:11 No unity with God without unity with our neighbor

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

"Holy Father, keep in Thy name those whom Thou hast given me, in order that they may be one, even as We." John 17:11

 
The reality of the Trinity, in which the persons of God live in perfect oneness, is not a dry, dogmatic fact. Here Christ ***defines salvation***; to be one with each other and God, even as God is one with Himself. 
This should put loving our neighbor, and being peacemakers, not judging etc – anything that promotes unity with our neighbor – in an important perspective. 
 
There is a profound external difference between the unity of God with Himself and our unity with our neighbor, but it is unimportant. God is in perfect unity with Himself; each person gives and receives love exactly identically. It is not like this in human relations, even among those who love each other, because of our lamentable and individually variable tendency to prise, vanity, and self-centeredness. 
 
God loves the good and the evil equally, and herein is the key to perfect unity with Him. 
 
Let us keep in mind that the Golden rule is to act towards our neighbor as we would *want* to be treated, not *AS* we are treated! 
 
Every interaction with our neighbor leads us into deeper unity with God (the only purpose of our life!) or estranges us from Him. This is a stark reality that we rarely acknowledge, but those who are holy know well. May God heal us of our preoccupation with ourselves and help us to love our brother, having only one expectation: to be one with God, even as He is. 
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By this all will know that you are My disciples…

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

   

"By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

In a well-known first century text called the "Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus", the Christians of the time are described as follows:

"But while they dwell in cities of Greeks and barbarians as the lot of each is cast, and follow the native customs in dress and food and the other arrangements of life, yet the constitution of their own citizenship, which they set forth, is marvellous, and confessedly contradicts expectation. They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is foreign. They marry like all other men and they beget children; but they do not cast away their offspring. They have their meals in common, but not their wives. They find themselves in the flesh, and yet they live not after the flesh. Their existence is on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, and they surpass the laws in their own lives. They love all men, and they are persecuted by all. They are ignored, and yet they are condemned. They are put to death, and yet they are endued with life. They are in beggary, and yet they make many rich. They are in want of all things, and yet they abound in all things. They are dishonoured, and yet they are glorified in their dishonour. They are evil spoken of, and yet they are vindicated. They are reviled, and they bless; they are insulted, and they respect. Doing good they are punished as evil-doers; being punished they rejoice, as if they were thereby quickened by life. War is waged against them as aliens by the Jews, and persecution is carried on against them by the Greeks, and yet those that hate them cannot tell the reason of their hostility. In a word, what the soul is in a body, this the Christians are in the world."

(Epistle to Diognetus, 5:4-6:1, tr. J.B. Lightfoot, online at http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/diognetus-lightfoot.html)

Many hate Christ because their hearts are darkened by sin, because they do not wish to come to the light. May God grant that we not be counted with that number!

At the same time, MANY at that time were converted because their hearts were open to the Lord. They were converted in part because they heard the word of Truth and saw it active in the lives of the Apostles and other Christians.

How many today whose hearts are opened never hear the word of Truth, the Good News of Christ, who has risen from the dead to save us all? And how many hear the word, but don't understand it because they don't see it active in the lives of Christians?

Brothers and sisters, where is our love? Do we differ at all from those around us? Do we give those whose hearts are open a reason to accept Jesus Christ in His Church and receive His salvation? Or does our life proclaim loudly that "there is nothing special here".

May God forgive us. Readings like this make me want to go out and spread the word, to bring others to the truth by my words and my life — but then I remember that my life is messy with sin… St. Peter was eager to follow our Lord Jesus Christ to the Cross, but Christ responded: “Will you lay down your life for My sake? Most assuredly, I say to you, the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times" (John 13:38). We are weak, and have offended many by our sins. Let us repent of this!

But let us also "tarry in Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high". We will soon celebrate Pentecost, that marvelous descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles. Endued with this divine strength, St. Peter and the other Apostles then went out and converted the world.

And if we renew our spiritual efforts, studying the word of God, praying more often and receiving the Holy Mysteries with faith, we will be gradually renewed as well. And then — and only then — our light will begin to shine before men, unnoticed by us, and all men will know that we are His disciples. As St. Seraphim of Sarov used to say: "Acquire the Spirit of Peace, and thousands around you will be saved."

May God grant us this grace!

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

    

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Distance Education in Orthodox Theology

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

As Orthodox Christians, we must strive to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind (c.f. Luke 10:27) — in other words, with our entire being. 

The cultivation of the love of God in the mind consists in large part of studying the faith. We must immerse ourselves in the Holy Scriptures and in the teachings of the Holy Church. We must order our lives so that — if it is possible — the majority of the impressions that form our way of thinking come from our Lord's teaching, and not from the corrupt teachings of this world.

This is why it is so important to prayerfully read the Holy Scriptures under the guidance of the Church.

This is also why, for those who are academically minded, higher education in theology is valuable. This is not just for those who want to become priests; all of us can benefit from better knowing our faith. Through study we can be brought to love God more fully, and we can also be able to better answer the questions those around us who are starving for the enlightenment that only Jesus Christ can bring.

In the last 10 years, a number of distance education programs in Orthodox Theology have emerged, including three that are run by our own Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia:

1. The Pastoral School of the Diocese of Chicago and Mid-America is a ministry of our own diocese. It consists of online classes that include readings, discussions and examinations. There is a track for future priests and deacons and another track for those who wish simply to learn more about their faith. This year, the pastoral school is offering summer courses to all who are interested.

http://orthodoxtheologicalschool.org/.

2. Holy Trinity Seminary in Jordanville, NY offers a correspondence course leading to an accredited Certificate in Theological Studies (HEGIS 5623). Students are sent a reading list, and go to Jordanville for examinations twice each year.

http://hts.edu/seminary/front/en/academics.html#6.

3. The newly-formed St. Cyril and Athanasius Institute is a ministry of the Western American diocese. This is an innovative online program consisting of modules of study in an interactive online format. 

http://www.sforthodoxinstitute.org/

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Thoughts on John 13:1-20

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Today, we as a church family are reading the first half of the Gospel according to John the Theologian. (If you are not there yet, don't worry — the main thing is to keep reading!)

This selection tells of two things: Jesus' washing of His disciples feet and His knowledge of Judas' betrayal.

The Church, reading this selection on Great and Holy Thursday, consistently links these two themes:

"When the glorious disciples were enlightened at the washing of the feet, then Judas the ungodly one was stricken and darkened by the love of silver…" (Troparion for Holy Thursday and Friday).

The way of Jesus Christ and the way of the world are completely different. "“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:24-28).

Our Lord is teaching this when He washes the disciples' feet: "If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you" (John 13:14-15)."

The disciples are enlightened, but Judas is "stricken and darkened". An encounter with God does not leave us unchanged. We see this throughout St. John's Gospel, but especially here. When we meet God and see Who He Is, when He reveals Himself to us, then we either love Him or we reject Him. This is how it will be on the last day when He appears in the clouds with great glory. 

Will we love Him more than money, than our pride, than earthly glory or pleasure? It depends on the baby steps that we take now. He reveals Himself to us now in measure, a little bit here and a little bit there, just enough so that it is in our power to choose to accept Him and follow His way. And in that way, we can learn to love Him more.

So let us heed His injunction to wash one another's feet as He has shown us, that we might be stricken with the love of our Lord and God, rather than with the love of corruptible earthly things.

Christ is Risen!

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“the Father is in Me, and I in Him”

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

In the second half of John 10, Jesus says:

"I and the Father are one."

"I am the Son of God."

"…the Father is in Me, and I in Him."

What do we mean when we say the Jesus is God, that He is the Only-Begotten Son of God, of one essence with the Father?

Blessed Theophylact, commenting on "the Father is in Me, and I in Him," summarizes the Church's explanation as follows:

" 'I have the same essence as the Father while remaining the Son; I differ from Him only in hypostasis (i.e. person). Likewise, the Father ever remains the Father and differs from Me only in hypostasis. He is identical to Me in essence and nature. Though we differ in hypostasis, Our hypostases are undivided and inseparable: the Father and the Son united without confusion.' It is not so with men. A human father exists separately from his son, although they are one in nature. But the divine hypostases are intermingled without confusion. We speak of "three men," for every human person is a separate entity. But the Holy Trinity is one God, not three, because of the unconfused interpenetration of the three hypostases without confusion, and their unity of counsel and will." (Blessed Theophylact of Bulgaria, Explanation of the Holy Gospel According to St. John, tr. Fr. Christopher Stade (St. Louis: Chrysostom Press,  2007), p. 174)

This is important.

Jesus Christ is GOD, the Creator of all that exists. He made us, He redeemed us, and in Him we have our life. He is not optional. He is not "one path up the mountain to God". Nobody can know the Father apart from Him, for the Father is in Him, and He in the Father. Let us worship Him and follow Him in everything.

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The sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. (John 10:1-5)

"The door" is the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. Blessed Theophylact, following the interpretation of St. John Chrysostom, explains this to us.

Jesus Christ Himself, the Son and Word of God, is also "the door", as He tells us a few verses later. It is only by Him that we can enter and be saved.

He is also the Good Shepherd, who enters by "the door" of the Holy Scriptures, since they testify to Him. Indeed, the whole Bible is about Jesus Christ. Everybody else speaks of himself, and twists the Scriptures to fit his ideas.

So how is it that we can be saved, and "go in and out, and find pasture"? Through Jesus Christ.

And how is it that we will recognize Him? Because He will "call us by name," and if we will "know His voice". 

And how will we know His voice? Because we will have, throughout our lives, accustomed ourselves to hear and love His voice.

And how do we accustom ourselves to hear and love His voice? By reading the Holy Scriptures, by praying in the words of the saints, by attentively praying in the services of the Church, by frequently receiving the Holy Mysteries, and by striving to follow His directions about how to live, knowing that He will not lead us astray but will rather guide us into the good pasture.

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