Comments on the 2013 Lenten Pastoral Retreat Diocese of Chicago and Middle America ROCOR Mar 20/April 2 – Mar 22/ April 3 2013

April 4th, 2013

Comments on the 2013 Lenten Pastoral Retreat

Diocese of Chicago and Middle America ROCOR

Mar 20/April 2 – Mar 22/ April 3 2013

 

It is our custom in our diocese for the clergy to gather around our bishop twice a year in the cathedral of the Holy Protection of the Mother of God, Des Plaines, Il. One of these times is during Great Lent, and the other is for the Patronal feast of the Cathedral, in the Fall.

 

I hate to travel – I am a nervous and sometimes confused traveler, but I love having traveled and seeing my brothers again. I regret that Fr Nicholas could not come due to his work obligations. He would have loved it. He is in the same boat I was once in, having a young family and a full time job, and juggling time off to include important days such as Good Friday, and Holy Thursday, and trying to have a little bit left for his family time.

 

We are a poor diocese, but we are very rich. I have been around a little, especially because of the Internet, and I do not know of a more peaceful diocese anywhere. I truly enjoy being around my brother clergy, and it is always warms my soul to see how freely and easily we interact with our chief shepherd, Bishop Peter. We are truly free to say anything, in public or private, and there is a sense in our gatherings of acceptance, support and calm.

 

It is not like this all over the Orthodox landscape. I am always consciously aware of how grateful I am that we have this peace and unity amongst ourselves. Our small diocese is growing, and although poor, is quite healthy financially. It is a privilege to be a part of this growth.

 

This is not to say that we do not have opinions, and disagreements in our deliberations. We are a mix of shy and open, quiet and not so quiet, opinionated and taciturn, but our disagreements are always accomplished "agreeably". We all collaborated on an excellent Resolution, so to be published, which we will read to our parishes. We also had an important mutual pastoral concern, and came up with am important step towards addressing it. I think we did important work this week. May God's blessing descend upon our humble pastoral outreach, and have it be received in the same prayerful and pastoral spirit in which it was conceived.

 

Of course the focus of our gathering is our concelebrating of the Divine Liturgy together. We celebrated Vespers and Matins the evening before, with The usage of English and Slavonic split approximately 50% each. As an Anglophone, I much appreciate this, but in the beautiful candlelit cathedral, when the Slavonic was read quite beautifully by the parish Cantor (who is equally adept in Slavonic and English)  and others, I would usually look upon one of the icons and pray the Jesus prayer, and in some way, the moments felt very holy and pure. I do not want to insinuate that I prayed in a holy way or with much attention, because I am a jumble of sins and thoughts,  but I will boldly say that my soul was enlarged by the experience and I treasure these moments. One of the Fathers the following morning asked me if I wanted to stand in the cliros, which was full of clergy chanting and singing in English and Slavonic (when we had the 3rd, 6th and 9th hour and Typika before the Presanctified Liturgy), and I answered no, because it is rare for a priest to be able to stand in the church, and just pray. I appreciate those moments. Perhaps I take advantage, with good attention to 10% of these moments, but this is still a great blessing for my soul, and I hope, for those whom I remember during these holy times. My flock and my family may be assured that my heart is with you very much during these times.

 

Something always happens at some point during the Divine Liturgy, usually around the time of the Great Entrance. This is always the highlight of my trip, but talking about it cannot convey the experience. I become overwhelmed with a kind of certainty deep within my soul that we are surrounded by holiness, – the saints and the angels, and the Holy Spirit in all of us, and we are doing something holy – together, as brothers. It always seems to me that if I fully understood at that moment the enormity of our brotherly love, expressed by our solidarity and sobriety in gathering around our chief shepherd to partake of the Holy body and Blood Of our Lord together, I would fully understand love, and be able to love fully, and therefore to know God, and act as God. This is a comforting feeling, but always, in that peculiar way that we who are Orthodox, (if we love and understand our prayers) understand – it is distressing too. I am in the presence of holiness and I am barely aware of it, and yet, I am filled with the sure hope that my brothers and I, and those whom we touch in our pastoral administrations – will understand it fully, someday. I have heard the term "bright sadness" used to describe Great Lent, and it does, but it also describes these moments, an all moments of deep prayer, and, if we are not lazy and dissolute, every day of our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.quot; The Last Judgment story teaches us we are eternal beings & everything we do must be eternal.

March 10th, 2013

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SYNOPSIS: Are you a glass half full or half empty person? How do you look at the Last Judgment story in Matthew 25:31-46? Many people concentrate on the condemnation of those who go to Hell, but the story actually emphasizes that we are eternal beings ("Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"), and therefore every thing we do and every work of mercy must be eternal. It teaches us how to accomplish this: "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me"

Matthew 25:31-46 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.


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The healing of the woman with a spirit of infirmity 18 years teaches us that love is the highest law and HOW to love + 7 homilies on Psalm 118

December 10th, 2012

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Synopsis: The healing of the woman with a spirit of infirmity of 18 years warns us to not be formal in our religion. Love is the highest law; we can only obey this law if we understand something critically important about ourselves. This healing teaches us both of these things.

More homilies on the 27th Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Luke 13:10-17 10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. 11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. 14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. 15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? 16 And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day? 17 And when he had said these things, all his adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.


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Commentary on Psalm 118, verse by verse


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A way to pray for someone with the Jesus Prayer

December 4th, 2012

An excellent way to pray for someone is to pray a short prayer for them, then say the Jesus prayer for the person, for a set number of times.

One may say "Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on N", or, more inclusively, "on us".

After the Jesus prayers, one may repeat the short prayer, or use another one. Two suggested prayers are below.

 

Prayer in Way of the Pilgrim, for others:

Merciful Lord, may Thy will be done;

Thou desirest that all men come to the truth and be saved, have mercy and save Thy servant N.

  Receive this petition from me as a cry of love which Thou hast commanded

 

To pray for someone more diligently:

Save, O Lord, and have mercy on Thy servant(s) ________, [bow]


Deliver him (her, them) from every tribulation, wrath and need [bow],


From every sickness of soul and body, [bow]


Forgive him (her, them) every transgression, voluntary and involuntary, [bow]


And do whatever is profitable for our souls. [bow].       

From the Old Believer Prayer Book.

 

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What must I do to be saved? Follow the Greatest commandment and understand how to do this by understanding the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

November 25th, 2012

Parable of the Good SamaritanLISTEN NOW

Synopsis: What must I do to be saved? Follow the Greatest commandment and understand how to do this by understanding the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

More homilies on the 25th Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Luke 10:25-37 25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. 29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? 30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-25_2011-11-25+parable-of-the-good-samaritan+understanding-the-greatest-commandment_luke10-25-37.m3u

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Commentary on Psalm 118, verse by verse


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Two kinds of faith; whatever faith we have the Lord will respond: Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood.

November 19th, 2012

Ikon: Raising of the daughter of Jairus and healing of the woman with an issue of blood.

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Synopsis: The number 12 appears twice in the story of the raising of the daughter of Jairus and the healing of the woman with an issue of blood; this is not accidental. We see two kinds of faith – weak and strong, and the good news that the Lord will respond to even to weak faith, but we must also respond when He does! Of course, the whole point of His response to our weak faith is that it would become stronger! We look at the weak faith of Jairus and his necessary response to the Lord, and learn form the strong faith of the woman with an issue of blood.

More homilies on the 24th Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Luke 8:41-56 41 And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: 42 For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. 43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, 44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. 45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? 46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. 48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace. 49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. 50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. 56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.


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Commentary on Psalm 118, verse by verse


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The Gospel proclaimed and its moral imperative: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works”. Ephesians 2:4-10. 23rd Sunday after Pentecost.

November 12th, 2012

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Synopsis: The Gospel is proclaimed succinctly in this classic and often misunderstood! passage from Ephesians. We go through it carefully, emphasizing that we must not only understand what Christ did for us, but also that this understanding places a moral obligation upon us. Every point made by the Apostle has a moral application to our daily lives, culminating in the significant, somewhat forgotten words (since they follow the famous and significant statement: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God") "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." This is important stuff! At the end of the homily, a pastoral exhortation regarding what we MUST expect when we attend the liturgy or any service (and how to learn to do this by degrees) and the MOST important prayer that a pastor must have in his heart when he celebrates any service.

More homilies on the 23rd Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Ephesians 2:4-10 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-23_2012-11-11+we-are-his-workmanship-created-in-christ-jesus-unto-good-works_ephesians2-4-10.m3u

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Commentary on Psalm 118, verse by verse


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The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Everything in life is a trade. Audio Homily 2012

November 6th, 2012

Ikon of the Parable of the Rich man and LazarusLISTEN NOW

Synopsis: The Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus is very complicated and teaches many things. We focus on two: everything in life is a trade; what do you want the most, pleasure now or happiness later? How do we remind ourselves of this trading, and trade well? Read the Scriptures.

More homilies on the 22nd Sunday after Pentecost are HERE

Luke 16:19-31 19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: 28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29 Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30 And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31 And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.


If the "LISTEN NOW" link does not work, copy this URL into your browser: http://www.orthodox.net/sermons/pentecost-sunday-22_2012-11-04+parable-of-the-rich-man-and-lazarus_luke16-19-31.m3u

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Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

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The Holy Orthodox Faith: Finding True Freedom through Slavery & Total Victory through Surrender by Archimandrite Demetrios Carellas Nov 26,27,28 2012 at St Nicholas

November 3rd, 2012


The Holy Orthodox Faith: Finding True Freedom through Slavery, & Total Victory through Surrender

by Archimandrite Demetrios Carellas

 

3 talk series – Mon, Nov 26 ; Tue, Nov 27; Wed Nov 28 2012

Picture of Archiamandrite Demetrios Carellas

Schedule:

* Vespers at 5:30 PM

* Followed by light fasting food

(in consideration of some Orthodox who have begun the Nativity fast)

* Talk at 7:00 – 8:30

 * Visiting and more food after the talk.

Fr. Demetrios currently serves as the chaplain to the Nativity of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Monastery in Saxonburg PA.   He firmly believes that the Spirit-filled teachings and lives of the holy Church Fathers are imperative to our being able to incarnate the Gospel of Jesus Christ within the trenches of our daily lives.  Papa Demetri has hundreds of spiritual children and has delivered talks and retreats extensively across North America

 

The talks will be next door to our church in a very nice lecture hall we use. Our hall will be available at all times.

 

 

 

"EVERYTHING IS FREE, but please RSVP"

(so we can know how much food to make)

 

Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church

 

708 South Chestnut, McKinney, Texas 75069 Church Phone: 972-529-2754

 

Priest Seraphim Holland seraphim@orthodox.net   Cell: 972 658-5433

http://www.orthodox.net

 

 

 This Document in word format: http://www.orthodox.net/calendar/archiamandrite-demetrios-carellas-talks-nov-25-26-27-2012.doc

PDF format: http://www.orthodox.net/calendar/archiamandrite-demetrios-carellas-talks-nov-25-26-27-2012.pdf

 

 

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The Holy Orthodox Faith: Finding True Freedom through Slavery & Total Victory through Surrender by Archiamandrite Demetrios Carellas Nov 26,27,28 2012 at St Nicholas

October 30th, 2012


The Holy Orthodox Faith: Finding True Freedom through Slavery, & Total Victory through Surrender

by Archiamandrite Demetrios Carellas

 

3 talk series – Mon, Nov 26 ; Tue, Nov 27; Wed Nov 28 2012

Picture of Archiamandrite Demetrios Carellas

Schedule:

* Vespers at 5:30 PM

* Followed by light fasting food

(in consideration of some Orthodox who have begun the Nativity fast)

* Talk at 7:00 – 8:30

 * Visiting and more food after the talk.

Fr. Demetrios currently serves as the chaplain to the Nativity of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Monastery in Saxonburg PA.   He firmly believes that the Spirit-filled teachings and lives of the holy Church Fathers are imperative to our being able to incarnate the Gospel of Jesus Christ within the trenches of our daily lives.  Papa Demetri has hundreds of spiritual children and has delivered talks and retreats extensively across North America

The talks will be next door to our church in a very nice lecture hall we use. Our hall will be available at all times.

 

 

 

"EVERYTHING IS FREE, but please RSVP"

(so we can know how much food to make)

 

Saint Nicholas Orthodox Church

 

708 South Chestnut, McKinney, Texas 75069 Church Phone: 972-529-2754

 

Priest Seraphim Holland seraphim@orthodox.net   Cell: 972 658-5433

http://www.orthodox.net

 

 

 This Document in word format: http://www.orthodox.net/calendar/archiamandrite-demetrios-carellas-talks-nov-25-26-27-2012.doc

PDF format: http://www.orthodox.net/calendar/archiamandrite-demetrios-carellas-talks-nov-25-26-27-2012.pdf

 

 

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