“According to your faith be it unto you.” The two blind men teach us how to increase our faith. Matthew 9:27-35

Before Jesus healed the two blind men who had cried out to him MANY times (with the rudiments of the Jesus prayer), He said to them: “According to your faith be it unto you”. Remember, since we read the scripture in order to be taught something about ourselves, we MUST apply this saying to ourselves – does it fit us? If we find ourselves to be lacking in faith, or perhaps the fruit of faith – results in things that matter in our lives, then we must find a way to increase our faith. It is reasonable to ask the Lord for this, since the apostles themselves also asked him to increase their faith. Jesus commended several people concerning their faith – including the centurion Syrophenician woman of Canaan, and the woman “who was a sinner”. Each adds to the picture of how we can increase our faith. We look at the example of the two blind men, with humility, recognizing that we have weak faith and need to learn from their example.

The entire Trinity participated in the act of creation – it is right there in the bible! Psalm 32:6

By the Word of the Lord were the heavens established, and all the might of them by the Spirit of His mouth, Who gathereth together as into a wineskin the waters of the sea, Who layeth up the abysses in storehouses. (Psalm 32:6, Boston SeptTranslation)

Some translations have “breath of His mouth” – the Holy spirit is also known as “breath” or wind.

This is a Trinitarian reference. There are many more in the Scripture. The Father, Son (Word) and Spirit (breath) are seen to be creating. since creation is an act of will, and God, being one in essence, has one will, all persons of God were equally involved in creation.

The “take home” about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. From Mark the Ascetic.

There is lots of complicated “stuff” regarding the procession of the Holy Spirit, and His being sent. The take home is pretty easy, no matter how difficult the theology is. He came to us and abides in us for our illumination and perfection. We cannot use reason to understand Him or the energies of the Holy Trinity, and God’s relationship with Himself, but we can accept His enlightenment in one way only, as St Mark the Ascetic teaches:

“(The Holy Spirit) … gives to each person what is needful..

Bright Week Do’s and Dont’s, Holy Week/ Pascha pictures and video

Some Bright week “Do’s and Don’ts” that are very important to keep the Paschal joys all week. Here are a few: Do eat a steak and any food you want, every day of the week, and do not eat any tofu, but do not eat too much. Do Read the Gospel of John and the Acts, but do not read the Psalms (I explain why). Do plan on communing on Thomas Sunday, the most important Sunday of the year! Do day the Paschal hours instead of your usual prayers, and do not go back to the world too soon. Towards the end, some heartfelt thank you’s for all those who helped with flowers, cleanup, preparation and our choir, which was other-worldly beautiful on Pascha night.. Also many photos and a short video.

The Hymns of the Sunday of Orthodoxy proclaim the restoration of the ikons and their most important teaching – the Incarnation with all its implications, and the reason why we fast.

The hymns for the Sunday of Orthodoxy, which proclaim the restoration of the icons, are a primer in Christology. Their most important teaching is explained, using examples from the services. Also the purpose of fasting, from a matins hymn, is clearly explained, and the importance of the hymnology of the church and how it teaches us true theology is discussed. All the following hymns are mentioned:

Thou who art uncircumscribed, O Master, in Thy divine nature, / wast pleased in the last times to take flesh and be circumscribed; / and in assuming flesh, / Thou hast also taken on Thyself all its distinctive properties. / Therefore we depict the likeness of Thine outward form, / venerating it with an honor that is relative. / So we are exalted to the love of Thee, / and following the holy traditions handed down by the apostles // from Thine icon we receive the grace of healing. (Sunday of Orthodoxy, Vespers, Lord I have cried)

We venerate Thy holy icon, loving Lord, / asking Thee to pardon our transgressions, Christ our God. / For Thou of Thine own will wast pleased in the flesh to ascend upon the Cross, / so to deliver from the bondage of the enemy those whom Thou hast fashioned. / Therefore in thanksgiving we cry aloud to Thee: // Thou hast filled all things with joy, our Savior, when Thou hast come to save the world. (Sunday of Orthodoxy, Troparion, Tone II)

Depicting Thy divine form in ikons, O Christ, we openly proclaim Thy Nativity, Thine ineffable miracles and Thy voluntary Crucifixion. So the devils are driven out in fear and the heretics, their fellow workers, lament in shame and sorrow. (Sunday of Orthodoxy, Matins, Sessional Hymn)

Moses, in the season of abstinence, received the law and proclaimed it to the people. Elijah by fasting closed the heavens; and the three children of Abraham through fasting overcame the lawless tyrant. Count us worthy, O Christ, through fasting to attain the Feast of the Resurrection, as we cry aloud: “Holy God, Holy and Strong, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us!” (Sunday of Orthodoxy, Matins, Praises)